rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Who are the key ministers responsible for our digital future over the next four years?

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca for as little as $5 per month!

Please support our coverage of democratic movements and become a supporter of rabble.ca.

It's three months to the day since Canada's election officially started, and today, after a gruelling 11-week campaign and two-week transition period, Canada finally has a new Prime Minister.

Justin Trudeau was officially sworn in as Canada's 23rd Prime Minister earlier this morning. He also named his new cabinet -- 31 ministers who will be responsible for guiding Canada's ship of state over the coming years.

CBC News has the full list of Canada's new Cabinet Ministers. Here at OpenMedia, we were watching closely to see who will be in charge of the key government departments responsible for our digital future.

Here's a quick guide to some of those key ministers, and the key digital rights issues they're responsible for -- we'll be hearing these names a lot over the next four years.

Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development: 

Navdeep Bains is a relatively familiar face to Canadians, having previously been an MP between 2004 and 2011. As Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, it looks like Bains will be Trudeau's point man when it comes to fixing Canada's broken telecom market, and tackling Big Telecom's high prices and lack of choice.

One of the more surprising aspects of today's announcement is that Industry Canada, the powerhouse department previously led by James Moore, is in for at least a rebrand, if not a full restructuring. We'll be keeping a close eye on this and, needless to say, we'll be pushing the new minister to implement our crowdsourced plans for more affordable wireless and wireline Internet.

Chrystia Freeland, Minister of International Trade: 

Former writer and journalist Chrystia Freeland is one of the higher profile members of the new cabinet. First elected in 2013 for Toronto Centre, she was re-elected two weeks ago with a large majority in Toronto's University-Rosedale riding.

As Minister for International Trade, Freeland will play a crucial role, alongside the Prime Minister, in deciding whether Canada will sign up for the Trans-Pacific Partnership's Internet censorship plan -- a key litmus test of the new government. Check out our Meghan Sali, writing in Common Dreams about the secretive and undemocratic nature of the TPP, and our Reilly Yeo's expert take on what's at stake for Internet users.

Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety: 

Ralph Goodale is a familiar name to Canadians, having served as Finance Minister from 2003 to 2006, and in other cabinet positions since 1993. As such, he's certainly one of the more experienced faces in the new Trudeau Cabinet.

Ralph Goodale is also likely to be the Minister holding lead responsibility for spy agency CSIS, and for rolling back Bill C-51 -- the reckless secret police bill that the Liberals have promised to reform.

We'll be pushing Ralph Goodale to listen to the over 300,000 Canadians who want C-51 repealed -- you can read more about our approach on C-51 here.

Melanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage: 

Melanie Joly is a well-known name to Montréalers, having been the runner-up in Montréal's 2013 mayoral election. Now representing Ahuntsic-Cartierville in the House of Commons, Joly's responsibilities as Heritage Minister are likely to include oversight of Canada's copyright rules. Canada currently has a fairly balanced set of copyright rules, thanks to the broadly positive 2012 reforms put into place by the previous government.

Unfortunately, as Sali recently explained to CBC News, these rules are now under threat of being completely overturned by the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership, and Joly will likely play a key role in determining whether the new government will stand up for Canada's balanced approach, or give way and allow the importation of a draconian U.S.-style system, geared entirely to the needs of giant media conglomerates, rather than artists, creators, and everyday Internet users. We'll be pushing for Joly to listen to Canadians and implement our crowdsourced Free Expression plan. (For more, check out this CBC News profile of Melanie Joly.)

Harjit Sajjan, Minister of Defence: 

Harjit Sajjan is a decorated Army Lieutenant-Colonel, and a new face on the Liberal benches having just been elected to represent Vancouver South. As Minister of National Defence he'll be responsible for the activities of the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), Canada's ultra-secretive spy agency.

Under the previous government, CSE was embroiled in a long series of scandals, not least when they were exposed as spying on innocent Canadian air travellers. Sajjan will be responsible for cleaning up the mess; in their platform, the Liberals promised reforms to CSE, and we'll be pushing them to fully implement the accountability measures set out in our crowdsourced privacy plan. (For more about Harjit, check out his CBC News profile.)

Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice: 

Jody Wilson-Raybould is a prominent First Nations leader and experienced Crown prosecutor. She is a newly-elected MP, elected to represent B.C.'s Vancouver Granville riding. As Minister of Justice, Wilson-Raybould will play an especially important role in terms of safeguarding Canadians' privacy and cleaning up the mess left by the previous government's terrible track record on privacy.

We'll also be asking Jody to listen to Canadians and implement our crowdsourced pro-privacy action plan, shaped by over 125,000 citizens. If the previous government's allocation of responsibilities is anything to go by, Wilson-Raybould is also likely to play a role in tackling Bill C-51, although the primary responsibility for that file will likely rest with Ralph Goodale as Public Safety Minister. (For more on Jody Wilson-Raybould, check out this CBC News profile.)

                                                             ~~~

These are the key Ministers primarily responsible for our digital future right now. That said, the precise responsibilities of each government department may shift, and if there are any big changes we'll be sure to let you know.

While these Ministers will play a really key role, ultimately the buck for his government's actions stops at the desk of Justin Trudeau. None of these issues exist in a vacuum, and it will take a whole-of-government approach to ensure Canadians get the affordable, censorship and surveillance-free digital future they deserve.

It's clear expectations are high. As community member Kieran Devine told us on Facebook: "I sure hope he reaches his full positive potential."

We've already reached out to Trudeau's office and asked him to meet with us and representatives of the 300,000 people who want C-51 repealed -- stay tuned for more on how you can make your voice heard on this crucial issue.

When it comes to broader digital rights issues, thanks to you we've already got our crowdsourced pro-Internet action plan in place. Given that over 250,000 people helped shape this plan, we'll be pushing Trudeau's new government to listen to Canadians and implement it as soon as possible.

What do you think of Canada's new Cabinet? Let us know in the comments below!

Please support our coverage of democratic movements and become a supporter of rabble.ca.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.