Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

HANSARD 07-42

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 27, 2007

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
E. Preston - High Speed Internet/Cable/Telephone: Service -
Request, Mr. K. Colwell 3737
Ocean View Manor - Nursing Home Staffing Crisis:
Solution - Support, Mr. D. Dexter 3738
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 2139, Quebec Election: Prem./Opposition Leaders/
Colleagues - Well Wishes, The Premier 3738
Vote - Affirmative 3739
Res. 2140, Premier's Coun. of the Federation Literacy Award:
Applications - Encourage, The Premier 3739
Vote - Affirmative 3739
Res. 2141, Can. Forces Reserves: Work/Serv. - Acknowledge,
Hon. M. Scott 3740
Vote - Affirmative 3740
Res. 2142, McDonald, Alison - Heart & Stroke Fdn. Award,
Hon. C. d'Entremont (by Hon. J. Muir) 3740
Vote - Affirmative 3741
Res. 2143, Williams, Barbara - Nat'l. Social Workers Assoc. Award,
Hon. J. Streatch 3741
Vote - Affirmative 3742
Vote - Affirmative
Res. 2144, Yarmouth Roundtable on Women With Disabilities:
Partners/Sponsors - Thank, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 3742
Vote - Affirmative 3743
Res. 2145, O'Reilly, Ellen: Retirement - Congrats.,
Hon. R. Chisholm 3743
Vote - Affirmative 3744
Res. 2146, Trans Atlantic Slave Trade, Abolition -
Anniv. (200th), Hon. B. Barnet 3744
Vote - Affirmative 3745
Res. 2147, Mahone Island Conservation Assoc./Partners:
Land Conservation - Congrats., Hon. D. Morse 3745
Vote - Affirmative 3746
Res. 2148, d'Entremont, Roger - Le Village: Exec. Dir. - Congrats.,
Hon. C. d'Entremont (by Hon. J. Streatch) 3746
Vote - Affirmative 3747
Res. 2149, EMO - Tibert Fam.: Rescue Efforts - Acknowledge,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 3747
Vote - Affirmative 3748
[PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS]
Bill C-62: Amendment/Implementation Extensive - Request,
Ms. J. Massey 3748
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 153 - Public Service Act, Mr. D. Dexter 3748
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Letter from Office of Auditor General (03/22/07), Hon. M. Baker 3749
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 2150, Offshore Revenues Accord - Original Provisions:
Determination - Affirm, Mr. D. Dexter 3749
Vote - Affirmative 3750
Res. 2151, Red Cross Mo. (03/07) - Recognize,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 3750
Vote - Affirmative 3751
Res. 2152, Windsor Shooting Stars-Coaches/Team: Championship -
Congrats., Mr. C. Porter 3751
Vote - Affirmative 3751
Vote - Affirmative
Res. 2153, N.S. Men's Masters Curling Championship: Team
Members - Congrats., Ms. M. More 3752
Vote - Affirmative 3752
Res. 2154, World TB Day (03/24/07) - Recognize,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 3752
Vote - Affirmative 3753
Res. 2155, Evans, Kylee: Deal or No Deal Canada - Congrats.,
Mr. P. Dunn 3753
Vote - Affirmative 3754
Res. 2156, G. Fraser Conrad Bridge: Canoe to Sea Soc./Participants -
Congrats., Ms. J. Massey 3754
Vote - Affirmative 3755
Res. 2157, Syliboy, Alan - Atl. Can. Cultural Export Summit:
Recognition - Congrats., Mr. K. Colwell 3755
Vote - Affirmative 3755
Res. 2158, McKeough, Maura - Wood Conservator: Work - Praise,
Mr. A. MacLeod 3756
Vote - Affirmative 3756
Res. 2159, Northumberland Fisheries Museum/Pictou Landing
First Nations: Fishing Hist. - Publication, Mr. C. Parker 3756
Vote - Affirmative 3757
Res. 2160, Digby Neck - Wildlife Protection: Land - Purchase -
Consider, Mr. H. Theriault 3757
Vote - Affirmative 3758
Res. 2161, Cottreau, Eleanor - HOPE: Serv. - Congrats,
Hon. C. d'Entremont 3758
Vote - Affirmative 3759
Res. 2162, Walsh, Brianne: Volleyball Accomplishments,
Mr. G. Gosse 3759
Vote - Affirmative 3759
Res. 2163, Parkview Panthers Girls Basketball Team: Prov.
Title - Congrats., Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 3759
Vote - Affirmative 3760
Res. 2164, Dal.: Ocean Tracking Network - Congrats.,
Mr. L. Preyra 3760
Vote - Affirmative 3761
Res. 2165, Annapolis Valley Reg. School. Bd. - Energuide Prog.
Participation - Congrats., Hon. M. Parent 3761
Vote - Affirmative 3762
Vote - Affirmative
Res. 2166, Brothers of Duke of Kent Lodge: March Spry Café
Dinner - Commend, Ms. M. Raymond 3762
Vote - Affirmative 3763
Res. 2167, Cumberland African Nova Scotian Assoc. - African
Heritage Mo.: Participation - Congrats., Mr. E. Fage 3763
Vote - Affirmative 3763
Res. 2168, Houk Curling Team - Can. Winter Games:
Participation - Congrats., Mr. P. Paris 3763
Vote - Affirmative 3764
Res. 2169, Redcliff Eagles Girls Basketball Team:
Achievements - Congrats., Hon. K. Casey 3764
Vote - Affirmative 3765
Res. 2170, Wentzell, Linda/Huphman, Cyril - Prov. Vol. Awards:
Attendance - Congrats., Ms. V. Conrad 3765
Vote - Affirmative 3766
Res. 2171, Com. Serv. - Soc. Assist. Recipients: Ford Funding -
Adequacy, Ms. D. Whalen 3766
Res. 2172, Jordan, Arty - African N.S. Commun. (Truro):
Recognition - Congrats., Hon. J. Muir 3767
Vote - Affirmative 3767
Res. 2173, TDC Broadband (Queens Co.): Broadband Internet
Provision - Recognize, Ms. V. Conrad 3767
Vote - Affirmative 3768
Res. 2174, Nutrition Mo. (03/07) - Recognize,
Ms. D. Whalen 3768
Vote - Affirmative 3769
Res. 2175, EMO Moser River - Missing Boy: Search Vols. -
Commend, Hon. R. Chisholm 3769
Vote - Affirmative 3770
Res. 2176, Greenwood Heights Neighbourhood Watch:
Participants - Congrats., Mr. W. Estabrooks 3770
Vote - Affirmative 3770
Res. 2177, Prov. Pee Wee B Division Westville Christmas
Tournament: Hosts - Congrats., Mr. C. MacKinnon 3770
Vote - Affirmative 3771
Res. 2178, Saint Vincent's Guest Home: Commun. Serv. (40 yrs.) -
Congrats., Mr. H. Epstein 3771
Vote - Affirmative 3772
Res. 2179, 2007 Prov. Tween Ringette Team: Gold Medal -
Congrats., Mr. D. Dexter 3772
Vote - Affirmative 3773
Res. 2180, Alleyne, Tamara - Basketball: Defensive Player of Yr. -
Congrats., Mr. G. Gosse 3773
Vote - Affirmative 3773
[INTRODUCTION OF BILLS]
No. 154, Forests Act, Mr. L. Glavine 3774
No. 155, Forests Act, Mr. L. Glavine 3774
No. 156, Wildlife Act, Mr. L. Glavine 3774
No. 157, Water Royalty Act, Mr. L. Glavine 3774
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 401, Health - Chemo Policy: U.S. Treatment - Details,
Mr. D. Dexter 3775
No. 402, Gaming Corp.: Retailers - Wins, Mr. L. Glavine 3776
No. 403, Justice: Prov.-Fed. Jail Programs - Treatment Options,
Mr. D. Dexter 3778
No. 404, Econ. Dev.: CAP Meeting - Cancellation,
Mr. S. Belliveau 3779
No. 405, Health - Radiation Therapy: Wait Times - Target,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 3781
No. 406, Health Prom. & Protection - Dept./Bid Comm.:
Communications - Characterize, Ms. V. Conrad 3782
No. 407, Com. Serv. - Income Assistance: Booster Seats -
Criteria, Mr. T. Zinck 3783
No. 408, Com. Serv.: Early Childhood Educ. - Funding,
Mr. S. McNeil 3785
No. 409, Nat. Res.-Forestry - Biodiversity: Third-Party Review -
Intended, Mr. C. MacKinnon 3786
No. 410, Educ. - Jr. High Sch.: Glace Bay - Prioritization -
Explain, Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 3787
No. 411, TPW - Bridge Safety: Actions - Details, Mr. C. Parker 3789
No. 412, Health - Seniors' Pharmacare Prog.: Fee Increases -
Explain, Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 3790
No. 413, Nat. Res.: Protected Areas - Clear-Cutting Policy,
Mr. L. Glavine 3791
No. 414, Health: Surgery Wait Times - Solution,
Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 3792
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
ON MOTION FOR SUPPLY:
Mr. C. MacKinnon 3794
Mr. K. Colwell 3797
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON SUPPLY AT 2:35 P.M. 3801
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 6:00 P.M. ADJOURNMENT: 3801
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Atl. Lottery Corp.: Retailer Lottery Wins - Review,
Mr. L. Glavine 3802
Ms. V. Conrad 3804
Hon. M. Parent 3805
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON SUPPLY AT 6:30 P.M. 3808
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 7:11 P.M. 3808
[GOVERNMENT BUSINESS]
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
Bill No. 146 - Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act 3808
Mr. H. Epstein 3808
Adjourn debate 3818
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again Wed., Mar. 27th, at 2:00 P.M. 3818
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 2181, Econ. Dev. - Econ. Success: Participants - Congrats.,
Hon. R. Hurlburt 3819
Res. 2182, Yarmouth Mini-Vikings/Coaches/Team:
Basketball Championship - Congrats., Hon. R. Hurlburt 3819
Res. 2183, Sampson, Gordie: Grammy Award - Congrats.,
The Premier 3820

[Page 3737]

HALIFAX, TUESDAY, MARCH 27, 2007

Sixtieth General Assembly

First Session

12:00 Noon

SPEAKER

Hon. Cecil Clarke

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Mr. Wayne Gaudet

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Before we move to the Orders of the Day, I wish to advise the House that the Clerk has conducted a draw for the late debate. The honourable member for Clare will debate at 6:00 p.m. this evening:

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Government encourage the Atlantic Lottery Corporation to embark on an independent review of retailer and retailer-employee ticket lottery wins.

We will now begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Preston.

MR. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition which reads as follows: "We the undersigned residents of East Preston, NS, B2Z 1G4, request the provision of service for any one or all of the following: High-Speed Internet/Cable Television/Telephone." I have 11 signatures on this, which represents the whole community in that area, and I have affixed my name to the petition as well.

3737

[Page 3738]

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition, the operative clause reads as follows: "We, the undersigned, agree with and support the residents of Ocean View Manor in petitioning the Government of Nova Scotia for a solution to the staffing crisis in Nursing Homes. Quality of care and thus quality of life for residents is being detrimentally impacted by staffing shortages." There are 373 signatures attached to the petition, and I have added my name.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 2139

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 Quebec Premier Jean Charest ended an exciting provincial election campaign yesterday with a return to the Premier's Office; and

Whereas at the conclusion of the race, the province also found itself with its first minority government in well over a century; and

Whereas Premier Charest has rightly noted that the province's success depends on the Parties' willingness to work together;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the returning Premier, Opposition Leaders Mario Dumont and Andre Boisclair, along with their colleagues, and wish them well in their new mandate and in making minority government work for the citizens of Quebec.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 3739]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION. NO. 2140

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

Whereas the Premier's Council of the Federation Literacy Award recognizes, each year, an exceptional adult literacy student who will be honoured at the September International Literacy Day Award ceremony; and

Whereas Nova Scotians who improve their literacy skills not only advance their own lives and self-esteem, they also improve upon the lives of their families and help to contribute to the economic prosperity of our province; and

Whereas today I am calling for nominations of this year's award;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House encourage anyone you know who is eligible for this award to apply, and recognize the importance of literacy in all of our lives, the benefits to both the individual and their family, and the tremendous strides being made, individual by individual, across our province.

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 3740]

The honourable Minister responsible for Military Relations.

RESOLUTION NO. 2141

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

Whereas Nova Scotia was the nation's first province to establish a Ministry of Military Relations; and

Whereas the issue of protection of employment and student status of members of Canadian Forces Reserves was brought before the House, and where several strong amendments were made that protects the rights of reservists in regard to job protection and educational enrolment and financial status; and

Whereas Nova Scotia is being awarded with the prestigious Canadian Forces Liaison Council's Special Award for Support for the Reserve Force, and I will be accepting this award on behalf of the Premier, the government, and the people of Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House acknowledge the fine work and dedicated service that our reservists provide each day to the Canadian Forces through their missions abroad and at home as model citizens, and whose legislative protection of job and educational status was long overdue.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

RESOLUTION NO. 2142

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

[Page 3741]

Whereas Alison McDonald has been a volunteer with the Heart and Stroke Foundation for over 15 years, developing the Nova Scotia Integrated Stroke Strategy and co-chairing the best practices working group for the Canadian Stroke Strategy; and

Whereas Ms. McDonald received the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada Distinguished Service Award at a ceremony in Ottawa last month; and

Whereas Ms. McDonald, who works as a physiotherapist at the QEII's Nova Scotia Rehabilitation Centre, is dedicated to improving the lives of stroke patients and their families;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Alison McDonald on this volunteer award and applaud her exceptional work in patient advocacy and her dedication to stroke patients in Nova Scotia and across 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 Minister of Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 2143

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

Whereas Barbara Williams, a social worker with the Halifax district office of the Department of Community Services, has recently been recognized by her national association with a Distinguished Service Award; and

Whereas this award acknowledges recipients based on individual qualities such as compassion, leadership, creativity, initiative and high ethical standards; and

Whereas Ms. Williams has shown a caring commitment to Nova Scotian children and families in her role as a social worker for more than 40 years;

[Page 3742]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Ms. Williams for her dedication to her work on the front lines of child welfare in this province and congratulate her on the Distinguished Service Award from the Canadian Association of Social Workers.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister responsible for the Advisory Council on the Status of Women Act.

RESOLUTION NO. 2144

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 women with disabilities face many barriers to gaining employment; and

Whereas this government wants to hear from Nova Scotians about their aspirations and concerns, and seeks our participation in our communities; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia Disabled Persons Commission, Digby Disabled Partners Committee, West Nova Inclusive Employment Society, the Department of Community Services (Yarmouth), Nova Scotia Community College, and the Centre for Women in Business have joined with the Advisory Council on the Status of Women to hear from women with disabilities, this week, about the changes that would allow them to have better incomes and satisfying employment;

Therefore be it resolved all members of the House thank the partners and sponsors, Le Transport de Clare, Handicapped Organization Promoting Equality, the Woman's Place and Tri-County women' centres, Seagull Pewter, and the Municipalities of Digby, Yarmouth, Argyle and Shelburne, and the South Shore Regional Economic Development Authority - for their contributions to the Yarmouth Round Table on Women with Disabilities.

[Page 3743]

[12:15 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

HON. RONALD CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if I would be allowed to make an introduction before I do my resolution?

MR. SPEAKER: Absolutely.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, in the east gallery we have with us some people who work with the Department of Agriculture as well as the Department of Fisheries. We have Mr. George Carmichael, Derrick Brooks, as well as Ellen O'Reilly, who is a very special guest here today - and when I read my resolution you will realize why. I would ask all members of the House to give them a very warm welcome. (Applause)

RESOLUTION NO. 2145

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

Whereas the fisheries and aquaculture industries are integral components of the health and prosperity of our province's communities, families and citizens; and

Whereas Ellen O'Reilly has provided more than 35 years of commitment to the growth and development efforts that have positively contributed to the success of these industries in our province; and

Whereas Ellen O'Reilly is an active volunteer in her community and is devoted to improving the lives of those less fortunate;

[Page 3744]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Ms. O'Reilly on her retirement from the Department of Agriculture on March 31, 2007, and offer her all the best wishes in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health Promotion and Protection.

