TORONTO (AP) — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau overhauled his Cabinet on Tuesday and named women to the foreign affairs and defense posts in the gender-balanced group of the government’s top officials. He also said he intends to lead his party into the next election.
Trudeau named Mélanie Joly as foreign minister and Anita Anand as defense minister. Chrystia Freeland retained her positions as deputy prime minister and finance minister.
Women make up half of the Cabinet as they have since Trudeau’s Liberal government was first elected in 2015.
Trudeau gave an emphatic “Yes” when asked if he would lead his party into the next election. Trudeau has won three straight elections, but failed to win a majority of the seats in Parliament in the last two elections. His Liberal party has to rely on at least one party to pass legislation and to remain in power in a minority Parliament.
Joly, a 42-year-old from Montreal, previously served as minister of economic development and before that as heritage minister. Anand, a 54-year-old from Oakville, Ontario is just the second woman to serve as Canada’s defense minister. The 54-year-old from Ontario previously served as procurement minister and led the country’s efforts to purchase vaccines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Trudeau also created a new role, a minister of mental health and addictions. Carolyn Bennett has been tapped to take on the role.
Harjit Sajjan, heavily criticized for his handling of sexual misconduct allegations in Canada’s military, is leaving the defense portfolio to take up a new post in international development.
Steven Guilbeault, who once worked for Greenpeace, has been named environment minister, a move that could cause concern in the oil-rich province of Alberta.
Only 10 ministers in Trudeau’s last cabinet are staying put. The cabinet adds up to 39 ministers, including Trudeau.
Canadians gave Trudeau’s Liberal Party a victory in parliamentary elections last month, but his gamble to win a majority of seats failed and the result was remarkably similar to the election two years ago.