Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

HANSARD 07-46

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/

First Session

MONDAY, APRIL 2, 2007

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 2336, Sampson, Gordie/Canyon, George: Juno Awards -
Applaud, The Premier 4048
Vote - Affirmative 4048
Res. 2337, Com. Serv. - Case Mgt. Staff: Work - Commend,
Hon. J. Streatch 4048
Vote - Affirmative 4049
Res. 2338, Campbell, Bill: Destination Hfx. Award - Congrats.,
Hon. L. Goucher 4049
Vote - Affirmative 4050
Res. 2339, Minas Basin Pulp & Power: Wise Resource Use -
Commitment, Hon. M. Parent 4050
Vote - Affirmative 4051
Res. 2340, Special Care Emergency Preparedness Assoc. -
Training Session: Organizer/Host - Congrats.,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 4051
Vote - Affirmative 4051
Res. 2341, Gov't. (N.S.)/Ecology Action Ctr. - Climate Change
Educ.: Efforts - Support, Hon. W. Dooks 4052
Vote - Affirmative 4052
Vote - Affirmative
Res. 2342, Com. Serv. - Ind. Living Support Prog.: Participants -
Congrats., Hon. J. Streatch 4052
Vote - Affirmative 4053
Res. 2343, Environ. & Lbr. - Strait Reg. Sch. Bd.: Green Times -
Commend, Hon. M. Parent 4053
Vote - Affirmative 4054
Res. 2344, TCH - Museum Progs.: Excellence - Recognize,
Hon. L. Goucher 4054
Vote - Affirmative 4055
Res. 2345, Allen, Cam: Retirement - Congrats.,
Hon. A. MacIsaac 4055
Vote - Affirmative 4055
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 172, Assessment Act, Mr. S. McNeil 4056
No. 173, Motor Vehicle Act, Mr. W. Gaudet, 4056
No. 174, Motor Vehicle Act, Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 4056
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 2346, Pictou Landing First Nation: Woodlot Certification -
Congrats., Mr. C. Parker 4056
Vote - Affirmative 4057
Res. 2347, Educ. - Middleton Reg. HS: Commitment - Keep,
Mr. S. McNeil 4057
Res. 2348, Ferguson, Kyle: Hockey Achievements - Congrats.,
Mr. P. Dunn 4058
Vote - Affirmative 4058
Res. 2349, Gov't. (N.S.) - Sch. Const./Improvement:
Commitment - Keep, Mr. D. Dexter 4058
Res. 2350, Glace Bay Kinsmen Club: Dedication - Congrats.,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 4059
Vote - Affirmative 4060
Res. 2351, North of Smokey Wrestling Club: Atl. Wrestling
Championship - Congrats., Mr. K. Bain 4060
Vote - Affirmative 4061
Res. 2352, Ross, Joyce - President's Award for Entrepreneurship
(Acadia) - Congrats., Mr. D. Dexter 4061
Vote - Affirmative 4061
Vote - Affirmative
Res. 2353, Batherson, Hughie/Robichaud, Francis: Clare Special
Olympics - Fundraising, Mr. W. Gaudet 4061
Vote - Affirmative 4062
Res. 2354, McGillivray, Orville: Retirement - Congrats.,
Hon. J. Streatch 4062
Vote - Affirmative 4063
Res. 2355, Aucoin, Francis: Federal Bar Award (30yr.) -
Congrats., Mr. G. Gosse 4063
Vote - Affirmative 4064
Res. 2356, Emergency Health Services Commun. Paramedic Prog.:
Participants - Congrats., Mr. H. Theriault 4064
Vote - Affirmative 4064
Res. 2357, Sangster, Christopher - Can. Winter Games:
Participation - Congrats., Hon. L. Goucher 4064
Vote - Affirmative 4065
Res. 2358, White Point Beach Resort: Mobius Environmental
Award - Congrats., Ms. V. Conrad 4065
Vote - Affirmative 4066
Res. 2359, Gov't. (Can.): Nat'l. Daycare Plan - Demand,
Mr. L. Glavine 4066
Res. 2360, Creamery Sq. Assoc.: Heritage Award - Congrats.,
Hon. K. Casey 4067
Vote - Affirmative 4067
Res. 2361, George F. MacDonald & Sons Ltd. - Anniv. (40th),
Mr. C. MacKinnon 4067
Vote - Affirmative 4068
Res. 2362, Berry, Glyn R. - Peace Process: Contribution -
Recognize, Mr. M. Samson 4068
Vote - Affirmative 4069
Res. 2363, Gillis Rink: NSSAF Curling Championship - Congrats.,
Mr. K. Bain 4069
Vote - Affirmative 4070
Res. 2364, Olivier, Joan: Vol. Serv. - Congrats., Mr. S. Belliveau 4070
Vote - Affirmative 4070
Res. 2365, Victorian Order of Nurses: Contribution - Recognize,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 4071
Vote - Affirmative 4071
Vote - Affirmative
Res. 2366, Hebbville Acad. Jr. HS Girls A Basketball Team:
Dist. Championship - Congrats., Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 4071
Vote - Affirmative 4072
Res. 2367, Clare Mutual Insurance Co. - Clare Skateboard Pk.:
Donation - Congrats., Mr. W. Gaudet 4072
Vote - Affirmative 4073
Res. 2368, Zwicker, Dep. Chief Donald - Commun./Firefighters:
Dedication - Commend, Hon. D. Morse 4073
Vote - Affirmative 4073
Res. 2369, Digby-Annapolis Hwy. No. 101 - Gov't. (Can.):
Loan - Lobby, Mr. H. Theriault 4074
Res. 2370, Black Bull Resources - CEO (Fmr.)/Pres. &CEO:
Work - Recognize, Hon. C. d'Entremont 4074
Vote - Affirmative 4075
Res. 2371, Lake Charlotte PO: Efforts - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 4075
Vote - Affirmative 4076
Res. 2372, Tertsakian, Eddie/Teammates: Boxing Accomplishments -
Congrats., Mr. L. Glavine 4076
Vote - Affirmative 4076
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
ON MOTION FOR SUPPLY:
Mr. G. Gosse 4077
Mr. L. Glavine 4082
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON SUPPLY AT 3:17 p.m. 4085
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 7:19 p.m. 4085
[GOVERNMENT BUSINESS]
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
Bill No. 158 - Financial Measures (2007) Act 4086
Hon. J. Muir 4086
Mr. D. Dexter 4087
Ms. D. Whalen 4092
Mr. G. Steele 4101
Adjourned debate 4109
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Tue., Apr. 3rd, at 12:00 Noon 4109
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 2373, Wedderburn, Hobartson Augustus James: Death of -
Tribute, Ms. D. Whalen 4110
Res. 2374, N. Queens Rural HS - Scarecrow Daze Comp.: Winners -
Congrats., Ms. V. Conrad 4110
Res. 2375, Mouzar Rink: Curling Accomplishments - Congrats.,
Ms. V. Conrad 4111
Res. 2376, Corkum, Doug & Suzanne/Sainte Famille Staff: Talent -
Applaud, Mr. C. Porter 4111
Res. 2377, Smiley, Eric/Harvey, Eric - Hants Co-operative:
Hist. Records - Retention, Mr. C. Porter 4112
Res. 2378, Head of Jeddore PO: Efforts - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 4112
Res. 2379, Musquodoboit Hbr. PO: Efforts - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 4113
Res. 2380, Oyster Pond PO: Efforts - Applaud, Hon. W. Dooks 4113
Res. 2381, Porters Lake PO: Efforts - Applaud, Hon. W. Dooks 4114
Res. 2382, Gooding, Melissa - Idol Comp.: Finalist - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Scott 4114
Res. 2383, Parrsboro Predators Atom Hockey Team: Accomplishments -
Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 4115
Res. 2384, McClelland, Christie: Leaders Today Prog./Volunteerism -
Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 4115
Res. 2385, Skidmore, Jim/Atkinson, Charlie - Central PowerSport:
Customer Serv. Award - Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 4116
Res. 2386, Whalen, Shaun: Photography Accomplishments -
Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 4117
Res. 2387, Oxford Mini Girls Basketball Team: League Championships -
Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 4117
Res. 2388, Brushett, Beatrice: Lion of the Yr. (St. Margarets Bay Club) -
Congrats., Hon. J. Streatch 4118
Res. 2389, Chisholm, Angela: Crystal Sustainable Tourism Award -
Congrats., Hon. J. Streatch 4118
Res. 2390, Dexter, Paul - Can. Games: Participation - Congrats.,
Hon. J. Streatch 4119
Res. 2391, Dooley, Wendy - Tantallon PO: Vol. Serv. - Congrats.,
Hon. J. Streatch 4119
Hon. J. Streatch
Res. 2392, Feindel, Mark: Nat'l. Uniform Evaluation - Congrats.,
Hon. J. Streatch 4120
Res. 2393, Fraser, Jocelyn: Nat'l. Uniform Evaluation - Congrats.,
Hon. J. Streatch 4120
Res. 2394, Higbee, Glenn: RBC/Horticulture N.S. Innovation of Yr.
Award - Congrats., Hon. J. Streatch 4121
Res. 2395, MacLean, Aaron - Can. Games: Participation - Congrats.,
Hon. J. Streatch 4121
Res. 2396, Marczak, Jordan - Can. Games: Participation - Congrats.,
Hon. J. Streatch 4122
Res. 2397, Martin, Jessica - Can. Games: Participation - Congrats.,
Hon. J. Streatch 4122
Res. 2398, O'Brien, Daniel: Order of Can. - Congrats.,
Hon. J. Streatch 4123
Res. 2399, Ostrom, Walter: Order of Can. - Congrats., Hon. J. Streatch 4123
Res. 2400, Salton, Elizabeth - Tantallon PO: Vol. Serv. -
Congrats., Hon. J. Streatch 4124
Res. 2401, Strecko, Stefan - Can. Games: Participation - Congrats.,
Hon. J. Streatch 4124

[Page 4047]

HALIFAX, MONDAY, APRIL 2, 2007

Sixtieth General Assembly

First Session

2:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Cecil Clarke

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Mr. Wayne Gaudet

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

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

4047

[Page 4048]

RESOLUTION NO. 2336

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 our homegrown musical talent has once again made us proud on the national stage; and

Whereas two of the top Juno Awards this year, Songwriter of the Year and Country Recording of the Year, went to Nova Scotia natives Gordie Sampson and George Canyon; and

Whereas these two individuals have been sweeping this year's music industry award ceremonies simply because of their tremendous abilities, but never forget their local audiences and fans;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud these two Nova Scotian recipients of a Juno at the 2007 Awards Ceremony, and salute all those talented Nova Scotians who were nominated for numerous awards this year.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

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. 2337

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

Whereas the needs of the Department of Community Services clients are the first and foremost priority of the department; and

[Page 4049]

Whereas front-line case management staff are integral and highly valued members of the departmental team that strive to meet that goal every day; and

Whereas in February the department successfully launched a leading edge case management system for two program areas which will improve our service delivery to clients and ensure the appropriate checks and balances are in place to deal with thousands of monthly transactions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend the hard work case management staff do every day to help Nova Scotians achieve their full potential, and congratulate Department of Community Services staff for launching a complex initiative and continuing to adapt for the betterment of our clients.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

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 Tourism, Culture and Heritage.

RESOLUTION NO. 2338

HON. LEN GOUCHER: Mr. Speaker, I hereby given notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas each year Destination Halifax presents Ambassador Awards to individuals who go above and beyond to secure Halifax as the location for meetings, conferences and events; and

Whereas one of these awards, the Paragon Award, is presented to an individual who has shown outstanding initiative, creativity, commitment and ingenuity in attracting and executing a successful meeting or conference and whose event stands out as having made a very significant economic and/or social impact on the community; and

[Page 4050]

Whereas the 2006 Paragon Award recipient is Bill Campbell who brought forward the Global Microcredit Summit to Halifax with 2,200 delegates from 100 countries working together to eliminate poverty in developing nations;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Mr. Campbell on this award and recognize his dedication to helping those in need.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

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. 2339

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

Whereas Minas Basin Pulp and Power is the largest recycler in Atlantic Canada, diverting 85,000 tons of cardboard, including 40,000 tons from Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the company has conscientiously pursued responsible use of resources to the point of producing 30 to 40 per cent of their own electrical power; and

Whereas their thoughtful use of resources also contributes significantly to the economy of West Hants and Hantsport through sales, revenues and the employment of 160 people;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join the people of Nova Scotia in commending Minas Basin Pulp and Power on their commitment to the wise use of resources.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 4051]

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 Emergency Management.

RESOLUTION NO. 2340

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

Whereas many leading organizations understand the value of emergency management training; and

Whereas the Special Care Emergency Preparedness Association in the western region recently hosted a training session in Lunenburg for its members; and

Whereas the Emergency Management Office was invited to lead a half-day session on risk and crisis communications;

Therefore be resolved that all members of the House congratulate organizer Pam Smith of the association's western region, and thank Harbour View Haven in Lunenburg for hosting the training session.

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 favor of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Energy.

[Page 4052]

RESOLUTION NO. 2341

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 Province of Nova Scotia has invested $10,000 in a climate change educational program; and

Whereas this program will allow the Ecology Action Centre to show screenings of movies about climate change and energy-related issues to government departments, schools, libraries and other community groups throughout Nova Scotia; and

Whereas this project has already reached more than four thousand Nova Scotians province-wide;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House support the efforts of the Government of Nova Scotia and the Ecology Action Centre to provide increased educational opportunities for Nova Scotians regarding climate change and other energy issues.

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 favor of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 2342

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

Whereas the Independent Living Support Program helps individuals with disabilities maintain their independence, while ensuring they have enough support to meet their daily needs; and

[Page 4053]

Whereas after a successful initiation in Cape Breton where the program provides up to 21 hours of weekly support including help maintaining health and wellness, household chores, and accessing services in the community; and

Whereas the program was expanded at the end of March to the northern region of the province which includes Guysborough, Antigonish, Pictou, Colchester and Cumberland Counties, and will expand to the rest of the province at the end of the year;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate all participants in this program who have made it a success through their own independence, and encourage other individuals with disabilities to utilize these services as they are expanded across the province for the benefit of all Nova Scotians.

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. 2343

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 Strait Regional School Board plans to establish Green Teams at every school under its jurisdiction; and

Whereas these Green Teams, comprised of students, teachers and custodians, will monitor and promote recycling programs in the schools; and

Whereas the Green Teams' work will minimize waste, reduce disposal costs, and educate the school community on the importance of progressive waste management practices;

[Page 4054]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join the people of Nova Scotia in commending students, teachers and staff within the Strait Regional School Board for helping to keep Nova Scotia clean and green.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[2:15 p.m.]

The honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage.

