Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

HANSARD 07-37

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

TUESDAY, MARCH 20, 2007

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
SPEAKER'S RULING: Timely proclamation of legislation.
(Pt. of Privilege by Mr. Manning MacDonald
[Hansard p. 2, 03/20/07]) 3294
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Bill No. 62 - Revise, Mr. G. Steele 3294
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 1874, Coleman, Vincent: Bravery - Salute, The Premier 3295
Vote - Affirmative 3296
Res. 1875, ECMAs: Organizers - Applaud, The Premier 3296
Vote - Affirmative 3296
Res. 1876, Hfx - Stanfield Int'l. Airport: Service - Congrats.,
Hon. L. Goucher 3297
Vote - Affirmative 3297
Res. 1877, EMO - Presentation: YMCA/Fang Liu - Congrats.,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 3297
Vote - Affirmative 3298
Res. 1878, Middleton Reg. HS Debating Team: Success - Congrats.,
Hon. K. Casey 3298
Vote - Affirmative 3299
Res. 1879, Connections 2007 - The Road to Freedom: Strong, Darlene/
Participants - Congrats., Hon. B. Barnet 3299
Vote - Affirmative 3300
Vote - Affirmative
Res. 1880, Gross, Fritz Peter & Inge: Conservation - Thank,
Hon. D. Morse 3300
Vote - Affirmative 3301
Res. 1881, Madden, Lavonah - Teaching Excellence Award,
Hon. M. Parent 3301
Vote - Affirmative 3301
Res. 1882, Business Dev. Bank Comp.: Dal. Team - Congrats.,
Hon. K. Casey 3301
Vote - Affirmative 3302
Res. 1883, N.S. Nature Trust: Land Conservation - Congrats.,
Hon. D. Morse 3302
Vote - Affirmative 3303
Res. 1884, Women, Status of - Trades/Technology Sciences: N.S. Women -
Study Applaud, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 3303
Vote - Affirmative 3304
Res. 1885, Black Loyalist Heritage Soc.: Armorial Bearings -
Congrats., Hon. B. Barnet 3304
Vote - Affirmative 3305
Res. 1886, Ambassatours: Success - Congrats., Hon. L. Goucher 3305
Vote - Affirmative 3305
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 138, Medal of Bravery Act, The Premier 3306
No. 139, Atlantic Gateway Secretariat Act, Mr. D. Dexter 3306
No. 140, Income Tax Act, Ms. D. Whalen 3307
No. 141, Respiratory Therapists Act, Hon. C. d'Entremont 3307
No. 142, Civil Service Collective Bargaining Act,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 3307
No. 143, Income Tax Act, Ms. D. Whalen 3307
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 1887, Antoniak, George - ECMA: Recognition - Congrats.,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 3308
Vote - Affirmative 3308
Res. 1888, Guzdziol, Dr. Wladyslaw: Death of - Tribute,
Mr. M. Samson 3308
Vote - Affirmative 3309
Res. 1889, Megeney, Cpl. Kevin: Death of - Tribute,
Mr. P. Dunn 3309
Vote - Affirmative 3310
Vote - Affirmative
Res. 1890, Gov't. (Can.): Vote Against - Support, Mr. D. Dexter 3310
Res. 1891, Keddy, Gerald: Party Allegiance - Confusion 3311
Res. 1892, Port Morien Dinner Theatre - Vols: Warm Wishes - Extend,
Mr. A. MacLeod 3312
Vote - Affirmative 3312
Res. 1893, Boyd, Luke: ECMA - Congrats., Mr. J. MacDonnell 3312
Vote- Affirmative 3313
Res. 1894, United Way: Gov't (N.S.) Employees - Congrats.,
Ms. D. Whalen 3313
Vote - Affirmative 3314
Res. 1895, Big Bras d'Or Vol. FD - Anniv. (50th),
Mr. K. Bain 3314
Vote - Affirmative 3314
Res. 1896, Blair, Brody - Canada Games: Participation -
Congrats., Mr. C. Parker 3315
Vote - Affirmative 3315
Res. 1897, Homeless/Working Poor - Gov't. (N.S.): Plight -
Acknowledge, Mr. S. McNeil 3315
Vote - Affirmative 3316
Res. 1898, Morris, Carole - Cdn. Journalism Award,
Mr. C. Porter 3316
Vote - Affirmative 3317
Res. 1899, CBU: Capers Women's Hockey Team - Congrats.,
Mr. G. Gosse 3317
Vote - Affirmative 3317
Res. 1900, Team N.S. - Can. Winter Games: Participation -
Congrats., Mr. W. Gaudet 3318
Vote - Affirmative 3318
Res. 1901, Jacques, Hector: Order of Can. - Congrats.,
Hon. L. Goucher 3318
Vote - Affirmative 3319
Res. 1902, Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards - N.S. Coll. of
Registered Nurses/Scotiabank Atl. Customer Contract
Centre, Mr. L. Preyra 3319
Vote - Affirmative 3320
Vote - Affirmative
Res. 1903, Nat'l. Kidney Mo. (03/07) - Recognize,
Mr. David Wilson(Glace Bay) 3320
Vote - Affirmative 3320
Res. 1904, Roberts, Sam/MacRae, Stuart - Team Can. - Participation -
Congrats., Hon. A. MacIsaac 3321
Vote - Affirmative 3321
Res. 1905, Copp, David - Glenora Distillery: Defence - Commend,
Ms. M. Raymond 3321
Vote - Affirmative 3322
Res. 1906, Aboriginal Canadians - Neglect: PM - Condemn,
Mr. K. Colwell 3322
Res. 1907, Wilson, Tammy - Mun. of Dist. of Lunenburg: CAO -
Appt., Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 3323
Vote - Affirmative 3323
Res. 1908, Wigglesworth, Armand: Book Publications - Congrats.,
Ms. V. Conrad 3324
Vote - Affirmative 3324
Res. 1909, Fish. & Aquaculture - Bill C-45: Min. - Details Provide,
Mr. H. Theriault 3324
Res. 1910, Kings Transit - Bd.: Efforts - Applaud, Hon. M. Parent 3325
Vote - Affirmative 3326
Res. 1911, AuCoin, Lauren: Music Writing Comp.- Congrats.,
Mr. David Wilson(Sackville-Cobequid) 3326
Vote - Affirmative 3326
Res. 1912, Hawley, Len: Acadia Hockey Honour Roll - Induction,
Mr. L. Glavine 3327
Vote - Affirmative 3327
Res. 1913, MSVU: Men's & Women's Basketball Teams - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Baker 3327
Vote - Affirmative 3328
Res. 1914, Beachville - Lakeside - Timberlea Sch. - Children's Wish
Fdn.: Fundraising - Congrats., Mr. W. Estabrooks 3328
Vote - Affirmative 3329
Res. 1915, MacKay Peter - N.S. Issues: Negligence - Admonish,
Ms. D. Whalen 3329
Ms. D. Whalen
Res. 1916, Maskwa Aquatic Club - Paraplegic Facilities: Construction -
Support, Hon. L. Goucher 3329
Vote - Affirmative 3330
Res. 1917, NSPI/Brigadoon Children's Camp Soc.: Action - Commend,
Mr. C. MacKinnon 3330
Vote - Affirmative 3331
Res. 1918, Equalization Payments - PM Paul Martin: Provision -
Congrats., Mr. David Wilson(Glace Bay) 3331
Res. 1919, MacPherson, Colin: Skiing Medals - Congrats.,
Mr. A. MacLeod 3332
Vote - Affirmative 3332
Res. 1920, Arsenault, John - NFL/CFL Coach of Yr. Award: Finalist -
Congrats., Mr. D. Dexter 3332
Vote - Affirmative 3333
Res. 1921, Environ. & Lbr.: Air Quality Regs. - Enforce,
Mr. K. Colwell 3333
Res. 1922, MacInnes: Nat'l. Heritage Day Celebration - Congrats.,
Mr. K. Bain 3334
Vote - Affirmative 3335
Res. 1923, Middleton, Laura: Caring Cdn. Award - Congrats.,
Mr. J. MacDonell 3335
Vote - Affirmative 3336
Res. 1924, Rural Econ. Dev.: Initiatives - Implement,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 3336
Vote - Affirmative 3336
Res. 1925, Maclean, Art & Chris - Hockey Odyssey: Best Wishes -
Send, Mr. P. Dunn 3336
Vote - Affirmative 3337
Res. 1926, Precious, Dr. David: Order of Can. - Congrats.,
Mr. L. Preyra 3337
Vote - Affirmative 3338
Res. 1927, Jacklyn, Merle: Benefit Concert - Congrats.,
Mr. C. Porter 3338
Vote - Affirmative 3339
Res. 1928, Pavelec, Ondrej: CHL Goaltender of the Wk - Congrats.,
Mr. G. Gosse 3339
Vote - Affirmative 3339
Vote - Affirmative
Res. 1929, Rural N.S.: Healthy/Vibrant Vision - Support,
Mr. M. Samson 3340
Res. 1930, Kasper, Max/Rockingstone Sch. Adopt-a-Musician Prog.,
Ms. M. Raymond 3340
Vote - Affirmative 3341
Res. 1931, Queens Figure Skaters - BMO Championships: Participation -
Congrats., Ms. V. Conrad 3341
Vote - Affirmative 3341
Res. 1932, St. Margarets Bay Lions Club - Anniv. (20th),
Mr. W. Estabrooks 3342
Vote - Affirmative 3342
Res. 1933, Davis, Ben, et al - Pictou Co.: Peace Promotion - Commend,
Mr. C. MacKinnon 3342
Vote - Affirmative 3343
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 352, Health: Nursing Home Care (J. Tree Case) - Details,
Mr. D. Dexter 3343
No. 353, Atl. Accord: Gov't. (Can.) - Commitments,
Mr. M. Samson 3345
No. 354, Nat. Res.: Helitack Crew - Treatment, Mr. D. Dexter 3346
No. 355, Agric. - Buy Local Program - Implement,
Mr. J. MacDonell 3347
No. 356, Gov't. (N.S.): Atlantic Accord - Action, Mr. M. Samson 3349
No. 357, Nat. Res. OHV Regs. - Adequacy, Mr. C. MacKinnon 3350
No. 358, Econ. Dev. - CAP Programs, Mr. C. Parker 3351
No. 359, Fish. & Aquaculture: Bill C-45 - Discussion,
Mr. H. Theriault 3352
No. 360, Fish. & Aquaculture: Bill C-45 - Amendments,
Mr. S. Belliveau 3354
No. 361, PSC. - Nat. Res.: Casual Employees - Benefits,
Mr. L. Glavine 3355
No. 362, Com. Serv. - CB Housing: Asbestos Removal - Plan,
Mr. G. Gosse 3356
No. 363, Educ.: Maple Leaf Plant Workers - Transition Funding,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 3357
No. 364, Gaming: Atl. Lottery Corp. - Review, Mr. L. Glavine 3358
No. 365, Fishing & Aquaculture - Fish Farms: Impact Study -
Implement, Ms. V. Conrad 3360
No. 366, Health - Services: Cape Breton - Access, Ms. V. Conrad 3361
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
Bill No. 137 - Livestock Health Services Act 3362
Hon. C. d'Entremont 3362
Mr. J. MacDonell 3362
Mr. S. MacNeil 3365
Hon. C. d'Entremont 3366
Vote - Affirmative 3367
Bill No. 135 - Provincial Court Act 3367
Hon. M. Scott 3368
Mr. D. Dexter 3368
Mr. M. Samson 3370
Hon. M. Scott 3373
Vote - Affirmative 3374
Bill No. 136 - Administration of Justice Act 3374
Hon. M. Scott 3374
Mr. D. Dexter 3375
Mr. M. Samson 3376
Hon. M. Scott 3377
Vote - Affirmative 3378
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Gov't. (N.S.): Buy Local Prog. - Establish:
Mr. D. Dexter 3378
Hon. M. Parent 3381
Mr. L. Glavine 3383
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Wed., Mar. 21st, at 2:00 p.m. 3386
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 1934, Robichaud, Wendy/Coastal Communities Network -
Gulf of Maine Council Award, Mr. P. Dunn .3387
Res. 1935, Beach, Wesley: NSCC Logo Contest - Congrats.,
Mr. P. Dunn 3387
Res. 1936, Dunn, Katelyn - Wigs for Kids: Donation - Commend,
Mr. P. Dunn 3388
Res. 1937, Holy Trinity Anglican Church - Anniv. (150th),
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 3388
Res. 1938, Haliburton, Gwen - Ivany Senior of the Yr. Award,
The Speaker 3389

[Page 3293]

HALIFAX, TUESDAY, MARCH 20, 2007

Sixtieth General Assembly

First Session

2:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Cecil Clarke

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Mr. Wayne Gaudet

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

Before we begin the daily routine, the subject of this evening's late debate was submitted by the honourable member for Pictou East:

Therefore be it resolved that this government immediately establish a comprehensive buy local program to recognize that government must take a leading role in supporting local producers.

That debate will be heard at the moment of interruption this evening. Now, we will commence with the daily routine.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South on a point of privilege.

3293

[Page 3294]

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I rise today on a point of privilege. My rights and privileges, as a member of this House, and the rights of all members of this House have been interfered with and disregarded by this current Cabinet. In the eyes of this Cabinet, the will of the Legislature and its democratically elected members are irrelevant.

Mr. Speaker, roughly 190 bills have been passed since 2003. Either in whole or in part, more than 45 of those bills have not been proclaimed. This amounts to almost one out of every four bills. The bills unproclaimed included increased accountability measures for Cabinet, self-governance legislation for professional designations, the creation of a Cape Breton marketing levy which you, Mr. Speaker, support. The people of this province expect that when a bill has received a favourable vote from its elected members, that this bill will become law. That is democracy and it's through the will of the Legislature that bills should become law, not by a decision of the few people sitting around a Cabinet Table.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask that you rule on this matter immediately and upon your approval, proceed directly to my motion.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, I rise in my place on behalf of my caucus to agree with the Liberal House Leader that any bills that are passed by this House should be proclaimed, as they should have been during the last Liberal Administration.

MR. SPEAKER: In response, this is the second time since I've been in the Chair as Speaker that this matter has come before the House as a point of privilege. So I have the base point of the last ruling, which in my last ruling I referred to previous rulings that have substantive history here throughout the House of concern and go back some considerable time.

As members know, if a bill is presented forward, it's the prerogative of the Executive Branch that doesn't have a proclamation date established in it. I would be pleased to supply to the members of the House copies of the previous rulings that I have here and I'll get a Page to make copies so it can be tabled for members to receive. However, while understanding the member's point, I believe that the government is cognizant of the point made. The ruling and the precedent is that it is not a point of privilege. Thank you.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition that was presented to me by Mr. Fawzi El Cheikh from Super Mike's 2 convenience store in Fairview. The operative clause reads as follows: "The following signatures on this petition firmly believe our safety and business will be at a major risk when government legislates Bill No. 62. The following

[Page 3295]

signatures are committed to lobby the provincial government, hoping to revise the bill which will allow retailers the ability to cover the existing tobacco section, and keeping security cabinets in use, avoiding any security issues."

[2:15 p.m.]

There are on this petition, Mr. Speaker, 112 signatures of convenience store owners from throughout mainland Nova Scotia and as required by the Rules, I have affixed my signature.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 1874

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

Whereas while many are aware of the selfless act of bravery of Mr. Vincent Coleman, thanks to a Heritage Minute recreating the moment, the municipality is now commemorating his sacrifice by naming a street in north end Halifax, Vincent Street; and

Whereas thanks to this Richmond Railway Yard dispatcher, trains and their passengers inbound for Halifax were averted from the devastation of the Halifax Explosion, which occurred moments later; and

Whereas in his last act as dispatcher, Mr. Coleman sent the following message, "Munitions ships on fire. Making for Pier 6. Goodbye.", thus averting further deaths and initiating a chain of communication which meant notifications to Canada and the United States of the disaster;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House salute this great Nova Scotian for his incredible act of bravery and thank the municipality for working to commemorate this man, our history, especially on this - the 90th Anniversary of the Halifax Explosion.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 3296]

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 Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 1875

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

Whereas Halifax was the proud host of this year's East Coast Music Awards; and

Whereas many Nova Scotians walked home with awards after the weekend festivities in February including (Interruptions) - that would be in Halifax, Mr. Speaker - including George Canyon, J.P. Cormier, Jamie Sparks, In-Flight Safety, and many others; and

Whereas the show's highlight was the tribute to the godfather of Celtic music, John Allen Cameron; music legend, Denny Doherty; and blues great, Dutch Mason;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the organizers for this year's ECMAs, thank all those who support Nova Scotia and East Coast artists, and salute the winners of this year's awards showcasing the incredible talent on this side of 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 favor of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage.

[Page 3297]

RESOLUTION NO. 1876

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

Whereas the newly named Halifax Stanfield International Airport has won two first-place finishes in the 2006 Airport Service Quality survey of 90 airports; and

Whereas the airport ranked first in its class, worldwide, in overall passenger satisfaction, and first in the Americas for its strong culture of customer service; and

Whereas the excellent service at our airport will contribute to the success of our tourism plan which targets cities with direct air access to Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate airport staff on their commitment to passenger satisfaction and their contribution to growing our provincial tourism industry.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Emergency Management.

RESOLUTION NO. 1877

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

Whereas the Emergency Management Office conducts valuable training sessions across Nova Scotia for a wide range of public, private and non-governmental organizations; and

Whereas the YMCA's Immigrant Program invited EMO to deliver a winter safety presentation to 30 recent newcomers to Nova Scotia; and

[Page 3298]

Whereas EMO's Director of Public Affairs led a workshop on the importance of being prepared for the first 72 hours of an emergency, and how to use our 911 emergency phone system;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the YMCA and organizer Fang Liu for reaching out to new immigrants with this important safety information.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 1878

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

Whereas Ian Power, a member of the Middleton Regional High School debating team, was successful in his debate against four former national champions, to take first place at the annual Moses M. Coady Debating Tournament at St. Francis Xavier University, earning him an entrance scholarship from that university; and

Whereas three other Middleton Regional High School debating team members - Kaitlin Perry, Danielle Comeau and John Dulong - placed in the top 10 out of 54 debaters from 11 high schools; and

Whereas the art of debate helps Nova Scotia students to gain confidence in public speaking and practice analytical and logical thinking when developing and presenting their arguments;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate the Middleton Regional High School debating team on its success in competition.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 3299]

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 African Nova Scotian Affairs.

