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Jane Philpott takes over Treasury Board, Jody Wilson-Raybould to oversee veterans in cabinet shuffle

Category: Political News,Politics

Jane Philpott is the new President of the Treasury Board, replacing Scott Brison after his surprise resignation last week.

Long-time Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould is also getting a new job as Minister of Veterans Affairs, formerly held by Seamus O’Regan, who becomes Minister of Indigenous Services.

READ MORE: Rumour mill ramps up ahead of federal cabinet shuffle

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shuffled his cabinet Monday morning in a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa. The move shakes up the front benches of the government and keeps a focus on making female and younger male MPs front and centre as politicians head into a crucial election year.

But it also reflects concerns about whether the government is doing enough to attract and retain rural voters as well as those in Atlantic Canada, which the Liberals swept in 2015 and will be under pressure to keep in the fall election.

WATCH BELOW: Jody Wilson-Raybould takes over Veterans Affairs in cabinet shuffle

Philpott has been vice chair of the cabinet Treasury Board committee, a secret group that acts essentially as the government’s management board. That means she comes into the new position having already worked on government spending oversight and financial management, some of the key roles of the president of the Treasury Board.

She had previously served as Indigenous Services minister since August 2017 and was health minister from November 2015 until then.

Philpott also becomes Minister for Digital Governance as was Brison before her.

WATCH BELOW: Treasury Board President Scott Brison announces resignation

The decision to move O’Regan out of the veterans portfolio comes after he was criticized for his handling of several matters there.

In December 2018, he came under fire for comparing the difficulties he said he faced while transitioning from his career in journalism to one in politics to the challenges faced by veterans leaving the military.

He was also blasted in September 2018 for comparing leaving $372 million allocated for the department unspent to getting a credit for prepaid gas.

READ MORE: Veterans minister likens leaving $372M unspent to getting credit back for prepaid gas

O’Regan also took the brunt of the criticism levelled at the government for the decision by Veterans Affairs Canada to cover the cost of mental health treatments being received by convicted murderer Christopher Garnier, who never served in the military but is the son of a veteran who did.

Wilson-Raybould, on the other hand, has overseen the legal handling of several major files since she was first named Minister of Justice in November 2015.

Those include assisted dying, legalizing marijuana, and leading a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

She is a high-profile cabinet member who has generally avoided coming under the kind of criticism that has plagued some other members.

She also would have been the minister responsible for making a final decision on how to proceed with the possible extradition of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou.

READ MORE: Trudeau’s justice minister will make final call on Meng Wanzhou extradition — if court approves it

That responsibility will now fall to Montreal-area David Lametti, former parliamentary secretary for innovation.

Lametti will also be joined by Nova Scotia MP Bernadette Jordan as one of two fresh faces around the cabinet table.

Jordan, previously parliamentary secretary to Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould, represents the rural riding of South Shore-St. Margaret’s.

Jordan becomes Minister of Rural Economic Development, a new portfolio being set up in a cabinet made up heavily of MPs representing more urban areas.

Her appointment keeps the gender balance in cabinet at 18 women and 18 men.

More to come …

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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