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Justin Trudeau will shuffle federal cabinet on Tuesday
Jan. 12, 2021

Justin Trudeau is kicking off the new year with a cabinet shuffle on Tuesday morning.

While details of the job changes were unconfirmed late Monday evening, government sources say the shuffle is a small one, prompted by one cabinet member’s decision to step down.

Navdeep Bains, the minister of innovation, science and industry, told Trudeau that he does not intend to run in the next federal election, the Star confirmed. Foreign Affairs Minister Fran├žois-Philippe Champagne is expected to replace Bains, and Transport Minister Marc Garneau would take over from Champagne at Global Affairs. Garneau will be replaced in Transport by Toronto-area MP Omar Alghabra.

The swearing-in ceremony at 9 a.m. will be entirely virtual, in deference to pandemic precautions.

Ministers are getting their new jobs in advance of a big cabinet retreat that starts on Tuesday and continues over three days throughout the next couple of weeks.

It isn’t unusual for Trudeau to shuffle his cabinet in January. Two years ago, it was a new year’s shuffle that set in motion the controversy over the job change for former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and what became known as the SNC-Lavalin saga.

Four years ago, Trudeau did a major reset of his government to respond to the election of Donald Trump in the U.S.

Now, with Trump on his way out and Joe Biden on his way in, the prime minister is doing another adjustment to his ministerial lineup -- though this one is reportedly not a response to events south of the border.

The last time Trudeau changed his cabinet was in the summer, in response to the departure of Bill Morneau as finance minister. Other, major changes had been expected around that time, but the prime minister chose instead to keep things minimal.

Tuesday’s shuffle is also reportedly minimal, suggesting that Trudeau is content with the ministerial lineup that will carry the Liberals into an election if it comes this year.