Tim Houston

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Tim Houston
Tim Houston in 2016
30th Premier of Nova Scotia
Assumed office
August 31, 2021[1]
Lieutenant GovernorArthur LeBlanc
DeputyAllan MacMaster
Preceded byIain Rankin
Leader of the Opposition
In office
October 27, 2018 – August 31, 2021[2]
Preceded byKarla MacFarlane
Succeeded byIain Rankin
Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Nova Scotia
Assumed office
October 27, 2018
Preceded byJamie Baillie
Member of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly
for Pictou East
Assumed office
October 8, 2013
Preceded byClarrie MacKinnon
Personal details
Timothy Jerome Houston[3]

(1970-04-10) April 10, 1970 (age 53)[4][5]
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada[6]
Political partyProgressive Conservative
SpouseCarol Houston
Alma materSaint Mary's University (BCom)
WebsiteOfficial website

Timothy Jerome Houston MLA FCPA (/ˈhjuːstən/ i HEW-stən;[7] born April 10, 1970) is a Canadian politician who is the 30th and current premier of Nova Scotia since 2021. He was first elected to the Nova Scotia House of Assembly in the 2013 provincial election. A member of the Progressive Conservative Party of Nova Scotia, he represents the electoral district of Pictou East.[8] Houston also served as the leader of the opposition from 2018 to 2021.[9] He and the Progressive Conservative party won a majority government in the 2021 Nova Scotia general election, becoming the first Progressive Conservative premier since 2009.[10]


Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Houston lived in several different places around the world as his father was in the military. His family eventually re-settled in Halifax and Houston attended Halifax West High School.

Houston attended Saint Mary's University, graduating in 1992 with a Bachelor of Commerce.[11] He then moved to Bermuda, working there as a consultant from 1995 to 2007.[12] Houston then worked as a chartered accountant and as a financial consultant with Deloitte. On November 2, 2020, he was awarded[13] the profession’s highest mark of distinction, the Fellow (FCPA) designation, by Chartered Professional Accountants of Nova Scotia.

Political career[edit]

On November 27, 2012, Houston won the Progressive Conservative nomination in the riding of Pictou East for the 2013 Nova Scotia general election.[12]

He was elected MLA of Pictou East on October 8, 2013, with 48.08% of the vote. He was re-elected on May 30, 2017 with 73.88% of the vote.

On November 19, 2017, Houston announced his candidacy for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of Nova Scotia.[14][15] Houston was elected leader of the Progressive Conservative Party after the first ballot results were announced on October 27, 2018, at the Party's Leadership Convention in Halifax.[16] He earned 48.96% of the points on the first ballot, leaving other candidates no clear path to victory. The other candidates conceded after the first ballot.[16]

Houston has been publicly open to the option of fracking in Nova Scotia, a controversial stance.[17] He has said, as Leader of the Opposition, that he would not criticize the Government without offering his own ideas[18][19] in response.

2021 provincial election[edit]

The incumbent Liberals held a 75% approval rating in June 2021.[20] In an upset,[21] Houston and the Progressive Conservatives won a majority government in the 2021 Nova Scotia general election, becoming the first Progressive Conservative premier since 2009. Houston ran on a Red Tory platform that promised more spending on health care.[22]

Premier of Nova Scotia[edit]

Houston and his cabinet were sworn in on August 31, 2021.[23]

Healthcare system[edit]

Houston was elected on a platform to fix Nova Scotia's healthcare system.[24]

A day after being sworn in, Houston fired the CEO and board of the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA), the provincial healthcare provider. He stated that he "needed a clean slate at the helm of his leadership team" for the Tories' intended overhaul of the healthcare system. Houston appointed a new NSHA board as well as a new CEO, Karen Oldfield, who possessed no healthcare experience. Critics drew attention to the lack of diversity of the new board, as the first and only Black and Indigenous board members were both dismissed.[25]

The Houston government lifted Nova Scotia's COVID-19 measures in March 2022, including public health restrictions and mask requirements. Infectious disease experts questioned the move and predicted a rise in cases.[26][27] In May 2022, the government lifted mask requirements in public schools.[28] In July 2022, the government ended the requirement for those infected with COVID-19 to isolate.[29] The lifting of pandemic precautions led to a surge in the disease (and associated deaths) and strained the healthcare system.[30]

By mid-2022, Nova Scotia's family doctor waitlist hit an all-time high of 100,000, prompting opposition leaders to accuse Houston of breaking his campaign promise to fix healthcare.[24]

Crown corporations[edit]

Shortly after taking office, Houston launched a review of 20 provincial Crown corporations to "[ensure] the most efficient and accountable methodology for the undertaking of their respective tasks".[31]

