Printed and Published by Nova Scotia Hansard Reporting Services
STANDING COMMITTEE ON HUMAN RESOURCES
Ms. Becky Kent (Chairman)
Mr. Gordon Gosse
Mr. Mat Whynott
Ms. Pam Birdsall
Mr. Jim Morton
Hon. Michel Samson
Ms. Kelly Regan
Hon. Christopher d'Entremont
Mr. Chuck Porter
[Hon. Christopher d'Entremont was replaced by Hon. Cecil Clarke.]
[Mr. Chuck Porter was replaced by Mr. Alfie MacLeod.]
Ms. Jana Hodgson
Legislative Committee Clerk
HALIFAX, TUESDAY, APRIL 27, 2010
STANDING COMMITTEE ON HUMAN RESOURCES
Ms. Becky Kent
MADAM CHAIRMAN: At this point I'll call the Committee on Human Resources to order. If we could take a moment to introduce ourselves for the record.
[The committee members introduced themselves.]
MADAM CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Our agenda is fairly short, at this point we're still in the House of Assembly, so we'll proceed with our appointments to agencies, boards and commissions.
We'll start with the Department of Community Services. Mr. Gosse.
MR. GORDON GOSSE: Madam Chairman, I so move that Kathleen (Kay) Chisholm be appointed as a member to the Children and Family Services Act Advisory Committee.
MADAM CHAIRMAN: Is there any discussion? Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.
The motion is carried.
HON. MICHEL SAMSON: Madam Chairman, may I suggest that you go to the Department of Health Promotion and Protection next and save the Department of Finance for last?
MADAM CHAIRMAN: Okay, thank you. Mr. Morton.
MR. JIM MORTON: Madam Chairman, I so move that Paulette M. Anderson, Shannon Doubleday, William J. Kilfoyle, and Jim Smith be appointed as members to the Gaming Foundation Board of Directors of Nova Scotia.
MADAM CHAIRMAN: Is there any discussion? Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.
The motion is carried.
The Department of Finance. Mr. Whynott.
MR. MAT WHYNOTT: Madam Chairman, I so move that Sherry E. Porter be appointed as chair and member of the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation.
MADAM CHAIRMAN: Is there any discussion? Mr. Samson.
MR. SAMSON: Madam Chairman, as I'm sure the members of the committee will appreciate, the Liquor Corporation of Nova Scotia is probably one of the largest, if not the largest, revenue-generating bodies that comes before the Human Resources Committee. This year alone the government expects total net revenues of $223 million from the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation.
For the record, I don't know who Sherry Porter is and I have no qualms with her applying or her having been selected. The challenge is, if you look at the information that we are provided with regarding this application, it's a five-year appointment as chairman, it pays $2,000 a month, plus expenses. The information tells us that there were 36 applicants for this position, 29 males and seven females. In Guideline 13 it states, "It is my opinion as the Minister responsible for the ABC that from the candidates that applied to the position that this is the best qualified person to carry out the duties of this position." It is dated March 31, 2010, and signed by the minister responsible, Graham Steele.
Graham Steele would be the same person that while sitting in Opposition lamented the fact that we're sitting here as committee members being told by a minister that the individual chosen is the best-qualified person without having any idea who were the other applicants. In this case there were 36 applicants, so there are 35 other individuals who applied for this position. We don't know who they are or whether it was reasonable for the minister to conclude that Sherry Porter was the most-qualified person.
This is an issue I have raised previously, Madam Chairman, based on comments made by some of your colleagues while they were in Opposition. This matter was raised at our committee, I believe, on September 29, 2009. At the time, you indicated that you would be discussing this issue with the Premier and looking to see whether any changes would be made to the way information is shared with this committee.
I'm wondering if you, Madam Chairman, would be able to advise, before proceeding, as to what discussions you have had with the Premier, what information can you share with members of the committee on that issue?
