Government challenged to convene health committee

Recently, Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Houston appointed me as the health critic for the PC Caucus. It is a big responsibility and one that I am taking very seriously. After all, access to good healthcare is fundamentally important to our province’s future prosperity.

Unfortunately, the state of Nova Scotia’s healthcare system puts that bright future in question. Since I was appointed health critic, the headlines have been devastating: Emergency room closures, doctors leaving, suicide victims were turned away from Nova Scotian hospitals, and the head of Nova Scotia’s ambulance service sounds alarm over their own system. All of this adds up to a system that is broken, a system that is not serving Nova Scotians the way it should.

In order for Nova Scotians to understand where the healthcare system is going wrong, it is important for MLAs to examine components of the system in detail. That’s what the Legislature’s Standing Committees are for. Unfortunately, the McNeil Liberals have used their majority to block health related topics from coming before the Public Accounts and Human Resources Committees. They say these topics should be put before the new Health Committee.

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The only problem with that is the new Health Committee does not yet exist. There are no meetings planned, no witnesses called, and no indication the Liberals are moving to get the committee up and working.

The Liberals may think by avoiding accountability at committee, they are keeping the truth from Nova Scotians about the true state of the healthcare system. But, they are wrong. Every Nova Scotian who has waited in pain for a year to get knee replacement surgery knows. Every Nova Scotian who is denied access to important health services because they don’t have a family doctor knows how bad the system is. Every Nova Scotian who has watched a loved one struggle with mental health issues and not receive timely care knows.

Nova Scotians know the system is in trouble. They want to see their elected representatives acknowledge the problem, roll up their sleeves and get to work finding solutions. That’s what I want and I am willing to put in the time and hard work to make it happen.

All we need now is the government to get on board. I urge them to call a meeting of the Health Committee first thing in the New Year so we can get to work.

Karla MacFarlane

Progressive Conservative MLA

Halifax