Rookie MLA named New Brunswick ag minister

Blaine Higgs' Tories sworn in as majority government

A politically-active retired New Brunswick schoolteacher is the province’s new minister for agriculture, aquaculture and fisheries.

Premier Blaine Higgs, whose new Progressive Conservative cabinet was sworn in Tuesday in Fredericton, appointed Margaret Johnson, the newly elected MLA for the northwestern electoral district of Carleton-Victoria, to handle the ag and fisheries files.

In last month’s provincial election — which saw the Tories lock in a majority after unseating a minority Liberal government through a non-confidence motion in 2018 — Johnson defeated the Liberals’ Andrew Harvey by a spread of 391 votes.

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Harvey, a former ag minister, had held the riding through two elections, previously defeating Johnson by 244 votes in 2018.

Johnson, on a party website, noted she has lived in Carleton County for nearly five decades and is now “striving to meet my constituents and not only address their needs but become part of the larger community of Carleton-Victoria.”

Johnson’s resume beyond schoolteaching includes community activity such as teaching Sunday school, leading Sparks and Brownies, fundraising for Children’s Wish and the Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, and involvement in the arts, Rotary and managing hockey teams.

Gagetown-Petitcodiac MLA Ross Wetmore, Higgs’ incumbent ag and fisheries minister since November 2018, was not named Tuesday to the new 16-member Tory cabinet.

“Our government has a plan to strengthen the economy, improve public services and enhance the quality of life for all New Brunswickers,” Higgs said in a release Tuesday. “This will ensure that when we emerge from this pandemic, New Brunswick is stronger than ever.” — Glacier FarmMedia Network

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Dave Bedard

Editor, Daily News, Glacier FarmMedia Network. A Saskatchewan transplant in Winnipeg.

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