Oxford County MPP Ernie Hardeman has been tapped to lead the agriculture portfolio under Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s new cabinet, unveiled June 29, as Ford took power.
Hardeman has held the post previously, serving as minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs from 1999 to 2001 under then-premier Mike Harris. He has been an MPP since 1995.
The naming of Hardeman as ag minister comes somewhat as a surprise, as Lisa Thompson and Toby Barrett were widely speculated as top picks for the post. Thompson has been named Minister of Education. Barrett did not receive a cabinet post, but was named Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry.
Randy Pettapiece has been named as Parliamentary Assistant to minister Hardeman.
According to Hardeman’s website, he owned and operated Hardeman Feed Ltd. in Salford from 1966 to 1995, and volunteered as a firefighter for 25 years, retiring in 1995 as captain of the South-West Oxford Fire Department. He and his wife, Reta, have three sons and a daughter.
Rod Phillips was named Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, while Jim Wilson will handle the trade portfolio.