Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

HANSARD 09-21

DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS

Speaker: Honourable Charlie Parker

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

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

First Session

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2009

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Surplus Crown Property Disposal Rept., Hon. W. Estabrooks 1238
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Russell, Prof. Dawn - Cdn. Securities Regulator Transition Office:
Advisory Comm. - Appt., Hon. G. Steele 1238
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 617, LWD: Forum of Lbr. Market Ministers Natl. Best Practice Workshop -
Welcome, Hon. M. More 1241
Vote - Affirmative 1241
Res. 618, Walk to Remember: Organizers - Congrats.,
Hon. Maureen MacDonald 1242
Vote - Affirmative 1242
Res. 619, ERD: Trade Team N.S. - Export Rallies,
Hon. P. Paris 1243
Vote - Affirmative 1244
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 40, Labour Standards Code, Hon. M. More 1244
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 620, Educ. - NSCC Strike: Min. - Negotiate,
Hon. S. McNeil 1244
Res. 621, Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day (10/15/09) -
Recognize, Hon. C. d'Entremont 1245
Vote - Affirmative 1245
Vote - Affirmative
Res. 622, Piers, Bob: Truro & Area Olympic Torchbearer - Congrats.,
Ms. L. Zann 1246
Vote - Affirmative 1246
Res. 623, LWD Min.: Mother - Cable Access,
Mr. A. Younger 1246
Vote - Affirmative 1247
Res. 624, Windsor Acad. Hockey Team (1958) - Reunion,
Mr. C. Porter 1247
Vote - Affirmative 1248
Res. 625, Buttle, Wayne: Dist. 13 Rec. & Planning Comm. - Serv. (35 Yrs.),
Mr. C. MacKinnon 1248
Vote - Affirmative 1249
Res. 626, Lynch, Zane: Crosby, Sidney/Stanley Cup - Photo-Op.,
Mr. H. Theriault 1249
Vote - Affirmative 1249
Res. 627, Farrell, Kyle: Atl. Challenge Cup - MVP,
Mr. A. MacLeod 1250
Vote - Affirmative 1250
Res. 628, N.S. Fibre Arts Fest.: Organizing Comm./Sponsors - Congrats.,
Mr. B. Skabar 1250
Vote - Affirmative 1251
Res. 629, Cdn. Mental Health Assoc. (Dart. Br.) -
Mosaic for Mental Health Exhibition/Sale, Ms. K. Regan 1251
Vote - Affirmative 1252
Res. 630, Cumb. Co. - 4-H Prog.: Success - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Scott 1252
Vote - Affirmative 1253
Res. 631, D'Alessio, Jillian: Canoe 2009 - Achievement,
Mr. M. Whynott 1253
Vote - Affirmative 1253
Res. 632, Fares Real Estate: King's Wharf Proj. - Congrats.,
Mr. A. Younger 1253
Vote - Affirmative 1254
Res. 633, Bras d'Or & Dist. Seniors & Pensioners Club: Fall Fair -
Congrats., Hon. C. Clarke 1254
Vote - Affirmative 1255
Res. 634, Northville Farm Heritage Ctr. - Bd. of Directors/Members:
Success - Congrats., Mr. J. Morton 1255
Vote - Affirmative 1256
Res. 635, Bishop, Murray: SEASTAR Prog. - Participation,
Mr. H. Theriault 1256
Vote - Affirmative 1256
Res. 636, Strickland, Dave: Cabot Trail Lions Club - Contribution,
Mr. K. Bain 1256
Vote - Affirmative 1257
Res. 637, Jewkes, Mitchell: Theatrical Achievement - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Scott 1257
Vote - Affirmative 1258
Res. 638, Sydney Area Run for the Cure: Vols./Organizers/Participants -
Thank, Mr. A. MacLeod 1258
Vote - Affirmative 1259
Res. 639, MacDonald, Gary - Peace Officer Exemplary Serv. Medal (32 Yrs.),
Mr. K. Bain 1259
Vote - Affirmative 1259
Res. 640, O'Connor, Rev. Dr. Bernard: Generosity - Congrats.,
Hon. C. Clarke 1260
Vote - Affirmative 1260
Res. 641, Health - ERs: Min./Prem. - Commitments Fulfill,
Hon. C. d'Entremont 1260
Res. 642, Until the Violence Stops Fest.: MacDonald, Kim/Steering Comm. -
Thank, Ms. D. Whalen 1261
Vote - Affirmative 1262
Res. 643, DeCoste, John - Atl. Univ. Sport Media Award,
Mr. C. Porter 1262
Vote - Affirmative 1262
SPEAKER'S RULING: Subject of supplementary questions in QP.
(Pt. of order by Hon. M. Scott, [Hansard p. 1199, 10/14/09]) 1263
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 178, Health: Dart. Gen. Hosp. - Challenges, Mr. A. Younger 1264
No. 179, Health: Dart. Gen. Hosp.: Crowding - Alleviation,
Hon. C. d'Entremont 1265
No. 180, Educ.: NSCC Students - Classes Maintain,
Hon. S. McNeil 1267
No. 181, SNSMR: Heating Assistance Rebate Prog. - Reduction,
Hon. S. McNeil 1268
No. 182, Justice: Courthouse Security - Improvement Measures,
Hon. M. Scott 1270
No. 183, Educ. - NSCC Strike: Graduation - Effect,
Ms. K. Regan 1271
No. 184, Educ. - NSCC: Funding - Priorities,
Hon. C. Clarke 1273
No. 185, Fish. & Aquaculture: Baxters Cove Lobster Hatchery -
Funding, Mr. H. Theriault 1274
No. 186, HPP: Seasonal Flu Vaccine - Availability,
Mr. A. MacLeod 1275
No. 187, ERD: Econ. Coun. of Cheticamp - Funding,
Hon. Manning MacDonald 1276
No. 188, Justice: Crime Prevention Funding - Details,
Hon. Manning MacDonald 1278
No. 189, HPP - Rink Revitalization Prog.: Cut - Reconsider,
Mr. K. Bain 1279
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
ON MOTION FOR SUPPLY:
Mr. H. Epstein 1281
Ms. K. Regan 1285
Hon. C. d'Entremont 1289
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON SUPPLY AT 4:43 P.M. 1293
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 6:00 P.M. 1293
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
SNSMR: Heating Assistance Rebate Prog. - Importance,
Hon. S. McNeil 1294
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 1294
Hon. R. Jennex 1296
HOUSE RECESSED AT 6:15 P.M. 1298
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON SUPPLY AT 6:30 P.M. 1298
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 9:27 P.M. 1298
ADJOURNMENT, The House rose to meet again on Fri., Oct. 16th at 9:00 a.m. 1299

[Page 1237]

HALIFAX, THURSDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2009

Sixty-first General Assembly

First Session

2:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Charlie Parker

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. We'll start the day's proceedings.

Before we begin the daily routine, I'll announce the late debate motion under Rule 5(5):

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly recognize the importance of the Heating Assistance Rebate Program and the serious impact government's decision to reduce the maximum rebate allowance for this program from $450 to $200 will have on Nova Scotians this year.

It was submitted by the honourable Leader of the Official Opposition and will be debated at the moment of interruption at six o'clock.

We'll begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

[Page 1238]

1237

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

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

HON. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table the Surplus Crown Property Disposal Report for the period April 1, 2008, to March 31, 2009. Copies will be put on all members' desks.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise in my capacity today as Minister responsible for the Securities Act. I would like to preface my remarks by noting that the members of the Opposition were provided only with about 15 minutes' notice of this statement rather than the usual hour and I do sincerely apologize for that. We only received confirmation by the federal government 20 minutes ago ourselves that they had done their part in the subject matter of this announcement. So I do sincerely apologize for that lack of adequate notice.

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise in the House today to announce the appointment by the Government of Canada of Professor Dawn Russell, Q.C., to a new federal advisory committee on securities regulation. Our government is committed to the improvement of securities regulation because it protects Nova Scotian investors and ensures that businesses have better access to essential capital financing. Nova Scotia has been a proud participant with its provincial and territorial counterparts in implementing the so-called passport system of securities regulation. This has gone a long way towards harmonizing securities rules across Canada.

Mr. Speaker, recently we proclaimed amendments to the Nova Scotia Securities Act previously passed by this House to support the implementation of the final phase of the passport system. As a means of further strengthening Canada's overall financial system, we will continue to work with our federal and provincial counterparts to improve securities regulation in our country, and in that respect the Government of Canada is moving toward the creation of a Canadian securities regulator. Nova Scotia has agreed to work with the Canadian Securities Regulator Transition Office on this new initiative to advise on the establishment of a federal securities regulatory model.

[Page 1239]

Mr. Speaker, it is important, it is essential for Nova Scotia to have a voice at the table in this historic undertaking. Given her extensive experience, Professor Russell is highly qualified to act as Nova Scotia's representative to the Transition Office's Advisory

Committee. She is an associate professor and former dean of Dalhousie Law School. She is very well versed in securities regulatory reform, having sat as a member of Ontario's Crawford Panel on a Single Securities Regulator and the federal government's Expert Panel on Securities Regulation. We believe Professor Russell's experience makes her well suited to contribute to the work of the Transition Office and convey the interests and concerns of Nova Scotians in the design of a Canadian regulator, and that is why we put forward her name and that is why the federal government has accepted our nomination and appointed Professor Russell.

Mr. Speaker, participation in the work of the advisory committee does not commit the province to adopting a new regulatory regime. Nova Scotia has unique needs and we want to ensure that regional issues and concerns are considered by the advisory committee. Our eventual full participation in a federal securities regime is conditional on five factors. These are:

(1) A regulatory model that provides for a securities presence in this province;

(2) Ongoing support for local capital investment programs like the very successful CEDA program;

(3) Continued recognition of provincial jurisdiction over securities regulation;

(4) Productive working relationship with non-participating jurisdictions; and

(5) Financial compensation for provincial revenue losses.

Mr. Speaker, our government is pleased to be involved in this important work to further develop and improve the Canadian securities regime. The appointment announced today confirms Nova Scotia's willingness to participate in the work of the Transition Office.

In conclusion, I would like to draw the attention of the House to the east gallery where Professor Dawn Russell has joined us today. I would ask her to rise to receive the welcome of the House. (Applause)

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

[Page 1240]

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I am replying to the minister's statement on behalf of our Finance Critic, the member for Kings West. I, too, would like to welcome, along with our caucus, Professor Russell to the gallery here today.

Improving securities regulation is certainly a worthwhile goal and the Government of Canada has been moving towards creating a Canadian securities regulator. While this initiative is ongoing, it is important that Nova Scotia's voice be heard and that the concerns of Nova Scotians are heard loud and clear. It's also important that any model that is developed takes Nova Scotia's interests into account - I think that's extremely important and I know the minister would recognize that.

Professor Dawn Russell is certainly well qualified and will be Nova Scotia's representative on the Transition Office Advisory Committee - is the representative - and she, of course, as the minister pointed out, is the associate professor and the former dean of Dalhousie Law School. This is good; it's a good appointment; it's good for Nova Scotia. We have to be vigilant, of course, about our concerns as we move down the road, to ensure that everything goes according to the kind of regulatory situation we'd like to see in this province.

In conclusion, I'd like to wish Professor Russell all the best in this important role in the future. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

[2:15 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Argyle.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I too, on behalf of the Progressive Conservative caucus, would like to congratulate Professor Dawn Russell on her appointment to this important federal advisory committee.

Of course, security regulation, this issue has been floating around for some time and I can say that as Acting Minister of Finance for a very short time, I did have the opportunity to speak, as well, to Minister Flaherty at that time, working towards this appointment.

I can agree with the minister and say that it's very important that we have a voice at the table for this undertaking. Of course, the passport system is one that has been worked on for quite some time and there is a lot of stuff to finalize. I'm very happy to see the minister speaking of the conditions for our inclusion in a national securities regulator and we need to make sure our interests and our special interests are protected as this goes forward, and make sure there's fair representation from not only our province, but of course other provinces across the country.

I again congratulate Professor Russell, welcome her to this House of Assembly, and wish her well on her new appointment. Thank you.

[Page 1241]

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 617

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

Whereas our skilled workforce represents one of the province's most valuable resources; and

Whereas all areas of Canada are being affected by the current economic downturn and their own unique labour market issues; and

Whereas Labour and Workforce Development is co-hosting over 60 delegates from the provincial, territorial and federal Labour Departments for a three-day workshop covering, among other things, responding to the challenges of the economic downturn, building essential skills in the workplace, engaging the older and younger workforces, as well as planning and preparing for economic recovery;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House welcome the delegates of the Forum of Labour Market Ministers National Best Practice Workshop as they visit our beautiful province to discuss issues facing the labour markets today and in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, before I do my resolution, may I be permitted to do an introduction?

