01/16/2012 11:30 EST | Updated 03/17/2012 05:12 EDT

Manitoba junior cabinet minister stepping aside temporarily for treatment

WINNIPEG - A junior cabinet minister from Manitoba is stepping aside temporarily for medical treatment.

Steven Fletcher, who is the federal minister of state for transport, made the announcement in a statement on his website.

Fletcher, who is paralysed from the neck down, says he will soon undergo medical treatment that will require "substantial recovery time."

He didn't explain the nature of his treatment, calling it a personal health matter.

While he thanked the public for support, Fletcher asked that his privacy be respected.

Fletcher says Minister of Transport Denis Lebel will assume his responsibilities until he returns.