JIM VIBERT: Secret Owl’s Head deal could haunt Rankin

Jim Vibert
The Chronicle Herald
March 6, 2021

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Among the important dates circled on the calendar of Nova Scotia’s nascent premier, Iain Rankin, April 1 should stand out, and not because he enjoys a good April Fools’ prank.

On that day, in the Nova Scotia Supreme Court, Rankin’s actions as lands and forestry minister in Stephen McNeil’s government will come under some serious, and potentially damaging, scrutiny.

… The applicants, who sought and got the judicial review, are asking the court to find that Rankin, and/or the government, breached their duty to procedural fairness by removing the land from the PPA list and preparing for its sale without any public notice or consultation. Indeed, the government hid the decision successfully for nine months, until it was uncovered in December 2019 by CBC reporter Michael Gorman.

…Owl’s Head presents problems for Rankin, and not just because he was the minister who recommended delisting and selling it.

In his bid for the Liberal leadership and as premier since, Rankin has positioned himself as a champion of the environment. How he, and his government, handles the Owl’s Head controversy from here out will influence whether he can retain claim to that title.

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