|28th Premier of Nova Scotia|
October 22, 2013
|Lieutenant Governor||John James Grant|
|Preceded by||Darrell Dexter|
|Leader of the Opposition|
June 19, 2009 – October 22, 2013
|Preceded by||Darrell Dexter|
|Succeeded by||Jamie Baillie|
|MLA for Annapolis|
August 5, 2003
|Preceded by||Frank Chipman|
November 10, 1964 |
Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia
|Political party||Liberal Party|
Stephen McNeil (born November 10, 1964) is a Canadian politician, who is currently the 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.
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.
On January 30, 2007, McNeil announced he would run for leadership of the Liberal Party. 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.
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. 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.
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, while advocates said the Premier had done nothing against the rules. 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, while advocates said being the Premier's brother should not preclude him from receiving government contracts. Nova Scotia's Conflict of Interest Commissioner found no conflict with McNeil's brother's contract.
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. Campaign commitments by McNeil's Liberal government 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. 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. Another commitment met included legislation to make economic investments more transparent and accountable. Another piece of notable legislation was the Liberal government's commitment to ban the importation of fracking wastewater from other jurisdictions.
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. 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.
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. But student advocates said they had asked the Liberal to redirect the funds into student assistance, which did not happen, and graduates said the program helped them financially.
The Liberals' first budget forecast a $279 million deficit, and included money to cap class sizes and recruit doctors. Two significant pieces of legislation were introduced. The government took the interest off Nova Scotia student loans for graduates who stay in Nova Scotia, and created of a jobs fund called Invest Nova Scotia.
- Registry of Joint Stock Record for McNeil Appliance Service in Bridgetown, Nova Scotia https://rjsc.gov.ns.ca/rjsc/search/viewProfile.do
- MLA McNeil launches Grit leadership bid, CBC.ca, January 30, 2007. Retrieved February 10, 2014.
- McNeil new N.S. Liberal leader, CBC.ca, April 28, 2007. Retrieved February 10, 2014.
- Liberals see gains, form Nova Scotia's Official Opposition. CBC News, June 9, 2009. Retrieved February 10, 2014.
- "Premier Stephen McNeil welcomes 16-member cabinet". CBC. October 22, 2013. Retrieved October 22, 2013.
- Stephen McNeil leads Liberals to majority in Nova Scotia. CBC News, October 8, 2013.
- "NDP: Emails evidence of Grit patronage in Langille appointment". The Chronicle Herald. February 7, 2014. Retrieved February 8, 2014.
- "Premier: Protocol officer appointment did not break rules". The Chronicle Herald. February 8, 2014. Retrieved February 8, 2014.
- "Stephen McNeil already on thin political ice after three months". Metro. January 6, 2014. Retrieved February 8, 2014.
- "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.
- "Nunn: No conflict with McNeil brother’s contract". The Chronicle Herald. January 9, 2014. Retrieved February 25, 2014.
- "A cautious start to a cautious government". CBC. December 12, 2013. Retrieved February 8, 2014.
- "N.S. moves to open up energy market to renewable power". The Chronicle Herald. November 29, 2013. Retrieved February 8, 2014.
- "N.S. February holiday panned by small business groups". CBC. December 6, 2013. Retrieved February 8, 2014.
- "‘Transparent’ N.S. touted". The Chronicle Herald. December 3, 2013. Retrieved February 25, 2014.
- "Essential services bill a game changer for labour relations". CBC. April 4, 2014. Retrieved May 3, 2014.
- "Patient care on line as nurses strike, Capital Health says". Chronicle Herald. April 3, 2014. Retrieved May 3, 2014.
- "Cape Breton students upset over lost tax rebate". Cape Breton Post. April 5, 2014. Retrieved May 3, 2014.
- "Nova Scotia budget, first for Liberals since election, forecasts $279M deficit". CTV News. April 3, 2014. Retrieved May 3, 2014.
- "University grads can seek loan interest relief from Nova Scotia government". The Chronicle Herald. April 29, 2014. Retrieved May 3, 2014.
- "Jobs Fund nixed, Invest Nova Scotia Board ushered in". CBC. April 23, 2014. Retrieved May 3, 2014.
- Members of the Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly
- Liberal caucus profile
- Canadian Encyclopedia entry on Stephen McNeil