Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

HANSARD 09-19

DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS

Speaker: Honourable Charlie Parker

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

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

First Session

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2009

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Development: Citadel Hill View - Blockage, Mr. L. Preyra 1063
NSCC - Marconi Campus: Wage Increase - Support, Mr. G. Gosse 1064
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Rept. of Chief Electoral Officer (Recommendations), The Speaker 1064
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 540, Breast Cancer Awareness: Professional/Vols. - Recognize,
Hon. Maureen MacDonald (by Hon. G. Steele) 1065
Vote - Affirmative 1065^
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 541, Neily, Will: Pumpkin Regatta - Congrats.,
Mr. C. Porter 1066
Vote - Affirmative 1066
Res. 542, NDP (N.S.): Inaugural Convention - Anniv. (47th),
Mr. H. Epstein 1066
Res. 543, LeBlanc, Herb: Death of - Tribute,
Hon. W. Gaudet 1067
Vote - Affirmative 1068
Res. 544, NSCC: Commun. Coll. Faculty - Problems Address,
Hon. K. Casey 1068
Res. 545, Fultz Corner Restoration Soc./Vols.: Dedication - Congrats.,
Mr. M. Whynott 1069
Vote - Affirmative 1070
Res. 546, Cook, Sandy: Retirement - Congrats.,
Hon. S. McNeil 1070
Vote - Affirmative 1071
Res. 547, D'Entremont, Robert: Concordia Univ. - Acceptance,
Hon. C. d'Entremont 1071
Vote Affirmative 1072
Res. 548, Kingsport Commun. Assoc.: Efforts - Thank,
Mr. J. Morton 1072
Vote - Affirmative 1072
Res. 549, TIR: Fairview Overpass Const. Comments - Min. Apologize,
Ms. K. Regan 1073
Res. 550, David, Rachel: Album Release - Congrats.,
Mr. K. Bain 1073
Vote - Affirmative 1074
Res. 551, Persons Day/Second Story Women's Ctr.: Work - Recognize,
Ms. P. Birdsall 1074
Vote - Affirmative 1075
Res. 552, Educ.: NSCC Strike - Min. Involvement,
Hon. Manning MacDonald 1075
Res. 553, St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church (Sydney Mines)
- Fiddle Tree Concert, Hon. C. Clarke 1076
Vote - Affirmative 1076
Res. 554, Jamieson's Irish-House & Grill - Anniv. (10th),
The Premier (by Ms. B. Kent) 1077
Vote - Affirmative 1077
Res. 555, Health Care - Rural Communities: Lack - Prem. Apologize,
Ms. D. Whalen 1077
Res. 556, Hutt, Bryden: Children's Wish Fdn. - Fundraising,
Hon. R. Hurlburt 1078
Vote - Affirmative 1079
Res. 557, Sackville Rivers Assoc.: River Rangers Prog. - Congrats.,
Ms. K. Regan 1079
Vote - Affirmative 1079
Res. 558, MacKinnon, Daniel: Kenya - AIDS Prog.,
Mr. A. MacLeod 1080
Vote - Affirmative 1080
Res. 559, Yarmouth Reg. Hosp. Women's Aux.: Hullabaloo -
Clare Vols. Thank, Hon. W. Gaudet 1080
Vote - Affirmative - 3 - 1081
Affirmative 1082
Res. 561, O'Neill, Fr. Bernard: Ministry - Anniv. (40th),
Ms. D. Whalen 1082
Vote - Affirmative 1083
Res. 562, Antigonish Town - Communities in Bloom Award,
Hon. K. Casey 1083
Vote - Affirmative 1083
Res. 563, Big Wave Summer Fest. Comm.: Members - Congrats.,
Mr. K. Bain 1084
Vote - Affirmative 1084
Res. 564, Hampsey, Pat/Berwick Alpines Men's Football Team (1971):
Berwick Sports Hall of Fame - Induction,
Mr. L. Glavine 1084
Vote - Affirmative 1085
Res. 565, Fish. & Aquaculture Min.: Conflict of Interest Commissioner
- Review, Mr. A. MacLeod 1085
Res. 566, West. Counties Reg. Library: Anniv. (40th) - Archibald, Gary/
Staff/Vols. - Congrats., Hon. R. Hurlburt (by Hon. C. Clarke) 1086
Vote - Affirmative 1087
Res. 567, Fuller, Jason - Prime Ministers Teaching Excellence Award,
Hon. M. Scott 1087
Vote - Affirmative 1087
Res. 568, Health - Digby Neck: Nurse Practitioner - Min. Recruit,
Hon. C. d'Entremont 1087
Res. 569, Cochrane, Anne: PSC Long-Serv. Award (25 yrs.) - Congrats.,
Mr. C. Porter 1088
Vote - Affirmative 1089
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 143, Prem.: NSCC Strike - Binding Arbitration, Ms. K. Regan 1089
No. 144, Prem.: NSCC Strike - Binding Arbitration, Hon. K. Casey 1090
No. 145, Prem.: Conflict of Interest Commissioner - Ministers' Queries,
Hon. S. McNeil 1091
No. 146, Prem. - Cabinet Members: Company Directors - Details,
Hon. S. McNeil 1092
No. 147, Prem. - Fish. & Aquaculture Min. Conflict: Commissioner Nunn
- Co-operation, Hon. K. Casey 1093
No. 148, Fish. & Aquaculture: Loan Bd. Applications - Approval Rate,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 1094
No. 149, Fish. & Aquaculture - Loans for Licence Prog.: Buyer
- Discussions, Hon. C. d'Entremont 1095
No. 150, HPP: Rink Revitalization Prog. - Cancellation,
Ms. D. Whalen 1096
No. 151, Prem.: NSCC Strike - Collective Bargaining Process,
Hon. M. Scott 1098
No. 152, Health: Caregiver Allowance Prog. - Jean's Case,
Hon. S. McNeil 1099
No. 153, Fin.: Unemployment Rate - Reduction, Mr. L. Glavine 1100
No. 154, Fish. & Aquaculture - Min. and Dep. Min.: Statement
- Supply, Hon. C. Clarke 1102
No. 155, Health: Long-Term Care - Accommodation Rate,
Ms. D. Whalen 1103
No. 156, Agric.: NDP Gov't.: Commitments (Prev. Gov't.) - Honour,
Mr. C. Porter 1104
No. 157, Nat. Res. - OHV Riders: Safety Increase - Plan,
Mr. L. Glavine 1106
No. 158, Prem.: Public Auto Insurance - Plans, Mr. K. Bain 1107
No. 159, Prem. Cabinet Size - Permanence,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 1108
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
ON MOTION FOR SUPPLY:
Mr. L. Glavine 1109
Hon. R. Hurlburt 1112
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON SUPPLY AT 4:25 P.M. 1116
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 6:00 P.M. 1116
ADJOURNMENT MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
HPP: Rink Revitalization Prog. - Importance Recognize, Hon. M. Samson,
Ms. D. Whalen 1117
Hon. C. d'Entremont 1120
Hon. Maureen MacDonald 1122
HOUSE RECESSED AT 6:30 P.M. 1125
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON SUPPLY AT 6:33 P.M. 1125
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 9:17 P.M. 1125
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 1, Motor Vehicle Act 1125
Mr. C. Porter 1125
Mr. L. Glavine 1128
Hon. C. d'Entremont 1129
Mr. A. MacLeod 1132
Mr. K. Bain 1133
Mr. A. Younger 1134
Adjourned debate 1136
ADJOURNMENT, The House rose to meet again on Wed., Oct. 14th at 2:00 p.m. 1136
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 570, Murrant, Darryl: PSC Long-Serv. Award (25 yrs.) - Congrats.,
Hon. K. Casey 1137
Res. 571, Baker, Hon. Michael: Order of Nova Scotia (Posthumous) -
Congrats., Ms. P. Birdsall 1137
Res. 572, Pye, Sib - Central Kings Gators HS Hockey Team (1993-94):
Berwick Sports Hall of Fame - Induction, Mr. L. Glavine 1138
Res. 573, Chisholm, John/Pioneer Coal: Generosity - Thank,
Hon. C. Clarke 1138
Res. 574, Windsor Pumpkin Fest. & Weigh-Off: Winners - Congrats.,
Mr. C. Porter 1139

[Page 1063]

HALIFAX, TUESDAY, OCTOBER 13, 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. Order, please. We will shortly begin our day's business. I hope that everybody had a good long weekend. Before the daily routine, I'll mention the motion under Rule 5(5), the late debate topic:

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly recognize the importance of the rink revitalization program and urge government to re-establish this vital community development initiative.

It has been submitted by the honourable member for Richmond, and that will be at the hour of interruption at 6:00 p.m.

We will begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

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

MR. LEONARD PREYRA: Mr. Speaker, before I present this petition, may I make an introduction?

[Page 1064]

1063

MR. SPEAKER: Certainly.

MR. PREYRA: In the east gallery today are members of the Heritage Trust and other friends of the Heritage Trust, and if you don't mind, I would like to read out some of their names, and I would like them to rise as their names are being called: Peter Delefes, a member of the Legislature and one of my predecessors at Halifax Citadel-Sable Island, Philip Pacey, Angus MacDonald, Allen Robertson, Anne Noreen Norton, Bernard Davis, Margaret Matthews, Danny Blouin, Beverley Miller, Joy Woolfrey, and anyone else I may have missed.

They are here to witness the presentation of their petition relating to protecting the view of centre harbour and George's Island from Citadel Hill. I have a petition including 799 signatures, and in accordance with Rule 63 I have affixed my signature to the front page of that list.

MR. SPEAKER: Did you want to read the operative clause?

MR. PREYRA: The operative clause reads:

" . . . I urge you not to use public funds to allow a private developer to block the view of the centre harbour and George's Island from Citadel Hill."

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

MR. GORDON GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition signed by over 500 members of Marconi Campus' student body. The operative clause reads as follows:

"Therefore, we call upon the Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly to strongly consider the wishes of the Marconi Campus student body; our education is in jeopardy, our faculty matter to us."

Mr. Speaker, I have affixed my signature to it.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

[Page 1065]

MR. SPEAKER: I have a report, honourable members, that I'm going to table today. It's the Report of the Chief Electoral Officer, Recommendations for Legislative Change from the 38th Provincial General Election, and I will table that.

The report is tabled.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

RESOLUTION NO. 540

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

Whereas October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a time to take action on breast health; and

Whereas health care professionals and many other Nova Scotians work tirelessly to care for people with breast cancer and to raise awareness and money for continuing research; and

Whereas early detection of breast cancer is vital, and more than 60 per cent of Nova Scotia women who are eligible for a mammogram have this test;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature recognize the excellent work of professionals and volunteers, and additionally for encouraging the women you love to protect their breast health, during Breast Cancer Awareness Month and all year long.

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

[Page 1066]

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.

RESOLUTION NO. 541

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

Whereas Windsor was home to the 11th Annual Pumpkin Regatta, attracting 54 participants from Windsor, Bear River, Pictou, Halifax, New Ross, New Minas, and Kentville; and

Whereas the weather was great, attracting one of the largest crowds ever to line the Windsor waterfront; and

Whereas Will Neily of Paradise, Annapolis County, captured first in the annual regatta, stated his pumpkin had the right hydrodynamics;

Therefore be it resolved that all members in the House congratulate Will Neily and other participants on their victory in the 11th Annual Pumpkin Regatta.

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 Halifax Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 542

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

[Page 1067]

Whereas on this date in 1962 the Nova Scotia New Democratic Party had their founding convention; and

Whereas 47 years later the Nova Scotia New Democratic Party has the privilege of being government in our beautiful province; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia New Democratic Party has spent the last 47 years working to make life better for today's families;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly recognize the 47th Anniversary of the inaugural convention of the Nova Scotia New Democratic Party and thank the Party members for their dedication to democracy in our province.

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 Clare.

RESOLUTION NO. 543

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

Attendu que la communauté acadienne de la Nouvelle-Écosse a subi une énorme perte à la suite du décès de Herb LeBlanc, un pionnier de la musique acadienne; et

Attendu que Herb LeBlanc, originaire de Clare, était un interprète, auteur, compositeur et artiste exceptionnel qui a reçu plusieurs prix, notamment un disque d'or pour son enregistrement de la chanson Bienvenue en Clare; et

Attendu que Herb LeBlanc était un véritable promoteur et ambassadeur de la musique et de la culture acadiennes ayant reçu un doctorat honorifique de l'Université Sainte-Anne;

Par conséquent il est résolu que les membres de cette assemblée reconnaissent les contributions de Herb LeBlanc à la promotion de la culture et de la musique acadiennes en Nouvelle-Écosse et présentent leurs condoléances à son épouse, Anita, à ses filles, Elaine, Yvette et Maria, ainsi qu'à sa famille élargie, à ses amis et à ses nombreaux admirateurs.

[Page 1068]

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

Whereas the Acadian community in Nova Scotia has suffered a tremendous loss, losing Herb LeBlanc, a pioneer of Acadian music; and

Whereas Herb LeBlanc of Clare was an exceptional singer, songwriter, performer and entertainer who has received numerous awards, including a gold record for his recording of Bienvenue en Clare; and

Whereas Herb LeBlanc was a true promoter and ambassador to Acadian music and culture who has been recognized with an honorary doctorate from l'Université Sainte-Anne;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly recognize the contributions Herb LeBlanc has made to enhancing Acadian culture and music in Nova Scotia and extend condolences to his wife, Anita, his daughters, Elaine, Yvette and Maria, along with his extended family and friends and many admirers.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Interim Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, with your permission I'd like to do an introduction, if I could. In the east gallery, behind me, I would like to draw the attention to Alexis Allen, the NSTU president, her executive, and assistant executive directors, Bill Redden and Bruce Kelloway, who certainly are watching with interest as the debate on the floor unfolds today. So I'd like us all to give them a warm welcome. (Applause)

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

RESOLUTION NO. 544

[Page 1069]

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

Whereas on May 31, 2001, the member for Cole Harbour, now Premier, said "When 97 per cent of a bargaining unit votes to strike, it is a clear message that there are problems that need to be addressed"; and

Whereas on June 14, 2001, the member for Cole Harbour said "nurses and other health care workers expect this government to meet them at the bargaining table as equals, nothing more and nothing less"; and

Whereas the member for Cole Harbour, now Premier, and his NDP Government are refusing to meet Nova Scotia Community College teachers at the bargaining table in an attempt to restart talks and reach a settlement to prevent a province-wide walkout;

Therefore be it resolved that since community college faculty across Nova Scotia have voted 92 per cent in favour of strike action, the Premier understand and recognize what he said in Opposition in 2009 and not turn his back on the 900 community college faculty in this province.

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 Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville.

RESOLUTION NO. 545

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

Whereas in 1979 the historic Fultz family house was in the hands of the provincial government and faced a demolition order to make room for an extended highway; and

Whereas several concerned individuals and community organizations came together to establish the Fultz Corner Restoration Society in an attempt to save the historic house; and

[Page 1070]

Whereas for over 30 years the Fultz House Museum has provided the public the history of Sackville, Beaver Bank and Lucasville areas by providing interaction between the museum and the community and schools through exhibits, tours, programs, teas and special events;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly congratulate the Fultz Corner Restoration Society and their volunteers for their dedication to preserve the 200-year-old property that has provided the community of Lower Sackville and surrounding areas such an enriched history.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 546

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

Whereas Ms. Sandy Cook, who was raised in Nova Scotia, received her BA from Dalhousie University and went on to receive her Masters Degree in Library Science in 1983; and

Whereas joining the staff of the Legislative Library as manager of information services on March 5, 1990, Sandy provided fast, reliable and knowledgeable service to the members and their staff; and

Whereas on May 29, 2009, Sandy retired from the Legislative Library after 19 years of dedicated service to this province;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating Sandy Cook on her retirement, thanking her for her dedication and wishing her a happy and fulfilling retirement.

