February 14, 2021: Hope for Health

I was so proud to be joined by several colleagues in Cape Breton this week to announce our plan that gives hope to our health care system.

Together, with our Dignity for our Seniors and Universal Mental Healthcare plans, we are sharing our vision for a more practical approach to healthcare.

I think we can all agree, it’s not the people that are the problem in health, it is our system that is the problem. Once you’re in, we have world class health care providers who provide extraordinary care.

But it’s getting in that’s the issue for too many Nova Scotians.

For me, for our Caucus and Party, making sure that Nova Scotians have timely access to the health care they need is not politics, it’s personal.

Hope for Health means access to primary care. Everyone on the waitlist for a primary care practitioner will automatically receive immediate access to a virtual health provider.

Our ORs will open 24/7 for surgeries so no Nova Scotian has to wait over 1,000 days for a knee replacement.

We will have increased recruitment efforts with supports in place to help internationally-trained graduates come to Nova Scotia.

Hope for health means giving students the skills they need in school through healthy eating and physical activities to help prevent health issues.

Finally, our plan means returning local decision-making to our communities and spending our health dollars on patient care as opposed to administration.

I had a great chat on Thursday with Steve Murphy about our plan. You can see it here.

What else happened this week:

  • At Tuesday’s Health Committee, MLA Barbara Adams, took the opportunity to ask many questions about the delivery of mental health services in Nova Scotia. We continue to hear from Nova Scotians for whom getting help takes too long. Read our universal mental health plan here to learn about our approach to addressing mental health concerns and how we would intend to tackle these backlogs.
  • Another important topic covered this week during Public Accounts was seniors and continuing care. The discussion centred around homecare. MLA Tim Halman wanted to know what he should tell Nova Scotians when they call MLA offices advising their homecare was cancelled again and again and again. It’s happening, we all hear it. As MLAs we hear from Nova Scotians who are waiting on a list to receive home care or who are not receiving enough of it. The people working in the system are exceptional but we need more of them. For individuals who need more and more homecare, to the point it is hard to remain at home, but aren’t quite ready for long-term care, our Dignity for our Seniors plan establishes a new level of care between home care and long-term care.
  • Did you happen to read Jim Vibert’s piece in the Herald this week? If not, take a read here - JIM VIBERT: Tories working to present ready alternative to Liberals under Rankin.
  • Susan Corkum-Greek, our PC candidate for Lunenburg, has put out a call for RBC to reverse their decision to close their location in the community, citing the loss of personal banking and economic activity in the community. Great to see Susan working hard and bringing important issues to the forefront in her constituency.

Tip of the hat

Paramedics are sounding the alarm in Nova Scotia - again. If you are on social media, you may have seen the hashtag #CodeCritical. This term is used by paramedics to describe instances where not enough ambulances are available to service their communities.

Paramedics shouldn’t have to do this, but I thank them for bringing attention to these dire situations. The current government hasn’t responded to them, but the PC Caucus understands how dangerous it is when ambulances and paramedics are not available, and we’re willing to do the work to improve it.

We’ve put out clear plans, Hope for Health and Dignity for our Seniors, that would work in tandem to free up hospital space, and allow paramedics to be on the road helping Nova Scotians rather than at hospitals.

Additionally, we have called for the Fitch Report to be released. Currently, it’s being hidden away by the Liberal government.

Failing grade

On the same day that I was unveiling our plan that focuses on getting patients the right care, and helps address concerns we’ve heard from healthcare professionals, I was shocked to learn that at a committee meeting, the Deputy Minister of Health said the following:

“The situation at Northwood was certainly not as dramatic as was seen on the news and reported by many other provinces and jurisdictions across the country...”

53 people died at Northwood. They denied an inquiry to families. Requests and reports from Northwood sat on desks, ignored for years by the liberal government.

Dr. Orrell may have misspoke, but his comments were not taken out of context. When 53 people die in one facility in Nova Scotia, it is inappropriate and irrelevant to compare us to larger provinces who may have fared worse. The question was about our own preparedness and though he may not like it, we have to ask those questions. It’s our responsibility.

A few weeks ago, I read this statistic: 26 out of 766 long-term care facilities in Atlantic Canada have had individuals test positive for the virus. As of late January, 64 have died.

Fifty-three were at Northwood.

The media reported on Northwood fairly and compassionately and held the government's mistakes to account. I hope that the Deputy Minister of Health apologizes.


On Tuesday, Veterans Affairs will meet to discuss Camp Hill Hospital: Challenges Faced Due to Covid-19. The witness is Heather White, Director from Veteran Services and Geriatrics, at the NHSA.

Finally, Happy Valentine’s Day to the love of my life, Carol!

If you’re just remembering it’s Valentine’s Day right now, I’m sure there’s a florist nearby with flowers or a local business selling chocolates.

Get both - you’re in trouble.

Until next week,

P.S. One last note, a reminder that cut off to register for our first ever Virtual PC AGM. Click here to sign up for your login credentials.