Nault to seek re-election

Local MP Robert Nault was shut out of Paul Martin’s cabinet last week as the new prime minister made sweeping changes to the line-up, but vowed he would run again here in the next election despite the setback.
“My priority has always been to serve the constituents of Kenora-Rainy River as their member of Parliament, and that priority will not change,” Nault said in a press release issued Friday.
“It is my intention to seek the nomination in the upcoming election,” he added.
Nault, first elected MP in 1988, had been named minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development back in August, 1999 by former prime minister Jean Chrétien.
“I very much enjoyed my time as a cabinet minister. It was a wonderful learning experience,” Nault noted.
Of all his work over the last four years, Nault perhaps is best known for introducing the controversial First Nations Governance Act.
Meant to replace the Indian Act of 1876, the FNGA proposes changes to leadership selection, administration of government, financial management, and accountability of Indian bands.
“For the first time, First Nations people themselves were invited to the table to draft legislation,” Nault said of the process involved in drafting the FNGA.
“We completed the most comprehensive consultations in Canadian history. The true impact of this will be felt for generations,” he added.
Nault also cited increased investment in community economic development and a healthy investment climate in the north as part of his legacy in the portfolio.
“Bob [Nault] has been a great asset to the Rainy River District,” said Fort Frances Mayor Dan Onichuk. “I believe that Bob has a sincere interest in the district and will speak for the district well into the future.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for him.”
Onichuk said it was encouraging to hear the Nault plans to run again, and said things may change in the future. “We may see him as a minister again one day,” he noted.
Onichuk also expressed concern about the plan to change the electoral riding boundaries—a move Nault strongly opposed.
“It’s going to make it tough in the future for the Rainy River District to have a voice with the majority of [votes] in Thunder Bay,” the mayor said.
Although Nault no longer will be in cabinet, Onichuk said the north still has a representative in Thunder Bay-Superior North MP Joe Comuzzi, who was named minister of state for FedNor last Friday morning.
“He’ll be a very positive voice for Northwestern Ontario,” Mayor Onichuk said. “I think we’ve got a good future ahead of us no matter what happens.”
The new minister for Indian Affairs and Northern Development is Parry Sound-Muskoka MP Andy Mitchell, who formerly was secretary of state for rural development and FedNor.