Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

HANSARD 10-17

DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS

Speaker: Honourable Charlie Parker

Published by Order of the Legislature by Hansard Reporting Services and printed by the Queen's Printer.

Available on INTERNET at http://nslegislature.ca/index.php/proceedings/hansard/

Second Session

TUESDAY, APRIL 20, 2010

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Justice - Correctional Facility (Cumb. Co.), Hon. M. Scott 985
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 466, Holocaust Remembrance Day (04/12/10) - Recognize,
The Premier 986
Vote - Affirmative 987
Res. 467, Educ. Wk.: Equity in Educ. - Awards,
Hon. M. More 987
Vote - Affirmative 987
Res. 468, Woods, David - Gottingen X: Release - Congrats.,
Hon. P. Paris 988
Vote - Affirmative 988
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 469, Economic Assembly Working Group (2010): Meeting
- Congrats., Hon. S. McNeil 988
Vote - Affirmative 989
Res. 470, Every Kid Counts - Educ./LWD/Fin. Ministers: Funding
- Commit, Hon. K. Casey 989
Res. 471, Robson, Denise: Boston Marathon - Congrats.,
The Premier 990
Vote - Affirmative 991
Res. 472, Grant Mem. 4-H Tour: Organizers - Congrats.,
Hon. W. Gaudet 991
Vote - Affirmative 991
Res. 473, Long-Gun Registry - MP: Constituents' Views
- Support, Hon. C. Clarke 991
Res. 474, Raddall Literary Award - Anniv. (20th),
Ms. V. Conrad 992
Vote - Affirmative 993
Res. 475, Educ. Min.: Cabinet Income Tax Cut - Justify,
Mr. A. Younger 993
Res. 476, Boyd, Hughie Francis - Political Process: Participation
- Importance, Mr. A. MacMaster 994
Vote - Affirmative 994
Res. 477, Seaside Harvest Fest.: Vols./Partners - Congrats.,
Ms. B. Kent 994
Vote - Affirmative 995
Res. 478, Stegemann, Barb - Afghani Women: Self-Sufficiency
- Assistance, Ms. K. Regan 995
Vote - Affirmative 996
Res. 479, TIR: Indian Sluice Bridge - Replace,
Hon. C. d'Entremont 996
Res. 480, On Track Physiotherapy: Grand Opening - Congrats.,
Mr. G. Ramey 997
Vote - Affirmative 997
Res. 481, SNSMR Min.: Cabinet Income Tax Cut - Justify,
Hon. K. Colwell 997
Res. 482, Building for Growth: PC Leadership - TIR Min. Recognize,
Hon. M. Scott 998
Res. 483, Lessard, Dr. Pierre: Bonjour! Award - Congrats.,
Mr. J. Morton 999
Vote - Affirmative 1000
Res. 484, Clarke, Fred: Eastern Star Most Worthy Grand Patron
- Election, Mr. L. Glavine 1000
Vote - Affirmative 1001
Res. 485, NDP Gov't - Sm. Bus. - Support,
Mr. K. Bain 1001
Res. 486, Covey Island Boatworks: Investments in Fisheries
- Funding Congrats., Ms. P. Birdsall 1001
Vote - Affirmative 1002
Res. 487, African Heritage Mo.: VANSDA - Congrats.,
Mr. A. MacLeod 1002
Vote - Affirmative 1003
Res. 488, Redden, Alix: Beta Gamma Sigma Intl. Honor Soc.
- Membership, Mr. K. Bain 1003
Vote - Affirmative 1003
Res. 489, Roclan Ind. - Anniv. (25th),
Mr. A. MacLeod 1004
Vote - Affirmative 1004
Res. 490, Leary, Charles/Perret, Vaughn: Culinary Awards
- Congrats., Hon. C. d'Entremont 1004
Vote - Affirmative 1005
Res. 491, Doucet, Basil - Vancouver Winter Olympics (2010):
Volunteer - Congrats., Mr. A. MacMaster 1005
Vote - Affirmative 1006
Res. 492, Swan, Madison: Basketball Achievement - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Scott 1006
Vote - Affirmative 1007
Res. 493, The Hub: Founders - Hfx. C of C Award,
Ms. D. Whalen 1007
Vote - Affirmative 1007
Res. 494, Johnny Miles Fest. Soc.: Participants - Congrats.,
Hon. C. Clarke 1007
Vote - Affirmative 1008
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 155, Prem.: Staff Member - Moving Expenses,
Hon. S. McNeil 1008
No. 156, Educ. - Learning Disabilities: Progs. - Enhancements,
Hon. K. Casey 1010
No. 157, Townsview Estates: Funding - Confirm,
Ms. K. Regan 1011
No. 158, Prem. - Tax Regime: Review - Commit,
Hon. S. McNeil 1012
No. 159, Fin. - Min.: Polls - Faith,
Hon. M. Scott 1013
No. 160, Fin.: CFIB - Response,
Mr. L. Glavine 1015
No. 161, Fin. - Min.: CFIB - Comments Explain,
Mr. K. Bain 1016
No. 162, Health - Med. Students: Tuition/Contract Prog.
- Funding, Ms. D. Whalen 1018
No. 163, Justice: Cent. N.S. Correctional Facility - Lockdowns,
Hon. C. Clarke 1019
Hon. C. Clarke
No. 164, Justice - Burnside Correctional Facility: Lockdowns - Details,
Hon. M. Samson 1020
No. 165, LWD: Anielski Mgt. Rept. - Release,
Mr. L. Glavine 1022
No. 166, Prem.: Renewable Energy - Costs,
Mr. A. MacMaster 1023
No. 167, ERD - Team West/Team Southwest: Role - Clarify,
Hon. W. Gaudet 1024
No. 168, Health: Dal. Med. Sch. Seats - Funding Reduction,
Hon. C. d'Entremont 1026
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
ON MOTION FOR SUPPLY:
Ms. K. Regan 1027
Hon. C. Clarke 1030
Mr. J. Morton 1034
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON SUPPLY AT 2:22 P.M. 1039
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 6:00 P.M. 1039
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Street Hockey: Gov't. (N.S.) - Support
Hon. W. Estabrooks 1039
Ms. D. Whalen 1042
Mr. A. MacMaster 1046
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON SUPPLY AT 6:26 P.M. 1048
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 7:07 P.M. 1048
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 16, Summary Proceedings Act, Hon. R. Landry 1048
Hon. R. Landry 1049
Hon. M. Samson 1049
Hon. C. Clarke 1052
Hon. R. Landry 1052
Vote - Affirmative 1053
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Wed., Apr. 21st at 2 p.m. 1053
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 495, Lynds, Ursula: Dedication/Volunteerism (43 Yrs.)
- Acknowledge Hon. K. Casey 1054
Res. 496, Renaud, Holly: Hair Donation - Congrats.,
Hon. S. Belliveau 1054
Res. 497, Karate Can. Nat'l. Championships: N.S. Team/Coaches
- Congrats., Hon. S. McNeil 1055
Res. 498, Doucet, Vincent: Karate Can. Nat'l. Championships
- Congrats., Hon. S. McNeil 1055
Res. 499, Currie, Alex: Karate Can. Nat'l. Championships
- Congrats., Hon. S. McNeil 1056
Res. 500, McIntyre, Ashley: Karate Can. Nat'l. Championships
- Congrats., Hon. S. McNeil 1056
Res. 501, McKenney, Chris: Karate Can. Nat'l. Championships
- Congrats., Hon. S. McNeil 1057
Res. 502, Armour, Ian: Karate Can. Nat'l. Championships
- Congrats., Hon. S. McNeil 1057
Res. 503, Turner, Krystal: Karate Can. Nat'l. Championships
- Congrats., Hon. S. McNeil 1058
Res. 504, Hache, Laurel: Karate Can. Nat'l. Championships
- Congrats., Hon. S. McNeil 1058
Res. 505, Doubleday, Mark: Karate Can. Nat'l. Championships
- Congrats., Hon. S. McNeil 1059
Res. 506, McKenney, Matt: Karate Can. Nat'l. Championships
- Congrats., Hon. S. McNeil ~ 1059
Res. 507, Maillet, Michel: Karate Can. Nat'l. Championships
- Congrats., Hon. S. McNeil 1060
Res. 508, Smith, Roland: Karate Can. Nat'l. Championships
- Congrats., Hon. S. McNeil 1060
Res. 509, O'Neil, Sean: Karate Can. Nat'l. Championships
- Congrats., Hon. S. McNeil ~ 1061
Res. 510, Kelly, Steven: Karate Can. Nat'l. Championships
- Congrats., Hon. S. McNeil 1061
Res. 511, Southall, Thomas: Karate Can. Nat'l. Championships
- Congrats., Hon. S. McNeil 1062
Res. 512, Deveau, Tyler: Karate Can. Nat'l. Championships
- Congrats., Hon. S. McNeil 1062

[Page 985]

HALIFAX, TUESDAY, APRIL 20, 2010

Sixty-first General Assembly

Second Session

12:00 NOON

SPEAKER

Hon. Charlie Parker

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

Mr. Gordon Gosse, Hon. Wayne Gaudet, Mr. Alfie MacLeod

MR. SPEAKER: Honourable members, I call the House to order. Before we start the daily routine I'll read the late debate, under Rule 5(5):

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly support street hockey and call upon government to take whatever action necessary to ensure Nova Scotian children are able to continue this healthy and active sport.

That has been submitted by the honourable member for Bedford-Birch Cove. That will be at the moment of interruption at six o'clock.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cumberland South.

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, here we are in day 16 of this session and 16 days of broken promises by this government. Of course it all started with the headline "Dexter says he'd keep Tory promises." We know what happened there as we see it happen every day. This petition, the prayer says:

[Page 986]

985

"We, the residents of Cumberland County implore that Premier Darrell Dexter keep his word and build a correctional facility in Cumberland County!"

Mr. Speaker, it is signed by 260 residents and I have affixed my name. It brings the total at this point to 1,425 people from Cumberland County. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 466

HON. DARRELL DEXTER (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas this year, Holocaust Remembrance Day fell on April 12th, a day recognized around the world as a time to teach and inform others on the horrors of the Holocaust and a time to remember those people who suffered at the hands of the Nazis, including the millions of Jewish people killed in their homes and concentration camps; and

Whereas Canadian troops, including many Nova Scotians, fought with the Allied troops to defeat Germany and liberate the prisoners being held in the concentration and death camps throughout Germany, Poland, and other eastern European countries; and

Whereas Nova Scotia is a province that welcomes all races and religions, denounces ignorance and racism, and embraces its growing diversity;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize April 12th as Holocaust Remembrance Day, and that we pay our respects to those victims of the Holocaust and their families who still live with the lingering effects of this incredible tragedy more than 60 years later.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 987]

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 467

HON. MARILYN MORE: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas I was pleased to take part in the Education Week awards ceremony on April 19th, to recognize the valuable work of Nova Scotia's educators and their many partners; and

Whereas this year's theme, Equity in Education, acknowledges outstanding educators and partners who celebrate and enhance equity and promote a learning environment that appreciates the diversity of our students; and

Whereas the Education Week awards highlighted programming and services administered by educators and partners supporting students with special needs;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank educators for teaching students to treat people equitably and to recognize and respect people's differences.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

[Page 988]

The honourable Minister of African Nova Scotian Affairs.

RESOLUTION NO. 468

HON. PERCY PARIS: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas David Woods is a talented African Nova Scotian artist, poet, playwright, and author; and

Whereas during African Heritage Month, Mr. Woods released his latest collection of performance poetry, Gottingen X; and

Whereas Gottingen X is Mr. Woods' personal reflection of coming of age in Halifax's North End community;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend their congratulations to David Woods for the release of his latest collection, Gottingen X, and wish him continued success as an artist.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 469

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

[Page 989]

Whereas on Wednesday, April 14th, over 100 leaders from the area known as the quad counties met in Port Hawkesbury to participate in the 2010 Economic Assembly; and

Whereas this group of leaders spent the day examining internal and external economic forces while dedicating themselves to preserving and building the future of the regional economy; and

Whereas by the end of the day a resolution was passed that this group produce a report to the community containing recommended actions and a proposed timetable for implementation by Thanksgiving 2010;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly congratulate the working group of the 2010 Economic Assembly on a successful day and thank them for their demonstration of leadership.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[12:15 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 470

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the NDP Government in their election campaign platform last Spring identified a $2.5 million program entitled Every Kid Counts, to be established by the third year of their mandate; and

[Page 990]

Whereas what this NDP Government has failed to do is to recognize the significant challenges they will be imposing on Nova Scotia's public school education system if they do not attach funding to this program; and

Whereas the Save Grade 2 campaign brought forward by the Nova Scotia School Boards Association has identified 800 teaching cuts, a $7 million reduction in literacy improvement initiatives and a $4 million cut in Nova Scotia's textbook budget, unless the necessary funding is made available;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Education and Labour and Workforce Development, the Minister of Finance and the Premier commit now that the Every Kid Counts program will be adequately funded, as they promised in their campaign platform.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 471

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Cole Harbour's Denise Robson recently joined more than 100 Nova Scotians at the 114th edition of the Boston Marathon on April 19th of this year; and

Whereas the Boston Marathon is one of the world's oldest annual marathons, as well as one of the world's most prestigious and most challenging; and

Whereas Denise Robson achieved at the race her personal best finishing time for the Boston Marathon, placing her first in the Women's 40 to 44 Masters Class and finishing 282nd overall in the field of more than 26,000 runners;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Denise Robson on her remarkable personal achievement and athletic success.

[Page 991]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Clare.

RESOLUTION NO. 472

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the second annual Kevin Grant Memorial 4-H Leadership Tour was recently held in southwestern Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Kevin Grant was a strong supporter of the Nova Scotia 4-H Program, his legacy lives on through this conference and tour; and

Whereas each year for three days during March Break, the Kevin Grant Memorial 4-H Leadership Tour is held in a different region;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly congratulate the organizers of the 4-H Leadership Tours and wish them all the best in future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton North.

[Page 992]

RESOLUTION NO. 473

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Conservative MP Candice Hoeppner introduced a bill that would kill the federal long gun registry; and

Whereas some Liberals and New Democrats are hoping to pressure MPs who have not supported the registry in the past to reconsider, so that it would not be dismantled when it comes to a vote later this Spring; and

Whereas NDP MP Peter Stoffer, a long-time opponent of the gun registry and the only Nova Scotia Liberal or NDP MP to vote against it, said in today's paper that "he is not likely to change his vote";

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly encourage those MPs who have publicly stated that they oppose the federal long gun registry to continue to support the views of their constituents.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 474

MS. VICKI CONRAD: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas in 1990 the Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia and the Writers' Development Trust established the Thomas Head Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award; and

Whereas the Thomas Head Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award honours the achievement of Thomas H. Raddall by recognizing the best Atlantic Canadian adult fiction; and

[Page 993]

Whereas the 20th Anniversary celebration will take place for the first time in Queens County in April;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly recognize the Thomas Head Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award and the 20th Anniversary acknowledgement of this award.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 475

MR. ANDREW YOUNGER: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas it has been confirmed that the Minister of Finance provided the Premier and Cabinet colleagues with a sizeable income tax cut by eliminating the surtax on Nova Scotians making more than $83,000 per year; and

Whereas this NDP budget is paying for the income tax cut by raising the HST while providing no income tax relief to the majority of Nova Scotians, forcing the middle class and working poor to pay for the Minister of Education's tax cut; and

Whereas the NDP Government has clearly thrown the working poor and middle income earners of Nova Scotia under the Dexter bus by creating a "bitter deal for today's families";

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly implore the honourable Minister of Education to explain to the people of Nova Scotia and her constituents why she deserves this income tax cut, while the middle class and the working poor shoulder the burden of the government's ill-conceived tax regime.

[Page 994]

I won't even bother asking for waiver.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Inverness.

