Marci Ien keeps post, Ahmed Hussen shuffled as Trudeau makes cabinet changes


By Lincoln DePradine

Marci Ien

Toronto MP Marci Ien survived the federal cabinet reshuffle announced last week by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Another Black Toronto MP, Ahmed Hussen, did not.

Hussen, the 47-year-old MP for York South-Weston, was relieved of the housing portfolio. He’s now been made minister of international development.

The new housing minister is Sean Fraser, who previously served as immigration minister.

The replacing of Hussen with Fraser comes at a time when Canada’s housing situation is under increased scrutiny, with lack of accommodation – and also what’s being described as an affordability crisis – facing Canadian citizens and many thousands of refugees and asylum seekers.

The Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation has warned the country needs to build 3.5 million additional homes — on top of the current pace of building — to restore affordability by 2030.

“The answer is, at least in part, to continue to build more stock,’’ Fraser told reporters after being sworn in as housing minister. “But, I would urge caution to anyone who believes the answer to our housing challenges is to close the door on newcomers.’’

In the cabinet changes, Trudeau promoted seven rookies to his front bench and dropped seven ministers.

Ahmed Hussen

Only eight ministers, including Ien, were left untouched. Ien, MP for Toronto Centre, retained her job as women, gender equality and youth minister.

Trudeau praised the composition of his newly aligned cabinet of ministers. “This is the team that is going to be able to continue the hard work, rolling up their sleeves and delivering for Canadians, as we build a brighter and ambitious future for all Canadians,’’ the prime minister said.