Sudbury

Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief questions Indigenous Affairs being put with 2 other ministries

The grand council chief of the Anishinabek Nation says the new provincial government is taking a step backward, after it assigned one minister to look after three portfolios, including Indigenous Affairs.

PC Kenora-Rainy River MPP Greg Rickford to look after 3 portfolios, including Indigenous Affairs

Glen Hare is the Grand Chief of the Anishinabek Nation. (Supplied/Anishinabek Nation)

The Grand Council Chief of the Anishinabek Nation says the new provincial government is taking a step backward, after it assigned one minister to look after three portfolios, including Indigenous Affairs.

Last week, Premier Doug Ford announced his cabinet. Kenora-Rainy River MPP Greg Rickford was assigned three portfolios: Northern Development and Mines, Energy and Indigenous Affairs.

Grand Council Chief Glen Hare says by lumping Indigenous Affairs in with two other ministries, Ford is ignoring recommendations from the Ipperwash Inquiry for a stand-alone portfolio dedicated to Indigenous issues.

"We're at the bottom of the totem pole again and it's going to be an uphill battle," he said.

Hare says he wonders if Rickford will have enough time to devote to Indigenous issues.

"Energy is a big thing right now and what kind of time is he going to put into that. What kind of his time into Northern Development and Mines, and then us. That's the big question," he said.

Kenora-Rainy River MPP Greg Rickford is responsible for three portfolios, including Indigenous Affairs. (Martine Laberge/CBC)

"How much time is he going to be to our own issues? We need to move our nations forward too, just like Ford and the government wants to move Ontario  We're a part of Ontario."

The Anishinabek Nation represents 40 member communities across Ontario, representing approximately 60,000 people.

The Ontario Regional Chief and the Nishnawbe Aski Nation chief have also expressed their disappointment.

With files from Angela Gemmill

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