VANCOUVER – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s new cabinet has been sworn-in, and there are four ministers from British Columbia, including some with high-profile portfolios. The Liberals won 11 of B.C.’s 42 seats in this year’s election, compared to 17 in 2015.
Joyce Murray, minister of digital government
Joyce Murray was first elected in 2008 and is the MP for Vancouver Quadra. She was previously president of the Treasury Board and once ran for the leadership of the Liberal party. This is a relatively new cabinet position that had previously been held by Scott Brison and Jane Philpott. The ministry is expected to focus on the digital strategy of the federal government.
Carla Qualtrough, minister of employment, workforce development and labour
Carla Qualtrough is the MP for Delta and was first elected in 2015. She has previously served as the acting president of the Treasury Board, minister of sport and persons with disabilities and the minister of public services, procurement and accessibility. Before entering politics, she had served as legal counsel for the Canadian Human Rights Commission. She has been visually impaired since birth and competed in the 1988 and 1992 Paralympic Games.
Harjit Sajjan, minister of national defence
Harjit Sajjan will be resuming his role as minister of national defence. Sajjan was first elected in 2015 and represents the riding of Vancouver South. He served three tours in Afghanistan and also worked for the Vancouver Police Department for 11 years.
Jonathan Wilkinson, minister of environment and climate change
Jonathan Wilkinson served as minister of fisheries and oceans and Canadian Coast Guard in Trudeau’s previous cabinet. This time, he’s been named minister of environment and climate change, a position previously held by Ottawa MP Catherine McKenna. Wilkinson will face some immediate challenges reaching out to Alberta and Saskatchewan over the federal government’s climate initiatives.
“I think Canadians were pretty clear during the campaign that they want strong action on climate change,” said Wilkinson after the cabinet swearing-in ceremony. He also mentioned his roots in Saskatchewan and his experience working as an executive in clean technology.
“But I think what they also said is that they want to make sure we’re being as thoughtful and as sensitive to the legitimate aspirations of all regions of the country. That certainly includes Alberta and Saskatchewan.”
Former minister of justice and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould congratulated the new cabinet ministers on Twitter, saying there was lots of work to be done.
“The country needs and deserves leadership that unifies the country, upholds truth, justice and ethics, as well as being a real voice of change and action on behalf of those who elected them and for all Canadians,” said the tweet.
Wilson-Raybould was elected as an Independent MP in Vancouver Granville. She resigned from the Trudeau cabinet over the SNC-Lavalin affair and was later removed from the Liberal caucus.