Oct 02, 2023
By Jeremy Logan
Two months after announcing an overhaul to his front bench, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has yet to issue mandate letters for his cabinet ministers.
Last week, Defence Minister Bill Blair said that he hasn’t received a new mandate letter and is currently acting on the list of commitments that Trudeau assigned to his predecessor back in December 2021, three months after that year’s election.
In recent months, the federal government has issued new tasks to the military, while asking it to cut almost $1 billion in spending, and opposition parties are looking for clarity on how ministers are being told to prioritize their assignments.
According to Acadia University political scientist Alex Marland, mandate letters help clarify what a government wants to do outside of an election period.
Marland says the civil service can function without letters being made public, but notes that minister themselves have indicated that they’re eager to receive their marching orders, with some having new portfolios that never existed before.
The Prime Minister’s Office has been asked to comment on whether all 30 ministers who have updated or entirely new roles will be assigned a fresh mandate letter.