HALIFAX – A long list of legislation will be dealt with when MLAs get back to business at Province House Thursday afternoon.
The fall session will start at 1 p.m. with question period to start at 2 p.m. Three bills are on the agenda for second reading Thursday, all of them were introduced in the spring. They include Bill 110 the Marine Renewable-energy Act as well as amendments to Bill 112 the Children and Family Services Act and Bill 117 the Public Inquiries Act.
However, none of those bills cover Premier Stephen McNeil’s priorities. According to Press Secretary Laurel Munroe, the premier’s focus will be improving the Maintenance and Custody Act by “strengthening the program that helps families collect court-ordered and spousal payments.” In addition, the premier wants to further protect worker’s rights through consultations on labour standards, pass legislation on the province’s new 25-year energy plan and continue work to cut red tape for small businesses, said Munroe in an emailed statement.
Meanwhile, the Official Opposition Progressive Conservatives will champion mental health issues, said PC House Leader Chris d’Entremont. The party wants the government to strengthen the mental health system in Nova Scotia and launch a public inquiry into what d’Entremont calls a “crisis” in mental health. The party is calling for an emergency debate on the issue Thursday.
Health Minister Leo Glavine has previously rejected the PC’s assertion that there is a crisis in the mental health system. However, d’Entremont said he and his caucus colleagues continue to hear stories from constituents that suggest otherwise.
“For example, people are being turned away from emergency rooms or sent home too early when they need help,” he said.
Meantime, the health care system will be the “lead issue” for the New Democrats, according to an emailed statement from party spokesman Mark Laventure. Restoring funding to community groups that was cut in the last spring budget will also be a priority, he said.