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New Liberal cabinet being unveiled today, big changes coming

OTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is unveiling the roster of ministers he’s selected to comprise cabinet in his minority government, and already it’s shaping up to be a considerable reconfiguration.

The full lineup of the 29th federal ministry will be announced at a Rideau Hall swearing-in ceremony at 1:30 p.m. EDT. The prime minister is scheduled to hold a media availability following the ceremony.

  • LIVE BLOG: Scroll down to follow along with our reporters covering today’s cabinet shakeup

As CTV News reported Tuesday, several key ministers are on the move, including Catherine McKenna, Chrystia Freeland, Jonathan Wilkinson and Francois-Philippe Champagne.

Freeland will be shuffled out of her foreign affairs portfolio and into what’s expected to be a sizeable domestic role, possibly at intergovernmental affairs and as deputy prime minister. She is set to maintain the Canada-U.S. file.

Champagne, current Infrastructure and Communities Minister, is in line to replace her in the high-profile international portfolio.

McKenna is being shuffled out of her environment and climate change portfolio and will be replaced by Wilkinson. McKenna will take on the role of infrastructure and communities.

In an emotional video posted on social media Wednesday morning, McKenna said “politics is hard sometimes,” and spoke about the support of her kids and the importance of tackling climate change to ensure their futures.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau, Justice Minister David Lametti and Transport Minister Marc Garneau will keep their files in Wednesday’s ministerial musical chairs, sources have told CTV News.

While the new cabinet may not include many new faces, the portfolios left by defeated ministers Ralph Goodale and Amarjeet Sohi will have to be filled, and with both Jim Carr and Dominic LeBlanc dealing with their respective cancer diagnosis, it’s yet to be seen what roles they will play going forward.  

Sources have told CTV News that Jean-Yves Duclos will take over as president of the Treasury Board, Carla Qualtrough will be moving out of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility to an unspecified cabinet role, and Ahmed Hussen may be getting a new assignment.

Sources have also said that Pablo Rodriguez will be moved from the Canadian heritage ministry to become the government house leader, while rookie MP Steven Guilbeault will take over the heritage portfolio.

A source with direct knowledge also told CTV News that in addition to the government House leader, which is a cabinet post, the other names that will make up the House leadership team will also be unveiled tomorrow. This is likely to include who the deputy House leader, chief government whip and deputy whip will be. In a minority parliament these roles will have an increased importance.

Speculation has swirled in Ottawa since the election resulted in the Liberals being knocked down to minority government status. With the 43rd Parliament kicking off on Dec. 5 the new ministers have two weeks to get briefed on their files and departmental responsibilities.

It’s expected that the cabinet will expand, but by how much remains to be seen. One reason to expand the 35-person roster would be to focus more on regional representation and economic development.

Ministers who are staying in their portfolios will not need to be sworn-in again, but first-time appointees and those changing portfolios will have oaths to read during the ceremony.

Unlike in 2015, when the first slate of gender-balanced Liberal cabinet ministers strode up the walkway at Rideau Hall, the public has not been invited to attend today’s swearing-in.

With files from CTV News’ Senior Political Correspondent Glen McGregor, Ottawa Bureau Chief Joyce Napier, host of CTV’s Power Play Don Martin

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