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Flip-flopping McNeil needs to get story straight

May 09 2013Long vacation last year raises question about McNeil’s excuses

HALIFAX, NS – Progressive Conservative leader Jamie Baillie is calling on Liberal leader Stephen McNeil to explain why he allowed a retiring MLA to take a month-long vacation during the spring legislative sitting, for two-years in a row.

McNeil looked the other way last year as Manning MacDonald, the Liberal MLA for Cape Breton South, took a month-long vacation during the legislative sitting in April 2012. The first time MacDonald appears in the House records was May 3rd, despite the fact that the Legislative sitting began March 29th.

“Why was it ok with Mr. McNeil in April 2012 and again in April 2013 for a member of his caucus to take extended vacations during the Legislative session?” questioned Baillie. “No leader should stand by while an MLA misses two key sittings.”
Last week, McNeil did not have a problem with MacDonald’s month-long vacations during the Legislature and defended the MLAs behaviour. Yesterday, after intense pressure, McNeil changed his story saying it was “unreasonable”.
“It’s disappointing for the leader of the Liberal Party to look the other way for two years instead of require his MLAs to do their job,” said Baillie. “MLAs who take extended vacations during Legislative sittings should have their pay docked and their taxpayer-funded caucus office money revoked.”
Yesterday, McNeil said MacDonald told him about his vacation this April in December 2012 and offered to resign his seat but McNeil said no.
It is unclear whether the Liberal MLA asked to resign his seat in January 2012, when he announced he would not re-offer. If Mr. MacDonald was to resign his seat, the Liberal Caucus Office would lose its taxpayer-funded allowance.
Baillie says the Liberals Caucus Office should refund taxpayers’ hard-earned money. Yesterday, McNeil refused.

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