Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has shuffled his cabinet, moving ministers around in three prominent files that will play key roles in addressing tensions with China, Huawei and the airline industry.
Navdeep Bains, who has served as MP for Mississauga-Malton since 2008 and as innovation minister for the last five years, said in a video posted on Twitter on Tuesday morning that he plans to spend more time with his family and has decided not to run in the next election.
“As many of you know, family is the most important thing in my life. They have sacrificed so much over the last seventeen years and this last year has been hard on families,” he said, adding his young daughters have “needed me more than ever” over the past year.
“It’s time for me to put my family first, and I couldn’t be happier about it.”
Bains will continue to serve as MP for his riding until the next election.
READ MORE: Trudeau to shuffle cabinet on Tuesday
The decision not to run again prompted Trudeau to shuffle Bains out of the innovation portfolio, replacing him with Francois-Philippe Champagne, who takes over the quickly evolving file responsible for reviewing foreign investments such as Huawei and predatory takeover attempts amid the pandemic.
Champagne, who most recently served as foreign affairs minister, will be replaced by former astronaut and transport minister Marc Garneau.
Garneau’s new role will see him take over responsibility for handling Canada’s tense relations with China, and that will include working with the incoming Biden administration in the U.S. on key files, including the push to secure the release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, arbitrarily detained by China for more than two years.
Rookie cabinet minister Omar Alghabra will take over the transport post.
Alghabra was previously the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of International Trade Diversification and will now be in charge of managing the transport file at a time when authorities are working to return the Boeing 737 Max jets to service after they were grounded following two deadly crashes.
He will also be dealing directly with the domestic airline industry as it continues to push for government aid amid the coronavirus pandemic, and as Canadians continue to demand refunds on cancelled flights.
As well, Jim Carr is returning to cabinet in his previous post as special representative for the Prairies.
Carr had stepped back earlier in the year to receive stem cell treatments following a cancer diagnosis.
The Winnipeg MP was one of only a handful of Liberals re-elected in the Prairies during the last campaign.
Tuesday’s shuffle was the first held virtually, with the four ministers as well as Trudeau, Governor General Julie Payette and Clerk of the Privy Council Ian Shughart taking part via Zoom.
The mini-shuffle in August that saw Chrystia Freeland named finance minister was held at Rideau Hall as per usual, though featured attendees in face masks along with physical distancing and elbow bumps rather than congratulatory handshakes.
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