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N.S. Premier Iain Rankin discloses two past drunk driving charges amid election speculation

Click to play video: 'Nova Scotia Premier Iain Rankin discloses two past drunk driving charges' Nova Scotia Premier Iain Rankin discloses two past drunk driving charges
Nova Scotia Premier Iain Rankin on Monday admitted that he was found guilty of driving under the influence in 2003. In 2005 he was again charged with driving under the influence, but "was eventually found to be innocent." Rankin said he informed everyone in his party of the charges when he ran as an MLA in 2013. Rankin said he was asked about it on Monday and decided to inform the media – Jul 5, 2021

Nova Scotia Premier Iain Rankin disclosed Monday he had two drunk driving charges nearly 20 years ago,

Rankin, 38, made the admission at the beginning of a scheduled COVID-19 briefing, saying the charges were in 2003 and 2005.

“I make no excuses for my behaviour. I was wrong, and I made a bad decision,” he said.  “I’m very, very sorry for my actions half a lifetime ago. I was selfish. It has not happened since.”

According to court documents, Rankin was first charged in August 2003, fined and had his license suspended for a year.

In July 2005, he was charged again, and initially found guilty. He appealed that decision, and in 2007, the charges were dismissed.

Rankin said he made then-leader of the Liberal Party, Stephen McNeil, aware of the charges prior to running for election in 2013. He said he disclosed the information again when he decided to run for the leadership.

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“I have never kept it a secret. I have moved on with my life and always drive responsibly,” he said.

“I’ve heard some people start to ask questions and I think I owe it to all Nova Scotians that I take this opportunity to speak directly about what happened and the lessons I learned 18 years ago.”

Read more: Nova Scotia premier sidesteps election speculation as opposition gears for July call

While he has never addressed the charges publicly, Rankin said his friends, family and community all knew about it.

When asked why he decided to speak about the charges on Monday, he said somebody in his office told him earlier that day that “somebody asked about it.” He would not elaborate on whether the question came from a reporter or another party.

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“Somebody just told me in my office that somebody asked about it and I said, ‘I’m going to confront this and go down and tell all Nova Scotians.’ Just in case there’s any ambiguity,” he said.

“I don’t think that’s material. Somebody asked me about it and I want to tell all Nova Scotians. End of story.”

There has been widespread speculation an election call is looming, as the Liberals continue to roll out spending announcements

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