The New Government: Diversity

Diversity • Cabinet Ministers • Cabinet Committees

Renewal Update – A joke making the rounds questions the diversity in the composition of the new Liberal government. “All I see is Liberals,” the punchline says.

On the topic of the diversity in the cabinet, a reader tells us, “The government is being presented to Canadians as progressive because the cabinet supposedly reflects Canadians on the basis of skin colour and gender. The image of a Minister of Defence that is a Sikh, the Minister of Justice, an Indigenous woman are held up as key examples.

“For many the Harper government did not reflect Canadians, but this was not based on the colour of the cabinet’s skin, or gender; it was what it stood for, the manner in which it operated in the most self-serving way possible and the manner in which it put itself at the disposal of the rich while attacking the working class. Now skin colour, religion and gender are being made synonymous with a government that is reflective of Canadians’ interests and values.

“For us the main issue is the partisanship of the government, the cabinet. Whose interests does it uphold? In this respect the make-up of the cabinet reflects the fact that the working class and oppressed people are not at all represented in Parliament. The Ministers were selected by the Trudeau team and what is now the PMO. They established the criteria and assigned the portfolios. The Ministers were not selected by the MPs and the MPs themselves were not selected by the people. They were selected by the Liberal Party and then given the Liberal platform to represent in the election with the aim of presenting themselves as more progressive than the NDP so as to become the beneficiaries of the widespread hatred for Harper.

“Now we are told that this platform came from Canadians when it fact it did not. None of the cabinet were put forward by the working people to represent definite sectors of the economy or social concerns. None of the cabinet come from the working class elected by their peers to defend their interests or oppressed people to defend their rights.

“It is clear that now a Workers’ Opposition must represent the missing voice of the working class and people.”

Another reader points out, “A great deal of effort was taken at the swearing-in ceremony for the new government to give the appearance of respect for Indigenous cultures. Besides several performances by talented First Nations, Inuit and Metis youth, a representative of the Governor General’s office made a statement acknowledging that the event was taking place on ‘traditional Algonquin territory.’

“This practice of acknowledgment has become widespread and while it may have started in university activist circles, in recent years it has been adopted by university administrators and other official bodies. As a response not a few have made sure to point out that in the case of Ottawa, the territory is unceded and has never been formally surrendered to the Crown.

“The ‘acknowledgement’ by the Governor General takes on a far different meaning than just as a feel-good self-affirmation and celebration. Thomas Clair, a well-known Mi’kmaq artist found himself face-to-face with this meaning when he decided to attend the public gathering outside Rideau Hall.

“Clair said he was feeling happy about the change in government and went to see the swearing in. He wrote on Facebook that he was disappointed to see cabinet ministers swearing allegiance to the Queen and saying nothing about the people, but nonetheless walked away hopeful. After he left the grounds Clair was pulled aside by a group of RCMP officers who demanded to see his ID. He asked why, and the police said they had seen a ‘suspicious Native man’ leaving the grounds. He said the police knew the ‘suspicious’ man’s name, so Clair asked if it was ‘Thomas.’ No, they replied. Police pressed him and though he knew he had no legal obligation to show ID Clair did not want to face the prospect of how they might respond.

“This is what happens when ‘Acknowledgement’ is used to convey ‘Not Yours Anymore.’”


Cabinet Ministers in the New Government

The ministers under the new government are:

Prime Minister, Youth and Intergovernmental Affairs – Justin P. J. Trudeau (Papineau)

Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness – Ralph Goodale (Regina-Wascana)

Agriculture and Agri-Food – Lawrence MacAulay (Cardigan)

Foreign Affairs – Stéphane Dion (St. Laurent)

Immigration, Citizenship and Refugees – John McCallum (Markham—Thornhill)

Indigenous and Northern Affairs – Carolyn Bennett (St. Paul’s)

Treasury Board President – Scott Brison (Kings—Hants)

Leader of the Government in the House of Commons – Dominic Leblanc (Beauséjour)

Innovation, Science and Economic Development – Navdeep Bains (Mississauga—Malton)

Finance – Bill Morneau (Toronto Centre)

Justice and Attorney General of Canada – Jody Wilson-Raybould (Vancouver Granville)

Public Services and Procurement – Judy Foote (Random—Burin—St. George’s)

International Trade – Chrystia Freeland (University—Rosedale)

Health – Jane Philpott (Markham—Stouffville)

Families, Children and Social Development – Jean-Yves Duclos (Québec)

Transport – Marc Garneau (Westmount—Ville-Marie)

International Development and La francophonie – Marie-Claude Bibeau (Compton—Stanstead)

Natural Resources – James Carr (Winnipeg South Centre)

Heritage – Mélanie Joly (Ahuntsic—Cartierville)

National Revenue – Dianne Lebouthillier (Îles-de-la-Madeleine)

Veterans Affairs, and Associate Minister of National Defence – Kent Hehr (Calgary Centre)

Environment and Climate Change – Catherine McKenna (Ottawa Centre)

National Defence – Harjit Sajjan (Vancouver South)

Employment Workforce Development and Labour – MaryAnn Mihychuck (Kildonan-St. Paul)

Infrastructure and Communities – Amarjeet Sohi (Edmonton Mill Woods)

Democratic Institutions – Maryam Monsef (Peterborough—Kawartha)

Sport, and Persons with Disabilities – Carla Qualtrough (Delta)

Fisheries and Oceans, and Canadian Coastguard – Hunter Tootoo (Nunavut)

Science – Kirsty Duncan (Etobicoke North)

Status of Women – Patricia Hajdu (Thunder Bay—Superior North)

Small Business and Tourism – Bardish Chagger (Waterloo)


Cabinet Committees

The Minister of Finance and the President of the Treasury Board are ex-officio members of Committees where they are not shown as standing members.

