Go Canada

November 6, 2015 • 1:30 pm

Well, the new Trudeau government is off to a good start, and I’ll be brief:

  • Great news: according to Nature, Justin Trudeau just created a new cabinet-level post: Minister of Science:

“Kirsty Duncan, a medical geographer at the University of Toronto in Canada, will be the first to hold the job. Duncan, who contributed to the 2001 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has also written a book about her expedition to Norway to determine the cause of the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic.

Her appointment marks a change from the government of former prime minister Stephen Harper. His administration placed oversight of science in the hands of a junior minister of state in the Industry Canada department.”

Clearly Trudeau is going to change the climate of secrecy around science, and the restrictions on government-employed scientists speaking, that the Harper government imposed.

“In their oaths of office, they each said: ‘I, (name), do solemnly and sincerely promise and swear/declare that I will truly and faithfully, and to the best of my skill and knowledge, execute the powers and trusts reposed in me as (cabinet title).’

Individuals had the choice of affirming their oaths, which allowed them to replace the word ‘swear’ with the word ‘declare’ and to omit the expression ‘So help me God.'”

  • Finally, Trudeau has created a cabinet with gender parity—half women—and also appointed two “aboriginal” (I’m not sure whether that means Inuit or non-Inuit First Nations people) members and three Sikhs. As the Guardian reports:

“It’s important to be here before you today to present to Canada a cabinet that looks like Canada,” Trudeau, 43, told reporters on Wednesday soon after he was officially sworn-in as the country’s 23rd prime minister – the second-youngest in its history.

Asked to explain his gender parity promise, he answered: “Because it’s 2015.”

Indeed.  As a Canadian reader wrote me, “It’s like a breath of fresh air up here.”

Here’s the new Cabinet:


But I can’t resist adding that another cabinet that looks like Canada is this one:



Best of luck to Canada and its new liberal government.

h/t: Diana, Danish, and several other readers

89 thoughts on “Go Canada

  1. We’re all pretty hopeful up here in the Great White North. Ten years of Creationist control of government hasn’t done this country any good. An actual Scientist as Science Minister – what will we come up with next?

    1. Reminds me that the U.S. Congress did away with their Office of Technology Assessment. Who needs STEM-types when there are Romneyesque undergrad English major MBA/JD types in the Legislative branch?

      1. I don’t remember if it was the one to which you referred, but I do remember that during one of those outdoor games that there was concern that it would be too cold for the puck.
        Too cold . . . for the puck!!!! GAH!!!!

        1. I went to the heritage classic game in Calgary (outdoors) and my beer was seriously freezing before I could drink it!

          1. Calgary is way north of Toronto. In Toronto, they put their beer outside for parties to keep it cold.

        2. I totally fail to see what is the attraction with these freeze-out games. It’s hard enough to follow the puck in an arena!

            1. 😀 I hear ya!

              I think the dumbest thing we ever did was go see the Patriots in Foxboro in December. They had to bring a snow blower out on the field in between plays! But hey–free tickets.

          1. The attraction is money. Read the CBA and find the definition of Hockey Related Revenue. The Chicago Blackhawks are the biggest draw in hockey these days for US television. And Hawk fans travel. So for the fifth (or is it sixth) time, the Hawks are playing an outdoor game. And other teams are begging for just one. Denver and Minnesota finally got games this year. Los Angeles had an outdoor game so weather does not seem to be a factor. At least, temperature. Rain is very bad for ice.

            1. OK, allow me to rephrase: I don’t see what the attraction is for the poor fans sitting in the seats. 😉 (Not sure I’d go even if they paid me, however. Maybe in L.A.)

  2. Makes Sweden look backwards. I may have to move there.

    So, hockey I guess? What is the meaning of the tribal face symbols?

    1. It was an outdoor game, they put the black marks under the eyes to reduce the glare. They one guy got a little excited I guess.

  3. I think this is the height of absurdity. I have ZERO faith in idiot, unskilled politicians understanding and dealing with science. It’s always about cherry picking facts to fit the statist agenda. And the state’s agenda is always about maximizing power and the confiscation of rights, wealth and property. I doubt Canada will halt climate change and save the planet for us all. We are delusional with our secular supernatural faith in bureaucrats. Ridiculous.

    1. Exactly what is the height of absurdity? You are ranting, and apparently without much thought. Trudeau is certainly better than Harper. And who ever said Canada will halt climate change and save the planet? That’s a ridiculous thing to say.

    2. Carl, I have no idea what “absurdity” you’re ranting about. He appointed an accomplished scientist to be his Minister of Science, after creating said post – is that not a good thing?

      As for the “state’s” agenda always being about maximizing power and confiscating rights etc. – I don’t even know where to begin on that one. I will say there’s some humorous irony on the “confiscating rights” point with a Trudeau in office, since his dad was largely responsible for creating the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

      1. Not to mention his dad also was responsible for legalizing abortion (along with my hero Morgentaler). He repatriated the constitution as well and famously said “the state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation” when he got rid of sodomy laws.

