May 30, 2021: Congratulations to Dr. Kevin Walsh

Congratulations to Dr. Kevin Walsh, a dentist from Windsor who successfully summited Mount Everest on May 23 after countless months of training and planning.

I cannot imagine the stress of that climb. I will say, tackling the issues of this province does some days feel like climbing our own version of Everest!

What else happened this week:

  • Starting May 27, COVID-19 vaccine appointments were opened province-wide for people aged 12 and up. MLA Tim Halman’s daughter, Sophie, jumped on the ability to book her vaccine appointment. Check this out! I know Sophie and I know that it was all her taking ownership of booking her vaccine. She knows that this is the way out of the pandemic and for better days ahead.
  • The Liberals began consultation on climate change and sustainable development goals on Thursday. I hope this is a true consultation and not just a show to bide time because there is no real plan. The legislation passed in 2019. Why is consultation just starting now? Of course, we’re happy it’s finally happening because it is an important piece. Back in January, at the Legislature's Standing Committee on Human Resources, it was noted that the Minister's roundtable on environment and sustainable prosperity was mostly vacant. MLA Brad Johns, at the time, said it's been about 15 months since an emergency debate on the climate crisis was held at Province House, but little seems to have come from it. This is another example of people wondering if the environment is really a priority for the Rankin Liberals. 
  • They’re finally going to start testing at airports by June 14. Sixteen months into the pandemic. I, along with doctors, the airport, businesses, have been calling for this for months. It could have been in place before - and maybe even stopped - the third wave.
  • Poor government planning and uneven restrictions during the third wave have allowed big box stores to profit without penalty and forced small and medium businesses to close.  Earlier in the week, I called on the Premier to ensure “non-essential” means the same thing for everyone. On Friday afternoon, the Premier released a reopening plan. It’s not as fulsome as we’d like but more on that later.


Tip of the hat
Thank you to Heather Langley for sharing her story and for her advocacy on a safe return to class for vulnerable kids. Children with diverse needs have had a very difficult time during the pandemic.
On Friday, the province announced that learning centres will open. These centres are vital for our diverse learners. This makes sense.
What doesn’t make sense is leaving teachers in the dark until the last possible moment.
In-person classes will resume at all Nova Scotia public and private schools outside of Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) and Sydney on June 2.  Click here to find out about your school.
This is good news. Kids need to get back into the classroom wherever it is safe to do so.

Failing grade
I was stunned by the lack of detail in Friday’s re-opening announcement. It feels like it was being re-written 15 minutes before the Premier took the stage.
We needed a common sense plan with precise language that was communicated clearly.
I think of PEI. Their government put forward a plan that included clear goals. Their residents and those who wish to visit the island know what to expect.
We expected to see that same level of detail in Nova Scotia’s plan, not just some vague timeline. To make matters worse, the Premier didn’t even provide a copy of the plan to reporters in advance of the press conference. The people who are trying to help communicate the opening plan to Nova Scotians didn’t have the opportunity to digest the information beforehand. The Premier kept referencing this presentation during the press conference and no one had it!
One word comes to mind: amateur.
Businesses need time to prepare, including hiring staff, restocking, and revamping marketing efforts based on guidelines. Those are all tasks that need lead time to be done properly. We haven’t seen the Premier give that consideration to employers.
This plan needs to offer a common sense roadmap, not keep businesses guessing right up until a late Friday afternoon announcement.

Check out my reaction to Rankin’s provincial reopening plan. 

The Standing Committee on Community Services will meet to discuss Housing and COVID-19 and the Homelessness Crisis. WItnesses include Eiryn Devereaux, Deputy Minister from the Department of Infrastructure and Housing; and Art Fisher, Executive Director from the Family Service Association of Western Nova Scotia.
Until next week,


PS If you haven’t had a chance, every night (except Saturdays) I’ve been on Facebook Live  at 8:00pm, taking live questions and chatting with business owners, friends and colleagues about their vision for the future of this province. Tune in if you get a chance!