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.
Almost 30 years in politics
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.
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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.
Foote replaces Frank Fagan as lieutenant-governor, a post of at least five years.