A scouting report on Team Mulcair


Here again is the roster for Thomas Mulcair’s shadow cabinet. What to make of it? Here are several observations.

-First, the obviously big promotions go to Megan Leslie (who stays with environment, but becomes a deputy leader) and Nathan Cullen (who becomes House leader). Both are confident, impressive, fresh-faced MPs who are quick on their feet and under the age of 40 (Mr. Cullen’s 40th birthday is in July). Very interesting to see them put not just in prominent positions, but positions of leadership. Your premature, baseless, futile, wild-eyed “next leader of the NDP” speculation probably starts somewhere here.

-That’s a rather large number of people with titles: 78 out of a caucus of 102. Granted, the Conservative cabinet numbers 39 and the Prime Minister named another 28 parliamentary secretaries, so the sides are somewhat close to even. Put the two teams together and they represent just less than half of the House.

-The shadow ministers of finance, justice, human resources, transport, aboriginal affairs, public works, industry, immigration and the environment—nine of the top files—are women.

-All of the elected leadership candidates—Niki Ashton, Paul Dewar, Mr. Cullen, Robert Chisholm, Romeo Saganash and Peggy Nash—were placed in prominent spots. Of the 13 NDP MPs who endorsed Brian Topp, 10 of them—Charmaine Borg, Jean Crowder, Libby Davies, Chris Charlton, Yvon Godin, Francoise Boivin, Jinny Simms, Jasbir Sandhu, Kennedy Stewart and Alexandre Boulerice—were put in critic roles.

-Peter Julian seemed to step to the fore in the wake of Mr. Mulcair’s election. The day after the budget, Mr. Julian was given five consecutive questions in QP (off the top of my head, I’m not sure that in my five years here I’ve seen anyone but an opposition leader, rising at the start of QP, afforded that many opportunities in a row). And, of course, he then dominated the budget debate. In this new shadow cabinet he moves from finance to natural resources. Which probably says something about both the prominence that file is going to take on and how much more we’ll be hearing from Mr. Julian.

-If finance is the top issue, Ms. Nash will be continue to be among the most prominent NDP MPs (she was also finance critic under Jack Layton). And presumably that means she’ll be near the forefront as the NDP tries to make an economic case for itself going forward.

-Ruth Ellen Brosseau becomes deputy critic for agriculture. Another step on the way to her becoming prime minister.

-Matthew Kellway and Christine Moore have their mandate to pester Julian Fantino renewed. Jack Harris returns to defence with the minister struggling. For at least as long as the F-35 is a matter of concern, that trio figures to be prominent.

-The English-French team of Charlie Angus and Alexandre Boulerice on ethics is also maintained.

-Two of the McGill four—Ms. Borg and Matthew Dube—land shadow cabinet spots. A third, Laurin Liu, gets a deputy post.

-And it somehow makes sense that Pat Martin is assigned the task of raging against the dying of the Canadian Wheat Board’s light.


A scouting report on Team Mulcair

  1. One way leaders make sure they are powerful is by distributing power widely – if everyone has a little power, no one has much power. And the portfolios are overlapping, which diffuses influence even more. 

    I am surprised Nash stays in Finance – she’s a good pol, should have prominent role, but she’s awful at economics. Presumably, we will be hearing a lot from Julian and he won’t sound like a loony socialist like Nash.

    • One way we prevent leaders from assuming too much power is by distributing it widely – if everyone has a job to do the system is working.

      • I agree but power can also be distributed too widely which keeps MPs weak except for Mulcair. If there were just 10 proper cabinet members with a bunch of underlings, power would be dispersed but cabinet members would also have significant clout. 

  2. How about a scouting report on what our political parties have planned to celebrate 4/20 day.

    Harper Decade photo – PM Harper has hand on chin – he’s deciding if he should continue to be crafty about his ganja use and get the vaporizer out, be a bit brazen and use his bong or maybe he should be out and proud and just roll a few fatties. 

