In a major move, Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau carried out a cabinet shuffle, naming women to various posts. In the newly shuffled cabinet list, Indian-origin Canadian politician Anita Anand has been appointed as the new Defence Minister of Canada replacing long-time defence minister Harjit Sajjan.
The 54-year-old politician from Oakville, Ontario was the first Hindu to become a cabinet minister when she was appointed as the minister of public services and procurement in 2019. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau praised her outstanding efforts for procuring Covid-19 vaccines for the country during unprecedented times and her liberal response to the health crises during her tenure as Minister of Public Services is been highlighted which led to her promotion to the critical defence portfolio in the new cabinet shuffle.
For a year now, multiple allegations for sexual misconduct in the Canadian Military has been reported against high-level leaders. The Canadian Military is in talks for discrimination against women as well as LGBTQ members. In fact, since 2016 there have been more than 2,000 reports of sexual misconduct within the military of Canada. The incumbent Harjit Sajjan was criticised for his mishandling of the whole situation. Anita Anand has been touted as a strong contender as defence industry experts believed that moving her into this position would send a powerful message to survivors and victims of military sexual misconduct for creating a better system for preventing this situation.
Anita Anand emerged victorious in the state of Oakville with a nearly 46% vote share. Anand along with Harjit Sajjan and Bardish Chagger were the three Indo-Canadian ministers in the dissolved Cabinet who won in the parliamentary polls last month.
Anita Anand has a background as a corporate lawyer and has worked extensively on corporate governance. This gives her added advantage of understanding the laws and rules in place to manage the operations of businesses. In 2019, Ms Anand was facilitated by Yvan Allaire Medal by the Royal Society of Canada for her outstanding contributions in governance relating to private and public organisations.