Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

HANSARD 10-27

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, MAY 4, 2010

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
TIR - Robins/Cape Auget Rd.: Capital Priority List Add,
Hon. M. Samson 1846^
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Law Amendments Committee, Hon. R. Landry 1846
Law Amendments Committee, Hon. R. Landry 1847
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Blake, PO2 Craig, Death of - Tribute,
Hon. F. Corbett 1847
Justice: Tobacco Companies - Settlement, Hon. R. Landry 1850
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 1004, Cdn. Navy - Anniv. (100th),
Hon. F. Corbett 1853
Vote - Affirmative 1854
Res. 1005, Paul, Former Chief Lawrence: Death of - Tribute,
Hon. F. Corbett 1854
Vote - Affirmative 1854
Res. 1006, Building Safety Wk. (05/02 - 05/08/10) - Support,
Hon. M. More 1855
Vote - Affirmative 1855
Res. 1007, Hospice Palliative Care Wk. (05/02 - 05/08/10)
- Recognize, Hon. Maureen MacDonald 1855
Vote - Affirmative 1856
Res. 1008, Gibson, Duane (a.k.a. D.O.): Motivational Message
- Commend, Hon. P. Paris 1856
Vote - Affirmative 1857
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 61, Non-essential Pesticides Control Act,
Hon. S. Belliveau 1857
No. 62, Nova Scotia Hospital Foundation Act,
Hon. Maureen MacDonald 1857
No. 63, Legal Profession Act,
Hon. R. Landry 1857
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 1009, Cdn. Navy: N.S. Role (100 Yrs.) - Recognize,
Hon. S. McNeil 1858
Vote - Affirmative 1858
Res. 1010, Cdn. Navy: Anniv. (100th) - Mark,
Hon. K. Casey 1858
Vote - Affirmative 1859
Res. 1011, Hamilton, Wanda - Shining Star Award,
Hon. J. MacDonell 1859
Vote - Affirmative 1860
Res. 1012, Manuel, Bob: Fundraising - Congrats.,
Hon. S. McNeil 1860
Vote - Affirmative 1861
Res. 1013, Paul, Former Chief Dr. Lawrence: Death of
- Tribute, Mr. A. MacLeod 1861
Vote - Affirmative 1862
Res. 1014, LeBoutillier, Adrienne Lee: 100th Day - Recognize,
Hon. S. Belliveau 1862
Vote - Affirmative 1863
Res. 1015, Naval Service Bill (05/04/10): Date - Recognize,
Hon. Manning MacDonald 1863
Vote - Affirmative 1863
Res. 1016, Cdn. Mental Health Assoc. (N.S. Div.): Work
- Congrats., Hon. C. d'Entremont 1864
Vote - Affirmative 1864
Res. 1017, Hunt, Terry - Truro Vol. of Yr. (2010),
Ms. L. Zann 1864
Vote - Affirmative 1865
Res. 1018, Prince Andrew HS - Anniv. (50th),
Mr. A. Younger 1866
Vote - Affirmative 1866
Res. 1019, Martin, Wendy/CBC (C.B.): Reporting Excellence
- Congrats., Mr. K. Bain 1866
Vote - Affirmative 1867
Res. 1020, Ryl. Cdn. Navy: Centennial - Congrats.,
Ms. V. Conrad 1867
Vote - Affirmative 1868
Res. 1021, GEM Health Care: Dart. Facility - Sod Turning,
Mr. A. Younger 1868
Vote - Affirmative 1869
Res. 1022, Ethnic Cultures: Gov't. Support - Value Recognize,
Mr. A. MacMaster 1869
Vote - Affirmative 1869
Res. 1023, Veinotte, Allen/Fam.: Prov. House Christmas Tree (2009)
- Donation, Ms. P. Birdsall 1870
Vote - Affirmative 1870
Res. 1024, 1st Bedford Scouts/Cubs/Beavers - Watercourse Cleanup,
Ms. K. Regan 1870
Vote - Affirmative 1871
Res. 1025, Bishop, Patricia/Oulton, Josh
- Outstanding Young Farmers Award, Mr. C. Porter 1871
Vote - Affirmative 1872
Res. 1026, MacPherson, Danny -
Guysborough Dist. Vol. Award (2010), Mr. J. Boudreau 1872
Vote - Affirmative 1872
Res. 1027, King, Olive Doris - Birthday (100th),
Hon. K. Colwell 1873
Vote - Affirmative 1873
Res. 1028, Munro Beach - Military Panels: Organizers
- Congrats., Hon. C. Clarke 1873
Vote - Affirmative 1874
Res. 1029, Victory Credit Union - Windsor Bus. Vol. of Yr.,
Mr. C. Porter 1874
Vote - Affirmative 1875
Res. 1030, Park West Sch.: Citizenship Ceremony - Congrats.,
Ms. D. Whalen 1875
Vote - Affirmative 1876
Res. 1031, Chiasson, Jamie - Lt.-Gov's Medal,
Mr. A. MacMaster 1876
Vote - Affirmative 1876
Res. 1032, Sutherland, Candace: Vision4Hope - Success Wish,
Hon. C. Clarke 1877
Vote - Affirmative 1877
Res. 1033, Bell, Martin - Firefighters Award,
Mr. K. Bain 1877
Vote - Affirmative 1878
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 250, Environ. - Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill:
Georges Bank Moratorium - Effect,
Mr. H. Theriault 1879
No. 251, Educ.: Math Mentor Prog. - Evaluation Framework,
Hon. K. Casey 1880
No. 252, Health - Lucentis: Access - Denial Explain,
Ms. D. Whalen 1881
No. 253, ERD - Northern Timber: Legal Fees/Costs
- Details, Mr. L. Glavine 1883
No. 254, Offshore Technology Conf. (Houston): Energy Min.
- Send, Hon. C. Clarke 1884
No. 255, ERD: Deep Panuke Proj. - N.S. Involvement,
Hon. K. Colwell 1886
No. 256, Health - Caregivers: Support/Benefit Changes
- Time Frame, Mr. K. Bain 1887
No. 257, Educ. - Strait Reg. Sch. Bd.: Sch. Closures
- Review Process, Ms. K. Regan 1888
No. 258, TCH - Tourism Operators: Losses - Compensation,
Mr. C. Porter 1889
No. 259, TIR - FOIPOP Fees: Amount - Explain,
Mr. A. Younger 1891
No. 260, Com. Serv. - Rockcliffe Apts.: Subsidy Agreement
- Institute, Hon. Manning MacDonald 1892
No. 261, TIR - Hillside Rd. (C.B. West): Paving - Time Frame,
Mr. A. MacLeod 1894
No. 262, Energy: Heritage Gas - Residential Access,
Mr. A. Younger 1896
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 58, Powers of Attorney Act
Hon. R. Landry 1897
Hon. M. Samson 1898
Hon. C. Clarke 1900
Hon. R. Landry 1901
Vote - Affirmative 1901
No. 55, Internal Trade Agreement Implementation Act
Hon. P. Paris 1901
Hon. K. Colwell 1904
Mr. C. Porter 1906
Hon. P. Paris 1908
Vote - Affirmative 1908
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON BILLS AT 2:50 P.M. 1909
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 5:17 P.M. 1909
CWH REPORTS 1909
PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING:
No. 33, Securities Transfer Act 1910
No. 38, Voluntary Carbon Emissions Offset Fund Act 1910
No. 47, Education Act 1910
No. 51, Revenue Act 1910
Vote - Affirmative 1910
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Retirees - Pension Benefits: NDP Gov't. - Apologize:
Ms. K. Regan 1911
Hon. G. Steele 1914
Mr. A. MacMaster 1917
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Wed., May 5th at 2 p.m. 1919
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 1034, Lane's Privateer Inn/Vols.: Fundraising - Congrats.,
Hon. C. d'Entremont 1920
Res. 1035, Liverpool Cougars Atom B Hockey Team
- SEDMHA Championship, Hon. C. d'Entremont 1920
Res. 1036, McCabe, Joy - Vol. of Wk.,
Hon. K. Casey 1921

[Page 1845]

HALIFAX, TUESDAY, MAY 4, 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: Order, please. Honourable members, I call our session to order here today, but before we go to the daily routine, I want to read the draw for the late debate under Rule 5(5). It reads as follows:

Therefore be it resolved that the NDP Government honour its commitment of being more open and accountable by apologizing to the retirees about the lack of consultation around future pension benefits.

That was submitted by the honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park and will be debated at the moment of interruption at 6:00 p.m.

We will begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

[Page 1846]

1845

HON. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition to the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. It says:

"Whereas the road to the community of Robins and Cape Auget was last paved in the early 1980s; and

Whereas the road is used by residents and employees of the Clearwater live lobster holding facility, including the heavy trucks that transport lobsters to the facility; and

Whereas this road is also accessed by tourists for the scenic beauty and the lighthouse at the end of the road; and

Whereas the road is in deplorable condition, with sections of pavement missing, seaside banks eroding and general deterioration which is making the road a danger to all users such that there is great fear an accident will happen and a possible loss of life.

We, the residents of Robins and Cape Auget, along with the employees of the Clearwater live lobster holding facility, call upon the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal to take immediate action to add the Robins/Cape Auget road to the capital priority list for immediate upgrades and repaving."

Mr. Speaker, it is signed by 117 residents and I have proudly affixed my signature.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. ROSS LANDRY: Mr. Speaker, as Chairman of the Committee on Law Amendments, I am directed to report that the committee has met and considered the following bills:

Bill No. 38 - Voluntary Carbon Emissions Offset Fund Act.

Bill No. 51 - Revenue Act.

and the committee recommends these bills to the favourable consideration of the House, without amendment.

[Page 1847]

MR. SPEAKER: Ordered that these bills be referred to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. ROSS LANDRY: Mr. Speaker, as Chairman of the Committee on Law Amendments, I am directed to report that the committee has met and considered the following bills:

Bill No. 35 - Finance Act.

Bill No. 47 - Education Act.

and the committee recommends these bills to the favourable consideration of the House, with certain amendments.

MR. SPEAKER: Ordered that these bills be referred to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Premier.

HON. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to honour a man who gave the ultimate sacrifice, a man who devoted his life to his country, to the Canadian Armed Forces and, most importantly, to helping others.

I'm referring, Mr. Speaker, obviously, to Petty Officer 2nd Class Craig Blake, a 37-year-old father of two who was killed Monday by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.

An Ontario native, Mr. Blake was a member of the Fleet Diving Unit Atlantic at CFB Shearwater. I am saddened to say that Mr. Blake had been stationed in Afghanistan for only a few weeks when he was killed. He was returning to the base yesterday afternoon, after successfully disposing of an improvised explosive device, when another bomb was detonated in the Panjwaii district, about 25 kilometres southwest of Kandahar City. I understand that Mr. Blake had been living in Nova Scotia for some time before his deployment overseas, and during his time here he coached minor hockey in Dartmouth and enjoyed sailing and competing in triathlons.

[Page 1848]

Mr. Speaker, this man touched many lives and he will be sorely missed by all those who knew him. On behalf of all Nova Scotians, I want to express my deepest sympathies to his family, friends, and colleagues in the Canadian Forces.

On this 100th Anniversary of the Canadian Navy, Nova Scotians and all Canadians will honour Mr. Blake's courage and sacrifice in the line of duty. It is sad irony on this momentous occasion that we must also recognize the first death of a Canadian sailor in action since October 2004, when Lieutenant Chris Saunders was killed in a fire onboard a submarine destined for Halifax.

[12:15 p.m.]

Mr. Blake's death brings to 143 the number of Canadian Forces members to have died in the Afghan mission since it began in 2002. These deaths are a sombre reminder of the deadly situation which the men and women of our Canadian Armed Forces are faced with overseas on a daily basis. It takes a special kind of person to serve your country: someone who is strong, brave, and kind, someone who is willing to leave behind everything that she or he knows and loves to help complete strangers.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our men and women of our Armed Forces, both in Canada and overseas, for their hard work, dedication, and sacrifice. You are all heroes in our eyes.

Mr. Speaker, at the end of the responses of the other two Parties, I would ask for a moment of silence. Thank you.

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

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to thank the Deputy Premier for a copy of his remarks today.

Today is a sad day for the family and the loved ones of Petty Officer 2nd Class Craig Blake and, indeed, all Canadians. Petty Officer Blake was killed just three weeks into his first mission in Afghanistan by an improvised explosive device on Monday, the first sailor to die in action since October 2004. Petty Officer Blake was known for his adept skill as a clearance diver with the Navy, but was also noted for his unwavering dedication and fearless commitment to making the lives of his fellow company men and women safer through his efforts in disposing of IEDs.

Petty Officer Blake was a sailor, but he was also a son, a father, and a husband. To his wife and two small children, their loss is immense. Their sacrifice is hard for us to imagine. Today they are in our thoughts, in our prayers, in our hearts. We will remember Petty Officer Craig Blake as a supporter of the community and a role model for young

[Page 1849]

children, as a local hockey coach and triathlete. He was known for his good cheer, kind heart, and devotion to his family. Communities across our province will remember Petty Officer Blake's positive impact on the lives of many Nova Scotians through the Fleet Diving Unit's efforts to raise funds for the Christmas Daddies.

As we stand in our place today to recognize the outstanding contribution of Petty Officer Blake, both here and abroad, it is not lost on anyone that today we mark the 100th Anniversary of the Canadian Navy and we must do so acknowledging the loss of one of their own. To the current members serving our country, both here and abroad, we acknowledge your efforts and share in your sadness today. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

HON. KAREN CASEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today the Progressive Conservative caucus joins with all members of this House of Assembly and Canadians everywhere in remembering Petty Officer 2nd Class Craig Blake, who died this week while serving our country in Afghanistan. In extending our deepest condolences to his family and friends, we reflect on his contribution to the Forces as a Navy diver who was stationed here at CFB Shearwater and most recently as an EDO near Kandahar City. His loss carries particular significance on this, the 100th Anniversary of the Canadian Navy, as we look to the tremendous courage and service of all of the men and women who have dedicated their lives to defending our nation by sea and the rights of those who are being denied the most basic human and democratic freedoms.

Craig Blake, a 37-year-old husband and father from Simcoe, Ontario, represents the dedication demonstrated by members of our military service. While we mourn his passing as a nation, as a province, we, of course, recognize that the greatest loss is being felt by those who knew him best: his wife, his two young children, his family, his friends, and his fellow soldiers, who are remembering him today for his generous spirit, his love of card games, and his sense of purpose. A member of the military family said of Craig Blake that he was a true role model, and perhaps that is one of the most sincere testaments to the integrity of any life, that many felt fortunate simply to have known him.

We, too, are fortunate. We are fortunate to have had Petty Officer Blake and so many outstanding young men and women representing our country as defenders of peace. So as we mourn the loss, we also give thanks for his life and for all those who have made every effort to fulfill the mission of our Canadian Forces.

[A moment of silence was observed.]

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. Any further statements by ministers?

[Page 1850]

The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. ROSS LANDRY: Mr. Speaker, before I read the ministerial statement, I beg leave to introduce Department of Justice Legal Services Director Ed Gores and his administrative manager Susan Kidson. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. ROSS LANDRY: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in this House on this occasion to thank the Department of Justice Director of Legal Services, Ed Gores, and his administrative assistant, Susan Kidson, for their roles in the federal and provincial governments' landmark settlement with tobacco companies. On April 13, 2010, the Government of Canada, with participation from all provinces and territories, negotiated comprehensive agreements with two tobacco companies, the JTI-Macdonald Corporation and the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, who accepted responsibility for their role in the cross-border smuggling of contraband tobacco products in the early 1990s.

The federal government worked with other provinces and territories to negotiate a financial settlement whereby the tobacco companies involved paid a total of $550 million, which has been distributed to the provinces and Canada. From this settlement, Nova Scotia received $12.4 million, a welcome amount during these tough financial times.

