… but …
I saw this picture on social media:
Scott Brison (left) is Canada’s first openly gay cabinet minister and he is with Svend Robinson (right) who was Canada’s first openly gay MP.
Now, I do not know either man, personally, but I am sure both were and are dedicated public servants and the sorts of Canadians most of us want to represent us in Ottawa.
Do we all recall this picture, from 2015?
A lot was made by Team Trudeau about the cabinet being diverse and “gender balanced” ~ and, in fact they are still talking about diversity and gender balance when they ought to be focused on honesty, integrity, competence and diligence ~ but, the public relation fluff, the diversity, it ought to go without saying, is a good thing.
My point is that it shouldn’t need saying …
Maybe Kent Hehr is one of the very the best people in parliament and is very highly qualified to sit at the cabinet table; maybe he and, just for example, Maryam Monsef and Harjit Sajjan are not just tokens … I hope that’s the case.
Building a cabinet in Canada is always a complex business and, I suppose, every prime minister since the “Great Sir John A” has had to decide on how to balance political, regional and other interests and still build a team that can help his or her party to govern effectively. It’s not a partisan thing.
But it should not matter that Scott Brison is gay or that Diane Lebouthillier is from the Gaspésie or that Carla Qualtrough is handicapped … they should be the best people available within the constraints of Canadian cabinet making. Justin Trudeau should not be praised to the stars for doing the right thing unless he has, also and simultaneously, done things right, and the presence of e.g. Ms Monsef, Mr Hehr and Ms Lebouthillier in his cabinet suggests that image and tokenism still count for more than good governance.
There is an article by young, rising star Conservative Natalie Pon in MacLean’s magazine, to which I will return later, in a few days, about opening the CPC to a wider range of views and people. That’s something that needs to happen … it’s not, it mustn’t be about gender or sexual orientation or physical disabilities, it is and it must always be about getting better and better people into parliament and then making a cabinet from them. Now, I thought the good voters of Kings-Hants in Nova Scotia were wise, back in the late 1990s and in 2000, to elect Scott Brison when he was a Conservative, so I think they are probably still picking the best man today. I hope that Mr Brison’s family life and his sexual orientation are not deciding factors … he should be elected because he’s the best person for the job. So it needs to be for all MPs from all parties.
It should not need mentioning that someone is gay or female or, in some way, handicapped or “represents” some religious or ethnic group ~ being black or gay or a Sikh or a Jew is neither a qualification for nor a disqualification from any office in the land, even the highest one.