OTTAWA: Canada’s Liberal prime minister Justin Trudeau is planning to reshuffle his cabinet this week, likely replacing ministers deemed to have struggled in their posts or who are not planning on running again in the next election, two government sources said.
Trudeau has periodically reshuffled his cabinet since taking power in 2015. The shakeup – which the Canadian Broadcasting Corp said was likely to take place on Wednesday – could be his last opportunity to change his team before the next election.
Three ministers cancelled appointments set for yesterday. It is common for cabinet members to clear their schedules and be called to Ottawa ahead of a reshuffle.
Mental health minister Carolyn Bennett, who has been a Liberal member of parliament since 1997 and a constant member of Trudeau’s government since 2015, said on Wednesday she would not be running for re-election.
Speaking to reporters in Toronto, the 72-year-old minister did not say whether she would stay in government in the meantime, adding only that she would do “whatever the prime minister wants me to do”.
One of the those who scrapped their events yesterday was public safety minister Marco Mendicino, who looks set to be moved, according to both sources.
Opposition parties have accused him of mishandling sensitive files such as alleged Chinese interference in Canadian elections, efforts to reform gun control laws, and the transfer of a notorious murderer to a less secure jail.
Trudeau was in Ottawa holding private meetings yesterday, his schedule shows. His office did not immediately comment when asked about a possible reshuffle.
The most influential ministers including deputy prime minister and finance minister Chrystia Freeland, foreign minister Melanie Joly, innovation minister Francois-Philippe Champagne and natural resources minister Jonathan Wilkinson are expected to keep their jobs.
Trudeau only has a minority government and relies on the support of the smaller, centre-left New Democrats, who have agreed to keep him in power until 2025. That deal, however, is not binding and an election could be triggered if the New Democrats withdraw their support on key legislation.
Trudeau won a parliamentary majority in 2015 but was reduced to leading a minority government after elections in 2019 and 2021.
Opinion polls show the Liberals lagging behind the opposition Conservatives, who have lost the last three federal elections to Trudeau.
A Mainstreet Research poll released on July 7 showed public support for the Conservatives stood at 37%, with the Liberals behind at 30% and the New Democrats at 17%. Such a result on election day could be enough to give the Conservatives a minority government.