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Queen's Park has a new minister for northern development and mines. Michael Gravelle has stepped aside, citing a battle with depression.

The member from Thunder Bay has also battled cancer. Bill Mauro, also from Thunder Bay, will take Gravelle's place, as he recovers.

Earlier today, Premier Kathleen Wynne released a statement regarding Minister Michael Gravelle:

“It takes great courage to speak publicly about mental health challenges. I want to wish Michael Gravelle a speedy and complete recovery. I know that everyone at Queen's Park‎ will have him in their thoughts and will be rooting for him. 

"I have asked Minister Mauro to temporarily assume the responsibilities of the Minister of Northern Development and Mines. He will also continue to fulfill his responsibilities as the Minister of Municipal Affairs,” the premier said in her statement.

Gravelle was diagnosed with cancer in 2012, but was able to battle through the illness.

The statement from Minister Gravelle reads as follows:

Over the past months I have been struggling with a feeling of uneasiness that I have not been able to shake. My doctor diagnosed me with depression last year. Since then, I have been grappling with this disease privately while maintaining, to the best of my ability, the work that I love to do as Minister of Northern Development and Mines and Member of Provincial Parliament for Thunder Bay - Superior North. It has become clear to me that it will take some time, effort, treatment and understanding to properly address this illness.

Upon advice from my doctors I have asked the Premier to have one of my colleagues temporarily assume responsibility for the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines while I look after my health. Premier Wynne has been incredibly supportive of me since the moment I disclosed my challenges to her and she fully supports me in making this decision.

In my absence, my dedicated staff at the Ministry and Constituency Offices will continue to address challenges and opportunities through their work at the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines and for the constituents of Thunder Bay - Superior North.

I certainly cannot begin to express my appreciation for the understanding of my colleagues, friends and family during this time. It will continue to be difficult, but with your love and support I know that I will be able to treat this disease and be back to myself in the very near future, fighting for my constituents and all Northern Ontarians.

While I appreciate the importance of talking openly about mental health, in the very near term I hope it is understandable that I would like to maintain my privacy.

For more information:

Minister Gravelle announces funding for Kenora

'A true return to prosperity,' says Gravelle

Minister diagnosed with cancer

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