Tuesday, September 07, 2010

The critic shuffle

Hola! It's back to school, back to routine and soon, back to Parliament for the big kids. September 20th? How ever do they pull off that delayed return. Anyway, new critics announced by the Liberals today and many of the picks are getting attention. A few thoughts and maybe a little bit here that others haven't said already. Maybe. In short, it's a signalling of what will be Liberal emphasis in the coming session.

Nothing much to add on the McGuinty as House Leader pick. A fresh face is a good move. I like the cut of his ethical hue and smarts factor in contrast to Mr. Baird.

Checked out Akin's list of matchups he thought would be interesting. I would have highlighted 5 more in his list: Bennett to Democratic Reform, Kennedy to Environment, Brison to Finance, Dosanjh to Health and Jennings to Justice.

Kennedy and Brison have already been remarked upon by Rob Silver as welcome steps. They're revitalizing faces in key portfolios, have to say they're big promotions. Kennedy in particular, you have to say, who did such great work on the infrastructure file will be bound to foist a higher profile on the issue of the environment in this session and that's good news. Liberals need to make it a higher priority, pick up that Dion torch where there was so much good will for his work and grab some imaginations! Lots of opportunity there for him to bring it to Mr. Prentice and that's a big one to watch. Great move.

Carolyn Bennett in Democratic Reform is an interesting move too. Some of us are quite interested in what the Liberals will be doing on this front to draw a stark contrast with the Conservatives. The ground here is ripe for seeding, the Harper Conservatives are democratically challenged, to say the least. Hopefully this signals that there will be an increased emphasis here with some indications of democratic reform commitments Liberals are prepared to make. As we have said around here, bring...it...on!

Dovetailing with that Bennett move out of Health is Dosanjh into that critic's role. Looks like more of a political emphasis on the file as it heats up and Ignatieff increasingly speaks of Health as a Liberal priority in contrast to the Conservatives "prisons and planes" emphasis.

Jennings as Justice critic, taking over for Dominic Leblanc is also of note. The crime file which has been shamelessly exploited by Conservatives for political advantage is a tough one politically. Hope that Jennings is able to tarnish some of the nonsense. The prisons issue will also loom large here.

Leblanc to National Defence...nothing much to add here except that it's more confirmation of the Liberal emphasis of late. Looks like there will be dogged pursuit of the F-35 issue, fine by me.

All in all, a better sense in this shuffle that Ignatieff is more in tune with his caucus' strengths and his priorities, priorities shaped by the #lpcx this summer and feedback from voters. The shuffle seems to me to be one more incremental sign that things are on the right track, Liberally speaking.