Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

HANSARD 09-17

DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS

Speaker: Honourable Charlie Parker

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

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

First Session

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 8, 2009

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
TIR: Bayswater, N.S. - Speed Limit Signs, Hon. D. Peterson-Rafuse 947
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 500, Capital Dist. Health Auth. - Top 100 Employer,
Hon. Maureen MacDonald 948
Vote - Affirmative 948
Res. 501, ESRI Map Book: Publication - Congrats.,
Hon. J. MacDonell 949
Vote - Affirmative 949
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 34, Emergency Management Act, Hon. R. Jennex 949
No. 35, Elections Act, Hon. M. Scott 949
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 502, Mosher, Chief Russell: Retirement - Congrats.,
Hon. K. Casey (by Mr. K. Bain) 950
Vote - Affirmative 950
Res. 503, Fountain, Fred S. - Cdn. Red Cross Humanitarian Award,
Mr. A. Younger 950
Vote - Affirmative 951
Res. 504, Westville Coun.: Anniv. (115th) - Congrats.,
Mr. C. MacKinnon 951
Vote - Affirmative 952
Vote - Affirmative
Res. 505, Saint Mary's Bay Acad. - Greenhouse Proj.,
Hon. W. Gaudet 952
Vote - Affirmative 953
Res. 506, Springhill/Antigonish: Corr. Facilities - Commitment Honour,
Hon. M. Scott 953
Res. 507, Nickerson, Bethany: Hair Donation - Congrats.,
Hon. S. Belliveau 954
Vote - Affirmative 954
Res. 508, Prem. - NDP Staff: Library - Chairs Supply,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 954
Res. 509, Geddes, Scott: Hants Commun. Hosp. - Fundraising,
Mr. C. Porter 955
Vote - Affirmative 956
Res. 510, Guinan, Janice: Painting Accomplishment - Congrats.,
Ms. L. Zann (by Ms. V. Conrad) 956
Vote - Affirmative 956
Res. 511, Prem. - NSCC Strike: Talks - Resume,
Mr. K. Bain 957
Vote - Affirmative 957
Res. 512, Boudreau, Chantelle/McDermott, Casey - Sailing Success,
Ms. K. Regan 957
Vote - Affirmative 958
Res. 513, Can. Post: Lun. West - Rural Mail Delivery,
Mr. G. Ramey 958
Vote - Affirmative 959
Res. 514, Raynard, Vernon - Birthday (96th),
Hon. C. d'Entremont 959
Vote - Affirmative 959
Res. 515, Halifax Citadel-Sable Island MLA - "Ministerial Announcements",
Mr. L. Glavine 960
Res. 516, Bernard, Jason - Strait Reg. Sch. Bd.: Mi'Kmaq Rep. - Congrats.,
Mr. A. MacLeod 960
Vote - Affirmative 961
Res. 517, Denyar, Bill - China Intl. Fair: Atl. Can. Bus. - Promotion,
Mr. J. Morton 961
Vote - Affirmative 962
Res. 518, Johnson, Bruce - Black Bus. Init. Entrepreneur of Yr. (2009),
Hon. R. Hurlburt 962
Vote - Affirmative 962
Res. 519, World Sight Day (10/08/09) - Recognize,
Ms. D. Whalen 963
Vote - Affirmative 963
Res. 520, Jesty, Jennifer/Vol. Firefighters: Dedication - Congrats.,
Hon. C. Clarke 963
Vote - Affirmative 964
Res. 521, Surette, Ginette: Miss Can. Intl. - 1st Runner-Up,
Hon. C. d'Entremont 964
Vote - Affirmative 965
Res. 522, Kafarova, Nune: Musical Talents - Commend,
Mr. C. Porter 965
Vote - Affirmative 965
Res. 523, Berry, Rev. Paul/Fam.: Springhill - Welcome,
Hon. M. Scott 966
Vote - Affirmative 966
Res. 524, Brewer, Kent - Prime Minister's Teaching Excellence Award,
Hon. C. Clarke 966
Vote - Affirmative 967
Res. 525, Gov.'t (N.S.): Sydney Hbr. - Dredging,
Mr. A. MacLeod 967
Res. 526, MacKinnon, Angela - Pengrowth/N.S. Energy Scholarship,
Mr. K. Bain 968
Vote - Affirmative 968
Res. 527, CJLS Radio - Anniv. (75th),
Hon. R. Hurlburt 969
Vote - Affirmative 969
MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT RULE 43:
Prem.: NSCC Strike - Talks Resume, Hon. R. Hurlburt 970
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 128, Fish. & Aquaculture - Min.: Boat/Licence/Gear - Financing,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 970
No. 129, Fish. & Aquaculture: Min. - Fish. Loan Bd. Debt,
Hon. C. d'Entremont 971
No. 130, Prem. - Cabinet Ministers: Double Standard - Confirm,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 973
No. 131, Fish. & Aquaculture - Min.: Fish Loan Bd. Relationship,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 974
No. 132, Fish. & Aquaculture - Min.: Fish. Loan Bd. - Conflict Details,
Hon. C. Clarke 975
No. 133, Prem.: Conflict of Interest Commissioner - Ministers Queries,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 976
No. 134, Fish. & Aquaculture - Min.: Loan Bd. Transfer - Paperwork,
Hon. C. d'Entremont 977
No. 135, Dartmouth North MLA: Advocacy Efforts - Message,
Ms. K. Regan 979
No. 136, Prem. - Fish. Loan Board: Personnel List - Provide,
Hon. M. Scott 980
No. 137, Educ. - NSCC Strike Negotiations: Min. - Comment,
Ms. K. Regan 982
No. 138, Energy - EnCana: Commitments - Enforce,
Mr. A. Younger 983
No. 139, Prem.: Fish. & Aquaculture Min. - Transparency,
Mr. A. MacLeod 985
No. 140, Educ.: Antigonish Co. Adult Learning Assoc. - Gov't. Funding,
Ms. K. Regan 986
No. 141, Fish. & Aquaculture: Conflict of Interest - Advice,
Hon. C. Clarke 987
No. 142, Fish. & Aquaculture - Min.: Loan - Prem. Awareness,
Hon. M. Samson 988
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
ON MOTION FOR SUPPLY:
Mr. L. Glavine 989
Mr. A. MacLeod 992
Ms. V. Conrad 997
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON SUPPLY AT 4:29 P.M. 1000
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 8:53 P.M. 1000
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 1, Motor Vehicle Act, Hon. W. Estabrooks 1001
Hon. W. Estabrooks 1001
Hon. W. Gaudet 1003
Hon. M. Scott 1006
Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 1010
Mr. C. Porter 1017
Adjourned debate 1020
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 43:
Prem.: NSCC Strike - Talks Resume:
Hon. M. Scott 1021
Hon. F. Corbett 1025
Ms. K. Regan 1029
Hon. C. Clarke 1032
Mr. L. Preyra 1037
Mr. L. Glavine 1040
Hon. C. d'Entremont 1044
Hon. Maureen MacDonald 1046
Hon. Manning MacDonald 1048
ADJOURNMENT, The House rose to meet again on Fri., Oct. 9th at 9:00 a.m. 1052
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):^^
Res. 528, Central Kings Gators HS Hockey Team:
Berwick Sports Hall of Fame - Induction, Mr. L. Glavine 1053
Res. 529, Cluett, Michael Doyle - Cdn. Red Cross
Young Humanitarian Award, Mr. Andrew Younger 1053
Res. 530, Melanson, Gerald - Birthday (80th),
Hon. C. d'Entremont 1054
Res. 531, Hattie, Anne Rose - Birthday (84th),
Hon. C. d'Entremont 1054
Res. 532, Regan, Beatrice - Birthday (100th),
Hon. C. d'Entremont 1055
Res. 533, LeBlanc, Clifford - Birthday (80th),
Hon. C. d'Entremont 1055
Res. 534, Crosby, Delbert - Birthday (70th),
Hon. C. d'Entremont 1056
Res. 535, Crowell, Elsie - Birthday (90th),
Hon. C. d'Entremont 1056
Res. 536, Doucette, Regina - Birthday (100th),
Hon. C. d'Entremont 1057
Res. 537, Churchill, Ralph - Birthday (89th),
Hon. C. d'Entremont 1057
Res. 538, Surette, Ralph - Birthday (95th),
Hon. C. d'Entremont 1058

[Page 947]

HALIFAX, THURSDAY, OCTOBER 8, 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 will begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Community Services.

HON. DENISE PETERSON-RAFUSE: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition on behalf of 80 residents of the community of Bayswater. The petition is for a 60-kilometre speed limit and signs in their community.

Mr. Speaker, I have affixed my signature.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled. (Interruption)

The question has been asked about late debate. I understand there's something that's going to pre-empt that so I'm not reading the late debate at this moment.

[Page 948]

947

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 500

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

Whereas Capital District Health Authority provides excellent care to Nova Scotians in metro and the rest of Atlantic Canada; and

Whereas Capital District Health Authority has been recognized as one of the top 100 employers in Canada; and

Whereas the Capital District Health Authority was especially noted for its strong commitment to employee wellness, in particular its healthy cafeteria options;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House join me in congratulating Capital District Health Authority on their recognition as a top 100 employer and on their dedication to helping their employees, as well as Nova Scotians, to lead full and healthy lives.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 949]

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 501

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

Whereas the ESRI Map Book is one of the only publications dedicated to acknowledging the innovative accomplishments of Geoscience Information Services users around the world; and

Whereas Geoscience Information Services staff members of the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources created a bedrock geology map of the Wolfville-Windsor area that was included in the latest volume of this publication; and

Whereas it is a significant honour to have a map selected for this annual publication;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Department of Natural Resources staff for their contribution to showcasing the province worldwide with the inclusion of their map in such a prestigious publication.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 34 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 8 of the Acts of 1990. The Emergency Management Act. (Hon. Ramona Jennex)

Bill No. 35 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 140 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Elections Act. (Hon. Murray Scott)

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

[Page 950]

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 502

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

Whereas New Glasgow Fire Chief Russell Mosher retired September 25, 2009, after 37 years of public service; and

Whereas volunteer firefighters are the heroes of our communities and volunteer firefighters are the first to respond, day or night, and put themselves in harm's way for the well-being of others - just knowing they are there brings security and comfort to everyone; and

Whereas Chief Mosher brought accomplishment and honour to his department;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend their gratitude to Chief Russell Mosher upon his retirement for his dedicated and selfless service to the residents of New Glasglow and the Province of Nova Scotia.

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. (Applause)

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 503

[Page 951]

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

Whereas the Canadian Red Cross Humanitarian Award was established in 1997 to recognize humanitarian work by members of our community and to inspire individuals to pursue humanitarian goals; and

Whereas the awards are presented annually in each of the Atlantic Provinces at a fundraising gala dinner which supports Red Cross programs and services such as disaster management, violence prevention, and community health programs; and

Whereas Fred S. Fountain, the Chancellor of Dalhousie University, was the recipient for 2009 for his work as a community volunteer, philanthropist, lawyer, and business executive;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly congratulate Fred S. Fountain for demonstrating the spirit of humanity here in Nova Scotia.

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.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 504

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

Whereas in August 1894, the people of Westville, Pictou County, voted 273 to 208 in favour of incorporation as Nova Scotia's newest town; and

[Page 952]

Whereas Mayor George E. Munro called the first town council meeting to order on September 8, 1894, and began a strong tradition of municipal government for Westville; and

Whereas Westville is this year celebrating 115 years of municipal government and forging ahead with a strong commitment toward community and economic development;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly recognize Mayor Roger MacKay, Deputy Mayor Charlene Thompson, Councillors Gerald Jones, Lynn MacDonald, and Charles Sutherland, and congratulate Westville Council for 115 years of service to its citizens.

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. 505

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

Whereas students and staff at Saint Mary's Bay Academy in St. Bernard have embarked on an innovative greenhouse project; and

Whereas this construction project will provide students with learning opportunities in a variety of subject areas; and

Whereas this renewable energy-powered greenhouse will be totally self-sufficient;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly recognize the steps the students and staff at Saint Mary's Bay Academy are taking to increase the environmentally sound practices for the school, and wish them every success in future endeavours.

[Page 953]

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. 506

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

Whereas since the Progressive Conservative Government made commitments to the Town of Springhill and the Town of Antigonish to build two new correctional facilities in their respective communities; and

Whereas approximately $18 million was earmarked for these facilities, in addition to the allocation of time and human resource spent on site selection, acquisition and design work; and

Whereas the Premier, during his election campaign, stated publicly he would honour commitments made by the previous government which would support the construction of these facilities;

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.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

[Page 954]

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Environment.

RESOLUTION NO. 507

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

Whereas 10-year-old Bethany Nickerson of Shag Harbour, Nova Scotia, donated 14 inches of her hair to Headquarters Hair Solutions Clinic on April 21, 2009; and

Whereas Bethany Nickerson wanted to donate her hair so it could be used to make wigs for cancer patients; and

Whereas Bethany Nickerson was very proud to be able to donate her hair to the less fortunate who have been stricken with cancer;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Bethany Nickerson of Shag Harbour, Nova Scotia, for donating 14 inches of her hair to the Headquarters Hair Solution Clinic on April 21, 2009.

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 Glace Bay.

RESOLUTION NO. 508

[Page 955]

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the Legislative Library has long played an important role in the history of the Nova Scotia Legislature; and

Whereas since September 17th, the library has become somewhat crowded with the NDP Government's new political staff; and

Whereas there seems to be so many of these new NDP staff that many have had to stand in the library;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier sees to it that the library is supplied with more chairs so that at least all his political staff will have somewhere comfortable to sit.

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 Hants West.

RESOLUTION NO. 509

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

Whereas perseverance, enthusiasm, commitment and dedication are only a few of the qualities a person needs to posses in order to coordinate and execute a successful fundraising event; and

Whereas Scott Geddes, owner of the Woodshire Inn and Cocoa Pesto Bistro in Windsor, Hants County, not only has these qualities but has devoted countless hours and resources to ensuring the success of the annual Party With A Purpose gala which last year raised over $40,000 for the Hants Community Hospital; and

Whereas the funds that are raised from this very successful venture have been used towards the purchase of items such as a stress test machine, which is already in use in the Hants Community Hospital;

[Page 956]

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs in this House of Assembly commend the tireless efforts of Scott Geddes and wish him heightened success with not only his own business, but also with future fundraising events.

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. 510

MS. VICKI CONRAD: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the member for Truro-Bible Hill, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Janice Guinan, an artist from Bible Hill, Nova Scotia, recently sold a painting to Labatt's Brewery; and

Whereas Labatt's Brewery chose it for donation to the archival collection of the Shubenacadie Canal Commission in memory of Alexander Keith who helped finance construction of the waterway; and

Whereas Janice Guinan has been painting most of her life and has been honoured in this way by having a painting that pays tribute to our past dedicated to the memory of a fine Nova Scotian;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Janice Guinan on her outstanding achievement of accomplishment in the arts.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 957]

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. 511

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

Whereas many students are concerned with the threat of a strike in Nova Scotia Community Colleges; and

Whereas at Marconi Campus in Sydney a strike would put the 94 members of the collective bargaining unit on a picket line and disrupt plans for about 1,000 students who attend classes there; and

Whereas Edwina Donovan, a continuing care assistant student, is quoted in the Cape Breton Post as saying, "We came to school because we were laid off and wanted to better ourselves.";

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly call upon the Premier to immediately seek a resumption in talks so that students like Edwina will not see a disruption in their studies.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 958]

The honourable member for Bedford-Birch Cove.

RESOLUTION NO. 512

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

Whereas Bedford teen Chantelle Boudreau, along with Dartmouth resident Casey McDermott, competed in the Emerald Fleet at the 29er World Championships held in Lake Garda, Italy; and

Whereas the sailing duo secured first place despite the many challenges they faced right up to the last day; and

Whereas Chantelle sails out of the Bedford Basin Yacht Club, joined the Provincial team in 2008, and has competed in various regattas;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate Chantelle Boudreau and Casey McDermott for their success on the water and wish them continued success in their 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 Lunenburg West.

RESOLUTION NO. 513

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

Whereas Canada Post recently conducted a review of rural mailboxes in Lunenburg County that evaluated 3,985 boxes on nine rural delivery routes, resulting in the findings that only 843 passed; and

[Page 959]

Whereas rural constituents in Lunenburg West, whose mailbox locations were rejected, were given the options of moving to a group box system or driving to Bridgewater to collect their mail; and

Whereas many of my constituents are elderly, disabled, and without a vehicular mode of transportation;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House strongly advocate that no changes be made to rural delivery in Lunenburg West and other rural ridings 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 member for Argyle.

RESOLUTION NO. 514

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

Whereas birthdays are an occasion for family and friends to gather together to celebrate the life of an individual; and

Whereas on August 8, 2009, Vernon Raynard celebrated his 96th birthday; and

Whereas to be 96 years young is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be 40 years old;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating Mr. Raynard on this remarkable milestone in his life and in wishing him many more happy birthdays.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 960]

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 West.

RESOLUTION NO. 515

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

Whereas the NDP Government has consistently sent mixed messages on legislation; and

Whereas yesterday the member from Halifax Citadel-Sable Island mistakenly announced that government would be introducing legislation that would require emergency plans from businesses; and

Whereas the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, with respect to the member for Halifax Citadel-Sable Island, was quoted as saying, "I think he was very confused."

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly thank the member from Halifax Citadel-Sable Island for informing the Opposition of government's intentions today and wish him well in further ministerial announcements.

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.

[Page 961]

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 516

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

Whereas Jason Bernard of We'koqma'q First Nation was recently appointed Mi'kmaq representative on the Strait Regional School Board; and

Whereas the fresh perspective brought forth by Mr. Bernard and the input provided through his community will help enrich the educational experience for all students in the Strait Region; and

Whereas education is vitally important and serves as one of the best combatants of the social issues which face Nova Scotians today, and Mr. Bernard is well deserving of this vital role;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Jason Bernard on being named the Mi'kmaq representative on the Strait Regional School Board and wish him continued success as he begins his important work.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[2:30 p.m.]

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 518

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

[Page 962]

Whereas Bill Denyar of Kentville is the president and chief executive officer of the Atlantic Provinces Chamber of Commerce; and

Whereas Mr. Denyar has been providing leadership in developing trade relationships with China; and

Whereas Mr. Denyar travelled to China to present at the China International Fair for Investment and Trade in Xiamen, China from September 6-8, 2009;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Mr. Bill Denyar, president and chief executive officer of the Atlantic Provinces Chamber of Commerce, for his initiative and promotion of business opportunities in Atlantic Canada at the China International Fair.

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 Yarmouth.

RESOLUTION NO. 518

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

Whereas the Black Business Initiative is an organization focused on development of business and economic opportunities within the African Nova Scotian community; and

Whereas the Black Business Initiative Entrepreneur of the Year Award for 2009, was presented to Bruce Johnson of Yarmouth who has been a pharmacist at City Drug Store for 35 years; and

Whereas Bruce's leadership at City Drug has led to strong financial performance, innovation of service and growth, all key criteria to being awarded this impressive title;

[Page 963]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly congratulate Bruce Johnson on being awarded the 2009 Black Business Initiative Entrepreneur of the Year.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

RESOLUTION NO. 519

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

Whereas today is World Sight Day 2009, an international day of awareness to focus attention on the global issue of avoidable blindness and visual impairment; and

Whereas the theme of World Sight Day 2009 is Gender and Eye Health, equal access to care, as nearly two-thirds of blind people worldwide are women and girls; and

Whereas 8 million people worldwide are blind due to uncorrected refractive errors and a simple sight test and glasses could restore sight to most of these people;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly recognize World Sight Day 2009 and congratulate VISION 2020: The Right to Sight, for their initiatives in addressing this inequity.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 964]

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. 520

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

Whereas Jennifer Jesty is proud to be the first female Aboriginal member of the Nova Scotia Firefighters Association, she is proud to achieve this milestone but a little sad at the same time that Aboriginals are still making just firsts in 2009; and

Whereas Jennifer is one of four females who volunteer with the North Sydney Volunteer Fire Department as a level one firefighter, it is the absolute greatest passion in the world for her;

Whereas her goal is to become a career firefighter;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating Jennifer and all other volunteer firefighters for their dedication in protecting our communities.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Argyle.

RESOLUTION NO. 521

[Page 965]

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

Whereas on August 15th the Miss Canada International Competition took place in Toronto; and

Whereas Ginette Surette from Ste. Anne du Ruisseau was crowned the Seafest Queen in 2008 and went on to gain the distinction of 1st runner-up at the event; and

Whereas Ginette is also the winner of the evening gown competition and holds the title of Miss Southwestern Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating Ginette Surette on being named number 1st runner-up in the Miss Canada International Competition and wish her much success in all her 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 Hants West.

RESOLUTION NO. 522

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

Whereas after obtaining her Masters degree in cello performance in her home country of Azerbaijan and teaching for 35 years as a professor of cello, Nune Kafarova now continues her career here in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas not only do people enjoy Nune's exquisite musical renditions, she encourages our youth by including them in her concerts and giving them occasion to shine in the spotlight as well; and

[Page 966]

Whereas Nune is well respected and greatly admired in her community for her commitment and dedication to nurturing the musical abilities of our local youth;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly commend Nune for her exceptional talents as a musician and wish her continued success as she pursues her career in our fine country.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cumberland South.

RESOLUTION NO. 523

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

Whereas Reverend Paul Berry has answered the call to serve at the Springhill United Baptist Church; and

Whereas Reverend Berry, his wife Marla and four children have taken up residence in Springhill where they have purchased a home; and

Whereas Reverend Berry and his family, who are very musically talented, have already settled in very well in the church and the community with Reverend Berry not only assuming his duties but also with Marla serving as Director of Music Ministries;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Reverend Paul Berry, his wife Marla and their children and welcome them to the community of Springhill and wish them all the best as they continue to serve God, the church and their community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 967]

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. 524

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

Whereas Kent Brewer has been teaching Grade 11 and Grade 12 electrical construction since the year 2000 at Nova Scotia's only composite high school, Memorial High School in Sydney Mines; and

Whereas Kent is one of six Nova Scotia educators recognized with the Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence; and

Whereas this prestigious award recognizes teachers in all disciplines who instill in their students a love of learning and use information and communications technologies to help students meet the challenges of the 21st Century society and economy;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating Mr. Brewer for going above and beyond his contractual obligations, to create a superior learning environment for all of his students.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 968]

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 525

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

Whereas the dredging of Sydney Harbour represents an integral part in finally realizing the Atlantic Gateway Initiative; and

Whereas this initiative, when realized, will be a major economic benefit to Cape Breton Island, as well as all of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas this NDP Government, which claimed during the election campaign to be in favour of dredging the harbour and claims to be in favour of the Atlantic Gateway, has done nothing in their 100-plus days in office to further this cause or further economic development in Cape Breton in any way;

Therefore be it resolved that this government finally puts its words into action and immediately provide the necessary funding so that the dredging of Sydney Harbour can proceed and the Atlantic Gateway Initiative can move forward as promised.

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 Victoria-The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 526

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

Whereas a wide range of Nova Scotians are finding employment in what have become rewarding and well-paying jobs in the petroleum industry; and

Whereas the Pengrowth-Nova Scotia Energy Scholarship was designed to encourage students who want to work in the petroleum industry and energy sector; and

[Page 969]

Whereas Angela MacKinnon from Upper Washabuck, Victoria County, was named earlier this week as one of the 12 Pengrowth-Nova Scotia Energy Scholarship winners of $10,000 awarded annually to students pursuing energy-related studies at a university;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs in this House of Assembly applaud the hard-working efforts of Angela MacKinnon from Upper Washabuck, Victoria County, in garnering one of the $10,000 Pengrowth-Nova Scotia Energy Scholarships and wish her every success as she works towards a future in Nova Scotia's promising energy industry.

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 Yarmouth.

RESOLUTION NO. 527

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

Whereas CJLS Radio in Yarmouth is celebrating its 75th year on the air, serving the people of southwestern Nova Scotia with top-quality programming; and

Whereas the anniversary broadcast fittingly took place at the location where it began April 6, 1934 at the Grand Hotel on Main Street in downtown Yarmouth; and

Whereas news director Gary Nickerson fully embraced this special day by impressing the large crowd on hand with his skills on the dance floor;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly congratulate the staff at CJLS Radio in Yarmouth for reaching an impressive milestone and wish them many more years of successful broadcasting to southwest Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 970]

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.

Did the honourable member for Yarmouth want to make a statement?

HON. RICHARD HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, it was requested by our caucus to have an emergency debate this evening, we would like to know what the status of that is. We submitted it within the time frame that was allotted by the Speaker's Office, the two hours in advance of today's proceedings.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you, member. I should ask, do you have a copy? Do you want to read the resolution? I have it here:

"Therefore be it resolved the Premier and his Minister of Education and Labour and Workforce Development immediately seek a resumption in talks with community college faculty to avoid labour shortages in places such as nursing homes and daycares across Nova Scotia in the coming months."

