Nova Scotia

MLA ousted from Tory caucus to run as Independent in next N.S. election

MLA Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin, who got kicked out of Nova Scotia's Progressive Conservative Party last month over a blockade on a highway to New Brunswick, says she'll contest the next election as an Independent.

Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin says she 'doesn't have to answer to a party leader'

Cumberland North MLA Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin lost her position in the Progressive Conservative caucus over her stance on the border protest. (Robert Short/CBC)

An MLA who got kicked out of Nova Scotia's Progressive Conservative Party over a blockade last month on the Trans-Canada Highway to New Brunswick says she'll contest the next provincial election as an Independent.

"I don't know when Premier Iain Rankin is going to call the next election, but I do know this: when Iain Rankin calls the election, I will be running as an Independent candidate for re-election as MLA for Cumberland North," Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin posted on Facebook Monday morning. 

She said people in the riding know her and know she will "always put your priorities first."

Smith-McCrossin has said she supported a small and short-lived blockade of Highway 104 on June 22, but was not involved in a subsequent blockade at the Nova Scotia-New Brunswick border that lasted most of the next day. She blamed that one on "professional protesters from New Brunswick."

PC Leader Tim Houston kicked her out of the party. She touted that as an advantage as she announced her plans to run in the next election. 

"I'm the only candidate in Cumberland North who doesn't have to answer to a party leader in Halifax," she wrote. "I'm not a career politician. I'm a registered nurse."

After Rankin announced last-minute changes to the rules for the New Brunswick border last month, Smith-McCrossin posted a video to her social media and said the Trans-Canada Highway would be shut down at the border until Rankin removed the self-isolation requirements.

Part of Nova Scotia's Trans-Canada Highway was closed due to a protest over border restrictions in late June. The border soon reopened, and the restrictions were loosened. (Jonathan Villeneuve/CBC)

Shortly after that, a group of protesters — including some who spouted anti-vaccine messages — blocked traffic in both directions at the border for 24 hours.

The blockade shut down all but emergency services at Cumberland Regional Health Centre in Amherst, N.S., delayed the shipments of millions of dollars of goods and left motorists stranded in their cars along the highway.

RCMP eventually broke up the blockade.

Smith-McCrossin won the seat in Cumberland North in the 2017 general election, beating a Liberal incumbent and winning 51.7 per cent of the vote.

The Liberal government's current mandate runs until May 2022, which means an election must take place before that date.

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