Ag secretary named public works minister

Quebec MP Christian Paradis, the federal secretary of state for agriculture, has been named the federal minister for public works and government services.

Paradis’ new duties will be in addition to his work on the ag file, assisting Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Wednesday.

Secretaries of state rank between ministers of state and parliamentary secretaries; they are considered assistants to cabinet ministers but, unlike ministers of state, are not themselves members of the federal cabinet.

Paradis, a lawyer by profession, is MP for the Quebec constituency of Megantic–L’Erable, which includes the town of Thetford Mines. He was first elected in 2006 and named secretary of state for agriculture early last year.

In the public works portfolio, Paradis replaces Quebec Senator Michael Fortier, who Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed to the Senate and to the public works job in February 2006.

Fortier moves over to replace Vancouver MP David Emerson as minister for international trade. Emerson will continue in the foreign affairs post he took over last month after Quebec MP Maxime Bernier’s resignation from cabinet.

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