Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

HANSARD 07-11

DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS

Speaker: Honourable Alfie MacLeod

Published by Order of the Legislature by Hansard Reporting Services and printed by the Queen's Printer.

Available on INTERNET at http://www.gov.n s.ca/legislature/HOUSE_BUSINESS/hansard.html


Second Session

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2007

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Gov't. (N.S.) - Gas Tax Revenues (10%): Sustainable Transportation -
Allocates, Mr. G. Gosse 1028
O'Connell Dr. (HRM): LIC Charges - Stop,
Mr. K. Colwell 1028
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Status of Women - Violence Against Women (N.S.),
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1029
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 856, Halifax Explosion: Victims - Honour,
The Premier 1033
Vote - Affirmative 1034
Res. 857, Halifax Explosion - Sir Charles Tupper Gr. 6 Students:
Book - Congrats., The Premier 1034
Vote - Affirmative 1035
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Health: Avastin - Fund, Mr. D. Dexter 1036
Health: Avastin - Fund, Mr. D. Dexter 1036
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 858, Agric.: Min. Advisory Comm. on Buy Local - Congrats.,
Hon. B. Taylor 1036
Vote - Affirmative 1037
Res. 859, Ramia, Joe/Morrison, Blaise - Festival Angel Christmas Tree,
Hon. R. Hurlburt 1038
Vote - Affirmative 1039
Res. 860, Com. Serv.: Kids' Help Phone - Work Applaud,
Hon. Judy Streatch 1039
Vote - Affirmative 1039
Res. 861, Cdn. Forces: Sacrifices - Acknowledge,
Hon. R. Hurlburt 1040
Vote - Affirmative 1040
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 79, Elections Act, Hon. A. MacIsaac 1040
No. 80, Day Care Act, Mr. T. Zinck 1040
No. 81, Domestic Violence Elimination Act, Ms. D. Whalen 1041
No. 82, Arts Council Act, Ms. M. Raymond 1041
No. 83, Halifax Regional Water Commission Act,
Ms. D. Whalen 1041
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 862, Halifax Explosion: First Responders - Tribute Pay,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 1041
Vote - Affirmative 1042
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 84, Volunteer Fire Services Act, Mr. W. Gaudet 1042
No. 85, Sales Tax Act, Mr. W. Gaudet 1042
No. 86, Water Royalty Act, Mr. L. Glavine 1042
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 863, Cole Hbr. Boys U14B2A Soccer Team - Commend,
Mr. D. Dexter 1042
Vote - Affirmative 1043
Res. 864, Thomas, Clinton - N.S. Home for Colored Children:
Serv. (30 yrs.), Mr. K. Colwell 1043
Vote - Affirmative 1044
Res. 865, Doucette, CWO (Ret'd) Kenneth H. - Cdn. Forces
Sports Hall of Fame, Mr. P. Dunn 1044
Vote - Affirmative 1045
Res. 866, Self-Help Connection - Anniv. (20th),
Ms. M. More 1045
Vote - Affirmative 1046
Res. 867, MacLean, Briana: Lifesaving - Congrats.,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 1046
Vote - Affirmative 1046
Res. 868, IODE (Kendall Chap.) - Anniv. (60th),
Mr. C. Porter 1047
Vote - Affirmative 1047
Res. 869, Pictou Co. Chamber of Commerce - Bus. Achievement
Award Ceremony (15th), Mr. C. Parker 1047
Vote - Affirmative 1048
Res. 870, Halifax Explosion: Victims - Remember,
Mr. S. McNeil 1048
Vote - Affirmative 1049
Res. 871, St. Mark's Masonic Hall - Mun. Heritage Prop.,
Mr K. Bain 1049
Vote - Affirmative 1050
Res. 872, Women's Centres & Shelters: Contributions -
Recognize, Mr. L. Preyra 1050
Vote - Affirmative 1051
Res. 873, Fish: Diet - Incorporate, Mr. H. Theriault 1051
Vote - Affirmative 1051
Res. 874, Goucher, Len & Pauline - Anniv. (66th),
Hon. L. Goucher 1051
Vote - Affirmative 1052
Res. 875, Hear We Are Radio Proj.: Spryfield Youth - Congrats.,
Ms. M. Raymond 1052
Vote - Affirmative 1053
Res. 876, Page, Ellen: Accomplishments - Congrats.,
Mr. M. Samson 1053
Vote - Affirmative 1054
Res. 877, Queens Sch. Reunion (50th): Planning Comm. -
Recognize, Ms. V. Conrad 1054
Vote - Affirmative 1054
Res. 878, Glace Bay Miners Bantam Female Hockey Team: Coaches/
Members - Congrats., Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 1055
Vote - Affirmative 1055
Res. 879, Sacred Heart Hosp. (Cheticamp): Nutritional Counselling
Service - Congrats., Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 1055
Vote - Affirmative 1056
Res. 880, Slaunwhite, Jim: Youth Soccer - Commitment,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 1056
Vote - Affirmative 1057
Res. 881, Alice Housing: Efforts - Recognize,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 1057
Vote - Affirmative 1057
Res. 882, Horne, Albert - Birthday (100th),
Ms. B. Kent 1058
Vote - Affirmative 1058
Res. 883, Taylor, Donnie: Aylesford Vol. FD Serv. (60 yrs.) -
Congrats., Mr. L. Glavine 1059
Vote - Affirmative 1059
Res. 884, Online Petitions: Rules - Change,
Ms. D. Whalen 1060
Res. 885, Health - Care Workers: Battle-Cease,
Mr. S. McNeil 1060
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 88, Health: For-Profit Companies - Name,
Mr. D. Dexter 1061
No. 89, Health: Private Health Care - Staffing,
Mr. S. McNeil 1062
No. 90, Health: Avastin Policy - Reconsider,
Mr. D. Dexter 1064
No. 91, Health: Long-Term Care - Wait List,
Mr. D. Dexter 1066
No. 92, Health - Care Workers: Attack - Stop,
Mr. S. McNeil 1067
No. 93, Justice - Correctional Officers: Safety - Ensure,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 1069
No. 94, Justice: Domestic Violence - Court Delays,
Ms. M. More 1070
No. 95, Prem.: Private Hospitals - Support Explain,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 1072
No. 96, Environ. & Lbr.: Lbr. Standards Code - Right to Refuse,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 1073
No. 97, Econ. Dev.: Princess of Acadia Serv. - Plan,
Mr. H. Theriault 1074
No. 98, Educ.: Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank - Sch. Const.
Delays, Mr. P. Paris 1076
No. 99, Energy: NSP - Mandatory Renewable Targets,
Mr. F. Corbett 1077
No. 100, TIR: Rte. 4 (St. Peter's to Sydney) - Upgrade Plan,
Mr. M. Samson 1078
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
Bill No. 6, Smoke-free Places Act
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 1080
Hon. B. Barnet 1081
Ms. J. Massey 1086
Mr. S. McNeil 1088
Hon. B. Taylor 1089
Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 1090
Mr. L. Glavine 1093
Hon. J. Muir 1095
Mr. K. Colwell 1097
Hon. C. d'Entremont 1098
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 1099
Vote - Affirmative 1099
Bill No. 51, Education Act
Mr. L. Glavine 1100
Hon. K. Casey 1102
Mr. P. Paris 1104
Mr. K. Colwell 1106
Ms. D. Whalen 1108
Mr. L. Glavine 1111
Vote - Affirmative 1111
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
Bill No. 36, Liquor Control Act
Hon. L. Goucher 1111
Ms. B. Kent 1112
Mr. K. Colwell 1113
Hon. L. Goucher 1113
Vote - Affirmative 1113
Bill No. 1, Trade Union Act
Hon. M. Parent 1114
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 1124
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 1128
Hon. C. d'Entremont 1131
Mr. D. Dexter 1136
Debate adjourned 1137
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
TIR: Rte. 4 (Richmond/C.B. Cos.) - Safety Concern,
Mr. M. Samson 1137
Hon. M. Scott 1140
Ms. V. Conrad 1143
Hon. W. Dooks 1145
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
Bill No. 1 - Trade Union Act [Debate resumed]
Mr. D. Dexter 1146
Mr. S. McNeil 1150
Hon. J. Streatch 1153
Hon. A. MacIsaac 1160
Hon. B. Barnet 1165
Debate adjourned 1166
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Friday, Dec. 7th at 9:00 a.m. 1166
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 886, Francis, Sheila - St. F.X. Univ.: M.Ed. Degree - Congrats.,
Mr. P. Dunn 1167
Res. 887, Bedford Blues Atom B Hockey Team - Congrats.,
Hon. L. Goucher 1167
Hon. L. Goucher
Hon. L. Goucher
Res. 888, deMoliter, Janet (Tee) - Hillcrest Acad. Sch.: Vol. - Congrats.,
Mr. S. Belliveau 1168
Res. 889, Bonang, Lisa: Fam. Physician of Yr. - Congrats.,
Hon. W. Dooks 1168
Res. 890, Scott, Jennifer & Ron - Land Stewardship, Mr. C. Porter 1169
Res. 891, "Taken": Battle of the Bands - Congrats., Mr. C. Porter 1169
Res. 892, Breast Quest Soc. Dragon Boat Team/Coach - Commend,
Mr. C. Porter 1170
Res. 893, Great Little Art Show: Organizers - Applaud,
Mr. C. Porter 1170
Res. 894, Pederson, Kira - Basketball Accomplishments,
Mr. C. Porter 1171
Res. 895, Heffernan, Samantha - Remembrance Day Proj.,
Hon. M. Scott 1171
Res. 896, Henwood, Brad - Remembrance Day Proj., Hon. M. Scott 1172
Res. 897, Howard, Brooklyn - Remembrance Day Poem,
Hon. M. Scott 1172
Res. 898, Gallant, Hugh: PSC Serv. (25 Yrs.) - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Scott 1173
Res. 899, Jeffers, Marcus: Oxford FD Serv. (20 Yrs.) - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Scott 1173
Res. 900, RCL Br. 4 (Joggins) - Anniv. (80th), Hon. M. Scott 1174
Res. 901, King, Darren - Remembrance Day Proj., Hon. M. Scott 1174
Res. 902, King, Virginia - Lt.-Gov.'s Medal, Hon. M. Scott 1175
Res. 903, Little, Arden: Wentworth FD Serv. (20 Yrs.) - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Scott 1175
Res. 904, Livingston, Adele - Remembrance Day Proj., Hon. M. Scott 1176
Res. 905, MacDonald, Kyle - NSAF Track & Field Championships,
Hon. M. Scott 1176
Res. 906, MacMillan, Kimberly - Girl Town: Init. - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Scott 1177
Res. 907, Mapleton United Church - Anniv. (150th), Hon. M. Scott 1177
Res. 908, Hurley, Stevie-Lynn - Athletic Achievements,
Hon. M. Scott 1178
Res. 909, Adams, Meghan - Canada Wide Science Fair,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1178
Res. 910, Brenton, Douglas - Musical Accomplishment,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1179
Res. 911, Rogers, Emily: S. Shore BMO's U-14 Soccer Team - Congrats.
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1179
Res. 912, Swinimer, Sensei Victor - Karate Medals,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1180
Res. 913, Litt, Jenny - Karate Medals, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1180
Res. 914, Smith, Luc - Karate Medals, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1181
Res. 915, Bears, Darcy - Karate Medals, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1181
Res. 916, Swinimer, Aiden - Karate Medals, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1181
Res. 917, Bell, Josh - Karate Medals, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1182
Res. 918, Carver, Katelyn - Soccer Medal, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1182
Res. 919, Wentzell, Amber - Soccer Medal, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1183
Res. 920, Cook, Leah - Soccer Medal, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1183
Res. 921, Guerrero, Mariele - Soccer Medal, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1184
Res. 922, Fraser, Morgan - Soccer Medal, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1184
Res. 923, Mitchell, Jessica McKee - Soccer Medal, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1184
Res. 924, Lunn, Alyssa - Soccer Medal, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1185
Res. 925, Nickerson, Sydney - Soccer Medal, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1185
Res. 926, Haley, Breanna - Soccer Medal, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1186
Res. 927, Gatchell, Emilie - Soccer Medal, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1186
Res. 928, Currie, Taylor - Soccer Medal, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1186
Res. 929, Manley, Leigh - Soccer Medal, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1187
Res. 930, Whynot, Angelic - Soccer Medal, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1187
Res. 931, Ferrier, Alexis - Soccer Medal, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1188
Res. 932, Wolter, Maria - Soccer Medal, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1188
Res. 933, Cunningham, Kelly - Soccer Medal, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1188
Res. 934, Gates, Hayley - Soccer Medal, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1189
Res. 935, Looke, Daniel - Soccer Title, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1189
Res. 936, Crouse, Josh - Soccer Title, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1190
Res. 937, Crouse, Christian - Soccer Title, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1190
Res. 938, Pizzera, Matthias - Soccer Title, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1190
Res. 939, Getson, Ryan - Soccer Title, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1191
Res. 940, Naugler, Dylan - Soccer Title, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1191
Res. 941, Bristol, Darcy - Soccer Title, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1192
Res. 942, Morrison, Andrew - Soccer Title, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1192
Res. 943, Sanford, Ryan - Soccer Title, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1192
Res. 944, Young, John - Soccer Title, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1193
Res. 945, Baker, Mitch - Soccer Title, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1193
Res. 946, Uhlman, Jory - Soccer Title, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1194
Res. 947, Sabean, Kyle - Soccer Title, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1194
Res. 948, Rodenhizer, Steven - Soccer Title, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1194
Res. 949, Brown, Zach - Soccer Title, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1195
Res. 950, Herman, Kirk - Soccer Title, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1195
Res. 951, Reeves, Sam - Soccer Title, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1196
Res. 952, Miller, Nick - Soccer Title, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1196
Res. 953, Minard, Brandon - Soccer Title, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1196
Res. 954, Mekeckrin, Shaun - Soccer Title, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1197
Res. 955, Ryan, Peter - Soccer Title, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1197
Res. 956, Langley, Jonah - Soccer Title, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1198
Res. 956, Langley, Jonah - Soccer Title, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson
Res. 957, Hachey, Issac - Soccer Title, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1198
Res. 958, Tanner, Dryden - Soccer Title, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1198
Res. 959, Taylor, Justin - Soccer Title, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1199
Res. 960, Sabean, Josh - Soccer Title, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1199
Res. 961, Cameron, Gavin - Soccer Title, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1200
Res. 962, MacIntosh, Owen - Soccer Title, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1200
Res. 963, Snyder, Andrew - Soccer Title, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1200
Res. 964, Lawrence, Nick - Soccer Title, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1201
Res. 965, Killiam, Tyler - Soccer Title, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1201
Res. 966, Burton, Chris - Soccer Title, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1202
Res. 967, Nat'l. Day of Remembrance & Action on Violence Against Women
(06/12/07) - Recognize, Ms. D. Whalen 1202
Res. 968, Discover the Wines of N.S. Fest.: Organizers - Congrats.,
Mr. H. Theriault 1202
Res. 969, Fares, Wadih - Bus. Accomplishments, Ms. D. Whalen 1203
Res. 970, Belliveau Motors: Run for the Cure - Sponsorship,
Mr. W. Gaudet 1203
Res. 971, Stewiacke - Development: Mayor & Coun. - Applaud,
Hon. B. Taylor 1204
Res. 972, Cameron, Darcey, et al - Scouting Medal, Hon. K. Casey 1204

[Page 1027]

HALIFAX, THURSDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2007

Sixtieth General Assembly

Second Session

12:00 NOON

SPEAKER

Hon. Alfie MacLeod

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Mr. Wayne Gaudet

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The draw for the late debate tonight has taken place and it has been submitted by the member for Kings West:

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Government immediately address safety and road condition concerns related to the state of Route 4 in Richmond County and Cape Breton County.

We will begin the daily routine.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova on an introduction first.

MR. GORDON GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, I would like to bring the members' attention to the west gallery today. In the west gallery we have Laena Garrison who is here today representing the Ecology Action Centre. So I would like her to have a warm welcome on behalf of the Legislature. (Applause)

[Page 1028]

1027

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

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

MR. GORDON GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to introduce a petition on behalf of Velo Cape Breton and the Ecology Action Centre. The operative clause is:

"Petition to the Nova Scotia Government to Allocate 10% of Gas Tax Revenues to Active and Sustainable Transportation Infrastructure."

Mr. Speaker, it contains 3,089 signatures, and I have affixed my signature in support.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Preston.

MR. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition entitled "OUR DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS HAVE BEEN VIOLATED". The petition is in support of O'Connell Drive residents to stop local improvement charges implemented by Councillor David Hendsbee without their knowledge.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Human Resources.

HON. CAROLYN BOLIVAR-GETSON: Mr. Speaker, I would like to do an introduction before I start. I would like to recognize in the east gallery today: Liz Chisholm, Chairman of the Advisory Council on the Status of Women; Anne Kelly, a council member; Brigette Neuman, Executive Director of the Advisory Council on the Status of Women; Pamela Harrison, Transition House Association of Nova Scotia; Margaret Gulledge, a Deputy Commissioner of the Girl Guides of Canada; Margaret Galbraith, past Commissioner for the Girl Guides; Barbara Berringer, a past Deputy Provincial Commissioner of Girls Guides. These individuals joined me this morning for the statement in the House. I would like to extend a warm welcome to all of them here today. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Human Resources.

[Page 1029]

HON. CAROLYN BOLIVAR-GETSON: Mr. Speaker, I rise today, December 6th, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, with this message.

Mr. Speaker, I hope that someday we will not need to bring this matter forward and that there will be a day when women are free of domestic violence. On December 6, 1989, an angry young man carried a semi-automatic rifle into an engineering class at l'Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal. He separated the women from the men, and murdered 14 women. He had a hit list of an additional 19 women he identified as feminists, including the first female firefighter in Quebec, the first female police captain, the president of a trade union, a sport radio host, the immigration minister at the time and a transition house worker. He was angry that women were achieving equality and were moving into positions that were once exclusively male. He blamed women for taking his place; he reacted with violence.Violence and the threat of violence has been used for thousands of years to control women's lives to and maintain power. Women are being beaten, raped and murdered in Nova Scotia and across Canada, as well as around the world every single day.

According to statistics from the Advisory Council on the Status of Women:

According to data collected through the Nova Scotia Senior Abuse toll-free line, two-thirds of the calls identify women as the subject of senior abuse.

[12:15 p.m.]

[Page 1030]

We all have a role to play in stopping violence against women. Today and every day we need to reflect on what we can do as individuals and as a society to create a world where equality, fairness and dignity prevail. Every hour of every day a woman is intimidated, harassed, stalked, assaulted or abused. Sometimes the violence leaves physical wounds; it always leaves emotional scars. For help a woman might call a police department, a transition house, a women's resource centre, sexual assault services or victim services, in order to rebuild her life and possibly the lives of her children.

Mr. Speaker, it is important to reflect on how violence affects women and what we're doing about it throughout the year. The 16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women, from November 25th to December 10th, and the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, on December 6th, heighten our awareness about the issues.

The Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women hosted an event at Province House this morning to mark December 6th, the focus on what families and friends can do to help women in abusive relationships. The Transition House Association of Nova Scotia and the local units of the Girl Guides of Canada participated. The Transition House Association of Nova Scotia displayed the Clothesline Project, a moving installation of dozens of purple scarves decorated by women who have survived violence.

Mr. Speaker, we all have a role to play in stopping violence against women. During the last couple of weeks my colleagues here and staff throughout government have worn purple ribbons in support of transition houses across this province. Many of you also have made a donation to a transition house, a women's centre or sexual assault service near you.

Personal safety and freedom from violence are a main goal of the Advisory Council. Council members and staff work with government departments, women's groups and community agencies, anti-violence organizations and other provincial and territorial Status of Women organizations, to reduce violence against women.

The Advisory Council is working with Mi'kmaq organizations and the provincial Departments of Health, Justice, and Aboriginal Affairs. The goal is to research family violence in Mi'kmaq communities and to identify culturally appropriate ways to address the issues. Women in Nova Scotia will be safer when we can respond more effectively, in a more coordinated way, to the problem of sexual assault.

This year, the Advisory Council helped fund a needs assessment of sexual assault services across this province to study how victims are helped in communities where no specialized services exist. The results will be released early in 2008.

Nova Scotia's Domestic Violence Intervention Act provides emergency protection. Domestic violence educators train police and other justice personnel on how to help families.

[Page 1031]

Agencies in justice and in the community are working to provide better services in cases of high-risk domestic violence.

Families and friends are often the first point of help for women in abusive relationships. That's why the Advisory Council revised its publication, Making Changes, to include advice and information for families and friends on the signs of abuse, ways to offer support, and a list of dos and don'ts. Violence against women in society seriously affects the ability of women to achieve equality. It is not only the incidence of violence that limits women's lives, but the fear of violence that affects our daily existence, how we dress, where we go, with whom we associate and our mode of transportation.

Eighteen years ago, on December 6, 1989, 14 women were murdered at l'École Polytechnique in Montreal. They were murdered because they were women. Whatever its form, violence against women is unacceptable. We all have a role to play in stopping violence against women, Mr. Speaker, and to stop it, we have to all work together. (Applause)

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

MS. MARILYN MORE: Mr. Speaker, I haven't seen a copy of the ministerial statement, but this is an issue that is very important to me and I would like to take this opportunity to respond. First of all, I echo the minister's sentiments and comments. I also want to, on behalf of our caucus, thank the community-based organizations and government agencies that are working on these issues. I particularly want to mention the Transition House Association of Nova Scotia, the women's centres, sexual assault centres and men's intervention programs. They are doing incredible work, under very trying circumstances, with increasing workload and very limited resources. We certainly owe them a huge debt of gratitude.

It's one thing to send, in this Legislature, in this Chamber, and honour the memory of women who have been abused and murdered; it's another thing to hear their voices directly and it's another to document their risks. I think each and every one of us, and certainly our three caucuses, have an even stronger responsibility to be proactive on this. We can't just look at women and children who find themselves in difficulty after suffering abuse and violence in their homes and on the streets. We have to actually develop a strategy to prevent women and children, in Nova Scotia, from falling into that situation.

There is so much that this government could be doing. We have to be looking at things like reducing poverty, like improving the early learning and childhood system, preserving the dignity and economic pensions and welfare of seniors. We need better training and education, especially for low-income women. We need to improve the mental health services and on and on and on. So I challenge the government to be looking at proactive

[Page 1032]

programs - look at your legislation, look at your budgets, look at the current policies through a gender lens, because what we decide in this House has a different impact on women than it does on men. I challenge all of us to keep that in mind and to take this issue very, very seriously. Thank you. (Applause)

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

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise today to respond to the minister's statement today, which is a very somber and special day for us to remember violence, to remember women and other victims of violence particularly, and to honour the women who lost their lives on December 6, 1989.

On behalf of my caucus, I can say very clearly this is a concern and an issue that we want to put on the front burner and not on the back burner in this province. We have introduced a bill calling for a domestic violence court which was introduced in this session. I will be re-introducing a bill calling for a committee to study the elimination of domestic violence in the Province of Nova Scotia.

As others have said, this is something that needs to be addressed now. It is not a problem that is getting better in any way, shape or form - it is continuing and it is continuing to rise, in my opinion. The numbers are higher every year and hardly a week goes by that we don't read in our newspapers about horrendous things happening here in our own province, in big and small communities, in families where there is wealth, in families where there is poverty. Family violence exists in our communities and our neighbourhoods. We need to come up with the best strategies possible to address it, whether it be through education, studying other jurisdictions to see how they've made an impact or a dent in this horrendous amount of violence and suffering that exists in our province.

We really have turned a blind eye. In the five years that I've been a member of the Legislature, we haven't been discussing this, only very rarely. I would call on the government to make this a priority. It's a simple thing to begin action to study a problem and to deal with it.

I'm very pleased to see that there's research being done for the Mi'kmaq community, and that should be done as well as looking at the needs assessments around sexual assault services around the province. But we need to coordinate it. Those are two pieces of it.

The problem is much broader and I would call on the government to look at putting together a strategy that would help us eliminate or decrease the incidence of domestic violence in this province. It's very important for us, particularly on such a somber day, that we start to look at funding for the services that we know work and making it evidence-based. There are some things we may be funding that don't work; let's look at what works and what

[Page 1033]

works in other jurisdictions and let's put a real push on, on behalf of all three caucuses in the Legislature, to say that this is a priority in our province and it's time for action.

In the 1990s we had a family violence prevention initiative that was underway and that was cancelled in the early part of Dr. Hamm's term as Premier. I think we could re-invigorate that or create a new strategy which is multi-departmental, including all the stakeholders who work in the front-line services, such as sexual assault services, the transition houses, the men's intervention and women's centres - women and men who are working in the front-line services and know this problem better than any of us here in the Legislature and perhaps know some of the things that we need to be doing.

Funding is essential. Without it, we can't offer the services in all of our communities, we can't offer the breadth of services that are needed. Again, even with the agencies and groups I've mentioned, there's very little money for outreach. Many of you represent areas that have large urban components to them. People who live in those small towns and perhaps more isolated communities do not have access to services and they need them too. I think all of us need to look at the areas we represent and consider whether or not we believe that the services are available, even here in HRM, for such a large area, we have only one home for women to turn to in transition and it may not be close for the whole breadth of HRM. We need to look even within the urban areas to see whether the extent of services is sufficient.

It is known as the 16 days of activism to fight domestic violence and violence against women and I think it's a time when we need to examine what we're doing right here in our province - not just talk about domestic violence, but start to put some real resources and some commitment behind fighting it. Thank you. (Applause)

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 856

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 90 years ago, the Halifax Explosion destroyed the very core of our capital region and shocked the world because of the extent of the devastation and losses suffered; and

Whereas amazingly enough, the magnitude of the situation never overwhelmed the people of this great province who battled fires, a blizzard and personal loss to an extent we will never fully understand and left, as a legacy, stories of incredible heroism and compassion that still make us proud today; and

[Page 1034]

Whereas emergency and health personnel and individuals risked or even lost their lives working to save others, like Vince Coleman whose final act of dispatching a message to an approaching train meant the loss of his life for the sake of so many others;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House honour those lost that fateful day with a moment of silence and salute the many heroes who showed courage, ingenuity, a phenomenal survival instinct and generosity and thank the survivors who continue to share their stories, keeping this important part of our history alive for future generations.

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.

Please stand for a moment of silence.

[One minute of silence was observed.]

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you.

[12:30 p.m.]

The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 857

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

Whereas the Grade 6 classes of Bev White and Fran Schram at Sir Charles Tupper Elementary School have spent months researching and compiling information for their book on the Halifax Explosion; and

[Page 1035]

Whereas these students and their teachers explored historical sites of the explosion, researched information at the Nova Scotia Archives and spent time speaking to historians about this devastating event; and

Whereas thanks to the leadership of Bev White in applying for a grant to help with their project and Fusion Printing for publishing the book, the students will have, as a result of their efforts, an important account to share with others;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House, on this, the 90th Anniversary of the Halifax Explosion, thank the Grade 6 teachers and their students for including in their studies such an important topic in our history, researching and understanding how it impacted the people, their resilience and the subsequent rebuilding of our capital region.

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 on an introduction.

HON. BARRY BARNET: Mr. Speaker, if I may, I would like to do an introduction. Today, visiting us in the east gallery, is the General Manager of the Halifax Regional Water Commission, Carl Yates, and along with Carl is Debby Leonard, who is the Customer Service Manager. Carl and Debby are here to watch the proceedings of the House, as a little later today we will see the introduction of a bill to assist the Halifax Regional Water Commission. I would ask them to rise and receive the warm welcome of the members of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request to revert back to the order of business, Presenting and Reading Petitions.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 1036]

The motion is carried.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: If I may, Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a couple of introductions before I table these petitions. In the east gallery, we are joined today by Mr. Jim Connors, who would be known to many, if not all, members of this House and with him is Madeline Bolivar and Denyse Hockley. They are here today to raise awareness with respect to the funding of the drug Avastin. I am going to be pleased to table a petition shortly in relation to that, but I would ask the House to welcome them here today. (Applause)

I'll do this in two parts, Mr. Speaker. I beg leave to table a petition. The operative clause reads:

"We, the undersigned, want the Nova Scotia Department of Health to give all Nova Scotians living with cancer the best chance for survival by approving the funding of the cancer drug Avastin."

There are 3,679 signatures on this petition from the Bridgewater-LaHave-Conquerall Bank-Dayspring area and I have been pleased to affix my signature.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition. This is an on-line petition. The operative clause reads:

"We, the undersigned, want the Nova Scotia Department of Health to give all Nova Scotians living with cancer the best chance for survival by approving the funding of the cancer drug Avastin."

There are more than 3,300 signatures collected from around the province and I have been pleased to affix my signature.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Agriculture.

[Page 1037]

RESOLUTION NO. 858

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

Whereas the government's buy-local campaign, Select Nova Scotia, was announced July 5th of this year; and

Whereas to help promote awareness, increase consumer knowledge and encourage consumption of Nova Scotia agri-food products, a Minister's Advisory Committee on Buy Local was created to review buy-local efforts and coordinate initiatives across the province; and

Whereas this advisory committee volunteered much of its spare time to work on promotional efforts and heighten the importance we place on getting locally produced food to Nova Scotia consumers;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate and thank the members of the Minister's Advisory Committee on Buy Local - most of them are seated in your gallery, Mr. Speaker - including Mr. Peter Swetnam, Chair of the Committee and President of the Chicken Producers of Nova Scotia and the Federation of Agriculture's representative - and I do want to thank Peter for all his efforts; as well, representative Wayne Atwater, a councillor with Kings County Municipality; Jeanne Cruikshank, who isn't with us, the Vice-President Atlantic of the Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors; Laurie Jennings with Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers - I certainly want to thank Laurie; and it wouldn't have been possible without the Women's Institutes of Nova Scotia. We have two members of the Women's Institutes of Nova Scotia with us here today and this very hard-working volunteer organization is represented today by their president, Ellen Simpson, and Sharon Link. I would like the House to welcome those two people. (Applause)

We have with us the Executive Director of the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia, Gordon Stewart - we really appreciated Gordon's participation in the advisory council; and as well from the Department of Agriculture, Natalie Webster. Natalie is the communications director with the department. I would ask all members to give this hard-working group of volunteers a hearty round of applause. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 1038]

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

The motion is carried.

Just before I recognize the Minister responsible for Military Relations, referencing back to the tabling of the petitions. The first petition that was tabled will be, according to the Rules of the House. The second petition - on-line petitions are not recognized by the Rules of the House. So, therefore, it cannot be tabled.

The honourable Minister responsible for Military Relations.

HON. RICHARD HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, before I do my resolution, may I make an introduction?

MR. SPEAKER: Please do.

MR. HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, in your gallery today, we're joined by a number of guests. They're here for a brief service that will held down in the Veterans Room in a few moments.

Mr. Speaker, in your gallery we have the honorary Navy Captain Myra Freeman (Applause) - apparently everybody knows the Captain (Laughter) - Navy Captain Bill Woodburn, Commanding Officer of the Canadian Forces Base Halifax; Colonel Clyde Russell, Chief of Staff of the Joint Task Force Atlantic; Joe Ramia, Co-chair of the Festival of Trees; Brian Rankin, the other Co-chair of the Festival of Trees; Rob Hunt, Chair of the Board of Directors, Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia; and I see we also have some guests from the Royal Canadian Legion, Nunavut Command, and I welcome them to the gallery today. I would also like to acknowledge the proud members of the Canadian Forces from the Joint Task Force Atlantic, many of whom have served in Afghanistan. Maybe they could stand. (Standing Ovation)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister responsible for Military Relations.

RESOLUTION NO. 859

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

Whereas Joe Ramia, owner of Gallery 1 Furniture, commissioned local artist Holly Carr to design festival angel Christmas tree ornaments to commemorate the work of the Canadian Forces, particularly those who are deployed to Afghanistan; and

[Page 1039]

Whereas these ornaments adorn the special Christmas tree that was auctioned, with the proceeds from the sale going to the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the winning bid was made by Blaise Morrison, General Manager of the Halifax Shopping Centre, who in turn gave the tree back to the Canadian Forces so that it could be displayed in the Veterans Room of Province House;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House acknowledge the generosity and the community spirit of Joe Ramia and Blaise Morrison.

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 Minister of Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 860

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

Whereas Kids Help Phone has been on the line for almost 20 years; and

Whereas Kids Help Phone is Canada's only toll-free, 24-hour, bilingual and anonymous phone counselling, referral and information service for children and youth; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia Government and Kids Help Phone have established a new partnership through our Child and Youth Strategy to ensure Nova Scotia youth get relevant, targeted information to meet their needs;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the work of Kid Help Phone and encourage this partnership in particular and the Child and Youth Strategy in general, as we promise to continue focusing our energies and to change how we work within government and with others, to make lives better for our most vulnerable Nova Scotians, our children.

[Page 1040]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Energy.

RESOLUTION NO. 861

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

Whereas during the Christmas Season when families throughout Nova Scotia traditionally celebrate their holidays with members of their families, there are several thousand members of the Canadian Forces who are deployed throughout the world in places such as Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf; and

Whereas in addition to these international activities, our military personnel have willingly and enthusiastically provided their efforts to domestic operations and emergencies, such as Swiss Air 111 in 1998 and Hurricane Juan in 2003; and

Whereas in recent memory 14 Nova Scotia military personnel have made the ultimate sacrifice, including 10 soldiers in Afghanistan, three military search and rescue technicians from Greenwood and a naval officer on Her Majesty's Canadian Ship Chicoutimi;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House acknowledge the work and the sacrifices of the members of the Canadian Forces in the service of our nation and our province, particularly at this time of the year which traditionally is spent with their families.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 1041]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried. (Applause)

[12:45 p.m.]

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 79 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 140 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Elections Act. (Hon. Angus MacIsaac)

Bill No. 80 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 120 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Day Care Act. (Mr. Trevor Zinck)

Bill No. 81 - Entitled an Act Respecting the Establishment of a Domestic Violence Prevention Committee in Nova Scotia. (Ms. Diana Whalen)

Bill No. 82 - Entitled an Act to Recognize the Central Role of the Arts in Nova Scotia by Re-establishing an Arm's-length Arts Council. (Ms. Michele Raymond)

Bill No. 83 - Entitled an Act Respecting the Halifax Regional Water Commission. (Ms. Diana Whalen)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 862

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

Whereas 90 years ago today, on the morning of December 6, 1917, the relief ship Imo and the munitions ship Mont Blanc collided in the Narrows of Halifax Harbour; and

Whereas the munitions on the Mont Blanc exploded at 9:04 a.m. in the largest man-made blast prior to the nuclear age; and

[Page 1042]

Whereas the Halifax Explosion killed 2,000 women, men and children and left 9,000 more injured or disabled and destroyed large areas of Halifax and Dartmouth;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly, on the 90th Anniversary of the Halifax Explosion, remember this devastating event in our history and pay tribute to the first responders of 1917 who risked or sacrificed their lives to help others on that horrible morning and to today's first responders who stand ready to step forward again in the event of any disaster.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, could we please revert back to the order of business, Introduction of Bills.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 84 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 13 of the Acts of 2002. The Volunteer Fire Services Act. (Mr. Wayne Gaudet)

Bill No. 85 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 31 of the Acts of 1996. The Sales Tax Act. (Mr. Wayne Gaudet)

Bill No. 86 - Entitled an Act to Require the Payment of a Royalty on the Bottling of Water. (Mr. Leo Glavine)

[Page 1043]

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 863

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

Whereas soccer is one of the fastest growing team sports in Canada; and

Whereas Cole Harbour Soccer Club prides itself on providing an opportunity for youth to build self-esteem, develop and enhance social skills and to understand the importance of sportsmanship in a team atmosphere; and

Whereas the Cole Harbour boys under 14 Tier 2A soccer team won the championship of the Capital Inter-District Soccer League for 2007 and the gold medal for placing first in the Halifax Dunbrack and Pictou County United Tournaments this past summer;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly commend the entire Cole Harbour boys under 14 B2A soccer team for their exemplary play and that we extend our congratulations to all the players, coaches and parents for a strong team performance on winning the championship and the gold medal in 2007.

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. 864

[Page 1044]

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

Whereas Clinton Thomas began working at the Nova Scotia Home for Coloured Children in 1977, where he was employed as a child care worker; and

Whereas Clinton Thomas is one of the few remaining employees who worked at the original old home site; and

Whereas Clinton Thomas is an excellent role model for the youth and many former residents have come back to thank him for his dedication and belief in them;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly recognize Clinton Thomas for his hard work and dedication to the Home for Coloured Children over the past 30 years and encourage him to continue working with our troubled youth for a better tomorrow.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou Centre.

MR. PATRICK DUNN: Mr. Speaker, permission for an introduction?

MR. SPEAKER: Please do.

MR. DUNN: Mr. Speaker, I would like to introduce a couple of people in the east gallery this morning, a former school friend of mine who I had the opportunity to play hockey, rugby and softball with, an international marathon runner. I would like to introduce Chief Warrant Officer, retired, Kenneth Doucette and his beautiful wife, Denise. I would ask them rise and the Assembly give them a round of applause. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou Centre.

[Page 1045]

RESOLUTION NO. 865

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

Whereas legendary Trenton marathoner Kenneth H. Doucette was recently honoured in Ottawa; and

Whereas last month, the Chief Warrant Officer, retired, MMM, CD with the Canadian Armed Forces, 58-year-old Doucette was inducted into the prestigious Canadian Forces Sports Hall of Fame in Ottawa for his running achievements; and

Whereas Mr. Doucette is deeply honoured with his new place among only 85 other names inducted since 1971, with some years having no inductees, and where he will join two other retired Pictou County natives, Chief Warrant Officer Les Mason and Major George Harper;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House offer their enthusiastic congratulations to retired Chief Warrant Officer Kenneth H. Doucette on his prestigious installment into the Canadian Forces Sports Hall of Fame, demonstrating again the breadth of talent that our province has to offer 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. (Applause)

The honourable member for Dartmouth South-Portland Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 866

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

Whereas Self-Help Connection started in 1987, as a resource centre to develop and aid support groups throughout Nova Scotia; and

[Page 1046]

Whereas self-help groups help Nova Scotians develop individual and collective control over their health through building knowledge, skills and resources; and

Whereas Self-Help Connection has received national recognition as a "Mental Health Best Practice Program" from the Federal, Provincial and Territorial Advisory Network on Mental Health for self-help and consumer initiatives;

Therefore be it resolved that this Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate the Board, staff and volunteers of Self-Help Connection on their 20th Anniversary and recognize their valuable work with over 500 support groups 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.

