N.L. swaps ag, finance ministers

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Responsibility for agriculture in the Newfoundland and Labrador government has been handed to its attorney general, in a very small shuffle of the provincial cabinet.

Humber East MHA Tom Marshall, who until Wednesday was both the finance minister and attorney general for Premier Kathy Dunderdale, was named minister of natural resources — a portfolio which includes the province’s Forestry and Agrifoods Agency.

Marshall — who also remains attorney general — takes the natural resources file from Carbonear-Harbour Grace MHA Jerome Kennedy, who Dunderdale named Wednesday as finance minister.

Marshall, a lawyer from Corner Brook, has served as an MNA since 2003 and in the provincial cabinet for almost as long, handling portfolios including finance, justice and, on an acting basis, transportation and works.

Kennedy, whose various cabinet posts since 2008 have included finance and health, was shuffled to the natural resources portfolio in October 2011.

No other ministers were shuffled Wednesday. Media reports suggest Kennedy was moved back to finance this week ahead of substantial cost-cutting in an upcoming provincial budget.

"I’m going to test the old adage that a change is as good as a rest," Dunderdale was quoted as saying Wednesday on CBC.