Cabinet shuffle: meet the new ministers around PM Trudeau's table

The Canadian Press
Published on January 10, 2017

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau brought three not-so-familiar faces into his federal cabinet Tuesday and placed them in key roles. Here's a closer look:

Francois-Philippe Champagne — International Trade

The Liberal MP representing the Quebec riding of Saint-Maurice-Champlain had made no secret of his desire to be in cabinet one day.

"It's for Mr. Trudeau to decide, but I know the people on his economic team," Champagne said soon after his election victory in 2015.

That did not happen right away, but Champagne built up a profile as the parliamentary secretary to Finance Minister Bill Morneau.

He has now been granted a much bigger role, taking over international trade from Chrystia Freeland — a key economic portfolio at a time when the Canadian government is grappling with how to handle the protectionist promises of U.S. president-elect Donald Trump.

Freeland is moving to replace Stephane Dion as foreign affairs minister.

Champagne, who has a background as a lawyer, businessman and international trade specialist, has held senior positions at several companies, including AMEC, a global engineering and project management firm.

The World Economic Forum named him a "Young Global Leader" in 2009.

Champagne, who had the support of former prime minister Jean Chretien, who sometimes campaigned at his side, is said by those who know him to regularly discuss his dream of one day becoming prime minister.

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Ahmed Hussen — Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Ahmed Hussen came to Canada as a refugee from Mogadishu, Somalia, when he was a teenager.

A lawyer and community activist, Hussen became the first Somali-Canadian to be elected to the House of Commons in 2015.

He won his seat in the Toronto riding of York South-Weston by defeating NDP rival Mike Sullivan.

Hussen served as national president of the Canadian Somali Congress, where he worked on integration and boosting the civic engagement of that community.

While studying at York University in the 1990s, Hussen co-founded the Regent Park Community Council and served as its president. The group advocated for the residents of the oft-troubled Toronto neighbourhood he lived in as it went through a $500-million revitalization project.

He worked as a special assistant for intergovernmental affairs to then-Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty and sat on the board of directors of Journalists for Human Rights.

Hussen takes over the immigration file from John McCallum, who is being appointed Canada's ambassador to China.

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Karina Gould — Democratic Institutions

The Liberal MP for Burlington gets a promotion after serving as parliamentary secretary to International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau.

She worked as a trade and investment specialist with the Mexican Trade Commission before entering politics, but also has a background in international development.

She spent a year volunteering at an orphanage in Mexico, for example, and also organized a fundraising campaign for the victims of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti when she was an undergraduate student at McGill University.

She also worked as a consultant with the migration and development program at the Organization of American States in Washington, D.C., before heading to do a graduate degree in international relations at the University of Oxford.

She takes over the portfolio from Maryam Monsef, who has been widely criticized for how she handled the Liberal promise to change the way Canadians cast their ballots in time for the next federal election.

Monsef is moving to Status of Women to replace Patty Hajdu, who is taking over as labour minister.

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Joanna Smith, The Canadian Press