Former cabinet minister Marc Garneau resigning from House of Commons

Former cabinet minister Marc Garneau resigning from House of Commons

Marc Garneau, a former cabinet minister and astronaut, is resigning his seat in the House of Commons, Radio-Canada confirmed Wednesday.

The National Post was the first to report the story.

Garneau, 74, has represented the Quebec riding of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce–Westmount, formerly Westmount–Ville-Marie, as a Liberal since 2008. He served as minister of transport in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government from 2015 to 2021, and then as minister of foreign affairs from January 2021 to October 2021.

WATCH | Marc Garneau delivers farewell speech in House of Commons

During his farewell speech in the House of Commons, Garneau thanked his family, colleagues, staff, civil servants and parliamentary employees.

He reflected on his time in politics and challenged younger Canadians to safeguard democracy.

"Nothing is perfect in this world but I like to think that I always did my best to try and make it better," he said. "Although my gaze will remain on the future — as it always has — I hope that you, the young people of this country, will fashion that future and protect our democracy."

Garneau made history in 1984 when he became the first Canadian to fly in space. He later became deputy director of Canada's astronaut program.

Prior to his career as an astronaut, he was a commissioned officer in the Royal Canadian Navy, where he served from 1974 to 1989. He rose to the rank of captain before retiring.

He was appointed a companion of the Order of Canada in 2003.

"I've known and admired minister Garneau long before I came into politics," Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault, a fellow Quebec MP, said in a media scrum Wednesday.

"He's a Canadian who went to space, he has a long and accomplished career of public service for Canada and Canadians, and I'll be eternally grateful for everything he's done for all of us."

Garneau ran for the Liberal leadership in 2013, but withdrew from the race and supported eventual winner Justin Trudeau.

Garneau's resignation would leave the House of Commons with five vacant seats. Former interim Conservative leader Candice Bergen, who represented Portage-Lisgar, Man., resigned from the House of Commons last month. The death of former cabinet minister Jim Carr last year left a vacancy in another Manitoba riding, Winnipeg South Centre. The Alberta riding of Calgary Heritage and the Ontario riding of Oxford are also up for byelections later this year.