[Page 1242]

MR. SPEAKER: Certainly.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, October 15th, and in our gallery today are two of the organizers of a walk that's occurring here in Halifax: Tina Thibeau and Stacey MacLean. The walk is happening this Sunday, October 18th at 2:00 p.m. at the IWK. So far 260 participants have registered. I ask them to rise and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 618

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

Whereas to honour the memory of their precious babies lost to miscarriage or stillborn birth, Tina Thibeau, Natashia Hope, Stacey MacLean and Caitlin Oakley joined with the IWK Health Centre to organize Halifax's first-ever Walk to Remember; and

Whereas this year's Halifax Walk to Remember will be held on October 18, 2009; and

Whereas the walk is a way for parents and families to honour the memory of their babies and to share their grief with other families who have experienced similar tragedies;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate this year's organizing committee of Tina Thibeau, Natashia Hope, Stacey MacLean and Caitlin Oakley, and wish them success during the Halifax Walk to Remember.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Economic and Rural Development.

[Page 1243]

HON. PERCY PARIS: Mr. Speaker, before I read my notice of motion I would like to make a brief introduction.

Mr. Speaker, and honourable members of the House, I would bring your attention to the Speaker's Gallery and I would like to introduce a very special and distinguished delegation seated in the gallery today. It is my honour to welcome to the Province of Nova Scotia's House of Assembly, His Excellency Matthias Brinkmann, Ambassador and Head of Delegation of the European Commission to Canada; Mr. Mauro Petriccione, Chief Negotiator for the European Commission in the EU/Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement negotiations; Mr. Maurizio Celinni, Councillor and Head of the Economic and Commercial Section, Delegation of the European Commission to Canada. The delegation is visiting Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador on this trip, and I understand that they have previously visited other provinces in the run-up to the formal start of these negotiations in Ottawa next week.

For the first time ever in Canada's international trade negotiations Nova Scotia will join the other provinces and territories at six of the 12 negotiating tables in these talks to address trade and investment issues that fall within our jurisdiction in Canada. The European Union is a long-standing and important partner in Nova Scotia's international trade and investment, and we're looking forward to enhancing that relationship through these negotiations.

At this time we would like to welcome the delegation to Nova Scotia and we invite them to enjoy the hospitality which we are honoured to extend. I would now ask the delegation to rise and ask the members to welcome them to the House. (Applause)

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

RESOLUTION NO. 619

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

Whereas Trade Team Nova Scotia and its partners have put together two export rallies, one in Cape Breton which was held in September and one in the Valley to be held in November, to help Nova Scotian businesses learn how to export and increase their export markets; and

Whereas the rally in Cape Breton was well attended by 122 local businesses and community partners who are currently involved in exporting or looking to grow their businesses through exporting; and

[Page 1244]

Whereas this is one of the many programs the government uses to support businesses across Nova Scotia and to promote their market diversification;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House recognize that the export rallies are increasing awareness and understanding of business opportunities around exporting for Nova Scotia businesses, and wish Trade Team Nova Scotia and its partners success in future rallies.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 40 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 246 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Labour Standards Code, Respecting a Protected Emergency Leave. (Hon. Marilyn More)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 620

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

Whereas the NSCC Annapolis Valley Campus in Middleton and Lawrencetown provides first-class, hands-on education to 400 full-time and 400 part-time students in this province; and

[Page 1245]

Whereas the hard-working and devoted teachers at the Annapolis Valley Campus pass on skills and training to their students that support energy sustainability engineering technology in this province; and

Whereas the Premier has refused an offer for binding arbitration, a move that would keep students in class;

Therefore be it resolved that this government treat the 900 teachers at the Nova Scotia Community Colleges fairly and in the same manner as the 10,000 public school teachers in this province, and that the Minister of Education become engaged in negotiations with these teachers so that the students 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 Argyle.

RESOLUTION NO. 621

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 last year our government was pleased to proclaim October 15th to be Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas October 15th is observed in other Canadian provinces including Alberta, New Brunswick, British Columbia, and Newfoundland and Labrador; and

Whereas this day is observed so that bereaved families can honour their babies;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize today, October 15th, as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day in Nova Scotia and honour parents, families, and the babies that they have lost.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 1246]

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 Truro-Bible Hill.

RESOLUTION NO. 622

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

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

Whereas Bob Piers of Truro continues to volunteer as coach of the Cobequid Educational Centre's girls volleyball team that has captured 10 provincial high school championships over the past 13 years; and

Whereas the Olympic Torch will be arriving in Truro on November 17, 2009, and Bob Piers has been selected to be the Truro and area's official torchbearer, to carry the torch and light the celebratory cauldron on that day;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulates Bob Piers on being selected as the Truro and area Olympic torchbearer and for lighting the cauldron on November 17th, 2009.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[2:30 p.m.]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 1247]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 623

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

Whereas the Minister of Education and Labour Workforce Development advised the House on Wednesday that her mother finally got cable with the Legislature TV channel; and

Whereas the Minister said, "I've been telling her that she hasn't missed much, that I don't often get questions and being a proud mother, she is determined I am the most critical minister in the whole Cabinet"; and

Whereas the members of the Liberal caucus are pleased to have asked so many questions to the minister to make her mother proud;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate the mother of the Minister of Education and Labour and Workforce Development on getting full cable.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Hants West.

RESOLUTION NO. 624

[Page 1248]

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

Whereas a reunion took place this summer involving the 1958 Windsor Academy boys' hockey team, considered by many sports historians as one of the best high school hockey teams ever assembled in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas to give a small example of this team's scoring prowess, during the 1957-58 Nova Scotia Headmaster's Competition, Windsor Academy out-scored their opponents 131-50 as they went undefeated in capturing the provincial high school title; and

Whereas the team was coached by Windsor Hockey icon Murray "Moe" Smith with many memories left behind including those of Gerald Cochrane who described the Stellarton series as a great one as well as a playoff game in Windsor against St. Pat's;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs in this House of Assembly recognize individuals such as Head Coach Moe Smith and players such as David Coombes, Jeddy Cochrane, David Boyd, Jake Miller, Bill Benedict, Charlie Levy and Manager Bill MacNeil who can gather fifty years later and share so many warm memories.

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 Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 625

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

Whereas Wayne Buttle of Coalburn, Pictou County was one of the driving forces behind efforts to get an arena constructed in Thorburn in the early 1970s; and

[Page 1249]

Whereas Wayne was a founding member of the District 13 Recreation and Planning Commission, the organization responsible for raising the funds and officially opening the Ivor MacDonald Memorial Rink 35 years ago this month; and

Whereas for over three decades Wayne, a former District 13 municipal councillor, has been the fiscally responsible manager of the rink complex;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly recognizes the contributions made by Wayne Buttle to District 13, to Pictou East, its youth and all residents and congratulate him on his many years of service.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 626

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

Whereas 14-year-old Digby County resident Zane Lynch travelled to Cole Harbour for the Stanley Cup parade on August 7, 2009, where an estimated 25,000 people were in attendance; and

Whereas ballots to win a photo with Pittsburgh Penguins' captain Sidney Crosby were handed out upon purchasing a poster at the event and Zane filled out just one ballot thinking his chances were slim; and

Whereas Zane Lynch's name was announced among 87 winners on that day;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly congratulate Zane Lynch on his luck of having his photo taken with the Stanley Cup and Sidney Crosby, along with having his poster and T-shirt autographed.

[Page 1250]

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. 627

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

Whereas Kyle Farrell of Howie Centre, who is a Grade 10 student at Riverview High School in Sydney River, was given a special honour this past weekend; and

Whereas Kyle was chosen to play hockey at the Atlantic Challenge Cup in Moncton, New Brunswick, October 9th through 11th; and

Whereas Kyle was honoured with the MVP Award with the male under-16 hockey team during this Atlantic Challenge Cup;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Kyle Farrell and wish him much success in his future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 1251]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cumberland North.

RESOLUTION NO. 628

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival is a five-day celebration of all things fibre, such as knitting, quilting, and rug-hooking; and

Whereas the Town of Amherst will host several events per day, including creative workshops, exhibits, and hands-on demonstrations that will attract and bring together locals as well as close to 1,000 fibre-savvy visitors from afar; and

Whereas the Fibre Arts Festival showcases the creative talent in Cumberland County while promoting the area and increasing tourism actively;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the organizing committee of the Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival and sponsors for hosting a successful event, and extend a warm welcome to the visitors.

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 on an introduction.

MS. PAM BIRDSALL: Mr. Speaker, I would like to make an introduction of a member of my constituency of Lunenburg, Barbara Carthew, a longtime, highly valued member of the Party, both provincially and federally, and I ask the members of the House of Assembly to give her a warm welcome. (Applause)

[Page 1252]

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

RESOLUTION NO. 629

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 Halifax-Dartmouth branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association is holding the 11th Annual Mosaic for Mental Health - Art Exhibition and Sale; and

Whereas the Mosaic takes place from October 15th through October 25th at the Craig Gallery in Alderney Landing; and

Whereas the theme of this year's event is Share the Spirit;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate the organizers and volunteers of the Halifax-Dartmouth branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association's 11th Annual Mosaic for Mental Health - Art Exhibition and Sale and wish them continued success.

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. 630

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

Whereas on Saturday, October 17th at 7:00 p.m., the Cumberland County 4-H members will celebrate its successes of this past year at the Amherst Community Lions Centre in Amherst; and

[Page 1253]

Whereas the 4-H program offers the opportunity for many young people throughout Cumberland County to learn more about the agriculture community, as well as to work with each other in regard to teamwork and leadership skills and enhancing their opportunities for the future by practising such things as oral presentations, teamwork, and caring and providing for animals; and

Whereas it has been shown that the 4-H program has led to great opportunities in the lives of young people who have taken part in this tremendous program;

Therefore be it resolved all members of the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate the Cumberland County 4-H program, the young people involved, their families, and the leaders who give so much of themselves, and wish them all the very best 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 member for Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville.

RESOLUTION NO. 631

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

Whereas on the weekend of August 12 - 16, 2009, Jillian D'Alessio participated in the International Canoe Championships at Lake Banook; and

Whereas Jillian D'Alessio competed in the K-2 Women's 1,000 metre race; and

Whereas she finished in 9th place in the competition;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Jillian D'Alessio of Middle Sackville for her outstanding achievement at Canoe 2009.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 1254]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 632

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

Whereas Fares Real Estate Inc. is developing King's Wharf, a multi-phased, mixed use waterfront development situated in Dartmouth Cove on Halifax Harbour; and

Whereas the King's Wharf project will redevelop the old Dartmouth Marine Slips and revitalize a derelict part of Dartmouth's waterfront with a mix of residential, office, commercial and public spaces; and

Whereas the grand opening of the model suite is today, marking a major milestone in the continued growth and success of downtown Dartmouth;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly congratulate Fares Real Estate and all those involved with and supportive of the King's Wharf project on this milestone day in the project's 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.

[Page 1255]

The honourable member for Cape Breton North.

RESOLUTION NO. 633

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

Whereas members of the Bras d'Or and District Seniors and Pensioners Club, under the leadership of President Emerson Jessome and a host of volunteers and 120 club members are having their 33rd Fall Fair; and

Whereas this is the major fundraiser for the club and the support of volunteers, businesses and the community allows the club to remain active seven days a week serving the community; and

Whereas the tireless efforts of clubs like the Bras d'Or Seniors improves community spirit across the Province of Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House join me in congratulating and thanking such dedicated Nova Scotians and wish the Bras d'Or and District Seniors and Pensioners Club every success in the Fall Fair and ongoing programs.

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. 634

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 Northville Farm Heritage Centre is located on 15 acres in the shelter of the North Mountain overlooking the beautiful Annapolis Valley; and

[Page 1256]

Whereas the centre, created in the year 2000 as a memorial to the family farm, has been developed and sustained through the leadership and tireless hands-on efforts of volunteer members who believe in the preservation of farm history; and

Whereas the Farm Heritage Centre boasts a collection of purpose-designed buildings, a versatile meeting room available for community events, hundreds of agricultural artifacts, working exhibits and events such as antique tractor competitions, plowing meets and exciting horse pulls that draw participants and spectators from across the Maritimes;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate the board of directors and the membership of the Northville Farm Heritage Centre for its success in celebrating the evolution of the family farm and for its contributions to the preservation of our agricultural heritage and the development of tourism in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 635

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

Whereas 15-year-old Murray Bishop from Digby Neck flew from Halifax to Boston on July 9th to join the 126-foot schooner Virginia as a participant in the Nova Scotia-based SEASTAR program; and

Whereas Murray was by the helm of the Virginia at the Tall Ship Parade of Sail on July 20th, which was later lashed by a gale in the Gulf of Maine; and

Whereas Murray was on the Virginia for 17 days developing life skills and experience about tall ships;

[Page 1257]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly recognize Murray Bishop for taking on this challenge and wish him well in future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[2:45 p.m.]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 636

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 late Dave Strickland was a very hard-working member of the Cabot Trail Lions Club and while as a Shriner, at his winter residence in Florida, he became Stumpie the Clown, entertaining kids at children's hospitals in Florida; and

Whereas Dave's hard work, along with many others, assured that the Cabot Trail Lions Club could say yes more often to whatever needs were asked of the club; and

Whereas the Cabot Trail Lions Club recently presented a seating bench called Stumpie's Bench to the Highland Manor in Neils Harbour, in Dave's memory;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly recognize the tremendous contribution of the late Dave Strickland to the Cabot Trail Lions Club, and thank the members of the club for honouring this wonderful man.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 1258]

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. 637

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

Whereas Mitchell Jewkes of Springhill landed the lead role in the life and times of one of pop music's pioneers, and the story came to life as a troupe of actors and musicians from Springhill took the stage and presented The Buddy Holly Story; and

Whereas presented by the Tantramar Theatre, the curtain rose on the production on October 1st and although no stranger to the stage, having had a hand in a number of off-Broadway productions with Tantramar Theatre, Jewkes admitted that The Buddy Holly Story posed new challenges and opportunities for the veteran performer; and

Whereas Mitchell Jewkes admitted that he researched for his role as a crooner of such number-one hits as Peggy Sue and Rave On more than any other role currently in his portfolio, and that research paid off as he delivered an outstanding performance of Buddy Holly on stage;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate Mitchell Jewkes on this outstanding achievement and wish him continued success in all future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

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.

