Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

HANSARD 09-34

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/

First Session

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2009

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 987, Farmers Dairy - Top 15 Employers (N.S.),
The Premier 2128
Vote - Affirmative 2128
Res. 988, Martin, Troy/McVicar, Alan: Courage & Resourcefulness -
Applaud, Hon. W. Estabrooks 2129
Vote - Affirmative 2129
Res. 989, Aquaculture Harvest Fest. (Sheet Hbr.): Organizers -
Congrats., Hon. S. Belliveau 2130
Vote - Affirmative 2130
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 990, Leonard, Scott - MusiCounts Teacher of the Yr. Award,
Mr. A. Younger 2131
Vote - Affirmative 2131
Res. 991, Health: H1N1 Vaccine Shortage - Responsibility,
Hon. K. Casey 2131
Res. 992, Truro Rotary Club: Shelterboxes - Donations,
Ms. L. Zann 2132
Vote - Affirmative 2133
Res. 993, Annapolis Co.: Can Gets Active Prog. - Participation,
Hon. S. McNeil 2133
Vote - Affirmative 2134
Res. 994, Health - H1N1 Vaccination Prog.: Min. - Answers,
Mr. K. Bain 2134
Res. 995, Conrad, Sue & Moyal/Vols.: Timbersports Championship -
Organizing, Ms. V. Conrad 2135
Vote - Affirmative 2135
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 62, Correctional Services Act/Police Act, Hon. M. Samson 2136
[NOTICES OF MOTION:]
Res. 996, Bell, Bryan: Olympic Torchbearer - Congrats.,
Ms. D. Whalen 2136
Vote - Affirmative 2137
Res. 997, Muir, Bob - Birthday (90th),
Hon. C. Clarke 2137
Vote - Affirmative 2138
Res. 998, Leonard, Scott - MusiCounts Teacher of Yr. Award,
Mr. G. Ramey 2138
Vote - Affirmative 2138
Res. 999, Morse, Heather/Somerset & Dist. Elem. Sch. - RBC Grant,
Mr. L. Glavine 2138
Vote - Affirmative 2139
Res. 1000, McCulley, Andrew/Tibbetts, Eric - MADD: Dedication -
Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 2139
Vote - Affirmative 2140
Res. 1001, Palmer, John: Hardware Bus. - Involvement (50 Yrs.),
Mr. J. Morton 2140
Vote - Affirmative 2141
Res. 1002, MacNeil, Dr. Lawrence - Perkins Award,
Hon. M. Samson 2141
Vote - Affirmative 2141
Res. 1003, Health: H1N1 Vaccine - Priority Groups,
Hon. C. Clarke 2142
Res. 1004, Natl. Assoc. Fed. Retirees - Past Presidents: Contribution -
Recognize, Ms. P. Birdsall 2142
Vote - Affirmative 2143
Res. 1005, Robichaud, Marc - Hardware Assoc. Award,
Hon. W. Gaudet 2143
Vote - Affirmative 2144
Res. 1006, Health - H1N1 Vaccine: Asthma Patients - Prioritize,
Hon. M. Scott 2145
Res. 1007, Sheet Hbr. Range Lights - Preservation: Lobbyists - Thank,
Mr. J. Boudreau 2145
Vote - Affirmative 2146
Res. 1008, Scott, Alexander - Baseball MVP,
Ms. K. Regan 2146
Vote - Affirmative 2147
Res. 1009, Middle River Alderwood Aux. Rock-a-thon - Congrats.,
Mr. K. Bain 2147
Vote - Affirmative 2147
Res. 1010, Borgersen, Susan: Cohen Anniversary Book - Inclusion,
Ms. V. Conrad 2148
Vote - Affirmative 2148
Res. 1011, Gilbert, Ms. Terry: Literary Efforts - Congrats.,
Mr. H. Theriault 2148
Vote - Affirmative 2149
Res. 1012, Cdn. Breast Cancer Fdn.: Fundraising - Congrats.,
Ms. K. Regan 2149
Vote - Affirmative 2150
Res. 1013, RCL Kings Br. 6 - Work: Exec. Members - Congrats.,
Mr. J. Morton 2150
Vote - Affirmative 2151
Res. 1014, Sisters of Charity: Commun. Work - Congrats.,
Ms. D. Whalen 2151
Vote - Affirmative 2151
Res. 1015, Burkey, Leona - Album Proceeds: Donation - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Samson 2152
Vote - Affirmative 2152
Res. 1016, Robar, Shirley: Commun. Commitment - Recognize,
Mr. H. Theriault 2153
Vote - Affirmative 2153
MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT RULE 43:
Health: H1N1 Pandemic - Health Services Delivery:
Ms. D. Whalen 2154^
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 276, Health - H1N1 Vaccine: Administration - Prioritize,
Hon. S. McNeil 2154
No. 277, Health - H1N1 Vaccinations: Front-line Workers - Details,
Hon. K. Casey 2156
No. 278, Health - H1N1 Vaccination Prog.: Wait Times - Reasons,
Ms. D. Whalen 2157
No. 279, Health - Psychiatrists: Retention - Efforts,
Hon. S. McNeil 2159
No. 280, LWD - DHA Staff: Conciliator - Engage,
Hon. K. Casey 2160
No. 281, Health - Mental Health Court: Psychiatrists - Participation,
Hon. S. McNeil 2161
No. 282, Health: H1N1 Vaccine Rollout - Guidelines,
Hon. C. d'Entremont 2162
No. 283, Health: Adult Eating Disorders - Treatment Plans,
Ms. D. Whalen 2164
No. 284, Health H1N1 Vaccine - Prov. Allotment,
Hon. M. Scott 2165
No. 285, Prem. - Election Campaigns: Third-Party Advertising -
Regulation, Hon. S. McNeil 2167
No. 286, SNSMR - Gift Cards: Legislation - Enactment,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 2168
No. 287, HPP - H1N1 Priority Group: Firefighters - Inclusion,
Mr. K. Bain 2169
No. 288, ERD - Bay Ferries Ltd.: Ind. Expansion Fund -
Disbursement, Hon. W. Gaudet 2171
HOUSE RECESSED AT 3:53 P.M. 2172
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 4:51 P.M. 2172
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Law Amendments Committee, Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 2173
Law Amendments Committee, Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 2173
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO A CWH ON BILLS AT 4:53 P.M. 2174
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 5:02 P.M. 2174
CWH REPORTS 2174
PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING:
No. 14, Judicature Act 2175
Vote - Affirmative 2175
No. 17, Agricultural Marshland Conservation Act 2175
Vote - Affirmative 2175
No. 30, Public Trustee Act 2176
Vote - Affirmative 2176
No. 39, Uranium Exploration and Mining Prohibition Act 2176
Mr. A. Younger 2176
Hon. J. MacDonell 2179
Vote - Affirmative 2179
No. 52, Emergency Department Accountability Act 2180
Ms. D. Whalen 2180
Mr. A. Younger 2180
Hon. F. Corbett 2181
Vote - Affirmative 2181
No. 49, Efficiency Nova Scotia Corporation Act 2181
Mr. A. Younger 2181
Vote - Affirmative 2184
No. 54, Executive Council Act 2184
Hon. F. Corbett 2184
Vote - Affirmative 2185
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Wed., Nov. 4th at 2:00 p.m. 2186
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 43:
Health: H1N1 Pandemic - Health Services Delivery,
Ms. D. Whalen 2186
Hon. K. Casey 2191
Hon. Maureen MacDonald 2194
Mr. A. Younger 2198
Hon. C. d'Entremont 2202
Ms. V. Conrad 2206
Ms. K. Regan 2209
Hon. M. Scott 2212
Hon. M. More 2216
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 1017, Neily, Will: Windsor Pumpkin Regatta Success - Congrats.,
Hon. S. McNeil 2219
Res. 1018, Harmony Bazaar Women in Song Fest.:
Shelburne Co. Women's Fish Net - Hosting, Hon. S. Belliveau 2219
Res. 1019, Devine, Leona May: woods Hbr. Terry Fox Run - Congrats.,
Hon. S. Belliveau 2220
Res. 1020, Swim, Josh/Cape Sable Island Sch. -
Reg. Science Olympics, Hon. S. Belliveau 2220
Res. 1021, NSCC Shelburne Campus: Office Admin. Class -
Fundraising, Hon. S. Belliveau 2221
Res. 1022, Mundell, Lauren/Forest Ridge Acad. - Reg. Science Olympics,
Hon. S. Belliveau 2221
Res. 1023, Smith, Mattie/Forest Ridge Acad. - Reg. Science Olympics,
Hon. S. Belliveau 2222
Res. 1024, Chalnor, Mimi/Forest Ridge Acad. - Reg. Science Olympics,
Hon. S. Belliveau 2222
Res. 1025, Messenger, Morgan - Hockey All Star Forward,
Hon. S. Belliveau 2223
Res. 1026, Cotter, Nate/Lockeport Elem. Sch. - Reg. Science Olympics,
Hon. S. Belliveau 2223
Res. 1027, Kim, Paul Inwoo/Forest Ridge Acad. - Reg. Science Olympics,
Hon. S. Belliveau 2224
Res. 1028, Butler, Quinn: N.S. Recycles Sch. Contest - Finalist,
Hon. S. Belliveau 2224
Res. 1029, Shelburne Friends of the Library - Schreiber Award,
Hon. S. Belliveau 2225
Res. 1030, Thornton, Derrick/Forest Ridge Acad. - Reg. Science Olympics,
Hon. S. Belliveau 2225
Res. 1031, Smith, Eleanor - Shelburne Co. Arts Coun. Award,
Hon. S. Belliveau 2226
Res. 1032, Foote, Elmer: N.S. Summer Games - Bronze Medal,
Hon. S. Belliveau 2226
Res. 1033, Bower, Evan: N.S. Recycles Sch. Contest - Finalist,
Hon. S. Belliveau 2227
Res. 1034, Stoddard, Wendy: N.S. Summer Games (2009) -
Double Medal Winner, Hon. S. Belliveau 2227
Res. 1035, Williams, Tabitha: N.S. Summer Games (2009) -
Gold Medals, Hon. S. Belliveau 2228
Res. 1036, Doane, Harold: N.S. Summer Games (2009) -
Bronze Medal, Hon. S. Belliveau 2228
Res. 1037, Cameron, Hannah/Forest Ridge Acad. - Reg. Science Olympics,
Hon. S. Belliveau 2229
Res. 1038, Harris, Gillian: N.S. Summer Games (2009) -
Bronze Medal, Hon. S. Belliveau 2229
Res. 1039, Nickerson, Layton - Rosalin Nickerson Care Fund:
Support - Congrats., Hon. S. Belliveau 2230
Res. 1040, Swimm, Jesse/Cape Sable Island Elem. Sch. -
Reg. Science Olympics, Hon. S. Belliveau 2230
Res. 1041, Latham, Jessica/Lockeport Elem. Sch. - Reg. Science Olympics,
Hon. S. Belliveau 2231
Res. 1042, Lee, Kin/Forest Ridge Acad. - Reg. Science Olympics,
Hon. S. Belliveau 2231
Res. 1043, Surette, Joe: N.S. Summer Games (2009) - Congrats.,
Hon. S. Belliveau 2232
Res. 1044, Atkinson, Joseph/Forest Ridge Acad. - Reg. Science Olympics,
Hon. S. Belliveau 2232
Res. 1045, Nickerson, Kayden/Forest Ridge Acad. - Reg. Science Olympics,
Hon. S. Belliveau 2233
Res. 1046, Goreham Smith, Kelsie - CJLs Tri-County Talent Search,
Hon. S. Belliveau 2233
Res. 1047, Brannen, Kirt/Forest Ridge Acad. - Reg. Science Olympics,
Hon. S. Belliveau 2234
Res. 1048, Goreham Smith, Kylie - CJLs Tri-County Talent Search,
Hon. S. Belliveau 2234
Res. 1049, Fry, Jack: Terry Fox Run - Participation,
Hon. S. Belliveau 2235

[Page 2127]

HALIFAX, TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2009

Sixty-first General Assembly

First Session

2:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Charlie Parker

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. We'll get today's proceedings underway.

Before we go to the daily routine, I will read under Rule 5(5) the late debate topic:

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier and the NDP Government agree to honour the commitment to the people of Springhill and Antigonish, and continue the process of establishing correctional facilities in these communities.

That was submitted by the honourable member for Argyle and that will be at the moment of interruption at 6:00 p.m.

We will commence the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

[Page 2128]

2127

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 987

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 Farmers Co-operative Dairy manufactures and distributes dairy and related products across Atlantic Canada; and

Whereas the Farmers dairies in Bedford, Truro, and Middleton have produced a quality product, created jobs, and helped stimulate Nova Scotia's economy for more than 80 years; and

Whereas The ChronicleHerald named Farmers Dairy one of the top 15 employers in the province for 2010;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly commend Farmers Co-operative Dairy on valuing its employees and wish the company many more years of successful business in this province.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal.

HON. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, before I read my resolution, I wonder if I could make an introduction in your east gallery.

[Page 2129]

Today we're joined by two members of the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal - and I'm going to read a resolution about them in a moment - but two Pictou County residents, and I would ask the House to recognize them at this moment. Troy Martin and Alan McVicar, could you stand and receive a reception from the House. (Applause) Gentlemen, you might as well remain standing because you're going to get an ovation here again in a moment, if you don't mind.

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

RESOLUTION NO. 988

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

Whereas on August 14, 2009, Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal employees Troy Martin and Alan McVicar were travelling on the Arbuckle Road in the Pictou area when they saw smoke coming from a nearby home; and

Whereas they responded by calling 911 and working to ensure that the sleeping occupant was safety removed from this home; and

Whereas Alan and Troy remained at the scene to assist in the traffic control when the fire trucks arrived;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly recognize and applaud Troy Martin and Alan McVicar for their courage and resourcefulness.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried. (Standing Ovation)

The honourable Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

[Page 2130]

RESOLUTION NO. 989

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

Whereas on Saturday, September 26th, the annual Aquaculture Harvest Festival was hosted in Sheet Harbour, featuring seafood, aquaculture operators, and activities for all ages, and it drew hundreds of people from Sheet Harbour and the surrounding areas; and

Whereas the 12th annual festival featured live local entertainment, face painting, and an aquaculture touch tank; and

Whereas the Sheet Harbour Lioness Club and Lions Club provided a number of items to the festival, and Judy Smiley of the Sheet Harbour Chamber of Commerce served as the main community contact for organizers in my department;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in thanking the Sheet Harbour Chamber of Commerce, the Sheet Harbour Lioness and Lions Clubs, and especially Judy Smiley, for their help in ensuring that the Aquaculture Harvest Festival was a great success.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[2:15 p.m.]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

[Page 2131]

RESOLUTION NO. 990

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

Whereas MusiCounts is a music education charity affiliated with the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences; and

Whereas Scott Leonard of the Park View Education Centre in Bridgewater has mentored music students for 24 years, and currently teaches guitar, band, and recording arts technology classes to young musicians who share an avid interest in their art form; and

Whereas Mr. Leonard has been named this year's MusiCounts Teacher of the Year, the fifth recipient of the award, and has received a cash prize of $10,000 to go towards the music education program at Park View Education Centre;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly extend warm congratulations and best wishes to Mr. Leonard as the recipient of the award, and thank him for his contribution to the arts community by fostering the growth of young musicians in our province.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Interim Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 991

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

[Page 2132]

Whereas the Premier and his government continuously refuse to accept responsibility for any issue or decision; and

Whereas the Minister of Health yesterday blamed the H1N1 vaccine shortage on the manufacturer, essentially skirting any responsibility for the planning of this pandemic and therefore blaming the federal government; and

Whereas the Minister of Health knew in September that provinces and territories had agreed to the sequencing guidelines and that it was incumbent on her government to properly organize and respond to the H1N1 vaccination rollout;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly request that this government accept responsibility for its actions, be proactive leaders during one of the worst pandemics to ever hit our province, and demonstrate the accountability it promised Nova Scotia during the elections.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Truro-Bible Hill.

RESOLUTION NO. 992

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

Whereas a succession of catastrophic disasters has recently struck areas around the Pacific Ocean, leaving thousands of people without shelter due to a series of devastating tsunamis, typhoons, and earthquakes; and

Whereas the Shelterbox Canada project was founded within the Rotary Club of Ladysmith, British Columbia, and is promoted and administered by Rotarians from across Canada; and

[Page 2133]

Whereas the Rotary Club of Truro has recently contributed its fourth Shelterbox, each containing supplies for an extended family of 10 people, with a tent and essential equipment to use while they are displaced or homeless;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate the Rotary Club of Truro for their humanitarian gift of four Shelterboxes to aid various world communities in dire need of assistance.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 993

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

Whereas the Municipality of the County of Annapolis has been recognized as a leader in active living, having been selected as one of only six communities from across Canada to be part of the Canada Gets Active program; and

Whereas as part of this nationwide pilot program Grade 5 students are given a Physical Activity Pass, which allows them free access to participating facilities in the county, a transit pass for them and for their chaperone, a free water bottle and a tee-shirt after using their pass five times; and

Whereas the Grade 5 Physical Activity Pass is the newest initiative of the Club 400 - The Order of Active Living, as part of the Annapolis County Active Living Strategy;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly join me in congratulating the County of Annapolis on continuing to actively promote healthy living for its residents.

[Page 2134]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 994

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

Whereas Nova Scotia's Minister of Health has the statistics to tell her how many people are in each priority group, and knowing the supply required to immunize these groups she should begin telling all Nova Scotians the expected timeline in which she will be moving from one priority group to another; and

Whereas if this were the case, e-mails from individuals such as Cora King in Middle River, Victoria County, would not be necessary as Cora has three children, ages one, three and six, but only two have been provided with the H1N1 vaccine to date; and

Whereas Cora's 6-year-old child suffers from asthma, is unable to receive the vaccine at the present time, and her mother is afraid of sending her to school in case she becomes ill with the swine flu;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Nova Scotia House of Assembly demand immediate and more straightforward answers from the Minister of Health for all Nova Scotians so mothers like Cora King in Middle River, Victoria County, will understand when their child can be vaccinated and return to school.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 2135]

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Premier on an introduction.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, if I may, I would like to introduce, in the east gallery, Bill Stewart, who is director of woodlands and strategic initiatives for the NewPage Port Hawkesbury mill. He's responsible for woodland and forestry activities at the mill. He was in today, of course, to observe the deliberations of the House but also to answer some questions with respect to the biomass project in the Strait. I would like the members of the House to welcome him here today.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 995

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

Whereas on August 29-30, 2009, Liverpool, Nova Scotia, hosted the Eastern Qualifier and National Timbersports Championship in Privateer Park; and

Whereas this year the competitions pitted the five top lumberjacks from the west against the five top eastern competitors, with all competitions being filmed for TSN; and

Whereas a lot of organizing went into the two-day event and the Children's Wish Foundation benefited from the events through the barbeque and gate proceeds in the amount of $2,000;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly recognize Sue and Moyal Conrad of Greenfield, Queens County, and all of their volunteers for their hard work in scheduling the events and for attracting a national broadcaster to the community for the Eastern Qualifier and National Timbersports Championship in Privateer Park.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 2136]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

There has been a request to revert back to the order of business, Introduction of Bills.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 62 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 37 of the Acts of 2005. The Correctional Services Act; and Chapter 31 of the Acts of 2004. The Police Act. (Hon. Michel Samson)

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

[NOTICES OF MOTION]

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

RESOLUTION NO. 996

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

Whereas the 106-day Olympic Torch Relay will visit more than 1,030 communities in every province and territory across Canada on its way to Vancouver, British Columbia, for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games; and

Whereas Bryan Bell, a Grade 10 student and a resident of Halifax Clayton Park, has been selected by Coca-Cola to carry the torch as part of this historic relay; and

Whereas Bryan Bell is a member of the Halifax Trojans swim team and ranked nationally as one of the top 50 swimmers in his age group in the 1,500-metre freestyle;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly extend congratulations to Bryan Bell for being chosen for the Olympic Torch run in New Glasgow,

[Page 2137]

Nova Scotia, on November 17, 2009, and wish him continued success in competitive swimming.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton North.

RESOLUTION NO. 997

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

Whereas on November 10th, the Honourable Robert Muir of Coxheath and Sydney Mines will celebrate his 90th birthday; and

Whereas Bob Muir served as a member of the Harbour View Hospital for 12 years as a board member and chairman, town councillor for Sydney Mines for a decade, Member of Parliament for Cape Breton North-Victoria, and the Sydneys-Victoria, winning eight consecutive elections and serving 22 years in the House of Commons and then in the Senate of Canada for 15 years - over 50 years in the public service, a record in Cape Breton for public office; and

Whereas he is still a valued member of the Cape Breton North and Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Associations, still actively working the phones on a daily basis to help citizens and community;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating Bob Muir on his 90th birthday, and thank him for his continued work to improve the lives of Cape Bretoners and the island they are proud to call home.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 2138]

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.

RESOLUTION NO. 998

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

Whereas Scott Leonard has been a valued music teacher at Park View Education Centre in Bridgewater for the past 21 years; and

Whereas Mr. Leonard has taught hundreds of young people during that time, including my own sons, with lively, high spirit, enthusiastic and technically proficient musical instruction, making him one of the best in the province at his profession; and

Whereas the above-stated facts were confirmed on November 2nd in Halifax when Mr. Leonard received this year's MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award, a national honour which was presented to him by Canada's songbird, Anne Murray;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Mr. Scott Leonard on receiving the MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award, recognize the extreme importance of music in the educational curriculum, and wish Mr. Leonard continued success in his stellar educational career.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 2139]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 999

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

Whereas Somerset & District Elementary School is one of 31 recipients from across Canada to receive a grant for after-school programs from the RBC Foundation; and

Whereas Principal Heather Morse presented RBC with a proposal for a five-day-a- week program geared towards increasing the need for additional physical activity, decreased screen time, healthy eating, as well as improving literacy; and

Whereas the corporate executives of RBC were impressed with Ms. Morse's foresight and innovative program and they awarded Somerset & District Elementary School with a $25,000 grant to implement the program;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate Principal Heather Morse and Somerset & District Elementary School on receiving this grant, and wish them continued success in future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cumberland South.

