With the appointment of Lianne Rood as the shadow minister of agriculture this week, I think there will be a change in approach regarding agricultural issues between now and an election. Like her predecessor John Barlow, Rood has a strong background in agriculture and an eye on eventually being the minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food if the Conservatives win the next election.
Rood brings a couple differences to the shadow position that Barlow was not afforded, which I expect will lead to a significant increase in the public criticism of Minister Bibeau. Rood comes from the Gerry Ritz tree of politics which I think provides a picture of how she will approach the job. Ritz was known for his wit and snappy remarks. One of Ritz’s other proteges, current Alberta Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Devin Dreeshan, has followed in Ritz’s style of politics. There is a good chance that Rood does the same, in my opinion. Politics has become more and more about social media reach which favours the snappy partisan remarks.
Rood’s colleague Pierre Pollieve has risen to levels of social media stardom based on this trend. Based on this, Rood has some examples to follow as she builds the case against Bibeau and the ministry’s handling of ag issues. As the country moves through the backside of the COVID-19 outbreak (we hope), it will become more acceptable to insist on change on some of the files that the industry has been pushing for, such as BRM reform.
For the last six months many things have been pushed aside due to the more important front line pandemic issues. With the October first ministers meeting right around the corner, Rood will have an opportunity to increase pressure for change and be less conciliatory.Farm groups have increasingly become frustrated with the federal government’s punting of issues and will no doubt find a sympathetic ear in Rood similar to what they would have with Barlow.
New Conservative leader Erin O’Toole brings a fresh tone and voice to oppose the Liberals and I expect Lianne Rood to follow his lead and turn up the heat on Minister Bibeau.