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Harper names new deputy agriculture minister

A senior federal official with over 20 years’ experience in the agriculture and international trade policy portfolios will become Canada’s top ag bureaucrat this fall.

Suzanne Vinet, who’s now president of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, was named Friday by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to replace John Knubley as federal deputy minister of agriculture and agri-food starting Sept. 17.

Knubley, who was named to the deputy ag minister post in 2009, will become deputy minister of industry on Sept. 17.

Vinet, who hails from Vaudreuil in Quebec’s Monteregie, has a bachelor’s degree in economics (1984) from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont. and a diploma from the Institut de Technologie agricole et alimentaire in St-Hyacinthe, Que. (1977). She also attended the National Defence College of Canada in Kingston, Ont. (1993-94).

She entered the public service in 1984 with the federal agriculture and agri-food department, holding various policy and liaison positions over the following six years.

Her resume with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada also includes stints as the department’s director general for international trade policy (1999-2002) and assistant deputy minister for strategic policy (2005-07).

Vinet worked with the department of foreign affairs and international trade as director general for trade policy in international trade (2002-05). In that post she was also deputy chief negotiator for Canada at the World Trade Organization, and a "key participant" in the multilateral trade policy issues of the department.

In 2007, Vinet was named associate deputy minister of health, followed by a stint as associate deputy minister for transport, infrastructure and communities (2009-10) before she was named to her current post in March 2010.

Among other relevant appointments Harper announced Friday, Daphne Meredith will be deputy minister for Western Economic Diversification starting Sept. 4.

Paul Rochon, currently the finance associate deputy, will become a special advisor to the minister of finance on negotiations for a Canadian securities regulator and, at the same time, associate deputy minister of health, effective Aug. 7.

Related story:
Feds name new deputy agriculture minister, June 18, 2009

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