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Senate names ag committee chairs

Canada’s Senate committee on agriculture and forestry has elected New Brunswick Senator Percy Mockler as its chairman.

Mockler, 59, previously a New Brunswick MLA and former provincial minister for wellness, culture and sport and for human resources development, was named last month to the Senate by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Joyce Fairbairn, an Alberta senator appointed by Pierre Trudeau in 1984, has been elected deputy chair of the committee and is now the committee’s sole representative from Western Canada.

A former journalist and later a legislative advisor to Trudeau, she also served as his communications co-ordinator (1981-83).

Four other new Conservative senators appointed by Harper in January now also sit on the ag committee including Nicole Eaton of Ontario, Mike Duffy of Prince Edward Island and Michel Rivard and Leo Housakos of Quebec.

The remaining senators on the committee include Jean Chretien appointees Frank Mahovlich and Lorna Milne of Ontario, George Baker of Newfoundland, Terry Mercer of Nova Scotia and Catherine Callbeck of Prince Edward Island, along with Paul Martin appointee Sandra Nicholas Lovelace, also of New Brunswick.

The committee in recent years has tabled reports on rural poverty and on the rising costs of production for Canadian producers.

The House of Commons named its chairs late last month for its standing committee on agriculture and agri-food, including Conservative MP and Ontario rancher Larry Miller as chairman.

The Commons committee’s vice-chairs are Bloc Quebecois ag critic Andre Bellavance and Nova Scotia Liberal MP Mark Eyking, a businessman and farmer.

Other members of the Commons ag committee include Liberal ag critic Wayne Easter (P.E.I.), NDP ag critic Alex Atamanenko (B.C.), Alberta Conservative MPs Blake Richards and Brian Storseth, Ontario Conservative MPs Bev Shipley and Pierre Lemieux, Saskatchewan Tory MP Randy Hoback, BQ MP France Bonsant and Ontario Liberal MP Francis Valeriote.

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