Jack Layton’s New Democrats announced their shadow cabinet this morning in Ottawa, keeping many veterans in their old roles and giving 20 new MPs a spot under the limelight.
Deputy leader, Tom Mulcair, was named House Leader, shuffling former House Leader, Libby Davies, over to health critic. That then forced Megan Leslie to environment. Joe Comartin keeps his justice portfolio, while Jack Harris and Paul Dewar remain as defence and foreign affairs critics respectively. Layton’s wife Olivia Chow gets the transport and infrastructure file, handing over Immigration to Don Davies. Peggy Nash returns to the NDP caucus as finance critic, and Pat Martin gets the Canadian Wheat Board.
Some newcomers who received appointments as critics are: Tyrone Benskin, as heritage critic; Alexandre Boulerice, Treasury Board; British Columbia’s Jasbir Sandhu, Public Safety; Robert Chisholm, international trade critic; and Nicole Turmel, public works.
You can see the full list here.
I’m disappointed to see Libby Davies remain as deputy leader and in such a high-profile roll as health critic. Readers may remember her many gaffs including her appalling suggestion that Israel has been occupied territory since 1948. Canadians deserve better than a Libby Davies—much better—especially now that Jack Layton has 102 MPs from which to choose.
Pat Martin’s role as critic for the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) is about the best we could hope for—that is, it’s not much of a job. That organization is not likely to fare well under a Conservative government: many believe PM Stephen Harper’s government will end the monopoly the CWB has on Prairie wheat and barley—though, one can never tell since the current Tories seem to tolerate the existence of marketing boards surprisingly well, forcing Canadian consumers to pay exorbitantly inflated prices for dairy products, for example.
All told, not a bad lineup for the Dippers.