11.06.2015 08:48 AM

Equal means equal (updated)

I was as shocked as anyone else by that iPolitics story, found here. But I suspect many folks in PMO and PCO were surprised, too, and that they are at work at this very minute, fixing it.

Just so there’s no confusion, however, this tweet was my reaction to the iPolitics revelation, which has the potential to cast a shadow over a historic week. And – if you’re a Liberal, too – I urge you to say likewise in comments. Liberals, in particular, need to say that this is not acceptable.

UPDATE: As predicted, and as Liz (who got the scoop) reports in comments, it’s being fixed. Good.


  1. Matt says:

    I don’t know Warren. If they’re busy “fixing it” they are only doing so because they got caught.

    If the iPolitics story is correct, they deliberately and specifically spelled out in the Orders in Council the 5 (maybe 6) women are Ministers of State, not full Ministers.

    That’s not an error. That was intentional.

    • Sean says:

      Justin appointed people to positions without understanding what the positions were…. So, this PMO is delivering precisely what I expected… and this foolishness is tidily resolved by throwing money in the direction of the appointees. 2015 indeed.

  2. DougM says:

    It isn’t just about equal pay. The title “Minister of State” has meaning. Why are the only “junior” cabinet ministers all women?

  3. While I completely agree that women and men should earn the same dollars for doing the same job, the difference is between earning $220,000 per year and $250,000 per year, so, well, who cares? Okay, that’s being flippant, but the fact is that if a Minister of State has a lesser role than a Minister, and if the job itself is what mandates the lesser pay, is the problem in the pay-scale or the appointment? Is the allegation that Trudeau knew this and was deliberately relegating women to lesser roles?

  4. Mark says:

    Cabinet committee makeup is where people should be looking.

  5. Darren H says:

    This and the unanimous vote to reject the provisions of the Reform Act are a bit of a disappointing start. LPC is the old white establishment party and I doubt that will change. The diversity of the PMO or lack of it will be the real litmus test for Mr. Trudeau.

    • Matt says:

      Well, the NDP also rejected all of the provisions and I think the CPC only voted in favour of 2 or 3 of them.

      So I guess the question is, why the hell did all the parties vote to pass the bill?

  6. Elizabeth Thompson says:

    Update: They are vowing to fix it and give the women affected retroactive pay. http://ipolitics.ca/2015/11/06/trudeaus-office-vows-to-fix-gender-gap-in-cabinet-salaries/

    • Warren says:

      Good catch, Liz. Good work.

    • DougM says:

      But if gender parity is the goal then it shouldn’t just stop at pay. It needs to include a balanced level of the higher profile positions as well. There’s Jody Wilson-Raybould as Justice and AG, but what about the other high profile positions like MND, Public Safety, Foreign Affairs, Treasury Board, Leader of the HoC, Finance? Not a woman to be found.

      • JT says:

        You don’t consider Health, International Trade, and Labour to be high profile positions? Sounds like cherrypicking to me

      • godot10 says:

        I believe that seven members of “real” Cabinet, the Policy and Planning Committee has 7 men and 4 women.

        “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.”

        The media “bought” the narrative. Orwell is #winning.

      • Shaun says:

        Are you suggesting that INA, Public Works, International Trade, Health, and Environment are less high-profile? I’m sure a lot of people would disagree with you if that’s the case. In fact, of your list, I’m guessing relatively few people on the street would/could name Leader of the HoC or Treasury Board as an important cabinet position.

        Sajjan, Wilson-Raybould, and Morneau have big lights on them right now, but it seems to me that you’re otherwise equating the profile of the ministries with the profile of the long-serving male MPs who are in them.

      • SG says:

        Treasury Board is “high profile”??

        Maybe to the thousand or so Canadians who read the Hill Times. Not to many others.

      • Cory says:

        The big 3 traditionally are Finance, Defence and Foreign Affairs.

    • Matt says:

      Oh, they’ve vowed to fix it, but they just can’t say when or how.

      Blaming it on a bureaucratic glitch? Are they SERIOUS???

      The wrote the OIC’s that said these women a Ministers of State. Trudeau would have signed those OIC’s.

      And we’re to believe this “bureaucratic glitch” only happend with the female appointees?

      This was deliberate and intentional. They’re now in full damage control because and only because they got caught.

      • littlemissbliss says:

        god matt are you going to post ten farts a day for the next five fucking years. cant you just fester somewhere else and let us breathe fresh air that isn,t filled with the stench of he who we no longer need fear or obey.

        • Matt says:

          Unfortunately for you, you don’t get to decide what gets posted, Warren does.

