Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

HANSARD 09-27

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

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2009

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 49, Efficiency Nova Scotia Corporation Act,
Hon. W. Estabrooks 1672
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 16, Motor Vehicle Act, Hon. R. Jennex 1672
Mr. M. Whynott 1673
Ms. D. Whalen 1673
Hon. M. Scott 1673
Mr. M. Whynott 1674
Vote - Affirmative 1674
No. 40, Labour Standards Code, Hon. M. More 1674
Hon. M. More 1674
Ms. K. Regan 1676
Hon. M. Scott 1676
Hon. M. More 1677
Vote - Affirmative 1677
No. 47, Dietitians Act, Hon. Maureen MacDonald 1677
Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 1678
Ms. D. Whalen 1678
Hon. C. d'Entremont 1679
Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 1680
Vote - Affirmative 1681
No. 39, Uranium Exploration and Mining Prohibition Act,
Hon. J. MacDonell 1681
Hon. J. MacDonell 1681
Mr. L. Glavine 1682
Mr. A. MacLeod 1684
Mr. C. Porter 1685
Hon. M. Scott 1687
Adjourned debate 1688
ADJOURNMENT, The House rose to meet again on Mon., Oct. 26th at 2:00 p.m. 1688
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 796, FFRB/Partners: Rethink Your Waste - Congrats.,
Ms. K. Regan 1689
Res. 797, Bedford United Church: Intl. Day of Climate Action -
Participation, Ms. K. Regan 1689

[Page 1671]

HALIFAX, FRIDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2009

Sixty-first General Assembly

First Session

9:00 A.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Charlie Parker

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. We'll get today's proceedings underway. We will begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Energy on an introduction.

HON. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, before I introduce this piece of legislation, I would like to make an introduction.

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1671

In our east gallery today, Mr. Speaker, we have a number of visitors who have been heavily involved in assisting the Department of Energy and our government with a piece of legislation that will be of some real significance to Nova Scotians. I'd be remiss if I tried to introduce them all but I'm going to ask them all to stand after I introduce Dr. David Wheeler, who is Dean of the Faculty of Management at Dalhousie University. Along with many of the stakeholders present, I'd ask them all to stand at this time as we recognize that their input is going to make this an important piece of legislation and I ask the House to welcome them. Thank you. (Applause)

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 49 - Entitled an Act to Establish the Efficiency Nova Scotia Corporation. (Hon. W. Estabrooks)

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

The honourable member for Pictou East on an introduction.

MR. CLARRIE MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, it's my pleasure to make an introduction this morning. In the east gallery, we have my official agent, Cecilia McRae from Big Island, and she has done such an outstanding job in Pictou East that a CA could not find a penny out of order anywhere. I would like her to stand and receive the warm welcome of this House. (Applause)

NOTICES OF MOTION

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Public Bills for Second Reading.

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 16.

Bill No. 16 - Motor Vehicle Act.

[Page 1673]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville.

MR. MAT WHYNOTT: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to have this opportunity today to speak on the proposed amendment to the Motor Vehicle Act. This amendment to Section 65 of the Motor Vehicle Act is brought forward to accommodate those who have a compelling reason for using their home driver's licence in the province beyond 90 days.

This amendment is intended for temporary residents who work in the province. These include, among others, military personnel, oil field workers, and seasonal farm workers. This change, Mr. Speaker, will enable the province to examine, case by case, requests for exemptions to the driver's licence requirement. This will then help the government set the appropriate conditions to suit the situation.

We have received requests from Nova Scotia employers to change this because it is a barrier to some migrant workers where the ability to drive is a condition of their employment. The amendment, therefore, enables Nova Scotia employers to address labour shortages. It is also responsive to groups who may have a compelling reason for using their home driver's licence in Nova Scotia for more than 90 days. Exemptions will only be made after careful examination of all the facts and, more importantly, these exemptions will be granted only when there is no negative impact on road safety.

Mr. Speaker, we are and will remain focused on our responsibility to ensure the protection of our families on Nova Scotia roads and highways.

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

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise to say a few words on Bill No. 16, which is an amendment to the Motor Vehicle Act. I think that whatever we can do in this province that helps people to work here and help us to attract the people we need, in either our temporary workforce or in people who will come and perhaps stay, is very important. We certainly don't want to tie the hands of our employers who need people who have a motor vehicle licence in order to do their jobs here.