RESOLUTION NO. 1000

[Page 2140]

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

Whereas as of last Spring motorists have been greeted by a Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) sign as they enter Parrsboro on Highway No. 2; and

Whereas Parrsboro Regional High School students, Andrew McCulley and Eric Tibbetts, played an instrumental role in the sign being placed at that location; and

Whereas these students have been active members of the Cumberland County Chapter of MADD and have volunteered their time at road checks with RCMP and both have been advocates for MADD, taking that dedication one step further where they recently held a barbecue at Harvest Fest in Parrsboro raising funds for Safe Grad at Parrsboro Regional High School;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Andrew McCulley and Eric Tibbetts for their dedication to this very worthy cause and wish them all the best in their future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[2:30 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 member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 1001

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

Whereas John Palmer, now of Kentville, is the patriarch of both Palmer Home Hardware in Berwick and Rafuse Home Hardware in Wolfville; and

[Page 2141]

Whereas Mr. Palmer has been in the hardware business since the 1950s, eventually bringing members of his family into the business; and

Whereas Mr. Palmer was recently presented with several prestigious awards marking his 50 years in the industry;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Mr. Palmer on the 50th Anniversary of his involvement in the hardware business and wish him, his family and their business continued success in the years ahead.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 1002

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

Whereas during the Celebrate Family Doctor Week in Canada, the College of Family Physicians of Canada honoured 10 top family physicians from each province on October 31, 2009, in Calgary; and

Whereas Dr. Lawrence MacNeil from Arichat, Richmond County, is one of 10 outstanding doctors who scored top marks for exceptional patient care and who exemplified the best of what being a family doctor is all about; and

Whereas Dr. Lawrence MacNeil will be honoured with the Reg L. Perkin Award for significant contribution to the health and well-being of his community and society in general;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly congratulate Dr. Lawrence MacNeil on receiving the Reg L. Perkin Award and commend him for his years of dedicated service to the residents of Isle Madame and surrounding area.

[Page 2142]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton North.

RESOLUTION NO. 1003

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

Whereas the provincial government has taken back its initial advisory asking all Nova Scotians to get an H1N1 vaccination and has stated that due to concerns around supplies, only pregnant women, children under five, First Nations people and health care workers should attend public vaccination clinics; and

Whereas vaccine has already been distributed to some Nova Scotia hockey team members, staff at the Central Nova Correctional Facility and Nova Scotia Liquor Commission executives ahead of those in greatest need; and

Whereas this discrepancy between who should be receiving the vaccine and who actually received it has caused tremendous confusion;

Therefore be it resolved that this government review the criteria used in determining priority groups and vaccinate those individuals accordingly.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 2143]

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Lunenburg.

RESOLUTION NO. 1004

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

Whereas the National Association of Federal Retirees is a non-profit group representing the interests for retired federal civil servants, monitoring issues such as pensions and medical benefits; and

Whereas the local branch has 730 members, after being formed by the help of dedicated volunteers such as Mr. Ivan Rhodenizer who helped start the association in the mid 1980s; and

Whereas the National Association of Federal Retirees honoured its past presidents - Mr. Ivan Rhodenizer, Mr. Bill Nauss, Mr. Ozzie Hardy and Mr. Avery Eldridge - with a plaque presentation on October 22, 2009;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly recognizes the contributions of Mr. Rhodenizer, Mr. Nauss, Mr. Hardy and Mr. Eldridge and congratulate them on the recognition they have received from the National Association of Federal Retirees.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Clare.

RESOLUTION NO. 1005

[Page 2144]

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: M. le Président, à une date ultérieure, je demanderai l'adoption de la résolution suivante:

Attendu que le prix pour Innovateur vert de l'année de l'Association des détaillants en quincaillerie de l'Amérique du Nord est décerné à un propriétaire-exploitant d'une quincaillerie au Canada et aux États-Unis en reconnaissance de leurs accomplissements dans l'industrie; et

Attendu que Marc Robichaud de U.J. Robichaud Tim-Br Mart à Meteghan Centre a reçu le prix Innovateur vert de l'année 2009 de l'Association des détailllants en quincaillerie de l'Amérique du Nord lors d'une convention qui a eu lieu à San Antonio, au Texas; et

Attendu que Marc a décidé, il y a plus de 10 ans, d'adopter une approche écologique pour l'entreprise et été reconnu au niveau local, provincial et maintenant international pour son dévouement;

Par conséquent, il est résolu que les membres de cette Assemblée félicitent Marc Robichaud pour ses accomplissements et lui souhaitent un succès continu dans tous ses projets futurs.

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

Whereas the North Amercian Retail Hardware Association's Retail Innovator Award is presented to an owner/manager of a hardware and building supply store in both Canada and the U.S. in recognition of their achievements in the industry; and

Whereas Marc Robichaud of U.J. Robichaud Tim-br Mart in Meteghan Centre was presented with the 2009 North American Retail Hardware Association's Retail Innovator of the Year Award in the Green Marketing category at this year convention in San Antonio, Texas; and

Whereas Marc decided over 10 years ago to take the company in an environmentally friendly direction and has been recognized locally, provincially and now internationally for his dedication;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly congratulate Marc Robichaud for his accomplishments and wish him continued success in all future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 2145]

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cumberland South.

RESOLUTION NO. 1006

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

Whereas last month the provincial government advised all Nova Scotians to get an H1N1 vaccination to prevent the spread of the virus, which has been on the rise in the province since last Spring; and

Whereas on October 21st, prior to the delivery of the 52,000 of the 1.4 million vaccines, Nova Scotia's Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Robert Strang, was quoted as saying, "We are not going to be turning people away"; and

Whereas we have heard from several Nova Scotians with underlying health conditions such as asthma, like 10-year-old Emily Hoeg of River Hebert, who have been denied receiving the vaccine;

Therefore be it resolved that this government commit to allowing all Nova Scotians with chronic illnesses that could complicate recovery and compound the effects of the H1N1 virus, admission to any public vaccination clinic in the province to receive the vaccine.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 2146]

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Guysborough-Sheet Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 1007

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

Whereas the Sheet Harbour Range Lights were built in 1915 and continue to be utilized today; and

Whereas Nova Scotia lighthouses are a significant tourist attraction; and

Whereas Sheet Harbour area residents Karen Corbin and Janet Maybee, through their determined efforts, have saved this important piece of history and heritage from demolition;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature recognize the importance of the Sheet Harbour Range Lights, both historically and presently, and thank Karen Corbin, Janet Maybee and the many other residents of the Sheet Harbour area who successfully lobbied for the preservation of the Sheet Harbour Range Lights.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Bedford-Birch Cove.

RESOLUTION NO. 1008

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

[Page 2147]

Whereas the Provincial Little League Baseball Championships took place from August 28-30, 2009, in Sydney Mines, Nova Scotia; and

Whereas 11-year-old Alexander Scott, who plays for the Dartmouth Mariners Mosquitos, produced 50 per cent of his team's hits during the tournament; and

Whereas in recognition of his successes at bat, Alexander Scott was named MVP, most valuable player;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate Alexander Scott for being named as MVP, most valuable player, and wish him continued success in all his future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 1009

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 Middle River Alderwood Auxiliary is continually raising funds for the Alderwood Guest Home in Baddeck as well as providing services to the residents of Alderwood; and

Whereas one of the major fundraisers of the auxiliary is their annual Rock-a-thon; and

Whereas the Alderwood Rockers were on their rockers once again this year in the event that was a huge success - as it has been in previous years;

[Page 2148]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature congratulate the Middle River Alderwood Auxiliary on another successful Rock-a-thon and thank them for all their efforts throughout the year.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 1010

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

Whereas just one Nova Scotia poet was chosen from around the world to be included in the book honouring Leonard Cohen on his 75th birthday in September; and

Whereas the poet Susan Borgersen is from Nova Scotia and is a visual artist and writer from Queens County; and

Whereas the anthology was launched in Montreal on the occasion of Mr. Cohen's birthday and is a compilation of submissions in poetic response to Mr. Cohen's own poems;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly recognize Susan Borgersen of East Port Medway, Queens County, for having been chosen to be included in the book Leonard Cohen: You're Our Man with her response to Mr. Cohen's poem To A Young Nun.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 2149]

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 Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 1011

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

Whereas what started as a literacy exercise has grown into an illustrated book, entitled Miss Gail's Gulls', to aid the Digby Area Learning Association; and

Whereas author and illustrator Terry Gilbert was inspired by her work with children and adults striving to improve their literacy skills through Parents and Children Together; and

Whereas Terry Gilbert got an idea to take a real life situation and have her students create a story about her friend of 32 years Gail Hersey, also a retired school teacher, who has befriended a couple of herring gulls;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly recognize Terry Gilbert for her imaginative and creative way of teaching literacy to children and adults alike by having this wonderful story created to benefit literacy in her community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Bedford-Birch Cove.

[Page 2150]

RESOLUTION NO. 1012

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

Whereas the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation raises money for research, community grants, education and awareness programs, early diagnosis and effective treatment, and a positive quality of life for those living with breast cancer; and

Whereas on October 13, 2009, the Nova Scotia division of the CBCF held their "Simply the Breast" fashion extravaganza at the Westin Nova Scotia; and

Whereas local businesses from across HRM donated their goods and services to create a successful fashion show and fundraising event;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, and organizer Carol Lesbirel and her team, for a successful event and wish them continued success in future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[2:45 p.m.]

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 1013

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

[Page 2151]

Whereas the Royal Canadian Legion, Kings Branch No. 6, founded in 1926, has for 83 years provided a meeting place and a centre for services, friendship and entertainment for veterans, their families and friends; and

Whereas Laurie Garby and Emery Pothier, with 65 years of service and Harold Dunn with 64 years of service, lead a contingent of approximately 750 regular members and about 120 members of the ladies auxiliary; and

Whereas the Legion is a welcoming venue for card games, darts, a pool league, washer toss tournaments, delicious breakfasts, weddings, trappers' conventions and many other activities;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature thank the volunteer executive of the Royal Canadian Legion, Kings Branch No. 6 for their important work and wish the Legion every success in its continuing service to the community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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. 1014

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

Whereas the Mount Saint Vincent Motherhouse has been an iconic community symbol over the past 50 years and has been recently torn down; and

Whereas this historic site was the home of the Sisters of Charity who have played an integral role in the development of Halifax for more than a century and established institutions like the Halifax Infirmary and Mount Saint Vincent University; and

[Page 2152]

Whereas the Sisters of Charity have moved across the street from the former Motherhouse into their new home, Caritas, which is Latin for charity;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate the Sisters of Charity for their continuing work in the community and wish them well in their new home.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Government House Leader on an introduction.

HON. FRANK CORBETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In your gallery we have someone who is probably more renowned than Wayne Gretzky. He is a friend to many in this House, a former Government House Leader, a former Speaker and a person who I can honestly say was a friend to all who entered this august hall. I'd like to, if you would allow us some appreciation to introduce Mr. Ron Russell - the Honourable Ron Russell, Mr. Speaker. (Standing Ovation)

MR. SPEAKER: We certainly welcome our former colleague back here this afternoon and hope he enjoys the proceedings.

The honourable member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 1015

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

Whereas after spending much of the past decade in Edmonton, singer-songwriter Leona Burkey, a native of Richmond County, returns to record a new album; and

Whereas Leona Burkey recorded her latest album entitled Hometown Healing; and

[Page 2153]

Whereas Leona Burkey's latest album, Hometown Healing, is designed to raise funds for the new Dr. William B. Kingston Medical Clinic in L'Ardoise;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly recognize Leona Burkey for recording her album Hometown Healing, and donating the proceeds to the construction of the Dr. William B. Kingston Medical Clinic, while wishing her continued success in her music career.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 1016

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

Whereas Shirley Robar has been a resident of Bear River East for many years, having moved here from her native Newfoundland; and

Whereas Shirley Robar is presently chairperson of the Bear River and Area Community Health Clinic, volunteering there since day one of the clinic 15 years ago; and

Whereas Shirley Robar is an observer with the Digby and Area Community Health Board and with M.E.D.I.C. and is a member of the Bear River Royal Canadian Legion Auxiliary, also volunteers with many other community organizations;

[Page 2154]

Therefore be it resolved that the member of the House of Assembly recognize Shirley Robar for her outstanding hard work and commitment she has shown to her community by getting involved and helping to make a better place for us to live.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

Are there any further notices of motion?

The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, I rise today pursuant to the notice that I've given you in accordance with Rule No. 43. I would like to move to have the business of the House set aside for the purpose of dealing with an issue of urgent public importance.

H1N1 is a public health issue of significant importance. The ability of all Nova Scotians to protect themselves from this particular strain of flu lies in large part on being able to access vaccinations in a timely, organized manner. Nationally a decline in production has required all jurisdictions to refocus their roll-out plans and this has resulted in a revised provincial plan, which has caused both confusion and frustration amongst Nova Scotians.

As of Friday, October 30, 2009, the Province of Nova Scotia had received 160,000 doses of H1N1 vaccinations. This week's anticipated delivery of 12,500 doses of adjuvanted vaccine and 5,500 unadjuvanted next week is significantly less than was expected. The inability of the province to account for the number of individuals considered to be at highest risk, and how best to deliver these vaccines to this population, are of concern.

Given the severity of the situation, I believe it's important for government to speak to this serious situation. It's imperative that we immediately set aside time to discuss and debate the best way for our province to handle and manage the distribution of H1N1 vaccines, as well as to urge public calm.

The delivery of public health services during a pandemic is an issue of extreme importance and I would ask that all members of the House support our motion for an emergency debate. Mr. Speaker, I would ask that you rule on this, thank you.

[Page 2155]

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you, member. I did receive your copy of the resolution within the prescribed two-hour period and I am satisfied that this is a matter of urgent public debate and certainly a serious and timely matter for debate. I'll ask if the member has the consent of the House.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The debate will occur in lieu of the late debate at the hour of interruption at 6:00 p.m.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: The time now is 2:53 p.m. The Oral Question Period will go until 3:53 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

HEALTH - H1N1 VACCINE: ADMINISTRATION

- PRIORITIZE

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. Yesterday was not a pretty day when it came to the delivery of the H1N1 vaccination. Confusion, mixed messages, long waits and a restriction on those eligible to receive the vaccine are all factors in a situation that is about to become even uglier very soon, if this government does not take control of the situation.

This government raised expectations, they told everyone who wanted to be vaccinated to come and get one and now they are forced to scale back for who knows how long. We have Nova Scotians in some DHAs who were fortunate to be vaccinated last week and a government who is now telling individuals in the Capital District, and indeed others, they now cannot.

My question for the Premier is, why did your government not prioritize administration of the vaccine from the outset so that those most at risk would have been able to receive it?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the Leader of the Official Opposition for the question. Right from the very beginning, the message of the government was that those who are in the higher risk category should make sure that they get the vaccine, that they

[Page 2156]

get it as soon as they were able. The message today is the same. It is that those people who are in the identified high-risk categories should get the vaccine and should do so as soon as they can.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, the message from the government from day one was that all Nova Scotians get in line. There was no prioritizing of those most vulnerable in our community and that's why we are at the point we are today, why some who need this vaccine are not getting it. Health care workers are trying their utmost to work as quickly and as efficiently as they can, but they're running into obstacles put in place and created by this government. This is a government who has failed to prioritize from the outset leaving segments of our population vulnerable and frustrated. People are angry and they've lost confidence in this government and they have no reassurance that anything will change.

Supply for vaccines will continue to be the biggest challenge as we move forward. My question to the Premier is, where is your plan to tell Nova Scotians how we will handle the supply issue in the coming weeks?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the issue with respect to the supply of vaccine is well known, it's one that has been communicated. There is a slowdown currently with respect to supply. The Chief Medical Officer has set out who the highest at-risk groups are. I have communicated that in as many forums as is possible to ensure that those people are aware that they should be making themselves available for the vaccine. We're going to continue to do that and as the amount of vaccine comes into the province increases we will, of course, broaden those categories and that message will be communicated directly to those groups, again, through the media, through the various methods that we have at our disposal, including paid advertising in some cases.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, supply did not become an issue last week. Supply has been an issue from the very onset of trying to administer this vaccine. The challenge here in Nova Scotia is that there was no plan to make sure that those most vulnerable in our communities were at the front of the line. This government told all Nova Scotians to get in line and because of that many Nova Scotians who need that vaccine now are being left and told to wait until tomorrow. It is not me asking, it is not the Liberal caucus who is asking, it is the general public who want answers from this government.

Last week the Chief Medical Officer indicated that 160,000 doses of vaccine had been delivered to Nova Scotians on October 30th, with another 17,900 doses expected this week. My question for the Premier is, how many of those 160,000 doses of vaccine have actually been put in the arms of Nova Scotians as of today?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, it's a good question. As the Leader of the Official Opposition knows, that information exists among the various DHAs. All of that data is being brought together so that we can track not only who is getting the vaccine, but how many of

[Page 2157]

our citizens are getting the vaccine as well. This is important for a number of reasons because if there are adverse reactions to the vaccine we have to be able to track the vaccine batches, as he knows. This is part of the plan with respect to the rollout of this vaccine and what we will be able to do over time is to bring that information into the Department of Health and then from there, we'd be happy to transmit it to the Leader of the Official Opposition.

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

HEALTH - H1N1 VACCINATIONS: FRONT-LINE WORKERS

- DETAILS

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Premier. Nova Scotia's Public Health Office reported this morning that vials of H1N1 vaccine had been distributed through public health offices destined for district health authorities, doctors' offices and clinics across Nova Scotia. My question to the Premier is, how much of that vaccine has already been administered to front-line health care workers?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, as I pointed out to the Leader of the Official Opposition, that information exists out in the district health authorities and it is data that has to be inputted. Once we receive that information, we're happy to transmit it to the Opposition Parties. What is important though, Mr. Speaker, is that the vaccine is out in the district health authorities and is being administered to health care workers and the others who need to get this vaccine first.

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, it seems to me it's pretty important to know how much has been administered before you know whether you can move on to the next group. Recognizing front-line health workers have been identified as priorities for this vaccine, what mechanism does the Minister of Health have in place for the DHAs to report whether the supply they had was not enough, just enough, or more than enough, so that she can be confident and Nova Scotians can be confident that front-line workers have been immunized?

[3:00 p.m.]

THE PREMIER: Well, Mr. Speaker, there are daily communications between the Department of Health, the minister, and the district health authorities for the purposes of ensuring that that information is being shared. It is literally changing hour by hour, day by day, so I'm sure the Interim Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party will understand that.

There's a lot that's being done in the rollout of this plan already, to make sure that the people who need the vaccine most get it first, and that's what is important to this government.

[Page 2158]

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, four groups have been identified as priorities for receiving the vaccine. The minister has the statistics to tell her how many people are in each group. This tells her what supply is required for immunizing each group. Will the Premier ask his minister to share with all Nova Scotians the expected timeline to move from one priority to the other, recognizing that she has the stats for both demand and supply?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the reality is, as was explained to the Interim Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party earlier this morning by the Chief Medical Officer of Health, that they were comfortable that the amount of vaccine that is now with the DHAs is sufficient to cover the existing groups who are in that very high risk category. That's exactly the information that was transmitted.

Unfortunately, and this is the case, the questions associated with supply are being monitored by the Minister of Health in collaboration with the federal government, who was the contractor for the vaccine.

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

HEALTH - H1N1 VACCINATION PROG.: WAIT TIMES

- REASONS

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. Nova Scotians are becoming increasingly frustrated when it comes to this government's rollout plan for H1N1 vaccinations. Each province seems to have a different set of rules around the development of their priority list, and despite the fact that we severely restricted those eligible for the H1N1 vaccination, long waits continue to plague clinics from one end of the province to the other.

My question for the minister is, could the minister please indicate whether these long waits are as a result of not having enough human resources, or is it a lack of vaccine supply that is the problem?

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the long lines are because we have lots of families with young children under the age of five, we have pregnant women, we have many people in the target groups. You cannot move literally thousands of people through a clinic instantly. It takes a considerable period of time.

Mr. Speaker, we have added Health Human Resources to our clinics. We are talking with the Capital District and other DHAs about mechanisms that we can put in place to make these lines move more efficiently. Thank you.

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, the volume of calls and e-mails I've received have been overwhelming. Some parents want to know why they can't be vaccinated here and they

[Page 2159]

could if they lived in New Brunswick. Many parents are upset when they arrive at a clinic with multiple children and some can be vaccinated and others have to wait who knows how long.

Frustrations are building, and the public is pointing their finger squarely at government. My question to the minister is, why has government failed to deliver clear, concise, consistent messages around the delivery of these H1N1 vaccines?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Thank you very much. Mr. Speaker, I would remind members of this House that this is a situation that is evolving as we go forward. We will have to make changes as we assess our supply and as we get information with respect to who is at highest risk from the H1N1 virus.

That is a process that occurs on a daily basis, and we will communicate any additional changes to the program to the public as we make these decisions.

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, the people of Nova Scotia know who to hold accountable when it comes to the rollout of a mass vaccination plan. Public health workers, health care workers, and volunteers are all doing their utmost to deliver a mass immunization plan. They are not to blame. A poorly-conceived plan comes from the top. Leadership starts at the top. Given that the Minister of Health refused to tell Nova Scotians last night on ATV who is to blame and who is responsible, my final question is for the Premier. Could the Premier please tell us exactly who is responsible for this mess?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the planning for this has been underway for many months. The Chief Medical Officer of Health, along with the deputy minister responsible, has worked on the continuation of the plan that was originally drafted by the former government. All of the provinces right across the country are experiencing exactly the same kinds of difficulties that Nova Scotia is experiencing.

You know, last weekend you could have literally gone to any newspaper in the country and you would have seen exactly the same problem. In fact, one of the things that is fortunate for this province is that we haven't run out of vaccine; we're going to continue to innoculate those who are in the high-risk groups as is appropriate, making sure that they get the vaccine first. Unfortunately, some provinces are even now very close to running out of vaccine. Thank you.

