By Gerald V. Paul
Queen’s Park: Michael Coteau, who has Grenadian roots is the newly minted Ontario Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.
Couteau is now the lone black face in the new Ontario Cabinet of Premier Kathleen Wynne, as former dedicated Minister Margarett Best was not given the opportunity to be part of the new regime.
Best supported Eric Hoskins in the recent Liberal leadership race.
Coteau, Don Valley East MPP, told The Camera, “I am looking forward to represent all Canadians, including the Caribbean community.”
Elected in 2011, he is the former Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sports.
Coteau was a former English as a second language (ESL) teacher and curriculum developer before becoming a community organizer for United Way agency in Scarborough where he organized the Malvern Youth Cabinet, the Law and Order Youth Group and the Malvern Photo Club.
As a Toronto District School trustee, he advocated for student nutrition, community use of school space and the use of educational technology. He initiated the Community Use of Schools motion that drastically cut user fees and made the schools more accessible to groups that offer programmes for children. He helped introduce nutritional changes in schools that supported healthy food programmes and increased awareness of student hunger.
He holds degrees from Carleton University in both Political Science and Canadian History. He also served as the Marketing Manager for ABC Life Literacy, where he was responsible for organizing Family Literacy Day across Canada, and was Executive Director of Alpha Plus, a national literacy organization mandated to support adult education through the use of technology.