Two days after returning from a three-month medical leave January 17, NDP MP Romeo Saganash was appointed Deputy Critic for Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Affairs for his party. Saganash wasted no time making an impact by signing the declaration to carry on the struggle for Indigenous rights.

NDP leader Thomas Mulcair said he promoted Saganash because of his depth of experience and his role as an author of La Paix des Braves. “I hold Romeo in high regard,” said Mulcair. “I admire his determination and good negotiation skills. He understands the magnitude of the task before him, and I know that he is up to this new challenge.”

Saganash returned to Parliament Hill in good spirit from a three-month leave. After being ejected from an Air Jazz flight due to inebriation on October 19, Saganash took time off to recover from his dependency on alcohol.

“Saganash is very excited to get back to work,” NDP Caucus Press Secretary Youssef Amane said. “He will be focused on making sure Parliament is committed to resolving First Nations issues.”

During his time away, the Idle No More movement has flourished and with his new position as Deputy Critic for Aboriginal Affairs Saganash has gained a strong voice to represent them in Parliament Hill. “I return to Ottawa full of energy. We are currently at a crossroads in relations between government and First Nations and we must seize this opportunity without delay,” he said.

On January 20, Saganash awarded 23 Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medals to citizens from his riding of Abitibi-Baie James-Nunavik-Eeyou. A medal awarding ceremony is scheduled for February 2 in Chibougamou for seven award recipients.