Folks, the news this week with the increase in cases is worrisome. I know there’s lots of anxiety and frayed nerves across the province.
Like we’ve done in the past, we will get through this.
It’s particularly tough to see these restrictions returning to the province, but it’s important we stop the spread in its tracks. If you’re in one of the affected areas, now is a great time to support a local restaurant by safely ordering takeout. Our small businesses need the help.
I will be doing a Facebook Live tonight (Sunday), talking to Nova Scotians, answering a few questions and relaying what you might’ve missed from today’s new public health orders. Click here to join me at 8:30pm, or head over to my Facebook.
Please stay safe as we enter the third wave of this pandemic.
What else happened this week:
- On Monday, the Legislative Session wrapped up. During this Session, we demonstrated that PCs are focused on solutions for the healthcare crisis that has been damaging Nova Scotia since long before the pandemic. Your PC Caucus asked a total of 164 healthcare questions and tabled a total of 55 Bills. 33 were focused on putting forward solutions that would improve Nova Scotia's fractured health services. Healthcare providers in Nova Scotia have been forced to make do with less for eight years of Liberal rule. We hope to present them with an option that gives them some hope for the future of healthcare.
- Firefighters who offer Medical First Response (MFR) services were promised priority COVID-19 vaccinations and fittings for N95 masks on February 16th, but firefighters say that those communications with the province have since stopped, and there appears to be no timeline or schedule for making this happen. As a result, firefighters aren’t being used as frequently in emergency situations. Daniel Gaudet, who is the president of the Fire Service Association of Nova Scotia says that many MFRs are still waiting to be fitted with N95 masks and many have still not been contacted for their vaccinations. Cumberland South MLA Tory Rushton says that vaccinating MFR firefighters - a step which was already promised by the government - is a matter of public safety that could save lives. The government should keep their promise. We asked thoughtful questions during Question Period about their vaccine rollout. Instead of answering, the Premier stuck to his sound bites.
- The situation regarding the lack of access to primary care providers in Cape Breton is reaching unprecedented levels. With so many Nova Scotians living without a family doctor, many are relying on walk-in clinics for their health needs. The pending closure of the Sydney Family Practice walk-in clinic on Kings Road in Sydney would be tragic. This is the only walk-in clinic in Sydney. This walk-in clinic has been a vital resource for over two decades, seeing patients from Sydney River, to Neil’s Harbour and everywhere in between. The MLA for the area, Brian Comer, has been raising the issue since day one. He has drafted a petition and has written to the Minister of Health demanding immediate action be taken by the government and the Health Authority in Halifax. Late Friday afternoon, neighbouring MLA, Minister Derek Momborquette posted that the issue is temporarily resolved. Brian will be following up to find out what that exactly means.
Tip of the hat
We don’t have strong communities without committed volunteers. This week is National Volunteer Week. Take some time to appreciate all of the volunteers who selflessly give back to make Nova Scotia a better place.
These are men and women, boys and girls, who generously give their own time and talents, expecting nothing in return. No money, no accolades, no public recognition. They do it because they care about their neighbours and their community.
This week, I would especially like to thank the hundreds of volunteers who are running the rapid COVID tests. We can’t thank you enough for deciding to give up your time and help identify this virus in our communities. There were 6,520 tests administered between April 16 and 22 at the rapid-testing pop-up sites in Halifax and Sackville.
If you're coming to Nova Scotia by air, you should be rapid-tested at the airport.
That’s not just the position I’ve held for months but also that of the business community, leading health experts and airports themselves. In fact, it’s the position of Nova Scotians.
I think we’re all having a really hard time understanding why we aren’t identifying the virus right at the airport. And I don’t blame them.
Why is the Premier holding back?
Our cases of COVID-19 are linked to travel outside Atlantic Canada, some with variant strains. Public Health consistently puts out COVID-19 flight exposure warnings after the fact, but Nova Scotians want an extra layer of protection.
A few weeks ago we saw the Premier rush to open up the province, and earlier this month he told some businesses they could be back to 100% capacity, despite the presence of COVID-19 variants. He agreed to a date for the Atlantic Bubble, surprised our neighbouring provinces by opening up early, and - when cases spiked in New Brunswick - initially refused to close the border.
Everyone wants to open up, but only when it is safe.
I encourage the Premier to make decisions based on Dr. Strang’s advice and nothing else. As a province, we’ve come this far because of Public Health and the hard work of Nova Scotians.
The Standing Committee on Human Resources will meet to discuss the Nova Scotia Loan Forgiveness Program. Witnesses include Duff Montgomerie, Deputy Minister; and Carol Lowthers, Executive Director, Student Assistance from the Department of Labour and Advanced Education.
On a final note, our PC Party is sending condolences to the family of Ron Giffin. He served as a PC Member of the Legislative Assembly for Truro - Bible Hill from 1978 – 1993.
My thoughts are with Ron’s family and many friends.
Until next week,