You're right, honourable member, I did receive it within the two-hour period and I am satisfied the matter is one that is proper to be discussed here at the end of our regular business day at 10:00 p.m. or such other time as when the government business comes to an end. That would mean there would be no late debate at the moment of interruption.

But, it is up to the House to decide if this emergency debate shall proceed.

I'll ask the House, does the honourable member have leave to proceed with this debate later today?

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Hearing no objection, the honourable member has leave when government business comes to an end here today.

[Page 971]

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, just for clarification, that means there will be no late debate tonight?

MR. SPEAKER: That's correct. Yes.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: The Oral Question Period will begin at 2:43 p.m. and end at 3:43 p.m.

The honourable member for Glace Bay.

FISH. & AQUACULTURE - MIN.: BOAT/LICENCE/GEAR

- FINANCING

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture regarding what has now become known as the good deal. The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture bought his boat, the Disconnection, before he became an MLA. My question for the minister is, how did he finance the purchase of his boat, licence and gear?

HON. STERLING BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite, I financed that through the provincial loan board. Thank you.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, we know that fishers in this province find it challenging to purchase licence, boats and gear. In the minister's part of the world, such an enterprise can cost many hundreds of thousands of dollars. My next question for the minister is, how much money has the minister spent for his lobster enterprise that came from the Fisheries and Aquaculture Loan Board?

[2:45 p.m.]

MR. BELLIVEAU: I think the member opposite is getting to personal financial issues here. I answered the honourable member's question and I don't think it is proper to go into personal finances. I can tell you one thing, Mr. Speaker, that I have been working at this particular industry for a decade. I have paid every bill and I intend to do that, I was brought up with that strong ethic and I intend to do that.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture put his lobster licence and boat up for sale more than a year ago. He was offered

[Page 972]

the job of Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture by the Premier in June. My question to the minister is, exactly how much money does he owe to the Fisheries Loan Board after he accepted the job as Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture?

MR. BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member, again, I tell you that I pay all of my bills and this particular bill is no different. The member opposite alluded to the fact that I was appointed a minister to two portfolios, and I was very honoured and very pleased to take on the positions. I'm just going to give you a pun - a bad pun alert - because the Premier made that decision and I can tell you that I feel that it was a sterling decision. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Argyle.

FISH. & AQUACULTURE: MIN. - FISH. LOAN BD. DEBT

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, my question today, through you, is to the minister responsible for lobstergate - the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. (Interruptions) You wouldn't expect it, would you? Just as we had suspected, the issue of the conflict for the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture - the minister responsible for the Fisheries and Aquaculture Loan Board - continues to deepen. The Premier and the minister continue to stick their heads in the sand hoping that Nova Scotians don't see the backroom dealings that are going on. Many young fishermen have been turned down to date by this program, but when it came to the minister's assets, that fisherman was told not to worry and received the funding that he needed.

During the scrum outside these doors yesterday, Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture let slip another detail that causes Nova Scotians a great deal of concern. Quoted in The ChronicleHerald this morning, the minister admitted to having an outstanding loan on his boat, the Disconnection. The only thing, Mr. Speaker, that is disconnected at this point is that Party. Mr. Speaker, my question for the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture is, did you at the time of your swearing in owe the loan board money for the Disconnection?

HON. STERLING BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, I can tell you, that the question opposite - I continue to say that I pay my bills on time, I've never been in arrears with the loan board and I just want to note that there was a movie a number of years ago with Bill Murray, it was called Groundhog Day. I can answer these questions if you want to stay here for the duration. But I think there are a number of other issues out there that need to be addressed in the fisheries. (Interruptions) I want to answer some of the questions about the lobster council, the lobster aid package and the, Fundy tidal. These members opposite don't seem to understand that there are other issues out there. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Okay, thank you, minister.

[Page 973]

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, a very interesting non-answer. The minister admitted yesterday in the scrum outside and he acknowledged obtaining funds to buy the boat, the Disconnection, from the Fisheries Loan Board in 2004, apparently two years before he was elected to this House. He declined to elaborate on that but mentioned his outstanding loan and involvement with his business, Mr. Mussel's Seafarms Limited on disclosure statements filed last year at the Legislature. Mr. Speaker, my question is very simple - what was owing to the loan board at the time of your swearing in?

MR. BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, to the member, I have paid my bills consistently since I have been working. I think that is personal information. I have been very clear that I think that is personal information, and to me, I have been very clear that I followed due process. I contacted the Conflict of Interest Commissioner and I followed that process under their advice.

I ask the members opposite - I was told by the Conflict of Interest Commissioner that I had to distance myself and sell that enterprise. What do they want me to do, keep the enterprise or try to adjust and take the advice of the Conflict of Interest Commissioner?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, the question was simple - on two occasions, to ask him how much was owing to the loan board at the time of his swearing-in. The member opposite knows full well how small and connected our communities are. I do know how much he was owing, but I don't have the documentation to substantiate it, so apparently I can't say it - but it was substantial.

We know that we in this House, and especially the ministers sitting in that front row, should keep themselves at all times above reproach. It smells like a conflict here, so my question to the Premier is, why did you fail this minister? You should have known. Why did you fail this minister and all Nova Scotians by putting the fox in charge of the chickens?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, this matter has been canvassed very thoroughly and the facts are straightforward. There was full disclosure, there was the request for advice from the Conflict of Interest Commissioner, advice was received, and it was followed. You can't get any more straightforward than that.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

PREM. - CABINET MINISTERS: DOUBLE STANDARD - CONFIRM

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. Earlier this summer, the Minister of Justice found himself in a conflict of interest situation. In that case, the Premier removed the responsibility for the Police Review Board from the minister and gave it to the Minister of Finance until the matter was resolved. It seems that

[Page 974]

the Premier wanted to protect his Minister of Justice from an allegation of conflict of interest. When his Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture was advised he was in conflict while selling his fishing licence and gear, he was left to deal with it himself. My question for the Premier is, why is there a double standard in the way that he is treating his Cabinet Ministers?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, in each case we took the appropriate action with respect to the situations that the ministers found themselves in. In the case of the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, we had full disclosure, we had the request for advice from the Conflict of Interest Commissioner, we received the advice, and we had it followed. That's because on this side of the House we actually live by the rules.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, order please. Questions are to be directed through the Chair to the opposite member.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, the Premier knew the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture was selling his fishing gear and lobster licence. The Premier says he knew, if approved, his Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture would be paid with money from the taxpayers of Nova Scotia. The Premier knew the Minister of Fisheries approached the office of the Conflict of Interest Commissioner for advice. My question to the Premier is, why didn't he remove the responsibility for the Fisheries Loan Board from his Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture when he knew that he was in a potential conflict of interest situation?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, that is exactly why we went to the Conflict of Interest Commissioner, to get the advice, which we followed.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, I don't know, in my world or in the Premier's world, what's usually good for the goose is good for the gander, but not in this case. The Premier claims in the face of all the evidence to the contrary that his minister did nothing wrong. The Premier says his minister followed the commissioner's advice. Yesterday the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture says his instructions were verbal to his deputy minister on how to handle this hot potato. So my question to the Premier is, what proof does the Premier have that his minister followed the advice of the Conflict of Interest Commissioner?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, in fact, all of the evidence that has come out to date has supported the minister, has supported the goals of this government, which is to ensure that we comply fully with the conflict of interest guidelines. It demonstrates that not only did we receive the advice but, as the minister was very clear about, he instructed his deputy minister with respect to this matter which is exactly the appropriate thing to do.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay on a new question.

FISH. & AQUACULTURE: MIN. - FISH. LOAN BOARD RELATIONSHIP

[Page 975]

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture regarding what has become known now as the good deal. On Tuesday of this week, outside the House speaking to reporters, the minister insisted he has had no contact whatsoever with the members of the Fisheries Loan Board, and I'll quote him directly: "I'm just getting to learn who that board is and I hope to get to meet them sometime in the near future." My question for the minister is, did he personally know any member of the Fisheries Loan Board?

HON. STERLING BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, the question about that, about the personal relationship, I do not have any personal relationship with any of the members. I know occasionally some of the names are familiar with people who are around Nova Scotia. I know one individual from the Pubnico area on a friendlier respect, but do I know them personally on a friendship? No, I do not. I stated very clearly that I had followed due process.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, the minister has stated many times he was a fisher for 38 years, well-known in his community. He certainly would be well-known to some members of the board I'm sure. So again my question to the minister is, does he have an acquaintance with anyone on the board - a friend or perhaps someone he may have shared a round of golf with?

MR. BELLIVEAU: I never thought that I would have an opportunity to talk about my golf game here in this House but I look forward to that. If you talk with the member opposite, there is a member on that board that I played a round of golf with a number of years ago. Like I said, these are not personal friends of mine, these are acquaintances. (Interruptions) If I could finish, Mr. Speaker?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture has the floor.

MR. BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, I have played golf in this beautiful province from Cape Breton to Yarmouth, and a number of courses in between. I'm a very sociable person. I've played many rounds of golf with many people across Nova Scotia and I continue to do that.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, yesterday the minister didn't know anyone on the board - today he knows he played a round of golf with somebody on the board. It's my understanding that a loan board member, Paula McQuinn, excused herself from voting at the September 4th meeting this year and she did that because she said she knew the minister and went golfing with him. She did the right thing. She did the right thing. Now it's time for the minister to do the right thing. Now it's time for him to stand here and tell us, does he still stand by his story yesterday that he didn't know anyone on the Fisheries Loan Board whatsoever?

[Page 976]

[3:00 p.m.]

MR. BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, I can stand here and tell you the question was asked of me in a direction if I had a personal friendship with him and the answer was no. I have played golf with many people across Nova Scotia, regardless if I bump into him or if I go there for a certain tee time. I continue to do that and I can tell you this, that I have followed due process and I have distanced myself and I have done the proper thing. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: I may remind members that questions, comments, are to be directed through the Chair, not across the floor.

The honourable member for Cape Breton North.

FISH. & AQUACULTURE - MIN.: FISH. LOAN BD.

- CONFLICT DETAILS

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture seems to be trapped to explain how a third-party loan through the Fisheries Loan Board, that he oversees, for a transaction amount of $587,000 has anything to do with him. We now know that certain proceeds of that $587,000 would be used to pay off an existing loan that the minister has with the same board, again which he is responsible for. Mr. Speaker, will the minister explain to this House how this is not a conflict of interest?

HON. STERLING BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, again I have followed due process. I took great lengths to do the proper thing and I want to emphasize again, there is a loan that was there and I have never been in arrears in my life on a loan payment. I continue to pay my bills and I always will. That's how I was taught and brought up. Thank you very much.

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, this is not about whether or not the minister is in arrears, it is about how he is benefiting, not about the arrears of this. The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture knew that the third-party purchaser of his vessel and gear was applying for a loan that would, in turn, pay off his loan with the Fisheries Loan Board, again which he oversees.

Mr. Speaker, the perception of conflict is more than perception. It is overtly evident to everyone outside the NDP caucus and their spin doctors that a conflict exists. Will the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture finally admit he acted inappropriately and did not follow, as he would say, due process, because clearly he has not?

MR. BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, again about due process, I contacted a marine brokerage firm in 2008 to put the enterprise up for sale. My first contact was through the marine brokerage that this individual wanted an appointment somewhere in mid-June to visit,

[Page 977]

that was my first knowledge of this individual. I did not know where his financing was coming from and that is a part of the process. Thank you very much.

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture had a choice and we know he made the wrong choice in Nova Scotia. He chose to stay directly involved with a Fisheries Loan Board process that he knew he would personally benefit from, yet he feigns ignorance to it. My question to the minister is, with such a blatant lack of judgment and respect for his portfolio, how are Nova Scotians to believe he is fit for the job?

MR. BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, through you to the honourable member opposite, I did make a choice and I made a choice to represent this particular Party. I think the people of Nova Scotia recognized that on June 9th, and I think that the obvious seat arrangement here today has proved me right. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

PREM.: CONFLICT OF INTEREST COMMISSIONER

- MINISTERS' QUERIES

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier regarding what has become known now as the good deal. This week a senior official in the Premier's Office was outside of this Chamber, discussing a letter from the Office of the Conflict of Interest Commissioner to the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture and said to myself and another colleague, you should have asked me for a letter like that, I've got a drawer full of them. My question to the Premier is, how many times have members of your Cabinet sought advice from the Commissioner related to potential conflict of interest?

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, we would of course approach the Conflict of Interest Commissioner in any case, when it was appropriate.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, the Premier is a lawyer and an experienced member of this House and some of his Cabinet are relative newcomers to this business. My question for the Premier is, what steps did he take to make sure that his Cabinet Ministers were not in a conflict of interest?

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier:

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I requested of, in fact, every member of my caucus, not just the ones who were appointed to Cabinet, I asked them for full disclosure of any situations that they knew of that for some reason or other would put them in a conflict situation. I'm happy to report to the member from Glace Bay that they fully co-operated.

[Page 978]

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, it's become clear to everyone that the strategy used by this government is that sometimes if you're in conflict of interest, write the office of Conflict of Interest Commissioner then you've got some cover. No need to prove that you've taken the advice, just a letter to provide you with the cover. Let me ask the Premier, will the Premier table all letters sent to and received from the office of the Conflict of Interest Commissioner for your Cabinet Ministers?

THE PREMIER: No, Mr. Speaker, I won't. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, order. The honourable member for Argyle.

FISH. & AQUACULTURE - MIN.: LOAN BD. TRANSFER

- PAPERWORK

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, my question today through you is to the minister responsible for lobstergate. It seems like Liberals and us were sort of going to (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Can you direct the question to the minister, please?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: My question is to the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. For many times in this House, the current Premier asked the question for the minister responsible for sky-rocketing insurance and it was never, ever questioned.

MR. SPEAKER: Your question, member.

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Minister of Fisheries. (Interruptions)

MR. D'ENTREMONT: They don't like the truth.

MR. SPEAKER: Order. The honourable member for Argyle has the floor.

MR. D'ENTREMONT: The minister and the Premier continue to try and brush off the fact that the minister is in conflict and did nothing to change that. In an attempt to keep my questions easy, so the NDP can understand them, can the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture produce the paperwork that delegated the dealing on the loan board to the deputy or someone else in the department? Simple question.

MR. BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, I cannot. The information, the direction was verbal and I talked about the letter and the letter was produced by the Commissioner of Conflict of Interest and I took directions and I followed due process.

[Page 979]

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, the Fisheries and Coastal Resources Act, Section 11(1) says:

. . . The Minister may, in writing, delegate to

(a) an employee of the Department;

(b) any employee of the Government or Government agency;

(c) any employee of the Government of Canada or an agency of that government; or

(d) any person . . .

Section 12(1) reads: The Minister may, with the approval of the Governor In Council, transfer the administration and control of a provision of this Act, after appropriate consultation, to (a) another minister of the Government or a Government agency; or (b) any other person . . .

Why didn't you - as per Justice Nunn's recommendation - transfer the responsibility for the loan board in writing?

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you, member. I would ask that you table that, please.

MR. BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, I have the letter from Mr. Nunn, I followed that due process. He suggested that I not get involved with any decision, I removed myself through that and I gave that direction to my deputy.

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, what this really shows Nova Scotians is that the NDP are inept and unable to manage the function of government. It's a very simple note, letter, memo - it doesn't take much. I've heard a lot of excuses, but nothing concrete, and especially from the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. I hear a lot of excuses coming from over there.

Mr. Premier, on behalf of the fisherpeople of Nova Scotia, on behalf of Nova Scotians, in order to regain some kind of trust from them, will you replace your minister with someone who understands the industry as well as the department?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to report to the member for Argyle that the people of Nova Scotia finally do have a minister who actually understands the fisheries in Nova Scotia.

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

[Page 980]

DARTMOUTH NORTH MLA: ADVOCACY EFFORTS

- MESSAGE

MS. KELLY REGAN: Mr. Speaker, yesterday Nova Scotians learned that the honourable member for Dartmouth North chose to favour one constituent over another. While one constituent was the beneficiary of the honourable member's support, the child who now suffers from brain damage due to the actions of the constituent receiving the MLA's support did not receive the same consideration, neither did her mother. My question to the Minister responsible for the Advisory Council on the Status of Women and also the minister responsible for child protection is, what kind of message do you think your colleague is sending with his poorly thought-out advocacy efforts?

HON. DENISE PETERSON-RAFUSE: Mr. Speaker, I would like to say thank you to the honourable member for the question. I'm not going to answer for another member because of the fact - in my constituency, or my area, I will make my decisions. Every constituency has different issues that they must deal with and it's up to that MLA to make those decisions. I don't make the decisions for them.

MS. REGAN: Mr. Speaker, with all due respect, the minister is the Minister responsible for the Advisory Council on the Status of Women and the protection of children. By his actions, the member opposite re-victimized the woman and her daughter. Elected officials have a huge role to play in standing up for individuals who don't have a voice, who have been victimized like this little girl. At one time the NDP took this role seriously. Does the minister approve of her colleague's actions?

MS. PETERSON-RAFUSE: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member, as I have said, I did not make that decision. I am not going to answer for somebody else and for somebody else's decision that I have had no control over. I too take my role very seriously and the importance of the status of women and for the care of children. It's not a decision that I made.

MS. REGAN: Mr. Speaker, imagine for a moment what the future holds for that little girl with brain damage. Imagine what it holds for her mother who will spend a lifetime worrying about her daughter. Since I'm not getting an answer from the minister responsible, my final question is to the Premier. What steps have you taken to ensure that members of your government understand appropriate behaviour when it comes to advocating for constituents?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, first just let me say that this is obviously a very difficult case; particularly, the facts are just astounding in my view. I have had an opportunity to talk with the member. I recommended that in future cases, particularly when they involve the courts, that there are members of the caucus, and myself included, who have some experience in this regard and we would be happy to receive any inquiries from him and to

[Page 981]

talk to him about those kinds of questions. It would benefit both from perspective and from the knowledge that we have.

[3:15 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cumberland South.

PREM. - FISH. LOAN BOARD: PERSONNEL LIST - PROVIDE

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is for the Premier. On June 23rd, Nova Scotia's Conflict of Interest Commissioner told the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture that as a result of the proposed purchaser making an application for a loan from the Fisheries and Aquaculture Loan Board, it did create some difficulty and could put him in a conflict of interest unless he completely avoided the processing of the loan application. He was advised to assign all decision making in the department to someone else and do it in such a way that it is clear he was not influencing the decision. Will the Premier provide for me today a list of personnel from the Fisheries and Aquaculture Loan Board who handled the sale and the trail of paper at the board showing the minister was not involved?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, one of the reasons for this is that, of course, the minister and the department, in fact, have no interaction on this file with the loan board, none whatsoever. In fact, the amount of money that is involved is such that the loan board itself can make the decision, they don't come to the department, so there is no role for the department to play.

MR. SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, thank you to the Premier. I was merely trying to substantiate what the House has been told with regard to the facts over the last few days.

To the Premier again. In the Minister of Fisheries' letter to Mr. Nunn on June 22nd, he discusses the sale of his fishing licence, vessel and associated equipment, but makes no mention on the sale of Mr. Mussel's Seafarms Ltd. or any other fishing licences held by the minister.

The Ministerial Code of Conduct clearly stipulates a minister must not hold a directorship unless it is one of the duties of the minister. Will the Premier show leadership this afternoon and admit his minister is clearly in a conflict of interest?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the minister did exactly what he ought to have done. He disclosed completely all of the assets that he had that were involved in the enterprise. He wrote to the Conflict of Interest Commissioner. He asked for advice, he got the advice, he followed it. That's what I think we would expect from any member of the House.

[Page 982]

MR. SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, I'm going to table a letter that the honourable Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture had submitted to Mr. Nunn. Clearly, he only asked him about one specific issue and that was the sale of that particular vessel and licence. Nothing else about his holdings, nothing else about potential conflict which I believe is clearly involved there if you look at the facts. The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture was appointed to Cabinet on the evening of June 19th and wrote to Mr. Nunn on June 22nd. In that letter he said he understood that the sale of his fishing licence, vessel and associated equipment, was involved in an application with the Fisheries and Aquaculture Loan Board.

On February 17, 2009, in another matter similar to that here in this House and outside to the media, NDP Leader Darrel Dexter said Nova Scotians have a right to know exactly what happened. He said the Legislature's Public Accounts Committee should examine the circumstances surrounding the loan and the only way the public can know whether or not its interests are actually being protected is if this matter is dealt with in a full and transparent way, Mr. Dexter said.

Mr. Premier, will you immediately ask Nova Scotia's Conflict of Interest Commissioner to review the minister's activities in complete detail - when I say complete detail, I mean all written pieces of correspondence, all details on these fishing licences, all business activities and involvement the minister may have with his now or past business, as well as providing clear documentation the minister did as he was instructed by Mr. Nunn - and ask the Public Accounts Committee to examine the circumstances surrounding the minister's loan and his personal involvement in this issue?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, as I've already explained to the member, the Conflict of Interest Commissioner is in fact the person who provided the advice that was followed. All of the information was disclosed. There was no role for the department with respect to this file and they had no role. If the member has any information whatsoever with respect to the Fisheries Loan Board that would in any way demonstrate there was any interference, he should produce it. The fact of the matter is there was none, everything was followed exactly as it should be and that's the problem. That's the problem the Opposition has. (Applause)

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

EDUC. - NSCC STRIKE NEGOTIATIONS: MIN.

- COMMENT

MS. KELLY REGAN: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. The faculty and support staff at the Nova Scotia Community College are expected to set a strike date today. More than 25,000 students are anxiously waiting to see if their school year will be impacted or - possibly worse - lost, if the Minister of Education refuses to take an active role, preferring to sit on the sidelines. The minister has said, and I quote, "The best thing I can do as Minister . . . is to stay out of the negotiations, to allow it to go to its

[Page 983]

conclusion and to trust that reasonable people on all sides of the negotiating table will come to a reasonable conclusion."

Mr. Speaker, my question to the minister is, is the minister saying that the faculty and staff at NSCC are unreasonable people because they're asking to be treated in the same way as their public school colleagues?

HON. MARILYN MORE: Mr. Speaker, I am reassured that the collective bargaining process is working as it was designed and legislated. Thank you.

MS. REGAN: Mr. Speaker, I'm not sure how that's working since they're not actually meeting. While the Minister of Education prefers to stand on the sidelines, her colleague, the Deputy Premier, has no such reservations. Today in an op-ed piece in The ChronicleHerald, the Deputy Premier had no difficulty trying to justify why his government is treating NSCC faculty and staff differently than their public school colleagues. My question to the minister is, why are you continuing to stay on the sidelines while your colleague, the Deputy Premier, has no hesitation in inserting himself into the process?

MS. MORE: Mr. Speaker, I have said from day one that the collective bargaining process is very important. We value it and, as Minister of Education, the way I can encourage it to work is to stay out of it. I am not going to politically interfere in something that has been designed and legislated to allow employers and employees to work out their differences at the table and to come to a decision that they can live with and, hopefully, the province can live with. Thank you.

MS. REGAN: The minister talks about not getting involved in the collective bargaining process, preferring to leave it up to the community college's management and the union, but the two sides agree NSCC staff should be treated the same as their public school colleagues. However, in an e-mail to staff, the community college's President, Joan MacArthur-Blair, confirmed the NDP Government has given them no additional funding to actually negotiate with the union. So what we have here is not collective bargaining. What we have here is a take-it-or-leave-it ultimatum by this government.

Mr. Speaker, my question to the minister is, why has this government given the college nothing to negotiate with, and isn't the government just replacing collective bargaining with a take-it-or-leave-it ultimatum?

MS. MORE: Mr. Speaker, I am not privy to the discussions around the collective bargaining table and I'm not sure where the honourable member is getting her information, but the process is working as it is designed. Certainly being able to take a strike vote and potentially going on strike are steps in a legislated and designed process to allow the two sides to work out their differences. Thank you.

[Page 984]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

ENERGY - ENCANA: COMMITMENTS - ENFORCE

MR. ANDREW YOUNGER: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Energy. Last week the Minister of Energy allowed 75 jobs for Nova Scotians to disappear by letting EnCana off the hook without seeking further commitments to replace the 280,000 man-hours on an accommodation block. Today we learn that EnCana is shopping their portion of the project around - they want to get out of Nova Scotia. That doesn't sound like EnCana is too serious about the future of this province, as the Minister of Energy suggested they were last week. My question for the Minister of Energy is, should EnCana leave the province, what are you doing to ensure that they live up to the commitments they've made?