[Page 1071]

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. 547

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Monsieur le Président, à une date ultérieure, je demanderai l'adoption de la résolution suivante:

Attendu que le 20 mai 2009, l'École secondaire de Par-en-Bas présentait sa production du drame musical français Roméo et Juliette; et

Attendu que Robert d'Entremont qui jouait le rôle de Tybalt n'est pas étranger au théâtre, ayant joué dans plusieurs pièces depuis la cinquième année; et

Attendu que Robert, qui est originaire de Pubnico-Ouest, vient d'être accepté au programme d'art dramatique à l'Université Concordia de Montréal;

Par conséquent, qu'il soit résolu que tous les members de cette Chambre se joignent à moi pour féliciter Robert d'Entremont d'avoir été accepté à cette prestigieuse université et lui souhaitent beaucoup de succès dans la poursuite de son rêve de devenir comédien.

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

Whereas on May 20, 2009 École secondaire de Par-en-Bas presented its production of the French musical Romeo and Juliet; and

Whereas Robert d'Entremont, who played the role of Tybalt in the play is no stranger to the theatre, began his acting career in a number of school plays since he was in the fifth grade; and

[Page 1072]

Whereas Robert, who is a native of West Pubnico, was chosen to attend Concordia University in Montreal to begin his studies in theatre performance;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House join me in congratulating Robert d'Entremont on being accepted at this very prestigious University and wish him much success as he goes forward pursuing his dream of becoming an actor.

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 Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 548

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

Whereas the Kingsport Community Association provides leadership and advocacy for the hamlet of Kingsport; and

Whereas the association concerns itself with the health, safety, infrastructure and social support networks within the community; and

Whereas Kingsport is a beautiful and welcoming jewel on the Minas Basin shore;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature thank the Kingsport Community Association for its ongoing effort to make Kingsport a better place for everyone.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 1073]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Bedford-Birch Cove.

RESOLUTION NO. 549

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

Whereas the NDP Government has been in power for 117 days and did not, in this lengthy period of time, devise a travel strategy for residents and commuters using the Fairview Overpass; and

Whereas the NDP were outraged by comments made by then Premier Rodney MacDonald telling residents to "take the bus", even running ads before and during the 2009 campaign; and

Whereas the member for Timberlea-Prospect gave residents essentially the same message concerning the Fairview Overpass construction, saying "make transit work for you", instead of working with the community, businesses and transit to alleviate the traffic problem;

Therefore be it resolved that the member for Timberlea-Prospect apologize to the hundreds of residents and commuters for neglecting to plan meaningful alternatives for the community and travellers and who will have to endure these delays and inconveniences until March 2010.

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 honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes.

[Page 1074]

RESOLUTION NO. 550

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

Whereas fiddle sensation Rachel Davis of Baddeck released her debut album, RACHEL DAVIS, on October 11th; and

Whereas Rachel's outstanding talent is recognized not only in Nova Scotia, but throughout Canada and the United States, and with the release of her first album, her profile will continue to grow; and

Whereas Rachel's natural talent, hours of hard work and practising, and ultimately her success serve as an example by which young Cape Breton musicians can follow;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Baddeck fiddler Rachel Davis on the release of her debut album, RACHEL DAVIS, and encourage our friends and families to go out and pick up this excellent compilation of music.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Lunenburg.

RESOLUTION NO. 551

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

Whereas Second Storey Women's Centre has operated on the South Shore of Nova Scotia for 26 years enhancing women's lives by providing services and education designed to promote personal growth, community awareness and social change; and

[Page 1075]

Whereas Second Storey Women's Centre is celebrating Persons Day on October 17, 2009, by hosting an event called Let Them Howl an evening with Nellie and Nina featuring a lively and provocative talk based on Nellie McClung, who 80 years ago appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada to recognize women as persons under the British North America Act; and

Whereas this event will feature Lunenburg mezzo soprano Nina Scott-Stoddart, accompanied by Heather Kristenson as well as Lunenburg Chorale Women's Chorus;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly recognize Persons Day on October 17, 2009 and commend Second Storey Women's Centre for their continued work towards equality for women.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

RESOLUTION NO. 552

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

Whereas the NSCC Marconi Campus in Sydney provides first-class hands-on education to 1,100 full-time and 1,300 part-time students in this province; and

Whereas the hard-working and devoted teachers at the Marconi Campus pass on the skills and training needed to their students to support the information technology sector in this province; and

Whereas the pending strike of these valued teachers is looming today because the Minister of Education has, "shirked her responsibility" according to the Nova Scotia Teachers Union, who noted in The ChronicleHerald that negotiations broke down last Friday,

[Page 1076]

there are no talks and "without the participation of the Minister of Education there will be no agreement";

[2:30 p.m.]

Therefore be it resolved that this government treat the some 900 teachers of the Nova Scotia Community College of this province fairly and in the same manner as the some 10,000 public school teachers in this province and that the Minister of Education become engaged in negotiations with these teachers so that the worthy and eager students of Nova Scotia can acquire the necessary skills they need to support our industry and our economy.

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 Cape Breton North.

RESOLUTION NO. 553

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

Whereas St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Sydney Mines, hosted the Fiddle Tree as part of the Celtic Colours International Festival; and

Whereas Cyril Aker, member of the Stewardship Committee and his team of volunteers have worked tirelessly to make this first-time venue for Celtic Colours a huge success; and

Whereas Otis Thomas, musician and instrument craftsman has made violins, viola, cello, guitars, mandolin and a harp from a huge maple tree that grew on his land in Goose Cove and the Fiddle Tree Concert featured eight of these instruments and the artists that own them from Canada, United States, Scotland and Ireland as it's all about paying tribute to the grand old maple tree;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating St. Andrew's, Otis and, of course, the maple tree for this unique event.

[Page 1077]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 554

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

Whereas on September 25th Jamieson's Irish House and Grill celebrated their 10th Anniversary; and

Whereas Jamieson's Irish House and Grill has been a neighbourhood gathering place for family and friends in Cole Harbour and Colby Village for a decade; and

WHEREAS proprietor Chris Smith and all the staff have worked hard to provide quality food and service to their patrons over the years;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the proprietor and staff of Jamieson's Irish House and Grill on the occasion of their 10th Anniversary and wish them continued success in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 1078]

The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

RESOLUTION NO. 555

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

Whereas in the first 117 days of the NDP Government there has been no new plan to address ER closures and other pressing health issues in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the NDP promised during the 2009 campaign that all emergency rooms in the province will stay open around the clock and the Premier has stated, "I accept the responsibility to make sure those ERs are open"; and

Whereas instead of providing an effective ER strategy for rural communities in these 117 days, the NDP Government has chosen to spend taxpayers' dollars on yet another consultant to study the problem;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier apologize to the many residents of rural communities in Nova Scotia who have been unable to access emergency room care under their watch.

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 Yarmouth.

RESOLUTION NO. 556

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

Whereas six-year-old Bryden Hutt of Yarmouth is currently fundraising for the Children's Wish Foundation Wishmaker Walk for Wishes, with the goal of ultimately collecting $5,000; and

[Page 1079]

Whereas just last year, young Bryden himself was the recipient of a wish, as he got to go to Disney World in Florida to meet the donor of the life-saving bone marrow that he received when he was just a baby; and

Whereas Bryden, despite his young age, knows first-hand the positive impact that the Children's Wish Foundation can have and his kind heart and spirit of giving is truly impressive for someone so young;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly applaud Bryden, as well as his parents Wendy and Jason, for their fundraising efforts to date and wish them all the best in reaching their goal.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Bedford-Birch Cove.

RESOLUTION NO. 557

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

Whereas the Sackville River is an environmental success story that now sustains a diverse ecosystem; and

Whereas throughout the Fall, River Rangers allows children to study the ecosystem of the river; and

Whereas the Sackville Rivers Association provides aquariums stocked with a variety of fish that are native to the river so that students learn how a river sustains its life force;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate the Sackville Rivers Association on this River Rangers program and wish them continued success in future endeavours.

[Page 1080]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 558

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

Whereas Daniel MacKinnon of Sydney left for Kenya recently to begin a four-month stint working on AIDS programs; and

Whereas this St. F.X. student is being joined by four of his academic colleagues as part of a community development placement, with the ultimate goal of improving the world around him; and

Whereas this sense of generosity and commitment to the larger global village, of which we are all a part, is a trait that we hope all our citizens embrace and adopt;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly wish Daniel MacKinnon well in Africa and pledge to follow his lead by striving to give of ourselves in order to improve our communities, our province, and our 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.

[Page 1081]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Clare.

RESOLUTION NO. 559

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

Whereas the Women's Auxiliary of the Yarmouth Regional Hospital hosted their 49th Annual Hullabaloo recently; and

Whereas the Clare coordinator, Yvonne Saulnier, and her team of volunteers, raised over $14,000 for the hospital; and

Whereas the Women's Auxiliary has served the Yarmouth Hospital for over a century;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in thanking the dedicated volunteers from Clare in helping to make this annual Women's Auxiliary of the Yarmouth Regional Hospital Hullabaloo a successful fundraising event.

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. 560

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

[Page 1082]

Whereas on Saturday, November 7, 2009, members of the Wentworth Fire Department and their families will gather to celebrate their annual meeting, which is the department's 35th Anniversary; and

Whereas this fire department has given many, many hours of dedicated service to the local community and residents over the years, whether it be responding to emergencies, training, fundraising, or many other community events; and

Whereas this is an opportune time for members of the fire department and their families to take a moment for themselves to enjoy each other's company and to reflect on the great work that this volunteer fire department does for the Wentworth Valley area;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate the members of the Wentworth Volunteer Fire Department and especially their families, and say a special thank you for the tremendous work they do on behalf of the community and wish them a successful and safe 35th 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. 561

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

Whereas Father Bernard O'Neill is the priest for the new St. Benedict Parish and has provided leadership in the process of establishing this new parish, which combines three separate parishes from the community into one; and

Whether Father O'Neill was first ordained to the priesthood June 22, 1969, by Bishop John Michael O'Neill, and was recently recognized for 40 years of service in the priestly ministry; and

[Page 1083]

Whereas Father O'Neill was honoured at a Celebration of Thanksgiving on June 3, 2009, at St. Lawrence Church;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Father Bernard O'Neill, the priest of St. Benedict Parish, on his 40 years of service to his parishioners of Halifax and Dartmouth in the priestly ministry and wish him continued success in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Interim Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 562

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

Whereas the national Communities in Bloom organization has named the Town of Antigonish for having Canada's number one gardeners for 2009 at the organization's 15th national awards ceremony held recently in Vaughan, Ontario; and

Whereas the Town of Antigonish won the Scotts Best Community of Gardeners Award while also receiving five blooms, the highest number the organization recognizes for the town's floral arrangements on Main Street; and

Whereas the number of blooms recognizes a distinct level of achievement in the town's desire to promote beautification and green spaces;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly extend our sincere congratulations to the Town of Antigonish for having Canada's best gardeners in 2009 and for constructing such a gorgeous floral arrangement on Main Street, in turn, attracting the attention of judges from across Canada.

[Page 1084]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 563

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

Whereas the Big Wave Summer Festival committee hosts a week full of activities in Big Bras d'Or in the month of July culminating with the giant poker run on Saturday to close the week of events; and

Whereas as a result of this week many organizations within the community such as St. James Presbyterian Church, St. John's United Church, Big Bras d'Or Volunteer Fire Department, the Friends of the Big Bras d'Or Fire Hall and the Kelly Cove Heritage Society also participate to raise money for their respective organizations; and

Whereas the Big Wave Summer Festival committee recently donated $1,000 of its proceeds to the Big Bras d'Or Food Bank to help those less fortunate in the Boularderie area;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate the members of the Big Wave Summer Festival committee on another successful festival and thank them for their tremendous support for all organizations within Big Bras d'Or and surrounding areas.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 1085]

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. 564

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, 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 was held to celebrate local accomplishments in sport; and

Whereas the 1971 Berwick Alpines men's fastball team was inducted in this year's ceremony in recognition of their accomplishments on the field; and

Whereas Pat Hampsey contributed to the success of the 1971 Berwick Alpines men's fastball team as head coach;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House congratulate Pat Hampsey of the 1971 Berwick Alpines men's fastball team for his induction into the Berwick Sports Hall of Fame.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 565

[Page 1086]

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 government refuses to disclose details associated with the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, the Fisheries and Aquaculture Loan Board, as well as the third-party purchaser of the minister's vessel, licence and gear; and

Whereas the Premier will not permit an arm's-length independent review of concerns brought before this House; and

Whereas the minister will not provide disclosure of discussions with his deputy minister nor produce documentation to support his claims;

Therefore be it resolved that this House call upon the Premier, the Cabinet and the Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister to provide an open and transparent, independent, arm's-length review by the Conflict of Interest Commissioner.

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 Cape Breton North.

RESOLUTION NO. 566

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

Whereas a highly literate population is the cornerstone of educated, efficient and self-reliant communities; and

Whereas October marks Library Card Month which is simply one of the many initiatives undertaken by the Western Counties Regional Library in order to make their services more available to the people of southwestern Nova Scotia and more technologically friendly; and

[Page 1087]

Whereas these initiatives take place on the 40th Anniversary of the Western Counties Regional Library, which has produced an invaluable service to the people of Yarmouth, Digby, and Shelburne for generations;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate and acknowledge Gary Archibald, as well as all the staff and volunteers, on reaching this impressive milestone as they continually give of themselves in order to improve this vital community service.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[2:45 p.m.]

The honourable member for Cumberland South.

RESOLUTION NO. 567

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

Whereas only six Nova Scotia teachers have received the Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence; and

Whereas the award honours outstanding teachers in all disciplines from pre-school through secondary for their ability to instill a love of learning through the use of information and communications technology; and

Whereas Jason Fuller, a born and raised son of Springhill, Cumberland County, teaches advanced placement and advanced biology in Grades 11 and 12 at Horton High School in Wolfville;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Jason Fuller on his outstanding achievement and wish him continued success in all his future endeavours.

[Page 1088]

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. 568

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

Whereas the Digby Neck health clinic has been a valued piece of the community since its inception in 2002; and

Whereas there are a vast number of seniors who reside in Digby County, where the service of a nurse practitioner makes a significant difference in their level of health care service; and

Whereas the residents of Digby Neck are now without a nurse practitioner and the district health authority has even stated that the change of service will create a concern within the community;

Therefore be it resolved for the Minister of Health to intervene on behalf of residents of Digby Neck and ensure the residents have access to health care in their community by making the recruitment of a nurse practitioner a priority for her department.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

[Page 1089]

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Hants West.

RESOLUTION NO. 569

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Public Service Commission is dedicated to building a service that strives for excellence while recruiting Nova Scotians to meet the needs of a modern and innovative public service; and

Whereas Anne F. Cochrane, a resident of Windsor, was recently recognized for her 25 years of exceptional work with the Government of Nova Scotia's Department of Community Services; and

Whereas the Public Service of Nova Scotia contributes in a fundamental way to good government, to democracy, and to society in general;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly congratulate Anne Cochrane of Windsor on her outstanding work for the Nova Scotia Government over the past two and a half decades.

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.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: Just a reminder that during Question Period, all electronic devices are to be turned off, and also to direct all your questions or answers through the Chair. Question Period will begin at 2:49 p.m. and end at 3:49 p.m.

[Page 1090]

The honourable member for Bedford-Birch Cove.

PREM.: NSCC STRIKE - BINDING ARBITRATION

MS. KELLY REGAN: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. Last week, Nova Scotia Teachers Union president Alexis Allen said the NSTU will agree to binding arbitration at the Nova Scotia Community College. Ms. Allen said they would do so because it's a way to avert a strike so students won't lose a year or their term. The Premier still hasn't told us whether he will agree to binding arbitration. He is holding up the process and leaving students anxious about a strike. My question to the Premier is, will you agree to binding arbitration?

