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‘It’s unfortunate that MLAs have to resign’: Lenore Zann would like to see election rules changed

WATCH: Lenore Zann, a Nova Scotia MLA planning to run federally, isn’t ready to leave her post just yet. Jeremy Keefe has more.

A long-serving Nova Scotia MLA with hopes of turning to federal politics thinks the rules surrounding provincial politicians could use a bit of an overhaul.

Lenore Zann has been a member of the legislature for 10 years and currently represents the riding of Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River.

That will soon change as she recently became the Liberal Party of Canada’s candidate in the federal riding of Cumberland-Colchester, a role that requires an MLA to resign their seat before the campaigning begins.

READ MORE: Cost of byelections equal to price of average house, says Elections Nova Scotia

Although she says she plans to do just that, Zann doesn’t think the rules make much sense.

“I think it’s unfortunate that MLAs have to resign before they even run for the election,” she said. “It would be nice if they could take the month you’re running and not pay you and then you run and if you lose you’re still an MLA.”

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“We have councillors who are running,” she explained. “Teachers don’t have to resign, lawyers don’t have to resign. They can just take a little leave and come back to their jobs.”

“I’m actually taking a huge risk by giving up my job to run and possibly lose,” Zann said.

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Until the writ is dropped, Zann says she has no intention of leaving her post, citing her constituents’ need for representation.

WATCH: Elections Nova Scotia suggests change to the rules for municipal politicians

Elections Nova Scotia suggests change to the rules for municipal politicians
Elections Nova Scotia suggests change to the rules for municipal politicians

But Zann’s switch to federal politics also comes with another big change as she exits the provincial NDP in favour of the federal Liberals, a move she says those who have supported her the past decade agree with.

“I started to talk to my constituents and my father and mother about it who are lifelong NDP members,” she said, “and when we started to see what we feel is the threat of the rising right, it reminded us so much of the 1930’s.”

Admittedly she says she had always had federal aspirations but expected they would come under the NDP banner.

She says when the riding’s current MP Bill Casey approached her to join their ranks, it was something she hadn’t considered.

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Now Zann calls the LPC much more progressive under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau than Stephen McNeil and their provincial counterparts.

“Sometimes I think you have to form a coalition of the willing,” Zann said.

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