Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

HANSARD 10-33

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

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 28, 2010

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
INTRODUCTION OF NEW MEMBERS:
Mr. Geoff MacLellan (Glace Bay), Hon. S. McNeil 2573
Mr. Zach Churchill (Yarmouth), Hon. S. McNeil 2574
APPOINTMENT OF DEPUTY SPEAKER 2574
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
TIR - Peggy's Cove Rd.: Bike Lane - Support,
Hon. W. Estabrooks 2575
Emergency Position Response Beacons: Gov't. (Can.)
Consider, Mr. H. Theriault 2575
TIR - Little Hbr. Walking & Biking Soc.: Trail - Support,
Mr. C. MacKinnon 2575
Nat. Res.: Forest Panel Rept. - Concerns,
Mr. G. Burrill 2576
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
UN Designation: 2011 Int'l Yr. For People of African Descent,
Hon. P. Paris 2576
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 1705, Scott, Murray: Prov. Contributions - Recognize,
The Premier 2579
Vote - Affirmative 2580
Res. 1706, Harnish, Vicki: Pub. Serv. - Recognize,
Hon. G. Steele 2580
Vote -Affirmative 2581
Res. 1707, World Stroke Day (10/29/10) - Mark,
Hon. Maureen MacDonald 2581
Vote - Affirmative 2582
Res. 1708, Intl. Year for People of African Descent (2011) -
Recognize, Hon. P. Paris 2582
Vote - Affirmative 2582
Res. 1709, Prince, Clarence - UNSM Pres.: Serv. - Thank,
Hon. R. Jennex 2583
Vote - Affirmative 2583
Res. 1710, N.S. Legislature: New MLAs - Welcome,
The Premier 2583
Vote - Affirmative 2584
Res. 1711, McKay, Gail: Can. Citizenship Award - Congrats.,
Hon. R. Jennex 2584
Vote - Affirmative 2585
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 72, Police Act, Hon. R. Landry 2585
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 1712, Baillie, Jamie: Cumb. So. Victory - Congrats.,
Hon. S. McNeil 2585
Vote - Affirmative 2586
Res. 1713, Baillie, Jamie: Cumb. So. By-Election - Congrats.,
Hon. C. d'Entremont 2586
Vote - Affirmative 2586
Res. 1714, Jones, Gary: Thyroid Cancer Research - Fundraising,
Hon. W. Estabrooks 2586
Vote - Affirmative 2587
Res. 1715, Clayton, Steve: Hockey Hall of Fame - Induction,
Hon. S. McNeil 2587
Vote - Affirmative 2588
Res. 1716, TIR - Personnel: Meat Cove Road Rebuilding - Commend,
Mr. K. Bain 2588
Vote - Affirmative 2589
Res. 1717, Hospital Hustle - Queens Gen. Hosp.: Commun./Vols.
- Donations, Ms. V. Conrad 2589
Vote - Affirmative 2590
Res. 1718, MacNeil, Sgt. James Patrick "Little Jimmy": Death of
- Tribute, Mr. G. MacLellan 2590
Vote - Affirmative 2591
Res. 1719, Schwartz, Irving: Death of - Tribute,
Hon. C. Clarke 2591
Vote - Affirmative 2592
Res. 1720, Roach, Sr. Simone: Order of Can. - Congrats.,
Mr. M. Smith 2592
Vote - Affirmative 2592
Res. 1721, Memorial Clubs (Yarmouth) - Anniv. (25th),
Mr. Z. Churchill 2593
Vote - Affirmative 2594
Res. 1722, Hospice Soc.: Work - Recognize,
Hon. K. Casey 2594
Vote - Affirmative 2594
Res. 1723, Cancer Care N.S.: Pap Test Screening - Efforts Congrats.,
Ms. D. Whalen 2595
Vote - Affirmative 2595
Res. 1724, Johnson, Dr. Josephine: Commun. Serv. - Salute,
Mr. A. MacLeod 2595
Vote - Affirmative 2596
Res. 1725, Reid, Jeff - Pumpkin Weigh-Off: Win - Congrats.,
Mr. L. Glavine 2596
Vote - Affirmative 2597
Res. 1726, MacEachern, Joe "The Mailman": Retirement - Congrats.,
Mr. A. MacMaster 2597
Vote - Affirmative 2598
Res. 1727, Hill, Jim, Sr.: Order N.S. (Posthumous) - Congrats.,
Ms. K. Regan 2598
Vote - Affirmative 2599
Res. 1728, St. Croix Softball Teams - Longest Softball Game:
Guinness Book of World Records - Recognition,
Mr. C. Porter 2599
Vote - Affirmative 2600
Res. 1729, Wynne, Evan - Duke of Edinburgh Award,
Mr. A. Younger 2600
Vote - Affirmative 2600
Res. 1730, St. Paul Island Hist. Soc./Carter, Hamilton
- Lighthouse Repatriation, Mr. K. Bain 2601
Vote - Affirmative 2601
Res. 1731, Bedford So. Sch.: Anniv. (10th) - Celebration,
Ms. K. Regan 2602
Vote - Affirmative 2602
Res. 1732, Holy Angels HS - Value: Gov't. (N.S.) - Recognize,
Hon. C. Clarke 2602
Res. 1733, Boudreau, Kelly: Tae Kwon Do Black Belt - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Samson 2603
Vote - Affirmative 2604
Res. 1734, Tatamagouche Creamery Sq.:
Cent. N.S. Tourism Assoc. Award - Congrats.,
Hon. K. Casey 2604
Vote - Affirmative 2604
Res. 1735, Clare Acadian Fest. (55th): Organizers/Participants
- Congrats., Hon. W. Gaudet 2605
Vote - Affirmative 2606
Res. 1736, Argyle Farmers & Artisanal Market: Organizers/Sponsors
- Congrats., Hon. C. d'Entremont 2606
Vote - Affirmative 2607
Res. 1737, Film N.S. - Anniv. (20th), Mr. A. Younger 2607
Vote - Affirmative 2608
Res. 1738, Marshall, Donald, Jr.: Life/Accomplishments - Celebrate,
Mr. A. MacLeod 2608
Vote - Affirmative 2609
Res. 1739, MacQuarrie, Coady: Tae Kwon Do Black Belt
- Congrats., Hon. M. Samson 2609
Vote - Affirmative 2609
Res. 1740, The Stanfields: Fundraising/Award Nominations
- Congrats., Mr. A. MacMaster 2610
Vote - Affirmative 2610
Res. 1741, Belliveau Motors Golf Tournament:
Belliveau Motors/Staff/Vols. - Congrats., Hon. W. Gaudet 2610
Vote - Affirmative 2611
Res. 1742, Smith, Carl "Chook" - Hockey: Dedication - Congrats.,
Mr. C. Porter 2611
Vote - Affirmative 2612
Res. 1743, Bain, Lorraine - Memoirs: Publication - Congrats.,
Mr. Z. Churchill 2612
Vote - Affirmative 2613
Res. 1744, Bay Byes Fastball Team: Accomplishments - Congrats.,
Mr. G. MacLellan 2613
Vote - Affirmative 2614
Res. 1745, NSSAF Golf Championship (2010): West Kings Team
- Congrats., Mr L. Glavine 2614
Vote - Affirmative 2614
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 314, Prem. - Rural ERs: 24/7 Opening - Promise Keep,
Hon. S. McNeil 2615
No. 315, Prem. - Unequal Tax Situation: Prem. Alward (N.B.) - Meet,
Hon. C. d'Entremont 2616
No. 316, Health - ERs: Min. - Decision Making,
Ms. D. Whalen 2617
No. 317, Justice: New Prov. Jail - Site Announce,
Hon. M. Samson 2619
No. 318, SNSMR - Monarch/Rivendale Estates: Water System -
Funding, Hon. C. d'Entremont 2621
No. 319, SNSMR - Home Assistance Rebate Prog. - Cuts,
Mr. G. MacLellan 2622
No. 320, Fin.: HST Increase - Effects,
Mr. A. MacMaster 2624
No. 321, ERD - Yarmouth Ferry Serv.: Cut - Explain,
Mr. Z. Churchill 2626
No. 322, ERD - Tax Increases: Sm. Bus. - Effects,
Mr. C. Porter 2628
No. 323, Fin.: Prov. Tax Review - Status,
Mr. L. Glavine 2629
No. 324, Educ.: Holy Angels HS - Options,
Ms. K. Regan 2631
No. 325, Prem.: Clear-Cut - Explanation,
Mr. A. MacLeod 2632
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
ADDRESS IN REPLY:
Mr. David Wilson 2634
Hon. C. Clarke 2646
Adjourned debate 2657
ADJOURNMENT MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Boots on the Street Prog.: Fourth Yr. - Complete:
Hon. C. Clarke 2658
Mr. C. MacKinnon 2661
Mr. T. Zinck 2663
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Fri., Oct. 29th at 9 a.m. 2666
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 1746, Haliburton House Museum - Anniv. (70th),
Mr. C. Porter 2667

[Page 2573]

HALIFAX, THURSDAY, OCTOBER 28, 2010

Sixty-first General Assembly

Second Session

2:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Charlie Parker

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

Mr. Gordon Gosse, Mr. Leo Glavine, Mr. Alfie MacLeod

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. We'll get today's proceedings underway. I want to welcome everybody back here to our House of Assembly.

Before we start the daily routine, I'm going to recognize the honourable Leader of the Official Opposition who will present to the House the newly-elected members for Glace Bay and Yarmouth.

[Hon. Stephen McNeil escorted Mr. Geoff MacLellan into the House.]

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

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present to you Mr. Geoff MacLellan from the electoral district of Glace Bay. He has taken the oath, signed the roll and now claims the right to take his seat.

MR. SPEAKER: Let the honourable member take his seat. (Standing Ovation)

[Hon. Stephen McNeil escorted Mr. Zach Churchill into the House.]

[Page 2574]

2573

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

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present to you Mr. Zach Churchill from the electoral district of Yarmouth. He has taken the oath, signed the roll and now claims the right to take his seat.

[2:15 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: Let the honourable member take his seat. (Standing Ovation)

The honourable Opposition House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please recognize the honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

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

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to put forward the member for Kings West as the Deputy Speaker for the Liberal Party and I would ask for waiver.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. You're asking for unanimous consent of the House to vote on this resolution.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried. (Applause)

Congratulations to our newest Deputy Speaker. I'm not sure if you want to wear the hat or not but that would be your choice.

Before we get underway with the daily routine, we have a few other new faces around the Legislature today. I'm pleased to welcome to the Table the Visiting Assistant Clerk from New Brunswick, Don Forestell, who is here to help us out for a few days. I would ask you to welcome Don here to the House as well. (Applause)

Also, certainly we have a number of new Pages and returning Pages and we welcome them back, or for the first time here, to our Legislature. So welcome to everyone. (Applause)

[Page 2575]

I just wanted to announce that the late debate today will occur at the moment of interruption at 6:00 p.m. The motion is as follows:

Therefore be it resolved that this NDP Government commit to completing the fourth year of the Boots on the Street program so that police agencies across Nova Scotia can have the resources they require to combat a constant threat to public safety.

That is submitted by the honourable member for Cape Breton West and that will be at the moment of interruption at 6:00 p.m.

We will now start the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

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

HON. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the self-described - I'll be careful with this - the Bay Babes on Bikes, Denise Drake and Connie Bygrave, I beg leave to introduce a petition of 975 residents. The operative clause is:

"We, the undersigned, support a proposed bike lane for the Peggy's Cove Road for reasons of safety for both bicyclists and motorized vehicles."

Since one of them was a student of mine, I have affixed my signature for these Bay

Babes.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

MR. HAROLD THERIAULT: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition that has been signed by 1,108 residents of Digby County and surrounding areas in the memory of the fishing crew of the RLJ - Lee White, Cory LeBlanc, Anthony Orde and Bryden Orde - requesting that this consideration be given by the federal government to make emergency position response beacons mandatory on all commercial fishing vessels.

Mr. Speaker, I have affixed my signature to this document.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

[Page 2576]

MR. CLARRIE MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to introduce a petition from the Little Harbour Walking and Biking Society. The operative clause is:

"The Little Harbour Walking and Biking Society is petitioning Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal for support for a walking and biking trail from Roy's Island to Powell's Point and beyond."

This involves the widening of the road shoulders. It is signed by 271 residents and I have affixed my name to the petition.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

MR. GARY BURRILL: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to present a petition of 155 residents of Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley and the surrounding areas. This is with respect to the Natural Resources Strategy. It is below these four sentences.

"We the undersigned residents have grave concerns with many of the recommendations in the Forest Panel Report, part of Phase II of the Nova Scotia Natural Resources Strategy 2010.

There are numerous recommendations that would:

• Severely restrict landowners rights to manage their lands

The forestry industry is the backbone of the rural economy of Nova Scotia. Without a viable forest industry, we will see rural communities fade off the map."

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of African Nova Scotian Affairs.

HON. PERCY PARIS: Mr. Speaker, it is my great pleasure to bring an historical occasion to your attention. I think all of my colleagues here will agree it is something for us

[Page 2577]

to be excited about as we head into the 2011. The United Nations has designated 2011 as the International Year for People of African Descent. The United Nations is urging nations and states all around the world to celebrate and to learn more about the many varied cultures in our midst, which can trace our history back to Africa.

I think this is a wonderful opportunity, and I say this not only as the Minister of African Nova Scotian Affairs, but as a proud citizen of this province. It is a wonderful opportunity for all Nova Scotians to celebrate the contributions that persons of African descent have made to their communities, to their province and to this country.

I think it is fair to say that Nova Scotia's history is quite unique in this country. Since the arrival of the first explorers, persons of African descent have played an essential role in the heritage, the culture and the economic development of this province. I think everyone in this room would acknowledge that these contributions sometimes haven't always been properly recognized or equally valued.

There are chapters in our history that I'm sure some of us are not proud of, but I believe we have also seen progress. For example, it was wonderful to witness the free pardon granted this Spring to Viola Desmond, which corrected an historic wrong and honoured her stand against racial injustice.

I'm also very pleased on a personal note to see that Burnley "Rocky" Jones, was named to the Order of Nova Scotia earlier this month. Dr. Jones has worked tirelessly to improve life for persons of African and Aboriginal descent. It is fitting to see him duly honoured as one of the greatest champions of justice and equality that this province has ever known.

These are just a few steps of the journey, but they are steps in the right direction. That is why I believe this international year presents us, Nova Scotia, such a timely opportunity. It is a chance for all Nova Scotians to come together and celebrate 2011, all the stories, all the struggles and successes that have shaped our history, not just African descent, but the history of this great province.

I am pleased to say that in this international year, our celebrations will have a global flavour. Earlier this month I had the privilege of presenting at the 6th International African Diaspora Heritage Trail Conference in Bermuda. This is an event that draws delegates from around the world. In Bermuda there were persons representing the Government of Tanzania, the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, UNESCO, the United Nations Education Science and Cultural Branch, tourism organizations from Africa and the Caribbean, and the list goes on.

I am extremely pleased to tell you that this conference will be coming to Nova Scotia in the Fall of 2011. (Applause) Visitors from all over the globe will be joining us here on the Nova Scotia stage. We will learn about African Nova Scotian heritage and their culture. They

[Page 2578]

will have the chance to travel throughout our province and visit sites like Birchtown, which was once the largest free Black settlement outside of Africa.

In this very special year, we have the opportunity - we, Nova Scotia, have the opportunity - to step up on the world stage and be a leader when it comes to celebrating the International Year for People of African Descent.

In closing, I would like to invite and encourage all of my colleagues here today to help make 2011 a year to remember. My staff in the Department of African Nova Scotian Affairs are already hard at word on plans to mark the occasion in many ways. It is my sincere hope that Nova Scotians of all backgrounds and of all cultures will join in the celebrations. We will be a richer province for it. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Preston.

HON. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, first of all I'd like to thank the minister for providing a copy of his statement before the House sat today. I would just like to reiterate some of the things that the minister has said. It is, indeed, a privilege for me to represent the communities of Cherry Brook, East Preston, and North Preston. It has been a wonderful experience for me, and I can tell you it is one that has enriched my life. It's wonderful to meet with the true meaning of family now. When you go into the communities and you see how the families are structured, a structure that we in our communities - outside the Black community - no longer have, I think that says a lot for the character and the stamina of the people in the Black community.

We have, over the years, seen a long history of African Nova Scotians in this province making tremendous contributions to this province and to this country. A lot of things were never recognized, and indeed, to this day aren't recognized, and I think that's very unfortunate. We see that the Maroons came here to build Citadel Hill and that really hasn't been recognized, and so many more things. I'm glad to see today that so many more things are being recognized by all communities for the rich culture and heritage of the Black community.

There have been many changes over the years as we've gone forward. When I was first elected and started representing the Black community, I didn't realize how recent the history of discrimination had been. I've given this example before: In the early 1970s, the Black community took the school board and the Province of Nova Scotia to court to see why their children weren't getting a proper education. That's the 1970s. Think about that, at a time when that shouldn't have even been a thought in anyone's mind. It should have been automatic. These are the struggles - one of the major struggles - that the Black community has had. We in this House - members of this House, all of us - have to ensure that never happens to anybody anywhere in this province, whether it be the Black community or Aboriginal community or anybody else in this province. We have that obligation and, indeed,

[Page 2579]

I do truly believe that everyone in this House who is sitting here today takes that very seriously and does everything they possibly can to do that.

Again, it has been a really enriching experience for me to spend time with families in my community and outside my community. I can tell you, if anyone hasn't had the opportunity to go to a church service, to a birthday party, or to a function in the Black community, you want to go. I can tell you that it's an experience that will change your life in a very positive way.

[2:30 p.m.]

I've got to put this last plug in to the minister, and this is very important to me and I know it's very important to him too. Maybe this year, one of the projects you can do is give long-term funding to the Black Cultural Centre. Thank you very much.

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

MR. ALFIE MACLEOD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I, too, would like to thank the minister for the copy of his statement beforehand. As the minister has pointed out, Nova Scotia's African culture is certainly unique in Canada. We've come a long way since the days of Viola Desmond, and I am proud that Nova Scotia is leading the way in righting some of these historical wrongs.

I know we were talking about a broader initiative by the United Nations, but I would like to bring it to a more local level. Mr. Speaker, in a few moments here in this Legislature I will honour Josephine Johnson of North Preston. Ms. Johnson's list of accomplishments is long and it includes: organizing the first Head Start program in North Preston; involvement with Hope Cottage; involvement with the Nova Scotia Association for the Advancement of Coloured People - and that is in addition to her serving more than 50 years as a Sunday school teacher.

Ms. Johnson is an exemplary citizen and she works hard to give back to her community. It is with proud Nova Scotians like Josephine Johnson in mind that I encourage all of you to join with Nova Scotia in celebrating 2011, the International Year for People of African Descent. Thank you. (Applause)

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 1705

[Page 2580]

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

Whereas Murray Scott worked hard to represent Nova Scotians in the constituency of Cumberland South from 1998 to September of this year; and

Whereas during his time in office Mr. Scott served in a number of important roles, including Speaker of the House on historic and precedent-setting occasions, Minister of Justice, Minister of Transportation Infrastructure and Renewal, and Minister of Economic and Rural Development; and

Whereas Mr. Scott announced his retirement from provincial politics on September 8th of this year;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize Murray Scott's significant contributions and dedication to the people of Nova Scotia, and wish him all the best as he continues his record of public service.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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. (Applause)

The honourable Minister of Finance.