HON. DARRELL DEXTER (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for the question. The reality is that there are all kinds of different forms of arbitration. We've made it very clear that in order for arbitration to be an effective tool for the settlement of this matter, it would have to recognize and accommodate the financial and fiscal realities of the province.

MS. REGAN: Mr. Speaker, perhaps the reason the Premier won't agree to binding arbitration is because he fears he'll have to give NSCC faculty and staff a fair increase. The Premier is playing politics. He artificially inflated this year's deficit when it was politically convenient, now he's asking college faculty to pay the price. He has said that the arbitration process must recognize that his government doesn't have the money for an increase. My question to the Premier is, can you please tell this House of Assembly why you're putting your political self-interest before students at NSCC?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, well the fact that we have a $600 million deficit may be an inconvenient truth for the member opposite. The reality is that we are on an unsustainable path and that we are not going to allow that to continue because the reality is that we care about the community college. We care about the health care system, we care about community services. We are not going to allow all of those systems to be put in jeopardy by running this province into the ground.

MS. REGAN: Perhaps the Premier should have thought of that when he was prepaying $341 million of an MOU that is not due until next year.

Mr. Speaker, this Premier has stood up in this House time and time again and said that he would not interfere with these contract negotiations. Now that he is forced to respond to a request for arbitration, the Premier is interfering by putting conditions on the arbitrator.

My final question to the Premier is, will you agree to binding arbitration and remove your conditions?

[Page 1091]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite has to understand that deficits and debt are not matters of philosophy or ideology, they just exist, they are just real. Therefore, somebody has to deal with them and that is us. (Applause)

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

PREM.: NSCC STRIKE - BINDING ARBITRATION

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, in May 2001 the current Premier pressured the government of the day to negotiate fairly with health care workers, saying that when a bargaining unit votes to strike there are problems that need to be addressed. The members of the NSTU at community college have voted to strike. My question to the Premier is this, will he explain to this House, to the community college faculty and to our guests in the gallery, why he is now treating those teachers differently?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, through you to the member opposite, the reality is that in 2001 that government decided they were going to throw out collective bargaining, that they were going to impose a contract, they weren't going to listen to anybody. We were here 24 hours a day to try and get them to recognize the error of their ways. We believe in collective bargaining and we're going to leave it at the table.

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, the Premier stated last week that he would only agree to arbitration if he could be assured that the arbitrator's decision would consider the financial situation of the province. Instead of putting more money on the table so teachers can be treated fairly, the Premier has chosen to put parameters around the arbitrator's decision. Mr. Premier, how can the NSCC teachers believe that they will be treated fairly if you are already interfering with the outcome of the process before it has begun?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I don't think the member opposite truly realizes or understands the way that arbitration works. They are based on the parameters that you take going in. Decisions are made, not on the basis of whether or not these things exist without context, they exist in a context. The context for these negotiations is a $600 million deficit left by that government.

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, to the Premier. The Premier has stated that the province is trying to live within its means while, at the same time, his government has budgeted an extra $66 million to buy land. Will the Premier explain to the community college teachers why he has placed more value on land purchases than on the services that these teachers and professional support staff provide on a daily basis, when less than 2 per cent of the money to be spent on land could resolve this issue?

[Page 1092]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, maybe the member opposite realizes or remembers that we inherited from them their budget and their budget . . . (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier has the floor.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, their budget provided 0.5 per cent for negotiations with NSCC which, incidentally, means nothing for wages, meant there would have had to have been a wage freeze, which I assume they intended to put in place through legislation.

(Applause)

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

PREM.: CONFLICT OF INTEREST COMMISSIONER

- MINISTERS' QUERIES

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. Last week a senior official in the Premier's Office told my colleague that he had a drawer full of letters to the Conflict of Interest Commissioner. We know of one and that is from the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, so my question to the Premier is, how many of your ministers have written to the Conflict of Interest Commissioner looking for advice?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I'll be pleased to tell the member opposite that I asked the member of my staff if that was said and he assured me it was not.

MR. MCNEIL: It is in the public's interest to know which members of Cabinet have had to seek advice from the Conflict of Interest Commissioner and why. It is a simple matter of openness and transparency, so my question to the Premier is, will you table those letters of all your ministers who have asked the Conflict of Interest Commissioner for advice as well as his responses?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I will not do that and the reason I will not do it is because there are cases where people ask questions relating to personal financial information. If they are assured that no conflict exists, why would that be released?

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, the Premier has been around for a long time. In Opposition he knew the rules related to the code of conduct for Ministers of the Crown and conflict of interest. There was no one louder in his condemnation of those who may be in breach of those guidelines, so my question to the Premier is, what instructions did you give to your ministers regarding conflict of interest?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to answer the question. I instructed all my ministers, if they felt there was any reason whatsoever that they should believe themselves to be in a conflict of interest, however slight, that they should write and get advice.

[Page 1093]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition on a new question.

PREM. - CABINET MEMBERS: COMPANY DIRECTORS

- DETAILS

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, the conflict of interest guidelines are quite clear: one cannot be a director of a company while a Minister of the Crown. So my question to the Premier is, how many of your ministers still remain directors of companies?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, to my knowledge, the only one I think who would still be a member or a director of a corporation is the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, which was already disclosed. The reality is that the directorships are put in a registration for a year, they last while the company is active, they have to be changed.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, the Premier said "to his knowledge." With the debate that has been going on in this province over the last number of weeks, you mean to tell me that the man in charge of this province would not have asked anyone else sitting in the Executive Council whether or not they believed they're in conflict of interest, or whether or not they were a director of a particular company? The guidelines are there for a reason.

It has been more than 100 days since your ministers were sworn in. My question to the Premier is, what timeline did you give your ministers for complying with the conflict of interest guidelines - one month, two months, three months? Pick one.

[3:00 p.m.]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I indicated, as I would, that they should follow the advice that they would get from the Conflict of Interest Commissioner.

MR. MCNEIL: As of today, one of your ministers remains president and director of a company, and that is your Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. I'm tabling a letter that will be delivered today to the Conflict of Interest Commissioner. It is asking the commissioner to re-examine the actions of your Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. We believe, since the Premier will not answer the questions related to this issue, it is in the public interest for the commissioner to do so.

My question for the Premier is, why did you not instruct your ministers to tell the commissioner everything related to his conflict of interest, including the fact that any money from the Fisheries and Aquaculture Loan Board, received by the buyer for his licence and boat, was to be used to pay out his own loan from the Fisheries and Aquaculture Loan Board - a board that he oversees?

[Page 1094]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member knows, because he has heard it many, many times, that the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture complied completely with the instructions of the Conflict of Interest Commissioner and that the appropriate actions were taken within the department.

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

PREM. - FISH. & AQUACULTURE MIN. CONFLICT:

COMMISSIONER NUNN - CO-OPERATION

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, last week the Premier flatly refused to send the issue regarding the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture's outstanding loan with the loan board to the Conflict of Interest Commissioner and to the Public Accounts Committee. We have done the right thing: we have written to both the Public Accounts Committee and the Conflict of Interest Commissioner. I am tabling the letters now. Will the Premier now commit to co-operating fully with Justice Nunn so that the people of Nova Scotia can finally have clarity on this issue?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I have always co-operated completely with Commissioner Nunn, as I did in ensuring that the minister wrote and received instructions and followed them.

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, the Premier has said that that letter has been written, but I would say, in light of new information that was not initially disclosed, does the Premier agree that a more thorough review is required to officially bring clarity to this issue?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, all of the information required of the minister was fully disclosed to the commissioner. The advice was received, and it was followed.

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, I would ask the Premier to review the additional information, because I would ask that he acknowledge that that additional information would warrant a more thorough review by Justice Nunn.

THE PREMIER: I don't think there was a question there, but I'm happy to view any information that the honourable member is prepared to send to me. What I can say is, I want to commend the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture for the excellent work that he's doing. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

FISH. & AQUACULTURE: LOAN BD. APPLICATIONS

- APPROVAL RATE

[Page 1095]

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. Fishing is an expensive business in this province, especially in the minister's part of the province, where a lobster licence and boat typically cost about $750,000. My question for the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture is, could he tell the House how many applications have been made to the Fisheries and Aquaculture Loan Board this year and how many of those applications have actually been approved?

HON. STERLING BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, my understanding of the information that the member opposite requires is that the applications have doubled from the previous year.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, in my part of the province, Cape Breton Island, getting your loan approved by the Fisheries and Aquaculture Loan Board is compared by some to winning the lottery. Let's just say that there are more losers than there are winners. So my question for the minister is, how many applications to the Fisheries Loan Board are rejected?

MR. BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, to the question by the honourable member, my understanding is that the unsuccessful rate is less than 2 per cent. I also want to add that there's a requirement that's very thorough and these people do the work. This is a very successful program and I hope it to be a lot more successful in the future.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, the budget this year for the Fisheries Loan Board is $16 million. The buyer of the minister's lobster licence and gear received $567,000 from the Fisheries Loan Board to buy the gear; $567,000 in taxpayers' dollars went to the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. That's 4 per cent of the total budget of the Fisheries Loan Board. So my question to the minister is, what do you have to say, Mr. Minister, to the many fishermen who did not receive a loan from the Fisheries Loan Board because of what the Premier calls this good deal?

MR. BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, what I have to say to the honourable member opposite is that I followed the process. I have met DFO's policies and I have consulted with the Conflict of Interest Commissioner on the very first day that I took office - the very first business day.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Argyle.

FISH. & AQUACULTURE - LOANS FOR LICENCE PROG.:

BUYER - DISCUSSIONS

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, my question today through you is to the minister responsible for lobstergate, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. Nova Scotians feel the issue or the conflict for the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture and

[Page 1096]

the minister responsible for the Fisheries and Aquaculture Loan Board unacceptable. The Premier and the minister continue to stick their heads in the sand and hope 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. Many fishermen have been turned down but when it came to the minister's assets, that fisherman was told not to worry and received the funding that he needed.

The minister was quoted in The ChronicleHerald that he didn't know the members of the loan board when as a matter of fact he actually played golf with one of them, nor did he know the man interested in his boat until the perspective buyer who checked it out in June. Mr. Speaker, my question to the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture is, what did you convey to the buyer in June with respect to the Loans for Licence Program?

MR. SPEAKER: I would ask the honourable members when they ask their questions, to direct them to the proper government department.

HON. STERLING BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, again, I've answered this question in the previous week. I engaged a marine brokerage firm in the summer of 2008. I have followed due process.

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, in the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture's scrum outside these doors, he said that he met the perspective buyer in June when he went to see the boat. The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture knows that the buyer lives in my community and he knows that I have had a number of conversations with that buyer. Can the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture tell this House how many conversations in person or on the phone that he has had with the purchaser of the Disconnection?

MR. BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, again through you to the member opposite, I've had a number of discussions with my boat brokerage when I first met this individual and I have followed process. I outlined it earlier and I can outline it again.

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, from my last conversation with the purchaser, he has told me the paperwork was just about to be complete and he would receive the vessel. The only thing remaining was that you were holding back the gear, or more specifically the lobster pots, until the money was in your bank account. Can the minister confirm that the vessel, licences and equipment have all been transferred to the new owner?

MR. BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, again, I think the member opposite - I don't think we live in an era of Big Brother. This is personal information. I've answered the question; I have followed the process. Thank you very much.

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

[Page 1097]

HPP: RINK REVITATLIZATION PROG.

- CANCELLATION

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, my question, through you, is for the Minister of Health Promotion and Protection. On Friday, the minister circulated an op-ed piece that was justifying her government's cancellation of the rink revitalization program. Despite the minister's criticism of the program, there's no denying the fact that the funds that were provided to communities were put to good use, to ensure that our aging rink infrastructure was updated, especially for rinks in rural communities. Our rinks are the heart and soul of our communities, especially in rural Nova Scotia. My question to the minister is, does the minister not see that by cancelling this important program, the NDP Government is actually striking at the heart of rural Nova Scotian communities?

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for the question. As you and all members of this House know, rinks are a very important piece of infrastructure in our communities, and this government values rinks throughout the province. That's why we have three programs available to assist rinks in their capital and other operating costs. Thank you.

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, to the minister through you, the minister is quick to point out three other programs that provide funding to rinks, but what she neglects to say and what her op-ed neglects to say is that all three of those programs require matching funds from the community, and that's a big omission because . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: . . . forgot to mention that.

MS. WHALEN: Exactly. Many of our communities, particularly in rural Nova Scotia, have a hard time raising the money they need to keep the rink going; I think that's an important thing that was not mentioned. The former program that gave an equal amount of money to rinks that applied did not discriminate against those communities that have the capacity to raise money and those that don't. My question to the minister is, what do you have to say to rural communities that don't have the resources to raise the necessary matching funds?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I'd like to table two articles from rural newspapers, The Digby County Courier and The Queens County Advance. In both of these articles, leaders who run arenas have said that the program was a one-time-only program offered by the former government.

Mr. Speaker, they're very clear. In Digby, the head of their arena says he wasn't caught off guard and it isn't a loss to the operation of that rink - the same thing is true for the Queens Memorial Arena.

[Page 1098]

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, I think it's worth noting here that the directors of the rink in Port Hood took out a personal loan in order to cover $25,000 that they needed, because this program was cancelled and commitments had been made based on the May budget that had been tabled here in the House. So many communities did not know and were caught unaware by the loss of this program.

Antigonish is another one where I did have a chance to visit this week. Mr. Speaker, community groups and community volunteers are stretched to the limit just keeping the doors open at these aging arenas and the program has been missed tremendously across the province. My question through you to the minister is, Mr. Speaker, will the minister admit that her government made the wrong decision in cancelling this rink revitalization program, and will she now make the right decision by restoring it?

[3:15 p.m.]

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I also was in Antigonish with the honourable member on Friday and was delighted to bring $1.5 million in funding for the library in the Town of Antigonish. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, with respect to the rink program (Interruption)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable Minister of Health Promotion and Protection has the floor. Madam Minister.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, with respect to the rink revitalization program, this was a one-time program that had no criteria, no application process to speak of and, in fact, we will have ongoing programs to assist with rinks and other recreational facilities across the province.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cumberland South.

PREM.: NSCC STRIKE - COLLECTIVE BARGAINING PROCESS

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, last week in the House, the Premier said that he indeed would not wade into the Nova Scotia Community College faculty and professional support staff contract dispute, saying he believes in the collective bargaining process and that it needed to run its course. He says, "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'll table it.

Mr. Speaker, my question for the Premier is, what the Premier failed to tell the House at the time was that the previous week, on Friday, his government had already initiated a 1

[Page 1099]

per cent cap at the bargaining table telling the folks there was no more, so why is the Premier telling this House one thing when the unions are being told something different?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I don't know if the member opposite was asleep during Cabinet meetings or not, but I mean, they have to have a negotiating mandate, that is what they take forward into the collective bargaining process.

MR. SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, if the Premier believes that, he's the only one in Nova Scotia. You told them at the table 1 per cent, that's it, no more, don't come back. Now you're telling them to go back to the table and negotiate what? In Cumberland County, for example, there are 500 full-time and part-time students, individuals who, like the rest of the province, have greatly sacrificed for their education and better lives for themselves. By standing idly by while this situation unfolds, the Premier is putting the dreams of these individuals and their families in jeopardy. The Premier campaigned on a better deal for today's families. How can the Premier explain today why this is a better deal for the families of the faculty and students of the Nova Scotia Community College?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, if the members opposite hadn't drained every single cent out of the treasury before we got there, perhaps there would be more money to fund these kinds of important programs. The reality is that's the position that they left us in. We understand. We don't doubt in any way the sincerity of the union and the representation of their members. We don't doubt the value or worth of the community college instructors in any way. We simply have to live with the realities of government which include the financial realities of the province.

