Liberal MP and former justice minister David Lametti has resigned his seat and is leaving politics.
Lametti’s departure, effective at the end of the month, underscores ongoing turmoil within the Liberal party.
Lametti was appointed Minister of Justice following Jody Wilson-Raybold’s removal amid the SNC-Lavalin scandal.
“The last six months have been very difficult,” said Lametti in French, according to Radio-Canada. “It’s a decision that belongs to the Prime Minister, but it’s still hard to accept,” he said, in reference to his removal from cabinet in a shuffle last year.
The MP for LaSalle–Émard–Verdun said that he believes his departure will leave his constituents better served.
Lametti wrote a letter to his constituents, which was obtained by Radio-Canada.
“It is therefore with a certain sadness that I am leaving my dream job,” he wrote in the letter. “I have continued to do my best to fulfill my duties as an MP. It’s been a difficult time on a personal level.”
Last summer’s cabinet reshuffle led to the removal of seven ministers, including Lametti and former public service minister Marco Mendicino. Since then, five of these ministers have announced their retirement from politics.
The exact reasons for Lametti’s removal remain unclear to him, aside from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wanting “a change of the face of government,” according to La Presse.
“It’s frustrating,” said Lametti. “I think my record was among the best. I didn’t make any blunders, nothing of the sort.”
However, Lametti said that his sadness of leaving the public sphere is slowly being replaced by renewed optimism and energy.
He is transitioning to a role at the law firm Fasken, having been brought on board by Perry Bellegarde, the former Grand Chief of the Assembly of First Nations. In this new capacity, he will focus on consulting in areas related to aboriginal and technology law.
Lametti was one of the longest-serving ministers of justice, holding the position for four and a half years.
During Lametti’s tenure, he pushed through 13 bills, of which he said he’s proud.
Lametti led efforts in overhauling MAID laws, implementing a ban on so-called conversion therapy, instituting compulsory training for judges on sexual assault cases, and facilitating the enactment of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.
Another bill tabled by Lametti is still making its way through committee. The bill is to establish an independent commission to deal formally with wrongful convictions.
Lametti was the justice minister during the height of the pandemic and during the invocation of the Emergencies Act. His resignation was announced two days after the Federal Court deemed Trudeau’s use of the Emergencies Act unreasonable and unconstitutional. Citing solicitor-client privilege, Lametti refused to disclose the legal advice he provided to the government justifying the Emergencies Act, in testimony before the Public Order Emergency Commission.
Trudeau will have up to six months to call a byelection to replace Lametti.
In the last three elections, Lametti won decisive victories with over 40% of the vote.
Based on 338Canada’s projection from Jan. 21, the Liberals have a greater than 99% chance of winning the LaSalle–Émard–Verdun riding.