Kings-Hants MP Scott Brison stepping down from cabinet, won’t seek re-election

Longtime Nova Scotia MP Scott Brison says he won’t run for re-election this year and is stepping down from cabinet.

Brison, who sits at the cabinet table as president of the Treasury Board of Canada, made the announcement online Thursday morning.

His departure leaves an opening at the cabinet table and the Prime Minister’s Office says changes will be announced on Monday.

After 22 years in politics, the father of twins said he’s looking forward to spending more time with his young family.

Brison first won the Kings—Hants seat in 1997 as a Progressive Conservative before crossing the floor in 2003, and has held cabinet portfolios in the Liberal governments of Paul Martin and Justin Trudeau. 

In an open letter to his constituents, Brison said it’s “been the highest honour of my life to serve you as member of Parliament for almost 22 years.”

“You’ve stuck with me through thick and thin, the good times and the tough ones. What a trip we’ve had together,” he wrote.

“Two political parties. Seven elections. You stood with me in December 2002, when I came out … and in December 2003, when I came out again — this time as a Liberal.”

Role in Norman case questioned

In recent months, he’s had to dodge questions about his role in the Vice-Admiral Mark Norman affair.

Norman is accused of leaking cabinet secrets to executives at the Davie shipyard, in Levis, Que., in the run-up to the signing of a $668-million lease contract for a temporary navy supply ship.

Brison, 51, has been hammered in the House of Commons over what contacts he may have had with Irving Shipbuilding of Halifax prior to a key cabinet committee meeting at the heart of the criminal case against the former commander of the navy.

He’s maintained his only engagement with Irving Shipbuilding during the period in question was being copied on a letter the company sent to four cabinet ministers extolling the virtues of their proposal.

Brison also told the House of Commons that his objection to the project related only to his job as Treasury Board president.

Brison, along with Environment Minister Catherine McKenna and former Conservative defence minister Peter MacKay, are all on the Crown’s witness list and could be called to testify.

The trial will not get underway until August — just before the next federal election campaign kicks off.

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