Bluesky Brief – August 31

Posted on August 31, 2022

Ten months after being elected, the prime minister paid a visit to Rideau Hall this morning to make a minor shuffle to his cabinet. Alongside the Governor General, Trudeau swapped the roles of two ministers – Helena Jaczek becomes the Minister of Public Services and Procurement while Filomena Tassi is now the minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.

This slight change to the government’s front bench is due to the fact that Minister Tassi had asked the prime minister for a change in duties so she could spend more time with her family. In a statement posted on Facebook, Tassi said that earlier last year, her “husband suffered two strokes” and as “anyone whose family has had a similar experience will know, post-stroke care can be complex and filled with uncertainty.”

For Minister Jaczek, she acquires a large portfolio but comes bringing a lot of experience. She was the MPP for the riding of Oak Ridges-Marham from 2007 to 2018 during both the McGuinty and Wynne governments. While at Queen’s Park, she served as the Minister of Health and the Minister of Community and Social Services. Before politics, Jaczek practiced medicine at the Women’s College Hospital in Toronto and earned an MBA from York University.

As many are aware, the change comes one week before a cabinet retreat in Vancouver, two weeks before the Conservative Party chooses its next leader and one month before the House of Commons resumes sitting on September 19.

News Release from PMO

Video of ceremony at Rideau Hall from CPAC

Top of Mind

From the desk of Susan Smith, Principal & Co-Founder

The minor shuffle today by the prime minister demonstrates that he has confidence in his entire front bench, who are focused on the economy and prepping for what will likely be the dawn of a new (and sadly) more caustic era in the House of Commons and Canadian politics.

Today’s cabinet changes keep two competent cabinet ministers at the table, and ministers on the whole in portfolios that they know well. Dr. Helena Jaczek (Markham-Stouffville) will bring her organizational, economic and business experience and competence to the procurement portfolio – as vaccines, ships, fighter jets and green fleets need to get across the line.

Experienced, smart, and well-liked by her cabinet colleagues, the former Minister of Health and Long-term Care in Ontario is no stranger to large departments with complex files.

The prime minister has also signalled his ongoing confidence in Minister Filomena Tassi, (Ancaster-Dundas) who requested a lighter travel load while her husband recovers from health issues. By keeping her in the economic development portfolio for Southwestern Ontario – the heart of manufacturing and auto sectors and key to the drive to capitalize on the new opportunities around e-vehicles and batteries – Tassi will be familiar with the files and step easily into the role.

With inflation, labour shortages, airport lineups and housing challenges still dominating the headlines, the Liberals will be looking to articulate an economic direction that addresses some of the angst that Canadians are feeling. Pandemic-driven, big spending days are over (apart from the pending national dental care), and practical, prudent policies and program decisions will dominate. Assume that the Liberal-NDP supply and confidence agreement will continue to hold for at least the next 18 months, with the goal of advancing a legislative agenda that counters the new, blunt tone and style of politics that Pierre Poilievre, as the likely new Conservative leader, will be serving up online, in coffee shops and in the House.

House and Senate Committees and key officials across departments will also continue to matter as avenues for stakeholders to raise the profile of their issues with decision-makers.

As always, Bluesky Strategy Group is ready to help you develop the most effective strategies to achieve your government relations objectives.

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Following the ceremony, Principal Susan Smith appeared on CTV News Channel to give her thoughts to anchor Marcia McMillan on the minor shuffle. (Click on image to view)

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