Hants West MLA Chuck Porter leaves PC caucus, cites Baillie's leadership as a factor

Ashley Thompson
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UPDATED at noon

Hants West MLA Chuck Porter is no longer a Progressive Conservative member of the House of Assembly. He now sits as an independent.

The Nova Scotia Progressive Conservatives have one fewer MLA today.

Hants West MLA Chuck Porter announced he will now serve his constituents as an independent member of the House of Assembly.

Porter, who was first elected as a Tory member in 2006, announced his decision to resign from the Progressive Conservative Caucus this morning, June 13.

His move reduces the PC presence in the house to 10 members.

In an interview with the Hants Journal, Porter admitted he's been contemplating shedding his blue stripes for months due to the direction the party is taking under the leadership of Jamie Baillie.

“This is not just about two people who don't get along,” said Porter. “This is about a way of doing business that I don't accept.”

Porter said he started to feel like he was losing the ability to adequately express the concerns of the people of Hants West.

“I'm not going to be told when to speak and how to speak and what topics to speak on,” he said.

Porter believes he will be more effective as an independent member – and he hopes his constituents agree.

“When you try to stifle me, you stifle 15,000 voters in Hants West,” he said. “That is not democracy. That is not what I ran for.”

Porter said it's easy for politicians to become distracted by partisan politics, but he's always remembered who he works for.

“Where I, as the representative, think I can do the best job is where I'll be,” he stressed.

As for the next election, there's a strong possibility Porter's name will be on a ballot.

“As long as I'm enjoying myself here and enjoying the work that I do for the people - and they'll have me - we'll be around.”


Baillie fires back

Baillie issued a press release of his own following Porter's announcement. The PC Leader said he met with Porter in Windsor June 12 to “address his non-performance.”

“When you try to stifle me, you stifle 15,000 voters in Hants West. That is not democracy. That is not what I ran for.” Chuck Porter

The release issued by Baillie said Porter missed five Public Accounts committee meetings and 12 caucus meetings since the election in October.

For me, this is a difficult day, but accountability must mean something if people are ever going to have faith in our system again,” said Baillie, in the prepared statement.

Contrary to what Baillie concedes, Porter said he invited the party leader to visit him in Windsor to discuss their strained working relationship.

It had absolutely nothing to do with my performance. At no time was this ever raised yesterday or in the past,” said Porter.

His biggest concern, his final comment on leaving was, "If you are planning to do something let's do it together. He wanted to control my leaving.”

Porter said he has missed some meetings in Halifax, but participated via conference call from Windsor.

“I have also shared with caucus that I have had health issues, which included high blood pressure, and was told to take some time to rest. I work every day in Hants West for the people in this constituency and have since I was elected,” said Porter.

I have to say that fabricated releases such as this are just another reason that I am no longer part of Mr. Baillie's caucus,” he concluded.

Porter has won three consecutive elections, holding onto his seat in NDP and Liberal surges that resulted in majority governments.



Geographic location: Hants West, Nova Scotia, Halifax

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Recent comments

  • Heather Card.
    June 16, 2014 - 09:03

    I totally belief Chuck's account of things.

  • Squintyeyes Tailorbr
    June 15, 2014 - 15:54

    Chuck will do fine, as he is a good representatve.

  • Sandy
    June 15, 2014 - 13:49

    Although I no longer live in West Hants, I stay in touch. Although I never voted for Chuck I have respected the work he has done for the community. I really think that he is the type of person who will continue to work for community that elected him, rather than the party that endorsed. I expect that a lot of the voters only voted for him as he was PC at the time. No doubt the majority of those voters will transfer their votes else, however it is my opinion that he will gain more votes than he lost by leaving the caucus . The various parties are more interested in voting to their benefit than to their communities benefit, now as an independent he has the freedom to vote as our MLA rather than just as a PC cog.

  • DG
    June 15, 2014 - 11:31

    Judging from Mr Porters comments here and on CBC this past Friday, his reasons for leaving caucus have more to do with his personal differences with the Leader and not necessarily the needs of his constituents. In turn, I found Mr Baillie's remarks to be unprofessional and petty. If this is an example of what type of leadership he offers, he should consider other career options.

  • Suintyeyes Tailor
    June 15, 2014 - 10:45

    Probably tired of being bullied. It happens in politics too! Best of luck Chuck.

  • judy
    June 13, 2014 - 23:00

    I applaud Chuck for the move he has made. He has done more for us than anyone in years. He knows where we live, never forgets who we are and concerened about us as individuals not a tick mark on a piece of paper on election day. It makes no difference to me what party he is with. I don't vote for the party because they are all the same fill their pockets, get huge pensions and not even think of us who voted them in. Hoping the very best of luck to Chuck and his family for his future endeavour.

