What’s old is new again as Justin Trudeau shuffled his cabinet in what many say sets the stage for a general election.
Lawrence MacAulay was reappointed to the agriculture portfolio following a four-year stint as minister of veterans affairs and associate minister of national defence. He succeeds Marie-Claude Bibeau, who was transferred to be minister of national revenue.
MacAulay, a potato farmer before entering politics as MP for the riding of Cardigan, PEI, was Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s first choice for agriculture minister in 2015. He returns to that role as Ottawa pushes ahead with a sustainability agenda focused on reducing carbon emissions and heightening carbon sequestration on the nation’s farms.
Various farm organizations, including the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, the national umbrella organization representing provincial farm groups including the BC Agriculture Council, have welcomed MacAulay’s appointment.
“We look forward to working with Minister MacAulay, whose experience and expertise as a former Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food will be an asset at pivotal time for Canadian agriculture,” CFA president Keith Currie said in a statement. “As this transition takes place, I would stress the importance of maintaining momentum and a continued focus on key issues, such as continued collaboration with CFA and farmers across Canada on the development of the Sustainable Agriculture Strategy.”
MacAulay’s mandate letter from Trudeau has not been released. Each minister’s mandate letter typically sets the priorities for their term in office, including the government’s agenda for their portfolios.
The cabinet shuffle also comes less than two years into the latest mandate for Justin Trudeau, who called an early election in 2021 only to be denied a majority government for the second time in a row. The previous election, in 2019, saw the Liberals lose the healthy majority they’d won in 2015 following successive Conservative governments under Stephen Harper.