A new conservative leader means a new shadow cabinet and a new role for a local MP.
On Oct. 12, Pierre Poilievre, leader of the Conservative Party of Canada appointed critics and associate critics to his shadow cabinet including St. Albert-Edmonton MP Michael Cooper.
Cooper will be taking on the role as shadow minister for democratic reform, a role he said he is excited to start.
“It's an area that has been of interest to me,” he said.
Cooper said he has been engaged with issues of democratic reform and issues regarding practical reforms strengthening the institution of Parliament before this appointment and he already has his sights set on some of the issues he finds are most important to his portfolio.
“The most immediate issue is the NDP (and) Liberal government effort to hollow out the institution of parliament by making the hybrid model permanent,” he said about the ability for MPs to meet either virtually or in person.
“There was a need during the height of COVID for a hybrid parliament, but that need ended long ago,” said Cooper.
Another issue that needs to be tackled is foreign money and foreign interference in elections, Cooper said, adding it is an issue that he has been speaking out about for around five years.
Cooper said there are significant loopholes in the Canada Elections Act.
“For example of foreign money that goes into a third party, if it's received six months before the writ is dropped there is no restriction on the use of the money from the foreign source. That's a problem,” he said.
Third parties are only regulated in terms of what they can spend to the extent of what is defined as election advertising in the Canada Elections Act, said Cooper.
“That doesn't include polling, holding events, canvassing and so on,” he said.
Closing loopholes in the Canada Elections Act and foreign interference through means beyond the Elections Act is something he will be looking at more closely, he said.
Cooper was one of 71 of the 118 MPs appointed to be on the shadow cabinet including Dane Lloyd, MP for Sturgeon River-Parkland, who was named the shadow minister of emergency preparedness.
Altogether, Poilievre appointed 51 MPs to shadow minister positions and 20 MPs to be an associate shadow minister.
Cooper said this number is similar to the number of critics under the leadership of Erin O’Toole. During the 44th parliament Erin O’Toole had 45 shadow ministers and one associate shadow minister.
“The bottom line is the leader has selected members of caucus to take on different portfolios and to tackle different issues, and to come up with policy ideas and to work to propose policy alternatives…and to otherwise hold the government to account,” he said.
In a press statement about the shadow cabinet, Poilievre said his team will take on tax hikes and inflation.
“Together, we will ensure Canadians benefit from the fruits of their labour, so they can take back control of their lives here in Canada, the freest country on earth,” Poilievre said.