I was heartbroken by the death of Donald Cameron.
He loved Nova Scotia and during his time in public and private life, Donnie was a man of incredible integrity.
He was Nova Scotia’s 22nd Premier and on the first day he sat in the Legislature as Premier, his government introduced Human Rights legislation, which included equal rights for gays and lesbians, making Nova Scotia one of the first places in North America to do so.
Donnie represented Pictou East, as I do now, and he was a mentor to me in many ways. But more than that, he was a treasured friend.
On behalf of the PC Party, I extend my heartfelt condolences to his beautiful children, extended family and many friends.
What else happened this week:
- The resources we have shouldn’t be sitting in boxes on shelves. They should be out in communities helping us fight COVID-19. This week, I called for the roughly 500,000 unused rapid tests that Nova Scotia has in storage to be deployed in rural communities, and at airports and to test travellers as they land. Dr. Lisa Barrett has been doing incredible work championing rapid testing. Why the province is not following her lead and increasing rapid testing and extending it to airports - where we are regularly seeing exposure notices - is unacceptable.
- The business aid announced this week is weeks late and falls far short of supporting business owners and their employees who did their part to keep their community safe. Rent was due the first of the month and payroll is normally due on the first of the month, but support programs only kick in mid-May? That tells the story of the cavalier attitude and lack of planning the Liberals have shown toward the variants, the third wave and Nova Scotians. We’re hearing from businesses who feel these program aids miss the mark. Lara Cusson, who operates Cafe Lara in Halifax, believes help with things such as power bills would be of even more use. Cusson estimates that many small businesses such as hers will be eligible for about $1,000 under the program. She said her monthly power bill alone is $3,000. "They need to look at the numbers and quantify this and come up with a real solution," Cusson said. "It's do or die here, and they are not understanding the urgency."
MLA Margaret Miller has officially given notice she will resign her seat on June 1. She said it is partly because the Premier's office has hired a caucus staffer she accused of having treated her and other female colleagues with "repeated disrespect" and "misogynistic" behaviour. When the Premier was asked about the allegations, he said he hadn’t read the letter that Miller wrote to his Chief of Staff alleging “misogynistic behaviour” by a male staff member towards herself and female colleagues. Even more disappointing is that the Premier wouldn’t even call her to follow up on the allegations, hear her out, or try to get to the bottom of this. MLA Karla MacFarlane wonders what that says about his leadership abilities, "I would go as far as saying, the Premier is very immature and naive on this situation."
Tip of the hat
Tomorrow kicks off Nurses Week! I would like to take a moment to thank every single nurse who is helping us combat this virus. Whether you are retired and came back to help with vaccinations or you are picking up extra shifts to help test, please know that the PC Caucus cannot thank you enough.
You are invaluable members of our healthcare system. There aren’t enough ‘thank you’s’ to go around.
Last week, as we all know, there was a massive backlog of 45,000 unprocessed COVID-19 tests. The backlog was so severe, the Premier was forced to stop—at the worst possible time—all asymptomatic testing at COVID-19 primary assessment centres.
On Friday, we learned of a new backlog. Dr. Strang said that the initial backlog of tests was cleared in the lab, but it resulted in a backlog in positive cases. They dealt with the first and now are dealing with the second.
I cannot imagine the immense stress and pressure faced by those processing these tests—thank you for your tireless efforts. You deserve support.
Which leads me to ask: why hasn’t the Premier asked for help from other provinces or more help from the federal government? I’m very concerned that Public Health is not properly supported or resourced.
On Tuesday, the Standing Committee on Health will meet for agenda-setting. Please let us know if there are any topics you would like to see at future meetings.
On Wednesday, Public Accounts will meet to discuss COVID-19 Recovery and Response as noted in the 2020 Financial Report of the Auditor General. Witnesses include:
- Kelliann Dean – Deputy Minister from Department of Finance and Treasury Board;
- Scott Farmer – Deputy Minister from Department of Inclusive Economic Growth;
- Laurel Broten – President and CEO from Nova Scotia Business Inc.;
- Darlene MacDonald – Acting CEO from Tourism Nova Scotia; and
- Matt Hebb – VP Government and Global Relations, Dalhousie University on behalf of Nova Scotia COVID-19 Response Council.
If you are a business owner and have questions or concerns regarding the new aid programs, this is a perfect opportunity to send them to us so we can ask them for you.
Lastly, today we celebrate another very different Mother’s Day. To my wife, my mother and my mother-in-law, thank you for everything you do for the kids and me.
I’m so blessed to have these special women in my life.
Until next week,