Veterans Affairs Minister Thompson stepping down
ST. STEPHEN, N.B. - Veterans Affairs Minister Greg Thompson has resigned from federal cabinet, saying the time was right for him to step aside.
"I want to leave on a high, not a low. I've seen too many politicians stay too long and I didn't want to do that," Thompson said in an interview Saturday. "It's not an easy decision to reach because I truly enjoyed what I was doing, right up to the last day."
The New Brunswick MP said he has accomplished the things he set out to do and wanted to leave on his own terms.
"I feel good about my track record and I feel good about the decision that I've made. I'm at peace with myself," he said.
Thompson has represented his New Brunswick constituency since 1988, and spent the last four years in cabinet.
He said among his proudest accomplishments in politics is the new Canada -- United States border crossing that opened earlier this month in his hometown of St. Stephen, N.B.
The 62-year-old politician said while he still has energy, the job was tiring -- only getting home twice between October and the Christmas break.
"I was scheduled to go to New Zealand in a couple of weeks...but I wasn't looking forward to it because of the length of these trips and the time that you have to invest into these trips," he said. "I guess I've made too many road trips."
Thompson said he won't run in the next federal election but will represent his southwest New Brunswick riding until the vote is called.
"I'm a happy man and I wanted to leave on good terms with everyone, which I have," he said. "I have deep respect for all of my cabinet colleagues and my friends in the House of Commons on both sides, and I don't have any political enemies that I know of."
Thompson is quick to point out that he was one of only two ministers to hold the same portfolios for the last four years. The other is Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.
There were reports last week that Prime Minister Stephen Harper would shuffle his cabinet, but it was not expected that any of his front-line ministers would be affected.