Tuesday, September 7, 2010 1:19 PM

Liberals unleash David McGuinty on John Baird

Jane Taber

Michael Ignatieff shuffled his shadow cabinet Tuesday, arranging his most aggressive and senior MPs into roles aimed at making life uncomfortable for the Harper government.

The Liberal Leader called on his most seasoned MPs to fill the big critic jobs, including finance, defence and Opposition House Leader.

“We need to send a signal to these guys. They want to play nice, we’ll play nice. They want to play tough they should watch who they wrangle with,” a senior Ignatieff official told The Globe. “The Liberals aren’t going to lie down.”

The shuffle builds on the new confidence of the Liberals as a result of a summer caucus meeting last week in Nova Scotia, in which the party appeared unified. It followed Mr. Ignatieff’s summer bus tour, which has been regarded as a success.

Nova Scotia MP Scott Brison takes over as finance critic from John McCallum while New Brunswick MP Dominic LeBlanc replaces Ujjal Dosanjh on the national defence file.

“I think we put very political people in both defence and finance,” the Ignatieff official said.

It will be Mr. LeBlanc’s job to hold Defence Minister Peter MacKay’s feet to the fire over the Harper government’s procurement policies, especially the $16-billion purchase of the 65 next-generation fighter jets.

Central to the Liberal Leader’s moves Tuesday is David McGuinty, who is taking over the key role of Opposition House leader. Mr. McGuinty replaces long-time procedural captain Ralph Goodale, who becomes deputy leader to Mr. Ignatieff.

In his new role, the Ottawa South MP and brother of Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty – who is pugnacious and a known for his heckling skills in the Commons – will be facing off against the new Government House Leader John Baird.

Mr. Baird, who also represents an Ottawa riding, is no shrinking violet either. His promotion this summer suggested to the opposition that the Conservatives were going to play rougher in the Commons.

“We have been criticized in the past for being passive or being shy or being too timid,” the official said. “Well, if David’s appointment signals something different than terrific.”

It will be Mr. Goodale’s job, meanwhile, to handle Question Period when Mr. Ignatieff is on the road. In the past, that job was often left to Mr. Ignatieff’s leadership rival, Bob Rae, who remains foreign affairs critic.

Mr. Ignatieff is expected to be away a lot from the House of Commons. He announced at his summer caucus meeting last week that he will be holding a series of “Open Mike” town hall meetings in every region of the country.

Another key position is that of health critic, and Mr. Ignatieff tapped Mr. Dosanjh for that role. The British Columbia MP served as Paul Martin’s health minister during the 2004 negotiations with the provinces that resulted in a $41-billion, 10-year deal.

“We’re making health a big issue. Part of our spiel is who are you going to trust to go into the next negotiations and who better to trust than the guy who did it last time?” the Liberal official said.

Some MPs have even been given a second chance. Montreal’s Denis Coderre, who resigned in a huff as Mr. Ignatieff’s Quebec lieutenant, is back in the senior ranks as natural resources critic.





9/7/2010 4:13:31 PM



Igy might as well tell everyone that his brother is bigger then Harper's brother yana yana yana.

Then he starts hinting that his ethics will respond to their ethics?

Excuse me, but just when is Igy going to demonstrate some real leadership aka Obama style that wins respect by practicing rather than preaching.

Igy might like to take a logical reasoning course and do a forensic examination of Canada's most serious problems.

First up, is Canada's unofficial war on men, that treats children as the property of women, children have only rights as far as mothering is concerned, none when it comes to fathering.

There is a real need for a legal presumption of equal parenting.

For that to work, we need to clean up the judiciary, get rid of the underbelly of the judiciary, the likes of Denis Power, Alan Sheffield and Aitken, the queen man hater of Ottawa.

Then introduce mental health and personality screening for the judiciary, presently the candidates it attracts include the worst scum on earth that includes psychopaths and those with a propensity to habitually abuse others not to mention flagrantly abuse judicial discretion.