The prime minister quietly shuffled his cabinet committee membership last month in the wake of August’s cabinet shuffle, adding in new ministers and moving up Labour Minister Patty Hajdu, Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr, and Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos into chair positions.
A Sept. 19 update of the cabinet committee list on the prime minister’s website shows Ms. Hajdu (Thunder Bay-Superior North, Ont.) has moved to become a member of the Agenda, Results, and Communications Committee, which is chaired by the prime minister and sets the government’s agenda and tracks progress on priorities. She replaces Judy Foote on the committee, the former public services and procurement minister who announced her resignation in the summer, prompting the cabinet shuffle.
Ms. Hajdu also became chair of the Open, Transparent Government and Parliament Committee, which was previously chaired by the new public services and procurement minister, Carla Qualtrough (Delta, B.C.).
Ms. Hajdu was promoted to be labour minister in January after what the National Post reported at the time was “what the [Prime Minister’s Office] believes has been a strong performance” starting out in cabinet in 2015 as minister for the status of women.
Her ascension to new cabinet committee roles “signals Minister Hajdu’s importance in the cabinet and speaking for a section of opinion that the government certainly values,” said Andrew Steele, vice-president of Strategy Corp and a former Ontario and federal Liberal adviser, in an interview. “It’s a symbol of Minister Hajdu having the ear not only of the prime minister but of her colleagues.”
Joining Ms. Hajdu on the Open, Transparent Government and Parliament Committee is Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould (Burlington, Ont.) as vice-chair. Both were previously members of the committee. Ms. Gould replaces Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc (Beauséjour, N.B.), who, along with Ms. Qualtrough is still a committee member. Seamus O’Regan (St. John’s South-Mount Pearl, N.L.), the new minister of veterans affairs, takes over Ms. Foote’s spot on the committee. They both hail from Newfoundland.
Mr. O’Regan was also added to the Canada-U.S. Relations Committee, which meant enlarging the 12-person committee to 13. He’s a rookie minister and close personal friend of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Papineau, Que.), but Susan Smith, a Liberal strategist and principal of Bluesky Strategy Group, pushed back on any idea Mr. O’Regan was appointed to his new positions based on anything other than his competency.
The prime minister thinks Mr. O’Regan is “a strong voice for the people of Newfoundland at the cabinet table,” she said.
When asked why she thought Mr. O’Regan was added to the Canada-U.S. Relations Committee, she said it was a reflection of him being associate minister of defence and the cross-border nature of the portfolio.
Scott Brison has been moved from interim chair to the new spot of vice-chair of the Defence Procurement Committee, with Mr. Carr (Winnipeg South Centre, Man.), who had been on the committee as a member, taking over as chair. Mr. Carr is an experienced politician, having been a Manitoba Liberal MLA before coming to federal politics. The committee is tasked with shepherding the acquisition of new defence equipment, such as the controversial purchase of replacement fighter jets. Mr. O’Regan, Ms. Qualtrough, and Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne (Saint Maurice-Champlain, Que.) were added. Each of their portfolios has a link to defence procurement.
The Committee on Growing the Middle Class, which the government says looks at ways to promote innovation, inclusive economic growth, employment, and social security, has a new chair in Mr. Duclos (Quebec, Que.). It’s a step up from his former role as vice-chair, which Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen (York South-Weston, Ont.) has taken over. Former chair Jane Philpott (Markham-Stouffville, Ont.), who was moved from health to Indigenous services minister, has been removed.
Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains (Mississauga-Malton, Ont.) is now vice-chair of the Treasury Board, taking the place of Environment Minister Catherine McKenna (Ottawa Centre, Ont.), who is now off the committee. Mr. Champagne was replaced by new Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor (Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe, N.B.).
Treasury Board is the government’s management board, and oversees spending, human resources issues, and is considered the employer for the public service. That might have been one of the reasons why Ms. McKenna was in the job, given her Ottawa riding filled with public servants.
Ms. Smith said Mr. Bains’ appointment to vice-chair could be a nod toward the government’s innovation agenda, but noted Ms. McKenna’s heavy travel schedule.