MR. SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, again to the Premier. If the Premier's looking for some help, he's been given some advice here today. Put some of those land transactions aside, dip into the $54 million slush fund that you identified for other things. There are many people who have private contracts at the community college, contracts through EI, through Community Services. In the event of a strike, these positions will be gone. These people will be forced to go back to the life they were trying to better for themselves and their families. Mr. Speaker, we'll have teachers leave this province and it'll be as a result of the Premier failing to step in to do his duty, show leadership and take a step in this right direction. In light of the daunting reality, will the Premier commit today to binding arbitration for the Nova Scotia Community College faculty with no stipulations and allow the process to unfold, as he said weeks ago, should?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, as I've said, there are many different kinds of arbitration. They all rely on the context in which they take place, the bargaining positions of the parties. That's something that will have to be determined at the table, if there's a possibility to go in that direction. What we won't do is we won't do what that Party was going to do, which is to budget virtually zero in the budget for any kind of wage negotiations

[Page 1100]

and then, as they did in 2001, impose a collective agreement and take away the right of people to collective bargaining.

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

HEALTH: CAREGIVER ALLOWANCE PROG.

- JEAN'S CASE

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. Exactly two weeks ago today our Health Critic and the member for Halifax Clayton Park brought to the attention of the Minister of Health the case of Jean. As you may recall, the only thing keeping Jean from returning home from her extended stay at the Abbie J. Lane Hospital is additional support which can be provided if she was able to access the Caregiver Allowance Program. My question for the Premier is, has Jean been reassessed for the Caregiver Allowance Program, as per the minister's response in Hansard on September 29th?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, of course I cannot confirm or deny that because I can't speak to any individual case. I will leave it to the Minister of Health to determine whether or not (a) she knows whether or not reassessment has taken place, and (b) whether or not even that information could be released to the member opposite.

HON . MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member, I can't speak to any specific case. But let me say that I have made a commitment to various members around this issue of the Caregiver Allowance Program, that we would reassess, if requested to do so. Those requests have gone back into the department and particularly they have gone back into the department when members provide us with the full name, address, all of that kind of stuff, so that's all I can tell the honourable member.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, it's a reassessment. Her department already denied them; they have all that information. What do they need members over here to give them the information for? Ask her own department if she's looking for information on this constituent and other Nova Scotians who are being denied from this program.

Mr. Speaker, the Department of Health staff e-mailed Lorena - the individual advocating for Jean - on October 1st, responding to an e-mail from the Premier's Office. So far, there's been no response forthcoming from the e-mail and there's been no reassessment, as promised by the minister two weeks ago.

Since October 1st, care provided for Jean has cost about $12,000 - the equivalent of over two and a half years of support through the Caregiver Allowance Program. Perhaps the most tragic part of this situation is the fact that Jean is becoming further depressed. She simply wants to go home. My question for the Premier is, given the tremendous personal and

[Page 1101]

financial costs associated with this case, why has your government failed to reassess Jean, as you promised her on September 29th?

THE PREMIER: As the member opposite would understand, there are many cases coming into the department already. We're doing our best to keep abreast of all of the assessment that takes place. There are a limited number of staff but I can assure you that if the Minister of Health said that an assessment will take place, it will take place.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, Lorena and Jean are seated in your gallery today. Staff at the Abbie J. Lane Hospital has recommended the Caregiver Allowance Program so that care can be provided for Jean during times when home care is not providing service, a program for which Jean has been denied. My question to the Premier is, can you tell Jean and Lorena - who are with us today - when the reassessment for the Caregiver Allowance Program will take place, as you promised on September 29th?

THE PREMIER: Well, as I said to the member, there are a lot of people who have applied to the department because prior to this date, there would have been no program available for anyone. So we put in place a program and admittedly, Mr. Speaker, we are still working through the difficulties that are associated with the program. My colleague, the Minister of Health, is working hard with the department to ensure that as best we can, with the limited resources we have, we meet the needs of the people of the province.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

FIN.: UNEMPLOYMENT RATE - REDUCTION

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. This past Friday, the labour force survey results were released for September and these results were not good news for Nova Scotians. The labour force declined by 0.2 per cent, employment declined by 0.2 per cent and unemployment increased by 0.4 per cent.

Mr. Speaker, the unemployment rate is currently at 9.5 per cent and the NDP does not seem to have a strategy to fight these climbing numbers. My question to the minister is this, how does the minister plan to keep unemployment below 10 per cent?

HON. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, the global recession is affecting Nova Scotia as it is affecting every province. There are a number of provinces whose unemployment rate went up in the most recent figures. We are doing what we can. We have a series of tax credits, we have a series of economic development initiatives. My colleague, the Minister of Economic and Rural Development has been questioned for hours in the Estimates process about the many plans and projects at his department. Times are difficult but we expect to turn the corner along with the rest of the Canadian economy.

[Page 1102]

MR. GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, full time employment in Nova Scotia has decreased 0.6 per cent between August and September 2009 and it has decreased 1.2 per cent since last September. The 9.5 per cent unemployment rate is bad enough but it may be hiding more concerning issues. For example, part-time workers looking for full time work or those who have given up. A jobless recovery may point to a double-dip recession, which is something that no one wants. However, we have yet to see a comprehensive strategy that goes beyond ministerial slogans such as "we have to live within our means", and excuses like "it's the previous government's fault". Slogans are not strategies and Nova Scotians are tired of listening to ministerial excuses. My question is this, what is the minister's strategy to help Nova Scotians rebuild?

MR. STEELE: Mr. Speaker, as I've said, my colleague, the Minister of Economic and Rural Development, has spoken for a number of hours now in the Estimates debate and has gone into some length about the programs and projects that this government have, in order to improve productivity and to increase employment. Let me mention one in particular, the Manufacturing and Processing Tax Credit, which this government brought in, will give our employers the incentive they need to improve their technology, to increase productivity and to increase employment.

MR. GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, the unemployment rate has been creeping toward the 10 per cent mark since this government took office. Today, there are fewer people working in Nova Scotia, there are more people who are unemployed. Today, Nova Scotians want more from their government than being lectured to about tough choices. My final question to the minister is this, with an unemployment rate of 9.5 per cent, why are we still waiting for a strategy from this government, which will get Nova Scotians back to work?

MR. STEELE: Mr. Speaker, in addition to the excellent work that my colleague, the Minister of Economic and Rural Development, is doing, in addition to the Manufacturing and Processing Tax Credit that I referred to in my previous answer, we've also implemented the new Home Construction Rebate, which that member has been very down on, but that rebate has got builders building and it's got buyers buying.

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

FISH. & AQUACULTURE - MIN. & DEP. MIN: STATEMENT

- SUPPLY

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. During Question Period Thursday past, I asked the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture if he would provide a written statement - by the end of business that day - by his deputy minister outlining his discussions, involvement, transaction and

[Page 1103]

direction from the minister. Thursday passed, Friday passed and here we are three business days later and no response from the minister. Again, will the minister inform this House if he will or won't supply a written statement from his deputy minister?

HON. STERLING BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite, I have had that discussion with my deputy and that is in the works.

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, it's pretty bad when the minister, his Premier and Cabinet will not come clean on a matter that merits full and open disclosure before this House. At the coffee shops and on the street corners, people are asking why the government is refusing to answer reasoned and reasonable questions on a matter involving hundreds of thousands of taxpayers' dollars, involving potential conflicts of interests and more importantly, involving the minister. The minister said, he is working on it. Well, he should have had it done because it should have been in writing in the first place. My question to the minister is, when will he supply that documentation to this House, as he should have done in the first place to the Conflict of Interest Commissioner?

[3:30 p.m.]

MR. BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, through you to the honourable member opposite, I have followed the process and I will do that at the appropriate time. (Interruptions)

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, the people of Nova Scotia - he says due process but they're not giving full and fair disclosure of true process, not due process - Nova Scotians are looking for the true process of what's going on here. The fact that our Leader has been forced to turn to the Conflict of Interest Commissioner, and I as a member of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts to write to the chairman and to have the matter considered more fully, is a sad statement on how this NDP Government operates.

Again, Mr. Speaker, since the minister still does not commit fully to this process, will the Premier commit to co-operate with the Conflict of Interest Commissioner's office and the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, or will he use his majority on the committee to block full and fair consideration of this important matter?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, of course, as I've said before, we have done everything that we can to comply with all of the rules. We have written to the Conflict of Interest Commissioner, we followed his advice. My response to the member opposite is if he has one scintilla of evidence, table it.

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

HEALTH: LONG-TERM CARE - ACCOMMODATION RATE

[Page 1104]

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. A year ago on November 3, 2008, the government of the day announced in a press release a change in accommodation rates for some long-term care residents. This press release was similar to ones that were issued in 2006 and 2007 as well. They each included an explanation for the increases in the accommodation charge for seniors in long-term care, as well as other facilities. My question through you, Mr. Speaker, to the minister is, could the minister please confirm whether her government has made any changes to the maximum accommodation rates that will become effective November 1st for long-term care?

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for the question. The Department of Health is required to give a 30-day notice to long-term care facilities across the province if rates are going to change. Indeed, we sent notices out to the long-term care facilities that rates would be changing November 1st.

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, indeed we have heard from residents of long-term care who say that their rates are going up and they're going up a staggering 9.5 per cent - almost 10 per cent. That's a daily increase of $8.25 for the people who pay the full cost of accommodation. That means $250 a month and a full $3,000 extra a year. That certainly is a high price to pay for those who are in the homes and, as I say, 10 per cent is a staggering amount for a year. We're looking for a more open and transparent government and more open and transparent justification of the decisions of government. My question to the minister is, could the minister please outline to the people who are going to have to be paying this increased amount what additional services, if any, they can expect to see in light of this steep increase?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, again I thank the honourable member for the question. The honourable member will know that we have embarked on a process to replace and add additional beds in the long-term care sector. The costs reflect these new facilities and these expansions, and for this reason we see an increase in the daily rates.

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, it certainly won't be any consolation to people who are left in the other facilities with no change in services, no change in the environment that they're in, to see their rates go up by 9.5 per cent this year.

Mr. Speaker, this has been a series of increases since 2006, and this is just the latest. In previous years it has been much smaller - just a $1-per-day increase in 2006. This year we're seeing an $8.25 increase per day. I think that has a very serious impact on seniors, particularly as we know they are on limited incomes. So as my final question I'd like to ask, how can the minister justify a full 10 per cent increase, a $3,000-a-year increase to seniors?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, as you and all members of the House will recognize, the operating of long-term care has gone up. There are staffing costs, the

[Page 1105]

increase in wages, the increase in insurance, in heating, in food, in all of these costs. Additionally, we've had an expansion of beds and this has meant an additional cost to the system. This is why we have had to increase the daily rates. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.

AGRIC.: NDP GOV'T.: COMMITMENTS (PREV. GOV'T.)

- HONOUR

MR. CHUCK PORTER: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Agriculture. Beef farmers in this province are hurting; they need the government's assistance. The president of the Nova Scotia Cattlemen's Association, David Oulton, is a constituent of mine. We also have good people like Kurt Sherman, in Cumberland County, whose operation is now day to day.

Mr. Speaker, beef farmers in Nova Scotia want to know when the minister is going to live up to his comments made during the campaign at a farm forum in Port Williams on June 1st, that if an NDP Government were elected, commitments made by the previous government would be honoured. Mr. Speaker, the comments were delivered over six months ago and Nova Scotia cattlemen still have no word. Is the minister going to live up to his word and, if so, when?

HON. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, first of all, the comments that the member for Hants West indicates, this government has fulfilled its commitments around - commitments by the previous government, but not every spoken word from members of the former government when they were on the campaign trail is deemed to be a commitment by the government.

Members of the Cabinet - former Cabinet - would recognize if it didn't go through due process, it wasn't a commitment by the governmentm something they seem to have forgotten.

As far as the cattlemen in Nova Scotia, we do have a plan, which I hope to soon be able to announce. I've made a commitment to stay in touch with Mr. Oulton on a monthly basis, and I'll call him later today to back up that commitment.

I want the member to be aware that personally, I made a commitment to try to help cattlemen, not associated with any previous Tory commitment, and I stand behind my commitment to them. (Applause)

MR. PORTER: Mr. Speaker, I hope Kurt Sherman, who is just about ready to go bankrupt now any day, will take solace in those words.

[Page 1106]

On Page 83 of The ChronicleHerald, six days into election campaign - and I'll table that, Mr. Speaker - the NDP discussed a 10-year farm plan where better export markets could develop. For example, is help for the beef industry part of this so-called 10-year plan?

MR. MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, yes . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: Your light is not on.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Agriculture, we seem to have a technical problem, do we? The light is still on for the honourable member for Hants West.

The honourable Minister of Agriculture.

It is 3:39 p.m. - okay, we're going to have a short recess and we'll come back in 10 minutes.

[3:39 p.m. The House recessed.]

[3:46 p.m. The House reconvened.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order please. I understand our technology problem has been rectified. We had 10 minutes left in Question Period when we recessed. It's now 3:47 p.m. and we will go to 3:57 p.m.

The honourable member for Hants West, do you want to repeat your first supplementary? You're okay? Okay, I recognize the honourable Minister of Agriculture.

MR. MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question. As far as the beef or cattle producers as part of a 10-year strategy, definitely, they'll be part of that. But, more immediate to being long range, is to try to ensure that we have some industry left to be able to implement our strategy for. That's what we're kind of working on two fronts right now - short term and long term.

MR. PORTER: Mr. Speaker, through you to the Minister of Agriculture. More than six years ago - September 26, 2003 to be exact - the now-Minister of Agriculture delivered these words in this Legislature, and I'll table this: Will the "government show its real commitment to agriculture and offer immediately a program of dollars that will save suffering farmers from a crisis that was not of their making?"

Mr. Speaker, the previous government invested millions and millions of dollars into the beef industry, such as the $10 million to assist beef farmers during the height of BSE. Are the words used by the Minister of Agriculture in this House of Assembly back in 2003, a

[Page 1107]

figment of his own imagination or does he intend to help the struggling Nova Scotia beef industry?

MR. MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite, it should be obvious if the member from the former government has to ask that question, then the money they spent didn't do any good. On this side of the House, it's my hope to be able to spend some dollars to help the cattle industry, but it'll be spent in a strategic way so that we actually have a cattle industry when the money is spent.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

NAT. RES. - OHV RIDERS: SAFETY INCREASE - PLAN

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Natural Resources. So far this year, there have been five fatalities related to all-terrain vehicle accidents. There have also been a number of serious accidents relating to OHV riding. I've had several comments from OHV riders and they believe a strong focus safety initiative is lacking from government. My question for the minister is, what is government's plan to increase safety for OHV riders in Nova Scotia?

HON. JOHN MACDONELL: MR. Speaker, I think the member opposite asks quite a reasonable question. He would be aware that the regulations were rolled back in a number of areas by the previous government, one of that around training. I've asked my staff to have another look at that, but it is an issue that I'm sensitive to and I do want to take a closer look and see what it is the government is able to do to help stop the potential for death or injury with the use of ATVs.

MR. GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, in early October a man claiming he was harassed by ATV riders fired a shotgun at drivers. This is extremely alarming. Tension surrounding OHV riders and their proximity to homes and communities has been growing for years. We know that the vast majority of riders are responsible and are outdoor enthusiasts, but clearly there are some who act recklessly and, therefore, are dangerous. My question to the minister is, are you planning to increase the number of OHV enforcement officers in Nova Scotia?

MR. MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, not at this present time. The member would recognize that the previous government installed 12 officers specialized in this regard, but within the province we have 70 conservation officers who can work on ATV regulation and law enforcement issues. So presently I would say that we're not planning to increase that number.

