Newfoundland and Labrador's new federal minister says he went on an emotional roller coaster ride in Ottawa Wednesday – from being trapped in an elevator to being deeply moved by memories of his grandfather.
Peter Penashue, Labrador MP and Intergovernmental Affairs Minister, said the mechanical problem came about an hour before the swearing-in ceremony.
"I had to run down and get my shoes in another building where they were being stretched (laughter) and as I came back up to my room in the elevator, it got stuck. Honest to God, I was in that elevator for about 45 minutes all by myself. They were trying to get me out and time was ticking," said Penashue in an interview with CBC Radio's Labrador Morning Show.
"Once I finally got out, I thought everything that will go wrong has happened now so it will be smooth sailing from here."
'I put him [my grandfather] through so much grief,'—Peter Penashue
Penashue said that once he made his way to the swearing-in ceremony at Rideau Hall, his mind turned to his ancestors.
"I was real proud and I was particularly proud when I thought of my grandfather Matthew," said Penashue, his voice thickening with emotion.
"I put him through so much grief in my younger days when I was drinking hard and he was so worried about me and always encouraged me to change. I was worried that I was going to be too emotional so I had to clear my mind. He would have been so proud."
Penashue said he now has more responsibility than he expected when he decided to run.
"I went into federal politics for a regular MP job and when the dust settled was the only one standing for the [Federal] Conservatives in Newfoundland and Labrador, which meant that I had additional responsibilities," said Penashue who won his seat on May 2 by fewer than 100 votes.
He defeated former Liberal Labrador MP Todd Russell.
"Now I'm a federal minister and the minister for the region. It would have been easier to be just a regular MP, there is no question about that, but for me failure was never an option."