NDP Leader Jack Layton unveiled his shadow cabinet of Opposition critics today – or at least those critics related to government ministries. The list of 43 names contains a mix of rookie and experienced MPs (Layton declared that it’s a myth that MPs need to have experience), of whom 40 percent are women (including key posts such as finance). Apparently, there are additional critics to be appointed, which he didn’t outline at the beginning of the press conference.
Which is why I asked him this:
Dale Smith: You used to have a dedicated critic for LGBT issues in your shadow cabinet, and I don’t see one on this list. Is this no longer a priority for the NDP?
Jack Layton: Not at all. This is a preliminary list primarily to match up with the ministers in the cabinet. We will have a further set of announcements. I don’t think Harper has such a minister; I might have missed something on the list [at which point reporters were giggling], but you can be sure that our advocacy around these issues is, I think, quite well known and is going to be maintained.
With that said, Libby Davies is the only queer MP to get a shadow cabinet position, as the new health critic. Layton says that this is because he wanted one of his most experienced MPs to handle this critical file, given that we have the healthcare accords coming up for renegotiation in 2014. Davies’ old job of NDP House Leader moves to Thomas Mulcair.
The full list can be found here.