ANTIGONISH: Randy Delorey has become the third candidate to launch a bid to become the next leader of the Nova Scotia Liberal Party.
Following a week of speculation, he made his announcement to pursue the opportunity to become the province’s next premier in a campaign video posted on his Facebook page.
His campaign launched with endorsemenst from former Cape Breton-Canso MP Rodger Cuzner, current MP Mike Kelloway, MLAs Suzanna Lohnes-Croft, Bill Horne and Margaret Miller, and cabinet ministers Kelly Regan and Gordon Wilson.
Delorey, who resigned as the Minister of Health and Wellness and the Minister of Gaelic Affairs on October 8 to announce his leadership bid, said this coincides with the seventh anniversary of his becoming the MLA for Antigonish.
He said his motivation to become the province’s next premier is all about public service and stems from the unwavering support from everyone “down home.”
“I think that’s what entering politics is always fundamentally about is how we serve the public in the province,” Delorey told The Reporter. “But in this particular instance, really the decision is about stepping up to offer the services that I have, the experience that I have, on a whole new level.”
First elected in 2013, Delorey also served as the minister of environment and the minister of finance for two-years each, before being shuffled to his most recent portfolio in 2017.
He recognizes that in this leadership race is not only about becoming leader of the Liberal Party but also Premier – which means the new leader, will need to hit the ground running.
“I think that’s one of the most important things at this particular time, knowing that the leader will be the premier right out of the gate, we do need a leader who has proven leadership experience,” Delorey said. “I believe I have that experience, I’ve demonstrated my leadership skills and success through each of the three portfolios I’ve held in environment, finance, and health.”
Drawing on his many accomplishments over his seven-year political career, he highlights negotiating the end of a blockade in Pictou while he was the environment minister; establishing balanced budgets that brought an end to structural deficits;, and most recently, navigating and leading the department of health’s system through the first wave of the pandemic and setting the stage and the path for the second wave.
Delorey’s campaign will have a primary focus on healthcare to meet the needs for Nova Scotians during the pandemic and beyond.
Additionally, his campaign will also promote the necessity of a sound education system, supporting Nova Scotians who are struggling economically, and addressing what he refers to as the “social awakening” that’s taking place within the province. The “social awakening” refers to the awareness and willingness to embrace and acknowledge the systemic challenges and barriers society has built up over the last number of centuries against people of colour.
“Anybody who knows me knows that education, I truly believe it’s a critical foundation for this province, it holds up the many other pillars of social programs and economic development that are provincial responsibilities,” Delorey said. “As a governmen,t we need to work to acknowledge the systemic challenges, engage the community and individuals that have experienced these systemic barriers so we can understand them, not just what the barriers are, but how they’ve impacted people.”
For himself, he said it is well-known that his style and approach is very evidence-based, and that he would be a bit more “reflective” in decision-making compared to the premier’s approach, which he described as “decisive right out the gate.”
“I believe the success I’ve had in my leadership roles as the three areas of environment, finance and health have been well-served by taking the time to understand the details and the nuances of the circumstances before me,” Delorey said. “I think that level of engagement and commitment to following the evidence to help inform decisions is something that has served me well in the past, and I believe it will continue to serve me and the province well into the future.”
Former Environment Minister Iain Rankin and former Labour and Advanced Education Minister Labi Kousoulis have also announced their candidacy.
The Nova Scotia Liberal Party will select their new leader on February 6.