RESOLUTION NO. 2146

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 United Nations resolution, delivered last December, declared 2007 the year to mark the 200th Anniversary of Britain's abolition of the trafficking of human beings between Africa, Europe, the Caribbeans and the Americas; and

Whereas we acknowledge the slave trade and the forced transportation and enslavement of millions of Africans, predominately from West Africa, to the Americas as among the worst violations of human rights in the history of humanity; and

Whereas we acknowledge the legacy of the slave trade is at the centre of profound social and economic inequities, hatred, bigotry, racism and prejudice, and which continue to affect peoples of African descent today;

Therefore be it resolved that this province join the many others across the country who have chosen this year, and especially this month, to commemorate the 200th Anniversary of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 3745]

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. 2147

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

Whereas Mahone Island Conservation Association , also known as MICA, and the Province of Nova Scotia entered into a community land securement partnership to acquire land in Mahone Bay in support of MICA's mission to protect and conserve the natural environment of the islands and shoreline of Mahone Bay and the traditional social and recreational opportunities valued by its communities; and

Whereas the owners of Backman Island (TBF Islands LDC) and Coveys Island (Trans-Canada Oceanfront Properties Company) have agreed to sell the islands to the Crown, a purchase jointly financed by MICA and the province; and

Whereas this acquisition will contribute to the new Nova Scotia to preserve and protect our environment for future generations, as both islands have high outdoor recreational potential in an area that has very limited coastal properties and wildlife habitat value - especially important for colonial nesting seabirds and waterfowl;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank MICA, TBF Islands LDC, and Trans-Canada Oceanfront Properties Company, in helping to conserve and protect these islands for future generations of Nova Scotians.

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.

[Page 3746]

The honourable Minister of Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 2148

MS. JUDY STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, I present the following resolution on behalf of my colleague, the Minister of Acadian Affairs.

Attendu qu' au sein de la famille du réseau des musées de la Nouvelle-Écosse, le Village historique acadien de la Nouvelle-Écosse, situé à Pubnico-Ouest, met en vedette la culture et le patrimoine des acadiens de la Nouvelle-Écosse; et

Attendu que le Village a récemment embauché M. Roger d'Entremont dans le rôle de directeur général le 3e personne dans ce poste; et

Attendu que M. d'Entremont a plusieurs années d'expériences en gestion à Aliant, dans l'industrie de pêche et comme bénévole au Village;

Par conséquent qu'il soit résolu que tous les membres se joignent à moi pour féliciter M. Roger d'Entremont et lui souhaiter bon succès dans son nouveau rôle avec le Village.

Monsieur le Président, je demande l'adoption de cette résolution sans préavis et sans débat.

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

Whereas within the Nova Scotia Museum family of museums, le Village historique acadien de la Nouvelle-Écosse in West Pubnico, promotes the culture and heritage of the Acadian people in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas le Village recently hired Mr. Roger d'Entremont as its 3rd Executive Director; and

Whereas Mr. d'Entremont has several years administrative experience with Aliant as well as experience in the fishing industry and as a volunteer with le Village;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating Mr. Roger d'Entremont and wishing him much success as he assumes his new role with le Village.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 3747]

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Emergency Management.

RESOLUTION NO. 2149

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 we were all relieved to hear that a missing boy, only two and one-half years old, had been found in the woods near Moser River just before dark last night after being lost for more than four hours; and

Whereas family members were quickly joined by volunteers, including the Sheet Harbour and area ground search and rescue team, with several other volunteer teams also on the way to the area; and

Whereas a potential tragedy was avoided due to the prompt response and coordination among ground search and rescue, the RCMP, our own Emergency Management Office, paramedics and the Natural Resources helicopter crew;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House join the Tibert family of Moser River and acknowledge the life-saving efforts of those who helped return the boy to his family last night, cold and wet, but otherwise in good health.

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 3748]

The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations on an introduction.

HON. JAMES MUIR: I would like to draw the attention of the House to the east gallery where we're joined by Ian and Marjorie Russell who are involved in working with RDAs in the Valley and other parts of the province. They're here to watch the proceedings of the House today and I think to engage in conversation with some members. Anyway, I would ask the Russells to stand and everybody give them a warm welcome. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East with a request to revert the order of business.

MS. JOAN MASSEY: I request that we revert to petitions.

MR. SPEAKER: There is a request to revert the order of business to presenting of petitions.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

MS. JOAN MASSEY: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition. The operative clause reads, "This petition is in response to Bill C-62 and its negative impact on the health and safety of our local convenience store operators. We are asking for an amendment and implementation extension. Thank you for your support on this issue."

I have affixed my signature as the rules require and the petition came from Cascade Video and Convenience Store in my riding. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 153 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 376 of the Revised Statutes of 1989, the Public Service Act, to establish the Small Business Service Agency. (Mr. Darrell Dexter)

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

[Page 3749]

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

MR. SPEAKER: The request is to revert to the order of business, Tabling Reports, Regulations and Other Papers.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to table a letter from the Office of the Auditor General and signed by the Auditor General, Jacques R. LaPointe, dated March 22, 2007.

MR. SPEAKER: The document is tabled.

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 2150

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

Whereas Prime Minister Stephen Harper was recently joined by the Premier of Ontario and the Mayor of Toronto to announce a $1 billion federal contribution to the Toronto transit system; and

Whereas federal officials and Ontario-based news media did not see that $1 billion gift as an amount that should be counted against Ontario's other federal transfers; and

Whereas Nova Scotians simply want the federal Conservatives to keep their word by not counting the Atlantic accord payments against Nova Scotia's equalization or other ongoing transfers;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly affirms Nova Scotians' determination to ensure that our province receives 100 per cent of its offshore revenue as originally provided in the Offshore Revenues Accord, outside the equalization formula, without any new or old method of clawing back that revenue.

[Page 3750]

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. (Applause)

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

RESOLUTION NO. 2151

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

Whereas March of every year marks the beginning of Red Cross Month; and

Whereas the Red Cross emblem has come to signify a signify a symbol of protection and hope for those devastated by disease, famine, poverty and war; and

Whereas the countless efforts of volunteers, humanitarian workers, and all others who give their time, money and caring for the well-being of those less fortunate are the reasons the Red Cross continues in existence today;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly recognize March as Red Cross Month and commend the efforts of those who take time to help the less fortunate around the world.

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 3751]

The honourable member for Hants West.

RESOLUTION NO. 2152

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 host, Windsor Shooting Stars, captured the 2006-07 Nova Scotia Division 5 Mini-Boys Basketball Championship this past weekend with a thrilling 50-47 win over the Yarmouth Mini-Vikings; and

Whereas Coach Tyler Vankippersluis and Assistant Mike Cochrane led the boys to a 2-1 record in the round-robin portion of the tournament, their only loss being to the North Preston Mini-Bulls on Saturday afternoon - 69-67 in an exceptional display of basketball; and

Whereas Eric Cochrane played a pivotal role throughout the tournament for Windsor with his scoring and rebounding prowess and was named tournament MVP at the conclusion of Sunday's championship game;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Shooting Star coaches Tyler Vankippersluis and Mike Cochrane, and their team of dedicated young men, for winning the 2006-07 Nova Scotia Division 5 mini-boys basketball championship.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth South-Portland Valley.

[12:30 p.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 2153

[Page 3752]

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

Whereas the curling team representing the Dartmouth Curling Club won the Nova Scotia Men's Masters Curling Championship; and

Whereas the Canadian Masters Championships will be held in Hamilton, Ontario this year; and

Whereas the team models talent, experience and sportsmanship, in all its games;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the Nova Scotia Men's Masters Team, Peter MacPhee, Jim Featherby, Don MacLeod and Jim Quinn from the Dartmouth Curling Club and wish them success during the 2007 Canadian Men's Masters Curling Championships.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Glace Bay.

RESOLUTION NO. 2154

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 March 24th of every year is designated as World Tuberculosis Day; and

Whereas this year's theme, TB: Anywhere is Everywhere, describes the struggle of millions of people around the world who suffer from this deadly disease; and

Whereas World TB Day is designed to build public awareness that tuberculosis remains an epidemic in much of the world today;

[Page 3753]

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly recognize March 24th as World Tuberculosis Day and praise the efforts of those who battle this affliction and support their efforts 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 favor of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 2155

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

Whereas Stellarton native, Kylee Evans, recently appeared on Canadian television screens; and

Whereas the Toronto resident, who earned a Bachelor of Music Degree at the University of Western Ontario and studied musical theatre at Sheridan College in Toronto, was chosen to join the cast of 26 models featured in the popular game show, Deal or No Deal Canada; and

Whereas the trained vocalist and performer carried briefcase Number 19 in the top-rated show and hopes to use the opportunity to her advantage and further her career, which may include a move to Los Angeles;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House send their warm congratulations to Kylee Evans, on her recent achievement - talented Nova Scotians have been ambassadors for our province for many years and Ms. Evans is no exception - supporting our young people is not only important while they are here developing their talent, but also when they are away from home, learning how to use it.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 3754]

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2156

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

Whereas on January 15, 2007, I had the pleasure of attending the official opening of the 48-metre long suspension bridge, which spans Lake Banook; and

Whereas the G. Fraser Conrad Bridge had been in the works for 12 years and is the last part of the Dartmouth Multi-Use Trail to be completed; and

Whereas the G. Fraser Conrad Bridge is now part of the Trans Canada Trail, an 18,000 kilometre recreational trail;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the Canoe to Sea Society and all those who participated in making the G. Fraser Conrad Bridge a reality.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 2157

[Page 3755]

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

Whereas Alan Syliboy, a Mi'kmaq artist from the Millbrook First Nation, was the first one of 22 Atlantic Canadians recognized at the first Atlantic Canada Cultural Export Summit; and

Whereas the summit was the first time cultural shareholders from many different subsectors came together to discuss a collective strategy for cultural export; and

Whereas the summit celebrates the achievements of Atlantic Canadian artists in cultural exports;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Alan Syliboy, from the Millbrook First Nation, for his achievements in cultural export as recognized by the Atlantic Canada Cultural Export Summit and wish the cultural shareholders all the best as they organize to create a collective strategy for cultural export.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

[Page 3756]

RESOLUTION NO. 2158

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

Whereas wood conservator, Maura McKeough has been identifying historic pieces of wood at Fortress Louisbourg for 16 years; and

Whereas Ms. McKeough has often been called Louisbourg's wood whisperer, she has been instrumental in establishing the detailed history of the 18th Century French fortress and the people who lived there; and

Whereas the specialized work has often touched her on a personal level as she identifies the origin and use of some of the pieces, ranging from furniture to caskets, uncovered by archaeologists;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House send their sincere praise to Maura McKeough for her work.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION. NO. 2159

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

Whereas the Northumberland Fisheries Museum in Pictou and the Pictou Landing First Nation have partnered to produce two large books on the history of fishing in the Pictou Landing First Nation community; and

[Page 3757]

Whereas Linda Laybolt, the museum's research coordinator, and community member, Delores Francis, conducted research and interviews and collected photographs, biographies and other vital information; and

Whereas one of the two identical books will be on display at the Northumberland Fisheries Museum, and the other will be available at the Pictou Landing First Nation community;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the Northumberland Fisheries Museum and the Pictou Landing First Nation for producing this valuable reference and resource on the history of fishing at the Pictou Landing First Nation.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION. NO. 2160

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

Whereas a peninsula in western Nova Scotia may turn into an industrial gravel pit for the United States; and

Whereas if allowed, shorefront development in this area may cause erosions or pollution to this coastal area; and

Whereas the protection of important wildlife habitat and ecological traits is important to the well-being of Digby Neck and the islands;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly encourage the government to investigate the possible purchase of land in Digby Neck for wildlife protection and ensure the well-being of our environment.

[Page 3758]

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. 2161

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

Whereas HOPE, Handicapped Organization Promoting Equality, serving residents of Yarmouth and area, has recently held its 13th annual auction and vehicle lottery; and

Whereas the lottery draw saw over 1,300 tickets sold and the auction raised well in excess of $5,000; and

Whereas HOPE has been offering many services to its clients, including assistance with managing money, providing canes and wheelchairs, operating a drop-in centre, and running a dial-a-ride service, all under the direction of Mrs. Eleanor Cottreau of Wedgeport for the past 25 years;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in thanking Eleanor Cottreau for her years of dedicated service to the HOPE organization and encourage her and the organization to continue their worthwhile 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 favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

[Page 3759]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION. NO. 2162

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 February 13, 2007, Atlantic University Sport announced its 2006-07 second team all-stars in women's volleyball; and

Whereas Whitney Pier's own Brianne Walsh was chosen as one of those select players; and

Whereas Brianne Walsh finished fourth in hitting percentage, fourth in kills and fourth in scoring, capping off another stellar season;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Brianne Walsh on her outstanding athletic achievement of being named second team all-star by the Atlantic University Sport Committee and wish Brianne continued success in all her future athletic 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 favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Immigration.

RESOLUTION. NO. 2163

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 Parkview Panthers girls basketball team captured the Junior Varsity Provincial Title for the second year in a row with a win against Amherst; and

[Page 3760]

Whereas both teams represented their schools with pride and skill; and

Whereas coach Norman Whynot, manager Ashley Sarty and Nathan Whynot worked very hard this year to come out against some very competitive teams;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend congratulations to all team members of the Parkview Panthers Girls Basketball team on their recent Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation provincial title - team members are Tiffany Worthing, Meghan Burke, Lindsay Rafuse, Courtney Whynot, Jessica McIntosh, Rachael Pineo, Rebecca Bell, Haley Ryan, Rachel Whynot, Kate Wentzell, Rachael McIntosh, Taylor Frauzel, Chloe Zinck, and Courtney Lewis.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

Is it agreed?

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 Halifax Citadel.

RESOLUTION NO. 2164

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

Whereas Dalhousie University was recently awarded more than $45 million in federal funding for its proposed Ocean Tracking Network, the largest research grant ever awarded to a university; and

Whereas the Ocean Tracking Network will use a global monitoring system to track the movement and behaviour of marine species in 14 ocean regions across the planet, giving us insight into how climate change and other forces are changing marine life and ocean conditions; and

Whereas this project is being hailed as the most comprehensive investigation into the world's marine life to date;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Dalhousie University for playing a leading role in fostering global scientific co-operation in a time of tremendous concern about climate change and its effect on our oceans and their inhabitants.

[Page 3761]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour.

RESOLUTION NO. 2165

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

Whereas the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board has been taking part in the Office of Energy Efficiency's EnerGuide for Existing Buildings program for several years; and

Whereas the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board has been recognized by Natural Resources Canada for its efforts to conserve energy as one of eleven organizations across Canada, and one of just two organizations in the Maritime Provinces, which undertook energy saving projects and achieved outstanding results; and

Whereas the work to reduce and control energy output is part of an ongoing, comprehensive, multi-year effort by the school board, including a commitment to change all incandescent bulbs to the new, compact flourescent bulbs, to replace old boilers and burners with newer, more efficient models, and to add insulation and new building controls to reduce heat and ventilation costs;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank the board, staff and students of the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board for their work, and congratulate them on setting an example for other organizations - as we all must encourage citizens to be more environmentally aware and energy conscious.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 3762]

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. 2166

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

Whereas Duke of Kent Lodge No. 121, Spryfield, was constituted in 1951 and since then its members have devoted themselves to the welfare of their community in a variety of ways; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia Freemasons' Home in Windsor was closed last year, ending one chapter in the serving lives of Brothers across the province; and

Whereas the Brothers of Duke of Kent Lodge have now determined to assist the Single Parent Centre in Spryfield, a resource centre for families with young children;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly commend the Brothers of Duke of Kent Lodge for their work in planning, preparing and serving the March Spry Café dinner at the Single Parent Centre and hope that this is the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship between the two bodies.

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.

[12:45 p.m.]

The honourable member for Cumberland North.

[Page 3763]

RESOLUTION NO. 2167

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

Whereas the Cumberland African Nova Scotian Association, CANSA, recently celebrated African Heritage Month with a cultural concert in Amherst this past weekend, on March 24th; and

Whereas this event, along with a full month of activities, brings awareness to the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination; and

Whereas the Cumberland County group are very active in keeping their African heritage alive and well all year long and bring it to the forefront in March;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in sending our congratulations to CANSA for their participation in African Heritage Month here in Nova Scotia.

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 member for Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank.

