Trudeau names retired general to international affairs committee
Gen. Andrew Leslie, the former head of Canada's land forces, is shown in this November 2008 file photo. (Bill Graveland / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Andrea Janus, CTVNews.ca
Published Wednesday, September 18, 2013 4:03PM EDT
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has made another high-profile addition to his team, announcing Wednesday that retired lieutenant-general Andrew Leslie will be co-chair of his newly established International Affairs Council of Advisors.
A day after he unveiled his Economic Council of Advisors, to be co-chaired by finance critic Scott Brison and Chrystia Freeland, the party’s candidate in the yet-to-be-called Toronto Centre by-election, Trudeau introduced the committee that will help develop the Liberals’ foreign policy platform ahead of the 2015 election.
Leslie will co-chair the International Affairs Council with MP Marc Garneau, himself a former Navy officer and astronaut.
“The positive and constructive role Canada once played on the world stage has been undermined by the Harper Conservatives, and the Liberal Party of Canada is committed to seeing it restored,” Trudeau said in a statement.
“I am thrilled Lieutenant-General Leslie and Mr. Garneau, two eminent Canadians, have agreed to assist us in in this endeavour, and to support our commitment to putting forward comprehensive policy and solutions.”
The announcement was followed by an online foreign policy question-and-answer session involving Trudeau, Garneau and Leslie that went on for more than an hour.
Leslie retired in 2011 after a 35-year career in the Canadian Armed Forces, where was eventually named Chief of Land Staff.
After he retired, Leslie issued a report on overhauling the Canadian military that included a warning that civilian staff be reduced in order to devote more resources to soldiers and military operations.
Earlier this year, figures released by the Parliamentary Budget Officer suggested that the civilian ranks had actually grown and that staff cuts were made in areas important to soldiers, such as clerical staff at bases, armoury workers and gun range supervisors.
"The underlying premise of the 2011 report on transformation was that everything possible should be done to protect the front-line teeth," Leslie told The Canadian Press last June.
On Tuesday, Leslie joined Twitter and said in his first tweet that he is “excited to engage in discussion on current events that affect us all.”
A website, andrewleslie.ca, is under construction.
In an interview with Postmedia News, Leslie said he has not ruled out running for the Liberals in the 2015 federal election.