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Houston will have the support of fellow MLA in seeking leadership

Tim Houston
Tim Houston

Tim Houston will have the support of Pictou Centre MLA Pat Dunn in seeking the leadership of Nova Scotias Progressive Conservatives.

Dunn confirmed Thursday he will not be running for the leadership and that his support will be for Tim Houston.

Houston says he is definitely looking at the idea of running for the leadership of the PC Party of Nova Scotia. While he’s still not ready to give a definite answer publicly, he said he will keep his promise not to drag his feet on announcing his decision.

It’s expected the Pictou East MLA will announce his intentions to run Sunday during an event he is hosting at Glasgow Square Theatre in New Glasgow at 1 p.m.

Speaking with The News on Thursday, Houston said he has been conducting a listening tour, travelling from one end of the province to the next to hear from Nova Scotians about what’s important to them and hopes to share some of that information on Sunday when he outlines what he sees as the future of the party.

“People are excited about where the party can go,” he said.

Concerns he’s heard already surround topics such as health care, education as well as improving employment numbers. People are tired of political promises and want to feel like they are part of the process, he said.

While considered underdogs in provincial politics right now, Houston said the party grew under Jamie Baillie’s leadership from seven members in the 2013 election to 17 in the 2017 election and he believes they have what they need to grow more.

“The party is in a good place,” he said. “We have a very strong caucus.”

Will he take a shot at leading the party?

“We’ll see on Sunday,” he said.

Dunn said he has no intentions of running and will be supporting Houston in his campaign.

“He’ll be a very credible candidate to seek out the leadership,” Dunn said.

He said they’re on the same page with where they want to see the party go.

Other possible candidates that have been rumoured to declare are Kings North MLA John Lohr and Inverness MLA Allan MacMaster. Cape Breton Mayor Cecil Clarke has also been mentioned as a possible candidate.

The PC Party executive is meeting on Nov. 18 and will likely start looking at the process of picking a new leader.

Angie Zinc, a spokesperson for the party, said that they will then have to pick a chair or co-chairs for a committee to establish the rules for choosing a new leader including when the election will be held, the deadline to nominate and small details such as the entry fee. There’s no set timetable for when this will happen.

Common election formats in the past have been a delegate convention where delegates are sent from local caucuses to vote. Other elections have allowed one vote for every party member.

Those who are running or who have endorsed someone are not allowed to be on the committee establishing the rules, she said.

The party technically has up to 18 months to choose a new leader.

Dunn said he hopes the election is in the spring so whoever is appointed leader will have the summer to get their feet wet.

“What Tim has in his favour is he’s into his second term,” Dunn said. “He knows how the whole system operates and he’s had the luxury of being our representative on the public accounts committee…. He’s had the opportunity to scrutinize every department in government.”

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