The Leader of the Liberal Party of Nova Scotia and the 29th Premier of Nova Scotia.
Iain’s vision for Nova Scotia is of a province with a strong economy, where the environment is protected, and in which equity and inclusion are for everyone. His dedication to Nova Scotians informs his work towards their well-being. By working together, Iain believes we can ensure a Nova Scotia that gives opportunities to everyone and which is sustainable for future generations.
Iain Rankin was born in Mabou Cape Breton and grew up in Timberlea. Like many Nova Scotians, Iain has family spread across the province. Summers were spent in Bridgewater with his grandmother, or at Summerville Beach with his aunt. In Mabou, Iain was immersed in his rich Gaelic culture alongside his 47 first cousins, 24 aunts and uncles, and his grandparents. Two weeks a year were spent at the Gaelic College to learn about his heritage, practice the Gaelic language, and refine his talents on the bagpipes, the instrument he would go on to play as part of the Dartmouth Pipes and Drums band.
Throughout high school and later as a student at Mount Saint Vincent University, Iain helped manage the family business, a gas station in Beechville. The gas station was a gathering point for many in the close-knit community. It was here where Iain learned the history of African-Nova Scotians in Beechville, a community that faced generations of encroachment and discrimination. This experience taught him how important it is to listen and to learn in order to lead, and it set him on a lifelong mission to fight injustice.
After graduating university, Iain moved to Jasper, Alberta and later to Ottawa, Ontario to pursue his career in business. But neither place felt like home. Missing his family and life-long friends, he yearned to be back in Nova Scotia, surrounded by its vibrant culture and with the coast never far away.
Iain moved back to Nova Scotia and it wasn’t long before he felt the call to public service. Time away had shown him just how much love he had for his home. But he also saw that much needed to be done, that work was needed to expand opportunities across the province. He wanted to dedicate himself to building a better Nova Scotia, and to make a positive difference for those who felt unheard or left behind.
In 2013 Iain was elected as the Liberal MLA for the riding of Timberlea-Prospect. He was re-elected in 2017. He is proud to represent his home community and as MLA Iain has been a strong advocate on its behalf, always putting people first. Known for being a dedicated and accessible MLA, Iain has forged a deep bond with the constituents. He is committed to his community and to promoting their interests.
In 2017, Premier McNeil appointed Iain to cabinet. Iain has served as Minister of Environment and as Minister of Lands and Forestry. As a climate advocate and leader, Iain put fighting the climate crisis at the centre of his work in both these roles, staying focused on the balance between environmental sustainability and responsible economic growth.
Iain Rankin was sworn-in as 29th premier of Nova Scotia on 23 February 2021. As premier he is deeply committed to advancing the interests of Nova Scotians. His government has continued the strong response to the global health crisis made possible by the hard work of Nova Scotians. Under Premier Rankin, the economy is recovering faster than other parts of the country.
In his leadership campaign Iain promised to focus on the three challenges of our time: preserving the environment, ensuring a strong economy, and promoting equity and inclusion. These commitments were reflected in Budget 2021-22, released by the government in late March.
This budget builds on the province’s strong position to ensure a fair and prosperous future for Nova Scotia—targeted investments to support a robust and inclusive recovery, steps to modernize health care, supports for continuing care and mental health services. Budget 2021-22 recognizes the opportunity to create jobs through the green economy. And a better economy will help Nova Scotia invest in its people, especially those who have not had the same historic opportunities to achieve and to thrive. Iain is also committed to fiscal responsibility. That’s why Budget 2021-22 provides a path to a balanced budget over the next four years.
Iain lives in Timberlea with his wife Mary and their dog Weston.