Mr. Speaker, it was in 2004-05 that Nova Scotia filed a Crown claim against JTI-Macdonald Corporation. Over these past years, Ed Gores successfully represented the Province of Nova Scotia on behalf of the Departments of Justice, Health Promotion and Protection, and Finance. This complicated case often required Mr. Gores to travel to Vancouver, Toronto, and Ottawa for meetings with federal, provincial, and territory counterparts. This legal case was by no means easy, and took years to complete.

The $12.4 million Nova Scotia receives is a good resolution of a very complex case. The guilty plea is a clear signal that governments are making tobacco companies pay the price for aiding in the illicit traffic of tobacco production.

The government has taken action to protect the integrity of the tax system and the settlement and fines hold these companies accountable under the law for operating outside the system. The agreement reconfirms that all governments are united in their determination to address the problem and challenges posed by the contraband tobacco market. We do not want to see companies in Canada profit from illegal activities.

This settlement brings closure to the issue that had been outstanding for more than a decade, and again, I want to thank and congratulate Mr. Gores and Ms. Kidson for their hard work on this complex and complicated issue. Thank you. (Applause)

[Page 1851]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

HON. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise as the Justice Critic for the Official Opposition. I want to start by thanking the Minister of Justice for providing us with a copy of his statement prior to reading it today. I, too, want to commend both Ed Gores and his assistant, Susan Kidson, for the work they did.

I know I did have the opportunity to meet Mr. Gores previously in court and I can't remember what the matter was, but I know I was representing a constituent and he was representing the province, as he has done over so many years. We certainly commend him for the work that was done in ensuring that Nova Scotians were able to claim a portion of the settlement that was achieved.

One has to remember that Nova Scotia did claim when they joined this lawsuit a loss of $326 million in lost revenue in the form of taxation due to illegal cigarettes and illegal tobacco here in our province. Today we have a $12.2 million settlement out of a $326 million loss. That works out to about 3.8 cents on the dollar of what the government claims was lost here, which only Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick received less on the dollar of what they claimed.

My colleague, the honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park has raised this issue in the Legislature just last week and she requested government plans as to what is going to be done with the $12.2 million settlement. I would note that in the minister's statement that he gave absolutely no indication of what will be done with this money. Our question is, will it simply be added to general revenue, or will the revenue be used to increase enforcement? Because this government must have known that when they increased the HST by 2 per cent, history has shown us that increase in taxes usually leads to more smuggling and illegal tobacco making its way into Nova Scotia.

We've yet to hear of what plan the government has put in place to be able to address that since they have chosen to increase the HST by 2 per cent. At the same time, we question whether part of that $12.2 million will be used for smoking cessation programs. The rate of smoking in Nova Scotia remains too high, especially amongst young people, the rates are way too high and anything we can do not only as a government but as well as legislators to try to reduce those rates is something we should all be working for.

The other issue is that there are actually two lawsuits that were taking place. This one has now been settled, but the other lawsuit we are still awaiting for information from this government as to how they plan on proceeding with the health care costs recovery legislation which was passed by this House some years ago. In the Fall, I did raise the issue with the Minister of Justice and with the Premier, and it was quite clear from their answers that the government has yet to decide whether they are going to become part of this massive lawsuit

[Page 1852]

against tobacco companies for the costs to our health care system that have resulted from tobacco use in our province.

I would certainly hope the Minister of Justice would soon inform this House as to how we are going to proceed and to ensure that Nova Scotia, whether through Mr. Gores or through other legal representatives, are there to make sure our interests are being represented when this class action lawsuit goes forward to ensure that tobacco companies are held responsible for the costs and the devastation that has occurred to so many Nova Scotians, not only to our health care system, but to so many families who have lost loved ones due to tobacco-related issues.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I do commend those who worked so hard to make this settlement a reality, but certainly much more work needs to be done in deciding where the $12.2 million will be spent, as well, what role our government is going to play as we move forward on the health care costs recovery litigation. Thank you.

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

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, I'm very pleased to rise to respond to this statement on behalf of our Justice Critic, the honourable member for Cumberland South. It's also very fitting and I'm very pleased as a former Attorney General, Minister of Justice, having worked with Mr. Gores to be able to rise in the House and join with the minister and my other colleague, the member for Richmond, to recognize Mr. Gores and Ms. Kidson for their efforts.

[12:30 p.m.]

Indeed, the one thing I will say that Mr. Gores has had a great capacity in doing is to take a file and deal with it and oft times, as the minister would know, Mr. Gores would come in to do a briefing. The one thing I learned, there was nothing brief about the briefings but I'll tell you what it was - it was a comprehensive knowledge that was part of a pan-Canadian effort that Mr. Gores and his colleagues all did such a great job in securing for this province. It speaks as well to the quality and the integrity and the professionalism that we have in our Civil Service that sometimes goes unrecognized. Indeed we have that capacity within our Civil Service ranks. We have professionals that can do world-class work on our behalf from within the Civil Service. I know first-hand that the Department of Justice has many women and men working as outstanding professionals and indeed complement the work of this government to see the type of outcomes we have.

I want to say to Mr. Gores, Ms. Kidson and all of their colleagues a special thank you for their efforts and I would note also that for a government that is struck on wanting to have consultants, that a lot of capacity lies within the Civil Service to aid and support the government in its efforts. I know the Attorney General is well served and will continue to

[Page 1853]

have professionals within his department, to continue the effort and as was indicated, there's more work to do. Today, I want to say our kudos and compliments to Mr. Gores, Ms. Kidson and all of their colleagues that have been part of bringing this effort to a conclusion and thank them for their good work on behalf of all taxpayers of this province.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cumberland North on an introduction.

MR. BRIAN SKABAR: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to do an introduction today. With us in the east gallery are some constituents of mine from Cumberland North. We have Howard and Pauline Glenn, founder of the Grandparents' Rights for Nova Scotia Association and also the association members Faye Roode and Barb and Saul Fleck. I ask that all members give these guests a warm welcome to the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We welcome all our guests here this afternoon and hope they enjoy the proceedings of the House.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley on an introduction.

MR. GARY BURRILL: Mr. Speaker, thank you. I'd like to direct the attention of the House to the east gallery where we're being visited this afternoon by Percy MacPhee. Percy, from Stewiacke has for some years been a leading advocate for the interests of insurance claimants affected by the soft tissue cap and he's here with us this afternoon. He is, in Stewiacke, my neighbour and friend. Percy would you please stand and receive the welcome of the House.

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 1004

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

Whereas 100 years ago today, the Canadian Navy was born; and

Whereas the Canadian Navy has distinguished itself over the past century as a skilled, dedicated and courageous group of men and women; and

Whereas the Canadian Navy has called Halifax its home since its formation and CFB Halifax has become the largest military base in Canada;

[Page 1854]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Canadian Navy on its centennial and thank its sailors for its dedication and sacrifice over the past 100 years and 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 Deputy Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 1005

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

Whereas on May 1st, former Membertou First Nations Chief Lawrence Paul passed away in Sydney, Cape Breton; and

Whereas Lawrence Paul was devoted to Membertou First Nation and to the Mi'kmaq community as a whole and founded the Native Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselling Association, serving as its executive director; and

Whereas as the citizens of Membertou First Nation mourn the loss of an important role model and leader, they can take comfort in knowing that their fellow Nova Scotians are grieving with them and supporting them during this difficult time;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly extend the deepest condolences to the people of Membertou First Nation and join me in one minute of silence to pay tribute to this outstanding citizen.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 1855]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[A moment of silence was observed.]

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. The honourable Minister of Labour and Workforce Development.

RESOLUTION NO. 1006

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

Whereas all Nova Scotians deserve the peace of mind that the buildings they work, play, and live in are constructed safely; and

Whereas the Department of Labour and Workforce Development, in partnership with the Alliance of Canadian Building Officials Association and the Nova Scotia Buildings Officials Association, organize an annual Building Safety Week to highlight the important role municipal officials have in making buildings in our community safe; and

Whereas this year's theme in Nova Scotia, "Safer Buildings, Safer Communities," illustrates the role these professionals play in the overall health and safety of our province;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House agree to support May 2nd to May 8th as Building Safety Week in Nova Scotia and thank municipal officials who help keep Nova Scotians safe through their hard work.

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.

[Page 1856]

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health Promotion and Protection.

RESOLUTION NO. 1007

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

Whereas hospice palliative workers, both paid and voluntary, in Nova Scotia provide unconditional compassionate care and bring comfort and dignity to individuals approaching the end of their lives; and

Whereas Nova Scotia has supported its mandate to ensure quality end-of-life care by appointing the province's first Hospice Palliative Care Coordinator at the Department of Health, by establishing a network of hospice palliative care managers, by building capacity with volunteers and other partners, and by working to create a strategy for end-of-life care in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas during the week of May 2nd to May 8th, governments and health care workers and volunteers are raising awareness about hospice palliative care;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House recognize this week as Hospice Palliative Care Week in Nova Scotia and acknowledge the dedication of health care professionals, staff, and volunteers.

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 Minister of African Nova Scotian Affairs.

RESOLUTION NO. 1008

[Page 1857]

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

Whereas hip-hop artist Duane Gibson, a.k.a. D.O. or Defy the Odds, is a Guinness Book of World Records-celebrated rapper; and

Whereas for the past seven years, this Cape Breton native has used his talents to deliver a motivational message to nearly 500 elementary and junior high schools across Canada; and

Whereas the acclaimed artist brought his anti-bullying, anti-violence message to three schools in Nova Scotia this past week where he encouraged students to "stay driven";

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend Duane Gibson, a.k.a. Defy the Odds, for using his talent as a hip-hop artist to encourage Nova Scotia students to persevere against obstacles and believe in their dreams.

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

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

HON. STERLING BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, first, with regard to this bill that I will be tabling today to ban non-essential pesticide use in our province, I would like to introduce some special guests in our gallery, if I may.

MR. SPEAKER: Certainly.

MR. BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, in the east gallery, His Worship Mayor Robert Stead, the Mayor of Wolfville, and Meg McCallum and Mike DeRosenroll with the Canadian Cancer Society. Their CEO, Maureen Summers, sends her regrets. Also from the Ecology Action Centre and Pesticide Free Nova Scotia, Mr. Chris Benjamin and Elizabeth Peirce;

[Page 1858]

from the Sierra Club of Canada, Gretchen Fitzgerald; and also with them today is David Thompson and Peter Bugden. I would ask the House to give them a warm welcome and thank you for coming out. (Applause)

Bill No. 61 - Entitled an Act to Prohibit the Sale and Use of Non-essential Pesticides. (Hon. Sterling Belliveau)

Bill No. 62 - Entitled an Act to Repeal Chapter 314 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Nova Scotia Hospital Foundation Act. (Hon. Maureen MacDonald)

Bill No. 63 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 28 of the Acts of 2004. The Legal Profession Act. (Hon. Ross Landry)

MR. SPEAKER: Ordered that these bills be read a second time on a future day.

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 1009

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

Whereas today marks the 100th Anniversary of the Navy in Canada; and

Whereas the theme of the Canadian Naval Centennial is "Bring the Navy to Canadians" with events that are focused on honouring the past, showcasing the current Navy, and to look forward to the future of the Navy; and

Whereas for the past 100 years, the men and women of the Canadian Navy have played an important and central role to the life of Nova Scotia and will continue to be a significant part of our province into the future;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly recognize the role that the men and women of Canada's Navy have played in the life of Nova Scotia for the past 100 years, and look forward to continuing this vital relationship into the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 1859]

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. 1010

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

Whereas on May 4, 1910, the Naval Service Bill, which established a Canadian Navy, received Royal Assent; and

Whereas in the 100 years since its formation the Canadian Navy has laid the foundation of a truly sovereign nation, and has played an integral role in international peace and stability; and

Whereas for 100 years our bravest and brightest men and women have volunteered, and in many cases have given their lives, in order to defend their nation and keep its citizens safe;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly mark the 100th Anniversary of the Canadian Navy by celebrating its many achievements, by honouring all those who serve or have served in this Maritime Command, and by pledging to continue to support our Armed Forces to ensure they remain strong and proud.

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 1860]

[12:45 p.m.]

The honourable Minister of Agriculture.

RESOLUTION NO. 1011

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

Whereas volunteers often begin at a young age; and

Whereas 4-H has been the incubator for many young volunteers; and

Whereas on April 23, 2010, the Municipality of East Hants recognized Wanda Hamilton with a Shining Star Award for her volunteerism which began and continues with 4-H and now also includes Sunday school, Cobequid and District Home and School, and other community projects involving young people;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Wanda Hamilton on her Shining Star Award and thank her for her notable example of community service.

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 Leader of the Official Opposition.

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, I'd like to do an introduction prior to reading this resolution.

MR. SPEAKER: Certainly.

MR. MCNEIL: I'd like to draw the attention of the House to the west gallery where Bob Manuel is seated. Bob is no stranger to many in this House, he served in various capacities with former government and is now chief of staff for the Progressive Conservative

[Page 1861]

caucus. I would ask Bob to stand and show off his new haircut, and allow all members of the House to give him a warm welcome before I read this resolution. (Applause)

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

RESOLUTION NO. 1012

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

Whereas earlier this year Bob Manuel, a 10-year heart transplant survivor, launched the Have a Heart campaign in support of the multi-organ transplant program at the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre; and

Whereas wanting to give something back Bob vowed to cut his shoulder-length hair if he raised $5,000, or get a buzz if the total reached $10,000; and

Whereas on March 1st, during an episode of Breakfast Television, Bob went through with the buzz, raising over $10,000, and donated his hair for a cancer wig;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly congratulate Bob for surpassing his fundraising goal, thank him for his dedication to others, and admire him for his determination.

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. (Standing Ovation)

Well done.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 1013

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

[Page 1862]

Whereas former Membertou First Nation Chief Dr. Lawrence Frederick Paul was a hero, a leader, and a pioneer; and

Whereas whether it was serving his country as a paratrooper in World War II and the Korean War, forcing the federal government to take action regarding the substandard living conditions in Membertou, or founding the Native Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselling Association, Dr. Paul always worked in the best interests of the Mi'kmaq people across our region; and

Whereas on Saturday, May 1, 2010, former Chief Dr. Lawrence Paul passed away at the age of 84, leaving a legacy of hope and opportunity for the future of his people;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly recognize the tremendous work accomplished by former Chief Dr. Lawrence Paul and offer our deepest condolences to his family and the residents of the Membertou First Nation as they mourn the passing of this great leader.

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 Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

RESOLUTION NO. 1014

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

Whereas Adrienne Lee was born on February 12, 2010, at the IWK Health Centre and proudly calls Brooklyn, West Hants County, Nova Scotia, her home, where she resides with her parents, Steven and Ginger LeBoutillier, and her bulldog, Norton; and

Whereas Adrienne has been successful in doubling her weight, travelling extensively to Woods Harbour in Dartmouth to visit her grandparents, has become active in her

[Page 1863]

community as a member of Babylove Group of Windsor, and with help from her Aunt Suzanne has developed a keen sense of fashion; and

Whereas Adrienne is her family's sparkling sunshine and makes their world a happier place;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly recognize Adrienne Lee LeBoutillier's 100th day of life on May 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.

Congratulations.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

RESOLUTION NO. 1015

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

Whereas on this date in 1910 the Naval Service Bill received Royal Assent; and

Whereas the Naval Service Bill created a federal Department of the Naval Service, authorized a Naval Reserve Force and a Naval Volunteer Force, and established a naval college in Halifax in order to train prospective officers in all branches of naval science, strategy, and tactics; and

Whereas for the past 100 years the men and women of Canada's Navy have served their country with pride and have had an especially important impact on Nova Scotia;

[Page 1864]

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly recognize the significance of this date, which marks 100 years of the Navy in Canada, and congratulate and thank all members of the Navy, past and present, for their service to their country.

