The Top Line
After a quiet summer, new Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer unveiled the Party’s critics today. Their main role will be to hold Ministers and Government policy to account during Question Period and to take the lead on articulating Conservative Party policies in the House and in public. In an effort to underscore the significance of these positions, Mr. Scheer abandoned the traditional critic styling in favour of the term Shadow Minister, used more often in the United Kingdom.
Taken as a whole, the team announced today signals that Mr. Scheer intends to focus on traditional Conservative policy areas such as taxation (including small business taxation), government spending and waste, agricultural policy, anti-terrorism and global affairs, promoting Canada’s natural resources, and illegal immigration.
Former leadership candidate Erin O’Toole was named Foreign Affairs critic, where he will be expected to articulate a Conservative vision for Canada’s role in the fight on global terror. Dan Albas was appointed critic for Small Business, where he can be expected to critique recently-proposed small business tax changes. Mr. Scheer also appointed two of his strongest communicators, Michelle Rempel and Pierre Poilievre, to the key portfolios of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship and Finance, respectively.
Today’s announcement was also notable for which MPs were left out of the Shadow Cabinet. Of particular note, two high-profile and controversial rivals for the Conservative Party leadership, former Minister Kellie Leitch and Saskatchewan MP Brad Trost, were not given positions. This decision suggests a desire to set a more inclusive tone and move away from divisive issues brought up during the leadership race. Also of note, Alberta MP Kevin Sorenson and Saskatchewan MP Gerry Ritz, who both served in Cabinet under Prime Minister Stephen Harper and both supported Mr. Scheer during the leadership race, were not included.
What Comes Next
The upcoming Parliamentary session, starting on September 18th, will be the first real opportunity for Mr. Scheer to demonstrate his style of leadership and to highlight what he perceives to be the shortcomings of the Trudeau Government. He will look to present a united caucus after the leadership race, focused on so-called kitchen table issues and fully capable of taking the reins of Government in 2019.
In the months ahead, the Opposition critics will be very influential in the development of Conservative policies and, eventually, the next election platform. Businesses and organizations should establish good relationships with relevant Shadow Ministers in order to ensure that they understand your issues.
In addition to contending with a new team on their right flank, the Liberal Government will face a renewed NDP after that party elects a new Leader in October. The Liberals will be watching for ways to either sideline or outmaneuver the other parties on key issues.
The TSA consulting team is exceptionally well-placed to help stakeholders track the changing Federal landscape and build relationships with all parties leading up to the 2019 election.
Full Shadow Cabinet
- Leader of the Official Opposition – Andrew Scheer
- Deputy Leader – Hon. Lisa Raitt
- Quebec Political Lieutenant – Alain Rayes
- House Leader of the Official Opposition – Hon. Candice Bergen
- Chief Opposition Whip – Mark Strahl
- Deputy Opposition House Leader and Question Period Coordinator – Chris Warkentin
- Deputy Opposition Whip – John Brassard
- Caucus-Party Liaison – Hon. Diane Finley
- Agriculture and Agri-Food – Luc Berthold
- Agriculture and Agri-Food (Associate) – John Barlow
- Atlantic Issues and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency – Hon. Rob Moore
- Canadian Heritage and National Historic Sites – Hon. Peter Van Loan
- Crown-Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Indigenous Services and the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency – Cathy McLeod
- Democratic Institutions – Scott Reid
- Employment, Workforce Development and Labour – Dianne Watts
- Environment and Climate Change – Hon. Ed Fast
- Ethics – Hon. Peter Kent
- Families, Children and Social Development – Karen Vecchio
- Finance and National Capital Commission – Hon. Pierre Poilievre
- Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, and the Asia-Pacific Gateway – Todd Doherty
- Foreign Affairs – Hon. Erin O’Toole
- Health – Marilyn Gladu
- Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship – Hon. Michelle Rempel
- Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (Associate) – Bob Saroya
- Infrastructure, Communities and Urban Affairs – Hon. Michael Chong
- Innovation, Science and Economic Development – Hon. Maxime Bernier
- Intergovernmental Affairs – Alain Rayes
- International Development – Ziad Aboultaif
- International Trade – Dean Allison
- Justice – Hon. Rob Nicholson
- National Defence – James Bezan
- National Revenue – Pat Kelly
- Natural Resources – Shannon Stubbs
- Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness – Pierre Paul-Hus
- Public Services and Procurement – Hon. Tony Clement
- Science – Matt Jeneroux
- Seniors – Hon. Alice Wong
- Small Business – Dan Albas
- Status of Women – Rachael Harder
- Transport – Kelly Block
- Treasury Board – Gérard Deltell
- Veterans Affairs – Hon. Steven Blaney
- Youth, Sport and Persons with Disabilities – Alexander Nuttall