A cabinet shuffle's winners and losers: Ottawa Power Rankings

Our weekly round-up of whose political fortunes are rising and falling on Parliament Hill


A cabinet shuffle is a sure-fire way to sort Ottawa’s political winners and losers, and Justin Trudeau’s first big shakeup gave us plenty to chew on. See who’s up and who’s down in Parliament Hill’s corridors of power.



Chrystia Freeland

The highest-profile cabinet move this week belonged to the new minister of foreign affairs, in what was clearly a big nod of confidence from her boss in the PMO. Yes, her new gig requires her to go toe-to-toe with soon-to-be U.S. president Donald Trump and his protectionist crusade, but the smart, tenacious and multilingual former journalist is up to the task and might be exactly what Canada needs while weird winds blow internationally.


Ahmed Hussen

The GTA-area MP—the first Somali-Canadian elected to the House of Commons—takes over as minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship from veteran politician John McCallum, who becomes Canada’s ambassador to China. Hussen brings unique first-person experience to the file, having arrived in Canada as a teenage refugee, and in his pre-politics life, he was a lawyer and community activist.


François-Philippe Champagne

Champagne just made a huge leap from rookie small-town Quebec MP and parliamentary secretary to Finance Minister Bill Morneau to inheriting the high-profile international trade file from Freeland. Champagne brings a global perspective to the role; he leapt into politics after senior roles in Europe-based conglomerates. He champions Canada’s assets and wants to see the country be less shy and more unified in selling itself on the world stage.



Justin Trudeau

This week was an object lesson for the PMO in how simply disclosing the details of a slightly-awkward-for-optics family vacation up front would have been so much better than sitting obstinately on it so details were pried out piecemeal. The Conservatives have asked the ethics commissioner to investigate Trudeau’s visit over the holidays to a private island in the Bahamas owned by the Aga Khan—a longtime family friend—because his charitable foundation lobbies the government for funds.


Stéphane Dion

The outgoing minister of foreign affairs was apparently blindsided and displeased about being moved out of the post and cabinet entirely. Dion’s bookishness and mercurial nature have been both strengths and liabilities in his long political career. He was reportedly so stung by his ouster from cabinet that he’s refused the plush appointments Trudeau offered in consolation, as simultaneous ambassador to the European Union and to Germany.


Maryam Monsef

In her recently vacated post as minister of democratic institutions, Monsef was handed the high-visibility task of steering electoral reform. She bungled it. Not only did she fail to sell any particular vision for change, she petulantly tossed blame at the parliamentary committee that fulfilled exactly the mandate she handed it. After she was sworn in as minister of status of women this week, reporters asked Monsef if she’d been demoted. “I will leave that for you to decide,” she responded. Well: yeah.