Bad winter storm postpones hearing
Disability advocates will make presentations using video conferencing
Nova Scotians will have to wait to have their concerns on Bill 59 — an act respecting accessibility in the province —heard at the law amendments committee.
A scheduled session was cancelled due to a blizzard sweeping across the region on Monday. A video conference of the proceedings was to have been held today at 11 different Nova Scotia Community College locations across the province, including Sydney and Port Hawkesbury.
The two-day hearing will be rescheduled for a later date.
Marcie Shwery-Stanley of Sydney, a longtime advocate for those with disabilities, said the option of video conferencing is a huge step forward.
“I’ve been advocating for this for so long because it’s very expensive for people to travel to Halifax to attend conferences and consultations with the government,” she said.
“The voices of people outside of Halifax, for a long, long time, haven’t really been heard because they weren’t at the table, but now they have the chance with video conference.”
The law amendments committee is designed to give clause-by-clause consideration and to hear presentations from those interested persons or organizations about contents of public bills referred to the committee after bills receive a second reading in the legislature.
Shwery-Stanley said she was thrilled when she first heard about the video conference option.
“I thought this was a great opportunity for people,” she said. “The issues in HRM (Halifax Regional Municipality) are different from those in rural areas, and that’s been proven time and again, so I’m very pleased these conferences are being offered by the government.”
Although it’s unknown as to how many video conference presentations will be made, Shwery-Stanley said even if one person participates it’s a big step forward.
“To me, that shows the government that the capability is there to consult with all Nova Scotians, especially those in Cape Breton,” she said.
“Having a video conference option with the law amendments committee is historic, it has never happened before, so I feel we need to commend the government for that.”
Shwery-Stanley had originally planned to be in Halifax on Monday to present in person on behalf of the Nova Scotia Disabled Persons Commission.