A look at 5 high-profile members of Justin Trudeau’s new cabinet

WATCH ABOVE: Highlights from Justin Trudeau and his government being sworn in

Canadians got a look at their new Liberal government Wednesday as Justin Trudeau and his 30-member cabinet were sworn in during a ceremony at Rideau Hall.

Here’s a look at some of the fresh faces and veteran Liberals that will take over the high-profile cabinet positions and is an equal numbers of men and women.


Toronto Centre’s Bill Morneau, who is well-known on Bay Street but has never sat in Parliament, will take over the finance portfolio.

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Morneau has an extensive background in the business world, sitting as the executive chairman of Canadian human resources giant Morneau Shepell, and is a former chair of St. Michael’s Hospital and of the C.D. Howe Institute.

Among Morneau’s immediate tasks will be changing Canada’s tax system with hikes for the highest earners and cuts for middle-income Canadians. He’ll also look at reversing the former Conservative government’s doubling of TFSA limits and family income splitting.

Another challenge will be dealing with demands from the Quebec government to help bail out Bombardier after it posted a $4.9-billion third-quarter loss. Bombardier employs more than 18,000 in Quebec and the province recently committed $1 billion to save jobs.


Markham-Stouffville’s Jane Philpott is the new health minister.

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The Ontario family doctor is a former chair of the department of family medicine at the Markham Stouffville Hospital and an associate professor at the University of Toronto. Philpott has spent years working in Niger to train local health workers. She has also worked in Ethiopia, developing its first training program for family medicine.

READ MORE: Here’s what the newly minted ministers will face

Philpott will help lead the Liberals’ promise to create a new health accord with the provinces, a huge task as health care spending is the largest single budget item. The new health minister will also spearhead Trudeau’s “task force” with public health officials and provinces on how to proceed with the new prime minister’s promise to legalize and regulate pot.

Physician-assisted death will also be on the agenda as it expires from Canada’s Criminal Code on Feb. 7.

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National Defence

Harjit Sajjan, the MP for Vancouver South, will be the new Minister of National Defence.

Sajjan is a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Canadian Armed Forces and a combat veteran who served in Bosnia-Herzegovina and served three separate tours in Kandahar, Afghanistan. He’s a decorated veteran who has received several medals, including the Meritorious Service Medal for reducing Taliban influence in Kandahar Province and the Order of Military Merit.

As the new defence minister Sajjan will work with Trudeau on reshaping Canada’s combat mission fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Canada’s incoming government has said it will withdraw fighter jets from the U.S.-led coalition and stick to training Iraqi troops.

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Immigration and Citizenship

John McCallum, the MP for the riding of Markham—Thornhill in Ontario, is the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.

McCallum is one of the most senior Liberals named to the cabinet, first elected to represent Markham in 2000.   He has filled a variety of cabinet positions including Minister of National Defence. He was also the Liberal Critic for Citizenship and Immigration, Multiculturalism, and Seniors.

Trudeau made an election promise to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by the end of 2015. Refugee advocates have said this will be difficult to implement and the new immigration minister will be responsible for implementing the Liberal plan.

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Indigenous and Northern Affairs

Carolyn Bennett, the MP for Toronto–St. Paul’s, was named as the new Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs.

A surprise announcement, Bennett has worked as a family physician and as an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Toronto. She has served as Canada’s first Minister of State for Public Health, and as the Liberal Critic for Aboriginal Affairs.

READ MORE: Allegations police abused First Nations women in Val d’Or part of a national problem, observers say

The new Indigenous Affairs Minister will need to get the promised inquiry into the more than 1,000 missing and murdered indigenous women launched quickly. Trudeau’s promised to initiate it within his first 100 days in office as he attempts to build a “renewed relationship” with Canada’s indigenous people.

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Below is the full list of Trudeau’s cabinet:

*With files from Anna Mehler Paperny

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