Cabinet shuffle results in new agriculture minister

OTTAWA — As part of a cabinet shuffle as a result of the resignation of Jody Wilson-Raybould, the federal government has a new agriculture minister.

Marie-Claude Bibeau, a Quebec MP, replaces Lawrence MacAulay in the position. MacAulay has been moved to veterans affairs.

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In her new position, Bibeau will be responsible for selling trade agreements to Quebec dairy farmers that will reduce the protective effect of supply management in their industry.

"It's a huge privilege – I come from a rural riding, a dairy riding, in fact, in the south of Quebec, so I'm very close to the producers in Quebec," she said outside Rideau Hall after being sworn in. She said she's eager to meet with them.

Bibeau is also the first female federal agriculture minister.

As well, Gender Equality Minister Maryam Monsef takes on the additional portfolio of international development.

Wilson-Raybould, who was moved from the justice portfolio to veterans affairs in the last federal cabinet shuffle in mid-January, resigned her post Feb. 12.

On Feb. 27, Wilson-Raybould testified to the House of Commons justice committee that she was pressured by Trudeau, his senior staff and others to halt a criminal prosecution of Montreal engineering giant SNC-Lavalin.

She said she believed she was shuffled out as attorney general and justice minister because she didn't give in to the political arm-twisting.

Trudeau has denied the SNC-Lavalin affair had anything to do with Wilson-Raybould's move, saying she would still be justice minister had former Treasury Board president Scott Brison not suddenly decided to leave politics.

Asked by reporters, all three of them said they will support Trudeau's decision on whether Wilson-Raybould stays in the Liberal caucus after her public criticisms of the way Trudeau and his staff handled her.

"She's a very well-respected lady," MacAulay said of Wilson-Raybould, but what to do about her place in their party is up to the prime minister.

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