Canada has a new federal transportation minister in the latest cabinet shuffle by governing Liberals, who are reportedly preparing for a potential spring election call.
Omar Alghabra — currently parliamentary secretary to the prime minister (public service renewal) and to the deputy prime minister and minister of intergovernmental affairs – is the new transport minister.
The junior minister is the MP for Mississauga Centre, a riding that includes one of Canada’s largest trucking hubs.
With training in engineering and business, Alghabra recognizes that continued investments in transportation and public transit are key to improving quality of life, the PMO said in a related announcement.
Former astronaut Marc Garneau, who has led the government’s transportation file since 2015, is the new minister of foreign affairs.
While many trucking related transportation rules are governed at a provincial level, the federal government has recently introduced new requirements that touch many fleets.
During Garneau’s tenure, Canada announced plans to mandate electronic logging devices (ELDs) for federally regulated carriers as of June 2021, and introduce national standards for mandatory entry-level training (MELT).
Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland has said the government will present a full budget this spring, which could trigger a confidence vote for the minority government.
Chao leaves U.S. post
The change in Canada’s transportation minister comes just a day after the U.S. saw its own shift in a top federal transportation job.
Elaine Chao officially resigned as transportation secretary yesterday, and was the first member of U.S. President Donald Trump’s cabinet to resign after a mob broke into the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
“Yesterday, our country experienced a traumatic and entirely avoidable event as supporters of the president stormed the capitol building following a rally he addressed,” she said in a letter to Department of Transportation colleagues, shared on Twitter after the violence. “As I’m sure is the case with many of you, it has deeply troubled me in a way that I simply cannot set aside.”
Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., will take on the transportation role when U.S. President-Elect Joe Biden and his administration takes office.