Trudeau announces cabinet shuffle aimed at economic growth and affordability

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau -- Herald file photo.

Hoback says Liberals haven’t brought in enough ‘new blood’ to spark change in Sask.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a major cabinet shuffle on Wednesday – but Prince Albert’s Conservative MP Randy Hoback says Canadians shouldn’t expect much benefit.

The changes saw seven new ministers and switch-ups between about two-thirds of the total cabinet.

A news release said the shuffle is prioritizing a “strong economic team” and “making life more affordable for the middle class, growing the economy, and building a strong future for people from coast to coast to coast.”

“We have seen inflation come down in Canada faster than many, many of our peer countries. We have seen Canadians supported by targeted investments that have put money in their pockets while inflation has gone down,” Trudeau told reporters in Ottawa.

He referenced the grocery rebate that was distributed to 11 million people at the beginning of July, as well as an increase to the Child Tax Benefit last week.

Hoback said he’s talked to several Prince Albert constituents about the grocery rebate. The maximum you could receive is $628 if you have four children, according to the federal government’s website.

“Once they get the full rebate, it doesn’t necessarily buy two carts of goods from a grocery store. Lots of tokenism, really not a practical help, but a huge bill for taxpayers,” he said.

Prince Albert MP Randy Hoback speaks at a round table discussion during the 2019 Federal Election Campaign. — Herald file photo

As for the shuffle, Hoback said “they really haven’t brought in any new blood.”

“I don’t see anything changing in regards to their policies or any changes that are going to actually make them responsive to the needs of people in Saskatchewan, especially in the riding of Prince Albert.”

Despite the shuffle being geared towards a strong economy, Chrystia Freeland remains the minister of finance and deputy prime minister. François-Philippe Champagne, minister of innovation, science and industry, has also stayed in his role.

Anita Anand becomes president of the treasury board, while Bill Blair takes her former position as the minister of national defence.

Other changes include Minister of National Revenue Marie-Claude Bibeau, who was previously the minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Lawrence MacAulay has stepped into that portfolio.

Former Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos is now the minister of public services and procurement, while Mark Holland steps into the health position. Marc Miller was switched from Crown—Indigenous relations to immigration, refugees and citizenship. Jonathan Wilkinson has become minister of energy and natural resources.

Gary Anandasangaree, a new member, is the minister of Crown—Indigenous relations. Other new members include Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Ya’ara Saks, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Jenna Sudds, Minister of Small Business Rechie Valdez and Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Arif Virani.

Hoback cited concern for Saskatchewan with the new Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, who’s from Prince Edward Island.

He said Lawrence MacAulay wouldn’t have the knowledge of the prairies to tackle issues Saskatchewan farmers are facing, such as drought.

“There needs to be an ag minister who understands what agriculture is,” he said.

MacAulay was agriculture minister prior to Bibeau from 2015 to 2019.

When it comes to economic growth and affordability, Hoback said a Conservative government’s two priorities would be “spending Canadian dollars with respect” and getting rid of the carbon tax.

“It’s Canadians’ money – it’s not a government’s piggy bank.”

Indigenous leaders look to future with new cabinet members

In a news release, the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations thanked the outgoing Justice Minister David Lametti and Mental Health and Addictions Minister Carolyn Bennet.

“We strongly encourage the new portfolio holders to carry on and complete the work that many First Nations have been advocating for under our inherent and Treaty rights, including health, Treaty land claims, housing education, and participation in the Canadian economy,” said Chief Bobby Cameron.

The Metis Nation—Saskatchewan also welcomed Gary Anadasangaree as minister of Crown—Indigenous relations.

“Minister Anadasangaree’s appointment comes at a critical juncture, as numerous challenges and opportunities lay ahead,” said President Glen McCallum.

He referenced the Metis path to self-government and settling the Ile-a-la Crosse residential school claim, where survivors are seeking compensation for both the provincial and federal governments’ roles in the school.

“We believe that by fostering open communication, inclusivity, and constructive dialogue, we can build a stronger, more resilient nation for generations to come.”

The ministry remains 38 members, in addition to Trudeau. Half of them are women.

The next federal election must take place on or before Oct. 25, 2025. However, it could be called long before.