On Friday, I sent a virtual invite to PC Party members inviting them to our first ever Virtual PC AGM 2021.
If you haven’t already, take a look here.
It’ll be a different experience, but it’s more important than ever to gather (virtually) and discuss the challenges facing this province, and figure out solutions to move in the right direction. The PC Party has a track record of addressing challenges and working together.
Registration will go live early next week — be sure to keep an eye out in your inbox for an email from the Party.
I hope to see you there!
What else happened this week:
- I spoke with journalism student Josh Hoffman at the Signal about what it’s like campaigning during a pandemic. Of course, my preference would be to see all of you in person and engage that way, but we have to keep each other safe. Take a listen here. (Starts at the 16-minute mark.)
- MLA Tim Halman intended to introduce a motion at the Public Accounts Committee on Wednesday to bring the topic of the vaccine roll out before the Committee. He brought it forward to help Nova Scotians understand how and when the vaccine process will happen and to provide public health an opportunity to clarify the many questions regarding the vaccine roll out. The Liberals were unwilling to let the motion be heard. I know Tim will bring the motion forward again.
- Also on vaccines, MLA Colton LeBlanc learned that Southwest Nova Scotia would not receive their first installment of vaccines until February. Colton was told the limited supply of the vaccine was the reason for the delay, but he isn’t satisfied. The Yarmouth Regional Hospital has the freezer capability to store the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Colton is right to voice concerns from constituents and that’s what MLAs should be doing. Healthcare workers, long-term care residents and staff in the region should be vaccinated like their colleagues across the province.
Tip of the hat
There was some positive information revealed at the Public Accounts Committee this week. Senior officials responsible for delivering mental healthcare in Nova Scotia said that virtual care is helping reduce wait times for Cape Bretoners. The team is largely focused on providing care to patients on Cape Breton Island who face the longest wait times in the province.
We’ve been the party that embraces technology and supports virtual appointments. You might remember that I talked about the benefits of virtual medicine one year ago at our last AGM.
We support this initiative and I’m glad to hear that work is being done to reduce the wait times. Is there more work to be done? Absolutely. Am I committed to making sure all Nova Scotians have timely access to mental health care? Yes.
My commitment to a universal mental health care system for Nova Scotia can be found here.
Another difficult day for our economy was marked Wednesday with the last commercial flight leaving the J.A. Douglas McCurdy airport in Sydney.
The only air services operating out of Sydney are now cargo planes that visit a few days a week, along with the occasional chartered flight and medical evacuation planes.
I’m extremely concerned about this development. We worried this was going to happen when Air Canada made the decision to indefinitely suspend flights, but the lack of attention by the provincial government is worrisome.
I spoke with our PC MLAs in Cape Breton about the issue and we decided to pen a letter to the new Federal Minister of Transportation, Hon. Omar Alghabra. Someone needs to be active on the file. I don’t have any interest in blaming, only in coming together to find solutions. And that is what I presented to Minister Alghabra.
I do believe that government money for airlines in the aftermath of the pandemic must put a focus on jobs and people. Put simply, Nova Scotians won't tolerate money for airlines if job certainty and route preservation aren't guaranteed.
The situation at the Halifax International Airport is also dire. As of January 23, Air Canada will be scaling down service by an additional 25 per cent, resulting in the loss of 1,700 jobs. Halifax will only be connected with the following four Canadian cities: St. John’s, Montreal, Toronto, and Calgary, with significantly reduced capacity.
Airports are vital to our economic recovery.
To read the full letter from my Cape Breton colleagues and I to the Minister, please click here.
On Tuesday, the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs will meet to discuss Rally Point Retreat. Witnesses include Bob Grundy, Co-Founder and President, and Johan Grundy, Co-Founder and Secretary of Rally Point Retreat.
Until next week,