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The Nova Scotia Legislature (via Facebook)

Spring sitting wraps up, MLA steps down as Speaker

By Kevin Northup Apr 5, 2024 | 3:44 PM

The spring sitting of the Nova Scotia Legislature has wrapped up.

The Houston government passed a budget highlighted by healthcare investments and a new school lunch program.

The government passed third and final reading of a controversial Act that will allow the health minister access to people’s personal files.

The opposition and groups like Doctors Nova Scotia tried to introduce amendments, but Minister Michelle Thompson says she’s only interested in aggregate data to improve the healthcare system.

Houston’s PCs did pause the consolidation of the County and Town of Antigonish, and a controversial program that would have allowed wine bottlers to use imported grape juice.

Premier Tim Houston says they listen to Nova Scotians.

“We’re not so arrogant to think we’re always right or perfect. We listen to Nova Scotians and we make decisions based on what we hear from them,” Premier Houston said during Friday’s Question Period.

Opposition leader Zach Churchill says the government needs to listen before decisions are made instead of scrambling to change course.

“This government has flip-flopped on many issues, it’s a disturbing trend. How is it that the Premier’s decisions are so terrible, that he doesn’t even have the conviction to stand behind them?” asked Churchill during QP.

NDP leader Claudia Chender says she was disappointed in the sitting, noting the government’s lack of addressing cost-of-living issues, and passing off the Coastal Protection Act to municipalities.

The Liberals also lost a member to the PCs during the session, as Brendan Maguire crossed the floor to become the new Minister of Community Services.

MacFarlane steps down

A long-time MLA and current Speaker of the House is retiring.

Karla MacFarlane of Pictou West served in the role for 11 years.

She has officially stepped away from her duties as Speaker.

MacFarlane says she will miss her colleagues, but the time has come to begin another chapter.

Premier Tim Houston thanked MacFarlane for being an inspiration and mentor, and says he’s sad to see her leave.