On October 28 Selwyn House Old Boy John McCallum ’67 was named to the immigration, citizenship and refugees portfolio of the cabinet of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
John was first elected to Parliament under former prime minister Jean Chrétien in 2000, and has represented his Greater Toronto Area riding of Markam-Thornhill continually since then. He has served in a variety of cabinet positions in the Chrétien and Martin governments, including the departments of Defence, Veterans’ Affairs, Natural Resources, and National Revenue.
More recently, he served as Liberal Immigration, Citizenship and Multiculturalism critic, and is well versed on the ins and outs of the portfolio, making him well-suited to step into the role of the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship and oversee the many Liberal campaign promises made about immigration and refugee policy.
In every phase of his multi-faceted career, John has always taken the fast track to the top. After attending Selwyn House from 1961 to 1964, he completed his high school education at Trinity College School. He turned down scholarships from Harvard and Yale to study economics at Cambridge University, the Université de Paris, and McGill University, where he received his PhD.
He taught at the University of Manitoba, Simon Fraser University, Université de Québec à Montréal and McGill, where he taught economics and was appointed Dean of Arts, securing a $10 million contribution from Charles Bronfman for the establishment of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada.
In 1994 he went to work for the Royal Bank, where he became a senior vice-president and the Bank’s chief economist.
In 2000, he was approached by the federal Liberals to run in the riding of Markham, just outside Toronto. He won the seat and quickly rose through the ranks in Parliament, being appointed to cabinet after less than two years in politics.
Throughout his career, John’s ties to Selwyn House have remained intact. He served on the Selwyn House Board of Directors in 1993 and 1994, and was speaker at Prizegiving in 1997.