In a first, a Hindu woman has been inducted as a minister in the Canada government as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled his new team of ministers on Thursday, which also includes three Sikh MPs.
Anita Indira Anand, a former law professor at the University of Toronto, has been inducted as the Federal Minister for Public Services and Procurement in the newly formed Canada government headed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The cabinet includes three other Indo-Canadian ministers- Navdeep Bains, Bardish Chagger and Harjit Sajjan, who are all Sikhs and also worked in the previous government.
Anand won her first elections to the House of Commons this year in October federal elections. Anand emerged victorious from the riding of Oakville in Ontario, which in itself was historic as she was the first-ever Hindu woman to be elected to Parliament.
A professor of law at the University of Toronto, Anand was born in the town of Kentville in the province of Nova Scotia. Anita Anand’s parents are medical professionals, who hail from India. Her late mother Saroj Ram was from the Amritsar, Punjab while his father SV Anand is a Tamilian.
Reportedly, Anand has worked closely with the Indo-Canadian community in the Oakville region and was also the earlier chairperson of the Canadian Museum of Hindu Civilisation. She has also conducted research for the Commission of Inquiry into the Investigation of the terrorist bombing of Air India Flight 182.
Another Indo-Canadian, Liberal MP Navdeep Bains took over the Innovation, Science and Industry portfolio. Bains represents the Ontario riding of Mississauga-Malton.
Another Sikh MP Harjit Sajjan, a former Vancouver police detective, has retained his position in the Cabinet as Minister of National Defence. MP Bardish Chagger, who was reelected from Waterloo has been given the Ministry of Diversity, Inclusion and Youth.
Chrystia Freeland, who was the Foreign affairs minister in the previous government has now been made the deputy prime minister and minister of intergovernmental affairs. Francois-Philippe Champagne, who held the infrastructure and communities portfolio earlier will replace Freeland as Canada’s Foreign minister.