Happy with MacKay’s appointment as justice minister
Cumberland Colchester Musquodoboit Valley MP Scott Armstrong
AMHERST – Cumberland Colchester Musquodoboit Valley MP Scott Armstrong is not disappointed he didn’t receive a call to join the federal cabinet.
Instead, he’s thrilled the county’s new justice minister lives next door.
Peter MacKay was switched from the national defence portfolio to justice as part of the anticipated cabinet shuffle announced Monday by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Armstrong said he has always enjoyed a strong working relationship with MacKay when he was the minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and national defence.
“I’m really happy to see Peter has been moved to justice. On a personal level, he has a young family and won’t have to travel as much. It’s been a long time since he’s had a domestic portfolio. I’m also happy because being on the justice committee, having that relationship with the minister will be very opportunistic for me as well,” Armstrong said Monday. “I spend a lot of time working on justice issues and having the minister as my neighbour gives me another avenue in which I can help focus on crime.”
Armstrong said he has spent considerable time working on justice issues such as victims’ rights and bullying. He suggested it will be good to have the minister’s ear on these and other justice issues.
The prime minister added several new faces to his cabinet, while dropping several other retiring MPs and changing a number of key portfolios. MacKay moves from national defence to justice while Gail Shea, who was instrumental in getting federal funding for repairs to the seawall in Advocate Harbour, moves back to fisheries from revenue.
Armstrong said he never expected to be called to cabinet, saying he enjoys his job as the Atlantic caucus chairman. The MP said there is only so much space at the cabinet table and with 13 MPs in the Atlantic region there really is really only room for one Nova Scotian cabinet minister.
“With Peter being here the writing is on the wall that we’re not going to get anymore than one cabinet minister anytime soon. The reason for this shuffle was to improve the gender balance and I think he made a strong move toward that,” Armstrong said.
“Running for politics just to get in cabinet was not my focus. My goal when I first ran was to represent the riding in Ottawa and do my best coming out of the recession to deliver as much infrastructure dollars here so we could survive the recession as best as we could.”
Armstrong said he’s happy with the return to cabinet of New Brunswick MP Rob Moore