41st Canadian Parliament
1 min

Layton responds to cabinet shuffle

Shortly after he was once again sworn in as an MP, Jack Layton met with the media in the foyer of the House of Commons to provide his reaction to Harper’s cabinet appointments.

Layton was quick to say that he hoped this would be a cabinet that governed for all Canadians and not just the big banks, and that he was disappointed by how few women are in it, while he has the highest percentage of women of any caucus in the current Parliament.

With that, he took questions and was immediately asked about Harper’s decision to appoint Fabian Manning, Larry Smith and Josée Verner to the Senate, despite all three having been defeated in the election and despite Smith and Manning having resigned their Senate seats to run as MPs. Layton called it a “slap in the face” to voters that they could be elevated to the Senate before the “ink was barely dry on their rejection notices.” (As though his failure to insist that placeholder candidates at least visit their ridings to campaign wasn’t a slap in the face of democracy.)

He answered a number of questions on Quebec's representation in the Cabinet, on whether he wanted a binding or a take-note debate in the Commons over extending the Libyan deployment (he wants a binding vote per Harper’s previous musings that such deployments should be voted upon – no matter that it means muddying accountability when things go wrong, and Harper would simply be able to say that nothing is his fault as the Commons voted on it), whether he had anything to say about Bev Oda's not being kicked out after her misleading the House (he’s going to give this Cabinet a chance to prove itself), when he plans to move into Stornoway (he doesn’t even know where it is yet, not a priority just now), and about the trip he took to Disney World on a union dime (was invited to speak, they paid for his expenses as is common, ensured that it was declared as per the rules).

Tomorrow morning, Layton is moving into the Leader of the Official Opposition offices in the Centre Block.
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