Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

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21 septembre 2017

HANSARD 06-18

DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS

Speaker: Honourable Cecil Clarke

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/

Annual subscriptions available from the Office of the Speaker.

First Session

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2006

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 625, Energy - NEB: Intervention - Support,
Hon. W. Dooks 1078
Vote - Affirmative 1079
Res. 626, Military Relations - War Brides/Children: Contribution -
Thank, Hon. M. Scott 1079
Vote - Affirmative 1080
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 80, Canadian Forces Reservists Civilian Employment Act,
Mr. D. Dexter 1080
No. 81, Labour Standards Code, Mr. K. Colwell 1080
No. 82, Occupational Health and Safety Act,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 1081
No. 83, Labour Standards Code, Mr. K. Colwell 1081
No. 84, Wind Turbine Facilities Municipal Taxation Act,
Hon. J. Muir 1081
No. 85, An Act Respecting the Transfer of Assets and Liabilities of the
Nova Scotia Freemasons' Home to The Masonic Foundation of
Nova Scotia, Hon. J. Muir 1081
Nova Scotia, Hon. J. Muir
Nova Scotia, Hon. J. Muir
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 627, Stoffer, Peter - Veterans First Motion: House of Commons
Support - Urge, Mr. D. Dexter 1081
Vote - Affirmative 1082
Res. 628, Stewart, Dr. Ron: Order of N.S. - Congrats.,
Mr. M. Samson 1082
Vote - Affirmative 1083
Res. 629, MacDonald, Alma & Donald - Wedding Vows: Renewal -
Congrats., The Premier 1083
Vote - Affirmative 1084
Res. 630, E. Hants Rednex Under-18 Soccer Team: Championship -
Congrats., Mr. J. MacDonell 1084
Vote - Affirmative 1084
Res. 631, War Brides - Recognize/Welcome,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 1084
Vote - Affirmative 1085
Res. 632, Public Spaces Seminar Proj.: Pictou-Antigonish Reg.
Library - Congrats., Mr. P. Dunn 1085
Vote - Affirmative 1086
Res. 633, Rowan, Jacqueline: Mar. Fiddle Fest. Prize - Congrats.,
Ms. J. Massey 1086
Vote - Affirmative 1087
Res. 634, Black Cultural Ctr. - Anniv. (30th), Mr. K. Colwell 1087
Vote - Affirmative 1088
Res. 635, Windsor Knights: Baseball Season - Commend,
Mr. C. Porter 1088
Vote - Affirmative 1089
Res. 636, Tobey, Allen: Retirement - Congrats., Mr. C. Parker 1089
Vote - Affirmative 1089
Res. 637, Nash, George: Veterans Affairs Commendation - Congrats.,
Mr. D. Wilson (Glace Bay) 1089
Vote - Affirmative 1090
Res. 638, St. FX: Maclean's Magazine - Ranking,
Hon. A. MacIsaac 1090
Vote - Affirmative 1091
Res. 639, MacLeod, Stewart: C.B. Bus. Hall of fame - Induction,
Mr. G. Gosse 1091
Vote - Affirmative 1092
Vote - Affirmative
Res. 640, Aylesford & Dist. FD - Anniv. (60th), Mr. L. Glavine 1092
Vote - Affirmative 1093
Res. 641, Miner Marsh Proj.: Ducks Unlimited (Valley Chap.)/Kentville/
Architects - Congrats., Hon. M. Parent 1093
Vote - Affirmative 1093
Res. 642, Anthony, Sylvia: Achievements - Congrats.,
Mr. T. Zinck 1093
Vote - Affirmative 1094
Res. 643, Seniors' Safety Wk. (11/06 - 11/12/06) - Acknowledge,
Mr. S. McNeil 1094
Vote - Affirmative 1095
Res. 644, Rogers, Madison/Russell, Mathew - Attendance Award,
Hon. E. Fage 1095
Vote - Affirmative 1096
Res. 645, Ashton, Sgt. Maj. Donald Cameron: Wartime Serv. -
Congrats., Ms. M. Raymond 1096
Vote - Affirmative 1096
Res. 646, Nova Scotians - Fish: Diet - Incorporation,
Mr. H. Theriault 1097
Vote - Affirmative 1097
Res. 647, Morash, Kerry - Cdn. Coun. On Ecological Areas Award,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1097
Vote - Affirmative 1098
Res. 648, Roy, Cecil: Discharge Papers - Presentation, Ms. V. Conrad 1098
Vote - Affirmative 1099
Res. 649, Marigold Cultural Ctr.: Organizations/Vols. - Thank,
Hon. J. Muir 1099
Vote - Affirmative 1100
Res. 650, West, Jennifer: Junior Shodan Black Belt - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 1100
Vote - Affirmative 1100
Res. 651, TPW - Chester-St. Margaret's: Work - Recognize,
Hon. J. Streatch 1100
Vote - Affirmative 1101^
Res. 652, Serv. N.S. & Mun. Rel. - Wind Farms Prop. Tax Framework:
Dept./UNSM/Energy Commun. - Congrats., Mr. D. Dexter 1101
Vote - Affirmative 1102
Vote - Affirmative
Res. 653, MacPherson, Myles: Christmas Tree Comp. (East. N.S. Ex.) -
Congrats., Hon. R. Chisholm 1102
Vote - Affirmative 1103
Res. 654, Hemeon, Teresa - Pumpkin Weigh-In: Winner - Congrats.,
Mr. S. Belliveau 1103
Vote - Affirmative 1103
Res. 655, Ferguson, Debbie - Terry Fox Fdn.: Vol. Work - Congrats.,
Hon. K. Casey 1104
Vote - Affirmative 1104
Res. 656, Gov't. (N.S.) - Rural N.S./C.B.: Sustainable Dev. Plan -
Implement, Mr. C. MacKinnon 1104
Res. 657, CFIB: Tax Exemption - Fax Campaign, Ms. Diana Whalen 1105
Vote - Affirmative 1106
Res. 658, Childcare/Childhood Educ. - Access, Mr. T. Zinck 1106
Res. 659, Dewtie, Arthur - Oddfellows Lodge: Dedication - Congrats.,
Mr. C. MacKinnon 1107
Vote - Affirmative 1107
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
Bill No. 72, Halifax Regional Water Commission Act 1108
Hon. B. Barnet 1108
Mr. P. Paris 1109
Ms. D. Whalen 1110
Hon. B. Barnet 1111
Vote - Affirmative 1111
Bill No. 7, Registered Nurses Act 1112
Hon. A. MacIsaac 1112
Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 1113
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 1118
Ms. J. Massey 1121
Mr. L. Glavine 1124
Mr. D. Dexter 1125
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 1131
Ms. V. Conrad 1134
Mr. C. MacKinnon 1137
Mr. L. Preyra 1138
Ms. D. Whalen 1139
Mr. J. MacDonell 1142
Mr. T. Zinck 1145
Hon. A. MacIsaac 1146
Vote - Affirmative 1147
Vote - Affirmative
Bill No. 11, Licensed Practical Nurses Act 1147
Hon. A. MacIsaac 1147
Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 1148
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 1152
Ms. J. Massey 1154
Mr. L. Glavine 1157
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 1158
Mr. K. Deveaux 1159
Hon. A. MacIsaac 1160
Vote - Affirmative 1161
Bill No. 58, Justice Administration Amendment (Fall 2006) Act 1161
Hon. J. Muir 1161
Mr. K. Deveaux 1162
Mr. M. Samson 1163
Mr. C. Parker 1164
Hon. J. Muir 1165
Vote - Affirmative 1165
Bill No. 20, Public Utilities Act 1166
Hon. M. Parent 1166
Mr. H. Epstein 1166
Mr. M. Samson 1176
Mr. C. Parker 1182
Adjourned debate 1186
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Tue., Nov. 7th at 12:00 noon 1187
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 660, Wadman, Devon - Female Athlete of Yr.,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 1188
Res. 661, Glace Bay All-Stars - Little League Baseball Championship,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 1188
Res. 662, Penny, Sandra - Bowl of Hygeia Award, Mr. S. McNeil 1189
Res. 663, Hartlin, Robert: Achievements - Recognize,
Hon. R. Hurlburt 1189
Res. 664, Porter Family: Music Talent - Recognize, Hon. M. Parent 1190
Res. 665, 14 Wing ZX Cycle N Run Club: Rum Runners Relay Race-
Congrats., Mr. L. Glavine 1190
Res. 666, Wilson, Raelene - Bantam Baseball Team: Cdn. Nationals -
Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 1191
Congrats., Hon. M. Scott
Res. 667, Wheaton, Jessica - Queen of the Parrsboro Old Home Wk.
Pageant, Hon. M. Scott 1191
Res. 668, Teed, Dave - Special Olympics: Achievements - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Scott 1192
Res. 669, Strong, Darlene: Portia White Prize - Nomination,
Hon. M. Scott 1192
Res. 670, Spicer, Stanley: Portia White Prize - Nomination,
Hon. M. Scott 1193
Res. 671, Sharpe, Bev - Annual Thanksgiving Dinner: Serv. - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Scott 1193
Res. 672, Salvation Army - Annual Thanksgiving Dinner: Serv. -
Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 1194
Res. 673, River Hebert Elem. Sch. - Terry Fox Fdn. - Fundraising -
Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 1194
Res. 674, Parsons, Mary - Annual Thanksgiving Dinner: Serv. -
Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 1195
Res. 675, NSCC (Cumb. Campus) - Dawson College: Condolence
Message - Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 1195
Res. 676, McCormick, Ida: Book Unveiling - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Scott 1196
Res. 677, Mattinson, Amanda - Miss Congeniality/ Miss Self-Expression:
Cumb. Co. Ex. - Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 1196
Res. 678, Matthews, Ryan: Lifesaving Efforts - Commend,
Hon. M. Scott 1197
Res. 679, Lake, Cindy - CIBC Run for the Cure: Volunteering -
Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 1197
Res. 680, King, Milton - 4-H Prince: Cumb. Co. Ex. - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Scott 1198
Res. 681, Kaye, Mike - Springhill FD: Vol. Serv. - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Scott 1198
Res. 682, Fisher, Cathy - Annual Thanksgiving Dinner: Serv. -
Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 1199
Res. 683, Penny, PO 2nd Class Carla May - Military Award,
Hon. M. Scott 1199
Res. 684, Spicer, Katie: Athletic Abilities - Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 1200

[Page 1077]

HALIFAX, MONDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2006

Sixtieth General Assembly

First Session

4:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Cecil Clarke

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Mr. Wayne Gaudet

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. We'll begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

1077

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTIONS

[Page 1078]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Energy.

RESOLUTION NO. 625

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

Whereas the Government of Nova Scotia is committed to agressively defend the interests of Nova Scotians at the National Energy Board; and (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: . . . probably under Government Notices of Motion than Statements by Ministers.

MR. SPEAKER: We went to Government Notices of Motion, honourable member.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: There's no Government Notices of Motion. Does he have a Ministerial Statement to make? (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. To the honourable member for Cape Breton South, I did call Statements by Ministers.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Oh, I thought that's what he rose on.

MR. SPEAKER: No, and then I called Government Notices of Motion, just for clarity.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: I missed that, but I'm happy that there's no statement by the minister. (Laughter)

MR. SPEAKER: And I'm happy we clarified those points.

The honourable Minister of Energy on a Government Notice of Motion.

MR. WILLIAM DOOKS: Mr. Speaker, I thank the good member across the way.

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

Whereas the Government of Nova Scotia is committed to aggressively defend the interests of Nova Scotians at the National Energy Board; and

[Page 1079]

Whereas government has already been active in the run-up to the NEB hearing into the Brunswick Pipeline Project, having intervened and received information from Emera and Irving Oil, and will be cross-examining witnesses and making closing arguments; and

Whereas we want a fair toll and tariff for Nova Scotians who may use Canaport gas and for Nova Scotians who are going to be using the existing Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House support the government's ongoing efforts to intervene at the National Energy Board hearings to push for Nova Scotians to be able to use gas from the Canaport facility at fair prices and for Nova Scotian projects to not be put at an unfair competitive disadvantage by this new pipeline.

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 responsible for Military Relations.

RESOLUTION NO. 626

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

Whereas between 1942 and 1948, more than 40,000 war brides and 20,000 children came to Canada from Britain and Europe, including the honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works and his late mother; and

Whereas Via Rail's War Bride Train is departing Montreal this evening and arriving in Halifax on November 7th, where Premier MacDonald and I will greet the war brides; and

Whereas Pier 21, the first Canadian entry point for the vast majority of these ladies and children, will be hosting a war bride reception on November 8th;

[Page 1080]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the hardships that these women and children endured by coming to a new country at a time of immense upheaval in their lives, and thank the contribution that these ladies and their children have given to Canada and our society.

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. 80 - Entitled an Act to Protect the Civilian Employment of Members of the Canadian Forces Reserves. (Mr. Darrell Dexter)

Bill No. 81 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 246 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Labour Standards Code, to Provide Employees a Longer Weekly Period of Rest. (Mr. Keith Colwell)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. With your permission I would like to make an introduction before I introduce my bill.

MR. SPEAKER: Please do.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Today in the west gallery we have representatives from the Coalition Against Workplace Violence joining us. They are from the Nova Scotia Government & General Employees Union: Joan Jessome, the President of the NSGEU; Jeff Brett, Occupational Health and Safety Officer; Shalon McLachlan, Communications Officer. From the Nova Scotia Teachers Union we have Angela Murray, Communications Officer. From the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Nova Scotia, Rob Wells, the Atlantic health and safety representative. The Nova Scotia Nurses' Union was unable to have a representative here today.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask members of the Legislature to welcome these members. (Applause)

[Page 1081]

Bill No. 82 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 7 of the Acts of 1996. The Occupational Health and Safety Act. (Ms. Maureen MacDonald)

Bill No. 83 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 246 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Labour Standards Code, to Provide Employees with a Rest or Eating Break. (Mr. Keith Colwell)

[4:15 p.m.]

Bill No. 84 - Entitled an Act Respecting the Municipal Taxation of Wind Turbine Facilities. (Hon. James Muir)

Bill No. 85 - Entitled an Act Respecting the Transfer of Assets and Liabilities of the Nova Scotia Freemasons' Home to The Masonic Foundation of Nova Scotia. (Hon. James Muir, as a private member.)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 627

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

Whereas the House of Commons will vote tomorrow, November 7th, on the Veterans' First motion, introduced by Nova Scotia MP Peter Stoffer; and

Whereas the motion urges the federal government to improve pension rights for the second spouses of deceased Forces members, or veterans, extend the Veterans Independence Program to all widows of veterans, and increase the Survivor's Pension upon the death of a former Forces member; and

Whereas it also urges elimination of the reduction and long-term disability benefits for medically released members of the Forces, and the deduction from annuity for retired and disabled members of the Forces;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly, representing a province whose residents are very well represented in the Canadian Forces and among veterans, respectfully urge the members of the House of Commons to support the Veterans First motion moved by Mr. Stoffer.

[Page 1082]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 628

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

Whereas Dr. Ron Stewart has had a successful career in medicine, both as an educator and as a practitioner, and has dedicated his life to the improved health and well-being of all Nova Scotians; and

Whereas Dr. Stewart served as Health Minister from 1993 to 1996, creating health services and a province-wide ambulance system with trained paramedics; and

Whereas Dr. Stewart launched the Music-in-Medicine program at Dalhousie University, allowing medical students, alumni professors, and staff to enjoy music performance as part of their educational and life experiences;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly recognize the accomplishments of Dr. Ron Stewart and congratulate him on being one of the five recipients of the 2006 Order of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 1083]

The motion is carried.

The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 629

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas as part of the 60-year celebrations surrounding the war brides, West Mabou resident Alma MacDonald and her husband of 62 years will join with 17 other couples in renewing their wedding vows; and

Whereas having met and married during the war in 1944, Mrs. MacDonald took the trip across the Atlantic in May 1946 to start a new life, accompanied by two young children, arriving safely at her home, having gotten a ride from the Mabou station by my grandfather, Donald Angus Beaton, her taxi driver that day; and

Whereas the celebrations offer the MacDonalds a chance to travel down memory lane and recall the beginnings of a beautiful relationship;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Alma and Donald MacDonald of West Mabou on this very special occasion and thank Alma for taking the chance, some six decades ago, in making the voyage of a lifetime, and becoming a treasured part of our community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 630

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

[Page 1084]

Whereas outdoor sports are a traditional summer activity that promote many positive outcomes for young people; and

Whereas soccer is rapidly becoming the most popular outdoor summer sport; and

Whereas the East Hants Rednex Under 18 Tier 2A boys soccer team won gold at the provincial championships in Dartmouth this summer;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the coaches and team members of the East Hants Rednex Under 18 Tier 2A boys soccer team on their successful season and championship.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

RESOLUTION NO. 631

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

Whereas in recognition of the 60th Anniversary of the year the greatest number of war brides sailed for Canada, 2006 has been chosen by Veterans Affairs Canada to be the Year of the War Bride; and

Whereas this morning a Via Rail train left Montreal bound for Halifax with 315 war brides on board, scheduled to arrive at Pier 21 Tuesday afternoon; and

Whereas on Wednesday, Pier 21 will host a celebration for the war brides, which will include a renewal of vows ceremony for the 18 couples who will be making the trip;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly recognize the over 43,000 war brides who left their homes and families in Britain and Europe after the

[Page 1085]

war to join their spouses in Canada, and welcome those women and their families once again to the city that first welcomed them 60 years ago.

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 Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 632

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

Whereas the Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library partnered with the Town of New Glasgow to host the first-ever Project for Public Spaces Seminar in Canada; and

Whereas the program was founded in New York over 30 years ago and brings together community members such as development planners, architects, librarians, gardeners, and volunteers - the benefits of this program will be widespread, encouraging and cultivating tourism, local economies, and community involvement into the future; and

Whereas the two-day event was held in New Glasgow in September with 48 participants attending from all over Nova Scotia to discuss ways to enhance and sustain their communities through the unique place-based approach to design and planning that the seminar offers;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library and the community members who participated in the first-ever Canadian version of this seminar - such dedication is an example to the communities across the country and sets a precedent for sustaining vibrant communities into the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 1086]

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. 633

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

Whereas on July 8, 2006, I had the pleasure of attending and presenting various awards at the 57th Maritime Fiddle Festival at Prince Andrew High School; and

Whereas the festival started out as a small fundraising event which quickly expanded in attendance; and

Whereas the show is now spread over the weekend in both the Nova Scotia Community College, Akerley Campus, and Prince Andrew High School sites and is now the oldest continual fiddle contest in North America;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Jacqueline Rowan, winner in the 19 to 59 Years Class, 1st place, and thank all those who helped make the Maritime Fiddle Festival a 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 Preston.

[Page 1087]

RESOLUTION NO. 634

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

Whereas the Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia officially opened its doors in September 1983, and over the past years has hosted many events, school tours, welcomed visitors from various parts of the continent, and has hosted community and government workshops; and

Whereas the Black Cultural Centre has been an educational powerhouse in enhancing the awareness of ethnocultural experiences and diversity and continues with the mandate to Protect, Preserve and Promote Black Culture in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas this year the Black Cultural Centre will celebrate its 23rd Anniversary on Saturday, November 11, 2006, at 6:00 p.m. at the Park Place Ramada Inn in Dartmouth;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating the Black Cultural Centre for their involvement in the community for the past 23 years, and wish them all the best on November 11th in the celebration of this very special occasion.

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. 635

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

[Page 1088]

Whereas the Windsor Knights completed the 2006 Nova Scotia Intermediate Baseball League season with nine wins and 12 losses, good for fourth place in the league standings; and

Whereas the Knights played in both the League Championship Tournament and the Nova Scotia Provincial "AAA" Championship Tournament, going one on one in both tournaments; and

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. There is too much chatter in the Chamber.

The honourable member for Hants West has the floor. If you would proceed.

MR. PORTER: Whereas the Knights roster was competitive, always wanting to win, but in the process seemingly enjoyed each and every game and was led by Shannon States who finished 15th in the league leaders for highest batting average at 306, and pitcher Alex Sabean who finished in a fourth place tie for most strikeouts by pitchers with 26;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend the efforts of the Windsor Knights on another great baseball season and wish them every success in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 636

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

Whereas Allen Tobey of Lyons Brook recently retired as Academic Chairman for the School of Fisheries after 27 and a half years with the facility; and

[Page 1089]

Whereas the school, based in Pictou, started as part of the Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries in 1946 and became part of the Nova Scotia Community College system in 2001, and recently celebrated its 60th Anniversary; and

Whereas Allen Tobey helped to make a difference in the lives of fishing families as an instructor for marine safety, aquaculture, navigation, gear maintenance and other customized programs;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Allen Tobey on a job well done and wish him well in his retirement.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Glace Bay.

RESOLUTION NO. 637

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

Whereas Mr. George Nash, a retired commercial fisherman from Glace Bay, is a veteran of the Korean War and served 24 years in the Canadian Armed Forces, and is currently an active member of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 3; and

Whereas Mr. Nash will receive the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation for his many years of generous dedication to such things as the Poppy Campaign, offering the use of his personal vehicle to deliver Remembrance Day wreaths, and his outstanding work with upgrades made to the many graves of veterans; and

Whereas Mr. Nash has visited schools in the Glace Bay area, dedicating many hours visiting hospitalized veterans, offering them care and comfort;

[Page 1090]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly congratulate Mr. George Nash for receiving this prestigious award for his outstanding service and dedication to the veterans of Glace Bay and surrounding areas.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There is a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works.

RESOLUTION NO. 638

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

Whereas St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish was ranked first among undergraduate institutions in Canada in Maclean's Magazine's annual ranking for the fifth consecutive year; and

Whereas this year, Maritime institutions had a clean sweep of the top three positions with Mount Allison ranking second and Acadia coming in third; and

Whereas the rankings are determined by factors including incoming students' grades, class sizes, funding for research and scholarships, alumni support, for which St. F.X. ranked first for the sixth straight year;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the administration, faculty, staff, students, and the alumni of St. Francis Xavier University for their continued pursuit of excellence in education, and congratulate them on their well-deserved recognition.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[4:30 p.m.]

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

[Page 1091]

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 Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 639

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

Whereas on Thursday, September 21, 2006, the newest inductees into the Cape Breton Business Hall of Fame were held; and

Whereas Mr. Stewart MacLeod purchased his father's business in the 1960s; and

Whereas in 1976 Mr. MacLeod then partnered with the insurance company C.R. Lorway and Son Limited, forming the MacLeod-Lorway Financial Group which now includes 80 offices in Nova Scotia, employing more than 70 people;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Mr. Stewart MacLeod on being inducted into the Cape Breton Business Hall of Fame, and for his dedication and commitment to the community of Cape Breton.

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 West.

RESOLUTION NO. 640

[Page 1092]

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

Whereas volunteer fire departments are the backbone of many rural communities throughout Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the commitment made by the volunteer firefighters goes well beyond the call of duty, not only are they there in an emergency, often you will find they are a driving force behind many community events; and

Whereas since 1946 the Aylesford and District Fire Department has been there when the community has called, they have been a constant source of strength and compassion when needed;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House recognize the contributions that the volunteer fire department makes to our province, and congratulate the Aylesford and District Fire Department for 60 years of service to the community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour.

RESOLUTION NO. 641

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

Whereas the Valley Chapter of Ducks Unlimited is presently engaged in an exciting project at Miner Marsh in Kentville; and

Whereas the project, with a completion date of 2007, involves the flooding of 13 to 15 acres of marshland on the north side of the Cornwallis River, creating a habitat for ducks and other species; and

[Page 1093]

Whereas the project's costs are $365,000, with Ducks Unlimited paying $100,000 and the Town of Kentville $265,000, with the town also being responsible for the day-to-day operation of the site;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature recognize the incredible work which has taken place on this project and applaud the initiatives of the Town of Kentville and project architects Ian Ripley, Gren Jones, Hugh Fairn, Joe Hickman, and Don Burry for their outstanding work for Ducks Unlimited.

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 Dartmouth North.

RESOLUTION NO. 642

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

Whereas in September 2006, Capital Health handed out its inaugural Community Health Leadership Awards; and

Whereas Capital Health recognized the achievements of passionate leaders such as Sylvia Anthony during its annual general meeting; and

Whereas Sylvia Anthony, a resident of north end Dartmouth, also kick-started the community volunteer paper the North Dartmouth Echo, along with being the coordinator of the Purple Ribbon Campaign, a campaign to combat violence against women;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Sylvia Anthony on her achievements and dedication to volunteerism for the betterment of her north end Dartmouth community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 1094]

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 Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 643

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

Whereas the Canada Safety Council's 17th Annual National Seniors' Safety Week, which takes place from November 6 to 12, 2006, is an opportunity to focus on injury prevention for seniors; and

Whereas to mark this week a report entitled Seniors Falls in Canada will be showcased at the Canadian Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion Conference to be held in Halifax, Nova Scotia, from November 6 to 8, 2006; and

Whereas one in three Nova Scotians over the age of 65 experience a fall;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly acknowledge the week of November 6th to 12th as Seniors' Safety Week, and encourage the people of Nova Scotia to take the time to check their homes so that the seniors can prevent any future injuries.

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 1095]

The honourable Minister of Human Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 644

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

Whereas Madison Rogers, a Grade 8 student, and Matthew Russell, a Grade 12 student, attending Pugwash District High were honoured recently; and

Whereas this honour was earned for perfect school attendance for the first session of this year; and

Whereas these students are using the privilege of an education to the fullest, while setting a great example for their schoolmates to follow;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in sending our congratulations to Madison and Mathew for their dedication to learning.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

RESOLUTION NO. 645

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

Whereas Donald Cameron Ashton of Spryfield joined the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps on October 23, 1940, as a Private, and transferred in 1942 to the Embarkation Transit Unit; and

Whereas Donald Cameron Ashton made 62 round trips across the Atlantic during the Second World War, transporting troops to the European theatre and returning with

[Page 1096]

prisoners of war and wounded personnel on a wide variety of ships, including the Queen Mary; and

Whereas at the end of the war, Donald Cameron Ashton took on far happier duties, bringing back troops and shiploads of war brides;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Sergeant Major Ashton on his remarkable wartime service, and remember the role he played in bringing a generation of immigrants to our shores.

