OTTAWA: The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, on Tuesday announced changes to his cabinet, sparked by the sudden announcement by Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry/Development, that he will not be running in the next federal election and would like to spend time with his family.
Trudeau said: “As Parliament resumes at the end of the month, Cabinet ministers will continue to work with all Parliamentarians, as well as provinces, territories, municipalities, and Indigenous communities, to deliver results that benefit all Canadians.
By continuing to fight the global COVID-19 pandemic and supporting people, communities, and businesses through the crisis, we will build a stronger, more resilient Canada for everyone.”
Bains, the senior-most among the four ministers of Indian origin in the cabinet of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, said he hadn’t spent any time with his eldest daughter, who is currently in Grade 8 and would soon be gone to university. Bains said his elder daughter told him during the summer holidays that if he stayed in politics and spent another four years in the Cabinet, he won’t be able to spend any time with her during her childhood.
He said his daughter’s words “struck a chord with me”. Bains, 43, who is very close to the Prime Minister and was instrumental in winning many seats for his Liberal Party from the 905 region of the Greater Toronto Area in the last federal elections in 2019, said he was stepping down to spend time with his daughters.
After the shuffle: Marc Garneau, currently Minister of Transport, becomes Minister of Foreign Affairs. From his work as an astronaut to his time within government, Minister Garneau has always been a strong voice for Canada around the world. As Minister of Transport, Mr. Garneau made progress on a number of important issues that matter to Canadians, including the creation and advancement of the Ocean’s Protection Plan and Canada’s efforts on the Safer Skies Initiative to improve aviation security over conflict zones.
Minister Garneau will bring experience acquired during his close work with international partners on the investigation into the Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 tragedy and as chair of the Cabinet Committee on Canada-United States Relations to his new portfolio, and will continue to be a leader on the world stage.
Jim Carr joins the Ministry and will continue to serve as Special Representative for the Prairies. Mr. Carr will build on his past experience as Minister of Natural Resources and Minister of International Trade Diversification, where he created new jobs and economic growth for all Canadians and was a strong voice and advocate for the Prairies. Minister Carr will continue to actively engage Canadians across the Prairies, listen to their challenges, opportunities, and interests, and bring their perspectives to Cabinet discussions.
François-Philippe Champagne, currently Minister of Foreign Affairs, becomes Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. As Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Champagne showed leadership and stood up for Canadian values on the world stage while leading our international COVID-19 response, executing the largest repatriation operation in Canadian history, and effectively responding to a number of evolving and complex situations including the crisis in Lebanon.
In his new role, Minister Champagne will rely on his extensive business experience in the fields of energy, engineering, and innovation to assist our economic recovery from the global COVID-19 pandemic, create new jobs for Canadians, and grow our middle class. He will also use his experience to help the government work with the manufacturing, natural resource, and energy sectors as they transition to meet a net-zero future.
As the representative of a rural riding, he also deeply understands the needs and priorities of Canadians living in rural communities, including the importance of improving high-speed Internet access that will empower communities across the country and strengthen Canada’s competitiveness.
Omar Alghabra, currently Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (Public Service Renewal) and to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, becomes Minister of Transport. Mr. Alghabra brings extensive experience to the Cabinet table, from past work in NGOs and the energy sector to his training in engineering and business.
With more than seven years’ experience as a Member of Parliament for one of Canada’s hubs for innovation and economic development, he recognizes how crucial the Government of Canada’s continued investments in transportation and public transit are to creating opportunities for Canadians and improving their quality of life. He will also continue to play a leadership role in the investigation into the Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 tragedy.
The Prime Minister thanked Navdeep Bains for his friendship, support, and counsel over their many years working together in Parliament. He also thanked Bains for his dedication over the last five years as Minister.
During this time, Bains launched a new national space strategy and created the Strategic Innovation Fund to attract and support business investments across all sectors of the economy. More recently, he played a central role in Canada’s response to the global COVID-19 pandemic by leading Canada’s Plan to Mobilize Industry to fight COVID-19, and overseeing the creation of the COVID-19 immunity, vaccine, and therapeutics task forces.
Mr.Bains will continue to serve his community and all Canadians as the Member of Parliament for Mississauga—Malton.
Trudeau said in a tweet: “Over the last 5 years, Navdeep Bains has has been an integral part of our team. He’s worked tirelessly to create more opportunities for Canadians and will be missed at the Cabinet table. Nav, thank you for your friendship and everything you’ve done to help build a better Canada.”
The Prime Minister also issued the following statement on the COVID-19 front: “At the top of the agenda will be the vaccine rollout. And on that front, I have some important news to share.
“Today, I can announce that we reached an agreement with Pfizer to step up delivery of their vaccine doses and to buy an additional 20 million doses of their COVID-19 vaccine. Between now and midspring – between April and June – we will have enough doses to vaccinate up to 20 million Canadians.
“From our agreements with Moderna and Pfizer alone, we will now have 80 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines arriving this year. We’re on track to have every Canadian who wants a vaccine receive one by September.“…On top of that, we will of course continue to work to get even more vaccines delivered as soon as we can. Already the most vulnerable and our frontline workers have received their doses, which are so vital to them.
“Our government will continue to work tirelessly with the provinces and territories so that the vaccines are delivered and that people are immunized as quickly as possible. Right now, that is our priority.
“While our government does what it must to help you and your loved ones get through the pandemic, we are also thinking about what is next.
“Recovery must be profitable for all Canadians. That is why we have a plan to build a stronger, more resilient country in which everyone will have a chance to succeed. In addition to investing in worker training and creating millions of jobs, we know that true climate action must be the basis of our initiative,” Trudeau said.