HON. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform him that it has been a busy week for the Minister of Energy. I've had the opportunity to attend an important conference up the hill here at the World Trade and Convention Centre, the CORE Conference. Let me tell you, during the times that I've been there socially, or introducing guest speakers, or talking to people involved, there is a very good strong working relationship between the people in that industry and this government.

We've been well received. We've had some meaningful discussions, discussions based on the fact that they know - and I've heard it from people whether they're from Texas or whether they're from Georgia or whether they're from Alberta - they have said this is a good place to do business because people from Cape Breton are good working men and women, the people in Sheet Harbour are good working men and women, and they continue to say and sing the praises of this province, sing the praises of the workers because they know that this is a place, and a province, with a government that is open for business. (Applause)

MR. YOUNGER: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Energy must have anticipated my first supplementary because yesterday the Premier said almost the same thing when he said that a good relationship with EnCana is more beneficial to his government in the long run than trying to reopen the accommodations block controversy. However, that project was beneficial to Nova Scotians who need employment, the hard workers who you just spoke about. So, my question to the minister is, if our offshore resources belong to Nova Scotians and not EnCana, why does this government think that the relations with the company are more important than the workers of Nova Scotia?

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, the working relationship that we as government have with EnCana is important for Nova Scotians. I think the member opposite should perhaps take a longer term view of things that happen in government. Perhaps the members who sit in the Party beside you could inform you on some of the things, some of the

[Page 985]

experiences and some of the advice that they have given to me on this particular file, and I appreciate them for that. But if we're going to get into an arbitration battle, if we're going to say we know more than they do, we have to work with these people in a meaningful way. EnCana is a major player, they're welcome in this province, they're going to stay in this province, because they know in this province we have qualities among our workforce from one end to the other, we have qualities that they want to value and use. That's why EnCana is going to continue to be involved with this government, this province and our workforce.

MR. YOUNGER: Mr. Speaker, perhaps the most interesting thing to me about this whole thing is that the transparent and open NDP Government lack public information and consultation with the concerned stakeholders, despite the fact that last week the minister said that was part of the plan. Last week the minister said that the plan within EnCana protects jobs in Nova Scotia and stated that this will ensure that the work is done here.

Strange, because Duane Mather from the drilling contractor Nabors Canada said, if there had been a demand and EnCana had walked away and we had the economic viability with the project, we would have gone ahead anyway. Yet, the minister said that the project will go ahead if there is the economic viability. So, it seems that we got nothing from EnCana.

MR. SPEAKER: Your question please.

MR. YOUNGER: Yes, Mr. Speaker, OTANS has also complained that the government did not consult with them on this. So my question is, since the rig project would have gone ahead anyway, under the same conditions, why did this government not consult with OTANS and why is there no substitute work for this region? (Interruptions)

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I thank the good member from Whitney Pier for giving me some valuable advice. (Laughter) Because, you know, in the middle of all the meetings we have and all the commitments we have each week, when I look at the opportunities to sit down with people from OTANS, I consider it an important time. So for not consulting and for having a meeting in my office with these officials, you're wrong, you're dead wrong.

Let me assure you of something else. If you're going to read your newspapers to get your questions, you better get some new researchers. (Applause)

[3:30 p.m.]

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

PREM.: FISH. & AQUACULTURE MIN. - TRANSPARENCY

[Page 986]

MR. ALFIE MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Premier. No matter what the minister has said so far, or what you have said so far, Mr. Premier, about the sale of the minister's fishing licence, Nova Scotians don't have any confidence in your government. You said in The ChronicleHerald on February 17, 2006, concerning another matter of potential conflict, and I quote: Nova Scotians have a right to know exactly what happened and the only way that the public can know whether or not its interest is actually being protected is if this matter is dealt with with a full and transparent way. Mr. Premier, through you, Mr. Speaker, do you still believe your words of February 17, 2006?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I do, and that's why we've been fully transparent with respect to this matter. (Applause)

MR. MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, it's refreshing to hear that the Premier still believes in those words, and I believe him to be very sincere when he says that. My first supplementary is very simple, will the Premier immediately write the Legislature's Public Accounts Committee so they can thoroughly review the state of the assets of the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture?

THE PREMIER: There has been full disclosure. He knows and has asked and had every question answered. The problem that the members of the Opposition have is that there is no problem.

MR. MACLEOD: Well, Mr. Speaker, I'm very disappointed. A second ago we heard the Premier say that he would stand by his words and now he says that that's not the way he is going. Now, Mr. Premier, my second supplementary is this, your Finance Minister, back in 2006, stated the minister is hiding behind a principle that is meant to protect the public interest, not political reputations. The current Finance Minister then stated, and I quote: I don't understand why they're doing it. Their continued refusal to disclose documents or answer simple questions is a perfect breeding ground for theories about something deeper going on. That's what your Finance Minister had to say - and I'll table that.

Mr. Speaker, my question to the Premier is this, are you prepared today to allow representatives from the Nova Scotia Fisheries and Aquaculture Loan Board to appear before the Public Accounts Committee and testify regarding this exceptionally cloudy issue?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, there are two things here. First of all, there has been no connection between the minister and the loan board because nothing in between has happened. There is none, that's the first thing. The second thing is that the member would know that the application that was made to the loan board actually belongs to a third party who is protected under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. (Interruptions)

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

[Page 987]

MS. KELLY REGAN: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. I think she has stepped out, so I'll just . . .

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No, no. No, you can't say that.

MS. REGAN: Oh, here we go . . .

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

EDUC.: ANTIGONISH CO. ADULT LEARNING ASSOC.

- GOV'T. FUNDING

MS. KELLY REGAN: Mr. Speaker, the people of Antigonish are seeking to replace the substandard and inadequate public library facility in the area. This new project will be a 14,000-square foot building with a state-of-the-art community access program site and a permanent home for the Antigonish County Adult Learning Association, among other great initiatives. My question to the Minister of Education is, does your government support funding for this facility?

HON. MARILYN MORE: Mr. Speaker, libraries are a critical part of our education infrastructure. The Department of Education does not have any funding for capital construction. In the past, I believe that has always been done through municipalities. So I do not have additional information because it's not a responsibility or function of the Department of Education.

MS. REGAN: Mr. Speaker, just yesterday the Minister of Economic and Rural Development stated that he had sent the proponents of this development a letter saying that under department guidelines this project does not fit the criteria. This project and the people involved need a financial commitment from this government. It is vital to the community as an educational resource, and the venture itself will contribute to the local economic development of the area. My question to the minister - does this important learning facility and community centre fit the criteria for the Department of Education to receive financial support from your government?

MS. MORE: Mr. Speaker, certainly the Department of Education funds the staff and the collections within the libraries and, as I mentioned earlier, they are a critical part of our community education system. They are extremely well used. Hundreds of thousands of Nova Scotians take advantage of both the online and books, magazines, and programs and services within our library system. They have an excellent reputation, and I'm very pleased that in a couple of weeks, I will have an opportunity to address all the key officials working in public libraries across this province and talk about their funding. Certainly if the honourable member wants to ask some detailed questions during Budget Estimates, I would be pleased

[Page 988]

to give some figures on the amount of money, but I believe it's well-known that we're putting in an additional $1 million this year.

MS. KELLY REGAN: In view of the minister's answer, will you seek funding from your government for this important educational project?

MS. MORE: Mr. Speaker, I believe government representatives have been in consultation and working alongside the library officials and the community leaders who are interested in this facility. I have no doubt that those discussions will continue.

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

FISH. & AQUACULTURE: CONFLICT OF INTEREST - ADVICE

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. As was stated earlier, we now have a copy of the letter from the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture to the Conflict of Interest Commissioner, which is less than forthright about the extent of interest holdings of the minister and his planned business transactions. What we do know is that the Conflict of Interest Commissioner advised the minister to avoid a conflict in writing. Can the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture inform this House how it is that he wrote a letter, received a letter, and then forgot to keep records about who directed who, who knew what, and when did they know it?

HON. STERLING BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, again, I instructed - we contacted the Conflict of Interest Commissioner. We have followed that due process, and if you want to repeat the question, I'm willing to stand here all day. We have done everything and it's my understanding that we followed due process.

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, it's bad enough this session that we've had to suffer through the Minister of Finance's ineptness and selective amnesia that is damning to Nova Scotians. Now yet another in a series of ministers has invoked the double standard of do as I say, not as I do. Will the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture finally admit he acted inappropriately with a matter that he knew he would personally benefit from as the minister responsible for the Fisheries Loan Board?

MR. BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite, I have followed the process. I have put the vessel and the enterprise for sale a year in advance, and I had a party - the marine brokerage system that is handling that, and I think that I've done everything that's appropriate.

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, the minister stated outside this Chamber yesterday afternoon that he verbally turned over the file to his deputy minister, a verbal assignment for what would turn out to be transactions worth hundreds of thousands of dollars with no

[Page 989]

records kept. Nova Scotians deserve to know the full story and the complete details of this matter, not be subject to more NDP hypocrisy. Will the minister supply to this House - by the end of business today - a written statement by his deputy minister outlining his discussions, involvements, and transactions and direction from the said minister who is avoiding the subject?

MR. BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, again I refer back to the letter from the Conflict of Interest Commissioner. I followed his advice and I continue to follow his advice.

MR. SPEAKER. Order, please. The honourable member for Richmond.

FISH. & AQUACULTURE - MIN.: LOAN - PREM. AWARENESS

HON. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, I'm trying to get a bit more detail on some of the confusion from the answers we've received today from this government. I'm wondering if the Premier would be so kind as to advise Nova Scotians on this very simple point of information. Were you aware at the time that you appointed your Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture that he had an outstanding loan with the Nova Scotia Fisheries Loan Board - yes or no?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, when I was interviewing him, the member for Shelburne disclosed fully all of his assets. The questions with respect to any particular outstanding loans that he might have, everything was disclosed and that is why he took the correct action, which was to write the Conflict of Interest Commissioner. It was to advise him of the situation, to gain advice from the Conflict of Interest Commissioner and then to follow it.

I think it should be known, there is no file with respect to this in the department, and the reason for that is because those decisions do not come to the department. They are made by an arm's-length independent loan board and therefore nothing ever comes to the department to be ruled on. What the minister did is, he appropriately instructed his deputy minister. That is what he should have done.

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

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

[Page 990]

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise today and really continue a question that I delivered late in the session yesterday around the Strathlorne Forest Nursery. I didn't quite get all the information yesterday, and I know it's a very important topic to the workers at the nursery.

It was on April 17, 2009, that the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources announced an investment of $1,140,000 in funding over two years from the Community Development Trust Fund for Strathlorne Forest Nursery in Inverness County. Now, this investment is focused on exploring long-term opportunities, investing in necessary upgrades, developing a program to employ seasonal workers - essentially a program that would maintain Strathlorne and the part that it would play in the future of forestry in Nova Scotia.

In essence, this is a welcome program, a good program. However, there are still a number of questions that surround the future of Strathlorne, and in recent weeks there has been a lot of concern about the workers' future, and about the casual employees in particular.

[3:45 p.m.]

Also, yesterday I was trying to determine whether or not the minister's advisory committee had met with him, did it exist, what was the current status? But, we didn't quite get there yesterday during Question Period. In fact, the minster, I'm sure, will offer some clarification around his advisory committee in the coming days because we know that these are generally people that have that first-hand knowledge of that area, of the role that Strathlorne plays in the Nova Scotia forestry sector.

The funds from the provincial government are supposed to be properly directed, or really, will they be properly directed perhaps is more appropriate that I ask, if we don't have those kinds of consultations with an advisory group? At this stage, I haven't been able to determine who is on that advisory group. So perhaps it's an area that the minister will bring some clarification to in the coming weeks, that we'll know who was on the advisory group and if they have a particular mandate and a role that they're going to be playing, especially in relation to Strathlorne and its future. If they have met, what have they accomplished to date? There doesn't seem to be those kinds of public records at this stage.

[Page 991]

We know that the forest industry in Nova Scotia is going through one of its most challenging periods. We've had cyclical events happen in forestry, whether or not it's market driven, an impact on disease, that we have had on a number of occasions over the last 50 years in Nova Scotia. We also know that one particular downturn for pulp and paper has impacted the forestry sector very, very significantly.

It is important that this advisory group are up and running and we do want to know what actions they may take to make sure that Strathlorne has a part to play here in Nova Scotia. It's been a major employer in Inverness County for over 50 years. We know that if we're going to have sustainable communities then an employer and the kind of work that's done at Strathlorne is very much in the concept of sustainability itself.

It is important that the minister at some point makes a very clear indication of its future and of its support, especially during difficult times. We know that the amount of silviculture is not at the same level now as we had been seeing in Nova Scotia. It doesn't matter whether it's from Class 1 to Class 7, silviculture is just not a significant event in forestry at the current time.

I know the former government had talked about the future of Strathlorne around cost recovery. In other words, they would have to generate income that, in fact, would enable it to go forward as the entity that it has been as the employer and the service it provides to forestry. So, in very difficult times that may be very challenging to be able to accomplish that. It is important that we see that government plays a role here.

We hear government talking about stimulating the economy, generating economic development. I know ensuring the sustainability of this nursery would certainly contribute to that. We've had notice, of course, in recent days of one employer, Acrobat, taking about 38 workers out of Inverness County. We know that the pulp sector is not as vibrant as it had been. Also, of course, there's a growing concern about the state of the forests in the highlands of Cape Breton. The spruce bark beetle infestation now seems to be at its height and there's a tremendous amount of infected wood and a lot of dead wood in the forests, so much so that this summer the Cape Mabou and Sight Point Trails were closed to the public.

We know that if some of this wood is going to be harvested in a significant amount, the mill in Port Hawkesbury can't handle all of the wood, but perhaps there is a place for some biomass use of the wood. I'm not taking about a major generating plant here but perhaps some of it can, indeed, go for co-generation and have a use, which means that if you get a considerable amount of harvesting going on in the highlands, then a nursery stock becomes very important as well. So there are connected events here that we need to take into account.

[Page 992]

We know that regeneration doesn't look after an entire regrowth if we want to get the forestry up to producing the expectations that the area has. So today I'm calling upon the minister to give a very clear insight into its future.

The financial support is coming from the Community Development Trust Fund. It's a $34.9 million program established in 2008 by the federal government and it is designed to help communities experiencing economic challenges. The fund's priorities are to enhance sustainable prosperity; diversify economic and trade opportunities; improve productivity, innovation and training; assist communities with transition planning and help workers facing adjustment challenges.

Now what would be more appropriate than making certain that Strathlorne receives funding and the support it needs from government? This region of the province certainly could use the government's help with respect to economic development and job creation. As well, Mr. Speaker, the NDP Government announced, in August 2009, a $14 million plan to thin, tend and replant Nova Scotia forests. Now half of this $7 million is coming from the provincial government, yet yesterday the minister stated that no money would be coming to Strathlorne from this funding announcement, leaving us to infer that if any funds are going to this nursery it will have to come directly from an NDP Government, through the IEF, or find some mechanism to deliver to Strathlorne.

We are hearing about job creation in the forestry sector. This funding in particular is supposed to create more than 400 jobs, help an ailing forest industry, according to the province. The money is mainly for small woodlot owners, roughly around 2,000 hectares, and softwood lumber producers and exporters are not eligible, according to government release. The work is to be carried out over the next two years.

Nearly all the stakeholders in the forestry industry contribute to the fund for silviculture but, due to the downturn in the industry, there's not enough money to do the work and there's the catch for Strathlorne. Its nursery stock, its one or two-year-old seedlings, don't have the same demand as what we have had with a very, very strong program of silviculture in Nova Scotia. So it is very, very important that this whole conundrum around Strathlorne is brought to light and it is given the kind of support in a difficult time.

We know that if Strathlorne has a downturn, it's so easy then when we get the upturn in the forestry sector perhaps for these silviculture companies and there's about 50 in the province - it's too easy for them to look to Ontario, or look to the northeast, or look to Maryland which, again, due to the economics of scale is sometimes able to provide a product that doesn't cost quite as much as what we may get from Strathlorne. However, the benefits of Strathlorne, of course, are the climate in which they are produced, the employment for that area is, indeed, very significant.

[Page 993]

In the coming weeks, I am hopeful that the Minister of Natural Resources will make sure that Strathlorne's future is well announced and supported, if needed. We know at the current time, there is some talk among the workers about the fact that none of the funding programs that are currently in front of us - the federal program nor the cost-shared federal-provincial program of $14 million - there doesn't seem to be any directed funding towards Strathlorne.

Mr. Speaker, I wanted to bring this topic to the floor today and this, for me, has been an opportunity. I look forward to actually having a very direct conversation with the minister. I know my earlier conversations with the Minister of Natural Resources have been very, very co-operative, very open, and when I bring this topic before him I'm expecting the same kind of good, collaborative effort to make sure that these employees are not lost during a time when forestry is going through tough times.

I am sure there are very few members here in the House, maybe with the exception of those who represent HRM, but all of us who travel to rural Nova Scotia can put a name on a mill - and a face on workers - that did not open this year. All of that goes back to the difficulties that Strathlorne is facing.

So with that, Mr. Speaker, I take my place.

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

MR. ALFIE MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, today I thought I would talk a little bit about some of the "firsts" in Cape Breton West, and some of the tourism factors that we have there, and some of great pride we take in our community.

Cape Breton West is a unique community. We have farming, we have fishing, we have mining, and we have agriculture. It is a community of many, many different types of people. In Cape Breton West, we have the largest First Nations community this side of Montreal. In that community there's a very able chief by the name of Charlie Dennis, who has been trying to lead his people into more self-government and looking into some of the needs of their youth.

There were a lot of problems in Eskasoni with youth suicides, and the community came together and worked very hard putting together a crisis centre. They have a program now in place, with the help of the Province of Nova Scotia and many other people from around the community and other agencies, to make the people there more aware of the chances and the things that can be done to help the youth.

The other thing that we have going on in Eskasoni right now is a rebuild of their community rink. Eskasoni is a place where people take a lot of pride in playing hockey and there are some good hockey players who come out of there - Chad Denny being one of them, who plays on a NHL team. You know he's very good when he goes back to the community.

[Page 994]

He's a role model for his community and there are people there who look to him for leadership, and young people look to him for leadership.

[4:00 p.m.]

The work that is being done on the rink will allow more hockey to take place there, hopefully allowing the youth to have more to do and, again, help remove some of the issues that we see when it comes to some of the tragedies that we've seen in Eskasoni.

We could move on to the community of Port Morien. Port Morien was the site of the first coal mine in North America. The coal from there was actually used to help fuel the fires at the Fortress of Louisbourg during its time as being the beginning of North America for the French colonies. In Louisbourg - in Port Morien I should say, it's also the home of the first Boy Scout troop in North America. It was actually last year that they celebrated their 100th Anniversary. People from all across the province and different parts of Canada came to Port Morien to celebrate that famous day when it all started there for the Boy Scout movement and it's something that the community takes a lot of pride in. Port Morien was also the place where the Lieutenant Governor's first Community Spirit Award was granted in Cape Breton Island and the people of Port Morien are very proud of what they've been able to accomplish.

We move on, and I had mentioned Louisbourg and the Fortress of Louisbourg. The Fortress of Louisbourg is a place that so many people have not had an opportunity to visit but it's so rich in the heritage of our province and indeed our country. We even had a member of this House who lived in Louisbourg for a period of time, who sat across the way from us, and he was a proud person living in Louisbourg and part of the economy of Louisbourg for a period of time. He still comes here every now and then with his tie on, with the Louisbourg tartan. Seriously the Fortress of Louisbourg is an economic driver for the Province of Nova Scotia and for the Island of Cape Breton. That is the largest recreation of a historic site in Canada. We at one time had it for North America but, unfortunately, we've fallen back on that, but still it is a place where a lot of people come and learn the history and it is a place that needs to be promoted more.

The Fortress of Louisbourg, if you were to go there in the summertime, you can actually take a tour and you can be met by guards from the century during the time of the 1700s. I actually served and worked there one summer as a soldier. It was there, Mr. Speaker, where I had my first encounter with a tricorne. As a soldier at the Fortress of Louisbourg, I wore a tricorne and eventually at another location in my career, I wore another tricorne. So it holds a lot of fond memories for me. (Interruption)

Kennington Cove, the member for Cape Breton Nova is saying something about Kennington Cove - Cape Breton Centre, I'm sorry. It is a beautiful, beautiful spot - great swimming, lots of space, and I'm getting caught up by some of the rabbit tracks that are

[Page 995]

being thrown at me from across the way. But it is other Cape Breton members who are so proud of our island who are speaking about the different things that are there.

Now, I want to talk to you a little about the Tall Ships. Every two years, we have the Tall Ships come into Louisbourg. It's an event that helps again to draw many people to the community. It is an event that plays a major role. In1995 we had a great turnout of a lot of people there. The Louisbourg Playhouse is a venue where people can come and enjoy the Town of Louisbourg and local talents. It was called the bear pit in the movie called Squanto, and if anybody has ever watched that movie, this is there. Of course, when you go to the Louisbourg Playhouse, you get good local Cape Breton entertainment and during intermission you are served with tea and oatcakes. More Cape Breton hospitality and something that we're all very, very proud of. (Interruption) Yes, I can tell the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal I've had my share of oatcakes at that playhouse.

Another thing that has taken place in Louisbourg just in the last year, Mr. Speaker, is they, too, were seeing a lot of vandalism created by young people. The community got together and they said we need to do something. There were some people like Melinda Power and Gerald Sheppard who got together and decided that they were going to make a difference for the youth of Louisbourg. They formed a group called Youth in Motion, the Louisbourg Youth in Motion. The local fire department came onside, gave them space. The community came and they put together a facility for the young people to go and take part in different games and activities. There is exercise equipment there, but not only that, the youth have set up a system for their own self-governance, where they are setting the direction of what they're going to do. They, Mr. Speaker, have done things like town cleanups, helped people shovel sidewalks for the seniors and the different people around their communities. So the initiative of Gerald Shepard and Melinda Power has paid big benefits to the community.

I want to touch base a little bit on Grand Mira. Grand Mira is a really small community, but it is the home of the longest-running 4-H Club in Nova Scotia. That 4-H Club has been running longer than any other 4-H Club in Nova Scotia. As a matter of fact, one lady in that community, Marion MacKinnon - and her son (Applause) She was a member for Cape Breton West in this very House, but Marion MacKinnon has served over 75 years in the 4-H movement. Sir, she has done a lot of good for young people. As a matter of fact, she was the instructor for one of my daughters, who went on to become the public speaking champion of Nova Scotia, and it was Marion MacKinnon who was her guiding light to make that happen.

Then, of course, we have the community of Big Pond, the home of Rita MacNeil and the Rita MacNeil Tea House and you can get tea there, too, you can get Rita's own special blend of tea, but you can also get hospitality there. You can go to the fire hall and you can go to a dance and you can have some fun with the people there, or you can go to the beach and enjoy yourself there. Or you can go to the Big Pond concert, which is one of the longest-running concerts in all of Cape Breton Island. Mr. Speaker, I could go on about the virtues

[Page 996]

of Big Pond, but there are so many other areas that I would like to speak about in our community of Cape Breton West.

The member for Cape Breton Centre has mentioned Main-à-Dieu. Well, of course, I would have to speak about Main-à-Dieu because, after all, it is the Lobster Capital of World. The best lobsters anywhere at all - I'll put lobsters up from the Eastern Shore, Yarmouth, or any other part of this province or any other part of this country against the lobsters that come from Main-à-Dieu, and you will find no better, no tastier - and no better people fishing those than them.

Mr. Speaker, there is also the community of Port Morien. I mentioned it earlier, about the different things that are going on there. Next there to Port Morien we have Donkin, and in Donkin we have the Donkin-Port Caledonia Development Association. In that development association, they started to turn that community around. They built a playground in a day, they have put in a park, a memorial park to veterans. It is the site of a potential coal mine, a coal mine that could generate jobs for hundreds of Cape Breton Islanders, and that's taking place in the community of Donkin.

Then we have Marion Bridge. This year, just last weekend, the Marion Fire Department celebrated 50 years of operation in the community. Marion Bridge is also the home of Two Rivers Wildlife Park, a park which has many animals. Many people from different communities go there to visit the animals, but you can also go boat riding, you can go on tours, you can go on sleigh rides, and it is a community that has a lot of heart and a lot of spirit.

In my own community of Gabarus Lake, which is a small community, very small, just two years ago, we lost our church and the community came together and we built a new church. The minister who came to the official opening of the church said that he had been in the ministry for almost 50 years and it was the first time that he had ever presided over the opening of a new church. Because as we know, as we move around the province, churches have a challenge to keep their doors open. But this small community of Gabarus Lake and Gabarus got together and built a new church, and Mr. Speaker, that was phenomenal, what took place there.

Mr. Speaker, we have a place in our community called Sydney River. It is the bedroom community for Sydney. (Interruption) You do, that's right. The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova says he has a brother there who is a constituent of mine. (Interruption) Well, he couldn't put a sign up because he runs a business there.