The honourable member for Glace Bay.

RESOLUTION NO. 867

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 Shaena Wilkie, a Grade 9 student at Thompson Junior High School in North Sydney, was attending the Historical Fair of Cape Breton; and

Whereas Briana MacLean, a Grade 9 student at Bridgeport School, Glace Bay, was also in attendance at that fair and when she overhead her teacher say that a girl was choking, Briana quickly performed the Heimlich manoeuvre which dislodged the obstruction;

Whereas later the girls met and Shaena was able to thank Briana, her hero, in person; Briana learned the Heimlich manoeuvre while taking swimming lessons in Grade 4;

[Page 1047]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly congratulate Briana MacLean for both her humility and quick thinking, which saved the life of another student.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Hants West.

[1:00 p.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 868

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 Windsor-based Honourable H.E. Kendall Chapter of the IODE celebrated their 60th Anniversary in October; and

Whereas IODE Canada is a women's charitable organization with each chapter shaping their respective agendas to suite the individual community needs, such as education, social services and citizenship programs, with students and women of all ages, from all walks of life and educational backgrounds participating for fun, friendship and community volunteerism; and

Whereas the Windsor Chapter consists of women of all ages and from different backgrounds with their mission being to improve the quality of life for those in need;

[Page 1048]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend and congratulate the Windsor based Honourable H.E. Kendall Chapter of the IODE for 60 years of friendship and fellowship, while helping so many people in their time of need.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 869

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

Whereas the Pictou County Chamber of Commerce held their 15th annual Business Achievement Awards on November 8th at the DeCoste Centre in Pictou to recognize leadership and innovation in the local economy; and

Whereas the Export Achievement Award went to the Lismore Sheep Farm Wool Shop and River John Needle Company, owners John and Lillian Crawford and the Alex M. MacKay Non-Profit Organization of the Year was awarded to Summer Street Industries, and the Barrie MacMillan Entrepreneur of the Year was awarded to Jim Fitt of Velsoft Courseware Inc; and

Whereas the Employee of the Year was awarded to Alain Bosse of the Pictou Lodge Resort and Business of the Year sponsored by PRDC was awarded to Stright-MacKay Limited and Business Person of the Year sponsored by Michelin was awarded to Howard Anderson, Chartered Accountant with CIBC Wood Gundy;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the Pictou County Chamber of Commerce on hosting a successful 15th Annual Business Achievement Award Ceremony and acknowledge those who were recognized for their outstanding achievements.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 1049]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 870

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

Whereas the morning of December 6, 1917, is remembered each year in Nova Scotia and beyond as a day filled with destruction and loss; and

Whereas Nova Scotians set aside time each year to remember the Halifax Explosion, the victims, their families and friends, as well as those who came to aid; and

Whereas December 6, 2007, marks the 90th Anniversary of this fateful day;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the Nova Scotia Legislature take time to remember the victims of the Halifax Explosion and continue to educate our children about this tragedy and the displays of courage that followed.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes.

[Page 1050]

RESOLUTION NO. 871

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

Whereas a special plaque was unveiled this past spring at the St. Mark's Masonic Hall in Baddeck; and

Whereas the plaque recognizes St. Mark's Masonic Hall as a Municipal Heritage Property; and

Whereas besides the recognition as a Municipal Heritage Property, service jewels were presented to members of St. Mark's Masonic Lodge with William Roberts, Kenneth MacKenzie and Norman Bethune being honoured for 50 years of service; Carl Hamm and Robert Grant for 55 years; and Allison Nicholson for 60 years, with a 70-year-bar going to Gordon MacAulay;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly commend the significant accomplishment of both the St. Mark's Masonic Lodge for being recognized as a Municipal Heritage Property, and to the members honoured for their faithful years of dedicated service.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

RESOLUTION NO. 872

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

[Page 1051]

Whereas today, December 6th, commemorates the 18th Anniversary of the deaths of 14 young women at the École Polytechnique in Montreal, who were killed for no other reason than the fact that they were women; and

Whereas December 6th is a day when governments, organizations and individuals in Canada are urged to remember these women and to take steps to deal with the root causes of this violence; and

Whereas women's centres across the province, including the Saint Mary's University and Dalhousie University women's centres, have been in the forefront of the struggle against patriarchy, misogyny and violence against women;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House recognize the contributions of women's centres and shelters that are working to address and change these conditions of violence and injustice, and resolve to enact meaningful measures to make our communities safe for women and girls everywhere.

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. 873

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

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

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

[Page 1052]

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

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House encourage the education of Nova Scotians on the benefits of incorporating fish into our diet for the good health of all our people.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Immigration.

RESOLUTION NO. 874

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

Whereas Len and Pauline Goucher were married on this date, December 6, 1941, during the dark days of the Second World War; and

Whereas the Atlantic Captain in the Halifax Rifles left his new bride for war-torn Europe not returning to Canada until late December 1945; and

Whereas their lives together as parents, grandparents and great grandparents have stood the test of time;

Therefore be it resolved on this occasion of their 66th Wedding Anniversary, the members of this House pass on their sincere congratulations and best wishes on this day.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 1053]

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

RESOLUTION NO. 875

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

Whereas on Tuesday, May 1, 2007, many talented youth from the Spryfield area presented their work, the Hear We Are Radio Project: Spryfield Youth Tell Their Stories, to the public, at the Captain William SpryLibrary; and

Whereas these youth, from both junior high and high school have worked diligently with library staff through weekly workshops ranging in skills development from conducting interviews, creating their own audio pieces, to editing and production; and

Whereas the project began airing on CKDU 88.1 FM in May, it was partly facilitated by industry professionals with an interest in helping develop these skills among local youth;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the Spryfield youth who took part in the Hear We Are Radio Project as well as recognize the generous support of sponsors and partners, including the United Way and Action for neighbourhood Change, HRM Community Development, Kim Kierans and the King's School of Journalism, CKDU Radio Station, Mark Palermo and the families and friends of the participants.

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 1054]

The honourable member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 876

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

Whereas Ellen Page, a young actress from Halifax, has taken the acting world by storm and is considered to be one of the up-and-coming actresses on the international stage; and

Whereas Ellen has already established herself as a serious young actress determined to provoke audiences in some of the darkest roles in independent films of the past few years; and

Whereas on November 27th, Ellen was honoured as breakthrough actor at the 17th Annual Gotham Awards for her work on the critically acclaimed film, Juno, a film which has already received top prize at the Rome Film Festival;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly congratulate Ellen Page on her outstanding accomplishments and wish her many successes in her acting career.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 877

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

[Page 1055]

Whereas the very successful 50th Anniversary Reunion of the Liverpool Regional High School was held in July of this year; and

Whereas three schools in the Region of Queens - South Queens Junior High School, Dr. John C. Wickwire Academy and Liverpool Regional High School have benefited financially from this reunion; and

Whereas these schools played an important role in the success of the reunion with attendance surpassing expectations and thus generating this additional revenue;

Therefore be it resolved this House of Assembly recognize the 50th Anniversary Reunion Planning Committee Chair, David Pottie, and his committee members on this very successful reunion and their financial support of the South Queens Junior High, Dr. John C. Wickwire Academy and Liverpool Regional High schools in the constituency 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.

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Glace Bay.

RESOLUTION NO. 878

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

Whereas the Glace Bay Miners Bantam female hockey team participated in the Nova Scotia Bantam Tier 1 Provincial Championship recently in Pictou, coming away with a 2-2 record; and

Whereas the team, coached by Andre Arseneau, Carley Robson and Curtis Billard, was awarded the Fair Play banner; and

[Page 1056]

Whereas Meranda Tutty was named top defence for the tournament and Rebecca MacDonald was a tournament all-star;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate the coaches and members of the Glace Bay Miners Bantam female hockey team and wish them well in their 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 Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 879

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

Whereas health care professionals deserve our thanks and profound respect; and

Whereas the staff in nutritional counselling services at the Sacred Heart Hospital in Cheticamp help residents of the area eat healthier and manage conditions requiring special diets; and

Whereas these staff work hard to educate and assist people in understanding that healthy eating and good health are strongly linked;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the Legislature extend our thanks to the staff of the nutritional counselling services at Sacred Heart Hospital in Cheticamp and thank all health care professionals in our province for their commitment to delivering health care in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 1057]

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 880

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

Whereas legendary soccer coach, Jim Slaunwhite, is the head coach of both Halifax County youth soccer teams that qualified for the Canadian championships; and

Whereas at the nationals in October, Coach Slaunwhite began his week with the Under-16 boys team in Sherwood Park, Alberta, before finishing the week with the Under- 14 girls team in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador; and

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in popularity in our community because of the dedication of coaches like Jim Slaunwhite;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate and thank Jim Slaunwhite for his exemplary commitment to promoting youth soccer in the Province of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

[Page 1058]

RESOLUTION NO. 881

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

Whereas for 25 years, Alice Housing has been a place of refuge for women and children experiencing domestic violence; providing a safe environment and quality programs to the families under their care; and

Whereas the Excellence in Provision of Basic Necessities Award is given by the Donner Foundation to recognize excellence in social service provision by Canadian non-profit organizations by encouraging best practices and greater accountability; and

Whereas this is the second time in three years that Alice Housing has won the Excellence in Provision of Basic Necessities Award;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly recognize the efforts of Alice Housing and thank them for helping to make victims of domestic abuse feel safe and cared for.

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 Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage on an introduction.

[1:15 p.m.]

MS. BECKY KENT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. With your permission, I would like to introduce a resident of Eastern Passage and a neighbour of mine who is in the west gallery, and more importantly, certainly in today's proceedings, a valued health care professional, and a resident who comes back on a regular basis since we've opened the House to share the proceedings that we're doing here. It's Shauna Kearley, and I would ask that the House offer her a warm welcome. (Applause)

[Page 1059]

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

RESOLUTION NO. 882

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

Whereas Albert Horne, a member of the Royal Order of Antediluvian Buffalos in Eastern Passage, will be celebrating a milestone on December 7th - his 100th birthday; and

Whereas Albert Horne, is thought to be a descendant of one of the most noteworthy early settlers of Eastern Passage, Jacob Horn, who was a prominent landowner having once the land rights to McNabs Island, Devils Island, and much of what is now known to be Quigleys Corner; and

Whereas family and friends will join together this coming weekend to celebrate Albert's birthday in his community of Eastern Passage;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly extend congratulations and best wishes to Albert Horne of Eastern Passage on the occasion of his 100th birthday on December 7, 2007.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 883

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

Whereas Donnie Taylor began volunteering with the Aylesford Volunteer Fire Department in 1947; and

[Page 1060]

Whereas on May 5, 2007, Mr. Taylor was recognized by the Aylesford Volunteer Fire Department as he retired after 60 years of service; and

Whereas Donnie Taylor has served the community of Aylesford well, setting an example for all who have worked with him, and displaying his passion for firefighting and developing a strong department;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House recognize the contribution Donnie Taylor has made to his community and thank him for his 60 years of volunteering as a firefighter.

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 Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank.

MR. PERCY PARIS: Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a brief introduction, if I may. In the west gallery - and I would ask them to rise - we have, I guess maybe small in quantity but certainly good quality from the riding of Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank, and most notably downtown Waverley. If the House would please give them a warm welcome, it would be appreciated. (Applause)

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

RESOLUTION NO. 884

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

[Page 1061]

Whereas on October 23, 2006, I wrote the Speaker of the House asking that he bring the issue of on-line petitions to the attention of the Committee on Assembly Matters so that our Legislature could modernize our practices; and

Whereas on-line petitions are in common use in Nova Scotia and this summer the Premier, himself, called on citizens to sign an on-line petition in support of the original Atlantic Accord; and

Whereas today an on-line petition was presented here in the Legislature and has been rejected because our rules have not kept pace with technological changes;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs in this House recognize the pressing need to accept on-line petitions and agree to refer this matter today to the Committee on Assembly Matters to draft the necessary rule changes.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice tabled.

The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 885

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

Whereas the Premier and his Progressive Conservative Government's new Nova Scotia includes a province where health care workers will not be given the right to strike; and

Whereas due to this Progressive Conservative Government's lack of action, the health care system remains in shambles; and

Whereas it is unacceptable for the Progressive Conservatives to be playing politics with the careers and rights of thousands of health care workers in this province;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier and his Progressive Conservative Government cease their needless battle with Nova Scotia health care workers and focus on

[Page 1062]

the real problems facing our health care system such as doctor and nurse shortages, wait times and ER closures.

Mr. Speaker, I am just trying to set the mood.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: The time is 1:21 p.m. We will go until 2:21 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

HEALTH: FOR-PROFIT COMPANIES - NAME

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question this afternoon will be for the Premier. Yesterday, the Premier appeared to be announcing the end of health care as we know it. His state of the province address said, ". . . we will establish protection standards, and control that will allow publicly funded, private facilities to play a clearly defined role in providing access to certain and prescribed health services." Clearly, the Premier must have consulted with someone before coming to this decision. He wouldn't have done it on his own. So my question for the Premier is this, will the Premier tell this House which for-profit companies and corporate promoters he has been dealing with on this strategy?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I find it difficult to understand why the Leader of the Opposition would be against ensuring that our public are protected, that the proper standards are put in place, that the proper procedures are put in place to protect the public. Now the NDP is stuck many, many years ago. The reality is that the system needs change. The public are prepared for that change and we need to make sure that they are protected as we move forward.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, if the Premier had not abandoned the Canada Health Act and had instead consulted health care workers, he may have learned how to shorten wait

[Page 1063]

times within budget. Dal Surgery recently outlined a plan called "Keeping the Promise, a strategy for access, innovation and accountability" - I will table a copy of this for the Premier, if he would like to read it. My question for the Premier is this, why would his government try to auction off health care services at the very same time that doctors are ready with these innovative solutions to improve access and to cut wait times within the public system?

THE PREMIER: The Leader of the Opposition can spin all the political rhetoric he wants, Mr. Speaker, the reality is that this government stands by the Canada Health Act. There will be no queue-jumping. The public health system that we have in our country and that we have in our province is one we are very proud of and we will ensure that as we move forward with the new realities of our health care system, and the costs associated with that. We will make sure that the procedures and protocols are put in place to protect our public.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the Premier is willing to sell out the health care system that defines Canada as a country for one reason only - for his search for something that he can gain from politically through divisive political tactics. That's a fact. My question is, when will this Premier admit that he has lost control of health care and that he is raising the idea of for-profit health care because of a crisis that his own government has created?

THE PREMIER: The Leader of the Opposition said that we have the best health care system in Canada - Mr. Speaker, again, spinning political rhetoric. We have to put Nova Scotia first and we have to put Nova Scotians first - the only people who are putting politics first are the NDP.

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

HEALTH: PRIVATE HEALTH CARE - STAFFING

MR. STEPHEN MCNEIL: My question is for the Premier. We previously tabled documents from a group of desperate doctors who were looking for possible alternative delivery models for Nova Scotia. Today we have another memo from this same group - that I will table - which further explains the proposal for private health care delivery. In this memo we see the recommendations that these private health care facilities, "should not be staffed by unionized personnel."

We know that the Premier and his Health Minister were approached by this group of surgeons concerning their proposal, and he now intends to move forward with private health care, so my question to the Premier is, if you were following the recommendations of this concept document, do you plan to staff these private health care clinics with non-unionized health care workers?

[Page 1064]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, that's a purely hypothetical question. The reality is that we all have a responsibility to make sure that those procedures and standards and protocols are put in place to protect the public and to protect the public system and the Canada Health Act that we all cherish.

This is not uncommon in other jurisdictions. There are similar procedures and protocols put in place in places like Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, and Alberta, so we're not breaking new ground here. We were very clear in our Throne Speech, we indicated that we would be moving forward in this direction, and I would hope that those on the other side of the House will support us in this endeavour.

MR. MCNEIL: Health care workers, like so many other sectors of this province, and across the country, have fought long and hard for their rights and benefits that they now have, thanks to unionization. Unionized health care workers are the backbone of our health care system, not that you'd be able to tell by the stance that the Premier and his Progressive Conservative Government have taken, trying to remove the right to strike from our health care workers. So my question to the Premier is, does the Premier support the idea of a non-unionized environment in health care?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, again we're hearing the spin of political rhetoric on the other side of the House. We deal with private organizations such as EHS - actually set up by the then Liberal Government in the 1990s - which is unionized, and we respect those who are parts of unions in our province and we will continue to work with them and to respect the very nature of what they do.

Nursing homes is another example, Mr. Speaker. We deal with many private sector individuals in that regard - small options homes, the list goes on. You know the spin and the political rhetoric of the other side and the fear-mongering, I'm sure we'll hear more about it in the coming months, but the people of this province don't buy it.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, it is health care workers today - who's next? The issue around labour issues in the Province of Nova Scotia in health care is not the cause of the problems that Nova Scotians are telling all of us. They are talking about the shortage of doctors, talking about the shortage of nurses, they are talking about wait times. Picking a fight with our health care workers is not ensuring that Nova Scotians have access to the quality health care that they expect each and every one of us here to protect and deliver for them. My question to the Premier is, will the Premier abandon his campaign against unionized health care workers and get down to the real issues facing Nova Scotians when it comes to health care?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, when it comes to health care in this province, this Premier and this government will stand up for every single Nova Scotian, not just unions.

[Page 1065]

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

HEALTH: AVASTIN POLICY - RECONSIDER

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Premier. This morning Jim Connors, Madeleine Bolivar of Bridgewater, Denyse Hockley of Sackville, brought forward another 5,000 signatures from Nova Scotians, petitioning this government to include Avastin on the provincial formulary of approved cancer drugs. Quebec has joined British Columbia, and Newfoundland and Labrador in covering Avastin, and that means that about 40 per cent of Canada's population is covered. Yet this government remains where it is.

Mr. Speaker, when will this Premier reconsider the government's ill-advised role in preventing Nova Scotians from getting the health care they require?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I refer that to the Minister of Health, who will once again describe the process that any potential drug in our province would go through.

[1:30 p.m.]

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. We all know that through the Cancer Systemic Therapy Policy Committee, they review these types of drugs on a semi-regular basis as they come along. There are thousands of different drugs coming out by hundreds of different drug companies on a regular basis that we need to have reviewed. All of them have some kind of claim that it's a miracle drug and that it will save lives.

Quite honestly, as it moves around with Avastin, Avastin is not all that it's set out to be. We continue to work with the Cancer Systemic Therapy Policy Committee, which is made up of experts, which is made up of cancer oncologists, which is made up of regular Nova Scotians, who have made a decision and said that the information that's provided to them does not help them in supporting this drug for coverage.

MR. DEXTER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Well, the weight of scientific research is growing against the position of the government in this regard, so if the Premier won't help with the cost of this life-saving drug for hard-working people like Michael Bolivar, then he should at least urge the Minister of Health to fast-track a provincial colorectal screening system.

Nova Scotians recently learned that this government allowed state-of-the-art colorectal screening equipment to sit idle while frustrated doctors struggle with screening wait times that they describe as infinite, Mr. Speaker. So my question is, how can the Premier

[Page 1066]

be so negligent when he lets needed medical equipment sit idle, although many individuals and organizations, including Cancer Care Nova Scotia, are urging action?

THE PREMIER: I'll refer that to the Minister of Health to update the House on the steps they have taken.

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and I know that the Department of Health has been working diligently in creating the colorectal screening program, working with its partners, of course, Cancer Care Nova Scotia. What we need to make sure is that when we do have equipment - and the equipment that we do have has been referenced by the Opposition - that we do have at the Cobequid Health Centre, we don't have the people in order to operate that equipment.

Mr. Speaker, we need to make sure that we have the physicians, we have to have the technologists and we need to make sure that we have the safest possible outcomes for all patients in Nova Scotia. What they're saying for us to do is just put something together and hope that it's going to work.

MR. DEXTER: Well, Mr. Speaker, after eight years of government, they don't have the staff to operate the equipment, you've got to ask the question, whose fault is that? Colorectal cancer is the third most-frequently diagnosed cancer in Canada, the second most common cause of cancer-related death and the incidence of this disease is high in Nova Scotia. Colorectal cancer can be prevented if it is caught in the early stages, yet this government takes a leisurely approach to screening and it won't cover life-saving drugs prescribed for patients like those who are here today. So my question to the Premier is, why has the Premier let his government squander so much time when each month of delay puts more Nova Scotians in greater and greater danger.

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

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, knowing the cancer situation in our province, we make sure that we continue to invest in that system, $48 million recently negotiated with the federal government to make sure that we have the best possible radiation oncology program in all of Canada. We also want to make sure that we have the right kind of drugs available to Nova Scotians and I want to table this document. I know the member opposite would like to have a look at this, that the cancer therapies that have been reviewed and have been funded by the Cancer Systemic Therapy Committee. They totalled an extra $9.7 million worth of drug coverage for all Nova Scotians.

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

[Page 1067]

HEALTH: LONG-TERM CARE - WAIT LIST

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. Last week, 2,132 seniors were waiting for a nursing home bed. I will table that data. This is far more than the government admitted in its public statements. There is a 50 per cent increase in just one year; 2,132 seniors and their families have been assessed an approved for long-term care but there is no place for them. The Premier offers them beds in the year 2010 at the earliest. Will the Premier tell those seniors, their families and care givers, why his government sat on its hands and let the waiting list for long-term care increase so significantly?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member knows that the government is taking a number of steps through the continuing care strategy, in dealing with our seniors. Some of those options are improving the programs to keep individuals at home because many individuals want that opportunity. We recognize that we have challenges with regard to the number of long-term care beds required for our senior citizens. That is why we have moved forward on a plan with over 800 beds, as the first round, and you need to plan for that, obviously, as we all would recognize, and we will move forward with our next phase. There have also been short-term measures.

My honourable colleague makes it sound as if none of these individuals actually have a bed and the reality of it, Mr. Speaker, is that our district health authorities and our hospitals are making sure that these individuals have the very best care possible in our facilities.

MR. DEXTER: Well, you know, I am glad the Premier mentioned that they are in hospitals. I am going to give him an example of what happens to some of the people who are in hospital, Mr. Speaker. Ralph Bell has been one of those seniors. He spent six months in the Aberdeen Hospital waiting for a nursing home bed and upon discharge, he was billed $5,000 for his stay in hospital. Now his family managed to pay the hospital $2,000. They had to pay up front for his nursing home bed. They were told that they should prepay his funeral. There is no money left to pay the rest of the hospital bills and Mr. Bell's daughter has been told that if they don't pay up, this file is going to collection. So how can the Premier justify this treatment of seniors who are being forced to wait and wait in hospital because the Conservatives actually cut the number of nursing home beds in the first eight years of their mandate.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I will refer that to the Minister of Health to give clear indication to the member what steps are being taken.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, maybe this would be a good opportunity to talk about the continuing care strategy and give an update to the members opposite of exactly what has been going on. I know in this fiscal year that we are expanding the Repair and Adaptation Programs through the Department of Community Services to make sure that those individuals can, of course, stay in their home the longest, at a cost of

[Page 1068]

$4 million. To expand the Challenging Behaviour Program, making sure that those seniors who, of course, have more challenges are taken care of, that's $1 million to evaluate the Self-Managed Care Program and continue to expand that. That's $1.7 million to develop a Restorative Care Program, $2.7 million. I could go on and on and on about what this government is doing for the seniors of Nova Scotia.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, here we have a senior forced to wait in less than ideal conditions for six months, and now his family is being put through even more stress. Meanwhile, he has been waiting since April for a transfer to a nursing home near his family, and there's no end in sight. So my question to the Premier is, Ralph Bell and his family have done their share of waiting - why can't the government show common sense and patience in dealing with them and the large hospital fee that they have been charged as a result of the policy of this government?

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

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, if you remember, a number of years ago we changed the way that seniors are taken care of in our long-term care facilities and how the dollars are split up and who's responsible for what. Nova Scotians and the Government of Nova Scotia have picked up the charge for medical care of those individuals, and we'll continue to do that. At the same time, the dollars on room and board, or the rental part of that, of course, is charged back to seniors. I would suggest that hadn't we changed that, the individual probably would have been covered through our system and, if I remember correctly, it was on the movement of the NDP for us to make that change.

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

HEALTH CARE WORKERS: ATTACK - STOP

MR. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. Our health care system is in crisis in this province. ERs have been closed for almost 6,000 hours so far this year, and despite what the Minister of Health might say, 98 per cent is not good enough. Wait times are constantly growing for health services. Orthopaedic surgeries at a two-year wait. People are waiting eight-plus hours for an emergency room service, and tens of thousands of Nova Scotians are living without a family doctor. So my question to the Premier is, why are you picking a fight with health care workers at a time when there are so many real problems with our health care system?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, this government has made significant investment in the health care system in this province since 1999, and each and every year we add more money to that budget. We have to find new ways of doing things, moving forward in a

[Page 1069]

modern day health care system. We have to continue working with those working in the health care system - our doctors, our nurses, our medical lab techs, and others - to find the very best processes in place for our patients. It's not about special interests - the only special interests there are, are people.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, there's already a shortage of doctors, nurses and other health care professionals in this province, and we haven't seen the worst of it yet. Nurses will be reaching retirement age in droves over the next five or so years. Making a good-faith collective bargaining process even more difficult by taking away health care workers' right to strike is not going to make Nova Scotia a more attractive option when trying to recruit health care workers to this province. So my question is to the Premier. When will the Premier give up his attack on health care workers and concentrate on recruiting efforts for all health care professionals?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, this government has more doctors per capita than any other province across the country. (Applause) This province and the steps it has taken keeps over 80 per cent of our nursing graduates here at home. The Leader of the Liberal Party is simply spinning once again. The fact of the matter is that this government is taking steps, making the necessary investments, and making a difference for the people's health care in this province.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, talk about spinning. The Premier knows when he quotes that issue around more doctors per capita than any other province, that the majority of those doctors who he's speaking about are not out there making sure that all Nova Scotians have access to a full-time doctor. Many of them are working in part-time practices, and you know that. Why would the people of Digby be looking for doctors? Why would the people in Clare be looking for doctors? Why would the very people in Inverness be still looking for doctors if we have such a surplus of family physicians in the Province of Nova Scotia and a surplus of health care workers?

MR. SPEAKER: Question.

MR. MCNEIL: When will the Premier stand up and finally admit he's focusing on the wrong problem with health care, and concentrate on the real facts and issues that are facing Nova Scotians when it comes to health care?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I'll refer that to the Minister of Health to provide some clarity for my honourable colleague.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite would have all people in Nova Scotia and all people in this House believe that we're alone in this

[Page 1070]

physician shortage issue. We know that even with the ratio that we do have that we are short physicians across this province and we'll continue to work with . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: Not according to the Premier, you're not. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I thought he was finished asking his question, so I sat down again in his respect. We have had a net growth of doctors in Nova Scotia. Even with our ratio - and our ratio is the best one in Canada - we still have requirements for doctors in Nova Scotia. We've had a net growth in doctors since January of last year; we've added 55 physicians, 31 in rural areas; we've had four CAPP candidates begin practising in rural communities; and in the next 60 days, we will have a 24/7 ER in Digby, as of January.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

JUSTICE - CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS: SAFETY - ENSURE

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice. Staff at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Burnside are very concerned about occupational health and safety. Staffing levels are so low there the staff feel unsafe. Increasingly, today's inmates are jailed for drugs, extreme violence and gang-related crimes. The stress of dealing with overcrowded conditions is a growing concern to correctional officers and this problem is spreading across the province. My question for the minister is, how are you going to keep your correctional officers safe in overcrowded, stressful prisons?

[1:45 p.m.]

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member brings to light something that we are working on in a very responsive way within the system, with management plans around the allocations and the pressures that do exist within our correctional facilities, all five across the province. Of the 452 beds in Nova Scotia, we have a large number - 272 - that would be in the Burnside facility between male and female inmate populations. We have a management strategy in place that's working, we have measures to deal with those issues that happen because of intermittent sentences and especially remand offenders on the weekend. So we have a plan in place, we continue to monitor that and we will work effectively in the system with the professionals we have who do a great job for Nova Scotians.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the parking lot and surrounding area in Burnside is unsafe because there's no staffed gatehouse and no secure fence around the property. Staff have been assaulted in the car park by former inmates, a female staff member was followed home from there recently and assaulted when buying gas. Despite repeated

[Page 1071]

requests, the necessary security upgrades have not been made and the issue is the subject of an occupational health and safety complaint at this very moment. I would like to ask the minister, when will these upgrades be made to ensure your department's compliance with violence in the workplace regulations?

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, again, we have protocols in place with regard to our correctional facilities, we also have plans in place to deal with the pressures around that, especially when you deal with Cumberland and Antigonish Counties, that currently have a 44-bed complement and planning in place to make sure that we have enough beds to take pressure off. As the members would know, inmates are moved around the province depending on the need and capacity that's there, especially for overflow, we take that very seriously. The honourable member referred to inaction, I would request that she provide the House with those statements that need to be followed up on and I will review them.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, officers working in correctional facilities in some Canadian provinces receive mandatory outside escort training - this is the situation in Manitoba and Ontario. Mandatory training along with specialized equipment like Kevlar vests go a long way to reduce stress relating to the threat of violence, but here in Nova Scotia, correctional officers don't get the same protection as deputy sheriffs. Will the minister tell us when he's going to ensure the same level of protection for correctional officers as his department provides for deputy sheriffs?

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, again, as I would remind the member opposite, there are protocols in place and they are followed, they're taken very seriously. There are contingency plans that are put in place by the department and through the correctional facilities. If there's something specific that she has raised, I've committed to review that and I've committed to review that to the honourable member for Hants East.

Again, there is a process with regard to bringing concerns forward and we take them very seriously and this government will act responsibly as we have in the past and will continue to do well into the future as this government continues this mandate for Nova Scotians.

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

JUSTICE: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE - COURT DELAYS

MS. MARILYN MORE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice. I will table an article dated November 5th from the Chronicle-Herald titled, "Justice Slow For Women Abused By Partners". In this article, Helen Morrison, who works with abused women states that it's eight months of looking over your shoulder and it's eight months spent wondering when you walk out or in your door if he's going to be there. My question for the Minister of Justice is, why are women and children leaving abusive situations forced to wait so long for court hearings?

[Page 1072]

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, given the significance of today, as well as dealing with any domestic violence issues - and one I take very seriously and recognize it affects all communities and all social strata across the Province of Nova Scotia - that's in part why we've been acting with our crime prevention strategy that we'll be rolling out next week for all Nova Scotians. That's why the Department of Community Services invested $5.7 million to make sure to fund transition houses and support for individuals. Not only the people that are victims, but also the abusers to make sure this is not repeated. We'll continue with those efforts and she will see in the coming days how serious we are in taking those and making sure true actions are occurring on a daily basis.

MS. MORE: Mr. Speaker, other provinces have instituted specialized domestic violence courts. In fact, Winnipeg's Family Violence Court - the first of its kind in Canada - received a United Nations Public Service Award in 2006. Ontario has domestic violence courts operating in 30 communities across the province and New Brunswick became the first province in Atlantic Canada to enact a domestic violence court last year. My question to the Minister of Justice is, when will Nova Scotia families benefit from a domestic violence court?

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member, as she would know, in a number of instances the government, through the Throne Speech, committed with regard to the establishment of a mental health court that is part of a whole specialty court process that we're dealing with. As we often know with all these situations, they're often intertwined and cross over. We take that very seriously, we work with the judiciary and I commit to that member that ongoing efforts between Justice and the judiciary are making and ensuring and working across the government departments - through Health, Community Services, Health Promotion and Protection - all of those are part of the integrated approach that has been announced and we'll continue to roll that out in the coming days.

MS. MORE: Mr. Speaker, we're talking here about a particularly vulnerable portion of our population in Nova Scotia. Any delay in the judicial system processes actually puts these women and children at further risk. These courts would provide timely access to court hearings and facilitate getting peace bonds. In the best models, every staff person who works in the court, from clerks to police, Crown attorneys to victims' support workers, receives specialized training in family violence. My question to the minister is, will he commit to speaking with his counterparts in Ontario, Manitoba and New Brunswick with the aim of implementing a similar program in Nova Scotia?

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, I can comment to my honourable colleague, that is in fact what we're doing. We've just recently had federal-provincial-territorial meetings across the whole segment and one of the things, as well, that was part of that was funding for legal aid services and working with Canada to make sure, across that spectrum , we are making sure in terms of protecting Nova Scotians; the only province to actually step out ahead with 250 policing officer commitment over four years; to make sure with our crime prevention

[Page 1073]

strategy, it's just not about enforcement, it's about intervention and prevention. Again, I think the honourable member will be very pleased to see what we are doing and I will take her up and make sure we do the follow-up.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

PREM.: PRIVATE HOSPITALS - SUPPORT EXPLAIN

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. It took a while but the Premier has finally shown his true colours. He has revealed to Nova Scotians that he wants a private health care system in Nova Scotia. In his Throne Speech, the Premier said his intention was to introduce public-private partnerships. Then earlier on this week, he suggested he might be supportive of some form of private investment in health care and lo and behold, yesterday the Premier said he wants private hospitals and he will introduce the legislation or regulations this Spring.

Nova Scotians understand that health care is expensive and they recognize that it consumes almost half of the provincial budget, but they also understand that many of their tax dollars go toward paying for health care. So my question for the Premier is, how can the Premier support any Nova Scotian paying twice for health care, once through their taxes and again for a private hospital?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member just doesn't get it, just doesn't get it. This is the same caucus, and the government before, which moved forward with the private sector on what is the best ambulance system in the world. I have heard members say that on the other side and do you know what? I agree with them.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, I don't get it? I don't get it? I would suggest (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): I would suggest the Premier invest in a mirror and perhaps look at the real person who doesn't get it, Mr. Speaker. We know that private health care is accessible only to those who can afford it, yet all Nova Scotians pay for health care and as leaders in this province, we have to ensure that no one is left behind. The most vulnerable Nova Scotians, those with the most need, are often those with the least resources. My question for the Premier is, how do you think private health care will ensure adequate care for the most vulnerable in Nova Scotia, regardless of their ability to pay?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member is putting forward a myth. We deal with the private sector on a daily basis. Yes, we talked about public-private partnerships. I don't know if he is suggesting that particular caucus is against working with the private sector -

[Page 1074]

I would be surprised at that. That is what he is saying. The fact is, we deal with our private sector ambulance system here in this province, we deal with the private sector in our long-term care facilities, and we deal with the private sector in many other aspects of health care and beyond. At the end of the day, it's about the patient and it's about ensuring the quality of service they are getting and about making sure that they get that service as quickly as possible.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, the only myth around here is the Premier's leadership. (Interruptions) The Premier believes that private health care is going to solve all the problems. It's only going to create one huge problem if this government does not ensure that equal access to health care is available regardless of the ability of anyone in this province to pay. My final question to the Premier is, will the Premier admit that there are more important things to discuss concerning health care in this province and finally give up his attack on health care workers in this province?

THE PREMIER: Yes, there are myths and realities and the reality is that we are sitting of this side of the House, Mr. Speaker, and they are sitting on that side of the House, Mr. Speaker, and they are sitting on that side of the House.

Mr. Speaker, we are going to continue working with the professionals in our health care system to make sure that Nova Scotians have the very best health care possible. If that means making change in our system, then we will make that change, and we will work with them to ensure that that change is in their best interest.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

ENVIRON. & LBR.: LBR. STANDARDS CODE - RIGHT TO REFUSE

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Environment and Labour. Yesterday in the House, the Minister of Environment and Labour advised retail workers who don't want to work on Boxing Day, or other uniform closing days, to exercise the right to refuse the Labour Standards Code. The Labour Standards Code specifically excludes unionized workers from exercising the right to refuse, and the code also excludes employees of 30 different categories of retail business. So my question to the minister is this, why is he telling retail workers that they have a right to refuse, when many of them clearly do not?

MR. SPEAKER: There were two bills introduced to the House regarding (Interuption) As long as we understand that, we have to ask general questions when there are bills before the House.

The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour.

[Page 1075]

HON. MARK PARENT: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. The very first bill that I brought in as Minister of Environment and Labour, had the privilege of bringing in, was a bill that protected workers in retail sectors who historically didn't have to work on uniform closing days. That is what I referred to. The honourable member knows that, and that bill does protect those workers.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, based on what the minister had to say yesterday, even by his own admission, even workers with the right to refuse to work are not exercising this right. A rather curious situation, wouldn't you agree, Mr. Speaker, given the dissatisfaction that many retail workers have publicly expressed since this government abandoned them to the Wal-Marts and the Superstores? Mr. Speaker, my question to the minister is this, what steps has he taken to ensure that workers who refuse to work a holiday are protected in more ways than just on paper?

MR. PARENT: Mr. Speaker, I am glad for the question because it gives me an opportunity, as I stated yesterday, to urge workers who are covered by this bill to exercise their rights. We have contacted companies, we have sent notices out, we have put notices in the paper. When we released the bill, we gave public notice. I would call on all MLAs in this House, with their constituents, please let them know that if they are in one of the sectors where they didn't have to work in the retail sector, let them know to exercise their rights, speak to me, I will stand up for them. (Applause)

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Well, Mr. Speaker, since it appears that the current Labour Standards Code provisions aren't working for retail workers who don't want to work on statutory holidays, I want to ask the minister what is he doing to ensure retail workers get to spend time with their families during the upcoming holidays, just like the rest of us?

MR. PARENT: Mr. Speaker, I replied to that before, and I'm glad to go on the record once more, and I hope the media pick this up, workers who are in those retail sectors who traditionally didn't have to work on uniform working days, do not need to work; they are protected by the full extent of the law, completely, totally.

