Former MLA Andrew Younger says he's dropping out of the provincial election over privacy and health concerns.
Just days into a re-election campaign, Andrew Younger has suddenly resigned from public life.
In a lengthy statement posted on Facebook
, the former MLA for Dartmouth East says he’s withdrawing from the current provincial election due to “unsettling and offensive” breaches of his privacy.
“With the latest breach of our personal privacy, we have decided as a family, that it is not healthy for us to be part of a system which encourages the release of confidential, personal and health information of its elected officials, those seeking office and their families,” Younger writes.
The breach refers to an article published on Wednesday by news website allNovaScotia.com
, written by political reporter Brian Flinn, which contains details about a hospitalization
Younger underwent over the weekend and an emergency protection order that had been sought by his wife. The article is behind a paywall, but the headline "Bullet: Younger Drops Out" is visible at the site's front page
Nancy Irvine, Younger’s constituency manager, says the outlet shouldn’t have published what both parties involved wanted to remain a private matter.
“They had absolutely, 100-percent no need to post that today,” says Irvine. “No need.”
In an emailed statement to The Coast, allNovaScotia publisher Caroline Wood asserts a clear journalistic imperative for publishing.
“Allnovascotia obtained a court document Tuesday that detailed an incident involving Andrew Younger. We reported on a public figure running for public office.”
Younger’s statement on Facebook claims his hospitalization
resulted in a previously unknown health issue being identified, “that will require my full attention.”
The former HRM city councillor was elected as a Liberal MLA in 2009,
but was ejected from cabinet and caucus
in 2015 after using his parliamentary privilege to avoid testifying in court. Younger had been called as a witness
in the trial Tara Gault, a former party staffer who
had been charged with assaulting him
He's sat as an independent
MLA ever since.
After his separation from the Liberals, premier Stephen McNeil’s former chief of staff, Kirby McVicar, leaked Younger's personal health information during a scrum with reporters
. McVicar subsequently resigned
over the privacy breach.
Given the past two years, Irvine says Younger isn’t interested in continuing his political career at the cost of his family’s privacy.
“For the sake of his family, he’s not going to drag his family through an election campaign,” she says.
“I hope I have contributed positively to life in Nova Scotia. But that will be for others to judge,” writes Younger. “Thank you
all who have supported me over the past 13 years. It has been a privilege and honour to serve.”
His departure leaves the race for Dartmouth East wide open. The riding is currently being contested by Edgar Burns (Liberals), Tim Halman (Progressive Conservatives) and Bill McEwen (NDP).