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. 646

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

Whereas the importance of fish in the Maritimes is diverse, it not only provides thousands of jobs on both coasts, but is also essential to living a long and healthy life; and

Whereas fish is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for a healthy heart, optimal brain growth and development; and

Whereas numerous studies proved that fish-based Omega-3s also play a role in decreasing cholesterol, lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart attack, disease, stroke, Alzheimer's and certain cancers;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House encourage the education of Nova Scotians on the benefits of incorporating fish into their diet.

[Page 1097]

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 Immigration.

RESOLUTION NO. 647

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

Whereas Nova Scotians support the establishment and management of protected areas across the province; and

Whereas creating such protected areas requires community and government leadership; and

Whereas the Canadian Council on Ecological Areas recently honoured the former Queens MLA, Kerry Morash by presenting him with the Gold Leaf Award for outstanding contributions to the preservation of protected areas;

Therefore be it resolved that this House commend former MLA and Cabinet Minister Kerry Morash for his outstanding personal leadership, resulting in significant Crown acquisitions and designations of more than 10,000 acres of land for protected areas for all Nova Scotians to enjoy now 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.

[Page 1098]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 648

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

Whereas after Cecil Roy joined the 133rd Field Battery in Liverpool, Nova Scotia, in October 1947, moving on to a merchant vessel, then having returned to the military and served in the Korean War, but was never in receipt of the official documentation regarding his discharge from the 133rd Field Battery; and

Whereas realizing that the records from the 133rd Field Battery had been shipped to Yarmouth and presumably lost, Mr. Roy took the initiative to have his documentation clarified;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly recognize the patriotic service and determination of Cecil Roy, formerly of Liverpool, now of Yarmouth, who will be presented with his discharge papers at the Armouries on Saturday, November 11, 2006, following the Yarmouth area's annual Remembrance Day service at the Mariners Centre.

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 Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

RESOLUTION NO. 649

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

[Page 1099]

Whereas the Marigold Cultural Centre in Truro celebrated its official opening on September 14, 2006; and

Whereas the Marigold Cultural Centre is a downtown cultural and redevelopment project initiated and completed by area residents; and

Whereas the Marigold Cultural Centre will help to promote Truro and the surrounding areas as a region of cultural excellence and make arts and culture more accessible to residents;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank the many organizations and volunteers whose time, work and contributions have made the Marigold Cultural Centre a reality.

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 Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 650

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

Whereas Jennifer West of Timberlea is the first female in Eastern Canada to receive the Junior Shodan Black Belt in the Aikido Martial Arts; and

Whereas Jennifer, the daughter of Trish and Don West, began her training in Aikido in 1999 with Sensei Steve Nickerson; and

Whereas Jennifer is presently training for Senior Shodan;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Jennifer West on her Junior Shodan Black Belt.

[Page 1100]

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 Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 651

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

Whereas this government continues to invest in the priorities of Chester-St. Margaret's; and

Whereas a $575,000 upgrade to the Duke Street and Trunk 3 intersection in Chester is almost completed; and

Whereas it will be much safer for the motoring public, pedestrians and students alike to pass through this intersection once the repairs are completed;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the great work the Department of Transportation and Public Works is doing in Chester-St. Margaret's.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

[Page 1101]

RESOLUTION NO. 652

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

Whereas property taxes on wind farms in Nova Scotia have been the worst in Canada, as much as 20 times higher than other provinces, despite Nova Scotia's reliance on imported fossil fuels; and

Whereas the NDP raised this issue before and during the last provincial election as a specific example of needless barriers to increase generation of renewable power and reduced greenhouse gas emissions; and

Whereas wind energy producers, the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities and the province worked together to reach an agreement on a reasonable property tax framework;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, his staff, the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities and the renewable energy community for real progress in setting more acceptable property tax rates on wind farms.

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 Fisheries and Aquaculture.

[4:45 p.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 653

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

[Page 1102]

Whereas the Christmas tree industry is a significant source of employment and income in Guysborough County; and

Whereas Myles MacPherson is a major employer and a grower in the Christmas tree industry in Guysborough County; and

Whereas Myles MacPherson was named the Grand Champion and overall points winner of the 2006 Christmas Tree Competition at the Eastern Nova Scotia Exhibition in Antigonish;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Myles MacPherson of Boylston, Guysborough County for his accomplishment at the 2006 Christmas Tree Competition at the Eastern Nova Scotia Exhibition.

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 Shelburne.

RESOLUTION NO. 654

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

Whereas annually, a Pumpkin Weigh-in competition is held in both the Clarks Harbour and Shelburne County regions; and

Whereas this event featured 36 entries in 2006, with Teresa Hemeon being crowned as the first-place winner of Shelburne County; Ms Hemeon's pumpkin weighed in at 699 pounds in Clarks Harbour and 703 pounds in Shelburne County; and

Whereas the event promotes agriculture in Clarks Harbour and Shelburne County regions, uniting the two communities;

[Page 1103]

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Teresa Hemeon, as the undisputed pumpkin queen of Shelburne County and recognize all those who volunteer in making the Pumpkin Weigh-in competition event an ongoing 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 Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 655

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

Whereas volunteers are the cornerstone of Nova Scotia's towns and villages; and

Whereas Debbie Ferguson has shown selfless dedication to improving the lives of others; and

Whereas she has been involved in the Terry Fox Run/Walk since its inception in 1981;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Debbie Ferguson for her more than 20 years of volunteer work for the Terry Fox Foundation.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 1104]

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. 656

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

Whereas the net outflow of Atlantic Canadians to Alberta reached an estimated 13,000 in the 12 months to July 1, 2006; and

Whereas a recent newspaper supplement containing job advertisements from almost 80 western companies and provincial organizations served only to heighten awareness of job opportunities, "down the road"; and

Whereas this surge in out-migration is decimating the workforce in key areas of rural Nova Scotia and Cape Breton, which will not be able to sustain continued losses of skilled tradespeople, professionals and other workers in the long term;

Therefore be it resolved that this Nova Scotia House of Assembly urge the government to immediately undertake the development and implementation of a strategic, long-term plan to ensure sustainable economic development in rural Nova Scotia and Cape Breton.

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 Halifax Clayton Park.

RESOLUTION NO. 657

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

[Page 1105]

Whereas in 2005, the CFIB spearheaded a fax campaign to MLAs to get the basic personal tax exemption increased in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas our province had by far, the lowest exemption in Canada for taxpayers; and

Whereas the CFIB fax campaign was successful in finally moving government to increase the basic personal exemption by a full $1,000;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate the CFIB on their successful lobbying effort and wish them every success in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

RESOLUTION NO. 658

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

Whereas Professor Fraser Mustard, one of Canada's outstanding experts on child development, stated that the quality and capacity of our future population depends on what we do now to support early child development; and

Whereas access to child care remains a problem in Nova Scotia and most other provinces, especially when most parents of young children work outside the home; and

Whereas closure of child care centres, rather than steps to ensure enough accessible, affordable spaces and full access to early childhood education, remains a problem; and

[Page 1106]

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the need for a system of early learning and care in Nova Scotia, which gives all families access to quality, affordable and appropriate child care and early childhood education.

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 Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 659

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

Whereas Arthur Dewtie is a member of the Oddfellows Moore Lodge #17 in Thorburn, Pictou County; and

Whereas Mr. Dewtie increased the membership of the lodge to finish third in North America for the number of members to join a lodge in 2005; and

Whereas the Oddfellows Moore Lodge #17 in Thorburn has been acknowledged by the Oddfellows as the fastest-growing lodge on the continent and one with increased commitment to community service;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly commend and congratulate Mr. Arthur Dewtie of Thorburn, Pictou County, for his dedication and commitment to increasing the membership of this fine and historic institution.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 1107]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. PATRICK DUNN: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Private and Local Bills for Second Reading.

PRIVATE AND LOCAL BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. PATRICK DUNN: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 72.

Bill No. 72 - Halifax Regional Water Commission Act.

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

HON. BARRY BARNET: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to move Bill No. 72, an Act to Amend Chapter 55 of the Acts of 1963, the Halifax Regional Water Commission Act. I just have a few brief remarks before I take my place.

As members would know, I served for a number of years as a commissioner of the Halifax Regional Water Commission, as well as a Halifax Regional Municipality councillor. I will say to members that during the early days of the Halifax Regional Municipality, between December 1, 1994, and April 1, 1995, as the municipality was developing its structure to move forward as a new regional municipality, there was a great deal of debate and discussion at the staff and at the elected council levels about the type of format that the Halifax Regional Water Commission and departments would take. They looked at a variety of things, including the structure, whether or not the water commission itself, the former Halifax Water Commission and Dartmouth Water Commission, would become a line division of the Halifax Regional Municipality, or whether, in fact, the sewer/waste water division of the respective municipalities would become an entity of the water commission.

At the time, it was decided that the Halifax Regional Water Commission would be formed, that it would take over the work and the responsibility for providing clean, potable drinking water for those communities that were served either through the former

[Page 1108]

County of Halifax Water Commission, or water department, or the City of Dartmouth Water Commission or the City of Halifax Water Commission. They formed during that winter of 1995, and have been doing, in my opinion, great work ever since, expanding the facilities. Since then, they've opened a water treatment plant and have undertaken a great deal of water- main renewal, as well as expanded their system into new communities that weren't serviced.

It's expected that they'll move even further as the Spring and summer construction season moves forward. I'm pleased to say that the community I represent, in Middle Sackville, will see an expansion of the services to Lively Road to take over what is one of the water commission's, I think, 10 or 11 small systems that they intend, over a period of time, to take over and incorporate in the larger system.

This bill, in essence, will enable the water commission, if they so desire and if the regional municipality desires, to take over the waste water component of the work that's being performed currently by the Halifax Regional Municipality in a commission structure. It provides for greater accountability for the ratepayers. Currently, the waste water charges are levied by the council, Halifax Regional Municipality sets the rate, and there's no examination by the Utility and Review Board.

This bill will allow for that to happen through the same process that currently happens for the establishment of the rates. In other words, what happens with the passing of this piece of legislation is that it enables the municipality to transfer that work that's currently being done by the municipality to the commission, and the commission will then have to apply, like it does with water rates, to the Utility and Review Board to have those rates established through a rigorous process that the Utility and Review Board conducts through public hearings.

I'll say that the municipality, as I understand it, supports this legislation. They do have some work to go through before they move this to a point where they bring it to council for final resolution, including discussion with the bargaining units involved, and including other business practices that have to be conducted before they can conclude this.

I believe this is a good thing for not only the taxpayers of Nova Scotia, but for all Nova Scotians. It's a one-off piece of legislation, because it was requested by the municipality and the water commission. If other municipalities were to come forward and request it, it would have to be considered separately. I'll say this, that the ratepayers currently in Halifax have a level of protection that is afforded to them by the Public Utility and Review Board through the Public Utility Act that, now with waste water treatment and the charges related to waste water treatment through the passage of this bill, should the municipality and the water commission reach a conclusion on the discussions that they're having, it will provide that kind of protection in the future.

[Page 1109]

I look forward to hearing the debate. I think this is a positive step forward for the municipality. It's a positive step forward particularly for the ratepayers who will now have a public-hearing-type process to determine their rates. I guess for me, one of the most overwhelming reasons why I support this is the fact that what we end up with many times is calling out two separate departments of government to come out and make repairs to the system when one department could be there doing this. Essentially, this is to save time, save money, and have a more streamlined and effective approach to providing both sewer - which is the waste water component - and clean, potable drinking water.

Mr. Speaker, without any further words, I move second reading of Bill No. 72.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank.

MR. PERCY PARIS: Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise in my place this evening to speak to this bill. Having said that, we fully recognize the due process that this bill has to go through with the appropriate bodies for approval, this bill makes good sense. If we continue to attract good people with the Halifax Regional Water Commission, which I think thus far we have done, we need bills such as this. I see the benefits of this bill. I commend and thank the minister responsible for having the foresight and the insight to table such a bill.

[5:00 p.m.]

I think the bill itself speaks volumes of the water commission and the work that it has done to date. This bill would only strengthen the water commission, and certainly by that I mean strengthen those who will follow those who now sit on that commission. I think the bill serves as great significance to those members who sit on that commission. I don't think there's a lot to say on the bill. I think the honourable member opposite has pretty well captured, in essence, the bill itself. Having said that, again, I just want to reiterate my recommendation for this bill.

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

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, it gives me pleasure to rise today to say a few words about Bill No. 72, which amends the Halifax Regional Water Commission Act. Certainly in the last few months I have had a number of occasions to speak to Carl Yates, who is the President of the Water Commission, and others in the organization, about the reason behind moving in this direction and why it is desirable for HRM and the Water Commission to look for some synergy and some additional co-operation, I think, that will actually help both organizations to better serve the people here in HRM.

Certainly in recent years, we've seen that there is a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done on the sewer system within Halifax and Dartmouth, particularly

[Page 1110]

because it is very old and requires an awful lot of capital investment. It has been a cause of concern about how exactly that would be managed and how the city would be able to undertake that work. I know it requires some long-term planning and, again, it requires the strength of a very strong organization to work forward on that because there are some very major challenges facing us, as an older city.

I think it is a very positive move that at this point in time, the Halifax Regional Water Commission will take over the management of that system along with the water system, on which they have been doing a fine job for the number of years that that organization has been in place. Again, Mr. Yates and his staff have a wonderful reputation - I think, throughout the municipality - for providing excellent service and a high quality of water which we can all be proud of. I think their experience in expanding the water system, and keeping that system up-to-date and operating well and reliably, will serve them in good stead as they take over the sewer system as well for the municipality.

I think that it is a sign of the times that we need to look at ways to best manage our resources. Again, HRM had a huge commitment of capital requirements if they were to continue managing this themselves. One of our concerns would be to ensure that the consumers are protected because I've talked about the large costs that are looming, in terms of keeping our systems up-to-date. I think the fact that we have the URB in charge of rate increases will at least provide a mechanism for the public to have some say as those requests come forward, because we know that undoubtedly there will be that need. I know that in the last year or so there have been requests from the Water Commission directly to council asking for increases. So now we will have in place for the sewer system, the sense that any increases will go before the Utility and Review Board. Again, that provides some consumer protection.

With that being said, Mr. Speaker, I'm looking forward to this coming to Law Amendments Committee and to see if there are other people who wish to speak on it at that time from the public. I certainly look forward to seeing this bill move forward. Thank you.

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

The honourable Minister of Health Promotion and Protection.

HON. BARRY BARNET: Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleagues for their comments regarding Bill No. 72. I would say this in closing, though, that 60 per cent of the bill that our residents receive on a water bill is actually for waste water. This does provide a level of protection that they currently don't have, in terms of the establishment of the rates and ensuring that they are being treated fairly.

[Page 1111]

I wouldn't say at all that they are not being treated fairly, but I think this provides an additional comfort level to the ratepayers. The synergy that was talked about by the member for Halifax Clayton Park is the kind of thing that I think all citizens will benefit from. So I am pleased to close debate and move second reading for Bill No. 72, An Act to Amend Chapter 55 of the Acts of 1963, The Halifax Regional Water Commission Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 72. Is the House ready for the question?

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 Private and Local Bills.

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. PATRICK DUNN: 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. PATRICK DUNN: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 7.

Bill No. 7 - Registered Nurses Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works.

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I move that this bill be now read for a second time. In this province, we have 9,526 registered nurses practising throughout the province and they are committed to providing Nova Scotians with high quality care. Our government is able to introduce needed legislation respecting the Registered Nurses Act, as well the Licensed Practical Nurses Act, because of the collaborative effort and hard work of their professional colleagues, facilitated by staff at the Department of Health.

Nurses, Mr. Speaker, are the centrepiece of our health care system. That's why it is important to update their scope of practice, so that they can provide high quality care in acute care settings, long-term facilities, and communities across the province. This bill will solidify the requirements for continuing competence as nursing practices are

[Page 1112]

constantly changing. These changes come after a year of consultations with various health professionals throughout the province.

One of the most important changes contained in the Registered Nurses Act is the elimination of the barriers they faced in the past. This bill will make nurses' jobs easier, while following national standards. The bill will allow nurse practitioners to make a diagnosis, order diagnostic tests, and prescribe certain medications. Nurses have often been the catalysts for change, and this bill will make it easier for them to reach their potential. The College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia supports this bill, which also responds to public expectations of self-regulating professionals to be accountable, open, and transparent. The bill contains a modern complaints process. It is an example of the nursing profession's commitment to continuous quality improvements of its regulatory processes and to ensure that the public has access to, and receives care from safe, competent and ethical practitioners. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)

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

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, it gives me pleasure to stand this evening to say a few words on Bill No. 7. I think this bill will implement changes to the Nurses Act, which will improve the workings of the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia. As the former Minister of Health stated, and I would concur with this, we have a great number of professional, dedicated nurses in our province who provide care to many Nova Scotians every minute of the day, in all weather, at all hours of the night.

I think it's important that we recognize that the college does grow, it does mature over time, Mr. Speaker, and the profession itself matures, and that's what causes some of the changes needed and some of the changes that we'll see in this bill. I think it's important that we recognize the work that the nurses do here in the province, and continue to do to improve the delivery of health care to Nova Scotians.

In this piece of legislation, Mr. Speaker, it brings changes to the former Act, things like setting professional fees that members will pay to belong to the college. It also talks around the appointment of an auditor for the college, and even talks around disciplinary action that the college can take on its members. I think that's important, because when we see pieces of legislation like this that pertain to colleges or self-regulating bodies, it's to serve and protect the public interest. I think it's important that we recognize that.

The creation of these colleges, especially those professions in the health care field, is a protection for those patients and for Nova Scotians. It also maintains public confidence, I think, when we see changes to a college like the Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia. It shows that this profession is willing to make tough changes at times, to ensure

[Page 1113]

the protection of Nova Scotians when it comes to the profession, and to the duties that nurses do here in the province.

I think we do support these changes coming forward, and I think it's important that government recognize the need to have changes and to have the formation of colleges, especially in the health care field. There are many disciplines in Nova Scotia in the health care fields that want to take ownership of their profession, they want to take ownership of creating a self-governing body. Nurses have been a strong supporter of these initiatives by all the disciplines - not only their own as the nursing profession, other ones like the midwives which I believe we may see legislation on that in the near future. Another area where we need to look at and support is RTs.

Government needs to support the formation of colleges or a college. Myself, as a paramedic, we went through that process of trying to promote and have self-governing of our profession. I think it serves Nova Scotians best when government recognizes that, so I think government needs to continue to ensure these professions that want to take ownership of their profession - especially in health care - are recognized, and they get the due diligence that they deserve when it comes to possible legislation.

As I said earlier, I believe that midwives is going to come forward in the next couple of weeks, but I did mention the RTs. I mention them first because I think people need to be aware of the urgency that group is looking for formation of a college. They currently are registered under an umbrella of different colleges throughout the country - not one under Nova Scotia's law. We don't have a college set up for them.

There's an urgency for government to ensure there's protection and legislation in place here in the province because, as of January 1, 2008, that umbrella that currently oversees RTs in Nova Scotia will no longer license them. There's an urgent need for government to ensure that the public here in Nova Scotia has some protection. So I encourage the government to expedite that piece of legislation.

As I said earlier, health care professionals want to take ownership of their profession. They want to participate in the expansion of their scope of practice - the roles they participate in here in the province to deliver health care. Under the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia Act, one of those groups in there is nurse practitioners. It seems to be at the forefront of the nursing profession right now. There are a lot of things we could be doing to improve our system here in the province, especially around the use of nurse practitioners here in Nova Scotia. I think government needs to really look at the true value of implementing programs and policies to utilize them to the best of their ability or to the fullest extent of their training here in the province.

It has been a promise of ours, and I know we talked about it in the last election around nurse practitioners and their use in the health care field here in the province - we believe and feel strongly that emergency rooms should have nurse practitioners. They

[Page 1114]

could be a key asset in those environments, to start addressing some of the crisis we see in our emergency rooms. We have closures of emergency rooms in many rural communities. I think the use of nurse practitioners in those could help alleviate some of the stress, some of the pressures these emergency rooms have.

[5:15 p.m.]

Not only that, we see more and more Nova Scotians that don't have a family physician. Where do these individuals turn? They use the emergency rooms throughout this province.

One thing that really gets to me is when we hear sometimes that people say, there are cases that go to the emergency room that shouldn't be there. I would agree, but we don't know what their background is. Maybe that individual doesn't have a family physician they can call up at all hours to try to hopefully solve their problem, even if it's a minor one. I think if we could expand the use of nurse practitioners in our province to include emergency rooms, we could start addressing some of those long waits we see people are going through when they go to their nearest emergency rooms. People are waiting 10, 12, 14, 16 hours to try to get some kind of health care.

I think government needs to recognize this and really take advantage of them, Mr. Speaker. I think nurse practitioners want to be taken advantage of right now. Many of them are seasoned nurses who have worked many years in the system and were given an opportunity a few years ago to go back and educate themselves and hopefully try to give back more than they could over their career.

What we are finding, Mr. Speaker, is that many of these nurse practitioners, once they have their training, once they have their qualifications, they don't have anywhere to practise. There are great opportunities out there and currently going on with nurse practitioners is a marriage of nurse practitioners and physicians in some of the clinics, and it's working well. We don't have enough of them. The problem that nurse practitioners are seeing is that they can't keep their competencies; they can't keep current on their licence because they can't practise.

I'll give you a prime example of a nurse practitioner who worked in the Cobequid emergency room at the Cobequid Community Health Centre in Lower Sackville. She took that opportunity many years ago to go back and upgrade, so that she could practise as a nurse practitioner, but once she finished her training, she was unable to find a placement. She went back to nursing at the emergency room at the Cobequid Community Health Centre, but she wasn't allowed to work to the full potential that her training gives her, which to this day I still cannot understand. I haven't been given any reason why someone who is trained to this level has to practise at this level because maybe there's not enough funding. I believe that one of the causes for her to not be able to practise as a nurse practitioner at the Cobequid Community Health Centre might be that they

[Page 1115]

weren't allocated the funding to give her a boost in her salary to work at a nurse practitioner's salary.

I don't understand why government doesn't ensure that someone like this, who has worked in this province for many years, who has taken it upon themselves to educate themselves further, to hopefully address some of the issues we see in health care, wasn't able to perform to what she was trained for, Mr. Speaker. I can say it was actually through the last election campaign, in the summer, that I spoke to her. She has now actually left the province and is working in New Brunswick as a nurse practitioner in an emergency room. So we have just lost a huge asset to our province, a huge asset that I think could address some of the concerns in health care that we see, and it was all around not allowing this individual, this nurse, to practise to her full potential.

I don't understand why this was allowed to happen, Mr. Speaker. We have two paths that government could take when it comes to addressing some of the concerns in health care. One of those paths, I believe, is that they need to support and promote and invest in the public health care system. The private health care system that we see the Minister of Health touting is not where we need to be going. So we have two paths; one is down the public health care system, we need government to support it, we need them to promote it and invest in it. I think that's one of the areas we haven't seen this government going, especially in recent months - the promoting of our public health care system.

I had the opportunity to attend a luncheon, I think two weeks ago, Mr. Speaker, at the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, where the Minister of Health himself was addressing the crowd. I was asked afterwards what I took from that speech. I was interested in seeing what he had to say, I mean, I know in the past the chamber of commerce luncheon is usually a place where government likes to put a trial balloon out there to see what kind of appetite there is for whatever changes they want.

In the speech that the Minister of Health gave that day, I think all I got out of it was that he was trying to really scare Nova Scotians with the fact of how much health care is going to cost in 10 or 20 or 30 years. Really, that's all that his message was, that we're going to consume our entire budget for health care in 20 years. I'm not sure exactly how many years he used, but use the entire budget of the province for health care. Afterwards the Minister of Health stated during his interviews with the media, when asked around the delivery of private health care in this province, that the potentials were endless, and that really caught my interest there.

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health, when asked what road we're going to take in the future when dealing with health care delivery in the province, stated the potentials are endless. I think day after day the minister continues to trial this appetite that he thinks maybe Nova Scotians have towards private health care in this province. He said it in the last session of this House during estimates that everything was on the table when it came

[Page 1116]

to health care. Another comment that I don't understand where this government is going when it comes to health care delivery in this province. As I said, there were two paths. One was promoting, supporting and investing in the public system; the other one is the private delivery of health care in the province. From the actions of the Minister of Health over the last several months, almost the last year, actions from this government, we continue to see them go down that path to private health care delivery here in the province.

Well, I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, and I could tell the members there and the Minister of Health, that I will do everything I can do, and I know every member in my caucus will do everything they can do, to protect the public health care system here in our province. We will ensure that the Minister of Health goes down the path to promote, invest and support that public system. I think the Minister of Health might be a little further down that path on the private system or the private road than I think most Nova Scotians want. Nova Scotians don't want that, Canadians don't want that, and I think we need to ensure, and hopefully protect the system we have now, promote it, invest in it, and look at ways that we can improve the public system, not look at ways where we can attempt to go down that path of private health care delivery here in the province.

Mr. Speaker, we don't have to look far. All we need to do is go to our health care professionals - the nurses, the RTs, the midwives, the paramedics in this province, the doctors. Many of them have good ideas and government needs to go to those individuals to get ideas on where we need to go in the future to start addressing some of the concerns in health care. There are things like nurse anesthesiologists that I'm aware of that other jurisdictions in the U.S. and overseas use in their delivery of health care that I think we need to explore. If everything is on the table, as the Minister of Health states, then government should be looking at ways to expand the scope of practice that many of our health care providers have, look at alternatives in the public system with the health care professionals that we have now to address those issues and those concerns.

I've always said in this House, and I'll say it again, it seems that the health care providers are the last ones, especially the front-line health care providers, that government goes to before, during and after they implement changes to the health care system. Then they wonder why things aren't running smoothly. Well, I'll tell you why. It's because the ones who we need to deliver this system, the ones who are working there, are the ones whose opinion we're not getting. We're not seeking advice from them and I think that's where this government needs to go. They need to stop putting a private flair to the delivery of health care here in the province and start promoting and supporting the public system. Supporting our health care professionals like the nurses who can bring things to government to hopefully implement changes and policy that would improve the delivery in our province and address some of the concerns we have with wait times, with emergency rooms.

