The Canadian Liberal party, Canada’s newly elected leaders, have announced their new cabinet, and it looks ah-mazing.
It is a cabinet of 30 members, 15 of whom are women. Yes, you read that right: at this moment, there is gender parity in Canada’s cabinet.
Justin Trudeau, the leader of the Canadian Liberal party, showed pride in announcing a cabinet that “looks like Canada.”
When questioned directly about why the cabinet consisted of a full 50% women, Trudeau smiled, and, with a shrug, responded:
“Because it’s 2015.”
Canada’s new prime minister is proving himself to be a serious badass who believes in diversity and in hearing all views. Although he has faced criticism that he is placing too much importance on optics, and that he has too many “newbies” in the cabinet, I think he made some incredibly smart decisions.
Optics matter. They shouldn’t, because ideally we would live in a world in which skill and reputation are the only metrics that matter. But we don’t. Women and minorities are way underrepresented at upper levels in private companies and in government. Women face qualitative and quantitative disadvantages in the workforce, especially after they become mothers.
There are Canadian First Nations cabinet members (including Canada’s new Minister of Justice), and several visible minorities. There is a cabinet member was injured as a young man, and is now a quadriplegic in a power wheelchair. There is a cabinet member who has been blind since birth. Two of the men wear turbans, including Canada’s new Defense Minister. (Harjit Sajjan is a former military intelligence superstar and former hard-core police officer in a gang task force. He is receiving international attention for his major badassery.)
They are all rock stars. Many of the new cabinet members have won prestigious awards for business and social improvements in their communities. There are doctors, lawyers, a former freaking astronaut, plus entrepreneurs and business people. Every area of the country is represented, including the tundra provinces.
It is a testament to the Canadian Liberal party (and Trudeau’s leadership) that so many qualified and awesome candidates ran in the election, and were able to win their ridings. Trudeau’s task was not an easy one, but he made mindful choices. It may not be a perfect cabinet, and there will be growing pains, but Trudeau has stacked the deck for success.
At this moment in Canadian politics, I am proud to be Canadian. My country has gone from being known as a country full of reactionary Islamophobes, to a country that values and listens to all of its citizens’ voices.
Hopefully this wave of liberalism started by America’s northern neighbors will continue southward in the upcoming 2016 presidential election. For now, though, we can celebrate this win for diversity