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Andrew Scheer names leadership rivals, former ministers to shadow cabinet

By Marco Vigliotti      

Maxime Bernier, Pierre Poilievre, Tony Clement, and Marilyn Gladu among those scoring prominent spots in Mr. Scheer's first shadow cabinet.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer appointed a mix of leadership rivals, ex-cabinet minister, and new faces to his front bench on Wednesday, notably leaving out controversial MPs Kellie Leitch and Brad Trost. The Hill Times photograph by Jake Wright
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Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer unveiled his first shadow cabinet on Wednesday, stocking the front bench with veteran voices, onetime leadership rivals, and new recruits, as the Tories look to present a united front against the Trudeau government.

In one of the biggest moves, Maxime Bernier (Beauce, Que.), who finished a close second in May’s leadership vote, was appointed shadow minister for Innovation, Science, and Economic Development, allowing the libertarian MP new opportunities to rail against corporate subsidies, including his favourite target, Canadian aerospace manufacturer Bombardier.

The Quebec MP emerged as one of the strongest opponents of the federal government’s $372.5-million loan to Bombardier for the company’s troubled CSeries and Global 7000 aircraft programs, holding up the deal as the sort of corporate welfare he vowed to eliminate if elected prime minister.

Mr. Bernier told The Globe and Mail before the shuffle that he coveted the finance post, but the portfolio was handed to Ottawa MP Pierre Poilievre (Carleton, Ont.), who will also retain critic duties for the National Capital Commission. Mr. Poilievre did not endorse any candidate in the leadership election.

Erin O’Toole (Durham, Ont.), who finished third in the leadership race, was also appointed to the shadow front bench, assuming the high-profile portfolio of foreign affairs. Fellow leadership contender Michael Chong (Wellington-Halton Hills, Ont.) was handed infrastructure, communities, and urban affairs.

Tony Clement (Parry Sound-Muskoka, Ont.), who dropped out of the leadership race in the early stages and later endorsed Mr. Bernier, was moved from public safety and emergency preparedness to shadow minister for public services and procurement.

All four leadership rivals served as ministers under the former Harper government.

“Our shadow ministers are united, energized, and diverse. We are going to arrive in Ottawa in the fall with one clear message to Canadians: That we are ready to form the next government of Canada,” Mr. Scheer (Regina-Qu’Appelle, Sask.) said in a statement.

Conservative leadership contenders Kellie Leitch (Simcoe-Grey, Ont.) and Brad Trost (Saskatoon-University, Sask.) were notable exclusions from the shadow cabinet, hinting that Mr. Scheer is looking to downplay any connections with the far-right.

Ms. Leitch, who previously served as labour minister, attracted controversy throughout her unorthodox leadership campaign with insistent calls for aggressive screening of new immigrants to Canada. Mr. Trost also courted controversy by pledging to reopen the debate on same-sex marriage and expressing discomfort with the so-called “gay lifestyle.” 

The rest of the shadow ministry is a sprinkling of former Harper-era stalwarts and newer faces.

First-term MP Marilyn Gladu (Sarnia-Lambton, Ont.) was named shadow minister for health, while fellow rookie Dianne Watts (South Surrey-White Rock, B.C.) takes over critic responsibilities for employment, workforce development, and labour.

Saskatchewan MP Kelly Block (Carlton Trail-Eagle Creek, Sask.) is staying on as transport critic, same with ex-cabinet minister Michelle Rempel (Calgary Nose Hill, Alta.), who continues to oversee the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship file.

In some deja-vu picks, Steven Blaney (Bellechasse-Les Etchemins-Lévis, Que.) was named veterans affairs critic, and Rob Nicholson (Niagara Falls, Ont.) was tapped to continue to serve as shadow minister for justice.

Mr. Nicholson spent six-and-a-half years as justice minister under the former Harper government, while Mr. Blaney served as veterans affairs minister for more than two years.

Former cabinet minister Rob Moore is the only non-MP appointed to the shadow cabinet. He will continue to serve as shadow minister for Atlantic issues and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, as the Conservatives don’t have any MPs from the Atlantic region.

In leadership moves, John Brassard (Barrie-Innisfil, Ont.) was made deputy opposition whip, while Diane Finley (Haldimand-Norfolk, Ont.) has been appointed caucus-party liaison.

mvigliotti@hilltimes.com

The Hill Times 

The full critic list is posted below:

Ziad Aboultaif (formerly National Revenue) becomes Shadow Minister for International Development.

Dan Albas (formerly Deputy, Finance) becomes Shadow Minister for Small Business.

Dean Allison (formerly International Development) becomes Shadow Minister for International Trade.

John Barlow (formerly Interprovincial Trade) becomes Shadow Minister (Associate) for Agriculture and Agri-Food.

Maxime Bernier becomes Shadow Minister for Innovation, Science, and Economic Development.

Luc Berthold (formerly Deputy for Transport and Rail Safety) becomes Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Agri-Food.

James Bezan remains Shadow Minister for National Defence.

Steven Blaney becomes Shadow Minister for Veterans Affairs.

Kelly Block remains Shadow Minister for Transport.

Michael Chong becomes Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Communities, and Urban Affairs.

Tony Clement (formerly Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness) becomes Shadow Minister for Public Services and Procurement.

Gérard Deltell (formerly Finance) becomes Shadow Minister for Treasury Board.

Todd Doherty remains Shadow Minister for Fisheries, Oceans, and Canadian Coast Guard, adding the Asia-Pacific Gateway.

Ed Fast remains Shadow Minister for Environment and Climate Change.

Marilyn Gladu (formerly Science) becomes Shadow Minister for Health.

Rachael Harder (formerly Youth and Persons with Disabilities, and Deputy Health) becomes Shadow Minister for Status of Women.

Matt Jeneroux (formerly Western Economic Diversification) becomes Shadow Minister for Science.

Pat Kelly (formerly Deputy, Treasury Board) becomes Shadow Minister for National Revenue.

Peter Kent (formerly Foreign Affairs) becomes Shadow Minister for Ethics.

Cathy McLeod (formerly Indigenous Affairs) becomes Shadow Minister for Crown-Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Indigenous Services, and the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency.

Rob Moore remains Shadow Minister for Atlantic Issues and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.

Rob Nicholson remains Shadow Minister for Justice.

Alexander Nuttall (formerly Economic Development for Southern Ontario, and Deputy for Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Sharing Economy) becomes Shadow Minister for Youth, Sport, and Persons with Disabilities.

Erin O’Toole becomes Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Pierre Paul-Hus (formerly Associate, National Defence) becomes Shadow Minister for Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

Pierre Poilievre (formerly Work and Opportunity, and National Capital Commission) becomes Shadow Minister for Finance and National Capital Commission.

Alain Rayes (formerly Associate, Infrastructure, Communities, and Urban Affairs) becomes Shadow Minister for Intergovernmental Affairs.

Scott Reid remains Shadow Minister for Democratic Institutions.

Michelle Rempel remains Shadow Minister for Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship.

Bob Saroya (formerly Deputy for Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship) becomes Shadow Minister (Associate) for Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship.

Shannon Stubbs (formerly Deputy for Natural Resources) becomes Shadow Minister for Natural Resources.

Peter Van Loan remains Shadow Minister for Canadian Heritage and National Historic Sites.

Karen Vecchio remains Shadow Minister for Families, Children and Social Development.

Dianne Watts (formerly Infrastructure, Communities, and Urban Affairs) becomes Shadow Minister for Employment, Workforce Development and Labour.

Alice Wong (formerly Small Business) becomes Shadow Minister for Seniors.

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