Alghabra named Canada’s new transport minister

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Canada has a new federal transportation minister in the latest cabinet shuffle by governing Liberals, who are reportedly preparing for a potential spring election call.

Omar Alghabra — currently parliamentary secretary to the prime minister (public service renewal) and to the deputy prime minister and minister of intergovernmental affairs – is the new transport minister.

He is the MP for Mississauga Centre, a riding that includes one of Canada’s largest trucking hubs.

Garneau with ELD
Transport Minister Marc Garneau has said Canada remains committed to a June 2021 rollout for its ELD mandate. (Photo: CTA)

With training in engineering and business, Alghabra recognizes that continued investments in transportation and public transit are key to improving quality of life, the PMO said in a related announcement.

Former astronaut Marc Garneau, who has led the government’s transportation file since 2015, is the new minister of foreign affairs.

Omar Alghabra
(Photo: Government of Canada)

While many trucking related transportation rules are governed at a provincial level, the federal government has recently introduced new requirements that touch many fleets.

During Garneau’s tenure, Canada announced plans to mandate electronic logging devices (ELDs) for federally regulated carriers as of June 2021, and introduce national standards for mandatory entry-level training (MELT).

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland has said the government will present a full budget this spring, which could trigger a confidence vote for the minority government.

Chao leaves U.S. post

The change in Canada’s transportation minister comes just a day after the U.S. saw its own shift in a top federal transportation job.

Elaine Chao officially resigned as transportation secretary yesterday, and was the first member of U.S. President Donald Trump’s cabinet to resign after a mob broke into the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

“Yesterday, our country experienced a traumatic and entirely avoidable event as supporters of the president stormed the capitol building following a rally he addressed,” she said in a letter to Department of Transportation colleagues, shared on Twitter after the violence. “As I’m sure is the case with many of you, it has deeply troubled me in a way that I simply cannot set aside.”

Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., will take on the transportation role when U.S. President-Elect Joe Biden and his administration takes office.

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John G. Smith is Newcom Media's vice-president - editorial, and the editorial director of its trucking publications -- including Today's Trucking,, and Transport Routier. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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  • I watched the new Transport Minister MANY times during Question Period. Scary thought.
    i also have kept an eye on Bidens new Transportation pick, another scary thought.

  • Why is the Transport Ministry the equivalent of training wheels when backbenchers are brought into Cabinet? It must be extremely frustrating for industry to have to start from scratch educating a new face almost every year and it is a reflection of the low regard given to all aspects of transportation by governments of all levels. This also allows certain industry actors, (OTA, for instance), to have disproportionate influence on policy due to their access and ability to influence new ministers. New boss same as the old boss.

  • I understand when elogs are mandated into commercial vehicles we can only bobtail 75 kms to get home at the end of the week ? How far is your office from your home ? I wouldn’t doubt you get car service. If I work a full week what does it matter if I drive my pickup truck or my tractor home? I deserve to be able to drive home. I’m willing to bet you don’t know shit about the realities of the trucking industry. Call me I can straighten you out. 705 886 0966. Maybe before you make a stupid rule you should find out the realities of my industry. I expect an answer and not one of your stupid letters you send to everyone to shut them up.