Tory Rushton is Minister of the Department of Natural Resources and Renewables in New Nova Scotia PC Government

The Department of Natural Resources and Renewables combines the former Departments of Lands and Forestry and Energy and Mines. The PC commitments include implementing the Lahey Recommendations and  protecting identified sites from the Parks and Protected Areas plan that are awaiting legal protection – those include Owls Head.

We have all been waiting, I guess, to see who would be in Nova Scotia’s new PC Government Cabinet.

Below are some extracts from News Releases from the Premier’s Office today (August 31, 2021), pertaining to Forestry & Environment, also Health & Wellness – nice to see Michelle Thompson at the table. Some info on the background of the related Ministers, also the new Deputy Minister at Natural Resources and Renewables, is also provided. Also view CBC News:Nova Scotia’s new premier, cabinet sworn in at a ceremony in Halifax

It’s good to see some fresh faces.

The PC’s commitments include Owls Head. From Parks and Protected Areas Plan
Click on image to enlarge it. View the Downloadable Plan– Owls head is site 694.

Forestry and Environment are not highlighted in Tim Houston’s Vision to Advance Workforce Solutions for a Stronger Economy (below). Look to the 130 page PC Platform document  for specific commitments related to Forestry & Environment. Key commitments in that document related to Forests, Forestry, Protected Areas are given at the bottom of this post. Their commitments include implementing the Nova Scotia Our Parks and Protected Areas Plan (2013), which includes Owl’s Head*; and the Lahey recommendations.
* See Lands Profiles; open Halifax. Owl’s Head is the last one listed. There is no Profile sheet for it, however, perhaps from the IR days.


Premier Announces Changes to Public Service
– Premier Tim Houston announced changes to the senior ranks of Nova Scotia’s public service today, Aug. 31. These changes do not include government’s new health-care leadership structure, which will be announced at a later date.
Karen Gatien is the new deputy minister of Natural Resources and Renewables; she was previously associate deputy minister, Education and Early Childhood Development
Scott Farmer, [is the new deputy minister of] Economic Development and Environment and Climate Change
The document cites 8 former “Deputy and associate deputy ministers leaving the public service”; those include Julie Towers former deputy minister of Environment and Climate Change, and earlier, deputy minister of L&F.

New Cabinet to Deliver Solutions for Nova Scotians
Tory Rushton becomes Minister of the Department of Natural Resources and Renewables, combining the former Departments of Lands and Forestry and Energy and Mines.
Environment and Climate Change will be led by Tim Halman who has also been appointed Chair of Treasury Board.

New Cabinet to Advance Workforce Solutions for a Stronger Economy
The premier’s vision includes:
– doubling opportunities for high school students to take skills trade studies and updating the education curriculum to help youth find jobs that match the needs of their communities
– eliminating provincial taxes on the first $50,000 of earnings for workers aged 30 years and under in designated trades
doubling the population by 2060 through a multi-pronged population growth strategy
– ensuring every household has high-speed internet
– working with employers to offer the better pay cheque guarantee
hiring 2,500 more health care professionals, with the creation of a team focused on recruitment

Three Ministers to Focus on Health Care, Mental Health and Seniors’ Care
– Premier Tim Houston has given three cabinet members responsibility to deliver on his vision to fix the issues in health care, mental health and seniors’ care.
Michelle Thompson (Health and Wellness), Brian Comer (Mental Health and Addictions) and Barbara Adams (Seniors and Long-term Care) were sworn in as cabinet ministers today, Aug. 31.



Tim Houston, Pictou East,  Premier

Tim is a dad. He and his wife Carol have been married for 25 years and they have two children, Paget and Zachary. As a Chartered Professional Accountant, Chartered Accountant with 20 years business leadership, Tim has strong views on the economy and cares about the community. He listens carefully to Nova Scotians and takes their concerns to the floor of the Legislature. By introducing Bills (and few MLA’s have introduced more) he drives discussion to the things that matter. Some of his Bills include:

-Cayley’s Law (Youth Mental Health support)
-Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Act
-Helping Seniors Stay at Home Act
-Lyme Disease Strategy Act
-Act to Incorporate St. Andrew’s Society
-Education Fund Protection Act
-Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Amended)
-Pensions Act (withdrawals for financial hardships)
-Exempting first responders from spring weight limits
-Service standards and penalties for NS Power
-Red Tape Reduction
-Service Dogs
-Transparency in Ministers’ Expenses Act

Tim is approachable and enjoys chatting at the various community festivals, parades, sales and dinners and it is those casual, sincere interactions that give him focus and purpose.

Tory Rushton, Cumberland South Minister of the Department of Natural Resources and Renewables

Tory Rushton was raised in Oxford, Nova Scotia and growing up he was very active in the hockey community where he played for the Oxford Colts and later took a spot as an up-and-coming referee. Rushton was fortunate to officiate some high levels of hockey and enjoyed my time on the Cumberland County Minor Hockey Association Executive in its early stages. Today, he is an active coach for his son’s hockey teams and enjoys watching the young players play the sport and develop into tomorrow’s coaches.