RESOLUTION NO. 476

MR. ALLAN MACMASTER: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Mr. Hughie Francis Boyd recently celebrated his 90th birthday; and

Whereas Hughie Francis can still be found each week hauling pulpwood on his family property in Glendale; and

Whereas Hughie Francis first became involved in politics in the 1930s, around the age of 10, by helping two gentlemen campaigning in his area and he has been a loyal Tory to this day;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly recognize Hughie Francis Boyd as a fine example to young people for the value of work ethic and the importance of participation in the political process.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 477

[Page 995]

MS. BECKY KENT: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the communities of Eastern Passage and Cow Bay have many long-standing traditions, events and festivals that foster a sense of pride, belonging and celebration of its rich culture; and

Whereas on Saturday, October 24, 2009, the Fisherman's Cove area of Eastern Passage was the host of the 1st Annual Seaside Harvest Festival, after many hours of volunteer efforts; and

Whereas the festival offered activities such as music and entertainment, a farmers' market and artist display, boat tours, corn boil, storytelling, pumpkin carving, scavenger hunt, interactive Nova Scotia Sea School, just to name a few;

Therefore be it resolved that this Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate the community of Eastern Passage and the Seaside Harvest Festival committee volunteers and partners for the successful presentation of the 1st Annual Eastern Passage Cow Bay Seaside Harvest Festival and wish them every success in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Bedford-Birch Cove.

RESOLUTION NO. 478

MS. KELLY REGAN: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas many Afghani women lost their livelihoods and their freedom when the Taliban came to power; and

[Page 996]

Whereas Bedford author Barb Stegemann has created a perfume using the essential oil from orange blossoms grown in Afghanistan; and

Whereas Barb is hoping to help Afghani women to become self-sufficient by encouraging them to grow the orange blossoms used in her 7 Virtues Orange Blossom perfume;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate Barb Stegemann for encouraging Afghans to focus on perfume not poppies and wish her the sweet smell of success in all her business endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Argyle.

RESOLUTION NO. 479

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the former Progressive Conservative Government made a commitment to the residents of Surette's Island on the replacement of the Indian Sluice Bridge; and

Whereas the 100-year-old Indian Sluice Bridge has had structural safety issues and had a section collapse in 1996 under the weight of a dump truck crossing the bridge; and

Whereas the fire department will not cross the bridge with a full load due to safety concerns relating to the condition of the bridge;

[Page 997]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly ask the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal to honour the commitment of the previous Tory Government to replace the bridge in a timely manner.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

RESOLUTION NO. 480

MR. GARY RAMEY: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas On Track Physiotherapy celebrated its grand opening in Bridgewater at the HB Studios Sports Centre on March 4, 2010; and

Whereas this clinic is a general physiotherapy clinic serving the needs of clients of all ages; and

Whereas On Track Physiotherapy also conducts clinics and training sessions for athletes, coaches and players who want to learn more about maintaining healthy bodies and how to best prevent, deal with and treat injuries;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly congratulate the staff of On Track Physiotherapy and wish them well in their new venture.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 998]

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 481

HON. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas it has been confirmed that the Minister of Finance provided the Premier and Cabinet colleagues with a sizeable income tax cut by eliminating the surtax on Nova Scotians making more than $83,000 per year; and

Whereas this NDP budget is paying for its income tax cut by raising the HST while providing no income tax relief for the majority of Nova Scotians, forcing middle class and working poor to pay for the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations' personal income tax cut; and

Whereas this NDP Government has clearly thrown the working poor and middle class income earners in Nova Scotia under the Dexter bus creating a "bitter deal for today's families";

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly implore the honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations to explain to the people of Nova Scotia and her constituents why she deserves an income tax cut while the middle class and working poor shoulder the burden of this government's ill-conceived tax regime.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cumberland South.

RESOLUTION NO. 482

[Page 999]

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the Progressive Conservative Government announced Building For Growth, which was a three-year $1.9 billion infrastructure stimulus package, in the winter of 2009; and

Whereas the NDP have continued with the infrastructure program unveiled by the Progressive Conservative Government; and

Whereas it was the vision and the recognition by the PC Government that made negotiations with the federal government and set in place a capital plan to last for three years;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly agree that the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal recognize the role and the leadership the former government employed in investing in provincial infrastructure for tomorrow's demands and addressing today's employment needs.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 483

MR. JIM MORTON: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Dr. Pierre Lessard has explored life throughout Canada and across the world before settling in the beautiful hamlet of Kingsport; and

Whereas Dr. Lessard approaches life with warmth and friendliness, building bridges between people and cultures, promoting French in all of his relationships; and

[Page 1000]

Whereas in his role as a French-language coordinator with Annapolis Valley Health, Dr. Lessard is a proponent of making the district health authority a warm, friendly, welcoming environment for patients and families who speak French, and was recently recognized with an Award for Excellence in Leadership;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate Dr. Pierre Lessard for being recognized with an Award for Excellence in Leadership at the Bonjour! Awards for Excellence in French-language services, in Halifax on March 23, 2010.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

[12:30 p.m.]

The honourable member for Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 484

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Fred Clarke, a long-time Berwick resident, has been elected to North America's 2010 Most Worthy Grand Patron position with the Order of the Eastern Star; and

Whereas Mr. Clarke joined Aylesford's Mayflower Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star in 1961 and has climbed the ranks through his hard work and commitment to helping others; and

Whereas Mr. Clarke plans to use his time as Most Worthy Grand Patron to promote the good work and great fellowship the Order provides both within the organization and in

[Page 1001]

the general public, and encourage the next generation to become involved with one of the 10,000 chapters in 20 countries;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Fred Clarke for the honour of being elected Most Worthy Grand Patron of the Order of Eastern Star and wish him success in future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 485

MR. KEITH BAIN: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the NDP confirmed to Nova Scotians what many had expected all along - that the Party and its MLAs are anti-business; and

Whereas on top of a broad-based tax hike the Minister of Finance then turned his venom on the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, using his own personal bias in saying "they are the least constructive group I have to deal with" and "nothing ever seems good enough for them"; and

Whereas with over 5,200 businesses in Nova Scotia represented by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, and many more employed indirectly by these businesses, the minister's disdain for such an important group to the Nova Scotia economy should be worrisome for all;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly urge this anti-business NDP Government to put aside personal vendettas and radical ideologies and start

[Page 1002]

working in the best interests of small business, the hundreds of thousands of Nova Scotians who are employed by them, and the economy as a whole.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Lunenburg.

RESOLUTION NO. 486

MS. PAM BIRDSALL: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the Nova Scotia Government is providing financial assistance to existing export-ready boat builders who are taking immediate action in developing export markets; and

Whereas funding will allow companies to participate in market research, market activities, and development of marketing materials; and

Whereas Covey Island Boatworks of Lunenburg provides boat-building services and refits to customers around the world;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Covey Island Boatworks Ltd. on receiving funding through investments in fisheries to help Nova Scotia's boat-building industry open to new global markets.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 487

[Page 1003]

MR. ALFIE MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas African Heritage Month is recognized each February with a proclamation at Province House; and

Whereas this year events were staged across the province, with the Valley event hosted at Festival Theatre in Wolfville by VANSDA; and

Whereas this year's theme of "Leading Ladies, Lasting Legacies" focuses on contributions of African Nova Scotia women, including Edith Cromwell of Inglewood, Annapolis County;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate VANSDA and all of those who made African Heritage Month such a success.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 488

MR. KEITH BAIN: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Alix Redden, a graduate of Rankin School of the Narrows in Iona, has been selected to participate in a prestigious membership; and

Whereas Alix has been invited to join the membership of the International Honor Society Beta Gamma Sigma, which is the highest recognition a business student anywhere in the world can receive in a baccalaureate or post-baccalaureate program; and

[Page 1004]

Whereas St. Mary's University has recognized Alix as one of its most outstanding scholars, where she is presently a third-year Bachelor of Commerce student;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly acknowledge the tremendous work ethic of Alix Redden and wish her every future success in her membership with the International Honor Society Beta Gamma Sigma.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 489

MR. ALFIE MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Roclan Industries, which specializes in commercial and industrial construction, in June will be celebrating 25 years of business in Cape Breton; and

Whereas owners Clayton Bartlett, Bob Horwath, and Angelo Susin have guided their company through large projects such as the Sydney Marine Terminal, the Membertou Entertainment Centre, and the CBRM compost facility, as well as numerous schools and businesses; and

Whereas Roclan Industries employs 20 to 25 full-time employees, along with dozens of carpenters and sub-trades during the busy construction season;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Roclan Industries on 25 very successful years in the construction business and wish them many more prosperous years in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 1005]

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Argyle.

RESOLUTION NO. 490

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Trout Point Lodge is a unique nature retreat located on the edge of the Tobeatic Wilderness Area in East Kemptville; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia Seafood Cooking School at the lodge has been very popular since it was opened in 2000 by managing directors Charles Leary and Vaughn Perret; and

Whereas the lodge is a member of Relais & Chateaux, a global group of 480 individually owned and operated luxury hotels and restaurants in 58 countries on five continents, and has received many awards for their culinary efforts from prominent magazines such as Forbes Traveler and Bon Appétit, as well as a Certificate of Excellence from the National Geographic Society in the Geotourism Challenge, having been chosen from among more than 600 entries from more than 80 countries;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Assembly join me in congratulating Charles Leary and Vaughn Perret on winning these awards and encouraging them to continue to promote alternative ways of living, cooking, and travelling, as well as teaching their international guests how to appreciate the Acadian forest ecosystem in and around the Tobeatic Wilderness Area.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 1006]

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Inverness.

RESOLUTION NO. 491

MR. ALLAN MACMASTER: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver were successful due to the tireless work of thousands of volunteers; and

Whereas Basil Doucet of Cheticamp was one of those hard-working individuals who took part in this national experience which made Canadians so proud; and

Whereas Basil was one of three young Nova Scotians to participate thanks to the Conseil Jeunesse Provincial and the Federation de la Jeunesse Canadienne Francaise;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Basil for being selected and extend thanks for his efforts to make Canada shine during our moment before the eyes of the world.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cumberland South.

RESOLUTION NO. 492

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

[Page 1007]

Whereas Oxford Regional Education Centre Senior Lady Golden Bear Madison Swan achieved a basketball milestone in a game against the Springhill Golden Eagles on February 25, 2010, hitting the 1,000 point mark; and

Whereas Madison needed 12 points going into the game to achieve the magic thousand and the first seven came relatively quickly in the first quarter; and

Whereas the next five were hard-earned, but Madison hit the mark during a foul shot with seven minutes left in the third quarter;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Madison Swan on this outstanding milestone and wish her much success in all future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

RESOLUTION NO. 493

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the Halifax Chamber of Commerce Business Awards acknowledge outstanding individuals who contribute to the growth and vitality of the Halifax area business community; and

Whereas at the chamber's 10th annual awards evening Joanne Macrae, Tracy Boyer, Sera Thompson, Rob MacArthur, and their company, The Hub Space People Innovation Ltd., were recognized with the Silver Award in the 2010 New Business of the Year category; and

[Page 1008]

Whereas this innovative business is allowing entrepreneurs to network and share their resources, talents and ideas in a creative, collaborative environment;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly recognize the founders of The Hub for their entrepreneurial spirit and vision, and congratulate them on receiving the Silver Award for New Business of the Year.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton North.

RESOLUTION NO. 494

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the Johnny Miles Festival Society in conjunction with the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 008 and a local radio station, The Eagle 103.5, sponsored the yearly Ice Jam, which is a full day of live entertainment, door prizes, auction, and good food; and

Whereas all entertainers were kind enough to donate their time, in addition to the community donations and a long list of volunteers who made the day a great success; and

Whereas funds raised at this event help to sponsor the Johnny Miles Festival, now in its eighth year, held every summer from August 6th to August 8th;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating all those involved with this event to help honour their hometown hero and two-time Boston Marathon winner Johnny Miles.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

[Page 1009]

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Just a couple of reminders before we go into Oral Question Period: all electronic equipment is to be turned off and address all questions and answers through the Chair.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: The time is now 12:42 p.m. and we'll go to 1:42 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

PREM.: STAFF MEMBER - MOVING EXPENSES

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. Nova Scotians have been hearing for several months now a familiar song and dance from this government - a song that speaks to the need of fiscal restraint, with a repeating chorus of the need for better expense management on the part of this NDP Government.

My question to the Premier is, would the Premier consider a $10,000 expenditure to move a staff person from Manitoba to Nova Scotia to somehow be fiscally responsible?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I'm not sure what the Leader of the Official Opposition is referring to. I'm sure that at some point in time he'll let me know that and I'm happy, of course, to consider any information that he has.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, I'd like to table for the record an invoice which indicates that Nova Scotia taxpayers paid $9,902.73 to move the Premier's director of community relations, Shauna Martin, from Winnipeg to Halifax. Ms. Martin is a contract employee working in the Premier's Office, not a full-time civil servant. She comes to us via the former Premier Doer's office, which makes her appointment very political.

My question to the Premier is, in times of fiscal restraint, why should Nova Scotians be on the hook to pay the moving expenses of your political staff?

[Page 1010]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the reality is when you're setting up and going through transition into government, you're looking for the most talented people you can find. If the Leader of the Official Opposition was to check back a little further, he would also realize that she was in my office and worked there for a year; this was a couple of years back. This is a person who we know, who we obviously have confidence in and, yes, we think it's a good investment.

MR. MCNEIL: The Premier doesn't seem to get it. This is taxpayers' money. They expect that money to be used in doing the business of the people of Nova Scotia, not to supply the New Democratic Party with political hacks.

Mr. Speaker, it seems like the only person to tell this Premier what is inappropriate is the auditor. Here we are today now, you are telling this House that Nova Scotia taxpayers should be footing the tab to move a $90,000 person in your office to this province and pay the moving expenses. Explain to Nova Scotians how that is reasonable and fair. Hire her, ask her to move here, we have no problem with that, but Nova Scotia taxpayers should not be picking up the tab to move your political staff. Can you explain that to the people of this province?

[12:45 p.m.]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the members of my staff are professionals. They come to us with a high degree of skills. This person was quite right, worked in the Doer Government, has considerable expertise in the area for which she was hired. It is, of course, entirely appropriate, when you hire staff from outside, to pay to bring them in. This was within the normal transition budget.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

EDUC. - LEARNING DISABILITIES: PROGS.

- ENHANCEMENTS

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, last Thursday I put forth a resolution calling on the government to enhance programs for students with learning disabilities in our public schools. Members of this House, including the Minister of Education, voted in favour of the resolution. I will table that resolution. These students, their parents and their teachers would be pleased to hear the government's additional commitments. My question to the Premier is, what are the specific enhancements that his government is prepared to add to the existing programs in order to fulfill the commitment made through that resolution?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the government is involved in a consultation process with the school boards around the province for the purposes of ensuring that we're able to

[Page 1011]

deliver to the students of this province the best quality service. That is underway right now. All of the boards are aware of the financial situation of the province and I must say, I think they are very constructively engaged to make sure the province is able to meet its commitment to appropriate expenditure management and at the same time be able to meet the commitment to the students of Nova Scotia.

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, it's now clear to all members of this House and it's also clear to all members in the education community, including school boards, that this government's budget hurts public education. With only 1.6 per cent increase in public school funding, meeting the needs of existing programs and commitments will be difficult and the expansion of programs will be impossible. My question to the Premier is, what are those additional costs, what are those additional enhancements that this government has committed to with last week's resolution?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, as the member knows, and rightly observes, there is more money going into education this year than there was last year. We are also engaged with the school boards themselves to ensure they understand the expenditure management needs of this province. The reality is we can't do what the former government did, which is just spend money as if there is no end. We have to be able to ensure that we live within our means and part of that is making sure we're dealing with the school boards to make the most effective use of the money that we give them.

