NOVA SCOTIA HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY
Thursday, September 20, 2012
COMMITTEE ROOM 1
Printed and Published by Nova Scotia Hansard Reporting Services
Mr. Sidney Prest (Chairman)
Mr. Jim Boudreau (Vice-Chairman)
Mr. Howard Epstein
Mr. Mat Whynott
Ms. Lenore Zann
Mr. Leo Glavine
Mr. Andrew Younger
Mr. Alfie MacLeod
Mr. Chuck Porter
[Mr. Gary Burrill replaced Mr. Jim Boudreau]
Ms. Jana Hodgson
Legislative Committee Clerk
HALIFAX, THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2012
STANDING COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES
Mr. Sidney Prest
MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay, I guess we’re going to get our meeting underway here. We’re a little late starting, but anyway, we certainly welcome everybody here after the summer break. Also, we have a new member on the committee that I’d like to welcome aboard; Mr. Whynott, welcome aboard.
Our meeting today is going to be basically an organizational meeting. We’re going to start with the introduction of our members, then we’ll proceed with our topics of the day, and also our annual report will be put forward.
[The committee members introduced themselves.]
MR. CHAIRMAN: We have some business from the past Spring that we didn’t quite get looked after. It’s a letter from Mr. Alfie MacLeod and Mr. Chuck Porter regarding aquaculture. A witness was selected at that time to come forward so, Mr. Porter, will you want to respond to that?
MR. CHUCK PORTER: Sure. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. You can all see the letter from Alfie and me, just requesting them. Did I hear you correctly, that we have them already set up for a meeting?
MR. CHAIRMAN: Yes, it was Victoria Co-op Fisheries.
MR. PORTER: Okay, I guess that’s great, that’s fine. We had them on my list - not on the one that you have but one that I’ve added, I actually have them still written there and for whatever reason, I apologize, I had either forgotten or maybe I missed the last Resources meeting and didn’t see the upcoming witness list.
MR. CHAIRMAN: That was scheduled for the May 17th meeting that we had to cancel.
MR. PORTER: Yes, okay, maybe there is where I’m getting mixed up, I apologize. So are they coming next then? Are they on the list to come next?
MR. CHAIRMAN: Well, it’s the PC caucus’ turn for the first witness to come forward and if that’s - we can set the agenda at the next meeting. What we’re doing here today is trying to get the topics brought forward.
MR. PORTER : Okay, that will certainly stay on as a topic wherever they fit in. I guess we’ll figure that out going forward here this morning but they will certainly stay on the list as a topic.
MR. CHAIRMAN: And on to the topics, the list that has been presented, is that in priority?
MR. PORTER: In the original list that you have there, I notice it’s not there. I’ve added it to the list. I have sort of prioritized the list of topics that our caucus put forward, in order, and I’ve added that because we had missed them, obviously, to the list. (Interruptions) It is on there. I didn’t think it was on it - No. 7, that’s why I missed it.
Anyway, there is the list and yes, we would like to leave it right at the top, that’s why I missed it. So as our list is circulated, those are the ones that we would present and I guess we’ll figure out where we’re going with them. Are you asking me to choose one as a priority right now, Mr. Chairman? Where do you want to go with it?
MR. CHAIRMAN: Yes, I’d like to - as the topics are put forward, I mean if they could be listed in priority.
MR. PORTER: Great.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Right at this time the Victoria Co-op Fisheries will be brought forward from the last meeting.
MR. PORTER: Okay, that’s fine, thank you.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Mr. Glavine.
MR. LEO GLAVINE: I think the first one would be to get an update on the Nova Scotia Power Incorporated biomass project. We would put that as our first selection.
MR. CHAIRMAN: So the list that we have here now is certainly not in priority, the way you . . .
MR. GLAVINE: Well, these are topics that we would like to get to. The first three can be switched around; they were of equal importance for us to get an update on, so any of the top three because we’re probably only going to get three choices when you look at the nature of the set-up for the year. Any of those first three are good but we would first like a look at Nova Scotia Power and where the biomass project is currently.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Very good, and the NDP caucus?
MR. GARY BURRILL: Mr. Chairman, we’d like to indicate that the subject of the Centre for Sustainable Energy kind of would be at the top of our list that we’d like to advance to the agenda.
MR. CHAIRMAN: And the rest?
MR. BURRILL: The rest are of equal priority but that would be our number one thing.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Now there was one carried forth from the last sitting, Trout Nova Scotia, if the caucus feels that should go in there on this list as well.