MADAM CHAIRMAN: Thank you, Mr. Samson. Certainly, I would remind the committee, as well, at this point that it is not the mandate of this committee to make that determination of who the department or the minister should deem appropriate. The minister and I spoke on this one, in fact, he was quite excited for the first time this would be a female chairman for this board, so it certainly is in keeping with the mandate that I understand has been discussed many times around the table, around diversity and having more female representation on boards and committees.
I would also note it is interesting to note that you would raise this particular issue or concern on this particular appointment, when it could have certainly been raised on either of the other two. So I'm a little suspect on that, but regarding my conversations with the department, with the Premier's Office, I have had some conversation. Again, the feedback that I'm getting is that if there was a requirement to change the mandate of the committee, it would go through the House in the Committee on Assembly Matters. That was reinforced to me shortly after the conversation we had, what you had put on record.
To date I have not had any further direction from the Premier's Office or from the Premier that that has moved forward. Certainly, the House of Assembly sitting at this stage, the budget being the priority and the legislation that we're moving forward at this stage is more on the minds of our government at this time. At this stage I don't have further direction that there is anything going to the Committee on Assembly Matters regarding the mandate of this committee. Mr. Samson.
MR. SAMSON: It's interesting, Madam Chairman, that you raised the very same argument in the Fall, saying your government was quite busy at the time and unable to look into this. That was approximately five months ago and now, once again, it's still too busy. I raised this particular point for a couple of reasons. First of all, when one looks at the importance of the revenue generated by the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation and second, for the fact that the appointment is being made by a minister who has been on record, in this committee, in the House, in the press, as calling for changes to the way appointments are made.
If it is not our role to question appointments and how they are made, I'm assuming that the chairman has concluded we are merely a rubber-stamp committee and not in a position to raise such questions. Yes, there is a female being appointed here and I think that is great, but I would point out there are six other females who applied for this, as well, and we have no idea of knowing whether they are the best-qualified applicants or not, which I think is a fair question for us to ask. It is the same question that your Party asked while in
Opposition, I'm basically repeating the concerns that your Party raised, and I don't recall at the time anyone indicating that it had to go to Assembly Matters.
I would remind the chairman that on any committee under this government, the government holds the majority. Therefore, it is the government that needs to show whether it is willing to make those changes. It is of no use to call the Assembly Matters Committee together to review this matter if the government is simply going to use its majority to say no, that would be a waste of everyone's time. So I think it's a bit disingenuous to continue to make that argument knowing that the government holds the majority on these committees, and basically there is no means for the Opposition to enact change that the government is not prepared to endorse.
Based on that, I believe it would be important that we give the Minister of Finance an opportunity to review the comments that he has made in the past and the fact that here he is, as the minister, with an opportunity to enact change from one of his own appointments. Even if he doesn't feel that all appointments or his colleagues share the same opinion, the fact that he was so adamant on this issue, I do believe that we should, as a committee, give him the opportunity to review this and find some means of allowing the committee to have some reassurance that the 35 other applicants were not better suited than Ms. Porter.
I believe the minister's public comments were along the lines of "prove it," so today I would say the same thing to the Minister of Finance: prove to us as a committee that Sherry Porter is, in fact, the best qualified person. By simply signing his name on a form, I don't believe that's good enough; it wasn't good enough when he was in Opposition or when your Party was in Opposition.
As a result of that, I would make the motion that this appointment stand until our next meeting so as to give the Minister of Finance an opportunity to review the concerns that I have raised and reflect on his comments in the past, and see how we can ensure that such an important position - not that all the other appointments today aren't important but in light of the revenues being generated here at a time when the government is trying to find new means of revenue and having the challenge with revenue versus expenses, certainly this committee is of vital importance. So with that, my motion would be that this appointment stand until the next time we meet, which I believe would be sometime in the month of May. I so move.