[Page 1117]

Mr. Speaker, those are the areas where government needs to concentrate its time and energy and stop just scaring the heck out of Nova Scotians because of the costs in 20 or 25 years. Well, the costs in 25 years doesn't matter to that senior who's waiting to get a long-term care bed. The costs in 25 years isn't going to matter to the person who's at home waiting for back surgery, or knee surgery.

What they need is a government that is willing to look at and address the issues of today, and hopefully promote the fact that we have professionals here in the province who are the best in the country. They're the best in the country. I think some of the comments that the Minister of Health has stated and has said over the last several months have really tarnished and hurt a lot of the hard work that the health care providers do on a daily basis here in the province. The minister stated, awhile ago, around the pension issue of health care workers and the possible strike that we averted last week - now, I know the deadline is Monday, tonight, and there's a possible agreement.

What that does is it hurts and tarnishes all the work that the health care providers have done to date to try to attract and retain health care providers in this province. If you're a health care provider from, say, Alberta and you left years ago, or from down in the States and you're thinking of coming back home, and you read in the paper that the government is standing firm on letting this possible strike go forward - to the last minute, it was 2:30 in the morning when they made an agreement - what do you think the person who's reading this is thinking about coming back to Nova Scotia to an environment that is not appealing?

I think the government is actually hurting themselves by not promoting and respecting the health care providers. The government can say all they want. I remember Bill No. 68, and how they treated nurses in this province then, Mr. Speaker. I remember the paramedic strike. I remember that vividly. I was walking around the Legislature. I assume the member for Hants West would remember, also.

We've seen, over and over, how this government really treats and promotes health care and health care providers and health care professionals in this province, Mr. Speaker. I'm encouraging the Minister of Health and this government to get off the path of the private delivery of health care, get back on the path of the public health care system, and go to those professionals who I think have more answers than this government is asking of them, to try to address some of the issues we see in health care.

With those few words, I support this piece of legislation going through the process, to go to the Law Amendments Committee, and we'll see if there are any groups out there that have any issues with it - I don't think they will - and follow through the process of introducing the bill. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

[Page 1118]

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, I actually agree with a lot of the points that my colleague from the New Democratic Party has stated. There's just something about that guy I like, I don't know what it is, but I tend to agree with a lot of what he has to say. (Interruptions)

Mr. Speaker, he has made some excellent points. I think some excellent points have to be made about this bill in general. Certainly, we tend to agree with it because this bill, which is about self-governance for registered nurses, which means that - as I think the honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid referred to it - these groups wanted to take ownership of their profession, and that's correct. This is about self-governance and about professionals in this province taking responsibility for that, and that's exactly what they're looking for. It creates a college that regulates licences and issues permits to registered nurses in this province.

Mr. Speaker, there are over 9,000 registered nurses in this province, and just over 3,000 licensed practical nurses, as well. No one needs to tell anyone in this Legislature of the importance of registered nurses or of licensed practical nurses. No one has to tell anyone in this Legislature of the importance of health care in this province. And no one has to tell anyone in this Legislature of the state of health care in this province, as well.

[5:30 p.m.]

We need only to get up, on a daily basis, and listen to the regular radio announcements and read the newspaper advertisements of emergency room closures throughout this province. They give an indication of exactly what's happening here. In Glace Bay, in New Waterford, in North Sydney, in Digby, in New Glasgow, in the Strait-Richmond area, across this province, we have daily ER closures.

Mr. Speaker, it brought a comment from one of my colleagues who said his ER is closed so much that he's thinking about applying for a grant for Doctors Without Borders, so maybe they can qualify to have some doctors in that area. Now that's no joke, because that's the way it's getting here sometimes, and in my own area, where the emergency room in Glace Bay used to be closed on an irregular basis, it's now on a regular basis that the emergency room is closed. More often than not, you'll pick up the newspaper and find out that the emergency room is closed the next day for the following hours, as a regular occurrence, not an irregular occurrence.

Mr. Speaker, there are a few concerns about the bill that we have in our caucus, one is that it leaves a lot to be determined by regulation and the regulations are created by the College of Registered Nurses, with the approval of the Governor-in-Council. The requirements set out for incorporation, licensing and continuing education within the bill are left to be determined by regulation as well. There is also a clause in there regarding the duty to report, which is a rather slippery slope, subject to the abuses and members of the profession who do not want that responsibility.

[Page 1119]

Again, the honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid touched on this point, Mr. Speaker, that there are other professions out there who are still waiting, who are still looking for similar legislation and they would include respiratory therapists, who have an urgent need to deal with this because of the deadline that my colleague mentioned as well. There are dental hygienists who are out there who have now been subject, for the first time ever in this province, to an independent review. The Minister of Health has ordered an independent review of the dental hygienist situation, which is unheard of before in this province, but we'll wait to see what that brings about.

Those professions, plus others, are looking for self-regulation, and generally, we're in favour of self-regulating legislation, but we don't know about the idea and we'll take a careful look at it, as will, I'm sure, our Law Amendments Committee and further debate in this Legislature. A careful look at not leaving all the decisions to the board or the college and the regulations that are made by the Cabinet.

We're encouraged by the government's acknowledging self-governing legislation for professional bodies, but we believe, and we firmly, strongly believe that the Legislature is here to ensure the protection of citizens. We can't leave everything to Cabinet or to a college to regulate and determine. It has to be this Legislature that makes that determination.

It's touched on as well in the bill, the subject of nurse practitioners, Mr. Speaker, and it's an idea we know whose time has come. Nurse practitioners are working in this province, but not as much as they should be. It is a possible solution to the crisis that exists now in our emergency rooms across this province. They could be put to further use. They should be put to further use. Why this government is stalling on that, we're not sure.

Mr. Speaker, on the subject that would take many hours of debate, and I'm not about to launch on that right now, but on the subject of private health care, the Liberal caucus has only one message for the Minister of Health regarding public health care and that is, if the Minister of Health of this province and the government of this province think that they are going to destroy our public health care system, the Minister of Health better go out and get himself a very thick flak jacket, because it's not going to happen in this province. We just simply won't put up with it, and neither will the citizens of this province. We hear about it on a daily basis and you hear about it on a daily basis, I'm sure you do.

The minister is the one who has said that everything is on the table and the minister is the one who has said that future legislation will have a certain private flair to it. Those are not comments that come from the Opposition, those are comments directly out of the mouth of the Minister of Health of that government. You get the message sometimes and when you repeat that message time and time again, you can only come to one conclusion, the conclusion being that perhaps this government is planning to mess

[Page 1120]

around with public health care, and it's a message that our caucus will serve. We're not going to stand for it. As the Official Opposition and the member for Sackville-Cobequid said, that his caucus won't stand for it either.

Mr. Speaker, let me tell you. If there's one issue that would ever unite the Liberal caucus and the New Democratic caucus, it would be that issue. That would be the only issue that would unite those caucuses together, and it would be a force that would have to be dealt with by that government, let me assure you of that.

Mr. Speaker, having served notice, I don't ever want to see that happen. So, having served notice, that should be enough to scare the government into thinking twice about messing with private health care.

On the subject of Bill No. 7, which of course I'm speaking about here today, we agree this bill is something we are certainly looking at supporting. We're looking forward to it moving on to the Law Amendments Committee and through further process of debate in the House. With that comment, I will take my seat and thank you for your time.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

MS. JOAN MASSEY: Mr. Speaker, I would like to stand here this evening and speak a bit on Bill No. 7 with regard to the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia.

We've heard from some of our honourable colleagues here this evening about how this bill actually would affect the management of that profession and, in fact, that profession would move towards more of a self-managed kind of self-regulated body.

Of course, to do that, the bills sets out various formats in which some changes will be made. It sets some professional fee rates, appoints an auditor to the college, and it does various things such as setting up a complaints committee, which seems like a reasonable type of thing to be doing. Any organization, I'm sure within those organizations, have things they would like to see changed, and these may come forward from the general public or from the people working in these professions, Mr. Speaker.

The bill, in doing that - by allowing these professional people to control or have more of a say and be more self-regulated, in a way - actually protects the people of Nova Scotia and protects the people who are the patients in the facilities in which these professionals work. I think that's very important to recognize. I think it gives them more of a voice to be heard in the province.

Many times, Mr. Speaker, I think we all know, if we've been to any of these care facilities, our hospitals, nursing homes or any of these facilities, our LPNs and our RNs are people who work very hard for us. They're not the type of people who complain a

[Page 1121]

lot. If you know a nurse, or know anybody in those professions, they tend to have a personality for the most part, upbeat, positive thinkers, they're movers, they're doers, and they're out there to help people in this province. I find they are the last people to ever complain to the general public.

I think this really gives them a mechanism, for example, by setting up this complaints committee, that is a mechanism where they can actually put forward some suggestions for things to be improved.

So that does give us some patient protection. This bill also can help ensure that the duties that these professionals are supposed to carry out are, indeed, carried out. It sets up those kinds of regulations. It also addresses the issue of professional conduct. That, in itself, would inhibit misconduct in that profession. These are things that obviously people in this profession have been advocating on behalf of and feel will help that profession.

It is a bill, I believe, the government sees and recognizes a need for, and a need for some changes. In fact, that's a way of moving ahead. I know we do have major problems in the health care system, but I don't believe us just complaining about it - and we're the ones who go to the hospital and we have these long wait times and what have you, this is a proactive approach by people who are actually on the front lines, dealing with our loved ones on a daily basis, and this is a way for them to become more of a self-governing body.

It also allows them to set up an education advisory committee that would look at nursing education programs. So that is another example of a proactive approach to this organization moving forward, making changes they believe are going to be helpful to those of us in Nova Scotia who access those facilities, Mr. Speaker.

Certainly I will say again that the people working in these professions are the people in the know. If we can listen to our nurses, whether they are RNs or LPNs, these are the people who are going to tell us and put us on the right road to recovery in this province - and there is a road to recovery. I believe if the government is listening to the suggestions that these professionals are able to make, because of all their experience and the love of their job and the caregivers that they are, then we're on the right road.

I hope that through this bill the government will be listening, they will have their ears open and they will have their pencils sharpened, and they will be able to help move us along in the direction that we need to go. So I do see it as one of the things that we need to do in promoting our health care system. I think that oftentimes we don't give enough praise or promote the people who work so hard for us and the people we love in the province on a daily, monthly and yearly basis, year after year. I am sure people in this profession have a lot of stress; it is a very stressful job. They are very hard-working, they work very long shifts with crazy hours and that can lead to a lot of stress in

[Page 1122]

anybody's life - and they have issues like all of us, trying to get daycare, trying to juggle family life and their professional life.

What you are hearing and what you are reading is that people in this profession - if the wait times are so long and it is such a stressful place to be in a hospital situation - that they are, indeed, oftentimes, I feel, overworked. I believe there are more and more duties being put on their shoulders and they have been real troopers and I believe they have really been carrying that load for us for a long time.

Again, I will say that these are the people who will not - you will never see a letter to the editor in the newspaper from an RN or an LPN. I don't think I have ever seen one complaining about the job or the stress that they are under. So it is up to us, here in this House, to stand up and speak for people in our constituencies and across the province who are working in this field that is so important to us. Bill No. 7 is a way in which I believe this profession can certainly move forward and help us deal with the issues we are facing in health care right now.

[5:45 p.m.]

Privatization is not the way to go. We can't throw the baby out with the bathwater. We have to fix what we have and, while doing that and listening, not only fix what we have but I believe we can improve what we have, and move away from dealing with people with health issues in a hallway situation, and show real compassion to our seniors in the health care system who are waiting on long wait lists for placement in long-term care facilities - that is one of the issues that I address a lot in my office.

There are so many topics, I guess, that you can get into when you are talking about health care, and I don't want to get off track and on to those various issues, but they do affect our RNs and our LPNs. We are talking about over 12,000 people who work in this profession in Nova Scotia. As a caucus, we all support everyone in that field, and certainly enjoy hearing from them when they need some support or help, and if there's anything that we can do for them, we're more than happy to listen to what they have to say to us. Oftentimes some good suggestions can come from our constituents.

I recently had a constituent who's waiting for knee surgery. He had read an article in the newspaper in regard to a new type of surgery that's done in the United States that cuts the time it actually takes for recovery. You don't require a wheelchair or crutches afterwards, you're basically right back to work. For people who are perhaps self-employed and who don't have any sort of mechanism to fall back on, getting back to work after any kind of surgery is so important, and maybe sometimes even more important than for someone who has some type of insurance and who can stay in recovery for a fair amount of time. That's an example where a constituent came to me with that.

[Page 1123]

I, of course, corresponded with the various departments and ministers. I hope that they're looking into that new type of surgery. I know it is under the heading of the district health authorities, but that's where there is a grey area. Who's in charge of our health care system? Is it the elected government members, the Cabinet? Is it the Minister of Health? Is it the district health authorities? So that's a question I have. That's one question just in regard to one issue that is very important to one of my constituents.

I do look forward to this bill going forward to the Law Amendments Committee and am interested in seeing how many people come forward who would like to discuss it at that time. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, I am certainly pleased to stand for a few moments and speak in support of this Bill No. 7. I think it's a time when the nurses of the province need to have self-governance through this piece of legislation, if indeed it moves forward, which I certainly think it will and we'll support that direction. We now know that this is the trend and the pattern that we are seeing across Canada, and right here in our own province the dental hygienists and the respiratory therapists also want legislation that will give them self-governance and self-regulation.

I think the creation of a college to regulate, to licence and issue permits to registered nurses is indeed the path that we need to be taking. I think self-regulation, when we look at a body of nurses - almost a complement of 10,000 - they are able to bring that whole professional understanding to the college, and I think this is what can make for good regulation for nurses in the province.

Yes, it will deal with the small minutiae of daily requirements around activities, fees, meetings, et cetera. But I think when it comes to a code of ethics and establishing through legislation what is required of the profession - and a standard of excellence is what I know the college will stand for - if we take a look at how solid the nursing profession has been historically and is continuing to this day in our province, I think this is now a basic position that we need to see established. Also, we need to look at that scope of practice for nurses in the province, and I think with this piece of legislation they will certainly be looking at expanding their role. I think it will give a greater adherence to, for example, nurse practitioners, that their role as RNs who have taken on the extra training, that there are many tasks that they can be endorsed with, and I think can alleviate some of the pressure on the MDs, on the medical doctors of the province.

Just to take a look at my own riding, and this is one of the reasons why I stand here this evening to speak on Bill No. 7, two examples that I would like to bring forth in the Kingston-Greenwood area, a very transient population. We have somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 without a family doctor and there's no question now that the literature supports the nurse practitioner to be able to take pressure off family doctors.

[Page 1124]

In fact, the general rule of thumb is that if we had them operating in emergency rooms and outpatients, 20 per cent in fact could be taken from doctors to see on a regular basis.

The other area is in the Berwick area where there's a medical centre and, again, very typical of many communities today that have a shortage of doctors and if they could be working in a medical centre, they could be doing a lot of that front-line work, primary care, where they're doing the triage and the assessment of patients, many of whom in fact would not even need to be seen by a doctor. So I think the idea then of Bill No. 7 to give autonomy to the profession through the creation of a council of the college, I think is a very, very strong step that will be an enabling piece of legislation for the nursing profession in the province. There is no question that the role of nurses is changing and their ability to be able to expand their work is certainly one of the areas that the profession itself and that the entire medical community is working towards.

One of the areas, of course, that any body sometimes will have a bit of challenge or difficulty with is in terms of reporting of any abuses that would go on by nurses to their own governance. Again, that will be an area that I certainly look forward to the Law Amendments Committee to see how they may set up a body, a judiciary type of body, an investigative body that would look into such matters and, of course, provide the right direction for nurses who would, in fact, break any code of ethics.

So this is a piece of legislation that certainly will have the support of our caucus. We do look perhaps for a few of the areas that are of concern and hearing from people in the profession. So with that, Mr. Speaker, I will take my place.

MR. SPEAKER: The honorable Leader of the Opposition.

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I certainly appreciate the opportunity to join the debate this evening on Bill No. 7. This is an important piece of legislation because, of course, it concerns the registered nurses of our province. The nurses are, of course, a fundamental part of the delivery of health care services in this province and I can say with some pride that I've had a long association in health care issues in this province that goes back to my time on the board of the Dartmouth General Hospital. I had the opportunity to serve there on the board. It was during the 1990s, post 1993-94, after the Liberals came to power. I am going to touch on that for a second because I want to - I heard what was said by the member for Glace Bay and I'm always intrigued to hear when the Liberals talk so passionately in defence of the Medicare system, so I'll go back to that in a minute but I also wanted to point out, Mr. Speaker, that I had the great pleasure and honour of being on the board of the Victorian Order of Nurses, the Dartmouth Branch. This was a great organization that did a lot of work to support the VON.

You may know, Mr. Speaker, that it was the VON that delivered health care services in-home for more than 100 years. In many communities throughout this

[Page 1125]

province they were the main conveyors of those health care services in many rural communities, where they were the face of medicine for so many people. So I was certainly proud to be associated with that organization.

I will go back now to talk a little bit about the role of the medicare system in this province and in this country, and of course the importance that nurses have as part of that system. You would know, Mr. Speaker, as I know you are student of the history of politics in this country, that the Medicare system in the form that we know it started under a CCF government in Saskatchewan as a result of the work of a Baptist minister from Weyburn, Saskatchewan, recently named Canada's Greatest Canadian, Tommy Douglas.

I wanted to say that what was more important about that was that it was actually a Conservative Prime Minister who appointed Emmett Hall, who looked into the national program for Medicare in this country, and then it was a federal Liberal Government that implemented that program nationally. So there were politicians from all stripes in this country who contributed to the fact that we have the national medicare program that we have today. It was a non-partisan issue in those days, or at least an issue that cut across all Parties. I believe when we look at the system of medicare and sustaining it and sustaining something as important as having the health human resources that we need to sustain the system, that that should also cut across all of the partisan considerations and be part of the focus of this Legislature and part of the focus of all the Parties.

I'm sure the member for Glace Bay will forgive me for this but as I said, Mr. Speaker, in 1994 I was there on the board of the Dartmouth General Hospital, and I remember very well what the Liberal Government of the day was doing. I remember when they paid 1,500 nurses to leave the profession, when they closed 1,000 hospital beds across this province. I remember when the Liberals rolled back the wages of the nurses and other health care professionals in our province. I haven't forgotten, and in fact I dare say it is one of the reasons why I stand here today, because it was issues like that that brought me into politics at the provincial level. We wanted to make sure that the things that happened under the Liberal Government never happen again in health care. That's what we wanted to make sure.

[6:00 p.m.]

Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, this was followed by - this is non-partisan, it was just a recitation of the facts. Now that I have managed to dispense with the pleasantries with respect to the Liberal Party, I'll now move on to the Progressive Conservatives because what happened immediately following the defeat of the Liberal Party was the election of the Progressive Conservative Party. What did they do, Mr. Speaker, with respect to our nurses and other health care professionals? Well, what they did was they brought forward Bill No. 68. The mere mention of Bill No. 68 to most people in health care today is enough to conjure up the memories of this House being open 24 hours a

[Page 1126]

day, in order to try to ram through one of the most draconian pieces of legislation in the history of this Chamber. Some of the darkest days for democracy in this province was the way in which the government of the day tried to deal with Bill No. 68 and with anyone who dared to object to what was going on by the Progressive Conservative Government with respect to those health care workers. I remember being here in the middle of the night, at 3:30 a.m. and 4:00 a.m for Question Period, with health care workers in the gallery.

It was one of those things where the government so believed that they could simply bully people into accepting what their vision of the health care package was going to be that they were prepared to do anything. Anything. No matter what the cost to make it happen. One of the refrains that we heard throughout Bill No. 68, and I can still hear it ringing, was the nurses and the health care workers who said this is the worst thing that has happened to us since the Liberals rolled our wages back. I remember people putting those things together, understanding that you cannot treat nurses and health care workers with that kind of disrespect and not expect that they are going to hit back.

The result was, that inevitably, Bill No. 68, although it passed this Chamber, was never, ever proclaimed. It wasn't proclaimed because the nurses simply said, we have had enough. You might think you can force us back to work, but you can't prevent us from resigning. They had meetings where, en masse, nurses were handing in their resignations. Inevitably, because it is the work of the nurses who carry out so much of the delivery of these services in the province, that eventually the government had to relent, they had to try to save face by going to what I think is known as baseball arbitration, where you put in different offers and the arbitrator will choose between one or the other.

In the end, they were successful in wringing out of the government a decent settlement. I think it was not what they wanted because they didn't want to be forced into giving up their collective bargaining rights. I remember one of the most draconian parts of this bill made it illegal for health care workers to get together and talk to one another about what was going on in contract negotiations.

Contrary to the notions of freedom of association and freedom of speech, it had an almost surrealistic feel as we sat in this Chamber. I'm sure everyone who's here today who was here then will remember the protest that took place. I can remember the health care workers standing out on Granville Street and the ringing of, negotiate don't legislate, you could barely sit in this House.

When the vote came, there were many members on the Progressive Conservative side of the House, who I remember all too well expressing this heartfelt horror about what their government was doing and how conflicted they were about whether or not

[Page 1127]

they were going to be able to support the legislation, how terrible it was in their home communities.

In the end, when the time came for the vote to be held, it didn't really matter what their constituents were saying. It didn't really matter because all of them stood up and they voted along with the government until you got to the member for Shelburne in the very back row - I remember how worried the member for Shelburne was. He knew it was the right thing to do, but he was afraid it was going to ostracize him from the rest of the caucus. I remember him bravely standing up to say no to Bill No. 68 and how we tried to get him out of the building as quickly as possible.

He wasn't doing it because he was looking for some kind of political spotlight. He wasn't looking for the cameras, he wasn't looking to talk to the press, he was simply doing it because he thought it was the right thing to do. He made his way out of the building as fast as possible so he wouldn't have to deal with all of that, Mr. Speaker. It was truly an exercise, to watch someone stand up for a system they believed in.

I remember him saying in some of the conversations, you know I have always been able to hold my head up when I walk through my community. If I vote for this bill, I won't be able to. That's why he voted against it, Mr. Speaker. So it was an interesting time in this House, to say the very least; but nonetheless, it was a sad chapter in the history of the Medicare system in this province.

Mr. Speaker, like many others, I also remember that there was a national commission that looked into the whole question of Medicare and the sustainability of Medicare. We keep hearing from members, in fact from members in the Liberal Party and from the governing party, talking about and ringing their hands about whether or not Medicare continues to be sustainable. They talk about the question of whether or not the budget of the province is going to be overtaken by the cost of Medicare.

Well, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Romanow in his report went out of his way to try to put to rest all of those concerns, because he said there was no question about the sustainability of Medicare, that it was sustainable. He pointed out that in Canada today we were spending a smaller percentage of the GDP on the delivery of health care than we were a decade ago. We spend less of our GDP delivering health care services in this country than they do in the United States, which has a privately run and funded health care system.

I remember that in the Romanow report, he said that despite the overheated rhetoric that we often hear, the national outcomes of the Medicare system, the health outcomes, are among the best in the world. So we still have in our system some of the best health care delivery mechanisms, some of the best health care delivery services, in the country. It is a system that we can continue to be proud of.

[Page 1128]

That's not to say that there aren't problems and we are all well aware of the wait time difficulties that are being faced by this government and I have to say, Mr. Speaker, I think that is a management issue, or probably more correctly a mismanagement issue around the health care resources in our province, the seeming inability to understand that there are individuals who are in long-term care beds who don't need to be there in the hospital. Where they need to be is in long-term care beds in long-term care facilities. It doesn't seem to matter that the cost of an acute care hospital bed costs $1,200 a day and the cost of a long-term care bed is $100 a day.

If you simply made sure that those facilities, like the ones that ought to be built in Middleton and the ones that ought to be built in Shelburne and western Shelburne County, that those would actually do two things. First of all, it would provide the facilities in communities where they are desperately needed, where people wouldn't have to be shipped out of their home communities.

We raised a case in this House just a short time ago, Mr. Speaker, of a senior from Bridgewater who was placed in Villa Acadienne. I've been to Villa Acadienne on many occasions, it's a wonderful facility with great staff, it's competently administered, they have great plans for the expansion of that facility; but the reality is that it's there to serve the communities in Clare, it's there to serve that population and the preponderance of the staff there speak French. This elderly woman who was placed in that facility didn't speak French. It's a nine-hour return trip for her - I think it was her 77-year-old husband - to be able to travel to see her and come home, a virtual impossibility. In fact, this fellow - I think they were married more than 50 years - has not seen his spouse since she has been placed in that facility.

We have lots of time to discuss the whole question of long-term care, and I don't want to spend the time on this important bill getting into that, because you, Mr. Speaker, and the others here, and certainly the government members know how much I care about that issue, and how hard we have worked on it. There will be lots of time in this House and in this session to discuss that further.

I did want to make the point that part of the health human resource planning is to make sure that there is the staff available, including the nurses to be available to work in those facilities so that they can provide the kinds of services that are desperately needed to an aging population, the result of which will be to free up acute care beds in our facilities, the result thereof which will be the amelioration of the wait times, the reduction in wait times, which will be good for the system as a whole.

Mr. Speaker, my plea to the government on this is to recognize the importance that nurses have in this vital sector of health care delivery. Our vision of a properly functioning Medicare system is of a national system, where the standards of health care that are received across the country are of equal benefit to people, no matter where they

[Page 1129]

live, that the health care that they need will be delivered in the communities where they need it, on a timely basis, that this must be a national program.

I know that there are the detractors of our system out there, and probably the chief cheerleader for the privatization of our system - and I'm truly hoping that it is not the case that our Ministers of Health are listening to these people, but in case they are - the chief cheerleader of the private system is people like Dr. Zitner and his work on behalf of AIMS Nova Scotia. The Atlantic Institute for Market Studies has long been in the forefront of propagating the myth that the Medicare system is not sustainable and proposing any manner of what they see as kind of alternative systems; everything from pay as you go, user and facility fees.

