Trudeau shuffles Cabinet, names astronaut foreign minister

Trudeau shuffles Cabinet, names astronaut foreign minister

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Print this page Email A Friend!

TORONTO (AP) — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shuffled his Cabinet on Tuesday and made the first Canadian to soar into space his foreign minister.

Former astronaut Marc Garneau moves from the role as transport minister while François-Philippe Champagne, who became foreign minister in November 2019, moves to minister of innovation, science and industry. Omar Alghabra becomes transport minister.

“Be it on earth or in space, Marc has always represented Canada well,” Trudeau said.

Navdeep Bains, who was minister of innovation, science and industry, has decided not to run in the next election. Trudeau has said important Cabinet positions should be held by ministers who intend to be around for the long haul and who can sell the Government's agenda during the next election campaign.

Trudeau's Liberal Party won re-election in 2019 but does not have a majority of seats in Parliament and must rely on at least one Opposition party to remain in power — so it needs to remain positioned for a potential quick election. Trudeau said he would prefer not to have an election until after most Canadians are vaccinated, making a spring election unlikely.

The 71-year-old Garneau will also head the Cabinet Committee on Canada-United States Relations. An electrical engineer and former Royal Canadian Navy officer, he became the first Canadian in space when he flew aboard the US space shuttle in 1984.

Garneau lived in the US for nine years and two of his children were born there.

“No bilateral relation is more important than that of Canada with the United States, and it will continue to be that way. We are inextricably linked — whether it be trade, security or other matters,” Garneau said.

“We are looking forward to working with the new Administration under President Joe Biden.”

He had been transport minister since 2015.

Trudeau, meanwhile, announced that non-essential travel across the US-Canada land border will remain banned until at least February 21. Canada and the US agreed to the ban in March and have renewed it monthly ever since.

Trudeau also said Canada has an agreement with Pfizer to buy an additional 20 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine. Agreements with Moderna and Pfizer alone mean Canada will now have 80 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines arriving this year, Trudeau said.

“We are on track to have every Canadian who wants a vaccine receive one by September,” Trudeau said.

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at




1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed:

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email:

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

comments powered by Disqus



Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon