Justin Trudeau will face the loss of three female cabinet ministers as the prime minister gives his senior leadership team hopes for a quick return to governance.
All three ministers failed to win their seats in Monday night’s election, and Infrastructure Minister Katherine McKenna did not run in the campaign. Overall, the loss of four women ministers is likely to lead to a significant change in the cabinet. Mr Trudeau has made gender equality a cabinet priority since his first victory in 2015.
Two senior government officials said Mr Trudeau would outline his government’s next steps when the election count of seats in Canada is finalized, which could take place by Thursday. Mr Trudeau has not held a news conference since Monday’s election.
Officials suggested that parliament would resume fairly quickly and that the government’s immediate focus would be on the issues raised in the campaign, including climate change, child care, housing and indigenous reconciliation.
The Granthshala is not disclosing the names of the sources because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the internal deliberations.
The government’s priorities can be overshadowed by the fourth wave of COVID-19 that is taking a toll on Alberta’s health care system and has prompted the introduction of vaccine certificates across much of Canada.
In the midst of the pandemic and in his third mandate as prime minister, Mr Trudeau should not expect a grace period from voters as he lays the groundwork for his new government, said Michele Cadario, Vanguard Strategy CEO and former deputy Chief of Staff to Prime Minister Paul Martin.
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Ms Cadario said she hoped the government would move faster than usual to unveil the cabinet and deliver a speech from the throne. After the 2015 and ’19 elections, the Liberals waited a little more than six weeks before recalling parliament.
Given the pandemic, Ms Cadario said, “there is more hope that one is not looking away from the issues that really need to be dealt with and that there is no pause.”
The defeats of Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries in Nova Scotia and Maryam Monsef, Minister of Gender Equality in Ontario and Senior Minister Deb Schulte, left Mr Trudeau with several openings in his cabinet. The new team will also need to reflect an increase in seats for the Liberals in BC and the party’s success in Alberta after the 2019 election closes.
Mr Trudeau’s final cabinet reshuffle took place with 37 ministers, including the prime minister, 19 men and 18 women.
The Liberals won two seats in Alberta. Former Calgary City Councilor Jorge Chahal won in Calgary Skyview and Randy Boissonault won at Edmonton Center. Mr Boisnault was elected in 2015 but lost in 2019.
In an interview on Wednesday, Ms McKenna said she expected the next cabinet to be diverse and gender balanced.
“I think gender balance is really important, not because, you know, you have to go find some women; we have really great women. And you make better decisions when you have a country like yours.” Be a visible cabinet,” she said.
The outgoing minister said the re-elected government would have to weigh the willingness to get back to work with the need to absorb the election results.
“Obviously you have to rule, but I think you need to take some time to reflect,” she said. “We did not get majority. so it is [about] How are you going to work with the other parties. … What are some things you can give to a minority?”
The country’s premiers are also looking to regroup after an election in which Quebec Premier François Legault advocated a Conservative government. The premiers will meet by phone on Thursday and are expected to coordinate their funding requests for the re-elected liberals. Premiers have long called for major increases in health care funding, with no stipulations on how the money is spent – which Mr Trudeau has opposed.
Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-François Blanchett said on Wednesday that parliament should be recalled as soon as possible. He said he would call on the provincial premier to increase federal health transfers to $28 billion. Mr Blanchett said he spoke with Mr Legault and Ontario Premier Doug Ford about federal health spending.
“We are urging the prime minister to act quickly to convene a summit on federal transfer to the provinces for health care,” Mr Blanchett said. “It should start with an immediate increase of $28 billion.”
Mr Blanchett said he hoped the minority parliament would function and suggested there was no reason it could not last a full four years.
While Mr Trudeau can expect to continue fighting with the premier over health spending, support for his $10-a-day national child care program appears to be growing. At a news conference in Toronto on Wednesday, Mr Ford said he was ready to reach an agreement with Ottawa on child care. Eight premiers have already signed an agreement with the federal government.
With a report by Jeff Gray in Toronto
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