Nova Scotia's Progressive Conservative leader was asked to resign his post Wednesday morning after an investigator hired by the provincial PC Party to probe "allegations of inappropriate behaviour" found Jamie Baillie had breached workplace harassment rules.
But before the harassment allegation was made public, Mr. Baillie took to Twitter, where he told followers that he was immediately resigning his leadership and his seat in the provincial legislature "for personal reasons."
"My priority is my family and I ask that our privacy be respected," he wrote.
To many, the resignation was not a total surprise: Mr. Baillie first announced his intentions to leave politics last fall. Then, he said that he would stay on until a new leader was chosen.
Hours after his resignation tweet, the allegations against Mr. Baillie were revealed by Tara Miller, president of the Progressive Conservative Party of Nova Scotia, and caucus chair Karla MacFarlane in a carefully worded statement.
"The PC Party does not, and will not, tolerate sexual harassment in the workplace," the statement read. "The PC Party is committed to a healthy, safe and supportive working environment where all Nova Scotians are treated with respect and dignity."
At an afternoon news conference, Ms. MacFarlane, who has been named interim leader of the party, said the allegations against Mr. Baillie surfaced in late December. They were made by one complainant and the party brought in an "experienced" investigator in response.
The party received the results of that investigation on Tuesday night and decided to request Mr. Baillie's resignation; caucus supported the decision unanimously, Ms. Miller said.
No further details about allegations against Mr. Baillie have been given and Ms. MacFarlane said the party's intention is to protect the individual who made them.
"It's a delicate, delicate issue and it's been a difficult process and we're respecting those involved at their request," she said.
Neither Ms. Miller nor Ms. MacFarlane would say whether the case has been forwarded to police. Halifax Police Constable Carol McIsaac told The Globe and Mail the force has "not received a report at this time."
Ms. MacFarlane said information on the PC leadership convention will be released soon – so far no date has been set for it.
Meanwhile, Ms. MacFarlane said she is saddened by the situation. Mr. Baillie, a chartered accountant, has led the party since 2010, including through two provincial elections. After winning 17 seats in 2017, the Conservatives formed the official Opposition.
"It's a lot to digest," Ms. MacFarlane told reporters. "But as we all know, no one is above the law."