Chrystia Freeland becomes foreign minister as Trudeau shuffles cabinet

Chrystia Freeland was appointed minister of foreign affairs, replacing Stephane Dion. Photo from The Canadian Press
Chrystia Freeland was appointed minister of foreign affairs, replacing Stephane Dion. Photo from The Canadian Press

Chrystia Freeland will be appointed Canada’s new minister of foreign affairs in a sweeping Liberal cabinet shakeup to be announced later today, CBC News has learned.

Freeland, who leaves the international trade portfolio, will replace Stéphane Dion, who is leaving politics to become Canada’s ambassador to the European Union and Germany, sources tell CBC News.

Immigration Minister John McCallum is also leaving politics and will be named Canada’s ambassador to China.

The swearing-in ceremony for the new ministers will take place at Rideau Hall at 2 p.m. and will carry it live.

Other changes to be announced today, confirmed by CBC News:

– François-Philippe Champagne will become minister of international trade.

– Patty Hajdu will move from status of women to labour.

– Maryam Monsef will transfer from democratic institutions to status of women.

– Karina Gould will be named minister of democratic institutions.

– Ahmed Hussen become minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship.

Hussen, Canada’s first-ever MP of Somali descent, is a lawyer and community activist in the Toronto riding of York South-Weston.

Gould, 29, a former trade and development worker who represents the riding of Burlington, Ont., was promoted from her previous role as parliamentary secretary to the minister of International Development.

Champagne, a first-term MP for the Quebec riding of Saint-Maurice–Champlain, is a former businessman and lawyer. He was considered a strong performer as parliamentary secretary to Finance Minister Bill Morneau.

McCallum, Dion assume ambassador roles

McCallum, 65, served as defence minister under Jean Chrétien and presided over the veteran affairs file in Paul Martin’s cabinet.

Dion, 61, was environment minister under Martin and then succeeded him as party leader, a position he held until shortly after the party lost 18 seats in a 2008 federal election defeat. Dion represents the Quebec riding of Saint-Laurent.

Monsef, the Ontario MP for Peterborough-Kawartha, has taken criticism for her handling of the electoral reform file, and was forced to apologize last month for accusing MPs on the special committee studying the issue of shirking their duties.

Sources also told CBC News MaryAnn Mihychuk will be shuffled out of her office as minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour.

Trudeau’s cabinet was sworn in just over 14 months ago with an even number of men and women, but has already seen a few changes.

Last May, former fisheries minister Hunter Tootoo was dropped from cabinet for personal reasons and replaced by former government House leader Dominic LeBlanc. In a midsummer move, Small Business and Tourism Minister Bardish Chagger was handed LeBlanc’s House leader duties.

The inauguration next week of U.S. president-elect Donald Trump has put new focus on the government’s handling of the Canada-U.S. relationship. A shuffle allows Trudeau to move perceived strong ministers into roles that are critical to that relationship while addressing some of the weaker performers.