After months of dismissing the country’s inflation crisis as a “global phenomenon,” the Trudeau government finally acknowledged the fact that Canadians were struggling with the costs of everyday goods and services. In June, the government unveiled an “affordability plan” to combat inflation – $8.9 billion of government programs.

While finance minister Chrystia Freeland touted the government’s plan as a means of putting “more money in the pockets of Canadians at a time when they need it most,” many economists pleaded with the government to stop spending, arguing that the burden of lowering inflation is falling on the private sector as the government continues to spend at record levels.

Now with a looming recession, many Canadians are looking to their leaders to steer Canada out of its current economic situation. Is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s gender-balanced cabinet capable of handling a recession? We intend to find out. 

An analysis of the Trudeau government’s cabinet reveals that more than half have zero business experience – including finance minister Chrystia Freeland. 

Out of 39 Cabinet members, only five hold degrees in Economics: Jean-Yves Duclos, Marie-Claude Bibeau, David Lametti, Bill Blair and Jonathan Wilkinson. 

Ten members have experience owning or managing a small or medium-sized business, and four have degrees in Business Administration. 

Only 14 members have experience working in higher positions of a business before entering politics.

Eleven members previously had careers in Law or studied the subject in university. 

Six have experience in journalism or media, including Freeland and Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra. Five hold degrees in Political Science.

Below are the qualifications for each cabinet member: 

The Right Honourable Justin TrudeauPrime Minister of Canada

  • Studied literature at McGill University and went on to complete the University of British Columbia’s education program. 
  • He taught French and math before entering politics in 2008. 

The Honourable Chrystia FreelandDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

  • Completed Bachelor’s degree at Harvard University, studying Russian history and literature.
  • Obtainted master’s degree in Slavonic studies from Oxford University.
  • Began her career in journalism, became a freelance correspondent in Ukraine for the Financial Times, the Washington Post and the Economist before her entrance into politics in 2013.

The Honourable Lawrence MacAulayMinister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence

  • Worked as a dairy and potato farmer in St. Peter’s Bay, PEI, before entering politics.

The Honourable Carolyn BennettMinister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health

  • Graduated with a degree in medicine from the University of Toronto in 1974.
  • Before her election in 1997, Bennet was a family physician and founding partner of Bedford Medical Associates in Toronto. 

The Honourable Dominic LeBlancMinister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities

  • Earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Toronto.
  • Began his career as a lawyer before being elected in 2000.

The Honourable Jean-Yves DuclosMinister of Health

  • Earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Alberta, and master’s and doctoral degrees in Economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
  • Served as President-Elect of the Canadian Economics Association.
  • Co-Founder of the Poverty and Economic Policy Research Network.

The Honourable Marie-Claude BibeauMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

  • Holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and a graduate degree in Environmental Management.
  • Co-owned a tourism business in Sherbrooke, Quebec.

The Honourable Mélanie JolyMinister of Foreign Affairs

  • Holds a Bachelor of Law from the Universite de Montreal.
  • Ran for mayor of Montreal and authored a book about policy and civic engagement.

The Honourable Diane LebouthillierMinister of National Revenue

  • Earned her Bachelor of Social Work from the Universite de Moncton.
  • Owner of the ‘La Ferme du Petit Moulin’ lodging outfitter.

The Honourable Harjit S. SajjanMinister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada

  • Former member of the Vancouver Police Department.
  • Participated in four operational deployments in Bosnia and Afghanistan.
  • Started his own consulting business that taught intelligence gathering techniques to Canadian and American military personnel.

The Honourable Carla QualtroughMinister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion

  • Studied Political Science at the University of Ottawa and Law at the University of Victoria.
  • Before entering politics she was a lawyer and paralympic swimmer.

The Honourable Patty HajduMinister of Indigenous Services and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario

  • Earned a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Victoria.
  • Was the Executive Director at Shelter House, Thunder Bay’s largest homeless shelter.

The Honourable François-Philippe ChampagneMinister of Innovation, Science and Industry

  • Holds a Bachelor of Law from the University of Montreal
  • Was Vice-Presedient of ABB Group, a technology company.
  • Served as Strategic Development Director of Amec Foster Wheeler in the energy sector.

The Honourable Karina GouldMinister of Families, Children and Social Development

  • Holds a Master’s degree in International Relations
  • Worked as a trade and investment specialist for the Mexican Trade Commission in Toronto. 

The Honourable Ahmed HussenMinister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion

  • Holds a law degree from the University of Ottawa.
  • Founded the Regent Park Community Council, facilitating a $500 million revitalization and redevelopment project in Regent Park, Toronto.
  • Practiced criminal defence, immigration and refugee law before entering politics.

The Honourable Seamus O’Regan Jr.Minister of Labour

  • Studied Marketing Strategies at INSEAD in Paris, France.
  • Former regional correspondent for CBC Radio and CTV National News, host of ‘Canada AM’.

The Honourable Ginette Petitpas TaylorMinister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

  • Holds a Bachelor’s degree in social work from the Universite de Moncton.
  • Worked as a social worker and the Victims Services Coordinator for the Codiac Regional RCMP.

The Honourable Pablo RodriguezMinister of Canadian Heritage and Quebec Lieutenant

  • Earned a degree in Business Administration from the University of Sherbrooke.
  • Oversaw management of international projects for a Montreal-based NGO.

