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Kenora-Rainy River MPP Greg Rickford is both Minister of Indigenous Affairs and Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, positions that were once held by three separate ministers under the Liberal provincial government. Rickford is hitting back against concern that the responsibilities are too much for one MPP to handle.
Under the Progressive Conservative government, into which Rickford was sworn June 29, the Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines have turned into a combined post.
[pullquote]I bring decades of significant, unmatched [experience], certainly compared to the previous government, living and working in Indigenous communities[/pullquote]“All of the other provinces in the federal government combine energy and northern mines and development together,” he said. “Make no mistake about it, the ministry… Indigenous affairs is a standalone ministry and I am its minister,” Rickford declared. “I bring decades of significant, unmatched [experience], certainly compared to the previous government, living and working in Indigenous communities.”
“I’ve had the opportunity to personally speak with chiefs and leaders in Indigenous organizations. They’ve not expressed one negative comment to me once in my direct discussions with them,” Rickford added.
In his conversations, said Rickford, people have been very enthusiastic about the focus on economic prosperity and confident about the amount of staff working in the Indigenous affairs ministry, as well as Rickford’s experience in energy and northern development. “I attended energy and northern mines and development meetings as the minister of natural resources and minister responsible for FedNor, and Ontario was the only one who showed up with two ministers for those portfolios,” he said.
His new role is part of the provincial government’s goal of solidifying cabinet positions, making pairings that make sense, and creating roles that are consistent with other provinces, he said.
Rickford reflected on his past experience as former federal Minister of Natural Resources as shaping his current perspective. “These portfolios read together call on me to have a significant responsibility in this government and I’m very pleased to have the opportunity on behalf of northwestern Ontario to have such a significant position in the government,” he said.
“These three portfolios in their aggregate would represent a major portfolio in this government, and frankly come close to the size and scope of the portfolio I held federally.”
As minister of natural resources and minister responsible for FedNor, said Rickford, the scope was much bigger, covering all of Canada and commitments and obligations around the world. “I’m well suited to take on these responsibilities.”