Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil says his swipe at the province’s auditor general and the loss of some colleagues during the May election were both “low” points in 2017.
In a lengthy year-end interview with Global News, McNeil said his re-election in May was a “wonderful night” but added “there are always challenges.” Pointing to his comments about Auditor General Michael Pickup.
“My frustration with the auditor general was a low point for me personally,” McNeil said.
In November, McNeil picked a fight with Pickup over his office’s reports on gaps in health care.
“If he chooses and wants to do public policy, there will be 51 ridings for him to run in,” McNeil told reporters at the time.
Now he says that was offside.
“I’m usually much better at controlling the level of my frustration than that,” he said. “I don’t think that reflects who I am. So, I think anyone who’s ever dealt with me would know that I am a consensus builder, at the end of the day I’m not afraid to make a decision.”
“My job as the premier is not to express frustration, my job is to deliver on the mandate that Nova Scotians have given me,” McNeil said.
“He has a job to do, and I have a job to do. He’s doing his job… and I need to do my job.”
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McNeil said pursuing economic opportunities for the province and fixing access to primary care are among the items on his to-do list.
He said the chance voters gave him in May to deliver on his plans for the province marked his most significant high and low in 2017. He maintained a majority government but lost several MLAs and cabinet ministers including Michel Samson and Joanne Bernard.
“I lost some very good friends even though we had a second majority,” he said.