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Ex-ag committee chief Paradis named Que. ag minister

Chevarie named parliamentary assistant for ag

A former agriculture critic for Quebec’s provincial Liberals and former chair of the assembly’s agriculture, fisheries and food committee is the province’s new agriculture minister.

Announcing his cabinet Wednesday following the April 7 election [Related story], incoming Premier Philippe Couillard named Pierre Paradis, the MNA for the Monteregie riding of Brome-Missisquoi since 1980, as the province’s new minister for agriculture, fisheries and food.

Paradis, 63, a lawyer by education, founded the law office of Paradis, Paradis and Associates in 1975 before moving to provincial politics. He has served in previous Liberal cabinets in portfolios including environment (1989-94), housing, municipal affairs (both 1988-89) and labour (1985-88), and as the Liberals’ house leader both in government (1992-94) and opposition (1994-2003).

His resume also includes stints as the Liberals’ opposition critic for both the agriculture and rural affairs portfolios from 2000 to 2003, and as chair of the assembly’s agriculture committee from 2007 to 2012. On the same committee, he served as vice-chair (2012-14) and as a member (1994-97, 2001-03, 2005).

Paradis is also well known for his run at the leadership of the Quebec Liberals in 1983, placing a distant second in what became the political comeback for ex-premier Robert Bourassa.

Couillard on Wednesday also named Iles-de-la-Madeleine MNA Germain Chevarie as Paradis’ parliamentary assistant for agriculture, fisheries and food.

Chevarie, whose background is in social services and public administration, was first elected to the assembly in 2008 and served as a member on the assembly’s ag committee for eight months in 2009. He returned to the assembly in the April 7 election, after a defeat in the 2012 election against Parti Quebecois candidate Jeannine Richard.

Other noteworthy appointments in Couillard’s new cabinet Wednesday include former ag minister Laurent Lessard (2007-09, 2010-11) as minister for forests, wildlife and parks, and former ag critic Stephane Billette (2012-14) as party whip.

The opposition parties haven’t yet announced their full shadow cabinets for when the assembly reconvenes on May 6.

Interim PQ leader Stephane Bedard last week named former ag critic Sylvain Page as the PQ’s new caucus chair, and Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) leader Francois Legault last week named former CAQ ag critic Donald Martel as party whip. — Network


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