Harper names Canola Council chief to Senate

The organization representing Canada’s canola industry has lost its president to Canada’s Senate.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Friday announced the appointment, effective immediately, of JoAnne Buth as one of seven new members of Parliament’s upper chamber. Buth takes the seat previously held by Sharon Carstairs as one of Manitoba’s representatives in the Senate.

Buth replaced Barb Isman as president of the Winnipeg-based canola organization in 2007, having previously served as the council’s vice-president.

Buth came to the ag field with a B.Sc. in biology from the University of Winnipeg and a M.Sc. in entomology from the University of Manitoba.

Before joining the council, Buth had worked at Carman, Man. as a manager and weed management specialist at the soils and crops branch of Manitoba’s agriculture department.

Buth’s resume in agriculture also includes stints as a research and development manager with DowElanco Canada and as an information officer for the federal agriculture department’s research station in Winnipeg.

The Canola Council hasn’t yet said which, if any, of its three current vice-presidents — Jason Anderson, Jim Everson and Cory McArthur — would replace Buth or serve as interim president. Calls to the council office were not immediately returned Friday.

As the chief executive at the council, Buth has been the point person for its "Growing Great 2015" initiative, launched in 2007 and aimed at increasing Canada’s canola production to 15 million tonnes per year, from its 2006 level of nine million.

The initiative also aims to boost canola seed exports and Canada’s domestic canola crush to 7.5 million tonnes each, and to raise the ratio of "classic" to "designer" canola varieties grown in Canada from 90:10 to 75:25.

"More democratic"

"All appointees have distinguished themselves in their fields of endeavour and in their service to fellow citizens," Harper said in a release Friday.

The new appointees, Harper’s office said, have "pledged to support the government in its efforts to make the Senate more democratic and accountable, including legislation to limit the term lengths of senators and encouraging the provinces and territories to hold elections for Senate nominees."

Carstairs, a former Manitoba provincial Liberal leader named to the Senate by then-prime minister Jean Chretien in 1994, had served as government leader in the upper chamber from 2001 to 2003. She retired from the Senate in October 2011, about six years ahead of her mandatory retirement date.

The six other senators named Friday include:

  • Norman Doyle, a Newfoundland businessman and former Progressive Conservative MP (1997-2008);
  • Ghislain Maltais, a former Quebec MNA (1983-94) and director of the federal Conservative Party in Quebec since 2009;
  • Asha Seth, a Toronto obstetrician and gynaecologist who founded the NIMDAC Foundation, a fundraising organization for health-related charities;
  • Alberta’s elected senator-in-waiting, Edmonton nurse Betty Unger, a founder of nursing services company Medico Mobile and a defeated Canadian Alliance candidate (2000);
  • Vernon White, a former Ottawa police chief and RCMP assistant commissioner; and
  • Jean-Guy Dagenais, a former Surete du Quebec officer, president of the Association des policieres et policiers provinciaux du Quebec and defeated Conservative candidate (2011).