Ajax MP appointed health minister in cabinet shuffle

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Published July 26, 2023 at 12:35 pm

via CPAC

Ajax MP Mark Holland is Canada’s new Health Minister following a large cabinet shuffle in Ottawa this morning.

Rumours of the shuffle have been percolating throughout the week. They were seemingly confirmed yesterday with the resignation of three high-profile ministers. The government announced on July 26 that most of its ministers had either been swapped to a new portfolio or, in seven cases, demoted from cabinet entirely.

Among the changes is a new portfolio for long-time Ajax MP Mark Holland who took over the Health portfolio. Holland served as Ajax-Pickering MP from 2004 until his defeat at the hands of Chris Alexander in 2011. He was first elected at age 30 and quickly built a reputation as a young firebrand.

Following the 2011 election, Holland took a brief hiatus. He returned to parliament in 2015 as MP of the newly created Ajax riding. Now a more experienced political veteran, Holland served as parliamentary secretary on two portfolios before he was appointed Chief Party Whip in 2018.

In this role, he was responsible for maintaining party discipline in parliament and ensuring the government has enough MP present to pass their bills. He served in this role until his 2021 promotion to Leader of the Government in the House. This job isn’t quite a cabinet portfolio but is vital to a functional government. The Leader essentially runs the parliamentary schedule, planning and scheduling legislative votes.

On July 26, Holland was once more promoted to Minister of Health. He is now responsible for overseeing Health Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board. Additionally, the Health Minister enforces the Canada Health Act, which controls federal funding to the provinces and territories. The Act sets stipulations the provinces and territories need to meet in order to receive their federal health transfers.

Holland is taking over the portfolio from Quebec MP Jean-Yves Duclos, who has moved over to the Ministry of Public Services and Procurement. Taking over Holland’s last job is Burlington MP Karina Gould.

Durham Region’s other two Liberal MPs, Pickering-Uxbridge’s Jennifer O’Connell and Whitby’s Ryan Turnbull remain on the back bench. Oshawa is represented by Conservative Colin Carrie and the Durham riding (Clarington and north Oshawa) seat is currently empty following Erin O’Toole’s retirement.

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