RESOLUTION NO. 2344

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

Whereas sites of the Nova Scotia Museum across the province make March Break both fun and educational for young Nova Scotians; and

Whereas reptiles at the Museum of Natural History, pirates at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, 19th Century Farm Fun at Ross Farm, KidsQuake! at the Museum of Industry, and a sleepover with the dinosaurs at the Fundy Geological Museum, were just some of the activities available around the province; and

Whereas an estimated 25,500 people took in these museum activities during March Break;

Therefore be it resolve that all members of this House recognize Nova Scotia's excellent museum programs and the good work of museum staff and volunteers in helping to educate our young people in the most entertaining fashion.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 4055]

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. 2345

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

Whereas Cam Allen, of Nova Scotia Transportation and Public Works, has been a reliable advisor and telephone voice on the government's road condition reporting line; and

Whereas Mr. Allen has made our roads safer with his reliable road reports on the phone and on the radio, in all kinds of weather; and

Whereas Mr. Allen retired from government on Saturday, March 31, 2007, after more than 25 years of service;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Cam Allen on his well-earned retirement, and applaud the role he has played in providing Nova Scotia road users with invaluable safety information.

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 mined, Nay.

The motion is carried.

[Page 4056]

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 172 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 23 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Assessment Act, to Exempt Food Banks from Property Tax. (Mr. Stephen McNeil)

Bill No. 173 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 293 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Motor Vehicle Act, Respecting Crosswalks. (Mr. Wayne Gaudet)

Bill No. 174 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 293 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Motor Vehicle Act, Respecting Cellular Telephones. (Mr. David Wilson, Glace Bay)

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

I would just remind honourable members that they are not tabling, but introducing, bills before the House.

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 2346

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

Whereas the Pictou Landing First Nation manages a 1,000-acre woodlot, representative of Acadian forests, with some trees more than 250 years old; and

Whereas in 2000 this woodlot became the first Forest Stewardship Council certified woodlot in Nova Scotia, and the fifth in Canada; and

Whereas the First Nation community looks upon their woodlot as a social resource, including things like recreation and education, as well as carefully managed harvesting;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the First Nation in Pictou Landing for obtaining the Forest Stewardship Council certification on their woodlot, and encourage the Pictou Landing First Nation to continue with these sound forestry practices.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 4057]

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. 2347

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 parents, staff, and students of Middleton Regional High School are gravely concerned that the promise made by this government to start renovations on a new gymnasium and music room is delayed; and

Whereas the students of Middleton Regional High School are just as deserving of an equitable and safe graduation as all other students are in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the current music room is condemned and the gymnasium is too small to accommodate the needs of students, including capacity issues to meet curriculum outcomes;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly urge the Government of Nova Scotia to keep its word to the students of Middleton Regional High School and begin renovations on the gymnasium and music room as originally promised.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou Centre.

[Page 4058]

RESOLUTION NO. 2348

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

Whereas 18-year-old Trenton native Kyle Ferguson has spent two very successful years at U.S. prep school, Hoosac, in upstate New York; and

Whereas the young Nova Scotian student athlete has been playing hockey for the school and has a bright future in the sport, attracting interest from a junior A team based in Massachusetts, U.S.A. - the Walpole Express; and

Whereas perhaps more importantly, Kyle has learned the importance of an education and has expanded his Nova Scotian upbringing while living outside of the New York State capital, Albany;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House send their congratulations and best wishes to Kyle Ferguson on his recent achievements south of the border and on articulating his experience so well to the local community, proving to be an excellent example of a successful young Nova Scotian.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 2349

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

Whereas in January 2006 when the current Chair of Treasury and Policy Board announced school construction projects, the renovation of Middleton High School was highlighted as a new project; and

[Page 4059]

Whereas the same list of Progressive Conservative construction promises stated that the new Glace Bay junior high would open in 2009, the same time as the new Northside elementary; and

Whereas Middleton High is now among the schools that have discovered to their surprise that construction is cancelled or suspended;

Therefore be it resolved that just as Nova Scotians have a right to expect the Prime Minister to keep his word to our province, people also have a right to expect provincial Progressive Conservatives to keep their word on important projects like school construction and improvement.

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 Glace Bay.

RESOLUTION NO. 2350

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 Terry MacKenzie, president of the Glace Bay Kinsmen Club, presented a cheque in the amount of $1,000 to the Aid for the Exceptional Child organization; and

Whereas the Glace Bay Kinsmen Club raised money throughout the year holding fundraisers and renting out their hall for community events and using the funds for donations to various charitable organizations; and

Whereas the Glace Bay Kinsmen Club is a very well-established charitable organization as well as being well known for its many good deeds through the dedication and hard work of its members;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Glace Bay Kinsmen Club for their dedication to both their club and the people and charities of Glace Bay.

[Page 4060]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 2351

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

Whereas the North of Smokey Wrestling Club recently won two gold, one silver and three bronze medals at the Atlantic Wrestling Championship held in Dartmouth; and

Whereas gold was won by Joseph Buchanan in the 69- kilo juvenile class and by Niki Mackinnon in the 80-kilo cadet category; and

Whereas the silver was brought home to Victoria County by Jacob Wilkie in the 76-kilo bantam class, with bronze medals being won by wrestlers Douglas Hennick, Elyse Quann, and Dougie MacEachern;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the competitive spirit of the North of Smokey Wrestling Club at the recent Atlantic Championships, and wish them continued success.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 4061]

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 2352

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

Whereas an award presented by Acadia University annually since 2004 at its Acadia Challenge Awards night is the President's Award for Entrepreneurship; and

Whereas the President's Award recognizes the contributions of an entrepreneurial individual who is creative, innovative and embraces change while making an important contribution to society; and

Whereas the recipient of the 2007 President's Award for Entrepreneurship is Joyce Ross, the former director of the East Preston Daycare Centre, a life-long resident of East Preston, and a well-known community leader and businessperson;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Joyce Ross on being awarded the 2007 President's Award for Entrepreneurship and wish her well as she continues to contribute to the development of her community.

Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Clare.

RESOLUTION NO. 2353

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

[Page 4062]

Whereas co-organizers, Hughie Batherson, Dean of Student Affairs at Université de Ste Anne, and Francis Robichaud, Team President of Clare Lions Junior C hockey team, organized a charity hockey game for the Clare Special Olympics on Saturday, February 3, 2007; and

Whereas the charity hockey game was organized between a team made up of former professional players and the Clare Lions Junior C hockey team; and

Whereas they raised $5,400 in support of the Clare Special Olympics;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate and thank the co-organizers of this fundraising event, Hughie Batherson and Francis Robichaud, for reaching out to such a worthy cause.

Mr. Speaker, I would 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. 2354

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

Whereas Orville McGillivray is a resident of Tantallon; and

Whereas he has been an extremely dedicated employee of the Capital District Health Authority; and

Whereas on December 11, 2006, he retired after 32 years of service;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Orville McGillivray on his retirement and wish him much success in the years to come.

[Page 4063]

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 Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 2355

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

Whereas a firefighter's duty is to serve humanity, to safeguard and preserve life and property against the elements of fire and disaster and maintain a proficiency in the art and science of fire engineering; and

Whereas a firefighter's duties are far from ordinary, ranging from fighting fires, performing rescues and teaching fire prevention; and

Whereas Frances Aucoin of the Whitney Pier Fire Station, a member of this select fraternity, received the 30-year Federal Bar;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly congratulate Frances Aucoin on receiving the 30-year Federal Bar Award and on his dedication and commitment to his 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.

[Page 4064]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 2356

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

Whereas the Emergency Health Services' Community Paramedic Program has been working alongside nurse practitioners and other health workers to care for approximately 1,000 residents of Brier and Long Islands; and

Whereas the program began as a pilot project in 1999, now approximately 30 paramedics offer a variety of services to residents such as blood collection, wound care and medication assessments; and

Whereas these paramedics have enabled patients to stay at home with their families and still receive the necessary treatment they require through regular visits and checkups;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly recognize the 30 paramedics involved in the Emergency Health Services' Community Paramedic Program and wish the program continued success in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage.

RESOLUTION NO. 2357

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

[Page 4065]

Whereas Christopher Sangster of Bedford represented Nova Scotia at the 2007 Canada Winter Games; and

Whereas Christopher demonstrated excellence in his chosen sport of fencing; and

Whereas Christopher's skills and dedication to his sport have been recognized by his peers and his efforts applauded by the community of Bedford;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend their congratulations to Christopher.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 2358

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

Whereas it is very important to recognize the achievements of innovative Nova Scotians who have helped make our province a leader in waste reduction, recycling and composting; and

Whereas the 9th Annual Mobius Environmental Awards are named after the mobius loop, the international symbol for recycling - the awards recognize the achievements of innovative Nova Scotians who have helped make our province the leader in waste reduction, recycling and composting; and

Whereas the criteria for the Large Business of the Year Award is leadership in waste resource management, innovation in diverting materials from the waste stream, green procurement policies, significant diversion of waste and using recycled content in the products;

[Page 4066]

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly recognize White Point Beach Resort, Queens County, winner of the Large Business of the Year Award for the 2007 Nova Scotia Mobius Environmental Awards from Region 6.

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. 2359

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

Whereas under the former federal Liberal Government, Nova Scotia had entered into a joint provincial-federal comprehensive child care plan; and

Whereas Stephen Harper in his infinite misguided view of the world believes that $100 a month is the cost of child care in this country; and

Whereas this Tory Government has accepted Stephen Harper's misguided view of the world as accurate and reasonable;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly call on the government to stand up for the children and families of Nova Scotia and demand a national daycare plan.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

[Page 4067]

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 2360

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

Whereas the Creamery Square Association was created to preserve heritage and create a multi-purpose attraction on the North Shore of Colchester County; and

Whereas hard-working volunteers have spent countless hours in planning and labour; and

Whereas the Creamery Square in Tatamagouche is an excellent example of all three levels of government working with the community to support a project that contributes to the historical, cultural and economic development along the shore;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House extend their congratulations to the Creamery Square Association for receiving a 2007 Heritage Award.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2361

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

Whereas George F. MacDonald & Sons Ltd. of Rocky Mountain, Pictou County, is a family trucking, excavating, bulldozing, snow removal, and road building business; and

[Page 4068]

Whereas George F. MacDonald & Sons Ltd. was founded by George, senior, and services the northeastern Nova Scotia business community; and

Whereas seven sons and one daughter are involved in the business, which will be celebrating its 40th year of operation this year;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate George F. MacDonald and his family on 40 years of operation, and wish them continued success and prosperity 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 Leader of the Liberal Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 2362

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

Whereas on January 15, 2006, senior Canadian diplomat Glyn Berry was killed in a terrorist attack in Kandahar, Afghanistan, a man known for his dedication for peacemaking and peace building; and

Whereas to honour the memory of Mr. Berry, Dalhousie University has established a Glyn R. Berry Memorial Scholarship in International Policy Studies in partnership with Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada; and

Whereas this scholarship will be awarded annually to a PhD. candidate from the Department of Political Science, specializing in Canadian foreign policy or international affairs;

[Page 4069]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly recognize the outstanding contribution made by Glyn R. Berry to the peace process and congratulate Dalhousie University for creating a scholarship in his memory.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 2363

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

Whereas with winter now over and Spring on the way, it means championship laurels are being handed out by the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation in a variety of winter sports; and

Whereas Baddeck Academy's Dee Gillis Rink took home provincial championship honours in the NSSAF Provincial Mixed Curling Championship at the curling club in Liverpool; and

Whereas Melissa Nicholson, Cranton Phillips and Sara Nicholson along with Skip Gillis sealed their victory with a pair of steals in the fourth and fifth ends, scoring twice both times for a 6-4 championship victory over Auburn Drive;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Dee Gillis Rink from the Baddeck Academy for winning the 2007 NSSAF Mixed Curling Championship and wish them the very best with all of their future and current studies and athletic pursuits.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 4070]

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. 2364

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

Whereas Joan Oliver of Shelburne County volunteers for the Shelburne Association Supporting Inclusion (SASI), formerly known as Shelburne County Adult Workshops and Residential Services for the past 15 years; and

Whereas Joan organized the Literacy Through Drama programs for 10 years, and Joan is currently working to produce short films, interviews, recording films regarding what it's like for persons living with disabilities; and

Whereas Joan teaches painting and participates on the Shelburne Association Supporting Inclusion Board, advocating and supporting residents at SASI;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Joan Oliver on being a valued volunteer and for consistently demonstrating compassion and kindness as well as great accomplishments for those people living with disabilities.

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.

[Page 4071]

RESOLUTION NO. 2365

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

Whereas the Victorian Order of Nurses has worked hard to ensure that high quality home and community care is made available to those in need; and

Whereas the VON is Canada's only national not-for-profit home and community care organization; and

Whereas this year marks the 110th Anniversary for the Victorian Order of Nurses;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly recognize the Victorian Order of Nurses for their continued care for those in need and their outstanding contribution to 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.

The honourable Minister of Immigration.

RESOLUTION NO. 2366

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

Whereas team sports and school spirit are two essentials for a happy school environment; and

Whereas team sports help promote team spirit, active living and friendly competition; and

[Page 4072]

Whereas the Hebbville Academy Junior High School Girls A basketball team are the 2007 district winners;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House congratulate Hebbville Academy girls basketball team, consisting of: Captain Kelsey Getson, Captain Katherine Dorey, Amanda Fancy, Emily Townsend, Kaylee Croft, Geneva Hayward, Emma Quigley, Katelynn Carver, Hayley Gates, Sydney Nickerson, Breanna Haley, Mariele Guerrero, Moira Frier and team coaches Darren Haley and Sue Smith for their spirit, competitiveness and the 2007 District 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 Clare.

RESOLUTION NO. 2367

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

Whereas many businesses throughout our communities provide financial support to community development projects and have also demonstrated consistent caring for enhancing the lives of those in their communities; and

Whereas the Clare Mutual Insurance Company has donated $3,534 to the Clare skateboard park; and

Whereas this funding was used to purchase a ramp for the skate park and where many young people would benefit and enjoy this donation;

Therefore be it resolved the members of this House congratulate and thank the Clare Mutual Insurance Company for this generous donation and wish them continued success.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 4073]

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 Natural Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 2368

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

Whereas Deputy Chief Donald Zwicker of the New Minas Volunteer Fire Department has served as a member for 27 years; and

Whereas Deputy Chief Donald Zwicker served as president for 10 years, served as deputy chief for 10 years and served as on the board of directors for over 20 years; and

Whereas this fine community volunteer has had an average attendance over the last five years of 83 per cent;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend Deputy Chief Donald Zwicker for his long-standing dedication to his community and fellow firefighters.

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.

