Philpott to re­place Bri­son at Trea­sury Board in fed­eral cab­i­net shuf­fle

The Globe and Mail (BC Edition) - - NEWS - GLO­RIA GAL­LOWAY PAR­LIA­MEN­TARY RE­PORTER

Indige­nous Ser­vices Min­is­ter Jane Philpott will be­come Trea­sury Board Pres­i­dent when Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau shuf­fles his cab­i­net Mon­day to re­place Scott Bri­son, who is leav­ing pol­i­tics after nearly 22 years in Par­lia­ment.

The shuf­fle of Ms. Philpott, con­firmed by a source to whom The Globe and Mail granted anonymity be­cause they were not au­tho­rized to speak pub­licly on the mat­ter, leaves an open­ing at Indige­nous Ser­vices, a port­fo­lio cre­ated a year and a half ago. It was un­clear on Sun­day who would fill that job.

Mr. Bri­son made a sur­prise an­nounce­ment on Fri­day that he was leav­ing cab­i­net.

In an in­ter­view with The Globe, Mr. Bri­son said he wants to spend more time with his two young twin daugh­ters, Claire and Rose, and his hus­band, Maxime St-Pierre.

“The truth is, if I ran again, Max would shoot me,” Mr. Bri­son said jok­ingly. The 51-year-old Nova Sco­tia MP said the main fac­tor in his de­ci­sion was his four-year-old girls.

“If you had asked me 15 years ago if I would ever be a fa­ther, I would have said no, I don’t see how that would hap­pen. … When Claire and Rose were born, it was a life-changer,” he said. “I think about them all the time and I re­ally want to fo­cus now on mak­ing de­ci­sions that are in the best in­ter­ests of my fam­ily … and that’s a per­fectly nor­mal thing, but in pol­i­tics, it’s some­times hard to achieve.”

Ms. Philpott is an On­tario MP and med­i­cal doc­tor who is widely re­garded as one of the best per­form­ing min­is­ter soft he Lib­eral gov­ern­ment.

As Indige­nous Ser­vices Min­is­ter, she made in­roads on long-stand­ing is­sues in­clud­ing child wel­fare and clean wa­ter on re­serves. In the health port­fo­lio, which she held un­til the sum­mer of 2017, she was re­spon­si­ble for help­ing to le­gal­ize mar­i­juana and pro­vid­ing more men­tal-health re­sources for First Na­tions. She has also been a mem­ber of the fed­eral Trea­sury

Board.

Mr. Bri­son was first elected as a

Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive MP in

1997. He switched to the Lib­eral

Party in 2003 and be­came Min­is­ter of Pub­lic Works from 2004 to

2006 dur­ing the Lib­eral mi­nor­ity gov­ern­ment led by Paul Martin.

John Man­ley, a for­mer Lib­eral fi­nance min­is­ter and one­time pres­i­dent of the Busi­ness Coun­cil of Canada, said Mr. Bri­son was a friend of the busi­ness com­mu­nity.

“He was one that would ques­tion where the spend­ing is go­ing and would ad­vo­cate for fis­cal pro­bity.”

Mr. Man­ley said he hopes that per­spec­tive won’t be lost on Mon­day, when Mr. Trudeau re­veals the makeup of his elec­tion-year cab­i­net.

“I know lots of peo­ple aren’t wor­ried about the size of deficits,” he said.

“Some of us re­mem­ber how hard it was to wres­tle them to the ground when they got out of con­trol and would like to see things very care­fully man­aged.”

Mr. Bri­son could be called as a wit­ness in the crim­i­nal trial of Vice-Ad­mi­ral Mark Nor­man, who is ac­cused of leak­ing cab­i­net se­crets. The trial is sched­uled to be­gin in Au­gust, just as the fall elec­tion cam­paign heats up.

The is­sue re­lates to a 2015 cab­i­net de­ci­sion by the Lib­eral gov­ern­ment to briefly sus­pend a $700-mil­lion sup­ply-ship con­tract with Davie Ship­build­ing in Que­bec. The cab­i­net faced im­me­di­ate pres­sure from Hal­i­fax-based Irving Ship­build­ing, which hoped the new gov­ern­ment would can­cel the plan and move the work to Nova Sco­tia.

RCMP af­fi­davits tabled in court re­vealed that Davie ex­ec­u­tives sus­pected Mr. Bri­son of in­ter­ven­ing on be­half of Irving. Mr. Bri­son has re­peat­edly de­nied any wrong­do­ing and has said that he was sim­ply pro­vid­ing due dili­gence in re­la­tion to a ma­jor gov­ern­ment ex­pense.

Mr. Bri­son told The Globe on Thurs­day that the trial has noth­ing to do with his de­ci­sion to leave pol­i­tics.

“God, no. That is a mat­ter be­tween the pros­e­cu­tion and Vice-Ad­mi­ral Nor­man and that was not a fac­tor what­so­ever,” he said. “This is very much a fam­ily de­ci­sion.”

Prior to en­ter­ing pol­i­tics, Mr. Bri­son worked in in­vest­ment bank­ing. He said Thurs­day that he will likely re­turn to the pri­vate sec­tor, but does not have a po­si­tion lined up.

“Noth­ing con­crete,” he said. “No job of­fers or any­thing like that.”

Mr. Trudeau, who con­firmed that he will shuf­fle his cab­i­net Mon­day, de­scribed Mr. Bri­son as an “ex­tremely valu­able” mem­ber of cab­i­net and thanked him for his ser­vice.

“As a par­ent, I know like so many know the dif­fi­cult chal­lenge of bal­anc­ing a de­mand­ing job with time spent with young fam­i­lies, so I fully re­spect his de­ci­sion,” he told re­porters in Kam­loops, B.C., on Thurs­day. “We’re go­ing to miss him tremen­dously.”

Ms. Philpott is an On­tario MP and med­i­cal doc­tor who is widely re­garded as one of the best per­form­ing min­is­ters of the Lib­eral gov­ern­ment.

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