|30th Premier of Nova Scotia
August 31, 2021
|Leader of the Opposition
October 27,2018 –August 31,2021
|Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Nova Scotia
|Member of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly
for Pictou East
|Saint Mary's University (BCom)
Timothy Jerome Houston // ⓘ HEW-stən; born April 10,1970) is a Canadian politician who is the 30th and current premier of Nova Scotia since 2021. He was first elected to the Nova Scotia House of Assembly in the 2013 provincial election. A member of the Progressive Conservative Party of Nova Scotia,he represents the electoral district of Pictou East. Houston also served as the leader of the opposition from 2018 to 2021. He and the Progressive Conservative party won a majority government in the 2021 Nova Scotia general election,becoming the first Progressive Conservative premier since 2009.(
Born in Halifax,Nova Scotia,Houston lived in several different places around the world as his father was in the military. His family eventually re-settled in Halifax and Houston attended Halifax West High School.
Houston attended Saint Mary's University,graduating in 1992 with a Bachelor of Commerce.He then moved to Bermuda,working there as a consultant from 1995 to 2007. Houston then worked as a chartered accountant and as a financial consultant with Deloitte. On November 2,2020,he was awarded the profession’s highest mark of distinction,the Fellow (FCPA) designation,by Chartered Professional Accountants of Nova Scotia.
On November 27,2012,Houston won the Progressive Conservative nomination in the riding of Pictou East for the 2013 Nova Scotia general election.
He was elected MLA of Pictou East on October 8,2013,with 48.08% of the vote. He was re-elected on May 30,2017 with 73.88% of the vote.
On November 19,2017,Houston announced his candidacy for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of Nova Scotia.Houston was elected leader of the Progressive Conservative Party after the first ballot results were announced on October 27,2018,at the Party's Leadership Convention in Halifax. He earned 48.96% of the points on the first ballot,leaving other candidates no clear path to victory. The other candidates conceded after the first ballot.
Houston has been publicly open to the option of fracking in Nova Scotia,a controversial stance.He has said,as Leader of the Opposition,that he would not criticize the Government without offering his own ideas in response.
The incumbent Liberals held a 75% approval rating in June 2021.In an upset, Houston and the Progressive Conservatives won a majority government in the 2021 Nova Scotia general election,becoming the first Progressive Conservative premier since 2009. Houston ran on a Red Tory platform that promised more spending on health care.
Houston and his cabinet were sworn in on August 31,2021.
Houston was elected on a platform to fix Nova Scotia's healthcare system.
A day after being sworn in,Houston fired the CEO and board of the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA),the provincial healthcare provider. He stated that he "needed a clean slate at the helm of his leadership team" for the Tories' intended overhaul of the healthcare system. Houston appointed a new NSHA board as well as a new CEO,Karen Oldfield,who possessed no healthcare experience. Critics drew attention to the lack of diversity of the new board,as the first and only Black and Indigenous board members were both dismissed.
The Houston government lifted Nova Scotia's COVID-19 measures in March 2022,including public health restrictions and mask requirements. Infectious disease experts questioned the move and predicted a rise in cases.In May 2022,the government lifted mask requirements in public schools. In July 2022,the government ended the requirement for those infected with COVID-19 to isolate. The lifting of pandemic precautions led to a surge in the disease (and associated deaths) and strained the healthcare system.
By mid-2022,Nova Scotia's family doctor waitlist hit an all-time high of 100,000,prompting opposition leaders to accuse Houston of breaking his campaign promise to fix healthcare.
Shortly after taking office,Houston launched a review of 20 provincial Crown corporations to "[ensure] the most efficient and accountable methodology for the undertaking of their respective tasks".
In July 2022,the Houston government announced a reshuffle of several agencies. Nova Scotia Lands and Develop Nova Scotia will be merged to form a new corporation called Build Nova Scotia. Innovacorp,Nova Scotia Business Inc. (NSBI),and the Invest Nova Scotia Fund will be merged into the new Invest Nova Scotia. Decision-making power was removed from boards,with the organisations placed under direct government control:Invest Nova Scotia will report directly to the minister of economic development,while Build Nova Scotia will be overseen by the minister for public works. Existing CEOs and boards were sacked.
Opposition leaders accused Houston of nepotism after appointing "personal friends" as interim CEOs of the two new agencies;Tom Hickey would lead Invest Nova Scotia,while Wayne Crawley would head Build Nova Scotia.Each will receive up to $18,000 a month in remuneration. Nova Scotia NDP leader Claudia Chender criticised Houston for hiring friends rather than putting the posts to open competition. Houston defended the appointments,stating that Hickey and Crawley were the most qualified. Hickey resigned two weeks into his appointment,citing an inability to commit enough time to the role.
The Nova Scotia Provincial Housing Agency was established during Houston's premiership to administer the province's public housing,amalgamating several existing housing authorities. In addition,the Joint Regional Transportation Agency was created "for the purpose of creating a master transportation plan" for the metropolitan Halifax region.
Citing rising costs,Houston announced in July 2022 an indefinite "pause" to plans to construct a new Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. Construction was supposed to begin in late 2022 on a new gallery complex,designed by Halifax architect Omar Gandhi,on the Halifax waterfront.
In 2022,the provincial government announced that Owls Head,a 266-hectare piece of land on the Eastern Shore,would be designated a provincial park. A controversial golf course development had previously been planned for the site. Of the proposal,Houston had written in 2021,"I will never allow this type of situation to happen under my watch and certainly wouldn't instigate it like [former premier Iain Rankin] did."
In a similar case,public concern has emerged over a proposed golf course,conceived by a private developer,to be located at West Mabou Beach Provincial Park in Cape Breton. In late 2022,Houston said that the proposal would get due process and be subject to public consultation.In April 2023,the government informed the developer it would not consider the proposal as there is no mechanism within the Provincial Parks Act to allow it to proceed.
In December 2023,the province announced 23 new or expanded protected areas,protecting around 14,000 additional hectares of land.
Houston lives in Pictou County with his wife Carol,and children Paget and Zachary.
In 2017,it came to light that Houston's name had been mentioned several times in the Paradise Papers,due to him having held positions as director and vice-president of Inter-Ocean Holdings and several related Bermuda-based reinsurance companies while living and working in Bermuda.
|Assembly 62,Session 1
|Lyme Disease Strategy Act
|Assembly 62,Session 2
|Red Tape Reduction Act
|Assembly 62,Session 2
|Transparency in Ministers' Expenses Act
|Assembly 62,Session 2
|Assembly 62,Session 2
|Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Act
|Assembly 62,Session 2
|Education Fund Protection Act
|2021 Nova Scotia general election
|Jonathan Geoffrey Dean
|Total valid votes
|Total rejected ballots
|Progressive Conservative hold
|New Democratic Party
|New Democratic Party
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