Dominic LeBlanc underwent a bone marrow transplant on Wednesday at a Montreal hospital and will not be able to campaign for the Liberals in the local New Brunswick riding of Beauséjour anytime soon.
LeBlanc, who has represented Beauséjour as a Member of Parliament for 19 years, was suffering from non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a cancer that affects the lymphatic system.
His campaign manager, Victor Boudreau, said the bone marrow transplant was supposed to have happened a month ago, but the anonymous donor required more time and the operation couldn’t be performed until Wednesday.
“It will take a few weeks for him to regain his strength and rebuild his immune system,” Boudreau said in a telephone interview.
“It’s really difficult to say when he might be able to join the campaign,” he added, “but we’re hoping for some limited participation before it ends.”
Boudreau said LeBlanc will rely on volunteers to carry his message to voters.
“The doctors still consider him a healthy young man and he’s getting back to his fighting form,” Boudreau said. “He still has fire in his belly.”
LeBlanc had been serving as minister of intergovernmental affairs and northern affairs before resigning his cabinet posts last April to undergo chemotherapy treatments in Moncton.
According to a CBC report last month, LeBlanc was criticized for taking a flight to Montreal earlier this year on a private aircraft owned by the big forestry company J.D. Irving. He apparently needed a private flight because his compromised immune system could have made him vulnerable to infections potentially acquired on a commercial aircraft.
LeBlanc was diagnosed with lymphocytic lymphoma in 2017, when he was federal fisheries minister, but last fall he said that cancer was in remission.
“He has a pretty impressive record and he’s looking forward to continuing the work he has done in the riding for the last 19 years,” campaign manager Boudreau said today.
The Mount Allison Students Union is sponsoring the first federal all-candidates debate for Beauséjour riding on Wednesday, September 25 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Marjorie Young Bell Convocation Hall at 37 York Street on the university campus.