Owls Head shows Rankin Liberals can’t be trusted on environment

Nova Scotians concerned about the environment and climate change need a Premier and a government that won’t do secret deals to put protected lands at risk.

Hammonds Plains-Lucasville PC candidate Julie Chaisson noted that as Lands and Forestry Minister, Liberal Leader Iain Rankin secretly delisted Owls Head provincial park reserve to allow an American couple to buy the land. The Rankin Liberals also gutted the previous PC government’s landmark Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act, moving decision-making away from the Legislature into the cabinet backrooms.

“The choice in this election is clear: more secret deals that put Nova Scotia’s environment at risk with Iain Rankin or real solutions for our environment with Tim Houston,” said Chaisson.  “Having Iain Rankin, the architect of the Owls Head secret deal, responsible for our environment is like having an arsonist in charge of fire safety.”

Even some of Rankin’s own Liberal candidates criticized his secret deal-making on Owls Head. Halifax Chebucto Liberal candidate Jackie Kinley, who didn’t attend Rankin’s Halifax announcement yesterday signed a petition calling on the Liberal government to reverse its decision on Owls Head and on May 17, 2021, said in an online post: “Let’s share it and preserve it.”

Tim Houston’s Solutions for Nova Scotians is the only detailed, costed platform presented by any party in this election.  A Tim Houston PC government will:

  • Introduce a new Enviro-goals and Climate Change Reduction Act, a new, ambitious law that will identify and showcase the province as a world leader in adopting green energy measures and following climate-friendly sustainable development;
  • Update existing environmental decision-making process to include diversity, inclusion and equity;
  • Protect 20% of the total land and water mass of Nova Scotia by 2030;
  • Fully implement the Lahey report on forest practices; and
  • Implement the toughest penalties in Canada for individual and corporate littering.

“We need to move environmental and climate change decision-making out of Iain Rankin’s backrooms and into the light of the day,” added Chaisson.

Hammonds Plains - Lucasville is home to one of Atlantic Canada's largest urban parks, the Blue Mountain Birch Cove protected lands. The Rankin Liberals' secrecy and mismanagement of Owls Head casts doubt on their ability to ensure the continued sustainability of the wilderness area for generations to come.

“How can we trust the Rankin Liberals to protect Blue Mountain Birch Cove when they won’t protect Owls Head?” said Chaisson.

A PC government would put an immediate pause on the sale of Owls Head pending public consultations and environmental reviews.