Premier to nominate MLA Kevin Murphy as Speaker

Eastern Shore MLA Kevin Murphy says he was shocked to learn Wednesday he had been selected to be the Speaker of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly by Liberal Premier Stephen McNeil.

Murphy calls appointment 'historic' for people with disabilities

Eastern Shore MLA Kevin Murphy says he was shocked to learn Wednesday he had been selected to be the Speaker of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly by Liberal Premier Stephen McNeil.

Murphy, a first-time MLA who owns Shop the Shore — a community and business publication — has been using a wheelchair since he was 14 years old. He was paralyzed during a hockey game more than 28 years ago.

"Tomorrow will be quite an historic day for people with disabilities in Nova Scotia and across Canada, for that matter," he said.

"There's going to be a lot of eyes watching us here in Nova Scotia and I hope that that's part of the process to bringing a lot more change to how people with disabilities are viewed in the world."

The nomination will be made official Thursday at a special session of the assembly.

Murphy, who defeated incumbent New Democrat Sid Prest in the Oct. 8 election, said he realizes he faces a steep learning curve in the next few weeks.

"I'm up for the challenge, let's put it that way. I've never backed down from anything, whether it's my professional career or my personal life. This is very exciting. It's a huge responsibility," he told reporters.

"I'm very honoured and humbled to be given the opportunity to play that role."

McNeil said in a statement that he believed Murphy will serve the House of Assembly with "distinction and honour."

"He is a balanced, conciliatory and collegial individual who will make certain our assembly is governed with civility and respect," said McNeil.

The premier has also nominated Margaret Miller as deputy Speaker. Miller is the former president of MADD Canada and she defeated former agriculture minister John MacDonell in Hants East.

New Democrat Gordie Gosse was the Speaker under the previous government of Darrell Dexter.