“She’s got a lot on her plate, I think, when it comes to [getting] the Paris [climate change] accord implemented,” she said, also pointing out there is a lot of spending going on in Mr. Bains’ department, Innovation, Science, and Economic Development. That could make him a natural for the financial oversight committee.
Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay (Cardigan, P.E.I.) was added to the Intelligence and Emergency Management Committee, from which Ms. Foote was removed.
The health minister, Ms. Petitpas Taylor, was added to the emergency management committee and to the Diversity and Inclusion Committee as a member, alongside Ms. Philpott, who handles Indigenous services, increasing the total membership by one. Their appointments are unsurprising, said Ms. Smith, considering the Trudeau government’s commitment to diversity issues.
Ms. Gould was added to Environment, Climate Change, and Energy.
Altogether, there are 11 cabinet committees. The committees are where the real work is done, as only about a third of the members of cabinet are a part of each committee. The committee membership is crafted with similar considerations to the cabinet as a whole—representative of geography, opinions, and experiences of the ministers, as well as their portfolios themselves. The prime minister must also consider ministers’ time commitments.
The names and mandates of the committees can indicate the government’s priorities. Last year Prime Minister Justin Trudeau renamed the Inclusive Growth, Opportunities and Innovation committee to Growing the Middle Class, and gave the Canada-U.S. Relations subcommittee and the Defence Procurement ad hoc committee full committee status.
The Hill Times
Cabinet Committee List as of Sept. 19
Cabinet Committee on Agenda, Results and Communications
- Sets the government’s forward agenda, tracks progress on priorities, and considers strategic communications.
Chair: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Members: Navdeep Bains, Scott Brison, Jean-Yves Duclos, Chrystia Freeland, Ralph Goodale, Patty Hajdu, Mélanie Joly, Dominic LeBlanc, Bill Morneau, Harjit Sajjan, Jody Wilson-Raybould
- Provides oversight of government financial management, spending and human resources issues.
- Is the employer of the public service.
- Establishes policies and common standards for administrative, personnel, financial and organizational practices across government.
- Fulfills the role of the Committee of Council in approving regulatory policies and regulations, and most orders-in-council. It is responsible for reporting to Parliament.
Chair: Scott Brison
Vice-Chair: Navdeep Bains
Members: Jean-Yves Duclos, Bill Morneau, Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Jane Philpott
Alternates: Kent Hehr, Dominic LeBlanc, Maryam Monsef, Seamus O’Regan, Amarjeet Sohi
Cabinet Committee on Open Transparent Government and Parliament
- Considers issues concerning the reform of democratic institutions and processes, improving government transparency and openness, and issues and strategies related to parliamentary affairs and the government’s legislative agenda.
Chair: Patty Hajdu
Vice-Chair: Karina Gould
Members: Marie-Claude Bibeau, Bardish Chagger, Marc Garneau, Kent Hehr, Mélanie Joly, Dominic LeBlanc, Lawrence MacAulay, Maryam Monsef, Seamus O’Regan, Carla Qualtrough, Jody Wilson-Raybould.
Cabinet Committee on Growing the Middle Class
- Responsible for initiatives that will strengthen and grow the middle class. Considers strategies designed to promote innovation, inclusive economic growth, opportunity, employment and social security, including sectoral strategies and initiatives.
Chair: Jean-Yves Duclos
Vice-Chair: Ahmed Hussen
Members: Navdeep Bains, Carolyn Bennett, Scott Brison, Jim Carr, Bardish Chagger, Patty Hajdu, Diane Lebouthillier, Maryam Monsef, Bill Morneau, Amarjeet Sohi
Cabinet Committee on Diversity and Inclusion
- Considers issues concerning the social fabric of Canada and the promotion of Canadian pluralism. Examines initiatives designed to strengthen the relationship with Indigenous Canadians, improve the economic performance of immigrants, and promote Canadian diversity, multiculturalism, and linguistic duality.