MADAM CHAIRMAN: At this point, because you addressed that to the Chair, I feel compelled to respond and I have two other members of the committee who would like to comment. I guess I would remind you that while I understand and recognize that you take issue with the direction that we've been given around the mandate of the committee and its change being through the Committee on Assembly Matters, that has clearly been articulated to us. That is the way that I, from the Chair - that is the appropriate action to change the mandate of the committee and, until such time, I'm going to stand with the position that that is the correct course. While I recognize . . .
MR. SAMSON: Madam Chairman, on a point of order. On what you just said, could you advise whether Gordon Hebb, who is legal counsel for this committee, has provided you with that opinion. Is that what you're basing the opinion on, what our legal counsel has indicated?
MADAM CHAIRMAN: I believe he has, yes.
MR. SAMSON: If that is the case, could you get a written opinion from Mr. Hebb that is, in fact, what is required? Regardless, even if it is, it goes back to my same point that the government holds the majority on these committees and it would take the government to indicate a willingness to make change. To simply say that it goes to Assembly Matters doesn't address the issue and it . . .
MR. WHYNOTT: Madam Chairman, on a point of order. It's just that we do have a motion on the floor so we would have to deal with the first one, if I'm not mistaken.
HON. CECIL CLARKE: No, he has a motion; that supercedes that motion at this point.
MADAM CHAIRMAN: Okay, so, again, my understanding from the resources that I have, which has been through committee support, is the Rules and Forms of Procedure of the House of Assembly - that is the mandate by which we govern ourselves and from the procedures book. I certainly can get confirmation of that and I would be happy to do that as a direction.
Still, again, while I recognize your position on directing this towards the current Minister of Finance and his role in Opposition - he is not in Opposition at this stage, he is the Minister of Finance and your argument, while recognizing what brought you to it, why you would designate it and commit it to this particular appointment, I would still challenge that that argument could have been on any of the other appointments. I'm not comfortable at all with delineating that one in particular and to stay that one over any of the others. The argument, if it's there, should be applied to any appointments that we have.
Again, we will get confirmation - I believe we have and we will research that. I'll work with the committee's support to get confirmation. Again, as a majority government, I've had that dialogue and haven't been directed to make those changes. As you would reference, and you're absolutely right, as a majority government we certainly do have more ability to effect those changes. At this stage, our government is not moving on that.
At this point, Mr. Gosse, would you like to comment?
MR. GOSSE: My point is that we do have a majority on all the committees, I think that's a part of winning government on June 9th. I think there were some things said in the past by different people in Opposition from all Parties.
We're here today arguing about the minister's appointment, the Minister of Finance, on somebody who is more than qualified for this job. She's the first female chairman and if you look at her resumé - it's well-documented in the folder that was given to everybody, QE II Foundation, Pier 21 - I mean there are so many good things about this person. I don't see why we're in here arguing today about the same thing, that we had the same thing in September. Are we going to come to this meeting each and every week and the member's going to keep bringing up the same thing about changing the committee's role? I'd just say that we get on with the motion and just get this person nominated to that board.
MADAM CHAIRMAN: Ms. Regan.
MS. KELLY REGAN: To correct you on something you said, it's not just this one appointment. The member for Richmond brought this up last Fall, so this is not one person singled out, this has been brought up before. In terms of the role of this committee, if we are just here to be rubber stamps, I'm not really interested in coming in here to collect my $35 per day, or whatever the heck it is, per diem. I expect to be able to look at who the applicants are and make sure that this is the most qualified person.
The person under consideration today sounds quite qualified for this job, but we do not know who else applied. Literally, we get this book and we say, well, yes. So unless the person is completely unqualified, we never know if it's the most qualified person. I think that the member for Richmond has a point.
MADAM CHAIRMAN: Again, as you addressed that to the Chair and was clarifying something that I said, in fact, today specifically he did direct it directly at this appointment and clearly only this appointment. For the record, that is, in fact, accurate.
