NDP Leader steps down and new MP steps into high-profile role

Two side by side photos of men smiling
NDP Leader Gary Burrill and MP Rick Perkins. Photo by Ed Halverson.
Ed Halverson - QCCR/CJQC - LiverpoolNS | 15-11-2021

It was an eventful week in Nova Scotia politics.

Leader of the provincial NDP Gary Burrill announced he is stepping down as the head of his party.

Burrill was named NPD leader in 2016, winning a seat in the riding of Halifax-Chebucto in 2017, which he still holds today.

Burrill says party membership has seen a renewal with younger voters and he is stepping aside leaving the party in a stronger position than when he assumed leadership.

“We gained a member in the election and now it’s the case that every single member of our caucus is someone who has come there since I became leader our party,” said Burrill. “I think now is the right time for us to renew ourselves, also in leadership, so that we can build on these strengths and be prepared to put our program before the people in the next election.”

The party will meet in the coming weeks to decide how the process to replace Burrill will unfold.

Burrill says NDP members will select his replacement within the year.

He says he looks forward to working with whomever is chosen and intends to continue to represent constituents in his riding.

“I will be right there. I won’t be 10 feet from our new leader or from the rest of our caucus. I am deeply immersed in our project and mission to form the next government of Nova Scotia. But I think it is my responsibility to choose the moment when it is best for us to renew ourselves in leadership as we move towards that goal, and I think that the moment for that is now,” said Burrill.

On the national stage, newly elected Member of Parliament for South Shore-St.Margaret’s Rick Perkins has made his way into Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole’s shadow cabinet.

Perkins will be the official opposition’s chief critic on Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.

The first-time MP says it’s an honour to be chosen from among 118 caucus members to hold the government to task.

“I’m a kind of an elbows-high kinda guy,” said Perkins. “I’m not a shrinking violet so, I go into the corner with my elbows high and I dig the puck out and that’s what I plan to do for the fishermen in our community.”

Perkins says he will get to work on the file right away, going to bat for fishermen being asked to repay the Fish Harvesters Benefit, working to resolving the moderate livelihood fisheries and preparing for the launch of lobster season in a couple of weeks in two of the country’s most profitable grounds in LFAs 33 and 34 on Nova Scotia’s south shore.

E-mail: edhalversonnews@gmail.com
Twitter: @edwardhalverson

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