Chair: Amarjeet Sohi
Vice-Chair: Mélanie Joly
Members: Carolyn Bennett, Marie-Claude Bibeau, Bardish Chagger, Jean-Yves Duclos, Kent Hehr, Ahmed Hussen, Diane Lebouthillier, Maryam Monsef, Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Jane Philpott, Carla Qualtrough, Jody Wilson-Raybould
Cabinet Committee on Canada in the World and Public Security
- Considers issues concerning Canada’s engagement with and participation in the international community, the promotion of Canadian interests and values abroad, the management of bilateral and multilateral relations, and international assistance and trade. Responsible for issues related to domestic and global security.
Chair: Ralph Goodale
Vice-Chair: Catherine McKenna
Members: Marie-Claude Bibeau, François-Philippe Champagne, Kirsty Duncan, Chrystia Freeland, Marc Garneau, Ahmed Hussen, Diane Lebouthillier, Lawrence MacAulay, Harjit Sajjan
Cabinet Committee on Canada-United States Relations
- Considers issues concerning the fostering of strong relations between Canada and the United States and the advancement of mutual interests.
Chair: Marc Garneau
Vice-Chair: Ralph Goodale
Members: Jim Carr, Bardish Chagger, François-Philippe Champagne, Kirsty Duncan, Chrystia Freeland, Karina Gould, Ahmed Hussen, Lawrence MacAulay, Catherine McKenna, Seamus O’Regan, Harjit Sajjan
Cabinet Committee on Intelligence and Emergency Management
- Meets as required to consider intelligence reports and priorities and to coordinate and manage responses to public emergencies and national security incidents. Regularly reviews the state of Canadian readiness.
Chair: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Vice-Chair: Jody Wilson-Raybould
Members: Chrystia Freeland, Marc Garneau, Ralph Goodale, Karina Gould, Dominic LeBlanc, Lawrence MacAulay, Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Jane Philpott, Harjit Sajjan
Cabinet Committee on Environment, Climate Change and Energy
- Considers issues concerning sustainable development, the stewardship of Canada’s natural resources, environment, energy, water and Canada’s contribution to addressing climate change.
Chair: Mélanie Joly
Vice-Chair: Kirsty Duncan
Members: Navdeep Bains, Carolyn Bennett, Jim Carr, Karina Gould, Dominic LeBlanc, Catherine McKenna, Amarjeet Sohi
Cabinet Committee on Defence Procurement
- Considers and coordinates major acquisitions of defence equipment.
Chair: Jim Carr
Vice-Chair: Scott Brison
Members: Navdeep Bains, François-Philippe Champagne, Kirsty Duncan, Marc Garneau, Seamus O’Regan, Carla Qualtrough, Harjit Sajjan
Cabinet Committee on Litigation Management
- This committee supports the Minister of Justice by reviewing the government’s litigation strategy and considering the policy, financial and legal implications of litigation involving the Government of Canada.
Chair: Dominic LeBlanc
Vice-Chair: Patty Hajdu
Members: Carolyn Bennett, Catherine McKenna, Bill Morneau, Carla Qualtrough, Jody Wilson-Raybould.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
- Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Minister Ralph Goodale
- Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Lawrence MacAulay
- Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett
- Treasury Board President Scott Brison
- Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard Minister Dominic LeBlanc
- Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains
- Finance Minister Bill Morneau
- Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould
- Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland
- Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott
- Families, Children, and Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos
- Transport Minister Marc Garneau
- International Development and La Francophonie Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau
- Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr
- Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly
- National Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier
- Sport and Persons with Disabilities Minister Kent Hehr
- Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna
- National Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan
- Infrastructure and Communities Minister Amarjeet Sohi
- Status of Women Minister Maryam Monsef
- Public Service and Procurement Minister Carla Qualtrough
- Science Minister Kirsty Duncan
- Employment, Workforce Development and Labour Minister Patty Hajdu
- Small Business and Tourism Minister and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons Bardish Chagger
- International Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne
- Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould
- Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor
- Veterans Affairs Minister and Associate National Defence Minister Seamus O’Regan