Tignish-Palmer Road MLA Hal Perry is stepping down as leader of the Opposition.
In an interview with The Guardian this morning, Perry said there has been too much focus on the divisions within the Progressive Conservative party and he wants to shift that focus back onto issues of concern for Islanders.
“I’m making a conscious decision on behalf of my party and on behalf of all Islanders’ best interests, to step aside,” Perry told The Guardian this morning.
“If we’re going to move forward, we have to have stability. So I feel that by my stepping aside, it will take away hopefully from our internal issues and put the real issues to the forefront.”
The party has been in a state of disarray for months as internal squabbles over leadership have continuously boiled into public view.
After former leader Olive Crane resigned, the party’s divisions became even more apparent when Perry took over as Opposition leader, with majority support of three of the five Tory MLAs, while Georgetown-St. Peters MLA Steven Myers was chosen as interim party leader by the majority of the PC executive and caucus.
“I’m making a conscious decision on behalf of my party and on behalf of all Islanders’ best interests, to step aside,” - Hal Perry, Tignish-Palmer Road MLA
This created an unprecedented and confusing situation with two elected MLAs within the same caucus splitting leadership roles that are usually filled by one person.
Then late last week, PC president Blake Doyle sent a letter to the speaker of the legislature, Carolyn Bertram, asking her to recognize Myers as Opposition leader. He said the party had obtained a legal opinion saying the leader of the party should rightfully hold this title.
Bertram released a statement saying she would not get involved in party politics.
Perry said he thought long and hard about the situation over the weekend and came to the conclusion last evening stepping aside was the only way the party could move beyond its current struggles.
The Guardian will have more on this story later and full details in the print edition of the newspaper on Tuesday.