'Bizarre' end as Andrew Younger withdraws from Dartmouth East race
Independent candidate Andrew Younger has withdrawn from the provincial election race in Dartmouth East.
In an interview with CBC News, Younger — a former Liberal cabinet minister — cited health and privacy reasons for the decision.
He said he made the choice in consultation with his wife after the news website AllNovaScotia.com posted a story Tuesday night that released "private family information and health information."
"While the story isn't exactly accurate in how it reflects the situation, my family and I have decided that we just don't want to be the targets of smear campaigns over the next 30 days."
The story reported on an emergency protection order Younger's wife, Katia, sought against him. But Younger said that isn't what his wife intended to apply for and it was an error on the part of a justice of the peace that caused the confusion.
"What she was seeking was to deal with some custody issues while we were living apart and while this medical issue was dealt with."
Younger didn't elaborate on the medical issue.
Time in office
Younger was a prominent member of Stephen McNeil's cabinet after the Liberals won the 2013 election.
He carried the energy portfolio and oversaw issues such as a review on hydraulic fracturing in the province and certain terms related to the Maritime Link deal.
He would hold the portfolio until taking a leave of absence in 2014. It was later learned the leave was connected to Younger being the victim of an alleged assault at the hands of a former party staffer with whom Younger admitted to having an inappropriate relationship.
Younger would eventually return to work, and to cabinet, as environment minister.
Younger found prominence in a particularly unwanted way in late 2015 when he was kicked out of cabinet due to decisions he made related to the assault trial.
He used his parliamentary privilege to avoid testifying, which resulted in the case being thrown out. The judge in the trial admonished him for the decision.
He was then fired due to discrepancies in what he told McNeil regarding his choice to invoke privilege. He sat as an Independent MLA for the duration of the sitting.
Controversy would continue when recordings Younger secretly made of conversations with McNeil's former chief of staff, Kirby McVicar, came to light. McVicar would later step down after he revealed personal health information about Younger during interviews with reporters.
Younger said he doesn't know what will be next for him, but it became clear he had to make his wife and son his top priority and that meant pulling out of the race.
"I haven't thought about it because obviously I was focused on the campaign. We felt pretty confident that we were going to win."
Offers of donations and volunteering, and requests for signs were "flooding" his office, he said.
But Younger said while he accepts that being a public figure means he's subject to certain things, it's not fair for those to spread to his wife and family.
"I know I haven't always been the best husband in the world, but I love my wife and I love my son very much and I have no shame in making this decision because it's about putting them first.
A bizarre end
The former municipal councillor described his political career as "varied," but said it's probably better to leave it to others to judge. He's proud of helping expand Shubie Park, clamp down on provincial government advertising and improving offshore liability.
Younger acknowledged there have been "a few bizarre things" in his political career.
"I guess maybe it's fitting that it goes out in a bizarre way."