Justin Trudeau names women to top posts in Canada cabinet reshuffle

Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, has carried out a major cabinet shuffle, naming women to the foreign affairs and defense posts in his gender-balanced cabinet.

Trudeau named Mélanie Joly as foreign minister and Anita Anand as defence minister. Chrystia Freeland, widely considered a favorite to replace Trudeau at some point, retains her positions as deputy prime minister and finance minister.

Women make up half of the cabinet, as they have done since Trudeau’s Liberal government was first elected in 2015.

Joly, 42, previously served as minister of economic development and before that as heritage minister.

Anand, 54, is just the second woman to serve as Canada’s defense minister. She previously served as procurement minister and led the country’s efforts to purchase vaccines in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Harjit Sajjan, heavily criticized for his handling of sexual misconduct allegations in Canada’s military, left the defense portfolio to take up a new post in international development.

Trudeau put the longtime green activist Steven Guilbeault into the environment portfolio.

Guilbeault, who La Presse newspaper once dubbed Guilbeault “the green Jesus of Montreal,” worked for environmentalist groups for more than 20 years, including Greenpeace. In 2001 he climbed the CN Tower in Toronto to protest Canada’s environmental record. He entered parliament in 2019.

Trudeau has said addressing climate change is a priority. His government has imposed a carbon tax and has said it will curb harmful emissions in the energy sector.

Trudeau also created a new role, a minister of mental health and addictions. Carolyn Bennett has been tapped to take on the role.

Trudeau, who took power in 2015, won a third term last month but had to act after he lost three ministers and another quit before the election. Fewer than 10 of the 38 ministers kept their existing positions.

His Liberals hold 159 seats in parliament but do not have the 170 needed to pass legislation without the support of an opposition party. Minority governments do not usually last a full four-year term in Canada.

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