Nunavut’s MP moves from health to environment
National Inuit org heaps praise on Aglukkaq, Conservative cabinet shuffle
Prime Minister Stephen Harper gave Nunavut MP Leona Aglukkaq a new job July 15 and relieved her of an old one, when he named her minister of the environment, a post previously held by Thornhill MP Peter Kent.
At the same time, Edmonton-Spruce Grove MP Rona Ambrose becomes the national health minister, a post that Aglukkaq had held since October 2008.
Aglukkaq retains ministerial responsibility for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and the Arctic Council.
In reaction, Terry Audla, the president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, praised the Conservative government’s cabinet shuffle, which Harper’s office announced mid-morning July 15.
“I’m pleased to see Leona Aglukkaq as the new minister of the environment, CanNor, and the Arctic Council. We worked very well with minister Aglukkaq when she was health minister, and look forward to working with her as minister of the environment,” Audla said in a statement.
Audla said he “would like to thank” ex-Environment Minister Peter Kent for his support on issues like the EU seal ban and for successfully opposing the uplisting of the polar bear at the CITES gathering in Thailand earlier this year.
Of the other federal departments that affect Nunavut, Harper put new bosses in charge of some and kept old bosses in charge of others.
Here’s a short rundown:
• Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development: Bernard Valcourt holds on to the AAND portfolio;
• Finance: Jim Flaherty stays put;
• Fisheries and Oceans: Gail Shea succeeds Keith Ashfield and regains a portfolio she held between 2008 and 2011;
• Employment and Social Development: this is the new name for the department that used to be called “human resources and skills development” or “HRD” — Jason Kenney replaces Diane Finley;
• Justice: Peter MacKay replaces Rob Nicholson;
• National Defence: Rob Nicholson replaces Peter MacKay;
• Transport: Lisa Raitt replaces Denis Lebel;
• Heritage Canada: Shelley Glover replaces James Moore.
Audla’s statement heaped praise on other Conservative ministers, including Moore, Shea, Valcourt and Kenney.
“I hope minister Kenney will be touring the Arctic soon to see how these issues are vitally important to the future of our largest population — Inuit youth who make up more than 50 percent of our communities across Inuit Nunangat,” Audla said.
Nunavut premier Eva Aariak chimed in with a somewhat less effusive statement than ITK’s, saying she noted the July 15 cabinet shuffle “with interest.”
And she also said Aglukkaq’s new job could be good for Nunavut.
“As a Nunavummiutaq, she will bring an Arctic perspective to the issues of climate change, pollution of our oceans and the need to balance economic development with environmental protection. We are hopeful that this new role will contribute to the impact minister Aglukkaq can have as chair of the Arctic Council.
“On behalf of the Government of Nunavut, I congratulate all of the new ministers and look forward to continued collaboration with the federal government on issues of mutual interest and concern to Nunavummiut,” Aariak said.