Canada's defence minister says he has given up drinking, after an airline refused to let him board a plane because he had too much to drink.

John McCallum says he was barred from the Toronto-to-Ottawa Air Canada flight by a check-in agent earlier this month.

Won't seek treatment

McCallum says he doesn't have a drinking problem and won't seek treatment.

But he says the incident made him realize that drinking can be potentially embarrassing for his family and the government.

"I've decided to have zero alcohol consumption," he said.

The minister says he stopped drinking six days ago, "and I feel great."

McCallum says his next challenge will be to quit smoking and lose weight.