2013-02-11 at 17:56
Gravelle says as mines minister he'll make Ring of Fire a top priority
Michael Gravelle said he told then Premier-elect Kathleen Wynne he’d be happy to serve in any capacity she wanted.
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Deep down, however, he had to be hoping for a return to the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines.
On Monday his wish came true, when Wynne made it official, transferring the long-time cabinet minister from Natural Resources, a role he’d filled for 16 months, to Northern Development and Mines, where he served from October 2007 to October 2011.
The Ring of Fire is first and foremost on his radar screen, and Gravelle said he plans to work with newly minted Minister of Aboriginal Affairs David Zimmer to ensure proper consultations are held with First Nations to ensure development of potentially lucrative mines move ahead.
“We will be working together,” Gravelle said, reached Monday afternoon by phone in Toronto.
“I recognize that many of these developments, if not all of these developments, must show real benefits and value to the communities that are nearest by.”
While the Ring of Fire is front and centre, the Thunder Bay-Superior North MPP said it’s certainly not the only mine in play.
“There are so many other opportunities as well,” he said.
A supporter of Sandra Pupatello in the leadership race, Gravelle wasn’t hurt by that when Wynne chose her 27-member cabinet, a group that includes nine newcomers in key roles, including Liz Sanders as the new minister of education.
“I believe we have a nice mix of new ministers,” Gravelle said, asked if Wynne had chosen wisely.
It’s a refreshed, revised, cabinet, he added, one that will live up to the newly anointed premier’s goal of fiscal accountability and responsibility and social justice.
“I think it’s a true renewal with real experience,” he said.
Gravelle said he’s excited to take part in a northern cabinet committee promised by the premier, the details of which he promised were coming soon.
He’s also pleased Wynne wants to build a northern cabinet committee.
Among his other priorities are strengthening the Northern Ontario Growth Plan, the Northern Ontario Policy Institute, the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation and the northern highway plan.
Gravelle also commented on Wynne’s decision not to include Thunder Bay-Atikokan MPP Bill Mauro in her cabinet, despite 10 years service at Queen’s Park.
“I feel badly for him because I know he was really keen to take on that role,” Gravelle said, adding he was in no position to question Wynne’s decision.
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