That community is a community where a number of people from across our area, who work in Sydney, who work in Glace Bay, who work in North Sydney, they come to that community and that's what they call home. It is a community that has grown and grown and

[Page 997]

yet that community still has no water and it's a priority for us to try and put water into those homes because right now they're relying on wells and there are some challenges there.

One of the most important things about our community of Cape Breton West is its people, the volunteers that are there. There are 16 volunteer fire departments servicing the people of Cape Breton West, volunteers who put their lives on the line for their neighbours and their friends, volunteers who are there every time we need them and those people in those 16 departments are people we turn to.

We also have four Legions in Cape Breton West and again, the men and the women who make up the membership of those Legions are people that we in this House should always look up to and admire, because it is because of those people that we have the rights that we enjoy today, the ability to stand in this House, the ability to talk about the different things that are going on, the ability to disagree on some of the issues, but at the end of the day, I believe everybody in this House is trying to get to the same place, which is the best we can do for the people of Cape Breton and Nova Scotia in general.

I want to tell you a little bit about a fellow by the name of Angus Campbell who, on the days when he's got a little bit of extra time, drives Meals on Wheels for the elderly. The only thing about Angus is, he's 84 years old but he thinks he has to take a couple of days a week to drive food around to the old people in the community because they need to have some help.

Of course, I have to tell you about Lynette Sampson. Lynette Sampson is a young lady who lives in Sydney River, who has some challenges, but do you know, Mr. Speaker, Lynette is going to be one of the torch bearers for the Olympic torch when it comes along. She has been at the Special Olympics and she has won more gold medals than you will ever - I've lost count. She's won silver medals, she's won medals for swimming, I could go on, but there is one other person in Cape Breton West I have to mention before I sit down and that would be my wife Shirley because I could tell you, there is no way that any of us could be here without the support of our spouses or significant others, and my wife, Shirley, is one of the best people that you'll ever want to meet and with that, I'll take my place.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.

MS. VICKI CONRAD: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to be standing in my place here this evening to speak to the Supply motion. I want to say that in the recent election of June 2009, I was very honoured to be re-elected as the MLA for Queens and I'm very pleased that the constituents of Queens have put faith in me and they have confidence in me to continue representing their concerns and advocating on their behalf. I was very pleased with the results of that June 2009 election and very pleased to be sitting on this side of the House with the rest of my colleagues who were also successful in that June 2009 election.

[Page 998]

I want to thank all of the members of my campaign team who worked so hard to see me re-elected. They were not only dedicated to seeing me re-elected, but they gave willingly of their time in order for me to achieve that goal, and I would not be here today without their help and their experience in seeing me re-elected.

[4:15 p.m.]

Some of the members of my campaign team who I would like to thank would be Julie Labrador, Janet Bowers, Darlene and John Chandler, Kim Crouse, Calha d'Entremont, Adrian Conrad, Gerry Burke, Basil Giffin, John Pierce, Barry and Helen Gibb, Marlene and Stephanie Gaudet, of course, my parents, Allan and Diane Shatford, my husband, Scott, my sons, Mark and Nick, and my daughter, Kelsey. There are many, many more volunteers who had helped on my campaign, too many for me to name here today.

The people I did name, they worked hard at putting up signs, keeping my campaign office going, answering phones, helping me canvass, talking to constituents on my behalf, relaying the message of our election campaign for today's family. Some of them, yes, actually came out to my home and did help me feed the goats and the turkeys.

The person I do want to thank most is my husband, Scott. He really does keep the home fires burning for me when I'm here in the House, when I'm here in the city for several days of the week. We do have a small hobby farm and he is also an employee with Bowater Mersey, and without him I would not be able to stand in my place here today and represent all of the good people of Queens.

The small hobby farm we have is not so small. We have a farm of nine goats, we raise our own turkeys, Mr. Speaker, we raise our own meat birds. We have probably about 30 hens. We sell eggs within the community. We also have two cows and two pigs at home and we have a dog and a cat. So it's no easy task for my husband to, as I say, keep the home fires burning while I am here in the House.

I do have to tell you, though, I look forward to Sundays when I am home and I take pleasure in helping him with some of those barn duties and I love spending time with my nine goats. Anyway, that's not why I'm here, to talk about my personal life.

I want to just take you on a bit of a tour through Queens. I represent all of the constituents in Queens County and I also represent constituents in eight communities in the Lunenburg County area. Those eight communities are Petite Rivière, Broad Cove, Cherry Hill, Voglers Cove, East Port Medway, parts of Italy Cross, parts of Crousetown, and parts of Middlewood.

My riding of Queens has a number of fire departments. Recently I met with all of the fire chiefs in the riding of Queens. I have to say we are so fortunate to have volunteers such

[Page 999]

as our fire chiefs and all of the volunteer members who service those departments to look after all of the constituents in Queens. I just want to acknowledge those fire chiefs. We have Donnie Whynot from the Mill Village Fire Department; Ronnie Whynot from the Italy Cross Fire Department; Merrill Anthony services the Charleston Fire Department; Wayne Smith from the United Communities Fire Department; Jonathon Porter from Petite Rivière; Steven Parnell, Chief of the Liverpool Fire Department; Harry Nelson from the Greenfield Fire Department; and Gerald Stevens, the Acting Deputy Fire Chief for Port Medway. These men are key to keeping those departments functioning efficiently, keeping volunteers together and promoting good fire safety within the community.

We also have two great Ground Search and Rescue teams, the North and South Ground Search and Rescues. I want to just make mention of Past President Brian Hatt and also Past President Gerry Burke of both of those Ground Search and Rescue units - I've had the pleasure to meet with them on regular occasions - and also all of the volunteer members who participate in not only training, but being on standby should a situation arise that we would need to see their assistance.

Of course Queens is serviced by a number of volunteers outside of those fire departments and Ground Search and Rescue. We have many volunteers in our community: the ladies auxiliary, and men and women who serve on the student advisory bodies in my community. We have many members of the community who come out and help participate, organize and move forward the many wonderful festivals that we have in the riding of Queens each and every year. I just want to highlight some of those festivals.

Every year we have the Privateer Days Festival, in the Town of Liverpool, in the riding of Queens. It's a wonderful festival celebrating the arrival of the privateers along the South Shore. This past year we had a wonderful festival for three days. We welcomed tourists and visitors from all over the province and beyond and a good time was had by all. The King's Orange Rangers are a wonderful part of that festival where they gear up in costume and do re-enactments for visitors and residents alike. It's a wonderful opportunity to explore some of that part of our history in Queens, it is also a wonderful time for visitors to get to know not only the people of Queens, but also to understand some of our history.

We also have yearly the SeaFest festival in Brooklyn. It's held at the Brooklyn Marina and, again, people come together to move that festival forward. It's a great three-day event where people come and celebrate not only the culture of the sea, but there are fishing tournaments. We have a shark-fishing tournament. There are tournaments around the fishing for groundfish and it's a wonderful time had by all, especially for those individuals who really enjoy having some recreational activities on the water.

I just want to let members know that for the fish that are brought in and landed, DNR and members from Parks Nova Scotia are there to ensure that all fish are handled humanely and, again, it's a good time had by all, after the end of a three-day event.

[Page 1000]

We also see the Queens County Fair put on an excellent week of activities at our fairgrounds in North Queens. The fairground there is an attraction for not only visitors but residents who wait every year for September to arrive so that they can get out and see all the wonderful displays from the residents who participate in the fair, everything from wonderful products coming from people's gardens, to a show of their livestock, to taking about rural communities and how we make those sustainable by being creative around our fairgrounds and displaying those projects.

This year we have the 3rd International Ukulele Ceilidh happening in Liverpool. It is a great festival bringing ukulele players from all over the world. It's a real fun-filled weekend and I suggest that people who may be looking for a place to come and visit toward the end of October, that they come to Queens and experience a really jam-packed few days of ukulele playing, great music, great friends and great times.

We also are host to the Liverpool International Theatre Festival. Every two years the Liverpool International Theatre Festival comes to Queens. We have a wonderful little Astor Theatre that is the kind of the centre for that international. . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order. Order, please. I just wonder if I could ask the honourable members to converse quietly or else take their conversations outside or to the foyer.

The honourable member for Queens has the floor.

MS. CONRAD: As I was saying, Mr. Speaker, the Liverpool International Theatre Festival is a festival that comes to Queens every couple of years and we're so fortunate to have the Astor Theatre, which provides the centerpiece for the Liverpool International Theatre Festival there. It's a great event. A lot of not only local entertainers and actors provide their skills to us through the Winds of Change group, they're very creative and usually put on a wonderful play for us during that time, we also find actors coming from all over the world to provide us the talent they so richly have and it's, again, a wonderful festival to have come to Queens.

Just some of the geography in the riding of Queens - we are truly blessed in Queens to have the best of all worlds, if you will. We have a number of communities that are coastal communities; we have beautiful beaches such as Carters Beach, Summerville Beach, Sperrys Beach, Port Mouton Beach; and we have Port Mouton Island, a wonderful gem of an island off the coastline of Queens.

We surround many lakes. Of course, we have the beautiful river system of Medway, and also the Mersey River system. Our inland is very beautiful as well. We're home to Kejimkujik National Park, it's a fantastic park. For those members who may or may not be aware of the history, Kejimkujik National Park is very central to the First Nations

[Page 1001]

community, in fact, it was one of the first meeting grounds for many First Nation communities from all over the Maritime Provinces, where First Nations people would gather at Keji for their yearly meetings and some of their festivities many, many years ago.

Speaking of the Acadia First Nations communities in the riding of Queens, we are very blessed to have the diversity and culture of not only the First Nations community, but all members that belong to the Aboriginal community. We also are very fortunate to have many members of our community from African descent that have been over the last several years providing many of us within the community the knowledge of the culture from African Nova Scotians and we truly have many communities in Queens that share with us all of the cultures that make up the history of our communities along the South Shore.

Mr. Speaker, I really encourage you and all members of the House to visit the communities of Queens when you get a chance. We have beautiful geography, the diversity of many cultures in our communities, and we have a great number of volunteers in our community who welcome visitors and residents alike. We open our doors, we welcome people into our communities to visit and see our festivals, to experience some of the good food, to experience the beautiful scenery that our beaches and lakes and rivers provide.

I can stand and provide so many wonderful descriptives, but you need to come to Queens and really experience the life of rural Nova Scotia from a South Shore perspective by visiting there yourself. So I would encourage all members to come and see us at the end of October when the ukelele festival is happening, experience some good times.

I want to wrap up here, and I want to thank members for indulging me in my comments and allowing me to give you a recap of what Queens looks like. Thank you so much.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The motion is carried.

[4:29 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Supply with Deputy Speaker Mr. Alfie MacLeod in the Chair.]

[8:53 p.m. CWH on Supply rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Charlie Parker, resumed the Chair.]

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

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

[Page 1002]

MR. SPEAKER: It is agreed?

It is agreed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

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

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT: Would you please call Bill No. 1.

Bill No. 1 - Motor Vehicle Act.

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

HON. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I look forward to the comments of all sides of the House on Bill No. 1, a bill of some significance for this caucus for one particular reason and one particular member, but also a bill that we will look forward to going through to Law Amendments Committee with the support of the Legislature.

I think for the record it is very important that we announce, first of all, the title for this bill: An Act to Amend Chapter 293 of the Revised Statutes, 1989, the Motor Vehicle Act, to Increase Safety for First Responders and Others.

Mr. Speaker, this legislation was first introduced as a Private Member's Bill in 2004. It was reintroduced in 2006 to help protect emergency workers by restricting drivers' speed as they pass an emergency vehicle. I think it is of some consequence that the members on this side of the House - the members of this government - want to recognize and thank the persistence, the professionalism, and more importantly, the patience of the good member for Sackville-Cobequid, because this particular bill was introduced in 2004 by that member, reintroduced in 2006. (Applause)

Let's remember that for our emergency responders the side of the road is a place of work. I know on so many occasions, and all members of this House know, that when you see those lights flashing or you hear the sirens rolling through your community, you don't take them for granted because you know that they are going to work to help our community be a safer place.

[Page 1003]

My colleague and good friend and ex-student and star athlete at Sackville High School, the member for Sackville-Cobequid, has been suitably recognized in this House. He has a bright future in this Party and he has a bright future in this government. I want to thank him again personally and publicly for the good work that he has brought forward to our attention. (Applause)

We have a responsibility to keep our emergency workers, our firefighters, our paramedics, our volunteer firefighters, and all other people who are responding to accidents - we have a responsibility to keep them as safe as possible when they are responding to emergencies on our busy highways.

Now, Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia does not currently have a law which requires drivers to drive at a reduced rate of speed or to move into another lane when passing a stopped emergency vehicle. That, with the passage of this legislation and the input from all members of the House and input from members of the public at Law Amendments Committee, is going to change. This legislation will prohibit drivers from traveling on a highway at a speed greater than 60 kilometres per hour when passing an emergency vehicle while it is at work, and that is the key piece of information. The fines, including court costs, will range from $337 to $2,407, depending on the speed of the vehicle.

Many jurisdictions within Canada and the United States have enacted similar legislation, commonly known as "the move over law". While these laws typically require drivers to move to an adjacent lane when approaching an emergency vehicle which is stopped on or near the highway, with its lights flashing and activated, each law differs in the requirements it places upon drivers.

Mr. Speaker, the day that I had the pleasure to stand in our historic Red Room and bring this legislation forward there were a number of people present, and I want to make sure that we acknowledge their input in this piece of legislation. The media, of course, did their usual thorough job, at which time they made sure they interviewed Chief Frank Beazley, who was present, Chief Myles Burke, of course, who was there from the CBRM and, in addition to that, we also had the opportunity to meet Bill Mosher, the fire chief here. More importantly from my perspective, and of course no reflection on those particular gentlemen I just mentioned, I had the opportunity to meet firefighter and Windsor paramedic, Albert Bahri.

Albert was here that day with his young family because he was concerned that this piece of legislation had the endorsement of somebody who is still out there in the field, somebody who takes his life in his hands as he responds to emergencies in his community. I want to make sure that when I had the opportunity to meet Albert - because of the introduction by the good member for Sackville-Cobequid - Albert mentioned it to me and he was quoted in the press - I'm going to table a copy of this article, which comes from

[Page 1004]

September 19, 2009, from The ChronicleHerald. In this article, Albert says, "I've been brushed by vehicles. I've had vehicles drive in around my ambulance. In and around the fire truck', Mr. Bahri said at the legislature."

He goes on to say, "There's some really smart people out there, and there's some really silly people when they're behind the wheel."

Let's call it like it is, Albert is an expert. Albert knows what he is talking about and this piece of legislation is going to respond to the fact that this particular Windsor paramedic and firefighter will have the opportunity to make sure that he will be able to go home safe and sound to his young family and to his young son. That alone is a reason to support this important piece of legislation.

[9:00 p.m.]

I've heard some concerns, and I'm going to hear them, I'm sure, again, about the problems that could come when it comes to enforcement of this piece of this legislation. There could be questions along that line. So I want members opposite and members of the public to be aware of the fact that Chief Frank Beazley said when he was responding to the question about whether it was an enforcement, "I don't see it as a problem to implement the law.", Chief Beazley responded in the same article that I brought forward earlier.

This is a good piece of legislation, a piece of legislation that I'm sure all members of this House will support, a piece of legislation that the member for Sackville-Cobequid put a lot of time and effort into and he brought it to our caucus on two separate occasions when we were in Opposition. But we're not in that position now. We're on this size of the House, the government side of the House and it is with great pride that I bring Bill No. 1, this particular piece of legislation to protect emergency workers while they're at work. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Clare.

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to say a few words on Bill No. 1. Anytime we hear of accidents taking place on our highways in Nova Scotia, we automatically ask ourselves what caused the accident and if this accident could have been prevented. I know in the past we have had highway workers working on our roads involved in fatal accidents or seriously injured on the job. In order to address the seriousness of this issue, the House passed a piece of legislation last year to help protect highway workers along our roads and streets in Nova Scotia.

Today, Mr. Speaker, before the House we have another bill that will help protect emergency workers, police, paramedics, firefighters, and others who respond to emergencies on our roads in Nova Scotia. This bill will require motorists to slow down to 60 kilometres

[Page 1005]

or less when drivers go by stopped emergency vehicles displaying flashing lights on our highways.

However, this bill raises a number of questions. Maybe when the minister closes the debate on second reading he may want to address some of my concerns. In the minister's press release dated September 18, 2009, it states, "Many jurisdictions within Canada and the United States have enacted similar legislation." In order to get a better understanding of this proposed law, I would certainly appreciate when the minister closes debate if he could share with us - through you, Mr. Speaker - what other jurisdictions in Canada have enacted similar legislation. At the same I would be interested in finding out when these other jurisdictions brought this piece of legislation forward. Again, the minister may also want to tell us who has been lobbying his office for him to bring this proposed legislation forward.

Mr. Speaker, I too had the opportunity to attend the minister's press conference. As he indicated, there were a number of emergency workers present but I don't recall hearing anyone, when different individuals were being interviewed by the press, I didn't hear anyone who said they were lobbying, they were pushing for this piece of legislation. If there were, I apologize in advance for not hearing them, but I recall at least two individuals who were asked by the press and they clearly stated that they were not pushing for this. Anyhow, that's beside the point.

Another question that was raised at the minister's press conference when he introduced this bill was how is the government planning to enforce this new proposed law? Now, Mr. Speaker, we can have all good intentions and bring forward some good legislation, but when the proposed legislation becomes law we need to make sure that we have the answers and I hope the minister will tell us how the government is planning to enforce this new proposed law when it does become law. In the minister's opening comments he did indicate that this was a concern, yet he failed to indicate to you, and to all members of the House, how the government plans to enforce this piece of legislation.

Mr. Speaker, all of us have seen accidents on our roads over the years. We've seen emergency workers responding to accidents along our highways and we're all very grateful for the work carried out by our emergency workers. Again, this bill will require drivers to slow down to 60 kilometres or less when drivers go by stopped emergency vehicles that are displaying flashing lights on our highways. I'm sure police responding to an accident on our roads, talking to the individuals involved in the accident or to other emergency workers on the scene, can't just drop everything and leave the scene of an accident and start chasing vehicles that are not slowing down to 60 kilometres or less when they go by a stopped emergency vehicle that is displaying flashing lights.

Mr. Speaker, does this mean every time a police car is dispatched to respond to an accident we'll need an extra police car to be dispatched, as well, to assist in case some motorists are speeding when they go by a stopped emergency vehicle that's responding to an

[Page 1006]

emergency on our highway? Again, police officers already have a tough job when they respond to accidents on our roads and this is an additional task for them to perform. I remember hearing the minister when this question was raised at his press conference, do you expect police officers to just leave the accident and get in their police car and go after these individuals who are speeding and the minister said, of course, he hoped that they wouldn't leave the scene of an accident. So, again, the million dollar question is, how does this minister and this government plan to enforce this bill after it becomes law?

I'm sure once the bill goes through second reading, as the minister pointed out, then the bill will move to the Law Amendments Committee to provide the opportunity to anyone in our province who wishes to come forward to make a presentation on this bill. After the general public has that opportunity, Mr. Speaker, then that bill will return to this House, we'll go into committee and we'll have an opportunity to go clause by clause before that bill moves to third and final reading.

Assuming the bill will go through all the proper steps, eventually the bill will go through third and final reading. Obviously, I'm sure the department will do a promotion campaign, a marketing campaign to inform motorists in Nova Scotia of this new law before it comes into effect.

But that raises another question.What comes to mind is how is the department planning to advise people from outside our province travelling on our highways of this new law? How are tourists supposed to know that drivers have to slow down to 60 kilometres or less when they're driving by a stopped emergency vehicle along our highways that is displaying flashing lights? Again, this government has a lot of work in front of them, so I hope when the minister closes debate on this bill he will provide us with some of these answers. Also, I hope the minister will tell us how other jurisdictions in Canada are enforcing similar laws. I would certainly be interested in hearing that as well.

This bill also makes reference to drivers speeding in areas where there is a stopped emergency vehicle with lights flashing. When I look at the bill, it does not make reference to fines. When I look at the press release, the press release says, "The fines, including court costs, will range from $337 to $2,407 depending on the speed of the vehicle." So maybe when the minister closes debate he will provide us with some clarification on these fines that drivers will face if convicted of not obeying this new proposed law.

When I look at the bill it basically makes reference to a person who commits an offence. It talks about going over that 60 kilometres between 1 and 15 kilometres, and the second group is 16 and 30 kilometres, and the third group is 31 kilometres per hour or more. Again, I don't know if there are different fines for different groups, or depending on the speeds violators will be travelling at the time - maybe the minister could clarify these offences and fines at the same time.

[Page 1007]

In closing, I think if we can protect our emergency workers responding to emergencies on our highways in Nova Scotia, then I have absolutely no problem in supporting such legislation. I hope when the minister closes debate on second reading of this bill he will address some of the questions and some of the concerns that I had the opportunity to raise tonight. So, with those few comments, I will take my seat. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cumberland South.

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, I certainly welcome the opportunity tonight to rise in my place and speak in favour of Bill No. 1. I can tell you, as a former police officer in this province - and I will say at the outset that I will be sharing some of my time, if there's any time left, with the honourable member for Hants West who is, as the House will know, a former paramedic.

I know the honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid is a former paramedic and the honourable member for Pictou Centre is a former police officer. So I think there's lots of experience in this room of people who have been involved. There may even be some volunteer firefighters in this room that I'm not aware of - the honourable member for Argyle.

I guess my point is that there is lots of experience in this room regarding emergency responders from different facets of life who I'm sure can get up and speak from their own experience as to how important a bill such as Bill No. 1 is. It's extremely important to many people in this province and for many reasons.

I want to first of all congratulate the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal for bringing this bill forward. He's representing the department that I believe has an awesome responsibility in Nova Scotia for public safety, particularly when it comes to our highways. I just want to say that when I first took over that department, I remember the words of the Premier at that time who said to me, we have on the average 100 motorists who are killed on our highways in Nova Scotia, and one of the tasks he gave to me at the time was to reduce that number.

Sometimes bringing legislation before this House that will go toward doing things like that, sometimes is not popular with everyone. It may not even be popular with everyone in the room. I'll give you an example of one of those pieces of legislation that is very controversial that I'm sure even some members on my own side of the House may not even have been 100 per cent supportive of, and I know on the other side maybe as well, and that was the issue around cellphones. There are lots of people who have different views regarding cellphones and their usage on our highways.

It was the honourable member for Hants West who said to me when we were debating that very bill - and I don't want to get too graphic here and I'm sure when he has

[Page 1008]

an opportunity later to speak he may want to elaborate, but when you are responding to an accident and you clearly see what the cause of that accident is, possibly somebody lost their life or somebody severely and seriously injured, an example of maybe because of the use of a cellphone, something that could so easily be avoided.

[9:15 p.m.]

It's so important for members of the Legislature, even though you may personally feel strongly about it in the opposite direction, maybe your family or constituents do, but it's so important to bring bills forward tonight such as the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal has, because you have no idea. As I said on occasion here one night regarding what are commonly known in this House as squeegee kids, or young people in the streets who maybe find themselves disadvantaged, although I was criticized for it, I strongly felt at that time - and I still do - that road safety is so important to keep in the front of our minds when we're making decisions like this, regardless of politics.

We may never know that legislation was passed at that time regarding cellphones, legislation was passed regarding squeegee kids, we may never know if someone's life was saved as a result of passing that legislation, in fact, we won't know. Certainly on a daily basis you can pick up the paper and see the police report, time and time again spokesmen for the RCMP have said, spokesmen for all levels of police have said, that one of the main causes of death on our highways is speeding.

I am going to be critical of this government for a moment. I was very proud when the previous government announced 250 additional police officers, boots in the streets in this province of ours. A lot of those officers did go, and were tempted to go to highway safety.

Mr. Speaker, my colleague to my right mentioned earlier about enforcement and I was asked, when this bill was tabled, whether I felt it was enforceable and I absolutely do. It's like any legislation. It's like the cellphone legislation, it's like the squeegee legislation, it's like speeding legislation, it's like the legislation before us tonight, it is absolutely enforceable if you provide the resources to the police services in this province to do it, but if you don't provide them with the resources to do it then obviously they can't do the job. They need the tools, they need the training, but they need the bodies and it's pretty disappointing for me to hear that program is being reviewed. Now usually when something is being reviewed that usually means it's either on its way out or it's going to be cut. I can tell you, the police in this province are not very happy that's being contemplated this time.

Here we are bringing legislation forward here tonight that I think is tremendous legislation. It will go a long way to ensuring the safety of first responders in this province. We're doing this, on the one hand; on the other hand, we're actually contemplating eliminating or reducing the number of people that would actually be out there to enforce this.

