New premier, cabinet and vision for the province

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CORRECTION: to the news release sent by the provincial government to correct the name of the Office of L’nu Affairs and the Office of Equity and Anti-Racism Initiatives.

Lt.-Gov. Arthur J. LeBlanc presided over the ceremony at Halifax’s Convention Centre.

“The changes made in government today are a first step in fulfilling my promise to put the province on track for a successful economic recovery from the global pandemic,” said Rankin

A press release from the provincial government says the cabinet includes the new Department of Infrastructure and Housing and the Office of Equity and Anti-Racism. There is also a new Office of Mental Health and Addictions under the Department of Health and Wellness.

Several departments were renamed to reflect the premier’s focus on population growth, climate change and infrastructure.

Rankin will also serve as president of the Executive Council and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Regulatory Affairs and Service Effectiveness. He is Minister of the Department of L’nu Affairs, formally the Office of Aboriginal Affairs, and responsible for youth, military relations and the Office of Citizen-Centered Approaches.

His 16-member cabinet, in revamped roles and departments. It includes:

Kelly Regan becomes deputy premier. The veteran minister retains her position as Minister of Community Services with responsibility for the Advisory Council on the Status of Women. She also takes on the Department of Seniors.

Labi Kousoulis is the province’s new Minister of Finance and Treasury Board and Minister of Inclusive Economic Growth, the renamed Department of Business. He is also responsible for trade. Randy Delorey is Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Minister of Labour Relations.

With today’s swearing-in, there will be three new faces around the cabinet table. Keith Irving, MLA for Kings South, was appointed Minister of Environment and Climate Change. The newly named department recognizes the importance of climate change to government policy and decision making.   Irving will also serve as Chair of Treasury and Policy Board.

Ben Jessome, MLA for Hammonds Plains-Lucasville, becomes Minister of the Public Service Commission, and Brendan Maguire, MLA for Halifax Atlantic, is the province’s new Minister of Municipal Affairs.

Zach Churchill, whose previous portfolios included the departments of Education and Early Childhood Development and Municipal Affairs, becomes Minister of Health and Wellness. He will oversee the new Office of Mental Health and Addictions.

Chuck Porter returns to cabinet as Minister of Lands and Forestry and Energy and Mines, and Derek Mombourquette becomes Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development.

Tony Ince returns to cabinet to lead the new Office of Equity and Anti-Racism Initiatives, in addition to retaining responsibility for the Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs. He also adds Communications Nova Scotia to his portfolio.

Placing emphasis on the important role immigration plays in the economy and within our communities, the Office of Immigration evolves to Immigration and Population Growth with Lena Metlege Diab as minister. She remains as Minister of both Labour and Advanced Education and Acadian Affairs and Francophonie.

Geoff MacLellan will lead the new Department of Infrastructure and Housing.

The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal becomes Transportation and Active Transit, with Lloyd Hines remaining as minister.

Keith Colwell continues as Minister of Agriculture and of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

Patricia Arab retains her role as Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Internal Services.

Suzanne Lohnes-Croft remains as Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage and Gaelic Affairs and adds responsibility for the Voluntary Sector to her portfolio.

Iain Rankin arriving with his wife, Mary Chisholm prior to the swearing-in ceremony today, Feb. 23, in Halifax, (CNS photo)