MR. GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, since August 2007 the health community has been without a voice on the minister's advisory committee for OHVs. Safety should be the province's primary concern when it comes to off-highway vehicles of any sort and by not

[Page 1108]

filling this position the advisory committee is incomplete and lacks proper consultation from health professionals. My question to the minister is, will you be announcing the replacement for a medical official on your advisory committee and when will that be?

MR. MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite, I have to tell him, to be quite honest, I'm thinking I've seen something across my desk in that regard and I'll check a little further on that and get back to him with a better answer to his question.

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

PREM.: PUBLIC AUTO INSURANCE - PLANS

MR. KEITH BAIN: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is for the Premier. Mr. Premier, you campaigned vigorously for a public auto insurance system during the 2003 election campaign. With insurance rates having fallen and now stabilized, will you confirm today for Nova Scotians that your government has no plans for the introduction of any public auto insurance plan for Nova Scotia?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, as the member opposite would understand, during the last election campaign what we did commit to was a full insurance review which will take place next year.

MR. BAIN: Mr. Speaker, in June the Premier told Metro News that the cap on minor issues is too broad and he suggested some injury claimants haven't been fairly compensated after life-altering collisions. My question, through you to the Premier, are you contemplating setting the deductible high enough so that only those with major injuries would proceed with a claim?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, we expect this to be part of the insurance review which will take place next year.

MR. BAIN: Mr. Speaker, my final question to the Premier, will you commit today after Oral Question Period to meet with the president of the NSTU and staff who are in the gallery today?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I'm always pleased to receive any kind of requests, directly, to meet with myself. I'm certainly willing to meet but I will say I do believe that the collective bargaining process should be at the collective bargaining table.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

PREM.: CABINET SIZE - PERMANENCE

[Page 1109]

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. During the election, the Premier said that Cabinet size would be 12 members. In the Throne Speech, the government said that keeping their promises is important. So my question to the Premier is, does he plan to increase the size of Cabinet, or will his commitment to 12 members last the length of this government?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member opposite for his question. I know that there are a lot of people on that side wondering the answer to that question, and there are also a lot of people on this side wondering what the answer to that question is. (Laughter)

What I would like to assure the member opposite is that I said right from the very beginning that we would reduce the size of Cabinet, and we have done that. I said over the days that followed the appointment of Cabinet that we would take the opportunity to assess on an ongoing basis the effectiveness of the number that we have and whether or not we would want to add additional members at a future date. Mr. Speaker, I can say that I'm very pleased - in fact, I have to say that it's been a wonderful experience so far with the size of Cabinet that we have.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, the Premier may want to talk to some of his backbenchers. He should be aware that some of them are suggesting that they should be in Cabinet. I will table for the House a newsletter from the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage provided for us by someone from the constituency, and in it the member says, I'm not in Cabinet yet, implying that she has been told by the Premier that she is in line for such a spot.

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

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

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 resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole House on Supply unto Her Majesty.

[Page 1110]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased today to rise in my place and to speak about the development of a local food economy. I guess it comes at a good time, after the Thanksgiving weekend. I know most members, perhaps all members of this House, made a deliberate effort during the Thanksgiving weekend to not just buy local but to buy locally-produced products from our main store shelves as well as farm markets across Nova Scotia.

I am pleased to say that this year in our home we made a deliberate effort to place on the Thanksgiving table 100 per cent locally produced food. For the most part, everything was from the Annapolis Valley, which I know geographically does give us perhaps a little bit of an advantage with the variety, the diversity of crops, that are able to be produced. Apart from these individual efforts, but I guess perhaps in some ways it is individual efforts that will create the sum of developing a local food economy in Nova Scotia.

I think there are many reasons why we need to do this. We have embarked on a very significant development for agriculture, for food security, for food safety, for nutritious food, perhaps changing our diets, also getting more locally produced food in our schools and institutions, so I think we have embarked on a very significant endeavour in our province. I think, however, at the heart of it we need to be talking perhaps first and foremost about food security. While we pretty well take that for granted, we take food security for granted that when we go to the grocery store, to the farm market, or just down the road to a farmer, we get a sense that we're secure in our food supply.

[4:00 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. There's a bit too much chatter in the Chamber. If you have conversations, I'd ask you to please take them outside the Chamber.

MR. GLAVINE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would put food security at the top of why we need to be developing a local food economy in Nova Scotia. It is estimated that if we were to have some kind of an interruption in our supply chain, and in particular with the movement of food into Nova Scotia by way of - whether it's the Cobequid Pass, but over the isthmus, which pretty well has us almost an island province. If there was something catastrophic to happen there or something in the trucking industry, we know that we have only about a three to five days supply of food in Nova Scotia.

So increasing our locally produced food - in other words, decreasing our dependence on what is brought into the province - is a very wise development for us. So along with the trucking industry, we know that when gas prices went to almost $1.50 a litre, there started to be that realization that there are certain products we can grow in Nova Scotia year-round and we should be producing them on an annual basis. That realization hit us pretty strongly

[Page 1111]

as prices started to go up considerably with trucking produce from California, Texas, Florida, or New Mexico.

We started to ask ourselves, how can we go about increasing local production? So security then can take on a number of issues - linked to security, of course, is food safety. We have seen now a number of occasions when a food item - whether it be spinach from California being contaminated with an E. coli outbreak, we realize that we can grow all the spinach we want here in Nova Scotia. Again, it's a matter of making that year-long commitment to producing local food.

A second factor with developing a local food economy is that we want to see farm incomes increase. We've been going through now not just one, but actually three decades - going back to the 1971 census - we've seen a decline in farm gate returns. If we could see some kind of a shift and a turnaround of the farm gate income improving, it gives viability to our farms and to rural Nova Scotia in particular.

If we have a local food economy, then that's the basis many experts in the field think that we can have to again increasing the net farm gate income. Generally speaking with our supply managed commodities, whether it is dairy or chicken or turkey, there is generally a good return to those farmers. We've seen very few leave. We have seen a few, due to perhaps more localized challenges, but if we could have the same kind of guarantee of sales for those who are in market gardening, for example, or those in the fruit and berry crops - if we could see again sales throughout 12 months of the year and income increase, that leads then to farm viability and farm succession.

We know that young farmers are precious few these days, with the average farm age at about 55 years of age, so succession of our farms to the next generation is an enormous challenge in Nova Scotia but we know that if they could make a living, and that's what most are talking about, making a living, so by increasing the farm gate receipts, this would be an enormous step forward.

With developing a local food economy - again, we're all looking for ways in which to stem out-migration and the downturn of our local rural communities. We can see that, again, with an increase in farming, this can be one of the building blocks, one of the stepping stones for rural and farm revitalization, because we have seen farming take an enormous hit during the past quarter century. I think perhaps most of us took a little time this weekend to see some of the positives and the negatives that were presented in the ChronicleHerald feature stories around the buy local movement and also some of the challenges that have taken place.

If we can now find ways to mitigate against the loss of the hog industry - it is hard for us to believe in the Annapolis Valley, which was the heart of the hog industry, that back about six years ago we had 150 farmers and we're now down to six. There are six hog

[Page 1112]

farmers left in Nova Scotia. It's getting pretty easy to call them by name actually. I know five of them, I don't know the sixth, and that's what we have left now in Nova Scotia, so we soon will write off one of the commodities and that is one of the protein commodities of being able to buy local pork. It will only be a farm market that has some type of set-up or deal with a small producer who will put 10 or 15 into his market on a weekly basis, that's what we're going to have left. We may have one left that will be producing for Tony's Meats and outside of that our local pork is definitely in jeopardy.

Again, as we heard from one of the members opposite today - or one of the members from the Progressive Conservative Party - asking the question about beef, our local beef will soon be at a premium in Nova Scotia since we're now only producing 10 to 15 per cent of our weekly requirements, so we do have to find those kinds of ways.

One of the ways that the previous government did take a firm step in moving in a positive direction - and I know the current government is picking up and hopefully will see a blossoming of the Select Nova Scotia program - that has started to point again in the right direction. I think any of us who live in rural Nova Scotia - and perhaps all of the MLAs here in the House and a greater percentage of Nova Scotians - are coming to realize that we do have to work on a sustainable economy for Nova Scotia.

It is my personal belief that agriculture can be at the heart of a sustainable economy and that we can have a Nova Scotia grown, produced product in every single county of Nova Scotia. We don't have all the microclimates that you may find in the Annapolis Valley or the Musquodoboit Valley or an area, for example, of Nova Scotia that - I was absolutely amazed when I went to visit Boularderie Island in Cape Breton to see the farm potential, the agriculture potential of that area is, again, enormous.

We have to make some bold steps to have agriculture as part of building a sustainable economy in Nova Scotia and I think Select Nova Scotia now needs to move toward a dedicated series of advertisements on an annual basis. We can't just have advertising during our prime growing and harvest period. We have to make sure that it is put forward every single month of the year.

We have started to see some definite progress. One of the areas which now, of course, is into prime harvest period is the famous Annapolis Valley apples. It had reached pretty well an all-time low of only harvesting about 2 million bushels, and we now have that back up to 2.7, 2.8 - almost 3 million bushels a year. The Honeycrisps, and apples like that, have been at the heart of revitalizing.

I want to finish off by saying that the big chain stores in Nova Scotia are starting to again make a conscious effort to get more local on their shelves. The only problem here is that the definition of "local" will vary with the chain, and I think we need to, at a minimum,

[Page 1113]

say that "local" means Atlantic or Maritime Canada, as opposed to what we can deliver in a 24-hour period.

If we could see an even greater commitment to that whole movement of being able to put product on the store shelf from our region, and as sales increase, it will be good for agriculture. One of the pet projects that I hope to see is one that I'll discuss with the Minister of Agriculture - a farm-to-school program that we could put more of our local products, especially like the milk program - if we could put apples and other products into our schools on a year-round basis, it's part of awareness, part of education, and part of using a product that we can take pride in, that we produced here in Nova Scotia. With that, I'll take my place.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Yarmouth.

HON. RICHARD HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to stand in my place today going into Supply and address some of the issues that are affecting southwestern Nova Scotia, Yarmouth, and Nova Scotia as a whole.

First of all, I want to speak on transportation issues in southwestern Nova Scotia. Southwestern Nova Scotia is a gateway to this great province of ours. Transportation is a key to growing our economy, it's a key to helping our education, our tourism - all factors of our society. When I speak of transportation, I speak of all modes of transportation - land, sea, and air. We have now an airline in our community that is providing a service to the New England states, and from Yarmouth to Halifax. We want to expand on that service, but we need help from this government, which is falling on deaf ears.

We have a ferry service that's running from my community to Bar Harbor and Portland, Maine. There are great opportunities for tourism and growing our economy and our commerce with the New England states, but yet that's falling on deaf ears. We have two main highway arteries - Highway Nos. 101 and 103 - that are not completed to our community in southwestern Nova Scotia. I think that's a shame. (Interruptions) The real shame is the muzzles on the backbenchers on the government side who will not stand up for their constituents. I don't know why not a one of them will stand up for the citizens who elected them to this House, and they will not speak on behalf of their constituents. I can assure you, Mr. Speaker, I will, and members of our caucus will speak on issues that affect all southwestern Nova Scotia, and everywhere in between.

To grow the economy of southwestern Nova Scotia, we need a minister who will come down and speak to our communities, speak to our boards of trade, speak to our RDAs, speak to our councils, yet not one of them has showed up. It appears that their preference is to have secret meetings with other individuals who have pending lawsuits with the RDAs.

I think that the duty of the minister is to work with the tools he has, and the tools he has in this great province are the RDAs. They're doing a tremendous job in this province of

[Page 1114]

ours. They have, since they've been formed in this great province and we're turning a blind eye to them. That's a real shame, Mr. Speaker. The RDAs know the issues of their communities and the areas that they represent. Why this government is not even speaking to any of the RDAs is beyond me - or the RDA - but they send staff, and the ministers of the day will not even speak to them.

[4:15 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I can go even further. The Premier of the province campaigned prior to the writ being dropped about being an open and transparent government and what he would do if he was government. Well, I can tell you he has not visited southwestern Nova Scotia yet. He never visited southwestern Nova Scotia even during the writ period. Yarmouth was expecting all three Leaders to be in our community. The Liberal Party, their Leader came; the Progressive Conservative Party, they came; but the NDP, no one came. I don't know if it's just a slap to the face of the people of southwestern Nova Scotia or what it is, but I'll stand in my place every opportunity I get and I'll speak on the issues. I'll let them know that the people of Yarmouth elected me, the people of Argyle elected my colleague here, with big majority numbers, to come back and represent the people of southwestern Nova Scotia and we intend to do our job, the same as every one of my colleagues from our caucus.

The health care in Yarmouth, there's not a week that goes by in my constituency office that there are not seniors in my office crying, actually crying, shedding tears because they cannot get the home care support they need. That's a shame, Mr. Speaker. These citizens deserve to have the best quality of life we can possibly give them. The Home Care Program should be there to help them to live and stay in their own homes and have loved ones look after them.

Mr. Speaker, this government is turning a blind eye to them, not even addressing the issues and talking to the citizens who have applied. I was told by a bureaucrat that 90 per cent of the applications have been rejected to date - 90 per cent, that's outrageous. So does that tell you that the issue is flawed, there's an issue here that has to be addressed? But this government is turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to the people who are reaching out and asking for this assistance to stay in their own homes. I don't quite understand it.

They keep talking about being such an open and transparent government. I tabled in this House two weeks ago, to the Minister of Community Services and housing, two letters that I sent her - an article written on the front page of the Vanguard by one of the reporters, that he tried for two weeks to have that minister - I tabled another issue from Mayor Mooney of my hometown, Mr. Speaker, and to this day not a response from that minister. That is open and transparent? I don't think so. The people of southwestern Nova Scotia do not think so.

[Page 1115]

Over Thanksgiving weekend, when a lot of us were enjoying nice hot turkey dinners, there were people in my community - and I was out with those people, trying to help them out - who are homeless, single parents with small children who are looking for housing in our community. There are other communities that are looking for this housing. What am I getting from that side of the House? I'm getting a blind look at people and turning their backs on the people who are most vulnerable and who need help.

Mr. Speaker, I'm sure that you realize it's getting cooler now, nights, and these people need to be warm. They need to have shelter, they need to have clothing and they need to be fed. These small children do not deserve to live in that environment when we could help them - so easily we could help them. This government will not even have the audacity to send a letter in response to anyone from our community. I do not understand that. Well, I can assure you I'm going to bring it up day in and day out until we get some responses from this government.

We have an environmental issue that I brought up in this House - I brought it up in estimates. The issue is still there, but - do you know what, last week, Mr. Speaker, the municipality, they understood that there was a serious issue, and they took the bull by the horns and they made sure that the environment was protected - something that that government would not do. That's outrageous, outrageous to think that the people of southwest Nova Scotia cried out to this government, cried out to them and asked for help, and they would not even meet with the people - not even meet with them. I don't understand it.

Here we had some people from the community college in our gallery today. We asked questions directly to the Premier, and what did we get - a blind look and a deaf ear again, Mr. Speaker, but in their budget they feel that $66 million for land purchases is an issue of importance - more important than the issue of people in our communities. They prepaid $353 million to universities, and here we have community college workers who are asking to be treated fairly, and what's this government doing? Turning their back on those people. But it's not only the faculty, it's the students who are in the classrooms, a middle-aged person going back to upgrade their education and look for other areas where they can focus the rest of their skills on job creation, and here we have a government that is turning its back on them. I don't understand why this government would not address this head-on, put it into binding arbitration, and let the arbitrator make the decision on it. No, they've decided, no, they will not do that.

