June 20, 2021: Unbelievably heartbreaking time

June 20, 2021: Unbelievably heartbreaking time June 20, 2021: Unbelievably heartbreaking time

Kai Matthews died from meningitis B earlier this month in Halifax. Kai had just finished his first year of Kinesiology at Acadia University; a brilliant athlete.

I can’t imagine the pain the Matthews family is going through. It’s hard to find the words during this unbelievably heartbreaking time. Thank you to the Matthews family for your brave advocacy and for telling your story. All Nova Scotians should take the time to read it. There are a lot of questions surrounding what happened and the family deserves answers.

Please also take a look at the campaign and website the Matthews family has launched in memory of their son.

What else happened this week:

  • Nova Scotians are focused on getting through COVID. The Premier should also be focused on COVID. Instead, he’s focused on an election. Since Friday, there have been three campaign-style announcements made by the Premier in Cape Breton. Here’s an interesting piece from the CBC where the Premier says he isn’t planning an election—his photo ops suggest otherwise. The last time the Premier lost focus, Nova Scotians got hit with a deadly third wave. He was talking about dogs on patios and electric cars when he should have been focusing on vaccines and protecting our borders. Now is not the time for the Premier to lose focus again. It is our hope that the Premier does not try to call an election while Nova Scotians are still locked down under a State of Emergency.
  • With confusion and uncertainty still surrounding the reopening, another announcement has left many communities concerned about the Liberals’ failure to coordinate and communicate their plans. This week, the Rankin Liberals announced that admission to Nova Scotia museums would be free through July and August. What the Liberals failed to recognize was that Nova Scotia is home to close to 150 museums, of which only 28 are provincially run and are free to visit this summer. Cumberland South MLA Tory Rushton is worried that the miscommunication and uneven playing field could have a serious impact on community-run museums that have struggled over the course of the pandemic.
  • Nova Scotians must be able to trust that when they call 9-1-1 for an emergency, their information remains confidential. But two weeks after Frank Magazine published the 9-1-1 audio conversations from the night of the Portapique shootings, the Rankin government has yet to show any meaningful action on sorting out what they’re doing to protect 9-1-1 information going forward. It’s on the government to safeguard information and keep the trust of the public. If there is another explanation, one or both Ministers need to stop hiding it from the public. This week, Minister Maguire used his MLA Twitter account to ‘like’ Frank Magazine’s article linking to the leaked 9-1-1 calls from the night of the shooting. Since bringing this to the attention of the Minister, he has un-liked the post. He should be providing an update, so Nova Scotians have confidence their 9-1-1 calls will not be leaked to the public.


Tip of the hat

Congratulations to Dr. Navin Patel on his upcoming retirement from practicing medicine, just shy of his 85th birthday!

Dr. Patel has been working in Cape Breton for 46 years after moving to Canada as a refugee from Uganda.

His duties working in rural Cape Breton included delivering babies and making house calls to small fishing villages, such as Baleine and Main-à-Dieu. He said many of his early shifts lasted up to 36 hours.

Dr. Patel, thank you for everything you have done for the many patients you’ve treated over the years. Best of luck as you embark on this new chapter.

Failing grade

Human trafficking continues to plague our province.

These are difficult numbers to process, but we have to talk about this heinous crime. Human trafficking numbers rose by 44 per cent across the country in 2019 from the year before. In Nova Scotia, they tripled —an increase of more than 400 per cent — accounting for almost one in 10 of all reported incidents in the country.

The new report from Statistics Canada released in May shows that in 2019, Halifax had the highest rate of police-reported human trafficking in the country. At more than 10 incidents per 100,000 people, it's 7.5 times higher than the national average rate.

Behind these devastating statistics are people — someone’s child, loved one or best friend.

We need action. I’m incredibly proud of the work that my colleague, MLA Karla MacFarlane, has done on this file. She brought forward legislation to raise awareness and take steps to help survivors. Those bills included: ensuring youth know the signs and the dangers of human trafficking by making education about human trafficking part of the curriculum in grades seven to nine; establishing a team of Crown attorneys with specialized knowledge about human trafficking; and making it mandatory for a court support worker to attend court dates with victims of human trafficking.

The government needs to do more. Students need to know the signs, and we need more resources within our justice system dedicated to combating this.

Committees

The Standing Committee on Natural Resources and Economic Development will meet Tuesday to discuss Lobster Quality Research and Innovation Centre. Witnesses include:

Geordie MacLachlan, Director of Marine Services, Université Sainte-Anne; Michelle Theriault, Director, Marine Research Centre; and Daniel Lane, interim Director, Lobster Quality & Innovation Research Center from the Department of Fisheries & Aquaculture.

Until next week,
Tim

PS If you haven’t had a chance, every night (except Saturdays) I’ve been on Facebook Live at 9:00 pm, 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!