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. 1016

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 mental illness affects people of all ages, education level, income, and culture, and from May 3rd to May 9th mental health issues are recognized with National Mental Health Week; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia Mental Health Foundation and the Canadian Mental Health Association's Nova Scotia Division will host their 6th annual Inspiring Lives Awards luncheon this Thursday and recognize 12 Nova Scotians who have inspired others as they faced their own challenges with mental illness or addiction; and

Whereas by sharing their experiences, these individuals are helping to raise awareness about mental illness and fight against the stigma surrounding it;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate the fantastic work being undertaken by the Nova Scotia Division of the Canadian Mental Health Association and the Nova Scotia Mental Health Foundation as they continue to strive to make lives better for Nova Scotians suffering from this debilitating disease.

[Page 1865]

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.

RESOLUTION NO. 1017

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

Whereas Mr. Terry Hunt has been a dedicated volunteer in the Truro community for the past 20 years; and

Whereas Mr. Hunt has assisted in such projects as the renovation of the Colchester Legion Stadium, Victoria Park Pool, and the new Civic Centre project, and has been key to the development of the lacrosse program in Truro; and

Whereas Terry Hunt has been named the Truro Volunteer of the Year for 2010 for his outstanding commitment to volunteer work and being an inspiration by giving to the community in so many selfless ways;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Terry Hunt on receiving the Truro Volunteer of the Year Award for 2010, and acknowledge his hard work and strong sense of community.

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 1866]

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

MR. ANDREW YOUNGER: Mr. Speaker, with your permission I'll start with an introduction. I direct the attention of members of the House to the west gallery where we have a number of special guests. I think I have all the names right here: Gerald McCarthy, who was the very first principal of Prince Andrew High School from 1960 to 1965 and following his tenure became Superintendent of the Dartmouth School Board and retired as the Deputy Minister of Education. Nateleen Zinck, retired educator and co-chair of the Prince Andrew 50th Reunion Committee. Judy Morrison, a partner in Brokerage House Financial and co-chair of the reunion committee. Gil Irwin, retired Dartmouth police officer, a former Prince Andrew High School grad and responsible for the reunion's sports memorabilia exhibit. I think Clyde Horner is there as well, who has organized the folks who are here today. I'd like the House to welcome them to your House today, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)

I might add, Mr. Speaker, I'm also a grad of the best high school in Nova Scotia, Prince Andrew High School. (Interruptions) Touché, touché.

RESOLUTION NO. 1018

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

Whereas Prince Andrew High School first opened its doors on Woodlawn Road in Dartmouth in September 1960; and

Whereas in honour of the 50th Anniversary, Prince Andrew High School will host a Golden Jubilee reunion from July 22nd to July 24th this year; and

Whereas students from Prince Andrew High School who graduated between 1960 and1965 under the stewardship of Principal Gerald J. McCarthy during the McCarthy Era will participate in this weekend-long event;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Prince Andrew High School on its 50th Anniversary, send best wishes to all graduates of the McCarthy Era and the organizers of the Golden Jubilee reunion and welcome home to Dartmouth all those graduates returning for this momentous occasion.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 1867]

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. 1019

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

Whereas Wendy Martin has been reporting with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for more than 20 years and currently serves as the Senior News Producer of CBC Cape Breton; and

Whereas the Canadian Radio and Television News Directors' Association recently presented Wendy with the Creative Use of Sound Award for her story on the flight of the Silver Dart, which aired on CBC Radio in July 2009; and

Whereas Wendy, along with Christina Harnett, has also been nominated for 2009 Atlantic Journalism Award for Enterprise Reporting for their story, Trouble in Cape Breton;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Wendy Martin and all the staff of CBC Cape Breton for their continued excellence in bringing the stories of Cape Breton to life.

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 1868]

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 1020

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

Whereas today marks the 100th Anniversary of the Royal Canadian Navy with celebrations and parades taking place both at home here on the East Coast and in Victoria, B.C. on the West Coast; and

Whereas my daughter Lieutenant Kelsey Dauphinee, a MARS Officer on the HMCS Algonquin stationed in Esquimalt, B.C., will be participating today with many of her colleagues in the naval centennial celebration; and

Whereas these celebrations will pay tribute to our Royal Canadian Navy, her 100-year history as well as acknowledging the many years of dedicated service of sailors past and present;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly recognize and celebrate the centennial of the Royal Canadian Navy and congratulate my daughter, Lieutenant Kelsey Dauphinee,, a MARS Officer on the HMCS Algonquin presently stationed in Esquimalt, B.C. as she participates with her colleagues in these celebrations.

[1:00 p.m.]

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. 1021

[Page 1869]

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

Whereas GEM Health Care Group has been working on the development of a new long-term health facility with the Department of Health and the Halifax Regional Municipality for a number of years; and

Whereas the project was approved by the department and HRM Council in early Spring of 2009; and

Whereas the sod-turning ceremony for the long- awaited and community-supported project will happen today, May 4, 2010;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate GEM Health Care Group on the start of construction for their new health care facility at 6 Admiral Street in Dartmouth.

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 Inverness.

RESOLUTION NO. 1022

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

Whereas May is Gaelic Awareness Month; and

Whereas maintaining tradition is not about living in our past, but about better understanding ourselves and appreciating from where we have come; and

[Page 1870]

Whereas education helps people to correct inaccurate views they may have about the many cultures for which our province is blessed;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly recognize the value of government support for ethnic cultures in our province, because knowing and understanding each other's cultures achieves a higher level of humanity for us all.

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 Lunenburg.

RESOLUTION NO. 1023

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

Whereas Allen Veinotte of West Northfield has been a member of the Lunenburg County Christmas Tree Producers Association since 1999, growing beautiful trees for export and also for residents of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas in December 2009, Allen Veinotte donated a 17- foot balsam fir tree from the Lunenburg County Christmas Tree Producers "Very Important People" Tree Program; and

Whereas this magnificent balsam fir was displayed proudly in the Red Room of Province House for the Christmas season of 2009 for all to enjoy;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly thank Mr. Allen Veinotte for his family donating the wonderful tree that graced the Red Room of Province House for the Christmas season in December 2009.

[Page 1871]

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. 1024

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

Whereas nearly 100 members, leaders and friends of the 1st Bedford Scouts, Cubs, and Beavers banded together on April 20, 2010, to clean up Frenchmans Brook in Dartmouth; and

Whereas they collected 75 bags of garbage and recyclables, as well as numerous paint cans, propane tanks, and other debris; and

Whereas this effort was part of 1st Bedford's efforts to mark Earth Day;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly commend the 1st Bedford Scouts, Cubs, and Beavers and wish them well in their continuing efforts to clean up our watercourses.

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.

[Page 1872]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Hants West.

RESOLUTION NO. 1025

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

Whereas Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers Program is an annual competition to recognize farmers who exemplify excellence in their profession, and to promote the contribution of agriculture; and

Whereas the Atlantic Region's title for Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers has gone to Patricia Bishop and Josh Oulton of Port Williams; and

Whereas both Patricia and Josh are graduates of Nova Scotia Agriculture College and last year the couple launched a very successful community-shared agriculture program, growing 26 varieties of vegetables for members locally and in Halifax;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Patricia Bishop and Josh Oulton of Port Williams on winning this prestigious 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 Guysborough-Sheet Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 1026

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

[Page 1873]

Whereas the Municipality of the District of Guysborough held its volunteer awards night on April 19, 2010; and

Whereas each year the municipality recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution to their community; and

Whereas in recognition of his contribution to the Manchester-Boylston Volunteer Fire Department, Danny MacPherson is one of the 2010 Municipality of the District of Guysborough Volunteer Awards recipients;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly congratulate Danny MacPherson on his 2010 Municipality of the District of Guysborough Volunteer Award and wish him continued success in his 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 Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 1027

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

Whereas Olive Doris King of Myra Road in Porters Lake was born on September 20, 1910, and is one of six children raised on Hawthorne Street in Dartmouth by her parents, James Albert and Margaret Florence Bowes; and

Whereas Mrs. King's family survived the Halifax Explosion, even though at the time her brother was standing in front of a window and suffered only minor scratches and her father was driving the Halifax-Dartmouth Ferry; and

[Page 1874]

Whereas Mrs. King married Ernest King and worked as a bookkeeper for various businesses in metro;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize Olive Doris King on her 100th birthday in September and wish her continued good health and happiness.

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. 1028

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

Whereas on Sunday, May 2nd at Munro Park, formerly known as Kellys Beach, there was an unveiling of six panels depicting the Northside's military history and also the unveiling of the PBY-5A Canso Seaplane monument during ceremonies to mark the 67th Anniversary of the end of the Battle of the Atlantic; and

Whereas during World Wars I and II, Kellys Beach was home to a seaplane base that provided protection for conveys that sailed in and out of Sydney Harbour en route to support the war effort in Europe; and

Whereas this monument, developed and managed by the Cape Breton Regional Municipality staff and the Cape Breton County Economic Development Authority, and the seaplane replica created by metal fabricator Todd Vassallo of Pictou County, will preserve our military history and recognize the contributions of the North Sydney community to achieving peace in our world;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating Councillor Gordon MacLeod, Bill Murphy, Mary Lynn MacPhee, Megan Detheridge, Eileen Lannon Oldford, Don Smith, and Todd Vassallo for their combined efforts in bringing this dream to reality.

[Page 1875]

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 Hants West.

RESOLUTION NO. 1029

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

Whereas going that extra mile for your community is what the Victory Credit Union in Windsor, Hants County, is all about and that extra effort has earned them the title of the Town of Windsor's Business Volunteer of the Year provincial representative; and

Whereas the staff at the Victory Credit Union has consistently assisted with funding for local non-profit groups and organizations, as well as sponsoring many athletic associations and providing bursaries for local high school graduates; and

Whereas participating in events such as the Windsor Pumpkin Regatta, Walton Days Parade, FEED Nova Scotia food drives, and the Children's Wish Fund telethon, just to name a few, is an excellent exercise in team building and a great boost for the staff;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate all the staff of the Victory Credit Union and thank them wholeheartedly for their generosity in giving back to the community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 1876]

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. 1030

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

Whereas Park West School takes pride in being one of the most multicultural schools in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas on April 22, 2010, the school hosted a Canadian citizenship ceremony for 51 people from 26 countries, including two families from the Park West School community; and

Whereas this ceremony was preceded by a round table discussion which brought community members, students and new Canadians together to talk about our shared values and active citizenship;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the parents, volunteers, staff and students who made this ceremony so memorable for the new Canadians and provided such an enriching experience for the school students and visitors alike.

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 Inverness.

[Page 1877]

RESOLUTION NO. 1031

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

Whereas Jamie Chiasson of Cheticamp was awarded the 2009 Lieutenant Governor's Medal for École NDA; and

Whereas Jamie's family was awarded the Nova Scotia Volunteer Family of the Year Award in 2009; and

Whereas Jamie participates in most school committees, has his own CKJM weekly radio show and volunteers with Pere Fiset, Le Conseil des Arts de Cheticamp, and Le Grand Cercle;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly recognize Jamie for his academic standing and his contributions to his community.

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. 1032

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

Whereas Candace Sutherland arrived in North Sydney on her cross-Canada run to support four charities, having begun her run in Newfoundland and Labrador on March 20th; and

Whereas this Manitoba teenager will be the first female and the first Aboriginal female to run across Canada and actually was running through Antigonish yesterday morning; and

[Page 1878]

Whereas Candace is running to gain support for the Salvation Army, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, the Canadian Diabetes Association and the Canadian Cancer Society, Candace and her Vision4Hope run expect to be in British Columbia by Christmas;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly join me in wishing Candace a successful run and thank her for her commitment to raise money for great causes.

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. 1033

.

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

Whereas veteran Lunenburg County firefighter Martin Bell recently received an honorary With Glowing Hearts medal from the Canadian Light Force Command on behalf of Canadian firefighters; and

Whereas Mr. Bell is the president of the Canadian Volunteer Fire Services Association; and

Whereas the association was involved in the Canadian Human Watts Power Tour, which involved pedaling a bike across Canada, generating power which was downloaded into fuel cells and used by power stations to power defibrillators and other types of equipment;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Martin Bell on receiving this prestigious award.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 1879]

Is it 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 on an introduction.

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Thank you very much . Mr. Speaker, I'd like to draw the attention of the members to the west gallery where we have some visitors with us. We have Mr. Cleon Smith and Ms. Susan Walker. Mr. Smith is the coordinator of the Halifax Chapter for the Canadian Council of the Blind. Ms. Walker is an active member of the same Halifax chapter and she is also a constituent of mine and a neighbour in Clayton Park West. I'd like them to rise and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We welcome our guests here this afternoon.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: The time is now 1:15 p.m. Oral Question Period will go until 2:15 p.m.

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

[1:15 p.m.]

ENVIRON. - GULF OF MEXICO OIL SPILL:

GEORGES BANK MORATORIUM - EFFECT

MR. HAROLD THERIAULT: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Environment. Since April 20th the oil spill catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico has gotten worse. There's no question that this is one of the worst environmental disasters the world has ever seen. So my question to the minister is, has this unprecedented disaster steered you away from lifting the moratorium on Georges Bank in 2012?

HON. STERLING BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, I think the question needs to be directed to the Minister of Energy, but I don't have a problem addressing it. I tell you I watch

[Page 1880]

with great interest. I'm aware of what's going on in the Gulf and it's a very troubling issue, I can assure you of that. I also can tell the member opposite that I pay attention to these situations around the world and I can tell you that our government is in the process of making an informed decision and I'm very confident that with the expertise around our table, our caucus, our Minister of Energy, we'll make that informed decision at an appropriate time.

MR. THERIAULT: Mr. Speaker, President Obama has extended the moratorium on Georges Bank until 2017. Yesterday, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger withdrew his support for a plan to expand oil exploration off the Coast of California.

Mr. Speaker, the minister keeps talking about how great the technology is for oil drilling but we've just seen what the most up-to-date technology has done to the Gulf of Mexico. So my question to the minister is, since this disaster off the Coast of Louisiana, are you still sure about the drilling technology you've promoted these past weeks?

MR. BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, I think the member opposite needs to be clear on the discussions. I have said very consistently in the last number of weeks that our government, our Cabinet, is gathering information. There have been advances in technology. We are recognizing that, and in order to make an informed decision, we have to gather all that information. The decision will be made by June 1st and I'm very confident in our Cabinet, I'm very confident in the Minister of Energy, and that information needs to be gathered and we will make an informed decision at the appropriate time.

MR. THERIAULT: Mr. Speaker, the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will affect the ecosystem, the fishing industry, the tourism industry, and the lives of millions of people in that region. Even the tuna stocks in our region may be affected by this disaster. The decision on lifting the moratorium is a joint federal-provincial verdict. So my question to the minister is, have you spoken to the federal government about this important issue and are they for or against lifting the moratorium on Georges Bank?

MR. BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, I'm going to answer part of that question and defer it to the Minister of Energy for the closing response, but I can tell you before I turn it over to the Minister of Energy, I want to assure the member opposite and all members of this House that my former job as a fisherman, I can surely tell you that that expertise is being brought to our caucus and our Cabinet. The understanding of that environment from zooplankton to the migration of whales, that particular information is being brought there, and I can assure you that the Minister of Energy will make the informed decision, and I'll defer that question now to the Minister of Energy.

HON. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for this question. You know we all have much to learn from what has happened on the Louisiana Coast. We certainly don't have all the answers and I do share that continuing concern. I hear it all the time in my office, in Energy, the technology, the technology and the improvements. I want the member opposite to know that I'm in regular contact with federal officials on not

[Page 1881]

just this issue but other issues. This is an ongoing concern. It is something, of course, we're paying attention to as citizens concerned about our environment and as the minister who's going to advise my Cabinet colleagues within the next number of days and weeks about my final advice. I thank you for bringing the matter to my attention and I can assure you it will be one of the factors that I will consider as I make this decision.

