GTA MPs form strong presence in Trudeau cabinet
Published Wednesday, November 4, 2015 7:50PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, November 4, 2015 7:56PM EST
The Greater Toronto Area was front and centre in the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet unveiling on Wednesday.
Nearly a quarter of the cabinet ministers named in Ottawa are from the region.
Here’s a rundown on the seven MPs from the GTA who now have top jobs in the federal government.
John McCallum - Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
Riding: Markham-Thornhill (Ontario)
First elected to parliament: 2000
Past profession: Economist and professor
McCallum has held a range of cabinet positions over the past 15 years, including national revenue minister and veterans affairs minister under Paul Martin, and national defence minister for Jean Chretien.
Most recently, he served as the party’s immigration critic where he made headlines for this heated exchange.
Before entering politics, McCallum was an economics professor at McGill and Dean of the Faculty of Arts. McCallum also previously worked as the chief economist for the Royal Bank of Canada.
Fact: McCallum introduced the original motion in 2001 to make Nelson Mandela an honorary Canadian citizen.
Carolyn Bennett - Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs
Riding: Toronto-St. Paul’s (Ontario)
First elected to parliament: 1997
Past profession: Family physician
Bennett has held the seat of Toronto-St. Paul’s (formerly just St. Paul’s) since 1997. She is a former family physician and professor at the University of Toronto.
Bennett ran for the leadership of the Liberal Party in 2006, but withdrew to throw her support behind Bob Rae. Most recently, Bennett served as party's critic for aboriginal affairs and northern development.
Fact: Bennett is the author of “Kill or Cure? How Canadians Can Remake their Health Care System,” published in October 2000, and served as Minister of State for Public Health under Paul Martin.
Navdeep Bains - Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development
Riding: Mississauga-Malton (Ontario)
First elected to parliament: 2004, but lost his seat in 2011
Past profession: Revenue and cost analyst
Bains isn't exactly a rookie -- he's returning to parliament and knows his way around the committees. Bains previously served as the MP for Mississauga-Brampton South from 2004 to 2011, when he was defeated by then-Conservative Eve Adams.
Bains is a distinguished visiting professor at Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management. He is a certified management accountant, and was a financial and accounting analyst for years at Ford Motor Company. In his years outside of Ottawa, he played a big role in Justin Trudeau’s leadership campaign.
Fact: At 26 years old, Bains was the youngest MP in the Liberal caucus when initially elected in 2004.
Bill Morneau - Minister of Finance
Riding: Toronto Centre (Ontario)
First elected to parliament: 2015
Past profession: Businessman
Until his federal win, Morneau was the executive chair of one of Canada’s largest human resources firm, Morneau Shepell, a firm founded by his father. He’s also a former chair of the economic think-tank, the C.D. Howe Institute. During his career, he was appointed by Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to an expert panel to recommend an Ontario pension supplement to the Canada Pension Plan; the panel was led by former prime minister Paul Martin. He also served as one of Trudeau’s economic advisers and is the co-author of The Real Retirement: Why You Could Be Better Off Than You Think and How to Make That Happen.
Fact: In 2014, Morneau helped open the Morneau Shepell Secondary School for Girls in Kenya’s Kakuma refugee camp. The school educates Somali and Sudanese youth.
Some experts say Morneau’s presence is cabinet will benefit the GTA.
“He’s going to know first-hand when somebody makes a request for money for subways what that really means for (Toronto’s) economy,” said political strategist Jim Warren. “When someone’s asking for money for public housing, he understands the issues of homelessness in downtown Toronto.”
Chrystia Freeland- Minister of International Trade
Riding: University-Rosedale (Ontario)
First elected to parliament: 2013
Past profession: Journalist
Freeland is a relative newcomer to the Liberal Party. The former journalist announced her resignation from her position at Thomson Reuters in 2013 to run in a byelection to replace Bob Rae in the riding of Toronto Centre. A year after that win, Freeland was appointed international trade critic for the party. Instead of running in her old seat this time around, however, she instead opted to run in the newly-created riding of University-Rosedale.
Fact: Freeland speaks five languages: English, French, Ukrainian, Russian and Italian.
Jane Philpott - Minister of Health
Riding: Markham-Stouffville (Ontario)
First elected to parliament: 2015
Past profession: Family physician
Philpott has been a family doctor at the Markham Stouffville Hospital since 1988. She also served as the hospitals’ chief of the Department of Family Medicine, and is an associate professor at the University of Toronto’s Department of Family and Community Medicine.She worked in Niger from 1989 to 1998, where she practiced general medicine and helped develop a training program for local health workers.
Fact: Philpott is the founder of Give a Day to World AIDS, an organization that has raised $4 million for people affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa.
Kirsty Duncan - Minister of Science
Riding: Etobicoke North (Ontario)
First elected to parliament: 2008
Past profession: Medical geographer
Duncan, a medical geographer, has taught at the University of Windsor, the University of Toronto and Royal Roads University. She has also served on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an organization that won the 2007 Nobel Prize with Al Gore.
Fact: Duncan is the author of two books: ‘Environment and Health: Protecting our Common Future’ and ‘Hunting the 1918 Flu: One Scientist’s Search for a Killer Virus.’
Toronto Mayor Joh Tory says he has high hopes the strong GTA presence in cabinet will benefit the city.
“Given that Toronto is the engine of the national economy, I think (the ministers) will proceed to work with us to invest in Toronto and to do things that benefit the Toronto economy,” Tory told reporters on Wednesday.
Tory says he is making plans to have a meeting with the entire Liberal caucus before Christmas.
There were some high-profile absences from the Liberal caucus. Former Toronto police chief Bill Blair was and former city councillor Adam Vaughan were both left out of Trudeau’s cabinet.
Click here for a full list of cabinet ministers.
With a report from CTV Toronto’s Zuraidah Alman