Premier calls for scandal-plagued MLA to step down
Trevor Zinck pleaded guilty to charges of fraud and breach of trust
Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter is giving convicted MLA Trevor Zinck time to resign and holding out the threat of expulsion if he doesn't quit.
Dexter said he will recall the legislature to force the Independent MLA out if he doesn't step down after pleading guilty on Monday to charges of fraud and breach of trust.
"If he doesn’t resign then the House will be recalled to deal with that question and we will do it it once the proceedings that are before the court are completed, as is appropriate. It's really quite a sad day for the people he represented," said Dexter
Members from Nova Scotia's three main political parties are all calling on his resignation.
"The only honourable choice left for him is to resign," said deputy premier Frank Corbett in a release.
"Do the right thing," wrote the Liberal party in a release.
But the Independent politician has said he wants to remain the MLA for Dartmouth North and would consider running in the next election. He collects a $83,000 per year salary.
Fourth convicted MLA
In an agreed statement of facts, Zinck admitted that the Speaker's Office reimbursed him for $10,060 in expense claims he filed in 2008 and 2009, even though he never paid those listed in his claims.
The Crown said it will be seeking jail time. Zinck is due back in court Aug. 7 for a sentencing hearing. He faces five years or more in prison.
A recent change to legislation means Zinck will likely lose his pension following the conviction.
"Ultimately, this is not about one person. MLAs should not be policing themselves or deciding their own pay and pension," said Progressive-Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie. "With four convictions, the time has come to replace the MLA-populated House Management Commission with a panel of citizens."
Zinck is one of four politicians charged in February 2011 following an investigation by the province's auditor general into constituency allowance spending.He is the only one who still sits in the legislature.
Zinck was kicked out of the NDP caucus after allegations of financial irregularities in his expenses.