          Don’t like it? Don’t read it. Pretty simple really.

          If you only want to read posts showing unquestioning support for Trudeau, try the CBC.

          • littlemissbliss says:

            nobody reads you because you have nothing to add. you only take away with your boring con bias. I don’t know why warren lets you hijack every thread but you are sure taking advantage. no one else would

          • KBab says:

            Enough about the CBC, Post boy.

        • The Doctor says:

          You, on the other hand, are the epitome of Justin’s new “sunny ways.”

        • Maps Onburt says:

          You’re one to talk. Not much bliss in your posts these days.

          • littlemissbliss says:

            festeritus originallus

            flightless member of political base unable to accept waning influence and decline in numbers. can be seen in the wild repeatedly posting inane talking points to various online publishers. delusional in the extreme and prone to attacking opposing pov in the insane hope that the south oops the west will rise again.
            ain’t gonna happen so enjoy the next five years. giddyup. 🙂

          • Maps Onburt says:

            Thanks for making my point for me. It’s sad that the tone from Liberals on Warrenn’s blog has actually gotten worse since the election. I’ve seen a general decrease in civility since the election and the most partisan folks from before aren’t even around anymore (Dan Calda and Al in Cranbrook for instance). People like you have decided that ANY opposing views should be met with Nazi, anal, personally derogatory or just “get out of here, you’re no longer welcome” comments. So much for bliss and Sunny Days.

        • Elisabeth Lindsay says:

          You feared and obeyed Mr. Harper? What a strange admission, littlemissbliss.

          • littlemissbliss says:

            I have family who run a charity. three weeks ago they feared a charity audit from Stevie’s stormtroopers at cra. today… crickets. if you were not in the line of fire of this petty, petulant tyrant then good for you but there are thousands of people who were badly hurt by the prick and they know the turd polishing will begin in earnest to turn Harper into Reagan north but it won’t wash.
            God only knows how we escaped in time but i can only imagine what this country would have resembled in five more years but i have a pretty good idea.

      • Tim Sullivan says:

        The PM signing an IOC? Not much point to having a Cabinet if the PM is going around authorizing Orders IN COUNCIL.

      • Ted H says:

        They are not in damage control, this item is hardly at the top of the news. For f**k sake they have only been government for two days and the transition period is supposedly like one group getting off a moving train while another gets on, the train does not stop. There are lots of issues to deal with and this one seems to be in the process of correction, let’s not get all crazy about it.

      • Justin says:

        Matt, didn’t you get the memo? It’s sacrilege to criticize ‘His Holiness’ so early in the game. I mean the nation needs to heal after ‘Hitler the II’.

  7. Kelly Onyskevitch says:

    Because it is 1965.

    I apologize if that comes off as a little vapid, but I already had issues with the way in which this cabinet was billed. This, for me, reinforces the idea that this promise was about optics and not about real change.

  8. Mark says:

    This, presumably, being part of the being open, we’re going to make mistakes, we’re going to be honest about them, and deal with them. As opposed to everything in secret where “gotcha” seems to have more effect.

    • Matt says:

      Uh, if they were wanting to be honest, why do the OIC’s clearly say these 5 women are Ministers of State, yet the press releases and PM and government websites make no mention of the fact they are Ministers of State, not full Ministers?

  9. Cory says:

    Still doesn’t really answer if they’re ministers of state or not. Nothing wrong with them being ministers of state, it makes sense that the minister of sport would not have as many responsibilities as the minister of finance (and as such should be paid less.

    They seem to be saying that they’re making them “full ministers” but that doesn’t clarify if they’ll be reporting to other senior ministers or not.

  10. godot10 says:

    “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

    An Orwellian start for the Trudeau government and the media.

    P.S. The first act of the new government was the imposition of the coercive power of the state to force citizens to reveal private information…i.e. the long form census. The Minister also did not know the penalty would be for civil disobedience in refusing to respond to the long form census.

  11. Ridiculosity says:

    A minister is a minister is a minister. http://bit.ly/1S35EdZ

  12. A. Voter says:

    A story in the National Post said women are greatly under-represented on the important government committees. I guess now a standard has been set and people are watching.

  13. P Brenn says:

    they should reduce the salaries of the men…what a great message that would send to all….

  14. Ronald O'Dowd says:


    They botched it and now they look stupid. Seems to me when you swear in a Minister as a PC, right then and there you correctly identify the ministerial capacity on the cards. Rideau Hall seems to have missed it as well.

    They really need to take it up one notch in the PMO.

