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The new Liberal caucus make-up.

(Copy of the Liberal Party news release...)

Backgrounder: changes to Stéphane Dion’s critics and caucus team

The changes that Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion has made to his team of critics, his team of caucus committee chairs, and his priorities and planning committee represents a simple choice for Canadians.

There is a stark contrast between Prime Minister Harper’s very tightly controlled government – which governs on a highly partisan basis and with a disproportionate emphasis on partisan tactics designed primarily to support his personal and ideological ambitions – and Mr. Dion’s more open, team-driven and expertise-driven approach to tackling the real problems and challenges faced by Canadians in all parts of the country.

The decisions made by Mr. Dion are designed to ensure that the Liberal Party will leverage all of the expertise and experience of its talented team to maintain a strong focus on making the Parliament work, so that MPs can address the opportunities, challenges and priorities facing Canadians today.

They also represent an opportunity for change, by bringing new people into various critic, caucus committee and parliamentary committee roles. For example:

• Bob Rae, assisted by Associate Critic Bryon Wilfert, is now the Liberal Party of Canada’s Foreign Affairs Critic. He will be tasked with leading the Liberal response to the debate over Canada’s future role in Afghanistan, as well as on Canada’s overall approach to foreign policy.

• Bernard Patry will build on his experience as Chair of the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs to chair the caucus committee on Canada and the World.

• Dominic LeBlanc becomes Intergovernmental Affairs Critic, and will play an instrumental role in explaining how a Liberal Government led by Mr. Dion would improve the federal government’s relations with the provinces.

• Sue Barnes, assisted by Vice-Chair Borys Wrzesnewskyj, will chair the newly formed caucus committee on justice, and lead our efforts to strengthen the justice system and the fight against crime by encouraging effective, responsible and realistic justice legislation.
• Garth Turner will build on the success of his summer tour, and take on responsibility as the Leader’s Special Advisor for Riding and Constituency Outreach, a key political and fundraising role.

• Paul Szabo will become chair of the Standing Committee on Access to Information and Privacy, where he will lead the committee mandated to ensure Canadians maintain access to information on the government’s activities.

Backgrounder: Liberal Party Priorities and Planning Committee
Stéphane Dion, Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada
Michael Ignatieff, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada
Navdeep Bains (Mississauga—Brampton South)
Sue Barnes (London West)
Bonnie Brown (Oakville)
Scott Brison (Kings-Hants)
Ujjal Dosanjh (Vancouver South)
Ken Dryden (York Centre)
Wayne Easter (Malpeque)
Senator Joyce Fairbairn (Lethbridge)
John Godfrey (Don Valley West)
Ralph Goodale (Wascana)
Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette (Bedford)
Marlene Jennings (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine)
Dominic LeBlanc (Beauséjour)
John McCallum (Markham–Unionville)
Anita Neville (Winnipeg South Centre)
Marcel Proulx (Hull—Aylmer)
Karen Redman (Kitchener Centre)
Lucienne Robillard (Westmount—Ville-Marie)
Scott Simms (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor)
Senator David Smith (Ontario)
Garth Turner (Halton)
Bryon Wilfert (Richmond Hill)

The Priorities and Planning Committee provides key political, policy development and strategic planning advice to the Leader of the opposition. As such, it is the primary planning and strategic decision-making body for the Liberal Party of Canada’s caucus in the Parliament of Canada.

The Priorities and Planning Committee will meet every week to plan the overall strategic direction of the Official Opposition.

Backgrounder: Liberal Party Critics
Stéphane Dion
Deputy Leader
Michael Ignatieff
House Leader
Ralph Goodale
Deputy House Leader
Lucienne Robillard
Karen Redman
Deputy Whip
Marcel Proulx
Senate Leader
Céline Hervieux-Payette
Deputy Senate Leader
Claudette Tardif
Senate Whip
James Cowan
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Jean-Claude D’Amours
Wayne Easter
Asia Pacific
Raymond Chan
Canadian Heritage, La Francophonie & Official Languages
Mauril Bélanger
Canadian International Development Agency
Keith Martin
Citizenship & Immigration
Maurizio Bevilacqua
Cities, Communities & Infrastructure
Paul Zed
Competitiveness & New Economy
Sukh Dhaliwal
Consumer Affairs & Consular Services
Dan McTeague
Democratic Reform
Brian Murphy
Economic Development Agency for the Regions of Quebec
Pablo Rodriguez
David McGuinty
Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario
Ken Boshcoff
John McCallum
Fisheries & Oceans
Scott Simms
Foreign Affairs
Bob Rae
Foreign Affairs (Associate Critic)
Bryon Wilfert
Robert Thibault
Human Resources Development
Michael Savage
Human Rights
Irwin Cotler
Indian Affairs
Anita Neville
Industry, Science & Technology
Scott Brison
Intergovernmental Affairs
Dominic LeBlanc
International Trade
Navdeep Bains
Marlene Jennings
Judy Sgro
Colleen Beaumier
National Defence
Denis Coderre
National Revenue
Blair Wilson
Natural Resources
Omar Alghabra
Northern Affairs
Larry Bagnell
Pacific Gateway
Don Bell
Public Health, Seniors, Disabled & Social Economy
Carolyn Bennett
Public Safety
Ujjal Dosanjh
Public Works & Procurement
Mark Holland
Rural Affairs
Charles Hubbard
Social Development
Ruby Dhalla
Sports, Vancouver Olympics
Hedy Fry
Small Business & Tourism
Mark Eyking
Status of Women
Maria Minna
Joe Volpe
Treasury Board
Mario Silva
Veterans Affairs
Albina Guarnieri
Western Economic Diversification
Raymond Simard
Francis Scarpaleggia

Critics play a vital role on two fronts:

• They are spokespeople and advocates for the portfolios to which they are assigned. Both in the House of Commons – at committee and during Question Period – and in the media, they are the chief Liberal Party of Canada spokespeople on all issues related to their portfolios.

• They are instrumental in implementing the plan and direction set by the Leader on an ongoing basis, be it in the House of Commons or in the media.

Backgrounder: Caucus Committee and Parliamentary Committee Chairs
Caucus Committees
Canada & World
Bernard Patry
Glen Pearson
Social Development
Ken Dryden
Bonnie Brown
Sue Barnes
Borys Wrzesnewskyj
John McKay
Massimo Pacetti
Environmental Sustainability
John Godfrey
Geoffrey Regan

Caucus committee chairs and vice-chairs are the focal point of interaction between the Leader and the Liberal caucus on the issues for which they are responsible. In this capacity:

• Each caucus committee chair and vice-chair will regularly meet with relevant critics and other caucus members, to develop a work plan for ongoing House business, prior to reporting back to the Leader.

• Caucus committee chairs and vice-chairs will meet together with the Leader and applicable critics every two weeks to plan the ongoing business of the House of Commons as it pertains to each caucus committee.

• Finally, caucus committees play a policy development and priority setting role for the Leader.

Parliamentary Committees
Access to Information & Privacy
Paul Szabo
Public Accounts
Shawn Murphy
Diane Marleau
Status of Women
Yasmin Ratansi

Liberal Parliamentary Committee Chairs are key to providing and ensuring government accountability to the Parliament and to the opposition parties. They are the only opposition members to chair Parliamentary committees, and as such play a vital role on behalf of the entire opposition, as well as the parliament.

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