Hon. Andrew Cardozo: Thank you, minister, for being here to answer our questions.
You covered a number of different departments that you work with. I’m interested in the machinery of government or how you get things done or make things happen, because you seem to be working with a lot of different ministers and departments. How does that all happen?
I want to sneak in a little question about rural tourism, if you can talk about that. I had the good fortunate of travelling in your riding, and it’s certainly one of the most beautiful areas of the country.
Hon. Gudie Hutchings, P.C., M.P., Minister of Rural Economic Development: Senator, when the Prime Minister asked me to take this role, I was so excited because it’s breaking down those silos. It’s not only breaking down the political silos but breaking down the departmental silos.
We must have had some impact because in June I had a call that the clerk wanted to speak with me. I don’t know how you folks feel, but when the clerk wants to see you, your heart goes in your throat.
She called me in and said, “Look, good news; we now have another deputy coming to your department, and the deputy is going to be focused on rural economic development and tourism and small business.”
That’s incredible. For the work that we’re doing on the rural part with the political side of things, she is also doing the work with the departments. So we are making headway. That was a huge thing.
Also — and you alluded to this — my mandate letter covers many departments. Our government used to put an LGBTQ lens on things. Then we were the first government to put the gender lens on. Then we put on an Indigenous lens. Now we put a rural‑reality lens on all programs and policies and legislation that we put forth.
I’m now having ministers come to me and say, “Oh, before I send this up, will you look at it? I need to sit down and talk. How is this going to work? Do we need to change it to work in rural communities?”
We are having an impact.
Sadly, I need your help, too. When you see legislation come here in this Red Chamber, I need you to push back as well to say, “What impact will this have in rural, remote and Indigenous communities?”
On tourism, sir, I can talk tourism all day long because I know that we have what the world wants and we all need to work together to welcome everybody to Canada. I think during the pandemic we all had an opportunity to explore our backyards, and people saw what we have in Canada. We need to do that more. We all need to be proud of the tourism product and grow.