Omnitrax Merv Tweed takes role as president of the rail company that serves the Port of Hudson Bay
Veteran Manitoba Conservative MP Merv Tweed, chair of the House of Commons agriculture committee, is resigning from his Brandon-Souris seat to become a railroad executive.
At the end of the month, the four-term MP first elected in 2004 steps down to become Canadian president of Omnitrax, the company that owns the Hudson Bay Railway line to Churchill.
Although the railway has mainly transported agricultural products to the summer port, its Denver-based American owner also is proposing to ship crude oil by rail to Churchill for export to Europe.
Tweed said in a statement last week that while he struggled with the decision to leave politics, he saw the railroad job as an opportunity.
“This is an enterprising organization that has served northern Canada well since 1997,” he said. “Through this role I will endeavour to ensure the next stage of growth so we can as a team extend and grow the services we provide.”
Tweed, 58, was first elected Brandon-Souris MP in 2004 after a long career in municipal politics and nine years as a provincial MLA.
Although the former Brandon car dealership owner has no experience in the railroad business, he served as chair of the House of Commons transport committee for several years.
Under House of Commons rules, he will not be allowed to lobby the federal government for five years after stepping down Aug. 31 as an MP.
Still, government watchdog Democracy Watch complained that Tweed’s ability to convert time as transport committee chair into a railroad presidency is unseemly if not illegal.
On Parliament Hill, Tweed was a popular MP and as agriculture committee chair, used his congenial style to reduce the partisan rancour that had infected the committee.
He led the committee through more than a year of hearings into agricultural value chain relationships.