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

EDUC.: MATH MENTOR PROG. - EVALUATION FRAMEWORK

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Education. In a letter to me dated February 19th the minister stated that her department was working in conjunction with school board leaders on a provincial mentor framework involving mathematics and that an evaluation framework would soon be put together. I will table that letter. My question to the minister is, can she give us the status of the evaluation framework today?

HON. MARILYN MORE: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to say that my government shares the math mentor program as a priority and I do want to give credit to the former government. I believe the program started around the time that I was first elected so I've been following its evolution very carefully. Certainly it's about seven years old and it is time to do an evaluation and that's something that is going to be started in the near future, thank you.

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that information from the minister and I believe she is sincere. It is good news but there are conflicting messages. The Minister of Finance repeatedly said in his Back to Balance tour that there would be no additional dollars to expand programs. In that correspondence of February 19th that I tabled, the minister indicated a willingness to increase the funding to widen the scope to support the math mentor program and these appear to be conflicting. My question to the minister is, will there be increased funding to support the expansion and scope of the provincial mentoring program in math?

MS. MORE: Mr. Speaker, I don't have the information to compare it to last year but certainly I am aware that over $2 million has been invested to maintain the mentors and the relevant professional development activities required to promote that program. I understand that some boards have invested some of their other formula funding into math mentorships as well, thank you.

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, I will be following that with interest. In the same correspondence of February 19th, the minister stated that the Nova Scotia math curriculum for each grade level was going to be reviewed. My question to the minister is, has the review begun and what is the timeline for completion?

[Page 1882]

MS. MORE: Mr. Speaker, my recollection is that that review has been done. I think it's getting towards its final stages and I think they've been looking at some models in western Canada that have found that it has been very effective to have fewer objectives for each grade level and teachers are then able to teach it to a higher standard. I think that's the area that they're looking at and the direction they're going in but it hasn't been finalized. Certainly we've looked at what's working well in other parts of Canada and we'll be trying to integrate that into our program as soon as possible, thank you.

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

HEALTH - LUCENTIS: ACCESS - DENIAL EXPLAIN

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. On Friday, Prince Edward Island announced 10 new drugs would be added to their formulary. Lucentis is one of those drugs among them. As all the members of the House know, Lucentis is a medication that not only prevents someone from going blind but can also improve the eyesight of someone who has already experienced vision loss. Members of the House will be aware that this leaves Nova Scotia now as the last province in Canada not to fund Lucentis as part of their formulary.

While in Opposition, the NDP were strong proponents that Lucentis be included in the drugs that are available to our Pharmacare Program members, and now that they're in power and have the power to do something about it, they're refusing to. Mr. Speaker, I'm going to ask the Minister of Health, through you, how can she continue to deny Nova Scotians access to Lucentis when every other province in Canada has seen the value of this investment?

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for the question. Our province spent, last year, about $240 million for drug coverage. There are always new drugs that are coming forward that offer benefit to patients - Lucentis is clearly

one of those drugs. We have to make difficult decisions about drugs in the Department of Health, but our government has a plan to make drugs more affordable with the drug management policy unit, which we'll be setting up. It will have at least three initiatives we've identified that can help us arrive at more affordable drugs. I look forward to a time when those initiatives will see drugs like Lucentis on our formulary.

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, the minister mentions difficult decisions the department has to make. I'd like to ask her if she's thought about the difficult decisions that people living with macular degeneration have to make. (Applause) If they haven't the money, they're facing blindness and I think the minister knows that.

Mr. Speaker, I'm wondering whether you're familiar with the term "patent cliff". The patent cliff refers to the time when patents on certain drugs expire and the Pharmacare Programs automatically revert to generics. This, in every instance, results in real savings for

[Page 1883]

government. My question to the minister is, could she please confirm, for the benefit of the House, whether her government will save a total of $12.5 million this year alone as a result of the patent cliff?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member, I am aware of the terminology. There are brand name drugs that this year will be reverting to generic drugs. However, no drugs will be coming off the formulary. The generic drug costs in Canada - we pay among the highest generic drug costs in the country. This is, I think, one of the initiatives that we've identified as an area that we need to lead an initiative through our drug management policy unit when it's up and running, so that we will see more affordable drugs, and we'll be able to redirect any savings back into drug coverage for people in the Province of Nova Scotia.

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, the drug management policy unit that the minister is referring to is not expected to be in place until about a year is up, and we need changes today. Prince Edward Island is undergoing a major reorganization of their entire health system, and they were able to announce 10 new drugs that go on the formulary. I do challenge the minister to tell us what takes so long here in Nova Scotia, given the fact that we have $12.5 million that's coming available.

If that figure is correct, the minister didn't tell me specifically, but that is the figure she gave to the Canadian Council of the Blind when we had a visitor here a couple of weeks ago. Given that, the net cost of Lucentis is only $2.5 million, so we would actually have plenty of money in that savings from this patent change coming up in the next year. With that, my question to the minister is, can you please tell Mr. Smith, who is visiting us here in the gallery today, why you are delaying a decision to invest in Lucentis when the minister clearly has the financial capacity to do so?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the actual cost of Lucentis for this year would be about $4.5 million. Over a three-year period, we're looking at an expenditure

of $10 million. We will continue to work to make drugs more affordable for Nova Scotians through a variety of initiatives that the drug management policy unit will be designed to implement. I, again, will look forward to seeing Lucentis, as well as a number of other drugs, covered in our formulary when we have the means to be able to do that.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

ERD - NORTHERN TIMBER: LEGAL FEES/COSTS

- DETAILS

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Economic and Rural Development. Last Thursday I asked the minister about the province's loans to Northern Timber. The minister responded with, "So again, these transactions, they're very deep, they're very complex." My question to the minister is, now that you've had a few days

[Page 1884]

to review this deep and complex transaction, can you tell the House more information as to who is paying for the legal fees and insurance for Northern Timber?

[1:30 p.m.]

HON. PERCY PARIS: Mr. Speaker, Northen Pulp, as far as I know - it certainly wasn't the Province of Nova Scotia.

MR. GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, I'd like to thank the minister for tabling one page of the contract last Thursday, and I'll table it back to him because it had nothing to offer. It's too bad we already have a copy, as well as the other seven pages of the contract - $75 million of taxpayers' money, one of the largest loans on record in the province, loaned without an accurate description to this House as to who is paying the legal fees and the insurance for Northern Timber. My question to the minister is very basic, who is paying the fees and insurance for this contract, the province or Northern Timber?

MR. PARIS: Mr. Speaker, I will reiterate that Northern Pulp was a very, very complicated transaction. There were a lot of intimate details with that transaction; it was something that didn't materialize in a matter of weeks. This was a contract that took an enormous amount of time. When a member, any member in this House, asks for any intimate details on any contract that we've done here with the Province of Nova Scotia, I think it's only fair - I wouldn't want to give out wrong or false information, I would certainly like to do some research and I'll get back to the member.

MR. GLAVINE: Well, Mr. Speaker, it's not really that complicated. It's a seven-page document - it's just that important information for Nova Scotia taxpayers is left out.

Mr. Speaker, the NDP Government and this minister seem to have taken spending habits from the previous Progressive Conservative Government: spend now; ask questions later; hope for the best. I would have gladly walked across the floor last week, as the minister

suggested, except I don't think I would have received an answer with that approach either. If the province is using taxpayers' money to pay the legal fees and insurance for Northern Timber, then the minister should report that to this House.

My question to the minister is, how much will the legal and insurance fees cost Nova Scotians from your deal with Northern Timber?

MR. PARIS: Mr. Speaker, my response remains the same. Again, that offer for any member of this House to come to me in a very, very civil manner and ask an appropriate question, I along with my staff will work diligently to get that information. If the member wants to meet with me and with staff with respect to Northern Pulp, I would be more than happy to arrange that meeting. We, as a government, have nothing to hide.

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

[Page 1885]

OFFSHORE TECHNOLOGY CONF. (HOUSTON):

ENERGY MIN. - SEND

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Deputy Premier. It's almost like in Nova Scotia there's a new game of "Where's Waldo?" This time it's "where's the Premier?" We've known whether it was up with the union bosses, he's publicly said he's not in the province, he's in Houston.

MR. SPEAKER: Just a reminder, you cannot refer to a member who is not present.

MR. CLARKE: He has already provided public notice that he's not in the House. So we know the Premier is in Houston today, Mr. Speaker, for OTC, a very important conference. Even though there are important things as Minister responsible for Military Relations, with the 100th Anniversary of the Navy taking place here in the capital and throughout Nova Scotia, but one of the things is that we have the Minister of Energy at a time when energy issues are so paramount in this province, when there are other matters and the minister, as you know, is a very accomplished and capable person - Nova Scotians have a question to the Deputy Premier, and that is, why not Bill in Houston?

HON. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, when they were in government, they sent a "Bill" and that was a disaster - we remember that Bill as an Energy Minister.

Mr. Speaker, when the Premier is out representing this province, whether it's Vietnam, whether it's in Houston, whether it's in Toronto, it is about bringing business back to this province, and I think it's more than a bit disingenuous for the member to talk about him not being here on a day to honour military, particularly the Navy, where he proudly served. Thank you very much.

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians would be very proud if the Premier would serve here at home in Nova Scotia once in a while. In fact, average Nova Scotians themselves have gotten creative, and I will note that one Nova Scotian has sent in, and I will table for the House here, a caricature that says, "DD come home." On behalf of Nova Scotians, I'll just table that.

MR. SPEAKER: No props allowed in the House.

MR. CLARKE: Sorry, it's a document for tabling, but it just goes to show you, Mr. Speaker, that average Nova Scotians are picking up on the absenteeism and are wondering. With regard to the issue of energy - and the now-Deputy Premier has been at OTC, he's aware of it. So I say, the Premier with something at home, to the Deputy Premier, why aren't you there, because you know what it's all about?

[Page 1886]

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, first of all, I want to respond to the member by thanking him for having that confidence in me, but the Premier is the Premier. He leads this province and, as I mentioned in my previous answer, he has been in Houston, he has been in Toronto, he has been in Vietnam. He is bringing jobs back, that's how he's serving this province. He's bringing jobs, good jobs, to this province. Thank you very much. (Applause)

MR. CLARKE: Well, Mr. Speaker, the Premier's new theme song may be I've Been Everywhere, and that's very cold comfort to people who don't have jobs and the communities in this province that have been abandoned by the socialist NDP. I would like to do my final supplementary to the Minister of Energy. The minister knows, the now-Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, the member for Shelburne - and I'll table this campaign literature. It says as part of it: "the moratorium on Georges Bank is maintained."

That was a platform commitment of the NDP. Yet the minister has not provided clarity. The people are looking for the clarity. They will not do an independent transparent panel. So what is it? Is it development or no development in Nova Scotia, or is the plan of the government just air miles for all?

HON. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for a couple of those questions. You know, I have a lot of things of consequence decided in our department as we're looking at the important decisions which are going to be forthcoming over the next number of days and weeks. One of them that's kept me from doing the extensive travelling which you're suggesting is that we're looking very carefully at the important decision around Georges. I can assure members opposite, I have listened to members who literally buttonholed me with their opinions. I've listened to people on the street. I continue to read the materials, and I want you to know this decision is an important decision for this government and for this province, and it will be the right decision. It will be made by this minister who is taking his time to stay here and do his homework. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Preston.

ERD: DEEP PANUKE PROJ. - N.S. INVOLVEMENT

MR. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Economic and Rural Development. The Deep Panuke project is going to require a significant amount of input in the very near future. My question is, can the minister tell Nova Scotians what he has done to ensure Nova Scotian involvement in this project?

[Page 1887]

HON. PERCY PARIS: Mr. Speaker, that's more of an Energy type of question than it is for Economic and Rural Development. The Minister of Energy would be more appropriate to respond to that question.

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL: That's why you're here. (Laughter)

HON. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: To the Leader of the Official Opposition, I guess that's why I am here. (Laughter) I thank the member for the question. As I look at another one of these types of issues, I want to assure the member opposite that, again, it's one of those types of issues and one of those types of concerns, but I must admit that when it comes to issues within my staff, that will be something I'll have to get back to you on.

MR. COLWELL: Well, to start with, I'm very disappointed in the minister's answer - both ministers. Mr. Speaker, again I'm going to ask the Minister of Economic and Rural Development. This is an Economic and Rural Development issue, a serious one. We are talking a significant number of jobs here, these are highly paid jobs. This project is over $100 million. Nova Scotia stands to benefit substantially from this project. How many jobs will Nova Scotia get from this $100 million-plus project?

MR. PARIS: Mr. Speaker, again I reiterate, that's a file that hasn't come to my attention, to my desk, to my portfolio. That's a file that has been thoroughly vetted through the Department of Energy. The Minister of Energy made an offer to the honourable member and I would make the same offer.

MR. COLWELL: Again, I'm very disappointed with the answer. I know the answer to the question and neither minister can tell me what the answer is. This project again is over $100 million dollars, $100 million on the Deep Panuke Project. There was an off-set that apparently this government doesn't have a clue about - 1.1 million man-hours was supposed to be spent in Nova Scotia, 1.1 million and the ministers don't even know anything about it. I just wonder how they're possibly running this province. It's an important economic generator for Nova Scotia and the ministers definitely do not know anything about it. This project has been on the radar for many people for a long time and it should be discussed.

The ministers have an important role to play in ensuring Nova Scotians get these jobs. How are you going to enforce the Nova Scotia requirement on this if you don't even know what the requirement is?

MR. PARIS: Mr. Speaker, I can assure that member and all members of this House, when there are job opportunities and before waves hit, between the Department of Economic and Rural Development, whether it be the Department of Environment, whether it be the Department of Energy, whether it be the Department of Labour and Workforce Development, whether it be the Department of Education, we work with companies.

This whole Cabinet and this whole caucus work with those organizations and those companies that are bringing good jobs to the Province of Nova Scotia so that we will be

[Page 1888]

prepared, unlike other governments in the past and long-ago governments that when the waves hit, just weren't ready. We will be ready.

[1:45 p.m.]

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

HEALTH - CAREGIVERS: SUPPORT/BENEFIT CHANGES

- TIME FRAME

MR. KEITH BAIN: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is for the Minister of Health. In the Speech From the Throne delivered in this Legislature on March 25th, it stated: "Caregivers play a vital role in helping their loved ones. In consultation with stakeholders, my government will change the existing Caregiver Allowance Program to improve support and benefit for caregivers."

The Canadian Alzheimer's Society in a report released in early January said that Canadians are developing dementia at such a rapid rate that dealing with the problem will cost a total of more than $870 billion over the next 30 years. The society said that more than 103,700 people developed dementia in 2008 in Canada, startling information. Through you to the minister, I would like to know how long will it be before this change mentioned in the Speech From the Throne will occur?

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for the question. Caregivers are indeed a very important group of people in our province and they're very important to people in the Department of Health and to this government. That's why we've met with groups like the Alzheimer's Society of Nova Scotia, Caregivers Nova Scotia and other stakeholders with respect to the Caregivers' Allowance, as well as the coming wave of dementia that is predicted in the report that the honourable member mentioned.

MR. BAIN: Mr. Speaker, again through you to the Minister of Health, with the changes you are contemplating, can you assure Nova Scotians today there will be a new and

improved scoring system so that Nova Scotians, when they require care that can be provided by their loved ones, will get it and not become caught in a tangle of government bureaucracy?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, as I was saying, we're consulting with the various stakeholder groups. We're reviewing the program that was initiated in August. We're looking at various options to support caregivers in the province and we will fulfill the election commitment that this government made to have an improved in-home support and other supports for caregivers in this year of our particular election commitment.

MR. BAIN: Mr. Speaker, the minister might have answered my final supplementary, but I will ask it to get a fine timeline, if I can. My final supplementary to the Minister of

[Page 1889]

Health: In your campaign literature distributed last Spring, your Party said that a government led by the NDP would implement self-managed care allowances and personal alert assistance programs in year one of the mandate. When can the constituents of Victoria-The Lakes and everywhere across Nova Scotia, expect to see your highly-touted policy without pertinent restrictions?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out to the honourable member that the four commitments we made for the year that we just completed, eliminating security deposits, having an out-of-province travel program, appointing an ER adviser and having ministerial accountability for ER closures, were all fulfilled within (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order. Order, please.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, they were all fulfilled within the commitments made in the election and so will we fulfill the commitments that the honourable member referred to.

