New MP is Anglican

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The election May 24 of Canada’s newest member of Parliament, Todd Russell (Labrador), retained the balance of power in Ottawa for the Liberal party and brought attention to a man who has also worked to support indigenous people within the Anglican church.

Mr. Russell, 38, defeated the Conservative candidate, Labrador City mayor Graham Letto, retaining the seat for the Liberals and foiling an attempt by the Conservatives to add a seat in Parliament. On May 19, a Conservative-led attempt to bring down the Liberal government on a budget bill failed by a single vote.

“I believe in my heart that we delivered for the country,” Mr. Russell said in a victory speech at his campaign headquarters in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Canadian Press reported. “This is a message … that we want to get on with governing the country.”

Mr. Russell captured 51 per cent of the 10,564 votes cast.

Mr. Russell, who is Métis (mixed indigenous and European) was most recently president of the Labrador Metis Nation and served from 2001 to 2004 as co-chair of the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples, a church committee with national representation from various native groups.

Mr. Russell has worked to further the goals of native Anglicans and was involved in a national meeting in Winnipeg in October 2003 that addressed native concerns about the church’s residential school settlement agreement with the federal government. He stepped down as co-chair in 2004, but continues to be a member of ACIP.

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