RESOLUTION NO. 1879

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

Whereas an exhibit reflecting faith, hope and courage was unveiled in Amherst during African Heritage Month; and

Whereas Connections 2007 - The Road to Freedom, depicts the story of the enslaved and the journey to freedom in Canada via The Underground Railroad, through paintings, artifacts, poetry and song; and

Whereas the living exhibit was a result of a partnership with the Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs, ArtsSmarts Nova Scotia and the Cumberland County School of the Arts Society - the six-month program encouraged youth to express themselves and explore history in fun and interesting ways;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating Amherst artist and program coordinator, Darlene Strong, and the students who participated in the program, on a successful commemoration of the history of the people of African descent.

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 3300]

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, would it be appropriate for me to do an introduction at this time?

MR. SPEAKER: Please do.

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to see quite a number of our seasonal staff from the Department of Natural Resources here today. They work in our parks, in fire protection, they may be conservation officers and they are here to show their support for their cause. They are looking for certification and we certainly would ask them all to stand up and have the House give them a warm welcome. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 1880

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

Whereas the province is committed to increasing its Crown land base by acquiring more coastal lands and wilderness areas and to conserve and protect it from development; and

Whereas Fritz Peter Gross and Inge Gross have agreed to sell the Crown land at Inner Sambro Island, Halifax County; and

Whereas the island is of ecological and coastal significance, will add to the coastal island inventory of the province and is a beautiful property that will be available for the enjoyment of residents and visitors to the area;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank Fritz Peter Gross and Inge Gross for helping to conserve and protect this land for future generations of Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 3301]

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. 1881

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

Whereas Lavonah Madden, a teacher at the H.M. MacDonald Elementary School in the great Town of Antigonish is a recipient of the Prime Minister's Awards for Teaching Excellence in Early Childhood Education; and

Whereas Ms. Madden was selected for creating a leadership program for Grade 6 students and helping to establish a recycling program at the school, among other accomplishments; and

Whereas we can all learn from Ms. Madden's teaching example and look for our own ways to encourage waste reduction where we live and work;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join the people of Nova Scotia in commending Lavonah Madden for her award winning teaching and for setting a fine environmental example for our youth.

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. 1882

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

[Page 3302]

Whereas Reagan Davidson, Tayze MacKenzie, Sydney Davidson, and Ashley Blackman competed in the Business Development Bank of Canada's Enterprize 2007 business plan competition at the University of British Columbia from February 15th to 18th; and

Whereas the team's entry in the competition, involving marketing a new chemical catalyst technology developed by a Dalhousie University professor and his researchers was a winning combination of science and business smarts; and

Whereas this team of students from Dalhousie University beat out nine other teams from around the country to win the competition's top prize of $75,000;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Reagan Davidson, Tayze MacKenzie, Sydney Davidson, and Ashley Blackman for their success at this national competition and wish them the best in all their future endeavours

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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. 1883

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Nature Trust and the province entered into the Lands and Legacies Conservation Partnership in March 2004, under the leadership of my colleague to my left, and have this year extended the agreement to March 31, 2010 and increased the provincial funding; and

Whereas as a result of the partnership, the Nova Scotia Nature Trust and the province have protected lands for the future benefit of Nova Scotians and, in addition, Nova Scotia Nature Trust has established a landowner outreach program, a community-based land stewardship program and an innovative conservation education program; and

[Page 3303]

Whereas the extension will result in a total commitment of $1.8 million over a six-year period by the province and the Nova Scotia Nature Trust in land conservation securements and stewardship programs;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House congratulate the Nova Scotia Nature Trust in helping to conserve and protect lands for future generations of Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 1884

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Minister responsible for the Advisory Council on the Status of Women, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas 5 per cent of workers in trades and 16 per cent of workers in technology occupations are women; and

Whereas these jobs offer secure incomes and interesting work, often in Nova Scotia's most innovative workplaces; and

Whereas Techsploration and Women Unlimited introduce girls and women to jobs in science, trades and technology, thereby increasing the province's pool of skilled workers and broadening the range of occupations girls and women consider for their futures;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the Nova Scotia women who are studying or working in science, trades and technology and who are supporting women in pursuing their dreams and succeeding in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 3304]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister responsible for African Nova Scotian Affairs.

RESOLUTION NO. 1885

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

Whereas the Black Loyalist Heritage Society, based in Birchtown, Nova Scotia, is committed to discover, interpret, safeguard and promote the history and heritage of Black Loyalists and their descendants in North America; and

Whereas the Black Loyalist Heritage Society is the first Black heritage organization to receive the Armorial Bearings, granted and recorded in the Public Register of Arms, Flags and Badges of Canada on March 15, 2006; and

Whereas their Excellencies, the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean, C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D., Governor General of Canada and Mr. Jean-Daniel Lafond, C.C. made an official presentation of the Black Loyalist Heritage Society Armorial Bearings on Monday, February 12, 2007 at the Black Cultural Centre in Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Black Loyalist Heritage Society on this notable achievement and wish them continued success as they bring awareness to a significant chapter of Nova Scotia and Canadian history.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 3305]

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage.

RESOLUTION NO. 1886

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia tour company, Ambassatours, has made a name for itself for being "the company with kilts" because of its kilted drivers; and

Whereas Metro Magazine, an American publication for the motorcoach and rail tour industry, recently named the company as one of the innovative motorcoach operators for 2007; and

Whereas the company's president, Dennis Campbell, has built the business by catering to customers' needs and offering unique experiences on his tours such as the Kilted Ceilidh;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the success of this local business and its contribution to Nova Scotia's tourism industry.

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.]

The honourable Premier.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, before I introduce my bill, it is my privilege to introduce some very special people with us in the gallery this afternoon, in the Speaker's Gallery and going into the west gallery. I do apologize if I miss some of the names. There were additional individuals who joined us here today and I don't have all the names. Upon reading the names, I would ask all individuals who are with us here in attendance to stand and be recognized by the House.

[Page 3306]

These individuals are representatives of what many of us see as heroes among us, representing us from our fire service, police service, emergency medical service and ground search and rescue. While the bill I am about to introduce would enable the province to recognize any Nova Scotian who is eligible for the medal, our emergency personnel often rise above and beyond the call of duty to ensure the safety of the lives of others.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask that all members give a very warm welcome to paramedics Clay Harnish, Jeffery Baillie, Todd Sawler. We also have fire service representatives Terry Canning, Harry Nelson, Michael Nauss, Wayne Thorburne, William Faulkenham, David Burnet, Tom Bremner and Greg Smith; ground search and rescue representatives Mr. Tony Rodgers, Howard West, Michael Murray, Christine Hubley and Paul Hubley; police service representatives, Truro Police Chief Ken McLean, President of the Nova Scotia Chief's Association, and Tom Bennett, RCMP Chief Superintendent, who is also the Past President of the Nova Scotia Chief's Association and, as I indicated, others have joined us as well.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to introduce this bill to recognize these fine individuals and I would ask all members to recognize our guests here today. (Applause)

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 138 - Entitled an Act to Establish an Award to Recognize Bravery of Nova Scotians. (Hon. Rodney MacDonald)

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

Before we proceed, I would like to acknowledge and recognize and recognize, as well, a colleague and friend to many Nova Scotians, the Fire Marshal of Nova Scotia, Bob Cormier, is with us. Bob has traveled throughout the province and has done excellence service to the people of Nova Scotia. Welcome, Bob. (Applause) If anyone has ever heard one of Bob's speeches, you would think he is a politician as well, some days. (Laughter) An excellent speech-giver.

Bill No. 139 - Entitled an Act Respecting a Secretariat to Promote Nova Scotia as the Atlantic Gateway. (Mr. Darrell Dexter)

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

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition, on an introduction.

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to introduce a group which I know my colleague already represented, although I am afraid he said that they were here for the purpose of certification. That is not quite correct. I would like to introduce to all the members of the House, a group of women and men in the gallery who are here from every region in the province. They work every year in our fire service, in our provincial parks and in conservation enforcement. We are very

[Page 3307]

fortunate to have such Nova Scotians who are very committed to the vital work they have done in rural communities year after year, some for 10 years, 20 years and even 30 years - unfortunately for low wages and no benefits. They are here to be recognized for the dedicated service they provide to this province and finally get the same wages and benefits as their permanent colleagues in the Civil Service. I think we owe them a debt of gratitude for their commitment and we should end this blatant wrong in the very near future. The members are here. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Indeed, welcome to all our guests in the gallery today.

The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

Bill No. 140 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 217 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Income Tax Act Respecting Public Transit. (Ms. D. Whalen)

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

The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, if I may do an introduction, prior to my introduction of the bill. I have a number of people who are visiting us in the gallery, from the Respiratory Therapist Society and soon to be their own college. I'll ask them to stand and receive the warm welcome of the House, Patricia Moriarty, Barbara MacDonald, Phil Richardson, Jennifer MacKinnon, Shannon McDonald and Marjorie Hickey, as well as our staff member, Dennis Holland, who is accompanying them today. So I'll ask them to rise and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

Bill No. 141 - Entitled an Act Respecting the Practice of Respiratory Therapists. (Hon. C. d'Entremont)

Bill No. 142 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 71 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Civil Service Collective Bargaining Act. (Ms. Maureen MacDonald)

Bill No. 143 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 217 of the Revised Statues of 1989. The Income Tax Act Respecting Fuel-Efficient Vehicles. (Ms. D. Whalen)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

[Page 3308]

RESOLUTION NO. 1887

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

Whereas the Musician's Achievement Award, awarded each year at the East Coast Music Awards, recognizes a sideman or session musician who exemplifies professionalism and quality musicianship on recordings and/or live performances of East Coast music and who deserves to be recognized for his or her cumulative contributions; and

Whereas George Antoniak has been an active and highly respected musician in Nova Scotia for over three decades, playing with musicians such as Laura Smith and Terry Kelly; and

Whereas George Antoniak was the 2007 winner of the Musician's Achievement Award at this year's East Coast Music Awards, held here in Halifax;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate George Antoniak on this well-deserved recognition of his contributions to music in Nova Scotia and express our appreciation for the musical enjoyment he has provided during his musical career.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 1888

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

Whereas residents of the Strait area are collectively mourning the loss of longtime family physician and community activist, Dr. Wladyslaw Guzdziol, who passed away on Friday, March 16, 2007; and

[Page 3309]

Whereas Dr. Guzdziol, a war veteran and former prisoner of war, moved to the Strait area with his wife, Anna, in 1951, setting up a general practice where he was known to be on call 24 hours per day, seven days a week, including many house calls for over 45 years; and

Whereas Dr. Guzdziol received many accolades for his years of service, including a life membership of the Medical Society of Nova Scotia, honorary member of the staff of St. Martha's Hospital and an honorary life membership of the Royal Canadian Legion;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House extend their deepest sympathies to Dr. Guzdziol's wife, Anna, and daughter, Barbara, while recognizing Dr. Wladyslaw Guzdziol's legacy of excellence in family medicine and community leadership.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 1889

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

Whereas Corporal Kevin Megeney volunteered to go to Afghanistan last December with the First Battalion Nova Scotia Highlanders where he was responsible for guard duty at Kandahar Air Field; and

Whereas Kevin's family has a rich military history with his Uncle George serving as a military police officer and his grandfather, Major Douglas MacLeod, a former member of the North Nova Scotia Highlanders; and

Whereas Corporal Megeney was deeply committed to his job and wished to become a paramedic and was selected to take a medic course through the reserves;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House bow their heads solemnly and

[Page 3310]

remember that Kevin did more than his part to help the people of Afghanistan. He was a firm believer of the mission and truly believed his presence was making a difference. Canada has lost a dedicated, committed young soldier and we are very proud of him.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 1890

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

Whereas on February 14, 2005, the Governments of Canada and Nova Scotia signed the Offshore Revenues Agreement which protects 100 per cent of offshore revenues for Nova Scotia without a clawback through equalization; and

Whereas barely two years later, the March 2007 federal budget proposes a new clawback such that Nova Scotia can participate in fairer equalization only if it abandons the offshore revenues guarantee; and

Whereas the Premiers of Newfoundland and Saskatchewan have suggested their provinces' residents should vote against the Conservatives if the federal government proceeds to break its promise on resource revenue guarantees;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly associate itself with the Premiers who have suggested a vote against the federal Conservatives is the correct response to breaking the promise of revenue guarantees that would enable our province to use offshore revenue to achieve an historic economic advantage.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 3311]

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

RESOLUTION NO. 1891

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Maybe I'll have better luck, Mr. Speaker. (Laughter) I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Member of Parliament Gerald Keddy must be just as confused today as he was when his former Progressive Conservative Party merged with the Canadian Alliance; and

Whereas Mr. Keddy's confusion over Party allegiance was further amplified after another disappointing budget from the Conservative Government that has neglected the needs and concerns of all Nova Scotians; and

Whereas it seems more clearly than ever that Mr. Keddy's liberal values do not reflect the hard-line approach of unfairness and injustice that the current government advocates;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly recognize the confusion Mr. Keddy is facing and urge him to break from the Conservative chains that hold his liberal values hostage.

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.

[2:45 p.m.]

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

[Page 3312]

RESOLUTION NO. 1892

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

Whereas Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 55 in Port Morien will host their 10th consecutive and immensely successful fund-raising dinner theatre May 3rd to May 5th; and

Whereas the comedy dinner theatres began a decade ago to raise urgent funds and allow the Legion and the building which doubles as a local community centre in Port Morien to continue operating; and

Whereas this year's dinner is already sold out on Friday, May 4th and Saturday, May 5th;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend our warmest wishes to the many community volunteers in and around Port Morien who strive for and continue to make these annual dinner theatres such an outstanding success.

Mr. Speaker, I request a 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 member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1893

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

Whereas success in the music industry is sought by many and achieved by relatively few; and

Whereas the East Coast Music Awards recognizes local homegrown talent in many genres; and

[Page 3313]

Whereas on February 18, 2007, Luke Boyd of Enfield, aka Classified, was presented with his second East Coast Music Award for the best hip hot/rap single track recording for the recording "Find Out";

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Luke Boyd on winning the East Coast Music Award in the hip hop/rap category and wish Luke continued success in the music industry.

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 member for Halifax Clayton Park.

RESOLUTION NO. 1894

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

Whereas provincial government employees in the HRM raised a record breaking $405,000 for the United Way Campaign in 2006; and

Whereas thanks to the efforts of more than 250 volunteers, the provincial government employees in Halifax region raised 14 per cent more than the previous year; and

Whereas the money raised will support the United Way's work, which includes funding to more than 100 programs that strengthen neighbourhoods so people in HRM can reach their potential;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly offer congratulations to the volunteers and generous donors among our provincial employees.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 3314]

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 1895

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

Whereas in 1957, a house fire in the community of Big Bras d'Or prompted concerned citizens to begin the process of forming a fire department in the area; and

Whereas through the dedicated efforts of these founding members and the countless volunteers since, both male and female, Big Bras d'Or Volunteer Fire Department has provided fire protection and education from its humble beginnings; and

Whereas 2007 is the 50th Anniversary of the Big Bras d'Or Volunteer Fire Department's inception;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Big Bras d'Or Volunteer Fire Department of its 50th Anniversary and thank its members, both past and present, for their dedication and commitment to their community.

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 member for Pictou West.

[Page 3315]

RESOLUTION NO. 1896

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

Whereas Brody Blair of Lyons Brook, Pictou County, has recently returned from Whitehorse where he was a member of Nova Scotia's Canada Games boxing team; and

Whereas Brody won a bronze medal in the 64 kilogram category and was also the youngest boxer competing at the Canada Games; and

Whereas Brody was chosen to lead Team Nova Scotia into the closing ceremonies;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Brody Blair for his inspiring effort, sportsmanship, leadership and on winning a bronze medal in boxing at the Canada Games.

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 member for Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 1897

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

Whereas the federal budget has claimed to have something for everyone, yet it blatantly excludes the poorest of the poor; and

Whereas the absence of money to specifically address the poverty and homelessness makes it obvious that these issues are not priorities of the federal government; and

Whereas the need for a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy has been brought before

[Page 3316]

this provincial government on many occasions;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly call on this government to acknowledge the plight of the homeless and working poor and take action by developing a poverty reduction strategy.

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. 1898

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 National Newspaper Awards have been this country's elite journalism awards for more than half a century; and

Whereas the Valley Today newspaper, while no longer in circulation, employed a youthful contingent of reporters in 2006, with former reporter Carole Morris being nominated for a National Newspaper Award in the local news category, as a result of a series of great stories throughout the beautiful Annapolis Valley; and

Whereas Ms. Morris is one of three finalists, along with writers from Guelph and Kingston, Ontario, who will find out on May 11th in Winnipeg at the 58th Annual Canadian Newspaper Association's Awards Ceremony and Conference;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend their warmest wishes to Ms. Carole Morris for being named a finalist for such a prestigious Canadian journalism award and wish her continued success in her journalism career.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 3317]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 1899

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

Whereas on January 13, 2007, the Cape Breton University Capers women's hockey team captured the inaugural Maritime University College Women's Hockey Challenge in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island; and

Whereas the Capers defeated Holland College 4-0, 4-2, and also defeated Université Saint Anne 5-0 and 10-1; and

Whereas the team was led by the strong play of Garlene Somerton of Glace Bay and Leeann Haire of Labrador City, who both accounted for 13 points, in the strong goaltending of Monica Ramsay of Sydney, Nova Scotia, with two shutouts, and Joanna Weatherbie of Charlottetown, P.E.I., posting the other;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly congratulate the Cape Breton University women's hockey team on their hockey exploits and wish them all the success in the season ahead.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 3318]

The honourable member for Clare.

RESOLUTION NO. 1900

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

Whereas athletes from across Nova Scotia recently travelled to Whitehorse to compete in the 2007 Canada Winter Games; and

Whereas all Nova Scotians were very proud of the hard work and dedication exemplified by our 2007 Canada Winter Games team; and

Whereas Matthew Vaughan, Alexandra Duckworth, Shyanne Dolliver, Liam Hawkins, Brody Blair, Sonny McLellan, Michael Gerrow and Cameron Howatt succeeded in bringing home a medal in their competitive events;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly congratulate all the members of Team Nova Scotia for a job well done in representing our province at the 2007 Canada Winter Games and wish them continued success.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage.

