Embattled Cumberland North MLA to run again as Independent
Fage found guilty
AMHERST - Embattled politician Ernie Fage is staying on as the MLA for Cumberland North and has every intention of running as an Independent in the next provicial election, despite being found guilty of leaving the scene of an accident and kicked out of the Progressive Consevative caucus.
"I have sat as an Independent Progressive Conservative for a year now and the decision of the premier's today is out of my hands," Fage said from his constituency office. "The premier is the leader and he has to make his own decisions, but I'm comfortable in my position as an Independent Progressive Conservative and look forward to getting back to work with renewed vigour serving the constituents of Cumberland North."
Fage, 54, was found guilty earlier in the day by Judge Bill Digby of a single charge of leaving the scene of an accident. He was fined $800 plus a 15 per cent victim surcharge, bringing the total to $920.
"I don't agree with the judge's decision, but that being said I respect the judge and the decision and my fine is ready to go in the mail as we speak," Fage said.
Soon after the verdict was released, Premier Rodney MacDonald announced that Fage won't be welcomed back into caucus and will not run for the party in the next election.
The Hastings resident was charged earlier this year after leaving the scene of a fender bender in downtown Halifax last November.
He resigned his human resources post in January after news of the crash was made public and was later suspended from caucus.
Fage would not say whether he's surprised or disappointed with the premier's decision, but he's not going to let it deter him and he plans to run as an Independent in the next election.
"My intention at this point is to continue to serve as the Independent Progressive Conservative member for Cumberland North and I plan to run in that capacity," Fage said. "The last 10 years have been very rewarding one for me working with the people of this riding and together we have accomplished a lot. I look forward to being given the opportunity to continue doing that work."
Fage said the last year has been a tough one for himself, his family and friends. He's happy the ordeal is over and while disappointed with the result, he respects the judge's decision.
As for suggestions that he step down or not reoffer, Fage said it will be up to the voters to decide whether they want him to remain as their MLA.
"I'm a strong believer that the people are always right and it will be up to the people to decide who they want to represent them," Fage said.