Michael Bryant named Minister of Aboriginal Affairs in new Provincial Cabinet

    TORONTO, Oct. 30 /CNW/ - Today at Queen's Park, recently appointed
Lieutenant Governor David Onley swore in a new Provincial Cabinet in Ontario.
In all, 28 Ministers were named to the Ontario Cabinet following the Liberal
majority victory on October 10, 2007.
    Three veteran Cabinet Ministers will remain in the posts they held within
government during the first Liberal term in power. These include Minister
George Smitherman (Health and Long Term Care), Kathleen Wynne (Education), and
David Caplan (Public Infrastructure Renewal).
    Michael Bryant, Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) for the St. Paul
riding in midtown Toronto was named as Minister of Aboriginal Affairs. "We
welcome the announcement of a separate, dedicated Minister for Aboriginal
Affairs. This is something that First Nations have long advocated for. A
stand-alone Minister at the Cabinet table will raise the profile of our issues
and will eliminate the perception of conflict of interest which resulted from
the dual role formerly under the responsibility of the Minister of Natural
Resources" said Regional Chief Angus Toulouse.
    Mr. Bryant has previous experience with the Aboriginal portfolio as he
was Minister Responsible for Aboriginal Affairs from 2003 to mid-2005.
"Minister Bryant is familiar with First Nations issues so I would anticipate a
smooth transition and the ability to begin work together very early on" stated
Regional Chief Toulouse. The Regional Chief pointed out that it is significant
to note that it was Minister Bryant, in his role at the time as Minister
Responsible for Aboriginal Affairs, who announced on behalf of Ontario the
establishment of the Ipperwash Inquiry in November 2003. He was also deeply
involved in Ontario's announcement of their "New Approach to Aboriginal
Affairs" policy in June 2005.
    The Regional Chief indicated that there are many challenging issues
within Ontario that require immediate attention and joint dialogue between
government and First Nations leadership. Specifically, the implementation of
the Final Report of the Ipperwash Inquiry recommendations; justice for First
Nations through the resolution of long outstanding land rights issues; the
mandate and governance of the new Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs, and the New
Relationship Fund - both of which were announced in June 2007. Regional Chief
Toulouse pointed out that Gaming remains an issue of utmost priority to First
Nations in Ontario and that it requires the immediate attention of Minister
Bryant and his Cabinet colleagues.
    "I want to acknowledge the dedication and goodwill demonstrated by former
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs David Ramsay (MPP for Timiskaming-Cochrane).
And I am confident that First Nations in Ontario can build an effective
working relationship with Minister Bryant. We feel that we can make
significant strides forward in improving the living conditions within First
Nation communities by working together in good faith and in a truly
collaborative manner" said Regional Chief Toulouse.

For further information:

For further information: Pam Hunter, Policy Advisor, (416) 597-1266, or 
(613) 203-3233

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Chiefs of Ontario

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