Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s new cabinet gave a Hamilton-area MP a new post which carried a big spotlight amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Filomena Tassi, re-elected in Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas, is saying goodbye as Canada’s labour minister and taking over as minister of public services and procurement — a post being vacated by Oakville’s Anita Anand.
Anand will now take on the department of national defence, replacing Harjit Sajjan.
Tassi’s new gig came to prominence amid the pandemic with the ministry’s top priority pivoting to the appropriation of bulk buy personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical supplies, before another turn to obtain vaccines for a stressed health-care system.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would give the department unprecedented power in March 2020 to sole-source contracts worth up to $500 million in the fight against COVID-19.
On the campaign trail in the 2021 election, the PM would refer to the position as “minister of vaccines.”
Tassi would hang on to her MP post by defeating Conservative Bert Laranjo by about 10,000 votes on Sept. 20, 2021.
Of the 59,335 votes cast in the Hamilton-area riding, Tassi finished with 26,029. Runner-up Laranjo finished with 17,362.
The former corporate lawyer and high school chaplain at Bishop Tonnos Secondary has won the riding three times in the past decade with previous wins in 2015 and 2019.
In 2018, she was named deputy government whip before becoming Canada’s first minister of seniors.
During her time as minister of labour, Tassi would secure a $400M commitment for ArcelorMittal Dofasco to “green” its steel-making operations and aid a $1.7 billion investment for light rail transit in Hamilton.
Meanwhile, Burlington MP Karina Gould, former minister of democratic institutions, was named minister of families, children and social development.