TRURO, N.S. – He won’t have to mark his ballot until October, but area MLA Larry Harrison has already made his choice for the province’s next Progressive Conservative leader.
“Very early in the process Tim Houston asked if I would support him and I did say yes,” the Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley MLA said, of his Pictou East counterpart.
“So my support is going to be with him but at the same time realizing that there are other very good candidates out there as well.”
Five individuals have so far announced their intention to seek the position recently vacated by Jaimie Baillie.
In addition to Houston, they include MLAs Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin and John Lohr; Halifax Seaport Farmer’s Market executive director Julie Chaisson and Cape Breton Regional Municipality Mayor Cecil Clarke.
The cutoff for candidate nominations is Aug. 13 with a leadership convention planned for Oct. 26-27 in Halifax.
Harrison described Houston as an “extremely intelligent individual” with lots of energy and good ideas.
“He’s not afraid to put those ideas forward,” Harrison said. “And in the process of this leadership race I think he is going to develop nicely as far as projecting himself out there to the people of Nova Scotia.”
Harrison said he is looking forward to hearing Houston present his ideas as the leadership race unfolds.
“And I think a lot of people are looking forward to this race. Things need to change and hopefully in a positive way,” he said.
Ballie announced his intention last November to leave the position once a new leader was picked. That scenario quickly changed in January, however, when Baillie was forced to step down prematurely over allegations of inappropriate behaviour.
The details that led up to that decision have not been made public but Harrison said he is pleased with the way the party handled the situation.
“I don’t know all the ins and outs like some of the people that were really involved knew about,” he said, “but I trust them and I trusted that they handled it well.”