Rodney MacDonald

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The Honourable
Rodney MacDonald
Rodney MacDonald at the Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Leadership Convention (February 2006).jpg
26th Premier of Nova Scotia
In office
February 24, 2006 – June 19, 2009
Monarch Elizabeth II
Lieutenant Governor Myra Freeman
Mayann Francis
Preceded by John Hamm
Succeeded by Darrell Dexter
MLA for Inverness
In office
July 27, 1999 – September 10, 2009
Preceded by Charlie MacDonald
Succeeded by Allan MacMaster
Personal details
Born Rodney Joseph MacDonald
(1972-01-02) January 2, 1972 (age 47)
Mabou, Nova Scotia, Canada
Political party Progressive Conservative
Religion Roman Catholic

Rodney Joseph MacDonald (born January 2, 1972) is a Canadian politician, educator and musician who served as the 26th Premier of Nova Scotia from 2006 to 2009 and as MLA for the riding of Inverness in the Nova Scotia House of Assembly from 1999 to 2009.


MacDonald spent his formative years in the community of Mabou, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. In his youth, he was active in sports, including hockey, baseball and track and field. He played Midget AAA, Junior and Senior Hockey. In later years he coached various levels. He graduated from Mabou Consolidated School in 1990 and from St. Francis Xavier University in 1994, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education with a minor in English and a Nova Scotia Teaching License.[citation needed]

He was employed as a senior high teacher with the Strait Regional School Board and was actively engaged in many community groups. At the age of 27, he became one of the youngest elected MLAs in Nova Scotia's history and went on to hold a number of high-profile Cabinet positions within the Nova Scotia government. At the age of 34 he became Nova Scotia's 26th Premier. He balanced Nova Scotia's budget each year of his term, lowered the Provincial debt, reduced taxes, and invested in key areas of the province's economy.[citation needed] MacDonald is engaged in numerous areas of Nova Scotia's economy: Business Development,[1] the Offshore Petroleum Board of Nova Scotia,[2] and in higher education as the CEO of The Gaelic College/Colaisde na Gaidhlig.[3]

Music career

MacDonald has toured his fiddle music throughout Atlantic Canada, Central Canada and the northeastern United States. He is also an accomplished step dancer; he began dancing at age four after learning the skill from his parents. MacDonald's first public performance was reportedly at age eight at the Mayflower Shopping Mall in Sydney and he began taking fiddle lessons from his uncle, Kinnon Beaton, at age 12. He has recorded two albums to date: Dancer's Delight (1995) and Traditionally Rockin' (1997, with his cousin Glenn Graham). In 1998 he received two nominations for the East Coast Music Awards. MacDonald was also included on the 2004 Smithsonian release The Beaton Family of Mabou: Cape Breton Fiddle and Piano Music and numerous other compilations.

Political career

MacDonald was first elected to the Legislative Assembly of Nova Scotia in the 1999 provincial election, representing the riding of Inverness in western Cape Breton Island.[4] He was re-elected in 2003.[5] He served in Premier John Hamm's cabinet with various ministerial portfolios including Tourism, Culture & Heritage, Health Promotion, and Immigration. He was responsible for the Heritage Property Act, Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation Act, and the Nova Scotia Youth Secretariat.[6]

Following Hamm's September 2005 announcement of his intention to retire, MacDonald committed to running for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Association of Nova Scotia. The leadership race culminated in MacDonald winning the party's leadership on a second ballot on February 11, 2006. He was sworn in as Premier of Nova Scotia on February 24, succeeding Hamm. He is the second youngest premier in Nova Scotia's history.[7][8][9]

In May 2006, after a short session, MacDonald dissolved the legislature, calling an election for June 13, 2006.[10] MacDonald's Progressive Conservatives won a minority government in the 2006 general election and MacDonald retained his seat.[11]

On May 4, 2009, MacDonald's government lost a confidence vote; as a result, a provincial election was called for June 9, 2009 to elect the next government. Although MacDonald kept his seat in the riding of Inverness,[12] the Progressive Conservatives lost the election to the Nova Scotia New Democratic Party, led by Darrell Dexter.[13][14]

MacDonald stepped down as Nova Scotia PC Leader on June 24, 2009.[15] He announced on August 5, 2009 that he would be resigning his seat in the legislature before the fall session began.[16] He officially resigned on September 10, 2009.[17]

Life after politics

After resigning as the MLA for Inverness, MacDonald founded a Business Development and Consulting Business called RMD Development Incorporated which owns a 4 star cottage operation called Ceilidh Cottages located in West Mabou, Nova Scotia.[1] In June 2010, MacDonald was appointed to the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board.[2]

In September 2011, MacDonald was named CEO of The Gaelic College (Colaisde na Gàidhlig) in St. Anns.[3] He created a Cape Breton Island-wide festival, "KitchenFest", which annually features more than 70 shows and more than 100 musicians. The college focuses on Gaelic language, music, culture, dance and craft. The College teaches multiple disciplines and cultural experiences to thousands of visitors and students each year. It is associated with Cape Breton University through a Memorandum of Understanding.[citation needed]

He most recently was in the public eye when he condemned the provincial government's proposed cutting the Gaelic Affairs Department budget by 40%.[18]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Former premier MacDonald enjoys moving on with life after politics". Cape Breton Post. April 12, 2010. Retrieved 2014-09-29.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Rodney MacDonald gets federal plum". CBC News. June 23, 2010. Retrieved 2014-09-29.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 "MacDonald new Gaelic College CEO". Cape Breton Post. September 1, 2011. Retrieved 2014-09-29.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Nova Scotia Provincial Election" (PDF). Elections Nova Scotia. July 27, 1999. Retrieved 2014-09-29.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Nova Scotia Provincial Election" (PDF). Elections Nova Scotia. August 5, 2003. Retrieved 2014-09-29.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "N.S. gets new cabinet". November 10, 2000. Retrieved 2013-10-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Sogawa, Takuya (February 13, 2006). "After tight race, Tories will unite under new leader: delegates". NovaNewsNet. Retrieved 2009-09-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "N.S. Tories pick youthful leader". CBC. February 11, 2006. Retrieved 2013-09-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Former fiddler becomes the new premier of Nova Scotia" (video). CBC. February 11, 2006. Retrieved 2015-07-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Nova Scotia vote called for June 13". CBC. May 13, 2006. Retrieved 2009-09-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "June 13, 2006 Nova Scotia Provincial General Election" (PDF). Elections Nova Scotia. 2003. Retrieved 2014-09-29.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "2009 Nova Scotia Provincial General Election - Official Results" (PDF). Elections Nova Scotia. 2009. Retrieved 2014-09-29.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "N.S. voters elect 1st NDP government". June 9, 2009. Retrieved 2013-09-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "MacDonald's Tories turfed by disenchanted voters". CBC. June 9, 2009. Retrieved 2013-10-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Former N.S. health minister chosen interim Tory leader". June 24, 2009. Retrieved 2013-09-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Former N.S. premier MacDonald to resign legislature seat". Globe and Mail. August 5, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-05.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "Ex-premier officially gives up N.S. seat, looks forward to private life". Metro. September 10, 2009. Retrieved 2014-09-29.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. Ex-premier Rodney MacDonald critical of Gaelic Department cuts,; accessed September 23, 2015.