Rankin focuses on climate change, diversity challenges as N.S. cabinet is sworn in | Local | News

Halifax, NS –

Prime Minister Iain Rankin and his 16-person cabinet pledged to fight the two-headed monster of climate change and equality, and were sworn in on Tuesday in a virtual and muted ceremony.

“When it feels good,” said 37-year-old Rankin when he met with reporters shortly after the swearing-in ceremony. “There is no shortage of challenges. I have always really succeeded in all of the challenges I have had in my career in the private sector and in public life. I am really impressed with the team I have and put it in the right place to fulfill my commitments that I made during the leadership campaign.

“The issues of climate change and equality, building a strong economy, are something I would like to set out with.”

Rankin starts a virtual gathering to replace outgoing Prime Minister Stephen McNeil on February 6 because of a victory for the Liberal leadership.

“It is as proud a day as I introduce you, the people of Nova Scotia, to your new cabinet,” said Rankin in an online speech shortly before. “These 16 women and men reflect the values, spirit and heritage of Nova Scotia today. They embody the work ethic and ambition of this beautiful province. “

But do the 12 men and four women, most of whom are white, embody the diversity of the province?

“This will be a concerted focus for us to recruit candidates from different backgrounds,” said Rankin. “It’s really important that we have more voices at the table, more voices from underrepresented communities and from the community of diverse skills.

“I entered a government and basically appointed people to cabinet from the decisions I had.”

One such person is Kelly Regan, who has been named Deputy Prime Minister while maintaining her position as Minister of Nonprofit, responsible for the Advisory Council on Women’s Status. She also takes over the senior department.

Kelly Regan, the newly appointed Deputy Prime Minister of Nova Scotia, signs the list after she was sworn in at the Halifax Convention Center on Tuesday morning. – Communication Nova Scotia

“Cabinet building is a difficult thing,” Regan said of the gender imbalance. “I am very pleased to see my colleagues who were previously in the cabinet back in the cabinet, and I know that it is a privilege to sit in the legislature and that there will also be other important things to do.”

Regan said the cabinet is a cohesive team and “we’re all together after a leadership race.”

To this end, the two men defeated in the leadership contest – Labi Kousoulis and Randy Delorey – took on important cabinet positions.

Kousoulis is the province’s new finance minister and is also responsible for trade. Delorey takes over as Attorney General and expands the industrial relations portfolio.

There are three new faces in the closet.

Keith Irving, MLA for Kings South, has been named Secretary of the Environment and Climate Change. The newly named department recognizes the importance of climate change to government policy and decision-making.

Ben Jessome, MLA for Hammonds Plains-Lucasville, will become Minister for Public Services and Brendan Maguire, MLA for Halifax Atlantic, will be the provincial Minister for Local Affairs.

Ben Jessome, the MLA for Hammonds Plains-Lucasville, signed the list on Tuesday as Secretary of the Civil Service Commission.  Jessome joins Keith Irving and Brendan Maguire as new ministers in the Rankin administration.  - Communication Nova Scotia
Ben Jessome, the MLA for Hammonds Plains-Lucasville, signed the list on Tuesday as Secretary of the Civil Service Commission. Jessome joins Keith Irving and Brendan Maguire as new ministers in the Rankin administration. – Communication Nova Scotia

Zach Churchill, whose previous portfolios included Education and Early Childhood Development and Community Affairs, becomes Secretary of Health.

Chuck Porter returns to the cabinet as Minister of Land and Forestry and Minister of Energy and Mines.

Derek Mombourquette becomes Secretary of Education and Tony Ince returns to the Cabinet to lead the new Justice and Anti-Racism Office and remain in charge of Nova Scotian African affairs. He is also expanding his portfolio to include Communications Nova Scotia.

The Immigration Office emphasizes the important role immigration plays in the economy and in our communities and is developing with Lena Metlege Diab as Minister on Immigration and Population Growth. She remains Minister for Labor and Training and for Academic Affairs and Francophonie.

Geoff MacLellan, one of seven Liberals who will not bid again in the next election, will head the new Department of Infrastructure and Housing.

The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Renewal becomes Transport and Active Transit, Lloyd Hines remains Minister. Keith Colwell remains Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquaculture.

Patricia Arab will retain her role as Minister for Service Nova Scotia and Internal Services.

Suzanne Lohnes-Croft remains Minister for Communities, Culture and Heritage and Gaelic Affairs, adding responsibility for the voluntary sector to her portfolio.

Rankin will also serve as President of the Executive Board and Minister for Intergovernmental Affairs and Regulatory Affairs and Service Effectiveness. McNeil will continue to represent Annapolis riding until the next election when he will join seven other seated Liberals not to bid again.

The cabinet includes the new Infrastructure and Housing Department and the Justice and Anti-Racism Department. There is also a new mental health and addiction bureau under the health department.

Rankin works with the smallest majority in the legislature, which should sit back on March 9th after a year of absence.

“I will work with the team I have, but I also have instinct and my philosophy is to work with others on different parties,” said Rankin, referring to a meeting with NDP leader Gary Burrill for later Tuesday as well a promise meeting with progressive leader Tim Houston whenever he is available.

Rankin said he would continue to work closely with Dr. Robert Strang, the provincial chief health officer, work together on the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s important that people hear about the premiere,” Rankin said, adding that he will join Strand for an online COVID update on Wednesday. “It’s as important as it gets when we’re facing a pandemic. Dr. Strang is someone who has provided excellent advice on how to go ahead and deliver the vaccines. I’ll be with Dr. Strang work together, but Nova Scotians deserve to hear from their prime minister. “

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