Search for "cabinet"

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timeline event

Trudeau Shuffles Cabinet

In anticipation of the federal election in the fall, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shuffled his Cabinet, moving Jody Wilson-Raybould from justice to veterans affairs, and naming Jane Philpott President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government. Trudeau called Philpott a “natural choice” for her new role and attempted to dispel the notion that Wilson-Raybould’s move was a demotion, saying, “She is extraordinarily capable of delivering on this file that is one of the core delivery mandates that the federal government has.”

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Ethics Commissioner Finds Bill Morneau Broke Law in WE Charity Scandal

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Following two separate investigations, federal ethics commissioner Mario Dion ruled that former finance minister Bill Morneau violated the Conflict of Interest Act “on several occasions” by not recusing himself from a Cabinet decision in 2020 to pay Craig Kielburger’s WE Charity $43.5 million to administer a $912 million summer program for students. Morneau had resigned in summer 2020 after it came to light that he had family connections to the charity. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, however, was cleared of wrongdoing by Dion.

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Green Paper

A green paper is a statement by the government, not of policy already determined, but of proposals put before the nation for discussion. Like a white paper, a green paper is an official document sponsored by the Crown. (Traditionally, green papers were printed on green paper to distinguish them from white papers.) A green paper is produced early in the policy-making process, when ministers are still formulating their proposals. Many white papers in Canada have been, in effect, green papers. And at least one green paper — the 1975 Green Paper on Immigration and Population — was released for public debate after the government had already drafted legislation.

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White Paper

A government white paper is a Cabinet-approved document that explains a political issue and proposed legislation to address it. The purpose of a white paper is to introduce a new government policy to test the public’s reaction to it. The name derives from the custom of binding the document in white paper, rather than using a cover page. White papers are different from green papers, which seek public reaction not to new policy but to more general proposals. The most controversial white paper in Canada was issued in 1969; it sought to redefine the relationship between the federal government and Indigenous peoples. (See The 1969 White Paper.)

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Charges Stayed Against Vice-Admiral Mark Norman

Norman was second-in-command of Canada’s military in March 2018, when he was charged with breach of trust for allegedly leaking Cabinet secrets in relation to a $700 million shipbuilding contract. Charges against Norman were stayed by federal prosecutors on 8 May after they determined there was no “reasonable prospect of conviction.” On 14 May, the House of Commons voted unanimously to “apologize to him and his family for what they experienced during their legal conflict with the government.” The federal government also announced that it would be paying Norman’s legal fees.

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Harjit Sajjan

Harjit Singh Sajjan, PC, OMM, MSM, CD, soldier, policeman, politician, Minister of National Defence 2015–21, Minister of International Development 2021–present (born 6 September 1970, in Bombeli, Hoshiarpur, India). Harjit Sajjan enlisted in the Canadian Armed Forces at age 19 and joined the Vancouver Police Department in 1999. He served for 11 years and became a detective. He also served three tours of duty in Afghanistan, where he was hailed as Canada’s “best single intelligence asset.” Sajjan rose to the rank of lieutenant-colonel and became the first Sikh Canadian to command an Armed Forces regiment. He was elected as a Liberal MP for Vancouver South in 2015. He was Minister of National Defence for nearly six years — one of the longest tenures in the country’s history. He has been Minister of International Development since 2021.

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Pierre Poilievre

Pierre Poilievre, politician, Member of Parliament 2004–present, Cabinet minister, leader of the official opposition 2022–present (born 3 June 1979 in Calgary, AB). Pierre Poilievre has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Ottawa riding of Carleton (formerly Nepean-Carleton) since 2004. After serving as the youngest MP in Parliament, Poilievre became a cabinet minister in the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Long known as a pugnacious partisan, Poilievre has been a fierce critic of the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Poilievre became the leader of the Conservative Party and of the Official Opposition in September 2022.

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Jane Philpott Resigns from Cabinet over SNC-Lavalin Scandal

Liberal MP Jane Philpott resigned from her Cabinet position of president of the Treasury Board and minister of digital government. She cited “the evidence of efforts by politicians and/or officials to pressure the former attorney general [Jody Wilson-Raybould] to intervene in the criminal case involving SNC-Lavalin… Sadly, I have lost confidence in how the government has dealt with this matter and in how it has responded to the issues raised.”

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Amarjeet Sohi

Amarjeet Sohi, politician, federal cabinet minister, mayor of Edmonton 2021–present (born 8 March 1964 in Banbhaura, Punjab, India). After being falsely accused of terrorism and imprisoned in India for 21 months, Amarjeet Sohi became involved in municipal politics in Edmonton. He served on city council for eight years before being elected as a Liberal MP for Edmonton’s Mill Woods riding. Sohi served as Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and Minister of Natural Resources before losing re-election in 2019. On 18 October 2021, he became the first person of a racialized minority to be elected mayor of Edmonton.

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John Turner

John Napier Turner, PC, CC; politician, lawyer, prime minister, athlete (born in Richmond, England, 7 June 1929; died 19 September 2020 in Toronto, ON). John Turner is best known for his early political service as federal justice minister (1968–72) and finance minister (1972–75) in the cabinet of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, and for the 1988 election battle with Brian Mulroney over free trade. Turner's 11-week term as prime minister in 1984 is the second shortest in Canadian history, after Sir Charles Tupper (10 weeks).