Upon graduation from NSCC, Rushton started an electrical apprenticeship. He completed all the hours required and technical training here in Nova Scotia. He had the benefit to see both the construction side and industrial side of this trade and was very fortunate to be able to do all this right here at home. Tory has also worked in the fire service field as a fire technician and inspector including travelling all over the Maritimes and some of Quebec and Eastern USA doing work for all levels of government and the private sector.

Before being elected in June 2018, Tory was a production manager for Oxford Frozen Foods at the battered product facility. After working for Oxford Frozen Foods as an Industrial Electrician, this promotion came as a new challenge to his life. It was an opportunity to utilize some of the training he received at both Oxford Frozen Foods and my position as Chief at the Oxford Fire Department.

For the past 20 years, Tory has been a proud member of the Oxford Fire Department and has served 5 consecutive years as Deputy Chief and the past 12 as Chief. Tory is a graduate of the Dalhousie Fire Service Leadership and Management programs and sit on different executives in the Province of Nova Scotia and in the Maritimes.

Tory and his wife Tracy reside in the Town of Oxford and have 3 children.

Tim Halman, Dartmouth East, Minister of Environment and Climate Change & Chair of Treasury Board 

Tim Halman is a father and stepfather to four amazing children in a blended family. He and his partner Christine Doyle are active members of the community raising their family in Dartmouth East. From his time spent teaching political science and history, to his years directing the Option and Opportunities Program, Tim has been dedicated to empowering youth and setting the next generation up for success for years. Coming from a film family, he felt a call to action in 2015 with the McNeil Government’s short-sighted decision to cut the film tax credit. In February 2017, as he marched around the Nova Scotia Legislature with his teaching colleagues in the first teacher’s strike in our province’s history, he knew that he could not sit idly by and allow this government to continue to mistreat Nova Scotians. He has said that at that moment he knew he had a choice, he could return to the classroom and continue teaching, or he could go to the legislature to change the education system for the better. For over a decade, Tim has been encouraging and facilitating youth involvement in the community. Organizing the first Mock Student Election to coincide with the 2011 Federal Election, and continuing that process with every election since. In 2014 he was named Canada’s Everyday political citizen of the year, and in 2015, he was nominated by the Halifax Regional School Board for the Superintendent’s Award for Teaching Excellence. Tim has always said that politics are about people. His campaign was run by youth and focused on grassroots values, and he believes that it is because of that that he and his team were able to win a seat that hadn’t been won by a PC candidate in 40 years. He prioritizes meeting as many community members as he can, and ensuring that no meeting is left without an action plan in place.

Michelle Thompson , Antigonish Minister of Health and Wellness

From Michelle has been a Registered Nurse for 29 years, working both on the frontlines as a care provider and in leadership roles. She is CEO of RK MacDonald Nursing Home in Antigonish, teaches nursing part-time and has served as a part-time therapist for a non-profit organization.

She is past president of the Continuing Care Association of Nova Scotia and her extensive community involvement includes being a past board member of the Antigonish Celtics Soccer Club, the PHAST swim team, L’Arche, and Arts Health Antigonish – AHA! Michelle lives in Cloverville with her husband, Darren and has three adult children.

Page 117 in the PC Platform Doc – On the Environment Goals and Climate Change Reduction Act & Commitment to implement Lahey
Click on image to enlarge it

About Karen Gatien, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Renewables
Karen has held a variety of leadership positions since joining the Government of Nova Scotia in 1988. These include positions in the fields of workforce development, public school and early childhood education, adult education, employment services, and policy and planning.

Karen holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of King’s College and a Master of Education from Mount Saint Vincent University. She is a director of both the Teachers’ Pension Plan Trustee Inc. and the Nova Scotia Pension Services Corporation.


View Solutions for Nova Scotians, 130 page document


A comment on this post on Facebook: SK: I remember when Tory Rushton‘s grandfather George Henley was appointed Minister of Lands and Forests in 1978, his first cabinet post.I was working for Lands and Forests at the time and remember George being very supportive of our reforestation efforts, battle against the Spruce budworm with BTk, etc.Also very supportive of our Provincial Parks.I expect Tory will be similarily supportive having grown up in an area very dependent on natural resources, and their proper management and sustainability.


From the PC Platform: key commitments related to Forests, Forestry, Protected Areas

On Pages 115-117: (Bolding inserted)
1. New Enviro-Goals and Climate Change Reduction Act
In 2007, the Progressive Conservative government realized that for a sustainable and
prosperous future for Nova Scotians, economic capital and natural capital could no longer beviewed separately. The health of each source of capital depended upon, and affected, the
other. As a result of this vision, an innovative bill – “Environmental Goals and Sustainable
Prosperity Act” (EGSPA) – was drafted and passed with the unanimous consent of the

This was a progressive and visionary piece of legislation that recognized that a prosperous
economy and a healthy environment are not incompatible and must be linked together.
What made EGSPA so innovative in 2007 is that it combined environmental and economic
well-being in one bill and set out measurable and challenging, but still achievable, goals. It alsoestablished a progress reporting mechanism. This bill became a trendsetting bill across Canada and beyond and helped to cement the reputation of Nova Scotia as a leader in the burgeoning “Green Economy.” An example of this leadership was the solid waste management program which had grown into a $400 million business, much of it export business, that brought needed money into the Nova Scotian economy rather than merely recirculating money.

