On November 4, 2015, Justin Trudeau and his cabinet of ministers were sworn into service of our country. His swearing-in broke many traditions, which may be a sign for change. Instead of the PM and his ministers showing up one by one in separate cars, they all showed up together in a bus to show unity in the cabinet. And for the first time in over ten years, the doors of Rideau Hall were open to the public, and those who waited outside were able to watch the ceremony from giant TV screens set up for them.
The most noticeable change however, is Trudeau’s promise of gender parity in the cabinet. He appointed 15 men and 15 women into his cabinet — it is the first time in Canadian history that both genders are equally represented in the cabinet. During a brief question period after the ceremony, a reporter asked why Justin Trudeau appointed an equal number of men and women, to which he cleverly responded, “Because it’s 2015.”
Despite having the most diverse cabinet ever when it comes to age, gender, sexuality, and backgrounds, some critics say that he picked his ministers based on social pressures instead of merit. Well, compared to Stephen Harper’s cabinet, each minister actually has relevant skills associated with their position. For example, the Honourable Harjit Sajjan, Canada’s new minister of national defence, actually has combat experience! He served the Vancouver Police Department as a detective for 11 years before joining the military, where he served as a lieutenant-colonel in the armed forces. So, instead of having pencil-pushing bureaucrats overseeing the defence of our country, we have a combat veteran who understands what it truly means to put lives at risk for the safety of many more.
From a family doctor becoming the minister of health, to a former medal-winning Paralympian overseeing sports and people with disabilities, each minister has been carefully selected and placed into areas where they will excel. The fact that people are complaining about equal representation of genders in this day and age is rather sad. Justin Trudeau didn’t just blindly throw people into random positions; he appointed those who he believed would help develop progress in our country, while keeping gender parity in mind.
Another interesting thing to point out during the swearingin ceremony is that some of the ministers decided to skip the line “So help me God” while reading out their oaths. While this ruffled some people’s feathers, I believe it’s important to not only respect the different races and religions of the people of Canada, but also of those who hold office in Parliament Hill. After all, they are a reflection of the diverse values of Canadians.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is already fulfilling his campaign slogan of “real change” by changing the stuffy way the swearingin ceremony is conducted, as well as by appointing a diverse and qualified group of ministers to help run the country. If this is a sign of the way Canadian politics are changing, perhaps the future will prove to be better for our great country