I know it’s another weekend where we can’t meet up with family and friends. It’s been a long year and a very difficult month.
My heart goes out to everyone whose health has been impacted by COVID, who has had a family member or friend impacted by COVID, and everyone who is losing sleep over the future of their business. The stress is unimaginable. Please reach out if you need help.
And please, get vaccinated when it’s your turn!
What else happened this week:
- I can’t believe we have healthcare workers who are being deployed to the COVID unit at the QEII who are not fully vaccinated. This is a failure of the Rankin government. In this third wave, we’re seeing a lot of Nova Scotians who need the services of the hospital. We had an outbreak in a non-COVID unit at the Halifax Infirmary and it's been reported that over 40 workers have been infected in total since April. The Liberals shouldn't hesitate to get those working on COVID units fully vaccinated.
- A memo from the Chief Medical Officer was circulated to all MLAs suggesting they should stop asking questions and advocating for their constituents. Over the past few months, we have seen the new Premier direct the good doctor on a few issues. I can’t help but wonder if the Premier directed him to write this memo. As elected MLAs, particularly in the PC caucus, we take our responsibility to serve Nova Scotians very seriously. When constituents reach out to us with questions or concerns, we act on them and nobody should ask us not to. The increase in calls and inquiries our MLAs are receiving is because the Premier is miscommunicating and reversing policies at the drop of a hat. Dr. Strang even said “We understand that several versions of the Public Health order in a short period of time has naturally created confusion and increased your volume of public inquiries, as it has ours across government.” That’s a problem for the Liberals to solve. The solution is not, and never should be, that MLAs do less for the people they represent.
- PC Education critic Tim Halman spoke with Paul Brothers this week. Paul and his family were all in quarantine because they tested positive for COVID. Halman was on Global Morning to talk about education and the news that the school year will continue with online learning. Like Halman said, we hope to see a plan to support students with disabilities and more supports for diverse learners. Also, we need to see greater transparency around COVID cases at our Early Learning Centers. Check out his interview here.
Tip of the hat
Since COVID-19 restrictions came into place, there have been questions about the insufficient support for small businesses. We’ve heard from many businesses across the province that said the aid announced simply didn’t help them.
Small businesses have been loud and clear in their ask to be heard and respected. I tip my hat to each and every one of them fighting for fair supports.
This week, my colleagues MLAs John Lohr, Colton LeBlanc, Kim Masland and Dave Ritcey all issued statements on the need to support small businesses in Nova Scotia. They asked Premier Rankin to reconsider the lack of supports offered to small businesses and to once and for all recognize the vital role they play in our economy. To read the full statement, click here.
This week, the government tried yet again, announcing the Small Business Impact Grant Part 3, to support some small businesses affected by the ongoing provincial COVID-19 restrictions.
I am pleased to see that small businesses continue to pressure the government to do what’s right. We will continue to listen to their concerns and advocate for the best possible supports.
Our Caucus has heard from hundreds of rotational workers.
Please know that we have heard you. We are frustrated for you and we have been working behind the scenes to get this issue resolved.
It never should have reached this point. For most of this pandemic, our borders have been wide open. Conservation officers who patrolled the border were never given authority to deny people from entering our province. Now, Premier Rankin has shut our borders so tightly that thousands of Nova Scotians, permanent residents, trying to get home, have been on the receiving end of harmful unintended consequences.
I feel like this all could have been avoided by mapping out thoughtful policy.
We have called on the Liberals to provide support to hundreds of Nova Scotians who have been affected by travelling to their home province. Despite submitting the required paperwork as soon as they found out their job status changed, some rotational workers have been denied entry.
We’ve also asked for a hotline that rotational workers or any permanent resident of Nova Scotia trying to get home can call.
No one is asking for loopholes or to skirt the mandatory 14-day isolation. Rotational workers want to keep their families, friends and communities safe too. They just want to see their family during their off time. Let’s remember these are people who have to leave their province for their job because the job doesn’t exist here.
On Tuesday, the Standing Committee on Human Resources will meet to discuss Student Security: Alerts, Lockdowns and Other Protocols & Agency, Board and Commission Appointments. Witnesses include Karen Gatien, Associate Deputy Minister; Ann Power, Executive Director, Student Services and Equity; and Paul Landry, Regional Executive Director from the Strait Regional Centre for Education.
All witnesses are representatives from the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.
Also on Tuesday, the Standing Committee on Natural Resources and Economic Development will meet to discuss how Nova Scotia is preparing for climate change. Witnesses include Jason Hollett, Associate Deputy Minister; Kyla Milne, Manager of Climate, Adaptation Programs; and Satya Ramen, Senior Policy Analyst, all from the Department of Environment and Climate Change.
Until next week,