      1. Yes, if climate change, caused by humans burning fossil fuels is the most important thing going on, who would tackle that except nations. Dept. of Science makes a bit more sense that dept. of energy. We have one of those already.

    3. In addition to the new Ministry of Science our new Prime Minister has created a Ministry of Environment and Climate Change. Carl is welcome to vent his spleen but I find this very encouraging. After years of open hostility to science and to the environment one can hardly be blamed for feeling some optimism.

  4. There are roughly 32 people in that picture. So every other person in Canada gets a department? Just kidding.

    So now that the pipeline is toast, what do they do with all the sand oil?

    1. It flows through all the other pipelines that already exist, including the existing portion of the Keystone pipeline.

    2. the U.S. Has built ten times the length of the keystone pipeline in the seven or so years that the Keystone project has been a going concern.

      The reality is that the oil will find its way to markets regardless. Pipelines are the most environmentally sound method by far. But it’s a political issue, so that’s how decisions are made. More Canadian oil sands oil gets to the U.S. Every month.

      If you really want to cut/stop usage of oil products, stop driving cars, stop buying products made of plastic, stop using air conditioning, stop heating your homes, stoptravel. If you really want to address climate change, big oil is not the problem, consumers are. They are the ones demanding it. And electric cars are not necessarily clean either. They are less efficient than gas powered cars and that electricity is more often than not generated by coal, which is much dirtier than any heavy oil. It’s just moving the polluting location.

      People complain about the oil sands, but I don’t hear them complain about the millions of cars that are actually burning that oil.

      1. You have a point, but the Pipeline is an important symbol. Stopping it says, it’s time to leave oil in the ground and move to renewables. Once this idea is fully accepted the transition will happen relatively quickly.

  5. Of course that looks like Canada..look at all the red! Might as well call it the People’s Republic of Canuckistan. Buncha commies…

    From: A Real ‘Murkan.

    1. I once heard a story that during some conflict, Russians didn’t bomb a Canadian boat flying the flag because they thought it could be a communist country (China or some such). Don’t know if it’s true but it’s funny.

  6. Yikes the Maple Laughs…richest NHL franchise in the league. Haven’t won the Stanley Cup since 1969 yet there is a huge waiting list for seasons ticket and every game is sold out. Many players don’t want to play in Toronto as there is too much scrutiny by the press.

    What are the similarities between the Maple Leafs and the Titanic? They both look good until they hit the ice!

    1. Say what you will, but the Leafs finally appear to be on the right track, as far as building a team the smart way (instead of trying to do things the quick way).

      They tore the team down to the rivets this past off-season, brought in some cheap veterans on tryouts, and are clearly instilling a work ethic in these guys while tanking for draft picks.

      Their record is the worst it’s been in a while, but they actually are playing more responsible hockey under Babs.

      In another 50 years or so, the Stanley Cup is as good as ours! 🙂

  7. Go Habs! I couldn’t resist. (From a former resident of Toronto and life long Montreal fan, now living in Alaska. Talk about your divided loyalties). That being said, I’m glad to see things change in Canada.

    1. I thought the Leafs (and Toronto in general) are pretty much detested in the rest of Canada. As maligned as Leaf fans think they are, Cubs have not won a World Series since 1908. Everyone can have a bad century but this is getting ridiculous.

      Maple Leaf fans should take encouragement from the Blackhawks. Going into the 2009-10 season, the Hawks had not won a Stanley Cup since 1961. In 2004, ESPN named them the worst franchise in all of North American professional sports. On September 26, 2007, Bill Wirtz died. It turned out that his son Rocky was cut from different cloth than his father and grandfather, Arthur. And now we have had three Cups in six years.

      I believe in the Shanaplan. Leafs should have become a decent organization when Ballard died but the split ownership of MLSE by Rogers and Bell has not been good for the team. As long as they do not interfere, I see a Cup in Toronto’s not too distant future.

  8. “Kirsty Duncan, a medical geographer…”

    First I’ve heard of that occupation, but it sounds fascinating! And now I’m interested in her book.

    (But is this just another name for epidemiologist?)

  9. ‘Aboriginal’ does include the Inuit. The new minister of fisheries and oceans is Inuit (and related to a hockey player) The new minister of justice is from a West Coast First Nation.

    1. Yes Aboriginal and Fist Nations refer to all native people in Canada. Inuit and other first nations fit under that same umbrella.

      I’m so happy there are more aboriginals in government & that they got out & voted. So many times I cringed hearing ignorant things like “I don’t recognize the Canadian government.” I would warn those people about what could happen and then they finally got my point when it did! I hope they keep participating!

      1. I am happy as well to see increased aboriginal presence. I sincerely hope progress can be made to improve conditions on reservations and to proceed with the inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women.

