Trudeau Switching Out Freeland as Top Diplomat, Reports Say

(Bloomberg) -- Justin Trudeau will put a new minister in charge of managing relations with the U.S. and China when he unveils his new cabinet Wednesday, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

The Canadian prime minister, who was re-elected to a second term with a weakened mandate last month, will name Francois-Philippe Champagne as foreign minister, the CBC reported Tuesday, citing unnamed sources.

Trudeau Switching Out Freeland as Top Diplomat, Reports Say

Champagne, who was named trade minister in 2017 before moving to infrastructure last year, would take the reins as the nation’s top diplomat from Chrystia Freeland. She successfully negotiated a new North American free trade agreement with President Donald Trump’s administration and attempted to quell a bitter feud with Beijing stemming from Canada’s arrest of a top Huawei Technologies Co. executive on an American extradition request.

Freeland will become deputy prime minister and intergovernmental affairs minister, the Globe and Mail newspaper reported later Tuesday. The move is meant to help Trudeau quell a growing sense of western alienation after the Liberals failed to elected a single lawmaker in the oil-producing provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta, where the former journalist was born.

While moving Freeland would represent a substantial shake-up for Trudeau, he’s expected to maintain a sense of continuity by keeping Bill Morneau in place as finance minster, the Globe said, also citing unnamed sources.

British Columbia lawmaker Jonathan Wilkinson will become environment minister, the CBC said, and Montreal’s Pablo Rodriguez will take over as government house leader -- a key position in a minority parliament. Catherine McKenna, who drew fierce criticism in Alberta for pushing Trudeau’s climate agenda at environment, will move to infrastructure, the Globe said.

The prime minister will unveil the new cabinet lineup at 1:30 p.m. in Ottawa, with a news conference to follow at 3:30, according to an advisory from Trudeau’s office.

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