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, this Premier, this government and everyone in this House knows that the request that was made by school boards was not met and this budget fell short of what school boards needed in order to maintain current programs. The NDP Government has left very little room to manoeuvre for specific program funding within the department's budget. New or enhanced programs will be nothing more than wishful thinking. My question to the Premier is, in light of this situation, from which specific line item in the budget will the program enhancement dollars come?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, obviously this is a budget question and we're looking forward to the Department of Education having an opportunity, the minister, to respond to exactly these kinds of questions in estimates.

But, I say again that we are living with a financial reality in this province that is a result of years of bad decision making. It is necessary for us to ensure that we work with the school boards in order to make the most effective use of the money that we have. The Minister of Education, the Government of Nova Scotia is engaging in what I think of as a very constructive process to try to make sure that happens.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Bedford-Birch Cove.

TOWNSVIEW ESTATES: FUNDING - CONFIRM

[Page 1012]

MS. KELLY REGAN: Mr. Speaker, last week the Operating Engineers Union Local 721 from Townsview Estates came to the Legislature to hear your response to their concerns over the failure to honour an arbitration ruling. My question is for the Minister of Health. Have you provided funding to Townsview Estates so they can fulfill the arbitration ruling and pay these 19 women what they are owed?

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member through you, I did have an opportunity to meet with some of the workers from Townsview and my colleague, the Minister of Labour and Workforce Development, also had an opportunity to meet with the delegation from that group as well as their union representative. The Department of Health is currently reviewing the situation for residential care workers in the province.

MS. REGAN: Mr. Speaker, I have a follow-up letter from Ted Crockett, the international representative from that union. In it he says, "The question raised by one of your aides . . ." - and this is to the Minister of Labour and Workforce Development - " . . . asking if we had discussed this with the NSGEU or CUPE causes us some concern. We wonder why this question would even be asked. Neither of these groups is involved in this issue and, quite frankly it is none of their business. The issue is legitimately between our union and the employer at Townsview Estates. Surely there is no requirement for our union or any other in the province to consult with either NSGEU or CUPE on matters between us and our employers."

My question to the Minister of Labour and Workforce Development is, why would your department advise these workers to talk to another union instead of the one which represents them?

HON. MARILYN MORE: Mr. Speaker, I believe that question was asked during a period of trying to get up-to-date on the background information and the evolution of this issue. I'm only guessing, but I suggest it was to find out if it was a concern of this union or it might be a broader issue that all the unions would be discussing in upcoming negotiations.

MS. REGAN: Mr. Speaker, with all due respect, those two unions were not involved in this issue. What I'm wondering is, is your government saying that NSGEU and CUPE are a conduit for having labour issues resolved in this province?

MS. MORE: Mr. Speaker, I can only repeat, we were just trying to find out whether the breadth of the concern over the issue was with this one particular facility or whether it was more broad spread. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

PREM. - TAX REGIME: REVIEW - COMMIT

[Page 1013]

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. Yesterday, the Minister of Finance released a study of cross-border shopping in Cumberland County. There were no surprises in the document, half the people surveyed travelled to New Brunswick to make purchases several times a month.

In July this NDP Government will raise the HST to make it the highest in Canada, but yesterday the Minister of Finance made an amazing comment, an example of his arrogant I-know-best attitude. He said, "I don't see anything in the survey results to suggest that the HST increase in and of itself will create a problem or make it worse." The minister does not understand the consequences of your government's decision. My question to the Premier is, will the Premier commit to a full review of the tax regime to get a realistic, fact-based picture of the impact of the tax policy in the Province of Nova Scotia?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, indeed the reason why that research was undertaken was to provide the government with a baseline so that rather than having the information simply being relayed by anecdote that you actually had some solid research on which to found your approach. I know this is something new in this province but it is the way in which we intend to do business.

As for the comments made by the Minister of Finance, I could just indicate to the Leader of the Official Opposition that they actually reflected what he heard in his meetings with the people in Amherst.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, I've yet to find one person in Amherst to tell me they want to pay 15 per cent on anything. This NDP Government is willing to spend $45,000 to ask people if they will go to New Brunswick to shop, once they hike the tax. The Opposition has been giving you the answer to that question for months and Nova Scotians have been voting on this question with their feet. My question to the Premier is, what more evidence do you need, to understand that your tax regime is making our province uncompetitive with our neighbours?

THE PREMIER: In fact, Mr. Speaker, the research that was done indicates that this is actually a very long-standing tradition in the border areas, of people travelling, particularly to Moncton, which I think everybody understands that this is a question of proximity between Amherst and Moncton. We also recognize that a lot of what happens is the fact that people are already in Moncton, they are either there for business or they're there for matters of pleasure, so they go there and while they're there, it is entirely understandable that they would go to the local mall. That's not a surprise, I don't think, to anyone.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, the people of Cumberland County, who are already paying five cents a litre more for gas, will now pay about eight cents. They will pay about $10 more for a carton of cigarettes and they will pay 2 per cent more on almost every other

[Page 1014]

item they want or need. My question to the Premier is, we already know that Nova Scotians are crossing the border to buy cheaper gas - do we really need to spend $45,000 to find out they'll do the same for other goods?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, in the first question, the Leader of the Official Opposition asks us to do additional research and then in the last question he says, why are you spending money on doing research? I'm not really clear on exactly what he would have us do.

I will remind him of this, as a result of this budget, we took the HST off of children's clothing, off of children's shoes. I'm sure that the people of Amherst will be happy to see the people who will come to Amherst prior to the next school year, for example, in order to buy clothing there, since on his theory, that is what will bring them there. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cumberland South.

FIN. - MIN.: POLLS - FAITH

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, through you, my question is for the Minister of Finance. After watching and listening to the media and the minister's response over the last few days, I wonder if the minister could tell this House how much faith he has in polls?

HON. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, I know that the Opposition is not used to starting their analysis with some solid facts but we are. One of the things I realized when I was up in Amherst for the Back to Balance is that the whole debate was proceeding on the basis without a factual foundation. So what we've done with this survey is provide a factual foundation.

I have to say, Mr. Speaker, I have even more faith in the business and municipal leaders I met with when I had my meetings the entire day on Friday. I have to say that everybody I met with is very positive and constructive. It is only from the Opposition that we're getting this volcanic ash cloud of negativity.

MR. SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, I'm getting lots of help from my side over here - my first supplementary through you is to the Minister of Finance. I think the Minister of Finance would agree, after being up there on Friday, that maybe he hasn't given the Cumberland County people and the business people the credit that they deserve. They're just showing you good hospitality and being respectful of you, even though this government has been so disrespectful of Cumberland County since last June.

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to polls, it seems that there are polls that the Dexter NDP Government agree with and, of course, some that they don't agree with. It seems the Minister of Finance puts a lot of faith in the Thinkwell Research poll about cross-border shopping yet

[Page 1015]

the poll by CRA says that Nova Scotians, by a large amount, do not want an HST increase but he has dismissed that out of hand. Can the minister tell us, what's the difference between these two polls other than one suits his point of view and the other does not?

[1:00 p.m.]

MR. STEELE: Mr. Speaker, this survey that we have done on cross-border shopping provides to us a baseline that is a point of comparison. What we did was we surveyed both Cumberland County and Westmorland County so that we would have a factual foundation to proceed from and yet what it shows is before the budget, before any change in the HST, that there is a substantial amount of cross-border shopping going on. What we're going to do is then use that baseline and then repeat the survey later on so that we can track changes in behaviour.

Mr. Speaker, when I was in Amherst, I provided everybody whom I met with all of the raw data that we have so they can look at exactly the same data that we have, so that we can proceed on the basis of facts and sound analysis which I know is something the Progressive Conservatives are not used to.

MR. SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, again through you to the Minister of Finance, my final supplementary, small businesses across Cumberland County have been long affected by cross-border shopping - anyone up there can tell you that. However, the increase in HST will only make things worse and that's pretty obvious to everyone. Rather than dismissing the concerns raised by the business owners in Cumberland County, will the minister tell the House what is his timeline for working with the business community in that area to come up with a plan to help them survive this harmful budget even after spending $45,000 to tell them what we already knew?

MR. STEELE: Mr. Speaker, I don't agree that the survey told us what we already knew because the survey, if you look at the results, actually undercut much of the negativity that has been coming from the Opposition and it shows, for example, that the vast majority of people who are leaving Cumberland County to go and shop in Westmorland County are doing so because of the proximity of Moncton. I will take blame for a lot of things but I will not take the blame for the location of Moncton, nor is it within my power to change it.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

FIN.: CFIB - RESPONSE

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. On Friday the minister took a cheap shot at the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. He called them unconstructive and difficult to work with. The CFIB is an organization that

[Page 1016]

represents 5,200 members - 5,200 men and women who drive the economy of Nova Scotia; 5,200 men and women who are going to feel the negative impact of the NDP HST hike; 5,200 men and women who disagree with the minister when he says that we can tax our way out of fiscal problems. My question to the minister is, is it now government policy to berate and ignore Nova Scotians who disagree with NDP ministers?

HON. GRAHAM STEELE: My goodness, Mr. Speaker, here is the actual situation. I have all the time in the world for small-business owners. During the Back to Balance session I met with literally hundreds of them. Among more than 1,000 written submissions received in Back to Balance were, of course, many from small-business owners. I met with many chambers of commerce that were very positive and constructive. In fact, last Friday I went up to Amherst and met with business owners directly. It is still not clear to me why I should travel to Amherst to talk to Halifax-based lobbyists.

MR. GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, this issue is simply further proof of how out of touch this Finance Minister is with working Nova Scotians. The CFIB has always been forthcoming with detailed analysis. They have proven that they are committed to working with parties to represent the views of their 5,200 members. We should look at the facts. CFIB said the government should restrain spending first. They said the minister's decision to arbitrarily hike the HST will "hurt customers in the wallet, reduce sales, and fuel problems with the underground economy."

Mr. Speaker, the minister didn't like this. This minister doesn't seem to like when people disagree with him, especially when he stands squarely on the wrong side of the facts and I will table the document from CFIB. My question is, what other stakeholders has this minister closed his door to when they dared to disagree with him?

MR. STEELE: Mr. Speaker, my door is open to anybody who wants to talk to me. Here's what I say - in all my responsibilities I deal with a lot of interest groups. I deal with very many interest groups, and I meet with many individuals and many groups, and I just simply stated a fact last week which is, of all the groups that I deal with the Halifax-based lobbyists for the CFIB are by far the least constructive and, therefore, the least influence. Their members need a strong voice, and the tactics adopted by their Halifax-based lobbyists deprive them of that voice. I have to say I've always found it much more useful to deal with local chambers of commerce who are positive and constructive and are willing to engage in a positive dialogue with this government.

MR. GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, well, if this minister had to be a little bit obliging and go to the CFIB breakfast with business people from all over Nova Scotia - New Glasgow, Antigonish, Kentville, Greenwood, Amherst, et cetera - he would have gotten the message pretty clear. This budget is bad news for business and middle-class Nova Scotians and the CFIB simply countered the minister's rhetoric with their analysis.

[Page 1017]

The Finance Minister simply does not like to be challenged with the facts. There is one difference and that is they have not heard from working Nova Scotians about the high taxes - while the CFIB has given credible evidence - and they have no problem misleading Nova Scotians while they do it.

The minister ignored the recommendations of the Deloitte report, he ignored the advice of the chambers of commerce, and he continues to ignore the analysis of the CFIB. My question is, does this minister really think he's the only one with all the answers?

MR. STEELE: Mr. Speaker, as part of my preparations for my trip last week to Amherst, we developed our own list of people that I thought we should meet with and I also asked the honourable member for Cumberland North for his list - and I asked the honourable member for Cumberland South for his list. It didn't occur to any of us that the Halifax-based lobbyists for the CFIB, who also represent New Brunswick retailers, should be on that list, because when I want to talk to people in Amherst, I prefer to go there and talk to them directly.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes.

FIN. - MIN.: CFIB - COMMENTS EXPLAIN

MR. KEITH BAIN: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance is yet again trying to pick a fight with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. This minister and his anti-business NDP Government in the last few weeks have shown their disdain for business through its harmful tax hikes and most recently saying "the CFIB is the least constructive and the most difficult to deal with."

My question through you, Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Finance is, why do you continually try to discredit a reputable organization that works in the best interests of over 5,200 small businesses in Nova Scotia?

HON. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, as I was saying, the organizations that I think best represent small business in this province are the various chambers of commerce that exist from one end of the province to the other. During the Back to Balance session, I had meetings with five full chambers of commerce - actually six, I met with three further executives, and I met with a representative of the Amherst Chamber of Commerce when I was up there last week. If the honourable member wants to know why the CFIB wasn't on my meeting list last week, he might want to ask the member for Cumberland South because the CFIB didn't appear on his list either.

MR. BAIN: Mr. Speaker, it appears a pattern is emerging when it comes to this Minister of Finance and his government - when a group disagrees with you, smear it.

[Page 1018]

First it was distorting the previous government's record, then it's the validity of the most recent CRA poll on HST increases, and now it's the opposition of the CFIB - so my question through you, Mr. Speaker, to the minister is, why do you see it necessary to personally smear all those who happen to disagree with you?

MR. STEELE: Mr. Speaker, I don't have to distort the previous government's record, it speaks for itself. (Applause) I had meetings in Amherst last week, we started at 8:00 a.m. and they finished at 7:00 p.m. and they went continuously between those times. I met with all of the business and municipal leaders that were suggested to me by the member for Cumberland South and the member for Cumberland North, and I have to say, every single person I met with was positive and constructive and wants to work with this government. They're committed to that positive dialogue, moving forward, this government and the people of Cumberland County, towards a better future.

MR. BAIN: Mr. Speaker, I think the minister should realize that the problem goes beyond Cumberland County. This is a province-wide problem. The growing opposition to this NDP tax grab is staggering. The CFIB, CRA and overall public sentiment are becoming too much for the minister to smear his way out of. My final question to the minister is, when will this NDP Government begin living by its election promises and start listening to the people who elected them?

MR. STEELE: In the budget that I presented on April 6th, we tried very hard to be fair to everybody and I think we succeeded. What I have not succeeded in doing is getting anyone from the Progressive Conservative caucus to say where they would get the $437 million in immediate cuts that they would need in order to balance the budget without a tax increase. The proportionate share of that member's riding is about $7 million. He may be willing to take $7 million out of his constituency, Mr. Speaker, we are not.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

HEALTH - MED. STUDENTS: TUITION/CONTRACT PROG.

- FUNDING

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. In May 2008 the government of the day committed to paying the tuition for 10 medical students in exchange for the signing of contracts to practise in under-serviced communities in Nova Scotia. Fast-forward to today and The ChronicleHerald is raising concerns about the funding to the Dalhousie Medical School. My question to the minister today is, is her department still funding the program to ensure we support another 10 medical students by paying their tuition in return for contracts to serve in under-serviced areas? Yes or no?

[Page 1019]

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the answer to that is yes.

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, there's a concern and even confusion around whether or not those positions are being held. I'm glad to hear the minister say yes because it was an issue that was of great importance to the Liberal caucus, so I am happy to hear that. I would have said it might have been the other answer, having read the stories in today's paper. Of course, we still have the issue about how we're going to expand and match the number of doctors to the needs in our community. My next question to the minister is, when can we expect to see a physician manpower plan for this province? Right now there is no evidence that we know where the retirements are coming and where the needs are going to be in the next few years.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, through you to the honourable member, it's very important that members understand that this government is committed to maintaining the current number of training seats at the Dalhousie Medical School. Over the last number of years seats have been added to the medical school - 10 in the past two years. Prior to that there was an expansion in 2003. Those seats will be made and that should ensure an adequate supply of physicians in the Province of Nova Scotia for the coming years.

[1:15 p.m.]

MS. WHALEN: Again to the Minister of Health, I would like to ask her again where the physician manpower plan is that would assure her that we have the right supply of doctors, especially in our under-serviced communities where we are expecting some very large numbers of retirements in the next few years. Again, the question is the same as the last one - she didn't answer that one. I'd like to know about the physician manpower plan for this province. Where is it?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I personally have met with Doctors Nova Scotia to talk about the issues around health human resources, including physicians. We have agreements that will offer service contracts to doctors who are agreeable to going to under-serviced areas in the province. We have three DHAs that we have identified as being the DHAs with the greatest need.

