Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

HANSARD 07-48

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

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 4, 2007

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS: 4219
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 2460, Vimy Ridge: Battle - Anniv. (90th), The Premier 4220
Vote - Affirmative 4220
Honouring The Legacy - 90th Anniversary of the Battle
of Vimy Ridge
Hon. M. Scott 4221
Mr. D. Dexter 4222
Mr. M. Samson 4223
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Agric.: Pork Farmers - Support, Hon. M. Parent 4225
[GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION]
Res. 2461, Eastlink - Cdn. Forces Families: Generosity -
Acknowledge, Hon. M. Scott 4226
Vote - Affirmative 4226
Res. 2462, Tartan Day (04/07) - Celebrate, Hon. L. Goucher 4227
Vote - Affirmative 4227
Res. 2463, Team N.S. - Can. Winter Games: Recycling -
Commend, Hon. M. Parent 4228
Vote - Affirmative 4228
Vote - Affirmative
Res. 2464, Peck, Camilla - Tourism Ind.: Serv. (50yrs.) -
Congrats., Hon. L. Goucher 4228
Vote - Affirmative 4229
Res. 2465, Parker St. Food/Furniture Bank - Needy: Support -
Congrats., Hon. J. Streatch 4229
Vote - Affirmative 4230
Res. 2466, RCMP - Prov. Police Force: Anniv. (75th),
Hon. M. Scott 4230
Vote - Affirmative 4231
Res. 2467, Cartmill, Chuck: Entrepreneur of Yr. - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Parent 4231
Vote - Affirmative 4232
Res. 2468, Metro Coalition for a Non-Racist Soc. - Kelowna
Accord: Implementation - Support, Hon. M. Scott 4232
Vote - Affirmative 4232
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 178, Green Buildings Act, Mr. M. Samson 4233
No. 179, Pension Benefits ActMs. Maureen MacDonald 4233
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 2469, Tartan Day (04/07)/Cape Breton Tartan (Anniv. 50th) -
Celebrate, Mr. F. Corbett 4233
Vote - Affirmative 4234
Res. 2470, Vimy Ridge - Battle: Soldiers - Honour,
Mr. M. Samson 4234
Vote - Affirmative 4234
Res. 2471, Kinsmen Club (Cheticamp): Commun. Serv. - Congrats.,
The Premier 4234
Vote - Affirmative 4235
Res. 2472, Annapolis MD: Incorporation (300 yrs.) - Congrats.,
Mr. D. Dexter 4236
Vote - Affirmative 4236
Res. 2473, Wright, Deacon Gordon Dale: Black Cultural Soc.
Award - Congrats., Mr. K. Colwell 4236
Vote - Affirmative 4237
Res. 2474, Kilted Frenchman Steakhouse: Nat'l. Post Restaurant
Award - Congrats., Hon. M. Baker 4237
Vote - Affirmative 4238
Res. 2475, Watson, Jean: Scot. of the Yr. - Congrats.,
Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 4238
Vote - Affirmative 4239
Res. 2476, TPW - Fast Train (N.S.): Gov't. (Can.) - Lobby,
Mr. H. Theriault 4239
Res. 2477, Boutilier, Daniel: CanWest Spelling Bee - Congrats.
Best Wishes, Mr. A. MacLeod 4240
Vote- Affirmative 4240
Res. 2478, McMullen, Mary: Heart & Stroke Fdn. Golden Pin
Award - Congrats., Mr. J. MacDonell 4240
Vote - Affirmative 4241
Res. 2479, Vimy Ridge: Battle - Remember, Mr. W. Estabrooks 4241
Vote - Affirmative 4242
Res. 2480, Agric. - Hog Ind. Assistance: Petition - Support,
Mr. L. Glavine 4242
Res. 2481, Phillips, Ms. Chris: Sheelagh Nolan Award - Congrats.,
Mr. C. Porter 4242
Vote - Affirmative 4243
Res. 2482, Cumb. North Acad. - Soldiers' Support: Students -
Congrats., Mr. E. Fage 4243
Vote - Affirmative 4244
Res. 2483, MacDonald Alexander Lloyd: Death of - Tribute,
Mr. C. MacKinnon 4244
Vote - Affirmative 4245
Res. 2484, Bundy, Earl & Ruby - Anniv. (60th), Mr. K. Colwell 4245
Vote - Affirmative 4246
Res. 2485, Aberdeen Hosp. Fdn./Trust: Founders/Directors - Praise,
Mr. P. Dunn 4246
Vote - Affirmative 4247
Res. 2486, Müller, Justine - Political Process: Enthusiasm -
Recognize, Hon. D. Morse 4247
Vote - Affirmative 4247
Res. 2487, George Rink: NSSAF Girls Curling Championship -
Congrats., Hon. A MacIsaac 4248
Vote - Affirmative 4248
Res. 2488, Hayden, Brian: Truro Sport Heritage Soc. Vol. of Yr.
Award - Congrats., Hon. J. Muir 4249
Vote - Affirmative 4249
Vote - Affirmative
Res. 2489, Anthony, Stephen - Can. Winter Games: Participation -
Congrats., Hon. L. Goucher 4249
Vote - Affirmative 4250
Res. 2490, MacKenzie, Daniel - N. Col. HS: Male Student of Mo. -
Congrats., Hon. K. Casey 4250
Vote - Affirmative 4250
Res. 2491, D'Entremont, Michel & Mary Ella: Commun. Work -
Recognize, Hon. C. d'Entremont 4251
Vote - Affirmative 4251
Res. 2492, Keefe, Kevin/Hines Terry - Mill Island Dev.: Vision -
Applaud, Mr. C. Porter 4251
Vote - Affirmative 4252
Res. 2493, Collins, Francis - African N.S. Commun. (Truro):
Recognition - Congrats., Hon. J. Muir 4252
Vote - Affirmative 4253
Res. 2494, D'Entremont, Georges: Hockey Contribution - Thank,
Hon. C. d'Entremont 4253
Vote - Affirmative 4253
Res. 2495, MacDougall, Gail: Instructional/Athletic Efforts -
Applaud, Hon. A. MacIsaac 4254
Vote - Affirmative 4254
Res. 2496, Garden, Joan/Valley Communications: Efforts - Applaud,
Hon. M. Parent 4254
Vote - Affirmative 4255
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 462, Prem.: Trenton Works Closure - Gov't. - Response,
Mr. D. Dexter 4255
No. 463, Prem. - Trenton Works Closure: Workers - Assistance,
Mr. M. Samson 4257
No. 464, Prem. - Manufacturing Sector: Maintain/Build -
Plans, Mr. D. Dexter 4259
No. 465, Com. Serv. - Child Care Centres: Daily Rates -
Amounts, Mr. D. Dexter 4260
No. 466, Com. Serv. - Child Care: Operating Grant - Benefits,
Mr. S. McNeil 4262
No. 467, Com. Serv.: Child Care Operating Grant - School Age
Children, Ms. M. More 4263
Children, Ms. M. More
Children, Ms. M. More
No. 468, Educ.: Libraries - Funding, Mr. C. Parker 4264
No. 469, TPW - Crosswalk Safety: Working Group -
Mandate, Mr. W. Gaudet 4266
No. 470, Prem. - Fortress Louisbourg: Jobs - Retention,
Mr. D. Dexter 4267
No. 471, Health: Commonwealth Games Bid - Costs,
Mr. K. Colwell 4268
No. 472, Insurance - MacPhee Case: Cap - Justify,
Mr. G. Steele 4270
No. 473, TCH: Acadian Heritage - Protection, Ms. J. Massey 4271
No. 474, Agric.: Hog. Ind. - Future, Mr. L. Glavine 4272
No. 475, Com. Serv.: Affordable Housing Agreement -
Disbursement, Mr. G. Gosse 4273
No. 476, Fish. & Aquaculture: Renewal Process - Framework,
Mr. S. Belliveau 4275
No. 477, TPW: Road Rebuilding - Agreement, Mr. H. Theriault 4276
No. 478, Human Rights Commin.: Accessibility Complaints -
Forum, Mr. L. Preyra 4277
No. 479, Environ. & Lbr.: Water Strategy - Credibility,
Mr. H. Epstein 4279
No. 480, Com. Serv.: Income Assistance - Addt'l. Costs,
Mr. W. Gaudet 4280
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Review of Services For Students with Special Needs,
Hon. K. Casey 4282
OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS:
MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
Res. 19, TPW - Roads: Queens - Improve, Ms. V. Conrad ~ 4282 ~
Ms. V. Conrad 4282
Hon. A. MacIsaac 4285
Mr. H. Theriault 4287
Mr. C. Parker 4289
PRIVATE MEMBERS PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
Bill No. 73 - Health Insurance Protection Act 4292
Ms. M. Raymond 4292
Hon. M. Baker 4294
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 4297
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 4399
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Thur. Apr. 5th, at 9:00 a.m. 4301
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE (32)3:
Res. 2497, Chezzetcook & Dist. Lions Club: Charter Anniv. (22nd) -
Congrats., Hon. W. Dooks 4302
Res. 2498, Rector, Catherine: Youth Vol. of Yr. - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Scott 4302
Res. 2499, Crawford, Norma: Commun. Volunteering - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Scott 4303
Res. 2500, Glenn. Annie - Cumb. Co. (Dist. 9): Vol. of Yr. -
Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 4303
Res. 2501, Patriquin, Austin: Cumberland Mun. (Dist. 6) Vol. of
Yr. - Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 4304
Res. 2502, White, Brandon: Springhill Minor Basketball Assoc.
Award - Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 4304
Res. 2503, Ellis, Patrick: Springhill Minor Basketball Assoc. Award -
Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 4305
Res. 2504, Capon, Justin: Springhill Minor Basketball Assoc. Award -
Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 4305
Res. 2505, Hunter, Cody: Springhill Minor Basketball Assoc.
Award - Hon. M. Scott 4306
Res. 2506, Patriquin, Austin & Claire: Cumb. Mun. (Dist. 6)
Vol. of Yr. - Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 4306
Res. 2507, Wood, Abigail & Petten, Kalei: Science Fair Award -
Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 4307
Res. 2508, Pettigrew, Kaitlin Lions Speak Out Contest - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Scott 4307
Res. 2509, McNutt, Billy: NSAC Basketball Award - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Scott 4308
Res. 2510, MacAloney, Rebecca-Lee: Lions Speak Out Contest -
Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 4308
Res. 2511, Musquodoboit Hbr. & Dist. Lions Club - Clarke
Anniv. (25th), Hon. W. Dooks 4309
Res. 2512, Maillet, Tami - St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog
Prog.: Contribution - Contribution - Congrats.,
Mr. L. Glavine 4309
Res. 2513, Adshade, Bill: Compassion - Congrats., Mr. E. Fage 4310
Res. 2514, Greeno, Nathan, et al: NSAC President's List -
Congrats., Mr. E. Fage 4310
Res. 2515, Amherst Reg. HS Vikettes: NSSAF Girls
Basketball Champions - Congrats., Mr. E. Fage 4311
Basketball Champions - Congrats., Mr. E. Fage
Res. 2516, West Highlands Elem. Sch.: Can. Safety Coun. Award -
Congrats., Mr. E. Fage 4311
Res. 2517, Annapolis West Edu. Ctr. Knights: Boys Prov. Title -
Congrats., Mr. S. McNeil 4312
Res. 2518, Annapolis Co. Spectator/Editor/Staff: Newspaper
Award - Congrats., Mr. S. McNeil 4312
Res. 2519, Castro, Fidel: Castro's Tae Kwon Do Club - Applaud,
Mr. C. Porter 4313
Res. 2520, Burrell, Chris - Anna. West Educ. Ctr. Knights: Prov.
Title - Congrats., Mr. S. McNeil 4313
Res. 2521, Halliday, Lucas - Anna. West Educ. Ctr. Knights: Prov.
Title - Congrats., Mr. S. McNeil 4314
Res. 2522, Hudson, Danny - Anna. West Educ. Ctr. Knights:
Prov. Title - Congrats., Mr. S. McNeil 4314
Res. 2523, Hudson, Joey - Anna. West Educ. Ctr. Knights:
Prov. Title - Congrats., Mr. S. McNeil 4315
Res. 2524, Cromwell, Mark - Anna. West Educ. Ctr. Knights:
Prov. Title - Congrats., Mr. S. McNeil 4315
Res. 2525, Marshall, Mitchell - Anna. West Educ. Ctr. Knights:
Prov. Title - Congrats., Mr. S. McNeil 4316
Res. 2526, Fells, Nathaniel, - Anna. West Educ. Ctr. Knights:
Prov. Title - Congrats., Mr. S. McNeil 4316
Res. 2527, Messinger, Philip - Anna. West Educ. Ctr. Knights:
Prov. Title - Congrats., Mr. S. McNeil 4317
Res. 2528, Fells, Rev. Alden - Anna. West Educ. Ctr. Knights:
Prov. Title - Congrats., Mr. S. McNeil 4317
Res. 2529, Johnson, Kerry (Asst. Coach)/Team Members -
Anna. West Educ. Ctr. Knights: Prov. Title -
Congrats., Mr. S. McNeil 4318
Res. 2530, Burrell, Anthony - Anna. West Educ. Ctr. Knights:
Prov. Title - Congrats., Mr. S. McNeil 4318
Res. 2531, Fredericks, Henry - Anna. West Educ. Ctr.
Knights: Prov. Title - Congrats., Mr. S. McNeil 4319
Res. 2532, Last, Scott - Anna. West Educ. Ctr. Knights:
Prov. Title - Congrats., Mr. S. McNeil 4319
Res. 2533, Fells, Donna (Team Manager)/Team Members/
Coachers - Anna. West Educ. Ctr. Knights: Prov. Title -
Congrats., Mr. S. McNeil 4320
Res. 2534, Ritchie, Owen - Anna. West Educ. Ctr. Knights:
Prov. Title - Congrats., Mr. S. McNeil 4320

[Page 4219]

HALIFAX, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 4, 2007

Sixtieth General Assembly

First Session

2:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Cecil Clarke

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Mr. Wayne Gaudet

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

This year, 2007, will mark the 90th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. By pausing to remember veterans and to reflect upon their sacrifices, we honour and thank all those who served and those who died protecting our country.

It is indeed a privilege for the members of the Legislature to welcome some of Nova Scotia's veterans here today. We are also very pleased to have with us today officials and members of the Armed Forces retired service personnel; the Royal Canadian Mounted Police; students from the Sacred Heart School of Halifax, who participate in Veterans' Week activities, along with their principal and teachers; and in addition, we have a number of representatives from cadets and other organizations. Indeed, welcome one and all here to this historic Chamber.

I would now ask our honoured veterans to please rise, if they are able.

Members of the Legislature, please rise and join me in welcoming our honoured veterans to the House. (Standing Ovation)

[Page 4220]

4219

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, veterans, our distinguished guests, former Lieutenant Governor, the honourable J. James Kinley and Mrs. Kinley. Following this resolution I'm about to make and comments by my colleagues, I will be asking the House to rise for a moment of silence in commemoration of the sacrifice of Canadians at the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

RESOLUTION NO. 2460

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

Whereas 90 years ago this Easter Monday, it was the bravery and sheer tenacity of the 100,000 soldiers of the four Canadian Army divisions - including the remarkable Nova Scotian troops in both the 25th and 85th Battalions - that would overtake the previously invincible, German-occupied, 14- kilometre- long Vimy Ridge in northern France; and

Whereas it was a defining moment for our young nation and for the Allies in the First World War, but it also meant a great deal in human costs, with some 3,600 sacrificing their lives and thousands more wounded; and

Whereas the newly restored Canadian National Vimy Memorial remains standing in grand reverence to the valour of the fallen and of all who broke this German stronghold in the name of peace and freedom;

Therefore be it resolved that on this important, yet solemn anniversary, all members of this House salute the soldiers who selflessly and stubbornly moved the Allied Forces forward in defence of the freedom of our neighbours and, by doing what many thought impossible, transformed this country into a great nation.

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 4221]

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister responsible for Military Relations.

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and good afternoon to the members as well, especially to our guests in the gallery today.

Mr. Speaker, the Allied victory at Vimy Ridge, 90 years ago this month, represents not only a great Allied victory in the First World War, but it was in every respect a Canadian victory. Prior to this battle, Canadian soldiers fought as part of the British Army and it wasn't until just after the advance on Vimy Ridge that the 100,000-strong Canadian Corps was formed. This battle was fought by Canada's citizen soldiers, the sons of farmers, fishermen, foresters, and employees from every walk of life in our nation, led by other Canadians from the same professions. Their innovative methods and tactics and their unorthodox approach to this battle were the very key to their victory.

There were several very significant battles of the Western Front in which Canadians participated, Mr. Speaker. These battles were major milestones on the road to Vimy Ridge - battles whose names now appear on many of Canada's famed regiments as battle honours. They include Ypres, Festubert and Giverchy in 1915, and Somme in 1916. Vimy Ridge was key to the German defence system. Sixty-one metres above the Douai Plain, it protected an area of occupied France where mines and factories were in full production for Germany's war effort. It covered the junction of the main Hindenberg Line and the defence systems running north to the coast of the English Channel.

Since capturing the Ridge in October, 1914, the Germans added fortifications and obstacles, and the slopes of Vimy Ridge favoured the defenders. Until the Canadians agreed to dislodge the German defenders, Vimy Ridge cost 150,000 French and British soldiers. The Commander of the Canadian Corps, Lieutenant General Sir Julian Byng, assisted by Major- General Arthur Currie, planned the assault. The Canadian Corps, with all four of its divisions together for the first time, would simultaneously deliver an attack against Vimy Ridge. The infantry assault was preceded by a massive artillery barrage which began on March 20th. This involved more than 1,000 heavy guns, howitzers, and field artillery.

On April 2nd the bombardment was stepped up. By the time the infantry was sent out, a million artillery shells had battered the Germans. One Canadian commented that shells poured over his head onto enemy positions "like water from a hose." More than 80 per cent of the German guns had been identified. Few survived intact. The Germans called the period "the week of suffering." Trenches were shattered and a new artillery shell-fuse demolished many barbed-wire entanglements, easing the Canadians dangerous path in the combat.

At 5:30 a.m. on April 9, 1917, Easter Monday, the creeping artillery barrage began to move steadily towards the Germans. Behind it advanced 20,000 soldiers of the first

[Page 4222]

attacking wave of the four Canadian divisions leading the assault. The greatest resistence came from the machine guns in the German Line. However, three of the four divisions captured their part of Vimy Ridge by midday, right on schedule. In the final stage, the 2nd Canadian Division was assisted by the British 13th Brigade, which fell under its command for the operation.

Mr. Speaker, Canadians should be proud of the achievements of our soldiers of that day. Vimy Ridge marked the only significant success of the Allied Spring offensive of 1917. The Canadian Corps had captured more ground, more prisoners, and more guns than any previous British offence in two and a half years of war. It was one of the most complete and decisive engagements of the Great War and the greatest Allied victory up to that time. The Canadians had demonstrated they are one of the outstanding formations on the Western Front and masters of offensive warfare.

Although the victory at Vimy came swiftly, Mr. Speaker, it came with a heavy cost. There were 3,598 dead, out of 10,602 Canadian casualties. Battalions in the first waves of the assault bore the heaviest casualties. Thanks to good planning and thorough preparations however, the losses and wounded at Vimy were far lower than the battles of many other major assaults on the Western Front; they were also far lighter than those of any previous offence on the Ridge. Earlier French, British and German struggles there had cost at least 200,000 casualties. The Canadian success at Vimy marked a profound turning point for the Allies.

Mr. Speaker, a year and a half later the Great War was over. The Canadian record, beginning with our victory at Vimy, won for Canada a separate signature on the Versailles Peace Treaty ending the war. Back home the victory at Vimy won by troops from every part of the country, including the 85th Nova Scotia Highlanders who were sent in as reinforcements, helped unite Canadians in pride at the courage of their citizen soldiers. This was in a very real sense, the birth of Canada as a nation. We, as Canadians, will be forever grateful. Thank you very much. (Applause)

[2:15 p.m.]

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

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, it's an honour for me to have a few minutes to speak today. It's important at the 90th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge to pay tribute to the young Canadians and Nova Scotians who made the ultimate sacrifice at Vimy. One look at the photographs of those who took Vimy Ridge 90 years ago shows just how young they really were but, despite their youth, what they accomplished that day has come to be defined as an event that set Canada apart as a nation unto itself, apart from its colonial past. As one American put it at the time, Vimy brought forth in Canada's history, one of the great days - a day of glory to furnish inspirations to their sons for generations.

[Page 4223]

At dawn, Easter Monday, April 9, 1917, the Battle of Vimy Ridge began and after less than two hours, three of the four Canadian divisions had taken their objectives. The fourth division was held up on the highest point of the ridge, which was known as Hill 145. The 85th Nova Scotia Highlanders were intended to fill a supply and construction role but they were sent in instead as reinforcements. By the end of the day, Hill 145 was in Canadian control. A French soldier, upon hearing of the victory, said it is impossible and when he was informed that it was the Canadians that took the hill he said, ah, the Canadians, it is possible.

