Hon. Terry M. Mercer: Honourable senators, today I pay tribute to the former Premier of Nova Scotia, Stephen McNeil, who served as our twenty-eighth premier, from 2013 to 2021.
From his first election as MLA in 2003 to the day he was elected leader of the Nova Scotia Liberal Party in 2007, it was clear that Stephen McNeil was well on his way to becoming premier. And that he did in 2013, which continued with the government’s subsequent reelection in 2017.
For his entire tenure, Steven was steadfastly working to provide a better life for the citizens of Nova Scotia. The premier, his government and all Nova Scotians worked hard to get the budget under control, especially to fix and augment health care. Under Premier McNeil’s watch, sometimes in the face of harsh criticism and bitter protest, the province became the leader in Canada, from tourism to food exports to infrastructure spending.
Then COVID-19 hit. Then came the heartbreak of a madman’s rampage and then two air crashes. Through it all, Premier McNeil remained resolute that we would get through all of this tragedy. And we did, by working together, supporting one another and healing together. And by “staying the blazes home.”
I would like to commend Premier McNeil for all he has done for Nova Scotia and Canada. Thank you, my friend, for your leadership and guidance through these troubled times.
I would also like to congratulate the newly selected leader and Premier of Nova Scotia, Iain Rankin. I am sure your vision for the province will be an inspiration to us all, and I look forward to seeing what you will do to continue Nova Scotia on the path to prosperity. Thank you, honourable senators.