Nfld. & Labrador

Judy Foote to announce resignation from federal cabinet on Thursday

Foote will resign from duties as MP later this year

Posted: August 23, 2017
Last Updated: August 23, 2017

Public Services and Procurement Minister Judy Foote will resign from her post on Thursday. (CBC)

Judy Foote will announce her resignation from duties as a cabinet minister on Thursday.

The longtime Newfoundland and Labrador politician has been on leave from her post as public services minister since April, when she stepped away for personal reasons.

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Sources tell CBC News Foote will announce her permanent departure at a news conference on Thursday in St. John's. She will also announce she will step away from her duties as a Member of Parliament later this year.

The announcement is expected to come at 12:30 p.m. NT at the Signal Hill information centre.

Foote began telling political supporters and close associates of her decision on Wednesday.

A senior government official tells CBC News there will be a Newfoundland and Labrador minister in place before the federal cabinet meets in St. John's in September.

Foote was first elected to the House of Commons in 2008 and was re-elected in 2011 and 2015 for the riding of Bonavista-Burin-Trinity.

Term marked by popularity, power and Phoenix

She took the last election with 82 per cent of the vote — the highest total of any candidate in the country.

But her popularity in her home district did not protect her from taking a hit when her department rolled out the Phoenix payroll system to 120,000 federal employees when it was not ready.

Newfoundland and Labrador MP Judy Foote was close to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — literally. The two shared a desk. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

After its launch in February 2016, more than 80,000 public servants found themselves with pay problems — most were underpaid, while some were overpaid or not paid at all.

At home, however, Foote was known for her power and influence within the province.

"Without her we'd be screwed," a provincial Liberal delegate told a CBC News reporter at a party meeting last fall.

'The only minister I know is the one at my church.' - Judy Foote

​Foote was seen as being clutch in extending the federal loan guarantee to the Muskrat Falls project, saving the province millions in interest payments.

Foote said she hated the word "minister," and said she and Premier Dwight Ball worked as a team.

"The only minister I know is the one at my church," she once said.

Throughout her time as minister, Foote spoke with Ball on the phone every Sunday.

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball was a close colleague of Judy Foote, working together to secure funding for the province. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

Foote's influence in Ottawa was no doubt seen most visibly by her position in Parliament — literally at the right hand of Justin Trudeau in the House of Commons. The two were deskmates.

In her role as public services minister, she helped lock down $100 million in federal funding for Memorial University's new core sciences building. She also announced a break on a federal loan, allowing the province to reduce its deficit reduction levy for low-income earners.

'We want more than our fair share.' - Judy Foote

At the provincial Liberal meeting in November, Foote made an effort to affirm herself as a fighter for the province.

"We don't just want our fair share," she told the delegates. "We want more than our fair share, we've been in the wilderness for 10 years, so bring it on."

With files from David Cochrane and Peter Cowan