Well, I think what we have over here is a number of ministers on the front bench who are deaf. Maybe we should take that slush fund, the $53 million that they have in the slush fund, and buy them all hearing aids so that they could at least hear the members - the $54 million - from this side, Mr. Speaker, because there has not been one answer, not one answer to any member of the House. (Interruptions)

[Page 1116]

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

MR. HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, they talk about some of the incentives that they've put in since they've been here. The home builders construction, and he said it's going to create a great working environment in our province, and he made it retroactive to April to friends of theirs that have already pre-built these homes to make sure they got their grants of $7,000. What's that going to do for the economy of Nova Scotia? What's that going to do for the economy of Nova Scotia? Is that money going to be disbursed evenly across this province or is it only going to be in certain pockets? That's a great question to ask. That's going to be a great question to ask, isn't it?

Well, I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, I hear little rabbit tracks over there - that means nothing to me. What I can tell you is some of those members on the back benches are scared to stand up for their people. Well, I can assure you that we will stand up for their people and we'll let the issues be dealt with on the floor of this Legislature, because they're scared to stand up and let the people know. (Interruption)

I hear another rumbling there from a member. Well, I can tell you one thing, it's going to be a one-term government sitting over there - a one-term government - and I can't wait for my colleague from Sydney to make his prognosis known of some of the members over there, and they're going to be shaking when that's out. That's going to be here for one term. We've already had this debate out back, and we know who's going to be here and who isn't going to be here but I can assure you (Interruption)

Mr. Speaker, I would take bets with that individual any day of the week that I'll be here as long as I want to be here . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order, please. The chatter, the noise, the conversations across the floor are getting out of hand, and I would ask you to respect the Chair.

The honourable member for Yarmouth.

MR. HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, how much longer do I have, so I can pick on a few more?

MR. SPEAKER: You have about three and a half minutes.

MR. HURLBURT: Three and a half minutes, good, because I know I'm hitting a nerve and I want to keep picking away there. They're very nervous because they know the members of both of these caucuses on this side of the House are reaching out to their people in their communities, and they're hearing their concerns and they're bringing them here to the floor of the House. They do not like that, when we bring an issue that is a constituent of

[Page 1117]

theirs that they've turned their backs on. Well, we will, we will, Mr. Speaker. I was in Shelburne this week with my wife for a beautiful meal, and down at the set for the movie, and I heard concerns from that community about issues in Shelburne. I asked them, have you talked to your member? No, their member would rather take the Minister of Economic and Rural Development to a private meeting that the community is totally, totally opposed to - and that was told to me directly in Shelburne this past weekend.

I was in Queens; I stopped in Queens at the coffee shop and there were people there telling me that there are citizens of their communities, seniors, who are crying out, looking for help to stay in their homes, and where is their member - what is their member doing? Absolutely nothing.

We have the member from Lunenburg West - his own former colleagues he has turned his back on. He has turned his back on his own colleagues. He will not stand up for the community college that he worked in for years - he has turned his back on them.

There are so many other issues that are going on right here in Halifax. The people out in the Bedford and Spryfield area are crying out to this government to have a better highway system for the Fairview Overpass while the construction is going on. What's the member for Spryfield doing? He's sitting on his chair and doing absolutely nothing. I have not heard him even address the issue. What is wrong with these members - are they scared to stand up? I understand the backbenchers not standing up, because they will never get to the front bench if they stand up and speak what is truthfully, in the areas, concerns of their constituents. Well, we will stand up for them.

I can't believe that even the member from Spryfield is sitting there mumbling now in the background. Stand on your feet and talk to the people in the area that you represent and tell them that your Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal is turning a deaf ear to you. (Interruptions) No, you haven't even mentioned it to him yet, so that is your problem and you will have to address this in the next election.

Mr. Speaker, thank you very much. There are a few that I missed that I'll get in my next debate going into Supply.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.

[4:25 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Supply with Deputy Speaker Mr. Gordon Gosse in the Chair.]

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

MR. SPEAKER: The Adjournment motion was submitted by the honourable member for Richmond:

[Page 1118]

"Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly recognize the importance of the rink revitalization program and urge government to re-establish this vital community development initiative."

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

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

HPP: RINK REVITALIZATION PROG. - IMPORTANCE RECOGNIZE

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, it's my privilege to rise today in this late debate to talk about the rink revitalization program, which is so important to numerous communities right across the province. This is a program that had been introduced a year ago and had been in place for one year. It had been put into the budget again in May, so communities believed it was going to be offered again for a second year.

I think what's important, just to begin in discussing the rink revitalization program, is to know that last year it provided funds to 76 rinks across this province. That's 76 different communities that received $27,000 each to go toward maintenance and the support of their community rink. I think there's not one of us here that doesn't know the importance of rinks to Nova Scotian communities. I think it's really important that we recognize rinks are the heart and soul of many of our smaller communities. Even when you're thinking of the city, I can say that our older rink in Clayton Park and Fairview, the Centennial Arena, is a hub of activity, a place where children and adults meet for so many different times of the day to skate - figure skating - play hockey and ringette. It's really an exciting place to be and a place where community comes together.

Speaking about that rink in my community, Centennial was one of the 76 rinks that received funding, and I know from previous years when I was a city councillor, I sat on the Centennial Arena Commission, which is a group of volunteers that support that facility and make sure that it operates and is able to pay its bills. That's an important part of it and it is a difficult job to cobble together the budget to do that. They do not get extra money from the City of Halifax or HRM unless they make special requests, and occasionally they're able to.

They've been able to upgrade and keep the facility looking reasonably good, although like many, many of our arenas, it's a 40-year-old facility. I think the fact that it's named Centennial Arena says a lot. We know there was a great building activity during 1967 and there were Centennial Arenas built all over this province. As I say, in one of the fastest growth areas in the entire province, the Clayton Park area, we're still being served by the old Centennial Arena.

[Page 1119]

It was a struggle for the members of that board, some of whom had been on that from the time the facility opened. Some of them are the original people who helped get the money together to build that arena. They're still fighting to keep it going. I can tell you that in their budget, $27,000 would go a long way toward the kind of revitalization and upgrading that is needed to run an arena today, in the year 2009. This has caused a lot of problems to the rinks that had intended and planned and really organized their budgets around receiving the extra $27,000.

Mr. Speaker, this program was a $2 million program that had significant, positive impact in 76 communities. We know that in the absence of that support some of the rink commissions are at the point where the boards have actually gone out and made loans themselves, personal loans, to cover commitments that they had put into their budget because they expected to receive the money that they had received the year before.

Now why would they expect that? Well, one reason was that the current NDP Government did promise in their campaigning in May and June of this year that they were going to honour commitments that had been made by the Progressive Conservative Government before them. Now they may have been speaking of infrastructure projects possibly, but time and again they said to one community after another, don't worry, we're going to honour commitments that have been made - you will not be caught off guard.

Well, this is one program where people have been caught off guard. They did not expect this to be pulled out from under them and they've had to scramble, quite frankly, to meet commitments. What could be more telling than the community board in Port Hood having to scramble to get the money for commitments and actually take the step that their individual board members would go together and get loans in order to cover that?

Again, what does that show you, Mr. Speaker? It shows you the commitment that individuals have to their rinks. They didn't walk away from this - they had commitments, they have dreams and aspirations to keep their rinks going, to sponsor tournaments, to do the sort of things that bring their community together. They didn't back away from it, they went out personally and put their own name and their own financial resources on the line to guarantee that this work would still happen. It's a reflection of the importance of communities.

The board for that, Mr. Speaker, was the Al MacInnis Sports Centre in Port Hood, and I think they should be commended for stepping up to the plate when the government didn't. This year's budget showed that the government has chosen to spend $341 million this year that could have been postponed to next year, that wasn't due until next year, to the universities in our province. As a result of a calculated decision by the government to pay that full amount of the memorandum of understanding with universities, to pay it a year early and tell us here in the House that we're done with that now, we did it deliberately because we wanted to be finished with the previous government's memorandum, we want to have our

[Page 1120]

own relationship with the universities - however, they want to couch it, the fact of the matter is they chose to prepay something that wasn't due.

Mr. Speaker, I'm sure that anybody who has been in business knows that what you do when you are in tough times is you extend your payables - you try to stretch them, you try to pay them a little bit later than you normally would. That's how you manage because you have a shortage of capital and a shortage of money. You don't generally go out in bad times and prepay a big bill and then find yourself unable to find the money, the $2 million needed for something as important as this program.

As I say, in the face of that decision to spend the $341 million this year, in advance of the obligation, we really have to look as well to the government's own advice. They asked for a report from Deloitte - that is a big accounting firm, Mr. Speaker - asked them to review the books of the Province of Nova Scotia and give them advice on managing in tough times, and one of their top recommendations was not to take on any large, unnecessary payments this year, not to prepay anything. They were that clear - don't prepay things; wait until it's due; make sure you husband your resources; look after them.

That hasn't happened here. Frankly, the victims of that are the 76 rinks in this province that would otherwise be seeing this small amount of capital to help them with maintenance and capital improvements in this province.

Mr. Speaker, it is the heart and soul of the community. I said today in Question Period that I believe this really strikes at the community, by taking that money out of the rinks. The three programs - I must say this very quick, I think I have a minute to go - the minister is undoubtedly going to echo what she put out in an op-ed piece this week, an opinion piece that was sent out as a press release, and it says there are three other programs that people in this province, arenas in this province, can go to for funding. All three of those programs require matching funding; all three of them give you one opportunity to apply in a four-year period and they just don't do anything that this rink revitalization plan did.

If the community doesn't have an equal amount of money to put in, they're not going to get the grant, plain and simple. These grants are not in any way comparable to what has been taken out of the mix in terms of a funding option for our arenas across the province. Again, I think there's not one of us who doesn't know how important it is that we keep the doors of those arenas open. They are in jeopardy in all corners because of their age and we need to do more to support them and that is why I brought that this evening for discussion, that we talk about the loss of the rink revitalization program.

Mr. Speaker, I believe my time may have elapsed - do I have more time?

MR. SPEAKER: Thirty seconds.

[Page 1121]

MS. WHALEN: Thirty seconds, well, Mr. Speaker, that's enough to keep going. Good heavens, you've encouraged me.

Mr. Speaker, the three programs that are available, as I say, one offers up to, projects less than $20,000, again, only once in every four years are you eligible for that. (Interruption) Yes, I will wind it down. The B-FIT program is really for large capital replacements and that's not a program that would be replacing what we're talking about. The impact of this $27,000 in those 76 communities being spent on community rinks has a tremendous positive impact and it needs to be reinstated.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Argyle.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I can tell you that you probably could have given a few more minutes to the member for Halifax Clayton Park because she was on a roll there but let me see if I can keep the roll up just for a few moments and take the opportunity to speak to the resolution before us.

This program was one that came with a lot of accolades. A number of these communities really had never seen money come from the provincial government to help them with their rinks. The rinks in these communities are very central to the health and well-being of them. Many communities where you find these rinks in, in a rural basis and again here in HRM, are very rural. Hockey is king and following quickly behind hockey is figure skating. It just seems to be a place where people end up spending hours and hours playing, watching their children play and, you know, hopefully some day you're going to have a Wayne Gretzky or what have you come out of that community. So that's the importance of a rink in a community.

I remember my time at a rink and, yes, I did spend some time playing hockey, one sport that I really enjoyed. It started early when I was in peewee and worked my way through. I wasn't, of course, good enough to be in a house league or anything like that but I can say that I learned a lot when it came to team sports. That was my connection to team sports when it came to playing minor hockey.

If I look at the facility that we used in Yarmouth County, it was one that was put up in the 1950s, actually it was an airplane hangar. I can tell you towards the end of its life, it would have cost a heck of a lot more than $27,000 to keep it going. But I can tell you that if a community would have received funding of $27,000 or $20,000, or $15,000, or whatever that number may be, that that rink could have kept going, it would not have been such a concern.

What we ended up seeing in Yarmouth over a period of time is that children stopped going to minor hockey. Parents stopped bringing them to minor hockey because of the state of the facility that they were using. There were days when the ice wasn't any good. There

[Page 1122]

were days that there was no heat for the people on the stands. There were days when the insulation was falling off the roof.

Mr. Speaker, I can tell you this happens in a lot of communities around Nova Scotia and by starting with a program that helped out rinks, it was a tremendous step forward for these communities. I know that the minister will probably stand up and blame the previous government for not doing something, which is the reason they had to cancel this $2 million program, but I can say that we had it in that budget. We were providing dollars to these facilities because we understood their importance. We understood why they were in their communities and why and how they provided a healthy living component to communities that didn't have that kind of centre.

Mr. Speaker, I can say that a lot of the upgrading that was happening was pretty basic stuff. It was painting, it was maybe a change in a heating system. It ranged from this to that and that was a sort of a clear reason why it had a very open program. Because there was so much to do that if you were asking a small, community-based group to start listing down every nut and bolt and every can of paint and everything they were doing in that community, that they just didn't have the capacity in which to do that.

[6:15 p.m.]

So I can say that this has been an interesting way to bring the government's thoughts forward - the op-ed piece was one that tried to explain. The member for Halifax Clayton Park said it quite well that a lot of the programs that the minister referred to all do require some kind of matching funds. So, yes, they're there and yes, they'll provide some good funding to communities when they need them but a lot of these small communities don't have the matching dollars. Where are they going to get the matching dollars for it? Are they going to be doing a fundraising program? Are they going to be talking to the municipality? Are they going to be - I mean, I don't know? But that's not going to be help them this year because this winter season is really getting closer and closer and I know rinks are already up and running. I can say that hopefully on Sunday morning that I'm going to be playing hockey at Mariners Centre in Yarmouth, because the season is upon us.

So some of these small communities have already booked work, have already bought the paint and they have already done the things they need to do and that's really caught them off guard because in May it was in the budget and in September it is no long in the budget. So places like Inverness, of course, and in Port Hood you hear a community group having to take a personal loan in order to get some of this work done that they know has to be done.

So my question, really, as we flow along, how is that community group going to be able to recoup those dollars? Are they going to have to a chocolate bar sale, or going to have to do a raffle. They're going to have to do something because people's names are actually on this loan because of the dollars that they were waiting for.

[Page 1123]

So, Mr. Speaker, we were very happy to provide this funding to Nova Scotians for rinks. We were very happy to have it included in our budget of May and here we are a few months later and it is no longer there. So I am looking forward to hearing the further comments of the Minister of Health Promotion and Protection as she has so eloquently spoke to this on a number of occasions now. Of course, I thank the Liberal caucus for bringing this issue forward once again. I'm sure there will be a number of questions that will happen over the next number of months as we continue to have organizations, minor hockey organizations, rink development groups, coming to us and saying, we don't have any money. We're going to have minor hockey groups coming to us saying, we can no longer afford the dollars to keep the ice time for the children.

I don't know, Mr. Speaker, and I'm sure you have too - that you have had the opportunity to try to access ice time. It's not cheap. If you look at the smaller organizations, whether it be a school or whether it be minor hockey, whether it be power skating, whether it be figure skating, senior skates, there are a whole bunch of people and groups who are using these rinks across Nova Scotia to keep well.

I've said it on a whole bunch of occasions as Minister of Health and now as Health Critic, is that a part of taking responsibility for our own health care, we have to have to have some kind of opportunity in which to exercise, in which to live well and to be that, in my case, to be a an example for my children. My cycling season is coming to an end and last night I had the opportunity to go and ride my bike in the dark for 42 kilometres with a bunch of groups on a wonderfully prepared trail in Yarmouth County. But as I can tell you while we rode in the dark a good hour, it's not as half as fun as getting out and playing hockey that a lot of these organizations are, so we have an opportunity here to maybe make some changes - maybe the minister is going to have something for us, maybe she won't, but I look forward to her comments. I wonder how she's going to help these organizations that have already put out dollars in order to help out these rinks, keep them up and running so that our children and our families are able to use them as they become available during this winter season.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health Promotion and Protection.

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to have an opportunity to speak on this resolution. The former government committed $2 million to community rinks in the 2008-09 fiscal year, and the program, which was called the rink revitalization program, was a one-year program, a one-time program for maintenance or renovation projects in rinks around the province, and 76 rinks each got cheques for $27,000.