[Page 1259]

RESOLUTION NO. 638

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 CIBC Run for the Cure, organized by the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, is Canada's largest single-day fundraising effort in support of breast cancer awareness, education and research; and

Whereas this event, now in its 10th year in the Sydney area, drew over 2,500 participants; and

Whereas the impressive showing for this worthwhile cause had the ultimate result of raising $315,000, which was a testament to the hard work and dedication of so many volunteers;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate the volunteers, organizers and participants of the Sydney-area Run for the Cure for their continued work to eliminate this horrible disease.

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. 639

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 Peace Officer Exemplary Service Medal recognizes those persons who have dedicated themselves to preserving Canada's public safety through long and outstanding service; and

[Page 1260]

Whereas the awards are national in scope and are part of the Canadian honours system in recognition of service rendered to the country; and

Whereas DFO Officer Gary MacDonald of Baddeck was recently presented his Exemplary Service Medal by Her Honour Mayann Francis, for 32 years of service;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Gary MacDonald on receiving this prestigious medal and thank him for his 32 years of service.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton North.

RESOLUTION NO. 640

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

Whereas Rev. Dr. Bernard O'Connor has been a coin and currency collector for more than 40 years; and

Whereas his rare collection was auctioned in July of this year realizing $550,000, and all monies he handed over to an educational foundation to assist students who are studying the history of currency or doing research in similar fields; and

Whereas Bernard returned to the Vatican after visiting family and friends in Sydney Mines, where he is serving the eastern churches with responsibility for India;

[Page 1261]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating Rev. Dr. O'Connor for his generosity, and wish him well with his continued ministry and academic pursuits.

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. 641

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 during the recent provincial election the NDP's election platform stated, "Ministerial Accountability for Emergency Departments" would be done within the current year and cost nothing; and

Whereas the NDP has done nothing to address the short-term issue of emergency room closures and overcrowding that has caused the Code Oranges that are happening with greater frequency; and

Whereas the NDP likes to hide behind the district health authorities and off-load ministerial responsibility to a consultant;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier and the Minister of Health commit to do what they promised during the election and meet their obligation under their ministerial oaths.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 1262]

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

RESOLUTION NO. 642

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

Whereas Until the Violence Stops, V-Day, is a global movement to stop violence against women and girls; and

Whereas this movement has raised over $60 million to support anti-violence campaigns worldwide and to educate people about the reality of violence against women; and

Whereas from June 1st to June 14th here in Halifax we hosted the first-ever Until the Violence Stops Festival, aimed at making Halifax the safest place for women and girls;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Kim MacDonald and the steering committee for organizing this important event to raise awareness about violence against 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 Hants West.

RESOLUTION NO. 643

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

[Page 1263]

Whereas the inaugural winner of the Atlantic University Sport Media Award was announced late last Spring and the 2009 winner is John DeCoste, a sports writer for the Kings County Advertiser and Kings County Register in the Annapolis Valley; and

Whereas this latest award is the latest in John's career as he was also named Journalist of the Year by Baseball Nova Scotia in 2000, while also having one of his sports photos judged the best in Canada by the Canadian Community Newspapers Association for 2004; and

Whereas Executive Director of Atlantic University Sport Phil Currie said the AUS was proud to recognize John as the winner of this award and that he was a very deserving recipient of the AUS Sport Media Award;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud John DeCoste for his tremendous journalistic skills and wish him every future success.

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.

SPEAKER'S RULING: Subject of supplementary questions in QP. (Pt. of order by Hon. M. Scott. [Hansard p. 1199, 10/14/09])

Before we go to Question Period, I have a short statement I'm going to read. It's a Speaker's Ruling and I'll read it as follows.

The honourable member for Cumberland South rose on a point of order in yesterday's proceedings. The gist of his point, I thought, was to the effect that oral questions on different subjects can be asked by a member through the use of the initial question and two supplementary questions. The reason I was led to believe that this was the substance of the honourable member's query was my perceived reaction to the few words I had to say relating to supplementary questions just prior to yesterday's Question Period.

The honourable member did not, on a reading of Hansard, say this at all but did state words to the effect that the supplementary questions could be posed to different ministers in

[Page 1264]

the same series of questioning by a member. With this, certainly I agree. In other words, in at least situations where the question is somewhat broad-based, supplementary questions could be posed to different ministers, and that's using up the three questions available to the member. Some examples might entail subjects such as departmental scrutiny or occupational health and safety compliance, as examples.

I would point out, however, that while our express Rules are silent on the matters raised in the point of order, there is a long-standing usage or custom of the House to allow a member the opportunity to ask three questions in a series. Namely, the initial question and two supplementary questions. The long-standing use of the word supplementary is indicative in itself of what the nature of the two questions following the initial question will be. The noun 'supplement' in the American College Dictionary is defined in part as "something added to complete a thing, supply a deficiency, or reinforce or extend a whole."

In other words, as Speaker Mitchell stated on March 9, 1972, "A supplementary question, I think, as all honourable members appreciate, should arise from the answer given to the original question and I think that when a question is not answered for one reason or another, then a supplementary really shouldn't arise out of the answer." The same decision was made by Speaker MacLean on March 13, 1975, using similar reasoning.

Speaker Fogarty on December 3, 1997 very clearly stated what I believe to be the practice in this Chamber. He stated, "I will permit a certain amount of preamble and set-up to the first original question. All honourable members know the two supplementary questions should follow and remain on the subject that was presented in the initial question. The two supplementaries should follow from that original question. The subjects were changed here in midstream a moment ago and I will not permit it indefinitely. I want a question and the supplementaries on the same topic."

Now, I point out these decisions of the Chair as evidence of a long-standing custom or usage as to the scope or the breadth of a supplementary question. In the text by Marleau and Montpetit on Pages 430 and 431, supplementary questions are dealt with at some length. The authors point out that at the discretion of the Speaker, at least in the House of Commons, as to the number of supplementaries to be allowed. The guiding principle is that a supplementary question is meant to flow from or be based upon the information given to the House in the response of the minister as a result of the initial question.

So I trust, honourable members, that this will be of some assistance to you.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

[Page 1265]

MR. SPEAKER: The time is now 2:58 p.m. and Question Period will run to 3:58 p.m.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

HEALTH: DART. GEN. HOSP. - CHALLENGES

MR. ANDREW YOUNGER: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. Yesterday I questioned the minister on the challenges being experienced at the Dartmouth General Hospital and while she spoke in great length about things that would be done at the QE II and system changes and support being provided by the Cobequid Community Health Centre, she barely acknowledged the actual challenges of the Dartmouth General Hospital. Given the minister has now had 24 hours to be briefed, is she aware of the current challenges at the Dartmouth General and can she outline them for the House?

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for the question. The Dartmouth General Hospital in the past 48 hours has experienced a great deal of pressure. They've had numerous patients coming into the emergency department and very little ability to move those patients through the emergency department into a needed bed in another part of the hospital. I'm told that the head of medicine or the chief of surgery at the Dartmouth General has indicated today that part of the reason was that they had scheduled numerous surgeries in the Dartmouth General and hadn't calculated for the demand that would be placed for beds through the emergency department.

[3:00 p.m.]

MR. YOUNGER: Mr. Speaker, that may very well be a good answer if this was a one-time event but it turns out that a Code Census has been called on average five times a month at the Dartmouth General since the beginning of this year. It's obviously an ongoing issue. In fact, this morning there were still 13 patients in the emergency room waiting for a hospital bed - that's more than there were yesterday. The minister said that moving around beds at the QE II would help. There are now 20 per cent more patients than beds at the Dartmouth General, and as of this afternoon they're talking about moving patients to Sheet Harbour - not Cobequid, not Halifax, but Sheet Harbour.

All the beds are full, including 12 palliative patients, and there are discussions ongoing this afternoon about cancelling surgeries. The Dartmouth General clearly needs more open hospital beds sooner rather than later. My question is, when will the minister be announcing new beds that will open at the Dartmouth General Hospital?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, again, I thank the honourable member for the question. This government has a plan to deal with the crisis in emergency care that has built for years in this province. Our plan was to begin in the current year with

[Page 1266]

the appointment of a provincial emergency room adviser, which we have done. Next year, it's our plan to add additional beds strategically throughout the system where they're most needed. We also have a plan for an emergency room protection fund, and additionally to open the Cobequid Multi-Service Centre 24/7 to take the pressure off emergency departments throughout the Capital DHA. Thank you.

MR. YOUNGER: Mr. Speaker, I certainly hope that if they're going to extend the hours at Cobequid, they not only talk to the staff there but also that they provide the needed specialists. At the moment, they don't have the needed specialists for many of the cases and they don't have the ability to have people in in-patient categories. The minister referred to Dr. Ross, but Dr. Ross is reporting a year from now, just as the beds she mentioned - they'll have them a year from now. The problem is now and we have not even hit the major time for accidents and emergencies and so forth, and in addition, the Dartmouth General Emergency has longer waiting times, according to Capital Health, than any other emergency room in the municipality. Mr. Speaker, how much longer do the staff and patients at the Dartmouth General have to wait before this government's going to act and fix things at the Dartmouth General?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I believe I laid out the plan of this government. I remind the honourable member of how deep the roots of this problem are. The roots of this problem are so deep they can be traced back to the Liberal Government in mid-1995. That's a government that took $180 million out of the health care system in this province and paid 1,600 nurses to leave the province and the profession. That's the kind of plan that we get from that Party. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Argyle.

HEALTH - DART. GEN. HOSP.: CROWDING - ALLEVIATION

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Health. Yesterday in Question Period, I asked the minster about the Code Orange that was happening in two of the province's largest ERs. From the information that I received this morning, the hospital in Dartmouth cannot even call a Code Orange because it's on the verge of a Code Purple, which means - as the member for Dartmouth East spoke about - that there's over 20 per cent more people in that hospital than it can actually handle. Every bed is full, and there are already three Code Census patients in the hallway on units as of this morning. There are 13 patients on the ER and likely more to be admitted after consultation.

As the member for Dartmouth East suggested or talked about, on average Dartmouth General Hospital experiences slightly more than five Code Oranges per month. What has the minister done to alleviate the crowding at the Dartmouth General Hospital?

[Page 1267]

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, as all of the members in this Chamber know, the problems in emergency departments - including at the Dartmouth General - have been going on for many, many years. The way to deal with this problem is not a short-term quick fix. This requires a longer term strategy. It requires a plan and this government has a plan beginning with the hiring of an emergency room adviser, which we have currently put in place. Following next year with the addition of beds into the system, strategically located, with an emergency room protection fund and the opening of the Cobequid Health Centre 24/7, something that member had an opportunity to do when he was the Minister of Health, when this problem became a chronic problem in the health care system. (Applause)

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, if I had provided an answer like that, that member would have roasted me in the House of Assembly, if I was sitting there as minister today. This afternoon there are nine patients admitted to the ER with very little room to move anywhere in the hospital. In the NDP platform, the document says, "Keep emergency rooms open and reduce health care . . ." costs, with a subheading, "Ministerial accountability for Emergency Departments". Yesterday the minister took a shot at me and said she had forgotten more than I know. When is the minister going to realize that she's forgotten the wrong things?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I'm more than happy and I'm more than prepared to stand in my place and discuss these issues and I have been doing it for the last two and a half weeks. You'll hear plenty more from me yet too.

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, apparently she doesn't know what she's forgotten. She's forgotten her ministerial oath and her responsibility. The NDP continue to hide, they hide behind that blame game; they blame us, they blame the Liberals. Luckily, it's over 100 days, they can blame themselves now. They're responsible for this issue right now.

