'It's time for someone else' – N.S. Most advantageous Stephen McNeil stepping …

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After two terms as premier and 17 years as an elected official, Stephen McNeil has announced that he’s stepping down as leader of the province.

The unexpected news came in a press conference Thursday morning, before what reporters thought would be scrums with the premier and various ministers of his cabinet.

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'It's time for someone else': N.S. Premier Stephen McNeil stepping …

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In a prepared speech, McNeil thanks his family and caucus for all their support during his time in office. He said he’s simply retiring because he’s “tired,” “it’s time,” and he believes that changes in leadership are important to political parties and government.

“It’s been hard, it’s been difficult, but it’s been a real privilege to do it,” said McNeil. “But now it’s time for someone else.”

'It's time for someone else': N.S. Premier Stephen McNeil stepping …

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Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil announces his resignation

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil announces his resignation

 

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McNeil said his pending resignation is a secret he’s been holding onto for months, initially wanting to have stepped down in the spring. That was before the COVID-19 pandemic struck Nova Scotia however, forcing him to reconsider his position.

“I recommitted to the job and my purpose here and I’m feeling comfortable with where we are,” he said of the new timing of the announcement.

“The party will need time to get somebody ready for the next election, so this seemed to be the appropriate time to do it.”

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McNeil said he doesn’t know his plans are after he retires from public office, but he will continue to government until the Nova Scotia Liberal Party calls a leadership contest, and a replacement is elected.

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Political opposition leaders Gary Burrill of the Nova Scotia NDP and Tim Houston of the Nova Scotia PC Party thanked McNeil for his leadership and service as premier. They acknowledged their substantial “political differences,” but said McNeil was a clear force to be reckoned with.

“However you look at it, Stephen McNeil has been a very substantial presence on the landscape of the contemporary history of our province,” said Burrill.

“I have always acknowledged him as a person of real ability and a singular focus and determination. That’s the primary thought I have today.”

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“I think that the premier always did what he thought was in the best interests of Nova Scotians,” added Houston.

“I do believe that and I do give him credit for sticking to what he thought was right for Nova Scotians.”

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In a Thursday afternoon news statement, P.E.I. Premier Dennis King also thanked McNeil for his service, calling him a “strong voice for his constituents” since 2007.

“We have a lot in common, both being from small towns and large families, values that we both use to guide our decision making in our respective provinces,” he wrote, in part. “I look forward to continuing to work with Premier McNeil in the coming months until a successor is chosen.”

More to come…

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