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Stephen McNeil MLA (born November 10, 1964) is a Canadian politician who is the 28th and current premier of Nova Scotia, having assumed office on October 22, 2013. He has also represented the riding of Annapolis in the Nova Scotia House of Assembly since 2003 and has been the leader of the Nova Scotia Liberal Party since 2007.

Stephen McNeil

Stephen McNeil 2014.jpg
28th Premier of Nova Scotia
Assumed office
October 22, 2013
MonarchElizabeth II
Lieutenant GovernorJohn J. Grant
Arthur J. LeBlanc
Preceded byDarrell Dexter
Leader of the Opposition
In office
June 19, 2009 – October 22, 2013
Preceded byDarrell Dexter
Succeeded byJamie Baillie
Member of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly
for Annapolis
Assumed office
August 5, 2003
Preceded byFrank Chipman
Personal details
Born (1964-11-10) November 10, 1964 (age 55)
Bridgetown, Nova Scotia, Canada[1]
Political partyLiberal Party
Height6 ft 7 in (201 cm)

Early life

McNeil was born in Bridgetown, Annapolis County, Nova Scotia, the 12th of 17 children. His mother, Theresa McNeil, was the first female sheriff in Canada[citation needed] and is a recipient of the Order of Nova Scotia. McNeil attended the Nova Scotia Community College, and owned a small business for 15 years between 1988 and 2003.[2]

Political career

McNeil first sought election in 1999[3] but was defeated.[4] During that election McNeil indicated in a questionnaire provided by the campaign life coalition that he was pro-life.[5] In 2013 a spokesperson for McNeil said his views had evolved since 1999 and he was no longer pro-life.[6] He ran again in 2003 and was elected to the Nova Scotia House of Assembly.

On January 30, 2007, McNeil announced he would run for leadership of the Liberal Party.[7] He was endorsed by Leo Glavine, Harold Theriault, Wayne Gaudet, Robert Thibault, Rodger Cuzner, Jim Cowan, Don Downe and Dr. Jim Smith. On April 28, 2007 at the Liberal Leadership Convention in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, McNeil was elected leader on the second ballot over runner-up Diana Whalen.[8]

In the 2009 election, McNeil led the Liberals to Official Opposition status, winning 11 seats.[9]

In the 2013 election, his party won a majority government, defeating the NDP government of Darrell Dexter.[10]

In the 2017 election, his party retained a reduced majority of 27 seats in the legislature.[11]

Premier of Nova Scotia

McNeil was sworn in as Premier of Nova Scotia, along with his cabinet by Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia John James Grant on October 22, 2013 in Annapolis Royal. This was the first time since 1954 that the swearing in ceremony has been held outside the provincial capital of Halifax.[12] McNeil is leading the first Liberal government in Nova Scotia in 14 years after a majority win to take 33 of Nova Scotia's 51 provincial seats; during much of that time the Nova Scotia Liberal Party held third party status in the legislature.[13]

The McNeil government faced difficulty in the first year of its government with two controversial stories about patronage and nepotism. Just days after being sworn in, Liberal candidate Glennie Langille was offered the job of Chief Protocol Officer. Critics said this was a return to days of political patronage and the job should have gone to the most qualified candidate in an open competition,[14] while advocates said the Premier had done nothing against the rules.[15] A government contract given to the premier's brother was also questioned. Critics had a problem with the fact that McNeil's brother's company was not officially registered with the Registry of Joint Stocks until the day after the tender closed,[16] while advocates said being the premier's brother should not preclude him from receiving government contracts.[17] Nova Scotia's Conflict of Interest Commissioner found no conflict with McNeil's brother's contract.[18]

The McNeil government's first session of the legislature lasted only 11 sitting days, the shortest fall sitting since fall sittings were made mandatory in 1994. The McNeil government was not required to hold a fall session of the legislature, as legislative sessions are not required for six months after an election.[19] Campaign commitments by McNeil's Liberal government[20] were met during the first session of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly, passing three significant pieces of legislation during this session. The first was a law meant to open the electricity market to more producers. Critics said this law would neither reduce power rates, nor break Nova Scotia Power's monopoly, while advocates said it would soon allow for renewable electricity companies to sell directly to consumers.[21] Another piece of notable legislation was for a statutory holiday in February. Critics said this would hurt the small business community, while advocates said it would help families spend more time together.[22] Another commitment met included legislation to make economic investments more transparent and accountable.[23] Another piece of notable legislation was the Liberal government's commitment to ban the importation of fracking wastewater from other jurisdictions.[24]

