Trudeau over­hauls Indige­nous Af­fairs

De­part­ment split­ting in two

Metro Canada (Calgary) - - CANADA - TORSTAR newS SeR­viCe

Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau un­veiled cab­i­net changes Mon­day that he said would re­set the fed­eral govern­ment’s “pa­ter­nal­is­tic, colo­nial” ap­proach to Indige­nous af­fairs in favour of even­tual self­gov­ern­ment for First Na­tions, Inuit and Métis peo­ple.

The big­ger-than-ex­pected cab­i­net shuf­fle will, in the months ahead, cre­ate two de­part­ments out of Indige­nous and North­ern Af­fairs Canada and will even­tu­ally see leg­is­la­tion drafted to re­place the In­dian Act, govern­ment of­fi­cials say.

And the Trudeau govern­ment is mak­ing new ef­forts to get the trou­bled in­quiry into miss­ing and mur­dered Indige­nous women and girls (MMIWG) back on track be­cause it is con­vinced the fam­i­lies don’t want to start over again.

“We are work­ing very hard in sup­port of the in­quiry to make sure that it de­liv­ers on the im­por­tant man­date it has to pro­vide jus­tice for the vic­tims, heal­ing for the fam­i­lies and to put an end to this on­go­ing na­tional tragedy once and for all,” Trudeau said.

Carolyn Ben­nett, who had sole re­spon­si­bil­ity for the sprawl­ing de­part­ment, will now be in charge of Crown-Indige­nous Re­la­tions and North­ern Af­fairs. An­other trusted Trudeau min­is­ter, Jane Philpott, now has the ti­tle of min­is­ter of Indige­nous ser­vices.

Ginette Petit­pas Tay­lor, a par­lia­men­tary sec­re­tary to fi­nance, got a big pro­mo­tion to step into Philpott’s role as health min­is­ter. A fran­co­phone New Brunswicker, she now has the task of steer­ing the mar­i­juana le­gal­iza­tion project.

The shuf­fle was prompted by the res­ig­na­tion of New­found­land MP Judy Foote, who was the min­is­ter of public works.

Carla Qual­trough was named to take Foote’s place. She had been the min­is­ter of sport and per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties. She takes over a de­part­ment wrestling to fix prob­lems with the Phoenix pay sys­tem that has left bu­reau­crats with­out their salary.

Trudeau pro­moted his close friend Sea­mus O’Re­gan into cab­i­net to take the place of Kent Hehr as veterans af­fairs min­is­ter and as­so­ciate min­is­ter of na­tional de­fence. The de­part­ment has been crit­i­cized for how it dis­penses as­sis­tance to veterans, notably those who are ill and in­jured.


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