Nfld. & Labrador

Cathy Bennett resigns from House of Assembly

The MHA, and former provincial finance minister, posted a statement announcing she is 'returning to private life' as of August 21.

Former finance minister says she is 'returning to private life' later this month

Windsor Lake MHA Cathy Bennett announced on Twitter that she will resign her seat as of August 21, 2018. (CBC)

Cathy Bennett, Liberal MHA for Windsor Lake and the former provincial finance minister, is leaving politics.

Bennett — who has been outspoken about harassment in politics and in workplaces, as well as online bullying — announced her resignation on Monday through a statement she posted on Twitter.

Bennett informed Speaker Perry Trimper that she will resign as of the end of the day on August 21.

"I have made the decision to return to private life," her statement read. 

"I remain committed to do everything I can to support our province."

Premier Dwight Ball posted his thanks to Bennett on Twitter, and gave well wishes to her and her family.

Resigned from cabinet in 2017

Bennett ran for leadership of the provincial Liberals in 2013, coming in third.

She was elected to the House of Assembly the following year when she ran in a byelection for the seat vacated by former premier Kathy Dunderdale. 

She was named Newfoundland and Labrador's finance minister and the minister responsible for status of women after the 2015 general election, and in April 2016 announced a provincial budget that included significant spending cuts.

Later that year Bennett spoke publicly about the online abuse she faced during her first year in cabinet, saying that such comments make women reluctant to enter politics.

Bennett resigned from cabinet on July 31, 2017 but stayed on as MHA for Windsor Lake at that time.

In March of this year,  she introduced a private member's bill on workplace harassment. 

After two members of the Liberal caucus were removed from caucus and their cabinet positions amid accusations from other MHAs of bullying and harassment, Bennett said that she had experienced similar behaviour within her own caucus and cabinet. 

The intimidation and bullying contributed to her decision to step down as finance minister, Bennett said.

When contacted by CBC News on Monday, Bennett declined to comment further.

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