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Some highlights from PM Trudeau's mandate letters to cabinet ministers

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at a news conference after the federal cabinet was sworn in, in Ottawa, on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

OTTAWA - Federal cabinet ministers got their official marching orders Thursday from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

For the most part, the mandate letters prioritize the promises the Liberal leader made during this summer's election campaign. But there are some additional priorities and changes in emphasis.

Here are some of the highlights from the letters:

— To all ministers: "I am directing every minister to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and to work in partnership with Indigenous Peoples to advance their rights."

— To Justice Minister David Lametti: prioritize the implementation of the UNDRIP Act, passed in the last Parliament and "the appointment of a special interlocutor to further advance justice on unmarked graves and address the legacy of residential schools.

— To Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland: "Increase funding to provinces and territories to strengthen our universal public health system."

Also "introduce a reciprocal procurement policy that will ensure goods and services are procured from countries that grant Canadian businesses a similar level of market access.

And "champion the adoption of a global minimum standard on carbon pricing."

— To Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos: "Continue engaging with willing provinces and territories towards national universal pharmacare, while proceeding with a national strategy on high-cost drugs for rare diseases and advancing the establishment of the Canada Drug Agency."

— To all ministers: "We must not only continue taking real climate action, we must also move faster and go further. As Canadians are increasingly experiencing across the country, climate change is an existential threat."

To Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault: "As a matter of priority, you will accelerate the important work of adapting to the impacts of climate change.

By March 2022, set out plan to meet 2030 climate goals, including "new measures related to capping and cutting oil and gas sector emissions, further reducing methane emissions across the economy, mandating the sale of zero-emissions vehicles and setting us on a path to achieve an electricity grid with net-zero emissions by 2035."

And work with colleagues "to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies by 2023."

— To Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly: No mention of China specifically but she is instructed to work with her international trade, international development and national defence colleagues to "develop and launch a comprehensive Indo-Pacific strategy to deepen diplomatic, economic and defence partnerships and international assistance in the region."

— To Immigration Minister Sean Fraser: "Make the citizenship application process free for permanent residents who have fulfilled the requirements needed to obtain it."

— To Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc and Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino: work together to "bolster the security of ministers and Parliamentarians."

— To government House leader Mark Holland: work with other ministers to "draw from lessons learned on hybrid sittings and develop a plan to both make Parliament a more inclusive place for families and to respond with greater agility in the event of a future national health crisis."

— To Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino: "Engage with provinces, territories and municipalities that contract RCMP services to better connect the RCMP with community social support workers." And "conduct an assessment of contract policing in consultation with provinces, territories, municipalities, Indigenous partners and stakeholders."

— To Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez: ensure "sufficient compensation is available for media production stoppages related to COVID-19," launch an arts and culture recovery program to mitigate the impact of reduced capacity in cultural venues, and implement a COVID-19 transitional support program to provide emergency relief to artists and cultural workers.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 16, 2021.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2021
The Canadian Press

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