2017 Cabinet Shuffle

election-2015-and-beyond-implementation-diversity-and-inclusion-024The above chart contrasts the original 2015 Cabinet with the changes announced Tuesday by the Prime Minister (will update when parliamentary secretary changes are announced to replace those who were promoted to minister).

Gender parity remains, visible minority representation increases to 20 percent, no change in the number of persons with disabilities, with only one Indigenous minister compared to two in the original Cabinet (Hunter Tootoo was later removed).

The choice of a neophyte Minister for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Ahmed Hussen, is not without risk given the complexities and politics of the department’s issues (as Monsef’s difficulties attest).

Hussen is the third immigration minister to have been an immigrant, the first visible minority and non-European. (Joe Volpe, born in Italy,  and Sergio Marchi, born in Argentina but of Italian ancestry, are the previous ones). As most of Canada’s current immigrants are visible minorities, he will bring that perspective and experience with him to the portfolio, as well his experience on security and radicalization issues.

Like McCallum, his riding is majority visible minority (54 percent compared to McCallum’s 82 percent) but with a different mix: York South-Weston is 21 percent Black, 9 percent Latin American whereas Markham-Thornhill is 35 percent Chinese, 31 percent South Asian.

Look forward to seeing the mandate letters for Minister Hussen (and others) to see if any new commitments compared to former Minister McCallum (largely achieved or in progress – list below):

  • Lead government-wide efforts to resettle 25,000 refugees from Syria in the coming months.
  • As part of the Annual Immigration Levels Plan for 2016, bring forward a proposal to double the number of entry applications for parents and grandparents of immigrants to 10,000 a year.
  • Give additional points under the Entry Express system to provide more opportunities for applicants who have Canadian siblings.
  • Increase the maximum age for dependents to 22, from 19, to allow more Canadians to bring their children to Canada.
  • Bring forward a proposal regarding permanent residency for new spouses entering Canada.
  • Develop a plan to reduce application processing times for sponsorship, citizenship and other visas.
  • Fully restore the Interim Federal Health Program that provides limited and temporary health benefits to refugees and refugee claimants.
  • Establish an expert human rights panel to help you determine designated countries of origin, and provide a right to appeal refugee decisions for citizens from these countries.
  • Modify the temporary foreign workers program to eliminate the $1,000 Labour Market Impact Assessment fee to hire caregivers and work with provinces and territories to develop a system of regulated companies to hire caregivers on behalf of families.
  • Lead efforts to facilitate the temporary entry of low risk travelers, including business visitors, and lift the visa requirement for Mexico.
  • Work with the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to repeal provisions in the Citizenship Act that give the government the right to strip citizenship from dual nationals.
  • Eliminate regulations that remove the credit given to international students for half of the time that they spend in Canada and regulations that require new citizens to sign a declaration that they intend to reside in Canada.
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About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

2 Responses to 2017 Cabinet Shuffle

  1. Marion Vermeersch says:

    I was dismayed to learn that Mr. McCallum is leaving for a new position. He was able to accomplish so much during the last year, especially in his response to the need for refugee assistance and the other issues in this list of commitments. It was wonderful to see how people across the country were unified in stepping up to the plate and helping – truly bringing out the best in Canadians. I have no doubt that he will have much to offer in his new work with China.

    As one of the numerous still-Lost Canadians, it was very encouraging to know that we finally had a Minister who was actually listening to us. I was personally hopeful that, after 13 years without citizenship (and 71 years full time living in this country) our family and many others might eventually regain that status. Under Mr. McCallum, I found a very definite change for the better when contacting CIC for assistance.

    Hopefully, the commitments as listed will remain. I especially hope that the provisions allowing the government to strip (outside of a court process)citizenship from dual citizens will be repealed. There were various reasons given for stripping citizenship but that iis exactly how my family lost citizenship. The adult children in our family were all born in Canada and are excellent Canadian citizens, working and living here all their lives. But they are also ” dual nationals”, with British citizenship due to having a parent born in wartime Britain because of grandparents(originally also born abroad) serving in the Canadian Military in WWII. It is simply unfair and unjust to penalize them by making them vulnerable to stripping of citizenship and, therefore, effectively Second Class Citizens. That has to end, or I foresee many future Lost Canadians being created.

    A problem for many has been the constant theme of “no Canadians before 1947”, which is given as an excuse(especially under the last government) to continue to deny restoration of citizenship. (I was told my father who originally came to Canada as a Home Child 22 years before 1947, should never have been given citizenship!) If I could add another commitment to that list it would be to study and clarify the history of legislation and citizenship in Canada and, once again, recognize those who helped to build this country and fought for it, in many cases even losing their lives for it, as the Canadian citizens they were.

    I would like to convey my best wishes and congratulations to Mr. Hussen on his new position as Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.

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