Roundup: Unveiling the critics

Andrew Scheer unveiled his list of critics – err, “shadow cabinet” yesterday, and all of the attention is on how leadership rivals fared. All eyes were of course on Maxime Bernier, who didn’t get the finance portfolio that he was publicly lobbying for – which was rather impolitic of him to have done so it needs to be said. Instead Bernier got the industry portfolio, which is still a major economic portfolio and one where he will get to rail about corporate welfare to his heart’s content. And the finance role that he so coveted? That went to Pierre Poilievre, which is something that Liberal partisans everywhere were salivating over, seeing as Poilievre is not exactly someone with poise and tact, and will be in the media a lot (though I will note that he’s better than he used to be).

And those other leadership rivals (who are still in the caucus)? Well, Erin O’Toole got Foreign Affairs, Steven Blaney gets veterans affairs, Michael Chong gets infrastructure, and Tony Clement (for his short-lived leadership ambitions) gets public services and procurement. (Lisa Raitt, meanwhile, already got the coveted deputy leader position, you will recall). But Kellie Leitch, Brad Trost and Deepak Obhrai were all left off the list – all while insisting that they’re happy with things, and that there are no hard feelings, etcetera, etcetera.

But all of this makes me wonder once again why so many of these no hope leadership candidates bothered to stay in the race to the bitter end, as if it was going to mean good standing in the party going forward. I’m not seeing a lot of “good standing” coming out of this, despite the way that it’s being parsed as healing divisions in the party, especially as the more extreme voices of Leitch and Trost being kept on the outside. Leitch, and to a certain extent Trost, humiliated themselves by running terrible campaigns that got them lots of attention but little else, and they are further marginalized by being kept away from the front bench going forward. This justifies those campaigns in what way? It’s why I find the whole exercise of the leadership campaign even more mystifying (beyond the fact that the way in which we conduct them is part of what is wrong with the way our system has been bastardized). The return for no hope campaigns is so limited that I’m can’t see the rationale, but maybe that’s just me.

Meanwhile, Paul Wells and Andrew Coyne each parse what the picks mean about the kind of face that Scheer is trying to put on the party, and the ways in which he is trying to make a mark in the post-Harper era.

Good reads:

  • The Prime Minister was in Miramichi to announce the latest Senate appointment, and to meet with the pay centre workers dealing with the Phoenix fiasco.
  • Trudeau also announced a bilateral agreement with New Brunswick over childcare funding, which the government is starting to roll out around the country.
  • Trudeau said that he wouldn’t be making any moves regarding MP Darshan Kang’s harassment allegations until the new investigative process is complete.
  • The hysterical backlash over the proposed tax changes will apparently be the focus of the upcoming Liberal caucus retreat.
  • Maclean’s has a good, clear-eyed explanation of the background of those changes, and why many of the excuses to justify the existing practices are bogus.
  • Apparently, the government’s defence budget figures don’t include costly upgrades to things like radar systems used as part of NORAD.
  • New research shows a high prevalence for occupational stress injuries in first responders, especially women firefighters.
  • Omar Khadr’s lawyers argue that the $134 million judgment against him should be thrown out because it was based on false information.
  • Andrew Scheer had the smallest new-leader polling bump in at least 14 years.
  • Other NDP leadership camps are questioning the veracity of Jagmeet Singh’s claims about how many members he’s signed up.
  • Kevin Carmichael takes on the current Twitter hysteria over tax changes, and why Bill Morneau seems worried over a winnable fight.
  • Chantal Hébert notes the apparent disaffection for the NDP brewing in Quebec.

Odds and ends:

It sounds like Conservative MP Gerry Ritz will announce his retirement later today.