Mr. Speaker, we have a very strong and effective medical school that will be training and providing medical graduates into our communities for many years to come.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton North.

JUSTICE: CENT. N.S. CORRECTIONAL FACILITY

- LOCKDOWNS

[Page 1020]

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Justice. Concerns mount, as do questions, associated with the minister's mishandling of situations at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility. Will the minister inform this House why he has covered up five lockdowns and the circumstances surrounding an inmate's death?

HON. ROSS LANDRY: Thank you for the question. My colleague there was the Minister of Justice and had similar situations, and should be fully aware of the fact that that's an operational procedure and matter and that the staff is doing an excellent job, and they make decisions when there are security risks or issues that are outstanding there. They implement that in the best interest of safety for the facility and for the staff.

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, well, it would seem that the minister has a pact with the union bosses - however, not with the front-line workers dismayed with the minister's inability or refusal to act within government to get his own job done, as he once promised and his Party did.

The minister doesn't even know if safety vests were tendered, who was awarded the contract, what they will cost, when they will be available, or where they will be distributed. The real question is, what does the minister actually know, and more importantly, does he even care what is going on in Corrections?

MR. LANDRY: Thank you for the question there. I spent a lifetime in the justice system and I'm still in the justice system, and I am very honoured to be part of the justice system and part of this government that takes this matter seriously. We anticipate that the vests will be here by May, and that's a good thing, but we're still subject to the supply and demand by the shipper.

As to the employees who are working there, there are negotiations going on and we're deeply aware of their concerns and we take them seriously, but we allow the process and any negotiation to continue. So we are concerned for their safety and we allow negotiations to continue. We respect the process and we respect people's right to speak up and have a view.

MR. CLARKE: Well, thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and indeed, Question Period is my right to have a view and to deal with these questions and ask questions in this House.

Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians know that Corrections has been a political football of the Dexter NDP. However, they also know that Corrections is not a political priority of this Premier or his Justice Minister. Will the Minister of Justice explain why he has no regard for staff and their families, or will he disclose what backroom deal he has cooked up with union boss Joan Jessome?

[Page 1021]

MR. LANDRY: Thank you very much to the member for asking the question, because he is obviously living in a delusional world to make such a statement or even to imply such an event. The professionalism of Ms. Jessome and the union, I have full respect and regard for the quality of service that she provides to her staff. I also respect the employees' rights to voice their concerns and have a voice and if the member feels himself - and as he articulated there - that he too has the right to have questions and I welcome many more from him.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

JUSTICE - BURNSIDE CORRECTIONAL FACILITY:

LOCKDOWNS - DETAILS

HON. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, since March 30th the Burnside Correctional Facility has been in a state of lockdown on five separate occasions. While it's not clear what the purpose of these lockdowns were, there certainly appears to be some concerns by the correctional officers regarding safety at the facility. The workers have yet to receive the stab-proof vests they've been promised. They do not have the emergency response gear and it appears they are not being provided with proper use-of-force training.

Five lockdowns in three weeks, two of which have happened in the past three days, are of great concern to us on this side of the House. My question to the Minister of Justice is, will he provide us with the details as to why these five lockdowns took place?

HON. ROSS LANDRY: Mr. Speaker, thank you for the question. The actual details surrounding individual lockdowns are operational matters and for security reasons we're not going to go into the particulars of those details other than to say that the staff are professional, highly skilled and when they see issues of concern, they act on them. The system and the process is working very well that they deal to ensure that the clients that are residing in that facility are secure and that the staff is safe. I have all the confidence in the world in the staff to do that.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, I know that the Minister of Justice is new to this House since June so he may want to have a little chat with his colleague, the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, who was the former Justice critic for the Official Opposition. He himself, on many occasions, raised concerns on behalf of the workers, saying that the government was not listening to the workers, that the government was not protecting the safety of these workers and that the government needed to act.

Will the Minister of Justice commit to this House to speaking to the former NDP Justice critic to finally hear the concerns about worker safety rather than waiting to hear it from union bosses?

[Page 1022]

MR. LANDRY: Mr. Speaker, I'd like to thank the member for that question. It is always a pleasure to talk to the former critic, especially with the knowledge that he has and the experience that he shares so I value that. Being a new member in the House, I look to others for such advice.

In regard to the facilities, I've had a number of occasions to meet with staff at the facilities around the province and in particular at Burnside. I've been out there on several occasions and had the pleasure to talk with employees and I look forward to doing that again and that's my answer.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, it is a bit disappointing, and I'm sure it is disappointing to the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, to now hear concerns about the safety of correctional officers and to hear the Minister of Justice talk about process, negotiations, committees, bureaucracy all the time. These are the men and women who we entrust everyday to work in a very dangerous environment, who are telling us they do not feel safe, and we have a Minister of Justice who is happy to hide behind bureaucracy, committees and process rather than taking immediate action.

Mr. Speaker, we just had another fatality at the Burnside facility and while the government has remained silent as to the cause of that, Nova Scotians have heard stories in the last recent months of contraband being brought into that facility and so naturally they have great concerns as to what lead to the death of this inmate. My final supplementary to the Minister of Justice: Will the minister commit to providing us with the exact details surrounding this to reassure Nova Scotians and reassure the correctional workers that they are working in a safe environment?

MR. LANDRY: Mr. Speaker, the situation at hand - there is no foul play suspected in that matter. It's routine for the police to investigate any time that there is a death within one of our institutions. That investigation is going on and we're very satisfied with the situation that is there at this time and that, as a result of this issue, there are no safety concerns to the clients residing in that facility nor the staff.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

LWD: ANIELSKI MGT. REPT. - RELEASE

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Labour and Workforce Development. In the Spring of 2007, Anielski Management Incorporated was contracted by the government to produce a report on the socio-economic impact of gambling on the province. This report was submitted on June 22nd of last year but has been kept under wraps since then. My question is, will the minister please explain to Nova Scotians why she is refusing to make this report public?

[Page 1023]

HON. MARILYN MORE: Mr. Speaker, when it became obvious that the report was not covering the issues to the degree of reliability that we were looking for, we did cancel the contract. So the draft report will not be made public.

MR. GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, the study attempts to measure the costs of gambling, not only in purely economic terms, but in terms of social impacts, externalities. The department's rationale for not releasing this report is that they have issues with the methodology of including social impacts. The province netted an estimated $145 million last year from video lottery terminals, lottery tickets and casinos - a very addictive revenue. We all know the money that government takes in from gambling. We don't have a full understanding of how economic benefits balance with social costs to society, and this minister has decided that it isn't in our best interests to examine this in the open. My question is, does this mean that the NDP Government does not regard social costs as important as pure economic indicators?

MS. MORE: Mr. Speaker, certainly those are important issues and our government intends to take a look at those issues in the future. The reliability of the information of the original study and report was not of the degree that would be helpful to either government, the special interest groups, or to the industry to have an informed decision making. So certainly those issues are important and we will be looking into them in the future.

MR. GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, first the NDP ignored the advice of Deloitte, then they ignored the advice of the Premier's economic advisors. This NDP Government seems happy to use consultants as political cover but ignores the substance of the advice that they pay for. This time the NDP Government is not simply going to ignore the report, this minister and her NDP Government have decided that they will not even release the results to the public, and they refuse to pay Anielski Management Incorporated what was agreed to in the government contract - reneging on a contract, covering up a report that they don't agree with. My question is, what information about gambling is the NDP trying to hide from the public?

MS. MORE: Mr. Speaker, I'm trying to make it clear that it's not the content of the draft report that we're questioning, it's the methodology. We had an advisory committee of outside contractors and various department representatives and they identified, actually under the former government, some deficiencies in the methodology and that was not corrected as the study continued and because that information, we feel, is unreliable, our government, I think, took the very responsible action of ending the contract, realizing that we could not make decisions based upon that information.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Inverness.

PREM.: RENEWABLE ENERGY - COSTS

[Page 1024]

MR. ALLAN MACMASTER: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. Premier Dexter has promised Nova Scotians that he will make our province use 25 per cent renewable energy by 2015. My question for the Premier is, what will the increase be for the average Nova Scotian's bi-monthly energy bill in 2015 as a result of this commitment?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, in fact, the reason why we're moving to a renewable resource-based energy supply is that it will be cheaper over the long haul. The capital costs up front, of course, are greater and what we know is that the world price of fossil fuel continues to climb. Where that break-even point is depends on the escalation of the cost of fossil fuels and as much as I'd like to be able to tell the member opposite what those costs will be in the future, I'm not able to do that.

[1:30 p.m.]

MR. MACMASTER: Mr. Speaker, this NDP Government makes decisions without understanding the consequences it will have on the average Nova Scotian. I do respect we don't know where our future energy costs are going - we can follow trends - but another thing that we don't know it how much it's going to cost to have renewable energy this quickly. We saw them ignore these consequences and we saw it with their decision to increase taxes.

Nova Scotia Power has estimated that the cost of energy will increase 5 per cent each year for the next five years. That is equivalent to a compounded rate of growth of 27.62 per cent, or $276 on top of every current $1,000 energy bill. To the Premier, do you believe Nova Scotians want clean energy at the schedule you have set if it means you are making it more expensive for them to live?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, what I know is that the people of Nova Scotia understand the necessity for us to get off fossil fuels and if we don't do that, we will continue to be the hostage to international markets, which we have no control over. What we can do though is, we can take control of our own energy future by having renewable resources here in the province that will supply the energy needs of the province.

MR. MACMASTER: Mr. Speaker, I could only hope the people of China felt the same way as the Premier, but he may very well push us toward a very uncompetitive position in the world. Everyone wants clean energy, but basic human energy needs should not be satisfied based on personal financial ability. People need to be able to afford to heat their homes and to drive their vehicles. Mr. Speaker, through you to the Premier - by accelerating renewable energy targets, why do you choose to penalize the consumer for heating their home and driving their vehicle to earn a living?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I guess I understand the questions, but they are wholly ill-informed. We are living in a world where the largest market to the south of us, the United

[Page 1025]

States, has said that they're going to start putting in place carbon-based tariffs that are going to penalize the economy of provinces that do not convert to renewable energy. This would have an extraordinary impact on jobs, on the lives of the people of this province. We are moving to make sure that, as a province, we are not penalized as a result of our reliance on fossil fuels. This is the responsibility of this government and it's unfortunate that the member opposite doesn't understand that.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Clare.

ERD - TEAM WEST/TEAM SOUTHWEST: ROLE

- CLARIFY

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Economic and Rural Development. The Premier has made remarks that reveal he's either confused or misinformed about his government's role in southwestern Nova Scotia. The Premier has said that the province would be a co-leader in Team Southwest, however, the federal minister seems to think differently. The NDP has changed their tune and is now supporting a different team, Team West. My first question to the minister is, could you please clarify the role that the province has in either Team Southwest or in Team West?

HON. PERCY PARIS: Mr. Speaker, I truly appreciate that question. Team West is driven by the community and yes, the province is a participant as well as the federal government. The same can be said about Team Southwest, the federal government was the driver or generator with respect to Team Southwest.

What has happened very recently, Mr. Speaker - and I think the honourable member should be aware of this - is this past weekend the province did attend a meeting, was present with respect to Team Southwest, and also there was a meeting just days ago with respect to Team West. Team West has been meeting on an ongoing basis and will continue to meet.

The players involved, and I don't want to take anything for granted as far as Team West is concerned - Team Southwest is concerned, but certainly with Team West . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: It's so confusing you can't keep it straight, how do you expect the voter to keep it straight?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, order, the honourable minister has the floor.

MR. PARIS: Mr. Speaker, if I may, with Team West it involves not only the province, not only the federal government, but also the other stakeholder business and community in the area. Thank you.

[Page 1026]

MR. GAUDET: Let's try again. Mr. Speaker, the minister made his announcement to end the international ferry service without a strategy in place for the region. The NDP has put an entire region, the tourism industry, and hundreds of jobs at risk because of his reckless decision. Now the minister and his NDP Government have botched the job of damage control in southwest Nova Scotia, so by not working with the federal counterparts, the NDP has passed on an opportunity to take an organized, multi-layered approach, and instead ended up with two small teams but no strategy. My question to the minister is, why has the NDP allowed political optics to get in the way of economic development yet again?

MR. PARIS: Mr. Speaker, I've got to say this, Team West is more regional. Team West takes in the whole region of the area, while Team Southwest has strictly had more of a Yarmouth focus. So we, along with the stakeholders, were considering the whole region, including Queens, Shelburne, and up around the Valley, to include Digby as well. So one was a more regional approach and the other is more centrally located and circulated around the Yarmouth area. Team West is regional.

Also, Mr. Speaker, I should say that there has been some direction, certainly from me, to get in touch with the local Member of Parliament, but not so much for a joining of those two identities, because I think that should come from within and not directed by either the province or by the federal government.

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, it's very confusing. It would be interesting to find out what the score is after the first period, between Team West and Team Southwest.

Mr. Speaker, Team West and Team Southwest - it makes no difference to the people of the region. Whatever the government plan is, this year is lost. That is what we know. The NDP plan for 2011 is not for 2010. Jobs will be lost and many people will go work elsewhere. The minister's department is supposed to create jobs, not drive them away from the province. So when the tourism industry in western Nova Scotia collapses under your watch, it's going to take more than Team West or Team Southwest or whatever other team they may wish to bring on to build an entire regional economy. My final question to the minister is quite simple, what is your plan for 2010?

MR. PARIS: Mr. Speaker, I must say it's unfortunate when anyone tries to pit one organization against the other. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, order please. The honourable Minister of Economic and Rural Development has the floor.

MR. PARIS: You hear comments about keeping score - it certainly stirs the pot and it doesn't lend to what the good people in the region are trying to do. It's very unfortunate that any member would try to venture down that road. Mr. Speaker, we are working with the

[Page 1027]

people in the region as they develop, in partnership with the federal government and with the provincial government, a course of action and what the future will look like.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Argyle.

HEALTH: DAL. MED. SCH. SEATS - FUNDING REDUCTION

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Let's see if I can get this first one in. Mr. Speaker, we've now heard that the Department of Health inadvertently cut $2.5 million of funding to the Dalhousie Medical School. This means only $540,000 will be contributed from the Department of Health; this represents an 82 per cent cut to the department. Overall, this reduction is 8 per cent of the medical school's $33 million budget. In a clear display of damage control, the NDP Government now says that it intends to form a committee to report back on current funding arrangements.

So my question to the Minister of Health is, why pre-empt the committee's findings, like the government did on the southwest transportation study when eliminating The Cat and make a cut before the results are determined?

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I want to tell the honourable member that what we really need to have in a place is a very transparent set of funding arrangements for our medical seats at the medical school. As a former Minister of Health, he would know how complex that funding arrangement is and he would also know that there were, certainly, matters that had to be dealt with and that is what we're going to do with our working group.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The time allotted for Oral Question Period has expired.

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Government Motions.

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

[Page 1028]

HON. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, I move that you do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole House on Supply unto Her Majesty.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Bedford-Birch Cove.

MS. KELLY REGAN: Mr. Speaker, when I first became a member of this House, I thought I would be here speaking on issues like community services, maintenance enforcement, education policies, things like that. I never dreamed for a minute that I would be in this House speaking about coyotes. Now, there have been a lot of articles on coyotes over the last while and some people think it is a non-issue and that it is a lot of noise about nothing, somewhat like this Chamber right now.

MR. SPEAKER: Order. Order, please. It is too noisy in here, it is difficult to hear the honourable member who is speaking. I would ask you to take your conversations outside if necessary.

The honourable member for Bedford-Birch Cove has the floor.