[Page 4074]

RESOLUTION NO. 2369

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

Whereas our secondary roads in Nova Scotia are in deplorable condition, including bridge work, ditch work and dirt roads; and

Whereas in the riding of Digby-Annapolis, the single 101-Series Highway is not yet completed; and

Whereas secondary roads are used frequently by a large population of Nova Scotians;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly urge the provincial government to lobby Ottawa for a forgivable loan to rebuild our secondary roads and complete Highway No. 101, in Digby-Annapolis.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 2370

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

Whereas Black Bull Resources, a Canadian mining company based in the Municipality of Argyle, operates the White Rock Mine near Shelburne in the Municipality of Argyle and produces a bright white, high-purity quartz; and

Whereas Mr. Richard Shearer has recently been named President and CEO of Black Bull, taking over from Interim CEO Mr. Bob Cudmore; and

[Page 4075]

Whereas Mr. Shearer has served on the Board of Directors of Black Bull for the past year and brings much industry experience to his new position including his role as a director with Excell Minerals and President and CEO of U.S. Silica;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in recognizing the work that Bob Cudmore undertook as Interim CEO and in wishing Richard Shearer all the best in this new phase of development for Black Bull.

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 Energy.

[2:45 p.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 2371

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 convenience to our local residents of having a post office within our rural communities, providing full postal service in a personal manner; and

Whereas the friendly and reliable services offered by our postal office employees and mail carriers often times go unnoticed or taken for granted; and

Whereas these services are at times provided when the mail has incomplete civic addressing or under inclement weather conditions, and our mail continues to get delivered;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the efforts and contributions of the postal workers at the Lake Charlotte Post Office and thank them for their continued service.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 4076]

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. 2372

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

Whereas Eddie Tertsakian was a member of the Nova Scotia boxing team which competed at the National Championships in St. Catharines, Ontario, where he won a bronze medal; and

Whereas in recognition of team Nova Scotia's display of sportsmanship, along with the 13 medals they took home, our boxers were voted the best in Canada; and

Whereas Eddie is extremely proud to be part of a sport that brings so many different people together for competition;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly congratulate Eddie Tertsakian and his boxing teammates 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.

[Page 4077]

ORDERS OF THE DAY

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. PATRICK DUNN: Mr. Speaker, I move that you do now leave the Chair and the House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole House on Supply unto Her Majesty.

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

MR. GORDON GOSSE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is always an interesting time when we rise when the budget is in, to get our 15 minutes of fame, and speak about our ridings and the things that are positive in our ridings and the things that are negative in our ridings. The first thing I'd like to speak on today would be the coal dust problems, the ongoing coal dust problems in the community.

This government came out with initiatives for greenhouse gases, initiatives for fuel-efficient vehicles and all those things in the budget and promises that they are going to do it and everything else, but since I've been elected to this Legislature in August 2003, this coal dust has been an ongoing problem. I just recently had a meeting with the minister in Cape Breton as of last month, before the House came in here, and spoke to him. The minister agreed that he would send a pamphlet around.

The residents of the community received the pamphlet, Mr. Speaker. One of the questions I thought of when I read the pamphlet, where does dust come from? In the pamphlet I read that dust comes from many factors; vehicle emissions, residential heating sources and they are saying coal and wood because we in Cape Breton still burn coal and people have wood. There is no mention of Sysco, does dust come from Sysco? Tar Ponds? Logitech, Mr. Speaker?

I've received complaints month after month for three and a half years now on coal dust in my riding, and I wondered if this coal dust was in the south end of Halifax or in somebody else's riding if they would have the same problems ongoing. Nobody has ever been held responsible for the coal dust in the community. It is pretty bad when the people who love to live in the community of Whitney Pier are thinking about moving because they cannot keep their homes clean or their vehicles clean. The constant dirt in their windows and in their homes and on their cars - constant, all the time.

A good friend of mine, Helen Mortimer, just recently called my office this morning again, coal dust on her home. I said, did you call the number that the Department of Environment had sent out in the pamphlet? She's called on a number of occasions, three times they investigated. Kendra Christie, at the bottom of Matilda Street, the same thing.

[Page 4078]

Mrs. Cameron on St. Anns Street, Mr. Murphy on St. Anns Street, a constant barrage all the time, even as far as Bison Drive. The coal dust is just continual.

What I'd like to see, as a government official, I'd like to see somebody charged, actually charged and convicted. I know this has happened before and they were made to give out car washes or wash somebody's home or clean somebody's home. If we had stepped up to the plate as government officials and actually put an end to the coal dust problem in Whitney Pier - so generations and generations, 100 years of pollution in that community from Sysco and the coke ovens site from the open hearth and the blast furnace, yet each and every month there is a call to my office on coal dust.

Where else would this be tolerated in the Province of Nova Scotia? We've had 100 years of pollution in that community and yet there is still coal dust. What's in that? Do we know it is coal dust? Now they're shipping in petcoke. Petcoke is what we'd call the scum off the bunker C process. That's what they're using because it is cheaper, Nova Scotia Power can burn it. So is there anything, any chemicals in the petcoke that's harmful to the people who live in that community?

I mean these are things that I hear on a daily basis in my community, about the coal dust. I remember the former Speaker in that Chair - I had brought in, when I was a rookie in this Legislature, a dust rag full of coal dust from my community. I had it in a bag and I didn't understand you couldn't bring props into the Legislature. I left it for the Page take it away and yet they wouldn't let the Page pick it up because they thought it was environmentally unsafe, but yet it's not environmentally unsafe for everybody who lives in that community each and every day. I would just like to see this stop before I leave this office or whatever else.

I had even gone as far as to say to the minister jokingly that I'd do anything to stop this problem because there are constant calls to my office. I mean to actually send out the report, and we looked at the pamphlet and I thought maybe it would be a good idea for those who understand to call the number, but to actually have where does dust come from - I mean these are not school-age children. These are well-educated people who live in the community of Cape Breton Nova - where does dust come from? We know where the dust comes from - it either comes from the Sysco site, Logitech or PEV. I guess now with the tar ponds coming on stream with all the talking about trucks coming in every two minutes on the roads and everything else, we're going to have more dust.

I would just like to see a solution so my son Daniel and his friends, and every kid in the neighbourhood and every kid in Ashby and every kid in the north end of Sydney and Whitney Pier, have good clean air to breathe without having to worry about this dust from either the tar ponds, either the PEV, either Sysco or either Logitech. I think that's enough time spent on that subject, but I could go on and on the subject of coal dust and I'll let that go.

[Page 4079]

There's an overpass in that community - we now have the SPAR Road - which is a good thing. It's actually opened up the community to probably some economic development and bringing people into the Jamieson School - it's been a great project for the community. There has been 130 people coming to the community each and every day to attend the Cape Breton Business College and that's a very fine thing for the community.

There has been a bump on that overpass now for three years, and I remember the director of the eastern region, Mrs. Barb Bailey - before she left, she had promised that work was going to be done, then it was cancelled, and it wasn't done and again I find that it's not going to be cancelled. The bump is that hard that it's at the point now in the springtime that it's doing damage to vehicles. It would be nice to have that fixed up.

The long-awaited cleanup of the tar ponds - I mean we're finally moving forward. It's a full panel, we saw the results of the full panel, we saw the recommendations and for all the work of JAG and all the people who have worked on JAG and the 15 years of volunteer hours - those people should be commended. They should be commended for all their work and both federal government and provincial government finally get on with it so maybe our children and our grandchildren won't have this legacy anymore.

I talk also today in my place about when I was listening to CBC a while back and I heard that 83 per cent of the seniors in Cape Breton live in poverty. I was astounded to actually hear that stat on CBC Radio - 83 per cent of the seniors in Cape Breton live in poverty. I couldn't believe that. I've been talking to seniors since I've heard that and realize why that is - they pay 30 per cent of their gross income for public housing in the Province of Nova Scotia; 30 per cent - that's why they seem to think that they're paying too much. Maybe if they were paying 30 per cent of their net it would be better, maybe if they only paid 25 per cent of their gross, but something has to be done.

If you look at the seniors in Cape Breton when the steel plant was full tilt and there were 5,000 people working - and that's been phased out by this government. It's been phased out now since 2000 and this is the end of Sysco - I think they're still in the budget for something year end or whatever else for steelworkers - but these pensioners, their steel plant pension is not indexed. It's the only pension in Nova Scotia as we stand here, or now we see the federal employees' pension of schoolteachers now that are going to retire from this day forward and not have an indexed pension.

So you can understand the hardship of seniors today for affordable housing - no indexing of their pension. I mean everything went up, the fees went up this year for their co-pay, so one person now went from $24.22 - so that's another $46 that each senior has to pay for co-pay in this Province of Nova Scotia. These are the people who built this province, yet these are the people going through the hard times right now. We have to do something.

[Page 4080]

Sarah Pyke had called me and told me, Gordie, low income for seniors has to be changed, it just has to be changed - whether it's going to be 25 per cent of the gross - but 30 per cent of the gross, that's not even the net. I think that has to be changed. I think we have to look at that in the future.

I talked to another gentleman in my riding by the name of Albert Abbott and I think his address is 108 Taylor Street in Whitney Pier. Albert is confined to his home in a wheelchair and he called and asked if there were any programs for snow removal or grass cutting. We don't have any of those programs, only if you are a veteran and you qualify for the VIP. That's another incidence, the Veterans Independence Program. In other words, a veteran had to be on that program or accessing that program for his widow to have been able to apply - September 1991, anybody after that could apply but anybody before that, if your husband died and he didn't access the program, you weren't eligible.

Here is a guy by the name of Mr. Abbott down on Taylor Street who can't get any help because he's not a veteran and we don't have anything or any kind of programs to help these seniors yet we keep saying - the government, and people in this Legislature - that we have to keep our citizens at home longer. If we could come up with some kind of program or some kind of way that we could keep our seniors in their homes longer, it's only going to benefit the health care budget. We heard last week from the minister, how many billions of dollars the budget was eating up on health care but if we can keep our seniors at home, if we had some kind of program to help with the seniors at home, maybe with the winter works program, some of that can be diverted. Again, it is only a grant and it runs out.

When they depend on things - when they had the CEIP project, somebody would clean the wheelchair ramp for Mr. Abbott or look at cleaning up his yard but right now there is nothing available and I think seniors who built this province deserve more from us as legislators, Mr. Speaker, I really do.

Mr. Speaker, the Grand Lake Road area of my riding is really expanding. There are four or five new businesses coming in the Mayflower Mall, which is good economic development. The Grand Lake Road Community Development Association - beautiful building, tenancy is up, blood collection is in there now and there are some other offices going to be in there; the Cape Breton Injured Workers and TPW has taken a space there. I think that's a positive thing, a beautiful looking building. The hard work of that committee to get that building up and running, HAZMAT and the volunteer fire department. I think that's a positive thing that is happening in Cape Breton Nova.

Again, I think we could use some paving in my riding or something. I think MacLeods Hill Road has been on the agenda for paving for many years. It's still a dirt road. Maybe eventually sometime will think about actually getting that in the works of having MacLeods Hill Road paved. I have sent that letter off to the minister in the past, I met with him on that a few months back. The road up to the SPCA in the community. That road is a

[Page 4081]

terrible road. I think it's a J-Class road and they should look at getting that road redone up to the SPCA. There is quite a bit of traffic up there and getting that done would be a great thing, do you know what I mean? Again, the expansion of Mayflower Mall, the tar ponds project.

Again, I will tell you a little saying that we have down home in Cape Breton and in my area. You know, for hundreds of years, Hawker Siddley came in, all the companies came in from England, Dominion Coal and Steel that always ran the steel plant or the coal mines. They have always come in and taken all our resources and gone and left Cape Breton and now the outward migration of young people. So we are struggling as an economy and we are trying to move forward but it's very difficult when all our bight young people are moving away.

For many years, these large companies came into the community and took everything. Now what we say in Cape Breton is that when you walk down Charlotte Street now, there are more engineering firms on Charlotte Street than there are lawyers. I wonder why that is? These engineering firms are in that community to get a piece of that $400 million. They are waiting with their suitcases to take our money again and leave.

[3:00 p.m.]

We do have some stuff built in the contract for the tar ponds, whether it be local benefits - there are so many points awarded in the contract for local benefits. Is that going to benefit the local people there? We will finally see at the end of this - I don't think I'll be around to see the end of this here, to see how much of this actual $400 million for the tar ponds is actually going to benefit the local economy. We will see how that speaks, Mr. Speaker.

Then again, that sort of thing, economic development - I think it was last week this government introduced a bill, Bill No. 146. That bill, I imagine it was a general bill on the environment and everything else and I looked at that and I'm saying, gee, that kind of makes sense. This government is looking at becoming a greener government and then I looked at the government and said, holy, a greener government. Isn't that nice, I said, but then I realized that here they are giving permits for strip mining and they are going to burn high-sulphur coal. That is going to emit terrible greenhouse gases. On one hand we are saying that we are going to become a greener province, on the other hand we are strip mining a beautiful part of Cape Breton Island to burn high sulphur coal. How does that make any sense?

I'll finish up in the end, Mr. Speaker, about senior citizens living at home on oxygen tanks. You know, when you live at home and are a senior citizen, like my Aunt Doris who is an elderly lady and a very fine lady - and I guess I've got to be careful when I use that tone for my aunt - but she has an oxygen tank. In health care, her oxygen is paid, at home it's paid for - but her portable oxygen is not paid for. So if she wants to go to see her grandson play

[Page 4082]

hockey at the rink, or if she wants to go to the school, she has to pay $27 to have the portable tank filled up. She lives on a low income because her husband, John, is a former steelworker and his pension isn't indexed and it's a very small pension. So with the two of them living on pension, she has a difficult time filling her oxygen tank to watch her grandchildren participate.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased today to rise to do a little bit on the agriculture scene in the Annapolis Valley. It has been a topic that has risen on many fronts during the past couple of years and the word "crisis" in agriculture is on the minds of many people when, in a short time, you lose a couple of major processing plants, such as Avon Foods and on April 23rd Canard Poultry will close its doors. We know that this is having an enormous effect certainly on those workers and their families, and the ripple effect that it's going to have throughout Kings County and also many uncertainties in some of the other areas as well.

So we can talk certainly about some degree of a crisis. If we take a look at the national statistics that have been released from Statistics Canada, we see that over the past four or five years the dollar at the farm gate has continued to decline and the two sectors, in particular, are the hogs and the cattle industry. Those farmers, in particular, are having a very difficult time making ends meet and certainly many of them now are, in fact, seeing their futures in jeopardy. The family farm - three, four, five generations - certainly may not last. In fact, many see themselves as perhaps the last generation. Some have tried to hang on to the family farm by leasing their barns, leasing their land while family members have headed West, or headed somewhere else to work in order to pay the taxes on the farm and on the home until hopefully a better day will come along.

So at this point in time we can say that the commodity production of hog farms in the Valley are certainly now undergoing a great change and, in fact, many are in a state of free fall, meaning that some are getting out, some are transitioning to other kinds of operations, and some are still hopeful that there will be a kill plant in the Annapolis Valley as time goes along.

