Political rookie Oliver named energy minister

Wed May 18, 2011 2:28pm EDT
 
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CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Prime Minister Stephen Harper named a political rookie with extensive financial experience as natural resources minister, a role that has not had a high profile in his cabinet despite the importance of energy, mining and forestry to the economy.

Toronto-area Member of Parliament Joe Oliver replaces Christian Paradis, who was moved to the industry ministry in the Conservative government's new cabinet, announced on Wednesday.

A onetime investment banker at Merrill Lynch and other brokerages, Oliver held positions as executive director of the Ontario Securities Commission and chief executive of the Investment Dealers Association of Canada.

Oliver was elected for the first time in the May 2 federal vote, in which Canadians handed Harper's Conservatives their first majority government.

A major part of the natural resources role involves issues affecting Canada's energy sector. The country is the top oil and gas supplier to the United States and its oil sands resources represent the largest crude deposits outside the Middle East.

(Reporting by Jeffrey Jones; editing by Rob Wilson)

 
<p>Joe Oliver is sworn-in as Minister of Natural Resources during a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa May 18, 2011. REUTERS/Blair Gable</p>