Liberal backbenchers say Trudeau's latest Cabinet shuffle does not 'boost morale' of caucus

'This prime minister keeps doubling down; this tokenism is ridiculous. It’s ridiculous, and I’m sick and tired of everything being about their friends and insiders,' says one Liberal MP. 'Screw them. I am so pissed off.'

Liberal backbenchers say Trudeau's latest Cabinet shuffle does not 'boost morale' of caucus
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
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Several Liberal MPs are ticked off with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after some considered his latest Cabinet shakeup not merit-based.

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) “misjudged and misplayed the whole thing completely,” said one MP. “I am livid,” they told The Hill Times.

“It makes no sense why Scarborough has to have two ministers. It is unreal. Why Newfoundland has to have two ministers is truly unreal,” they said.

“This prime minister keeps doubling down; this tokenism is ridiculous. It’s ridiculous, and I’m sick and tired of everything being about their friends and insiders.”

“Screw them. I am so pissed off.”

On some promotions, a few MPs claimed the PMO chose “docile” MPs and ignored better candidates with more enticing educational and professional backgrounds and who worked harder in parliamentary committees.

While the MPs clarified they did not quarrel with their promoted colleagues, they expressed disappointment with their leaders and senior party officials who advised him on Cabinet.

“Control [in choosing new cabinet ministers] is a major issue, and if they don’t think they can control you, that’s a negative,” said a second Liberal MP.

They also commented on Minister Anita Anand’s shift from defence to the treasury board — a move some considered a demotion. To them, Anand’s body language at the oath-taking ceremony suggested she disagreed with the move.

A day after the shuffle, Anand denied that she considered the transition a demotion.

“This cabinet shuffle was not based on merit or people that deserved to go in Cabinet: That sentiment is shared by [many] people. What changed?” said a third MP. 

“I’ve told my colleagues, ‘Guys, I don’t think anything’s changed: It’s the same advisors around the prime minister, the same finance minister, the same deputy prime minister, [the] same industry minister,” they said.

“Whether they’re good or bad, it doesn’t matter; it’s the same senior advisers making the same decisions. So, what changed?” 

“I don’t think this cabinet shuffle is a morale booster for the caucus.”

The Hill Times spoke anonymously with six backbench Liberal MPs from different regions of the country.

The PMO did not address the concerns of the caucus in a statement to the publication.

“Last week [July 26], the prime minister announced changes to the ministry,” read the statement. “By adding to a strong core economic team, we remain focused on delivering for Canadians.” 

“We look forward to […] making life more affordable, growing the economy, and creating good jobs for the middle class. The voices on this team have a depth of experience, come from a range of backgrounds, and reflect the diversity and talent of our country,” it reads.

“Beyond cabinet, we also continue this work through our caucus MPs, who work each day to make life more affordable, grow the economy, deliver results and represent the needs of their constituents.”

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