Karla MacFarlane said she was not surprised, but proud, when Jamie Baillie announced he will be stepping down as leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.
“We had a lot of people asking if we were surprised,” said MacFarlane, MLA for Pictou West and Conservative caucus chair, “but we all know Jamie had gone public about two months ago, and indicated he would make a decision after the fall session of legislature. He’s a man of his word, and followed through today.”
The announcement came Wednesday morning, after Baillie submitted his official notice to PC Party President Tara Miller. Baillie will remain leader of the party until a replacement has been selected.
“Today is about celebrating him, and the success he brought the party – we’re celebrating his perseverance to believe in the party mandate and ensure the party grew,” said MacFarlane.
The MLA said that in the years they worked together, Baillie was a mentor who was always encouraging to her – and that she is grateful for working with such a colleague and friend.
“I always knew Jamie. We had the opportunity to get to know each other better in 2011, when he asked me to consider running,” said MacFarlane. “I realized the man has great integrity, and great respect for other people – regardless of their background. He is a man with a sincere plan to better Nova Scotia and to make life in Nova Scotia better.”
MacFarlane praised Baillie for “stepping down, but not stepping away,” in his decision to remain in place as leader of the party until a replacement was chosen. Baillie will also continue to serve as MLA for the Cumberland South electoral district.
In information released from the Nova Scotia PC Caucus, Baillie said serving as party leader for the Nova Scotia PC Party has been a wonderful experience, adding “I want to thank my family, my caucus colleagues, and the dedicated members of the PC Party for their support over the last seven years.
“It is the right time for my family and I to start our next chapter. I also believe it’s an opportunity for the party to elect a fresh face,” Baillie said.
Going forward, Baillie said he looks forward to “working toward the issues I believe in, like mental health and a growing economy.” He stated that the PC Party has made “great strides, and I am tremendously proud of our collective efforts and results.”
Baillie expressed his gratitude for the thousands of people he met while serving as leader, “and the many memories we’ve made.”
“People welcomed me into their homes, their places of work and their community centres with open arms and I am so humbled by all the love and support I have received.”
Baillie was ratified as leader of the PC party on Oct. 30, 2010, and worked to give the party a stronger voice in legislature, bringing it from seven seats in in 2013 to 17 seats in 2017.