Prime Minister Justin Trudeau revealed his new cabinet on Wednesday, and along with several major shuffles of existing ministers, he also brought in seven new members to sit around the table where key government decisions are made.
All but one of those new members of cabinet hail from either Ontario or Quebec, both provinces that play the deciding role in which political party gets to form government. But all bring a range of experience and backgrounds to the delicate political dance of trying to hold onto power in a minority government.
Here’s what you need to know about the new additions to cabinet.
Anita Anand (Minister of Public Services and Procurement Canada)
The new MP for Oakville is an Oxford-educated political rookie with a background in law and corporate governance.
She was born in Nova Scotia but has lived in Ontario for roughly 30 years.
Before being elected as a member of parliament, Anand was a professor of law at the University of Toronto.
According to the university’s website, she is “an expert on the regulation of capital markets with a specific focus on corporate governance, enforcement, capital-raising techniques and systemic risk” and both a senior fellow of Massey College as well as academic director for the business and legal ethics program at the university’s Centre for the Legal Profession.
She also holds the J.R. Kimber Chair in Investor Protection and Corporate Governance at the university and is on leave to serve as an MP.
Anand appears to also be both the first Hindu female MP and the first Hindu cabinet minister, according to a report by Business Insider.
While mandate letters have yet to be publicly released, expect some pretty big files on the new minister’s desk, including the fighter jet replacement competition and a pledge by the Liberals prior to the campaign to allow a third shipyard into the National Shipbuilding Strategy.
Both are major — and problem-plagued — files that have dogged successive Conservative and Liberal governments.
Mona Fortier (Minister of Middle-Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance)
Fortier is a familiar but still relatively new face in the House of Commons.
The Ottawa-Vanier MP was the first women to win the Liberal stronghold after the death of former MP Mauril Belanger prompted a by-election in 2017.
Politically active from a young age, Fortier was a member of the Franco-Ontarian Youth Federation (FESFO) when younger and got involved with the Liberals in Ottawa-Vanier while a student at the University of Ottawa, ultimately becoming something of a protegé to Belanger.
Prior to getting elected, Fortier built strong ties in the Ottawa community working as director of communications for La Cité college, the largest francophone college in Ontario, and serving as a board member for the city’s Hôpital Montfort and on the provincial advisory committee on francophone affairs.
After her first election in 2017, Fortier served on several parliamentary committees including those on official languages, human resources, a sports-related concussions sub-committee and the committee on access to information, privacy and ethics.
It was on the latter where she was one of the five Liberals who used their majority of votes to block Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion from testifying about his determination that Trudeau and his senior staff broke federal ethics rules by attempting to intervene in the court case of SNC-Lavalin.
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