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Federal Fisheries Minister Hunter Tootoo stepping down

Fisheries Minister Hunter Tootoo, citing “addiction issues,” has resigned from the federal cabinet and is leaving the Liberal caucus.

Dominic LeBlanc, the government’s House leader, will assume Tootoo’s cabinet responsibilities.

A statement from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office says Tootoo is “taking time to seek treatment for addiction issues.”

Tootoo, the first northerner to take on the role of fisheries minister, issued a brief statement saying he was stepping down in order not to distract from the important work of his colleagues.

Tootoo said he has “decided to seek treatment for addiction issues” and asked for “privacy at this time.”

Tootoo, 52, was first elected as the MLA for Iqaluit Centre in 1999, where he served for 14 years and was the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly until 2013. He also held a number of cabinet positions in the territorial government.

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