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P.E.I. dairyman named provincial ag and land minister

Rookie MLA Bloyce Thompson outpolled incumbent premier

A Prince Edward Island dairy farmer who unseated the province’s incumbent premier on election night is the new provincial minister for agriculture and land, and for justice and public safety.

Bloyce Thompson, the new Progressive Conservative MLA for the district of Stanhope-Marshfield, was sworn in Thursday as a member of incoming Premier Dennis King’s nine-member executive council. As justice minister, he also becomes the province’s attorney general.

Thompson scored an upset in the April 23 provincial election, winning his district against the Liberals’ incumbent premier, Wade MacLauchlan, by a spread of 104 votes.

King immediately made good Thursday on one of the Tories’ pre-election pledges: separating the provincial agriculture and fisheries department, which MacLauchlan had merged in 2015.

Jamie Fox, the MLA for Borden-Kinkora since 2015 and a former interim Tory leader, was named Thursday as King’s minister for fisheries and communities. Souris-Elmira MLA Colin LaVie, the Tories’ ag and fisheries critic in opposition, wasn’t named to King’s cabinet.

Thompson, a former board member with Dairy Farmers of P.E.I., is the third-generation owner of Eastside Farm and Eastside Holsteins, about 10 km northeast of Charlottetown.

“Operating a dairy farm and developing business opportunities around the world requires a commitment to quality and building relationships based on honesty, fairness and hard work,” Thompson said in February when he announced he’d seek the Tory candidacy for his district.

“I hope to put the skills I have gained from that experience to work for the residents of Stanhope-Marshfield and P.E.I.”

“Islanders have made it clear that they want a government that does things differently, one that works collaboratively and in partnership with all members of the legislative assembly for the betterment of Islanders,” King, a communications consultant and former editor of the Island Farmer newspaper, said in a release Thursday.

King takes the reins of a minority government, with 12 of 26 available seats. Peter Bevan-Baker’s Greens became official opposition, winning eight seats, followed by the Liberals with six. The Greens haven’t yet announced their shadow cabinet.

A 27th seat, for the district of Charlottetown-Hillsborough Park, remains vacant and will go to a byelection no later than July 19, due to the death of Green candidate Josh Underhay the week before the election. — Glacier FarmMedia Network

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