The McNeil government's first spring of the legislature saw three significant controversies. The Liberals passed essential services legislation that ending a strike by nurses in Halifax who were protesting working conditions.[25] Opponents of Bill 37 said it took away the right to fair collective bargaining and would set back labour relations in the province, while the government said it was necessary to protect health care. Public sector workers from various unions protested the bill.[26]

The second controversial legislation was the Financial Measures Act, which eliminated the Graduate Retention Rebate – a tax rebate given to graduates who stayed in the province to work. The government said the program was not working and that student groups wanted it cut.[27]

The third controversy stemmed from the McNeil government's April 2015 budget.[28] The budget provided for the elimination of the crown agency Film and Creative Industries Nova Scotia, as well as an overhaul of the long-standing Nova Scotia Film Tax Credit.[29] This move appeared to break a pre-election promise made by McNeil in October 2013,[30] and resulted in an outpouring of protest from the creative community.[31][32] Under political pressure, McNeil was forced to abandon the changes tabled in the budget. The Liberal government instead come up with a new incentive program for the film and television industry: the Nova Scotia Film Production Incentive Fund.[33][34]

The Liberals' first budget forecast a $279 million deficit, and included money to cap class sizes and recruit doctors.[35] Two significant pieces of legislation were introduced. The government took the interest off Nova Scotia student loans for graduates who stay in Nova Scotia,[36] and created a jobs fund called Invest Nova Scotia.[37]

Electoral record

2017 Nova Scotia general election
Party Candidate Votes % ±
     Liberal Stephen McNeil 6,410 64.72 -11.16
     New Democratic Party Colin Sproul 1,517 15.31 +7.1
     Progressive Conservative Virginia Hurlock 1,480 14.94 +1.26
Green Zac Crockatt 366 3.69 +1.46
Atlantica Kent Robinson 130 1.31 -
2013 Nova Scotia general election
Party Candidate Votes % ±
     Liberal Stephen McNeil 7,709 75.88 +2.56
     Progressive Conservative Virginia Hurlock 1,390 13.68 +2.63
     New Democratic Party Henry Spurr 834 8.21 -5.17
Green Ron Neufeld 227 2.23 -0.02
2009 Nova Scotia general election
Party Candidate Votes % ±
     Liberal Stephen McNeil 6,446 73.32 +17.12
     New Democratic Party Henry Spurr 1,176 13.38 -3.37
     Progressive Conservative Kent Robinson 971 11.05 -5.7
Green Jamie Spinney 198 2.25 -0.23
2006 Nova Scotia general election
Party Candidate Votes % ±
     Liberal Stephen McNeil 4668 56.20 +5.37
     Progressive Conservative Blair Hannam 2041 24.57 -6.85
     New Democratic Party Malcolm John (Calum) MacKenzie 1391 16.75 +1.1
Green Ken McGowen 206 2.48 -
2003 Nova Scotia general election
Party Candidate Votes % ±
     Liberal Stephen McNeil 4522 50.83 +12.01
     Progressive Conservative Frank Chipman 2795 31.42 -15.61
     New Democratic Party Adrian Nette 1395 15.68 -2.75
Nova Scotia Party Harry Wilson 185 2.08 -0.8
1999 Nova Scotia general election
Party Candidate Votes % ±
     Progressive Conservative Frank Chipman 4026 43.43 +9.1
     Liberal Stephen McNeil 3265 35.22 -1.8
     New Democratic Party Tom Clahane 1708 18.43 -8.1
Nova Scotia Party Paul Mann 271 2.92 -