On the cattle side, in the post-BSE period, prices still have not risen that dramatically and so those farmers now with the budget containing a line item, $6.5 million for loan relief - many of them are contemplating that perhaps this could be their best pay in many years and they see the pay-down of their loans as an option and a way to get out of the business. When you think of an industry like cattle farming, many of course are dedicated, full-time farmers. Others have 10, 20 or 30 cattle that they would raise and get rid of year after year, but even some of those now that were doing it as part of a small hobby farm, or a small operation, on land that again their forefathers had used, they, as well, are finding that the cost inputs are such that they're in jeopardy of going forward. When you think of raising a head of cattle in

[Page 4083]

Nova Scotia, it is one of the types of farming that we can actually carry out in every single county - in all 18 counties we see that going on, but we certainly have seen a major decline.

One of the things we keep talking about - and going back to the days of Dr. Hamm when he wanted to see more of our cattle going into our institutions - buy local beef. Still, we are a long, long way from that because in most cases the contracts require federally inspected meat and basically it has to go to P.E.I., and perhaps come back in many cases. Again, that remains one of the obstacles and hopefully we could move to a time when just provincial inspection will be suitable and we will see more of our local beef put into our institutions.

These are real ways in which a very gradual increase in production is possible. Again, it takes a very definite plan in order to raise the percentage on an annual basis. Very often, the contracts for example that Armstrongs will have, it looks like they're buying from a local distributor, but even though cattle are slaughtered in their plant - they have an abattoir - that beef does not end up in our institutions, but rather boxed beef from New Zealand or Australia. So there are initiatives that we can take that will allow Nova Scotia farmers to increase the amount of beef that would go to our institutions. So it is indeed the hope of the Cattlemen's Association, the Federation of Agriculture, that avenues will open up so that production, indeed, does see some increase.

One of the things that has been very noticeable in Kings County, Annapolis County, Hants County, and right across this province, is the loss of agricultural land, and in particular in the Annapolis Valley that is showing up in a very significant way because we're looking at some of the best land in the country - the soils of the Annapolis Valley are rated in the top three soil classifications in the country. So to see those lost is, indeed, a great shame for the legacy of farming in Nova Scotia and the future that, I believe, certainly that we will need in order to produce a larger percentage of our food as time goes along. With the great expense to truck food across the country, the impacts on the environment, I think, are going to impinge upon growing more local food.

We all know that there would be no problem with holding on to our farmland if in fact there was the need for production and if farming were vibrant. There's a saying in Kings County that when agriculture is strong, the economy of Kings County is strong - and we know that we're seeing some collapse, some retrenchment and a loss of jobs.

From the last census of 2001 to the census of 2006, we have seen a decline of 28 per cent down to 25 per cent of jobs now associated with agriculture, and we have a plant on April 23rd that will, in one day, lose 380 jobs. We know that the decline is going continue because one of the aspects of agriculture that we sometimes don't perhaps recognize is that for every one job, there is a factor of 2.1 that we have created with that single direct, primary job in agriculture. So this is the thing that we are going to see. Certainly, in the communities

[Page 4084]

around Canard, which is the riding of Kings North, we are going to see certainly an economic impact here very shortly after the plant closes.

So I guess that leads to, however, looking at solutions, looking at positive measures that can be taken. That's the thing now that I'm hearing more and more even among those who have the greatest burden of debt, those who certainly don't see their future in some of the commodity groups that we have traditionally had in the Annapolis Valley. Many are looking at other options. So I believe investment in agriculture needs to be a greater priority with government.

One of the statistics that I came across recently was taking a look at agriculture, the line item in the budget since 1999. The amount from 1999 to the present has changed very little. It has fluctuated around anywhere from $35 million to $42 million in the budget. So we certainly know how much inflation has eaten into that amount.

If we take a look at other provinces across the country, you know subsidies right across agriculture or certainly an infusion into many sectors is a reality. I think we, in Nova Scotia, do have to engage in investment in many sectors but in particular those that I believe we should maintain and that is we should maintain a hog industry. We should maintain a strong beef production industry here in our province. Right now, those are two that are certainly in decline.

So along with investment, I believe Nova Scotians are ready for a province-wide initiative around Buy Local. I was pleased to see that government put in the budget $0.25 million to start to plan, to organize and to administer a program to Buy Local. Certainly, I believe part of that is going to be labelling. Many Nova Scotians do not know what is grown locally in our province. I think the labelling will come as we educate Nova Scotians more and more. Just because it's found in Sobeys, which was a Nova Scotia created industry, a lot of the food that's there is not necessarily grown and produced in Nova Scotia. So in our large Superstores, we need to get people asking, is this grown in Nova Scotia?

[3:15 p.m.]

I think when that starts to come to the forefront and is on the minds of Nova Scotians, I think that is one of the things that is going to bring about a significant change and perhaps labelling will be one of the consequences of that. In other words, Nova Scotians will want to know, are these locally produced blueberries or did they come from Argentina. You know, is this an apple from the State of Washington or is it an apple from the Annapolis Valley? This leads to me to the point that in fact in order to get us going on using, consuming, eating more Nova Scotia products, we may even have to look at perhaps some limitations on imports during seasons when our products are coming off the fields, off the trees, out of the ground, so that local consumption is at the highest level possible. I believe very strongly that

[Page 4085]

if some of these things happen, we can make Buy Local a real contributing factor to regenerating interest and growth in our industry.

Just on the weekend I spoke with two people who are with the Annapolis Valley Labour Council. These two gentlemen want to be not just advocates for Buy Local, they want to be part of developing a plan. If we get those kinds of groups, and organizations like the Women's Institute that just put on a terrific evening of information and of advocacy around Buy Local, then I think this could be part of breathing new life into the agriculture sector of Nova Scotia.

There's no question that we need it as part of our future and we as MLAs, as government officials, we need to be leaders as far as the Buy Local movement goes.

With that, I will take my place.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.

[3:17 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Supply with Deputy Speaker Mr. Wayne Gaudet in the Chair.]

[7:19 p.m. CWH on Supply rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Cecil Clarke, resumed the Chair.]

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

THE CLERK: That the committee has met and made some progress in considering Supply and asks leave to sit again.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[GOVERNMENT BUSINESS]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. PATRICK DUNN: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Public Bills for Second Reading.

[Page 4086]

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. PATRICK DUNN: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 158.

Bill No. 158 - Financial Measures (2007) 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 Finance, it's my pleasure to rise to speak briefly on this year's Financial Measures Bill. The Financial Measures Act gives us the authority to move forward with our budget plan. It contains a number of tax initiatives to make Nova Scotia more competitive and to encourage business investment. It also puts revenue measures in place to help fund the programs and services that Nova Scotians rely on.

As the Finance Minister stated last week, Mr. Speaker, this year's budget is responsible and disciplined. We have been able to bring forth a balanced budget without raising personal income taxes or cutting programs. We believe that the measures in this legislation will make a difference to families, businesses and communities across our province.

Mr. Speaker, the Financial Measures Bill has amendments to 21 laws. Amendments to the Income Tax Act will allow us to move forward with the tax breaks for recent post-secondary graduates and for volunteer firefighters. The doubling of the graduate tax credit will encourage our university and college graduates to remain in Nova Scotia, to work here after graduation and help us keep our talent at home. The volunteer firefighters tax credit recognizes the important role this group of volunteers play in rural communities. (Applause)

Another important amendment to the Income Tax Act will put in place the digital media tax credit which will support digital media producers to encourage them to hire Nova Scotians. This year's Financial Measures Bill includes the establishment of the foreign convention and tour incentive program. This provincial tax credit complements the new federal program of the same name and will help to restore the competitive advantage to Nova Scotia's tourism industry. There are also amendments to make it possible for all seasonal business operators to qualify for a special tax rate, a tax reduction for the incorporation of an unlimited company and an increase in the labour-sponsored venture capital credit.

Mr. Speaker, measures to increase certain legislative fees and government charges also form part of this bill, such as those pertaining to the reinstatement of drivers' licences, personal property, trust and loan companies and probate. This is a small but important

[Page 4087]

revenue source. The last government-wide increase to these was in 2004 and the current increase will help us keep pace with the overall rising costs of government programs and services.

Another measure included in this year's bill is the increase in tobacco taxes. Mr. Speaker, the Financial Measures (2007) Bill encompasses a number of other amendments to various legislation that will see, among other things, certain fees charged under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act eliminated; the intent of fees charged under the Securities and the Liquor Control Acts clarified. Mortgage payments relating to the construction or refinancing of certain types of long-term care facilities, guaranteed. Equal treatment for all four political parties, Progressive Conservative, Liberal, New Democratic and the Green, as it relates to public financing. The current - Mr. Speaker, as well, the current service deficit of the Public Service Superannuation Plan eliminated and a variety of housekeeping changes.

Mr. Speaker, the changes I have highlighted indicate the importance and relevance of this year's Financial Measures (2007) Bill. It represents the force behind a number of pivotal budget decisions. It is a good bill containing good measures, measures that will make a difference to families, businesses and communities across the province. It is a bill worthy of the full support of every member of this House and it is my privilege to move second reading of the Financial Measures (2007) Bill. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition. (Applause)

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I'm just enjoying this. It's not often it happens. (Laughter)

I must commend the minister who offered the comments with respect to the Financial Measures (2007) Bill. I noticed he did it without actually cracking a smile. It must have been pretty hard when he talked about the increases in user fees because I don't know if you actually saw them but they resemble a Home Hardware book, that's how thick the list of the increases is.

Mr. Speaker, I rise this evening to address the Financial Measures (2007) Bill and to address this House on what is, in every budget session, the most critical piece of legislation that the government presents. I have chosen my words very carefully in this regard because it is the government's legislation and it seeks to implement the government's budget. It is, in its essence, the framework for the work that the government is about to do in the balance of this calendar year and the first quarter of the next year. I want to be clear - this is the Progressive Conservative Government's legislation, just as the budget it theirs. It is not the Opposition's legislation. It is not a product of consultation. That is not to say that the Minister of Finance did not meet with us in advance. He did, and I want to commend him for this, but it is the government's legislation.

[Page 4088]

This is also not to say that the budget does not include NDP ideas. In the last election, the government ran on a platform built almost entirely of NDP ideas. So, of course, my colleagues and my fellow New Democrats across Nova Scotia see the initiatives in this budget, see the initiatives in this budget that we advanced as part of our better deal for today's families. People expect cooperation from the Parties in a minority Legislature. The people will be glad there are NDP ideas, like the tuition freeze and needs-based grants for students, in this budget.

However, Mr. Speaker, with regard to consultation, the playing field in these matters is never even. The Opposition Parties do not have access to the financial projections for the coming year, nor do we know the cost increases that are due in each department. Just for example, something as straightforward as what part of the provincial debt financing is due in the coming year, and what impact the refinancing will have on interest costs, can be significant on either the plus or minus side of the province's books.

This is really the first budget of the MacDonald Progressive Conservative Government and, as such, it has the same disposition as the government that produced it. That is to say, it lurches from one thing to another without vision, without passion, confused and erratic, seemingly, Mr. Speaker, based on slogans without substance. (Applause)

Now, Mr. Speaker, perhaps you think I'm being harsh, and if I am it is because it makes the decision that we, in the Opposition, must make that much more difficult. In the past three years we have supported the budgets of the government and I am sure that this must be a record, to have the Official Opposition of the province vote with the government on its budget for three consecutive years. This is not an easy thing for an Opposition Party to do in a parliamentary democracy - it is our job to hold the government accountable and to offer alternatives - but we managed. I believe we were able, over that time, to do so without sacrificing our independence, the independence of our position in Opposition and further, and most importantly, to act in the best interests of the people of the province.

[7:30 p.m.]

It was not without its consequences. On almost every issue we would hear from our detractors:"But you voted for the budget." In fact, during the last election we heard from the Premier himself when he said to us:"If things were so bad, then why did you vote for every budget?" This is all to say, Mr. Speaker, I think that we have established a track record on the budget that is without reproach, doing always what we thought was best for the province and the people of this province, as we saw it from our benches.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I want to assure you that we are approaching this vote in the same manner. Let me begin by saying that the budget presents itself as balanced, that is to say that the expenditures do not exceed the revenues, including an amount that is set aside for the reduction of the capital debt of the province. This is the law in Nova Scotia, budgets must

[Page 4089]

be balanced, and I agree that this is as it should be. In a province with a $12.3 billion debt, in a small province of our size, this is as it must be.

I note that some other jurisdictions have gone even further; in fact there are jurisdictions that do not allow the government to budget more than 98 per cent of its projected own source revenues. They do this because they do not want unexpected costs to drive the government's budget into deficit. Interestingly, and if my memory serves me right, if there is a surplus at the end of the year, the state - in this case I believe it is the State of New Jersey - allows itself the flexibility to spend that surplus, but on a limited number of things; for example, roads and bridges and for paying down the capital debt of, in that case, the state. So, Mr. Speaker, the balanced budget is the minimum expectation that can be placed on the estimates presented for consideration.

I want to make two observations about this for the consideration of the House. I want to ask if the House actually believes that the budget is balanced - it is one thing for the sums to add up, but if the government knows in advance that estimates cannot be met or that there is a good likelihood that they cannot be met, then how are we to rely on the budget at all?

In this case, Mr. Speaker, let's look at health care. I remember - and I am sure many do - the Finance Minister trumpeting the need for multi-year budgeting in Health as a planning tool. Well there is no sign of that in this budget. The budget delivered by the Finance Minister says the following: "Health-care spending has increased by over 8 per cent per year over the past decade. In this budget we have to balance not only the needs within the health system, but also the competing - and equally important needs - of all government services. So this year we have limited the increase in health-care spending to 5.3 per cent."

Mr. Speaker, over the past number of years the government has told us that health spending is too high, and this is something that I have heard from the interim Leader of the Third Party as well. The government says that health care is out of control and the Liberals seem to agree. At 8 per cent a year, they say that it will consume the entire budget, leaving nothing for other departments. I know we have all heard this on many occasions. It makes you think that the Health Budget is developed in a vacuum. I have heard the government refer to wage costs as the single biggest cost driver and yet wage settlements have been well below 8 per cent; in fact they have been well below the 5.3 per cent that is proposed in this budget. The major cost driver is not wage settlements, the major cost driver is the demand for health care services.

Between 2001 and 2005 the seniors' population in this province increased by 4.7 per cent, to 133,571 individuals - by the year 2026 the seniors' population will rise to 247,000 souls or 26 per cent of the total population. Building health care capacity, particularly those associated with the aging demographic, is our biggest challenge. Long-term care, home care, palliative care, drug coverage, all of these will face major expansion - not in the distant future, in the immediate future.

[Page 4090]

These people will show up at hospitals as they are now and that is why we are having code purples and that is why emergency rooms are overcrowded and that is why we find patients sleeping in hallways, and that is why there are unacceptably long waits for surgery. We can't wish it away, no matter how much you would like to, and you can't dismiss it with a single line in a Budget Speech.

Let us look at the prescription drug Avastin as an example. The choice is whether that drug will be available to everyone for whom it is prescribed because it sustains their life, or whether it will only be available to those who can afford it. That is a fundamental question about health care spending - what health care will be available on the basis of need and what health care will only be available on the basis of one's pocketbook? Those who support the Medicare system understand how important it is that this money is well spent.

