Who is Anita Anand, Canada's new Defence Minister?
Amid calls for major military reforms, Indian-origin Canadian politician Anita Anand has been appointed as the new Defence Minister of Canada in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau cabinet reshuffle, just a month after returning to power following a snap election in September 2021.
Anand, a 54-year-old from Oakville, Ontario, is just the second woman to serve as Canada's defence minister. She led the country's efforts to purchase vaccines in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. She replaces Indian-origin Harjit Sajjan, whose handling of the military sexual misconduct crisis has been under criticism. Sajjan has been appointed as minister of international development agency, a report in National Post newspaper said.
According to a report in Global News, Anand has been touted as a strong contender for weeks among defence industry experts who said that moving her into the role would send a powerful signal to survivors and victims of military sexual misconduct that the government is serious about implementing reforms.
Anita Anand was born in Kentville, Nova Scotia. Her parents were both physicians; her mother Saroj D Ram was an anaesthesiologist, and her father SV Anand was a general surgeon. Her father was from Tamil Nadu and her mother was from Punjab.
“It is my sincere honour to be sworn in today as Minister of National Defence. Thank you @JustinTrudeau for entrusting me with this portfolio,” Anand tweeted after her appointment.
She vowed to work to ensure that the armed forces operate in a safe and healthy environment. “The members of the Canadian Armed Forces dedicate their lives to safeguarding our country and we owe it to them to make sure that they operate in a safe and healthy environment. I look forward to this work,” she tweeted.
Another Indo-Canadian woman, Kamal Khera, the 32-year-old MP from Brampton West, has been appointed as the minister for seniors. The sitting Indo-Canadian woman minister Bardish Chagger, who held the ministry of diversity, inclusion and youth of Canada, has been shuffled out. Anand and Khera are among six women ministers in the new cabinet.