Stephen McNeil

Stephen McNeil

The Honourable
Stephen McNeil
28th Premier of Nova Scotia
Assumed office
October 22, 2013
Monarch Elizabeth II
Lieutenant Governor John James Grant
Preceded by Darrell Dexter
Leader of the Opposition
In office
June 19, 2009 – October 22, 2013
Premier Darrell Dexter
Preceded by Darrell Dexter
Succeeded by Jamie Baillie
MLA for Annapolis
Assumed office
August 5, 2003
Preceded by Frank Chipman
Personal details
Born (1964-11-10) November 10, 1964
Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia
Political party Liberal Party
Spouse(s) Andrea
Children 2
Occupation politician

Stephen McNeil (born November 10, 1964) is a Canadian politician who is 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.

Early life

McNeil is the 12th of 17 siblings. His mother, Theresa McNeil, was the first female sheriff in Canada 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.[1]

Political career

McNeil first sought election in 1999,[2] but was defeated.[3] During that election McNeil indicated in a questionaire provided by the campaign life coalition that he was pro-life.[4] In 2013 a spokesperson for McNeil said his views had evolved since 1999 and he was no longer pro-life.[5] 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.[6] 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.[7]

In the 2009 election, McNeil led the Liberals to Official Opposition status, winning 11 seats.[8]

In the 2013 election, his party won a majority government, defeating the NDP government of Darrell Dexter.[9]

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.[10] 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.[11]

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,[12] while advocates said the Premier had done nothing against the rules.[13] 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,[14] while advocates said being the Premier's brother should not preclude him from receiving government contracts.[15] Nova Scotia's Conflict of Interest Commissioner found no conflict with McNeil's brother's contract.[16]

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.[17] Campaign commitments by McNeil's Liberal government[18] 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.[19] 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.[20] Another commitment met included legislation to make economic investments more transparent and accountable.[21] Another piece of notable legislation was the Liberal government's commitment to ban the importation of fracking wastewater from other jurisdictions.[22]

The McNeil government's first spring of the legislature saw two significant controversies. The Liberals passed essential services legislation that ending a strike by nurses in Halifax who were protesting working conditions.[23] 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.[24]

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.[25]

The Liberals' first budget forecast a $279 million deficit, and included money to cap class sizes and recruit doctors.[26] Two significant pieces of legislation were introduced. The government took the interest off Nova Scotia student loans for graduates who stay in Nova Scotia,[27] and created of a jobs fund called Invest Nova Scotia.[28]

See also


  1. ^ Registry of Joint Stock Record for McNeil Appliance Service in Bridgetown, Nova Scotia
  2. ^ "Liberals choose McNeil in Annapolis". The Chronicle Herald. July 1, 1999. Retrieved July 29, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Returns of General Election for the House of Assembly 1999". Elections Nova Scotia. 1999. Retrieved July 29, 2014. 
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ MLA McNeil launches Grit leadership bid,, January 30, 2007. Retrieved February 10, 2014.
  7. ^ McNeil new N.S. Liberal leader,, April 28, 2007. Retrieved February 10, 2014.
  8. ^ Liberals see gains, form Nova Scotia's Official Opposition. CBC News, June 9, 2009. Retrieved February 10, 2014.
  9. ^ "4 changes Stephen McNeil is promising for Nova Scotia".  
  10. ^ "Premier Stephen McNeil welcomes 16-member cabinet". CBC. October 22, 2013. Retrieved October 22, 2013. 
  11. ^ Stephen McNeil leads Liberals to majority in Nova Scotia. CBC News, October 8, 2013.
  12. ^ "NDP: Emails evidence of Grit patronage in Langille appointment". The Chronicle Herald. February 7, 2014. Retrieved February 8, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Premier: Protocol officer appointment did not break rules". The Chronicle Herald. February 8, 2014. Retrieved February 8, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Stephen McNeil already on thin political ice after three months". Metro. January 6, 2014. Retrieved February 8, 2014. 
  15. ^ "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. 
  16. ^ "Nunn: No conflict with McNeil brother’s contract". The Chronicle Herald. January 9, 2014. Retrieved February 25, 2014. 
  17. ^ "A cautious start to a cautious government". CBC. December 12, 2013. Retrieved February 8, 2014. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ "N.S. moves to open up energy market to renewable power". The Chronicle Herald. November 29, 2013. Retrieved February 8, 2014. 
  20. ^ "N.S. February holiday panned by small business groups". CBC. December 6, 2013. Retrieved February 8, 2014. 
  21. ^ "‘Transparent’ N.S. touted". The Chronicle Herald. December 3, 2013. Retrieved February 25, 2014. 
  22. ^
  23. ^ "Essential services bill a game changer for labour relations". CBC. April 4, 2014. Retrieved May 3, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Patient care on line as nurses strike, Capital Health says". Chronicle Herald. April 3, 2014. Retrieved May 3, 2014. 
  25. ^ "Cape Breton students upset over lost tax rebate". Cape Breton Post. April 5, 2014. Retrieved May 3, 2014. 
  26. ^ "Nova Scotia budget, first for Liberals since election, forecasts $279M deficit". CTV News. April 3, 2014. Retrieved May 3, 2014. 
  27. ^ "University grads can seek loan interest relief from Nova Scotia government". The Chronicle Herald. April 29, 2014. Retrieved May 3, 2014. 
  28. ^ "Jobs Fund nixed, Invest Nova Scotia Board ushered in". CBC. April 23, 2014. Retrieved May 3, 2014. 

External links

  • Members of the Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly
  • Liberal caucus profile
  • Canadian Encyclopedia entry on Stephen McNeil