HALIFAX: A pair of local MLAs assumed their critic responsibilities last week.
Following the naming of the members of the provincial government’s cabinet, opposition leader Jamie Baillie announced the critic responsibilities for PC MLAs. Included on the list were Inverness MLA Allan MacMaster, who will serve as critic for Energy, Service Nova Scotia, and Gaelic Affairs while Cape Breton-Richmond MLA Alana Paon will serve as critic for Business, Trade, and Tourism Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia Business Inc., and Innovacorp.
“We have a great team and we are looking forward to working on issues and opportunities that are important to Nova Scotians,” stated Baillie. “As the Official Opposition and with our expanded team, we will continue to hold Stephen McNeil and the ministers accountable for fixing the crisis in our health and mental health systems, improving education for children, and making a better climate for job creators.”
MacMaster said his duties will include watching what the government is doing in the departments for which he is responsible and making sure the government is making the right moves for Nova Scotians.
“I’m very happy about being critic for these areas,” said MacMaster. “Energy is something I’ve always had a strong interest in. It certainly affects our area. We have a paper mill that consumes a lot of energy and energy policy affects the people who are working there. It affects us at home as well. Watching government decisions on energy is important.”
MacMaster also said Gaelic Affairs is a small but important portfolio, noting a lot of tourism in the Inverness area stems from the region’s Gaelic culture.
“Is the culture we’re marketing to visitors real?” said MacMaster. “I think that’s a question we have to ask and I think some investment in helping to educate young people who have an interest in Gaelic is very important in maintaining an authentic culture for the Gaelic community and for the visitors that we’re offering it to.”
Paon said her duties will include getting a briefing on all of the files.
“Being a new MLA, and just being sworn in last week, we’re in the middle of a huge transition,” she said. “It’s a huge portfolio, and I feel privileged to be given it. It’s a portfolio I can sink my teeth into. I am a small business owner myself.”
Paon said she looks forward to work on the entire portfolio, noting her background in economic development puts her in a good position to represent the PCs in her critic roles.
“I’m pleased that the caucus and Jamie have decided to give me this opportunity to have this role as critic,” she said. “I feel very fortunate that the people of our constituency have made the decision to vote me as the MLA for our area, and I’m really ready to get to work. There are a lot of changes afoot and I think they are positive changes for everybody and I look forward to getting to work now that all the formalities are out the way.”