APTN National News
OTTAWA-Prime Minister Stephen Harper unveiled a new environment minister during a mini cabinet shuffle Tuesday, naming former minister of state for foreign affairs Peter Kent to the post.
Kent, a former television reporter and anchor, takes over a portfolio with responsibility over some of the hottest files facing the country in a generation: climate change and the tar sands.
The environment ministry portfolio had been handled by House Leader John Baird who took over the file in the interim after Calgary MP Jim Prentice quit politics late last year.
Joining Kent at Rideau Hall, the home of the Governor General, for the swearing in of new ministers was former Ontario Provincial Police commissioner Julian Fantino who was named as minister of state for seniors.
Fantino took over the OPP in the midst of the Caledonia crisis and tangled with Tyendinaga Mohawk activist Shawn Brant in 2007 during the national day of action that saw Canada’s busiest highway, the 401 in Ontario, shut down for several hours.
There was widespread speculation that Fantino, who was also once Toronto’s police chief, would be given a security-related portfolio.
Also named to junior posts were MPs Ted Menzies, as minister of state for finance, and Diane Ablonczy, who takes over Kent’s former portfolio which focused on Latin America and consular affairs.