I recognize and appreciate - and thank you, duly noted - that you're not interested in participating perhaps on the committee as it stands right now, but the committee as it stands right now works under the mandate. If, in fact, you do not have an interest in participating on the committee as it stands, you certainly have the ability within your caucus to change your representation on the committee. Mr. Clarke.
MR. CLARKE: Madam Chairman, just further to the point by the member for Richmond and in terms of the choice, I think he has a valid point when he talks about appointments, specifically to the Liquor Corporation, because I also recognize from previous discussions the fact that this would be the first-ever chairman - well, it would be the second
chairman of the board, so it isn't like there's a long-standing history with regard to appointments to this corporation to start with.
It is, at minimum, $24,000 in stipend, plus expenses associated with it, plus potential travel with an agency - as has been mentioned by the member for Richmond - involving hundreds of millions of dollars of a revenue source. To question that appointment versus an appointment to some other committees is legitimate when you look at the magnitude of the role, responsibility and the governance structure appropriate, and accountability that people would have in that position.
From the other point that was raised in terms of history, what I've clearly heard as well, both from the Minister of Finance, the Premier and other members of government, is they said they want a new way of doing business. There was a structure in place and it was what it is and we deal with this. I find it ironic that the same minister, and the Premier, and the Cabinet, and the government that said they want to do business differently, are reticent to come here and deal with disclosure.
On the point of even putting the other numbers of individuals who weren't considered aside, we have six other women candidates where there is no qualifier of how they would - if the choice is to have a woman serve in that role and that's an overall objective, to make sure that the role of women in public life is expanded, but there is no capacity. So there is validity to the point raised by the member for Richmond, why he would question this appointment - not to take away, and I don't for a minute suggest that Ms. Porter would not have the requisite skills and abilities to do the job, but the broader question that has been raised is contradictory to the very statements of the government in wanting to be open and transparent. So on that point, I would just endorse the comments of the member for Richmond.
MADAM CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Mr. Morton.
MR. MORTON: Madam Chairman, I've heard the discussion, but I think maybe there has been too much made about the point of rubber-stamping. I think our function here has a variety of purposes. One is to determine whether those people who have been put forward are indeed qualified, and we're provided with a significant amount of information to help reach that conclusion. We're also in a position, based on the information provided, to look at the processes that underlie those recommendations to determine that, indeed, there was a fair and transparent process that brought these names to our attention. In fact, beyond the appointment of individuals to agencies, boards and commissions, we have a responsibility which we undertake, when the House is not in session, of examining HR issues in Nova Scotia through meetings with witnesses and discussing needs, problems and possibilities.
I think we have a variety of purposes on this committee that shouldn't be undermined. I think to use a term like "rubber-stamping" is inappropriate in this context.
MADAM CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much. What I would like to do at this point is just read for this committee Rule 60(2)(c)(iv), the Terms of Reference in Reviewing Agency, Board and Commission Appointments. On Page 55:
"3. Committee members shall review the name submitted for approval having regard to qualifications of the individual, affirmative action concerns and, where relevant, the regional representativeness of the Agency, Board or Commission.
4. The purpose of the Committee review is not to replace the function of Government Departments and Ministers in making appointments. Its function is to approve or not approve of the name before it, not to consider or recommend alternative names for appointments."
At this point I would ask again, we will have to have a vote on the motion that is before us. Mr. Samson, if you would be interested in repeating your motion.
MR. SAMSON: Just prior to repeating that I would just remind the chairman and members of the government that that was the same committee mandate when the Minister of Finance made his comments while in Opposition, when the current Speaker, Hon. Charlie Parker made his comments while in Opposition, and it was the same mandate when Ms. Joan Massey, the previous member for Dartmouth East and member of the NDP, made her comments regarding the process. They were well aware of what the committee's mandate was then and they still objected to that. The point is you are now in government and in the position to be able to make changes.
I guess the message today clearly is there is no desire now in government to make the changes that were being advocated while in Opposition.