Mr. Speaker, by the look of it, the Code Orange at the Dartmouth General Hospital will be on for quite some time. When will the minister visit the Dartmouth General Hospital and apologize to the patients for forgetting her ministerial responsibility?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I have plans to travel throughout the province and visit emergency departments and other parts of our health care system, certainly, when this Legislature is not in session; this is the place where I'm held accountable and I'm happy to be here to do this. But let me say that when I do visit those facilities, I will be telling people that the number-one priority of this government is to fix the health care system and the emergency room mess that was left by that government.

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

EDUC.: NSCC STUDENTS - CLASSES MAINTAIN

[Page 1268]

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Education. Yesterday when she was asked what she was doing to keep the 25,000 students in class at our community college, the minister gave an amazing response, ". . . my only role as Minister of Education is to protect the collective bargaining process . . .". I'm sure that the minister has had plenty of time to reconsider that answer, so I'll ask her once again, what is she doing today to keep our 25,000 students in class at the community college?

HON. MARILYN MORE: Mr. Speaker, our government recognizes the freedom of association, which is a fundamental right of people to gather together and form unions. The NSTU has been granted the very important right and privilege of the collective bargaining process and that is the means by which they and their employer, the Nova Scotia Community College, settle any disputes. Believe me, there's not a person in this Chamber who does not want this dispute settled before a strike happens. So we must all be encouraging both sides to come back to the table to reconsider their options and to reach a solution before that step happens. Thank you.

MR. MACNEIL: Mr. Speaker, this Premier has invited them back to the table with parameters he knows that this union cannot accept sitting down at that table. He is going to handcuff anyone sitting down there and trying to negotiate a deal, and this government knows it.

Mr. Speaker, this minister seems to not understand her role and responsibilities, not as Minister of Education nor as Minister of Labour and Workforce Development. Her first responsibility is not to the collective bargaining process, it is to the citizens of this province.

Let's consider the options - she could spend $1.5 million from the government's so-called restructuring fund, or this province can take a multi-million dollar hit in the damage to our economy because of a labour dispute that will throw havoc into the lives of 25,000 students. My question to the minister is, what is your priority, why are you making a point to other unions instead of standing up for the 25,000 students in our province?

MS. MORE: Mr. Speaker, I don't think there is a single person in this province who has worked alongside me in my lifetime commitment to public education and post-secondary education who doesn't believe that I am doing absolutely everything I can to resolve this situation.

As I said, and I'll repeat myself again, this collective bargaining process should happen at the table, not in this Chamber. I have full confidence that reasonable people can reach a reasonable compromise that will protect the community college system in this province. Thank you.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, this minister has been asked, time and time again in this House, what is she doing for those 25,000 students to keep them in class? I have no doubt

[Page 1269]

that this minister is doing everything that she possibly can, but I want to tell you something, Mr. Speaker, there's something at work beyond these 25,000 students, and what's at work is this government - it is not the Minister of Education.

In my view this lies right at the feet of the Premier of our province. He's going to make an example out of those 900 community college teachers because, later on, he's going to have to sit down next to his buddies when we start negotiating larger collective agreements and he's going to put at risk the education of 25,000 students in our province because of his political future. It is not the Minister of Education, quite frankly. I believe, Madam Minister, you're being hung out to dry by your own Premier. My question to you is, why will you not use less than 1 per cent of that $179 million you set aside to settle this dispute?

MS. MORE: Mr. Speaker, I will not be negotiating this collective agreement on the floor of this Chamber. The solution is at the table and I encourage both sides to go back and talk to one another. Thank you.

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

SNSMR: HEATING ASSISTANCE REBATE PROG. - REDUCTION

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL. Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. This government has cut the amount of money to families under the Heating Assistance Rebate Program from $450 to $200. Last night the temperature dipped below zero - this brings this issue sharply into focus for those on fixed incomes and low incomes, people like Alexander MacPhee who lives in Deepdale, Inverness County, who lives on a pension. He relies on HARP and was depending on the $450. My question to the minister is, Mr. Speaker, why did you take that $250 away from people like Alexander MacPhee?

HON. RAMONA JENNEX: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for the question. This government made commitments during our campaign, and one of those commitments was to make life better for Nova Scotians. We did that on October 1st, when we brought in that the provincial portion of the HST was removed from electricity. Another one of our commitments was that we would honour the commitments made by the past government. We have taken the HARP program, the way it was designed by the past government, and are initiating it in its exact form as we received it.

[3:15 p.m.]

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, the minister is referring to two different programs. The first Act they did as a government was come in and cut the HST. They gave themselves a tax cut on their electric bill, while low income Nova Scotians are having trouble filling their oil

[Page 1270]

barrel. They are two different programs. The NDP claimed to have broadened this program. In the real world that means people such as Alexander MacPhee, on a fixed income, will get less. In communities such as Cheticamp, Inverness and Mabou where the majority of people heat with oil, those who really need the help will have to go somewhere else, and that somewhere else will be local food banks or local volunteer organizations.

My question to the minister is, why is your government downloading its responsibilities to the volunteer and charitable groups already stretched to the limit in our communities across this province?

MS. JENNEX: Mr. Speaker, I will repeat, we are initiating the HARP program as brought forward in the May 4th budget and the rationale behind the changes in the program was the cost of heating fuel dramatically decreased and the cost of electricity increased. (Interruptions) The rebate now is brought in so that more families in Nova Scotia will be able to get the rebate which is $200 for oil and $200 for electricity, which has increased from $150.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, the minister's own department will tell you, and tell her, that last year the rebate was $450 for those heating with oil. Today they have cut it by $250. That is not the same program that was presented by the former government. You have changed that program, you've reduced it from $450 to $200. I want you to stand in your place and explain to those Nova Scotians who relied on the $450 to heat their homes why it was more important for your Cabinet Ministers and every member of this House to have a reduction on their electricity bill while they're going cold this winter.

MR. SPEAKER: I'll remind honourable members to direct their questions through the Speaker, please. The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

MS. JENNEX: Mr. Speaker, I will repeat that this government did not change the program that was brought forward to us. (Interruptions) I have here an excerpt from the May 4th Budget Speech from Hansard and it says here very clearly that, may I quote, "We're also helping Nova Scotians stay warm this winter." It says that, " . . . Nova Scotians will continue to benefit from the Your Energy Rebate Program. Through our Heating Assistance Rebate Program, individuals with an income of $27,000 or below, and families with an income of $42,000 or below, will qualify for the rebate of up to $200. We are changing the threshold for those who heat with electricity. Those using electric heat will qualify for the rebate if they consume more than 27.4 kilowatt hours per day." This is an excerpt from Hansard, this was brought forward from the Budget Speech on May 4th, may I table that?

MR. SPEAKER: Yes.

The honourable member for Cumberland South.

[Page 1271]

JUSTICE: COURTHOUSE SECURITY

- IMPROVEMENT MEASURES

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice. On Tuesday, the courthouse in Halifax was the scene of an unnecessary attack by a young woman who took a concealed knife into the courthouse seemingly with an intent to cause bodily harm. What measures has the minister taken since being sworn into Cabinet to ensure court safety and security is tightened so that concealed weapons such as we've seen this week are prevented from entering our provincial courthouses?

HON. ROSS LANDRY: Well in the past year the Sheriff's Department has gone from, I think it's 37 to 52 officers, and effective today anyone going through the screening device at the court office who sets off the metal detector will be questioned and, if the source of the detection is not established, the person will not be allowed entrance into the facility.

MR. SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, the additions the honourable minister just talked about, I believe you would find were brought in by the previous Minister of Justice. In 2007, the Department of Justice held a security review of courthouses around the Province of Nova Scotia, and the then-Minister of Justice, the honourable member for Cape Breton Nova - sorry, Cape Breton North (Interruption) Close, some day, Gordie - the MLA for Cape Breton North toured the courthouse to see the security issues and how the measures could impact upon staff security concerns.

Mr. Speaker, my question through you to the minister is, has the minister gone to the courthouse on Spring Garden Road to view the security layout and discuss how security can be improved by engaging recommendations from front-line staff?

MR. LANDRY: I want to thank the member across the floor for that question. Also, you are correct when you say that the previous minister brought in the extra resources and that was a good thing and the resources are well placed.

One of the things that we're doing is that each of the courthouses has a committee to review and assess the security of their facilities, and they're to bring those issues forward and we will continue to evaluate and assess them. Concerning the resources that are already in place, we'll redeploy them where we see that there's risk and address those in a timely manner.

MR. SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member didn't answer the question - I asked if he took the opportunity to go to the courthouse on Spring Garden Road to view the layout himself, as the previous minister had done before him.

[Page 1272]

Mr. Speaker, visitors, court staff, members of the public are at risk if there are gaps in the courthouse security. The previous minister did bring in and implement those things we talked about - more sheriffs and more metal detectors. The PC Government stepped up and made changes that were brought to our attention and were necessary.

Mr. Speaker, my question through you to the minister, is will the minister commit to the House today that he'll make court safety and security a top priority of his ministry to ensure the safety of those who visit the courthouses for any reason at all?

MR. LANDRY: Being the Minister of Justice, the security of all courthouses and of all Nova Scotians is a priority of mine, and that's not something new - that's a conscientious action each and every day that I sit in this seat.

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

EDUC. - NSCC STRIKE: GRADUATION - EFFECT

MS. KELLY REGAN: Mr. Speaker, I've been hearing from a lot of NSCC students. Yesterday I received a notice from Jenn, a constituent and a student in the Practical Nursing Program at NSCC's Waterfront Campus. Jenn wrote, "I am so grateful to have found a program that I love . . . The program I'm in is amazing - the teachers are brilliant and incredibly passionate about what they do."

Now, Jenn has found a program that she loves, but it seems that the minister doesn't care about her well-being and allowing her to finish her school year.

The minister says her role is to oversee the collective bargaining process. So my question to the Minister of Education is, will you tell Jenn that you are more concerned with the collective bargaining process than looking out for her best interests as a student?

HON. MARILYN MORE: Mr. Speaker, as I have said many times on the floor of this Chamber, the Nova Scotia Community College system is an excellent system and it brings great pride and satisfaction, I think. Especially, I want to commend the Progressive Conservative Party for having the vision and the political will and providing the resources to turn that into a top-notch educational post-secondary system in this province. As I've said many times, there are excellent programs.

I share with every single person sitting in this Chamber, the hope that we will avoid a strike. Nobody wants a strike, but this is the collective bargaining process unfolding and it would be irresponsible of me to negotiate through the media or negotiate on the floor of this Chamber. The two parties involved - that is the underlying premise of collective bargaining, that they have both the right and the duty and responsibility to settle their disagreements at the negotiating table.

[Page 1273]

MS. REGAN: Mr. Speaker, I realize the minister is just following orders but her inaction is unacceptable. Jenn also talked about the implications of a strike on her entry into the workforce, "This will delay our entrance into the workforce which will do nothing to help with the nursing shortage. The delayed graduation will limit the number of LPNs that will be able to come in and fill positions by 6 months. Also, with H1N1 we're going to need all the health care workers we can get." My question to the minister is, can you guarantee that Jenn will graduate on time should there be a strike?

MS. MORE: Mr. Speaker, I would certainly be interested in reading myself the comments from that student, so perhaps the honourable member could table the paper that she's reading from. We're all aware, we're all getting e-mails, phone messages, and having face-to-face discussions with people who will be impacted if we go into a strike situation. We are trying to avoid that so I ask everyone to encourage the two sides to get back to the negotiating table so that they can resolve their differences and avoid a strike.

MS. REGAN: Mr. Speaker, again we keep hearing about the collective bargaining process. I submit to you that a strike is as much a part of collective bargaining as a divorce is part of a marriage. Another student, Roxanne, is a single mother of five children. I talked on the phone with Roxanne today. Now, Roxanne suffered an injury at her previous job and as a result she's on Employment Insurance and she's funded to go to school. Roxanne is going to NSCC so she can support her five children. If she loses any time, she will not be able to finish her program because her EI benefits will end.

Mr. Speaker, this is a bitter deal for today's families. My final question to the minister is, can you tell Roxanne and her five children what you have done to prevent a strike?

MS. MORE: Mr. Speaker, no one is denying that this is a stressful time, particularly for the students but also for the faculty and professional staff of the community college. We empathize but it would be irresponsible, as I said earlier, to step in and not allow the two parties to reach a negotiated settlement at the table.

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

EDUC. - NSCC: FUNDING - PRIORITIES

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, through you to the Minister of Education. The Minister of Education, who appears to be in conflict with the Minister of Labour and

[Page 1274]

Workforce Development, can't seem to get her priorities straight when it comes to maintaining the integrity of the program needs of the Nova Scotia Community College. In fact, she says she can't interfere with a process that, in part, she oversees. Further, her government has chosen land as a greater priority than our people.

