Top News

Longest-serving MP, P.E.I.'s Lawrence MacAulay, not giving any thought to retiring

Cardigan MP Lawrence MacAulay was named Wednesday as Canada’s minister of veterans affairs and associate minister of national defence, retaining the posts he held going into October’s federal election.
Cardigan MP Lawrence MacAulay - SaltWire File Photo

Lawrence MacAulay says there is plenty of gas left in the tank as he prepares to tackle the job of minister of Veterans Affairs in his 10th consecutive term in Ottawa as a member of Parliament.

“Look, I’m 73 years old,’’ he told The Guardian in a telephone interview Thursday. 

“I feel great, quite honestly. I like to work. Quite simply, I enjoy the job.’’

MacAulay says he has not given any thought as to whether he will run again.

He says he has successfully thrown his hat into the ring federal election after federal election because he relishes the job.

“You do this job because you want to do it,’’ says MacAulay, who for years earned a living farming on P.E.I.

“All things come to an end sometime … I never thought I would not be milking cows. I never thought I would not be growing potatoes.’’

MacAulay, who has represented the riding of Cardigan since 1988, says the most enjoyable part of his job is constituency work.

However, he knows many will be judging him on how he fares handling the Veterans Affairs portfolio.

One key factor will be how long he holds the post.

MacAulay was the fifth Veterans Affairs minister in two years and the ninth since 2010 when he was given the nod in a cabinet shuffle in late February.

He held the job for a handful of months before hitting the campaign trail and waltzing to victory in October by more than 4,000 votes. Now Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has once again put him in the same role along with being associate minister of National Defence.

“All things come to an end sometime … I never thought I would not be milking cows. I never thought I would not be growing potatoes.’’

- Lawrence MacAulay

MacAulay hopes to stick around in the post longer than his many recent predecessors.

“Oh, I think stability in any department is important and that is what the prime minister wants,’’ he says.

He says improving wait times for veterans’ services and making sure veterans are fully aware of what is available to them are priorities under his command.

He also wants the transition out of the military to be smooth for Canada’s soldiers.

“Society needs these people,’’ he says.

“We want to make sure they are ready for industry or whatever is required to make a living for themselves.’’

MacAulay does not sound unsettled at the prospect of being in a Liberal minority government in need of negotiating political alliances with the NDP or the Bloc Québécois to maintain power.

“I have been in a number of minority situations in my career,’’ he says.

“Anything can happen but without a question you deal with everybody in the house, you present policies that the country wants and implement.’’

Recent Stories