My motion, again, is that the appointment of Sherry Porter to the Nova Scotia Liquor
Corporation be stood until our next meeting in May in order to give the Minister of Finance, now that the budget has passed, the opportunity to review his previous comments and address the concerns that have been raised by committee members this morning regarding the selection process.
MR. CLARKE: Just before the vote, Madam Chairman, on a point of order with regard to MLA Morton, in terms of rubber stamp, the reality is I read in the paper this morning all the details about the appointment of Ms. Porter. It was a fait accompli of what was going to occur today. So, in terms of a rubber-stamp process, that was already set in motion by the government and detailed information about Ms. Porter's appointment was in the media before this committee would even meet. So one would have to question what the government's motives and/or processes associated with this would be, thus the motion by the member for Richmond.
MADAM CHAIRMAN: Thank you and duly noted. I understand that position.
Mr. Gosse, and then we'll get on with the vote.
MR. GOSSE: A duly noted point there but I also note that when the honourable member was in Executive Council from 1999 - well, no, the by-election in 2000, if I'm correct, he was part of the Executive Council in the same process and that process didn't change when he was in Executive Council, so I agree that we just keep doing what we're doing here today and get on with the motion.
MADAM CHAIRMAN: At this stage, I will call the question. (Interruptions)
A recorded vote has been called for.
[Madam Chairman calls the roll.]
Mr. MacLeod Mr. Gosse
Hon. Clarke Ms. Birdsall
Ms. Regan Mr. Morton
Hon. Samson Mr. Whynott
MADAM CHAIRMAN: For, 4. Against, 5.
The motion is defeated.
At this point, we'll bring back the original motion by Mr. Whynott, which is the appointment of Sherry Porter as chair and member to the Liquor Corporation of Nova Scotia, Department of Finance.
Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.
The motion is carried.
MR. SAMSON: Madam Chairman, in light of your earlier comments, I would like to make another motion. I move that the committee instruct the chairman to immediately write to - who is the chairman on Assembly Matters? (Interruptions) Who does Internal Affairs, the Premier? - the chairman of the Committee on Assembly Matters, that being the Speaker, the Hon. Charlie Parker, requesting that a meeting be called of the Committee on
Assembly Matters in order to review the mandate of the Human Resources Committee in light of the comments made by Graham Steele, now the Minister of Finance; the Speaker himself, Charlie Parker, when in Opposition; and Joan Massey, former NDP member for Dartmouth East regarding the role of the committee, specifically on the issue of determining the best-qualified candidate. I so move that the chairman be instructed to write to the chairman of the Committee on Assembly Matters requesting a meeting as soon as possible.
MR. CLARKE: Madam Chairman, I think that's consistent to the discussion that I've heard from the Speaker of the House with regard to other matters before Assembly Matters that would be placed on the agenda for discussion. I think it's also consistent with the government wanting to look at other matters, one of them brought forward by the member for Halifax Clayton Park, MLA Whalen, with regard to an issue that we've differed on - electronic petitions. Those are items that the government has indicated a willingness to at least put on the agenda for discussion topics.
I also know that between the House Leaders, there are other matters that they've determined should be up for discussion with the Committee on Assembly Matters. So I think this would just be very appropriate and consistent with the statements of government and the concurrence of the Opposition Parties to want the Committee on Assembly Matters to have a fulsome discussion and it doesn't mean an outcome for the committee, it just means an agenda item on the committee.
MADAM CHAIRMAN: Thank you, Mr. Clarke. I think at this point I would suggest to the committee that we recess for a moment and have a discussion with caucus members around this. (Interruption) Sorry, to committee members. It's my understanding that I have every right to recess, so I will recess and . . .
MR. CLARKE: And call Dan O'Connor.
MADAM CHAIRMAN: No, well, whatever. Thank you, Mr. Clarke. At this point I will call a five-minute recess. Thank you.
[9:28 a.m. The committee recessed.]
[9:34 a.m. The committee reconvened.]
