Bentley back as Aboriginal Affairs minister
Following the announcement that former Aboriginal Affairs minister Kathlene Wynne is running for leader of the Ontario Liberal party, Energy Minister Chris Bentley has taken over the Aboriginal Affairs portfolio.
Although Bentley has already announced that he will not seek re-election in the next provincial election, he told Wawatay that he is excited to reassume the portfolio for the time being.
“It’s an enormously important part of our government,” Bentley said. “I’m very pleased and looking forward to it, looking forward to meeting with people as soon as I can.”
Bentley, who served as Aboriginal Affairs minister from 2007-2011, cited the Aboriginal education initiatives currently underway as his immediate focus for the department. He said the government’s strategy when it comes to First Nations, Metis and Inuit people remains focused on finding employment after finishing training programs.
Meanwhile he noted that many of the energy initiatives his department is working on tie closely to the department of Aboriginal Affairs. He cited the Lower Mattagami project, and Ontario’s partnership with Moose Cree First Nation on it, as an example of the types of partnerships that are showing benefits for the province and First Nations.
“A lot of energy initiatives are being enhanced by the participation of First Nations,” Bentley said. “I’m quite excited by the future.”
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