In July 2022, the Houston government announced a reshuffle of several agencies. Nova Scotia Lands and Develop Nova Scotia will be merged to form a new corporation called Build Nova Scotia. Innovacorp, Nova Scotia Business Inc. (NSBI), and the Invest Nova Scotia Fund will be merged into the new Invest Nova Scotia. Decision-making power was removed from boards, with the organisations placed under direct government control: Invest Nova Scotia will report directly to the minister of economic development, while Build Nova Scotia will be overseen by the minister for public works. Existing CEOs and boards were sacked.[32]

Houston was accused of nepotism after appointing "personal friends" as interim CEOs of the two new agencies; Tom Hickey would lead Invest Nova Scotia, while Wayne Crawley would head Build Nova Scotia.[33] Each will receive up to $18,000 a month in remuneration.[32] Nova Scotia NDP leader Claudia Chender criticised Houston for hiring friends rather than putting the posts to open competition. Houston defended the appointments, stating that Hickey and Crawley were the most qualified.[33] Hickey resigned two weeks into his appointment, citing an inability to commit enough time to the role.[34]

The Nova Scotia Provincial Housing Agency was established during Houston's premiership to administer the province's public housing, amalgamating several existing housing authorities.

Art gallery[edit]

Citing rising costs, Houston announced in July 2022 an indefinite "pause" to plans to construct a new Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. Construction was supposed to begin in late 2022 on a new gallery complex, designed by Halifax architect Omar Gandhi, on the Halifax waterfront.[35]

Conservation lands[edit]

In 2022, the provincial government announced that Owls Head, a 266-hectare piece of land on the Eastern Shore, would be designated a provincial park. A controversial golf course development had previously been planned for the site. Of the proposal, Houston had written in 2021, "I will never allow this type of situation to happen under my watch and certainly wouldn't instigate it like [former premier Iain Rankin] did."[36][37]

In a similar case, public concern has emerged over a proposed golf course, conceived by a private developer, to be located at West Mabou Beach Provincial Park in Cape Breton. In late 2022, Houston said that the proposal would get due process and be subject to public consultation.[38] In April 2023, the government informed the developer it would not consider the proposal as there is no mechanism within the Provincial Parks Act to allow it to proceed.[39]

Personal life[edit]

Houston lives in Pictou County with his wife Carol, and children Paget and Zachary.[40]

In 2017, it came to light that Houston's name had been mentioned several times in the Paradise Papers,[41] due to him having held positions as director and vice-president of Inter-Ocean Holdings and several related Bermuda-based reinsurance companies while living and working in Bermuda.[41][42]

Bills introduced[edit]

Assembly Act Title Date
Assembly 62, Session 1 Lyme Disease Strategy Act April 10, 2014
Assembly 62, Session 2 Red Tape Reduction Act September 29, 2014
Assembly 62, Session 2 Transparency in Ministers' Expenses Act April 21, 2015
Assembly 62, Session 2 Cayley's Law May 17, 2016
Assembly 62, Session 2 Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Act May 5, 2016
Assembly 62, Session 2 Education Fund Protection Act October 16, 2017

Electoral record[edit]

2021 Nova Scotia general election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Progressive Conservative Tim Houston 4,918 69.68 -4.20
Liberal Joe MacDonald 1,585 22.46 +4.24
New Democratic Joy Polley 500 7.08 -0.82
Atlantica Jonathan Geoffrey Dean 55 0.78
Total valid votes 7,058 99.62
Total rejected ballots 27 0.38
Turnout 7,085 61.44
Eligible voters 11,532
Progressive Conservative hold Swing -4.22
2017 Nova Scotia general election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
  Progressive Conservative Tim Houston 5,275 73.88 +25.83
  Liberal John Fraser 1,301 18.22 +2.33
  New Democratic Party Deborah Stiles 564 7.90 -28.17
2013 Nova Scotia general election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
  Progressive Conservative Tim Houston 3,713 48.04 +22.11
  New Democratic Party Clarrie MacKinnon 2,788 36.07 -27.91
  Liberal Francois Rochon 1,228 15.89 +7.50