There is more to be said about health care, about the increases in the Pharmacare premiums and the co-pays, and I have explained to the minister in estimates how this will actually increase the stress on the system by increasing the number of doctor's visits, by increasing the number of visits to emergency rooms, by increasing the length of stays as a result of urgent treatment in hospital because of self-rationing of medication. As I explained to the minister, there are studies that set out that this will also mean an increase in mortality, and I must conclude that the government is satisfied with these outcomes.

I am pleased that the government has recognized the need for respite care and adult day programs and the need to further support caregivers, but these measures in themselves are insufficient and the need for long-term care facilities is not adequately dealt with.

In Pharmacare generally, the government decided not to keep its commitment made during the last election and instead set up a bureaucracy without a program to deliver. This is true in respect to the province-wide colorectal screening as well - a line item in the Budget Speech, but no program.

In the last election the government told Nova Scotians that health care professionals such as doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, technologists, and paramedics need the tools and support from government to provide high-quality health care and to lower wait times. It is here that the biggest gap exists between what was promised and what was delivered.

I addressed health care first for this reason, but now let us look at the areas that the government said it would focus its attention on. The first priority, the government says, was debt reduction - in fact it was virtually the very first thing they addressed in the budget as read by the Minister of Finance. The government ignores the fact that the first real reduction in debt took place in the 2005-06 fiscal year when the debt was reduced to $12.239 billion, and that the first thing this Premier did upon assuming the management of the government was to increase the province's debt by $190 million.

[Page 4091]

Schedule 22 of the Overview of Treasury Management contained in the government's budget says that even with the allocation in the budget against the debt, the closing balance at the end of the fiscal year 2008, will be $175 million greater than it was in the fiscal year 2006.

Again, that is part of the gap between what is said and what is done. In Education there is a $500 bursary to help offset tuition increases. Mr. Speaker, grants to students instead of loans is an appreciated initiative. I am pleased with this, but it is not a substitute for actual tuition reductions. Perhaps this will be addressed in the next round of discussions as the memorandum of understanding with the universities is negotiated. At the same time the government will have to address the infrastructure deficit the universities are facing - and which grows every year - that is not addressed.

In public education there is little to note on issues with respect to children with special needs. The government may say that they have implemented the recommendations of the Special Education Implementation Review Committee, but it appears that they took away the money with one hand while offering it with the other, leaving classrooms without the intended new resources - indeed, there is little mention of public education in the budget at all.

We have all heard about the commitments broken to communities like Sydney, Glace Bay, and Middleton. I will say again, these communities have the right to rely on the word of the provincial government. In the words of Robert Service: "Now a promise made is a debt unpaid, and the trail has its own stern code."

There are commitments with respect to safer communities and also a volunteer firefighters' tax credit - these were also commitments of ours and they are part of a responsible budget. On economic development in rural areas we are disappointed that Nova Scotia lags behind New Brunswick with respect to the provision of broadband services, and they will continue to do so for years to come.

There is little here to encourage young people to stay in their own rural communities. It does not address the access to capital difficulties for young farmers or fishermen, nor does it address the challenges that exist in these industries which remain the backbone of the rural economy.

There is $250,000 in the budget for a Buy Local campaign and I want to congratulate the Women's Institute for helping place this in the spotlight, their Buy Local Challenge. I was disappointed, though, to hear the minister say that although the money was there, there was no plan in place to use it. We shall have to wait and see where this takes us.

I recognize that the government continues with the HST rebate, but at some point in time they must look to adjust the tax base and to take this out rather than continuing to show

[Page 4092]

it as a rebate that can be stopped at any time. At the same time, this is not, and should never have been considered, a replacement for low-income energy assistance plans. I have always said that the removal of this tax was a question of tax fairness, it was not an energy issue.

In respect to these matters I have enumerated, Mr. Speaker, we continue to have grave concerns. The concerns we express are those that have been created by the government by their poor handling of these issues. Nova Scotians want positive leadership - they find the Premier has failed to provide direction or vision.

We will continue to bring forward good ideas and support the good ideas of others. We will continue to look for ways to improve life in Nova Scotia.

[7:45 p.m.]

My colleagues will now begin to speak on this bill and I am listening to them and I will also listen to the members of the Third Party, the people of my constituency and the people of the province. People will know how we are going to vote on this bill and on the budget when the time comes for that vote. Our bottom line is the better deal for today's families and our judgment of how it can be best achieved. Thank you very much.

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

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to the Financial Measures Act for this year and to look at a number of the provisions that are included in that. I had intended to keep my comments primarily to that rather than to the budget as a whole, because there are a great deal of individual clauses in this act. Traditionally, and we've seen over the years, that Financial Measures Act can contain many things, often even unrelated to the budget, but I feel that this year the items are very much linked to the initiatives that we've seen in the budget for this year and I didn't see any surprises as we went through. It does act as an omnibus bill, so it's important for members of the Legislature to look very carefully and see what exactly has been included, because once passed, it becomes legislation.

Mr. Speaker, there are a number of initiatives, which we support in the budget and have advocated strongly for. One of them has been the post-secondary graduate tax credit, which has been extended in this act from $1,000 to $2,000, although I should mention that does not come into effect until the following year, until 2008. There is a delay, it's only $1,000 for those students who graduated in 2006 and 2007, but certainly, an attempt by the government to advance this area. We know that New Brunswick has been much more aggressive in terms of offering a tax credit, trying to provide incentives and show young graduates that there's a good reason to stay and make their home in New Brunswick. I think that as other provinces - I know that Manitoba has introduced this and Saskatchewan - it may become the very much standard fair across the country simply because other places are

[Page 4093]

offering it and we need to be competitive, but for the moment the government has made an effort to increase that somewhat.

I see that far more as an economic development tool, or perhaps a retention of our workforce and our young people, much more than it is an educational tool. It isn't going to do anything to address the high cost of tuition or the needs based grants that have been missing in our system up to this point. Students are suffering under the need to simply find the money that's necessary to attend university in Nova Scotia. I know that is a priority for our party, to find ways to reduce the cost and to help particularly those students who are in the most need. There are certainly many who require a hand and perhaps larger student loans.

There's also the issue of some not being able to get student loans, but whose parents cannot pay the large differential because of our high tuition costs. There's a need to adjust, perhaps, the amount of money that's available or allow them to receive financial aid or tuition support through the student loan program regardless of their parents income. That has been a bill before the House, which the Liberal Party has put forward. The reason being that we believe students are adults and should be treated in their own right for receiving student loans. We all know as MLAs, there are cases and anomalies where parents will not provide for their children and yet the children are really held hostage for about four years after finishing high school, until they can be regarded as independent. So that's a concern to us as well in the education field.

I know the issue of infrastructure at our universities has been mentioned and over the last year I've had an opportunity to speak to the universities and to CONSUP, their association of university presidents. They would like to see a solution brought forward, perhaps even one they have worked out. I believe the universities, particularly Dalhousie, has spearheaded this saying that they could leverage a lot of loan money based on their capital assets if in fact the government would give them just some funds to start off a plan. Perhaps if there was $10 million, for example, in a fund they could leverage another $90 million and actually have a significant fund to improve the universities and that would be a made-in-Nova Scotia solution.

Mr. Speaker, I do think we need to work with the stakeholders and try and use their best efforts to find other ways other than direct financial - you know, complete financial assistance from the government because we have found that the competing needs of infrastructure at the universities and the needs of students have made it very difficult for us to meet both of those needs at the same time. So I do ask that that be considered and perhaps the Minister of Education will consider again talking to the universities about one of their own solutions which I think could work in this situation.

Mr. Speaker, there's another tax credit in this Financial Measures (2007) Bill for the volunteer firefighters. Now, this is a bill that our member - the member for Clare - had introduced some time ago to the Legislature. In fact, in our bill it had called for a $1,000 tax

[Page 4094]

credit to the men and women who serve as volunteer firefighters in the many, many communities across our province. Without them, the families living there and the businesses located there would have no security and no insurance because without a fire department, you cannot have insurance to stay in business. So the work they perform is not only for the personal security, but also for the financial and operating security of the commercial and homes and businesses in that area.

The credit that's being proposed is for only $250 in its first year, but we do see it as a positive sign that there's a recognition of the role of these volunteer firefighters and it's a step in the right direction. It rises very slowly, as outlined in the bill, to $375 in 2008 and by 2009 we get to a $500 tax credit. So while I support the initiative and I am very pleased that there's a recognition of the work of the volunteer firefighters, we would like to see that increased certainly perhaps even quicker than it is because we did believe that with a tax credit of $1,000, it's still only a small amount of money back in the pocket of those people who give so much of their own time, often even their own money, towards training and being an active member of a volunteer fire department and that's what the tax credit after all is intended to do, is recognize their own financial contribution to that very important role in our communities.

Mr. Speaker, there's a section in there around the Foreign Convention and Tour Incentive program. I would like to speak about that for a little while. The minister's press release made it quite clear, this is not an expansion or a good addition to our tourism industry. What it is doing is trying to backfill or restore something that was removed by the federal government. In the Fall, the federal government canned and totally wiped out the Visitor Rebate Program that had been in place forever in Canada. In fact, of all the OECD countries, Canada will now be the only country in the OECD that does not offer a Visitor Rebate Program, which would provide visitors and travelers to Nova Scotia the repayment of the value-added tax - in this case, the HST in Nova Scotia. That was taken out. The government said that there was very little take-up on that, and that the cost to administer it was too great, but we heard a great outcry from our tourism industry, and particularly from the convention and cruise industry and the tour industry - the coach tours. The Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage would understand this, and I see him agreeing with me, there was a large outcry.

It hurt that industry, particularly here in Atlantic Canada, Mr. Speaker, because here in Atlantic Canada it's not just the 6 per cent that we're talking about, which is the GST. We have a blended tax, so now our tour and cruise and coach operators would have to charge American or overseas visitors 14 per cent higher than they had been charging in recent years. That would really devastate our industry here in the three provinces that are under the HST guidelines. It was recognized immediately that that was causing harm. They had to speak very loudly at parliamentary committees and bring all the force of the Canadian tourism industry to bear in order to get the federal government and our federal Tories to change their tact on that.

[Page 4095]

It's worth mentioning, Mr. Speaker, that really in the House of Commons our own Premier was quoted as saying that the rebate was not the reason people come to Nova Scotia and was not a big deal. Now, I realize he, after some discussion with others, did retract that and recognized that it has a very strong and harmful impact on what for us is a big industry, bringing in literally hundreds of millions of dollars and employing many people. At the same time, I am glad that the government now is fully aware of the impact of the Visitor Rebate Program having been lost and, again, has made this motion in the Financial Measures (2007) Bill to include a Foreign Convention and Tour Incentive Program. It still means, though, that Canada has no program in place for individual travelers who cross the border and choose to shop in Canada or travel and stay in hotels here in Canada. If you are an individual and not on a tour and you come in on your own with your family to travel, you are not able to recoup that money that you have put out in our 14 per cent tax. I believe that is harmful to the industry and could harm a lot of our small retail businesses as well.

I would suggest, Mr. Speaker, if the take up on the Visitor Rebate Program was small, perhaps it's because the government did not publicize it, did not make it well known or didn't make it an easy program to access. In addition, there is another Canadian solution and that is that the industry themselves have offered to manage that rebate program on behalf of government. This happens in quite a number of the OACD countries - that the rebate program is contracted out or given to another agency to actually take care of the administrative side of that so that it wouldn't cost $78 million at our revenue centre in Summerside. That is a high cost to administer and I'm sure that industry could do it at a fraction of that cost and still offer that benefit so that we can be competitive with our other neighbours around the world - the other developed countries.

It's an important point and I think it needs to be stressed here that Nova Scotia could take a leadership role in suggesting that industry take over that function because they have offered to do so on a national level and that would save our federal government some money and would allow us to reinstate the program completely. So perhaps the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage would consider that, taking forward the issue and working with his federal counterparts to see the industry take over that program, because in my reading, I see them more than willing to do so.

Everybody is certainly aware of the struggles of the tourism industry, so this comes as quite a blow at this point in time. The government, a number of years ago in I believe 2003, set a goal and we like to see goals and targets. The target was to double the number of tourists that we receive here in Nova Scotia by 2013. I really believe the government should revisit that goal. We are at 2007 and the numbers, instead of growing in those four years, have been declining. We are not on the right track to expanding and certainly nowhere near doubling our numbers by 2013. I know there is a lot of work to be done with the industry to turn that around, but I do believe that we should be talking about goals that we are on track to meet. The more years that pass without us advancing that target, the more difficult it will become and then they become meaningless. I think that perhaps the date

[Page 4096]

should be changed or a plan should be revealed that is going to get us to the 2013 goal of doubling our number of visitors.

The Freedom of Information and Protection Act has been amended in terms of the fees that we charge and that is also here in our Financial Measures (2007) Bill. We support that and have over the years, strongly called for the government to amend that; 2002 is the year that the fees were increased dramatically. You will remember, Mr. Speaker, that at the same time, only a couple of years ago, we were noted as the province in Canada that was the most secretive. In fact, we won an award for that, which was a rather dubious award. I can't remember the exact word for it but basically the most secretive of all provincial governments and making information difficult to access. (Interruption) It was called the Code of Silence Award, it has been pointed out to me, and I think that was something that we were quite ashamed to receive as a province. To know that our province was the least open for providing information and helping members of the public find out some of the information they need to know about the activities of government which, let us remember, are the activities that we conduct on behalf of the people of Nova Scotia.

So we had this dubious award and we had a doubling or more of the fees. In that time, our numbers of applications, quite predictably, dipped significantly, Mr. Speaker. In 2002, we received 1,037 requests for information and I should mention this does not include our DHAs, universities, school boards, municipalities or police services, so it could have been much higher than that but those are the ones directly to provincial government departments. With the increase in fees in 2002, the numbers dropped dramatically to 727, so over a 30 per cent decrease in a single year. Again, as I say, the fees have gone up from $5 to $25, just to access an initial request.

[8:00 p.m.]

In looking at the breakdown of those information requests, Mr. Speaker, it was seen that in 2002, there were 498 requests by individuals. Not by the media, not by other political Parties or people with perhaps, unions or vested interests, but just by individual Nova Scotians who wanted to have answers to some of their questions. That number went down to 344 in 2005, which is a drop again of 31 per cent in the number of requests by individual Nova Scotians. I think that shows us very clearly that the costs had gotten out of control and we know ourselves that if you make a request that takes a long time to research, you can have a bill of hundreds of dollars that comes back, in terms of that request. So as a political Party, as a union, as an interested community group, you would think long and hard before you introduced that kind of request to the government.

What we have in this Financial Measures bill is that the $25 FOIPOP fee is going to remain in place but the appeals fee, which was $25, will be removed. The Liberal Party has advocated that the fee for accessing information should be $5.00 to make an application. That's where it was in 2002 and that's where we believe it should be today. Having raised

[Page 4097]

it five times that amount, we've seen that it has made information more difficult to access and I think makes our government more secretive.