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

ECON. DEV.: PRINCESS OF ACADIA SERV. - PLAN

MR. HAROLD THERIAULT: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Economic Development. The Princess of Acadia ferry is a vital service for many industries in southwestern Nova Scotia. A ferry has operated there for 150 years in that area and it has become an important economic generator not only for South West Nova but for all of Nova Scotia. Industries such as fishing, tourism, forestry, transportation, will be negatively affected if the ferry service is shut down. The Princess of Acadia provides a link between Digby and

[Page 1076]

St. John that will sadly end in 2009 if no long-term solution is found. My question to the minister is, what is the minister's long-term plan to keep the Princess of Acadia ferry service from ending in 2009 for the good of all Nova Scotians?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I certainly share the honourable member's concern and he articulated extremely well the importance of that service to that part of the province. We have certainly participated in the current effort to keep the service going and we are prepared to be at the table as a partner in further efforts to keep that service going.

MR. THERIAULT: Mr. Speaker, it was the members of the Liberal caucus as well as the members of the New Brunswick Liberal caucus that helped bring this issue to the forefront and helped secure the funding from all levels of government. An impact study conducted by Mariport Group Limited on the Digby-St. John Ferry was released in July, 2007. That study is available online and I would advise every minister in this House to read it.

MR. SPEAKER: Question.

MR. THERIAULT: Mr. Speaker, the study concluded that the economic cost to the region of closing the ferry service could reach as much as $40 million annually. My question is, will the minister commit to a long-term sustainable plan to ensure the Princess of Acadia continues well beyond 2009?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I'm really pleased that the honourable member made reference to the Liberal members of the New Brunswick Legislature who assisted in his efforts, according to him. We enjoy the support from both sides of the Bay of Fundy and the effort that was made to keep the ferry service going. I would urge the honourable member to continue to push the Liberal MLAs in New Brunswick to assist in the future development because to date we're getting no response from that part of the bay.

MR. THERIAULT: I'll call this afternoon, Mr. Speaker. My next question is for the Minister of Tourism. This government claims to care about the tourist industry of this province. The people of southwestern Nova Scotia are looking for real leadership, not band-aid solutions. The loss of the Princess of Acadia will have a negative economic impact on the region and for the whole province. A $40 million annual loss is no laughing matter. Many bed and breakfasts and small tourist operators have specifically opened their doors because this ferry service is there. My question to the Minister of Tourism is, will the Minister of Tourism put this ferry at the top of the tourist list in his office and see if he can lobby the federal and provincial government to keep this ferry going?

HON. WILLIAM DOOKS: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for the question. The member claims that he lobbied this government in support of the ferry to continue its operations. I'm pleased to stand here today and to say that the government did assist the ferry in operation, over $2 million in assistance as a matter of fact, and that does

[Page 1077]

tell the member across the way that we are concerned in the ongoing operation that both support passengers and commercial activity in Digby.

Mr. Speaker, I am promoting tourism in Nova Scotia and I will continue to support the Minister of Economic Development in discussions with the other provinces and other industries to continue the support that we have demonstrated to Nova Scotians.

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

EDUC.: WAVERLEY-FALL RIVE-BEAVER BANK -

SCH. CONST. DELAYS

MR. PERCY PARIS: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank forms one of the fastest-growing urban areas in Eastern Canada, with a population of around 22,000. These communities are to a large extent made up of working families who are concerned that their children receive a safe education. However, due to this government's cutbacks, a new school to update Waverley Memorial-L.C. Skerry has been pushed back to 2010. Will the minister explain why these communities are experiencing unacceptable delays in their new school construction?

MR. SPEAKER: I would just like to remind our visitors that we welcome everyone in the House, but you're not allowed to be pro or con regarding the activities that take place on the floor of the House. We would ask you to refrain from clapping.

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, first of all I would like to welcome the parents who are in the gallery today. I am a bit disappointed perhaps to think that they were encouraged by their MLA to come to the House to hear answers to questions that I know he already has. However, I will deliver the same message. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, the honourable Minister of Education has the floor.

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, I did mention here earlier that I welcomed the new Education Critic, invited him into the office, had briefings there with my staff. I know that one of the things on which he was briefed was capital construction and that did include Waverley Memorial-L.C. Skerry, so I do believe that he has the information. But for those parents who perhaps have not received that information I would be glad to tell them that our government is committed to the 2003 capital construction list. We will work through that list - there has been no change and there has been no change in the scope of work. We will deliver on that list.

MR. PARIS: Mr. Speaker, I want to remind everybody in the House that this is the people's House and you are most welcome to come.

[Page 1078]

The issues facing Waverley Memorial-L.C. Skerry are well known to the minister . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. PARIS: Mr. Speaker, the issues facing Waverley Memorial-L.C. Skerry are well known to the minister, but I will list them again: mould; leaking roofs; leaking basements; no proper gym despite this government's desire to encourage healthy lifestyles in our students; and water damage to the school is endangering student and staff health. My second question to the minister is why, despite this long list of problems, is there yet another delay in the provision of a new school for Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank?

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite and to the parents in the gallery for their information, the department is well aware of the conditions in Waverley Memorial-L.C. Skerry, that's why it is on the capital construction list, along with 57 other communities that will receive new or upgraded facilities as a result of this government's $400 million commitment.

MR. PARIS: Mr. Speaker, the department has promised this new school on a number of occasions over the years, but always that support has been delayed and delayed again. The parents of these communities are tired of waiting for this new school. So my final question to the minister is, when will the minister stand up to the commitment made by her government and ensure that the new school will be open in 2009?

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, I will repeat that this government maintains its commitment to complete the schools that were announced in 2003. I will also suggest to the members of this House we will live within the financial means of this province, we will maintain our commitment. I would suggest, if we have to do some reallocation within our budget, that we do have a school in Glace Bay that we may want to talk about. Thank you. (Applause)

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

ENERGY - NSP: MANDATORY RENEWABLE TARGETS

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, this province . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. CORBETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Minister of Energy. The province has a target of 20 per cent of all energy coming from renewable sources. Unfortunately, this government doesn't care enough about renewables to make sure local investors can provide the power we need. My question to the minister through you, Mr.

[Page 1079]

Speaker, is, when is this minister going to set mandatory renewable targets for Nova Scotia Power?

HON. RICHARD HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, I'm so glad I have time today to respond to the member's question. The member - and all members in this House - know the aggressive goals this government has set as targets. We will achieve those targets. That's the problem the Opposition is having, that we have a leader on this side that has a vision and a plan to implement that and we are going to do it, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)

[2:15 p.m.]

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, no vision and no plan is the reality over there. In 2001, Nova Scotia Power's first request proposals for renewable energy took two attempts to fill - that's leadership. In 2004, the wind energy company, Acciona, cancelled a 30-megawatt project in Amherst because the price they were getting wouldn't cover the cost of their building. That 30-megawatt power plant never got built. That's leadership and vision. Some environmental groups are predicting the current RFP will only be half-filled. I want to ask the minister, how is he going to ensure that the province is no longer viewed as being anti-local ownership in wind energy in the renewable energy sector?

MR. HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite in that Party is against private industry in this province. We have 60-megawatts of power being generated by wind turbines in this province. The Premier and I were at an announcement in Brookfield two weeks ago when Nova Scotia Power put an RFP out for 130-megawatts of power. They've increased that to 240-megawatts of power being produced by private industry in this province. That's the goal this government is doing and we will achieve it working with the partners.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, you know, if they could harness the hot air and the bio mass over there, we could probably heat HRM. (Interruptions) Mr. Speaker, the reason why these requests for proposals don't get filled, it's because you have to bid low to win the contract. When you bid low, it's impossible to make a profit. Anti-business, I would say. I'd like to ask this minister, when is he going to introduce feed-in tariffs which ensure companies get paid and Nova Scotia meets its renewable energy target?

MR. HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, I just received my bill from Nova Scotia Power and in it was a pamphlet showing the wind generation that we have in all parts of this province. When they announce the successful components in this province, hopefully in the first of the year, six new companies will be adding 240-megawatts of power by wind generation. We are also looking at other avenues of renewable energy and tidal will be it and it's in the very near future, so stay tuned.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

[Page 1080]

TIR: RTE. 4 (ST. PETER'S TO SYDNEY) -

UPGRADE PLAN

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, Route 4 is the oldest part of Nova Scotia's highway system and in many sections, the most neglected. The highway from the St. Peter's Canal to Sydney is in deplorable condition. While this remains one of the most scenic routes in our province, it is mostly avoided due to its dangerous state. Route 4 is the major link between the Strait area and the Cape Breton Regional Municipality. It plays an important role in the economic and tourism development of Cape Breton Island. My question is, will the Premier table, in this House, his government's plan to upgrade Route 4 from the St. Peter's Canal to Sydney?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I will refer that to the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal to update my honourable colleague on much of the work that has been done and the work that we plan to do in the future.

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the honourable member for a very important question and a very important issue, I know, to the Island of Cape Breton. Trunk 4 is a tremendous opportunity for us in regard to advancing work we believe we will be able to partner with the federal government in regard to new infrastructure money that has been made available. We have done tremendous work in the past number of years on Trunk 4 and we will continue to provide additional money for that highway in the next number of years.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, what we are all wondering is, what does the next couple of years mean? The Liberal caucus has raised concerns over the state of Route 4 for the last number of years. Yesterday, the Sydney and Area Chamber of Commerce, the Strait Chamber of Commerce, business and municipal leaders met to discuss concerns over the state of Route 4. Owen Fitzgerald, the President of the Sydney and Area Chamber of Commerce, said that the current condition of the highway threatens travelers' safety and the Island's economy.

MR. SPEAKER: Question.

MR. SAMSON: They have called on the government to complete upgrades to Route 4 by the year 2012. My question is, will the Premier commit to honour the demands by local Chambers of Commerce and municipal leaders to upgrade Route 4 in its entirety by the year 2012?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, this government has done more for the highway system in this province than any other previous government before. Every single penny that we collect in fuel tax goes back into our highways, over 1,000 kilometres over the last two

[Page 1081]

seasons, while that group over there wants to cut gas tax. Two hundred and eighty kilometres of paving would be lost to the people of Cape Breton Island, to the people of St. Peter's, Richmond County, through to Sydney. That is what that group over there wants to do. Our team, on this side, will make sure the highway are . . . (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The time allotted for the Oral Question Period has expired. The honourable Premier on an introduction.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, if I might, I would like to welcome to the east gallery, actually one of my siblings, my older and more wiser sister, I am sure everybody would agree in this Chamber. My older and more wiser sister, Karen MacLean. I would like to welcome her to the Chamber today. (Applause)

The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour on an introduction.

HON. MARK PARENT: Mr. Speaker, I, too, would like to welcome to the Chamber opposite a seatmate who I sat beside for many years, who was a good seatmate, made me laugh very often, always worked hard for his constituents, Gary Hines. (Applause)

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 6.

Bill No. 6 - Smoke-free Places Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to stand but before I begin, with your consent, please, I would like to do a short introduction of some visitors that we have in the gallery today.

MR. SPEAKER: Please do.

[Page 1082]

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Joining us in the west gallery are Bob Stead and Bob Rye. Bob Stead is the Mayor and Bob Wrye is the Deputy Mayor of the Town Council of Wolfville. I would like them to please stand and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, the reason why it's important to introduce those two gentlemen right now is that sometimes you have to stand up and admit that a good idea was not actually your own, that you actually got it from somewhere else. In this case, I am actually admitting that I got this great idea from somewhere else, and that was the Mayor and Town Council of Wolfville, Nova Scotia. I want to give them full credit that indeed, they were the first municipality in this province and indeed across the country, that received national recognition as a town council that is progressive in its way of thinking and in doing things. Indeed, with what they have done to date and hopefully with what we will achieve in this Legislature, when hopefully we will pass this bill, we will become known throughout this country for doing the right thing.

Just to point out how important it is for us to move on this as quickly as possible, there's a story that is in the Canadian Press today from the Province of Ontario where, under some growing pressure, Ontario wants to become the first province to ban smoking in cars with young passengers in the cars. I want to make sure that we beat Ontario, I want to make sure that we become the first province in Canada to do that.

This has been done in jurisdictions in the United States and Australia and again we've banned smoking in cars where children are present. There's a private member's bill on the table in British Columbia from a politician there - I mentioned Ontario has legislation there as well, Mr. Speaker, and it's just a matter of common sense that this be done.

One of the good lines I read in this Canadian Press story today was from an advocate for this kind of legislation who said that it is time when people buckled up that they butt out at the same time. Unfortunately, in some cases, we have to come about protecting our children by bringing in legislation. In this case it makes sense to do exactly that because across this country there are one in five children who are regularly exposed to smoke in vehicles.

As we know, about 1,600 Nova Scotians will die from smoking-related illnesses and 200 will die from exposure to second-hand smoke as well - with lung cancer being the leading cause of death in this province and 85 per cent of all lung cancers are due to smoking of tobacco. As well, the province spends about $180 million a year treating smoking-related illnesses.

So as a province, Mr. Speaker, we're trying to help all Nova Scotians quit smoking and we've seen an example with Wolfville Town Council of leaders who were prohibiting smoking in public places, in restaurants and bars. We've taken those few small steps which

[Page 1083]

are eventually leading to protecting the public - it will, it does lead to protecting the public in this case. We've seen changes to, for instance, power walls in convenience stores and so on, that make cigarette advertising less tantalizing for young people.

So, Mr. Speaker, this is a bill, although it's a Private Member's Bill and it comes from a private member of the Liberal caucus, this is actually our bill. This is everyone's bill because we've seized the moment on a great idea and we've taken it. We've said that it makes perfect sense to prohibit smoking in a vehicle when children under 18 are present. Again, I would like to give all of the credit to Wolfville Town Council, the mayor, the deputy mayor and the councillors there. I hope they will be on hand to see this go through the legislative process as quickly as possible so that Nova Scotia will become a leader and the first one in this country, the first province to take this kind of legislation and make it law.

Mr. Speaker, with those comments I thank you for your time and again congratulations and thank you to the Town Council of Wolfville for a great idea.

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

HON. BARRY BARNET: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I, too, will stand for a few moments to discuss this bill and some of the accomplishments that we've been able to accomplish together and succeed with, with respect to tobacco cessation in the Province of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I never get tired of saying that our goal as a government is to help make Nova Scotia the healthiest and safest province in the country. We do that with the work and the dedication of a lot of hard-working and dedicated civil servants here in the Province of Nova Scotia, as well as advocates in a variety of groups and organizations, to promote the health and safety of all Nova Scotians.

I would like to say that this bill, in my mind, in my believe, goes to the very core of what we believe in and that is protecting Nova Scotians, protecting our young people. Anything that we can do, as a government, to protect Nova Scotians and to protect young Nova Scotians, is a good thing. I would like to see a bill like this incorporated in an overall strategy, this particular one is not part of that, but it has a good, positive message. My expectation is that the difficulties with this piece of legislation will be overcome by the good work that comes out of this and that is promoting good health and encouraging people to drive in a safe practice, without needlessly exposing young people to secondhand tobacco.

The time that I would like to take in this House, Mr. Speaker, is to talk about some of the accomplishments that we have been able to achieve together, working with all three Parties, working with citizens of Nova Scotia, working with our health care professionals, and working with the staff of Health Promotion and Protection and other departments to ensure that we do what is necessary to protect all Nova Scotians.

[Page 1084]

[2:30 p.m.]

In 2001, our government adopted a comprehensive strategy to reduce tobacco rates in Nova Scotia. At the time, they were the highest in the country and we have had significant success. The strategy was a result of extensive consultation with health care stakeholders to integrate an evidence-based, best practices strategy. The strategy itself was committed to introducing smoke-free places legislation, raising tobacco taxes, providing treatment and help for smokers, developing progressive and innovative public awareness campaigns and preventing our children from tobacco smoke and starting smoking in the first place. Part of its strategy included supporting communities to take action on tobacco use.

Since 2001, we have raised tobacco taxes to deter our youth from starting to smoke in the first place. We have introduced the Smoke-free Places Act to protect all workers and the public from exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke. The Smoke-free Places Act is the strongest, provincial protection against exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke in this country. We have supported district health authorities to develop and run community-based, tobacco controlled programs. We have supported district health authorities to develop and run nicotine cessation programs that have become national leaders in helping people quit smoking.

We have supported district health authorities in providing nicotine replacement therapies such as the patch and gum, free of charge when enrolled in a treatment program.

Nova Scotia is one of a very few number of provinces that provides this type of service. Earlier in the session, a bill was introduced that will provide tax relief for people who purchase nicotine replacement therapy. Our government has gone one major step beyond that and we've actually provided it free for those who enrol in a program.

We've developed award-winning media and public awareness campaigns to portray tobacco as not the glamorous lifestyle of the Marlborough Man and many of us have seen the public awareness and media that we have developed and used here in the Province of Nova Scotia, as I indicated, it is award winning.

Less and less children are able to access tobacco and our efforts have resulted in more tobacco vendors complying with restrictions on selling tobacco to minors. We have recently changed the Tobacco Access Act to ensure the tobacco industry can no longer use point of sale as a place to promote and advertise tobacco to our children and to former smokers, and smokers wishing to quit. We have been the most progressive province in this country and maybe the most progressive province in the world.The combined efforts of the strategy by stakeholders, the Department of Health, agencies, and the government are having an impact.

According to a Canadian tobacco use monitoring survey, the overall smoking rates have dropped from 30 per cent in 2000 to 22 per cent in 2006 - an amazing statistic. Children's smoking rates have fallen even further from 25 per cent in the year 2000 to 15 per

[Page 1085]

cent in 2006. In 2007 the Nova Scotia student drug use survey echos the results and the successes that we've been able to achieve in our young people.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out to the members opposite and to all Nova Scotians that in 1998, students in the drug use survey indicated that 36 per cent of them were smokers - an astounding figure. In 2002, that number reduced to 24 per cent and now in that same survey we see just 16 per cent in the 2007 results, and I think the numbers speak for themselves.

As we have increased public protection against tobacco, exposure to tobacco smoke, children's exposure to second-hand smoke in homes has also decreased. In the year 2000, 30 per cent of our children were exposed to second-hand smoke in the home. In 2006, the statistics are fewer than 14 per cent. Mr. Speaker, these are very good numbers. However, we have much more work to do. We recognize that tobacco use rates have stabilized at a certain level. From 2003 to 2006, smoking rates have hovered around 20 per cent to 22 per cent. As well, we know that the smoking rate for young adults has decreased from 37 per cent to 33 per cent in 2000 to 2006. These statistics are of tremendous concern to the department and to our stakeholders. That is why we have initiated a process to renew our commitment to tobacco control, to update our strategy to recognize the new realities of tobacco use and the fact that we have fulfilled what we set out to do in the year 2001.

The renewal process has so far engaged district health authorities and health stakeholders. Recommendations on their next steps in tobacco control are forthcoming. We expect to release the new strategy in the coming year that will help us lead the country and the world in reducing tobacco use and improving the health of Nova Scotians. One of the recommendations that will come forward from stakeholders is to protect our children from tobacco smoke. This bill will help us do that.

Mr. Speaker, I want to speak specifically to some of the stakeholders and some of the advocates on behalf of promoting a healthier Nova Scotia and reducing tobacco use in our society. In 1998, or it might have been 1997, my former colleague, Councillor Bob Harvey, introduced a bylaw for the City of Halifax, the Halifax Regional Municipality, that restricted tobacco use in public places. That bill received a great deal of debate at the municipal level and indeed at the provincial level. That bill ultimately was passed and began a process that led to now a new piece of legislation - the Tobacco Access Act - that restricts tobacco use in public places across the entire province. I believe it's reasonable and appropriate that a bylaw that is appropriate for one municipality should be in all municipalities and that's why we will be supporting the piece of legislation that has been proposed today.

The concerns raised in Halifax Regional Municipality and indeed in the Town of Wolfville, years back when we had restrictions in one municipality and not in another, were legitimate. They were overcome by provincial legislation and that's why I believe it's appropriate to do the same with this particular piece of legislation. I am always encouraged

[Page 1086]

by the hard work of municipal councillors, including the mayor and the deputy mayor of Wolfville who have been tireless advocates on behalf of their citizens. I am encouraged by people like Councillor Bob Harvey and others at the Halifax Regional Municipality who have worked so hard to bring forward and to recognize a public health issue.

Mr. Speaker, one more person who, I believe, deserves a great deal of credit as well is the former Minister of Health and now the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, my friend and our colleague the member for Truro-Bible Hill, who brought forward that progressive piece of legislation that enabled us to talk about this very piece of legislation here today. I think this House owes him a great deal of gratitude and support for being so progressive. (Applause)

At the time, that was the most progressive bill in the country. Other provinces have moved to catch up to us. They still haven't reached us. And, Mr. Speaker, as time has progressed, since 2001 when we introduced that Act and brought that to the Province of Nova Scotia, we have amended the Act and made it even stronger. We have made steps around reducing the ability fo the tobacco companies to market directly to our children through our point-of-sale amendments to the legislation. These are things that I am extremely proud of.

When I walk into a convenience store or a gas station, or another place where tobacco products are sold, and I see that behind the counter where once stood a marketing opportunity for tobacco companies it is now a blank space, I look at that as a success for this province, Mr. Speaker.

I do want to congratulate the Town of Wolfville, on November 19th, for passing their bylaw. I do commend every councillor because I understand it was a unanimous decision of council. Wolfville is the first jurisdiction in this country to adopt such restrictive measures in vehicles, Mr. Speaker. However, I would like to point out that smoking in private vehicles is currently banned in Arkansas, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, California, and a number of municipalities in the United States. We can take from their examples and improve our laws here in the Province of Nova Scotia - I don't mind doing that, I think it is the appropriate thing to do.

Nova Scotia would be the first province of its kind to adopt this kind of measure. I think it is important that we do protect our young people, Mr. Speaker. I would like to point out, however, that we also currently have in the Smoke-Free Places Act, a ban that prohibits smoking in buses - it prohibits smoking in taxis, limousines, and other vehicles used in the course of employment. I would also like to point out that children exposed to second-hand tobacco smoke show greater likelihood of lower respiratory infections, sudden infant death syndrome, ear infections and severity of asthma symptoms. Mr. Speaker, I know that other members want to speak about this piece of legislation.

[Page 1087]

I recall, very clearly, sitting in my seat in this House in 2001 as the original Tobacco Access Act was debated in this House, and members opposite will remember it was a piece of legislation that I believe was appropriate for Nova Scotia, but could have gone a little further. I did propose an amendment at the time; unfortunately it was never voted on, but I would like to say that the wisdom and the strength and the commitment of my colleagues saw that that amendment be put in place and that today we now have a piece of legislation that all members can be proud of.

Mr. Speaker, I want to close here by saying that what I am most proud of are the people who have expressed to me, over time, the support of our government as a result of moving forward with tobacco access control. I have had a number of constituents and friends, and strangers, come up to me and express how grateful they were for the legislation that we have put in place. I have had people who were lifelong smokers who quit smoking, who now endorse fully the work of this government.

I only began to realize the true impact of the work that we did here in Nova Scotia in 2001 and beyond, Mr. Speaker, just this year. I had the opportunity to travel to Europe, spend a few short days in Germany where their citizens aren't protected by the same kind of legislation. During my time there, I noticed so clearly the difference that existed in the public places where smoking was permitted and it's only now that I have had that opportunity to experience both the smoke-free environment that we take for granted sometimes here in Nova Scotia, and the opposite of that in Germany. I can tell you that our citizens are very fortunate to have the kinds of laws that protect and promote health and safety here in Nova Scotia.

I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, that there is still more work to be done, that the approach we've taken has proved successful and we'll continue to achieve more success, but there still are people who smoke. It still causes a great deal of concern for their families. It still costs our health care system millions of dollars. It causes a great deal of grief for those individuals, at some point in time.

As we progress as a society and as we progress as a province, I look forward to the day that those numbers continue to decline and decrease and decrease, until we get to a point in time where Nova Scotians will and can be the healthiest and live in the safest province in this country. So with those few short words, I would like to lend my support to this piece of legislation. However, I do understand it does have some limitations, there are some concerns around enforcement. It will not be an easy piece of legislation to enforce but I think the value in this legislation is simply the fact that we are standing up and talking about a very important public health issue, that is access to tobacco for young people and exposure to second-hand smoke, Mr. Speaker.

[2:45 p.m.]

[Page 1088]

So with those few words I will say that we, on the Government side, support this - we understand its limitations. We believe that the best approach is to work through a comprehensive strategy that will see an overall reduction in tobacco rates in this province. We are committed to renewing that strategy and I will take my place by thanking the Mayor and Deputy Mayor and all Councillors in Wolfville, as well as all municipal councillors, all our health advocates and the hard-working people at Health Promotion and Protection who continue to provide me and our government with great advice and support, as we move toward becoming the healthiest and safest province in this country. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

MS. JOAN MASSEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am happy to stand here this afternoon and talk about Bill No. 6, An Act to Amend Chapter 12 of the Acts of 2002, the Smoke-free Places Act. Sadly, a part of this job in Opposition is we get to criticize and oftentimes we have to point out the negative parts of issues that come forward in this House, so I will have to point out some of the downfalls of what is happening with this bill.

It is sad that in this day and age, we have to stand here and legislate something that really is just a common sense issue. I'm not sure how many people are out there in the population who still don't understand the negative health impacts that smoking - especially second-hand smoking - has on everybody, especially children. We know that children can't come here and advocate for themselves so, of course, that is left for us to do. I would hope that all parents out there, and guardians, know that second-hand smoke is detrimental to the health of children who are around them. In fact, children are restrained inside of cars, in car seats, booster seats, and such and, of course, the combination of smoke from a burning cigarette and the smoke exhaled by a smoker are taken in by them.

We know that this decreases their lung efficiency, it impairs the lung function in children of all ages and it increases the severity of childhood asthma. We know that Nova Scotia is among the leaders in Canada on asthma rates. The facts, indeed, do speak for themselves, Mr. Speaker, but again, I'll say it's a sad day when we have to be in here and legislate something that, surely to goodness, parents are not doing now in their cars with children.

I can think back to when I was a child and the concerns around smoking, of course, were not known. I can remember in Grade 6 was the first time that we were shown a film on the effects of smoking on a human lung. I never did take up smoking; however, both my parents did smoke, and I can remember being in the car, going for family vacations or what have you, and having to ask them, can you please not smoke in the car, because it made me feel ill.

So I think times have changed since then. We've been educated far better in the school system, and if people take up smoking now, I believe it's because there is peer

[Page 1089]

pressure, there are other reasons that people are taking up smoking. I don't believe they don't know that the effects of smoking are detrimental to their health.

There is an issue with enforcement here and, indeed, the honourable Minister of Health Promotion and Protection actually mentioned that at the very end of his speech on this bill. He said there are issues around enforcement. The Town of Wolfville, in their bill, they do talk about a fine of not more than $200. There's nothing in this bill that speaks to what is going to happen as far as enforcement, how it's going to be enforced, if there are going to be fines, or do you lose your licence for seven days, or what is going to happen to people who are caught smoking in their car with a child.

I know the police are having a problem now enforcing the bylaws around smoking outside of restaurants and areas. We all see that, especially in Halifax, I notice it more than in Dartmouth, but outside the buildings, it's miserable. Especially this time of year when the planters are devoid of greenery and they're decorated with these little white cigarette butts. It really is upsetting to see that. I'll put a plug in here - why can't people take their butts home with them? So there's a gap in the bill in that it doesn't talk about regulation.

The car seat, the new laws brought in for car seats - you have to be a certain weight and you have to be a certain age - I believe the police are having a bit of a conundrum around how they're enforcing that. Do they have a scale with them? Do they take the child out, do they weigh? You have to think about these things when you write a bill.

Oftentimes I find the government here relies on, oh, we'll put it in the regulations. The problem with that is that we don't get to see the regulations, and they might not even be written for months or even years. So I think we're going to have to do some educating here, whether we have to go back into the school system and educate children as to what their rights will be in the Province of Nova Scotia around this bill so that if they're in their car and their mom and dad or somebody starts smoking, they know what their rights are, I guess.

We all know, again, the dangers of this issue - smoking. Even when someone lights up a cigarette for just five minutes, it's potentially harmful to children. Second-hand smoke actually is more harmful to children than adults, because their immune system is not as mature. So we know that second-hand smoke is something we don't want our children to be around. We know that smoking can kill; a lot of times it does kill. It can lead to problems that will lead to issues of heart disease, and so on and so forth.

Mr. Speaker, again, I'm going to say why are we in here talking about something that is just common sense? But if the bill is on the table, I can only hope that if this bill does go through, that it's not just words on a piece of paper, that somehow the government is going to find a way to be able to enforce this to educate people about this bill. Those are, I guess, my hopes and wishes. With that, I will take my place.

[Page 1090]

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

MR. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise just to say a few words on Bill No. 6. It's interesting, it's not very often in the House that we receive this kind of unanimous support for a piece of legislation that comes forward. Many of the speakers who have spoken today, and members who have spoken outside of this Chamber, have been in support of this piece of legislation because they know it's the right thing to do for Nova Scotians. It was interesting, we have spoken with the Minister of Community Services who has brought forward legislation dealing with children at risk, and here we are still in 2007 allowing people to smoke in confined spaces, which a vehicle is, with our children, the most vulnerable of people that we should all be there to protect.

I want to applaud the council in Wolfville for the leadership that they have shown and I know this vote took place on November 19th, but on November 17th I had the privilege of being at Acadia University to watch a basketball game as my son was celebrating his 16th birthday. With interest I listened as the announcer said this is a smoke-free place and that includes your vehicle that's in the parking lot. So even before the vote, Acadia University in Wolfville was showing the leadership in making sure that Nova Scotians inside of their car were still not smoking on the premises.

So when we talk about the issues, and there are some concerns I'm sure about the enforcement of this, but fundamentally I believe Nova Scotians will respect the law that we will put in place around this. You will see this, as you begin to see around other issues, seatbelt use, for example, which at this point is reaching record levels of people respecting the law around seatbelts. It's not the issue of enforcement because Nova Scotians know wearing a seatbelt is the right thing to do. It's like Nova Scotians know smoking in a vehicle is the wrong thing and they will respect the law and follow the rules of the law of the land here in Nova Scotia.

You know, it has been interesting, it was brought up earlier about the fact that presently we can't smoke on a bus and in a car, a taxi. This is just the normal extension of that, Mr. Speaker. We all know the risks of second-hand smoke to all of us, particularly to our young people as they are developing and growing. So I want to congratulate my colleague, the member for Glace Bay, for following on the leadership of the council in Wolfville coming forward. I want to recognize the government today for calling this bill and having it debated, because this legislation is the right thing for Nova Scotians. More time in this House politics needs to be set aside to ensure that we are doing what's in the best interests of our Nova Scotia children and Nova Scotians in general.

Mr. Speaker, I'll close with those remarks and I know I should also recognize the members from the Official Opposition, the New Democratic Party, whom I know will be fully behind this piece of legislation and support the member for Glace Bay. As they often encourage him during Question Period, I know they will really encourage him as this bill

[Page 1091]

proceeds through to the Law Amendments Committee and, of course, third reading. With that, I'll take my seat.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Agriculture.

HON. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I, too, want to rise this afternoon and say a few words in support of Bill No. 6. This legislation, of course, is an offshoot of legislation and a bylaw that the Town of Wolfville put forward on November 19th. It happens to be my son's birthday and he was celebrating his 33rd birthday on November 19th. So I do want to commend the Wolfville Town Council for showing the necessary leadership on this legislation, and I also want to thank the Liberal caucus and the member who brought it forward, it is good sound legislation. You know, this legislation isn't about money, it isn't about politics, it's about the health of our young people and what can be any more important than that? (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, we all know that cancer is a dreadful disease and in some cases, unfortunately, we do have young people, especially the young people who can't speak for themselves, who are subject to second-hand smoke. I, like the Leader of the Liberal Party, do believe that Nova Scotians will, in fact, not only recognize this legislation, they will honour it, because what we're doing here is speaking about the safety of our young people and making them more healthy, and making Nova Scotia a more healthy place to live.

I had occasion, over the summer, to spend some seven weeks taking radiation treatments and I just wanted to say to the House that we all owe a deep sincereness and gratitude to Cancer Care Nova Scotia, because those folks work down there every day, they go about their business without acknowledgment, without honour. They're not looking for any credit, but they're in there each and every day. There are six machines that are going full-tilt, five days a week. There are people in there with throat cancer, there are people with lung cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, what have you. To the people at Cancer Care Nova Scotia, I certainly tip my hat to those folks. (Applause)

Again, I know that the MLA for Truro-Bible Hill, the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, did bring forward legislation a few years back that was on the leading edge in this country. I'm not too concerned, I would say to the honourable member for Glace Bay, about beating Ontario, but I am glad that Ontario is trying to bring in similar legislation. It certainly indicates that the Town of Wolfville has probably struck a positive chord with provinces right across this country. I will be pleased to support the legislation that will, in fact, make us a leader as a province. With those few words, I do want to say that I have nothing but the utmost respect for this piece of legislation and will certainly do my very best to see that it goes through, expeditiously. Thank you.

[3:00 p.m.]

[Page 1092]

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

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, I, too, want to rise today to say a few words in support of Bill No. 6. I want to commend the member for Glace Bay for bringing this forward, but most importantly, for his opening remarks in stating that this wasn't his idea, that this was spearheaded by the Municipality of Wolfville. I want to congratulate the council, the mayor, the deputy mayor on taking that initiative. As we've seen and I've heard, the mayor and those involved on the council, in the municipality down there, have spent a lot of time speaking on radio shows and to media throughout the country and maybe even through the U.S., over this issue and it's an important issue.

Anytime we talk about the well-being of Nova Scotians, especially our children, I think people take note of that and want to learn a little bit more about what this issue is, what this piece of legislation will entail, what the demand will be and the law will be, in this province, if it is successful in the process going through this House and becoming law in this province.

I want to say a few words on this piece of legislation. I know it's very short in the explanation and it lacks a bit on the enforcement and the requirement of a fine or penalty, but I think that's not the most important thing. I think the most important thing, with a piece of legislation like this, is what effect it will have when it becomes law. The education of Nova Scotians and of our youth, as said previously, the youth in this province can change many things. We witnessed, I think, the education, and the effective education, on recycling here in the province. I believe if it wasn't for the education portion of recycling around our youth and their initiatives and their push to ensure that they do it - not only them, but their parents - I think shows how important that education portion of it is.

We can set the fines at whatever we want. I truly believe though, once people understand that there's a law and that potentially they are breaking the law, that's going to go farther than any fine that potentially will be attached to this piece of legislation. I hope also that maybe through this process, we look at the motion, I believe, that the municipality brought forward and at maybe changing the age limit. I believe, if I'm not mistaken, in Wolfville, it's anybody 18 and under, and I believe this legislation says the same, so maybe that's a good thing. It was my understanding that there might have been a year gap there but I'm encouraged to have that age ceiling of 18. We all know that it's important that we keep our young people safe and this piece of legislation, I think, can go a long way.

We all know, it is no secret that second-hand smoke is very toxic. We hear that throughout the last several years, especially with changes of smoke place or smoking in the workplace and in the community, Mr. Speaker, and especially in a vehicle.

One of the groups that have definitely been spearheading this issue is the Canadian Cancer Society. I know that they've probably promoted and supported and given a lot of the

[Page 1093]

documentation not only probably to Wolfville but to any other individuals, especially MLAs, on why it is so important to address this issue.

In that information, they tell us, and it is well-documented, that smoking or second-hand smoke within a vehicle is 23 times more toxic than it is in a home. That is why I think we really need to target smoking within vehicles, even if - and there's always criticism - even if the windows are down or there's a sunroof open, it is so important because it's such a confined space that our children are vulnerable when an individual smokes.

As my colleague stated earlier, it is a strange thing that we have to stand here in the Legislature and go through the process of changing the law when it deals with something wish such common sense, of not smoking in front of anyone under 18. It is so important that we also recognize some of the questions around this piece of legislation, especially the question around, is this an invasion on smokers' rights, Mr. Speaker? We've heard about that throughout the last several years when we've changed our laws in the province, about what rights do smokers really have?

I think it's important that we recognize a person's right to smoke in a car should end when they endanger the lives of children, those vulnerable kids who might be in that vehicle. They cannot change their environment, they can't walk out of the room, they can't go outside the building. I think that's why this piece of legislation has come forward and we need to address that.

The other thing is that the question may be asked on how can a law like this be enforced? As I said before, Mr. Speaker, many jurisdictions have started to look at this. We know that in the U.S., there are many States that have changed the law just in recent months. In the last year, we have California, Kansas, Louisiana, and there are a few municipalities within the U.S. that have come forward like Wolfville, to ban smoking in vehicles. We have Bangor, Maine that has done that, Keyport, New Jersey, and we also have Puerto Rico and some Australian states, South Australia and Tasmania are just a few of those that have come forward. The stats are saying that it is enforceable, that in the United States the municipalities in the States that have changed the law have been successful in implementing the enforcement of this law.

As I said earlier, I think the most important thing is the message that Nova Scotia will send, this Legislature will send when creating a law like this. The message will be that it's not right, it's wrong and if you do it you'll break the law. Whatever the fines will be, I'm sure we will look at that aspect of it down the road.

The other most interesting part, and the member for Glace Bay mentioned it earlier, was around the cost to the health care around smoking-related illnesses. They are huge, over $180 million a year of our provincial budget goes towards addressing health care smoking-related illnesses. I believe that whatever we can do, as MLAs, as a provincial Legislature, Mr.

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Speaker, to reduce that cost and, in doing that, supporting and hopefully encouraging healthier Nova Scotians., we need to do that.

We've mentioned a few examples, I'll give you a couple now, Mr. Speaker, around taking the HST off of smoking cessations. It's something that we've supported over the last little while and right now there are taxes on that. It doesn't cost a lot. Hopefully, the reason we brought that forward is they will encourage maybe even one person to stop smoking. That's what we need to do - look at ideas. The Minister of Health Promotion has stated a lot of the work that has been going on in the province and it's important work and I commend the province and other MLAs here who have supported the initiatives of health promotions around the smoking issue.

