Trudeau's Liberals 'a force,' new MP Freeland says
The four newly elected MPs that voters picked in Monday's federal byelections attended their first party caucus meetings Wednesday on Parliament Hill.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau emerged from his weekly party caucus meeting flanked by his new caucus members, Chrystia Freeland and Emmanuel Dubourg, representing the Ontario riding of Toronto-Centre and the Quebec riding of Bourassa, respectively.
Freeland has been advising Trudeau on economic policy since he appointed her to an economic consultative committee in September.
Asked when the Liberal Party will have an economic platform fleshed out for Canadians to see, Freeland did not answer the question directly saying only that the caucus and Liberal membership were working on it.
"I'm very excited about some of the new discussion we've been having," Freeland told reporters gathered in the foyer of the House of Commons.
Trudeau told reporters "the timeline is sooner rather than later."
The Liberal Leader said his party will be debating economic issues at the party's policy convention in February in Montreal.
"Our council of economic advisers… will be active in putting forward a strong vision for what the future can be," Trudeau said.
"We are relevant and resonating right across the country but Canadians are eager to hear more, they want to see what a Liberal government is going to look like," the Liberal leader said.
Freeland added that Monday's byelection results show the Liberal Party is "a force across the country."
PM greets new Conservatives
Conservative byelection winners Larry Maguire (Brandon-Souris) and Ted Falk (Provencher) also made their Parliament Hill debuts at caucus Wednesday morning.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper greeted them at 24 Sussex Drive earlier in the day.
Maguire and Flak were not immediately available for comment.
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair hinted, following his weekly caucus meeting, that Linda McQuaig, who lost to Freeland during Monday's Toronto-Centre byelection, will run again in 2015 in the new riding of Spadina-Fort York.
"Take Monday's results and superpose it on Fort York. Guess what? Linda McQuaig, you haven't heard the last from her. She'll be in the House of Commons after the next election," Mulcair told reporters in Ottawa.
Trudeau was also asked about the controversy surrounding the $100,000 allowance Dubourg, who was a Quebec MNA, received after he quit his seat in the National Assembly to run for the federal Liberals.
Trudeau said Dubourg followed all the rules, something he was proud of, and that in the end it was the voters of Bourassa who had the final say.
Equal Voice, a multi-partisan organization that promotes the election of women, said Freeland's election brought the percentage of female MPs in the current Parliament to 25 per cent.
All four MPs are expected to be sworn in sometime in the coming days.