Trudeau overhauls cabinet as poll numbers sag


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Trudeau overhauls cabinet as poll numbers sag

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives ahead of a cabinet shuffle at Rideau Hall, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, July 26, 2023. REUTERS/Blair Gable


Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shuffles his cabinet to address economic issues hurting his popularity with voters

OTTAWA, Canada – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shuffled much of his cabinet on Wednesday, July 26, adding focus on economic issues like a housing shortage and the rising cost of living that have hurt his standing with voters.

Trudeau, whose left-leaning Liberals have been in power since November 2015, kept heavy hitters such as Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, Innovation Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, and Foreign Minister Melanie Joly in their cabinet portfolios.

Trudeau changed or tweaked the job descriptions of about three-quarters of the positions compared with his previous cabinet, with former immigration minister Sean Fraser taking over a newly formed Housing, Infrastructure and Communities ministry.

Dominic LeBlanc becomes public safety minister, taking over for Marco Mendicino, and Arif Virani moves from the back benches to become justice minister, taking over for David Lametti. Bill Blair takes over the Defense Ministry from Anita Anand.

“This is not tinkering, it is a major reset,” said Frank Graves, president of polling company Ekos. “The shuffle does send a clear message that the government is aware that their current standing with the electorate is not healthy.”

Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre has capitalized on a housing shortage and spiking inflation, and an Abacus Data poll out on Wednesday shows his party opening up a 10-percentage-point lead on the Liberals with 38% to 28% in public support.

“We are ready to keep delivering on the things that matter most to you – making life more affordable, growing the economy, and creating good jobs for the middle class,” Trudeau said in a statement.

The timing of the next election is unclear, since Trudeau commands only a parliamentary minority and relies on support from the leftist New Democrats to govern. That party has agreed to keep him in power until 2025, but the deal is not binding. –

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