We have to wonder how ironic it is. Here we are spending so much of our time and energy trying to get that message out to encourage Nova Scotians to stop smoking, when ironically, the government, and all governments, Mr. Speaker, are so addicted to the revenue that comes from cigarettes. I've been told by many smokers, we should just ban cigarettes, ban them outright. That would cause someone to smoke. If we took that serious stance, then we wouldn't have to worry about it. We know, realistically, the money that comes from that, it would probably be nearly impossible to do that because of so many jurisdictions that benefit from the sale of tobacco.

So we know that we couldn't do that. There would be such a huge underground market, if Nova Scotia was the only one to do that. You'd just have to go across the border. Those are some of the comments I received from smokers. Smokers know and usually most of them want to stop, it's an addiction, it's hard for them to stop and they realize that they're putting themselves at risk. I think smokers will embrace this legislation, I truly do. I think they'll recognize it's important and that it's just another step, hopefully, encourage them to stop smoking. If they can't smoke at the workplace, they can't smoke in their car coming home if they have kids, maybe it will sink in a little more that they really need to kick that habit and finally give up smoking.

So, with those few comments, I support the idea of this piece of legislation. I commend the member for brining it forward and I also support and commend the Town of Wolfville for really putting Nova Scotia on the map when it comes to protecting our youth. Mr. Speaker, I will take my seat and I encourage, and can't wait until the government supports this piece of legislation to get it through. Thank you.

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

HON. BARRY BARNET: Mr. Speaker, today visiting us in the West gallery from the Nova Scotia Heart and Stroke Foundation is Allan McAvoy and along with Allan is

[Page 1095]

Sharon MacIntosh from Smoke-Free Nova Scotia. I would ask them to rise and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, I'm certainly pleased today to spend a few moments talking about the bill that's on the floor of the Legislature. Having been at second reading at Wolfville Town Council, it was very enlightening to hear the presentations from the mayor and deputy mayor on down through the councillors, and also the audience that night who were well represented on the support side through the Cancer Society and Smoke-Free Kings. It was really one of the first times to see the work that the council in Wolfville has been doing on this particular issue. For them, this has really been an evolutionary process, as they also engaged in getting their community to be in advance of the Smoke-Free Places Act and to have, as a by-law, in the town.

There are two or three other areas where they've been very progressive so I think now eyes will be on Wolfville and I commend the mayor, deputy mayor and the council for being extremely progressive in bringing this, not only to Wolfville, but now, through this legislation, to Nova Scotians. I'd like for us to be the first in the country and I applaud their leadership on absolutely doing what is right.

I think this will also be again, right across the country, I think a watershed moment in promoting strong, healthy practices among our youth and adult population. It's going to cause us to take another look at the dangers of smoking and the impact that it can make on our health. So along with a bylaw and now a provincial law as this moves through the House, I think the educative piece around this bill will also, I believe, help in the downward trend of less Nova Scotians engaged in smoking. So if this is an asset to Cancer Care Nova Scotia and the Canadian Cancer Society, then that will be a tremendous plus.

[3:15 p.m.]

In regard to the Smoke-free Places Act and the movement in our province to reduce smoking and second-hand smoke, I go back to a little event that happened with my staff at West Kings. It's interesting that I can track it down to it happening 24 years ago. Twenty-four years ago, there were three teachers who decided that while we ate our lunch, it was time to get rid of smoking. We had gone through installing the SmokeEaters and that just was not the solution. In a staff of 50 at that time, we had a considerable number of smokers. In fact, we had a few staff members who actually went in their science room closet and got a few puffs between classes. I hope they're not viewing today but, you know, the pattern has changed dramatically because of that staff today, there are only a few smokers left, but in that staff room where we ate our lunch, there was generally a blue cloud that existed. I'm noticing the Clerk shaking his head because I think he knows probably many of those staff since he is from that area.

[Page 1096]

Again it brought home, I think to us as Wolfville moved through this piece of legislation locally, that this was something that almost we had forgotten about. It was almost like a little bit of an oversight. Sure, it's our personal domain, our vehicle, but what are we doing to our children and to our grandchildren? After leaving the Wolfville Chamber, I talked a little bit more about the bylaw that Wolfville was planning to bring in, and as I even talked to some smokers - they had no objection to this bylaw. They felt for their children or grandchild, it was the right thing to be doing. Because in a car, in a vehicle, the concentration of the toxic chemicals and in a cigarette, scientifically they say there are at least about 1,000 chemicals that have some harmful effects on us.

So I'm pleased that in our province we're being very progressive here. If we take a look, there's one line in particular from the Canadian Cancer Society that really stands out in my mind, and that is childhood exposure to second-hand smoke increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, SIDS, chronic ear infections, asthma and respiratory disease. It is also linked to childhood cancers and brain tumors and can negatively impact children's behaviour, attention and cognition.

So, you know, we're absolutely doing the right thing. I think also, and this is where I truly applaud Wolfville for picking up on this idea, that it is really sending a signal that we want to create a culture of greater wellness and well-being. If we take a look at much of the discussion on the floor of the Legislature so far this Fall, it is interesting to see how many pieces of legislation, how many questions in Question Period, are around health issues. We know now that with health consuming about 46 per cent of the provincial budget, moving to a demographic and, as of 2006, we are now officially the oldest population per capita basis in the country, and so health costs are going to be enormous, and taking control of some of the health costs, by having a better quality lifestyle is, in my view, what this bill is all about.

As we talked about this bill in our caucus, we certainly didn't think it should be coming from, for example, myself, who had been a bit closer perhaps to Wolfville and what the council was doing, we felt that it needed to come from our Health Critic and represent the Party, but at the same time give tremendous accolades and acknowledgment to the work done by the mayor, deputy, and the town council in Wolfville. So I think all of us now in this House are recognizing the value of this piece of legislation. With those words, Mr. Speaker, I will take my place.

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

HON. JAMES MUIR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am pleased just to say a few words about this bill. I want to congratulate the members of the Wolfville Town Council for bringing this legislation - I guess making the Legislature aware that this was a public concern and something that should be considered. I also want to acknowledge my colleague, the Minister of Agriculture, because the first person I ever heard talking about preventing

[Page 1097]

smoking in cars was my colleague, the Minister of Agriculture. (Applause) Now I don't know if my colleague was talking to my friends from Wolfville or not, but, anyway, he did talk about that last year.

It's interesting I mention that, Mr. Speaker, because this whole issue of trying to get to a smoke-free Nova Scotia, or reducing the smoking rate and the things that are associated with it, has been an evolutionary thing. I can remember, and I am not going to tell you how long ago it was, when I was studying down in the States - and that was a few years ago, 20 or so, I guess - I can remember one of the things that we were talking about there was the population health, but one of the interesting things was this is when tobacco companies started to diversify. In other words, instead of just being in the tobacco business, and this was a long time ago, they could see that the era of tobacco was going to pass, and tobacco companies started to get into other agri-foods, for example, RJR, which I think now owns Nabisco - Reynolds Tobacco Company. So this evolution, it's the time that it has taken to get us there.

I can remember in my own career, and like the member for Kings West, I did have the habit one time, and I believe it is something like 28 years, 29 years that I have been a non-smoker, but my daughter, my older girl, still reminds me of what she claims that I did to her when I would smoke in the car. I used to open the window, and needless to say, my wife sided with my daughter, so I wasn't allowed to smoke in the car after a while, which was a good thing. The evolutionary thing, this was some time ago.

The first real start, I think, that we got here in Nova Scotia moving toward this non-smoking campaign, with the support of the people in the balcony, and the Canadian Cancer Society and whatnot, was when school boards in the province were the first ones, I think, to really blanket ban smoking. I can remember when the Halifax Regional School Board did it, and teachers used to get in cars and drive around at lunch time because they could smoke in their cars. They weren't allowed to smoke on the school property. So once you got that established in the school boards and in the schools - when I began my teaching career and the second time I was in the public schools, you could smoke. You couldn't smoke in a classroom, but we used to have these teachers' rooms, which were filled with smoke. Once they got out of there, got out of the school system, that thing was starting to be seen by young people and that's the group we're looking for.

We progressed in society, again with support of the Heart and Lung Association, the Canadian Cancer Society, the Medical Society or Doctors Nova Scotia and all of these groups. Then, when we came into government, in about the year 1999, when we assumed government, again it was a stage in the evolution of this movement in Nova Scotia. It was the time to introduce that legislation, and we did. I want to tell you that we wrestled with that, it was a tough thing and as the Minister of Health Promotion and Protection can tell you, he actually stood by himself one time, on one of the additional measures that he wanted to put in, which we felt at that time was not appropriate.

[Page 1098]

We came along from that and we banned smoking in, basically, all public places, which is a really good thing. It's really interesting, that doesn't seem to be an issue now. I walk from my apartment up to my office in the morning and I see people standing out on the sidewalk smoking in front of buildings because they can't smoke in the building. That's just accepted, you don't smoke inside confined areas. I think that really - and again, it's the evolution of this particular thing.

I haven't heard a word from the hospitality industry about smoking, for two or three years. It's not an issue. The people know it's the right thing and we've gone beyond that. It's kind of like the seatbelt issue, which was raised by the Leader of the Liberal Party. You know, seatbelts were an issue; they're not an issue any more, most people wear them.

There were a couple of other things. Recycling was raised by one of the members of the Opposition, too. Again, recycling is the thing to do and we're moving. We can't do everything all at once, because sometimes it takes a period of time to condition people. When I first heard about this, I was saying, hey, you know, but don't think it's necessarily the enforcement part of this that the Wolfville Town Council was talking about, and I haven't talked to the mayor or the deputy about it, but I think it was the educational value. We've got that out there now and people are going to know. In another way, it's going to reinforce that smoking in cars, or other enclosed areas, is not a good thing and I thank them for that.

I'm not so concerned about the enforcement, that's not what I'm concerned about right now, this issue has now been made public, we're going to see it in other provinces following Nova Scotia's lead.

Anyway, I think it's a good thing. Again, I congratulate the people from Wolfville, I congratulate the member from the Liberal Party who put the bill on the floor and I think we will find that the House probably passes this without dissent. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Preston.

MR. KEITH COLWELL: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I have been listening with interest regarding this Act to ban smoking in cars. Well, I can tell you I'm a product of a father who smoked in the car when I was a kid and he did me a very big favour. He showed me that smoking wasn't a very good thing. I remember sitting behind, in the back seat, and not breathing in. It was a combination of cigars and cigarettes and pipe, so I had a really good combination. I used to complain all the time and he was a very great man in my life, actually a man I respected and loved very much and he would do nothing to harm me or my brother. He simply didn't know what the risks were at that time, but because he didn't know the risks, I never smoked. I think that's a gift he has given me. I've never had to quit, never smoked and I think that was great.

[Page 1099]

My wife, on the other hand, had smoked at one time and she's gone through much the same problem as my honourable colleague from the beautiful Musquodoboit Valley, with many radiation treatments with cancer. No one will ever convince me that it wasn't the smoking that she had participated in, from the time she was 16 years old. Fortunately, she quit many years ago and I give her a tremendous amount of credit for that, because it was very difficult for her to do and she has been healthier ever since, except for the cancer. Maybe she would have got that anyway but, who knows, I think that was a contributing factor.

I want to congratulate the members - the mayor and the deputy mayor are here today - and the council from Wolfville for taking this very aggressive step and my colleague, the member for Glace Bay, for bringing this forward in the Legislature. I'm always tormenting him all the time, but he does do a lot of good work here and in his community at home. It's important to recognize that and as everyone in this room knows, this is not a political issue. This is an issue of good health for all Nova Scotians and also for young people. If we can even discourage one young person from starting to smoke themselves by having this law in place, that will be a major victory besides the health risks that they would be involved in otherwise.

When you do talk to smokers today, and there are fewer and fewer of them - when I was growing up, almost everybody smoked and I was in a very small minority at that time, which, you know, the people realize today how important it is and what the health risks are with smoking. It's about time that happened and that we understand what's going on with our health. As we go through time and time again, we see so many other things in the air that we breath that has to be stopped and we will work towards that.

I've got to put one last plug in here for burning tires and I am pleased to see that the Minister of Environment and Labour has decided not to burn tires, although he still ships them to Quebec and has them burnt. So I guess we still get some of the fumes. So I would encourage him to stop that, but it's in the same realm of activities that we do. So many years ago we thought that asbestos was safe. We thought that so many other things were safe that we dealt with every day and as we get better educated and we see people who are suffering because of smoking and other things that happened. It really makes you wonder what is going to be the next thing on the list that really makes people sick and what is making people ill today that we don't know are causing those difficulties.

[3:30 p.m.]

Those are the things, as time goes on, hopefully we discover sooner than later so we can get our health costs down, so we can have a healthier Nova Scotia, which is the best place in the world, I think ,to live, and it's really progressive to do this type of thing. It's not just my colleague here, the member for Glace Bay, but it's this whole Legislature that will make this happen and that's important. It's important to me as a Nova Scotian and it's

[Page 1100]

important to me as a member of this Legislature to think that there may be one child in this province who may not have to go for cancer treatments, one child who may not have lung problems - the list goes on and on - and I think that's very important for all of us. With those few words, I want to take my seat and hopefully this bill goes through quickly and it would be nice if we beat Ontario to the punch for a change.

MR. SPEAKER:The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I'm very happy to stand to speak to this bill quickly. I know when the honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations was talking about his daughter, I sort of put myself in her shoes, being a child, of course, of a family that smoked in the car. My parents, I love them dearly, were smokers for a long period of time. I remember travelling in that car with my siblings, my brothers, and the smoke just billowing out. (Interruption) Exactly, that's what's wrong with me.

Mr. Speaker, I can say I remember the headaches. I remember feeling sick in the backseat of that car, you know, and it really had nothing to do with motion sickness as most people would think, it had everything to do with the amount of nicotine and smoke that was in that car. I didn't realize that until later on in life when I thought it would be cool to pick up smoking myself and, do you know what? I felt the same way that I did sitting in the back of that car on that first cigarette I tried. I can say that I didn't smoke since. I am a non-smoker and, do you know what? My kids are non-smokers, my wife is a non-smoker. She was from the same kind of family where her parents smoked as well. She suffers from asthma, so you can sort of link things back. Had we had this kind of bill, had we had this kind of awareness through the non-smoking policies that we have in this government, maybe things would have turned out a little bit differently Maybe we wouldn't have had to suffer those kinds of sicknesses when we were travelling in the car as we did.

Mr. Speaker, you know this is a very important piece when it comes to education to understand the impacts on children who really have no say in the matter whatsoever. They are sitting in the back of that car and they are going along with their parents, and of course parents know best. Hopefully, through this it will make them understand that those individuals who do choose to smoke, they have that right, but they should do it on their own time where they are not impacting other people or impacting, of course, their children.

So with those quick notes, I want to thank the member for Glace Bay for his insight in this one to bring this forward, and of course thank the Town of Wolfville for also putting this issue on the media map. So with that I will sit down, and thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the member, it will be close the debate.

The honourable member for Glace Bay.

[Page 1101]

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, I want to thank all of the members for their comments today and for their support on this bill. I know the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations made reference to the fact that the Minister of Agriculture may have made reference to this before - it may have been one of the few times I didn't pay attention to what the minister was saying, but I am sure he has in the past and I would welcome him into the fold on this one.

Mr. Speaker, with those comments, thanking everyone again, but in particular congratulations to the Wolfville Town Council, the Mayor and Town Council of Wolfville for starting this whole ball rolling, and with that I would move second reading of Bill No. 6.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 6. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. CHUCK PORTER: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 51, the Education Act.

Bill No. 51 - Education Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, I am certainly pleased today to rise in my place and speak to this Private Member's Bill. This is an area that has come before me through e-mails, through having parents come to my office here in the city, a number of letters and telephone conversations, and it really goes back about four years when I first became Education Critic and a wide range of fees were being charged to students for a whole number of programs. A number of those fees have been addressed by government, ones associated with the PSP - for example, a couple of the classic ones were having to pay a fee to use a microscope, and having to pay for materials associated with a course called CLM/PAL. These are the public school programs in the province that should be fully funded, so we have seen some positive developments in that area.

One of the ones that is still outstanding very often in many schools are student council fees. Student council fees, again, can be quite excessive and they seem to be an umbrella fee that in fact can be one that has, again, some parts of it going toward parts of the public school program that in fact should be funded under the funding formula.

[Page 1102]

This particular bill addresses the breakfast, the lunch supervision period. This, again, is somewhat of a more recent development because, contractually, teachers no longer have to provide supervision during the lunch- hour period, and this is why this has developed into a considerable problem for people. Historically, teachers did noon hour supervision, all the way from P to Grade 12, but over a period of time, teachers contractually negotiated to have a noon break. In many schools, it left children unsupervised until teacher assistants had that encompassed in one of their duties.

So in probably six of our school boards and a seventh, the French school board, this is not a major issue. This is a Halifax Regional School Board issue where we have many children, who come to school from quite some distance, making it extremely difficult for children to get home for lunch and back to school in plenty of time.

There is no question that in the preschool periods in the morning, we now have many schools that are offering breakfast programs and I certainly have applauded all school boards that have picked up on that initiative. However, children do need to be supervised during those periods. In fact, it was the breakfast program, probably right across the province, that probably put a few more demands on teachers, on teacher assistants, to provide supervision when children came into the lunch room, or a room that was modified and made suitable for a breakfast program.

We all know the value of that program and for many parents, both parents rushing off to work, sometimes a child again may be rushed and not get breakfast. We also have many children in our province - in fact a recent calculation of around 11,000 of working families, but very low income families, who often don't have a substantial breakfast to give their child. So having that program offered, it's also incumbent on the school to provide supervision. Under the Education Act, when a child arrives for school, the responsibility is now transferred from the parent to the school, to make sure that they are safe and properly looked after.

The noon hour, in many of our city schools, is very, very problematic because of the current busing regulations. We know that that is currently under review and the minister put in place - and I applaud her for taking a look at, again, another major issue that faces families and children around safety, around proper distances to walk to school. When we have thousands of children, in our schools, in the greater HRM, supervision has a number of different means of currently being accommodated. We have some schools where the Excel program is not used. There are teacher assistants, there are assistants who look after that supervision, but the Excel program is one that has been used and used very effectively, but it is a fee that, for many of our families, has become an enormous burden.

If we take the program before lunch and after, there are three separate categories; whereas before school, if you have two children, it's $204; before and lunch for two children, $176; before lunch and after with three children, it would be $767.

[Page 1103]

For some families, this has become a major burden and it was in that regard I know the member for Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank engaged in this very early as a critic and also, due to a school in his riding, to work on getting some change in this.

Yes, it's a cost. There's no question. It is a cost, but it's one that we feel very strongly about as a Party and why I brought it forth as a private members bill that when a child is in school the responsibility is through the school funding formula delivering public education. It really comes down to as simple as that requirement. We know that there is the unfairness element about this where we have many families whose children are supervised through the lunch period, especially those who are bused some distance. Also there are some inside the 2.4 kilometres that are able to use the bus as a courtesy service and they're able to be provided before lunch and after school supervision. As I said earlier, we have some schools where the entire staff is able to provide the necessary supervision.

[3:45 p.m.]

So, with those remarks - I know there will be a number of MLAs who will want to speak to this bill, so with those words I will take my place.

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

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I would ask the members of the House to turn their attention to your gallery where we are joined by the second former MLA for Colchester North in a week. This time it's Jack Cooper and Jack, welcome back to the House, delighted to see you and I would ask all members to give him a warm round of applause. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to stand here in the House to discuss Bill No. 51, the amendment to the Education Act, specific to lunch fees in our schools. As we all know, the charging of a fee for supervision of non-bus students during lunch hours at school in Halifax Regional School Board has been an issue and continues to be an issue and this bill will bring about the debate I believe the issue deserves.

The lunch supervision policy that we speak of was introduced in the year 2000. It was controversial at that time and it still is. Parents are concerned about it, members of the Legislature are concerned about it and so am I. Let me say, first of all, this is a policy of the Halifax Regional School Board. It's not been introduced by my department and it's not been introduced by this government. It is specific to that board. I'm happy to debate it and I'm happy to debate the merits of this particular amendment proposed in this bill.

[Page 1104]

Just so we're clear on policy, Department of Education policy and board policy sometimes get confused. The Department of Education policy on school fees is silent on lunch fees. It does not make any mention or have any statement about lunch fees. It does speak about fees, fees that school boards or schools have permission to charge under special circumstances. Those circumstances include field trips, locks for lockers, rental equipment. All of those fees are in accordance with department policy and there have to be guidelines and procedures established in order for boards to charge those fees. They are to recover actual costs only and accounting statements are necessary. No student is denied participation because of their inability to pay. But those are developed by the boards and they are monitored. Boards have permission to develop those policies, but they are monitored by the regional education officer who is responsible for that particular board and those particular schools.

The member opposite made reference to teachers doing supervision during lunch period and he and I both were in the public education system at the time when we did do lunch supervision and also at the time when the agreement with the Nova Scotia Teachers' Union took that out, Article 13.03 in particular. It says that teachers shall not be required to perform supervision of pupils during any period of time that pupils are on lunch or on noon hour break. So when that agreement was reached, between the boards and the province, it brought about a change in the way supervision of those students was provided. At that time, it was a bit controversial then, because many of us, who were teachers in the schools at that time, believed that teachers were perhaps best able to provide appropriate supervision. However, those were not the terms of the agreement and so thus, other arrangements had to be made.

There is a responsibility, as we said, for boards to provide lunch supervision for students who are transported by bus and that supervision is provided at a cost to the board through global funding, which is received from the Department of Education and it is specific to students who are transported by bus.

It's of particular interest to me and to others, I am sure, that sometimes the distance that students have to walk to school and the time that they have to do that and to go home for lunch, is an issue. I know the member opposite has made a point of that. In fact, I watched him on ATV - I think it was - walking home with a student. It's interesting to see how that all came about as well, because again, when I was teaching - I taught in a town school. Everyone went home for lunch and some of them had a long walk and the lunch hour had to be designed so that it was long enough for students to walk home, have their lunch and come back. So in a town school, where I was teaching, the lunch hour was an hour and a half and it was designed that way because students had to have time to do that.

What has happened since that and, again, I would say, perhaps specific to Halifax schools or Halifax board schools, is that the time for lunch break was shortened significantly and that created a lot of problems, because that didn't, and does not, give all students

[Page 1105]

adequate time to walk home. So the whole issue of lunch fees and students staying for lunch is compounded by a number of things and that's why I believe there are a lot of merits to this amendment, because I think there are a lot of things there that need to be sorted out and need to be resolved.

It's interesting that this issue has only surfaced in Halifax Regional Board schools and it is also interesting that we know that across the province there are probably children staying for lunch, at noon hour ,who could walk home, but they are not charged a fee. One of the reasons schools are able to do that is because of the critical mass and you have a number of students who stay. There is a ratio for providing the supervision and so when you have three, four or five maybe, noon hour supervisors at your school during lunchtime, two or three extra kids staying doesn't create a problem. However, when you get the situation that you have in HRM, or in Halifax schools, that has not happened.

So the Excel program, of which the member opposite has spoken, is something that is unique to Halifax schools and a lot of people, a lot of students participate in that program. If my numbers are correct here, 64 elementary schools have that program in place. It's before school, after school, and at lunch time. Again, the numbers that I have, all combined, that's about 8,000 students who are benefiting in some way from the Excel Program at some time during the day. That's a lot of students, and I believe that it's not equity across the province with that particular program, and it needs to be changed.

When the questions came to the board - and I commend my colleague across the way for making that well known to the board, and as a result of that, Howard Windsor, the board for Halifax, called on the superintendent to do a complete review of the Excel Program and have a report back to him in January. If you calculate the costs for that particular program, if supervision was paid for by the board for 8,000 students, it's calculated to be approximately a $3 million price tag. As I said earlier, the funding for paying for supervision is part of the global funding to the boards, but that's an issue the board is going to have to deal with.

I also want to mention - I did mention about walking distances to schools, but we do have the review that's in place now, and the report is due this month, to me, on walking distances across the province. I do hope that that addresses some of the concerns that were raised by the member opposite about the amount of time that we have requiring students to walk home, and in many cases, it's not adequate. So, hopefully, the results of that school walking distance review will help with this particular problem.

I guess what I would like to conclude by saying is that it is an issue, it's complicated, but I believe the amendments to the Act that have been proposed will be a good first step in resolving that, and I commend the member opposite for the merits of that particular bill. Thank you very much.

[Page 1106]

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

MR. PERCY PARIS: Mr. Speaker, the minister, and the member for Kings West referenced that this particular issue has been simmering now for some time. I think it's only appropriate for me to mention that, certainly, in the riding of Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank, the parents raised this issue with me back in June of 2006, immediately after the election. I think I have to give them credit for their stick-to-it-iveness and their determination to try to do what's right for their children.

There are two aspects of the Excel Program that I want to talk about. I want to also discuss very briefly French immersion students and the predicament that they are in when it comes to the Excel Program. Mr. Speaker, many schools, eating in the lunch room, as we already heard, it's no longer free. I think that maybe in days gone by, when it came to the Education Act, there might have been a somewhat different interpretation, because I think maybe under the Act there were certain individuals who considered that maybe lunch time and recess was not a part of the every day curriculum. I firmly believe that both lunch time and recess are an integral part of our kids going to school.

Times have changed. There used to be a time, and maybe when the minister and the member for Kings West, and even myself, when we were going to school in those smaller towns where walking to schools wasn't as much of a problem as today, what we have now is the danger factor, the dangerous situation with kids going to and from school, not only with traffic but we also know that there are other elements out there that we should be concerned about.

On top of that, lunch time and recess - and I already mentioned it - is an integral part of the learning environment, it is where our children interact with one another, it's where they adapt and use and learn how to use some of those social skills that are going to see them through their early education and also take them a great way in life in general.

When I think of extra fees, because that's what we're talking about here, extra fees, and I consider the unfairness of it and in particular in metro is that some schools pay it, some schools don't. I could never, ever figure that out, why it was appropriate for some schools to pay a lunchtime fee of $200 per child, to a maximum of $400, while other schools were exempt.

I think the whole idea of extra fees goes against the spirit and mandate of universal taxpayer funded public education. The province needs to uphold the very principle of public education and stop downloading these fees to parents.

[4:00 p.m.]

[Page 1107]

Mr. Speaker, I know that we probably could debate, and I don't think we're going to get 100 per cent commitment from Nova Scotians when we talk about lunchtime and recess as being that integral part of the school that I've mentioned, but there are some fallouts from this; simply put, that if a parent can't afford the fees, that creates a problem. What happens now, and I mentioned earlier that times have changed, we now have situations in Nova Scotia where both parents are working, that there are two incomes coming into the household which means that not necessarily will there be somebody home there when the child comes home from school.

The minister mentioned the walking distance and I know she referenced my walk with a particular student and with a councillor from HRM. We walked to and from the school and I was also accompanied by some parents and it was less than two kilometres. It took us - and I thought I was in reasonably good shape but it took us well over an hour. If my recollection serves me correctly, I think the trip took something like an hour and 20 minutes and I think the actual time for lunch at that time was 40 minutes. So the young student was late for school, with mom and dad's permission, because mom was also with us. So it creates a whole bevy of implications not only from the principle of a taxpayer-funded public education system but also a principle of fairness.

I want to just very briefly talk about French immersion because I think that French immersion is a very big part of this equation because, certainly in Halifax-Dartmouth, in the Halifax Regional School Board, French immersion is not about choice. If a parent wants their child to be enrolled in French immersion, they do not pick the school; the school is determined by the school board. As a result of that, then what happens is the school board labels that student as an out-of-area student. So once that student is declared as out-of-area, he or she is eligible, if I can use that word "eligible", eligible under the terms of the school board to the fee of the $200 or the $400 fee, depending on how many children they have.

So here's a case where French immersion students have no choice whatsoever, they're labeled as out-of-area, they're therefore subjected to a fee which again is somewhat discriminatory against those parents who want to have their child learn French. It also somewhat contradicts the Education Act where the Education Act is trying to promote French immersion and encourage parents to enroll their children in French immersion classes, not to put barriers in place that would deter them.

I would say, based on the fairness, or I should say, the unfairness of the policy as it exists, and further based on - we boast and brag about a free, publicly funded with taxpayers' money, education system, that charging extra fees just isn't right. If it's appropriate, I would like to table, for the record, some clippings and some writings that over the last several months related to school fees, the walk that we had out in Fall River and I would just like those to be tabled for the record.

[Page 1108]

As Education Critic, I endorse the bill that the member for Kings West has put forward and I look forward to this bill moving on.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Preston.

MR. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, it's with great pleasure I raise today to speak on this bill. This has been a contentious issue in my riding for some time. We have a lot of single parents out there who are working and trying to bring their children up and it's very, very difficult. If you add another fee on to the fees they have to pay for a child to come up today, if a child is in any kind of sports, no matter what it is, it's very expensive.

When a child goes to school, there shouldn't be those extra costs there. Once in awhile you may go on a field trip or something like that and you have to raise some money for, but not on a daily basis. Also, if you have a large family, the impact is very, very negative. The Halifax Regional School Board is the only school board in Nova Scotia that does this. It doesn't make any sense, affecting, as the minister indicated, pretty well 8,000 students. That's a big economic impact on our communities.

Also, if you look at young families that are trying to do all the things to bring their children up properly. Today, clothes are so expensive for the children and everything is so expensive. When the school board adds another fee, it's just another cost. Those costs should all be covered under the taxes we pay in our province. Sometimes, something like this, combined with a whole bunch of other things, it would stop families from doing things they might otherwise be able to do. That's not right today.

The other thing is that the children, when they go to school, they should be looked after from the time they go to the school until they get home, so it's an all-encompassing package. As one of my other colleagues said here, even recess and lunch hour is a learning experience for the students and it's all part of the culture they grow up in and understanding how to interact with other people. That's very important in today's society.

Those are all things we have to take into consideration. I know in my area, we have a lot of families that struggle daily. They're very hard-working, dedicated families, but families that struggle. If they have to add one more little struggle to their daily routine, it makes it more and more difficult for them to continue and do the things they need to do to make sure their family has the best possible education and the most opportunities possible to them in today's society.

I think every family should be entitled to that. It doesn't matter where you come from or who you are, you should have that right in the Province of Nova Scotia. If you want your daughter or son to become a lawyer, a doctor or a bricklayer, it doesn't matter, they should have that opportunity and they should be the best they possibly can at it. In some cases, I

[Page 1109]

think all these extra fees on things and other things that cost us so much money really hinders families from having the opportunities they should have.

It's very expensive to get an education today, especially in post-secondary education, whether it's through a technical school, a community college or university. It's very expensive so we have to have the provision in there that children get the best possible education in P-12 that they possibly can. It's our responsibility, as provincial legislators, to make sure that does happen and happens for every single child.

We talked the other day about the Tuition Support Program for children with difficulties, and that's a very positive step forward. That takes those children and gives then an opportunity to move forward, and this bill does exactly the same thing for many, many more families. It's important that it does move in that direction and that we see this happen and make sure that we give families every possible opportunity they can to get an education, a solid education for the young families.

A lot of people over the years, for whatever reason, haven't had the opportunity to get as much education as possible, as they would like to have had. Maybe it was a cost issue, maybe it was a family issue, maybe they just didn't have enough confidence to go forward. The people I represent and work with are very intelligent people, hard-working people and people, given the opportunity, will excel in our society and that's what we need. We need people to excel in our society and to show the rest of the country what a wonderful place we live in and also to set up industries and make things more economically feasible in this province, as we move forward, which has always been the case.

Mr. Speaker, with those few words I'm going to take my seat and will be interested to hear what my honourable colleagues have to say about this issue. I'll be supporting this bill. I want to commend my colleague for bringing this forward and the excellent lobbying and work that he has done on this. I know he has fought hard in our caucus for many issues for young children and I believe that's starting to show through.

I thank the government for supporting it and I'm sure that the Official Opposition will, too. This is something that as our past bill was, it's good for all Nova Scotians and particularly where it only affects HRM in this case, it is particularly good for HRM. We're seeing an increase in property taxes through the regional municipality on a non-stop basis. This is one thing that will help families at least give an opportunity for their children to get a proper education at a cost they can afford. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

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

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I simply wanted to say a few words about this bill, because it's something that I felt very strongly about for many years. In fact, long before I ever ran as a city councillor and before I became an MLA, I have

[Page 1110]

had this very issue as a politicizing issue and polarizing issue in my own community. It remains so to this day and this is going to make a very big difference in the lives of parents and families throughout HRM. I just wanted to put that personal face on it, as we look at what this does.

In fact, my own home is about 2.34 kilometres from Rockingham School and 3.4 was the magic number at which my children would have been bused. Every year it was a fight to see whether or not there was courtesy busing available, whether there were a few places on the bus that we could be guaranteed for the year. Generally there was no guarantee, maybe a little bit case-by-case and month-by-month. It meant that all the families that lived where I was and further up, going to that school, had to juggle family responsibilities and work start times and lunch-hour supervision. It creates a lot of anxiety and a lot of trouble in people's lives.

This change in law will actually mean that the families in HRM will have one of the benefits that really families in all other jurisdictions have enjoyed, because if your children are going to a big rural school or a consolidated school, all children were entitled to stay at lunch and still are. There wasn't a fee, because the majority of kids are being bused in; therefore, everybody gets the benefit.

With city schools it came very much down to who lived close enough to walk home, was supposed to be the measure of whether or not you were allowed to stay. But even if you're able to walk home, Mr. Speaker, that whole notion is predicated on an antiquated idea that your mom or dad are going to be home when you get there, or that you've got a grandmother or a caregiver who is home. That's not the reality for so many families today and this caregiving at lunch time is a real problem.

In my first year as MLA, I had a woman call who was in great distress because she had to come home every day. She had managed to get into a program at Dalhousie, was doing dental hygiene at Dalhousie, but her child wasn't getting care at Park West and lunch time, and therefore this woman had to interrupt her day downtown at Dalhousie, zoom in her car back home to supervise at lunch time so her child was safe at lunch, and then zoom back down to school again in the afternoon. You can only imagine how much that took out of her day, diminished her ability to be a good student, to look after all the other aspects of her life.

It was a tremendous stress and this year, Mr. Speaker, there was a case of a woman whose subsidized daycare was lost because she married. She had made I guess the tactical error of getting married, changed her income, lost her subsidized space in daycare, and then discovered to her horror that she was not entitled to have her children at Fairview Heights School for lunch. If she wanted them in the lunch program, she would have had to know that last March when the lineup took place and the allotted number of spaces were filled. She had no hope of getting her kids into the lunch program and she was in the same boat. She was working in Bedford and had to arrange to zoom back at lunch time, somehow juggling her

[Page 1111]

lunch around the children being out at lunch, and completely undermining her effectiveness on the home front and at work.

Mr. Speaker, this is archaic, beyond archaic, and puts tremendous stress on families. These are just two little examples that are repeated time and time again right across this municipality. I called Carole Olsen, the superintendent of schools for HRM, and she confirmed that this is really unique in the city because there are many other things to do at lunch. Our teachers don't stay at school at lunch. They primarily leave the classroom because there are a lot of things they can do at lunch time and, therefore, they have to have a program like EXCEL, or a school-managed program with staff to look after the kids, and they haven't been funded for that. Therefore, they haven't done it and they've just had very small programs operating.

[4:15 p.m.]

It has also pointed out a tremendous difference and hardship for people who are not bused. I mentioned the 2.4 kilometres, Mr. Speaker, 2.4 kilometres was the magic number that you wanted to be from school so that your children could get on the bus. As soon as you qualify for busing in HRM, and I'm sure anywhere else in the province, you automatically knew that your children were cared for from the time they were picked up in the morning until they're brought back at the end of the school day. You didn't have to worry about the middle of the day and what was happening then. But if you had the misfortune to live closer and not be eligible for the busing, then immediately you have all these extra complications plus the cost of paying for lunch, if you're lucky enough to be among the few who are allowed to stay.

So you can only see that it's a double whammy for families that didn't qualify for busing. I know at present there's a busing review going on. The province is looking at who should be bused and what distance is appropriate and so on. I mentioned the distance from my home to Rockingham School, where my children attended elementary, and it's under 2.4 kilometres, but it's a very long and dangerous walk. It would mean going from Clayton Park West above Dunbrack all the way down essentially to the Bedford Highway, and that's a long distance for children to go, plus crossing Dunbrack Street which is a very big and busy street. I know I couldn't let my children do that distance alone, that's for sure, and so again it meant a lot of carpooling and a lot of other things happening because of the busing difficulties.

I know the busing review may also make some differences, but introducing this change to provide the same level of service and the same level really of assurance to parents that live in HRM as is given to those who live in rural areas and small towns, I think is so important, Mr. Speaker, because we have got a reality of busy lives, two-income families. I can tell you when you go around the neighbourhoods in my riding during the day, the vast majority of homes, there's no one there because they're at work. So you can't rely on a

[Page 1112]

grandparent or a relative to be there, because they live in Cape Breton and they live in other parts of the province.

As you know, Mr. Speaker, with the out-migration, they're coming to the cities and they don't have the family support that is so helpful to any young family, but we're missing it in our cities. It's important that we provide some level of assurance and comfort to the moms and dads who are trying really hard to make a living and make a good life for their families. This is a way that we can update our rules, our laws, to recognize the reality of today's families and to make Nova Scotia a better place in which to live. I can tell you some of the people who call - and I'm sure other members of the Legislature have these calls from people who have lived elsewhere and have come back here who just can't believe they're not entitled to have their children at school during the lunch hour or, you know, they're shocked that their kids aren't bused, because they came from other provinces or other places where busing was the standard for all.

We need to keep pace, Mr. Speaker. We often talk here about making our province the best place to live. That's what we want to do and we want to attract young families back and young people back, to have their families here in Nova Scotia. I can tell you this is one small change that is going to make a dramatic difference in a lot of people's lives.

In my own community, where I began about my struggles in the late 1990s with our busing, we went through the same thing as is still happening today with families banding together and refusing to pay their fees, for example. We were threatened with our children being put out on the sidewalk at lunchtime, regardless of their age - that is a serious threat when you are a parent. You don't want to put your children in harm's way and we had tried very hard to lobby at the time and had not gotten anywhere with changing the Department of Education's or the school board's rules about busing and lunch.

