Ottawa reshuffle: Canada gets new Minister of Natural Resources

Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver will leave his post to take on a new position as Finance Minister.

Oliver will replace Jim Flaherty who resigned on Tuesday. Ontario Conservative MP Greg Rickford, Minister of Federal Economic Development Initiative in Northern Ontario (FedNor), will take over as Minister of Natural Resources.

In his last position Rickford was responsible for developing the Ring of Fire region – a massive mineral deposit in northern Ontario. A lack of funding and infrastructure have stalled development; mining company Cliffs Natural Resources suspended its project last year while federal and provincial governments struggle to agree on who should inject more cash.

As Minister of Natural Resources Oliver was a great proponent of oil sands development. He defended Canada’s limits on foreign purchases in Alberta’s oil sands and fought off European criticism of the oil sands’ environmental impacts.

He’s also been a strong advocated for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, travelling to Washington several times to lobby for the project. The pipeline requires a Presidential Permit in order to carry oil from the border in Montana to Steel City, Nebraska.

Rickford was also the Minister of State for Science and Technology. Conservative MP Ed Holder will replace him in this position.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper had this to say:

“Our Government remains focused on creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for all Canadians. Mr. Oliver, Mr. Rickford and Mr. Holder bring with them a wealth of skills, knowledge and experience, and I am confident that they will deliver results and provide strong leadership in these important portfolios.”