Mr. Speaker, will the minister please inform this House how she can support an additional deficit investment of $66 million to buy dirt yet the government is treating the community college teachers and pushing them aside like dirt in this province?

HON. MARILYN MORE: Mr. Speaker, I believe the honourable member understands full well that as government, we have to balance all needs of all Nova Scotians in this province. We have put additional money into education - both public education and post-secondary education - in this province through this budget and, believe me, we are taking very seriously our responsibility for education. These are very difficult times and we're all feeling the stress but no more than the extreme stress and anxiety faced by the students, the professional staff and faculty. It's a very difficult time for them and I think our best efforts can be put to encouraging the two sides to get back to the table and resolve this before there is a major disruption.

[3:30 p.m.]

MR. CLARKE: The Premier's Office and his NDP spin doctors have been successful with the indoctrination of his ministers to use the words "we're following due process". Well, Mr. Speaker, it's due time. The Minister of Education needs to talk to the Minister of Labour and Workforce Development and get on with the real process of settling with the NSTU and give community college teachers parity with their colleagues, in fact, we would be happy to supply her with a mirror to help her in those negotiations. (Laughter)

Mr. Speaker, since the Minister of Education refuses to help, my question through you is to the Minister of Labour and Workforce Development and minister responsible for the Trade Union Act, will the Minister of Labour and Workforce Development finally do what her colleague refuses to do and commit to binding arbitration without strings attached?

MS. MARILYN MORE: Mr. Speaker, I have sat in this Legislature for six years and I don't remember hearing or seeing any previously negotiated settlements done on the floor of this Chamber. As the honourable member knows full well, binding arbitration is an agreement between the two parties, they have the choice of going and choosing an arbitrator. It is not something that is mandated by government, it is not something that's mandated by the Minister of Labour and Workforce Development. In that role, I again encourage everyone to support the two parties to go back to the table and to reach an agreement, a compromise; something that they can both live with and that protects the community college system in our province.

[Page 1275]

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, she can say what she wants but she knows that the government can settle this if they had the political will to do it. The NDP are showing their true colours this Fall and the teachers of the Nova Scotia Community College are seeing it as clearly orange. We've experienced one Code Orange after another in our province's ERs. The Minister of Health stated yesterday, "I would like to assure that member and all members in the House that long-term facilities are well staffed and any labour disruption at the Nova Scotia Community College will have absolutely no impact on the long-term care sector."

We have long-term care facilities in need of and expecting community college graduates to be available to work immediately following graduation. Well, a different kind of Code Orange may now result in the long-term care sector thanks to the inaction of the NDP. Mr. Speaker, will the Minister of Health, or perhaps the minister emeritus from Halifax Citadel-Sable Island, inform the House what constituency plans she has for the long-term care sector if a strike disrupts classes, graduation and the availability of care workers other than just sending out e-mails to keep them informed?

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, it is a very long stretch to try to tie a potential labour disruption at the community college to the long-term care sector. Over the last number of years, a very significant number of people have been trained, not only in our community colleges but also in private career colleges and, in fact, in the long-term care sector itself. The training continues in Northwood and in many other long-term sector institutions. We're not in a position where we will see a dramatic impact on long-term care as a result of a labour disruption at the community college.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

FISH. & AQUACULTURE: BAXTERS COVE LOBSTER HATCHERY

- FUNDING

MR. HAROLD THERIAULT: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Acting Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. Last month the Inverness South Fishermen's Association voted to provide core funding to a group trying to build a lobster hatchery at Baxters Cove, Inverness County. They have the base funding and now they need assistance from the government. So my question to the acting minister, will your department provide financial assistance to this important project?

HON. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for his question. I will certainly assure the member opposite that I'll take his request to the minister and see what response the minister might get for him.

MR. THERIAULT: Mr. Speaker, this project will cost approximately $378,000 and will put much-needed life into the local lobster fishery. Officials from DFO have explored

[Page 1276]

the waters off Judique and found no signs of lobster beds whatsoever. This only validates the need for this important project. This project needs funding from all levels of government, and since the NDP campaigned in the provincial election to challenge the federal government, my question to the minister again is, will you be lobbying your federal counterpart to seek funding on behalf of this project?

MR. MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I would say that would seem like a reasonable request of the member, to ask the minister to lobby on behalf of this project.

MR. THERIAULT: Mr. Speaker, the livelihood of lobster fishermen in this area has been hurt by instability in the industry and unpredictable prices, as well as high costs for gear and fuel. This hatchery would be the third in Canada, still making it an innovative and modern project. The fishing industry is crucial to the Cape Breton economy and directly employs 600 people in Inverness County alone. My final question to the minister is, will you commit today to providing financial assistance to this project and help revive the lobster fishing area, yes or no?

MR. MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I guess the member would recognize that I obviously couldn't say yes, but the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture is meeting on Prince Edward Island as we speak, and with the federal minister, so I'd be glad to try to get a message to him so that he could raise this with the federal minister while he's there.

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

HPP: SEASONAL FLU VACCINE - AVAILABILITY

MR. ALFIE MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Health Promotion and Protection. A CBR resident, Charmaine Jesty, recently attempted to get her seasonal flu shot. She was denied. The minister and her department have been very aggressive with messaging for people to get vaccinated. My question for the minister is this, is there a vaccine shortage?

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I am concerned about the information that the honourable member brings here. There is no shortage of seasonal flu vaccine. The seasonal flu vaccinations have started across the province, notices have been placed in newspapers across the province, and I know clinics are occurring as we speak. The vaccine is targeted primarily at seniors, people over 65 years of age, and those in long-term care facilities. However, I believe that no one was to be turned away if they showed up for a seasonal vaccine. I will collect the information from the honourable member and I also will check with our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Robert Strang, on what is the best procedure for an individual in the situation that the member speaks of.

[Page 1277]

MR. MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, Charmaine is a First Nations person who suffers with a compromised immune system. She has type 2 diabetes and she is seeking to protect herself from what could be a very dangerous influenza season, and she was denied. Her family doctor said there was not enough vaccine to meet the request. My question to the minister is this, if there is no shortage, why are Nova Scotians who are seeking treatment being turned away?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, as I said previously, to the best of my knowledge there is no shortage. We ordered the same amount of vaccine that we would have for any normal influenza season. However, because of H1N1, there has been a change in the scheduling of how the vaccine is delivered. The normal influenza vaccine is recommended for people who are over the age of 65 or people in long-term care.

I believe the reason for this is that there was an element of concern about whether or not a person receiving influenza vaccine would become more susceptible to the H1N1 virus. To be on the cautious and the safe side, the Chief Medical Officer in this province as well as in Ontario, I believe, and perhaps some other provinces, made a decision to have influenza vaccine targeted to seniors and people in long-term care. (Applause)

MR. MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, for years people who have compromised immune systems have been given this vaccination. People who have problems with their health have been given this vaccination. Doctors have called and asked for supplies and been told the supply is restricted. What I don't understand is if we have people who qualified last year for this vaccination, who have systems in jeopardy, why are we not allowing them this year to get that same vaccination? Will you personally ensure, Madam Minister, that those who require and ask for this vaccination get it in the Province of Nova Scotia?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the health and the well-being of Nova Scotians is our first priority. It's the first priority of the Chief Medical Officer of the Province of Nova Scotia. Everyone will recognize that we have an added complication this year because of a worldwide pandemic, H1N1. We have the regular influenza vaccine, it is available. It is being provided right now under the direction of the Chief Medical Officer of the province who has said that the people who should get this vaccine first are senior citizens and those in long-term care. That's all I can say.

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

ERD: ECON. COUN. OF CHETICAMP - FUNDING

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question today is for the Minister of Economic and Rural Development. The Economic Council of Cheticamp is working on improvements to their community. They were promised help from the province. This is a $1.3 million project for which Economic and Rural Development would only have

[Page 1278]

to contribute $100,000 over two years. The rest of the $1.3 million is being raised by various sources, including Enterprise Cape Breton and by private business.

The Strait-Highlands Regional Development Agency and the Economic Council submitted an application back in June for assistance and have yet to hear an official response. My question to the minister is, will the Department of Economic and Rural Development commit to assist the community of Cheticamp this year?

HON. PERCY PARIS: Mr. Speaker, through you to the honourable member, it's true that Cheticamp did apply for funding. Actually, I just received a letter from the Cheticamp Economic Council as I was coming over here today. What has happened is that Cheticamp appeared to meet all of the requirements according to the funding. One of the problems we've had is that the funding is deleted. However, having said that, my instructions at the time still remain the same - that my instructions to staff were, since this meets all the criteria, continue to work with the group and with the organization to see what we can do in the future.

[3:45 p.m.]

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the code for that one is that we'll try to keep them guessing until after the election is over and then we'll see where it goes.

Mr. Speaker, still no funding yet. Actual spending on community development programs in 2009 was $9.5 million, yet the NDP chose to decrease funding by 31 per cent in this budget. Main streets are important to community development, and Trenton isn't the only community that needs assistance. Cheticamp has already done their part - business is committed, Enterprise Cape Breton is committed, the Strait-Highlands RDA is committed, and the people of Cheticamp are committed.

This minister is not committed - at least not to communities' development. Two letters from Economic Council dated September 25th and October 5th make it clear that they have received no response to their application, which was made in June. They are waiting for help and the minister is cutting funds.

Mr. Speaker, my question to the minister is, why was the funding for community programs decreased by $3 million between this budget and the one presented in May?

MR. PARIS: Mr. Speaker, I heard a couple of questions. My first response is that, with respect to Cheticamp, before I came over here this afternoon my office put in a telephone call to the President of the Cheticamp Economic Council. We have encouraged, and I will continue to encourage, Cheticamp to remain engaged with the Department of Economic and Rural Development. I reiterate, as I said when I first stood up, that it met all the criteria, and we would like to continue to be very much involved with Cheticamp.

[Page 1279]

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: I guess the dialogue is continuing, Mr. Speaker, but there doesn't seem to be much action on behalf of the government.

Yesterday the minister announced improvements to the Town of Trenton. I have a news release here that was dated yesterday, and I'll table that release. This is a good project, no question about that. The project was made possible through the community development funds - the same program that Cheticamp applied to back in June.

The minister has offered Trenton $142,000, and to say there are no funds left when the minister is handing out money to other communities strikes me as very odd. This is an urgent project for Cheticamp. They needed to be able to meet the Fall construction period, and now, because of the minister's failure to act, Cheticamp is running out of time.

My question to the minister, Mr. Speaker, will the minister keep his word and give Cheticamp the money they need and deserve?

MR. PARIS: Mr. Speaker, through you I will say that I don't recall ever giving my word to anyone with respect to money until staff has done due diligence.

With respect to Cheticamp, I reiterate, staff have identified this as a worthwhile program. The problem that Cheticamp ran into was one around timing. We have limited funds; funds ran out. My word was and remains that Cheticamp stay engaged with us and we'll work from there.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton South on a new question.

JUSTICE: CRIME PREVENTION FUNDING - DETAILS

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Justice. During estimates the minister referred to $180,000 which was set aside for the purposes of crime prevention. My question to the minister is, would the minister please explain what particular program or programs these funds are targeted for?

HON. ROSS LANDRY: I find the question kind of ironic, in a sense, because they're scheduled for crime prevention, and as I said in the hearings there, that we're developing the process and very shortly the criteria to help support that will be laid out but I encouraged the member at the time to bring forth any recommendation and I encourage anyone in the House that if they have any recommendations or ideas for their communities to help in crime prevention, we will work with them and assure that the monies get out to all Nova Scotians.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, it seems a bit odd that $180,000 is going towards undefined and untargeted use. Yesterday the minister was at a loss to explain

[Page 1280]

what this money would be used for and how organizations could apply for any portion of this money. My question for the minister is, would the minister clarify exactly which organizations are eligible, what programs fit his criteria, and what forms are available for community organizations to use to apply for these funds?

MR. LANDRY: I want to apologize to the member across there for not explaining my answer properly the first time. In the hearings, there I laid out that we're developing the criteria for where that money can go but, as I said to the member on the day, anybody who has a request dealing with crime prevention to help improve the safety and quality of life in their community, come forward, and as this process is rolled out, the eligibility will be given, the money will be distributed. There's no secret here. It's there for use.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: The money is there for use. I wish somebody would tell that to the Minister of Education - use some money for her problem. It seems highly unlikely that an organization would be prepared to apply for funds that do not have a specific purpose or any application process. Last night the minister commented to the House that organizations simply need to write him and they will receive their funding, they simply need to write him. My question is, will the minister explain how this is any different than the rink revitalization program that this government cut?

MR. LANDRY: You play hockey in rinks; crime prevention is crime prevention. I really don't get your question but, anyway, we'll roll it out. I've been in this position for just over three months and I encourage crime prevention. We are committed to crime prevention and encouraging the community to be part of the solution.

