Judy Foote named lieutenant-governor of Newfoundland and Labrador
Public Works Minister Judy Foote addresses a news conference in St.John's, N.L. as her husband Howard looks on, in this photo taken on on Thursday, Aug.24, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Gerry Boland
The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, March 20, 2018 8:16AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, March 20, 2018 10:06AM EDT
OTTAWA -- Long-time Liberal MP Judy Foote has been named lieutenant-governor of Newfoundland and Labrador, months after leaving politics to focus on her family and her health.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the appointment Tuesday, making Foote the first woman to serve as the Queen's representative in the province.
"Judy has dedicated her career to public service and making a meaningful difference in the lives of Canadians," he said in a statement.
"Her work ethic and strength of character make her the perfect choice to be the new lieutenant-governor for Newfoundland and Labrador. I know she will continue to serve with passion and commitment, and make important contributions to the future of her province and the country."
The veteran politician stepped down from politics last year after treatment for breast cancer, twice surviving the disease. But she revealed last summer that she inherited the cancer-causing BRCA2 gene and testing showed she passed it on to her two adult daughters and a son.
At an emotional news conference attended by her children and four grandchildren last August, Foote said the revelation put things in perspective for her and her family.
"I love my family ... It's my decision to be with them, where I need to be and where they need me to be," she told reporters in St. John's.
At the time, she said retiring from politics had seemed "far away" last April when she took a leave of absence from the Public Works and Government Services Department. But Foote said the idea firmed up over the summer as the resumption of Parliament last September loomed closer and she contemplated flying to Ottawa every Sunday, returning every Thursday or Friday and spending every weekend driving around the riding.
Foote has spent 28 years in politics -- eight as communications director for former premier Clyde Wells, 11 as a member of the provincial house of assembly and nine years as an MP.
She was elected as an MP in 2008 and in the 2015 election, won almost 82 per cent of the vote in her Bonavista-Burin-Trinity riding -- the highest vote share in the country. She was then named minister of public services and procurement.
Foote was also responsible for the review of Canada Post's decision to end home mail delivery and the government's massive shipbuilding program.
She stickhandled an unprecedented, confidential inquiry into complaints by two female New Democrat MPs that they'd been sexually harassed by two male Liberal MPs.
Born in Grand Bank, Foote served as minister in several provincial portfolios, including the departments of Development and Rural Renewal, Industry, Trade and Technology, and Education.
"Ms. Foote has ... long been an activist for social and economic change in Newfoundland and Labrador," Premier Dwight Ball said in a statement.
"As a friend and former colleague, I am tremendously proud to see Ms. Foote appointed as the first female lieutenant governor of this province. She is, and will continue to be, a role model to many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians."
Foote replaces Frank Fagan as lieutenant-governor, a post of at least five years.
.@judy_foote has dedicated her life to public service and making a real difference in the lives of Canadians. I know she’ll continue to serve with passion & commitment in her new role as Lieutenant Governor for Newfoundland and Labrador: https://t.co/pWLD2U3Ccg— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) March 20, 2018