PM calls premiers to autumn meeting to reduce internal Canadian trade barriers

Swearing-in ceremony at Rideau Hall

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau makes an announcement of $90 million to improve the Trans-Canada Highway in northeastern Nova Scotia during a press conference in Sutherlands River, N.S. on Tuesday, July 17, 2018. The shuffle also gives a boost to some good performers, and a long-time member of the prime minister's inner circle.

"And when conservatives across the country are playing the fear card, uh, we need, uh, strong, reassuring voices, uh, to counter that and to demonstrate that the safety and security of Canadians in their communities is something, uh, that we will never flinch on, that we will continue to deliver, and we will deliver in a way that pulls Canadians together, instead of dividing them, uh, like the conservatives tend to be doing".

The move was a shot at President Donald Trump's antagonistic trade policies toward Canada.

In addition, Justin Trudeau seeks to strengthen the country's position in defending its trade interests, which moved the Minister of natural resources Jim Kerr to the post of Minister of worldwide trade.

"Promoting small businesses to export more, ensuring that we're diversifying our trade, is a huge responsibility for this government and one we take very seriously", Trudeau said.

Second, in the first few years of Trudeau's mandate, he had the benefit of several sympathetic provincial governments from whom he could hope to receive cooperation.

The political scenes in big provinces could also be part of the federal calculation behind Wednesday's shuffle, with the Liberals now dealing with conservatives running Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Ontario. This week the opposition Conservatives and NDP demanded an emergency study of the government's response.

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Wilkinson, the first fisheries minister from more than a decade, will be tasked with promoting the government's oceans protection plan, a "world class" program the Liberals have touted as a safeguard against potential oil spills that could result from increased tanker traffic after the Trans Mountain expansion is built.

The prime minister, therefore, could soon be facing unsympathetic governments in a majority of provinces.

Dominic LeBlanc leaves his position as fisheries minister to become the minister of intergovernmental affairs and internal trade.

Filomena Tassi is sworn in as minister of seniors during a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa.

As Natural Resources minister, Mr. Carr led trade missions to China, India and other countries to win better access for forest products and energy exports, while encouraging foreign companies to invest in Canada.

Blair, who had been Trudeau's point man on efforts to adopt legislation to legalize cannabis, will become the minister of border security and organized crime reduction. During his tenure with Natural Resources Canada, Minister Carr oversaw the launch and development of a new federal-provincial Minerals and Metals Strategy, focused on protecting and growing one of Canada's most important economic sectors.

Justin Trudeau has unveiled his pre-election cabinet in a shuffle created to showcase new faces and to address increasingly troublesome files - from border security, to trade promotion, to the potential for bare-knuckle scraps with the provinces.

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