A man wearing a grey suit, white shirt and dotted tie speaks at a podium. Behind him, part of a Canadian flag is visible.
Premier Iain Rankin speaks during a funding announcement in July 2021. — Photo: Zane Woodford

Former premier Iain Rankin has decided to step down as leader of the Nova Scotia Liberal Party.

“Last year was a rollercoaster for all of us. Personally, my life went through many changes,” Rankin said in a media release Wednesday morning.

He also shared the details of the release in a series of tweets.

“Given the pace of 2021 and all the changes, this Holiday Season was my first chance to slow down, pause, and reflect.”

After spending time with his new child and wife over the holidays, the MLA for Timberlea-Prospect said he made the decision that the “best path forward” for the Liberal party was to step down.

“Our caucus and party are full of amazing diverse MLAs, dedicated volunteers, and hard-working staff,” Rankin said. “And given the outcome of last year’s election, I believe that all of you need to have a say in how our party moves forward.”

First elected in 2013, Rankin was re-elected in 2017 and 2021. Under his leadership the party lost the August 17, 2021 provincial election. The Progressive Conservatives came into power for the first time since 2006, forming a majority government.

Rankin said he believes the best way forward is to stay on as leader until the party finds a replacement, adding that he will remain neutral during the leadership process.

He also plans to continue in his role as MLA.

“We have a lot of good work left to do, and I want to help do the heavy lifting,” he said. “This will allow me keep serving my constituents and delivering on important projects to our community.”

In a media release late Wednesday morning following Rankin’s announcement, Premier Tim Houston thanked Rankin for his work as a cabinet minister, premier, and leader of the official opposition.

“Iain spent many years in service to Nova Scotians, first as Minister and then as Premier during a very challenging time in the pandemic,” Houston said in the media release. “I understand the weight of making tough decisions to keep Nova Scotians safe, and I thank him for his service. I wish him and his family all the best in this next chapter.”

In a tweet, Nova Scotia NDP party leader Gary Burrill — who announced in November he is stepping down as leader of the NDP — also had kind words for Rankin.


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Yvette d'Entremont

Yvette d’Entremont is a bilingual (English/French) journalist and editor, covering the COVID-19 pandemic and health issues. Twitter @ydentremont

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  1. Probably a good move if they want to be elected into power again.
    Whomever is in charge it won’t change the fact that without a major internal party overhaul the NS Liberals and PC’s are virtually indistinguishable policy wise. They’re both pretty milk toast, economically right of center, socially centrist parties.

    1. IMHO The Liberal Party will be whatever sells.
      Their heart-felt core values are formulated from opinion polls and focus groups. McNeil judged that moving his party to the right was where the votes lay and he moved it so far right that he succeeded in locking out the Tories for two elections. If they sense “progressive” politics will return them to power, they will eat the NDP’s lunch.