RESOLUTION NO. 1706

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

Whereas Vicki Harnish has served with distinction in the Public Service of Nova Scotia for over 36 years; and

Whereas Ms. Harnish has served as Director in the Department of Mines and Energy, in the Department of Natural Resources, as well as Executive Officer of the Treasury and Policy Board, Public Service Commissioner, Secretary to the Executive Council and most recently, since January 2004, as Deputy Minister of Finance; and

[Page 2581]

Whereas Deputy Minister Harnish is taking her retirement from the Public Service effective November 7th, with her last day in the office tomorrow, October 29th;

Therefore be it resolved that that this House recognize and thank Vicki Harnish for her years of public service to the Province of Nova Scotia, and wish her well in her retirement.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate and, assuming a positive vote, if my colleagues would rise and acknowledge Ms. Harnish who joins us today in the Speaker's Gallery.

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)

The honourable Minister of Health Promotion and Protection.

RESOLUTION NO. 1707

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

Whereas Friday, October 29 th, is World Stroke Day; and

Whereas every six seconds, regardless of age or gender, someone in the world will die from stroke; and

Whereas there are five warning signs of a stroke that Nova Scotians should be able to identify in a time of emergency to save a life: weakness, trouble speaking, vision problems, headache and dizziness;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in marking World Stroke Day and acknowledge the importance of recognizing the warning signs and commend the organizations that advocate on behalf of stroke sufferers and their families.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

[Page 2582]

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. 1708

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

Whereas the United Nations has declared 2011 the International Year for People of African Descent and has encouraged its member states to do their part in honouring this special year; and

Whereas the goal of this year is to strengthen national actions and regional and international co-operation for the benefit of persons of African descent, and to promote a greater knowledge of, and respect for, our diverse heritage and culture; and

Whereas persons of African descent have greatly contributed to the success of this province;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in recognizing 2011 as the International Year for People of African Descent and encourage all Nova Scotians to partake in the celebrations of culture and history that are being planned across the province.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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 2583]

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

RESOLUTION NO. 1709

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

Whereas the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities has a rich history of more than a century of promoting local government in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Clarence Prince from the Cape Breton Regional Municipality has served as president of the UNSM over the past year and his term ends today; and

Whereas Mr. Prince has been an excellent voice and champion for municipalities, working hard to promote strong communities in Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House thank Clarence Prince for his hard work and service over the past year as the president of the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities and wish him all the best in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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 Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 1710

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

[Page 2584]

Whereas provincial by-elections were held in the constituencies of Yarmouth and Glace Bay this past June and in Cumberland South just this week; and

Whereas the people of those communities did their civic duty and came out to vote for their new respective members of the Legislature; and

Whereas Zach Churchill was elected in the constituency of Yarmouth, Geoff MacLellan was elected in the constituency of Glace Bay and Jamie Baillie was elected in the constituency of Cumberland South;

Therefore be it resolved that this Legislature welcome its newest members to the House of Assembly and extend best wishes for continued co-operation in the government's efforts to make this province a better place for all Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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 Immigration.

RESOLUTION NO. 1711

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

Whereas Gail McKay of Waverley spearheaded the effort to form an Ecumenical Refugee Committee in the Fall River area and organized a number of churches to sponsor new arrivals to Canada; and

Whereas the committee first sponsored a mother and her three teenage sons from Sierra Leone to settle in Halifax, and Ms. McKay was instrumental in raising the necessary funds to welcome them to the community; and

[Page 2585]

Whereas in 2006, Ms. MacKay opened her home to a young mother from Afghanistan and three of her children, and then worked tirelessly for two years to successfully bring the woman's other two children to Canada;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House join me in congratulating Gail McKay, as one of 12 winners of this year's Canada Citizenship Award, for playing an outstanding role in helping newcomers to integrate into Canadian society.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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

Bill No. 72 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 31 of the Acts of 2004. The Police Act. (Hon. Ross Landry)

MR. SPEAKER: Ordered that this bill be read a second time on a future day.

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 1712

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

Whereas in this House we know what it feels like to put our names on the ballot in pursuit of public service; and

Whereas we are all here in this House to serve the interests of our constituents to the best of our ability; and

Whereas this House will soon welcome another new member to our ranks;

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Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Jamie Baillie on his victory in Cumberland South and look forward to him joining the debate.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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 in the House of the Progressive Conservative Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 1713

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 Tuesday, more than 5,500 Nova Scotians exercised their democratic right to vote in the provincial by-election held in Cumberland South; and

Whereas the wise people of Cumberland South overwhelmingly elected Progressive Conservative Leader-elect Jamie Baillie to represent them in this historic House of Assembly; and

Whereas citizens of Cumberland South and members on this side of the House are eager to see Mr. Baillie take his place at Province House, to lead a vigorous and revitalized Progressive Conservative caucus;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate the new MLA for Cumberland South on his by-election win and wish him success as he takes on the challenges of his new job.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal.

RESOLUTION NO. 1714

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

Whereas Gary Jones of Timberlea, a thyroid cancer survivor, cycled across Canada this Spring and summer to raise money for thyroid cancer research; and

Whereas Mr. Jones, a long-time member of Trinity United Church in Timberlea, cycled from Victoria, British Columbia to St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador in 52 days; and

Whereas two cheques of $16,800 each were donated to the Queen Elizabeth II Foundation for thyroid oncology and to the Nova Scotia Division of the Canadian Cancer Society;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate and thank Gary Jones of Timberlea, for his exemplary dedication to his fundraising efforts for thyroid cancer research in our province.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

[2:45 p.m.]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 1715

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

Whereas well-known Bridgetown volunteer Steve Clayton was recently inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame; and

Whereas only 14 recipients from across Canada were chosen by RBC Insurance, with support from Hockey Canada and the Hockey Hall of Fame, for this prestigious award, which recognizes hard work, dependability, impact on community, and leadership; and

Whereas Steve is a true hockey hero in the Town of Bridgetown, and his selfless dedication to hockey as a coach, tournament organizer, and rink planner for well over 25 years has earned him the recognition he so deserves;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly congratulate Steve Clayton for receiving this outstanding award, and recognize his dedication and commitment to hockey in the Town of Bridgetown.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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.

MR. KEITH BAIN: Mr. Speaker, would I be able to do an introduction before I do my resolution?

MR. SPEAKER: Certainly.

MR. BAIN: Mr. Speaker, in your gallery this afternoon is a constituent of Victoria-The Lakes. I think the bagpipes were probably for him. It just so happens that he's also the president of the Victoria-The Lakes Progressive Conservative Association, Tom Vickers. Tom is here observing the operation of the House today, and I would ask that he please stand and receive the warm welcome of the House.

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

RESOLUTION NO. 1716

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

Whereas in the early morning of August 22, 2010, bridges and roads linking the community of Meat Cove with the rest of Cape Breton were swept away by a torrential downpour; and

Whereas within hours, Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal personnel were on the scene to assess the situation and begin the daunting task of re-establishing access to the community; and

Whereas due to the tremendous efforts of these tireless employees, access was quickly restored and efforts continued to rebuild the roadway to the community;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly commend the dedication and perseverance of the personnel of the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, and thank them for a job well done.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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 Kings North.

MR. JIM MORTON: Mr. Speaker, may I have permission to make an introduction?

MR. SPEAKER: Certainly.

MR. MORTON: I'd like to draw attention to the east gallery where we have a couple of visitors from Kings North. Logan Morris, who is from Centreville and a Grade 10 student

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of NECEC, is here with his father, Robert Morris, also from Centreville but a native of Somerset - where I also came from. They're both here because they're interested in observing the process of the House of Assembly. Logan has had a longtime interest in the legislative process, so welcome to you both.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 1717

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

Whereas many volunteer hours and many, many donations make the Annual Hospital Hustle in Liverpool, Queens County, a very successful fundraiser for the Queens General Hospital; and

Whereas fundraising done at this event is used to purchase new equipment for the hospital; and

Whereas equipment the hospital hopes to purchase with the fundraising dollars includes a warming unit for the emergency room, an ultrasonic cleaner, and a pressure monitor;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly recognize the volunteers and members of the community for their donations to the Hospital Hustle in Liverpool to raise funds for the Queens General Hospital.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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 Glace Bay.

RESOLUTION NO. 1718

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

Whereas Sergeant James Patrick "Little Jimmy" MacNeil, 28, of Glace Bay was killed on June 21, 2010, by an I.E.D. during his fourth and final tour of duty in Afghanistan; and

Whereas Sergeant MacNeil was a hometown hero who died protecting his comrades and protecting the freedoms we enjoy as Canadians; and

Whereas thousands of Cape Bretoners lined the streets to welcome Sergeant Jimmy home on June 29, 2010, it was an emotional but pride-filled day that we shared together and will remember forever;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House join me in recognizing the ultimate sacrifice made to his community, province and country by Sergeant James Patrick "Little Jimmy" MacNeil.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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.

[A moment of silence was observed]

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

RESOLUTION NO. 1719

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

Whereas Cape Breton has lost a great entrepreneur and humanitarian with the passing of Irving Schwartz; and

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Whereas Mr. Schwartz was an officer of the Order of Canada, the head of many companies and the Canadian International Demining Corporation that worked to improve lives and remove land mines; and

Whereas Irving most recently chaired the overwhelming success of the Cancer Care Fundraising Campaign which raised over $5.5 million in one year. Irving was a remarkable businessman, community leader, philanthropist and friend and will be greatly missed by all Nova Scotians;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly join me in remembering and celebrating the life of Irving Schwartz.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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 Antigonish.

RESOLUTION NO. 1720

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

Whereas Sister Simone Roach is a member of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Martha in Antigonish, a retired professor and former chair of the Department of Nursing at St. Francis Xavier University and former department chair;

Whereas Sister Roach is a pioneer in nursing ethics and her research on nursing and caring led to the formulation of the five C's; Compassion, Competence, Confidence, Conscience, Commitment and later, Comportment; and

Whereas on September 3rd, Her Excellency, the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, invested Sister Simone Roach CM as member of the Order of Canada;

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Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House thank Sister Simone Roach for her contributions to the field of nursing and to the broader community and congratulate her on being invested as a member of the Order of Canada.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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 on an introduction.

HON. PERCY PARIS: Mr. Speaker, in the gallery opposite I'd like to introduce a young gentleman who is a student who is currently working with me in my constituency office. I would ask Ryan English to please stand and be acknowledged by the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We welcome him and all our visitors here this afternoon and hope they enjoy the proceedings.

The honourable member for Yarmouth.

MR. ZACH CHURCHILL: Mr. Speaker, may I make an introduction, please?

MR. SPEAKER: Yes.

MR. CHURCHILL: I would like to draw everyone's attention to the west gallery and introduce my father, Jack Churchill; my mother, Joanne Bishara; and my girlfriend, Shaunessy Westbury, and ask them to receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Yarmouth.

RESOLUTION NO. 1721

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

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Whereas the Memorial Clubs of Yarmouth, consisting of junior and senior high school students, have dedicated their time and energy to honouring their country, veterans, and seniors; and

Whereas members of the Memorial Clubs are the very embodiment of their inspirational motto, Proud Canadians do Proud Things; and

Whereas the Memorial Clubs of Yarmouth will be celebrating 25 years of service;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly congratulate the Memorial Clubs of Yarmouth on their 25th Anniversary and thank them for their many years of noble and inspirational service.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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 Colchester North.

RESOLUTION NO. 1722

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

Whereas our population is dramatically aging and the ability of a spouse to care for a loved one who is seriously ill and dying is limited; and

Whereas by 2010, one in two households will be caring for a seriously ill and dying loved one at home, requiring an estimated 56 hours per week of caregiving by a family member, many of whom are in the workforce with full-time jobs; and

Whereas hospice palliative care programs could be beneficial in 73 per cent of all Canadian deaths;

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Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly recognize the valuable work of the members of the Hospice Society and the increasing need for the programs and services that they provide.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

RESOLUTION NO. 1723

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

Whereas October 24th to October 30th is Pap Test Awareness Week, a week designated to remind Nova Scotia women that regular pap tests prevent approximately 95 per cent of all cervical cancers; and

Whereas approximately 60 women in Nova Scotia are diagnosed with cervical cancer annually, a cancer which has a survival rate of 50 per cent; and

Whereas during this week, Cancer Care Nova Scotia's Cervical Cancer Prevention Program works with community groups and organizations to raise awareness about the benefits of regular screening;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House congratulate Cancer Care Nova Scotia and its partners for all of their efforts in educating Nova Scotia women about the importance of regular pap test screening in the prevention of cervical cancer.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 1724

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

Whereas Josephine Johnson of North Preston is a lifelong trailblazer; and

Whereas Ms. Johnson's list of accomplishments includes organizing the first Head Start Program for North Preston and leadership roles with the North Preston Day Care Centre, Heart and Stroke, Hope Cottage, the Nova Scotia Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, as well as more than 50 years as a Sunday school teacher; and

Whereas on October 24th, Mount Saint Vincent University honoured Josephine Johnson with an honorary degree;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly salute Dr. Josephine Johnson for her lifetime of service to her community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

[3:00 p.m.]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 2597]

The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, if I could make an introduction?

MR. SPEAKER: Certainly.

MR. GLAVINE: I would like to draw the attention of the House to the west gallery, where we have visiting this afternoon Mr. Ken Meech, CEO of the Nova Scotia School Boards Association, and a well-known and prominent educator, Mr. Vic Fleury, who was the principal of West Kings High School for many years, involved for a long time with Nova Scotia Teachers Union, currently the President of the Nova Scotia School Boards Association. If they could rise and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 1725

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

Whereas the 26th Annual Pumpkin Weigh-off took place at the Hants County Exhibition grounds in Windsor on October 2, 2010; and

Whereas Jeff Reid of Waterville took home the first place prize for his giant pumpkin, weighing in at 1,419 pounds; and

Whereas Mr. Reid has been a driving force behind the Annapolis Valley Giant Vegetable Growers and each year is able to grow increasingly large pumpkins;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly congratulate Jeff Reid of Waterville for his first place finish at the 26th Annual Pumpkin Weigh-off and wish him continued success in future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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 2598]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Inverness.

RESOLUTION NO. 1726

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

Whereas letter carrier Joe MacEachern of Broad Cove embodies the adage, "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their rounds"; and

Whereas Joe has delivered the mail to the people of Inverness from Victoria Road to St. Rose, the Broad Cove Marsh, into Deepdale and up Piper's Lane for 48 years, four months; and

Whereas Joe is retiring from his position as letter carrier for Canada Post at the age of 85 on October 29th;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly strive to work with such dedication as Joe "The Mailman" MacEachern has shown, congratulate him on his retirement and wish him health and happiness in his retirement.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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. 1727

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

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Whereas one night in November 1964, ATV employees Jim Hill, Sr. and Jack Dalton witnessed an 8-year-old boy begging in a local pub for money to feed his young mother and baby sister; and

Whereas in response the two men went back to ATV and established the Christmas Daddies Telethon to raise money to help needy families, raising $27 million over the past 46 years; and

Whereas Jim was a patient teacher of new television directors - including this member - and was an award-winning professional and true gentleman and friend;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the family of the late Jim Hill, Sr. and ATV, now CTV Atlantic, on the announcement that Jim will be awarded a posthumous Order of Nova Scotia in a ceremony on December 1st and wish them sincere condolences on Jim's passing earlier this Fall.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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.

MS. KELLY REGAN: Mr. Speaker, I would like to make an introduction at this time. I would like to direct your attention to the west gallery where my parents, Doug and Delores Smith, of Wiarton, Ontario, are here and I would ask them to rise so they can accept the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.

RESOLUTION NO. 1728

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

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Whereas a world record was established at the St. Croix ballpark in late September when two teams played the longest game of softball ever played, a game which spanned five days, or 121 hours, 16 minutes and 47 seconds, or 541 innings; and

Whereas the record-breaking attempt was sanctioned by officials from the Guiness Book of World Records who stipulated that every inning played must be recorded with video surveillance; and

Whereas Justin Chislett and Paul Shulba were two of the key organizers in assembling two teams of 20 players, which saw the blue team outscore the red team 1,462-1,165;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly recognize the outstanding performance and fortitude of this group of individuals for breaking the previous world record for longest softball game of 115 hours and three minutes established in Alberta last year and wish each player every future success.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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. 1729

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

Whereas the Duke of Edinburgh Award was founded in 1956 and came to Canada in 1963 and is now present in 126 countries; and

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Whereas the award encourages young people to become active and engaged citizens in the area of community service and challenges them to develop personal skills and physical activity and learn what it means to exemplify leadership; and

Whereas Evan Wynne, a resident of Dartmouth East and a Chief Scout, will receive the Bronze Level of the Duke of Edinburgh Award on Thursday, November 4th;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Evan on receiving this prestigious award and offer best wishes for continued success as a leader in our community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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. 1730

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

Whereas the St. Paul Island Historical Society has for the last number of years been attempting to have the St. Paul Island Lighthouse repatriated from the Coast Guard Maritimes base in Dartmouth to its rightful place in Dingwall, Cape Breton; and

Whereas the North of Smokey area, especially the communities of Cape North and Dingwall, have had close historical ties for almost 70 years with the light as it guided ships through the Gulf of St. Lawrence; and

Whereas on Friday, October 22nd, federal Fisheries Minister, Gail Shea, announced that the St. Paul Island Lighthouse would finally be returning home;

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Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate the St. Paul Island Historical Society and its Chair, Hamilton Carter, on the return of the St. Paul Island Lighthouse and commend them for their diligent and tireless efforts.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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 on an introduction.

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, I want to draw the attention of the House to the west gallery where we have with us Reverend Karen Ralph who is finishing her first year of ministry in Middleton at the St. John's United Church. She's here to make sure that members of the government side behave themselves probably and a few members of that caucus. I would ask her to rise and receive a warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

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

RESOLUTION NO. 1731

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

Whereas Bedford South School is marking its 10th Anniversary this year; and

Whereas the students of Bedford South School have decided to celebrate the past and future, as well as learning at their institution; and

Whereas through the coordination of Grade 9 French Immersion teacher, Claudette Leger, the Grade Primary and Grade 9 pupils will each create an embossed, original design in copper, all of which will be assembled to create an art installation on the entrance wall of the building, commemorating the anniversary;

[Page 2603]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Legislative House of Assembly congratulate Madame Leger and the students of Bedford South School for 10 years of educational excellence and for creating an original work of art that will delight generations to come.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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. 1732

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

Whereas Holy Angels High School in Sydney was established in 1885 as the only all- girls school east of Montreal and was singled out in the Atlantic Institute of Market Studies' annual report card on Canadian high schools as one of the province's most improved schools over the last five years; and

Whereas this government is not willing to invest in the renovations that would bring the Sydney institution up to code; and

Whereas the news from the Cape Breton Regional School Board today that Holy Angels High School could close was met with tears from students and teachers from students and teachers alike;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly urge this government to recognize the value of Holy Angels High School to its students and to the community and keep this school open.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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

[Page 2604]

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 1733

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

Whereas tae kwon do is a Korean martial art that combines combat techniques, self- defence, sport, exercise, meditation and philosophy, while the five tenets of tae kwon do are courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, and indomitable spirit; and

Whereas Kelly Boudreau is a student training under the Louisdale branch of the East Coast Tae Kwon Do with Mr. Jason Doiron; and

Whereas Kelly Boudreau was awarded her black belt in June 2010 by Master Martin MacDougall of East Coast Tae Kwon Do in Sydney;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Kelly Boudreau for being awarded her black belt in tae kwon do and wish her continued success.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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 Colchester North.

RESOLUTION NO. 1734

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

Whereas tourism is of major importance to the economy of our province; and

Whereas many of the businesses and individuals who depend on the tourist industry stand out because of their excellence in ensuring that tourists receive the best our province has to offer; and

Whereas the Central Nova Tourism Association annually selects the region's "best" in various categories;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly congratulate the Tatamagouche Creamery Square - which happens to be in Colchester North - for receiving the Central Nova Tourism Association Attraction Award.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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 West on an introduction.

