Nfld. & Labrador

'My time will be their time': Judy Foote resigns from federal cabinet, to leave as MP in September

Foote has been on leave since April and said Thursday that she cannot put family first and represent her constituents and do cabinet work at the same time.

After 20 years in elected politics, Foote announced she is leaving to spend more time with family

An emotional Judy Foote is flanked by her family, as she officially announces she is resigning from cabinet, and will resign as MP in September. (Terry Roberts/CBC)

Longtime Newfoundland and Labrador politician Judy Foote has resigned as federal cabinet minister effective immediately.

She made the announcement, flanked by family, in a news conference in St. John's Thursday.

In September, shortly after the House of Commons resumes, Foote will step down as member of Parliament.

"While I had hoped to return to continue my responsibilities, I have made the decision to stay at home, close to my family," Foote said.

"While this decision means leaving two jobs that I love … to make a difference in our province and our country, it is necessary at this time to make the right decision for all affected, especially my family."

Seamus O'Regan, Gudie Hutchings, Judy Foote, Ken McDonald, Yvonne Jones, and Scott Simms. All of Newfoundland and Labrador's MPs, except Nick Whalen, who was away for meetings, arrived for Foote's resignation announcement in St. John's Aug. 24.

Foote, who was first elected federally as the member of Parliament for Random-Burin-St. George's in 2008 and re-elected in 2011, has been on leave from her post as public services and procurement minister since April, when she stepped away for personal reasons.

She said it would not be in the best interest of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador to remain on leave indefinitely, adding the province needs representation in cabinet. 

Foote thanked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for his understanding of her decision.

"He really does have a soft spot for Newfoundland and Labrador," she said.

During the announcement of her resignation, Foote mentioned her two bouts with cancer but said she is, as far as she knows, cancer-free.

She said she has the BRCA gene, which is hereditary and can lead to several types of cancer, and that also has impacted her children. 

"When it hits your children, it's a totally different ball game," she said. 

"We have been dealing with a circumstance that regrettably we wish we didn't have to. But having said that, all is well, and my children are well."

Judy Foote announces her resignation from the federal government to spend time with her family after 28 years in politics. 2:38

Foote said she has no regrets during her 28-year career, 20 of which were in elected politics, and that her family has never asked her to quit, despite her acknowledgment that her job kept her from spending time at home with those she loves.

"[My family] at no time ever suggested that I should give up jobs that I love, the life that I love, but more than the jobs and the life, I love my family," she said.

"My time will be their time."

Political future?

Despite saying she was addicted to political life, Foote said she is "not even considering" staying in the political arena, and that this decision is to spend time with her family. 

When asked about rumours she may be the province's next lieutenant-governor, she said she hasn't "even gone there."

"We are doing what we need to do as a family. We're going to let things unfold as they should, being there for each other, spending time together," she said.

"I want to be here on the ground with them, in the event that we find ourselves in a situation where we need to be together."

Foote said her replacement is solely the decision of the prime minister, but acknowledged the six members of Parliament from Newfoundland and Labrador are "incredible," "dedicated" and "committed," adding it would be a pleasure to see any one of them as a cabinet minister.

Cabinet is meeting in the province next month.

"I have no regrets … this is a happy day," she said.