In a first, a Hindu woman lawmaker has been inducted into Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Cabinet of 37 ministers.
Anita Anand, a former law professor at the University of Toronto, joins three Sikh MPs Navdepp Bains, Bardish Chagger and Harjit Sajjan in the Cabinet.
Anand has been handed over the Public Services and Procurement portfolio which oversees public spending including the purchase of military hardware, according to the Toronto Star.
Anand is a legal academic, lawyer, researcher, and mother of four children. She was born and raised in rural Nova Scotia before moving to Ontario in 1985, according to her profile on the PM of Canada website.
In the last two decades, she held the J R Kimber Chair in Investor Protection and Corporate Governance at the University of Toronto, served as associate dead and was a member of the Governing Board of Massey College and the Director of Policy and Research at the Capital Markets Research Institute, Rotman School of Management. She has also taught law at Yale Law School, Queen’s University, and Western University.
Anand holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Political Studies from Queen’s University, a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Jurisprudence from the University of Oxford, a Bachelor of Laws from Dalhousie University, and a Master of Laws from the University of Toronto.
While Navdeep Bains, an MP from Mississauga, retained his Innovation, Science and Industry portfolio. He was previously the Parliamentary Secretary to former prime minister Paul Martin. Before entering politics, Bains taught at Ryerson University and had worked in accounting at the Ford Motor Company in Canada.
Harjit Sajjan also retained his National Defence portfolio. He was first elected as MP for Vancouver South in 2015. He had previously worked as a detective in Vancouver Police department and served as Lieutenant Colonel with the British Columbia Regiment.
Last year, Trudeau’s visit to India was overshadowed by the prescence of Bains and Sajjan, who accompanied him on the visit. The two minsiter are accused of sympathising with the Khalistan movement. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had previously refused to meet the ministers and called them “Khalistanis”
Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth Bardish Chagger was also elected to Parliament in 2015. She previously worked at the Kitchener-Waterloo Multicultural Centre and as an executive assistant to former MP Adrew Telegdi. She graduated from the University of Waterllo with a Bachelor of science.
Amarjeet Sohi, who was part of the 2015 Cabinet, is not returning this time after his defeat in the election.
“The new strong and skilled team. There’s lots of work ahead, and we’re ready to keep moving Canada forward,” Trudeau tweeted.
“I’m very excited today to be able to get down to work the way Canadians asked us to in this last election. To pull together the country, focus on issues of economic growth for the middle class, to fight climate change, and to keep Canadians and their communities safe. That is our focus, and this is the team to do that,” Trudeau was quoted as saying by the CTV news.
In the Canadian general election held in October, the Liberal Party bagged 157 seats, the opposition Conservative 121, Bloc Quebecois 32, Indian-origin Canadian Jagmeet Singh-led New Democratic Party (NDP) 24, Green Party 3 and one Independent.
To reach the majority of 170 in the 338-seat House of Commons, the Liberals are short of 13 members.
This means that meaning in order to pass votes and advance their agenda, the Liberals must gain the support of the opposition MPs, the CTV reported.
with PTI inputs