Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet is a refreshing take on building federal leadership.
A scan of the cabinet line-up looks largely like a snapshot of today’s Canada. Our population includes roughly half men and women; we are no longer a country of First Nations, French and English but rather a diverse tapestry of people and cultures that includes these three but also so much more.
In decades past, the federal cabinet, like so many areas of North American culture, was dominated by white males, largely because that was who was in a position to run for parliament.
In more recent years, women candidates began making inroads into higher-raking positions, and with them individuals of different ethnicities who before had been sorely under-represented.
Post-election, our expectations for cabinet were primarily regionally based – prime ministers needed to assign positions to both French and English MPs, and ensure different regions were shown a little love with a seat at the table. Other than the French/English mix, cultural considerations and gender balance were rarely discussed.
Today, Trudeau has given Canadians a cabinet that while not perfect, better represents our country today, where a good selection of talent allowed him to challenge outdated stereotypes of what constitutes “merit.”
Should someone be chosen for a particular portfolio simply because they are male, female, French, English, Inuit or Sikh?
But given the array of educated, skilled and experienced MPs from which to choose, Trudeau’s leadership team provides a welcome balance that more accurately reflects the nation it represents.