Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed Central Nova MP Sean Fraser to the federal cabinet on Tuesday. Fraser is the new Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.
Fraser, a 37-year-old lawyer, is Nova Scotia’s sole representative in the federal cabinet.
He was elected ahead of seven other Liberal MPs from the province, including three from the Halifax subway – Andy Fillmore, Darren Fisher and Darrell Samson – who were also elected for the first time in 2015. Fillmore and Fisher tweeted their congratulations.
Fraser was the only newcomer elected to the cabinet from Maritimes.
He was accompanied by his wife, Sarah, and his children, Molly and Jack, as he entered the swearing-in ceremony at Rideau Hall on a rainy morning in Ottawa.
Fraser was parliamentary secretary to the finance minister before his new appointment, which will pay him $ 269,500 annually.
He has won three elections in what had been the stronghold of a Conservative party under the father-and-son team Elmer and Peter MacKay. Both MacKays held cabinet posts in a Conservative government.
Fraser’s appointment was today welcomed by Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston, another recently exalted Pictou County politician.
“Sean Fraser is a high-quality individual,” Houston told reporters at Province House. “He’s a great ambassador not only for Pictou County, but for the whole of Nova Scotia. I’m really excited to have Sean in that role. I think he’s going to do a great job.”
‘He understands the needs of this province’
Houston will look to Fraser as he pushes to double Nova Scotia immigration.
“He understands the needs of this province and the challenges, and I know we can really work with him to address some of the issues we face,” Houston said.
The appointment did not surprise Lori Turnbull, a political scientist at Dalhousie University in Halifax.
“I think Sean Fraser has been a very effective Member of Parliament and he has been a very effective member of the Liberal team,” she said. “And I think the PMO has noticed that. He has been the Secretary of Parliament.”
She said Fraser became more visible before and during the recent federal election campaign as a participant in political panels in Ottawa.
“So I think his talent was recognized,” she said.
Turnbull said the only doubt was whether newly elected Halifax West MP Lena Diab would knock him out because of Trudeau’s commitment to gender equality in the cabinet.
Fraser succeeds Bernadette Jordan as Nova Scotia’s cabinet representative. The member of the South Shore-St Margarets was Minister of Fisheries and Oceans when she was defeated in the September 20 election.
The Minister of Fisheries assumes a demanding role
Trudeau appointed Vancouver MP Joyce Murray to the Fisheries and Maritime Administration, following a common practice with shifting ministers from the shores of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
Osborne Burke, president of the Nova Scotia Seafood Alliance, said Murray has taken on one of the toughest tasks in the cabinet.
“There are a lot of challenges and you need someone who will be committed, willing to roll up their sleeves and get in the middle of the discussions,” he said.
“There are plenty of demands from the coastal, offshore, indigenous and moderate livelihoods. Harvesters from different districts and many species from lobster to snow crab to terrestrial fish to the latest discussions we see are taking place about the increase in redfish increase in quota.”