Now, there has been some suggestion that rinks were expecting this money again, but not all rinks were expecting this money again. I want to table an article from the Lunenburg Progress Enterprise where the head of recreation in Bridgewater is quoted as saying, "it was a blessing in disguise for us" however, she said it was money that came without needing to

[Page 1124]

send paperwork to the province - considered unusual - and she was never left with the impression the program would be repeated. The same is true for the recreation manager in Digby. In their newspaper, Mr. Powell agrees it would be nice to have another $27,000 to put toward maintenance, but it was not budgeted for and, quote: When the government did it, I thought quite frankly it was a one-time thing, so we're still going ahead with our recreation infrastructure through ACOA.

This government knows that rinks are very important parts of our community and family life in Nova Scotia, but we want to be sure that government funding is spent in a way that is accountable and that targets facilities in need. Under the rink revitalization program, all rinks got the same amount of money no matter what their needs or their circumstances were, so an aging rink that needed an expensive new roof would get the same $27,000 as a newer rink where the needs weren't quite so pressing. Through the rink revitalization program, all rinks were entitled to that money whether they needed it or not.

Other members have made the point that this program gave money with no requirement for matching municipal funds, and that's true, but it also meant only $2 million worth of work was guaranteed in rinks across the province. In our programs, $2 million in commitment ensures $6 million worth of work is done in our rinks because we require matching funds from other levels of government and from the community, and that's money that's well spent.

The Department of Health Promotion and Protection is still funding a lot of important rink projects. The honourable member from Argyle indicated he'd like to know what our government is doing for rinks, and I'd be delighted to lay out some of the information in terms of what we're doing. This year we are spending more than $1.2 million on upgrading rink facilities across the province. Government also has outstanding commitments of $48.6 million in new construction for physical activity and recreation projects across the province. Each one of these projects includes a rink. Health Promotion and Protection has three funds that facilities in need can access every year. Community recreation capital grants are available for projects worth up to $20,000. This year, the Town of Oxford received a $5,000 community recreation capital to upgrade its rink facility and the North Sydney Community Forum got a $5,000 Community Recreation Capital Grant for structural repairs. The Recreation Facility Development Program offers up to $150,000 in provincial funding for projects with a total value between $20,000 and $450,000.

The Canso and Area Arena received $67,000 through our RFD Program, to replace its broken ice plant. Without that money, Mr. Speaker, kids in Canso would not be skating in that arena this session.

Finally, the Building Facilities and Infrastructure Together program - or B-FIT Program - is designed to help with the cost of new projects or renovation projects worth $450,000 or more, Mr. Speaker. The B-FIT Program gave $326,000 to the Dan K. Stevens

[Page 1125]

Memorial Arena on the Eskasoni Reserve. Now, Mr. Speaker, I'm sure you're aware of activities in that area, since you're from the Cape Breton area. That money is now being used to upgrade the building which is a central part of community life in Eskasoni. That project is almost complete.

There is the Church Memorial Park arena. It has received a multi-year commitment of $350,000 for a major mechanical and electrical upgrade. These projects are all vetted by staff in my department. They evaluate the applications and they make recommendations. Each application is evaluated on its merits. The money these programs provide allows facilities to take on projects that will have a real impact, projects like replacing the roof, buying a Zamboni, making a facility accessible for everyone.

Mr. Speaker, you can see that we do support rinks. Rink revitalization work is important. We do it in an accountable and responsible way, with the three programs I've just listed. That's just the beginning.

In partnership with the Recreation Facility Association of Nova Scotia - that's the operator of rinks across the province - we're working on an exciting and innovative project. Eight rinks in Cape Breton are improving their energy efficiency under this new project, which will save them valuable operations money for years to come.

The program works with Conserve Nova Scotia, the Department of Energy through Eco Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia Power and Natural Resources Canada. Owners and operators of rinks are responsible for 20 per cent of the cost of the work while the consortium picks up 80 per cent; the lion's share of the tab. This government supports physical activity and we want Nova Scotians to have opportunities to live healthy and active lives.

Health Promotion and Protection also supports community pools; construction of new trails for walking, hiking and bicycling; baseball and soccer fields; skateboard parks and playgrounds. The department helps fund programs that encourage people to get active in their communities, programs like the Heart and Stroke Foundation's Walkabout, Active Kids Healthy Kids and Take the Roof Off Winter.

Mr. Speaker, I'm confident that this government will continue to work with communities to invest in physical activities, sport and recreation in an appropriate and responsible manner. Ice rinks all across this province are a critical piece of that sports infrastructure.

I'm very much looking forward to 2011 when this province will be the proud host of the 2011 Canada Winter Games. We will have a real opportunity to showcase our province and our fine facilities throughout this particular region. I know that many members in this Legislature will join with us in participating and promoting the Games and what they

[Page 1126]

represent for the future of sports, recreation and healthy living in Nova Scotia. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member's time has exhausted, as has the time for the late debate.

We will now take a short recess and continue on with Committee of the Whole House on Supply.

[6:30 p.m. The House recessed.]

[6:33 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Supply with Deputy Speaker Hon. Wayne Gaudet in the Chair.]

[9:17 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 progress and begs leave to sit again.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

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

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 1.

Bill No. 1 - Motor Vehicle Act.

MR. SPEAKER: I believe the honourable member for Hants West was speaking when we last adjourned. I'll have to check on the time.

[Page 1127]

The honourable member for Hants West.

MR. CHUCK PORTER: Mr. Speaker, it's an honour to rise tonight again to speak for a few minutes on the bill. I know there are others who also want to speak on this, so I don't plan to take a lot of time, but just a few more minutes on it perhaps. In carrying on, to discuss, as has been mentioned earlier by this bill, Bill No. 1, protecting those who protect us, and that is something that is kind of sticking. Just a few of the topics in looking through the bill fairly closely and some of the things that come out of it, the fines, the enforcement, and a number of things that have been talked about.

The fines were an issue when I was reading through it, thinking that it is more than just the fines - doubling the fines will not solve the problem, nor will it be an incentive for people to slow down in this situation, I don't think. I don't think we're going to have a great impact from simply doubling the fines. It is probably good to have it in there for those that we do pick up over time. They're probably one-timers if the fine is significant enough, but how significant is the fine if somebody is injured? So that is something that needs to be considered.

The enforcement issue, again, in reading the bill, it talks about an empty lane between the incident and the traffic. I'm kind of curious as to how that will be managed. I will look forward to hearing more on that from the minister and from the member for Sackville-Cobequid who spoke the other evening when we debated this bill, about some of the answers to some of the questions that have been raised, and that will be one of interest. I think if you polled any emergency service worker out there on the streets today, they would probably tell you that shutting the road down would be the utmost ideal condition that you can get, because it does guarantee their safety as far as oncoming traffic or passing traffic does go. So that would be the answer.

I know the drivers don't care for that. Everybody is going somewhere, I guess - if they're driving to work at certain times of the day that could be somewhat difficult to do. But it's something that should be considered in the debate of this bill as well, and as it makes its way across to the Law Amendments Committee and so on and much more discussion and maybe other people and workers coming in to talk about this bill and offering their two cents' worth. But it's going to be a bit of tricky piece within the bill to manage that traffic.

The other, I think, was brought up maybe by the member for Clare, about the enforcement piece. Who's going to manage that? Are we expecting that a member of the police force or the RCMP, depending on where the incident took place, will leave the scene to go and chase down the would-be speeder and somebody breaking this law? So that would be another piece that we'll look forward to hearing about.

One of the other questions that I heard about the bill was, how did we reach 60 kilometres an hour? Was that from the research that was done and is it adequate, given that

[Page 1128]

60 kilometres, 6 kilometres, 100 kilometres - it doesn't really matter. If a workers is hit, Mr. Speaker, it's going to create life-threatening damage or kill someone, regardless of that speed. So it would be interesting, I think, and there would probably be some questions as to how we got the 60 kilometres an hour. Again, maybe the member for Sackville-Cobequid, who I know did an extreme amount of research on this bill, I'm sure, will take the time and explain how that comes about. I think there will be a great deal of discussion on that and there will be a lot of folks offering that 60 kilometres an hour may, indeed, still be too high. Especially as we see some EMS workers coming in to speak to this bill and offer their opinion on it, it could still be too high and doesn't really do much to prevent the injury.

Again, they would, I think, mostly speak to the fact that blocking the road completely off, shutting it down, would be ideal. I don't know if that would be considered in this bill or not, because I do know from being out there and being on the streets, working around vehicles that have been damaged or other types of calls that happen to take place on the side of the road, whether they're heart attacks or whatever it may be, the fact that you're still out there in all weathers and all seasons creates the same problem.

That problem is for the oncoming or bypassing motorist to consider what's going on and to slow down or to stop, whatever the situation requires. Again, once you have an ambulance on the scene, a fire truck on the scene, a police car on the scene, things become very congested. It becomes very difficult for traffic to move either way, whether they're going by you or otherwise, safely, whether there's a third lane or a second lane or whatever the situation may be.

I would certainly hope that considerable thought will go into and consideration through stopping traffic - I don't know how specific you can get in the bill in this piece of legislation to defining when it may be an appropriate time to stop traffic. I know that it happens now when there are accidents on major highways, we see traffic halted and diverted entirely - sometimes for four, five or six hours and more - depending on the severity and the mess that's left behind that must be cleaned up.

I know we've all witnessed that as we've travelled around the province. Unfortunately, I've witnessed it one too many times in my years on the street and that's unfortunate. Again, on the 60 kilometres, I hope we have considerable discussion on that speed limit and continue to think about that and closing the road.

I would anticipate that there should be a lot of people who would come in to the Law Amendments Committee on this bill, the number of workers that are out there and the number of organizations that actually are involved or affected by a bill such as this.

I'm not going to take too much more time tonight. I do know that there are others that want some time. I did want to speak just for a few more minutes on it and thank the minister for bringing it forward, thank the honourable member who has been working on this for a

[Page 1129]

number of years. It's good to see this bill before us. I look forward to it getting through the Law Amendments Committee and maybe some comments there coming back, further comments at that time. I could probably speak a lot longer on it, but as I said, there are a lot of folks who want to speak to this bill. With that, I'll thank you as well, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to rise and continue with discussion this evening.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise this evening to speak on the bill brought forth by the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. A bill that had its birth and its development with the member for Sackville-Cobequid, a natural one coming out of his background and his interest in the protection of those who are involved with ambulance service, firefighting, police work.

It's in the category of volunteer firemen that I'm quite familiar with why this piece of legislation would come forward. There's no question that the intent of this bill has great strength and value. As a member of the Kingston Volunteer Fire Department for 15 years, half of those years were actually dealing with traffic control at fires, accidents and incidents that the department was involved in.

I was a member that lived a considerable distance from the fire hall in the village, roughly about three kilometres. As a result, I couldn't make the first three or four trucks and so I kind of had to find a role. I had certainly gone to fire school and done a couple of levels of firefighting, but I found my role with doing patrol work at the fire scene.

One of the frightening aspects of standing there in the road with a flashlight and a vest - all I had in my first days - eventually I made sure I put on the full bunker gear with stripes that were visible for quite some distance. But, when you're standing there in the road and you get people who are just coming to take a look at what is going on and they whip in to those scenes, sometimes you have to work at cautioning them and getting them to slow down.

We've been fortunate, generally, here in our province that we haven't had casualties at accidents, fire and incident scenes on our highway but we know that that's not the case in some other provinces, especially areas with large populations and high volumes of traffic - we know that accidents have taken place. In fact, those who are serving the public in the roles of police, fire and ambulance service have been casualties.

It is a good piece of legislation. Some members have already pointed out perhaps not deep, inherent weaknesses but good questions around its enforcement like establishing an empty lane - these would be natural concerns. That doesn't mean that this bill can't go into law and actually benefit all those who act in volunteer or in paid, professional services. We need to remember that in rural Nova Scotia, fire departments are a critical response unit in

[Page 1130]

those small communities and rural parts of Nova Scotia. They are not only firefighters, they're also, in some cases, first responders. Many are well-trained and we do need to make sure that we take every measure to ensure that they are safe in their jobs and in the volunteer work that they carry out.

[9:30 p.m.]

I look forward, when this bill goes to Law Amendments Committee, to hearing from the professional sector, the seasoned workers who, 365 days of the year, have had a whole range of different incidents to deal with and especially those who have actually donned the vest, who do the traffic control, for them to talk about what they have experienced and how this may be an asset to them in the future.

I look forward, Mr. Speaker, to this bill going to Law Amendments Committee and hearing those voices. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you, honourable member.

The honourable member for Argyle.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to stand today and talk quickly to Bill No. 1. I'm going to talk a little more from experience on this one as well. As the members know, I am a volunteer firefighter, have been for the last almost 15 years and have had a lot of opportunity to assist at fire scenes and, of course, accident scenes at the side of our highways, especially in southwestern Nova Scotia.

My story begins in 2005 - it might have been 2004 - on Halloween night. As we know, in many areas of the province, there's always a prankster or two who like to go around and light fires in the middle of our roadways. For years and years, in Argyle more specifically, there's always a fire going on. So the volunteer fire service basically goes on full-time status for that evening, to run from one end of their district to the other end of their district putting out pallets on fire, tires on fire, whatever it may be in the middle of the road so that the traffic can continue along. That's not just the Eel Brook and District which I belong to, but also West Pubnico, East Pubnico, Surette's Island, Hubbard's Point, Amirault's Hill and Wedgeport & Plymouth fire departments. All those fire departments seem to have a number of calls during that night, putting out fires.

If I go back to that Halloween in 2005, we had a fire on the No. 103, and I can say that I wasn't on the full-time crew so I decided that if they needed help then I would go along. I got the call just near the Glenwood exit on the No. 103 - tire is on fire. Somebody had pulled out of the Crowelltown Rd., which is a sort of little back road there off the side

[Page 1131]

of the highway, put some tires on, and scooted up as fast as they could out of the way. So along comes the Eel Brook and District Fire Department and that night, of course, there was the chief Hector Babin, Malcolm Madden, Mike Surette, and I can't remember if Charles was there and Albert was there, but they seemed to be the regulars on the trucks as well, and Junior Dulong.

In the midst of putting out that fire - let me say that there was one first call that they went to, but there was a second call of a man down. I can tell you as a firefighter, the hair on the back of my neck stood up because that's not a normal call. You get a call for a fire and may get that second call because you didn't get enough men mustered, but you never get a call for a man down. I can tell you my heart stopped, and even today I still feel - ugh - thinking about that night.

I got in my car and got to the fire scene, which was about, I don't know, probably about eight kilometres from my house off the highway. I just live right off the highway, so it was easy for me to get there, and when I arrived there, there was a scene that I really didn't expect. You had our firefighter on the ground, you had a car pulled off to the side, you still had half a fire going because they never really got to put the fire out, a fire truck on the side of the road with all the lights going, and you had the firefighters around the firefighter who had fallen, keeping his neck in c-spine, making sure that he was not bleeding, and waiting for that ambulance to come.

Junior, at that time - if it was 2005 - was, I think, 60 or 61-years-old, and had been hit by a car. He was at the front - I believe he had the hose - and the car came along and did not see the truck, did not see the lights, did not see the commotion, nothing. The driver is a person that I knew and she can actually say, I didn't see anything, I was just driving down the road like I normally did, heading home after a gathering in Yarmouth. So the lights were going, there was a fire in the middle of the road, and she still missed it and our firefighter, my friend Junior Dulong, was down.

He ended up going to the hospital - well, actually, let's talk about that. I go to the guys who are tending to our fireman, happened to be our chief that happened to be there and I've got to say, Hector is a pretty strong guy, been to a lot of fires, lots of accidents, but when I looked down at him, because I was sort of the free guy, I just got there, you know, where do you want me to go? I looked down at him and I saw the most scared look that I'd ever seen from a fire chief. I said, are you doing okay, and all I got was a shake of the head like this. At the same time, the RCMP were getting there so I said, do you want me to take over? I took over from that scene, got the RCMP to do c-spine; I got my firefighters out of the way because at that point they were toast. They had just seen their firefighter - our friend - get thrown from one side of the road to the other side of the road in a 15-foot arc.