Well, Mr. Speaker, these aren't new solutions, these aren't new ways of dealing with Medicare. These are old solutions, these are the things that existed for years before Medicare came in. Canada has been there, this province has been there, we have done that, we have seen the result. In fact, it was the inequities in exactly those systems that led to the establishment of Medicare in the first place, and we don't need to go back to those kinds of antiquated notions of - and they always frame it this way - freedom of choice in health care. That's the phrase they like to trip off their tongues, the freedom of choice in health care.

[6:15 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, let me tell you about that freedom of choice. You get to choose all the health care you can afford to pay for. If you can't afford to pay for it, you don't get it. That's the problem, that's the ultimate flaw. These private systems suck the best nurses and doctors out of the system, and pay them higher salaries to deal with fewer people. That's what happens in the United States. We don't need to have that happen in this province.

I would like to think that in the end, as my friend, the member for Glace Bay, has suggested (Interruptions) Of course, my friend and colleague, the member for Glace Bay (Interruptions) I'm sure, Mr. Speaker, that in the end, at least in this House, we can count on the support of the Liberals. I hope this is true, I truly hope this is true, that we can count on their support to ensure that the health care system in this province is not able to be eroded through the kind of wayward efforts of a government that has lost any sense of what is original in the way of dealing with the problems of the health care system. I truly believe that in the end, the Liberals will be able to muster it up to ensure that they protect the Medicare system.

So, Mr. Speaker, I'm tempted at this point to refer to something that an old friend of this Legislature, John Holm, used to say about this point. After he had spoken for awhile, he would say, well, you know, I think I've now ably laid the foundation for the argument that I'm about to make, and then would speak for another hour. That's not my

[Page 1130]

intention here this evening. Rather, I think I have let you know very clearly my thoughts on this matter. This is a piece of legislation that we're looking forward to going forward. It will, of course, go to the Law Amendments Committee and go through the normal process in that regard, and we'll deal with the results of that when it comes back to the House.

So with those comments, Mr. Speaker, I'm going to take my place this evening. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I'm very pleased to have an opportunity to speak for a bit on Bill No. 7, which I think is probably one of the most important bills that we will be dealing with in this session. I'm sure that nurses in the province have looked forward to the day that this bill was introduced here, and they'll be following the progress of this bill with great interest.

Mr. Speaker, the reason for that, I think, is all about respect, and it's about respect and acknowledging the tremendous amount of change that has occurred in the nursing profession and what it is that they do, and what it is that we ask them to do, that has occurred in the past decade, and probably in the past decade and a half.

You know, nursing today isn't what it was 10 or 15 years ago. This is why we really need a very modern piece of legislation that recognizes the tremendous changes that have occurred and the fact that nurses are more autonomous today in the practice of nursing and what it is that we ask of them and expect of them than ever before. Nursing knowledge and research has changed tremendously, and the changes in health care delivery, the context in which nurses carry out their very, very important role in the health care system has changed dramatically, and it will continue to change. Therefore, it's very important that the legislation that recognizes the nature of the profession, their professional code of ethics and their ability to self-regulate their membership is, I think, very, very important.

You know, nursing used to occur in pretty much institutional hospital settings, and that is far from the case today. Today you have nurses in the community, nurses doing home care, nurses in continuing care and assisted-living settings, nurses certainly working more and more in teams, in community health centres and clinics, in doctors' offices, and even in the institutional settings what nurses do today is nothing like what nurses did 10, 15 years ago. Day surgery alone, the shortness of stay in our acute-care facilities is such that the nature of what it is that nurses do in those settings has really changed. There is less supervision available to nurses and greater individual autonomy.

We want a health care system that is more able, more capable of responding to a broad range of health care needs. We want teamwork, and the provision of health care

[Page 1131]

in teams, where the most appropriate person sees a patient. Certainly this is something that nurses themselves - often when I speak with nurses - are crying out for. They would like to see government move much more quickly in the recognition of teamwork and the recognition of nurses and their abilities to do primary health care and health promotion.

We have nurses who work in remote areas, but you don't have to go to remote areas to find nurses who are providing a lot of the front-line primary health care. In my own constituency, Mr. Speaker, we have the oldest community health clinic in the Province of Nova Scotia , the North End Clinic. It is a wonderful example of a primary health care centre with a team approach where you have nurses who triage, who see patients quite often before they see a physician and many times it isn't necessary to see physicians because the scope of practice for nurses increasingly allows them to take up many of the health care issues that patients present, in a general practice sense or a primary health care sense.

I think another significant change that nursing is taking aboard as part of their profession is the new technologies that are creating a different kind of practice and the kinds of knowledge that patients require in the field of genetics, for example, and genetic counselling. This will continue, I think. It is an area that we think will have great promise for people generally in our communities, but it requires a different knowledge base for nurses and a different place for nurses in the provision of health care services. Certainly I think the profession is up to the demands and the shifts and the changes that are going on in this area.

Of course, Mr. Speaker, I think we have heard previous speakers talk about the commitment of the nursing profession to the maintenance of a publicly-funded, publicly-delivered, health care system. Certainly members of this caucus have spoken about their commitment to the nursing profession, to stand in support of that effort, to ensure that we maintain a strong public health care system.

So with all of these kinds of pressures and changes in the delivery of health care and in the places that nurses end up working, it is very important, Mr. Speaker, that we have a modern framework of self-regulation for the nursing profession that allows the profession itself to continue to develop its standards of nursing practice, to define the appropriate code of ethics, to investigate and regulate all written complaints that come to the college with respect to public concern about the competency and capacity and conduct of members of the profession. This is really what it means to be a self-regulating profession. It means to have your capacity, your knowledge, your skills, your commitment, really recognized and have the mechanism that allows you to govern your own practice put in place, both for the protection of the public but also for the healthy dynamic of the profession itself.

Mr. Speaker, this bill is quite a lengthy bill, and at this stage we don't speak to the various clauses of the bill and I will not be doing that. I'll stick to the rules and

[Page 1132]

continue to speak to the broader principle of the bill, but I believe that this legislation allows for the establishment of the college in a way that they will be the regulatory body that gives them a bit of separation from the professional body itself. I think this is a very important aspect in the development of the self-regulation of the profession.

Mr. Speaker, like many of my colleagues who have spoken here about their perception of nurses as a professional group and what it means to have strong professionals with those kinds of skills, I too very much respect and value the work of these health care professionals. We've had, over a period of time, the opportunity to see some fairly significant challenges faced by nurses in our province. We've seen issues around recruitment and retention. I don't think that the crisis that existed, in terms of the recruitment of nurses, is as acute today as it was, let's say, five or eight years ago, but I think we are facing an aging workforce. If you talk to nurses, they will tell you that there is a significant number of nurses in our province who are in that age group, the baby boomer age group, where many of them are anticipating retirement, maybe early retirement, and certainly leaving the profession over the next number of years.

I'm not convinced, Mr. Speaker, that we have the planning in place - we have no plan in place to address what could be a very serious problem, as this particular cohort of nurses starts to leave our health care system. I always would encourage the Minister of Health to hop to getting a health human resource plan in place, so that we don't find ourselves in the kind of crisis that existed in the nursing profession, and certainly in the health care system and, therefore, for our patients that existed when I first took my place in this Legislature some eight and a half years ago. It was a very serious problem, and we don't want to have that problem reoccur, and it could. It could happen fairly easily, because, unfortunately, what we've seen with this government is a tendency to only react when there is a crisis, rather than doing the planning before we get to that point. So that is very much a problem. (Interruptions)

[6:30 p.m.]

I hear the former Minister of Health, who was the minister during Bill No. 68, which did more to harm the relations between government and nurses in this province. (Interruptions) I really don't think that that member can stand in his place or sit in his place and offer anything that would really make a difference for health care.

Mr. Speaker, there are so many outstanding issues around nurses, the outstanding issue of having nurse practitioners used more fully in our health care system. We also need to consider having nurse anaesthesiologists. You can go into other jurisdictions, both across this country and outside of the Canadian jurisdiction, and you can find nurses doing significant jobs where there have been shortages in health care systems, such as with respect to anaesthetists. I think that we sometimes are so captivated by sort of a status quo way of operating that we're scared to upset the apple cart, or offend the status quo, that we're not prepared to take those steps that really could make a difference for

[Page 1133]

our health care system and for people who are fully capable of having a broader scope of practice within our health care system. Really, we need point no further than how long it has taken this government to implement midwifery, in the province, as an example of that.

Mr. Speaker, we have, here in this caucus, and probably in the other caucuses as well, seen nurses unite in their fight for better pay and benefits and improvement in their conditions of work, and I think it's important to say that those struggles were important struggles and that nurses should not be expected to work for nothing, particularly because they are a female-dominated profession - they have to feed and educate their families, just like anybody else, and pay off their student loans.

I think the other thing is we have to recognize that nurses and other health care workers certainly provide a significant amount of leadership from time to time in terms of speaking out when the health care system is so strained that patient care is put at risk. I think about the nurses over at the Queen Elizabeth II hospital who very courageously spoke publicly - I think it was following the Christmas period last year - around the crisis in the emergency room.

Mr. Speaker, without the people on the front lines, who really know what's happening in health care, and their adherence to a code of ethics - which says that at some point if my practice cannot meet my standard, the ethical code of practice that I have as part of my profession, then I need to speak about this - I don't know where we would be. We owe a great debt to the courageous members of this profession when they find themselves in those situations and they mobilize, and they say precisely what's going on and what their fears are and what they think needs to be done to address the problems.

Mr. Speaker, this is a very, very important piece of legislation. It signifies the recognition of this Legislature and this government that the nursing profession in fact has changed dramatically and that the legislation needs to reflect the professionalism and the self-regulation of a profession that we all respect and we rely on and owe a great debt to. So with those words, I'll take my place. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.

MS. VICKI CONRAD: Mr. Speaker, it gives me good pleasure to rise to speak to this bill. It's a welcome amendment to help strengthen the existing Registered Nurses Act, 2001. This amendment really recognizes our health care professionals out there, in particular our registered nurses and our nurse practitioners and many other health professionals working on the front lines.

It is an important amendment because it certainly gives this body more authority to oversee their governance, and it allows this body to keep current with all the new

[Page 1134]

changes in the delivery and practice of health care across this province. Those who will sit around this table, looking after their own governance, they will have the ability to look at entry level competencies, their program structures, and the promotion of standards which is so important to our front line and health care professionals.

It also will given them the ability to look at their licensing and registration abilities, look very closely at their code of ethics, and how they will walk through those processes. This governing body, it is so important that they do have their own authority to move forward with their own governance. It certainly is a most important function and will serve in the best interests and the protection of the public.

Our registered nurses have some of the most challenging duties in the health care profession. These professionals have always been very compassionate. They are hard-working, dedicated and caring individuals who put in long hours serving the public needs. They work tirelessly; they work in our emergency departments, they work in our operating rooms, they work in our acute care units, they work in our critical care units. A lot of them work in our communities with our VON and our doctors' offices and in our long-term care facilities. These men and women across the province, we owe them a lot. Every day they are out there on the front lines. They are helping those at risk, they are helping our most ill members of our society, they are diagnosing, they are assisting in health promotion, and they are networking with other professionals within the health care system.

Our nurse practitioners across the province, we certainly don't have enough of these truly dedicated individuals. In North Queens, we are very fortunate to have a very successful nurse practitioner in the area working very closely with our doctors and other health professionals in the North Queens Medical Centre. That nurse practitioner has been a great asset to our community of Queens but, as I said, we certainly need more nurse practitioners across this province. We need to recognize the growth and the potential for nurse practitioners.

There are many obstacles to recruiting nurse practitioners, many of them being placement options. Government really needs to recognize and work closely with the health care communities in looking at better placement options. Nurse practitioners need more opportunities to keep their licences current and this governing body will enable nurse practitioners to move forward with looking at all of the changes needed in the medical profession. They know best what is needed to keep their licence current.

Nurse practitioners are certainly a welcome complement in our communities and to our physicians. Their skills, their knowledge, and their judgment is very much needed. They identify a lot of our diseases, a lot of disorders and they communicate with both clients and other health care professions. They have a broad scope of practice and included in that broad scope of practice, with the right opportunities to broaden those scopes of practices, nurse practitioners can be involved in diagnostic testing, screening,

[Page 1135]

blood testing, prescribing prescriptions, as well as promoting good health and work in illness prevention and rehabilitative care.

Nurse practitioners also have the ability to monitor the overall care of individuals in our community who need the most holistic approach to their care.

We do have a problem with recruitment and retention and a lot of folks in the health care profession that I've had a chance to talk to, in particular, members in our long-term care facilities, have been telling me they do have a problem, a serious problem. We have a lot of RNs retiring from our long-term care facilities and we don't have enough individuals moving into that profession.

We need to get serious about recruitment. We need to get serious about retention. We need to see registered nurses moving into long-term care facilities. Currently, we have LPNs that are practising in registered nurses' capacities within long-term care. Unfortunately, that leaves a lot of stress in a long-term care facility when an LPN is placed with the duties of a registered nurse, because there aren't enough registered nurses available to oversee the care of the facility which is very much needed.

A lot of the problem is, there aren't enough incentives for registered nurses to move into long-term care facilities. They need to have incentives so they can upgrade their training so that perhaps they will be more inclined to move into rural communities, working in long-term facilities. This governing body will have a chance to address some of those issues, but it is up to government to work very closely with this governing body and to put in place the required conditions to recruit and retain registered nurses in the field of long-term care.

We have a shortage of nurses all across this province. A lot of our young people who are graduating out of nursing colleges are moving out of province, because we just don't have the foundation in place to attract and keep our nurses here. This is a serious problem and this amendment to this bill will certainly help alleviate that, as this body will be able to really have a good look. It's a good start, it certainly strengthens the previous Act and it will allow this governing body to be able to come forward with plans that can help government look at recruiting and retaining our nurses across the province.

Sometimes we really take for granted the work that our health care professionals do across this province. Many work on the front lines, many work long, tiring hours and many of them don't get the recognition they truly deserve. This amendment to this Act does move that one step further, where we are showing that we do have their best interests in mind. I look forward to this moving to the Law Amendments Committee and I do support this amendment to this very important Act. Thank you.

[6:45 p.m.]

[Page 1136]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou East.

MR. CLARRIE MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of Bill No. 7. I think this is a good bill. I always like to start on a positive note.

This is a bill that is overdue. It is a bill that goes beyond housekeeping. We hear so often, this is a housekeeping bill and that's a housekeeping bill. It makes one wonder exactly how dirty is the house when there is so much need for housekeeping? I think we need some real renovations. We have to go beyond the housekeeping that we hear so much about.

Last week, Mr. Speaker, I rose in a discussion in relation to resource issues. I was saying that we needed some real guts, and I hate to use that term, but we needed some real guts in relation to dealing with Ottawa on fishery, forestry and farming issues. Well, we need some real guts in dealing with the health issues in this province. We have to move beyond housekeeping. We have situations where we are dealing with dental hygienists, and we're dealing with physiotherapists who are looking for self-regulation, and there seems to be a reluctance to move in that direction.

Mr. Speaker, I sometimes wonder if these might be gender-related, to some degree. We have a situation where dental hygienists are looking for self-regulation, and there is something in the order of 600 female dental hygienists in this province, and there are two males. I wonder if we would move any faster on these issues if we were dealing with 600 males and two females. I think some of these issues, we really have to challenge, we really have to look at them, and we have to move on. We need more leadership on a whole lot of health issues. We have to look very closely at our health system. We have to look at the flaws that exist in it, and we have to challenge, and we have to go beyond housekeeping. As I say, we have to look at some real renovations in health care.

I say, why do other jurisdictions seek out our nurses with such vigour? Why are they sought so aggressively in every state in the United States? Why do Alberta and other provinces cherish each one they take from us? The answer is that they are among the very best nurses in the world, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)

In the past 13 months, I have, through a personal situation with my wife fighting cancer, seen the health care system up close and person. Mr. Speaker, that is going from the operating room to recovery care, from chemo to radiation, from outpatient to emergency rooms, and the nurses were there, constantly, in the most professional manner possible. The nurses in this province are among our greatest health care assets.

Now to look at our assets, switching over to the negative for just a moment. During that same period of time, I have experienced, personally, a situation where my wife spent three to three and a half days in an emergency room in isolation. The isolation

[Page 1137]

room that she was supposed to get was not available. Now, can you imagine a person on a stretcher-type bed for three to three and a half days, Mr. Speaker?

These are the types of things that we have to address in our health care. When nurses say to you, you should in fact get out of here as quickly as possible, because there is so much chance of picking up diseases within our institutions, we have to go back to the days when we had all kinds of soap and water and proper maintenance in our hospitals, and really look at all avenues, from the clean floors right through to the operating rooms themselves.

Mr. Speaker, I indicated in getting up that I just wanted to say that I do support Bill No. 7, An Act Respecting the Practice of Registered Nurses. I am glad that we are doing something that does go beyond housekeeping and that there is some leadership being shown in the field of health care.

Now I am not asking for a Tommy Douglas-type of leadership here, because I don't think the capabilities actually exist for that. However, we should be thankful and (Interruption) Yes, of course, that is the other side that I am talking about, the capabilities that I'm talking about, I'm addressing the other side. I know of the capabilities on this side, certainly, thank you.

Anyhow, we are thankful for all small mercies. I have to conclude by saying that I am thankful to see this bill come forward to go to the Law Amendments Committee and hopefully it will be followed by other bills which are every bit as badly needed in the health care realm. That kind of leadership, I am hoping can, at some point, be mustered. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

MR. LEONARD PREYRA: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I had not intended to speak on this bill this afternoon. I agreed very much with what the minister had to say and with what the critics on this side had to say about the bill. However, I spent three hours in the emergency room this afternoon and this morning with my son and I was very impressed with the quality of care that he got. I must commend the department for that. I think I spent three hours there, which is really some kind of a record. I say that as a compliment.

It is because of that, and because of the great care that he got, the hard work of the nurses, the professionalism they showed and the compassion that I felt compelled to speak on this bill today, because I experienced that today.

I think that is one of the reasons why there is so little complaining about granting nurses this autonomy and this self-regulation and expansion in the scope of their practice, because most Nova Scotians respect and recognize the professionalism and the compassion and the care and the hard work of nurses and nurse practitioners.

[Page 1138]

I think this bill brings the profession into the 21st Century certainly in terms of the recognition of their practice. It is more respectful of their training and their experience, it creates more variety for their practice and more meaningful work. For these reasons, I strongly support the principles that underpin this bill. We do need to do more, Mr. Speaker. We do support the principles but we must pay more attention to the implementation. The department and the minister need to do more education around this issue so that the nurse practitioners in particular are allowed to do what this legislation allows them to do. Their devil is in the detail. We need to ensure that their skills are used in emergency rooms, to help patients with special needs for example, seniors, in medical offices, in home care, and in rural communities and in numerous other ways. It is going to take an awful lot of education to actually make this happen, even though the principle itself allows for this expansion.

We also need to extend these principles to midwives and dental hygienists and other health care professions, to adjust to some of the situations and the challenges we see in health care today. We must also take steps to attract and keep more nurses in the profession and in Nova Scotia. We know there is a crisis looming with out-migration and with the aging population of nurses itself.

So we must give nurses more control over their working conditions. We have to give them more say in establishing their working conditions. We must recognize and respect their unique talents. There must be more inclusiveness in decision making and, most importantly, we must not drive them to the brink in the upcoming round of collective bargaining. This bill is an important step in the right direction, but these are not the only steps. There are other steps to be taken, bigger steps to be taken, and these steps must involve respect and recognition for the profession and more inclusiveness in allowing them to shape their working conditions. Thank you.

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

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, I'm very happy today to rise and speak on this bill which is before us, which is a bill to allow nurses to be self-regulating and to be in charge of their own destiny in essence. What this bill does, and I think it's important for me to rise and congratulate the union and organization themselves, is give a level of professionalism to nurses which I think is long overdue. I know that the public appreciate the work that nurses do in our communities, whether it be the nurses who are doing home care, working in our long-term care facilities, and those nurses who are in the acute care hospitals.

All of us have had some reason to be in hospital or to come into contact with, clearly, these professionals who are working above and beyond the call of duty - often in very difficult circumstances, often without the right equipment or resources to help them do a good job. Not long ago I was speaking to a constituent who had difficulty in the hospital and they were concerned about the nurses who were caring for them because

[Page 1139]

their daughter is a paraplegic following an accident when she was very young - she's only in her late 20s now but she has been disabled for many years. While she was in the hospital, they didn't have the proper kinds of lifts to move this man's daughter in and out of the bed and to move her about. This was very hard on the nurses who were caring for her and that's a question of not being properly resourced and putting a lot of emphasis or a lot of extra duty on these trained professionals who are doing their utmost to provide excellent care to all the patients.

I know at the time, I had written a letter to the Minister of Health and they had looked into that particular floor in the hospital to see if there was something that could be done to provide better equipment to help the nurses do the work that is so important. It has to do with caring for the nurses so that they don't hurt themselves because it's an occupation that has a high rate of injury because of the kind of care and lifting that's involved. A lot of nurses are injured in the course of performing their duties. So it's really important that we look at providing them with the best kind of equipment and support that they can have because, not only does it help nurses avoid injury, it also makes a greater comfort level for patients.

So when we hear those sorts of things, we do feel badly, Mr. Speaker, because we know that nurses are doing their best, working long and hard in their positions, and anything we can do that makes that a little safer and a little bit better for them to provide good care to the patients is really important. Again, you know, I think that allowing this bill to move forward as it should is important because it does acknowledge the professionalism of this group of people in our society and the importance of the care work that they're doing.

[7:00 p.m.]

I think that it's only right that we entrust the code of ethics and the standard of behavior, those kinds of codes of conduct to the profession itself. What they want to do is ensure and uphold a high standard for all of their members, and that's something that I know we can look forward to when they outline all of those details. Many of them are included in the bill, in terms of what would be considered inappropriate behavior - certain activities that they would see as extreme enough to require removing the member from this professional association. What this does is allow them to control the quality and the standard for all of their members. I think it's very important that we stand behind them and help them make those decisions and uphold the high standard of quality and character for the profession of nursing.

So I think that it's a very important move to be supporting this piece of legislation and I note that, not very long ago, the government had been talking about an omnibus bill that would cover a lot of professions, and this was a medical omnibus bill. The critic here from the Liberal Party will know what I'm talking about because we had

[Page 1140]

some meetings with government and with certain professions who were told they would have to wait for an omnibus bill that would cover a lot of different professions.

I'm not sure that would have been the way to go. I think it's better for us to look individually at midwives, dental hygienists, respiratory therapists and others. It's not long ago that in order to visit a physiotherapist, you had to see a doctor first and be referred. They're now being treated much more as independent members of the health care profession because you can choose right now to go directly to see a physiotherapist and still have it covered under your medical plans - if you're lucky enough to have plans that do provide that service.

What it does is it elevates the individual members of various specialties within our health care system, acknowledging that each of them bring very specific skills and a set of ethics and code of conduct that each needs to be in control of. I think by encouraging this legislation, it will help the registered nurses to take a greater role in determining their own future and their own standards and helping them as well to give them a voice that can represent them individually and carry their message to government.

That's what a professional body can also do, is give an organization and a professional group a little more clout and a little more voice when they're dealing with government. I think that's important as well. We then know how we can liaise directly with that association or with that professional group.

There are certainly many reasons why I believe this should be supported. Several other speakers have talked about the need to keep our people here in the province, particularly professionals like nurses. Our medical system is really very much in danger with other provinces that will come and encourage both our doctors and nurses to leave and go elsewhere. I know there have been big recruitment drives from the United States very recently. We're talking more recently about people heading out to western Canada. But there are a lot of other jurisdictions that will come and look for our professionals so it's important for us to value them and treat them very much with respect here in our province and consider their needs as well as their remuneration, which I know the government has only recently done.

I think it's very important that we recognize their role within the delivery of medical services in the province and do all we can to maintain the health of their association and their numbers here in the province as well. With that, I would like to pass on to the next speaker and I thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, like my colleague, the member for Halifax Citadel, I hadn't really thought about speaking to this bill earlier. I guess, perhaps, some of the other speakers have kind of got me a bit more interested. I actually

[Page 1141]

think to a point that I have an obligation to speak to this legislation. In part, because I have two sisters who are RNs.

I guess for anybody in this House, when we deal with legislation, in particular legislation that affects a particular body in terms of their ability to self-regulate, then I think the key component for us is that the members are onside with this legislation. There doesn't seem to be any indication, at least to this caucus, that there's a problem in that regard. This is a piece of legislation that I'm thinking probably has been some time getting here and for those who have attempted to go through this bill, it's fairly lengthy.

Basically, it's seven parts and when I think about my sisters who work as RNs and one of them is a VON, I think back to the previous practice we had of educating nurses in this province. My older sister - she won't want me to say that, I suppose, but I had no part in the lineage of the family, so you have to accept where you're at - went through the VG School of Nursing. I guess we know that those schools no longer exist and we've moved into the day of Bachelor of Nursing Degrees. So certainly, as my colleague, the member for Halifax Needham had indicated, the role and the responsibilities and the workload have changed, as has the demand for increased education, and so on, for nurses.

That's not a bad thing, Mr. Speaker. The whole delivery of health is changing and therefore, the people who are involved in that delivery, their roles will change and therefore their education would change.

I have to say that I thought the member for Halifax Clayton Park mentioned a good point and a point that I want to reiterate. It was the issue of nurses and their work, and being injured on their job. I think we tend to think almost entirely of nurses being female, but that's something that has changed with that job as well. More and more males have chosen nursing as their occupation or profession. I have sometimes thought that was a good thing, in terms of just lifting the patients.

My sisters are not big people and I know that quite often they are lifting patients that are quite a bit heavier than they are. So I worry, as does everybody as they get older, the chance of injury gets greater. I think we never think about the Victorian Order of Nurses, where nurses travel through a particular district and deliver services in people's homes and all the issues around security and so on - walking into a stranger's home and being unsure about what you might be facing. So there are some elements of this job that, I think, demand concern on the part of the profession.

It is these demands, it's the changes in the profession and actually in this work environment which is long days and not a lot of extra help, that tend to wear down the troops, I think, a fair bit. So it's all the more important for nurses to have a strong voice, I believe, and a strong voice in terms of within their organization that they feel that they

[Page 1142]

have a body they can go to, that will air their concerns and actually a strong body that will go to government when it comes to trying to make changes in the system.

