Nova Scotia, Aug 6 (Canadian-Media): Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil announced Aug 6 his decision to step down, after being elected in 2003 as MLA for Annapolis and being premier since 2013, media reports said.
Stephen McNeil. Image credit: Twitter handle
In a media availability that was broadcast live following a cabinet meeting he said "Seventeen years is a long time, and it's long enough."
55-year-old McNeil said he had decided to resign prior to the coronavirus pandemic, but he reconsidered when the virus arrived in Nova Scotia in March.
"All of those plans were put on hold, and I gave this my all. I spent five weeks here without ever getting home to my own property and my own home. [I was] away from my family because I was working with Public Health and with our team to try to get control of it," said McNeil.
McNeil said he will continue to act as premier and Liberal Party leader until his replacement has been chosen by the party.
"We're at a position right now where I felt the window for me to — I either had to say I was going, or I was too late," and added
'This is not a lifelong career'
McNeil was leader when the party became the Official Opposition in 2009, and then defeated the governing New Democrats in 2013 to form a majority government.
"I spent the last six years doing what I think is in the best interest of all Nova Scotians," he said Aug 6.
Some of the polarizing decisions he and his government have made were mentioned by McNeil touched including imposing contracts on several public-sector unions during his Question and Answer period with the cabinet members.
Even before the pandemic, Health care in Nova Scotia had been constantly criticized by opposition parties.
In his remarks Aug 6, McNeil highlighted hundreds of millions of dollars on the hospital project is being spent by his government.
McNeil said he celebrated his 17th anniversary in elected office on Wednesday and said
"I love this job. I've enjoyed every day of it, and every day I'm inspired by the people of this province. But this is not a lifelong career."
Leaders from both of the province's opposition parties offered well wishes to McNeil in statements after his announcement.
Once McNeil officially steps down, he will immediately qualify for a pension of $120,000/per year.