    • Before I was re-educated, I thought 4/20 day was a neo-Nazi event to celebrate Hitler’s birthday. And no, that is not an attack on conservatives, it really was my first thought.

      • Our Queen’s B-Day as well today. Maybe Canadians should celebrate Hitler’s death by smoking ganja and having a few bombay gin and tonics?

        •  No, Queen’s b’day is tomorrow. My brother’s too. Thanks for the reminder.

          • Gadzooks! I have been celebrating the wrong day for years. Happy b-day to your bro. 

  3. Charmaine Borg is the critic for Digital Issues. I did not know we had any issues with Digits. I do know Digits are important. The thumb digit is what places us on the top of the evolution species. Will Mulcair appoint young dipper staffers for each of the other digits–you know the pinky will be a choice appointment.

    Ruth Brosseau is the Deputy Critic for Agriculture. Some of her previous agriculture experience involves placing celery stalks in Caesar cocktails. She has also worked with animals over at the animal shelter. She has also visited her rural riding somewhere east of Montreal.

    This announcement of 78 critic appointments by Mulcair is a snapshot of what a NDP government would look like. The ideal dipper society would be one where everyone would work for the government and everyone would feel good about their job because they would have an important job title.

    Innovation, investment and private enterprise would come to a screeching halt under an NDP government.

    Would the Liberal Party please try to get itself together for a time if and when the CPC needs to be replaced.

    •  Granted, the Conservative cabinet numbers 39 and the Prime Minister named another 28 parliamentary secretaries, so the sides are somewhat close to even. Put the two teams together and they represent just less than half of the House

      Couldn’t you be arsed to read the whole article?

      • Rather than you guessing what I may have read, try to do something to make your LPC a more viable alternative. Try to imagine what an NDP government would look like by scrolling over the above list. I will personally hold the Liberal Party responsible if we ever get in a position where we are faced with such a tragic situation as an NDP gov`t——-disastrous. Get your act together.

        • Don’t be ridiculous. I’m not an ndper but NDP govt’s have formed viable govts all over this country. And they couldn’t do a worse job than the Harperclowns if they tried.

          • If you are so naive that you don`t realize the harm a  national NDP government would do to Canada, then maybe you are ready to become a dipper.

          • You live in a time warp buddy. There are no more reds under the beds. Just morons like you who shill for a slimy tory party no matter what!

          • Well done, kcm2! 

    • Would you give me some examples of the innovation, investment (by the private sector) and enterprise (of any kind) that you claim “would come to a screeching halt”? Buggered if I can find any. And the party of big government is not the NDP — it’s the Liberals. Take a look at Ontario if you don’t believe me. Public sector workers vote Liberal (sorry, Sid, but it’s true).

  4. I find both Megan Leslie and Nathan Cullen absolutely top-drawer MPs, and I’m pleased to see their profiles raised.  Good moves by Mulcair.

  5. Smart move with Nash in Finance – she’s one of the few Ontario MPs who can successfully bridge the Toronto crowd with the out-of-work factory crowd in towns like St. Catharine’s, Essex, Cambridge or Peterborough – you know ridings the NDP will need to win in 2015. 

  6. Good review, but it leaves out one of the most fascinating promotions. Promoted to one of the seven House Officers, as Deputy House Leader, is Sadia Groguhé. Who? This is one ambitious, talented and impatient woman, from what she told her home town paper in France last July. She was a socialist municipal councillor in Istres near Marseilles from age 32 to 37, with a Master of Psychology, a specialist in social inclusion. “But with the birth of my children, I then put politics aside.” A hiatus of ten years during which she had four children and moved to Canada. “If I had not quit for my children, I know I would have quickly become an MP in France.” Born of French parents, Algerian, her husband is from Ivory Coast. Her sister added last July “she deserves it, although I would have liked her to succeed here. I think Sadia wants to go further still. She wants to become a minister!” The reporter adds “She’s on her way.” Indeed.

  7. Comartin on the way out. 

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