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Rural affairs added to Ont. ag critic’s file

Ernie Hardeman, the Ontario Tories’ agriculture and food critic, will now handle rural affairs as part of his critic portfolio.

The Tories’ new leader, Tim Hudak, announced the move when introducing his new shadow cabinet Monday.

As rural affairs critic, Hardeman replaces Perth-area MPP Randy Hillier, who was named Monday as the opposition critic for labour, northern development, mines and forestry.

“Several other MPPs will also focus on strengthening the economy and creating jobs in their portfolios, including those of energy, small business, agriculture, training, tourism, and colleges and universities,” the official opposition Tories said in their release Monday.

Hardeman, who represents Oxford, has been a Tory MPP since 1995 and served as then-premier Mike Harris’ minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs from 1999 to 2001.

Before entering provincial politics, Hardeman owned and operated Hardeman Feed at Salford, Ont., east of London, from 1966 to 1995 and chaired the Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) in 1993 and 1994.

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