MR. GARY RAMEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'd like to call attention to the east gallery. I see a friend, colleague and supporter up there, Mr. Brian Wentzell. I would ask the House to welcome him in the usual manner. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Clare.

RESOLUTION NO. 1735

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Monsieur le Président, par la présente, j'avise que je proposerai à une date ultérieure, l'adoption de la résolution, suivante:

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Attendu que le Festival acadien de Clare est une célébration annuelle d'une partie intégrante du patrimoine historique et culturel de notre province; et

Attendu que nous célébrons le 55ième anniversaire du Festival acadien; et

Attendu que nombreux bénévoles s'engagent à chaque année pour assurer l'organisation et le bon déroulement du festival;

Par conséquent, il soit résolu que cette assemblée se joigne à moi pour féliciter et remercier les organisateurs et les participants du 55ième Festival acadien de Clare.

Monsieur le Président, je propose l'adoption de cette résolution sans préavis et sans débats.

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

Whereas the Clare Acadian Festival is an annual celebration of an important social fabric of our cultural heritage in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas this year it is the 55th Anniversary of the Clare Acadian Festival; and

Whereas dedicated volunteers are engaged in the organization of the festival every summer;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating the organizers and participants of this year's Clare 55th Acadian Festival.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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 in the House of the Progressive Conservative Party.

[Page 2607]

[3:15 p.m.]

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and if I may make a couple of introductions.

MR. SPEAKER: Sure.

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Thank you very much. In the east gallery I want to introduce a number of people who are here visiting from the Monarch/Rivendale Estates in Beaver Bank. They are Paul Shebib, Ed Peckham, Kelly Peckham, Pam Clarke, Mike Clarke, Sheldon Collins, and Rick Cole, and I want them to receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

Another gentleman that's visiting from the wonderful constituency of Argyle, a good friend of mine, a guy by the name of Earl Muise. He's a resident of Surrette's Island. He's here to hopefully talk to the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal about a 100-year-old bridge. I want to welcome Earl to the House as well. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Argyle.

RESOLUTION NO. 1736

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

Whereas the new Argyle Farmers and Artisanal Market was launched on September 2, 2010 in Tusket and ran for a nine-week trial period until October 28th; and

Whereas the market was created by members of the community partly out of a desire to establish a meeting place to offer to individuals and families in the Municipality of Argyle with a place to buy fresh produce, fish, baked goods and handcrafted articles; and

Whereas each week there have been more than 20 vendors on-site from around the county who have developed themes that focused on highlighting what their villages have to offer with on-site displays showcasing their tourist sites and local handcrafts;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating the organizers and sponsors of the Argyle Farmers and Artisanal Market and wish them much success and encouragement to develop their future ideas for the benefit of all residents of Argyle and the surrounding communities.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

[Page 2608]

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 Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal on an introduction.

HON. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, in the east gallery I'd like to introduce a long-time friend and supporter (Interruption) I have a friend, more than you, thank you, don't get me distracted, I have a prepared note here - a legendary alumnus of Acadia University hockey program, Brian Mosher. Brian, could you stand and be recognized. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1737

MR. ANDREW YOUNGER: Mr. Speaker. I'm wondering if there is anyone in the gallery who hasn't been introduced yet. (Laughter)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia has the fourth-largest film industry in Canada, generating over $1.5 billion a year; and

Whereas Film Nova Scotia was created in 1990 and has since produced over 500 projects and employs more than 3,000 Nova Scotians annually; and

Whereas countless local productions have premiered to national and international audiences over the last 20 years, thanks to the work of Film Nova Scotia, earning awards and accolades in festivals around the world;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly join me in congratulating Film Nova Scotia on its 20th Anniversary and acknowledge its success and enhancement of Nova Scotia's cultural experience and prosperity.

[Page 2609]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 1738

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

Whereas the Membertou First Nation is unveiling a marble statue today of native rights trailblazer Donald Marshall,Jr.; and

Whereas Mr. Marshall's bravery and determination to stand up for justice resulted in overhauls to the Canadian judicial system and protection of native treaty rights on fishing; and

Whereas artist Doug Bieniek hand carved the marble statue of Donald Marshall, Jr., who died in 2009 at age 55 of complications from a double lung transplant;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly join me in remembering and celebrating the life and accomplishments that Donald Marshall, Jr. made with Nova Scotia's Aboriginal community as his community is doing with this tribute.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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 2610]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 1739

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

Whereas tae kwon do is a Korean martial art that combines combat techniques, self- defence, sport, exercise, meditation and philosophy, while the five tenets of tae kwon do are courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control and indomitable spirit; and

Whereas Coady MacQuarrie is a student training under the Louisdale branch of the East Coast Tae Kwon Do with Mr. Jason Doiron; and

Whereas Coady MacQuarrie was awarded his Black Belt in June 2010 by Master Martin MacDougall of East Coast Tae Kwon Do in Sydney;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly congratulate Coady MacQuarrie for being awarded his Black Belt in tae kwon do and wish him continued success.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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. 1740

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

Whereas one of the dynamic bands on the Nova Scotia music scene is Halifax's own The Stanfields; and

[Page 2611]

Whereas while on their first cross- country tour showing the rest of Canada what our province brings to the table, their van called it quits, breaking down over the Rockies where it had to be towed to Kamloops, B.C.; and

Whereas the boys, a long way from home and without the financial means to get back in time for Nova Scotia Music Week, launched a creative campaign called Bring Us Home on their Web site and a Facebook page to raise $7,658 to fix the van, pay for the towing bill, and drive themselves home;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly with The Stanfields the best of luck in fundraising to get their van fixed and wish them a safe trip back to Nova Scotia and also to congratulate them on the many nominations they have received at this year's Nova Scotia Music Week.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Clare.

RESOLUTION NO. 1741

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

Whereas on July 30, 2010, the 16th Annual Belliveau Motors Charity Golf Tournament was held; and

Whereas a grand total of $21,555 was raised; and

Whereas this money was raised for the Clare Ground Search and Rescue;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly congratulate all staff, volunteers and Belliveau Motors for raising funds for such a worthwhile cause.

[Page 2612]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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. 1742

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

Whereas the Windsor Royals Junior Hockey Club recognized well-known hockey veteran Carl "Chook" Smith prior to their home opener against the Glace Bay Junior Alpines in Windsor on October 22, a gentleman who played the game of hockey for more than 70 years and was described in a 1975 book of Nova Scotia Sport Personalities as the Old Man River of Professional Hockey; and

Whereas Carl "Chook" Smith was accompanied by numerous members of his family, including his wife Elizabeth, son Brent, daughters Leslie, Stephanie and Natalie, and grandchildren as he was honoured at centre ice and dropped the puck to begin the home portion of the 2010-11 Royals season; and

Whereas prior to the start of the 1947-48 hockey season Chook signed a try-out form with the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly applaud Carl "Chook" Smith for his many dedicated and fun loving years playing the game he so richly enjoyed.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 2613]

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 Yarmouth.

RESOLUTION NO. 1743

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

Whereas Lorraine Bain has overcome so many of life's obstacles as a paraplegic; and

Whereas Mrs. Bain has become an inspiration to many members of her community; and

Whereas Mrs. Bain has authored and published a book of memoirs entitled Rolling Through Life - A True Paralyzing Story,detailing her remarkable life experiences;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly congratulate Mrs. Bain on the publication of her memoirs and wish her great success.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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 Glace Bay.

MR. GEOFF MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, may I make an introduction?

MR. SPEAKER: Certainly.

[Page 2614]

MR. MACLELLAN: To the final two people who are left up there, I draw your attention to the west gallery. I have two friends with me - Mr. Shaun O'Neill of Glace Bay and Mr. Claude Poirier of Cheticamp. They've looked after me for many years, two good

friends of mine, and like a schoolboy they're making sure I got on the bus okay today. Thanks for coming, guys and would you please rise and accept the welcome of the House. (Applause)

RESOLUTION NO. 1744

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

Whereas the 1968 Oland's Bay Byes Senior Fastball Team defeated the Sydney Steel City Schooners to capture the Cape Breton Senior Fastball title; and

Whereas the Bay Byes defeated Dartmouth to win the Nova Scotia championship and followed with a series victory over Minto, New Brunswick, to become the 1968 Maritime Senior Fastball champions; and

Whereas the Bay Byes were inducted into the Cape Breton Sports Hall of Fame on May 29, 2010;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House join me in congratulating the Bay Byes, a group of hard-working and talented athletes who gave it their all to bring home a Maritime title and take their place in the storied history of the proud town of Glace Bay.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern on an introduction.

MS. BECKY KENT: Mr. Speaker, we do certainly have more people up there that need an introduction and I'm pleased to take this time - with your permission, Mr. Speaker - to welcome Dartmouth resident and school board member, Gin Yee, in our gallery. Today

[Page 2615]

he is the representative for Dartmouth-Woodside-Eastern Passage and I'm pleased to have him here. I have the pleasure of working with him on a regular basis and I would ask my colleagues today to welcome him to the House of Assembly. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 1745

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

Whereas the 2010 Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation Golf Championship took place at Lingan Golf and Country Club on September 27, 2010; and

Whereas Chad MacMillan, son of Nova Scotia Hall of Famer Jerry MacMillan, of West Kings, fired a 68 to clinch the first place individual title; and

Whereas the West Kings boys team of Chad MacMillan, Corey Marcotte, Colton Parsons and Adam Gargner placed 3rd overall;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly congratulate these young golfers for their success at the 2010 NSSAF Golf Championship and wish them continued success in future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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 Richmond on an introduction.

HON. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, in keeping with the spirit of the introductions today, I have the pleasure to have a gentleman in the west gallery who has been my sign chairman for the past five elections, a trusted political advisor and as well, a best friend, my father, Theophile Samson. (Applause)

[Page 2616]

MR. SPEAKER: We're certainly blessed with lots of visitors in our gallery this afternoon. That's great.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: The time now is 3:28 p.m. and we will go to 4:28 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

PREM. - RURAL ERS: 24/7 OPENING - PROMISE KEEP

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. People who live in rural Nova Scotia are nervous about their emergency rooms and they should be. Dr. John Ross released his report this week and identified 14 ERs as candidates for closure at night, to be replaced by a model of care that does not exist as of yet. Nova Scotians need assurance that their ERs will stay open as promised by the Premier. My question to the Premier is, will you stand by your promise to keep rural ERs open, 24-7?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, we are going to keep ERs open.

[3:30 p.m.]

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, I asked him to reassure rural Nova Scotians that their ERs would be kept open 24/7 and somehow the Premier may have cut his answer a bit short. I hope when he stands up he will continue to reply and reassure those Nova Scotians that their emergency rooms will remain open 24/7, as he committed to during an election campaign.

The government is asking the Department of Health to come up with a 5 per cent cut in its budget this year and next year and the year after. My question to the Premier is, are those savings going to come at the expense of rural Nova Scotians and their access to emergency health care?

THE PREMIER: The answer for the Leader of the Official Opposition is, no, it's not going to come at the expense of rural Nova Scotia. We have asked the district health authorities to take their role in making sure that this province gets back to balance. The simply reality is that for years we have watched while spending has increased without the necessary increase in revenues to be able to support them. We're engaged in an exercise that will make sure that this province is put back on a firm physical foundation.

[Page 2617]

MR. MCNEIL: Many Nova Scotians have tuned out from the democratic process. It's embarrassing that the Premier has tuned out and forgot the fact that he promised Nova Scotians that their emergency room would be open 24/7. You can't backpedal away from it. That was the commitment that you made to Nova Scotians, that their emergency room in every community across this province would be open 24/7.

When asked how his recommendations dovetailed with the Premier's promise to keep emergency rooms open 24/7, Dr. Ross answered, "I kind of ignored that part." My question to the Premier is, are you going to keep your commitment to the people of Nova Scotia or, like Dr. Ross, are you just going to ignore your promise?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, like many people in this House, I was here and watched while the Liberals cut hospital beds, while they laid off nurses, while they punished the people of Nova Scotia with unfair health care cutbacks. We said very clearly during the election that we are going to protect health care, that we are going to make sure that emergency rooms stay open, that the lights will be on and the doors will be open in emergency rooms.

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

PREM. - UNEQUAL TAX SITUATION: PREM. ALWARD (N.B.)

- MEET

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, since New Brunswick's new Premier, David Alward, is in Halifax tomorrow at the invitation of the Progressive Conservative Party for our upcoming leadership convention, will the Premier commit to meet with Premier Alward with a view to finding solutions in the unequal tax situation that is creating hardship for the people of Nova Scotia, especially those in Cumberland County?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I can inform the member opposite that I will be meeting with Premier Alward tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it. I had a good relationship with his predecessor. I don't know what his plans are, but my feeling is that that inequity may soon find a resolution.

MR. D'ENTREMONT: There you go, Mr. Speaker, and back to the Premier, since he's assuming things, let's see if he can admit now that his government's tax policies, specifically the increases in HST, are at the root of this inequity and commit his government to resolving the issue of cross-border shopping that is responsible for causing great hardships for the retailers in Cumberland County.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I want to assure the Leader in the House for the Progressive Conservative Party that I intend to continue the very good working relationship that we have had with the Government of New Brunswick. I think there are many areas on

[Page 2618]

which we can co-operate. If we can find ways to resolve issues associated with cross-border trade, of course I want to do everything I can to resolve those. I have said before and I will say again, I think that the success of New Brunswick is important to Nova Scotia. I believe that the success of the aggregated Atlantic region is good for every part of it, so I'm going to continue that work.

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, specifically, will the Premier commit to using this first meeting with New Brunswick's Premier to put forward the idea of maybe establishing a working group of experts and stakeholders to come up with a plan for creating a level playing field for the residents of our two provinces, to strengthen our region's competitiveness rather than competing against each other.

THE PREMIER: Well, Mr. Speaker, I believe that already exists, it is called the Council of Atlantic Premiers. We get together to discuss exactly those issues.

The member would also know, because he was a member of the last government, that there is already a partnership agreement on regulation and the economy, which we have been pursuing. I think there are a number of very important areas where we can make progress. Over the last number of months, of course, there was an election coming up so it was more difficult to get things moved forward but I have a long list of things that I would like to discuss with Mr. Alward and I will begin that process tomorrow.

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

HEALTH - ERS: MIN. - DECISION MAKING

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. For over a year now Nova Scotians have been seeing many high-priced reports and consultants' studies that the NDP like to hide behind. The reports deliver the bad news while the government ducks responsibility from tough decisions.

Mr. Speaker, it is business as usual when this week we saw the latest report delivered and we see the NDP's clear promise to keep emergency rooms open 24/7, that means around the clock, and we see now that it was nothing more than a political statement to get re-elected and get elected.

My question to the Minister of Health is, will she continue her government's agenda of avoiding tough choices or will she personally be making decisions as to which ERs will no longer be operating 24/7 in Nova Scotia?

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians, we know, value their emergency departments and that is why this government is committed to keeping them open. We've met with people around the province, we hired Dr. Ross to meet with people

[Page 2619]

around the province, we listened to people in communities, we value the opinions of people in communities and that is not going to change.

I want to reassure people in communities that their health care is the number one issue for this Health Minister and we will be providing better health care for Nova Scotians, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, we appreciate that the minister has been consulting, that is all well and good but there was a promise made. The promise was for 24/7 emergency rooms open across the province. A promise made should be a promise kept.

Another promise made by the NDP during that last election was to open the Cobequid Community Health Centre 24/7. Now Dr. Ross recommends that Cobequid extend its operating hours by one or two hours a day but not to expand to a 24/7 operation. My question to the minister is, how will this government be able to justify opening the Cobequid Community Health Centre 24/7 when there is every indication that they will be breaking their campaign promise to 14 other communities in this province?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I want to remind the honourable member that there were numerous commitments made in the campaign and I'm very proud, as Minister of Health, to stand here and point to the commitments that we made that we have already kept on health care. We are the only province in the country that has a program to support people who require health care outside of this province who are unable to get it here. That was a commitment that we kept. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, I made a commitment on the floor of this House to work to find funds to fund Lucentis. That is a commitment that we kept. If that member wants to stand here and talk about commitments that aren't kept, I will go toe-to-toe any day on how we are able to keep and how we intend to keep our commitments on better health care for Nova Scotian families. (Applause)

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, it's a little feisty today, I guess it's the first day back and that's all fun, but there are commitments on the HST I don't hear the minister talking about. She wants to talk health but she doesn't want to talk the finances of this province. I would remind her about the caregiver allowance as well, which has been a - it's difficult to define that. We're looking for responsibility from this government, that they take responsibility for the decisions that are going to be made. Being in government and being a minister means exactly that, that you show leadership and take responsibility.

Dr. Ross has made recommendations about the status of 14 facilities across this province and now Nova Scotians want to know who will take responsibility for the recommendations and the decisions that will follow. My question to the minister is, will her

[Page 2620]

government be sending directives to DHAs indicating which facilities will lose service or will have their service protected or those which might be expanded, or will she simply download those decisions to DHAs?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, DHAs are our partners in delivering health care services across the province. We're not able to deliver services without the participation of the DHAs. However, the DHAs work under our direction, and as far as I know, listening to the commentary on Dr. Ross' report, all of which has been very positive, the DHAs are fully in support of many of the ideas in Dr. Ross' report. We will work with them and we will work with communities to make health care better across this province. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

JUSTICE: NEW PROV. JAIL - SITE ANNOUNCE

HON. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians are increasingly alarmed on the issue of overcrowding in our provincial jails, especially at the Burnside facility. Both the current and former Minister of Justice have downplayed the issue of overcrowding. The Liberal caucus has learned that both the current NDP Government and the previous Tory Government have been giving temporary passes to offenders, allowing them to stay at home on the weekends while getting credit off their court-imposed sentence.

Mr. Speaker, the current Minister of Justice has said the solution rests in the construction of a new jail to replace the existing facilities in Cumberland and Antigonish Counties. While he narrowed down the site selection process to three sites in early July of this year, Nova Scotians still await a decision. My question is, will the Minister of Justice finally announce a site for the new provincial jail so that construction can begin immediately?

HON. ROSS LANDRY: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for that question. I do need to correct some of the history - it would be very important. The temporary absences started back when his government was in power for the last 30 years. To make a suggestion here that it started with the previous minister or this government is, once again, an example of where the facts aren't being placed on the table appropriately or fairly. One thing this government and this minister are going to be doing is that we're addressing that issue. The numbers from the past history and where we're at today are significantly less and we're heading toward a zero.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, for a minister who said he didn't even know about the practice, suddenly today he seems to know so much more. (Applause) The issue of overcrowding at our provincial jails, especially Burnside, is not new, yet we have a Minister of Justice who provides us with excuses rather than solutions. While the minister dithers on

[Page 2621]

selecting a site for the new jail, we all know that construction will take two years or more to complete. In the meantime, both the current Minister of Justice and his predecessor have issued over 1,000 temporary releases per year to offenders scheduled to serve weekend sentences. Ironically, the former Tory minister said he didn't know either.

[3:45 p.m.]

While our police officers, Crown attorneys, and judges have worked to secure convictions and jail time for offences such as baseball-bat beating, assault, failing the breathalyzer, sexual assault, and possessing child porn, our Minister of Justice saw fit to send them home for the weekend. My question is, will the Minister of Justice inform Nova Scotians when he learned of these 'get out of jail free' passes?

