01/09/2012 08:13 EST | Updated 03/10/2012 05:12 EST

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Recovering After Hospital Stay


Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Minister John Duncan is said to be recovering after he was hospitalized for complications stemming from his 2010 heart valve replacement surgery.

A government source told CBC News that Duncan is out of hospital, in good spirits and expected to make a full recovery. He underwent the valve replacement surgery on Dec. 14, 2010, for a congenital heart defect.

Duncan is still engaged in his files and looking forward to participating in the Crown-First Nations Gathering — which will include Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo — later this month, the source said.

Duncan has been in the spotlight lately amid the government's handling of the housing issues in the northern Ontario community of Attawapiskat.

A state of emergency was declared Oct. 28 by the chief of the community near the shore of James Bay. Political leaders and ordinary citizens across Canada were troubled by video footage of families, including young children, living in decrepit shacks or previously condemned homes without adequate heating or running water. Other residents in the isolated community of 1,800 live in crowded trailers resembling shipping crates, originally intended to be only temporary homes for displaced families.

Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Spence recently fired off a lengthy letter denying an accusation made by Duncan that her council is refusing to release information that a government-appointed third-party manager needs to begin paying the community's bills.