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

HPP - RINK REVITALIZATION PROG.: CUT

- RECONSIDER

MR. KEITH BAIN: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is for the Minister of Health Promotion and Protection. In your Communications Nova Scotia news release issued last Friday and as discussed in yesterday's questioning, you mentioned about the other recreational programs and grants to assist rinks, and that there would be no need for the rink revitalization program. It has been obvious from the get-go that the minister hasn't spent much time in community rinks across Nova Scotia. Madam Minister, the programs you discuss all require funding commitments from the local community. For example, B-FIT is for projects greater than $450,000 but the province will only pay up to 50 per cent of the costs. RFD Program is for projects valued to a maximum of $150,000 but, once again, the province only pays half. Even the smallest program with funding of $5,000, the province only pays one-third of the costs. I will table that information. There are rinks that simply don't have this kind of funding to cost-share.

[Page 1281]

My question to the minister is, will you reconsider your government's draconian measure of this $2 million cut and perhaps, for example, remove $2 million from the budget where you were going to buy land so that these rinks can do the necessary repairs and upgrades?

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I think the honourable member doesn't know me very well if he thinks I haven't spent very much time in rinks. I've spent a fair amount of time in the Antigonish arena cheering on the Bull Dogs. I've spent a bit of time in the Strait of Canso as well, in the arenas there. So I've spent a fair amount of time in rinks and I have a rink in my own constituency in the north end of Halifax where I spend time as well.

I'm pleased that our government has three programs that support rinks. I'm also pleased those programs require some matching funds because that means that not only do they end up with funds from the provincial government, but in fact they end up with funds from other levels of government, like municipal government and including fundraising at the community level.

Sometimes it's those fundraising activities that strengthen the organization and keep it healthy and strong. That's what I've learned in my lifetime in community rinks.

MR. BAIN: Mr. Speaker, I'm glad the minister mentioned the Antigonish Arena because the NDP candidate in Antigonish visited the arena manager, Bud McInnis, last week and attempted to sell him on the fact that the $2 million was only a line item and could not be considered a solid budget item. Why do you feel it's necessary to fool such people because, as Mr. McInnis said, the $2 million was in the May budget and the NDP said they were not going to change anything - just take every opportunity to pass the blame?

Instead, you did the exact opposite. How can you expect Nova Scotians, especially rink enthusiasts and minor hockey moms and dads, to believe what this government says?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member's Party themselves, in a press release they put out which I tabled earlier, said this was a one-time-only program. This was a program that was intended for one-time maintenance costs. All of the arenas across the province received the same amount of money - $27,000 - whether or not they needed the money, regardless of the extent of the need they might have had. There was very little accountability around the expenditure of this money. Although we know that many arenas used it to good effect, this is not the way this government will invest in the infrastructure of this province.

MR. BAIN: Mr. Speaker, my question will be much shorter than the answer the minister gave.

[Page 1282]

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

The honourable member for Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville.

MR. MAT WHYNOTT: Mr. Speaker, I want to draw the attention of the House to the east gallery. A good friend of mine, Josh Bragg, I believe, is up there - west gallery, sorry, the west gallery. Josh is certainly not a stranger to this House; his father served his community well here for a few years with dedication. Believe it or not, Josh and I travelled the Middle East together a couple of years ago for a couple of weeks and it's been fantastic. Even though he may have different political views than I do, he's always welcome here and give him a round of applause, please. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition on an introduction.

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL: I would just like to comment on Josh, he got an NDP to introduce him and the Liberals are here cheering for him and he's wearing blue. He's got it all covered today. You can really tell he was paying attention as a Page around here. (Laughter)

I also want to acknowledge Claude Poirier. Claude is in from Cheticamp, he is an entrepreneur in Cheticamp, he owns the Cheticamp Welding. Claude, it's always good to see you here and I'd ask everyone in the House to give him a warm welcome. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We welcome all our visitors here today.

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT: 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.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

[Page 1283]

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, as you know, I had the occasion a couple of weeks ago to attend at the 55th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Conference, which was held in Arusha in Tanzania. I attended that as a representative of the Nova Scotia Branch of the CPA. I wanted to take my time today to report to you and to my colleagues on my experience at the CPA conference. I'm actually writing up a report to you, which will be delivered to you fairly soon and along with that will be some of the documentation from the CPA meeting but I thought I should supplement that today by reporting in a little more detail to all of my colleagues.

It normally would be the case then when only one representative comes from a branch that that representative would be the Speaker of the Legislature. It fell to my lot to attend the CPA meeting only because you, Mr. Speaker, chose not to attend as Nova Scotia's representative this year for reasons having to do with your obligations here during the House sitting. I have to therefore express my thanks to you for having, by that choice, left it open for me to have the experience of attending what was my first very large international conference and also to have visited Africa for the very first time.

This was quite an amazing event. It was held in Arusha, Tanzania, which is the home area of the outgoing CPA President Samuel Sita. Honourable Mr. Sita is the Speaker of the House of Assembly or the Parliament of Tanzania. The tradition seems to be that the annual conference takes place in the nation of the president of the CPA. I should advise you that the new president who took office during this conference is the honourable Kenneth Marende of Kenya. What will happen is that next year's conference therefore will be located in Kenya. Looking ahead just one year beyond that to 2011, the CPA conference will actually be held in London, England because that will be the 100th Anniversary of the founding of the CPA.

I want to start by giving just a brief overview of the conference and then I'll give a little more detail. The conference was attended by upwards of 500 delegates and staff. I have to say it was extremely well-organized. I attended the plenary sessions and several of the focused policy discussion sessions. Although, of course, the formal interactions were very useful, a great deal of the virtue of the conference is in the informal contacts and interactions. Let me also note that one real highlight was an excursion that was built in for all delegates to take one day and attend some of the national parks.

Let me also point out that much of the informal talk amongst delegates was about the future of the CPA itself. The issue being, whether the organization continues to serve a useful purpose and if so, in what way the focus of the organization could be sharpened. With that brief overview, let me go back to making some more detailed comments.

I think I should confess immediately that since I was the sole delegate from Nova Scotia and since the tradition is that when only one representative comes from a branch, it's the Speaker, the organizers seemed to think that I was the Speaker for the Legislature of

[Page 1284]

Nova Scotia and it said that on my identification tag. I didn't force the organizers to issue me a new badge and I proudly wore the designation Speaker, although I did correct that piece of misinformation with anyone that I actually came into contact with.

In fact, I ran into quite a number of your friends and acquaintances from previous meetings. They all asked to be remembered to you. In fact, I ran into quite a number of Nova Scotians during this conference because it turns out that the Speakers of some other jurisdictions are also Nova Scotian. Of course, you'll be familiar with Kathleen Casey who is Speaker of the Legislature in Prince Edward Island, she's a Nova Scotian. The Speaker of the Northwest Territories Legislature, Paul Delorey, and his wife, Davida, are both Nova Scotians. I had a pleasant chat with them. In fact, in attendance at the CPA conference, because he was speaking on some of the policy panels, was our former colleague, Kevin Deveaux, who now works with the United Nations Development Program. His job is to work with developing nations and their elected officials in order to sharpen their skills in terms of delivering effective parliamentary governance. So Nova Scotia was not only represented, but represented by many people who have former associations with Nova Scotia.

One of the perks you would have enjoyed, Mr. Speaker, was that as an exalted office holder, you were assigned a car and a driver, and I have to tell you that I did not take advantage of this perk. When we were moved from place to place, I simply got on the bus with everyone else in order to continue to participate in the informal discussions and in order to meet and not isolate myself from a number of the other delegates.

Let me tell you first, to give you something of the flavour of a big international conference - it's clear that, although we are all members of the Commonwealth and all have the shared tradition of having been part of the British Colonies at one point, there are tensions that are sometimes not very far below the surface. Let me just illustrate one way in which this showed itself in the plenary session, or one of the plenary sessions. It opened with the President, or perhaps it was the Secretary General of the CPA, making an introductory speech, and during his speech he asked for a moment of silence to be observed in memorial for people who had died in various natural disasters in different Commonwealth countries over the preceding year, and this occurred.

The speaker after the Secretary General of the CPA happened to be another member of the Executive Committee who came from Pakistan, and in her remarks, she observed that in Pakistan, which she characterized as at the forefront of the war against terror, quite a number of people had in the past year also been killed in fighting, and she also invited us to observe a moment of silence. This took place.

Well, after the various executive members had addressed us, the delegate from India got to his feet and wanted to point out that if it was a question of observing the deaths of people who had given their lives in fights against terror, he wanted it put on record that, of course, a great many Indians had died in the last year in matters of terrorism. It seems clear

[Page 1285]

that he was motivated by the fact that the delegate from Pakistan had spoken and talked only about people who had died in her country.

I mention this only because - not because these aren't real events, they're serious events and they certainly are of importance and particular importance in the nations where they took place - they do illustrate the tensions that exist and are often not all that far below the surface when people get together at international conferences.

Let me tell you a bit about one of the policy sessions that I attended. There were a variety on offer - they were going on simultaneously - and the first one I chose to attend had to do with the worldwide economic crisis and the role of different parliaments, and how they can engage with the fluctuations and difficulties that have come about as a result of changes in the financial world.

It seemed clear from the presentations that most governments had adopted similar measures, and they were a mixture of stimulus spending along with a reduction in the cost of core government activities, along with efforts to help their economies develop their areas of strength, along with promotion of education, along with a refinancing of debt, if that could occur, along with expansion of trade partners, and along with a questioning of deregulation as a prevailing philosophy. Of course, the degree to which one national government or another had adopted these various measures varied depending on their particular circumstances, and some nations were better positioned to be able to move with some of these policy initiatives. Some, for example - particularly poor nations and smaller nations - weren't really able, especially if they, like Nova Scotia, already carried a lot of debt - didn't really feel that they could engage in a lot of deficit spending in order to stimulate their economies.

One of the notable speakers on that panel was a man named Ben Turok. Ben Turok is a Member of Parliament in South Africa for the African National Congress. He is a white man who has been a member of the African National Congress for some 40 years. I was particularly impressed by his presentation. It turns out that he is the author of more than a dozen books on various aspects of economics and politics, and I have had occasion, since meeting him, to ask the Legislative Library to borrow some of his books for me so I could read further, and I have to say that I was particularly thrilled to have met him.

Another point made by the poorer nations in that session was that they have been very hard hit in the economic recession, particularly their agricultural sectors. So I think we should be very mindful of that as we move forward.

The second policy session that I attended had to do with climate change. Much of this session was focused on accounts of the effects of global climate change on the different nation states. Island states complained, of course, of imminent threats to their very existence, and some coastal states reported that they have extensive flooding. I give you the example

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of, say, Bangladesh as a nation like that, with very limited resources to deal with serious change in weather.

Many nations reported that what were formerly extreme weather events are no longer occasional but are now regular, and they cited hurricanes. Of course, nations with a high dependence on agriculture noted the disruptions caused by both drought and floods.

I know my time is limited, Mr. Speaker, so I'll move away from this and just report a bit on the Canadian regional meeting, because one of the things that happened at the CPA Conference was that all of the branches from Canada got together. There was a lot of talk, again, about the future of the CPA, about the cost of the CPA, and I have to say that it seems likely that our branch will be asked to consider the structure of dues at some point in the future, and undoubtedly we'll be hearing from our representatives on the executive committee in some detail about that and we'll be asked to consider it.

Finally, in my last minute, Mr. Speaker, let me say something really wonderful about the Nation of Tanzania. I pointed out that all delegates had the opportunity to visit some of the national parks. I actually went to what is known as Ngorongoro, which is an extinct volcano, and this is in Masai territory. We were in four-wheel excursion vehicles, and there, I'm happy to say that I was able to both see and take photos of zebra, wildebeest, black rhino, warthogs, impala, hyenas, ostriches, hippos, lions, and giraffe, and I had a wonderful time at that - which doesn't take away, I assure you, from the fact that this was a serious conference, with serious business, and I was happy to attend on behalf of our branch. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you, honourable member, for what I'm sure was a very good and worthwhile experience.

The honourable member for Bedford-Birch Cove.

MS. KELLY REGAN: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if I could make an introduction. I would like to draw the members' attention to the east gallery, where we have the Provincial Executive of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union here today, watching proceedings in the House. I would ask that they all stand and that the members give them their warmest welcome. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, as Nova Scotia drifts inexorably toward a strike by community college teachers and professional staff, I'm struck by the government's lack of compassion for the students caught in the middle of this dispute. In fact, the Minister of Education has repeatedly dismissed a strike as part of the collective bargaining process, and I beg to differ - a strike is the failure of the collective bargaining process and, as I suggested earlier, a strike is to collective bargaining what a divorce is to a marriage.

[4:15 p.m.]

[Page 1287]

The facts surrounding this dispute are really quite simple - both the Nova Scotia Teachers Union and the Nova Scotia Community College agree teachers should get the 2.9 per cent raise in the second year of the contract. The government's refusal to give NSCC any more money to negotiate with means the college simply cannot negotiate in good faith - it simply has nothing else to offer. The attempt several weeks ago to return to the bargaining table was doomed to failure because the college had nothing new to offer. I heard from college teachers, they were really disappointed because they thought there was something new on the table. There was nothing new on the table - the table was empty.

