Post-election, B.C. names new ag minister

British Columbia’s northeastern Peace River region will give the province its new agriculture minister in the wake of last month’s election.

Premier Christy Clark on Friday picked Pat Pimm, a former Fort St. John city councillor who became the MLA for Peace River North in the 2009 election, as her nominee for minister of agriculture, replacing Norm Letnick.

Clark said Pimm, as ag minister, will be tasked with ensuring British Columbians buy local B.C. agri-food products; seeing that B.C. takes advantage of “new market opportunities in Asia;” and working to break down interprovincial barriers to “create new opportunities in Canada to market B.C. wine.”

Pimm comes to the ag portfolio with 25 years of experience in the province’s oil and gas industry, having co-chaired the B.C. Oil and Gas Conference in 2002 and 2005.

He’s also president of construction firm Alpha Controls Ltd. and served previously as vice-president of the North Peace Construction Association.

A Fort St. John councillor from 1993 to 2005, including six years as chair of the council finance committee, Pimm also previously served as a director of the British Columbia Golf Association.

After his first election in 2009, Pimm served as the Liberals’ deputy government whip and parliamentary secretary for the northeast.

Pimm handily won a second term on May 14, polling 7,905 votes, ahead of farmer/agrologist Arthur Hadland of Baldonnel, who ran as an independent and received 3,287 votes.

Letnick, who was also re-elected in his Kelowna riding in the May 14 vote, was moved away from the cabinet table Friday to a new role as parliamentary secretary to the premier for intergovernmental affairs.

Former ag ministers Steve Thomson and Don McRae, meanwhile, were nominated back into Clark’s cabinet Friday as minister of forests, lands and natural resource operations and as minister of social development and social innovation respectively.

Veterinarian Terry Lake, most recently environment minister and previously parliamentary secretary for the Ranching Task Force to the minister of agriculture and lands, will be Clark’s new health minister.

Opposition NDP leader Adrian Dix hasn’t yet named his shadow cabinet. His party won 34 of 85 seats, down one from 2009, while the Liberals held their majority with 49 seats.

The New Democrats’ incumbent ag critic, Saanich South MLA Lana Popham, held onto her seat by a count of 11,946 over the Liberals’ Rishi Sharma with 9,256 votes. — Network

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