RESOLUTION NO. 1901

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

Whereas Hector Jacques, a resident of Bedford and co-founder of Jacques Whitford has received the Order of Canada, the country's highest honour for lifetime achievement; and

[Page 3319]

Whereas the Order of Canada recognizes outstanding achievement and service in different areas of human venture; and

Whereas Hector Jacques has been a leader and major contributor in the field of engineering;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend their congratulations to Hector Jacques for his hard work and dedication in the field of engineering.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

RESOLUTION NO. 1902

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

Whereas the Association of Psychologists of Nova Scotia and the CN Centre for Occupational Safety held their Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards Ceremony on February 8, 2007 in my constituency of Halifax Citadel; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia College of Registered Nurses and the Scotiabank Atlantic Customer Contact Centre both received awards; and

Whereas these award winners recognize that employee health is important and organizational and economic performance are directly related to employee well-being;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly applaud recipients of the Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards and strive to make all places of work a healthy, positive and productive working environment for all their members and staff.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

[Page 3320]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Glace Bay.

RESOLUTION NO. 1903

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

Whereas an estimated 2 million Canadians have kidney disease, or are at risk each day, and an average of 14 Canadians learn their kidneys have failed; and

Whereas in 2004, there were 30,924 Canadians on dialysis or with a kidney transplant and this number is expected to double over the next 10 years; and

Whereas since 1964, the Kidney Foundation of Canada has awarded more than $77 million to support kidney-related research;

Therefore be it resolved the members of the House of Assembly recognize March as National Kidney Month and support the Kidney Foundation of Canada as it provides support to those with kidney disease and strive to find a cure.

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 Transportation and Public Works.

[Page 3321]

RESOLUTION NO. 1904

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

Whereas St. F.X. hockey players, Sam Roberts and Stuart MacRae, were chosen to be on Team Canada - Team Canada was comprised of Atlantic University Sport conference all-stars; and

Whereas Sam Roberts and Stuart MacRae played with Team Canada at the World University Games in Turin, Italy; and

Whereas Team Canada captured gold at the World University Games, defeating Russia 3-1 in the championship game;

Therefore be it resolved all members of this House join me in congratulating Sam Roberts and Stuart MacRae on being part of Team Canada and their gold medal victory.

Mr. Speaker, I might point out to members of the House before I seek waiver, these two players and their team mates are competing in the CIS National Championships this weekend in Moncton.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

RESOLUTION NO. 1905

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

Whereas Glendale, Nova Scotia is home to Glenora Distilleries, makers of Glen Breton whisky; and

[Page 3322]

Whereas the Scotch Whisky Association has taken exception to Glenora's use of the word "glen" in the name of their product, claiming it misleads consumers into thinking they're drinking Scottish whisky rather than Nova Scotia's finest and only; and

Whereas the Canadian Trademarks Opposition Board, on January 24th, found in favour of the Nova Scotia company, indicating they have every right to use the good Gaelic word "glen" found in place names all over Cape Breton;

Therefore be it resolved that this House commend David Copp, lawyer, on successfully defending Glenora Distillery and the right of a Nova Scotia company to use a Gaelic word.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 1906

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

Whereas the Conservative Party of Canada continues to neglect the well-being of Aboriginal Canadians and has offered them slim-to-nothing in the federal government's recent budget; and

Whereas many Aboriginal Canadians continue to go without adequate housing, plumbing or safe drinking water; and

Whereas the federal government scrapped the former Liberal Government's Kelowna Accord, that was drafted in consultation with Aboriginal leaders and organizations across the country;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House condemn Prime Minister Harper's decision to neglect the basic fundamental needs of Aboriginal Canadians who continue to live in Third World-like conditions.

[Page 3323]

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 Minister of Immigration.

RESOLUTION NO. 1907

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

Whereas the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg has hired a new Chief Administrative Officer; and

Whereas Tammy Wilson was appointed to the position; and

Whereas Ms. Wilson's duties will include overseeing the day-to-day operations of the municipality, she will also be responsible to council for administration and coordination of services to ensure effective utilization of human, financial and physical resources, and has to ensure that council's initiatives and policies are executed and implemented in a timely manner and also advise council on the development of public policy;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Ms. Tammy Wilson as she takes on this challenging new position, and wish her every success with the role as chief administrative officer for the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg.

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.

[Page 3324]

[2:00 p.m.]

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 1908

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

Whereas Queens County as been privileged to have a storyteller to keep stories of the people of the county, of the past 200 years, accessible for everyone to enjoy; and

Whereas these stories of events, places and people have been put together in the sixth instalment of these stories from Queens County; and

Whereas Nova Scotians are becoming more and more aware of the history and heritage of this part of the province by one man's efforts;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly recognize well-known Queens County author and columnist, Armand Wigglesworth, for the recent publication of his sixth instalment of stories from Queens 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 favor of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 1909

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

Whereas last month the provincial Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture called for the passing of Bill No. C-45, Federal Fisheries Act; and

[Page 3325]

Whereas there is growing concern among people in the industry and our coastal communities over this bill; and

Whereas many citizens of Nova Scotia are not clear on the details of this legislation and are confused over what these changes may mean for them;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly call upon the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture to provide more details on this bill so that those involved in the fishing industry of our coastal communities are not plagued with uncertainty.

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 Minister of Environment and Labour.

RESOLUTION NO. 1910

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

Whereas Kings Transit has been described as one North America's best small transit systems, carrying nearly 2,000 passengers a day; and

Whereas Kings Transit is featured prominently on the Web site of the Canadian Urban Transit Association; and

Whereas Kings Transit will soon be operating in the four counties of the Annapolis Valley with service into Hants County expected to begin soon;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs in this House of Assembly applaud the tireless efforts of the board of Kings Transit, and wish them success as they continue to strive to make the Annapolis Valley more convenient for passengers in need of daily transportation and more environmentally friendly.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 3326]

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 Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 1911

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 14-year-old Lauren AuCoin, of Lower Sackville, attends Cavalier Drive School, and has been studying piano for ten years; and

Whereas Lauren wrote the song, Forever and Always, for her cousin's wedding; and

Whereas Lauren submitted her song to a national piano songwriting competition and won first place in the Canadian Federation of Music Week Writing Competition;

Therefore be it resolved this House of Assembly congratulate Lauren AuCoin on her first-place finish with the song, Forever and Always, in the Canadian Federation of Music Writing Competition, and wish Lauren continued success in her musical endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings West.

[Page 3327]

RESOLUTION NO. 1912

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

Whereas Len Hawley has been the voice of the Acadia Axemen hockey team for the past 18 years, having made his debut February 28, 1989, with Dave Chaulk; and

Whereas what began as a hobby, broadcasting soon became his career, where he has demonstrated team support with encouragement without ever stepping on the ice; and

Whereas Len Hawley was inducted into Acadia's Hockey Honour Roll on October 27, 2006;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly extend congratulations to Len Hawley for his achievements in broadcasting as the voice of the Axemen and extend best wishes in his support for hockey in the Annapolis Valley.

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 Finance.

RESOLUTION NO. 1913

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

Whereas the men's and women's basketball teams from Mount Saint Vincent University have been undefeated during the 2006-2007 season; and

Whereas the MSVU men's and women's basketball teams recently won the 2006-2007 ACAA Championship; and

Whereas the men's basketball team made MSVU history by becoming the first team to go

[Page 3328]

23-0 in ACCA action and the women's basketball team made MSVU history by becoming the first women's basketball team to be undefeated;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate the Mount Saint Vincent University men's and women's basketball teams on their very successful season.

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 member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 1914

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

Whereas Grade 5 students Taylor Soley and Rebecca Evans of Beechville-Lakeside-Timberlea School have shown great initiative by raising funds for the Children's Wish Foundation; and

Whereas these students chose the fund-raising theme "Kids Helping Kids"; and

Whereas the Toonie Toss, which was won by student Samantha Nicholson, raised over $900;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate and thank Taylor Soley, Rebecca Evans and all the students of Beechville-Lakeside-Timberlea School for their fund-raising efforts for the Children's Wish Foundation.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 3329]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

RESOLUTION NO. 1915

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

Whereas Conservative MP Peter MacKay was a key architect in the merger between the Progressive Conservative Party and the Canadian Alliance; and

Whereas Mr. MacKay has failed to effectively lobby for the interests of Nova Scotians, including the federal government's reluctance to fund the Atlantic Gateway initiative that would have increased the province's presence both economically and internationally; and

Whereas Mr. MacKay has received more media attention for his unparliamentary comments than he has for standing up for Nova Scotians;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly admonish Mr. MacKay for his record of negligence concerning the issues important to Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage.

RESOLUTION NO. 1916

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

[Page 3330]

Whereas the Maskwa Aquatic Club has indicated to the province their intention to build an aquatic facility on Kearney Lake that will be first in Canada of its kind to offer paddling programs to people with significant physical disabilities; and

Whereas Maskwa Aquatic Club is working cooperatively with the Canadian Paraplegic Association to create the unique program facilitating those with lifelong physical limitations; and

Whereas the Maskwa Aquatic Club will also be designing a boat specially designed to facilitate paraplegics;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend their support to the Maskwa Aquatic Club in this endeavour.

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 member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1917

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

Whereas camping experiences include outdoor and fine arts programs and can lead to tremendous self-esteem building among children and teenagers; and

Whereas Brigadoon Children's Camp Society has plans in place to build a camp for chronically ill children beginning in 2009; and

Whereas Nova Scotia Power Inc. donated a 40-hectare site on the shores of Aylesford Lake to Brigadoon Children's Camp Society;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly commend the visionary action of Nova Scotia Power and the Brigadoon Children's Camp Society for their commitment to provide camping

[Page 3331]

opportunities to children with mental illnesses and various physical diseases and conditions.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Glace Bay.

RESOLUTION NO. 1918

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

Whereas a former Prime Minister recognized the importance and significance of offshore resource revenue to the future well-being of all Nova Scotians; and

Whereas the 2005 arrangement provides 100 per cent protection from equalization reductions resulting from the inclusion of offshore revenue in the equalization program; and

Whereas Nova Scotia would be given transitional payments, should the province no longer qualify for equalization throughout the eight-year agreement;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate former Prime Minister Paul Martin for providing fair and just equalization payments to the Province of Nova Scotia.

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 3332]

RESOLUTION NO. 1919

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

Whereas Colin MacPherson of Big Pond recently came home with a handful of medals in downhill skiing; and

Whereas he started with two silver medals in the giant slalom event at Ski Wentworth; and

Whereas he then claimed one silver and three bronze medals at Crabbe Mountain in New Brunswick, then Colin recently returned from Whitehorse where he was the only Cape Breton ski racer on the provincial team at the 2007 Canada Winter Games;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Colin MacPherson of Big Pond. His talent on the slopes is something that all Nova Scotians can be proud of.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I wonder if I might - I have an introduction I would like to do. I have a resolution, they are unconnected.

MR. SPEAKER: Please do.

MR. DEXTER: Thank you. I'd like to welcome to the House - in your gallery, Mr. Speaker - Eliza Abbass, Nedra Wilson and Lola Tree. They are here today - they were here earlier today in connection with another matter that we had and they are here to observe the House this afternoon. I would ask all member to welcome them. (Applause)

RESOLUTION NO. 1920

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

[Page 3333]

Whereas the Hitachi NFL/CFL Youth Coach of the Year Award is awarded annually to a high school level or community coach who dedicates themselves to the development of young football players both on and off the football field; and

Whereas one of the 10 finalists nominated from across Canada for the 2006 Hitachi Award was John Arsenault, a committed, dedicated football coach at Cole Harbour High School; and

Whereas John Arsenault was nominated by Acadian University football player Sean Simms who wrote in a qualifying essay how John Arsenault inspired and motivated his players and built confidence in their abilities as they developed from youths into manhood;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate John Arsenault for being selected as one of the 10 finalists for the coveted 2006 Hitachi NFL/CFL Youth Coach of the Year Award and commend him for his dedication and inspiration to his players and to the community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

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

The motion is carried.

[3:15 p.m.]

The honourable member for Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 1921

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

Whereas to ensure that the people of Nova Scotia receive the maximum environmental benefits associated with the responsible solid-waste management programs; and

Whereas heavy metals, such as chlorine, lead, zinc and cadmium are found in tires that when burned can release harmful toxins into the air; and

Whereas the Department of Environment and Labour is responsible for the air quality standards and must enforce these regulations to keep our environment and air clean and safe;

[Page 3334]

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House urge the government to enforce its air quality regulations and call upon the Resource Recovery Fund Board to move forward with better and more environmentally responsible initiatives.

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 Victoria-The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 1922

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

Whereas National Heritage Day was celebrated on February 19th and Victoria County featured homes that help tell its story and preserve its heritage; and

Whereas according to Victoria County's own heritage clerk, Joan MacInnes, the featured buildings date from the early to mid 19th Century and still retain the majority of their original architectural features; and

Whereas the homes represent the post-log cabin era when local sawmills were in operation;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House send their congratulations to Victoria County and its heritage clerk, Joan MacInnes, on a successful National Heritage Day celebration. In order to ensure a strong future for Nova Scotian communities, it is imperative that we celebrate and learn from the past.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 3335]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid on an introduction.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw the attention of all members to the west gallery where we have a national representative for the UFCW, Mr. Tim Hosford. But not only does he represent many members of that union, he has also worked very hard over the years to bring awareness around leukemia. So I would like all members to give Tim a warm welcome to the session today. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: I would like to welcome our guest and all guests visiting with us in the gallery today.

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1923

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 often define communities by how they give of their time and talents; and

Whereas Ms. Laura Middleton of Mount Uniacke has for many years served her community in 4-H, the Uniacke Heritage Society, the local school and Cancer Society, to name but a few; and

Whereas on February 14, 2007, Ms. Middleton was awarded the Caring Canadian Award by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean, Governor General of Canada;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Laura Middleton on receiving the Caring Canadian Award and thank Laura for her superb example of volunteering.

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 3336]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

RESOLUTION NO. 1924

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

Whereas from the results of the latest national census released last Tuesday show us that Atlantic Canada is facing a crisis when it comes to keeping our people in our region; and

Whereas Nova Scotia's population increase pales in comparison to the explosive growth of the West, especially Alberta and B.C., as well as Ontario; and

Whereas Halifax and surroundings areas are growing in size, but communities and rural areas more distant from metro are losing residents;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly urge the government to implement more initiatives for rural economic development and realize that the best way to grow Nova Scotia's workforce is to keep the people we already have.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 1925

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 father and son team of Art and Chris MacLean spent several months this year

[Page 3337]

travelling to 30 cities across North America to see 30 NHL hockey games; and

Whereas Chris MacLean initially came up with the idea and travelled from Australia to join his father, Art, for the hockey odyssey, ensuring every detail of the trip had been planned for; and

Whereas the Pictou County natives also developed a blog so family and friends could track their progress and keep up-to-date with hockey results that Chris added to it daily;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House send their best wishes to Art and Chris MacLean as they work towards completing their goal. Such thought, planning and dedication deserves our recognition and while the rest of us may be a bit jealous, we can take pride knowing that these two fans are positively Nova Scotian.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

RESOLUTION NO. 1926

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

Whereas Dr. David S. Precious, cleft lip and palate surgeon and Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry at Dalhousie University, was recently named to the Order of Canada - one of four Nova Scotians to have been awarded this honour; and

Whereas the Order of Canada recognizes a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation; and

Whereas Dr. Precious' contributions to his field are both national and international in scope, as he has served as the President of the Canadian Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and chairman of the Board of Trustees of the International Cleft Lip and Palate Foundation, to name just two of his professional involvements;

[Page 3338]

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Dr. David S. Precious on his remarkable contributions and achievement in being named to the Order of Canada.

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. 1927

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

Whereas Merle Jacklyn, otherwise known as Merle "the singing barber", has been cutting hair in Windsor for nearly 35 years; and

Whereas Merle, already having a stray cat at his barbershop on Grey Street, was recently the instrumental and driving force behind the organization of a benefit concert in Windsor for stray felines; and

Whereas Merle contacted Windsor town councillor Liz Galbraith and convinced a number of other local citizens of the need for a benefit concert, which resulted in more than $1,000 being raised toward local stray or feral cats being fixed permanently;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend our sincerest wishes to Windsor's "singing barber" Merle Jacklyn for his kindness in wanting to assist with this growing concern.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 3339]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 1928

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

Whereas on January 31, 2007, the Canadian Hockey League announced its Goaltender of the Week for the week ending January 28, 2007; and

Whereas the recipient of this prestigious award was Ondrej Pavelec of the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles; and

Whereas Ondrej Pavelec posted a record of 2 wins and 1 loss for the minuscule 0.67 goals against average, .979 save percentage and 1 shutout in three games;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Ondrej Pavelec on this noteworthy athletic achievement of being named Goaltender of the Week and wish Ondrej continued success in the years ahead.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

[Page 3340]

RESOLUTION NO. 1929

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 recent Statistics Canada figures prove the devastating blow out-migration has had on rural Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the immediate response from the Liberal caucus was to call upon the provincial government to expand efforts for rural economic development, while the NDP MLA for Timberlea-Prospect reacted by saying the solution for rural Nova Scotia was to increase the number of MLAs in Metro Halifax; and

Whereas the silence of the Leader of the NDP to these comments by his senior colleague seemed to indicate once and for all that the NDP is a Metro-based Party with no vision for rural Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House urge Nova Scotians to support political Parties who have a plan and a vision for a strong, healthy and vibrant rural Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

RESOLUTION NO. 1930

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

Whereas music is a teaching language spoken by all people and music education is strongly correlated with academic success; and

Whereas the students at Rockingstone School have become the musical children of Symphony Nova Scotia bassist, Max Kasper, through the Adopt-a-Musician Program; and

Whereas the Rockingstone school children are learning about the workings of a symphony orchestra and composing a work on the theme of bullying to be performed in April at the Rebecca Cohen Auditorium;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate bassist Max Kasper and the Rockingstone School students on their hard work, imagination and wish them all the best on the night of the premiere scheduled for April in the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium.

[Page 3341]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 1931

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

Whereas Queens was well represented at the BMO Canadian Figure Skating Championships held in Halifax this year; and

Whereas two young Queens County skaters took part in events at the championship and had the opportunity to meet some of the top skaters in the country; and

Whereas a third Queens County skater, while part of the audience, was recognized;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly recognize Kate Inglis chosen as Can Skater of the Day, Chloe Pitre auditioned for and was selected as Flower Retriever for the event and Janessa Keans was selected as BMO's ultimate fan.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it 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.

