Karla MacFarlane feted for leadership

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HALIFAX — The Progressive Conservative Party of Nova Scotia has shown its love to Karla MacFarlane.

Hundreds of Tories gathered Saturday at the Halifax Exhibition Centre to celebrate the outgoing party leader and highlight her contributions to the party during the 10 months she served as interim leader.

In paying tribute to her friend, PC Party President Tara Miller called MacFarlane a “true role model.” “I have watched Karla’s journey with great interest since her 2013 election as the MLA for Pictou West.” Miller said of MacFarlane, “She knew she could make a positive difference for Pictou West, and a positive difference she has made.”

She thanked the MLA for her commitment to the party and the people of Nova Scotia.

MacFarlane grew from a rookie MLA to a seasoned one, Miller said.

“The dedication and compassion that Karla has exhibited in the last 10 months certainly inspired many, many people in Nova Scotia. It was a job she did not seek but one that she carried out effectively, efficiently and with extraordinary dignity.”

Miller praised: “Karla has worked tirelessly to share the vision and values of the Progressive Conservative Party, always with utmost integrity. She has steered us through tough issues and the party is stronger for her.”

Miller praised MacFarlane for fighting against the Liberals’ carbon tax in Nova Scotia, standing up for equality by being the first party to announce a plan to ban conversion therapy LGBTQ youth, and continuing the party’s longstanding fight for better mental health services in Nova Scotia.

“(Her) tenure as leader will have a lasting, positive impact on our party,” said Miller. “And on a personal note, I am especially grateful for her friendship.”

To MacFarlane’s children, Chloe and Jack, Miller advised: “Your mother has been a tremendous leader. Be proud. Be very proud.”

Angie Zinck, media relations advisor for the PC Party, also paid tribute to MacFarlane.

“If I could paint you all a picture of what this time has been like with Karla, I want you to imagine a flower growing through a crack in the pavement.”

An emotional MacFarlane called the tribute “amazing” and said she was overwhelmed with the outpouring of love.

“I am extremely proud to have led this great party; I am relieved that my time as leader has come to an end,” she laughed. “But most of all I am extremely humbled.”

MacFarlane especially thanked her “first loves and greatest inspiration” — her children, and said her fellow MLAs were ”invaluable” to her.

“I would not trade the last 10 months or the experience for a million dollars — nor would I do it again for a million,” she joked. “The truth of the matter is this experience has been one of the very best things that has ever happened to me.”

In an interview following the tribute, MacFarlane said her time as interim has been “a great honour and a very humbling experience.”

Pictou West MLA Karla MacFarlane gets a hug from her son Jack following an emotional tribute to the interim Progressive Conservative Party Leader on Sunday at the PC Party leadership convention which saw Pictou East MLA Tim Houston voted in as party leader.  (Jardine photo)