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Former Liberal cabinet minister to resign next month

Margaret Miller, the former Liberal cabinet minister, has followed through on her threat to resign her seat because the premier’s office hired a Liberal staffer she has accused of “misogynistic” behaviour.

Former Liberal cabinet minister Margaret Miller has announced she will retire on June 1. (Robert Short/CBC News)

Margaret Miller has officially given notice she will resign her seat on June 1.

She said it is partly because the premier’s office has hired a caucus staffer she has accused of having treated her and other female colleagues with “repeated disrespect” and “misogynistic” behaviour.

She posted her resignation letter on her Facebook page Friday morning, just hours after Premier Iain Rankin told reporters, he had no evidence of improper behaviour by a member of his staff toward any MLAs in his caucus.

“I have zero tolerance for people that don’t respect one another,” said Rankin. “I don’t have any claims to suggest that any of the staff that I have don’t treat people with respect.”

Email sent to chief of staff earlier this week

Miller sent Joanne Macrae, Rankin’s chief of staff, an email Tuesday. In it she laid out her complaints against Stephen Tobin, now working in the premier’s office as director of strategic initiatives.

In the email, obtained by CBC News, Miller wrote: “Stephen has treated me with repeated disrespect, and I’ve witnessed his behaviour with my female colleagues. To reward such behaviour is something I cannot condone and I can’t even fathom the thought process that allowed this misogynistic behaviour to happen.”

Miller wrote that she is “beyond disappointed” and saw no other way to express her feelings than to resign. But that resignation didn’t happen until after Rankin responded to questions from reporters about Miller’s complaints.

Although Rankin said he was aware of the email, he told reporters he had not read it. He would not say if he had spoken directly to Miller about her complaints about Tobin during his time as a Liberal caucus staffer.

‘Best course of action at this time’

In her official notice to the Speaker of the House, Miller noted: “My family situation is well known and certainly needs my attention and further to that, recent events have dictated that this is the best course of action at this time.”

In a Facebook post, Miller offered a message to her East Hants constituents and friends.

“This is a hard post for me to make. It’s not something I thought I’d ever do but you all know I’m true to my beliefs and my word and I believe that’s why many of you voted for me.”

“I want to thank my husband Robert, daughters Jeanette and Monica and even my grandchildren who all paid a price with my workload.”

“My resignation does not reflect on my feelings for the Party or my hardworking colleagues. They are still the best NS has to offer.”

This week, CBC News reached out to several members of the Liberal caucus. They either did not return calls or declined comment.

Tobin has denied the allegations in an interview with the CBC.

Miller was first elected in 2013 and re-elected in 2017. During her political career she has served as the environment minister and natural resources minister.

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