Deputy Conservative leader Denis Lebel leaving federal politics
Quebec politician served as minister in various portfolios under Stephen Harper
After a decade in Ottawa, Deputy Conservative Party leader Denis Lebel is leaving federal politics.
The 63-year-old MP for the Quebec riding of Lac-Saint-Jean made the announcement in Roberval Monday morning, saying it was not an easy decision to make.
Calling it an "honour" to serve, Lebel said he will take a couple of weeks to wrap up his work, but will not return to Parliament Hill in the fall.
"I met extraordinary people, people who worked with us, people who left us," he said.
Lebel praised former prime minister Stephen Harper and his interim successor Rona Ambrose for leaving the party in good hands with Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer.
"I have confidence in the future of this party," he said.
In a statement, Scheer credited Lebel for boosting the party's popularity in Quebec.
"Among all the responsibilities of a politician, I know what Denis liked best was to be able to meet Quebecers from across the province," he said.
"Thanks to Denis' work before and during the last election, our party achieved historic results by electing 12 Conservative MPs in Quebec. We have a strong team in Quebec that plays a key role within our national caucus."
Lebel, the former mayor of Roberval, was first elected to the Canadian House of Commons in 2007.
He was appointed by Harper as minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec. He was promoted to transport minister in 2011 but shuffled out shortly after the Lac-Megantic train disaster.
Lebel was Harper's Quebec lieutenant and served as minister of infrastructure, communities and intergovernmental affairs.
With files from Kalina Laframboise