RESOLUTION NO. 2168

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

Whereas Fall River resident and Lockview High School student, Kien Houk, has been involved in the sport of curling for nine years, achieving the skill to compete at the national level; and

[Page 3764]

Whereas Kien Houk's curling team, under skip Paul Filbee-Dexter, won the Nova Scotia Under 18 Provincial Championship in 2007, going on to compete at the Canada Winter Games in Whitehorse; and

Whereas Kien Houk's team played with passion and skill, placing sixth out of 13 national teams at the Canada Winter Games;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Kien Houk, Paul Filbee-Dexter, Alexander Moriarty, Benjamin Mayhew and their coach, Monica Moriarty, for representing Nova Scotia in the curling at the Canada Winter Games.

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. 2169

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

Whereas physically active athletes and good sportmanship are integral to the development of responsible young adults; and

Whereas the members of the Redcliff Eagles Girls Basketball Team, coached by Ed MacKay, are Chantel Gillis, Brittany MacKay, Courtney Johnson, Cheltyn Morgan, Ryann McNamara, Jessica Bartlett, Julia Davis, Rachel O'Brien, Samantha Strickland and Kimberley Roode; and

Whereas at the Redcliff Invitational Tournament the team won all their games with a close 38 to 37 score in the final game;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend their congratulations to the Redcliff Eagles Girls Basketball Team for winning the gold.

[Page 3765]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 2170

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

Whereas volunteers are such a very strong part of every community in the province; and

Whereas one such volunteer spends many hours volunteering with the Queens VON, is a member of the Milton Baptist Church and has been the secretary for the Ladies' Auxiliary of the church for 17 years, as well as running the RCMP Crime Prevention Seniors Safety Program in Queens on a volunteer basis; and

Whereas another volunteer, because of his fundraising efforts for various groups, such as raising money for the community church, putting on variety shows and volunteering with the West Queens Recreation Centre;

Therefore be it resolved this House of Assembly recognize Linda Wentzell of Milton and Cyril Huphman of Port Mouton for their volunteer efforts and for being selected to attend the Provincial Volunteer Awards for the Region of Queens.

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 3766]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

RESOLUTION NO. 2171

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

Whereas across the country, the month of March is known as Nutrition Month; and

Whereas Mount Saint Vincent University's Department of Nutrition has calculated the cost of healthy food for a family of four and found it to be over $500 per month; and

Whereas Nova Scotians who depend on social assistance receive half this amount to feed their families and are therefore compromising their health;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly recognize the urgency of providing adequate funds for a healthy diet to those who depend on social assistance.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

[Page 3767]

RESOLUTION NO. 2172

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

Whereas Arthur "Arty" Jordan, Truro businessman and retired CN/VIA worker was recognized for his community contributions at the 2007 African Heritage Month banquet hosted by the African Nova Scotia Community of Truro; and

Whereas Arty Jordan, in 1972, was co-founder of APEX Cleaners, a company created with a simple principle of willing to work hard, which gave many Black youths their first employment opportunity and lessons in dependability, honesty, value of effort and teamwork; and

Whereas Arty Jordan is a strong supporter of community events, sport teams and activities, and the annual APEX Golf Tournament is Truro's biggest homecoming activity;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Arty Jordan for being recognized by the African Nova Scotia Community of Truro, thank him for his continuing community service and leadership, and extend to him and Bonnie, his wife, best wishes for the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 2173

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

Whereas broadband Internet is so crucial in rural communities of Nova Scotia to enable them to be part of the high-speed Internet world; and

[Page 3768]

Whereas a company in Queens County negotiated funding with the province to enable residents, businesses, and a medical centre in North Queens to join the world of high-speed Internet; and

Whereas the ongoing efforts of these individuals to erect new towers and continue their efforts to provide this service to North Queens;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly recognize TDC Broadband of Queens County for their efforts in providing broadband Internet to the Community of North 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 favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

RESOLUTION NO. 2174

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

Whereas across the country, the month of March is known as Nutrition Month; and

Whereas dieticians from across Canada unite each year to promote healthy eating choices and to reinforce the importance of nutrition and achieving a long and healthy life; and

Whereas Nutrition Month celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 2006 and has since grown into one of the most recognized social marketing nutrition campaigns in Canada;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly recognize March as Nutrition Month.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 3769]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

RESOLUTION NO. 2175

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

Whereas a two and a half year old boy named Simon was found safely early last evening approximately one kilometre from his grandparent's home at Moser River; and

Whereas Simon disappeared into the woods around 2:00 p.m., and in less than an hour, when he wasn't answering his grandparents, more than 100 individuals, including the Sheet Harbour and area search and rescue team, firefighters from Sheet Harbour, Moser River and Ecum Secum, and numerous others all came together to vigorously look for Simon; and

Whereas the search ended on an exceptionally happy note when Simon was found cold and wet and was airlifted to the hospital by a Department of Natural Resources Search and Rescue helicopter;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in commending the great people and volunteers who came together so quickly Monday afternoon near Moser River to join in the search for Simon.

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 3770]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 2176

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 Neighbourhood Watch Program continues to work hard in the Greenwood Heights subdivision of Timberlea; and

Whereas co-captains, Steve Millaire and Kevin Cox, have initiated a community project to make the local ball field a safer place; and

Whereas the Neighbourhood Watch Program has been very well received in the Timberlea community;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate all involved with the Greenwood Heights Neighbourhood Watch in Timberlea.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2177

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 Westville Minor Hockey executive organized the provincial pee wee 'B' division Westville Christmas Tournament; and

[Page 3771]

Whereas Dave Sinnis chaired the tournament committee, and approximately 40 volunteers enthusiastically worked together during the holiday season; and

Whereas the Westville Peewee B Team won the Nova Scotia Christmas Tournament;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly commend the Westville Minor Hockey Executive, the tournament committee and the efforts of the many dedicated volunteers on hosting the tournament, and congratulate the Westville Minor Peewee B team on their win.

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 Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 2178

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

Whereas St. Vincent's Guest Home, located on Windsor Street in Halifax, is a private, not-for-profit home for the aged, founded by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Halifax in 1966; and

Whereas St. Vincent's Guest Home is dedicated to providing quality care for residents in a home-like atmosphere recognizing the dignity and worth of the residents; and

Whereas the staff, board of directors, volunteers, residents, family members and the greater community have recently adopted an ambitious strategic plan for delivery of services, which is in keeping with the long term commitment to compassion and respect for seniors;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Kristen Schmitz, Executive Director, Angus Doyle, Chair of the Board of Directors, the board, the residents, the staff, and the volunteers who work at Saint Vincent's Guest Home in this their 40th year of service to the community.

[Page 3772]

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. 2179

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

Whereas ringette, a fast-paced team sport first introduced in 1963, in North Bay, Ontario, has rapidly become one of Nova Scotia's most popular game for young and older females alike; and

Whereas the provincial Tween Ringette Team, made up of young girls 13 years of age and under, recently won Gold in the City of Lakes Tournament and the Atlantics Tournament, and will now play in the Eastern Canadian Tournament in P.E.I. in April; and

Whereas the 2007 Provincial Tween Ringette members are: Brittany Avery; Jenna Blackburn, Julia Burton, Taylor Dempsey, Nicole Deveau, Alana Feaver, Emily Ferguson, Danielle Fortin, Ellen Fraser, Lindsay Fraser, Emily Henneberry, Emily MacDonald, Stefannie Moak, Leah Murphy, Felicia Rancourt, Emily Rose and Kayla Upson;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the 2007 provincial Tween Ringette Team on winning gold and extend thanks to all the parents, coaches and management for their leadership and for their dedication and commitment to the sport of ringette.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 3773]

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. 2180

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 March 1, 2007, Atlantic University Sport announced its 2006-07 major award winners for women's basketball; and

Whereas the pride of Whitney Pier, Cape Breton Caper's guard Tamara Alleyne, was named the Defensive Player of the Year; and

Whereas with all due credit to her defensive tenacity, Tamara finished 5th in steals at 1.95 per cent per game, 8.7 point per game and ranked 11th in conference free throw percentage;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Tamara Alleyne on being named Defensive Player of the Year and wish Tamara all the best in her future 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 favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Digby Annapolis.

MR. HAROLD THERIAULT: Mr. Speaker, if I could bring the House's attention to the west gallery, I would like to introduce two good friends of mine, Harold and Sheila Rowe from the most romantic town in Canada, Digby. Could the House please give my two good friends a warm welcome here today. (Applause)

[Page 3774]

[1:00 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, if I could ask the indulgence of the House to revert the order of business back to bills.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request to revert the order of business, Introduction of Bills.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The motion is carried.

[INTRODUCTION OF BILLS]

Bill No. 154 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 179 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Forests Act Respecting Watercourses. (Mr. Leo Glavine)

Bill No. 155 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 179 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Forests Act Respecting Forestry Management. (Mr. Leo Glavine)

Bill No. 156 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 504 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Wildlife Act. (Mr. Leo Glavine)

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

The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, my colleague, the member for Digby-Annapolis, said the bills were piling up on my desk here.

Bill No. 157 - Entitled an Act to Require the Payment of a Royalty on the Bottling of Water. (Mr. Leo Glavine)

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

Question Period will begin at 1:04 p.m. and end at 2:04 p.m.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

[Page 3775]

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

HEALTH - CHEMO POLICY: U.S. TREATMENT - DETAILS

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question this afternoon will be through you to the Minister of Health. Yesterday, at an announcement on the proposed patient wait times guarantee, the minister said, only through trying new approaches can we achieve our goal. One of those new approaches he mentioned, was sending people to the United States for chemotherapy. One assumes the minister has developed this program in response to an identified need and that there are patients in the system who are not presently getting the treatment they require. My question through you to the minister is this, can the minister tell the House how many people currently waiting for chemotherapy would end up getting their treatment in the U.S. through this proposal?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, maybe had they listened to the whole presentation, they would have understood what the pretext was about. The announcement that we made yesterday, of course, was for wait time guarantee in the realm of radiation therapy where we would be investing upwards of $48 million to increase the capacity in the province. We will try our best to make sure that all Nova Scotians are seen in the Nova Scotia system.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, at the same funding announcement, the minister said that everything his department does in the health care system, works toward a bigger picture. Now, ironically, taking money out of the Nova Scotia system guarantees longer wait times in Nova Scotia. I guess that's part of the government's new Nova Scotia. So my question for the minister is, why isn't your department protecting the Canadian public health care system, instead of spending Nova Scotians' tax dollars in the United States?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, again, not getting the full issue of what we talked about yesterday, we talked about an agreement with the federal government that brought over $48 million to this province to increase access to radiation therapy in this province. Looking at our projections, we will be able to treat those people who have cancer, in the years to come. We will have a wait time of eight weeks that we will have, in place, within three years. We will continue to invest in radiation therapy, bilinear accelerators, making sure that we have a system here at home that will see our Nova Scotian patients.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, it was the minister himself who used the example of sending patients to the United States that resulted in these questions. The U.S. system is more expensive than ours and provides a lower level of service because of poor public investment. This proposal will take money from the taxpayers of Nova Scotia and give it to the shareholders of U.S. medical facilities instead of investing it in better health care here in Nova Scotia. So my question for the Minister of Health is, why have you already given up on our ability to provide this care in favour of U.S. medical facilities and their shareholders?

[Page 3776]

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, once again, under the doom and gloom of the NDP. I can tell you, the investment is in our Nova Scotia's private, our Nova Scotia public system (Interruptions) Our Nova Scotia public system. You set out rabbit tracks and apparently I caught onto them but unfortunately the NDP will continue to mislead Nova Scotians to believe that we're investing in somebody else's system. We will continue to invest here at home, so Nova Scotians can receive treatment here. Also this happens, Nova Scotians, we're putting the patient first and if they do require to have some specialty work or some specialty cancer treatment in another jurisdiction, we will make sure that they receive that treatment. Nova Scotians deserve that kind of treatment.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

GAMING CORP.: RETAILERS - WINS

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister Responsible for Gaming. Recent reports coming from Ontario have indicated the Ontario Government knew that retailers and their employees were winning a lot more than they should be. However, the Ontario Government refused to act on the matter until the Ombudsman launched a probe. The Ombudsman is now asking the Ontario Provincial Police to look over the matter, for fear that fraud may have occurred. My question to the minister is, when did your government become aware about the high amount of retail wins?

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, that's a question about gaming regulations and I refer that question to the Minister of Environment and Labour.

HON. MARK PARENT: Mr. Speaker, we take very seriously the integrity of the regulations on the gaming system and I'll be meeting later this afternoon with the director of the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation and with the director of Alcohol and Gaming, and we'll be reviewing the procedures that Nova Scotia follows.

I want to let the House know that the Gaming Corporation has already looked at the Ombudsman's report - 18 of the 23 apply to Nova Scotia and they assure me that they either have already instituted them, or are in the process of instituting those recommendations, but we'll be having more to say after the meeting this afternoon.

MR. GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, so far the minister and the Premier have done very little. They have allowed the ALC to conduct their own review and have sat back and accepted the results, but retailers and their employees win 10 times more than they should. Something has gone wrong. This issue is being dealt with in Ontario by leadership from the Ombudsman and I would hope that our government would show the same leadership. We need an independent review from an outside agent to conduct a review, to ensure the highest level of fairness for ticket lottery gaming.

[Page 3777]

My question to the minister, will you join the call of the Premier from New Brunswick and force the ALC to pay for an independent review of retailer ticket lottery wins?

MR. PARENT: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. As I stated to the House, we have been proactive. I've been dealing with Dennis Kerr of Alcohol and Gaming, we've been looking at this issue. The Gaming Corporation has already instituted 18 of the 23 recommendations, we are in the process of instituting them. I have also indicated that I'll be having further meetings and the government will be having more to say about this. So we have been very proactive, I can promise that there will be a very thorough review.

MR. GLAVINE: The people of this province have grown very suspicious about the high level of retailer wins. The people of this province deserve the comfort that their chance of winning is equal to the person who is selling them the ticket. This comfort can only come from an independent review of the ticket lottery wins over the past years.

The Commissioner of the Gaming Corporation wants an independent review. We need to get to the bottom of this issue and it needs to happen now, Mr. Minister, not just a thorough review. Will you call the other Ministers responsible for Gaming in the Atlantic Provinces and collectively force an independent review on the ALC?

MR. PARENT: Mr. Speaker, I have been in touch with Dennis Kerr a month ago on the concerns that were raised at that time about a different issue, but related, and he has been in touch with his counterparts in the other Atlantic Provinces. They have been sharing best practices and ways in which to preserve the integrity of the process for all Nova Scotians. So we have been proactive.

I've stated in the House that I'll be meeting later and, as a government, we'll be having something more to say about this. We will be doing a very thorough review and I can assure the member of that and I can assure the House and I can assure all Nova Scotians.

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

[Page 3778]

JUSTICE: PROV.-FED. JAIL PROGRAMS - TREATMENT OPTIONS

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question through you will be for the Premier. I am going to table an article from the Globe and Mail that tells the story of Debbie Rushton, a Truro woman who was convicted of theft. She stole more than $230,000 from two employers in order to feed a VLT addiction. The judge initially sentenced Ms. Rushton to 18 months in jail but she requested a two-year term so that she could be in a federal institution instead of in a provincial jail. Why, you might ask? The reason she is willing to spend an additional six months more in prison is that she knew she could get adequate treatment for her addiction in a federal institution that she couldn't get in a provincial jail.

My question to the Premier is this, why is your government forcing people to choose jail time over getting addictions help that they require?

THE PREMIER: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and I will refer that to the Minister of Justice to provide clarification for the Leader of the Opposition.

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the Leader of the Official Opposition for the question, a very good question. Not unlike a lot of jurisdictions, provincial incarceration does not provide a lot of programs because a lot of times provincial incarceration is for very short periods of time so therefore a lot of programs are not available.

The male sector as well, in my own experience I see more males who requested federal time so they can access programs because obviously the federal government provides long-term programs for long-term offenders.

MR. DEXTER: My question will still be for the Premier. I'm not sure how the Minister of Justice defines a long time but it seems to me that 18 months is a fairly long time in most people's lives. Both Ms. Rushton's lawyer and the Elizabeth Fry Society indicated that this is not an isolated case. In fact, they warned that the numbers of people seeking federal prison time in order to get addiction counselling and treatment is going to continue to rise. Legal professionals, advocates and the people with addictions all seem to understand what this government doesn't - treatment in provincial institutions is completely inadequate, almost non-existent.

My question for the Premier is this, why won't this government put resources into addictions treatment and prevention, to give prisoners a fighting chance when they get out?

