(Ottawa) Conservative leader Erin O’Toole has announced changes to his shadow cabinet.
Former Minister of International Trade Ed Fast will become the official opposition finance critic. He thus replaces Ontario MP Pierre Poilievre, who will henceforth be critical of jobs and industry.
As Canada enters a new phase in its response to the pandemic, Mr. O’Toole has created a spokesperson “responsible for COVID-19 economic recovery”. This role will be filled by Alberta MP James Cumming.
“Canadians have seen what happened with the Liberal government’s supply of vaccines. Can we entrust our economic recovery to it? Mr. O’Toole asked, in a press release detailing the changes to his shadow cabinet.
Shuffling the cards also puts new MPs front and center as an election approaches. Three of them enter the shadow cabinet and a deputy returns.
Thus, the member for Beauce, Richard Lehoux, becomes associate spokesperson for rural economic development. His colleague from Saskatchewan, Corey Tochor, is recognized as a critic of family, children and social development.
Alberta MPs Jasraj Singh Hallan and Rachael Harder have been appointed Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Critic and Digital Government Critic, respectively.
Mme Harder, who is opposed to abortion, had been sidelined from Mr O’Toole’s shadow cabinet after her election as chief. She had been a spokesperson for the status of women under Andrew Scheer.
Longtime MPs Peter Kent and Cathy McLeodont announced that they would not run for another term and therefore lose their roles as spokespersons. Mr. O’Toole thanked them for their “outstanding job on behalf of Canadians”.
“They have decided not to stand for re-election in the next election, but I know they will continue to be a strong voice for their constituents here in Ottawa,” said their leader.