Cabinet sworn in; Parliament will resume on Dec. 3
Justin Trudeau’s cabinet includes ground-breaking appointments, rookie MPs with big portfolios, and veteran politicians who are stepping back into the national spotlight.
Rookie Toronto MP Bill Morneau, a former executive, is Canada’s new finance minister. Long-time MP and former Liberal leader Stephane Dion takes on the high-profile foreign affairs portfolio, while newcomer Jody Wilson-Raybould made history as the country’s first aboriginal minister of justice.
Other members of Trudeau’s cabinet include Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, National Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan, Transport Minister Marc Garneau, Health Minister Jane Philpott and Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna.
The 30 newly appointed ministers will get back to work on Dec. 3, when Parliament is to be recalled. Trudeau will deliver a Speech from the Throne the next day, on Dec. 4.
Government House Leader Dominic LeBlanc told reporters the government’s “priority” when Parliament returns will be “lowering the tax rate for middle-class Canadians” and “raising the tax rate on those who make more than $200,000.”
“The prime minister has made it clear to us that it is his hope and his intention that the tax measures could be in place for Jan. 1,” LeBlanc said.
In a rare move, Trudeau is also taking on the youth and intergovernmental affairs portfolios.
“We’re a government that wants to earn Canadians’ trust by demonstrating that we trust Canadians,” he said during his first news conference as prime minister, following Wednesday’s swearing-in ceremony.
“Openness and transparency isn’t just about trust though, it’s very much about better policy making, better decisions.”
Trudeau and his ministers were sworn in at a ceremony inside Rideau Hall, which included a performance by young Inuit throat singers.
The ceremony was attended by such dignitaries as former prime minister Jean Chretien, two former Governors General, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde and RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson.
As ministers were sworn in one after another, there was applause in the room and cheers outside Rideau Hall, where an estimated crowd of 3,500 people gathered to watch the ceremony on large TV screens.
Those who lined the long driveway leading to the Governor General’s residence also got the first glimpse of the new Liberal government, as Trudeau and his ministers walked down the path.
Trudeau walked hand-in-hand with his wife, Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau, waving to the crowds. As they approached Rideau Hall, the couple was greeted by their young children, Xavier, Ella-Grace, and Hadrien, as well as Trudeau’s beaming mother, Margaret Trudeau.
As the oaths were sworn, it became clear Trudeau delivered on his promise to appoint a gender-balanced cabinet. It includes Chrystia Freeland, the former journalist and author who will be responsible for international trade, Carolyn Bennett as minister of indigenous and northern affairs, and Afghan-born MP Maryam Monsef, who takes on the democratic institutions portfolio.
Asked why gender parity was important, Trudeau replied: “Because it’s 2015.”
Having a cabinet that reflects Canada was a “priority for me,” he said.
Trudeau also told reporters that tax cuts for the middle class – the backbone of his fiscal platform – will be among his first priorities when Parliament resumes. He also said appointing a cabinet was a first step toward working on his promise to bring in 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of the year.
In a statement posted on the prime minister’s official website, Trudeau also reaffirmed his promises to work with Canada’s aboriginal people, address climate change and fulfill the country’s “sacred obligation” to military veterans.
Retired Lt.-Gen. Andrew Leslie and former Toronto police chief Bill Blair were shut out, even though many observers speculated that they would be given cabinet positions.
Trudeau and his ministers will address the media again after their first meeting on Wednesday afternoon. Trudeau will also participate in a Google Hangout – an interactive video chat -- with kids from five different schools across the country.
- Minister of Finance Bill Morneau
- Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale
- Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Jody Wilson-Raybould
- Minister of National Defence Harjit Singh Sajjan
- Minister of Transport Marc Garneau
- Minister of Health Jane Philpott
- Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna
- Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence Kent Hehr
- Minister of International Trade Chrystia Freeland
- Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay
- Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion
- Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship John McCallum
- Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Carolyn Bennett
- President of the Treasury Board Scott Brison
- Leader of the Government in the House of Commons Dominic LeBlanc
- Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Singh Bain
- Minister of Public Services and Procurement Judy M. Foote
- Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Jean-Yves Duclo
- Minister of International Development and La Francophonie Marie-Claude Bibeau
- Minister of Natural Resources James Gordon Carr
- Minister of Canadian Heritage Mélanie Joly
- Minister of National Revenue Diane Lebouthillier
- Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour MaryAnn Mihychuk
- Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Amarjeet Sohi
- Minister of Democratic Institutions Maryam Monsef
- Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities Carla Qualtrough
- Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard Hunter Tootoo
- Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan
- Minister of Status of Women Patricia A. Hajdu
- Minister of Small Business and Tourism Bardish Chagger