Tory MLA Cecil Clarke answers questions about the resignation of his colleague Richard Hurlburt yesterday. Hurlburt is on vacation in Florida and interim Tory leader Karen Casey was out of town yesterday.

Yarmouth MLA Richard Hurlburt has resigned his seat, while interim Tory leader Karen Casey insists she will stay put.

Hurlburt is so far the only MLA to offer his resignation in the aftermath of the auditor general’s expense report. While his $8,000 home generator was not the most expensive item, he is the only active MLA known to have hidden an expense being listed – his $2,500 TV.

Casey avoided face-to-face interviews for the second day in a row yesterday, but via a conference call told reporters Hurlburt was “truly sorry” and will be “deeply missed.”

“He certainly regrets having to make that decision. He has been one of our most effective MLAs over the last 10 years and has represented the folks in Yarmouth extremely well,” said Casey.

“It was very difficult for me to accept that (resignation) letter, but I do respect his decision.”
Casey admitted she knew Hurlburt had expensed the TV last week when reporters asked her flatly if any other excessive expenses belonged to her party. At that time, neither Casey nor Hurlburt mentioned the TV. It was revealed four days later when a list of names was made public.

She now says it’s because that expense was deemed “excessive” instead of “inappropriate” by the auditor general, and it was up to Hurlburt to clarify what that meant.

Casey said yesterday she “handled it the way I thought was in the best interest of Nova Scotians” and will not offer her resignation.

“There never was any attempt to withhold or mislead, I regret that that was interpreted that way. That certainly was not the intent. Could that have been done differently? Absolutely. But that was the path that I chose to take,” she said.

After an emergency caucus meeting MLA Cecil Clarke and party president Rob Batherson expressed their support for Casey on behalf of the party.

“I can tell you that our caucus has confirmed to our president that our leader is our leader,” said Clarke.

“As far as having my confidence shaken in her ability, that’s not the case.”

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