Did he quit? Was he suspended? Does their contretemps even matter to the post-Ontario-election future of the current incarnation of the Progressive Conservative Party of Nova Scotia?
On Thursday, the two sides agree, Baillie met with Porter in his Windsor constituency office.
According to Baillie, the meeting was to discuss Porter’s “non-performance” of his duties, including missing five meetings of the province’s public accounts committee and 12 caucus meetings since last October’s election.
Porter, who notes he’s been elected by his constituents three times with increasing margins, says he has health issues and been advised by his doctors to get more rest. While he admits he missed those meetings, he insists “we never stopped doing work locally.”
Porter claims the real problem is Jamie Baillie’s “management style.” He’s a micro-manager. “I’m not going to be told how to do my job and how to represent my people.”
Baillie insists Porter knew “full well” his failure to do “all the duties… could lead to suspension.”
Intriguingly, it’s not the first time Baillie has lost a high profile MLA over questions about his leadership style.
Less than a year after he became leader in 2010, Karen Casey — then a Tory MLA, former cabinet minister and once interim party leader — crossed the floor to join Stephen McNeil’s Liberals. She is now his minister of education.
At the time, Casey said: “This decision was not made lightly. It’s about leadership. Stephen is a leader with integrity and committed to public service. We share the same values.”
Like Porter, she made the case she believed she could best represent her constituents by leaving Baillie’s caucus. Perhaps tellingly too, she only informed Baillie of her career-altering decision five minutes before she made her public announcement.
In the end, of course, Baillie’s management style may turn out to be less significant than his discredited, thoughtless, cut-public-sector-jobs-reduce-corporate-taxes-leave-it-all-to-the-private-sector political philosophy.
As we learned from this week’ Ontario election results, voters aren’t buying.
That may ultimately be far more predictive of Jamie Baillie’s future than the odd disgruntled MLA.