[Page 3342]

RESOLUTION NO. 1932

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

Whereas the St. Margarets Bay Lions Club have served their community for 20 years; and

Whereas dedicated Lions will celebrate their 20th anniversary on June 16, 2007; and

Whereas the St. Margarets Bay Lions Club, which includes seven Melvin Jones Fellows, has sponsored eight seeing-eye dogs and continued to assist those less fortunate in our community;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the members fo the St. Margarets Bay Lions Club on their 20th anniversary with continued good service to our community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1933

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

Whereas the Pictou County YM-YWCA, together with YMCA associations across Canada, are urging citizens to become active in peace promotion in their communities and Benjamin Davis, the CEO of the Pictou County YM-YWCA, has actively promoted peace-building, saying "change occurs day by day, person by person"; and

Whereas the YMCA organized World Peace Week to educate children and youth on the positive impact of peace, to improve life in all communities; and

Whereas Pat Rose and Bob Whitman, who work with organizations mandated to help end family violence in Pictou County, received peace medals as part of World Peace Week;

[Page 3343]

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly commend Ben Davis, Pictou YM-YWCA staff, Pat Rose and Bob Whitman on their efforts to promote peace within communities of Pictou County.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it 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 3:29 p.m. and finish at 4:29 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

HEALTH: NURSING HOME CARE (J. TREE CASE) - DETAILS

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, My question through you will be to the Premier. James Tree is a 73-year old senior from Pictou County. In August, 2005, he suffered three aneurysms which left him with dementia and requiring nursing home care. In the 18 months that have followed, Mr. Tree has been moved six times. He is currently in the Aberdeen Hospital with a security guard watching over him day and night. The Department of Health wants to move him a seventh time, this time to the Kings County Rehab Centre, over 300 kilometres from his home.

My question to the Premier is very simple, Mr. Speaker: Is this any way to treat a frail, elderly citizen of this province?

[3:30 p.m.]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, through you to the Leader of the Opposition, I am very disappointed to hear of the challenges that individual in question has had to go through. Understandably, this can be very difficult on family members, it can be very difficult on those involved in the situation and certainly it is very unfortunate to hear that.

[Page 3344]

Mr. Speaker, through our continuing care strategy, certainly we want to see our seniors and those individuals across our province get the best possible care. I will ensure that this case, and the person in question, is reviewed through the Department of Health.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, what the Premier should know is that one of the problems with the current process is that there is no avenue for appeal. Now Mr. Tree had violent episodes but two doctors have since assessed him as being suitable for a nursing home bed. His health has now deteriorated and his level of frailty has increased. In fact, the security guards who watch over him are able to provide him with some of the care he needs and are able to work with him.

However, Mr. Speaker, the Department of Health says that the Kings County rehab is the only solution even though he will be hundreds of kilometres away from his family. So my question again to the Premier is this, how can this government justify treating this senior, and other seniors, in such a heartless manner?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I refer that to the Minister of Health.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, thank you to the member opposite for his intervention in this one. I can say to the House that of course, we cannot speak specifically to any case of people in our care but I can say that this client has been carefully assessed and the facility in which he is being placed is the most appropriate to meet his specific needs.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, his geriatrician disagrees with the decision of the care coordinator but there is no avenue for appeal. What is worse is that Mr. Tree is not alone. There are more than 550 people currently in nursing homes who are awaiting transfers to facilities closer to their home, closer to their community, to their friends, to their family. My question to the Premier is this, how many more seniors have to be exported away from their family and friends before they can see that there needs to be measures to fix the problem?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, that is the very reason why the government has acknowledged this through announcing over 800 new beds as well as the replacement of many facilities across our province as part of our strategy. We recognize that there is a problem and we are addressing that problem. It cannot be fixed overnight. It is one that will take some time but the government is moving forward, not only in the 827 beds but in some of the short-term situations that we are dealing with as well on the pressure side.

MR. SPEAKER: Before we proceed to the next question, I would ask anyone with an electronic device on their desk to please remove it from their desk or put it away.

The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

[Page 3345]

ATL. ACCORD: GOV'T. (CAN.) - COMMITMENTS

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, yesterday the federal Conservative Party released its budget and the details for the new equalization formula. The federal Conservatives have backed our province into a corner, forcing us to choose between higher payments now or potentially higher windfalls down the road if our offshore industry takes off. It is clear from yesterday's budget that Prime Minister Harper and his Conservative counterparts do not care about Nova Scotia and are willing to sell us out for political points in other regions. The new formula announced by the federal Conservatives is not based on principle, it is based on votes. My question to the Premier is that the Premier has told Nova Scotians that he met with Prime Minister Harper on several occasions. What commitments did the Premier receive from the Prime Minister regarding the Atlantic Accord and the new proposed equalization formula?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I was very clear and articulated Nova Scotia's position. I was very disappointed yesterday with the news that was brought forward through the budget process. (Interruption) (Laughter) The Liberals are going to extended lengths in the House - I've lost my train of thought - but the fact of the matter is we're not satisfied with what we heard yesterday. This government and my predecessor worked very hard on behalf of the people of Nova Scotia for the Offshore Accord, a right which is for all Nova Scotians.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, the anger of Nova Scotians can even be heard from the cries in the gallery here today. It's now clear that the Premier's fiscal imbalance Web site has failed - apparently he should have sent the link directly to the Prime Minister and his federal Tory cousins so that they could fully understand the challenges being faced by our province.

Nova Scotians are once again yearning for strong leadership to make our case to Ottawa, yet once again the lead seems to be taken up by the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Yesterday the Premier blamed the federal civil service for failing to respect the Atlantic Accord. So my question to the Premier is who gave you the commitment that the Atlantic Accord would not be included in the new equalization formula, the federal civil servants or the Prime Minister of Canada?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, very clearly, as I said I was very disappointed with yesterday's announcement and the very difficult choice we now have to make as a government - a difficult choice that we will thoroughly look at before making any decision upon that. But, again, it is the federal government that has made this decision. Again, we expect and we expected that the Accord would be respected as it should be and we stand by that today. I have officials now gathering the necessary information so we can determine what our next steps will be.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, once again the Premier is failing in his duty to show leadership at a time when Nova Scotians need it most. We saw a contrast in leadership last night when Premier Danny Williams called upon the people in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador to vote

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against the federal Tories for not respecting the Atlantic Accord, while our Premier was blaming the federal civil service.

Mr. Premier, the Prime Minister sold us out and there's no forgiveness for that from Nova Scotians. So my question to you, again, is will you call on all Nova Scotians to vote against the federal Conservatives if they do not reverse their position on protecting the Atlantic Accord and the future of our province?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, once again, what do the Liberals go back to? Politics. This issue is not about politics, it's about people. The people of Nova Scotia and what is rightfully theirs.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

NAT. RES.: HELITACK CREW - TREATMENT

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the last time I looked, this place was filled with politicians.

My question is for the Minister of Natural Resources. I wish to table an e-mail I recently received from Greg Stricker. Greg is a member of HRM's Helitack Crew. He and his colleagues are first on the scene at forest fires and it's their vigilance that helps keep the HRM safe each summer. Helitack Crew members are seasonal, casual workers, paid low wages, with no overtime, no health and dental plan, no disability plan and, in the end, no pension. So my question to the Minister of Natural Resources is this: I would like to ask the minister why these people who risk their lives to prevent forest fires are treated as second-class citizens by your department?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I'd just note to our guests in the gallery today that you can neither respond favourably or negatively to any of the activity on the floor of the House during its proceedings.

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, the situation involving seasonal workers within the Department of Natural Resources, as I mentioned before when I introduced our quests in the gallery, something that was brought to my attention - it was requested if I would meet with my colleague of the day, the then Minister of the Public Service Commission. We accommodated their concerns. We had a positive meeting with them, with a couple of the representatives from the seasonal workers, and it was also attended by two union leaders, one being Joan Jessome of the NSGEU, and the other being Robert Chisholm of CUPE. It was a productive discussion and I'm very pleased that there has been some progress as a result of that meeting and I understand there may be more.

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MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, that falls into the category of news to just about everybody. I would like to direct this question to the Minister responsible for the Public Service Commission whom the minister referenced. In a recent letter, which I will table, to the president of the NSGEU, the minister stated, "Providing the bundle of benefits and protections afforded our permanent Civil Service to individuals with such a tenuous connection as working two months is not something that we could promote."

Mr. Speaker, this is tantamount to blaming seasonal workers for their own status and I'm sure these workers would be more than willing to work full-time year around. So my question to the minister is this, I would like to ask the minister why does your department refuse to promote fairness for firefighters and park workers?

HON. CAROLYN BOLIVAR-GETSON: Mr. Speaker, I would like to start by saying this government values the work that is carried out by our seasonal employees throughout government - DNR, Tourism, Culture and Heritage, everyone. Now, we have agreed, we did sit down, the former minister and the Minister of DNR, as was currently mentioned here, with union representation. We have agreed to carry out a review on seasonal workers within government to see what impact it has across government.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I guess I would like to know just exactly how long this review is going to take. So my final question is going to be again to the Minister responsible for the Public Service Commission. There are men and women here today who have worked as firefighters and park employees on a seasonal basis for many years. Some of them for more than 30 years with no pension, with no benefits, for more than 30 years. These are individuals whose jobs and salaries keep the rural economy going. So I would like to ask the minister this, when is the minister going to revise Section 11 of the Civil Service Collective Bargaining Act to ensure that these works are treated fairly?

MS. BOLIVAR-GETSON: Mr. Speaker, again, we have committed to doing a review on seasonal workers across government to see what impact it will have. We definitely are going to continue to do that. Within the next several months I expect to have that review on my desk and from there we'll proceed. I will be in contact with the NSGEU and other people that were involved in the original meetings.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

AGRIC.: BUY LOCAL PROGRAM - IMPLEMENT

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, my question will be for the Premier. One of the promises most frequently made by Progressive Conservatives in Nova Scotia is that of a buy local program to help our agricultural producers. This is a promise that was in their 1998-99 and 2003 platforms and, most recently, this summer they promised to "establish a marketing program to encourage more Nova Scotians to purchase agriculture and fishery products made in Nova Scotia".

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More and more Nova Scotians are looking for a program so they can differentiate Nova Scotia products in our grocery stores, Mr. Speaker. So my question for the Premier is, when will your government listen to our agricultural sector and the people of Nova Scotia and live up to your Party's many campaign promises to promote a buy local program?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, indeed, yes, we did make that commitment last summer with respect to the buy local program. We indicated how much we would spend as well and I believe the number, if I recall, is $250,000 per year on that program and the government will keep its commitment.

MR. MACDONELL: Well, Mr. Speaker, I guess if Nova Scotians and the Opposition are going to go by history, then I would say that that and $1.50 will get you a cup of coffee at Tim Hortons because I think we've kind of come to the stage of recognizing that the province has no intention of carrying out its commitment in this regard. I actually have to say I'm surprised because I kind of expected the Premier to say we already have a buy local program which now I recognize that they definitely do not.

My question to the Premier is, when is he going to carry out that commitment and develop a buy local program for Nova Scotia?

[3:45 p.m.]

THE PREMIER: I refer that to the acting minister.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for once again highlighting the issue of buying local for all Nova Scotians, also for us to underline all the things the Department of Agriculture is doing in conjunction now with the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, making sure that we have local products available in our institutions, of course, in our jails and all those other institutions that we do purchase product for. We will continue to work with individual groups to make sure that they get their product on a world stage, as a matter of fact, on a provincial stage. We will continue to invest money as the Premier did allude to in his speech and his answer is to make sure that we have over $250,000 available each year towards this buy local program.

MR. MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, if the minister is correct and they've been working toward that, that has to be one of the best-guarded secrets in the Province of Nova Scotia. It can't be found on their Web site. Farmers don't know about it. Women's Institute doesn't know about it. There seems to be no evidence anywhere that such a program is even being thought of by this government.

Last Thursday, an event in Port Williams was organized by Brenda Parker to draw attention to the plight of farmers. The overwhelming consensus coming out of that meeting is that our farm communities need help and that one of the best ways we can help them is to educate Nova Scotians on the need to buy local to prevent more farm closures and job losses.

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My question back to the Premier is, when will this government work with all stakeholders to develop a buy local plan for Nova Scotia?

THE PREMIER: I refer that to the minister responsible.

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, we will continue to work with all those organizations as we do through the Federation of Agriculture, as we do through other commodity groups to make sure that we have the products of Nova Scotia farms, Nova Scotia products available in a variety of areas - whether it be our supermarkets, on roadside stands, in farm markets. I can assure the member opposite that we are doing that work today, we'll continue to do that work for the future to ensure a vibrant farming and agriculture industry in Nova Scotia.

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

GOV'T. (N.S.): ATLANTIC ACCORD - ACTION

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians are still in disbelief that the federal Conservative Government is failing to live up to the commitments made under the Atlantic Accord. In 2004, while in Opposition, Stephen Harper said that Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia requested and were promised 100 per cent of their offshore revenues without equalization clawback, period. There is nothing to negotiate.

Apparently, now as Prime Minister Harper has found that the Atlantic Accord was, in fact, negotiable, my question to the Premier is, what plan do you have to fight Ottawa for turning its back on Nova Scotia?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, as I indicated earlier in my previous question, my disappointment with what I heard in yesterday's budget. I've asked staff to gather the appropriate information, the appropriate numbers and we'll be requesting the appropriate meetings with the appropriate ministers.

Again, this is a very complex issue when dealing with the issue of equalization and fiscal imbalance. But I am very, very disappointed with regard to what I heard yesterday regarding the accord.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians are tired of hearing our province referred to as a have-not province. The Atlantic Accord provided an opportunity for our province to become more self-reliant and have a better future. In fact, while in Opposition, Mr. Harper said that the Atlantic Accord could do for Nova Scotia what the tarsands did for his home Province of Alberta.

Therefore, my question again is, what strategy will the Premier employ to convince Ottawa to respect the provisions of the Atlantic Accord?

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THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the first thing you should do with regard to any situation like this is gather the appropriate information. That is what we are doing, taking a look at what impact both scenarios yesterday would have in our province as we prepare our own budget. That is the appropriate thing to do.

Secondly, then we will have the appropriate discussions. Discussions have already begun between officials of Finance and my office and with our federal counterparts but we need to have all of the relevant information to present the very best case for Nova Scotians.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, the future and well-being of our province crosses political lines. The recent census figures show many of our communities are in danger due to out-migration. Nova Scotians have great hope for the future of our province and we have a duty, as MLAs, to work together in making that a reality.

So my final question is, will the Premier accept our offer today to work with him and bring a united message to Ottawa that Nova Scotians demand that the provisions of the Atlantic Accord be respected?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I certainly appreciate the comments of the Interim Leader of the Liberal Party in his support for what the government is attempting to do and I hope that support will continue in the days ahead. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou East.

NAT. RES.: OHV REGS. - ADEQUACY

MR. CLARRIE MACKINNON: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Minister of Natural Resources. I wish to table an article from the Cape Breton Post that was published yesterday. In this article three members of the government caucus are quoted as saying they will be seeking a series of changes to the off-highway vehicle regulations - three members.

One of the MLAs, the member for Cape Breton West, said that the current process is flawed and not meeting the intended purpose of the original legislation.

Mr. Speaker, I ask the minister, does he agree with his caucus colleagues that the current regulations are flawed?

HON. DAVID MORSE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. First of all I want to acknowledge that a tremendous amount has happened on this file in a relatively short period of time and it has really been a seismic shift for the province. As with any major changes, you may not get everything absolutely right the first time and we're always receptive to making things better if we can.

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MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, other proposals from the group the minister's colleagues met with, were the possible use of J and K class roads and changes to age restrictions. The article implies that further changes will be coming forward in the Fall of 2007.

Mr. Speaker, I ask the minister, what plans does this government have to change the off-highway vehicle regulations?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, as I indicated before, I think that there were some things that perhaps were not captured just perfectly in the first draft. We are looking at some of these concerns; the member mentioned the K class roads. Basically these are public roads that are no longer maintained by the Department of Transportation and Public Works, as an example. I would suggest that would be an absolutely logical place to have people pursue their recreational activities with ATVs. It is not going to hurt the environment and that is just one example of something that perhaps should be given consideration.

MR. MACKINNON: Everyone in this House remembers how difficult it was to arrive at the series of changes made in 2005. Mr. Speaker, to the minister, does the government have any plans to change the training or age restrictions for off-highway vehicle use?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, there seems to be a lot of enthusiasm amongst my colleagues for the subject. I want to make it absolutely clear that there are some age restrictions that are clearly imbedded in the bill and, as such, anything in the Act remains in the Act and we will honour the Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

ECON. DEV.: CAP PROGRAMS - STATUS

MR. CHARLES PARKER: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Economic Development. Nova Scotia's CAP programs have been running on shoestring budgets and volunteer commitments for a year now, with no end in sight. The federal Minister of Industry has assured groups they would have a decision by mid-February, but there has been no announcement to date, not even in yesterday's budget. So despite extensive lobbying by voluntary groups, this program will end in a couple of weeks leading to no community-based internet access for tourists, for seniors, for small business people and for community organizations.

So my question to the minister is, why has your government failed to persuade the federal Conservative Government to continue this vital public service?

HON. RICHARD HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, it's great to be back in the House under the doom and gloom of the NDP. Everything is doom and gloom in the Province of Nova Scotia, according to them.

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Mr. Speaker, I can assure you and all members of this House and all Nova Scotians that I personally took a trip to Toronto and I met with the Minister of Industry and he has committed to me and this government that there will be funding in the upcoming budget for the CAP sites for Nova Scotia.

MR. PARKER: Mr. Speaker, this government seems to only pay lip service to rural broadband. In 2006, the Minister of Economic Development wrote just one letter to the federal government re: the program and a reply came back in July, well after the program had been cut, and there was no Nova Scotia Government response even to that letter. My question to the minister is, why have you not yet rewritten to your federal counterpart on this matter?

MR. HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, maybe they need hearing pieces on that side of the House. I already answered that. We have had dialogue with the federal government. I have spoken to our provincial representatives. I have spoken to the Minister of Industry. I have personally met with him, and they have made the commitment that the CAP sites will remain in this province to some degree of funding from the federal government. This government is committed to the CAP sites in the Province of Nova Scotia and we will stay committed to Nova Scotians.

MR. PARKER: Mr. Speaker, provincial policy is that there will be broadband access to the Internet everywhere in this province by 2009, but when the Premier was asked about the role of CAP funding, he said it wasn't the role of the province to replace federal funding, wasn't the role, I repeat. My final question to the minister, is this CAP program the victim of yet another of your government's broken promises?

MR. HURLBURT: You know they told me to take a deep breath, Mr. Speaker, and I will, but I can assure all Nova Scotians that this minister and this government is committed to the CAP sites, the same as we are the broadband, but this government is something that is different from that side of the House. We would rather negotiate with Ottawa than throw rocks at them and that is why we are going to get things done for Nova Scotians.