The Honourable Bill BlairPresident of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness

  • Earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Criminology.
  • Served 39 years with the Toronto Police Service.
  • Worked with Covenant House, the United Way, and Children’s Aid Society of Toronto.

The Honourable Mary NgMinister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development

  • Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto Scarborough, majoring in Political Science.
  • Grew up in her family’s small business.

The Honourable Filomena TassiMinister of Public Services and Procurement

  • Bachelor of Laws from Western University, Master of Religious Education from the University of Toronto.

The Honourable Jonathan WilkinsonMinister of Natural Resources

  • CEO of QuestAir Technologies and former CEO of BQE Water.
  • Earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Saskatchewan and Masters degrees in International Relations, Politics, and Economics From Oxford and McGill.

The Honourable David LamettiMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

  • Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Political Science from the University of Toronto.
  • Former professor of Law at McGill University

The Honourable Joyce MurrayMinister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

  • Pursued an executive Master’s Degree in Business Administration. 
  • Built an international reforestation company that has planted 1.5 billion trees. (Brinkman and Associates Reforestation.

The Honourable Anita AnandMinister of National Defence

  • Holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Studies from Queens University, a Bachelor of Laws from Dalhousie University and a Master of Laws from the University of Toronto.
  • Former professor of law at the University of Toronto
  • Was Director of Policy and Research at the Capital Markets Research Institute, Rotman School of Management.
  • Appointed to the Government of Ontario’s Expert Committee to Consider Financial Advisory and Financial Planning Policy Alternatives.

The Honourable Mona FortierPresident of the Treasury Board

  • Worked as the Chief Director of Communications and Market Development at College La Cite and managed her own strategic communications consulting firm. 

The Honourable Steven GuilbeaultMinister of Environment and Climate Change

  • Studied Political Science at the Universite de Montréal.
  • Co-founded Equiterre, an environmental organization in Quebec. 
  • Worked as Director and Campaign Manager for Greenpeace.
  • Strategic Advisor at Cycle Capital Management, dedicated to developing green technology.

The Honourable Marco E. L. MendicinoMinister of Public Safety

  • Studied Political Science at Carleton University and Law School at the University of Windsor.
  • Served as a federal prosecutor for ten years in Toronto. 

The Honourable Marc MillerMinister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

  • Earned a Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Political Science at McGill University. 
  • Was a practicing lawyer before entering politics.

The Honourable Dan VandalMinister of Northern Affairs, Minister responsible for Prairies Economic Development Canada and Minister responsible for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

  • Received a degree in Social Work from the University of Manitoba.
  • Former city councillor in Winnipeg and Deputy Mayor.
  • Worked as a social worker.

The Honourable Omar AlghabraMinister of Transport

  • Holds a Master of Business Administration.
  • Former member of the community editorial board of the Toronto Star.
  • Mechanical engineer by trade.

The Honourable Randy BoissonnaultMinister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance

  • Studied at the University of Alberta before enrolling at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar.
  • Former lecturer at the University of Alberta.
  • Former journalist and political commentator for Radio-Canada.
  • Spent 15 years helping small and medium sized businesses through his consulting company.

The Honourable Sean FraserMinister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

  • Holds a law degree from Dalhousie University and a Master’s in Public International Law from Leiden University in the Netherlands.
  • Worked as a lawyer practicing commercial litigation and international dispute resolution.

The Honourable Mark HollandLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

  • Majored in Political Science and History at the University of Toronto.
  • Served as a Durham Regional Councillor .
  • Former Executive Director of the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

The Honourable Gudie HutchingsMinister of Rural Economic Development

  • Attended Acadia University.
  • 30 years of experience as a small business owner in the Atlantic Canadian tourism industry.

The Honourable Marci IenMinister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth

  • Graduated with a degree in Radio and Television Arts from Ryerson University.
  • Former journalist.

The Honourable Helena JaczekMinister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

  • Holds a Master of Health and Sciences from the University of Toronto and a Master of Business Administration from York University.
  • Practiced medicine at the Women’s College Hospital in Toronto.
  • Leader on the board of Reena, a non-profit organization providing services to people with developmental disabilities.

The Honourable Kamal KheraMinister of Seniors

  • Earned a Bachelors of Science in Nursing at York University.
  • Worked as a registered nurse in oncology at St. Joseph’s Health Centre in Toronto

The Honourable Pascale St-OngeMinister of Sport and Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

  • Holds a Bachelor of Arts in Literary Studies from the University of Quebec in Montreal and a certificate in journalism from the University of Montreal.
  • Served as Secretary General then President of the Federation nationale des communications et de la culture.

A poll conducted by Maru Public Opinion of 1,517 Canadian adults found that 62% of total Canadians said the economy is headed in the wrong direction. This number went up to 65% for Atlantic Canadians and 77% for respondents from Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

A majority of Canadians have also seen their wages outpaced by inflation. Wages rose 2.7% over the last two years, compared to 3.4% inflation over the same period of time. 

Economist with the firm Macquarie Group David Doyle predicts that Canada could face a worse recession than the US this time around. “When [Canada] has recessions, the lion’s share of the weakness in gross domestic product tends to come from residential investment,” said Doyle.

“We think the effect of the recession will be much more severe in terms of the drawdown on GDP growth, in terms of how high unemployment will rise. That will be much more severe in Canada than what we foresee in the United States.”

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