  1. ^ "N.S. Premier-designate Tim Houston, new cabinet to be sworn-in Aug. 31". CTV News Atlantic. August 20, 2021. Retrieved November 3, 2021.
  2. ^ Luck, Shaina; Gorman, Michael (August 31, 2021). "Nova Scotia's new premier, cabinet sworn in at a ceremony in Halifax". CBC News.
  3. ^ "District 40: Pictou East". CBC.ca. CBC. April 23, 2013. Retrieved March 10, 2019.
  4. ^ "PC leadership Q&A: Tim Houston". Cape Breton Post. October 25, 2018. Retrieved March 10, 2019.
  5. ^ "Nova Scotia PC Party on Twitter: "Happy Birthday to MLA for Pictou East, @TimHoustonNS!"". Twitter.com. Twitter. April 10, 2018. Retrieved March 10, 2019.
  6. ^ MacInnis, Adam; Adshade, Kevin (October 31, 2018). "Pictou County's history of Tory leadership". NG News. Retrieved March 10, 2019.
  7. ^ Nova Scotia Town Hall with Premier Tim Houston. March 23, 2023. Event occurs at 3:23. Retrieved September 15, 2023.
  8. ^ "Tories take Pictou County ridings back from NDP". The Chronicle Herald. October 8, 2013. Retrieved July 20, 2015.
  9. ^ "Tim Houston - MLA for Pictou East - PC Party of NS". PC Party NS. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  10. ^ "Canada loses its bid for seat on UN Security Council | CBC News".
  11. ^ Musick, Sueann (September 16, 2013). "PC's Houston aims to knock on every door". NG News.
  12. ^ a b "Pictou East PC nominee wants riding to have voice in Halifax". March 10, 2019. NG News. November 29, 2012. Retrieved March 10, 2019.
  13. ^ "CPA Nova Scotia Awards Prestigious Fellow Designation to Seven Professional Accountants". www.cpans.ca. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
  14. ^ "'Time to win': Tim Houston running for PC Party leader". CBC News. November 19, 2017. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  15. ^ "Tim Houston announces bid for PC leadership". The Chronicle Herald. November 20, 2017. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  16. ^ a b "Houston surges to victory in PC leadership race". CBC News. October 27, 2018. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  17. ^ "Delays on Nova Scotia fracking regulations could be political". CBC News. June 15, 2016. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  18. ^ "Universal Mental Health Care". PC Party of Nova Scotia. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
  19. ^ "Dignity for our Seniors". PC Party of Nova Scotia. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
  20. ^ "TARRANT: Lessons from Nova Scotia's historic election".
  21. ^ "Tories surge to upset majority win in N.S. Election with a campaign focused on health". August 17, 2021.
  22. ^ "N.B. Should be on 'alert' as new N.S. Premier promises more health care spending: Union". August 19, 2021.
  23. ^ "Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston, 18 ministers sworn into office".
  24. ^ a b Frisko, Bruce (July 12, 2022). "Nova Scotia's doctor waitlist hits all-time high at 100,000 people". CTV News.
  25. ^ Gorman, Michael (September 1, 2021). "N.S. premier, health minister fire provincial health authority CEO and board". CBC News.
  26. ^ Patil, Anjuli (February 23, 2022). "Nova Scotia to lift all COVID-19 restrictions by March 21". CBC.
  27. ^ Laroche, Jean (March 14, 2022). "Infectious disease expert sees no 'good scientific reason' for N.S. lifting mask mandate". CBC.
  28. ^ Renić, Karla (May 24, 2022). "'Mixed emotions' among N.S. teachers as mask mandate in public schools ends". Global News.
  29. ^ Chisholm, Cassidy (July 4, 2022). "N.S. to end mandatory isolation for people with COVID-19 starting July 6". CBC.
  30. ^ Lurie, Shira (July 28, 2022). "SHIRA LURIE: Nova Scotia's 'living with COVID' strategy backfires". SaltWire Network.
  31. ^ "Government Seeks Feedback on 20 Agencies, Boards and Crown Corporations". Province of Nova Scotia. February 1, 2022.
  32. ^ a b Gorman, Michael (July 26, 2022). "N.S. government cuts Crown corporations in quest for more efficient operations". CBC News.
  33. ^ a b Thomas, Jesse (July 29, 2022). "N.S. premier defends appointing business friends as Crown executive chairs". CTV News.
  34. ^ "Head of new N.S. Crown corporation resigns 2 weeks after appointment". CBC. August 10, 2022.
  35. ^ Smith, Simon (July 27, 2022). "Construction of new Art Gallery of Nova Scotia put on hold". CBC.
  36. ^ Palmater, Paul (June 14, 2022). "Owls Head, once considered for controversial golf course, designated as provincial park". CBC.
  37. ^ Laroche, Jean (December 5, 2022). "Environmentalist says 2021 e-mail shows Tim Houston supported protecting parks from golf developers". CBC.
  38. ^ Henderson, Jennifer (October 25, 2022). "Houston says any request from Cabot to build golf course in Mabou park will get due process". Halifax Examiner.
  39. ^ Gorman, Michael (April 20, 2023). "N.S. government says no to golf course in West Mabou Beach Provincial Park". CBC News.
  40. ^ "Tim Houston's Story". Tim Houston for Nova Scotia PC Leader. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  41. ^ a b "PC leadership candidate downplays Paradise Papers connection". The Coast. November 23, 2017. Retrieved April 24, 2019.
  42. ^ "Houston, Timothy Jerome". Offshore Leaks Database/International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Retrieved September 20, 2020.