Alberta Premier Alison Redford’s returning cabinet will include her previous attorney general and justice minister as her new minister for agriculture and rural development.
Redford on Tuesday announced lawyer Verlyn Olson, the MLA for Wetaskiwin-Camrose since 2008, will take over the agriculture file from Evan Berger, who lost his seat in the April 23 election.
Olson lives on an acreage near Armena, about 20 km northwest of Camrose, where he was raised. Before entering provincial politics, he was a partner in the Camrose law firm of Andreassen Olson Borth (now called Andreassen Borth).
Olson was a founding member of the Viking Cup International Hockey Tournament, hosted by what was then Camrose Lutheran College, now part of the University of Alberta. He was also founding president of the Camrose Sport Development Society, which operates the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks hockey team.
For 10 years he and his wife also hosted what was then known as the Pretty Hill Film Festival, now the Nordlys Film and Arts Festival, in his family’s basement and garage. The festival has most recently moved to Camrose’s Bailey Theatre.
Among other cabinet appointments Tuesday of interest to farmers, Spruce Grove-St. Albert MLA and former agriculture minister Doug Horner, most recently deputy premier and Treasury Board president, was named finance minister and keeps the Treasury Board file.
Drayton Valley-Devon MLA Diana McQueen, most recently the minister of environment and water, becomes minister for a newly merged department of environment and sustainable resource development.
Grande Prairie-Wapiti MLA Wayne Drysdale becomes minister of infrastructure, replacing Jeff Johnson, who moves to the education file. Calgary-Hays MLA Ric McIver becomes transportation minister, replacing Ray Danyluk.