For the third time in just one year, Alberta has a new minister of agriculture with the appointment of Verlyn Olson to the cabinet position by Premier Redford. Olson was re-elected PC MLA for the Wetaskiwin-Camrose riding which he has held since 2008. Olson is a lawyer and was the former minister of justice and attorney general in the previous government. He replaces Evan Berger as agriculture minister, who lost his riding to a Wildrose Party candidate.
Olson lives on an acreage near Camrose, where he was raised. Olson, a partner in an area law firm, has no known experience in the farming business. Ag industry leaders have reserved comment on the appointment, indicating that they wish to let the new minister get acquainted with his new portfolio and the current issues facing agriculture.
In an announcement by Danielle Smith, the leader of the new Wildrose official opposition, Ian Donovan has been appointed the opposition agriculture critic. Donovan elected for the first time in the Little Bow riding is a farmer from Vulcan County.