The fact that the appeals fee has been removed is a step in the right direction and the Financial Measures (2007) Bill also allows for two free hours of searching for information, so the locating and retrieving of information has been granted as two free hours. That's a saving of $30 an hour, so if your request is simple, Mr. Speaker, you are going to be in luck and perhaps you won't pay very much, but as we know, a lot of the requests are not simple to access and will cost people an awful lot more than that.

I would like to reference the work of Darce Fardy who is our former Freedom of Information Review Officer. He has spearheaded the start of a group called the Right to Know Coalition, which includes many citizens and representatives of different groups. They are asking again that we set our fee back to $5.00 per application, or remove the fee entirely so that the public has a right to know, as the coalition's name says, and will be able to access information more freely. That's an important issue to us.

Mr. Speaker, there's a couple of other tax credits in there. The digital media tax credit, I think, is a good step forward in terms of encouraging our creative industries which I must say, Mr. Speaker, have so much potential in Nova Scotia and yet we do very little to encourage them. The tax credit that we introduced for film in Nova Scotia made us one of the very first jurisdictions, in fact the first, I believe, to offer a film tax credit and was the reason why Nova Scotia became the preferred site for film-making in Canada.

Again, the challenge for this Progressive Conservative Government, Mr. Speaker, has been how do you maintain that? It was a Liberal Government that introduced it, that recognized the opportunity to create jobs and creativity and new industries, in fact new skills here. The community college jumped on board, they offered training programs for people who are in film-making, people who work on film sets. Yet we've allowed our advantage to erode by not keeping pace on that tax credit with our neighbours here in Atlantic Canada, in fact right across Canada. That industry, as you know, really does bring millions of dollars to our province. I, myself, know many people who work in the film industry and it is a great opportunity for us. Research shows that the creative industries are the industries of the future.

One academic is Richard Florida, who has written about creative cities and where do industries want to locate. They want to locate in cities that have a lot of creative industries, where there is music, theatre, film, arts. We should be looking very specifically in our economic development plans for ways to support and enhance and encourage creative industries to be in this province.

We have a terrific core of them today, Mr. Speaker. In the Valley we have a theatre group known as Mermaid Theatre which, in fact, are exporting their culture because one of

[Page 4098]

their groups is on a tour of the United States which is going for eight months, touring and performing in the United States in major cities. That is a direct benefit back to Nova Scotia where the headquarters are and where their actors come from. So we need to think outside of the box in terms of creativity and arts and I believe this tax credit is one step in the right direction to do that.

What is being proposed here is a tax credit that will provide a refundable tax credit of 35 per cent of qualifying expenditures and an additional 5 per cent on qualifying expenditures made in eligible geographic locations. That's similar to our film tax credit which encourages people to go and have the films produced in our more rural areas.

The final measure I wanted to speak of is the labour-sponsored funds which have been increased so that the tax credit is now $2,000 rather than $1,000. It will help our labour- sponsored funds that are sold here in Atlantic Canada to, in fact, double the amount of money that people can invest that will be allowed to be reinvested here. It's really a program, for those who don't know, that attracts RRSP funds that people are investing and at present we get about 2 per cent of the RRSP monies that are invested by Nova Scotians that stay here in Atlantic Canada and work for us to create those jobs.

There's nothing we hear about more, as members of the Legislature, in terms of an issue that is very concerning than the out-migration of young people and the lack of jobs in many parts of our province. These labour- sponsored venture capital funds can help to do just that and it's certainly a proper motion to allow more people to invest their RRSP funds here in Nova Scotia and see the benefit in our own communities. So we were happy to see that the government was able to do that. I think it was a measure that was put in, perhaps, in response to a request by the industry and we do support that because we believe that those funds can have a marked improvement to our entire community.

There are two other things in here I wanted to touch on. One of them is the Wind Turbine Facilities Municipal Taxation Act. When this was introduced - it's a municipal taxation Act - it actually has a two-tier level of taxation for wind turbine companies. Anybody who is in the renewable energy resource field who are putting up wind turbines for the generation of electricity are going to be taxed at two different levels. If they have their turbines in place by a certain date, which has now been changed in the Act, and if they had a contract with Nova Scotia Power, they will be given essentially a $1,000 subsidy for every megawatt of power they produce or they're capable of producing.

If you start in the industry today and weren't in at the time when this Act came in, you're going to pay a total of $5,000 per megawatt of electricity capacity that you can generate, rather than $4,000. Mr. Speaker, and I hope the Minister of Energy will listen, why would we create a two-tier level of taxation which, rather than creating an incentive for new people to enter the industry, has created a disincentive. That, with all the talk about green energy and moving forward, is absolutely astounding, that the government would agree to

[Page 4099]

bring forward a bill with two levels of taxation and a disincentive for green energy in a province that has the highest levels of sulphur dioxide, per person, in emissions in Canada, arguably in the world. In Canada we have, without a doubt, the dubious distinction of having that highest level of greenhouse gas emissions. We should be doing more than any other province to reverse that trend and yet here we are, ignoring the industry.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please. The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park has the floor.

MS. WHALEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for creating some order in the House. Again, I really wish the minister could respond to this because that to me has been a great concern, that the Wind Turbine Facilities Municipal Taxation Act has continued to exist. It should be reviewed right now, even though it only came into existence last Fall, it has been wrong-headed, it's sending the wrong signal to industry and I think there are many in this room who have talked to the wind energy producers and we know that people are raising money and taking their capital to other Canadian provinces and other places outside of Canada in order to get in the business. Nobody is going to wait with their millions of dollars, to build these wind turbines and not hear from the government about when they can do it and who's going to buy the energy. There's no open market, there's no way for them to get involved and they take their capital and go elsewhere to engage in this commercial activity that's good for the environment. We need them here in Nova Scotia, so I wanted to have that noted for the record that that's a bill that needs to be reviewed.

In the Keep the Heat program we still lament, as a Liberal Party, the loss of that program. It appears nowhere in this year's budget and we've just come through a winter where there's been no help for low-income Nova Scotians. I have asked here in the House of the minister why there has been no program. Last year's program cost less than $20 million; I believe $20 million was budgeted and about $12 million was actually accessed. Many Nova Scotians need that help in order to put some oil in their tanks to keep warm or to pay their electric bills in the winter. They have gotten accustomed to having a small amount of money to help them do that. I know in my constituency, in Clayton Park we had calls asking about that.

Mr. Speaker there was no help that we could offer. You send them to charities, you ask people to talk to Nova Scotia Power and rearrange their power bills. But there was no help and no recognition from the government that people, who are living on very low incomes and fixed incomes, cannot keep pace with the rising cost of oil heat and the rising cost of electricity.

We need a program like that in place. Here in the House, when I've asked that question of the minister, I've been told that the new HST rebate program was to replace the Keep the Heat or, once it was in place it did replace the Keep the Heat program. I make the statement again that low-income Nova Scotians receive the least benefit from the HST relief.

[Page 4100]

The average homeowner or property owner will get a $200 benefit from the relief of the HST. Remember, it's only the provincial proportion of their HST off their home heating. For the people who are on a low income you can be absolutely sure they are living on the minimum amount of heat that they can possibly get by with. They're not overusing the resource and they are not getting $200 worth of benefit from this HST relief. The relief is going to everybody without any concern for the level of need and there is a need in this budget, or in a future budget, to reintroduce that program.

We would urge the government and the Minister of Community Services, perhaps, to review the need and to come up with a program that could help, at least the people on social assistance who rely on government, because we need to help people stay warm. I'm not alone in having read stories this winter of people burning furniture and keeping warm by using their electric ovens. This can't be happening in our country and in a province like Nova Scotia. We need to be concerned about that and I know it was an NDP initiative to push strongly for the removal of the HST off of the home heating fuel. I'm not sure if the intent was to remove the Keep the Heat program (Interruption) I may have heard that. However, it was sometimes an issue of, be careful what you ask for because you ask for one thing and the NDP get something quite different along with it . It has hurt the most vulnerable in our society.

Mr. Speaker, the Buy Local campaign is a really important initiative, I think the $250,000 that has been identified for that, the government should not hesitate to introduce their program immediately. If they say it's going to take time to figure it out I suggest that they speak to the Women's Institute because the Women's Institute has given it a lot of thought. They've outlined a whole series of things that they want Nova Scotians to consider and do. The government doesn't need to reinvent the issues and the points. The Women's Institute is asking Nova Scotians to cook one meal a week made out of Nova Scotia products; purchase their products locally and cook one meal a week. That's common sense, that's very practical, it's very achievable but we need a program that's going to bring that message to Nova Scotians.

The other suggestion they have is that we also buy a Nova Scotia product that you may not be familiar with and then try it and each week add some Nova Scotia product that you are not as familiar with. We certainly have a network of farmer's markets throughout this province that have a wealth of different products that are grown and made on our farms here in Nova Scotia. I know that, again, the government does not need to reinvent the wheel, you need to gather these ideas up, lay them out and publicize them so that you can help the work that the Women's Institute has already done to promote that. We want our Nova Scotian consumers, individuals here that are buying food every week, to speak to the retailers and tell them we want them to make a difference in the way they purchase their food.

[Page 4101]

[8:15 p.m.]

Again, with many of us having business backgrounds in the House, you know that it's really no different than when there's a public policy change that's wanted, if people contact the legislators, they will get our ear. If many, many consumers will contact the stores in Nova Scotia and tell them we're demanding more local product in the stores, that will be brought forward.

I think that my advice to the government on the $250,000 is, get ready to do a public relations campaign based on the recommendations and suggestions that have come from a group of very thoughtful women who have put a lot of attention to this and know what really will make a difference in terms of supporting our local industry in farming and farm products. So, Mr. Speaker, I encourage that to take place as soon as possible.

I'm sure there are other members who wish to speak on the Financial Measures (2007) Act so with that, I would like to pass it to the others. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, I'm very pleased to rise this evening to speak to the Financial Measures (2007) Bill. I'd like to, first of all, thank the Leader of the Opposition for laying out so clearly and straightforwardly our position on the bill and on the budget.

It falls to me, then, as the Finance Critic to take a more technical approach to the bill itself. What I'd like to do, in a few minutes, is lead the House through the bill and talk about what it is in the bill that is worthy of support and what it is in the bill that is not.

We, on this side of the House, always bear in mind that the Financial Measures Act is part of the budget. It is a question of confidence in the government. If we defeat the bill, if we even so much as amend the bill against the will of the government, it entails an immediate election. That is a very heavy responsibility, one that we take very seriously and one that we will make our decision on knowing that our only signpost is what is best for the people of Nova Scotia, what will give them the better deal that they deserve.

Mr. Speaker, as you're aware on second reading, the debate should rest on the principle of the bill, but the Financial Measures (2007) Bill really has no principle. It is an assortment of unrelated provisions enacting all kinds of different measures and there's no particular thread running through them. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I know you'll excuse me, as you have in past years, if I refer to specific sections more than is often common on second reading.

[Page 4102]

Although, if there were one theme that I could suggest for the bill, it would be higher taxes and user fees for Nova Scotians. Of all the unrelated provisions in this bill, the thing that is present in more of these provisions than any other is an increase in the fees that Nova Scotians will pay. After this budget, if there is one change that Nova Scotians will notice in their daily lives, it is going to be the increase in hundreds and hundreds of fees charged to them by their government.

The only defence that this government can offer is that they haven't increased income taxes, which then during an election campaign becomes the statement that they haven't increased taxes. But the people of Nova Scotia know that's not true. We know that's not true. This government has raised taxes and fees relentlessly during their time in office, which is why, when this government says that they haven't raised taxes, Nova Scotians know instinctively that can't be true because they feel it in their pocketbook.

The list of user fees being increased by this budget and by this Financial Measures (2007) Bill goes on for page after page after page, Mr. Speaker. It is as thick as some of the phone books in the rural areas of Nova Scotia.

Nova Scotians do not believe, will not accept, that this budget does not involve the increase in taxes. In this bill alone, there are fee increases in Clauses 6, 30, 34, 35, 40, including many fees the government has never talked about up to now. There is also a fee increase in Clause 33, which is an interesting one because it increases the interest rate in the Payment Into Court Act and at first glance you would say, well, an increase in the interest rate, that has got to be good for people, isn't it? But it is actually an increase in the amount the courts deduct from payments paid out to people from court, so it is yet another fee charged by the government to the people.

There are also two interesting provisions in this bill, Clauses 28 and 39, which retroactively legalize fees charged by the government to the people of Nova Scotia. One of these has attracted a fair amount of attention because of a court case in New Brunswick where a tavern owner challenged a very similar levy, a liquor levy, and the court concluded that that fee was illegal and had to be refunded to the tavern owner. And as follows inevitably from legal cases, once one person wins, then everybody in a similar position is also entitled to the refund. So the New Brunswick Government is currently engaged in the process of deciding how much and to whom to refund this money.

Now Nova Scotia is just a step ahead of that because the tax was eliminated at the end of 2006 but the Nova Scotia Government is moving now to deal with this issue by retroactively legalizing the levy. In this bill, this Financial Measures (2007) Bill, the government recognizes that that levy probably would not withstand the court challenge.

Mr. Speaker, although it hasn't received a great deal of attention, this bill contains an identical provision dealing with fees under the Securities Act, another admission by the

[Page 4103]

government that those fees probably would not withstand scrutiny in court. So the story of this budget and the story of this Financial Measures (2007) Bill is going to be an increase in taxes and fees.

Now I know the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations was reading a speech prepared for him - I suspect he didn't write it himself. He said that this budget doesn't include any income tax increases, but of course it does. It does, through the back door, because the tax credits the provincial government has de-coupled from the federal tax credit, and every year that they are not indexed they fall further and further behind, that represents a very real increase in taxes for seniors, for the disabled, for anybody who was at one time able to take advantage of an indexed tax credit, not to mention the question of bracket creep, which has been raised numerous times in this House, Mr. Speaker. When income tax brackets don't keep up with inflation, that in itself represents an increase in income tax. The Minister of Finance knows it, I know it and certainly the people of Nova Scotia know it. Every year when it comes time to fill out their tax forms they write in to me, and I am sure to every member in this House, saying, what are you doing with our tax credits? How could you allow this to happen?

Just today, Mr. Speaker, while reading the Department of Finance's Business Plan, I discovered that our government has made a promise to index those tax credits in 2011 - in 2011 - not in time for the next election, probably not even in time for the election after that, and we all know what's happening with this government's promises.

We saw on the street outside the Legislature today what the people of Middleton Regional High School feel about the government's promises. Mr. Speaker, I went out to be among the crowd to hear what they were saying, to read some of their signs, and I have to say that it's very discouraging to see a large number of high school-aged students carrying placards asking their government why their promises have been broken. One placard said, a promise is a promise, which I thought was particularly ironic given the rhetoric of this government around the broken promises of the federal government with respect to the Atlantic Accord.

