Thursday, May 26, 2011

New democrats cast their shadow

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.


© 2011 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.
The views I express on this blog are my own and do not necessarily represent the views or positions of political parties, institutions or organizations with which I am associated.


  1. Not that it matters from a cost perspective, since we don't have to pay them, but I wonder what all the "OMG! Harper's Cabinet is too big!" crowd thinks of an NDP Shadow cabinet that's even bigger.

  2. They already announced that they were going to end the CWB monopoly in a phased approach. Ritz made the announcement the same day that Cabinet was announced.

  3. Good point, Scott, thanks for that.

  4. Waterlooney ClaytMay 26, 2011 at 5:15 PM

    I for one am delighted Libby got Health. Is she not just the picture of it? A virtual role model.

  5. Wonder how his ROC members feel

    Quebec can leave with 50% plus one: Layton