MR. BURRILL: Yes, we would like to add Trout Nova Scotia but I’m not clear, I was going to ask the clerk, had that been approved by the entire committee before?
MS. JANA HODGSON (Legislative Committee Clerk): Trout Nova Scotia?
MR. BURRILL: Approved as a subject, in the Spring.
MS. HODGSON: No, that had not been . . .
MR. BURRILL: Okay, we’d like to add that to our list, to make a fifth number, to hear from Trout Nova Scotia, but that wouldn’t change the priority. We’d like to have the Centre for Sustainable Energy as number one.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay, very good. Mr. Porter.
MR. PORTER: Was the one for the group we were referring to, the Victoria Co-op Fisheries - was that approved at a previous meeting as well?
MR. CHAIRMAN: Yes.
MR. PORTER: So that is approved. That’s certainly not our first priority though; I guess I just wanted to clarify that. It is on our list, they are a priority for us, but I would add that we would ask the Deputy Minister of Energy to discuss the economic indicators for affordable energy policy as our number one, given just where things are right now and it’s certainly a key issue in people’s minds and for all Nova Scotians as we move forward. That is our number one - it is on the list, but that list is in no priority. I had created another list, but it never got copied to you and that’s fine, we can provide that later if you like and a list of priority numbers, but that is our number one. We will fit in certainly the Victoria Co-op group, but our energy one is certainly a number one priority at this point.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay, very good. Mr. Epstein.
MR. EPSTEIN: At this point I’m just a little baffled where we stand. Our next meeting date on October 18th - is there a topic set for that date?
MR. CHAIRMAN: Not yet.
MR. EPSTEIN: Okay. I think the second thing I’m a little confused about is something from the PC caucus priority list and it has to do with interaction between the list that’s in front of us and the letter that’s in front of us. The letter doesn’t seem to talk about the same item that was flagged in the discussion earlier - am I wrong about this? Is the Victoria Co-operative Fisheries - that sounds different than what’s being talked about in the letter. Can I have some clarification about that?
MR. CHAIRMAN: Mr. Porter.
MR. PORTER: Yes, this talks about the Eastern Shore association coming in and they were not on the list that we had put forward in priorities, this was a separate letter outside of that. You are correct, thank you for the clarification.
MR. EPSTEIN: And also the item in the letter, that was the group that was going to be heard in May at the meeting that got cancelled. Is that right?
MR. PORTER: That’s correct.
MR. EPSTEIN: Is that still the PC caucus priority that is higher than the energy one?
MR. PORTER: It certainly is a priority, but the energy one right now is our number one and we would certainly be looking for this group to be approved and added. They are certainly a priority as well. When we look at it, I guess in some discussion that we’ve had, yes, they certainly are a priority for our caucus to be on our agenda. Giving our energy issues of the day, we feel that was number one over and above any of the rest, so that was sort of our focus. We are also looking to have them as soon as we can. To Leo’s point, too, as we go around it could be a little while before we get to them. But as we move through and see what gets approved for projects we’ll see what’s appropriate.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Mr. Burrill.
MR. BURRILL: I propose that all three caucuses take these three lists, with what we know about their priorities, consider them, at the next meeting of the committee we establish the witness agenda list going forward. In addition to that in the next meeting, we deal with the one matter which is outstanding, the matter which we previously approved as a whole committee, the Victoria Fisheries matter, that we place that on the agenda for the next meeting too, so that the next meeting would be the agenda-finalizing meeting, as well as the Victoria Co-operative Fisheries be presented and then we move forward with the newly established agenda coming from that meeting in meetings after that.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Mr. Glavine.
MR. GLAVINE: We had missed the meeting of May last year and had at that point, from my understanding, made a commitment to have the Victoria Co-operative come in and speak about their concerns on aquaculture. It’s what I saw as quite specific - perhaps not even addressing in a more comprehensive manner the whole issue of aquaculture, but as it pertained to them. I think as a committee we need to follow through. There’s four weeks to notify them, they were keen to come in the Spring, I don’t think things have changed too much and I think we should follow through and do that in October. We have very few meetings and a lot of topics for this committee, a lot of important topics, and I think to have as many witnesses to come forward, as many organizations represented at this table, I think is an important statement for this committee to be making.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Mr. Porter.
