B.C. MP named NDP ag critic in shadow cabinet shuffle

The federal New Democrats have picked a rookie MP and small farm owner from southern Vancouver Island’s Cowichan Valley as their new lead critic for agriculture.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh on Thursday named Alistair MacGregor as critic for agriculture and agri-food, a role in which he’ll also serve as second vice-chair of the Commons standing committee on agriculture.

As ag critic, MacGregor replaces Quebec MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau, who Singh promoted Thursday to become the party’s House leader in the Commons. In that post, she replaces B.C. MP Peter Julian, who Singh named as finance critic.

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Brosseau, the party’s lead agriculture critic since 2015, will also remain attached to the agriculture file as deputy critic, a post she’d previously held since 2012.

MacGregor, who was first elected in 2015 as MP for the Vancouver Island riding of Cowichan-Malahat-Langford, had previously worked as a constituency staffer for local NDP MP Jean Crowder.

Before working for Crowder, MacGregor, who has degrees from the University of Victoria and Royal Roads University, worked as a tree planter, crew boss and supervisor. He also served two years as a board member of the Cowichan Green Community Society, an organization focused on food security.

On his MP blog, MacGregor wrote the ag critic post is “a role I am incredibly excited to take on because of the personal interest I have in the subject.”

MacGregor and his family own a “small farming property” in the Cowichan Valley, which he said “we are working hard to bring into production with the planting of fruits, nuts and vegetables, and the raising of sheep, chickens, ducks and turkeys.”

On policy matters, he said Thursday in a separate release, “the issues surrounding how we produce and consume our food are always on the forefront of the national conversation, and I am looking forward to leading the development of NDP policy on these matters and holding the government to account.”

Since his election to the Commons, MacGregor served from November 2015 to early last year as the NDP’s critic for seniors, and for most of last year as justice critic. — AGCanada.com Network

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