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Federal Conservatives name shadow cabinet

Federal Conservatives name shadow cabinet

Scheer names John Barlow as ag critic

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer revealed the MPs in his party’s caucus who will hold the Trudeau government to account in the House of Commons.

The Conservatives won 121 seats during the October federal election. Scheer has tapped 50 MPs to handle critic duties, with some acting as the critic for more than one portfolio.

As critics, the party representatives will “present their party’s policies on the subject and comment on government policies,” the Guide to the Canadian House of Commons says.

John Barlow, the Alberta MP for Foothills, will be the agriculture critic opposite the Liberal ag minister Marie-Claude Bibeau.

He’s taking over for Luc Berthold, the Quebec MP from Mégantic — L’Érable, who will serve as the party’s infrastructure and communities critic to counter the Liberal minister Catherine McKenna.

Richard Lehoux, the Quebec MP from Beauce, will serve as the associate ag critic. 

One of Barlow’s early goals is to educate Minister Bibeau about how decisions in other ministries affect agriculture.

“One of the things that sets agriculture apart from the other portfolios is the fact that it is impacted by decisions made in other ministries,” he told Farms.com. “Whether that’s trade relationships with Global Affairs Canada, the seasonal ag worker program through citizenship and immigration and labour concerns through the ministry of labour.”

Barlow will also advocate for the story of agriculture.

Protestors staged a sit-in inside a barn at turkey farm in his riding in September.

It’s imperative the ag industry talks to Canadians about what it’s doing to raise safe food to prevent these events, he said.

“I think we have to talk about the incredible innovations and technologies happening in agriculture,” Barlow said. “Farmers are always reducing their carbon footprint, and when it comes to environmental stewardship, they do it better than anyone else in the world. I think we’ve lost that message with Canadians, especially in urban centres, so we need to do everything we can to highlight the positives of agriculture.

Scheer also named his rural economic development critic.

Bernard Généreux, the Quebec MP from Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, will oversee that portfolio opposite federal rural economic development minister Maryam Monsef.

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