British Columbia
2 min

The critics who came in from the cold

The Liberal shadow cabinet shuffle a couple of weeks ago saw some of their heavy hitters dropped from critic portfolios, causing a lot of speculation among some. Ujjal Dosanjh, Irwin Cotler, Hedy Fry? These were big names that were seemingly cut adrift.

Well, it seems that they’ve been given new responsibilities within the caucus. Dosanjh has been named as the Chair of the party’s new Intergovernmental Liaison Secretariat, which will see thirteen MPs and Senators from each province and territory meeting with provincial and territorial counterparts. As a former BC Premier, Dosanjh does seem eminently qualified for such a post, and given that the party has a lot of rebuilding to do in Western Canada, this initiative is certainly going to be a hefty responsibility.

Cotler, on the other hand, has been named Special Council on Human Rights & International Justice. Cotler – who was the justice minister who saw same-sex marriage go through the House – is a world-renowned expert on human rights, and he has been especially vocal of late in the case of Omar Khadr.

The diva Hedy Fry has been nominated to be chair of the House Committee on Status of Women. While none of the committees have been struck yet, we should see them getting into operation soon enough, and with the provisions on pay equity in the budget being a big issue, Fry may be seeing a lot of action soon enough.

And gay MP Mario Silva? He’s been made a Special Outreach Advisor for the priority area of Labour Unions and Latin American Communities. So indeed, he will have some responsibilities after all in this session.

It seems that there was indeed a method to the apparent madness of the new Liberal seating arrangements in the Commons. The new way is apparently the old, pre-Dion way, where the longer you’ve been elected, the closer you sit to the front, and most MPs being alphabetical within the “blocks” in which they were elected. The exceptions are that former cabinet ministers are closer to the front, and Dion himself, who sits at the far left of the first row, next to the Speaker.

After their party meeting over the weekend, the Bloc wants the rest of Canada to know that separatism is back on the agenda. Not that they’ll be able to do much about it, with a federalist party in power in the province, but rumours of their agenda’s demise have apparently been exaggerated.

Finally, the BBC has a couple of articles on Johanna Sigurdardottir, the new lesbian Prime Minister of Iceland. The first takes a look at her place in the economic situation the country faces, while the second takes a look at her place as the first out lesbian Prime Minister in the world – though for some, the milestone is likely to be seen as just a footnote in history.