Meet Karina Gould, Canada's youngest ever female cabinet minister

She's 29 years old and has only voted in four federal elections. But Karina Gould is now tasked with leading the charge to change our 150-year-old voting system.

29-year-old MP from Burlington, Ont., is now in charge of portfolio that deals with electoral reform

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau poses with Karina Gould, the new minister of democratic institutions. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

She's 29 years old and has only voted in four federal elections. But Karina Gould is now tasked with leading the charge to change Canada's 150-year-old voting system.

The MP from Burlington, Ont., became the country's youngest ever female cabinet minister in Tuesday's federal cabinet shuffle, when she was put in charge of the electoral reform file.

Gould will be continuing the work of Maryam Monsef, the former minister of democratic institutions who was responsible for the controversial project.

Deadline quickly approaching

Gould's job will not be an easy one. She has to fulfil a Liberal campaign promise to introduce electoral reform legislation within 18 months of forming the government.

That deadline is quickly approaching, with only four months to go.

Karina Gould is sworn in at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Tuesday. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Gould would not say whether that deadline was realistic in an interview with Metro Morning.

"I'm looking forward to getting down to work," she told Matt Galloway Thursday morning. "I'm a hard worker, I'm committed and I'm looking forward to working with my colleagues in the House, my colleagues in cabinet and Canadians."

When pressed again, she said "I am going to work on it, and I'm going to see what I can do once I get briefed up,  because even though I've been in Parliament, I was working on a different file."

During the last federal election campaign, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said "2015 will be the last federal election conducted under the first-past-the-post voting system." Under that system, the candidate with the highest number of votes — not always more than 50 per cent — wins the seat in the House of Commons.

Gould responds during question period in the House of Commons shortly after being elected. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Background in international relations

Gould unseated three-term Conservative MP Mike Wallace during the October 2015 election. Highlights of her resumé include:

  • A master's degree in international relations from Oxford University.
  • Consultant at the Organization of American States in Washington, D.C.
  • Trade and investment specialist for the Mexican Trade Commission.
  • A year volunteering at an orphanage in Mexico.
  • Parliamentary secretary to the minister of international development.

The minister's personal interest with electoral reform dates back to the days of her undergraduate degree. She wrote her thesis on the Canadian electoral system, she told Rosemary Barton on CBC News Network's Power & Politics.

"I hope it's because he saw in me a work ethic, a commitment to shared values and a commitment to bring people together," said Gould, when asked why the prime minister chose her for the job.

With files from Metro Morning, Power & Politics


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