Nova Scotia has a new member of Parliament in the federal cabinet, after a five-minister cabinet shuffle Monday.
Bernadette Jordan, of the South Shore–St. Margaret’s riding, joined the cabinet as minister of rural and economic development — a new position – and as minister of privy council.
During a press conference following her swearing-in, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the new portfolio will “play a major role on rural Canadians and their lives.”
The challenges for rural Canadians “are very, very different,” like pulling together infrastructure funding and driving long distances for child care, said Trudeau. Therefore, different approaches are needed when addressing solutions.
According to the 2016 census, about 34 per cent of Nova Scotia’s population is rural. Nationally, only 16 per cent of the population is rural.
With the 2019 federal elections coming up in less than a year, the Liberal government is strategically choosing cabinet ministers, said Jean-Francois Savard, a political science adjunct professor with Dalhousie University.
“At this point, right now, less than a year from the elections, it adds very little impact (for Nova Scotia),” he said. “It doesn’t mean a lot.”
Jordan was elected as MP for South Shore–St. Margaret’s in 2015. Before her political career, she was a development officer for the Health Services Foundation in Bridgewater.
As MP, Jordan introduced bill M-40, challenging all levels of government to remove abandoned boats along Canada’s shores. It passed in 2016. She’s also been involved with the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, and a subcommittee on the agenda and procedure of the fisheries and oceans committee, since 2016. She was also the standing committee’s acting chair for five months.
In 2018, Jordan was made parliamentary secretary to the minister of democratic institutions and was appointed as a non-voting member of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.
“I know that she is going to be an extraordinary voice for rural Canadians, not only in Atlantic Canada but for all rural Canadians,” said Trudeau.
A press release issued after the ceremony said Jordan will now “oversee the creation of a rural development strategy to spur economic growth and create good, middle class jobs in rural Canada.” Part of this plan includes getting high-speed internet in more rural households.
Five new members
The cabinet shuffle came four days after Nova Scotia MP and Treasury Board president Scott Brison announced on Jan. 10 he’s leaving politics.
Brison was elected as member of parliament for the Kings–Hants riding in 1997 as a Progressive Conservative. He’d been president of the Treasury Board of Canada since November 2014.
Jordan was one of five new ministers sworn in Monday.
- Jane Philpott (Markham–Stouffville) moved from minister of Indigenous services to Brison’s former position as president of the Treasury Board of Canada.
- Seamus O’Regan (St. John’s South–Mount Pearl) is taking the reins from Philpott as minister of Indigenous Services. In doing so, he leaves his current position as minister of veterans affairs.
- Filling in veterans affairs portfolio is MP Jody Wilson-Raybould (Vancouver Granville). She was previously the minister of justice and is also associate minister of national defence.
- David Lametti, representing LaSalle–Émard–Verdun, is the new minister of justice and Attorney General of Canada. He had been a parliamentary secretary since 2015.