Canada's prime minister announces cabinet shuffle amid turmoil

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TORONTO — Canada's prime minister announced a cabinet shuffle Monday amid turmoil in his Conservative government.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper named Rob Nicholson as the new foreign minister and Jason Kenney as the new defense minister. Nicholson moves over from defense. Kenney, considered a leading contender to one day replace Harper, will give up his position as minister of employment but will continue to oversee multiculturalism.

The appointments come less than a week after John Baird, one of Harper's most trusted cabinet ministers, unexpectedly announced he was resigning as foreign minister and leaving politics. It also comes ahead of a scheduled election in October.

Also Monday, Conservative Member of Parliament Eve Adams announced she is joining the opposition Liberals. Her fiancée, Dimitri Soudas, resigned as executive director of the Conservative Party last year after allegations that he interfered in her district nomination. Soudas, once a fierce Harper loyalist who formerly served as the prime minister's director of communications and press secretary, will be working on Adams' Liberal campaign.

Harper said Adams was told last month the Conservative party wouldn't let her run again because of alleged conduct in her nomination race. Harper avoided commenting on Soudas.

Adams took some parting shots at Harper during a news conference alongside Liberal leader Justin Trudeau.

"I can no longer support mean-spirited leadership that divides people instead of bringing them together," Adams said. "I want to work with someone who inspires, not with fear-mongerers and bullies."

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