I have to say I won't go all the way down the path that my Leader did in relaying the histories of recent governments and their attacks on health care workers and, in particular, nurses. I want to say, Mr. Speaker, that I do have some concerns in terms of the health care system, and when the minister in particular talks about going down the privatization road. I'm a little young, I guess, to have a memory (Interruption) Yes, a good point by the honourable minister. I have no memory of my parents paying for health care services, actually going to the doctor and having to pay, but I do know that in 1956 they were still doing that, actually, until the 1960s, and I don't know what the exact year for Medicare (Interruption) Yes, 1969.

So, Mr. Speaker, it's something that concerns me because privatization of health care is a world that most Canadians cannot relate to. We have lived in a world where we're so used to having those services paid for through our medical insurance that it seems very foreign when we try to relate that to other models that involve privatization.

Now I've had both my wrists operated on for carpal tunnel syndrome. Those operations were somewhere close to 20 years apart. The first operation was a general anaesthetic, the second operation was a local and that was last February. My physician - or surgeon actually - on that operation in February, told me that he got $100 for performing that carpal tunnel operation. I thought that was kind of interesting. He said the strange thing about it was that in New Brunswick, if he was doing it, he would get $200. So it made me wonder about the universal system and probably that debate is one that doctors will carry on with government for the next while until they get that resolved.

The point I want to get to is, I have a friend in Prince Edward Island who actually had a similar operation in the 1960s and he paid for that operation, out of his pocket. That operation cost $1,600 in the 1960s. Now $1,600 in the 1960s, what would that mean in 2006, 40 years later? Although, he would have had a general anaesthetic and now it would be a local, so we know there would be some price variation in that regard. It makes you stop and think about costs in relation to what the people would have to pay.

Now in South Dakota - I have friends in South Dakota - when you're 65 in South Dakota you don't pay for your health care, it's covered, but up until then you do pay. Those friends of mine - the gentleman is over 65 so they're paying health insurance for one member of the family, his wife, and that payment, two years ago, was $700 a month - $700 a month is what they pay for health insurance there. Now their fear was that her health was such that they knew she was going to need one operation - I can't think if that was on a knee or what, but their worry was the same as our worry is around auto insurance - the more you use it, the more the cost goes up, the premiums go up.

[Page 1143]

These people are over 65, one of them is and the other one is in their late 50s, so they're looking at a situation where their income is getting to a stage where it's going to be more and more fixed, but their health care needs are going up and the price is going up. So I have to say, Mr. Speaker, that when Canadians think about the privatization of health care, they don't think of it in terms of health insurance. They don't think of it in terms of paying a premium every month for their health care that would then determine what kind of service they can get. In other words, the type of insurance you buy would cover certain services so depending on what you can afford, that would be the service you could get.

I think that most Nova Scotians, and certainly most Canadians, don't think of the privatization of health care in that regard. If you're trying to convince Nova Scotians of going down the road of privatization, there's one easy way to do that and that's to underfund it. It's certainly my view that the previous federal Liberal administration and the present Conservative administration have tried to do just that, they have underfunded health care in the hopes that because of the way the service is delivered in the provinces, that at some point Canadians will say, I don't care how I get it, I'm willing to pay for it. That will open the door to privatization.

[7:15 p.m.]

This, Mr. Speaker, is a very dangerous road for Canadians to go down. My Leader had indicated that in relation to the GDP, that Canadians spend less on health care than the Americans do. If you think of 40 million Americans who have no health care at all, then this is something that Canadians should be thinking very seriously about. It has been stated more than once that we have a great system of health care in this country, all we have to do is fund it appropriately to keep it that way, and that was the message that came from Americans who came to speak to the Romanow Commission and also people who came from England to speak to it as well.

I certainly hope that this legislation will make the profession a stronger profession for registered nurses. I'm glad to see the inclusion of nurse practitioners in this legislation. Obviously, it makes the distinction that nurse practitioners actually have to have the criteria necessary for that higher level of service, but we would like to see this government go down that road. I know the former Minister of Health would say, well, we already are down that road, but if you want to count the number of nurse practitioners practising in Nova Scotia, that tells a different story and for someone who represents a significantly rural constituency, I see lots of value in nurse practitioners who could deliver services in some of my communities where we have trouble attracting or retaining doctors.

Mr. Speaker, with those few comments I'm interested in seeing this bill go forward, as I'm thinking most members would be, and I look forward to other interventions.

[Page 1144]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

MR. TREVOR ZINCK: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise and congratulate the government for taking these steps and bringing this bill forward for second reading. I think it's a true testament that perhaps our current government is finally putting in place and listening to the stakeholders in the department. Part of the frustration of doctors, nurses and paramedics currently is that it seems like there is a divide, that we can't all get together and come up with a solution, there's a lack of communication, and I think in having this bill come forward it's a recognition of the work and efforts of all registered nurses and says, we are listening and we want to bring you forth.

I would also stand here in this place in recognition of the registered nurses, in appreciation of their work. I have been a home care worker for 17 years and I continue to be a home care worker. I realize the efforts that I have in dealing with my client. I could not imagine doing this on a regular basis, on an everyday basis. These nurses are put in situations where they not only have to administer care but, more importantly, I think, we have to recognize the fact and the efforts that they take in dealing with not only the patient but the families of the patients.

I particularly want to bring up a situation where my stepdaughter over the past year has had major surgery and upon entering the hospital she began with one nurse. In recognizing this, one particular nurse ended up carrying over her normal shift into the next day to ensure that my stepdaughter had come out of the operation, an 8-hour operation, to make sure that she had her bed, she was healthy, that the family - her mother, her father and myself - understood the whole process. To say that I appreciate this nurse, you know, how can I say that? How can I reward her? I think one of the ways to do that is by bringing a bill forward to recognize the efforts.

They're huge efforts, Mr. Speaker. You can go into any hospital, and again I want to reiterate the point, a doctor is merely in or out, you know, making sure the patient is receiving the proper medications, looking at charts; but it's the nurses who are there to support the patient on a daily basis, on an hourly basis, to support the family members who are all too often in very difficult situations that they aren't in tune dealing with on a regular basis, and the nurses are there to support that.

I think, again, there is an opportunity within our system to listen to the paramedics and the doctors. Let's get everybody into one room, and listen to the complaints or the observations that they may have. I think this bill is one bill we can go forward with, but I think, again, as mentioned by several colleagues today, dental hygienists - I too, have had an opportunity to speak with several dental hygienists within my constituency, and I think there's an opportunity for the government to go forth at a later time to give those individuals the same rights and recognition that they, too, deserve.

[Page 1145]

We all know that going to a dentist is a bit of a terrifying situation for many, not just young but old as well, and by recognizing those efforts that a dental hygienist can bring to the practice. I think is it necessary to go one step further, in recognizing the fact that a dental hygienist down the road can help out in long-term care facilities.Can do that work outside, in other areas.Rather than having a patient who may not be able to make it to a dentist's office, give them that right to treat those people.Give that person, that individual who needs that care the right to that care.

I just want to reiterate my points one more time, Mr. Speaker. I think that this is an excellent step the government is taking. I do support it, along with my Party. I believe it is long overdue that we recognize the efforts, not only of nurses who administer the health care but nurses who support us on a daily basis. With that, I'll take my seat. (Applause)

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

The honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works.

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank honourable members for their participation in the debate, and noted with particular interest that almost to a person each one of them spoke about the importance of the legislation, how good the legislation is, and of course indicated that they are going to support the legislation. I very much appreciate those sentiments and look forward to the bill proceeding to the Law Amendments Committee.

Mr. Speaker, I move second reading of Bill No. 7.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 7. 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. PATRICK DUNN: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 11.

Bill No. 11 - Licensed Practical Nurses Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works.

[Page 1146]

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I move that this bill be now read for the second time. We have, in this province, 3,058 licensed practical nurses. This legislation oversees some of the hardest-working professionals in the health care system. Licensed practical nurses are regulated health care professionals. This legislation is being recommended by the professional body that governs our province's LPNs, the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Nova Scotia.

The government is responding to a number of changes and challenges, which over the past few years have impacted the health care system in Nova Scotia. This evolution in health care requires changes in both the roles and the responsibilities of the health care professionals within that system. Mr. Speaker, these challenges result in the need for more current and up-to-date legislation that better reflects the current role of LPNs within the province.

It has been several years since the Licensed Practical Nurses Act has been reviewed. This law will clarify the definition of their scope of practice. LPNs need to be able to work more independently and to be used to their full capacity in this changing environment. These changes come after a year of consultations with nurses across the province, their professional bodies, pharmacists, physicians, and contain input from all of these groups. A modern complaints process is another aspect of the Licensed Practical Nurses Act that has been improved. It allowed the College of Licensed Practical Nurses to ensure nurses provide competent, safe and ethical care. The Licensed Practical Nurses Act will better serve Nova Scotians through improved public accountability and more flexibility in the provision of outstanding health care to Nova Scotians. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Again it is a pleasure for me to stand tonight to discuss Bill No. 11, the Licensed Practical Nurses Act. As I said previously on the bill that we just finished debating, I think it is important that we recognize and continue to recognize the ability and the need to improve self-regulating bodies in Nova Scotia, especially in the health care field. This one definitely is one that we need, and hopefully will continue to allow to grow and mature as a profession and see positive changes.

I think the LPNs, or licensed practical nurses in this province will be glad to see this piece of legislation come forward with the positive changes that we see in this bill, towards their profession. Some of the changes we will see are around the makeup of the board and its functions and also the professional conduct process that takes place, as a self-regulating body needs and with the changes and as they mature, they do need those aspects of the college to change.

[Page 1147]

Also, we're going to see changes in the requirements of the register in this bill, which is important and I think it is good to recognize the efforts of the profession itself in the requirements that the register will need because it's an area where we need to attract and retain health care providers. We need nurses in this province, we need LPNs in the province, and I know that for far too long LPNs have felt that they have been neglected, have felt they have not been recognized as to the importance that they really have, Mr. Speaker.

LPNs, plain and simple, Mr. Speaker, are nurses. They are one component of the nursing profession in this province and it is important that we recognize them. I had the opportunity to attend, I believe it was last year's EGM or a training session that the LPNs put on in Truro and they invite guest speakers to come in and try to educate, continuing education process of their profession. The member for Halifax Needham was asked to come to their convention, to their session, and speak to them about how LPNs can promote their profession, how can they work towards being recognized as an important component of the health care system here in the province.

[7:30 p.m.]

I think the member for Halifax Needham did a great job in trying to project to them the importance of them being a collective voice to get the attention of not only government but to a critic, as myself, Mr. Speaker, the Opposition members, try to get their attention to bring forward their concerns and their needs of changes. I think they have done that. They have taken control of their profession, they have taken ownership, as I have said before, of their profession, to try to move it forward and to try to make changes that will positively affect health care delivery here in Nova Scotia.

I think it is important to note that we need to recognize the work they have done in the past and the work they are going to do in the future and by bringing changes to their self-regulating body, Mr. Speaker, we start to do that. I am glad to see this piece of legislation come forward. I know there has been a lot of talk lately around the amount of work MLAs do in the Province of Nova Scotia and I can tell Nova Scotians that I would be more than happy to stand here day after day to speak on bills like this that promote health care professions, especially self governing.

I mentioned in debate earlier this evening around other professions that need to be self-governing, need to have legislation like this come forward to improve their identity and prove their discipline in health care - midwives was one of the examples I used, which I know is coming forward in this session, or I was told was coming forward soon in this session. The other was dental hygienist, some of the members have mentioned that, have expressed their concerns around the delay in legislation to come forward. I hope the government recognizes and realizes the importance to bringing that forward.

[Page 1148]

One of the other more important bodies, I think, that we need to recognize, government needs to understand the importance of bringing this forward, is the RTs and legislation around governing and licensing of RTs in our province. I said it earlier and I need to say it again because I think there's definitely a heightened importance of dealing with this profession in a timely manner because as of January 1, 2008, the body that currently governs them, or licenses them, which is a national body, they're really forced to license RTs in Canada because of provinces like our own that have not brought forward legislation to create self-governing, they oversee this profession.

They gave notice in 2005 that they will no longer cover or license respiratory techs in the country, more importantly, in our province. Come December 31st of next year, RTs need to ensure that there's something in place to license them. I don't understand - I know, or heard that government is not bringing forward any legislation in this session dealing with respiratory techs. They've given somewhat of an answer to the RTs that they will bring it forward in the Spring session.

That concerns me. It concerns me on a few aspects of dealing with my knowledge of self-governing a profession, but it concerns me because of the length of time it usually takes to implement changes like that. As a paramedic, I went through that process. I was a member of our legislative committee that, years ago, looked at trying to get paramedics to be covered under a self-governing body, under a college.

I was fortunate enough to be dealing with that in the early years and fortunate enough to be a member and it was an honour for me to be a member here in the House of Assembly when that piece of legislation came forward. But, we're still waiting - even though the initial piece of legislation was passed in this House, we're still waiting for the regulations and for that college to be set up. That process, now, I would say is a good seven years in the making.

So, I do have concerns around some of the professions that need self-regulation, need a piece of legislation from this government to come forward to regulate them. I hope government realizes the importance around the respiratory technologists in this province.

We see by this group of health care professionals - the LPNs of this province - that they're finally starting to take ownership of their profession and have done the hard work to promote the fact they need this in the province, that they need changes to their college to better deliver health care in the province. LPNs work in all fields, in all environments in our province - they work in long-term care facilities, in residential care homes, in hospitals, private homes, so they're everywhere.

This group of men and women who work as LPNs in this province, I believe, are really the first step in the contact in health care and health care delivery when someone is ill, especially some of our most vulnerable individuals - seniors in long-term care

[Page 1149]

facilities, our residents who have challenges or might have physical disabilities. LPNs are there to guide them through it, provide more of that intimate care that is needed and also the medical care they do on an ongoing basis.

I'm encouraged to see the changes coming to their college because as I've said before, that health care providers in this province are taking ownership of their professions, they're doing the necessary work, they're jumping through all the hoops that are required by government and by the governing process to better help deliver health care in the province. They do that in hopes of promoting and supporting the public system - I know we've said that a lot tonight, in other debates - they do this to support the public system; they want to work in the public system.

I really have some questions around government and their want and will to show the same professionalism, to show the same leadership that some of these health care professionals have shown, over the last several years, around supporting and promoting the health care system, Mr. Speaker. We have a Minister of Health who continues to make comments around private health care delivery in Nova Scotia and the possibility of that in the near future - the minister has stated in this House, in this Chamber, that everything is on the table when it comes to the health care system. That scares me, and I know that scares many Nova Scotians. He said that the potential is endless when it comes to private delivery here in the province - that scares me, and it scares Nova Scotians.

I think it's important that they show that leadership and go down the road and the path that I talked about earlier, of the public system, and support the public system process here in the province. I know our Leader had mentioned earlier the Romanow Commission and Mr. Romanow's view on private health care here in Canada. I had the opportunity and the privilege to attend Mr. Romanow's Commission here in Halifax - I believe it was at the Sheraton Hotel, the Casino Hotel now. Paramedics actually brought a presentation to them. A paramedic here in Nova Scotia actually gave the presentation for the Paramedic Association of Canada, Mr. J. Walker. It was good to see that our profession was taking an active role in promoting and supporting the public health care system.

I think that the government needs to recognize that, and recognize the want and the need for the continuing support and promotion of the public system. I know a member who spoke earlier talked about his experience, of someone from the U.S. I've had the opportunity to be fortunate enough to travel a little bit, and I've been down in the States many times. One of the things that Americans do know about Canada - and I don't mean this in an ill way - they don't know a lot about our history and where our provinces are located, but one of the things they do know is our Medicare system and how much they would cherish that and would love to have that in their own country.

[Page 1150]

I had a friend who moved down to the States to take a job several years ago, and one of the biggest things he made sure of before he went was that in his job he was going to take that there was medical coverage, because he knows, and I know many Canadians know, the expense in the private system for health care and the delivery of health care - it's upwards to about $20,000, or more, for someone to give birth in the United States - the costs are just astonishing, Mr. Speaker.

So, as much as I said that many Americans don't know a lot about the geography and history of our country, the one thing they do know is that our Medicare system is the best in the world, and it's something worth fighting for, Mr. Speaker, it's something worth protecting. As I said before, and I'll say it again, our caucus will continue to fight to protect, support, and promote the public system. I hope that the government and the Minister of Health recognize that the road they're going down is the wrong road. I would encourage, if the Minister of Health thinks that they might be too far down that private health care road, that he talk to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works and get his department to pave him a path back to the public system path - I think Nova Scotians want that and deserve that.

With that, I hope that this piece of legislation goes through. I hope that other health care professions come forward and take ownership of their professions, and continue to bring forward positive changes to the delivery of health care in this province, under the public system.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, I want to thank you first of all, you've been very patient tonight, very lenient in some of the avenues that we're going in debate, and I certainly expect that leniency and patience to continue as I start to make my address tonight as well. (Laughter) I would expect nothing else.

Mr. Speaker, again, this is a similar piece of legislation that we've already dealt with here tonight and, again, it becomes the norm for all professions in this province and recognizes the autonomy of professional organizations. Again, there are some concerns. We have concerns about regulations that are made with the approval of the Governor in Council and so on but, in general, this new bill that is about self-governance for licensed practical nurses is a good thing as we see it. It's just, as my honourable colleague said - the member for Sackville-Cobequid - one component of the nursing profession that is there with a practice of practical nursing that's defined in the bill.

But again, Mr. Speaker, many speakers tonight have made reference to, as you can see, probably the underlying concern that comes about when we bring bills of this nature to the floor for debate. The underlying area of concern, of course these days, has to be that of private health care versus public health care. We know that there is a lot of room for questioning around comments that have been made by the current Minister of

[Page 1151]

Health about whether or not - we're concerned about whether or not the private flair that the minister talks about in public health care these days.

Mr. Speaker, you know, it has been a cause of concern nationally - let me give you an example - around a clinic called the Copeman Medical Clinic which offers primary health care. In other words, it offers family doctors for an initial membership fee, plus an annual fee, and people can have 24/7 access to family physicians which is something a lot of people in Nova Scotia don't have. The group is planning to open clinics in all major cities in the next year.

I suggest, Mr. Speaker, that we may want to take a look to see just how many family doctors there are, for instance, in the Halifax-Dartmouth area and what the needs are. There are quite a few vacancies as a matter of fact, but we need to do more than just talk about it. Now, Halifax would probably be a prime target for that type of clinic. So perhaps the question should be asked, what plans does the Minister of Health have to do if that clinic were to move into Halifax and open here in Halifax? Is the government, for instance, willing to pay a fee for people who don't have access to their own family doctor, if that clinic should arrive here? This clinic is going to also have to use human resources to function and where do those human resources come from? That's one of the main arguments that we've been making for the last year or so, if not more, to the current Health Minister. Where do the human resources come from, to operate private clinics? You know where they're going to come from, they'll come from the public health care system.

[7:45 p.m.]

So, in order to keep Nova Scotians accessing the resources that are being offered, it's not just about bucks in your pocket. Now, you know that we have private clinics here in Halifax already. We have a private, for instance, MRI clinic that's in Halifax, and maybe we should ask this question, is the government willing to develop legislation so that it will pay the clinic for people who can't afford to access the private MRI clinic? Will it be allowed to function as a facility where those with money can get faster service?

Mr. Speaker, these are some of the questions we've asked this government to put forward in legislation, legislation that they are now telling us will come at some point during this session, and we look forward to seeing it. We look forward as always to seeing legislation come forward that deals with professional groups such as the licensed practical nurses, but there's more there, there's more. I guess what we're actually saying is, where do we draw the line? Do we find it offensive in this province if public funds are used for people to pay to access services at a private clinic? There are some cancer clinics in Ontario, for example, that have skirted the legislation put in place in Ontario. They offer cancer drugs and treatment that their equivalent MSI program there doesn't cover.

[Page 1152]

Are those allowed to exist in Nova Scotia, Mr. Speaker, or should government be stepping up to the plate now and paying for those drug costs themselves, publicly, or if on the advice of a specialist, for instance, be paying for people to access those clinics if it's deemed that their treatments are the best and the only option for the patient? In other words, is the government thinking about the people who need it most of all, the patient in this case? Well, my guess would be that's where this government is coming from when they say that you will see some private flare to health care - paying for people to access privately-run facilities. They've been in existence in Ontario for years.

As a matter of fact, if my recollection serves me correctly, a very famous Canadian, I think his name was Jack Layton, actually mistakenly had a hernia surgery or something done at one of those clinics. He says he didn't know it was a private clinic because government paid for it, but he had the surgery nonetheless. Which I think brings home the point that we have to be very careful where we're going here. (Interruption)

I understand, as the minister of - what are you the minister of now? - the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations says, I think it was successful, yes, as a matter of fact, but it was unbeknownst to him that it was a private clinic, but it was publicly paid for. My point is, is that where we're heading in Nova Scotia? I hope not, Mr. Speaker, because as you've seen tonight, speaker after speaker after speaker have stood in this House and shown you the concerns they have about private health care and the concerns out there now in the public health care system, and we know the concerns are there and we know that there are troubles within public health care, we're quite aware of that. Without going over and over and over the problems that are there - for instance wait times, for instance ER closures and so on - we know they exist and we also know that this government, over its, well, I don't know, nine years, seven, eight - it seems a lot longer - over the course of its life, has really done little to attack the main problems in health care.

I'll give you a for instance, Mr. Speaker. What has this government done in home care over the past seven or eight years? It has been very little, if nothing at all. That, again, is where we see some of the solutions, the possible solutions might lie to helping out in public health care. Before we start looking at other avenues such as private health care, let's take a look at some of the solutions that can be put into place in the public health care system.

The real question in this province right now is if private clinics are established to perform procedures while other publicly-funded facilities, for instance operating rooms and so on, are not being used because there will be a lack of human resources in the public health care system, without a doubt, Mr. Speaker, more private clinics, private clinics in general, they open, they operate, they need human resources to operate, those human resources will come from the public sector - nurses and doctors and technicians and technologists and so on will have to come from the public sector, there's no other place they can come from, which will place the public sector in even more jeopardy.

[Page 1153]

So with just those few thoughts, Mr. Speaker, and again thank you for your leniency and understanding, I will say that Bill No. 11, certainly at first blush, is deserving of our support. As I've mentioned, we have a few concerns, we've had those concerns with other self-regulatory bills that have come before this House, and we'll express those concerns at a further time. This bill, as usual, will move on to the Law Amendments Committee stage. We look forward to hearing from any presenters who will come at that point and again to debate it further in the debating process. With that, I will take my seat. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

MS. JOAN MASSEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm pleased to rise this evening and talk about Bill No. 11, which addresses the issue of self-governing and self-regulation of our LPNs in Nova Scotia. Without listing everything in the bill, I did want to point out some of the important items that I saw when I was going through it and some of the things that this bill will address are ways in which to serve and protect the public interests in Nova Scotia - the people who access the health facilities that we have and the people who work in those facilities. Bill No. 11 will help maintain public confidence in the ability of the practical nursing profession to regulate itself.

This bill has a lot of similarities with Bill No. 7 that we just finished discussing earlier this evening, and I'm sure people at home if they're listening will see those and hear those similarities. The minister did mention that this bill hadn't been reviewed for a few years - I'm not sure if he said a few years, but I'm not sure how many years it has been since that was done. This would allow these professional people to work more independently around regulations that govern themselves. He did mention that consultations with stakeholders had taken place and I'm very happy to hear that. Oftentimes things will happen in our own smaller communities without full consultation, and when that happens nobody is really happy, so I'm pleased to hear that did happen. He mentioned improved public accountability which is always something that the public likes to see in the government so we can't complain about that - it would provide more flexibility to that profession.

The bill will help regulate this profession through various means and one of them is through a registration system, licensing and professional conduct, and an education program approval. So some of these things that are in this bill are also in Bill No. 7. It will develop an approval system and promotion of a code of ethics for this profession - standards of their nursing practice. This bill is looking at all kinds of really important issues that this profession would address in their day-to-day practice in Nova Scotia. It addresses their code of ethics, their standards of practice, it also allows them to have a professional conduct process so this would allow them to look at some of the processes that they use in their own body and regulate them through this Bill No. 11. It would allow them to establish an education committee that would establish standards for practical nursing education programs.

[Page 1154]

So there are a lot of proactive steps and items in this bill and again if the bill hadn't been reviewed for a few years - more than two, I'm not sure - then certainly we're moving in the right direction here. I'm glad that the government does recognize the need for some changes and movement in that direction with Bill No. 11.

Some people here this evening stood and talked about how it's very important to see government move in a positive direction and the need to help that profession in any way we can to make their job easier. I think if that's something we can do here at Province House, then that's a good thing. These are our LNs and our LPNs that we need to help as much as possible, we need to be able to attract more people into these professions and retain them. If this bill allows those kinds of mechanisms to occur that will help in that process, then that's something that we can all agree is a good thing.

Our LPNs do need to be recognized for the hard work that they do for us across this province. We need to be able to continue to look at ways in which we can provide them mechanisms so that they can in fact promote that profession that they're in, as any other profession would expect. It will give the profession a voice, that is a collective voice, and that will allow them to bring forward their concerns that, of course, they're going to see occur at their job sites. Hopefully those kinds of issues, as they come forward, will lead to improvements through these committees and different mechanisms that the bill allows to move improvements through the system, because I do believe that these people are really the front-line workers who address the issues that people are coming to our care facilities to have looked after, Mr. Speaker.

We all know that there's an aging population, and we have a lot of issues in health care in this province, in fact in Canada right now. If you're looking at any of the numbers on our wait time lists that people are addressing - and I know, Mr. Speaker, you probably receive a lot of calls in your constituency on the same topics, people trying to get in and get an MRI, people trying to get in to see specialists, whether it's a dental specialist or whatever. There are really two wait times that people talk to me about, and one is the wait time between when you go to your general practitioner, your GP, and when you receive the actual treatment. That's the overall wait time. But then there's the other wait time, which really is the time between when you actually see your specialist, you consult with your specialist, and then you go for a treatment.

