Andrew Younger 'disappointed' after being booted from cabinet, caucus
Former N.S. Environment Minister says he followed the direction of the premier's office
Former N.S. Environment Minister Andrew Younger says he is "disappointed and surprised" by the premier's decision to remove him from Liberal caucus and cabinet Thursday evening.
Younger drew controversy earlier that day for saying his MLA privilege prevented him from testifying in a trial of a woman accused of assaulting him two years ago.
At a news conference, Younger told reporters that he learned of his parliamentary privilege Monday, when he actually learned about it the Friday before.
"When I was made aware of the possible error, I checked my records and confirmed the date with the premier's office," he wrote in a statement. "This misstatement of the date was unintentional and had no impact on court proceedings."
Younger said privilege protected him from testifying while the House was in session. Younger also said he never refused to testify.
All day Thursday, opposition members called for his resignation or firing.
Then, Thursday evening, Premier Stephen McNeil called a news conference to announce Younger would be sitting as an independent without a portfolio. McNeil said Younger's answers about the situation were inconsistent and unsatisfactory.
"I was fully prepared to correct this with media," wrote Younger.
'Disappointed and surprised'
Younger cites a letter from his lawyer filed to court about the rule, and says he became confused about the timeline when speaking about it publicly.
He read a "prepared statement to the media written by and on the instruction of the premier's office," the email statement continued. Younger said he was told not to speak with the media or take calls the day prior.
"Given that I have followed the direction of the premier's office throughout on this matter, I am disappointed and surprised by the premier's decision," he said.
"My wife and I will have more to say on this matter, and the timeline leading to today, in the near future," Younger's statement said.