[1:15 p.m.]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, indeed the issue being raised is very important because perhaps we have not seen a greater attempt to help those who have problems with problem gambling than we have seen during the past few years. Indeed, I am very proud of

[Page 3779]

the steps that we have taken as a government in the last year, and that have been taken previous to that, to help those across our province - from the investments that we have made, from the strategies that we have taken, to reducing the number of machines, to making changes to those machines.

Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition raises a very good point. The Minister of Justice has provided an answer and certainly if there is something that is particularly different with this individual, we will certainly look at this situation.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, maybe the Premier missed the Minister of Justice's answer. He actually said that there aren't programs in the provincial jails, because the excuse he gave was that people aren't there long enough.

It is completely unthinkable that Ms. Rushton would have to lose six months more of her life in order to get the help that she obviously wants and needs. So my question through you to the Premier is, when will the government invest in improving treatment options in the community and in provincial jails to address a major cause of crime right at its source?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, this government has invested and continues to invest more and more dollars in helping those with problem gambling, in helping those to prevent problem gambling in this province, and we will continue to do so - $1.4 million this year in fact in additional resources have been allocated to district health authorities to help those with problem gambling, and $100,000 in additional resources have been allocated to the problem gambling helpline is another example. This government will continue to invest in health promotion, in addictions, in helping those who need their help and we will not let them be by the wayside - we will be there for them.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Shelburne.

ECON. DEV.: CAP MEETING - CANCELLATION

MR. STERLING BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Economic Development. Last Wednesday, all of the Atlantic provincial CAP, Community Access Program, coordinators travelled to Halifax to attend a Thursday morning meeting with representatives from Industry Canada. The coordinators thought that they would finally get news about the funding for the CAP program. Late Wednesday evening, Industry Canada cancelled the meeting, with no explanation. There has been no word of news from Ottawa since. My first question to the minister is, since he said he is working with his federal counterparts on this, can he shed any light on why this meeting was cancelled?

HON. RICHARD HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, through you to the member opposite. I can assure the member opposite that this government is committed to the CAP sites in this province. I visited with the minister in Toronto, which I disclosed on the floor last week in

[Page 3780]

Question Period, and I am having constant dialogue with the bureaucrats and with the Honourable Peter MacKay as early as five minutes prior to coming to the House today about the CAP sites in Nova Scotia.

MR. BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, with just four days left in the CAP contract, CAP organizers believe that either the program is cancelled or the funding will be so low that it will be impossible to run the program next year. As one representative said to me, good news usually travels faster from Ottawa.

The minister told the Committee of the Whole House on Supply last night that he has a verbal assurance on the future CAP funding from his federal counterpart, so my second question to the minister is exactly what verbal assurance did the federal minister give him regarding the CAP program?

MR. HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, I take the federal minister's word, the same as I would anybody's word on the floor of this House. He made a commitment to me and this government. This government is committed to the CAP sites in this province and I can assure members in this House that the CAP sites on Sunday, April 1st, will be operating the same as they are on March 31st.

MR. BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, there are four days left in the current CAP funding contract. If the program is not renewed, there will be no community-based Internet services for seniors, for tourists, for small-business owners and for young people, who won't have computers at home. This program has successfully brought the Internet to thousands of Nova Scotians who otherwise would not have access. So I'd like to ask the minister, will he please tell us what he plans to do if the CAP funding runs out this weekend?

MR. HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, I suggest maybe the member opposite put his earpiece in. (Interruptions) I told every member in this House that the CAP sites will be operating on Sunday, April 1st, the same as they are on March 31st. I can assure the members of this House and Nova Scotians that this government is committed to the CAP sites in this province and I suggest maybe that member pick up the phone and talk to his MP, if he's so concerned, or maybe he should go to Ottawa and lobby the federal government like we're doing, to make sure that Nova Scotians have CAP sites in this province for years to come.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

[Page 3781]

HEALTH - RADIATION THERAPY: WAIT TIMES - TARGET

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. The Minister of Health arrived at Budget Estimates yesterday with a little spring in his step because he had just received $24 million from his federal buddies and that money is going to be spent on reducing wait times for cancer radiation therapy. The minister says that the money will be used to reduce wait times to eight weeks for all cancer patients requiring radiation by the year 2010. (Interruptions)

Health Ministers from across the country met on that same subject and they came up with wait time goals to be achieved by the end of 2007. At that meeting, Mr. Speaker, the ministers agreed that wait times for cancer radiation therapy would be decreased to four weeks by 2007. Almost all other provinces are on target to reach the goal. Some provinces have already reduced their wait times for radiation therapy to one to two weeks. So my question to the minister is, why is this province not going to meet its original targeted wait time of four weeks, and why has the time line been pushed even further back to 2010?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite, of course, what we're talking about are the wait time benchmarks that were agreed upon in 2004. And what we've been able to do with an agreement from the federal government is to continue to invest in infrastructure for radiation therapy. Our feeling feel right now is that the majority, somewhere close to 70 per cent of all cancer patients requiring radiation therapy, are receiving it within four weeks. Okay. The issue is, that with our growing population - there's almost 800 people, or 830 people more each year who will be diagnosed with cancer, and about 50 per cent of those will be requiring radiation therapy - that we need to build a system that of course, makes sense, but with the clinical information that we have, the information that we have on the equipment that we require, that the eight weeks is something that is very obtainable.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, the radiation therapy machines don't come cheap. They're about $1 million each. Right now radiation services are only available in Sydney and in Halifax. The machines in both cities need to be refurbished or replaced, and we hear that at least $5 million of that $24 million has been promised to the Cape Breton Cancer Centre for replacement of their aging radiation bunker. (Interruptions)

Mr. Speaker, the machines don't operate themselves. We need additional technicians and technologists to operate them. The lack of a health human resource plan for this province, is causing some grave concerns. So my question to the minister is, how much of that $24 million will be spent on replacing or adding radiation therapy machines? How much will be spent on addressing the health human resource issue, and how much will that leave to finally tackle the wait time guarantee?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, and again, to the member opposite, I thank him for the question because everything is tied together there in the questions that he asked.

[Page 3782]

Everything that we do in respect to investing in radiation therapy improves the wait time, because as we replace machines, of course those machines are more efficient today and can see more of the patients. If we look at the requirements, we have the correct number we believe at this point, of radiation oncologists in the province. We do need a few more technicians but we also feel the complement that we have today, can actually help us meet that wait time. So, we're starting today to meet that wait time, and actually what we're aiming for is actually to beat that wait time before we get started. I think it's very important that all Nova Scotians receive the services they require from our health system.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, the minister is right. Of course it's important, but this province expects to see the number of new cancer cases rise. We see an additional 23 cancer diagnoses everyday in this province. That number is expected to rise to 30, in the next few years. So we need a long-term plan for this province to deal with the problem. We need real goals that the minister will actually follow through with, and not just toss them aside because it's too much work. So my final question for the minister is, what is his vision for treating the increasing number of cancer cases and ensuring that wait times are decreased even further?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, again, like yesterday, we've been the proud recipients of an extra $48 million to focus in on wait times. Not only are we looking at the $24 million, which is radiation therapy designated - where we're going to increase our capacity in the province with the construction of new linear accelerators, the replacement of those linear accelerators - but there's also a big part of that funding which will be looking at the human resources side and the actual structure of a true policy and change, to make sure that we have the correct professionals in place as well. So there's a full process that will be unveiled as we get more of the details put together, to let all Nova Scotians know what our wait time guarantee will be and how it will work.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.

HEALTH PROM. & PROTECTION - DEPT./BID COMM.: COMMUNICATIONS - CHARACTERIZE

MS. VICKI CONRAD: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health Promotion and Protection. In March 2006, the Halifax 2014 Committee was formed and the strategic planning work began in April. From the beginning, provincial government representatives sat on the committee executive, so the province as a funding partner would be constantly updated on how things were progressing. My question to the minister is, how would he characterize the communications between representatives on the Bid Committee, and his office?

HON. BARRY BARNET: Mr. Speaker, I would characterize them as excellent and daily. I spoke to my deputy minister on a daily basis, throughout the process and they were very good communications.

[Page 3783]

MS. CONRAD: Mr. Speaker, according to the Halifax 2014 CEO, Scott Logan, the committee was never given a suggested spending cap. They were told their job was to present what was needed and the funding partners would worry about affordability. In fact, the first time any kind of funding limit was mentioned, was in a letter February 22nd, just two weeks before the plug was pulled on the bid. It was only at that point that the Bid Committee was asked to factor inflation into its figures. My question through you to the minister is, why wasn't the Bid Committee given a costing framework from the beginning so that they knew what they had to work with?

MR. BARNET: Mr. Speaker, all funding partners for the proposed 2014 Commonwealth Games required that the Bid Committee include inflation in its cost, as well as value-in-kind contributions. So what I'll say to the member opposite is that those were costs that were anticipated to be expended, so they were included and required as part of the funding proposals, from all levels of government.

[1:30 p.m.]

MS. CONRAD: Mr. Speaker, the Bid Committee prepared a games budget and plan according to the rules it was given to work with. Then the funding partners, including the Department of Health Promotion and Protection, changed the rules at the last minute. Two weeks before the bid officially died, senior officials at the city and the province, were writing the obituary. So I ask the minister, why did the province help set up the bid to fail by not providing clear directions to the bid committee from the beginning?

MR. BARNET: Mr. Speaker, what I will say to the member opposite - we did provide clear direction to the bid committee. I can tell the member opposite and all Nova Scotians, maybe her and her Party would be prepared to spend $1.7 billion for these games, but we're not. That's the issue.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

COM. SERV. - INCOME ASSISTANCE: BOOSTER SEATS - CRITERIA

MR. TREVOR ZINCK: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community

Services. This January, booster seats became mandatory in Nova Scotia for children under the ages of nine and 4'9" in height. In a press release just prior to the law coming into effect - which I will table - the Department of Transportation and Public Works advises, "Families who receive income assistance may be eligible for booster seats and should contact workers for information". My question for the minister is, what are the criteria for a family on income assistance to receive a booster seat for each child requiring one?

HON. JUDY STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, to my honourable colleague across the way, I thank him for the opportunity to rise and fully endorse the booster seat legislation brought in by my colleague. Certainly the health and safety of Nova Scotians, Nova Scotia's most

[Page 3784]

vulnerable, those who are young, is a top priority, and I know there would be unanimous support for that in the House. As with all income assistance requirements, and factoring in, we consider income, we consider children, we consider circumstance, and we factor all of that in and we do our very best, with the resources available to us, to provide all the services and resources to our clientele.

MR. ZINCK: Mr. Speaker, I will also table an e-mail from a caseworker in Cape Breton. It pertains to a family with several young children, all of whom require booster seats. The worker states, "I felt that buying two was reasonable. It covers visits to doctors, et cetera. I feel that it is not our responsibility to cover all family outings, be they social, religious, whatever." My question to the Minister of Community Services is, does her department seriously expect this parent to leave a couple of children home every time she goes out, because she doesn't have enough booster seats to go around?

MS. STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, again to the member opposite, a very important issue. The staff at the Department of Community Services, the social workers, the caseworkers, work diligently to provide the best possible resources and service they can to our clientele across the province. I certainly anticipate that they do their very best job. In this case, if there's a policy being interpreted that pertains to doctor visits, that pertains to medical reasons, certainly, we would endorse that. If there is a question of additional resources being needed, we will look into that.

MR. ZINCK: Mr. Speaker, this should be a no-brainer. Families should get seats for each child requiring one - period. It doesn't matter what they use them for, it's a means of providing safety for the children in the event of an accident. My question to the minister is, would her department prefer that she pay the $157.50 fine, or provide child care seats?

MS. STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, I believe my honourable colleague meant booster seats, and if that's (Interruption) Yes, you said child care seats. I'm checking that it is booster seats we're discussing. Again, this government is committed to the safety of all Nova Scotians, Mr. Speaker, that pertains to the clients of the Department of Community Services and all youth and families across the province. We will work toward the safety and security which is utmost to this government's priorities.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Annapolis.

[Page 3785]

COM. SERV.: EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUC. - FUNDING

MR. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community Services. A new report is being released today ranking Canada dead last among 30 developed countries and its spending on early childhood education. Canada only spends .25 per cent of its GDP on early childhood programs, while other developed countries spend 2 per cent. Even though the federal Tories cancelled a $5 billion child care initiative created by the federal Liberals, Nova Scotia has received approximately $114 million in early childhood education funding from Ottawa. The Nova Scotia Government has decided not to spend all that money it was given, but rather to hoard it away while our early childhood education system is sitting at the bottom of a very long list. So my question to the minister is, why are we sitting on funds received from Ottawa when our early childhood education system is in desperate need of a boost?

HON. JUDY STREATCH: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and to my honourable colleague across the way, this is an issue we have discussed many times and I know that he is concerned and committed, as we are, as all Nova Scotians are, about a quality child care, sustainable plan. It is for that reason that this government is not prepared to throw caution to the wind and put money where we don't know it needs to be for sustainability. That's why we're taking all dollars available to us, all resources available federally as well as provincially, to create that 10-year plan that will add seats, that will add new programs, that will continue to provide quality child care across this province for today and the days to come.

MR. MCNEIL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. According to the Minister of Community Services, this province has a 10-year, early childhood education program. When the provincial ministers first met in Ottawa in search of early childhood education funding, this province assembled a fairly detailed proposal - some people may even call it a plan - of what this province could do with adequate funding. Since then, this detailed plan has disappeared from the department's web site and has been replaced by a one-page, glossy pamphlet on the government's big plans for early childhood education.

My question is, will the minister table in this House, her detailed, 10-year plan for early childhood education, or admit to the fact that the department only has a glossy brochure?

MS. STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, to my honourable colleague across the way, I know that oftentimes in communications we lose the details of what has been done, so I will remind the House of some of the details of the $130 million sustainable plan that this government committed to Nova Scotians. Already, Mr. Speaker, September 2006, we rolled out 150 portable, subsidized, spaces with another 100 to come every year for four years.

[Page 3786]

As well, Mr. Speaker, we were able to put over $600,000 out for repair and renovation to existing child care centres, 29 centres from across the province, and there are more dollars coming to that program as well.

Mr. Speaker, the operational funding that we announced on March 7th - and I'm going to table for the House, the ringing endorsement of the Canadian Childcare Federation as they congratulate Nova Scotia for our investment in child care in Nova Scotia in the retention and recruitment of workers because we know that it is not just about spaces. We know it is about employees and workers in the field - and I'll table this - where they call Nova Scotia being a world leader.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, studies have shown that early learning and behavioural problems can lead to poor school performance, social maladjustment, criminal behaviours, substance abuse and health problems later in life. The opportunity to prevent many of these problems comes in the first few years of one's life.

My final question to the minister is, where is the province's vision on early childhood education and why hasn't it been communicated to Nova Scotians?

MS. STREATCH: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I have so much to say, I am sorry I offended my honourable colleague across the way. I'll try and make it shorter this time.

Mr. Speaker, the $130 million plan is the vision. That's the sustained vision for the sector, for child care across this province. We'll continue to roll it out in a responsible manner, so that it is sustainable and it will continue for the days to come.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou East.

NAT. RES. - FORESTRY BIODIVERSITY:

THIRD PARTY REVIEW - INTENTIONS

MR. CLARRIE MACKINNON: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Minister of Natural Resources. Since July of 2006, I have risen in this House to ask the minister to live up to the election commitment made by his Party in the last provincial election. All Parties were asked if they would commit to having an independent, third party, like Voluntary Planning, carry out the review of Nova Scotia's forestry, biodiversity and mining strategy. All Parties agreed on this question. So for the third time, I will ask this minister what are his intentions in carrying out this public consultation on a new Natural Resources strategy?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I want to assure the member opposite that we remain consistent, that it's very important to go out and to consult with Nova Scotians. Nova Scotians should be giving the guidance to government, to the department, on where we take

[Page 3787]

this province and the responsible management of our natural resources. That commitment remains in place and I would anticipate a decision will be coming soon.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, this sounds very much like the response I got in July, the response I got in November. When asked the question in November, the minister said, "I look forward to hearing from Nova Scotians and having their input in dealing with the forestry strategy, mining strategy, the park strategy and, indeed, the bio-diversity strategy." It sounds familiar and I will table that. However, recent initiatives from this government make no mention of third-party consultation and as yet this commitment remains unfunded. My question, when will this minister actually commit resources to have this process carried out by an independent third party like Voluntary Planning?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for pointing out that this government is consistent. We will remain consistent and we will keep those commitments.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I would wish that the minister would stop thanking me time after time, month after month, month after month. Our resources and our environment are too important to let slip away. The most impartial and broad-based consultation available is through the Voluntary Planning process. This would be a means for everyone to be involved in the future direction. When will this minister commit to this consultation and use the recommendations that come forward to ensure the sustainability of the province's natural capital in the areas of forestry, mining, parks and bio-diversity?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I am delighted that the member recognizes how gracious we are on this side of the House and, again, I would like to thank him for pointing out that we are committed to consultation.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

EDUC.- JR. HIGH SCH.: GLACE BAY - PRIORITIZATION EXPLAIN

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. This government, sometime ago, announced the construction of a new junior high school in Glace Bay. As a matter of fact, the announcement was made in 2003. The opening of that new school was originally scheduled for 2007. The government assured the people of Glace Bay the project would be started immediately.

