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Anand moving out of defence to new portfolio, 7 ministers leaving cabinet in upcoming shuffle: sources

Defence Minister Anita Anand will be moving to an economic portfolio in Wednesday’s shuffle, CBC News has learned — one of many major shakeups coming to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet.

Sources with knowledge of the shuffle (who are not authorized to speak publicly about it) said seven ministers will be leaving cabinet, including Justice Minister David Lametti, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino and President of the Treasury Board Mona Fortier.

Ahead of the shuffle, four other ministers — three Toronto-area cabinet ministers and one B.C. minister — announced that they are not running in the next federal election, opening up spots at the table.

Public Services and Procurement Minister Helena Jaczek said Tuesday morning she will not be running in the next election. The Ontario MP for Markham-Stouffville posted on social media that it “has been an immense honour and a privilege to represent our community at both the provincial and federal levels.”

Transportation Minister Omar Alghabra announced that after 11 years in federal politics, he will not be running again and will step aside from his cabinet duties.

“The prime minister deserves a cabinet who is committed to running in the next federal campaign,” he said. “This was not an easy decision.”

Speaking to reporters Monday, Mental Health and Addictions Minister Carolyn Bennett also announced she will not be seeking re-election in her Toronto–St. Paul’s riding.

Headshots of four Liberal MPs who aren't seeking re-election.
Four members of the federal cabinet have said they are not running in the coming election (left to right): Helena Jaczek, Omar Alghabra, Carolyn Bennett and Joyce Murray. (Patrick Doyle/Reuters, Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press, Blair Gable/Reuters)

Fisheries Minister Joyce Murray, who represents Vancouver Quadra, made a similar announcement Tuesday — despite having told reporters on June 21 that she planned to run again. 

“After much thought and reflection, I have decided not to run again in the next election after my current term,” she said in a media statement Tuesday.

“My work in politics and time serving my community both federally and provincially as an elected official has been the honour of my life.”

Senior government sources say a cohort of rookies will be sworn in as new cabinet ministers during a ceremony at Rideau Hall on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau makes an announcement in a white shirt and red tie while outside.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to announce a substantial shakeup of his front bench on Wednesday. (Andrew Lahodynskyj/The Canadian Press)

Sources said Trudeau’s goal is to put the focus back on the government’s economic priorities — including housing — and shore up the cabinet ahead of the next election campaign.

The government also wants to put key communicators on important files, the sources said.

Mendicino under fire

Mendicino’s departure follows months of controversy over his performance. He’s been under intense pressure over the transfer of serial killer Paul Bernardo to a medium-security prison. The minister also has come under fire over his management of the government’s gun control legislation and the foreign interference file.

Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino speaks to reporters.
Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino will not be coming back to cabinet, sources have told Radio-Canada. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Asked last week in Kingston, Ont., whether he had confidence in Mendicino, Trudeau did not answer directly.

“I have an amazing team in Ottawa and an amazing group of MPs right across the country who are committed to serving their country every single day, and anyone in my cabinet by definition has my confidence,” he said.

Sources have said Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland will keep her position.

According to Radio-Canada, CBC’s French-language arm, Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly and Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault are also staying put.

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