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Kirsty Duncan

Science in the Canadian cabinet

Geographer Kirsty Duncan of the University of Toronto was appointed minister

Pawel Dwulit/Feature Photo ServiceGeographer Kirsty Duncan of the University of Toronto was appointed minister Pawel Dwulit/Feature Photo Service

One of the first acts by Justin Trudeau, Canada’s new prime minister from the Liberal Party, was to establish the position of minister of science in his cabinet. Geographer Kirsty Duncan, 49, a professor at the University of Toronto, was appointed to serve as minister. She was one of the authors of the 2001 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and she wrote a book on the Norwegian expedition to research the cause of the Spanish flu epidemic in 1918. Duncan entered politics in 2008 when she was elected to parliament from the Liberal Party. The scientific community welcomed Trudeau’s decision since the previous prime minister, Stephen Harper, had placed science matters in a department that dealt with industrial issues. Trudeau appointed financial analyst Navdeep Bains minister of innovation and economic development and attorney Catherine McKenna to the post of minister of environment and climate change. Trudeau also made a commitment to reinstate the cabinet position of science advisor, which Harper had abolished in 2008.

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