Cypress Hills-Grasslands Member of Parliament David Anderson will sit in opposition for the first time since 2006 when the House reconvenes in Ottawa in December.
The six-term MP does not yet know if he’ll receive a critic position, but recognizes the new interim leader of the Conservatives, Rona Ambrose, has many action items to attend to.
“They’ll be putting their House leadership and their Whip leadership in place I would think first, and then from there, they’ll begin to establish the critic positions. I’m told we’re going to be back in the House in early December, so some of that will have to be done fairly quickly. I think she’s [Ambrose has] got a wealth of people to choose from – a number of ex-Ministers and people who have been around for a long time, so she should have some very strong people filling those positions.”
When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced his new Liberal cabinet on November 4, Anderson said he was surprised at where some of the more seasoned Liberal MPs landed, in particular, Saskatchewan’s lone representative in caucus, the Hon. Ralph Goodale (Regina-Wascana).
“I actually would have thought he would have had a more senior position, but I think that if you take a look at that cabinet, obviously there are a number of new people that have been moved in there. I think there have been some surprises, and I guess I was surprised at the kind of lack of strength there. Ralph Goodale in Public Safety? I don’t know what history he’s had with that department at all. I was surprised to see someone like Stephane Dion now becoming our representative to the world in Foreign Affairs. The Prime Minister has made his decisions on his cabinet, and I think that Rona will have some good people to choose from and we’ll have a strong opposition.”
Trudeau named longtime Cardigan [Prince Edward Island] MP Lawrence MacAulay as Minister of Agriculture.
“I was a bit surprised that Mr. MacAulay was appointed to the Agriculture portfolio,” commented Anderson. “I thought somebody like Mark Eyking, who was a large farmer from Eastern Canada [Cape Breton], would have done a very good job. Mark was elected in 2000, and we’ve been colleagues for 15 years. He’s very up-to-date on agriculture, and very up-to-date on trade issues, and so it was a surprise to see MacAulay in that place; I guess I was happy to see MacAulay, rather than Mr. Goodale, in Agriculture so that was one positive. But they have some other people there who would have been much stronger candidates, and I guess I was surprised by that.”
Anderson says he hopes he can continue working on causes with which he became involved, like international religious freedom, but says he’s willing to step up and help out the Party in any way he can.
“I have got quite a bit of history actually running Question Period when we were in Opposition as well, so if they need some help there, I’d be glad to help out with that. But beyond that, the leader will make her choices as to the people she wants to put into the places she wants them.”
Anderson notes he’ll also be visiting towns in the expanded Cypress Hills-Grasslands constituency to become better acquainted with residents. “It’s going to actually take some time to get out to Kindersley enough times to know the people out there, get out to Caronport, and Mossbank enough times so that people are comfortable calling our office. So I’ve got quite a bit of work to do in the riding.”