WORLD Canada's Trudeau gives women top portfolios in cabinet reshuffle


Canada's Trudeau gives women top portfolios in cabinet reshuffle


11:01, October 27, 2021

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau embraces Minister of National Defence Anita Anand during a Cabinet swearing-in ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau overhauled his Cabinet on Tuesday and named women to the foreign affairs and defense posts in a gender-balanced group of the government's top officials. He also named two men with strong environmental records to lead his government's fight against climate change.

Trudeau named Melanie Joly as foreign minister and Anita Anand as defense minister as part of a major Cabinet shuffle following September's vote, which handed Trudeau a third victory since 2015, albeit with a minority in the House of Commons. Chrystia Freeland retained her positions as deputy prime minister and finance minister.

Joly, a 42-year-old from Montreal, previously served as minister of economic development and before that as heritage minister. Anand, a 54-year-old from Oakville, Ontario, is just the second woman to serve as Canada's defense minister. She previously served as procurement minister and led the country's efforts to purchase COVID-19 vaccines.

Women make up half of the Cabinet since Trudeau's Liberal government was first elected in 2015.

Meanwhile, Trudeau's choice for positions that would affect the environment has sparked concern in the country's oil patch and hope among green advocates.

Steven Guilbeault was named environment and climate change minister, while Jonathan Wilkinson, who spent two decades in the green tech sector and then served as predecessor to Guilbeault for two years, took over as minister of natural resources. Canada is the world's fourth-biggest oil producer.

La Presse newspaper once dubbed Guilbeault "the green Jesus of Montreal." He has worked for green groups, including Greenpeace, for more than 20 years. In 2001, he climbed the CN Tower in Toronto to protest Canada's environmental record.

"This will be very concerning and frustrating for everyone who's part of the natural resource economy in Canada," Heather Exner-Pirot, a fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute think tank, told Reuters. She spoke from Calgary, the heart of the oil patch.

"Now someone who's worked for Greenpeace ... will have significant influence on how we go forward with our resource development," she added.

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