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

HEALTH - PSYCHIATRISTS: RETENTION

- EFFORTS

[Page 2160]

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. Mental health continues to take a backbench when it comes to being a health priority in our province. Despite one in five Nova Scotians suffering from mental illness in any given year, only about 4.5 per cent of the overall health budget goes to mental health and addictions. Over the last several months a number of psychiatrists have either left Nova Scotia or left hospital service, leaving fewer doctors who can treat people in need. There are many faces to the doctor shortage in Nova Scotia which this government promised to end. My question to the Premier is, what is the province doing to retain and attract psychiatrists to Nova Scotia?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, we have recognized for some time that mental health issues in this province have not been addressed in the way that they should be. It's why the Minister of Health has been looking at this issue, looking at the various ways we can go about providing services to those who have mental health issues. It's not an easy fix, but it's certainly going to take more than four months. It's laying out a plan to attract and retain mental health professionals. It's part of the ongoing work of the department, and I'm sure the Leader of the Official Opposition understands that.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, in September, Dr. Amir Umar left the Cumberland Regional Hospital because of a better financial deal to practise in New Brunswick. The Cape Breton Regional Hospital lost four psychiatrists in six months, and another psychiatrist in Capital Health will be leaving next month, bringing the provincial total to at least six. The South Shore Regional Hospital in Bridgewater does not have a single psychiatrist on call during the weekends. To make matters worse, psychiatrists in Capital Health and the IWK have been working without a permanent, multi-year contract since 2006. My question to the Premier is, how many more psychiatrists have to leave Nova Scotia hospitals before your government takes action?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, of course the roots of the decisions that were made by psychiatrists to leave the province would go back more than a couple of months, I'm sure the Leader of the Official Opposition understands that. But what I can tell him is that there has been a negotiated agreement with those doctors and that is in the process of being approved over the next week or so.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, this government promised psychiatrists in Capital Health and the IWK that there would be a new contract on the table by October 31st. Well, Halloween has come and gone and it appears the government has played a trick on mental health professionals in this province. Every day our health care system struggles to provide children, young people, adults, seniors, who need mental health care in every corner of this province, and this government chooses to ignore them. So my question for the Premier is, why did your government break its promise to bring forward a new contract to psychiatrists providing much-needed service in Capital Health and the IWK?

[Page 2161]

THE PREMIER: Well, it's simply not true, Mr. Speaker. There has been a memorandum of understanding signed with respect to these physicians. It's a matter of having the AFP approved which is going to be done shortly.

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

LWD - DHA STAFF: CONCILIATOR - ENGAGE

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Premier. Even while Nova Scotians are facing the H1N1 pandemic, 3,500 hospital workers in eight district health authorities across Nova Scotia do not have a contract today. This includes lab technicians, maintenance staff, cafeteria workers, clerical staff, social workers, MRI technicians, most all employees with the exception of nurses and doctors. The first of the 18 strike votes takes place on Thursday in Sydney. My question to the Premier is, how long will you allow this to go before you will ask your Minister of Labour and Workforce Development to prepare to engage a special conciliator to bring all parties back to the table?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, my understanding is that they have filed for conciliation. There are timelines in that process and they will be observed.

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, I'm not going to ask the Premier to negotiate on the floor of the House, I know the answer, I'm not going to ask that question, I would not expect him to, but I would expect that he would respect the hospital workers who need to be treated with respect and to achieve wage parity. So can you assure these hospital workers that unlike the community college teachers, you will not play games with them, telling them you have no money and then at the eleventh hour finding the money needed to resolve the dispute?

THE PREMIER: Well, I can tell the member opposite that I don't intend to disrespect them by bringing in legislation that would take away their collective bargaining rights or installing a contract without any negotiation. Mr. Speaker, there is a process for negotiating contracts and we're going to allow that to go forward.

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, this question is very simple, does this Premier believe in wage parity between hospital workers in Capital District and the other eight district health authorities?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, all these issues are negotiated by the parties at the table and the Interim Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party knows that to be the case and I'm going to make sure that we respect the collective bargaining process by leaving collective bargaining at the table.

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

[Page 2162]

HEALTH - MENTAL HEALTH COURT: PSYCHIATRISTS

- PARTICIPATION

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL: My question is for the Premier. Mr. Speaker, yesterday marked the official opening of what was described by the Minister of Justice back in August as a new beginning to helping people with mental illness who find themselves before the criminal justice system. Today's media reports indicate that by Thursday of this week the new Mental Health Court will deal with its first case. What government failed to tell the people of Nova Scotia is that last week the Capital Health psychiatrists informed the Department of Justice they will not be able to participate in the Mental Health Court because they have gone more than three years without a permanent contract. So my question to the Premier is, can the Premier explain the impact of not having any psychiatrists participate in the Mental Health Court?

[3:15 p.m.]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, what I can say is that, as I mentioned earlier, the memorandum of understanding has been signed. I understand that the doctors have been told that the substance of that agreement will be instituted, that those pay scales will start to be rolled out as soon as possible, and we're going to move forward with the AFP as expected.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, the Mental Health Court was supposed to be a made-in- Nova Scotia approach to a serious problem addressing the needs of people with mental illness issues who come before the court. The provincial government promised Capital Health and the IWK psychiatrists that there would be a new contract in place by the end of October. This government broke its promise to the psychiatrists and, unfortunately, psychiatrists are left with no choice but to hold back on providing additional services until a contract is in place. My question to the Premier is, what is your government's contingency plan to operating the Mental Health Court without psychiatrists?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, there is no need for a contingency plan because the memorandum of agreement that was signed is going to be honoured, the AFP is going to be instituted. That would resolve the problem with the doctors.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Premier, it's Thursday, two days from now, and you know full well that will not be solved. This issue has been in front of your government from day one and you left Nova Scotians with mental illness in the dark on this issue.

Psychiatrists are starting to leave our province and our hospitals because they have gone without a competitive contract for more than three years. What has become abundantly clear is that Nova Scotia does not have a plan to deal with the mental health issues in this province. The contract issue with psychiatrists makes a bad situation even worse, which we are now seeing with the Mental Health Court.

[Page 2163]

My final question to the Premier is, will the Premier personally intervene to ensure that his government's commitment to mental health care professionals is kept?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I've already said that with respect to the memorandum of understanding, those commitments are going to be kept, but what's abundantly clear is that the Leader of the Official Opposition doesn't understand what a Mental Health Court is, doesn't understand how it works, doesn't understand that it is of a collaborative nature that looks to resolve problems over a long period of time.

We, on this side, were the champions of the Mental Health Court. We're the ones who made sure that it got instituted. Those people who will benefit from that facility will benefit because of the work done by the members on this side of the House and the Minister of Health and the Minister of Justice.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Argyle.

HEALTH: H1N1 VACCINE ROLLOUT - GUIDELINES

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Health. On CTV's Question Period Sunday, the federal Minister of Health, Leona Aglukkaq, said the provinces and territories agreed to sequencing guidelines in September concerning the H1N1 vaccine and the guidelines were developed to assist the provinces and territories in the rollout of the vaccine and will be able to focus on priority groups.

With the minister having agreed to this information in September, why would she believe she could open the doors to the full general public when she already knew the supply would not meet the demand?

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD: In this program of vaccination we have always encouraged the high-priority groups to go and get vaccinated first. However, we knew that there would be logistical problems if a family, for example, showed up with a 5-year-old and a 6-year-old, turning that family away and saying the 6-year-old could not get vaccinated. At the time, we believed we would have an adequate supply of vaccine to be able to manage those kinds of difficulties, but with the reduction in supply it became clear that we would have to impose much more rigid management of the vaccination program which would require that only pregnant women, only children under five, only residents of the First Nations community, and only health care workers on the front lines get priority vaccinations - and that's what we've done, Mr. Speaker.

We monitor the supply daily and as we're able to broaden the vaccination program, we will certainly do so, Mr. Speaker.

[Page 2164]

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, through you, again, to the Minister of Health. Also during Question Period, on Sunday, Minister Aglukkaq said the provinces and territories deliver health care and it is best that they make the decision on how they roll out the H1N1 vaccine.

The question is, recognizing that it was the minister's responsibility, how did she use the statistics available to identify priority groups and put them on the schedule for receiving vaccines?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, we're not using statistics to determine who gets vaccine. We are looking at who will get sickest if they get H1N1, and we are providing protection for those people first because we don't want people in our emergency rooms, in our ICUs for many, many weeks, if pregnant women, if children under five, members of the First Nations community or health care workers are sick.

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, statistics are what makes this thing work - that they know where they need to be focusing their time, where they need to be focusing their vaccines to the people they should be getting to. So she is taking statistics and throwing them out? She's throwing them out here today; she's saying that numbers are not important.

She committed to a sequencing guideline with the federal government - she has thrown that one out. So I'm wondering today, will she make available these numbers that made her make a decision, or some of these great ideas that she has had that she has messed up - I want her to table them here today, why she has made the decisions the way she has and how she is going to fix it.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I'm not sure what the honourable member is suggesting. Is the honourable member suggesting that pregnant women and children under five shouldn't be getting vaccinated first? If that is what he is suggesting, he is very, very wrong. (Applause)

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

HEALTH: ADULT EATING DISORDERS - TREATMENT PLANS

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. Jessica and Kathleen, both of whom have joined us today in the House, have chosen to speak up for a mental health program that struggles daily to find its voice among other health care priorities. Treatment options for individuals suffering from eating disorders are severely stretched and are unable to meet the needs for adults, let alone the growing group of adolescents in need.

[Page 2165]

While both Jessica and Kathleen can attest to the great work of both Dr. Aaron Keshen and his team, this team of professionals cannot continue to do this alone. My question to the minister is, will the minister please outline where the treatment of adult eating disorders fits in this government's plan for the future delivery of mental health services?

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for the question. Mental health services, including mental health services for people who are afflicted with eating disorders, are extremely important. My department is in the process of reviewing and putting together a strategy to respond to mental health issues from a variety of perspectives, and I can assure the honourable member that in that process we will certainly look closely at the needs for people who suffer from eating disorders.

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, Jessica and Kathleen need a little bit more from this government than platitudes. We do need to see action - there are seven adults on the wait list for the three in-patient beds available for adults with eating disorders across the province.

At this rate, Mr. Speaker, many of these adults will be waiting a year for a bed and ongoing, dedicated treatment. The reality, however, is that some of these patients may not have a year. Jessica is an extremely intelligent girl, she excelled at school, she has been accepted at university, she had a job that she loved but can no longer perform. That is because she suffers from an eating disorder which is a severe mental illness that requires treatment. There are many others like Jessica who are waiting for that opportunity to get assistance.

My question to the minister is, will the minister please indicate whether she will be bringing forward a mental health plan in the near future that will address both Jessica's and Kathleen's needs and concerns?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, as I've already indicated, work is underway in the department to review the services that we provide and to look at a more comprehensive approach to mental health services in the province. Part of that process will include looking at what is required for mental health services, including eating disorders.

I'm pleased to say that we've added additional beds to our adolescent treatment program at the IWK, Mr. Speaker, and the wait list for that particular program, which were appalling two years ago, have come down quite dramatically, so progress is being made in some areas.

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, I think we agree that there is a tremendous need for a mental health strategy in this province and I'm pleased to hear the minister say that she is

[Page 2166]

working on it. I would like to hear when this might actually be a reality. We feel a sense of urgency around this issue and I think there is a call for action on it.

Mr. Speaker, I'd like to ask the minister in particular about when they might improve the services for adults with eating disorders because at present these in-patient beds are actually in a locked unit in a psychiatric facility or ward and we believe that's inappropriate for the type of service needed, so I want to know if the minister has an answer to that question?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Again, Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member, we are reviewing mental health services throughout the province. We are looking at what would be required for a more comprehensive approach and certainly providing services to people with eating disorders will be a part of that process. I thank the honourable member for bringing this really important issue to the floor of the Legislature.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cumberland South.

HEALTH: H1N1 VACCINE - PROV. ALLOTMENT

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, we certainly have heard the government, the NDP, boasting about how they've handled this situation around H1N1. I think we all have to agree that Nova Scotians are becoming more confused daily, as a result of the Premier and the minister's attitude towards this whole issue of H1N1.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask the minister through you today, if she would stand in the House and explain to this House how the allotments per province were determined - in other words, how was the number of allotments for the vaccine for Nova Scotia determined and how she, in turn, is determining who in Nova Scotia receives the vaccine.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for the question, it's a good question, I'm sure many people have this question. The vaccine is distributed on the basis of population, per capita, to the various provinces, with one exception I believe. I think that vaccine has gone into the northern communities, our northern territories, simply because of the nature of small, isolated communities and the need to get that vaccination to people as quickly as possible. So they have received all of their allotment.

Once it comes into this province, Mr. Speaker, we also distribute the vaccine throughout the province to the DHAs, based on the population of each DHA, as well as their health care population. Thank you.

[3:30 p.m.]

[Page 2167]

MR. SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians are being denied this vaccine en masse. We believe it's because of the mismanagement from day one of this program. In Cumberland County, many people are being denied this because they don't fit within the minister's priority group. A good example is young Emily Hoeg who is 10 years old from River Hebert and she is asthmatic. She is being told, even though she has asthma, she is not at high risk.

While the government is telling Emily she's not entitled to the vaccine, people from out of this province, from New Brunswick, are coming to Nova Scotia and, in fact, getting that very vaccine. Can the minister explain why she's allowing New Brunswickers into Nova Scotia to get a vaccine yet denying Emily Hoeg, a 10-year-old asthmatic, who her mother, Pam, wants to know why she's not getting a vaccine?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the priority groups are pregnant women, children under the age of five, people from Aboriginal communities, and health care workers.

There are other groups that we would like to get the vaccine to. Cancer patients with compromised immune systems, for example, we would like to get the vaccine to. We have had a reduction in the amount of vaccine which has required us to provide vaccine to the people who are at the highest risk of becoming very sick. The medical experts say that people with asthma, if it is well managed, are not as high a risk as pregnant women or children under the age of five. That's the reason.

With respect to New Brunswick residents, I have no information that residents from New Brunswick are coming to Nova Scotia en masse. Perhaps residents from Nova Scotia are also attending clinics in New Brunswick. We would have to look at that.

MR. SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, I find that answer absurd. I'll go to the Premier. Obviously, the Minister of Health is not prepared to answer the very question I asked her so I'll go to the Premier. Mr. Premier, it's a very serious issue. It is for Pam Hoeg who has a 10- year-old daughter who wants this vaccine. We just learned moments ago, a lady, the first H1N1 casualty in Newfoundland and Labrador, was a person who had asthma. This young girl has asthma, her mother's demanding she have the vaccine.

It's been confirmed that people from New Brunswick are coming here because we're not asking them for MSI, it's an honour system. They're coming here, and if I heard the minister right, she said she's not aware of that happening. I just want to confirm that it is happening, there are people from New Brunswick coming here and I want to ask the Premier through you, Mr. Speaker, will the Premier do two things: will he ensure that those vaccines that are intended for Nova Scotians, not New Brunswickers, will be guaranteed Nova Scotians will get them - maybe we would have more for Nova Scotians if that would happen; and the second thing, Mr. Premier, will the Premier ensure today that Emily Hoeg, the 10-

[Page 2168]

year-old girl from River Hebert who has asthma will get that vaccine as her mother wants her to?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I can tell the member opposite that we're not aware that there are people from New Brunswick coming into the province for the purpose of getting the vaccine. Of course, in Nova Scotia there would be students and other people who would fall into those risk categories who should get those vaccines and it would be appropriate to do so.

But I can tell the member opposite that the decisions with respect to who gets these vaccines first will be based on science, it will be based on medicine. It will not be based on the interference of politicians in the process. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order, please.

The Leader of the Official Opposition.

PREM. - ELECTION CAMPAIGNS: THIRD-PARTY ADVERTISING

- REGULATION

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

I'm going to remind members that the Leader of the Official Opposition has the floor.

MR. MCNEIL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Premier. The Chief Electoral Officer made recommendations to the House following the June election. Specifically, she made recommendations including provisions of regulating third parties. She said, "Regulation should include registration of third-parties as well as expressed limits on spending and reporting requirements with limits." So my question to the Premier is, what steps have you taken to regulate advertising by third parties during an election campaign?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I thank the Leader of the Official Opposition for the question. There's an Electoral Commission out there. They would have received the recommendations of the Chief Electoral Officer, and I'm sure that once they've had an opportunity to meet, they'll be willing to consider it.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, the Premier said he wants to level the playing field when it comes to election and campaign financing, and I couldn't agree with him more. So my question for the Premier is, when you will set forth spending limits and a requirement for registration of third parties who wish to directly endorse a political Party?

[Page 2169]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, as I said, there's an Electoral Commission. If they come forward with a series of recommendations, we would be happy to have a look at it.

MR. MCNEIL: The recommendation is put before this House. There has been a recommendation put before this House around third parties. All the Premier has to do is show a little leadership, introduce a bill, and we'll pass it.

Mr. Speaker, my caucus, my Party, and I'm sure every member in this House respects the right of any group to advertise and declare that group's support of a candidate or any registered political Party. All the Chief Electoral Officer is asking is that they register and be subject to spending limits and that they disclose what they are doing. Anyone can see the logic of being open and transparent. It's just a basic matter of fairness. So my question for the Premier is, when can we expect you to act on the Chief Electoral Officer's recommendation?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, as I said, when the Electoral Commission considers it, comes forward with a set of recommendations - once the commission has an opportunity to consider it, we'll be happy to have a look at it.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

SNSMR - GIFT CARDS: LEGISLATION - ENACTMENT

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. It has been two years since Bill No. 38 was passed, which would put an end to expiry dates on gift cards. It's still meaningless since the regulations to that law have not been enacted. B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario all have similar laws, and in the two years that we've been waiting for our law to come into effect, New Brunswick has passed one of its own. The Retail Council of Canada supports regulation of expiry dates, and so do Nova Scotians; even the Premier's own Party supports these regulations. So my question to the minister is quite simple. When will the regulations to that law be enacted?

HON. RAMONA JENNEX: Thank you very much for that question. I appreciate you bringing that to the floor today. The issue of the gift cards is very important to people in Nova Scotia, and there has been a bit of a delay in the regulations through the process because of the House. So there was a bit of a delay. I would like to have been able to say they would have been ready in this last couple of weeks but, unfortunately, they've been delayed a little bit. I will guarantee you they will be ready for the Christmas season. We will be able to announce that in another couple of weeks. So thank you for the question.

[Page 2170]

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, a little bit is usually not two years, but the minister might want to consult with the Minister of Economic and Rural Development, because it was his bill that was actually passed and, quite frankly, that minister is somewhat confused by the inaction of his own government on this issue. He even wrote last year to The ChronicleHerald stating, "It's puzzling to me why the government has taken so long to make this happen."

Mr. Speaker, before the minister does what she usually does and blames the previous government, I would like to remind her that she has had ample time to enact these regulations. So, after two years of waiting, after this government has been in power for over four months, I would like to know, even though she said today that she is going to do it, why those regulations have not been enacted before now?

MS. JENNEX: Mr. Speaker, when coming into office, it was one of the first issues that I looked at and I have been in constant contact with my colleague around this issue. I, too, share your frustration that it is taking longer than we would have liked. It has been held up with lawyers making sure all of the t's are crossed and the i's are dotted.

Mr. Speaker, I know that we are all anxious for this to come forward but I will guarantee you that in the next couple of weeks we will have that ready for Nova Scotians. (Applause)

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, heaven knows it's easy enough to blame lawyers, but I'm glad to hear the minister give her answer. My final question for the minister is, just to make sure, and just to reassure Nova Scotians that they are going to be - what the minister is saying - that they're going to be protected in time for this Christmas shopping season.

MS. JENNEX: Mr. Speaker, we will be able to take the expiry date off gift cards for the upcoming Christmas season. Unfortunately, because there was a bit of delay, we have to make sure that the industry is informed of this procedure, but for the Christmas buying season, expiry dates will not be an issue for Nova Scotians. Thank you very much.

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

HPP - H1N1 PRIORITY GROUP: FIREFIGHTERS - INCLUSION

MR. KEITH BAIN: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health Promotion and Protection. Yesterday, I put forth a resolution in this House urging the government to include volunteer firefighters in the priority group for H1N1 vaccinations. Yet, to my disappointment, the government voted against that resolution. In doing this, the government has turned its back on the brave men and women who continually put themselves in harm's way for the well being of our communities and who ask for nothing in

[Page 2171]

return. My question to the minister is, why have volunteer firefighters not been included in the priority group for H1N1 vaccinations?

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, volunteer firefighters aren't in that group because there is no evidence that they would get very, very sick if they got H1N1, unlike pregnant women and children under the age of five and the other groups. I know many volunteer firefighters and I doubt very much that they would want to go to the head of the line, ahead of these groups. They would fully understand, and I'm sure they fully understand, why it is that the groups that are getting the vaccines first, pregnant women and kids under five and so forth, are the people who have to be at the head of that line.

MR. BAIN: Mr. Speaker, last week, as we're all aware, it was everyone. As we all know, the duties of volunteer firefighters extend beyond putting out fires. They are often the first responders to medical and other emergencies within their communities, especially rural communities. Their efforts have made the difference between life and death for countless Nova Scotians, yet while many of these firefighters have subjected themselves to increased dangers when responding medical emergencies such as H1N1, the government refuses to include them in the priority group.

Mr. Speaker, the health system pandemic plan has a list of potential essential services, and guess what? Firefighters are included on that list.

[3:45 p.m.]

My question is, now that the minister realizes her gross error in judgment, will she personally step in and immediately make volunteer firefighters part of the priority group so that they can continue to safely do their invaluable work on behalf of our communities?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, this government very much values the efforts of volunteer firefighters and first responders, but we have limited vaccine, and the vaccine we have has to go to people who will become the sickest if they get H1N1, and that is pregnant women, children under the age of five, and residents of First Nations communities. As well, we have to keep our health care workers in our hospitals well. There are many, many other groups that provide emergency services that will have to wait until we have the supplies to meet the vaccinations for that group, including first responders in the volunteer fire departments.

MR. BAIN: Mr. Speaker, I don't think the minister realizes that many of these volunteer firefighters throughout this province are also medical first responders that go into people's homes.

The need for volunteers across our province is great. Their value to the community cannot be measured. The government needs to do more to encourage volunteerism by

[Page 2172]

ensuring that their efforts are properly recognized. However, the complete opposite is happening here. No clearer signal could be sent than refusing to make these brave individuals a priority for vaccinations.

My question is, what does the minister or her NDP Government have to say to volunteer firefighters across Nova Scotia about why she does not see them as worthy enough of receiving the priority vaccines?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, it's obvious that that member doesn't understand the purpose of sequencing the vaccine so it would get to the people who need it the most, who would become the sickest, and who would, in very many cases, end up hospitalized and on ventilators or in ICUs. There is not one shred of medical evidence that first responders would be the people who would become the sickest if they acquired H1N1. There will be vaccine for this group, but they are not at the top of the pack and they cannot go to the front of the line.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Clare.

