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North Okanagan-Shuswap MP named to shadow cabinet

Mel Arnold is associate shadow minister for Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
North Okanagan-Shuswap MP Mel Arnold (right) has been named an associate minister in Conservative Party Leader Pierre Poilievre’s (left) shadow cabinet. (File photo)

North Okanagan-Shuswap MP Mel Arnold has been named to the Conservative Party’s shadow cabinet.

Arnold has been appointed Associate Shadow Minister for Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard (Recreational and West Coast) by newly elected Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre, and Arnold called the appointment “an honour.” He’s held the portfolio since 2015.

“Canada’s fisheries, marine species and aquatic habitats are shared common resources that must be conserved for present and future generations,” said Arnold. “I deeply appreciate the opportunity to continue to serve on this portfolio.”

Arnold said his experiences working in grassroots conservation organizations prior to being elected combined with experiences working on the fisheries and oceans portfolio over the past seven years have expanded his understanding of the needs and challenges facing Canada’s fisheries and oceans.

He’s excited to continue the work.

“I will continue to champion Canada’s fisheries and the people and communities that depend on them and advocate for the resources and actions required to rebuild and conserve wild Pacific salmon stocks, protect aquatic habitats from aquatic invasive species and pollution, and support transitions for open net-pen salmon farm workers on Canada’s west coast,” he said.

“There is much to be improved in the federal government’s management of fisheries and oceans and I will continue to press for stronger management of resources based on sound science, assessment, and long-term vision.”

The Shadow Minister for the portfolio is Clifford Small.

In an effort to send a message of unity, Poilievre welcomed two former leadership rivals to serve as critics in Parliament — but also left out two of the party’s more prominent names.

Ontario Members of Parliament Scott Aitchison and Leslyn Lewis are among the group of 51 Tory MPs chosen to go head-to-head with Liberal government ministers on certain files, according to a list Poilievre’s office released.

But well-known caucus members Ed Fast and Michelle Rempel Garner are off the list.

Poilievre unveiled his picks more than a month after winning the Conservative leadership race with the support of nearly 70 per cent of party members.

Since then, Poilievre has driven a hard economic message in the House of Commons, which is currently on a one-week break.

All told, Poilievre tapped 51 of his MPs to serve as full critics and another 20 to be “associate critics,” which means he gave roles to 71 of the party’s 117 other MPs. That’s more than the 62 who supported him to become leader.

Poilievre unveiled his picks in a brief statement released Wednesday, in which he said his team will focus on “inflation-busting” and fighting Liberal government policies such as carbon pricing.

—-with files from The Canadian Press

READ MORE: Who’s in and who’s out as Conservative party critics under Poilievre’s leadership

READ MORE: Teams spell support for North Okanagan literacy

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