They came to Province House at different times, but PC MLAs Alfie MacLeod, Chris d’Entremont and Eddie Orrell are all leaving on the same day, July 31.
The three co-ordinated their departures, in part to try to force Premier Stephen McNeil to fullfil a promise he made last month to call byelections “immediately” after the resignations.
“If he’s a man of his word, which we haven’t seen a lot of, with a doctor for every Nova Scotian and a few other things that he’s promised … he will call a byelection in the next 24 hours,” said Orrell.
d’Entremont said McNeil should call a byelection on Aug. 1, while MacLeod is giving the premier the benefit of the doubt.
“The premier is saying that he wants to call a byelection right away, so I’m going to give him the opportunity to do that,” said MacLeod.
What the premier has to say
Premier Stephen McNeil’s office responded with a one-line statement.
“When these resignations are official, I will look at potential byelection dates to try to ensure there are new representatives in the legislature this fall sitting,” said the statement.
d’Entremont, who represents Argyle-Barrington and MacLeod, of Sydney River-Mira-Louisbourg, have both served 16 years in the Nova Scotia House of Assembly. MacLeod’s time in the House has been split since 1995, while d’Entremont’s is continuous since 2003. Orrell won his seat, Northside-Westmount, in a 2011 byelection.
d’Entremont has held four cabinet portfolios, including health and minister of community services, while MacLeod is best known for his time as Speaker. Orrell’s time has been spent in opposition.
All three said they were grateful to their constituents for their continued support, but felt it was time to move on.
d’Entremont said it wasn’t easy continuing in the job and campaigning for a new one.
“It’s really hard to do it when you’re sitting and still being an MLA,” he said.
Orrell said he was also motivated by the sudden death yesterday of his constituency assistant, Ian MacDonald.
“To go forward in this office, trying to train somebody new and do something different now would be a tough decision to make and tough position to put somebody else in for a month or two of employment,” he said.
MacLeod is trying to win in Cape Breton Canso, d’Entremont in West Nova and Orrell in Sydney-Victoria.