OTTAWA, March 1 (Xinhua) -- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shuffled his Liberal government on Friday as he attempts to fend off the flames surrounding allegations that his senior staff interfered in a criminal prosecution case against Montreal-based construction and engineering giant SNC-Lavalin.
Veteran parliamentarian Lawrence MacAulay was moved from the agriculture post to the veterans affairs ministry, two weeks after Jody Wilson-Raybould, who held the post after Trudeau dropped her as justice minister and attorney general, resigned from cabinet.
Her future as a Liberal Member of Parliament remains in doubt following explosive testimony she presented to the House of Commons justice committee on Wednesday in which she accused Trudeau and his top advisors of pressuring her to offer SNC-Lavalin a remediation agreement that would allow the multinational corporation pay a fine rather than face a criminal trial on fraud and corruption charges.
Canada's major opposition parties have called for a criminal investigation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and a public inquiry on the allegations.
Trudeau's focus was on tinkering with his cabinet as his majority three-year-old government now faces its most serious threat to remaining in office when Canadians vote in a general election this October.
Marie-Claude Bibeau, who was previously the minister for international development, succeeds MacAulay and becomes the first woman to serve as Canada's agriculture minister.
Maryam Monsef - the minister for women and gender equality who made international headlines in 2016 when it was revealed that she was born in Iran and was not Canada's first Afghan-born MP as the Liberals touted when she was elected to the House of Commons the year before - also had the international development portfolio added to her responsibilities.
Canada's two major opposition parties - the Conservative Party and left-of-center New Democrat Party(NDP) - called on Trudeau to recall the House of Commons next week and cancel a scheduled two-week break for MPs to pursue constituency work.
"Given the severity and credibility of the allegations against Justin Trudeau, and the cloud of scandal they have cast over his government, Trudeau must recall the House of Commons to sit next week so Members of Parliament can continue to hold him to account," Official opposition and Conservative leader Andrew Scheer said in a statement.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, who won a House seat earlier this week in a by-election, echoed Scheer's statement by saying that Wilson-Raybould's revelations this week illustrated "just how far the Liberal government has gone to prioritize the interests of corporate elites over those of Canadians."