October 20, 2015 / 4:33 PM / 3 years ago

Canada's Liberals eye seven candidates for finance minister

OTTAWA/MONTREAL, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Former Canadian Finance Minister Ralph Goodale is among seven top contenders to run the department in the new Liberal government that was elected on Monday, a senior advisor to Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday.

Choosing a cabinet will be one of Trudeau’s top priorities before he and his cabinet are sworn in sometime over the next two to three weeks.

Goodale, 66, served as finance minister from December 2003 until January 2006, when the Liberals were defeated by the Conservatives. They have been out of power ever since, and only eight Liberal legislators in the new parliament have held a full cabinet post.

Another top candidate is Bill Morneau, 53, former head of the C.D. Howe economic think tank and the head of Toronto human resources firm Morneau Shepell. He was first elected to office on Monday.

Two veteran Liberals, stressing the need to calm markets which might be jittery about a new and relatively inexperienced government, said they believe Goodale’s previous tenure at finance meant he would be the favorite for the job.

A spokesman for Goodale declined to make him available.

Other candidates likely to win a cabinet seat include:

* Dominic LeBlanc, 47, a lawyer and close friend of Trudeau’s. Leader of the Liberals in the House of Commons

* Chrystia Freeland, 47, a former Reuters journalist and author, currently international trade spokeswoman

* Marc Garneau, 66, a former astronaut, now the party’s foreign affairs spokesman

* Joyce Murray, 61, a former businesswoman, now the party’s defense spokeswoman

* David McGuinty, 55, a lawyer who serves as party’s transport spokesman. Brother of former long-term Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty

* Melanie Joly, 36, a lawyer and public relations executive, close to Trudeau. First elected on Monday

* Andrew Leslie, 57, former head of the army who was first elected on Monday

* Stephane Dion, 60, who served in the cabinet from 1996 to 2006, ending his time as environment minister. He was party leader from 2006 to 2008 when he resigned after a heavy election defeat

* Wayne Easter, 66, a farmer, served as agriculture minister from 2004 to 2006

* Geoff Regan, 55, served as fisheries minister from 2003 to 2006. Was the party’s natural resources spokesman

* John McCallum, 65, a former Royal Bank of Canada chief economist, minister of national revenue from 2004 to 2006.

* MaryAnn Mihychuk, 60, a former Manitoba minister of industry and mines and of intergovernmental affairs

* Jean-Yves Duclos, a respected Laval University economics professor with a Ph.D.

Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe

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