MADAM CHAIRMAN: I'd like to call the meeting back to order after a short recess. Thank you very much.
At this point I would like to suggest that in recognition of the comments that were made and the motion that is on the floor, I would just like to comment that I think it's more important at this stage in our committee meeting, that if we're going to make requests such as that, that it would be related to committee matters that this newly-formed committee take
on as relevant to our ability to proceed with functioning properly, functioning in a way that is supportive of the good governance of Nova Scotia, as opposed to digging and bringing in reasons that because - as a member of Opposition in the past, there are a lot of committee members here who are now Opposition and you no doubt will have concerns that you will raise that I think should be relevant to the current committee and that is fair, concerns around what would drive us based on past. We can go back 10 years and find something that could make us reconsider now. Having said that, I believe we are ready for a vote on the motion, so I'd like to call for the question.
MR. SAMSON: Madam Chairman, on a point of order. I believe the motion very clearly, simply asks that you, as chairman, write to the chairman of the Committee on Assembly Matters to request that the issue of the mandate of this committee be reviewed. I believe you have read into the record comments which I did not make in the motion, as to what those changes might be, or what would be looked at.
I do take a bit of exception to the fact that the motion very clearly, simply asks that you, as chairman, on behalf of the committee, write to the chairman of the Committee on Assembly Matters and ask that the mandate of the Human Resources Committee be reviewed by the Committee on Assembly Matters, as you've indicated, are the instructions if any changes are going to be made and that that discussion take place. I don't believe we have indicated what the outcomes would be or what the arguments would be. I believe it's simply a request that you write to the chairman to have this on the agenda, there was nothing more than that.
MADAM CHAIRMAN: Thank you, Mr. Samson, I'm fully aware of that. I totally was not forming . . .
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Question.
MADAM CHAIRMAN: No, I'm going to put on record that I was not precluding what would potentially come back from the Speaker as a response. I was merely noting that I think it's important for this committee, as was prefaced with your motion, that it is based on past conversations, past committee dialogue that is no longer this committee. That is the motive for bringing it forward.
I'm suggesting that if we're going forward it should be what is in the interest of this committee operating and functioning in a way that is helpful to the government, helpful to Nova Scotians, based on our current dialogue. I think it's helpful for us to have it, that's just my position on it and it was not intended to preclude or make assumptions about what would perhaps come back from the Speaker's Office. Mr. MacLeod.
MR. ALFIE MACLEOD: Very good. Madam Chairman, I guess part of where we're at today is also as a result of the comments from the member for Kings North about us being
a rubber stamp. If indeed that's what the perception of this may or may not be because he doesn't believe it is and I hope it's not, this motion will help clarify where we're at. You did bring up the subject about rubber stamp (Interruptions) You responded to the subject, he responded to the subject.
MR. MORTON: That's right. Yes, I think I would like to clarify . . .
MADAM CHAIRMAN: Thank you. For clarification to be . . .
MR. MACLEOD: He responded to the idea of this being a rubber stamp.
MADAM CHAIRMAN: Which was actually noted by another member, not by Mr. Morton.
MR. MACLEOD: But the challenge is that it's on the table now as something that is an issue with this committee. This motion will help us clarify with the Committee on Assembly Matters just where, indeed, we are. I think it's . . .
MADAM CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Mr. Gosse, did you want to offer comment? At this point I'd like to call for the question.
MR. GOSSE: No, we read enough into the record about past members and the honourable member read into record people's names and members who are no longer members of the Legislative Assembly. He read it into the record purposely, Joan Massey, Graham Steele and Charlie Parker, he read those into the record, so let's be clear about that.
MADAM CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Again, I would just reiterate that the mandate of the committee and I think the importance of this whole committee is that we're a functioning committee and I know that's what the member is getting at, that we're functioning, we're a productive and helpful committee for good governance. At the end of the day, that's what we want. At this stage, I'll call for the question.