ERD - BAY FERRIS LTD.: IND. EXPANSION FUND

- DISBURSEMENT

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Economic and Rural Development. On January 22nd of this year, the Department of Economic and Rural Development, through the Industrial Expansion Fund, provided $12 million to Bay Ferries Ltd. This money was to cover financial losses on its Yarmouth to Maine service and to allow the CAT to be able to continue operations in 2009.

My question to the minister, would the minister please report to this House exactly how much of that $12 million was spent this year on ferry operations?

HON. PERCY PARIS: Mr. Speaker, through you to the member opposite, we are currently looking at and we have been looking at Bay Ferries for the last few weeks. In fact, I just met with Bay Ferries operations, certainly within the last two to three weeks. The purposes of that meeting were: one, to get an update; two, to also look at the future of Bay Ferries as it pertains to the Province of Nova Scotia; three, to also look at what we have been doing for the last couple of years with Bay Ferries. As we know, Bay Ferries now operates under an agreement with the Province of Nova Scotia, and I think if my memory serves me correctly, I think it's a $6 million subsidy and then there was a $3 million transition fee in there if the service discontinued.

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, the service cited changes in fuel costs and economic challenges for the reason that it needed this assistance. My question to the minister is, has Bay Ferries Ltd. contacted your office for assistance for the 2010 season?

[Page 2173]

MR. PARIS: Mr. Speaker, I reiterate that I've had a meeting with Bay Ferries Ltd. Under their current structure, there are two pieces of Bay Ferries. One piece is associated with the Yarmouth end of the province and the other is with respect to Digby. There are two contracts if you will, one that runs out next year and one where there will still be another year to go. The short answer is that the contact that I've had with Bay Ferries wasn't with respect to - it wasn't an ask. It was one of information sharing and they wanted us to get up to snuff as to where we were and where they were as far as head space was concerned.

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, this is an important service that is an economic generator for the area and which also serves to stimulate tourism in Nova Scotia. My final question to the minister, would the minister please inform Nova Scotians whether the Department of Economic and Rural Development is looking at assisting Bay Ferries Ltd. in the 2010 season?

MR. PARIS: Mr. Speaker, again, the purpose of the meeting is to pursue a path as to where we're going to be a year or two years from now. I will say that the member opposite is right, this is very important to Nova Scotians. We've got a huge decision to make, one is based on . . .

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, with the consent of the two House Leaders, we would ask for a short recess of half an hour to 45 minutes. We're expecting some bills back from the Law Amendments Committee and so with the indulgence of the House, we will recess for 45 minutes.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

We are recessed for a few minutes.

[3:53 p.m. The House recessed.]

[4:51 p.m. The House reconvened.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

[Page 2174]

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, with the concurrence of the House, could we revert to the order of business, Presenting Reports of Committees?

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Chairman of the Committee on Law Amendments, I am directed to report that the committee has met and considered the following bills:

Bill No. 49 - Efficiency Nova Scotia Corporation Act.

Bill No. 52 - Emergency Department Accountability Act.

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

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

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Chairman of the Committee on Law Amendments, I am directed to report that the committee has met and considered the following bills:

Bill No. 14 - Judicature Act.

Bill No. 17 - Agricultural Marshland Conservation Act.

Bill No. 30 - Public Trustee Act.

Bill No. 54 - Executive Council Act.

[Page 2175]

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

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

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

[4:53 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker Mr. Wayne Gaudet in the Chair.]

[5:02 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Charlie Parker resumed the Chair.]

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

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

Bill No. 14 - Judicature Act.

Bill No. 17 - Agricultural Marshland Conservation Act.

Bill No. 30 - Public Trustee Act.

Bill No. 39 - Uranium Exploration and Mining Prohibition Act.

Bill No. 49 - Efficiency Nova Scotia Corporation Act.

Bill No. 52 - Emergency Department Accountability Act.

Bill No. 54 - Executive Council Act.

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

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT. Mr. Speaker, I would now seek the House to have these bills added to the order paper for third reading.

[Page 2176]

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 14, and I so move.

Bill No. 14 - Judicature Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No.14. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 17 and I so move.

Bill No. 17 - Agricultural Marshland Conservation Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No.17. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 30 and I so move.

[Page 2177]

Bill No. 30 - Public Trustee Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 30. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 39.

Bill No. 39 - Uranium Exploration and Mining Prohibition Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

MR. ANDREW YOUNGER: Mr. Speaker, I did want to speak to this bill, and I know we have a member in the gallery who's interested in this as well. But I did want to speak to this bill before it passes, because I think we all understand that it's going to pass in a majority government. Yesterday I had a conversation with the minister, and I appreciate the time that he made, and I understand we have a bit of a situation that, you know, the question is where do the 100 parts per million in this bill come from, and the minister assures me that his department feels that the 100 parts per million would not impact any existing or contemplated mine that they're aware of, if I understood that correctly, and that makes me more comfortable.

Mr. Speaker, this is something that I think we're going to need to be watching very carefully however, because there are differing opinions on what the long-term impact is. There were a number of people who came to speak at the Law Amendments Committee the other day and they were unaware that they actually had to sign up in advance to speak, and therefore sat in the audience I guess, if you will, the gallery of the Red Room, and did not speak to express their concerns - but some of those concerns I feel very strongly should be on the record so that we are mindful of those, on all sides of the House, that this bill does not have unintended consequences.

I think the minister has expressed correctly that there is concern in the public around the impact of uranium and uranium mining. However, there are elements - for example, we've had a number of pieces of correspondence and discussions recently that, for instance, road building in HRM and in the Valley could end up having an impact in certain areas depending on how the Act is interpreted, because they have had situations of hitting over 100

[Page 2178]

parts per million uranium during blasting operations for those sorts of things. Now, obviously, that's not a mining operation and even finding uranium in those kind of cases should be of concern to us, but the bill unfortunately doesn't seem to deal with that.

The other issue that we did address in second reading, and since there seemed to be some differing opinions, I did have some conversations with a number of people on this and that's this issue around the encasement. The moratorium that was in place resulted in a situation where if you found uranium under certain concentrations, you had to encase it. This bill gets rid of that prohibition - or that requirement, sorry - and so in that element this bill is somewhat less restrictive than the moratorium that was in place. So I think we need to understand very clearly.

I know there were some differing opinions at second reading on that and so I took the time to speak to a number of geologists, at universities and also in the field, on this issue and they seem to generally all agree that removing that actually does make this bill weaker in many respects than the existing moratorium. So the concern that I would ask that the minister and his department be mindful of as we go forward is in speaking with a number of people who had hoped to present the other day, Nova Scotia is potentially on the verge of having an industry around rare earth element mining which has the potential to be - and I certainly don't profess to be an expert in it - a fairly safe type of mining, particularly through the Wentworth Valley and Cobequid Mountains.

One of the issues around that is that, as members on both sides of the House may be aware, it's a mineral that's increasingly in high demand because it's used in hybrid vehicles, in wind turbines, and in a variety of sources of alternative energy. Obviously, as we try to become a world leader in alternative energy, the need for that element will increase. So the challenge with that is, generally speaking, that element is found very close to areas where uranium is also found, but generally in say 4 or 5 parts per million to 50 to 60 parts per million. However, there have been cases in the Wentworth Valley where it is found in around 105 or 106, which would take it just over this prohibition - so we need to know what that's going to do.

It's very difficult for me to comment on whether the 100 parts per million number is a good number or not because I, like a number of people who are in the geology field, aren't really sure where that number came from. Two hundred parts per million is used in a lot of this sort of legislation around the world. New South Wales is mentioned quite frequently but it doesn't seem to be adequately answered, at least in my mind, as to where that number came from as opposed to picking 200. I think we all understood this bill was coming forward but I was surprised to see that number picked.

At the end of the day, I think there are pros and cons to this bill. I have concerns as well - and I think this would apply to the moratorium as well - around how this is transmitted to the rest of the world in terms of people looking at geological operations in Nova Scotia

[Page 2179]

and what that means as to - not in terms of uranium but for other types of mining - whether that means we're open for business and how we make sure that people in that industry understand that this isn't intended to be an anti-mining bill. I don't think that's what it's intended to be, I don't have any reason to believe that but I think the members on the government side can probably understand why some people might take it that way.

I think very clearly that the department can't just let this bill pass today. What has to happen is, if it passes as we expect it would, the department has to take the next step and really engage with the mining community, both internationally and locally and address how mining of different sorts of materials, both traditional and the untraditional ones, can be done in a way that is safe, benefits Nova Scotians, provides primary benefit of Nova Scotia resources to Nova Scotians and also ensures that communities stay safe over the long term.

I think we all are aware that there have been concerns and incidents over the years related to coal mining and methane gas and so forth, just as much as there's concern with other types. We have to be very careful that - we have many mining regulations and Acts in this province which are out of date, and I would hope that the minister will not have this passed and say, okay, we've updated this but then suddenly does not immediately take the steps to update our other mining regulations and ensure that those are appropriate.

I've struggled for the past few days as I've talked to people in academia and elsewhere who are far more knowledgeable than I am about the issues of uranium and mining, both people who are in the industry and are in support of the bill and frankly those who are not in support, trying to determine whether the moratorium is better or nothing is better or the Act is better. It really comes down to, at this point in time, there's no government in Nova Scotia that was ever going to get rid of the moratorium, I don't believe. The question comes down to, which is better, the Act or the moratorium? I think there are certainly pros and cons to both.

I am satisfied, after talking with the minister and his assurance, and in talking to a number of other geologists, that there is no contemplated mine in Nova Scotia that they're aware of, or existing mine that would be impacted by 100 parts per million. The fact that this bill removes the encasement requirements, I'm satisfied to support the bill, although I will say that I wish there was a greater period of research to look into this issue because with the moratorium there was no danger that some uranium mine was going to suddenly open next week somewhere.

I'm not sure this was an issue that was suddenly on the front burner that was driving everybody because we had a moratorium in place and this bill doesn't address the issue of knowing where the uranium deposits are and knowing where we need to be concerned. Those steps still need to be taken and those steps, as the member for Kings West talked the other day, he spoke about the issue of radon gas and so forth as it relates to uranium deposits that aren't going to be mined, yet there was nothing that came forward on that in the bill.

[Page 2180]

What I will ask, and I speak today primarily just to have this on the record, is that I think the minister has to be very mindful and has to watch this 100 parts per million and if it does become an issue and if it does not end up living up to the promise that his department has made, and the advice that he is giving him, then I really feel that the minister has to be prepared to come back and adjust that amount in the Act so that we don't negatively impact that. I don't know if he is planning to speak in close of this debate, but hopefully he might be willing to confirm to the House that they are willing to be mindful and monitor that 100 parts per million number to make sure that we don't run into unintended consequences.

[5:15 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I think there is the potential in this bill for it to either become very good or very bad. I'm hoping for very good, and I guess that's the way with many of these bills. But this Legislature has to be able to react very quickly if this bill ends up having unintended consequences, whether it is in road building or agriculture or quarries or elsewhere, and I trust that the minister will do that after talking to his staff. Thank you.

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

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

HON. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Dartmouth East for his comments. The member should recognize that the 100 parts per million was in the moratorium. That has been the level we have had for nearly 30 years. He should also recognize that it really hasn't caused any issues for almost 30 years.

Also, regarding the drill holes that encounter mineralization above the threshold values, the requirement to seal those holes already exists in regulation, under Mineral Resources Regulation No. 75, and this will continue to be the case even though it wasn't mentioned in the bill. It is already in regulation. So that will continue.

I think Nova Scotians have been waiting for this legislation. I think it's good legislation. It's better than the moratorium. It's what Nova Scotians wanted, and so with those comments, Mr. Speaker, I move third reading of Bill No. 39.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 39. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

[Page 2181]

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 52.

Bill No. 52 - Emergency Department Accountability Act.

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

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, I spoke on this at some length at second reading. I simply wanted to reiterate for third reading that we encourage any increase in accountability that we can get in our health care system. There's certainly a need for that. It is important that we have mechanisms in place to ensure that the government and the minister herself will be accountable to the public for the way that our system functions and whether or not it meets demands.

So in the issue of emergency rooms and understanding the closures and the extent of the closures, we do support the idea that there be accountability back to the minister in this House. But at the same time, Mr. Speaker, we're not sure that this bill really advances the cause to any significant degree. There is simply no downside to asking for another report. It is more paperwork for the DHAs to account for things that are fairly available to the public at any rate.

With that being said, I'm certainly supportive of the fact that we're looking for greater accountability, but I point out that the bill has very little substance and, in fact, has a better title than it does real substance in the bill itself.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

MR. ANDREW YOUNGER: Mr. Speaker, just to follow up - I'm not going to repeat what the honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park said. While the members of the government maybe don't think that members of the House should speak on behalf of their constituents in the House, I will do so anyway.

At second reading I suggested the fact that I was hoping the Minister of Health would come back with some amendments to this, because I think the idea is good, as the honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park suggested, but there are two clauses here, and I spent some time talking about this the other day, so I won't repeat myself other than to say that the clauses address two issues. One is on reducing wait times and overcrowding, and one is on closures, yet the bill only goes on to deal with the issue of closures and does not address the issue of wait times and overcrowding. Half the bill seems to be missing. So as the member for Halifax Clayton Park said, there's nothing wrong with the bill, more reporting on these

[Page 2182]

sorts of issues is very good, but I would hope that maybe in the next session of the Legislature the other half of the bill will come forward. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, I move third reading of Bill No. 52.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 52. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 49.

Bill No. 49 - Efficiency Nova Scotia Corporation Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

MR. ANDREW YOUNGER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We had tabled a number of amendments to this bill during Law Amendments Committee and unfortunately the government decided not to accept those. It's unfortunate because, had those amendments passed, we may have been in a different position here today and speaking in favour of the bill instead of against it.

At the end of the day we're talking about a bill that is an expensive way to get rid of a civil servant, that is what this comes down to. The department has decided that they're going to roll up Conserve Nova Scotia and roll it into the new organization, yet they have refused to put in caps or requirements around overhead costs, salary expenses, CEO salaries, reporting procedures. None of that is in it. There's no accountability in this new bill for the new corporation.

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to point out that the NDP actually opposed this very issue in Opposition and I'm going to table a number of documents now, Mr. Speaker. One of them, of course, is a press release put out on June 4, 2009, five days before they won the election, incidentally, opposing the DSM process, Mr. Speaker - which I will table for the House - yet now they're introducing a bill which puts it in place; very, very strange.

[Page 2183]

Of course on June 3, 2009, the day before that, the NDP made a submission to the Utility and Review Board, also opposing the very thing that they're now introducing in the Legislature. I'll table this in a second but I would like to just read a paragraph from this: The NDP is of the view that the DSM Cost Allocation Approach Agreement dated April 6, 2009, places the burden of DSM-related improvements too heavily on residential users and other rate classes. Distribution of the costs over rate classes should not be the focus of the hearing or the utility's efforts. It should be based on the notion that the utility will bear the costs for making DSM-related improvements in order to stabilize its long-term position in the market and access to power for consumers of all classes. I'll table that.

Mr. Speaker, that was the submission of this government to the Utility and Review Board on this very issue, yet in their first session in the Legislature, the very first thing they do is instead they introduce a bill which is the complete opposite of their position four days before the election was called. If that isn't hypocrisy, I don't know what is.

Mr. Speaker, the fact is, as the NDP indicated in their submission to the Utility and Review Board, this will increase the cost of electricity for consumers, for industrials, for commercial groups and so forth. The NDP were fundamentally opposed to it and that was their submission that I just tabled to the Utility and Review Board, complaining about this very issue and saying it had to stop, the government had to introduce legislation to make sure that it didn't happen this way and yet look at where we are.

I have yet to hear an answer from the government as to why the change of heart between four days before the election and now their first session after the election. It is absolutely a 180 degree turn on this issue, Mr. Speaker. I think we should all be concerned about the fact that they've turned and gone the other direction when they made a promise to the public during the election and now they're introducing a bill which does the exact opposite of what they promised to Nova Scotians.

Throughout the Speech from the Throne, the Premier stood up a number of times and made it very, very clear that they were going to live up to all the promises they made during the election. Here's one they put in writing, in quite a detailed form, and yet they have reversed that 180 degrees. Frankly, it's that hypocrisy that's shameful.

You know, I've always supported the notion that if we're going to have a DSM model, it would be run by an independent corporation, but I've also supported the notion that such a corporation would have proper controls on it and would not be farmed out somewhere else where it can make its own decisions. Interestingly enough, in the amendments the government brought forward in the past few days, they made the situation even worse by allowing the corporation to appoint its own board of directors so now they can appoint all their buddies to the corporation, set their own salaries, decide what they want to pay for

[Page 2184]

office space and there's no requirement for low income programs anymore, there's no ability to run tax credit programs. This makes absolutely no sense.

Here is a government, and mark this, here they were trying to call for the question earlier, very, very quickly so that they could get this through and trumpet it and hope that nobody noticed that they changed their mind. The fact of the matter is that it's the NDP that will have to answer for why, on January 1st, the power rates of every single Nova Scotian will go up because they made the choice to go in a direction that they promised Nova Scotians on June 3rd and on June 4th that they would not go. Now they're going in that direction. That's a choice that they decided to make and that they'll have to live with. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: A recorded vote has been called for.

Ring the bells. Call in the members.

[5:27 p.m.]

[The Division bells were rung.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

A recorded vote has been called. Please proceed.

[The Clerk calls the roll.]

[5:30 p.m.]

YEAS NAYS

Mr. Landry Mr. Glavine

Ms. More Ms. Whalen

Mr. Estabrooks Mr. Manning MacDonald

Ms. Peterson-Rafuse Mr. Scott

Mr. Corbett Mr. Clarke

Mr. Steele Mr. d'Entremont

Ms. Maureen MacDonald Mr. Bain

Mr. Paris Mr. Younger

Ms. Jennex Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay)

Mr. MacDonell Mr. Theriault

Mr. Belliveau Mr. Colwell

Ms. Zann

Mr. Zinck

Ms. Conrad

[Page 2185]

Mr. MacKinnon

Mr. Gosse

Ms. Kent

Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid)

Mr. Preyra

Ms. Raymond

Mr. Smith

Mr. Epstein

Mr. Prest

Mr. Ramey

Mr. Skabar

Mr. Whynott

Mr. Morton

Ms. Birdsall

Mr. Boudreau

Mr. Burrill

THE CLERK: For 30, Against, 11.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 54.

Bill No. 54 - Executive Council Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, I move third reading of Bill No. 54.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 54.

A recorded vote is being called for.

Are the Whips satisfied? Satisfied.

The Clerks will now conduct the recorded vote.

[The Clerk calls the roll.]

[Page 2186]

[5:33 p.m.]

YEAS NAYS

Mr. Landry Mr. Glavine

Ms. More Ms. Whalen

Mr. Estabrooks Mr. Manning MacDonald

Ms. Peterson-Rafuse Mr. Scott

Mr. Corbett Mr. Clarke

Mr. Steele Mr. d'Entremont

Ms. Maureen MacDonald Mr. Bain

Mr. Paris Mr. Younger

Ms. Jennex Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay)

Mr. MacDonell Mr. Theriault

Mr. Belliveau Mr. Colwell

Ms. Zann

Mr. Zinck

Ms. Conrad

Mr. MacKinnon

Mr. Gosse

Ms. Kent

Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid)

Mr. Preyra

Ms. Raymond

Mr. Smith

Mr. Epstein

Mr. Prest

Mr. Ramey

Mr. Skabar

Mr. Whynott

Mr. Morton

Ms. Birdsall

Mr. Boudreau

Mr. Burrill

THE CLERK: For, 30. Against, 11.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

[Page 2187]

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, that concludes the government's business today, so I hand it over to the Official Opposition House Leader for business for Opposition Day.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the House tomorrow will sit from the hours of 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m., and after the daily routine, Opposition business tomorrow will be Resolution No. 555 and Bill No. 56. I move this House do now adjourn and meet tomorrow at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is to adjourn until 2:00 p.m. tomorrow.

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

We have arrived at the moment of interruption. As was announced earlier, the urgent debate this evening was moved by the honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park:

"Therefore be it resolved that the Premier and the Minister of Health recognize the critical situation facing Nova Scotia with the H1N1 virus and clarify its strategy in delivering public health services during this pandemic."

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 43

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

HEALTH: H1N1 PANDEMIC - HEALTH SERVICES DELIVERY

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, I really appreciate the opportunity that the House has afforded us this evening to talk about the H1N1 vaccination program and the

[Page 2188]

pandemic that is really emerging around us in this province. We feel that it's important that there be a chance to air the concerns of Nova Scotians, and also during this debate to hear from the minister, and I know to hear some reassuring words as well.

We here on the Opposition benches may be reflecting the concerns that we're hearing and the frustration of Nova Scotians. It does not mean that we are not aware of the hard work of the health care workers right across our province. I want to begin, really, by thanking them for coming out and often changing the work they're doing in order to be part of this mass vaccination program, because we are facing a pandemic. This is something that has been unprecedented in our recent history, certainly, and it is the first time we've been in a position to look at a vaccination program for all Nova Scotians.

It is a large program. In fact, I know nationally we're looking at vaccinating all Canadians. We understand that it's something we haven't done before and that it's a big job, but we also look to see that our government was prepared, that they followed the pandemic plan. The pandemic plan itself is a couple of inches thick - it's very large. We looked at it at the Public Accounts Committee not very long ago, and it showed that the government had done quite a bit of work in preparation for what they knew was coming - that a pandemic of flu was approaching us.

People are aware of the concerns and of the complications that some people have experienced, and that's why they are anxious to be vaccinated. The difficulty we have is some of the mixed messages that have come from government, and that has been changing almost daily in terms of where we're at. I must say, just very recently we were celebrating the fact that the vaccine itself had been approved ahead of schedule, that it was going to be made available. We understood we were about two weeks ahead of schedule when the vaccine actually arrived here in the province, and so one would have thought that we had a good handle on it, that the vaccine was now flowing to the province. We know, even as of today, we've had 160,000 doses delivered here, but our fear is, why are there such huge lineups at the centres? Why is there a sense that people are not going to get the vaccine they need? There's an awful lot of frustration.

