February 6, 2021
“I want to thank my family, especially my wife Mary, who has been with me since the start of this campaign, who has worked very hard alongside me – and my immediate family, and extended family.
I want to thank Team Rankin, a coalition of neighbours, friends, friends of friends, from every constituency in the province, from every county, from every valley and cove, every city and town across Nova Scotia – tonight’s win is our win. I could not have done this without all of you.
I want to thank Randy and Labi for stepping up and sharing their ideas and their passion for Nova Scotia and Nova Scotians.
Thank you to all delegates, longstanding members of the party, and new members who were attracted to this race.
Liberal delegates have tonight written the opening lines of Nova Scotia’s next chapter – and I am deeply humbled to stand before you now as Leader of our party and Nova Scotia’s next Premier.
In 2013, I got into politics to help unleash the potential of my diverse, vibrant, and growing community of Timberlea-Prospect.
Like my father, before me, I felt compelled to public service – a Rankin family tradition driven by an innate sense of a duty to help people build a better future for themselves, their communities, and their families.
Thanks to Premier Stephen McNeil, I was given that chance, to stand up for those constituents who placed their trust in me, and later, to serve our province in cabinet.
Tonight, I owe Premier McNeil my eternal gratitude for his confidence in me, over the last 7 years, and his 14 years of leadership to our party.
On behalf of all of us in our Liberal family, thank you for your service to this province, as well as to your wife Andrea, and to Jeffrey and Colleen.
During the challenges of the past year all Nova Scotains were able to see what myself and our colleagues saw each and every week at the caucus table: A steadfast focus on doing what is right.
My entire time in political life was with Stephen.
He was there for the community of Timberlea-Prospect many times on difficult issues. And for our province, his political courage as Premier has never waivered.
As the new Leader of the Nova Scotia Liberal Party, I want to ensure that all members have a voice in what comes next.
Leadership is about listening and learning.
Listening to you — Nova Scotians whose lives are impacted by the decisions government makes on your behalf.
Learning from our past and applying those lessons to tomorrow’s success.
I will lead our province through this challenging time with these same values.
After all, in a time like this – in the grips of a global pandemic, with its related economic impact, and the looming threat of the climate crisis – we need all hands on deck.
Job number one: continue Nova Scotia’s stand-out performance managing COVID-19.
At the same time though, we need to plan for an economic recovery that will position Nova Scotia with a competitive advantage that leverages innovation and recognizes the economic power of a growing population.
Nous devons trouver le juste milieu entre une économie forte et des programmes sociaux adaptés.
C’est avec de solides politiques que nous serons prêts pour la prochaine campagne électorale et que nous pourrons assurer l’avenir de la Nouvelle-Écosse et le renforcement de nos diverses communautés.
Les communautés acadiennes, and all distinct communities, embracing the increasingly diverse makeup of our province.
C’est ce que font les libéraux. Because that’s what Liberals do.
I am deeply honoured this evening to be Nova Scotia’s 29th Premier.
I want to use this platform to say that, although I was chosen by Liberals, I will be a Premier for every Nova Scotian.
And every Nova Scotian has a role in building our future:
I will be calling on your skills, your experience and your expertise to guide our decisions.
The past year has been tough.
With every heartbreak, there was the additional sadness of being unable to reach out and hold a loved one’s hand, or hug someone in sympathy, or even honour a life well lived by attending a funeral.
But the spirit of Nova Scotians rose to every challenge.
When the best contribution we could make was to stay home, we stayed the blazes home.
We created a Facebook group called Nova Scotia Kitchen Party that brought our music to the world.
Remember that businesses voluntarily closed their doors to keep their communities safe early on in the first wave of COVID19.
And every day, Nova Scotians performed hundreds—if not thousands—of small acts of kindness, by getting groceries for a neighbour, calling someone who was alone, and finding ways to reach out to others.
It is that spirit that gives me confidence that Nova Scotia will emerge from this crisis stronger than before.
We’ve learned some important things over the past difficult months. Some of them need our immediate attention and investment.
The pandemic further highlights the disparities that exist in our province for which we have a duty to correct. We have just begun the long-awaited journey of dismantling systemic racism.
It will take difficult conversations to reverse those historic and current injustices, but we owe it to every Nova Scotian.
The world is changing.
When car manufacturers are starting to move beyond just having gas and diesel powered engines,
When the largest financial organizations are moving their investments to companies that put environmental progress at the centre of their company,
Nova Scotia has the opportunity to seize this moment.
An opportunity to create jobs in every part of the province.
When technology allows a job in Halifax to be performed in Mabou or Meteghan.
When our population is growing—and growing younger.
We will support local entrepreneurs leading the way in advancing world-changing research, and ensure the sustainability of traditional sectors of our economy for future generations.
The challenges of Covid, including the emerging variants and our vaccine distribution will be the primary focus over the next weeks and months.
While we manage those challenges, the opportunity of shaping an inclusive, low carbon economy can be planned at the same time.
I entered this race with an ambitious agenda to grasp that opportunity.
I want to thank you for placing your confidence in me.
It will be the honour of my lifetime to serve as your Premier.
Nova Scotia’s next chapter begins now.
Thank you and good night.”
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