Tom Mulcair taps Nathan Cullen, Charlie Angus, Guy Caron for top critic roles

Top NDP critics include Nathan Cullen on the environment file and democratic reform, Charlie Angus for indigenous affairs, Guy Caron tackling finance and Don Davies focused on health.

NDP 'has a really profound role to play in this Parliament to hold the Liberals to their campaign promises

NDP MPs Nathan Cullen, left, and Guy Caron were prominent opposition critics in the last Parliament and will serve on Tom Mulcair's front-bench again: Cullen will tackle the high-profile environment file while Caron becomes finance critic. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Tom Mulcair will rely on veteran members of his team to help the NDP flex its muscles in Parliament, despite its reduced strength.

Mulcair has named his team of critics, including longtime party member Nathan Cullen, who is to tackle the environment file and democratic reform.

Northern Ontario MP Charlie Angus has been named critic for indigenous affairs, Quebec MP Guy Caron will take on the job of finance critic and B.C.'s Don Davies will focus on health.

The New Democrats, who are now touting themselves as the progressive opposition, have been reeling since the party lost more than half of its seats on Oct. 19.

The party now has only 44 MPs in the Commons, including 16 rookies — a far cry from the 95 it had when the last Parliament dissolved.

As the NDP comes to terms with its return to third-party status, the Liberals are moving ahead with a strong majority mandate.

Tories 'preoccupied with leadership'

Davies says the New Democrats still have an important role in their new capacity.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair told reporters last week that his New Democrats "formed the only real opposition Mr. Harper ever had to face," and that contributed to the Conservative defeat last month. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

"The NDP, I think, has a really profound role to play in this Parliament to hold the Liberals to their campaign promises," Davies said.

"With the Conservatives essentially being preoccupied with leadership for the better part of the next year or two and with the extreme competence and excellence of Tom Mulcair, particularly in the House of Commons, I think that we'll play a leadership role in bringing opposition to the government."

Caron says he intends to hold the Liberals to account on their fiscal plans, including their pledge to eventually return to a balanced budget after running $10-billion annual deficits for three years.

He said the latest projections from the parliamentary budget officer seem to indicate there could be hurdles ahead.

In a report released Tuesday, the PBO suggested the new government will have to face bigger-than-expected baseline deficits in the coming years as it rolls out its spending plans.

"The new government has been in place for three weeks, I'm sure that they are actually still studying the situation right now," Caron said. "In the end, the direction they will be going towards ... and the way that they will try to implement their priorities and commitments is of great interest."

Quebec's Helene Laverdiere has been named the NDP's foreign affairs critic while immigration will fall to B.C. newcomer Jenny Kwan.

Full list of NDP critic responsibilities

  • Tom Mulcair (Outremont, Que.) – Leader, Intergovernmental Affairs, Energy
  • David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre, Ont.) – Chair, Planning and Priorities Committee, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
  • Charlie Angus (Timmins–James Bay, Ont.) – Indigenous and Northern Affairs
  • Niki Ashton (Churchill—Keewatinook Aski, Man.) – Jobs, Employment and Workforce Development
  • Robert Aubin (Trois-Rivières, Que.) – International Development and La Francophonie
  • Sheri Benson (Saskatoon West, Sask.) – Labour
  • Daniel Blaikie (Elmwood–Transcona, Man.) – Treasury Board, Deputy Ethics
  • Rachel Blaney (North Island–Powell River, B.C.) – Multiculturalism, Deputy Infrastructure and Communities
  • Alexandre Boulerice (Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie, Que.) – Quebec Lieutenant, Ethics, Deputy Democratic Reform
  • Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet (Hochelaga, Que.) – Whip, Housing
  • Ruth Ellen Brosseau (Berthier–Maskinongé, Que.) – Agriculture and Agri-Food
  • Richard Cannings (South Okanagan–West Kootenay, B.C.) – Post-Secondary Education, Deputy Natural Resources
  • Guy Caron (Rimouski-Neigette–Témiscouata–Les Basques, Que.) – Finance, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Deputy Fisheries, Oceans and Canadian Coast Guard
  • François Choquette (Drummond, Que.) – Official Languages
  • Nathan Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley, B.C.) – Environment and Climate change, Democratic Reform
  • Don Davies (Vancouver Kingsway, B.C.) – Health
  • Fin Donnelly (Port Moody–Coquitlam, B.C.) – Fisheries, Oceans and Canadian Coast Guard
  • Matthew Dubé (Beloeil–Chambly, Que.) – Infrastructure and Communities, Deputy House Leader
  • Linda Duncan (Edmonton Strathcona, Alta.) – Transport
  • Pierre-Luc Dusseault (Sherbrooke, Que.) – National Revenue
  • Scott Duvall (Hamilton Mountain, Ont.) – Pensions, Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario
  • Randall Garrison (Esquimalt–Saanich–Sooke, B.C.) – National Defence, LGBTQ Issues
  • Cheryl Hardcastle (Windsor–Tecumseh, Ont.) – Sport and Persons with Disabilities
  • Carol Hughes (Algoma–Manitoulin–Kapuskasing, Ont.) – Natural Resources, Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario
  • Gord Johns (Courtenay–Alberni, B.C.) – Small Business and Tourism
  • Georgina Jolibois (Desnethé–Missinippi–Churchill River, Sask.) – Western Economic Diversification Canada, Deputy Indigenous and Northern Affairs
  • Peter Julian (New Westminster–Burnaby, B.C.) – House Leader
  • Jenny Kwan (Vancouver East, B.C.) – Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
  • Hélène Laverdière (Laurier–Sainte-Marie, Que.) – Foreign Affairs
  • Alistair MacGregor (Cowichan–Malahat–Langford, B.C.) – Seniors, Deputy Heritage
  • Sheila Malcolmson (Nanaimo–Ladysmith, B.C.) – Status of Women
  • Brian Masse (Windsor West, Ont.) – Innovation, Science and Economic Development
  • Irene Mathyssen (London–Fanshawe, Ont.) – Veterans Affairs, Deputy Whip
  • Christine Moore (Abitibi–Témiscamingue, Que.) – Rural Affairs, Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec
  • Pierre Nantel (Longueuil–Saint-Hubert, Que.) – Canadian Heritage
  • Anne Minh-Thu Quach (Salaberry–Suroît, Que.) – Youth
  • Tracey Ramsey (Essex, Ont.) – International Trade
  • Murray Rankin (Victoria, B.C.) – Justice and Attorney general
  • Romeo Saganash (Abitibi–Baie-James–Nunavik–Eeyou, Que.) – Intergovernmental Aboriginal Affairs, Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency
  • Brigitte Sansoucy (Saint-Hyacinthe–Bagot, Que.) – Families, Children and Social Development, Deputy Health
  • Wayne Stetski (Kootenay–Columbia, B.C.) – National Parks
  • Kennedy Stewart (Burnaby South, B.C.) – Science
  • Karine Trudel (Jonquière, Que.) – Canada Post, Deputy Labour
  • Erin Weir (Regina–Lewvan, Sask.) – Public Services and Procurement