The Southern Gazette caught up with Minister Judy Foote during an event in Marystown this week.
©Colin Farrell/The Southern Gazette
MARYSTOWN, NL — Judy Foote says her family has been going through some difficult times recently dealing with the illness of a family member.
Foote, who is Member of Parliament for Bonavista-Burin-Trinity and Minister of Public Services and Procurement, took a leave of absence in April for family reasons.
“When family is involved, when sickness is involved then of course it takes its toll,” Foote told The Southern Gazette this week.
“As a parent you can be sick and you get through it, but when it’s your children than it’s much more difficult. It was important to me to be close to home, I don’t go anywhere that I can’t get back from quickly, so I can be with my daughter, but we’re taking it one day at a time.”
Lately, Foote has been making some local appearances but said she plans to stay close to home.
“My focus is on my family, and it has to be,” said Foote. “My family will always be my priority.”
When Foote took her leave of absence, many of her constituents wondered if her own health was the reason.
Foote has battled cancer before.
That’s not the case now, however.
“I really respect the people that I represent (and) a lot of them were concerned that maybe my health was an issue. So it was import for them to see me being healthy and I wanted to do that,” she said of her latest public appearances.
She added the events she chooses to attend are always close to home, “So I can always get back, if my daughter needs me . . . I’m there.”
Foote said that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau himself is very much a family man.
He “understands how important it is to be with your family when the need arises and in fact encourages all of his colleagues in the Liberal party to put your family first, and I’ve done that.”
Foote added her family has always shown her great support when it comes to her political life and it was important to her to show them the same support in return.
“I’ve been involved in political life for 27 years; 20 years as an elected politician with nine years now in Ottawa.”
As a provincial politician, she said, it’s possible to remain close to your home and family, whereas being a politician in Ottawa — and a federal minister — means juggling travel, official assignments and time differences.
She said she thoroughly enjoys what she does, adding her family have been very supportive during those 27 years “in the crazy lifestyle that I lead, a lifestyle that I love.
“I can never put my work ahead of my family.”
She added while she stays close to home, her family also understands her desire to get out and show her thanks to the people of the province.
“I’m not doing a lot, but it’s Canada 150 and a lot of people have put a lot of volunteer efforts into some of the events, and . . . it’s important to say thank you to volunteers… because without them a lot of these events would not be possible.”
Meanwhile, it’s still family first for Foote.
“They also know that if I get a call saying, ‘Mom, I need you,’ I’m there.”