© Dave Mathieson - Amherst Daily News
Nova Scotia MLA Percy Paris was the guest speaker during a recent fundraising dinner for Cumberland North MLA Brian Skabar at the RACF Hall in Amherst. More than 60 people attended the fundraiser.
AMHERST – Percy Paris offers no apologies for losing his cool.
“There’s something I don’t apologize for, and I never will, and that’s my emotions,” said Paris during a recent fundraising dinner at the RCAF Hall in Amherst for Brian Skabar, Cumberland North MLA.
Paris resigned from cabinet, where he was the NDP’s tourism and economic development minister, after Liberal MLA Keith Colwell said he was assaulted and threatened by Paris on May 9 at the provincial legislature.
Paris was subsequently charged by the Halifax police with assault and uttering threats.
Paris admits there was a heated exchange, and he will be in court July 4 to enter a plea.
During the speech Paris said, like his father, he’s a fighter.
“My father, he’s deceased, he fought in the war,” said Paris. “When he was at war he fought in the trenches, they fought in the worst weather possible, they hit beaches with shells falling all around them watching their comrades die beside them.”
He also talked about his hockey playing days.
Former NHLer and Amherst Ramblers player and coach Bill Riley was honoured in early March at Amherst Stadium, and Paris was at the ceremony.
“He (Riley) acknowledged to the audience by pointing to me and saying, ‘Percy Paris, public enemy number one,’” said Paris.
Colwell said he was grabbed and shoved against the wall during the incident at the legislature.
“I will say this,” said Paris. “There were no blows because if had of been blows somebody would have been hurt and it wouldn’t be me.”
Before introducing Paris, Skabar talked about the social contract the governing NDP has with the people of Nova Scotia.
“I know why I’m a New Democrat,” said Skabar. “I believe in social justice.
“In order to provide social justice, in order to do the things we have to do, we have to be able to afford to do them,” added Skabar. “We balanced the budget, we’re going ahead and things are moving the way they’re suppose to.”
Paris emphasized Skabar’s point during his speech.
“When we gained access to the financial realities of the province we were smart enough to know that if we didn’t do certain things, that social conscience would never come to the forefront,” said Paris. “We had to get the house in order. We had to make some tough decisions.”
One of those decisions was the $260 million in forgivable loans the Nova Scotia government made to Irving Shipbuilding for the construction of Navy vessels.
“It’s an opportunity of a lifetime,” said Paris. “I will never ever see an opportunity like this again.
“Generations of Nova Scotians are going to benefit from the Irving Shipbuilding,” he added. “There’s going to be thousands and thousands of new jobs and Irving Shipbuilding is going to have an impact from one end of the province to the other.”
He says the opposition is critical of the loan because they can’t do the math.
“How dare they criticize a province that’s moving forward.”