Former Premier Rodney MacDonald stepped down yesterday, making room for the first ever female leader of the Nova Scotia Progressive Conservatives.
Karen Casey has been named interim party leader, winning unanimous support from her colleagues at a caucus meeting yesterday. She was the only one to put her name forward.
Casey, the MLA for Colchester North, handled some of the high-profile portfolios in MacDonald’s minority government, including health and education.
It was in education Casey became most well-known. In 2006 she famously fired the Halifax Regional School Board due to infighting and appointed Howard Windsor to take over. In 2008 she disbanded the Strait Regional School Board for similar reasons.
Casey now has the job of rebuilding the party until a permanent leader is chosen.
“The first thing I’m going to do is to tour the province and talk to the people who cast their ballots at every election and let them know we are a party who are interested in Nova Scotians and interested in hearing what they have to say,” Casey said to reporters.
“I think that’s the important thing, is that I’m prepared to listen.”
MacDonald expressed no regrets about stepping down, and wished Casey the best of luck.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time as leader. But it is time to move on to the next leader,” MacDonald said. “Again, I have no reservations about the last three-and-a-half years.”
MacDonald will continue to serve as MLA for Inverness and said he has “no intentions of going anywhere.”
Yarmouth MLA Richard Hurlburt was rumoured to be pursuing the interim leader job. But in the end he did not put his name forward. A Metro Halifax reporter saw Hurlburt as he left the caucus office and asked if he had a moment to comment on the leadership.
“No,” he responded, without stopping.