So it is a very important issue. I can tell you, when something like this is recognized among parents in a community it brings them together and they question how we are doing business here in this province. This change, I think, will be something that will give them a little bit of faith, a little bit of hope that things will change and that we do care, all of us in this House, about making Nova Scotia a modern society that supports families and helps people to balance their work and family responsibilities. So I very much applaud this bill going forward, I support it 100 per cent and I appreciate the fact that we are here at second reading and it is moving its way through the Legislature.

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

The honourable member for Kings West.

[Page 1113]

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, I would like at this time to thank the minister and the member for Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank, and all those who contributed to the debate on this bill, and with that I close debate.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 51. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. CHUCK PORTER: 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. CHUCK PORTER: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 36.

Bill No. 36 - Liquor Control Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister responsible for the Liquor Control Act.

HON. LEONARD GOUCHER: Mr. Speaker, it gives me great privilege to rise and speak on the amendments being proposed to Section 81 of the Liquor Control Act. These amendments are intended to update and clarify the Act. The changes are designed to address the long-standing and antiquated rule with respect to employees of the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation. In short, these amendments will allow Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation employees and their spouses to seek employment in other businesses that deal in liquor. The phrase "dealing in liquor", as outlined in the present legislation, prevents Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation employees or even their spouses from seeking employment in a broad variety of businesses. The legislation now prohibits these employees and their spouses from working in a range of businesses such as restaurants, private clubs, or any other businesses that have a liquor licence.

Mr. Speaker, I believe that this is an antiquated and unnecessary prohibition that has hindered employment possibilities for many Nova Scotians, particularly those in smaller communities where employment options may be somewhat limited. In communities, both small and large, individuals often wish to explore part-time employment with the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation and may wish to also supplement their income by working part-

[Page 1114]

time in a licensed establishment or a community club and, today, they cannot legally do this. This seems unfair and that is why we are proposing these amendments to the Liquor Control Act.

This proposal also has another benefit, Mr. Speaker. It would allow the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation to employ professional sommeliers or other product experts who may also work elsewhere in the industry. Amendments are also being proposed that will align the Liquor Control Act with provisions regarding conflict of interest and acceptance of gifts as outlined in the Members and Public Employees Disclosure Act. These are the same Acts and the same set of standards that we have to conform to.

These provisions will allow the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation to adopt a code of business contact that will define acceptable standards of behaviour for the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation board members and staff to ensure that public trust is maintained. I seek support from the members of the House for the enabling of these changes to the benefit of some 1,500 employees and the customers of the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation. Thank you and I look forward to hearing the remarks from other members.

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

MS. BECKY KENT: Mr. Speaker, my comments on Bill No. 36 for the proposed amendments to the Liquor Control Act are fairly brief. I think it's worth noting for members of the House that in the bill briefing and the accompanying press releases from the minister, Subclause 2(2) was played down somewhat regarding the receiving of gifts. This clause gives members of the board of directors, employees and their respective spouses permission to receive gifts from liquor companies, subject to the same rules that govern Cabinet Ministers. Sauce for the liquor commission goose may be sauce for the ministerial gander, but it appears that this new privilege is being extended to board members and employees.

They're modifying a ban on receiving gifts with a code of conduct for receiving such gifts. The explanation of the bill provided at the briefing talked about couples in small towns, one of whom may have worked at the local liquor store, the other at the local licensed restaurant and how that bill would affect them.

I can support that. It's a reasonable expectation that people should have access to employment opportunities that are before them. But, to date, there has been no justification given for removing the ban on gifts to board members and the NSLC employees and replacing it with a code of conduct. The latter was presented as making the Act consistent with other legislation, such as the Members and Public Employees Disclosure Act.

It certainly will be interesting to hear the statements of the stakeholders in the industry during the Law Amendments Committee process. With that being said, I'm willing to support it moving on to the next step for Bill No. 36.

[Page 1115]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Preston.

MR. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, I'm also going to be brief on this bill. I think there are some good things in this where an employee of the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation working part-time can also work at another establishment. I think that's something that should have been changed years and years ago. Unfortunately, it's just been identified now.

I do have some concerns about the code of conduct conducting the giving of gifts to members of the board and employees of the corporation. I do have some concerns about that. Being a former military contractor, one of the companies I dealt with, if you left a pencil on their desk with your name on it and their supervisor came along and found it, they were fired and escorted off the premises immediately. That stemmed from a lot of difficulties in the U.S. that happened years before that with tampering with military contracts and billions of dollars blown away. The Liquor Corporation isn't that large, but when you start talking about a code of conduct instead of a moratorium or ability to give things to a board, that's a drastic change from what was there.

What is the code of conduct going to be? I'm going to be very interested to hear what the minister's views on that are and will the code of conduct be put in regulation and I'm always a little bit nervous about regulation because it can be changed at any time very easily.

I think the intent of this is probably good, but I'll reserve my views on that until we come back and hear Law Amendments and third reading and see exactly what that entails. But that's the only thing I see wrong with this bill. Everything else appears to be normal and I look forward to the debate in Law Amendments and hearing third reading. Thank you.

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

The honourable Minister responsible for the Liquor Control Act.

HON. LEONARD GOUCHER: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments from my fellow colleagues, they're always welcome and I look forward to this bill as it moves forward through Law Amendments Committee. With that, I would move second reading of the bill. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 36. Would all those in favour of the motion, please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

[Page 1116]

MR. CHUCK PORTER: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 1.

Bill No. 1 - Trade Union Act.

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

HON. MARK PARENT: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to be here today to discuss Bill No. 1, which proposes amendments to the Trade Union Act. We have said all along that this legislation deserves to be debated and I am glad that that day has now arrived. I'm glad, because the Opposition members have refused, on a consistent basis, to discuss this bill. Rather than discuss this bill, they have avoided the issue, stuck their collective heads in the sand and wished that the issue of strikes in the health care system would simply vanish. They have played the classic political shell game of deflection, saying there are other larger problems in the health care system, something that we have never disputed. Never once have they answered how taking away one stress from an already stressed system can be anything but helpful, anything but positive.

They have abdicated responsibility, in a minority Parliament, to help safeguard the health and safety of the citizens of Nova Scotia in regard to this specific issue. In fact, Mr. Speaker, in this, they have even been out of step with the International Labour Organization, a worldwide movement which was founded following the Versailles Treaty to protect and safeguard the rights of workers. Because the ILO has recognized that in certain sectors strikes may not be allowable and they have stated, on a number of occasions, time after time, that there are such things as essential services, where the right to strike may not be appropriate and some other fair dispute resolution mechanism must be found.

To safeguard the misuse of this admission, the ILO, in 1983, carefully circumscribed what these services were, stating that they comprise services where, to use their words, the interruption of which would endanger the life, the personal safety or the health of the whole or part of the population. Then the Committee on the Freedom of Association of the International Labour Organization provided a short list of such services, interpreted as they put it in the very strictest sense, and in first place, Mr. Speaker, the services they felt where a strike may not be appropriate were health services.

[4:30 p.m.]

So I'm glad, Mr. Speaker, that this legislation is finally being debated, because when Nova Scotians go into a hospital, or into a long-term care facility, or when they're waiting for a paramedic, they deserve to know that their safety is not going to be put into jeopardy by a lockout, a strike or a threat of a strike. Moreover, this legislation deserves to be debated, because it sets the bar. It sets the bar as a strong piece of labour legislation because this bill preserves free, fair and impartial collective bargaining, independent of government and it supports workers' rights to free, fair, effective, collective bargaining. Mr. Worker - Mr.

[Page 1117]

Speaker, we believe - and you're a worker, too - we believe that workers deserve nothing less and we also believe that Nova Scotians deserve nothing less.

Now many people have asked me, as they have asked the Premier, why are you doing this? Our answer is always three-fold; it's about leadership, it's about public safety and it's about crafting good public policy. An important piece of legislation like this should not be rushed, it has to be considered at a time when there isn't a strike, a threat of a strike or threat of a lockout. That is why my department, at the Premier's request, and the government, took time to consult. That is why we took time to examine the very best practices from across the country. That is why we took the time to publicly release a draft of the legislation, more than a month ago, for even further consultation.

If these amendments pass, Mr. Speaker, the legislation will affect employers and employees who work in the health care and community services sectors, and this includes acute care, long-term care, home support and home care and continuing care and it will also affect ambulance services.

There are approximately, Mr. Speaker, it has been stated on several occasions, 240 different collective agreements in place in these various sectors. They cover approximately 32,000 employees who are represented by various unions. As Minister of Environment and Labour, I recognize the importance of maintaining a fair collective bargaining process where unions and employers are free to negotiate the terms of the collective agreements. The existing process will continue under the proposed legislation and it's only after the collective bargaining process breaks down, only after conciliation has run its course, that the parties will proceed to binding interest arbitration if no settlement has been arrived at.

So, Mr. Speaker, I want to express some disappointment with members of the Opposition - some of whom have claimed that this bill takes away collective bargaining rights. Nothing could be further from the truth. The face-to-face collective bargaining negotiations between the union and the employer will continue as they have continued in the past. The new process will apply only after, and I repeat, only after conciliation has run its course and only if conciliation fails to reach a settlement.

In addition, Mr. Speaker, all outstanding collective bargaining issues may be brought forward for consideration under this new process. It's a process in addition which provides a number of dispute resolution options to the parties for resolving their differences. Ultimately the parties themselves, both employee and employer, get to design the system that will be used to settle their dispute. They can create a custom-made system that is tailored to their needs. What, I ask the members opposite, could be fairer than that? It's worth repeating the dispute resolution options that are added in this draft legislation and now in this legislation are in addition to conciliation and mediation processes that already exist in Part I and Part II of the Trade Union Act.

[Page 1118]

Now, when this process began, Mr. Speaker, many of us thought that interest or binding arbitration was the best way to resolve disputes but thanks in large part to what we heard through the consultations, our thinking has evolved to also encompass binding mediation as a truly viable option to binding arbitration. So we're happy to include that option in this bill which has come before the House. Under this new system, the union and the employer can have a mediated settlement or an arbitration decision that's binding upon them. It's up to them which route they chose.

So in more detail let me just sketch out the dispute resolution options: (a) the binding mediation route. You'll recall this form of dispute resolution from the recent IWK strike. A mediator facilitates discussions between the union and the employer in an informal setting without a formal hearing. Unlike ordinary mediation though, binding mediation is a process where the mediator decides outstanding issues at the end of the mediation if the mediator and the process has not resulted in an agreement. The mediator's decision, therefore, is binding at the end upon both parties. I must add that while both parties - employer and union - can agree to chose this route, we put into the bill the fact that the union representatives on their own unilaterally can chose this option if they so desire. So the binding mediation route is one route.

The second route, Mr. Speaker, is the binding arbitration route. Arbitration is the process, as I know the members of this House know, in which both parties present evidence and arguments to support their position in front of a decision-maker in a formal setting who then renders a decision that's binding on the parties. Both the union and the employer have the opportunity to present evidence before this one person, or three person panel, and witnesses to support the positions on their interest dispute.

I believe, as does this government, Mr. Speaker, that this flexible approach - the most flexible approach in any bill of this type in the country - of providing the choice of options by which the parties can arrive at an agreement is a fair and impartial way in the health care sector to reach a binding outcome. It's fair and it's impartial, Mr. Speaker, because mediators and arbitrators are independent, neutral third parties. They are selected not by the government, but are selected by the parties and their representatives to help both union and the employers reach a settlement. This variety of options - and I will state it again because it's true, the very best in Canada for this type of legislation - provides flexibility which gives both the union and the employer a great deal of control over the process. In fact, it gives both parties as much control as is possible.

It is also fair and it is also impartial, Mr. Speaker, because as I noted, mediators and arbitrators are independent, neutral third parties. They are selected by the parties jointly, and they help the parties reach their agreement, an agreement which is binding upon both the union and the employer.

[Page 1119]

So, Mr. Speaker, this bill is balanced, this bill is equitable, and this bill removes the stresses of labour disruption. Indeed, this is a modern solution, this is a mature solution to today's collective bargaining process when public health and when public safety are at stake. I will go back to what I said before, the International Labour Organization, as members opposite probably know and should know, have sanctioned in essential services - and number one among those, they have stated, are hospital health care services - they have sanctioned the fact that this form of dispute resolution is appropriate. The International Labour Organization has stated that on several occasions.

So it's a modern solution, Mr. Speaker. It's a mature solution to today's collective bargaining processes where public health and where public safety are at stake. It is time for this kind of legislation. Some might say that it's past time. In this I agree with the words of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau who, of his own political Party heritage, stated in 1968, "Liberalism ... is prepared to experiment and innovate. Liberals must shed outdated policies and develop new ones in keeping with changing situations."

Well, Mr. Speaker, as a society, I believe we have evolved to a point that we recognize that public health and public safety cannot be put at risk but must be safeguarded. Indeed, as I noted, the International Labour Organization - founded after the Versailles Treaty, operating in almost every country in the world to promote worker rights and worker safety - recognizes this fact. Any disruption in our health care system puts patient safety and, indeed, the safety of the system at risk.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take just a moment now to respond to some of the criticisms that have been levelled against this bill. One of the criticisms is that if this bill is passed, we will have fewer health care workers in the Province of Nova Scotia. One might respond facetiously that if that were the case, we would have to put up a wall right now at the border between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia because every other province besides Saskatchewan and ourselves have some form of legislation. So if health care workers were attracted to a province where we didn't have this legislation, we would be overwhelmed with them. Now that is speaking facetiously, but when I talk to health care workers, not one of them says to me that they chose their job because they checked, we have the right to strike, there is no essential services legislation in this particular jurisdiction.

The other criticism that has been levelled I have already alluded to, that there are other more pressing issues in the health care system. Never has the Premier or the Health Minister or myself denied that there are more important issues. But, Mr. Speaker, I am the Minister of Environment and Labour and if I can remove through my department, one small stress from the health care system - which is already stressed - how can that be anything but positive. How can that be anything but beneficial? I have asked that of the union leaders, of Opposition members, and I never get an answer. If you can take away one stress from a system under stress, why not do it, if you can do it in a fair way.

[Page 1120]

Thirdly, one of the criticisms against this bill is that it will result in more illegal strikes. Mr. Speaker, in labour legislation there is really no way of preventing illegal strikes. Right now, with our present legislation, we can have illegal strikes, as the members opposite know full well. The only way to prevent illegal strikes is to give as fair a system as possible, and that's what we're seeking to do.

Members opposite and other people outside this Chamber have pointed to the experience of Alberta, but they failed to mention Ontario or Prince Edward Island. In Prince Edward Island, Mr. Speaker, where they have this type of legislation, there hasn't been one illegal strike in the health care system. In Ontario, over the past 40 years, there has been only one and even in Alberta, which has a very diverse system, they've not had any illegal strike since the year 2000.

Moreover, as my colleague, the Minister of Health Promotion and Protection, has pointed out to me on several occasions, already here in the Province of Nova Scotia, firefighters and police workers are covered by a form of binding arbitration and we have had no illegal strikes, in Nova Scotia, in those sectors.

Fourthly, criticism has been leveled that there are not many strikes in the Province of Nova Scotia and we count a little differently, Mr. Speaker - there have been 100 institutions affected by strikes since 1987. But the point we have made and the point we have stated time and time again is that, in the modern health care system, everything is so intertwined that it is no longer a case of one node going down and a strike can affect that and everyone moves to the other node - everything is intertwined. A strike in one place affects the entire system.

[4:45 p.m.]

So even the threat of a strike, as we saw with the IWK, which was only a one-week strike, but a year before that, there was a threat of a strike in all of the hospitals outside of the Capital District Health Authority - one day, a strike in IWK - but before that there was a threat of a strike in all the hospitals outside of the Capital District Authority and cancellations had to be put in place, because the system is intertwined. It is a modern system and it is a system where even the threat of a strike can produce tremendous dislocation to people's lives.

The strangest criticism, however, is a criticism which came out in a second report by a labour specialist named Mr. Larry Haven, put out by the Centre for Policy Alternatives. In this second report - which didn't get much press time and I don't wonder why, because it was a bit confusing - but he stated that the system was under stress and it needed strikes to alert people to the stress that the system was under. The media asked me about that and I said let me get this straight, Mr. Speaker, so the Centre for Policy Alternatives paper is saying that a stress system needs more stress in order to fix that stress.

[Page 1121]

Mr. Speaker, I find this incredible. The Opposition Parties, on a daily basis when they are in the House, point out to the Minister of Health that the system is under stress. We have managerial workers, one of whom is my wife, in the health care system, who know very well what the stresses are under. This is a strange sort of objection that taking away stress is actually bad for a stress system. So I find it very strange and I'm not surprised that the media haven't asked me to respond to that objection.

Mr. Speaker, this bill is about respect; it is about respect for the collective bargaining process; it's about respect for workers' rights; it's about respect for the health, safety and well-being of the public, as the Premier has stated time after time.

Mr. Speaker, this bill sets the bar for labour legislation. Workers should receive nothing less because I tell you, at some stage in the Province of Nova Scotia, essential services legislation will come and when it comes, this bill will have set the bar below which no government, I hope, will be able to offer less to workers.

The public also should receive nothing less, Mr. Speaker. Your children and your parents, like mine, deserve nothing less. Speaking of young people, it must be noted - and this is a very alarming statistic for me - it must be noted that during the one-day strike at the IWK, that 30 young people with mental health illnesses were released from the hospital due to that one-day strike. Think of the possible implications and the tragedies that could come from that.

On the other end of the spectrum are the elderly. In this regard, a letter from Robert Cook, who is the CEO of the Nova Scotia Association of Health Organizations, puts it best when he writes in a letter, which was sent to the three Party Leaders. He wrote in it these words, which I read with interest and concern because he knows the system very well. I'll table this after I have read it. He writes, "As we all know, our health care system now operates at capacity, 100 per cent of the time. Patients admitted to hospital have more acute and urgent health issues. Residents of continuing care facilities are more frail and have complex care needs."

Mr. Cook continues, "Take for example, Saint Vincent's Nursing Home in Halifax which provides professional nursing care, medical care and other supports to 149 residents. Only 10 of those residents could possibly be discharged to family in the event of a strike which leaves 139 residents to be cared for. The average age of the residents is 88 years and many have complex health and medical issues. Eighty per cent of the residents have Alzheimer's disease or some form of dementia when they're admitted. It's inconceivable," Mr. Cook concludes and I agree with him, "that 20 per cent and even 30 per cent of the bargaining unit could provide a safe environment for these seniors." I'll table this letter from Mr. Cook.

[Page 1122]

If I may be allowed to speak personally, as most members know my wife died in the middle of the night, March 1999. I can still remember as if it were yesterday, phoning the ambulance services in panic and them walking me through the CPR process while the ambulance sped to my house. Now, in my wife's case, it was too late. The doctors tell me she was dead before I even woke up. But, I know personally as a result of that - as I know others do in this House, maybe some on the Opposition benches - that even one minute of unnecessary delay is one minute too long when a human life is at stake.

The Baptist preacher turned politician, Tommy Douglas, has been called one of Canada's greatest citizens. Indeed, in a recent CBC poll, he has been named the greatest Canadian. But, before Tommy Douglas, there was another great Canadian, a Canadian who was the inspiration for Tommy Douglas. A Canadian who founded the Party which Tommy Douglas led and which has become known as the New Democratic Party.

That Canadian was a Methodist minister turned politician and his name was James Shaver Woodsworth. In a book which he wrote in 1911 entitled, My Neighbour, James Shaver Woodsworth described the effects of strikes. He has these words to say and it will be a bit of a lengthy read, but I think it's important to listen to what James Shaver Woodsworth, the founder of the CCF, which led to the NDP, had to say.

Mr. Speaker, let me quote from his book, My Neighbour. "The public is more or less familiar with the methods which are used in the warfare between the employer and the workers. The employer takes the position, this is my business and I intend to run it, I will submit to no dictation as to wages, hours or conditions of work. He stands for the open shop where non-union men and union men", remember, this was written in 1911, "have equal rights. He refuses to treat with or recognize the union. If hostilities commence, he may lock out union men or introduce non-union men to take the place of the striking workmen. He may blacklist the strikers so that they will find it impossible to obtain work in any other factory. He may bring an injunction against the men's organization as being conspiracy and restraint of trade, an injunction, disregard of which is contempt of court and punishable by imprisonment. His strikebreakers may goad strikers or their sympathizers to violence. Then he may urge that the militia be called out to quell the riot or protect his property."

He writes, "Industrial war passes into civil war."

"The workers on their part, claim, and the justice of their claim is being more clearly recognized, that they ought to have a voice in deciding the conditions under which they work. They insist on the recognition of the union. They may demand the closed shop, that is that only union men be employed. As the only effective means of enforcing their demands, they may resort to a strike. If non-union men, scabs as they are called, are brought in, they establish a system of espionage, seeking to win over, or to intimidate, the strikebreakers. They may induce allied trades to call a sympathetic strike. In excitement or desperation, they may resort to violence that often ends in bloodshed and always in bitterness".

[Page 1123]

Finally, James Shaver Woodsworth writes, "One side may yield or, better yet, there may be an arbitration, followed by some sort of compromise." Then he concludes with these words, "Surely a stupidly wasteful method, entailing great inconvenience to the public, disorganization to the industry and hardship for the men lost all around." All of this, he adds, all this might often be saved by a joint agreement by which the interests alike of the employer, the worker and the public would be conserved.

Mr. Speaker, we are not suggesting, and the Premier has been very clear on this, we are not suggesting applying James Shaver Woodsworth's wisdom to all sectors of society. We are confining it, we are going much, much smaller than he would suggest we go. We're confining it to the health care sector, to firefighters, to the police, to those essential services recognized by the International Labour Organization as being services which are essential to the public health and safety of the population, or part of the population. In those sectors, there has to be a different way, there has to be a better way of resolving differences and disagreements regarding working conditions or regarding wages.

So, Mr. Speaker, we have come up in this bill, not with an agreement like James Shaver Woodsworth calls for, but with a process, which is even better, that allows workers and allows employers to come together and to craft, in each individual system, a fair method that is fair to both sides; of arriving at an agreement in all areas, not simply in wages, but in all areas that affect their working conditions, which is fair to workers and yet preserves the ongoing continuation of the public health care system.

Mr. Speaker, this bill is compassionate, it's respectful, it's the best of its kind. For the safety of all Nova Scotians, it is time that it be passed into law. I thank the members opposite for listening politely to this, I look forward to hearing what they have to say. (Interruption) I'd be happy to take a question.

If you want to ask me a question, honourable Leader, please feel free. I would love to entertain questions about this bill. I have gone across the Province of Nova Scotia, speaking to media, speaking to individuals, saying, ask me questions. So honourable Leader, if you'd like to ask me a question about this bill, please rise in your seat and ask me a question, because, my frustration has been that people will not look at this bill. I have had health care workers who have said, you're taking away collective bargaining. I say, have you read the bill? They say no. I say, read the bill.

I've had individuals who say this or that and I say, read the bill. So honourable Leader, please stand in your seat, if you'd like, and ask me a question. Ask me a question about this bill and I will respond - on television, with the Leader of the Union, the Leader of the NSGEU, who refused on four different occasions to meet with me to discuss this issue and to make it better, they wrote back and said, we don't want to discuss binding arbitration but we want to discuss other collective bargaining issues. I wrote back and I said, fine, let's

[Page 1124]

discuss them, let's make those better, but I also will be putting this on the table, and I was turned down every time.

Finally on television, Mr. Speaker, I had the opportunity to have a discussion with Ms. Joan Jessome, and she raised, on CTV, that there was a clause in this bill that, in her opinion and the lawyers for the NSGEU, would mean that the arbitration would always favour the employer. I told her then, right away, I would say that clause is gone. Two days later I wrote her, the clause is gone, because, Mr. Speaker, this bill is a fair bill. So honourable member, please, rise in your seat, ask me any question you want about this bill. I'll speak to this bill. I'll speak to the fairness of this bill. I will speak to this bill.

Mr. Speaker, I want to speak to this bill, because there is no fairer labour legislation that deals with essential services than this bill, in the country of Canada right now. So let's talk about this bill. My frustration has been that the Opposition won't talk about this bill. They refuse to talk about this bill. They will talk about wait times and emergency care, important things, I'm not saying (Applause) (Interruption)

Those are important things, I will admit that, and we talk about those every day in the House, but they stick their heads in the sand, and in one small way that we can make the system better, one small way, but one important way, they refuse to even discuss. They refuse to come to the table.

[5:00 pm]

We had a discussion, a consultation paper out there, Mr. Speaker, for over a month, and we didn't get one response from the Opposition. We didn't get anybody saying it was better. So stand up, Mr. Leader, stand up, ask me a question. No, you won't ask a question, will you, because this bill is fair. We have to admit that. No one. Someone tell me how this bill is not fair; this bill is the fairest bill that we have in the country. It allows for flexibility. Every collective bargaining item can be mediated in this bill.

The union, Mr. Speaker, can, on its own, if it's worried - because I've had union members who speak to me and who say, well, we like arbitration but you know those companies, they can always afford better lawyers than we have. I always, in my mind, sort of apologize to Robert Chisholm, because he's a pretty good lawyer, and Mr. Pink is a pretty good lawyer, but anyway. (Interruption)

I know he's in the gallery behind me, but that's what they say to me, Mr. Speaker, that's what they say. They say the employers can hire better lawyers, and so binding arbitration, while it sounds fair, is not really fair because the employer can hire better lawyers than the workers can hire. That has been said to me on several occasions. That is why we have the option of binding mediation.

[Page 1125]

If the union - and the union unilaterally can say, listen, I'm a little worried that in binding arbitration that formal court-like process will be outgunned because they'll hire better lawyers than we have, they can unilaterally, without the agreement of the employer, they can unilaterally say we want to go the binding mediation route. We want to bring in somebody who's almost like a marriage counselor who will know the details on both sides and be able to bring us together and, at the end, if there's no agreement, impose a mediated settlement.

Mr. Speaker, that is exactly what the NSGEU at the IWK asked for, and that is exactly what, in the papers, they touted as being a fair system and a good system. I need to stress that. I need to stress that. They are the only ones who unilaterally can ask for this. The employer can't say I want binding mediation. The employer has to have the agreement of the union to go for binding mediation. Only the union can unilaterally ask for this.

Mr. Speaker, I see that some members find this a bit humorous. I don't find the public safety of Nova Scotians humorous at all. I don't find the fact that we will ensure that public health care system is there to the very best of our ability, I don't find that funny at all. This government, this Premier, this minister believe that what we can do on the labour side, to help safeguard the system, to take away stress from the system, is something that we should do.

So, I know the members opposite have made up their mind and one of the Parties made up its mind before even seeing the bill. I know they have made up their mind, but I plead with them one last time. If there is a fairer system to safeguard the public safety in the health care system, bring it out. Speak about it. If you want the ambulance services, Mr. Speaker, to be slowed down by those extra few minutes because they are on strike and they can only put 30 per cent of their workers on, then if that's what you want, that is what you are going to end up getting.

Mr. Speaker, that is what is being said to me by the silence of the Opposition. That is what is being said to this government by the fact that the Opposition refuses to debate this bill, time after time after time after time, and that is why I am glad, and this government is glad, that finally the Opposition will have to stand and speak to this bill, not to other issues, but to this bill, and tell this government, and tell Nova Scotians, how removing a stress from the system and helping the system work better in a way that is fair to workers, how that is a bad thing, because I cannot understand it. I cannot figure it out. I must be a very stupid person. (Applause) I must be a very stupid person because I cannot understand how taking away a stress from the system, when it's a system that already experiences a great deal of stress, how that is a bad thing. I don't understand that at all. I would understand that only if the rest of the bill wasn't fair to workers but, as I have stated time and time and time again, it is fair. It offers binding arbitration or it offers binding mediation. It lets the two parties choose what type of arbitration they want.

[Page 1126]

I have heard some people speak to me from the paramedics that they don't like final offer arbitration. Mr. Speaker, I think that final offer arbitration is a good system, but, in this bill, if they don't look final offer arbitration, they do not have to choose it. They can tailor make the type of arbitration that they want. If they want to find some other form of arbitration that they think is better, this bill allows that. This bill is flexible beyond all measure. This bill is the best type of labour legislation dealing with essential services of any bill in Canada. We have learned from other jurisdictions. We have had the luxury, because every other jurisdiction, besides Saskatchewan, which is talking about doing the same thing, at least according to a recent CBC report, has had experience in this. So we have had the opportunity of looking at their legislation, my department has studied it, we pulled out the very best, we put it in a discussion paper and that discussion paper was out for consultation.

Mr. Speaker, I really do have to thank the staff of my department, the staff of other departments in government, for the yeoman work. The staff of my department have gone above and beyond, they have put in countless hours after work is over to make sure that they have found the best practices, to make sure that they have the best information. I have one staff member who is researching what they did in the Far East and saying maybe this is an idea we can choose. I said look the whole world over if you can - find better legislation, find something to improve this.

We have always said, Mr. Speaker, the Premier stated time and time again when the discussion paper was out, we stated that we would be open to any compelling alternative, and we were. When the option of binding mediation came out, we accepted that; when Ms. Jessome said that this clause is unfair and will skew the arbitration process, we got rid of the clause.

So, Mr. Speaker, I do thank the Opposition for listening to me. I feel sorry that they've made up their minds on this because I think if they read the bill and considered the fact that it's fair to workers and protects public safety, they would support it. I hope at some time they do because I know that Nova Scotians support it. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and I'd like to begin my remarks tonight on Bill 1 with a quote, and the quote is this: "Health care workers are tired of being the scapegoats for the problems in the health care system."

That quote comes from a woman whose name is Karen MacKenzie, who is an X-ray technician in the Colchester Hospital in Truro. Karen has worked as a health care provider for 23 years - she has never been on strike.

Mr. Speaker, Karen, along with 17 other health care workers, met with me here on Friday, the 23rd, to give their point of view on Bill No. 1. Some of those workers are here

[Page 1127]

tonight and, with apologies for any errors or omissions, I'd like to tell you a little bit about who was at that meeting and what they said.

Mike Gillis, a shift power engineer in the Capital Health District for 20 years was there - Mike Gillis has never been on strike; Wendy Williams, a nurse who works in diagnostic imaging at the VG, who was injured as a nurse and now works in this different section, has been in the health care system for 31 years - she has never been on strike; Ann Cunningham, from Liverpool, a physio assistant was at this meeting - she has never been on strike; Dave Lawrence, a child care worker who is here with us this evening, who works at the IWK and has been there for six years, has been on strike for 16 hours and with a lot of emotion he told us about that experience - and he said of the Premier, and I quote, "the last people he cares about is us . . . he has his own agenda."

Mr. Speaker, Karl Crouse, LPN from Soldiers Memorial, for 21 years has worked as a health care worker - he has never been on strike, but Karl talked about how difficult it is to get time off to schedule your vacation, to use up all your overtime; Barb Vidito, who works in clerical now at the IWK, but had been a worker at Northwood since 1995 was there; Shawn Wilcox, LPN, from Cape Breton, for 21 years was also at this meeting - Shawn has been on strike once in 1991, and he relayed a story in the meeting about leaving the picket line during that strike and going inside with other workers who were on the line. They put their pickets down, they went inside when there was a car accident, they stayed until patients were stable and then they returned to the line. (Applause)

Gerry Oakley, a nurse in critical care with over 25 years of service, never on strike, was at the meeting and she talked about the mandated 24 hour shifts that nurses face. The mandated overtime they face. The mandate to work on their days off that they face. She said there's no safety there for nurses.

Gina Boyd, a clerical worker, 16 years, IWK, has never been on strike and she said she watched the television ads that were sponsored by the employers and she said, watching them tell the story of how we're putting patients in danger, we were sad, we were hurt. I've heard many workers talk about how they were angry because their tax dollars had contributed to the funding of those ads, no matter how you cut it.

Judy Davis, a home support worker with the VON in Truro and Tatamagouche, with, I think, 11 years - my handwriting wasn't the best at times - she's never been on strike, she did participate in a strike vote, she recommended that the government members read some working class history. Just for the Minister of Environment and Labour because I know he did make the effort to read a bit of working class history - for what it's worth, I believe the Woodsworth bit he was talking about had nothing really to do with the right to strike. It was the struggle for workers' recognition in this country which really did not occur until approximately 1944.

[Page 1128]

[5:15 p.m.]

Shaun Folley, who is here with us this evening, was at that meeting. Shaun works in environmental services at the Colchester Hospital. Shaun's been there for 15 years. Shaun has never been on strike. Shaun spoke very passionately, very eloquently, very coherently and he said, very rarely do we hear anybody talk about cleaners or kitchen personnel, maintenance staff as part of the health care team. Shaun said, we all work short. We are not the bottom end people. Nobody can do their jobs without us. You can't go into a dirty OR.

Christine Van Zoost, acute care nurse from Hants Community Hospital - I believe Christine was here one day and introduced. She's worked for 36 years in our health care system. Christine has never been on strike. She has a great deal of experience on the Nova Scotia Nurses' Union negotiating team and she talked about how in some negotiations for essential services, more staff were required than the place regularly operated with. That's quite the comment.

Bernadette Deveau, Capital Health operating room nurse, 25 years, has never been on strike. Lacey Costain, x-ray technician - the Hotel California, where you check in but you never check out. That's what they call it at the IWK, three years, she's been on strike for 16 hours.

Leo Lefort, LPN, stroke/neurology at the Queen Elizabeth, 10 years, on strike one day in 2001. Leo said, I have seen patients in hospital for a year, it's tragic, this is no way to treat our seniors.

Kenda MacKinley, RN, patient cancer care, VG, 23 years, had never been on strike and she asked me if I would ask if we could pass the hat here to buy brooms for the nurses over on that unit because they are frequently without the basics to do the work that needs to be done.

Paul Acker, lab tech at the QE for 20 years, on a one day illegal strike in 2001. Paul reminded people that in 2001 the workers offered 100 per cent staffing in the cancer treatment and the Veterans Care Unit and it was the CEO who refused and cancelled the agreement or that offer.

Now, Mr. Speaker, why am I telling you this? Well, it's because this legislation is about taking away the legislated legal rights of these women and men and others just like them. These are rights they've had for many years and it's important that we be clear about that. Bill No.1 isn't about taking away the rights or the powers of some diabolical union leadership or labour boss. It's about these people. Many of these health care workers sit on the bargaining team during collective bargaining. They are the union. It's their legal rights

[Page 1129]

this government and this legislation would take away and they are the ones who will feel the consequences most of the loss of these rights, rights they've had for many, many years.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I didn't run for office - nor did any member of the NDP caucus - on a platform that we would come to this place to take away the legal rights of any group and now that I think about it, I don't remember any of the government members on that side of the House having run on such a platform either, yet here we are.

Mr. Speaker, I think if a government is going to legislate away rights that already exist in law, rights that have been gained through a long and often difficult struggle, then there has to be a very strong case for doing so. I submit to you that the government has not been able to make that case. They have not been able to demonstrate that health care workers have abused the rights they currently have under the Trade Union Act. The overwhelming majority of collective agreements in the health and community services sector are solved without any labour disruption.

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Environment and Labour's own statistics indicate that in 97 per cent of the collective bargaining processes, there are no labour disruptions. So this surely is rather strong evidence, I think, that the removal of the lawful rights for every single person who works in every single hospital, in every single nursing home, in every single health clinic, in every single residential care facility, in every single small options home, in every single homecare service, in all of our province's ambulances, in all of our rehab and addiction services and so forth, is not supported by the facts - thousands of health care workers.

Now, Mr. Speaker, it's often argued that the rights of one group shouldn't impinge on the rights of others and that all rights have reasonable limits. For example, we have the right of free speech but that does not give any of us the right to say hateful things that could lead to hate crimes against particular groups. Although the government has implied that in this case this is a matter of patients' rights, they have not said this and realistically, how could they?

This government provides no such rights to Nova Scotians as patients. They have not presented any patients' bill of rights, no guaranteed wait times and we can speculate on why that is. It would mean that they would have to be prepared to uphold such rights, 365 days of the year, for everyone, for mental health patients, for kids in care and in the courts awaiting assessment and treatment, for cancer care, for diagnostic services, for long-term care. So this, too, is not a good argument for Bill No. 1.

So, Mr. Speaker, this wasn't in the election platform and the case that health care and other workers have abused their rights has not been made, nor has the case of one group's rights impinging on the rights of another group been made, so what other good reason could there be for Bill No. 1? Well, perhaps this is an area where the public is crying out for action

[Page 1130]

but, wrong again. Only one member of the public responded to the Minister of Environment and Labour's discussion paper on this issue. Even polling done by the government and by various employers, indicates the public are not at all convinced for the need of this legislation. Their concerns are with doctor and nurse shortages, with wait times, with routine cancellation of appointments and surgeries, with closures of emergency departments, poor treatment of mental health patients and the disgraceful lack of long-term care beds and the neglectful treatment of our seniors as a result.

Now, Mr. Speaker, again, remember what the government is proposing to do with Bill No. 1. They are planning to completely remove the existing, lawful rights for the guy who mows the lawn, the woman who does the admissions or the discharge paperwork, the recreational director who plans the sing-a-long evenings at the nursing home, the social worker who helps gets services in place for patients in the community, the ward clerk, the kitchen aid, the orderly, the nurse, the paramedic and so on.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, this government talks about safety. Well, who can argue with that? Safety is a good thing, an important thing. Health care workers will tell you, this is their top priority, but they will tell you it is often very difficult to achieve safety when you routinely work short-staffed or sleep deprived. They will tell you cancellations of procedures and postponements of procedures and rescheduling of procedures is a common, everyday occurrence in our health care system. They will tell you these problems in the system are caused by too few workers. They will tell you that their rights should not be sacrificed on the altar of a health care system that has unsuccessfully adopted many of the just-in-time, workplace techniques of the factory system, as if people's health care needs are a simple commodity that can be successfully predicted or manipulated. They can't.

