Anita Anand, Indian-Origin Canadian politician, on October 26, 2021, was announced to be the new Defence Minister of Canada. The decision was taken in a cabinet reshuffle by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a month after his liberal party returned to power in snap polls and amid the calls for the major military reforms.
The 54-year old Anita Anand will replace a long time Defence Minister of India-Origin Harjit Sajjan, who has been under criticism for his handling of military sexual misconduct. Sajjan has been appointed as a Minister of International Development Agency.
The new Cabinet of Canada maintains the gender balance and has 39 members, up one person from before the election. The new Cabinet was sworn in at the Rideau Hall in Ottawa.
— CanadianPM (@CanadianPM)
October 26, 2021
Who is Anita Anand?
• The new Defence Minister of Canada, Anita Anand, has a deep background as a corporate lawyer. She has worked extensively on corporate governance, which refers particularly to the laws and rules in place to manage the operations of the business.
• Anita Anand was declared the winner in Oakville with a nearly 46% vote share which was a significant development for Canada’s Vaccine Minister.
• Anand was first elected as the rookie Member of Parliament in 2019 representing Oakville in Ontario Province. She served as the procurement minister throughout the Coronavirus pandemic in Canada.
• Due to her performance, Anand quickly became in charge of Canada’s efforts to secure Coronavirus Vaccines and was also often on the campaign trail with Prime Minister Trudeau.
• As the former Minister of Public Services and Procurement, Anand played a very public role in the Liberal response to the health crisis.
• Anita Anand, along with Bardish Chagger and Harjit Sajjan were the three Indo-Canadian ministers in the dissolved cabinet who had emerged victorious in Canadian parliamentary polls in September 2021.
Priority as the new Defence Minister of Canada
Reportedly, the top priority of Anita Anand as the new Defence Minister of Canada is to make everyone feel safe in the armed forces. Notably, the former Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan was criticized for his handling of sexual misconduct.
Anand said, “My top priority is to make sure that everyone in the Armed Forces feel safe and protected and that they have the support that they need when they need them, and the structures in place to ensure that justice is served.”
Why Anita Anand was chosen as Defence Minister of Canada?
Anand has been seen as a strong contender for weeks among the defence industry experts. According to them, moving Anand into the role will send a powerful signal to the survivors and the victims of the military sexual misconduct that the Canadian Government is serious about implementing major reforms.
The Ministry in Canada has been facing intense public and political pressure to change its culture and also create better systems for both preventing and handling sexual misconduct allegations.
The latest reshuffling of Canadian Cabinet ministers is being done after Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a comeback by winning the recently held parliamentary elections in September 2021. He won against the Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole, however, Trudeau failed to gain an absolute majority.