New Brunswick splits agriculture, aquaculture files

Ministerial oversight of agriculture and aquaculture will be split between two cabinet ministers in New Brunswick following a shuffle Tuesday.

Premier Brian Gallant on Tuesday named Carleton-Victoria MLA Andrew Harvey as the new minister of agriculture, mines and rural affairs. Saint John-area MLA Rick Doucet, who until now also handled the ag file, remains as minister for aquaculture and fisheries, and for energy and resource development.

Recently, the province said Tuesday, the departments of agriculture, aquaculture and fisheries and of energy and resource development have been overseen by Doucet and administered by a single deputy minister and an “integrated management team.”

That model has realized “great opportunities for collaboration between these important sectors and that work will continue,” the province said, but now, “however, two ministers will now administer the departments.”

The new ag portfolio is meant to “focus on job creation and growth in the traditional industries in rural New Brunswick,” the government said.

“To continue to grow the New Brunswick economy, we must consistently work at growing our population and workforce, and we must support industries that are in rural New Brunswick,”  Gallant said in a release.

Harvey’s appointment marks his first stint in cabinet since he entered provincial politics with the 2014 election.

Harvey comes to the ag file as a businessman from the Florenceville area, which is best known as the home base for Canadian french fry giant McCain Foods. His businesses have included maple syrup harvesting, forest products and the Sugar Moon Cookhouse, a seasonal restaurant at nearby Divide.

Before entering provincial-level politics, Harvey also served as a municipal councillor for the village of Bristol. His father Fred Harvey previously served as an MLA for the area from 1987 to 1993.

Harvey, during the election campaign, said he was committed to work with stakeholders to “create new sources of employment innovation and (add) value to our traditional sectors of forestry, tourism, and agriculture.” — Network

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