  15. JH says:

    So kudos to Ms. Thompson. Took guts for a reporter to write this story in the face of the adulation of most of the press in recent days. Mansbridge especially was enough to make you puke. Trudeau and company won and did a good job, considering the odds against them and the cabinet seems very storng. I’ve yet to be convinced he walks on water though. I’m betting some at least weren’t too happy with Ms. Thompson’s report – maybe even some of her own colleagues, who seemed to really have jumped the shark the last few days.

    • The Doctor says:

      John Ibbitson used the word “besotted” in today’s Globe to describe the current prevailing attitude of our media and much of the public. That perfectly describes it. I also agree with Ibbitson that this honeymoon will be a fairly long one. Nevertheless, it will be finite. For now, JT is in the luxurious position of simply not being Harper. All he has to be is decisively unlike Harper and people are ecstatic. But at some point (probably some way off yet) that will no longer be enough. That’s when the going will get tough.

      • Elisabeth Lindsay says:

        I can accept “besotted” by the public and the drooling media, but watching the messiah worshipping cheering going on by the so called non-partisan public service in the Foreign Affairs offices this a.m. was more than a little disturbing to me.

        • The Doctor says:

          Wonder if those public servants will be so giddy when the Trudeau government finds those “efficiencies” that they’ve promised to find in their budgeting process.

        • Marc-André Chiasson says:

          Elizabeth. Have you ever been a federal public servant. I was one…for 25 years. I’m now retired and for my last four in government, Mr. Harper was PM. For much of those 25 years, I worked in the field of communications and we saw a radical shift toward centralization and petty message control once the CPC took the reins of power. Basically, you couldn’t fart in public without the little fartcatchers in the PMO telling you how to do it, for how long, and at what volume. Those public servants at DFATD (GAC) were not celebrating the arrival of Messieurs Dion and Trudeau so much as they were celebrating the lifting of the Harper obsessive control disorder edict. I believe in the need for political neutrality by our Public Service but when people have been treated without respect for close to ten years, from senior experienced deputy ministers on down to ordinary program officers, when you get blamed intentionally by your political masters for everything that goes wrong although you had advised them against taking those particular actions, when your colleagues who have the knowledge and competencies to inform the public about scientific or diplomatic matters, are constantly and systematically muzzled as if they were kids in grade one…then I don’t blame them for uttering that collective and somewhat loud sigh of relief. I would have done the same had I been there.

          • JH says:

            Ah the poor overworked underpaid public service! Please – give us a break. Especially those of us who are seniors and read this kind of justification from a person with a good salary, banked sick days and all the usual perks available to someone who lives on the taxpayers dime. If that’s not enough to make one puke, now we find out today that by restoring the refugee health cuts, they will have better benefits than our seniors. Obviously 40% of the country wanted Harper gone – but I wouldn’t wager on the silly servants chances, if the country was asked to vote on their future. Your mandarin bosses, making decisions about this country while dining in the luxury of the Rideau Club, should not feel so secure that things can’t change. Nor should you – the worms can turn you know.

          • patrick says:

            68.1% of the voting public wanted Harper gone, not 40%.

          • Cory says:

            I’m a public servant as well and I can say that the conditions over the last 10 years really haven’t been all that different from when the Libs were in power. In fact, people forget that the Libs made deeper cuts and laid off more than Harper did.

  16. dean sherratt says:

    The Prime Minister must have known on November 4 that he was appointing men and women alike to cabinet and that there are and have been for some time two grades of cabinet minister…a full cabinet minister responsible for a department and minister’s of state who might have a small agency to care for or assist full ministers in this or that policy issue. The two grades of minister is a distinction with a difference. It is comparing larger and smaller apples…not purporting to compare the real “value” of a female clerk with a male loading worker.

    I would be surprised if Trudeau suddenly woke up this morning horrified that he had inadvertently cheated female ministers of state out of their just desserts. Rather, he took advantage of a politically correct situation and tossed his ministers of state an extra $20,000. Personally, I would actually think that there should be a greater difference between different grades of ministers pay but that is mute now.

  17. Kaiser Helmets 'n Motorbikes says:

    My math is a bit rusty, but as I recall, 16 does not equal 15….

    How about Jesus Trudeau appoints another womyn or drops one of his smoking buddies.

  18. SG says:

    I do not believe that the Minister of State for Status of Women should receive the same salary as the Minister of Finance.

    A few questions about that, by the way :

    1) What exactly does the Status of Women Minister do?
    2) Wouldn’t it have been delightfully post-modern had Trudeau appointed a man to that position?
    3) Given that women under 40 now earn more than men under 40, shouldn’t be now have a Minister for Status of (Young) Men?

