The prime minister of Nova Scotia, Stephen McNeil, has announced his resignation, in Halifax on Thursday.
August 6, 2020 14h06
Updated at 17h27
The premier of Nova Scotia announced his departure, and creates the surprise
The Canadian Press
The Canadian Press
HALIFAX — The liberal premier of Nova Scotia, Stephen McNeil, has announced unexpectedly to his departure from politics on Thursday, saying that he had remained in office longer than expected because of the pandemic of COVID-19.
During a press conference in the morning, he said that after 17 years of political life in the province, it was time for him to rest and do something else. He indicated that he had initially planned to shoot his bow in April, but the pandemic of COVID-19 is coming to shake up its plans.
Stephen McNeil, who headed two governments, liberal majority after the elections of 2013 and 2017, has indicated that he would remain in office until the activists him choose a replacement. He was elected member of parliament for the first time in 2003 in the riding of Annapolis.
“I’m not leaving because I don’t like the work. I love the work, in fact, and I had a huge support”, he assured. But the liberal leader has felt that a change of direction would be “a good thing for the province”.
“I was going to actually make this decision in April, and then the COVID-19 has struck and I have re-evaluated”, he explained Thursday. “Then (Nova Scotia) has flattened the curve and now the party has a window to prepare for a leadership race and a new leader.”
The prime minister reiterated Thursday that the last five months had been difficult for her province, because of the pandemic, but also a series of tragedies, including the massacre that left 22 dead in April, and then the fatal accident, in the same month, a helicopter Cyclone attached to a military vessel based in Halifax. The accident in the Aegean had been six deaths.
Arm wrestling with unions
The announcement of his departure has surprised political observers because Mr. McNeil had already declared that it wished to seek a third term as prime minister. He also confirmed on Thursday that he had informed the liberal caucus of his decision that morning.
In lieu of a legacy policy, he said he was proud to have facilitated the growth of the private sector, and have controlled the wages in the public sector. “A lot of people tell me that we got it wrong : I think that we had the full reason,” he argued.
“Some may think that I removed a lot to the unionized employees of the province : this can’t be farther from the truth. I just slowed down the growth (of the wage). This has allowed us to invest in other sectors of our economy.” Mr. McNeil has pointed out its standoff with the public sector unions, including a dispute with teachers, which led its government to set their wages by decree.
The prime minister recalled that his government had posted five consecutive balanced budgets, before the pandemic comes to muddying the waters.
It will keep a dear memory of the investigation into decades of abuse in a former orphanage for black children in Halifax. Mr. McNeil was presented to the victims a formal apology from the province in October 2014. “This is something that I will carry with me : it changed me, in some ways,” he said.
Mr. McNeil said on Thursday that he had no immediate project for the future after the policy is active.