Jim Parrott had the right to speak his mind, says ex-MLA
Former PC MLA Keith Dow says premier also had the right to remove Parrott from caucus
A former Progressive Conservative backbencher who openly criticized former New Brunswick premier Richard Hatfield in 1985 says the constituents are in a difficult spot after the expulsion of MLA Jim Parrot from caucus last week.
Parrott was kicked out of the PC caucus last week after questioning the idea of linguistic duality in health care and other issues, and challenging the government on some other issues.
Keith Dow said the premier has a parliamentary right to expel Parrott, but Parrott also has a right to speak his mind.
"Dr. Jim Parrot is a government member, is also a private member and he is not bound by the convention of cabinet solidarity so he can speak out on any issue in or out of the house because in fact he is a private member," he said.
Dow said that leaves constituents caught in the middle.
"They have elected a member, they have a certain loyalty and respect for the member, and now the first minster has declared he is no longer member of the government caucus," said Dow.
"That's a real dicey issue for the people of Grand Bay Westfield."
Dow was among three backbenchers who retained their seats on the government benches after calling for Hatfield's resignation in 1985.
"Richard Hatfield knew, in fact his office advised me, I had every right in the world to speak as I did on various issues because I did not vote against the government," he said. "But I expressed concerns about certain things concerning premier Hatfield and some of the policies."