OTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau added two new faces to his cabinet Monday morning and worshiped Minister of Montreal David Lametti as Canadian Justice Minister and Bernadette Jordan of Nova Scotia as Minister of Rural Development – a new position on the front bench.
Speaking outside of the Rideau Hall, Trudeau said he needed to make some changes in his cabinet to deal with the sudden departure of Scott Brison, Nova Scotia MP MP, who was President of the Treasury Board.
Brison announced late last week that he would step out of the cabinet and re-run in the next election.
Vancouver's Jody Wilson-Raybould moves from justice to veteran issues, generally considered a smaller portfolio. Trudeau said veteran questions demanded the same unpleasant touch that Wilson-Raybould had brought to the justice portfolio.
Trudeau said he did not think it was anything but a big responsibility to veterans.
From her side, Wilson-Raybould said she did not see this move as a demotion. She said she was proud to be a veteran and affairs minister, and she described her as a very important role.
Jane Philpott moves from indigenous services to the Treasury Board, Brison's former portfolio, and a key economic position in the cabinet chart. It oversees most government spending mechanisms, including federal public service management and its federations.
Trudeau has stated that Philpott is a natural choice for this position because she participated in the relevant cabinet committee, which means she is well known in the file.
In the meantime Seamus Oregan moves from veteran issues to indigenous services.
Both of these ministries are areas where the government provides direct services that must be done properly, said Trudeau.
Jordan becomes the first Nova Scotia woman to sit in the cabinet.
The Prime Minister's office said in a press release that it will be tasked with developing a rural development strategy, including bringing high-speed internet to rural communities and helping to develop rural infrastructure.
These issues are currently under the control of two other cabinet positions – the ministers of innovation and infrastructure – and it is not immediately clear where Jordan is in the bureaucratic structure.
On Twitter, Conservative Member Erin O Toole said that Philpott and Lametti "are solid and well-informed," but they called the rest of Trudeau's move "pretty scratches on their heads." He said the natives and veterans "will be worried".
Conservative financial critic Pierre Poilievre said moves meant moving the deck on the Titanic.
"Prime Minister Trudeau is the captain of a sunken ship," Poilievre told a news conference and said he would leave all the ministers who are responsible for what the Conservatives see as the biggest problems of the government: the failure to balance the budget, the influx of irregular border crossings and the lack of a pipeline, so that Alberta gets to the coast for shipping overseas.