Former N.B. fisheries minister now also ag minister

A former New Brunswick fisheries minister is now responsible for agriculture, aquaculture, fisheries and three other portfolios as Premier Brian Gallant’s new cabinet takes office.

Gallant, whose Liberals defeated David Alward’s Tory government in the province’s Sept. 22 general election, on Tuesday named Rick Doucet as his minister of agriculture, aquaculture and fisheries.

Doucet, the MLA for Fundy-The Isles-Saint John West, will also be Gallant’s minister of economic development and minister responsible for trade policy.

Doucet will also be minister responsible for Opportunities NB, a new agency Gallant pledged during his campaign to replace the province’s “existing patchwork of economic development departments.”

Opportunities NB “will focus on creating high-wage jobs in targeted sectors with high growth potential,” the party said ahead of last month’s vote.

Doucet, first elected to the legislature in 2003, was previously a businessman with interests in the restaurant, advertising and real estate sectors, among others. He also served as a St. George town councillor before entering provincial politics.

During the Liberals’ previous stint in government, Doucet was then-premier Shawn Graham’s minister of fisheries from 2006 to 2010. On the official opposition bench, Doucet served as critic for transportation and infrastructure, fisheries and aquaculture, and energy.

The multi-tasking for Doucet and other new ministers followed Gallant’s announcement Monday that he would have New Brunswick’s smallest cabinet in nearly 50 years.

Gallant, for example, named himself Tuesday as minister responsible for rural affairs, innovation, intergovernmental affairs, women’s equality and the New Brunswick Jobs Board.

With just 12 ministers, several MLAs from the Liberals’ last shadow cabinet — among them Kent North MLA and then-ag critic Bertrand LeBlanc — find themselves seated away from the cabinet table.

A spokesman for the provincial Progressive Conservatives said Monday by email the party will name its new shadow cabinet and interim leader later this month. Alward announced last month he would step down as party leader. –– Network


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