N.L. premier names replacement on farming file

Danny Williams’ replacement as premier of Newfoundland and Labrador has delegated all her former ministerial portfolios, including the province’s agrifoods file.

Kathy Dunderdale, who was sworn in as premier Friday and gave her inaugural speech Monday in the province’s House of Assembly, has named St. John’s Centre MHA Shawn Skinner as natural resources minister.

The ministry includes responsibility for the provincial Forestry and Agrifoods Agency.

Skinner, who worked in adult education and skills training before entering politics, was a city councillor in St. John’s from 1993 to 1997 and was elected to the legislature in 2003.

He most recently served as minister of innovation, trade and rural development, a portfolio which includes responsibility for the Rural Secretariat, starting in October 2008.

Grand Falls-Windsor-Buchans MHA Susan Sullivan will take Skinner’s place in the innovation, trade and rural development portfolio and the Rural Secretariat, and will also take over Dunderdale’s other remaining portfolio, Status of Women.

Sullivan, a former deputy mayor of Grand Falls-Windsor, retired as a French teacher in 2007 before joining the assembly later that year. She also keeps her previous responsibility as minister for Francophone affairs.

St. George’s-Stephenville East MHA Joan Burke, the province’s minister for child, youth and family services, will also take on Sullivan’s previous portfolios, including human resources, labour and employment, on an acting basis, Dunderdale announced Monday.

Dunderdale, who had been Williams’ deputy premier and natural resources minister since October 2008, last week also named assistant deputy natural resources minister Richard Wardle as the province’s new acting deputy minister of natural resources.

As the province’s top bureaucrat on the ag file, Wardle replaces Robert Thompson, who was named effective Monday to head the provincial public service as Dunderdale’s clerk of executive council and secretary to cabinet.

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