      1. Ha! After I posted this, I thought pretty much the same thing. How shocking, a Canadian related to a hockey player!
        The minister, Hunter Tootoo is related to Jordin Tootoo of the New Jersey Devils. (I had to look that up) He is the first Inuk in the NHL.

      1. “It’s always nice to be a Canadian.”

        Except for:

        1. “Sorry, this content has not been made available to your country’

        (In other words, any fun, interesting content that was on last night, that everyone in America can post to one another, but we get blank screens).

        2. Buying electronics. We pay exorbitantly more than the USA, and if you want to buy from the USA…oh that exchange rate!

        Other than that, it’s all good. 🙂

      1. From Wikipedia:

        Catholic (38.7%)
        Other Christian (28.5%)
        Non-religious (23.9%)
        Islam (3.2%)
        Hinduism (1.5%)
        Sikhism (1.4%)
        Buddhism (1.1%)
        Judaism (1.0%)

        So Sikhs are over-represented. There may be other reasons why, individually, there are three Sikhs – personal merit maybe?


  10. And I hope the delusion of American Exceptionalism won’t get in the way of an objective look at what this new cabinet can and will do for Canada. Our government might not pay attention, but perhaps our citizens will. On the latest series of Star Talk hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, he talked about the importance of a science/technology cabinet, citing that almost all 1st world nations have one. America needs one now more than ever. You go Canada!

  11. Canada, may the wisdom of your maples float south to the oaks and the desert and beyond.

    Is it just me or does atheism begin in the north pole and conquer southward? Weird maybe Santa is not who the Xians think he is…

  12. And of course there is the return the long form census! I loved how Trudeau put it too in his tweet: It’s time to restore data based decision making to government.”


  13. Not Canadian, but a Leafs fan since early childhood when the Amerks were the Leafs farm club. I celebrated the Leafs win over Detroit at the Winter Classic with my buddy Matt (Wings fan) and the entire city of Windsor! That Leaf team photo looks as if it’s from that game, but before the stands in the Big House filled up and the snow began to fall. Go, Leafs, Go!

  14. I am so very heartened by the turn of events here in Canada. It was surprisingly efficient how we turned on a dime so quickly. Our record setting longest election was nevertheless just a few months long, and we got our new guy sworn in, new cabinet and some news to put smiles on faces mere weeks later.

  15. From Facebook, this (which seems to have “gone viral”):

    Alana Phillips
    November 4 at 7:15pm · Edited ·

    For once, Canadians are proud (and perhaps even a little bit smug). We ran the data:

    We have a Minister of Environment and CLIMATE CHANGE.
    We have a Minister of Immigration, Citizenship and REFUGEES.
    Our Prime Minister is a sci-fi geek.
    Our Minister of Health is an actual Doctor.
    Our Minister of Families, Children and Social Development is a poverty economist.
    Our Minister of Science is an actual Scientist (oh, and she has a Nobel Prize).
    Our Minister of Status of Women is an actual woman!
    Our Minister of Veterans Affairs is a quadriplegic because he was shot in a drive-by shooting.
    Our Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour is a Professional Geologist.
    Our Minister of Democratic Institutions is a Muslim refugee.
    Our Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities is a Paralympian Athlete.
    Our Minister of Defence is a badass war hero, Afghanistan combat vet, and police officer.
    Half of our Ministers are women.
    Half of our Ministers are men!
    Two of our Ministers are people of First Nations (Kwakwaka’wakw, Inuit)
    Three of our Ministers were born outside of Canada (India, Afghanistan)
    Two of our Ministers are Sikh.
    At least one of our Ministers is Muslim.
    At least two of our Ministers are Atheist.
    One of our Ministers is battling breast cancer. frown emoticon
    One of our Ministers is in a wheelchair.
    One of our Ministers is blind.
    One of our Ministers is openly gay.
    One of our Ministers is openly ginger.
    Also, Hon. Navdeep Bains has a perfect twirly moustache.


    1. Big congratulations. It’s very democratic. Now, we expect a lot. Let’s see how Trudeau does over the next few years. Best wishes.

  16. The folks over at Sandwalk are claiming that Canada’s new minister of Science is not a Nobel prize winner. This needs to be cleared up promptly.

    1. Kirsty Duncan served on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the organization that won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. So – sort of.

  17. except that the Leafs lost to Detroit 1-2 tonight. We took the train back from the opera with many disappointed Leafs fans. Apparently no octopodes were thrown on the ice by Detroit fans…

  18. What does the word “aboriginal” mean when applied to certain people?

    In fact, When I hear the phrase “indigenous people of North America”, What does that mean?

    1. Is that a serious question?

      Descendants of prehistoric Asian land bridge immigrants.

      Hard not to sound condescending: you typed your question in to a computer that probably has an excellent dictionary if you right click the word, or just pop it into Google – also something I can assume you have access to since you were able to comment on a website.

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