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Arctic MP named to federal cabinet in Canada

  • Author: Eilís Quinn
  • Updated: September 28, 2016
  • Published November 5, 2015

The newly-elected MP from Canada's eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut has been named minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.

Hunter Tootoo was sworn in along with the rest of the new Liberal government during a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Canada's capital city of Ottawa on Wednesday.

Nunavut Premier Peter Taptuna tweeted out his congratulations Wednesday morning.

Congratulations to Nunavut MP @HunterTooToo, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard. I look forward to working with you— Premier Taptuna, NU (@PeterTaptuna) November 4, 2015

Shortly after the swearing in ceremony, environmental group Greenpeace said the appointment of a northerner to the Fisheries and Oceans post was a positive move for the environment.

"As the MP for Nunavut, Mr. Tootoo is perfectly placed to be a strong advocate for the North, and can ensure that the Arctic Ocean is prioritized as part of the Liberals promise to increase the amount of protected marine and coastal areas from 1.3 per cent to 5 per cent by 2017 and 10 per cent by 2020," Jessica Wilson, head of Greenpeace Canada's Arctic campaign, said in a news release.

Tootoo is the second Inuk to serve in a cabinet position.

Leona Aglukkaq, also a former Nunavut MP, served both as minister of Health and minister of Environment under the previous Conservative government.

Tootoo defeated Aglukkaq on the October 19 elections with a campaign highlighting Liberal promises like increasing benefits for northern residents and investing $40 million in the Nutrition North program that subsidizes healthy food shipped to Canada's remote communities.

Other cabinet appointments closely watched by the North include indigenous affairs and environment.

Ottawa Centre MP Catherine McKenna was sworn in as minister of Environment and Climate Change.

Carolyn Bennett, an MP for the riding of Toronto-St-Paul's, was named Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs.

This story is posted on Alaska Dispatch News as part of Eye on the Arctic, a collaborative partnership between public and private circumpolar media organizations.

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