New cabinet ministers from BC leave god out of swearing in

On Wednesday, Canada's new Prime Minister and cabinet were sworn into office. Three Liberal MPs elected in BC were appointed to cabinet and each of them choose a secular affirmation over the traditional swearing on a Bible.

Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, is a member of the We Wai Kai Nation and served as regional chief of the Assembly of First Nations from 2009 until 2015. She represents the new riding of Vancouver Granville.

Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, competed in two Paralympic Games (Qualtrough is visually impaired) and is an accomplished human rights lawyer. Qualtrough represents the riding of Delta.

Harjit Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, was the first Sikh-Canadian to command a military regiment and served three tours in Afghanistan and one in Bosnia. Sajjan represents Vancouver South.

Few Canadian politicians speak openly about their religiosity or lack thereof. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is a practising Catholic but says religious views shouldn't be forced on entire communities. Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper tended not to speak about his affiliation with the evangelical Christian Missionary Alliance Church in Calgary.

Sajjan is a baptized Sikh but told the Vancouver Sun in 2012:

“It wasn’t really a religious thing. It was an identity thing. I needed the commitment because I knew it would keep me on the right path. I found the true meaning of Sikhism and I loved the warrior aspect of it.

The only source I could find for the beliefs of Qualtrough and Wilson-Raybould is a Tumblr post by (a)sexy witch claiming the former is an atheist.

The only openly Humanist politician in Ottawa that I'm aware of is Burnaby South MP Kennedy Stewart, who was awarded the 2014 Humanist of the Year award from Humanist Canada.

"Because it's 2015"

It's also good to see the broad support for the gender equality of the new cabinet. Canadian Prime Ministers have generally made an effort to ensure regional representation in their cabinets, so a commitment to gender equality should not be a controversial move.

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  • commented 2015-11-07 13:50:42 -0800
    1/1 Cabinet Minister from Peterborough-Kawartha chose a secular affirmation.

    BTW: It looks like the Wiki pages for Canadian cabinet ministers (updated November 7, 2015) have left off the religion category in the box to the right.
  • commented 2015-11-06 11:04:14 -0800
    Excellent! It is about time we had a Prime Minister who bases his decisions on evidence and expert advice again!


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