Liberal Leader Stephane Dion named his shadow cabinet on Thursday, handing a plum posting to his former leadership rival Michael Ignatieff.

Ignatieff, a Toronto MP who was the perceived front-runner for almost the entire Liberal leadership campaign only to lose out to Dion on the final ballot, was named deputy leader.

Dion established four committees to address key issues:

  • John McKay will chair the caucus committee on economic prosperity;
  • Ken Dryden will chair the caucus committee on social justice;
  • John Godfrey will chair the caucus committee on environmental sustainability;
  • Bryon Wilfert will chair the caucus committee on Canada and the world.

There will also be a priorities and planning committee, which Dion will chair with Ignatieff acting as vice-chair, and with former interim leader Bill Graham and former prime minister Paul Martin acting as special advisors.

"I'm very pleased and proud to reveal today the Liberal team as restructured," Dion said during the news conference, flanked by Ignatieff .

"This team will have the enormous responsibility of offering Canadians a constructive, effective opposition and to pave the way for an election that could come at any time, we're not hoping for it but we have to be ready, and to pave the way for a future Liberal government.

Dion announced that Ralph Goodale will stay on as house leader, while Lucienne Robillard will become deputy house leader.

Ujjal Dosanjh, the MP from Vancouver and former premier of British Columbia, was named as foreign affairs critic.

Scott Brison, the sixth-place finisher in the leadership race, was handed the industry critic's portfolio.

Dion also announced that David McGuinty will take over from John Godfrey as environment critic, while Godfrey focuses on his duties as chair of the environmental sustainability committee.

Joe Volpe, whose leadership bid was hampered by controversy over campaign contributions, but was eventually cleared by Elections Canada, was handed the transport critic's portfolio.

The move was seen as a show of confidence in the veteran Toronto MP.

John McCallum, a former defence minister, will remain in his current position as finance critic.

Meanwhile, former Ontario NDP premier Bob Rae and former Ontario education minister Gerard Kennedy will both continue working on projects assigned to them earlier.

Rae is working on the party's Red Book while Kennedy -- the perceived king maker in the leadership race -- is in charge of election preparedness.

Martha Hall Findlay, a leadership candidate who lent her support to Dion after being eliminated, is also working on Liberal election preparedness.

Rae, Kennedy and Findlay have suggested they will run for seats in the next election.