Mr. Speaker, recently I did talk to someone who actually had waited a year to get in for a consultation with a specialist in respect to a dental issue. I think we're really moving into some very long wait times. Of course we all know the longer we wait, the more stressed out we are, the more our immune system is degraded, and that just leads us into a spiral effect. We have issues like depression, obesity - all of these issues that affect a lot of people in the province. If we have a bill that can help our professional people in our facilities who are looking after those issues, if it can help them improve the kind of service that they can provide the public and indeed help them in making their

[Page 1155]

place of work and the way they do work happier, less stressful, very productive, then that's certainly the way to go on that.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to just end by saying that this is really a step in the right direction that all three Parties here can take a few minutes to think about. I think it's a way the government can walk down that road of listening and helping people make improvements to the system. Certainly, this is a system that is worth saving.

[8:00 p.m.]

Recently, in the last session, we heard that line where everything is on the table, and I think a lot of people at home were very concerned about that kind of language. They're not really sure what that means. I'm not really sure what that means. They are concerned about what kind of road we are travelling on.

So I look at this as a positive step, maybe down the right road, that we really need to stay on. That's a road to protect our public health care system in Nova Scotia, Mr. Speaker. I want to say thanks to all of our people in these professions, and good luck to them in the future. I look forward to this bill going on to the Law Amendments Committee. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm certainly pleased to rise this evening and speak on Bill No. 11 which is the Licensed Practical Nurses Act and, like the previous Bill No. 7, is going to give this very important profession their autonomy and a self-regulating college or council. I think the time has really come for this because the role of the LPNs has expanded immensely, certainly in the new health care delivery, whether it's in our hospitals, in our home care or in our health centres. There are important roles for the LPNs to carry out so I think this is an appropriate time for government to bring forth the self-governance that they do request. Also, as mentioned earlier when we talked about the role, it's also an expanding scope of practice for the LPNs. I'm sure all of us in our constituency work know LPNs, know the kind of work that they do. Certainly in the last decade their role in the delivery of home care has become very prominent and in fact home care would just not thrive without the LPNs.

Currently all of the graduates of the community college program can be hired in most areas of the province which brings me to the point that having this LPN bill and their governance body, their board to set down the requirements for the profession, I think is very important here because across the country there are many different standards that exist in the training of LPNs. In fact, it's my understanding that some of these courses can be done on-line and in other provinces across the country there's a whole array of standards that do exist. I think it's important here for the province to support the role of the LPNs with good regulations that will be certainly determined by

[Page 1156]

the college and with the approval of the Governor in Council. I think as trying to expand and meet some of our health care needs the role of the LPNs will be an important one.

I think it will give them that sense of greater independence that they can operate more strongly on their own with more detailed definition of the work that they can do and the protection that a board and council would afford them. Also, we know that there are less nurses hired now in our hospitals and health care centres and the role of the LPNs is to come in and certainly carry out some of the functions that were once pretty primary duties of nurses. So to work under the guidance of a registered nurse, this bill will allow and set out the kinds of areas, whether it's assessment of clients or collaborating on a nursing plan, implementation of a nursing plan, and ongoing evaluation of the clients. So these are pretty strong dimensions that the LPNs will now undertake under this bill. Some of the areas of course the bill will create, the fitness to practice education. That's the point that I would like to make the strongest about is the LPN is a true profession and needs to be recognized now through the LPN Act. Education is a major, ongoing component of any professional's life today, certainly, as the LPNs expand their role in the delivery of health care in Nova Scotia.

Also, whether it's complaints, reinstatement, professional conduct committees to monitor its members, I think the structure that the LPN Act will put into place will certainly facilitate those kinds of activities. I think it will give a greater sense of professionalism to LPN work in this province.

Like all members, I look forward to this bill going to the Law Amendments Committee and hearing from these professionals, who will, I'm sure, come forward to speak on the kinds of directions they hope to see under this piece of legislation. With that, Mr. Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to speak on Bill No. 11.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I'm very pleased to have an opportunity to speak briefly to Bill No. 11, the Licensed Practical Nurses Act.

I think it was only last year in the Spring session that we arrived here one day at the Legislature and there were a group of licensed practical nurses in the foyer handing out information about what it is that LPNs do and checking the blood pressure of the members as we came into the Chamber. Probably a good time to do it, before we had been in here too long when perhaps our blood pressure would have changed somewhat over the course of the debate.

It is important, this particular piece of legislation. In the same way that Bill No. 7 is an important piece of legislation because underpinning this bill is the genuine sentiment of respect for a very important group of healthcare workers. LPNs want it to be known and want to make it very clear that they are also nurses in our health care

[Page 1157]

system. They are a unique part of the health care system, they have a particular body of skills and talents to offer in the health care system and that they need to be respected and valued on that basis.

I know, as somebody who is a social worker, who has worked in an acute care medical facility, sometimes it's hard in a system that is, after all, let's be frank, a system that can be quite hierarchical in terms of an ordering of health care providers or professions, especially with a very strong and very skilled and talented medical profession, other groups in the health care system sometimes feels their unique talents and skills aren't necessarily as well recognized by either the public or by their political representatives.

They always feel fairly strongly that they need to assert what it is they do and have us understand and recognize and value of what it is they do. I recognize that this particular piece of legislation isn't about remuneration, but I think when we look at the changes in our health care system and the changes I spoke to earlier with respect to nurses no longer performing the same kinds of work and the rigours and the demands of a changed health care system, one that demands a different knowledge base, one that demands that nurses work in a variety of different settings. The LPNs, these nurses, the licensed practical nurses, have not been protected from that reality, in fact, they have been very much impacted by those changing realities as well.

I think it would be fair to say that where this government has remunerated registered nurses in recognition for the change in the kind of demands that the health care system has placed on nurses, that it hasn't necessarily been the case for LPNs. This is something that I think we probably need to continue to have some public discussion about - the remuneration of this particular group.

Mr. Speaker, there are many LPNs in our province today who have worked for many years in our health care system and once again, like other health providers, they do have that demographic sort of time bomb inside their profession. A large cohort of LPNs who are now in their late forties, mid-fifties, will be leaving the profession shortly. The Nova Scotia Community College offers training in the LPN field and as I understand, Mr. Speaker, this particular program is always completely full and this demonstrates the demand and, as well, the interest in the province to take training to be a licensed practical nurse and to make a contribution to our health care system. I think this is something that is a very good thing.

So this legislation will strengthen the self-regulation of licensed practical nurses as the Minister of Transportation and Public Works said; this bill had not been reviewed for some time, the Act, and it required an overhaul to keep up to the current realities and to reflect a situation where the self-regulation and the governance of LPNs will stay up to speed, Mr. Speaker. It makes it possible for LPNs to continue to be self-regulating.

[Page 1158]

So I think that we here in the Chamber think it is a good thing that the government has finally brought forward this legislation and the changes required for LPNs. We will look forward to hearing from members of the licensed practical nursing profession in front of the Law Amendments Committee. With that, Mr. Speaker, I will take my place. Thank you.

[8:15 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am glad to have a few minutes also to speak on Bill No. 11, which is with regard to licensed practical nurses. I guess my comments are more with regard to the concept. I am glad to see that we are at a stage in the health care system that we are allowing the self-regulation of licensed practical nurses. Years ago they were called CNAs, certified nursing assistants, and as time has moved on, it has almost been sort of like a shuffle of responsibilities.

I know in my mother's day when she was a nurse, RNs were doing, and they still do I'm sure, a lot of that work right in the wards and the CNA had a different role. It's almost like everything has shifted to some extent. More of the administrative burden has gone to the RNs and LPNs have taken on a role that is very much more front line as well, as I said, as the RNs and others, but I think the role of the LPN has evolved over the last 20 or 30 years and it's good to see self-regulation as something that's coming about, the ability for this organization - as I think the member for Kings West said, I will echo his comments, that this is a profession.

I recall only a few years ago that there was one member of this House, and I will note a former member of this House, when speaking to LPNs, questioned whether they were really nurses and maybe that's why he's no longer a member of this House, Mr. Speaker. No one can question the fact that LPNs do nursing, that they provide a service that is valuable to the health care profession in Nova Scotia, health care to the nursing profession, and the more that we can do to ensure not only we professionalize the LPN services that they provide, but also provide them with the rights and responsibilities that go with being a profession, I think the better off our health care system will be. Overall I think, as I didn't get a chance to speak on Bill No. 7, I want to say that the nursing profession is a noble profession, one that I think we all know, both in recent political times and also historically, the importance of the profession, the work they've done in Nova Scotia and throughout Canada is invaluable.

It is without a doubt that our health care system could not function, not only because of the professional work they do but the compassion that they show, and you know in many cases even the social work they are doing while they are doing their job. It's that kind of work, that kind of commitment, that has allowed our health care system as we know it to survive over many challenges, over many years, and in many ways it's

[Page 1159]

the nurses who are the backbone of that system. I'm glad to have an opportunity to speak on that. I'm glad to have an opportunity to put some stuff on the record, Mr. Speaker, and I'm glad our caucus will be supporting Bill No. 11 and will be glad to hear any comments at the Law Amendments Committee.

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

The honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works.

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I want to express my appreciation to all members who have participated in this debate. Their comments of support are certainly appreciated and we look forward to seeing the bill proceed to the Law Amendments Committee and back to the House for further consideration.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 11.

Is the House ready for the question? 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. PATRICK DUNN: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 58.

Bill No. 58 - Justice Administration Amendment (Fall 2006) Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my colleague, the Minister of Justice, I'm pleased to begin second reading of the Justice Administration Amendment (Fall 2006) Act which is an omnibus bill. This bill covers several amendments.

Amendments to the Condominium Act will ensure that the Condominium Act filing requirements are consistent with the Land Registration Act. As you know, Mr. Speaker, recent amendments to the Land Registration Act have made some references in the Condominium Act obsolete. Also, filing requirements under the Land Registration Act have created inconsistent filing procedures when compared to the Condominium Act. The amendments are necessary to deal with these inconsistencies and correct the Condominium Act references to the Land Registration Act.

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In addition, Mr. Speaker, amendments to the Business of Electronic Filing Act will allow the continued easy flow of business information between Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations and the Canada Revenue Agency. An amendment to the Motor Vehicle Act will define the beginning and end locations of a temporary work area. The change is required to give police and motorists clear advice on where speeding fines will double when Bill No. 254 is proclaimed on January 1, 2007. Amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act to double speeding fines in school zones in temporary work areas received royal assent in 2005.

Mr. Speaker, an amendment to the Public Highways Act gives the Minister of Transportation and Public Works the power to extinguish a portion of an old public highway that is considered surplus to government needs. This will increase the effectiveness and efficiency of routine land disposal.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, the bill amends a section of the Court and Administration Reform Act, to allow the Department of Transportation and Public Works to manage routine land disposals.

I look forward to comments from members opposite today. With those few comments, Mr. Speaker, I move second reading of this bill.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm glad to have a few moments to speak on Bill No. 58, a bill that our caucus will be supporting to see it move forward to the Law Amendments Committee. We will be glad to hear any comments there. Again, one of these bills - and I think it's worth noting and I'm sure the Leader of the Liberal Party may also note it - but again a justice administration bill, omnibus bills that are brought into the House, ones that we used to see maybe once a year are beginning to see them now twice a year. I guess for the record, there is a difference between bills that are maybe cleaning up justice issues and now we see bills that are beginning to clean up other jurisdictions. So now I think this bill primarily deals with Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations as compared to even justice issues.

I will just put on the record our concerns. These are bills on the Condominium Act and other things that maybe should be introduced separately. It may take a little longer to debate them but that's what we're here to do, that's what the House is for, so that we can have a legitimate debate. I think particularly, Mr. Speaker, there may be people who, you know if they're looking for certain pieces of legislation, they see the Justice Administration Act, they're not necessarily going to know that inside there are amendments to the Condominium Act or the Public Highways Act, or what have you. So I think it's something that needs to be considered and I'll just put that on the record.

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The other comment I'll make is that there is a clause in this bill with regard to temporary workplaces, the doubling of fines, and having to change the definition of workplace. I think I would also like to note that that was a piece of legislation that I believe this House passed in 2005 - it might have been 2004. Like another piece of legislation, I think Bill No. 61 that's before the House right now, it's being brought back through this bill to be fixed, because even though we passed it in 2005, they did not have the legal authority to actually not proclaim it but to enforce it because they were missing certain sections. That's something we have seen too often in the last little while and I would hope that as a government, that's something we could easily avoid.

There's no need for us to have to bring bills back. The government passed a bill in 2005, this House said it was the right thing to do and, as a result, people thought they were going to get doubling of fines at both temporary workplaces and now, Mr. Speaker, we have to come back again and fix it, and that's unfortunate.

I would hope that the government, when they introduce it the first time, would make sure that with the staff they have, with the bureaucrats they have working for them, it should make it possible to resolve these things before they come before the House. If it takes a little longer, a month or two to get it right, then let's get it right the first time. I think Nova Scotians can expect that of their Legislature.

So overall, I'm glad to see this bill go forward to the Law Amendments Committee. I'll be looking forward to any comments there before we bring it back to the House for further debate. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and very briefly on Bill No. 58, basically I could repeat almost all of my comments from last week when we had the Spring version of the Justice Administration Act and now this is the Fall version of it. So as my colleague from the NDP just said, we used to get these once a year and now we're getting them once a session. So it's extremely unfortunate when Nova Scotians are watching and they expect that in this Chamber we're going to be able to pass legislation that is effective and that is correct and by continually bringing forward these Justice Administration Acts - it seems that each year more and more Acts are being included for amendments.

As pointed out earlier, for the average person sitting at home who reads that a Justice Administration Act was tabled, they have absolutely no idea that this bill is talking about changes to the Business Electronic Filing Act, to the Condominium Act, to the Court and Administration Reform Act, to the Expropriation Act, to the Motor Vehicle Act, and to the Public Highways Act. Most of which have nothing to do with justice, yet they're all falling under this bill.

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Mr. Speaker, we all know the frustration that we hear from Nova Scotians when they see that legislation has been passed by this House for which, for the most part, they had no idea was even being brought forward, especially since this government has never been one to want to give much notice of when the Law Amendments Committee is going to sit. So, unfortunately, many Nova Scotians are being denied the opportunity to speak on these specific bills.

Mr. Speaker, we look forward to this bill moving on to the Law Amendments Committee. I'm hoping that any parties interested in the changes that are taking place will be given the opportunity and the notice to come forward with any concerns they may have. Again, we certainly hope that the government will be reminiscent of the importance of bringing forward proper legislation that has been reviewed carefully before being presented to the House, and that we don't continually have these Justice Administration bills coming time and time again.

That's certainly not a critique of the hard-working civil servants who put their time in on this legislation, but sometimes I can certainly tell, from my experience in the last seven years, this government tends to work at the last minute on a lot of legislation. Last minute pieces brought to this House tend to result in Justice Administration bill appearances, shortly down the road. Again, I hold the government responsible for that, not the men and women who work very hard in bringing this legislation forward, and in many cases under very strict deadlines with very little time to get that done.

Mr. Speaker, with that, I think I've chastised the government enough on Bill No. 58. We look forward to it moving forward to the Law Amendments Committee.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

MR. CHARLES PARKER: Mr. Speaker, I just want to rise for a couple of minutes to speak on Bill No. 58. It's sort of a grab bag of a whole collection of different things that are thrown under the Justice bill here. It's a real smorgasbord of different things, unrelated to one another. Housekeeping matters that the government has to put together to keep the business of government going, I guess. There's the business of the Business Electronic Filing Act, basically providing certain information to the minister.

I see there's something to do with condominiums. There are a lot of condominiums, certainly, in the metro area, but where I come from I think we only have one or two, in Pictou County. I'll mention that we have a beautiful condominium, actually, overlooking Munroe's Island, or Doctor's Island as it's sometimes known. This bill would provide that all plans and diagrams be provided to the Registrar of Condominiums. There's another section on the Expropriation Act, and the Court and Administrative Reform Act.

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Really, what I would like to take a minute to speak about, Mr. Speaker, is the Motor Vehicle Act changes, talking about doubling the fines in a school zone. I guess I can relate to that, having been caught at one time in the past for speeding in a school zone, and paid my fine. It's certainly important that we do slow down in areas where there are children. Double the fine now, that doesn't bother me, maybe at the time it would have. I think it's important we protect our children within prescribed zones.

[8:30 p.m.]

The other item that was mentioned here in the same bill is doubling the fines in temporary work areas. We all know these are areas that are the work zones for people who work for the Department of Transportation and Public Works, or people who work for private contractors. It's important that we allow them to have a safe zone - safe from any danger. It's important we all slow down and obey those highway signs. Certainly it's inconvenient by times, you're driving along and you're held up by construction, but we know that safe workplaces are vital.

I guess I can relate personally to that, Mr. Speaker, having known an individual I grew up with who was, unfortunately, hit in a construction zone, as a worker, as a flagman. He was severely injured and died before his time, directly related to his accident. It's vital that we do have the penalties in place to slow people down and protect our workers whether they're with the government department or whether they're with a private contractor.

The final part of this bill is relating to the government's ability to close public roads and I guess I wonder why it is that government would want to close a public road. I suppose if there's a real safety concern or if there's some environmental disaster it's a possibility but, it's probably relating more to unusable roads that are being abandoned for new construction or roads that are no longer needed for public highways. I guess the only caveat there I'd have is that we have to be careful and make sure that nobody is landlocked or loses their ability to get to their property. In the past we've run across situations like that where a road has been long abandoned and people no longer have access to their private property. We've all seen the service access roads along the Trans-Canada Highway that give woodlot owners and others right to their property but, occasionally there are roads that are closed or abandoned by government when people then no longer can get to their private property and that's a concern or something to think about for sure.

Overall I think the bill contains some good measures and I certainly will listen to what my colleagues may have to say and look forward to moving it on to the Committee on Law Amendments. Thank you.

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

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The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the members of the Opposition Parties for their helpful comments although there was some question about the form where some of these clauses appeared in the legislation. They all said or all recommended that the clauses were good ones and the changes in legislation were needed. I want to thank them for supporting the changes in legislation which were incorporated in this bill and with those few comments I will close debate on Bill No. 58.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 58. 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. PATRICK DUNN: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 20.

Bill No. 20 - Public Utilities Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour.

HON. MARK PARENT: Mr. Speaker, I'd like to move second reading of Bill No. 20, An Act to Amend Chapter 380 of the Revised Statutes of 1989, The Public Utilities Act. This bill, as the members of the House know, prevents Nova Scotia Power from being granted more than one general rate increase in any 12-month period unless the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board determines that exceptional circumstances exist that cause substantial financial harm to the ratepayers of Nova Scotia or to Nova Scotia Power itself.

It's an important bill and I look forward to hearing what Opposition members have to say about it. It's an important bill because it helps in the budget planning for average Nova Scotians, most of my constituents are on limited or fixed budgets and multiple rate increases are something they can't absorb in their budget so this is an important bill. It does so in a fashion that respects the fluctuations that happen in global marketplaces and the pressures they may cause on Nova Scotia Power. Anyway, with just that very brief introduction I look forward to hearing the insights of Opposition members on this very important bill.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

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MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Thank you all for inviting me to give the after dinner address and thank you, Mr. Speaker, for your warm and fulsome introduction, it was about as long as the minister's speech in explanation of his bill. I find it odd that we've been given such a short introduction to this legislation, in fact, I find it even odder that we've been given such a short bill.

We know that no legislation, especially no legislation that touches on energy issues in Nova Scotia, comes without a history, comes without a context. Let me assure you that, of course, this does come with a context and it comes with an important context - one that we have to understand.

What does this bill do? This bill essentially says that we should take the full legislative power of the Province of Nova Scotia in order to make sure that Nova Scotia Power Inc. does not try to go more than once a year to the Utility and Review Board to get approval for raising the electricity rates. They should only do us once a year, they shouldn't try and whack us twice, or three times or four times a year. (Applause)

It's a good idea, but why do we need legislation to do this? Apparently, we need legislation to do this because the government has come to the conclusion that Nova Scotia Power Inc., in its privatized form, is a predatory corporation. We need protection from it. Surely they can not have concluded, the government can not have concluded anything else based on the evidence of this bill.

How is this much of a protection for Nova Scotians? Is this perhaps the kind of thought that should have occurred to the predecessors of that Party in 1992 when they privatized the publicly owned Crown corporation? They should have thought of it then. Has this become a predatory corporation? It's time we thought about this. It's time we looked back on the context that has led us to arrive at the point where 14 years later, the government is coming forward with a bill to try to tell our monopoly electrical utility to stop trying to get increases in their rates more than once a year because we, the consumers, we, their customers, probably can't afford it.

I think this is the kind of thought that should have occurred to the predecessors of those members opposite in 1992 when, without any solid analysis, they made a decision, which they admitted clearly at the time was on a philosophical basis only, that they thought this Crown corporation should not be in the public sector and should be privatized.

That was a momentous decision. It was a momentous policy change in Nova Scotia. It took decades to move to the point where, in 1970, we finally achieved one province-wide, publicly owned, monopoly electrical utility. It took decades to arrive at that point. It was a logical think to do in 1970 when it was formed. There were good public policy reasons to merge the two main electrical utilities that had emerged - one private, one public. The objective was to try to make sure there was reliable electricity

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service for all portions of Nova Scotia, for all people in Nova Scotia, for all businesses in Nova Scotia and to make sure that reliable, necessary service was affordable for the people of Nova Scotia.

It was a recognition that when a service is fundamentally necessary to how you carry on your life and when it's what economists call a natural monopoly, that it should be owned in the public sector. That was the recognition around 1970.

Yet, 22 years later, for no clearly articulated, good public policy reason that would benefit the customers or the shareholders, the public, the Tory Government at the time decided to privatize, and now they're giving us a bill to try to tidy up some of the mess.

Now, what was the suggestion at the time of privatization? The suggestion was that there were going to be efficiencies, that this was going to be a wonderful thing for the customers, it was going to be good for the public, it was going to be good for the individual homeowners, it was going to be good for the businesses of Nova Scotia. Why was that? It was because the discipline of the private marketplace was apparently going to generate such great efficiencies in how the corporation was run that we didn't have to worry about the fact that we were introducing an extra element of expense into how that corporation was structured. That extra element of expense was the return to the shareholders. Shareholders expect dividends; shareholders who own shares in electrical utilities expect to be paid dividends.

It is a well-known maxim in this kind of business that equity is more expensive than debt. Do you know what that means? What that means is that for a big company like Nova Scotia Power it is more expensive for them to raise money by selling shares than it is for them to go to the bond market and borrow money. When they were a Crown corporation with their debt guaranteed by the public of Nova Scotia, they were able to go to the bond market and borrow money at a good rate, a rate that's less than the rate they now have to pay, plus they have shareholders to whom they have to pay dividends. That's what it means when they say that for companies of that sort, equity, in other words having shareholders, is more expensive than debt, in other words, having bonds.

The theory was that the company was going to be so efficient under its privatized management, never mind the big salaries that the new management were going to get, but it was going to be so efficient that it wasn't going to be a bad deal for the customers, the captive customers, the one million of us who live here in Nova Scotia who are being subjected to this monopoly privatized utility. They were going to be so efficient that it didn't matter that they were going to have to pay more money to their shareholders instead of carrying on the way they were before with debt.

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It doesn't seem to have worked out that way if we now have a bill in which we have to restrain this predatory corporation from coming more than once a year to turn us upside down and shake us until the change falls out of our pockets.

[8:45 p.m.]

Maybe it's time for the government to look back in earnest and think about whether this was such a good deal, because we still have a monopoly situation, essentially. There are five or six small municipal utilities that buy power from Nova Scotia Power and resell within their own town boundaries, but it's essentially a monopoly utility, with all of us as captive customers - businesses, homes and commercial establishments alike - and the rates have been going up year after year after year.

The company doesn't exactly seem to have been the best run of companies all the time. Think about what it is that the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board said to the company just a year and a half ago, maybe two years ago at the most, about their coal procurement, their procurement of fuels. You're not being very good in going to the marketplace, the Utility and Review Board said to Nova Scotia Power, and getting the best deal for your fuels that you use to burn to get electricity. The company admitted it, they agreed, they weren't being all that good, and they were going to go and hire a specialist who was going to know their way around the international coal market places and they were going to get the best deal, so that there would be some kind of benefit in terms of reduced operating expenses at Nova Scotia Power because they get their fuel for less - two years later they haven't managed to hire such a person.

Well, you know I don't think the chief operating officer has a reduction in salary because they haven't been able to do that; I don't see a reduction in our rates because they haven't been able to do that. The only good thing that has happened with Nova Scotia Power this year is that Stora was closed down for so many months - their biggest customer - that they didn't have to be generating electricity for part of the time.

So where's the benefit from this privatization? Nova Scotia Power, since privatization, year in, year out, has generated $100 million of profit - that is more than $1 billion of profit that they've generated that they paid out in dividends to their shareholders. Now let's be clear, that's my money and your money, and your money, and the money of each customer in Nova Scotia who pays their electricity bill. When we talk profits, we're talking about paying our bills to that monopoly company that then uses it, in part, to pay out, since privatization, more than $1 billion in dividends to their shareholders.

What could we have done with that $1 billion even if it had been confined to the electricity sector? Never mind that I could have kept my extra little bit in my pocket and you could have kept it in yours, and the companies could have kept it in their pockets

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and made their own individual decisions. Suppose the rates were still the same, but it was a public company? That money could have been used to improve the equipment; it could have been used to improve the environmental controls to limit emissions; or it could have been used to raise salaries for those linespeople, the ones who go out there in the dead of winter, in the storms like White Juan, and help us out when the system goes down, or when that salty fog finds it way into the system, who knows how - and if you don't like that excuse, they've got a few others.

That money could have been used for a whole variety of other things. I'll bet that over $1 billion, instead of flowing out of this province into the hands of shareholders, could have been used for good things. I have to emphasize that point - that money flew out of this province. This is no longer a Nova Scotian-owned company; you shouldn't think that this company is owned by Nova Scotians and that we are just kind of passing the money around amongst ourselves. This is a publicly traded company, and what that means is that their shares are available to be purchased by any purchaser who wants to tap into the Toronto Stock Exchange and buy their shares - and, believe me, most of the owners of the shares of Nova Scotia Power are not in Nova Scotia. A lot of them are pension funds, a lot of them are big institutional investors, a lot of them are private investors elsewhere. That money left this province - not every last penny, but most of it certainly left this province, which is in and of itself an economic drain on us.

