This week newly-elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced his first cabinet – the team of MPs who will lead the various ministries that make up the government. For the wild animals under our mandate, we needed to keep a close eye on two portfolios: Environment and Natural Resources.
The first surprising decision was not who was appointed to lead the Ministry of Environment – but that one of the PMO’s earliest acts was to change the name to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change. Ottawa-Centre MP Catherine McKenna was handpicked by Mr. Trudeau, and most analysts are impressed and pleased with the decision.
A sharp lawyer and experienced international tactician, big things are expected of McKenna – largely due to the big promises made by Mr. Trudeau and his campaign team leading up to the October 19 election.
Manitoba MP Jim Carr was named the new leader of the Ministry of Natural Resources. A former provincial politician and businessman, Carr will likely be taking on the Keystone XL pipeline project as his first order of business – a largescale item that could have serious economic implications for a young government if the United States government continues to block it.
The Fur-Bearers are not expecting major changes in how wildlife policies are handled at the national level, unfortunately. The Liberal Party of Canada remains a centrist-left political group – they will not want to rock the boat or alienate the coveted “rural vote” by turning away from the tradition of resource extraction (this includes oil, forestry, and exploitation of wildlife).
What we can expect, however, is more positive discussion around many of the environmental issues that concern us all, more transparency in the policy-creation process, and, hopefully by 2019, electoral reform.
The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals will be reaching out to all MPs – both rookies and veterans – as well as the newly appointed cabinet ministers to introduce ourselves, our membership, and why they can expect four years of hearing from us on issues facing fur-bearing animals in Canada.
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