(From Globe and Mail.. Saturday, April 17, 2021)
The governments of Canada's four easternmost provinces have spent the past year enrolled in the COVID-19 gifted program. Their early, aggressive action to suppress the virus and keep it down, allowing their economies to largely reopen, puts them on a par with the world's most successful curve crushers, from Austrialia and New Zealand to Japan and South Korea.
Karen Casey quote.. "Our thanks for the leadership of former Premier Stephen McNeil and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Robert Strang. This leadership began 12 months ago, and has protected us from COVID-19, and has allowed us to become the envy of the country. Congratulations to both."
The Nova Scotia COVID Relief (NSCR) Fund was established by the Government of Nova Scotia from the Federal Safe Restart Agreement in April 2021. The $3.5 million fund supports low-income Nova Scotians who are struggling to pay their home heating or electric bill as a result of income loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This program is administered by The Salvation Army.
The Fund provides one-time assistance to help Nova Scotians with their home heating costs or electricity bills. Each household may be eligible for up to $400 in support.
For more information CLICK HERE
For the NSCR Fund Application CLICK HERE
Our government is on track to give every person who wants a COVID-19 vaccine in Nova Scotia their first dose by the end of June. Health-care workers, staff and residents of licensed long-term care facilities will be fully vaccinated by the end of April.
We are implementing a flexible model of vaccine delivery, using community clinics, pharmacy clinics, primary care clinics, outreach clinics and mobile clinics. By May, we will be able to administer about 86,000 doses per week. Most Nova Scotians will continue to receive their vaccine when they become eligible by age and based on anticipated vaccine supply.
Now is the time to start planning your summer camping adventure. Reservations for the camping season (2021) in our provincial parks open April 6, 7 and 8. All campers must reserve their campsites in advance of their visitation.
A schedule of which campgrounds are open for reservations is posted on the Nova Scotia Provincial Park website. For those of us in Colchester North, please note that the Five Islands Provincial Park season opens on June 4 and closes on October 11.
As Stephen McNeil’s leadership as Premier in Nova Scotia concludes, it is important to reflect on his accomplishments and the legacy he leaves across this province. During his 17 years as an elected Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA), he has demonstrated through both words and actions that he cared for Nova Scotians regardless of their socio-economic status or for the political party they supported. He saw himself as one who represented and advocated for every Nova Scotian, and he did. He showed compassion for those less fortunate, and for those who had been harmed by governments in the past. For example, his apology for those who were residents at the Home for Colored Children, those who were abused by the people charged with their care. He followed that apology by establishing a team that was led by, and included, members of the African Nova Scotian community. He built a level of trust with the leaders of that community, and determined that future decisions by government would Do No Harm to their residents.
The month of April is Organ Donation Month. In the past, we have all had an opportunity to change, and even save, the lives of our family, friends or others through Organ Donation. We did this by recording our decision to be a donor on our Health Care Card. But that has now changed.
Effective January 18, 2021, the Human Organ and Tissue Donation Act came into effect. This new law was introduced by Premier Stephen McNeil in the Legislative Assembly, and received unanimous support from all Members. It will make it possible for more Nova Scotians to donate their organs and tissues at the time of their death. As Premier McNeil stated at the time of introducing the Bill, “This change will help more people get the good news they have been waiting for, and ensure more potential donors have the chance to save and improve lives of others”. Medical research tells us that a single organ donor can save up to 8 lives; a single tissue donor can improve up to 75 lives. There are currently over 100 Nova Scotians waiting for an organ transplant.
The Government of Nova Scotia continues to provide programs to assist low income families in keeping their homes warm. Two programs that are of particular interest to some families are available for those who meet certain criteria.
The Heating Assistance Rebate Program (HARP) offers rebates that range from $100 to $200. This helps low income Nova Scotians with the cost of heating their homes. Each winter the program helps thousands of Nova Scotians manage their heating costs.
The HARP program is available to Nova Scotians who buy energy to heat their homes with oil, electricity, natural gas, wood, wood pellets, coal, or other heating source. To qualify for the rebate, the income threshold for one-person households is $29 000 and $44 000 for households with more than one person.
Making funds available to volunteer fire departments through the Emergency Services Provider Fund is something of which I am very proud. Each year the Government of Nova Scotia has provided an opportunity for local fire departments to submit an application for eligible costs related to lifesaving equipment needed by the brigades.
This protective equipment is critical in keeping our volunteer firefighters safe. Each fire brigade identifies their own needs and submits an application for provincial funding up to 50% of eligible costs. This equipment varies from one brigade to another and I am pleased to announce that funding for 2020/21 exceeded $1 million across the province.
With the recent announcement regarding the UNESCO designation of a Geo Park, that includes much of Colchester North and with Tourism Nova Scotia’s recent launch of Re-Discover Nova Scotia, I am truly excited about the opportunities for us “along the shore”. The Geo Park designation highlights many natural attractions, including the Debert Archaeological sites, Economy River Falls, Thomas Cove and the Five Islands.
We know that many visitors have been and will continue to make this their destination. The new marketing campaign launch mid September by Tourism Nova Scotia adds to that excitement. Throughout the fall season this campaign continues to promote and extend the tourist season by focusing on many activities across the province.
We can all be comfortable in our home…..Winter and Summer!