Kelley back as Aboriginal Affairs Minister

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A familiar face will handle Quebec’s Aboriginal Affairs department in the new Liberal government of Philippe Couillard, which was sworn into power April 23 after winning a big majority in the April 7 provincial election.

Geoffrey Kelley, the Liberal MNA in the Montreal riding of Jacques-Cartier since 1994, was appointed Minister for Native Affairs, a position he twice held in the government of former Premier Jean Charest.

In the Charest government, Kelley was a friendly face who promoted Aboriginal social acceptability of industrial development under the Plan Nord.

“The participation of the Aboriginal peoples is essential to the Plan Nord’s success,” Kelley told the Canadian Business Journal in 2011. “The Plan Nord must mean for all Aboriginal communities economic and social spin-off and the enhancement of their living conditions. I am thinking here of the initiatives in the realms of education and training, culture and health that will enhance the quality of life in Aboriginal communities.”

Other key appointees for northerners include Pierre Arcand as Energy and Natural Resources Minister with responsibility for the Plan Nord, and David Heurtel as Environment and Sustainable Development Minister.

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