Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a cabinet shuffle on Wednesday, adding new ministers and shifting responsibilities for others.
Carolyn Bennett is becoming the minister of Crown-Indigenous relations – dropping “northern affairs” from her title.
Dominic LeBlanc, previously the minister of fisheries, oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, will now be overseeing northern affairs in his new portfolio. He’s now the minister of intergovernmental and northern affairs and internal trade.
The significance of splitting northern affairs from Crown-Indigenous relations is unclear.
A release from the prime minister’s office states, however, that Bennett will continue working “to renew the nation-to-nation, Inuit-Crown and government-to-government relationship between Canada and Indigenous peoples.”
A spokesperson from Bennett’s office said the minister will remain responsible for any negotiations and agreements concerning Indigenous people in the North.
Any non-Indigenous issues in the North, including contaminated sites and the devolution of Nunavut, will fall under LeBlanc’s portfolio.
In a press release, Yukon Premier Sandy Silver, Northwest Territories Premier Bob McLeod and Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq congratulated the new cabinet ministers and stressed the need for a “more flexible approach to federal-territorial infrastructure funding.”
Meanwhile, Jane Philpott remains the minister of Indigenous Services.
As the new minister of natural resources, Amarjeet Sohi will be answering questions on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, along with other important pipeline projects.
He’s taking over the portfolio from Jim Carr, who will become the new minister of international trade diversification.