May 14th, 2020

Cape Breton Centre MLA Kendra Coombes is first MLA sworn in virtually in Nova Scotia

HALIFAX -- As COVID-19 continues to affect all aspects of life, the Nova Scotia legislature has found a way to adapt and ensure newly elected NDP MLA Kendra Coombes could be sworn in today.

“It’s important that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we don’t forget about our democratic institutions,” said Coombes. “I’ve been working since the election, but being sworn in takes care of that last official element that allows me to fulfill all of my duties as an MLA. I’m happy to have been able to work with the staff at the legislature to make this happen and I’m looking forward to continuing to advocate for better health care and fairness for Cape Breton.”

Having officially been sworn in, Coombes will be able to sit on committees and take her seat in the House of Assembly the next time it meets. Coombes was elected in a byelection on March 10, and has been working from home since then.

"Kendra is exactly the right person to be representing Cape Breton Centre, and we’re extraordinarily happy to have her sworn in today and able to take her full place in the House of Assembly of Nova Scotia," said NDP Leader Gary Burrill. "The World Health Organization declared a pandemic the day after Kendra was elected, and since then, she has met as part of the NDP caucus, by teleconference, almost 50 times. Today's swearing-in is a moment of celebration, as we all look forward to the resumption of full democratic functioning in Nova Scotia."

Coombes is the first MLA in Canada to be sworn in over video link during the COVID-19 pandemic. The NDP caucus is advocating for virtual committee meetings of at least the Public Accounts and Health committees to ensure democratic oversight during the pandemic.