It was with great sadness that I heard this morning that former MP and cabinet Minister Andy Scott had passed away earlier today from cancer.
I worked for Andy in Ottawa as part of the Parliamentary Internship Program in the Spring of 2006. It was a time of great upheaval, with the Liberal Party having just been voted out of office in January after 13 years in government. Andy himself went from being Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs to being Opposition Critic for Transportation and Communities. While both sound prestigious, the former came with a significant amount of staff, while the latter role gave him no additional personnel beyond those of a typical MP. In a move of tremendous faith, Andy decided to give me almost all of the policy work in his office. This meant I was able to try my hand at everything from drafting questions for Question Period to sitting in on his meetings with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. He even trusted me to do the background work for his private members motion calling for a national strategy on autism. Without these opportunities, I’m not sure that my career at Parliament would have continued past the internship.
What I loved most about working for Andy was his true dedication to public service. While Andy embraced his new role, he remained engaged with Aboriginal Affairs, particularly since the change in government also brought about the end of the Kelowna Accord that Andy had negotiated with First Nations leaders. I always took it as a testimony to his commitment and involvement on the issue that several of those leaders kept visiting him for advice during my time in the office. Andy also placed a high priority on connecting with constituents, and actually made himself available at the farmer’s market in Fredericton most weekends so that people with concerns could approach him directly. He even made sure that he had a fishing fly from the market in his lapel when he spoke in the Chamber.
However, no matter how big his commitment to public service, Andy’s true love was his family. Their pictures were all over the office, and we were given almost daily updates on his youngest son, Noah, who was just a baby at the time. I cannot express how sorry I am for their loss.