The Battle of Vimy Ridge solidified the reputation of the Canadians as among the finest troops in the world, troops that take on the most difficult tasks and succeed where others have failed. It's a reputation that remains strong 90 years later. Today, world conflicts continue to call for Canada's best. In Afghanistan, Canadian men and women continue to uphold the legacy that was born in 1917 on Vimy Ridge. Today is a day to remember Canadians and Nova Scotians at Vimy. I am pleased and proud to be able to take part in this day in this way. Thank you. (Applause)

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

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Merci, M. le Prèsident. On April 9, 1917, Easter Monday marked the first time all four divisions of the Canadian Corps worked together as one formation. They didn't know at the time that they would be responsible for the victory of one of the greatest battles during the First World War - the battle that would become our country's finest hour. After training for months with models of the trench systems and drills on the mission ahead, they were prepared and ready for the battle. Using innovative optical and acoustical techniques, Canadian troops perfected new ways to locate enemy artillery guns.

The Battle of Vimy Ridge began at 5:30 a.m. that Easter morning with some of the heaviest fire seen during the war. Canadians braved the snow, sleet, wind and machine gun fire for five days before they would finally defeat the Germans. First the corps captured Hill 145 where today the Canadian National Vimy Memorial sits and days later they conquered the remainder of the ridge. The victory came at a high cost to the Canadian Corps with approximately 11,000 casualties including 3,600 fatalities. Four Canadians would win the Victoria Cross, our nation's highest medal for military valour; Private William Milne, Lance-Sergeant Ellis Sifton, Captain Thain MacDowell and Private John Pattison.

Many say it was on this hill that Canada came of age, others say it was the day that Canada truly became a country. Regiments from coast to coast fought together in a distinctly Canadian triumph creating a stronger sense of identity, for Canada had accomplished what the French and British had failed to do, which was capture Vimy Ridge. After this victory, the Germans took extra care when the Canadians were involved in a battle "Whenever the Germans found that Canadians were coming into the line, they prepared for the worse," wrote wartime British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, in his memoirs. In hearing of the

[Page 4224]

victory at Vimy Ridge, a French soldier has said to have exclaimed c'ést impossible and in hearing that it was Canadians who had won the battle he replied, ah les canadiens, c'est possible.

Canada's military achievements during this battle raised their international reputation and helped earn the nation a separate signature on the Treaty of Versailles. The victory at Vimy Ridge was one of the most complete offensive victories in the war. The victory gained Canada a reputation as skilled, offensive operators on the western front. By the end of the battle, Canadians had captured more ground, more prisoners, more ammunition, and more equipment than any previous British offensive during the war.

Nova Scotia soldiers played a pivotal role in the Battle for Vimy. The experienced 25th Nova Scotia Battalion was among the troops, but it was the untested 85th Nova Scotia Highlanders, who were called up from their reserve positions in order to attack. They braved the gunfire and refused to retreat, despite the lack of cover. Within an hour, the Highlanders, who had fought like veteran soldiers, captured Hill 145, the centre of the German defense.

The Highlanders paid a high price for their victory, suffering many casualties and losing about 25 per cent of their unit. Ninety years later, the Battle of Vimy Ridge remains Canada's greatest military victory. Today, on land granted to Canada for all time by a grateful France, the Canadian National Vimy Memorial sits atop Hill 145. It is inscribed with the names of 11,285 Canadian soldiers, who were listed as missing, presumed dead, in France. It is a tribute to all who served our country in battle and risked or gave their lives in the war. They gave the ultimate price for the freedom we now enjoy.

Today, and over the Easter weekend, is the time to remember the sacrifices and achievements of Canada's veterans. Their legacy must be preserved for future generations. We cannot allow the sacrifices or the values and principles they fought for, to be forgotten.

À tous nos anciens combattants, ont vous remercie du fond de notre coeurs pour votre défense de notre pays et de donner notre liberté. Merci, M. le prèsident. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: I'd now like to ask all those who are able, to please rise for a moment of silence.

[A moment of silence was observed.]

Thank you. You may be seated. At this time, before proceeding to the regular business of the House, we just want to take this opportunity to thank our honoured and esteemed guests for joining with us and for those who have joined with us you will notice, as well, that today is Tartan Day, celebrated here at Province House, in Nova Scotia. As many would know, a tartan is about symbolizing who we are and tells a story about what we are, and thankfully, it twinned with this ceremony today in commemoration because our

[Page 4225]

celebration of Tartan Day, is a celebration as a free and democratic people and we thank our veterans for preserving that and we honour them here today.

So thank you, to all who have come. We will now enter the regular business of the House, and so any guests that have to retire, please feel free to do so and we'll now continue with the business of the Legislature. Thank you once again, to all our guests. (Applause)

Order, please. We will now commence the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

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

HON. MARK PARENT: Mr. Speaker, before I present this petition would it be possible to make an introduction?

MR. SPEAKER: Please do.

MR. PARENT: In the gallery opposite is Fred Whalen, Warden of Kings County and his wife, Anne. I would like to welcome them and ask the House to recognize them appropriately. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to present a petition and the operative clause reads: "We want the Government to recognize the importance of supporting Nova Scotia Pork Farmers, and take immediate action to avoid the loss of more agricultural production in Nova Scotia. For our part, we will ask our grocers to feature more local pork in their stores, and we will look for Nova Scotia pork products when we shop. We ask that the Province create the policies needed to ensure that we can buy local pork, support local farmers and their families, and ensure the future of key processing facilities like the Larsens Plant in Berwick." The petition was submitted by Kings County with a total of 4,387 names and I have affixed my signature to it.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

[GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister for Military Relations.

[Page 4226]

[Page 4227]

RESOLUTION NO. 2461

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

Whereas several hundred Nova Scotian service personnel of the regular reserve components of the Canadian Forces, who have family members throughout the province, have deployed to Afghanistan; and

Whereas the Department of National Defence provided video conference facilities to Halifax and Region Military Family Resource Centre that were incompatible with existing communications equipment at their facilities; and

Whereas Eastlink Communications of Halifax volunteered to connect the equipment and then further volunteered to provide the military family resource centre with a real time, high quality video conference link for up to three years at no charge, so Nova Scotians can speak with their family members deployed in Afghanistan;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House acknowledge the generosity and community spirit of Eastlink Communications for their support to the families of servicemen and servicewomen who are serving with the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan.

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.

HON. LEONARD GOUCHER: Mr. Speaker, if I could just make a comment before I start. I just wanted to thank you for facilitating and permitting us to bring into the House a memento from the Tourism, Culture and Heritage Department - the Nova Scotia tartan scarf, in our effort to help the House celebrate Tartan Day. Also, I guess, Mr. Speaker, today it really takes on a dual meaning with the members of our armed forces, the veterans who were here to remember the people that Nova Scotians lost at Vimy Ridge.

[Page 4228]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage.

RESOLUTION NO. 2462

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

Whereas for more than 20 years, Canadians of Scottish descent have donned their kilts and other tartan attire on April 6th to celebrate their heritage on Tartan Day; and

Whereas the tartan and traditions that Scottish settlers brought here to Nova Scotia continue to shape our culture and to enrich our lives to this date; and

Whereas Tartan Day originated 21 years ago in Nova Scotia, thanks to the efforts of Jean Watson, who has been named 2007 Scot of the Year by the Scottish Studies Society;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House celebrate Tartan Day and congratulate Jean Watson on the well deserved recognition she is receiving for her efforts to promote Scottish culture in Nova Scotia and across the country.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[2:30 p.m.]

I, too, would like to thank the previous Speaker and his legislative assistant for affording the tradition of establishing Nova Scotia tabs for the Legislature, so thank you to the honourable Minister of Justice.

The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour.

RESOLUTION NO. 2463

[Page 4229]

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 recent Canada Winter Games in Whitehorse presented an environmental challenge in that 25 bags of compostable material and 14 bags of plastic recyclables were collected on the first Monday of the Games; and

Whereas athletes and officials from all provinces were encouraged by the Games green team to properly sort their recyclables in bins provided to ensure the Winter Games event was the most environmental yet; and

Whereas Ms. Johanna Smith, a leader of the Winter Games green team found that Team Nova Scotia was the most green of all the provinces attending the Winter Games;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join the people of Nova Scotia in commending Team Nova Scotia for their gold medal performance in advancing Nova Scotia's reputation as a recycling leader.

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. 2464

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

Whereas Nova Scotia's tourism industry employs more than 33,000 people, many of them in small businesses; and

Whereas Camilla Peck of Catalone, Cape Breton, was one of those industry professionals running a bed and breakfast operation in her home for more than 50 years; and

[Page 4230]

Whereas Ms. Peck wrote to the department in March advising that she was retiring after a career that contributed to our tourism industry and enriched her life with fabulous friends;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Ms. Peck on her 50 years of impeccable service in the tourism industry and wish her all the best during her well-earned retirement.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 2465

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

Whereas the Parker Street Food Bank has been a valued and well-utilized member of the Halifax community since its establishment in 1983, and addition of a furniture bank in 1995; and

Whereas the organization has helped countless people deal with adversity, even while facing its own adversity like a devastating fire in 2001; and

Whereas the Parker Street Food and Furniture Bank has started a new initiative called Great Things in Store, a retail outlet of donated goods that will help subsidize its efforts to provide necessities and services;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Parker Street Food and Furniture Bank for its continued support of those who are in need in our province, and wish them much success with their new endeavour as they strive to improve the quality of life for those who come through their doors.

[Page 4231]

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 Justice.

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. With your permission I'd like to do an introduction.

MR. SPEAKER: Please do.

MR. SCOTT: I'd like to bring to the attention of the members of the House two very distinguished individuals who are in the Speaker's Gallery today and I would ask them to rise. I'd like to introduce Assistant Commissioner Ian Atkins of H Division RCMP and Ruth McLea who is Inspector of Corporate Planning and Client Services for H Division.

They are here today as the result of ongoing celebrations. As members would know, it is the 75th Anniversary of policing services through the RCMP to Nova Scotia as a provincial police force. Thanks to the generosity of the Speaker, we have a display downstairs and I'd ask all members to take advantage of the opportunity to see the fine artifacts and memorabilia of the RCMP from the many years of service to this province. So welcome today and I ask the House to give them a warm welcome. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

RESOLUTION NO. 2466

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

Whereas on April 1, 1932, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police assumed the role of Nova Scotia's Provincial Police Force; and

[Page 4232]

Whereas after 75 years of dedicated service the Nova Scotia RCMP H Division continues to provide excellence in service by ensuring the safety and security of our citizens; and

Whereas this government and all Nova Scotians are tremendously grateful for the hard work and dedication shown by the RCMP in our province;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the important role the RCMP plays in communities throughout Nova Scotia and that all members congratulate Nova Scotia RCMP on the occasion of its 75th Anniversary as our provincial police force.

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. 2467

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

Whereas Chuck Cartmill of C-Vision, Global Manufacturing Innovators of Amherst, Nova Scotia, has been named Atlantic Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young; and

Whereas Mr. Cartmill's personal vision has resulted in the development and implementation of manufacturing processes that eliminate the use of six environmentally hazardous substances; and

Whereas his business venture has and does pursue environmental innovation that exceeds consumer expectations while achieving international-scale business success;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join the people of Nova Scotia in commending Chuck Cartmill for exhibiting environmentally responsible business practices.

[Page 4233]

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 responsible for Human Rights.

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, at the end of this resolution, if the House accepts it, I will be asking, on behalf of the Metro Coalition for a Non-Racist Society, that the Speaker forward a copy of this resolution, along with four Nova Scotian flags that members of the Nova Scotia society have signed on behalf of the members of this Legislature. So I will make that request beforehand.

RESOLUTION NO. 2468

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

Whereas the Government of Nova Scotia supports equality and the aboriginal people of Nova Scotia in the province; and

Whereas the Government of Nova Scotia has a strong record of working with the federal government and aboriginal leaders to ensure that appropriate supports are realized for the future well-being of aboriginal people in communities in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the Government of Nova Scotia supports Bill C-292, An Act to Implement the Kelowna Accord;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House support the efforts of the Metro Coalition for a Non-Racist Society to encourage the federal government to implement the results of the First Ministers meeting on aboriginal issues or the Kelowna Accord held in Kelowna, British Columbia, November 2005.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 4234]

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 178 - Entitled an Act to Require That Government Buildings Constructed in the Future Comply With Green Energy and Environmental Design Standards. (Mr. Michel Samson)

Bill No. 179 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 340 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Pension Benefits Act. (Ms. Maureen MacDonald)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 2469

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

Whereas April 4th marks Tartan Day and this month celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Cape Breton Tartan; and

Whereas the Cape Breton Tartan was inspired by the 1907 poem, "The Lady of the Loom", by Lillian Crewe Walsh; and

Whereas Lillian Crewe Walsh gave her poem to her friend, Elizabeth Belle Grant and they collaborated to design the Cape Breton Tartan in 1957;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly celebrate Tartan Day in this month which marks the 50th anniversary of the world famous Cape Breton Tartan.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

[Page 4235]

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. 2470

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

Whereas the upcoming Easter weekend, 2007, will mark the 90th anniversary of the First World War Canadian military attack on Vimy Ridge, France; and

Whereas while other Allied forces failed to take the 14 kilometre escarpment, the 85th Nova Scotia Highlanders played a crucial role in securing Vimy Ridge; and

Whereas the Vimy Memorial Monument now rests in the place of that battle and lists the approximately 11,285 soldiers who lost their lives in France and whose remains were never found, protecting the freedoms we now enjoy today;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly honour the brave Canadian soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice at Vimy Ridge and all other Canadian soldiers who put their lives on the line so Canadians can enjoy the freedoms we do have today.

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 Premier.

[Page 4236]

RESOLUTION NO. 2471

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

Whereas Le Club Kinsmen de Cheticamp celebrated its 30 year anniversary in January; and

Whereas this local service club and its membership are a valued part of our local community; and

Whereas over the past three decades, the hard-working members of Le Club Kinsmen de Cheticamp have raised and invested back into their community over $3 million;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Cheticamp membership of this international service club on their many years of dedicated community service.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable The Premier.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I have a class here from my constituency in the east gallery, some very fresh faces from Inverness County, specifically from the Port Hawkesbury area, Tamarac Education Centre. We have 45 Grade 5s accompanied by four adults - 23 are from the French immersion class. If they just heard my French, you'll know that I did not go through the French immersion class. There are 22 English speaking students and they are accompanied by Sharon Ryan, Gisele Boudreau, Marli Cail and Gavin Naime. Mr. Speaker, I would ask the students from my area to rise and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Indeed, we welcome our special guests and all guests to the gallery today. The honourable The Premier.

[Page 4237]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I simply wanted to point out, the little girl in the front with the pink on, if she'll stand up, that would be a cousin of mine, Mr. Speaker. A special welcome to my cousin. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: It's Tartan Day, we're all one big happy family in Nova Scotia today.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 2472

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

Whereas Annapolis Royal occupies a special and unique role in history as the first capital of our Province of Nova Scotia from 1710 until the founding of Halifax in 1749; and

Whereas the beautiful, dynamic Town of Annapolis Royal has a long and rich historical connection with the equally historical city of Annapolis, Maryland in the United States; and

Whereas the Town of Annapolis Royal and the City of Annapolis, Maryland are now in the process of twinning and will exchange visits in preparation for next year as Annapolis, Maryland, reaches a significant milestone in its existence;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly extend congratulations to Annapolis, Maryland, as it celebrates 300 years of its incorporation in 2008.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[2:45 p.m.]

[Page 4238]

The honourable member for Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 2473

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

Whereas Deacon Gordon Dale Wright has received the Reverend William Pearly Oliver Wall of Honour Award on March 3, 2007, presented by the Black Cultural Society of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Deacon Wright has been a member of the Victoria Road United Baptist Church for over 50 years, where he served on many boards and committees and was ordained a deacon of his church in 1998; and

Whereas Deacon Wright has received many rewards and recognitions for his dedicated service and involvement in the community and projects throughout his life;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly join me in recognizing Deacon Wright for his most recent well-deserved recognition by the Black Cultural Society of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Finance.

RESOLUTION NO. 2474

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

Whereas we are very fortunate in Nova Scotia to have many excellent eating establishments to choose from; and

[Page 4239]

Whereas this year the National Post newspaper asked its readers to submit the names of their favourite restaurants from across Canada; and

Whereas the Kilted Frenchman Steakhouse located in Bayport, Nova Scotia, was chosen by the National Post to receive a People's Choice Restaurant Award;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Kilted Frenchman Steakhouse and its owner Debbie Scott on receiving one of the first annual National Post People's Choice Restaurant Awards.

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 on an introduction.

HON. LEONARD GOUCHER: Mr. Speaker, to all the members of the House I'd like to introduce, in the Speaker's Gallery, the Chair of our Nova Scotia Arts and Culture Partnership Council, Paul Gallant, Terry Kelly, and also Joella Foulds. All three are members of the Nova Scotia Arts and Culture Partnership Council, wonderful people to work with, they do a great job on behalf of the people of this province, and I'd like them to stand and receive a warm welcome from the House. (Applause)

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

RESOLUTION NO. 2475

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

Whereas Lower Sackville resident, Jean Watson, has been named 2007's Scot of the Year by the Scottish Studies Foundation of Toronto; and

[Page 4240]

Whereas Jean Watson, known as the "Mother of Tartan"was instrumental in establishing April 6th of every year as Tartan Day, a day to promote Scottish heritage by wearing Scottish attire; and

Whereas the very first Tartan Day was held in Nova Scotia in 1987, and in the years since then has been adopted by every Canadian provincial Assembly;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Jean Watson for being named Scot of the Year and acknowledge her dedication to keeping the Scottish heritage alive and visible in Nova Scotia and beyond.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 2476

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

Whereas traffic is greatly increasing on our highways to move both people and goods in and out of this city to rural areas and other destinations; and

Whereas roads are deteriorating faster than we can rebuild them, and more traffic is causing greater pollution problems for us all; and

Whereas France is now buying trains from Canada to correct this very same problem by reducing emissions, traffic congestion and saving billions of dollars in road repairs;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly encourage this government to come to life and lobby the federal government for major infrastructure financing to put a fast train from the western end of this province that will continue through Halifax to North Sydney, that connects major national and international ferry routes.

[Page 4241]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

[Page 4242]

RESOLUTION NO. 2477

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

Whereas Grade 8 student at Whitney Pier Memorial Junior High School, Daniel Boutilier, is preparing to compete in the CanWest CanSpell National Spelling Bee; and

Whereas the 12-year-old Port Caledonia native will join 40 other students, including another Cape Bretoner, in Ottawa later this month to vie for the title of Canada's top speller; and

Whereas Daniel was runner-up in the regional finals held last month with the champion declared after an unprecedented 22 rounds, exhibiting the quality of Cape Breton's young spellers;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House send their congratulations and best wishes to Daniel Boutilier when he competes in the CanWest CanSpell National Spelling Bee.

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.

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2478

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

Whereas volunteers fight heart and stroke disease by raising funds for research; and

Whereas the Heart and Stroke Foundation provides the platform within which those volunteers operate; and

[Page 4243]

Whereas Mary McMullen of Milford Station was recently awarded a golden pin by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Nova Scotia for 25 years of door-to-door canvassing to raise funds;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Mary McMullen on receiving the Golden Pin Award by the Heart and Stroke Foundation, and thank her for her continued fundraising efforts.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 2479

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

Whereas on April 9th, 1917, 90 years ago, Canadian Troops claimed victory at the historic battle of Vimy Ridge during the First World War; and

Whereas this battle measured the significance of the development of Canada as a young nation; and

Whereas during that fateful battle many brave Canadians paid the ultimate sacrifice;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly remember the Battle of Vimy Ridge of April 9, 1917, and cherish the significance in our history as a nation.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 4244]

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. 2480

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

Whereas the pork industry in Nova Scotia generates $35 million in farm sales annually, $100 million in spinoffs; and

Whereas the hog industry employs 1,500 Nova Scotians both directly and in other employment areas, as well as putting $11 million into tax revenue in the province; and

Whereas this government has not adequately addressed the concerns of pork producers who are in need of a long-term, stable plan for the industry;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly support those who have signed a petition calling on government to take immediate action and save the province's ailing hog industry.

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 member for Hants West.

RESOLUTION NO. 2481

[Page 4245]

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Autism Centre opened in 2002 to assist parents and many other individuals wanting to support others living with Autism Spectrum Disorder; and

Whereas the Sheelagh Nolan Award for Excellence in Teaching in the field of autism is awarded annually to recognize individuals across Nova Scotia for their excellent work in assisting children affected; and

Whereas Ms. Chris Phillips of the Windsor Forks Elementary School was one of the five teaching assistants across Nova Scotia to be presented with the Sheelagh Nolan Award in 2006;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud teaching excellence and outstanding work done by Windsor Forks Elementary School Teaching Assistant Chris Phillips in the field of autism, on a daily basis.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cumberland North.

RESOLUTION NO. 2482

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

Whereas fifty Grade 6 students at Cumberland North Academy in Brookdale have adopted two local soldiers, Willis Ripley and Shaun MacIsaac, currently serving in Afghanistan; and

[Page 4246]

Whereas the soldiers will receive thank you cards for being brave and birthday cards on April 7th, as they share the same birth month and day, along with other messages of support while on duty; and

Whereas teacher Nancy Coleman says the students were pleased to think that someone would think they would do a good job adopting the young men, age 19 and 20 and the students from Ms. Coleman's class as well as Lawry MacLeod's class have seen pictures and received information from the mothers of these soldiers to help make the interaction more personal;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in sending our congratulations to the teachers and students of Cumberland North Academy for their interest and support of these soldiers during their active duty and wish both a very Happy Birthday on April 7th.

