Bernadette Jordan takes on new cabinet role overseeing rural development

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has appointed Nova Scotia MP Bernadette Jordan minister of rural economic development, a new portfolio.

Jordan, who was first elected in 2015, was sworn in at Rideau Hall this morning during a cabinet shuffle. Speaking to reporters outside, she said she’s “extremely proud” to take on the new position and to work with her colleagues. 

“The rural reality is very different than the urban reality,” said Jordan, who represents the riding of South Shore-St. Margarets.

“In my riding I’ve seen some of the things that have been very challenging with small municipal units, with the lack of strong broadband and internet, so I know I’m really looking forward to working with people to advance those issues specifically.”

Jordan was previously the parliamentary secretary for the minister of democratic institutions.

Other MPs taking on new responsibilities include David Lametti of Montreal, who is Canada’s new justice minister, taking over from Jody Wilson-Raybould, who has been moved to Veterans Affairs Canada.

Seamus O’Regan is leaving veterans affairs to replace Jane Philpott as Indigenous services minister. Philpott has been chosen as president of the Treasury Board, a vacancy left when Scott Brison stepped down last week.

His announcement last Thursday also left a Nova Scotia representation vacancy in cabinet.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Jordan at a swearing-in ceremony at Rideau Hall. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Jordan said she views her new portfolio not as a way to fill that gap but as a reflection of the priority being given to rural affairs.

“It’s something we’ve been advocating for as a caucus, for stronger rural connections and to develop a rural economic strategy.” 

Jordan is the first woman to represent Nova Scotia as a federal minister. Other female MPs from Nova Scotia, such as Flora MacDonald and Lisa Raitt, have represented other parts of the country. 

“I think it’s long overdue, but I also think we think we need to make sure we promote women and make sure they run,” she said.  

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