Now, today I had an e-mail from Nova Scotia Community College President Joan McArthur-Blair, and that underlined this fact. She writes that she is profoundly disappointed that she sees no resolution in sight, She says: We have not been given any change in the financial mandate that will allow us to return to the table. We are stuck between two sets of principles - fairness and equity for NSTU members on the one hand and the fiscal realities of the province on the other.

Despite every effort to close that gap the divide remains, and I submit to you, Mr. Speaker, that in fact the president of the Nova Scotia Community College is being kind when she says "the fiscal realities of the province," because the fact remains that this government over here made choices when they made their budget, and they made choices that they are expecting the Nova Scotia Teachers Union to live with. The large deficit that the NDP Government cites as reason for the need to limit wage settlements was, in fact, artificially inflated by their own actions. They had a choice. By paying out the memorandum of understanding with the province's universities a year early, $341 million, they paid a bill early.

Now, I ask you, how many of us go and pay our mortgages a year early for the whole year? We don't do that unless we win a lottery. By and large what they have done is they have decided to put the well-being of the students of Nova Scotia Community College and the well-being of the teachers, and the well-being of the college itself, at risk because they want to make a political point. They want to pay out this bill a year early so that they can inflate our deficit and reduce it for next year. And, to add insult to injury, the Deloitte report into the state of the province's finances, commissioned by the NDP Government this summer, specifically indicated that advance one-time payments should not be made - the payments should be made in the year they are spent and they should be made on a quarterly basis.

The government continues to maintain that it will not interfere in this process, but the Deputy Premier has, in fact, repeatedly interfered with ministerial statements in the House and letters to the editor about 1 per cent raises, and now the Premier has refused the union's offer of binding arbitration. When the union first made the offer, the Premier suggested, well, he might agree to it but only if the negotiator took into account the province's ability to pay.

[Page 1288]

Now this is an ability his own government has seriously impeded by inflating the province's deficit - by insisting on this condition the Premier interfered in the collective bargaining process that he claims he values so much.

Mr. Speaker, I have heard from many teachers who are very concerned about the effect a strike is going to have on their students and, quite impressively, not one teacher has talked about, you know, I'm not going to be able to pay my mortgage, I'm not going to be able to do this, I'm not going to be able to do that. They have all talked to me about their students; it's their students' futures they're worried about, not ours.

Meanwhile the Minister of Education's comments indicate the government views the interruption in the lives of these students as some kind of minor collateral damage in a theoretical collective bargaining process. We have not heard one word from the government to outline how students are going to make up lost time, how apprenticeships can start without adequate classroom hours, how students collecting employment insurance are going to make up lost time.

There's no consideration for students who are here from other countries. What are they supposed to do during a strike, fly home to Africa? For students whose jobs will cease if they do not receive accreditation, for students who do not have families and do not have the luxury of wasting time, these students are attending NSCC because they want better lives. It is not right or fair to use them as pawns in the government's game of, let's use this union as an example.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to read now from the NDP's election brochure and I'm going to have to take off my glasses because I'm going to have trouble here reading the fine print. The first plan for today's families says, "Create the secure jobs Nova Scotia's economy needs." Now I ask you, how is this strike going to create the secure jobs that Nova Scotia's economy needs?

I have talked to teachers who are desperately worried about where their students are going to go after they finish their programs. The fact is, they don't think they're going to get to finish their programs so they don't know how these students are going to be able to go out and fill the jobs that are sitting there, begging, because we are not doing our job as creators of jobs and we are not - and by "we" I mean the government, sorry - the government is not doing its job to have labour force development. So I ask you, how can they tick this off on their Better Deal 2009? They can't.

Then we go down to No. 3, "Ensure more young people stay and build a life here in Nova Scotia." I ask you, how is having a strike at Nova Scotia Community College going to keep more students here? Do you think it is not going to tick people off? Do you think they're not going to leave? This is not Labour and Workforce Development, this is labour and workforce decimation.

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No. 7 says, under "Live within our means," they say to put the Legislature back to work for Nova Scotians. Mr. Speaker, I'm not clear on what they mean by that but I can tell you, I don't think the Minister of Labour and Workforce Development has been put back to work, or has been allowed to do her job, because she would be making sure that this strike doesn't happen. Instead, she's in conflict with herself, as the member for Cape Breton North suggested earlier. Here she is, she is the Minister of Education and she is supposed to be overseeing that whole process. She is also the Minister of Labour and she basically has to fight with herself to do her job.

It doesn't make sense. I don't think she is being allowed to do her job, I think she has been told by the Premier that she can't do her job because all she can do is say, we have to let the collective bargaining process proceed. This is not a collective bargaining process when you're on strike. What it is is a problem, what it is is a failure, and Nova Scotia can't afford failures right now.

I would like to read further from the letter from Joan McArthur-Blair. She says she's not going to give up until the first picket sign goes up at 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning, that there are 26,000 students counting on us to be there next week so their learning can continue.

I would put to you, Mr. Speaker, that there are 26,000 students counting on us to be here and making sure that their learning can continue. We need to be doing our jobs here. Across the other side of the House they need to be doing their jobs and it is not good enough to say that I have to stay back, I'm not allowed to touch this. In fact, a Minister of Labour is supposed to get involved. That's why they're called Ministers of Labour. It is not minister of not-labour. You are supposed to be there working to make sure that people can work. We're doing the exact opposite.

Another question in Ms. McArthur-Blair's letter that some of the students have been asking her, does that mean all the options are exhausted? She says, "We continue to examine every possible option; however, it is becoming increasingly clear there is not a resolution in sight and we may not be able to avert a strike." Imagine this - we may not be able to avert a strike. All we keep hearing from the other side of the House is that the two sides need to get back to the bargaining table. But what happened when they went back to the bargaining table? Well, nothing because there was nothing else to offer.

You can't just keep repeating go back to the table and not change the conditions that are at the table. I don't know what the minister expects to happen at this table. It's not the round table, it is just a table. What are they going to do? Play cards? The fact of the matter is, if there isn't more money provided, they cannot change the outcome. The outcome will keep being the same. Who was it who said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results? You can't expect different results if you keep saying go sit down at the table and, oh, by the way, you can't have any more money.

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You still think you should get 2.9 per cent because that's what you've always received? For the past 15 years, the Nova Scotia Community College teachers have always received what the public school teachers have received.

I do not understand why the government thinks that these people from the community colleges - these teachers who work hard, who care so much about their students that they haven't even once raised with me their mortgages, their lives, their careers as an issue in this strike - why they think they deserve less than public school teachers? No one has explained that to any adequate degree to me. I don't understand. I bet they don't understand either.

I don't relish being here under these circumstances. I don't relish criticizing people, people I believe are people of good faith and people who ran for office for the best of reasons. But I do feel that the minister's hands have been tied by the people who run her Party and I don't think it's fair. I don't think it's fair to her. I don't think it's fair to the union. I don't think it's fair to the students. I don't think it's fair to the college. I don't think this is fair at all.

I sincerely hope there's not a strike. But if there is one, the failure of the collective bargaining process is going to be laid at one person's door. It will be the Premier's door because it's been his decision all along to interfere in the process. It's been his decision all along to say that no, we're not going to give this particular group a raise. It's been his decision all along. Instead of being some enlightened rule, NDP rule will be remembered as a bitter deal for today's family. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Argyle.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, it's my pleasure to stand today and speak going into Supply. A lot of times when people stand to talk to Supply, they'll talk about their constituencies, about the people in their constituencies, about the campaign team - use it as a thank you time. I know the member for Halifax Chebucto spoke about his trip to Africa.

Mr. Speaker, I'm going to take the opportunity to speak of the Nova Scotia Community College and about the hard working teachers, support staff workers and students of the Nova Scotia Community College. We have a number of these individuals in our gallery today. We'll have a whole bunch more visiting Province House outside later on today. I look forward to meeting them.

[4:30 p.m.]

I look forward to saying that we, as an Opposition Party, along with the Liberal Party, are standing beside them. I know the member for Pictou East just about swallowed his tongue there because for years as a social democrat he has stood up there, to be there with

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his brothers and sisters, and now tongue-tied, he has to sit in that second row and listen to what the minister and the Premier have said and how they have tied his hands. I can see him standing to speak and support his brothers and sisters who are sitting there. (Interruption)

Mr. Speaker, the member for Pictou East knows full well who the government today is, and yesterday, as a matter of fact, he was bold enough to say that we lost the election. What that really means is that they actually didn't win, you know, with all the paperwork that they had put out in front of us, that they actually didn't win. (Interruption)

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

MR. D'ENTREMONT: As much as I have tremendous respect for the member for Pictou East and always will, Mr. Speaker, I know that he's having a hard time sitting in his chair and not speaking out about this one. He's frustrated and his hair is getting even grayer.

Mr. Speaker, I want to talk about the Nova Scotia Community College, specifically about the one that I know well, that's next to my constituency in Yarmouth. Of course, Argyle shares the County of Yarmouth and I know the member for Clare, as well - a lot of his students flow on into Yarmouth to take the courses that are so important. I can talk about the teachers whom I know there - the Curt Goodwins, the Tina d'Entremonts. I can talk about a whole bunch of support workers who are there but, most importantly, I can talk about the men and women who are there taking courses and bettering themselves, whether it is taking the nursing program, the CCA Program, you know, very valuable people as we look at a shortage of health care workers in this province.

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health stood in Question Period today and said this would have no impact on the health system. Well, I can tell you that it will because, if I remember correctly, there are 800 or more students taking their CCAs. Now, CCA is about a one-year program and part of that program is class time and practical experience in the long-term care facilities.

Well, I know with the additional beds put into the system and the additional beds put in the system by Shannex, GEM, and all these other companies are out there crying for people to come to work in those facilities. Yes, the Minister of Health said, well, some of these organizations have their own training program. Yes, they do, yes, they do, but they will not meet the need of long-term care providers. So I can say that even on that one point, I can say that the government is wrong.

Mr. Speaker, you know, there are more than 500 students in Yarmouth, part-time and full-time, and I can say every one of those people who are there are not just young students out of high school. Many of them actually are second-career people who have had a downturn in the fishery, who have hurt themselves at work, you name it; there are a lot of reasons for them for finding their second careers. They're there to better themselves to re-enter the workforce.

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Mr. Speaker, a part of the shame of it is that if these hardworking men and women have to go on strike and school is interrupted for God knows how long, if it goes over the month, and God forbid that happens, many of the students who are there, who are receiving funding through the federal government, and now the provincial government, will have their funding cut off. They can't sustain that length of time. So should there be a strike, which as I said, God forbid that there be one, I hope it's a very short one.

Mr. Speaker, the minister emeritus from Halifax Citadel-Sable Island spoke quite a little bit about the contingency planning. It seems like he talks about lots of stuff so I thought maybe I'd present an e-mail that I received, and I'll table this once I'm done with it. It goes a little bit like this:

"Dear Leonard Preyra,

I am writing to express my serious concern over the impact a looming strike is having on NSCC students, faculty, staff and families in your constituency Halifax-Citadel Sable Island [sic], where I reside.

It is important to treat all members of NSTU and the community college the same. I call on you as my elected representative to do everything in your power to prevent a strike and to treat the NSCC faculty fairly in this instance.

Historically, both groups of teachers, public school and NSCC, have enjoyed the same wages and benefits even though their contracts have been negotiated separately. Should this Premier not allow that to continue, he is sending a very strong message that is unfair to faculty and staff at NSCC. To date he has refused to accept the offer of binding arbitration presented by the NSTU - a conciliatory offer I believe was in the best interest of both parties.

The previous Minister of Education, Karen Casey, has said publicly that under her watch money was put aside in the Restructuring Fund outlined in the 2009-10 Budget for contract negotiations. A small fraction ($1.5 million) of this money is all that is needed to keep the 930 faculty and staff and 25,000 students in the classroom. We also know that $66 million was put aside for land acquisition . . .".

So the question that this constituent of the member for Halifax Citadel-Sable Island has asked him, and I hope he does answer it, I hope he has the opportunity at some point to stand and answer these questions:

"I ask you -

4. What are your thoughts about resolution?

I am very disturbed by this rapidly deteriorating situation. I support the NSCC teachers receiving the same increase as the other NSTU teachers previously. In the same vein, I certainly support binding arbitration with no strings attached. It may be the only fair path to a fair solution. I pay taxes. I vote. Please advise me of your answers to my questions as soon as possible.

Thank you."

This is from Mary Hamblin from Young Avenue in Halifax.

Mr. Speaker, I know my time is coming to an end and I can say that we are in a bit of a conundrum. I think the minister - I feel bad for the Minister of Education and the Minister of Labour and Workforce Development because - okay, I had four minutes a minute ago and now I have six? Okay, thank you. Well, I can go a lot longer. Thank you very much, I can keep it going for a long time.

