Education: Nova Scotia Community College.
Early years: He comes from a large family of 17 children and he was raised by his mother, Theresa, after the sudden death of his father in 1977. He is the 12th of the 17 children. Theresa McNeil, a recipient of the Order of Nova Scotia, died in March.
Career: Owned a small business before getting into politics.
Politics: First elected to the legislature in 2003 and re-elected in 2006. He represents the riding of Annapolis. Became leader of the party on April 28, 2007.
Family: Married to Andrea, the McNeils live in the Annapolis Valley and have two teenagers, Colleen and Jeffrey.
Quote: "I think it's important that if you are accused of something or there's an accusation put there that you don't let it go unchallenged." — McNeil after a testy exchange with one of his opponents in a debate held during the campaign.