I'm still pinching myself. Whether it's delivering a member statement in the Legislature, attending a citizenship ceremony, or meeting with a Dartmouth East resident in the constituency office. I am still in awe of the position to which I have been elected. I love the job of MLA! It is such an honour to give voice to the concerns of Dartmouth East and to hold the government to account.
There are many issues facing our province. Certainly, the doctor shortage is of the greatest concern to Nova Scotians. The McNeil Liberals won’t even admit there is a crisis! In Dartmouth, we know directly the impact this shortage is having on our residents. Our doctors are doing the best they can under some very difficult and stressful conditions. As your MLA, I am working hard every day to encourage the government to make doctor recruitment a priority. Unfortunately, as I witnessed in the Legislative Assembly, the McNeil government does not even acknowledge there is a problem. That is shameful.
I have been busy as the Education critic for the official opposition. While in the House, I was happy to introduce three private members bills that I believe will strengthen the foundations of our education system. I introduced Bill 9, an Act Respecting Expectations for student performance. This act would end the No fail policies that exist in our schools. These no fail policies are often hidden under euphemistic language like credit insurance/recovery. I believe students must be given all the necessary supports to achieve success, but it must not be at the cost of learning about responsibility and ownership.
I also introduced Bill 14, an Act Respecting Discipline. The purpose of this Bill is to ensure administrators and teachers have the vested power and authority to ensure your school is a safe place for our children. I believe decisions related to student behavior are best made on the ground by school administrators, not officials in an office working at a school board. These two bills are a start in my approach to ensure schools belong to communities and the families they serve.
Finally, I introduced Bill 31, the school supplies tax credit. Nova Scotians spend on average $200 per child for back to school supplies. That is unacceptable and is an affront to a guiding principle in our education system, equality of opportunity. There is much more I want to accomplish to strengthen our education system and these three Bills are just a beginning.
As many know, my colleagues and I in the PC caucus could not support the introduction of Pre-primary. I don’t believe it is right to introduce a new program to our system when teachers and parents have stated clearly that there are huge problems that must be addressed now. The introduction of pre-primary was a distraction tactic on the part of the McNeil Liberals in order to control the education agenda. No one should ever play politics with our education system. Rather, the government should be investing in strengthening our inclusion model so that our diverse learners have access to the services and resources they deserve.
I love the job of MLA and go to work every day with a sense of gratitude to the people of Dartmouth East for entrusting me with this huge responsibility. We have a lot of work ahead to improve our community and province.
I hope you will join me and Councilor Tony Mancini and our MP Darren Fisher on Dec 9th for the Shubie Tree Lighting Ceremony. Also, make sure you sign up for our mailing list to stay up to date on events in the community.
Never hesitate to reach out to me or Julia Kenney, the amazing Constituent Assistant in the office. We are here to serve you and assist.
Until next time,