Mr. Speaker, lo and behold, this year's budget makes no mention of the construction of the new junior high school in Glace Bay. So my question for the Minister of Education is, why has the construction of other schools been bumped ahead of the construction of Glace Bay's new junior high school?

[1:45 p.m.]

[Page 3788]

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, thank you to the member opposite for the question. There were comments yesterday with respect to Glace Bay Junior High and I want to let the member opposite and all members of this House, I want to remind them of something. In 2003, the new school for Glace Bay was announced and immediately a site selection process began to find a suitable site on which we could construct that school. As recently as in the Fall, as the member has indicated, I visited the Glace Bay area and traveled with the member to the sites because of a subsidence issue and it was critical that environmental tests be conducted so that when the school is built - and it will be built (applause) - that it will be built on a site to which it can be accommodated safely.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, the minister can only use the subsidence issue as an excuse for so long. There are over 20 sites that were identified, not all of them were ruled out just because of subsidence. I guess it's just purely coincidence that the schools that were announced in the budget just all happen to be in government ridings - just a coincidence. For instance, one is in the riding of the member for Cape Breton North and it wasn't even the first priority of the Cape Breton-Victoria District School Board. It's not the first priority of that board - Glace Bay's new junior high school was, and still is, the first priority of the School Board. My question to the minister is, can the minister please tell us why only schools in government ridings will be prioritized instead of those schools that are in most need in this province?

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite, there is no dispute that the Glace Bay Junior High School was, and continues to be, a priority for that board. There is no question that is the priority, but it's also the priority of that board and, as a duty and obligation to the students and parents in that community, that it is built on a safe site. I would go on to say to the member opposite, there's reference to the 20 sites, those 20 sites were all evaluated. The submission that came in indicated there were two sites that could go back for further assessment. At this point in time, I'd like to share with the MLA and other members of this House, that costing to put services to those two sites is now underway. We are moving forward.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, I'm sure the minister can understand why maybe the people of Glace Bay would have a little trouble believing that you're moving forward. They believed it four years ago when this government said the school would be built in 2007 and then in 2009. Madam Minister, maybe if we're a bit skeptical, you can understand why.

I want to know why hasn't the construction started already on Glace Bay's new junior high, when the Cape Breton-Victoria District School Board has placed it on their priority list as the number one priority of their board?

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, not to repeat myself, but the condition on which we are relying in order to begin construction is a safe site and we will not begin construction until we have guarantees that it is a safe site.

[Page 3789]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

TPW - BRIDGE SAFETY: ACTIONS - DETAILS

MR. CHARLES PARKER: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. Last year, a bridge in Quebec collapsed resulting in the tragic death of five people, it was a wake-up call for Nova Scotians and it resulted in the Department of Transportation inspection here on similar spans. More recently, we suffered a tragedy here in Nova Scotia when two lives were lost due to the failure of a wooden bridge in Halfway Cove in Guysborough County, possibly due to improperly installed railings. Following this tragedy, an inspection was carried out on similar bridges with needed repairs to be made by this Spring. My question to the minister is, what is being done to ensure that our bridges are safe and have all needed repairs been carried out?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member speaks of a situation that has brought great sadness to all members of the House. I can tell the honourable member and members of the House that we had identified 18 bridges of a similar construction type, 14 of those bridges are now repaired and the remaining four will be repaired, I believe two at the end of this week and two more before the end of April will be completely restored.

MR. PARKER: Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for those answers, but I want to bring to the attention of the minister again one other bridge that is certainly needing repair in this province and that is the overpass in Salt Springs, Pictou County, on the Trans Canada Highway. It was damaged by a passing truck over two years ago, rusted steel rebar is still exposed to the elements and one lane of the West River East Side Road over that overpass continues to be closed. My question, through you to the minister is, in the interest of safety, when is this particular overpass finally going to be repaired?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the honourable member's concern for that bridge. I can tell you that we would want to have that repaired as quickly as possible and when all of the preliminary work is completed, we will proceed.

MR. PARKER: Mr. Speaker, I point out again, that bridge has been over two years in that state of disrepair. I think it points out that we need a plan, we need some vision here for our bridges and overpasses in this province. My final question to the minister is, can the minister assure the travelling public that our bridges, our overpasses, truly are safe and can a priority list be made available to the travelling public so they can have that assurance?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I can assure the honourable member and all members of the House and the people of the Province of Nova Scotia that we are inspecting our bridges on a regular basis and that we do have a plan and an approach with respect to dealing with bridges in the province. The honourable member, and I am sure other members of the House, can appreciate that conditions do change from time to time so that a list that

[Page 3790]

might exist today, that list might look somewhat different 12 months from now as a result of work that has been done or as a result of changing conditions in other structures. I can assure everyone in this province that we are taking very seriously the issue of structures, they are being evaluated on a continuing basis and we continue to learn from our experiences.

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

HEALTH - SENIORS' PHARMACARE PROG.: FEE INCREASES - EXPLAIN

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, my question this afternoon is for the Minister of Health. Last month, your department released changes to the Seniors' Pharmacare Program under the auspices of investing more money into it. However, much of this investment is coming from the seniors, not from your government. The annual premium is being increased by $24 and the cap on co-payments by an additional $22 annually. This is a total of $46 per year for seniors. Now seniors in Nova Scotia pay up to $806 per year for the medications they need.

My question to the Minister of Health is, why did your department increase fees that seniors in this province are already struggling to afford?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I know we discussed this during my estimates yesterday and I know we will be continuing to discuss that during my estimates today and tomorrow so I am just wondering if we can do that during that question period.(Interruption)

Okay, I will give him an answer. I know that the member opposite referred to an investment from government. I can say that we invested an additional $11 million into the Pharmacare Program this year, $11 million is nothing to sneeze at, sir.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Seniors in this province are struggling to pay for medication, Mr. Speaker. That is why it is an important issue that we will continue to rise in this House as much as we can. Saskatchewan has recently cut their drug costs for seniors so that they will now pay no more than $15 per prescription for drugs listed on the Saskatchewan formula. Additionally, under the seniors' drug plan, all Saskatchewan residents 65 years and older are eligible for this plan. Seniors will be automatically covered based on health card information, no application is necessary.

My question to the Minister of Health is, why is your department taking steps backward and making it more complicated and expensive for seniors to access prescriptions instead of following the lead of provinces like Saskatchewan?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I think if he would look at Saskatchewan for a moment and what they have as a program, their program actually does cap the amount of drugs a senior is allowed to get a prescription for, and I forget what the actual capping is. In

[Page 3791]

the Nova Scotia system there is no cap, they can get all the drugs they possibly need for their health.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Well, I know seniors in this province, Mr. Speaker, can't obtain Avistan. That's a drug we can't get in this province. When people can't afford their co-payment they become less compliant about taking their medications. This means people get sick instead of well, and require additional medical attention. So my question to the minister is, when is his department going to realize that increasing the cost to seniors creates additional costs in health care in the long run?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I can say that this government will continue to invest some major dollars in this program. This year, this is estimated to be a $182 million program to provide Pharmacare for Nova Scotians. We will continue to do that. Plus, we have made a decision to have their sharing ratio at 25/75 - Nova Scotia, the government, picking up 75 per cent of that program; seniors picking up 25 per cent. If we compare that to other jurisdictions in Atlantic Canada, this program, by far, is the better one.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

NAT. RES.: PROTECTED AREAS - CLEAR-CUTTING POLICY

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Natural Resources. On March 12, 2007, the Minister of Natural Resources spoke on an agreement with the Nova Scotia Nature Trust. In the press release he stated, "This is another example of the province's commitment to working with Nova Scotians to protect the areas we value most." Now, it's interesting to me that he would say we need to protect areas, when clear-cutting is taking place in areas such as the Liscomb Game Sanctuary and the Chignecto Game Sanctuary. My question to the minister is, are we to believe that your government is committed to protecting areas, when you allow such clear-cutting practices in regions like Liscomb and Chignecto?

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for allowing me to point out that there are many different forms of protection. Some forms of protection protect the forests. Some protect wildlife. Some protect both forests and wildlife and, indeed, we need all those forms of protection. We have that in Nova Scotia. In the cases that he is referencing, of course, those are wildlife sanctuaries, where we protect wildlife.

MR. GLAVINE: Well, Mr. Speaker, we are aware that the term game sanctuary doesn't mean tree sanctuary. However, if there are no forests, then there is no game or animals, if you will. If we continue the clear-cutting practices in the so-called protected areas, our forests will be reduced to parking lots. My question to the minister is, what action is your government taking to protect the forests within game sanctuaries?

[Page 3792]

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, where we are in a game sanctuary, if there is an allowable cut, it has to be licensed by the department, it has to be screened by the wildlife biologists to make sure it's appropriate, and the allotments are very conservative.

MR. GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, with so much focus on our environment these days, it's obvious we must place more emphasis on protecting our forests and wooded areas. It's quite simple - having more trees is better for the environment. By allowing clear-cutting in sanctuaries we are contributing to everything from global warming to species extinction, not least to say that the Minister of Environment and Labour is waiting to get some help. Will you commit to stopping clear-cutting within game sanctuaries within Nova Scotia?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I really appreciate the member opposite bringing up the question of conservation and protection. At the recent announcement with Bowater, the Premier referenced the 12 per cent. The Minister of Environment and Labour has referenced 12 per cent for protected wilderness areas and nature reserves, Mr. Speaker. This government is working towards that number and indeed, this past fiscal year, or the one that we are concluding on March 31st, this province has invested a record $35 million in Crown land acquisitions.

[2:00 p.m.]

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

HEALTH: SURGERY WAIT TIMES - SOLUTION

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): My question is for the honourable Minister of Health. Richard Patton is a 36-year-old sole owner and operator of the Alma Garden Centre in Pictou County. On June 1st of last year he injured his back at work, resulting in a herniated disc 5, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Patton has lived in constant pain since this injury. He has been on a wait list for surgery since September 2006. Without this surgery Mr. Patton cannot run his business. So I ask the Minister of Health, what is his department doing to help people like Mr. Patton, who risks losing his business because he is waiting for surgery?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: I'm very sorry to hear about Mr. Patton's injury and the wait that he is taking. Mr. Speaker, we know that we have a lot of work to do in wait times and trying to improve access for all Nova Scotians.

I know that we have been making some inroads in identifying what our wait times are, making sure that we are making strategic investments in more OR time and those kinds of things. I know if the member opposite would want to bring the issue forward to me, I'd be happy to look into it for him.

[Page 3793]

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Because of Mr. Patton's level of pain, his doctor has prescribed him Dilaudid, a highly addictive pain medication which he has been taking regularly since June. Not only is this medication highly addictive, but because he is also a small-business owner, Mr. Patton doesn't have a health plan and he pays for this himself.

I would like to ask the minister, why does this government expect people to spend their money on addictive drugs like Dilaudid, without the surgery they need?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. As I really don't know the full details of this situation, then I ask the member opposite to maybe bring that information to me. We could look into this a little further. I don't know if it is a scheduling problem with OR, if there is an issue with his surgeon, why the wait is so long. If we don't have the person to do the operation, there has to be something we can do for that patient to make him as comfortable as possible during his wait.

So, Mr. Speaker, I know through a number of initiatives that we can try to increase our work and make sure we make our wait times. Again, I offer my help in this one, if he can bring that information forward.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): I think it is important that the minister realizes there are hundreds, if not thousands, of Nova Scotians across this province who have a situation like Mr. Patton's, and it only saddens me, Mr. Speaker, that bringing it to the floor of the Legislature seems to be the only access and the only attention that these patients get.

MR. D'ENTREMONT: If they thought of picking up a phone and asking us about it, maybe we could help.

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

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Government Motions.

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

[Page 3794]

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I move that you do now leave the Chair and that House resolve itself into the Committee of the Whole House on Supply unto Her Majesty.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou East.

MR. CLARRIE MACKINNON; Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. It's a great pleasure for me to rise in the House this afternoon and to have an allotment, I understand, of about 15 minutes. In that 15 minutes I want to talk about the constituency that I am so proud to represent, the constituency of Pictou East. I believe that an average member of this House could do a Joseph Howe talk on Pictou East for six hours, but 15 minutes will have to suffice this afternoon because Pictou East is such a remarkable constituency.

Pictou East contains one town, my hometown, the Town of Westville. We call it friendly Westville.You cannot drive down the main street of Westville without almost everyone you meet with their hand coming up off the steering wheel to greet you. It is a friendly town. It is a town that, this year, will be celebrating 100 years of continuous July 1st celebrations. A lot of towns, a lot of communities across this country have had celebrations, but the celebrations have been on for a few years, off, and so on - but the Town of Westville has consistently been there for 100 years of pride in this country.

Pictou East is three-quarters rural, and these communities are spread out. They are a First Nation community at Pictou Landing; fishing communities like Lismore, a community with tremendous heart, a good fishing community and we're happy to report to this House that there is some new life about to be breathed into that community. We are looking at 50 jobs in relationship to a new development in that community. That, I believe, is good news for Pictou East.

We have an important forestry industry, an important farming industry. We used to be a mining area. We have many small- and medium- sized businesses and we are adjacent to ridings that have very large industries, like Trenton Works, Michelin, Neenah Paper, but in that constituency we have coastal and inland communities that bring great pride to me as the member.

When I get up in the mornings, I can't wait to get up and do this job, and some mornings I almost pinch myself to make sure this is real, that I am the member for Pictou East. I hope to be pinching myself in 12 years' time in relationship to having this job and having the pride of representing Pictou East. We have Melmerby Beach, one of the greatest tourist attractions and we have a tourist industry that is starting to heat up in places like the East River Valley.

But I want to talk today about some of the pressing needs of Pictou East, some of the needs that I believe have to be met by this government. Number one on the list is that there

[Page 3795]

is a facility, the Riverview Home, that is actually 87 years old, it was built in 1920. It's 87 years old and is serving over 100 adult residents in the community of Riverton.

The member for Pictou West and I went into that facility - I'll try to give a little tour of that building - we started in the basement and ended up, over a three- hour period, in the attic of that facility. In the basement is the laundry and a lot of the maintenance and so on - everyone in there, from a staff perspective, is doing a good job. You move upstairs and there's a kitchen that is in desperate need of fundamental revamping. Throughout the entire structure the wiring is in very poor condition. We have some old lifts to remove people from wheelchairs and into tubs and so on - those lifts actually came out of a Cole Harbour facility years and years ago. The walls have been scraped by wheelchairs and the maintenance people keep trying to brighten them up and so on.

But the most important striking problem there is in relationship to the bedrooms in that facility. We have two people sharing 100 square feet. We have two single beds and a little walk space. It is heart-wrenching to look into one of those rooms with the walls not even going up to the ceiling, to be able to hear any of the noises that are taking place on the entire floor, to see bureaus that are up against the bottom of a single bed that the bottom two drawers can not open because the room is so tiny. You have to move the bureau out into the walk space to open those drawers, and despite this the staff is working there with a great sense of responsibility and they are trying to make that facility a facility of excellence. This is what they have to work with. So I say to the Minister of Community Services, please look at this facility, please address this problem, please look at a facility that is 87 years old and in desperate shape.

Now I want to move on to the roads of Pictou East, which are a concern to everyone. I see in the budget that there is $145 million that has been allocated to highway construction. This, at a time when the Nova Scotia Road Builders Association repeatedly says that we need $400 million to, over a series of years, bring our infrastructure up to something that is decent. Last year, Mr. Speaker, we heard that there was going to be the greatest road building budget and effort in decades. Well, I say to you, looking at the roads that are existing in this province right now, I say that it was not the biggest road building in decades, I say it was the biggest spoof in a century - the biggest spoof in a century.