Just before rising I'd gone over some of the e-mails that I'd received and people really are frustrated, people waiting with their children in the cold, feeling their kids are being exposed to all kinds of other germs by being there and also by having to wait outside. These are young children, Mr. Speaker; I remind you that the priority group right now is children under five years, older than six months. You can see in the lineups an awful lot of strollers and a lot of mothers and fathers with little children.

It's a serious matter that they're being taken to these centres and then asked to wait for hours out in the cold. I don't know why it wasn't possible to see if people could wait indoors in some measure of warmth, at least. It has built in people a real frustration and a fear. Our questions for the government today relate around several themes; one would be our

[Page 2189]

preparedness and how ready we were to implement the plans that were before us. I think the biggest problem was the unclear messages that Nova Scotians have been receiving.

To begin with, because we had that sense of comfort, I guess, that the vaccine was flowing a couple of weeks earlier than expected, the government here in Nova Scotia agreed to have open clinics that anybody could attend. Now, here in Capital District, the first week was given to health care workers, so we didn't have the benefit of an open clinic here. Some of our constituents here in HRM were upset and they went to Enfield and other places which were in the neighbouring health districts in order to get the vaccinations. That only created more pressure on those open clinics there.

We understand our health care workers should have been the number one priority in every health district. In fact, there should have been leadership from the top telling all DHAs to begin with your health care workers and the priority groups. That's where we needed to start and yet we started with this idea that we had to convince people that they needed the vaccine. I appreciate there had been some reluctance, and there still is some reluctance among some young people about getting vaccinated, but we have to remember that we created a demand then that we aren't able to fulfill. Now we have people frustrated and worried and wanting the vaccine and they can't get there because it's only the priority groups that are going to be given that. That is really one of the biggest mix-ups that we've had, now we have completely changed track and we're telling people to relax, stay home, wash your hands, be careful with your hygiene, and just wait your turn.

We should have been saying that in the first place, looking at the amount of vaccine that we would have initially and trying to keep our message focused to the priority groups and a rollout plan that would ultimately see all Nova Scotians vaccinated. I know we're going to get there, as I said in my first comments, I know we have good health care workers who are devoting a lot of hours. I heard some of them on CBC Radio talking about long, long days, being there when the clinics are opening and working right through to the evening. I know they're giving it their all. But they're dealing with the frustration, and sometimes the anger, of Nova Scotians who are in those lineups, because they're being turned away and that's because of mix-ups.

Another mix-up is coming from our doctors. We're not communicating well enough with our family doctors and our specialists because people were being turned away yesterday at the Dartmouth clinic who had been told to go there by their specialist. One woman spoke about her son having an immunity deficiency and her immunologist had actually said to them you must go and get the vaccine. So they went and lined up and then they were sent away.

Of course she was angry because one specialist, one doctor she trusted, had sent her there with the intent of getting it and she wasn't on the priority list.

So we need to communicate better with our physicians and make sure the doctors themselves know what to advise their patients and know how to give the reassuring messages and the assurances that we are rolling this out in a very sensible, methodical, careful way and

[Page 2190]

that everybody will be protected as soon as possible. I think that's what needs to be coordinated. There would be a lot less misunderstanding if our family physicians and the specialists had been included in better communication from the start. I don't know what's been going on with the Department of Health Promotion and Protection or why that would have fallen between the cracks, but I think that is one of the areas that we are most concerned about. Certainly as we go forward, let's remember that we have to look at that and bring those players into that loop much better.

We had the question here the other day about one doctor's office that received a shipment of a vaccine that was actually intended for executives of the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation. That was obviously a mistake in the distribution of this H1N1 vaccine. But it brings me to another one of our concerns and that is the distribution and how we've come to decide how this is going to be delivered around the province and what kind of controls we have on tracking and really knowing where the vaccine is, how much is left to be given and just really, what are the expectations for getting Nova Scotians inoculated and protected in a reasonable length of time?

[5:45 p.m.]

We know that 160,000 units have already come and that more is coming this week; 12,500 more of the adjuvanted vaccine is coming this week and we expect 5,400 doses of the unadjuvanted, which is really intended primarily for pregnant women. That is originally why it was preferred but we're getting a jump on the vaccination of pregnant women by giving them the adjuvanted to begin with. I think that is a reflection of the health officer's concern for pregnant women and their high risk in this flu.

Again, when we say the flu we often don't worry about it. I just think we have to remember that this is different than our annual flu. This has different characteristics, it's striking younger people. It is striking young adults in larger numbers and children more severely. So it's quite different from the usual flu where we worry about our elderly first and foremost and we worry about people with other diseases first. But this is a little bit different.

But I go back to the delivery, Mr. Speaker. It's a concern to us that these doses have come to Nova Scotia, they've been sent to DHAs and we don't really know how many Nova Scotians have been vaccinated. We don't have the numbers and perhaps the minister will have some this afternoon. I hope she does because the more light we can shed on the whole process, the more transparency there is, I think Nova Scotians are very reasonable people and I think that they will definitely be, armed with the knowledge of how this rollout is working and what is expected in terms of the new arrival of vaccine. I know every week we'll be getting more of the vaccine here and that should help us, really, as we go forward.

Mr. Speaker, we feel it's imperative to talk about the controls that government has put in place. Why they can't answer the question of just what is left of the original shipments

[Page 2191]

of vaccine and where we're at in terms of being able to keep the clinics open, first doing our priority groups and then I would like to know the target date that those priority groups will be finished so that we can know when the next most vulnerable group will be added, and so on, so that there is a clear rollout plan, people will know when they get to a lineup and bring their children.

The current system, the way we've done our priority has been difficult because families have arrived at these clinics and they are able to get their youngest children vaccinated but not their older ones. Even if the children were with them as they went through the lineups, they could not get the older children done; neither could the parents be done. That brings me to one of the particular groups that are worried and that is nursing mothers who have children under six months of age. I don't think it would be wrong to mention that that's a concern right across the board and I know the member for Kings West had shown me an e-mail yesterday from one of his constituents who had a five-month-old and felt that she should be in a high risk - she is in a high risk if she gets sick and is nursing her child, and that again is an area that should be looked at.

Again, if we knew more detail around the proposed rollout plan, who is going to be next on the priority list, what is the target date to get to the next group, when will there be open clinics available, I think that would start to help alleviate some of our fears. I think, really, going back to the messaging, we had really overshot the mark in the initial go-round, encouraging and reassuring people about the safety of the vaccine, which seemed to be our biggest issue, encouraging people to take the inoculation, and now we realize that we've created a demand and the supply wasn't available. So people are rightly upset and concerned and they want to know what exactly is going to be done and how we can move forward.

The Auditor General's Report had spoken in several areas about where we are deficient in this province, and one of them is that we have a shortage of public health workers - Mr. Speaker, how much time do I have left?

MR. SPEAKER: You have approximately two and a half minutes.

MS. WHALEN: Thank you. That's not very much time as we get into these debates but I know that we'll be hearing from other members as well.

Mr. Speaker, I think another area that I'd just like to touch on briefly would be students. I asked a question in the House of the minister about why we couldn't have had students inoculated at school. When we get to the next level, I realize that the children who are school age have not been our priority, but I would call upon the minister here today to make students a priority and to look again, reassess and perhaps change tracks, to allow inoculation at the universities and at individual schools. The students are there, it is convenient for the parents, it will ensure that they get a blanket treatment so that all the students are captured in one location.

[Page 2192]

I think we have to think about convenience and about efficacy, that is about being as efficient and as effective as possible.

So Mr. Speaker, my feeling again, and I would like to say this in closing because I know I don't have much time left, I feel very strongly that this issue is still in a stage of growth. We don't really know exactly where we're at in terms of the stage of the pandemic right now, but we know that half the schools in HRM have over 10 per cent of the children out. We've never seen this before that anybody can remember, such a widespread absenteeism across HRM. I know that is reflected in other communities. I just happen to know half of our 130 schools are experiencing a high level of absenteeism and illness.

We know that it has taken hold here now. There is a flu pandemic underway and it has not peaked. I think it's fair to say that it is still in the growth stages. I want to know that the minister will - I would like, frankly to see the House stay open so that we can continue to monitor it, continue to keep the public aware through this public forum of accountability about how we're doing in this pandemic. I'm not sure that the intent is to continue to have the House open much longer, and I would certainly like to close with the call that we leave the House open and ensure that the public can be heard through their members here in the Legislature and that can be a proper accounting mechanism. We need accountability and we need the government to take responsibility. We need an avenue to reach the members of the public health officers and others who are directing this effort.

Mr. Speaker, with that I will take my seat and I call upon the minister to answer some of the questions that I've raised today.

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

HON. KAREN CASEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you for the opportunity to stand in my place and to speak to the issue with respect to the H1N1 situation, to the implementation, I guess, of a plan. I do want to say for the record that I believe the minister is intending to do the best she can with the information and resources she has available. I do acknowledge that sometimes when things get off the rail it is difficult to turn them around. So I do want the minister to understand that we recognize that and we acknowledge the position that she is in.

One of the things that is of particular concern to me and to our caucus, and I believe to Nova Scotians, is around the confusion that has been created. During the months leading up to the election, from I guess probably March, April, May, the conference calls with the other ministers and the federal minister had already begun and Dr. Strang was very much involved in those. As the Minister of Health at the time, I was a participant.

[Page 2193]

I think at that time - and I know times are different now - but I think at that time one of the things that Dr. Strang was trying to do was to make sure that we were prepared, as a province, but that we did not panic or that we did not cause panic. So that was the intent.

I think we all recognize that sometimes things don't go according to the intended plan, and I'm not sure how things got off the rail, but I do believe, and I've stated publicly, the preparedness took a back seat to panic. Part of that, of course, is because we were hearing stories from other provinces about serious illnesses, or unfortunately even deaths, related to this. So I think the general public began to panic and say, we need this, we want this and we want it now. So when you have a population that feels that way, it's very difficult to put in place any plan that doesn't allow every Nova Scotian to get what they want when they want it. Part of the poor planning , I guess, that appears to have come to light is that there may have been an attempt to try to do that, to try to make sure that we could, through an open clinic, meet the expectations that Nova Scotians had. Unfortunately, once that feeling was established that they could get this if they went to the clinic - and they didn't pay much attention to whether they were self-diagnosed as a priority or not - we set an expectation, and when you have to go back and change that set of expectations that people have, it's very difficult.

I think that's the position that the minister has found herself in, and it's not a nice position to be in because when people are believing that they should have this, they're not perhaps listening to the rationale that is being used to decide who is a priority and who isn't. Hindsight is wonderful - I commend the minister for having looked at what has happened, looked at the chaos that was created, looked at the anxiety and the frustration that has been created and tried to correct it, but I'm concerned that that is a little too late and that the anxiety and the frustration are out there. When we look at developing any kind of a plan, the success of the plan is in the implementation. From the get-go, once we started the implementation it became obvious that the plan was weak, and the reason the plan was weak was because we were trying to satisfy everybody and meet everybody's expectation.

I know the word "statistic" was used today and that was scoffed, but we use numbers - we can call it whatever we want, but the minister does have at her disposal resources that could tell her how many people we have in each one of the priority groups who have been identified. Once you know how many people are in that priority group and you know the supply that you have, it's not a difficult task to determine how many of those in that priority group can get their vaccine. It seems to me a more logical approach would have been to take one priority group at a time, deal with that group. I guess it's difficult to decide which that group would be, but I think everybody recognizes that the front-line health care workers would have been a good place to start, and make sure that nobody else had an expectation that they would get the vaccine until after that group had received theirs. I think we would have avoided a lot of this expectation that's now proven to be frustration.

[Page 2194]

So if we had taken that approach, that the first group to get the vaccine would have been the front-line workers, identified through the information that the minister has how many people that would be, disbursed the vaccine to the district health authorities based on the numbers that they were saying they needed, and they would have gotten their vaccine, they would have been prepared to go on to the next step.

When we had our briefing this morning with Dr. Strang - I was quite surprised and disappointed to learn that the minister does not know how much of the vaccine that went out to district health authorities has been used. So that tells me that even the numbers of health care workers in each district health authority have not been identified, just how many, because if you know there are 500 you give them vaccine for 500. You don't just give them vaccine and then hope that it covers the numbers that are there. So I think that's part of that preplanning before implementation that would have allowed this to unfold in a more logical and less panicked kind of way.

[6:00 p.m.]

The next step, of course, once that - and I think people would have accepted that, if that had been communicated to them, that we are going to take a logical step here, we're going to take our highest priority, we're going to make sure that they are protected, and then you move on to the next. If that communication had gone out to Nova Scotians, we would not have had lineups where people had an expectation that they would get the vaccine.

It's very difficult to say to those, well, no, you go home now because you're not a priority or because we don't have enough vaccine or whatever. People don't want to hear that. I think they would be more willing to accept a message that said - where the minister comes out with confidence and says, this is our plan, we're going to take it step by step, we're going to make sure we complete one group before we go on to the other.

Mr. Speaker, I believe that would have allowed people to have a little more confidence. Right now they don't have any confidence. They don't have any confidence that there is a plan or that the implementation of that plan will work. They don't have any confidence that they will be able, at some point in this schedule of rollout - that they will be part of a group that will get that vaccine. All of that is contributing to, I guess, mass panic.

It doesn't help either, of course, that we hear of other priority groups being set in other provinces, and people look very quickly. If you're a school-age student, you look to a province that is providing the vaccine for your school-age students. So they're saying, well, why not here?

I think the fact that there needed to be a clear plan, it needed to be clearly articulated, it needed to be delivered with confidence, it needed to be implemented with confidence and with success - then I believe we would have been able to avoid where we are. But we are

[Page 2195]

where we are, and the minister has now said we have four groups, but there's still no confidence that the minister knows how many people are in each one of those groups, when they will be getting their vaccine, if there is the supply that's needed to provide the vaccine to all in that group, and what the timeline is for delivering that. That information will help reassure Nova Scotians.

My concern is that on the second take on this, that information is still not available. Those numbers are available to the minister, and the fact that there seems to be no communication - or limited communication - between the district health authority and the minister's office would tell me we're hearing today, we don't know, we don't have that information from the district health authorities.

Well, we've been into this for a while, and people say, well, we don't have the technology or we don't have whatever. Before we had technology, we had paper and pencil, and that worked - if we don't have the electronic capacity to communicate from a DHA to the Department of Health. How many people need this vaccine, how many vials they have received, how many people have received it, how many more do we need, how much do we have left over? Those are pretty basic math kinds of questions and answers.

I have to tell you that I was disappointed when Dr. Strang suggested to us today in the briefing that they were waiting for that information and they would be getting that information. It is very difficult to do the second phase of your plan when you don't have those numbers. So I'm not sure how the minister believes the next phase - which we are now in, which is a new plan - how the minister can be confident that supply and demand are going to match this time.

There is the panic and a bit of hysteria out in the public that has to be quieted down. There is the whole business of doing things within supply. We know that the ministers of all of the provinces agreed with the federal government, with the federal minister, that it was the province's responsibility to administer. It's not like it happened yesterday. It happened several months ago, and the planning of how to do that and getting the numbers from the district health authorities is something that should have and could have happened months ago so we would not be in this particular situation. We know that the sequencing is something that was part of a guideline that Ministers of Health agreed to with the federal minister and we know that as far back as July that there were agreements as to how this would unfold.

I want to say to the health care workers who are either waiting to get their vaccination or who have received it, that the dedication that they have and the commitment they have to make this plan - if you can call it that - work, is to be commended. They're working under extremely difficult circumstances. We've seen TV news coverage and they're going in circles, they really are going in circles, and I think it's unfair to ask them to respond to this crisis without clear definition, without clear direction and without a clear plan, because we know in the end that they are committed to the health of Nova Scotians.

[Page 2196]

We know that the minister is responsible, in the long run, for the successful implementation of this plan and we know, unfortunately, that people have lost that confidence because they have not been able to see any kind of an effective roll-out of any plan. With those remarks, I would take my place, but I do want to acknowledge that we are in a crisis and we need to get out, thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I'm very pleased to have an opportunity to enter into this debate for a whole number of reasons. The biggest reason is it gives me an opportunity to reassure Nova Scotians that indeed we have a plan to get the vaccine out and also to deal with H1N1 for people who do get that flu. This also gives me an opportunity to reduce the level of fear and anxiety that people have, and I readily acknowledge that there is fear and anxiety for some people, especially I think for families with children.

When you see a dad, who is prepared to go at 4:00 in the morning, get in line for a clinic that's not going to open until 8:30 a.m., and he's prepared to stand there for four and a half hours before the doors even open, you know that what's motivating that father is a real love for his child, a real anxiety, and a real commitment to do anything that he has to do to keep that child safe. I acknowledge that he represents a very large number of the mums and dads who are standing in line at clinics across this province. Also for people who have kids who are outside of that five year, they're not toddlers, they're not babies. They're older children, so I readily acknowledge the fear, the anxiety and indeed frustration that people feel when they feel insecure about their kids.

Let me start by answering a few of the questions that have been raised today in this debate and earlier. As far as we know, based on the information that has come into the department later this afternoon, 82,000 Nova Scotians have been vaccinated in the first five or six days of this program. That represents approximately 9 per cent of Nova Scotians and, anybody can do the math, we had 160,000 vaccines and so we're a little more than halfway through the vaccine. There will be more vaccine arriving this week, but as we all know, not the amount of vaccine that were anticipating.

Mr. Speaker, there has been a great deal said about the plans, and the lack of plans, and I want correct that perception. A great deal of planning has gone into the vaccination program and indeed other aspects of H1N1, including strengthening our health care system to prepare for any surge in people becoming ill.

Mr. Speaker, the best plan is one that allows for quick response to changing circumstances. I will not blame the federal government for what occurred with the reduction in vaccine - there is no point in getting into a blame game. It is a fact that we had a reduction

[Page 2197]

and our plan had to change. Our plan meant we had to narrow the vaccination program so only those at highest risk to become very, very sick if they got H1N1 would get it. Those decisions are based on the best medical information that's available. Who becomes very, very sick, who has the least capacity to fight off this flu virus when they contact it? It is pregnant women, it is children, little tykes under the age of five. It is members of First Nation communities. So, the decision we've taken is to use the vaccine we have, to the best effect, to target it to these folks, initially, as well as health care workers who are on the front line.

Now, the Leader of the Third Party talked about how we should have really done one of the targeted groups at a time. The weakness in that argument, Mr. Speaker - and she argued that we should have started with health care workers. We had 52,000 doses of vaccine in the first week. The health care working population in the province is roughly 33,000 and quite a few of those folks don't even have contact with patients. They might work in the finance department of the DHA, they may work in the kitchen of a DHA. They don't come in direct contact with sick patients, in the hospital, with H1N1. So that really wouldn't work.

We are able to look at the population numbers and determine the number of health care workers we have, the number of kids under the age of five, the number of kids over five, the number of pregnant women based on births per year. We have all of that information. But, Mr. Speaker, including in the population of people who are on the designated list of high risk are people with underlying health problems. In the Province of Nova Scotia, there are approximately 472,000 people with an underlying health problem, according to our population health information.

So choices had to be made, and choices will continue to be made, based on the information we have, the vaccine we have available to us and we cannot lay that out weeks in advance. We have to look at the vaccine; every day we're evaluating the vaccine we have. We are looking at the priority groups everyday so that we can make the best decision possible to get this vaccine where it is needed most before we proceed to the next group.

Mr. Speaker, there has been a great deal of talk about a school-based program and why we are not doing a school based program unlike, perhaps, New Brunswick. Well, the truth of the matter is, New Brunswick is not vaccinating every child in every school in that province - that's misleading information. New Brunswick is doing some schools. They have community clinics in some schools and if they are in that school, they will do the children in that school.

[6:15 p.m.]

Prince Edward Island made a decision to do Grade Primary to Grade 3 - they don't have Grade Primary, actually, on P.E.I., they decided to do Grades 1 to 3. It looks like they're going to run out of vaccine perhaps and they're going to have to - in fact, they've been cancelling those.

[Page 2198]

We have to be very careful about taking what's happening in other provinces - first of all, not having the accurate information about what's happening in other provinces, but overlying that in our province. We did start with targeting health care workers in all of the DHAs, but a decision was also made to do community clinics. I want to speak to the model that Nova Scotia has.

Influenza vaccination is not new. What's new about this is the magnitude of this vaccination. It's the largest vaccination program in the history of the country and of the province. We have a mixed model of delivering vaccination programs in Nova Scotia. We traditionally use doctor's offices as well as community-based clinics as well as workplace clinics. We are doing that in this case as well. What's different here is we have introduced large community-based clinics in the urban settings in particular, because we have very big populations to do.

Some people have criticized us for not just doing a doctor-based program; I want to explain why that is, why we didn't do a doctor-based program. First of all, it's not what we do traditionally in terms of influenza. Secondly, we want our doctors doing what we need them to do most - treat sick people, number one. Number two, for example if we just took the Capital District Health Authority, 270 doctors times, let's say they can do 50 vaccines a day - at the end of the week, we would have vaccinated 13,500-some-odd people. With the mass community-based clinics, staffed by nurses and docs - we have docs in some of those clinics - we can do 1,000 people per clinic in a day. We have roughly maybe six clinics - 6,000 people a day versus 1,350 people in a week.

These are the decisions we have had to make as we look at delivering this program. We certainly do have a plan and we monitor it carefully. We track very carefully, we track daily, we talked to the DHAs on a daily basis, we get information back. We respond and direct based on what we're hearing.

Mr. Speaker, I've asked my deputy to talk to the DHAs around the province with respect to what we can do to make clinics more comfortable for people, to eliminate standing, particularly if you have people with young kids or if you have some people with disabilities. As we continue to go forward, we know that we will have older people at some point standing in line.

We can't eliminate lineups, but we can make clinics more efficient and we can make the process as comfortable as possible. I have listened to what people have had to say about this, I have heard what they have had to say about this. We are responding to what people have had to say. We will continue to do that because we want this to be a successful program. We need it to be a successful program.

[Page 2199]

There are so many other things that I could say but I know my time is running short here. I want to put some emphasis on what we have done in our health care system. The vaccination program is very important, but it's only one part of what we're planning for around the pandemic. Many people will get H1N1 flu. Most people who get it will have a mild flu, but there will be people who will be quite sick and there will be people who will be scared. We have beefed up the 811 line. This is our dial-a-nurse line. That line has been capable of dealing with 400 calls a day; it has been getting as many as 3,000 calls a day. We've had to add additional lines, we've had to hire additional staff, and we have some new processes in place so that we can respond to the calls we're getting.

