Advertisement

Dominic LeBlanc returns to House of Commons for first time since cancer diagnosis

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau embraces Dominic LeBlanc as he's sworn in as President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada during the swearing in of the new cabinet at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019. .
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau embraces Dominic LeBlanc as he's sworn in as President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada during the swearing in of the new cabinet at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019. . THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Veteran Liberal MP and cabinet minister Dominic LeBlanc took his front-bench seat in the House of Commons on Monday for the first time since he was diagnosed with a form of blood cancer last April.

He easily won re-election in October in his New Brunswick riding of Beausejour, despite being unable to campaign while receiving treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

In November, he wore a mask to attend the swearing-in ceremony for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s new cabinet and he did not show up for a subsequent brief sitting of Parliament in December.

READ MORE: Jordan, LeBlanc among 4 MPs from Atlantic Canada named to federal cabinet

Trudeau named LeBlanc to be president of the Queen’s Privy Council.

As such, LeBlanc has no department to run but he is responsible for the files that used to be handled by the minister of democratic institutions, a position that no longer exists.

Story continues below advertisement

He is also responsible for government interaction with the Senate.

Trudeau unveils new, larger cabinet with 36 ministers
Trudeau unveils new, larger cabinet with 36 ministers

In his mandate letter, Trudeau said he will assign LeBlanc additional duties as his health continues to improve.

Although he was not called upon to speak Monday in the Commons, he could be seen chatting cheerfully with cabinet colleagues during question period.

READ MORE: Dominic LeBlanc discharged from hospital after successful stem cell transplant

Justice Minister David Lametti interrupted his response to an opposition question to welcome LeBlanc back, saying he’s missed the New Brunswicker’s sense of humour.

This is the second time LeBlanc has rebounded from a form of blood cancer. He was diagnosed in April 2017 with chronic lymphocytic leukemia and was declared in “complete remission” by fall 2018.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2020.