Mr. Speaker, in relationship to tourism, we have what is called the East River Valley Community Development Association. That association serves a very large rural area and in that area there is the historic swinging bridge over one of the branches of the East River, at Hopewell, something that we hope the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage will look after in making this a very historic recognition, that it will in fact be recognized as an historic facility.

Now we have some kiosks being built in that valley, tourist kiosks, and those tourist kiosks are going in four communities in the valley. We have had some federal government support and we have had some municipal government support, but I sure hope that the

[Page 3796]

province will come up to the plate in relationship to some of the things that they are trying to do at this time in the East River Valley.

Now I want to address the situation involving Internet services. The government has been saying that there will be Internet services, at first 2010, now we are saying 2009 from the other side of the House. We have people and businesses that need to stay in these rural communities and they can be assisted by staying with high-speed Internet services. Every time the Minister of Economic Development is asked, in relationship to high-speed Internet, he says we have a project on the go in Cumberland County. My question is how do we move beyond this little project that is on the go in Cumberland County, how do we in fact move beyond that? How do we look after other communities other than this small area that is being looked after? Every time I raise the issue of Barneys River or other areas in my constituency, I get the same response, we're doing some mapping, so on and so on.

[2:15 p.m]

I have tried to do something before 2009, and I had the government services manager for Aliant come into that area and meet with the businesses to see what is actually in that community where over 100 people are employed by businesses in that rural area, including heavy trucking, lumbering and so on. Aliant is prepared to fund high-speed Internet in that area, providing there is another partner, one or two more partners' monies will be forthcoming. I'm saying, when we have done work to get an entity onside, where is the government to move beyond that situation in Cumberland County, a pilot project?

We're also trying to do something in another end of the riding. We have in Eureka, a fire department that is putting a communications system on a high tower. On that high tower, that company involved is prepared to service the area at $49 per person, so we're doing something on our own in that riding.

I want to deal quickly with environment - and I didn't realize my time was going so quickly, but the time does go by quickly here - we have a government that has suddenly become concerned about the environment. The environment has been our issue on this side of the House and in this Party for decades, but we have a government now that is trying to turn the Progressive Conservative blue, by some kind of magic formula, as I mentioned the other night, with a little dip, dip, dip, and they're trying to turn this Progressive Conservative blue into a clean green.

I have several things in my riding that have to be addressed and one is in relationship to independent monitoring on the Trenton Generating Unit 5 - we need independent monitoring on that. We're looking for an independent monitoring set up by the Department of Environment and Labour at Greens Point. We're also trying to get a flow monitor on the East River, which is suffering tremendously with reduced flow. In relationship to that, this Department of Environment and Labour is doing an extrapolation on what happens on the Middle River and using it to determine the flows of the East River, which is total nonsense.

[Page 3797]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member's time has expired.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Preston.

MR. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to rise and speak on the Supply Motion. There are a couple of issues I am going to talk about today, and the first one is a badly needed complex in Lake Echo.

In Lake Echo we need a seniors' complex, and last year I got very hopeful. We had a local contractor who has a property, who decided to approach me to see what kind of funding was available, and I know through the province and through CMHC there is a program to build seniors' complexes in the area. The contractor pursued this, talked to seniors in the community and there is definitely a need - and actually it was quite an attractive building that was designed - and he went through the process and at the end it became so restrictive on the size of the building, what you could do with the building and how you could do it, it wasn't acceptable to the seniors in the community nor was it acceptable to the contractor, so, therefore, the community doesn't have a badly-needed facility.

Now, the Lake Echo area was expanded many years ago. I believe it was in the 1960s and early 1970s when they expanded the area. A lot of housing was built there by the people who presently live there now in the community, and because of that timing, a lot of people now are getting ready for retirement. A lot of the seniors have lost their spouses, own homes and simply can't afford to keep their homes and would rather be doing other things than looking after their lawns and maintaining their homes. They would like to travel and do all the things that seniors should do when they reach that age. So this complex is extremely important to our community.

There isn't a seniors' complex in Lake Echo. Lake Echo is the most densely- populated area in my whole constituency. In Preston, we have a beautiful seniors' complex, Sarah Jane Clayton Manor, and the seniors are very happy there. Actually, I want to thank the government for, last year, installing a ventilation system that was badly needed. Actually, it was so badly needed that in the hot weather the fire alarm went off all the time because it was so hot on the second floor, and it was impossible for people to stay there, although they had no choice. So I want to thank the government. When we brought it to their attention, they did act upon it. They did put the ventilation system in, and it has made a huge difference to the residents there. That building is pretty well full, if not full at the present time. The closest one we have is in Porters Lake, and that one is continually full, seldom any vacancies.

So we have a large population of people in Lake Echo, seniors, who would move into the facility immediately. I can't stress enough how badly it is needed. Not only that, there

[Page 3798]

is quite a demographic age population in Lake Echo, and over the next probably 20 to 30 years, there are going to be seniors who will be available to go into a complex.

Now the seniors in Lake Echo are used to having their own homes and looking after their own properties, and have a lot of really nice homes, as is the same all over my constituency. They really would like to have a complex that reflects the community and really adds value to the community. The developer, in this case, was very interested in doing that, interested in putting things like a communal garden where people could grow either flowers or vegetables, whatever they want to do, and work on that.

Unfortunately, this has not been able to go ahead so far. I say the land is there, the developer is there, the project is ready to go, but the restrictions that are put forward on what you are allowed to build, how you are allowed to build it, all the other things that restricted this have actually stopped the project, and that is very unfortunate for all of the residents. I would encourage the government to look at this again to see if there is some way we can slacken off without diminishing the ability to meet the program, of course, but ease off of some of the restrictions so this facility can be built and built immediately, and to make sure that the people in the community have the opportunity to retire, and retire in comfort.

The other issue I want to talk about today, and I am glad to see the minister is here to listen to this again - I was on him many times, and I appreciate the work he has done so far on this, but until the community gets everything it wants, we are not going to give up. So I am going to tell you that right now.

I want to talk about the Black Cultural Centre, and the centre that is the only place like it in Canada. It is the only facility that truly represents Black history and Black culture in this country. Now let me tell you what the government has done to the Black Cultural Centre. They are very nice and polite people and won't come and fight for themselves, as I suggest they do all the time, so I have talked with them and they have given me permission to discuss this in the Legislature and work with the minister and the department to see if we can't get more funding.

In the last six years or seven years, since the present government took over, the funding to the Black Cultural Centre has been cut by some $60,000 a year. Now that might not seem like a lot of money, but when you have a very small budget to start with, $60,000 is very substantial. As a result of that, they have had to reduce staff over the years. They have a very difficult time getting displays to put in place because they simply don't have the resources. Worse comes to worst, I wrote to the Premier when we were trying to acquire this medal for the Black Cultural Centre, the very historic thing from the No.2 Construction Battalion, and all the centre was looking for was to make up the shortfall from the fundraising they did to acquire this medal and I got a reply back from the Premier that the minister would look into it. The minister sent me a letter and said we have no funding for that. We were talking probably $2,000 to $3,000, if that. Now, this is an artifact of national significance - national significance. The Black Cultural Centre did everything it possibly

[Page 3799]

could to fundraise and with the money it fundraised and with what hopefully the government could have put in, we could have guaranteed the medal would have been in the Black Cultural Centre, at least in Nova Scotia.

That brings up another issue. The Victoria Cross that's owned by the Black Cultural Centre was the first Victoria Cross ever presented to a Canadian, to William Hall. It can't be stored in the Black Cultural Centre because they don't have the security facilities there to insure it and to ensure that it's going to be safe. It's valued well in excess of $1 million. They have other national and international treasures there that are priceless, absolutely priceless. They cannot put them on display and they have to put them away in other areas where they're safe. Also it's not an opportunity for the cultural centre to put on more displays about the important history and the local history of the Black community and the fantastic contribution the Black community has made to all Nova Scotia and indeed all of Canada.

I was at a very interesting luncheon a couple of weeks ago when people in the community, and this is recent history, talked about gathering and picking blueberries and walking or riding with a horse-drawn wagon into the Halifax Market and selling blueberries so they could buy other things they needed. This was very, very important to the culture of the Black community, especially in Preston, and it was a very interesting session to go through. There was a lot of pride. The people were telling how they did this, a lot of fun they had, and the stories about seeing snakes that some of them were afraid of and a couple of incidents where they ran into bears when they were doing this, but they had to go back. They had to go back and continue to go back because if they didn't, they couldn't feed their families, couldn't look after the family, and it just shows you how resourceful the community has been and the great things they have done with very little to work with.

Now, that has all changed today. In some ways it's good and in some ways it's not. People pick blueberries now for the sake of enjoying the blueberries themselves and a lot of things have changed. We've got tremendous improvement in the community and we see people going in and becoming, as they brought a motion the other day, the first captain in the Halifax Regional Firefighters from the Preston area and an African Nova Scotia community and there are so many firsts going on today. I will be glad when there are no more firsts and the Black community has set records on everything and they can succeed and excel in everything they do - which they do.

It's with pride I represent the community and the community is so special. When you go into the community, you're welcomed into the homes. The people are wonderful to deal with and it's just a wonderful place to live and to work. Now, they've gone through a lot of things but I can tell you I've never seen anybody celebrate a graduation from a university or high school like happens in East Preston, Cherry Brook and in North Preston. They really now have serious and much pride in the education that the young people are getting. They celebrate that. They bring them forward and in North Preston, in particular, it's a formal event where the young ladies and young men dress accordingly and are honoured by the

[Page 3800]

whole community. I can tell you it's something to see and if you've ever been to a church service in the Black community, you understand the rich cultural music there and if you haven't been, I would suggest anyone to go. It's an incredible experience.

You see the things that happen and the work and how history has changed and done things. You know we've had the people come here, who were brought here to build the Citadel, some of the finest stonemasons in the world at that time, and that is still continuing today in the community. Again, I want to thank the government, this is one of the things that it has done to qualify the people in the community who are doing stonework, who don't have the papers, and now there's a process in place. Thank you to the Minister of Education and the government, these people now can get their qualifications and instead of making $7 an hour, to be able to make $25 or $30 an hour, join the unions and work, imagine what a difference that's going to make in families. People are doing the work already and we've had some discussion from the other caucus over here, which I took offence to and still take offence to, that they were dumbing down the requirements for people to go into this.

[2:30 p.m.]

Now tradespeople, to me they are very intelligent people and hard-working people and it takes a tremendous amount of experience to become a qualified and excellent stonemason or mechanic or whatever the case may be. So I want to give the government credit for that, and I can't wait until that process is in place. I think it has been a little bit longer than I hoped that that would happen. I know that several people, not only in the Black community but in the White community as well, in my area who will take advantage of this and become qualified tradespeople and, indeed, add more to our society and ultimately help their families so much with additional income that they will get from that process.

So there are a lot of good things happening, a lot of things have to change, a lot of things have to be improved, and we have to make sure as we go through the process that we help people - help people improve their lives, help people live safer and the issues go on and on. I can talk at great length, and don't have time today, about the safety issues and the crime recently in my area, in the Preston area, which does not reflect the whole community. It is simply a small segment of the community and it is unfortunate that these things happen, but they do happen and we need support.

We need a lot more help in the community and one way to start this process is with the Black Cultural Centre. If we can get proper funding, long-term funding, and the Black Cultural Centre is recognized as a provincial museum, and give it the rights there, make sure the employees are provincial civil servants, that they don't have to worry about that anymore - because these people have been working there a long time and actually have no pension plan because there is no money to do it, they don't have any benefits that a civil servant would have and all the other benefits that go with that - and then the funding to make sure that we can put on proper displays, make sure the building is maintained properly and to put

[Page 3801]

this national treasure where it should be, in a place of prominence in Canada and in Nova Scotia.

It is a fantastic tourist attraction and the people who come and visit the Black Cultural Centre - there was a lady there the other day and there was a display of quilts that was put on regarding the Underground Railway and it is quite historic and it tells a story of the quilt as you go through it, and they were actually used as part of the Underground Railway for directions how to find places and do things. A lady came in from the U.S. and said she wanted to buy that quilt. The gentleman at the Black Cultural Centre, Mr. Henry Bishop, said he didn't think it was for sale, and she asked, at any price? He said he could try to find the owner and ask, but unfortunately he couldn't find the owner that day - but that is how rich a culture it is and how valued the work is from the community.

So we really have to put forward, we have to ensure that this facility is protected, financed properly and promoted properly so that it will bring people into Nova Scotia, because a lot of people in the community and outside the province and outside the country would love to go to this facility, spend an afternoon there and, hopefully, go to a point and enjoy their visit, which I know they will. With that, I'd like to close the debate. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.

Before we proceed to the debate on Supply, just one item. When the member for Pictou East was speaking in debate, he did refer and utilize the word in reference to the road construction program, it was the word "spoof" and on a more derogatory end or whimsical sense it can be seen as satirical and/or a parody but it also can refer to a hoax, which has a different terminology. I would just remind all members to be cognizant of parliamentary language, and I know that the honourable member in question probably did not intend that to be but it can have a double meaning. So I just note that for our honourable colleagues, and we will now move into Supply.

[2:35 p.m. The House resolved itself into CWH on Supply with Acting Deputy Speaker Chuck Porter in the Chair.]

[6:00 p.m. CWH on Supply rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Cecil Clarke, resumed the Chair.]

MR. SPEAKER: We have reached the moment of interruption. The subject for this evening's late debate was submitted by the honourable member for Clare:

"Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Government encourages the Atlantic Lottery Corporation to embark on an independent review of retailer and retailer employee ticket lottery wins."

ADJOURNMENT

[Page 3802]

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

ATL. LOTTERY CORP.: RETAILER LOTTERY WINS - REVIEW

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, I am certainly pleased to rise in my place today and talk about an issue that has surfaced over the past couple of weeks here in Atlantic Canada, one that broke, actually, in the Fall, in terms of taking a look across the country when the Fifth Estate developed their story around investigations primarily in Ontario. Of course, at that time, we had the case of Mr. Edmonds, and it was the CBC investigation "insider wins". Of course, with Mr. Edmonds' case, it opened up a great deal of suspicion, of wonderment around whether or not all tickets were being checked properly. Then there were revelations that retailers were winning at a rate higher than the average player.

So when the Fifth Estate story came out, I think it started to perhaps put all of the lotteries right across the country in each province on guard and start to look at the internal operations and how they were administered. For us here in Nova Scotia, as part of the Atlantic Lottery Corporation, we certainly saw just a couple of weeks ago that the revelation or the report that they gave indicated that some things just didn't add up with the Atlantic Lottery Corporation. I think at one point there were thoughts around this being proactive, this was the thing to do, but I have a feeling that Fifth Estate was just around the corner, and we had another story in the making.

So about a week ago, I started to ask for a review of the Atlantic Lottery Corporation. As soon as the story came out and we had made some commentary on this and what we thought should be done, I started to get a number of e-mails and calls on this issue. It was interesting that the average person summed it up pretty quickly and rather quaintly when they said, they would say to me something to the effect of, look, I will continue to buy tickets as long as I have the same chance as retailers, because they were winning, of course, at a rate of 10 to 1.

We started to ask for a review, but it didn't get a great deal of pickup in the first week, but definitely a story that I felt needed to have some close scrutiny around it, because there is a great deal of trust that we place in people who provide this service. Many people who did speak with me or e-mailed me, they said - and I found this quite interesting - that some people who had played for more than 10 years and, in fact, I think it was just in this House maybe today where a member told me they had never ever checked a single one of their tickets, which right off, of course, is one of the safeguards that any individual can employ at all times. But people told me they never ever checked their own ticket. They brought it into the store and they asked the clerk to check their ticket.

[Page 3803]

So, again, complete trust, and lots of times it is with that store; that store, that retailer has given us great service, but very often when we go in there is a different clerk there. We necessarily know, perhaps, much about some of the clerks when we go to the corner store.

Now, after the Ontario Ombudsman found in fact that - his report actually said that Ontario Government officials initially became aware of questions about retailers winning a disproportionate share of jackpots six months before the scandal at its lottery corporation became public last October.

Again, there were certain practices that I think have been known about for some time. So now we have the ombudsman's report, and with his report it was obviously a very comprehensive forensic-type audit that came up with 60 recommendations. If you have 60 recommendations about a particular practice, it certainly does call into question what has been going on.

