Chuck Porter, MLA Hants West
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Welcome to my website and thanks for visiting Hants West. We have lots of information available to you which is updated regularly to keep on top of current events and other things happening around the constituency. I hope you find it useful and helpful.
The constituency of Hants West consists of the Town of Windsor, the Town of Hantsport and the Municipality of West Hants serving a total population of approximately 20,000 people.
I encourage you to personally visit our area as we have lots to offer, afterall we are the home of the Birthplace of Hockey, High Tides along the Minas Basin, King's Edgehill - Canada's First Independant School and where else could you row across a lake in a Giant Pumpkin during our annual Pumpkin Regatta.
Porter calls on Feds to support Veteran's Program
WINDSOR, NS Progressive Conservative MLA Chuck Porter introduced a motion at a May 9th meeting of the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs that calls on the federal government to maintain funding for veteran's program Helping Others by Providing Empathy, a peer support group.
Jim Davis, the father of Cpl. Paul Davis, who was killed on active duty in Afghanistan in 2006, appeared before the committee last Thursday to voice his concerns about funding cuts to the program. He also urged the committee to keep an eye on the program and exert any influence it has to ensure the program remains.
March 27, 2013
MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West
HEALTH & WELLNESS
MR. CHUCK PORTER: Mr. Speaker, my question this afternoon is for the Minister of Health and Wellness. Paramedics have been engaged in negotiations for some time. In late February we learned that paramedics voted 98 per cent in favour of rejecting their employer’s offer. That was with 95 per cent coming out of the membership. The government and paramedics are reportedly far apart. My question to the minister is, has the government made any significant concessions to paramedics yet to prevent a strike?
HON. DAVID WILSON: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question from the member.
We all want to know that our paramedics are there, ready to respond in emergencies across the province. No one I know the member opposite and definitely myself wants to see a strike. That’s why we’re continuing to encourage both sides to work through the collective bargaining unit process. We don’t want to see a work disruption and I’m very confident that the two sides will work extremely hard to avoid that.
MR. PORTER: Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister as well for that answer. I know I’m certain that he does not want to see that group on the street by way of a strike. The fact that 98 per cent of paramedics came out was quite significant and they could be off the job as soon as April 12th In the days leading up to the last paramedic strike and some of us might remember that in 1999 the Premier, then in Opposition, asked for a detailed contingency plan to ensure emergency services were not disrupted. I’ll table that that was in Hansard, Mr. Speaker. These valued health care professionals handled about 450 calls these days in this province that Nova Scotians rely on these services. My question to the minister is, what’s the minister’s plan for those 450 people each day who will call for an ambulance and it won’t be there, potentially, after April 12th?
MR. WILSON: Mr. Speaker, we’re working extremely hard to encourage both sides to sit down at the bargaining table but we respect the collective bargaining process. But knowing and being a responsible government, we are preparing, in case there is a labour disruption here in the Province of Nova Scotia.
We’re taking that job very seriously and we’re working to ensure that we have everything in order in case that happens. But I do encourage both sides to get back to the table and go through the process so that we can come to an agreeable collective agreement between the paramedics and EMC.
MR. PORTER: Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for that answer. Again, I’m sure that having been part of that in 1999, he nor I nor anyone else in Nova Scotia wants to see that happen again in this province. Paramedics play a big role in providing overnight care, as an example, at CECs when no physician is present. This is what the NDP did when it broke its promise, though, to keep the ERs, like Cobequid Centre, open. We put these paramedics in place and they are a valuable asset in their communities where they’re at. They also provide services in nursing homes and a variety of other things. So Nova
Scotians are going to be very concerned, come April 12th, if something is not done. The question I really have today is, the minister states there is something being put together, will he table in this House in the coming days, as we lead up to this without a resolution, that contingency plan so that all Nova Scotians will have some comfort that services will be available if, in fact, paramedics do walk out on strike?
MR. WILSON: Mr. Speaker, I want to reassure Nova Scotians, as minister, as a member of this government, that my colleagues and the Minister of Labour and Advanced Education are working extremely hard to ensure that we minimize any disruption in services here in Nova Scotia, especially from health care providers, especially from our paramedics. That’s why we believe in the principles of collective bargaining. We are optimistic that a solution can be found, Mr. Speaker, but we also are preparing.
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