MR. LANDRY: Mr. Speaker, once again I get amazed by the way the manipulation of the facts occurs over there. The facts are that this government and this minister have been taking steps since taking office in June of last year. We're in the process of adding a number of additional staff who have been put in place. We are in the process of adding over 100 new bunks in the Burnside facility. We're in the process of coming to a decision on the jail, which will be announced in the near future. It's a matter that this government has a plan and we take action, but what we don't do is react and make decisions on an emotional basis. We make them on facts and we make them in the best interests of the taxpayers of this province, and it would be good if that member was to get that in his mind.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, it's interesting that the Minister of Justice talks about being honest and forthright with the facts because he knows himself that he's not really being honest with Nova Scotians when he said there are going to be 100 new beds at the Burnside facility. What he is doing is taking the 100 temporary beds that are now on the floor and he's bolting them to the wall and he's saying there are going to be 100 new beds. That is not truthful, that is not honest for him to be suggesting that. So if he wants to talk about that, then we can certainly continue that debate.

Mr. Speaker, again, the minister says he has a plan and yet it has been over a year and he hasn't even been able to select a site for the new correctional facility. Nova Scotians are overly concerned about justice issues in this province. They are hearing about murders on a daily basis, which is causing great concern, and yet they hear about offenders being sent home for the weekend rather than being able to serve their time in jail, as the court imposed. My final question to the minister is, is he prepared to have a serious discussion as to how we can put an end to these get-out-of-jail-free passes on the weekend here in Nova Scotia?

MR. LANDRY: I know that the honourable member across the way has his agents out there taking notes when I make statements. As the Minister of Justice, I'm on record very clearly stating that I firmly believe you do the crime, you do the time. On the passes that he's referring to, Mr. Speaker, the court has already ruled that the person live in the community

[Page 2622]

for part of the week and spend on average the weekend. What this government is doing is a complete review of that process. We've already eliminated some who were eligible in the past and are no longer eligible, and once we have all the facts and are able to make sound decisions that have an outcome as to what the impacts will be, we will make them - unlike his government when they were in power.

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

SNSMR - MONARCH/RIVENDALE ESTATES:

WATER SYSTEM - FUNDING

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: The people of Monarch/Rivendale Estates in Beaver Bank are living in deplorable conditions when it comes to their water supply. They're living in Third World conditions and continue to plead with their MLA to help them. The problem is so bad that residents have been forced to use snow to flush their toilets and have spent thousands of their own dollars to hydro-fracture and dry-ice their wells. This community, which stands united behind me in the gallery, is resilient yet desperate for some help.

Mr. Speaker, my question for the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations is, what programs do these residents have access to in order to help fund a new water system?

HON. RAMONA JENNEX: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for the question. I understand the frustration and concern that the citizens of that area are under. It is very upsetting to not have a reliable and safe source of water. Three years ago three levels of government worked together to provide water in that area that they would be able to tap into. We have a fund in Nova Scotia called PCAP, the Provincial Capital Assistance Program, which is $3.7 million, and $2 million of that already goes to harbour solutions.

As minister, I would love to fund everything across the province but it's incumbent upon me to make sure that we spend wisely and I have to make sure that there is going to be this money spent all across the province. I understand the frustrations but I need to make sure that I spend this money in all areas of the province.

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, this is a problem that Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations can fix. In total, 28 water projects were jointly funded through the Canada-Nova Scotia Infrastructure Stimulus Fund, yet the Monarch/Rivendale application continues to be ignored. I'm going to table four press releases from the NDP Government that boast of municipal water projects funded through the Canada-Nova Scotia Infrastructure Stimulus Fund. My question to the minister is, why did your government deny the

[Page 2623]

association when they applied and followed the exact funding requirements and guidelines of the Provincial Capital Assistance Program?

MS. JENNEX: Mr. Speaker, I would just like to remind members that this is a municipal issue and that the Municipality of HRM did not bring this forward with the capital budget, it was not one of their priorities. It did not get encapsulated by our department under that, this came in after all funding had gone forward. I just want to say I recognize their frustrations and concerns, but under the PCAP funding that money has been allocated to other water treatments across the province. Thank you.

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, this is more than just a municipal problem, it does fall with all levels of government on this one. Each resident of the Monarch /Rivendale Estates will bear the cost burden because of their inaction. They will be forced to make a one-time payment of more than $25,000 each to have basic access to water while their MLA, I'm sure, who lives pretty much next door, has access to clean, fresh water, a privilege that he has enjoyed since it was installed in his subdivision in the mid-1980s. He's telling his constituents that they are simply out of luck. Will you and their MLA meet with these constituents who are here today in the House to explain to them why your government failed to help resolve this issue?

MS. JENNEX: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member next to me and I have met with representatives of the Monarch/Rivendale subdivisions. I welcome the opportunity to meet with them again if we can arrange a mutual time. I just want to repeat that there are many water issues across our province and many, many municipalities are needing reliable water sources. I recognize their concerns, but we have many across the province and the funding is just not available.

I would like to repeat, we have already met with them and, as all citizens, I'm willing to - Mr. Speaker, I'm having a hard time concentrating because I'm having a little bit of extra noise.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MS. JENNEX: It is my pleasure to meet with any citizens who have concerns around any of these issues, but I would like people to recognize that I have a certain amount of money in a budget. It's incumbent upon me to make sure that money is spent across the province, we have to live within our means. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

SNSMR - HOME ASSISTANCE REBATE PROG. - CUTS

[Page 2624]

MR. GEOFF MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. This is a difficult time of year for many Nova Scotians on low or fixed incomes. They are facing winter and an expensive first fill-up of their oil tanks. Last year this NDP Government cut the Heating Assistance Rebate Program from $450 to $200. My question to the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations is, how much money did you save by cutting the rebate?

HON. RAMONA JENNEX: Mr. Speaker, I'd just like to make a correction on the question. This government did not make any cuts, we just honoured the commitment of the past government with their budget, as we said we would. We provided a $200 rebate last year and we are honouring that commitment. I would like to just bring information forward that the department has sent out pre-populate forms to all people who participated in HARP last year. We've notified all of the MLAs and we're making sure that we're getting the information to every area of the province that we can, so we make sure that people who need that money get that money this year.

MR. MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, I'd like to remind the minister that $15 million was set aside for low- and fixed-income Nova Scotians under the Heating Assistance Rebate Program and it was reduced from $450 to $200, and that was the effect on many Nova Scotians. In addition, the department underspent that budget by almost $4 million.

My question for the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations is, is this how the government will cut 5 per cent from the Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations budget, on the backs of low- and fixed-income Nova Scotians, who are the very people who need it the most?

MS. JENNEX: Mr. Speaker, we did recognize that we didn't have a full uptake last year and we were trying to figure out why, so this year we took steps to make sure that we got the information out. All MLAs received that, as I said. I will correct that we did not make a cut, we carried over from the other budget and I will stand on that.

I would like for the members to know that this government is there to support people who need the support. This program, we're hoping it gets fully implemented. With some of the monies that were not fully allocated last year, we made sure that we were getting to people who needed the money so we contacted the Salvation Army and were able to provide funding for them, because sometimes people don't want to knock on the door of government. We know that the Salvation Army has a good reputation to help people in need and so we supported their program to get the money out to Nova Scotians who need the support.

MR. MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, my final question is for the Minister of Community Services. Your colleague has cut the Heating Assistance Rebate Program to low- and fixed-income Nova Scotians, from $450 to $200. Regardless of what the situation was, that is the effect on Nova Scotians and she saved millions doing it. Many of these people are

[Page 2625]

her clients with the Department of Community Services; many are in my riding and many are in yours. My question to the Minister of Community Services is, will you go to the Cabinet Table and demand that the rebate be restored to those who need it the most to heat their homes this winter?

HON. DENISE PETERSON-RAFUSE: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the honourable member for his question and his concern. I do not have to go forward to my Cabinet members because we focus on poverty reduction. Every time that we're meeting we discuss it and myself, I'm very committed to that. For example, this government in its first year's mandate invested $72 million in poverty reduction credit, affordable tax credit, and that's unheard of. We also brought in other tax reductions on children's clothing and I can go on and on with lists of items that we have brought in, in order to help those who are on lower incomes.

We're also doing a total redesign in poverty. I just spent this week at a poverty conference in Truro and very proudly had a warm welcome from the recipients there, because we're going forth and making a difference in terms of programs that we're bringing in to those in Nova Scotia, to make a better life for Nova Scotians. Thank you for the question.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Inverness.

FIN.: HST INCREASE - EFFECTS

MR. ALLAN MACMASTER: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. Statistics Canada said that the NDP HST tax hike gave Nova Scotians the highest incidence of inflation in the country when it was introduced in July, making everyday life more expensive for Nova Scotians. How will your decision to make life expensive for Nova Scotians do anything to help grow our economy?

[4:00 p.m.]

HON. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, I just would point out to the member that if he had updated his figures with the August statistics, he would find out that we are back to normal. In fact, the same thing happened on retail trade where really what happened is exactly what you would expect to happen - there was a bump-up in June when people were advancing their purchases, and there was a drop in July, and I'm happy to say that with the August figures we are simply back to normal. So the impact on the economy has been exactly normal, so I certainly don't accept the member's premise underlying the question.

This government, Mr. Speaker, is dedicated to growing the economy with good jobs and doing it while living within our means.

[Page 2626]

MR. MACMASTER: Mr. Speaker, this increase in the HST by the NDP is taking $300 million out of the pockets of Nova Scotians, and it is going to result in fewer job opportunities for Nova Scotians because they are living in an overtaxed economy.

Mr. Speaker, consumer spending did drop in July and that's no mystery to us, because when people see taxes go up things cost more and it creates changes in how they spend. It is proof that the NDP is hurting Nova Scotians and damaging our domestic economy. Furthermore, PricewaterhouseCoopers warned that our corporate taxes are quite high in this province. If we look towards 2013, New Brunswick's corporate taxes are going to be in the neighbourhood of 26 per cent while ours are slated to be 34 per cent - this can also cause jobs to leave our province.

So how is the minister going to create jobs in rural Nova Scotia when you cannot manage to contain the costs of your own operations, but instead you choose to pass them on to Nova Scotians through higher taxes and making it harder for the private sector to create jobs for Nova Scotians right across this province?

MR. STEELE: Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians want to know that the finances of the province are in control and in good hands, and I can assure them that they are.

Mr. Speaker, under that crowd, when they were in government, do you know that government spending in this province doubled in the 10 years that they were in government? We know that is not a sustainable path - we know that we're going to be back to balance in 2013 with a balanced program of increased revenue and expenditure restraint and growing the economy and creating good jobs.

MR. MACMASTER: Mr. Speaker, this minister was voting for those investments and he was voting against many of those eight balanced budgets. They were given to Nova Scotia by the good stewardship of the Progressive Conservative Party.

Mr. Speaker, I'm getting tired of the whining and snivelling of this minister - I'm going to move my question to the Premier.

It appears this government doesn't need the private sector to create jobs in Nova Scotia, the NDP is going to do it themselves. Well I would like to thank the NDP for the jobs they are creating for the North American economy, it's just too bad that they are on Wall Street, for the investment banks that are only too happy to finance their fiscal irresponsibility.

My final question to the Premier is, your government is chasing business away from Cumberland County to New Brunswick, why does your government continue to make choices that will result in young people leaving this province to find work away from their families?

[Page 2627]

THE PREMIER: I'd like to remind the member opposite that he's the only one who wrote me and congratulated me on the investment in the biomass project. He said it was good for his area; that it created hundreds of jobs. Mr. Speaker, I agree with him on that. I don't agree with him on what he has just said, but I will allow the Minister of Finance an opportunity to respond to what I'm saying.

MR. STEELE: Thank you. Mr. Speaker, speaking of borrowing, I would like to say that despite the news release that the member issued back in July, over the summer we went back to the Wall Street markets that the member is talking about and we were able to refinance part of our debt at a lower interest rate than has ever been achieved before.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Yarmouth.

ERD - YARMOUTH FERRY SERV.: CUT - EXPLAIN

MR. ZACH CHURCHILL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Economic and Rural Development. In December of last year, the NDP decided to cut the long-standing ferry service from Yarmouth to New England. This was done without public consultation and without providing evidence to the public. In fact, it took half a year after this reckless decision was made, and continuous questioning from the Liberal caucus, for their own transportation study to be released to the public which actually supported a ferry service in Yarmouth. My question to the minister is quite simple: Where is the evidence, where is the homework supporting this government's reckless decision to cut the long-standing ferry service between Yarmouth and New England?

HON. PERCY PARIS: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for his first question during Question Period. The decision to cut The Cat was a long (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, order please.

MR. PARIS: The decision was a long process. We spoke with the owner of The Cat ferry at great lengths and with all due respect to the owner, we kept those conversations between us. I'd like to say that I'm not sure what transportation study the member opposite is referring to because certainly the transportation study that I read, the one that was headed by ACOA and that was released on ACOA's timelines, was one that supported the decision that the ferry certainly wasn't sustainable and it just made good business sense.

MR. CHURCHILL: Mr. Speaker, since this minister and this government is unable to provide any sort of analysis or evidence supporting this decision, I would like to share some cost-benefit analysis that has recently come out. Spencer Economic Consulting has recently determined the government made the wrong decision for the people of Yarmouth and for the people of Nova Scotia. They have determined that "An annual investment of $6,000,000 generates $22,220,903 of revenue to residents of Nova Scotia." They continue:

[Page 2628]

This investment exceeds typical standards in the private sector. They conclude that the Yarmouth to Maine ferry service performs a strong financial indicators and the "financing of the ferry service for the 2010-year as the more publicly beneficial strategy."

Mr. Speaker, will the minister publicly admit to the people of Yarmouth and the people of Nova Scotia that he and his government made the wrong decision in choosing to cut the ferry service, especially with no economic development plan for the region?

MR. PARIS: Mr. Speaker, before I respond, I would ask the member if he would table that information?

I'll say this, it's somewhat disheartening, and I do not want, it does nobody any good and it certainly doesn't do the tourist industry any good if we're going to stand here and bicker and debate back and forth about numbers. Numbers can do just about anything that you want them to do. I think it is a disservice and an injustice to the people in Yarmouth for us to be debating numbers. I think what you should know is that $400,000 through Team Southwest was invested in Yarmouth. What the people in Yarmouth are doing, they want to get on with their lives. What we are doing is advertising Yarmouth as a destination. We want to attract people to Yarmouth and we are doing this with a group from Yarmouth comprised with people from the federal government and the Province of Nova Scotia.

MR. CHURCHILL: Mr. Speaker, what does the tourism industry no good in Nova Scotia is making decisions without evidence and making decisions that hurt that industry. (Applause)

Rodd Hotels and Resorts, owners of the two largest hotels in Yarmouth, lost over $745,000 in revenue from 2009 to 2010 as a result of this government's reckless decision to cut the ferry. They will not be able to sustain another season like this, putting the jobs of the 150 people that they employ in jeopardy. This is a result of this government's recklessness.

Tourism in Yarmouth has suffered this year, the economy in Yarmouth has suffered this year. The government has forced residents of the province to forfeit over $22 million in revenues, the next tourism season is already in jeopardy, and in addition to the immediate loss of jobs, this government has put other businesses and families at risk.

My question to the minister is, will the minister help our community secure ferry service for 2011 in order to save our tourism industry and support those other businesses and people who have been affected by this government's rash decision?

MR. PARIS: Mr. Speaker, it is disappointing that a new member in the House can learn the rhetoric so quickly. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

[Page 2629]

MR. PARIS: Mr. Speaker, this is a government that doesn't speculate. What we do is we plan for the future. For the first time in two decades we have a government that not only has the strategy, but actually has the plan. What is more important, it has an implementation plan - how we are going to implement things.

In fact, Mr. Speaker, if I may, tourism in the Province of Nova Scotia overall is up this year. It is because - that is a result of the Department of Tourism working with the sector and the stakeholders who make tourism what it is.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.

ERD - TAX INCREASES: SM. BUS. - EFFECTS

MR. CHUCK PORTER: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the honourable Minister of Economic and Rural Development. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business recently released a report entitled Cities in Boom. It ranked 100 cities in Canada on their individual entrepreneurial climates. In that report - and I'll table that report - Nova Scotia fared very poorly. There were no Nova Scotia communities in the top half. CBRM and HRM ranked 85th and 89th, respectively. The CFIB says that good public policy is critical, and they've looked at the presence of supportive local government and regulatory policies.

My question to the minister is, how do you expect business and opportunity to come to Nova Scotia when your government continues to hurt small business and make us less competitive, with higher taxes?

HON. PERCY PARIS: Mr. Speaker, I just recently, in the last two weeks, met with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. With respect to that statistic, I will say this: that is something this government inherited. I will add that the Canadian Federation of Independent Business agreed with us that we are on a good track.

MR. PORTER: Mr. Speaker, that is interesting because the report is clear and the sign points that Nova Scotia is definitely moving in the wrong direction. They've had a year and a half to think about this and have done nothing.

[4:15 p.m.]

My first supplementary to the minister is, when will your government finally take the advice of the small-business owners across Nova Scotia, create a competitive tax structure, and provide real opportunities for small-business owners in this province?

MR. PARIS: Mr. Speaker, for the first time in 20 years, this government will be boasting very shortly a plan about jobs here in Nova Scotia and how we are going to grow

[Page 2630]

the economy. This will be a strategy that will not end up on a shelf somewhere, because this plan will have ways on how to implement it and it will be implemented.

MR. PORTER: Mr. Speaker, I meet with my business community regularly and I'm sure that they will all be waiting for the boasting to begin and the success that they are being offered. We don't see it at any time, nor does the business community, and they're not going to see it. My final supplementary is, what is this government doing to ensure the Nova Scotia businesses of today are not the Saskatchewan businesses of tomorrow?

MR. PARIS: Mr. Speaker, you know, for the first time in 20 years we have a government that can boast about reducing the tax to businesses in the Province of Nova Scotia. (Applause) For the first time in 20 years we have a government that has looked at, analyzed, and will have a plan and the plan will be coming forward very soon. Nobody in 20 years has done anything with respect to a strategy for the Province of Nova Scotia and if I was that member over there, I would be ashamed to raise this issue in the House of Assembly. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Kings West.

FIN.: PROV. TAX REVIEW - STATUS

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. In his recent submission to the Premier, The Way Ahead for Nova Scotia, Donald Savoie writes, "I have long believed that a competitive tax regime is a powerful economic development instrument. Nova Scotia's tax structure is not competitive . . ." and it became even less competitive in July when the NDP hiked the HST.

Mr. Speaker, would the minister please explain why he halted the review of our provincial taxes, which was started in the Spring of 2008?

HON. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, this is an old question and I'll give the same answer to the question the member raised. When I came to office as Minister of Finance, there was no tax review underway. It was at an absolute dead stop. It is this government that has restarted it.

We understand the importance to Nova Scotia families and Nova Scotia businesses of getting our fiscal policy right, Mr. Speaker, but Nova Scotians also understand that in order to deliver quality health care, quality education, it is critically important that we live within our means and that's why, in the budget that I tabled in April, we laid out a four-year plan. It's a good plan, it's a solid plan, and we're on track to meet it.

[Page 2631]

MR. GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, I know Nova Scotians are waiting to engage in further consultations, not just an internal review. It is true that the previous Progressive Conservative Government spent heavily due to extra offshore revenues, but since taking office the NDP has made those years seem like they were golden years. The minister has increased the debt by nearly $1.7 billion in his first two budgets, in one year. This minister has decided to punish businesses and consumers by making every transaction more expensive. Nova Scotians are sick and tired of listening to the NDP's excuses for why they can't get the job done.

Mr. Speaker, will the minister explain why he and his NDP Government are intent on driving young people, businesses and families across the border and into other provinces to find a place to live and work?

