Today, we completed our first house session as the Official Opposition. We knew this first legislative session was going to be tough, but I am so proud of what our team of MLAs accomplished these past four weeks.
I’m particularly proud of our seven new members, who brought their unique skills and experiences to the house, improving the quality of debate and the legislation brought forward. Quite simply, they’ve made me a better leader and Nova Scotia is better having elected them.
This fall session, we introduced thirty-six bills that were important and timely to Nova Scotians, and we ensured our voices and concerns were heard loud and clear by the Progressive Conservative government.
Some of our biggest achievements were:
✅ Earned an early win by making sure the PC government instituted the 17 recommendations of the Affordable Housing Commission that we convened last year, and pushed them to act on Nova Scotia’s urgent housing crisis.
✅ Advocated on behalf of the subject matter experts we heard at Law Amendments that the Environmental Goals and Climate Change Reduction Act, and proposed amendments that would ensure Nova Scotia stays a leader in the fight against climate change.
✅ With the passing of one of those amendments, we ensured African Nova Scotians have a voice with municipalities and indigenous communities in developing environmental goals and targets.
✅ Drew a commitment from the Attorney General to issue a ministerial directive to end street checks.
✅ Tabled landmark legislation, the Dismantling Racism and Hate Act, and sparked the creation an all-party committee committed to putting forward robust legislation in Spring 2022.
We tabled a total of 36 bills that made it clear to the government that we are here to keep them accountable to Nova Scotians. Some highlights from those bills are:
✅ MLA Zach Churchill introduced the Healthcare Professionals Recruitment Accountability Act, which would require the newly established Healthcare Professionals Recruitment Office to release monthly reports to the public on how many vacancies and new starts exist in our healthcare system for doctors, nurses and CCAs.
✅ MLA Kelly Regan introduced the Home for Special Care Act, which establishes a Residents’ Bill of Rights for residents in a residential care facility, a nursing home or a home for aged or disabled persons. She also tabled the Long-term Care Recruitment Accountability Act which would require monthly reporting of the number of hires and vacant positions in the long-term care sector in Nova Scotia.
✅ MLA Keith Irving introduced the Green Jobs Training Act, which would create more opportunities for people to train for and enter the green job sector in Nova Scotia and help prepare us for the future need for more skilled workers in the green job sector, and help transition those in other industries.
✅ MLA Derek Mombourquette introduced the Affordable Child Care Accountability Act, which would ensure that the PC government holds to the commitment of the Canada-Nova Scotia Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement signed by the federal and provincial governments that will provide $10 a day childcare, and set out an action plan to ensure the delivery of the agreement.
Our MLAs also tabled some important legislation that held special meaning for them and advocated for various important groups, causes, and communities across Nova Scotia:
✅ MLA Lorelei Nicoll tabled Ruby’s Law – which would ensure families suffering the loss of pregnancy are eligible for bereavement leave.
✅ MLA Keith Irving tabled Harvey’s Law – which would set is legislation that families are provided with the resources and information they need to raise children with Down syndrome.
✅ MLA Kelly Regan tabled the Free Intrauterine Device Act – that if passed would provide free IUDs for Nova Scotians most vulnerable.
✅ MLA Brendan Maguire tabled An Act to Ensure Compassion for Companion Animals – that if pass would set it in law that if you strike a family pet with your vehicle, you are required report it to an animal society, peace office, non-emergency number, or the owner.
I can’t say enough how proud I am of both our newest seven members, as well as the nine returning members, for all their hard work this session.
The Official Opposition is a new title for most of us, and we have a fantastic team that will ensure that we keep the PC government accountable to the people of Nova Scotia for the next four years—this session was just the beginning.