ROBERVAL, Que. – Longtime Conservative MP Denis Lebel is quitting politics after nearly 10 years in the House of Commons.
The former cabinet minister made the announcement in his Quebec riding of Lac-Saint-Jean on Monday.
Lebel, 63, has been an MP since September 2007.
“I am a man who doesn’t like half measures but who likes to commit fully,” he told a news conference in Roberval, Que.
“I’ve been in Ottawa for nearly 10 years and I had the impression I’d pretty much reached the objectives I set out.”
His various portfolios under former prime minister Stephen Harper included transport, intergovernmental affairs and infrastructure.
“From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank Mr. Harper, who will go down in history as a great prime minister,” he said.
Lebel will officially step down in the next few weeks and will not be back in the Commons in the fall.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer praised Lebel in a statement for the role he played in the selection of Tory candidates in Quebec in the 2015 general election.
“Thanks to the work Denis did before and during the last campaign, our party had its best performance ever in Quebec, winning 12 seats,” Scheer said.
Meanwhile, Bloc Quebecois Leader Martine Ouellet immediately dismissed the possibility of running in the byelection to replace Lebel.
“It’s important to respect the outlying regions and to have people from these regions who know the areas,” Ouellet said in Ottawa.
“I love Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean but it’s not a region I know very well.”
The former Parti Quebecois member of the legislature is still sitting in the national assembly as an Independent and represents a Montreal-area riding that is about 450 kilometres south of Lebel’s riding.