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On Wednesday, November 4, John McCallum was sworn in as the new Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship under Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government.
McCallum previously served as the Liberal Critic for Immigration during the Stephen Harper regime, but his appointment was a slight surprise because he has also accumulated an extensive background in economics, finance and other ministries. As Minister, McCallum will be responsible for directing and representing Citizenship and Immigration Canada, and his work will have the potential to shape immigration policy and countless lives for years to come.
Let’s take a look at the experience and background of the man who will lead the Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship into the future.
McCallum has accumulated a wealth of political experience, but his background and career began in academia and economics. After earning his doctorate degree at McGill University, McCallum worked as a professor of economics from 1976 to 1994 at a number of institutions including the University of Manitoba, Simon Fraser University, the Université du Québec à Montréal and McGill University. At McGill, McCallum also served as the Dean of the Faculty of Arts.
In 1994, McCallum’s experience and contributions to the discipline of economics were recognized and ratified when he was appointed to the position of chief economist at the Royal Bank of Canada. McCallum served as the chief economist at RBC for six years. During his tenure as chief economist, McCallum gained recognition for his commitment to tackling social issues. Most significantly, he helped to organize a conference and publish recommendations designed to align the business community with the challenges facing aboriginal peoples in Canada.
As the 2000 federal election rolled around, McCallum stepped down from his position with RBC to pursue a career in politics. Since his successful election bid in 2000, McCallum has represented various riding iterations in the area of Markham, Ontario. Throughout his fifteen years of parliamentary experience, McCallum has been responsible for a range of diverse cabinet portfolios under the governments of Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin, including Minister of National Defence, Minister of Veterans’ Affairs, Minister of Natural Resources and Minister of National Revenue. After the Liberal government was ousted from power by Stephen Harper’s Conservatives, McCallum worked as a member of the opposition caucus, most recently holding the position of Critic for Citizenship and Immigration.
Despite his diverse experience and background in finance and economics, Justin Trudeau has decided that McCallum’s previous role as Critic of Immigration makes him the best person possible to lead the Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. McCallum will be immediately responsible for tackling the huge task of fulfilling Trudeau’s promise to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada before the end of the year. Under McCallum, the Ministry is also expected to review the efficiency of the Express Entry program.
We’ll be sure to keep up with McCallum’s tenure as Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, but it’s apparent that he has a big job ahead of him already. John McCallum will be responsible for shaping the future of immigration in Canada.
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