Reuters: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shuffled his cabinet on Wednesday ahead of a challenging 2019 election, stressing the need to diversify trade away from the United States while leaving key ministers in place.
Polls show the ruling Liberals are facing an increasing threat from the official opposition Conservatives and Trudeau made 11 changes to freshen up his front bench.
A Nanos Research poll released on Tuesday put the Liberals at 37 percent and the Conservatives at 35 percent, indicating that if an election were held now, Trudeau would end up with a weakened minority government. He would have to rely on opposition parties to govern, undermining his political position.
In a significant move, trade minister Francois-Philippe Champagne was promoted to the infrastructure portfolio, where he will oversee plans to spend billions of dollars on major projects.
This should allow Champagne – one of the government’s dynamic performers – to spend more time in his home province of Quebec, where Liberals say they must gain seats to stand a chance of keeping their Parliamentary majority in October 2019.