[Page 1009]

We should all be concerned about that, Mr. Speaker. Now, whether some members opposite - I see they may be questioning what I just said, but it is factual. The police will tell you they need more people; they need more people on the highways, they need more people to address issues of drugs, they need more people to address issues of violent crime, crimes against women, and on and on.

Mr. Speaker, I very much support this legislation that the honourable minister has brought forward tonight, but one of the key issues to any legislation that is passed is enforcement. I want to say that I think we need to revisit that issue of the ability of the police in this province to enforce it.

I know the legislation talks about various levels of emergency response; it talks about obviously the paramedics, it talks about police. When it comes to the fire service in this province, every one of us in this room at one time or another - maybe many times throughout the year - will attend annual general meetings of firefighters in our constituencies, and we pay great tribute to them about the tremendous work that they provide to the citizens of Nova Scotia.

I always like to say that any of the accident scenes that I've attended - and I'm sure my colleagues who are former paramedics and police would attest to the fact as well - you know you attend an accident scene and the police are there, they are paid; the paramedics are there with the police, they are paid; even the tow truck driver who is there is paid. But you know the one person who responds day and night, leaves their families behind and is not paid is - who? That's right, the volunteer firefighter.

These people have all different types of careers, all different levels in society, and one thing they have in common is their commitment to their community. They will leave family behind at all times of the day or night to respond to an emergency situation, and the least they can expect from us is to know that we're doing everything we possibly can to pass laws in this province to ensure that those men and women who are at these emergency situations are as safe as possible. I truly believe, Mr. Speaker, that one of the ways we can do that is by this very bill here tonight that the minister brought forward, which is critical to ensuring the safety of our emergency responders.

The other issue I wanted to talk about for a bit was the - as you know as well, over the last couple of years we brought in other legislation to assist those workers of ours in the province who work on or near the highways. For example, doubling the fines in work zones. I myself know I watched over the years, you would read in the paper where highway workers, or private workers for that matter, who have been working on the highways - the public, for whatever reason - some of the public will disregard work zones altogether. It is not bad enough that they would maintain their regular speed, they'll even speed over and above that through these work zones, creating a real hazard for workers and jeopardizing their lives. In

[Page 1010]

fact, we've lost people in this province as a result of that, so even more reason to support a bill such as this.

My colleague as well to the right mentioned public education. I think there's tremendous opportunity here for the minister's department, and I'm hoping that he will - when it gets to Law Amendments Committee we'll hear what the public has to say about this bill. Hopefully we'll hear from emergency responders about how they feel about this bill.

I think we have to go beyond just levying higher fines for those who would put other people's lives in jeopardy. I think we have to look at other opportunities or penalties that are even more severe than just money, whether it's their licence or maybe it's their vehicle. Pretty serious, Mr. Speaker, when someone has to be told that they've lost a loved one in a workplace, because it is a workplace for them on the highway. For us this is our workplace. For a lot of people it is a confined area where they are safe, but for a lot of these people this is their workplace, and it's not a safe place.

You can only imagine, Mr. Speaker - I know the area I represent, the Cobequid Pass area, for example - 20,000-plus vehicles a day. As you know, here not long ago there was a severe accident at the Cobequid Pass - one of the toll booths, a truck driver fell asleep and hit the booth. You know they are pretty vulnerable, those people who work there, as the workers on the highways are. So whether they're highway workers or whether they're people responding to emergency situations - pretty vulnerable to speeding traffic, and I think that public education would go a long way in regard to ensuring that we do everything we can to slow down the public in regard to traveling on our highways.

As I said earlier, Mr. Speaker, I'm going to share my time with the honourable member for Hants West. I did want to say that I've had some discussions with police personnel over the last while in regards to what they believe the government could do and should do further, even over and above what we've done over the last number of years. This bill that has been introduced here tonight is certainly a positive move. I would ask that the minister consider the comments he's going to hear here tonight, because I know my colleague, the member for Hants West, is going to talk about some of his experiences and what it would mean to him, and what some of his colleagues have faced over the years. I know myself, in 20 years in policing, I've seen many, many situations where police officers, for example, have had their lives put in jeopardy as a result of people who just disregard the laws of the highway altogether. (Interruption)

Sorry, Mr. Speaker, I think I did say earlier that I'm willing to share my hour with my colleague. So he'll be sharing my hour.

MR. SPEAKER: Well, honourable member, I think every member has up to an hour to speak themselves for as long as the members wish to speak. So in the normal rotation I'll go around and then we'll come back to the honourable member for Hants West.

[Page 1011]

MR. SCOTT: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I certainly respect your position there. Having been there for six and a half years, I certainly won't argue with you, sir. You're the boss. That means I've got to talk a little longer, I guess. (Interruptions) No, honestly, just give me a couple more minutes.

Mr. Speaker, I guess I want to say that from my own life experience, and police officers on the highways, how important this bill is. I do congratulate the minister for bringing it forward. I hope the minister will and I'm sure he will, listen to the experiences of some of the other members of this House who have worked in different careers that would have, I'm sure, something to say further about the bill, and again at the Law Amendments Committee as well, we look forward to hearing comments there from the public and hopefully from some emergency responders there. Just with those few short comments, I'm pleased to support this bill, Bill No. 1, and look forward to it passing second reading and moving to the Law Amendments Committee. (Applause)

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

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, it's definitely a privilege every time you stand in this historic Chamber to talk about a piece of legislation. But I'm a little extra joyous tonight to talk on this particular piece of legislation, because in the minister's comments at the start, this was a piece of legislation that I had introduced on a number of occasions. It has been a long time, almost six years, from the first time I introduced this legislation back in April 2004 and again in 2006. It's an honour because, as members of the Legislature, you stand on your feet, you debate issues, and you bring forward issues that are important to your community, but I think we all bring a history and a background to the floor of this Legislature.

I'm very proud, Mr. Speaker, to have a background as a paramedic, as a volunteer firefighter, and have worked very closely over the years with my colleagues and with police officers throughout the Province of Nova Scotia. I think this piece of legislation is extremely important to those individuals who work from one end of our province to the other. This piece of legislation really can be summed up in one kind of term, to protect those who protect us. I'll say that a few times in my comments here tonight, so really - protect those who protect us. I think it says that, and that title really gets to the essence of this particular piece of legislation.

I didn't come up with that saying myself, Mr. Speaker. I wish I did, but I actually saw it, and it might come to answer one of the questions from the member opposite. I saw it last year when I was visiting my parents in Florida. I was getting gas at one of the gas stations, and on the gas handle it had a little spot for advertising and it was the State of Florida. They had just recently passed legislation similar to this and what it said on it was, protect those who protect us.

[Page 1012]

I thought that was a great saying. I wish I'd thought of that almost six years ago when I brought this piece of legislation forward and I'm more than happy if the department wants to use that saying, or if people in the public, or any members here want to identify that term with this piece of legislation, they're more than welcome to use that.

There have been many people over the years who have come to me trying to figure out when this piece of legislation can get through the process, when we, here in Nova Scotia, will see legislation that will enhance the protection of our paramedics, police officers, firefighters and first responders here. I'm glad and honoured to be a part of this historic government - the first NDP Government in Nova Scotia - but also to have the first bill introduced by a new government to be this piece of legislation. (Applause)

It's something that is very important to me, but also to many, many hundreds, if not thousands, of Nova Scotians. The men and women who are ready at any moment to provide service or protect us and those are the paramedics, police officers and firefighters that are in every community across this great province.

I do have to ensure that I recognize those individuals who have played an important role in this and I'll let you in on some of the people that have provided me with information, some guidance over the years to make sure that when I did bring this piece of legislation forward, that it was a piece of legislation that wasn't a partisan type of legislation that we often see from Opposition Parties or certain political Parties. I did a lot of homework on this and I would have hoped when I did bring it in, it was my first piece of legislation as a member of this House that I thought, hopefully I'll get the support from the past government on it.

[9:30 p.m.]

I respect the comments from the member opposite who just spoke on this. Unfortunately they didn't feel at the time that this was, I think, a high enough priority for the government to proceed through the process. That's unfortunate. I was somewhat encouraged a few years later after the 2006 election when a former colleague of mine was elected to the House and I would have hoped that his expertise and his experience over the years as a paramedic would have encouraged the Minister of Transportation at the time and the Premier at the time to look at this piece of legislation again and introduce it and enact it here in this province. Unfortunately, that didn't happen.

I look forward to the members' comments after I speak, hopefully in support of this legislation because as I said in my opening remarks, this is a piece of legislation that is to protect those who protect us. We have men and women who are ready to assist any Nova Scotians at any time. I hope through some of the comments that I have and maybe the comments of members opposite, they recognize the environment that these men and women

[Page 1013]

put themselves in and the risk they put themselves in to render care to the public here in Nova Scotia.

One of those paramedics I was talking about that did provide me with a lot of information was a paramedic who I believe was from Amherst, but worked in Springhill at the time and that was Jolene Cormier. She provided me with an amazing amount of information. She worked extremely hard on this case, she worked with what was at the time the Nova Scotia College of Paramedics which I was also involved in. But she was working on promoting safety and work safety of paramedics at the time and it was a case that someone brought to her that really kind of forced her to recognize that someone in the profession needed to take hold of this issue and bring it forward.

The case I'll talk about quickly, I won't mention any names or anything. It was a paramedic crew out of Truro, I believe, on Highway No. 104 during the winter. They had responded to an accident scene. Of course, the conditions weren't favourable at that time in the winter, especially on Highway No. 104. I read a letter from the paramedic that described the incident that day. It's amazing what this individual saw and what he had to go through and promoting the fact that something needs to be done. Something needs to come forward that will enhance the protection of the paramedic's work area or the firefighter's work area or the police officer's work area. This individual, as he was talking to an individual who had pulled over to the side of the road to render care with him - because there were a number of vehicles involved in this accident - as he went to talk to this individual, another vehicle coming through that scene actually lost control and hit this bystander and unfortunately this individual did pass away from her injuries.

It made that paramedic recognize that as a profession - and the paramedic profession was a relatively new profession, a young profession here in Nova Scotia and many changes over the last number of years - he recognized that those paramedics needed to talk more about trying to make their work zone, their work area, safer and that information was relayed on to Jolene.

I called Jolene about two weeks ago. I called the number that I had for her in Amherst and unfortunately I wasn't able to get hold of her. I got hold of her mother and unfortunately we lost this good paramedic. When she continued her training, she moved to Texas and actually currently lives in Texas and is hoping to come back to Nova Scotia to practice again. She was overjoyed when I mentioned to her that I brought this forward. The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal recognized the importance to bring this forward and introduce it as a piece of legislation and she was ecstatic. She actually forgot about it because her work started on this file in late 2002 or early 2003.

So Jolene played an important role in this and so did many other paramedics, firefighters, police officers and first responders who I spoke to over the last number of years on this and I continue to talk to them and ask them if it is still a good idea and if they would

[Page 1014]

support it. I even mentioned it to the police officers who stand outside and guard our Chamber, not the one tonight, but a couple nights ago I mentioned it to some RCMP officers who were in my local Tim Hortons just to make sure that I was on the right track, that it wasn't something that I felt as a paramedic that it was just going to service my needs and just had my support, but everybody I talked to from the firefighters, the police officers and the paramedics, they said, no we need to do this.

I hate to do this, but I do have to give some credit to the previous government on an initiative that they implemented around highway workers and the safety around highway workers that we have in our province. We all know now, you don't have to go far down the streets here from the legislature to see the signs out, the indications of a work zone and the fines that are doubled if you're caught speeding through those work zones. I commend the government on the initiative and the awareness campaign and the education of the public around the importance of ensuring that these workers in Nova Scotia are protected, that we try to ensure that they have a safe work environment.

One of the commercials I see and I still remember it is - it's on right now I believe - you have a boardroom full of people and a guy in a suit is going to give a presentation, all of a sudden he steps back and a car just whizzes by his presentation board and you're wondering what's going on. The message from that is that highway workers and their working environment are out there, outside, on the highway and it's just as important to have a safe work environment in a boardroom as it is on the highway.

That's why I think it's important we recognize this piece of legislation - the importance of this one to ensure that those emergency personnel who are working every day in their working environment - and many times it's on the side of a highway, it's in a ditch, it's in a middle of a field, places where most people wouldn't even think of as a working environment. I've personally witnessed many times over the years, being on calls and being in a ditch at three in the morning on Highway No.101 and realizing how vulnerable you are as a paramedic or as a police officer or a firefighter who is trying to assist in that scene.

I'll relay a couple of stories just to get the context of that environment because I think it's important that people realize - I think sometimes they don't realize the areas that emergency workers put themselves in and the risks they put themselves in when they go to work everyday. One call I remember being on was just after they twinned Highway No. 101 from the Beaver Bank exit up to Mount Uniacke. I remember going to the call; it was a motor vehicle accident. We get to the scene - it's the middle of the summer, hot as can be, I think it was one of the hottest days, it was in July or August. Arrived on the scene, we were the first ones there; at that time we were stationed out of the Millwood fire station, but of course our trucks being a little smaller than the fire department, we were able to get to the scene a lot quicker - and maybe we drove a little quicker than the fire department did at those times, but they do have governors on the ambulances now.

[Page 1015]

Mr. Speaker, we were first on the scene and noticed this car upside down on the highway and there was an elderly woman inside, a single person in the vehicle. So of course you jump into action; you got down and tried to see what was wrong with her. She was trapped inside, held upside down by her seatbelt. Usually you just snap that seatbelt and get them out of there but, of course, her's was a little more complicated because she was trapped in there - her head got trapped between the B-post, which is the part of the car right behind the driver's seat. Her head was between the seat and that B-post, so you couldn't just snap her out or who knows what would have happened.You want to make sure that this individual is taken care of.

Of course I get there and try to do my assessment of her, and then I realized once the fire department - I couldn't understand why they were so hectic, and what was going on, but afterward realized that my pants were wet and I couldn't figure out why, in the middle of the summer, that my legs were feeling wet. Then, of course, when the foam started to hit me, I realized that that was the gasoline in the car that was all over the road. I can still remember lying there, trying to talk to this individual and seeing the cars just whizzing by me, Mr. Speaker. I thought, gee, something has to happen or we need to get extra tools to those individuals, especially police officers, to try to increase awareness around these emergency scenes.

Fortunately the lady was okay after the incident; I believe she had only a broken arm. It is just one indication of the environment that first responders find themselves in and the dangerous environment that they have to work in day and night, 365 days of the year. Every day paramedics and police officers, firefighters, place themselves in close proximity to vehicles travelling extremely fast on highways, and the speeds on our highways throughout this province are a concern to government, to police officers. You hear about people getting speeding tickets all the time and it is important to recognize that police officers who patrol our roads, patrol our highways, we need to, as a government, give them all the tools we can to ensure the safety of Nova Scotians and ensure the safety of not only the people who drive on the highways but the people who respond to accidents on the highways.

Currently under the Motor Vehicle Act there's no piece of legislation that addresses this, and that's why I am so happy to see that our government had taken the initiative to ensure that we send a message, I think, not only to the general public but a message to first responders, to police officers, to firefighters, and to paramedics here in our province that we respect the work they do, we're concerned about their safety, and whatever we can do as a government we'll continue to do, and I hope in the years to come we'll see more legislation to ensure workers in our province are put in a safer environment to do their work.

I know there were some concerns and questions. I heard the member for Clare mention a few concerns he had, and questions. He was hoping that the minister would bring them up in his closing remarks, but I hope I can answer some of them because of the file that I've worked on over the years, Mr. Speaker, a lot of the information I've received was from

[Page 1016]

other jurisdictions. One of the concerns the minister had was around the possibility of the enforcement of it. No question. I was at the news conference when the minister - I think it was on September 18th - mentioned that this piece of legislation was coming forward, and Chief Beazley said that he did not feel there was going to be a problem or an issue around enforcing this piece of legislation.

This legislation isn't about giving someone a ticket, it's not about making sure we get $2,000 more in the coffers because you've doubled the fines for going through an accident scene, Mr. Speaker. This piece of legislation is around awareness, it's around education, and it's around ensuring a certain portion of our working public is safe. I have full confidence that the department, the minister, and our government will ensure that Nova Scotians know this change is coming and hopefully in a campaign in the future that people will understand the need for this and the reason behind this.

Mr. Speaker, some of the information that I have is a few years old because, as I said in my opening, I've been working on this for almost six years, but there are a number of provinces that have enacted legislation like this. We have Saskatchewan that is, I think, one of the leaders in the country in bringing legislation forward, being proactive, and I've mentioned many times in the debates that I've had, that I found when I first got here that government was really reactive to situations.

[9:45 p.m.]

An accident happens, maybe a first responder was injured or killed at an accident scene, and I believe to this day we do not have a single first responder, or police officer, or paramedic, who has died from an accident. We've had bystanders, as the earlier example I gave you. We've had people who've been injured but we haven't had anybody who was actually killed on the highways, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't bring something forward. As I said before, I would like to see our government, and the past government, be proactive. I'm very glad to see that this government, the new government, is being proactive in this case.

Regarding the enforcement issue, in 2001 the Province of Saskatchewan had 327 convictions when they first introduced this legislation. The following year in 2002 they had 561 convictions and I think in the following year, in 2003 - and I only have the one-month statistics because that's when I started to work on this - they already had 20 convictions. So just in that jurisdiction in Saskatchewan I recognize by those numbers, they're significant numbers, and I think it is enforceable.

We have police cars now that are equipped with multiple radars. In some areas they have multiple police officers who can come in and protect and oversee that environment or that accident scene but, as I said earlier, this isn't about convictions. It's not about a police officer being able to give a ticket to everybody who goes through an accident scene.

[Page 1017]

What it does is it gives them a tool, a tool that I think will be utilized at their discretion when they witness, and they do many times - I'm sure those police officers who are in the House today, and I know we have a few, we have individuals who just do not abide by the laws that we have currently - so if they witness an act where it's unsafe for a vehicle to race through an emergency scene, after this piece of legislation, when it goes through the process and gets Royal Assent, they'll have another tool to ensure not only their own safety when they're responding to calls, but the safety of other people who respond to similar accidents, Mr. Speaker.

I truly believe that the enforcement part of this is not going to be an issue. I know for a fact that fire departments, and a lot of volunteer fire departments, have an amazing training program. I believe it was one of the firefighters who was at the launch of this news conference who told me that they have new signage now, that part of their protocol when they respond to an emergency scene is to place cones out and place signs. They're starting to carry signs.

So I'm encouraged by that and hopefully, as a new government, we can support that initiative around this province, Mr. Speaker, because we've been very supportive, I believe, as an Opposition Party, toward firefighters, police officers, and paramedics in this province. Truly I think that as a government we will continue to do that and will demonstrate true leadership and genuine leadership when we take initiatives like this and bring them to the forefront.

Also in Ontario, Mr. Speaker, they have similar legislation and, actually, I would like to table this. It's their Act, it was Bill No. 191 which they introduced on October 16, 2002, and then it was given Royal Assent in December of the same year. It was pretty similar to the legislation we have requiring vehicles to slow down to the required speed of 60 kilometres an hour and to move to an available lane. So there are other jurisdictions that have brought forward changes. I believe Alberta - and I forgot to go in, I was going to go in and check on the Internet to actually follow through on it, but I know in 2004, the Fall of 2004 - Alberta was looking at legislation and changing legislation. They actually created a legislative committee to oversee improving safety for first responders and police officers and that. So I'm sure I wouldn't be remiss to say that they've done something in the past few years to address this issue.

Across the U.S., 28 states, I believe, and I have the list here and I can name them all, but I won't do that. But I believe it's probably 29 now because as I've said, last year, I witnessed at that gas station in Clearwater, Florida that they had that same "protect those who protect us." I know Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts and there are many more. So it's well known and really that's where I got a lot of my information - a lot of the data that we have comes from those jurisdictions. But the little thing that is different - and I'm proud of it and I'm proud that we've seen the

[Page 1018]

importance of this legislation - is that those jurisdictions, most of those changes that were brought about in the U.S. and in the provinces out West, Mr. Speaker, came about because there were fatalities.

I mentioned a few people, I believe in my discussion where I think I brought it up in Opposition Business a couple of years ago, but I would like to mention, again, and hopefully, maybe, by me ensuring that these people who have passed away, that they have had a part in this. I don't know these people. I believe in Alberta, when I first discussed it there were 33 first responders and police officers, emergency workers, who were injured but there were a number who were killed. Corporal Graeme Cumming - he was a 37-year-old RCMP officer from Lethbridge, Alberta, and he was killed attending an accident scene. It must be really tough on that family, but after these cases which we have seen in Alberta, the government decided to do something.

Another one was a young female officer, Christine Diotte, who was 35. She was investigating an accident scene, Mr. Speaker, and she was hit by a vehicle coming through the accident scene and she was unfortunately killed and her partner was badly injured. I wanted to mention that because, as I've said earlier, I'm very proud that we brought this forward because I can honestly stand here and say, we haven't had those fatalities. As I have said earlier, a lot of governments react to situations when something terrible happens, a government realizes that we need something to protect them, let's introduce legislation, go through the process, everybody supports it and then that's how changes are made.

So I'm glad to see that we're doing a proactive approach, that first responders and emergency personnel here in this province can rest assured that we take their jobs seriously. We want to ensure that when they respond to those calls, no matter how small it might seem at the time that there is another tool that will, hopefully, keep them safe. Because ultimately, it's a responsibility of this government, as I've said in the opening statement, to protect those who protect us. Mr. Speaker, it's as simple as that.

I'm very proud and I want to commend the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal on the kind words, but most importantly I want to thank him on behalf of the thousands of men and women who work every day in our province to protect us when we need them to respond. So I'm very glad to see this piece of legislation go through this process in this Legislature and I'm encouraged and look forward to Law Amendments Committee and as a member of the Law Amendments Committee, I hope that people come forward if they have concerns, we will look at them and address them but I look forward to the support of everybody in this House on this important piece of legislation. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.

[Page 1019]

MR. CHUCK PORTER: Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise this evening and speak to Bill No. 1. I, too, want to commend the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal for bringing this bill forward and the member for Sackville-Cobequid, we've had many conversations over the years and certainly since my time here in 2006, we have discussed this on occasion. (Interruption) I may have taught him a little bit about driving an ambulance in the early days of his career. I'm proud to say - and I mean this in all sincerity - that member and I shared many hours working together in a place called Sackville and the surrounding areas and spending many, many hours in an ambulance and looking after people in this province.

This gentleman is indeed a very good and qualified paramedic and I'm pleased to stand to here and have a colleague of mine as well - regardless of partisanship in this House - carrying bills like this forward and speaking as passionately as he has done and the research he has done in the last five or six years on this bill. It's great to see this bill; really it's his bill, bringing this forward. Regardless of who introduced it, this is the member for Sackville-Cobequid's bill. I recognize that and appreciate it very much, and I'm going to give him that credit publicly. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to stand on this bill. I worked for about (Interruption) That member knows that I supported that when he did bring it forward and a lot of discussion did go on in years past. I still support it and will support it through.

There are some questions about the enforcement issue and I think with the amount of research that's been done, there probably are some answers to that. The honourable member for Cumberland South had raised those, as well, and talked about the boots to the streets and enforcement. We need to make sure the enforcement is there because that's a huge piece of this.

There are many stories and the honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid alluded to a couple as well - the importance of this bill and these people, the emergency workers in the streets. I spent about 17 years as a paramedic and, years before that in the 1980s, a number of years as a volunteer firefighter with the Windsor Fire Department. I know what it's like to be out there on the side of the road in all different types of weather, whether it's winter or a heavy rainfall and it is not pleasant to be lying on the side of the road doing what it is these folks do when there are cars going by you at 100-plus kilometres an hour. That can happen on a side road, not just on the 100-Series Highways. That's reality in this province.

People don't realize the importance of this issue. As my honourable colleague has also said, we've been very fortunate that we've not had any injuries, and thankfully no deaths, related to this particular issue that we're aware of. But we've had a lot of close calls because I've been part of those close calls. I can tell you right now, I've been on the side of the road treating patients in car accidents or in other circumstances when it's just been a car pulled over on the side of the road with other medical emergencies where the traffic is

[Page 1020]

buzzing by. We have come very close, within small margins, inches, of being hit on the side of the road. That's how close.

That's a daily occurrence out there. People do not realize that. Whether you're on the Bi-Hi, whether you're driving through downtown Halifax, downtown Windsor or anywhere, this exists. I can recall pulling up to incidents where we would, before getting out of that ambulance, we would block the road off to protect ourselves. When the RCMP got there or the local police would say, what are you doing, you gotta keep traffic moving. We realized the importance of traffic moving, but we also realized the importance of the life we were there assisting, as well as our own. We have families too. We need to make sure that all those paramedics, firefighters, especially those volunteers that come out that we spoke about tonight already, who have careers, they're volunteers 24 hours a day, seven days a week, giving their time.

