COLUMN: Shuffling the deck chairs

Reflections after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces his new cabinet

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced his new cabinet.

Anyone who thought having less seats and a minority government would in turn result in a smaller cabinet will be disappointed to learn otherwise.

By the numbers the new cabinet now has 37 ministers in contrast to the 31 ministers announced by the Prime Minister after the 2015 majority.

In order to add so many new ministers in some cases a new ministry had to be created.

As an example we now have a Minister of Middle Class Prosperity.

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This is perhaps the first time where a well-known political talking point has now become a ministry.

At this point it is unclear what will be the mandate of this or any ministry as the official mandate letters have yet to be released.

Not counting Trudeau, of the remaining 36 ministers, 18 are female and 18 are male as the gender quota policy of the Prime Minister remains unchanged.

What has changed is the distribution of responsibilities.

In the last Parliament, women were appointed ministers or leaders in areas such as the Environment, Foreign Affairs, Justice and Attorney General, House Leader and President of Treasury Board,

In the 2019 cabinet, all of the roles mentioned above, including Finance, Transport, and National Defence are filled by men.

It is also of interest that the only two ministers, successfully re-elected, and not returned to cabinet were both women.

There of course is also considerable discussion over who was demoted and promoted however I believe these types of discussions tend to diminish the contributions of the minister and the portfolio in question, often unfairly.

I will also add that there are seven new faces at the cabinet table and I am certain that there will be no dispute for them serving in cabinet is a promotion.

Regionally the big winner of this cabinet is the City of Montreal, who now has seven ministers serving in Trudeau’s cabinet.

Seventeen ministers are from Ontario and 11 are from Quebec, compared to four from B.C.

Another significant change is that there is no longer a Minister for Democratic Institutions.

For those hoping that Trudeau would eventually honour his promise to end the first past the post voting system this seems increasingly unlikely as a result of this move.

Other ministerial portfolios also no longer exist.

As an example there is no longer a Minister of Sport nor is there a Minister of Science.

This leads to my question for this week: Given that there is no longer a Minster of Science or Sport, are you supportive that there is now a Minister of Middle Class Prosperity?

I can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.

Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan Similkameen Nicola. This riding includes the communities of Kelowna (specific boundaries), West Kelowna, Peachland, Summerland, Keremeos, Princeton, Merritt and Logan Lake.

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