The company KPMG have made a total of 60 recommendations to strengthen the provincial lottery system and, of those, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation has already implemented 17 - an additional 25 of those recommendations will be addressed by the end of June and the remaining 18 will be operational as soon as possible.

So there's no contest here, there's no challenge around what was discovered, and I'm sure that Atlantic Lottery Corporation can go down the road here of an investigation and I'm pretty sure now this is going to be coming about, that the Government of Nova Scotia is going to ask that a review be done, an independent review we hope, of Atlantic Lottery.

When Ontario finds out that there are a number of practices that are questionable, then I think it's only right that we here in Atlantic Canada have full insight into what has taken place and where we need to go to strengthen the system and make sure there is full compliance of proper practices, and that Nova Scotians can indeed trust the system in which many go to play each week. In fact, there are about 730,000 Nova Scotians who are of age to buy a lottery ticket and, on average, Nova Scotians spend about $285 - that translates into $210 million on ticket lottery sales. That was for the fiscal year 2005-06. That money that people take a chance on in buying a ticket, people do want to know that everything is 100 per cent in terms of how the lottery commission works on a week-to-week basis.

I am pleased to hear from the Gaming Corporation in Nova Scotia and from the provincial government that there is going to be an investigation. I have a lot of confidence in the corporation in Nova Scotia that things could be in full compliance and that the process is clean, but I think in order for Nova Scotians to have full trust, the investigation is, I'm sure, being welcomed and I look forward to hearing about how the process will take place.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I will take my place.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.

[Page 3804]

MS. VICKI CONRAD: Mr. Speaker, I just want to add some of my own thoughts here around this very important issue and that being, while I recognize the government is looking to take on the initiative of a review process into the suspect winnings of more than 10 times the regular winnings of customers.

I see a solution as being very simple and although I, as I said, do understand the need for perhaps a review process to expose potential fraud - if indeed there has been fraud committed here - but I see a most simple solution and that one being putting in rules and regulations that clearly state retailers can't buy lottery tickets from their own establishments. I mean currently, we don't know what any review will show but certainly I wouldn't want to be a retailer today in the Province of Nova Scotia having a customer come in my door and me being surrounded by that cloud of suspicion. I mean what we have done is, we have lumped all retailers into this package here.

For that, I think a simple solution, adding security for both retailers and customers would be very low tech, very low cost, to provide that type of security to consumers. I think, too, establishing an arm's length body that actually polices and manages lottery sales in this province, perhaps, would be a good idea. You know the Gaming Corporation certainly has a mandate and that is to promote its products and services to consumers out there and to see them managing and policing just doesn't seem to be working and this is certainly a case in point where we are now looking at finding ways to police better the gaming activities of consumers and retailers in the province.

So I would strongly suggest that as part of the review process that the minister look seriously at putting forward regulations that will actually help retailers by establishing those very clear rules that they don't buy tickets from their own establishments and that certainly would take away any suspicion that there has been any fraud perpetrated by retailers in this province.

I think, you know, we all recognize that in games of chance, in lotteries, that there will always be someone out trying to beat the system and certainly there would be fraudulent activity in some of that wanting to beat the system. I'm not sure if I want to suggest that there are retailers here in this province who have been fraudulent, or have they actually just come up with ways of beating the system?

One example of that would be when you see at a corner store the big jar of pull tickets, those pull tickets come in batch lots. Those batch lots are not only numbered as to how many tickets are in that lot, but there's also the guaranteed winnings that come with those scratch and win tickets. So if a retailer or a staff person in the store is watching that jar on a daily basis, they know how many tickets have been pulled and won in any particular day or week. When that jar gets down to the last 75 tickets and the staff person or the retailer has recognized that actually all of the winnings haven't been taken out of that jar, doesn't it make sense, if you want to beat the odds, you're going to scoop up the rest of those tickets and you can be guaranteed a win of $500 or $600, or $700, whatever the guaranteed win is.

[Page 3805]

That is not fraudulent in the sense that we think of fraudulent. That is simply beating the system and whether it's right, wrong or indifferent, I don't think that we can lump those retailers in the fraudulent scheme that we're discussing here.

Certainly, the Atlantic Lottery Corporation has started to put in all of the necessary checks and balances for consumers so that they feel more secure when they go in and they check their winnings, but to really get rid of that suspicion of taintedness that that has happened with every retailer now in the province.

[6:15 p.m.]

It doesn't matter how many checks and balances are in place, there will always be that cloud of suspicion and I think the most simple way to remove it, the most cost-effective way of I'm taking care of this problem, is simply saying retailers should not be buying tickets from their own establishments. I understand that the Conservatives in Ontario are actually calling on the McGinty Government to actually look at that as one of the possibilities. So it's certainly not outside of the choices that this minister has in this province. Also, I would strongly suggest that part of the review process look at the establishment of an arms' length body that actually looks at managing and policing, so that we don't find ourselves in this position again in this province within our gaming practices here.

Again, a review process certainly may be a good one and to look at what went wrong and where we go from here, but I think the solutions are quite simple. I would encourage the minister to keep that in mind as he walks through this process. Thank you.

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

HON. MARK PARENT: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to have the opportunity to speak on this issue this evening. I want to begin by assuring the House and the members in the House that the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation has been working on this issue of retailer wins for several months. I have been involved in discussions with them back in the Fall when the first report came to light in Ontario of a retailer who had scammed a customer who had really won a ticket. It was an elderly person and the retailer didn't let the elderly person know and took the winning ticket for themselves. They have been looking at this issue since last Fall - in fact, the day after CBC aired its investigative report in Ontario last Fall, the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation issued a press release announcing an internal review of all of its security policies and procedures related to lottery wins by retailers at Atlantic Lottery Corporation.

In that release, President and CEO Marie Mullally said, "We have full confidence in Nova Scotia retailers and in ALC security systems. We want to be proactive in assuring that our policies and procedures are the very best in the country." So as a result of that review that was launched back in the Fall, internally by the Nova Scotia Gaming

[Page 3806]

Corporation, in conjunction with the Atlantic Lottery Corporation, an analysis was completed by an independent statistician on March 14, 2007, showing that retailers claimed 10 times more prizes than would be expected in the six year period between January 1, 2001 and December 31, 2006. That independent review finding was released to the public, as all the members would be aware.

To address that problem, the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation and the Atlantic Lottery Corporation have implemented more than 20 improvements in the lottery system to provide more protection for players, in addition to measures already in place. These new procedures include continued education for players about the importance of treating every ticket as a potential winning ticket, including signing the back and asking for validations at retail locations, having lottery terminals make a different sound to differentiate between winning and non-winning tickets. So if the person is hard of sight, they can differentiate by the sound that they have a winning ticket.

A complete consumer's tip strategy was implemented in January and February of this year and now all retail wins of over $10,000 are fully investigated by ALC's internal auditing team and security and compliance team, to ensure that those wins are legitimate. Self-serve machines across Atlantic Canada that allow players to check their own tickets before bringing them to the retailer for verification, now display the amounts won, not that it's simply a winning ticket, but how much that ticket won, so that the person knows themselves the amount of the winning.

ALC is adding customer facing screens - they're rolling this out on lottery terminals - which will show the amount won as the ticket is being checked by the retailer. These we hope to have in place by the end of June of this year. ALC is also working with vendors to examine other innovative solutions that may bring new best practices to the industry at large. They have already started dialogue with some key vendors on thinking outside the box and on technical solutions to enhance player security.

ALC retains external auditors on an annual basis to review system processes pertaining to security, monitoring and control, to identify potential issues and provide recommendations that can be implemented by the Atlantic Lottery Corporation. So it's clear that the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation and the Atlantic Lottery Corporation value security integrity and that's exactly how it should be and all members of the House would agree with that.

ALC and the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation have reacted proactively to address this issue starting back in October and they have, through press releases, informed the public about this. That process, Mr. Speaker, as I repeat, happened long before the lottery retail wins report by the Ontario Ombudsman that just came out yesterday, I believe.

So I am pleased to be able to tell you that of the 18 recommendations amongst the 23 that the Ontario Ombudsman report referenced - the 18 that would apply to our situation

[Page 3807]

here in Nova Scotia, they are already being worked on. Some are already implemented, some are in the process of implementation such as those customerfacing screens on the machines.

When any person buys a lottery ticket here in the province, we want them to feel fully confident that the system is fair, safe, and that they have the same odds of winning and of claiming their prize as anyone else because, Mr. Speaker, as everyone would agree, the issue of fairness and allegations of fraud is one that threatens the very raison d'être of the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation.

If the system is not safe, if the system is not secure, it puts into question, it undermines the very rationale for having a government control of the gaming industry here in Nova Scotia. That is why, in addition to all these measures that have been taken internally, I have launched a full, comprehensive review of the policies and procedures at the Atlantic Lottery Corporation. My department will lead this process as the independent body responsible for responsible gaming in the Province of Nova Scotia, and we will bring in the necessary expertise from outside our department to conduct the review and we will report the findings which will be made fully public.

The process will begin immediately. The goal is clear; it's the goal that we are all supportive of. We are committed to doing everything we can to restore the confidence of Nova Scotians in the lottery system and to making sure that Nova Scotians are confident and that they maintain that confidence. So this review will begin immediately and the expertise that is needed, outside the Alcohol and Gaming as part of the Department of Environment and Labour, will be contracted with those experts and these findings will be made public to Nova Scotians as soon as that report is done. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER; Thank you. That concludes this evening's late debate. The House shall now recess momentarily and it shall resolve itself into the Committee of the Whole House on Supply.

[6:30 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Supply with Acting Deputy Speaker Chuck Porter in the Chair.]

[7:11 p.m. CWH on Supply rose and the House reconvened with Mr. Speaker Hon. Cecil Clarke in the Chair.]

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

THE CLERK: That the Committee has met and made progress and begs leave to sit again.

MR. SPEAKER: Considerable, favourable progress, indeed.

[Page 3808]

[GOVERNMENT BUSINESS]

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

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

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. PATRICK DUNN: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 146, the Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act.

Bill No. 146 - Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Well, Mr. Speaker, in our Assembly we engage in a process of mutual education; occasionally we manage to engage in a process of mutual amusement. This late in the evening I suppose I should start off by turning my mind to the amusement aspect. I guess I have to think of myself as the after-dinner speaker here and there is a long-standing, well-identified tradition that the after-dinner speaker starts off by either telling a joke or an amusing story and it is a tradition I intend to respect.

Before I actually tell the story, I want to explain why it is that the after-dinner speaker starts off by telling such a story. Now it seems to me that there are at least a couple of reasons, perhaps three. One is, of course, to tell an amusing story indicates that the speaker is a pleasant person and someone that you are happy to get along with, someone you might want to take out for a drink sometime and of course that is a serious thing to signal by that method.

I suppose the other is that if you enjoy the story but not the rest of the speech, then, of course, it is not a complete waste of time. I think there is a third reason why it is that speakers might indulge themselves in this way at the beginning of their talk. It is with the hopes that they might actually find a joke or an amusing story that embodies the point of the speech and, if they can do that, then it is probably easier for the audience to remember the point of the speech if they can concentrate on the amusement. Those are the reasons and now on to the story.

Mr. Speaker, a couple of weeks ago I found myself at the Annual General Meeting reception held by the Bank of Nova Scotia. You know, of course, that the Bank of Nova Scotia was started here and despite the fact that its main offices are now in a very large tower in the City of Toronto in the financial heart of Canada, it maintains the wonderful tradition

[Page 3809]

of holding its Annual General Meeting in Halifax every second year. It seems that for some reason I get invited to this event whenever that occurs and I have to say I enjoy going to it.

Going there the other day reminded me of the first time that I was invited to that AGM and it was just after I had been elected in 1994 to Halifax City Council. I think the whole of Halifax City Council, the 12 of us and the Mayor, were invited to come to that reception. In fact, it was an even more elaborate reception than it has come to be in recent years, it was actually a sit down dinner and several of us from the Halifax City Council - this was a couple of years before the amalgamation and Walter Fitzgerald was the Mayor of the City of Halifax. Walter and I and several others were sitting together at the dinner table.

After dinner, there was a reception in another room and there was an open bar. In fact, it was a time before there was any serious regulation of smoking and there were boxes of cigars out on the tables, free for the taking. So a couple hundred of us were moving from the main dining room into the reception room where these boxes of cigars were there.

[7:15 p.m.]

I was walking with Walter Fitzgerald who, at some point, suddenly spied the boxes of cigars. Well, Walter scuttled forward as fast as he could and went up to the boxes of cigars and he grabbed a large number of them and he turned around. As the rest of the people were coming into the room, he went up to them and handed out cigars and he said, Hi, I'm Walter Fitzgerald, I'm the Mayor of Halifax, have a cigar.

Well, I guess I can tell a second one. I mean now that I'm on the subject of cigars, I don't know if it was Walter Fitzgerald, or one of the other members of council, who put up the sign in the men's washroom over at city hall, the one that said, "Please don't throw your cigar butts in the urinals. It makes them soggy and hard to light." But I'm not sure who that was who put that sign up. (Interruptions)

I tell these two stories, Mr. Speaker, because they in fact bear out the lesson and one of the points that we have to think about, the first is miss no opportunity. Grab an opportunity if it presents itself and I think that's what the minister has done here. When the public attitude moved to the point when the public showed that it was manifestly interested and concerned about an environmental issue, it's what happened to the minister over there and his government, they said here's an opportunity, let's grab it.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Speaking of grabbing opportunities, would the honourable member permit an introduction by another honourable member? (Interruption)

MR. EPSTEIN: I guess I will, oh, all right.

MR. SPEAKER: Not enough time to have a stogie.

[Page 3810]

The honourable Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

HON. RONALD CHISHOLM: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and thank you to the member opposite for allowing me the opportunity to make an introduction.

Mr. Speaker, through you to all members of the House, we have in the East Gallery Herman Long. Herman Long is a businessperson in the beautiful Goshen, Guysborough County area. Anyway, Herman has been a former municipal politician and warden of the District of Guysborough, very well respected in the community, and I would ask everybody to give Herman a good round of applause. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Indeed we welcome our guests here to the gallery today and I want to thank the honourable member for permitting time for that introduction.

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

MR. EPSTEIN: It's a pleasure to accommodate my colleague, Mr. Speaker. Well, you know, it's not just a question of grabbing opportunities, it's the lesson of the second of the little stories I told because, of course, a lot of what we're dealing with when we're dealing with sustainability or environmental issues, is we're dealing with waste. Don't commit waste. Let nothing go to waste. Let's pay close attention to see if we can make maximum use of our resources I think is an underlying thought of what it is that many of us in the environmental community have preached and lived for many years.

Now, it seems to me that when the government finally comes to a realization, to its realization as manifested in this bill, that sustainability is important and that something can actually and should be done about it, and should be done about it starting now, then we should welcome this. I have to say I welcome this bill. I welcome this bill. A number of us are going to speak to this bill but I assure you this is not anything of an attempt to filibuster. We're merely wanting to get on the record our support for this kind of legislation and to move ahead with it. That's our intention. We have observations to make about it. We have comments to make about it, might even have some amendments to suggest about it, but fundamentally this is exactly the kind of legislation that we support, that we would have wished to have seen on the books in Nova Scotia many years ago.

So although I can't really say thanks are due to the minister, I can certainly say that congratulations are due to the minister for finally realizing that this is something that has to be moved ahead with. So the minister has certainly grabbed an opportunity that presents itself. We can but hope that in our efforts to support the bill, we won't be committing waste because the question is what will happen to this bill? What will actually happen to it? Will the measures that are laid out, indicated as targets, actually become a manifest reality in our province? Will it happen?

[Page 3811]

That's the key question. Because when we read this bill, what we see are targets that are five years, 10 years, 20 years into the future. Now, I have no objection to thinking long term. Let's think long term by all means, but let's take steps as immediately as we can, to begin to move in the appropriate directions.

The fundamental fact about sustainability and legislation to deal with sustainability in our province is that the opportunity has been missed - not just year in, year out, but decade in, decade out - and it's true not just of the present government opposite, but of Liberal Governments before.

Mr. Speaker, I've been in this business of being concerned about sustainability for a long time. My personal history in it goes back over 30 years - almost 35 years. I know that occasionally I'm referred to by some of the members opposite as the member of the Legislature for the Ecology Action Centre - I've heard that actually said. I don't mind that tag; I don't mind that tag at all. It's, in fact, an expansive view of the world and an important one that the Ecology Action Centre and other sustainability organizations have taken over the years.

