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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to create a gender-balanced cabinet when sworn in on Nov. 20 at a press conference at the National Press Theatre in Ottawa on Wednesday.
At the beginning of his first term in 2015, Trudeau made the creation of a gender-neutral cabinet a staple action of his government— much to the acclaim of domestic and international media. That’s when he said the popular phrase when ask why he did it: “Because it’s 2015.”
Despite the 50-50 ratio cabinet, through the SNC-Lavalin affair two women were lost from it. Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Phillpott resigned in protest to the alleged judicial interference of Trudeau and his aides. Trudeau eventually booted Philpott and Wilson-Raybould out of the Liberal caucus.
This action led to criticism of Trudeau’s supposedly phony feminism, where women are tools in the political game, rather than vital parts of government. Furthermore, Trudeau has been criticized by other female MP’s, who have accused Trudeau of being aggressive and dismissive towards women.
At the press conference on Wednesday, the prime minister ruled out a formal coalition with any other party. Instead, Trudeau hopes to create a voting pact with one of the minority, left-leaning parties.
Despite the threat of separatism, Trudeau said it was possible to work with the Bloc Quebecois to advance progressive goals.
“We are a fiercely federalist party, and for us the unity of the country will always be a priority, but there are issues on which – like climate change – on which all Quebeckers and many Canadians agree,” the prime minister told reporters.
“On these issues like that, I would be very, very happy to be able to work with the Bloc Québécois.”
Trudeau’s intention of not forming a coalition may also prove to be controversial. By doing this, the Liberal government will be subject to a vote of no confidence at any time (depending on the voting pact), or may have to rely on the Bloc Quebecois’ support for certain legislation— a worrying proposal English Canadians.
The voting pacts are yet to be seen and it is unlikely that the terms of these agreements will be released to the general public. Nevertheless, a progressive voting pact will bring some short-term stability to Canada. The long-term effects, however, are uncertain.