Baillie stepping down as PC leader
Will remain as MLA for Cumberland South
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