UNBC Prof Weighs in on Federal Cabinet Shuffle
Prince George, B.C. – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced his first major cabinet shuffle.
It comes the same month U.S. President-elect Donald Trump is set to succeed outgoing President Barack Obama.
The changes include:
- Chrystia Freeland leaves her post as minister of international trade to replace Stephane Dion as minister of foreign affairs (she will also be responsible for Canada-U.S. trade).
- Immigration Minister John McCallum is leaving politics to become Canada’s ambassador to China.
- Francois-Phillip Champagne takes over from Freeland as minister of international trade.
- Maryam Monsef moves from democratic institutions to the minister of status of women.
- Karina Gould replaces Monsef as minister of democratic institutions.
- Patty Hajdu leaves post as minister of status of women to become labour minister.
- Ahmed Hussen becomes minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship.
UNBC political science prof. Dr. Gary Wilson sees Freeland’s move “as a promotion” following her recent hard work in securing Canada’s free trade deal with the European Union.
He notes she’ll have her work cut out for her dealing with the new Trump administration but figures she’s up for the task.
“She has proven herself, at least in the last year dealing with those very difficult negotiations with the European Union on free trade,” says Wilson.
“The other thing about Freeland not many people know about is that she actually has a very intimate knowledge of Russia. She worked as a journalist and an editor in Russia in the 1990s for the Financial Times.
“We know that Russia is kind of an emerging power in the world today and that Donald Trump and various people in his cabinet he’s appointed have strong links with Russia so it will be very helpful that Freeland has that intimate knowledge and background.”
Wilson says one of her biggest tasks will be dealing with the Softwood Lumber file.
“Absolutely. And being the trade minister prior to this gives her a good knowledge of the politics of that. So, I think that’s a good sign for Canada.”
He says John McCallum’s move to China show’s the importance Canada is placing on making sure it diversifies in the face of Trump protectionism.
“China and Asia in general are becoming very important trade partners, especially for B.C. McCalllum has been around a long time so having a very strong, influential and experienced person taking up this diplomatic post is a good sign in terms of expanding our trading relationship with that country.”
Also of note says Wilson was the transfer of Maryam Monsef from democratic institutions to the status of women ministry.
“An interesting move. If you recall she had a little bit of trouble. When the committee report came out on how to change the electoral system she was quite critical of that committee and its work,” he says.
“And she got a bit of flack for that so possibly that’s just a way to take her out of that portfolio and put her somewhere else.”