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 member for Halifax Needham on an introduction.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I'd like to bring the attention of members of the House to the east gallery, west gallery. I'm a little directionally challenged sometimes, where we're joined today by members of the child care, early childhood learning community. We have Margie Vigneault, from the North End Day Care, in the beautiful constituency of Halifax Needham and Valerie Blau; some of the workers from the daycare in the North End Day Care, as well. I'd like to recognize them. John McCracken who's here from CUPE, and I'm sorry, I don't know everybody who's here, but I'd ask you all to rise and receive the warm welcome of the House.

MR. SPEAKER: Indeed, we welcome all our visitors to Province House today.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2483

[Page 4247]

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

Whereas A. Lloyd MacDonald, who passed away on March 9, 2007, was a lifelong member of the Liberal Party and capably served the constituents of Pictou East as a member of the Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly for two terms; and

Whereas Lloyd MacDonald, as a young man, served his country with distinction in tank warfare, during World War II, a member of the 28th Canadian Armored Regiment in France, Belgium, Holland and Germany; and

Whereas Lloyd MacDonald returned from overseas to his birthplace of Garden of Eden, Pictou County, raising a family of five sons and two daughters with his late wife, Margaret, and serving his community as a member of the Blair Presbyterian Church Board of Managers, Chair of the Garden of Eden Cemetery Committee, member of the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 75, Eureka and the Thorburn Veterans Association;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly recognize the contributions of Lloyd MacDonald, a former MLA, and offer condolences to the family members of Alexander Lloyd MacDonald, in the event of his passing.

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 member for Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 2484

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

Whereas Earl and Ruby Bundy were married on September 21, 1946, in Newport Station, Nova Scotia, in the home of Reverend Morgan; and

[Page 4248]

Whereas Earl and Ruby Bundy have lovingly brought up nine children and now have 29 grandchildren and 37 great-grandchildren; and

Whereas Earl joined the military in January 1942 and left on May 4, 1946, so he could be near his new wife, Ruby;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating Earl and Ruby Bundy, upon reaching their 60th Wedding Anniversary on September 21, 2006.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou Centre.

[3:00 p.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 2485

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

Whereas the Aberdeen Hospital Foundation and the Aberdeen Hospital Trust celebrated 20 years recently; and

Whereas former Premier and original board member, Dr. John Hamm, was the guest speaker at the 20th Anniversary celebration held recently; and

Whereas since its inception, the foundation and the trust has accumulated more than $20 million towards maintaining the quality of care at the Aberdeen Hospital;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House send their praise to the founders and directors of the Aberdeen Hospital Foundation and Trust on the continued efforts to provide Pictonians with first-class medical treatment.

[Page 4249]

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 Natural Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 2486

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

Whereas Justine Müller, age 20, from Head of St. Margaret's is presently attending Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, majoring in business management and minoring in economics; and

Whereas Justine is vice-president of the Political Studies Society and conference representative, and she successfully organized an Atlantic conference for political science students in January of 2007, where six universities were represented; and

Whereas Justine is an impressive young woman, involved with the Women In House Program, where she was to job shadow a high-profile political woman, but since there were not enough of them, she graciously settled for me instead;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the enthusiasm Justine brings to the political process and wish her the utmost success with her academic pursuits and perhaps, someday, a Mount Saint Vincent student will job shadow her as a member of this House.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 4250]

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. 2487

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: 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 Schools Athletic Federation in a variety of winter sports; and

Whereas the Dr. J. H. Gillis Rink took home provincial championship honours in the NSAF Girls Curling Championships, held at the Liverpool Curling Club from March 24th to March 25th; and

Whereas skip Alix George, along with Andrea Heffernan, Catherine Haley and Virginia Georgalles, defeated previously unbeaten Horton High 7-4 in the provincial final, after advancing with an 8-6 win over Bridgewater in the provincial semi-final;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs in this House congratulate the Alix George Rink from Dr. J.H. Gillis Regional High School in Antigonish for winning the 2007 NSAF Girls Curling Championship, and wish them the very best with all their future and current studies and athletic pursuits.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

RESOLUTION NO. 2488

[Page 4251]

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

Whereas Brian Hayden received the Volunteer of the Year Award at the Truro Sport Heritage Society's 23rd Annual Sports Awards Dinner; and

Whereas Brian Hayden worked with over 100 young golfers as the 2006 junior club chair of the Truro Golf Club; and

Whereas Brian Hayden's tutelage included skills, understanding the game, sportsmanship and human relations, and he was a role model for all of these qualities;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Brian Hayden on earning the Volunteer of the Year Award from the Truro Sport Heritage Society ,and thank him for his exceptional leadership to young people.

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. 2489

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

Whereas Stephen Anthony of Bedford represented Nova Scotia at the 2007 Canada Winter Games; and

Whereas Stephen demonstrated excellence in his chosen sport of hockey; and

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

[Page 4252]

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

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 2490

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

Whereas each month North Colchester High School recognizes a male and female student who have made positive contributions to their classes and the life of North Colchester High School; and

Whereas Grade 9 student, Daniel MacKenzie, shows strong academic ability, leadership skills and a concern for the well-being of his teachers and peers; and

Whereas Daniel is an excellent example of good citizenship;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend their congratulations to Grade 9 student, Daniel MacKenzie, of North Colchester High School for being selected Male Student of the Month.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 4253]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health.

[Page 4254]

RESOLUTION NO. 2491

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 Michel and Mary Ella d'Entremont of Middle West Pubnico are known in their community for their kindness and generosity, having volunteered with the Canadian Cancer Society's Relay for Life and helped with many fundraising efforts; and

Whereas because of ongoing medical problems, Mike, as he is known, is unable to work; and

Whereas the community has rallied behind Mike and Mary Ella through the efforts of a large committee to organize a fundraising drive;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in recognizing the work that Michel and Mary Ella d'Entremont have done in their community and in thanking the community for showing their support for this family.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Hants West.

RESOLUTION NO. 2492

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

Whereas Windsor-West Hants continues to show promising economic growth; and

Whereas one of the more truly invigorating projects now underway is the restoration of the old textile mill and a development known as Mill Island; and

[Page 4255]

Whereas owners Kevin Keefe and Terry Hines, along with project coordinator Cathy Cox and designers, have included condominium development along with a retail area, encompassing old-world European markets into this spectacular new renovation and soon-to-be commercial and residential operation;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the incredulous vision and entrepreneurial spirit of Kevin Keith and Terry Hines for establishing Mill Island and working toward something all of Windsor-West Hants can be immensely proud of.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

RESOLUTION NO. 2493

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

Whereas Francis Collins was recognized for his community contributions at the 2007 African Heritage Month banquet, hosted by the African Nova Scotia community of Truro; and

Whereas Francis Collins has been a community leader for many years and in 1982 was co-founder of the Colchester Black Social Club, now known as the Community Enhancement Association, and he served as president, treasurer and board member; and

Whereas Francis Collins is the founder and president of the Stan Maxwell Memorial Playground, served on the Truro Parks and Recreation Commission and has extensively documented the history of Black athletes of Truro;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Francis Collins for being recognized by the African Nova Scotia community of Truro, thank him for his

[Page 4256]

continuing community service and leadership, and extend to him and his wife, Frances, best wishes for the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 2494

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

Whereas the Yarmouth Motor Mart Mariners have been an integral part of the Yarmouth hockey scene for the past five years; and

Whereas Mr. Georges d'Entremont of West Pubnico, captain of the team, has played with the Mariners for four years; and

Whereas, Mr. d'Entremont, who is in his final year of eligibility in the Maritime Junior A Hockey League, played his last home game on February 18th of this year;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in thanking Mr. Georges d'Entremont for his contribution to the sport of hockey in Yarmouth County.

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 4257]

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works.

RESOLUTION NO. 2495

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

Whereas the girls basketball team at Dr. J.H. Gillis High School in Antigonish has had a steadying influence of coaching and instruction over the years; and

Whereas the 2006-07 season saw Ms. Gail MacDougall coach her 1,000th game as head coach of the J.H. Gillis Royals; and

Whereas Gail recently completed her 27th consecutive year as head coach of the girls basketball Royals;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the exceptional instructional and athletic inspirational efforts of Gail MacDougall through 27 years as she coaches her second century of basketball as head coach of the Dr. J.H. Gillis High School girls team in Antigonish.

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. 2496

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

[Page 4258]

Whereas Valley Communications in Kentville, which answers emergency calls across seven counties, were kept very busy this past weekend answering a total of 141 calls; and

Whereas the majority of the calls were for firefighters in Kings County who responded to everything from house to brush to what one fire chief described as a barn fire without the barn involving a field plus 250 round bales of hay emitting thick blankets of toxic smoke from the plastic-wrapped bales; and

Whereas such calls need support and immediate attention and organization second to none by trained emergency dispatchers;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the tremendous efforts of both Valley Communications owner Joan Garden and her professionally-based Kentville staff and all volunteer firefighters from across Kings County who endured a tiring and challenging weekend.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period will begin at 3:12 p.m. and end at 4:42 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

PREM.: TRENTON WORKS CLOSURE - GOV'T. RESPONSE

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question this afternoon will be through you to the Premier. To say today has been a devastating day for the citizens of Pictou County would be an understatement. The news this morning that Greenbrier intends to close the Trenton Works railcar plant will lead to hundreds of direct and probably hundreds of indirect job losses. Since 1872, this industry has been a major employer in our province. Local plant

[Page 4259]

manager, Bob Hickey, summed up the plant's importance to the broader community saying, local businesses throughout Pictou County supply the plant and our workers are known to spend their hard-earned pay primarily within the community.

So my question, through you, Mr. Speaker, to the Premier is this, will the Premier tell Pictou County residents and this House what specific steps and plans his government offered to ensure the viability of this key industry?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, indeed it is a very sad day for the people of Pictou County and the Trenton area, Trenton Works, the workers and their families. Trenton Works has been a mainstay in that part of Nova Scotia, part of the culture, part of who individuals are. I am sure there is not anyone who lives in that community or that region who doesn't have a family member who has worked there at the plant. The government has taken a number of steps and we have had ongoing dialogue with those at Trenton Works on this issue. As well, we also put forward in an effort to try to save Trenton Works, a generous offer from the people of Nova Scotia that would be provided in a number of key areas that would total about $14.5 million. It was a generous offer - unfortunately, the company has had to make a company decision and this where we find ourselves at the present time.

[3:15 p.m.]

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, well, the workforce at Trenton Works has been up and down now for some time but it is no doubt that the Premier, as many observed, this plant was experiencing difficulties. Greenbrier's expansion into Mexico was well underway. Work that was being done by Nova Scotians will go to a new plant in Mexico.

We know that the Pictou Regional Development Authority was working hard to gain new markets for Trenton Works and I would like to think that the province has also been fully engaged with securing the future of this industry so I would like to ask the Premier, through you, Mr. Speaker, what concrete steps will the government now be taking to seek diversification and new opportunities to take advantage of the trained work force and the existing facilities?

THE PREMIER: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Indeed, as I mentioned, the government was working with management at the plant. Indeed, there were trips take to places such as Fort MacMurray, out in Alberta, taking a look at ways to drum up new business, for a variety of businesses, which included Trenton Works.

Mr. Speaker, I can assure the Leader of the Opposition, through you, that the Government of Nova Scotia will work with the local regional development association, will work with local leadership on the business side and the political side, to seek out all efforts that we can to see more work for the people of the Pictou area. We will do so through NSBI and OED but it will take some time but the government is willing to do so.

[Page 4260]

MR. DEXTER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Well, while the efforts to find a new use for this plant are ongoing, there is going to be a need for provincially-led retraining and skills development assistance for the workforce. We also know that some of the Trenton Works employees are close to retirement and they may well have difficulty finding a new job here in Nova Scotia.

So my question, Mr. Speaker, through you to the Premier is, what consideration has the government given to the kind of assistance - transitional assistance and severance packages - that these workers and their families will require if they are to stay in this province?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, much like the government did with respect to the situation with Maple Leaf, where the Department of Education had individuals in place to specifically deal with the very difficult situation that workers found themselves in there, we'll be taking the same similar steps in Pictou County with respect to the situation faced there, I can assure that member.

In fact, Mr. Speaker, even before Question Period, I took the time to make a call to Bob Hickey myself. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get hold of him but certainly I want to be speaking with either himself or another representative of the company in the next 24 hours.

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

PREM. - TRENTON WORKS CLOSURE: WORKERS - ASSISTANCE

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, today we learned that the Trenton Works Rail Car plant in central Nova Scotia will close later this year. This recent closure will mean the elimination of 330 well-paying jobs. Less than two years ago, this facility employed approximately 1,200 Nova Scotians and was key to the workforce not only in this area but to our entire provincial economy.

This will be a devastating blow to Pictou County and surrounding areas. My question to the Premier is, what is your government's plan to aid the people working at Trenton Works Limited who learned today that they are out of a job?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, already the Department of Education has been in contact with officials on the ground, to do all we can for the workers and their families. The member for Pictou Centre has been very involved in this, having worked there himself, I believe, for a short period of time. So he has been a strong representative on the part of the people he represents to ensure that government is doing all it can, through Economic Development and through my office. That is the type of collaboration we will continue to have in the days ahead, to all we can for the people of Pictou County.

[Page 4261]

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, very few companies in Nova Scotia can boast of having had over 1200 employees on their payroll. Nova Scotians are left today to wonder, how this company has fallen below the government's radar screen. With all due respect to the Premier, Mr. Speaker, while some employees may be looking for retraining opportunities, more importantly, 330 families are looking for jobs as what they need to feed their families and provide for their families here in Nova Scotia. While the Premier speaks about wanting to bring Nova Scotians back here to Nova Scotia from Western Canada, it makes it quite difficult to do that when you lose the well-paying tradesmen jobs that were provided at companies such as TrentonWorks. My question to the Premier is, what is your plan today to increase economic development in rural Nova Scotia in light of the most recent closure at TrentonWorks?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, as I said, the government has been working in collaboration with the company already. We were helping to seek and take a look at new opportunities out there for the company. We had hoped, and I know everyone in this House had hoped, that we would see success for that company, but at the end of the day they had to make a private-sector decision and we respect that.

We will do all we can for the tradespeople in that part of the province. We will do all we can for those families to help them - whether it be retraining or seeking new opportunities for employment. Our government has been very, very successful in the area of growing jobs in our province and we won't let this issue stop us from growing opportunities for the people.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, the economic importance of this company simply cannot be measured. This company has been vital to the stability of this community and families for over 135 years. This government has done very little to keep rural Nova Scotia companies in business. While the Premier has his rose-coloured glasses on, he may be reminded of the situation facing Nova Scotia's hog industry.

The closure of the Maple Leaf plant in Canard, the closure of the EDS call centre in Port Hawkesbury - in his own riding - and now the TrentonWorks facility. Nova Scotians are wondering, where will it all end? The Premier and his government need to wake up and realize the best way to ensure growth in Nova Scotia's workforce is to keep the people we already have working. My final supplementary to the Premier is, when can we expect your government to put plans into action to revive rural Nova Scotia, stop companies from shutting down, and keeping our people from leaving Nova Scotia?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, this government is committed to growing the economy of Nova Scotia. We will do so by continuing to invest in infrastructure. We will do so by helping to train young Nova Scotians and helping them to have more opportunities to stay here at home. We will do so by investing in areas such as information technology, by making sure we invest in our education system. We have had success and we have seen thousands

[Page 4262]

of new jobs created here in Nova Scotia because this government has done so and we will continue to do so in the future.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

PREM. - MANUFACTURING SECTOR: MAINTAIN/BUILD - PLANS

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question will be through you to the Premier. Rural Nova Scotia is the home of world-class and world-scale manufacturing industries. Michelin, Oxford Frozen Foods, and Stora Enso are good examples of how our workers and how our communities can match anyone anywhere else in the world when it comes to highly-skilled, value-added manufacturing.

However, Nova Scotians have seen two significant plants close this year alone in Maple Leaf Foods and now TrentonWorks. Farmers are very apprehensive about the future of Larsen's in Berwick so my question through you to the Premier is, will the Premier tell this House and rural Nova Scotians in particular, how his government intends to keep and build our manufacturing sector?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, one such example of what the government is doing is a recent trip in December where NSBI took 27 Nova Scotian companies to take them out there, to drum up business for those companies. Many companies there were very successful. If you take a look at what companies like Mulgrave Machine Works are doing, sending out pressurized containers out to places like Alberta, it's providing an opportunity, not only for us to export, but to keep our young people home with their families, keep our young people home here to invest in our province and in the future of our province.

After January, I went personally to Alberta with other leaders in Atlantic Canada. (Interruptions) I went to Alberta with other premiers from Atlantic Canada and I can tell you that the companies that went on that trip were also successful. The companies like the MacGregor Group in Pictou County had great success while on that trade, just to name one company. That is the type of thing the Government of Nova Scotia is working on.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, with all that, the Premier seemed to have missed the fact that the unemployment rate in Nova Scotia went down because people are leaving to go to Alberta - so not exactly good news. Too often in this province, it seems that rather than leading, we are spectators when it comes to the development of our rural economy. This is particularly true with regard to keystone manufacturing industries that generate large economic benefits. Nova Scotians have seen, for example, how Edmundston, New Brunswick, was better positioned than Nova Scotia to seize the immediate opportunities arising out of the closure of Maple Leaf Foods. People wonder why our government seems to lack the same drive and entrepreneurial spirit. My question through you to the Premier is

[Page 4263]

this, what plan does the Premier have to reverse the sense that rural industry is shutting down instead of taking advantage of Nova Scotians' proven success and skills in manufacturing?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition alluded to the unemployment rate here in Nova Scotia. If he thinks that's simply because people are leaving the province, he is dead wrong. (Applause) The fact of the matter is employment in Nova Scotia rose by 9,000 from last year, the beginning of 2006 to this year. The unemployment rate has dropped in this province because this government and the private sector have worked together to create new opportunities for people here in Nova Scotia. That is why Halifax, east of the prairies, has the lowest unemployment rate of any of the major cities here in Nova Scotia.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, if the Premier actually believes that people aren't leaving Nova Scotia to go to Alberta, it just shows how incredibly out of touch with reality he is. (Applause) The government seems to think its job is to sit. . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, order please. I would just remind those visiting in the Gallery we welcome everyone to Province House any day, but you cannot show either in favour or contrary to the activity on the floor of the Legislature. I would just note that as we proceed through Question Period.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

MR. DEXTER: I didn't mind, Mr. Speaker. The government seems to think its job is to simply wait for someone to come asking for a subsidy, then decide whether or not to hand out money. I would suggest that the residents of Pictou County, Kings County, and the other areas of proven economic strength are looking for more. My question is this, does the Premier see any need to change his government's approach to economic development?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the government is committed to growing the economy here in our province, but we cannot do it alone. We will do it by continuing to work with other levels of government, we will do it by continuing to work with the private sector, by working with the regional development authorities and others. The facts speak for themselves - at this point in time, we are seeing one of the lowest unemployment rates in the history of this province. We are seeing more and more jobs being created in areas such as the financial industries and in areas such as information technology we are seeing more opportunities, more product being delivered out to the western provinces. This government is capturing those opportunities.

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

COM. SERV. - CHILD CARE CENTRES: DAILY RATES - AMOUNTS

[Page 4264]

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question is going to be for the Minister of Community Services. By filtering the federal monies for early learning and childcare out over 10 years, the department is unable to use it to make a difference for families who need child care now, not in 10 years. This money could be used to make child care more affordable by establishing maximum daily rates for centres province-wide, ensuring that child care is affordable for Nova Scotia families. My question for the minister is this, why isn't your department putting this money towards establishing maximum daily rates in child care centres?

[3:30 p.m.]

HON. JUDY STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, I thank my honourable colleague, the Leader of the Opposition, for bringing this very important issue to the floor of the Legislature today. This government, in May, introduced a 10-year, $137 million-plan for all Nova Scotian families from one end of this province to the other. This plan will benefit all Nova Scotian families. It provides choice in child care. It is a 10-year sustained long-term plan because we all know the importance of building today, for the future of tomorrow. That's the commitment of this government, and that's the commitment that we will continue to uphold.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, well, the new grant system that the minister refers too, provides funds to centres based on the number of children in care, not on the basis of what the centre needs. This creates a situation where larger centres have an even greater financial advantage then they would otherwise. So my question to the minister is, why aren't federal funds being used to ensure that smaller community focused centres can stay in business?

MS. STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, again I thank the honourable Leader of the Opposition for allowing me to rise and continue to explain to the good folks of Nova Scotia, the fine program that this government is putting in place. Indeed, I'm extremely pleased to say, under the new plan, no one will receive less funding because on the chance that that was going to happen, we grandparented any centre who may be in that position, to endure that we've leveled the playing field for all health care providers and for all families in Nova Scotia, who require the health care services that we provide.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, beyond the need for affordable accessible child care, is the need to maintain the high level of care that Nova Scotian families expect and deserve. To do this, we need to recruit and maintain workers. So my question through the Speaker, to the minister is this, when will your department recognize the qualifications of early childhood educators and pay them accordingly?

MS. STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, as a mother of four children and as an educator, I appreciate and value the professional services that are provided by the child care sector in this province. There is no question that the future of this province lies in the hands of the children of today. That's why this government committed $54 million of the $137 million

[Page 4265]

to the retention recruitment portion of the operating grants, to ensure that we have qualified, quality child care individuals in the sector, to respond to all those needs of all the Nova Scotian families who require child care in the province.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Annapolis.