  19. ian turnbull says:

    So if I have this right:

    Trudeau promises he will have gender parity in his cabinet.
    Trudeau then names 15 women and 15 men to his cabinet.
    Canadians are in awe of not only Trudeau’s ability to keep his promise but also his ability to divide by two and his strategic foresight to identify an even number of cabinet ministers (makes the math alot easier).
    Oops some of those positions are junior ministers and they all happen to be filled by women.
    That’s OK just pay them what the senior ministers would get and then everything is ok.

    We are in for some interesting times.

  20. SG says:

    Warren – equal means equal when we’re talking about the SAME job or rank.

    Status of Women was always a lower-ranking position, which is why the woman holding that title (and other Minister of State positions) earns less.

    If I had to guess, I don’t believe Trudeau in his mind differentiated between Ministers and Ministers of State. He looked at the jobs, looked at the candidates, and didn’t consider issues of rank. He may not have even realized that some of the positions were Minister of State.

    • dean sherratt says:

      I can’t believe that in making the appointments he didn’t know the distinction between ministers and secretaries of state. But the change in salary seems to have been thought of after the fact and my own guess is that it is easier to say I’m paying all secretaries of state (all but one are women?) as a full member to avoid admitting that one rank of ministers were mostly men and one mostly women. Still it is hardly smoothly enacted but is a relatively small matter.

  21. SG says:

    On the bright side for Trudeau, Harper’s first snafu concerned his first cabinet picks as well.

    Remember Emerson and Fortier? I doubt many do.

    • David_M says:

      A Minister of Public Works? after a Senate appointment where he was unassailable
      and a floor crosser. Ah yes, I remember it well…

  22. dean sherratt says:

    I have an addenda now that I managed to read the articles about the adjustment. There has been a slight blurring of the lines between a secretary of state and a cabinet minister. (Apparently) It used to be that only full cabinet ministers could sign OICs…typically in droves by members of the Treasury Board Committee either in meetings of in between meetings when an urgent appointment or decision needed to be ratified when PCO would literally drive to a quorum of ministers and get them to sign them on the spot. Now it is also suggested that in full cabinet meetings, whenever they occur, ministers of state can now attend. I am entirely unsure if this was always the case is is new.

    This is the justification for paying both categories exactly the same salary. To my own mind, signing an OIC isn’t worth $20,000 extra a year but it is at least a debatable point.

  23. Tim Sullivan says:

    It was a technicality. Let’s get over ourselves, here. He swore in all ministers as “Minister”, not “Minister of State for …”. All it took was an Order-in-Council regarding pay to correct it and it will need some legislation to deal with the legal capacity of a department. For anyone keeping score, you can’t pass an OIC without ministers, you can’t be a minister without being sworn in, and you can’t pass legislation without a reconvened Parliament.

    Geez. Give the guy a break.

    • littlemissbliss says:

      the con festerati is in high dudgeon and bloviating en masse here today. I hope this site doesn’t become the last refuge of the harper fartcatchers though it seems to be for now.

      • Windsurfer says:

        Perhaps this scorched earth phalanx was part of their out-going strategy.

        Warren should incorporate an ‘ignore’ function here.

    • Cory says:

      The issue for me is, either they knew about this and tried to hide it, or they unaware and were caught off guard.

      If they were aware, they should have been open and admitted it ahead of time. The promise of being more open isn’t off to a good start.

  24. Kevin says:

    Dear God, he said, throwing up his hands in despair…

    • littlemissbliss says:

      relax buttercup the dread pirate roberts will save you from the pit of despair… picture jason kenney in tights and a mask if that helps:-)

      • Marc-André Chiasson says:

        Choking on coffee moment. Thanks for the great chuckle, Littlemissbliss. Sadly, however, it will take weeks of meditation to rid me of that scary image.

  25. P Brenn says:

    good to know at least , short of other deductible losses individuals may have, that all this group are now in the 1% and will pay added taxes on their income over $200,000 – some of the well to do Morneau, Trudeau and older crowd from other careers like mccallum, garneau will likely have added sources of income from investment income ,,pensions etc that will really fill the government coffers to look after the rest of us …yumm …

  26. MF says:

    It appears to me that there’s also an “interesting” skew to the Order of Precedence.


  27. Jack D says:

    From what I understand, the “issue” was administrative alone and has been rectified. All Ministers are entitled to equal pay and are full ministers. They also hold significantly more robust positions as the roles they play will be more decisive and not un-important in nature.

