My decision to run for the leadership of the PC Party of Nova Scotia has taken me across the province, where I'm able to sit and listen to people's ideas and hear their concerns on what is impacting them and their families the most. As in Pictou County, health care – or the lack thereof – continues to be the most pressing issue for Nova Scotians.
When you hear stories of people dying on stretchers in emergency rooms, struggling to access supports for chronic illness, and driving two hours to be seen by a family doctor, it's obvious the standard we've set for health care delivery is appallingly low.
Nova Scotians are known for the strong values we hold. Values that include compassion, empathy, honesty and trust.
I'm not seeing those values reflected in the way Nova Scotians are currently being governed.
We need to raise the standard we've come to accept in how we not only treat people once they are sick, but how we work with Nova Scotians to make sure they stay healthy. To do this, we need bold, aggressive ideas and a leader who is willing to get it done.
Ideas such as creating a ministry of addictions and mental health. Right now, the Minister of Health is responsible for $4.4 billion dollars. The remaining $6.6 billion is divided amongst the other 16 members of cabinet.
Mental illness and addictions don't just impact the Department of Health and Wellness, they impact Community Services, Justice, and Education.
It's time to call in a quarterback to co-ordinate the efforts across departments so we can effectively deliver the right services and resources.
Ideas like expanding on the success of the innovative INSPIRED COPD Outreach Program, by creating a Chronic Illness Treatment and Prevention Program, investing $100 million to focus on chronic care management. Helping people in their homes, giving them the tools they need, which takes pressure off our emergency rooms and family doctors.
It's time to stop the cloak and dagger approach of the current government. As I try to demonstrate each week at Public Accounts Committee, I want to bring government closer to the people. I want to create more opportunities for Nova Scotians to present and speak out on holding government accountable.
It's why I believe in establishing a standing committee on health and wellness to directly hear from those on the front lines. Decisions can no longer be forced from the top-down.
Nova Scotians want to see their values reflected in the decisions being made on their behalf. Empathy and compassion for those who require help. Honesty and trust in how the decisions are being made, and where our money is being spent.
Don't ever believe we can't do better.
MLA for Pictou East and Leadership Candidate for the PC Party of Nova Scotia