So I think this seems like a very practical amendment in view of the situation in the province. We certainly are supportive and will look forward to seeing it go forward to the Law Amendments Committee.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cumberland South.

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise and speak in favour of Bill No. 16. I know there are many situations where workers for various reasons come to this province, and I believe there are arrangements between some countries in regard to exchange and honouring licences of people from outside of our own country. One of the questions I

[Page 1674]

was going to have was around military workers, and I'm glad to see that is included as well. I'm sure when it comes to doing the regulations that the government will ensure that - I know in my own area, for example, Oxford Frozen Food employs Mexican immigrant employees. I don't know how, when it comes to applying to the registry, whether it will depend on what kind of criteria individuals had back in their own home countries in regard to licensing. But I'm sure that the government will try to fill that gap.

[9:15 a.m.]

I will say, Mr. Speaker, that this was something that the previous government was working on. I think it's a great initiative. It will help fill a void and I'm sure that it will help employers overcome some of the challenges they face with regard to employees in this province. So I'm pleased to say we'll support Bill No. 16 going to the Law Amendments Committee.

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the member for Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville it will be to close the debate.

The honourable member for Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville.

MR. MAT WHYNOTT: Mr. Speaker, I move second reading of Bill No. 16.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 16. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill be referred to the Committee on Law Amendments.

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 40.

Bill No. 40 - Labour Standards Code.

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

HON. MARILYN MORE: Mr. Speaker, I rise today to move second reading of Bill No. 40, an Act to Amend the Labour Standards Code, Respecting a Protected Emergency Leave. Our intention with this amendment is to protect workers from job loss when they cannot perform their duties for an extended period of time during a public emergency or

[Page 1675]

when they are ordered to stay away from work for public health reasons. We would achieve that goal through an unpaid emergency leave.

In presenting Bill No. 40 for second reading, I believe it's important to explain what a protected emergency leave is, the circumstances under which an unpaid leave would be available, the protection for employers and workers that is available under the bill, how we are balancing both the workers' and the employers' needs, and why we are taking these steps now.

If passed, this bill would establish an emergency unpaid leave for workers who need to deal with an emergency affecting themselves or to help a family member deal with an emergency. Employees on an unpaid emergency leave would have the rights and responsibilities that are comparable to other leaves under the Labour Standards Code. When the emergency has passed, employers would be required to allow the employee to return to their job without loss of benefits or seniority.

The protection of an unpaid emergency leave would be available in limited circumstances: when an emergency is declared under the Nova Scotia Emergency Management Act, when an emergency is declared under Canada's Emergencies Act, when a medical officer of health issues an order or a directive under the Health Protection Act, when a public health emergency is declared under Nova Scotia's Health Protection Act, or when other circumstances are prescribed in regulation. By medical officer of health, I mean a provincial medical health officer or an officer from a district health authority. Emergency leave protection would not apply when an employee's physician tells them to stay home because they are showing symptoms.

How are employees, employers and all of us protected under this bill? If a non-unionized employee believes they were unfairly terminated or otherwise punished for taking an unpaid emergency leave, the Labour Standards Code provides a mechanism to have a complaint investigated and resolved. Possible outcomes may include reinstatement or financial compensation.

Unionized employees would use the grievance procedure in their collective agreement to seek a redress in a comparable situation. Workers would retain their full right to refuse unsafe working conditions. This legislation protects employees who must be away from work during a public emergency from losing their jobs. As with all protected leaves under the Labour Standards Code, the emergency leave is unpaid.

The bill protects you and me because the job security it provides makes it less likely that an employee would risk travelling to work during an emergency under treacherous conditions. It would also reduce the likelihood that someone would come to work and infect colleagues and customers during a pandemic emergency.

[Page 1676]

Some may ask why we're taking these steps at this time. The Auditor General identified the need for the province to have a pandemic preparedness plan in place, and this bill addresses part of that need.

Given the Spring H1N1 outbreak and its return this Fall, the need for some protection is pressing. Legislation introduced by my colleague, the Minister of Emergency Management, is another important element in the province's response to the pandemic. As well, during emergencies such Hurricane Juan and White Juan, we heard from employees who felt that their jobs were in jeopardy because they were unable to get to work through no fault of their own. Mr. Speaker, we developed this legislation with one basic premise - no one should have to worry about losing their job during a public emergency.

