New Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has just named his new cabinet.
And, in a shock ‘politician recognises it’s the 21st century move, he’s picked 15 men and 15 women – the first gender balanced ministerial team in the country’s history.
“It’s important to be here before you today to present to Canada a cabinet that looks like Canada,” 43-year-old Trudeau said, after being sworn-in as the 23rd prime minister in front of huge crowds, who gathered around large screens outside the governor general’s official residence , Rideau Hall.
Instead of arriving in the traditional black cars favoured by ministers of state, Trudeau and his family stepped off a bus, greeting the crowd and taking selfies with them.
When asked why he’s chosen equal numbers of men and women, the second youngest Canadian PM simply answered: ‘Because it’s 2015’.
Unlike the British cabinet – where David Cameron has been previously accused of tokenism – Trudeau has placed women in key positions.
Former journalist Chrystia Freeland will oversee international trade, while Afghan refugee Maraym Monsef will look after democratic reform. Former Liberal party leader Stéphane Dion got foreign affairs. Trudeau – whose father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, was one of Canada’s longest serving prime ministers – has also chosen two aboriginal MPs for his first cabinet.
Indigenous affairs minister, Carolyn Bennett, will be in charge of a national inquiry into hundreds of missing and murdered indigenous women.
The new Liberal prime minister won a resounding victory in October’s election, defeating the Conservative’s Stephen Harper after nine years in power.
Harper implemented unpopular measures, such as pulling Canadian forces out of the US-led coalition against Islamic State – something Trudeau now has the mandate to undo. However, he new prime minister has already told President Obama that Canadian fighter jets will pull out of Iraq and Syria.
But in a well-placed jab at his predecessor, Trudeau promised his government would be more open and transparent, adding: “Government by cabinet is back.”