From my family to yours—Happy Easter! Wishing you a holiday filled with family, love and laughter.
Oh! And chocolate, lots and lots of chocolate.
What else happened this week:
- The Nova Scotia government has quietly changed their name, and it no longer includes the words ‘Nova Scotia.’ After the year Nova Scotians have had, I find it offensive that the new Premier has decided to start a new tradition. The Liberals have recently rebranded from the ‘government of Nova Scotia’ to the ‘Rankin government.’ The Premier decides when ‘the Rankin government’ should show up in news releases and when it doesn’t. The Premier has accused the Official Opposition, and the media for politicizing the pandemic, but sees no issue with removing ‘Nova Scotia’ when speaking about the government.
- PC Finance Critic Murray Ryan is expressing concerns that Premier Rankin’s budget does not contain support for small businesses, nor a roadmap for economic recovery. The Liberals have acknowledged getting back to balance as priority but they appear to have no plan to help small businesses get back to profitability. In discussions on the budget on News 95.7 with Halifax Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Patrick Sullivan last Friday, the new investments in hospitality and tourism were characterized as a “rounding error.” Mr. Sullivan stated that “sadly, to some extent, they have forgotten how hard hit this sector (tourism) has been over the last twelve months.”
- Nova Scotians are relieved that the government has removed many of the reckless and overreaching sections of Bill 4. On Thursday, the PC Caucus continued the fight to ensure the final bill is clear, transparent and responsible by introducing amendments to make that explicit. Our amendments would ensure that private landowners wouldn’t be vulnerable to the Act through regulatory changes. It also called for the establishment of a clear consultation process. The Liberals and the NDP voted against all of our amendments that would have strengthened the bill and provided reassurances to the many Nova Scotians who have sounded the alarm.
- Last week’s budget provided very little immediate support for long-term care. With a waitlist of over 1,500 Nova Scotians who have been forgotten and ignored by the Rankin-McNeil Liberal government, the PC Caucus is bringing forward solutions. PC Critic for Seniors Barbara Adams and I both introduced legislation to restore dignity for seniors and provide them with the care that they deserve. The Acts included: allocating funding to build and operate at least 2,500 new long-term care beds; establishing a fund to train more Continuing Care Assistants and make the program more accessible; and amendments to the Homes for Special Care Act to create a new option of government-funded care called ‘Supportive Living,’ for when a senior requires more assistance than can be provided by home care but does not have complex medical needs and can’t afford assisted living.
Tip of the hat
As Nova Scotians prepare to mark the one year anniversary of the Portapique massacre, I was thankful to see the Association of Psychologists of NS (APNS) and Nova Scotia Health collaborating to increase support to Nova Scotians impacted by the mass casualty that occurred on April 18 and 19, 2020.
A lot of pain, sadness and heartbreak will be felt by many Nova Scotians. I wish there was a magic wand to take that pain away. Unfortunately, that’s not the reality, but I thank both organizations for collaborating on this initiative and offering this important service.
Dave Ritcey, our PC member for Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River, raised a very alarming concern during Question Period on Wednesday.
Nova Scotia Health is looking for 3.5 family practitioners at the Truro Collaborative Practice, one at the Colchester East Hants Health Centre, and 1.5 positions at the West Colchester Community Health Centre. Thousands of patients would be served with primary healthcare if those vacancies were filled. We see these vacancies all over the province.
To make matters worse, there are five critical mental health and addictions support positions that remain unfilled in the area. These are troubling numbers, and we have to remember that behind these numbers are Nova Scotians who are falling through the cracks of our broken healthcare system.
Dave asked the Minister of Health why the residents of Colchester County should believe that physician recruitment is a priority for this government when so many health vacancies exist.
The Minister agreed that there was a shortage of doctors in the member’s community. Accepting there’s a problem is half the battle, but I was very disappointed to hear the Minister say in the next breath that the community could be doing more to recruit doctors.
Yes, communities can play a role in recruiting healthcare professionals, but ultimately it is the job of the provincial government to provide healthcare to the people of this province and not download responsibility when they can’t get the job done.
Time and time again, the Liberals have shown Nova Scotians that they don’t understand how serious the problem is and that they’re either not willing or don’t know how to fix the problem.
There are no committees planned for this week.
Until next week,