Bail­lie step­ping down as PC leader

Will re­main as MLA for Cum­ber­land South

The Queens County Advance - - COMMUNITY - BY DAR­RELL COLE AMHERST NEWS dar­rell.cole@amher­st­news.ca Twit­ter: @Ad­ndar­rell

HAL­I­FAX – Jamie Bail­lie may be step­ping down as leader of the Nova Sco­tia Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive Party, but he will re­main the MLA for Cum­ber­land South.

“The most im­por­tant job I will ever have in pol­i­tics is to be the MLA for Cum­ber­land South and I take that job very se­ri­ously,” the 51-year-old Truro na­tive and for­mer CEO of Credit Union At­lantic told the Amherst News. “I’m hon­oured and grate­ful for the sup­port I have in Cum­ber­land South. This is an op­por­tu­nity for me to spend even more time on the needs of my con­stituents and I’m look­ing for­ward to that.”

The party has yet to an­nounce when a lead­er­ship con­ven­tion will take place, although Bail­lie will re­main leader un­til his re­place­ment is se­lected.

Soon af­ter he was con­firmed as party leader in Oc­to­ber 2010, he ran in a by elec­tion in Cum­ber­land South to re­place re­tir­ing PC MLA and for­mer Speaker and jus­tice min­is­ter Mur­ray Scott.

Bail­lie was re-elected two more times, in 2013 and ear­lier this year, but could not get the party back into gov­ern­ment. Dur­ing his time as leader, the Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive cau­cus grew from six in 2009 to its present con­tin­gent of 17.

There was some spec­u­la­tion af­ter the spring elec­tion that Bail­lie would not stay as leader and while he said he could’ve stayed he knew it was time for him to move on.

“I wanted to take the fall and en­sure that our new team of MLAS was work­ing to­gether and ready to go. I felt they did a great job in the re­cently closed fall ses­sion and I knew that I could now start a new chap­ter in my life,” Bail­lie said. “I re­ally think I’ve asked a lot of San­dra and my fam­ily over these last seven years and I was not pre­pared to ask them for more.”

Bail­lie thanked his fam­ily, the cau­cus and party mem­bers for their sup­port and said his de­ci­sion pro­vides an op­por­tu­nity for the party to elect a new face to lead it into the next elec­tion. He said he’s proud of the sup­port the party gave him while think­ing about his fu­ture.

Bail­lie said his goal has been to cre­ate a mod­ern, dy­namic Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive Party that could com­pete to form of gov­ern­ment. He feels he has ac­com­plished that even if Nova Sco­tia vot­ers chose to give Premier Stephen Mcneil a sec­ond ma­jor­ity gov­ern­ment in May.

Bail­lie’s coun­ter­part in Cum­ber­land North, El­iz­a­beth Smithm­c­crossin, said she’s go­ing to miss his lead­er­ship, but is pleased he is re­main­ing as MLA.

“It’s a bit of a sad day for me be­cause I have the ut­most ad­mi­ra­tion and re­spect for Jamie Bail­lie,” she said. “I owe him every­thing. He’s the one that en­cour­aged me to run for the party and sup­ported me when­ever he could. I have noth­ing but re­spect for him.”

Smith-mc­crossin, who is the cau­cus health critic, would not say if she’s in­ter­ested in a lead­er­ship bid, adding her fo­cus mov­ing for­ward will con­tinue to be the MLA for Cum­ber­land North.

MLA Jamie Bail­lie

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