True to his word, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed women to 15 positions in his cabinet, making up half of the total of his 31-person cabinet (including himself).
One early announcement was Dr. Jane Philpott — a family physician and associate professor at the University of Toronto — as Minister of Health, but some of the more interesting choices include changes in titles, including amending "Minister of the Environment" to "Minister of the Environment and Climate Change" and "Minister of Labour" to "Minister of Employment, Workforce Development, and Labour." This slight difference in wording indicates where the prime minister's priorities will differentiate from his predecessor.
Jody Wilson-Raybould, the newly appointed minister of justice and attorney general of Canada, is the first Aboriginal justice minister in the history of the country.
Following his swearing-in ceremony Wednesday, Trudeau answered questions from the media, including one about why having a gender-balanced cabinet was so important to him.
He replied: "Because it's 2015."
Take a look at the women appointed to Trudeau's cabinet here. Story continues below:
Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs A family physician who has been an MP since 1997, Bennett was Canada's first minister of state for public health and oversaw the 2003 response to the SARS epidemic. In recent years, Bennett has served as the party's vocal critic on aboriginal affairs.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Wilson-Raybould is a former Crown prosecutor and regional chief of the B.C. Assembly of First Nations.
Minister of Public Services and Procurement An MP since 2008, and the party whip, Foote previously held several cabinet portfolios in Brian Tobin's provincial government.
Minister of International Trade An MP since 2013, Freeland was courted by Trudeau's team when she was a senior editor at Thomson Reuters in New York City.A Rhodes scholar, she is a well-known author and journalist. She was part of Trudeau's team of economic advisers.
Minister of Health Philpott is a family physician, associate professor at the University of Toronto, and former chief of the department of family medicine at Markham Stouffville Hospital.
Minister of International Development and La Francophonie Bibeau worked for the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) in Ottawa, Montréal, Morocco and Benin, Africa, before settling and launching her own business in her riding.
Minister of Canadian Heritage Joly, 36, made a name for herself by finishing second to ex-Liberal cabinet minister Denis Coderre in the Montreal mayoral race in 2013. She's a lawyer and communications expert.
Minister of National Revenue A small business owner who has been an elected warden for the Regional County Municipality of Rocher Percé since 2010, Lebouthillier won a seat in Gaspé that the Liberals haven't held in more than a decade.
Minister of the Environment and Climate Change McKenna, a human rights lawer, was a former legal adviser for the United Nations peacekeeping mission in East Timor and founded Canadian Lawyers Abroad (now known as Level), a charity focused on global justice issues.
Minister of Employment, Workforce Development, and Labour Mihychuk was an NDP MLA in Manitoba from 1995 to 2004, serving as minister of industry, trade, and mines, and later minister of intergovernmental affairs. She ran an unsuccessful Winnipeg mayoral campaign in 2004.
Minister of Democratic Institutions Monsef, a community organizer, was born in Afghanistan. She fled the Taliban and came to Canada as a refugee with her widowed mother and sisters in 1996.
Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities Qualtrough is a lawyer and former Paralympian. Legally blind, she won three Paralympic and four World Championship medals for Canada in swimming and was president of the Canadian Paralympic Committee.
Minister of Science Elected in 2008, Duncan taught meteorology, climatology, climate change, and medical geography at the university level.
Minister of Status of Women Hajdu was executive director of Thunder Bay's largest homeless shelter.
Minister of Small Business and Tourism Chagger, 35, worked for the Kitchener-Waterloo Multicultural Centre. She also worked on Trudeau's leadership campaign.
Trudeau's decision to emphasize gender parity in his cabinet was controversial, with many columns and broadcasts debating the decision in recent days.
Of the 184 Liberals appointed to office, 50 of them (or 27 per cent) were female.
The terms "merit" vs. "tokenism" has been on the tips of many people's tongues, with National Post columnist Andrew Coyne stating, "So far as we are putting representationalism before ability, we are also asking the country’s interests to take a back seat."
But from the perspective of one who's been there — Frances Lankin, who served in three cabinet posts in Bob Rae's Ontario government — a diverse cabinet can only be beneficial to the nation.
“These are very strong, able, capable women,” she told Metro News. “They will make their mark. Some will soar to the highest heights of competency, recognition and accomplishment — just as some men — and there will be some who turn out not to be so apt at the job — just as some men .. If there is any talk of tokenism, it will disappear.”
The Liberal government
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- Margaret Trudeau Joins Son Justin On Swearing-In Day At Rideau Hall
- Maryam Monsef Came To Canada As A Refugee. Now, She's A Cabinet Minister.
- The 15 Female Cabinet Members Appointed By Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
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- Justin Trudeau Sworn In As Prime Minister