by Douglas Messier
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has replaced the minister who oversees the nation’s space program as part of a shakeup of his cabinet that also involved the first Canadian to travel to space.
Trudeau named minister of Foreign Affairs François-Philippe Champagne to replace Navdeep Bains as minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. The position involves overseeing the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) among other duties.
“In his new role, Minister Champagne will rely on his extensive business experience in the fields of energy, engineering, and innovation to assist our economic recovery from the global COVID-19 pandemic, create new jobs for Canadians, and grow our middle class,” Trudeau said in a press release. “He will also use his experience to help the government work with the manufacturing, natural resource, and energy sectors as they transition to meet a net-zero future.”
Trudeau praised Bains for his work in overseeing the Canadian space industry and leading the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“During this time, Mr. Bains launched a new national space strategy and created the Strategic Innovation Fund to attract and support business investments across all sectors of the economy,” the prime minister said. “More recently, he played a central role in Canada’s response to the global COVID-19 pandemic by leading Canada’s Plan to Mobilize Industry to fight COVID-19, and overseeing the creation of the COVID-19 immunity, vaccine, and therapeutics task forces.”
Trudeau named former Canadian astronaut Marc Garneau, who was serving as minister of Transport, to replace Champagne overseeing foreign affairs. The prime minister said Garneau has been a strong voice of Canada dating back to his time as an astronaut.
“Minister Garneau will bring experience acquired during his close work with international partners on the investigation into the Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 tragedy and as chair of the Cabinet Committee on Canada-United States Relations to his new portfolio, and will continue to be a leader on the world stage,” Trudeau said.
Garneau became the first Canadian in space in October 1984 as a payload specialist aboard the space shuttle Challenger on the STS-41-G mission. He flew aboard the space shuttle Endeavour on the STS-77 mission in 1996 and the STS-97 mission in 2000.
Garneau served as CSA president from 2001 to 2006. He has previously serviced as executive vice president of the space agency for nine months.
Trudeau named Omar Alghabra to replace Garneau as minister of Transport. He previously served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (Public Service Renewal) and to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.
Trudeau also named Jim Carr as Special Representative for the Prairies. Carr previously served as minister of Natural Resources and minister of International Trade Diversification.