[Page 4266]

COM. SERV. - CHILD CARE: OPERATING GRANT - BENEFITS

MR. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community Services. The Minister of Community Services announced new funding for child care providers earlier last month in the form of a revamped child care operating grant. In reality, this new funding is not new at all, but rather just a repackaged and redistribution of an already existing operating grant. The only change is that now it not only applies to non-profit centres but it is also available to for-profit, commercial child care centres, and some centres say they will see no benefit at all from this program. So my question to the minister is, what does the minister say to those child care professionals who won't see any benefit from this repackaged operating grant?

HON. JUDY STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, to my honourable colleague across the way who brings forth again the important question of long-term, sustained child care in the Province of Nova Scotia. I know my honourable colleague is a parent and has those same concerns that I spoke of earlier. The $54 million commitment for the operational grant does exactly as my honourable colleague asks. It allows for these centres - all centres - because we are leveling the playing field, to provide the best possible option for Nova Scotian families. Choice in child care because that's what it's all about. It's about child care and I'm pleased that the $5 million extra in grants going to those centres that would not have qualified before, indeed, is a welcome commitment by this government.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: You're not saying anything. You're not saying anything.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, there's a lot of confusion in the industry around who actually will receive benefit from this new revamped child care program. So I would encourage the minister to find somebody in that department to articulate that message to the child care professionals around Nova Scotia.

The truth about the new operating grant is that the toddler and pre-school grants are being reduced from $4 a day to $3 a day. Daycare centres will no longer be able to predict their income for a full fiscal year because the department can now review payments after six months. The new funding structure will provide no increase in teacher salaries -it may even result in a decrease for some teachers as daycare centres will receive less money under the new funding structure. The new funding structure has eliminated whatever stability previously existed. The previous funding grant was predictable, it just wasn't enough. If the true intention of the revamped operating grant program was to put more money in the pockets of the underpaid daycare professionals, the program has missed the mark.

So my question to the minister, which child care professionals did the minister consult with before changing this funding structure, and what problems was the change expected to solve?

[Page 4267]

MS. STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, again to my honourable colleague across the way, indeed the message is going out. We have been working extensively with the child care sector. We have had numerous consultations prior to the creation and development of the plan; indeed, twenty consultation sessions across this province were held to help develop Nova Scotia's sustainable plan. We've had thousands of surveys completed and participants' feedback to ensure that we did engage those stakeholders and we will continue to communicate with the stakeholders, with families, with child care providers across the province to ensure that those who are not clear on the issue, indeed, are clear with the information they require.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, time and time again the minister makes reference to a 10-year early learning and child care plan and how many things this plan can do for the province, yet every day we hear of a daycare operator after daycare operator who is extremely unhappy about the lack of planning, vision and focus within this department. So my question for the minister is will the minister acknowledge that her department has missed the boat on preparing a true early learning and child care plan by failing to elicit the advice of child care professionals?

MS. STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, 10 years of creation and sustainability, over 1,000 spaces, dollars to go to repair and renovation using energy efficiency, over 500 subsidized spaces, operational grants to the tune of $54 million, family home child care, and I know my honourable colleague has had difficulty finding the information on the plan, for he referenced that. I would love to table in the House today for my honourable colleagues, for perusal at a later date, the Early Learning and Child Care. Our Children. Our Future. - the plan for Nova Scotians.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth South-Portland Valley.

COM. SERV.: CHILD CARE OPERATING GRANT - SCHOOL-AGE CHILDREN

MS. MARILYN MORE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community Services. The recently announced child care operating grant will replace the salary enhancement, equipment, infrastructure and infant care grants that had been issued to non-profit centres - centres will now receive a total of $8 per day for infants and $3 per day for children 18 months to school age. There are no monies provided for school-age children, however. School-age children will still need to be staffed, so my question to the minister is why is your department not providing for school-age children who require care at lunch, before and after school, and during school breaks?

HON. JUDY STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, I thank my honourable colleague for bringing a very important issue to the floor here today. We have indeed in the department streamlined our grant process in order to make it easier for all of our child care providers. As

[Page 4268]

the plan moves forward and we are able to take the dollars, take the commitment made by this government and allocate those dollars where they best fit, all options, as my honourable colleague has brought forward, all of the options regarding school-age children, part-day centres, will all be taken into consideration as part of that 10-year sustained plan.

MS. MORE: Mr. Speaker, I just want to remind the minister that funding was there for those children. It has now been cancelled, and in the meantime Nova Scotian families are suffering - they need that help. This new grant requires that a minimum of 75 per cent of the funds allocated be spent on salary and benefits. Recruitment and retention of early childhood educators is a huge problem in Nova Scotia. Despite requiring a high level of education, these staff are only paid between $7.50 and $11 per hour. My question to the minister is why isn't your department investing a sustainable salary increase instead of a grant that changes every six months depending on pre-school enrolment?

MS. STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, there is no question the quality in child care is the utmost, and that is, indeed, why part of this $137 million plan is the commitment of the $54 million that goes to the operational grants. Absolutely, as my colleague has referenced, 75 per cent of those dollars going to the centres is for the retention and the recruitment of the the very quality child care staff that we have across this province. I have the utmost confidence that the retention and the recruitment of that staff will be successful.

MS. MORE: Mr. Speaker, too little almost too late. It was clear from the 2005 child care consultation results that the only effective recruitment and retention measure is to provide funding to significantly increase salaries and benefits. So my question is, besides a fluctuating grant, what is your department doing to meet this priority?

MS. STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, again, I have absolutely the utmost confidence in our child care sector. I know they will deliver, continue to deliver that quality child care that they have in the past and they will in the future, and they will do so in the future with the commitment and the support of this government.

MR. SPEAKER: Before proceeding, I just want to note to all members that the time duration for both asking a question and answering them is becoming prolonged. I have checked the logs and we are extending by a full minute to two minutes on some questions. So be forewarned that we will now be tightening them up.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

EDUC: LIBRARIES - FUNDING

MR. CHARLES PARKER: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Education. Nova Scotians consider public libraries to be vital centres of discovery and lifelong learning. The Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library, with a dedicated staff of 34 and

[Page 4269]

seven branch libraries, has been a success story. In recent years, there has been a 60 per cent increase in program attendance, a 400 per cent increase in the use of the on-line library and a 33 per cent increase in Internet use - however board chairman, Bill Rafuse, recently stated that without substantial funding increases from the province that the library story isn't going to have a happy ending. So my question - is the province going to come to the table and pay their fair share of our libraries? When are they going to do this?

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite, the library system that we have in our province is a valued system. We have nine boards, 77 sites around the province, and we value the work that those sites do, the opportunities they provide, the resources that they have available. We, this year, have been able to add to the base of our dollars for the libraries across the province - a $1 million addition to their base, and we look forward to working with them on their new strategic plan to keep libraries alive in Nova Scotia.

MR. PARKER: Mr. Speaker, the truth is that the Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library has suffered a shortfall in provincial funding and, during the past six years, provincial funding has only gone up by a total of 9 per cent. Municipal funding has had to increase by 35 per cent, and the board's own fundraising has had to rise by 313 per cent just to make ends meet. The Consumer Price Index has jumped by 21 per cent during that time. My question is when is the government going to recognize the importance of public libraries the same way our municipalities and communities do, and contribute accordingly?

[3:45 p.m.]

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite, I will repeat that we do value and recognize the importance of libraries across this province. Beyond the funding that comes to the libraries, I think it's important to recognize that we, as a Department of Education, do pick up some costs for those libraries. One of those major costs is Internet accessibility in all of the libraries, that is our cost that saves the library boards that money.

MR. PARKER: Mr. Speaker, this is a very serious matter for our libraries, and the minister's own department published a document a few years ago called Funding: The Power of Public Libraries, which stated that the funding requirement for public libraries for a three-year period would have to be $44.5 million. Currently we are nowhere near this investment level, so my final question to the minister is when are we going to see funding, promised four years ago, for our provincial libraries?

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite and to all members of the House, there are priorities that our department has to set. There are services that we wish to maintain and our budget this year reflects our commitment to maintain library services across the province.

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MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Clare.

[Page 4271]

TPW - CROSSWALK SAFETY:WORKING GROUP - MANDATE

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. Often we argue in this House over what we believe is right and what is best for Nova Scotians. They have elected each of us to represent them in the House of Assembly to the best of our abilities, and it is our responsibility to provide them with the best possible solution.

In the past government has allowed the issue of crosswalk safety to be a secondary issue and it's clear that we cannot allow this to happen any more. Yesterday the Minister of Transportation and Public Works announced that government and the Halifax Regional Municipality are forming a working group to improve crosswalk safety. My first question to the minister is what is the mandate of this working group?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, the mandate will be for that group to, first of all, consider recommendations that would flow from the report of the symposium that was held in January, which I have referenced earlier in the House.

Secondly, they would consult with the Road Safety Advisory Committee of the Province of Nova Scotia with respect to work that they are doing on an ongoing basis related to crosswalk safety. Also, through our resources, ensure that we have the most up-to-date information from other jurisdictions, formulate a course of action and act on that course of action.

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, at least 660 injuries and 11 deaths. Those are the figures we are dealing with, and government must take action on this matter now. The symposium report the minister has spoken about is not due for at least another month. So, how many more injuries will we see in this time frame? It seems every time that we open the paper or turn on the news, another person has been injured at a crosswalk. Mr. Minister, your working group must act promptly to increase awareness and safety at crosswalks for pedestrians and motorists. My first supplementary to the minister is when will this working group be formed and when will it be up and running?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, the work that's required in order to formulate the group is in process now. It will be working very, very soon, in time to receive the report that I have referenced earlier.

In addition to that, we are examining our capacity within our budget to expand an awareness program with the province - because the honourable member is entirely correct. Regardless of what we do with respect to engineering, with respect to the visibility of crosswalks and everything else, if we don't affect the mindset of pedestrians and of drivers with respect to crosswalks, we will not succeed - and that has to be the long- term objective and we are continuously working at that.

[Page 4272]

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, we all need to work together to increase safety and awareness at crosswalks in Nova Scotia. It is the duty and responsibility of the province, the municipalities, schools, and parents to instruct our children to use extreme caution when crossing a street.

We've seen how this Progressive Conservative Government has listened to task forces in the past. The task force on OHV has had excellent planning and strategies and the minister and his government only used recommendations that they saw fit to put into legislation, so I fear that we may have a task force, a symposium and a report expected to come out in May, and very little will come out of it. My last question to the minister is when the results of this symposium and report are completed, will your government take the appropriate measures to ensure the safety of Nova Scotians at crosswalks?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I want to again commend the honourable member for bringing this important issue forward, and I very much appreciate the concern that he has articulated here and I can say to him, in response to his question, that absolutely we will.

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

PREM. - FORTRESS LOUISBOURG: JOBS - RETENTION

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage or alternatively, the Premier. The restoration and operation of the Fortress of Louisbourg was initiated by the Government of Canada to sustain permanent, well-paying jobs in Cape Breton, during difficult days when the coal and steel industry wound down. The top rate of pay, after many years of service there, can be $30,000 a year, including benefits. This money is recycled in the local economy and supports other jobs. Parks Canada now wants to replace these workers with contract cleaners who will earn less than $17,000 a year, with no benefits. My question to the Premier is this: In light of the substantial benefits of this site to Cape Breton and its economy, what does he plan to do to save permanent public sector jobs from being contracted out by the federal Conservative Government?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, indeed, Louisbourg is famous for its hospitality, it's famous for the fortress of course, and there was great news there in the last number of months, obviously, with the new investment in development, the $300 million development which will be occurring there as well. That is great news for the people of that area.

What the member is asking is with respect to what is happening at the fortress, which is under federal jurisdiction. Again, I don't have the details at hand but I will be sure to get those details through the Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, if they have any with respect to the issue at hand, and I will provide them to the Leader of the Opposition.

[Page 4273]

MR. DEXTER: I would like to table a letter I received from Ms. Karen Pink, President of the Local Public Service Alliance of Canada. In this letter Ms. Pink states: "I am sure people would prefer a $15 an hour job, which pays benefits, over a $9 an hour job with no benefits." Parks Canada, believe it or not, Mr. Speaker, will only save about $50,000 a year from the change. My second question to the Premier is how does he plan to persuade his federal counterpart that Cape Breton working families deserve better treatment?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, as I indicated, the issue at hand will be brought to the attention of the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage to ensure that the federal minister is aware of what is happening at the fortress and the minister who is responsible. I give the assurance to the Leader of Opposition that the Government of Nova Scotia will do so.

MR. DEXTER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My third question will actually be for the Minister of Environment and Labour. Some people might say that a $9-an-hour job is better than no job at all. However, such a drop in wages would mean the loss to the local economy of $5,000 each season per worker. That's not a huge sum of money considering the federal government's surplus, but in Louisbourg, Mr. Speaker, I'm sure it's quite a chunk of change.

My final question to the minister is, what are they going to do to preserve the dignity and standard of living of these Nova Scotia workers?

MR. PARENT: Mr. Speaker, our Department of Labour is actively working, partnering with the Department of Education, with other departments, the Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage to help ensure good paying jobs for Nova Scotians. We will deal with the federal government and we will speak to the federal government and we will try to do our part, as the Premier committed on behalf of all Nova Scotians.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Preston.

HEALTH: COMMONWEALTH GAMES BID - COSTS

MR. KEITH COLWELL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is to the Minister of Health Promotion and Protection. This morning we discovered that the department had handed over the Commonwealth Games budget on January 29, 2007, just one month before you made the decision to end the bid, after spending $7.7 million. We also heard from witnesses that the minister, the issue committee of Cabinet and the Premier were getting weekly briefings of the status of the budget and the status of the bid process. So, Mr. Minister, when did you exactly know that the cost of the games was spiralling out of control?

HON. BARRY BARNET: Mr. Speaker, we knew the cost as estimated by the bid society on the 29th of January and we began to develop a due diligence process that would see consultants analyze the bids. We partnered with the federal government, the municipality and ourselves, each level of government funded or cost-shared in the due diligence studies

[Page 4274]

that resulted in the decision that we ended up making, that $1.7 billion was more than the three levels of government could afford and that there were significant risks associated with hosting these games. That's why we made the decision we made.

MR. COLWELL: Well, Mr. Minister, there are only two options here - either you didn't know for quite some time and did nothing to address this issue, or you were not aware and did not do due diligence on your end to ensure that the highest value for tax dollars were addressed. Even without the bid going forward, the province, HRM and the federal government spent over $7.7 million - $7.7 million would go a long way in many of our communities, so I would expect the minister would have been more involved in every step of the bid and every step of the way.

My question to the minster is, so, Mr. Minister, when you saw that the bid was growing in an unaffordable rate, why did you not interject and keep the budget an acceptable rate or shut the thing down much sooner?

MR. BARNET: Mr. Speaker, I told the member opposite in my first answer that I became aware of the total cost projected by the bid society on the 29th of January. From that point on we did our due diligence. It identified a number of significant risks and, as I said in my first answer, the government as a funding partner was not prepared to move forward with the Games that cost $1.7 billion, and identified those risks associated. Maybe the Opposition Parties were but we weren't.

MR. COLWELL: Well, Mr. Minister, the Opposition Parties didn't make a decision on this - you did.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I would just remind the honourable member that you have to address the Chair and not directly to a minister. Thank you.

MR. COLWELL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, but I've made my point. Perhaps many Nova Scotians would have got on board with these Games if they had been more affordable and there would not have been so much secrecy that persisted around the cost of these Games. Why didn't the minister or the Premier intervene much sooner - this far along in the process, with over $7.7 million and more to be yet spent to resolve this issue, possibly some law suits, but who can guess the loss to the taxpayers that could have gone a long way to help communities in our province.

Mr. Minister, do you now regret not being more involved in ensuring the budget for these Games did not spiral out of control and it wasn't shut down sooner, to save some of the $7.7 million-plus that have been already wasted?

[4:00 p.m.]

[Page 4275]

MR. BARNET: Mr. Speaker, I'll say this to the member opposite and to all Nova Scotians: I'm proud of the decision that we made. It was based on due diligence. It was based on the fact that the province could not afford to continue with a Games of $1.7 billion and all the significant risks that were associated with hosting these Games. What I will say to the member opposite is, it is very disappointing that we weren't able to move forward and host these Games. They would have provided a tremendous opportunity for Nova Scotia, but we weren't prepared to risk the financial stability of this province, nor was the municipality. That's why we made the decision we made and I'm proud of that decision.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

INSURANCE - MACPHEE CASE: CAP - JUSTIFY

MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister responsible for the Insurance Act. Shirley MacPhee is a loving wife, a mother of four, and a grandmother of nine, from Stewiacke. On June 15, 2005, she injured her back as a result of a motor vehicle collision and she still has not fully recovered. She cannot stand up straight. She can no longer carry out her daily routine. She depends on the assistance of her husband Percy. Yet, because of the $2,500 cap passed into law in 2003 by this government, her injuries are deemed to be minor. My first question to the minister is, what can the minister possibly say to Shirley McPhee that would justify a $2,500 cap in the face of her pain and suffering?

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, one of the difficulties that has occurred in a number of these cases - and of course I'm not aware of the particular case in question but would be glad to be made aware of the information - but one of the difficulties in these cases is that in many cases, there needs to be diligent action by legal representatives to pursue the claims. That has been the system in Nova Scotia before and after the cap and it's the system today, and people need to pursue their claims and it sounds to me, again not knowing the facts of the case, as if this lady has a very good argument that it is not a minor injury and therefore not subject to the cap.

MR. STEELE: Mr. Speaker, that is absolute nonsense. The minister knows very well that the regulations define minor injury in a way such as to remove any discretion from the court. The regulations define anything that is anything less than catastrophic as being minor. It's like defining any animal smaller than an elephant to be a mouse, and we know from the recent Rossignol case in the New Brunswick courts that in the face of that statutory definition the courts have no discretion to apply a merely commonsensical definition of a minor injury. So my question for the minister is, when will that minister and this government finally recognize that the $2,500 cap on pain and suffering is a disaster for Nova Scotia accident victims?

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, with all due respect to the honourable member, the honourable member knows better - that our rules do provide a clear definition and only cover

[Page 4276]

minor injuries and not catastrophic injuries as the member has indicated. In point of fact, many Nova Scotians have not been affected by the cap and it has not in any way affected claims for monetary compensation for lost wages and expenses and the kind.

MR. STEELE: Mr. Speaker, Shirley and Percy MacPhee, have so far spent nearly $3,500 of their own money trying to get her back to the way she was. All they have received from the insurance company is a bit of money for travel. Any and all medical treatments are not being paid for by the insurance company, they're being paid through public health insurance. So whatever public health insurance isn't paying for, the MacPhees are paying for themselves. So it has come to this, accident victims in Nova Scotia and indeed all Nova Scotians through the Department of Health are subsidizing an insurance industry with profits last year of $7.2 billion. Mr. Speaker, when will this government stop making accident victims and all Nova Scotians, subsidize an industry making profits of $7.2 billion?

MR. BAKER: Thank you very much and again through you, Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member. The honourable member knows full well that the insurance company profits are not necessarily generated in Nova Scotia and not necessarily generated from automobile insurance. Furthermore, the honourable member also understands that in any insurance scheme there is an obligation for people to seek compensation under the plan. For example, in Nova Scotia there's a thing called Section B under the Insurance Act, and Section B benefits are no- fault benefits that cover many expenses that Nova Scotians incur. I would ask the honourable member to perhaps refer those people to Section B of their insurance coverage.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

TCH: ACADIAN HERITAGE - PROTECTION

MS. JOAN MASSEY: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Tourism, Culture, and Heritage. One of the lasting reminders of our Acadian history are the dykes that dot the province. In an area such as Grand Pré these dykes are a significant part of an historical park and heritage site. As such they are monitored and protected to a degree. However, there are many parts of the province where these landmarks need the same monitoring and protection. My question to the minister is, what plan does his department have to protect and recognize this important part of our heritage?

HON. LEONARD GOUCHER: Mr. Speaker, of course heritage to this government is extremely important, it's significant within the province. We have several programs through the Department of Heritage to assist areas in their endeavours so I would suggest that the member at some point in time if they could give me the information relative to this particular situation I'll pass it on to the department and seek any assistance I can get for them.

[Page 4277]

MS. MASSEY: Mr. Speaker, I'll try and inform the minister right now. The King property in Wallace, houses one of the only remaining Acadian dykes in that area. The owners are worried that these heritage assets will be lost to tide and time. They also worry that there is nothing to mark the location for tourists, they have tried to get help already from the provincial government but haven't been able to stir up any interest at all. My question to the minister is why won't this department work with the Wallace Museum and property owners to recognize and help preserve this piece of our heritage?

MR. GOUCHER: Mr. Speaker, I beg to differ. The department does work with all community museums in the province. If there is a situation here then I'll bring this back to the Department of Heritage and ask them to contact the people involved and we'll try to rectify the situation.

MS. MASSEY: Mr. Speaker, well the department hasn't been working with this group of people but the local museum does see the value in this site. New Brunswick Acadian groups are also very excited at this discovery and the verification of this area as an authentic 18th Century or earlier Acadian dyke. My question to the minister is why can't his department also see the value of this historic property and put forward some sort of assistance to mark and preserve this site?

