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Rickford discusses new title

Greg Rickford recently appeared in Greenstone where Dougall Media got a chance to discuss his new title and its significance.
Kenora MPP Greg Rickford on Thursday, April 4, 2024. (Leith Dunick,

A local provincial minister has a new title. 

Minister Greg Rickford discussed his new title and officially launched a new facet of his ministry as the Minister of Indigenous Affairs and First Nations economic reconciliation on June 18 during Premier Doug Ford’s appearance in Greenstone.

Rickford’s expanded title and ministry were initially introduced at Queen’s Park on June 6.

Speaking in Greenstone, Minister Rickford took the opportunity to describe what his new title means for his approach to working in the Northern region.

“It’s really about a story of meaningful partnerships, building the kind of relationships that get us to a place – and gets the premier to a place where he decides to rename our portfolio and add First Nations economic reconciliation and if you unpack what we’re doing here today . . . how about we just launch the ministry right here, right now?” Rickford said.

Dougall Media spoke with Rickford following the press conference on June 18, where he divulged more details about what ‘economic reconciliation’ could look like and referenced the cabinet meeting on June 6 as a sign that this new ministry is a big focus moving forward.

“It’s our top priority. It’s why the Premier featured it in the last adjustment to cabinet – he felt it was necessary, he’d seen how major projects work up North successfully.

“In the first four years that we were in government, the hallmark of every single major project was when we got involved and helped build partnerships with industry, with First Nations – meaningful agreements, supportive legacy infrastructure, a vision for what’s required moving forward,” Rickford said.

He added projects like the Migizi Plaza Rest Stop and the creation of an ‘energy corridor’ in collaboration with Matawa First Nations communities are perfect examples of the kinds of meaningful partnerships the Ontario government wishes to pursue.

“That’s exactly what we’re doing right now in Thunder Bay. The Minister of Energy is sitting down with the leaders of the Matawa communities farther north talking about an energy corridor. That energy corridor is starting right here and they want in . . . (with) a collective interest in developing infrastructure and resources sustainably and responsibly, we can build.

“We are always going to seize an opportunity to develop our infrastructure to support and sustain other operations . . . the chiefs here (said) today (that) this is about supporting road access into the Ring of Fire – that was their words, not mine – and that includes electrification . . . those conversations are just beginning so I’m not going to pre-narrate them but I will tell you that the leadership up north is having those conversations because they all want to get off diesel generation.

“We saw the success of Watay Power. We know that we can build legacy infrastructure to support communities for a brighter, more prosperous future and, done right, it holds a great prospect for responsible, sustainable resource development,” he said.

Rickford described his goal – and the goal of the provincial government – to achieve equitable representation for First Nations communities, workers, and entrepreneurs.

He said developments in Greenstone and within the Ring of Fire region give him reasons to be optimistic.

“This was an enterprise-wide approach that committed the presence of the federal government to make the difference, to ensure that a First Nations workforce was the face of what’s going on here.

“To ensure that equity positions in the commercial plaza and many of the other infrastructure projects announced today and ones that we announced seven months ago – tell us that the municipality, industry, First Nations, and the provincial government are all on-board. Let’s get building,” he said.

Austin Campbell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

About the Author: Austin Campbell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Austin Campbell is a local journal initiative reporter covering stories in the Superior North region.
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