HALIFAX — Nova Scotia Liberals are expected to choose a new party leader and premier today after a race was set off by last summer’s sudden retirement announcement by Premier Stephen McNeil.
About 8,100 party delegates have been voting since Monday for their choice among a slate of three former McNeil cabinet ministers — Iain Rankin, Randy Delorey and Labi Kousoulis — with the winner to be determined during a virtual convention in Halifax this evening.
Some political observers have commented that the online leadership campaign has flown under the public’s radar because people are for the most part focused on their own lives and on dealing with the pandemic.
Delorey, a 42-year-old who has held the environment, finance and health portfolios, is touting his experience in these cabinet positions, saying they will assist him in navigating the province’s post-pandemic recovery.
Thirty-seven-year-old Rankin, a former minister of lands and forestry, has highlighted his youth and has committed to having 80 per cent of Nova Scotia’s energy come from renewable sources by 2030.
Kousoulis, 49, says the strength of his candidacy lies in his extensive business experience. He has pledged $60 million in tax relief to help the small business sector get through the COVID-19 pandemic.
None of the candidates have distanced themselves from McNeil’s fiscally conservative policies.
The legislature is set to return on March 9 for the speech from the throne, and a provincial election must be called in the province by spring of 2022.