[Canada] Trudeau gets to work

I’m just getting more and more enthused about this guy. Frankly the Liberal party as an institution has a chequered history, but Justin Trudeau is, to coin a perhaps ironic phrase, not your father’s Liberal Party. His cabinet was just sworn in, and Day 1 on the job begins. CBC has full coverage of the cabinet members which I think are all impressive, but here are some highlights that I particularly like:
The word “science” did not figure in Stephen Harper’s cabinet, except at minister of state level. Ed Holder, one of the lowest-profile members of the Harper cabinet, held that post at dissolution in August. Trudeau’s cabinet will feature not only a fully fledged minister of science (former climate scientist Kirsty Duncan), but also a minister of innovation, science and economic development (Navdeep Baines).

That certainly suggests the government is sending a message that it cares about science, and will be more open to scientific advice, than the former one. Liberal spokeswoman Genevieve Hinse said during a live chat on CBCNews.ca that the government wanted to separate pure science from its commercial application under economic development. Another significant change is to Environment, which becomes Environment and Climate Change, making it clear that fighting global warming is at the heart of the government’s goals as environmental steward. That role goes to Ottawa MP Catherine McKenna, who has worked as a legal adviser with the UN.

Climate change did not rate a mention in Harper’s cabinet, nor in departmental names under his ministry.

Doesn’t that just inspire at least hopeful, cautious optimism, as Harper slinks quietly away into the sunset?

Among my favorites of the new cabinet members are Christia Freeland, now Minister of International Trade. Christia’s outspoken views have earned her frequent appearances on various talk shows like Colbert and Maher – when I say that she recently published a book called Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else, it tells you a lot about where she’s coming from.

A full-fledged science minister who happens to be a former climate scientist ain’t bad either. Let’s remember that one of Harper’s main objectives was to silence federal scientists, keep them from talking to the media, and if they got frustrated and quit, so much the better.

Another one I like is Catherine McKenna, the new Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the new name for the former Department of the Environment. The former Minister of the Environment was an ignorant lard-bucket who was a full-fledged climate change denier. McKenna is a bright and accomplished young lawyer with expertise in international affairs. I especially like her for the climate change portfolio because as cabinet ministers go, she’s quite hot herself. :smiley: No sexism here, I’m seriously delighted that fully half of Trudeau’s cabinet are women. When asked why, he replied “because it’s 2015”. Love it!

This is a picture of Trudeau, his wife and some of his new cabinet presumably walking to Rideau Hall on the day of swearing-in. McKenna is the one on the far left. There are autumn leaves in the background but, call me an old sap, looking at all those bright young people – and remembering what we had before – I feel like calling it “springtime in Canada”. :slight_smile:

Your Minister of Transport being a former astronaut is pretty cool!

And our new Minister of Defence is a Sikh warrior!

That last one is a first for sure, but apparently he has quite the track record both in police work and intelligence work under combat in Afghanistan and is a decorated combat veteran. Does a defense minister necessarily have to be a WASP? Maybe Rumsfeld is available!

I’m so jealous. I wish America would follow your lead.

Well I am more than a little concerned about his decision to appoint a “gender balanced” cabinet. What that tells me is that some of the cabinet ministers may very well not be the best person available.
The best person should get the job, regardless of their gender. I don’t care if the person selected is a
man, a woman or something in between, so long as they are the best person available.
We will have to wait and see, but this being his first major decision does not bode well for the country.
He did promise to have 50% men and 50% women and he followed through on that, for better or for worse.
Now let’s see about the 25,000 Syrian refugees that he wants to bring in by the end of the year.:eek:

Did you even read the OP? Even a little bit?

I suggest you look into the background and experience of ALL of the cabinet ministers. They are all very well qualified. In the meantime, the following link is for you:

50% female cabinet appointments lead to 5000% increase in guys who suddenly care about merit in cabinet

[QUOTE=wolfpup;The former Minister of the Environment was an ignorant lard-bucket who was a full-fledged climate change denier. [/QUOTE]

I can’t say I particularly liked her, but I spend a lot of time working on Arctic species conservation, and she was always very supportive of my work (via her staff).

My favourite story is about the time I got a big hug from a very drunk Minister of the Environment, around 5 in the morning, in a bar in Moscow, Russia. A bunch of us had been drinking all night. It was kind of surreal…

Just to clarify - I approve of this appointment.

If you feel that strongly about the resumes of our new cabinet members, then you better check the resume of our PM.

I have - seems fine to me. I did not buy into the election crap about “just not ready”. Neither did most other Canadians.

Of course, he is lacking that all-important experience of being a mail-room boy for an oil company in Calgary that Harper had…

Trudeau’s job now is to lead his MP’s and to select a good team to support him in cabinet. So far, so good. The “he’s just not ready” crappola was rejected by Canadians. It’s a bit useless to continue beating that horse.

+1 I know his background and experience, and although I haven’t met Trudeau himself, I know a couple of his closest friends and advisers very well. I am completely satisfied with his qualifications. He needs to surround himself with smart, qualified people, and listen to their advice. As Euphonious Polemic said, so far so good…

Indeed. There once was a time that Ministers were given broad discretion in how they did their jobs, and were trusted to do them properly, and the PM generally oversaw that via being the head of the Cabinet. Recent years have seen the decay of that system, as Ministers gave up power to the PM, who took on more control and responsibility. That led to the sort of weak Ministers we saw under Harper, who quite often had absolutely crap qualifications for their departments. That Trudeau is going out of his way to find actual qualified Ministers suggests he’s moving back to the old way of operating.

