By Graeme MacKay, Editorial Cartoonist, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday November 3, 2015
How Justin Trudeau picked his new cabinet
Memo to Liberal MPs: If you’re still waiting for Justin Trudeau to call and offer you a cabinet post, you can stop the wait.
That’s because Trudeau has already selected his new cabinet and made his last telephone calls to the lucky incoming ministers several days ago.
All of the ministers now know their new portfolio and all have been sworn to the utmost secrecy until Nov. 4 when Trudeau is formally sworn in as prime minister and unveils the full cabinet.
And despite all the post-election speculation about how difficult it would be for Trudeau to pick the cabinet from the “abundance of riches” that he was handed when the Liberals won a majority government and 184 seats in the Oct. 19 election, the job turned out to be surprisingly easy.
When Trudeau got down to work on the cabinet in the days immediately after the Liberals’ victory celebrations, he made his choices based on several key factors, according to Liberal insiders familiar with the selection process.
These factors include the size of the cabinet, gender equality, ethnic diversity, regional distribution and a balance of new and veteran MPs, but leaning to young and new versus old and experienced.
Some critics have suggested Trudeau is putting gender and regional concerns ahead of talent as the top priority in selecting the ministers.
In reality, though, any cabinet, regardless of whether it is Liberal or Conservative, “is never a pure and simple meritocracy,” says a key Trudeau adviser. “Obviously there are expectations if you are elected, such as every province gets a cabinet minister, and you look at regional balance, gender, and diversity as well as competence.”
On size, the new cabinet is expected to have 28 members. Trudeau wanted to keep the number below 30 to show he intended to run a leaner, more efficient cabinet team than did Stephen Harper. The last Conservative cabinet had 39 ministers, including 26 senior ministers and 12 junior ministers of state for such areas as sports, seniors and multiculturalism.
On gender, the new cabinet will be evenly split, with 14 women and 14 men, including Trudeau. A total of 50 Liberal women were elected on Oct. 19. (Continued: Toronto Star)