MR. GOUCHER: Mr. Speaker, as I said before, this province and this government recognizes the importance of all heritage sites in this province. We will work with the local community to recognize this area but again, I will take it back to the Department of Heritage to try to achieve some resolution to this particular issue.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

AGRIC.: HOG IND. - FUTURE

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Acting Minister of Agriculture. We have to continue to ask questions to the House on hog industry. Time and time again our office has received letter after letter, phone call after phone call, e-mail after email, and the list goes on. Some sectors in the agriculture industry are in reasonable shape, the hog industry is not, they need help, a long-term plan and committed leadership from this government. My question to the minister, given government's previous moderate support for the hog industry can farmers expect the same in the future?

HON. RONALD CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for the question. Indeed, we have supported the hog industry over the last number of years to the tune of probably $21 million since 2000. Just in December, we announced $3.5 million that will be put toward retiring the farm debt for the hog industry and many other programs that we have involved as well. So yes, definitely, we are supporting the hog sector, and we'll continue to in the future.

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MR. GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, Pork Nova Scotia have a plan. They developed a comprehensive strategy about two years ago that would have sustained the hog industry. Had the government adopted the strategies outlined in the plan, the industry might not be on the doorstep of collapse. The families involved are fighting for their livelihood. Last week, CBC Information Morning profiled Linda Tupper and her third generation family farm, who expressed the hope of future viability in the hog industry - when will you fight for her? My question to the minister is, what is your government's future plan for the hog industry in Nova Scotia?

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, there is $500,000 that is in our budget this year - additional funding I should say, that will be available to hog farmers. As soon as the members opposite will have their chance - probably in the next short while - to be able to support the hog industry as well as the agricultural industry as a whole, we look forward to that support; as soon as that support is given we will be able to give the money to the hog farmers.

MR. GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, past funding provided by the province has not aided the pork industry the way it needed help. Hopefully, we'll see more funding in the future for this industry that will be directed in the proper way to the farmers who need it. Through the CAIS program, the last support payments were based on the year 2003. This meant some farmers no longer in the industry received a payout, while farmers who did not use CAIS received no support. My question to the minister is will your government commit to provide funding to the hog industry and allow Pork Nova Scotia officials to manage this funding to the 50 remaining farmers?

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, again, thank you to the member opposite for the question, because it does allow me to let all members of the House know and, indeed, all Nova Scotians and hog farmers who we have heard the concerns of some of the farmers - I've had some phone calls over the last couple of weeks regarding the administration of that program, the issue of it being associated with the CAIS program. In discussions with the Premier and members of Cabinet, we have decided to review that - and it is under consideration right now. At some point in time in the very near future we will have a decision on which way we will administer that program. Thank you.

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

COM. SERV: AFFORDABLE HOUSING AGREEMENT - DISBURSEMENT

MR. GORDON GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community Services. The Canada-Nova Scotia Affordable Housing Agreement was signed in 2002, and with the development and announcement the projects were slow to come. When projects finally did start to push forward, the province started to include some of its share of over $37 million in funding. In 2005-06, over $10 million was budgeted for affordable housing; last

[Page 4279]

year over $19 million was budgeted. My question to the minister is how much of the province's share of Phase I of the Affordable Housing Agreement has been spent?

HON. JUDY STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, I thank my honourable colleague for the question, as I know it is near and dear to his heart, as we have discussed on many occasions. Indeed, the first phase of the affordable housing provided for 928 units across this province, and all 928 have been committed and all of the dollars have been committed.

[4:15 p.m.]

MR. GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, not how much was committed, how much was spent? I will return to these fiscal years. As I mentioned, in 2005-06, $10.3 million was budgeted, but $3.5 million was not spent. Last year, $19.3 million was budgeted for affordable housing, only $4.45 million is forecasted to be spent. I can tell you what this government has been spending, and building - new affordable housing units in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality - zero. My question to the Minister of Community Services, how can she explain grossly underspending of affordable housing monies available?

MS. STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, again to my honourable colleague who has brought this issue to my attention before, I will reiterate that indeed all of the dollars have been committed. What this government is able to do is make available those dollars. We then rely on the contractors and the labour market to be able to fulfill those commitments to have those units built. We have committed to 30 new rentals in Cape Breton, 104 rental preservations in Cape Breton, 65 home preservation projects and three rent supplements for students, for a total of 202 in the Cape Breton region.

MR. GOSSE: Cape Breton region and Cape Breton Regional Municipality still has zero number of units built, Mr. Speaker. Saying you're going to spend the money to build desperately needed affordable housing is one thing, actually spending it is apparently another. It's the shell game and cuts by stealth. Meanwhile the number of the new units in our province is virtually non-existent. My question to the minister: How can Nova Scotians possibly trust her department to actually spend the money it has committed to affordable housing, where it's supposed to go?

MS. STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, again to my honourable colleague, the commitment of this government is indeed one that we will keep. We have made those funds available. We now expect the developers to fulfill their commitments. When it comes to the home preservation and the supplements, we have indeed provided those. As I mentioned in estimates to my honourable colleague, the four units in Arichat, Cape Breton, have been completed. The other units that I referenced, the 104 in the Sydney area, I have information that those will be completed by May 2007. There are six more in North Sydney that I understand will be completed by July 2007 and once the land issues for New Deal

[Page 4280]

Developments in Sydney Mines has been resolved, 20 in Sydney Mines to be developed as well.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Shelburne.

[Page 4281]

FISH. & AQUACULTURE: RENEWAL PROCESS - FRAMEWORK

MR. STERLING BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. Yesterday this minister's counterpart in New Brunswick released an action plan for the development of a fisheries renewal framework for New Brunswick. The release of the plan is a follow-up to the New Brunswick Fisheries Summit held in February. The minister in New Brunswick has laid out the actions they are proposing in order to move their fisheries renewal process further, and the plan will be distributed to the communities and licence holders for their comments and suggestions. My question for the minister is what action are you taking to move the renewal process forward in Nova Scotia?

HON. RONALD CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, thank you to the member opposite for the question and, indeed, we are working with the federal government to deal with a new Fisheries Act that was tabled in the House of Commons in December. We're looking forward to all members of the House of Commons to support that bill to second reading. Once it gets into second reading, it will be coming around the province - or around the country - for people, fishermen, people in the industry and stakeholders, to make their recommendations on any changes that they may see. So, yes, we are working with the federal government to do this.

MR. BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, I have been going around the province with my Leader and other members of our caucus to meet with fishermen and community leaders to discuss issues and the fisheries. We got on this boat when the tide was in, and it's now low tide and you've been left standing on the wharf. I hope to compile what we have heard, and I'll be more than happy to share these results with the minister if he so desires. My question for the minister is where is his action plan for the development of a fisheries renewal framework for Nova Scotia?

AN HON. MEMBER: On the wharf.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I am told that a rising tide lifts all boats. As the honourable member would know, there are different issues in the fishery and it appears that he is talking to different fishermen than I am. I meet a lot of fishermen, I have talked to a lot of fishermen over the last number of months. They all indicate to me that we do need a change to the Fisheries Act. The Act is 139 years old. There are changes that have to be made. I have committed to the honourable member, as well as the member for Digby-Annapolis to do a day trip to Ottawa to meet with the federal minister to discuss the issues in the fishery, to discuss the new federal Fisheries Act. I have been notified by the minister's office in Ottawa just this morning that the meeting will probably take place the week of April 16th. So we are moving ahead.

MR. BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, I really don't think this minister or the entire government realize the importance of the fisheries to Nova Scotia. First, he has given his

[Page 4282]

support to the new federal Fisheries Act twice, stating he has heard from the many fishermen. I want to inform him, this minister, that this is contrary to what I have been hearing in our meetings with fishermen and community leaders. My question for the minister is, will he commit to identify major issues such as the lack of consultation on Bill C-45, the loan board access problems, and meet with fishermen and community leaders to develop a long-term action plan for Nova Scotia's $1 billion industry?

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member is quite right. The fishery is a very important part of the economy of the Province of Nova Scotia. The fishing industry in the Province of Nova Scotia generates $1.4 billion a year to the economy of Nova Scotia and yes, it is important. We support the fishing industry in this province. We do want to see changes to the Fisheries Act that will work and we will work with the federal government to ensure that that happens.

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

TPW: ROAD REBUILDING - AGREEMENT

MR. HAROLD THERIAULT: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. When it comes to highways in Nova Scotia, saying conditions are deplorable would be mild. An employee from the Department of Transportation and Public Works made a comment last year that said many of our provincial highways are seven years older than the national average. We all hear about how the government is putting more funding into our roads but we are failing to see that. My question to the minister is, if the Progressive Conservative Government is putting so much money into highways, why do people continue calling my office and complaining about them daily?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased that the honourable member posed the question in the manner that he did, because he needs to understand that, as a result of the severe cut that the Liberal Government in the 1990s made to the Transportation and Public Works budget of this province, that we have quadrupled the highway budget, quadrupled it since we came to office, and we are going to have to double that again before we make up the deficit that crowd created.

MR. THERIAULT: Mr. Speaker, in a statement made by the Premier, January 4th edition of the ChronicleHerald, he commented on the federal counterpart's obligation to lend a hand to Nova Scotia's 100-series highways, "I think it is incumbent on the federal government to put more dollars into our province on 100-Series Highways given the amount that they collect each and every year through the tax system on fuel." Well, the 100-series highways are not even finished yet in this province. For 35 years, the people of Weymouth and Digby have been paying federal taxes for a 100-Series Highway they don't even have. My question to the minister is, when can we expect this so-called agreement for the building and rebuilding of all the roads in Nova Scotia?

[Page 4283]

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, again I thank the honourable member for the question. A week ago tomorrow, I had a lengthy conversation with the Federal Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure and we addressed some of the items that are contained in the federal budget. I'm led to believe that in the very near future we will be at the table with the Government of Canada, and we will be able to present a very positive message to the people of this province, with respect to infrastructure spending in Nova Scotia in the coming years.

MR. THERIAULT: Mr. Speaker, there are methods that we could be using here in Nova Scotia that could help problems with the environment and help rebuild our dirt roads in Nova Scotia. With approximately 900,000 used tires each year in this province, we could used a rubberized asphalt method or a similar process to help these roads out. There are approximately 150 kilometres of unpaved road in Digby-Annapolis and using the 900,000 old tires could help rebuild almost 17 kilometres of that road, per year. Just think, in 7.5 years, we could have all these gravel roads in Digby-Annapolis rebuilt if we could use this method and this method has been proven. My question to the minister is, will your government examine the processes such as rubberized rebuilt roads, which can make good roads and contribute to the health of our environment also, by not having to burn them?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, one of the things that all members of the House have come to expect from the honourable member for Digby-Annapolis is his very common sense approach to problems that exist in this province. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, the issue that he references - with respect to being able to use commodities such as used tires in the way that he has identified - is something that indeed the department did do. It was in 1998. They used chunks of rubber from used tires in a section of road in Digby County. The results appear to be reasonably good. Part of the challenge with respect to using the tires is no different than the problem we have with respect to using gravel. You need to find the gravel in a location that's reasonably close to the road that you're attempting to build, and that would be the real challenge- if we were to use tires on a much increased scale than currently is the case- is to find the source of tires that would be available. To answer the honourable member's question, yes, we will look into it.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

HUMAN RIGHTS COMM'N.: ACCESSIBILITY COMPLAINTS - FORUM

MR. LEONARD PREYRA: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister Responsible for the Human Rights Commission. In August 2002, the Nova Scotia Building Advisory Committee released a discussion paper on barrier-free design. A few months later the Building Advisory Committee gave up responsibility for accessibility issues, leaving the Human Rights Commission as the only body to hear complaints regarding accessibility for people with disabilities. My question to the Minister Responsible for the Human Rights

[Page 4284]

Commission is, what measures are in place to handle accessibility complaints by people with mobility challenges?

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, and I thank the honourable member opposite for the very good question, and I can tell you the Human Rights Commission of this province is something we're all very proud of. These commissioners are appointed from throughout the province. They handle many issues on a daily basis. A lot through mediation. A lot through other processes and I can tell you, they do a wonderful job on behalf of Nova Scotians. I have every confidence in this board of commissioners that they will handle issues such as brought forward by the member today, in a very respectful way. Thank you.

[4:30 p.m.]

MR. PREYRA: Mr. Speaker, that's a very interesting answer because the Human Rights Commission has disagreed with the minister. I'll table a letter from Warren Reid, who happens to be in the Speaker's gallery this afternoon to the Human Rights Commission regarding the lack of accessibility standards with several provincially and municipally regulated public spaces. I'll also table a reply from the commission to Mr. Reid which states, "The Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, a board of enquiry, does not have the authority to impose such amendments upon the Nova Scotia Government."

In other words, unless Mr. Reid has deep pockets to launch a law suit against the province, he's out of luck. My question to the minster is, why has the minister left the issue of accessibility for Mr. Reid and people with mobility challenges out of the Human Rights Commission's jurisdiction?

MR. SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for the question. I'd agree with the member opposite - in past years, there have been many opportunities to increase awareness around barrier-free facilities in this province. I think this government deserves a lot of credit for the commitment to ensure barrier-free facilities in this province completely by the year 2020.

MR. PREYRA: Mr. Speaker, people with disabilities need more than awareness, they need access to public spaces and public buildings. There are far too many buildings in Halifax and Nova Scotia with substandard facilities for people with physical disabilities. Accessability is a fundamental human right and people with disabilities in Nova Scotia continue to go unheard on these issues. My question to the Minister of Community Services is, what steps will she take through the Disabled Persons' Commission to ensure people with disabilities will have a forum in which their needs will be heard and addressed?

MS. JUDY STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, I than my honourable colleague for the opportunity to rise and speak to the important work that's done by the commission. There's no question that the work they do for the disabled community across Nova Scotia is indeed

[Page 4285]

valuable and that's why we increased their budget this year, to ensure that their salaries are competitive and ensure their travel was extensive to travel across the province to hear about such situations my honourable colleague references.

As well, I did state during estimates the presence of Ralph Ferguson and Anne McRae, two fine members of that commission who were at a recent opening of an affordable housing project with me. It was a celebratory moment for us because we had complete mobility access units in that facility and, as well, it's part of our RFP component when we put out the RFPs for our affordable housing, that they do include a barrier-free, access free component to it.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

ENVIRON. & LBR.: WATER STRATEGY - CREDIBILITY

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, this question is for the Minister of Environment and Labour. Last week the minister stated in the media that bottled water would be addressed in the new water strategy his department announced it is in the process of developing. But what we have from the minister is yet another plan to make a plan. What the minister said was, "We will know much more than we now do about the quality and quantity of our water. We will then build a management strategy around that information to ensure our water is sustainable." And so on.

Environment ministers from successive governments have been promising Nova Scotians a water strategy for well over a decade. Mr. Speaker, why should Nova Scotians believe this one?

HON. MARK PARENT: Mr. Speaker, they should believe this one because I said so.

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, the minister can continue saying so or he can bring a water strategy forward. Just yesterday, Ontario actually took action to protect their water resources. One part of their plan is mandating charges for commercial and industrial users. I will table their proposed rates. Those revenues in Ontario will be used to sponsor conservation efforts. Currently, Nova Scotia is well back when it comes to charging for water usage, so is this minister prepared to bring forward similar charges in Nova Scotia to those now in place in Ontario and also ensure that those funds go towards funding water conservation efforts?

MR. PARENT: Mr. Speaker, the water strategy that we announced on Friday - in year 2, we will be looking at that and making a decision on that; in year 2, and we stated that on Friday.

[Page 4286]

MR. EPSTEIN: Well, Mr. Speaker, successive Tory and Liberal Governments have promised water strategies. I will table announcements from 1997, 1999, the 1996 department Business Plan, a Budget Bulletin from 2001, and also transcripts from debates in this House that show former Environment Minister John Leefe is probably to be credited for starting this process in 1991 and, yet, last Friday, we were given another plan to make a plan. In 19 years, does this minister not realize that enough information has been gathered and that it is time for real action on our water supply?

MR. PARENT: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I simply will respond to the member opposite that those who fail to plan, plan to fail.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Clare.

COM. SERV. : INCOME ASSISTANCE ADDT'L. COSTS

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community Services. Mr. Alain Comeau is a single man from my constituency who lives, or should I say barely survives, on income assistance. Mr. Comeau receives $427 per month from the Department of Community Services, from which he must then pay his rent, transportation, groceries and for his clothes. Mr. Comeau recently contacted my office in desperate need of help. He was in excruciating pain from an abscessed tooth that needed to be either extracted or needed surgery. Unfortunately, his co-pay for either option was more than he could afford. So my first question to the minister is, how is Mr. Comeau - and all Nova Scotians who find themselves in the same painful predicament - expected to pay for his dental work out of his $427 a month?

HON. JUDY STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, I thank my honourable colleague for the opportunity to rise and speak about the important work that is being done by the ESIA department across the province. The particular case that my honourable colleague references, of course, I wouldn't speak to the specifics, indeed, if I did know the specifics, but I would invite him to being the specifics to me outside of the Chamber so we can work to see if there is any help that we can provide to Monsieur Comeau.

Mr. Speaker, I will say, though, that this government, for three years in a row, increased the personal allowance for all income assistance clients, 11 per cent increase, and again, in October of this year, we will be increasing that to the CPI. A commitment made by this Premier and this government and one that we will fulfill.

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I can tell you that's reassuring - phew! (Laughter)

Mr. Comeau is not the only recipient of income assistance who finds himself in this position. I am sure all members of this House have received pleading phone calls from one of their constituents who find themselves in that same position. So while $50 or $60 may not

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sound like much to cure excruciating pain, it may as well be $5,000, because the recipients of income assistance simply do not have the money once their living expenses are paid. So again to the minister, is there a discretionary fund from which caseworkers can pull monies to pay for emergency medical or dental services?

MS. STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, again to my honourable colleague, I know he brings this issue forward because he is concerned. I know that for those individuals across this province who will be receiving that increase, it absolutely is reassuring to them that that increase will be provided for their needs. So I take that very seriously, as does this government.

Now, Mr. Speaker, when my honourable colleague asked the question about discretionary funds and funds provided to the caseworkers, to the front-line workers, this government, the Department of Community Services, has committed $20 million in this year's budget to the special needs of those clients who need us the most.

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, this is simply a question of human decency and compassion. No one in this province should have to suffer through the pain that Mr. Comeau has had to endure. The co-pay system simply does not recognize the financial reality that people on income assistance live with on a daily basis. My final question, will this government show a little compassion and ensure that Mr. Comeau and all Nova Scotians who are on income assistance get the medical and dental attention they desperately need?

MS. STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, indeed this government, the fine workers of the Department of Community Services show compassion each and every day to the individuals who find themselves in our need and we do so with the integrity and the commitment that is of the utmost. To my honourable colleague I would also mention that effective October 1st, 2006, there was a 6 per cent increase in the Dental Association fee provided through our department. As well, Mr. Speaker, we rely on our stakeholders across the province. The Dalhousie Dental School provides much assistance and this may very well be an opportunity where they could be able to provide assistance again.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the minister responsible for museums in this province. Across the street each and every bus tour that arrives children are charged $4 dollars per visit. These are parents, these are children who would like to have an opportunity to get into the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia that is far too expensive. I'm wondering if the minister would consider. . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The time allotted for the Oral Question Period has expired. Before proceeding to Opposition Members' Business, the honourable Government House Leader.

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HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, if I could have the consent of the House to revert to the order of business, Tabling Reports, Regulations and Other Papers.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request to revert the order of business, Tabling Reports, Regulations and Other Papers.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, I would like to table for the House today the public consultation meeting schedule that is directly related to the review for services for students with special needs.

OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS

MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

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

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Resolution No. 19.

Res. No. 19, TPW - Roads: Queens - Improve - notice given Jun. 30/06 - (Ms. V. Conrad)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.

MS. VICKI CONRAD: Mr. Speaker, this is in regards to Resolution No. 19 that was put before the House back in June 2006 where I was talking about the roads in Queens and across the province. We all recognize that barriers to economic growth is a condition of our secondary roads and our series highways. Communities are connected through the infrastructure of secondary roads and the well-being of communities depends on traveling without risk and safe and reasonable comfort. Our roads, especially in rural Nova Scotia, are in a deplorable state and it is a direct result of government neglect - past and present. I would like to propose to this House that we move aggressively to resolve this deplorable state of roads.

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I do want to say that I understand that there is a lot of consultation and planning that is a large part of capital project decisions. I also understand that the budget only stretches so far and that the priorities for roads across the province are great. That being said, I do think we need to look at better planning options for some of our roads. I do want to indicate to the minister and to the government that I have had good discussions with his department staff and I certainly respect the challenging needs that they have in those planning and consultations with area supervisors and other department staff in determining what those priority roads are, and how that budget will be stretched to look after those needs.

I just want to talk about a few roads in the riding of Queens. We have many roads that are in serious need of repair, some through capital projects funding and some through the RIM funding. Some of the roads I'd like to talk about are the Queens Highway No. 210 from the airport to Trunk 8, going 2 kilometres to Ten Mile Lake; the North Queens Highway No. 8 at South Brookfield.

[4:45 p.m.]

I must say that the Department of Transportation and Public Works has been very good at looking at Highway No. 8 as a priority highway, it certainly is a juncture that takes us not only from Queens but into Annapolis Valley. It is used for a number of not only tourists many months out of the year, but also for large trucks hauling lumber and other products. This road is in need of continuing repair and I am encouraged that the Department of Transportation and Public Works has been looking very seriously at completing some of that capital project there.

