List of visible minority Canadian cabinet ministers

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The Cabinet of Canada has had 21 Visible Minorities appointed members. By definition, a visible minority is a person or group visibly not one of the majority race in a given population. The term is generally used for Canadians with at least partial non-European ancestry, other than Native Canadian.

Pierre De Bané became the first Visible Minority and Arab Canadian to hold a Cabinet position when he was appointed Minister of Supply and Services in 1978 by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. In 1979, Minister of Labour Lincoln Alexander became the first African Canadian appointed to the Cabinet. Hedy Fry became the first Visible Minority female cabinet member and first Caribbean Canadian minister when she was appointed Minister for Status of Women and Multiculturalism in 1996. Raymond Chan became the first Chinese Canadian to hold a Cabinet Position when he was appointed Asia-Pacific Gateway Minister in 1993, while Herb Dhaliwal was the first South Asian Canadian minister, appointed Revenue Minister in 1997.

The Department of Multiculturalism has had the most Visible Minority Cabinet ministers, with four. Prime Ministers Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau have appointed the most Visible Minorities to cabinet, with six each.

J. Trudeau Cabinet (2015–current)[edit]

Image Minister Took office Left office Duration Mandates Notes
Minister Bains Bains, NavdeepNavdeep Bains
MP for Mississauga—Malton
4 November 2015 Incumbent Incumbent Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development (2015–current)

Bains was born in Toronto in 1977 to Indian parents.
Minister Sajjan Sajjan, HarjitHarjit Sajjan
MP for Vancouver South
4 November 2015 Incumbent Incumbent Minister of National Defence (2015–current)

Harjit Singh Sajjan was born in Bombeli, in Hoshiarpur district of Punjab, India. He along with his mother and older sister immigrated to Canada in 1976 when he was five years old to rejoin their father, who had left for British Columbia two years prior to work in a sawmill.
Minister Sohi Sohi, AmarjeetAmarjeet Sohi
MP for Edmonton Mill Woods
4 November 2015 Incumbent Incumbent Minister of Infrastructure and Communities (2015–Current) Sohi was born in 1964 in the Banbhaura, Sangrur district in the Indian state of Punjab. Sponsored by an elder brother, he emigrated to Edmonton in 1981.
Minister Monsef Monsef, MaryamMaryam Monsef
MP for Peterborough—Kawartha
4 November 2015 Incumbent Incumbent Minister of Democratic Institutions (2015–2017)

Minister of Status of Women (2017-present)
Monsef is of Afghan descent and was born in 1985 in a hospital in Iran;[1] as her parents were Afghan refugees rather than Iranian citizens, Monsef has never held Iranian citizenship and has always been an Afghan citizen.[2] She emigrated to Canada with her family as a refugee in 1996.
Minister Chagger Chagger, BardishBardish Chagger
MP for Waterloo
4 November 2015 Incumbent Incumbent Minister of Small Business and Tourism (2015–Current)

Leader of the Government in the House of Commons (2016–present)
Chagger emigrated to Waterloo, Ontario with her parents from India in the 1970s. She is the first female Leader of Government in the House of Commons.
Minister Hussen Hussen, AhmedAhmed Hussen
MP for York South—Weston
10 January 2017 Incumbent Incumbent Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (2017–current) Hussen was born in Somalia. He emigrated to Canada as a refugee in 1993, settling in Toronto. Although not the first black Cabinet minister, Hussen is the first to be of immediate African descent.

Harper Cabinet (2006–2015)[edit]

Image Minister Took office Left office Duration Mandates Notes
Minister Chong Chong, MichaelMichael Chong
MP for Wellington-Halton Hills
6 February 2006 27 November 2006 0 years, 294 days Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (2006)

Minister of State (Sport) (2006)
Chong was born in rural Ontario to a Chinese father and Dutch mother.
Minister Clement Clement, TonyTony Clement
MP for Parry Sound—Muskoka
6 February 2006 4 November 2015 9 years, 271 days Minister of Health (2006–2008)

Minister of Industry (2008–2011)

President of the Treasury Board (2011-2015)
Clement was born in England and is of mixed Cypriot and Syrian descent.[3]
Minister Oda Oda, BevBev Oda
MP for Durham
6 February 2006 4 July 2012 6 years, 148 days Minister of Canadian Heritage (2006–2007)

Minister of State (Status of Women) (2006–2007)

Minister for International Cooperation (2007–2012)
Oda was born to Japanese parents in Thunder Bay.
Minister Wong Gosal, BalBal Gosal
MP for Bramalea-Gore-Malton
18 May 2011 4 November 2015 4 years, 157 days Minister of State (Sport) (2011–2015) Gosal is of Indian descent and emigrated to Canada in 1981.
Minister Uppal Uppal, TimTim Uppal
MP for Edmonton-Sherwood Park
18 May 2011 4 November 2015 4 years, 157 days Minister for Democratic Reform (2011–2013)

Minister for Multiculturalism (2013–2015)
Uppal is a Sikh born in New Westminster to Indian immigrant parents.[4]
Minister Wong Wong, AliceAlice Wong
MP for Richmond
18 May 2011 4 November 2015 4 years, 157 days Minister for Seniors (2011–2015) Wong is a Chinese Canadian who emigrated to Canada in 1980.[5]

Martin Cabinet (2003–2006)[edit]

Image Minister Took office Left office Duration Mandates Notes
Minister Augstine Augustine, JeanJean Augustine
MP for Etobicoke-Lakeshore
12 December 2003 19 July 2004 0 years, 219 days Minister for Multiculturalism (2003–2004)

