Ousted MLA has no regrets, makes no apologies
Published Friday, September 21, 2012 6:12PM ADT
Last Updated Friday, September 21, 2012 9:47PM ADT
A New Brunswick MLA who was kicked out of Premier David Alward’s Conservative caucus made no regrets and no apologies today for speaking out against the government.
Dr. Jim Parrott will remain an MLA for the Fundy-River Valley, but as an independent without Tory ties.
He got the boot after questioning some of his government’s policies, particularly on health care, but some of his constituents say Parrott is being treated unfairly.
Last week he authorized a newspaper column which claimed the provincial government is ignoring the advice of doctors. Today, Parrott was not backing down from the article.
“I wish the premier had sat down and had some dialogue about this instead of being so terribly reactionary about it,” he says.
Many of his constituents in the Grand Bay-Westfield area agree, saying the Alward government should have listened to the retired heart surgeon, instead of kicking him out of caucus.
“He wants to improve things for all people and I think it’s unfair what they have done to him,” says one of his constituents. “Instead of sitting down and listening to what he has to say, which would have been the proper thing to do.”
“I think everyone should be able to speak their mind, whether they are in government or whether they are a regular person in society,” says another.
During his relatively brief political career, and even before he went into politics and worked as a heart surgeon, Parrott has been known in his community as someone who speaks his mind.
He ruffled feathers within the Conservative Party on several occasions, when speaking out about controversial issues such as the 3T MRI at the Saint John Regional Hospital and the blood supply in the Greater Saint John area.
“Dr. Parrott is well known. It’s who he is,” says Grace Losier, mayor of Grand Bay-Westfield. “It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.”
Losier hopes that her community will not suffer as a result of losing a government MLA.
“You know what? The people of Fundy-River Valley, they supported David Alward’s government,” says Losier. “Whether it was Dr. Parrott or whomever was there, they supported that PC government.”
Today, Parrott was trying to reassure his constituents that he’s still in business.
“I’m not going away. I’m going to continue to stick up for you,” says Parrott. “This old bird is still around. He’s just on a different perch.”
Parrott also says he still considers himself a Tory, even though he is no longer in the Conservative caucus.
“I’ll be a Tory until they throw dirt on me.”
With files from CTV Atlantic's Mike Cameron
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