MR. STEELE: Mr. Speaker, we understand that Nova Scotians want their government to have solid finances in order that we can deliver quality health care, quality education, the services that people expect and need from their government, but we reject the Liberal and Progressive Conservative heritage in this province of spending far beyond our means. Who do they think they're kidding? The day that I walked into office as Minister of Finance this province had a $13 billion debt run up by the Liberals and Progressive Conservatives. (Interruptions)

MR. GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, I don't want to spend the remainder of Question Period going through the list, but on June 9, 2009, the province was $12.5 billion in debt, now they're well over $13 billion plus the tangible capital assets. It doesn't matter where you look, every indicator shows Nova Scotia to be at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to taxes and prices.

Since the NDP took office, things have only gotten worse. Nova Scotians were hit with the HST hike in July, gas prices spiked on Thanksgiving weekend, opening a $0.10 per litre gap between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Power rates continue to climb, the unemployment rate is hovering around 10 per cent. Now we learn TeleTech will be closing their Amherst call centre, putting 215 people out of work.

The only competition this minister seems to want to win is the race to the bottom. My question is, will the NDP stop damaging economic growth in the province and commit to a full and comprehensive public review of our taxes?

MR. STEELE: Mr. Speaker, I could pay down the debt a lot more quickly if I could find a way to turn Opposition rhetoric into currency. (Applause) As the member is well aware, a very significant part of the budget last year and this year was stimulus spending. My understanding, up until today, was that stimulus spending was supported by all Parties in the House. Apparently, the Opposition is against it.

[Page 2632]

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

EDUC.: HOLY ANGELS HS - OPTIONS

MS. KELLY REGAN: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. The Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board held a press conference today. Holy Angels High School is facing closure and the board is trying to find a way to keep the school open. My question is, what options are being looked at for Holy Angels school?

HON. MARILYN MORE: Mr. Speaker, I just want to start off by recognizing the tremendous tradition and history of Holy Angels. I had the opportunity early this year to visit the school and I met with representatives of the staff and the school board as well as the student body and the parent association. Our government recognizes the role that facility and institution has played in the lives of many women in this province. We certainly understand that the board values that program, but it was the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame who decided to sell their property.

The officials of the department worked very closely with the board to help identify what the options were with the board. I believe the press conference this morning was to notify the community that one of these options, buying the school and investing $10 million - according to the board's own study and evaluation of what the renovations would cost. We don't have the ability as a province to buy a private building and give it to a school. (Interruption)

Anyhow, if I may be permitted to finish, we continue to work closely with the board as they work on their other options and we're providing as much assistance as we can. Thank you.

MS. REGAN: Mr. Speaker, the board is working hard to find solutions but apparently the Department of Education is not helping them. Students and parents are left wondering what's going to happen should the school close. In fact, the school could close at the end of this academic year, leaving parents little time to plan. My question is, does the Department of Education have a plan to make sure the education of these students will not be disrupted?

MS. MORE: Mr. Speaker, it is not the role of the Department of Education to decide the future of Holy Angels school . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes it is.

MS. MORE: Those are decisions made by the board . . . (Interruptions)

[Page 2633]

MR. SPEAKER: Order. The honourable Minister of Education has the floor.

MS. MORE: It's certainly our understanding that there are several other options that the board is considering. We're not going to be making the decision for the board. We will assist them in researching them and making the best possible use of public money for all students in that school board. Thank you.

MS. REGAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So we still haven't heard what the options are. What we don't know is whether this minister is going to make it clear whether she supports Holy Angels' current mandate. Will this department continue to support Holy Angels as a female high school, and what are the options?

MS. MORE: Those are questions that you should be putting to the school board. They have the responsibility to make those decisions. I understand that they have set up a committee that is meeting and working on identifying the options and what the costs might be. We'll be bringing that report back to the school board.

Certainly, from a provincial point of view, our first priority must be due diligence. First, we don't have the authority to buy a private building, and second, we don't think it's a good investment of public money to pour $10 million into a building that is over 50 years old. We will support the school board in looking at other options. Thank you.

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

PREM.: CLEAR-CUT - EXPLANATION

MR. ALFIE MACLEOD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question through you is to the Premier. Mr. Premier, you are likely aware of the immense controversy and anger created by your government over plans for a new forestry strategy for Nova Scotia - forestry being the largest single economic driver in Nova Scotia's economy. Our caucus has met with numerous groups this summer and I know the letters flowing into your office have been above average.

My question to you, Mr. Premier, is simply this - will you explain to us and all Nova Scotians what a "clear cut" is here in this province?

THE PREMIER: I can explain what a clear-cut mistake is, and that is the idea that this was a strategy that was put in place by us. In fact, it was put in place by your government. In fact, you are the ones who started the whole process. Mr. Speaker . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, order. The Premier has the floor.

[Page 2634]

THE PREMIER: What we are doing, Mr. Speaker, is taking the opportunity to meet with stakeholders who are interested in ensuring that there is a good natural resources strategy for the forests of this province. We intend to complete that process.

The minister is fully engaged, meeting not just with the stakeholders from the forest industries but also with those who are recreational users. We intend to make sure that we have a policy that makes sense for the forests of Nova Scotia, that makes sure that the resource is available for generations to come, and that ensures we have a sustainable forest and a sustainable industry in this province.

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

Order, order. The time allotted for the Oral Question Period has expired.

MR. ANDREW YOUNGER: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. It seems that at the beginning of each session of the Legislature we have to ask you to review the length of questions. With the Legislature not having been called back for so long and sitting so few days this Fall, I know the ministers are eager and probably have so much to say because they haven't had time to be in Question Period, but I might ask that you look at the length of the answers. It seems that we didn't get through nearly as many questions as we have in previous sessions. Thank you very much.

[4:30 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: Not a point of order. I'll recognize the honourable Government House Leader first.

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I was rather impressed by the ability of these ministers to answer those questions, since they were so mundane. Mr. Speaker, I digress. I move that the adjourned debate on the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne be now resumed.

[Page 2635]

MR. SPEAKER: Before I do that, I would just reply that we did have 12 questions today in Question Period. We normally have about 13, so we're slightly under. So, yes, I will have a look at it and perhaps we can be a bit more brief on both sides of the House.

The Government House Leader has called for the adjourned debate on the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne to be now resumed. I believe the last speaker who was up on this, if my memory serves me correctly, was from the Liberal caucus - the Progressive Conservative caucus is choosing not to?

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

MR. DAVID WILSON: Mr. Speaker, it's always an honour to stand in this historic Chamber to give any reply. First of all, I would like to congratulate and welcome our two new members to the House - the member for Yarmouth and the member for Glace Bay. I look forward to them hopefully standing in this House and giving us a little bit of a caption of how they ended up here in the Legislature.

This is a great opportunity, Mr. Speaker, which I've had over the number of years that I've been in the House, to stand and reply to the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne because it's important for us as elected officials to recognize the communities that we come from throughout the province. They're all different and I think it's important for us to take the opportunity in this House to identify and recognize and show the positive communities and the important communities that we represent.

Mr. Speaker, as you know, I represent the great riding of Sackville-Cobequid. It has been a privilege for me to represent that riding since 2003 when I took over from the former MLA, John Holm, who represented that area since 1984. He is well-known and well-respected and still is recognized in the community. I've been asked on several occasions, at events that I attend, how he's doing and best wishes for him in the future in his retirement. We don't often see him here in this Chamber, but I think after 19 years of serving the community I represent, he has a well-deserved break - and he may show his face once in awhile.

Mr. Speaker, I don't know if the members knows that Sackville was first established in 1749 - actually the same year that the City of Halifax was established - by Captain John Gorham on orders from Governor Edward Cornwallis of England to establish a military base or presence just outside the city. It was of course Fort Sackville, which is actually in the riding of Bedford, but was at the Bedford Basin where the Sackville River connects or empties into the Bedford Basin. Along that route, from Halifax to the Bedford Basin and into Sackville, was what was called the Great Road which ended up down in the Minas Basin. That's one of the areas where there was a lot of transport at the time and the need to have these rest stops along the way was important for mail and for the residents of the province.

[Page 2636]

So there were many founding families who chose Sackville to be the community where they brought up their family, Mr. Speaker, and grew the province as we know it.

One of the first things you're welcomed with when you enter the community of Lower Sackville, if you're coming from Halifax, is the Fultz House Museum which is right at the start of the community of Sackville. That house was built by Mary and Bennett Fultz many years ago. They recognized the need to have an inn there which was called the Fultz Inn - and also their son, whom I believe was Herman Fultz, who was a well-known blacksmith here in Halifax, contributed to the economy of the area. He built the blacksmith shop on the property of the Fultz House and it's there currently, with much restoration over the years. The Fultz Corner Restoration Society has been working extremely hard over the years to ensure that the history of our community is preserved and is there for not only the general public but for the residents - and it's a great area to go to learn about the history.

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the Fultz Corner Restoration Society because this year they have their annual heritage dinner, and every year they have a theme to those dinners at which they recognize a group, an organization or an event in our province, not only just in our community but in the province.

This year, they took the opportunity to recognize the centennial of the navy, the 100th Anniversary of the navy here in our province and it was a great opportunity, it is one of the most attended events in the community, held at the Royal Canadian Legion. They took the time to ensure that we had some old artifacts from the navy at the dinner and I was pleased to have my colleagues with me attending that.

We had the member from Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville, we had the member from Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank and we also had the Premier who attended that event this year. It was well received in the community and I want to commend those individuals with the Fultz House Museum including Wilma Treen who has worked tirelessly over the years to continue to improve the grounds at the Fultz House and give some direction. I know she's always said she wants to retire but as many of us know in our communities, when we have volunteers in these positions, it's hard for them to let that go but also it's hard to recruit new volunteers into organizations and of course this one is no different than other ones. They do many things throughout the year to recognize events in our community, recognize events in our province.

On every July 1st, they have a great Flag Raising/Affirmation day ceremony and they have a great baked bean dinner. So it's well attended and it's much appreciated by all the residents in the community to be able to go to this location which is such an important part of our history and experience how our community has grown over the years. One of the things in my community, like many, is that we have so many great organizations and groups that contribute so much to the success of the community.

[Page 2637]

I mentioned the Fultz Corner Restoration Society. Another one is of course the Royal Canadian Legion. We have Royal Canadian Legion, Calais Branch 162 in my community and I believe, if I'm not mistaken, it's one of the most successful, largest membership of a Royal Canadian Legion in the province, well over 1400 members in that legion. So they do an amazing amount of work and I am very proud to be a member of that legion since I was allowed to join at the age of 19. I am very privileged to be a member of that legion. I know that the hard work that they do throughout the year not only supporting the veterans in our community.

They support many other individuals along with those veterans, like seniors in our community, and youth initiatives in our community that has given opportunity for the youth in Sackville to be able to participate in organizations. Like the National Legion Track and Field Championships that's held throughout the country and it's similar to the Canada Games but it's a level a little bit lower than that and it targets a younger group and these individuals meet, I believe they are from age 12 to 16, across the country, where not only do they compete against each other but they have great sessions on team-building and really that sense of connecting with other youth across the country.

The Legion in Sackville has been a very good supporter of that organization and I know over the years they have been working hard to try and entice the opportunity to have that national meet held here in Nova Scotia and we'd love to have it held in Lower Sackville, but we're working on some of the issues around, of course, facilities and how big this event is and I know people like Jack Hatcher who has worked tirelessly for that cause who's a legion member knows first-hand how important this meet is to the young people in our community. So the legion, you know, is such an important part of our community. As I said they not only address . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order. Order please. There's a little bit too much chatter in the Chamber and I'd ask members with their private conversations perhaps to take it outside the Chamber and to allow the member to be heard and to speak freely.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid has the floor.

MR. WILSON: Mr. Speaker, they touch not only the veterans in our community, but a whole range of individuals in our community, with a positive note. Of course, as we all know, they will be supporting the Remembrance Day ceremonies next week.

In our community we have a large number of individuals who turn out at our cenotaph, which is actually located right next to the Fultz House as you enter Sackville. It's amazing the work the Legion has done over the years to create a new cenotaph at the entry of our community. If you've ever had the opportunity to visit it, it's an impressive monument that they have there for the Remembrance Day ceremonies. They actually collected stones from all over the world, and when you're there on Remembrance Day you can see the stones

[Page 2638]

and the countries that they come from on the monument. I think it shows the dedication of the Legion, how much work they put into ensuring our veterans, especially the Remembrance Day ceremonies, have a great facility to go to and pay tribute to those individuals.

I'll be attending those events again this year with my colleague, I'm sure, the member for Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville, like many of us throughout the House of Assembly here. I know we all have the same feeling towards the importance of recognizing our veterans, especially on that day. I know that the House will not be open that day and I believe maybe the next day. I think we're having a two-day break to ensure that all members can get back to their communities across the province to ensure that they're part of those festivities and those services that we'll see.

Other groups in my community that are important and play an important role in supporting individuals in our communities, delivering services to residents in my community, are the service clubs. I'm very fortunate, and our community is very fortunate, to have the Lions and the Lioness Clubs, for example, that are located in Sackville and we also have the Kinsmen and the Kinette Clubs in our community. We're fortunate, and the residents are fortunate, to have these organizations to go to and seek that support that they need. Both of these service clubs - it's amazing the amount of money that they've raised since they've been in our community and the contribution that they give, not only to the Cobequid Centre, to youth groups, but to those individuals who need help in our community.

We all know that government can't provide every service to every resident and every community member, and without these organizations, I believe our communities wouldn't be as successful and our residents wouldn't have the opportunity to be helped like they are today because of these groups.

The Lions Club just celebrated the 40th Anniversary of their charter, just recently within the last six months - I can't remember the exact day. I want to congratulate them. Many of the charter members were there in attendance. Of course, many of them have passed on and were well recognized at that event. I was pleased to see the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal attend. As everybody knows, he's a Lions member from St. Margaret's Bay so I was glad to see him and, of course, the member for Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville was also there with us.

The Lions Club, as I said, have many members and they, too, are trying to attract new volunteers, new individuals - especially younger people - to join their club and continue the long history that the Lions Club has had in our community.

[4:45 p.m.]

Along with the Lions Club, as I mentioned, was the Kinsmen Club or the Kinettes Club current president Alan MacKinnon. His members have worked extremely hard to

[Page 2639]

continue to provide for the community. One of those examples is that the last two years the Kinsmen Club has hosted the Kinsmen Community Bowl, which is a football game between the Sackville High Kingfishers football team and Lockview High - I think they're called the Dragons - from Fall River. This year was the second anniversary of that Kinsmen Bowl, they put on a great show. They have entertainment before the game, and at halftime they actually had a tribute band for KISS at the event this year, which was amazing. It's nice to see the kids who go to that school, how they received that entertainment.

It was a first-class event that the Kinsmen put on. They raised the money for bursaries for high school students, money they distribute throughout the community, Mr. Speaker, at the end of the year at graduation. I want to applaud Alan MacKinnon and his members at the Kinsmen Club for continuing to do that and recognizing the need to support our youth, especially in this form of the bursaries that they have.

Another organization that has popped up over the last year in our community is the Sackville Community Radio station. It has been a long time for a few people who thought there was a need, and recognized the need, to have a community radio station in our community. It was the work of Owen Davis, who is a long-time member of the community who works hard. The actual radio station is on his property up in the Sackville Business Park. That was opened, I believe, in April, Mr. Speaker. If you like the classic country, I mean the old stuff that my father enjoyed, you should tune in. I believe it's 106.9 FM.

They're working on trying to make sure that they have enough power to get out further but I find I usually lose it coming across Magazine Hill and, if anything, it's a great opportunity for me to get my kids roused up a little bit when they're driving in the car because I always put that station on and they just can't believe that people listen to that type of music. But it's a great radio station. Anyway, we won't go there.

I'm not just old country, I actually enjoy some of it. It has been really good, the old Merle Haggard and George Jones music. They even have kind of what we used to have here on AM radio, Newfie 30. That's one of the most popular shows and I know my father, who was in Florida at the time, I gave him a call and said you're going to love it when you get back because there's a new radio station that he'll have on-site right away.

One of the things they did when they first opened up or came on air, Mr. Speaker, is they wanted to recognize organizations in the community. As I mentioned earlier, one of the first things they did was to recognize the charter of the Lions Club in our community and the anniversary that they were celebrating. They had individuals in and they taped them with their stories of how they started the club and some of the work they've done over the years. It was great to see that being done in the community and I wish them all the success in the future in our community with the Sackville Community Radio station.

[Page 2640]

Another organization that works extremely hard is the Silver and Gold Club, a seniors drop-in facility in the community centre. It's just outside of my riding, in the riding of the member for Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville. If anybody knows Sackville, it's just up behind the Kent store. It's an old elementary school which was turned into a community centre. The Silver and Gold Club has their offices and their club in that facility. It's amazing to see and how important it is for seniors to continue to be active. This organization provides an amazing amount of services for them, everything from tax preparation to learning how to use a computer, to having a card game, and even weekly lunches to raise money and support events they put on throughout the year.

The other organization I'd like to recognize, too, that has a role in our community is the Sackville Drive Business Association. The mom-and-pop stores that have businesses in Sackville recognized a number of years ago that they needed to kind of get together and talk and try to improve what was popping up in Sackville, what businesses were locating there. The Sackville Drive Business Association has done an amazing job at ensuring that businesses are aware of what's going on, for example, trying to improve the streetscape of Sackville Drive. It's no secret, Mr. Speaker, I think we're the capital of the province for used-car dealerships along Sackville Drive. They are an important contributor to the economy of not only our community in Sackville, but to the province. They are much a part of this association and they have been doing some improvements lately to increase the streetscape of Sackville Drive.

MR. SPEAKER: I wonder if the honourable member would mind an introduction by one of his colleagues?

MR. WILSON: Sure.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou East on an introduction.

MR. CLARRIE MACKINNON: Thank you very much. It's a pleasure for me to rise at this time and introduce in the east gallery of the House a Pictonian who does a lot for the county. I would like the House to recognize Councillor Clyde Fraser from New Glasgow. I'd like Clyde to stand and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause) It's great to have him here today.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

MR. WILSON: Thank you, and I appreciated the little break. I was talking about the Sackville Drive Business Association, which plays an important role in beautifying the Sackville Drive area with the streetscape. They've taken initiatives on simple things like hanging flower baskets from the light poles along the main drive. It's very good; I think it's a small thing that communities can do to help beautify their downtown.

[Page 2641]

Recently they also played a role in a Christmas tree lighting ceremony that we used to have for many years, and then it kind of went away for awhile. They're a part of that every December - they do a community Christmas tree lighting. I'm getting heckled by my own members, which isn't good, but I want to congratulate them and those businesses for taking the initiative for getting involved in this association. A couple of years ago they got together to come up with a program that identified those who were involved in the association, to try to promote the fact that Sackville is a great place to live, bring up your family, and shop. They have a nice emblem on the doors that residents can recognize when they go into that establishment, that they're giving back to the community through initiatives like the ones I just mentioned.

I did want to quickly go back to the Silver and Gold and mention some of the individuals who work there. Currently the director is Charlene Nolan, who recently took on that position, but before her was someone who was very dedicated to the seniors in our community - not only in Sackville but throughout HRM - Jackie Cajolais. She's worked extremely hard over the years to ensure the programs they deliver through the Silver and Gold and through the Sackville Senior Advisory group target those seniors who need assistance and who need some support. So I did want to go back and recognize those two individuals. There are many more in those groups who contribute so much.

We've been very fortunate in Sackville to have many people who have achieved great things. One of those individuals this past summer was Sarah MacDonald, who was an athlete who participated in the national Special Olympics Summer Games in London, Ontario - I believe they were July 13-17. She was a triple medalist; she won one gold and two bronze at those games. That was with the Sackville Aquatics Team. I know her family and her neighbours and those living on her street and the community are very proud of her achievements. It just shows that the Special Olympics is a great opportunity for these individuals to travel across the province and across the country to participate in sport and to recognize how important that is to their lives.

