August 9, 2021
Judging by the lawn signs during this election, the most popular cause in some neighbourhoods around the province isn’t a political party, but “Save Owls Head.” That’s the slogan on those bright-red signs protesting the Liberal government’s willingness to sell off Owls Head Provincial Park for golf-course development. Between the strong public support and the fact premier Iain Rankin bears major responsibility for it, the land has become a major issue in this sleepy summer campaign. Here’s a quick breakdown of the situation and where each major party stands.
The NDP promise
New Democratic Party leader Gary Burrill and many NDP candidates have shown their support for Owls Head, with Burrill publicly calling Rankin’s decision to delist the park into question since before the election was called. At a February 2020 protest, Burrill announced the NDP’s plan to pass legislation called the Owls Head Act, which would strengthen protection for parks and protected areas. In a section about investing in rural and regional economic development, the NDP’s 2021 provincial platform says the following: “The NDP would protect the remaining areas of the Parks and Protected Areas Plan, including Owls Head, and consult with the public and Mi’kmaw communities about new areas.” Gary Burrill was also present at an Owl’s Head rally this past Saturday.
Green Party support
Nova Scotia Green Party leader Jessica Alexander has taken a strong stance in favour of saving Owls Head park, as have Green candidates from across the province. Like other parties, the Greens showed their support at the February 2020 rally, where former leader Thomas Trappenberg spoke, and they have continued being vocal supporters since then. “We urge the Members of the Legislative Assembly to pay close and serious attention to the hundreds of letters addressed to them, the thousands of petitioners and the multitude of red signs across the province, calling for the cancellation of the proposed sale of Owls Head,” leader Alexander said in a statement. Alexander also attended the rally on Saturday, where she emphasized the importance of eco-tourism opportunities like Owls Head.