“Team Trudeau”: Tried and trusted representatives of big business

By our reporter
21 October 2015

In the wake of the Liberals’ sweeping victory in Monday’s federal election, Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau has vowed to move quickly to appoint his cabinet.

In doing so, he will be drawing from what he calls “Team Trudeau”—the newly elected Liberal parliamentary caucus.

The records of Team Trudeau’s “stars” exemplify the character of the incoming government. Comprised of tried and trusted ruling class representatives, it will be a government of and for and by big business.

They include:

Andrew Leslie: A retired Canadian Armed Forces general, Leslie is widely touted to be Trudeau’s Defence Minister. Leslie played a major role in directing the Canadian forces that enforced the occupation of Afghanistan through counterinsurgency war. Subsequently, as “Chief of Transformation for the Canadian Forces,” Leslie drafted a controversial report that advocated diverting resources from military headquarters to frontline operations, so as to give Canada’s military “more tooth and less tail.”

Chrystia Freeland: A former Thomson-Reuters executive who is partly of Ukrainian descent, Freeland has championed the ultra-right-wing regime brought to power in Kiev by the February 2014 coup both in Canada’s parliament and on the pages of the New York Times. Through her career as an editor and executive at some of the world’s major business publication, Freeland has developed close ties with leading representatives of global finance, including former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers.

Bill Morneau: The head of Canada’s largest human resources firm, Morneau Shepell, and the former Chair of the C.D. Howe Institute, a right-wing business think tank, Morneau is expected to be given a major economic portfolio in the new government.

Bill Blair: The head of the Toronto Police for ten years ending last April, Blair presided over the infamous crackdown on the 2010 G-20 protests that saw hundreds of protesters and bystanders kettled and subject to arbitrary arrest. Blair has also been an outspoken advocate of “carding,” the practice of random police questioning of individuals, especially in poor and minority neighbourhoods.

Joyce Murray: A businesswoman, Murray served as a cabinet minister in the right-wing BC Liberal government of Gordon Campbell when it imposed massive social spending outs, contracted out tens of thousands of hospital worker jobs and abolished teachers’ right to bargain collectively over class sizes. As Liberal Defence critic, Murray has called for major increases in military spending.

Jim Carr: The founder of the Business Council of Manitoba, Carr has advocated for health care privatization.

Stephane Dion: A former leader of the federal Liberal Party, Dion is the principal architect of the “Clarity Bill,” legislation that says the federal government has the right to decide after the fact what majority would be sufficient to trigger Quebec’s separation and that stipulates Quebec could be subject to partition in the event it secedes from Canada.

Dion is part of a cabal of former ministers in the Chretien-Martin government who are likely to be included in Trudeau’s cabinet. Others include: Ralph Goodale, who served in the federal Liberal cabinet from 1993 to 2006, including the last three years as finance minister; Scott Brison, a defector from the Progressive Conservatives and the Liberals’ current finance critic; former Royal Bank Vice-President and Defence Minister John McCallum; and former Solicitor-General Wayne Easter. Under McCallum, the Liberals initiated a major rearmament drive and a vast expansion of the Communication Security Establishment, the Canadian equivalent to and close partner of US National Security Agency (NSA).

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