We have a great organization with the Special Olympics in Sackville, a great team. Every year they compete throughout the city. We've been fortunate for many, many years to host the Special Olympics for Nova Scotia in Sackville at the Metropolitan Field. It wouldn't be possible to put those events on if it weren't for an organization like the Knights of Columbus, who facilitate implementing that event for them. They do a great job, and those Knights of Columbus come from St. John Vianney and St. Elizabeth Seton, the Catholic churches in our community. They draw from volunteers amongst their congregation and others to support Special Olympics, and I think it just shows how important it is that we recognize volunteers in our community who give so much back to individuals in our province.

Another interesting fact is Charles Fenerty, who is one of the founding family names in Sackville. He was the inventor of the newsprint that was made from wood pulp when they

[Page 2642]

switched over to have newsprint that was made of wood pulp. He lived and worked in around Sackville.

Another individual who some people in the House may know, or may not know, is James Sheppard who plays in the NHL. He grew up in Sackville, he plays for Minnesota - he's injured right now but he has been a great ambassador for our community and our province. He plays for the Minnesota Wild and I know his family, his community, his friends and neighbours are very proud of his accomplishments in the National Hockey League. We very much appreciate and are glad to mention that he comes from Lower Sackville.

Another one, on the same note, is Gordie Dwyer and he's an NHL referee from Sackville. He works mostly in the southern part of the U.S., from Florida over to California. I had the opportunity last year, on a trip that I had to go on down to Nashville, to watch the hockey game. Of course the Thrashers - I saw George Jones' statue there but anyway, the Thrashers were playing the Montreal Canadiens who have won a lot of Stanley Cups, more than the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid has the floor.

MR. WILSON: All I have to say to those Leaf fans is that at least the Canadiens have won a Stanley Cub since I was born and the Leafs haven't done that so that's all I'll say about the Toronto Maple Leafs. Gordie Dwyer is a referee in the NHL and I was attending the game in Tennessee, not realizing that he travels in those circles, sitting there watching the referee skating around and realizing it was Gordie Dwyer from Sackville. I remember my friend and I said, well, we've got to get his attention so we wrote a note on a napkin and gave it to a security officer who thought we were crazy, but once we explained that he came from the same community that we came from, he more than willingly got that note to him and actually we met up with him after the game. He has enjoyed his time in the NHL as a referee.

We have many things in our community that we're fortunate with. Of course, with the new government last year, we have many challenges, but we continue to try to improve the lives of Nova Scotians. What I'm most concerned about is improving the lives of people who live in Sackville-Cobequid. We've done some significant things over the last year and a half in our community to support them and to ensure that they have the services that they have in our community.

Everybody knows that it's important and how important it is to ensure that our community members can get active and have areas in our community where they can do that. I'm glad to say that one of the organizations in our community, the Friends of First Lake Society, are working toward ensuring that First Lake is protected and that people have an active trail system around that lake. Many years ago, with the development that happened out in Sackville in the early 1970s, one of the downfalls to that development was First Lake

[Page 2643]

being polluted over a number of years. The Friends of First Lake Society has worked tirelessly to improve the quality of that lake and has done an amazing job. They received $30,000 last year to continue the project of putting a trail around the lake and I think the people in the community appreciate that. They know that the Friends of First Lake will continue their hard work around ensuring that lake is protected.

[5:00 p.m.]

We've also invested in safe communities by providing seniors safety grants. Some of the members in the House today will know about that grant that was available last year. The Sackville Seniors Advisory Council, a recipient of one of those grants, who through the Silver and Gold will provide services to our seniors and that's so important. So we're fortunate in Sackville to get that support and I know the Sackville Seniors Advisory Council encouraged and welcomed that support.

Also - I'm sure the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal will agree with me - last year was the second largest highway capital budget in the province's history, with over $310 million. Sackville was able to obtain some of those funds to do an upgrade of Highway No. 101 between Bedford and the Beaver Bank Road exit. That piece of highway is used by thousands, if not tens of thousands, of people every day. We have a mass number of residents in our province who travel from the Valley, Windsor, and further down to come to the city. They use that fairway and that highway - not only the residents in my riding use that. So we're appreciative of that support, ensuring that our roads are improved and that we have a safe transit system as our100-Series Highways.

Mr. Speaker, the other thing that we've been working hard on as a government is ensuring that we have fair coverage in prices for drugs, especially for our seniors and our seniors on Senior Pharmacare, because it's so important to ensure that our seniors and the residents in our province can obtain those medications that may help them get through an ailment or help them through a health issue. I know we had the commitment from the Minister of Health that we will continue to push to ensure that we have the best possible prices for our pharmaceuticals here in the province.

We need to continue to address issues, as we've seen recently, and I'm very proud to have supported the minister on this decision - we supported it when we were in Opposition - to cover the drug Lucentis, which has been an important issue for us. It's something I'm glad that the Minister of Health has approved, and I know Nova Scotians are glad that they approved that drug. (Applause) By ensuring that we have good and fair prices we can address the new drug that will be coming down the road. As we all know, things change. Pharmaceuticals change. Treatments change and we, as government, need to make sure that we can act in the best appropriate way when we try to address those issues as they come forward.

[Page 2644]

Another thing that has been very important for me since the day I got elected, Mr. Speaker, is to try to address the fact that our seniors in my community were having to leave that community when they got to the point where they couldn't maintain their homes. Of course, Sackville is a suburb of Halifax - many single, multiple dwellings - and at a certain point in someone's life, when they've raised their family and are at that point where they need to downgrade, as they say, there wasn't a lot of opportunity to stay and remain in the community of Sackville.

It's unfortunate, but I'm glad that we as a government, and myself as the member for Sackville-Cobequid, have continued to push forward to ensure that our seniors have appropriate and affordable living opportunities in our community. With the recent opening of Sagewood, a long-term care facility in our community - and many communities across the province have had similar openings. I know those openings and those facilities definitely were initiated, some of them by the former government, but I think all members supported the fact that we needed to address the issue of the number of long-term care facilities in our province.

I was glad to be at the opening this past year of Sagewood on Cobequid Road. It gives another opportunity for those individuals who have to make a difficult decision, either for a loved one or a spouse or a family member, to have them enter a long-term care facility, that they can remain in our community. Before they had to leave our community. We had a close facility in Beaver Bank, but not one directly in the community, and it has been well received. It's an amazing facility. It definitely has a different look than the old facilities had for so many years in our province, and I know the families in our community are appreciative of our government's commitment to follow through on the opening of these facilities.

In Sackville we're also currently addressing the need for seniors' apartments. We have two projects on the way, and I won't steal the thunder of my colleague from Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville, but there is a 59-unit facility going up in Millwood, which is just across the border of my riding, and also at the Sackville Manor, which is a senior's apartment complex in my community, there is a 21-unit expansion and it is going to be well received in our community. I can't wait to have that facility open, within the next year, so that seniors can choose to stay in the community of Lower Sackville. That is the most important thing, to be close to their families, be in a community that they have raised a family in.

I know I mentioned the growth in our community over the years. Back in the late 1960's - I believe in about 1967 - the government of the time recognized the need of housing in our province and, of course, started initiatives out in Sackville to hopefully allow individuals in the province to build a home. That's an opportunity that my parents took back in 1969-1970, to move to Sackville and build a home and bring up their family. I am very proud to have spent pretty much my whole life in that community, other than a little trek to Quebec when my dad was transferred for four years, which was a great opportunity for me. Sackville has been my home for so many years and I'm proud to come from that community, I'm proud to have the roots that I have there and I'm proud to see that our government will

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continue to bring initiatives forward to keep our seniors in my community and as close to it as we can.

We have many opportunities in our community that need to service the area of day cares. I'm very proud that our government invested $164,000 from Community Services and I appreciate the Minister of Community Services in providing those funds to the Sackville Memory Lane Family Place Day Care, a day care that I believe has been there for over 30 years, if not 35 years. I think it was one of the first established day cares in the community. It is still there and they do amazing work there and provide an amazing and great service to individuals and to the kids in our community, Mr. Speaker. We have many of them throughout the province but that was one that I wanted to ensure that I recognized in my speech today.

One of the things our government is trying to do is make life more affordable to Nova Scotians but, as I said earlier, to the people of Sackville-Cobequid. One of the first things we did was to remove the provincial portion of the HST on essentials like home electricity. It has been a commitment of ours, I believe from the day I walked into the Legislature in 2003. We pushed the former government to address this issue, Mr. Speaker. I even remember attending meetings in Ottawa with my colleague from Cape Breton Nova, in Ottawa, pushing for the federal government to look at doing the same thing.

It is ironic and I think it is welcome that we see the federal NDP now pushing the current government in the federal government to remove the HST off home electricity. It's an essential in our country. We all recognize that and I'm so proud to be part of a government that did that and was committed to doing that. I think it's important that Nova Scotians recognize that we need to ensure that essentials like electricity did not have the provincial portion of the HST.

We more than welcome the federal government to make a decision to take off the federal portion of the HST on electricity and home heating and hopefully our colleagues will send a strong message to the federal government to do that, Mr. Speaker.

We also took the HST off diapers, children's clothing and shoes, so that we can make life more affordable to those who have a family, Mr. Speaker. We knew that it was important for us to target those individuals, to try to make life more affordable for them. I am proud to be part of a government that did that. It is something that we need to continue to look at and work on and I know I have the confidence that our government will continue to do that.

Another thing that I'm very proud that our government has done since taking power, Mr. Speaker, is helping to cover the travel costs of out-of-the-province medical care. It is important that individuals in our province, and people in my community, when they have to

and are really forced to go outside the province because they don't offer it here, that we support them. I'm glad that through the Department of Health we're currently able to do that.

[Page 2646]

The other thing that I'm very proud of that our government has achieved in the province since we've taken over last June is to increase the funding to women's shelters; the first increase they had seen in over a decade. I'm very proud to be a part of a caucus, to be a part of a government that recognizes the need to help some of our most vulnerable residents. By increasing the funding to women's shelters, that's exactly what we're going to do.

We recognized the challenges in our province and we recognize the decisions we are making are tough ones and that they affect everyday Nova Scotians. That's why we introduced the affordable living tax credit for lower income families. This was the right decision for government to make. I'm proud our government has done that. We have to get back to balance in order to continue to provide the services that some of the ones I just mentioned, to not only all Nova Scotians but for me, for people in my community of Sackville-Cobequid.

The other area that we recognize is trying to make life more affordable for our seniors. We all know the demographic shift in our population, that our population is getting older. We have to address their needs and we have to address making life more affordable for seniors. That's why seniors receiving the Guaranteed Income Supplement in our province will no longer pay the provincial income tax. (Applause) I'm proud of that, Mr. Speaker. This will go a long way to help those seniors to stay in our communities and hopefully make life more affordable. I'm glad the seniors in Sackville will have the opportunity to not only stay in my community, but that we've helped make life more affordable for those individuals.

I come from a proud military family. I know the military will be on the minds of everybody over the next week or so when we celebrate in our communities around the Remembrance Day ceremonies. I hope everybody takes an opportunity - even if you don't have a Legion in your community, go to the next community that has one. I hope everybody here takes that opportunity to go out and show their support. Our veterans from the Great Wars are fewer and fewer every year, we know and recognize that. But we have new types of veterans who are coming back from Afghanistan and other areas of the world and we need to recognize the contribution these individuals make on a daily basis. I know what it was like to have a parent leave for long periods of time - not as hostile as they are today. Some of the individuals are leaving our province and our communities to serve overseas.

Ironically, as I said earlier, my father was in the Navy, and was on the Athabaskan during the first Gulf conflict and was sent over to the Gulf of Oman and I believe they were off the coast there. It was a lot of pressure on our family and I can't imagine what current families have to deal with, knowing especially the loss of life that we've seen over the last number of years of Canadian soldiers who are serving overseas. One of those individuals that I'd like to recognize and pay tribute to is Corporal Paul Davis who grew up in Sackville. He played minor sports, hockey, he loved golf, attended Cavalier Drive Elementary School. He

[Page 2647]

lost his life a number of years ago and the community recognized his contribution even though he was living out West. He had a wife and young family.

[5:15 p.m.]

The community recognizes his contribution and one of those organizations is the Sackville Minor Hockey Association. Every year they host an annual event, a hockey tournament, in honour of Corporal Paul Davis. We're fortunate to have his mom, Connie Davis, still in the community and attends that; I see her driving by all the time. Corporal Paul Davis' nephew, who I believe resides in Bedford, he's always there to make sure he's taking the first puck drop when that event happens. It's important that we recognize that and I hope people take the time next week to do that.

One more thing on Corporal Paul Davis is that the school that he went to honoured him by renaming the gymnasium in the school in memory of him. There is a nice plaque with his picture and his name at that school. It's important for the new students who come in, to ask questions and to recognize that someone who walked in those halls ultimately paid a sacrifice of his life, protecting our rights but protecting rights of children around the world. It was a touching moment to have that ceremony happen.

I remember last session how, I think it was the Leader of the Liberal Party mentioned that the class of 2003, the MLAs who came into the Legislature at that time that kids just started school and that now they were entering junior high and I believe that was in the last session. Ironically, my daughter - when I was elected in 2003 - started school for the first time in September 2003 and now is in junior high (Interruption) and she has my brains. I know you'll probably agree with me, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. It's amazing to see how time goes by. Why I brought that up was the importance of ensuring that our history and that the sacrifices that individuals in our province have made, that it's important that the kids in our schools recognize and are able to learn about that.

That's why our community is such a great community. I'm very proud to have the opportunity to represent Sackville-Cobequid and I hope, if willing and if allowed, to serve that community for many years to come. I look forward to hearing from our new members of the Legislature in the coming days on some of the things that are important to them and their communities. With those few words, I appreciate the time and opportunity to enlighten you about how great the community of Sackville-Cobequid is, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Sydney. . . (Interruption) Cape Breton North.

HON. CECIL CLARKE: I guess that's think federal, act locally, Mr. Speaker. (Laughter) Indeed, we do that. I do want to thank and congratulate my colleague in the House, the member for Sackville-Cobequid. I know, like all members of the House, all of

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us come here with a sincere desire and intent to represent the constituents that give us the honour to come and to take our seats in this Legislature, regardless of our political affiliation. We're judged by the people and they give us their report card by virtue of whether we're returned or not, whether governments meet muster or if the time moves on and other ideas come forward.

Sometimes what we see - and thus the Speech from the Throne - is a new government comes in with new ideas, so we think, and comes in making promises and commitments and that's part of the follow-up that we see here in this historic Chamber.

I also want to join in welcoming the two new members for the Liberal caucus that have joined us here in the Legislature, they fought elections. I know both in Glace Bay and in Yarmouth, I've had an opportunity to go and campaign for our candidates in those areas - I remember in Yarmouth, knocking on the doors there, how much there was a cordial atmosphere with regard to the candidates. It wasn't personal, people were looking at who was running and making a determination, thinking down the road.

I know in campaigning for Charles Crosby, the level of respect that people had for Charles and his history in the community and of the service to the people, but in the case of the new member, people were looking at a fresh, new face who was offering alternatives and it was in the background of a very difficult race. I do feel, and actually any of us do feel for a candidate and the NDP candidate had a difficult time after the devastation that was inflicted on the community with the pulling out of providing support for the Yarmouth ferry service. As we say, it was devastating to say the least. We've had questions here in the House today that the minister has not answered and has deflected from and any rhetoric in this Chamber doesn't take away the impact on the people. So a new member comes in and he speaks with passion on behalf of those people and they will try to offer an alternative no differently than the member for Glace Bay.

I also recall when I was campaigning in Glace Bay for our candidate, Michelle Wheelhouse, a bright, young, articulate woman who was interested in politics from the community and wanted to make a difference. She went out there and campaigned very hard and I know the new MLA for Glace Bay did equally as did the NDP member. The people have made their choice and we respect that choice and they've taken their rightful place here in the Legislature and will have their role to fulfill as we witnessed in Question Period today and I'm sure in the days ahead we'll see that come to bear. But, again, I was struck by the cordial and polite actions of the candidates and those constituents and the respect of the various campaigns of one another and they let the people choose.

Now, Mr. Speaker, we just came through a by-election in Cumberland South with the departure of our long-serving colleague, Murray Scott, and Murray set the bar and a standard by which members serve their constituencies and it's very difficult to keep up to that pace. However, in the last 30-plus days our new Leader, and now the new MLA for Cumberland

[Page 2649]

South, has got a glimpse into that in working with them. (Applause) He will shortly take his rightful place in the Chamber and will take his role on as the MLA for Cumberland South of which the people have given him a large mandate. Again, what we saw in that particular race was more aggressive campaigns; buoyed by and boasted by the wins, the Liberals were very aggressive in wanting to try to grow that number, it didn't occur, and the NDPs were having a very difficult time defending a devastating blow to another rural community in Nova Scotia.

There's nothing about being nice or not, as the member for Halifax Citadel-Sable Island would like to say, it's the reality of a promise made and a promise that has not been kept by the NDP, and that's what we've seen as we've heard from the Speech from the Throne and I'll get into that over the course of the hour that I've been provided to stand here in my rightful place on behalf of the people of Cape Breton North. But in Cumberland South the stakes start to get a bit higher and people look at it. Again, I felt for the candidate for the NDP because it's very difficult to go around when the Party you're trying to represent, who are the government of the day, has devastated your community, has thrown the region in chaos, has increased taxes, has not been able to collaborate with the neighbouring jurisdiction in the Province of New Brunswick, has failed to meet the litmus test of what it is the government promised it would do, yet fails day after day to do.

What we have, Mr. Speaker, is an outcome that will see our Leader, Jamie Baillie, come here as the member for Cumberland South, take his rightful place, and start bringing forward what his vision is for Cumberland South and, in fact, what his leadership and vision will be for rebuilding the Progressive Conservative Party because the one thing that I did the first day I came back into this Chamber as a member of the Opposition was get up and do my role and function as a member of the Opposition, no different than what I've done as a backbencher, as a minister, as the Speaker, and back to a minister and the House Leader. Everyone has a role and function to do and at the end of the day none of that should take away from the representation we owe and have to provide for our constituents.

I've been very pleased in Cape Breton North to see a lot of positive things move forward and a lot of collaboration that has moved our region through a difficult time. I am happy to see that some commitments of the previous government, even though they said all - the Premier has dithered with regard to being consistent. The Finance Minister is all over the fiscal map as has been indicated by our Finance Critic, the MLA for Inverness. The minister bristles at any thought of anyone questioning him and at the same time has not been able to provide a blueprint for Nova Scotia that would show that ability that he would brag about; at the same time we have the Minister of Economic and Rural Development who has totally dismissed the realities of our economy, the devastation that the government, through broken promises and commitments that are not being met, turnarounds and about-faces, that we're seeing that the people are being inflicted.

[Page 2650]

The fact is, Mr. Speaker, it's disappointing that the urban/rural divide continues to grow because a government that picks winners and losers by region or by activity or by commitment, therein lies indeed what are the seeds they're sowing of their own destruction. And they know it because they say it, they feel it, and they hear it from the constituents, that we all go home every weeknight and every weekend and when we are in our constituencies, they know that people bought in - for those who have been elected - to what they were offering up, and the reality is something very much different, to the point that it has, in my humble opinion, impacted this very institution of the House of Assembly and democracy here in Nova Scotia.

I recall the Liberal Leader dismissing, at the closing hours and moments of the last sitting of the House when we were talking about the Management Commission Act, the concerns I was raising about the impact of what the government was doing to the institution of the Legislature - the time-honoured traditions that were thrown aside by the NDP. And that is a fact, it's a very negative blight and it's a dark moment in Nova Scotia's history and I will never stand down from the impact and the negative work and the actions of this government to hurt this institution. And to the point that we stand here today, much as we welcome visitors, we have people who have been thrown under the Dexter bus again who were part of this institution.

