Ag extension staffer named Manitoba NDP ag critic

A former Manitoba provincial ag extension co-ordinator will be the new critic for agriculture on the opposition New Democrats’ bench.

Manitoba NDP leader Wab Kinew on Friday announced a new shadow cabinet, appointing Diljeet Brar as his critic for agriculture and for sport, culture and heritage.

Brar, a rookie MLA elected Sept. 10 in the northwestern Winnipeg constituency of Burrows, grew up in India, where he earned a master’s degree in education and worked as an assistant professor at India’s Punjab Agricultural University.

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According to his biography on the party’s website, Brar also worked as a journalist and TV presenter before relocating to Manitoba, where he worked for the provincial agriculture department in Arborg and Beausejour and served as a 4-H club liaison for the Interlake region.

Brar’s resume also includes a stint as a field crop research assistant for Ag Quest at Minto.

Before entering provincial politics, Brar worked in Winnipeg as executive director of Bulla Arts International, a Punjabi cultural development program for children and youth.

As ag critic, Brar replaces Ted Marcelino, an incumbent MLA who was defeated in another northwest Winnipeg riding, Tyndall Park. Due to boundary redistribution Marcelino faced another incumbent, Liberal MLA Cindy Lamoureux.

In the legislature, Brar will face Ralph Eichler, MLA for the Interlake constituency of Lakeside, who remains minister of agriculture.

The only change in the post-election cabinet for Premier Brian Pallister’s Progressive Conservatives comes with the appointment of Jeff Wharton, MLA for the southern Lake Winnipeg constituency of Red River North, as minister for Crown services.

Wharton, a former deputy mayor for the town of Winnipeg Beach, also keeps his pre-election post as minister of municipal relations.

The Crown services portfolio became vacant Sept. 10 when Tory MLA Colleen Mayer was unseated in the south Winnipeg riding of St. Vital by NDP newcomer Jamie Moses, a former Canadian Wheat Board staffer who Kinew named Friday as critic for growth, enterprise and trade. –– Glacier FarmMedia Network

CORRECTION, Sept. 29, 2019: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified Jeff Wharton as the MLA for Gimli. Derek Johnson is the MLA for what’s now Interlake-Gimli.

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