February 7, 2006
We’ve always known Canada is super-awesome, but freshly sworn-in Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his inspiring cast of cabinet ministers have given us a brand new batch of reasons to be proud!
For starters, Harper’s slimmed-down cabinet consists of a svelte 27 ministers, down from the bloated 39 under the previous government. Harper apparently thinks the number of people in cabinet should be dictated by the needs of the country, not the needs of politicians who want jobs. What a concept!
Perhaps we should start calling Harper the “feminist-in-chief” because six of his cabinet ministers — nearly a quarter — are women, a number that puts him well ahead of President George W. Bush (4) and Prime Minister Tony Blair of the UK (5). These female ministers aren’t just stodgy old grandmas either — the new minister of the environment, Rona Ambrose, is only 37! And we think she totally rocks a leather jacket! You go, girls!
A ton of history was made with this cabinet — Bev Oda, the new minister of heritage is the first Canadian of Japanese descent to ever get elected to parliament, and Harper’s already made her a cabinet minister. Sorry if you can’t handle having an Asian woman as minister of Canadian heritage, but it’s 2006 — the face of Canada is changing, get used to it! And get this — in addition to her duties as minister of heritage, Oda has also been given the title of minister for “the status of women.” Canada actually has a minister exclusively devoted to looking after the interests of women! How cool is that?
Check out some of these other firsts as well. For the first time in Canadian history, the Senate majority leader is a Conservative woman, Marjory LeBreton. The minister of intergovernmental affairs, Michael Chong, is the first person of color to hold that job (Chong is bi-racial, the son of immigrants from China and Holland — we think he looks classically Canadian!). The new attorney general, Victor Toews, is an immigrant himself, from Paraguay, making him the highest-ranking Latino politician in Canadian history!
But while it’s great to focus on all the diversity this new cabinet contains, don’t think for a minute this team isn’t super qualified as well. The new defense minister, Gordon O’Connor, for example, is a former brigadier-general in the Canadian army who helped stare-down the Soviets in West Germany during the Cold War. What a badasss! Attorney General Toews is one of Manitoba’s top lawyers, and the trade minister is the former CEO of three different corporations.
Prime Minister Harper himself, however, is just an ordinary guy. Unlike the last few prime ministers, he didn’t come from a rich family or have a bunch of insider connections. He was driven to his inauguration in a minivan! Heck, he still personally drops off his kids at school! And just check out this totes adorbs photo of him cuddling a little kitty!
Canadians across the country are breathing a sigh of relief following last month’s general election. After over a dozen years of rule by the corrupt and divisive Liberal Party, and their secretive, authoritarian regime of paranoia and fear-mongering, we now finally have a government that once again represents traditional Canadian values of dignity, fairness, and respect for democracy.
By the way, the new government’s first planned piece of legislation? It’s called the “Federal Accountability Act” and it outlaws corporate donations to political parties, places a five-year ban on ex-politicians who want to work as lobbyists, and grants greater legal protections to whistleblowers — among many, many other great things.
Lift your head up high today Canada — our country is back!