NDP names shadow cabinet

Thu May 26, 2011 1:03pm EDT
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's main opposition party named its "shadow cabinet" on Thursday, including former labor negotiator Peggy Nash as chief critic of the Conservative government's finance policies.

The left-leaning New Democratic Party (NDP) was catapulted into second place ahead of the Liberals in the May 2 election, which handed the incumbent Conservatives a majority government.

NDP leader Jack Layton said 42 percent of his shadow cabinet members were from Quebec, where the party made huge gains, and 40 percent were women.

Thomas Mulcair, previously the finance critic, will now take on the job of NDP house leader, which entails handling day-to-day parliamentary business and negotiating with other parties on how to handle legislation and debates in the House of Commons.

Nash, who represents a district in Toronto, was re-elected after losing her seat in 2008. Her first challenge will be the government's budget, to be introduced on June 6.

"Our plan is to highlight the deficiencies in the budget when we see it," Layton said at a news conference.

Before entering politics, Nash worked as a senior negotiator for the Canadian Auto Workers union.

Among the parliamentary achievements listed on her website are leading the fight for caps on credit card interest rates and for a federal minimum wage, securing hearings on oil and gas prices, and stopping a "dangerous foreign takeover" of aerospace company MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates Ltd in 2008.

(Reporting by Louise Egan; editing by Rob Wilson)

<p>New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton gestures after delivering a speech to his caucus on Parliament Hill in Ottawa May 24, 2011. REUTERS/Chris Wattie</p>