March 7, 2021: International Women's Day

Tomorrow marks International Women’s Day. It is an opportunity to celebrate the immeasurable achievements of women, and advance the larger conversation about gender equality.

For me personally, it is a privilege to serve Nova Scotians alongside the incomparable women in our PC caucus: Barbara Adams, Karla MacFarlane, Kim Masland and Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin.
On International Women’s Day, I encourage you to celebrate the achievements of women here at home and around the world who have fought for equality, inspired generations of young girls and changed the world for the better.

What else happened this week:

  • This week, I was in Antigonish. Thank you to everyone who took the time to chat with me. I had the opportunity to stop by XFM radio and present them with a provincial certificate recognizing the national award they received as the country’s Small Market Radio Station of the Year. Congrats again and I look forward to many more chats!
  • Check out this incredibly powerful story: Amherst doctor completes full marathon to support ER staff. Amherst physician Dr. Janneke Gradstein ran 42.2 km (a full marathon!) to show support for the doctors and nurses who are running their own medical marathons at Cumberland County’s regional hospital. The ‘Every Shift is a Marathon’ initiative raised $7,700. MLA Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin was there cheering Dr. Gradstein on. Elizabeth said Dr. Gladstein’s marathon is an example of the passion she and others have for emergency room nurses and all healthcare workers. I couldn’t agree more! They’re healthcare heroes. 
  • Halifax Stanfield Airport wants to be part of the solution. They’ve proposed a plan to set up COVID-19 testing at the airport. YES! I couldn’t agree more and have called for this numerous times. As Nova Scotians approach a full year of living with COVID-19, it’s time for the Liberal government to implement testing at airports. There’s no reason I can understand why folks entering via air wouldn’t be tested on arrival. It just gives everyone more peace of mind.

Tip of the hat
On Tuesday, the spring session of the Legislature will commence - an astounding 364 days after the last session wrapped up!
We’ve been eager to get back. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our House Leader Allan MacMaster, who worked tirelessly with the House Leaders from the other parties, on this hybrid model to ensure safety. Representation from all MLAs and the ability to hold the Liberals to account is important.

Failing grade
Monday was a stressful day for Nova Scotians who were trying to book vaccine appointments for themselves or for their loved ones.
It shouldn't have come as a surprise to the government that people would want to use the vaccination website as soon as it launched, but on day one, the website crashed.
Nova Scotians have done everything that’s been asked of them. They’ve stayed home, washed their hands, worn masks, physically distanced and stayed in small bubbles. It should never have been a surprise to the government that they would be this eager to get vaccinated.
In Pictou County, my colleagues MLAs Karla MacFarlane, Pat Dunn and I are hearing from concerned residents that our community is being left out of the government’s plan.
With no vaccine clinic in Pictou County, seniors are forced to drive to Antigonish or Truro in the middle of winter if they want to receive their protection from the virus.
Tuesday wasn’t better. Tuesday night, while on the TV show ‘CTV Power Play,’ Premier Rankin wouldn’t commit to accepting 13,000 AstraZeneca vaccines that were allotted to Nova Scotians.
Turning down vaccines because it messes with your plan, is like turning down a raise at work because it messes with your budget. It just doesn’t make sense.
Ultimately, I’m glad to see that common sense prevailed and the new Premier listened to concerned Nova Scotians and chose to accept these 13,000 doses of vaccine. It is troubling that the government initially saw these doses as a burden, rather than a blessing.

Tuesday morning the Health Committee will meet to discuss local efforts to welcome doctors to our communities. Witnesses include representatives from the Yarmouth and Area Chamber of Commerce: Rebecca Cassidy Rose, community manager, physician recruitment retention; and Kerry Muise, first vice president, board of directors.

Until next week,