HANTS COUNTY, N.S. — Long-time Hants West MLA Chuck Porter has finally landed a top role in the provincial cabinet.
Porter, who was first elected in 2006, was sworn in today as the minister in charge of Municipal Affairs.
“June 13 was 12 years. It’s hard to believe that much time has gone by already. It’s gone quick,” said Porter, while sitting in his constituency office just hours after the announcement.
“Municipal Affairs is the department that takes in, obviously, municipal relations issues, and emergency management and the fire marshal’s office all fall under that,” said Porter. “It’s a pretty big file.”
Premier Stephen McNeil made the announcement July 5 as he shuffled the roles of some of his executive council. Aside from Porter’s appointment, Margaret Miller, MLA for Hants East, became the minister of Environment, which is a role she held from 2016-17. Derek Mombourquette, MLA for Sydney-Whitney Pier, was appointed the minister of Energy and Mines, while Simon d'Entremont was named deputy minister for the same department. Timberlea-Prospect MLA Iain Rankin was appointed the minister for the renamed Department of Lands and Forestry. Geoff MacLellan, MLA for Glace Bay, will remain as the minister of Business and minister of Trade and Service Nova Scotia, and he will also be a member of Treasury and Policy Board, along with his duties as Government House Leader.
“I'm looking forward to working with my colleagues, ministers Mombourquette, Miller and Rankin, in their new roles and I'm very pleased that Mr. Porter is taking on an important portfolio, where his long experience as a dedicated, hard-working community leader will serve him well,” said McNeil in a press release.
Porter, 53, said he’s ready for the new role.
“I’m very much up to the challenge and I’m excited about being offered the opportunity,” said Porter.
Porter ran under the Progressive Conservative banner in the 2006, 2009 and 2013 elections, winning each race. He left the party in 2014 to sit as an independent politician, citing leadership issues with then PC leader Jamie Baillie. On Feb. 17, 2016, Porter joined the Liberal caucus and was elected under the Liberal banner in May 2017. On June 17, 2017, Porter was voted in as deputy speaker of the Legislature.
Porter served as a paramedic before joining provincial politics. He also served nearly two years on municipal council. He said his past experience will help him in his new role.
“I think having previous experience on municipal council, obviously, that will be helpful,” he said, noting he is quite familiar with the issues that the Hants West region has faced over the years.
He said he has a general understanding of issues affecting the province’s municipalities and will be “brought up to speed” on the Municipal Affairs file early next week.