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

West Shore property taxes see big jump in 2019 CRD financial plan

More than 10 per cent jump for Langford, View Royal, Colwood compared to last year

Woman found unconscious in the middle of Island Highway in View Royal

West Shore RCMP administers Narcan, revives woman on scene

Sooke entrepreneurs embark on sweet adventure

New owners will continue unique fudge brand

Coalition campaigns to build new West Shore skate park

Group seeks $25,000 in donations for park proposed for near the Juan de Fuca rec centre

City of Victoria announces two more affordable housing projects

The city commits nearly $2M to projects in James Bay and Hillside-Quadra neighbourhoods

Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash sentenced to eight years

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

POLL: When do you think the next major earthquake will hit Vancouver Island?

According to seismologists, Vancouver Island is overdue for a magnitude 7 earthquake.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

View Royal council to discuss proposed 3.5% tax increase tonight

Budget open house to directly precede the council meeting

Fierce feline spotted as ‘aggressor’ in face off with coyote in B.C. backyard

North Vancouver resident Norm Lee captures orange cat versus coyote in backyard showdown

Wilson-Raybould to reveal more details, documents on SNC-Lavalin affair

Former attorney general has written to the House of Commons justice committee

Anti-discrimination group wants to map offenders with cross-Canada hate atlas

Morgane Oger Foundation issues call for volunteers to help build Canadian Atlas of Populist Extremism

Dump truck driver hurt after highway crash on Vancouver Island

One man airlifted to hospital after collision between dump truck and pickup Friday in Ladysmith

Most Read