Having reordered the system with inadequate resources to operate effectively on a day-to-day basis, this government now tells health care workers, who already bear the brunt of this reordering, oh, by the way, here is an additional price you must pay with the loss of your legal rights, rights you rarely use. Rights that I must add, Mr. Speaker, that when they do use, have generally alerted the public to serious problems in the health care system, problems governments have been subsequently forced to act on. So much for dealing with safety. Bill No. 1 fails here as well.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, I would say that for all of our differences in this Legislature the thing we all agree on is that there are many difficult problems in the health care systems, problems that we must solve together. Where we disagree is what areas to focus on and make a priority. Our priorities in the New Democratic Party are these persistent, structural, routine problems in our health care system that lead to difficulties with recruitment and retention of health care providers, the lack of resources, like long-term care beds for our seniors, and unacceptably long wait times for diagnostics and procedures.

[Page 1131]

For the NDP caucus, Bill No. 1 is the wrong solution for the wrong problem, and for this reason, I and my colleagues will be voting against it, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.(Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

[5:30 p.m.]

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I don't know if there is much I can add to the eloquent words of the member for Halifax Needham. I am somewhat surprised, I have to admit, to have heard the Minister of Environment and Labour stand in this Legislature and taunt members of the Official Opposition and of our Party, to stand up and debate, knowing full well that we had every intention of doing just that. I was somewhat amazed that the Minister of Environment and Labour would say such things as the Opposition Parties are sticking their collective heads in the sands and we abdicated our responsibility. Them's fightin' words, Mr. Speaker, that's what those are.

Mr. Speaker, my mom was a nurse, and I used her as an example in this Legislature before, during a debate on Bill No. 68. Three of my sisters are nurses. My mom did a reasonably good job of raising all 10 kids - some of us turned out okay. (Interruptions) One of the lessons my mother taught me when I used to go to school and get picked on for whatever reason, I would come home with a bloody nose or a bruised face and she would say, David, pick the fight you can win. Mr. Minister, Mr. Premier, you could have used my mom's advice. (Applause)

Nova Scotia has only had three hospital strikes in 25 years, and two of them lasted less than 24 hours. One would wonder why are we here debating this legislation. Why are we doing it? We've received hundreds of letters from regular Nova Scotians who support our position, and the position of the Official Opposition, telling us not to take away the right to strike for health care workers. We also know the real reason why the government is doing this - it's politics, it's nothing more than politics. It's as simple as that.

Mr. Speaker, as the member for Halifax Needham referred to - she didn't use the figure, let me use the figure - 97 per cent of collective bargaining agreements in this province get solved between the parties; 97 per cent of those health care contract negotiations are resolved, as I said, which is proof that the process works. What better proof do you want? What better proof do you want? I'm sure there are things that could be improved upon, but taking away the right to strike of health care workers is not one of them.

Mr. Speaker, in the last four years or so, as Health Critic for the Liberal caucus, I have spoken to health care workers from one end of this province to another. Not one health care worker has ever asked me to please take away their right to strike - not one. The minister refers to the fact that this Legislature has dealt with taking away the right to strike from other collective bargaining units, firefighters and police officers. True, they asked for it. They came

[Page 1132]

to us and said that's what they wanted and we gave them what they wanted after debating it. Again, that's why we're elected, that's what we're put here to do.

Well, Mr. Speaker, no one has come to the Premier or the Health Minister, or the Labour Minister, or any other minister, or any member, and said, please, take away my right to strike - nobody. Again, why are we doing it - nothing more than simple politics, nothing more than simple politics. The government plays politics with this one, listen, you have to realize that there are more important things to deal with in health care these days. The Minister of Health has been somewhat silent on this and I can understand why.

I can understand why because he knows, I'm sure he knows, that ERs in this province have been closed for almost 6,000 hours so far this year - a problem; wait times - big problem; nurse shortages - big problem; doctor shortages - big problem. Are the workers to blame for that? Absolutely not. Do they want solutions to that? You better believe they do but, again, the government puts the blame squarely on the workers in the health care system and tries to bring in legislation to take away their right to strike. It deflects, Mr. Speaker, from the real problems in health care and it tries to convince the general public by using that method of deflection that the only thing wrong in the health care system is because workers have the right to strike. Everybody in this House knows that that is not the case. That is not the case.

Mr. Speaker, there have been references and, again, I know that others want to have something to say on this but let me say one other thing. The campaign that the government has launched, the campaign that has been joined by district health authorities, that has been joined by the Nova Scotia Association of Health Organizations, and the money that that organization, $350,000, spent on a campaign, could have been put to much better use by putting some people to work in the health care system to help solve the problems that we are putting up with on a daily basis. (Applause)

The minister took his travelling road show all over this province and had his Webcast. I don't know how much that cost, I wouldn't even want to wager a guess, but the response was far from overwhelming. There were polls that were done out in the field between February and October of this year. We estimate those costs to be around $40,000 plus, to do those polls. Think of the money that has been wasted, think of all the other problems that are there in health care, and you just sit down and you say to yourself, why this and why now?

Mr. Speaker, the other provinces that have introduced a form of essential services legislation, which the minister has dismissed from the start, it's questionable at best where it's in place. Again, I go back to the fact that in this province there have only been three hospital strikes - three hospital strikes in the last 25 years. This was not a problem that begged to be dealt with. Again, it just doesn't make any sense.

[Page 1133]

Mr. Speaker, I know there are other things that have to be said and I want others to have that chance to do that. We certainly want to hear from others. Let me make this final point, you know, the minister made reference to some very famous people in this country - Tommy Douglas and Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the fact that he made reference to what the Liberal Party was all about.

Well, Mr. Speaker, let me tell you what this Liberal caucus is all about right now. This Liberal caucus is about protecting the rights that people have and not taking their rights away. That's why the Liberal caucus will be voting against this when the time comes and on that note, Mr. Speaker, let me issue my own challenge, since the minister is quite fond of taunting people over here. If you want to find out where we are going with this and you want to find out what the end result will be, if you want to have a fight, Mr. Minister, then you call this for a vote.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I want to start off by sending my thanks to each and every health care worker for the work that they do. I have never been so proud of such an esteemed group of individuals. We need each and every health care worker we have in our system, each and every health care worker and more. Contrary to what the member for Glace Bay just said, I, and this government, have never blamed a health care worker for anything in this system. We have nothing but praise for the wonderful individuals who work in our health care system.

Mr. Speaker, I, too, am pleased to speak to second reading of the proposed amendments to the Trade Union Act. As Health Minister, I am very aware of the kind of impact a strike can have on the health care system. This past year, we have worked very closely with our district health authorities when labour disruptions threatened to interrupt service to patients. Just one year ago, our health care system was planning for a possible strike by members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees that had the potential to affect every hospital in Nova Scotia outside of metro. The kind of planning and preparation that goes on behind the scenes on the lead-up to a strike is intense, it is stressful, but it is absolutely necessary. It is our responsibility, it is my responsibility to Nova Scotians, to limit the impact the labour dispute can have on patients.

Now let me share with you, Mr. Speaker, the two experiences that I have had this past year that reveals just how integrated our modern health care system is. The removal of one part of the system can cripple the remaining parts. If I may, let me quote from a news release that the Colchester-East Hants District Health Authority issued on October 27, 2006, in its effort to share with the public the effects a pending strike would have:

"Colchester East Hants Health Authority is continuing its efforts to plan for a potential strike by more than 400 members of its staff represented by the

[Page 1134]

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). Negotiations between the union and the district health authorities broke off earlier this month and members could be in a legal strike position as of 12 a.m. on November 1... Given the significant impact a strike would have on our ability to deliver services, we have been working over the past number of weeks to develop contingency plans should a strike move forward.

CUPE represents the vast majority of non-nursing staff in the district including: clerical and administrative (e.g. payroll, finance, registration, booking, shipping/receiving, health records, materials management); mental health outpatient services; pharmacy services; laboratory (blood/specimen collection and testing); rehabilitation (physiotherapy and occupational therapy); diagnostic imaging (X-ray services); maintenance and housekeeping; sterilization/reprocessing services; cardio-respiratory services (breathing tests, asthma clinics, EKGs); dietary services (food services and nutritional counselling); and diabetes education.

In the event of a strike, CEHHA would be very limited in the services it is able to offer. Services such as laboratory, diagnostic imaging (X-ray services), pharmacy and surgery will only be able to respond to emergency and urgent situations.

To ensure the continued delivery of emergency and urgent services it will be necessary to cancel all scheduled procedures, appointments and clinics. Services will also need to be centralized at the Colchester Regional Hospital. All services at Lillian Fraser Memorial Hospital would be temporarily discontinued."

M. le President, laissez-moi partager avec vous, que les deux expériences vécues au cours de l'année dernière révèlent à quel point notre système de soins de santé moderne est intégré et que l'élimination d'une partie du système peut paralyser les autres parties.

Si vous le permettez, je vais vous lire un extrait d'un communiqué de presse publié par la régie régionale de la santé Colchester East Hants le 27 octobre dernier afin de partager avec le public les effets potentiels d'une grève imminente:

"La régie régionale de la santé Colchester East Hants poursuit ses efforts de planification advenant une grève potentielle par plus de 400 membres du personnel représentés par le Syndicat canadien de la fonction publique (SCFP).

[Page 1135]

Les négociations entre le syndicat et les régies régionales de la santé ont été interrompues plus tôt au cours du mois, et les membres pourraient avoir le droit de déclarer la grève à compter de minuit le 1er novembre . . .

En raison de l'impact considérable d'une grève sur notre capacité d'offrir des services, nous avons travaillé, au cours des dernières semaines, sur l'élaboration de plans d'urgence advenant une grève.

Le SCFP représente la vaste majorité du personnel non infirmier de la régie, notamment: le personnel de bureau et d'administration (p. ex. service de la paie, finances, enregistrement, réservations, expédition et réception, dossiers médicaux, gestion du matériel);

[5:45 p.m.]

En cas de grève, la régie ne pourrait offrir que des services très limités.

Les services tel que le laboratoire, l'imagerie diagnostique, la pharmacie et la chirurgie ne pourraient être offerts que dans des situations d'urgence.

Pour assurer la prestation continue des services d'urgence, il sera nécessaire d'annuler toutes les procédures, tous les rendez-vous et toutes les cliniques.

Les services devront également être centralisés à l'hôpital régional Colchester" à Truro.

"Tous les services offerts à l'hôpital Lillian Fraser Memorial seraient interrompus de façon temporaire."

Mr. Speaker, I believe this gives you a real sense of the impact that a strike may have.

[Page 1136]

For those of you who don't think we have an alternative solution, let me share another real example of the impact of why our government feels this issue is so important. Here is a public service announcement from last October by the Southwest Nova District where CUPE represents 621 licensed practical nurses, laboratory technologists, diagnostic imaging technologists, respiratory therapists, EKG technologists, dietitians, mental health professionals, and many other workers, maintenance, materials management, porters, sterile processing and others.

On October 27, 2006, "We are now in the process of ramping down services in preparation for a possible strike," says CEO Blaise MacNeil.

"At 48 hours before a strike is called, day surgeries only will be performed. During the strike elective or non-urgent surgeries will be cancelled.

During a CUPE strike South West Health will close:

South West Health will also cancel elective ( non-urgent) procedures, clinics and tests.

Within 48 hours of a confirmed strike date people will be called if their booked appointment is cancelled."

Mr. Speaker, this is a real problem that we need to address. Women and children who were patients at the IWK Health Centre experienced that first-hand in April when, unfortunately, there was a strike, as the House has heard from earlier speakers.

Mr. Speaker, Anne McGuire, the CEO of the IWK, recalls that her hospital was in turmoil in the lead-up to the strike and I believe her. Regrettably, there were surgery cancellations for 42 children and 17 women, and 474 outside appointments had to be cancelled. Those people who say that it is not an issue with the public only need to read the mail I received during that one-day strike. One e-mail sent on October 30, 2007, "Get this solved before some innocent child needs the IWK and it's not there for them . . .".

Right now, in fact, there are contingency plans underway at our largest district, Capital Health, where 2,400 nurses work. Mr. Speaker, please let me clarify a point on that, if I may. The government does not set those contingency planning wheels in motion. The

[Page 1137]

employers and the unions are the parties that work on plans to put in place should a labour disruption affect the public.

Mr. Speaker, I've said it before and I will say it again, strikes do not help us address wait times, they make them worse. No matter how you phrase it, cancelling appointments because staff are off the job, does not help the system. As Health Minister, I know that there are many issues facing our health system and let me say, we are making strong inroads to address those. Anyone who says that we are not addressing wait times is wrong.

Let me read a few clippings in the papers over the last number of months, which speak to the hard work that we are doing, as a government, to address wait times. This one, written by Brian Medel in The ChronicleHerald as of September 16th, New MRI Moves In, and it talks about the new MRI that came online in Yarmouth. This one is in the Advocate of February 7th, New Glasgow, MRI Unit Officially Open at Aberdeen Hospital. Now this one also really talks about an MRI already proving beneficial.

Mr. Speaker, I can say that as of last month, the number was that over 5,000 patients were being seen in rural areas and changing the wait times in our province. The Opposition is quick to point to wait times issues and I can say that we have a prescription for wait times, as was listed in The ChronicleHerald, I believe - I forget the date, it doesn't quite show here - on the $24 million that we were able to receive from the federal government to work on radiation oncology. Again, this one in The Halifax Daily News, Cancer Wait Times Get a $24 Million Boost, Patients to Receive Radiation Within Five Weeks by 2010.

Mr. Speaker, I love this one, which was on the cover of The Daily News on Wednesday, August 8, 2007, and a picture of Dr. John Ross, who is the chief of the new QE II ER, the new ER long overdue, a $17 million investment in a new ER at Capital Health to ensure the flow of patients and the safety of patients. This one comes from The Daily News, this time it will be the right size, which is a further continuation of the ER announcement.

Mr. Speaker, a number of months ago I had the opportunity to open the last MRI at the QE II, or the Capital Health District Health Authority at the VG site, with the Premier and resonates with patients where the six new magnetic resonance imagers activated across Nova Scotia in the past year have already had impact on patients' waiting times.

Mr. Speaker, we can talk about the $12.5 million MRIs reducing the wait times. North America's mobile digital mammography unit, the first one, launched in Baddeck, and talking about how that will impact women from one end of this province to another in helping that wait time in Nova Scotia. Again, we can talk about Inverness or better access to mammography in Cape Breton.

[Page 1138]

Mr. Speaker, we can also talk about, the province expands chronic pain services - making sure that we have chronic pain clinics across this province, really impacting the largest wait time that we had, which was in chronic pain.

Just recently we were able to celebrate the new mammography technology at the Yarmouth Hospital, the new digital mammography unit that was put in place at that hospital that, again, will help more and more Nova Scotia women.

So, Mr. Speaker, when the members opposite underline a lot of the other issues that we have in the health care system and say that we are not addressing those, I can in my heart of hearts say that they are wrong, that we are doing everything we can to make that system better and better and better. In my heart, I know I'm doing the right thing, as I know the member opposite, in his heart of hearts, knows that we are doing the right thing. Those who work in the health care system know that it takes time to address a wait time and we have been very (Interruption)

Mr. Speaker, if I may, I respectfully listened to the members opposite as they presented and I would ask the same from them.

Those who work in the health care system know that it takes time to address a wait time and we have been on that and very proactive at this. There are many, many issues in health, and today it is about resolving one of those issues that impacts the health system, as the Minister of Environment and Labour so well spoke to.

Mr. Speaker, I, too, believe it is our responsibility to find a better way to resolve our disputes when collective bargaining fails. We must ensure care is available when our mothers, our fathers and our children need it most, and that is why I am in favour of these amendments.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the NDP is opposed to the bill, which is an attack on the collective bargaining rights of health care workers in this province. We have a labour relations system that has proven it minimizes work disruptions, although it is based on the right of workers to strike and managers to lock out. Indeed, our system is the envy of the rest of the country. (Applause)

Negotiations are rarely simple, but the answer to those who would replace this system with another system might also be found in the words of Winston Churchill when he spoke about another messy situation, Mr. Speaker. He said that "democracy is the worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." He said that in the House of Commons in Britain on November 11, 1947, and it might well be applicable to the circumstances in which we find ourselves today as this government

[Page 1139]

attempts, for reasons of its own, to replace a system which has been working, which has been serving the people of the Province of Nova Scotia, with a system that may well make the circumstances in this province worse than they are.

The reality, Mr. Speaker, is that this bill is nothing more than a political tactic - now why do I say that it's a tactic? Let me explain. First, and most obviously, this was not a matter that was raised during the last election; it was not part of the program that was put forward by the members opposite when they were campaigning door-to-door around the province. They never raised it, never put it in their promotional literature, they never talked about it on the campaign trail - it was part of the agenda that they decided to advance after they had received the endorsement of those voters who chose to vote for them.

Mr. Speaker, let's look to the Premier. It was not part of his leadership platform. I never saw it reported in any of the debates that they had. I never heard him talk about it in a public forum. I never heard him advance it as part of his new Nova Scotia. I never heard him talk about it in any of the debates that they had with the other leadership contenders. There was no forum for discussion setting out what the government felt the problem was and asking for suggested solutions prior to them deciding that they were going to bring forward this legislation, before they decided the result.

For a long time, Mr. Speaker, we on this side have been asking the government for a labour-management board, or a forum, such as the one that once worked very well in this province, that would look at emerging issues in labour relations and provide advice to the government. I would note that the government put on their Web site a statement that they would be proceeding with a tri-party process and they held, as far as we know, one consultation that never publicly reported its findings and never proceeded any further.

Mr. Speaker, this is unfortunate. The government held no prior consultation with health care workers who are the focus of this bill and astoundingly they had no advance consultation with either Opposition Party to share the government's concerns, report the government's plans, or to ask advice. Therefore, this bill can only be understood as a political tactic and not a serious attempt to improve the laws of Nova Scotia.

[6:00 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. We have arrived at the moment of interruption. The adjournment debate has been chosen and announced earlier, and won by the honourable member for King West. The resolution this evening:

"Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Government immediately address safety and road condition concerns related to the state of Route 4 in Richmond County and Cape Breton County."

[Page 1140]

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

TIR: RTE. 4 (RICHMOND/C.B. COS.) - SAFETY CONCERN

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, it's unfortunate that in 2007, I still have to stand in my place and talk about the deplorable state of Route 4, specifically Route 4 from the St. Peter's Canal down to Sydney River where it meets Highway No. 125. This is an issue which I have been raising in this House since I've been elected and trying to get the government to commit to a long-term plan and a long-term vision as to where we're going with Route 4.

Mr. Speaker, over the years we have seen a number of meetings that have taken place down in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, which has been lobbying for this road to get the attention it deserves, and certainly I want to take the opportunity to commend Warden John Boudreau of the Municipality of Richmond and the councillors who have been lobbying for quite some time and quite some years through letters to the Minister of Transportation provincially and even letters to the federal Minister of Transport, asking that it be considered part of the federal highway strategy and, therefore, eligible for funds under that program, which has apparently been a difficult task over the years.

Mr. Speaker, the reason why it's very timely to speak about this issue again is the fact that yesterday a meeting was held in Cape Breton, between the Cape Breton Sydney and Area Chamber of Commerce, the Strait Area Chamber of Commerce, municipal leaders, business leaders and concerned citizens who are very upset about the state of Route 4 and the fact that it's still unclear as to where the government plans on taking renovations and upgrades to this road into the future.

Let me say, Mr. Speaker, first of all, I realize that there have been some significant investments which have been made along Route 4 over the last few years. I know the former Minister of Transportation and Public Works was committed to seeing some improvements to that route and I'm certainly hoping that the current Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal will show that commitment as well. One of the problems with that though, is the fact that each year, we wait to see what work is going to take place.

There's no way for me, as the MLA for Richmond, for which Route 4 goes through a significant part of my constituency, to be able to tell my municipal council or to be able to tell the people of Richmond, here is what work you should expect to take place on Route 4 for the next year, two years, three years, four years or five years. As I stand here today, Mr. Speaker, I have no idea what work the government has planned for Route 4, for the

[Page 1141]

construction year 2008. That is where I am hoping that the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal will be able to give us, to all members of this House, but certainly to members from Cape Breton and myself - having the road going right through my riding - give us a sense of exactly what work we should expect on which sections and when should we expect that work to take place.

Mr. Speaker, as part of the frustration that was expressed yesterday, the end result was that both the two chambers of commerce and those who were there, put a demand to the government that the upgrades to Route 4 take place within the next five years. They set the date of 2012 as to when they'd like to see Route 4, from the St. Peters Canal to Sydney River, completely upgraded from one end to the next.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I don't know if that's realistic. Hopefully the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal will be able to address that issue and give us a sense. Can it be done within five years? Is it going to take him a little bit longer? Can he at least give us a vision, or some sort of a time frame where I can go back and tell the people of Richmond County and tell the municipal council and tell the businesses that here is what work is going to take place, here is when it will take place and which specific sections are going to be done.

I believe, Mr. Speaker, that the people of Cape Breton have always proven to be most reasonable people, but not knowing from one year to the next what is going to take place, not even having an assurance that any work will take place, is what's leading to this frustration. Anyone who has driven through the beautiful riding of Richmond County, which I believe is one of the more beautiful ridings there is here in Nova Scotia. certainly in Cape Breton, but driving through Richmond County, after you pass the St. Peter's Canal, it is as if you've entered a different zone, because suddenly the road, the highway, is nothing comparable to what you would have seen when you would have left the Town of Port Hawkesbury to get to the St. Peter's Canal. What happened was years ago, when the highway was supposed to be built straight from Port Hawkesbury right down to Sydney, they stopped at St. Peter's, right at the beginning of St. Peter's, in fact right at the River Tillard bridge is where it ends, what is considered the new highway.

Well, Mr. Speaker, the new highway was built a significant amount of years ago so it is not really a new highway, even though people will still make reference to it. There has been no indiction from government, and this government has been in office since 1999, so for the last eight years we have not been given any indication of whether they intend to continue the completion of the old, new highway, let us say, or what did they plan on doing with Route 4?

Mr. Speaker, regardless of the condition of the road, you can't take away the beauty of the Bras d'or Lakes and the beauty of the mountains as you drive through, on Route 4 down to Sydney. Most people who have driven that road have remarked on the beauty that

[Page 1142]

is there, the friendliness of the people who are there, but at the end of the day, what is the biggest thing they remark on? My God, you have terrible roads and that road is terrible.

What is happening, Mr. Speaker, is that we often hear how improved roads lead to improved economic development. I know the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal believes that. I've heard him say it, his Premier has said it in their Speech from the Throne and they do believe that. But there's no better example of how important good roads are to economic development than on Route 4. Let me give you an example for the minister, do you want to talk about something that's frustrating; we have numerous tour buses which come to Cape Breton, and the minister would be aware of that because Cape Breton Island has been designated, I think, as either number one or the second best island to visit in the world. It has gotten great accolades.

Here is what happens, the buses will come onto Cape Breton Island, they'll cross the causeway and once they get on Cape Breton Island they head up Route 105. It takes them through Inverness County, Victoria County and they'll stop, they'll go through the Cabot Trail and there's beautiful scenery along there as well, and many of them eventually will make their way down to the Fortress of Louisbourg. Now naturally, if you look at the way that Cape Breton is set out, the natural fit would be that once they go up along the top of Cape Breton Island and then come down to Louisbourg, that they would continue along the southern coast of Cape Breton on Route 4 to exit Cape Breton. That way they have done the whole tour of Cape Breton Island, but do you know what happens, Mr. Speaker? Those tour buses leave Louisbourg and go right back on Route 105. That way they completely bypass Richmond County, they bypass St. Peter's, they bypass Johnstown, they bypass River Bourgeois, Isle Madame, Louisdale, Low River, Evanston, communities that are losing all of this potential through this tourism traffic.

Second of all, for the most part, heavy traffic can no longer travel on Route 4 because of the danger of that road and, Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal's staff were very diligent today when I asked for some of the statistics of accidents along that road. I am sure they would have given them to the minister. St. Peter's, the Soldier Cove Road, since 2002, 18 accidents; Soldier's Cove Road to the Richmond, Cape Breton County line, 23 accidents since 2002; Richmond, Cape Breton County line to Ben Eoin, 31 accidents since 2002; Ben Eoin to St. Andrew's Channel to East Bay, 30 accidents; East Bay to Sydney Forks, 19 accidents; Sydney Forks to Sydney River, 39 accidents. If we add those all up, it's unacceptable. I think the minister knows that. I know improvements have been made. I encourage him to continue that, but more importantly, let us know what work is going to take place, let us know today what your plan is, when we can expect that work.

The work that has been done to date, allow me to end by saying, Mr. Speaker, has all been done in Cape Breton County. Richmond County, from the St. Peter's Canal to the Cape Breton County line has not seen any upgrades to that road other than minor surface patching. That is unacceptable. We need that whole route to be upgraded, but certainly the people of

[Page 1143]

Richmond County expect that some of the most dangerous areas exist within our section and we need to know when we can expect that road is going to be upgraded and at the end of the day, I believe the minister will see the results of that by seeing more tourism development along the Richmond County portion of that line and at the end of the day, better economic development and a better future for the people of Richmond County and for the people throughout that whole Route 4.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal.

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by thanking the honourable member opposite for bringing forward an issue I know that is most important to all of Cape Breton, in fact all Nova Scotians, when it comes to roads. I think it is very topical on the minds of all Nova Scotians in this province and has been for quite some time.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak about upgrades needed on Route 4 in Cape Breton. Yesterday, as many members would know, there was a meeting of supporters of the Route 4 upgrade in Big Pond, as was mentioned by the honourable member and I can tell you, those folks, and the honourable member opposite, have a supporter in myself in regard to Route 4. I couldn't agree more that this highway is a major artery between the Cape Breton Regional Municipality and the Strait area and it definitely needs to be upgraded. Indeed, it is a priority project in the province's strategy of infrastructure renewal.

Both the Sydney Chamber of Commerce and the Strait Area Chamber of Commerce argue that a better Route 4 would enhance business opportunities for both ends of Cape Breton Island and I couldn't agree more, Mr. Speaker.

As was said in the Throne Speech, our government is committed to improving its road system through a program to twin and modernize highways from Yarmouth to Sydney by the year 2020. It's part of our commitment to our growing economy for the 21st Century. Mr. Speaker, we have heard wonderful feedback on the upgrades that have been completed over Route 4 for the past few years that was mentioned by the honourable member for Richmond. We completed 13 kilometres of upgrades at a cost of $9.5 million. Those upgrades include three kilometres from Loch Lomand toward Sydney; three kilometres from Big Pond Centre to Middle Cape; and seven and one-half kilometres from East Bay to Ben Eoin. (Interruption) Sorry, all in Cape Breton, Cape Breton County, as pointed out by my honourable colleague.

We also completed, during the same period, $1 million of repaving from Lynch's River to the St. Peter's Canal Bridge. Mr. Speaker, we are committed to a continued investment in Route 4 and I want to reassure the member opposite of that. We plan to continue the upgrading of Route 4 and it will be widened and we will improve both the

[Page 1144]

vertical and horizontal alignments of the highway, making it safer and more efficient for the movement of all vehicles, particularly the ones mentioned earlier by the honourable member.

Mr. Speaker, our investments, over the next six to seven years, will result in a safer arterial highway from Sydney to St. Peter's. All of Route 4 will be upgraded. We hope to sign an agreement with the federal government by next Spring that will see Route 4 put forward as a cost-shared project that will be included in work over the next few years. We can complete the upgrade at $4 million per year by 2013, on a cost-share basis. The total cost to complete the 44 kilometres upgrade is estimated at $25 million. We will begin this important work by completing the six-kilometre gap from this year's work at Ben Eoin through to Big Pond, at a total cost of $4 million in cost-shared dollars.

Now I heard the honourable member earlier, Mr. Speaker, put forward on behalf of his constituency and I will tell the honourable member that I'm certainly willing to sit down as the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal next summer, if I'm still in this post, I'll sit down with the honourable member and look towards hearing how he would like to see that project unfold in future years.

Mr. Speaker, the honourable member speaks about a safer Route 4 and this government is committed to road safety. Our investments will result in a safer highway for Nova Scotians. Of course, engineering and building better highways is just one way that government contributes to road safety. Nova Scotia's fatality and serious injury rates are lower than all but two jurisdictions and is considerably better than the Canadian average. The province has excellent coordination with other road safety agencies in the province and a very effective Road Safety Advisory Committee.

Mr. Speaker, we're on the right track in Nova Scotia, but we need to do more to reduce fatalities and serious injuries through strategies that focus on drinking and driving, speeding, seatbelt use and distracted driving. Nova Scotia's efforts to improve driver safety were recognized this year by Mothers Against Drunk Driving. MADD's 2007 progress report cited Nova Scotia as setting a good example to other jurisdictions in Canada by introducing important legislative reforms. Recent legislative amendments brought in by the province includes strengthening the graduated licensing program, preparing an alcohol ignition interlock program, and a new vehicle impoundment system.

Still, Mr. Speaker, we are seeing too many injuries and far too many fatalities. There is no simple solution to ensuring road safety. That is the reason we need to make several road safety amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act. We've introduced Bill No. 7 to make our communities safer in addressing concerns of Nova Scotians. Clearly highway improvements, new laws and programs to reduce injuries and deaths will result in safer and much improved conditions, particularly on Route 4 as mentioned by the member opposite.

[6:15 p.m.]

[Page 1145]

Mr. Speaker, I do want to say this, you know, I've been in this Legislature for approximately 10 years now and when I came in here 10 years ago, I can tell you that if I closed my eyes and listened to the honourable member, I would have given the same speech here as he has given here tonight. Road improvements have been obviously identified as a priority by this government. Ten years ago, I can tell you when the phone rang, three-quarters of the time that the phone rang, it was about issues around road, road improvements, and much needed paving.

Do you know, Mr. Speaker, this government - and governments make decisions in regard to priorities and tough decisions - this government has made the decision that road improvements are a priority with us. The Premier has made a commitment of 2,000 kilometres of paving over four years of which the honourable member who was supporting that will get his fair share. Richmond will get its fair share, but I can tell you the Premier made a commitment of 2,000 kilometres. In the first year we fulfilled our commitment, in the second we've fulfilled our commitment and we will fulfill our commitment in year three and year four. We will reach 2,000 kilometres by the end of next year.

Mr. Speaker, I think the honourable member would agree as well that if you look at our budget compared to budgets by previous governments, we have certainly identified road improvements, road paving, repaving, as a priority, and we've indicated it through our budgets. You know, I think the honourable member would agree with me that, as he so eloquently put it tonight, his riding needs more paving, and I agree with him, and we will ensure that his concerns are addressed in my department.

I think, Mr. Speaker, I've outlined here tonight our plan for Route 4, which will guarantee that the travellers in Cape Breton and those who visit there are able to drive on a safe highway with much needed improvements and this government will fulfill its commitments. I thank the honourable member for bringing it forward here tonight and I look forward to working with him in regard to how we'll identify, over the next four to five to six years, the projects that will be aligned for the honourable member's riding that I'm sure will satisfy him and his constituents and all the Cape Breton folks who deserve - such as the chamber of commerce that has discussed this over the last while, who are very much deserving of the road improvements, and I can assure you they will get those improvements under a Progressive Conservative Government. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.

MS. VICKI CONRAD: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to stand here and I want to thank the honourable member for Richmond. He beat me to the question today about Route 4 in Cape Breton and the good people of Cape Breton absolutely deserve to see that road construction continue on, but what I want to talk about is some of the road priorities in the riding of Queens, because I think we have heard a lot of discussion around Route 4 and I don't think there's much more I can add.

[Page 1146]

I do want to bring the minister's attention to some of the concerns that I'm hearing in the riding of Queens. Certainly the communities in the Petit Riviere, Bugler's Cove, Cherry Hill, Italy Cross and Crousetown communities on the Lunenburg end of the riding, have a lot of concerns about the secondary roads. Of course, in rural Nova Scotia, as we all know, not every community, or not every resident, is traveling out on the 100 Series Highways to get from community to community. It is the secondary roads that link our communities and those people who work within those communities, or have family in their communities that they're caring for. Sometimes we overlook those secondary roads as really vital arteries within those communities.

Exit 15 and exit 16 take commuters off the 100 Series Highways into the communities of Italy Cross, Crousetown and down to the wonderful community of Petit Riviere, which is a coastal community. It's also a tourist destination as just up the way from Petit Riviere is the provincial park, Risser's Beach, which is the very well-visited beach.

A lot of people in and around those areas are telling me that they've actually seen tourists come down as far as one of the bridges and finding that they have to turn around and come back because the roads are in such poor condition. So I'd like to bring those two particular exits going into those communities, exit 15 goes into the communities of Vogler's Cove and Cherry Hill. Again, they are coastal communities and very vital to our tourism industry along the South Shore.

Those are two exits leading into those secondary roads that really need a lot of attention. There's been a little bit of patching here in the past budget season. The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal has been very good with the RIM funding and they have identified some of those areas. Unfortunately, it just hasn't been enough so I'm hoping there will be some attention paid there.

One vital route that I would like to bring the minister's attention to is Route 8. You may be familiar with the importance of Route 8 to our communities. Route 8 is an essential link between the South Shore and the Western Shore. Both the south end of Route 8 being Queens County and the northern end of that route would be in the riding of Annapolis County.

Municipal colleagues, both in the Municipality of Queens and the Municipality of Annapolis and the Town of Annapolis Royal have joined together, some time ago, to work on advocating for the development of Route 8. Some work has been started, about two years ago on the south end side of Route 8, there has been some construction done. It's looking great in that end of the area, however, Route 8 needs to be further developed to really promote the vital link that Route 8 is to both the South Shore and the western part of Nova Scotia.

[Page 1147]

You may be familiar that the Kejimkujik National Park resides along Route 8, a very important national park in the riding, as you are probably aware. There are a lot of attractions for tourists, for canoeists, residents in the area for many, many years. In fact, I was a camper at Keji for probably 10 years of my younger life, I even had the experience of winter camping there one year. It's a beautiful park, we really see it as one of the jewels in both the riding of Queens and also the riding of Annapolis County.

Route 8 is such a vital link, it's heavily accessed by persons coming into the area enjoying the scenery, enjoying the park. But, it's also a vital route for the forestry sector. It's that vital route that's also a service route for the forestry sector. Because it is used in that way, the road has, as you can well imagine, with years of daily use of heavy logging trucks using that particular route, it is pretty well worn in a lot of places, which poses a lot of health and safety risks along that route for all drivers on the roads.

I understand that municipal colleagues, they are promoting this route as a Kedge scenic drive, and I believe perhaps the minister may have already received some correspondence from those municipalities that are advocating for the development of Route 8. What they are proposing makes a lot of economic sense, it makes a lot of sense in terms of really promoting the Southwest tourist destination, projects that are being worked on in that area. It is something that would benefit not only the riding of Queens, but it would also greatly benefit the riding of Annapolis as well.

There's a lot of potential there to promote, not only the tourism end of things, but certainly we could really engage in perhaps looking at bicycle trails at some point in time, if that highway was developed in such a way that we could promote bicycle tours. We could see more canoeists, more tourists and also promote the rich culture and history along that route that has been part of both of those ridings for well over 9,000 years, starting with the Mi'kmaq communities and also the British and French, who had landed there many years ago. So there is lots of potential for that particular route to be developed, but in order to develop all of those good things, we need to see that vital link really have some serious dollars invested into making that a reality for both of those areas.

I'm hoping that when the minister has time to review that particular correspondence and is able to sit down with those partners at the table and the other ministers within government that would have a stake in promoting that Route 8 not only as a tourist destination but an economic development perspective and also from a community perspective. I'm hoping to hear some good, positive comments come out of a review, or a discussion, with those partners at the table.

I know I'm running a little bit - in the next minute and a half I want to draw your attention to some other important community roads in the riding of Queens, that being the Westfield road. The North Westfield road is in the community of North Queens and again, like all of our other secondary roads, this particular road links the community of Westfield.

[Page 1148]

I have traveled on that road many, many times over the past year and a half and then some and I can tell you this is one of the roughest sections of secondary roads that I have witnessed in a long time, so much so that there is actually grass growing between the cracks in the highway. So I'd like the minister to have a close look at that particular road.

I've been in correspondence with the department in the past, identifying that North Westfield road as an important secondary road. I've also promoted the Southwest Port Mouton road as another vital secondary road into one of my communities in the riding of Queens. Again, these are very important links to our communities and again, I'll remind the minister that a lot of residents in our communities don't necessarily travel on the Series Highway daily.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The member's time has expired. The Chair now recognizes the honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage.

HON. WILLIAM DOOKS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. For the next three minutes I would like to share some comments in regards to transportation and highways in the riding which I represent, the riding of Eastern Shore. (Applause) Thank you very much.

Mr. Speaker, over the last number of years, it's no secret to this House, it's certainly no secret to the people of the Eastern Shore, I've been an lobbyist for asphalt on the Eastern Shore. I believe that good roads make good communities grow and create an opportunity for tourism, for economic development, for good health, for education and all those good things that the government brings to us.

Mr. Speaker, I can remember the first road I paved when I was elected MLA in 1999. That road was to the Clam Harbour Beach and at that time it was the thought of many that the reason why people were not visiting that beautiful beach was that the road was somewhat disruptive and that people did not enjoy that journey. In fact, it was true because once the road was paved and the people learned about that, the traffic has increased and now the people from metro and from other parts of the province can certainly go and enjoy the beautiful beach at Clam Harbour.

Mr. Speaker, we worked together as a community and it wasn't long before the government decided to start paving Highway No. 7. Highway No. 7 is the traditional highway that for many, many years the people of the Eastern Shore travelled on to and from metro. We know that metro is sort of a bedroom community to the Eastern Shore rather than the Eastern Shore being a bedroom community to metro. Many people enjoy all the things we have and the attributes that we are willing to share with the good people of metro.

So, Mr. Speaker, we have now completed that Highway No. 7 from the Eastern Shore through the Preston riding and into Dartmouth, and we are very proud that the collective effort - we have been successful. We are also now addressing Highway No. 107. Highway

[Page 1149]

No. 107 is a 100-Series Highway, and next Spring I believe that the full highway from Musquodoboit to the Dartmouth area will be repaved - and I am very thankful for that.

Mr. Speaker, I also believe that the many byroads that have been paved under my watch, and under my leadership and under my lobbying efforts, have made the constituents of the Eastern Shore very happy. They are very supportive of the MLA and they are very supportive of the Progressive Conservative Government, I may add.