MS. REGAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yet, again, this morning on the CBC, there was a boy, I believe it was in Cape Breton, who was delivering newspapers in the morning and found himself shadowed by a coyote. Fortunately, the boy had a cellphone with him and he was able to call a friend and the friend called the police and away they came. So, I actually disagree with these people who think that it is not an issue because I think there is a pattern developing here where coyotes are getting more aggressive.

We've had a death. We have had encounters with aggressive coyotes and many sightings in neighborhoods that would not normally see coyotes. We've seen them in school yards. Construction workers have actually seen them in buildings when they go in to work in the morning. There have been a variety of suggestions that have resulted, people have talked about culls. They've talked about a bounty, they talked about trapping. All of those have issues with them, I guess, is what we would say.

I have to say that a lot of what we do in this House is kind of combative, we just came through Question Period where we were all yelling back and forth, but I did say when I got elected that I would give the government credit when credit was due and I think it is important to note when ministers and their staff respond to an issue of concern from members on the opposite side of the House. So I said I would do that when it happened.

So, today, I would like to thank the Minister of Natural Resources for working on this problem with me. He and I have discussed the issue many times. He has been very good about updating me on different possibilities, different things that are being considered, different kinds of traps and he has expressed concern. It may not seem to rural members -

[Page 1029]

they may not understand why suburban and urban people are so concerned about missing cats and dogs and that, but he's been terrific that way and I just wanted to say thank you. We haven't reached a final conclusion on this, but I do appreciate the assistance and the way the minister has kept me in the loop.

[1:45 p.m.]

Another issue in my riding is the existence of Lyme disease-bearing blacklegged ticks. Again, this is not an issue I ever thought I would ever have to speak on until I got into the election campaign and heard about it on the election campaign. Oddly enough, one of the same areas that's being affected by coyotes is being affected by these blacklegged ticks. Blacklegged ticks themselves aren't the problem; it's the Lyme disease that some of them are carrying. We've had 48 cases identified in the province, 13 in the last year. Two of those known cases are in the Eaglewood Subdivision in my riding. I should say two of the human cases because there have been a number of cases in pets.

These two people - one a middle-aged man and one a child - will have long-term effects. The man will have neurological effects for the rest of his life and the boy will have arthritis for the rest of his life. We did identify the Lyme disease in them, but it took a while. They did not present with the typical rashes that we associate with Lyme disease, or if they did have the rash, it was buried beneath their hair, so it took a while for us to identify that they had Lyme disease.

I have to say that HRM is prepared to take action, but they can't do it all by themselves. They would like to see the Y-Tex tickicide approved for a deer bait station to be located in Admirals Cove Park, which abuts the Eaglewood Subdivision. This is not a spray - there's not going to be planes going over with a spray or anything like that. This is a topical application that actually gets applied to the deer when they go to the deer bait station. It's akin to putting a flea collar on a cat.

HRM has requested - and I'm just going to read from a document that I got off the HRM Web site, "Write a letter to the Nova Scotia Minister of Health Promotion and Protection requesting that approval be given to the testing and approval process as proposed in this report as required to access the Y Tex Tickicide for the 4 Poster Deer Bait Station as a viable component of the Tick Management Plan for Admirals Cove and require Departmental staff to expedite the completion of the process."

Also, HRM has written a letter to the federal Minister of Health, " . . . requesting that The Pest Management Regulatory Agency offer responsive assistance in helping Halifax Regional Municipality, the Province of Nova Scotia, Public Health Agency of Canada and Y Tex Corporation advance the efficacy testing and approval of the Y Tex Tickicide for the 4 Poster Deer Bait Station."

[Page 1030]

Just to give you a little background on this issue - in 2007, an infestation of blacklegged ticks was identified in the Admirals Cove Park in Bedford. This park is abutted by the Department of National Defence property, CFB Halifax-Bedford - most of us know it as the Magazine property. Jointly the parkland is approximately 150 acres - about 50 acres owned by HRM and 100 acres owned by DND. The park is in a relatively urban area between a long-established residential neighbourhood developed over 50 years ago and the DND base. The park has long been used by the public for walking and hiking. There are approximately 20 deer in the park.

Following identification of the infestation, HRM and DND and community residents have been working with the provincial Department of Health Promotion and Protection and the local Medical Officer of Public Health Agency of Canada to investigate possible measures to manage this risk. I just wanted to give you a little update on that.

One of the possible ways we can control the Lyme disease blacklegged tick infestation is by pesticides. It's by no means the only possibility that's being looked at or acted upon. In terms of pesticide controls, "The HRM Pesticide ByLaw only addresses cosmetic pesticides for landscaping purposes . . ." They do not deal with the kind of thing that we're talking about here, so, "The HRM by-law has no applicability here."

"There is no Pest Management Regulatory Agency . . . approved pesticide for Blacklegged Ticks in Canada. Collaboratively, the Federal Public Health Agency of Canada and the Provincial Department of Health Promotion and Protection have been investigating suitable pesticide control solutions." The solution that seems most promising is the one I have mentioned, "The 4-Poster Deer Treatment Bait Station . . . and Y-Tex Tickicide." The big reason that, ". . . staff favour inclusion of this control solution at Admirals Cove is that instead of broadcast sprays, which have impact on other elements of the environment. . . the Deer Bait Station is a targeted topical treatment directly to the deer.

"In order to get a pesticide approved in Canada, among other requirements, there must be an efficacy study." The Public Health Agency of Canada has initiated a study, "in Nova Scotia by collecting before samples with a Deer Station, without the tickicide" and that's in Lunenburg. "The next step is to test the station with the tickicide to determine the efficacy and impact. Upon request, PHAC has agreed that with the efficacy test initiated in Lunenburg, Admirals Cove will not need to do a before sampling." So when the product is available for testing, HRM will be happy to place it on, " . . . HRM property for study at the same time it's introduced at the DND property."

What I want to say today is I really do appreciate the assistance I have received, again, from the Minister of Natural Resources on this issue. I know his isn't the lead on it and I do appreciate the indication that the Minister of Health Promotion and Protection gave

[Page 1031]

to me last night in Estimates indicating that she will help give assistance to move this along. The Minister of Natural Resources had a personal conversation with me last night moving this along as well.

In this House, we spend so much of the time arguing or pointing out flaws with things and I do think it's important, when ministers respond to the concerns of constituents and to the concerns of members, that we give credit where it's due. I do appreciate the help that they have offered thus far and I'd like to let them know I'm counting on them to continue it in the future, thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton North.

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, I'm very pleased to rise again going into debate, going into supply, to address a couple more items that we've seen emerge around the Province of Nova Scotia, comments of the day that we're experiencing and are in contrast to what the Minister of Finance - and unlike my colleague from Bedford-Birch Cove, I would have to say some of this may be a little bit more critical because it's timely and criticism should be pointed when it is appropriate and due and it very much is.

We heard even today in Question Period from the Minister of Finance, that when legitimate questions were being asked with regard to the situation and the impact within the Cumberland area and cross-border shopping, what we heard clearly from the minister was to rebuke the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, their spokesperson, their 5,000 and some members around the province, and then say he'd want to talk, instead hear from local chambers of commerce.

We also heard about a process and just as much as the budget process was very much manipulated and contrived with regard to its structure, we've seen a government that has had no problems spending on consultants as is the case now we've seen in cross-border shopping, that pattern has continued with the government. The Minister of Finance said that he'd rather listen to local chambers of commerce rather than the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. Well, here's a quote, "Randy Smith, the president of the Amherst and Area Chamber of Commerce, is not buying the minister's argument and remains unconvinced with Steele's claim that the HST increase alone won't increase cross-border activity." He goes on further to say, "When you add that tax increase on top of everything else how can you not expect there to be more shoppers crossing the border."

So there is a local chamber of commerce, from Amherst, and contrary to what the minister had said, and I think he said he met with municipal leaders - you only meet one at a time because, heaven forbid, you have a group of civic leaders come together to express their common opinion. We've seen that pattern as well with regard to the structure, and again through thousands upon thousands upon thousands of dollars of consultants hired to manage

[Page 1032]

a predetermined outcome of what the government wanted to see, to suit their message of the day with the budget.

That is not a surprise to us in the Progressive Conservative caucus because we've seen time and time again where promises and commitments have been broken, where one thing is said and another is done by the Dexter NDP. It is very much a concern. I know if you are in the Cumberland area - and I would know that because I know a couple of other members of the House who attended Mount Allison, and of course anyone who has lived around a border community knows of the transactions back and forth. I also remember being in New Brunswick when it was a longer route, on a single highway, to get to Moncton and so you went to Amherst to shop, as students.

Now, with the twinning of highways and the like, there is a greater ease and a very safe, speedy passage to the City of Moncton. The concerns that are being raised about competitiveness, the concerns that are being raised about the ability for small business to operate and function are falling on deaf ears because the Minister of Finance just puts those out because it is not meeting the manifesto of our socialist Dexter NDP of the day. We've seen that put out there.

I also know it is echoed further about the concerns. He says about chambers of commerce and impacts of this government and their policies. I see as well with the chamber of commerce, down in Yarmouth, as having to say where Mr. Steele seems to be making some very conflicting remarks regarding this budget.

What business groups were asking for with this latest budget was leadership, and there's very little evidence of leadership in that budget document, and that is with small businesses, so if chambers of commerce apparently are okay to listen to, but not the CFIB, then maybe the minister and members of his own government can take heed and can take note of the concerns that are being raised by chambers of commerce.

People who are in the front lines of communities and small business, the people who go and support the Little Leagues, the people who infuse much-needed jobs into the local economy, provide opportunities, provide service, those are the people who are in our service clubs, those are the people who are hearing from their friends and neighbours when they come out of church, those are the people who are saying, in great number, we don't have, nor do we have to hire and spend tons of money on consultants to tell us that the minister is being bullheaded in his approach with regard to the finances and the financial approach here in the province.

Heard it again today, what the Opposition and the government said in Opposition versus what the NDP are doing now in government with Corrections, and as the Attorney General, Minister of Justice, referenced - I was in that portfolio and I remember very clearly what the member for Timberlea-Prospect and now Minister of Transportation and

[Page 1033]

Infrastructure Renewal, former Justice Critic, had to say in behalf of the NDP. All of a sudden, today, the Minister of Justice has a different tune. When an issue came forward where there were questions and leadership required, I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, when those issues - and there were tough issues and there were tough questions being asked - I went in front of the cameras and the microphones, I didn't ask a communications staff member to do it, and that is very clearly on the record.

We have a minister, that when any amount of controversy comes up, get a spin doctor out there, get me some cover so we can see the true amount or the impact of some of these issues and maybe I can try to spin this another way. That's not leadership and that's not what the chambers of commerce and that's not what the community leadership across this province were expecting of the Dexter NDP.

[2:00 p.m.]

What they're getting is a government now, in dealing with Corrections, that will not provide the disclosure that they would have argued and demanded be provided, are not aware of what it is that was committed and processes with regard to vests. For the minister not to have a clue of what's going on in the procurement process, affecting hundreds of thousands of dollars - he can try to spin it whatever which way he wants in Question Period - it is not what Nova Scotians are noticing because what we're noticing is, obviously, a disjunct between what ministers are doing and what their Minister of Finance is saying. I guess, maybe, he needs to give them a few hundred thousand dollars to get some more consultants to spin a new story for them.

Mr. Speaker, I want to say - we were just speaking of corrections as well - and this government that has, quite frankly, thrown communities under the bus. The attack on rural Nova Scotia, look no further than Pictou County and the Hector, there's another boat they're about to sink. They sunk The Cat, they're willing to sink the Hector, you know, I'm glad that the Marine Atlantic ferries are a federal jurisdiction because they would want to sink those too. What they are doing is sinking the economy and putting Nova Scotians in an unfair, unjust position as a result of what the NDP manifesto set out to do about their commitments - that these socialists, that the NDP would do, to throw Nova Scotians under the bus.

I think of the other people who have been thrown under the bus, aside from southwestern Nova Scotia, aside from the workers who do the Hector interpretive, I've also seen, as well, that they've thrown the corrections officers and their families in Cumberland County under the Dexter NDP bus. They've thrown those families and they're prepared to throw them to the curb and take hard-working, long-term employees of the province away from their families and the region when, in fact, there was a case that was put together with communities supporting that case, for economic and social stability within our province, to recognize that there should be regional and rural fairness to counter some of the issues that need to be addressed in rural and remote areas of the province.

[Page 1034]

We've seen as well, when you look at the treatment of the Springhill municipality by this government when it came to corrections, what we've seen very clearly, and this is probably most disturbing for members of the NDP when their government will throw them under the bus when it comes to the issues. Just ask the member for Cumberland North how his government stood by him, in fact didn't stand by him - and I guess the Dexter bus was probably heading out of the province to do some shopping in Moncton and didn't really care and didn't even look to see if he was on the side of the road before they ran him over with the Dexter bus - but there are probably thousands.

The member for Halifax Citadel-Sable Island, I'm only glad there's water between here and Sable Island or half the horses would be run over and the seals would be taken out in the process of coming up the beach, but we don't need (Interruptions) The horses are safe because there isn't a ferry to get them there that this government hasn't sunk in the process.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Cape Breton North has the floor.

MR. CLARKE: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and I'm very pleased, you can try to get the members of the government - they're obviously getting exercised about what reality is coming to bear on their unfair treatment, and what being part of the Dexter NDP is really materializing to be. What we also know here in the Province of Nova Scotia, as we heard here in the House yesterday with regional development, when you're trying to talk in a constructive way about how the Dexter NDP could work with communities on health and wellness infrastructure, infrastructure that supports jobs and working families in the Province of Nova Scotia, and yet they're thrown under the bus.

I heard the Minister of Health Promotion and Protection want to blame the previous government. She said, well, it's a $68 million program, there was only $5 million in it when I came in. I only had $5 million but, you know, the Minister of Natural Resources, who had a modified budget, obviously is more equal at the Cabinet Table if he could spend $100 million to buy dirt than invest in people, but obviously one minister has greater weight when it comes to issues. I don't know how much of that dirt that the minister is now presiding over is going to create jobs, is going to produce better health and wellness outcomes, and I will tell you, Mr. Speaker, go to the communities.

So when all else fails and the argument wasn't there, the Minister of Health Promotion and Protection wanted to say, well, I'll show you the map of Nova Scotia, to show you the political motivation of the investments that had been made, and meanwhile talking about 14 other projects - $20 million. I would support every one of them, and coincidentally so could the government, if they actually were thinking and providing leadership and providing a real balance for Nova Scotians but they won't and that's what we've seen, so we're not going to go.

[Page 1035]

I told the minister, you bring out that political map. I know the political map, I know the investments that were made in urban Cape Breton. Was one of them made in my constituency? Yes, it was. Were two of them made in Cape Breton South, a Liberal constituency? Yes, they were. Was one of them made in Cape Breton Nova, an NDP constituency? Yes, they were, so bring out the map. What I know is the projects that were worthy and merited the investment, were provided them. Throughout this province where they want to go, and try now to point to a past government and the decisions to invest, I welcome that.

I only regret - probably from members of the government who were probably bemoaning any political motivation around it - that the minister was unable to get additional dollars to support their projects in their community. What I know is not only was the government not prepared to invest in those projects with their provincial dollars, they were willing to see federal dollars; they were willing to see municipal dollars; they were willing to see corporate dollars; they were willing to see dollars that were donated from citizens in this province not be tapped and projects not to be realized.

I did not hear yet of the Minister of Natural Resources, when he went on his spending spree of glee, buying up as much bog as he could, and it was probably the fog over the bog in the thinking of the government, Mr. Speaker, when they undertook that process. I know if I had a choice, and I was dealing with balance, the minister could have said, well, let's get some land and let's make sure we invest in people as our number one priority, and people during what they talk about as an unprecedented recession, the largest one since the Great Depression.

If the government were sincere, they would be funding those projects in rural and urban Nova Scotia, making sure that key infrastructure is being renewed, or built, and that jobs are being created as a result of that, but the government chooses not to.