The Westfield Road after Trunk 8, going into the Old Westfield Road and including the Westfield Road to Rosette, is a very important connector road to many of our communities in North Queens. I am hoping that the department will also look seriously at those road needs there.

The Southwest Port Mouton Road around Carter's Beach is a very important road not only for tourists but for a lot of members of the community around Southwest Port Mouton. I am told by many residents there that it has been well over 30 years since they have seen any substantial road work done in that area. I am hopeful that the department will look at that particular road and I am hopeful that the department will invest in that infrastructure there.

The Western Head Shore Road starting from Liverpool, the town line out to Moose Harbour is as equally important as the previous roads that I've indicated and are certainly requiring some attention.

Of course, the riding of Queens also has many communities in the Lunenburg Country area and there are many roads there that are needing attention. The Petite Riviere Road on both sides of the Sperry Bridge, that's Sperry Bridge No. 2 and the Green Bay Road,

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which is home to many visiting residents every year, who come and spend their time in Green Bay and in and around Petite Riviere. I'm hoping that the department seriously looks at improving some of those conditions there, as well.

The Crousetown Road from Conqueral Banks to Italy Cross is a very important road to many of the communities that lie on either side of that road and that road, too, has been in need of repair for some time. I'm hoping that the department will look seriously at that road.

The Hirtle Road from Exit 16 to Route 331, and also there are a few short roads through Lunenburg Country that also require attention, including the Broad Cove Road, the Broad Cove Beach Road and many access roads to the United Communities Harbour Authority Wharf in Voglers Cove.

There is also a road in Danesville, the Llewellyn Road, which is in very poor condition. This particular section of road in the riding of Queens is rapidly falling into a state of disrepair because it is now seeing a lot of heavy truck traffic that travels from a quarry located nearby in Middlewood. I have been getting calls to my office asking if I would advocate on the residents' behalf there to indicate to the minister and the department that because of this heavy traffic it really does need to be looked at.

Of course, in the riding of Queens we have a number of small bridges that also need to be looked at. I do appreciate that the Department of Transportation and Public Works does have a very rigorous inspection process for bridge repair throughout the province. It is a rigorous task and there are only so many inspectors and sometimes, a year just isn't enough to complete all of those inspections. I'm hoping that some of our smaller bridges that see a lot of heavy truck traffic on a daily basis - and also, school buses travelling across those structures- will be given a more critical eye during the inspection process. I understand that there is a criterion for inspecting bridges.

I want to bring your attention particularly to the Salters Bridge in the Community of Charleston. The Salters Bridge, many residents who live on the Riverdale side of Charleston are very concerned that should this bridge collapse or fall further into disrepair due to the heavy traffic, that actually the community of Riverdale will be cut off from the rest of the community and will have no exit route out in the case of severe flooding, especially if that bridge was to fall to disrepair.

I want to just discuss the RIM funding. The RIM funding is a very important part of the budget. It certainly helps our area supervisors to instruct their crew to the various maintenance programs that the Department of Transportation and Public Works has in place, he surface maintenance and roadside maintenance and drainage maintenance. I'm hoping that the department would consider looking at perhaps restructuring the RIM funding program in a way that actually allows more flexibility because I understand that the way the RIM

[Page 4291]

funding program is set up is that there is X number of dollars set aside for things such as asphalt patching, gravel patching and shoulder maintenance. Roadside maintenance would include bush cutting and of course drainage maintenance would include ditching.

So, what I'm hoping is that if there was a restructuring allowed, or more flexibility allowed, that if there weren't the need to see more, we'll say guardrails, in a particular community, that the area supervisors would actually be allowed to move some of those dollars into another part of the road improvements that needed to be done, i.e., moving some guardrail monies into more asphalt patching, for example. So I'm suggesting that we perhaps need to look at restructuring that funding that's allowed and I would encourage the minister to do that and again, I appreciate very much the hard work of his department and I know it's not easy with the increasing road maintenance. Thank you.

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

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for calling this resolution today because it does provide an opportunity to review this government's record with respect to highway and transportation initiatives since we came to power in 1999.

In 1999, the situation was that the capital budget of this department was at about $44 million. It had been absolutely devastated in the years prior to 1999 and as a result of that and as a result of the reduction in the operating budget of the department, there grew in this province a huge infrastructure deficit with respect to roads, bridges and the entire transportation network. This government recognized that that transportation network was essential to the sound operation of the economy of this province. It was essential for people to be able to access the services that are required in order to carry on normal life in this province. The highway network is a essential for our education system to work so that our children can get to school safely and receive the education they require.

As a result of understanding that priority, this government set to work to build up a capital budget of the province with respect to transportation over the years since 1999, and we have, in fact, quadrupled that capital budget.

We also understood that the fundamental problems with respect to maintenance that the honourable member referred to needed attention as well. So we put in place the RIM program. Road improvement money, is what RIM stands for, and that budget went from, I believe about a $9 million figure in the first budget we brought forward, first full year of our government, and we have steadily increased that. In 2003, we made a commitment to the people of the Province of Nova Scotia that the RIM budget would be increased to $20 million. That meant that we had to add $2.5 million a year since 2003 up until now; and I'm very pleased to say that in this year's budget RIM funding is at a $20 million level. We have

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met the commitment that we made in the 2003 election to bring it to $20 million over a four-year period.

The honourable member is quite correct to say that the RIM funding is something that addresses a host of issues with respect to maintenance. One is securing the paved surfaces of the roads throughout the province through a spreader patching program which has proved to be extremely successful in providing people with a smooth transport over our roads. It has been extremely successful in preserving the life of our paved roads throughout the province and getting more out of the value that we put into these roads.

It also provides an opportunity to provide ditching and all honourable members know, especially those of us who represent rural areas, that the issue of proper drainage from our roads is essential if we're going to be able to maintain those roads in a manner that will allow people the appropriate use of the roads. Drainage is very important so ditching is an essential part of the RIM program, as is gravelling of the roads. So there is a lot of money placed in that sort of program. Guardrails are an essential part of the RIM program and bush cutting, as the honourable member for Digby-Annapolis would be quick to remind me, is an important part of the RIM program.

Mr. Speaker, the honourable member spoke about the flexibility. I believe that there is an effort made to ensure that all of those needs are met throughout various parts of the province. Certainly we will look at the suggestion that she had made very carefully to see what merit officials may feel exist with respect to flexibility, but I can say that the program, the essence of the RIM program, is its flexibility in terms of being able to address the deficiencies in roads throughout the province.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I'm mindful of the fact that we're - okay, I do have some time. So I want to again just underline that we have, as I said, quadrupled the budget for Transportation and Public Works in this province. I also indicated earlier in my remarks that we have made great progress with respect to maintenance through the RIM funding, but we are in no way at a point where we can say we have sufficient funds. I think I said in Question Period in response to a question, despite the fact that we have quadrupled our capital budget, we could probably double that again before we would start getting to the point where we felt that all of the roads in the province are being addressed appropriately.

We obviously have to deal with the main arteries and ensure that the main arteries, being our 100-Series Highways, are addressed appropriately, then we deal with the collector routes that come from there, and beyond that we're dealing with the county roads. All honourable members in the House know that the real challenge, while we're making progress with the 100-Series Highways and the numbered and collector roads, that really the county roads are the ones that are a real challenge for all of us to be able to be consistent.

[Page 4293]

To that end, Mr. Speaker, I can say, and I was reminded by my colleague, the honourable Minister of Finance, who held the portfolio of Transportation and Public Works, that he met with the North Queens Board of Trade and did commit to a program of improving a transportation link into the Caledonia area, up into the park, Kejimkujik, and there has been a great improvement with respect to that.

[5:00 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, if we look simply at the numbers in Queens County, there is, in capital, over $3 million a year spent in Queens County since we were government or since 2002-03 and that is a very significant number. In maintenance, there has been well over $0.5 million expended, as much as $600,000 in some years with respect to that. In the RIM program, the RIM numbers gradually increase from $268,000 in 2002-03 up to $323,000 and now at $519,395. So we are addressing the concerns and I thank you very much for the time to participate in this debate.

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

MR. HAROLD THERIAULT: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise here in my place today and speak on this subject. It's one of my better subjects, I believe, because in my riding of Digby-Annapolis, which I will try to stay to but I can go around the province, no problem. I've been around it enough before on the roads and I guess one place is no better than the other. In my riding we have 512 kilometres of road and 150 of them are dirt roads. So if you figure that all up and go look at these roads, that's 1,024 kilometres of alders in the ditches of them, too. The member spoke before me about wondering about getting guard rails. Well, down home, where some of those alders are, you don't need guardrails anymore. So there is a positive side to them, there. If you let them grow big enough, they make good guardrails.

Anyway, there are a lot of them down there, and that has certainly been a big problem.

Why I know about roads so much down there, I travel them as much as I can but the biggest call that I get in that office of Digby is roads. It's roads, and the second call would be community services, but your biggest call is roads and that's right now. Right now is the time you are getting the road calls. It's because of the 150 kilometres of the dirt roads that we have in that place; and when the old frost starts out in March, in the riding of Digby-Annapolis, your phone rings with it.

Anyway, I brought this to the attention of the minister today, earlier, about the rubber that has been done down there on a section of road, Sissiboo South Range Road. It's done a marvelous job and when I heard about the tires that were going to be burned in this province and some sent to Quebec, it just clicked in. Well, here's a road that has been there eight or nine years now. They built that, they dug it down a little and put one foot, one solid foot - not a solid foot, it would be flexible because it's junked up rubber as big as your fist. On top of that rubber, it took about 400 tons to do the one kilometre. I figured it all up today

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with 9,000 tires averaging 15 pounds apiece, well we could get enough in the next seven years to do all the dirt roads in Digby-Annapolis over a seven year period. That would be quite a thing. This road, with the rubber on it, the foot of rubber, it's got about five to six inches of this Class A salt rock on it. It's gone to nearly like a pavement. It's a beautiful road. The frost doesn't even heave it. Anyway, I think that's worth looking into.

Another thing I get a lot of calls on is when it dries up in that area, and that's a lack of chloride that they have to put on these roads. With the cutbacks and stuff, there has been no chloride. I get calls daily that people want something to keep this dust down. Well, in this kilometre of road that was built out of rubber, there is no dust. So by putting this rubber in the dirt roads, you won't have to worry about the dust anymore because the rain, over the seven- or eight-year period washed down through this six inches of the salt rock and cleaned it. It's a beautiful rock road with a rubber base under it. It's even smooth riding. It's kind of like riding on a cloud. It's a beautiful road. We're thinking about burning this material up, that's what bothers me. So any tires this province doesn't want, you dump them down in Digby and I'll get a bunch of people to junk them up on the new work project this winter with a hatchet. There's a way we can do this, I'm sure.

Another call I got the other day - I want to mention this because I've heard it before - I got this from a fellow who trades his car every couple of years. He said to me, Junior, I'm all done trading my car. I have the bottom - two years - I have the bottom half beat out of this one, I might as well keep it for another 10 years until it's completely beat out. I'm not going to buy a new car to put on those roads. He was serious. These are the calls I get. Now, I'm not joking, Mr. Speaker, it's the truth.

We have Highway No. 101 down there. We're talking about twinning the highways. I put a resolution in this House today. We're spending billions of dollars trying to twin highways around, and France is over here doing away with their highways and getting Bombardier to build them fast trains cheaper than building the highways over there. You're cleaning up the environment, you're cleaning up the congestion of traffic, you're cleaning up the pollution, what great common sense the French people have over there. But, no, we're going to work on twinning the highways.

That's all right, down home, we don't have a single highway yet, not a single one. People have waited 35 years. A lot of those people have died. They were 50 years old, and they were told you are going to have a 101 highway between Digby and Weymouth; 50, 55 years old. Those people, a lot of them have gone to their death; I have gone to their funerals, and no highway down there yet. So you have their children coming along, my age - Junior, my father said 35 years ago, we were going to get that highway. Are we going to go to our grave without seeing it? I said, well I hope not, I hope we can work and get this 20 kilometres of highway finished down here, because the highway, Highway No. 101, it is being called, is eight feet from doorsteps.

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We have a big church down there in Barton. Sometimes when they're bringing the casket out through the door they have to make sure the traffic isn't coming, because when they bring it out they have to swing out on the road. They're calling this Highway No. 101 down there. You know where it is, Mr. Speaker, you drive up it every time you come up here. Some of these homes, 20 feet off this road, 25 feet, with trailer trucks going through there, it says 90 kilometres an hour but they believe it's Highway No. 101, so they're going 110, minimum. That's what's going on in that area with people wondering whether they have to go to their grave or not, the next generation, without seeing this highway.

The minister stands up over there and says we have to get the main arteries built. Well that's a main artery, but here we are worrying about doubling them when we should be putting one track - you are building these new trains, now you only need one track, you don't need two, you can put one track through western Nova Scotia to where the international ferries come in, run it straight through this city to North Sydney, where there's another ferry going to Newfoundland and Labrador, we could join all of the provinces together here with a train and boats, a wonderful place. Go 500 kilometres an hour, you can come to Newfoundland and Labrador, leave breakfast time, be here in the city at noon. You can leave Digby and be up here - Mr. [Deputy] Speaker, you and I could go home every night.

Mr. Speaker, I could go on a long while about roads, but we just can't think about trying to fix it. We have to think of the future here, and what's going on. You have the City of Halifax complaining about congestion here, and big trucks that can't get in, everything bottlenecked. There's a cure for this. The French are using our companies here in Quebec to do it, to cure their problems. Why aren't we doing this? Mr. Speaker, with that, I will take my seat. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. The honourable member for Pictou West.

MR. CHARLES PARKER Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I'm pleased to have a few minutes, too, to talk about roads and secondary roads in this province. I want to thank the member for Queens for bringing in this resolution, a very basic issue to rural Nova Scotia and to many of the MLAs in this House who continue to hear, as the previous speaker said, probably the number one issue that we get in our constituency office in rural parts of the province. Maybe not in towns as much but in most of the rural ridings it is the number one issue.

The resolution refers to the basic barriers to economic growth. Certainly our poor roads are hurting our economic development in this province. It talks about the deplorable state of our rural roads resulting from years of government neglect.

There is a lot of truth in that statement and while the minister a few minutes ago talked about further increases in the budget for Transportation and Public Works, even he admits that there is not enough there. While it has gone up over the last several years, it is

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not nearly adequate for the needs there are. In fact, the government had done their own study here in 2001, a 10 year needs study, that outlined what it would cost to fix all our roads. I think if I remember correctly, it was $3.5 billion the amount of the infrastructure deficit and in questioning last year to the minister and the deputy minister during Budget Estimates, it admitted that is at least $4 billion now and growing. So the problem is getting worse, Mr. Speaker, not better.

I think it was rather disappointing to look at this year's budget and realize that instead of more dollars going towards roads, actually the capital program is greatly reduced this year in Nova Scotia. Last year it was $222 million for capital improvements and this year that has been reduced down to $145 million. So it is a step backward, Mr. Speaker, it is a step in the wrong direction. We should be putting more money into roads, not less.

So as has been mentioned by previous speakers, in their ridings there are a number of secondary roads that are in bad shape and I would be doing a disfavour to my constituency if I didn't also mention some of the roads in Pictou West that are in great need of repair. I want to talk for a minute, Mr. Speaker, about some of those roads. It is true, you could travel in Shelburne or Kings or Cape Breton or any county in this province and find a great number of secondary roads that are in poor shape.

I am going to mention a few of them from Pictou West that I think are in very poor shape. I'll start with the Scotch Hill Road, which is a road where a former member for Pictou West still lives and it is one of those roads that is in very, very poor shape, very rough in March and April, this time of year. I'll mention the Green Hill Road over the hill from Durham to Alma is in very poor condition, sections of it. The River John Road is probably one of our worst roads, probably in all of Nova Scotia. It runs from the Sunrise Trail right through to Leetik's Restaurant in River John and sections of that are extremely poor. I would also include the old Pictou Road, which branches off the River John Road and heads through to Welsford towards the West Branch area. It, too, is one of the worst roads in Nova Scotia, bar none.

I'll mention the Cape John Road which had a lot of work done on it, heavy traffic over that road to the wharf project, which is now complete, and that road took quite a severe beating from heavy truck traffic and it also is in need of repair.

Recently the NDP caucus, Mr. Speaker, had a retreat at beautiful Stonehame Lodge near Scotsburn. A number of my colleagues had the opportunity to travel over roads leading to Stonehame Lodge and experienced first-hand some of the very poor quality roads that lead to that fine facility. That is hurting business at that facility, it is hurting tourism and no matter if you come in on the Durham Road or you come in on the Scotsburn Road or you come on the Old MacLean Road, there is no easy way to get there without travelling over some very poor quality roads.

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I mention Pictou Lodge is also a fine quality resort, a tourism draw in Pictou County. It is located just outside the Town of Pictou and on the Three Brooks Road and again, the quality of that road is causing problems for the operators, causing problems for tourists who want to travel to that great facility, so in the resolution by my colleague, the member for Queens, it talks about the basic barriers for economic growth.

There is no question that when roads are causing tourists to think twice about coming back to Nova Scotia, it's causing locals to receive much damage to their vehicles, so it's really local people who are paying for the costs of these poor secondary roads in car repairs for mufflers, front-end parts, wheels, tires and on it goes. There is a cost to local people who live in the area, there is a cost to tourism operators who are not able to receive tourists in a continuous fashion. Even economic development is hurt when roads are poor in that people may not want to establish a new business in an area if they know there are not good quality roads to drive over, which in turn, maybe people don't want to move to an area, which affects the number of children who might be in a local school, who support a restaurant or hardware store. Economic development is impacted certainly by poor quality roads.

Government has to realize that if they have a Department of Economic Development, one of the best things they could do to increase economic activity in this area is make sure they have good quality roads that will help build economic activity in an area.

It is well outlined, the problems that we have with our secondary roads, so what are some of the solutions? How can we overcome this problem and build up our economic activity? There are a couple of suggestions I'm going to make in the short time I have. Certainly, we need more investment, we need more dollars from the province, we need a stronger federal lobby to go to Ottawa and push for more dollars, our fair share of the gasoline tax from the federal government.

Secondly what we need is an open, transparent priority system so people will know when their particular road is going to be repaired. We need to prioritize our roads and make sure the worst road is fixed first and based on criteria like the number of accidents on a road or the length of time since it was last paved, the thickness of the pavement, the amount of economic activity that is or could be in an area - just the condition of the road itself. There is a number of factors that need to be determined.

Once that priority list is established we need to make it public so people will know when their road is going to be repaired. They should be able to go on-line, they should be able to go to the local Department of Transportation and Public Works and get the information on which roads in the province or in a particular area are going to be repaired or repaved next.

I guess the final thing is the importance of early tender calls. I noticed the minister in his own riding of Antigonish has called a number of tenders for road construction there,

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and it would be great if that was done around the province and all areas put out early tenders so that road repair companies can know what projects are out there they can bid on and plan for their year's work, rather than having to wait until late in the summer or into the Fall.

There are a number of things I believe the department can do and I think secondary roads are an economic enabler, and if we work toward developing our roads we're going to have a much more prosperous and better Nova Scotia. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, that ends the debate on Resolution No. 19.

Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Private Members' Public Bills for Second Reading.

PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR.SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 73.

Bill No. 73 - Health Insurance Protection Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

MS. MICHELE RAYMOND: Mr. Speaker, I'm very glad to have the opportunity to speak to this bill, although I am both surprised and disappointed that this bill is only being called on an Opposition Day when it has previously been to this House and passed through this House in a previous session with all-Party support through second reading and as far as the Law Amendments Committee.

It surprises me because this bill is potentially a very important and radical shift, but beneficial shift, towards the protection of the health of Nova Scotians and, in fact, the health of the Nova Scotian taxpayer's pocketbook. I am surprised, as I say, because this bill has received enthusiastic interest and perhaps endorsement from a variety of associations, including the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Community Mental Health Association, the Lung Association, Canadian Cancer Society. All of these are organizations which have a stake in it. Why?

The reason these organizations have a stake in it, the reason all of us have a stake in Bill No. 73, is because there are Nova Scotians today who are ill and who cannot afford their medications. They choose either to suffer or to eat. I can give you examples of people who are paying $900 a month for medications out of their pockets. For some people, that drives

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them to Community Services and, at that point, the Nova Scotia taxpayer supports them. For other people it means that they live in a very, very meagre fashion and frequently with chronic disease.

How is this happening? And why is this happening? This is because these are people, like many Nova Scotians, who have been employed or have been married to someone who is employed, have been the child of somebody who is employed - and a part of that employment was health insurance. We know how important it is in this day and age when prescription drugs are an extraordinary cost, when surgeries are available that can save lives, that can save lives in the absolute sense, that can save lives in the sense of delivering people from profound suffering which can last a lifetime.

We're turning our backs on them. We're turning our backs on them because these people who have paid insurance premiums, and whose families have paid insurance premiums for years and years, have suddenly had their backs turned on them by the insurance companies to whom they pay those premiums. I think it's reprehensible that we're allowing this to happen.

This is what takes place when somebody gets married at 19 years of age to somebody who is perhaps 22 years of age, who has a job and who has health insurance. The 19 year old is obviously somebody in a very different condition of health from what he or she is at 45 years old when perhaps the marriage breaks up, perhaps the employed person dies. That person's health has probably experienced a lot of ups and downs and that person has quite possibly been to a doctor, has consulted somebody about a stomachache, a headache, has perhaps been treated for depression, and may manifest none of those conditions whatsoever.

