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N.S. MLA Hugh MacKay releases statement amid impaired driving allegations

Click to play video: 'Liberal riding association members resign, Hugh MacKay to make statement next week' Liberal riding association members resign, Hugh MacKay to make statement next week
WATCH: As MLA Hugh MacKay prepares to make a public statement next week, two members of his district riding association have resigned from their posts. MacKay is due in court to face an impaired driving charge in March and, as Elizabeth McSheffrey reports, some constituents are calling for his resignation. – Feb 28, 2020

Hugh MacKay says he will continue to act as an independent MLA despite recent damning allegations of impaired driving.

“The legal system is the proper place for this matter to be settled, not on the floor of the Legislature, nor in the court of public opinion,” MacKay said in a statement issued Monday night.

“I will continue to serve my constituents as an independent member for the riding of Chester St. Margaret’s.”

READ MORE: N.S. premier says chief of staff knew of allegations against former Liberal MLA for months

MacKay, the MLA for Chester-St. Margaret’s, was charged for the second time with impaired driving earlier this month, in connection with an alleged impaired driving incident in November 2018.

On Feb. 26 during question period, Opposition Leader Tim Houston tabled an email written by a former member of MacKay’s riding association’s board of directors.

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Click to play video: 'Premier’s chief of staff allowed to keep her job' Premier’s chief of staff allowed to keep her job
Premier’s chief of staff allowed to keep her job – Feb 27, 2020

The author of the letter, whose name is redacted, details the pursuit of an allegedly impaired MacKay in an effort to get him off the road as he weaved through his riding, eventually crashing into a light pole.

Houston accused the Liberals of trying to “cover up” the incident by trying to “protect their party brand above the safety of Nova Scotians.”

READ MORE: Nova Scotia Liberal riding association members resign, Hugh MacKay to make statement next week

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

As a result of the new charge, MacKay announced his resignation from the Liberal caucus and stated he would sit as an independent.

Monday’s statement from MacKay is his first since the Progressive Conservatives tabled the email from the former board of directors’ email.

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In his statement, MacKay said he is “saddened” that the situation was “exploited for partisan political purposes by some members of the opposition.”

READ MORE: Nova Scotia Tories say email shows coverup of alleged drunk driving incident

“Last year, I disclosed the fact that I have been struggling with alcohol addiction issues for some time,” MacKay wrote, “and I continue to aggressively seek treatment for this disease.

MacKay concluded by stating he will continue to sit as an independent.

MacKay is scheduled to face the impaired driving charge in Halifax provincial court on March 16.

— With files from Elizabeth McSheffrey. 

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