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Quebec’s PQ, CAQ name ag critics

Quebec’s opposition Parti Quebecois (PQ) and Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) have named their agriculture critics for when the provincial assembly reconvenes next month.

Interim PQ leader Stephane Bedard on Friday named Berthier MNA Andre Villeneuve as the official opposition critic for agriculture, fisheries and food. CAQ leader Francois Legault, also on Friday, named Sylvie D’Amours, the rookie MNA for Mirabel, as the critic for the same portfolio.

Villeneuve was mayor from 1999 to 2008 in Lanoraie, a municipality on the St. Lawrence River about 20 km east of Joliette, and ran a concrete business before he entered provincial politics that year.

On the opposition benches from 2008 to 2012, he served as critic for tourism, wildlife and parks (2009-10), municipal affairs (2010) and regional development (2010-12). During the PQ’s recent two-year stint in government he served as parliamentary assistant for municipal affairs (2012-14).

Francois Gendron, a senior PQ MNA who until this month was the PQ government’s agriculture minister, won his 11th consecutive election in his riding of Abitibi-Ouest on April 7, but was not named Friday to Bedard’s shadow cabinet.

D’Amours captured Mirabel for the CAQ in the April 7 election with a spread of 2,069 votes over PQ incumbent Denise Beaudoin, against whom D’Amours came in second in 2012. Beaudoin, a former member of the assembly’s agriculture, fisheries and food committee, had held the riding for the PQ since 2003.

D’Amours since 2009 had served as a municipal councillor at St-Joseph-du-Lac, west of Montreal. She comes to the ag shadow portfolio from Gestions Chou-Bec, a local vegetable farm, vineyard and agritourism operation she operates with husband Andre Lauzon.

“Une telle experience”

On the opposition benches, Villeneuve and D’Amours will face Pierre Paradis, a former ag critic and one-time Liberal leadership contender, who was named to the ag minister’s post on Wednesday following the minority PQ government’s defeat on April 7. [Related story]

The province’s influential farm group, l’Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA), on Wednesday hailed Paradis’ appointment, saying Premier Philippe Couillard had shown the importance his government will place on agriculture by naming a “person of such experience” to handle the ag file. Paradis has served as the Liberal MNA for Brome-Missisquoi for nearly 34 years.

The UPA said it would offer its full and complete co-operation to the new government for a roll-out of a provincial policy on food sovereignty, which was in development before the Liberals’ win. — Network

COPA Medallion COPA finalist in 2012, 2014 and 2015.
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