NDP’s CWB critic shuffled to public works

The federal opposition New Democrats have closed the folder on their Canadian Wheat Board critic portfolio.

NDP leader Tom Mulcair on Friday announced a mini-shuffle of critic responsibilities in his shadow cabinet, in which he reassigned Pat Martin, MP for the riding of Winnipeg Centre, as critic for public works and government services.

Martin had been the NDP’s critic specifically on the Wheat Board since May 2011 and previously its associate critic on the CWB file from September 2007.

The Conservative government stripped the board of its single-desk marketing powers for Prairie wheat and barley effective Aug. 1 last year.

The Winnipeg-based CWB remains a crop marketing and pooling agency but is on a five-year track toward privatization and has been rebranded simply as “CWB.”

“I’m ready to take on the Conservatives on the public works and government services file to provide oversight, scrutiny and ensure good public administration,” Martin said in a release Friday.

The NDP’s agriculture portfolio remains in the hands of Malcolm Allen, the Ontario MP for Welland and the party’s ag critic since 2011. Ruth Ellen Brosseau, the Quebec NDP MP for Berthier-Maskinonge, remains deputy ag critic.

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