B.C. NDP names new ag critic

British Columbia’s New Democrats have tapped a social worker turned politician as their new critic for agriculture, ahead of the legislature reconvening next week.

Provincial NDP leader Adrian Dix shuffled his shadow cabinet Friday following last month’s election and announced Nicholas Simons, the MLA for Powell River-Sunshine Coast, as ag critic, replacing Lana Popham.

Simons, first elected to the legislature in 2005, was director of health and social development for the Sechelt Nation before entering politics and previously served as a provincial child-protection social worker and as a financial assistance worker.

Simons, a professional-level cellist and cello teacher, has a master’s degree in criminology and also previously worked as crime prevention co-ordinator for the Northwest Territories.

Popham, the MLA for Saanich South, was shuffled Friday to the small business, tourism, arts and culture critic portfolio.

Kelowna byelection

On the government side of the B.C. assembly, a former ag minister has stepped down from his seat as the Liberal MLA for Westside-Kelowna, to allow his premier to make a byelection run in his place.

Ben Stewart, a co-founder of the Quail’s Gate winery and past chair of VQA Canada, quit his post as MLA last Wednesday for Premier Christy Clark — who lost her seat in Vancouver-Point Grey in the May provincial election — to seek his spot.

Stewart was announced Thursday as Clark’s campaign chairman leading up to the riding byelection, set for July 10.

The provincial legislative assembly resumes sitting next Wednesday (June 26).

Related story:
Vintner named B.C. ag minister in shuffle, Oct. 25, 2010

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