Michael McLeod, Member of Parliament for the Northwest Territories, has been advocating for greater Northern representation in federal cabinet and the halls of power in Ottawa.
Once again, though, he was overlooked.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced his list of parliamentary secretaries, Dec. 12 but of the list of 35, McLeod’s name was not there.
Among the appointees included Larry Bagnell, MP for Yukon, who was named parliamentary secretary to the minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency).
Yvonne Jones, MP for Labrador, was also named parliamentary secretary to the minister of Northern Affairs.
According to the Parliament of Canada Act, the parliamentary secretary’s role is to assist ministers and provide duties in both the House of Commons as well as within the departments.
Parliamentary secretaries are not considered cabinet members but they are seen answering questions in the House and representing the minister and government at public functions.
McLeod said he continues to focus his attention on his current job.
“I would like to congratulate Larry Bagnell and Yvonne Jones on their new roles,” he said. “They are both experienced parliamentary secretaries, and I have worked closely with them over the years to address the issues that matter to Northerners. I know they will both do great work in their positions.
“I remain focused on the job the people of the Northwest Territories elected me to do: to represent their views and advocate for their communities as their Member of Parliament.”
In November, McLeod told News/North that he was disappointed with the lack of Northern cabinet members and said there should be a promotion in store for someone from the North, naming himself, Bagnell and Jones as options.
McLeod, who won unseated Dennis Bevington, a popular NDP Member of Parliament in 2015 before winning second federal election in October, has a long history of political experience in the NWT. He was first elected to the NWT Legislative Assembly in 1999 and returned to represent the Deh Cho twice more.
Between 2007 and 2011, he sat in the GNWT cabinet as minister of Transportation and minister of Public Works.
He was also elected mayor of Fort Providence when he was 22.
A list of questions was sent by News/North to the Office of the Prime Minister asking why McLeod wasn’t given a portfolio given his political background and unique experiences as an Indigenous member from both the North and West of Canada. No response has been received.