Our government, with our support, is saying to the federal government, a promise is a promise, and yet our provincial government turns around to the students at Middleton Regional High School and breaks their promise. It's not the only promise they've broken. What happened to the working families' Pharmacare Program, which is not funded in this budget? Not one single working family is going to get Pharmacare this year. The only thing that's funded is a study. The only thing that's funded is a study, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, the only thing that's being funded is a study. There is no money in this budget to pay for Pharmacare for working families this year, just like there is no money in this budget to pay for colorectal screening. There is money to study it. There is money to study it. I hear the Minister of Health talking over there. I think before he starts preaching

[Page 4104]

to me about what's in the budget, he should maybe talk to his deputy minister and listen to what she says about the budget.

Now, Mr. Speaker, let me talk about one of the good things in the Financial Measures (2007) Bill - the volunteer firefighter tax credit - but even that is a promise only half-kept, because during the last campaign a certain amount of money was promised. It's not being delivered this year; only half of it is being delivered. So what this government is doing is they're developing to a fine art this practice of keeping part of their promise, doing just enough to be able to say that they're doing more than nothing, just like on colorectal screening, just like on working families' Pharmacare, just enough to be able to say that they're doing something, that's all. (Interruption)

So, Mr. Speaker, enough of the Progressive Conservative promises. Well, you know, for those of us on this side of the House who were listening to all those Progressive Conservative promises in the last election, we knew they couldn't be kept. It was painfully obvious to us that those promises could not be kept, too many promises costing too much money, we knew it was only a matter of time and now this government says, well, it's the federal government's fault. The old standby, when you have nothing else left to say, you just point at the federal government and say it's their fault. Well, it is their fault partly but, do you know what the problem is, is the Premier already said that he wasn't going to be able to keep all his promises before we heard anything about the new equalization deal. So how does he square that?

The Minister of Finance says, oh, no, he didn't and, Minister of Finance, oh, yes, he did. Just look at the newspapers. (Interruption) I'm sorry, Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance should know, oh, yes, he did. Oh, yes, the Premier did and before we knew what the new equalization program was, the Premier was already on the record as saying that it looked like he wasn't going to be able to keep all his promises, but the Premier won't use the word broken. The Premier never says he broke a promise, they've been deferred; deferred, that is the new political language in Nova Scotia for a promise not being kept, it has been deferred.

We saw on the street outside the Legislature today, Mr. Speaker, how people feel about deferred promises because, no doubt, that particular promise will be deferred until it's time for another election and then it will be made again. We see this time after time throughout the budget and throughout the Financial Measures (2007) Bill.

I was talking about the volunteer firefighter tax credit which was in our platform, clearly we think it's a good thing, it's necessary, it's important. There is an aspect of it though that I want to refer to that is going to be hard on the chiefs of these local departments. What the bill does is it says that the chiefs will decide who does and who does not get this tax credit. Their job is very difficult, Mr. Speaker, it's difficult enough as it is. In some of these rural areas, where incomes sometimes are not very high, there is going to be tremendous pressure on the chiefs. You can only imagine what kind of pressure there is

[Page 4105]

going to be on the chiefs, because the chief is going to be the one who decides who does and who does not get the tax credit, and because it is a refundable tax credit, it is essentially equivalent to deciding who does and who does not get this money. That's going to be a real burden on those chiefs and we should not underestimate the burden that this bill is putting on the chiefs, in the context of a provision that we promised and we certainly support.

[8:30 p.m.]

There are a number of other provisions though in this Financial Measures (2007) Bill that I can only call mysterious. I've said it before during my time as the Finance Critic and I'll say it again this time, the government owes it to this House to put a great deal more information before the House on the impact of some of the provisions in the Financial Measures (2007) Bill. We are not given the information we need to judge the worth, the validity of many of the measures in this bill.

Let me take, for example, the very first one in the bill, sections two and three, the amendments to the Assessment Act. Now it sounds like a very worthy thing. The definition of a seasonal tourist business is being changed, so rather than being a business closed for four consecutive months, it's closed for a total of any four months, it qualifies for a lower commercial tax rate. You say, that's a good thing, but what this House needs to know is who will benefit from this? What industries will benefit from this? What is the value of this change? Which municipalities are going to be losing this revenue and how much? Now surely the government has that information available to it, surely the government knows.

What was the genesis of this provision? Was it as a result of a letter from a single operator bringing a concern to the government's attention, and therefore the government went ahead and did it, or did it come from an industry group? Did it come from the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia? What is behind this? Who is going to benefit? Where are they located in the province and which municipalities are going to be losing tax revenue and how much? These are all issues that the government should have at its fingertips when proposing such a measure, and therefore it is information it should put before this House.

This whole bill is a matter of confidence in the government. The highest level of importance attached to any bill ever put before this House. It was a matter of confidence in the government and surely, it is a question of the government's confidence in this Legislature, that if we're going to have a confidence bill before us we should have all the necessary information, we need to know the background and the impact of measures like this. I could say the same for a number of other measures, the changes to taxes and fees on unlimited liability companies, which is a matter that the government changed only within the last couple of years where they upped the fees on unlimited liability companies, and I won't take the House's time to explain again what that is all about, it's a very unique feature of company law in Nova Scotia, but in this budget the fees are going back down to where they started.

[Page 4106]

It's a legitimate question to the government, why is this happening? Who is putting pressure on the government? What is the impact that these fees have had? Who is it who's saying to the government, you have to change this? What are we at risk of losing? Surely, the government has this information at their fingertips, but they haven't shared it with the House.

The same thing about the Youth Child Tax Credit. We all know that the federal government has essentially abolished any thought of a national child care program and introduced in its place a tax cut that goes under the happy name of the Universal Child Care Benefit - $100 a month to parents, like myself, with children under school age. Yet, of course, it's a whole other debate, it doesn't come anywhere close to paying for the cost of child care. It really is a tax cut that goes under the name of the child care benefit when really, for all practical purposes, it has nothing whatever to do with childcare.

My point is this - this provincial government said that they were not going to claw this money back and yet we find in the Financial Measures (2007) Bill amendments that imply that indeed some parents have suffered a clawback. These amendments would not be necessary if that were not so. I think in a confidence bill, the government owes it to the House to explain to us, to all the members of the House, who is it who has suffered the clawback. Why are these amendments necessary? How many Nova Scotia parents have lost the benefit of the Universal Child Care Benefit and how many will have that situation corrected as a result of the amendments being proposed to the House?

I note also, Mr. Speaker, under the category of questions the government really ought to have answered before they tabled the bill, the changes to the Film Tax Credit, something which we are all aware of, we all support. Now in the Explanatory Notes the government says that they are clarifying the provisions dealing with the tax credit when clearly that is not the case. They are doing much more than clarifying. They are deleting all references to workers in the province. Now there may be a logical explanation for that but the purpose of the Film Tax Credit was to bring film productions to Nova Scotia so that local people could be employed, and yet the government is removing all references to residents of the province being employed. That's what provisions do. It doesn't clarify anything. It muddies the waters. While clearly we understand and support the necessary changes to the Film Tax Credit, the House needs to know, why are references to resident workers being deleted, and in what manner is that a clarification?

This bill is a matter of confidence in the government. We deserve to have answers to these questions. There are other tax credits that clearly we support, as the Leader of the Opposition has pointed out. We certainly support the graduate tax credit but at the same time, Mr. Speaker, it would be useful for this House to have the government's analysis of what impact the graduate tax credit is going to have. There are students quoted in local newspapers saying that the amount available is not going to change their decision one way

[Page 4107]

or the other. If they were going to stay, they will stay, and if they were going to leave, they will leave.

When we are discussing tax policy, we need to go beyond anecdote. If the government is proposing this, they must have some analysis of just how many students who otherwise would have left the province, will stay. Because if they don't truly believe that is the effect of the tax credit, why are they proposing it; but if they believe it, where is the data? Where is the information? This bill is a matter of confidence in the government and we are being asked to vote on it, on whether to hold an election or trust the government to this Executive Council for another year, lacking the most basic of information about the financial plan being laid out by the government.

The Digital Media Tax Credit, obviously something we support. It seems fairly clear, Mr. Speaker, that it is directed at one company in particular, although if others are attracted to Nova Scotia by it, so much the better. It's good for the government that they responded to that particular need.

The bill then moves on from tax credits and increases the pension contributions of Nova Scotia's civil servants, employees of the provincial Government of Nova Scotia. Mr. Speaker, we understand as well as anyone the need to have properly funded pension plans. It is a disappointment that the Pension Advisory Committee was not able to reach a consensus on this. The government had to be dragged kicking and screaming into forming the Pension Advisory Committee, and I know they felt at times that they have not been properly listened to. It is unfortunate with such an important question they were not able to reach a consensus. What we don't know is what other options were considered. What else was on the table as a way of dealing with the funding issue? One thing that we support without question is that the proper funding of the pension has to be taken care of, but there is usually more than one way of doing it.

Again, at the end of the day the abiding impression that the people of Nova Scotia are going to have with this budget, other than user fees and the tax increases, is going to be the fact that if you're a civil servant your paycheque is going to get smaller. In fact these pension increases went into effect on April 1st so the very next paycheque that Nova Scotia civil servants receive will be smaller, and that will be the abiding impression that those civil servants have of this budget.

Finally, let me move on to the last points, to what may to some sound like the esoteric point of proclamation dates. I want to assure the Minister of Finance that what I'm about to say is not esoteric. We are very serious about this. Early in this sitting the House Leader of the Liberal Party got up on a point of privilege, and it's the second time he's done it. He complained to you, Mr. Speaker, and to the government, about the number of bills that have been passed by this House that have never been proclaimed. That is a legitimate point. I think it would shock most Nova Scotians to know how many bills go through the legislative

[Page 4108]

process and are approved usually unanimously in this House and never become law because the government has decided not to make them law.

Mr. Speaker, you ruled and I hasten to say in my view - not that my view of your rulings matters at all - but in my view you ruled quite properly that it was not a point of privilege because the House has given the government the right to decide, for most bills, when they will come into force and what you ruled quite properly is that if the House is minded to change that it is up to the House to do that, not the Speaker.

Although the point of privilege was ruled to be without foundation I have to say it is a very, very good point to be made. The answer of course is for this House to decide whether we are going to continue to allow the government to decide which pieces of legislation will and will not become law. I want the government to know that we will look very carefully at every bill, including this one, to see whether together with the Liberal Party we can take back some of the power that in previous years have been given to the government. I don't think we will any longer without question allow the government to decide whether legislation that has been approved by this House does or does not become law.

On a case by case basis, on this bill and on other bills we will be working with the Liberal Party to determine whether amendments can be properly made that takes away from the government the discretion to decide whether a law that passes this House will come into force, Mr. Speaker, because it is underlined in this Financial Measures (2007) Bill because every single measure in this bill, without exception, is subject to proclamation - every single one.

I don't remember ever seeing that before, not even in the Financial Measures Act. Some provisions would come into force on proclamation, others would come into force on a certain date but if you look at this bill before us every single provision with or without an effective date is subject to proclamation. We have to demonstrate to the government that we will not simply accept that without question. This government has shown that they will use their power of proclamation in order to frustrate the will of the House by not bringing into law measures that a majority of members of this House, often in unanimity, have decided ought to be law of Nova Scotia.

So I say to the government, when it comes to the principle of proclamation, do not assume that in this bill or in any other currently before the House, that we will simply accept, to give the government the discretion to decide on proclamation.

[8:45 p.m.]

That brings me to an end of my remarks on second reading on the Financial Measures (2007) Act. I want to thank, again, the Leader of the Opposition and the finance critic for the

[Page 4109]

Liberal Party for laying out our response to this bill, hoping that the government listens in the spirit to which it is intended. This is a matter of confidence in the government. The government owes it to this House to share with this House all of the information this House needs to make a fair and reasonable decision on the bill - the decision that is best for the people of Nova Scotia.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I move the debate on second reading of the Financial Measures (2007) Bill be adjourned.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I think we're supposed to vote on that motion, are we not?

MR. SPEAKER: Yes, well, we can do that, honourable Government House Leader. The motion is for the adjournment of debate on Bill No. 158. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I didn't want to anticipate the will of the House. 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 8:00 p.m. or until the conclusion of business. The order of business will be the Committee of the Whole House on Supply, Public Bills for Second Reading and possibly Committee of the Whole House on Bills. With that, I move the House do now rise.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is to adjourn.

Is it agree?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[The House adjourned at 8:47 p.m.]

[Page 4110]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 2373

By: Ms. Diana Whalen (Halifax Clayton Park)

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

Whereas Gus Wedderburn was an educator, lawyer and leader to all Nova Scotians, who worked tirelessly to create and advance many important institutions such as the Black Cultural Centre; and

Whereas Gus was always willing to provide guidance or assistance to anyone who was in need, his passion for fairness and equality led him to serve as a consultant for the Human Rights Commission's initial legislation, and campaign to create the Black United Front; and

Whereas Gus was a resident of Halifax Clayton Park and I was fortunate to have known him and to be inspired by his strong interest and commitment to improving our province;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this Legislature recognize the contributions Hobartson Augustus James Wedderburn has made to our community and our province.

RESOLUTION NO. 2374

By: Ms. Vicki Conrad (Queens)

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

Whereas the North Queens Rural High School lawn was taken over in October 2006 by spooky scarecrows celebrating the third year of Scarecrow Daze celebrations and judging; and

Whereas the Junior High students used this project to help further develop their character-building skills and the assignment allowed students to create the identity of an original character and then turn their imaginative creations into a scarecrow; and

Whereas the students also purchased and carved pumpkins in support of the Caterina Cushing Scholarship Fund;

[Page 4111]

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly recognize the winners of the Scarecrow Daze competition; Alesia Frail, Kristina Cunningham, Leah Veinot, Jenna Ryan, Daniel Wamboldt, Zachary Herrick, Channing Carver, Jake White, Joel Frail, Allan Carver, Dalton Freeman, Brandon Forrest, Lucas Smith and Cory Ryan.

RESOLUTION NO. 2375

By: Ms. Vicki Conrad (Queens)

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

Whereas Liverpool was recently privileged to be able to host the 2007 Scottie Tournament but more so to be able to watch the Liverpool native, Jill Mouzar, skip her team to the Nova Scotia Provincial Women's title; and

Whereas in their quest for the provincial title, finished the tournament with a 9-0 record; and

Whereas this team will be a very worthy representative for Nova Scotia at the National Women's finals in Alberta;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly recognize Jill Mouzar, Meredith Harrison, Teri Lake, Hayley Clarke and spare Mary Mattatall on their athletic achievements and congratulate the team on winning the provincial title and placement at the National Women's finals in Alberta.