[6:30 p.m.]

I have watched many ministers take a real interest in my riding, a real interest, and we have talked for many, many hours and had dialogue about the importance of pavement to the people that I represent. And . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The time has expired for the late show. I want to thank all of the honourable member for having taken part in tonight's late show.

We will now return to Public Bills for Second Reading.

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

Bill No. 1 - Trade Union Act. [Debate resumed.]

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

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, when we broke, I was explaining why I believe that this bill, in particular, was nothing more than a political tactic that was being used by the government to try to take advantage of divisions within this province, to try to pit some Nova Scotians against others, and I think that is obvious in the way that the government has approached this particular piece of legislation.

We, here on this side of the House, in our time here, have made a virtue out of being constructive with respect to the things that we do on behalf of the people we represent. In fact, Mr. Speaker, when the government has brought forward pieces of legislation and budgets that we felt were worthy of support, we supported them - and sometimes there were others in the House who did not agree with us in doing that. But we worked hard to say that what is fundamental, the manner in which we will conduct ourselves in this House is to decide in each and every case what is fair, what is just, and what is in the best interests of the people of the House. That is the principle on which we govern ourselves on this side of the House.

So, Mr. Speaker, it is at this time that I would like to take particular note of what I believe is the responsible manner in which the Liberal MLAs and their Leader approached

[Page 1150]

this legislation.(Applause) The record of the Nova Scotia NDP, when faced with arbitrary attempts to take away the rights of workers, meant that where we would stand on this bill was not in doubt. Nurses and other health care workers looked to the Liberals as the Party with the balance of power in this House and the Liberal caucus studied the issues, they gathered expert advice on the situation in Ontario and Alberta and stated their position early, and they are to be congratulated for that, and I do.

Mr. Speaker, I want to go back to why this political tactic is so important to the government. The Progressive Conservatives ran in the last election with a platform that was composed almost entirely of ideas that they borrowed from other Parties. Nova Scotians saw that the Progressive Conservatives themselves had very few ideas, if any, to offer and the Progressive Conservatives lost more seats.

The reaction to that, Mr. Speaker, is instead of trying to govern better, the Premier and his colleagues are searching for some kind of a magic bullet, something that will restore them to what they believe is their rightful place in government. They seek a wedge issue that will stop the loss of support that they have suffered over the last two elections. Yet they have failed to rally support for this bill, either in this House, or in this province.

This bill is based on false premises and contrary to the Progressive Conservative claims, it would be an extraordinary and dangerous step. Alberta, Ontario and P.E.I. are the only provinces that have banned the right to strike. Alberta is the only province where the right to strike was removed, against the will of workers, within living memory. Contrary to the Progressive Conservative claims, this bill would not end health care strikes, it would make them longer and harder to resolve and more expensive, Mr. Speaker.

Contrary to the Progressive Conservative claims, health care strikes do not shut down institutions, nurses do not turn their backs on anyone who needs urgent care. I want to say, Mr. Speaker, that I was profoundly disappointed to hear the Minister of Environment and Labour say that members of this Legislature do not believe in the safety and security of the people of this province, because I do not believe that. I am willing to say that what the government proposes is wrong, I am willing to say that what they propose is misguided, but I do not believe that they would consciously put at risk the safety and security of the people of this province. I do not believe that.

Mr. Speaker, across Canada, any government or manager with the good sense to talk with the workers can reach an emergency services or essential services agreement. All it takes is good faith at the bargaining table. Contrary to what the Minister of Environment and Labour says, this legislation is not fair. The Minister of Environment and Labour quoted from J.S. Woodsworth. I want you to know and the members opposite to know, and many of my colleagues may know this, I have a picture of J.S. Woodsworth in my constituency office, I have read the debates of his speech, I have read his books and I want the minister to know that he is no J.S. Woodsworth. (Applause)

[Page 1151]

You do not demonstrate good faith bargaining by tabling ultimatums, yet that is precisely what the Progressive Conservatives did with this legislation. Who would ever trust their promises of fairness and real negotiation, when the legislation itself is a non-negotiable demand. Contrary to the Progressive Conservatives' claims, this bill is not about the health and safety of Nova Scotians. In our health care system, it is the nurses, the technicians, the paramedics and all of the other dedicated health care workers who protect Nova Scotians' health and safety. It is not Cabinet Ministers, it is the frontline health care workers who have undertaken a professional duty to protect every person who comes through the hospital door and we trust our health care workers to exercise their skill and their judgement at the operating table and we can trust them to exercise their trust and judgement at the negotiating table.

Mr. Speaker, if he has a concern, rather than an ultimatum, the Premier can just pick up the phone and talk with the representatives of the nurses and the other health care workers. If any government is seriously concerned about health care labour relations, it could undertake an independent, impartial inquiry. In fact, that is exactly what the Cameron Progressive Conservatives did.

The Kydd Report told them - I can tell you I read not only the results of the inquiry, but I read many of the submissions, because I wanted to know on what basis the Kydd Report was actually filed. He came to the conclusion that taking away the right to strike would do more harm than good. It would make matters worse. This was the advice he gave to the Cameron Progressive Conservatives and it was good advice, but unlike most good advice to this government, it is being ignored.

Let's imagine for a second that this bill was about to be approved. What would happen if it became law? The best advice and the lessons of experience everywhere tell us what to expect. Health care workers could simply ignore the law and continue to hold strike votes, as they do in Alberta. Health care workers could engage in wildcat strikes, making the system unstable and unmanageable - the experience that was found when Quebec tried to shut down collective bargaining. There could be mass resignations as happened after Bill No. 68 and as we almost saw happen in other situations where workers felt that free collective bargaining had not taken place.

Finally, we could see even more serious dislocations and workplace problems as have been reported after decades, without free bargaining in Ontario hospitals. None of those results, none of those results would be good for health care.

Health care is the most important issue in Nova Scotia. This bill is not about health care. This bill would do nothing to address the health care concerns of Nova Scotians. Ask any group of Nova Scotians for the top five ways the government should address health care concerns and nobody, nobody except the Premier says, take away the bargaining rights of health care workers.

[Page 1152]

This bill is about political tactics and scare tactics. Nova Scotians have health care concerns that the government has neglected. When Nova Scotians expressed their real concerns about health care, this government tries to change the subject. For months, they said this legislation was the centerpiece of their legislation for the year. Yet, it became a footnote in the Throne Speech.

Instead of pursuing this legislation, the government should have shown the leadership required to keep emergency rooms open, to give every Nova Scotian access to a family doctor, to cut surgery wait times, to ensure the timely testing for serious illnesses and to open more beds, instead of locking hundreds of them. Managing health care is not easy, but neither is it impossible. (Applause)

Very few governments have gone down a dead end with what they call the most important piece of legislation. I can tell you, that tonight, this government, in this House, will not bring this to a vote, because they do not want the people of Nova Scotia to express their will through the members of this Legislature. They are afraid to have the judgement of the people of Nova Scotia on this piece of legislation.

The last moment, after months of declarations that this was a major issue of the Fall session, the government has informed the other Parties that they will not bring this bill to a vote. They will not even let the people, let the House and the representatives elected by the people of this province, make a decision.

Some have suggested that this government is willing to provoke a strike, or the threat of a strike, in a desperate effort to take attention away from the Progressive Conservatives' mismanagement of the health care system. Earlier this Fall, Nova Scotians saw a public agency urge registered nurses to hold a strike vote. I sincerely hope the Progressive Conservatives realize that Nova Scotians recognize desperate political tactics. The government should ensure that its negotiators seek settlements, not disruptions, in our health care system.

I urge the government to reflect on the political capital and the government's credibility that they have invested in this tactic, before they go charging off after another magic bullet. It would have been much better to invest the government's efforts in the reduction of wait times and thereby do the job that Nova Scotians elected them to do. It would be wise for this government to remember that it is in a minority situation and that it must take into consideration the views of the members of this House, because that was the decision of the voters, a decision that all of us are well-advised to accept. It would still be much better for the government to try and unite, rather than defy this province. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)

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

[Page 1153]

MR. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak to Bill No. 1. I want to first of all speak to the minister directly. The minister suggested that perhaps this is time for a mature way to settle labour disruptions in the Province of Nova Scotia.

[6:45 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I enjoy the very fact, and am very proud of the two children that my wife and I share. My daughter, Colleen, who is 18, and our son, Jeffrey, who just turned 16. I can't wait to actually get home and take him for his first drive. But we have instructed them the way to solve issues is to sit down and discuss them and talk directly, not to be, quite frankly, using a heavy hand that you have. We're not going to vote on this bill tonight because I believe government wants to hold this over the heads of the nurses who are in negotiations now. Is that the kind of Nova Scotia that we want? Is that the new Nova Scotia?

Mr. Speaker, I don't believe it's the kind of Nova Scotia that Nova Scotians want. It may be this government's vision for Nova Scotia, but it's not the kind of Nova Scotia that Nova Scotians want. This is a divisive piece of legislation. It is dividing Nova Scotians, and it will not solve, quite frankly, the issues the Minister of Environment and Labour speaks about. It has been proven from one end of this country to the other - this legislation will not work.

I would encourage the minister - as he said as he travelled around, and he sent people all over the world looking for the way that they deal with issues - I would tell him to send a very clear message to those other provinces and those other countries and those other jurisdictions - look inward to the Province of Nova Scotia, because what we're doing here, when it comes to labour issues in the Province of Nova Scotia, is working. Ninety seven per cent of our labour issues are settled without a strike, and those are the facts according to his own government and his own department.

On April 28th, I was given the great honour of being the Leader of the Nova Scotia Liberal Party. On April 29th, I had a call that the House might be going in on Monday because we may be bringing back, back-to-work legislation. Welcome to your new job. Mr. Speaker, thankfully that didn't happen, and we've talked about the issue of the IWK. We've talked about the issue of how difficult strikes are on the people of Nova Scotia. There isn't a single person in Nova Scotia who wants a strike. There isn't a single person who wants a strike, including those very health care workers you're taking away the right from. What they want, though, is to have the right to sit down with the government and bargain in good faith and make sure that they have that tool to be able to not go to work. Those are the very facts, Mr. Speaker.

The Premier often talks about courage, and he says doing this is the right thing. Mr. Speaker, the easiest thing for me and this caucus to do would have been to support this government. I think it's fair to say to the members who are here, who are the leaders in the

[Page 1154]

union movement in the Province of Nova Scotia, they don't vote, quite frankly, for me, and I think most of them would tell you that, nor do they vote, I would suggest, for the government. But this to me, quite frankly, is not about politics.

When I asked to be the Leader of the Nova Scotia Liberal Party, I didn't be ask to be Leader so we could divide Nova Scotians and take away their rights. I asked to be the Leader of the Nova Scotia Liberal Party so we could put forth good, constructive solutions to the issues facing Nova Scotians.

You know, Mr. Speaker, when you look around - and we've traveled throughout Nova Scotia and I've been traveling it a little more frequently lately - when Nova Scotians start talking about the issue of health care, they do not bring up the issue of strikes. What they talk about is, I need a family doctor, there is a shortage of nurses, wait times, ER closures.

This government has talked about the less than 24-hour strike that happened at the IWK. Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate that Nova Scotians - young children - were sent home that day. It is unfortunate, but how many times, each and every day, in the Province of Nova Scotia, are Nova Scotians sent home? How many? I'm sure the Minister of Health could tell us that. How many surgeries are cancelled in the Province of Nova Scotia every day? Those are the crises that are facing Nova Scotians the majority of the times.

We spoke about the mental health issue of adolescents and the fact that some of them were sent home. Mr. Speaker, how many of them are on wait lists, looking for an opportunity to receive service in the Province of Nova Scotia? That's what this government is not talking about, that is what this government should be talking about and that's what Nova Scotians expect us to be talking about in this House.

It is my wish, and on behalf of our caucus, I want to encourage the Premier, when he finishes speaking tonight - and I hope he speaks on this piece of legislation, which I am sure he will - that he calls this for a vote and allows people's representatives to voice their opinion. When I asked for the honour of sitting in this Legislature, people expected me to make decisions, which I felt were in their best interests and I am prepared to cast my vote and then defend it to Nova Scotians and to my constituents. (Interruption)

Mr. Speaker, I hear that the former Minister of Health, who couldn't solve the wait times, couldn't bring doctors in, didn't dealt with nurses, sits there and decides that if we provided respect to his Minister of Health, we would receive it from him. Would that be right? And he says that we spoke before we saw the legislation. The Minister of Environment and Labour took an op-ed piece in the ChronicleHerald, told Nova Scotians he was taking away the right to strike and replacing it with binding arbitration. What's in the legislation we don't know?

[Page 1155]

He told us that he was going to engage Nova Scotians. He went online to engage Nova Scotians. (Interruption) I won't repeat that, I'll leave that alone.

Mr. Speaker, when we saw the direction of this government, what were we going to sit down and discuss with them? They had already made their mind up. Why do you think health care workers are not sitting down at the table with them? The decision was made. That's not the kind of government Nova Scotians expect. If you want to negotiate, if you want to sit down, let's sit down at the table.

They will not always agree, let's be honest, there will be tough times sitting at the negotiating table. Mr. Speaker, people died for the right to strike. It is not an issue when it comes to health care in the Province of Nova Scotia and we are now debating it, instead of talking about why the ERs aren't open.

Mr. Speaker, you know that, from the beautiful Island of Cape Breton, with the blood and sweat that people have made to ensure that they have the right to strike, so that they can defend their right, so they can fight for the issues that matter for them.

What is really interesting about this debate, Mr. Speaker, is when you talk about it, people get caught up in the issue, it always seems to be about money. Well, it is not about money. It's about the very fact that when I listen to nurses who say, I can't plan a vacation, I am working 10 days in a row. I am being called in when I am home because we don't have enough nurses to staff the health care facilities in your riding. That's the issue that's being faced.

When I think for a second here - with all due respect to my colleague, the member for Richmond - we are going to allow a lawyer to determine the health care issues. (Interruptions) The issue of money is one that we debate on. How does a lawyer know, quite frankly, what the work environment is like in the hospitals across Nova Scotia? What do they know? I hear a few members across the House agreeing with me. Perhaps they should turn and speak to the Minister of Environment and Labour and tell him they agree with me.

Mr. Speaker, I want to close with a quote because I have listened in this House as the minister spoke and quoted, and I didn't want to feel left out and I will table this. "Behind the resolution which is before us this evening, Mr. Speaker, is the sentiment which many nurses have expressed to me, that they have been unfairly depicted as not being concerned about the public safety of Nova Scotia in the event of a strike and I, for one, can only say that for myself I have never doubted that acute health care workers would do everything they could to ensure the public health safety of Nova Scotians. Indeed, I know from my work as a clergy member that they have the utmost concern. Nurses, technologists, doctors have an unfailing commitment for our public health and safety." That was the honourable Minister of Environment and Labour.

[Page 1156]

I would encourage the minister and that government to read those words again and respect the health care workers in this province. Let's put this to a vote, let's settle the issue tonight, and tomorrow we can then continue to work on the real issues that face Nova Scotians when it comes to health care, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Community Services.

HON. JUDY STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to speak tonight on Bill No. 1, an Act to Provide for the Fair Resolution of Health Care or Community Services Disputes Through Mediation and Binding Arbitration - I repeat, community services. This is, without doubt, one of the most important pieces of legislation proposed by this government. It speaks to our vision of a new Nova Scotia, a place where quality health and service is available to everyone who needs it.

Now last week, Premier MacDonald released a social prosperity framework for this province. That vision speaks to a place where every Nova Scotian has the opportunity to live well and contribute in a meaningful way within a province that is caring, safe and creative, now and into the future.

Now since becoming Minister of Community Services, Mr. Speaker, I have found what is now my favourite quote. In the 1970s, United States Vice-President Hubert Humphrey said, and I update it slightly, "The moral test of government is how that government treats those who were in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the disabled." While the moral test remains, many things have changed since then. Now my department, through the Services for persons with Disabilities Program, has helped our clients out of the shadows by supporting people at various stages of their development and independence. We aim to achieve results through our Services For Persons With Disabilities renewal initiative, with the right blend and number of facility-based and community-based supports and services.

The primary emphasis is on building and integrating these supports into the community, adding services where there are gaps. In late September, I spoke to the Nova Scotia Residential Agencies Association at their annual meeting. As Minister of Community Services, I gave them my personal commitment that I would continue to be the champion for the Services for Persons with Disabilities program, with my colleagues in Cabinet. I think my colleagues would agree . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: My Speaker, on a point of order. While I know that everybody is very interested in listening to the Minister of Community Services, what

[Page 1157]

she is talking about right now, Mr. Speaker, is light-years away from the topic that we're debating here this evening. I would ask you, Mr. Speaker, to ask her to stick to the topic.

[7:00 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you, honourable member. The debate on second reading is pretty - yes, very general, I would say - is very broad and the honourable minister has the floor.

MS. STREATCH; Well thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I thank my honourable colleague, because Services for Persons with Disabilities is indeed a very important aspect of what we're discussing here this evening and the aspect that perhaps has been sidelined. I want to ensure that all members of this House recognize the importance of the Community Services component of Bill No. 1. So thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I will continue.

I think my colleagues would agree that this is one of my top priorities and an area where I want to see significant advancement. I am pleased with and grateful for the tremendous support I have received from my colleagues. Now those same colleagues have spoken today with both passion and reason, as to why the government's legislation is the right thing to do. I don't need to repeat their rationale for legislation that is balanced, fair and respectful.

What I can share with you, Mr. Speaker, is that our staff have heard from their colleagues in other provincial jurisdictions and they say that Nova Scotia is emerging as a leader in providing an alternative response mechanism where essential services are involved. Make no mistake, the Department of Community Services provides essential services.

Now, Mr. Speaker, it's easy for the public to understand how they or their loved ones might be adversely affected by a hospital strike, whether its a cancelled appendectomy, postponement of a chemotherapy treatment or the loss of a counseling session for a youth. We can imagine that impact. Now unless you are familiar with residential care settings for persons with intellectual or physical disabilities, it is not as easy to understand or appreciate what is involved.

I want to tell you and I want to tell the honourable members of this House, but most of all I want to tell the 2,100 staff who are represented by several unions, that I have the utmost respect for what they do.(Applause) I want to tell those 2,100 staff that I have seen for myself how much they care for the clients they support, each and every day. By care, I don't just mean the level of service these staff provide, I mean how much they care about the men, women and children in these homes.

[Page 1158]

These are reliable numbers, Mr. Speaker. Of course, they can fluctuate from day to day. In the Community Services sector there are 2,100 staff who care for 2,272 Nova Scotians. That's a very good ratio of staff care. It's necessary, due to the special need and high level of care required by many of these individuals. For each residential setting I visited I've had a strong, emotional response to watching the staff and administration with the personal care they give to the residents, from the upkeep and cleanliness of the home, and sometimes these buildings are very old, to the good and nutritious meals that are served, to the patience, compassion and professionalism of the RNs and LPNs. These people are special, and they give their all every day, every night, because they care. They care about each one of the 2,272 Nova Scotians in these homes because, to them, they are people, people whom they care about and people whom they care for.

Mr. Speaker, if you want to see gratitude in the eyes of residents for their caregivers, pay a visit to one of these homes. And while I'm at it, let us all remember the distinction here, I'm not talking about hospitals. I'm talking about people's homes. For many of those 2,272 Nova Scotians, these residential settings are the only home they've ever known. There are those who are lucky enough to have caring families who visit and who can take care of their brother, or their daughter, perhaps take them out for a drive. There are also many who don't have that extra bit of love and attention, and it is for those people that the staff become their family. The staff are the ones who feed them, give them their medications, comfort them, and become their family.

I have witnessed this kind of care, Mr. Speaker, but I don't have enough time on the clock nor words tonight to impart to you and all of my colleagues what I've had the honour to be party to in these residential homes. So for me, I know about the dedication and commitment of the staff who belong to the eight unions in the 24 unionized settings across this province.

As I mentioned earlier, it is not only adults with physical or mental disabilities in these services for persons with disabilities homes who would be affected by a strike, but children in group home settings as well. Right now, we have the capacity for 176 beds in licensed residential child care facilities; that is 176 Nova Scotian vulnerable children. Twenty of these 24 facilities are unionized settings.

While the numbers can change daily, we are talking about approximately 160 children and youth between the ages of 8 and 18 in child welfare group homes who would be affected by a strike. I have the responsibility for ensuring the safety of children who are unable to live with their families, either through abuse or neglect. That is why the stability of these homes is so important - I take that responsibility extremely seriously.

Again, Mr. Speaker, all members of this House would be impressed by the dedication and commitment of these workers on behalf of the children and youth in their care - children and youth who come from all parts of Nova Scotia, each and every one of our communities.

[Page 1159]

I believe that these workers consider striking to be their last option. Through this legislation and debate, I also want all Nova Scotians to know that striking isn't the best option and it is hardly the only option.

The legislation that my colleague introduced provides two new tools to settle disputes - interest arbitration, and binding mediation. The legislation respects the collective bargaining process and it respects the workers. Mr. Speaker, I believe that what union leadership wants is not always what union membership wants.

Many Nova Scotians will remember back to 2003 when the employees of the Regional Residential Services Society went on strike - and I know members in this House speak of three health care strikes over the past number of years, but the title of this bill includes Community Services. The Regional Residential Services Society, or RRSS, was then and still is the largest residential service provider in Nova Scotia. Its homes are primarily located in the metro area, in the Halifax Regional Municipality. In 2003, they were serving 178 Nova Scotian clients with intellectual disabilities in 40 residential settings. For those who may have forgotten, or perhaps who never knew, the RRSS strike lasted 77 days, and there were 210 unionized staff on strike, Mr. Speaker.

So, Mr. Speaker, do not count out Community Services when speaking to this legislation; do not count out the Nova Scotians who are most vulnerable. Fifty per cent of the residents were relocated to Simpson Hall, the old nurses' residence on the grounds of the Nova Scotia Hospital, to their family homes or to other RRSS sites. Many residents did not have a family home to go to.

My own Department of Community Services staff recently showed me a status report from 2003 on this strike which outlined this situation and reads as follows: strike is going into the seventh week. There are 178 clients affected over the course of seven weeks. There have been a number of changes in the original contingency plan. Approximately 14 family situations have broken down and clients have returned to RRSS sites. Two sites had to be reopened due to family breakdowns. There are currently 34 clients at the congregate care sites at Simpson Hall. Clients have had to adjust to new surroundings, new staff, loss of familiar people or friends and picketing activity due to the prolonged labour dispute. Care coordinators, who are monitoring the safety and well-being of clients, are expressing concern over what appears to be their overall decline in mental health. Simpson Hall has been the target of frequent picketing and a recent candlelight vigil, which has been disruptive and very upsetting to the clients.

At that point, approximately six weeks into the strike, no active discussion or negotiation had taken place. How can we, as a government, allow that kind of situation to repeat itself? How can we, all of us, as representatives of the people, let down those very people who are relying on us to do the right thing? How can honourable members opposite claim that interest arbitration, or binding mediation, won't appeal to unionized workers?

[Page 1160]

[7:15 p.m.]

At the end of the day, my job as Minister of Community Services, is to ensure the safety and well-being of our most vulnerable citizens. I don't believe I'm the only person in this House who shares that responsibility. (Applause)

This is not about removing anyone's rights. The staff I talked with are intelligent, caring people. What alternatives are there for staff in this position? Some of them believe their union is taking a firm stance and they agree with it. Many of them are conflicted between their loyalty and devotion to the people they support and the direction of their leadership. I can assure you that their commitment is sincere.

With your indulgence, I want to read part of a letter from a RRSS worker on strike in 2003. To Whom It May Concern: I take a stand for our clients, for the primary employers of RRSS. This labour dispute may turn out to be a win-win situation for union, government and agency, but the end result will be a total loss for our primary employers, our clients. The irony of this labour dispute is the absence of the voice of our true employers, the clients. They have been shamelessly dispossessed of choice by this so-called democratic process. Our clients have been callously thrown into a situation, which contravenes the training and sensitivity we, as employees, have been taught in the delivery of excellent service. People our clients trust to protect, are now treating them with the same societal ignorance they endure daily in the outside world. Innocently caught up in a battle that is not theirs, they have been:

1. removed from their homes without choice

2. placed in a state of confusion

3. subjected to opportunities of elevated emotional stress

4. subjected to broken routines

5. subjected to radical change in environment

6. placed in unfamiliar surroundings

7. subjected to loss of personal security

8. lost important personal contact

9. given no assurance of return to a normal existence

10.subjected to loss of safety, comfort and trust

11.subjected to forced loss of trust between client and RRSS counselors

12. reintroduced to institutionalization

13. undue pressure and worry placed on families and parents

14. vulnerable to behaviours in their temporary environment and when they return home

15. used as a pawn in this negotiating process with no benefit to them

16. potential health and safety issues, such as administering wrong medications, not administering medications on time, inability to cope with escalated behaviours, escalation of health issues such as seizures from stress related to the current situation.

[Page 1161]

This whole process is morally and democratically unfair to our clients and to their families.

I am totally dedicated to my clients I serve. I will lend a voice which they are unable to give . . . To the government, I remind you, you are dealing with people's lives, people who can not necessarily lend a voice to a process such as this. This makes them vulnerable and unprotected re their human rights. You need to recognize and acknowledge this is a crisis situation that needs immediate proactive, intervention . . . To RRSS remember the value of your clients and your front line people.

You have been blessed with devotion , excellent service and commitment. You also have been blessed with family members who believe and depend on the service your front line people provide.

Signed, " From the heart,"

Mr. Speaker, not only is it heartbreaking to hear first-hand the effect of this strike on innocent victims . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. There has been a request for the minister to table that letter once she is done with it, please.

The honourable Minister of Community Services.

MS. STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, I'd be pleased to, if the honourable Page would make a copy and provide it to whoever would like to have a copy, respecting the individual's name.

MR. SPEAKER: Just to table the document, please.

MS. STREATCH: Thank you. Mr. Speaker, I'd be pleased to continue as my honourable colleague is encouraging me to. Not only is it heartbreaking to hear first-hand the effect of this strike on innocent victims, but it also shows the conflict of the worker to cross the line and return to help the individuals in care or to stand with the union and walk a picket line. This is the choice that union leadership forced upon their members.

Mr. Speaker, even the threat of a strike can have a devastating effect on everyone involved, as we just heard. Those most directly affected include the service provider, the staff, the clients and the families; all must be involved in contingency planning, which begins when negotiations begin.

Mr. Speaker, referring to the Regional Residential Services Society, I will quote again a letter from the Executive Director, Bev Wicks, which I will table after I read, Mr. Speaker.

"We are now in day 12 of this job action and it is taking a significant toll on our residents. We think that Government should intervene in this matter and legislate these employees back to work. We understand that such a serious step requires the balancing of

[Page 1162]

the employees' right to strike in order to exert pressure on the employer, with the rights of our residents to maintain their health, dignity and welfare. There is absolutely no question in this instance that the harm being caused to our residents far outweighs the collective bargaining rights of our employees."

"A young man who recently moved out of an institution into his community after many years of waiting, expressed his fear that if this strike didn't get 'fixed' he would never get back to his new home . . . he spoke of the use of restraint jackets and the desperate self injurious behaviours he had engaged in to get out of these jackets while living in the institution.

An older women who had lived in the community for over 20 years following a lifetime of institutionalization in a psychiatric hospital shared her terror when faced with the echoing sounds in the large common female washroom at Simpson Hall.

The daily and often hourly pleas of each of the residents at Simpson Hall: '. . . to get this strike over, to go back home, to have my things, be in a quiet place, have my privacy, to see my cats, take my regular routes to work, get my freedom back, see my people. I know you guys are doing your best but I want to go home . . .'

In conclusion, it is clear that this labour disruption and the resulting contingency plan is violating the human rights of our residents many of whom are unable to comprehend what is happening while others repeatedly express fear of what their future may hold if this cannot be resolved."

Mr. Speaker, I know it is easy in this House for us to lose patience and for us to lose our concentration, but I believe that those words spoken by the Nova Scotians who were affected by that strike are important to have voiced here tonight. They cannot say those words themselves - we say them on their behalf.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: The Page stood there for almost 10 minutes waiting for that to be tabled and now it is finally done. Thank you.

MS. STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, I know my honourable colleague wants me to go home, as he was begging earlier, but I believe that I have the right to make my concerns known here this evening, and I am going to continue.

Mr. Speaker, many others have to be involved as well. During the Summer of 2006, when I first became Community Services Minister, many staff within the department were dealing with the threat of a strike at Highland Community Residential Services Society in

[Page 1163]

northern Nova Scotia. While it was a difficult time, the strike did not occur and the residents remained in their homes - and we were fortunate for that.

Because of the high level of service and round-the-clock care, contingency planning for residential homes is extremely complex. Contingency plans must be in place by the time a strike vote is taken. This requires searches for replacement staff, searches for appropriate facilities anywhere in the province for residents, asking families, sometimes elderly parents, to provide 24-hour care for their disabled adult children, separating residents from the workers who care for them daily; relying on strangers to ensure medications are correctly administered, living with uncertainty far from those you call family and friend.

Mr. Speaker, I would urge all members of this House to take a minute and think about that. Now, can I ask again, what's wrong with interest arbitration and binding mediation? This bill can ensure that the hardship suffered by our most vulnerable citizens does not happen again. We are a compassionate society. Let's show our compassion for the well-being of the people of this province who cannot look after themselves, who cannot speak here this evening, by passing this bill and guaranteeing fairness for everyone. Thank you (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Economic Development. (Interruptions)

Order, please. Order, please. The honourable minister has the floor.

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would think that honourable members of the House would be interested in hearing from a member of the House who spent two and a half years as the Health Minister of this province. I would think that it would be reasonable on their part to feel that my experiences might be of some value to this debate, and for them to suggest that I should not participate in this debate is indicative of where they are in this position, because they do not want to hear from experience in terms of what strikes do to the patients and the people of this province who want the care of the health care system. (Applause)

AN HON. MEMBER: I'll say this, Angus, you didn't need to be scripted, anyway, like the previous speech.

MR. MACISAAC: Well, Mr. Speaker, when you've had the experiences I have, and you've lived the experiences I have, you don't need a script to know the heart-wrenching situation that goes on. The one benefit of a script is that you can stay within your time limit, and I'm sure that I will not have that benefit this evening.

I want to say, Mr. Speaker, that the real issue for this legislation and the real issue for the people of this province is the extent to which the health care system is integrated, and the extent to which any disruption of services brought on by a labour dispute generates a lack of

[Page 1164]

service to individuals, but even more significant than that is the threat of a strike and the fear that threatened disruption brings to the people of this province and their loved ones.

Mr. Speaker, I lived through various pending labour disputes as the Health Minister of this province. I experienced, first hand, from hearing from Nova Scotians about the fear they had. I heard from patients, from residents of nursing homes, from family members of those residents of nursing homes. I heard from family members who lived outside of the province, who were unable to come to the assistance of their relatives in nursing homes should a strike have occurred in the province. The fear, the uncertainty of those individuals is something I will never, ever forget as long as I live. They believed there was a system that would look after their loved ones. The residents of the nursing homes believed that their home was secure.

I'll never forget, I'll never forget visiting my mother at age 90, a resident of a nursing home in this province that had taken a strike vote. I'll never forget going in and chatting with my mother and she looked at me and she said to me, what will become of me?

Fortunately, I was able to reassure my mother that she could come to my home, she could come to my sister's home. Other residents of my mother's nursing home did not have that option. The fear that my mother expressed was a fear that the other residents of that nursing home lived. They lived that fear daily, until the point of resolution of that dispute. That's what this legislation is about.

This legislation is about removing the fear. It is about allowing people who call home their nursing home, or their residential care home. It's about ensuring they have the security they need to live their lives in peace and comfort. Think, at age 90, and you're in your home and all of a sudden the laws of this province allow your life to be disruptive, would force you to be taken from your home and moved to a strange facility, moved with people you don't know. Think of that, people at age 90, of being faced with that prospect. That's what this legislation is about, it's about making sure those citizens who have given so much to this province, those citizens who have raised families, those citizens who have endured ample hardships in their lifetime are able to live the rest of their lives without fear. (Applause)

That's one sector, one segment of the population that would feel a sense of security as a result of this legislation being passed, the seniors who live in our nursing homes in this province.

Now the family members also lived with that fear, because the mail that I received from them was mail that spoke to their fear and their inability. I also want to remember, with members of the House, the reactions that we would receive from the other side of the House during periods of pending labour disruptions, Mr. Speaker, the questions that would come to the Health Minister, what are you going to do to make sure that these people are not disrupted? That is what came from the other side of the House.

[Page 1165]

Today, Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Labour has presented to them the solution as to what should be done in order to ensure that those people do not have that disruption.

I understand that one of the honourable members would like to make an introduction.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect on an introduction.

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the honourable member opposite, because I am listening carefully to his comments during this important debate. In your gallery, Mr. Speaker, we have 16 young men from the Hatchet Lake community on the Prospect Road and their leaders are with them. I would ask them to stand and receive the welcome of our Legislature. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. The honourable Minister of Economic Development has the floor.

MR MACISAAC: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I want to join with the honourable member in welcoming our guests this evening and surely they represent the future of this province and my hat is off to the leaders who work with these young people. I've spent some time in that capacity myself and I know that it is extremely important.

Well, Mr. Speaker, we can speak about the nursing homes of this province, the residential care facilities, but we've had the experience of strikes and potential strikes as they affect those who need our health care delivery system in this province. I take great exception to the Leader of the Opposition suggesting that somebody with two and a half years experience as a Health Minister in this province would be accused of filibustering a bill when he can speak from experience that he has not had and I doubt that he ever will have.

You know, Mr. Speaker, I'm going to go somewhere I hadn't planned to go now because I want to address something that the other side have failed to address. The Minister of Environment and Labour, in second reading of this bill, in his very eloquent speech, made reference to J.S. Woodsworth and what he had to say about strikes as a dispute resolution mechanism. The opposite side, the member for Halifax Needham was dismissive and suggested that the Minister of Environment and Labour had taken Mr. Woodsworth out of context, suggesting that he wasn't in fact, speaking about the dispute settlement mechanism of strikes.

Then the Leader of the Opposition made reference to the collected works he has of J.S. Woodsworth. He made reference to the pictures he had and the speeches and what he has read of J.S. Woodsworth but he did not address what Mr. Woodsworth said about strikes. To refresh the memory of the House, I will not read the whole quote, but I will read one line and

[Page 1166]

what Mr. Woodsworth had to say. He said of strikes: as the only effective means of enforcing their demands, they may resort to a strike. (Interruption)

The honourable member for Halifax Needham referenced it was out of context and not to do with strikes. It has everything to do with strikes. He went on to say, "Surely a stupidly wasteful method entailing great inconvenience to the public, disorganization to the industry and hardship to the men - . . ." in the context it was written in at that time ". . .loss all around! And all this might often be saved by a joint agreement by which the interests alike of the employer, the worker and the public could be conserved."

That is what Mr. Woodsworth said and he said it about strikes, totally in context of what we are. I noticed the Leader of the Opposition took great care to avoid the quote provided by the Minister of Environment and Labour in his remarks to the House, because he knows as a student of Mr. Woodsworth, he knows full well the context in which that quote was taken. That's why he avoided it.

[7:45 p.m.]

I want to go back to the difficulties that are encountered by pending labour disputes. The recent experience that we've had in this province was one which resulted in many, many cancellations; it resulted in people being sent home from hospitals; it resulted in people's surgeries being postponed for a significant period of time; it resulted in people's fear level increasing because they did not know what would occur, or what would happen to them, as a result of a pending labour dispute. What this legislation would do is provide those people, those citizens of Nova Scotia, who deserve, in their time of health need, to be able to approach their illness without distraction, without fear, without having to feel they may not get treated in time.

That is what this legislation is intended to do, to remove that fear from those citizens who need to have that fear removed so they can focus on their health needs. That is at the heart of this legislation. (Interruption)

That's too bad because I have a lot more here I wanted to deal with. (Applause) The former Minister of Health looks in pretty good health to me and I'm sure when his time comes, he'll be able to address this bill with equal experience, probably more experience, than I have and force.

Mr. Speaker, I was taken by the comments by the Leader of the Liberal Party this evening and I hope that I quote him correctly, he says there's not a single person who wants a strike. They want to sit down and resolve issues.

Mr. Speaker, what we are talking about here is the collective bargaining process and the collective bargaining process is one that takes us through various stages in reaching

[Page 1167]

agreements. As has been pointed out by members on the other side of the House, most collective bargaining agreements reach resolution without there having to be any strike, any threat of a strike, any lockout, or any threat of a lockout. Thankfully most of them are resolved that way. But in this sector, in the health care sector, the threat of a strike is very, very significant to those who are dependent upon the system, to provide them with the services they need to be healed.

Mr. Speaker, that is the crux of what this legislation is all about. It is about ensuring that service will be provided. Now, members opposite talked about shortcomings and there are shortcomings, not just here in Nova Scotia, right across the country, but this surely is about minimizing any source of disruption in the health care process, ensuring that our citizens will be able to receive the care they need when they need it and not fear about having that interrupted.

You know, Mr. Speaker, we hear a great deal in this House about the interruption of services. What we're asking the Legislature of this province to do, what we're asking the elected representatives of the people of this province to do, is to remove one impediment to the continued delivery of health care in this province. That's what this legislation is about and it does not take away collective bargaining. It replaces the strike as a tool of resolving the collective bargaining dispute with another mechanism, either interest arbitration or compulsory conciliation. That is what would be there in the event that parties are unable to come to a conclusion and to an agreement on their negotiations. That is what this legislation is all about.

I know, Mr. Speaker, that as we consider this legislation and we debate it - and that's what we're doing is having a debate. It's not often that we on this side of the House are accused of speaking longer than people on the other side of the House, it's usually the other way around, but I go back to my experiences as the Minister of Health of this province and I go back to the fear that existed in patients, the fear that residents of nursing homes had about potential disruption. I go back to the fear that family members had. Surely, surely we can agree to a system that looks after the interests of the worker, but also in this very important field of health care looks after the interests of the patient, of the residents of our nursing homes in this province.

