18 December 2008

Jean Charest's exemplary cabinet

Once again, Jean Charest has set the standard. Acting on the precedent he set in his last cabinet, half of the 26-member cabinet forming his new government will be women. "A year and a half ago I created a precedent," said Mr. Charest. "Today I hope to have created a tradition.”

He has not only created a gender-equal cabinet, he has given the woman members powerful portfolios. Monique Jérôme-Forget will continue as finance minister, with responsibility for Quebec's major infrastructure program, and Nathalie Normandeau will remain as municipal affairs minister and deputy premier. As President of the Treasury Board, former international affairs minister Monique Gagnon-Tremblay will face the challenge of controlling spending as revenues decline. Rookie Kathleen Weil becomes Minister of Justice.

The shortage of women in our legislatures and cabinets manifests a fundamental problem in our political system, a fundamental injustice, an injustice that denies women equal opportunity and denies all of us the fullness of the intelligence and wisdom available to our governance. Mr. Charest has acted strongly to deal with this injustice. It's time for other political leaders to step up and follow his example. We will all be the beneficiaries.

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