Canada foreign minister replaced in cabinet reshuffle: official

Ottawa: Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday named Chrystia Freeland as foreign minister, replacing Stephane Dion, a critic of US president-elect Donald Trump, in a cabinet shakeup.

Freeland, who was international trade minister, will still be in a position to help renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with the United States and Mexico if Trump makes good on a campaign promise to make changes or terminate the accord.

Dion, who announced he was retiring from political life after 21 years of public service, had openly criticized Trump during the US presidential campaign.

He had said Canada could not accept the billionaire Republican’s threat to ban Muslims from entering the United States.

Freeland, 48, distinguished herself last year in her tenacious pursuit of a Canada-EU trade, which was signed on October 30.

A former financial journalist, notably in Washington and Moscow, she was among a group of Canadian officials sanctioned by Russia in 2014 in retaliation for Canadian sanctions against Russia over its annexation of Crimea and meddling in Ukraine.

Freeland was replaced by Francois-Philippe Champagne, a member of the House of Commons who had served as parliamentary secretary to the finance minister.

Notable among the other cabinet changes was the appointment of Somali-born Ahmed Hussen as immigration minister, replacing John McCallum, who will become Canada’s ambassador to China.

In all, the shake-up involved six of the cabinet’s 30 positions, which remain divided evenly between men and women.