My sincere condolences to the family of Peter Christie. Peter was a true gentleman. He was thoughtful, and brought unwavering integrity to public service.
I also want to acknowledge the 77th anniversary of D-Day and the thousands of brave Canadians who fought hate, tyranny and injustice for us all. Their actions made possible a peace and freedom that we may not otherwise know. We will never forget their sacrifice.
What else happened this week:
- Today is Cancer Survivors’ Day. Thanks to the efforts and advocacy of MLA Barbara Adams, in Nova Scotia the first Sunday of June each year is now a celebration of their fight, honouring the many survivors of cancer. They serve as an inspiration to those recently diagnosed, and they bring hope to so many through their strength and resilience.
- As of June 1st, there are 66,404 Nova Scotians on the Need a Family Practice Registry. More and more Nova Scotians are finding themselves without access to primary care. Please take a look at our Hope for Health plan. It’s a blueprint for the future of healthcare in Nova Scotia that we launched in early February. It targets six areas long overdue for healthcare reform across the province: Access to Care; Recruitment & Retention; Prevention & Education; System Modernization; Addressing Chronic Illness; and Local Decision-Making.
- This week, the Nova Scotia Affordable Housing Commission Report was released. Too many Nova Scotians have spent the years before the pandemic worried about whether they can afford a place to live, now and in the future. High rent and home sale prices, combined with low supply and weak leadership, have made a bad situation worse. The report states: “a perfect storm of conditions in 2020 pushed our system to a breaking point.” MLA Steve Craig said the report makes clear that the risk-averse culture and a siloed, laissez-faire approach to housing within this government have contributed to the housing crunch. It speaks to a failure of leadership, ownership, and a lack of common sense from the Liberals.
- It was a timely release of the housing report because the Standing Committee on Community Services met this week to discuss the issue. PC MLAs Brian Comer and Steve Craig put forward two motions at Committee. Steve asked for an additional meeting to discuss the report. All parties supported this motion. Brian asked the Department to compile data on how many people will be at risk of eviction once the pandemic is over, so we can better prepare for the steps that need to be taken in order to properly house these individuals. The Liberals voted against the motion due to "no clear definition on what is defined as at risk of eviction" and argued it would be too hard to calculate. How do we fix the problem or prepare for an increase if we’re not collecting the data?
Tip of the hat
Throughout this pandemic, different groups of Nova Scotians have had to explain to the government how their lack of a plan has affected them. This week the government finally realized how their unclear restrictions have been harmful to rotational workers.
Rotational workers who have no symptoms and have been fully vaccinated at least two weeks before arriving in Nova Scotia will no longer need to self-isolate.
This is good news. The stress and anxiety that rotational workers and their families have gone through during the whole pandemic, but especially the last few weeks, has been high. It took too long for the Premier to finally acknowledge how hard these men and women work. They should have never been denied entry into their home province in the first place.
I want to thank all rotational workers for raising their voices and bringing about this change, and all MLAs who worked with them to help make that change happen.
For all the up-to-date information for rotational workers, click here.
For the second year in a row, I want to get money in the hands of the tourism sector. I see how hard they’ve been hit because of the pandemic. I hear from small business owners from Halifax to Neils Harbour to Kentville every day.
I want to help them. I want to give them a fighting chance.
How, you may ask?
Well, one way is by giving Nova Scotians a $200 tax credit to vacation at home in Nova Scotia. My plan is to incentivize Nova Scotians to explore their own province.
I want to see a province where business is supported as we move away from COVID-19. With no clear dates for anything in the Liberal reopening plan, the tourism industry won’t get those dollars from visitors — while other provinces will.
New Brunswick did this last year. They kicked it up a notch this year by making the tax rebate available to all Atlantic Canadians. Our tourism operators are now competing for the same group of people, but one province will pay them to travel.
Premier Rankin won’t look into the idea. The Premier says that people will travel.
Yes, Nova Scotia is beautiful and home to the best food, entertainment, and attractions. But like Patrick Sullivan, President of the Halifax Chamber, said: why bother marketing through Tourism Nova Scotia if the people will just show up? Why do businesses incentivize customers through flyers and their sale prices if they’ll just shop there in the first place?
Because they’re encouraging them to look twice.
Incentivizing works. Change my mind.
The Standing Committee on Health will meet Tuesday. The topic is the IWK Health Centre’s programs and services across Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada.
The following witnesses will appear before the Committee:
- Dr. Krista Jangaard, President and CEO
- Dr. Annette Elliott Rose, Vice-President, Clinical Care and chief nurse executive; co-lead, COVID Management Team
- Dr. Doug Sinclair, Vice President Medicine, Quality and Safety; co-lead, COVID Management Team
- Dr. Andrew Lynk, Chief of Pediatrics
- Dr. Jim Bentley, Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology
- Dr. Alexa Bagnell, Chief of Mental Health and Addictions
Lastly, some of you may have heard the news. My friend and colleague, MLA John Lohr, has shared a recent health diagnosis. Read his story here. From standing up for farmers to championing addictions and mental health across the province, John Lohr is a fighter. I know his road ahead won’t be easy, but I am incredibly proud to have him on our team, and to call him a friend.
The PC family is here for you, John.
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!