It was a month ago former premier Rodney MacDonald announced he was leaving provincial politics, but only Thursday did he hand in his resignation papers.

 

So as of 3 p.m. yesterday, MacDonald was no longer the MLA for Inverness. The official resignation is key because it kick starts the process to replace him.

 

Premier Darrell Dexter had said he was waiting for MacDonald to officially resign before a by-election could be ironed out.

 

That by-election could be very soon, according to Dexter, who said it might be possible to hold races in Inverness and Antigonish, where Tory Angus MacIsaac has also stepped down, while the legislature is sitting this fall.

 

Dexter said the only concern is clashing with a potential federal election.

“It seems every day we’re tumbling closer to a federal election,” he said. “There was considerable confusion last time, I think, when the federal advance polls were the same day as the municipal election. It created a lot of confusion.”

MacDonald stepped down as party leader for the Progressive Conservatives in late June, but said he had “no intentions of going anywhere.” He then announced in early August he was quitting as MLA, in part to spend more time with family.

MacDonald was widely rumoured to be a candidate for a Senate appointment, but that went instead to former Acadia University President Kelvin Ogilvie

With MacDonald and MacIsaac both departing, the Tories will have just eight members when the legislature reconvenes next Thursday.