Darlene Compton becomes P.E.I.’s first female ag minister

Darlene Compton becomes P.E.I.’s first female ag minister
Aug 12, 2022

She remains deputy premier

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

A cabinet shuffle in Prince Edward Island in the middle of July resulted in history being made.

Darlene Compton, the MLA for Belfast-Murray River, became the province’s first female ag minister when Premier Dennis King moved her from the finance portfolio to agriculture and land on July 15.

Days after her appointment, Compton traveled to Saskatoon, Sask. to participate in the FPT ag ministers meetings.

She also became the minister of justice and public safety during the cabinet shuffle. And will retain her role as deputy premier.

MLA Mark McLane, the MLA for Cornwall-Meadowbank, replaces Compton as finance minister.

Bloyce Thompson, the MLA for Stanhope-Marshfield, moves from the agriculture and justice portfolios to economic growth, tourism and culture.

Ag ministers and local ag organizations welcomed Compton into the ag fold.

“Congratulations (Darlene Compton) on your appointment as #PEI’s Minister of Agriculture,” federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said on Twitter. “I look forward to working with you and continuing to deliver results for the hard-working farmers on the Island.”

“We look forward to working with you on upcoming initiatives that continue to support our island farmers,” the PEI Federation of Agriculture said on Twitter on July 18.

With Compton’s appointment, the number of women overseeing provincial agriculture portfolios increases to four.

She joins Lana Popham in British Columbia, Lisa Thompson in Ontario and Margaret Johnson in New Brunswick.

And in her role as minister of industry, tourism and investment in the Northwest Territories, Caroline Wawzonek is also responsible for supporting the ag sector.

At least two other Canadian provinces have had female ag ministers in the past.

Rosann Wowchuck served as Manitoba's ag minister from 1999 to 2003 under Premier Gary Doer.

And in 2001, Alberta Premier Ralph Klein appointed Shirley McClellan as minister of agriculture. She held that position until November 2004.