Teachers' Strike Vote

Hi all -

As we ready ourselves to hear the results of the Teachers' Strike Vote here in Nova Scotia, I and my NDP colleagues are preparing to head back into the Legislature next Tuesday - called back a month early due to yet more contentious amendments to the Education Act that the Govt plans to implement. I and my Caucus of Seven have decided to stand up and once again fight Goliath against the Bill that will greet us upon our return to Province House.

Upon studying the Glaze Report we feel that a number of the recommendations are not in the best interests of our students, our teachers, our democratically elected local School Board officials (who will be eliminated), or indeed our entire Education system.

Once again this government is choosing to disrespect and ignore the input of professionals and citizens who live in rural Nova Scotia, and instead, centralize everything in Halifax.

As if the crisis in our Healthcare system due to the elimination of our local Health Authorities and lack of family doctors wasn't enough!

Now they want to create chaos in our Education system too!

In any case you can be sure I will do my utmost best to try to change hearts and minds on this latest attack on public servants - both inside and outside the Legislature.

Meanwhile, on a visit to Ottawa this past weekend for the NDP National Convention I was honoured to be invited to appear on national television as a guest on the popular political show POWER PLAY to discuss the issue of sexual misconduct in both the Entertainment World and Political arena - since I have worked in both and personally experienced abuse of power.

Since another of my Critic roles is Spokesperson for the Status of Women this TV appearance also made sense. Here's the link to the 5 minute interview in case you haven't seen it.

https://www.ctvnews.ca/mobile/video?clipId=1329690

As Advanced Education Critic for the Nova Scotia NDP Caucus I was very pleased to vote "YES" at our recent NDP Convention 2018 in Ottawa this weekend on a resolution for Free Post Secondary Tuition!

This was actually similar to a resolution that I, along with my Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River Electoral District Association, had proposed at a recent provincial NDP convention - and I am pleased to say that both provincial and federal resolutions passed unanimously!

As a social democrat I have always believed in free tuition so that ALL students can afford to attend University or College no matter their family's ability to pay - and come out of it debt-free. I've lived and worked in many countries where Post Secondary Education and Day Care are both free, along with Healthcare, so I've seen firsthand how well this works.

Education should be a RIGHT for all - and therefore FREE, like Healthcare.

Here is the Resolution, Feb 19, 2018 Passed in Ottawa, at the NDP Federal Convention:

http://xfer.ndp.ca/2018/ottawa2018/NDP-Resolutions_8-en.pdf?r=1

As if Status of Women and Advanced Education weren't enough I'm also the NDP Aboriginal Affairs, Agriculture, and Environment Critic. So you can be sure I will continue to ask questions and make statements in the House about issues regarding these three portfolios as well as concerns affecting my constituency.

And the more knowledge one gains about these portfolios the more obvious it becomes that they are all intricately connected.

Looking after and respecting Mother Earth is imperative to the continuance of our species. Her ability to feed us with her bounty and quench our thirst with clean water is a great gift that we must not take for granted or abuse. That's why Indigenous people the world over tell us "Water is Sacred".

And it is becoming clearer to many that our Indigenous people and the youth are showing the rest of us how important it is to protect and preserve these natural elements that are so vital to all Life on this planet.

I've been honoured to visit farms and orchards across the province as Agriculture Critic and hear the concerns of Dairy farmers about NAFTA and other trade agreements. I've been proud to take part in the Sipeknekatek and Millbrook First Nations to protest the billions of liters of salt brine that Alta Gas - a Gas Company from Calgary - wants to pour into the Shubenacadie River on a daily basis. Why? Because they think it's cheaper than drying it out and using it for something else.

I've stood shoulder to shoulder with Elders in Pictou Landing First Nations to say "No More" to the effluent that has been polluting Boat Harbour for over 50 years. Boat Harbour - a popular, pristine gathering place for the Mi'kmaq for thousands of years - where families picnicked on the beach, swam and fished for clams and oysters.

But now the water and shellfish are poisonous. And the air has been tainted for years with children suffering from respiratory diseases and many people dying from cancer.

You tell me if you think this is just a coincidence or if there is a link.

At least we got Government to act on that issue and I was glad to vote to pass legislation that will close Boat Harbour as a dumping ground by 2020 and supposedly (hopefully) begin the huge clean up job to restore it to its former beauty.

A few years ago I introduced a Private Members Bill 111, "An Act to Address Environmental Racism" on which I had the good fortune to work with Dr Ingrid Waldron of Halifax and Dr Lynn Jones of Truro. It was the first bill of its kind to be introduced in North America. But in spite of entreaties from citizens across the country - including many African Nova Scotians who have also been affected - our Liberal Govt has still not allowed it to pass. Still, Environmental Racism is becoming more recognized and discussed in school courses, Universities, and even CBC's The Current with Anna Maria Tremonti aired a special about it just last week.

As NDP Environment Spokesperson I will continue to speak out on issues affecting Nova Scotia's land, water, and air - since it appears the McNeil government is also on a dangerous trajectory to fiddle while Rome burns when it comes to the Environment as well as Education - simply watching over the destruction of much of our pristine Acadian forests, lakes, rivers, and even the ocean.

This is in large part due to out-of-control clearcutting (now up to 91% on Privately Owned Lands and 84 % on Crown Lands) plus glyphosate spray programs (Mattatall Lake turned green and toxic right after they sprayed and clearcut around it, and an entire hill was clearcut right across from the Ski Wentworth - destroying the beautiful view in a place where the inhabitants are trying to start an Eco-Tourism business throughout the valley!), the enlarging of gravel pits and quarries beside pristine lakes and rivers full of unique and even endangered species without having to do proper Environmental Assessments (like the communities of Little Dyke and Glenholme have showed me), approving gold mining in vital watershed areas (like the one near Earltown which is the source for rivers and streams that head off in all directions providing drinking water to many communities including the French River that flows to Tatamagouche and even the Salmon River which flows to Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River!)

And you can bet I will take part in the protest Feb 27th, our first day back at the Legislature. I'll be marching not only for the Teachers but for the Northumberland Fishermen who have told Govt in no uncertain terms that they will not let Northern Pulp put a pipe into the Northumberland Strait which would pump effluent directly into the ocean right near lobster spawning grounds, the Pictou Lodge, hundreds of cottages, and popular beaches like Melmerby!) The fishermen and tourism operators have a right and a reason to be nervous even as they say "#NoPipe because our jobs are important too!"

And if the issue of lifting the ban on fracking comes up, I can promise you I will be the first to jump up and shout "No Fracking - No way!"

In closing, i truly believe that together we can build a more equitable, fairer and socially-just world where nobody is left behind, bullied, sexually harassed or intimidated, worried about where to find their next meal or a roof over their heads. And it starts with us. Let's be the change we want to see.

We all have the ability to change the world one step, one kind word or deed at a time.

Thank you for your continued belief in me.

HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR! May the Year of the Dog bring you much health, happiness, and prosperity for allĀ 

(Picture)
Lenore, MLA (Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River) with some of the Young New Democrats in Ottawa at Convention, celebrating the victory of our successfully passed resolutions before departing for our flights home!

Lenore Zann, MLA
Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River
557 Prince St.
Truro, Nova Scotia B2N 1G2
1-902-897-9266
Fax: 902-897-1841