Belanger Defends Departed Deputy Minister

Thursday, February 12, 2004 at 13:58



Saskatchewan’s Northern Affairs minister seems to have a difference of opinion with northern leaders over where is the best place to base a deputy minister.


Northern Affairs’ Regina-based deputy minister was transferred to another department earlier this week — a move that was welcomed by many northern leaders who want a deputy minister based in the North.


Buckley Belanger says the decision over who will eventually replace Alan Parkinson on a permanent basis is not his call, but if it was up to him, he would choose to have the position filled by someone who would be based in Regina.


Belanger says a deputy minister situated in a northern community doesn’t have the same opportunity to network with other major players in government.


Several northern leaders have also indicated they didn’t have the best relationship with Parkinson because of his lack of familiarity with northern issues. However, Belanger feels that issue would have likely improved over time.


Belanger also points out that Parkinson played a big part in lobbying efforts concerning the Northern Development Agreement and the link to Fort McMurray.


Parkinson’s old job is being filled on a temporary basis by long-time northern civil servant Glenn McKenzie.