PM Harper shuffles veterans affairs minister into Arctic sovereignty gig
Julian Fantino demoted to associate minister of National Defence
Canada has a new associate minister of National Defence who will be in charge of Arctic sovereignty: Julian Fantino, a former chief of police in Ontario, who represents the Ontario riding of Vaughan just outside Toronto.
Fantino — previously veterans affairs minister — will look after “the areas of Arctic sovereignty, information technology security and foreign intelligence, thus continuing the government’s efforts to defend our values and interests at home and around the world,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a Jan. 5 news release about the shuffle.
The shuffle puts Fantino back into his first cabinet job — that of associate minister of National Defence.
And the shuffle follows recent calls by New Democrats and Liberals for Fantino’s resignation as veterans affairs minister where his performance had been under fire for months.
Speaking to media Jan. 5, NDP leader Thomas Mulcair called Harper’s move to put Fantino back into the Department of National Defence a “halfhearted attempt at removing an incompetent minister.”
Prior to his election to the House of Commons in 2010, Fantino served almost 40 years in law enforcement.
He was chief of York Regional Police and of the Toronto Police Service and served as Ontario’s Commissioner of Emergency Preparedness and as Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police.
Fantino is also the former president of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police and the former vice-president at large of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
“Having served for over 40 years in law enforcement, I have an acute appreciation for the solemn duty government must undertake to protect its citizens and sovereignty. In my oath, I pledge to forcefully defend Canada’s sovereignty and national security, and continue to stand with our men and women in uniform who uphold and protect those sacred values of democracy, freedom and the rule of law,” Fantino said in a Jan. 5 statement on his new role.
DND’s main Arctic sovereignty activities include the annual Nanook and Nunalivut operations by the Canadian Armed Forces.