I now look forward to hearing the comments of other members as we move this bill for second reading.

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

MS. KELLY REGAN: Mr. Speaker, this legislation allows for unpaid emergency leaves during public emergencies declared under Nova Scotia's Emergency Management Act, Canada's Emergencies Act, and the order or directive of the Medical Officer of Health under the Health Protection Act, or by government regulation - so, under certain specified circumstances. Under the Nova Scotia Emergency Management Act, for example, a municipality could declare a state of local emergency which would then qualify as a public emergency.

These amendments would allow workers to take an unpaid leave, during a natural disaster or public health risk, to attend to their needs or to help a family member. As the minister has stated, we don't want people coming to work if they're sick or contagious. Employers' and employees' emergency leave rights and responsibilities would be similar to parental or maternity leaves but without pay and, at the end of an unpaid emergency leave, employers must take the employee back without loss of benefits or seniority.

Now, there are protections in the legislation for employers. They may ask an employee to provide proof of eligibility for an unpaid leave. If an employer does not take an employee back, the employee can file a complaint with the Department of Labour and Workforce Development and complaints would be investigated. I do have a concern that, as with maternity leaves, often workers do not return to the same or comparable job and that produces a bit of a wrangle upon return to work, but I think this is the kind of thing that we can watch for and see how things go. Certainly the intent of the legislation is what the Official Opposition would like to see, and we are pleased to see this bill go forward to the Law Amendments Committee for future consideration.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cumberland South.

[Page 1677]

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise on behalf of our caucus and our critic to speak in support of Bill No. 40. First of all, I want to thank the minister for bringing this forward. I think it's very timely and certainly in this province, as we've seen the province attempt to prepare for a pandemic - and even when it comes, for example, to our road system in this province, I know the minister would be well aware that the department now is looking at disasters that may possibly take place. At one time they planned for every 100 years, now it could even be every 10 years.

So I think with the changing weather patterns and what we've seen in regard to health issues in this province over the last while, it only makes sense for the government to bring in legislation like this that would better prepare people of the province, employers, employees, and indeed the province, for the event of an emergency. So I'm really looking forward to this going to the Law Amendments Committee to hear, hopefully, from employers, employees, maybe unions as well, how they feel, if there are any shortcomings within the legislation. We want to ensure that when people are faced with the realities of what we're talking about here today, they are guaranteed of being returned to their job without any kind of a repercussion or disciplinary action that may be as a result of no fault of their own.

So, Mr. Speaker, at the outset it certainly looks like a good bill and, again, when we have an opportunity to hear from folks at the Law Amendments Committee I think it will hopefully clarify any concerns that we may have. I want to thank the minister for bringing it forward and look forward to further discussion at the Law Amendments Committee with regard to Bill No. 40.

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

The honourable Minister of Labour and Workforce Development.

HON. MARILYN MORE: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my honourable colleagues for their participation in the debate and I certainly look forward to the bill going to the Law Amendments Committee and further dialogue. So with that, I move second reading of Bill No. 40.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 40. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill be referred to the Committee on Law Amendments.

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

[Page 1678]

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 47.

Bill No. 47 - Dietitians Act.

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

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, I'm very pleased to speak to second reading of the Dietitians Bill. This bill will replace the Professional Dietitians Act which remained substantially unchanged since 1990. The chief goal of all health profession legislation is to protect the public. Unfortunately, the existing Professional Dietitians Act was outdated in that area.

The new Dietitians Bill will better serve the public interests and make it more consistent with other recently enacted health profession legislation. Among the various changes to the new Dietitians Bill will be to define the scope of practice of dietitians and nutritionists and address standards of practice, establish the Nova Scotia College of Dietitians and Nutritionists whose primary responsibility will be to serve and protect the public interest.

The board and college will include public members and that's an important point with all new regulatory bodies, establish a new registration appeal committee. I note that this bill is supported by the Nova Scotia Dietetic Association whose membership approved a draft of this bill at its annual general meeting in May 2009.

I would like to conclude by saying that the new Dietitians Bill is a win-win for both the public and Nova Scotian dietitians. Dietitians and nutritionists will benefit from a modern statute that is consistent with legislation governing other regulatory health professions. Nova Scotians will benefit from many provisions of the new Dietitians Bill, especially those that serve and protect the interests of Nova Scotians. I appreciate the time and look forward to the members opposite comments on this bill.

