“Canada has never really had a gender-parity moment before, so it’s a big leap for us,” said Jonathan Malloy, an associate professor at Carleton University in an interview with NBC News. “Canadian politicians often talk about parity while running campaigns but it’s a big deal to actually do it.”
Huffington Post Canada reports that many of the new ministers are serving for the first time:
There are 18 first-time MPs appointed to the cabinet. Among them: Carla Qualtrough, a legally blind paralympian from Delta, B.C., who is the minister for sport and persons with disabilities; Ontario family doctor Jane Philpott, who is the new health minister; and Ottawa MP Catherine McKenna, who will be in charge of mitigating climate change as Canada’s new environment minister.
Trudeau is also expected to make each minister mandate letter—in other words, an outline of each position’s responsibilities—publicly available.
The prime minister’s liberalism (he is a self-proclaimed feminist and believes in ending tax breaks for the wealthy) is a marked change from his predecessor, Stephen Harper, who took active steps to make the country more conservative—he recently earned international headlines for attempting to ban the Muslim niqab.
In an interview with HuffPost Canada, newly-appointed democratic institutions minister Maryam Monsef (who is 30 years old, by the way) spoke about Trudeau’s effort at reaching parity.
“The more diverse your organization, your board, or, in this case, cabinet,” she said, “the more it reflects the realities of the population we are serving, and that can only be a good thing.”
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