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. 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”.