Environment Minister Peter Kent said today he would "enthusiastically embrace" being a backbench MP if he is shuffled out of cabinet and that he intends to run again in the 2015 federal election.
Kent is the latest member of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's cabinet to signal his intentions, as speculation mounts about who will be in or out of cabinet when Harper makes changes this summer.
The Ontario MP for Thornhill, who turns 70 later this month, said in a message on his Facebook page that he wanted to clarify a few issues, including that he will run for re-election.
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"While it has been a great honour to have served in cabinet, political service does not begin or end in that revered body. Our Conservative caucus has an abundance of talented MPs and it is only appropriate that other, younger men and women should take a turn in cabinet. I will fully support the PM's eventual decisions," Kent wrote.
"If, in the fullness of time and the eventual shuffle, I do find myself a backbench parliamentarian, I will enthusiastically embrace what will be, for me, exciting new challenges," he went on to say.
Kent said he would be able to better devote himself to his constituents and to issues affecting the Greater Toronto Area if he were to lose his cabinet job.
Harper is expected to shuffle his cabinet in the coming weeks and must decide who he wants on the team heading into the next election in 2015.
Several cabinet members have indicated their names should be taken off the list. Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield has cancer and has asked to be left out of cabinet so he can focus on his recovery. Ted Menzies, minister of state for finance, said this week he's not running again, followed by Diane Ablonczy, minister of state for consular affairs, who said she's bowing out of politics in 2015.
It's unlikely Harper will keep them in the cabinet given their intention to leave the Hill after the next election.
Harper lost a member of his cabinet this week with the surprise resignation of Senator Marjory LeBreton, the government leader in the Senate. LeBreton said Thursday that after filling the role for more than seven years she decided to give it up, but will remain a senator. LeBreton has been the government's key spokeswoman on the Senate expenses scandal.