That's the reality. The Chief Clerk of Nova Scotia was fired; he was given his walking papers because he dared to do what we're supposed to do in a democracy - he spoke his mind and he spoke the truth, and Cabinet got together and sent over to the Speaker's Office the missive that "you get rid of him". We know it, because members of the government haven't been able to keep their mouths quiet about the realities of that. So we don't need to go to a FOIPOP. Members of this House know what happened to Rod MacArthur and I am saddened by that reality, but I am also saddened because (Interruption) if a member wants to defy me or provide clarification, get up on your feet, because they should have a point of order.

But the point of disorder is what the NDP has done to the institution of the Legislature. And it's a sad, dark day when we have to welcome people in from other areas and ask them to come and help because the government didn't care about the institution. Damn the torpedoes, our agenda forward, and let's not care about making sure that this House has the integrity of the oldest institution in this country and a legacy that should have been heralded. After 250 years of strengthening it, the government has set about to weaken it even further.

And again, if any government member wants to get up and challenge me, I'll be happy to do it in this Chamber or outside this Chamber because they know they have hurt this institution. The Liberal Leader, in dismissing me, would go and suggest that we are being crass with the institution (Interruption) Well, if the Minister of Health wants to get on her feet with a point of order or a point of privilege, she was in the Cabinet Room when the

[Page 2651]

order went to the Speaker to get rid of the Chief Clerk. She knows she was in that room and if she has something else to say then she should stand up as the Minister of Health and a member of this Legislature and clarify it. But she can't and she won't, that's the fact. So let their catcalls go as they may.

But you know, the other reality for this institution was evidenced by the fact that the Minister of Finance, in his control-freakish manner, had to take over the House as well. That instead of strengthening the institution of the Legislature, as they did in Newfoundland and Labrador - when things were brought forward, Newfoundland and Labrador dealt with a public issue, dealt with matters of disgrace and dealt with them in dignity to make sure the institution was strengthened. What did we do in Nova Scotia? We walked away from that.

[5:30 p.m.]

You know, the Minister of Finance is in control of the House of Assembly operations, the House of Assembly that is supposed to be autonomous and independent from the executive branch. But the Minister of Finance has taken those things away. You know, I can see in a fledgling democracy like Nigeria something like that happening, as is the case as I do recall because I was there for a parliamentary trip. But I'd like to think that after 250 years of being a strong, solid, growing institution, we wouldn't turn our backs and go back to some fledgling democracy model that's having difficulty - but that's what the Minister of Finance has as a comparison in the entire Commonwealth of this world; that's what the Minister of Finance has brought us to and with this government in their desperation to control all aspects of this institution that should have the respect of this Chamber.

We know that that's not the case and I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, and there are members over there right now who know that in their discussions that is not the case and they can't hold their heads up high, as much as we should. This institution has not yet begun to repair the damage that has been done and that is a reality - again, if a government member wants to state otherwise and provide those facts, I'd welcome them in this Chamber and I welcome them to be given to the media or anyone else, but there is a reality and it is a bad reality and it is a negative one and, indeed, as I said, a blight on this institution.

Again, when people speak up you get rid of them, throw them to the curb. That's what the government has done, like I said, to our Chief Clerk. We all know it - you can say he retired but we all know the background of that, we know the reality of it. Again, the Dexter bus continues to take out individuals without any calculation of cost, both to the people, the stakeholders or, indeed, the province and its future. That is what this government is doing. That is why, Mr. Speaker, in the last three by-elections there have been other outcomes and outcomes that the government would know.

I recall a time when during the John Hamm Administration and I was running in a by-election (Interruption) I know what it is like to have voters upset - they were upset at that

[Page 2652]

time at John Hamm when I ran in that by-election. I'll tell you, Mr. Speaker, that we dealt with the people forthrightly, and in four consecutive elections people have seen fit to elect a Progressive Conservative because we dealt with those things up front.

I'll tell you what we've seen in by-elections now - and as I heard one of the members say, well how did we do in Glace Bay? Well how did the NDP do? They don't have the seat, after declaring that they would have the seat. After the government (Interruption)again, that's right, because I think the last time they did throw in some money and the last time was - oh right, a library, when the Antigonish by-election was on, to try and get over the hump there, I think that is what it was. So we'll throw some money at an area. They practically tripped themselves who could get down the cheque quick enough to try and get that election.

You know, Mr. Speaker, if the member for Halifax Citadel-Sable Island - whatever it is - who represents the horses of this province, wants to get on his pins and speak, and I know he gets frustrated because he's not allowed to but, indeed, I will always stand up and I've done it on the government side and I'll do it on the Opposition side because I know the job I have to do is to hold the government to account and that is, indeed, what the people of Nova Scotia will do in the next general election, because it is starting . . .

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel-Sable Island.

MR. LEONARD PREYRA: Mr. Speaker, I just want to correct the member for Cape Breton North on the results in Antigonish. I think there we had a Progressive Conservative incumbent who was defeated by the member for Antigonish now, an NDP member. Thank you.

MR. CLARKE: Well the member who represents horses would know, Mr. Speaker, that indeed the member in that area stepped down after a distinguished career and the member from that area, he would know, has a long-term history of being Liberal or Tory and that the member for that area served very well.

I do know that the Tory candidate did exceptionally well. If he wants to start talking numbers, because it was at the same time that there was a by-election, I believe, in Inverness - and that person is here, today - if you looked at the combined votes of both those seats at the time, then indeed the popular vote went to the Progressive Conservatives in both of those.

Mr. Speaker, if he wants to start getting into the political statistical analysis, we should do that because there's another reason why we will get into some more analysis as we move forward. The point is that member knows, and I'll tell you this much, to the member who represents horses, the member for Antigonish knows things have shifted since he was able to take his seat in this House. The member for Antigonish knows the people of Antigonish are not too bloody happy with the NDP now, and the member for Antigonish

[Page 2653]

knows that in the next election it's going to be a tough slug at the doorsteps. That is the reality.

If the member for Antigonish has something otherwise to say, I'm sure in the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne he will get up and speak to that. I do know the member for Antigonish has learned a new reality of what being the member from there and building on what the government's promises of the day were and the reality today.

Mr. Speaker, I know that I have been very proud of my constituency, recognizing challenges come, issues of the day come forward - some of them are very difficult issues and you stay the course around those issues. This government, in its desperation, has been all over the map. That is part and parcel to why the Minister of Economic Development, who says he has a strategy, can't produce the strategy - and a strategy for what and of what? They don't know what they're doing. They have no ability to know what to do, but unless the Minister of Finance, who likes to counter everything with I know better than all - our father knows best over the Finance Department - probably a reason why someone with a distinguished career like Ms. Harnish would want to get the heck out because she can see what's coming.

The train wreck is coming because everyone knows, Mr. Speaker - the Budget Estimates for next year, as they came in and inflated a deficit that could have been a balanced budget, when they came in and their own auditors have said the previous books of this province were not cooked and they were balanced when, in fact, after the fact it was proven they could have balanced the books with the budget that was presented, they chose to do crass political investments that were not investments, they were a waste of taxpayers' dollars that are adding to the debt of this province, but they had to steel with some special interests that were nipping at their heels.

So they would go during a recession and spend, as I've always said, over $100 million plus on dirt that no one was asking them to buy. Yet individual students - the future of our province - for $750,000, the Minister of Education stood up today and said that the department has no role, it's the board's responsibility. The department has not been involved with that. We now find out from the school board since Question Period that they were asked for $750,000 to buy the school. It's funny how one thing was said just a short while ago and the reality - and she said $10 million - and the reality is something different. She didn't get up and say I believe in a school that has been there since 1885, the only all-girls school east of Montreal, she didn't say I believe in the concept and continuing that. She didn't say, we'll look at alternative infrastructure for that school. She didn't say anything. Oh, that's right. She had to blame the Order of the Sisters to find cover.

That's how desperate it is in the government ranks right now that they'll go after the holy order - even the nuns aren't safe with the NDP, Mr. Speaker. The nuns aren't safe because they were sincere in talking about what their reality was. (Interruptions)

[Page 2654]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The chatter is getting a little high and I would ask the members who have conversations they want to carry on, it would be great if they did it in the antechamber. (Interruptions) Excuse me, I was talking. I would ask that if the members have chatter that they want to use, they use it out in the antechamber.

The honourable member for Cape Breton North has the floor.

MR. CLARKE: So as I was saying, Mr. Speaker, even the nuns aren't safe with this NDP socialist regime because I'll tell you, the Sisters of the Order went to the school board. The Sisters of the Order went to the parents. The Sisters of the Order came to the government to say here's our reality. Can we plan for a future that continues a great educational tradition and a time-honoured one? But do you know what the government did? Nope, it doesn't meet our criteria. Maybe it's because it's in Cape Breton South. Had it been in the Antigonish by-election, Holy Angels might have still been surviving today. According to all the statistics that they do. They pulled that manoeuver down in Yarmouth but to no avail. So there's what we have - but it's that bad that the minister gets up and uses the figure $10 million.

The truth of the matter is the board has confirmed the request was for $750,000. That's much different than what the minister stated and we'll be looking for clarity from the minister and from this government but, more importantly, the minister would not even commit. If she committed to those young women, to their families, to their teachers, to the community, that they had a legacy but, again, that was since 1885 and this institution has been here for 250 years. They didn't care about this institution and if they don't care for this institution, why the heck would they care for Holy Angels High School? If they don't care for the people of Yarmouth, why the heck would they care about this institution? They don't care about the people up in Springhill, so why would they care about this institution?

There is a pattern - and as I say, it's a disturbing pattern - and it's a very negative one. They will pit one region against another in this province as we've seen. You know, even on the basis of the Minister of Justice trying to talk about getting a new jail and squirming, the reality is we could have had that if the Premier did what he said he would do and honour a commitment. The Premier knows how the people of Cumberland South feel about him and his commitments, the people of Cumberland North know about the Premier and his commitments. What's happening is it's spreading out around the province. Well, we know the people were thrown under the Dexter bus from one region of the province to another.

Mr. Speaker, because of the politics that are coming - so they must be throwing darts at what part of the socialist NDP map can we get a jail in and they must be doing arm wrestling with the minister to see who gets to win having a jail, but the sad part is they have hurt what was a strategic direction and plan to deal with some of the pressures we face, what people expected.

[Page 2655]

I know during late debate we're going to talk about the Boots - which was the Boots on the Street, which is now the "Boots Off the Street" program of the NDP. That's the reality of coming in with a bill that looks great and sounds great, but the reality is they're hurting the very core of the peace officers that provide us with safety and security in this province, walking away from a commitment of a very successful program. You know what? Success means nothing, because they'll turn their backs on even good outcomes. We've seen that. This government has walked away from Nova Scotians from one end of the province to the other, but you don't have to go too far from this historic Chamber at the Legislature to see where they're just in another conundrum over a convention centre.

You have one minister doing great work trying to consult and let's go forward, the plan that will build the business integrity of the area and help spin-off. We've always recognized that a good, strong, central convention capacity here would help the rest of the province. They came out with a very good announcement. I'm sure the minister was sincere, but then all the caveats come rolling out from the Premier and his office the next day or so and people go, oh. After they tried to corral one of the members - I know the member for Halifax Chebucto is having his own challenges with this stuff.

Even when the government could do a good thing, it doesn't know how to go about doing it. The government doesn't even recognize who their bases are, what levels of support they would have, and (Interruptions) Mr. Speaker, if the Government House Leader wants to say something - I thought the government said they want to put the Legislature back to work. In fact, it was in their brochure. But again, some other things were in their brochure and those don't hold any water because - I think he's saying he's upset because I'm actually taking my rightful place to speak here today, that we were supposed to sit until 6:00 p.m., but apparently they wanted to get out. Apparently the member for Sackville-Cobequid was the only person supposed to speak here in this Chamber today. There's a government trying to put the House back to work.

The House, Mr. Speaker, is not respected, and there's another example of the government that just treats this as a necessary evil for them to implement a socialist agenda. I'd actually even welcome something along that line, because they're all over the map. No matter where you go and look at the map of Nova Scotia, you see another example of the NDP hurting and harming working families of Nova Scotia - driving up their taxes, driving out their children, driving away opportunities - all while Mr. Premier is at the Dexter bus running them over and trying to get them. As I said, he's now gone to a fleet of vehicles around this province. He's gone to the stackable ones now, because he can add a few more wheels on it just to capture a few more victims as a result of this socialist government devastation that they're wreaking across the Province of Nova Scotia.

The other thing, when it comes to looking at where we are - because we are talking about reply to the Speech from the Throne. We are talking about Her Honour who came here - and the language of the speech sounded very, very positive, spoke to a better and stronger

[Page 2656]

Nova Scotia, and now we see a reality that is quite the opposite. The government has done everything it can to walk away from honouring commitments and dealing with the realities that are before this province, all for the sake now of trying to desperately hold on to some level of power.

The Minister of Finance stands here and wants to lecture about past governments. He cherry-picks - as do any number of people on the front bench - what the issues are, and he likes to talk about what the past government, or governments, would have done. For clarity, we will present and have at the ready, for any given day as we go forward, a good index of every vote that was held since 1999. We'll probably go back to the Liberal Administration and see who voted. Was it a consensus vote? Was it a recorded vote? And we'll have all those stats because the Minister of Finance and the Premier forget that they stood in this House as part of two minority governments and asked that resources be applied and put toward certain aspects and yet would condemn them today.

You can't have that level of hypocrisy, so we need the clarity of who voted for what and when. It's important for this government. If it wants to give itself kudos, good enough. In fact, there are times when members and ministers have done some good things, and we owe them kudos for doing the right thing, even if we are dealing with it from an Opposition point of view.

We also have to be clear about the reality of the facts of the day, what happened, who did what and who is responsible for what. We have a government that will previously pat themselves on the back for things that they were able to get through in a minority government, the things that they were able to get through for working families and Nova Scotians. They take pride in doing that yet they condemn it because there is a cost to it. Indeed, in a minority government, as you know, you don't do it by a majority vote, as we're witnessing the havoc of what this majority NDP socialist government is doing to Nova Scotians. You have a consensus that has to be built. You have measures that have to be considered. You have priorities that have to be balanced. You have to deal with making minority government work.

[5:45 p.m.]

You know, when John Hamm came in with a minority government he said, I'm going to make it work and he did. You didn't hear them complaining then. We came in with the MacDonald Government and people said to the government and to the people that the people wanted government to make minority government work, so we did. All of a sudden the government gets elected themselves and that's no longer any good. Well they forget their own record, they forget their own back-patting that they've continually liked to do and the Minister of Finance and the Premier do this constantly. The Minister of Economic and Rural Development would like to try but has no strategy and no numbers, it's just all downward trends. That's why failing to represent, taking well in excess - if we are to deal with things

[Page 2657]

like the railway in Cape Breton -we finally got some clarity, short-term clarity but I guess it's clarity nonetheless because there is no investment strategy or plan that the government can bring forward. There is nothing more that we can see that will build on this.

As I say, as we go forward we're going to be looking at the clarity of what the government committed, what they said in Opposition, and we're going to start charting it for their own benefit but most importantly for the benefit of Nova Scotians who voted thinking they would honour their commitments and finding out they're doing otherwise are going to hope that the smoke and mirrors of the day - that things may recover enough that people will forget.

Well, Nova Scotians aren't forgetting and there ain't no amount of spin-doctoring that Dan O'Connor can do over on the seventh floor going to get them out of that trouble. There is nothing at all their communicator is going to be able to do because they've heard from the real communicators - and they're the voters - who will communicate whenever the next general election is held. They'll communicate through their democratic right to vote and I believe they'll vote for real change, change that will support real working families, change that will ensure that the long-term viability and interest of this province - not the short-term political interest of a political brand that managed to talk their way into office and are now struggling to find a way out.

The other thing, if they truly were committed as they go in now and tell people that they want fiscal restraint, they could have demonstrated that in the balanced budget and produced it and help with better outcomes, lower borrowing rates, better credit ratings, all the things that would have been achieved had they followed the Progressive Conservative plan that was set forward. The minister doesn't talk about that. They want to cherry-pick what commitments were truly commitments, as does the Premier.

We're going to see and find out in this province, that our Leader, when he takes his rightful place in this House - as I know the Liberals in their own way are going to try to assert their brand - and we will go out there and we will be talking to Nova Scotians. We'll be talking to Nova Scotians who are talking to the government members as well. I can tell you - maybe the front bench gets occupied - I can tell you the government private members know what people are saying about their front bench. I know there are people in the front bench who think they may be trying to do the right thing but the outcome and the impact is much different from what they even think. It is devastating and it's doomed because the people have already spoken.

The Liberals are doing their seat count in the next election, I know they are. The Progressive Conservatives are doing our seat count, I know we are. People are looking at it and the government members are saying, which ones are we going to lose, who can we hold on to, what's going to happen? Will the convention centre be built? Will the member not walk away from Halifax Chebucto? Will we find peace in our time in the NDP ranks? If the

[Page 2658]

members of the government could stop talking to the public about their concerns and their woes maybe we wouldn't have as much ammunition, but they themselves are articulating what is wrong with their own political brand and the faults and flaws of their own front bench and ministers themselves are musing publicly to others about the challenges they face. That is the reality of what the NDP is now facing.

We are coming into what the government thinks will be a short session but I think when we come back after our Christmas break and go into February or so, and then the government takes a break to bring in a budget, we'll see the real impact of the modelling that's going on right now. The message, as you know, that they're sending to school boards is cut, they're coming. That's why Holy Angels is just a forerunner of things to come.

We have the report from Dr. Ross which is really, try to get me any way that we don't have to honour our commitment we made and find some way for us to go forward and basically cut and slash, and at least try to put the lid on things because we don't have a real plan. That's what the Minister of Health - as I call her, Agent Orange - was sent out there to do, to give her an excuse so that she could implement an agenda that was never sincere, but a promise that sounded good at election time and people believed that promise.

Mr. Speaker, when I went door to door - and I know in Cape Breton, I went down to Crescent Street, there was a lady there who kept every single closure notice. She was upset because she had cancer to deal with and she was concerned about getting to the local hospital because she was in public housing, and how do I get to the regional hospital, afraid of even calling an ambulance? She believed what the Premier and what the Minister of Health said. She believed them and she was upset. You know what? She had every right to be upset because these members of the government were critical of the challenges of the day and they are just that, a reality and they are challenges of the day and that challenge, much to their promise and their smoke and mirrors, has not gone away. It's getting further compounded.

That senior citizen has been let down significantly. She and some of her neighbours thought that the things they were going to promise were going to come to fruition and they would be able to bear a benefit that would come to them and the other people around them. It is now cold comfort because that's not the case, that's not the reality that they face. That's the reality doing door to door and talking to people. That's about saying what you'll do and do what you said you would do. It would be even better if the government would just come clean with Nova Scotians and say, you know we said one thing but we can't and here's why we can't. They can't even do that, they just blame a previous government. They'll go back as far as they have to in the history books, as long as they can keep blaming, but they won't take responsibility. Because they haven't taken responsibility, we're about to go into a third budget cycle.

This is going to be the most telling budget cycle because it's going to set the path forward upon which, before long, the next general election will be called. People are going

[Page 2659]

to look at these trends and they're going to look at the sustainability and more importantly, Mr. Speaker, they're looking to alternatives. We see that now more than ever, we hear that more in the by-elections that have been called. We understand that this government, while tearing apart this institution, is tearing apart the fabric of Nova Scotian life, and that is truly something I regret. I thought we would honour this institution but if you can't honour this institution, why would you ever honour a promise or a commitment? That's the reality and Nova Scotians are seeing it.

