BRITISH COLUMBIA

B.C. Cabinet Ministers Have Impressive Back Stories

11/04/2015 07:23 EST | Updated 11/04/2015 07:59 EST

Three rookie MPs from B.C. are now part of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's cabinet, adding to their already lengthy resumes.

The trio were sworn in Wednesday to begin their first day on the job as federal ministers, but here's what they have done already:

Jody Wilson-Raybould, minister of justice and attorney general

jody wilson raybould

Jody Wilson-Raybould talks with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the swearing-in ceremony in Ottawa.

A former Crown lawyer and regional chief of the B.C. Assembly of First Nations, Wilson-Raybould is the first Aboriginal justice minister in Canadian history.

She uses her Kwak'wala name — Puglaas, which means "woman born to noble people" — as her Twitter handle.

After being elected in Vancouver Granville, she flagged First Nations concerns as one of Liberal government's biggest public policy issues.

"I certainly look forward to being part of a team that moves this important agenda piece forward,'' the minister told The Canadian Press last month, adding that she wants to see better engagement from the government.

Wilson-Raybould was among First Nations leaders who met with former prime minister Stephen Harper during the Idle No More protests in 2013.

Those talks, which were strongly opposed by a number of chiefs across Canada, took place before a backdrop of dramatic aboriginal unrest and a high-profile First Nations hunger protest in Ottawa. She has said the meeting with Harper led to her decision to run for the Liberals.

Carla Qualtrough, minister of sport and persons with a disability

carla qualtrough

Carla Qualtrough is sworn in on Nov. 4, 2015.

Qualtrough is a decorated Paralympian, having won three bronze medals in swimming for Canada in 1988 and 1992. Visually impaired since birth, the new minister has also worked as a lawyer and the vice-chair of B.C.'s Workers' Compensation Appeal Tribunal. She is the former legal counsel for both the B.C. and Canadian human rights commissions.

Elected as MP for Delta, Qualtrough unseated Conservative incumbent Kerry-Lynne Findlay.

Qualtrough holds a political science degree from the University of Ottawa, and another in law from the University of Victoria. She's also been named one of Canada’s most influential women in sport a whopping six times.

Harijit Singh Sajjan, minister of defence

harjit sajjan

Harijit Singh Sajjan is sworn in on Nov. 4, 2015.

Sajjan, who swept his riding of Vancouver-South by a considerable margin, was born in India and immigrated to Canada when he was five years old.

He served with the Vancouver Police Department for more than 10 years, with a focus on organized, gang-related crime, according to his website.

He's also served as lieutenant-colonel for the Canadian Armed Forces, having been sent to Afghanistan three times and once to Bosnia-Herzegovina. Sajjan, who received over a dozen awards for his military service, is the first Sikh to command a Canadian Army regiment.

With files from the Canadian Press

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