Northern Ontario business and labour leaders are expressing satisfaction with Patty Hajdu's appointment as Minister of Labour, saying it should mean better representation for Northern Ontario issues.
Hajdu, the MP for Thunder Bay-Superior North, was appointed to the Labour portfolio in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's cabinet shuffle on Jan. 10.
North Bay & District Labour Council President Henri Giroux says being from the North will be a good thing.
“Maybe she'll know some of the issues in Northern Ontario and that will help,” he told BayToday.
“It adds an extra voice from Northern Ontario, especially with all the jobs cuts in Northern Ontario. It's going to be a different view speaking to the government.”
Patti Carr, executive director of the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce, has a similar view.
"It is great to have Northern Ontario representation at a ministerial level with the federal government. While Ms. Hajdu’s portfolio is Labour, it gives Northern Ontario a closer relationship and opportunity to not only be heard on issues regarding labour, but all ministries, as she is part of the cabinet and will have connections with all other ministers from across the country."
Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce president Charla Robinson called it "really great news.”
Robinson believes Hajdu showed through her work as Minister of Status of Women that she deserved the prime minister's confidence.
"She's probably the most high-profile Status of Women minister that I've noticed in recent years,” she said.
“She got a lot of attention. She brought the issues forward on the national stage," she added, noting that the Thunder Bay-Superior North MP has appeared frequently on national news or public affairs programs.
Robinson said Hajdu's proven ability to gain attention for issues bodes well for her chances of success in her new position.
"It's clear that she's able to handle the spotlight...and she's being rewarded now with this much larger and probably a little more challenging portfolio,” Robinson said.