We need to make sure all of these people get home to their families. This is something that's forgotten by these people, obviously, that are speeding by. I don't know what part of flashing lights - whether they're blue, green or red, or whatever colour they are - that they don't see. I really have never understood it.

I hope there's a way to communicate this and I'm sure there will be. I know that communications and educating people are issues that have been raised this evening as well; those do cost. There's an associated cost with getting the message out. I hope in the research that's been done, maybe there are some things that we'll learn from that, as well, and ways that we'll be able to copy or use. Again, the quote that the member used: Protecting those who protect us. What a great quote, regardless of who owns it. It's so important.

We need to find a way to get around the issues that have been raised by way of the enforcement. I know it's difficult because I've seen it. I've seen firefighters on the side of the road, volunteers, looking after traffic. Well, that's not their job. They are talking about that today and how that's becoming more of an issue, even today. The enforcement is not there. The RCMP don't have the members. The member for Clare has raised the issue. The local regional police don't have the members. The member for Clare has raised the issue. The local regional police do not have the members. We have to figure a way out - but part of that, the biggest piece of this, is the education piece to drivers, and we need to start with young drivers, we need to start in the beginning. Perhaps it needs to become part of the rule book - the handbook, whatever they call it these days. It's been a number of years since I've had to go through that process, but there are ways.

I think we can do it in our schools - we have the driving programs at the age of 16, or whenever they start now in our high schools, and other independent ones that teach our young drivers. This has to be part of that enforcement and I think it can be. I think there's a way to fit this in.

[Page 1021]

I know this will be a good piece of legislation. I think it will be successful in this province specifically because we are not reacting. We haven't had that happen to us, and we're trying to prevent it. This is good legislation, Mr. Speaker, but the enforcement issues - we need to make sure that it's not firefighters out there doing it. They're there to do their piece, to look after the suppression of fire, the protection, removing people with the jaws of life and whatever, the many ways they have of helping and assisting.

MR. SPEAKER: Honourable member, would you mind adjourning debate on this bill?

MR. PORTER: Certainly, Mr. Speaker, I would adjourn debate and look forward to speaking to this at great length on a future date.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. There has been a motion to adjourn debate.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Thank you, Mr. Speaker. That concludes the government's business for today. I'd like to call the hours for tomorrow, between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. We will have the daily routine and resolve into a Committee of the Whole House on Supply.

[10:00 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a motion to adjourn the House until tomorrow at 9:00 a.m, with the hours as outlined.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 1022]

We are now going to move into the emergency debate, as was read out earlier. It was introduced by the honourable member for Yarmouth.

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 43

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cumberland South. (Applause)

PREM.: NSCC STRIKE - TALKS RESUME

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, I have to say for the first time in 12 years, since coming to this Legislature, I am not pleased to be here tonight. The responsibility for that lies squarely on the government's shoulders, squarely on their shoulders.

I'm going to read the "therefore be it resolved" that brought us here tonight to begin the process. The resolution was read by the honourable member for Yarmouth. There was also one read by each one of our members, which was identical:

"Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House immediately call upon the Premier and his Minister of Education and Labour and Workforce Development to immediately seek a resumption in talks with community college faculty across Nova Scotia so the 500 NSCC students in Cumberland County will not see an interruption in their studies."

Mr. Speaker, that resolution, along with the one that was done generally for all community colleges by that government, was turned down - a flat no. It's their responsibility, and they are the reason we are here tonight.

Mr. Speaker, before I begin I'd like to take the opportunity, if I could, to introduce some people in the gallery. In the east gallery I would like to take the opportunity to introduce these people and I'd ask if they would rise as I say their names: Mr. Grant MacLean; Mr. Clifford Maillet; Scott McKellar; Bruce Kelloway; Bill Redden; Tim MacLeod; Steve Wells; John MacKay; Danny Eddy; John Driscoll; Liette Doucet; Kyle Mariatt; Keri Butler; Alexis Allen, who is the Nova Scotia Teachers Union President; Susan Noiles; Angela Gillis, who is a provincial executive; and Simon Wilkin, who is on the provincial executive.

Mr. Speaker, I've asked these very well-known Nova Scotians to please rise and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

[Page 1023]

I think everybody in this House would have to appreciate the fact that they do not want to be here in the Legislature at 10:00 p.m. to 12:00 midnight on a school night. One of the first things said to me tonight was, do you know where they have to be tomorrow morning? They have to be in the classroom instructing Nova Scotians, as they are trained and paid to do. That's where they want to be - they don't want to be here tonight. They don't want to be on strike. They don't want to be faced with the situation that they are. But you know, again, who is responsible? The Premier, the Cabinet, and the members opposite.

I want to, for the members present and the members in the gallery tonight, just read a portion of what transpired this week in the Legislature. Yesterday I asked a question, and the question was: "My question, Mr. Speaker is to the Premier. Will he step in today, at the 11th hour, and treat these Nova Scotia Community College teachers as equals in the education system by resolving that dispute today?"

Shamefully, here was the Premier's response: "Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I can advise the member opposite that I have no intention of stepping into the middle of what is a collective bargaining situation. I think it should be resolved at the table. I would hope that the representatives of the community college staff would go back to the table and negotiate with the community college, as is appropriate in the circumstances."

As I said yesterday, and I'll say it again here tonight - certainly a different song was sung when he was on this side of the House, and everyone in that front bench that was here certainly sang a different song. We could go back in Hansard and pick up your words, and for us to be here tonight and what you're doing to these people, you should be ashamed of yourselves. It's shameful to force these people onto the street - teachers, professional people. When you sat over here, when you sat on this side of the House, it was a different story. You bet it was. You said everything under the sun, honourable members, to force the government at the time to do what you thought was the right thing to do - to interfere in negotiations, to ensure that strikes wouldn't happen, on behalf of your union brothers and sisters. All of a sudden they've changed seats, but more has changed than just the seats.

One thing I heard continually during the campaign was, a better deal for families. Well, we heard the Premier say yesterday - he didn't say, a better deal. When we questioned him about a member in this House and a minister, what did the Premier say? Somebody got a good deal. Well, the people in the gallery tonight and the teachers around this province are getting a raw deal, and the members can hang their heads because they know that. When you were on this side of the House you advocated for them, but you're forgetting about them all now, aren't you? That was then and now is now. (Applause)

Teachers contract settlement in February 6, 2009: "The province and Nova Scotia Teachers Union have reached a tentative agreement. Negotiators with the province and the NSTU, representing 10,000 public school teachers, reached the agreement late Friday, Feb. 6, after three days of conciliation. The union's bargaining team will recommend to its

[Page 1024]

provincial executive that the contract be accepted . . . this tentative agreement recognizes the importance of retaining qualified teachers and will enable all parties", including government, "to work together to meet the challenges of providing a quality education to our students . . ."

Public school teachers received a 2.9 per cent salary increase in each of the two years of the agreement, and the contract expires on July 31, 2010.

I can assure the teachers in the gallery tonight that they're going to hear from the government members. They're going to blame it on the past government, no question about it. Everything that's come before this House in the last three weeks - their way out of all of this is to blame the previous government. Well, guess what? Nova Scotia has elected you. You're the leaders today. You make the decisions in government. It's up to you. If you think that what you're doing is right, then that's great, but don't sit here and talk tonight about blaming the previous government, because the previous government is gone. I admit to that, and I was part of it, and we were over here and you were definitely over there, that's right. You're absolutely right, you're the government, so now you can do what you said for ten years you would do. For ten years I listened, every chance you had, to what you would do in government. Well, now is your chance.

You have the opportunity, in fact - if the Premier and the Minister of Education would like to speak, I'll sit down and take my place and let that person speak.

Well, things have changed, haven't they? That was then and this is now. We must value the work of our educators, and for this Premier and minister to repeatedly stand in this House of Assembly and say they won't help is a shame. Their heads are stuck in the stand. The NSTU is pleading with the Premier and minister to at least bring back both sides of the table. Nova Scotia Community College people want to get back to the table, and we do, as they do, respect the bargaining process, but to have honourable members stand before more than 25,000 students and 2,200 employees and say they will let the process work itself out naturally is a huge, huge mistake.

The 2.9 per cent given to the 10,000 public school teachers was done out of respect and good negotiation, and I defy anybody to stand in this House and tell me that community college employees don't deserve the same. They're doing the same job, they deserve the same respect, and they deserve the same results. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, under our government, eight public school boards advocated for a significant funding increase in 2009-10 and we provided it. These funds allow the boards to maintain programming and pay their bills even in tough times. School boards have collective bargaining requirements regarding notice of workforce adjustment that require boards to know their funding in early April. In most years, this information is provided immediately prior to the provincial budget being tabled. School boards have new funding of $28.9 million, or 2.9 per cent, which was provided in these contract negotiations.

[Page 1025]

In addition, Mr. Speaker, funding related to collective bargaining settlements in 2008-09 was provided. As a result the school board budgets will increase by $44.8 million. That's a two-year deal that satisfied 10,000 unionized public teachers whom we respect very much. Our Leader, the former Minister of Education, who worked collaboratively and honestly and in full transparency with the Nova Scotia Teachers Union in the past, is extremely passionate about this issue and, of course, is appalled that it has not come to a full resolution. She is appalled that the minister and the Premier have not stepped up to the plate. Years of hard work, mutual respect and strong relationships are being tossed out the window and why? Because this Premier and minister have another agenda. They are setting the bar so low and hope to fly under the radar.

Mr. Speaker, it goes without saying that our Leader would move the Rock of Gibraltar to settle this contract issue as would our entire caucus. As the Minister of Education, she worked tirelessly and hard and developed the mutual respect that she considers one of the greatest legacies as the minister of this portfolio. Her strong relationship with the Teachers Union got the job done and she got the job done. (Applause)

So, Mr. Speaker, what is the overall impact in not settling this issue? I'm going to break down exactly what it would take for the Premier and the minister to resolve this issue tonight. The difference between 1 per cent and 2.9 per cent roughly for 930 teachers is $1.5 million. That's what the government would need to put up, $1.5 million to settle this issue, to keep students in the programs and teachers doing what they do best. Furthermore, this increase is only 2.8 per cent of this government's $54 million political slush fund increase - $54 million that they increased that fund by and the honourable Minister of Finance knows that. Yet they're unwilling to budge, unwilling to put at even par with the other public teachers in this province.

Historically, Mr. Speaker, both the public school teachers and the Nova Scotia Community College teachers have always duplicated contract negotiations. Why should one group be made to suffer because of the timing of their contract? Different times does not mean different preferential treatment. It's not fair and to them it's a slap in the face. Let me say I don't blame the union and I don't blame the community college faculty for not negotiating. They're being told by this government that they're not on the same playing field as other teachers in this province.

Mr. Speaker, the impact of the strike could be devastating. What impacts can we expect to see from that, particularly around the trades and the continuing care programs? The previous government co-operated fully with the community college and formed a customized continuing program, for example. This program was designed to help meet the labour demand for long-term care facilities. These facilities need trained staff to meet this demand and with the strike, not only do the students suffer but the people who need them as well and when on this side of the House, many, many times the governing Party of today pounded

[Page 1026]

away saying how much need there was for more long-term care beds and I'm sure they haven't changed their minds on that today. Well, empty beds without staff to look after them are useless. These students have a job after graduation and now they been told they may have to wait.

Mr. Speaker, $1.5 million to settle this issue, 1.9 per cent would make this difference, and the Premier and the minister appear to be setting an example. They want a strike to send a message, to send a message to everybody else in this province. They did not campaign on this, that's for sure. That's not what the NDP Party talked about during the campaign. They talked about a better deal for Nova Scotia families. Well, here's your chance. Here's your chance to offer a better deal to these people in the gallery today and to Nova Scotia Community College teachers around this province.

Mr. Speaker, this union took an extraordinary step tonight as far as I'm concerned. They made two decisions. The executive made the decision that they will strike on the 20th of this month. I think it's incumbent upon everybody in this House to ensure that doesn't happen, but beyond that this union has offered a settlement, I believe, that the government cannot refuse. This union, and I'm probably right in saying, contrary to some members, has offered to go to binding arbitration. I was very proud to be part of adopting binding arbitration for police officers for this province and I can tell you, there has not been one complaint to this day from anyone about that process.

Mr. Speaker, if this government won't give them what they deserve, won't match what they've given other public school teachers in this province, if you refuse to do that, and you refuse to show them respect to do that, then at least show them respect tonight by announcing that you will accept their offer and you will go to binding arbitration. Let an independent person settle this once and for all, keep the teachers in the classroom where they want to be and, as importantly, keep the students in the classrooms so that they can take the training that they want to do.

A lot of these who are training for a future career have a huge financial risk, have borrowed money from their families and borrowed against their homes, to allow them to go back to school. A lot of them are mature students. They cannot afford this strike. It cannot be allowed to happen.

So I'm asking you on behalf of the people in this gallery, on behalf of the teachers around this province and on behalf of the students, 25,000 students, 2,200 teachers, accept the offer that they have made. If you can't show them respect to give them the raise that they deserve, accept their offer and give them binding arbitration that they so gracefully offered tonight. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)

[10:15 p.m.]

[Page 1027]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Premier.

HON. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, there are obviously parts of the member for Cumberland South's speech I agree with and much of it I don't agree with. But what I do agree with is that the instructors at the Nova Scotia Community College are the finest in this country, that we respect the work they do and, indeed, the students who go to those institutions, campuses, right across this province are well educated, they're well prepared for our workforce and it's a credit to the instructors.

Now, Mr. Speaker, we find ourselves at this point today, in time, because of where we find ourselves as a province, economically. That's the reality of it. We're facing difficult times. There's no two ways about that. For people to deny that economic reality is being disingenuous. So we have to negotiate and I know that the union is negotiating with that in mind. You know, their ability to stay calm and focused is another testament to the strength of character of the employees, because those teachers work very hard. As it can be expected at a table and when you're coming down to this very narrow point in negotiations that it's easy to lose focus and not respect the system. But to their credit, and I can say that I'm not surprised that they do, they respect it. I can appreciate it's very, very difficult.

The Nova Scotia Community College has an important role in working with business and industry to prepare students for these jobs. In the text of the resolution it talks about preparing them for work and what would happen in work shortages. We on this side of the House certainly understand that. A colleague of mine once said in the Legislature that you go to universities for an education, you go to the Nova Scotia Community College for a job. Mr. Speaker, we understand and believe that to be a fact.

It's the ability within the various campuses that allow the transfer of programs, and so on, from one campus to another to reflect the changing demographics or reflect the reality of where certain courses can be taught. These teachers respond to those needs, which could mean that in your own riding, the Marconi Campus, we may see something moved out of there, maybe to as far as the Strait Area Campus. It's all about the diversifying of the workforce and the instructor's ability to meet that demand and to respond to it and we respect that.

That's why when during this process people say, where are you at in this, clearly our role is to encourage the parties to go back to the table and find common ground. It's often said, let's find a way to get to yes. This is very difficult on everybody and we want to talk about the 25,000 students. As I said, there are certain things I didn't agree with the member for Cumberland South but there are many things I do agree with. The idea of these students who come from all backgrounds, some come right out of high school, others, as the member said, are often returning back into the workforce and being retrained and there is uncertainty around that and I understand that, but we have to realize where we're at economically and what we have to do.

[Page 1028]

These issues aren't as black and white as the previous speaker would have you believe, that it's - just do this. These things are very difficult but we want the negotiations to go on, we want a successful conclusion. We believe that reasonable people will find a reasonable resolve. It's really our wish that the negotiators could get back to the table and negotiate and hopefully come up to a resolve.

The fact that wage settlements in the past few years are just not affordable today and I'm going to say, with chagrin, that Nova Scotia's financial circumstances have fundamentally changed. Expenses now outstrip our revenues. The province is losing tens of millions of dollars in revenues and faces a $590 million deficit. Revenue projections for the next couple of years show further declines. This challenge is compounded by the fact that in the last three years the previous government allowed expenses to grow beyond the province's ability to pay. Nova Scotia was on an unsustainable path. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member has the floor.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, these are tough times and we're trying to deal with them the best we can. We inherited a legacy and we're trying to help Nova Scotians get out of it. There is much to be said about how we're going to do that and tough decisions will have to be made.

This government is not going to ask any one group to carry this burden by themselves. We will try to lighten the load as best we can but there are the fiscal realities and that's what we're left to deal with. My friends across the way like to say that they took care of workers and I suppose in some way, with a wink and a nod, they took care of workers and I suppose in some way, with a wink and a nod, they took care of workers.

You know, Mr. Speaker, I was here during Bill No. 68. I was here when the EHS workers were put on the street. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, let's put Bill No. 68 in context because this was a bill - let's look at it because what happened was, we had people at the bargaining table bargaining in good faith. They were in what is often referred to as a media blackout. So what happened was while the two parties were trying to negotiate a deal and getting very close to it, and rather than wait to see if reasonable people could come up with a reasonable solution, the government decided to bring Bill No. 68 forward which, at the time, caused a maelstrom of protest for the very reason that they didn't allow the negotiation process to take place, and they infuriated the health care workers from one end of this province to the other. But, apparently, they couldn't allow reasonable people to do a reasonable thing.

[Page 1029]

Now you know, Mr. Speaker, we just want to do that and it's important that things are put in context because we got here for a reason, and we agree with that . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: You misled Nova Scotians . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member has the floor.

MR. CORBETT: We misled nobody, Mr. Speaker, and it's too bad that they want to talk about misleading people because, by and large, it's somewhat unparliamentary - but it's not about misleading anybody, it's about telling the truth, quite honestly.

We have said that there will be no rollbacks, there will be no wage freezes, and we will not lay off public servants as past governments have done. We will try and go through the negotiating system, Mr. Speaker, to get reasonable people to get a reasonable settlement.

Mr. Speaker, it is particularly hard when we have to dig ourselves out of such a financial quagmire, but it's one that, hopefully, with the diligence of the Premier and the Cabinet, we will find our way out of, we'll work our way out of it. We'll work our way out of it with the help of people, right-thinking people who work at the community college who teach the fine students there. There will come a day that the offer on the table may be a bit more generous, and the day that we're not constrained by an ever-burdening debt that was left to this government. That's what we're trying to do.

Mr. Speaker, it's so difficult to try and put these in words and say these things because you want to do what's best for these workers, and you want to do what is best for all Nova Scotians, and you want to do it within a financial context. It's about the ability to control your way - how you're going to right the ship called Nova Scotia and allow the process to take its full course.

I would encourage our friends in NSTU to get back to the table, to talk to the people at the Nova Scotia Community College and continue with the work that, again, all Nova Scotians are proud of. I agree with the member from Cumberland South when he said that's not platitudes from one side of this House to the other. It's real, it's meant, but the reality is, it's the financial time in which we live.

We have to live within our means, Mr. Speaker. That's something the former government didn't realize. It's funny when they talk in terms that they spent only because we made them spend it. That's an interesting parlay, but I guess in the fullness of time we'll find out how we made them spend that money.

It wasn't this Party that bought kiddie ATVs. It wasn't this Party. That's the reality of it. (Interruptions) Yeah, I talked to people, I'm talking to the Speaker, who I'm supposed to speak to. So Mr. Speaker... (Interruptions)

[Page 1030]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member has the floor, please. Order.

MR. CORBETT: Well, I want to close and say it's time to look forward and work realistically to create a better future for all Nova Scotian families. I thank you for your time. (Applause)

[10:30 p.m.]

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

MS. KELLY REGAN: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise and join in the emergency debate this evening, although I am not pleased that I have to be here for this reason.

We keep hearing about choices from this government. We keep hearing about the tough choices the government has to make. When they prepared their budget, they had some choices to make and they made a choice to prepay $341 million to universities that they didn't have to pay this year. When I questioned the minister about it in estimates, she said one of the reasons why they chose to do this was to alleviate the universities' anxiety over whether or not they were going to get this payment, which I found quite incredible. I find it quite incredible that she said that because at the same time we have families and students and teachers feeling incredible anxiety as we go forward through this process.

So, I'm urging the government to alleviate the anxiety of the students and the professional staff and teachers at NSCC. I've heard from a lot of teachers over the last few days and they are very anxious. They are suffering from a lot of anxiety. They just want to teach their students. They're telling me how much they are concerned about their students. Of course, this whole thing would have been easier to do if the previous government had signed an agreement with these teachers, but they chose not to.

Teachers are telling me about their students and how anxious they are. One teacher told me about a student who is here from Africa. He can't go home and wait for a strike to get resolved. Where's he supposed to go? What's he supposed to do? There's another student taking a four week course, but he's only in the third week now. If they go out on strike he doesn't get his course and guess what? He doesn't get to keep his job because he needs the course for his job. There's another student who is working four jobs just to be able to afford to go to community college.

AN HON. MEMBER: Got to work full-time now.

MS. REGAN: Well, yes, I suppose so. At the community college, a lot of the students who go there don't come from money. These students are looking to climb out from the pit

[Page 1031]

of job insecurity and minimum wage. They're going to community college because they want good, solid, secure jobs, and that's what we want for them and I believe that's what the government would like for them. So I'm asking the government, please, accept the union's offer of binding arbitration. Don't let this go on. There is anxiety in nursing homes right now. They don't know where they're going to get their future workers, where they're going to get the graduates, because if those students don't graduate, how are they going to fill their workforce needs?

There's a lot of anxiety here today in Nova Scotia and it could have been avoided if the government had made some different choices. The government could have decided not to prepay that $341 million to universities. It didn't need to be done. It was done for purely political reasons. It was done to inflate a deficit this year and make the bottom line look better next year. Tonight we moved closer to a strike. Tonight the NSTU set October 20th, by-election day, as their strike date but unlike the government they didn't just toss out an ultimatum, they didn't say, oh, 1 per cent, take it or leave it, they gave the government an option. They said let's go to binding arbitration. So I'm hoping that maybe this time the minister can interfere long enough to agree with it.

The Minister of Education, in Hansard on October 6, 2009, stated the following: "The best thing I can do as Minister of Education is to stay out of the negotiations, to allow it to go to its conclusion and to trust that reasonable people on all sides of the negotiating table will come to a reasonable conclusion . . .".

I submit to you, Mr. Speaker, that it is not a reasonable conclusion to expect college teachers to be okay with being treated as second-class teachers - $1.5 million is not a great deal of money from their $54 million political slush fund. I think they could take it out of there. I think it is unreasonable to expect teachers to take a 1 per cent increase when food costs have increased 5 per cent over the last year. How can anyone request either of the parties who have been at the negotiation table for 16 months, with no additional resources to offer from the government, to be any more reasonable than they have already been?

Mr. Speaker, this government, like the previous government was planning to do, is using these workers as pawns and the students as victims in the government's game. The debate this evening is different from most debates in this House because we have a Minister of Education who is ultimately responsible to the NSCC and students in conflict with herself as Minister of Labour and Workforce Development. She is the minister responsible for the students. She is the minister responsible for the NSCC and she is the minister responsible for ensuring that we have a well-educated, ready-to-work workforce. She sat here tonight in estimates and said she could not interfere. She couldn't answer questions about the negotiations. She has taken no responsibility. Work terms of students who are expected to be job-ready and have jobs waiting for them are in jeopardy. This government has failed students and they have failed business.

[Page 1032]

Mr. Speaker, 25,000 students across this province are left in limbo. They are victims of the government's pawn game. The longer we look at this government, the clearer the big picture becomes. This is a Premier, the head of an NDP Government, who spent eight years in Opposition raising people's expectations. He raised the expectations of students, teachers, anyone who would listen, and he was quite fond of raising the expectations of unions. How disappointed unions must be seeing this Premier use fellow union members as pawns. In fact, it was up to the union to take leadership, not the government, the union has proposed binding arbitration. They have a strike date. They are making moves and the government just sits back and says, well, we can't do anything.

How disappointed the students must feel at how this government has let them down. When in Opposition, the Premier would often say that the government is the silent partner at the negotiating table. Well, tonight staff and students are asking, why aren't you even in the same room?

In a recent e-mail to staff, the community college's President, Joan McArthur-Blair, confirms that the NDP Government has given them no additional funding to actually negotiate with the union. So what we have here is not collective bargaining, like the Minister of Education is content to talk about. What we have here is a take-it-or-leave-it ultimatum by this government. What we have here is a Deputy Premier, an individual who in the past believed strongly in favour of collective bargaining and in fairness for workers, negotiating in the media, and we must ask, how fair is that? Government purposely chose this union to make a statement, a statement that says, we will be tough. What they failed to do is be fair.

Now let's face it, there isn't a worker out there who relishes the thought of a strike, especially teachers who have dedicated their lives to educating our future economic generators, our best and our brightest. These teachers are passionate about what they do, and government should respect them for that and not treat them as pawns. The government must accept the union's offer of binding arbitration.

