Federal Tories’ former associate ag critic takes lead chair

John Barlow, shown here in 2015, is the federal Conservatives’ new lead shadow cabinet minister for agriculture and agri-food. (Johnbarlowmp.ca)

Andrew Scheer’s federal Conservatives will have a familiar face in the agriculture critic’s chair when the House of Commons reconvenes next month.

Scheer on Friday named John Barlow, the MP for the southwestern Alberta riding of Foothills, as the lead opposition critic for agriculture and agri-food. Barlow replaces Quebec MP Luc Berthold, who takes up the infrastructure and communities file.

First elected in the Macleod riding in a 2014 byelection as a replacement for Ted Menzies, who had quit the previous year, Barlow returned as the MP for Foothills in 2015 and again in October’s election, topping Liberal challenger Cheryl Moller by over 50,000 votes.

Born in Regina, Barlow worked as a newspaper editor in southern Alberta before entering politics. He previously served as assistant critic for workforce development (2015-16), interprovincial trade critic (2016-17), and behind Berthold as associate ag critic (2017-18), before Scheer promoted him to employment, workforce development and labour critic in September last year.

Backstopping Barlow on the agriculture and agri-food file, Scheer on Friday named Richard Lehoux, the new MP for the Quebec riding of Beauce, as associate critic for agriculture and agri-food.

Lehoux, a dairy producer before entering federal politics, served as mayor (1998-2017) of Saint-Elzear, about 60 km south of Quebec City, as reeve (2000-17) for the regional county municipality (MRC) of Nouvelle-Beauce and as president (2014-17) of the Federation Quebecoise des municipalites (FQM).

Lehoux in last month’s election faced People’s Party leader and ex-Conservative cabinet minister Maxime Bernier, the Beauce riding’s MP for 13 years, and topped him by a spread of over 6,000 votes.

Among other critic portfolios of interest to farmers in Scheer’s new shadow cabinet, Saskatchewan MP Randy Hoback returns as international trade critic; Quebec MP Bernard Genereux will handle the rural economic development file; B.C. MP Kerry-Lynne Findlay, environment; Ontario MP Colin Carrie, Canada-U.S. relations; B.C. MP Todd Doherty, transport; and Ontario MP Erin O’Toole, foreign affairs.

NDP critic returns

Jagmeet Singh’s New Democrats also announced their MPs’ new critic files on Thursday, keeping Alistair MacGregor, MP for the B.C. riding of Cowichan-Malahat-Langford, as the NDP critic for agriculture and agri-food.

MacGregor, a small farm owner and former constituency staffer for local NDP MP Jean Crowder, was first elected to the Commons in 2015 and was named the NDP’s ag critic in January last year.

Singh on Thursday also named MacGregor as the party’s lead critic for rural economic development and as deputy justice critic behind fellow Vancouver Island MP Randall Garrison.

MacGregor had previously served as the party’s lead critic for justice (2017) and for seniors (2015-17).

Among other critic files of interest to farmers in Singh’s shadow cabinet, Winnipeg MP Daniel Blaikie will handle international trade and western economic diversification; northern Manitoba MP Niki Ashton, transport; Victoria MP Laurel Collins, environment; and St. John’s MP Jack Harris, foreign affairs. — Glacier FarmMedia Network

alistair macgregor
Chicago | Reuters -- U.S. corn futures fell about two per cent on Wednesday, sagging for a second straight session as an absence of fresh bullish news prompted investors to book profits after multi-year highs set this week. Soybean and wheat futures followed the weak trend, with a few analysts citing improving U.S. weather forecasts. Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) July corn settled down 8-3/4 cents at $4.41 per bushel (all figures US$). July soybeans ended down 10-1/4 cents at $9.03-1/4 a bushel and July wheat finished down 9-1/4 cents at $5.22-1/4 a bushel. "Right now, I think this is nothing but liquidation. The bull market needs to be fed every day," said Tom Fritz, a partner with EFG Group in Chicago. Commodity funds liquidated a massive net short position in CBOT corn during May and flipped to a net long position this month as unprecedented Midwest planting delays threatened U.S. corn production prospects, sending CBOT corn futures soaring. CBOT July corn peaked at $4.64-1/4 a bushel on Monday, the highest for a most-active contract since June 2014, before easing on Tuesday and Wednesday. However, front-month July gained on Wednesday relative to the September and December contracts on spreads, reflecting firm domestic cash markets for the yellow grain. End-users such as ethanol and livestock producers have been bidding up for supplies of old-crop corn in recent weeks due to uncertainty about the size of the 2019 crop. Some analysts tied Wednesday's weaker tone in futures to weather outlooks calling for drier conditions in the Midwest and parts of the Plains that could bolster soybean planting progress and the harvest of winter wheat. But other forecasts predicted that wet weather would persist. "Forecast is unchanged. Rain should be active across eastern, central, and west central areas through Sunday," space technology company Maxar said in a daily weather note, referring to the Midwest corn and soybean belt. CBOT wheat futures closed lower, following corn and soybeans. Egypt's state grains buyer purchased 290,000 tonnes of wheat in an international tender, including 110,000 tonnes of Russian and 180,000 tonnes of Romanian wheat. No U.S. wheat was offered. Cash prices for U.S. wheat have firmed in the export market since early May as CBOT wheat futures have followed corn futures higher. In the Egyptian tender, Russian wheat offers on a free-on-board (FOB) basis ranged from $196.86 to $204 per tonne, while trade sources said U.S. soft red winter wheat at the U.S. Gulf was offered this week near $233-$234 FOB. -- Julie Ingwersen is a Reuters commodities correspondent in Chicago; additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

About the author

Glacier FarmMedia Feed

GFM Network News

Glacier FarmMedia, a division of Glacier Media, is Canada's largest publisher of agricultural news in print and online.


Stories from our other publications