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

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, as the Liberal Health Critic, it's my pleasure to rise on behalf of our caucus to say a few words about this bill, Bill No. 47, an Act Respecting the Practice of Dietetics.

In that regard, I think it's important to note that this bill would provide the framework for practice for about 400 dietitians in the province. We certainly support their work and understand that in today's world, the role of the dietician has gone far beyond working in a hospital or institutional setting. We see them working in a lot of community settings, either

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independently or in community health centres, nursing homes, hospitals. They are a very important part of our health care system.

[9:30 a.m.]

In this day and age, we see more and more people seeking advice on nutrition and on healthy eating. It's an area of great strides in terms of new knowledge and we rely on those members of this new college to help us in guiding us through that and taking care of the nutritional needs of people in many different settings. They do a great job and I think that it is time their Act was amended. As the member for Sackville-Cobequid has said, the Act has not been amended since 1989 and the original Act is from 1958. So it is definitely something that needed to be brought into line with other legislation.

In the years that I've been here at the Legislature, just the last six years, we've seen a number of health Acts come forward and be amended and really brought into the more rigorous demands that we place upon our regulated professions. In this case, for this particular bill, we're going to see the establishment of the Nova Scotia College of Dietitians and Nutritionists and that college has a particular focus and that is to protect public interest and make sure that the people who are practising in this area are recognized and have the right qualifications. The scope of practice and professional responsibilities are well laid out in this bill and I think that is important, again, for peace of mind, for people in the public to know that they will be operating under a high standard and there will be many requirements for them to self-regulate.

Mr. Speaker, as was mentioned, the board that will guide this will also include members of the public; it's public and it's called the Board of the College. So I think we know we have our public interests covered there as well, by having individuals who will be appointed to sit on that board.

Again, it is a very important improvement to the way this will operate in the province and we see it as a step forward to bring them into a much higher level of functioning, really more responsibility on the board and on the college to ensure the standards are maintained.

It is worth noting as well, Mr. Speaker, and I think this is very important, that this bill has the full support of the Nova Scotia Dietetic Association and that they had actually approved a draft of this bill in May 2009 at their annual general meeting. I think we are always encouraged when there is good consultation and when the bills that come before us have been properly vetted by the people who are going to be most impacted. This is something that they are seeking and that they are welcoming.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I do look forward to the Law Amendments Committee and hearing from anybody else who may be impacted by this bill and we certainly support it as it is. Thank you.

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MR. SPEAKER: Thank you, member.

The honourable member for Argyle.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. It is my pleasure to stand for a couple of moments and speak to Bill No. 47, an Act Respecting the Practice of Dietetics. Again, this is bringing forward another update, another addition of of a self-regulated profession to the province. I had the opportunity, over the last couple of years, to bring in two different ones: The Dental Hygiene Act, creating a college and setting up that organization; and the issue of midwifery, bringing that piece in, making sure that is there. So it is showing that the province continues to move forward on self-regulated professions, creating that college that can truly be the watchdog. The province itself, a lot of times, does not have the capabilities to provide the watchdog piece, the credentialing piece and those things that are held within the bill that we see today.

It does a number of things, it protects the practice of dietetics, or dietitians. It really sets in - I mean if we look at what the old Act did, it really was a name protection issue. A dietitian could be a dietitian, but it didn't really set a lot of practice guidelines and those kinds of things, which is in the public interest, knowing that when you see one that they actually have the training involved.

Mr. Speaker, I do hope, though, knowing the availability of dietitians in this province, that this will continue to grow. On a number of occasions I've tried to get a dietitian, or tried to be referred to one, and they're very difficult to see. We hope that with this kind of setup, with this self-regulated profession, that more people will be interested in the practice of dietetics and will take the training and become a full-practice person within this province, because we do need more of them.

What are the causes today of our health emergencies? It is obesity, it is the issue of people being too large. That brings on a number of different ailments, whether it be heart disease, whether it be cancer, whether it be whatever. Having a healthier lifestyle, eating better - that's what a dietitian does. They help us to live better.

This is a very important position within a health team, that we continue to expand on these health teams. It is not just about a doctor, Mr. Speaker, it's not just about a nurse, it's about that whole team. A dietitian is one of those very important pieces to it and we support the bill that we see before us today, so I'm very happy that the government did bring it forward today as well.