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

FISH. & AQUACULTURE: BILL C-45 - DISCUSSION

MR. HAROLD THERIAULT: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the acting Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. Recently there has been a lot of controversy over proposed amendments to the new federal Fisheries Act, Bill C-45. In late February, our provincial Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture issued a press release calling for the approval of this Act. Many people in the fishing industry and coastal communities don't understand what some of these changes mean and I believe more discussion is needed. My question is, why is the minister calling for this Act to be passed when further talks are needed with all the stakeholders of Nova Scotia's coastal communities?

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HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, Bill C-45, on the floor of the House of Commons right now, is apparently being hoisted, I believe by the Liberals, being held up in the proceedings of that House. I can say that today we do need changes to the federal Fisheries Act. The federal Fisheries Act is 136 years old. The federal Minister of Fisheries has the sole responsibility to the fisheries in Canada. This new bill, from what I can understand, will provide a lot more understandable pieces, a lot more regulations, ones that will benefit all Nova Scotians and therefore all Canadians.

MR. THERIAULT: Mr. Speaker, changes may be needed to the Act and a lot of people in coastal communities are in support of taking a further look at this bill. There is growing concern among the people of Nova Scotia over these amendments. In the minister's press release on February 28, 2007, he stated, "there are concerns but most are based on a lack of detail about what the new act will do . . ."

[4:00 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, it is up to the provincial minister and his government to clear up this lack of detail and I'm not sure if the minister's clear on all this, so I'll ask. Is our provincial minister fully aware of all the proposed amendments to the new federal Fisheries Act, Bill C-45?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I can assure you that the minister is fully aware of all those amendments. I can also say that the department has worked long and hard to make sure some of these changes will come forward, making sure that through federal- provincial relations, through those ministers' meetings, I know the previous Minister of Fisheries worked his darndest to make sure that some of those changes were brought forward in the Federal Fisheries Act and I can assure the member opposite that we're making sure that we protect all fisher people in this province and make sure we have a vibrant fishery in Nova Scotia.

MR. THERIAULT: Mr. Speaker, the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans has stated that hundreds of groups have had the opportunity to express their views and concerns about this bill.

I have talked to many people in the industry who are not sure of what these changes mean. The provincial government needs to consult with their federal cousins and get these answered.

Mr. Speaker, many believe thousands of people will be affected if these changes go through. So after 139 years with no change in this Act, what is the great rush? My question to the Premier is, will your government help in providing all the details on Bill No. C-45, to concerned stakeholders in our coastal communities of Nova Scotia?

THE PREMIER: I refer that to the acting minister, Mr. Speaker.

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I can assure you that many federal governments over the last 139 years have consulted with Canadians and I'm sure they have files and files of things that

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should be changed within that Act, but I can assure you that the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture will continue to work with its federal colleagues to make sure that this is the best possible deal for Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Shelburne.

FISH. & AQUACULTURE: BILL C-45 - AMENDMENTS

MR. STERLING BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, I noted the acting minister was off by three years. I hope we don't take three years to correct this one. The Fisheries Act is 139 years old. My question is to the acting Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. Bill No. C-45, the new Fisheries Act, was introduced on December 13, 2006 and was supported by this minister in a press release dated December 22nd and again, on February 28th. However, stakeholders like fishermen have been calling me since December 14th, to raise concerns with this bill, asking me to do all I can, to have this Bill No. C-45 delayed, so that the needed amendments can be made. My question through you, Mr. Speaker, is why won't this acting minister listen to stakeholders and help keep the needed amendments made?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I can really say that I'm really enjoying this discussion because I can say to the member opposite, I've seen a number of pieces of information coming from his office that in my estimation are misleading fishermen, on the auspices of what this Act is bringing forward. We'll continue to work with the federal government to make sure that that information is available to all fisher people to understand the importance of Bill No. C-45.

MR. BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, I'm looking forward to the debate in the new few weeks here, and I'd like to put the information forward. The current Act, which is 139 years old, it is important that we as elected officials take the time to get it right. On February 23rd, I was at an Eastern Fishermen's Federation meeting, where DFO officials raised concern, saying that some of the wording in this bill does not give comfort. We have DFO staff uneasy with the language and I know from being on the wharves that fishermen have concerns. My question is, when will the acting minister take the step back and stand up for the best interests of coastal communities and demand amendments from his counterpart in Ottawa.

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I can assure again all members of this House that, of course, this is a federal issue. This is one that we'll continue to communicate with our federal colleagues, that I'm sure that staff in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans will add their information to it. I can say to the member opposite, of course, when he's not too sure who to shoot at, he shoots at bureaucrats. When he's not too sure who to shoot at, he's shooting at politicians. So I wonder if he would be interested in running for federal politics and maybe get this done?

MR. BELLIVEAU: A challenge, Mr. Speaker, but the biggest complaint that I'm hearing on the wharves is that Bill C-45 was created without any consultations from our coastal communities.

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I would like to table from West Coast Canada - I would like to table some documents, and I also would like to make notice that the fishermen have different concerns and a petition is being circulated as we speak on the East Coast of Canada and our West Coast friends. We don't want to see this bill die, but we want to make sure that all voices have a chance to be heard. My question is, how is this acting minister helping our coastal communities ensure that they have their voices heard regarding this new Fisheries Act?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, again I can say that we continue to work with our federal colleagues and I can say that over the last 100 or so years that the Department of Fisheries has been consulting with fisher people all across Canada. I'm sure that it's time to get something done to make sure that we have the correct piece of legislation so we can continue to work at protecting our fisheries and our coastal communities in all of Nova Scotia and all of Canada.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

PSC. - NAT. RES.: CASUAL EMPLOYEES - BENEFITS

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister responsible for the Public Service Commission. There are almost 400 casual employees across the province who work part of every year with the Department of Natural Resources. These employees perform crucial work for the department and the citizens of Nova Scotia, serving as fire crew, park personnel and conservation officers. Some of these employees have faithfully served the people of Nova Scotia for over 20 years, but here's the rub. Despite their faithful service and the difficult and sometimes dangerous work we expect from these employees, according to the antiquated provisions of the Civil Service Act, they are not considered employees and, therefore, are not eligible for the same rates of pay or benefits as other employees of the province. My question to the minister, will this government review the definition of employee to ensure that those casual workers who have faithfully served this province year in and year out are given the same respect and benefits as other provincial employees?

HON. CAROLYN BOLIVAR-GETSON: Mr. Speaker, I would like to start by saying again that, yes, we definitely value the service that our seasonal workers provide to this province, both in DNR and within Tourism, Heritage and Culture. These are very important people who play a definite role in our province and we have committed to doing this review I stated earlier and we'll continue that review. I hope to have those results within the next few months and then I will sit down again with the respective parties.

MR. GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank them, they're here in the gallery today, for the jobs they perform each year on behalf of this province. Most of these Department of Natural Resource casual positions are located in rural Nova Scotia and rural Nova Scotia contains all of this province's natural resources. The latest census information tells us that rural Nova Scotia is losing its population and with it those workers who preserve and protect our land. It is, therefore, vital that we do what we can to encourage these employees to stay in rural Nova Scotia and continue to work.

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My question to the minister, will this government show a commitment to rural Nova Scotia by reviewing the situation of casual employees with the Department of Natural Resources?

MS. BOLIVAR-GETSON: Mr. Speaker, I believe that I've already stated that, yes, we are currently doing a review. Those results will be available in the next few months and at that time, again, I will sit down with those parties.

MR. GLAVINE: Well, Mr. Speaker, we'll just shorten it up here and maybe we can get to the crux of this. Some of these employees have dedicated their entire working lives to this province and yet they are being punished for something they have no control over - the nature of this difficult work which they willingly decide to perform is seasonal. So my question to the minister is, will the government commit to make the changes necessary to provide the same benefits to these casual employees who have faithfully served this province year in and year out, and are afforded the same as other employees of the province?

MS. BOLIVAR-GETSON: Mr. Speaker, again, the review is ongoing; when we have those results back, we will evaluate them and take a step forward at that point in time.

Our position has been clear for seasonal workers in the past, and under our legislation any seasonal employee who works more than six months is eligible to become a member. Thank you.

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

COM. SERV. - C.B. HOUSING: ASBESTOS REMOVAL - PLAN

MR. GORDON GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community Services, through you. Earlier this month, it came to light that asbestos was posing yet another problem in Cape Breton housing. Workers had to suspend renovations on some units where vermiculite was found on the furnace. The problem was loosened adhesive tape, which will have to be repaired. My question through you, Mr. Speaker, to the minister - pay now or pay later, why won't this government put in a plan to get the asbestos out of these housing units once and for all?

HON. JUDY STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, I thank my honourable colleague for raising this very important issue. As all members of this House remember, I rose in my place last year to address the issue of the asbestos in the housing units in Cape Breton. We had engaged the internationally-acclaimed company of Pinchin LeBlanc to conduct studies for us. We proceeded in a very mature, responsible manner in addressing our asbestos management plan. We will continue to do that to ensure the safety and security of all Nova Scotians and, in particular, the residents that my honourable colleague is referencing.

MR. GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, a surveillance and inspection program is little comfort to the residents living in these units now, or to the residents who may live in these units in the future. The fact of the matter remains that you can tape and seal and tinker all you want, but sooner or later the

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asbestos has to come out. Anything less is a waste of money. My question to the Minister of Community Services is, why not invest in phasing-in the removal of asbestos now, instead of sealing it and taking it out later?

MS. STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, again, I know my honourable colleague has the best interests of his constituents at heart, as do all members in this House, but the experts will offer information, the experts will offer validation that there is a proper manner in which we manage asbestos. If we do so in that proper manner, it is absolutely safe, and we abide by the experts in this area, the health experts and the environmental experts.

MR. GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, loose duct tape was the culprit this time. It could be a crack in the chimney, it could be a roof damaged in a storm, damage to walls, but how long has asbestos been in this unit - for over 30 years? There will always be a risk of exposure. So my question to the minister, when will her government do the responsible thing and get the asbestos out of public housing?

MS. STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, as I indicated the last time, we will respect the opinion and the findings of the experts - the health experts, the environmental experts. Certainly the housing authority is already in the process of replacing the existing adhesive foil tape with a more superior mesh and fibreglass sealant system. Again, that is under the advice of the experts, and we will continue to follow their advice.

[4:15 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

EDUC.: MAPLE LEAF PLANT WORKERS - TRANSITION FUNDING

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question, through you, is for the Minister of Education. On the 18th of January of this year, the Maple Leaf chicken processing plant in Canard announced its imminent closure. Its 380 employees will lose their jobs on April 30th this year. Following this shock announcement, the minister's department established a transition office in association with the Maple Leaf management and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. My question for the minister is, how much money has her department committed to the successful transition of the Maple Leaf workers?

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, thank you to the member opposite for the question. We, as a Department of Education, were very pleased to work with other departments to provide a service to the workers who were disadvantaged because of that closure. I think at the time, I did indicate that we had taken three permanent full-time staff to work in that office so it was no additional cost.

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MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I am not sure if the minister understood my question so I will have another go at it. We are currently witnessing a staggering level of out-migration in our region. Last year, over 13,000 people left the Maritimes for Western Canada. A recent study by the Workplace Partners Panel shows that 96 per cent of managers in Atlantic Canada feel skill shortages are a big problem. Here we have a situation where almost 400 people in the Valley region are available for retraining and up-skilling, which falls within the minister's jurisdiction. So my question to the minister is, how many of the Maple Leaf workers have been successfully transitioned to new opportunities since January perhaps here in Atlantic Canada?

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, I do believe that is a different question. I know that our staff had worked with local employers and agencies within the area and had identified 228 possible job opportunities. As to how many of those workers were able to take advantage of those opportunities, that is a number I can provide at another time.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: I would very much appreciate receiving that information so that we can ensure that the workers are well attended to. It's our primary concern, of course.

Mr. Speaker, my final question is for the Minister of Environment and Labour. The minister is no doubt extremely concerned about the workers at Maple Leaf-Canard because the plant, of course, is in his riding. The workers have expressed concern to my Party about delays in the training and transition plan and a lack of opportunity to re-skill for a new career. I'm wondering if the minister can tell us how he is ensuring that these workers won't be forced to go out West along with thousands of other Maritimers this year?

HON. MARK PARENT: Mr. Speaker, my MLA office has been working very extensively with Stu Gorley and with the Department of Education and also dealing with employers who have contacted my MLA office to offer jobs. We have also been in touch with the union and we have talked with the union members and we are working hard. Under my hat as Labour Minister, I have also been in touch with the McCain brothers and made sure that they understand that all the obligations under labour agreements they are to fulfill and if they could go beyond that, we would appreciate that, and that message I conveyed to them personally.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

GAMING: ATL. LOTTERY CORP. - REVIEW

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister responsible for Gaming. Recent reports have shown that between 2001 and 2006, 44 retailers, 25 employees have won prizes in excess of $25,000. According to the Atlantic Lottery Corporation, retailers have won 10 times more than what is statistically probable. The total amount won by either the employees or the retailers totals $7.5 million. While I have complete confidence in our retailers and their employees, but Nova Scotians have a right to be suspicious of the recent findings and the ALC's attempt to

[Page 3359]

sweep this under the rug as if nothing is wrong. My question is, will you join Mike Hall and ask the ALC to conduct an independent review in light of the recent findings?

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I'd like to thank the member for the question. We obviously received that information as well. We are confident that the Atlantic Lottery Corporation is taking the appropriate measures to ensure the security of gaming in Nova Scotia.

MR. GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, well, we'll try the Premier this time. Premier, the government's track record at attacking issues in the gaming sector has been dismal. Once again, we see lack of leadership coming from our Premier. The Premier of New Brunswick has voiced his concern and he too has called for an independent review. Nova Scotians spent over $200 million last year in lottery purchases and they deserve to know the full extent of any wrong-doing or insufficient protections and controls ALC currently has. My question is, Premier, have you had any discussions with the ALC or other Premiers in Atlantic Canada regarding the retailer winnings?

THE PREMIER: I refer that to the minister responsible.

MR. BAKER: Again, to the honourable member, we are very, very concerned, obviously, about the integrity of gaming in Nova Scotia. Also, we have great trust in the many small retailers across this province in their honesty and integrity. We believe the Atlantic Lottery Corporation was created for a reason and the reason was, of course, to manage the delivery on behalf of the four Atlantic Provinces of that particular gaming. We have no reason to believe they won't do a very good job in managing that on behalf of Nova Scotians.

MR. GLAVINE: Premier, Nova Scotians want transparency, they want an open government, they want fairness. Premier, we can't wait for the Fifth Estate to come to do a report in Nova Scotia. Clearly, something has happened when retailers have won 10 times more than what is statistically probable. Your silence to date on this issue is alarming. People of this province deserve fair forms of lottery and they deserve an equal opportunity at winning. The time to act is now so we can assure the people confidence in ticket lottery in Nova Scotia. My question is, Premier, will you do the prudent thing, join my call for an independent review and call for the ALC's attendance at a Public Accounts meeting?

THE PREMIER: I refer that to the minister responsible.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, we are advised through the Atlantic Lottery Corporation that they have made 20 upgrades to the system around security, audits, public education and the like. We believe they understand the seriousness of this issue and they are taking appropriate steps to protect Nova Scotians' gaming.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.

[Page 3360]

FISH. & AQUACULTURE - FISH FARMS: IMPACT STUDY - IMPLEMENT

MS. VICKI CONRAD: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the acting Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. The Friends of Port Mouton Bay have organized a citizen's group in opposition to Aqua Fish Farms' proposed expansion and have gained the support of their municipal council, myself, as well as their Member of Parliament. Last Fall, I tabled a petition on their behalf with thousands of names in opposition. These people are speaking out, but their message does not seem to be heard by this government. They have serious concerns about the environmental and economic impacts to tourism, immigration and land development of this proposed expansion. These economic concerns should be addressed with a thorough economic impact study, which is in the minister's power to see happen. My question is, will the minister commit to having an economic impact study done in order to address these concerns?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, there is a very rigorous process involved in approving any aquaculture site and/or expansion. I know this is in full process at this point in time. I know the minister is looking forward to that information to come forward. I know there is ample opportunity for all those interested in this project to come forward and make their thoughts known.

MS. CONRAD: Mr. Speaker, there has been much local outcry against this development. This past weekend there was yet another rally in Port Mouton with at least 200 people gathered to protest the proposed location of this fish farm. Communities should be consulted and partnered with, but the government seems determined to go ahead. I would like to ask the minister, why is this department ignoring the commercial fishers, scientists, residents, other business people, local government and other widespread supporters who are speaking out against this expansion.

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Aquaculturalists in this province are environmentalists. They are stewards of our waters, they produce a product that is second to none, and they have every right to propose any project that will look for the benefit of Nova Scotians. Any expansion of aquaculture is good, so far as it provides employment and it provides extra products for our fish plants. There is, as I said, a very rigorous process in order to get one approved and I know there is ample opportunity for all those people involved to make their thoughts known.

MS. CONRAD: Mr. Speaker, my final question is for the Minister of Economic Development. Jobs and economic development are most needed in Nova Scotia. However, this proposed expansion will only see four to five jobs at best. The bulk of profits from this expansion will be leaving our communities and there is potential of other jobs lost and economic hardship for local fishermen, should this expansion move forward.

Will this minister support the people of Port Mouton and discuss with the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture the importance of carrying out an economic impact study before this process goes any further?

[Page 3361]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Economic Development.

HON. RICHARD HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, through you to the member opposite, I will assure that member and all members that I will let the lead minister, the Minister of Fisheries, onto the pile and I will have a dialogue with him, but I will wait for the outcome of the report.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.

HEALTH - SERVICES: CAPE BRETON - ACCESS

MS. VICKI CONRAD: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. Valerie Hurdle is a senior with a history of mental illness. She was admitted to the QE II in 2005, following a suicide attempt and was transferred to the Abbie Lane Memorial Building where she receives electroconvulsive therapy every two weeks. Ms. Hurdle's family has built an apartment for her in their home, so that she can live with them. They are in Sydney, though, where ECT is not available to new patients.

My question is, what is your department doing to ensure that people in Cape Breton have access to the same services as those in metro?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. As you know, mental health is being offered through our district health authorities. I know that the district health authority in Cape Breton is responsible to bring these projects forward to us. I'm not aware of any proposal to offer this service in Cape Breton. Mr. Speaker, I can also say that it is very responsible for government to ensure patient safety and to make sure that we have the correct amenities available, which is why I can feel quite confident that the service being offered here in metro is a very good one.

