Only hours from now, Canadians will know the names and personages of the Liberal Party members of Parliament — some veterans, many more first time electeds, at least half of whom will be women — who will constitute the Trudeau government's diverse and unrivaled first Cabinet of equals.
Speculation has run rampant lo these many days. Today, what the pundits think they know. As for the rest of us, we'll know soon enough — on or before 7:30 a.m. PST, Wednesday, while we watch live coverage of change in motion, as Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau and his chosen Cabinet alight from the bus that will transport them to Rideau Hall, to be sworn into office by Canada's Governor General, David Johnston.
First off, read this very fine column by Kate Heartfield in the Ottawa Citizen, a defense of gender parity in the Trudeau cabinet.
For one thing, it is a statement of philosophy. Trudeau is the leader of a party that ... faces a number of challenges in which gender plays a part, from prostitution law to a promised inquiry about missing and murdered indigenous women.
The simplest answer to why women should make up half of Cabinet is, simply, why not?
"One human being out of two is a woman, so it is a question of simple justice that women hold half of political positions," explains Manon Tremblay, a professor at the University of Ottawa who studies gender and politics, in an email. "Since women are subjected to the law, they must have a fair participation in the public decision making process."
And who will be the strong Ministers of the Crown who will sit in Mr. Trudeau's Cabinet, who will develop policy, and transform your lives?
Finance. As we wrote yesterday, Toronto MP Chrystia Freeland seems to be the odds on favourite to become Canada's first female Minister of Finance. Tracking not so far behind her is former Nova Scotia Conservative Party member, and last term, Liberal Party shadow Finance critic, Scott Brison. Late speculation, from CTV News, has first-time elected Bill Morneau (Toronto Centre), "who has a Bay Street background but has never sat in Parliament" taking the position of Finance Minister, where he'll be supported by Université Laval economist Jean-Yves Duclos, who recently won his first federal election, representing Québec City in Parliament.
Environment. With the Paris Climate Change Conference due to get underway November 30th, Prime Minister Trudeau will want to be up-to-speed on environmental issues. Who better to appoint than former Liberal leader Stéphane Dion (and Paul Martin's Environment Minister)? Vancouver Quadra's Joyce Murray, a former British Columbia Environment Minister is also in the running — although late word is that she'll be passed over for cabinet entirely, as the B.C. seats in cabinet will go to three first-timers: Jody Wilson-Raybould, Carla Qualtrough and Pam Goldsmith-Jones.
There's speculation that PEI's Sean Casey will become Canada's new Justice Minister. Calgary's Kent Hehr is apparently set to become Treasury Board President, while his colleague, Edmonton City Councillor, Amarjeet Sohi is under consideration for National Revenue or Natural Resources minister. Winnipeg South Centre MP will likely become our next Agriculture Minister. New Brunswick Southwest MP? Why not Karen Ludwig as Fisheries Minister?
Then there are the new faces in the Liberal caucus, destined for cabinet: Medical geography professor Kirsty Duncan, the MP for Etobicoke (Science and Technology Minister?); either former Newfoundland cabinet minister, Yvonne Jones (Labrador), or Judy Foote (Random-Burin-St. George's), who held numerous cabinet posts in Clyde Wells' provincial government — but not both; Montréal lawyer (and close Trudeau family friend), Mélanie Joly (apparently slated to become Heritage Minister, as Canada prepares to mark 150 years; Ottawa lawyer and former U.N. legal advisor, Catherine McKenna; and former West Vancouver mayor, Pamela Goldsmith-Jones; not to mention the only BC lock for cabinet, Vancouver-Granville MP, Jody Wilson-Raybould, being touted as Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development minister; former Manitoba NDP provincial Minister of Industry, Trade and Mines, MaryAnn Mihychuk, looks to be set for Public Works minister; retired Lieutenant Colonel Karen McCrimmon is reportedly a lock for cabinet, as is refugee advocate and medical doctor, Jane Philpott, and from rural Québec, either businesswoman Diane Lobouthillie (Gaspé), or Marie-Claude Bibeau (Compton-Stanstead). Healthcare manager / former University of Toronto Vice-Chair, Celina Caesar-Chavannes (Whitby), is also under consideration. In addition, rookie Ontario MPs — representing the all important 905 area outside Toronto — investment specialist Karina Gould (Burlington), and community organizer Maryam Monsef (Peterborough-Kawartha) stand an outside chance of making the cut in Justin Trudeau's first cabinet.
