Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay rises in the House of Commons during Question Period in Ottawa on Monday, June 11, 2018. (Patrick Doyle/The Canadian Press)

Trudeau names longtime MP as new veterans-affairs minister in cabinet shuffle

The official headquarters for the Department of Veterans Affairs is outside the capital region

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is making longtime MP Lawrence MacAulay his new veterans-affairs minister to fill the void left by the resignation of Jody Wilson-Raybould as part of a minor cabinet shuffle this morning.

Two other ministers already in cabinet are taking on new responsibilities: Marie-Claude Bibeau replaces MacAulay as agriculture minister and Gender Equality Minister Maryam Monsef takes on the additional portfolio of international development.

That means Bibeau will be responsible for selling trade agreements to Quebec dairy farmers that will reduce the protective effect of supply management in their industry. She’s also the first female federal agriculture minister.

“It’s a huge privilege — I come from a rural riding, a dairy riding, in fact, in the south of Quebec, so I’m very close to the producers in Quebec,” she said outside Rideau Hall after being sworn in. She said she’s eager to meet with them.

MacAulay will take over responsibility for a new veterans-benefits regime that the parliamentary budget officer reported last week will mean less generous support for veterans leaving the Canadian Forces.

Like Wilson-Raybould before him, MacAulay said he didn’t see the move to Veterans Affairs as a demotion.

READ MORE: Five things we learned from Wilson-Raybould at the justice committee

“To have the honour to represent the people who protect peace and democracy for us worldwide, that’s a long piece from a demotion,” he said.

Unusually, the official headquarters for the Department of Veterans Affairs is outside the capital region — it’s in Charlottetown, MacAulay’s home province.

Wilson-Raybould, who was moved from the justice portfolio to veterans affairs in the last federal cabinet shuffle in mid-January, resigned her post Feb. 12.

On Wednesday, Wilson-Raybould testified to the House of Commons justice committee that she was pressured by Trudeau, his senior staff and others to halt a criminal prosecution of Montreal engineering giant SNC-Lavalin.

She said she believed she was shuffled out as attorney general and justice minister because she didn’t give in to the political arm-twisting.

Trudeau has denied the SNC-Lavalin affair had anything to do with Wilson-Raybould’s move, saying she would still be justice minister had former Treasury Board president Scott Brison not suddenly decided to leave politics.

Asked by reporters, all three of them said they will support Trudeau’s decision on whether Wilson-Raybould stays in the Liberal caucus after her public criticisms of the way Trudeau and his staff handled her.

“She’s a very well-respected lady,” MacAulay said of Wilson-Raybould, but what to do about her place in their party is up to the prime minister.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Fernie skier braves extremes to find ‘soul line’

Caleb Brown named male champion at backcountry ski competition

Avalanche warning issued for Lizard Range, Flathead near Fernie

Warmer weather to increase avalanche risk: Avalanche Canada

Replacement school for Fernie imminent: SD5

School district board chair confident capital funding to follow maintenance project announcement

Teck to address air emission issues at Sparwood mine

Poorly performing dust collection system blamed for exceedances at Elkview Operations

WorkSafeBC close to completing ammonia inspections after Fernie arena tragedy

Statutory agency inspects ammonia-based fish processing facilities, follows up outstanding orders

VIDEO: RCMP ask kids to help name soon-to-be police dogs

13 German shepherd puppies will be born this year

Elkford woman wins national curling award

Terry Vandale hailed as a champion of curling; credited with making the sport more accessible

B.C. RCMP stop cyclist with no helmet, find out he’s wanted for murder

Kyle Antonio Dias, 19, to face second-degree murder charge in Toronto

British Columbia Teachers’ Federation welcomes new leader

Teri Mooring will take over as president this summer

Disappearance of Merritt cowboy now deemed suspicious: police

Ben Tyner was reported missing when his riderless horse was discovered on a logging road

Distillers hope federal budget scraps alcohol escalator tax

Tax hike set for April 1, marking third automatic increase in three years time

Kids found playing darts with syringes in Vancouver Island park

Saanich police is urging people to throw out their syringes properly and safely

‘The whole city has changed:’ B.C. woman in New Zealand reacts to mosque attacks

An expatriate and Muslim students at UBC Okanagan deeply affected by white supremacist shooting

Trudeau condemns hateful, ‘toxic segments’ of society after New Zealand shooting

Prime Minister expressed sorrow at the many attacks in recent years

Most Read