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Trudeau appoints Tootoo, overlooks McLeod for cabinet

Justin Trudeau has opted to appoint Nunavut MP Hunter Tootoo to his Liberal cabinet while overlooking the NWT’s Michael McLeod.

The first glimpse of Trudeau’s cabinet emerged at the swearing-in of Canada’s new leader on Wednesday, in front of crowds at Ottawa’s Rideau Hall.

Tootoo, 52, becomes Trudeau’s minister of fisheries, oceans and the Canadian coastguard. A former speaker of Nunavut’s legislative assembly. he was born in Rankin Inlet – which, at the time, formed a part of the Northwest Territories.

The new minister of Indigenous and Northern affairs is Carolyn Bennett, MP for the Toronto riding of St Paul’s. Bennett, who chairs the national Liberal women’s caucus, was previously the Liberal critic for Aboriginal affairs and Northern development.

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McLeod, younger brother of NWT Premier Bob, had made clear his ambition of earning a cabinet post even before his election on October 19, unseating New Democrat Dennis Bevington.

“I want to be involved. I want to be considered for a cabinet position,” McLeod told us back in July. “I’m looking to be a player with serious involvement in the party.”

He reiterated that position two days before he won the seat, and again afterward.

However, McLeod’s name had barely been mentioned by political pundits in advance of Wednesday’s announcement, with Tootoo always considered the more likely to be selected.

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