Atlantic Canada's 1st NDP government takes office in Nova Scotia

Darrell Dexter has officially become Nova Scotia's 27th premier — and leader of the first NDP government in Atlantic Canada.

Darrell Dexter has officially become Nova Scotia's 27th premier — and leader of the first NDP government in Atlantic Canada.

Dexter and his cabinet ministers were sworn in at a ceremony Friday evening before a standing-room-only crowd at the Cunard Centre in Halifax.

The New Democrats won 31 of 52 seats in the June 9 general election. The historic NDP win also marks the return of majority government to Nova Scotia for the first time since 2003.

Dexter is starting off the new era with an 11-member team, down from 18 cabinet ministers in the previous Progressive Conservative government.

Eight are returning MLAs and three are newcomers. They represent all areas of the province. Four cabinet ministers are women.

The members of the cabinet and their responsibilities:

  • Dexter - premier, chair of the Treasury and Policy Board; intergovernmental affairs; aboriginal affairs; military relations.
  • Frank Corbett - deputy premier; minister responsible for the Public Service Commission and Communications Nova Scotia.
  • Maureen MacDonald - health; health, promotion and protection; Gaelic affairs.
  • John MacDonell - agriculture; natural resources; minister responsible for the Maritime Provinces Harness Racing Commission Act.
  • Bill Estabrooks - transportation and infrastructure renewal; energy; minister responsible for Conserve Nova Scotia, the gateway initiative and the Sydney Tar Ponds Agency.
  • Graham Steele - finance, Acadian affairs.
  • Marilyn More - education; labour and workforce development; volunteerism.
  • Sterling Belliveau - fisheries and aquaculture; environment.
  • Percy Paris - economic and rural development; tourism and cultural and heritage; African Nova Scotian affairs, minister responsible for Nova Scotia Business Inc.
  • Denise Peterson-Rafuse - community services; minister responsible for seniors and the Advisory Council on the Status of Women; chair of the senior citizens' secretariat.
  • Ramona Jennex - Service Nova Scotia and municipal relations; emergency management; immigration; youth.
  • Ross Landry - attorney general and justice.

In his speech, Dexter promised to represent all Nova Scotians, from those living along country roads to those in large urban areas.

Though the NDP has all but four seats in Metro, Dexter picked six cabinet ministers from outside the region, including newcomers Jennex, Landry and Peterson-Rafuse.

The Liberals won 11 seats in the election, while the Progressive Conservatives slipped to 10 and third-party status.