See also


  1. ^ 62nd General Assembly Nova Scotia Legislature
  2. ^ Registry of Joint Stock Record for McNeil Appliance Service in Bridgetown, Nova Scotia[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "Liberals choose McNeil in Annapolis". The Chronicle Herald. July 1, 1999. Archived from the original on January 24, 2005. Retrieved July 16, 2015.
  4. ^ "Election Returns, 1999" (PDF). Elections Nova Scotia. Retrieved July 16, 2015.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Leger, Dan (September 23, 2013). "Election denial, denunciation and dirty tricks". The Chronicle Herald. Retrieved July 16, 2015.
  7. ^ "MLA McNeil launches Grit leadership bid". CBC News. January 30, 2007. Retrieved February 10, 2014.
  8. ^ "McNeil new N.S. Liberal leader". CBC News. April 28, 2007. Retrieved February 10, 2014.
  9. ^ "Liberals see gains, form Nova Scotia's Official Opposition". CBC News. June 9, 2009. Retrieved February 10, 2014.
  10. ^ "4 changes Stephen McNeil is promising for Nova Scotia". CBC News. October 9, 2013. Retrieved November 24, 2014.
  11. ^ Gorman, Michael. "Liberals score back-to-back majorities in Nova Scotia nail-biter". CBC News. Retrieved June 30, 2017.
  12. ^ "Premier Stephen McNeil welcomes 16-member cabinet". CBC. October 22, 2013. Retrieved October 22, 2013.
  13. ^ "Stephen McNeil leads Liberals to majority in Nova Scotia". CBC News. October 8, 2013. Retrieved July 16, 2015.
  14. ^ "NDP: Emails evidence of Grit patronage in Langille appointment". The Chronicle Herald. February 7, 2014. Retrieved February 8, 2014.
  15. ^ "Premier: Protocol officer appointment did not break rules". The Chronicle Herald. February 8, 2014. Retrieved February 8, 2014.
  16. ^ "Stephen McNeil already on thin political ice after three months". Metro. Halifax. January 6, 2014. Retrieved February 8, 2014.
  17. ^ "N.S. probes awarding of tender: Firm that won training course bid owned by premier's brother". The Chronicle Herald. January 2, 2014. Retrieved February 8, 2014.
  18. ^ "Nunn: No conflict with McNeil brother's contract". The Chronicle Herald. January 9, 2014. Retrieved February 25, 2014.
  19. ^ "A cautious start to a cautious government". CBC News. December 12, 2013. Retrieved February 8, 2014.
  20. ^ "Nova Scotia Liberal Party platform". 2013. Retrieved July 16, 2015.
  21. ^ "N.S. moves to open up energy market to renewable power". The Chronicle Herald. November 29, 2013. Retrieved February 8, 2014.
  22. ^ "N.S. February holiday panned by small business groups". CBC. December 6, 2013. Retrieved February 8, 2014.
  23. ^ "'Transparent' N.S. touted". The Chronicle Herald. December 3, 2013. Retrieved February 25, 2014.
  24. ^ "New holiday, fracking wastewater ban among promises in Nova Scotia throne speech". CTV News. November 28, 2013. Retrieved July 16, 2015.
  25. ^ "Essential services bill a game changer for labour relations". CBC News. April 4, 2014. Retrieved May 3, 2014.
  26. ^ "Patient care on line as nurses strike, Capital Health says". Chronicle Herald. April 3, 2014. Retrieved May 3, 2014.
  27. ^ "Cape Breton students upset over lost tax rebate". Cape Breton Post. April 5, 2014. Retrieved May 3, 2014.
  28. ^ "Nova Scotia government delivers hard-line budget, cuts 320 jobs". CBC News. April 9, 2015. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
  29. ^ "Nova Scotia film industry tax credit slashed by Liberal government". CBC News. April 9, 2015. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
  30. ^ "Stephen McNeil vowed to keep Nova Scotia film tax credit in 2013 campaign". CBC News. April 13, 2015. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
  31. ^ "Nova Scotia's film industry rallying for tax credit at legislature". The Globe and Mail. April 15, 2015. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
  32. ^ "Trailer Park Boys, Cathy Jones protest outside N.S. legislature". CTV News. April 15, 2015. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
  33. ^ "Nova Scotia film tax credit plan struck between province, industry". CBC News. April 23, 2015. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
  34. ^ "Nova Scotia Film & Television Production Incentive Fund". Government of Nova Scotia. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
  35. ^ "Nova Scotia budget, first for Liberals since election, forecasts $279M deficit". CTV News. April 3, 2014. Retrieved May 3, 2014.
  36. ^ "University grads can seek loan interest relief from Nova Scotia government". The Chronicle Herald. April 29, 2014. Retrieved May 3, 2014.
  37. ^ "Jobs Fund nixed, Invest Nova Scotia Board ushered in". CBC News. April 23, 2014. Retrieved May 3, 2014.

External links