I'm only hoping that the members of this House might want to restore some integrity to this institution and, in so doing, restore some integrity to the government and its supposed agenda because it only has a couple more budget cycles upon which they'll be judged. Those budget cycles, as they're already doing, are fear-mongering people. They're sending out and setting forth numbers that has organizations scared. District health authorities are worried, long-term care facilities are worried. The education system is worried big time, because they can't even get classroom assistants. We see what's happening with Holy Angels, it's just an ongoing pattern.

You know the government doesn't even recognize the infrastructure that is needed to have the type of integrity that would actually say that their agenda had some merit and some worth to be judged against another day.

Mr. Speaker, I know that according to the note that was given to me, that the time is coming forward and I was asked to wrap up at 5:55 p.m., so I can go another minute or I can adjourn debate at this time. I am willing to adjourn debate.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton North has moved adjournment of the debate.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, I move that the House do now rise to meet again tomorrow at the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, when after regular business we will be calling Bill No. 72, the Police Act and, time permitting, we will also be returning to the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne.

Mr. Speaker, I move that we do now rise.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion before the House is that we do now rise and meet again tomorrow morning from the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.

[Page 2660]

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

We have reached the moment of interruption. The late debate was drawn earlier:

"Therefore be it resolved that this NDP Government commit to completing the fourth year of the Boots on the Street program so that police agencies across Nova Scotia can have the resources they require to combat a constant threat to public safety."

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

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

BOOTS ON THE STREET PROG.: FOURTH YR. - COMPLETE

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise in my place to speak to the Boots on the Street program, its importance, it's significance and why this government should not be turning its back on the law enforcement community and those who support it, and municipalities across this province.

We sat on a very positive, progressive agenda of implementing 250 new policing positions. As a result of that we saw, in 2007, 80 positions, officers that were put across the province; in 2008, 70 more; and in 2009, there were 33 more officers implemented at that time or committed to. As a result of that, it would provide us with 183, leaving 67 in 2010. Recognizing that the fiscal challenges of the province may mean meeting those targets would have to be tempered, as they were with the 33, because we committed to doing it within a balanced budget, the government could have continued along that vein with a balanced budget and they chose not to.

What we're finding out with regard to the Boots on the Street, as I referred to earlier, it's now the "boots off the street program" because this government is telling policing agencies that they're cancelling or cutting back - or through attrition - that policing positions will no longer exist. That is the reality of what this government has now done and are now implementing.

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If anyone wants to get up and whoever is speaking for the government's side wants to talk about the positive things, they also have to put the 250 policing positions in context with recognizing that law enforcement was dealing with pressures that would come on the system, that should have seen a new justice centre, in terms of a correctional facility in Springhill as well as Antigonish, that actually would have been completing construction at this time in providing capacity. We know the government played politics with communities and public safety and were willing to cancel that commitment: cancel it as infrastructure stimulus, cancel it against a law and order agenda that Nova Scotians embraced fully and support and endorse, and now are going to the law enforcement community and they are saying, we're cutting back your positions.

Today we had a bill introduced that has a budget number associated with it, $800,000. I support the bill. It may have to be adjusted where appropriate, but indeed we support the bill because it came from officials, policing and department, that recognized it a few years ago, especially with Tasers and then the Simon case in Wagmatcook. Those were areas where people looked and even the policing community and justice officials didn't want to be investigating other justice officials and wanted a third party, and efforts were underway to do that. We'll leave that debate until tomorrow but it's in context with what we're talking about today.

[6:00 p.m.]

The NDP member may want to get up and speak to this and try to talk about all the successful outcomes, but successful outcomes don't count when you're cutting back and you're taking away from the momentum of what was provided. I can say, when you look in Cape Breton to the type and diversity of positions that were put in place. This just wasn't about beat cops that we are dealing with, that was very important, they've made a big difference being out on the main streets and in communities. It was also intelligence, it was dealing with child pornography, exploitation, port security, it was dealing with what the priorities and needs were within the policing environment in regions of the province and we trusted the regions to give us those recommendations, to bring it forward.

We trusted the government would honour those commitments as they said they would, but we see it's another broken promise and another broken commitment by the government and the Justice Minister, the Attorney General, is breaking that commitment again to the people.

They can't talk about being supporting and fulfilling the Boots on the Street because they're cutting it back and they're using the back door of attrition which is, to me, is very, very wrong. Policing authorities are worried if they speak out they'll have more positions pulled. If they speak out, there will be more budget dollars taken because they know the benefit but they know they're going to lose some positions through attrition or cutbacks. I

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think it was just this past week, if you go down to Shelburne County and the RCMP, position yanked. Gone. Didn't even have a chance for attrition, they just took it away.

That's the pattern of this government. That's the reality of where this government is taking us with regard to what was the Boots on the Street - it's now boots off the street. When you look at the type of positions - both municipal, RCMP, Joint Task Force - all of those are moving in the right area and the outcomes were such that we have seen pressures on our correctional facilities. Pressures that did have a plan to deal with the appropriate infrastructure needed to support a law and order agenda. What was inappropriate is the political gerrymandering of the process by the NDP when they couldn't even honour basic infrastructure commitments that actually were well thought out, were worthwhile and are to the betterment of having safer streets in this province.

That's what we've seen and that's what we now know. I know from my time with the policing community, when I was the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, I came in building on what Murray Scott, the minister before, brought in. I knew of the level of success because I didn't go into Justice with any biases because I'm not a police officer and I wasn't a lawyer and I had not had that as a career. I felt I looked at it objectively- I could look at it from the point of view how everyone viewed it. I looked at it from municipal police boards, the Nova Scotia Association of Police boards, I looked at it from mayors and wardens around this province that recognized its value. I looked at the great work we were able to do here in the HRM with putting a position in.

I look at all those things and all those things now that were positive are in jeopardy. I know that when I committed to Pictou Centre at the time and the Town of New Glasgow for a policing position, the new Attorney General saw fit to walk away from that commitment. What he had the discretion to do was add an additional position; instead he moved it elsewhere. And what did he do? He caused further conflict in the region. We don't have to look any further to the level of conflict in the region than the most recent hearing we're getting reports on that's showing a very negative agency to agency relationship.

Rather than building and strengthening his own county with the members from the county, he picked winners and losers within his county and he didn't have to do it. I guess we're now finding out he didn't have to do it and he could have honoured all his commitments and added to that and added to the strength of what he wanted to do. He made a commitment and I say it's a good commitment, but it was wrong to go away and not honour the commitments that were in place. Even though he has a Premier who said he'd honour commitments. The pattern, as I said before in the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne, is a very telling one and it's a very disturbing one.

The Boots on the Street program, as I indicated, is multifaceted. But, more importantly, it was grassroots. It was driven from the recommendations of the communities and the policing community and what they needed to respond to their citizens and their

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boards, their councils. What they needed to do to work together as a municipal and RCMP officers in the province with the Department of Justice could do from an intelligence point of view and adding capacity there. It was all very much a collaborative approach and the government now has thrown that into uncertainty.

If their record is anything to go by, this too shall be another failed example of a government that turned its back on Nova Scotians and turned its back on communities rather than seeing it as an investment. The government will say they don't have the money. This is where I have always held the government to account. They found over $120 million to buy dirt no one wanted or needed in the single largest recession since the Great Depression and can't find money for core facilities - whether it's the strategic priorities of the policing community and safer streets to maintaining an all-girls school in a community that had a reasonable ask. That's what we're seeing.

I hope the honourable member from the NDP representing his minister - because the minister obviously can't talk to it or fails to because he knows those numbers. So I know the honourable member has a good rapport in his community from the NDP. The honourable member for Pictou East has a good relationship but it's one that now is strained and stressed, as he knows. What the government is going to do is further compound that and it's going to show, region-by-region, this government now, with public safety, is picking away at the integrity of the Nova Scotia fabric and our society. This is a very dark day. This may be the beginning of the session, but it is very telling of what is to come. I only hope that the good, private members of the government will speak up with a voice that is strong enough to tell their front bench and tell their Premier enough is enough. Let's support our people, let's support our police, let's support law and order, and let's get back to the integrity of what this institution and people are sent here to do in the first place. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou East.

MR. CLARRIE MACKINNON: It's a pleasure for me to engage in this debate tonight. Certainly Boots on the Street has been beneficial to my constituency and I hope to have an opportunity to speak about that, particularly in relation to one of the positions the Justice Minister was able to provide to my constituency, and that was in the First Nation. The Pictou Landing First Nation now has a depot, and that depot is operating with two officers there. It is a great thing for the community.

Nova Scotians want to know they and their families are safe. Our government understands that people do not want to live with the sense of insecurity that exists in some places in the world where crime is not well controlled. It may be easy for some folks to become concerned when they watch the news and see the reports of violence.

Our province is a wonderful place to raise a family, but unfortunately it is not immune to the level of violence in society that we see reflected in news reports. It is clear to

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me, as I am sure it is to many Nova Scotians, that we do indeed have concerns here at home. Society is changing and the evolution of violence levels has great impacts on our communities. That is why our government is showing genuine leadership in crime prevention and crime reduction initiatives.

The Department of Justice is addressing the root causes of crime through our Lighthouses Program for youth. These programs help to keep our youth engaged in activities that help build up their confidence and their outlook and keep them from straying down avenues of criminal behaviour.

We have made a series of announcements in recent months about new equipment and training for our correctional workers to decrease violence within our correctional facilities. Our sheriffs' officers are receiving training on new metal detectors for our provincial courthouses in Halifax and in Dartmouth to improve security within our justice facilities. This will help provide greater safety to sheriff staff, courthouse employees, and visitors.

Mr. Speaker, the safety and security of all Nova Scotians is our top priority. It is the top priority of the Department of Justice and a top priority of the Government of Nova Scotia. We are very concerned about violent crimes such as the one reported in our media today on the front page of the provincial newspaper. It is tragic to hear of such cases. We all wish we could simply wipe out such terrible acts, but law enforcement experts and astute observers will tell you it is not a simple matter. Changing societal forces that lead to crime require a comprehensive approach. We need to reach out to our youth. We need community programs that help to change behaviours. We need a strong judicial system, and the community plays a role as well, so wrongdoing that is witnessed is reported to police.

It takes many different tools to build a stronger community where crime is reduced. Law enforcement on the street is just one of the many tools that can be used. The 250 police officer program was put in place back in 2006. It was intended to be a four-year program of new policing positions. We want to take the time to carefully review the program to ensure it is meeting its intended goals.

In year one, 80 police officer positions were created; in year two, 70 police positions; and in year three, 33 positions were created. Of those 33, I'm very proud to say that one of them was in the Pictou Landing First Nation. To see what is happening there - I was very proud to march along with my wife, Mary K., in a drug-free march in that community. To have First Nation folks involved in that march, from those who were just able to walk through to elders in that community, was really something to witness. So the policing that is taking place in that community has benefited from the Boots on the Street program.

Mr. Speaker, about 50 of these new police positions are in the Halifax Regional Municipality. They are with the RCMP and Halifax Regional Police. The vast majority of these positions are allocated to police positions and in other areas of Justice that are required

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to respond to the level of increased enforcement. Putting more boots on the street can be one part of a good crime prevention strategy, but there are needs, as mentioned, and those needs are requiring a broader approach - one that works with community groups, crime prevention initiatives, youth education and recreation programs, and other crime prevention tools.

We also need to look at how, where, and in what capacity we are assigning those new police positions. Being more strategic in the way we apply our resources is smart crime prevention practice. It is also wise use of funds, as we know Nova Scotians want their government to live like they do - within our means - and that is the goal of this government. We need to spend in a balanced way, a more strategic way, while we work to ensure the safety and security of all Nova Scotians with our law enforcement agencies.

So again, our government has given full support to the current additional officer program and we will continue to take a strategic look at this program, which started back in 2006. We owe it to the people we represent to take a proper look at the costs and our policing needs as we plan for the future. The review needs to examine how we can best reduce the causes of crime.

[6:15 p.m.]

You might say, Mr. Speaker, that more law does not necessarily reduce crime. It has been shown that a broader strategic approach can bring better results. It is recognized that the majority of crime is carried out by a small percentage of the offenders. Therefore, a more strategic approach will have a better impact on the community. Our program must ensure that it considers how best to allocate tax dollars as part of an overall crime reduction approach, it must also ensure a strategic enforcement as the resources that add value and security to all Nova Scotians. We need to continue to promote collaboration in our policing communities. Our government is committed to Nova Scotian safety, Mr. Speaker. It comes down to allocation and strategic use of resources and positions.

We have confidence in our provincial and municipal police. They are doing a great job. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the time to engage in this debate.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

MR. TREVOR ZINCK: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I derive great pleasure in speaking on the late debate put forward by the Progressive Conservative caucus tonight. It is one where back in 2006 it presented me with the opportunity to raise my very first question in this hallowed Chamber. It was at that time I had asked the then member who was the Minister of Justice, the member for Cumberland South, as to when this particular commitment was going to be implemented. At that time, it was during the election campaign that the then Premier Rodney MacDonald had come over into my community, one of the more affluent, settled parts of the community, and made this announcement.

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It was in this Chamber that I raised the question as to whether or not he would have taken the opportunity to go to one of the, let's say, lower-income, more crime-inflated areas. It was also at the end of that session where I want to give credit to the former Minister of Justice, Murray Scott, for outside this Chamber extending an invitation to come on tour and to see exactly some of the concerns and issues that were being brought to my attention by my community and, to his credit, in the Fall session, he made that venture over and we did a complete tour of all areas, both low income and affluent, crime-ridden and the particular parts of the community that didn't experience the levels of crime that some did.

This past Spring I had the opportunity to participate in the Budget Debate with the current Minister of Justice and I extended the same invite to him. I hope that perhaps at the end of this Fall session he will, too, do the same and present my community with the honour of his presence in doing that tour, as the last minister did.

Mr. Speaker, during the election campaigns, Burnside is my very first poll. Today in this House during the oral questions we heard issues around the weekend passes. I guess the problem that we're seeing now with this bill being brought forward and the lack of funds and commitment to continue the Boots on the Street program is the fact that there are communities that have benefitted from this and government will look at it and say - or review it - and come up with reasons as to why or how to better spend the money.

I can tell you that in my community, Mr. Speaker, unfortunately we see high levels. In the past week, on October 20th, we committed, the community came together, several hundred folks as we do each year for the last 11 years, and had a march against violence where we were joined by several women and men from the policing forces and the fire forces who come out every year in support of the non-violence march. That came about because of an unsolved murder of young Jason MacCullough 11 years ago.

There are many issues as to why this program works and I want to agree with the member opposite, on the government side. It is not one easy bullet that solves crime, it is grassroots. This commitment came, this agreement by the Progressive Conservatives in 2006 came from the grassroots, came from the police forces themselves that said we need additional supports. Now my community benefited from that in the sense that we've received what we call a community constable. The community constable is there to go around and become familiar with individuals, young people, organizations in our community. They are kind of bridging the gap between the community and policing forces.

The gentleman who retired a year later, posthumously received a number of recommendations and awards and commendments for his efforts. Upon his retirement we have a new community constable, Constable Randy Wood. I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, I always love seeing Constable Wood come to the office but, unfortunately, a lot of times it is for other issues that are a concern. I've seen this community constable limited in his abilities, not by his choice but by the pressures that are put on by crime in our communities and our surrounding areas. The Boots on the Street program was designed to add those

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additional forces, to take the pressure off the everyday officers who are out there trying to keep our communities safe.

The weekend passes. I guess the question our communities have to ask when recently we've had these weekend passes, which we heard today have been in existence for a number of years, well, that's the Boots on the Street that check in on those inmates, that check in on folks under house arrest to keep our communities safe but that also takes those officers off the street.

I was part of our Neighbourhood Watch community members group for a number of years. One of the consistent things we always hear when we have the police town halls or meetings once a month on Wednesdays is the fact that we hear things like police officer response time or the fact that we don't see enough cruisers going through our neighbourhoods and these are concerns that are coming from seniors. When we're looking at or reviewing the benefits of this program, I can tell you they've been immense.

Several years ago we implemented a Safe Communities Act. Currently we have six members of that task force and I know Cape Breton has benefited from it, my community has benefited from it. It's a great tool to help communities rid themselves of problems of vast varieties of situations. A lot of drug issues in the Cape Breton area over the last year, housing situations have benefited from ridding communities of these predators. However, I can tell you that when that organization, that group of dedicated individuals are in Cape Breton they can't be in Yarmouth or they can't be in Amherst or they can't be in my community of Dartmouth North when we have an issue because they just don't have enough folks.

I had a recent murder in my neighbourhood last week, which again causes great concern for community safety. Subsequent to that, the week before there was another murder of a young gentleman. We have our young people, they're barely getting to the age of 25. I remember five years ago Chief Beazley and Deputy Chief McNeil coming out publicly and saying that our police officers are today's social workers. Again, I would like to put this forward to the government side, root causes of crime. We've talked about it and the New Democratic Party talked about it and it's important, however, it's going to take a concentrated effort and I haven't seen that yet by the government side. What I have seen is an increase in unsolved murders, which again causes concerns. Maybe the review will allow the police officials to have that portion of officers added to that to help those families get over those trying times in many years.

I'll go back to the Jason MacCullough murder. Al MacCullough and Carolyn MacCullough have struggled with an unsolved murder for 11 years, as has our community but I know the efforts of the police have been great. I want to touch on a conversation that I had last year with a school liaison officer, another very valuable individual in our communities. It's sad to say that we need a liaison officer in our schools but it's a reality of today and a lot of our school communities have gained from it. I had a conversation last year with a liaison officer and at that time she said, if I had three or four schools it wouldn't be

[Page 2668]

a problem. I could really do the grassroots level of commitment and crime prevention with some of these young individuals, however, I have 10 or 11 schools. So there maybe is another opportunity if we're going to go through with this review.

The root causes of crime, it's a reality for me that unfortunately a lot of inmates that come out of the Burnside Correctional Facility usually end up in my neighbourhood. When they enter my office, I have one chance to help that individual get pointed in the right direction.

I'll finish on a quote that the minister gave me back in the Spring budget that caused me great concern because I know my colleagues in the Liberal caucus and my colleagues in the Progressive Conservative caucus over the last year and a half have talked about the socialist NDP government. Well, it brought me quite a bit of alarm when I asked the minister about programs for young individuals coming out of the prison system, if there was anything available for them and he said at that point - and I know he said here today, if you do the crime, you do the time, absolutely, Mr. Speaker, I agree with that, but in reference to programs he suggested to me, he said, I don't have any sympathy for people coming out of jail.

Well, Mr. Speaker, the reality for me is I don't have a chance but one time to help that individual and if the social programs and funding aren't in place to get that person settled, our community is going to have a problem and if there are no boots on the street our communities aren't going to be safe. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: I want to thank all members for their involvement in the debate tonight.

The House will now rise to meet again tomorrow at 9:00 a.m.

[The House rose at 6:27 p.m.]

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NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 1746

By: Mr. Chuck Porter (Hants West)

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

Whereas museums are a large part of our history, as they serve as a collection of mementos from our past and are of utmost importance when it comes to passing along important historical information to our younger generations; and

Whereas Haliburton House Museum in Windsor is an historic building, having been constructed 175 years ago, and has been part of the provincial collection of museums longer than any other historic building in Nova Scotia for the past 70 years; and

Whereas this summer a special day took place at Haliburton Museum to commemorate its 70th Anniversary as a provincial museum, that consisted of a celebration of entertainment and tours;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly applaud the Haliburton House Museum on celebrating its 70th Anniversary as a Nova Scotia museum and wish caretaker Alan Dauphinee, interpreter Karen MacBride, and all staff many more days filled with the history and treasured memories only a gifted storyteller such as Thomas Chandler Haliburton could provide.