  • Roger Beaton
    June 13, 2014 - 15:26

    Mr. Baillie is clearly doing the proper thing for the party getting rid of the dead wood. Just because someone goes to all of the church suppers does not make them an effective leader.

  • Bob DeMont
    June 13, 2014 - 14:56

    In response to comments by John Ross - I voted for Chuck Porter - the man, the person! I could care less what party he ran for. From what I personally know of Chuck and his work ethic dealing with the people of West Hants, I don't care if he is blue, red, orange, or green!

    • john ross
      June 17, 2014 - 11:27

      If 51% of the voters voted for the PCs,then they were voting for PC representation and not for porter.In that case,his decision is irresponsible and a by-election should be held.When everyday people don't like their boss they can't just quit the job they applied for and keep collecting their paycheck and benefits. A by-election should always be held in these cases.........and until that is settled...Mr.Porter has actually quit the job he applied for and shouldn't be receiving any pay or benefits

  • AH
    June 13, 2014 - 14:11

    Oddly, I'm way more likely to vote for Chuck Porter now when I did not even consider voting for him in the past. He seems more Liberal to me then the party he represents. However if you have high blood pressure - politics is probably not the life you want to play in.

  • papa
    June 13, 2014 - 14:07

    I agree with Heatherdee's comment re objective reporting. Is an interview with Jamie Baillie forthcoming?

  • Joe Archibald
    June 13, 2014 - 12:43

    I did not vote for Chuck when I lived in West Hants, but will be the first to say Baillie is way off. The reason Chuck gets re-elected is because people feel he is a good representative. I congratulate Chuck, being an independent has its own unique set of challenges and opportunities. Chuck has made a principled decision and agree with him or not, you must respect his integrity on this tough move.

  • Barb Lynch
    June 13, 2014 - 11:58

    So glad to hear you are not throwing in the towel completely Chuck , from politics, but remain to fight for us, the residents of West Hants, we need you. You have been a strong motivator.

  • Joe Robertson
    June 13, 2014 - 11:28

    Chuck Porter made a decision to serve his constituents to the best of his ability which is what all good politicians should be doing. If that requires him to sit as an independent so be it. Mr. Baillie's comment about Chuck Porter missing five Public Account meetings is an attempt to put the blame on him and not Mr. Baillie's lack of leadership as shown in the last election.

    • John
      June 13, 2014 - 13:04

      Glad to hear your comment Barb and Joe! I really wish some people would try a bit harder to see A POSITIVE in something. Just try really really hard, you might find one thing positive to say a day and you might like it. I am sure others that receive it will. Too much negativity in this world. Treat others as you would like to be treated.

  • Heatherdee
    June 13, 2014 - 11:25

    Thanks for updating the story with mention of HQ's perspective.

  • Heatherdee
    June 13, 2014 - 11:22

    He's not there to enjoy himself on our dime. But moreover, what happened to objective reporting? No mention in this story of the visit Mr Baillie made to Porter's office yesterday to address his non-attendance at public accounts and caucus meetings since the last election - the press release is on the web. How is Hants West being represented here? He took almost a year to recommend a mediator in the Fire Services fiasco and he's also supposed to be the Deputy House Leader and gets a stipend for this role to encourage good rapport/respect with his peers. An MLA is elected/paid to represent us the Nova Scotia Legislature, not the Order of Good Cheer.

  • John
    June 13, 2014 - 11:13

    I vote for the candidate that is going to represent my view, not theirs. I take their character and values into consideration as to do I respect this person. I think Mr. Porter, has done this very well and does not impose his view over the interest of the residents. We need more like him to stand up and do the jobs they were elected to do and not be forced into doing what their "leader" wants. Why even have votes if you’re told what to vote? Sad, what government is becoming, very sad. Maybe Mr. Porter should run for the leader next time. Thanks for having some morals Mr. Porter and remembering what your there to do. The rest seem to have forgotten this. We as residents should do this also, it's not only want is good for me but what is good for the community as a whole. It's our future.

  • RA
    June 13, 2014 - 11:05

    Where was his morals the whole time he was working under Harper. Harper is a real dictator, do as he says or find a new job. That’s what the Cons are all about

    • JDog
      June 13, 2014 - 13:02

      He is an MLA, nothing to do with Harper except that Mr Harper endorsed and supported him in the last election.

  • john ross
    June 13, 2014 - 10:21

    Strange how these politicians have to follow their own conscience when making personal decisions but when a vote is in the house they tell us they must vote the party lines and not the the wishes of the people who voted them into office. Now,how many of Mr.Porter's constituants cast a vote in his name in order to be represented by the PC party?Maybe a recount should be in order,with these votes deducted and see what the outcome would be.