MR. PORTER: Thank you, and do you know what? I’ll say I’d agree with Mr. Glavine that if they would have already been - thinking back here for a few minutes - if they had been approved by the committee there’s no reason to delay them and there’s certainly no reason to delay moving forward with an agenda. From my experience and my years here, most of these need some notice and sometimes quite a bit of notice to turn over, to make sure we have witnesses going through. We don’t get an opportunity and here we are, going into October before we’re having our first witness meeting. So October, November, maybe December if we’re lucky and then the year has gone already.
I’m okay with that, if we can get those guys in from the Victoria Co-op, that’s just fine. That is an important topic as well, then I would I would leave on the agenda, at least for the committee’s notice, that those energy things are very important, as is everything else on the list. So yes, if they’re already set to go, let’s bring them in and let’s have that discussion because that is extremely important to our caucus and, by the sound of it, to others as well.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Is it a motion?
MR. BURRILL: Yes, that was my motion.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Can we have a second?
MR. PORTER: I’ll second that.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Very good. The motion is carried.
MR. MAT WHYNOTT: Excuse me, Mr. Chairman, can I just make a note that we should probably vote on that, as a committee. So if we can have a question called and then just to vote on that motion because we didn’t really vote on it, so if we could vote on it, that would be great. Okay?
MR. CHAIRMAN: Yes, could we have a vote on the motion.
Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.
The motion is carried.
Following on our next meeting, we’ll be selecting witnesses and be setting them up for the next meeting.
Now we will have the release of the annual report.
MS. HODGSON: I just wanted to mention to the members that the annual report was circulated to everyone for their review. I did not hear any comments or suggestions back from anyone. There was one small change that I made in the report, on Page 6, the signature page, just to reflect the new membership of the committee so Mr. Whynott’s name was added on that page. Everything else is the same. There are no comments so I would like to ask the committee to approve the report.
MR. PORTER: Just a quick question, Mr. Chairman, when did Mat join and is that reflective of the actual report that went forward? I’m not questioning it, it doesn’t matter, I’m just thinking whoever the member was who was on there at that time, should he or she be signing, based on the report that was put forward?
MS. HODGSON: If I could just talk to that for a moment. We got a clarification about this from Mr. Gordon Hebb as to what should happen when the membership changes . . .
MR. PORTER: It’s okay by me, if Gordon says that’s all right. (Laughter) I’m just asking the question because it’s technical and, like I said, it doesn’t matter. I’m just thinking that going back, if Mat wasn’t here, how could you really reflect what took place throughout that year as accurate, but anyway, I’m no lawyer.
MS. HODGSON: It’s a very good question which we asked as well, but that’s what he instructed us to do that the name, just on the signature page, be changed so the member who is signing the report is the current member of the committee.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Mr. Whynott.
MR. WHYNOTT: I would just make a motion to accept the annual report as prepared by the clerk. Also in that vein, I thank Jana for all of her work that she does on this committee and preparing that report.
MS. HODGSON: Thank you.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.
The motion is carried.
I guess our next order of business is setting a meeting day for October. It normally would be October 18th, if that is acceptable to everyone?
MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Chairman, just so we can mark it in our books, what would be the dates after that - the November and December dates - at least tentatively?
MS. HODGSON: The meeting in November would be November 15th, if the House is not in session, and the meeting in December - usually the committee moves that meeting up toward the beginning of the month, so that would be something the committee will discuss in October as to what they wish to do.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Mr. Porter.
MR. PORTER: I would like to mention the fact that we tend to get caught up in the sitting of the House and some committees don’t have their meetings during House sitting. But given that we’ve got quite a list by the looks of all three caucuses and a number of important topics, I just wanted to ask you, as chairman, to please consider it before we postpone any meetings during House sitting, that we consider that. Generally we wouldn’t be sitting on a morning and it would still be fine with our caucus, I would say, that we carry through with our meetings while the House was sitting, if possible.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Any other comments? Mr. Whynott.
MR. WHYNOTT: My only comment would be that we don’t know what the House hours are or when the House is sitting at this point so certainly for our side of things, we can’t comment on it.
MR. PORTER: Sometime this Fall the House will sit. (Laughter) I think that’s probably a fair assumption and if something else happens, that’s fine too, but just under the normal assumptions, that’s all I’m referring to.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Our next meeting date will be October 18th from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
MR. WHYNOTT: Motion to adjourn.
MR. PORTER: Seconded.
MR. CHAIRMAN: The meeting is adjourned.
[The committee adjourned at 9:34 a.m.]