Years ago the late Hamilton MPP Eric Cunningham, surveying what he saw as a worrying trend towards creating Cabinet Ministers with no real ministry, referred to these ministers as “Minister for (ordering) Chinese Food.” Sadly, Eric passed before seeing the fulfillment of what was then a bit of satire, now fully blossomed to reality with the new Trudeau Cabinet. With the appointment of Mona Fortier as Minister of Middle-Class Prosperity, Trudeau has turned a campaign slogan into a ministry. In 2015 the Ministry of the Environment had…’and Climate Change’ added to its title lest there be anyone left out there that doesn’t believe in climate change. We have a minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Youth who will presumably serve everybody except those who are not diverse, already included and old. Joyce Murray has been appointed Minister of Digital Government. That sort of work used to be done by staff, but since the Phoenix Payroll disaster has now entered fifth year and appears to be heading towards becoming a permanent situation, it was deemed time to create a ministry around it. Maryam Monsef received the rather odd pairing of Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development. In addition to Finance Minister Bill Morneau, three other ministers have portfolios that touch on the economy: Navdeep Bains in Innovation, Science and Industry, Melanie Joly Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Catherine McKenna in Infrastructure and Communities. There once was a time when some of these appointees would be referred to as “junior ministers” and would receive a lower pay grade, but now they all get the extra $85,000 on top of the $179,000 base salary. Congratulations, though, to our two local Ministers—Burlington MP Karina Gould who gets a job for which she is well qualified, Minister of International Development. Gould worked in International development and trade before her election in 2015. Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas MP Filomena Tassi moved over to the Labour Ministry and within hours of being sworn in found herself in front of TV cameras discussing the CN Rail strike which was recently settled.
As 2019 winds down we thank our loyal readers and advertisers. It is you who support local journalism at a time when the industry is under pressure, and yet the need for diligent scrutiny at the local level has never been more important. We at the Bay Observer want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and happy holiday season and a healthy and prosperous 2020.