June 1, 2016 / 12:42 AM / 4 years ago

Canadian fisheries minister resigns to deal with addiction

Canada's Fisheries and Oceans Minister Hunter Tootoo speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada, January 25, 2016. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian Cabinet minister Hunter Tootoo, who was in charge of fisheries, oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, resigned on Tuesday to seek treatment for addiction issues.

Tootoo, 52, became the first minister to quit Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Cabinet since his Liberal government took power last autumn.

Tootoo, a member of Parliament for the sparsely populated northern territory of Nunavut, said he resigned his Cabinet post and would also be stepping down as a member of the Liberal caucus “in order to not distract from the important work of my colleagues.”

“I have decided to seek treatment for addiction issues and ask for privacy at this time,” Tootoo said in a statement.

He did not specify the type of addiction.

Trudeau said in a brief statement announcing the resignation that Dominic Leblanc would assume Tootoo’s responsibilities while maintaining his role as government house leader.

Reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottawa; Writing and additional reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Calgary; Editing by Peter Cooney

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