Jim Parrott will not return to PC caucus, Alward says

Premier David Alward says his Progressive Conservative caucus won't be welcoming back ousted Saint John-area MLA Jim Parrott any time soon.

Premier David Alward says the Fundy-River Valley MLA has had 'no change in attitude'

Premier David Alward says his Progressive Conservative caucus won't be welcoming back ousted Saint John-area MLA Jim Parrott any time soon.

Parrott, now an independent MLA for Fundy-River Valley, recently expressed an interest in returning to the Tory caucus.

"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," Alward said on Thursday.

Parrott, a retired heart surgeon and former head of the New Brunswick Heart Centre, was kicked out of the caucus in September after criticizing his government over health issues.

The controversial backbencher had recently spoken out about bilingualism and duality, and written a newspaper commentary about a lack of consultation with physicians.

He had also broken ranks with the Alward government in a February newspaper commentary about plans to use only 1.5T magnetic resonance imaging machines to equip five regional hospitals.

"It was pretty clear when he made the, you know, ultimately the decision to make comments that he did, he went outside of the confidentiality of, and really broke the trust of, not only myself, but our full caucus," said Alward. "That’s why the caucus made the unanimous decision, which was not easy at the time.

"So any change in the future would have to, quite frankly, reflect a change on his part because that trust is very important, you know, to be able to do the work we have to do."

Parrott previously told CBC News he felt he had to speak out on behalf of his constituents and all New Brunswickers about the "abysmal" state of health care in the province.

In November, when Parrott attended the party's annual general meeting in Fredericton, he said he hoped to be welcomed back into caucus "in the future."

Alward said he hasn't spoken to Parrot since the Christmas holidays, when he wished him well during his illness. Parrott underwent quadruple bypass heart surgery on Nov. 27.

"At some point in time in the future, if Jim wants to sit down, the opportunity will be provided to do that, but I haven’t seen any change in his position up to this point," Alward said.