Happy New Year! There’s no doubt that 2020 was an unexpected, challenging, and difficult year.
But, we’re in a new year, and I know there isn’t a magic wand or any guarantees, but there is a lot to be optimistic about. I’m so proud of the resilience shown by Nova Scotians. It’s an honour to serve this province.
From my family to yours — wishing you a healthy, prosperous 2021!
What else happened this week:
- On Wednesday, Nova Scotians were frightened to learn about an armed, dangerous suspect whose whereabouts were unknown. What is equally frightening is the length of time it took for the government to issue an alert, especially since the suspect had previously been identified by the RCMP in New Brunswick. While an alert went out quickly to alert residents in New Brunswick, it took hours to send an alert to Nova Scotians. This is unacceptable. What is also unsettling is that the Minister responsible for the Emergency Management Office was not made aware of the situation until approximately 10:45 am Wednesday — two hours after the gunman’s car had been located in Amherst, NS. MLA for Cumberland North Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin has been right to point out that it seems that the government hasn’t learned any lessons from April.
- In August, Education Minister, Zach Churchill announced that all schools would have their ventilation systems inspected and repaired or upgraded. It appears that nearly five months later, the Department has no idea as to their condition. When it comes to the safety of students and staff, the Department should be informed. I echo Education Critic, MLA Tim Halman, when he advocates for Nova Scotian parents trying to figure out if the environment in the classroom has healthy ventalliation. We all remember the Minister taking criticism for saying that teachers should just open the windows.
- The slow roll out of vaccines is leaving Nova Scotians wondering when it will be their turn. With two vaccines now available for distribution, we want to see the government tighten its plan and offer regular updates on their progress to the public. We should be looking at any ideas that allow us to vaccinate the most people per capita rather that staying near the back of the pack.
Tip of the hat
Not the results we were hoping for, but congratulations to Team Canada on a game well played. Special shout out to Nova Scotian Justin Barron, who’s from Halifax and is the Captain of the Halifax Mooseheads. Thank you for representing our country with class and please know that your country and province is proud of you.
The new year started off with news of politicians travelling for pleasure outside the country for the holidays.
Meanwhile Canadians have been told, for the better part of a year, to stay home. We had to grieve alone, were unable to visit parents and grandparents, and businesses have had to shut their doors indefinitely, while some may never reopen.
You can imagine my frustration when reading this news. That’s why I made my position very clear.
If any of my Caucus colleagues had left the country during the pandemic to vacation, to sit on a beach, to visit family or do any of the things that Canadians have been told not to do, they would immediately be removed from our caucus. There is no grey area.
Since becoming Leader of the Official Opposition, I have made it known to Nova Scotians that I would do things differently, and I’m keeping to my word.
I spoke to CTV Atlantic about the matter this week, and you can check it out here. To read my full statement, click here.
On Tuesday, the Health Committee will meet to discuss long-term care. WItnesses include Dr. Kevin Orrell, Deputy Minister and Vicki Elliott-Lopez, Senior Director, Continuing Care Nova Scotia Health from the Department of Health and Wellness.
On Wednesday, Public Accounts will meet to discuss the Auditor General Report from November 2017, chapter 2 regarding Mental Health Services. The witness for this committee is Deputy Minister Dr. Kevin Orrell from the Department of Health and Wellness.
Both of these topics are very important to me and your PC MLAs. You can find our plans for long-term care and mental health here. I encourage you to take a look.
Until next week!