Voters return Canada’s agriculture minister, ag critics

All incumbent agriculture critics re-elected

Marie-Claude Bibeau, Luc Berthold and Alistair MacGregor all held their seats in the Oct. 21, 2019 federal election. (Dave Bedard photos; MacGregor video screengrab from AlistairMacgregor.ndp.ca)

Canada’s incumbent minister of agriculture and agri-food and all three of her opposition critics in the House of Commons held their seats in Monday night’s federal election.

As of about 2 a.m. CT on Tuesday, Justin Trudeau’s Liberals held onto power in a minority government with 157 of 338 seats, ahead of Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives with 121, Yves-Francois Blanchet’s Bloc Quebecois with 32, Jagmeet Singh’s New Democrats with 24 and Elizabeth May’s Greens with three, plus one independent, former Liberal MP Jody Wilson-Raybould.

Trudeau’s agriculture minister, Marie-Claude Bibeau, held her Quebec riding of Compton-Stanstead on Monday night against Bloc Quebecois challenger David Benoit by a spread of 3,043 votes with all polls reporting.

Bibeau’s challengers in the 2019 contest also included one of the Green Party’s non-sitting agriculture critics, Jean Rousseau. He had served previously as the riding’s NDP MP from 2011 to 2015 but finished in fifth place for the Greens on Monday night.

Scheer’s incumbent agriculture critic, Luc Berthold, easily held his Quebec riding of Megantic-L’Erable against Bloc challenger Priscilla Corbeil by a spread of just over 11,000 votes with 232 of 233 polls reporting.

The Bloc Quebecois’ incumbent agriculture and labour critic and party whip, Simon Marcil, also easily hung onto his seat Monday night in the riding of Mirabel, 13,700 votes ahead of Liberal challenger Karl Trudel with 202 of 242 polls reporting.

Singh’s incumbent agriculture critic, Alistair MacGregor, also held onto his Vancouver Island riding, Cowichan-Malahat-Langford, by a spread of 6,639 votes over Conservative challenger Alana DeLong, with all polls reporting.

The Green Party’s other non-sitting agriculture critic, Kate Storey, came in fourth in her western Manitoba riding of Dauphin-Swan River-Neepawa against Conservative candidate Dan Mazier, a former president of provincial general farm organization Keystone Agricultural Producers.

Other incumbents who have previously handled the ag file and are returning to the Commons include former Liberal agriculture minister Lawrence MacAulay, the Liberals’ former Parliamentary secretary for agriculture Wayne Easter, and former Conservative associate ag critic John Barlow.

The Liberals’ reduction to minority government status might not necessarily complicate the party’s stated plans for the agriculture and agri-food file.

Those include a review of business risk management programs; increased support for farmers against “risks beyond their control;” and an “expanded and enhanced” role and mandate for Farm Credit Canada.

The New Democrats, with whom the Liberals would be expected to partner in order to pass legislation in the Commons, put forward ag policy goals including further compensation to supply-managed sectors for loss of market share to international trade deals; defending Canadian ag exports against trade retaliation such as China’s; support for public ag research; and providing low-cost start-up loans for new farmers.

The NDP also proposed developing “a national strategy to address mental health challenges facing farmers.” — Glacier FarmMedia Network

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