Trudeau's Team: Meet the Top Contenders for Canadian Cabinet

  • Brison, Goodale and Morneau among contenders for finance post
  • PM-elect, ministers must craft stimulus plan to jolt economy

In selecting Canada’s next finance minister, Prime Minister-elect Justin Trudeau can pick between an old hand, a Toronto business executive and the head of his economic advisory group whose stimulus advice helped carry the Liberal Party to power in Monday’s election.

Trudeau, 43, may choose to emphasize stability by naming Ralph Goodale, who was finance minister the last time the Liberals were in power a decade ago. Goodale, 66, was first elected in his 20s when Pierre Trudeau, Justin’s father, was prime minister. Goodale has also served as minister of natural resources and public works. Trudeau said Tuesday he plans to name his Cabinet on Nov. 4.

Bill Morneau would have closer contacts with the financial hub of Toronto, having run for office after leaving a job as executive chairman of human-resources consulting firm Morneau Shepell Inc. and chairman of the C.D. Howe research institute.

Scott Brison, a veteran lawmaker from Nova Scotia who started out as a Progressive Conservative, enjoys perhaps the closest direct relationship with Trudeau, serving as co-chair of the leader’s economic advisory panel. All those candidates won their districts according to preliminary results from Canada’s election agency.

The new minister will help Trudeau craft a budget to fulfill a pledge for a middle-class tax cut funded by boosting taxes on the highest earners, a key plank of the plan that unseated Conservative Leader Stephen Harper’s government in Monday’s election. The Liberals also plan to run deficits to revive an economy crippled by low oil prices, to set a price on carbon emissions and to boost infrastructure spending.

Investors will breathe easier after voters gave the Liberals a majority of seats in the House of Commons, according to Hamish Telford, head of the political science department at the University of the Fraser Valley.

“Companies hate uncertainty,” Telford said by phone. “At least they’ll be relieved that it’s a majority which means more stability.”

Progressives

Liberal cabinets have often been a mix of “big spend” progressives and more right-leaning candidates, said Jonathan Rose, who teaches political studies at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. “People in the business community may have some questions about his bona fides,” he said of Trudeau’s ability to deliver on his campaign promises.

Other cabinet posts focused on managing Canada’s C$1.8 trillion ($1.4 trillion) economy include the ministers of industry, trade and natural resources. The new defense and public works ministers also must decide what type of fighter jets to buy after Trudeau said he would reject Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35.

The new cabinet will need to decide whether to ratify a trade pact that Harper’s government negotiated this month, gaining access to the dozen nations in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, while giving up some protection for Canada’s dairy and automotive industries. Trudeau has said he favors trade agreements, but needs to see the full details of the TPP deal.

Trudeau has signaled confidence in former journalist Chrystia Freeland’s ability to manage an economic file, naming her co-chair of his economic panel along with Brison, and as party spokeswoman on trade in the last parliament. Freeland was re-elected in her Toronto district.

Based on considerations including region of representation, gender, diversity balance and language, here are some other possible cabinet contenders:

  • Marc Garneau is a former astronaut from Montreal, where the Liberals draw much of their support in Quebec. He served as the party’s spokesman on foreign affairs in the last parliament and in the past as Liberal spokesman on the industry and natural resource portfolios.
  • Dominic LeBlanc is a former head of the Liberal caucus in the Atlantic provinces and a former house leader who controlled the party’s day-to-day legislative moves.
  • The other members of Trudeau’s economic advisory panel include Goodale, former Royal Bank of Canada economist and minister John McCallum and Judy Sgro, spokeswoman on the industry file and a former immigration minister.
  • Navdeep Bains has been a key organizer for the Liberals in the immigrant community around Toronto, and has been the party’s critic for trade and natural resources.
  • The Liberals have several people with experience that would be relevant for the portfolios of public safety, justice and defense. Bill Blair is a former Toronto police chief, Andrew Leslie is a former army Lieutenant General who led international forces in Afghanistan, and Lawrence MacAulay of Prince Edward Island is a former two-term Solicitor General under former Prime Minister Jean Chretien.
  • Those with a strong regional profile include Jody-Wilson Raybould, a prominent leader from Canada’s aboriginal community based in Vancouver. Hunter Tootoo is a former lawmaker from Nunavut, one of Canada’s three northern territories, and Jim Carr is a prominent Manitoba business leader. Former journalist Seamus O’Regan from Newfoundland and former Montreal mayoral contender Melanie Joly are also star candidates brought in after Trudeau became party leader.
  • Trudeau says half of his cabinet ministers will be women. Prominent female Liberal lawmakers include Judy Foote, a former Newfoundland cabinet minister; Joyce Murray, British Columbia’s former environment minister; Carolyn Bennett, a Toronto doctor and veteran Liberal lawmaker and Ottawa lawyer Catherine McKenna.

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