The Legislature is back! Your PC MLAs are listening to you and are bringing your concerns forward.
MLA Dave Ritcey was finally able to take his seat in the Legislature after being elected 364 days ago.
On day one, we tabled 16 separate pieces of health legislation to improve healthcare in Nova Scotia. And to sound the alarms to ensure everyone is listening, we called for an emergency debate on ambulance services. You can watch my remarks on the crisis and our suggestions for practical solutions here.
We were disappointed that the Speech from the Throne showed Nova Scotians that—like his predecessor—the current Premier is unable and unwilling to deal with the healthcare crisis.
What else happened this week:
MLA Kim Masland is calling for better access to services that allow people to die with dignity, regardless of where they live. When we approach the end of our lives, we all want the final hours for our loved ones to be comfortable, dignified and close to home. Unfortunately, that will not be the reality for every Nova Scotian. Over 25 percent of residents in Queens and Lunenburg counties are 65 or older, well above the provincial average, but do not have a dedicated palliative care facility. This is wrong and we must do better.
- Congratulations to newly appointed Deputy Speaker of the Nova Scotia Legislature, MLA Keith Bain! Keith used his first week in the House to ask the Minister of Health why his constituents, especially those who are over age 80 who live North of Smokey, have to travel three hours one way, and over two mountain ranges, to get their COVID-19 vaccine.
- On Thursday the government introduced the Police Identity Management Act, which will restrict public access to purchasing police items, making it more difficult for someone to impersonate a police officer. After months of calling for change, the voices of the families of the Portapique tragedy and concerned Nova Scotians have been heard. I’m pleased to see that the changes our Party first pushed for last summer are a step closer to becoming reality. This change is credited to everyone who marched, wrote letters, and made their voices known to the government. I want to give particular attention to Mr. Nick Beaton, who, in the face of incomprehensible tragedy, became an advocate for change. While the PC Party will support this legislation, it never should have taken this long. Our Caucus was prepared to introduce a near identical bill this past fall, but was denied a Legislative session by the Liberal government.
- On Friday, the Liberals re-introduced the Biodiversity bill. If you own land, you need to pay close attention to this proposed law. You can read the bill here: https://nslegislature.ca/.../63rd_3rd/1st_read/b004.htm. Please, please listen to my colleague Kim Masland's speech from Friday afternoon. It is remarkable. Click here to watch and listen to Kim. Know someone who owns land? Share it with them. If you’re concerned about this bill, you may be able to have an opportunity to speak to it. Stay tuned here and we will include details once we know them.
Tip of the hat
For too long, Nova Scotians and IUOE NS Paramedics have said that the ambulance system hasn’t been working as it should be.
I was very pleased that the Speaker of the House agreed with us that it’s a matter of grave concern for Nova Scotians, and allowed for emergency debate.
Thank you to my colleague, Colton LeBlanc, for his passion on the subject. His knowledge, understanding and desire to ensure everyone has access to the care they need when they need it is clear. Check out his remarks during emergency debate.
I was disappointed to hear that the Liberal members of the Public Accounts Committee (“PAC”) voted against my colleague, MLA Tim Halman’s motion to restore PAC to weekly meetings and topics outside of the Auditor General reports.
The Premier is trying to convince Nova Scotians that he’s different from his predecessor. That he is more open, and more transparent.
What we saw Wednesday morning was more of the same.
If the Premier was serious about being held accountable and transparent, then he would let the Liberal members vote for the motion.
The reality is that no sitting government has enjoyed PAC and the extra level of accountability it has provided to Nova Scotians. The level of accountability and scrutiny is high, but it should be. This was a powerful committee that has had Premiers and Ministers as witnesses. It could bring any topic, any project, any scandal forward.
But it gave Nova Scotians confidence that taxpayer money was being spent properly and decisions were being made in the best interest of all Nova Scotians.
It’s shameful that they changed the rules in 2018 and are allowing those changes to stand. Until we see PAC fully restored by the Liberal government, it’s hard to believe that the Premier is being more open and transparent than the former Premier.
There are no committees meeting this week. However, we’re expecting the budget to be tabled after March Break. Drop us a note on what you would like to see in the budget.
Until next week,