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

COLUMN: Search for Grace shows community’s true nature

As Chilliwack searches for missing woman, a writer looks back 61 years at a similar story

Serious police incident unfolding at Sts’ailes

Small reserve near Agassiz surrounded by police vehicles, helicopter, ERT

VIDEO: Agassiz farm spreads awareness for barn owls

Miel Bernstein hopes others will learn how they can help the threatened owl species

Fraser-Cascade school district hosts by-election to fill void left by passing of Tom Hendrickson

Advance voting begins on July 17, with general voting on July 27

Chilliwack cadet takes staff position in Comox

Air cadet one of about 20,000 youth enrolled in programs across Canada this summer

VIDEO: Agassiz remembers local officer at grave-marking ceremony

Montague White-Fraser had been buried in the Old Cemetery for 92 years without a headstone

Olympic softball qualifier gets $150K boost from provincial government

2019 Americas Qualifier to be held in Surrey from Aug. 25-Sept. 1

Gas price inquiry questions Trans Mountain capacity, company denies collusion

The first of up to four days of oral hearings in the inquiry continue in Vancouver

‘Benzos’ and fentanyl a deadly cocktail causing a growing concern on B.C. streets

Overdoses caused by benzodiazepines can’t be reversed with opioid-overdose antidote naloxone

RCMP release sketch of suspect in SFU assault, appeal to witnesses who helped woman

The RCMP want to talk to two women who helped the victim after she got to the parking lot

Will you be celebrating national hotdog day with any of these crazy flavours?

The popularity of hotdogs spans generations, cultures

Former home of accused Penticton shooter vandalized

Ex-wife of man who is accused of murdering four people had her house vandalized

Survivor of near-drowning in B.C. lake viewing life through new eyes

“If I died that day, the baby wouldn’t know his dad,” said 31-year-old Mariano Santander-Melo.

‘Beyond the call’: Teen in police custody gets birthday surprise by B.C. Mountie

Unusual celebration started when Staff Sgt. Paul Vadik went to visit the teen in his Coquitlam cell

Most Read