When you go back and read the Hansard for that time, in 1992, when that bill to privatize Nova Scotia Power was being debated, it is appalling to realize the casualness with which such an important economic decision was made, and now here we are trying to mop up some of the impact of this.

Well, I think that it is time the government rethought this. I would have hoped that if the government was turning its mind to the issue of electricity in Nova Scotia, that it would turn its mind somewhat more expansively to the issues that are involved.

Now I'm not saying that there is in and of itself anything wrong with this particular small item that makes up Bill No. 20. What I'm saying is that if the government wants to think about the electricity industry, if it wants to think about Nova Scotia Power, if it wants to think about the issues associated with it, maybe we might have seen a more serious bill, maybe even instead of a bill we might have seen a policy from the government telling us where it intends to go with the electricity industry, maybe we might have seen some analysis of what it is that the issues are, maybe we might have seen some grappling with an issue like energy poverty.

There is no shortage of issues around electricity in Nova Scotia that the government could have grappled with, and instead it gives us this little bill. It's not that it's wrong, it's that as soon as you think about it for a minute you realize how momentous are the issues we're dealing with and how almost irrelevant this bill is.

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Let's just remind ourselves of what some of these issues are. It's not just the fundamental and dubious decision that was made in 1992 about privatization, there are current issues that are struggling to be dealt with, and that we have to deal with, and it makes no sense to postpone dealing with.

I have in mind the question of when and how we are going to move to renewables as a major, perhaps even exclusive part of how it is that we generate our electricity in Nova Scotia. I have in mind the issue of what the electricity marketplace is going to look like in Nova Scotia. I have in mind how we're going to deal with big new electricity-generating projects like the developments that are going to take place in Newfoundland and Labrador.

There's already talk about a national energy grid. Is that going to happen? Should it happen? What does the government say about that? What about that issue of energy poverty that I mentioned a minute ago? Well, all of these are important issues, and I'll elaborate on a couple of them just to make it clear what it is that the government could have done and probably should have done if it was going to engage on the issue of electricity. If the government is going to bring us a bill about electricity, why don't they bring us a bill that engages with these serious issues? We can't put off forever a serious debate about these issues. It's time; it is time.

Let's start first with energy poverty, because this bills seems, at least, to think about the reality of how hard it is for people to pay their bills. Well, today in the newspapers we saw people speaking up on behalf of that segment of Nova Scotians who are so poor and have such great difficulty paying their electricity bills that a term has been invented to describe the situation in which they find themselves, that term is energy poverty. So these are people who are having serious problems paying their electricity bill, their home heating bill, any transportation bills and so on. Energy is getting very expensive.

Two years ago, a year and a half ago perhaps, the issue was raised at the Utility and Review Board. Representatives through the agency of Dalhousie Legal Aid that came to speak on behalf of the poorest of the customers of Nova Scotia Power said to the board, you should create a special system to deal with the poorest customers of Nova Scotia Power and the board threw up its hands and said, you know what, we don't have the authority to do that. We do not have the legal authority to do that. In the Utility and Review Board in the Public Utilities Act, they said - the very act that's being amended by Bill No. 20 tonight - there is nothing that gives us the power to create a special category for the poorer customers of Nova Scotia Power.

Now an attempt was made to challenge this ruling by the board and court. The court upheld the board. What that means is that if the board interpreted its Statute correctly then it's back to us, it's back to the government, it's back to this House to decide whether we want to create a special category that will protect the poorest of Nova

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Scotians when it comes to their electricity bills. It's up to us - that's not in here. This tells us you can't go to the board, Nova Scotia Power can't go to the board in order to seek an increase in rates more than once a year unless there are extraordinary circumstances, apparently. So to some extent the poorest of Nova Scotians are protected along with the rest of us in the sense that from year to year they can only have huge increases foisted upon them, but that doesn't seem to me to be really responsive to the issue that was raised by Dalhousie Legal Aid on behalf of the poorest of customers. So why don't we have something to deal with that?

I have to say that although I'm not going to debate the ruling from the Utility and Review Board about its powers or the ruling of the Court of Appeal when it was called upon to judge what the Utility and Review Board had done, it struck me as a little strange, because there are different categories of payment plans that exist now with the blessing of the board and some of those categories include special deals, special arrangements for the very largest of customers like the pulp and paper plants. But no, there's no legal authority to set up a special category for the poorest of customers. There's legal authority to set up a special category for the largest of industrial customers but no legal authority to set up a special category for the poorest of customers.

You know, that seems to me like a meaty issue, this seems to me like exactly the kind of issue the government ought to be thinking about and if it's going to be amending the Public Utilities Act, they might want to say something about this. Instead we find that this time in the current round of hearings before the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board, on the latest request for an increase from NSPI, Dalhousie Legal Aid again is going to be raising this issue and this time they're going to raise it as a charter matter, so the Charter of Rights and Freedoms comes into it. Is there some basis, they're now saying, for making out an argument on the basis of the charter? Well I'm not going to get into the details of that argument but it's an interesting point.

[9:00 p.m.]

Unfortunately what's happening is that the advocates on behalf of the poor are having to go to court and use complex, detailed, and I have to say, extended litigation, to try to achieve their end. They could just as well be here in this Chamber. They should be having a response from the government. That's what we should see in Bill No. 20; we have got plenty of omnibus bills in front of us in this session, I don't see why they couldn't have included that in a public utilities bill. They could have done that, why not? Are we to understand that the government thinks that the present situation is just fine? That it's fine for a special category of rate to exist for the largest of industrial customers, but not a good thing to have a special category of rate for the poorest of customers. If that's what the government thinks, maybe they should be clear and say so. I don't want to read too much into the absence of such a clause in this bill, but it's very tempting. (Interruption) Could you reach a different conclusion? I'm not sure what it is that motivates the government to come forward with something like this that clearly

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admits that there's a problem, but doesn't really come to grips with it. Doesn't that strike you as odd? It strikes me as odd. This is just the first item that this bill might have been about, that we might have dealt with.

Let's look at the renewables issue. Now I know that the minister who introduced this bill is a big fan of the Al Gore film, An Inconvenient Truth. This is a wonderful film, and I know that he and others have urged members of this House to see the film. What does it deal with? Of course it deals with global climate change. People now recognize - there is wide recognition of the fact that this is one of the major public policy issues of our time. It's something that we should all be engaged with. Yet, what do we see here? This doesn't say to the URB, when you're judging what it is that Nova Scotia Power is doing, you had better make sure that you nudge them in the direction of as much renewables as possible. It doesn't say that. Where's the government's policy on this?

Now they've made some passes at it, they've made some passing statements about it, but we're still waiting to see a comprehensive, progressive energy policy brought forward and implemented by that government. This might have been a time to do that. The questions are pretty obvious. How far and how rapidly should Nova Scotia move in the direction of abandoning carbon-based generation of electricity, and move towards renewables?

Now, that's a good, solid public policy question. Some people might think there's such a pressing need for it that we have to do it within five or 10 years, other people might think we have 30 years, and who knows what the government thinks? Have they embraced the Kyoto objectives? Every time I've asked them here in this House, they've avoided that question. They've avoided responsibility for it. They've said, it's up to the feds, let the feds decide, we'll live with what the feds do. Not exactly an adequate policy stance.

Nova Scotians are waiting for some direction from the government on electricity policy that relates to this, the most pressing public policy issue of our time, what are we going to do about saving the planet? Pretty straightforward. (Applause)

Unfortunately it looks, when we get this kind of bill, like Nova Scotians are going to have to wait a long time still. Now, let me put it in economic terms. A couple of years ago, under the chairmanship of Professor Fournier from Dalhousie - Robert Fournier of the Oceanography Department - Nova Scotia struck a committee which reported. It was a committee called the Electricity Marketplace Governance Committee. The report attempted to engage with this whole issue of the economics of the electricity industry in Nova Scotia, because there are many companies out there known as independent power producers, IPPs - or non-utility generators, NUGs - who want to get into the business of generating electricity, and they're all interested in doing it by renewables. They all want to put up windmills, they all want to get into tidal power, they

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all want to develop more hydro. They want to do things that are renewable in terms of generating electricity.

So this committee, chaired by Professor Fournier, was asked to think about this. I have to say it came back with the most timid of recommendations, when it came to opening up the electricity marketplace. This is unfortunate, and it's also unfortunate that, at the time, the government tended to agree that only a small portion of the electricity marketplace in Nova Scotia should be opened up to those IPPs.

Now I'm all for caution when it comes to thinking about how we might transform our electricity marketplace in Nova Scotia. I started out, of course, suggesting that we might rethink whether even the privatization was a good idea. But if we are going to have a privatized system, is there room for independent power producers and, if so, where and how much? Now that's a debate worth having; we should be having that debate. That's something that the government should be showing some leadership on; that's something they should be bringing to this Legislature; that's something that could be included in a Public Utilities Act, instead of this small item that we see here.

These issues are complex. We would do well to remind ourselves that where, in various parts of the United States, they opened up their electricity marketplace to a free, open, private wheeled system, there were a lot of problems. Companies like Enron got involved, prices went up to customers. There seems to have been extensive collusion, there seems to have been a lot of price manipulation. There were serious problems, so I'm all for reminding ourselves that we have to be very cautious if we decide we're going to move in that direction. But we have to have this debate.

We can't keep waiting to have this debate, we can't not have it. We can't keep putting it off, we can't avoid it. This is an important public policy issue. This is a major public policy issue. This is something that's happening on the ground already in Nova Scotia. IPPs are out there investing money in buying windmills, in trying to get sites lined up, in trying to get into the business of generating electricity from renewables and they want to be able to have access to the transmission and distribution system of Nova Scotia Power, and they want to be able to wield their electricity from their generation stations to their customers, but they can't do it. There was one of the recommendations, Recommendation 51 in the Fournier Report, that essentially said, wheeling should be allowed. Wheeling is the technical term, Mr. Speaker, for a generator being able to sell their electricity to a particular customer.

Recommendation 51 says, allow wheeling. Well, government isn't allowing wheeling. Government hasn't set us up in that way. There have been small moves in that direction. I think an OATT - an open access transmission tariff - has been established which would set the rate that Nova Scotia Power could charge for moving electricity across its wires, across its transmission and distribution system. That's a step in that direction, but the independent power producers don't know how much power they can

[Page 1173]

produce. They can't sell it to other customers that they select. What they have to do is sell it to Nova Scotia Power, or maybe they can sell it to those six small electrical utilities that service small towns like Berwick.

Now this is a very limited opening up of the market. Now I'm not saying the answers are obvious, but what I'm saying is, all the facts should be laid out by the government which has an Energy Department staffed with - dare we remind ourselves - highly-paid experts who are supposed to take the lead in setting energy policy. Well, you know, we should have some leadership from the government at least in setting out the issues, that would be a desirable thing. But again we find ourselves languishing as a province when it comes to trying to decide how quickly we're going to move or if we're going to move at all towards a new system.

Just the other day, we saw one of the hopeful IPPs, the Black River Hydro folks, complaining that they weren't able to negotiate an appropriate deal with Nova Scotia Power. They're coming and saying that they had three sites lined up, they had suppliers lined up to help them get their proposal for wind power established and yet they weren't able to negotiate a deal with Nova Scotia Power that was satisfactory. So Nova Scotia Power is being an obstacle, apparently, and not just on the basis suggested in Bill No. 20. It's not just that they're wanting to go - apparently, the government fears - more than once a year to the Utility and Review Board to ask for rate increases. IPPs are having some difficulty in getting themselves established here.

Black River made a suggestion. They said there should be what are called standard offered contracts. In other words, the Utility and Review Board should be able to set the rates for all comers. IPPs should be able to come along, establish their businesses selling to the grid, maybe even wheel. But if they're going to sell into the grid, then the Utility and Review Board should have some jurisdiction to set the rates. That's something we proposed as an amendment to some legislation last year; it's not in here, it's not in Bill No. 20. Why not? Now if there's some reason why the government thinks that standard offered contracts are a bad idea or not yet timely they should say so. All I've seen in the paper so far is the Minister of Energy saying they're not going to happen. There's not going to be any good reason, there was no good reason suggested, there was no reason at all. He just said they are not going to happen.

Now there are other issues associated with electricity here. Are we going to be big-time generators ourselves of electricity and exporters of it to the United States? Well, if tidal energy were ever to be a big success in the Bay of Fundy or elsewhere - especially the Bay of Fundy - maybe we will be exporters. What does the government think about that? We don't know, they haven't told us. Are we going to be electricity importers? Are we going to import electricity from Newfoundland and Labrador or from Quebec, from Ontario, where they're starting to have massive wind farms set up? We don't know, we don't know whether the government thinks that's a good idea. How long

[Page 1174]

will it be that we, in Nova Scotia, continue to be last in the queue when it comes to policy changes in this area? This makes no sense.

[9:15 p.m.]

Every once in awhile when the government thinks that there is a small issue that might look like it's acting, when there's a small issue that makes it look like they're taking some steps, when there's a small issue that makes it look as if they're responding to the needs of the middle class, they'll take a step. Bill No. 20 - Nova Scotia Power, please don't go to the Utility and Review Board more than once a year in order to ask for your 5 or 9 or 14 per cent increases, please? Well that's what Bill No. 20 says.

Mr. Speaker, I understand the bill. I've read the explanatory note. I've read every word. I can see what the bill is doing. But I have to tell you and every other member in this House that it's just not responsive to the situation in which we as a province, which we as a nation, find ourselves and it's about time we took the appropriate action. Thank you very much. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to be able to speak on Bill No. 20. I know the previous speaker was questioning where this bill comes from and I can tell you this bill looks awfully familiar, because all members of this House would know this is legislation that was previously tabled by the Liberal caucus.

Now, the question is, why was the bill introduced by the Liberal caucus? Maybe I can answer a few of the questions by the member for Halifax Chebucto. We have seen, under this government, an unprecedented amount of increases granted to Nova Scotia Power with absolute silence from this government while each of those increases has taken place.

Our attempts to try to get the government to rein in the situation, and to be able to protect Nova Scotian consumers, fell on deaf ears. So the question became, what can we get the government to do, at least as a minimum, to protect consumers here in this province that they will actually be prepared to move forward on. Last year, when we saw Nova Scotia Power come forward not once, but twice, asking for further increases to the cost of electricity to Nova Scotians, it became clear that as a minimum, the government should at least look to limit the utility to one rate increase per year. Today, there we have Bill No. 20.

But, does Bill No. 20 address the concerns our caucus has to protect Nova Scotians from these ever-increasing costs and rate increases by Nova Scotia Power? Not

[Page 1175]

at all. It is but a small step, yet it does fail to deal with the variety of issues that are being faced by Nova Scotians on the energy front.

Mr. Speaker, allow me as well to mention what the member for Halifax Chebucto was talking about - the need to have a lower power rate for Nova Scotians of limited means and limited income. He talks about the court case going forward. I would remind the member for Halifax Chebucto as well, it was the Liberal caucus that brought forward legislation that would have permitted the government to give instructions to Nova Scotia Power to have a preferential rate for low income Nova Scotians.

Had the government adopted this, there would be no need for this charter challenge by Dalhousie Legal Aid because at that point, the URB would have been in a position to be able to instruct Nova Scotia Power, as a utility, to have lower rates for low income Nova Scotians. The question is, is this a new idea or something that's never been tried before? Not at all.

Once again, this is what is in place in Bangor. Why is Bangor of relevance to Nova Scotians? Because we now know that Nova Scotia Power's parent company, Emera, bought out Bangor Hydro a few years ago. Once they bought it out, they kept operating it and, amazingly, they kept this lower preferential rate for low income earners in Bangor.

So, if that's what exists - it's basically the same company, they can do it in Bangor for low income earners in that state - why can we not do the same here in Nova Scotia? To do so, as the URB has pointed out, they cannot, at this point, instruct Nova Scotia Power to do so. But, if the government brought forward that legislation, it would force the hand of Nova Scotia Power and it would be able to address the needs of low income earners in this province.

Up to now, the precedent this government has set is that Nova Scotia Power is going to get a rate increase every year. That's what we've seen. I have to tell you, when I heard the Premier say, during Nova Scotia Power's recent announcement of their rate application this Fall, that his government would vigorously, vigorously defend the interests of Nova Scotians - that's about the fourth time and the fourth rate hearing that I've heard this vigorous defense. If it's the same vigorous defense that we're going to get this Fall, that brought us 8 and 9 and 12 percent rate increases over the past number of years, then I think that speaks volumes about just how interested the Premier and this government are to try to get control over the costs of electricity here in this province.

Mr. Speaker, we all know, especially for low income earners who are on Department of Community Services' benefits - the Minister of Community Services will be aware herself - their benefits have not increased by 8 per cent, or 9 per cent, or 12 per cent each year. They've been asked to live on the same income, while the cost of electricity which for most - I would say a great portion of these CS clients - is a

[Page 1176]

necessity. They haven't seen their benefits increase, and the government sat silently and watched this utility get increase after increase.

Mr. Speaker, it's not responsible and it's not reasonable. Even if the government had turned around and said, well, we can't control what the URB says, we can't control the price of oil but, do you know what, where we can, we're at least going to increase the benefits of Community Services' clients to make sure - especially those who rely upon electricity as their primary source of heat - that they are not going to be negatively impacted by these increases. Yet that was not done and there's not even any talk of doing that, no suggestion at all coming from the minister or from the government that they are going to increase the rates.

Mr. Speaker, only time will tell whether removing the provincial portion of the HST off home heating, especially electricity, is going to have a long-term benefit for Nova Scotians, because how is removing an 8 per cent tax going to help if this Fall, an 8 per cent or 9 per cent increase is going to be granted to Nova Scotia Power. Where is the savings and how is that going to help in the long run?

Mr. Speaker, there was a program here that could provide real relief for Nova Scotians. It was the Keep the Heat program, and it was meant to help the lowest of income earners here in our province. Yet we know that that program will not exist this Fall or this winter. That same program last year also helped attract over $200 from the federal government for low income earners . That will not be available this year as well because, why should the federal government be helping with the cost of home heating and electricity for low income earners when the province isn't interested in doing it? So that's lost as well.

Mr. Speaker, Bill No. 20 is a baby step. Hopefully, it's a step that tells Nova Scotia Power that it's unacceptable to continue the increases that they've brought forward. Yes, there has been some increased costs, we all know that, but we also know that Nova Scotia Power has been caught by the URB at being deficient; an example is in their coal purchasing. Now, we also have to look at what this province is doing to tell Nova Scotia Power that they have to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels.

Mr. Speaker, I visited one of the power generating stations and I remember that the manager there said that they were the best performer for their size power plant. I believe he said 75 per cent efficiency and the gentleman who was with me - after listening to the manager say that a few times - said, so what is your plan to increase that efficiency? He said, well, we're number one, why should we? There was no interest at getting better. They were content at saying they're number one right now and they were able to brag about that. There was absolutely no vision of how they were going to get better or how to become less dependent on coal, and we have a government that's not pushing them to do so. A government that has sat silent and has been in partnership, in essence, with Nova Scotia Power during each of these rate increases.

[Page 1177]

We have a Minister of Energy. The Department of Energy, I believe, was created in 2000-01 - about five years now. Mr. Speaker, you would be familiar with that. This is the fourth Minister of Energy in about five years, number four. So we haven't even had a minister in that department for much more than a year. No surprise when you look at the fact that we have a Minister of Energy, who publicly stated that he was concerned that the wind might stop blowing in Nova Scotia - I've mentioned that before. We know what kind of embarrassment that brought.

The same minister who, when he was asked about the situation at Point Tupper - my riding, where an LNG terminal is proposed - when it was announced that the attempts to secure a supply contract had failed, they asked the Minister of Energy, what are you going to do? He said, well, I'm very hopeful. They said, well, no, no, that's nice, but what are you going to do? He answered again, well, I'm very hopeful that they'll get a contract. And when they asked the third time it was the same answer - there was no indication of I'm going to dedicate more staff, we're going to work aggressively as a government, we're going to make sure all resources are exhausted, to make sure that facility is going to be a success a supply contract will be secured. That's the answer Nova Scotians wanted to hear, but that's not the answer we got. The answer we got was that he was "hopeful".

Then again when they went to the Strait area - just last week I raised the issue in Question Period - when they met with the chamber of commerce, the Department of Energy and Emera met with them about the proposed bullet line for the Irving LNG facility that would go direct to the U.S. market, the Strait Area Chamber of Commerce asked the Department of Energy, what are you going to do at the National Energy Board hearings? While the Premier and the minister would have us believe that all along they were going to fight for Nova Scotia's best interests he had someone like Mayor Billy Joe MacLean, former member of this Legislature, former member of the Conservative Party, a Cabinet Minister, who publicly said, I can't understand why the Department of Energy officials couldn't tell us what their position will be at the National Energy Board hearings. Yet the day after the Premier knew exactly what their position was and he was arguing about how strenuous they were going to fight for our interests.

Why those officials remained silent in the Strait area, I don't know. The Premier is familiar with that area, he would know who the members of the chamber of commerce are. But that's what they walked away with - wondering why our government is not standing up for us, why is the Department of Energy not taking the lead in making sure our interests are protected?

How many more things does that apply to, Mr. Speaker? It's Nova Scotia Power, the minister who fears the wind is going to stop blowing doesn't have any sort of plan to help with the establishment of LNG facilities here in our province, and then again at the end of the day we'll have to wait to see exactly what presentation they did give to the National Energy Board. How rigorous was their cross-examination, what evidence did

[Page 1178]

they challenge? Only time will tell. It's taking place right now, and I know the Warden of Richmond County is there doing his best on behalf of the municipality to defend our interests, and I commend him for it . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: Good warden.

MR. SAMSON: New Warden of Richmond County and I'm sure he'll be here one day and I'll properly introduce him here in this Chamber - but he's there fighting for us, and I know certainly what his position is and he's going to do everything he can to protect the interests of the LNG facility in Point Tupper against any unfair competition from New Brunswick. Yet I don't have that same sense of confidence from the Department of Energy after seeing what they had to say at the Strait Area Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Speaker, we have spoken before, as well, expressing our concern over the fact that this government fails to deal with the independent power producers here in this province. We have such a tremendous opportunity here in Nova Scotia to be leaders and instead, based on the government's actions and based on the statements of the Minister of Energy, we're more of a mockery than anything else - and such a lost opportunity. When you talk to people who are interested in green energy and renewable energy it's an excitement that they have about what they see for the future, the opportunities, employment-wise, energy efficiency- wise, environmentally, all of that, they're very excited. Yet this government has done its best to douse their excitement and to beat them down and to say you are not a priority.

As was mentioned before when the Minister of Energy is asked, will you allow independent power producers to sell directly to consumers? He says no - not no because of this reason or no because here's what we're concerned about - it's just a straight-out no.

[9:30 p.m.]

So we have a monopoly here in this province, in Nova Scotia Power, that seems to be protected by a government. Although they have studies that they've commissioned ,which have recommended the opening up of our markets in a responsible and reasonable fashion, and here's a tremendous opportunity - and, Mr. Speaker, you would be familiar with this. If I'm not mistaken, you were the minister at the time when this report was brought in and I know you brought forward some legislation dealing with some of the small recommendations that were in the report - we have a tremendous opportunity here and we're a province now that faces many challenges. If I'm not mistaken we are home to the fifth largest polluter in all of Canada, and I'm not sure if that's something the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage wants to put in his Come to Life campaign, to advertise the fact that we have a utility here that's making Nova Scotia, our small little province, the fifth largest polluter in all of Canada.

[Page 1179]

That's something for all of us to be embarrassed about, that's something for us to be saying, collectively, here is what we're going to try to do to change that, to make Nova Scotia a green province, to make Nova Scotia a responsible province. Yet as long as the government continues to be silent on these types of issues and instead the only thing they're offering us is Bill No. 20, a bill that the Minister of Environment and Labour knows was previously introduced by the Liberals, in fact it is the same minister who asked for a consultation last week regarding the amount of hours and when a break was going to be given, knowing that there was Liberal legislation tabled today that dealt with that very issue. So that is two bills, but that's fine, Mr. Speaker. I think the Leader of the NDP was always fond of saying he has no problems with the government taking their ideas when they are good ideas, and we say the same thing in our Party.

Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians are not seeing their incomes keep up with the increases that Nova Scotia Power is getting. There is apparently no vision from either Nova Scotia Power or this government to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. The time has come where the coal mines are closed, that Nova Scotians are no longer prepared to turn a blind eye to the pollution being created here in this province. While there are opportunities at the government's disposal to be able to have more renewable energy and yet they fail to take action on that is completely unacceptable. Nova Scotians and especially our youth, deserve better. They deserve to know, because our young people are so concerned about the environment that they deserve to know what we are doing, as legislators, to try to improve our environment here in this province, to make sure we have a reliable supply of energy and electricity but that we are doing so in a most responsible fashion.

I again remind the Premier that when you have a monopoly utility that can say, we are number one in efficiency at a power plant that is then asked, what are you going to do to try to become more efficient, then answers, we have no plans because we're number one and so we are under no obligation to try to become more efficient. That's unacceptable and the reality is that Nova Scotians have now become educated enough on that issue so that when you hear Nova Scotians talking now about renewable energy, you hear seniors talking about it, there has been an education that has gone on in the last number of years which has been absolutely remarkable, Mr. Speaker. The days of the government turning a blind eye and doing nothing is clearly not acceptable for Nova Scotians anymore. It probably never was acceptable but certainly with the level of education now, Nova Scotians know there are other options. They know there are other ways to do to it. In this case the technology is out there. We are not being asked to create new technology.

I think, Mr. Speaker, of my brief time in the Ministry of the Environment; we were the leaders in recycling, we were the leaders in composting. Mr. Speaker, you know yourself we had people coming from Russia, we had people coming from all sorts of countries to see what is it that little Nova Scotia is doing that they have had such success in reducing their landfills? No more burning of waste in our province, we were seeing

[Page 1180]

such a high compliance rate of people who are recycling and composting. Why are they not doing the same thing on energy? Because no one is coming here to see what we're doing on energy, on renewable energy, on diverting our reliance on fossil fuels. It is unfortunate because Nova Scotians are known to be leaders. I give that as one example and yes, as the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations said, we are still leaders in the area of recycling and that's something to be proud of.

