Canada's Trudeau set to name new environment minister as part of shuffle - local media

Analysts say tackling global warming must be a priority

  
Canada's Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during an election campaign stop in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada September 18, 2021.

Canada's Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during an election campaign stop in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada September 18, 2021.

REUTERS/Carlos Osorio

OTTAWA- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to name long-time green activist Steven Guilbeault as environment minister in a broader cabinet shuffle on Tuesday, Canadian media said.

Trudeau will also appoint new foreign, defense and energy ministers, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. and CTV quoted government sources as saying.

Trudeau won a third term last month but lost three ministers and another quit before the election. Foreign Minister Marc Garneau will retire and become ambassador to France, the sources said.

Trudeau's Liberals now have 159 seats in parliament but do not have the 170 needed to pass legislation without the support of an opposition party. Minority governments do not usually last a full four-year term in Canada.

Trudeau, 49, has said he will spend tens of billions of extra dollars over five years to help the economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. But political analysts say tackling climate change should be a clear priority for Trudeau, who will attend the COP26 U.N. climate summit starting in Scotland on Oct. 31.

His government has already imposed a carbon tax and says it will curb harmful emissions in the energy sector.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. and CTV said Guilbeault would replace Jonathan Wilkinson as environment minister, and Wilkinson would move to the natural resources portfolio.

Guilbeault worked for green groups for over 20 years before entering parliament in 2019. He became heritage minister, but was widely criticised for proposing broadcast legislation which critics said would harm freedom of speech.

Peter Donolo, a political strategist at Hill+Knowlton who was communications director for Liberal former Prime Minister Jean Chretien, said Trudeau's campaign had "a very ambitious agenda."

"I would simplify it ... on how to position Canada as a winner in the greener global economy over the longer term," he said.

Liberal officials say Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand could replace Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, who has been widely accused of a lackluster effort to address allegations of sexual assault in the military.

Trudeau's chief spokesperson, Cameron Ahmad, did not respond to a request for comment. Officials working for Garneau, Wilkinson, Anand and Guilbeault declined comment.

The new cabinet will be sworn in at 10:30 a.m. (1430 GMT). Trudeau says it will be composed of an equal number of men and women, a pattern he set when first taking office in 2015.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland will keep her job, Trudeau has said, and has begun to reduce COVID-19 support programs as the economy recovers and inflation  hovers at an 18-year high.

(Additional reporting by David Ljunggren, Editing by Peter Cooney and Timothy Heritage) ((steve.scherer@thomsonreuters.com; +1-647-480-7889;))


More From Global