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'No regrets' MP Judy Foote says about leaving politics

GLOVERTOWN, N.L. — After a political career spanning 28 years – 21 as a politician – Bonavista-Burin-Trinity M.P. Judy Foote has entered her final weeks as a politician.

And she has “no regrets” about her decision to retire.  

Considered to be the most powerful female politician in the province’s history, and having battled through two bouts of cancer, Foote will retire when Parliament resumes later this month.  

Foote is retiring to spend more time with her family. While stating she is cancer free, Foote has talked about a genetic predisposition for cancer in her family and alluded to family health issues.

During a recent visit to Glovertown for a funding announcement, Foote said it was one of several stops she has wanted to make before leaving politics.  

She has 240 communities within her riding.

“I’m going to try and spend as much time as possible in the riding, as I’ve always done as an MHA or Member of Parliament,” Foote said. “I did a fair bit this summer in anticipation of an announcement coming, although no decision was made until the last couple of weeks.”  

She said the visit was an opportunity to say thank-you to the people of the area, something that will continue throughout her travels.

“It’s so important to say thank-you …  the people I have represented over the last 20 years have been so kind since the announcement,” she said. “And that’s always rewarding, because it sends the right message that you did what was expected as a representative.”  

Her retirement is looking to be a bittersweet moment, as her position afforded her an opportunity to help those in need.

“I love being able to make a difference in the life of an individual who, without my help or the help of those who work with me, wouldn’t know where to turn. That’s always been my objective,” she said.   

“It’s going to be difficult to step away … I’m dealing with that only because I love what I do so much.

“But I love my family more. It’s important that I now spend time with them and that’s what I’m doing.”

Foote Timeline

A few highlights from MP Judy Foote’s political career:

Feb. 22, 1996: After previously working as a television reporter, and as director of communications for Premier Clyde Wells, Foote was first elected to the House of Assembly in the district of Grand Bank in 1996.

March 14, 1996: Less than a month after first being elected, Foote was appointed to cabinet as minister of Development and Rural Renewal in the government of premier Brian Tobin. Foote would go on to serve variously as minister of Industry, Trade and Technology; Education; and Industry, Trade and Rural Development.

Oct. 14, 2008: After winning re-election in 1999 and 2003, Foote announced she would not seek re-election in the 2007 provincial election. Instead, she set her sights on the federal riding of Random-Burin-St. George’s, and on Oct. 14, 2008, Foote won a seat in the House of Commons. 

Sept. 8, 2010: After the Liberals got a drubbing in the 2010 federal election, Foote was named deputy house leader.

May 30, 2011: Foote was appointed Liberal caucus whip. In that role, she was responsible for investigating and handling the controversial situation of two Liberal MPs expelled from caucus by leader Justin Trudeau — Quebec MP Massimo Pacetti and Newfoundland MP Scott Andrews.

Nov. 4, 2015: After the Liberals won government in the 2015 general election, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed Foote as minister of Public Services and Procurement. In that role, she was tasked with government procurement, and handling the messy situation of civil servants not getting paid due to problems with the Phoenix payroll system. Foote was also appointed to the “Agenda and Results” cabinet committee, the inner circle of the Liberal government. In the House of Commons, she was seated directly beside the prime minister.

Aug. 24, 2017: Foote announces her retirement from politics, saying she is ready to spend more time with her family.

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