Tory minister Bev Oda stepping down at end of month
Published Tuesday, July 3, 2012 12:48PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 3, 2012 9:52PM EDT
Embattled cabinet minister Bev Oda has announced she will be stepping down as a Member of Parliament for the Ontario riding of Durham.
Oda, who currently serves as the Minister of International Cooperation, publicized her resignation in a message posted to her website on Tuesday afternoon.
She did not, however, specify why she’s decided to leave her post.
“For over eight years, it has been an honor and privilege to have served the constituents in Clarington, Scugog and Uxbridge," Oda’s message read.
Her resignation will take effect on July 31.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper was informed of her decision two weeks ago, according to a statement released by his office thanking Oda for her work.
"Bev has made a significant contribution to her riding, her province and her country since her election to Parliament in 2004,” the statement read.
Harper went on to note Oda’s work as the minister responsible for the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), which co-ordinates the nation’s international aid efforts.
He said that, under Oda’s supervision, Canada has met its commitment to double aid to Africa ahead of schedule. Oda has been at the helm of CIDA through pressing humanitarian disasters such as the Haitian earthquake and ongoing drought and famine in the Horn of Africa.
“On behalf of, and together with her friends and colleagues, Laureen and I offer our best wishes to Bev as she leaves Parliament to move on to other challenges and opportunities,” Harper’s statement concluded.
Oda will leave federal politics with a $52,000-per-year pension for her eight years of service as an MP.
The Conservative minister has been besieged by controversy in recent years, including accusations that she abused the public purse on a trip to London by upgrading her five-star hotel room and purchasing a $16 glass of orange juice.
She has since repaid the cost of the drink as well as the costs associated with switching from one hotel to another.
"I unreservedly apologize," Oda told the House of Commons in response to the spending controversy.
Just over a year ago, opposition MPs were calling for Oda’s resignation after the minister admitted to ordering the alteration of a government funding document.
The maelstrom of criticism revolved around a handwritten “NOT” that was added to an internal memo to reverse a recommendation by officials to fund church-backed aid group Kairos.
Among her detractors at the time was late NDP leader Jack Layton, who referred to her as “unworthy of being a minister.”
Opposition parties welcomed Oda’s departure Tuesday.
“I certainly think she did the right thing,” said NDP MP Peter Julian. “She has gathered a reputation around swanky hotels and the $16 orange juice and limo rides.”
Before entering politics, Oda worked in broadcasting for more than two decades. She experienced both the public and private side of the industry; beginning her career at TV Ontario and eventually being appointed senior Vice-President, Industry Affairs, at CTV.
While in Parliament, Oda has also served as the Opposition critic for Canadian heritage.
With a report from CTV’s Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife