Miller out as Crown-Indigenous Relations minister as Trudeau shuffles cabinet
Toronto MP Gary Anandasangaree takes over role
In a move that will impact Nunavut and Nunavik, Marc Miller has been shifted out of his role as minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations in a cabinet shuffle announced Wednesday by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Leaving behind a portfolio he held since October 2021, Miller is staying on in cabinet as immigration minister.
Taking over as Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations is Gary Anandasangaree, a Toronto-area MP.
First elected in 2015 as part of Trudeau’s majority government, Anandasangaree has served on several committees and was most recently parliamentary secretary to the justice minister.
Anandasangaree arrived in Canada as a refugee from Sri Lanka in 1983. He has worked as a lawyer and human rights advocate and has been a contributing columnist to the Toronto Star.
“I believe I bring a unique level of strengths, but of course there’s a lot more I need to learn, and over the next weeks I will be working with our officials, as well as engaging and meeting with Indigenous organizations and communities across Canada,” he said after being sworn in.
Only seven cabinet ministers were unaffected by the shuffle, including Minister of Northern Affairs Dan Vandal and Minister of Indigenous Services Patty Hajdu, who held onto their posts.
In his time as minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations as well as Indigenous Services minister, Miller travelled to Inuit communities on several occasions.
In the spring, he visited Kuujjuaq and Nain, Nunatsiavut.
After the swearing-in ceremony, Miller told reporters he was sad to leave the position but was thankful for all the relationships he made.
“I have been able to develop a deep commitment to Indigenous issues that I, quite frankly, probably didn’t have in that measure four years ago,” he said.
Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. president Aluki Kotierk said in a phone interview that Miller will be “greatly missed.”
She acknowledged him for the relationship he has with NTI and for his leadership on the Inuit-Crown Partnership Committee.
Highlighting Anandasangaree’s record on human rights advocacy and as a parliamentary secretary, Kotierk said she looks forward to meeting the new minister and that NTI will send him a congratulatory letter.
“We’ll ask him to have a meeting so that we can talk about some of the areas we’ve been working on, so hopefully we can have that done in the next little while,” she said.
“It’s a standing invitation to any federal ministers to come and visit us in Nunavut, so we will convey that as well.”
Kotierk also said she met with the newly appointed justice minister and attorney general, Arif Virani, when he was still a parliamentary secretary.
She looks forward to collaborating with him as he moves into his new portfolio.
Virani replaces David Lametti, who was left out of Trudeau’s new cabinet entirely.
Nunavut MP Lori Idlout issued a statement through the NDP panning the Liberals on the government’s record on Indigenous issues.
Idlout noted, “Anandasangaree has a monumental task ahead of him.”
“I have seen his passion and sense of justice required for First Nations, Inuit and Métis,” she said.
Abitibi-Baie-James-Nunavik-Eeyou MP Sylvie Bérubé said in an emailed statement written in French that her party, the Bloc Québécois, will be watching how the cabinet shuffle will impact Quebec.
“We will judge ministers and [the] government by their performance,” she said.
Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the national Inuit organization, said it was ready to introduce new ministers to the Inuit-Crown Partnership Committee.
Makivvik Corp. did not provide a statement in response to Nunatsiaq News’ request for comment.
Several other cabinet positions changed hands Wednesday.
Sean Fraser was named Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities, and Diane Lebouthillier is the new Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.
Anita Anand was shifted out as defence minister to become president of the Treasury Board. Bill Blair is the new minister of national defence.