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

EDUC. - STRAIT REG. SCH. BD.: SCH. CLOSURES

- REVIEW PROCESS

MS. KELLY REGAN: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. There are several schools in the Strait Regional School Board currently under review for closure. Parents are worried and they have objections to the review process. Have you met with these parents about their concerns?

HON. MARILYN MORE: Mr. Speaker, certainly, my staff have been in regular contact with officials of that school board. I haven't personally been asked to meet with any of the parents. We are ensuring that the processes, the various components of the provincial review policy are being fully used by the school board. These are very emotional and very serious decisions and we encourage both the parents and the community and the school board to follow the procedures as laid out in that document.

MS. REGAN: Mr. Speaker, last week I asked the Minister of Education and the Premier about their plans to support a school in Eastern Passage. During this exchange the Premier contradicted the advice of board staff and said that building the school might lead to the closure of others. He seems to think that there is not a conflict.

So my question to the Minister of Education is, why is your government considering building a school not on the priority list in HRM while ignoring parental concerns about school closures in Guysborough and Antigonish?

[Page 1890]

MS. MORE: Mr. Speaker, my government recognizes that the policies and procedures around school reviews and capital construction have had a long period of being tried out and the experience is such that we are committed to honouring those processes and we will work within the agreed upon strategies and policies of the Department of Education and the government. So, we are working within those processes, we will honour them. Thank you.

MS. REGAN: Mr. Speaker, this is all so very interesting, considering that the Finance Minister, on a flight of fancy, said they would not be the government to close schools. This government intervened in the school board process and said it would be willing to meet with the board to discuss a school in Eastern Passage, despite staff recommendations that a school should not be built. Is the government going to intervene this time and prevent the closure of schools in the Strait region?

MS. MORE: Mr. Speaker, I think everyone in this province recognizes the fiscal reality. Add to that the fact that we're losing approximately 3,000 students per year and the declining enrolment. Everyone realizes that the investment of public money into students and their programming and the teachers and support staff who are necessary to provide that programming have to be priorities. I don't think any government would say that we're going to protect every building at the cost of not providing quality education to the students. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.

TCH - TOURISM OPERATORS: LOSSES - COMPENSATION

MR. CHUCK PORTER: Mr. Speaker, my question is through you to the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage. Tourism operators across our province are feeling the effects of the Dexter NDP Government's decisions. The loss of direct daily ferry service from the United States means that people on a seven-day vacation will now spend many more hours driving through other provinces rather than coming directly to our province with their money.

This means a change to coach tour itineraries and a loss of hotel nights. What is being done to compensate these tourism operators for these losses?

HON. PERCY PARIS: Mr. Speaker, we continue to work with all tourism operators in the Province of Nova Scotia for the benefit of tourism in Nova Scotia in general. I've got to say here, we should be proud of the Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage for the fine job they've done.

I mentioned here about a couple of weeks ago, Mr. Speaker, about a $1.3 billion and at a time of a global economic recession - for us to be able to hold that, I think, is remarkable. So obviously there's some hard work being done, which will continue to be done as we try to hold the line and, more than that, we will try to increase the number of tourists coming to the Province of Nova Scotia.

[Page 1891]

MR. PORTER: Mr. Speaker, another policy hurting tourism operators in our province is the increase in the HST, giving our province the highest sales tax in the country. Because the Canadian dollar is now at par with the American dollar, American tourists are not as plentiful. Those who do come are trying to figure out how to save money wherever they can. Has the department done any research into the effects the increase in the HST will have on tourism in our province?

MR. PARIS: Yes, Mr. Speaker, there has been some research done with respect to the HST. I am of the opinion that if I'm planning a vacation, one of the factors that does not go into my equation and I think I speak for many tourists, is not whether or not the HST is in play or not, when I plan a vacation I know - and tourists know that they're going to spend money. That is one of the reasons they go on vacation, to spent money in area X, get some souvenirs, do some sightseeing.

Mr. Speaker, the HST, in my opinion, is not going to play a significant role in deterring people from coming to the Province of Nova Scotia.

MR. PORTER: Well, Mr. Speaker, maybe I'm a little more frugal but I know when I go on vacation that dollars do matter and I want to get the most for what I can and I do live within a budget, I think most do. I don't think that too many people go on a holiday and spend freely and at will and it doesn't matter what the final number is.

Mr. Speaker, tourism operators like the owners of Molega Tours in East Uniacke, who have called their NDP MLA, looking for answers, have been told there are no plans in place to help them with the most serious issue they're facing. Because they pre-book tours months in advance, they cannot now change the terms of their contracts and are forced to eat the 2 per cent tax increase, this, on top of already slim margins in the tourism industry.

When the federal government removed the visitor rebate on the GST, a provision was included that all contracts signed before the budget would not have to be revised. Will the provincial government do the same for our struggling tourism operators?

MR. PARIS: Mr. Speaker, in response, I would say that a 15 per cent HST is not new to the Province of Nova Scotia. We've had that before. Tourism still remains one of the best industries in the Province of Nova Scotia compared to other industries. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

TIR - FOIPOP FEES: AMOUNT - EXPLAIN

MR. ANDREW YOUNGER: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal because he's here. Today we learned that the province is charging over $1,000 in Freedom of Information fees to residents concerned about the St. Margaret's Bay connector road. The government made changes to cut the

[Page 1892]

FOIPOP fees from $25 to $5 early in their mandate, something we support. (Applause) If I were on the opposite benches, I don't think I would clap too soon. What's the point if you're going to charge them $1,000 anyway? My question for the minister is, why is your department charging so much money for the release of these documents?

HON. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for the question. I'm not aware of the details and why that particular $1,000 fee has been charged, but I will look into it. I want you to know that the people deserve to know the information particularly when it comes to that controversial issue. The member for Chester-St. Margaret's has been addressing the issue. Particular costs for that particular fee will be addressed with my staff when I have the opportunity tomorrow.

MR. YOUNGER: Mr. Speaker, the Dexter Government's looking more and more like the Harper Government every day with documents veiled in secrecy, decisions shrouded in mystery. Maybe that's where he's traveling to.

The press release from concerned residents points out that while in Opposition, the member for Halifax Fairview chastised the government for having high FOIPOP fees. Mr. Speaker, this is just another example of the NDP saying one thing in Opposition and now another in government. My question for the minister is, have you spoken to the member for Halifax Fairview about his concerns about high fees charged to residents for FOIPOP applications?

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I can tell you who I have been speaking to and that's the people who live in Chester-St. Margaret's who have been calling me, who have been meeting with me and who have been looking for the plans. We've made information available to them as I can, as the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. I've discussed this issue, whether it's at hockey games or doorsteps. I know it's a controversial issue, it's an issue of some importance to the people of Chester-St. Margaret's. That's the information that we have to get out there. That's how we're going to make sure that we make the right decision when that connector road is planned and whether it goes ahead or not.

MR. YOUNGER: Mr. Speaker, while I appreciate the minister's comments, the issue of whether the road goes ahead or not is not the matter of the question today. The issue is, if you truly believe and if the government truly believes the public should have this information, then he should ensure that they do not have to pay $1,000 to get the documents so that they can have the same information that the minister has. I would ask the minister whether he will review this situation immediately and not only review it, but ensure these documents are released to the residents for the lowest possible fee or perhaps no fee at all.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, thank you to the member opposite. I think recent events, even more controversial, perhaps on the scale of the local issue in Chester-St. Margaret's and that connector road. I know the member has been paying attention to the fact that when we were looking at the convention centre report, I had in my possession a number

[Page 1893]

of reports that I believed should be made public to continue the debate. In the past when those things were put out there under FOIPOPs, they were blacked out. What was the use of doing that?

I sat in Opposition, very close to where you sit. I asked similar questions. I want you to know it continues to concern me when access to information is important to issues of this nature. I assure the member opposite I'll review this with my staff, we'll look into it. But, then again, as a Minister of the Crown, I'm not aware when FOIPOPs are asked in my department - that's one of the things that we've been told never to go near. It's just unacceptable - and the members of the Third Party should know that experience, they had a similar situation. The previous member for Chester-St. Margaret's, God rest his soul, Mr. Chataway, was caught in an uncompromising situation when it comes to be aware of FOIPOPs, and I will tell you the matter will be addressed with my staff and the people of Chester-St. Margaret's will be reassured that if the information is available they'll get it.

[2:00 p.m.]

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

COM. SERV. - ROCKCLIFFE APTS.: SUBSIDY AGREEMENT

- INSTITUTE

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question today is for the Minister of Community Services. Recently I had the opportunity to ask the minister if she would intervene and help the residents of Rockcliffe Apartments in their fight to remain in their homes. Her answer was, it's a private matter between the residents and their landlord.

Mr. Speaker, it is not a private matter. The previous landlord had an agreement with Community Services and Housing to subsidize units in Rockcliffe that qualified. These residents who are now on low incomes, some on Community Services benefits, cannot afford the $150 per month increase. My first question to the minister is, why won't you work out a subsidy agreement with the residents who qualify, so they can remain in Rockcliffe?

HON. DENISE PETERSON-RAFUSE: Mr. Speaker, the facts that are with regard to Rockcliffe are that it was an affordable housing agreement, it wasn't a subsidy agreement, and so with the new owner that affordable housing agreement was not able to be made available because of the circumstances. So therefore, as I mentioned before in the House, if we provide a subsidy at this present moment that would open the door to every landlord in the Province of Nova Scotia requesting a subsidy on the housing unit that is not an affordable housing unit. Therefore it would set a very dangerous precedent.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, as the minister responsible she should know that these subsidy agreements or affordable housing agreements are in place all

[Page 1894]

over the province - it's not setting a precedent here. I'm asking for the agreement to be reinstituted there for people in Rockcliffe, who qualify, who are on Community Services.

The minister should know that a single parent with two children presently receiving Community Services' benefits spoke to a worker with your department in Sydney about her lease agreement and her increase, and was told she could receive a one-time payment of $50 and after that she was on her own in coming up with the extra $150 per month for rent.

Mr. Speaker, my question to the minister is, could the minister inform the House the maximum rent payment allowed to those on Community Services' benefits and, if it does not cover rent costs, are they expected to pay the additional rent costs from their food allowance?

MS. PETERSON-RAFUSE: Mr. Speaker, once again, we are very concerned with the situation that has presented itself with Rockcliffe. I've said the fact is that it's not an affordable housing agreement at this moment and we do have arrangements made for anybody who is on Community Services - we have dealt with each person on an individual basis. So we do have a plan available to work with each and every one of those individuals on Income Assistance. With regard to the other tenants, we have encouraged them to contact the Tenancies Board for them to find out exactly what their rights are and also to contact our department to see if there's anything that we can offer to help them.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: The translation to all of that, Mr. Speaker, was that the minister and her department have done nothing - absolutely nothing - and the deadline is fast approaching where these people are going to have to pay up with their meagre amounts that they have now, subsidize their food allowance in order to pay the extra rent. She talks about looking after them - there are 360 people presently on the waiting list in the housing complexes in the Sydney area, so that's not an option.

Last week I asked the minister to meet with the representatives of the residents of that complex and resolve the issue, or at least have her department officials negotiate a settlement with the landlord. What happened, Mr. Speaker, was the following: The member for Cape Breton Nova met with the residents last weekend accompanied by two (Applause) It's too bad. He's getting an ovation over there, it's too bad that he didn't have the clout to get the deal done that the minister should be doing. As a matter of fact, it's been said that the member for Cape Breton Nova has less clout over there than I do. (Laughter)

Anyway, the member for Cape Breton Nova, Mr. Speaker, met with the residents last weekend and accompanied by two political staff, Mike MacSween and Jamie Crane, not officials from her department, but two political staff, they reminded the residents of Rockcliffe of their rights under the Tenancies Act and dropped off complaint forms and left. That was the total involvement.

[Page 1895]

My final question is, why are you and your department not meeting with these residents who are facing eviction? It is not good enough to spin a political line. Will you meet with the worried residents and solve this issue once and for all?

MS. PETERSON-RAFUSE: Mr. Speaker, what I would like to say is that we started to work on this situation last Fall. We were very concerned and the member for Cape Breton Nova came to me with his concerns. He has been diligent in trying to work with this issue. There have been some issues that are difficult or unsolvable, it is a private deal. We were not able to pass along the same considerations as the subsidy, it wasn't the same deal. The owner who sold it, was only in the deal for nine months, made that decision. We turned over every stone that we could to see if we could have that same deal carried forth. It was not feasible, it was not able to do that.

So, what we have done, is I have met with the spokesperson for Rockcliffe. I have met with that individual here. I have talked with her on the phone, at least two or three times. Staff have been in contact. We have worked diligently and our member of this caucus from Cape Breton Nova went to talk individually to the people because he is very concerned about it. It is not an easy solution. We can't just be throwing out money to a new owner when it is not part of the process or what we can do about that.

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

TIR - HILLSIDE RD. (C.B. WEST): PAVING

- TIME FRAME

MR. ALFIE MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, my question is for Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. Cape Breton West is a place of great beauty, good-hearted people and lots of bad roads. Now, strides have been made in the last few years to improve the most travelled roads in Cape Breton West but more is required. Along the Mira River, the longest river system in Nova Scotia, is a series of many local roads that are in need of repair. Now, the Mira River is a major tourism destination in Cape Breton, it was made famous by Allistair MacGillivray's famous song, Song for the Mira, and we have lots of people visiting the popular Two Rivers Wildlife Park. (Interruption) No, if I sing it, he definitely won't answer. (Laughter)

Hillside Road is one of the roads surrounding the Mira River and a portion of this road has been marked and I am told has been estimated. Mr. Speaker, my question to the minister is, can the residents who live on Hillside Road expect this road to be repaved in this construction season?

HON. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: There will be no singing but I want you to know that I do appreciate the fact that when I get a question from the member opposite and it includes the New Boston Road, it gets my attention. So, based upon the discussion that we had earlier and the fact that he was so actually specific I have been told that the repair of the

[Page 1896]

first hill at Trunk 22 after Albert Bridge is on the list. Now, I'm also aware of some of the other questions you were going to ask me, I would assume, and I'm going to supply a copy of the briefing note that my staff provided for me.

There is RIM money that is going to be made available on a number of those roads around the Mira and I am aware of the fact that there are ditching and, of course, bush cutting and alders to be removed, as I look at the member for Digby-Annapolis. (Laughter) Particularly when it comes to the Hillside Road, there will be regular maintenance including hard- asphalt patching. It is high on the priority list, although it is not yet funded at this time.

MR. MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the minister for that detailed answer and tell him that I have talked to several residents along the road, and they are willing to change the name to Bruins Drive if that is of any consequence. (Interruptions)

AN. HON MEMBER: Bobby Orr Lane. (Laughter)

MR. MACLEOD: That would be the new name for Trout Brook. Other roads around the Mira River in addition to the Hillside Road, there is a lot of disrepair, the Trout Brook Road being one of them, or Bobby Orr Lane; Grand Mira North Road and Grand Mira South Road. These roads surrounding the area are so bad that I believe if we took you for a drive you'd understand my concern and the people's concerns there.

As I have informed the minister, these roads are heavily used by tourists, and better standards are expected by the people of Cape Breton West. My question for the minister is this, would you commit to having a multi-year approach to the resurfacing of these roads?

MR. ESTABROOKS: To the member opposite, excellent suggestion. Looking at roads, making sure that you can do them over a number of years, and that is something that my predecessor in the department looked at very carefully. That's something that is going to be part of the five-year plan, when we look at the progression of roads and that they can't all be done in one particular year. I'm certainly aware of the Mira and I've had the opportunity in the past when I've been in Cape Breton, particularly when the member for Cape Breton Nova is behind the wheel of my jeep, taking me on a tour of various parts of your riding.

