HALIFAX: Premier Stephen McNeil issued this statement upon the announcement that he would be stepping down as leader of the N.S. Liberal Party.
“Yesterday, I celebrated my 17th year in elected office. These past seven years, as your premier, have been the most rewarding of my professional career. It has been a privilege and an honour, and something I have never taken for granted. Today, I am announcing I will be stepping down and leaving public office.
“I have informed the Liberal Party of Nova Scotia to plan for a leadership campaign, which I expect will take months. I will stay on and continue to govern and will be here to work with public health to keep Nova Scotians safe until the next leader is chosen.
“I am grateful to my team of elected colleagues. My caucus has shown so much courage. We’ve made some tough decisions and we stuck together because we believed we were doing the right thing for the future of this province.
“I am also grateful to Nova Scotians who have worked with us to get our province heading in the right direction. Our population is growing with our immigration success, our businesses and citizens are gaining more confidence as we compete on the world stage and we are giving our young people the foundation they need with programs like pre-primary.”
“We have also worked hard to break down systemic racism in our province. There is more work to do, but I am proud that more Nova Scotians are starting to see themselves reflected in our institutions.
“I want to thank Nova Scotians for giving me the opportunity to be your premier. We have accomplished so much together. I may not have always gotten it right. But here’s what I know for sure: we are better together and being kind matters.”