Long-time Liberal MP Dominic LeBlanc is taking a leave of absence from his federal cabinet post as Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade for health reasons.
The New Brunswick MP, who has spent more than 18 years in politics, and whose father served as Governor-General of Canada, revealed Friday he is fighting cancer.
He said a few weeks ago he consulted his doctor following the onset of flu-like symptoms. “After a series of tests, my doctor has diagnosed me with a form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma,” Mr. LeBlanc said in a statement.
Mr. LeBlanc, 51, said he still intends to run in the fall federal election.
“I have begun my treatment and it will last several weeks. Once I have concluded my treatment, I look forward to returning to my role in cabinet,” he said.
In his statement, Mr. LeBlanc included quotes from a New Brunswick physician who explained that non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a treatable condition.
“The minister had a positive response to the initial treatments. Like thousands of Canadians living with cancer, Minister LeBlanc looks forward to going back to work once the treatments are completed,” Nicholas Finn, a hematologist-oncologist at the Dr. Georges-L. Dumont University Hospital Centre in Moncton said.
The Prime Minister’s Office announced that Finance Minister Bill Morneau will assume temporary responsibility for intergovernmental affairs and internal trade.
Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, will temporarily assume responsibilities related to northern affairs.
Mr. Trudeau offered a personal note for Mr. LeBlanc in a statement.
“Dominic, you are a trusted cabinet minister and a close friend – and I’m happy you made the decision to focus on your health and your family during this difficult time. You have our full support, and we look forward to having you back at the cabinet table soon.”