As a result of the success of the EGSPA, the government began the process of bringing social capital into the equation and looked at ways to improve the economic well being of vulnerable Nova Scotians. This work was never finished due to the change in government.
We will build on the work commenced in the EGSPA and focus on the long-term objective of fully integrating economic prosperity, environmental sustainability, human betterment and growth and social well-being. This will allow us, as a province, to:
– Provide support for rewarding work and improve the province’s economic strength;
– Support industry through encouraging innovation and funding necessary infrastructure
for such growth;
– Strengthen energy efficiency programs and vigorously promote affordable clean energy;
– Support the greening of agriculture, forestry and fisheries to promote sustainable
economic growth;
– Protect water resources both on land and offshore;
– Support appropriate climate action and mitigation;
– Strengthen our education systems by providing a quality education equal to or better
than any other in Canada and accessible to all Nova Scotians;
– Strengthen our communities and our cities by encouraging policies that support
sustainability, cultural diversity and livability; and
– Partner with the federal government, other provinces, Nova Scotia municipalities, First
Nations, business and industry, community groups and non-profit organizations towards
the fulfillment of these goals

To achieve these objectives, during its first Legislative sitting, your PC government will introduce new environmental legislation – the Enviro-Goals and Climate Change Reduction Act (“EGCCRA”) – which will guide Nova Scotia towards a cleaner and healthier environment in the coming decade (and beyond) and will further encourage growth of the green economy and the greening of traditional industries.
EGCCRA will not only re-establish Nova Scotia as a world leader in protecting the environment, but a focus on green energy will ensure that sustainable jobs are created and both our existing and future businesses thrive with minimal environmental impact.
This new roadmap for guiding our province on our environmental goals is based on the followingprinciples:
(a) The health of the economy, the health of the environment and the health of the people ofthe province are interconnected;
(b) Environmentally sustainable economic development that recognizes the economic value of the province’s environmental assets is essential to the long-term prosperity of the
(c) The environment and the economy of the province are a shared responsibility of all
levels of government, the private sector and all people of Nova Scotia;
(d) The environment and economy must be managed for the benefit of present and future
(e) Innovative solutions are necessary to mutually reinforce the environment and the
(f) A long-term approach to planning and decision-making is necessary to harmonize the
province’s goals of economic prosperity and environmental sustainability;and
(g) The management of goals for sustainable prosperity, such as emission reduction, energy efficiency programs and increasing the amount of legally protected land will preserve and improve the province’s environment and economy for future generations.
To achieve these long-term objectives, our new, robust legislation will set the following
environmental and economic goals:
1. The province will implement the Independent Review of Forestry Practices (the “Lahey
In opposition, our PC Caucus accepted the principles outlined in the Lahey Report. As
government, we are committed to act on all recommendations of the Report and work
towards finding a balance between industry and environment so that we can make our
forestry a strong sector of our economy for generations.

To date, with 45 recommendations, the government’s response has been slow to
implement. We recognize the need for action. The triad model of ecological forestry has been generally accepted by stakeholders and needs government leadership for implementation. It suggests many checks and balances within government, along with peer monitoring of the Department of Lands and Forestry, to re-establish the trust of the stakeholders in the government and its commitment to our forestry sector.

Recognizing competing interests and listening to stakeholders is key to the future of
forestry, while understanding the social and economic benefits is also essential. This can
only be accomplished by willing parties getting together with future leaders of the
province to establish a new roadmap.

2. At least 20% of the total land and water mass of Nova Scotia will be legally protected for
nature conservation by 2030. This “Protected Areas” network will now include
Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas.
Protected areas under the 2007 EGSPA included:
● Nature reserves;
● Wilderness areas;
● Some provincial parks and reserves;
● Conservation easement lands;
● Lands owned by land trust organizations;
● National parks; and
● National wildlife areas.

With approximately 70% of landmass being owned privately, this target is an ambitious
one. We will include the same protected areas in the EGCCRA as well as add water
mass as a targeted protected area.

We must work hand in glove with the federal government, who have set their own
ambitious target of protecting 25% of Canada’s lands and oceans by 2025. To reach this target, we will engage groups like the Nova Scotia Nature Trust, the Nature
Conservancy of Canada and Ducks Unlimited. We will have a strategy that includes
protecting Crown land, buying and protecting other lands, establishing voluntary
conservation easements in conjunction with private landowners who wish to have their
land protected and helping land trusts protect private lands.

We will also implement the Nova Scotia Our Parks and Protected Areas Plan, wherein approximately 125 identified sites from this plan are awaiting legal protection. At present, all that’s required is an Order-in-Council to ensure protection of these areas.

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