RESOLUTION NO. 2376

By: Mr. Chuck Porter (Hants West)

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

Whereas Sainte Famille Wines Ltd. is a family-owned vineyard and winery located in Falmouth; and

Whereas Sainte Famille Wines Ltd. has been recognized for their top-quality grape growing and a wide array of wines, resulting from the tremendous care in the development of the Sainte Famille Vineyards; and

[Page 4112]

Whereas the most recent recognition of the exceptional quality products offered by Sainte Famille Wines Ltd. came as a result of the Falmouth winery being named one of the four finalists for Best Wine at the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia and Chronicle Herald's 2007 Savour Food & Wine Show;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the extraordinary talent of Doug and Suzanne Corkum and their staff at Sainte Famille Wines Ltd. of Falmouth, and wish them many more years of continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 2377

By: Mr. Chuck Porter (Hants West)

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

Whereas the West Hants Historical Society recently had the pleasure of putting into their records an integral part of history dating back to the early 1900s; and

Whereas the vital piece of history dated to 1920 and was about a group entitled "The Farmer's Club of Brooklyn" with six individuals, namely Avard Woolaver of Brooklyn, Howard Smiley, Morley Harvey, Herb Robinson, Leonard Harvey and William Baxter all from MacKay's Section, standing strong and forming what would become known as the Hants Cooperative; and

Whereas Eric Smiley of Windsor and Eric Harvey of MacKay Section always ensured that records kept by their fathers in the formation of the Hants Cooperative were safe and the formation years never forgotten;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Eric Smiley of Windsor and Eric Harvey of MacKay's Section for ensuring this lasting component of Hants County history is now enshrined in the records of the Windsor-West Hants Historical Society, so that families for many future generations will learn about the important role played by the Hants Co-operative and their Board of Directors for so many years in Windsor-West Hants.

RESOLUTION NO. 2378

By: Hon. William Dooks (Energy)

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

[Page 4113]

Whereas the convenience to our local residents of having a post office within our rural communities providing full postal service in a personal manner; and

Whereas the friendly and reliable services offered by our post office employees and mail carriers often times goes unnoticed or taken for granted; and

Whereas these services are at times provided when mail has incomplete civic addressing or under inclement weather conditions, our mail continues to get delivered;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the efforts and contributions of the postal workers at the Head of Jeddore Post Office and thank them for their continued service.

RESOLUTION NO. 2379

By: Hon. William Dooks (Energy)

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

Whereas the convenience to our local residents of having a post office within our rural communities providing full postal service in a personal manner; and

Whereas the friendly and reliable services offered by our post office employees and mail carriers often times goes unnoticed or taken for granted; and

Whereas these services are at times provided when mail has incomplete civic addressing or under inclement weather conditions, our mail continues to get delivered;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the efforts and contributions of the postal workers at the Musquodoboit Harbour Post Office and thank them for their continued service.

RESOLUTION NO. 2380

By: Hon. William Dooks (Energy)

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

Whereas the convenience to our local residents of having a post office within our rural communities providing full postal service in a personal manner; and

[Page 4114]

Whereas the friendly and reliable services offered by our post office employees and mail carriers often times goes unnoticed or taken for granted; and

Whereas these services are at times provided when mail has incomplete civic addressing or under inclement weather conditions, our mail continues to get delivered;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the efforts and contributions of the postal workers at the Oyster Pond Post Office and thank them for their continued service.

RESOLUTION NO. 2381

By: Hon. William Dooks (Energy)

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

Whereas the convenience to our local residents of having a post office within our rural communities providing full postal service in a personal manner; and

Whereas the friendly and reliable services offered by our post office employees and mail carriers often times goes unnoticed or taken for granted; and

Whereas these services are at times provided when mail has incomplete civic addressing or under inclement weather conditions, our mail continues to get delivered;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the efforts and contributions of the postal workers at the Porters Lake Post Office and thank them for their continued service.

RESOLUTION NO. 2382

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Melissa Gooding, a student at Nova Scotia Community College, Cumberland Campus, is vying for the province's inaugural College Idol title; and

Whereas Melissa is one of nine NSCC students hoping to be discovered as the province's next singing sensation at the competition which takes place on Friday, March 30th at NSCC Pictou Campus in Stellarton; and

[Page 4115]

Whereas the Idol Competition is being hosted by Breakfast Television's Cyril Lunney and will bring together nine talented finalists from NSCC campuses across the province and will be judged by former Canadian idol Contestant Kevin Murdock, R&B artist Corey Adams, CKEC Radio personality Ann MacGregor and vocal and piano instructor Amanda MacIntosh;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Melissa Gooding on being one of the nine finalists to be competing in the Idol Competition and wish her all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 2383

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 Parrsboro Predators Atom 1 team went undefeated to win the 2007 annual Kohler Friendship tournament in Debert in March; and

Whereas the Predators performed like a team both on and off the ice, attending a Junior A Ramblers game, swimming, eating and playing together as a team; and

Whereas members of the winning Predators team include Patrick Quinn, Chris Meyers, trainer David Johnson, Madison Currie, Meghan Johnson, Noah Perrin, Josh Foster, Mitchell Allen, Emily Davison, MaxWilligar, Logan Legere, Seth Lake, Wyatt Meldrum and Coach Craig Harrison and Assistant Coach Laurie Currie;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the whole Parrsboro Predators Atom 1 team, as they truly put forth an outstanding effort in sportsmanship resulting in winning their second tournament of the year.

RESOLUTION NO. 2384

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Christie McClelland of Oxford made a statement of commitment when she made the decision to take the journey to Kenya this Spring to help build a school to teach deprived students, broaden personal understanding of a larger world and to gain perspective of her potential leadership role; and

[Page 4116]

Whereas Christie is one of 24 Canadian university students who will be travelling to Africa as part of the Leaders Today program, considered to be one of the very best leadership organizations dedicated to the provision of win-win international projects for the benefit of all parties involved; and

Whereas the cost of involvement to each individual participant in the program will be over $6,000 plus monies lost from a month of potential summer earnings (no small thing for college students), which shows the dedication and determination that Christie McClelland has always shown and continues to show as she also volunteers regularly at the Drew Nursing Home and also provides free piano lessons to two talented young girls in the Sackville area while maintaining honours at Mount Allison University;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Christie McClelland on taking part in this incredible project and wish her continued success in all future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 2385

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Jim Skidmore's and Charlie Atkinson's business Central PowerSport earned the corporation's top marks for their customer service indexing four months ago in November, a first for any Yamaha dealership in the Atlantic Provinces and they have yet to pass the torch; and

Whereas Jim and Charlie were surprised last week after finding out Central PowerSport has laid claim to the international title for the fourth month in a row, the highest in Canada; and

Whereas the CSI is completed by Yamaha customers and hands-free of the dealership with the onus on the buyer being their choice to fill out the survey, rate their buying experience and send it in to Yamaha headquarters leading to Central PowerSport being awarded master dealer status;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Jim Skidmore's and Charlie Atkinson's Central PowerSport on this outstanding and prestigious award and wish them continued success in the future.

[Page 4117]

RESOLUTION NO. 2386

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Shaun Whalen of Oxford, who never leaves home without his camera since he never knows when that perfect shot will present itself, something that has happened to him numerous times of which his photos are proof; and

Whereas Shaun has recently entered a photo in a contest sponsored by Saltscapes magazine of Nova Scotia and placing in the top 10; and

Whereas Shaun started taking photographs as a unique way to record his and wife Sandra's life with their two boys Lachlan and Tiarnan and has evolved into a very talented photographer with many of his photos receiving accolades from contest judges, some of these photos finding themselves featured in The ChronicleHerald, on ATV and in magazine contests, also one of which is on a government Web site, which was voted best by the public;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Shaun Whalen on his outstanding talent in photography and wish him continued enjoyment with his hobby and much more success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 2387

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 Oxford Mini Girls Basketball team are consecutive two-time Cumberland/Westmorland League Champions, winning the title by defeating the Pugwash girls 36 - 31 on March 7, 2007; and

Whereas Coaches Kendall Black and Peter Swan are thrilled with the Oxford Mini Girls' performance and are proud to see that their team's hard work and dedication has been rewarded as they come out on top in this tournament; and

Whereas members of the Oxford Mini Girls include Andrea Dorn, Megan Thompson, Morgan Rushton, Carrie Dormiedy, Megan Deveaux, Regan Swan, Sidney Johnson, Hannah Newell, Jenna Rushton, Savannah Davis, Shannalee Smith and team manager Rhyse Black;

[Page 4118]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Oxford Mini Girls Basketball team and we wish them continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 2388

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas Beatrice Brushett of Upper Tantallon has been involved in the St. Margaret's Bay Lions Club for many years; and

Whereas the St. Margaret's Bay Lions Club is actively involved in the local community; and

Whereas Beatrice Brushett was named the Lion of the Year for the St. Margaret's Bay Lions Club;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Beatrice Brushett on being named the Lion of the Year and wish her much success in the years to come.

RESOLUTION NO. 2389

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia celebrated and recognized the outstanding contributions of individuals and groups who rose above the rest to achieve excellence; and

Whereas Angela Chisholm is the owner of Scott Walking Adventures in Hubbards; and

Whereas Angela received that Crystal Sustainable Tourism Award for the company which exemplifies leadership in balancing the economic, environmental and cultural authenticity of the tourism industry;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Angela Chisholm on this well-deserved award and wish her much success in the years to come.

[Page 4119]

RESOLUTION NO. 2390

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas Paul Filbee Dexter is a young curler from the St. Margaret's Bay area who had the opportunity of a lifetime to represent Nova Scotia at the 2007 Canada Games; and

Whereas the Canada Games is the country's largest amateur multi-sport event, with more than 3,600 athletes, coaches and managers from across the country; and

Whereas Team Nova Scotia 2007 has 290 members, including 213 athletes, 36 coaches, 23 mangers, 3 artists and 15 mission staff;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Paul Dexter on representing Nova Scotia on the national level and wish him much success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 2391

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas Wendy Dooley of Seabright has been volunteering for the past 11 years at the Tantallon Post Office; and

Whereas her hard work in planting and maintaining the flower gardens has helped make the grounds of the Tantallon Post Office beautiful; and

Whereas on December 2, 2006, Wendy was honoured by the Tantallon Post Office for all her hard work;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank Wendy Dooley for all her hard work and wish her much success in the years to come.

[Page 4120]

RESOLUTION NO. 2392

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas on November 24, 2006, Mark Feindel received notification that he achieved success on the 2006 National Uniform Evaluation; and

Whereas Mr. Feindel is among the 2,694 candidates to participate in this rigorous process across Canada and Bermuda and now has an edge for continued success; and

Whereas completing his Uniform Evaluation is a significant milestone in his career as a chartered accountant;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Mr. Feindel on his recent success and wish him all the best in his future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 2393

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas on November 24, 2006, Jocelyn Fraser received notification that she achieved success on the 2006 National Uniform Evaluation; and

Whereas Ms Fraser is among the 2,694 candidates to participate in this rigorous process across Canada and Bermuda and now has an edge for continued success; and

Whereas completing her Uniform Evaluation is a significant milestone in her career as a chartered accountant;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Ms. Fraser on her recent success and wish her all the best in his future endeavours.

[Page 4121]

RESOLUTION NO. 2394

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas the Royal Bank of Canada/Horticulture Nova Scotia Innovator of the Year award was awarded to a young family from the New Ross area; and

Whereas this award is presented annually to recognize an individual, organization or business that made an innovative contribution to the vegetable or berry sector; and

Whereas Glenn Higbee is a risk taker that has taken him from having minimal knowledge about farming to being one of the first successful growers of day-neutral strawberries in the province;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Glenn Higbee on receiving this award and wish him much success in the years to come.

RESOLUTION NO. 2395

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas Aaron MacLean is a young artist from the St. Margaret's Bay area who had the opportunity of a lifetime to represent Nova Scotia at the 2007 Canada Games; and

Whereas the Canada Games is the country's largest amateur multi-sport event, with more than 3,600 athletes, coaches and managers from across the country; and

Whereas Team Nova Scotia 2007 has 290 members, including 213 athletes, 36 coaches, 23 managers, 3 artists and 15 mission staff;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House congratulate Aaron MacLean on representing Nova Scotia on the national level and wish him much success in the future.

[Page 4122]

RESOLUTION NO. 2396

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas Jordan Marczak is a young freestyle skier from the Chester area who had the opportunity of a lifetime to represent Nova Scotia at the 2007 Canada Games; and

Whereas the Canada Games is the country's largest amateur multi-sport event, with more than 3,600 athletes, coaches and managers from across the country; and

Whereas Team Nova Scotia 2007 has 290 members, including 213 athletes, 36 coaches, 23 managers, 3 artists and 15 mission staff;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Jordan Marczak on representing Nova Scotia on the national level and wish him much success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 2397

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas Jessica Martin is a young hockey player from the Tantallon area who had the opportunity of a lifetime to represent Nova Scotia at the 2007 Canada Games; and

Whereas the Canada Games is the country's largest amateur multi-sport event, with more than 3,600 athletes, coaches and managers from across the country; and

Whereas Team Nova Scotia 2007 has 290 members, including 213 athletes, 36 coaches, 23 managers, 3 artists and 15 mission staff;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Jessica Martin on representing Nova Scotia on the national level and wish her much success in the future.

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RESOLUTION NO. 2398

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas the Order of Canada was established in 1967 to recognize outstanding achievement and service in various fields of human endeavour; and

Whereas there are three different levels of membership - Companion, Officer, and Member - honouring people whose accomplishments vary in degree and scope; and

Whereas Daniel O'Brien from Chester Basin was named as a Member of the Order of Canada on October 5, 2006;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Mr. O'Brien on being named to the Order of Canada and wish him much success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 2399

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas the Order of Canada was established in 1967 to recognize outstanding achievement and service in various fields of human endeavour; and

Whereas there are three different levels of membership - Companion, Officer and Member - honouring people whose accomplishments vary in degree and scope; and

Whereas Walter Ostrom from Indian Harbour was named as a Member of the Order of Canada on November 9, 2007;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Mr. Ostrom on being named to the Order of Canada and wish him much success in the future.

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RESOLUTION NO. 2400

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas Elizabeth Salton of Hackett's Cove has been volunteering for the past 11 years at the Tantallon Post Office; and

Whereas her hard work in planting and maintaining the flower gardens has helped make the grounds of the Tantallon Post Office beautiful; and

Whereas on December 2, 2006, Elizabeth was honoured by the Tantallon Post Office for all her hard work;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank Elizabeth Salton for all her hard work and wish her much success in the years to come.

RESOLUTION NO. 2401

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas Stefan Strecko is a young freestyle skier from the Boutilier's Point area who had the opportunity of a lifetime to represent Nova Scotia at the 2007 Canada Games; and

Whereas the Canada Games is this country's largest amateur multi-sport event with more than 3,600 athletes, coaches and managers from across the country; and

Whereas Team Nova Scotia 2007 has 290 members, including 213 athletes, 36 coaches, 23 managers, 3 artists and 15 mission staff;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Stefan Strecko on representing Nova Scotia on the national level and wish him much success in the future.