Burnaby MPs get former positions in NDP's shadow cabinet

Burnaby’s two New Democrat MPs have familiar postings in the party’s new shadow cabinet.

Peter Julian, MP for New Westminster-Burnaby, is the NDP’s house leader, while Kennedy Stewart, MP for Burnaby South, is the shadow science critic. Both are positions the MPs had previously, when their party held official opposition status.

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Julian, the second-longest-serving MP in the party’s caucus, said he was honoured to be house leader. 

“That’s a key position for our work in the House of Commons,” Julian said. “That means I have the responsibility of preparing the response to legislation that comes forward from the government and helping put forward the NDP alternatives as well.”

Party leader Tom Mulcair announced the cabinet appointments on Thursday.

According to Julian, the party’s focus will be holding the Liberals accountable for the election promises they made on things like climate change, natural resource development and electoral reform.

As for the science portfolio, Stewart acknowledged the Liberals have un-muzzled scientists, but it’s funding he’s concerned about. 

“Will science get the money?” he asked. “Reopening labs and rehiring scientists will cost money.”

The NDP now holds 44 seats in Parliament, which is down by roughly half since the previous election.

With a smaller caucus, the New Democrats can be more nimble and pivot a lot faster on issues, according to Stewart. Stewart also said Mulcair is planning to stay on as party leader until the next election.

Stewart is moving to a new constituency office at 4940 Kingsway in December. Julian’s office is still at 7615 Sixth St. in Burnaby.

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