MR. SAMSON: On a point of order, Madam Chairman. You just can't make comments like that and not expect that there's going to be a response. The comments made by your colleagues in Opposition were that the committee was not functioning, that it was not good governance, it was not transparent, that it was not able to say whether the person was the best-qualified person.
As Graham Steele said to the ministers of the day, prove it. So he did not agree that the committee was the well-functioning, democratic, transparent committee you've just indicated we are. The comments from your colleagues were that it wasn't, which is why we're asking that based on your advice that this be put in front of the Committee on Assembly Matters for a discussion. Unless . . .
MR. GOSSE: You're making the same comments that Graham did.
MR. SAMSON: You're right, Mr. Gosse, I am repeating exactly what Mr. Steele said. The chairman has indicated that was in the past, so unless she can indicate to us that Mr. Steele, upon becoming a minister, abandoned that position, that Charlie Parker abandoned that position, and that the NDP as a Party has abandoned their position regarding this committee, then obviously I think it is worthwhile to put this in front of the Committee on Assembly Matters and have a full discussion on the matter, which is what the motion was intended to achieve.
MADAM CHAIRMAN: At this point, I'm going to call for the question, but I want to be very clear that Mr. Samson has just put words in my mouth again, that I did not confirm or commit that the committee is necessarily at the level that we should be functioning. What I'm suggesting is that we make this request based on what we - as a committee, that is currently in standing right now, here at this table - is asking, so that we can be a productive and helpful tool for good governance in Nova Scotia. That's what I'm asking for. I'm not questioning what you've brought to the table, so I don't want you to put words in my mouth.
At this point we'll call for the question of writing to the Speaker, to consider the mandate of this committee. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye.
MR. SAMSON: A recorded vote.
MADAM CHAIRMAN: A recorded vote has been called for.
[Madam Chairman calls the roll.]
MADAM CHAIRMAN: For, 8. Against, 0.
The motion is carried.
MR. CLARKE: Madam Chairman, I'd also like, if you would, when you send that letter, just to the comments I've raised, since I've been able to source a copy of the paper, I just want to read - the headline says "Booze boss likely to be named today" on A5 of The ChronicleHerald. (Interruption) Yes, it's a new format.
The news is ahead of this committee meeting and it just highlights why the details of an appointment are being made and reported. I would like a copy of this attached to your letter.
MADAM CHAIRMAN: Duly noted, thank you.
We're going to move on to the next meeting date. We have a meeting date of May 25th and through some informal discussions around the table, it's my understanding that that's the day immediately following a holiday and that would be a day that members would be travelling in from out of town. Where we would normally meet at 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., there has been a suggestion that we consider moving that meeting to an afternoon meeting. If there is a sense of . . .
MR. MACLEOD: As long as the House isn't sitting.
MADAM CHAIRMAN: As long as the House is not sitting, exactly, but either way it's still a holiday. So it would be a suggestion that we move it perhaps from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., or 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. If any members would like to comment on that, we can make that adjustment, assuming that the clerk is okay with that. Mr. Whynott.
MR. WHYNOTT: Just looking at the Committees Office, are there any other committees scheduled for that day?
MS. JANA HODGSON (Legislative Committee Clerk): Not in the afternoon, no.
MR. WHYNOTT: Not in the afternoon, okay.
MADAM CHAIRMAN: So is there any flavour for 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., or 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.?
MR. MORTON: Well, 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. would certainly be preferable for me. I have some other commitments early in the afternoon.
MADAM CHAIRMAN: So is there general agreement around the table? Agreed.
MR. SAMSON: Are you buying me supper if we go to 5:00 p.m.?
MADAM CHAIRMAN: Not a chance. (Laughter)
All right, so it's confirmed for May 25th, 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. At this point it would be, if the House is still sitting, only appointments. If, in fact, it is not sitting, there will be a witness and it would be the Nova Scotia Federation of Home and School Associations.
The meeting is adjourned.
[The committee adjourned at 9:43 a.m.]