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Federal Tories’ former associate ag critic takes lead chair

NDP sticks with MacGregor on agriculture file

Andrew Scheer’s federal Conservatives will have a familiar face in the agriculture critic’s chair when the House of Commons reconvenes next month.

Scheer on Friday named John Barlow, the MP for the southwestern Alberta riding of Foothills, as the lead opposition critic for agriculture and agri-food. Barlow replaces Quebec MP Luc Berthold, who takes up the infrastructure and communities file.

First elected in the Macleod riding in a 2014 byelection as a replacement for Ted Menzies, who had quit the previous year, Barlow returned as the MP for Foothills in 2015 and again in October’s election, topping Liberal challenger Cheryl Moller by over 50,000 votes.

Born in Regina, Barlow worked as a newspaper editor in southern Alberta before entering politics. He previously served as assistant critic for workforce development (2015-16), interprovincial trade critic (2016-17), and behind Berthold as associate ag critic (2017-18), before Scheer promoted him to employment, workforce development and labour critic in September last year.

Backstopping Barlow on the agriculture and agri-food file, Scheer on Friday named Richard Lehoux, the new MP for the Quebec riding of Beauce, as associate critic for agriculture and agri-food.

Lehoux, a dairy producer before entering federal politics, served as mayor (1998-2017) of Saint-Elzear, about 60 km south of Quebec City, as reeve (2000-17) for the regional county municipality (MRC) of Nouvelle-Beauce and as president (2014-17) of the Federation Quebecoise des municipalites (FQM).

Lehoux in last month’s election faced People’s Party leader and ex-Conservative cabinet minister Maxime Bernier, the Beauce riding’s MP for 13 years, and topped him by a spread of over 6,000 votes.

Among other critic portfolios of interest to farmers in Scheer’s new shadow cabinet, Saskatchewan MP Randy Hoback returns as international trade critic; Quebec MP Bernard Genereux will handle the rural economic development file; B.C. MP Kerry-Lynne Findlay, environment; Ontario MP Colin Carrie, Canada-U.S. relations; B.C. MP Todd Doherty, transport; and Ontario MP Erin O’Toole, foreign affairs.

NDP critic returns

Jagmeet Singh’s New Democrats also announced their MPs’ new critic files on Thursday, keeping Alistair MacGregor, MP for the B.C. riding of Cowichan-Malahat-Langford, as the NDP critic for agriculture and agri-food.

MacGregor, a small farm owner and former constituency staffer for local NDP MP Jean Crowder, was first elected to the Commons in 2015 and was named the NDP’s ag critic in January last year.

Singh on Thursday also named MacGregor as the party’s lead critic for rural economic development and as deputy justice critic behind fellow Vancouver Island MP Randall Garrison.

MacGregor had previously served as the party’s lead critic for justice (2017) and for seniors (2015-17).

Among other critic files of interest to farmers in Singh’s shadow cabinet, Winnipeg MP Daniel Blaikie will handle international trade and western economic diversification; northern Manitoba MP Niki Ashton, transport; Victoria MP Laurel Collins, environment; and St. John’s MP Jack Harris, foreign affairs. — Glacier FarmMedia Network

alistair macgregor

Alistair MacGregor remains the federal NDP critic for agriculture and will be the party’s new critic for rural economic development. (

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