Well, Mr. Speaker, I know that the Minister of Health Promotion and Protection wants to participate in this debate and there's much more I would like to say about my experiences as Health Minister, but I will yield the floor to him so he can speak on it. (Applause)

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. The minister quoted at length from J.S. Woodsworth's book. I know I've certainly had an opportunity to canvass that book but perhaps he would make available the appropriate references and table them so the House can have them.

[Page 1168]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable Minister of Economic Development.

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is a book that came from the Legislative Library. The quote that I referenced will be found on Page 53. It is at the bottom, ". . .the only effective means of enforcing their demands they may resort to a strike" and on Page 54 it says, "Surely a stupidly wasteful method . . ." They know what the rest of the quote is - "Surely a stupidly wasteful method . . .", and since it's part of the Legislative Library, I don't think I really have to - I'll return the book. (Applause)

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

HON. BARRY BARNET: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm pleased to take a few minutes of the House's time here this evening to talk about this piece of legislation. As the Minister of Health Promotion and Protection, one of the things that I have as a goal, and we have as a goal, as a department, is to help make Nova Scotia the healthiest and safest province in the country. Members in this House would recall me saying that over and over again as I give speeches both inside of this House and outside of the House.

Some of the tools that we use to help make Nova Scotia the healthiest and safest province in the country are a variety of strategies that we have adopted in this province, including our strategy on Active Kids, Healthy Kids; Framework for Action; Youth Sexual Health Strategy. Mr. Speaker, our newest one is the Alcohol Strategy. The list goes on and on and on, and we have a number of these strategies that we have used, as a department, to help us make Nova Scotia the healthiest and safest province in the country. But with these strategies and the effectiveness of them, I know, and we know, that there will be times, even with all this good work that we're doing, that Nova Scotians will need a health care system; they will need to use that system.

Mr. Speaker, I sat very patiently and listened to all members debate this bill so far. I've learned some very interesting things, and I've done quite a bit of research on my own with respect to this bill. One of the interesting things, though, that I have learned while sitting here and doing the research, was that 97 per cent of all health care agreements are settled without strike, and that's a good thing. What I would say to members opposite and to all Nova Scotians is, what about the other three per cent? What about the times when that system is not there to protect Nova Scotians? Three per cent. It may not be important to some, but it is important to members of this House on this side, that's for sure, Mr. Speaker.

The other thing that I've discovered as a result of discussions, I've had a number of residents who have raised concerns about this bill and a number of residents who have expressed their support of this bill. One of the tools that I have used to help me help my constituents better understand this bill is the Department of Environment and Labour's Web site, where the Minister of Environment and Labour has used - and I believe groundbreaking for the Province of Nova Scotia - the Web cast approach, where he's gone on the Internet,

[Page 1169]

provided a plain language response in a live broadcast to Nova Scotians the answers to questions that they had.

There's a section of that Web site - and you can find it very easily by going on the government Web site and clicking on the left hand side, there's a picture of the Minister of Environment and Labour, and it will give you the plain language answers to questions that real Nova Scotians have had with the Minister of Environment and Labour providing those answers.

Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, there are a number of things that I want to talk about today, and it is obvious that I am not going to have the time . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. With the lateness of the debate, could I ask the honourable minister to adjourn the debate on Bill No. 1, please.

MR. BARNET: I adjourn debate on Bill No. 1, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, that concludes the government's business for today. The hours for tomorrow will be from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. Following the daily routine, we will go to Public Bills for Second Reading and Bill No. 63. I move adjournment.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion for adjournment has been called. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The House will rise to sit again tomorrow at 9:00 a.m.

The House stands adjourned.

[The House rose at 7:59 p.m.]

[Page 1170]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 886

By: Mr. Patrick Dunn (Pictou Centre)

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

Whereas Pictou Landing resident Sheila Francis received her Master of Education degree from St. Francis Xavier University earlier this year; and

Whereas the mother of five started her degree four years ago, while working full-time, and was promoted to Director of Education for the community during this time; and

Whereas it was her sons who reminded her when at times it all seemed too much that they could not drop out of school, so she shouldn't either and she credits the support she received from her family, friends and the university for creating the opportunity for her to achieve the honour;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House send their sincere congratulations to Sheila Francis on earning her Master of Education degree from St. F.X. University, demonstrating the opportunities available to all people across this province and the support that Nova Scotian communities naturally provide for such tremendous achievements.

RESOLUTION NO. 887

By: Hon. Leonard Goucher (Immigration)

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

Whereas Bedford Blues Atom B Hockey Team completed an undefeated 2006-07 hockey season and numerous tournament wins; and

Whereas it takes hard work and commitment to teammates and the sport of hockey to complete such a feat; and

Whereas the Bedford Blues Atom B Hockey Team has proven what remarkable team product that Bedford Minor Hockey Association produces;

[Page 1171]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend their congratulations to the Bedford Blues Atom B team on their successful season.

RESOLUTION NO. 888

By: Mr. Sterling Belliveau (Shelburne)

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

Whereas Janet (Tee) deMoliter of Shelburne Count, Nova Scotia, has volunteered for the past eight years at Hillcrest Academy School; and

Whereas Tee can be found in the school anytime, faithfully helping any way she can from running photocopies, faxes, answering phones and decorating for Christmas as well as helping with school concerts; and

Whereas Tee is a secretary for the home and school, she is a part of the school's accreditation process and sits on the school advisory council;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Janet (Tee) deMolilter as a cheerful, dependable volunteer, ready to help at all times being greatly appreciated by the Hillcrest Academy School.

RESOLUTION NO. 889

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas Family Doctor Week in Canada has been celebrated across this country since 2004 highlighting the Family Medicine Forum which was held this year from October 8th to October 13th in Manitoba and paid special tribute to one of Eastern Shore's very own, Dr. Lisa Bonang, recipient of the Reg Perkin Award as Nova Scotia Family Physician of the Year 2007-08; and

Whereas Dr. Lisa Bonang, who practices family medicine at the Musquodoboit Harbour Medical Clinic, was recognized as an outstanding member of the College of Family Physicians of Canada who exemplified the best of what being a doctor is all about including exceptional care to her patients and contributions to the health and well being of our community and society in general, also was awarded a C. Robert Kemp Palliative Care Scholarship; and

[Page 1172]

Whereas Dr. Bonang personally strives to represent her profession, her province and her community and looks forward to the opportunity of promoting image and good works of all family physicians, will be officially honoured at the college's annual general meeting on December 7, 2007, at the World Trade Centre in Halifax;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the outstanding contributions of Dr. Lisa Bonang and wish her continued success in her profession.

RESOLUTION NO. 890

By: Mr. Chuck Porter (Hants West)

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

Whereas Jennifer Scott, a founder of Heliotrust, and her father, Ron Scott, established a Helio Tree Nursery in Centre Burlington in 2003; and

Whereas the nursery is now just one of the many projects of Heliotrust, a non-profit organization which conserves farmland and resources while the Helio Tree Nursery offers many Nova Scotian Acadian softwood and hardwood trees; and

Whereas the nursery is located with a mixed organic farm which also includes orchards, berries, gardens, greenhouses, livestock and much more;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly applaud Jennifer and Ron Scott of Centre Burlington, Hants County, for their love of the land and their care of native Nova Scotia species of trees.

RESOLUTION NO. 891

By: Mr. Chuck Porter (Hants West)

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

Whereas earlier this summer, a band from Hants County known as Taken won the first annual Rock-A-Thon Battle of the Bands at the Windsor Community Centre; and

Whereas a company known as Future Promotions under the direction of Bobby Morton and Matthew Wainman, organized the rock-a-thon which showcased various musicians performing for the title of top rocker and offered a top prize of a free concert

[Page 1173]

promotion, a large trophy and $000 which was earmarked for a fund to assist Taken help produce a future album; and

Whereas Taken is a heavy metal group and consists of band members and guitarist Joe Dodge, drummer Aaron Matthews and base player and lead vocalist Tim Matthews;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate the band Taken for their phenomenal talent and also to Future Promotions who gave these musicians the opportunity to rock the stage.

RESOLUTION NO. 892

By: Mr. Chuck Porter (Hants West)

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

Whereas the Breast Quest Society Dragon Boat Team meets for practice on the Windsor waterfront at Lake Pisiquid twice a week in the Summer; and

Whereas the local team is 1 of 35 such teams located across Canada and to be a member of the team you have to be a survivor of breast cancer; and

Whereas the 10-member team uses a 48-foot wooden boat and as a result requires a paddling technique different from canoeing or kayaking;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly commend Coach Michael Majaess and the members of the Breast Quest Society Dragon Boat Team in the Annapolis Valley on their motto keeping Hope Afloat and commend members of the team for their courage and spirit while wishing them continued succes on Lake Pisiquid.

RESOLUTION NO. 893

By: Mr. Chuck Porter (Hants West)

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

Whereas the Great Little Art Show celebrated its 9th Anniversary in April of this year in Avondale; and

[Page 1174]

Whereas the Great Little Art Show is garnering more attention each and every year as artists and groups from across Hants County travel to Avondale for this extremely popular show; and

Whereas this year, approximately 50 artists attended the Great Little Art Show;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House today applaud the organizers of this annual event in the picturesque community of Avondale and wish them future years of continued success in their promotion of local artists.

RESOLUTION NO. 894

By: Mr. Chuck Porter (Hants West)

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

Whereas Hantsport Grade 9 honours student Kira Pederson played on the Nova Scotia team at the Canadian Under-15 Girls' Basketball Championship in Vancouver in August; and

Whereas Pederson was a member of Nova Scotia's bronze medal team in their 86-74 win over British Columbia after being named last May; and

Whereas Pederson's Nova Scotia team finished with a 4-2 overall record in the national championship tournament;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Kira Pederson on being part of a fantastic basketball program in Hantsport, while proudly representing Hantsport on Team Nova Scotia, the third best Under-15 Provincial Girls' Basketball Team in Canada in 2007.

RESOLUTION NO. 895

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal)

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

Whereas Samantha Heffernan, a student at West End Memorial School in Springhill, was one of three Grade 6 students whose Remembrance Day project was chosen to be presented at their Remembrance Day program; and

[Page 1175]

Whereas family, friends, teachers, students and local dignitaries gathered at the school to pay their respect to the soldiers who fought for our freedom and those who continue to do so; and

Whereas Samantha Heffernam showed her respect for the veterans with her project that was presented during the ceremony;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Samantha Heffernam on having her Remembrance Day project chosen to be presented at this very important ceremony and we wish her continued success in all future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 896

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal)

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

Whereas Brad Henwood, a student at West End Memorial School in Springhill, was one of three Grade 5 students whose Remembrance Day project was chosen to be presented at their Remembrance Day program; and

Whereas family, friends, teachers, students and local dignitaries gathered at the school to pay their respect to the soldiers who fought for our freedom and those who continue to do so; and

Whereas Brad Henwood showed his respect for the veterans with his project that was presented during the ceremony;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Brad Henwood on having his Remembrance Day project chosen to be presented at this very important ceremony and we wish him continued success in all future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 897

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal)

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

Whereas Brooklyn Howard, a student at West End Memorial School in Springhill, was one of three Grade 4 students whose Remembrance Day project was chosen to be presented at their Remembrance Day program; and

[Page 1176]

Whereas family, friends, teachers, students and local dignitaries gathered at the school to pay their respect to the soldiers who fought for our freedom and those who continue to do so; and

Whereas Brooklyn Howard showed her respect for the veterans with her poem that was read the ceremony;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Brooklyn Howard on having her Remembrance Day poem chosen to be read at this very important ceremony and we wish her continued success in all future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 898

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal)

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

Whereas Hugh Gallant was honoured on October 22, 2007, for his many years of dedicated service to the Province of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Hugh Gallant has worked for the Department of Natural Resources for 25 years; and

Whereas the Government of Nova Scotia recognized their workers for their achievements made in support of business objectives, high quality client service and dedication to public service, recognizing the accomplishment of employees' contributions to a supportive work environment and supports the attraction and retention of committed and engaged employees;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Hugh Gallant on his 25 years of service and we wish him all the best in all future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 899

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal)

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

Whereas Nova Scotians realize the dedication and hard work of their volunteer firefighters and were honoured to gather together to recognize their efforts; and

[Page 1177]

Whereas on November 10th, friends, family and firefighters gathered together in Oxford to honour the years of service of those members who give so unselfishly of their time and efforts to help ensure the safety of their community and surrounding areas; and

Whereas Marcus Jeffers was recognized on that evening for 20 years of dedicated service to the Oxford Fire Department;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Marcus Jeffers for his 20 years of dedicated service to the department, his community and to the Province of Nova Scotia.

RESOLUTION NO. 900

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal)

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

Whereas 2007 marks the 80th Anniversary of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #4 in Joggins, Cumberland County, Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the Royal Canadian Legion is one of the foremost non-government agencies working for the well-being of Canadians in virtually every community across the country and although well known as Canada's pre-eminent non-profit veterans support organization, relatively few Canadians realize that the legion is also active in many other areas or that its programs benefit people throughout society; and

Whereas the Royal Canadian Legion Service Bureau was founded after the First World War to help veterans obtain the federal government pensions to which they were entitled, funded in part by donations made during the annual National Remembrance and Poppy Campaign, the Service Bureau has been in existence ever since providing no-cost assistance to ex-service men and women with pension applications and appeals, they also represent veterans and still-serving members, including RCMP members, before the Veterans Review and Appeal Board (VRAB);

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Branch #4 of the Royal Canadian Legion in Joggins on their 80th Anniversary of service to the veterans and their families and we wish them many more years of successful service.

RESOLUTION NO. 901

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal)

[Page 1178]

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

Whereas Darren King, a student at West End Memorial School in Springhill, was one of three Grade 5 students whose Remembrance Day project was chosen to be presented at their Remembrance Day program; and

Whereas family, friends, teachers, students and local dignitaries gathered at the school to pay their respect to the soldiers who fought for our freedom and those who continue to do so; and

Whereas Darren King showed his respect for the veterans with his project that was presented during the ceremony;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Darren King on having his Remembrance Day project chosen to be presented at this very important ceremony and we wish him continued success in all future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 902

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal)

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

Whereas Virginia King of Oxford Regional High School was the proud recipient of the Lieutenant Governor Medal for 2006-07; and

Whereas the Lieutenant Governor's Award was instituted and administered by the Department of Education, Province of Nova Scotia, which is awarded to one boy and one girl in each school who has commendable performance in the courses in which they are enrolled and who has demonstrated qualities of leadership and service in the school and community; and

Whereas open to all Grade 11 high school students and first year vocational school program, students were nominated by their school and the students nominated are certainly worthy recipients of this award;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Virginia King on receiving the Lieutenant Governor's Medal and we wish her all the best in all future endeavours.

[Page 1179]

RESOLUTION NO. 903

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal)

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

Whereas Nova Scotians realize the dedication and hard work of their volunteer firefighters and were honoured to gather together to recognize their efforts; and

Whereas on November 3, 2007, friends, family and firefighters gathered together in Wentworth to honour the years of service of those members who give so unselfishly of their time and efforts to help ensure the safety of their community and surrounding area; and

Whereas Arden Little was recognized on that evening for 20 years of dedicated service to the Wentworth Fire Department;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Arden Little for his 20 years of dedicated service to the department, his community and to the Province of Nova Scotia.

RESOLUTION NO. 904

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal)

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

Whereas Adele Livingston, a student at West End Memorial School in Springhill, was one of three Grade 6 students whose Remembrance Day project was chosen to be presented at their Remembrance Day program; and

Whereas family, friends, teachers, students and local dignitaries gathered at the school to pay their respect to the soldiers who fought for our freedom and those who continue to do so; and

Whereas Adele Livingston showed her respect for the veterans with her project that was presented during the ceremony;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Adele Livingston on having her Remembrance Day project chosen to be presented at this very important ceremony and we wish her continued success in all future endeavours.

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RESOLUTION NO. 905

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal)

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

Whereas Kyle MacDonald was the toast of Springhill following his gold medal achievement in the high jump at the Nova Scotia Athletic Federation track and field championships in June; and

Whereas MacDonald captured the junior division high jump competition with a leap of 1.66 metres eclipsing his previous personal best of 1.5 metres; and

Whereas Kyle enjoyed the experience and looks forward to improving on the performance in next year's events;

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

RESOLUTION NO. 906

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal)

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

Whereas Kimberly MacMillan is a 13-year-old entrepreneur from Parrsboro who came up with the idea of starting Girl Town; and

Whereas Girl Town is located at 163 Main Street in Parrsboro and will give young girls between the ages of 9 and 15 a place to call their own over the summer months; and

Whereas Kimberly had prepared a business plan, then presented that business plan to the Parrsboro Board of Trade and received a $200 cheque from them to aid in the opening of her business which offers girls a place to play games, meet with their friends, sing karaoke, watch movies and socialize while scrap-booking, face painting and many other activities;

[Page 1181]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Kimberly MacMillan on her outstanding initiative that will be a safe and fun place for many young girls to spend summer days with their friends.

RESOLUTION NO. 907

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal)

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

Whereas the little church in Mapleton, Cumberland County, first opened its doors in 1857, known then as the Wesleyan Methodist Church, it had been renamed as the Mapleton United Church in 1925 and celebrated its milestone 150th Anniversary in June; and

Whereas more than a century's worth of community memories have taken place within the four walls of the building which has seen many alterations over the years; and

Whereas the Mapleton United Church is a special place in the community of Mapleton which has been a special spot for countless services, weddings, funerals and is also a community gathering place hosting many suppers for its residents;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Mapleton United Church on its 150th Anniversary and we wish the congregation many more years of worship in their community.

RESOLUTION NO. 908

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal)

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

Whereas Stevie-Lynn Hurley, a student at River Hebert High School, was honoured as a top athlete for the 2006-07 season at the 29th annual celebration of sport in River Hebert; and

Whereas Stevie-Lynn was named female athlete of the year for senior high and also earned the coaches' award for senior girls basketball and was chosen as the top pitcher award winner for the slo-pitch team; and

Whereas celebrating its athletes is a rich tradition that has been a part of the River Hebert High School for 29 years and this year it was celebrated in grand fashion;

[Page 1182]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Stevie-Lynn Hurley on her outstanding athletic achievements and we wish her continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 909

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas more than 500 kids from Grade 7 - 12 from all parts of the country participated in the Canada Wide Science Fair in Truro; and

Whereas Bridgewater's Meghan Adams did her project on The Association Between Fingerprint Pattern and Hair Colour, Eye Colour and Gender; and

Whereas this earned Meghan a bronze medal;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Meghan Adams on this great achievement.

RESOLUTION NO. 910

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas music is a teaching language spoken by all people; and

Whereas individual talent takes training and commitment; and

Whereas Bridgewater student Douglas Brenton was named Nova Scotia's best high school singer;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Douglas Brenton of Bridgewater on this amazing accomplishment and wish him well in his future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 911

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

[Page 1183]

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

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas team sports help promote team spirit; and

Whereas the South Shore BMO's Under-14 girls soccer team won a silver medal at the Provincial Championship game;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Emily Rogers of the South Shore BMO's Under-14 girls soccer team on winning the silver medal.

RESOLUTION NO. 912

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas sports activities provide opportunities for recreation and competition; and

Whereas individuals and teams can demonstrate superior skills in their chosen sports; and

Whereas the Bridgewater Uechi-Ryu Karate Club earned eight medals in the last Provincial karate tournament;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Sensei Victor Swinimer for two 3rd place medals in the Adult black belt division and wish Victor well in his future competitions.

RESOLUTION NO. 913

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas sports activities provide opportunities for recreation and competition; and

[Page 1184]

Whereas individuals and teams can demonstrate superior skills in their chosen sports; and

Whereas the Bridgewater Uechi-Ryu Karate Club earned eight medals in the last Provincial karate tournament;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Jenny Litt who came in 2nd in the 12 - 13 year old female competition and wish Jenny well in her future competitions.

RESOLUTION NO. 914

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas sports activities provide opportunities for recreation and competition; and

Whereas individuals and teams can demonstrate superior skills in their chosen sports; and

Whereas the Bridgewater Uechi-Ryu Karate Club earned eight medals in the last Provincial karate tournament;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Luc Smith who came in 3rd in the 10 - 11 Kumite heavyweight class and wish Luc well in his future competitions.

RESOLUTION NO. 915

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas sports activities provide opportunities for recreation and competition; and

Whereas individuals and teams can demonstrate superior skills in their chosen sports; and

[Page 1185]

Whereas the Bridgewater Uechi-Ryu Karate Club earned eight medals in the last Provincial karate tournament;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Darcy Bears for 2nd place in the Adult Male (white/yellow/orange) belt competition and wish Darcy well in his future competitions.

RESOLUTION NO. 916

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas sports activities provide opportunities for recreation and competition; and

Whereas individuals and teams can demonstrate superior skills in their chosen sports; and

Whereas the Bridgewater Uechi-Ryu Karate Club earned eight medals in the last Provincial karate tournament;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Aiden Swinimer who placed 2nd in the 10 - 11 year old Kumite lightweight and wish Aiden well in his future competitions.

RESOLUTION NO. 917

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas sports activities provide opportunities for recreation and competition; and

Whereas individuals and teams can demonstrate superior skills in their chosen sports; and

Whereas the Bridgewater Uechi-Ryu Karate Club earned eight medals in the last Provincial karate tournament;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Josh Bell who finished 2nd in the 8 year old Kata and wish Josh well in his future competitions.

[Page 1186]

RESOLUTION NO. 918

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas team sports help promote team spirit; and

Whereas the South Shore BMO's Under-14 girls soccer team won a silver medal at the provincial championship game;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Katelyn Carver of the South Shore BMO's Under-14 girls soccer team on winning the silver medal.

RESOLUTION NO. 919

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas team sports help promote team spirit; and

Whereas the South Shore BMO's Under-14 girls soccer team won a silver medal at the provincial championship game;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Amber Wentzell of the South Shore BMO's Under-14 girls soccer team on winning the silver medal and Amber was also the recipient of the league's Outstanding Keeper Award.

RESOLUTION NO. 920

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

[Page 1187]

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas team sports help promote team spirit; and

Whereas the South Shore BMO's Under-14 girls soccer team won a silver medal at the provincial championship game;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Leah Cook of the South Shore BMO's Under-14 girls soccer team on winning the silver medal.

RESOLUTION NO. 921

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas team sports help promote team spirit; and

Whereas the South Shore BMO's Under-14 girls soccer team won a silver medal at the provincial championship game;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Mariele Guerrero of the South Shore BMO's Under-14 girls soccer team on winning the silver medal.

RESOLUTION NO. 922

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas team sports help promote team spirit; and

[Page 1188]

Whereas the South Shore BMO's Under-14 girls soccer team won a silver medal at the provincial championship game;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Morgan Fraser of the South Shore BMO's Under-14 girls soccer team on winning the silver medal.

RESOLUTION NO. 923

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas team sports help promote team spirit; and

Whereas the South Shore BMO's Under-14 girls soccer team won a silver medal at the provincial championship game;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Jessica McKee Mitchell of the South Shore BMO's Under-14 girls soccer team on winning the silver medal.

RESOLUTION NO. 924

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas team sports help promote team spirit; and

Whereas the South Shore BMO's Under-14 girls soccer team won a silver medal at the provincial championship game;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Alyssa Lunn of the South Shore BMO's Under-14 girls soccer team on winning the silver medal.

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RESOLUTION NO. 925

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas team sports help promote team spirit; and

Whereas the South Shore BMO's Under-14 girls soccer team won a silver medal at the provincial championship game;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Sydney Nickerson of the South Shore BMO's Under-14 girls soccer team on winning the silver medal.

RESOLUTION NO. 926

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas team sports help promote team spirit; and

Whereas the South Shore BMO's Under-14 girls soccer team won a silver medal at the provincial championship game;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Breanna Haley of the South Shore BMO's Under-14 girls soccer team on winning the silver medal.

RESOLUTION NO. 927

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

[Page 1190]

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas team sports help promote team spirit; and

Whereas the South Shore BMO's Under-14 girls soccer team won a silver medal at the provincial championship game;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Emilie Gatchell of the South Shore BMO's Under-14 girls soccer team on winning the silver medal.

RESOLUTION NO. 928

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas team sports help promote team spirit; and

Whereas the South Shore BMO's Under-14 girls soccer team won a silver medal at the provincial championship game;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Taylor Currie of the South Shore BMO's Under-14 girls soccer team on winning the silver medal.

RESOLUTION NO. 929

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas team sports help promote team spirit; and

Whereas the South Shore BMO's Under-14 girls soccer team won a silver medal at the provincial championship game;

[Page 1191]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Leigh Manley of the South Shore BMO's Under-14 girls soccer team on winning the silver medal.

RESOLUTION NO. 930

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas team sports help promote team spirit; and

Whereas the South Shore BMO's Under-14 girls soccer team won a silver medal at the provincial championship game;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Angelic Whynot of the South Shore BMO's Under-14 girls soccer team on winning the silver medal.

RESOLUTION NO. 931

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas team sports help promote team spirit; and

Whereas the South Shore BMO's Under-14 girls soccer team won a silver medal at the provincial championship game;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Alexis Ferrier of the South Shore BMO's Under-14 girls soccer team on winning the silver medal.

RESOLUTION NO. 932

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

[Page 1192]

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

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas team sports help promote team spirit; and

Whereas the South Shore BMO's Under-14 girls soccer team won a silver medal at the provincial championship game;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Maria Wolter of the South Shore BMO's Under-14 girls soccer team on winning the silver medal.

RESOLUTION NO. 933

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas team sports help promote team spirit; and

Whereas the South Shore BMO's Under-14 girls soccer team won a silver medal at the provincial championship game;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Kelly Cunningham of the South Shore BMO's Under-14 girls soccer team on winning the silver medal.

RESOLUTION NO. 934

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas team sports help promote team spirit; and

[Page 1193]

Whereas the South Shore BMO's Under-14 girls soccer team won a silver medal at the provincial championship game;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Hayley Gates of the South Shore BMO's Under-14 girls soccer team on winning the silver medal.

RESOLUTION NO. 935

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas teams travel all over the province to compete in tournaments; and

Whereas the Bridgewater Under-16 Tier 2 boys won the Provincial Soccer Championship title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Daniel Looke on winning the Under-16 Tier 2 Provincial Championship.

RESOLUTION NO. 936

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas teams travel all over the province to compete in tournaments; and

Whereas the Bridgewater Under-16 Tier 2 boys won the Provincial Soccer Championship title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Josh Crouse on winning the Under-16 Tier 2 Provincial Championship.

[Page 1194]

RESOLUTION NO. 937

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas teams travel all over the province to compete in tournaments; and

Whereas the Bridgewater Under-16 Tier 2 boys won the Provincial Soccer Championship title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Christian Crouse on winning the Under-16 Tier 2 Provincial Championship.

RESOLUTION NO. 938

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas teams travel all over the province to compete in tournaments; and

Whereas the Bridgewater Under-16 Tier 2 boys won the Provincial Soccer Championship title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Matthias Pizzera on winning the Under-16 Tier 2 Provincial Championship.

RESOLUTION NO. 939

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

[Page 1195]

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas teams travel all over the province to compete in tournaments; and

Whereas the Bridgewater Under-16 Tier 2 boys won the Provincial Soccer Championship title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Ryan Getson on winning the Under-16 Tier 2 Provincial Championship.

RESOLUTION NO. 940

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas teams travel all over the province to compete in tournaments; and

Whereas the Bridgewater Under-16 Tier 2 boys won the Provincial Soccer Championship title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Dylan Naugler on winning the Under-16 Tier 2 Provincial Championship.

RESOLUTION NO. 941

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas teams travel all over the province to compete in tournaments; and

Whereas the Bridgewater Under-16 Tier 2 boys won the Provincial Soccer Championship title;

[Page 1196]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Darcy Bristol on winning the Under-16 Tier 2 Provincial Championship.

RESOLUTION NO. 942

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas teams travel all over the province to compete in tournaments; and

Whereas the Bridgewater Under-16 Tier 2 boys won the Provincial Soccer Championship title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Andrew Morrison on winning the Under-16 Tier 2 Provincial Championship.

RESOLUTION NO. 943

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas teams travel all over the province to compete in tournaments; and

Whereas the Bridgewater Under-16 Tier 2 boys won the Provincial Soccer Championship title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Ryan Sanford on winning the Under-16 Tier 2 Provincial Championship.

RESOLUTION NO. 944

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

[Page 1197]

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

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas teams travel all over the province to compete in tournaments; and

Whereas the Bridgewater Under-16 Tier 2 boys won the Provincial Soccer Championship title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Josh Young on winning the Under-16 Tier 2 Provincial Championship.

RESOLUTION NO. 945

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas teams travel all over the province to compete in tournaments; and

Whereas the Bridgewater Under-16 Tier 2 boys won the Provincial Soccer Championship title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Mitch Baker on winning the Under-16 Tier 2 Provincial Championship.

RESOLUTION NO. 946

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas teams travel all over the province to compete in tournaments; and

[Page 1198]

Whereas the Bridgewater Under-16 Tier 2 boys won the Provincial Soccer Championship title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Jory Uhlman on winning the Under-16 Tier 2 Provincial Championship.

RESOLUTION NO. 947

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas teams travel all over the province to compete in tournaments; and

Whereas the Bridgewater Under-16 Tier 2 boys won the Provincial Soccer Championship title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Kyle Sabean on winning the Under-16 Tier 2 Provincial Championship.

RESOLUTION NO. 948

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas teams travel all over the province to compete in tournaments; and

Whereas the Bridgewater Under-16 Tier 2 boys won the Provincial Soccer Championship title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Steven Rodenhizer on winning the Under-16 Tier 2 Provincial Championship.

RESOLUTION NO. 949

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

[Page 1199]

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

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas teams travel all over the province to compete in tournaments; and

Whereas the Bridgewater Under-16 Tier 2 boys won the Provincial Soccer Championship title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Zach Brown on winning the Under-16 Tier 2 Provincial Championship.

RESOLUTION NO. 950

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas teams travel all over the province to compete in tournaments; and

Whereas the Bridgewater Under-16 Tier 2 boys won the Provincial Soccer Championship title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Kirk Herman on winning the Under-16 Tier 2 Provincial Championship.

RESOLUTION NO. 951

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

[Page 1200]

Whereas teams travel all over the province to compete in tournaments; and

Whereas the Bridgewater Under-14 Tier 2 boys won the Provincial Soccer Championship title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Sam Reeves of the Bridgewater Under-14 Tier 2 boys soccer team on winning the provincial title.

RESOLUTION NO. 952

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas teams travel all over the province to compete in tournaments; and

Whereas the Bridgewater Under-14 Tier 2 boys won the Provincial Soccer Championship title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Nick Miller of the Bridgewater Under-14 Tier 2 boys soccer team on winning the provincial title.

RESOLUTION NO. 953

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas teams travel all over the province to compete in tournaments; and

Whereas the Bridgewater Under-14 Tier 2 boys won the Provincial Soccer Championship title;

[Page 1201]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Brandon Minard of the Bridgewater Under-14 Tier 2 boys soccer team on winning the provincial title.

RESOLUTION NO. 954

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas teams travel all over the province to compete in tournaments; and

Whereas the Bridgewater Under-14 Tier 2 boys won the Provincial Soccer Championship title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Shaun Mekeckrin of the Bridgewater Under-14 Tier 2 boys soccer team on winning the provincial title.

RESOLUTION NO. 955

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas teams travel all over the province to compete in tournaments; and

Whereas the Bridgewater Under 14 Tier 2 boys won the Provincial Soccer Championship Title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Peter Ryan of the Bridgewater Under 14 Tier 2 boys soccer team on winning the provincial title.

RESOLUTION NO. 956

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

[Page 1202]

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

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas teams travel all over the province to compete in tournaments; and

Whereas the Bridgewater Under 14 Tier 2 boys won the Provincial Soccer Championship Title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Jonah Langley of the Bridgewater Under 14 Tier 2 boys soccer team on winning the provincial title.

RESOLUTION NO. 957

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas teams travel all over the province to compete in tournaments; and

Whereas the Bridgewater Under 14 Tier 2 boys won the Provincial Soccer Championship Title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Issac Hachey of the Bridgewater Under 14 Tier 2 boys soccer team on winning the provincial title.

RESOLUTION NO. 958

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas teams travel all over the province to compete in tournaments; and

[Page 1203]

Whereas the Bridgewater Under 14 Tier 2 boys won the Provincial Soccer Championship Title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Dryden Tanner of the Bridgewater Under 14 Tier 2 boys soccer team on winning the provincial title.

RESOLUTION NO. 959

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas teams travel all over the province to compete in tournaments; and

Whereas the Bridgewater Under 14 Tier 2 boys won the Provincial Soccer Championship Title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Justin Taylor of the Bridgewater Under 14 Tier 2 boys soccer team on winning the provincial title.

RESOLUTION NO. 960

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas teams travel all over the province to compete in tournaments; and

Whereas the Bridgewater Under 14 Tier 2 boys won the Provincial Soccer Championship Title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Josh Sabean of the Bridgewater Under 14 Tier 2 boys soccer team on winning the provincial title.

[Page 1204]

RESOLUTION NO. 961

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas teams travel all over the province to compete in tournaments; and

Whereas the Bridgewater Under 14 Tier 2 boys won the Provincial Soccer Championship Title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Gavin Cameron of the Bridgewater Under 14 Tier 2 boys soccer team on winning the provincial title.

RESOLUTION NO. 962

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas teams travel all over the province to compete in tournaments; and

Whereas the Bridgewater Under 14 Tier 2 boys won the Provincial Soccer Championship Title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Owen MacIntosh of the Bridgewater Under 14 Tier 2 boys soccer team on winning the provincial title.

RESOLUTION NO. 963

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

[Page 1205]

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas teams travel all over the province to compete in tournaments; and

Whereas the Bridgewater Under 14 Tier 2 boys won the Provincial Soccer Championship Title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Andrew Snyder of the Bridgewater Under 14 Tier 2 boys soccer team on winning the provincial title.

RESOLUTION NO. 964

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas teams travel all over the province to compete in tournaments; and

Whereas the Bridgewater Under 14 Tier 2 boys won the Provincial Soccer Championship Title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Nick Lawrence of the Bridgewater Under 14 Tier 2 boys soccer team on winning the provincial title.

RESOLUTION NO. 965

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas teams travel all over the province to compete in tournaments; and

Whereas the Bridgewater Under 14 Tier 2 boys won the Provincial Soccer Championship Title;

[Page 1206]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Tyler Killiam of the Bridgewater Under 14 Tier 2 boys soccer team on winning the provincial title.

RESOLUTION NO. 966

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas the sport of soccer continues to grow in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas teams travel all over the province to compete in tournaments; and

Whereas the Bridgewater Under 14 Tier 2 boys won the Provincial Soccer Championship Title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate team member Chris Burton of the Bridgewater Under 14 Tier 2 boys soccer team on winning the provincial title.

RESOLUTION NO. 967

By: Ms. Diana Whalen (Halifax Clayton Park)

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

Whereas each year on December 6th we reflect upon and remember the women who are victims of violent acts; and

Whereas December 6, 1989 was the tragic day when 14 women were needlessly killed at l'Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal in an act of violence against women; and

Whereas the government needs to ensure that proper policies and supports are in place to help women who are the victims of unspeakable violence;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly recognize the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women and work towards eliminating all forms of domestic violence.

RESOLUTION NO. 968

[Page 1207]

By: Mr. Harold Theriault (Digby-Annapolis)

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

Whereas Discover the Wines of Nova Scotia Festival has been named the Signature Event of the Year at the annual conference of the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia's annual conference; and

Whereas this is quite an accomplishment considering the fact that this is only the second year that this event has been held; and

Whereas this year's festival was a complete success with more than 10,000 people attending 35 venues throughout Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate the organizers of the Discover the Wines of Nova Scotia Festival and wish the festival success in years to come.

RESOLUTION NO. 969

By: Ms. Diana Whalen (Halifax Clayton Park)

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

Whereas each year the Canadian-Lebanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry recognizes an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the business community; and

Whereas Wadih Fares, an engineering graduate of the former Technical University of Nova Scotia, is one of the leading developers in the Atlantic region and sits on many boards, including the Halifax Airport Authority; and

Whereas Mr. Fares was presented with this year's award for Business Man of the Year at the Chamber's annual gala in Montreal;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly recognize the accomplishments of Wadih Fares in the business community and wish him success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 970

[Page 1208]

By: Mr. Wayne Gaudet (Clare)

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

Whereas on September 29th, the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation held its 8th Annual CIBC Run for the Cure in Church Point and West Pubnico; and

Whereas Belliveau Motors co-sponsored the annual Run for the Cure again this year; and

Whereas this year's run raised $16, 288 for breast cancer research, education programs as well as diagnosis and treatments;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly extend our gratitude and best wishes to Belliveau Motors for their active role, as well as the countless volunteers and participants who make the national campaign against breast cancer possible each year.

RESOLUTION NO. 971

By: Hon. Brooke Taylor (Agriculture)

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

Whereas the Town of Stewiacke, under the capable leadership of Mayor Dereck Rhoddy continues to attract new businesses; and

Whereas Subway and Ultramar are two businesses who have recently expressed confidence in the local economy of Stewiacke and South Colchester and opened businesses in the town; and

Whereas Mayor Rhoddy and town council are aggressively seeking new business opportunities for a local business park where 80 acres of land is situated and home to the new Subway franchise;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the dynamic business recruitment efforts of Mayor Rhoddy and council and local economic development officials in wanting to make Stewiacke and area an even better place to live.

RESOLUTION NO. 972

[Page 1209]

By: Hon. Karen Casey (Education)

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

Whereas Scouts Canada is proudly celebrating their 100th year anniversary; and

Whereas Scouts Canada has created a medal to commemorate the past 100 years and celebrate the beginning of the next 100 years of scouting in Canada; and

Whereas a recipient of the medal must have rendered an outstanding service of a quality nature that has benefited scouting as a result;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Darcey Cameron, Lisa Gowan, Traci Gowan and Krista Stott-Jones - four students from Colchester North who have been selected as recipients of the Scouts Canada Commemorative Centennial Medal.