Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called ministers back to Ottawa for meetings on Monday and Tuesday ahead of an impending cabinet shuffle that is expected to take place as early as Wednesday, sources tell CBC News.
Such meetings typically happen before a cabinet shuffle for the prime minister to present ministers with their new portfolios.
The prime minister’s public itinerary shows he will be in “private meetings” on Monday.
Dominic LeBlanc, minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities and Ginette Petitpas Taylor – who is the Minister of Official Languages and the minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency – are among those who have been asked to return to Ottawa, sources with knowledge of the decision say.
CBC is not naming the sources because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
Several ministerial announcements that had been scheduled for early this week have also been abruptly cancelled. Those include events on Monday with Transport Minister Omar Alghabra in Vancouver and Housing Minister Ahmed Hussen in St. John’s.
It’s unclear if those ministers will be on the move. Cancelled ministerial events are often a sign that a cabinet shuffle is pending.
Last month, several Liberal sources told Radio-Canada they believe Marco Mendicino is at risk of being removed as minister of public safety.
Mendicino has been under intense pressure due to the controversy surrounding the transfer of Paul Bernardo to a medium-security prison, along with his management of the government’s gun control legislation and the foreign interference file.
Asked last week in Kingston, Ont., whether he had confidence in his public safety minister, Trudeau did not directly answer.
“I have an amazing team in Ottawa and an amazing group of MPs right across the country who are committed to serving their country every single day, and anyone in my cabinet by definition has my confidence,” he said.
Shuffle expected to be Trudeau’s largest since 2021
The shuffle is expected to be the biggest change to Trudeau’s cabinet since October 2021, one month after the Liberals were elected to a second minority mandate.
It comes ahead of a scheduled cabinet retreat next month in P.E.I., giving new ministers a few weeks to familiarize themselves with their portfolios.
The shuffle will also put the prime minister’s team in place for the next federal election.
Trudeau undertook a similar retooling of his cabinet in July 2018, ahead of the run-up to the 2019 federal election campaign. That shuffle saw five ministers added to cabinet and three new portfolios created for seniors, intergovernmental affairs and border security.