Considering the Liberal Party of Canada lost two local MP seats to the Conservatives in the Oct. 21 federal election, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would have been wise to at least field-dress his party’s recent bleed in Surrey by appointing one of this rapidly growing city’s three remaining Liberal MPs to his cabinet.
But he did not. Sukh Dhaliwal (Surrey Newton), Ken Hardie (Fleetwood-Port Kells) and Randeep Sarai (Surrey Centre) remain on the backbenches after the PM revealed his new 37-minister cabinet on Wednesday.
Politically speaking, it was close to an electoral miracle, depending on your point of view, that the so-called Natural Governing Party had in the first place occupied all five of Surrey’s seats heading into the election.
While the Liberals enjoy that NGP moniker in some circles nationally, for decades the party had struggled to elect a lone Liberal MP in Surrey, a city prone to elect either small-c conservative MPs – be they Reform, Canadian Alliance, Conservative or even an Independent – or an occasional NDP MP, at least in the north ridings.
This – coupled with the fact that Trudeau desperately needs to throw the West a bone considering his party was shut out in Alberta and Saskatchewan – makes us wonder why he appointed only four B.C. Liberal MPs to his new cabinet and only one MP from Manitoba (Dan Vandal, Saint Boniface-Saint Vital).
All told, only five ministers in Trudeau’s new cabinet hail from the West while Ontario gets 17, Quebec gets 11, and the Atlantic provinces get four.
It will be interesting to see how this lost opportunity plays out.