I'm hoping the member for Sackville-Cobequid will, at some point, get up on his pins in this House and actually say something about what he is doing to advocate for his constituency. Mr. Speaker, I'll get up as often as I can and willfully get up and advocate for now because we have a government that doesn't speak for most of Nova Scotia, that's why Progressive Conservatives will, that's why we were proud with the investments we made and that's why we'll continue to hold this government to account for their ill-headed and ill-founded decisions they've been making. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

MR. JIM MORTON: I stand today to offer some observations on behalf of the people of Kings North, the electors who have given me the privilege, and I would say the responsibility, to serve in this House. We are gathered in a place that matters. Our work, the

[Page 1036]

work that has been done in the past and the work that now engages us, influences the lives of each and every Nova Scotian, young and old, from Inverness to Sandy Point, from Scotts Bay to Canso. The people of Nova Scotia have entrusted us with their future.

It is a privilege, Mr. Speaker, to be associated with the members of the House of Assembly. What we bring to this place as individuals, along with our ability to work co-operatively, will determine the quality and the extent of our success. I stand, too, in full recognition that my presence here is, in itself, a consequence of being part of a community. The work that I do is only possible because of the love, advice and support offered so freely by my wife, Donna McGrath. The encouragement, efforts and investments of my extended family and the members of my Kings North riding executive are critical elements of both my personal and political life.

I am grateful to the leaders of the Municipality of Kings, the Town of Kentville, the village commissions, and community associations that have welcomed me into their midst and thus into their efforts and the lives of my neighbours.

Since my election last June, I have established a community office in Kentville. While that project involved identifying a location, the purchase of furniture and equipment, arranging advertising and, incidentally, using our public space to display the artistic work of the Evangeline Artists' Cooperative, the most important part of an office is the constituency assistance. Anne Harris has taken on that role with skill, maturity and enthusiasm, harnessing her experience, communication skills, problem-solving ability, assertiveness, and sense of humour in the service of the people of Kings North. Together we have been building a responsive service for constituents. During these past months hundreds of people have experienced the benefit of her work. I am one of those people, Mr. Speaker, and I'm grateful to Anne for the partnership that she and I are creating.

Mr. Speaker, I want to acknowledge the critical role that you hold in the work of this House. Our debates shape and reshape the fabric of provincial life. As a consequence, passions frequently run high when, in fact, clarity and reason are the better ingredients of effective thinking and good outcomes. Your effort, as Speaker, to maintain order and a climate of respectful behaviour are at the heart of the democratic process. Your task isn't easy but you have my support for making the House of Assembly a place characterized less by passion and attack, and more by reason and respect.

On March 25, 2010, Her Honour Mayann Francis, the Lieutenant Governor, delivered the Speech from the Throne with the dignity and sense of ceremony that honours all Nova Scotians. The Lieutenant Governor's presence here at the opening of the Second Session of the 61st General Assembly is a reminder of the long, hard-won victory of parliamentary democracy. She attends the House at the invitation of the Assembly and leaves us to govern when the task is complete. When Her Honour shook hands with the Premier and with the

[Page 1037]

Leaders of the Opposition Parties as she made her way out of the House on that day, I thought of Joseph Howe and the reforms of more than a century and a half ago.

Ours is a government elected by the people and responsible to this Assembly. We are a people governed by ourselves. That is why this place matters so much, Mr. Speaker. In their hearts, Nova Scotians know and through her presence, Her Honour, the Lieutenant Governor is a symbol of who we are and what we have created as a people. We can be proud and grateful for her leadership.

But, Mr. Speaker, leadership is a quality in play throughout our province and certainly within the confluence of communities referred to as Kings North. Each of these communities - the County of Kings, the Town of Kentville, the Villages of Canning and Port Williams, and the many hamlets and communities - is served and watched over by local governments. The dozens of women and men who seek office invest large parts of their lives, as do those of us in this House, to make their communities better, to make lives better for families and to build a better future.

These leaders are faced with complex challenges, whether it is finding a way to create a new community park in Baxters Harbour, searching for traffic solutions in New Minas or sorting out water safety, population growth, and the protection of agricultural land in Port Willliams, the leaders are engaged in rich opportunities, underscored by multiple opinions that require input from several governments.

This multiplicity of governance in a relatively small geographic territory poses challenges. It is clear to me that we can only achieve our dreams and hopes if communities can find ways to work together.

While there are challenges to working together, the fruits of success are significant. I think of Kings Transit, a service that now runs the length of the Annapolis Valley; while everyone continues to seek better service, we probably have what is the best public transportation system in Nova Scotia outside HRM. Kings Transit is the product of partnerships between many governments and speaks to the value of working together.

More recently, the County of Kings, the Town of Kentville, and Destination Southwest Nova Scotia pooled resources to establish a year-round visitor information centre in Kentville, something no one party to the agreement could have accomplished on its own.

To get the hard work done, Mr. Speaker, we need to reach far beyond where we have already been. As Pierre DeCoste is fond of repeating, that to attain the results that you never had, you have to do what you have never done.

I know we have the capacity to succeed in Kings North. Recently, I pulled together a group of executive directors and leaders who represent a range of not-for-profit

[Page 1038]

organizations that serve the citizens of Kings County. I asked them to share their perception of the problems and opportunities we face. They did that. But these folks impress me even more with their commitment to the long term, their dedication to making life better for their constituents and with their ability to transmute meagre resources into significant outcomes.

These not-for-profit organizations, local governments, commissions and associations, and let's not forget volunteer groups, families that care for their members, friends who look out for each other, are signs in Kings North that we have what it takes to succeed when times are difficult and, Mr. Speaker, this is a difficult time.

[2:15 p.m.]

Last summer our government assumed an unsustainable fiscal inheritance. On April 6th, our government showed that we have what it takes to transform that inheritance. The budget introduced by the Minister of Finance lays out a multi-year fiscal strategy to manage the province's finances, to get Nova Scotia back to balance and to live within our means. We have understood that only tough decisions will restore the province to a solid financial standing.

Effective July 1st, the harmonized sales tax will be restored to 15 per cent providing additional revenue of $215 million this year. We also created a fifth tax bracket for individuals with annual incomes of more than $150,000 that will generate $31 million in revenue. We will use new care with every public dollar. Of the $1.4 billion fiscal gap identified by the expert advisory panel last summer, we will eliminate $1.1 billion through expenditure management and restraint. Our government is prepared to take on the hard work because we are committed to making life better. (Applause)

Our government knows that while getting back to balance is critical, it's equally important to be fair. The budget achieves that, it offers the right balance of priorities, values, programs and services. Our government is committed to better health care for all Nova Scotians, for example. Our government understands that getting back to balance shouldn't stand in the way of investing in the economy to create good jobs and new opportunities for Nova Scotians.

For example, we need to make sure that rural Nova Scotians have access to broadband Internet services, a matter of particular importance to those who live on and under the North Mountain of Kings County. It's critical that we continue to grow a green economy, maximizing the potential of wind and tidal energy. We need to further explore and build our relationships around the globe to identify and capitalize on opportunities for economic growth and better jobs here at home. In Kings North, the agricultural community is looking forward to our government's 10-year strategy, a plan that will help farmers develop new opportunities, manage risk and become more environmentally sustainable.

[Page 1039]

This government recognizes that moving forward requires a multi-dimensional plan. While economist Milton Friedman's views might be appealing to some, for our government it just doesn't follow that doing less will result in more. So I'm pleased that our government is taking action to make life more affordable. Too many of our citizens live in poverty and our government commits it will not leave people behind.

We'll move forward with the transformation of the Employment Support and Income Assistance program to increase economic independence and enhance social inclusion. We recognize that it's time to move away from ESIA as a service of last resort and time to build a program that starts with the value of exploring what clients and families need.

We'll also use the Affordable Living Tax Credit worth $70 million to lessen the impact to the HST for Nova Scotian households with low and modest incomes. A poverty reduction credit will turn another $3 million annually to about 150,000 individuals who live with very low incomes.(Applause) We'll remove the provincial portion of the HST on children's clothing, footwear, feminine hygiene products and diapers, returning about $11 million to families everywhere in Nova Scotia.

Seniors who receive the Guaranteed Income Supplement will no longer have to pay provincial income tax. What that means is that $12.5 million will be given back to an estimated 18,000 seniors across the province. These are examples of making life more affordable, of making life better for families.

I support the objectives of getting back to balance and of living within our means because I recognize that our economic prosperity and the financial health of our province are at the foundation of our capacity to create and provide services that people need. Nothing must distract us from our vision of a better world; not just for the privileged few, but for everyone in Nova Scotia. Our goal must be to eliminate poverty to ensure that citizens have access to quality education, responsive health care and good roads.

The path back to financial balance and the commitment to living in a way we can afford is a means to a better end. I emphasize this point because for too long we have allowed those who are poor to be invisible, hoping, I suppose, that being out of sight these folks will be out of mind.

Recently I saw Nance Ackerman's film, Four Feet Up. It's a fine documentary describing the life of a Kings County family that lives in poverty. Several people told me that the effect of seeing the film was to keep them awake at night. It compelled others to write letters to the editor and to politicians like me, demanding action so that children and families don't have to live this way. I saw the film as a valid description of the lives of too many families that are our neighbours. We need to make sure that the elimination of poverty remains a priority. (Applause) We must indeed ensure that no Nova Scotian is left behind.

[Page 1040]

Nova Scotians are a strong and resilient people, we are at a crossroads that can create and lead us to a better place, to a stronger, more progressive, prosperous province, one that embraces all of us and includes each and every citizen in all of the good things that life has to offer.

I try to keep J.S. Woodsworth's message close at hand each day and I reach for it again now, "What we desire for ourselves, we wish for all. To this end, may we take our share in the world's work and the world's struggles . . ." and let us keep up the faith and the fight that will lead us to the ends we seek.

Almost 50 years ago, Tommy Douglas mesmerized a massive crowd in Ottawa with a speech still relevant today that ended with the words of poet and visionary William Blake, words that still matter at this new crossroads that we have created for ourselves:

"I will not cease from mental fight,

Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand

Till we have built Jerusalem

In England's green & pleasant land."

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you, honourable member.

The motion carried.

[2:22 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Supply with Deputy Speaker Mr. Gordon Gosse in the Chair.]

[6:00 p.m. CWH on Supply rose and the House reconvened with Deputy Speaker Mr. Gordon Gosse in the Chair.]

MR. SPEAKER: We have arrived at the moment of interruption. The adjournment debate has been chosen, as I announced earlier, and won by the honourable member for Bedford-Birch Cove. We will now debate the resolution:

"Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly support street hockey and call upon government to take whatever action necessary to ensure Nova Scotian children are able to continue this healthy and active sport."

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

[Page 1041]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal.

STREET HOCKEY: GOV'T. (N.S.) - SUPPORT

HON. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Let's not drop the puck, let's get the ball hockey stick out. First of all, my gratitude to the member for Halifax Clayton Park who will be taking part in this debate, I thank you for bringing forward the resolution and I thank you for also allowing me to go first this evening because I have a community commitment in which I am going to drop the puck at the Atlantic Junior B Hockey Championship. I'm sure you'll hear so much about it from the member for Cumberland South.

Let's be clear on this, this issue has attracted national attention and it attracted national attention in a way that I suppose - as a Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, when I'm asked a question and I have responsibility for streets and roads, and they begin to ask me, as the members of the media did last week, what I thought about ball hockey and my answer, of course, is it's part of the Canadian tradition, it's part of growing up in this country, and it's part of having good, healthy, clean fun.

I know I've heard from people from across the country. I was fortunate - or unfortunate, whichever way you want to face it - that I appeared on As It Happens, which is the CBC call-in show and debate then resulted because of people saying that as a Minister of the Crown with responsibilities for streets and roads in this province, I should keep them as safe as possible. But there's a much more important issue here and the issue is, of course, based upon common sense because I know right now at this time of the evening in my community - you know, I can go to Dixon Court in Timberlea, I can go to Tantallon Crescent in Upper Tantallon, I can go to cul-de-sacs all along the Prospect Road in Brookside, and if I was in Whitney Pier I could go to Seaview Street and I could see a ball hockey game in action. In that ball hockey game, the nets are on the street. There's also an occasional basketball hoop that's close by, too, because that had to be moved out of the way.

So in the few moments that I have for my comments, I want to put some things in perspective because I want to assure you that ball hockey is something that I support whether I'm a Minister of the Crown or I'm the MLA for Timberlea-Prospect.

Common sense is what ball hockey is about and I've said this to some seniors in the community of Sackville, I've said this to some people in Vancouver, that if there's a certain young man who is playing ball hockey outside of your home and the language isn't acceptable and he or she isn't moving the net when you come home, then you do the common sense thing by contacting their parents, going out and knocking on the door of your neighbour and saying we've got a problem with Johnny on the street, or Joan on the street, because let's call it like it is - that's how we should solve the problem. Calling the police and

[Page 1042]

the busy job that these men and women do in the RCMP and the HRM is not the way to solve the problem.

So as a young person, let me assure you, I played ball hockey religiously. I didn't play it as well as the member for Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank but let me assure you it was a great form of entertainment. In fact, one of the first people that I ever played on a ball hockey team with was Ian Hanomansing who is now a CBC national reporter. I could tell you Ian Hanomansing is a national debater and he's a great ball hockey player because I taught him the ball hockey skills, not the debating skills.

I also want you to know, Mr. Speaker, that I used ball hockey as a school disciplinarian. When you're in a junior high school and you have an active bunch of boys and girls, young men and young women, you have to make sure they get their math homework done, like a certain young man named Purcell who used to never have his math homework done, or you have a certain young lady who's always late for class, and when it comes to noon-hour ball hockey, you say to them - and, of course, they had to pick the teams. There was a Grades 6 and 7 league and there was a Grades 8 and 9 league - and I would say to them, be on time and have your homework done or there's no ball hockey.

That's the way you can make a junior high work because I can tell you that I spoke at various disciplinary issues around this province for a number years as a school administrator, and ball hockey is a wonderful way to make sure that the homework gets done and the get-to-class-on-time agenda is followed. More importantly, as a campaigning politician - I know that members are aware of the fact that in the back of my Jeep I have a certain jersey and it does have Bill MLA on the back and a beautiful, great, big, glorious "B" on the front.

MR. ALLAN MACMASTER: Hear, hear!

MR. ESTABROOKS: Hear, hear, and I thank the member for Inverness for his great choice of hockey teams. At any time during a campaign I will stop canvassing and knocking on doors and grab my ball hockey stick and get out there and play a game of ball hockey, road hockey, street hockey, whatever we call it.

Let's be clear on this, the people I've heard from on this issue say one simple thing, let's look at, probably, arguably, if you want to make a case of the point, Sidney Crosby is the finest young hockey player we have in the world at this time. Sidney Crosby and Max Talbot are in his basement shooting at a dryer, which, of course, has made it to the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame, but during a number of the advertisements that Sid has on television, you'll see that one of the things he remarks upon is, what is hockey? It's in our arenas, it's in our basements and it's in our streets. That says to me that this is something based on common sense - this is ball hockey, this keeps young men and young women busy and out of trouble.

[Page 1043]

I always had a simple theory, as a parent and as a school administrator and I guess now as a grandparent - although my yet to be two-year old granddaughter hasn't got ball hockey figured out yet, I'll have to take that on as my next task - I always believed in the theory, keep them busy, keep them out of trouble. So I understand the fact that tonight, when it gets too dark - although we used to have some ball hockey games under the right streetlight - but when it is too dark and they come home, those young men and women are tired, they have had some good, healthy exercise. They have had some fun.

Here is the other thing, it's unorganized fun. There's no adult there supervising them, there are no referees, there are no uniforms - except for mine, of course, whenever I'm invited to play I wear mine all the time - there's no one there telling them how to run this, they just do it on their own. That's what play is all about. In so many cases sport has become too organized, too much concerned about uniforms, too much concerned about travel.

