Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has named a shadow cabinet that features free market tax-cutters in key economic posts but rejects leadership contenders who promoted socially conservative views.
Ottawa-area MP Pierre Poilievre will be the party's new shadow critic for finance, Mr. Scheer announced on Wednesday, while his main leadership rival Maxime Bernier will take on innovation, science and economic development, which includes the aerospace industry.
Most MPs who ran against Mr. Scheer were given shadow minister roles, as were their supporters, in a sign that Mr. Scheer is trying to bring various factions of the party together. But missing from the list were leadership contenders Kellie Leitch and Brad Trost, as well as veteran Calgary MP Deepak Obhrai, who finished last out of 14 contenders (including Kevin O'Leary, who dropped out but was still on the ballot) in the May leadership race. All three had critic positions under interim leader Rona Ambrose before the leadership contest began.
Ms. Leitch, an Ontario MP and physician who came sixth in the leadership race, ran a contentious campaign that focused on screening immigrants for "Canadian values," leading one of her leadership rivals to label her a "demagogue." Mr. Trost, an MP from Saskatchewan, vowed to reopen debates on abortion, assisted death and same-sex marriage, and was described by his campaign manager as not being comfortable with the "whole gay thing."
Although Mr. Scheer, a father of five, is anti-abortion himself, he has repeatedly said he won't bring forward government legislation on the topic and will work on issues that bring Conservatives together.
Mr. Trost, who was named the Canada-U.S. critic after the 2015 election, told The Globe and Mail he isn't bothered by the omission.
"Andrew's the leader. He's doing what's best for the party and he's got my full support," Mr. Trost said. "One advantage of not being a critic is you can deal with absolutely every issue across the board. You don't feel constrained."
Meanwhile, long-time Conservative MP Gerry Ritz, most recently the party's international trade critic, announced on Thursday that he's resigning his southwestern Saskatchewan seat. The former agriculture minister was first elected in 1997, after having worked for five years as a party staffer. "Twenty-five years in federal politics, it's time to start getting back connected with my family," Mr. Ritz, 66, a grandfather of three, told The Globe. "It should not be difficult to maintain this riding for the Conservatives."
Ontario MP Dean Allison will now take up the trade file.
Mr. Poilievre and Mr. Bernier now hold key roles in Mr. Scheer's caucus, a sign the Conservatives will steer clear of debates over social issues as they try to hammer the Liberal government on tax changes and big business subsidies. Mr. Poilievre, the former minister of democratic reform in Stephen Harper's government who presided over the controversial Fair Elections Act, has been highly critical of the Liberals' proposed carbon tax. He has repeatedly challenged Finance Minister Bill Morneau in the House of Commons to release information about how much the tax will cost Canadian households.
Mr. Bernier, a libertarian who ran a campaign based on small government, publicly coveted the finance-critic role, but told The Globe on Wednesday he's happy with his economic portfolio.
Ontario MP Erin O'Toole, who came third in the leadership race, was named to the foreign affairs role, while Quebec MP Gérard Deltell was made critic for the treasury board. British Columbia's Dan Albas will be the small business shadow critic.
Leadership hopeful Michael Chong, who ran on a platform that included a revenue-neutral carbon tax, has been named the infrastructure critic. British Columbia's Ed Fast remains the party's environment critic.