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

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. PATRICK DUNN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to call the order of business, Public Bills for Second Reading.

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. PATRICK DUNN: Mr. Speaker, I'd like to call Bill No. 137, the Livestock Health Services Act.

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Bill No. 137 - Livestock Health Services Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Acting Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I am very pleased to stand today and talk about the proposed amendments to the Livestock Health Services Act that the Department of Agriculture is bringing forward.

[4:30 p.m.]

As you know, the department's Livestock Health Services Program provides a key service to farmers in rural areas of Nova Scotia who are unable to transport their large animals to veterinary clinics. It is a lot easier for the vet to go to the animal than to transport it to the clinic. It is also important that a fee structure is established so that the large animal vets can continue to provide this very essential service to farmers all across Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, the Department of Agriculture pays these veterinarians for their travel time and for the distance to the farms. This ensures that farmers do not pay more for veterinarian services just because they live farther away. It creates a stable or a level playing field for all farmers across Nova Scotia.

Currently the Livestock Health Services Act authorizes the Governor in Council to make these regulations establishing the rates for compensation for the veterinarians. The proposed amendment will give the Minister of Agriculture the authority to make any changes to the compensation rates. The minister will set those rates within approved budget parameters for this program within the department's budget.

Veterinarians provide an essential service for the agriculture industry and we want to compensate them fairly. It is also important that we maintain a positive working relationship at a fee level to ensure that this service is available. I know that a number of members have brought forward this issue of the availability of a large vet. Of course, the trend in veterinary medicine has been more toward the smaller animals, the pet dogs and pet cats and those kinds of things because of less travel time, less muss and fuss apparently. But we want to make sure that those individuals who do choose to be large-animal vets are able to care for those animals in a timely fashion, which is why we want to be reactive enough to make changes to that compensation rate on a more reactive basis.

So, Mr. Speaker, I want to thank again the members opposite for their input in this one and I look forward to seeing this bill move forward through second reading.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to stand and speak to this piece of legislation for a few minutes, not just because of being a legislator in this House but because I make

[Page 3363]

use of large-animal veterinarians and, you know, not meaning to speak in a negative way to them, I like to not make use of them any more than I have to. I certainly want to impress upon the House the value of veterinarians for the large-animal sector. The minister maybe, when he reads Hansard, will see that he said large veterinarians. I am not sure that they all are, some are smaller.

Members of the House probably wouldn't know this, but I was accepted to the Atlantic Veterinary College in 1994. I didn't go for a couple of reasons and I won't say I gave that up for a career in politics. That was a little further down the road. I guess the year I would have been graduating, 1998, was the year I got elected. I certainly thought and rethought about the path that I have taken, or not. I want to say that not going was probably a better thing only in a sense that when I would have graduated, I would have been 42 years old, trying to either buy into a practice or create my own and I would have very soon been to an age where a lot of veterinarians would be thinking of leaving the industry and I would really just be getting myself established.

The changes that the minister has indicated in this bill, certainly one is purely housekeeping. We are identifying that the Livestock Health Services Act is amended by taking out "and fisheries". It's not the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries anymore. I think it probably makes some sense, as well, for purely administrative reasons, that the minister could make decisions rather than going to the Governor in Council or going to Cabinet with those requests. I would say, and we would assume, that in some cases it makes sense for the minister to do that if the minister makes sense. So we certainly will give the minister that prerogative, that the decisions he makes are the sensible ones and he doesn't have to go to Cabinet to do those.

It says, "The Minister may make regulations prescribing the minimum or maximum fees that may be charged to livestock owners by any veterinarian in receipt of assistance under this program." The point I would like to make, and I would like to make it as clearly as I can, of what a valuable service is rendered under this Act, Mr. Speaker. I'm not sure - I think the minister touched on it and I didn't think maybe as clearly as I hope I will, but the notion that because of the makeup of rural Nova Scotia, anybody setting up a business, and in particular veterinarians, if they have a large-animal practice and some have mixed, large animal and small animal, and certainly in my area where we have kind of a growing suburban area as well as a very large rural area, certainly there are practices that mix the two and there is certainly one that is purely small animal, or we would say, pets.

If you were to consider the veterinarians in my area, which would be Shubenacadie, the ones I would usually deal with, their office is very close to where the Shubenacadie Wildlife Park is so their calls would take them to the member for the beautiful Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, actually it is in his constituency, where the office is located, but they would also come into my area as well and they would go as far as Noel or Walton. Perhaps, that area may use a veterinarian from the Windsor area, but we're talking, you know if in the Shubenacadie area we have a large number of dairy farms that make a lot of use of veterinarians but they are a stone's throw from the veterinarian office, yet those - I think of the Point Road actually in Noel Shore or East Noel that there

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is a dairy farm there and when the vets go there I'm thinking they'd be going, well, 35 kilometres anyway and it actually may be farther.

What this legislation does, Mr. Speaker, is it levels that playing field so that someone in East Noel can actually pay - what they pay for the veterinarian is very much similar to what the person in Shubenacadie would be paying. The reason for this, I think is a sensible reason, that this enhances their ability to ensure that the health of their animals is safeguarded, that they make use of a veterinarian as much as they need to, or they think they need to, and they are not discouraged from doing that because of an exorbitant cost of getting the veterinarian there.

I think maybe the minister, when he closes debate, will indicate - but I think this is on the travel, if I'm not mistaken, this is not the call fee per se but it's the travel component of the call, so that in essence anybody using a large-animal veterinarian is basically, we would say because of the fee structure, the same distance from the veterinarian clinic, which has a significant advantage for people in large-animal practice and for farmers.

I'm not sure if members heard the other morning, and I'm trying to think which morning it was - I don't think it was yesterday - but anyway, The Current had a program on veterinarian practices. They talked to some veterinarians in New Brunswick, actually, and I think the New Brunswick Government actually hires large-animal vets as, I guess they would be public servants or civil servants. The difficulty, as you can well imagine, if you were to think about trying to get just doctors for humans into clinics in rural Nova Scotia, the difficulty of that, well, it is very similar as well.

I remember, as I said earlier, that I was accepted to the Atlantic Veterinary College in 1994, well I had thought about veterinary medicine when I was 18, getting out of high school, and I spent about a week or so traveling with the local veterinarians. That would have been in about 1974, I think, in that area. What they were saying then was that large-animal practice at that time took up 80 per cent of their time and gave them 20 per cent of their income and the small-animal practice obviously was the opposite - 20 per cent of their time, 80 per cent of their income. I don't think that has really ever changed significantly. The small-animal practices seem to be fairly more lucrative than large-animal practices.

I want to say, if you keep livestock, and as much as you learn to do a lot of things for yourself, you know, I deliver a fair number - well, I shouldn't say a fair number - I deliver lambs every year that the labour is a difficult one and this is the first year for three or four that I haven't had to call the veterinarian. I'm not out of the woods yet, I still have a couple of deliveries that have to occur. But, so far, it's been fairly problem-free and I try to learn from my veterinarian when they come so that I don't have to call them. I have to say, I'm really impressed with what these people can do and, of course, we all say, certainly they're trained, but I can think of a couple of cases where lambs were on the way that I could not deliver.

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One veterinarian, actually a woman, came and if I had turned and taken my coat off, it would have been about all the time it had taken for her to have that situation rectified. I was amazed, it was something I had spent 25 minutes at and gotten nowhere.

At 2:00 a.m., at 20 below, you certainly can appreciate the service these people will deliver. I want to say to the minister, I'm not receiving any calls on this legislation. So, I'm going to pick the brain of my local veterinarians to find out where they are with this. I'm hoping this is addressing some concerns that they've raised, perhaps, but I want to express to the minister the necessity for a program that does help with those costs for large-animal vets and kind of levels the playing field for producers at various distances from the clinic.

I look forward to seeing this legislation go through the House. I'm interested to hear if the minister is going to respond to one of my comments, but to certainly hear what other members have to say. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Annapolis.

MR. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise and speak for a few minutes as my honourable colleague had suggested on Bill No. 137. I'll hold true to my word and speak for a few minutes. I want to add, though, at the beginning and say that I've never used the services of a large-animal veterinarian, nor have I ever aspired to go to vet school, nor do I think there's any deliveries on the horizon. We'll see what happens as we go forward.

This really is a bill of housekeeping. It makes a lot of sense to me that the minister should have the authority to make changes when it comes to the fees that veterinarians get a chance to charge regarding mileage. It was explained by my colleague for Hants East, this is really dealing with the mileage that veterinarians get to charge from their office to the call or to the farm, which makes a lot of sense, particularly in rural Nova Scotia.

If you look in my own constituency, there are a number of vets who deal with small animals - very few deal with large. As a matter of fact, in some cases they need to come from as far away as Kings County to go down, not only through my riding, but down through Digby and the French Shore. This allows it to make an even playing field from one end of Nova Scotia to the other.

What's a bit frustrating from my perspective, being in the House for four years and we've talked about agriculture at every session, and really, the crisis the agricultural community finds itself in now and the only piece of legislation that we've dealt with over the last four years has been some wording to the Farm Registration Act. It took the Opposition side of the House to actually put teeth in the Farm Registration Act to ensure that the Federation of Agriculture received all the fees that were collected.

Now we're seeing a bill which deals with paying mileage for veterinarians. As was spoken during Question Period, there's 380 people going to be laid off in Cunard. Larsen's, with 400 jobs,

[Page 3366]

is in jeopardy and what are we doing? We're remaining silent on the industry in rural Nova Scotia. We often talk in this House about out-migration. We talk about the rural economy. What better way to deal with the out-migration issue of the rural economy than to invest in what have been our traditional industries?

It was interesting, the Government of Ontario has just invested heavily in the pork industry of Ontario. Not for a phase-out, not for an exit strategy, but for a transition into a new and modern industry. One to allow that industry in Ontario to start dealing with modern markets. And what are we doing here? We're remaining silent on that issue. Pork Nova Scotia has put in front of this government, a plan that would deal with allowing a transition. Not an exit strategy, but a transition for us to move forward to ensure that the agricultural industry would be alive and well in Nova Scotia.

[4:45 p.m.]

We've been silent on that, Mr. Speaker, the beef issue in Nova Scotia. I mean it's almost a sin, as a matter of fact, that we're sitting here talking about this particular issue. The large animals in Nova Scotia are disappearing, quite frankly, because the farmers are disappearing.

I would suggest to the Acting Minister of Agriculture as we deal with this piece of legislation that he reminds the Minister of Agriculture that it is important for the rural economy. It is important to stop out-migration. It is important for Nova Scotia's entire economy that we begin to look at the agricultural industry not in a way of tinkering with it but as a true investment in how we can ensure that it will be there for generations to come.

Mr. Speaker, I, like the previous speaker, have not heard from a lot of veterinarians. I do look forward to this bill moving into the Committee on Law Amendments, so we have an opportunity to hear from the industry itself, to make sure they're happy with it, but then I also look forward to the minister's remarks, and I know he will not only speak to this bill, but he'll speak to the comments that I've made about his government's lack of initiative when it comes to the agricultural industry and its ability not to throw money at it, but its inability to provide them with a clear, concise path to the future to ensure that the next generation of young Nova Scotians will be in the agricultural industry. Thank you.

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

The honourable Acting Minister of Agriculture.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I will try to keep my comments relatively short as well.

Just to a couple of points and I will start with the member for Annapolis and do concede that the bill before us is mostly housekeeping, making sure that we can be reactive within the Department

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of Agriculture, to the needs of all farmers across Nova Scotia. It does create a level playing field, as I said, for farmers to be able to access the large-animal veterinarians being able to charge that mileage fee. There is a mileage fee that is charged back to the department and I know that that has grown from, I think, $1.29 per kilometre to $1.50 per kilometre, which takes into consideration the mileage and the stuff and the gas mileage on the car as well as the time that the vet is in that car going to the site. So there are some of these things to take into consideration. Depending on the cost of fuel, the cost of time for that vet, things may change. We might need to be a little more reactive. I can also say that we'll continue to work with all commodities and the Federation of Agriculture to make sure that we have a vibrant agriculture industry in Nova Scotia.

I can say on the buy local issue, quickly, thinking that it's all doom and gloom from the member for Annapolis as he stood up talking about the products that we are buying from local farmers. The 150 hospitals, schools, and homes for special care have seen a growth in local purchases from 5,700 kilograms of produce to 42,000 kilograms of produce. We're not doing anything? I would say that we're working steadily to make sure that Nova Scotian farmers can get their products into our institutions and making sure that we're doing our part to help those farmers grow.

Also that 63 per cent of this group, and this is our largest buying group, their purchases are now from the Maritimes. They're Maritime grown product, whether it be in beef, whether it be in pork, and we'll continue to make sure that that investment continues into the future.

Mr. Speaker, I will close up to comments to the member for Hants East. I can say that we still have bursaries for people wanting to take veterinary school and we'd be more than happy to work with the paperwork with the member for Hants East to become that vet that I know he really, really wanted to be. I would like to close second reading on Bill No. 137.

Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 137. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. PATRICK DUNN: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 135.

Bill No. 135 - Provincial Court Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

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HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise today to move second reading of the Provincial Court Act and amendments. Yesterday the government introduced legislation that will improve access to Family Court by amalgamating the Family Court and the Provincial Court in the Province of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, as most members of the Bar here would know, currently in Nova Scotia the Provincial Court deals with criminal matters while the Family Court deals with Family Court matters. A lot of times, for many people, it is confusing and a lot of times very difficult to deal with the system that's presently in the province. Through this amalgamation that we're suggesting, through this legislation, and we hope with the support of the Opposition, we'll be able to see safe passage through this House.

In the future, all judges who are appointed now will have the opportunity to move, Mr. Speaker, through both courts to be able to hear Family and Provincial Court matters. We believe that this legislation will provide more flexibility for the court system in Nova Scotia. I believe it has been tried in other areas and is working quite well. We think that it's something that will be a progressive move in this province with regard to the court system and we're looking for passage through the House. With those few comments, I move second reading of Bill No. 135, the Provincial Court Act.

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

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I just note that I believe this is my first opportunity to rise as the newly minted Justice Critic for my caucus. It's, of course, something that I take a particular pleasure in. I'm following in the footsteps of Kevin Deveaux and I think he and I saw eye to eye on many of these things.

So it will be no surprise to you, Mr. Speaker, that much of what you may have heard from Kevin in the past, you'll also hear from me, but he would not have anticipated this, I don't believe, and I have a number of comments I want to make in this regard because this is an important change. There are things that need to be understood by the members of this House and certainly by the Opposition with respect to this bill.

I'm going to start by giving you a little bit of background, Mr. Speaker. When the Family Court was set up, it was set up so that you would have essentially a specialized court where the judges of that court were dealing with a particular aspect of law in regard to the jurisdiction of family law. The judges there received specialized training with respect to their Act. They were dealing with only one division of law and therefore became experts in that area of law. The idea behind this was that they would be able to expeditiously - because they were dealing with one aspect of the law - move through these cases. Now, that was part of the theory of it.

So when you amalgamate this with the criminal division or with the Provincial Court, as the Justice Minister pointed out, which deals with criminal jurisdictions, the question now, I assume, is are you going to invest money in the training of these judges? Are they going to be provided with

[Page 3369]

the tools that they need now that they're going to be dealing with a new aspect of law? Some of them may not have been dealing with family law for potentially many, many years or for that matter forever I suppose, depending on their area of initial practice. I suppose there is always the opportunity for some judges to opt in or opt out if they decided that they didn't want to do that area of practice, but there is one thing about the Provincial Court that everybody should know, which is that the Provincial Court is essentially the workhorse of the criminal justice system. That is where the large bulk of criminal cases go to be dealt with and if there are delays in the criminal system today, they are at the Provincial Court level.

In fact, I'm not sure, maybe the Minister of Justice can tell us this, or maybe he can ease my mind in this regard, but my understanding is that trying to get to a trial nowadays in a Provincial Court means a substantial delay between the time when the pleas are actually entered and the trials are actually heard. So I'm not sure how amalgamating the Family Division into the Provincial Court is going to lead to a quicker resolution or quicker access for people who have Family Court cases or family law cases and who want to get them before the court. I'm not sure how that is going to happen. Perhaps they are going to appoint more judges, that might not be a bad thing. Mr. Speaker, the reality is that just amalgamating the courts themselves is not the answer to quicker access.

Now there is a different approach that has been taken in metropolitan Halifax-Dartmouth. In metropolitan Halifax-Dartmouth there is a unified Family Court and all the Family Court matters here go to the Family Division of the Supreme Court. So here, when you have a family law matter, you're going to end up in front of a Supreme Court Justice. The advantage to this, Mr. Speaker, is that a Justice of the Supreme Court can deal not only with the narrower jurisdiction with respect to family law but they can also deal with matters associated with the Matrimonial Property Act, which the Family Court cannot do.

So amalgamating the Family Court and the Provincial Court means that some people who have family law issues are going to end up first in the new, unified Family Provincial Court mechanism, but are still going to have to go to the Supreme Court to resolve questions associated with matrimonial property. So essentially they're going to have to have not one application before the courts, they are going to have to have two, potentially.

It seems to me that if we were actually looking to reform the court system with respect to family law, we would have instituted the uniform family law model that is currently in place here in Halifax, across the province, so that people would have been able to resolve all those issues in one place.

I'm sure my colleague in the Liberal Party understands - I'm not sure if the minister does - but the reason for those changes in jurisdiction is that the Supreme Court is a Section 86 court and therefore, historically is seized with the jurisdiction to deal with property matters, whereas the Family Court and the Provincial Court are not, and therefore cannot deal with that area of jurisdiction.

[Page 3370]

I guess the point I'm trying to make here is I have some questions about whether or not - it is not that I disagree necessarily with the intent, it is just that I am, at this point at least, unconvinced as to whether or not this amalgamation of the Provincial and Family Court will actually accomplish the aims that the Minister of Justice has, which is to increase access to Family Court - to a family law resolution, I guess, is the easier way to put that.

Let me say this, access to justice is a fundamental issue in this province and people, whether they are dealing with as victims of crime and are watching to see that those cases go through the court, or whether they are involved in family law disputes and need to have them adjudicated, the waiting times that are currently outstanding in the system are too long and there needs to be a resolution to this. I'm assuming that the minister understands that this means more resources, it means that there needs to be likely more judges, there needs to be more resources on the intake end on both family law and on the criminal side.

When you deny people the right to a speedy resolution of the matter, whether it is in family law or in a criminal matter, you essentially deny them access to justice. So it is important that whatever steps we take, whether it is through this or through a unified Family Court, that we get it right.

