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Familiar Faces On New Ag Committee

The Commons agriculture committee will hold its first meeting of the new Parliament June 21 and it’s generally expected Larry Miller will be re-elected chairman.

Joining him on the Conservative side will Pierre Lemieux from Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, the parliamentary secretary for agriculture, and Ben Lobb from Huron-Bruce. Randy Hoback from Saskatchewan, LaVar Payne and Brian Storseth from Alberta and Bob Zimmer from B. C round out the government side.

The NDP members are Malcolm Allen from Welland, the party agriculture critic, Alex Atamanenko from B.C. and Francine Raynault and Jean Rousseau, both from Quebec.

Frank Valeriote from Guelph, the Liberal agriculture spokesman, is the other committee member.

It’s unclear whether André Bellevance from the Bloc Quebecois, who was a committee member in the previous Parliament, will have any role on the committee now that the BQ is no longer an official party. Bellevance remains the BQ farm critic.

The committees aren’t expected to begin meeting until the fall.

However, Valeriote hopes to win support for resuming a study begun in the previous Parliament on the differences between organic and genetically engineered farming. He will ask the Conservative and NDP members to put the issue on the committee agenda. In the last Parliament, the committee had also been holding sessions on shortcomings in the Growing Forward programs. The government’s plans to strip the Canadian Wheat Board of its monopoly over wheat and barley sales will likely come to the committee later this fall.

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