These are street versus street, these are roads versus roads, these are opportunities when you get to play. You know during my canvassing I want you to know that on many occasions I've been asked to play. There's a wonderful little girl, who lives on Ashdale Court, who always makes sure that when I'm on her street, she is out shooting at the net and she religiously picks her MLA to be on her team. Now I know that members of this House know that members of this House know that is one smart young woman with a bright hockey future.

Putting it all together let's be clear, let's be very clear on this, there are all these statistics and I've heard the Minister of Health Promotion and Protection talk about these issues, I've heard the member for Halifax Clayton Park ask the questions many times - and thank you for bringing it to our attention - about inactive youth. How often are they - excuse the expression - couch potatoes? How often are they sitting there on the computer? It is much more important for them to get out in the fresh sunshine, or the rain, or the snow, and play ball hockey. It is, after all, a productive activity. It's a physical activity, it makes them feel part of their community.

Let me assure you that when I've spoken to kids in the past, and some of them will not move the net, and I feel very comfortable talking to the teenagers in my community, I stop the Jeep and say, listen guys, you're the very sort of teenager who is giving teenagers a bad name. You hear the ad on TV that when the car arrives, you, or one of you, should say "Car!" and then move the net. Speak to these young people in a positive way and they will respond accordingly. Treat teenagers with respect and they will give you respect. Allow teenagers to pick you for their ball hockey game and they'll always re-elect their MLA.

[Page 1044]

With those comments I thank the member opposite for allowing me to go first and I hope those folks at home continue to call my constituency office at 876-2472, and go Bruins go. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you.

The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Thank you very much. I'm really pleased that we're here today to talk about the importance of street hockey in our communities, in our neighbourhoods and in our province. This is an issue that I felt we really should bring to the floor of the Legislature. I appreciate the minister's comments today, the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, I feel that he's been eloquent in his defense of the sport, that's good. (Interruption) Well, passionate.

I really wanted to bring this forward. When we mentioned it at our own caucus meeting, I really found it struck a chord with me. I am so alarmed at the health of our young people and the lifestyle that is being encouraged, I guess, because of so many distractions that they have that are sedentary and that is a lot of time in front of television screens, in front of computers, using handheld phones and text devices and so on and they're not getting out and they're not active. I just feel it's really important that we bring this discussion here.

To me, again, it is a matter of common sense that we look at what are the down sides of refusing to let children play in their own community, on their own doorstep and this is a time-honoured activity; it's something that all of us can relate to. On the street I live on, certainly in years gone by, there were a lot of hockey games going on there. It's now a through-street and I will say the children have moved to a quieter street now, but initially it was a dead end street and there was always a hockey net set out and gloves and sticks thrown around and the kids were just picking up games all the time.

I've been following the letters to the editor and seeing that some people feel that it is right to stop the kids from playing but I think that I would appeal as well to the civility of our population, of the people who live here and say, we have to let the kids play. If they're noisy, if they're using bad language or you think in some way they are not respecting your property or your car or something like that, then speak to them or speak to their parents.

What we want to do is get together and have a sense of community and what better way than to see a ball game like that, a street hockey game going on in front of your home and hearing kids having good fun. The noise of children out playing shouldn't be something that we find irritating or a nuisance. It should be something that we are all pleased to hear because it means they're healthy and they're active and they're socializing and those are the very things we want for our young people.

[Page 1045]

As I say, the incidents of childhood obesity is really frightening in our province and very recently I had the opportunity to go to the IWK and speak to their CEO, Anne McGuire. She was explaining to me some of the cost pressures that they're under as a result of ill health with young people. They are seeing young people with an increasing amount of the type two diabetes coming because of lifestyle; young people with hip problems because of the weight that they're carrying, at their young age, with small frames. She told me they had to invest in larger equipment, different kinds of equipment to do the work that they do there, larger beds and that sort of thing because the size of the children that is becoming more normal and they have to be ready for larger and heavier children.

This is not healthy and we will all pay a cost well down the road when we see this come to roost with unhealthy adults. I mean, it's starting, really, even with unhealthy children. We owe it to our children to do our best to give them the opportunities to be well. We've talked about investment in recreation centres and in organized sport but organized sport is very dependent on having transportation to get to and from the locations, having parents with a second car or an opportunity to take the time to get their kids to and from those organized games.

What ball hockey does is, it allows kids to just step out the front door, find the other children in the neighbourhood, and play. What's beautiful about it is that you'll see children of all ages getting together and playing together, and boys and girls as well. You'll see a lot of girls out there who are joining in the game. Often you'll see an adult, one of the dads or mothers who join in and are part of it and that's exactly what we should be looking for. To me, that's the essence of a community, and why we would want to have the police intervene and stop games like that is beyond me.

I do understand that some people will mind the noise, but I would say to them, please get over it. It's not the thing that we should be focused on. We should be thinking about, what would you rather have those kids do? We talked here about childhood drinking and so on in adolescence and young people. Would we rather have those young kids out getting alcohol illegally and drinking in the park or doing some vandalism because they're bored or just not being productive?

I think that some of the people have been so eloquent in their letters to the editor. They have certainly talked about those kinds of choices, saying, what would we rather, do we want them taking drugs, do we want them breaking into our homes? I mean, young people are not scary, and I'm not suggesting that, but I just think that we need to encourage them in the healthy and productive things they're doing.

[6:15 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I don't know if people are very well aware, but there is really a strong link between being healthy and active and having better academic results at school. I have

[Page 1046]

a letter here, actually a little excerpt from The Globe and Mail, which said that the study that they were referencing found that academic performance dipped when the students' fitness declined and increased when their fitness improved. They had measured children over two grade levels to see how being active and physically fit affected their school grades. We really know that kids who are fit can concentrate better. We know there is a link between depression and activity. Those who are more active actually find that in some cases getting physical activity can be just as good as medication for people who are depressed or who have some mental health issues.

So it is so good on every level, and I just can't see the downside to us allowing it. I guess by bringing it to the floor of the Legislature, I am hoping that the powers that be right here at the Legislature can possibly look at ways that we can encourage this and try to make it safer, to appeal to common sense, to ensure that kids use quiet streets when they're playing, but not to have people resort to trying to shut down games.

Mr. Speaker, it is often said that it takes a village to raise a child, and I think this is a great example of it. When we're all holed up in our own houses and the front doors are closed and we don't know our neighbours, then the children don't have that extra input and extra guidance from other adults in their lives. When they are out playing on the street, the other neighbors know them; you know which house they come from, and if they are not behaving, that's another way to have a social, I guess - a little something that puts some controls on the kids and lets them know what is acceptable and what isn't. They will behave themselves, because they know they are known, and they will do that because they want to be part of a community and be one of their neighbours.

I think, just as the minister said, if children are not behaving, I think you should be able to say to them, we're not upset about your game but mind your language or be a little bit more careful. I think that those soft, gentle reminders really work wonders in raising a child in this society. Mr. Speaker, these sorts of things are so important to us that we encourage this kind of activity.

I wanted to say that the link between something like physical activity - this seems so simple and so basic in our community, but it is going to affect the justice system, it affects education, and as I said, it will have a profound effect on the health of these kids, and ultimately it affects the finances of our province, which is what we're talking about here during budget time. We're talking about the fact that we have so many budgetary pressures, and a great deal of them come from the Health Department, and if we have healthy children we're going to have a much more successful future in Nova Scotia.

I do worry where we will be if we don't encourage our children to be active and to be healthy. It is just essential to our future as a society. I think anybody who is older who disagrees or doesn't like it should really assess what their concern is. What upsets me is their concern in calling the police would be more about noise or disruption or the nuisance factor -

[Page 1047]

it isn't about the safety of the children, because that is the only thing that I can see that is a negative. You might worry about the safety of children on the streets.

But I think we have to try to be a part of a community. Let's not be curmudgeons, let's not be negative all the time. Let's try and see the good and the wonder in young people out playing together and enjoying that activity, which really is time honoured in Canada. Although I'm not a hockey player myself, I wanted to suggest today that our Legislature perhaps have a game, organize a game here at the Legislature. I guess it is a challenge, in my final minute - I've got my sign there - so I would like to invite all Parties in the Legislature to get on board. Let's try to have a ball hockey game here, and I think it is one that men and women can participate in, and we'll show our support for ball hockey in this province.

Mr. Speaker, I think my time may almost have elapsed.

MR. SPEAKER: You have 30 seconds.

MS. WHALEN: I have 30 seconds. Well, that's good, because I think first of all, I'm getting a good positive response from the members present. So I will take it upon myself to say that we will make a formal invitation and set a time and a place nearby - I think perhaps the street right out here would be the ideal one, on Granville Street, maybe the parking lot - we'll confer with the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. I think it's important that we say, unequivocally, that we agree that young people in this province should have the right to play hockey, using their common sense in being as safe as they can. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you.

The honourable member for Inverness.

MR. ALLAN MACMASTER: Mr. Speaker, few things in life have been as true to me as road hockey - road hockey is like the dog that I never had. Tonight we debate the future of road hockey, the role that our province can play to ensure that our young people, and to ensure that anybody, can continue to enjoy this sport.

From my earliest memories I always wanted to be a goaltender - I saw that net and I wanted to guard it. It started out in gym class in Grade Primary and moved to the street - and in the case of Judique it moved to the tennis courts because we didn't have streets in Judique to play on, so we used the tennis court. We were lucky, we had a facility we could use and the province got a good return on their investment as a supporting funder of the facility.

Mr. Speaker, we had a lot of excellent road hockey players in Judique and I want to take this time to put that on the record and to talk about a few of them. I think about Mark

[Page 1048]

MacInnis - now Mark was a floater but he had an excellent eye for a loose ball in the slot. While I do recall stoning him on a number of breakaways, he would be my first choice for a sniper on my team.

I think of Jeffrey Graham - and poor Jeffrey, we don't have him with us any longer as he died in a motor vehicle accident quite a number of years ago. I remember Jeffrey using his hand to stop the ball as it would be bouncing, and he would follow it up with a hard slapshot - and he was very good at using that technique.

I think of Francis MacDonell, he was a digger with soft hands.

AN HON. MEMBER: Not John MacDonell. (Laughter)

MR. MACMASTER: I think of Todd Graham, who was often in the net at the other end across from me. He had a very good blocker hand - he made many saves with it.

I think of Wayne MacDonald who had a tremendous wrist shot and the only person I could compare him to would be Cam Neely. I will say one thing about Wayne, he beat me many times on the short side - but I think he was using an illegal curve.

I think of Glenn Graham, a consummate playmaker, never selfish with the ball and he played with the consistency of his idol, Wayne Gretzky, the year he scored those 215 points in that record season.

I think of Craig MacNeil, and if I may borrow a word from a Nova Scotian commentator, Danny Gallivan, Craig had a cannonating slapshop - and quite simply one of the hardest I faced. Craig's idol was Claude Lemieux, and Craig was very good to come through in the clutch, like Mr. Lemieux.

Mr. Speaker, I recall my own glory days on the courts in Judique. Perhaps I was a combination of Mike Richter and Dominik Hasek - if I may be so bold to say - though I always wore my Boston Bruins jersey in honour of Pete Peeters, the 1982-83 Vezina Trophy winner for the Bruins.

Enough about all those great players in Judique - what did we learn from these games? We learned to respect each other, to show mercy and sportsmanship, and to never give up. I recall being down many times, three games to one in the best of seven series - that we would often play a series every evening we would play. Many is the time we came back, because we never gave up, and we learned to be charitable and we learned to include everyone who showed up to play. You know, Mr. Speaker, it was often some of these less-skilled players who stepped up their play and loomed large on the courts in Judique on a crisp March night.

[Page 1049]

Mr. Speaker, what can government do to ensure that people continue to play street hockey? Well first of all, let's not frown on street hockey players; let's not frown on anyone who chooses to be physically active. Every Nova Scotian can play a role here - and we heard some of the members discuss the value of common sense. If there's an issue in a neighbourhood, there's no reason why that can't be addressed locally. I'm sure that all the members in this House would offer to help constituents if they had an issue like this, if there were sensitivities around contacting parents.

AN HON. MEMBER: We're a good example.

MR. MACMASTER: Yes, we are a good example. So if anyone has an issue with people playing on a quiet street in Nova Scotia, may they speak with the players or the parents to find a way to maintain this national pastime in Canada.

I also want to say, and it has been mentioned here as well tonight, that unorganized sport has tremendous value. Many Nova Scotians cannot afford to play organized sport. Activities like street hockey mean that these opportunities are now available for people to play who can't afford the organized sport opportunities, and only good can come of this, Mr. Speaker. Nova Scotia can play a role. Our province can play a role. We can build facilities so that people can play on the asphalt court like we had in Judique. These types of investments must continue.

With this, Mr. Speaker, I conclude my remarks on the matter of government taking action so children in Nova Scotia can continue to enjoy playing street hockey. Let's let the kids be kids.

MR. SPEAKER: I would like to thank all members of the Legislative Assembly for an excellent debate tonight. The House will now revert to the Committee of the Whole House on Supply.

[6:26 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Supply with Deputy Speaker Hon. Wayne Gaudet in the Chair.]

[7:07 p.m. CWH on Supply rose and the House reconvened with Deputy Speaker Hon. Wayne Gaudet in the Chair.]

MR. SPEAKER: The Chairman of the Committee of the Whole House on Supply reports:

THE CLERK: That the committee has met and made progress and begs leave to sit again.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

[Page 1050]

It is agreed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Public Bills for Second Reading.

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No.16.

Bill No. 16 - Summary Proceedings Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. ROSS LANDRY: I am pleased to rise today on second reading of the amendments to the Summary Proceedings Act. These amendments will eliminate arraignment court for Nova Scotians who receive summary offence tickets. Each year thousands of these tickets are issued, the majority of them are motor vehicle infractions and about half of them in Halifax and Dartmouth. These types of tickets hold Nova Scotians accountable for their actions, which is paramount.

However, our court system could improve the way we administer those tickets. We are therefore looking for improvements that will make our justice system smoother and more expedient when it comes to something like a speeding ticket.

Mr. Speaker, currently, the people wishing to plead not guilty to a summary offence ticket are required to come to court for an arraignment appearance to plead not guilty and receive a trial date. They are then also required to return months later for their trial. There is no good reason a person should have to come to court twice for this type of ticket. It is not a good use of our courts' time, it can also be frustrating to those Nova Scotians who have to miss work or other important family obligations.

Mr. Speaker, after consulting with provincial police, including police chiefs throughout the province and the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities, our government is proposing to eliminate the need for a first appearance. If this law is passed, Nova Scotians who receive summary offence tickets will be able to walk into a justice centre, plead not guilty, and receive a trial date from the court staff at the front counter.

Mr. Speaker, we are also improving access to justice for those Nova Scotians who, for whatever reason, do not appear in arraignment court within a certain time period and are

[Page 1051]

found guilty automatically. Under the proposed changes, those people who are automatically convicted for failing to appear can also have that automatic conviction set aside within 60 days and be granted a court date before a presiding Justice of the Peace or a Provincial Court Judge. This service will be available across the Province of Nova Scotia if this law is passed, once regulations are drafted in consultation with our justice partners. I believe access to justice is paramount and that continuously look at the progressive ways to improve our system. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you.

The honourable member for Richmond.

HON. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, as the Justice Critic for the Official Opposition, it is a pleasure to rise and say a few comments on Bill No. 16, the Summary Proceedings Act. It is very clear from the outset that anything we can do to make our court system more efficient and more timely is certainly something that our Party would be supportive of. The measures that have been proposed by the minister would certainly make it much easier for all courts, but certainly here in metro, due to the high volume of traffic-related tickets that they deal with.

The idea, through these changes now, is that if you wish to plead not guilty and contest the charge, rather than having to appear in court to do so during an actual hearing before a judge, you can now just go to the court itself and deal with one of the administrators and be able to have a date set for that.

