Ex-Wildrose ag critic to handle file for merged Tories


Alberta’s new provincial opposition United Conservatives have gone to the former Wildrose bench for their first agriculture critic.

Jason Kenney, the former federal Conservative cabinet minister who was elected Saturday as the United Conservative Party’s first leader, on Tuesday named Drumheller-Stettler MLA Rick Strankman as the opposition critic for agriculture, facing the New Democrats’ Agriculture Minister Oneil Carlier.

Strankman, a farmer and rancher from Altario, near the Saskatchewan border about 200 km east of Stettler, served as secretary/treasurer of the Western Barley Growers Association (1999-2011) before seeking provincial office in 2012.

As a member of the protest group Farmers for Justice, Strankman served a week in jail in 2002 after taking wheat across the U.S. border in 1996 in a challenge of the Canadian Wheat Board’s single marketing desk for Prairie wheat and barley. He received a pardon in 2012 from then-prime minister Stephen Harper, following the deregulation of the CWB’s single desk.

On the Wildrose bench, Strankman served as the party’s agriculture critic from late 2014 to the end of 2016. From then he served as the party’s shadow minister for property and surface rights up until Wildrose’s merger with the provincial Progressive Conservatives at the end of October.

As the merged party’s ag critic, Strankman takes over from the Progressive Conservatives’ Wayne Drysdale, the MLA for Grande Prairie-Wapiti, and from Little Bow MLA David Schneider, who most recently handled the ag and forestry file for Wildrose.

Schneider was named this week as the United Conservatives’ forestry critic; Drysdale was tapped as the new party’s transportation critic. Wes Taylor, the MLA for Battle River-Wainwright, replaces Strankman as the property and surface rights critic. — AGCanada.com Network


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