OnePacificNews, July 19 2018

Nearly three years after taking office, the “inclusive” government of Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has finally appointed a Canadian of Chinese background to its cabinet.

As Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion, Mary Ng, 48, is ranked 33rd in the 35-member Liberal Party government cabinet.

Ms Ng, an immigrant from Hong Kong, was elected member for the Markham-Thornhill seat in Ontario province in April 2017 in a by-election to replace John McCallum following his appointment as ambassador to China.

Alice Wong, a member of the previous Conservative Party government that lost the Federal election in October 2015, was the last Chinese Canadian to hold a ministerial position.

Ms Ng is expected to assist Jim Carr, the new Minister of International Trade Diversification, develop new markets for Canada’s exports, particularly to Asia. Canada’s exports to the United States, its largest customer, is under threat from President Donald Trump’s decision to impose stiff tariffs on Canadian imports along with the likely scrapping of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

“Throughout her 20 years of public service, Minister Ng has been a passionate community leader and advocate with a proven track record of results in the areas of education, women’s leadership, job-creation, and entrepreneurship,” said a Canadian government statement.

It added that she has played a role in helping the government “invest in Canadian ideas and innovators in her riding by advocating for the inclusion of Markham’s tech-innovation hub, VentureLabs, in the Southern Ontario Supercluster.”

The Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster is expected to have a GDP impact of more than $13.5 billion in the next ten years and create more than 13,500 middle class jobs in the region.

Mr Trudeau, who is seen as a more inclusive leader than his predecessor, has been criticised for failing to include a member of the not-insignificant Chinese Canadian community in his Cabinet. Of Canada’s 36 million population, about 1.5 million are of Chinese background.

In fairness to Mr Trudeau, the low representation of Chinese Canadians in the country’s political process drastically reduces the number of candidates from the community that would qualify for a cabinet position.

On the gender front, the latest line-up unveiled on July 18, is finely balanced with 18 men and 17 women.