Who is Marc Miller? A profile of Canada’s new immigration minister

Asheesh Moosapeta
Published: July 27, 2023

In 1984, at the College Jean-de-Brebeuf in Montreal, a young Justin Trudeau would ask a boy in his advanced English class for a pencil, to complete his coursework. Marc Miller, the boy in question, would go on to become one of Prime Minister Trudeau’s oldest friends—and as of July 26th, 2023, assume the office of Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.

Early life and childhood

Born in 1973, Miller is the son of a Nova Scotian history professor and an anglophone Montrealer mother. Raised in Montreal, Miller would attend the College Jean-de-Brebeuf for his early schooling.

In 1989, At the age of 16, Miller—at the time a grocery bagger at a supermarket—was moved to both serve his country and search for adventure, choosing to enlist in the Canadian military as an infantry soldier. Miller would leave the army after four years (attaining the rank of Infantry Commander), citing that while it was an enriching and enlightening experience, he wanted to pursue other things with his time.

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Education and the start of a political career

Miller would return to his education in Montreal, earning both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the Université de Montréal in political science. He would go on to attain his law degree at McGill University, graduating with degrees in both common and civil law.

After university, Miller worked at the Canadian law firm Stikeman Elliot. Specialising in commercial law and mergers and acquisitions, the young lawyer would go on to practice law in Montreal, Stockholm, and New York city.

Returning once more to Montreal, Miller aided Justin Trudeau’s bid for Liberal party leadership in 2013, as the future Prime Minister’s Fundraising Director. In 2015, seeking political office of his own, Miller ran to represent Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Sœurs, a riding (i.e., electoral district) in Quebec.

He was successfully elected to the Canadian House of Commons in 2015. Miller’s term in office was, and continues to be, regarded largely favourably by the residents of Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Sœurs. The politician is noted for his work in securing federal funding for affordable housing, public transit, and his championing of the Child Care Benefit for Montreal’s middle-class families.

Miller would also serve as the chair of the Quebec Liberal Members of Parliament at this time.

Entering national politics

On January 17, 2017, Miller was appointed as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, an office that deals primarily in the growth and maintenance of Canada’s infrastructure. While his work in this office was again looked upon favourably, his tenure here would be short lived.

On June 1, 2017, Miller would make history in Canadian politics by delivering his speech to the Canadian House of Commons entirely in Mohawk (an Indigenous language, spoken by the Mohawk peoples of Canada)—marking the first time that the language was spoke in Canadian parliament since Confederation, almost 150 years to the day, in 1867.

Three months after Miller delivered this address, he was appointed as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations in August 2017. The following three years saw Miller advocate for the rights of Indigenous peoples in Canada, and the responsibilities the federal government has to them. In 2019 Miller was sworn in as the Minister of Indigenous Services, and the following year he would be appointed to the role of Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations.

What’s next for Miller as immigration minister?

Recent history is a guide of what we can expect from Miller as immigration minister.

Typically, new immigration ministers spend the initial period of their tenure briefing up on Canada’s top immigration issues and building relationships within the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Miller’s main correspondent at IRCC will be the department’s Deputy Minister, Christiane Fox. Deputy Ministers are non-political civil servants mandated to execute the elected government’s policy priorities.

Trudeau has also publicly released mandate letters to his ministers following major cabinet shuffles. If this remains the case, we can expect Miller to receive a new letter from Trudeau outlining which immigration policy issues he is to focus on during the Liberal party’s remaining mandate. Canada’s next election is due by October 2025.

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