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Former N.B. ag minister now Tory leader

Former New Brunswick agriculture minister David Alward has been elected leader of the province’s Progressive Conservatives.

Alward, 48, a provincial MLA since 1999 and the Tory minister for agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture from 2003 to 2006, was elected at the party’s leadership convention Saturday in Fredericton.

Born in Massachussets, Alward worked for the Canadian federal government from 1982 to 1996, then until 1999 as a human resource development and community development consultant.

Alward and his family raise purebred Hereford cattle and run a small woodlot at Riceville, west of Edmundston. Part of a long list of volunteer work includes a stint as a director with the New Brunswick Hereford Association and a seat on the local agricultural employment board.

Alward was elected as an MLA in the Woodstock riding in June 1999 and re-elected in 2003 and 2006. He previously chaired the legislature’s standing committee on Crown corporations and sat on the select committee on private passenger automobile insurance.

As party leader, Alward replaces former Tory premier Bernard Lord, who stepped down in January last year and was replaced by Alward’s neighbouring MLA, well-known farm leader Jeannot Volpe, on an interim basis.

“Though we may disagree on matters of public policy, I believe Mr. Alward shares my firm commitment to act in the best interests of all New Brunswickers,” Premier Shawn Graham said in a statement Saturday.

“I look forward to engaging in constructive debate with him in the period leading up to the next provincial election in 2010 as we work together toward self-sufficiency.”

COPA Medallion COPA finalist in 2012, 2014 and 2015.
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