I look forward to moving this on through this reading and seeing the input from the public as it goes to the Law Amendments Committee. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

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MR. SPEAKER: Thank you, member.

If I recognize the member for Sackville-Cobequid it will be to close the debate.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We appreciate the comments from the members opposite, so I would like to move second reading of Bill No. 47.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 47. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill be referred to the Committee on Law Amendments.

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 39.

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

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

HON. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to be able to stand in this House today to speak to Bill No. 39. This is a bill, I think most members could tell from the title, to prohibit uranium exploration and uranium mining in the Province of Nova Scotia.

There is some history to getting here, Mr. Speaker. Most people would recognize that for some years now, actually almost 30 years, we've had a prohibition or a ban or a moratorium on the mining of uranium in this province. I think a lot of the members of the House, and perhaps the general public, believe that that came as a result of the Justice McCleave Inquiry into uranium mining. That's not the case. The ban or the moratorium on mining uranium actually occurred prior to Justice McCleave's inquiry. I think it was the concern that led to the moratorium that actually caused the government of that day to install Justice McCleave to do that public inquiry and find out what it was that Nova Scotians had concerns about.

This legislation, Mr. Speaker, contains three key elements. It prohibits exploration of, or mining of uranium in Nova Scotia. It allows mining of uranium that is encountered in the course of mining other minerals as long as uranium is present in quantities less than the

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designated threshold of 0.01 per cent by weight. I want to speak to this just for a minute. The present moratorium on mining uranium is - and I think the concern raised by the mining association was that when you're exploring for other minerals or metals, you would have to stop. You would have to stop your exploration if you hit levels of uranium higher than 0.01 parts per million, or one part per million. So this legislation was put in place with the view in mind that if you're mining other material, you could continue to mine that material as long as the uranium you encountered didn't make up more than 0.01 per cent by weight of the overall extraction that you recovered. So that would allow mining operations to go on for other substances if they encountered uranium which presently they would be stopped. It allows radiometric or other normal exploration techniques to be used in exploration for other minerals although such minerals are also used in uranium exploration.

So those are the three components of this legislation, Mr. Speaker. I'm not sure that anyone would say the McCleave Inquiry definitively came down one side or the other in terms of the mining of uranium. The issue that seemed to be raised as the biggest concern on uranium mining was the tailings and how to deal with the tailings. That was one major component that Nova Scotians really had worries about.

They've told us that the risk to their health and their environment and the potential for nuclear proliferation make uranium mining unwelcome in this province. There will always be those who extol the virtues of uranium mining and they make a strong case, but the people of Nova Scotia do not want to be part of the world's uranium economy.

Some might question, why wasn't a moratorium good enough? Why wouldn't the ban on uranium mining serve the purpose? I think the issue for them was that with the stroke of a pen, a minister could remove the moratorium. We had made a commitment to the people of Nova Scotia - actually prior to this election, but certainly a commitment during the election - that the moratorium would be sealed in legislation. That would mean that if any government in the future made a decision that they were going to remove the moratorium on mining uranium, it would require coming to the House of Assembly to amend the legislation, or repeal the legislation, and that would require a debate in the House of Assembly on this issue.

That is a major component of this legislation because the people of Nova Scotia, number one, support a moratorium on mining uranium and they want to know that this moratorium will not be removed in the darkness of night when the government feels they may want to do this without any public debate by the people of Nova Scotia. (Applause)

With those comments, I look forward to hearing what the members from the Opposition have to say, and move second reading of Bill No. 39.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

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MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise this morning with a general agreement of support of this legislation. However, we feel that we may have something to contribute at the Law Amendments Committee in terms of one of the areas, and I'll speak to that this morning.

The legislation, as the minister has pointed out, is really taking the moratorium, the ban that's been in place since 1981, to bring it to a law in the Province of Nova Scotia. The moratorium has worked, but there was always some wonderment about whether or not it could be changed by an Executive Council at any particular time.

This is a move that is actually a bit bold in some ways because there are only a couple of jurisdictions in the world that have legislated against uranium mining, and they are in New South Wales and Victoria territories in Australia. It is from that perspective and the general read that I take that the area which has the greatest concentration of uranium that is known at this point in Nova Scotia is through the South Mountain and through that geological area that extends roughly from Mount Uniacke through to beyond Weymouth. That's where we've had a tremendous reaction when it comes to whether or not Nova Scotia would actually explore and mine uranium.