I'm hoping that as this bill moves forward that we'll get some more answers with respect to exactly how this is going to operate. I'm not sure that that is what the Minister of Justice was expecting from me on this first bill but I think it is more in the way of raising questions about where this legislation is going and where access to justice in the province is going. I'd also point out that part of that whole access to justice piece has to do with the availability of people to legal services and that means - I talked about additional services in the courts on the intake side, but there also needs to be additional money in legal aid services to allow people who are unable to afford the services of a lawyer to get access to those services as well because the system really functions much more efficiently when the people who are caught up in the system have fair access to those resources.

[5:00 p.m.]

So with those comments in respect to this bill, Mr. Speaker, I will take my place.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Acting Liberal House Leader.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: A new title, I guess, Mr. Speaker, is it? It's been a while since we've spoken so I understand that maybe we should get caught up on some of the changes that have taken place in the last little bit.

MR. SPEAKER: I apologize.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, as the Justice Critic for the Liberal Caucus, I am pleased to rise on Bill No. 135 and certainly to start by congratulating the Leader of the Official Opposition on

[Page 3371]

assuming the most important and prestigious title of Justice Critic for his caucus. As he mentioned, his predecessor, Kevin Deveaux, the former member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage was the long-time Justice Critic for his Party. In fact, both he and I were elected at the same time and we both had the distinction of being Justice Critics throughout the entire time that we have been here elected - in fact I should correct that, because I did have an earlier stint on the government side where fortunately I didn't have to be a critic of anything at that point. Unfortunately, it was very short- lived, and I look forward to the return very soon in the future. (Interruption)

Let's just say I think I'll be taking a different path than the one suggested by the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, but I certainly enjoyed working with the former Justice Critic and we saw eye-to-eye on many of the issues that were brought forward, and shared many of the concerns with some of the proposals being brought forward by government. I don't doubt that that probably will be the same with the new Justice Critic - I may not have been in a position to say that had he chosen some other of his colleagues as Justice Critic, but with him I am pretty sure that moderation is what we can expect, an even hand, based on his experience in the court.

With that, I digress, Mr. Speaker. As far as Bill No. 135, obviously there are a number of questions that relate to this bill. Many of the bills that have been brought forward by the current Minister of Justice and by the previous Minister of Justice were done so with the minister standing up and indicating who was supporting legislation. In many ways it was part of the Uniform Law Code, changes that were being brought forward; others were changes supported by the Bar Society - just some examples of the bills that we have seen that usually had an indication of who had been consulted, who was supporting this and the reasons why. Unfortunately with this bill, at this point, we don't know the answer to that.

Who is pushing for the changes in Bill No. 135? Is it the Bar Society? Is it the judges themselves or is it the staff at the Department of Justice? That is what we don't know and I think it's very important that we be made aware of exactly where these changes are coming from. As was mentioned by the Leader of the Official Opposition, when the Family Courts were established, the idea was that they were going to be a specialized court. Knowing the many changes that have taken place over the years during the various Statutes that deal with family law, the idea was that you would have a court specifically designed to deal with these matters, a court that would take into consideration some of the sensitive matters that often appear when we are talking about Family Court, and I think the intent certainly was a good one and I don't think anyone disagrees.

The question that we have to ask ourselves now is: Are we watering down that specialization by increasing the jurisdiction to include Provincial Court matters as well, which, as mentioned by the minister, is for the most part criminal matters that are dealt with at that point? I know, myself, just the changes that have taken place in family law from my time in law school and during my eight years as a member of the Bar, it is staggering the amount of changes, and to even keep up with those type of changes, if you are not dealing with this every day, it's extremely difficult.

[Page 3372]

I'm sure the Leader of the Official Opposition will agree, when one looks at even the changes in land registration, what he used to do as a lawyer for land registration, today is nothing near what is required. In fact, if he were to return to private practice - not that I'm suggesting that he's going to do that - right now, as would apply to me, we would not be permitted to register a piece of property because we have not taken the training or been certified to do it under the new system. Just an example, he has 20 years of experience and, right now, with the changes, he wouldn't be able to carry out what would be considered a routine function of a practising lawyer here in Nova Scotia.

That's just an example of the changes that have taken place, and it's essential that we be cognizant of any lawyers or any members of the Bar who are about to be appointed to the bench, or are currently on the bench, that they are certainly given the support and resources to make sure they are brought up to speed with the many changes that have taken place in the law dealing with family matters and dealing with the Provincial Court matters, as well.

Mr. Speaker, I'm certainly hoping that the minister will not rush this bill to the Law Amendments Committee, because I'm hoping at the Law Amendments Committee stage, maybe at that stage we will be given the opportunity to hear from either the Barristers' Society, possibly a representative from the courts, or even representatives from the minister's own department, to explain to us how this bill, at the end, will provide a better justice system in Nova Scotia, which is what we're all concerned about.

As was mentioned before, the wait times that exist in our Provincial Court system are unacceptable. While there have been some achievements made, there are still too many long delays that exist, both in the Provincial Court and in the Family Court.

When I think of the Family Court I think of the amount of time it takes, for example, when you have people looking for variance orders for support here in Nova Scotia. It takes much too long. We know people's financial situations change, and when they change they should be given an opportunity to be able to seek a variance. When that takes too much time, what happens is they stop paying. Who's the loser in that? It's usually the spouse and children.

So, if we are going to make changes that are going to extend that amount of time in any way, then we need to reconsider whether this is an appropriate change. If that is going to lessen the amount of time where people can get to court, especially Family Court for variance orders, or whether it is for custody, whether it is for payments, then it will be a good thing, but any extension in those delays I think would be going a step in the wrong direction for many Nova Scotians who just can't afford to have that support and have those issues not dealt with in an appropriate time frame.

Mr. Speaker, as has been said before, and heard many times, justice delayed is justice denied. We want to make sure we have a Provincial Court system that can hear matters in a timely fashion, not only for the accused but, more importantly, for the victims - and for the community to be able to see that justice is being done in a timely fashion and that we're not hearing of these one- year, six- month, two- year delays before important criminal matters are being brought to court, and that the

[Page 3373]

community and Nova Scotians can see that our justice system is functioning well and it is making sure those who have violated any sort of Statutes or laws here in Nova Scotia are being dealt with in a time-efficient matter.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I look forward to possibly the minister, in his closing comments on second reading, being able to address some of the concerns we have raised. If not, I do hope the appropriate time will be given for notice of this bill to go out to those involved, so at the Law Amendment Committee stage we'll have the opportunity to hear whether there are any concerns with the steps we are taking.

At the end of the day, if the consensus is that this is a step in the right direction, I think the minister will see support for that. If there are concerns, let's make sure to deal with them now rather than putting a bill forward that, at the end of the day, may cause us more headaches than what we have in our system right now. Thank you.

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

The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, before I begin my closing comments, I do want to welcome the honourable Leader of the Official Opposition with regard to his new Justice Critic position. I look forward to working with the honourable member, as I have with the honourable member for Richmond in the past. I know all members here take the issues with regard to justice in this province very seriously, and I know it is very personal to those two members as well, because of their background.

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the members for bringing the issues forward that they have. I want to commit to both members that I will ensure that the staff in the department will meet with both members and discuss the issues around their concerns and talk to them about who is supportive of this bill.

The intent here is to make our system a little less complex and a little easier for Nova Scotians to access. The issue was raised about whether judges would be - judges who are in the system today will have the opportunity to decide if they wish to stay with the system as they know it or to take part in the new system. Obviously, that will require training. New judges who come into the system in this province will obviously have the opportunity as well to learn about the new process as it unfolds.

Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Official Opposition mentioned about Legal Aid and I know that provincial Justice Ministers across this country have requested the federal government to go back and restore the days of 50/50 cost-sharing with regard to Legal Aid - it's something that's needed very much in this province. It's something that I'm advocating and will continue to do so

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until we see those days return. It is something we need and they're absolutely right, it's something we want to see here in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I believe that what we're talking about here is something that's worth pursuing. I would encourage both members to gather more information and we'll provide that information to both members from the department as to what the intent here is, and I assure the House that it is to make our system more accessible for Nova Scotians and I think, after having the opportunity to deal with it, both members would agree. So with those few comments, I would move second reading of Bill No. 135.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion before the House is for second reading of Bill No. 135. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. PATRICK DUNN: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 136.

Bill No. 136 - Justice Administration Amendment (2007) Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, it's a privilege to rise again today in regard to the Justice Administration Amendment (2007) Act, Bill No. 136.

Mr. Speaker, the members would know that yesterday the government introduced legislation which deals with a number of housekeeping amendments to the existing legislation under the Justice Administration Act. The amendments to the Small Claims Court Act will help ensure the Small Claims Court has jurisdiction to deal with matters arising in every county in the Province of Nova Scotia. I know there are members here today who are concerned about that very issue.

We're also introducing amendments to the Health Authorities Act to support community health boards to address retention issues. The amendments will allow board members to serve more than two consecutive terms - this will be consistent with boards of directors for district health authorities who aren't limited to the number of terms they can presently serve in the Province of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, we're also introducing amendments to the Act governing the Shubenacadie Canal Commission. These amendments were requested by the commission. They recognize changes in the former Halifax-Dartmouth municipal units. The amendments will also allow for improved

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commission representation from the Colchester and East Hants Municipalities and will update references to the Department of Natural Resources and the Municipal Government Act.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, something that I know is very important to all members in this House and, I think, to all Nova Scotians. We were pleased to introduce amendments to several Acts to allow ministers responsible to provide long-service awards to peace officers, firefighters, and emergency management personnel in the Province of Nova Scotia. The affected Acts include the Emergency Management Act, the Fire Safety Act and the Police Act. The awards will recognize the significant contributions to protection of persons and properties that are provided by many men and women throughout the Province of Nova Scotia on a daily basis. These amendments will ensure these dedicated men and women are appropriately recognized for their long-standing commitment to this province.

Mr. Speaker, I move second reading of Bill No. 136.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise today to speak on Bill No. 136. The minister indicated that there are a number of housekeeping matters - and I recognize that to be the case, but I would like to comment briefly on a couple of the matters that are here. Obviously, providing for the registration of claims through the Small Claims Court, particularly where there isn't a justice centre in a particular county and allowing that to be filed in an adjacent county is something that makes sense, and I realize the intent of the Act in that regard is simply to provide for an efficient way to get those claims filed. I think that makes sense. I don't see anything with respect to that particular provision that would give rise to any particular concern.

[5:15 p.m.]

I do note - and I was just kibitzing with my colleague here - Small Claims Court is almost a misnomer nowadays; $25,000 before the Small Claims Court - you get some pretty significant claims going on. There was a time when the whole reason for Small Claims Court to exist was so that people could go unrepresented before a court and kind of work out their own claims. Well, nowadays, Mr. Speaker, with any significant size claim, you go to Small Claims Court on any night and you will find a room full of lawyers sitting in there now, on a retainer, doing the work. That's a bit different than was originally believed, I think, to be the case when initially the Act was brought in.

I am not saying that's a bad thing. They have a simplified procedure. You don't have to go through the same kind of wait times that you would in a larger claim. As far as I know, there is no process for discovery, unless they have changed that since I came to this Chamber. So it does have its advantages in terms of a simplified claim process. I always thought it was a good mechanism. I thought it sometimes got a little abused by people who essentially were using it to do collections and that sort of thing when oftentimes the people on the other side of the claims didn't have access to

[Page 3376]

the same kind of expertise. You go into Small Claims Court some nights and there would be some people in there and they would have 15 claim files underneath their arm, so they were just kind of pumping them through. Anyway, that is the only comment I have with respect to Small Claims Court.

With respect to the Shubenacadie Canal Commission, I actually will go so far as to commend the minister for bringing this forward. I know that the Shubenacadie Canal committee was looking for these changes. I think it's a particularly good thing to understand that - for some number of years I represented downtown Dartmouth where the Shubenacadie Canal starts and right up to the Shubenacadie Canal Centre - the reality is that the Shubenacadie Canal extends all the way across the province, through East Hants, through Colchester County, and if we are going to treat this as what I think it should be treated as, which is an historical asset, then certainly those counties should have some representation with respect to the commission. Obviously this was thought out by the commission itself, the recommendations came forward, and I am pleased to see that the minister and the government is acting on these recommendations.

The other parts of the bill, Mr. Speaker, have to do with long service medals. I am pleased to see that all of these are being recognized, particularly so for the ground search and rescue and that is not to diminish either the firefighters or the police service. I think ground search and rescue have been underappreciated for a long time. My brother-in-law and my sister have been active members of the ground search and rescue in Queens County for quite a long time - and I actually remember, before there was any kind of medal, doing up kind of awards and going up and presenting pins from the Government of Nova Scotia to some of the ground search and rescue folks just because I really felt that they ought to be recognized for the work that they do. Sometimes they work under very difficult circumstances and under a great deal of stress. So I'm pleased to see that there is going to be a mechanism for the recognition of the work that they do in this regard.

Those are essentially the comments that I had. I don't think there is anything in this bill that raises any kind of real concern. Obviously the pieces of the bill here that have been included needed to be included and I look forward to this going on to the Law Amendments Committee.

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

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, it's a pleasure to make a few comments on Bill No. 136, an Act respecting the Administration of Justice. As has been mentioned, certainly the provisions in this bill do not raise any alarms as some of the previous justice administration bills we may have seen some years ago, and not under this minister but in the past, that fortunately that hasn't been the case. But, Mr. Speaker, this is again an opportunity and I would encourage the minister that when bills like this are being brought in it is better if we get to see them beforehand and then we can get any questions that we have answered then, rather than stand on our feet and ask the minister questions - not that there is something wrong with that but it might give us an opportunity to get some of those answers before the bill is tabled and then we can have those discussions then.

[Page 3377]

I look at the bill and, for example, under Community Health Boards it removes the limitation. My question would only be who asked for that and why did we have limitations in the first place if we're removing them? Those are just questions that again we could have answered before and then an indication as to why those changes are there.

One of those things that I would say to the Minister of Justice, Mr. Speaker, is that having been Justice Critic for a number of years, and as was pointed out some of the concerns that were raised by the Leader of the Official Opposition, is that when the minister brought in the change in the amount for the Small Claims Court, we did have a discussion at that point that the minister would be prepared to review the impact of those changes after they were put in because we raised the concerns before, that if you were going to increase the jurisdiction levels, suddenly you may be taking away the whole goal of small claims by making it a court that is easy to access, that people can understand and, more importantly, that you don't necessarily need a lawyer to be able to bring your matter to court.

So I am not sure if the minister can advise us as to whether his staff has been undertaking any sort of review to see the impact of those changes, if they have been talking to any of the officials, the adjudicators who have been hearing Small Claims Court matters to see if, in their opinion, what impact there has been on the Small Claims Court since the jurisdiction limits have been increased to $25,000. As I said earlier, when we talked about that, the minister had committed at that time that he would be prepared to review what impact those changes might have. Maybe the minister can advise the House as to whether that kind of review has taken place or whether his staff is in contact with the adjudicators in order to determine what impact, if any, those changes have had.

Other than that, Mr. Speaker, some of the changes to the Emergency Measures Act, the Fire Safety Act, to be able to recognize long service is something that I am sure all members of this House would give their approval to and with that, unless there are any surprises that do come out of the Law Amendments Committe stage, I am sure that Bill No. 136 will probably be able to proceed quite quickly. So with that, we'll certainly be giving our support for Bill No. 136 to move on to second reading and on to Law Amendments Committee.

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

The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank both members opposite for their comments and questions and concerns and I'll endeavour to get the answers to their questions, absolutely.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to move second reading of Bill No. 136.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 136. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

[Page 3378]

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. PATRICK DUNN: Mr. Speaker, that concludes the government's business for the day and I'd like to pass things over to the Liberal House Leader.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Liberal House Leader.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. The House will sit tomorrow from the hour of 2:00 p.m. until the hour of 6:00 p.m. Following the daily routine, we will be calling Bill No. 143 and Resolution No. 1909.

Mr. Speaker, I would now move that the House do adjourn until 2:00 p.m. tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion before the House is for the House to rise and meet again tomorrow at the hour of 2:00 p.m.

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

The motion is carried. The House will sit tomorrow between the hours of 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.

We have arrived at the moment of interruption. The topic for the adjournment debate is:

"Therefore be it resolved that this government immediately establish a comprehensive buy local program to recognize that government must take a leading role in supporting local producers."

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

BUY LOCAL PROGRAM: N.S. - ESTABLISH

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker. It is a pleasure to rise this evening on the motion that was submitted by the member for Pictou East.

As you know, Mr. Speaker, this has been a growing matter of debate in this province with respect to the buy local program. I think it is first only fair if we set out some of the background and,

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in fact, what you would know is that many jurisdictions around the world seek to encourage their citizens to buy from local producers. This is seen as a way to strengthen local economies and to ensure that local producers are supplying the needs of their community and, in return, are getting paid a fair price for the products that they are producing. That is a fundamental piece of what is going on in agriculture today - that whole notion of who is getting a fair price for what they are producing. I will try to get back to that before the expiry of time, but I want to talk more directly about the kind of buy local campaign that we should be undertaking here in the province.

Over the last number of years, this has actually been a bit of a political football, if I can use that analogy, Mr. Speaker. In fact, I know that the current government has promised a Buy Local program on many occasions. They did prior to the election in 1998, the first one in which I was elected. They promised it again in 1999 which, of course, was the first opportunity that they actually had to do something about it because that is when they went into government. Unfortunately, time elapsed from 1994 to 2003 - no buy local program was put in place. However, that didn't stop them in 2003 from again promising a buy local campaign and after all, if you haven't fulfilled a promise, then you can make it again - it's still good. So in 2003, the commitment was made again to the people of Nova Scotia and between 2003 and 2006, again, there was no action on this so the current government decided in 2006, in June of last year, that they would again make this commitment to the people of Nova Scotia.

I think the difference, though, Mr. Speaker, over the 10 years that this notion has been bandied about is that people are becoming more and more impatient to see the plan that the government has for actually implementing a buy local campaign. Now I mentioned that there are many around the world and in other jurisdictions. I know that there is what they call the Red Tractor campaign in the United Kingdom where if you go into a grocery store, if you see a red tractor on the product, you know immediately that it is a product that has been manufactured in the United Kingdom and, of course, people are more likely to purchase local products because they want to support local farmers so long as the product is competitively priced. There is no way around it. All products have some price sensitivity but I think that you will find that people are prepared, even though they are price sensitive, to pay a little more for a local product because they know that the utility involved in providing a reward to the local farmer is far greater when they do that.