But, when the health insurance disappears, that person has to go out and find new health insurance, entirely new health insurance. As they say, you can never step in the same river twice, it's never the same person twice who's being insured. That person is a very different person at the age of 45 from what they were at 19. Every single time they've been to a doctor is on the record and they are forced to take coverage which says only that they will not be covered for any conditions potentially related to what has been seen.

I'm hesitant to say where they have found a model to deal with this, but it is in the United States. Interestingly, in the United States, they feel it is important to ensure continuity of health insurance coverage. This is where the stakes are an awful lot higher, as you know - an awful lot higher. And in fact the health insurance companies will find themselves paying for out-and-out surgery, not just prescription drugs. Mercifully, we are not in that situation, but the companies there do have to provide a window of time during which somebody who has lost their insurance ,because of widowhood, divorce, layoff, loss of job, anything that has deprived them of their health insurance coverage and left them looking for a new kind of coverage because they're a new kind of person 20 or 25 years later.

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We need to ensure that people can, in fact, within a reasonable window of time, get new coverage. It's a windfall. Every time you pay 35 years' worth of health insurance premiums and then you fall off the rolls - before reaching the age of 65, I might add, at which point Seniors' Pharmacare kicks in - every time you fall off the insurance rolls, the insurance company to whom you've paid premiums, and to whom your employer has paid premiums, can strike you off the books. You are no longer relevant, you are not relevant to any future employer.

As I say, I have constituents who have been driven into poverty by bills that should have been covered because they have faithfully paid insurance premiums, and their employers have paid insurance premiums, for years and years and years. As I say, accident, widowhood, divorce, loss of job, and as we say today even the closure of a factory can mean the end of a job, the end of health insurance and, all of a sudden, somebody is stricken, is out in the cold, not just even on that day but for the future. Because if that person, the person who previously had a job, who previously was married to someone who had a job, who previously was married to somebody who had health insurance, that person is suddenly no longer eligible for coverage for anything related to anything that happened to them back in the days when they were married, when they did have a job.

Mr. Speaker, I'm sorry that the Province of Nova Scotia is having to pick up the tab for all these people who have been driven into abject poverty because the insurance company they paid has turned its back on them. I'm not suggesting that an insurance company should be required to take on all comers. There is a window of time, it's within a very brief window of time - it's three to six months, depending on the reason for the loss of coverage in which American insurers are obligated to take up new insured on similar conditions.

The other thing I might add is the joy of the pre-existing condition. If a condition hasn't manifest itself in five, seven or 10 years, then these insurers do in fact have to look at it as something that's not pre-existing. If the person I gave an example of, at 19 years old, went to a doctor for a headache and received whatever prescription, or even didn't receive a prescription, received a consult, spends all that time carrying health insurance under which they would be covered, and never again complains of anything related to a headache until the age of 45, when they lose their coverage, and at 46 they have a headache, all of a sudden they have to go buy those pills for themselves.

If it's a serious headache and it needs serious medication, they will be very lucky indeed if they are not forced to turn to the charity of strangers or the charity of the province, but most certainly not to the charity of the people they have paid for years to take care of them. That, Mr. Speaker, is why I would like to see this bill brought forward, at least, for debate in this House; at least, for debate and consideration. It's foolish not to do it. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

[Page 4301]

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. First of all I'd like to begin by saying that I am pleased today to rise to speak on this bill, Bill No. 73, the Health Insurance Protection Act. There's no doubt that the government recognizes how important it is for Nova Scotians to have appropriate access to affordable health insurance. However, we believe more cost analysis and consultation is required with the insurance industry, employers and employees, before legislation can move forward in the House.

Bill No. 73 relates to both group health and individual insurance plans and calls for measures in the area of pre-existing conditions, renewing coverage, and notifying beneficiaries of coverage change. To look at what these changes would mean to the insurance industry and to employers and employees we must first consider the difference between group health and individual health insurance plans.

Group insurance is voluntarily offered by employers, unions, alumni associations, credit unions and so on. Individual plans, on the other hand, are purchased by individuals for protection of themselves and their families. Currently, individual health insurance plans are an extremely small yet important component of private health insurance in Nova Scotia. Across the province, group health insurance plans account for well over 99 per cent of coverage provided and the benefits paid to Nova Scotians.

There are approximately 630,000 Nova Scotians covered by group health insurance plans, and about 4,100 with individual coverage. As I stated earlier, Mr. Speaker, the small take-up of individual health insurance in no way reduces the importance of that type of coverage to those people who purchase it on behalf of themselves and their families. While, quite often, both plans offer similar coverage, they often have significant differences.

[5:30 p.m.]

To begin, Mr. Speaker, group plans generally do not include medical underwriting of plan members. These plans pool the risk and resources across the entire group and their dependents, thereby spreading the costs of insurable items and events over all participants. However, of course, because they also take that into consideration, a small group with a number of very, very sick members may have an incredibly high cost to the employer and to the employees who tend to co-share in the insurance, and we need to make sure that those plans are affordable for not only employers but also for the employees, or else we could be in a situation where unwittingly we discouraged employers from offering this valuable type of protection to their employees. This, however, is not the case with individual insurance plans. Individual insurance plans involve medical underwriting for each applicant to ensure premiums are in line with the risk assumed by the insurance company involved.

As well, Mr. Speaker, pre-existing conditions are typically not included in group extended health plans because they form an integral part of an individual health plan. Pre-

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existing condition clauses are often used by insurance companies to reduce or limit access to insurance.

Mr. Speaker, we certainly and appreciate the concern around insurance companies using pre-existing condition clauses, especially given our aging population and increased rates of cancer and other conditions. However, I would like to take a moment to discuss the possible impacts of Bill No. 73 in this area - and, again, we need more study so these are just some of the issues that have been raised. The proposed Act calls for the elimination of any pre-existing condition after a 12-month period of no treatment for that condition. Furthermore, Bill No. 73 would see a person with a pre-existing condition who moved to a new plan within 30 days of terminating a prior plan being covered for the same terms and conditions relating to that pre-existing condition as in the preceding health plan.

Mr. Speaker, on the surface that sounds like a worthwhile objective, but when you look at the impact on these proposals, you discover that insurance affordability could become more of an issue with respect to the new plan that you're moving forward - for example, a group that may be saddled with an individual or individuals who have incredibly high demands on the plan. If this change were to come into effect and if insurers were not permitted to use a pre-existing condition clause, the insurers would most likely need to increase premiums to compensate for that additional risk, or insurers may simply stop offering insurance to an individual with pre-existing conditions because the perceived risk would be disproportional to the premiums.

Mr. Speaker, I am sure we can all agree that that wouldn't be a good outcome as well. We know there are various reasons that some people seek medical coverage. They may be, for instance, changing jobs or retiring from the workforce, or they may be recently divorced or widowed; widowered I guess is the other verb, or noun rather. The last thing any of us would want is to see someone moving to a new insurance policy with a pre-existing condition, such as breast cancer, to be refused for insurance and we're all, obviously, very cognizant of the problems that that poses. Because of this, we need to make sure that any measures we put in place are the right ones that will indeed break down the barriers, not create new ones - which will encourage more Nova Scotians to have private plans, not fewer plans.

Mr. Speaker, the proposed Act also calls for the insurer - which would mean, depending on the type of insurance, either the employer or the insurance company - to notify those insured, or the dependents or spouses, of their rights under the Act in the case of the death of the insured, the loss of employment, or the divorce of that person. Again on the surface, it sounds like a reasonable request but again it comes with challenges, especially with respect to communication of personal information. Usually with respect to the death of an insured person, it is up to the insured person's spouse, dependents or beneficiary to notify the insured. In most cases, once informed of death, the insurer has some role in communicating coverage changes and available options.

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However, with respect to the loss of employment or divorce, privacy concerns prevail, making it highly inappropriate for an insurer to communicate information with someone other than the person insured. I might add, Mr. Speaker, that having some experience in this field as a lawyer who represented clients in the family law area, in many cases the spouse, the non-insured spouse is represented by legal counsel and certainly it was my practice to communicate to my clients the effect of termination of coverage on them in the event of divorce. So in many cases, they are aware of that situation and are aware of the situation that will face them once the divorce decree becomes final, and they are no longer the spouse of the person and therefore not to be affected.

I might also add, another challenge is with respect to new spouses because you have the situation where if you were to retain in that situation, you could have multiple spouses under a plan which obviously would put a much greater cost to the insurer because this person may be remarrying, may have a spouse, and they would not want to be in a situation where the insured's current spouse would not be able to be covered under the plan. So it is a little more complicated than it may look.

As I stated, Nova Scotia have to have access to affordable health insurance. That's why the government has made a significant commitment of $189.6 million this year on Pharmacare to assist seniors, income assistance recipients and children of low income parents. And, Mr. Speaker, we are going to spend $5 million this year on a new, publicly-subsidized prescription drug insurance plan for working families. That's a plan that will begin on March 1st of 2008, and will fill in the void in insurance that many Nova Scotian families are feeling today.

At the end of the day, Mr. Speaker, our goal is to make health insurance more affordable and accessible to all Nova Scotians and Nova Scotia's universal health insurance program and Pharmacare program make us much closer to reaching that goal. We know there is more needed and we will continue to study this issue and to try to provide the best solutions for Nova Scotian families both through publicly-provided insurance and privately-provided insurance. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. The honourable member for Glace Bay.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is an interesting debate and I congratulate the member for Halifax Atlantic for bringing it forward because you really don't know what's at the end of a road until you've traveled that road. I personally have traveled the road that we're talking about here today.

When I lost my job in 1998, after approximately 20 years with the same employer and full drug coverage and full dental coverage for myself and my family, I found myself, after being terminated from that job, without health insurance. I can tell you, I don't recall in my lifetime ever having a bigger shock than when I found out how much private health insurance

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would cost me. I was absolutely flabbergasted when I checked into it. At the time I think I can recall calling Blue Cross, I believe it was, to get an estimate on how much a private plan would actually cost me - it was hundreds of dollars per month that it would cost me for myself and my family. What I also found out - and it's the subject that we are talking about here today - is that pre-existing prescriptions were not covered. So in other words, and I think at that time I was taking medication for - well I think at that time it was an ulcer, which has doubled since I became an MLA, by the way. I was taking medication for treatment for ulcers and I was told that okay, sure, we can give you health coverage and yes, I said I guess I'll have to pay the money because I have to have coverage for drug coverage, in case something happens, and dental coverage for my children and so on. They said no, sorry, we can't cover that existing prescription that you have or that existing condition. In other words, it simply wasn't available. I couldn't get it.

So, you know, having traveled that road, it makes me extremely interested in Bill No. 73. If I recall, at the time I was at the ripe old age of 42 when that occurred to me, and had never thought about - and there's another interesting point that is made in the debate on this bill today, not simply because you lost a job of your own accord. In this day and age, from a recent survey that I saw, it shows that normally now, in your lifetime, you will probably change jobs about seven times in the course of your lifetime right now, which is quite average in the day and age that we live.

So I guess I can see a number - it is, the divorce rate is right up there, too, as the honourable member mentions as well. The benefits here, I guess, are that it does insure the portability of insurability, despite pre-existing condition. The member for Halifax Atlantic referenced the fact, reluctantly, that this came from the United States. This is where this originates. I share her nervousness in mentioning that, because there is a study in the U.S. that shows that people with chronic illness are 40 per cent less likely to move jobs because they are dependent on the employer's insurance plan. In other words, they lose a chance of perhaps bettering themselves, making more money, whatever the case may be, because they are linked to that insurance plan that is there.

We all know that insurance is more and more expensive and that plans are currently not transferrable and that you lose your coverage if you change your employment. As I mentioned, it's not the same environment of the lifetime employees, and the employers were taking care of you. I would argue the fact, Mr. Speaker, that there is not as much employer loyalty anymore as there used to be out there in the workforce, as well.

I guess some of the concerns that we would have deal with the pre-existing condition, which does not include, for instance, a routine follow-up for breast cancer or genetic information in absence of diagnosis of the condition, whatever, you know, we have some concerns around that area, as well. I guess we also share some concerns that the government has mentioned as well, and that is the ultimate question of who is going to pay for all of this and where does the money come from and, if, indeed - and as I said, on the surface it's a

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good idea but if it goes ahead, if this were to go ahead, will the insurance companies simply eat up the costs by passing on the cost to rate increases to their customers and so on? Who ends up paying for it all? The U.S., as I mentioned, does have portable coverage but from what I have read, the premiums are very high, and because of that it just leaves me to wonder exactly who is going to pay for it and what happens?

Again, as I mentioned, Mr. Speaker, I am intrigued by the debate here today. I can see that a lot of thought has gone into the bill. It has a great side to it, because the fact if the insurer would insure anyone who is previously covered under an insurance plan, that immediately preceeding the new plan that is covered - this is as I understand it - under the new plan for purposes of pre-existing conditions if, in short, persons apply for coverage within 30 days of the expiry of the previous plan. As I said, the member for Halifax Atlantic is saying here that there is that window that is available there. So it's not something that would last forever and it is not something that you would say has to be there forever and a day, there is that window of opportunity that is there, and it covers a wide-ranging area.

I guess, in a roundabout way, I may as well get to the point. I'm probably saying that we support the bill that is being put forward. As I mentioned, it was especially of interest to me, because I can imagine - and I know the minister has made reference to only a relatively small number of people who would be involved in private insurance plans in Nova Scotia in terms of the thousands but still, I would suggest that there are probably people out there who have none, because they simply can't afford it. I would be interested in hearing those numbers, as well.

[5:45 p.m.]

We know, in this case, in a lot of cases, for instance, and you know yourself, Mr. [Deputy] Speaker, you raised in Question Period today a concern about a client of community services who simply could not afford to have dental work done. We know how costly that can be. So we know that this would certainly - and I would say that probably there are people who are not receiving the proper health care in this case because they simply cannot afford a private insurance plan and they are not on a company insurance plan or any kind of coverage plan like that. Some insurance companies would offer personal insurance coverage as well, as I understand it, that will actually move with you now, from where you work to where you work. Perhaps the onus here should be more so on the insurance companies because certainly we know that they make multi-millions of dollars, and that their profits are huge, and if anybody should be looking after the situation then perhaps if you're looking for people with money, look no further than insurance companies. They have plenty of it.

Having said that, again, our caucus would certainly be more than open to pursuing this debate further, and hearing more of it, and we certainly find ourselves in agreement for the most part, with the member for Halifax Atlantic. Thank you.

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MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to have an opportunity to rise and speak and support of Bill No. 73. I want to commend my colleague, the member for Halifax Atlantic, for bringing this legislation forward because I think - what we can't lose site of in this debate, is who will benefit from this debate. I have to say, I'm disappointed in the government's intervention, the minister's intervention with respect to this bill, and the fact that they indicate that they need more study. I listened to what the minister had to say very carefully because I was very puzzled about why a government that initially seemed very keen about this legislation, has gotten cold feet. "I think that we need more study" is code for saying, "There's no way we're moving this bill anywhere toward passage," and it indicates to me that the government is becoming an apologist for the insurance industry, rather than an advocate for Nova Scotians who really need health care coverage that they don't get in the public system.

I want to put a human face on this, Mr. Speaker. In the course of representing people from the particular part of the province that I have the privilege of representing, I have had a student who is a student with diabetes, who was in her final year of university at Acadia, on her father's health care plan, but his ability to cover her and all of the needs that she had with respect to Juvenile Diabetes which she had had from a very young age. Her inclusion in his plan would end when she reached a particular age, or she was no longer a student. At probably nine months prior to her graduation, she and her family started looking for another insurance plan and she ran smack up against the pre-existing condition provisions that insurance companies use. And it's not that she couldn't get coverage in another plan - let's be clear, she could have gotten coverage, but the cost, the monthly premiums that she would pay, were ridiculous. They were $600, $700, and so the premiums were prohibitive. They far, far exceeded what any of her particular health care needs were. So there she was, a young person who was unable to get coverage. She couldn't afford it. Now this bill would actually assist a young person like that. They would be able to have this 30-day window. The insurance industry wouldn't be able to gouge someone, in terms of the premiums, and they could continue on with their payments.

Another individual I've had and I brought the case of Irene Larkin to this Legislature. Here's a woman with some very serious, acute illnesses, life-threatening illnesses, very large medical drug costs on a monthly basis and covered under her mother's plan until she got married. Once she was married she was no longer eligible for coverage. Her drug costs were in excess of $1,200 a month, and those were her drug costs. That didn't account for other kinds of things. This was a woman who was frequently hospitalized and would be able to use her health care, her insurance coverage, for things like ambulance fees, having a semi-private room in a hospital, and all of that was wiped out. She had no ability to get a new health plan without paying premiums that were just astronomical and far, far beyond her actual costs.

[Page 4307]

I had a third constituent who had scleroderma, again a life-threatening disease, multiple pharmaceutical needs, frequent hospitalizations, use of the emergency health services, and due to divorce - marriage breaking down and a divorce - no longer covered by her husband's plan and unable to get health insurance. Mr. Speaker, these are the real people who are affected by this government's intransigence on this particular bill. The minister talks about how we need more study and there's a difference between individual plans and group plans. I would say to the minister that he put a fair amount of emphasis on group plans and concerns that the government have about those and the cost to the insurance industry because this is where the bulk of the coverage is.

Let's move this bill ahead into the Law Amendments Committee and amend the bill so at least individuals can get individual plans. This is why I'm very skeptical about this idea that we're going to be studying it. I don't think they're going to be studying it at all. There's no will to move this bill and amend this bill even in a way that a small number of people could realize the benefits from this bill. To end in the debate with the minister talking about their non-existing working families Pharmacare Program, I mean Pharmacare is only a small part of why people need private health insurance. There's vision care, there's dental care, there's physiotherapy, as I said the ambulance fees, there are semi-private rooms if you are hospitalized and there are any variety of drugs that aren't covered if you're in a public plan.

I think the government is being disingenuous when they say they are studying this bill. It's a clear indication to me that they're not prepared to amend this bill even so a small number of people will benefit. This is, I think, very sad. I want to say as well I object to the idea that the insurance industry is, as the minister said "being saddled with anyone." People who have serious illnesses are not "saddling" the insurance industry; quite the contrary. I think that the insurance companies would prefer never to have to pay a claim, never to provide any coverage and never take any risk, and that's becoming increasingly clear in the auto area, in the house area, around the volunteer sector, and indeed with respect to people with illnesses and disease. Mr. Speaker, with that I will take my seat.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. The time has expired for debate on Bill No. 73.

The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. FRANK CORBETT: That closes our business for today, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. PATRICK DUNN: Mr. Speaker, I move the House be now adjourned to sit again tomorrow beginning at 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Following the daily routine, will be Question Period and the Committee of the Whole House on Supply.

[Page 4308]

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that the House rise to meet again tomorrow at the hour of 9:00 a.m. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

[The House rose at 5:55 p.m.]

[Page 4309]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 2497

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 Chezzetcook and District Lions Club recently commemorated their 22nd Charter Anniversary on February 3, 2007; and

Whereas the Lions are an international network of 1.3 million men and women who work together to give something back to their communities, since their beginning in 1917; and

Whereas the Chezzetcook and District Lions Club members realize the importance of their commitment of assisting those in need as they continue to make improvements in the lives of others by participating in a vast variety of projects;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Chezzetcook and District Lions on their 22nd Charter Anniversary and wish them continued success in their undertakings.

