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Anita Anand becomes Canada’s Defence Minister, two others of Indian origin also become ministers

Former law professor at University of Toronto and now Defence Minister, Canada, Anita Anand (Photo: IANS)

Indian-origin Canadian, Anita Anand has become Canada's Defence Minister in a reshuffle by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. She becomes the second woman to hold the charge after Kim Campbell in the 1990s.

She had earlier served as the minister for public service and procurement and was involved in the purchase of Covid-19 vaccines. She was praised for her work in procuring vaccines for the country.

The 54-year-old Anand is of Tamilian-Punjabi heritage and replaced Harjit Sajjan as the defence minister.  Anand had earlier assisted in the inquiry related to the Air India Kanishka bombing which killed all 329 people on board.

Sajjan has been moved as minister for international development which is being seen as a demotion. He was criticised for the institutional sexual misconduct scandal that broke out in the Canadian military. Appointing a woman as a defence minister is seen to be sending a signal that sexual misconduct will not be taken lightly.

Trudeau has appointed six women in his cabinet. Among them is another Indian-origin woman Kamal Khera who has been appointed as minister for seniors. Khera, a three-time MP, is a registered nurse who served as a healthcare provider during the peak of the covid crisis.

Trudeau now has three people of Indian origin in his 38-member cabinet. The reshuffle has happened as Trudeau says that Canadians want big things to be done on matters related to climate change and reconciliation with indigenous people–a scandal that reverberated for most part of this year after native children's bodies were discovered in mass graves in Catholic schools.

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