Tory Opposition Leader Steven Myers says he is surprised and disappointed a member of his caucus has decided to cross the floor.
Premier Robert Ghiz announced this morning Tignish-Palmer Road MLA Hal Perry is joining his Liberal caucus.
Myers said he only found out about Perry’s defection five minutes before it was made public.
“This certainly is a surprise to us, it’s a surprise to me, it’s a surprise to our caucus,” Myers said.
“It’s unfortunate but that’s the way it happened and we’ll have to move on.”
Perry told reporters earlier this morning a key reason why he chose to leave the Progressive Conservative caucus was due to its close ties to the federal party. He says this did not allow him to speak out against recent changes to the employment insurance system, which have been a key issue of concern to many Islanders.
Myers took issue with this, saying he has written letters, had meetings with Fisheries Minister Gail Shea and the prime minister to discuss EI concerns.
He denied Perry’s claim that he was not allowed to speak out on the issue as a member of the Tory caucus.
Former party leader Olive Crane, who is known to be close to Perry, said she is saddened by his decision to cross the floor.
But she said she remains dedicated to the PC party and will remain in the caucus.
“Today for me personally is very sad for many different reasons, but I am committed to continue to work as Progressive Conservative MLA for Morell-Mermaid.”