I want the member opposite to know, that when I finish this particular discussion which we're having about the roads in your community, I'll be sending over a copy of my notes that I will not be tabling, I'll be sending it to you directly. I thank you for bringing it to my attention. It's an important and beautiful part of the tourist destinations of this province. The Mira is an important part of tourism and it will be addressed by this Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal.

MR. MACLEOD: I again want to thank the minister for his answers, and it's so refreshing to have a minister that can answer questions. The people of Cape Breton West are

[Page 1897]

hardworking people who depend on good infrastructure to grow business opportunities and strengthen tourism that is so vital to Cape Breton's economy, as the minister mentioned. Of course, there is always the issue of having heightened safety. My question to the minister is this, would you add these four roads to the five-year plan so that the taxpayers in Cape Breton West can know when they can expect to see improvements on their roads?

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite, you remind me of that list that just keeps on giving, and I will look forward to the fact of further information that you will have at this time. I will ask if one of the Pages could just take the occasion, if I could have this delivered to the member opposite.

I want to use the member for Cape Breton West as an example, an example of how in lieu of the fact we did not have estimates unfortunately at this time. I was aware of some of the details, although you added a few other roads there, if you noticed, a little bit of editorializing, that's allowed. Considering the fact that there has to be a plan in place when it comes to roads of this nature, considering the fact that we have lots of issues to address, I do thank the member opposite for addressing the matter in this manner, and I will assure you that your roads will receive attention. (Interruption) I remember being at a roast recently when I yelled at you to sit down, so behave.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

ENERGY: HERITAGE GAS - RESIDENTIAL ACCESS

MR. ANDREW YOUNGER: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Energy since he's so eager to ask questions today. As he's aware, Heritage Gas has the distribution franchise for Nova Scotia, and in particular Dartmouth. Many communities are now finding that Heritage Gas is reluctant to distribute to residential homes, even though the pipe might be a couple hundred metres away. My question for the Minister of Energy is, what is he doing with Heritage Gas? What is his department doing with Heritage Gas to ensure that as many residential customers in Nova Scotia have access to gas as possible?

HON. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I don't have the opportunity to answer the questions in detail but I want you to know that Heritage Gas officials have met with me on a number of occasions. I plan to continue to meet with them because they are providing a valuable service to Nova Scotians.

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

[2:15 p.m.]

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

[Page 1898]

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. 58.

Bill No. 58 - Powers of Attorney Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. ROSS LANDRY: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to you about the proposed amendments to the Powers of Attorney Act. These amendments will modernize the law around joint attorneys so that it is clear and better aligns with the other Canadian jurisdictions.

An individual who is appointed power of attorney plays an important role in the administration of justice. They are authorized to act on behalf of the person who lacks legal capacity. Preparing a power of attorney is quite common when Nova Scotians are planning for their future. As a government, we want to make life better for Nova Scotians and their families. We need to ensure that the responsibilities are clear when Nova Scotians appoint joint powers of attorney.

We have consulted with the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society regarding these proposed amendments. The proposed amendments will ensure that an enduring power of attorney is valid in the event one of the two attorneys passes away or one becomes incapacitated themselves. This change was recommended in a 2008 decision of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia. Similar legislation is in force in numerous provinces, including Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

I hope all members join me in moving this bill forward.

[I move second reading of Bill No. 58]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

HON. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise to say a few comments on Bill No. 58, as the Justice Critic for the Official Opposition. What this bill in essence does is remove any doubt of what happens if you have named powers of attorney and you have chosen two individuals. It makes it clear that should one of the individuals pass away or

[Page 1899]

become incapacitated or unwilling to carry out those duties, then clearly the other person named would have all the powers granted to them under the Powers of Attorney Act.

This is legislation which is meant to remove any doubt as to what would happen in such cases and to ensure that a person's wishes in appointing individuals to act as their power of attorney are clearly able to carry out those tasks.

I would be remiss if I didn't take this opportunity, as I have on a number of occasions here in this House, to remind Nova Scotians of the importance of having a last will and testament done, and a power of attorney as well, so that their wishes can clearly be carried out by those left behind. Too often, I have faced a number of questions, not only as the MLA for Richmond, as well as being a lawyer, of what happens in the case when someone suddenly passes away intestate and has absolutely left behind no instructions at all. It creates a terrible burden on the family that is left behind, the beneficiaries, the additional requirements that are required to probate the estate, to establish who the beneficiaries are. It creates a nightmare in many cases.

I think it's important. I'm sure the Minister of Justice would join me in encouraging all Nova Scotians to try to make sure they do have a last will and testament in place so that they clearly set out the instructions as to what they would like to have done with their estate should they pass on.

At the same time, I would be remiss if I didn't once again caution Nova Scotians, many who have come to rely on these homemade will kits that one can pick up almost in a corner store now, they're that readily available - Nova Scotians would do best to heed the advice of going to see a lawyer to get their last will and testament done. I had the opportunity to review a few of these homemade will kits and I can tell you that if they were to be challenged by any beneficiary or someone who felt they had been left out of someone's will, these wills would not stand up to scrutiny under the laws of Nova Scotia. I know that we have made some changes in our laws here, to try to even recognize handwritten wills which, Mr. Speaker, as a last resort, are an attempt to at least try to identify what someone's wishes were.

Clearly, when you go and get a will done by a lawyer, it is clear that those wishes are going to be carried out and that there shouldn't be any questions surrounding them, especially questions on the validity of your last will and testament. At the same time, this bill specifically deals with the issue of power of attorney. Many Nova Scotians do have last wills and testaments, but it is only in the last number of years where the issue of getting a power of attorney done has become more popular. Mr. Speaker, we have seen cases where Nova Scotians have become incapacitated, whether it is the result of a stroke, whether it is the result of a seizure, whether it is the result of some ongoing illness and then the question becomes, who pays the bills? Who has access to their accounts at the bank?

[Page 1900]

Once upon a time, Mr. Speaker, I know home at the credit union the son or daughter could walk in and say, look, I need access to mom's account to pay her bills because she is in the hospital. Well, those days are gone, unfortunately, and for many reasons they are gone. It is important now that banks and all financial institutions have much more strict guidelines as to who can access someone's account. Those days of just walking in and saying I'm here to withdraw money from mom or dad's account or my sister's account because they are in the hospital or they can't do so, it is just not there anymore. It is very difficult for financial institutions because even though they know the players involved, they have guidelines that they need to follow as well.

A power of attorney clearly sets out who will be responsible for making financial decisions for you and taking care of your affairs, should you become incapacitated. More importantly, not only over the years have lawyers been recommending that you name one power of attorney, just like your will and testament, we now recommend that you name two. In some cases some may even name more but at least two. The idea being that should one of them pass on before you, become incapacitated themselves or just generally unwilling to do it, possibly they are outside of a jurisdiction, they are in another province, another country, it's always good to have a second person there who is available to be able to carry out those duties.

We do the same thing when it comes to your last will and testament now. Before, it used to be called the executor of your estate. I believe now it has been changed to the administrator of your estate, some of the new language that is used. With your last will and testament we again recommend you appoint two individuals, in the case that one should become incapacitated or unavailable or unwilling to carry out those tasks.

What Bill No. 58 is doing, it is certainly reinforcing the fact that if one of the individuals you have named as your power of attorney is unable to act, for the reasons the minister has set out, either deceased or incapacitated themselves, you do have someone as your followup to be able to carry out those responsibilities.

With that, as I said, over my 12 years here in the Legislature - and I'm sure the Clerks will recall - I've regularly raised this issue any time there have been changes. I know that the previous government and the previous Ministers of Justice, the member for Cape Breton North on a number of occasions, I believe, brought legislation forward in this House dealing with last wills and testaments and with the issues of power of attorney. So this is but another reinforcement of that.

Again, I would encourage that the Minister of Justice and all members of this Legislature, when you do have the opportunity, encourage your family, encourage your constituents, encourage your friends to ensure that they do have a last will and testament done, that it is updated in the case that it has been 20, 30, 40 years since they had it done and, as well, encourage them to make sure that they do get a power of attorney in place to take care of their affairs, should they become incapacitated or unable to do so on their own. I

[Page 1901]

would hope that the minister and the government will continue to promote this and send that message out to Nova Scotians so that we can ensure that people's wishes, both while they are living and once they pass on, are clearly respected and followed, as per their instructions.

With that, Mr. Speaker, we clearly will be voting in favour of Bill No. 58. I am pleased to advise the Minister of Justice and we certainly look forward to this bill going on to the Law Amendments Committee. Should there be any recommended changes at that stage, we would certainly be happy to hear any presentations and to review any recommendations at that stage. With that, I again thank you for the opportunity to speak on this legislation.

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

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise in my place today to speak to this legislation, Bill No. 58, on behalf of the honourable member for Cumberland South who is the Justice Critic. I do know, as was indicated by the previous speakers, the member for Richmond as well as the Minister of Justice, that sometimes people look at these matters as housekeeping but they seldom take into account the implications of some of these changes and, more importantly, the strengthening of the administration of these activities on behalf of individuals and the Powers of Attorney Act is very important.

As the member for Richmond has consistently done in this House in my time when matters come before it is to remind Nova Scotians about the importance of their wills, of having clearly understood their personal wishes and direction, and having people who can serve in their stead if they're unable to. One of the things that I was pleased that this Spring has come forward, actually now it's functioning, is the Personal Directives Act. The Personal Directives Act was brought in to deal with the medical or the personal care needs of an individual because often times it was thought that the power of attorney gave people that authority and, in fact, legally that wasn't the case. They would deal with the administrative, the financial aspects, but personal care was a whole other matter. Because, as the member for Richmond indicated, societies changed.

The checks and balances, the need for following due process, especially within the health field, became important for the Personal Directives Act and so not only to encourage those individuals in Nova Scotia to indeed make sure they have a will, a professionally administered will, to have individuals who can stand in their stead at a time when it's going to be needed most for them. That their personal interests and their personal well-being will be served and that they will be treated in the manner- both financially, their care, and indeed their wishes will be executed as they would want.

So we've seen some positive movement and I want to thank all members of the House and Parties in the House for being willing to work in a collaborative manner to ensure that these changes have been done. With that, obviously, it would indicate the support of the

[Page 1902]

Progressive Conservative caucus for this legislation and I look forward to it moving forward and to becoming law.

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 want to thank the insightful comments and the articulation made by my colleagues across the floor, and I move second reading of Bill No. 58.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 58. 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, would you please call Bill No. 55.

Bill No. 55 - Internal Trade Agreement Implementation Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Economic and Rural Development.

HON. PERCY PARIS: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to stand in my place this afternoon to speak to Bill No. 55. It certainly will be my pleasure today to move second reading. This is an Act to Amend Chapter 8 of the Acts of 1995-96, the Internal Trade Agreement Implementation Act.

This bill was introduced, and you may recall this, Mr. Speaker, in the Fall but it only received that first initial reading and it had to be reintroduced in the House. The main thrust of the bill is to allow Nova Scotia to join with other provinces in order to ensure commitments made under the agreement on internal trade can be enforced. This bill will help improve the ability of governments to enforce commitments they have made to each other under the agreement. The agreement on internal trade ensures that all other governments provide an open and level playing field for Nova Scotia's goods, services, investments and workers in other parts of Canada. It allows for monetary penalties to be awarded against the Province of Nova Scotia if the province is ever found to be in violation of the agreement and refuses to fix the problem.

[2:30 p.m.]

[Page 1903]

The bill though, Mr. Speaker, also brings the Act into alignment with procedural and administrative changes in the agreement's dispute resolution process. The bill addresses general housekeeping changes, recognizes that amendments to the agreement require updates to the numbering and terminology in the Act.

Mr. Speaker, you may wonder why we would want to enable enforcement of trade penalties against ourselves. Well, the answer is somewhat simple; as each province and the federal government adopt penalty enforcement mechanisms, Nova Scotia increases its ability to enforce our agreement rights against others, if so needed. We cannot achieve that result if we refuse to offer the same results to our partners in the agreement. Nova Scotia remains compliant with our obligations, certainly, under the agreement. We do not commit to trade agreements if we cannot keep up our end of those agreements.

We do see the advantage of being able to hold others to their commitments if an issue cannot be resolved voluntarily. The operative word here, Mr. Speaker, is "voluntarily". In order to get that result, all governments agree to co-operate in enabling enforcement within their respective jurisdictions. All governments, except for Nunavut, have agreed to ratify this agreement, all of whom are in the process of taking formal steps to implement the agreement with any necessary legislation. All parties have until April 2010, to do this implementation.

The bill represents a portion of a much larger effort of collaboration to reduce trade barriers within Canada, through an agreement on internal trade. This agreement commits the federal, provincial and territorial governments to work towards the common goal of enabling people, goods, services and investments to move freely across the country. The agreement focuses on adapting policies to be non-trade restrictive, reconciling standards and regulations and providing the means to bring closure to trade disputes. This is done primarily by negotiation but, when necessary, it will be done through an adjudicative enforcement process, such as the one we are discussing here today. Essentially, it establishes a framework for Canadian governments to work together to develop and maintain an open and efficient domestic market.

The agreement on internal trade covers government procurement, investment, labour mobility, consumer-related measures and standards. In addition, it covers agricultural goods, alcoholic beverages, natural resources processing, communications, transportation and environmental protection.

During these uncertain economic times it is more important than ever to ensure that we have a strong and efficient internal trade system. The signatories of the agreement believe that stronger internal trade practices will help Canadian workers and businesses in all regions improve our competitiveness and productivity, as well as lower costs.

Mr. Speaker, here is some background on the agreement. This agreement came into effect in July 1995. It came about because the federal government, provinces and territories recognized the need to establish general rules. These rules are, indeed, to prevent

[Page 1904]

governments from creating new trade barriers as well as reduce existing ones in areas covered under this agreement.

It also outlines specific obligations in 10 economic sectors. These involve government purchasing, labour mobility, and investment, each of which covers a significant amount of economic activity here in Canada.

It includes the streamlining and harmonization of regulations and standards. It also establishes a formal dispute resolution mechanism, which we are discussing here today. Currently, there is no official mechanism to impose penalties resulting from a trades dispute between participating governments. This includes all provinces, the federal government, and most of the Territories.

The bill to amend the Internal Trade Agreement Implementation Act will allow monetary penalties against governments that do not implement dispute panel rulings. Any dispute between governments under the agreement on internal trade would begin with consultations. The agreement has been designed to maximize cooperation and certainly to minimize conflict. It continues to encourage the voluntary resolution of disputes between governments.

If we believe that another government was not holding true to their trade commitments and it was affecting Nova Scotians, then we would approach that government seeking voluntary resolution. That would certainly be the first step.

If those consultations were not enough, the dispute process would begin with the formation of a panel. A hearing would take place 120 days after the panel was formed to allow for written submissions and counter submissions. The panel would produce its report 45 days after that hearing.

There will be a new appeals process, so that parties can be more certain that the original expert panel had reached the right conclusions. These revised government-to-government dispute resolution mechanisms will, among other things, provide for monetary penalties for larger jurisdictions. These penalties could reach up to $5 million or, in Nova Scotia's case, up to $1.5 million for continued non-compliance with agreement obligations.

It should be remembered that such penalties can only be applied if a government found not to be honouring its trade obligations basically refuses to correct the problems within a reasonable period of time. The agreement has been designed to maximize cooperation and, certainly, to minimize conflicts between governments.

We also recognize that from time to time differences are inevitably going to occur. They are going to arise - differences that may require an official dispute resolution process. The proposed procedure offers a range of opportunities to resolve conflicts with a monetary

[Page 1905]

penalty serving as the last resort. It lays out the various steps that governments or individuals must follow to pursue a complaint.

