Veteran MP Chuck Strahl is out, and backbench MP John Duncan is in as Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development after Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced a small cabinet shuffle on August 6.
Duncan, the MP for Vancouver Island North, was first elected as a member of the Reform Party during the 1993 election. He lost his seat to New Democratic Party candidate Catherine Bell in the 2006 election. He won back his seat two years later.
Western Arctic MP Dennis Bevington said he will be taking a wait-and-see attitude with Duncan, though he has worked with Duncan through his role as the Northern development critic while Duncan was parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development during Strahl’s tenure.
“Duncan brings the experience he has gained through his participation on the House of Commons Indian Affairs and Northern Development Committee to his new position as minister,” Bevington said in a release. “There are so many vital Northern issues, such as climate change, Arctic sovereignty and devolution that Mr. Duncan will need to work with me in order to build the better North that northerners want.”
Strahl, who has served as Indian Affairs Minister since August 2007, was appointed as Minister of Transportation, replacing John Baird. Baird was appointed as the new Conservative House Leader, replacing Prince George-Peace River MP Jay Hill, who has announced he will not be seeking re-election.