Nova Scotia Business Minister Geoff MacLellan says he won't run next election

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HALIFAX — Nova Scotia Business Minister Geoff MacLellan says he is leaving politics in order to restore some balance in his life.

In a heartfelt, informal speech to reporters following a cabinet meeting Thursday, MacLellan said he won't be running in the next provincial election, which has to be called by spring 2022.

While MacLellan will remain a sitting member for the time being, he said it's simply time to do something else after an 11-year commitment to public life. "It's really hard to find balance," he said. "If you are really good at this job there's a pretty good chance that other parts of your life suffer."

While he was careful to say he wasn't complaining about a job he enjoyed, MacLellan said his two children aged seven and nine are the main reason for his decision. They weren't born when he was first elected and they don't know him as anything other than a politician, he added.

"For me, it's actually important that they actually know their dad as a person because they don't," he said. "Even when I'm there I'm not there all the way a lot of times. I want to be fully there and they deserve that."

MacLellan, who represents the riding of Glace Bay, was first elected in 2010 in a byelection and was re-elected in 2013 and 2017. Aside from his role as business minister, MacLellan is also the government house leader and has held the transport and energy portfolios.

He's the seventh member of the Liberal caucus to announce they won't run again.

Deputy premier Karen Casey, Health Minister Leo Glavine, Environment Minister Gordon Wilson, former cabinet minister Margaret Miller and backbencher Bill Horne have all announced they will not be candidates in the next election.

McNeil will step down once a new Liberal leader and premier is sworn in following a party convention in Halifax this weekend. He described MacLellan as a "caring, loving guy" who always tried to act in the best interests of the province.

"We will be friends and stay connected," McNeil said. "I think so highly of him and the work he's done."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 4, 2021.

Keith Doucette, The Canadian Press