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The very tall man behind the podium: who is Stephen McNeil?

Video: Nova Scotia premier-designate Stephen McNeil’s win may be linked to a larger Liberal surge. Global National’s Ross Lord has more.

Nova Scotia’s new premier-designate Stephen McNeil certainly stands out in a crowd, but what else do we know about him?

McNeil is the 12th of 17 children who were raised in Bridgetown — in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley. His mother, Theresa McNeil, was the high-sheriff of Annapolis County, who became a widow after her husband and patriarch of the McNeil clan died suddenly in 1977.


ABOVE: Stephen McNeil met with media to discuss the win, having a majority mandate, choosing a cabinet and other policy matters.

Before he entered politics, the 48-year-old premier-designate owned a successful small appliance repair shop, McNeil Appliance Service, in Bridgetown for 15 years and is a graduate of the Nova Scotia Community College.

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At 6-5, McNeil stands three inches taller than Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the tallest world leader according to the 2012 Guinness World Records.

READ MORE: Global News Decision Nova Scotia coverage

McNeil’s political life began when he decided to run in Annapolis in 1999 — and lost. Four years later, he decided to try again, winning the seat in Annapolis with just over 50 per cent of the vote and a sizable margin over Progressive Conservative rival Frank Chipman. One re-election later and by 2009, he was ready to lead the party, winning his riding with a whopping 74 per cent of the vote.


ABOVE: Stephen McNeil speaks to supporters after his Liberal party is elected to form Nova Scotia’s next government.

During the election campaign, McNeil made it clear that he plans to improve the education system, reduce hospital wait times, hold Nova Scotia Power more accountable, and improve the province’s economy.

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McNeil currently resides in Annapolis with his wife Andrea and adult children Colleen and Geoffrey.

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