RESOLUTION NO. 2498

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Catherine Rector of Barronsfield Road, River Hebert, has been honoured with the title of Youth Volunteer of the Year, for District 9 of the Municipality of Cumberland; and

Whereas Catherine earned this title for her involvement in extra curricular activities such as fundraising, helping a friend in need, student council, yearbook, Safe Grad, Spookarama, as well as a member of the School Closure Study Committee of the River Hebert School, as well as maintaining her good grades; and

Whereas Catherine also volunteers her time to the community as Santa's Little Helper, member of the Heritage Model Association, and is a member of the Nova Scotia Secondary School Student Association and so much more;

[Page 4310]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Catherine Rector on being recognized for her volunteer efforts and being named Youth Volunteer of the Year and wish her all the best in all future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 2499

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Norma Crawford of Southampton, Cumberland County, was honoured with the title of Volunteer of the Year, for District 8 of the Municipality of Cumberland for 2007; and

Whereas Norma earned this title for her many hours of volunteering, her 53 years of service to the Phythian Sisters, 27 years with the Royal Canadian Legion, 21 years with the Federal Superannuates National Association, Cumberland Branch; and

Whereas Norma also has 17 years of volunteer service with the Heart and Stroke association as a canvasser, 13 years as the secretary for the Mapleton Cemetery Association and five years canvassing for the Cancer Society;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Norma Crawford on her outstanding record of volunteering for her community and wish her all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 2500

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Annie Glenn of Lower Cove Road, Cumberland County, was honoured by being named Volunteer of the Year, for District 9 of the Municipality of Cumberland for the year 2007; and

Whereas Annie has given many years of service to her community, including 23 years of service to the Rebekah Lodge, 10 years of service to the Kidney Foundation, 21 years of service to the Cancer Society, three years as a member of the school board, as well as three years as a member of the Joggins Legion Auxiliary; and

[Page 4311]

Whereas Annie has also given of her time to the Heart and Stroke Foundation and as School Trustee for River Hebert, as well as many other Joggins community projects;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Annie Glenn on her outstanding years of service and on receiving this prestigious award of Volunteer of the Year for her community and wish her all the best in all future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 2501

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Austin Patriquin of Wentworth, Cumberland County, has been recognized with the title of Volunteer of the Year, for District 6 of the Municipality of Cumberland; and

Whereas Austin is 84 years of age and has been volunteering in his community since his teens, showing his loyalty and dedication to his community centre by serving bar, meals at community suppers, setting up and taking down tables, helping out with the Monday night card parties, and cleaning up after weddings and dances until the wee hours of the morning; and

Whereas Austin is very active in the United Church and is an Elder of the church, a steward, and also serves on the Wentworth Cemetery committee, and is often seen helping to maintain it in it's pristine condition;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Austin Patriquin on receiving the much-deserved title of Volunteer of the Year and wish him continued good health and all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 2502

.By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Brandon White of Springhill was honoured in March by the Springhill Minor Basketball Association as it concluded its 2006-07 season with an awards ceremony at Springhill High School; and

[Page 4312]

Whereas Brandon along with other players were special guests at the ceremony which was held to show the appreciation and admiration of the association and their fellow players, friends and family; and

Whereas Brandon White was awarded a plaque for Most Dedicated Player on the team;

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

RESOLUTION NO. 2503

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Patrick Ellis of Springhill was honoured in March by the Springhill Minor Basketball Association as it concluded its 2006-07 season with an awards ceremony at Springhill High School; and

Whereas Patrick along with other players were special guests at the ceremony which was held to show the appreciation and admiration of the association and their fellow players, friends and family; and

Whereas Patrick Ellis was awarded a plaque for being named Student Athlete;

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

RESOLUTION NO. 2504

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Justin Capon of Springhill was honoured in March by the Springhill Minor Basketball Association as it concluded its 2006-07 season with an awards ceremony at Springhill High School; and

Whereas Justin along with other players were special guests at the ceremony which was held to show the appreciation and admiration of the association and their fellow players, friends and family; and

[Page 4313]

Whereas Justin Capon was awarded a plaque for Most Improved Player on the team;

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

RESOLUTION NO. 2505

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Cody Hunter of Springhill was honoured in March by the Springhill Minor Basketball Association as it concluded its 2006-07 season with an awards ceremony at Springhill High School; and

Whereas Cody along with other players were special guests at the ceremony which was held to show the appreciation and admiration of the association and their fellow players, friends and family; and

Whereas Cody Hunter was awarded a plaque for Most Valuable Player on the team;

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

RESOLUTION NO. 2506

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Austin and Claire Patriquin of Wentworth, Cumberland County, were honoured with the title of Volunteer Family of the Year for District 6 of the Municipality of Cumberland; and

Whereas Claire and Austin have both given unselfishly of their time for many years to their community in areas such as Claire's efforts, including teaching yoga, doing church work, treasurer for the recreation centre, and spending many hours attending and helping out at community events such as weddings, community meals, dances, card parties and much more; and

Whereas Austin has given many years of service to his community by spending many hours at the community centre helping serve bar, serving meals at suppers, setting up and

[Page 4314]

taking down tables, helping out at card parties, cleaning up after dances and weddings, and still finding time to be active in the United Church as elder, steward, and serving on the Wentworth Cemetery Committee;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Austin and Claire Patriquin on their outstanding community service and for receiving the prestigious title of Volunteer Family of the Year and we wish them all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 2507

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Abigail Wood and Kalei Petten, Grade 7 students of Oxford Regional High School, competed at the recent Chignecto East Regional Science Fair in Stellarton; and

Whereas Abigal and Kalei joined forces to participate in the science fair by bringing their entry The Cornlis Effect; and

Whereas their hard work was rewarded when the judges presented them with trophies for Most Original Project, as well as the Judges Choice Award;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Abigail Wood and Kalei Petten on this outstanding achievement and wish them continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 2508

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Kaitlin Pettigrew of Parrsboro was the winner of the Lions Speak Out contest recently held in Amherst which gave students a chance to talk about what is important to them and what they feel strongly about; and

Whereas Kaitlin's speech showed a maturity far beyond her 14 years as she spoke about savouring life as you live it, rather than racing through it worrying about whether you're on top; and

[Page 4315]

Whereas Kaitlin believes that life is not a race, adding that you see people going through life like it's a competition and a competition you must win, life's too short for that;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Kaitlin on placing first in the Lions Speak Out contest and wish her all the best in all future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 2509

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Billy McNutt of Oxford, who now attends Nova Scotia Agriculture College, was chosen as the school's top athlete for the 2006-07 season at the 43rd annual Athletic Awards Banquet; and

Whereas Billy worked hard to prove to the entire country why his team deserved to host the CCAA basketball nationals, and he was easily one of the top three players there; and

Whereas Billy, a senior forward, a graduate of Oxford Regional High School, was selected as the most valuable player on the squad, an award that meant a lot to Billy McNutt, as this is his final year at the college;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Billy McNutt on this outstanding achievement and wish him continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 2510

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Rebecca-Lee MacAloney, a Grade 10 student at Parrsboro Regional High School, was the second-place winner of the Lions Speak Out contest held recently in Amherst which gave students a chance to talk about what is important to them and what they feel strongly about; and

Whereas Rebecca-Lee spoke about sexual abuse in Canada, and how the community needs to respond; and

Whereas Rebecca-Lee believes that sexual abuse is like a scar tissue in that it never goes away, and that victims of sexual abuse often go through life with low self-esteem and

[Page 4316]

some consider suicide as a way out, therefore she feels that by adding an education component to schools would go a long way toward raising public awareness about sexual abuse and help change how society views it;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Rebecca-Lee MacAloney on her outstanding speech and wish her all the best in all future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 2511

By: Hon. Bill Dooks (Energy)

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

Whereas on February 24, 2007, the Musquodoboit Harbour and District Lions Club recently commemorated their 25th Charter Anniversary; and

Whereas the Lions are an international network of 1.3 million men and women who work together to give something back to their communities, since their beginning in 1917; and

Whereas the Musquodoboit Harbour and District Lions Club members realize the importance of their commitment by assisting those in need as they continue to make improvements in the lives of others by participating in a vast variety of projects;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Musquodoboit Harbour and District Lions on their 25th Charter Anniversary and wish them continued success in their undertakings.

RESOLUTION NO. 2512

By: Mr. Leo Glavine (Kings West)

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

Whereas Tami Maillet has volunteered with the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog program since 2000 and served as a Co-ordinator since 2005 for the Valley Region; and

Whereas the Therapy Dog program is an asset to the people it serves, the dogs bring great comfort and companionship to many seniors and veterans throughout the community; and

[Page 4317]

Whereas on November 4, 2006, Tami was recognized with the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem medal in recognition of her contribution to the program;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House recognize the contributions of Tami Maillet to the St. John's Ambulance Therapy Dog program and congratulate her on her recent honours.

RESOLUTION NO. 2513

By: Mr. Ernest Fage (Cumberland North)

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

Whereas Bill Adshade , also known as "Bill the Builder," left on his fifth trip March 28th for El Salvador to help build homes for the poor; and

Whereas the nine-member team from Nova Scotia partnered with the Baptist Church in El Salvador to build seven houses. Bill says, "we are separated geographically and economically, but we are one in what we do and that breaks down all barriers"; and

Whereas when Bill Adshade returns home, he will go back to managing Office Experts in Amherst and plan for his next opportunity to help the poor abroad.

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in sending our congratulations to Bill Adshade for his compassion and giving to the poor in other parts of our world.

RESOLUTION NO. 2514

By: Mr. Ernest Fage (Cumberland North)

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

Whereas 71 students were honoured for high academic standing this year by being named to the President's List at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College; and

Whereas Nathan Greeno of Lorneville, John Langille of Pugwash, Mark Smith of Amherst and Travis Smith of Port Howe are four of this group that maintain an average of 80 % or higher; and

[Page 4318]

Whereas "These are our best and brightest and I am thrilled to honour them with this recognition," said NSAC President T. Philip Hicks.

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in sending our congratulations to Nathan, John, Mark, Travis and the other 67 students for their academic achievements.

RESOLUTION NO. 2515

By: Mr. Ernest Fage (Cumberland North)

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

Whereas the Amherst Regional High School Vikettes are the 2007 Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation Division II girls basketball champions; and

Whereas this was realized following their 48-37 win over South Colchester Academy in March; and

Whereas the proud team members are Natalie Gould, Taylor MacKenzie, Taylor Cormier, Kelly Cormier, Morgan Lewis, Allie Gallagher, Taylor MacDonald, Marlon Smith, Emily Burke, Laura Holloway and Kristin Morrison, coached by Fred Gould and Gerry Weeks.

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in sending our congratulations to ARHS Vikettes girls basketball team for this fifth provincial title in six years.

RESOLUTION NO. 2516

By: Mr. Ernest Fage (Cumberland North)

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

Whereas Constable Francis Smith, community officer with the Amherst Police Department, has been visiting schools and keeping children safe for a number of years now; and

Whereas Const. Smith recently presented West Highlands Elementary School with the Canada Safety Council Award; and

[Page 4319]

Whereas this was earned for child safety, a traffic-accident-free year, and students Megan Hatcher, Kyle LeMoine, Duran Beckstead and principal Adrien Amirault proudly accepted the award.

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in sending our congratulations to Officer Smith for his diligent work as well as staff and students at West Highlands Elementary School for traffic safety.

RESOLUTION NO. 2517

By: Mr. Stephen McNeil (Annapolis)

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

Whereas on March 3, 2007, the Annapolis West Education Centre Knights won the Boys Division 3 Provincial Championship by defeating Pugwash 61-55 in a standing-room-only crowd at Margaree Forks High School, Cape Breton; and

Whereas the team was ranked number one going into the provincials with a 46-4 record and secured a position in the finals by convincingly defeating the host team Cape Breton High and St. Mary's Bay Academy; and

Whereas the Knights finished in an impressive fashion succeeding with clutch fouls to capture the win;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly join me in congratulating team members and coaches of the Annapolis West Education Centre Knights on winning the provincial title.

RESOLUTION NO. 2518

By: Mr. Stephen McNeil (Annapolis)

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

Whereas the Annapolis County Spectator was recently named one of the top Canadian community newspapers in its class and also received first place recognition for its front page; and

Whereas writing high-quality articles, presenting the readership with relevant subjects and striving for general excellence has always been the goal of this community paper, which has received recognition for its achievements in the past; and

[Page 4320]

Whereas this much-deserved award will be presented at the CCNA annual convention and awards ceremony in Winnipeg on May 11, 2007, in recognition for a job well done;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the Legislative Assembly join me in congratulating editor Larry Powell and staff as the 2007 recipients of these prestigious newspaper awards.

RESOLUTION NO. 2519

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 Castro's Tae Kwon Do Club in Hantsport is a recognized school by the Nova Scotia Tae Kwon Do Association; and

Whereas the school's head instructor is Mr. Fidel Castro who had a number of young students from the Hantsport Club participate in the Nova Scotia Tae Kwon Do Provincial Championship held at Avon View High School in Windsor in Early February; and

Whereas Castro's Tae Kwon Do Club offers a positive impact on children's growth and development as well as youths' and elders' physical fitness;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud Mr. Fidel Castro and his enthusiastic approach to the sport of Tae Kwon Do, a sport designed to develop control of all parts of the body and, in addition, demonstrate poise, allowing flexibility in all joints of the body, while helping to relieve fatigue and stress.

RESOLUTION NO. 2520

By: Stephen McNeil (Annapolis)

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

Whereas on March 3, 2007, the Annapolis West Education Centre Knights won the Boys Division 3 Provincial Championship by defeating Pugwash 61-55 in a standing-room- only crowd at Margaree Forks High School, Cape Breton; and

Whereas the team was ranked number one going into the provincials with a 46-4 record and secured a position in the finals by convincingly defeating the host team Cape Breton High and St. Mary's Bay Academy; and

[Page 4321]

Whereas the Knights finished in an impressive fashion succeeding with clutch fouls to capture the win;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating team member Chris Burrell of the Annapolis West Education Centre Knights on winning the provincial title.

RESOLUTION NO. 2521

By: Stephen McNeil (Annapolis)

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

Whereas on March 3, 2007, the Annapolis West Education Centre Knights won the Boys Division 3 Provincial Championship by defeating Pugwash 61-55 in a standing room only crowd at Margaree Forks High School, Cape Breton; and

Whereas the team was ranked number one going into the provincials with a 46-4 record and secured a position in the finals by convincingly defeating the host team Cape Breton High and St. Mary's Bay Academy; and

Whereas the Knights finished in an impressive fashion succeeding with clutch fouls to capture the win;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating team member Lucas Halliday of the Annapolis West Education Centre Knights on winning the provincial title.

RESOLUTION NO. 2522

By: Stephen McNeil (Annapolis)

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

Whereas on March 3, 2007, the Annapolis West Education Centre Knights won the Boys Division 3 Provincial Championship by defeating Pugwash 61-55 in a standing-room-only crowd at Margaree Forks High School, Cape Breton; and

Whereas the team was ranked number one going into the provincials with a 46-4 record and secured a position in the finals by convincingly defeating the host team Cape Breton High and St. Mary's Bay Academy; and

[Page 4322]

Whereas the Knights finished in an impressive fashion succeeding with clutch fouls to capture the win;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating team member Danny Hudson of the Annapolis West Education Centre Knights on winning the provincial title.

RESOLUTION NO. 2523

By: Stephen McNeil (Annapolis)

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

Whereas on March 3, 2007, the Annapolis West Education Centre Knights won the Boys Division 3 Provincial Championship by defeating Pugwash 61-55 in a standing-room-only crowd at Margaree Forks High School, Cape Breton; and

Whereas the team was ranked number one going into the provincials with a 46-4 record and secured a position in the finals by convincingly defeating the host team Cape Breton High and St. Mary's Bay Academy; and

Whereas the Knights finished in an impressive fashion succeeding with clutch fouls to capture the win;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating team member Joey Hudson of the Annapolis West Education Centre Knights on winning the provincial title.

RESOLUTION NO. 2524

By: Stephen McNeil (Annapolis)

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

Whereas on March 3, 2007, the Annapolis West Education Centre Knights won the Boys Division 3 Provincial Championship by defeating Pugwash 61-55 in a standing-room-only crowd at Margaree Forks High School, Cape Breton; and

Whereas the team was ranked number one going into the provincials with a 46-4 record and secured a position in the finals by convincingly defeating the host team Cape Breton High and St. Mary's Bay Academy; and

[Page 4323]

Whereas the Knights finished in an impressive fashion succeeding with clutch fouls to capture the win;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating team member Mark Cromwell of the Annapolis West Education Centre Knights on winning the provincial title.

RESOLUTION NO. 2525

By: Stephen McNeil (Annapolis)

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

Whereas on March 3, 2007, the Annapolis West Education Centre Knights won the Boys Division 3 Provincial Championship by defeating Pugwash 61-55 in a standing-room-only crowd at Margaree Forks High School, Cape Breton; and

Whereas the team was ranked number one going into the provincials with a 46-4 record and secured a position in the finals by convincingly defeating the host team Cape Breton High and St. Mary's Bay Academy; and

Whereas the Knights finished in an impressive fashion succeeding with clutch fouls to capture the win;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating team member Mitchell Marshall of the Annapolis West Education Centre Knights on winning the provincial title.

RESOLUTION NO. 2526

By: Stephen McNeil (Annapolis)

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

Whereas on March 3, 2007, the Annapolis West Education Centre Knights won the Boys Division 3 Provincial Championship by defeating Pugwash 61-55 in a standing-room-only crowd at Margaree Forks High School, Cape Breton; and

Whereas the team was ranked number one going into the provincials with a 46-4 record and secured a position in the finals by convincingly defeating the host team Cape Breton High and St. Mary's Bay Academy; and

[Page 4324]

Whereas the Knights finished in an impressive fashion succeeding with clutch fouls to capture the win;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating team member Nathaniel Fells of the Annapolis West Education Centre Knights on winning the provincial title.

RESOLUTION NO. 2527

By: Stephen McNeil (Annapolis)

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

Whereas on March 3, 2007, the Annapolis West Education Centre Knights won the Boys Division 3 Provincial Championship by defeating Pugwash 61-55 in a standing-room-only crowd at Margaree Forks High School, Cape Breton; and

Whereas the team was ranked number one going into the provincials with a 46-4 record and secured a position in the finals by convincingly defeating the host team Cape Breton High and St. Mary's Bay Academy; and

Whereas the Knights finished in an impressive fashion succeeding with clutch fouls to capture the win;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating team member Philip Messinger of the Annapolis West Education Centre Knights on winning the provincial title.

RESOLUTION NO. 2528

By: Stephen McNeil (Annapolis)

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

Whereas on March 3, 2007, the Annapolis West Education Centre Knights won the Boys Division 3 Provincial Championship by defeating Pugwash 61-55 in a standing-room-only crowd at Margaree Forks High School, Cape Breton; and

Whereas the team was ranked number one going into the provincials with a 46-4 record and secured a position in the finals by convincingly defeating the host team Cape Breton High and St. Mary's Bay Academy; and

[Page 4325]

Whereas the Knights finished in an impressive fashion succeeding with clutch fouls to capture the win;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating team members and Coach Rev. Alden Fells of the Annapolis West Education Centre Knights on winning the provincial title.

RESOLUTION NO. 2529

By: Stephen McNeil (Annapolis)

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

Whereas on March 3, 2007, the Annapolis West Education Centre Knights won the Boys Division 3 Provincial Championship by defeating Pugwash 61-55 in a standing-room-only crowd at Margaree Forks High School, Cape Breton; and

Whereas the team was ranked number one going into the provincials with a 46-4 record and secured a position in the finals by convincingly defeating the host team Cape Breton High and St. Mary's Bay Academy; and

Whereas the Knights finished in an impressive fashion succeeding with clutch fouls to capture the win;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating team members and Kerry Johnson, Assistant Coach of the Annapolis West Education Centre Knights, on winning the provincial title.

RESOLUTION NO. 2530

By: Stephen McNeil (Annapolis)

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

Whereas on March 3, 2007, the Annapolis West Education Centre Knights won the Boys Division 3 Provincial Championship by defeating Pugwash 61-55 in a standing-room-only crowd at Margaree Forks High School, Cape Breton; and

Whereas the team was ranked number one going into the provincials with a 46-4 record and secured a position in the finals by convincingly defeating the host team Cape Breton High and St. Mary's Bay Academy; and

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Whereas the Knights finished in an impressive fashion succeeding with clutch fouls to capture the win;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating team member Anthony Burrell of the Annapolis West Education Centre Knights on winning the provincial title.

RESOLUTION NO. 2531

By: Stephen McNeil (Annapolis)

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

Whereas on March 3, 2007, the Annapolis West Education Centre Knights won the Boys Division 3 Provincial Championship by defeating Pugwash 61-55 in a standing-room-only crowd at Margaree Forks High School, Cape Breton; and

Whereas the team was ranked number one going into the provincials with a 46-4 record and secured a position in the finals by convincingly defeating the host team Cape Breton High and St. Mary's Bay Academy; and

Whereas the Knights finished in an impressive fashion succeeding with clutch fouls to capture the win;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating team member Henry Fredericks of the Annapolis West Education Centre Knights on winning the provincial title.

RESOLUTION NO. 2532

By: Stephen McNeil (Annapolis)

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

Whereas on March 3, 2007, the Annapolis West Education Centre Knights won the Boys Division 3 Provincial Championship by defeating Pugwash 61-55 in a standing-room-only crowd at Margaree Forks High School, Cape Breton; and

Whereas the team was ranked number one going into the provincials with a 46-4 record and secured a position in the finals by convincingly defeating the host team Cape Breton High and St. Mary's Bay Academy; and

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Whereas the Knights finished in an impressive fashion succeeding with clutch fouls to capture the win;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating team member Scott Last of the Annapolis West Education Centre Knights on winning the provincial title.

RESOLUTION NO. 2533

By: Stephen McNeil (Annapolis)

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

Whereas on March 3, 2007, the Annapolis West Education Centre Knights won the Boys Division 3 Provincial Championship by defeating Pugwash 61-55 in a standing-room-only crowd at Margaree Forks High School, Cape Breton; and

Whereas the team was ranked number one going into the provincials with a 46-4 record and secured a position in the finals by convincingly defeating the host team Cape Breton High and St. Mary's Bay Academy; and

Whereas the Knights finished in an impressive fashion succeeding with clutch fouls to capture the win;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating team members, coaches and Team Manager Donna Fells of the Annapolis West Education Centre Knights on winning the provincial title.

RESOLUTION NO. 2534

By: Stephen McNeil (Annapolis)

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

Whereas on March 3, 2007, the Annapolis West Education Centre Knights won the Boys Division 3 Provincial Championship by defeating Pugwash 61-55 in a standing-room-only crowd at Margaree Forks High School, Cape Breton; and

Whereas the team was ranked number one going into the provincials with a 46-4 record and secured a position in the finals by convincingly defeating the host team Cape Breton High and St. Mary's Bay Academy; and

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Whereas the Knights finished in an impressive fashion succeeding with clutch fouls to capture the win;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating team member Owen Ritchie of the Annapolis West Education Centre Knights on winning the provincial title.