OTTAWA – Judy Foote is expected to announce her resignation from the federal Cabinet on Thursday.
The Newfoundland and Labrador MP has been on an indefinite leave of absence from the massive Public Works and Government Services department since April due to family health issues.
According to insiders, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to publicly discuss the matter, Foote is also expected to announce that she will resign as an MP later this year.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is not expected to immediately name a replacement for Foote, whose portfolio has been overseen on an interim basis by Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr.
But insiders say the portfolio—one of the most onerous with a huge array of responsibilities, including resolving the fiasco over the Phoenix pay system, which has resulted in public servants being overpaid, underpaid or not paid at all—will go to an experienced minister, necessitating a small shuffle of the current Cabinet lineup.
As well, Trudeau is expected to award rookie Liberal MP Seamus O’Regan with a junior Cabinet post in order to ensure Newfoundland and Labrador retains its representation around the Cabinet table.
O’Regan is a personal friend of Trudeau’s. He and his partner were among the friends who accompanied Trudeau on a controversial family vacation last Christmas to the private Bahamian island owned by the Aga Khan, a billionaire philanthropist and spiritual leader of the world’s Ismaili Muslims.
The previous Christmas, O’Regan spent the holidays in a “wellness centre” where he received treatment for alcoholism. The former host of CTV’s Canada AM has openly discussed his struggles with alcoholism and mental illness.
Insiders say Trudeau may also appoint a new female MP to Cabinet to retain gender parity among his ministers.