Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the media gathered outside Rideau Hall on Wednesday that it’s an “incredible pleasure” to present a cabinet that “looks like Canada.”
And when he was asked by a reporter about why it’s important to build a cabinet with gender parity in mind, his answer was to the point.
“Because it’s 2015.”
Watch Trudeau’s full answer below:
The response elicited cheers from the crowd, many of them members of the public after Rideau Hall opened its grounds to those seeking to witness the change of government.
It’s also one that takes the wind out of recent debates about quotas and merit-based appointments in the lead-up to Wednesday’s highly-anticipated reveal of Trudeau’s Liberal cabinet.
I love how we all just spent 3 days carefully justifying the radical idea of gender parity and Trudeau answers with "because it's 2015."
— Adam Stirling (@Adam_Stirling) November 4, 2015
I never expected to see gender parity in cabinet in my lifetime nor a cabinet so diverse. We'll see if it means change. I hope so. #cdnpoli
— Lindsay Brown (@Lidsville) November 4, 2015
— Jo Zhou (@Jo_AnnZhou) November 4, 2015
In a blog for HuffPost, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May weighed in on the debate by criticizing the argument that appointments based on gender parity will bring “incompetent” ministers into power.
“I do not recall anyone questioning the merits of male ministers being appointed as the vast majority of cabinets — forever,” wrote May. She listed Julian Fantino, Vic Toews, and Pierre Poilievre as poor ministerial picks by former prime minister Stephen Harper.
Trudeau followed through on his campaign pledge to appoint an equal number of men and women to cabinet. At 30, the Liberal cabinet is smaller than the 39-member one belonging to the previous Conservative government.
Among the 15 women given appointed, many were given important portfolios including Jody Wilson-Raybould to justice, Carolyn Bennett to indigenous and Northern affairs, and Chrystia Freeland to international trade.
Of the 184 Liberal MPs elected to the House of Commons on Oct. 19, 50 are women.
Read the full list of Liberal cabinet ministers, by order of precedence, below:
- Justin Trudeau (Quebec) — Prime Minister, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Youth.
- Ralph Goodale (Saskatchewan) — Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
- Lawrence MacAulay (P.E.I.) — Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
- Stéphane Dion (Quebec) — Minister of Foreign Affairs
- John McCallum (Ontario) — Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship
- Carolyn Bennett (Ontario) — Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs
- Scott Brison (Nova Scotia) — President of the Treasury Board
- Dominic LeBlanc (New Brunswick) — Leader of the Government in the House of Commons
- Navdeep Bains (Ontario) — Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development
- Bill Morneau (Ontario) — Minister of Finance
- Jody Wilson-Raybould (B.C.) — Minister of Justice Minister and Attorney General
- Judy Foote (Newfoundland and Labrador) — Minister of Public Services and Procurement
- Chrystia Freeland (Ontario) — Minister of International Trade
- Jane Philpott (Ontario) — Minister of Health
- Jean-Yves Duclos (Quebec) — Minister of Families, Children, and Social Development
- Marc Garneau (Quebec) — Minister of Transport
- Marie-Claude Bibeau (Quebec) — Minister of International Development and La Francophonie
- Jim Carr (Manitoba) — Minister of Natural Resources
- Mélanie Joly (Quebec) — Minister of Canadian Heritage
- Diane LeBouthillier (Quebec) — Minister of National Revenue
- Kent Hehr, (Alberta) — Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence
- Catherine McKenna (Ontario) — Minister of Environment and Climate Change
- Harjit Sajjan (B.C.) — Minister of National Defence
- MaryAnn Mihychuk (Manitoba) — Minister of Employment, Workforce Development, and Labour
- Amarjeet Sohi (Alberta) — Minister of Infrastructure and Communities
- Maryam Monsef (Ontario) — Minister of Democratic Institutions
- Carla Qualtrough (B.C.) — Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities
- Hunter Tootoo (Nunavut) — Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard
- Kirsty Duncan (Ontario) — Minister of Science
- Patty Hajdu (Ontario) — Minister of Status of Women
- Bardish Chagger (Ontario) — Minister of Small Business and Tourism
With files from Althia Raj
The Liberal government
- Trudeau's Cabinet Filled With Fresh Faces And Achieves Gender Balance
- What A New Canada Looks Like In One Photo
- The Prime Minister's Wife: What Is Her Title, Exactly?
- 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
- Giggling Inuit Throat Singers Delight At Trudeau Swearing In Ceremony
- Justin Trudeau Sworn In As Prime Minister