Pared-down Sask. NDP names new ag critic

A rookie Saskatoon MLA will be the new critic for agriculture and crop insurance on the Saskatchewan legislature’s opposition benches.

Cathy Sproule, who held the south-central Saskatoon riding of Nutana for the New Democrats against a sweep by the governing Saskatchewan Party on Nov. 7, was named to the portfolio Friday by acting NDP leader John Nilson.

With more than enough shadow cabinet portfolios to go around in a nine-member caucus, Sproule will also serve as critic for energy and resources, government services and the Saskatchewan Research Council, among others, and as the NDP’s deputy house leader.

Sproule is among few in the NDP caucus with ag experience to speak of, having been raised on a farm in the province’s south. Until this month she worked as a lawyer for the federal government, specializing in aboriginal law.

Sproule is also the house accompanist for the Saskatoon Fiddle Orchestra, a co-founder of the Ness Creek Music Festival and Northern Lights Bluegrass and Old Tyme Music Festival and an organizer of old-time music workshops, concerts and dances around the province.

She’s also a co-owner of Ness Core Ventures, the company operating the Nesslin Lake Campgrounds and the Ness Creek Site, west of Prince Albert National Park.

Among other NDP critics of interest to the province’s ag industry will be veteran Athabasca MLA Buckley Belanger, a former highways minister and environment minister, now shadowing the environment, highways and infrastructure and forestry departments, as well as the Saskatchewan Watershed Authority.

Nilson, the MLA for Regina Lakeview, was named Nov. 19 to the interim leader’s post with a resume as a lawyer and former justice minister, plus ag experience as he and his wife farm west of Moose Jaw, near Parkbeg. Nilson will also shadow the justice, intergovernmental affairs and consumer affairs portfolios.

Related story:

Ag minister re-elected in Saskatchewan Party sweep, Nov. 8, 2011

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