Minister of State (Status of Women) (2003–2004)
First elected in 1993, she became the first black woman elected to Canadian Parliament. She was born in Grenada and immigrated to Canada in her youth.[6]
Pagtakhan, ReyRey Pagtakhan
MP for Winnipeg North
12 December 2003 19 July 2004 0 years, 219 days Minister of Western Economic Diversification (2003–2004)

Minister for Science & Technology (2003–2004)
Pagtakhan is a Filipino Canadian. He also served in Jean Chrétien's cabinet.[7]
Chan, RaymondRaymond Chan
MP for Richmond
20 July 2004 5 February 2006 1 year, 199 days Minister for Multiculturalism (2004–2006) Chan was the first Chinese-Canadian to serve in Cabinet. He also served in Jean Chrétien's cabinet.[8]
Minister Dosanjh Dosanjh, UjjalUjjal Dosanjh
MP for Vancouver South
20 July 2004 5 February 2006 1 year, 199 days Minister of Health (2004–2006) Dosanjh was born in India and emigrated to Canada when he was 17. He served as Premier of British Columbia from 2000–2001 and was elected as an MP in 2004.[9]

Chrétien Cabinet (1993–2003)[edit]

Image Minister Took office Left office Duration Mandates Notes
Chan, RaymondRaymond Chan
MP for Richmond
4 November 1993 8 January 2001 7 year, 65 days Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway (1993–2001) Chan was the first Chinese-Canadian to serve in Cabinet. He also served in Paul Martin's cabinet.[8]
Minister Fry Fry, HedyHedy Fry
MP for Vancouver Centre
25 January 1996 27 January 2002 6 years, 2 days Minister for Multiculturalism (1996–2002)

Minister of State (Status of Women) (1996–2002)
First elected in 1993, Fry is of Trinidadian ancestry.[10]
Dhaliwal, HerbHerb Dhaliwal
MP for Vancouver-Burnaby
11 June 1997 12 December 2003 6 years, 184 days Minister of National Revenue (1997–1999)

Minister of Fisheries and Oceans (1999–2002)
Minister of Natural Resources (2002–2003)
Raised in Canada since the age of six, Dhaliwal was Canada's first Indo-Canadian cabinet minister.[11]
Pagtakhan, ReyRey Pagtakhan
MP for Winnipeg North
9 January 2001 12 December 2003 2 years, 338 days Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway (2001–2002)

Minister for Science & Technology (2002–2003)
Minister of Veterans Affairs (2002–2003)
Pagtakhan is a Filipino Canadian. He also served in Paul Martin's cabinet.[7]
Minister Augstine Augustine, JeanJean Augustine
MP for Etobicoke-Lakeshore
26 May 2002 12 December 2003 1 year, 200 days Minister for Multiculturalism (2002–2003)

Minister of State (Status of Women) (2002–2003)
First elected in 1993, she became the first black woman elected to Canadian Parliament. She was born in Grenada and immigrated to Canada in her youth. She also served in Paul Martin's cabinet.[6]

P. Trudeau Cabinet II (1980–1984)[edit]

Image Minister Took office Left office Duration Mandates Notes
De Bané, PierrePierre De Bané
MP for Matapédia—Matane
3 March 1980 29 June 1984 4 years, 118 days Minister of Industrial Expansion (1980–1982)

Minister of Fisheries and Oceans (1982–1984)
De Bané was born in Mandatory Palestine of Lebanese descent.[12]

Clark Cabinet (1979–1980)[edit]

Image Minister Took office Left office Duration Mandates Notes
Alexander, LincolnLincoln Alexander
MP for Hamilton West
4 June 1979 2 March 1980 0 years, 271 days Minister of Labour (1979–1980)
Lincoln Alexander was Canada's first black Cabinet Minister. He later served as Ontario's first black Lieutenant Governor between 1985 and 1991.[13]

P. Trudeau Cabinet I (1968–1979)[edit]

Image Minister Took office Left office Duration Mandates Notes
De Bané, PierrePierre De Bané
MP for Matapédia—Matane
24 November 1978 3 June 1979 0 years, 191 days Minister of Supply and Services (1978–1979) De Bané was born in Mandatory Palestine of Lebanese descent.[12] He became Canada's first Visible Minority Cabinet minister upon his appointment in 1978.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Heralded as Canada's first Afghan-born MP, Maryam Monsef shocked to discover truth of roots". The Globe and Mail, September 22, 3016.
  2. ^ "Liberal MP Maryam Monsef, Canada's first Afghan cabinet minister, was actually born in Iran". National Post. September 22, 2016. 
  3. ^ http://www.cjnews.com/news/industry-minister-halachically-jewish
  4. ^ "Uppal changes roles in cabinet shuffle". Fort Saskatchewan Online. Retrieved October 11, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Alice Wong". Government of Canada. Archived from the original on October 23, 2013. Retrieved October 11, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "Jean Augustine". Fairness Commission. Retrieved October 11, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b "Rey Pagtakhan". Open Parliament. Retrieved October 11, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b "Raymond Chan". Open Parliament. Retrieved October 11, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Dosanjh new federal health minister" (PDF). Health Edition. Retrieved October 11, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Hedy Fry won't speculate on portfolio loss". CBC. Retrieved October 11, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Herb Dhaliwal". Herb Dhaliwal. Retrieved October 11, 2013. 
  12. ^ a b "Pierre De Bane on Campus". Macleans. Retrieved October 11, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Lincoln Alexander". Canada's Heroes.