No place for NWT’s Michael McLeod in new federal cabinet

Last modified: November 20, 2019 at 12:29pm


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s new cabinet, revealed in Ottawa on Wednesday, once again contained no northern representation.

Michael McLeod, the NWT’s newly re-elected Liberal MP, has for years made no secret of his desire to receive a cabinet appointment. He had again called on Trudeau to consider him following October’s election.


“I’m hoping the prime minister will look my way,” McLeod said once his re-election was confirmed. “I’ve indicated, loud and clear, that I’m available.”

That message did not sway Trudeau as he forms a minority government, though Wednesday’s announcement did include several new faces at cabinet level.

Métis politician Daniel Vandal, from Winnipeg, is the new northern affairs minister. Vandal, like his 28 predecessors to have held some form of northern portfolio at federal level, is not from the North.

Vandal, who was formerly parliamentary secretary to the minister of Indigenous services, replaces Dominic LeBlanc. LeBlanc, who is receiving treatment for cancer, was welcomed with a standing ovation as he was instead named president of the Queen’s Privy Council.

Former NWT premier Bob McLeod routinely praised LeBlanc for, in McLeod’s view, helping to transform the Liberal government’s relations with northern leaders.


Quebec politician Marc Miller becomes the new Indigenous services minister. He had previously been parliamentary undersecretary to the minister of Crown–Indigenous relations – a portfolio Carolyn Bennett will continue to hold.

Outgoing Indigenous services minister Seamus O’Regan, who lasted less than a year in the role, is moved to natural resources.

Elsewhere, Chrystia Freeland was named deputy prime minister and minister of intergovernmental affairs. Catherine McKenna moves from environment and climate change to infrastructure and communities, a shift likely to strengthen her role in the North – where infrastructure demands are high and support for smaller communities much-needed.

Cabinet roles in full:


  • Anita Anand: Minister of Public Services and Procurement
  • Navdeep Bains: Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry
  • Carolyn Bennett: Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations
  • Marie-Claude Bibeau: Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
  • Bill Blair: Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
  • Bardish Chagger: Minister of Diversity, Inclusion, and Youth
  • Francois-Philippe Champagne: Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Jean-Yves Duclos: President of the Treasury Board
  • Mona Fortier: Minister of Middle-Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance
  • Chrystia Freeland: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs
  • Marc Garneau: Minister of Transport
  • Karina Gould: Minister of International Development
  • Steven Guilbeault: Minister of Canadian Heritage
  • Patty Hajdu: Minister of Health
  • Ahmed Hussen: Minister of Families, Children, and Social Development
  • Melanie Joly: Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages
  • Bernadette Jordan: Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Canadian Coast Guard
  • David Lametti: Minister of Justice and Attorney-General
  • Dominic LeBlanc: President of the Queen’s Privy Council of Canada
  • Diane Lebouthillier: Minister of National Revenue
  • Lawrence MacAulay: Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence
  • Catherine McKenna : Minister of Infrastructure and Communities
  • Marco Mendicino: Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship
  • Marc Miller: Minister of Indigenous Services
  • Maryam Monsef: Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Minister of Rural Economic Development
  • Bill Morneau: Minister of Finance
  • Joyce Murray: Minister of Digital Government
  • Mary Ng: Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion, and International Trade
  • Seamus O’Regan: Minister of Natural Resources
  • Carla Qualtrough: Minister of Employment, Workforce Development, and Accessibility
  • Pablo Rodriguez: Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Quebec Lieutenant
  • Harjit Sajjan: Minister of National Defence
  • Deb Schulte: Minister of Seniors
  • Filomena Tassi: Minister of Labour
  • Dan Vandal: Minister of Northern Affairs
  • Jonathan Wilkinson: Minister of Environment and Climate Change