Each sectorial chapter in the Agreement of Internal Trade lays out its own dispute settlement mechanism. When a dispute arises, the procedures written into the sectorial chapters are to be utilized first. If those processes fail to resolve the problem, the formal dispute resolution procedures outlined in the agreement only then come into play. The steps identified in the specific sectorial chapters entail consultations. In some cases it will require sending the issue to a qualified judicial panel or a body of ministers.

The dispute resolution procedures continued in these chapters recognize the sectorial officials, experts, and ministers are best acquainted and best placed to deal with issues in their respective areas or direct responsibility.

The procedure sets out a broad array of options to governments in conflict. These options are followed when the dispute resolution procedures in the appropriate sectorial sectors do not, and I reiterate, Mr. Speaker, do not solve the problem or when there are no sector dispute settlement procedures specified. Procedures include a consultation stage where an additional broader trade perspective may be brought to bear on issues. There is also a stage where assistance to the committee on internal trade is sought.

Mr. Speaker, that concludes my remarks and with that, I will take my seat.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Preston.

HON. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise and speak on this bill. On the first view of the bill, it seems like a really good idea - internal trade agreement between the provinces and all throughout Canada appears to be a really good idea. However, when you look at the poor competitive position that the present government has put the province in, I think it is going to be very interesting to see how all of this works in the Province of Nova Scotia. It is going to mean that Nova Scotia companies aren't going to be able to compete with New Brunswick companies, Prince Edward Island companies, even a company in Quebec or Ontario.

When you see our Workers' Compensation unfunded liability going through the roof, over $700 million, that means it is going to be eventually either less payments to injured workers, which I feel are not adequately compensated now, or higher fees for businesses. As the higher fees for businesses go on, of course it is going to put more costs into Nova Scotia companies and they are going to become less and less competitive and less likely to operate or be able to export any services or goods outside the province. In particular, when you export even to New Brunswick, it does have a significant impact on our Nova Scotia economy.

[Page 1906]

On the other hand, with New Brunswick in particular, and I'll just use that for an example, it could go for any province, the lower costs in any area, they can come into the province and do work here and it is good to see our neighbours and our fellow Canadians come into Nova Scotia to work rather than someone from offshore but, at the same time, it does take employment away from Nova Scotia. You add that to the HST increase which is coming, another 2 per cent on everything we buy, and I brought some examples of that to the House before, where if a family does clear - for every $10,000 that they clear after taxes, they are going to lose $200 of that in the HST.

So when you tie that together then you make it even worse when the gas prices now are between 5 cents and 7 cents higher in Nova Scotia than they are in New Brunswick, for example, when the HST is added to that there are probably going to be between 7 cents and 9 cents a litre more, not just for gasoline but also for diesel. That means companies, again, aren't as competitive and when companies aren't competitive, they can't compete. If they can't compete, guess what - companies from outside the province will come in, we'll have an internal trade agreement which isn't a bad idea on the surface, be able to come in, work in Nova Scotia with lower costs because their home base is outside the province and, indeed, compete very successfully with Nova Scotia companies and probably win many contracts.

The other issue is, too, that the province doesn't have control over the property taxes which here in HRM are really getting out of sight, to say the least, and for the services that are received. So that's another cost that is over and above and beyond a lot of other jurisdictions which, again, makes companies less competitive and also is making the requirement for people who are working to have to have a higher income just to maintain the standard of living they have now.

Again, internal trade agreements are always positive. There are some instances, however - I can give you an example. We were trying to build a new recreation centre in North Preston, we really had tried to get some local content for the badly needed work for very skilled people in the community and I will give the province a lot of credit at that time. The staff was exceptionally good to work with, they tried everything they could to work through the internal trade agreements and the NAFTA agreements and all the other agreements that were in place and lo and behold, at the end of the day we couldn't do anything about it.

[2:45 p.m.]

Luckily, a local Nova Scotia company did get the contract and did employ many people in the community but it wasn't because of these agreements being followed, it was because we found a good company that was competitive and, indeed, had an understanding of the community and did provide a lot of spinoff for the community. So these agreements can be positive, they can be negative, but overall it's better to see Canadian companies and Canadian workers working in Nova Scotia and, indeed, hopefully our companies working in other parts of the country besides Nova Scotia and generating wealth here.

[Page 1907]

When you look at all these costs and the way that it's going and the way that the costs are generating going higher and higher for Nova Scotia businesses, it's going to make them more and more difficult to compete outside of the province - indeed, even inside the province when they're competing with a company that isn't in Nova Scotia. These things will take a long time to come to fruition. You're going to see a slow and gradual change from companies that were working here that probably won't want to work here anymore. The costs are going to go through the roof, for instance, the un-funded liability in the Workers Compensation Board, just one example, basically doubled over the last few years and that means they're going to be a substantially higher cost to workers. As this increase, this cost goes up, so will their cost of doing business and as the cost of business goes up they become less competitive. As we become less competitive, guess what? Those projects that you should have gotten, you don't get and it just has a mushroom effect and it just grows and grows and after awhile Nova Scotia will not be competitive.

We saw the government take benefits away from the pensioners and the civil service. People aren't going to want to join the civil service anymore, top quality people, if their pensions are going to be affected so negatively, another thing that the province did in this last budget. So this last budget hasn't really done very much to help an agreement like this internal trade agreement, although these agreements are very important. They're very important to the province, they're very important to the country, but you've got to take it in its whole context and look and see how it's going to affect the everyday Nova Scotian - the person who's working in a restaurant, perhaps.

Well, you wouldn't think it would affect the restaurant, no internal trade agreement, but if the individuals who are in the manufacturing industry or in the construction industry don't get that job in Nova Scotia that some New Brunswick company gets. The company comes in, spends money here for a short while and then it goes back to New Brunswick to spend the profits and indeed, that restaurant may not have the business it had the year before or the year before that and those jobs, some of them may be gone, so it has a long-term negative affect.

Again, I stress, it's a very complex issue because an internal trade agreement is a good idea, but you've got to be competitive in your province to really make it work and we're not on those grounds right now and we're getting worse. As we get more and more difficult for people to do business here, they're not going to do business here. They're going to move out and then we're going to have some serious problems and will make the last recession in Nova Scotia look like it never happened. It will take time, two years, three years, maybe longer, but it will take time. With those few words, I'll conclude my comments on this and look forward to the presentation that will come to the Law Amendments Committee.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.

[Page 1908]

MR. CHUCK PORTER: Mr. Speaker, it's a pleasure to rise today to take a few minutes and speak to this bill as well, Bill No. 55, the Internal Trade Agreement Implementation Act. I concur with some of the comments that were made by the member for Preston, some concerns at the same time. Obviously the competitive nature of this is a concern and it's great exporting, those big companies in the province and throughout the provinces are great when they can export their goods. The reduction in trade barriers that allow that to happen is a good thing and I'm glad to see that's in place. I think part of that bill is very acceptable to that group.

As far as the penalty part there, when I was listening to the minister talk about the penalties that could potentially be collected, I hear about dispute resolution. One figure for bigger provinces, another figure for different size provinces but how will the penalties ever be captured? I don't know that we would ever actually be able to resolve it enough to pick up a financial contribution in this province or by way of any penalty. I think it would be tied up for gosh knows how long as we've seen recently. One of the things the previous government was able to do was resolve an issue with Ottawa when it came to revenues, which was solved but after how many years? I believe it was something like 22 years. How long would it go with something else of maybe what would be seen as less significant? I don't know. Certainly trade-free barriers are great, both interprovincial and internationally for that matter, we have free trade with the United States and others.

I think one of the pieces that we tend to miss here, I spoke of the bigger business side of things and the agreements we would have and the ability to export, but what about the imports? What about the small business community that makes up a huge portion of Nova Scotia - what about that piece and their abilities? I don't know that it does anything to help small business at all. I don't think it does and in a very quick review of this bill and not in its entirety, it's only the amendments that have actually been introduced that we're seeing in Bill No. 55.

Without having the time to go through yet and have a detailed look, I don't know that it does anything and probably doesn't do anything to help secure the small business community of anything or protect them in any way and certainly help by way of bringing in their goods, bringing in workers.

I agree that where we're unable to in this province supply certain workforces that sometimes specialists do need to come in to take care of certain jobs. We're lucky, we're fortunate to have the ability to have people that will come in and do those things. That I see as a good piece.

The agreements that are in place, as the minister has said, take in many areas from dollars and cents to labour and the economics and so on. I look forward to seeing a little bit more, I hope there will be some presenters that will come in and speak to this bill although I'm not sure if they're not seeing this just as something that may be a housekeeping item. I hope there will be some others come in and offer some thoughts from the business

[Page 1909]

community and the small business community especially. As I said, I don't think this does a thing to help small business in Nova Scotia.

As previously mentioned with regard to the competition, the sales tax, none of those things are benefiting one of our biggest industries in this province, which is in fact the small business community.

There are other huge things - what about our energy agreements and things like that? There's a lot to this bill that I think people are missing. I think they're seeing it as housekeeping issues when it's really a lot more than that. I hope people take the time to look into this, from every aspect, from all Nova Scotians with regard to those interested in the trade side of things and those that have been affected by trade barriers, continue to be affected or may potentially still be affected - this isn't doing anything to assist them.

With those very few words, at this point in time, on second reading, I will take my place and thank you for the opportunity to speak this afternoon.

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

The honourable Minister of Economic and Rural Development.

HON. PERCY PARIS: Mr. Speaker, I want to acknowledge the comments by the two members opposite. I thank them for their comments and I wish to move second reading of Bill No. 55.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 55. 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, could I be allowed an introduction?

MR. SPEAKER: Certainly.

MR. CORBETT: In the east gallery we have Hugh Gillis. He's the recently elected president of the correctional guards local here for NSGEU in the province. Hugh, I forget the local number, but would the House please give Hugh a welcome. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

[Page 1910]

HON. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, I ask the indulgence of the House, the bills that were referred earlier today from Committee on Law Amendments - particularly Bill Nos. 35, 38, 47 and 51 - that they be also added to Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

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

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

The motion is carried.

[2:50 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker Mr. Gordon Gosse in the Chair.]

[5:17 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened with Deputy Speaker Mr. Gordon Gosse in the Chair.]

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

THE CLERK: That the committee has met and considered the following bills:

Bill No. 24 - Financial Measures (2010) Act.

Bill No. 33 - Securities Transfer Act.

and the chairman has been instructed to recommend these bills to the favourable consideration of the House, with certain amendments.

Further, Mr. Speaker, that the committee has met and considered the following bills:

Bill No. 35 - Finance Act.

Bill No. 38 - Voluntary Carbon Emissions Offset Fund Act.

Bill No. 47 - Education Act.

[Page 1911]

Bill No. 51 - Revenue Act.

and the chairman has been instructed to recommend these bills to the favourable consideration of the House, each without amendment.

MR. SPEAKER: Ordered that these bills be read a third time on a future day.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, with the indulgence of the House, I am asking if we could revert to third reading of these bills that we have just taken out of Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

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

PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 33.

Bill No. 33 - Securities Transfer Act.

Bill No. 38 - Voluntary Carbon Emissions Offset Fund Act.

Bill No. 47 - Education Act.

Bill No. 51 - Revenue Act.

MR. SPEAKER: Ordered that these bills do pass. Ordered that the titles be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bills be engrossed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, this concludes the government's business for today. Again, on behalf of the government caucus, I wish to thank the members from all Parties for their help in helping us deliberate and guiding us in deliberations today. We have

[Page 1912]

got considerable work done but, as I said, that concludes our business. Now I'll turn it over to the Acting House Leader for the Progressive Conservative Party.

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

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, the Opposition business for tomorrow, following the daily routine, will include Resolution No. 485 and consideration of Bill No. 34, the Motor Vehicle Act.

I move that the House do now rise to meet tomorrow between the hours of 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that the House do now rise to sit tomorrow between the hours of 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

We have now reached the moment of interruption. I'll read the resolution under Rule 5(5):

"Therefore be it resolved that the NDP Government honour its commitment of being more open and accountable by apologizing to the retirees about lack of consultation around future pension benefits."

That was submitted by the honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park but I'm going to recognize the member for Bedford-Birch Cove.

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

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

RETIREES - PENSION BENEFITS: NDP GOV'T. - APOLOGIZE

MS. KELLY REGAN: Mr. Speaker, in nearly the year since I've been elected I have received e-mails and correspondence on a number of issues. Generally I find I get e-mails on a variety of issues and sometimes I'll hear from residents on the same issue all at once. Now, the Minister of Natural Resources will recall when I heard about coyotes, then he heard about coyotes. The Minister of Health will recall that when I heard about concerns surrounding the H1N1 vaccine and its availability, then she heard about that too. There have been weeks

[Page 1913]

when I heard a lot from people about the Maintenance Enforcement Program, about heat, about MLA expenses.

Now, I have received many letters, more than I have received on any one issue, on the issue of freezing the cost of living increases for government employees who have retired. Mr. Speaker, some of these letters are truly heartbreaking because these folks realize they were left to twist in the wind by their government and their union leadership. There was no consultation and there was no warning.

Now, Mr. Speaker, these are not, for the most part, large pensions. In fact, the average pension is only $17,000 per year. These people deserve an apology from the government for acting so precipitously. The cost of living increases for these workers should be restored, and because the NDP has apparently forgotten that it got here by at least pretending to work for the little people, I think it is incumbent upon us to let these people be heard.

I'd like to read into the record at least some of the letters from the people who have written to me and who have allowed me to quote from their correspondence. The first letter comes from Rita Forest, who lives at 40 Waterfront Drive in Bedford. She writes:

Dear Ms. Regan: I, Rita Forest, of 40 Waterfront Drive in Bedford, belong to the Nova Scotia Government Retired Employees Association for almost 20 years now. I am writing to you today to complain about our present government freezing the cost of living increase for the next five years. In fact, I did not get an increase for the year of 2010. My concern is, what will happen after these five years? Will my pension keep on decreasing? This leaves me with great concern about the way our present NDP Government is handling our economy. Ms. Regan, I turn to you for your advice and your help. Sincerely yours, Rita Forest.

Then we hear from Suzanne Varley-Doyle. She writes:

Ms. Regan, I am one of your constituents whose pension will be impacted with the changes to the Public Service Superannuation Plan proposed in this new NDP budget. I am currently retired. The disappointment and fear I have, frankly, is the potential now for my pension not to be capable of keeping up with inflation and subsequently pushing me closer to the poverty line as I age. This, despite my good efforts over my lifetime to work toward this never happening. I have worked hard, used only necessary sick time, never used unemployment nor disability insurance, often worked holidays, often did not get my preferred vacation time, and did endless hours of unpaid overtime. I retired debt-free and live a modest lifestyle with insurances and savings that cover most of life's unexpected happenings. My story is the same as many of my colleagues. We are reasonable employees who had a great work ethic and now are reasonable retirees who contribute time and money to our communities. We were, indeed, underpaid for all we contributed in our work

[Page 1914]

life, but we had a common belief that our real payoff was this indexed pension that we were promised. Who would have believed or, better still, planned for this situation to unfold to this extent? I am appealing to you to do what you can to keep this part of the budget from being enacted. I admit I do not understand politics well enough to know exactly what it is I am expecting you to do, but please be assured I and many others would be grateful for whatever you or your Party might propose to ensure this does not happen. Many thanks for your attention to this matter.

Then I hear from a retired nurse, Katherine Day. She writes:

As a member of the Nova Scotia Government Retired Employees Association, I am so totally appalled with the works of the present government. NSGREA has been in existence for 25 years . . .

