New Kelowna-Lake Country MP Stephen Fuhr has been handed additional responsibilities in Ottawa.
On Thursday the rookie Liberal MP was elected chairman of the powerful House of Common’s Standing Committee on National Defence.
“It is an honour to be elected chair of the committee,” said Fuhr. “I look forward to working with my colleagues on issues of importance and providing meaningful input to the government on matters of defence.”
The committee, made up of six Liberals, three Conservatives and an NDP MP, is a permanent parliamentary committee that reviews all matters pertaining to the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces.
In addition to examining and reporting on all matters referred to it by the House of Commons, the committee can also initiate its own studies pertaining to Canada’s national defence.
His election to head the standing committee comes as the Liberal government is set to change its role in the fight against ISIS, puling its fighter planes out of Iraq in favour of more Canadian military trainers on the ground to assist the Iraqis forces.
Fuhr, a retired major in the Royal Canadian Air Force where he flew CF-18 fighter planes, pulled off an upset win in October’s general election beating long-time incumbent Conserative Ron Cannan in riding thought by many to be a safe Tory seat.
Prior to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau naming his first cabinet in November, Fuhr’s name was floated as a possible candidate for defence minister or minister for veteran’s affairs, two posts he had said he was interested in.
In addition to electing Fuhr to head the committee, two vice-chairs were also elected, Conservative Cheryl Gallant, MP for Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke and the NDP’s Randall Garrison, MP Esquimalt-Saanich- Sooke.