(Ottawa) Six months after being expelled from cabinet, former justice minister David Lametti announced his retirement from political life.
Posted at 2:57 p.m.
The Quebec MP informed his group colleagues that he will no longer be with them starting next Thursday, February 1st.
The trained lawyer will join the law firm Fasken Martineau Dumoulin, where he will focus on indigenous law and technology law issues.
“I sincerely believe that my constituents will be better served,” LaSalle-Émard-Verdun’s elected official argued in an interview given before his announcement.
“In some ways it is harder to remain effective as an MP after being a minister,” he adds.
He was minister from January 14, 2019 to July 26, 2023, until Justin Trudeau removed the justice portfolio from him.
This was one of the surprises of this summer reshuffle, which followed a spring of misery for the Liberals.
He still finds it difficult to understand what might have cost him his job, apart from the fact that the prime minister wanted “a change of face for the government”.
Yes, David Lametti met his boss the day before the Musical Chairs game that was to be played at Rideau Hall.
But “it was short,” he says, suppressing a small laugh, and “ [il n’a] never had a specific reason [pour le congédiement] “, he specifies.
“It’s frustrating,” admits the man who was first elected in 2015. “I think my record was one of the best.” I didn't make any mistakes or anything like that. »
The Prime Minister offered David Lametti the position of Canadian Ambassador to Spain. The main person concerned refused.
An assessment and concerns
We sense that the former Minister of Justice and Attorney General wants to defend the results of his years as holder of this department, a “dream” for every lawyer.
“I am very proud. I have passed 13 very important bills,” he argues.
He refers, among other things, to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (C-15) and the reform of mandatory minimum sentences (C-5).
The future of these issues worries the former McGill University law professor, who describes himself as “one of the Liberals' most progressive ministers.”
In the first case, he sees obstacles on the path to reconciliation: “I believe that the commitments will decline for budgetary and political reasons.” »
In the second case, he fears what a Poilievre government would propose under the guise of a law-and-order orientation.
“It frustrates me just talking about it!” This is one of the reasons why I took the plunge into politics; I was angry about the ideological positions of the Harper government,” he said.
The Supreme Court of Canada has struck down a number of these mandatory minimum sentences.
Appointments: Fault of the Prime Minister's Office
However, the Trudeau government was not spared criticism from the country's highest court – particularly its Chief Justice Richard Wagner.
The latter expressed “grave concern” about the shortage of judges in the country in a letter written last May, as first reported by Radio-Canada.
If the letter was addressed to the Prime Minister, David Lametti was also among the recipients.
“The slowdowns didn’t happen in my office. not me [pouvais] don't control what happens [passait] in the Prime Minister’s Office,” he says.
Adjustments have now been made to the appointment process and it will be the job of the new Justice Minister Arif Virani to ensure this.
A part in the coming months
For his part, the outgoing MP for LaSalle-Émard-Verdun will devote himself to his new job in another law firm.
Once the Speaker of the House is informed of the seat's vacancy, the Prime Minister has a maximum of six months to call a by-election.
In the last three elections, David Lametti won decisive victories with more than 40% of the vote.
Before him (and a redistribution), however, voters had been swept along by the orange wave of 2011.
Could the race change hands and cause Justin Trudeau to suffer a setback like his Quebec counterpart François Legault suffered in Jean-Talon?
“We’ll see,” replies the outgoing Liberal MP. This is a very dynamic constituency and there will be no shortage of candidates. »
However, we're not there yet: According to poll aggregator 338Canada, the Liberals' chances of winning were 99% as of January 7, 2024.