New Canadian Cabinet: no Chinese Canadians, 50 percent women

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Canada’s new Cabinet has three Indo-Canadians, 50 percent women and no Chinese. Hong Kong born MPs are all women, and all in Vancouver, as Olivia Chow loses her seat in Toronto.

Photo Credit: Canadian Parliament; Personal pages of Shaun Chen, Jenny Kwan, and Geng Tan.


The new Trudeau Cabinet was announced in Ottawa today. No Hong Kong born or Chinese Canadians made the list. The Cabinet has been hailed for including 50 percent women, an election promise by Prime Minister Trudeau, sworn in yesterday.

By contrast, the Hindustan Times trumpeted the ascension of 3 Indo-Canadians to Cabinet.

The Liberal MPs are all relative neophytes to Parliament, all men, and all from Toronto, which would have limited their eligibility given the predilections for cross-country representation and experience in Cabinet making. Add to that the gender balance promise, and they will have to wait their turn to hope of making Cabinet some day.

Liberal Toronto hat trick

All three Chinese Canadians elected with the Liberal Party were elected in Toronto.

  • Geng Tan (譚耕) was the first China-born Member of Parliament. A career scientist, he was elected in Don Valley North.
  • Arnold Chan (陳家諾), a University of Toronto and UBC educated lawyer, was also re-elected in Scarborough-Agincourt. He only won the seat for the first time last year in a by-election.
  • Shaun Chen (陳聖源), the Chair of the Toronto School Board, was elected in Scarborough North.

Messrs Chen and Chan are both Scarborough born.

Past Cabinet Ministers

Hong Kong born Raymond Chan (陳卓愉) joined Jean Chretien’s Liberal Cabinet in 1993 and served for seven years. Defeated in 2000, he returned to Parliament – and Cabinet, in 2004. In 2006, he was back to Opposition when the Conservatives took power under Prime Minister Harper.

He lost his seat in 2008 to (also Hong Kong born) Alice Wong (黃陳小萍) who joined Cabinet in 2011 as the Minister of State for Seniors. Like Mr Chan, she represents the Richmond riding from Vancouver and was relegated to Opposition status in last month’s election.

Michael Chong (莊文浩) of Wellington-HaltonHills, served briefly in Prime Minister Harper’s Cabinet in 2006 until a difference of opinion over Quebec’s status in Canada. While his father was from Hong Kong, his mother is Dutch and he has resisted the Chinese-Canadian label, most notably in a 2004 Globe and Mail opinion piece. He held his seat last month and continues as an MP in Opposition.

Hong Kong Women West

Other Chinese Canadian MPs elected included the two former Cabinet Ministers (Wong and Chong above) and Jenny Kwan (關慧貞). Ms Kwan and Ms Wong were the only Chinese Canadian women elected, the only Hong Kong-born parliamentarians elected, and the only Chinese Canadians elected outside of Ontario.

However, while Ms Wong is a staunch Christian Conservative, Ms Kwan represents the left-leaning New Democratic Party in the Vancouver-Mount Pleasant riding.

Hong Kong born Olivia Chow (鄒至蕙), former MP who resigned in 2014 to run for mayor of Toronto, lost her attempt to win a seat in Toronto (Spadina-Fort York), losing badly to Liberal Party candidate Adam Vaughan.





Arnold Chan (陳家諾) – Liberal – Scarborough-Agincourt

Shaun Chen (陳聖源) – Liberal – Scarborough-North

Geng Tan – Liberal (譚耕) – DonValley North (1st mp from mainland)



Jenny Kwan (關慧貞) – British Columbia New Democratic Party – Vancouver-MountPleasant



Michael Chong (莊文浩) – Conservative – Wellington-HaltonHills

Alice Wong (黃陳小萍) – Conservative – RichmondCenter