Thunder Bay-Atikokan MPP has new role in Ford government

Thunder Bay-Atikokan MPP Kevin Holland is taking on a new role at Queen's Park.

In a minor switch-up of parliamentary assistant roles announced late last week, Holland will become the parliamentary assistant to the minister of Indigenous affairs and for northern development, with both of those portfolios overseen by Minister Greg Rickford.

Holland said he is really excited for the new opportunity.

“The staff from Minister Rickford already reached out to me to bring me up to speed on the files associated with the ministry that obviously I don't have as much intimate knowledge of right now,” he said. “And from there, meeting with the stakeholders across the communities as the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund falls under the Ministry of Northern Development.”

Holland said the NOHFC is of huge importance to the government, providing the funding for programs and internships for businesses and organizations across the North.

“The Indigenous file of course is a very important file for me, [as is] meeting with the Indigenous leaders when the opportunity presents and really become more aware of the needs of the Indigenous communities,” he said.

Holland previously served as the parliamentary assistant to the minister of municipal affairs and housing.

“[It was an] opportunity to learn from the minister, particularly in the portfolio that I was very familiar with, as the mayor of my community for 31 years,” he said.

“Being able to become the parliamentary assistant to municipal affairs immediately after being elected was quite an accomplishment and an honour for me. I was very humbled by the trust they put into me.”

“I feel I've been very lucky and landing not just with Municipal Affairs, but now with the Northern Development and Indigenous Affairs, two very high profile ministries within our government,” he said.

Among the other changes announced were Matthew Rae taking Holland’s former role, Sheref Sabawy serving as parliamentary assistant to the minister of public and business service delivery, and Dave Smith now serving as parliamentary assistant to the minister of tourism, culture and sport.

Eric Shih, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source