I do, I feel bad for the minister because I think the Premier has put her in an absolutely impossible position. I understand why the Premier made a decision in putting Education and Labour and Workforce Development in one place, but the kicker here is that she is also responsible for the Trade Union Act. The Trade Union Act is what fair negotiation is about. It is about stepping into certain disputes when there is an impasse, providing different types of consolation, work between these two parties.

The minister has to follow her guidelines and her guidelines today, as set forth by her Premier, is that we have to follow the collective bargaining process. We have to let them go back to the bargaining table. Mr. Speaker, they've been at the bargaining table. They were at the bargaining table - I believe it was last week or the week before now - the bargaining team came back to the table and said it is 1 per cent, take it or leave it. Well, when you do the take-it-or-leave-it kind of thing, it kind of takes negotiation out of the whole thing. You

[Page 1294]

know, I'm sure Alexis and the group at NSTU sort of thanked them for the great offer - probably didn't, probably shook their heads in disgust.

Mr. Speaker, we'll continue to harp at this one. This one is about finding solutions. There's a reason why government puts aside money. There's a reason why the restructuring fund is there. I know that they talk about H1N1, which is very good - we need to have dollars available for that. They talk about buying land, and I know the Minister of Natural Resources is sincere when he says that, but maybe this year is not the year to buy all the land that those dollars would be made available to. I mean, how much money is in there for land acquisition? I forget the total number, but why can't we set aside $1.5 million of that? That's what a Cabinet needs to do - not just sit and, here's the number, and gee, my hands are tied. A good Cabinet is one that's reactive.

I know the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal is chuckling over there, and he'll learn this as time goes on, that there is a lot of discussion that happens at the Cabinet Table - and I know that he's trying to avoid that. He knows that, and being in this House longer than I have, I'll respect his thoughts on that, and if he wants to stand and speak on this issue and support the people up in this gallery, I'll give up my time for you to stand and speak. Actually, I've given him an easy time here, because ultimately I was going to stand and talk about a bridge and I was going to talk about some roads and I was going to talk about the different things in my constituency, but this supercedes it because we need - the people of Argyle, the people of Yarmouth County, the people of Nova Scotia - a strong community college system. We need one that is treated fairly, we need teachers who are treated fairly with their counterparts in the public school system. That's all we're asking here. This is not what I think is rocket science, but this government - and I know they spend a lot of time pointing fingers, playing the blame game, but ultimately they are the government now. I acquiesce to that. They're the government now, and I'm an Opposition member. As much as I'm an Opposition member, I know there are a lot of people sitting in the backbench there who would love to see a resolution for this as well.

I see the member for Lunenburg West who, I know, has his heart pulled in two directions in this case. He's had the privilege of working for NSCC and now has the privilege of sitting in this House, and it's going to be tough, there are a lot of tough decisions that have to be made sometimes, but this isn't the group to be trying to make an example of - you know, if they take the 1 per cent, then maybe everybody else is going to take 1 per cent. It's time for a fair deal. It's time to support the Nova Scotia Community College. We can't have a strike happen, and I thank you very much for the opportunity to speak this evening.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.

[4:43 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Supply with Deputy Speaker Hon. Wayne Gaudet in the Chair.]

[Page 1295]

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

MR. SPEAKER: We have arrived at the moment of interruption. The Adjournment motion was submitted by the Leader of the Official Opposition:

"Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly recognize the importance of the Heating Assistance Rebate Program and the serious impact government's decision to reduce the maximum rebate allowance for this program from $450 to $200 will have on Nova Scotians this year."

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

SNSMR: HEATING ASSISTANCE REBATE PROG.

- IMPORTANCE

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, I want to first of all congratulate the member for Annapolis for bringing this matter forward and realizing just how important a matter it is when you say that to reduce the maximum rebate allowance for this program is going to have a serious impact. It will indeed have a very serious impact on probably the most vulnerable people in our society, the people who can least afford it.

It was only a year ago the then-Progressive Conservative Government announced that Nova Scotians would receive a rebate of up to $450 if they were heating with oil under the Heating Assistance Rebate Program, which was formally known at one time as Keep the Heat.

Now we know the government is making changes to the program. We found that out, not through being told by government that they were making changes, because we received some correspondence from a concerned Nova Scotian who contacted Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations by e-mail and received a response that thanked him for his e-mail enquiry back on October 6th of this year about the Heating Assistance Rebate Program. We now know that the Heating Assistance Rebate Program is going to go ahead, but the amount has changed.

What used to be $450 will now be a maximum of $200. At that time, when we were informed of that, we didn't have any idea of when the program would start or whether or not applications would be available. But we did know that a family in Nova Scotia who would have been eligible to get $450 to put toward oil in their oil tank last year, is now only going to be eligible for $200 this winter. Many of those who are in need of that rebate have low

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incomes, they are low income Nova Scotians. Many of them rely on Community Services to provide their income. If you cut the rebate from $450 to $200, what it may mean is that instead of a month living in a warm house, it means less than two weeks. It could mean instead of buying food, some families will have to choose between either being hungry or being warm in their own homes.

It means that every volunteer agency, from food banks to churches, in every community across Nova Scotia, is going to be flooded with requests. I can personally testify to the fact, as an MLA in this House, in this province, for the last 10 years, that is what is going to happen. There are MLAs who have been here for quite some time, who have seen the Community Services Department tell people who have gone to them needing assistance to go see their MLA, to go to that rebate program, to go to the Nova Scotia Power Good Neighbour Program, because they simply - Community Services simply didn't have the budget for them. So this is the kind of program that was put in place, and I think rightfully so, by the previous government and by governments before that.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I understand, and I know that there are thousands who are going to really need this rebate and they're going to be suffering this winter when they only receive a maximum of about $200. I recall in estimates in the Red Room asking some questions of the Minister of Service Nova Scotia about this, and one of the things that I said at the time - and she agreed - was that by expanding the program, by making the maximum smaller, what you have done is you have made the pool bigger but the pool becomes shallower.

I think, and I don't think that I'm speaking out of turn here, the minister agreed with me when I made that comment in estimates. The decision to cut the amount eligible for each family is going to have consequences that will be felt throughout our communities. Those consequences are going to be hard, and in some cases, they're going to hurt families beyond the point where we may be able to help them.

Why didn't the government in this case, perhaps, just leave the program as it was? I understand that the previous government was about to make changes to this program, and that was in a budget that the NDP Government now took over and said you made a promise, that we're going to reinstate the promises made by the previous government in our budget. But you also had the opportunity, in drafting up your new budget as an NDP Government, to make changes to the existing budget, so the opportunity to leave the rebate at $450 was there.

I think anybody in this House would understand, and we all come from communities where there are people who are not very well off, that $450 goes a long way to purchasing oil et cetera for heat in the wintertime; $200 will not fill up an oil tank. As it was, $450 did not up fill an oil tank - half a tank, maybe - but it gave families that little bit of a break that they were looking for in the wintertime.

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So, you know, it's okay for me to stand here and say what they did wasn't right if they were planning - and I mean the former Tory Government - if they were planning to lower it to $200, I don't think that was right, and I don't think that it's right that the government - in this case the NDP Government - is playing the blame game by saying, well, they were going to do it, so we had to do it. I don't buy that argument.

What's happening here, regardless of what government is in power, is that there are low- and middle-income Nova Scotians who are being abandoned when you reduce that maximum rebate from $450 to $200. That's the hard reality of it all. Then to, on top of that, not have a contingency plan from either the Department of Community Services to handle the extra people that are going to be knocking on their door for assistance to help pay their heating bill. You know, Nova Scotia Power has a program, the Good Neighbour Program, and the provincial government contributes toward that program as well. To my understanding, I don't think that there has been an increase announced that would take some of the - no pun intended - some of the heat off this rebate being lowered to $200. Perhaps that's an idea that the government is willing to look at.

There are going to be people who will, as I said, make those choices - food or heat, food or heat - this winter, and the $200 is simply not enough. So when we say that it's going to have a serious impact on our communities, Mr. Speaker, we're talking about families who have nowhere else to go. As I mentioned, in some cases the last resort for some families in this province - although they do pay their visit to the Community Services Department, and I know because I know the people at the Community Services Department in Glace Bay have actually referred families that they can't help to food banks, because the food banks are the last resort. Some of the food banks, some of the organizations do have a little fund that they try to keep so that they can help people from time to time with things such as heating their homes if they fall through the cracks.

Now my suggestion here, Mr. Speaker, is that there's going to be more than just a few people falling through the cracks, if you go ahead with the program to lower it to $200. Those numbers are going to grow and those numbers will have nowhere else to turn, except to organizations like the food bank, like the churches, like the non-profit organizations that are out there already strapped to the limit and they don't have the funding to take care of this.

Mr. Speaker, I don't expect because we have a late debate in this Legislature, for the minister or the government to all of a sudden stand up and change their mind. What I do expect, and I think anybody who is an MLA in this House should expect is that at least the government would be listening and take it under consideration, take it into consideration that there are going to be Nova Scotians out there who are going to suffer as a result of this change. Whether it's a change that you want to take responsibility for or you want to put the blame on another government that did it, it doesn't matter to those people who are going to be knocking on our doors and knocking on the doors of food banks, looking for help this year. They won't play the blame game, they are simply looking for help and it has to come

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from their government. So I would encourage the government to rethink this. Again I thank the member for Annapolis for bringing this debate topic forward. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you.

The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

HON. RAMONA JENNEX: Mr. Speaker, I want to begin by thanking the honourable member for bringing this important topic to the floor of the House for late debate. Our government is very committed to helping Nova Scotians. Indeed, members of our government have over 100 years of collective experience in the House of Assembly doing just that. We are very focused on providing targeted, meaningful assistance. This is why we campaigned for over a decade to remove the HST from the essentials of life, like the HST on electricity. It was a Liberal Government that imposed this tax and a Progressive Conservative one that reimposed it on basic electricity costs.

I am proud to say that I am part of a government that is determined to make life more affordable for families. That is why we took the provincial portion of the HST off home electricity on October 1st, Mr. Speaker.

The recent budget includes funding to offer the Heating Assistance Rebate Program, the HARP, for the year 2009-2010 heating season. This program was first introduced in the year 2008-2009 in response to the skyrocketing price of home heating oil which left many Nova Scotians struggling to find the money to heat their homes. In fact, Mr. Speaker, this program helped approximately 54,000 households stay warm last year. Since this time we have seen the price of oil worldwide settle back down to a much lower range. In light of this, the rebate amounts have been adjusted accordingly.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out that as we have always indicated, this is one of the budget measures that was initially introduced by the previous government and one that we did not alter. This is a program authored and amended by members of the now Third Party in this House.

This government believes it is still important to offer this assistance once again this heating season. While the cost of heating oil has dropped, it still places a burden on low- to moderate-income Nova Scotians. Added to this, Mr. Speaker, is the fact that the cost of electricity has increased over this same time period. The modified Heating Assistance Rebate Program that we are supporting allows us to offer help in a much more affordable way, especially given the current fiscal reality.

Mr. Speaker, this program will continue to offer help to Nova Scotians most in need, regardless of their home heating source. The rebate for oil, electricity and all other sources will be up to $200. As well, the number of people to benefit from this program will increase

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from 54,000 to approximately 70,000. That's an estimated increase of more than 15,000 households. This increase is possible due to a lowering of the electricity consumption threshold - 10,000 kilowatt hours per year to 6,000 kilowatt hours per year.

This has also the added benefit, Mr. Speaker, of providing some assistance to those low- to moderate-income Nova Scotians who practise conservation. The income thresholds for the Heating Assistance Rebate Program remain the same. The program will continue to assist single people earning $27,000 or less, or families with a combined income of $42,000 or less, and who purchase home heating, with their heating costs this winter. Thank you.

Oh, excuse me, Mr. Speaker, I seem to have dropped a page. As I said earlier, our government has kept a key commitment by removing the provincial portion of the HST from home electricity. This measure alone will see an additional 200,000 households get a break on their home energy. The Heating Assistance Rebate Program and the expanded Your Energy Rebate will help more people stay warm this winter. Thank you for the opportunity.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. The time for late debate has expired.

[6:15 p.m. The House recessed.]

[6:30 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Supply with Deputy Speaker Mr. Gordon Gosse in the Chair.]

[9:27 p.m. CWH on Supply rose and the House reconvened with Deputy Speaker Hon. Wayne Gaudet in the Chair.]

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

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, that concludes the government's business for today. I move that the House do now rise to meet tomorrow at the hour of 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. The order of business after the daily routine, we will be calling Public Bills for Second Reading, Bill Nos. 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9 and 10.

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I move that the House do now rise.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for the House to rise and meet again tomorrow at 9:00 a.m.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The House stands adjourned until 9:00 a.m. tomorrow morning.

[The House rose at 9:28 p.m.]