Host Jordi Morgan interviews Randy Delorey, Iain Rankin, and Labi Kousoulis

January 19-21
The Rick Howe Show
News 95.7

One of these three Liberal leadership candidates will not only become the leader of the provincial Liberal party but also the new premier of Nova Scotia. Take a listen to their responses to environmental questions, including the fate of Owls Head Provincial Park.

Mr. Randy Delorey
January 19, 2021

Randy Delorey
Photo: RednozerCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Question: Another specific issue is around Owls Head. What are your plans there, if you were premier?

Randy Delorey: Owls Head, I think I’d have to dig in a little more. Obviously, there’s some legal provisions in there that I’d have to check in – I believe they’re before the courts right now. In terms of the decisions around that, there’s also (I believe) a Letter of Offer agreement with a potential proponent, so I’d have to get some more information on that to determine what, if any, options are available going forward.

Mr. Iain Rankin
January 20, 2021

Iain Rankin, Photo from the Nova Scotia Legislature

Question: I’ve got a question from one of our listeners, who is concerned about the Eastern Shore’s native eelgrass meadows and the idea that this is something that is beneficial for the environment generally and it has to do with the selling of Owls Head Provincial Park – a piece of Crown Land that a remarkable number of people seem to be really captured with. So what’s your position on that piece of land and what you would do with it as premier?

Iain Rankin: I think it’s important when you’re a Minister to listen to local communities. And that’s what I did in this instance. There was a proposed project and a process to be followed. It’s still in the middle of the process for consideration. I did want to make sure there was a requirement for public engagement, which still hasn’t been approved (my understanding at the Department, not having been there for months now), Mi’kmaq consultation, and a real assessment for impacts for any potential project.

I can understand the passion of people that want to see land protected in this province; I share that passion. I’ve proposed protecting (like I said) over 200 sites, finishing the Parks and Protected Areas Plan. I think, in this instance, a lot of people believed that piece was already protected, so giving them the benefit of the doubt, it was not protected, it was on a list for potential protection and I think, as a Minister, you should be balanced. I wouldn’t support any project that would have any long-term adverse impacts to an ecosystem. But it is important to listen to communities when they put forward a potential project that would benefit the local economy.

Question: So are you planting yourself as undecided on this one? Because I didn’t get a real position on that, in terms of what you would do, as premier, what you would advocate for in terms of that piece of property.

Iain Rankin: You’re right; I haven’t made a decision because the process is still being followed. I am someone who believes in following a process. With respect to this area, there are some questions before the courts. So again, if there’s an economic opportunity in the local community, it’s our obligation, I believe, as a public servant, to listen to communities. But at the same time, I think I’ve made it very clear during this campaign and beforehand, my thoughts on the value of protecting nature.

Mr. Labi Kousoulis
January 21, 2021

Labi Kousoulis
Photo: Anatoli99CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Question: You mention areas of ecological value in your platform piece on your website, but missing is Owls Head, a piece of land that a number of people have written questions about. I put that to both of the other candidates for the leadership as well. What’s your position on that piece of land?

Labi Kousoulis: On Owls Head, there’s been a lot of talk in terms of the significance of it. There’s a very large group – a Save the Owls Head group – with 4,000 people, and they’re very passionate about it. What I’ve communicated to them, and I would communicate to all Nova Scotians, my background is not science; it’s finance. What I said I would do is look at bringing in independent scientists to look at the area. Because if it is an ecologically sensitive area – and they talk about how it was formed by the glaciers – then that is an area that we should ensure we have there for future generations.

At the same time, I’m all for business development and I would work with the proponent and look at a different area where we could build the golf course that they want to build. That would employ many people in that area (which is running higher unemployment). I’d be looking for a solution to satisfy both sides and the province would be there, working with both sides, to move that forward.

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