This can only be a good thing, because it’s fundamentally impossible for any one person to actually know everything they need to know to make decisions on so many different topics. At some point, you have to trust the people around you, and that was something Harper seemed incapable of doing.

I’m really hoping that this signals the end of the power being concentrated in the PMO. This has been ongoing for a number of years, but under Harper, the “lads” in the Prime Ministers Office were responsible for telling the Cabinet Ministers what to say and what their policies were.

Or, as (former) conservative politician Brent Rathgeber put it

“The socialization and indoctrination effects of the PMO subculture cannot be overstated. I have witnessed young, seemingly normal and well-adjusted college graduates enter the PMO and, within six months, morph into arrogant, self-absorbed zealots, with an inflated sense of importance and ability.”


“Junior staffers (in the PMO) concocting schemes, micromanaging legislators, providing bogus stories covered by flimsy talking points, and all with a haphazard respect for truth, are all indicative of a Prime Minister’s Office run with a malfunctioning moral compass”

Well . . . that is . . . grumblemumblemutter . . . you guys still put cheese curds on your fries, so there!

Fair enough, but Leona Aglukkaq as Minister of the Environment was no friend of the environment … though also to be fair, she may have been forced to toe the party line – it’s not as if Harper’s cabinet ministers had much choice but to be in lock step with the prescribed ideology …
Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq Calls Climate Change “Debatable”
In a CTV interview, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s environment minister Leona Aglukkaq seemed reluctant to admit that climate change was a scientifically proven reality.

Mike De Souza writes for Postmedia News, that “when asked whether the ice was melting in the Arctic, considered by climate scientists to be part of the evidence of global warming, Aglukkaq said there may or may not be changes underway.”

During the interview, which was aired during CTV’s daily political program Power Play, host Don Martin brought up the issue of disappearing arctic sea ice. Aglukkaq, who represents the riding of Nunavut in Parliament, responded that people like her in the north were “seeing those changes every day, or no changes, what have you.”

She also said that “there was a report that came out yesterday, I have not received a copy of that but there’s always a debate around science and what’s changing.”

… De Souza notes that other members of Harper’s cabinet have “openly questioned scientific evidence about climate change,” including Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver. In an April interview, Oliver suggested that that scientists had “recently told us that our fears (about climate change) were exaggerated.” He was unable to name said scientists or cite any of their research at the time.

An MPSIMS thread on the Trudeau Cabinet: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=774315

Not a fair criticism – that particular artery-blocking heart-attack-in-a-box can be blamed entirely on Quebec! :smiley:

I don’t know if that’s supposed to be sarcastic or serious or just tongue-in-cheek, but it doesn’t matter because my response would be the same. We all have our our periods of national renaissance. How do you think I felt in 2008 when you guys elected Obama and we had that freaking doofus Harper and his gang of ideologues and scientific illiterates? And look at some of Obama’s major executive appointments – Stephen Chu and Ernest Moniz as former and current energy secretaries, or Gina McCarthy at the EPA. Further back in history, JFK’s all too brief “Camelot” was practically a national transformation.

And, though Obama has left some feeling a bit let down, just today he came through again by rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline, an environmental debate that has been raging for seven years. Which, rather ironically, left Trudeau in the awkward position of having to say he was “disappointed”. Politically, I’m not sure he could have done otherwise, this being such a political hot button in Alberta. But I note that the guy who is “disappointed” with the cancellation of Keystone XL is the same guy who campaigned on a promise to cancel our own version, the Northern Gateway pipeline to the west coast, for environmental reasons.

Maybe I’m just a dreamy optimist, but I have high hopes for this new government.

So far, I have to admit, Trudeau has in the short time since the election exceeded my expectations. However, we are still in the “honeymoon” phase. I am: cautiously optimistic.

The largest gamble will be in his stated goal to work as a ‘team player’, in sharp contrast to Harper (or, indeed, his own father for that matter). This could pay off big time. However, the risk is that it will lead to incoherence.

We can’t see in the first few weeks - right now he, and his cabinet, are doing the easy stuff, implementing changes that don’t call for a struggle between the regions or between portfolios. We must wait until the hard choices, the crisis, that are undoubtedly coming, happen. Then we will see if he’s got a crew whose strength is multiplied by its diversity of talents - or a crowd all pulling in different directions.

And the long-form census is back!

Mandatory long-form census restored by new Liberal government

I acknowledge that it seems very geeky that this should give me pleasure, but when the Conservatives abolished it in 2010, that was actually one of the clearest signs of their rejection of science in favour of ideology. Governments of all levels and stripes need good, reliable information about the people, in order to provide services to the people.

I remember at the time being intrigued and bemused by how such an apparently dull topic caught on. I could imagine the backroom discussion in Tony “Guppy” Clement’s office: “a census form - surely only stats folks would worry about that?”

Instead, it was a story that had legs, that lasted for more than a month in the summer of 2010, and led to Canada’s Chief Statistician resigning in protest, coming as close as he could to calling out Tony Clement as a liar.

The Conservatives were clearly taken aback by it all: I remember seeing a quote from Tony about how they had thought the abolition of the long-form would be a “good news” story - just showed how out of touch their anti-science, anti-government ideology was.