OTTAWA – While the change of key ministers and the removal of others dominated cabinet talk on Tuesday, there were also questions about MPs believed to be cabinet shoemakers nowhere to be seen.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s front bench shakeup saw the creation of a slightly enlarged cabinet, with seven ministers remaining in their previous posts, nine newcomers and three members showed the door.
As for those who were left without a seat at the table, Quebec MP Greg Fergus is one of the names topping that list.
Fergus is scheduled to begin his third term as a Hull-Aylmer representative, most recently serving as parliamentary secretary to the prime minister, chairman of the Treasury Board and minister of digital government, among other positions.
“There is a guy like Greg who has done everything right within his party, serving the country, and they overlook him,” said NDP MP Matthew Green, a member of the Parliamentary Black Caucus with Fergus.
“I just do not get it. It’s really inconceivable. “
Fergus, who declined to comment on this story, has done much more than participate in an endless list of parliamentary functions, committees and associations: he also stood by the prime minister’s side during the 2019 election campaign after old photos of Trudeau surfaced. in black face.
And even as Trudeau’s past actions loomed over his commitment to combat anti-black racism the following summer, Fergus knelt next to the prime minister during a Black Lives Matter protest on Parliament Hill.
Fergus is one of several MPs from across the National Capital Region who were left without cabinet jobs on Tuesday.
Gatineau MP Steven MacKinnon, also a former Liberal Party National Director, was another contender who missed a spot. In Ottawa, former Ontario ministers Marie-France Lalonde and Yasir Naqvi, who fit Trudeau’s vision of a diverse cabinet, also failed to rise to the next level.
The region could have done it with one more minister, said a government source who spoke on the condition that they were not named, given that Catherine McKenna’s departure left Mona Fortier of Ottawa-Vanier alone as the area’s representative.
Fergus and others could have filled that gap, the source said, but Trudeau’s commitment to gender parity made it difficult.
Green of the NDP, meanwhile, says the Liberal government will have to put behind “this notion that they can only have a handful of blacks in the cabinet.”
Ahmed Hussen returned to the cabinet on Tuesday, while Marci Ien of the Toronto Center became the first black woman on the front bench in nearly two decades.
But Bardish Chagger’s removal from the cabinet left a potential opportunity for other Southwestern Ontario selections, such as London West’s Arielle Kayabaga, the source said.
And while Atlantic Canada was well represented among the 38 faces sent to the cabinet this week, there are still those who were ignored, said Lori Turnbull, director of the Dalhousie University school of public administration.
Halifax MP Andy Fillmore was one such option, Turnbull said, although one of the main contenders was Lena Metlege Diab of Halifax West, a former Nova Scotia minister who has long speculated to fill the void left by former Fisheries Minister Bernadette. Jordan.
Jordan’s Nova Scotia seat on the front bench was replaced by Sean Fraser of Central Nova, a longtime MP who was turned over to the immigration file on Tuesday.
“Each prime minister will have their own math … on how they are going to put the pieces together and who they want to bring in,” Turnbull said.
“And one thing is that (Diab) represents Halifax West, which is a very safe liberal drive. So it’s possible that if (Trudeau) is … trying to solidify a seat, he doesn’t need to solidify that with a cabinet post. “
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