HALIFAX — Nova Scotia's lieutenant-governor has sworn in new Liberal Premier Iain Rankin along with a cabinet that includes his rivals from the leadership race.
Rankin was chosen as party leader earlier this month at a virtual convention in Halifax.
Lt.-Gov. Arthur LeBlanc swore in the 17-member cabinet at the Halifax Convention Centre during a ceremony that was scaled back due to COVID-19 protocols.
Top jobs went to the 37-year-old premier's leadership rivals, with Labi Kousoulis being named minister of finance and the minister of inclusive economic growth, while Randy Delorey becomes minister of justice and minister of labour relations.
Geoff MacLellan, the former minister of business who had said he's not reoffering in the next provincial election, was nonetheless appointed as minister of the new Department of Infrastructure and Housing.
Kelly Regan was sworn in as deputy premier and retains her position as minister of community services while taking on responsibility for the Seniors Department.
Rankin also announced he's creating an Office of Equity and Anti-Racism as well as the Office of Mental Health and Addictions, which will fall under the Department of Health and Wellness. The premier will also serve as the president of the executive council and as minister of intergovernmental affairs and regulatory affairs.
Some of the departments were renamed to reflect Rankin’s focus on population growth, climate change and infrastructure.
Newcomer Keith Irving was appointed to the position of minister of environment and climate change; other new faces include Ben Jessome, who is now the minister of the public service commission, and Brendan Maguire, the new minister of municipal affairs.
The new cabinet has also shifted some long-time members. Zach Churchill, previous minister of education, will now sit as the minister of health and wellness and oversee the new Mental Health Department.
Chuck Porter returns to cabinet in a new role as minister of lands and forestry, while Derek Mombourquette takes education into his portfolio. The new Office of Equity and Anti-Racism will be under minister Tony Ince, who will also retain his position as minister of African Nova Scotian affairs.
The Immigration Department will be getting a new title as well, becoming the Office of Immigration and Population Growth, overseen by minister Lena Metlege Diab who will remain as minister of labour and minister of Acadian affairs.
Minister Lloyd Hines remains the head of the Transportation Department, now called the Office of Transportation and Active Transit. Others who are holding on to previous titles include Fisheries Minister Keith Colwell, Minister of Service Nova Scotia Patricia Arab and Culture and Heritage Minister Suzanne Lohnes-Croft who will also become head of the Office of the Voluntary Sector.
Rankin replaces former premier Stephen McNeil, who announced his retirement last August after 17 years in politics. He captured his party's top job by billing himself as an agent of generational change and has vowed to be a collaborative leader.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021.
— — —
This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.
The Canadian Press