Cabinet Committee on Agenda and Results

Sets the government’s forward agenda and tracks progress on priorities.

Chair
Justin P. J. Trudeau

Members
Ralph Goodale
Dominic LeBlanc
Navdeep Singh Bains
William Francis Morneau
Jody Wilson – Raybould
Judy M. Foote
Chrystia Freeland
Jean-Yves Duclos
Mélanie Joly
Harjit Singh Sajjan

Treasury Board

Acts as the government’s management board. Provides oversight of the government’s financial management and spending, as well as oversight on human resources issues. Is the employer for the public service, and establishes policies and common standards for administrative, personnel, financial and organizational practices across government. Fulfills the role of the Committee of Council in approving regulatory policies and regulations, and most orders-in-council. Responsible for reporting to Parliament.

Chair
Scott Brison

Vice-Chair
John McCallum

Members
William Francis Morneau
Jane Philpott
Jean-Yves Duclos
Catherine McKenna

Alternates
Lawrence MacAulay
Dominic LeBlanc
James G ordon Carr
Amarjeet Sohi
Maryam Monsef

Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs

Considers issues and strategies related to parliamentary affairs and the government’s legislative agenda.

Chair
Dominic LeBlanc

Vice-Chair
Judy M. Foote

Members
Lawrence MacAulay
Marc Garneau
Mélanie Joly
Kent Hehr
MaryAnn Mihychuk
Maryam Monsef
Hunter Tootoo

Cabinet Committee on Inclusive Growth, Opportunities and Innovation

Considers strategies designed to promote inclusive economic growth, opportunity, employment and social security, including sectoral strategies and initiatives. Responsible for initiatives that will strengthen and grow the middle class.

Chair
Jane Philpott

Vice-Chair
Jean-Yves Duclos

Members
Lawrence MacAulay
Carolyn Bennett
Scott Brison
Dominic LeBlanc
Navdeep Singh Bains
William Francis Morneau
Chrystia Freeland
James Gordon Carr
Diane Lebouthillier
Catherine McKenna
MaryAnn Mihychuk
Amarjeet Sohi
Bardish Chagger

Cabinet Committee on Diversity and Inclusion

Considers issues concerning the social fabric of Canada and the promotion of Canadian pluralism. Examines initiatives designed to strengthen the relationship with Indigenous Canadians, improve the economic performance of immigrants, and promote Canadian diversity, multiculturalism, and linguistic duality.

Chair
John McCallum

Vice-Chair
Mélanie Joly

Members
Carolyn Bennett
Jody Wilson-Raybould
Jean-Yves Duclos
Marie-Claude Bibeau
Kent Hehr
Maryam Monsef
Carla Qualtrough
Patricia A. Hajdu
Bardish Chagger

Cabinet Committee on Canada in the World and Public Security

Considers issues concerning Canada’s engagement with and participation in the international community, the promotion of Canadian interests and values abroad, the management of bilateral and multilateral relations, and international assistance. Responsible for issues related to domestic and global security.

Chair
Ralph Goodale

Vice-Chair
Jody Wilson-Raybould

Members
Stéphane Dion.
John McCallum
Chrystia Freeland
Marc Garneau
Marie-Claude Bibeau
James Gordon Carr
Catherine McKenna
Harjit Singh Sajjan

Canada in the World and Public Security: Sub-Committee on Canada-United States Relations

Considers issues concerning the fostering of strong relations between Canada and the United States and the advancement of mutual interests.

Chair
Chrystia Freeland

Vice-Chair
Ralph Goodale

Members
Lawrence MacAulay
Stéphane Dion
John McCallum
Navdeep Singh Bains
Jody Wilson-Raybould
Marc Garneau
James Gordon Carr
Catherine McKenna
Harjit Singh Sajjan
Bardish Chagger

Cabinet Committee on Intelligence and Emergency Management

Meets as required to consider intelligence reports and priorities and to coordinate and manage responses to public emergencies and national security incidents. Regularly reviews the state of Canadian readiness.

Chair
Justin P. J.Trudeau

Vice-Chair
Jody Wilson-Raybould

Members
Ralph Goodale
Stéphane Dion
Dominic LeBlanc
Judy M. Foote
Jane Philpott
Harjit Singh Sajjan

Cabinet Committee on Open and Transparent Government

Considers issues concerning the reform of democratic institutions and processes, and improving government transparency and openness.

Chair
Judy M. Foote

Vice-Chair
Carla Qualtrough

Members
Ralph Goodale
Scott Brison
Dominic LeBlanc
Jody Wilson-Raybould
Mélanie Joly
Diane Lebouthillier
MaryAnn Mihychuk
Maryam Monsef
Patricia A. Hajdu

Cabinet Committee on Environment, Climate Change and Energy

Considers issues concerning sustainable development, the stewardship of Canada’s natural resources, environment, energy,water and Canada’s contribution to addressing climate change.

Chair
Stéphane Dion

Vice-Chair
Chrystia Freeland

Members
Lawrence MacAulay
Carolyn Bennett.
Navdeep Singh Bains
James Gordon Carr
Catherine McKenna
Amarjeet Sohi
Hunter Tootoo
Kirsty Duncan

(Prime Minister’s Office)

Source: Renewal Update, November 5, 2015 • No. 209

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