Some time ago, I believe I was speaking in this House during estimates for Health, and I spoke about being a parent and trying to be a good role model and about the lessons that we teach our children, and one of the things that my husband and I have tried to teach our children is about responsibility. One of the sayings we have in our house is, I am responsible, and when people are trying to evade their responsibility, when they are trying to pretend that it wasn't their fault or the dog ate it or whatever, we look at them and we say, I am responsible. Sometimes we think we've done a good job because we see a picture from our daughter's dorm room and she's got "I am responsible" on the wall, and that's what reminds her to study on a Saturday night instead of going out to have fun. What we're asking tonight is for the government to be responsible, for the government to take good decisions.

I realize that finances are tight, but they're not nearly as tight as the government would make out, and I cannot imagine how it is a responsible decision to say to one group of teachers, okay, you get 2.9 per cent, but you over there, you get 1 per cent, because they

[Page 1033]

have not presented any convincing case why these teachers aren't worth the money that the other teachers are worth. It is not a responsible decision to create two classes of teachers in this province. It is not a responsible decision to allow a strike to happen in the middle of a school year. It is not a responsible decision to allow a strike to happen when we desperately need the workers who are going to come out of the community college.

Over and over again, from diverse groups that I've met with since I became the Education Critic, we talk about the need for workforce development. The NSCC is one of our finest institutions for creating workers, and so what are we doing now? We're saying to them, sorry, we're gonna mess up your future and, by the way, if you have a job lined up, well, that's too bad because you're not going to be able to graduate in time, because there's a strike, because we sat on our hands, because we wouldn't budge at all - we wouldn't agree to binding arbitration, we wouldn't agree to raising the offer on the table, we wouldn't give the college any money to work with. Well, we just did nothing, except for over here we had the Deputy Premier just saying, 1 per cent or nothing.

So we have this sort of dichotomy where someone is willing to take responsibility, except it is not a responsible decision, and we have a minister who is saying, sorry, I can't be involved. She is in conflict with herself. She is the Minister of Labour and Workforce Development, it is her job to make sure this doesn't happen. If she can't do the two jobs, then maybe one of them should be given to another person on the backbench. (Applause)

All of us in this House realize that this is a difficult time financially, but we cannot create two classes of teachers - it is not fair and it is not right. For a Party that prided itself on standing up for people, doing the right thing, I do not understand how, in all conscience, you can continue to pretend that what you are doing is anything other than creating two different classes of teachers.

We already have two different classes of civil servants, the unionized and the non-unionized - the ones who got their raises earlier in the year and the ones who didn't get theirs this part of the year. For heaven's sake, don't do it to the teachers too.

[10:45 p.m.]

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

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, at 10:45 p.m. it is regretful we have to be here this evening, but we must be here and we felt it necessary to be here to address a matter that the government has been ignoring - the government that spoke on and on about how they were fighting for working families of Nova Scotia. Well, we see what they're doing for the working class of Nova Scotia and the hard-working Nova Scotians who go to work every day to educate Nova Scotians from one end of the province to the other. What they're trying to pull off here now is a disgrace. The duplicity of that government and what they put forward

[Page 1034]

to Nova Scotians and, yes, as the Auditor General said, well, we're over here - well, you're over there because you misrepresented yourselves to Nova Scotians and we're here to hold you accountable. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, the Deputy Premier might not want to look at the men and women in the gallery, but I remember when they were on this side of the House saying look up at those working men and women, look up at the individuals who you are not listening to. Well, who is not listening now? They are as quiet as lambs over there because they know they are wrong and they are not doing right for the hard-working men and women of the Nova Scotia Community College and the countless thousands of students relying on this government to make sure they get a good education.

Well, I'll tell you, Mr. Speaker, over the course of my time available here tonight, we're going to talk about some of the facts. I've listened very carefully to what has been said so far and I've been watching the pattern of this NDP Government and it is not a good pattern. It's a troubling pattern and it's a difficult pattern, because they said they would set on a new course for Nova Scotia and all we've heard is a discourse, minister after minister, issue after issue, and now we deal with the Nova Scotia Community College.

The Deputy Premier gets up and says that we are where we are; it's about the economy; we don't have the resources to do it. As our honourable colleague from the Liberal caucus had just said, they had no problem, no problem. As my colleague from Cumberland South said, $1.5 million on the table, yet the Minister of Finance will add deficit financing for something his own auditor told him not to do - $341 million on the backs of Nova Scotians, for the generations to come, for the students that these teachers are teaching right now, who don't know if they have a classroom to go back to. They're going to bear the burden of what this NDP Government is imposing on them right now.

It is wrong, Mr. Speaker, and the Minister of Finance knows it, the Premier knows it, the Deputy Premier, the entire Cabinet and the NDP caucus know that what they are doing is wrong, yet the Minister of Finance will add hundreds of millions for his own deficit hiding of next year. He wants to say, I can balance the books, so he's stacking the debt of Nova Scotians this year. That is wrong. What is right is supporting the teachers of Nova Scotia. He knows what he's doing, he knows it's wrong, he spent $100,000 on consultants to tell him not to do what he has just done and adding debt to the people of Nova Scotia. He will not add $100,000 for those hard-working teachers who are representing their colleagues from one end of Nova Scotia to the next. (Applause)

The Minster of Health has hired Agent Orange to go out for two days a week to tell her how she can close down ERs in Nova Scotia. Another $100,000 for two days a week, when that $100,000 could have gone to pay for real priorities of working families who are working on behalf of Nova Scotians. She had a choice, what did she choose? To spend money that could have been spent on other priorities. So they need not say as a government that they're working and staying within their means.

[Page 1035]

As we go forward into this discussion, we have a Premier and Deputy Premier, we saw, all of it starts to come out clear. The cracks are showing. Earlier this week when the Deputy Premier got up and said that 1,800 hard-working public servants, who are non-unionized, it's too bad, so sad, you don't get the same benefits as your other colleagues you work next to throughout the Province of Nova Scotia.

The Premier goes out to say, oh no, that's not so. They disagree with each other. One said one thing, the Premier tries to cover up again and then we find out that the Deputy Premier wasn't wrong because there is a wider agenda that they wouldn't come clean with. Mr. Speaker, they need not, as they tried tonight, if somebody else gets up, we got another speaker coming behind to remind them that they have had over 100 days, near four months, to get their priorities straight, they got their massive deficit straight but they haven't got their spending priorities straight on behalf of Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, the Deputy Premier wanted to talk about Bill No. 68. Do you know what? There are different times and we also know it was about the issue of keeping hospitals open, it went beyond a settlement by the way, a settlement that was very large and I think in excess of 15-or-so per cent. We're talking about a government that won't even budge past 1 per cent for the hard-working teachers in the Nova Scotia Community College. We're talking about people who have talked out of one side of their mouths on one side of the House and they're talking the complete other side of their mouth on that side of the House. The duplicity, the double standards, the doublespeak that is coming out of this government is scandalous.

It is scandalous that they're trying to dupe Nova Scotians and they're very effective at mis-telling the truth with regard to what their real agenda was. They had time. They need not blame a previous government, a previous Progressive Conservative Government or previous Liberal Government, it's theirs. They have a budget that's theirs. They got a massive $592 million deficit that's theirs but, you know what, in that $592 million, Mr. Speaker, they couldn't even spare $1.5 million for all the hard-working teachers around this province. They couldn't get their priorities straight. But they have in their special spending.

You know, the Deputy Premier talked about the ship called Nova Scotia. Well, we've seen clearly that the Premier, his Cabinet and caucus, has run the good ship Nova Scotia aground but, Mr. Speaker, I'll tell you that there are those in the Opposition who will stand up and rebuild Nova Scotia because they're tearing it apart, one timber at a time and set Nova Scotians adrift with their priorities. It is despicable, and the people who have come here representing their colleagues around Nova Scotia that this government caucus won't even look up and acknowledge them is sad. It's truly sad.

I want to tell you, they want to talk about how they're going to do it, so they don't care if you're a non-unionized government member, you're okay to be set adrift. If you're

[Page 1036]

a hard-working community college teacher, you're okay to be set adrift because you know that's not the case. But we've seen the Minister of Finance pad the books in certain areas for their priorities that have not met with what Nova Scotians truly want or need. We have a government caucus that's prepared to give a special deal at the border but not across Nova Scotia. It's pitting one region against another. It's terrible. Now they're pitting teachers against other colleagues. They're pitting one civil servant against another.

Then, Mr. Speaker, in the Springhill Record, we see a pattern. Now the truth is starting to emerge more fully each and every day that goes by. In the Springhill Record - and I'll table a copy so that the honourable members can get one and read it - when they were talking about where the Premier, with his audit, was going to shave 1 per cent, that he indicates here, to find extra money for priorities such as community college teachers, which he hasn't done. He indicates in here one of the things he can do is start cutting employees like Communications Nova Scotia - non-unionized - cut them and find some way to get some extra cash for other spending priorities of the New Democrats, which don't meet up with the true priorities of Nova Scotians. I'll table that, and would ask the honourable colleagues in government to take a look at what their own Premier was saying. The pattern is more than disturbing, it is very telling of where this government - more important than where they are is where they're not. They don't have their priorities straight.

This Opposition knows what is in the interests of Nova Scotians. I know even my honourable colleague, the member for Victoria-The Lakes, the government was asleep at the switch today because they put down every other resolution, every other resolution yesterday, for every community college campus that we put forward asking this government to do something. And you know what? They voted against every single one, but one slipped through because they were asleep at the switch earlier today, weren't they?

I'll quote one of the whereas clauses because it's on the record here:

'Whereas Edwina Donovan, a continuing care assistant student, is quoted in the Cape Breton Post as saying, 'We came to school because we were laid off and wanted to better ourselves.'"

Imagine that. Today's working families wanting to get back to work, and what do the NDP do? Slam the door shut on them. Put the locks on the doors for the teachers. It's people like Edwina that deserve to have the respect. At a time when the economy is suffering, this government should be investing in the teachers who are investing in the students, who are the future of our economy. If they cared about the economy, they would care about the people.

Obviously, they have other plans and designs that don't match up. They don't care. What they cared about was power at any cost, and they'll do anything with power because if it serves their needs, they're willing to do it. Mr. Speaker, I've heard today that we're going

[Page 1037]

to have to live within our means. It's live within your means, but if it fits the NDP plan, then we'll do it to suit our purposes. Not the teachers, obviously, of Nova Scotia.

They talk about their spending priorities here, and they get in with all this passion. We're talking about, what, 2.9 per cent. They have 1 per cent on the table, $1.5 million. Mr. Speaker, I hope the teachers are listening - this is the Party that is now paying 8 per cent to take the HST off those heating or swimming pools in South End Halifax, but won't increase the deal for better wages for teachers around this province.

This is a government that can't even get their priorities straight, but because they said we made a commitment, it is this, it's exclusively that, rather than doing what is right and just. That's their pattern. Spend $30 million regardless, as long as it was a promise. Shut down the border and give them a special deal because one member made a promise, never consulted with anybody, and now pits one region against another, pitting one bargaining unit against another. There is a pattern and it's a bad pattern in this province.

As was stated in The ChronicleHerald yet again today - and I'll table this. I'm going to read from it first. A reasonable conclusion: "The best thing I can do as Minister of Education is to stay out of the negotiations, to allow it to go to its conclusion and to trust that reasonable people on all sides of the negotiating table will come to a reasonable conclusion."

That was the honourable Minister of Education. They say, minister, the negotiations referred to broke down last Friday. There are no talks. After 16 months at the table, the Nova Scotia Teachers Union has been able to reach a reasonable conclusion, but not agreement - thanks to this government, thanks to the minister. As our colleague for Bedford-Birch Cove, had said, the Minister of Education is in a conflict because the Minister of Education should talk to the Minister of Labour about binding arbitration. I mean, she could just have that conversation in one of the phone booths out there because it's herself.

The Premier couldn't even recognize the conflict, but we've seen that here earlier today, about the conflicts already within this government, about the inability of this government to do what's right. The Attorney General can laugh over there, but we know that you voted against the resolution for the Pictou County campus. But, then again, he's voted against police officers, he's voted against jails, he's voted against the true priorities of Nova Scotians, they gutted the budget on issues of infrastructure and investments that were necessary, they're gutting the process with regard to the people of Nova Scotia, the working people of Nova Scotia providing an education.

The people of Nova Scotia are taking note, from one end of that bench to the back end of the NDP, that they will not forget. They will soon come to realize - and if a strike occurs - they have time to do the right thing, to make a deal and a good deal, not the raw deal that they're giving to the Nova Scotia Teachers Union, our community college educators and

[Page 1038]

teachers. This is their benchmark moment to truly prove themselves or turn their backs, as they've been doing on every other substantive issue we have seen.

Mr. Speaker, we stand with the teachers here and their colleagues across this province, we stand with the students, their families, with the businesses of Nova Scotia, expecting the Minister of Finance and the Premier and the Deputy Premier and the Minister of Education, also the Minister of Labour and Workforce Development, to do everything necessary to support the economy of Nova Scotia.

If they're having a hard time finding cash, maybe the Minister of Education could talk to the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture because they seem to know where to get the loans around here - and money. Maybe that's what they should do because the double standard, the double-talk and the turning their backs on Nova Scotians - we've had enough of it. We stand with, and for, and by, the people of this province who work hard every day and deserve a fair wage settlement - and he can stack the books for his own political priorities, the Minister of Finance can give the money to the Minister of Education, give the money to the Minister of Labour and Workforce Development to go to binding arbitration and give these people the deal they deserve, not the raw deal that the NDP have been serving up. Thank you very much. (Applause)

[11:00 p.m.]

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

MR. LEONARD PREYRA: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise today to speak to this very important resolution. Before I do, I want to acknowledge the hard-working and talented members of the Teachers Union who are up in the gallery (Interruptions) They are up there with their legal counsel, David Wallbridge and Gail Gatchalian. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order. Order, please. Order. The honourable member (Interruptions) Excuse me. Order, please. Order, please. The honourable member for Halifax Citadel-Sable Island has the floor.

MR. PREYRA: I should say, Mr. Speaker, that I've spent many years in the post-secondary sector, as you know, and I've spent a little over three years as a critic for post-secondary education, and during that time I travelled right across Nova Scotia to almost all of the community colleges in our system. I met with the president and I met with the members of the community college, and I know we've talked about the faculty members at the community college as producing skilled workers, but I can tell you that the faculty members at the community college are producing more than skilled workers. They're innovative, they're contributing to productivity - in fact, they were shooting a film in my office this week and many of the workers on the film set had been trained at the Nova Scotia

[Page 1039]

Community College, and the techniques that they had developed had been developed at Nova Scotia Community College.

So this is not about respect for the Nova Scotia teachers - we know what they're doing, we admire what they're doing, and we respect what they're doing. We recognize that and we have no problem (Applause) And we won't be lectured to, Mr. Speaker, by the members of the Third Party on collective bargaining, we will not be lectured to by a Party that stripped workers, in Bill No. 68, of the right to bargain collectively, and we will not be lectured to by members of the Third Party that tried to strip workers of collective bargaining before the process even started in Bill No. 1. Now, all of a sudden, we have this new-found commitment to collective bargaining. As my mother used to say, this is all the zeal of the newly converted. (Interruptions)

As we have said several times in the House, Mr. Speaker, and several times in the media, this government strongly believes in collective bargaining. I can speak from personal experience. I've been a faculty member at Saint Mary's for almost 20 years and for half of that period I served on the faculty union executive at Saint Mary's. I was the union president through several rounds of collective bargaining. I can speak from personal experience about collective bargaining and what it means to represent faculty and what it means to represent workers. (Applause)

Yesterday, Mr. Speaker, I was invited to the Order of Nova Scotia dinner. I was sitting beside Colin Dodds who is president of Saint Mary's University and we negotiated, I believe, three collective agreements when I was president of the faculty union and he was president of the union. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member has the floor.

MR. PREYRA: Dr. Dodds and I were talking last night and he said, you know, we negotiated three collective agreements without going on strike. He said, one of the reasons why it worked is because we had a shared commitment to our students, to our community, to the university, and we believed in our students, we believed in our communities, we believed in the work we're doing. I have no doubt at all that the Nova Scotia Teachers Union, the students and the administration have that same degree of commitment to their students, their communities and their institution, and I expect that they too will be able to get down to talking and bargaining in good faith as we did at Saint Mary's.

So we won't be lectured to by these members opposite, Mr. Speaker, on collective bargaining and what collective bargaining means. We know. We have faculty members here. I see the Minister of Health. I see the member for Halifax Chebucto. I see the member for Lunenburg West. We have all taught at post-secondary institutions. We have a number of members in our caucus who have taught at schools, they are teachers. We have members who have served on school boards. We have a great deal of experience here.

[Page 1040]

The collective bargaining process, Mr. Speaker, has served employers and employees well. We know, and I know from being at the bargaining table, that it can be fraught with varying degrees of tension and conflict. Unfortunately, tension and conflict is built into the process and sometimes that's what it takes to lead to a solution. You know we have an adversial system in the House and we know that that often takes us to solutions as well but the process is structured to promote good faith dialogue where employers and workers can arrive at a solution to the challenge before them. Conciliation and mediation are also available to the parties at the table. Conciliation is part of the legislated collective bargaining process and it's highly confidential. As a result, the parties speak for themselves on the process of negotiations.

As the Premier, the Deputy Premier, my colleague the Minister of Finance, and the Minister of Education have said, these are challenging fiscal times for workers, for employers and for governments. We must all learn to live within our means. (Interruptions) Of course, Mr. Speaker, we would rather avoid any work stoppage but it is not our place to circumvent the collective bargaining process. In the event of a work stoppage, our government has been assured by the college that they have a contingency plan. (Interruptions)

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

The honourable member has the floor.

MR. PREYRA: The college, Mr. Speaker, will communicate directly with its students about their options and will keep them informed as events evolve. Students will be kept informed through e-mail and through updates to the college's Web site. We are confident that the college will make every effort to minimize the impact of a work stoppage.

There is no doubt, Mr. Speaker, for any members of this place that the Nova Scotia Community College is an exceptional learning institution. As I said before, many of us have gone to the community college, many of us have traveled through and taken tours of the community college. Many of us have represented constituencies that have community colleges.

Each year, more than 25,000 students go through the doors at 13 campuses across the province in the quest for intellectual growth and a better life. They get it at the community colleges, and they get it in no small measure, because of the work of the teachers and the staff at the community college. These students learn valuable skills that are in great demand in Nova Scotia. They put these skills to work in communities throughout the province, building that better life for their families and making positive contributions to the communities they live in. They do this while they are in school and they do this year in and year out following graduation. That is their legacy to Nova Scotia.

[Page 1041]

Mr. Speaker, if we want a province where our citizens can successfully earn a living and, at the same time, participate fully in a thriving community and economy, then we have to create the best possible environment for lifelong learning and skills development. Our government is passionately and intensely interested in helping to create this environment. That was the rationale for the millions of dollars that have been invested in capital improvements and growth to the community college system over the past 10 years.

Mr. Speaker, the teachers and the staff at the Nova Scotia Community College play an important role in the lives of their students and the economy of the province. They are not just producing workers, they are contributing to innovation, they are contributing to productivity, they are contributing to the growth of our province. We thank them for that, we thank them for their passion, for sharing their expertise and knowledge, for inspiring their students, young and old, as they develop new paths and the new products and the new ways of doing things that they are inventing in the colleges.

Some of us in this place have known the satisfaction and sense of accomplishment that comes from being an educator. We know how difficult the profession can be. I know most of us don't do it for the money. We understand the frustration and anxiety felt by teachers and staff at the Nova Scotia Community College. The Government of Nova Scotia and every member on this side of the House, many of whom are educators, all of whom have been students at one time or another, have a great deal of respect for the work of teachers and the staff at the Nova Scotia Community College. (Applause)

With changing demographics we must recognize the role of the college and the way it enhances the potential productivity of all the citizens in our province. Continued efforts to reduce barriers to employment for an increasingly diverse range of people is one of the keys to increasing productivity. Contributions of even one additional day per month, from an individual who has barriers, are as significant as increased personal productivity of a highly skilled individual.

Mr. Speaker, we understand the stress that this situation has on professors, staff, students, families of students and the community serviced by the college. At the same time we must respect the will of the people who elected us, who challenged us to live within our means. While not wanting to appear trite, for this very, very serious matter before us, we believe we are in a period of short-term pain which will be followed by a longer period of long-term gain.

We all have a role to play in this endeavour, government, employers, workers and students. The government is already making sacrifices, we are doing our part.

Mr. Speaker, in conclusion I would like to reiterate a couple of the points I've made. First, we respect the collective bargaining process. We are not alone in this stance, it has been an accepted and desired practice in this province for decades. Second, we respect the

[Page 1042]

professionalism and the integrity of the parties at the table. Third, the college and its staff make an important contribution to the success of the province's workers and the development of our prosperous economy. Finally, we encourage the parties to re-engage in good-faith bargaining and explore all available avenues and opportunities that respect and recognize the needs of Nova Scotia students and their families and the fiscal realities we face. Thank you. (Applause)

[11:15 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I am pleased tonight to rise in my place and to take part in this very, very important debate. My day started at 6:00 a.m. I don't have the energy of the member for Cape Breton North and I may repeat a little bit of my colleague but this debate is too important to not have a say in. As a former teacher, a very proud member and union rep for the Nova Scotia Teachers Union during my career, and I know how important the role that is being played here, I am quite astounded that what I heard for six years on this side of the House and the complete abandonment of that kind of support for unions is totally missing.

Now in my rebuttal to the Budget Speech, it is very important to repeat here, the Minister of Finance is about to open a school, the David Copperfield School of Finance Ministers (Laughter) because he is truly the illusionist beyond. I just take three numbers - $341 million to university payment. Not to be part of this, the Minister of Education has one fairly simple explanation. The Minister of Finance has a little bit more complex rationalization: $54 million in the slush fund duped Nova Scotians with having H1N1 funding in front of it - we have no idea what it may amount to; $13 million going into the Industrial Expansion Fund, which Cabinet can play around with; and we're already below $200 million in deficit for this year. So he is truly a great illusionist.

We're nowhere near $592 million but he is on his parade to get close to a balanced budget next year and on the backs of workers like the Nova Scotia Community College teachers, he is absolutely prepared to do that, $1.5 million at a time here and there. So we need to take a look. For 15 years, Nova Scotia teachers in the public school system and the community college teachers went parallel in the raises that they received. This government is prepared to disregard the pattern and the importance of fairness to our teachers, no matter were they may be in front of students across Nova Scotia.

I applaud the Nova Scotia Teachers Union for setting the strike date. I guess they've taken a little bit of a risk with going to binding arbitration but I don't think for a minute that this government wants to go down the road of binding arbitration because anybody looking at the situation of the Nova Scotia Community College teachers - they'll get 2.5 per cent for sure and that's not the plan of this government. They've already announced publically 1 per

[Page 1043]

cent, 1 per cent is where we're going, so I don't even think they'll risk binding arbitration.

When their contract was over on the August 31st, if my memory serves me correctly, a barrel of oil was going for around $130 and inflation through last September and October was very high and it was only towards the new year that we started to feel a bit of the recession, so they deserve the 2.9. The 2.9 is not an outlandish request whatsoever, it's what our public school teachers received.

I want to go back a little bit on what has been said this week here in the House. Since the House session started, our caucus has been clear on one message, fairness, absolutely on fairness. We have spoken for the need of this government to treat NSCC teachers fairly and we've spoken to the need for this government to treat students with the same degree of fairness. While it is convenient for this minister to hide behind such comments as, we're respecting the collective bargaining process, it is clear from the actions of the Deputy Premier this is not the case. This is a government that has in many ways chosen to do their collective bargaining through the media. How can you sit down at the table? You've been told, 1 per cent, that's what's in store for Nova Scotia workers.

I don't think for a minute other unions are going to accept 1 per cent with the promise, the distance promise of improved pensions. It just won't happen and the numerous contracts between now and March 31st - this government had better get used to treating workers in a fair way.

Today we read the Deputy Premier has great respect for the NSCC staff. Well this government has so much respect that it has decided to use them as pawns. Remember teachers, you are this government's test case. You are the test case. You are the litmus test for this government because if they give you 2.9, the contracts between now and March 31st will explode this Minister of Finance's plan to balance or come close to balancing the budget, and yet he goes and makes a one-time prepayment of $341 million. He used $100,000 of Nova Scotia taxpayers to get best information from Deloitte and what was one of the first recommendations? Do not make large, one-time prepayments to any of our institutions or bodies in this province. What did he do? He went right ahead and said, I disregard the $100,000 of investment for good advice.

The Deputy Premier stated in his article today, this government is committed to free and fair collective bargaining. Obviously, that only applies if the faculty and professional staff at the NSCC are not looking for any more than one per cent in their second year. Let's take a look at the history for a moment because I believe there is some benefit in doing so. The NSTU staff at the Nova Scotia Community College have been without a contract since August 31st, 2008 as I stated earlier. For 16 months, collective bargaining, 16 months they've been at the bargaining table. February 7th, 2009 the province announced they reached an agreement with the union's 10,000 public school teachers on a 2.9 per cent wage increase for each of the contract's two years, an agreement that has historically seen public school teachers and the teachers at the Nova Scotia Community College received the same deal.

