John Ibbitson echoes today the media myth “the NDP rookies are doing well with no real experience.”
His generally excellent piece in today’s Globe, quoting someone in Montreal saying this, cries for rebuttal on this one point.
Françoise Boivin, Justice Critic, aged 50 at her election, was an experienced lawyer, a former Liberal MP, and an NDP candidate in 2008.
Alexandre Boulerice, Labour Critic, was 38, a senior officer of Quebec NDP, an experienced communications adviser for the Quebec division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, and ran in 2008.
Hélène Laverdière, International Development Critic, was 56, a long-time senior foreign-service officer with a Ph.D.
Robert Aubin, Employment Insurance Critic, was 50, a teacher and union rep for his high school for 20 years, nominated well in advance as a regional star in Trois-Rivières and the Mauricie.
Nycole Turmel, Whip, was 68, past president of PSAC, a senior NDP and union activist for 20 years, past associate president (Labour) of the federal NDP.
Pierre Nantel, Canadian Heritage Critic, was 47, a researcher and commentator at TVA and Radio-Canada who had worked with Cirque du Soleil for twenty years.
Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet, Infrastructure and Housing Critic, was 55, a union officer and co-founder of her union, an archaeologist and museum guide in Montreal with an M.A. in Anthropology.
Phil Toone, Deputy House Leader, was 45, a notary, who ran in 2000 & 2004.
Manon Perreault, Critic for Disability Issues, was 45, a trainer and administrator with her own disability, and had been a municipal councillor for seven years.
Pierre Dionne Labelle, Critic for La Francophonie who has been called the best orator in the House of Commons, was 55, President of the Association des artistes de la musique et du spectacle Laurentides; and a columnist active in an anti-poverty group.
Hélène Leblanc, Critic for Cooperatives, was 53, an agronomist, project manager, teacher and museum guide, who had been a candidate for Projet Montreal for borough councillor.
François Lapointe, Critic for Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions, was 40, a project coordinator, a previous NDP candidate.
Sadia Groguhé, Deputy Whip, was 48. She had been a municipal councillor in France from 1995 to 2000, and anticipated becoming an MP there. She has a master's degree in psychology and worked as a guidance counselor after arriving in Canada in 2005. She was born in Marseille (France) to Algerian parents.
Mathieu Ravignat, Treasury Board Critic, was 38, with an MA in political science, who worked for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council focusing on aboriginal and environmental issues.
Guy Caron, Deputy Critic for Finance and International Trade, was 42, a researcher and economist with the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union. He was president of the Canadian Federation of Students in 1994, has a Master's degree in economics, and had run for the NDP in 2004, 2006, and 2008.
Anne-Marie Day, Deputy Critic for Public Works and Government Services, was 57. As President of the Regroupement des groupes de femmes de la Capitale-Nationale, she had signed the first two agreements specifically related to the status of women in the Quebec capital region in 2006 and 2010. Director of a women's employment centre, with a Master's degree in local and regional development, she ran in 2008, and was co-chair of the federal NDP Policy Committee.
Romeo Saganash, Deputy Critic for Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Affairs, was 48, past Deputy Grand Chief of the Grand Council of the Crees, then Director of Quebec relations for it.
Paulina Ayala, Deputy Critic for Consular Affairs, was 48. She had fought in Chile for democracy and respect for human rights as a leader in the student movement and in citizens’ rights organizations under the Pinochet dictatorship, and immigrated to Canada in 1995. A teacher, she was the first Chilean woman elected to the House of Commons.
Hoang Mai, Deputy Critic for Transport, was 38, a lawyer with a Master’s degree in law, who ran in 2008 when he was treasurer of the Quebec wing of the party.
(Notice how many were experienced women?)
Of course, a few of the NDP’s young talented Quebec MPs have made the shadow cabinet as full critics: Matthew Dubé, Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe, and Charmaine Borg. But they are the exceptions.
A lot of other talented Quebec rookies are also ready to serve.