Yukon MP Brendan Hanley is pleased to see some new faces in the Liberal government’s cabinet following Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s shakeup.
“It was certainly a major shuffle, I think, probably bigger than any of us were expecting,” he told the News in an interview on July 27, the day after Trudeau announced the appointments.
“We are at an important, I think, midpoint in the mandate. For me, it signals a refreshment of energy and a renewed commitment to keep delivering for Canadians.”
Hanley was surprised about some switches, such as the change in the minister of justice and attorney general from David Lametti to Arif Virani.
“You never know what to expect,” he said, calling it a “big step” for an MP to get shuffled into such a key file.
Hanley said Mark Miller coming out of Crown-Indigenous relations was another big move.
“[Mark Miller], I think, was extremely successful in that portfolio, and I think it’ll be a challenge for his successor Gary Anandasangaree to kind of take on a pretty complex file and certainly one that’s important for us in the Yukon,” Hanley said.
Hanley advises people to stay tuned for Trudeau’s mandate letters, which will outline where the focus is going to be, especially for new or restructured cabinet minister portfolios. For example, former immigration minister Sean Fraser is now minister of infrastructure and communities as well as housing.
Marco Mendicino, who was in charge of controversial files that have garnered plenty of attention, Bill C-21, is out as public safety minister. Hanley wouldn’t speculate as to why Mendicino was dropped.
Hanley commends Mendicino for coming up to the Yukon in January. During his visit, Mendicino heard resounding opposition, echoed by Yukon elected officials, to the bill bound for parliament that would render some currently legal firearms prohibited. Hanley, who voted against it, will be watching with interest as the revised gun control bill goes through the Senate and connecting with Dominic LeBlanc, the new minister of public safety, democratic institutions and intergovernmental affairs.
Hanley noted other issues of relevance to that file are election interference and the Little Gold Creek border crossing located 105 kilometres from Dawson City on the Top of the World Highway.
“We’re still trying to get some traction,” Hanley said about advocating for extended hours at the seasonal port of entry between Alaska and Canada. He said longer hours at that border crossing are important for tourism and offer an alternate or backup route in case of emergencies, given the increasing challenges with weather and infrastructure damage because of climate change.
Hanley suggested the cabinet overhaul is key to success.
“You have to keep returning [and] repositioning in order to stay focused and to stay on top of the multiple challenges that we have,” Hanley said.
Looking ahead, Hanley told the News he intends to run in the next federal election.
“I do hope to continue. I feel I’m kind of just getting warmed up.”
— With files from Jim Elliot
Contact Dana Hatherly at firstname.lastname@example.org