As the Liberal team recovers from a few bruises in parliament, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is preparing to reshuffle his cabinet over the summer, sources tell Radio-Canada.
Many changes are to be expected. Several liberal sources — who spoke to Radio-Canada on the condition that they not be named — said they believe Marco Mendicino is at risk of being fired as minister of public safety.
Asked about the possibility of a shuffle for Tuesday morning’s cabinet meeting, Trudeau had little to say.
“I am now going to a cabinet meeting. We have a lot of good work to do and I have nothing to announce today,” he said.
WATCH: Prime Minister Trudeau brushes off cabinet shuffle questions
But behind the scenes, sources say, advisers to the prime minister have been laying the groundwork for cabinet changes for weeks. Members of the prime minister’s team, including deputy chiefs of staff Marjorie Michel and Brian Clow, have questioned ministers to ask whether they plan to run in the next election.
It is the first step in a reorganization that should bring about changes at the top of various ministries.
The cabinet shuffle is expected sometime in the summer, possibly as early as July. The Prime Minister’s office is building the team that will be with him when the next federal election is held, sources say.
The shuffle is an attempt to give the government a facelift after a difficult few months. The timing would allow new ministers to familiarize themselves with their files before the next cabinet retreat, scheduled for late August.
Mendicino in danger
Mendicino has been under great pressure for weeks. His administration of Bill C-21 on gun control, communication problems related to Chinese interference in Canadian politics, and the controversy surrounding Paul Bernardo’s transfer to a medium-security prison have all significantly damaged his image.
Behind the scenes, all the liberals who spoke to Radio-Canada said they think their colleague will find it difficult to keep his job in public safety.
“Marco, I don’t think he will stay,” said an elected official in French.
“Mendicino is at the top of my list,” said a liberal strategist in French when asked who was most likely to be relegated.
Liberal sources suggest Mendicino could be given another cabinet portfolio to allow him to rebuild his image.
On Tuesday, Trudeau was asked if he still has confidence in his secretary of public safety.
“I have full confidence in all the members who are in my cabinet,” he said in French, without directly referring to Mendicino.
“Only four or five people (in the cabinet) are untouchable,” said a government political adviser.
The members of the Liberal caucus who spoke to Radio-Canada named several ministers who are not expected to be demoted or transferred to new portfolios: Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne, Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly and Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault.
Sources said Heritage Secretary Pablo Rodriguez could get a new portfolio.
There is speculation about Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland. Sources said some of her caucus colleagues have noticed a change in her attitude and a certain detachment since the last federal budget.
A Freeland spokesperson said she is not going anywhere.
“The deputy prime minister has already submitted her nomination papers and looks forward to running for office on her ride,” the spokesperson wrote in French.
Sources say the Trudeau government wants to refocus its priorities for the next session of parliament, with a greater focus on the cost of living and the housing crisis.
Trudeau sent signals in this direction at the annual conference of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities on May 26. He has announced that his next long-term infrastructure plan will be unveiled in the fall.
Speaking to the FCM, Trudeau’s comments about the housing crisis and access to real estate seemed to mirror the message Conservative leader Pierre Poilièvre has been delivering for months on access to housing.
“The housing crisis has put a generation of Canadians, especially millennials, in a situation where they now think they may never be able to afford a home to raise their family in, which was much easier for their parents and their grandparents,” Trudeau said. elected officials.
In terms of cost of living, the government intends to continue to promote its dental care and child care initiatives.
Trudeau said he was encouraged by the results of Monday’s midterm elections — especially while riding from Oxford in rural Ontario, where the Liberals came second behind the Conservatives but received a larger share of the vote than the last federal elections. (The Conservative vote in Oxford may have been undermined by a dispute between local Conservative supporters over the party nomination.)
Trudeau said on Tuesday that the Oxford result shows that the government’s “message is resonating”.
“We are very excited about continuing to share strong positive messages with Canadians in the coming summer,” he said.
Liberal MPs say they are confident that in the face of the Conservative leader’s more aggressive tone, left-wing voters will move to their column in the next election campaign.
“Social progressives are afraid of Poilièvre,” said a liberal elected official in French on the condition of anonymity.