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Death of Newfoundland Politician John Crosbie

John Crosbie died in St. John’s at the age of 88. Crosbie was a cabinet minister in Newfoundland and Labrador before becoming an MP in 1976. He served in the cabinets of prime ministers Joe Clark and Brian Mulroney, and as the chancellor of Memorial University. He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1998 and served as lieutenant-governor of Newfoundland and Labrador from 2008 to 2013. A state funeral was held in St. John’s on 16 January.

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Emergencies Act

In July 1988, the War Measures Act was repealed and replaced by the Emergencies Act. The Emergencies Act authorizes “the taking of special temporary measures to ensure safety and security during national emergencies and to amend other Acts in consequence thereof.” In contrast to the sweeping powers and violation of civil liberties authorized by the War Measures Act, the Emergencies Act created more limited and specific powers for the federal government to deal with security emergencies of five different types: national emergencies; public welfare emergencies; public order emergencies; international emergencies; and war emergencies. Under the Act, Cabinet orders and regulations must be reviewed by Parliament, meaning the Cabinet cannot act on its own, unlike under the War Measures Act. The Emergencies Act outlines how people affected by government actions during emergencies are to be compensated. It also notes that government actions are subject to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Canadian Bill of Rights.

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Backbencher

A backbencher is a member of Parliament (MP) or of a provincial or territorial legislature who is in neither the governing cabinet nor the oppositions’ shadow cabinets. Backbenchers occupy seats in the back of the legislature, behind the cabinet and shadow cabinets. (The name derives from the British parliament, where they sit on benches.) Like all MPs, backbenchers represent their constituents. They participate in debates and in question period, serve on committees, and bring private member’s bills to the House. Above all, backbenchers are expected to support their party and its leader.

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Paul Hellyer

Paul Theodore Hellyer, PC, politician, engineer, businessman, writer (born 6 August 1923 near Waterford, ON; died 8 August 2021 in Toronto, ON). A long-time Member of Parliament (MP), Paul Hellyer served in the cabinets of prime ministers Lester B. Pearson and Pierre Trudeau, and was the longest-serving member of the Privy Council at the time of his death. As defence minister, he oversaw Canada’s adoption of nuclear weapons and organized the unification of the armed forces. Hellyer contested the leadership of both the Liberal and Progressive Conservative parties and led two small federal parties of his own creation. He was a notable critic of free trade and advocated for monetary reform. He also gained international notoriety for claiming that Western governments possess — and have been suppressing — evidence of UFOs and extraterrestrial life.

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Prime Minister of Canada

The prime minister (PM) is the head of the federal government. It is the most powerful position in Canadian politics. Prime ministers are not specifically elected to the position; instead, the PM is typically the leader of the party that has the most seats in the House of Commons. The prime minister controls the governing party and speaks for it; names senators and senior judges for appointment; and appoints and dismisses all members of Cabinet. As chair of Cabinet, the PM controls its agenda and greatly influences the activities and priorities of Parliament. In recent years, a debate has emerged about the growing power of prime ministers, and whether this threatens other democratic institutions.

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Ukrainian Internment in Canada

Canada’s first national internment operations took place during the First World War, between 1914 and 1920. More than 8,500 men, along with some women and children, were interned by the Canadian government, which acted under the authority of the War Measures Act. Most internees were recent immigrants from the Austro-Hungarian, German and Ottoman empires, and mainly from the western Ukrainian regions of Galicia and Bukovyna. Some were Canadian-born or naturalized British subjects. They were held in 24 receiving stations and internment camps across the country — from Nanaimo, BC, to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Many were used as labour in the country’s frontier wilderness. Personal wealth and property were confiscated and much of it was never returned.

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Responsible Government

Responsible government refers to a government that is responsible to the people. In Canada, responsible government is an executive or Cabinet that depends on the support of an elected assembly, rather than a monarch or their representatives. A responsible government first appeared in Canada in the 1830s. It became an important part of Confederation. It is the method by which Canada achieved independence from Britain without revolution.

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Internment of Japanese Canadians

The forcible expulsion and confinement of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War is one of the most tragic sets of events in Canada’s history. Some 21,000 Japanese Canadians were taken from their homes on Canada’s West Coast, without any charge or due process. Beginning 24 February 1942, around 12,000 of them were exiled to remote areas of British Columbia and elsewhere. The federal government stripped them of their property and pressured many of them to accept mass deportation after the war. Those who remained were not allowed to return to the West Coast until 1 April 1949. In 1988, the federal government officially apologized for its treatment of Japanese Canadians. A redress payment of $21,000 was made to each survivor, and more than $12 million was allocated to a community fund and human rights projects.

This article is the full-length text on Japanese Internment in Canada. For a plain-language summary, see Internment of Japanese Canadians (Plain-Language Summary).

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Internment in Canada

Internment is the forcible confinement or detention of a person during wartime. Large-scale internment operations were carried out by the Canadian government during the First World War and the Second World War. In both cases, the War Measures Act was invoked. This gave the government the authority to deny people’s civil liberties, notably habeas corpus (the right to a fair trial before detention). People were held in camps across the country. More than 8,500 people were interned during the First World War and as many as 24,000 during the Second World War — including some 12,000 Japanese Canadians.