Family doctors in the province will be getting vaccine for their offices when the supply improves, and we want to thank Doctors Nova Scotia and we want to thank family doctors for their patience in what we know has been a tough time for them.

Mr. Speaker, we have assessment centres to divert people from emergency departments, and so far the assessment centres are seeing many people. They're open in every DHA but one in the province, and they're doing what they were designed to do. I want, in the last seconds, to thank the health care workers who are staffing these clinics. I want to thank Public Health. I want to thank the RCMP and other groups that are helping us out here, and I want to thank the volunteers who are out there in the trenches in very difficult circumstances. At the end of the day there will be much that we can reflect on, but the program is working well. It's going forward. We have 82,000 Nova Scotians with the vaccine so far, and I look forward to hearing from Nova Scotians as this continues to unfold.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

MR. ANDREW YOUNGER: Mr. Speaker, I'm glad - we've actually moved a little ways since Question Period this afternoon, because we know how many people have been vaccinated now, which I think is an important step. I appreciate the fact that the minister has provided the House with that information, because I think it is important to know where we've come along, but it does point to one of the reasons why we feel - and I feel - that the House should certainly remain open and we shouldn't be musing about closing the House down while we're in the middle of what appears to be a growing pandemic. Certainly the Liberal caucus feels that we should be in this House on a daily basis, ready to address and addressing daily, having updates from the minister on where things are, and so it is certainly our hope that the House will not recess, as has been widely rumoured.

I think I would like to start with - well, I'll start by saying I agree with the minister that I don't think there's any point in blaming the federal government or a factory. I don't know this for certain but I'm sure the factory, I think it's GlaxoSmithKline or one of those, I'm sure they're pumping out the vaccine as fast as they can. I appreciate that, and I completely agree with the minister that there's no point in blaming people for not having enough vaccine here in the province, and I certainly don't blame the Minister of Health for

[Page 2200]

there not being enough vaccine in the province, but the concern is not about there not being the vaccine but in terms of how this was handled from the beginning.

It was a little bit frustrating during Question Period, Mr. Speaker, to hear the Premier respond that, well, no, we didn't tell everybody to go get vaccinated. I went back and looked at the Hansard transcripts, and that's exactly what was said, is everybody should go out and get vaccinated. We obviously want everybody to get vaccinated, you know, obviously we want that to happen, but the message was, get out there and do it. Now, sadly, we had a young child die in Ontario, and I'm sure that that pumped up the numbers on the first day. I'm sure that had an impact, but the fact of the matter is that people decided they wanted to get out there, and they heard the message from the government.

Mr. Speaker, I can remember the Minister of Health last week during Question Period standing up and criticizing members of the Opposition for not telling everybody to go out and make sure they get vaccinated. The funny thing about this is, you know, I was going to send out an e-mail newsletter to constituents in my area on Friday, and it had a section in it on H1N1 saying, you can call 811 and everybody should go get vaccinated and here's the list of clinics. Well, my goodness, good thing I didn't get it out until Monday because Sunday afternoon I was scrambling to change the whole thing around because all the clinics in Dartmouth East had been cancelled, we didn't have enough vaccine, and suddenly it's only certain people who can get it.

The Minister of Health should understand that members on this side of the House are also trying to get the message out to our constituents, but the challenge is about accurate information, and the changing information, and I want to give a couple of examples. The first example I'm going to give is a personal one. My son is two and a half years old and yesterday lined up - lined up with his mother, not by himself - at the Dartmouth Sportsplex to get vaccinated. Now, he's obviously in this high-risk category of between six months and 59 months of age.

An interesting thing happened at the Sportsplex yesterday. People were lined up around 5:00 a.m. to get into a clinic that I believe opened at 7:30 a.m. and they were lined up around the block. The Dartmouth Sportsplex, as the Minister of Education knows, is on a very big block. They were wrapped up because people were concerned and there were lines and lines of strollers. Now, I went by at 1:00 p.m. and the line still went around the block and it was an odd thing to see because - and we were lucky, it was about 15 degrees that day but imagine if it was raining or imagine if it was cold. Many Novembers are cold. How many Remembrance Days have we stood out in the freezing cold and the snow and so forth? There's a planning issue there where there was no way to accommodate these people because where would they have gone in the building, that number of people?

Now, my wife and my son ended up there at 3:00 p.m. and it was about a two-hour wait. It was mainly pregnant women and kids within the target group by that point. An

[Page 2201]

interesting thing happened when my wife went in. The nurse gave my son the vaccine and my wife said, I'm told that you're supposed to have a second shot 21 days later. The nurse said, well, we're getting mixed messages from the Department of Health on whether your son needs a second shot or not, and she looked and said, what?

Well, the answer was, they said, on Friday if you'd been here, I would have told you that he needed a second shot in 21 days. Yesterday we were told they didn't need a shot, today we're told they maybe need a second shot and the answer was, watch the news. Well, the problem is in the news every day there's a different story on what you need and so my wife left and was told that in 21 days - she was given a little card that said when the 21 days would happen, left not knowing whether she's supposed to take my son back and get a second shot or not, because the nurse didn't know. My wife talked to a number of people there who were very concerned. It didn't instill confidence at this event.

Second thing happened, so I'll tell you another story. A constituent of mine, John Fields, was in to see their doctor on Friday afternoon. What happened on Friday afternoon was that - his son is 63 months old. Now, I know we don't usually count kids in months by the time they hit 63 months, but the significance is, four months past the target age of 59 months. He was told by the doctor on Friday afternoon that, listen, your son is very ill, has very bad asthma, has some other conditions, chronic illnesses, your child must have this vaccine, in a very high-risk category, go to the Dartmouth Sportsplex, be there when they open, get the vaccine.

Of course, they're not big news watchers and they turned up on - they're worried all weekend, they don't want to go to the mall because what's going to happen is they go to the mall, they may get this flu and it's going to be disastrous for the child. What ended up happening was they go to the Dartmouth Sportsplex, line up, and they were told, I'm sorry, you're not in the high-risk group anymore. Well no, they're not, because the kid was 63 months old and we've taken the chronic illnesses off that list, or the government has, and that's a problem.

So you can imagine how concerned this person is. I had a panicked call through my constituency assistant this afternoon. This person was convinced by their doctor on Friday afternoon that H1N1 is going to be hugely detrimental and damaging to their child, they're at imminent risk of getting it because of these conditions, that they're in the highest of high-risk categories, and now Monday they're not.

[6:30 p.m.]

The minister has suggested, and probably fairly, that they wouldn't have predicted this issue would have come forward with the vaccine, and I accept that - I accept the fact that the minister would have had no way of knowing that there would be a vaccine shortage. What I don't accept is the fact that even if you - knowing that you could only deal with a

[Page 2202]

certain number of people each day, any reasonable and intelligent program would have said let's take the highest-risk people first, whoever we're deciding they are, ensure they are vaccinated first. Even if we get - I think it is 1.4 million doses the province has ordered - 1.4 million doses on day one, you can't handle that many people.

So, Mr. Speaker, it strikes me that what you would end up doing is ensure that all the high-risk people, that's the front-line health workers, whether it's the children, whether it is pregnant women, whoever you decide those people are, have a tier list. Can you imagine going into an emergency room and them not triaging people? Can you imagine what that would be like? The guy with the sliver who shouldn't even be in the emergency room would come in front of the guy with a heart attack - yet that's how we ran the vaccination program, that's the plan the government had.

That's where I'm frustrated. While I accept the fact that the minister cannot be responsible for the fact that there are fewer doses - and I truly do accept that - and I accept the fact that there are issues in this that are out of her control and out of the government's control, but they were in control of the vaccination program and while it is true the Premier said there are other provinces with problems, there are some but there are also some provinces that aren't having problems. The provinces that are not having the significant problems are the ones where the governments had a tiered strategy or had a strategy that looked at it differently and said okay, we understand that there are more at-risk people, whether that is children, whether that is pregnant women, whether it is First Nations communities, whoever is determined to be the at-risk group.

A constituent of mine - and I'll table this if I can find it - faxed me a postcard here this afternoon that she got in the mail. I think there's a certain irony in the fact that she received this today - and I'll find it in a second and table it after. It's a postcard from the federal government saying go get the vaccine today and here are the high-risk groups. Well, the problem is the high-risk groups on the postcard are entirely different than the high-risk groups that the minister has announced. So now we have a situation where the provincial Department of Health is sending out messages that they have certain high-risk groups and the federal level of government is sending out a different message. This is absolutely baffling to me.

If I'm sitting at home and I'm not following this kind of stuff, I mean we're here, we kind of know what's going on - at least we like to believe we know what is going on. But somebody at home who doesn't follow politics, doesn't watch the news because the news is all done out of Toronto now instead of being done locally, they're sitting there and saying, well, I got a postcard in the mail from the federal government and they're saying I should go to this clinic - in fact it was somebody who fell into one of these categories who actually faxed this to me earlier today and expressed this concern.

[Page 2203]

I said, you're right, it says on there, asthma, it says if you have chronic illnesses. I believe it talked about children as well - and, Mr. Speaker, I will find it. My ministerial assistant next to me is going to work to find that. (Laughter) Sorry, we need a bit of lightness here sometimes.

The thing about this is it's all about communication. There are people in Nova Scotia who are scared now, and they're scared - you know, the minister said the Opposition shouldn't be fear-mongering. Well, it's the government that created a situation where they told everybody to go get this vaccine - rush out and get it; please go and get it. Now they've created a situation where the public is scared that if they don't get it on time, something awful is going to happen to them.

We know that H1N1 has the potential to be very dangerous for a lot of people; we know that H1N1 could end up hurting people. Hopefully we will not see any fatalities here, but we know that's a risk. We know that at the school - I talked about the child of John Fields earlier. Well, you know, Mr. Fields' child attends a school where 90 of the kids in that school are out with flu-like symptoms. My son's babysitter has flu-like symptoms and is out of school and doesn't know if it's H1N1 or a seasonal flu. People start to get - my neighbour's brother's kid has been diagnosed in Newfoundland with H1N1. This makes people concerned.

On Halloween night, now, I don't usually get a lot of kids on Halloween night, but we had half a dozen kids because parents don't even know what to do, and I don't blame them because, you know, I had people calling me on the weekend and saying - like my neighbour said to me, well, I have an appointment for my son to get the shot. I said, I don't know whether your doctor is going to give your son the shot, because your kid is 9 years old. He said, oh, no, no, no, we have an appointment. So there are people with appointments who think they're going to get the shot and then, you know, in her case, for example, she turned up and the doctor is not giving the shot anymore because they're not in the high-risk group.

This is what causes people to be concerned, and I know my time is running out here, Mr. Speaker, but I want the minister to understand that the concern - I don't blame the minister for there not being enough vaccine in the province, or the supply problems. The blame that I put at the government's feet is the fact that this was handled poorly in the first place, when they would have known it was impossible to vaccinate everybody all at once anyway, and it should have been triage, just like any health care system is triage, just like most other provinces and the U.S. triage.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Argyle.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, it's my pleasure to stand this evening to speak for a few moments on the issue before us of H1N1 vaccination.

[Page 2204]

I would say probably two weeks ago, we took assurances from this minister, we took assurances from the Medical Officer of Health, we took assurances from the Deputy Minister of Health Promotion and Protection, that everything was going to be fine, that we were going to have all the doses of vaccination that we would need in order to cover the whole province.

I know that a couple of weeks ago it was sort of a 50-50 when you talked to people, whether they were going to get vaccinated or not, because people didn't necessarily trust the new vaccination - they weren't too sure, it hasn't been tried out and all that. Two weeks ago - it seems to be a long time from where we are today. In the meantime, I'll say in that two weeks we've seen a whole bunch of missteps, miscommunications, complications, confusion. What we've seen - and I think the nexus, or the point, that really changed the mind of Canadians when it comes to the vaccination was, of course, the death of the 13-year-old in Ontario. When that boy passed away because of complications of H1N1, I think the acceptance of the vaccine just sort of went boom - everybody from that point on made a decision that they would receive the vaccine, as well as their families, their children, and everybody. Two weeks ago to today are two completely different discussions.

I can't stand here and really lay the blame on anyone, but what I can blame for the shortfall or for the confusion that we have today is, of course, the government that sits before us. The buck stops with the minister. The minister has said this on a number of occasions over the last number of weeks - that, you know, the buck stops with her. She is responsible for it. So she is the one who needs to respond to it.

Mr. Speaker, during her few moments before us, she said we have a plan, but I think part of that plan is, well, it's the plan today, it's probably going to change tomorrow and it will probably change again on Thursday. Just the issue of whether children should come back for the second inoculation is a tremendous amount of confusion for families. The member for Dartmouth East talked about the experience that his wife had when she went for the inoculation for their child. When the health care worker who is sitting there really doesn't know what to tell the patient, I think that's unacceptable. It's absurd.

The minister from across the aisle here said, well, the science is changing. Okay, the science is changing, we need to use science in order to direct the way health care is offered in this province, but just that one issue alone will continue to confuse parents. So, if we're supposed to get it in 21 days, what's in place to ensure that children will be getting that second inoculation? I mean, if we're saying today we have approximately 160,000 doses and 82,000 people have already received their shot in the arm - we did that over a little less than a week period. Well, unless we have another infusion of vaccine where we hear that it's coming - but when is it coming? What kind of vaccine is it going to be? Because now we have two types of vaccine, one with an agent, one without an agent. In 21 days, are we going to have to relive the confusion that we've had over the last number of days?

There are still a lot of unknowns here and what our caucus has tried to do, as well as the Liberal caucus, is to underline the concerns that we are hearing as MLAs in our

[Page 2205]

constituency offices. One that I heard of yesterday I found interesting. Of course the start for inoculation is at six months to 59 months, but there's very little discussion on ways around preventing the H1N1, or the flu, for children under six months of age. In my mind, it would be easy to say, well, there are two caregivers there - why aren't the caregivers provided with a vaccination in order to protect that baby? I know the member for Richmond was mentioning that just earlier this evening.

The issue of falling through, of creating long lineups, is one that I don't know if it was fully thought forward, you know, the size of the clinic that's going to be provided, or whether there was a different way to provide it, which I think is why New Brunswick has gone out and said, we're going to provide vaccinations to school-age children, so we're going to go to the schools so that there's less travelling and bringing people into a centre.

What we are seeing is hundreds, if not thousands, of people in lineups and queues waiting to be told whether they get the vaccination or not. Well, in my mind, that's kind of counterproductive because you're bringing these people from everywhere, which is what the experience was in Hants County last week. You had people coming from the city, you had people coming from the Valley, and today of course we found out we had people coming from New Brunswick in order to get inoculations. So we're creating that cross contamination of communities here.

You know, if it is in a community, let's say in Moncton, well who is to say that the folks that came down to Hants County didn't bring it with them and, in contact with the people who are in the lineup, didn't transfer that to other communities in this province?

Had we taken an approach of more of a moving program where you went to see the schools, or went to see certain - I mean, we can't get everybody. I'm not proposing that we go to everybody's house and give them an inoculation, but we have certain core groups that we were able to innoculate in a larger way so that we weren't going to have to bring them to one place. I'm thinking out loud on that one, say if there would have been a better place for that.

The minister also talked a little bit about the larger health care group of 30,000 people and maybe some of them didn't require the vaccination and she talks about administration people or people who work in the kitchen.

[6:45 p.m.]

Well, I think everybody in that group is important for the operation of the hospital. If you don't have cleaners, kitchen staff, maintenance people, the hospital doesn't work very well. Maybe they don't see a patient, but they're going to see someone that did in the course of the day. But, is that group a high-risk group? I don't know. Are they going to get sick and be out for a few days? Probably so, because that seems to be what is happening.

[Page 2206]

Again, I go back to two weeks ago - and like I said, I supported the minister in getting people to accept the vaccination. I actually ran a resolution in this House asking people to get the vaccination. But that was then, because everything was available then, everything was fine, don't worry about it. Today, I feel kind of silly that I put that resolution on the floor of this House. I feel kind of silly that I said to go out and get it.

What we're hearing today - and I have four or five calls that I have to get back to this evening from people who are confused with what's happening in their local clinics. What's going on? Where am I going to be able to get my inoculation and again, who can get it? I'm going to table this as well, it is a copy of an e-mail, I want to read it before I table it. I only made one copy.

This is from the South West Health and this is talking about the next couple of clinics. I'm going to read it to you:

"South West Health is pleased to report we have enough H1N1 vaccine to give flu shots to all priority, high risk groups in the Tri-Counties. This means there is enough vaccine for the following people who need to get the flu shot first:

The above people should attend the first available, upcoming H1N1 flu shot clinic, but because there is not enough vaccine for these groups" - contradicts here a little bit - "it is not necessary to start lining up before the clinic opens. The next clinics are:"

Saulnierville Legion - Thursday, November 5th from 12:00 noon to 7:00 p.m.; Digby Curling Club - the member for Digby-Annapolis wants to know this one - Monday, November 9th.

"Please note: Shelburne clinic planned for Wed. Nov. 4 has been cancelled."

[Page 2207]

Okay, the folks in Digby-Annapolis and Clare are going to be able to access the vaccine but in this case some folks in Shelburne and in Argyle are not going to be able to access that vaccine. So, I'm going to table that.

I feel bad here for the district health authority who is still trying to juggle the number of vaccines that it has, and trying to have these little clinics, and God knows how many people are going to line up at these ones to be told that once again you're not a part of the group, take a hike.

I understand now why the minister thanked the RCMP. I think in a lot of cases they're providing a little bit of crowd control at these clinics. There are so many people lining up for them and I'm sure tempers are starting to flare when they're told, your child's too old, your child isn't sick enough, you should go home. The minister opened her comments talking about a father and his children. I can say I'm the proud father of two boys, one is 7 and one is 11. Neither one of them fit into those priority groups whatsoever.

I know that between my wife and I, we're going to try our best to get them into a clinic as soon as one is available but when is that one going to be available? Our question is, when will all those priority groups be covered? When does that happen? Does that happen this week, does it happen next week? Am I going to be able to line up at my doctor's office or am I going to have to get into the chaos of lining up at the Lions Club or at École Secondaire De Par-En-Bas or wherever that place is going to be? Is it going to be in two weeks, is it going to be in three weeks?

I asked a question around that in the House a week or so ago, that the list didn't make sense. Why were my clinics - the clinics in Argyle and the clinics further out - being scheduled for November 26th or November 29th and into December? Well, I understand why now. It is because there isn't enough vaccine for everybody, unlike what we were told a couple of weeks ago. We're going to have to push people off.

Mr. Speaker, I think what we were trying to say all along is that had that information been conveyed to the population at that time, none of this confusion would be happening today, but we have tremendous confusion going on. We have people who are upset, people who are scared and we need to find better ways to provide them with that information and we have to do our best to make sure that the vaccines are going to be available to them when they need them.

Mr. Speaker, I look forward to the next speakers in tonight's debate and I hope that we all come out with a consensus that we all need to do what we can do to make sure that people in our communities receive the vaccine that they deserve. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.

[Page 2208]

MS. VICKI CONRAD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to speak on this very important debate on the H1N1 vaccination program. I do want to say first that, given the rapidly changing circumstances on vaccine supply and scientific data relating to the H1N1, that I'm really pleased to see that this government and this government's Health Minister and Dr. Strang, along with all of the medical health providers across this province, have acted very quickly and very responsibly in meeting those rapidly changing circumstances.

Mr. Speaker, I just want to take you back a bit and offer some history on H1N1 here in Nova Scotia. As you may remember, Nova Scotia was the first province in Canada to have cases of H1N1 last Spring. A group of students got sick with the flu after returning to Nova Scotia from a trip to Mexico last Spring. Health officials responded immediately. They identified it as H1N1 and the students got the appropriate attention.

As the first wave of H1N1 developed across the country, there were more cases in Nova Scotia and some of those cases required hospitalization. A Nova Scotia woman died of H1N1-related complications. Over the summer, the World Health Organization declared H1N1 a pandemic.

The federal government, along with public health officials, began planning for the second wave of the H1N1 pandemic expected to hit late this Fall. Those plans included the largest mass immunization program in Canadian history. It included a contract with vaccine maker GlaxoSmithKline which would provide enough vaccine for every Canadian who wanted to be vaccinated.

By September, there was concern from public health officials that Canadians were complacent and not concerned enough about H1N1 to bother getting the shot. Ad campaigns were developed to encourage Canadians to get vaccinated. Here in Nova Scotia, we've seen those same sorts of campaigns to encourage Nova Scotians to be vaccinated.

Then the first shipments of the vaccine went out across Canada, less than two weeks ago, allocated based on population. The plan was unfolding as expected, then last week there were high-profile cases of two teens who died from H1N1 complications, and I can't tell you, Mr. Speaker, how much all the members on this side of the House, and every parent across this country - how they would have felt knowing that our most vulnerable, our most loved and cherished people in our families - not that all members aren't, but it had a change in the public's perception. It did have a change in the public's perception. Suddenly many more Canadians wanted the vaccine than was originally expected. So, unfortunately, the death of those two teenage children really heightened the awareness across this country about H1N1.

Last week the provincial Health Ministers were informed that there were problems at the plant, and for at least the next week far fewer doses of vaccine would be distributed than originally promised. That left Nova Scotia with a significant and unexpected shortfall.

[Page 2209]

Health officials here in Nova Scotia responded quickly to the situation and designated priority groups to receive the vaccine. Those groups have clearly been outlined already here today. They were selected based on the evidence to date, and this is very important to remember: they were selected based on the evidence to date about who becomes most seriously ill from H1N1.

No one would argue that given the current situation of an unexpected shortfall, the vaccine in the province should go to those who need it most, and that's exactly what the government has done. Nova Scotia is actually in a better position than some provinces which are about to run out of vaccine. We still have vaccine available that can be delivered to those most at risk. This is the responsible thing to do, and that is exactly what is being done. This government has also gone to special effort to ensure the public is well informed through daily briefings from the Chief Medical Officer. This government has specifically ensured that the Opposition is briefed as the situation changes. This is an evolving situation, one that Nova Scotians are rightly concerned about. What isn't right is for some of those in responsible positions to distort that concern and unnecessarily escalate it, and I can't stress that enough. What this situation doesn't need is panic across this province.

It is important, Mr. Speaker, for all of us here in this House and beyond to work together to ensure we are providing Nova Scotians with the best possible protection in the face of this pandemic. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I'll ask the members to give respect to the member who's speaking.