My question to him is, why are we not leaders in renewable energy? The opportunity is there for us. The wind will not stop blowing. In fact, the Minister of Energy should know that he has studies showing that we are actually a prime area for windmills because of where we live. Who would have thought that we could say the wind and the weather of Nova Scotia could be turned into a positive. Well, there's one opportunity.

Mr. Speaker, it is the government itself that will have to force the hand of this monopoly called Nova Scotia Power to act. I know the member for Halifax Chebucto took us back to 1992. In 1992 both the Premier and I were still in university so I don't think we can be held responsible for the decision at the time to privatize Nova Scotia Power. Today both the Premier and I and all members of this House have a responsibility to Nova Scotians to make sure that we have new ways of producing electricity and energy in this province, that we stop our dependence on fossil fuels.

It's not going to happen overnight, Mr. Speaker, but we need a vision that's going to move us forward. The opportunity is there. The Premier has all of the information he needs to do it. All he needs now is the political will, and I can't think of a better time under this minority situation, based on the comments he has heard from the NDP, based on the comments that he's hearing from the Liberal caucus, this House could be united and once again making Nova Scotia leaders, leaders in energy, leaders that we can be proud of, and leaders that generations to come will thank us for having shown.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

MR. CHARLES PARKER: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to have a few minutes here to speak on Bill No. 20, the Public Utilities Act. Really. It's all about Nova Scotia Power and limiting their right or their ability to apply for rate increases at will. It's stating that the bill should allow for only one rate application in a 12-month period. That seems to me like a rather common sense thing.

I know all of us as individuals try to budget in our home or our small business or whatever the case might be on a yearly basis. For example, in most households, individuals want to decide whether they're able during that calendar year to perhaps fix their roof, put new asphalt shingles on it, or perhaps if the furnace is getting old and they want to update their heating system, a new well or a new water system, whatever the case might be.

[Page 1181]

It seems logical that on a yearly basis you plan for what you can do within your budget. I don't think it's any different in our own personal lives. If we need a new vehicle or a new car, then you plan ahead for that, and within the calendar year maybe you can think you're going to get better transportation or whatever the case might be.

Really, it should be no different, Mr. Speaker, for a corporation such as Nova Scotia Power, that they should be able to plan their estimates and look at their balance sheet and make the determination on what it is they can do in the 12 months coming up in the calendar year or their fiscal year, whichever the case might be. Certainly they're asking Nova Scotians to be prepared for a rocky road, or to have to accept more than one increase, and I don't think it's unreasonable to look at them and ask for a yearly plan at a time.

Mr. Speaker, many Nova Scotians are in a very difficult position. They're not able to handle more than one increase in a year. Nova Scotia Power just received an 8.9 per cent increase earlier this year, and to ask Nova Scotians to pay a second or a third or a fourth increase in the same calendar, I think it's unreasonable. Many Nova Scotians are on a fixed income, they're on a pension, or they're on a salary. There are very few people who are really not on a fixed income. I guess the only exceptions I can think of would be somebody who's on a commissioned sales basis or perhaps a small-business person, where their income may actually fluctuate up and down, it might be very good, it might be very poor.

For most Nova Scotians, they're on a very fixed amount of income, and to ask for a second or a third increase on their electricity bill in the same year, I think, is unreasonable. It certainly would create some hardship for a number of Nova Scotians if they're asked to do that.

Certainly, even one increase a year, for some people, is very difficult. I can think of one young couple who called me here about a month ago, and it happens to be a mixed marriage, they had three children each. So in their family there's actually six children. Their power was cut off because they had failed to pay their bill. It was in early October, and the weather was starting to get a bit colder and they had no heat system, no lights, and the darkness was coming sooner in the evening. All they had were a few candles to provide light for the children to do their homework after dark. A few candles might even provide a wee heat, but it really wasn't very much.

So we called the Nova Scotia Power representative we deal with out of Truro and talked to her and were able to get some resolution to their problem and they were able to get their power back on. Now when I drive by I do see the lights on in the window. It's quite traumatic, certainly to a couple or to anybody, when they lose their power. So they're not in a position to afford even one increase, let alone two or more increases in a year.

[Page 1182]

As MLAs, in our constituency offices we deal with a lot of individuals and families who are in a very poor position. They don't have any extra dollars to live off. I can think of one lady who comes quite regularly into my constituency office. She is about 64 years old, she is on social assistance, she has a very small apartment where she pays for her heat and lights. She has a shelter allowance that she is given through the Department of Community Services. She is very much on a fixed income. She has an amount of assistance that's very minimal, she is always juggling whether she can buy food or pay for her rent or buy her medications that she needs. There is never enough money to go around. Certainly if there was another power increase, for her it would be very difficult. So there are individuals like that, the poorest of the poor in our society who certainly it would be difficult for any man or woman or family to be able to afford an extra increase in their power bill.

Some of my colleagues had mentioned earlier the talk of a preferential rate, I guess, for low-income people. Well, this lady who I see quite regularly in my constituency office would fit the profile perfectly, and there are many, many Nova Scotians who are well below the poverty line, and a second or third increase in their power bill would be just impossible for them. I think what was mentioned, the idea of a special rate for low-income people, a preferential rate, would make a whole lot of sense.

So those are the types of people who most need the help. It certainly would be good if Nova Scotia Power could come up with a rate that would best address the low-income people. It was mentioned earlier that there is a precedence for this. In the State of Maine they have a low-income preferential rate, in Bangor, providing help to the lowest of the low-income people in that state. It certainly would be good if in this province the same was provided.

I notice in the bill, Mr. Speaker, there is talk about, I guess, an escape clause or a way out. It's asking that there be only one rate increase in any 12-month period, but there is an exception if there is substantial financial harm generated to Nova Scotia Power. Certainly, I wonder if that's in mind for the shareholders of the corporation, if there is substantial financial harm. Really, the people who are most harmed by this second rate increase in the calendar year, or even more, would be the poor of this province. I think providing them this escape clause is not necessarily in the best interests of Nova Scotians. So if there is some case made for substantial financial harm, I think we should also be thinking of the poorest of the poor in this province who need help the most.

[9:45 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, what are some of the alternatives to, perhaps - rather than a rate increase, is there something else that could be done by Nova Scotia Power to perhaps lower their need for further increases? Certainly, I believe there is. Instead of increases,

[Page 1183]

I think Nova Scotia Power certainly could look at conservation measures - could they trim their costs, could they become more effective, is there some trimming within their labour force or within their method of operation that would allow for more efficiency in their business, and then instead of asking for further money, perhaps they could trim a similar amount of money from more efficiency within their business.

One thing I think certainly that could be done, Mr. Speaker, is some type of incentive program that they could offer homeowners or offer businesses, you know, to look at conservation measures, methods that would use less power, and probably part in parcel with that would be some type of education program, but even energy efficient light bulbs is a very small example, or low pressure shower heads. These are little things that we need more education on to let people know that there are ways that we all can save power. I think there's some emphasis not only on Nova Scotia Power, but probably on government as well to help educate all of us on better ways that we can conserve energy in this province.

A further method that has been talked about already is replacing the coal sources that are burned by most of the generating stations of Nova Scotia Power. I know in the county that I come from, in Pictou, there are a couple generating plants there in Trenton - Trenton No. 6, which is the newer of the coal-generating stations, and then Trenton No. 5, which certainly has been causing a number of problems in the environment and health problems in Pictou County really over the last three or four decades, or in the number of years that it has been operating.

I think it's possible, Mr. Speaker, that Nova Scotia Power could look at alternative methods to produce their electricity. For example, instead of burning coal, is it possible to use natural gas? We have natural gas we're producing right off Sable Island, just off our coast. It comes ashore at Goldboro and then it comes right into Pictou County. It travels within a few miles of the Trenton generating station; why couldn't some way be found to tap into that energy source and burn a cleaner alternative fossil fuel such as natural gas and burn it in Trenton No. 5, in the Town of Trenton, for electricity that's generated for our area? Alternate sources of power have been talked about. Tidal power has got a whole lot of potential for Nova Scotia, solar power, wind power certainly is being generated more and more, but there's much more potential in Nova Scotia to produce practically all our energy from renewable resources, especially from the wind.

It was mentioned earlier that Nova Scotia Power is the fifth largest polluter in all of Canada and certainly the residents in the Trenton-Hillside area are very, very cognizant of that in that we have a lot of problems there that are created by that No. 5 generating station. I'm thinking particularly of all the particulate emissions that are coming out of the stack that have been falling on homes and on cars. It's very evident. Sometimes you can wipe it off with your fingers. It's easy to see. Not only - I guess it's fly ash, is really what the common name for it is, but it's causing many problems for

[Page 1184]

residents over many years, but it's the unseen things that are perhaps as much a problem as any that the Nova Scotia Power plant is producing things like sulphur dioxide, nitrous oxide, mercury and other air quality problems that are generating some major difficulties. This has been ongoing for a long time and certainly full credit to Peter Boyles and his Trenton-Hillside Environmental Watch group who has been bringing this to the attention of government - the Department of Environment and Labour, the Department of Health.

Mr. Speaker, it's really a concern about health issues and allegedly causing health problems around cancer, heart disease and so on. So there are a number of things that can be done to improve what Nova Scotia Power is doing to generate electricity in this province from renewable energy sources to replacing the coal burning that they're using at Lingan or at Trenton No. 5 or Dartmouth, or wherever it's produced. One thing that Nova Scotia Power has done over - they've just announced recently - was an improvement to Trenton Generator Station No. 5; I believe it's called a bag system. It's going to cost them an investment of $45 million by the company. It's a step in the right direction. It's going to take out a number of the pollutants before they are released into the air, especially the particulate matter. I think it is, like I said, a step in the right direction but it's slow in coming. It's going to be this year before they file with the URB to get the permission to do it and next year I believe there's some of the engineering work that will be done. In 2008, the construction will be undertaken and 2009 before it's actually completed.

So, it's a three year or four year project, and it's a long time for residents in the Trenton Hillside Area. They've been looking for a solution, they welcome this, but they were just wondering if it can be done much sooner. It does seem like a long time to install this particular system so they're looking forward to that. The other concern is over the source of coal that is being used by Nova Scotia Power; right now a lot of it is imported from offshore, it's coming from Columbia or Venezuela. There are concerns in some of those countries over human rights abuses and the way some of the labour practices are in the mines in those countries. I know Nova Scotia Power will say their coal is strictly from mines where those problems do not occur, but certainly there's questions raised around the human rights violations that are occurring in some of the mining areas, in Columbia in particular.

Mr. Speaker, those are a few of comments that I wanted to add here on this particular bill and I think it's good to limit the 12 month time period for Nova Scotia Power to be able to apply for rate increases. There's a whole lot more to Nova Scotia Power that needs to be discussed, so with those few comments, I will adjourn debate and another day we'll listen to what others have to say.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

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MR. PATRICK DUNN: Mr. Speaker, that concludes the government's business for the day. I move that the House do now rise to meet again on the morrow at the hour of 12:00 noon. The House will sit until 6:00 p.m. After the daily routine and Question Period, we will do Public Bills For Second Reading: Bill No. 5, Bill No. 9, Bill No. 15, Bill No. 67, and Bill No. 84. I move the House do now rise.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is to adjourn.

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 rose at 9:54 p.m.]

[Page 1186]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 660

By: Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay)

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

Whereas Devon Wadman of Glace Bay is a Grade 9 student at Morrison Junior High; and

Whereas Devon Wadman received the Female Athlete of the Year honours; and

Whereas Devon Wadman received this top honour for her contributions to cheerleading, track and field, baseball, badminton, as well as soccer;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Devon Wadman on receiving the Female Athlete of the Year honours and wish here every success for what appears to be a bright future in athletics.

RESOLUTION NO. 661

By: Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay)

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

Whereas the Glace Bay All-Stars Little League Baseball team competed and won the Glace Bay Little League Major "B" Baseball League championship for the 2006 season; and

Whereas Coaches Greg MacGillvary, Gary O'Brien and Todd Cann, as well as teammates Kelsey Gilmet, Kelly Yates, Matthew O'Brien, Travis Lynk, Liam Smith, Anthony MacGillvary, Brandon Gilmet, Aidan Phalen, along with Daniel Boutilier, Craig MacKinnon, Devon Cann, Nicholas Burrows and Adam MacKenzie had competed against the Glace Bay Orioles; and

Whereas the Glace Bay All-Stars defeated the Glace Bay Orioles 15-5 to win the Glace Bay Little League Major "B" Baseball League championship;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly congratulate them for both their hard work and winning this championship for the 2006 season.

[Page 1187]

RESOLUTION NO. 662

By: Mr. Stephen McNeil (Annapolis)

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

Whereas Valley Drug Mart pharmacist Sandra Penny recently received the prestigious Whitehall Robins Bowl of Hygeia in Ottawa for exemplary community service; and

Whereas Ms. Penny has been making an invaluable contribution to her community through numerous volunteer efforts such as the Rotary Club, the Annapolis Valley Chamber of Commerce, the North Kingston Multi-Addiction Centre, the Annapolis Valley Health Board, the Valley Big Bike Ride for Heart and Stroke and as an active member of the Melvern Square United Baptist Church as a Sunday school teacher, reader and home outreach worker. Ms. Penny also serves on the Board of Pharmasave Atlantic and is an active member of the Melvern Square Community Centre; and

Whereas pharmacist Sandra Penny has been truly dedicated to making a difference in the lives of people in her community and beyond;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly join me in thanking Sandra for her commitment to working on behalf of others in her community and congratulate her on being selected as this year's recipient of the Bowl Hygeia Award.

RESOLUTION NO. 663

By: Hon. Richard Hurlburt (Economic Development)

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

Whereas Robert Hartlin spent 12 years gaining the respect of Yarmouth residents by always asking what they wanted as he developed the town's waterfront; and

Whereas Mr. Hartlin, as executive director of the Yarmouth Waterfront Development Corporation, completely transformed the town's shoreline into an attractive collection of tree-lined sideways, board walks and interpretive panels; and

Whereas the Town of Yarmouth has honoured the late Robert Hartlin by dedicating the Yarmouth Waterfront Trail in his name and memory;

[Page 1188]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in recognizing Robert Hartlin's achievements in making Yarmouth a better place to live.

RESOLUTION NO. 664

By: Hon. Mark Parent (Environment and Labour)

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

Whereas in 2004 the New York Times was quoted as saying, "At 12, Lucas Porter, a piano prodigy, has the distinction of being one of the few musicians to play the challenging third movement of the Beethoven, Moonlight Sonata through Musicpath"; and

Whereas Lucas continues to show his immense talent and strong character, winning a national title for his age category at the Canadian Music competition in Rimouski, Quebec this year, along with two major prizes at the 56th Annual Federation of Canadian Music Festivals Conference in Thunder Bay, Ontario; and

Whereas the Porter family is blessed with musical talent as Sydney, younger sister of Lucas, is a violin player with the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra and their 10- year- old sister, Morgan, has her cello to master;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature recognize the supreme music talent of the Port Williams, Kings County Porter family and wish them nothing but continued success and good fortune.

RESOLUTION NO. 665

By: Mr. Leo Glavine (Kings West)

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

Whereas the 14 Wing ZX Cycle N Run Club competed in the annual Rum Runners Relay Race from Halifax to Lunenburg on September 30th; and

Whereas Roxanne Auclair, Roy Banks, Yvone Clarke, Gilles Couture, Keith Fugger, Stephanie Hurley, Tim Keith, Susan MacDonald, Marie-Lou Perron and Christine MacAulay took part in the 109.4 kilometre race; and

Whereas 14 Wing ZX Cycle N Run Club placed 10th out of 60 teams competing from all over the Maritimes and New England;

[Page 1189]

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate the 14 Wing ZX Cycle N Run Club on their success at the Rum Runners Relay Race and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 666

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Raelene Wilson of River Philip was chosen as a member of the Nova Scotia Under-16 Bantam baseball team competing in the Canadian Nationals; and

Whereas Raelene is 12 years old and is the youngest member of the team which competed in Grande Prairie, Alberta; and

Whereas Raelene has played baseball since the age of four and has already been honoured by winning the Baseball Nova Scotia Minor Division Female Player of the Year Award in 2005, and was top pitcher and most valuable player in Oxford.

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Raelene Wilson on this outstanding achievement and wish her continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 667

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Jessica Wheaton of Parrsboro took home both the crown and the Miss Congeniality title from this year's Parrsboro Old Home Week Pageant; and

Whereas Jessica, who is a recent graduate of Parrsboro Regional High School, and the daughter of Charles and Phyllis Wheaton of New Canaan, was one of the seven young women vying for this year's crown; and

Whereas the judges and the other contestants were unanimous in their selection for Jessica's crown for both Queen and Miss Congeniality.

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Jessica Wheaton on being crowned this years Queen of the Parrsboro Old Home Week Pageant

[Page 1190]

and for being named Miss Congeniality, and wish her all the best in her future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 668

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Dave Teed of Kolbec participated in the 2006 Special Olympics Canada National Summer Games and came home with a gold and a bronze medal; and

Whereas David is a track and field athlete, one of seventy members of Team Nova Scotia to compete in Brandon, Manitoba, in July, 2006; and

Whereas Dave competed with a broken tail bone received just days before leaving, showing his determination and loyalty to his team who earned 56 medals, including 15 gold, 22 silver and 19 bronze.

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Dave Teed on his outstanding achievements and wish him continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 669

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Darlene Strong, a resident of Port Greville, was among 14 Nova Scotian artists nominated for the Portia White Prize, named after Nova Scotia classical singer Portia White who rose through adversity to achieve international acclaim on the stages of Europe and North America; and

Whereas Darlene is an artist, educator and advocate who promotes and preserves Black artistic expression throughout Cumberland County; and

Whereas Strong's name was submitted by the many supporters of the province's arts and cultural community.

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Darlene Strong on being nominated for this prestigious award and wish her continued success in the future.

[Page 1191]

RESOLUTION NO. 670

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Stanley Spicer, a resident of Port Greville, was among 14 Nova Scotian artists nominated for the Portia White Prize, named after Nova Scotia classical singer Portia White who rose through adversity to achieve international acclaim on the stages of Europe and North America; and

Whereas Stanley Spicer, an author and historian, has contributed to the history of the Age of Sail, with much of this work on display at the museum in Port Greville; and

Whereas Stanley's name was submitted by the many supporters of the province's arts and cultural community.

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Stanley Spicer on being nominated for this prestigious award and wish him continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 671

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Bev Sharpe was presented a certificate of appreciation for volunteering and helping to make the annual Thanksgiving dinner for the elementary students of Springhill a success for 15 years; and

Whereas this dinner means a lot to the students of Junction Road and West End Elementary Schools, where they are served a sit down turkey dinner; and

Whereas Bev Sharpe, along with all the other volunteers, help make this day a very special day for the children, who will always remember the experience of sitting down with their fellow classmates to enjoy such a special meal.

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Bev Sharpe on her dedicated service to the annual Thanksgiving dinner for these elementary students, and wish her all the best in the future.

[Page 1192]

RESOLUTION NO. 672

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas the Salvation Army Church was presented a certificate of appreciation for volunteering and helping to make the annual Thanksgiving dinner for the elementary students of Springhill a success for 15 years; and

Whereas this dinner means a lot to the students of Junction Road and West End Elementary Schools where they are served a sit down turkey dinner; and

Whereas the Salvation Army along with all the other volunteers help make this day a very special day for the children who will always remember the experience of sitting down with their fellow classmates to enjoy such a special meal;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Salvation Army on their dedicated service to the annual Thanksgiving dinner for these elementary students and wish them all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 673

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas staff and students at River Hebert Elementary School continued their tradition of exceeding expectations in September when their efforts garnered more than $2500 for the Terry Fox Foundation in support of cancer research; and

Whereas each of the students solicited friends and family for donations in support of the annual Terry Fox Walk that was held on Friday, September 29; and

Whereas the entire student population walked from the school throughout the community supporting the foundation named in memory of the late Terry Fox and his Marathon of Hope;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the staff and students on this outstanding achievement to raise money for such a worthwhile cause and wish them all the best in all future endeavours.

[Page 1193]

RESOLUTION NO. 674

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Mary Parsons was presented a certificate of appreciation for volunteering and helping to make the annual Thanksgiving dinner for the elementary students of Springhill a success for 15 years; and

Whereas this dinner means a lot to the students of Junction Road and West End Elementary Schools where they are served a sit down turkey dinner; and

Whereas Mary Parsons, along with all the other volunteers help make this day a very special day for the children who will always remember the experience of sitting down with their fellow classmates to enjoy such a special meal;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Mary Parsons on her dedicated service to the annual Thanksgiving dinner for these elementary students and wish her all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 675

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas students at the Nova Scotia Community College, Cumberland Campus, sent a touching condolence message to fellow students after the attack of a gunman at the Dawson College in Montreal; and

Whereas NSCC students from Cumberland Campus sent a package which included both a Canadian and Nova Scotia flag surrounded by messages from students attending NSCC; and

Whereas this gave the students, staff and faculty the opportunity to express their feelings about the Dawson incident through cards, letters and personal messages;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the students of the Nova Scotia Community College, Cumberland Campus, on this act of heartfelt and sincere sympathy and extend our pride that they represented our community and this province so well.

[Page 1194]

RESOLUTION NO. 676

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Ida McCormick, a longtime resident of Rodney, has recently unveiled a book of 32 original poems that reflect her love for nature and the little events in life that often go unnoticed; and

Whereas the poems are a way for her to have fun with some of the little events that she sees or with stories that people tell her and she hopes that they will inspire people and help carry them through their days; and

Whereas Ida began writing when she was in Grade 11 and she still writes the Rodney Social News for the Springhill Record, which she has done since the 1940s;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Ida McCormick on her book of poems and wish her continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 677

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Amanda Mattinson of Oxford was crowned Miss Congeniality and Miss Self-Expression 2006 at the Cumberland County Exhibition in September; and

Whereas Amanda who is attending St. Thomas University this year is a very talented singer; and

Whereas Amanda was one of 13 contestants participating in the 2006 Miss Cumberland Pageant at the Cumberland County Exhibition;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Amanda Mattinson on being crowned Miss Congeniality and Miss Self-Expression at the 2006 Cumberland County Exhibition and wish her continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 678

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

[Page 1195]

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

Whereas Ryan Matthews, the ex-squadron Warrant Officer of the 254 Handley Page Air Cadets was responsible for saving the life of a young person in Atlantic Canada; and

Whereas Ryan spent this past summer at CFB Greenwood where he was on staff as an instructor supervisor; and

Whereas during one of his shifts a young cadet was struck down by a serious asthma attack and stopped breathing and Matthew's training in first aid, CPR and other medical forms kicked in allowing Ryan to perform artificial respiration on this young man and get him to breathe again until help arrived;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Ryan Matthews on his outstanding performance in the face of what very well could have been a tragedy and wish him all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 679

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Cindy Lake of Parrsboro has been canvassing for the CIBC Run for the Cure for 10 straight years, personally collecting over $58,000 for this very worthwhile cause; and

Whereas Cindy is stepping down this year, feeling that she has built a team of incredible and faithful volunteer supporters who have come through for the cause year after year; and

Whereas while Cindy has decided to make this year her last for canvassing, she will continue to attend the runs as a participant for years to come;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Cindy Lake on her 10 years of volunteering for this very worthwhile cause, and we wish her all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 680

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

[Page 1196]

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

Whereas Milton King of Oxford was crowned Cumberland County's 4-H Prince at this year's Cumberland County Exhibition in September; and

Whereas Milton was chosen by his club and went through the process of being interviewed at the Experimental Farm in Nappan by Judges Ralph and Lynn Welton; and

Whereas Milton is looking forward to what lies ahead of him in the coming year and will represent his club proudly until he crowns next year's prince at the 2007 prince and princess competition;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Milton King on being crowned prince at the Cumberland County 4-H Exhibition, and we wish him all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 681

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Mike Kaye of Springhill recently kicked off his 35th year of volunteering his services to the Town of Springhill Fire Department; and

Whereas Mike has been contributing his time and energy to the fire department since October of 1972, when he was still a teenager; and

Whereas with Mike's devotion to selling 50/50 tickets he has raised hundreds of dollars for the fire department and is recognized as an honorary fireman;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Mike Kaye on 35 years of volunteering his time and efforts to raise money for the fire department, and we wish him all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 682

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

[Page 1197]

Whereas Cathy Fisher was presented a certificate of appreciation for volunteering and helping to make the annual Thanksgiving dinner for the elementary students of Springhill a success for 15 years; and

Whereas this dinner means a lot to the students of Junction Road and West End Elementary Schools, where they are served a sit-down turkey dinner; and

Whereas Cathy Fisher, along with all the other volunteers, helps make this day a very special day for the children who will always remember the experience of sitting down with their fellow classmates to enjoy such a special meal;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Cathy Fisher on her dedicated service to the annual Thanksgiving dinner for these elementary students, and we wish her all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 683

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Petty Officer 2nd Class Carla May Penney, M.S.M., C.D. Edmonton, Alberta, a former resident of Springhill, was honoured by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada; and

Whereas Carla May Penney was awarded Mentions in Dispatches (Military Division), awarded to those individuals whose specific achievements have brought honour to the Canadian Forces and to Canada; and

Whereas the Mention in Dispatches was created to recognize members of the Canadian Forces on active service, and other individuals working with or in conjunction with the Canadian Forces for valiant conduct, devotion to duty, or other distinguished service;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Petty Officer 2nd Class Carla May Penney on the honour of receiving this award, and we thank her for the sacrifices she is making for this province and our country;

RESOLUTION NO. 684

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

[Page 1198]

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

Whereas Katie Spicer, a native of Spencers Island, has been selected to the Atlantic University Sport's second women's all-star team; and

Whereas Katie is one of five members of the Cape Breton University Capers on the all-star squad, and she's the first graduate of the Advocate District High School Coyotes to be an all-star at any level of university or college sports; and

Whereas the Capers finished first over all in the regular season, and are hosting the AUS Championship in Sydney;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Katie Spicer on her outstanding athletic abilities, and we wish her continued success in the future.