Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has left his special representative for the Prairies out of cabinet, which seems to indicate a departure from the attempt to defuse tensions in the West.
Manitoba Liberal Jim Carr was appointed to office after the 2019 federal elections, where the Grits were excluded from Alberta and Saskatchewan, and even lost Regina’s Cabinet Minister Ralph Goodale.
Carr, who was diagnosed with blood cancer at the time, was appointed Trudeau’s special representative for the region when the prime minister had in mind overcoming divisions.
Liberals have lost representation on the prairies since they formed the government in 2015, but Trudeau may be feeling more optimistic after the Sept. 20 election, in which liberal Randy Boissonnault defeated conservative James Cumming at the Edmonton Center.
Jim Carr, Winnipeg MP and Liberal Minister, Diagnosed with Cancer
Boissonnault was chosen to become tourism minister, while Manitoba MP and Northern Affairs Minister Dan Vandal take responsibility for economic development on the grasslands.
Another move that may draw attention in the West is the appointment of Quebec environmentalist Steven Guilbeault to lead Environment and Climate Change.
Guilbeault was an anti-pipeline activist who founded an environmental advocacy group in the province and also worked for Greenpeace before running for the Liberals.
His name was mentioned several times in Alberta’s recently released report of a public inquiry into so-called “anti-Alberta energy campaigns,” which according to Prime Minister Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party government attempted to damage the province’s prosperity.
Guilbeault takes over as Minister of the Environment at a time when many oil and gas industry supporters want to see more enthusiasm in Ottawa, not less, and are concerned about what a transition from the consumption of fossil fuels.
Upon assuming his new position, Guilbeault replaces Jonathan Wilkinson, a North Vancouver MP who hails from Saskatchewan and at one point worked for an NDP government in the province.
Wilkinson takes over natural resources from Seamus O’Regan, who, like Wilkinson, was appointed to the position in 2019 and touted that he too was from an oil and gas producing province, given the industry in Newfoundland.
Trudeau appoints Steven Guilbeault as Canada’s new Minister of the Environment
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