I spent a term as executive director of the Ecology Action Centre in the early 1990s and I've been a member of the centre since the early 1970s. I became associated with it about a year or so after it was founded.

The Ecology Action Centre, although it dates back to 1971 or so, was not a lone outpost or the only environmental organization in Nova Scotia or Canada at the time, nor was it alone in terms of its environmental thinking. It was formed in recognition of the fact that there was already an Earth Day that had been promoted across North America. So environmental thinking was already well advanced by 1970. The legislation in response to this was already beginning to be passed in some jurisdictions around the world - so make no mistake, we've been very slow here.

Now I know this is not the first environment bill that we have in Nova Scotia. Of course, Nova Scotia has an Environment Act that goes back to 1995. It's quite a comprehensive Act - in fact when I look at the bill that we have in front of us, and I look at the existing Environment Act, it's not at all clear to me that we couldn't have achieved exactly all of the things that are being talked about in this bill using the existing legislation. I don't see the existing legislation as being in any way deficient.

I suppose it could be improved here and there, but in terms of fundamental flaws there aren't really any. I'll tell you what environmental law is basically about. There are two aspects to it - one is it's regulatory, it sets standards, it caps emissions, it talks about pollution releases and so on. It sets standards; it's regulatory. That's the first aspect, in general, of environmental law.

[Page 3812]

The second aspect of environmental law is that it engages in planning. The chief tool of environmental law is environmental impact assessment - a wonderful tool, a terrific tool, much like municipal planning and zoning. In the framework of an official plan which we call, in Nova Scotia, a municipal planning strategy, the idea is to think about projects, to think about our community, to think in advance about something that we may be engaging and doing and consider what the possible negative consequences might be. If they're unavoidable, don't go ahead; if they can be mitigated, then mitigate them. That's what an environmental impact assessment is about, that's really what land use planning and zoning is about as well.

Those are the two aspects of environmental law, broadly speaking - regulatory and environmental impact assessment. Both of them good things, both of them set out in the existing Environment Act in the Province of Nova Scotia, a Statute that provides us with the tools that could have been used to achieve what we see in Bill No. 146.

Make no mistake - again, I'm happy to see Bill No. 146 come forward. It looks more specific, it has a nice title, it's a focus for debate. It offers us the opportunity to look at some of the contemporary issues or their manifestations and it actually sets some targets that could have been set under the Environment Act, but it actually sets some targets we can look at and move towards.

Will we really get there? That's the worry that I have. The historical evidence, based on the fact that people who have paid attention to this have spoken for decades about what we could have accomplished and yet we haven't, does not speak well to whether we will really move progressively and aggressively in the correct direction.

The existence of a solid piece of legislation that already exists in Nova Scotia as an effective framework for this kind of action and targets yet has not been acted upon also does not speak well to our commitment as legislators as a whole to actually moving towards a sustainable basis. I have to say when I look at this bill I recognize that it has no proclamation date. It's fine to set targets in a piece of legislation but if the bill itself is never proclaimed even if we pass it here, which I'm hoping we will do very soon, will it even be proclaimed? I've heard some honourable members in talks just recently complaining about and listing bills that have passed in this Legislature and not been proclaimed. Well, will this bill be proclaimed? It's not clear to me why we don't have a definite date right in the text for it's becoming effective.

It seems to me that this, along with the fact that just over decades the administration of this province has not moved in the appropriate direction, gives me pause. I worry about that. When I see missing from this bill, an effective date for the bill itself, it gives me pause. I look at this and I ask myself is the government serious? Will they really move ahead or will they simply look ahead the 10, 15, 20 years to the targets they're thinking about and say in the classic way of many elected officials, I'm sorry to say, that'll be for someone else to

[Page 3813]

worry about. Unfortunately that's what it tends to look like and that, of course, is exactly contrary to the idea of sustainability.

Sustainability says let's take action now, let's think now and act now in ways that will not have negative consequences for the next generation for people in the future. It doesn't say, let's put off to the future taking some action, let our children worry about it, let the next administration worry about, let someone else do it, I'll be out of politics, I'll be retired thank you very much. That's not good enough, that's just not good enough. I start by congratulations to the minister for recognizing that there's an opportunity to do something and being prepared apparently to move in that direction but unless it's real, unless there's something tangible, unless there's something that really indicates a commitment I feel sceptical and so should we all, so should the public. Again we have every intention of voting in favour of this, we want it to go through and we want it to go through quickly, we favour progressive environmental steps but we worry.

[7:30 p.m.]

It would have helped if there were some tangible steps that the minister were taking that could really kind of move ahead and indicate that there was something active that had been done. Let me tell you another limitation that I see that worries me. I listened to the minister at second reading, I listened to his talk, his remarks were not very long but he covered a couple of essential points about this bill. This is another aspect of what gave me some pause, made me a little worried. He identified this bill not so much of being about long-term sustainability in some comprehensive way but as really being about climate change, and he characterized this bill as "our response" to climate change. Well in a way I'm with the minister, I think that global climate change is a serious problem, I think it requires urgent action. Sustainability of course requires thinking about a whole range of other issues. Climate change, if approached seriously as a problem associated with one of our vital life support systems, the air we have to breathe, can be quite comprehensive. It can lead to measures that would attack problems that exist in a whole range of the different sectors of our economic and social activity. I hope the minister means it broadly. I hope the minister does intend to move ahead and grab the opportunity to move ahead in all those different sectors.

Let's just focus for a moment on what those sectors are when it comes to climate change and ask ourselves whether this bill really engages with them. We know that the basic problem is the emission of greenhouse gases. The scientific analysis tells us this, the consensus of scientific opinion indicates that the problem is essentially the way we have chosen as humans on earth to structure our lives. It has to do with our industrial and quasi-industrial activities.

In Nova Scotia, greenhouse gases come from essentially three different kinds of activities, you could say. One is electricity generation, another is transportation, and another is the buildings we live and work in. About 60 per cent, 62 per cent of our greenhouse gases

[Page 3814]

come from our electricity generation. The reason it is so high is that we are one of the top three provinces in Canada in terms of our percentage reliance on burning fossil fuels, particularly coal, to a lesser extent oil, to generate our electricity. The remaining 28 per cent, 30 per cent is probably split between the transportation sector and the building sector. Transportation is pretty clear, vehicles mostly run on gasoline, sometimes on diesel, and there are greenhouse gas emissions. Buildings, same kind of question - how do you heat them, how do you cool them? Are they built in a way that is oriented to the south and west so they can take maximum advantage of passive solar? That isn't the law in Nova Scotia. Is it going to be the law under this bill? Not so clear. How do we heat the buildings, how do we cool them? Is it required that we do something different?

Well, the federal government is moving to establish national energy codes. The federal government hasn't grabbed for itself, I might say, the jurisdiction or declared for itself the jurisdiction over those things, so that when a national energy code is adopted, it is more a guideline. It is usually up to the provinces to decide whether they want to put in place, through the building code Acts that we have, or through local municipal bylaws, incorporation by reference of the national codes that have been worked out. We are moving very slowly in that direction. A lot more needs to happen.

Here is the problem. When I look at those three sectors - and I take the minister and his legislation at their word that they want to engage with global climate change - it is not obvious to me that the transportation sector is really seriously engaged with here, it is not obvious to me that the building sector is even engaged with at all. When it comes to the electricity sector, the history has been so bad, so bad that there is every reason to worry that relatively little will be done.

When I look at our electricity sector it seems clear to me that Nova Scotia Power, as a privatized entity, privatized in 1992 under the leadership of a predecessor to this government for no clear public policy reason, is continuing to drive the agenda. When it does that, what I mean is, and what it means, is that it moves ahead in what it sees as its own corporate interests, it's own best corporate interests. It is a privatized utility. It wants to pay profits, dividends to its shareholders and it has done that.

Every year since privatization, about $100 million has gone out in profits as dividends to shareholders. Since 1992, that is almost $1.5 billion - we are coming up on $1.5 billion paid by Nova Scotians that has gone out in dividends to shareholders. That is money that could have either gone to pay down debt, if it had stayed as a Crown Corporation, and have eliminated that, or it could have gone to improve safety, it could have gone to improve working conditions, it could have gone to improve the transmission and distribution system, or it could have gone to improve the emissions controls and movement towards a renewable basis for generating our electricity - but it hasn't, it went out as dividends to shareholders.

Let me tell you, those shareholders are not Nova Scotians, that's not money that is just being circulated around inside our province. As a company whose shares trade on the

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Toronto Stock Exchange, that company is widely owned and held mostly outside of Nova Scotia. So that money flowed out of our economy. We in Nova Scotia are the customers, we're the ones who pay the rates, but those dividends went right out of the economy - thank you very much to those who decided to privatize that utility.

That company is driven by those interests, not necessarily by the same kind of public policy interests that we should be driven by here. When we think about it, we have to think about global climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, we have to think about the particulate matter that comes out of the stacks, we have to think about security of supply, we have to think of a variety of things - but do you know what? The world is changing and it is well within our technological knowledge to see our way clear to making fundamental changes in every one of those sectors, even if we just think about energy and global climate change, and we think of it in terms of electricity and transportation and buildings and how they are heated and cooled.

The obstacles to change, when it comes to achieving sustainability, are not generally the absence of scientific or technological knowledge as to how to live our lives better, the barriers to change have been unwillingness to change, have been, I have to say, wilful blindness to change. That is true in all sectors - in energy, in agriculture, in mining, in forestry, in the fishery, in how we structure our communities. The barriers to change are not the absence of knowledge of how to do things better - I'm not saying perfectly, I'm saying better, and in many instances, much better.

I mentioned earlier that I spent a term as director of the Ecology Action Centre in the early 1990s. I thought to look up a document that I was involved in writing at the time. It was at one point the fashion amongst provinces to have round tables on the environment and the economy. We have revived ours, it lapsed for quite a while, we've revived ours now, that fashion, following the lead of the federal government which had a national round table on the environment and the economy established around the late eighties, maybe early nineties, and has continued to have one, prompted Nova Scotia to establish its own, along with a lot of other provinces.

In its early days, in 1990 or so, the Nova Scotia Round Table on Environment and Economy began to look at the different sectors of the Nova Scotia economy and look at ways in which things could be done differently. The Nova Scotia Environmental Network, which was an umbrella group for organizations in Nova Scotia - it still exists, the NSEN - got together and presented a brief to the round table. It is called Building a green Nova Scotia: a submission to the Nova Scotia Round Table on Environment and Economy, and it was dated 1991.

I was one of the main authors of this submission. I was minded to go back and look at it to see what it was that we were thinking in 1990. I have to say it stands up well. It stands up well to contemporary analysis. It deals with all those sectors. It deals with the agricultural

[Page 3816]

sector and the forestry sector, and mining, and it deals with tourism and communities and energy.

Let me just read you a small extract on what it said about energy. This is from the summary section at the end. The Power Corporation, it says, should be amended to make reduction and use of alternative energy sources a part of its mandate. Scrubbers should be installed to reduce acid rain-causing emissions, and the province should adopt a 20 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions as a target for 2005.

Mr. Speaker, I want to point out that this was a good six years before the Kyoto Accord and we had identified in Nova Scotia - the environmental community had identified - not the minus 5 or minus 6 per cent level that became the Canadian national commitment under Kyoto; we were saying at the time that we should adopt a target in 1991 of minus 20 per cent. That meant minus 20 per cent compared with the levels that were prevailing in Nova Scotia at that time in 1990. We suggested that was achievable by 2005. Here we are in 2007, and no reduction. No reduction. Year end and year out, there's continued increase in our greenhouse gas emissions here. Even if we take the minister's bill as being focused, as it clearly is, primarily on climate change, I think you can understand now why I don't necessarily want to say thanks to the minister. I want to say congratulations to the minister for finally waking up to the fact that CO2 emissions are a serious problem and that something needs to be done.

The question for all of us - even those of us who have never been the government - the question for all of us in this Chamber is, where have we been? How could we have let so many years go by without taking serious action on this? Year in, year out, the problem was not the absence of knowledge; it never was. If, in those years, an informal group of people in the environmental community, trying their best to educate themselves, could read around and come to the conclusion that there was a serious problem that had to be tackled and could identify the substance that was the problem and set a reasonable target - I just remembered, that was a 15-year target for action. This wasn't a crisis at the time. It was seen as a looming crisis, but we were able to identify it. The problem wasn't absence of knowledge.

[7:45 p.m.]

We didn't keep this document to ourselves. This document wasn't a secret document. This document was submitted on behalf of the environmental groups in the Province of Nova Scotia to the government's own Round Table on Environment and Economy. That's the think tank that the government established for itself to advise it on what it should be doing, and nothing. Nothing.

So this is a real problem. Mr. Speaker, we want things to be done. Let's be clear, we definitely want things to be done. We think they have to be done, and to be completely clear about this, to be completely clear, this is not an option. This is not something we can act on

[Page 3817]

or not and it won't make any difference. Make no mistake, there will be fundamental change in each and every sector of what we persist in calling our economy. My fundamental view is that the economy exists for the benefit of people and it's not the other way around, it's not that people are just inputs into the economy, but if we want to persist in analyzing our lives in terms of economic sectors, which seems to be the accepted language, I have no doubt that fundamental change will take place because it will have to take place. There will be no choice.

Here is the scenario. The scenario is, if you just think in terms of energy, that some further disaster will take place and the choice is do we take positive action by using our brains and looking forward and making the right choices and take steps to minimize or avoid dangers, or do we wait for the dangers to overwhelm us and then perhaps do something? Make no mistake, there will be disasters. There will be floods. Think Louisiana, think Bangladesh. At some point . . .

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I wonder if the member would be interested in adjourning the debate in the near future.

MR. SPEAKER: While not a point of order, a point with a suggestion. (Laughter)

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, when I was encouraging the government to look forward into the future, I had more than 10 or 15 minutes in mind. If, by the near future he means now, then I am certainly prepared to do that. I look forward to completing my remarks fulsomely and upon a future occasion. I move adjournment of the debate.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, I move adjournment to meet at the hours of 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. tomorrow and after Oral Question Period we will be calling Bill No. 132 and Resolution No. 2111. I now move adjournment.

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

The motion is carried.

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

[The House rose at 7:49 p.m.]

[Page 3818]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 2181

By: Hon. Richard Hurlburt (Economic Development)

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

Whereas the Department of Environment and Labour has introduced an Act Respecting Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity; and

Whereas the bill builds on the province's economic growth strategy, Opportunities for Sustainable Prosperity, and the work government and the private sector are doing to help create a stronger economy and a healthier environment; and

Whereas the department is helping to further encourage businesses, government, workers, homeowners and taxpayers to continue to reduce, recycle and reuse;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize all those involved for their efforts to help Nova Scotia achieve economic success in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.

RESOLUTION NO. 2182

By: Hon. Richard Hurlburt (Economic Development)

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

Whereas the Yarmouth mini-coed Vikings had to settle for the silver medal at the Nova Scotia division 5 mini-boys basketball championship in Windsor over the weekend; and

Whereas the Yarmouth squad advanced to Sunday's championship round with a thrilling buzzer-beating basket Saturday afternoon, following the loss of player Joey Loppie who suffered a fractured bone in his foot; and

Whereas the mini-Vikings put on a thrilling finish to Sunday's championship game but couldn't sink some crucial free throws late in the game and lost the gold medal to the Windsor Shooting Stars 50 to 47;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend Yarmouth mini-Vikings Head Coach David Atkinson, Assistant Coach Brian Doucette, and the entire

[Page 3819]

Vikings team for playing such great basketball all weekend long in Windsor, while congratulating them on their silver medal win.

RESOLUTION NO. 2183

By: The Premier

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

Whereas Cape Breton native Gordie Sampson celebrated 2007 with his first Grammy for the hit single Jesus Take The Wheel at the Los Angeles awards ceremony in February; and

Whereas Gordie's attention on the international scene is a huge inspiration to many other talented Nova Scotian musicians; and

Whereas beyond the award, Gordie Sampson continues to inspire those with whom he has worked and those who simply admire his hard work, determination, creativity and dedication to the music industry;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the recent Grammy that Gordie Sampson received and thank him for continuing to be such a tremendous ambassador throughout the world for our province and music community.