TORONTO – Ontario’s minister of northern development and mines is temporarily stepping aside as he deals with depression.
Michael Gravelle said his doctor diagnosed him last year.
“Over the past months I have been struggling with a feeling of uneasiness that I have not been able to shake,” Gravelle said Monday in a statement. “It has become clear to me that it will take some time, effort, treatment and understanding to properly address this illness.”
Premier Kathleen Wynne lauded Gravelle for his bravery.
“It takes great courage to speak publicly about mental health challenges,” she said in a statement. “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.”
Municipal Affairs Minister Bill Mauro will temporarily take over at northern development and mines, while keeping his current responsibilities.
Gravelle’s legislative colleagues from all three parties wished him well on Twitter.
“The struggle of those living with depression is very real, and requires tremendous courage, patience and hope,” wrote Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown. “I am offering my full support and understanding to @MichaelGravelle as he conquers this disease.”
Progressive Conservative Lisa MacLeod, who has also spoken publicly about battling depression, called Gravelle “one of the good ones.”
“By sharing his struggle with depression he will help many people, including at Queen’s Park, since politicians and our staff are not immune to mental illness,” she wrote. “Michael will find out he has people rooting for him across Ontario, the political spectrum and in his own community.”
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath also wished him well.
“Takes tremendous courage to speak publicly about mental illness,” she wrote.
Gravelle said that while he understands the importance of talking openly about mental health, he is asking for privacy for now.
The Thunder Bay-Superior North MPP was first elected in 1995 and has been the minister of northern development and mines since 2007, except for a period from October 2011 to February 2013, when he was minister of natural resources.