SPRINGHILL - Murray Scott's days as MLA for Cumberland South are coming to end.
The former Springhill police officer announced yesterday he is retiring from politics and will resign his seat as MLA for Cumberland South before the end of year.
"There's two things I didn't want to have happen to me when in office: have the public cry out for my head and to have my health to become so poor it would force me to step down," Scott said yesterday.
"But really, it comes down to my family; to my wife, Linda, our kids and grandkids. You just don't know what's going to happen tomorrow and I want to be able to spend quality time with Linda and our family."
Scott said he has enjoyed his 12 and-a-half years in office working for the residents of the riding but says now it is time for him to focus on his personal life.
"My father was 47 when he died and my mother was 58, a year older than me," Scott said, a sentiment that echoed his decision last year to not run for the leadership of the provincial Progressive Conservatives.
First elected in 1998, Scott and the PCs rose to power over the reigning Liberals in 1999. Elected to Speaker of the House, Scott held that position in the Legislative Assembly until being appointed to cabinet in 2006.
As a member of the executive council, Scott served as Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, and Minister of Economic and Rural Development; a succession of portfolios that culminated with the announcement a new provincial jail would be built in his hometown of Springhill. That decision was reversed after the NDP took power in 2009.
"The single, biggest disappointment in my career will be losing the jail. I really thought when [Premier Darrell] Dexter would keep his word and build that jail in Springhill."
Nonetheless, Scott says he and the Progressive Conservatives served the riding well. New water treatment plants for Oxford and Springhill, a new P-12 school for Oxford, renovations to the Fundy Geological Museum, and the Ottawa House in Parrsboro, the launch of Fundy Tidal Power and the completion of the Joggins Fossil Centre are just some of the accomplishments Scott says he's proud to have been included in during his years in office. Working for the constituency and being there for the people, however, was one of Scott's hallmarks.
"When I knocked on people's doors I was asking them to give me their faith and I felt in return for that - if it was a death in the family, a sporting event, farmer's market - I promised myself I'd be there and pushed hard to be there and most of the times Linda was right there with me. She's given so much over the past 12 years and is one of the single most reasons I've made this decision."
When former-Independent MP Bill Casey stepped down from federal politics in 2008 after a landmark win against the Conservative Party that ejected Casey from caucus, it a position many felt would fit Scott like a glove but he stuck with his Cumberland South constituency. After the Progressive Conservatives lost power to the NDP, Scott was considered a popular front runner to take over the reigns of the party but eventually turned down that opportunity, too, saying he felt it was better for him to focus on Cumberland South.
Now, he says, it's time for him to give back to his family.
"I hope people will understand," Scott said. "A year-ago I had said I'd be here but a lot of things change in a year. A lot of things you can't plan for in life can happen in a day."
Scott thanked the Cumberland South PC Association for their tirelessly work over the last number of years fundraising and ensuring a team was in place and ready to respond at any time to an election call. Their success in the past five elections, he says, is a result of the efforts of the executive, the many volunteers and the dedicated staff of his Cumberland South constituency offices.
He recently met with the executive and received their full support in his decision regarding his future.
Scott says that both he and Linda will be forever thankful to the executive, volunteers, family, friends and especially the voters of Cumberland South who have shown great faith in them for the past twelve and a half years.