    Regardless, if this is what detractors are passing as “criticism” in the first few days of the Liberal government, then I’d things are going pretty damn peachy for them. The fact that people are speaking more about this junior minister matter than Wilson-Raybould as Justice Minister or Freeland as Minister of Trade is amusing. I almost fell off my chair laughing when I first heard people complaining how there was one more male minister than female in cabinet (that minister being the PM). Its incredibly petty but largely expected to hear some people making issue of the minutia while ignoring the larger successes. Just like when some folks lost their minds at the idea that 24 Sussex is a pigeon hole of residence and desperately needs repair, so Trudeau preferring not to move his young family into the Addams Family home and into something more livable ended up being an affront to fiscal responsibility.

  28. reader says:

    Liz got a scoop?? What’s the scoop?

    On November 4th multiple media (but not Liz) reported there would not be any Junior Ministers or Ministers of State, except for one. From Financial Post (CP reported similarly, junior ministers all gone but one):

    “Liberal spokesman Olivier Duchesneau said the party decided to eliminate all junior minister positions, with the exception of Calgary MP Kent Hehr, whom Trudeau named associate minister of national defence, as well as minister of veterans’ affairs.”

    However this requires a Cabinet in place to make the legal changes that change former Minister of States to full Ministers. Some say it requires a sitting Parliament, no sure about that, but Liberals said right from the start these would all be full Ministers. When some media wrongly reported otherwise late on Nov 5 (more than a day later) the government confirmed once again they would all be Ministers and this change would be effective from the start, Nov 4 as they said. However, the government process on this requires the change to be made retroactively.

    I honestly can’t see any scoop here. To me it just looks like media-caused-confusion. If any media actually knew how government worked or had simply asked on Nov 4 when they reported they were being upgraded to full Ministers, all the news on this would have been complete on Nov 4. Instead some media jumped to wrong conclusions, basically that the government had lied and they would be Junior Ministers, and then had to correct the record the next day.

    As to pay, it is illegal to pay full Ministers less than the mandated full Minister pay. They will be full Ministers from Nov 4 as the government has continually said from the start, and consequently will be paid as full Ministers.

    • Jack D says:

      I’m the last person to ever rag on the media, but I think you’ve touched on something here.

      It seems like the utter void of information over the past decade has starved the media so much so, that any discrepancy is inflated into a controversy. I don’t necessarily think its intentional on the part of the media, but I do think this whole issue could have been resolved had the original reporter simply verified with the PMO from the onset. I very much doubt that Trudeau would have made this much noise about gender parity in cabinet only to go and give all these women junior roles. Its a little ridiculous frankly that people would think the Liberals would overlook the controversy of doing such a thing.

      I know the Liberals promised change, and you can bet they intend on delivering a new way of governing and being parliamentarians, but true change can only come about if everyone is receptive to it. I get there is years of callous cynicism built up on the Hill but if we expect “real change” we should probably afford some room for that change to take place.

      I was listening to Donald Savoie talk on CBC’s The House, and he was slightly sceptical of the whole matter of “cabinet government” that Trudeau promised. However, he said something that really struck true for me –he said that if we are going to expect cabinet government then the media needs to exercise a level of tolerance and give leeway for that to take place. One of the things the PMO did under the Conservatives was micro manage so as to not give the media anything to report on. Well, if we’re going to change the attitude of the PMO we should expect to hold the government to account without jumping down their throat over the most minutia of things.

      This is going to be a give and take. Parliament requires partisanship from the opposition, it requires the press to demand answers to questions and it requires a functioning transparent government. Chastising the government for allowing cabinet ministers to speak to the media on day one but not being able to provide substantive answers to questions because they haven’t been briefed yet or chastising the government over the official titles of its ministers without confirming first with the government –isn’t going to do anyone any good. It only encourages the kind of micro-management of the previous government.

  29. Terence Quinn says:

    The next four years will be fun reading all the whining coming from the Tory faithful who have yet to accept how badly they did in the election. A small flub on opening day of a brand new government is very minuscule compared to the very good stuff that will happen when they get rid of the draconian stuff Harper did.

    • Maps Onburt says:

      They didn’t do badly they were down 50,000 votes. The Liberals got some of the NDP and undecided to vote (good on them for doing so). The same people who voted in the last government still voted Conservative this time for the most part. PM Trudeau Jr has set some extremely high expectations. It will be interesting to see if he can meet them. He’ll need them all next time because the Conservative base is rock strong. (The last few elections have proven that the Liberal base is 2/3 that). I’m hoping he surprises me because failure will hurt all Canadians (not just Conservatives). Where he does well, I’ll say so (like I’ve done with his Moreau and Brison appointments) but where he’s failed, I’ll be sure to point those out too. So far, nothing beyond a few, to be expected for a new government, bumps.

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