Mr. Speaker, it is going to be imperative that there be a system in place to allow the Crowns to be given notice as soon as possible when someone has pled not guilty, because then it becomes an issue of making sure that officers are available, those who were the arresting officers, who issued the ticket, for whatever proposed court date is going to be given, so there are some logistical issues that will have to be addressed to make sure that takes place.

What is interesting, Mr. Speaker - what is not in the bill, for example, is a guarantee of when your hearing would be. For example, if you do go in and say, I'm pleading not guilty I want this matter heard, the legislation does not actually say, you will have a hearing within 30 days, within 60 days, within 90 days or even within a year. It is silent on that and I am curious as to whether the minister will be prepared to entertain possible amendments to put some sort of a guarantee in there that Nova Scotians know this is truly going to streamline the process and it is truly going to increase access to justice, because if you walk into the Court House on Spring Garden Road and say, I want to plead not guilty and they give you a date that is going to be in October or December, then one has to question has it really sped up access to justice in Nova Scotia?

[Page 1052]

So I think that is a matter that I will look forward to hearing more comments from the Minister of Justice and from some of his officials who have been dealing with this legislation.

One of the other interesting matters that the minister has indicated is that right now if you do get a ticket and you do not indicate one way or the other whether you're pleading guilty or not guilty after a certain period of time, there is an automatic assumption of guilt. The minister is now saying that you have 60 days after that automatic assumption has been made to appeal that should you wish to actually plead not guilty to the initial charge.

What is going to be impaired is that there be a system in place of making sure that those who have been automatically assumed to be guilty are given notice within the 60 days of their conviction so that they will actually have in front of them an indication that they have been convicted because of the fact that they have not responded to this and they do have 60 days from that time to be able to appeal.

Because it really is of no use if someone doesn't deal with the matter, is automatically assumed to be guilty and then doesn't receive notice within that 60-day period, because they would have no means of knowing that automatic assumption has been made and that they have been found guilty of that. So that's another issue that I will certainly be looking to hear from the Minister of Justice as to what steps will be taken to ensure that communication is going to take place.

But as I said from the start, Mr. Speaker, anything we can do to increase access to justice in Nova Scotia is something that we would be all very supportive of, because more and more we are seeing where defence lawyers are using the Charter argument to try to get charges dropped against their clients on the basis that it is taking too long to get it to court.

More and more we're seeing cases that are actually taking years - not months, but years - to make it through the court process and the last thing Nova Scotians want to see is that someone who has been accused of an offence is going to be able to walk away because our court system, and our justice system, wasn't able to deal with it in a timely fashion.

[7:15 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, what's most offensive is when these charges are of a very serious nature. Again, because of the delays, because of the court scheduling, it keeps taking a certain period of time and now we're seeing more and more where applications are being made by defence counsel on the basis that their Charter rights have been violated because of the length of time that it has taken to hear the matter.

So that is something that I'm sure the Minister of Justice is going to be concerned about and that he is going to be wanting to see what can be done to ensure that some of these

[Page 1053]

lengthy matters are being dealt with, they're being removed off the docket and that people are having access to justice, not only for the accused, Mr. Speaker, but as well for the victims. Because I think it is a failure of our system when victims of a crime see their accused go on for months and months and in some cases, years, before the matter is actually brought to the court and is dealt with by the court system. So it is an issue for both sides of the justice issue, for the accused, for the victims, and those are matters which clearly need to be addressed.

So, Mr. Speaker, with this bill, as I have raised a couple of concerns with it, certainly we'll be pleased to give it support in second reading and at the Law Amendments Committee we will have the opportunity to possibly hear some presentations as to whether there are any further changes that should be made or whether there are any concerns with the legislation that is proposed. I'm certainly hopeful that the minister will be able to address some of the concerns that I have raised prior to continuing debate on this, so that we can have that discussion and continue to move forward.

With those remarks our caucus will certainly be supporting Bill No. 16, the Summary Proceedings Act, to go on to second reading and then on to the Law Amendments Committee. Merci.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton North.

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I'm also pleased to rise and speak to Bill No. 16, the Summary Proceedings Act, and one that the Progressive Conservative caucus will be supporting moving forward because it's one that as a previous government - and the minister would know - was an ongoing topic for discussion and being worked on within the Department of Justice, and one that we agree with, one with the principle of trying to have streamlining to get rid of the inefficiency in a system, to allow people a more efficient way to deal with any summary proceedings and, indeed, have that matter heard.

The honourable member for Richmond especially referenced a lot of the congestion that would happen in our largest urban centre, here within the HRM, but also for individuals, to provide them with greater clarity, a knowledge of process, and lay out some of the other aspects, again, with the assumption of guilt if it's not attended to. I do agree with the member for Richmond that the Law Amendments Committee process will allow those to come forward from within the profession, any members of the public who would have a concern or see areas that this could be worked on.

I also do want to recognize the staff within the Department of Justice for their work and their recognition of this within Court Services, with the other Justice partners that they liaise with because what I also am aware of is a commitment and desire by those who work in our justice system to make sure that the time and, more importantly, the taxpayers' resources are spent as efficiently as possible. I do agree further with the member for

[Page 1054]

Richmond with regard to the ongoing issue of Charter arguments and that we have to provide the greatest amount of clarity that we can, and with regard to a hearing date being identified for those who would seek to go before the court with a matter.

At the end of the day, we see this as very positive. I want to compliment the minister and, again, his staff in the department for bringing this forward. Any items that we see hopefully will be, if they're in the Law Amendments Committee, any amendments that will improve this or provide greater clarity, but not take away from the principle and the intent of this piece of legislation.

With that, and indicating our support, I appreciate the attention of the House.

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the minister it will be to close the debate.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. ROSS LANDRY: Mr. Speaker, I just want to comment quickly that I heard my colleagues' comments and I thank them.

I move second reading of Bill No. 16.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 16. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill be referred to the Committee on Law Amendments.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, that concludes the government's business for today. I now turn it over to the Acting House Leader for the Progressive Conservative Party for tomorrow's business.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Acting House Leader for the Progressive Conservative Party.

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the House Leader for the Progressive Conservative Party, I wish to call the Opposition business for tomorrow. Following the daily routine, Opposition business will hear the second reading of Private Members' Public Bills, Bill No. 25, the Emergency Health Services Act and Bill No. 28, the Fire Safety Act. The hours are 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

[Page 1055]

Mr. Speaker, I move that the House do now adjourn.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion before the House is for the House to now rise and meet again tomorrow at 2:00 p.m.

The motion is carried.

The House stands adjourned until 2:00 p.m. tomorrow.

[The House rose at 7:21 p.m.]

[Page 1056]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 495

By: Hon. Karen Casey (Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party)

I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas for the past 43 years Ursula Lynds has worked tirelessly as president of the Erskine UCW in Glenholme; and

Whereas even after moving to Truro in 2000, Ursula has continued to serve the UCW by holding the meetings in her own apartment; and

Whereas at the age of 95, Ursula has decided it is time to step down as president due to her failing eyesight, she continues as a member and to hold the meetings in her apartment;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly acknowledge Ursula Lynds for her 43 years of exceptional dedication and volunteerism.

RESOLUTION NO. 496

By: Hon. Sterling Belliveau (Fisheries and Aquaculture)

I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Holly Renaud of Shelburne, Nova Scotia reached out to help cancer patients by donating her hair for wig making and shaving her head to raise funds for the Canadian Cancer Society at the Osprey Arts Centre on February 6, 2010; and

Whereas after growing her hair for eight years, Holly Renaud donated 30 inches of her tresses to the Pantene Beautiful Lengths program providing enough hair for an estimated six wigs; and

Whereas Holly Renaud collected pledges and donations to have her head shaved, raising more than $4,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Holly Renaud of Shelburne, Nova Scotia for reaching out to help cancer patients by donating her hair for wig making and shaving her head to raise funds for the Canadian Cancer Society at the Osprey Arts Centre on February 6, 2010.

[Page 1057]

RESOLUTION NO. 497

By: Hon. Stephen McNeil (Leader of the Official Opposition)

I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas on March 19th to March 21st the 2010 Karate Canada National Championships were held in Toronto; and

Whereas this year's team of 15 athletes and three coaches representing Nova Scotia captured one gold, four silver and five bronze medals; and

Whereas this 10-medal record gave our Nova Scotia team a national fifth ranking;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate this team of athletes and their coaching staff on these outstanding accomplishments.

RESOLUTION NO. 498

By: Hon. Stephen McNeil (Leader of the Official Opposition)

I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas on March 19th to March 21st the 2010 Karate Canada National Championships were held in Toronto; and

Whereas Nova Scotia team member Vincent Doucet competed in the Boys 16-17 - 61kg and teamed up with mates on the 16-17 Boys Team to capture a bronze medal in both events; and

Whereas as a result of Vincent's efforts this year's team ranked fifth nationally, capturing a total of 10 medals;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Vincent on his accomplishments and acknowledge his commitment to the team.

[Page 1058]

RESOLUTION NO. 499

By: Hon. Stephen McNeil (Leader of the Official Opposition)

I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas on March 19th to March 21st the 2010 Karate Canada National Championships were held in Toronto; and

Whereas Nova Scotia team member Alex Currie competed in the Girls 14-15 +54kg event; and

Whereas as a result of each athlete's efforts this year's team ranked fifth nationally, capturing 10 medals;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Alex on her efforts and acknowledge her commitment to the team.

RESOLUTION NO. 500

By: Hon. Stephen McNeil (Leader of the Official Opposition)

I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas on March 19th to March 21st the 2010 Karate Canada National Championships were held in Toronto; and

Whereas Nova Scotia team member Ashley McIntyre, who competed in the Girls 16-17, -48kg event, captured a silver medal; and

Whereas Ashley qualified for the Jr. National Team which will compete at the Junior Pan American Championships in Montreal, Quebec, in August;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Ashley on her outstanding accomplishments and acknowledge her commitment to the team.

[Page 1059]

RESOLUTION NO. 501

By: Hon. Stephen McNeil (Leader of the Official Opposition)

I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas on March 19th to March 21st the 2010 Karate Canada National Championships were held in Toronto; and

Whereas Nova Scotia team member Chris McKenney teamed up with mates on the Men's Team, to capture a silver medal; and

Whereas as a result of each athlete's efforts, this year's team ranked 5th nationally, capturing a total of 10 medals;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Chris on his outstanding accomplishments and acknowledge his commitment to the team.

RESOLUTION NO. 502

By: Hon. Stephen McNeil (Leader of the Official Opposition)

I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas on March 19th to March 21st the 2010 Karate Canada National Championships were held in Toronto; and

Whereas Nova Scotia team member Ian Armour, who competed in the Under 21, 78+kg event, captured a gold medal and teamed up with mates on the Men's Team to capture a silver medal;

Whereas Ian qualified for the Jr. National Team which will compete at the Junior Pan American Championships in Montreal, Quebec, in August;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Ian on his outstanding accomplishments and acknowledge his commitment to the team.

[Page 1060]

RESOLUTION NO. 503

By: Hon. Stephen McNeil (Leader of the Official Opposition)

I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas on March 19th to March 21st the 2010 Karate Canada National Championships were held in Toronto; and

Whereas Nova Scotia team member Krystal Turner competed in the Women's -50kg event capturing a silver medal; and

Whereas as a result of Krystal's efforts, this year's team ranked 5th nationally capturing a total of 10 medals ;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Krystal on her accomplishments and acknowledge her commitment to the team.

RESOLUTION NO. 504

By: Hon. Stephen McNeil (Leader of the Official Opposition)

I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas on March 19th to March 21st the 2010 Karate Canada National Championships were held in Toronto; and

Whereas Nova Scotia team member Laurel Hache competed in the Women's +68kg event; and

Whereas as a result of each athlete's efforts, this year's team ranked 5th nationally capturing 10 medals ;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Laurel on her efforts and acknowledge her commitment to the team.

[Page 1061]

RESOLUTION NO. 505

By: Hon. Stephen McNeil (Leader of the Official Opposition)

I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas on March 19th to March 21st the 2010 Karate Canada National Championships were held in Toronto; and

Whereas Nova Scotia team member Mark Doubleday teamed up with mates on the 14 to 15 Boys Team to capture a bronze medal; and

Whereas as a result of each athlete's efforts, this year's team ranked 5th nationally capturing a total of 10 medals ;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Mark on his accomplishments and acknowledge his commitment to the team.

RESOLUTION NO. 506

By: Hon. Stephen McNeil (Leader of the Official Opposition)

I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas on March 19th to March 21st the 2010 Karate Canada National Championships were held in Toronto; and

Whereas Nova Scotia team member Matt McKenney competed in the Boys 14 to15 70+ kg event to capture a bronze medal in both events; and

Whereas as a result of Matt's efforts, this year's team ranked 5th nationally capturing a total of 10 medals ;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Matt on his accomplishments and acknowledge his commitment to the team.

[Page 1062]

RESOLUTION NO. 507

By: Hon. Stephen McNeil (Leader of the Official Opposition)

I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas on March 19th to March 21st the 2010 Karate Canada National Championships were held in Toronto; and

Whereas Nova Scotia team member Michel Maillet teamed up with mates on the 16 to 17 Boys Team to capture a bronze medal; and

Whereas as a result of each athlete's efforts, this year's team ranked 5th nationally capturing a total of 10 medals ;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Michel on his accomplishments and acknowledge his commitment to the team.

RESOLUTION NO. 508

By: Hon. Stephen McNeil (Leader of the Official Opposition)

I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas on March 19th to 21st the 2010 Karate Canada National Championships were held in Toronto; and

Whereas Nova Scotia team member Roland Smith teamed up with mates on the 16-17 Boys Team, to capture a bronze medal; and

Whereas as a result of each athlete's efforts, this year's team ranked 5th nationally capturing a total of 10 medals;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Roland on his outstanding accomplishments and acknowledge his commitment to the team.

[Page 1063]

RESOLUTION NO. 509

By: Hon. Stephen McNeil (Leader of the Official Opposition)

I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas on March 19th to 21st the 2010 Karate Canada National Championships were held in Toronto; and

Whereas Nova Scotia team member Sean O'Neil teamed up with mates on the 14 to 15 Boys Team, to capture a bronze medal; and

Whereas as a result of each athlete's efforts, this year's team ranked 5th nationally capturing a total of 10 medals;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Sean on his outstanding accomplishments and acknowledge his commitment to the team.

RESOLUTION NO. 510

By: Hon. Stephen McNeil (Leader of the Official Opposition)

I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas on March 19th to 21st the 2010 Karate Canada National Championships were held in Toronto; and

Whereas Nova Scotia team member Steven Kelly competed in the Men's -67 kg event capturing a bronze medal and teamed up with mates on the Men's Team to capture a silver medal; and

Whereas as a result of Steven's efforts, this year's team ranked 5th nationally capturing a total of 10 medals;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Steven on his accomplishments and acknowledge his commitment to the team.

[Page 1064]

RESOLUTION NO. 511

By: Hon. Stephen McNeil (Leader of the Official Opposition)

I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas on March 19th to 21st the 2010 Karate Canada National Championships were held in Toronto; and

Whereas Nova Scotia team member Thomas Southall teamed up with mates on the 16 to 17 Boys Team to capture a bronze medal; and

Whereas as a result of each athlete's efforts, this year's team ranked 5th nationally capturing a total of 10 medals;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Thomas on his outstanding accomplishments and acknowledge his commitment to the team.

RESOLUTION NO. 512

By: Hon. Stephen McNeil (Leader of the Official Opposition)

I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas on March 19th to 21st the 2010 Karate Canada National Championships were held in Toronto; and

Whereas Nova Scotia team member Tyler Deveau, who competed in the Boys 14 to 15 - 63 kg captured a silver medal and teaming up the mates on the 14 to15 Boys Team to capture a bronze medal; and

Whereas Tyler qualified for the Jr. National Team, which will compete at the Junior Pan American Championships in Montreal, Quebec, in August;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Tyler on his outstanding accomplishments and acknowledge his commitment to the team.