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Quick facts about the three Nova Scotia party leaders ahead of Aug. 17 election

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Here are a few quick facts about the three Nova Scotia party leaders ahead of the Aug. 17 provincial election.

At dissolution, the Liberals had 24 seats in the legislature while the Progressive Conservatives had 17 seats and the NDP five. There were two vacant seats and three Independents.

Iain Rankin, leader of the Liberal party of Nova Scotia

Age: 38

Hometown: Timberlea, N.S.

Job before politics: Worked as a director of operations for a storage company in Ottawa, and as a project manager for Armco Capital after moving back to Nova Scotia in 2011.

Leadership history: Elected to the legislature in 2013, served as environment minister and later as minister of lands and forestry under former Liberal premier Stephen McNeil; became Liberal leader in 2021.

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Key issues: Long-term care, affordable housing, environment and the economy.

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What to look for on the campaign trail: Rankin will stress the government’s competency in handling the COVID-19 pandemic as the Liberals seek a third term in power but could be hampered by recent revelations of his past impaired driving charges.

Did you know: Rankin owns two dogs including a rescue animal, and supported a change this spring to allow dogs to accompany their owners to restaurant, bar and cafe patios.

Social media stats: More than 23,000 Twitter followers; more than 21,000 Facebook followers.

Quote: “We’re at the point now where we’ve crushed the third wave. We’re looking forward to discussing ideas of what a future economy looks like.”

Tim Houston, leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Nova Scotia

Age: 51

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Hometown: Halifax

Job before politics: Chartered accountant, worked with Deloitte.

Leadership history: Elected to the legislature in 2013; became Tory leader in 2018.

Key issues: Improving health care and rebuilding the economy.

What to look for on the campaign trail: Houston will stress the need for leadership in helping the economy emerge from COVID-19.

Did you know: Moved to Bermuda in 1995 where he worked as a chartered accountant until 2007.

Social media stats: More than 5,500 Twitter followers; more than 12,000 Facebook followers.

Quote: “We will get through COVID, but there are major challenges facing this province and also major opportunities that await us if we act properly.”

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Gary Burrill, leader of the Nova Scotia NDP

Age: 65

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Hometown: Halifax

Job before politics: Burrill is a United Church minister and has worked as a community organizer, a writer, and an editor.

Leadership history: Elected to the legislature in 2009 and served until 2013; became NDP leader in 2016 before being re-elected to the legislature in 2017.

Key issues: Improved access to mental health care and the need for affordable housing and rent control.

What to look for on the campaign trail: Burrill will stress that there needs to be a solid plan for “what happens next” as the province reopens its economy.

Did you know: He has played piano and guitar at dances for years and two of his children are in the band Hillsburn.

Social media stats: More than 4,700 Twitter followers; nearly 5,000 Facebook followers.

Quote: “We have been through this intensely difficult period, and there are a number of things that need to happen next, and the election is going to be about whether we’re going to have a government that is going to see to it that they happen.”

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 17, 2021.

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