Four Indo-Canadians likely to feature in PM Justin Trudeau’s new cabinet
Canada’s cabinet will be announced on October 26, over a month since snap elections delivered results almost identical to those in 2019. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s new set-up is likely to again feature four Indo-Canadian ministers after that number dropped to three earlier this year following a resignation.
The date of the swearing-in ceremony was announced in a statement issued by Justin Trudeau. The newly-elected House of Commons will meet for the first time on November 22 as parliament will return on that date.
Justin Trudeau precipitated mid-term polls hoping to turn his minority government into a majority one. But the elections held on September 20 gave the ruling Liberal Party 160 seats, 10 short of the majority mark, and just three more than what it had captured in 2019.
The results were also almost similar for the principal opposition Conservative Party, which ended up with 119 seats, two fewer than in 2019.
Justin Trudeau has already said that deputy prime minister and finance minister Chrystia Freeland will retain her twin portfolios in the new Canada cabinet. However, there is speculation over some changes that are likely.
Most important among them is the potential shifting of defence minister Harjit Sajjan to another ministry, as fallout of a sexual misconduct crisis that erupted in the Canadian Armed Forces under his watch.
Of the other Indo-Canadians in the outgoing Canada cabinet, public services minister Anita Anand is almost certain to be promoted after she featured as a star campaigner leading up to the elections as Justin Trudeau referred to her as his government’s “minister of vaccines”.
Diversity, inclusion and youth minister Bardish Chagger is also expected to return to the Canada cabinet, but whether she retains that portfolio remains to be seen.
There is a strong possibility Trudeau will appoint another Indo-Canadian to the cabinet, since it always featured four in total until then minister Navdeep Bains retired from electoral politics in January.
A statement from the PMO said the new Canada cabinet “will remain gender-balanced” and that could provide an opportunity for a promotion for either former parliamentary secretary Kamal Khera, outgoing chair of the House of Commons standing committee on Procedure and House affairs Ruby Sahota, or Sonia Sidhu, who was a member of the House of Commons standing committee on health.
Each of them is from the Greater Toronto Area, which played a crucial role in keeping Justin Trudeau in power.
Another Indo-Canadian, Harnirjodh George Chahal, who was elected from Calgary Skyview in Alberta, may have been a certainty for a cabinet berth, but as he is being investigated for alleged electoral malpractice, his chances may have receded.