Late speculation from the Sun chain of newspapers Parliamentary bureau chief David Akin had Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas Liberal MP Filomena Tassi making the cut, although Mr. Akin is the first pundit to report Ms. Tassi as a serious contender for cabinet; we'll know Wednesday morning.
Let's be very clear: with only 28 to 30 spots open in the Trudeau cabinet, perhaps only half of those named above will end up making the final cut.
The art of cabinet-making means diversity and regional representation, as well as representation from all creeds and cultures. As such Northern Ontario will have to be represented, most probably by Patty Hajdu (pronounced "high-dew"), the former executive director of Shelter House in Thunder Bay. Southwestern Ontario will have to have a seat at the table, so the chatter is that someone like Kate Young, a former TV anchor and newly elected MP for London West, will get a position.
Of course, old Liberal warhorse Ralph Goodale (Regina-Wascana) — the only Saskatchewan Liberal MP — will find almost certainly find himself in a senior cabinet portfolio, as will one time astronaut and Notre-Dame-de-Grâce-Westmount MP Marc Garneau, who is reportedly under consideration to become Canada's next Minister of Foreign Affairs. Dominic Leblanc (Beauséjour), an old family friend of the Trudeau family, is also all but a shoo-in for cabinet. Kelowna-Lake Country's Stephen Fuhr (Kelowna-Lake Country) to Veteran Affairs? Might be a good fit.
Also, there will be one Sikh minister, most likely Navdeep Bains, a Mississauga MP who played a key role in Trudeau's leadership bid in 2013, who will emerge as a trusted Justin Trudeau cabinet minister.
Men will hold up half the sky in the Trudeau cabinet, so there's likely room for retired Canadian Forces Lieutenant-General Andrew Leslie — late breaking news: according to the Globe and Mail, he's out , as are former Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, and Toronto lawyer Marco Mendicino, who turned 40 on election day. Former Manitoba business council head Jim Carr may be headed for cabinet, as is almost certainly the case with Québec City MP, the former head of the economics department at Laval University, Jean-Yves Duclos, who could become Canada's next Human Resources Minister, or take on an economic portfolio. All things being equal, there may be room for former speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut Hunter Tootoo (likely), but are prospects dimming for retired police and military officer, newly-elected Vancouver-South MP, Harjit Sajjan?
Absences from the cabinet list? On the outside looking in? Popular former Toronto City Councillor Adam Vaughan (Spadina-Fort York), who may be given a non-cabinet role related to affordable housing; former defense minister John McCallum (Markham-Thornhill); former cabinet minister Carolyn Bennett (Toronto-St. Paul's); former Solicitor General Wayne Easter (Malpeque, P.E.I), former Minister of Labour Lawrence MacAulay (Cardigan) — the longest-serving MP in the history of Prince Edward Island — former Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Geoff Regan (Halifax West), brother of former Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, David McGuinty (Ottawa South), former Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and Status of Women, and long-serving Vancouver Centre MP Hedy Fry, former Minister of Citizenship and Immigration in the Paul Martin government, Judy Sgro (Humber River-Black Creek), and Mark Holland (Ajax), a key organizer of Trudeau's 2013 leadership campaign could be on the outs.
Despite all the post-election speculation about how difficult it would be for Trudeau to choose a cabinet from the "abundance of riches" that Liberals won a majority government and 184 seats in the Oct. 19 election, according to insiders, the job turned out to be surprisingly easy. Trudeau, aided by Liberal co-campaign Chair and the Prime Minister's Chief of Staff, Katie Telford and policy wonk Gerald Butts, went about the process of building a cabinet considering several key factors: gender equity, ethnic diversity, regional distribution and a balance of new and veteran MPs, but leaning to young and generational change, versus old and experienced.
Stephen Harper's cabinet had 39 ministers. The Trudeau cabinet will likely be comprised of 28 to 30 members, the incoming Prime Minister dedicated to a leaner, more efficient cabinet team than his predecessor.
Posted by Raymond Tomlin at November 3, 2015 11:32 AM in Politics