Dr. Jim Parrott will be rejoining the Progressive Conservative caucus, effective immediately, Premier David Alward has announced.
The Saint John-area MLA was ousted from the Tory caucus in 2012 after he questioned government policy, including bilingualism and duality in health care.
“I join my caucus colleagues in welcoming Jim back,” Alward said in a statement on Wednesday. “He has offered his apology and asked to rejoin caucus, and caucus has accepted. Now we’re focused on moving forward together as a team.”
Parrott, who has been serving as an independent MLA for Fundy-River Valley, will seek the Tory nomination for the riding of Charlotte-The-Isles in the September provincial election.
“I’m grateful that my colleagues have accepted me back into caucus and I’m looking forward to working with them again as part of the Tory team,” Parrott said in a statement.
New Brunswick is at a crossroads, and David Alward is the right leader, with the right vision to move us forward as a province over the next four years.”
Just last month, Parrott, a retired heart surgeon and former head of the New Brunswick Heart Centre, told CBC News he chose his words poorly two years ago when he appeared to question bilingual access to health care.
"You should be able to be served in the language of your choice," he said.
The controversial backbencher had also broken ranks by writing newspaper commentaries about a lack of consultation with physicians and about plans to use only 1.5T magnetic resonance imaging machines to equip five regional hospitals.
One year ago, Alward had said Parrott, who "broke the trust" of caucus, would not be welcomed back any time soon.
"What I can tell you is, thus far, there’s been no change in Mr. Parrott’s attitude, and until I see a change, there’s no change on this side of our caucus," he had said.
The unanimous vote to oust Parrott from caucus was based on a recommendation by Alward.
Parrott, a father of two and grandfather of four, underwent quadruple bypass heart surgery on Nov. 27.
He was elected in the 2010 provincial election.