On November 3, 2015 Justin Trudeau was sworn in as Canada’s 23rd Prime Minister. Introduction of his 31 cabinet ministers evaporating any doubt Canada was back on track. True to his word, gender equality and regional representation serve our country, but fall short of capturing the diverse essence of our nation reborn.
Former astronaut Marc Garneau – Minister of Transport, Kent Hehr paralyzed at 19 by stray bullets in a drive by shooting – Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defense. Maryam Monsef, the 30 year old rookie MP who fled Afghanistan at age 11 with her widowed mother and sisters. Canada’s first Afghan-Canadian MP – now presiding over Democratic Institutions.
Astronaut, physical disability and young female refugee aside, Harjit Sajjan our newly appointed Minister of National Defence epitomizes Trudeau’s Canada.
Born in India, Harjit’s family immigrated to Canada when he was 5. As a member of the Canadian Armed Forces (now retired lieutenant-colonel Sajjan) participated in four deployments (one to Bosnia, 3 to Afghanistan). The first Sikh to command a Canadian army regiment, he has been awarded thirteen honours for distinguished military service. Harjit also served 11 years with the Vancouver Police Department, selected as Detective with the Gang Crime Unit.
Order of Military Merit
Meritorious Service Medal
Southwest Asia Service Medal (Afghanistan)
General Campaign Star (Afghanistan)
Mention in Dispatch
Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medal
NATO Service Medal (Bosnia)
Golden Jubilee Medal
Diamond Jubilee Medal
Canadian Forces’ Decoration
US Army Commendation Medal
Chief of Defence Staff Commendation
Deputy Minister Award (Department of National Defence)
Linked below, a full list of Liberal cabinet ministers.
Sworn in as Minister of National Defence
Harjit Sajjan replaces outgoing Conservative Defence Minister Jason Kenney. Born in Ontario, raised in rural Saskatchewan, Kenney studied philosophy at the Jesuit University of San Francisco. 29 year old Kenney became a career politician in 1997 when elected as a Reform Party MP. Under Harper, Kenney served multiple ministerial appointments – Employment and Social Development, Multiculturalism, Citizenship and Immigration – assuming the position of Defence Minister earlier this year.
Highlights of his Defence Minister legacy include – claiming Russian warships confronted the Canadian Navy (stated Russian fighters “buzzed” the HMCS Fredericton at low altitude while it took part in a NATO exercise off Ukraine) A claim NATO politely clarified – Russian ships could be seen on the horizon, nobody got buzzed. He pulled a “George Bush” to secure support for Canadian air strikes in Syria, claiming of the coalition forces, only the U.S. and Canada had planes capable of using precision guided munitions – proved to be utter nonsense, Saudi Arabia and the Arab Emirates were perfectly capable of precision guidance. Unfazed, Kenney tweeted a photograph of Ashura procession (a Shia Muslim observance to commemorate the martyrdom of Prophet Mohammad’s grandson Imam Hussain ) as an image of ISIS slaves.
If Trudeau’s cabinet is any indication, Canadians have a lot to feel good about. Harper’s pompous shenanigans gather dust, Jason Kenney’s re-election is irrelevant, and our new Minister of National Defence is a turban clad distinguished military veteran born in India. It doesn’t get much better than that.