Rankin was up for a leadership review in March following last year’s election defeat

Michael Gorman
CBC News
January 5, 2021

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With a mandatory leadership review two months away, Nova Scotia Liberal Leader Iain Rankin has reversed course and decided to step down as party leader.

… His one sitting in the legislature as premier last spring was marked with highs and lows. His government passed a budget with the single largest increase in income support payments ever, but it was also seen as caving in the face of an orchestrated lobby by the forestry industry when Rankin watered down his showpiece Biodiversity Act.

… The former premier also failed to clearly and effectively settle several controversies that would dog him throughout the campaign, including how his team handled a candidate who dropped out on the first day of the election, his involvement in the potential sale of Owls Head provincial park and revelations of several drunk driving charges when he was younger.

… Despite the election loss, Rankin stayed on as leader and indicated he would fight to keep the job ahead of a required leadership review in March as part of the Liberal annual general meeting.

But in recent months there had been efforts behind the scenes to convince him to step aside, with some party members fearing what would happen if the leadership review resulted in a defeat for Rankin or only lukewarm support (Rankin refused several times to say the threshold he would require in order to stay on).

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