Trudeau fills vacancy in cabinet with B.C. MP Joyce Murray

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OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has filled a cabinet vacancy with British Columbia MP Joyce Murray, who is becoming president of the Treasury Board.

The move to promote Murray comes after Ontario MP Jane Philpott quit the cabinet over the SNC-Lavalin controversy.

Murray, 64, was elected in 2008 and served previously as a minister in B.C.’s provincial government. She was also one of a handful of MPs to make a run for the Liberal party leadership in 2012.

In January, Trudeau moved Jody Wilson-Raybould to Veterans Affairs from the justice portfolio, which went to David Lametti, in a medium-sized shuffle sparked by minister Scott Brison’s retirement from politics.

Then the prime minister made changes to fill the void left by Wilson-Raybould after she quit cabinet and said she had been pressured to stop the trial of SNC-Lavalin on bribery and fraud charges related to contracts in Libya.

A few days after that mini-shuffle, Philpott resigned as Treasury Board president, saying she had lost confidence in Trudeau’s handling of the SNC-Lavalin affair.

Murray was first elected in Vancouver Quadra in 2008. Her appointment to cabinet is a promotion from her role as parliamentary secretary to the president of the Treasury Board. It also allows Trudeau to maintain a gender balance around the cabinet table.

Treasury Board is a less visible ministry concerned with the nuts and bolts of government operations, but it has the potential for scandal if it falters in its stewardship of federal spending.

Last month, Murray and her family dealt with a personal ordeal when her son had to be medically evacuated from Mexico to Vancouver after suffering severe injuries during his honeymoon in Cancun.

Murray’s son Erik Brinkman fell from a height and underwent extensive surgery in Mexico to stabilize multiple fractures.

Murray has two sons and a daughter with her husband, Dirk Brinkman. They founded the tree-planting company Brinkman Group in 1979.

The Canadian Press


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