She goes through a sort of historical happening of what happened with that. She says:

Is it not a fact that the pension fund is predicted to be 100 per cent funded by January 2011, so in keeping up with what the so-called democratic government is doing by freezing our CPI, the taxpayer and ourselves will be the only ones who are affected? Imagine, after 25 years of contributing to our deferred salary, we are now expected to contribute again towards our own pensions. How does a social democratic party betray retirees by changing the regulations they have been hired under and retired under? Why would they lower retirees' standard of living by freezing our pensions? I am certainly against changing our indexing. The recent revelations of fiscal management, vis-à-vis the expenses fiasco by the present government, leads to a growing degree of mistrust with the current government and does not enhance any degree of future support. These actions have the ultimate result of being discriminatory against those very citizens who have laboured the longest in conjunction with successive governments in the trust that their word was their bond, along with being legal contracts. We are called senior citizens for a reason. It is not difficult to see that good will, so hard won, can be lost. While this may not be illegal, it borders on unethical, and leaves one to cast aspersions upon the ultimate goals of the present government. Yours truly, Catherine Day, RN, Halifax, Nova Scotia.

[5:30 p.m.]

I have letter, after letter, after letter here, and I read some of them earlier today, parts of some earlier today, and I keep asking myself, what could these pensioners have done to foresee this happening? I cannot see what they could have done to foresee this happening. I have an email for . . .

[Page 1915]

MR. SPEAKER: If I may just interrupt the honourable member for a minute to ask her to table anything that she's reading from.

MS. REGAN: Yes, absolutely. I have a letter from a Terry Chisholm from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, who talks about having worked hard as a civil servant. He talks about having worked for the Party that has ultimately taken away what he had worked so hard to have, that COLA clause in his pension and he cannot fathom this. He says:

If you have actually taken the time to read this, I thank you, and ask you to amend the budget to remove any reference to freezing, or removing indexing from those already on pension, in the belief that it will do anything except put undo hardship on retirees. The difference in a 3 per cent cost of living increase is around $3 million, rather small on a $22 million budget, and less than your expense accounts.

Most of these letters that have come to me are from women and disproportionately, this particular clause in the government's Financial Measures Bill is impacting on women because retired women tend to be poorer than men, they often do not have big pensions. What we are actually doing, between this clause, and the clause where we decrease the benefits to survivors, we are impacting on the women of this province. I do believe that these employees sign their contract in good faith. I do believe that they worked for many years in good faith. I do believe that they believed that the province would be there for them, and their union would be there for them, as they had been for their province when they were working. Now that they are retired and they cannot make up that income, they are left to fend for themselves.

I don't believe this is right, there was no consultation, and I do believe that the province owes these pensioners. I urge the government to respond to this oversight. I urge them to consult with pensioners before they take this move. I urge them to apologize to civil servants who have a contract overturned by a government. The government acted without consultation, the government is trying to balance the books on the backs of pensioners who thought they had an agreement. I urge the government to restore their faith and to show them that you care. Apologize and overturn this taking of their pension increases.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, our government recognizes the value of the people who currently provide, and have provided the services and programs Nova Scotians rely on from their government every single day. That is why we offer a competitive pension benefit package to more than 30,000 current and retired public servants who belong to the Public Service Superannuation Plan. However, as we all know, the pension plan is not healthy, it is not in good condition. It is very seriously underfunded.

[Page 1916]

As of December 31, 2009, the pension plan is estimated to be at 69 per cent funding. That funding level is projected to decline to 30 per cent over the next three decades if nothing is done. To put it another way, today the plan's assets are $1.5 billion short of covering the existing liability, and the interest on this deficit alone is more than $100 million per year - this is not a situation that can continue.

Every year that we do nothing, the problem gets worse and the solution gets more difficult and more expensive. The time to act to restore the Public Service pension plan to health is now. This problem has been developing over a number of years. It is a fact that the plan has some of the most generous benefits in Canada, many of which were defined when most citizens didn't live as long as they do now.

It is also a fact that 2,000 employees working in the Nova Scotia Public Service today can retire right now if they choose to, and another 4,000 will be eligible to retire in the next five years. The number of retired members in the plan continues to increase, and for every 10 active members contributing to the plan, there are seven pensioners receiving benefits, and this ratio is only going to go up.

Aside from the structural issues, the recent turmoil in financial markets has caused a significant drop in the value of the plan's assets. As you can see, we need to make changes to the pension plan's finances now or the plan's funding levels will continue to deteriorate to dangerously low levels. As Minister of Finance, I am the sole trustee of the Public Service Superannuation Plan, and the trustee has an obligation to ensure the plan can meet its obligations now and in the future. It is a responsibility that I take very, very seriously.

As Minister of Finance I must also ensure that the cost of the Public Service pension plan is affordable for the people of the province not only today, but in the future. Today the province - that is to say the people of the province - already bear the cost of employer contributions, plus additional annual costs arising from the plan's unfunded liability. These pension valuation costs were approximately $150 million in 2009 and are forecast to keep growing if no action is taken.

There are some who say that we should just leave the plan alone and allow the plan to return to health solely through investment returns, but expert advisers tell me that it is very unlikely that investment returns alone can restore the plan to health. It could happen only if investment returns quite a bit above historical norms could be sustained over a very extended period, and this would ultimately require increasing the risk levels for the plan's underlying investments.

As trustee, I cannot responsibly follow a path that is more risky and more likely to fail than to succeed. That is why this bill contains a number of amendments to the Public Service Superannuation Act. Our plan for pension reform is balanced and fair to everyone while restoring the plan to health and security for the long term. Indeed, everyone is contributing to the solution. We do recognize that every member of the plan will be affected

[Page 1917]

in some way. However, at the same time, no one group of plan members is treated preferentially and everyone benefits from a plan that is healthy and secure far into the future.

With respect to some of the details of our plan to restore the plan to health and security, let me start with the fact that last year we amended the Public Service Superannuation Act to implement a 13.5 per cent contribution rate increase effective July 2009. Current employees now contribute somewhere between 8 per cent and 11 per cent of each paycheque to their pension plan, depending on salary level - this amount is matched by the employer. Current employees are therefore already paying higher contribution rates than ever before.

The key measure in our reform plan is a provision that will tie future annual cost-of- living adjustments to the health of the plan operating on five-year cycles. During the first five-year cycle, from now through 2015, the annual indexing is guaranteed at 1.25 per cent each year. The five years of guaranteed indexing will provide today's pensioners and employees soon to retire with a level of certainty about how much they can expect to receive each month and how much their pension will go up each year.

I note in passing that the annual increase this year was zero, so a guarantee of 1.25 per cent each year for the next five years provides a certainty that should be helpful to pensioners. After the first five-year cycle, the amount of the annual indexing adjustment will be tied to the health of the plan, and for each five-year cycle thereafter, if the plan is funded at better than 100 per cent, the trustee or trustees can allocate the assets above 100 per cent to annual increases for pensioners or to a strategic reserve or both.

Let me say plainly that it is this government's intention that the future trustee or trustees should allocate all or most of the surplus to provide the maximum level of annual indexing consistent with the health of the plan.

Other changes are also being made to certain pension benefits. These changes apply only to members of the plan who were first employed on or after April 6, 2010. These changes will have no application to current retirees nor to current active members of the plan. These changes too are reasonable and will keep plan benefits competitive so that our civil service can continue to attract highly qualified candidates.

In addition to the changes that I have noted so far, the government is, of course, undertaking a refinancing of a substantial portion of the unfunded liability. Before I move on, I would like to reiterate the importance of treating current and retired members of the plan equally. I have already referred to the difficult demographics of the plan, particularly the fact that a large number of current members are already eligible to retire and a larger number will soon be eligible to retire.

The changes to the pension plan have been carefully calibrated to ensure that we do not create a wave of unintended immediate retirements caused solely by changes to pension

[Page 1918]

rules. That could happen and, indeed, is likely to happen if we treat retired members more favourably than active members. There is now no reason for any active member to accelerate their retirement date because of the proposed changes. The so-called Rule of 80 and survivor benefits remain the same for all active members. All active members of the plan should make their retirement decision that is right for them.

In summary, all of these changes to which I have referred, namely last year's increase in contribution rates, contingent indexing, slight reductions in some benefits for future employees, and refinancing of a portion of the unfunded liability, are designed to return the Public Service Superannuation Plan to full funding and then to keep it there.

These changes to the plan are necessary and they're also reasonable, responsible, balanced, and fair. Everyone is contributing something and everyone, absolutely everyone, will benefit from a plan that is healthy and secure for the long term.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Inverness.

MR. ALLAN MACMASTER: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to have an opportunity to speak on this resolution, which calls on the government to be more open and accountable by apologizing to the retirees of government about the lack of consultation around future pension benefits.

Now there was some consultation, and I am aware, and the public, of course, would be aware, that the president of the NSGEU was with consulted about this matter, so there was some consultation. I just wanted to make note of that. There was special consideration given there. But what would consultation have discovered? I think we all know if those working in government or if those who have retired from government were asked, I am sure they would not like the changes, and I don't blame them, because - and I'm going to go into that further but - there is a cap on how much their annual pension will be based and it is based on a 1.25 per cent increase to adjust their pension earnings for inflation over the coming five years.

[5:45 p.m.]

In fairness, let's look a little bit deeper to what these changes really mean and what did the government retirees receive with the changes passed in the 2010 budget? Well the biggest change, and I've just referenced it, is the change in the rate of indexation. It is changing from the consumer price index, whatever the change is in inflation, which is basically the cost of goods that are rising - a loaf of bread at the store or the litre of gasoline at the gas station. This past year the CPI was flat, as the minister has indicated, so in 2010 the pensioners actually win and they win by 1.25 per cent. That is a good thing for them, there's nothing wrong with that this year.

The other thing about setting this rate of indexation is I think it would bring stability for their pension plan, for the funds in the plan. Because those managing the plan know that -

[Page 1919]

they have a better idea of how much money is going to be leaving the plan each year and that will help them better manage the investment on behalf of the pensioners.

I am speaking quite favourably this evening, Mr. Speaker, about these changes and I'm going to continue speaking. People out there who might not be familiar with this might ask, well why indexing? What does indexing mean and why do we need it? All indexing really is, is trying to protect the pensioner - in this case the government pensioner - from the effects of inflation. Inflation, as I've just mentioned, is the rise in the cost of goods over time which, if you're not getting an increase in your salary or, in this case, your pension earnings, you start to lose your spending power. It is eroded and, in effect, you become poorer because you don't have as much money to spend as the cost of goods are rising.

Now the question that brings to my mind is, who else in the province gets indexing? I will tell you, Mr. Speaker, that there are very few people working in our province who have the benefit of indexation for their pensions. So I think even though this change has been made to indexing, I do believe that the pensioners of government are still ahead of the game, compared to many Nova Scotians.

So what else did our pensioners get from the changes to the pension plan? Well, the taxpayer picked up a tab of about $500 million to bring the plan back to solvency. Now that's also going to cost Nova Scotians about $25 million a year in interest costs and that is going to carry on forever, until that is paid off. Well, it would have to be - if you are borrowing $500 million and you're going to service it at a cost of about $25 million a year for however many years - the minister is shaking his head but I'll let him clarify that on a future date but there is a cost to borrowing money. So whatever the figure is, and if it's around 4.5 per cent, $500 million, that's an interest cost of about probably $25 million a year.

There is an expense there and the taxpayers are picking that up. I want people in the province to know that. The government is now going to save about $100 million or $200 million a year in future contributions to the plan because the plan is being brought right back up to solvency, so that is going to make it easier for the NDP Government to balance their budgets in the coming years and I want to put that on the record.

What do I think of this? Well, I think it's smart of the NDP to do this so early in their mandate because it's removing a liability that they're going to have to deal with in the coming years. It is going to make it easier for them to balance their budget. It is going to incur a one-time cost this year, to make it easier in the future.

Now if these pensioners who are receiving the benefits were working anywhere else, in most cases this $500 million shortfall would have to be picked up by increased contributions by the employer and by the employee. I mean that's a benefit right there. If it was about 50-50, if about $250 million to the pensioner and really to the people who are still contributing to the plan, the people who are still working for government.

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I will also point out, as some others have, the issue of solvency can partly be resolved by the continued recovery in the stock markets, in the investment environment. That is a point that needs to be put on the record. The plan is now back up to solvency; I believe it's up to 100 per cent now. Generally, I believe the rule is about 90 per cent is required for solvency. We're right back up there, no matter what happens with the markets and the markets continue to move higher.

Another point I want to make is there will be less pressure now on current government employees to increase their deductions off each paycheque they get every two weeks to add more to the pension plan by increasing their contributions to it. That is going to make it easier for the NDP because they're not going to have to ask NSGEU members for increased contributions. And I suspect that's probably why Ms. Jessome was in favour of the changes to the pension plan, because the taxpayers pick this up, in effect - Nova Scotians have picked this up.

So are the changes made to the plan fair? Well, I know a lot of government employees, pensioners in this case, most of them believe the changes are unfair, and I want to talk some more about that. But I also want to put on the record, what about how would the average Nova Scotian feel? I will say that most Nova Scotians don't have a pension plan - they depend on Old Age Security which is going to provide about $6,000 a year once you turn age 65, and the Canada Pension Plan, if you've maximized your earnings of about $42,000, $43,000 a year, is going to provide you with about another $10,000 a year.

Most Nova Scotians without a pension plan can look at about $16,000 from government, and they may also have a company pension plan. So the average Nova Scotian doesn't have a pension plan like this. How many pension plans in the private sector are indexed? I would say very, very few have this benefit and it's a significant benefit because indexation does help to preserve the spending power of the retired person. And if there's an issue of solvency around a plan, private plans can't put the bill on the taxpayer, on the average Nova Scotian.

So would average Nova Scotians think the pension changes are fair? All I would say to that is I think most would think they're more than fair.

I know my time is kind of closing up here, but I want to make some comments on the effect for government pensioners. I think they should feel a little bit better about these changes. I know they planned to have a specific income in retirement and they have no control to affect the change that just took place, but this year their bottom line is going to be affected positively because they're going to get a rate of increase for inflation despite the fact there has been no inflation.

So I think they're going to be okay this year. Unless there's a major inflationary event, I think they're going to be fine for the next five years, and I think it's important to be thankful to have the benefits they have within the plan because most people don't have them.

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For those still contributing to the plan, those still working in government, I would say it's wise to also save outside of your pension plan. I will make one reference to the federal government decision to create Tax-Free Savings Accounts, they're an excellent way for people to save.

Mr. Speaker, with that I will conclude my remarks.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you, honourable member, and I want to thank everyone who participated tonight in our late debate.

We are adjourned until tomorrow at 2:00 p.m.

[The House rose at 5:54 p.m.]

[Page 1922]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 1034

By: Hon. Christopher d'Entremont (Argyle)

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

Whereas widespread devastation hit Haiti when the 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck, destroying lives, homes, and leaving many without anything; and

Whereas Susan Lane, owner of Lane's Privateer Inn, with the help of Linda Lane, Phadera Charlton-Huskins, Gene Robinson Dexter and Amy Grant, decided to host a fundraiser at the inn; and

Whereas musicians donated their time, and items were collected for a silent auction;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate this group of volunteers from Queens County for raising more than $10,000 in just two days from start to finish.

RESOLUTION NO. 1035

By: Hon. Christopher d'Entremont (Argyle)

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

Whereas the Liverpool Cougars finished off the season by bringing home the Atom B banner from the 32nd annual Honda SEDMHA International Minor Hockey Tournament; and

Whereas more than 4,000 minor hockey players, representing 259 teams from across Canada competed in the four day tournament; and

Whereas the Liverpool Cougars were defeated only once in the tournament, falling to Halifax 5-2 in game five;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate the Liverpool Cougars Atom B hockey team for their stellar performance in the championship game where they defeated Halifax 4-1 to capture the banner in the SEDMHA tournament.

[Page 1923]

RESOLUTION NO. 1036

By: Hon. Karen Casey (Colchester North)

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

Whereas Joy McCabe, a Lower Onslow resident from Colchester North, was recognized recently for her generosity; and

Whereas Joy is not a volunteer in the traditional sense of the word, but loves to help others by surprising them with little gifts, small amounts of money, or items that are of known need; and

Whereas Joy's acts of kindness are done quietly, without thought, or concern, of any form of repayment;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Joy McCabe for exemplifying the true spirit of giving, and for being chosen as Volunteer of the Week.