New Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Just Showed Why Canada Does It Better

November 7th 2015

Taylor Bell

A lot of attention is surrounding Canada's new prime minister, Justin Trudeau.

He's promised to usher in a new era of change in the Canadian government and the 43-year-old Liberal Party leader delivered on that promise this week when he introduced that half of his cabinet members were women.

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When he was asked about his decision to implement a diverse cabinet, Trudeau answered, "Because it's 2015."

"It's an incredible pleasure for me to be here today, before you, to present to you a Canada that looks like Canada," Trudeau said while being sworn into office Wednesday, according to the Globe and Mail.

Justin Trudeau's new cabinet 'looks like Canada'

Canada's new cabinet is not only gender balanced, it's the most diverse in history.

Posted by AJ+ on Thursday, November 5, 2015

Of the thirty cabinet seats, 15 were given to women, including the role of the Minister of Justice. Trudeau appointed Jody Wilson-Raybould, the first native person to receive the role, Mic reports. This was an important choice considering the number of missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada and the history of sexual abuse against native women in the country. In October, eight police officers were put on leave in response to claims of law enforcement sexually abusing native women.

Trudeau also appointed native woman Carolyn Bennett as the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs as well as Canada's first Afghanistan-born minister, Maryam Monsef as the Minister of Democratic Insitutions.

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Besides taking a major step in advancing equal gender representation in Canada's government, Trudeau is also fighting to equalize the pay for some of his newly appointed women cabinet members.

As of right now, ministers of state receive $20,000 less than those who are considered full ministers. Five of Trudeau's new cabinet members fall into the minister of state category and receive lesser pay. Also, ministers of state have to answer to a senior minister and do not have signing authority.

Although the problem cannot be fixed overnight, Trudeau is pledging that the five women ministers affected will be treated as full ministers and that they will have signing authority and receive retroactive pay, according to iPolitics. Currently there are no men who are ministers of state in Trudeau's cabinet.

In the U.S., 20 percent of lawmakers are women, 8.9 percent are African American, 7 percent are Latino, 2.6 percent are Pacific/Asian Islander, 2.3 percent are foreign-born, and only two Native Americans occupy seats in Congress, according to the Congressional Research Service.

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