OTTAWA Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has welcomed some new faces into his cabinet, including some rookie MPs and former Liberal backbenchers.
Steven Guilbeault, Canadian Heritage
Guilbeault, a prominent Quebec environmental activist, was one of the Liberals’ star candidates during the federal election campaign and was highly expected to be tapped for cabinet after winning the Montreal riding of Laurier_Sainte-Marie in the Oct. 21 vote. Guilbeault, who spent a decade with Greenpeace and also founded a major Quebec environmental advocacy group called Equiterre, has been an outspoken opponent of the Trans Mountain pipeline project, which the Liberal government bought and has promised will get built. But Guilbeault has said he felt he could do more to fight climate change from inside the Liberal tent.
Anita Anand, Public Services and Procurement
The law professor, who took the Toronto-area riding of Oakville from the Conservatives, might be new to federal politics, but she has experience working with Liberal governments. In 2015, she was appointed by Ontario’s former Liberal finance minister, Charles Sousa, to sit on the provincial government’s expert committee on financial planning. He expertise in corporate governance and shareholder rights makes her an logical choice to head the department overseeing procurement and administration.
Marc Miller, Indigenous Services
Miller, a long-time close friend of Trudeau, has represented the Montreal riding of Ville-Marie_Le Sud-Ouest_Ile-des-S?urs since 2015. He was chosen for this new role in part because of his work as parliamentary secretary to Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett, when he led federal discussions over a proposed land deal in Oka, Que. that had created tensions between its residents and the neighbouring Mohawk community of Kanesatake. Miller also learned the Mohawk language and was the first to speak it in the House of Commons.
The former federal prosecutor, who defeated former Conservative finance minister Joe Oliver in his Toronto riding in 2015, held a few parliamentary secretary roles in the previous Parliament, including for the ministers of infrastructure and justice. It’s his legal background that is believed to have led to his promotion to cabinet, which included fighting against organized crime and terrorism. His Italian heritage and close connection to cultural communities is also something the Trudeau government likely sees as an asset for Mendicino as the new immigration minister.
Deb Schulte, Seniors
The Toronto-area MP served as the parliamentary secretary to the national revenue minister before the election. She sponsored a private member’s bill recognizing the contributions that Canadians of Italian heritage had made to Canadian society, which the House of Commons passed in 2017. Schulte is a Princeton University graduate with a degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering. She served in both regional municipal government in Vaughan, Ont., before entering federal politics. Before that, she worked in management for Bombardier Aerospace for 22 years.
Dan Vandal, Northern Affairs
The Winnipeg MP is expected to bring experience to this role, both as the former parliamentary secretary of Indigenous Services and from his 17 years on Winnipeg city council, including time as deputy mayor. His Metis heritage will also help bring important experience and perspectives to his discussions with stakeholders, as well as decisions made around the cabinet table.