Why did that happen? What could we have done as a fire service to make sure that didn't happen? We made a quick decision after that - and I've got to say, Junior is doing fine.

[Page 1132]

Junior recuperated after a number of months, went back to driving the school bus and, by the way, has retired from that at the age of 65. But what could we have done as a fire service? Well, the first thing we started doing, contrary to rules and regulations, is if there's something on the highway we parked the fire truck right in the middle of the darn road. So there's no way, from one direction anyway, that a vehicle is going to come and run over one of our firefighters, or one of the paramedics, or what have you. But how can you stop - as much as this bill will provide another level of enforcement, you know, another tool for police to either charge or whatever, how will this change the fact that that night that driver didn't see the lights? How often does that happen that you're standing beside a road - and I know the member for Sackville-Cobequid and I know the member for Hants West can attest that sometimes those lights aren't seen - you know, people just still go right by as fast as they possibly can.

I can say, Mr. Speaker, that even at 60 kilometres an hour, and I don't know how fast the driver in my incident, in my recollection I don't know how fast she was going - I mean it is a 100-Series Highway and the speed limit is 100 kilometres an hour, but I don't think she was going the 100 kilometres. Was she going 80 kilometres, was she going 60 kilometres? I don't remember, I didn't see the police report after that would have done the test, but I can tell you if you get hit at 60 kilometres per hour, it's going to be an "ow" - it's going to throw you somewhere and you're going to end up in hospital chances are.

So as we look at this bill, we can ask two questions: one, is the speed limit correct, should it be something less? We'll look forward to seeing the debate about this; we'll look forward to maybe seeing the reports that the member for Sackville-Cobequid has looked at from those other jurisdictions. The second part is really the enforcement part - how do you actually enforce something like this? We know today we have an Act that looks at cellphone usage - and how many people do you see driving down the road with a cellphone stuck to their ears? An awful lot. How many people do you still see today that you really would like to go and grab and shake a little bit who are still smoking with their children in the car? We discussed these things in this House; we put them into legislation, but do we have the enforcement available to us to enact these laws?

So we'll be watching closely. I'll be thinking of my friend, Junior, as we go along. I'll think of the impact that it made for our fire department and maybe some of the changes we made to traffic, to the way we treat patients as we are first responders to many accidents on Highway No. 103. And we'll ask the question about enforcement - how is Justice, how are the police departments going to be able to take this piece of legislation, this law and put it into action?

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal for bringing this issue forward. I want to thank the member for Sackville-Cobequid for bringing it on a couple of occasions - three times I think the member brought it forward. I've got to say, for the last number of years as a minister I don't recall this piece of legislation

[Page 1133]

nor do I remember him talking to me about it, but I thank him this time for bringing it to the floor of the House and bringing it as the minister brings it forward. (Interruption) Well, he's a member, he's an MLA, you know he's a pretty keen guy and, yes, thank you to the member for Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville for making a comment that the member for Sackville-Cobequid lives in his riding - interesting for comments on this debate.

Ultimately, Mr. Speaker, I thank them again for that. I look forward to discussing this further and I look forward as this goes along the process. I'm sure we'll have the opportunity to review it again in committee and in this province. Thank you very much.

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

MR. ALFIE MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, it's a privilege to stand here tonight and say a few words on this bill that the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal has brought forward. I too want to congratulate the member for Sackville-Cobequid on his tenacity on making sure this came forward, regardless of where he lives.

Seriously, I spent a part of my time as a paid firefighter. I worked for three years as a paid firefighter and legislation (Interruptions) I've also been a member of a volunteer fire department for a number of years, as well. When we think about our volunteers and we think about volunteer firefighters, especially in rural Nova Scotia, they are, indeed, the heart of rural Nova Scotia. When you see any type of event going on in any part of a rural community, the fire department is front and centre and the members are front and centre.

They're more than just faces, they're friends, they're families, they could be brothers, they could be your sister; they are people that, at night, when the alarm goes off they get out of their beds, they rush to their car and they go off to wherever the site of the problem is without thinking about what's ahead of them, without thinking about what's in store, without worrying about their own personal safety. They do it because they believe in what they do.

This is a piece of legislation that's another tool in the toolbox to make their job easier, better, safer. The people this is going to help, it's the firefighters, no question, but it's also the families of the firefighters. As I say, it's another tool for those to have a little more reassurance that when their loved one is off at the scene of a fire that there is an opportunity for another safety factor to be put in place.

[9:45 p.m.]

We've heard the member for Sackville-Cobequid and the member for Hants West talking about their experiences as paramedics and about the causes and effects that sometimes take place in an accident. When something goes on like this, people just don't realize that they're speeding by and these are people out there trying to help somebody. I was actually quite moved when the member for Sackville-Cobequid talked the other night about

[Page 1134]

being on the ground, trying to keep somebody calm while they're in the car and at the same time vehicles whizzing by and who knows what could have happened.

We're fortunate to be proactive in this province in bringing forth a piece of legislation before someone has actually got hurt, before someone has actually got killed. I think that's important. Awareness is part of what we need to do here. By bringing this legislation forward and giving it some public airing, it's a chance for people to start thinking about how they react when they see a vehicle stopped at the side of the road or in any area with the lights flashing. What do they do? Do you slow down, Mr. Speaker? Do the members of this House when they see lights flashing like that? Usually if you're looking in the mirror and you see lights flashing you start to get worried and you slow down, but when you see them on the side of the road, do people really understand what's going on and do they slow down? The awareness factor of bringing forward a piece of legislation like this is very important.

There are a number of things that have happened here with this piece of legislation that I think are important. It's important for families to know that we care about their loved ones who are going out and fighting fires and putting their lives at risk for us as people in the Province of Nova Scotia. It's important that we're being proactive and it's important that it's another tool to make it a little bit safer for the people that are out there, whether they be the volunteer firefighters, the paramedics, the police officers, the search and rescue people. All of these people are out there doing a service, a service to make our lives better and safer.

This is a small thing that we can do here in this House to help people who are doing these actions to be safe. Thank you very much.

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

MR. KEITH BAIN: Mr. Speaker, it certainly gives me great pleasure to stand up and speak on Bill No. 1 this evening. The honourable member for Kings West mentioned about rural fire departments in most cases being the first responders and, indeed, in small rural communities or in any rural community that's what happens.

Also, last week, Mr. Speaker, the member for Sackville-Cobequid mentioned about what happens at an accident scene. There we have police who are getting paid, we have paramedics who are getting paid, we have people with Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal who are getting paid, we have volunteer firefighters who are not being paid.

Mr. Speaker, in my 40 years as a volunteer firefighter, and 25 of those as fire chief, I've witnessed a lot of close calls and that's what they were, thank God they were just close calls. (Interruptions) I could teach you a few things. (Laughter)

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Mr. Speaker, oftentimes in many instances, as I mentioned before, the firefighters are the first responders and along with fighting the fire or tending to the injured, have to look after traffic control until the police arrive on the scene.

Mr. Speaker, the emergency providers, whether they be firefighters, paramedics or the like, are concentrating on the issue at hand, to provide the best possible protection to those who are involved in the accident scene. Oftentimes, and again I've witnessed this, drivers are driving too fast and are looking at the accident scene as they're driving too fast, so you have double jeopardy here.

Mr. Speaker, I think Bill No. 1 is definitely a step in the right direction. We know that we have to create awareness, as the member for Cape Breton West has mentioned, but we also have to be sure that we can enforce this bill as it goes forward. It's good to have a bill, but if we don't have the power to enforce it to protect those people who are serving the needs of each and every Nova Scotian, it's not going to work.

Mr. Speaker, I do look forward to seeing this bill go to the Law Amendments Committee and I'm not sure if any other members are willing to speak, but I am willing to give up my time now. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you, member.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

MR. ANDREW YOUNGER: Mr. Speaker, I debated whether I was going to speak on this bill but I've decided to do so this evening because I do think that this is an important bill and I'm glad the government has brought this forward.

Let me start with this, since everybody feels the need tonight to get up and give their credentials, I had better give my credentials on this one. Mr. Speaker, about a week before getting elected to Halifax Regional Council five years ago, I got selected for the volunteer fire department. The problem with that was that of course they do all their training on Tuesday nights so getting selected was about as far as I got. I never actually became a firefighter because of council meetings and now I'm still trying to figure out how the member for Argyle responds to pages, as a current volunteer firefighter, from the Legislature. Maybe he uses the Department of Natural Resources' helicopters.

Mr. Speaker, in all seriousness, this is actually an important issue. I actually wish that this bill could do even more, although I see this as a good start and I know one of the other members here did suggest that. The thing about emergencies is there are two problems; there are the people who go speeding by them, of course, particularly on our 100-Series Highways where they might not see that coming. I witnessed that the other night; I was coming home

[Page 1136]

in the rain from Inverness late Saturday night and there was a car - there, in fact, was quite a serious accident just outside of Antigonish, where I should have stopped as well, I guess.

In all seriousness, Mr. Speaker, there was a very serious accident and there was a car turned over. I hadn't witnessed the accident myself but there were two issues; one, there was the group of cars, one after another that was crawling past, to see what was going on and get the view of the scene and the whole bit which, of course, creates one set of issues, and then in the lane right next to it this car is flying by and at one point I noticed an RCMP vehicle ended up having to stop him. If anybody knows that little bit of road there - a few of the members may have been through there a few times recently - there is a set of lights there and the RCMP officer basically had to take control of that intersection to try and warn people that it was coming because the situation with the rain and so forth was such that people just didn't see it when they were going by. So we do need to address these issues and this certainly does go a step in the right direction.

I do get concerned when I see these amendments, which on principle make a lot of sense, but it's going to come down to enforcement at the end of the day. It's no different in that respect than the amendments which doubled the fines for people speeding in construction zones and so forth. What happened there is you still see people speeding by construction zones and causing safety issues because there is an enforcement issue. So my hope would be that if this does become law and this does pass, that there is a good education campaign behind that and that there is enforcement.

The challenge with enforcement, and I'd like to take a minute to talk about that, is going to be the fact that the emergency responders are attending to the accident and so there's going to be a logistical issue wherein you are not going to have your RCMP or police officers leaving the scene of the accident and tending to the accident, to go and chase down the person who has just gone by at 100 kilometres an hour, or maybe more, or has gone by in the wrong lane, that would be the other option.

My hope is that the enforcement mechanism around this will be looked at by the staff and that will come down to a burden of proof in the courts, ultimately. Some of the things that may have to be looked at would be giving RCMP officers, or police officers, or other emergency responders, the power to record licence plates and follow up with some kind of a summary offense or other ticket following because that obviously is a clear limitation in this. In fairness, I'm not sure what could be put in the Act that solves that, but there does seem to be an issue around that that will almost certainly have to be addressed.

The other element to this is unclear to me, the way it's worded seems to deal primarily with situations that would occur on provincial highways, twinned highways in particular, especially when we talk about shifting lanes and so forth. I am left to wonder how this might end up coming to play on a municipal road, for example, where we have an accident. What happens if we have an accident out here on Hollis Street and how does that

[Page 1137]

get enforced and how does that get interpreted? So as we move forward through the process, I think it would be interesting to have some information from the department, or maybe even from the original sponsor of the bill, to try and address that issue and give some clarity around how they envisioned that that would be enforced because I do see that as a limitation.

It's difficult not to support something that's going to improve the safety, even if marginally, for our first responders. Every day they put their lives on the line and they do that for others, they do that for you and me, they don't do that for any glory and I think that that's something that we need to be much more appreciative of. Certainly in many respects it would be nice to see a first responder's Act that, in fact, not only encompassed something like this but dealt with many of those issues that we hear over and over again, whether it's safety at accident scenes or even things as far as how we deal with issues after they've dealt with those responses and liability issues and so forth.

While this is a nice first step as an amendment to the Motor Vehicle Act, it might be nice in the future if we saw the government - or perhaps it will be one of the Parties on this side - to help us bring forward a public first responder's Act, which could deal with not only this issue but all of them and roll them into one and really say to our firefighters, our volunteer firefighters, our police officers, RCMP how much we value them and how much we recognize their . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Honourable member, because of the lateness of the hour, would you be willing to adjourn debate?

MR. YOUNGER: Mr. Speaker, I would be happy to move adjournment at this time.

MR. SPEAKER: 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 Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, I will turn it over to the House Leader for the Progressive Conservative Party for business tomorrow.

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

[Page 1138]

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, tomorrow the hours will be 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. After the daily routine, Opposition Members' Business will be to debate Bill No. 33, the Public Service Act, and Resolution No. 168, ER closures.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I move adjournment.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a motion to adjourn until 2:00 p.m. tomorrow.

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

The motion is carried.

We stand adjourned until 2:00 p.m. tomorrow.

[The House rose at 9:59 p.m.]

[Page 1139]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 570

By: Hon. Karen Casey (Colchester North)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia's Public Service contributes to the prosperity of our province; and

Whereas Nova Scotia's Public Service provides a high quality service to keep our families safe, our businesses growing and our communities thriving every single day; and

Whereas Darryl Murrant was recognized in late September for his two and a half decades of faithful and dedicated work for the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture as a fish hatchery manager;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly applaud Darryl Murrant of Antigonish for his 25 years of outstanding work in Nova Scotia's Public Service while wishing him continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 571

By: Ms. Pam Birdsall (Lunenburg)

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

Whereas the late Michael Baker represented the electoral district of Lunenburg in the Nova Scotia House of Assembly and served the people of Nova Scotia from 1998 until his passing in 2009; and

Whereas Mr. Baker served as the Minister of Finance, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, Minister of Transportation and Public Works, Minister of Justice and other important posts during his time, approaching his work with professionalism and dedication; and

Whereas Mr. Baker has been recognized for his significant community involvement and outstanding contributions to his province by the posthumous award of the province's highest honour, the Order of Nova Scotia;

[Page 1140]

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly remembers the passing of a colleague and a dedicated public servant and congratulate the late Michael Baker, his wife Cynthia and children Matthew and Daniel on Michael Baker receiving the Order of Nova Scotia.

RESOLUTION NO. 572

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 individuals and team accomplishments; and

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

Whereas Sib Pye 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. 573

By: Hon. Cecil Clarke (Cape Breton North)

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

Whereas Pioneer Coal, and its president John Chisholm, has been in operation since 1980 specializing in coal mining and exploration services employing 150 people, 50 of whom are Cape Bretoners; and

Whereas on October 8, 2009 Pioneer Coal made a $100,000 donation to the Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation's Cape Breton Cares Campaign, a $3.6 million campaign to support cancer and neonatal care in Cape Breton; and

Whereas campaign chair Irving Schwartz announced, in appreciation of the donation, a waiting room in the Cape Breton Cancer Centre will be named by Pioneer Coal;

[Page 1141]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating and thanking John Chisholm and Pioneer Coal for their generosity and community spirit.

RESOLUTION NO. 574

By: Mr. Chuck Porter (Hants West)

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

Whereas 2009 marked the 25th Anniversary for the annual Windsor Pumpkin Festival and Pumpkin Weigh-Off; and

Whereas organizer Danny Dill stated that the number of pumpkins was about half of last year's entries which has been attributed to a less than ideal growing season this year; and

Whereas Bill Northup of Sussex, New Brunswick, set an Atlantic Canada record with his 650-kilogram pumpkin stating that quality was still here even though entries were down;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate this year's winners: Bill Northup on his first-place pumpkin; Jeff Reid of Waterville with his second-place, 518-kilogram entry; and Ben Hebb of Wileville, Lunenburg County with his third-place, 467-kilogram pumpkin.