[9:45 a.m.]

While there haven't been any surveys and polling done recently, the general talk throughout the Annapolis Valley is to make sure we keep the moratorium. When there was musing about lifting the moratorium just a year or so ago, we know once again it caused quite a reaction among Nova Scotians.

One of the areas, however, that is different now is that when there is exploration going on, perhaps for tin or tungsten, and the threshold is below 100 parts per million - or 0.01 per cent by weight - then that mining company will be able to continue forward. It's my understanding that coming across any levels of uranium in the past meant encasing the drill holes, and abandonment for the mining companies.

One of the areas that I'm really interested in hearing from will be the medical community, about knowing where uranium is located, especially deposits that are very, very close to the surface. We know that in areas of Nova Scotia, there are actually 200 and even 300 parts per million of background radiation and we know there are homes and therefore health - because in rural Nova Scotia, it is all about drilled wells. We know that perhaps there is some compromise with not knowing where uranium deposits are.

One of the areas that I would like to see come for full discussion with more background, more authority than what I am able to speak to is whether or not 200 parts per million - which will allow a greater discernment of where the uranium is and the kinds of concentrations that we do have.

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That's a big area I know that is of concern to our Party, that we be able to give the best information to Nova Scotians as to where uranium is located. I've heard just recently from somebody involved in the Mining Association of Nova Scotia, who was building a home and decided they would do some testing. They discovered that, in fact, there were 200 to 300 parts per million in the rock, in the location and area where they were going to build. They have geological maps of Nova Scotia and they know, generally speaking, where some of the concentration of the uranium is located.

So there are a lot of issues around this and that's one of the ones that I certainly look forward to hearing about from the medical community, the mining community. I know a lot has changed since the days of Elliott Lake and the contamination of that area from the tailings of uranium mining. The processes have, in fact, been greatly changed around safety and so forth.

When I look at Nova Scotia and its width of no more than 80 kilometres in any one part and that great ribbon of the South Mountain where the concentrations are. That's where a lot of the water is held in the lake system that moves toward both the south and the Valley floor. Whether or not we could mine uranium safely in this province is really, I think, the greatest question around not even so much the tailings but rather the movement of water, the whole water system that runs both north and south.

So there's a lot that - I'm looking forward when this bill goes to Law Amendments Committee and I think it will be very interesting for all members of this House. With that, Mr. Speaker, I take my place.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

MR. ALFIE MACLEOD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm pleased to be able to rise in my place today and talk for a few minutes on Bill No. 39, An Act to Prohibit Uranium Exploration and Uranium Mining in Nova Scotia.

You know, the minister had mentioned in his opening remarks about the moratorium being in place for a number of years and the McCleave Report. It is my understanding the actual reason that the moratorium came into place is because coal was playing a big part in the production of electrical power here in Nova Scotia and there were those who were concerned that if there was uranium mining we might have nuclear power and it would hurt the industry in Nova Scotia, in particular Cape Breton Island, for the production of coal and the use of coal for producing power here in Nova Scotia.

Mining of any type is a very local and specific issue. It creates a lot of concern in a lot of areas. I know that in my constituency we had the threat of strip mining for coal, believe

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it or not, in Port Morien. The community rallied together and they came forward with a number of reasons why they didn't feel it was an appropriate thing to do in their community. These same people, at the same time, some of them were actually moving forward with the hopes of the production of a new underground mine in Donkin. I was very happy during estimates to hear the minister say that, indeed, there would be no strip mining taking place in Port Morien, and I want to take this opportunity to publicly thank the minister for making that statement, because I know the people in my constituency in that area will be very pleased. So I really do want to thank the minister for doing that.

But it goes to a further point, and the point is that this type of issue, when it comes to mining, is a very local issue. It is an issue that people take a lot of concern in because it's in their community and they want to know what is going on. So we in our caucus have been listening to a lot of people wondering where people stand, and there are many differing views. One of my colleagues has a saying - some of my friends are for the ban, some of my friends are against the ban, and I'm with my friends. Well, at this point, we're not with anybody. We want to have the opportunity to see this bill go to the Law Amendments Committee for a chance for the public to come forward and give their ideas.