Here in this province, as I mentioned, there has been a long period in which this commitment has not been fulfilled and I have to say that we set out our own program, which we think is fairly modest in terms of its expense, one that would be able to at least start us down the road toward a comprehensive buy local program. Before I get into the details of what we have proposed, I want to mention that I was in the Valley last week, as was the Minister of Environment and Labour, as was the member for Kings West.

[5:30 p.m.]

We were all attending a rally that was put on by the Women's Institute of Nova Scotia as part of what they call the Buy Local Challenge. There were two things about that. One part of it is that

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they financed a survey of consumers that demonstrated the willingness of those consumers to buy local products if they are able to identify them. There was a fairly uniform opinion on this, no matter where these consumers happened to be from.

I noted that in particular, under the study that was done by the Women's Institute of Nova Scotia, that 20 per cent of the respondents in that survey were actually urban consumers and urban consumers were saying that we would buy from Nova Scotia producers if we could identify it properly on the shelf. So it's one of these issues where urban consumers want to purchase the product from rural producers just as much as rural producers want the urban consumers to do so. So there is a kind of unanimity of opinion in this regard that, to me, simply says that the time is right for the government to move on some kind of a substantive program.

We think that program ought to have three pieces. First of all, there ought to be some money set aside. We have suggested something in the order of $200,000 which would allow the provincial government to leverage with some of the retailers, some advertising. If you use the money correctly, the retailers would get the benefit of the advertising showing that they are selling local products and the local producers would get the benefit of having that advertisement go out so that consumers would then know where they could go to buy local products.

The second part is really an identification program - we suspect probably not more than $50,000 to manufacture an appropriate logo. I have suggested that we actually use the Nova Scotia flag. We could call it the blue and white campaign but frankly any kind of recognizable logo that demonstrates something as local would be workable. It's not expensive. You would have to get the retailers involved in the process because they would have to agree to ensure that these stickers made it onto the product.

The third part of that is some leadership on behalf of the Government of Nova Scotia and they should be ensuring that right across the broad public sector, wherever there are purchases being made, that fundamentally they should be committed to buying Nova Scotia products. I told this very brief story - I do want to mention two things and I realize I am running out of time already. One was that when we were at this rally in the Valley that was sponsored by the Women's Institute of Nova Scotia, the member for Kings North indicated that the NDP was following along in the footsteps of the Women's Institute of Nova Scotia and I observed then and will observe now that if that is the case, we are very happy to be in that company because we think they do just marvelous work on this issue and as they have on many other issues in the past.

The second thing that I just wanted to note is that these buy local campaigns demonstrate a manner of leadership on behalf of the government. Recently, I was in to see the Minister of Finance; he was gracious enough to give me a bottle of water. I told this story there and I turned it over, the bottle of water was actually from Ontario. That's not to diminish - the minister was being gracious in his offer, but it says to people that on all of these purchasing decisions, you should be cognizant of what you are buying and where it is coming from because that bottle of water has an environmental footprint. We don't have any problem with water in this province. You could turn on

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the tap and get the product of the Halifax Water Commission, but if you are going to buy bottled water, then you certainly should buy water that is from Nova Scotia and bottled here. The trucking of water great distances and the fuel that is used to do that, obviously, has an environmental footprint.

So those are just some of the comments I wanted to make tonight. I am very thankful for the member for Pictou East for bringing this forward. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

HON. MARK PARENT: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member who put this forward for a very important topic and one, of course, that is of great interest to me as an MLA in the beautiful Annapolis Valley - the breadbasket of Nova Scotia. The third most productive agricultural area in the country of Canada and, I think, the most beautiful.

The buy local organization that was referenced by the Leader of the Opposition that he was at, that Scott Brison was at, and that the member for Kings West was at, was organized by Brenda Parker - and I want to publicly go on the record of thanking Brenda for her good work. When she came to me a few weeks ago - more than that now - and she asked what can I do, Mark, what should we do? I said let's do something together on buying local and maybe we can expand from that and have some discussion.

It turned out in the end that Brenda did all the work and all I did was help pay for the use of the room at the Port Williams Community Centre, which is my hometown. She did a fantastic job. There were about 400 people there - she had representatives from the retail sector, from various commodity groups, speaking about the challenges, the opportunities and I think instilling hope within the various people who were there that we do have power, as consumers, to make changes.

I spoke at that meeting, and the member of the Opposition will probably forgive me for reiterating some of what I said at the meeting, which follows along - and rather shocks me on how closely we agree on this. Something must be happening to me that we agree so closely on this or maybe something is happening to him that he agrees so closely with me. Anyway, the important thing, as he mentioned, is to build popular support and I think the honourable member is right in that there seems to be a growing desire, a growing recognition of the importance of buying local.

I was referencing at that meeting the cover of Time Magazine that talked about how really buying local not only is good for the local economy, but it is also healthy and it is better food and there is more control over it, and that if you really wanted to eat healthy food, you should buy local. I have seen that referenced in various places and I think there is this growing sort of awareness and growing desire to buy local.

The member opposite referenced that in the survey that the Women's Institute conducted - and they'll be doing some follow-up study on that - 20 per cent of the people who responded to the

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survey were from metro and that they, too, wanted to buy local. I wanted to take the opportunity to put in a plug for the Halifax Farmers Market, Mr. Speaker, because it is a fantastic institution. They are looking at building a new building or taking over part of Pier 21 - an environmentally friendly building - expanding. I hope that they'll have the support of all Parties in this House. I know they will.

I have farmers in my riding, a couple I married when I was doing an honest job, before I entered politics, and (Interruption) still an honest job - I'll take that back, Mr. Speaker - when I did a different job helping people, and I am still helping people in a different capacity. Anyway, when I married this couple, and I found out since then that they make their whole income during the summer, bringing their produce to the Farmers Market, and because people at the Farmers Market want to buy local, are willing to pay a bit extra and cherish that relationship, it becomes more of a community, that they are able to maintain a farm in the Valley, supporting themselves and various workers due to the Halifax Farmers Market. So I want to commend the Halifax Farmers Market and the consumers here in the City of HRM who support that institution.

The important thing about buying local, and we have to do a few things which I think the speaker opposite already referenced, government needs to show leadership in terms of its own activities. I confess that in 1999 when we announced this program, I was hoping for more results then and, as the member for that area, I have been asking about this program on a consistent basis. Finally I am delighted that some things are starting to happen.

We have a dedicated market specialist, development specialist, in the Department of Agriculture whose prime focus is encouraging the use of local products at our various institutions across the province. As the Acting Minister of Agriculture referenced in Question Period, I believe, this person has had great success. Since 2005, one of the largest institutional buying groups have grown their purchase of local products from 5,700 kilograms to 42,000, Mr. Speaker, and 63 per cent of what this group buys now is Maritime food.

Fifty per cent of Nova Scotia's health care facilities - and he's not only the Acting Minister of Agriculture, but he's the Minister of Health - are now serving beef that comes from our region. Two local companies, ACA and Larsen's, have dominated the poultry and pork supplies to our health care facilities. The majority of beef purchases in the metro hospitals come from Armstrong Food Services.

So, in the Health Department, there has been some great success and that may well be attributable to the minister who came from being Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries and who has a passion, I know, for supporting local fish production, catching and processing and also agriculture. He's obviously had a good influence on the Department of Health.

They've also been working with the school boards. They've had trade shows in three of the school board areas - one in my own area - encouraging the school boards and the schools to buy local as well.

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There have been other things that have happened. We've improved tender specifications to make sure local producers are able to bid. We've broken down the tender list to allow for local agricultural and food businesses. For example, instead of bidding for meat as a whole, they'll bid for pork and lamb, which the speaker opposite would be interested in, which allows our local industries to bid and to bid successfully on these tenders that come out. We're creating a database that connects Nova Scotia suppliers and producers interested in supplying Nova Scotia institutions - putting Nova Scotia first.

Are we where we'd like to be? No, I'd like to go further. I would be happy if the vast, vast majority of food bought by our local institutions, by our health boards, community boards was local, but we are making substantive progress since 2005.

The second thing we need to do is empower consumers and we need a labelling system. We used to have the AtlanticPlus system, if you remember the little green sticker. We need a labelling system. I had asked for a photocopy to come back because I'd spoken some time ago on buying local and this triggered a local seafood producer, I believe in the riding of the member for Digby-Annapolis, to send me a logo which he developed, which he said he'd be happy to share free of charge with anybody. It's quite an intriguing logo, I'll table it. He has the Canadian maple leaf and the Nova Scotia flag and then "PRODUCT OF CANADA, PRODUCED IN NOVA SCOTIA". I'll table it. He's quite willing, if we want to use that, to use that.

The label needs to be decided. We need to decide exactly the scope of local. The Women's Institute talked about how most Nova Scotians identified local with the Province of Nova Scotia. The Canadian Health Guide talks about 50 kilometres from where the food was grown. Others talk about the Atlantic Provinces being the local market that we're interested in.

But, we do definitely need a labelling program. I have so many people who say to me, Mark, I want to buy local, I want to support our local farmers, but when I go into the grocery store, I'm not sure if the product is local or not. So, we need a labelling system, we need government to take leadership in its own institutions and then, thirdly, we need value added. We need to make sure that extra money gets back to the farm gate because all our pork is locally sold, but the price is set outside of the Maritimes, outside of Nova Scotia and the farmers can't compete on that price, so we need that third component as well.

I wish I had more time to elaborate on that because I think that's a very important component that we need to talk about. I want to thank the speaker opposite for speaking on this and the Party opposite for bringing this important issue forward.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, certainly I want to start out by saying that this was a very, very relevant and key topic, I think, for our first late debate in the Spring session. In fact, there

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are few topics more on the minds of Nova Scotians now. What we're seeing happening is really that all Nova Scotians want to engage in being part of the solution here.

There is no question that whoever we talk to today across the province, especially those in the farm community, an agriculture crisis is part of the landscape here in our province. There is even weakness in the managed commodity sectors and when that shows up, I think some of the underpinnings of this very, very important sector are starting to be attacked. There's no question that in the unmanaged sector there are many challenges that they are currently experiencing. A recent Statistics Canada report shows that farmers across the country, and especially those in the unmanaged sectors highlighted by hog and cattle producers, are the lowest on net income and, in fact, their net incomes have been going down since the 2001 census. So if they're not making money, it's difficult for them to remain in the business.

[5:45 p.m.]

It was interesting that when they had a major rally in the Valley at Port Williams, in the Minister of Environment and Labour's riding, that right on the doorstep of where we were located in the fire hall, there is a considerable acreage that is now under review as to whether or not it will be taken out of agricultural use and go into housing development. If we didn't have the crisis in agriculture, we wouldn't have the crisis in loss of land. I mean if agriculture is vibrant, then we're not going to lose agricultural land. So we're at a real challenge now to hopefully be able to expand some of our production through local campaigns.

In fact, just in the past two weeks, I attended, along with my colleague, the member for Annapolis, a rally put on in Bridgetown by two high school students who wanted to talk about the crisis in agriculture, but they also wanted to ask a number of different speakers what are some of the solutions. So I feel now that even those who have been hurt the most - and if you talk to our cattle producers, and especially our hog producers, as the member for Hants East wrote in his article, hog producers in Nova Scotia are in free fall.

Essentially government has said we're no longer interested in a hog industry, certainly in the traditional sense of the industry. So we will lose it as a major commodity in this province. There will be emanations. There will be some parts of it that will continue to exist, but the one thing for certain now- and that's really part of what the spirit of Nova Scotia is all about, especially in rural Nova Scotia- is that they don't want to collapse. They want to fight back and I think this is really a non-partisan issue, but certainly I respect my colleagues opposite, the Official Opposition, who are urging government and we, as a Party as well, I'm speaking for a Party here, that we want to see a buy local campaign get off the ground in the year 2007. It was an election promise and I think Nova Scotians are ready to embrace this.

One of the first things that I think really needs to be done, and there was some reference to this, is consult with farmers to develop a comprehensive long-term strategy for a sustainable agriculture growth. Those are the people who can tell us and I would not be adverse to seeing a

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committee put in place of the presidents and the heads of the unmanaged sector to be an advisory group to the minister. When I talk to some of these people, these are long-time participants, long-time farmers in our community who have the business acumen, who have the knowledge to help the minister and the Department of Agriculture to look around the corner, to be able to pick off some of the things that can be done to avert some of the decline that we have experienced.

I think that would be a good thing, a real consultation with farmers in a very broad spectrum and then pick somebody, it doesn't necessarily perhaps even have to be the head of these associations, who would become an advisory group to the minister because I know when they were here, when the unmanaged sector spoke during the hog rally here in January, I mean to hear those speakers with the expertise they have, that is exactly where we have to go. We don't need to go to the bureaucrats to get the answers. Go to the front-line people who can help government plan for this emerging program which I think absolutely has to take place.

So I think part of the solution, it's not going to be the full one, but I think the chance to help farmers and to have Nova Scotians become participants in the correction process is a full-scale buy local campaign. There is no question that these have had success in other jurisdictions.

One of the ones that I became familiar with three years ago at the New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers Summer meetings was the one in Massachusetts, and I even like their logo. They have called their program Be a Local Hero, Buy Locally Grown. They started it in 1999 and I would just like to read into the record, for all of the House perhaps to take a look at what happened in Western Massachusetts as a result of this program. It says:

I SEE LOCAL HERO EVERYWHERE!

Nearly 80% of consumers are aware of the Local Hero campaign and 78% can recall the major theme and slogan without being prompted by pollsters.

Eighty-six percent of the residents of Western Massachusetts are favourable toward the advertisements and believe they make a convincing case for buying locally-grown food.

More than 80% of those polled agreed that it is important to continue the message so that residents are kept aware of the benefits of buying locally grown food.

65% say they are buying more local food as a result of the Local Hero campaign.

We have not had that kind of effort, obviously. We have talked about buying local but we now need to get a leader in place to run a campaign with a team that will educate Nova Scotians about the value of having fresh, locally traceable grown food. But here is the real thing that really hits me, coming from Kings County, Kings West, which is really, we might as well acknowledge,

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the heart of agriculture in Nova Scotia. In the census of 2001, 28 per cent of the people were directly or indirectly affected by agriculture. It has slipped to 25 per cent and I can assure you with the closing of Cunard and what may happen at Larsen's, we are certainly fearful of the way it is going.

These surveys also indicate that:

60% of respondents increased their production . . .

Farmers increased their production

55% increased the price of goods they sell

42% started or increased farm stand sales

41% started or increased sales to restaurants or retailers . . .

Again, whether we pick something the government comes up with, the Official Opposition comes up with or whatever in terms of a logo and labelling, it just needs to be done. We can call it the Bluenose brand, we can call it the Blue and White brand, whatever it is, we have to get it out there and get it identified because there is still a major problem. Go into our big chain stores and we cannot tell what is grown in Nova Scotia. We don't even give the farm a fair chance, if you wish. So I think something is about to emerge and I thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: I would like to thank all the honourable members for having taken part in tonight's late debate. A motion for adjournment has been made.

We stand adjourned until 2:00 p.m. tomorrow.

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

[Page 3387]

RESOLUTION NO. 1934

By: Mr. Patrick Dunn (Pictou Centre)

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

Whereas the Coastal Communities Network is the latest recipient of the Gulf of Maine Council's Visionary Group Award for establishing a volunteer, community network for rural and coastal communities; and

Whereas co-chair, Wendy Robichaud of Onslow, has been a key member of the council for nearly 20 years and accepted the award on behalf of the organization; and

Whereas the awards were presented by Environment and Labour Minister Mark Parent, who helped develop the Gulf of Main Action Plan. This plan and the Coastal Communities Network work towards the enhancement of the environmental quality in the Gulf and to ensure its sustainability for future generations;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House send their congratulations to Wendy Robichaud and the Coastal Communities Network for their latest award - government support for environmental issues is integral to maintaining the beauty of Nova Scotia now and for the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1935

By: Patrick Dunn (Pictou Centre)

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

Whereas a second-year marketing student at the Nova Scotia Community College, Stellarton, was named the winner of a competition to design a brand-logo for a landmark local business; and

Whereas Wesley Beach, of Green Hill, designed a logo and name for what was formerly known as Nova Leather Limited. Beach's winning entry names the company DuraBull and features the image of a bull; and

Whereas the business primarily supplies police duty items and it hopes that a revised name and look will encourage more new business for the Stellarton company;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Wesley Beach and all of those who participated in the contest. Recognizing the expertise and advantages that exist within all Nova Scotian communities is an integral approach to growth in our province. It demonstrates that higher education is not only for the students who enroll, but for the collective provincial community as well.

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RESOLUTION NO. 1936

By: Mr. Patrick Dunn (Pictou Centre)

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

Whereas the latest young person to shear her locks for the Canadian chapter of Wigs for Kids is eight-year-old New Glasgow native Katelyn Dunn; and

Whereas this is the second time Ms. Dunn has made the generous and thoughtful donation and she is encouraging her peers at A.G. Baillie Memorial School to do the same; and

Whereas Ms. Dunn is pleased with her new hair style and maintains that it is better suited to wear under her hockey helmet and less trouble at ballet lessons;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend Katelyn Dunn of New Glasgow for her thoughtful donation to the children across Canada suffering the affects of cancer treatments. Ms. Dunn and others like her demonstrate the spirit that lives in all Nova Scotians, young and old.

RESOLUTION NO. 1937

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Minister of Immigration)

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

Whereas the Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia will be celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2007 and a gala function followed the service on February 25th; and

Whereas a community day of dance takes place May 12th, a Victorian Tea and fashion show on July 14th, a family fun day on September 15th and a Christmas Tea is planned for December 14th. Dr. David Bryant together with the community are planning to celebrate this joyous occasion with many festive events; and

Whereas the Bridgewater Town Council has recognized the building for its historical significance;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in sending our best wishes and congratulations to the Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Bridgewater.

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RESOLUTION NO. 1938

By: Hon. Cecil Clarke (Speaker)

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

Whereas for more than 40 years, Northwood has responded to the needs of older adults with programs and services that help maintain an active and independent lifestyle while providing care and support to those in need; and

Whereas since 1979, the Foundation has been an important source of funds for Northwood's extensive charitable work, contributing more than the annual operating budget of Northwoodcare Incorporated and Northwood Homecare Limited; and

Whereas the Northwood Foundation has named Gwen Haliburton the 2007 recipient of the Hedley G. Ivany Senior of the Year Award in recognition of her extraordinary years of service to many community and charitable groups throughout the Halifax Regional Municipality;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Gwen Haliburton on being honoured with the Hedley G. Ivany Senior of the Year Award and wish her the best in all her community and philanthropic efforts.