The honourable member for Queens has the floor.

MS. CONRAD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Right now what that means is maintaining a sense of co-operation and calm and ensuring that those most in need move to the front of the line. We all know that Nova Scotians are sensible. They're sensible and they certainly understand the dynamics of this rapidly-changing situation. As the vaccine arrives over the next days and weeks, the list of those next in line for the vaccine will expand until every Nova Scotian who wants the vaccination will receive it.

We have been planning for a pandemic for more than a decade. Pandemic influenza plans exist at the national, provincial, and local levels, and are designed to work together. Overall goals are to decrease and contain serious illness and minimize societal disruption with this situation. Over the last several years a lot of work has been done to respond to emergency issues, and the priority is to manage the response to a pandemic while continuing - and this is important - continuing to refine the pandemic plan.

[7:00 p.m.]

[Page 2210]

There are a lot of challenges, Mr. Speaker, in pandemic planning and no one can prepare for unexpected vaccine shortages. Members have to understand that at the start of this vaccine program, vaccine shortage was not an issue. It is a dynamic situation, and research and public opinion is shifting constantly. The medical science changes and require updating and decision making around those updates. We are seeing people across the country having different symptoms; some are experiencing very mild symptoms, some are experiencing very severe symptoms and complications requiring hospitalization, and we do know that there have been some deaths related to H1N1.

Understanding our decisions, the decisions this government makes, the decision this Health Minister makes and the decisions that the Chief Medical Officer of the province makes in consultation, will impact different people in different ways, Mr. Speaker. The priority groups since the shortage of the vaccine have been identified as, and I'll repeat: children six months of age to five years; pregnant women and pregnant women up to four weeks post-partum; First Nation communities; and front-line health care workers. These priority groups have been identified because they are most likely to get severely ill and perhaps require hospitalization.

Mr. Speaker, vaccine supply versus demand has been an issue in the last week. Currently, as the Minister of Health had indicated, there have been 160,000 doses of vaccine available for a total population in Nova Scotia of 939,475 Nova Scotians. There are 472,279 Nova Scotians under the age of 65 with chronic illnesses. There are 133,000 students in Primary to Grade 12, and there are approximately 37,824 children aged six months to five years. There are a total of 33,000 health care workers in this province; there are 8,943 residents in First Nation communities; and there are approximately 8,426 pregnant women, and that does not include post-partum women.

MR. SPEAKER: Honourable member, I wonder if you could table that information please.

MS. CONRAD: I certainly can, Mr. Speaker. As of today and as the Minister of Health has already indicated, we estimate that 82,745 Nova Scotians have been vaccinated. That represents 9 per cent of the population. There have been 13,500 doses of adjuvanted vaccine to arrive on Wednesday; 5,400 doses of unadjuvanted vaccine will be distributed to DHAs, now, for pregnant women. We will continue vaccinating the first group and we will reassess vaccine supplies daily and when supply allows, vaccinations will happen to other at-risk groups, and finally there will be vaccinations available for the rest of the general population, those who are wanting to receive the vaccination.

Mr. Speaker, I want to remind all members of the House that this government, this Minister of Health along with Dr. Strang, our Chief Medical Officer of the province, and all health care workers have been working diligently on ensuring that Nova Scotians get the best information, the most up-to-date information, daily, and are receiving the vaccinations based on the criteria of those priority groups. We have to be mindful, again, not to escalate the

[Page 2211]

situation any more than it has already been escalated. Nova Scotians are a sensible lot and they do understand and respect the information that they are receiving daily.

I just want to say that on a national level, we're still seeing the virus affect high-risk groups more severely than the general population. I can also tell you that this Minister of Health and this government will be sharing specific information over the coming days about the epidemiological data from Nova Scotia. That data will provide information on how the vaccination program is working. It will outline how many people have received the vaccinations, how many people have been diagnosed with H1N1, how many people have been hospitalized, and where the outbreaks are occurring across the province. That's just a smattering of the information that's being collected and will be collected on a regular basis as we go through the coming weeks, as this pandemic grows and changes.

I have complete faith in this government and the Minister of Health and all of the people that share in the planning for this pandemic, and I want to thank you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to debate this issue.

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

MS. KELLY REGAN: Mr. Speaker, certainly this vaccination program has been a massive effort, and the health care workers who have been working so tirelessly to organize and implement it are to be commended.

We feel, in the Official Opposition, that the House should not rise later this week as has been rumoured, but that we should continue to remain in the House so that we can receive - I believe the member for Queens referred to it as daily accurate information. We need it in this House so that we can hold the government to account for its performance during this very crucial time.

I do feel it's important to give credit where credit is due. I do think the government did an excellent job of alerting Nova Scotians to the need to get vaccinated. The Premier's reluctance to admit this today is, quite frankly, puzzling.

Almost from the beginning of the clinics, members on this side of the House were calling for priority lists. We could see that this was a massive effort, and we could not see how it was going to happen effectively without a priority list or without some efforts to organize outside of the clinics. By all accounts, what we've heard is what happens inside the clinics has been extremely well run, but the scenes outside have been a huge concern for us. The long lines - I can't tell you the number of people I've heard from who have small children, who stood in line for three, four, five, six hours to get their small children vaccinated. Those of us who have children know that it's not always fun to stand outside for six hours in the cold with four young children, or three young children, or two.

[Page 2212]

I think that the lack of a priority list right off the top made that more difficult for parents. It certainly made it more difficult for pregnant women. It was very clear to us that you could only have so many people going into those clinics all at once, and as my colleague, the member for Dartmouth East has alluded to, in health care you generally apply a triage principle, and this was not happening.

My colleague also referred to the postcard that came in the mail, and if we look at the groups that were identified by the federal government in this H1N1 preparedness guide postcard, it said, children under five years old, women who are pregnant, and then people with chronic conditions such as heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, asthma and chronic lung disease, liver disease, blood disorders, severe obesity, immunosuppressed people - and that would be people who are taking cancer drugs or people with HIV/AIDS and those with neurological disorders.

Last week I checked on the Centre for Disease Control in Atlanta and they had many of the same targeted groups listed. It says on their Web site that if the supply of the vaccine initially available is not adequate to meet demand for vaccination among the target groups listed, they recommend the following subset of initial targets and it lists pregnant women, people who live with or provide care for infants below the age of six months, i.e. parents, siblings and daycare providers. I have heard from so many parents who are very, very concerned. They know their babies, their newborns, their preemies cannot get vaccinated but now neither can their parents. So their caregivers are going off to work during the day and coming home at night and hoping they're not transmitting it to their children.

The CDC brief also goes on to indicate it would vaccinate health care and emergency medical services personnel who have direct contact with patients or infectious material, children aged six months to four years and then children and adolescents aged five to 18 years who have medical conditions that put them at higher risk for influenza-related complications.

I have to tell you that I have heard from a lot of parents who have children who have medical conditions, such as asthma - but not just limited to asthma - who are very concerned about sending their children out the door to school and they cannot get them vaccinated. Conversely, I'm hearing from constituents who are extremely upset because they're hearing from friends who have relatives who are health workers and they vaccinated their entire families. It's not just one case where we've heard this but it's been several cases where various members of our caucus have had e-mails saying that not just the immediate family of health care workers but the extended family of health care workers were vaccinated. That happened last week and we're wondering how that could possibly happen.

I'm wondering if the minister has any way, in fact, of keeping track of who has been vaccinated. Do we know who has been vaccinated? Are there any lists? Apparently we're not required to show our MSI cards so do we know that the people who we are actually

[Page 2213]

vaccinating are from here? I understand somebody could be here undergoing health treatment and they might need a vaccination and that's perfectly acceptable. In fact I just heard of a case of a Nova Scotia woman who is up in Ottawa and couldn't get a vaccination up there, even though she was up there for health care treatment and had to contact her Member of Parliament to make sure that that could actually get done.

When people are getting sick right now, we're being told that if you have flu-like symptoms you should assume you have H1N1. In my household last week we had a scare because our oldest daughter who's away at university, had the flu and she was not with us so she didn't spread it around to the rest of the family so members in this House don't have to worry about that. It was a tense time for us because she is in one of those targeted groups. She is a person who has asthma, she has a chronic illness, and she is also allergic to most forms of antibiotics. That day I got a little glimpse of what parents of small children have been going through because they know that their children have no defences. So we're sending our - we're asking people whose children are below the age of six months to have faith, we are not vaccinating those parents. I think that's wrong.

The member for Argyle discussed a clinic in his riding that was cancelled. Let me tell you, in Bedford we wish we had clinics. We wish we had clinics in Bedford, in Birch Cove, in Clayton Park, in Hammonds Plains. There are no clinics. I keep hearing from constituents saying, why are we second-class citizens? Why don't we have clinics out here? Why is it only in certain areas? Quite frankly, I couldn't answer that. I mean, I've heard that we don't have clinics because they can't have them multiple days in a row, but the fact of the matter is if we were going to have government workers vaccinated on November 5th and then again on November 10th, those aren't multiple days in a row. So I don't understand why that was.

[7:15 p.m.]

We have also heard about an evidence-based vaccination. I want to point out that the deaths that have occurred in Canada have been among a certain age group. I don't know what more evidence you need that 10-year-olds and 14-year-olds are at risk if it isn't deaths.

I feel strongly that this House should not rise. I feel strongly that the members of this House should be here to respond to our constituents, to make sure the government is held to account for their procedure in this matter. I do not feel that our response thus far has been measured or well thought out. Again, the conduct inside the clinics has been excellent by all accounts, but getting people in the doors has been troublesome, has been less than exemplary, and I think we can do a better job, and we must do a better job, and in the weeks ahead, we need to see a better performance from this government. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cumberland South.

[Page 2214]

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, I want to begin by thanking my colleagues to my right for bringing forward this very important issue tonight. I think if there's one thing that's on the minds of all Nova Scotians today, and has been over the last few weeks, it's the issue of H1N1 and the fear that Nova Scotians have right now with regard to loved ones, particularly those ones who are at risk and the whole issue of how this is being handled.

I listened with great interest to the member for Queens who talked about several things, one was around the issue of planning. She mentioned that plans for this have been going on for a number of years. If we, as Nova Scotians, accept that the planning has been going on for a long time and that this is well planned, I'd simply like to ask her what went wrong? What has gone wrong here?

If there's such a great plan by this government, by the minister, by the Premier, if this is so well thought out, so well planned over the last few weeks and months, what went wrong? I can tell you, people in Nova Scotia, people in my area are saying something went awry and it's very bad.

Five months into the mandate of this government people today are questioning the ability of this government to manage a pandemic such as we're seeing today. This is a real test for this government and the government sits over there and they don't want to hear this. They'll look away and think about other things and they don't want to hear what Nova Scotians are saying, but I can tell you from the calls, e-mails, people I've met who are talking about this - you may be able to sit over there and say don't worry or, as the member for Cape Breton South likes to say, why should we trust you now?

Well, that's the question I would like to ask. Why would Nova Scotians trust this government now? If there has been an issue in five months that had been poorly handled by the minister, by the Department of Health and by the Premier, this is it.

Today in Question Period - I'm going to read for the record, it's in the record, but I'm going to read it anyway, Mr. Speaker. Today in Question Period I thought I brought before this House a legitimate question on behalf of a constituent who is very afraid and worried about her daughter, who is 10 years old, Emily Hoeg. For clarification, it's spelled Hoeg, although it's spelled differently in Hansard and I'm going to correct that, but Emily Hoeg's mom, Pam, called me the other day and she's very concerned about the health of her daughter. Her daughter is asthmatic. The plans were for her to get this vaccine and she was told, at the last minute, that she was not going to get it because she didn't fit the minister's priority, which has been talked about a lot here in the last day or so.

Mr. Speaker, I'd like to know what the minister would tell Pam Hoeg and Emily Hoeg as to why this little girl is not going to get this vaccine. I heard the member for Queens say as well, we shouldn't be raising the hype of people, we shouldn't be getting people all upset in this province, we should tell them, don't worry about it, it's all under control, don't worry about it.

[Page 2215]

Well, you call Pam and tell her why she shouldn't worry about her daughter getting this vaccine. I'd like to hear how that would be explained to Pam.

Mr. Speaker, what the Premier said today was, "But I can tell the member opposite that the decisions with respect to who gets these vaccines first will be based on science . . . " and I understand that, and second ". . . it will be based on medicine." I understand that but then he says, "It will not be based on the interference of politicians in the process." Can you imagine? I cannot believe the Premier of this province has actually said that in this Legislature, "It will not be based on the interference of politicians in the process." I can't believe it.

Mr. Speaker, for 12 years, for the information of the new member here tonight, I listened to the Premier today bring every issue you can imagine in this House, bring every individual he could before this House, whether it was in the gallery, outside, demanding meetings.

AN HON. MEMBER: A weak moment.

MR. SCOTT: Well, he had a lot of weak moments. If it was a weak moment, he had a lot of weak moments because I've watched and listened over the years as he brought before this House many serious issues, which I agree with, but never once, Mr. Speaker, did I ever hear a Premier say back to him that he was interfering as a politician. I cannot believe that the Premier said that today in this House.

Mr. Speaker, I've been elected by the people of Cumberland South and I can tell you that I'm here to represent Pam Hoeg, and I'm here to represent Emily Hoeg, a little 10-year-old girl about whom her mother is very concerned. Now, as I brought before the House today, Newfoundland and Labrador has just admittedly seen the first casualty of H1N1. They've said that lady was asthmatic. Now, I'm not a doctor, I have no idea whether that contributed to that issue or not, I have no idea whether it did, but I know that Pam Hoeg is concerned enough about her daughter, her daughter has serious health problems and she doesn't want to see it compounded by her not having the ability to get this vaccine.

Now, Mr. Speaker, back to what was said earlier tonight, that this is well planned out and the government has got it all under control. Well, I would like to know what went wrong because we have had, it would be like a retailer having 50 items on sale and 1,000 people lining up to get it and they wait until the 49th person is in and go out and say to the rest of them, by the way, sorry, there's none left, go home. That's what is happening out there. We had seniors, people with their children, in lineups by the hour and then to be told, sorry, there's nothing left for you, go home.

[Page 2216]

Then we find out, Mr. Speaker - and I raised it in the House today - that we had New Brunswickers coming to Nova Scotia to get the vaccine. When I asked about it, the answer was, oh, well, we didn't know, we don't know if that's true or not. Well, I brought it before the House because I thought it was an important enough issue, that the minister herself said these vaccines are allotted to the province based on the population. So the expectation would be then that people of the province would get the vaccine. I understand, some members have said that there may be students here, there may be people here for health reasons, and I understand that. My question is around people coming across the border into Nova Scotia, like shopping, coming over here because they know there is availability of the vaccine and maybe they can't get it at home.

I've been told, Mr. Speaker, they're coming from as far away as Saint John, down in Enfield, as far as Enfield to get that vaccine, and you can't blame them but some instructions need to be given to health care workers. Health care workers are working tremendously hard and they deserve credit for this but they need direction from the minister. To this point the minister has not given them that direction. When anybody can show up, you can't leave it to the health care worker to decide whether someone should be entitled to that or not, whether they live here or not. Very simply with an MSI card, it would have cleared that very quickly.

Mr. Speaker, health care workers who are working overtime to try to address this issue are not given the clear direction from the Department of Health and from the minister that they deserve to get. I think if one thing will come clear in all this, is that the minister and the Department of Health, in her office, have not done what they've been sworn to do. I can almost bet that if the government was sitting on the Opposition benches today and the previous government was sitting over there, do you know what they would be asking for? They would be asking for the resignation of the Minister of Health. Yes, they would. I've watched and listened. I've watched that crowd for 12 years. Every personal issue you bring forward, well, the Minister of Health shrugs her shoulders and says, oh, well, it's like everything else in here. Everything we brought before them, oh, well, don't worry about it, we got it under control.

Mr. Speaker, we've sat and watched them over the years. The first thing they would be doing is calling for the head of the minister. You haven't heard that from us because there are legitimate questions that the people in this province want asked. When we bring it before the House, what do we get? Don't worry about it. We didn't know that, don't worry about it, it's under control, we've been planning for this.

Well, Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians can see right through this. You tell that to the seniors who were standing out by the hour in the cold, only to find out at the end that they have to go home. You ask that of the people who have children, who are questioning - why wasn't this done in the schools?

[Page 2217]

You know, one thing the government did right from day one was, everybody has to get it, everybody has to get it. They said that over and over. Even people that weren't sure about getting it said, you know what? Well, I better get it because the government is saying I should. So as they move toward making their minds up now, we'll get it, and then they're told, well, sorry, we can't give it to you because we don't have the vaccine now.

This has to be the most poorly-planned response to an emergency in this province that has been seen here for years. They can sit over there and say, don't worry, everything is fine, we're going to look after you, but Nova Scotia is no better. You go tell the people out there that are calling, writing, and phoning, and saying why, what's wrong with these people? You answer them, let the government tell them - we don't have the answers for them, but we're trying to ask questions on their behalf. I know my time is short. I was going to share my time with the honourable member for Cape Breton West, but I guess it will have to wait for another day.

Mr. Speaker, to sit over there and criticize the Opposition for bringing forward legitimate concerns on behalf of Nova Scotia doesn't cut it. This is a serious issue. I would think the minister and the Premier would get up and say, those are legitimate concerns and we don't have the information, but we'll try to get it for you, or we'll try to do better, but no. What do they do? They shrug it off - don't worry about it, we've got it under control, and trust us, we know what we're doing here and don't worry about it. Well, Nova Scotians know better than that, and Nova Scotia is expecting more from this government, and it's pretty clear the pattern this government is setting for itself.

My questions around these issues won't stop tonight, as I'm sure my colleagues will, and I agree with the member opposite - let's stay here for another few weeks and let's ask some more questions. Maybe by then the minister will have some answers to questions that she didn't have today.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.

HON. MARILYN MORE: Mr. Speaker, I certainly appreciate the opportunity to stand and take part in this very reasoned, informed debate, and I thank the Opposition Party for presenting this topic.

I just want to confirm that the health of every Nova Scotian is the number one priority for my government, and I'm going to start off with a few general remarks, but then I'd like to give you a little bit of detail about the planning that has been done by both my departments - the Department of Education, and the Department of Labour and Workforce Development - to help prepare our province and Nova Scotians to be able to respond to this pandemic situation.

[Page 2218]

I want to start off by saying that I have full confidence in my government's H1N1 strategy. It's working, it's effective, and it also has the flexibility to change as needed as the situation evolves. I want to say that my two departments in particular, but I know other departments as well, are working very closely with our public health authorities in the province to get the latest informed research and analysis and recommendations in terms of how we should be working with our partners, department by department.

I know that this province, through Health Promotion and Protection - that the government is working very closely with its partners in all the other provinces and territories, and also with the Public Health Agency of Canada, that is in regular contact with the World Health Organization. This is a situation that's facing every country in the world, and although it's being phased in and impacting differently in different countries, there's a lot that we can learn from one another. That's why, as the best practices and the research results change, we want to make sure that we're as up-to-date as possible and that we're bringing that information and acting upon it in our province.

[7:30 p.m.]

I just want to remind everyone that every Nova Scotian has a role to play during the pandemic, that we all have a role in minimizing the spread and preventing the spread of H1N1, as well as seasonal flu, throughout the province. I'm sure members on the opposite side have noticed that I have been modeling the appropriate etiquette for sneezing and coughing on a regular basis, just to provide a good example to everyone how you can minimize the spread of germs, and I'm sure that all members in this House are regularly washing their hands, staying home when they're ill and practising those good, sort of personal hygiene standards that will go a long way to preventing the spread of the flu and viruses in general.

Certainly in time, as each of our particular identified groups are able to be vaccinated, I know that will encourage people to go out as it is being phased in over the next several months.

I was somewhat reassured - in the past, seasonal flu has certainly had a major impact on our older residents, and in my family my mother has been the object of concern, and she called me the other night just to reassure me that she had her seasonal flu shot and that she realized she was not high risk so she was quite patient and was willing to wait her turn and let all the other priority categories of citizens go before her. I thought that was a very reasonable, mature approach, and I want to thank my mother for reassuring me that she understood why high-risk people needed to be fast-tracked in terms of having access to the vaccine.

So in terms of what's happening with the Education Department, I want to mention that a couple of influenza tool kits appropriate for both H1N1 and seasonal flu were

[Page 2219]

prepared. An early version was sent out to school boards before the end of the last school year and a revised up-to-date version was provided before the start of this school year, towards the end of August, early September.

I'm going to table these - one is the influenza tool kit for school administrators, and the other is the influenza tool kit for college and university administrators. So I will table those documents. They have very relevant up-to-date, best research, best practices information in there in order to help the school boards and the post-secondary system, both universities and community colleges, prepare their staff and students to protect themselves and their fellow workers and students.

Certainly our superintendents, as the sort of chief administrative officers of the school boards around the province, have had regular meetings and conference calls with our public health officials. They have been updated on a regular basis and they're able to revise and incorporate that information into their local planning. They are all very professional, well-intentioned, and certainly the individual plans that the school boards have prepared are very appropriate for the situation and for their communities.

Also, we've upgraded some of the cleaning protocols. On the advice of public health authorities, we've asked school boards to implement - which they have done - a thorough daily cleaning of high-touch surfaces in schools and universities and community colleges. We think this will go a long way to helping to control the spread.

Boards have actually been working with their public health officials also in terms of deciding where the community clinic should be placed. I believe only one school actually has a community clinic at the moment, but certainly if those facilities are required down the road they will be made available.

A lot of thought and effort and consideration went into the decision not to immunize the public school population at this time. You may be aware that there are 130,000 students between the ages of approximately five and 17 or 18 in our schools. It just didn't make sense to divert public health resources and the H1N1 vaccine to a group of residents who are not at high risk of having complications. So we fully support prioritizing pregnant women, children under five, health care workers, et cetera.

I also want to just quickly mention the Department of Labour and Workforce Development has prepared a question-and-answer document, that I will table as well, about H1N1 in the workplace. It provides information about the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the Labour Code compliance. It gives advice and information about business continuity plans and it also reinforces the generally good health practices that we're encouraging everyone to follow. It has been distributed to businesses throughout the province and also it has been posted on the government Web site.

