Diana Whalen was first elected the Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for Halifax Clayton Park in 2003 and won re-election in that riding in 2006 and 2009. In October 2013, Diana was elected in the new riding of Clayton Park West. Along with her responsibilities as MLA for Clayton Park West, Diana also serves as the province’s first female Deputy Premier, and the Minister of Justice and Attorney General for Nova Scotia.
Diana holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and a Bachelor of Arts from Dalhousie, as well as being a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CMA).
Diana lived and worked in South Korea, Australia and Jamaica from 1980 to 1988 and has 15 years experience as a management consultant.
The experience of living in other countries has given Diana a unique perspective on the issues facing Nova Scotia and a strong appreciation for the values and lifestyle that we enjoy here. Having been a resident in other countries also provides Diana with insight and a real understanding of challenges experienced by the large number of new Canadians living in Halifax Clayton Park.
A former HRM Councilor for District 16, Diana has gained a reputation as a tireless worker for her constituents. She is accessible to residents and interested in listening and responding to their concerns.
Diana has previously served as Finance and Education Critic. Diana has introduced many private members bills in the legislature and her bill to make Booster Seats mandatory was passed in 2004.
Diana has served on the Neptune Theatre Board, the Centennial Rink Commission, and the Halifax Library Board. She is currently a member of the Halifax North West Trails Association and the Mainland North Volunteer Recognition Committee.
Diana has held elected office since 2000 when she won a seat on HRM council representing the Clayton Park West and Rockingham. In 2003 she again unseated an incumbent and become the MLA for the new seat of Halifax Clayton Park.
Even before that, though, Diana had been taking on tough battles as a volunteer in her community. After moving to Clayton Park in 1990, Diana was involved in community organizations dedicated to improving services in the fast-growing area. In the late 1990s she founded a community action group dedicated to seeing a new school built in Clayton Park West and in 2000 Park West School was completed.
As Councilor, she worked with the community and municipal and provincial staff to achieve a plan for the replacement – and not just a temporary ‘fix’ – of the old and inadequate Halifax West High School. She also formed the first local Mainland North Recreation Centre Committee to highlight the need to replace Northcliffe Pool.
Since 2003, she has been a strong advocate for her constituents, as MLA for Halifax Clayton Park. She championed the fight to preserve the Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lakes Wilderness Area, which culminated in the province protecting over 3000 acres of wilderness in the area beside Bayers Lake Business Park (April 2009). The fast growing area needed improved recreation, and Diana has worked with the people of her riding to is lobby HRM and advocate at the provincial level for a world-class recreation centre on the Mainland Common. The opening of the Canada Games Centre (November 2010) is the realization of that effort.
In 2009, Diana was honoured by the Cornwallis Progress Club with a Women of Distinction Award in the category of Public Affairs and Communications for her work in the community.