Scott Brison is coming off a political career that loves spending more time with a beloved family that politics has made possible.
After 22 years representing Kings-Hants' Nova Scotia carmaker – initially as Conservative Progressive MP before jumping to the liberals in 2003 – Brison told the Canadian press that it's time to change. He decided not to seek re-election this fall.
He is not sure whether he will remain a Liberal parliamentarian until the Oct. 21 vote but will soon resign from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's cabinet, where he is chairman of the Treasury Board.
"I told the prime minister that I am not running again, but I also told him that I want to relinquish my cabinet responsibilities in a timely manner and support the transition to a new minister," Brison said in an interview. "My personal opinion is that the prime minister and the government are better served by the ministers who will be running in the next elections."
He said he is announcing his decision now to give the liberals in their mount time for a nomination contest to choose who will carry the party's flag in the upcoming elections.
Brison's departure will trigger at least a small cabinet scramble, though there is speculation that Trudeau will make major changes to his bench next week to put him in combat for the Oct. 21 vote.
In a time of growing cynicism about politics, Brison is passionate about his ability to make a difference in people's lives.
"I believe now more than ever that government is important, that Members of Parliament are important and that politics matters. There is no work area where you can make more difference in people's lives, "he said.
So why retire from the political quarrel he so evidently loves? He offered three reasons.
"They say life starts at age 50. Well, I'm 51 and ready for new challenges," he said, adding that he will likely return to business, where he worked as an investment banker.
In addition, he said he wants to leave when he is "at the top" of his political career, without waiting to be taken "in a body bag or in the air."
But most of all, he said the decision is over – and was made along with – his family, husband Maxime St. Pierre and their four-year-old twin daughters, Rose and Claire.
"I think Max, Rose and Claire, to me, are miracles."
Brison made history as the prime minister of Canada's openly gay federal government and again as the first federal politician to marry his same-sex partner. However, homosexuality was not legal in Canada until two years after it was born.
"I spent the first two years of my life destined for a life of criminality," he joked.
But Brison became emotional in reflecting on the transformation of homosexual rights since the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was consolidated in the Constitution of Canada in 1982 and his part in subsequent debates that resulted in equality for same-sex couples.
"When I realized I was gay, when I totally accepted that I was gay, I thought my life, I thought it would be very compromised," Brison said, his voice catching as he struggled to hold back tears.
"I thought accepting the fact of being gay would mean, among other things, that I would not be able to enter public life or successfully accomplish the kinds of things I wanted to do. I thought this would mean that I would never have a spouse or children.
"I feel very lucky to have been able to be part of the changing history … during a time when these decisions were made that really made a difference not only in the lives of Canadians, but made a direct difference to My life."
And those decisions, he emphasized, were made by politicians, highlighting their belief that "politics matters, government issues, leadership issues and good people can make a big difference in public life."
For his part, Brison believes he was able to make a difference in each of the seven mandates that the people of Kings-Hants gave him, whether as an opposition parliamentarian in the "nosebleeds" of the House of Commons or in front bank in the governments of Paul Martin and now Trudeau.
He denied that his decision to leave the policy was in any way related to the current controversy over his role in suspending Vice Adm. Mark Norman, the Army's second in command who was accused of leaking cabinet secrets. Brison is expected to be an important witness when the case goes to trial in August – just weeks before the official start of this year's election campaign.
"If this problem had never happened, I would make the same decision I am taking now," he said, refusing to discuss matters that are now before the court.
Brison admitted to putting pressure on the newly founded Trudeau government in 2015 to suspend a $ 700 million plan to build a new supply vessel, a move that RCMP claims has led Norman to reveal secrets to Davie's shipbuilding in Quebec to pressure the Liberals to resume the operation. project.
But he told the House of Commons that he was simply doing his job as chairman of the Treasury Board, the public treasurer, to make sure the taxpayers had a good value for the ship's contract.
Brison also denied the allegations made by Norman's lawyers and echoed by opposition parliamentarians who lobbied on behalf of Irving Shipbuilding, who wanted the Liberals to cancel the deal with Davie and hire Irving to fill the supply post.