Today is International Women's Day, celebrating the social, economic, and cultural achievements of women everywhere. On this day, we can each reflect on the role we play in the pursuit of gender equality.
Our Liberal Caucus is incredibly fortunate to have strong female representation from across Nova Scotia. While much progress has been made, our government remains firmly committed to ensuring women and girls continue shaping the future of our communities, our province, and our society.
Our COVID-19 immunization rollout is on-track and is expanding to include pharmacy clinics and community health providers. Pharmacies in HRM, Shelburne, Port Hawkesbury, and Springhill will be prototype clinics, and will inform changes to vaccine delivery moving forward. Further pharmacy locations are also set to open in April.
In continuing our rollout, healthcare workers who have direct patient contact will soon receive invitations to schedule vaccination appointments. Community-based clinics will start immunizing on March 8. In addition, 13,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine will also be administered starting the week of March 15th at 26 locations across the province.
For more information, visit: https://novascotia.ca/news/search/?dept=134
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.
Although temperatures within the last month have not caused us to think cold weather, it is that time of year we need to prepare for the upcoming colder season. The government of Nova Scotia continues to provide programs to assist low income families in keeping their homes warm.
Home Warming is a program for low income families made available through Efficiency Nova Scotia and supported by Clean Foundation, Nova Scotia Power and the Province of Nova Scotia. Home Warming asks us to think about ways to reduce heating and power bills and provides upgrades to those Nova Scotians who qualify. Home Warming offers no-charge energy assessments to eligible Nova Scotians. It is 100% free to all qualified home owners in the province.
We can all be comfortable in our home…..Winter and Summer!