One of the things that I noticed when the minister announced this bill originally - he said, I didn't have any in-depth conversations with my Cabinet colleagues, and the direction I got was that this was a promise that we made in Opposition and it's one that we can fulfill and intend to fulfill. Well, I guess my concern is, if there weren't in-depth conversations with his colleagues in Cabinet, there probably weren't a whole lot of in-depth conversations with the people of the Province of Nova Scotia, and the Law Amendments Committee will allow that to take place. It will be an opportunity for people from across Nova Scotia to come forward and put their opinions forward so that all the members of this House can make an informed decision as to whether or not this type of ban is what the people of the Province of Nova Scotia want.

So our caucus will be looking forward to seeing this move through second reading and being brought forward in the Law Amendments Committee, and having the Law Amendments Committee be an opportunity for people from across the province to come forward and give their opinion as to whether or not this bill should go forward. Based on that, we hope that all of the members of the House will listen to what the people of the Province of Nova Scotia, our employers, have to say, and from that we will move forward with this bill in whatever direction we are given by the communities and the people of the province. So with that, Mr. Speaker, I would like to take my place, and thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.

MR. CHUCK PORTER: Mr. Speaker, it's an honour to have an opportunity to take a few minutes this morning to speak to this bill as well. As most in this House would know, a couple of weeks ago I introduced a very similar bill with regard to my area and Hants West.

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It is good to see the government and the minister following my lead on this, I guess. (Laughter) I can say that at this time. So I'll thank him for that.

On a more serious note, Mr. Speaker, Clause 2, in the bill, says it all. This is about the health and safety and well-being of Nova Scotians. That certainly was the intent of the bill that I entered as well. This is something that has gone on for some years, as we have already heard in discussion this morning.

A moratorium has been in place, but as has been noted, the government of today could indeed move forward with this, and I can tell you in the last few years, since I've been the MLA in Hants West, this has been a bit of a hot topic - pardon the pun, if you will - in my area, certainly in the Vaughans and the Falls Lake area, which is our watershed for Windsor-West Hants. That was an area seismic crews were looking at and such, and there is just no way that the folks in that area would be favouring any kind of uranium mining out there - or exploration, for that matter - to see what even maybe existed.

There has been a lot said about the Law Amendments Committee. That's a good thing in this province, regardless of the bill that is going through, and we're fortunate to have it. I look forward to the medical community, as well - having a bit of a health care background - I think there will be great input, or at least I hope there is, because there will be a lot of input, I would expect, from the mining community.

I know since releasing that bill, and it did pick up some media, that I've had a number of e-mails, the majority of them favouring the fact that we're legislating this ban in this province. A couple of them are from members of the Mining Association who are certainly not happy with that and are talking about how safe things are to do and perhaps someday if someone can prove to us in Nova Scotia, and to the people of Nova Scotia, that it is safe to do regarding the tailings and such, and in certain areas, maybe that's something that will be reconsidered, but the good part will be it will have to come back to this House to do it.

It will be the people's decision at that time as it will be now moving into it and I very much look forward to the Law Amendments Committee to see just how many people do come in and speak to this topic. I would think it will be, like I said, a lot of different presenters, or at least I would hope there would be, because this is going to - down the road when we look at the green energy types and the number of things that do exist, there will be people who will not be happy with this bill, I think that's very fair to say.

However, I think it's a good bill and one we should continue to move on and I look forward to seeing it passed, but again, we'll be criticized, there's no question and I think as legislators we're open to that. That's part of the democracy in this good province and this good country of ours.

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Again, we need to be very careful about where we're doing this, what it does to the wildlife, the fisheries and just areas that are out there in the middle of nowhere that people like to call recreation areas these days, where they're out walking or hunting or fishing or biking or whatever it is they're doing, and we don't want to see our province destroyed and left like other certain areas of this country that have been mined and very little left to it today because of it, because it wasn't done properly or there weren't ways of doing it. I do realize, again, that the technology has changed, that there are new ways of doing things and I'm open to seeing that discussion and those things come forward as well.

The contribution that the folks will make coming in, regardless of which way that they're speaking on this, will be all positive in my opinion. With that, I want to say thank you for the opportunity to speak to this bill for just a few minutes and I look forward to seeing it moving over to the Law Amendments Committee.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member from Cumberland South.

