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Alberta Liberals’ ag critic crosses floor

Alberta’s provincial Liberal caucus has lost its agriculture, rural development and municipal affairs critic to the governing Tories.

Bridget Pastoor, the MLA for Lethbridge East since 2004, announced her decision Monday at an Edmonton press conference alongside Premier Alison Redford, who described Pastoor as a "dedicated and hard-working representative for her constituents."

Pastoor, 71, had just been named Oct. 18 as the Liberals’ party whip, on top of her critic responsibilities, in a mini-shuffle by opposition leader Raj Sherman.

A registered nurse before entering politics, Pastoor came to the Alberta legislature in the 2004 election, protecting a riding previously held by former Liberal leader Ken Nicol.

Pastoor had also served as a Lethbridge city councilor from 1998 to 2004 and in a related capacity as a board member with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities from 1999 to 2002.

On top of her duties as critic for agriculture and municipal affairs, Pastoor was also the Liberals’ critic for seniors and, up until last month, international and intergovernmental affairs. Sherman last month reassigned the latter critic file to Calgary MLA Harry Chase.

Pastoor is "focused on improving the lives of Albertans," Redford said Monday. "I know she will continue her work in our caucus to find solutions to the challenges facing Alberta."

A replacement Liberal ag critic wasn’t yet named late Monday.

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