On November 20, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced his new cabinet, welcomed a U of T law professor into the ministerial ranks, and resurrected the title of Deputy Prime Minister for University–Rosedale MP Chrystia Freeland. Freeland, whose riding includes UTSG, is also charged with the office of the minister of intergovernmental affairs. Newly elected Oakville MP and U of T law professor Anita Anand was also named the minister of public services and procurement.
Freeland and Anand are among the 18 women who make up half of Trudeau’s cabinet, in continuation of the prime minister’s 2015 commitment to gender parity; Trudeau himself tips the balance with 19 men.
Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs
Freeland is the first to serve as deputy prime minister since Anne McLellan under former Prime Minister Paul Martin in 2006. The title was first used in Canada by Justin Trudeau’s father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, in 1977.
While the role comes with no formal duties, deputy prime ministers have historically answered questions on behalf of the prime minister during Question Period, and almost all deputy prime ministers have held other ministerial positions.
How much power Freeland will hold and where that power will lie will depend on Trudeau’s vision for the role, which will not be clear until her mandate letters are released. Freeland did affirm in an interview with CTV News that she “did not take on this job to be a spokesmodel.”
Unlike vice presidents in the United States, deputy prime ministers do not automatically become the head of the government in the event that the prime minister dies or resigns. However, in the cabinet’s order of precedent for succession, Freeland is now second, outranked only by the prime minister.
Freeland, who previously held the foreign affairs portfolio, has also been named Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. This role will have her overseeing the federal government’s relations with the 13 provincial and territorial governments of Canada.
Anita Anand, Minister of Public Services and Procurement
Anand is not only new to cabinet, but also to parliament. Her political career began this past October after she was elected federal MP for the riding of Oakville. Anand’s new role as minister of public services and procurement will have her overseeing the internal administration of the federal government as its principal banker, including oversight of the controversial Phoenix pay system which processes payroll for federal employees.
Minister Anand is a U of T Faculty of Law professor and is cross-appointed to the Rotman School of Management and the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. She is currently on leave from the university to attend to her new positions.
For the past two decades, Anand has been a legal academic specializing in capital market regulation, corporate governance, and the rights of investors. Besides being an award-winning scholar, Anand has also provided expert consultation to the Ontario government through a number of committees.
She is the first Hindu person to be appointed as a Canadian minister.
Cabinet by the numbers
While gender parity remains a constant from 2015, this cabinet sees the largest share of Ontario and Québec ministers, at 78 per cent, since 1965, according to CBC News. 17 ministers hail from Ontario ridings — including Freeland and Anand — and 11 from Québec, for a combined total of 28 out of 36 ministers coming from just two provinces. While Ontario and Québec are the most populous of the provinces and territories, their share only makes up just over 61 per cent of Canada’s overall population, meaning that they are overrepresented in cabinet.
14 cabinet ministers from 2015 have notably not maintained their positions in the new 2019 cabinet. Among them, six ministers resigned, four were removed, two lost their ridings, and two were moved to different appointments within the government.