Trudeau overhauls Canadian Cabinet, gives women top roles

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has overhauled his Cabinet and named prominent women to the foreign affairs and defense posts in the gender-balanced group of the government's top officials

Trudeau named Mélanie Joly as foreign minister and Anita Anand as defense minister. Chrystia Freeland retained her positions as deputy prime minister and finance minister.

Women make up half of the Cabinet as they have since Trudeau’s Liberal government was first elected in 2015.

Trudeau gave an emphatic “Yes” when asked if he would lead his party into the next election. Trudeau has won three straight elections, but failed to win a majority of the seats in Parliament in the last two elections. His Liberal party has to rely on at least one party to pass legislation and to remain in power in a minority Parliament.

Trudeau also created a new role, a minister of mental health and addictions. Carolyn Bennett has been tapped to take on the role.

Harjit Sajjan, heavily criticized for his handling of sexual misconduct allegations in Canada’s military, is leaving the defense portfolio to take up a new post in international development.

Only 10 ministers in Trudeau’s last cabinet are staying put. The cabinet adds up to 39 ministers, including Trudeau.

Canadians gave Trudeau’s Liberal Party a victory in parliamentary elections last month, but his gamble to win a majority of seats failed and the result was remarkably similar to the election two years ago.