[Page 1044]

Now one can only conclude with this sequence of events that the deal being offered by the previous government for teachers at the NSCC, while not what they were desiring at the time, but it was early, it has been, and we would not be at the impasse we are today, there would have been an agreement pre-June. However, now is now and we have moved down the path where we are prepared to let students' careers be jeopardized.

Tonight we've heard a few accounts of students and what they have done to arrive at the steps, at the door of future possibilities and a future career.

I would have to say that in my years as a teacher and as an educator, I don't think there is any institution in our province that has undergone the transformation that has happened at Nova Scotia Community College. (Applause) There is no question, under the leadership of Ray Ivany and now Joan McArthur-Blair, and a most dedicated and educated and innovative - and continuing to educate themselves and to go into any college today and see the kind of technology that these people are using and advancing for the next generation of Nova Scotians, the next 30 or 40 years.

In my backdoor is the Middleton Campus. When I arrived here at Province House, it was on the verge of which way to go and we now have a vibrant college in Middleton and a world-class College of Geographic Sciences just down the road. I can assure you - and this is no pretense of a statement - if these teachers are out on strike and on the road for any period of time, there will be a number who will not re-enter our college system, that next September, you watch and see. They can go to Humber College or Algonquin and get considerable more pay than what we pay them, but they're dedicated to our students in Nova Scotia. They want our next generation of workers to be the best in the country and the innovation is there.

Think of the contracts that Nova Scotia Community College has - EI, IMP, Boeing, DND, Scotsburn, and I could go on. This is what this government is prepared to jeopardize for $1.5 million. I'm astounded, I'm quite astounded, and to set themselves up with this facade of a giant deficit.

The Minister of Education - I've been here for six years, the least leadership of any Education Minister that I have seen. Sorry, Mr. Speaker, I wasn't addressing you as I should be. Of course, her words: "The best thing I can do as Minister of Education is to stay out of the negotiations, to allow it to go to its conclusion and to trust that reasonable people on all sides of the negotiating table will come to a reasonable conclusion . . .".

Well, Mr. Speaker, real leadership is facing the issue head on and recognizing that these teachers in our community college deserve not just respect but they deserve fair compensation, but it is not in the plan. It's not in the plan. So, therefore, they will likely go out on strike but let's hope that before October 20th, this government does indeed have a

[Page 1045]

change of heart because if not - the community college system in Nova Scotia has a profound impact on our communities and on the lives of many and it won't be forgotten. This is a poor test case that this government is prepared to engage in.

Already, because of the variety of contracts that the minister and I talked about in the estimates of Finance - there are so many and varied contracts - there are already workers inside the community college who have received 2.9 per cent. That's right. So this government is not too much about fairness and seeing the big picture. Tonight 1,000 staff members and 25,000 students are asking, why is the government not at the table negotiating?

So what we have here, Mr. Speaker, is not collective bargaining like the Minister of Education is content on saying, what we have here is a take-it-or-leave-it ultimatum by this government. What we have here is a Deputy Premier, an individual who in the past believed strongly in collective bargaining, fairness to workers, negotiating in the media.

We must ask, just how fair is that? Government purposely chose this union to make a statement, a statement that says we will be tough - what they failed to do is to be fair. Let's face it, there is not a unionized worker out there who relishes the thought of a strike. I remember coming here marching around Province House with 3,000 of my colleagues and the last thing we wanted to do was to leave our students behind. So far, this government is prepared to put teachers and students.

Now the member for Halifax Citadel, he's used to already starting down the road of an occasional ministerial statement, as we found out yesterday. Tonight he's announced something that the Minister of Education could not do. We have a contingency plan. Another ministerial statement. Here we have it again tonight. So tomorrow, I guess, the Minister of Education will reveal that Nova Scotia Community College contingency plan.

These people we have here tonight, and in my last remark, I thank you for coming. I thank you for being here. Stay strong and stand for what you believe in. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Argyle.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, it's with a heavy heart that I stand today to speak to this resolution, this issue that is before us and almost with a heavy heart that we have to have these hard-working teachers, the hard-working president of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union, the chief negotiator and the CEO of the NSTU, to be here tonight to try to find some answers - some answers that they have not gotten since they rose from the negotiating table over a week ago.

[11:30 p.m.]

[Page 1046]

I want to thank them again for being here. I want to thank every teacher who works in the Nova Scotia Community College system for the work they do in bringing up the brightest and the best. (Applause) I listened with interest to the member for Halifax Citadel-Sable Island and talked about his experience as a professor and how he was able to stand with his brothers and sisters and come up with agreements. Hallelujah. That was then, this is now.

Mr. Speaker, the Deputy Premier, I remember on all kinds of occasions that he flapped his gums when he was in Opposition and told the government, you must settle this, you must do this, you must pay more money to get this done. You must, you must. Today, he's just not there anymore. Not quite as excited. These are different economic times. Oh, my heart breaks to hear this.

He's a statesman, I can tell you, he stands there and tries to hold a true line on what's really setting him off. I watched again with amazement to see the line, you know, don't go off the script. I'm sure the staff are standing outside in this House making sure that the ministers don't go off script. God forbid that the caucus members go off script as well. I don't know who's coming up to speak after me - maybe I'll hold some hope that they'll say something that we haven't heard yet tonight, which means they are here for the people who take care of the Nova Scotia Community College system.

They're here tonight to get some answers. Yesterday, I believe it was in the questioning from the member for Cumberland South to the Premier. The Premier said well, you know, you have to sit down, talk at the table, follow the negotiating process, we believe in the negotiating process.

Well, Mr. Speaker, did all the members in this House know that over a week ago these folks stood up from the table because they didn't offer anything more. There was no negotiating happening here. There was 1 per cent, take it or leave it, no more. That was wrong.

The Premier sat there yesterday and told them, oh no, go back to the table. One per cent, Mr. Speaker. A shame, absolutely a shame. They're creating a two-tiered system here, those who get it, those who don't.

Mr. Speaker, can any of those members - you know the next person to stand up and talk, I want that person, that member of this House, that honourable member to explain to the people in the gallery tonight what's wrong with them? Why are they second-class citizens in this case? Why are they being treated differently from the other teachers in this province? Why should they go back to the table to be told the same thing that they were told a week ago?

[Page 1047]

I've seen some ministers here that I know sit on the Labour Relations Committee. I know they've probably been discussing things, trying to find ways to do this. Now what we find out tonight from the member for Halifax Citadel-Sable Island - speaking as a minister again, it's a good practice, you know I wish you the best that one of these days you might get up to that front row - but we find out they have a contingency plan.

That's not what we wanted to hear tonight, that's not what the people up there wanted to hear tonight. That's not what the students, the families that are affected by this issue wanted to hear. Oh, there is a contingency plan? Oh, we're going to send you e-mails and tell you what's going on. Hogwash, I mean come on, why are they here? They're here because they want some answers to the things they have not been able to get over the last number of weeks. They sat at that table for 16 months and for the last 107 days, 108 days, 109 days - it is going to be forever at this point - they have been told nothing else. A fair deal for families, we're looking for families. Be ashamed of yourselves.

Mr. Speaker, you know we ran a number of resolutions in the House yesterday trying to speak to the individual communities, individual colleges. We spoke to the NSCC in Bridgewater, home to 450 full-time and 400 part-time students. What did they say? They said no, if they don't accept the deal, they go on strike, well, tough luck.

In Cumberland County, how many? Five hundred students. If they go off on strike, tough luck. Yarmouth, how many people in that one? Again that's 500 and 450. Tough luck.

You know what, Mr. Speaker? I'm a product of the community college system, I went to community college. I can tell you that I would have been some upset if I had to end up coming home. I went there to learn, I went there to better myself and God darn it, I did it.

These folks are not going to have the opportunity to do that because if nothing else comes from this discussion this evening, they're going to have to go home. They've got loans, they've got families. They'll get an e-mail at some point to tell them how long the strike might happen.

Mr. Speaker, I can talk to the conflict that we perceive on this side of the House. The member for Bedford-Birch Cove brought it up again and I think the member for Kings West brought it up as well. The Minister of Education in this particular case is also Minister of Labour and Workforce Development. The Minister of Labour and Workforce Development is responsible for the Trade Union Act. She is responsible to try to bring calm, to try to find solutions to any strike in this province. I can tell you that I think the member for Kings West was correct. This is a test case. You're testing a line of offer with these folks, with these teachers, these hard workers. You're going to see if they can accept that 1 per cent, and that will set the pattern across the board.

[Page 1048]

Mr. Speaker, what they don't realize is that there are over 400 contracts out for negotiations right now. Thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of Public Service workers - 1 per cent, maybe. Are they going to create second-class citizens with that one as well?

So, Mr. Speaker, as I wrap up my 10 minutes - again, I'm looking forward to see exactly what the next person who is going to stand up says. I hope there is a commitment for these folks. As I finish, I thought I would echo a few thoughts from our friends in the gallery. Now, you said that we need the process to follow itself through to its natural conclusion. The conclusion is, when they sat down it is 1 per cent, take it or leave it. When you stand up, will you commit to binding arbitration, as the union has asked for - yes or no? (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I want to start by saying that I don't mind at all being here at this hour. I remember a time when I was here at 2:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. debating Bill No. 68 when a government of a former day - some of the members who are across the floor from me, part of that government - certainly had no problem taking away the right to collective bargaining of health care workers across this province, and driving that piece of legislation through this House over a four or five day period and keeping members here around the clock.

Mr. Speaker, I want to start, first of all, by saying that I too work in the post-secondary education system. I was very fortunate to have a career teaching at the School of Social Work prior to being elected. I want to say that some of the best students I had in that program were graduates of the Nova Scotia Community College system, who had done the community services program at the community college. I also want to say that in the field, where I frequently supervised social work students, I often had students working under the supervision of graduates of the Nova Scotia Community College system in that community services program, and I know what excellent students and excellent graduates come out of the community college system.

Last year, during Democracy 250, I served on the select committee with the honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes - and perhaps some other members here - going around the province, and it was absolutely delightful to be in community colleges across this province, meeting with students attending the community college, and the caliber of students in various programs was very apparent. I spoke of that on any occasion that I had to talk about what fantastic young adults we have around this province in our community college system.

Mr. Speaker, the prospect of a strike at a community college is of great concern to all of us here in this House, and labour disruptions are very difficult for everyone involved.

[Page 1049]

I'm sure that students and the faculty, their families, their communities and the province generally are very concerned and we all must be concerned.

Tonight, I rise in my place to speak briefly as the Minister of Health and on behalf of the Department of Health who has a fine partnership with the Nova Scotia Community College in helping us address human resource challenges in the health care field. Earlier today when the honourable member from Cumberland South introduced the motion for an emergency debate, he spoke to the concern about the health care field particularly, the continuing care field and the potential impact on human resources for our continuing care sector if, in fact, we see a labour disruption at the community college.

[11:45 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker and all members of the House, it's very true that graduates from the Nova Scotia Community College, the Licensed Practical Nursing Program, Community Care Assistants Program and the Residential Rehabilitation Worker Program and other health care worker programs are an important part of our health care system and the community college system is very much a part of helping us graduate men and women in this field to come work in the long-term care sector in our province. I, as much as any other person, would hope that the collective bargaining process will avert a labour disruption so that the students can continue in their programs on their way to securing jobs, in our province, in our healthcare system.

I feel somewhat compelled as Minister of Health - it's partly my duty as Minister of Health to not only ensure that our health care system functions well on a day-to-day basis, but that there be a certain degree of public confidence in the system and in the health human resources that are coming into the system and, indeed, are planning for the workforce. It's important that I note that a labour disruption would not immediately impact on our long-term care sector. Labour demands for LPNs and the continuing care workers in this sector have been easing thanks to the efforts, over the past few years, of things like the bursary program and efforts to attract more people to these fields and a large number of graduates have come through the program.

In the case of the continuing care assistants, the Nova Scotia Community College is just one of the options for people looking to receive training. We also partner with many private sector companies and organization such as Northwood and Shannex and other facilities. I want to assure people that while I would hope that we can see a resolution through the collective bargaining process (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order, please. The honourable minister has the floor.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, it is very much the case that we have been building our health human resources for the long-term care sector and we will continue

[Page 1050]

to do that in a variety of ways and I hope very much that the community college will continue to be one of those ways.

Previous speakers have made a great deal of what they call a slush fund, a $54 million so-called slush fund that the Minister of Finance has established in his budget.

Mr. Speaker, I want to take a moment to explain that we as a province are facing a worldwide pandemic - H1N1 pandemic - which will require the vaccination of the people of Nova Scotia, which will require the staff to do the vaccination, which will require the supplies to do the vaccination. We have ordered over $5 million of ventilators for our health care system. We have ordered $1 million in surgical masks for our health care system. The $54 million, in part, has been earmarked as a contingency fund for the H1N1 pandemic. Some of the members next door don't understand what the word contingency means. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable minister has the floor.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. So I think that as the Minister of Health I wanted to make those points that it is important that we have a fund to cover H1N1 needs and that's where the resources reside in that restructuring fund.

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

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I listened very closely to the Health Minister talk about H1N1, and all that went along with that, but that has very little to do with the plight of the teachers who are sitting up here tonight. As a matter of fact it has nothing to do with it - it's just a commercial for her own department here tonight.

Do you know what, Mr. Speaker, I've been in this House for 16 years and during that 16 years I've watched and listened to the NDP wail about just about everything that happened in this province that was wrong, wrong, wrong, for 16 years. I listened to the Health Minister when she was sitting over here saying, why should we trust you now? Why should we trust you now - in Opposition. I've listened to the Finance Minister sitting over here in Opposition telling people about openness and transparency, honesty, all of those things, when he goes against his own report that he got Deloitte & Touche and spends money for nothing, he didn't even take their recommendations, and tried to make him and his government look good at the expense of the previous government.

That's what the NDP is all about, Mr. Speaker. That's what they're all about. I'm going to tell you something. There are about five Cabinet Ministers over there, there are about five Cabinet Ministers - the Minister of Health, the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, the Deputy Premier and the Premier - who have duped the rest of them who are sitting over there into thinking that they're going to be around for a long time. Well, I got news for you. You backbenchers over there, I can see

[Page 1051]

about nine or 10 of you are going to be one termers in this House. You're gone after the next election unless you stop listening to the doctrine you're getting from the front benches, particularly from the Finance Minister, the Health Minister and the Premier. So smarten up before it's too late. Look after your constituencies and stop listening to the dogma you've been served up from the front benches here.

I'm surprised that the Finance Minister didn't speak to this very important resolution tonight. He might have added something to it but, do you know what, the die has been cast. The member for Halifax Citadel-Sable Island already told everybody here tonight that they're going out, that they don't need them because they're going to teach the students by e-mail. That's the contingency plan. The would-be Cabinet Minister already told the House that he has been very good at letting Cabinet speak for itself in the last couple of days but, anyway, we know that he has already told us that.

I have to tell you, Mr. Speaker, that I know where they can find the money if they want. All they have to do is go to the Fisheries Loan Board and get a loan from them. The minister over there had no problem getting a loan to look after his boat and his equipment. Just throw another few dollars in the pot and look after those teachers who are in the gallery here tonight and get a settlement.

I've got to tell you, Mr. [Deputy] Speaker, that the Marconi Campus in your constituency, bordering my constituency, with Dave MacLean and his teachers and students down there, deserve better than what this government is serving up to them in the last few days.

The Deputy Premier negotiating and telling people in the newspaper what they're going to get - and you're right, this is a test case. There's no question, what's been said here tonight, this is conditioning - like Pavlov, this is conditioning. This is conditioning for what is coming down the road. Of course, the Deputy Premier didn't bother to check with the Premier before he made those statements. The Premier tried to do damage control, then gave up on the damage control, because now the Deputy Premier is taking to writing op-eds, saying what he is going to do in the government - not the Premier, not the Finance Minister, and not the Minister of Education and Labour and Workforce Development, which in itself, I believe, is a conflict of interest. She is not even around to debate this.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member has been around long enough to know that you cannot say whether a member is in the Chamber or out of the Chamber.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: I won't say it again.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you very much.

[Page 1052]

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: I'm saying to you, Mr. Speaker, that I'd like to hear from people who have the ability to settle this issue, who have the ability to do the right thing.

There's nothing wrong with binding arbitration - it works. The teachers involved, the NSCC, want binding arbitration, right? There's nothing wrong with it, they want it. The police got it, they're happy with it. Why doesn't this government give them binding arbitration? What are they afraid of? That they might get a fair settlement? They deserve a fair settlement, so why doesn't this government give it to them?

Again, Mr. Speaker, I can recall when they were in Opposition over here, we had to listen to them, day in and day out, wailing and wailing about all the ills of government, whether it was a Progressive Conservative Government over there or a Liberal Government. I've been here for both of them - I've been in government and I've been in Opposition, and one thing was consistent when the NDP were in Opposition: nothing was right in this House, everything was wrong, and when they got in they were going to right all the ills of Nova Scotia, all the ills of the Public Service, were going to look after everybody. Well, there's a good start - ask those people up there. And, worse than that, Mr. Speaker, the Deputy Premier has fired a shot across the bow for the future. He said that no longer am I a trade unionist, no longer are my roots going to be employed here, I'm now a statesman, I'm the Deputy Premier of Nova Scotia. Suddenly a conversion on the road to Damascus. Another one, like the Minister of Finance, converts.

I'm going to tell you backbenchers over there, don't listen to this crowd in front any more, because your careers will be very short in this House. I'll guarantee you that - very short.

Mr. Speaker, I guess my time is getting short, but I want to tell you something about fairness here. I thought - I really did - when the NDP got elected, that they were going to change things. They said that in Opposition - give us a chance and we'll change things.

AN HON. MEMBER: They told my constituents it would be different.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: They told my constituents, too. The orange tide was sweeping Nova Scotia with all these grand promises. Here we are, we're not three weeks into their first session, and we've got Cabinet scandals already, going almost daily now. We've got would-be ministers making Cabinet statements. We've got backbenchers going around the constituencies doling out money that is the rightful domain of the ministers in government, we've got a political staff that would rival anything in the history of this province. You can't walk out there today, there's so many political staff there. By the way, we're . . .

[Page 1053]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I wonder if the member would speak on the resolution. (Interruptions)

Order, please. Order. Order, please. Order, please.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South has the floor.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Thank you. Again, let me say that the Deputy Premier set the bar when he went publicly in advance of negotiations, while negotiations were continuing and said, this is what the bar's going to be. No more. Let us hear what he's saying. He said that I know what's best, the Finance Minister knows what's best, the Premier knows what's best. So, here's what the bar is going to be - your 1 per cent and that's it.

Why are we bothering with any more negotiations? The bar is set. The Education Minister says she can't do anything about it, she's not going to bother doing anything about it, she's not going to get involved. Then she puts on the other hat and says as Labour Minister, I'm not getting involved there either. Then you have the Premier contradicting the Deputy Premier. I might say to you, I've never seen that, Mr. Speaker, that the Deputy Premier would be contradicted in public by the Premier. And the Deputy Premier would remain in that job the next day.

But, anything goes over there. We know there's a conflict of interest with one of the ministers and yet the Premier denies it, goes out there and denies it. He's denying there's any problem with this.

Mr. Speaker, I'll end by saying this. Those people up there deserve fairness . I want this government to do the right thing. Give them arbitration and let it be settled with arbitration. (Applause)

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

Time has expired for the emergency debate this evening. I would like to thank all the honourable members for an excellent debate tonight.

The House is adjourned until 9:00 a.m.

[The House rose at 12:00 midnight]

[Page 1054]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 528

By: Mr. Leo Glavine (Kings West)

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

Whereas on June 6, 2009 the annual Berwick Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony took place celebrating both individual and team accomplishments; and

Whereas the 1993-94 Central Kings Gators High School Hockey Team was recognized for their Provincial AA Championships; and

Whereas Ian Collins contributed to the team's success as the assistant coach;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate the members of the 1993-94 Central Kings Gators High School Hockey Team for their induction into the Berwick Sports Hall of Fame.

RESOLUTION NO. 529

By: Mr. Andrew Younger (Dartmouth East)

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

Whereas the Canadian Red Cross Humanitarian Award was established in 1997 to recognize humanitarian work by members of our community and to inspire individuals to pursue humanitarian goals; and

Whereas the awards are presented annually in each of the Atlantic Provinces at a fundraising gala dinner which supports Red Cross programs and services such as: disaster management, violence prevention, community health programs and humanitarian issues awareness; and

Whereas Michael Doyle Cluett of Chapel Island was the recipient of the 2009 Young Humanitarian Award for his use of creativity, leadership, film and musical talent in his commitment to social justice, helping other youth address environmental and aboriginal issues across the globe;

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Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Michael Doyle Cluett for demonstrating the spirit of humanity here in Nova Scotia and around the world.

RESOLUTION NO. 530

By: Hon. Christopher d'Entremont (Argyle)

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

Whereas birthdays are an occasion for family and friends to gather together to celebrate the life of an individual; and

Whereas on May 31, 2009 Gerald Melanson celebrated his 80th birthday; and

Whereas to be 80 years young is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be 40 years old;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating Mr. Melanson on this remarkable milestone in his life and in wishing him many more happy birthdays.

RESOLUTION NO. 531

By: Hon. Christopher d'Entremont (Argyle)

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

Whereas birthdays are an occasion for family and friends to gather together to celebrate the life of an individual; and

Whereas on June 5, 2009 Mrs. Anne Rose Hattie celebrated her 84th birthday; and

Whereas to be 84 years young is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be 40 years old;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating Mrs. Hattie on this remarkable milestone in her life and in wishing her many more happy birthdays.

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RESOLUTION NO. 532

By: Hon. Christopher d'Entremont (Argyle)

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

Whereas birthdays are an occasion for family and friends to gather together to celebrate the life of an individual; and

Whereas on June 26, 2009 Mrs. Beatrice Regan celebrated her 100th birthday; and

Whereas to be 100 years young is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be 40 years old;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating Mrs. Regan on this remarkable milestone in her life and in wishing her many more happy birthdays.

RESOLUTION NO. 533

By: Hon. Christopher d'Entremont (Argyle)

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

Whereas birthdays are an occasion for family and friends to gather together to celebrate the life of an individual; and

Whereas on August 1, 2009 Clifford LeBlanc celebrated his 80th birthday; and

Whereas to be 80 years young is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be 40 years old;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating Mr. LeBlanc on this remarkable milestone in his life and in wishing him many more happy birthdays.

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RESOLUTION NO. 534

By: Hon. Christopher d'Entremont (Argyle)

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

Whereas birthdays are an occasion for family and friends to gather together to celebrate the life of an individual; and

Whereas on September 9, 2009 Delbert Crosby celebrated his 70th birthday; and

Whereas to be 70 years young is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be 40 years old;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating Mr. Crosby on this remarkable milestone in his life and in wishing him many more happy birthdays.

RESOLUTION NO. 535

By: Hon. Christopher d'Entremont (Argyle)

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

Whereas birthdays are an occasion for family and friends to gather together to celebrate the life of an individual; and

Whereas on August 17, 2009 Mrs. Elsie Crowell celebrated her 90th birthday; and

Whereas to be 90 years young is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be 40 years old;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating Mrs. Crowell on this remarkable milestone in her life and in wishing her many more happy birthdays.

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RESOLUTION NO. 536

By: Hon. Christopher d'Entremont (Argyle)

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

Whereas birthdays are an occasion for family and friends to gather together to celebrate the life of an individual; and

Whereas on August 23, 2009 Mrs. Regina Doucette celebrated her 100th birthday; and

Whereas to be 100 years young is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be 40 years old;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating Mrs. Doucette on this remarkable milestone in her life and in wishing her many more happy birthdays.

RESOLUTION NO. 537

By: Hon. Christopher d'Entremont (Argyle)

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

Whereas birthdays are an occasion for family and friends to gather together to celebrate the life of an individual; and

Whereas on July 26, 2009 Ralph Churchill celebrated his 89th birthday; and

Whereas to be 89 years young is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be 40 years old;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating Mr. Churchill on this remarkable milestone in his life and in wishing him many more happy birthdays.

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RESOLUTION NO. 538

By: Hon. Christopher d'Entremont (Argyle)

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

Whereas birthdays are an occasion for family and friends to gather together to celebrate the life of an individual; and

Whereas on June 26, 2009 Ralph Surette celebrated his 95th birthday; and

Whereas to be 95 years young is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be 40 years old;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating Mr. Surette on this remarkable milestone in his life and in wishing him many more happy birthdays.