(Adds details on changes, context)
OTTAWA Jan 10 Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland
will become Canada's foreign affairs minister in a planned
Cabinet shuffle, said a person familiar with the change, putting
a Russia critic on the front lines of working with the incoming
U.S. Trump administration.
The change-up is part of a wider shuffle of Prime Minister
Justin Trudeau's cabinet which will be announced at 2 p.m. ET
(1900 GMT) on Tuesday.
The person said Freeland would replace Foreign Affairs
Minister Stephane Dion.
A Freeland spokesman could not immediately be reached while
spokespeople for Dion and Trudeau declined to comment. A person
with knowledge of the matter said on Monday that Dion was set to
be removed as foreign minister.
The shuffle will be the first major change Trudeau has made
to the Cabinet he appointed in November 2015. Donald Trump is
due to succeed U.S. President Barack Obama on Jan. 20.
Canada's relationship with its neighbor to the south could
be tested in coming years, with Trump promising to renegotiate
the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement aimed at removing
tariff barriers between Canada, Mexico and the United States.
The appointment of Freeland, an author and former reporter,
to the foreign affairs file could be thorny as she has been
harshly critical of Vladimir Putin, the Russian president whom
Trump has repeatedly praised.
Moscow banned Freeland, who is of Ukrainian descent, in 2014
as part of a series of retaliatory sanctions against Canadian
officials. Ottawa had earlier blacklisted many Russian officials
to punish the country for its annexation of Crimea.
Before running for election in the Canadian parliament,
Freeland worked for Reuters, a unit of Thomson Reuters.
Among other changes that are expected to be announced,
Immigration Minister John McCallum will be appointed Canada's
ambassador to China, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)
Francois-Philippe Champagne, parliamentary secretary to the
finance minister, will become trade minister, the CBC said.
(Reporting by Leah Schnurr and David Ljunggren; Editing by
Chizu Nomiyama and Howard Goller)