[Page 2220]

So I just want to finish, Mr. Speaker, by saying that a lot of planning has gone into preparing for this pandemic and I'm confident that every department in the government is working hard to ensure that the impact will be minimized as much as possible and that we're taking a very thoughtful, reasoned, methodical approach, and we just want to reassure everyone that certainly the public health of Nova Scotians is our number one priority. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you, minister. That brings to an end this emergency debate. I want to thank all members for participating.

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

[The House rose at 7:36 p.m.]

[Page 2221]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 1017

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

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

Whereas Annapolis County's Will Neily paddled to top spot in the Windsor Pumpkin Regatta held on Lake Pisiquid on Sunday, October 11, 2009; and

Whereas Will, with a winning time of nine minutes and 52 seconds, managed to out-compete 53 other participants in his home grown pumpkin; and

Whereas Will is no stranger to pumpkins having secured many first place finishes in weigh-offs over the last decade with his giant pumpkins by using seaweed extract as his secret ingredient;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly join me in congratulating Will on his successful finish and wish him all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1018

By: Hon. Sterling Belliveau (Fisheries and Aquaculture)

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

Whereas the Shelburne County Women's Fish Net has once again organized and hosted another successful Harmony Bazaar Women in Song Festival in the seaside town of Lockeport, on July 24 to 26, 2009; and

Whereas through the volunteer efforts of the Shelburne County Women's Fish Net, the Harmony Bazaar Festival continues to grow each year, attracting such headline acts as world-renowned Cape Breton songstress Rita McNeil; and

Whereas the Harmony Bazaar Festival adds to the musical culture of Shelburne County and to the economy by attracting hundreds of visitors;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the Shelburne County Women's Fish Net for once again organizing and hosting another successful

[Page 2222]

Harmony Bazaar Women in Song Festival in the seaside town of Lockeport, on July 24 to 26.

RESOLUTION NO. 1019

By: Hon. Sterling Belliveau (Fisheries and Aquaculture)

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

Whereas Leona May Devine has once again unselfishly volunteered her time and effort in organizing the 29th Annual Terry Fox Run in Woods Harbour, on September 13, 2009; and

Whereas Leona May Devine has been organizing the Woods Harbour Terry Fox Run for some 24 years, generating the largest community response to the cause in Shelburne County during that time; and

Whereas through the efforts of Leona May Devine, participants in the Woods Harbour Terry Fox Run have raised in excess of $220,000 over the years for cancer research;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Leona May Devine for once again unselfishly volunteering her time and effort in organizing the 29th Annual Terry Fox Run in Woods Harbour, on September 13, 2009.

RESOLUTION NO. 1020

By: Hon. Sterling Belliveau (Fisheries and Aquaculture)

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

Whereas Cape Sable Island Elementary School student Josh Swim was a member of the winning team, the Shockers, at the Tri-County Regional School Board Science Olympics on June 4, 2009; and

Whereas Josh Swim helped his team to a first-place finish in Grade 6 competition; and

Whereas the Shockers were among the 27 teams of Grades 4 - 6 students who advanced to the Regional Science Olympics by topping district competition;

[Page 2223]

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Cape Sable Island Elementary School student Josh Swim, who was a member of the winning team, the Shockers, at the Tri-County Regional School Board Science Olympics, on June 4, 2009.

RESOLUTION NO. 1021

By: Hon. Sterling Belliveau (Fisheries and Aquaculture)

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

Whereas the Office Administration class at the Shelburne Campus of the Nova Scotia Community College raised over $4,000 during the 2008-2009 college year to help needy animals in Shelburne County; and

Whereas the class, led by instructor Anne Lovitt-Atwood, organized many events during the year to help the Beulah Burman Memorial Animal Society's animal rescue group PET Projects; and

Whereas the donation by the Office Administration class played a huge role in over 178 cats being spayed or neutered and 150 homeless animals finding a family;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the Office Administration class at the Shelburne Campus of the Nova Scotia Community College for raising over $4,000 during the 2008-2009 college year to help needy animals in Shelburne County.

RESOLUTION NO. 1022

By: Hon. Sterling Belliveau (Fisheries and Aquaculture)

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

Whereas Forest Ridge Academy student, Lauren Mundell, was a member of the winning team, Brainless Maniacs, at the Tri-County Regional School Board Science Olympics on June 4, 2009; and

Whereas Lauren Mundell helped her team to a third-place finish in Grade 4 competition; and

[Page 2224]

Whereas the Brainless Maniacs were among the 27 teams of Grades 4 through 6 students who advanced to the Regional Science Olympics by topping district competition;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Forest Ridge Academy student, Lauren Mundell, who was a member of the winning team, Brainless Maniacs, at the Tri-County Regional School Board Science Olympics on June 4, 2009.

RESOLUTION NO. 1023

By: Hon. Sterling Belliveau (Fisheries and Aquaculture)

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

Whereas Forest Ridge Academy student, Mattie Smith, was a member of the winning team, Science Monkeys, at the Tri-County Regional School Board Science Olympics on June 4, 2009; and

Whereas Mattie Smith helped his team to a first-place finish in Grade 4 competition; and

Whereas the Science Monkies were among the 27 teams of Grades 4 through 6 students who advanced to the Regional Science Olympics by topping district competition;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Forest Ridge Academy student, Mattie Smith, who was a member of the winning team, Science Monkeys, at the Tri-County Regional School Board Science Olympics on June 4, 2009.

RESOLUTION NO. 1024

By: Hon. Sterling Belliveau (Fisheries and Aquaculture)

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

Whereas Forest Ridge Academy student, Mimi Chalnor, was a member of the winning team, Atomic Atoms, at the Tri-County Regional School Board Science Olympics on June 4, 2009; and

Whereas Mimi Chalnor helped her team to a third-place finish in Grade 5 competition; and

[Page 2225]

Whereas the Atomic Atoms were among the 27 teams of Grades 4through 6 students who advanced to the Regional Science Olympics by topping district competition;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Forest Ridge Academy student, Mimi Chalnor, who was a member of the winning team, Atomic Atoms, at the Tri-County Regional School Board Science Olympics on June 4, 2009.

RESOLUTION NO. 1025

By: Hon. Sterling Belliveau (Fisheries and Aquaculture)

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

Whereas 13-year-old Morgan Messenger of Centerville, Cape Sable Island, was named all star forward in the Nova Scotia Mainland Peewee AAA Hockey League for the 2008-09 season; and

Whereas Morgan Messenger, who played centre for the Yarmouth Mariners, was team captain for the season and led his team with 40 goals and 42 assists; and

Whereas Morgan Messenger was one of three players in the league to receive all star forward status;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Morgan Messenger of Centerville, Cape Sable Island, for being named all star forward in the Nova Scotia Mainland Peewee AAA Hockey League for the 2008-09 season.

RESOLUTION NO. 1026

By: Hon. Sterling Belliveau (Fisheries and Aquaculture)

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

Whereas Lockeport Elementary student, Nate Cotter, was a member of the winning team, Goo Crew, at the Tri-County Regional School Board Science Olympics on June 4, 2009; and

Whereas Nate Cotter helped his team to a third-place finish in Grade 6 competition; and

[Page 2226]

Whereas the Goo Crew were among the 27 teams of Grades 4 through 6 students who advanced to the Regional Science Olympics by topping district competition;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Lockeport Elementary student, Nate Cotter, who was a member of the winning team, Goo Crew, at the Tri-County Regional School Board Science Olympics on June 4, 2009.

RESOLUTION NO. 1027

By: Hon. Sterling Belliveau (Fisheries and Aquaculture)

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

Whereas Forest Ridge Academy student, Paul Inwoo Kim, was a member of the overall winning team, The Mad Scientists, at the Tri-County Regional School Board Science Olympics on June 4, 2009; and

Whereas Paul Inwoo Kim helped his Grade 5 team score 73 out of a possible 75 points to win both the Grade 5 event as well as the overall title at the Regional Science Olympics; and

Whereas The Mad Scientists placed first out of the 27 teams of Grades 4 through 6 students who competed at the Regional Science Olympics;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Forest Ridge Academy student, Paul Inwoo Kim, who was a member of the overall winning team, The Mad Scientists, at the Tri-County Regional School Board Science Olympics on June 4, 2009.

RESOLUTION NO. 1028

By: Hon. Sterling Belliveau (Fisheries and Aquaculture)

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

Whereas Shelburne Regional High School student Quinn Butler was one of the finalists in the Nova Scotia Recycles School Contest on April 8, 2009; and

Whereas Quinn Butler, along with partner Evan Bower, were the runners-up in the Grades 7 to 9 category for their magazine collage design; and

[Page 2227]

Whereas as a result of the students' efforts the school was awarded a $250 cash prize;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Shelburne Regional High School student Quinn Butler, who was one of the finalists in the Nova Scotia Recycles School Contest on April 8, 2009.

RESOLUTION NO. 1029

By: Hon. Sterling Belliveau (Fisheries and Aquaculture)

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

Whereas the Shelburne Friends of the Library won the Gabriele Schreiber Friends of the Year Award from Random House Canada on May 21, 2009; and

Whereas the award recognizes the Shelburne Friends of the Library for outstanding support to the McKay Memorial Library and for outstanding volunteer commitment; and

Whereas the steady support year in and year out by the Shelburne Friends of the Library is credited for enriching services at the McKay Memorial Library;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulates the Shelburne Friends of the Library for winning the Gabriele Schreiber Friends of the Year Award from Random House Canada on May 21, 2009.

RESOLUTION NO. 1030

By: Hon. Sterling Belliveau (Fisheries and Aquaculture)

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

Whereas Forest Ridge Academy student, Derrick Thornton, was a member of the winning team, the Atomic Atoms, at the Tri-County Regional School Board Science Olympics on June 4, 2009; and

Whereas Derrick Thornton helped his team to a third-place finish in the Grade 5 competition; and

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Whereas the Atomic Atoms were among the 27 teams of Grades 4 through 6 students who advanced to the Regional Science Olympics by topping district competition;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Forest Ridge Academy student, Derrick Thornton, who was a member of the overall winning team, the Atomic Atoms, at the Tri-County Regional School Board Science Olympics on June 4, 2009.

RESOLUTION NO. 1031

By: Hon. Sterling Belliveau (Fisheries and Aquaculture)

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

Whereas Shelburne resident Eleanor Smith was presented with a lifetime achievement award by the Shelburne County Arts Council on August 16, 2009; and

Whereas the award recognizes Eleanor Smith for her significant contribution as a writer, historian, genealogist, and teacher to the cultural life of Shelburne County; and

Whereas Eleanor Smith continues her community involvement through volunteer research and writing, to the benefit of Shelburne County residents as well as historical and genealogical organizations.

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulates Shelburne resident Eleanor Smith for being presented with a lifetime achievement award by the Shelburne County Arts Council on August 16, 2009.

RESOLUTION NO. 1032

By: Hon. Sterling Belliveau (Fisheries and Aquaculture)

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

Whereas Shelburne County Special Olympian Elmer Foote was a bronze medalist at the Nova Scotia Summer Games in Halifax on July 17-19, 2009; and

Whereas Elmer Foote excelled in the sport of bowling to win the bronze; and

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Whereas Elmer Foote consistently shows great sportsmanship, dedication, and effort as a Special Olympian;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Special Olympian Elmer Foote for bringing home a bronze medal from the Nova Scotia Summer Games in Halifax on July 17-19, 2009.

RESOLUTION NO. 1033

By: Hon. Sterling Belliveau (Fisheries and Aquaculture)

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

Whereas Shelburne Regional High School student Evan Bower was one of the finalists in the Nova Scotia Recycles School Contest on April 8, 2009; and

Whereas Evan Bower, along with partner Quinn Butler, were the runners up in the Grade 7 to Grade 9 category for their magazine collage design; and

Whereas as a result of the students' efforts, the school was awarded a $250 prize;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Shelburne Regional High School student Evan Bower, who was one of the finalists in the Nova Scotia Recycles School Contest on April 8, 2009.

RESOLUTION NO. 1034

By: Hon. Sterling Belliveau (Fisheries and Aquaculture)

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

Whereas Shelburne County Special Olympian Wendy Stoddard was a double medal winner at the Nova Scotia Summer Games in Halifax on July 17-19, 2009; and

Whereas Wendy Stoddard won silver medals in both shot put and standing long jump; and

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Whereas Wendy Stoddard consistently shows great sportsmanship, dedication, and effort as a Special Olympian;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Special Olympian Wendy Stoddard for being a double medal winner at the Nova Scotia Summer Games in Halifax on July 17-19, 2009.

RESOLUTION NO. 1035

By: Hon. Sterling Belliveau (Fisheries and Aquaculture)

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

Whereas Shelburne County Special Olympian Tabitha Williams was a double gold medalist at the Nova Scotia Summer Games in Halifax on July 17-19, 2009; and

Whereas Tabitha Williams finished first in both shot put and standing long jump to win gold in both events; and

Whereas Tabitha Williams consistently shows great sportsmanship, dedication, and effort as a Special Olympian;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Special Olympian Tabitha Williams for being a double gold medalist at the Nova Scotia Summer Games in Halifax on July 17-19, 2009.

RESOLUTION NO. 1036

By: Hon. Sterling Belliveau (Fisheries and Aquaculture)

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

Whereas Shelburne County Special Olympian Harold Doane was a bronze medalist at the Nova Scotia Summer Games in Halifax on July 17-19, 2009; and

Whereas Harold Doane excelled in the sport of bowling to win the bronze; and

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Whereas Harold Doane consistently shows great sportsmanship, dedication, and effort as a Special Olympian;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Special Olympian Harold Doane for bringing home a bronze medal from the Nova Scotia Summer Games in Halifax on July 17-19, 2009.

RESOLUTION NO. 1037

By: Hon. Sterling Belliveau (Fisheries and Aquaculture)

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

Whereas Forest Ridge Academy student Hannah Cameron was a member of the overall winning team, Atomic Atoms, at the Tri-County Regional School Board Science Olympics on June 4, 2009; and

Whereas Hannah Cameron helped her team to a third-place finish in Grade 5 competition; and

Whereas the Atomic Atoms were among the 27 teams of Grades 4 through 6 students who advanced to the Regional Science Olympics by topping district competition;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Forest Ridge Academy student Hannah Cameron, who was a member of the winning team, Atomic Atoms, at the Tri-County Regional School Board Science Olympics on June 4, 2009.

RESOLUTION NO. 1038

By: Hon. Sterling Belliveau (Fisheries and Aquaculture)

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

Whereas Shelburne County Special Olympian Gillian Harris was a bronze medalist at the Nova Scotia Summer Games in Halifax on July 17 to 19, 2009; and

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Whereas Gillian Harris won the bronze medal in standing long jump competition; and

Whereas Gillian Harris consistently shows great sportsmanship, dedication, and effort as a Special Olympian;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Shelburne County Special Olympian Gillian Harris for being a bronze medalist at the Nova Scotia Summer Games in Halifax on July 17 to 19, 2009.

RESOLUTION NO. 1039

By: Hon. Sterling Belliveau (Fisheries and Aquaculture)

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

Whereas Clam Point resident Layton Nickerson once again came out in support of his community by participating in the Rosalin Nickerson Care Fund Society annual fundraiser Walk for a Cause on September 25, 2009; and

Whereas Layton Nickerson collected more than $2,700 in donations in 2009, and more than $1,600 in 2008, by having his head shaved in support of the care fund; and

Whereas Layton Nickerson has supported various charitable causes over the years, including the IWK Health Centre, by staging an elaborate Christmas lights display on his property which, in turn, has brought joy to many;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Clam Point resident Layton Nickerson for once again coming out in support of his community by participating in the Rosalin Nickerson Care Fund Society fundraiser Walk for a Cause on September 25, 2009.

RESOLUTION NO. 1040

By: Hon. Sterling Belliveau (Fisheries and Aquaculture)

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

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Whereas Cape Sable Island Elementary School student Jesse Swimm was a member of the winning team, the Shockers, at the Tri-County Regional School Board Science Olympics on June 4, 2009; and

Whereas Jesse Swimm helped his team to a first-place finish in Grade 6 competition; and

Whereas the Shockers were among the 27 teams of Grades 4 through 6 students who advanced to the Regional Science Olympics by topping district competition;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Cape Sable Island Elementary School student Jesse Swimm, who was a member of the winning team, the Shockers, at the Tri-County Regional School Board Science Olympics on June 4, 2009.

RESOLUTION NO. 1041

By: Hon. Sterling Belliveau (Fisheries and Aquaculture)

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

Whereas Lockeport Elementary student Jessica Latham was a member of the winning team, Goo Crew, at the Tri-County Regional School Board Science Olympics on June 4, 2009; and

Whereas Jessica Latham helped her team to a third-place finish in Grade 6 competition; and

Whereas the Goo Crew were among the 27 teams of Grades 4 through 6 students who advanced to the Regional Science Olympics by topping district competition;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Lockeport Elementary student Jessica Latham, who was a member of the winning team, Goo Crew, at the Tri-County Regional School Board Science Olympics on June 4, 2009.

RESOLUTION NO. 1042

By: Hon. Sterling Belliveau (Fisheries and Aquaculture)

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

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Whereas Forest Ridge Academy student Jin Lee was a member of the winning team, Science Monkeys, at the Tri-County Regional School Board Science Olympics on June 4, 2009; and

Whereas Jin Lee helped her team to a first-place finish in the Grade 4 competition; and

Whereas the Science Monkeys were among the 27 teams of Grade 4 through Grade 6 students who advanced to the Regional Science Olympics by topping district competition;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Forest Ridge Academy student Jin Lee, who was a member of the winning team, Science Monkeys, at the Tri-County Regional School Board Science Olympics on June 4, 2009.

RESOLUTION NO. 1043

By: Hon. Sterling Belliveau (Fisheries and Aquaculture)

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

Whereas Shelburne County Special Olympian, Joe Surette, posted a fourth-place finish at the Nova Scotia Summer Games in Halifax on July 17-19, 2009; and

Whereas Joe Surette gave his best effort in the sport of bowling; and

Whereas Joe Surette consistently shows great sportsmanship, dedication and effort as a Special Olympian;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Shelburne County Special Olympian, Joe Surette, for posting a fourth-place finish at the Nova Scotia Summer Games, in Halifax, on July 17-19, 2009.

RESOLUTION NO. 1044

By: Hon. Sterling Belliveau (Fisheries and Aquaculture)

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

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Whereas Forest Ridge Academy student Joseph Atkinson was a member of the winning team, Brainless Maniacs, at the Tri-County Regional School Board Science Olympics on June 4, 2009; and

Whereas Joseph Atkinson helped his team to a third-place finish in the Grade 4 competition; and

Whereas the Brainless Maniacs were among the 27 teams of Grade 4 through Grade 6 students who advanced to the Regional Science Olympics by topping district competition;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Forest Ridge Academy student, Joseph Atkinson, who was a member of the winning team, Brainless Maniacs, at the Tri-County Regional School Board Science Olympics on June 4, 2009.

RESOLUTION NO. 1045

By: Hon. Sterling Belliveau (Fisheries and Aquaculture)

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

Whereas Forest Ridge Academy student Kayden Nickerson was a member of the winning team, Brainless Maniacs, at the Tri-County Regional School Board Science Olympics on June 4, 2009; and

Whereas Kayden Nickerson helped his team to a third-place finish in the Grade 4 competition; and

Whereas the Brainless Maniacs were among the 27 teams of Grade 4 through Grade 6 students who advanced to the Regional Science Olympics by topping district competition;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Forest Ridge Academy student, Kayden Nickerson, who was a member of the winning team, Brainless Maniacs, at the Tri-County Regional School Board Science Olympics on June 4, 2009.

RESOLUTION NO. 1046

By: Hon. Sterling Belliveau (Fisheries and Aquaculture)

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

Whereas Kelsie Goreham Smith from Woods Harbour placed first in the CJLS 20th annual Tri-County Talent Search Rising Star Competition at the Western Counties Exhibition on August 4, 2009; and

Whereas Kelsie, who is 12 years old and is a Grade 7 student at the Barrington Municipal High School, topped the competition with her rendition of Carrie Underwood's "Crazy Dreams"; and

Whereas Kelsie has been singing publicly since she was three and is well known for her vocal talents and her involvement in community fundraising events, as well as in her church;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Kelsie Goreham Smith from Woods Harbour for placing first in the CJLS 20th annual Tri-County Talent Search Rising Star Competition at the Western Counties Exhibition on August 4, 2009.

RESOLUTION NO. 1047

By: Hon. Sterling Belliveau (Fisheries and Aquaculture)

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

Whereas Forest Ridge Academy student Kirt Brannen was a member of the winning team, Science Monkeys, at the Tri-County Regional School Board Science Olympics on June 4, 2009; and

Whereas Kirt Brannen helped his team to a first-place finish in Grade 4 competition; and

Whereas the Science Monkeys were among the 27 teams of Grade 4 through 6 students who advanced to the Regional Science Olympics by topping district competition;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly congratulate Forest Ridge Academy student Kirt Brannen, who was a member of the winning team, Science Monkeys, at the Tri-County Regional School Board Science Olympics on June 4, 2009.

RESOLUTION NO. 1048

By: Hon. Sterling Belliveau (Fisheries and Aquaculture)

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

Whereas Kylie Goreham Smith from Woods Harbour placed second in the CJLS 20th annual Tri-County Talent Search Rising Star Competition at the Western Counties Exhibition on August 4, 2009; and

Whereas Kylie, who is 10 years old and is a Grade 5 student at the Evelyn Richardson Memorial Elementary School, rocked the house with her rendition of Miley Cyrus' "The Best of Both Worlds"; and

Whereas Kylie has been singing since she was three and is well known for her vocal talents and her involvement in community fundraising events, as well as in her church;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly congratulate Kylie Goreham Smith from Wood Harbour for placing second in the CJLS 20th annual Tri-County Talent Search Rising Star Competition at the Western Counties Exhibition on August 4, 2009.

RESOLUTION NO. 1049

By: Hon. Sterling Belliveau (Fisheries and Aquaculture)

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

Whereas Barrington Passage resident Jack Fry has once again gone above and beyond the call of duty by participating in the 29th annual Terry Fox Run on Sept 13, 2009; and

Whereas Jack Fry has participated every year in the marathon of hope, including one year where he was waging a personal battle with cancer; and

Whereas Jack Fry has raised more than $46,000 for cancer research during his 28 years of participation in the Terry Fox Run;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Barrington Passage resident Jack Fry for once again going above and beyond the call of duty by participating in the 29th annual Terry Fox Run on September 12, 2009.

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