MLA Howard Epstein will not run in next N.S. election
Published Tuesday, January 15, 2013 12:25PM AST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 15, 2013 6:33PM AST
Another high-profile NDP MLA has announced he will not be running in Nova Scotia’s next provincial election.
Howard Epstein, MLA for Halifax Chebucto, told constituents via email last night and on Twitter this morning that he will not reoffer.
Epstein will be 64 years old next week. He says it is time to move on after five terms in the legislature, two others as a city councillor, and 40 years as a lawyer.
He says he has seen progress in some areas he has championed, such as the environment, but also suffered some major disappointments.
“I was disappointed I was not appointed to cabinet, although that’s not the reason I’m leaving.”
Premier Darrell Dexter, who kept Epstein out of cabinet, is in Ottawa.
He sent out a release Tuesday afternoon, thanking his outspoken backbencher for 15 years of service.
"Howard is a very dear member of our caucus family and he will be missed around that table," said Dexter. "You could always depend on Howard to speak up on the issues closest to his heart, whether that was the environment, community affairs or Nova Scotia's most vulnerable citizens.”
Epstein’s announcement is just the latest for the Dexter government.
Since last spring, three MLAs have announced they will not reoffer in the next election.
In December, Halifax Atlantic MLA Michele Raymond announced she won’t run again, after serving three terms.
Former transportation minister and Timberlea-Prospect MLA Bill Estabrooks said last year he won’t reoffer due to health concerns.
And in the spring, former finance minister and Halifax Fairview MLA Graham Steele announced just hours before a cabinet shuffle that he won’t be running again.
Epstein says the next provincial one for Dexter and his NDP government, with the loss of at least four incumbents.
“I think it is going to be a hard fight. When incumbents don’t run, they put those seats in play.”
Political scientist Michele Coffin says the public will judge for themselves what to read into the departures.
“It depends on the reasons for not running and how the public interprets that,” says Coffin.
There is no indication of when an election will be called.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Jacqueline Foster