Ex-Wheat Growers chief to head CropLife Canada

A pro-deregulation Prairie grain grower turned federal politician will be the new chief of the crop chemical and biotech industry group CropLife Canada.

Ted Menzies — who until last week represented the rural Alberta riding of Macleod, south of Calgary, in the House of Commons — was announced Tuesday as the association’s new president effective Jan. 1, 2014.

Menzies will work from the association’s head office in Ottawa and replace Lorne Hepworth, who’s led the trade group since 1997.

Before entering federal politics in 2004, Menzies farmed for almost 30 years at Claresholm, about 70 km south of High River, Alta. His resume before the House of Commons includes a stint as president of the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance, a body of export-minded Canadian ag commodity groups.

He also served as president of the pro-deregulation Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association, and as a vice-president of Grain Growers of Canada.

Menzies had announced in July he wouldn’t seek re-election in 2015, and was duly shuffled out of his cabinet post as minister of state for finance.

He then resigned from Parliament Nov. 6, saying in a statement that “the time has come for me to move on” and mentioning an unspecified “exciting career ahead.”

Following his first election to the Commons in 2004, Menzies had served as opposition critic in portfolios including international co-operation, interprovincial trade and international trade. After 2006 he served as parliamentary secretary in portfolios including international co-operation, international trade and, from 2007 to 2011, finance.

“Representations”

While Hepworth and five other current senior CropLife staff members are federally-registered lobbyists, the federal Lobbying Act bars Menzies, as an ex-minister of state, from any “significant” level of lobbying work for the next five years.

The federal Conflict of Interest Act also blocks Menzies from making “representations” to current federal cabinet ministers or ministers of state — at least to those who were ministers during the same time as he was — for the next two years.

The Conflict of Interest Act also prevents Menzies from making “representations” during those two years to “any department, organization, board, commission or tribunal with which (he) had direct and significant official dealings” as a minister.

“As a farmer, I have always been interested in how technology can improve operations,” Menzies said Tuesday in a CropLife release. “I saw firsthand the role that pesticides and plant biotechnology play in increasing yields and helping improve the farm environment.

“I know how important these technologies are for farmers and that’s a very big part of why I am so excited about this next phase in my career.”

CropLife Canada is the trade association for “manufacturers, developers and distributors of plant science technologies, including pest control products and plant biotechnology, for use in agriculture, urban and public health settings.”

One of the association’s stated “priority areas” is “securing legislation, regulation and policy that encourage science and industry innovation.”

Hepworth, a veterinarian by profession, came to CropLife from senior roles (1993-97) with Ontario agribusiness Canadian Agra.

From 1982 to 1991 he was a member of Saskatchewan’s legislative assembly and served in then-premier Grant Devine’s cabinet in several portfolios, including agriculture (1983-85) and finance (1989-91). — AGCanada.com Network

Related story:
Farmers won’t seek federal re-election, July 5, 2013

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