Ashton, Vidal get federal shadow cabinet spots

The MPs elected to serve northern Manitoba and Saskatchewan have received critic posts from their parties.

Churchill-Keewatinook Aski MP Niki Ashton, who won her fourth consecutive term as MP for the NDP, has a pair of assignments within the party’s shadow cabinet.

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Ashton was named as the NDP’s critic for public ownership and transport. She will also serve as deputy critic for women and gender equality.

“For decades, Liberals and Conservatives have been putting the interests of corporations ahead of people. It’s time we push back. Northerners have been seeing services they rely on cut and privatized and I’m proud to lead the charge in defending what should belong to people,” Ashton was quoted in an NDP press release.

“Transportation is often a major challenge in our region, from the need for all-weather roads and road investments to the treatment by airlines, we need a federal government that is part of the solution. I will be calling on the Minister of Transport to act on key priorities for our region.”

Ashton’s task as critic will be to monitor decisions made by the federal transport ministry, headed by Liberal MP Marc Garneau. As deputy critic for women and gender equality, Ashton will also monitor decisions by the federal ministry of women and gender equality, led by Maryam Monsef.

On the Saskatchewan side, Gary Vidal has received his first shadow cabinet position with the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC). The newly elected member for Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River will sit as the CPC’s shadow minister for Indigenous services.

“I would like to thank Mr. Scheer for this tremendous honour. I look forward to being part of a strong Conservative team, as we work hard to hold the Trudeau Liberal government to account,” Vidal said in an official party news release.

Vidal, like all but one CPC MP, is not Indigenous, but was elected in a riding with one of the highest per-capita Indigenous populations in Canada. According to the most recent census population data, about 70 per cent of people in Vidal’s riding are Indigenous.

“I am excited to continue the work we have done building relationships with First Nations communities. I am grateful for the opportunity and I look forward to engaging with Indigenous peoples across Canada.”

Vidal was named to the post Nov. 29, along with the full slate of Conservative nominees.

The current minister of Indigenous services is Marc Miller, who was named to the post Nov. 20. It is Miller’s first time being named for a federal cabinet position.

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