Singh shuffles former rivals back into the fold

Peter Julian will be the new NDP House leader, and Charlie Angus and Niki Ashton have been assigned critic portfolios.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, left, has now assigned roles to each of his former rivals for the party leadership: Niki Ashton, Charlie Angus, and Peter Julian, as well as Guy Caron, not pictured. The Hill Times photographs by Andrew Meade

PUBLISHED :Monday, Oct. 23, 2017 6:57 PM

PARLIAMENT HILL—New NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has made more changes to his leadership team in the House of Commons, naming Peter Julian the new House leader for the party, and handing critic roles back to his other former rivals for the party leadership.

Mr. Julian (New Westminster-Burnaby, B.C.) will replace fellow B.C. MP Murray Rankin (Victoria) as House leader, regaining the role the former MP gave up when he launched his failed bid for the party leadership. Mr. Rankin will become the party’s new justice critic, a role currently held by Alistair MacGregor (Cowichan-Malahat-Langford, B.C.). Mr. Rankin is a former lawyer and law professor, and held the justice critic role prior to taking over as House leader.

Mr. Rankin will also be serving on the new committee of Parliamentarians created to keep tabs on national security issues, he told The Hill times, which has yet to be fully formed, but will be led by Liberal MP David McGuinty, (Ottawa South, Ont.) and tasked with supervising Canada’s national security and intelligence agencies, albeit with limited powers to demand documentation from those agencies, and with the PMO holding the power to censor its reports. Regular membership on the committee comes with a $11,900 salary increase.

NDP MP Murray Rankin will be dropping his House leader role and returning to duty as the party’s justice critic. The Hill Times file photograph

Niki Ashton (Churchil-Keewatinook Aski, Man.) will return to her role as jobs critic, which was filled during her leadership bid by Brigitte Sansoucy (Saint-Hyacinthe-Bagot, Que.). Fellow ex-leadership candidate Charlie Angus (Timmins-James Bay, Ont.) will become the critic for aboriginal youth issues, covering topics ranging from education and human rights to Jordan’s Principle, the principle that the delivery of health care to First Nations children should never be delayed by bureaucratic disputes over which level of government is responsible for paying for it.


Mr. Angus said he asked Mr. Singh for the role, which he said is not a full-time critic role, so he could continue work on issues related to Indigenous children that he has been undertaking for a decade.

Romeo Saganash (Abitibi-Baie-James-Nunavik-Eeyou, Que.) is currently the NDP Indigenous and northern affairs critic, and will remain in that role, said Mr. Angus.

Mr. Singh, who does not yet hold a seat in the House, made Guy Caron (Rimouski-Neigette-Témiscouata-Les Basques, Que.), another former leadership candidate, his parliamentary leader earlier this month.

Mr. Singh is currently meeting with the rest of the NDP’s critics to determine whether there will be any more changes, asking them “how do you like what you’re doing? Is there a better fit?” said Mr. Rankin.