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Harper appoints new ag secretary

Ontario MP Pierre Lemieux has been named Parliamentary secretary for agriculture in a shuffle of secretary files Friday by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Lemieux, the MP for the eastern Ontario riding of Glengarry-Prescott-Russell since 2006, is an engineer and consultant by profession and previously spent 20 years in the Canadian Forces, reaching the rank of lieutenant colonel. Until Friday he was the Parliamentary secretary for official languages.

Parliamentary secretaries assist members of the federal cabinet with their responsibilities and often represent their minister in Parliamentary committees and work closely with MPs on matters relating to those portfolios in the House of Commons.

As ag secretary to minister Gerry Ritz, Lemieux replaces Jacques Gourde, a farmer from Saint-Narcisse-de-Beaurivage, Que. and the MP for Lotbiniere–Chutes-de-la-Chaudiere. Gourde was appointed Friday as seceretary to the minister of public works and government resources, Christian Paradis, and to the minister of national revenue, Jean-Pierre Blackburn.

Keeping his secretary portfolios from before last month’s election is David Anderson, MP for the southwestern Saskatchewan riding of Cypress Hills-Grasslands. He remains secretary to the minister of natural resources (now Lisa Raitt) and to Ritz on the Canadian Wheat Board file.

Anderson was well known in the opposition ranks as a vocal critic of the CWB and its single marketing desk for Prairie wheat and barley, and remained so after his appointment to the CWB file in 2006.

Other farmers and former farmers in the Conservative caucus who continue in the secretarial ranks include Alberta MP Ted Menzies, a former head of the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance, who remains secretary to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.

Nova Scotia MP Gerald Keddy, a former farmer and past president of the Christmas Tree Council of Nova Scotia, also returns to his pre-election post, as secretary to the minister of international trade, now Stockwell Day.

A new Nova Scotia MP, Greg Kerr, a former beef cattle producer and former provincial finance minister, was named Friday as secretary to the minister of veterans’ affairs, now Greg Thompson.

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