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Justin Trudeau Hits Reset Button With Major Cabinet Shuffle

As voter frustration boiled because of inflation, housing prices, climate change and other issues, the newly shuffled cabinet of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau posed for a “family photo” on Wednesday.

It resembled a portrait introducing a new cabinet after an election, said Jeni Armstrong, an instructor at Carleton University in Ottawa and a former political staff member who spent five years as Mr. Trudeau’s lead speechwriter.

“Is it going to be enough of a reset to persuade more voters?” Ms. Armstrong said. “That sort of feels like the million-dollar question.”

In rearranging his cabinet on Wednesday, Mr. Trudeau aimed to bring what he called “fresh energy” to Parliament Hill. But after eight years in office, he is battling voter fatigue over thorny policy issues and experiencing a loss of voter confidence. The latest polling data has the Liberals, of which Mr. Trudeau is the head, lagging behind the Conservatives.

“We need to continue to put our very best foot forward and work even harder to deliver for Canadians,” Mr. Trudeau said in a news conference after the swearing-in ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa. “I’m excited about this team.”

That almost the entire cabinet was present for the ceremony points to the scale of the shake-up ahead of the next scheduled election in October 2025.

Twenty-three ministers were reassigned, including in key portfolios — defense, justice, immigration, procurement, health and transport — and eight kept their current titles. (Here is a full list of the new cabinet.)

Seven new ministers were introduced. Four of the seven will fill the vacancies of peers who announced earlier this week that they would not be seeking re-election. The other three will replace ministers who were booted out of the cabinet: David Lametti, the justice minister and attorney general; Mona Fortier, the Treasury Board president and minister of middle-class prosperity; and Marco Mendicino, the public safety minister.

In Britain, where ministers tend to have more influence in shaping a portfolio, changes to a cabinet can suggest important changes in course. With few exceptions, the expectation in Canada is less that particular ministers will leave their mark, but more that they will succeed in executing the prime minister’s vision. Political watchers were ambivalent about what effect most of the cabinet reassignments would have with voters.

I spoke with Robert Drummond, a retired politics professor at York University in Toronto. “There are a lot of movements that don’t seem to have any particular reason for doing it,” Professor Drummond said.

A few of the changes stood out as attempts to dim the spotlight on stubborn issues that have recently troubled ministers like Mr. Mendicino, who denied having been alerted by his office or correctional services staff that the country’s most infamous serial killer would be transferred into a medium-security prison.

Pablo Rodriguez, the former heritage minister, had become the face of the government’s bitter fight with tech giants as they retaliated against a law, passed last month, that would force them to pay Canadian news outlets. Mr. Rodriguez was reassigned to transport.

A lack of affordable housing continues to afflict all corners of the country, and the minister formerly responsible, Ahmed Hussen, was elbowed into international development, a file of lesser scrutiny to most Canadians.

“I think that the prime minister is in a very difficult position, in a way,” Professor Drummond told me before he described a few scenarios that could play out before the next vote.

One is that Mr. Trudeau, who has been in office for eight years and has led the party for about a decade, may choose to call a snap election and take voters to the polls early. Doing so would collapse the “supply and confidence” agreement that the Liberals brokered with the New Democratic Party in March 2022, in which the N.D.P. would support the government on confidence votes like budget bills.

A snap election may cost Mr. Trudeau’s party seats, as it did in 2021 after a vote that few Canadians wanted and that critics saw as a power grab.

Or Mr. Trudeau could wait until the scheduled election and try to revive fatigued voters with reshuffles and other efforts.

“It may be that he feels this may be his last election as prime minister,” Professor Drummond said. “If he stays on another year, there will be even more pressure for him to think about finding someone else to be the leader of the Liberal Party before an election takes place, and I don’t think he’s ready to do that yet.”

  • Samuel Peralta, a semiretired physicist and author based in Mississauga, Ontario, is the man behind the Lunar Codex, a multimedia archive of more than 30,000 digitized books, contemporary artworks and other items that make up something of a time capsule of human creativity. The Lunar Codex will be launched to the moon on a series of unmanned rockets.

  • For the Travel section, I looked at how Canada’s wildfires have stymied backcountry tourism and other outdoors experiences, just as the travel industry was bouncing back.

  • Canada’s record year for wildfires shows a need, experts say, for implementing fire prevention strategies in an era of climate change.

  • “When I returned to Le Taj in May, the saag shrimp surpassed my recollection,” writes Yewande Komolafe, a Cooking columnist, of her visit to the Montreal restaurant. Here is her adapted recipe for saag shrimp.

  • A mascot costume of a donair set off a bidding war when it was auctioned by the Alberta government.

  • The Canadian women’s soccer team had its first win at the World Cup on Wednesday against Ireland.

  • A group of automakers will build 30,000 electric vehicle chargers across Canada and the United States in a bid to persuade consumers to buy battery-powered cars.

  • Biologists studying bowhead whales, using research samples collected from the eastern Canadian Arctic and West Greenland, made a surprising discovery.

  • Four people were missing and later found dead in Nova Scotia after being swept away in a flood.

  • William Majcher, a retired officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, was charged with spying for China.

Vjosa Isai is a reporter-researcher for The New York Times in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter at @lavjosa.

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