Liberals Have Plenty of Talent to Make Up Gender-Balanced Cabinet

Photo by Jean-Marc Carisse.

Justin Trudeau promises to have gender parity in his cabinet. He announced that in his Democracy package back in June and, when asked about this on the weekend, he reaffirmed his position.

So who are the women who could make up his cabinet?

In a 30-member cabinet, Trudeau has to pick 15 strong female candidates and he certainly has enough to pick from given the women elected on October 19.

Judy Foote
Judy Foote. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia commons.

On the east coast is Judy Foote who was first elected as an MLA in the Newfoundland and Labrador legislature and served as minister in industry, trade and technology.

In Quebec, one of the new candidates is lawyer and social activist, Melanie Joly, who almost won the mayor’s job last fall.

Also in Montreal is Marwah Rizqy, an international tax law expert and professor. There’s also Linda Lapointe, a business woman and former Member of the Quebec National Assembly, from just north of the city.

Ontario has some seasoned MPs, Carolyn Bennett, the junior health minister in Paul Martin’s government, Judy Sgro and Kirsty Duncan from the Toronto area. A newer member, Chrystia Freeland, elected in a by-election last year, is a journalist and author in economic affairs.

Jane Philpott from just north of Toronto is a possible health minister – she has been Chief of Family Medicine at Markham-Stouffville Hospital.

In Brampton, Ruby Sahota is a lawyer specializing in criminal law, litigation, and dispute resolution, and in Cobourg, Kim Rudd is a past president of Willis College and the Cobourg Chamber of Commerce.

In the Ottawa area there are several stars, Anita Vandenbeld and Catherine McKenna both have international development experience – Vandenbeld in building democracy and McKenna in law and human rights; and Karen McCrimmon is a former lieutenant-colonel in the Canadian Forces, a trailblazer in the air force.

In Manitoba, MaryAnn Mihychuk , former provincial MLA and minister of industry and mines (albeit as a provincial New Democrat) has ministerial experience. Vancouver has two experienced MPs. Hedy Fry who was multiculturalism minister in the Chretien days and Joyce Murray a former provincial minister of environment and of government services.

Jody Wilson Raybould. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia commons.

Jody Wilson-Raybould is former crown prosecutor, treaty commissioner and Regional Chief of the Assembly of First Nations and a Liberal star candidate.

And while we are on the subject, there are several male potential cabinet members. Ralph Goodale occupied the finance portfolio for two years under Paul Martin. Current finance critic Scott Brison, Bill Morneau – a Bay Street business leader and social activist – and Jim Carr from Winnipega could all be influential in the Liberal’s new cabinet. Another contender is Francois-Phillippe Champagne, an international business person from Quebec.

In defence, there could be retired general Andrew Leslie from the Ottawa area and Mauril Belanger, who was associate minister of defence under Martin, also an expert on cultural and national identity issues.

In justice and national security roles there are Marco Mendicino, a crown prosecutor who beat Conservative finance minister Joe Oliver and former police chief Bill Blair, both from Toronto; and former solicitor general Wayne Easter from Prince Edward Island.

Also on the east coast is Dominic LeBlanc, a lawyer and experienced parliamentarian who is a confidante of Trudeau, as is former fisheries minister from Nova Scotia, Geoff Regan.

Marc Garneau. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia commons.

In Ontario, Peter Fonseca from Mississauga is a former Ontario minister of Labour and of Tourism and Recreation. Navdeep Bains, also from Mississauga, is a former MP and a visiting professor at the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University. Bob Bratina has been mayor of Hamilton since 2010. In Toronto, former city councilor Adam Vaughan has had a lot of input into the party’s urban agenda, and MP Michael Levitt is an experienced businessman and community activist in the north of the city.

In Quebec, there is former Liberal Leader and environment minister Stephane Dion, former astronaut Marc Garneau, who has been an effective foreign affairs ciritc, and Emanuel Dubourg, elected in a recent bi-election who was a member of the National Assembly. Jean-Claude Poissant is a major figure in the agriculture and milk producing industry in Quebec, where he has been a leader with the Fédération des producteurs de lait du Québec, think TPP trade deal. Jean-Yves Duclos is Director of the Department of Economics at Université Laval and co-founder of the Poverty and Economic Policy Research Network. Denis Paradis is a former MP and Minister of State for Financial Institutions under Paul Martin. Anthony Housefather is the Liberal candidate in the hotly contested Mount Royal and the popular mayor of Côte-Saint-Luc within the riding.

From Alberta, Kent Hehr, a lawyer and former Alberta MLA, was elected in Calgary and high profile management consultant Randy Boissonnault was elected in Edmonton.

From the north, Nunavut’s Hunter Tootoo is a former MLA, minister and speaker of the territorial legislature

There are also many more who have considerable economic and business experience, with expertise in other fields as well.

Andrew Cardozo is president of the Pearson Centre for Progressive Policy and is an adjunct professor at Carleton University.