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, it's a privilege for me today to rise and to share a few comments as well regarding Bill No. 39. I'd like to thank the minister for bringing it forward today.

I think, first of all, at the outset, I want to say that I'm very supportive of the mining community in this province. This province was built on natural resources, agriculture, mining and so on and my own home community certainly is a good example of that in this province. My honourable colleague, the member for Cape Breton West, talked about some of these issues being localized, they certainly are.

I know in Springhill, the community I represent, grew up and live in, was a community that was built on coal mining and certainly the community paid the price over the years for that with a tragic loss of many young boys and men. Then after the closing of the mines, there was an attempt in that community to do strip mining as well and the community spoke very loud and clear, plebiscite taken, I believe the number was 84 or 85 per cent of the people in the community of Springhill were opposed to strip mining in that town, for all kinds of reasons. They felt it threatened their quality of life, they felt it threatened their properties, the property values, there was some understanding that some of the dynamiting that was going to take place would actually come within 50 to 100 feet of people's homes, so they felt very strongly about that, were opposed to it and I support them on that, in fact, attempt to have legislation passed in this House that would reflect that.

I can understand where an issue such as uranium mining means a lot to many people. I was just saying to my colleague earlier this morning that I think people in this province are more aware now of issues around uranium mining, around strip mining, around roadside spraying, which I know in Cumberland we face again this year and my community is against that as well. They think there has to be another way of dealing with the foliage and ensuring

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right-of-ways remain for the public use, but there has to be another way as opposed to just spraying and thinking that's going to take care of the problems. In many cases it doesn't and I know people in Cumberland County were very much opposed to spraying of roadsides and I hope the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal - my understanding is Department of Environment is talking to the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal and trying to ensure that - I believe that that won't happen next year and I hope that's the case.

Back to the bill, when it comes to uranium mining, I believe that it is a local issue a lot of times and people in communities are afraid, as my honourable colleague has just said, about the quality of life, it will challenge or it will affect the quality of life of their own communities and we have to listen to that. So I'm pleased to rise today to say that I support this bill going to the Law Amendments Committee. I am hopeful that we'll hear from many groups, organizations and individuals. I'm sure we will because I think this issue goes far beyond uranium mining. There will be the mining community, again, I do support the mining community. It has been a tremendous benefit for our province and I think that we have to recognize, as legislators, that they have played a large role in this province.

Again, Mr. Speaker, I think that the Law Amendments Committee will be an opportunity for people to come before legislators and have an opportunity to share their thoughts and concerns. So again I want to thank the minister for bringing this forward and I look forward to this moving to the Law Amendments Committee and through the process of allowing for a good dialogue. With those few short comments, I move adjournment of debate on Bill No. 39.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is to adjourn debate.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, that concludes the government business for today. I would ask that we now rise to meet again on Monday between the hours of 2:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. After the daily routine we'll ask for Public Bills for Second Reading - Bills Nos. 14, 17, 20, 24, 28, 30, 38 and 45 and if time permits, we'll continue with Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne. So I ask that we now rise.

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MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that the House rise to meet again on Monday.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

We stand adjourned until 2:00 p.m. on Monday.

[The House rose at 10:02 a.m.]

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NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 796

By: Ms. Kelly Regan (Bedford-Birch Cove)

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

Whereas Waste Reduction Week is October 19 to 25, 2009; and

Whereas Nova Scotia's goal is to reduce its solid waste disposal rate from an average of 450 kilograms per person per year to 300 kilograms per person per year by 2015; and

Whereas RRFB Nova Scotia, Glad Corporation, White Point Beach, and the Enviro Depot refund and recycling depot have all joined together to encourage Nova Scotians to "Rethink Your Waste";

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate RRFB Nova Scotia and its partners for advancing this worthwhile goal and wish them well in this endeavour.

RESOLUTION NO. 797

By: Ms. Kelly Regan (Bedford-Birch Cove)

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

Whereas Saturday, October 24th, is International Day of Climate Action; and

Whereas many churches will be part of a rally on the Halifax Common to send the message to political leaders everywhere that failure to reach an agreement on global warming at the Copenhagen Summit in December is simply not an option; and

Whereas members of Bedford United Church have signed a petition and will participate in the rally;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the congregation of Bedford United Church and the other participants in the International Day of Climate Action for their concern for the environment, and wish them well in their effort to bring governments to action on this urgent issue.

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