Three of four B.C. cabinet ministers shuffled

Jonathan Wilkinson moved from DFO to environment

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a cabinet shuffle that sees four BC MPs remaining in cabinet. | CPAC screengrab

What happened: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced his picks for cabinet.

Why it matters: Four B.C. members of parliament will serve in Trudeau's 35-member cabinet.

B.C. federal cabinet minister Harjit Sajjan will remain as minister of national defence, while former fisheries and oceans minister Jonathan Wilkinson is getting a promotion.

In a cabinet shuffle announced Wednesday, November 20, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau moved Wilkinson into the ministry of Environment and Climate Change.

He is one of four B.C. MPs who will be in cabinet. Ten of Trudeau’s new cabinet ministers are from Quebec.

Given the importance of the Trudeau government’s climate change policies, and the fact Canada now has a whole new environmental agency – the Impact Assessment Agency – Wilkinson’s appointment as environment minister is something of a promotion.

Former environment minister Catherine McKenna is the new minister of infrastructure and communities.

The fisheries and oceans portfolio will go back to Atlantic Canada. Bernadette Jordan, of Nova Scotia, is Canada’s new minister of fisheries, oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard. Wilkinson was one of the few B.C. MPs to hold the fisheries portfolio – a post historically given to Atlantic Canadians.

Other British Columbians receiving cabinet appointments include Joyce Murray – the MP for Vancouver-Quadra – who has been appointed minister of digital government, and Delta MP Carla Qualtrough, who has been moved from the ministry of public services and procurement into the ministry of employment, workforce development and disability inclusion.

Trudeau’s Liberals were shut out of Alberta and Saskatchewan. Trudeau has appointed Winnipeg MP Jim Carr as “special representative” for the prairies.

An MP from Newfoundland, Seamus O'Regan, has been appointed to the ministry of natural resources.

Bill Morneau will remain on as minister of finance. Former Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland has been appointed deputy prime minister and minister of intergovernmental affairs.

nbennett@biv.com