The federal NDP’s indigenous affairs critic is not impressed with Prime Minister Trudeau’s choice for the next minister in that portfolio.

In today’s cabinet shuffle, Seamus O’Regan was moved from Veterans Affairs to Indigenous Services.

Timmins James Bay MP Charlie Angus says O’Regan will have to work very hard in his new job, and not drop the ball.

“In our region, we need a minister who’s going to be able to respond to the health crisis, on the education crisis, on the need for infrastructure,” Angus comments. “So we shall be watching very closely where this government goes.”

“He (O’Regan) did not handle the Veterans Affairs file very well,” Angus assesses. “He seemed to be tone deaf to the needs of veterans.  And veterans and indigenous people tend to get screwed over by the government all the time.  So I’m surprised that he was the one they moved.”

O’Regan replaces Jane Philpott, who was promoted to the Treasury Board portfolio, replacing Scott Brison, who resigned last week.

Angus has a much higher opinion of Philpott than O’Regan.

“Well, Jane Philpott came into the Department of Indigenous Services, which is the black hole of accountability and she tried moving the yardstick and it’s been noticed.  I’ve got a lot of respect for her.  So this is a big promotion for her.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to media outside Rideau Hall, site of the swearing-in for new cabinet ministers, Jan. 14, 2019. Photo credit: YouTube

Also moved today was justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould.  She replaces O’Regan at the veterans affairs department.

Angus’s evaluation of the first indigenous person to ever be federal justice minister: “So much hope and expectation and she didn’t really deliver.  That’s a big demotion, going to veterans affairs from the justice minister portfolio.”