Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

HANSARD 07-14

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

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2007

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 1124, Coun. Atl. Premiers: Hfx. Meeting - Welcome,
The Premier 1344
Vote - Affirmative 1344
Res. 1125, MacLeod, Alistair - Order of Can.,
The Premier 1344
Vote - Affirmative 1345
Res. 1126, de Broin, Michel - Sobey Art Award (2007),
Hon. W. Dooks 1345
Vote - Affirmative 1346
Res. 1127, Mulgrave Pk. Tenants Assoc. - Winter Lights Celebration
Award, Hon. J. Streatch 1346
Vote - Affirmative 1346
Res. 1128, Health - Digital Mammography Units,
Hon. C. d'Entremont 1347
Vote - Affirmative 1347
Res. 1129, Virgin, Cmdr. Stephen/HMCS Toronto - Thank/Welcome,
Hon. R. Hurlburt (by Hon. D. Morse) 1347
Vote - Affirmative 1348
Res. 1130, EMO: Emergency Mgt. Compact - Cross-Border Partnership,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1348
Vote - Affirmative 1349
Res. 1131, Cdn. Red Cross: Beyond the Hurt Prog. - Congrats.,
Hon. K. Casey 1349
Vote - Affirmative 1350
Res. 1132, N.S. Country Music Hall of Fame: Inductees - Congrats.,
Hon. W. Dooks 1350
Vote - Affirmative 1350
Res. 1133, Valley Commun. Learning Assoc./Grandmothers' Int'l.
Storytelling Circle: Seniors Award - Congrats.,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1350
Vote - Affirmative 1351
Res. 1134, Employment Support Services/Youth Dev. Initiative Prog.:
Work - Commend, Hon. J. Streatch 1351
Vote - Affirmative 1352
Res. 1135, Educ.: Literacy Initiatives - Congrats.,
Hon. K. Casey 1352
Vote - Affirmative 1353
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 100, Health Services and Insurance Act, Mr. D. Dexter 1353
No. 101, Access to Regulated Professions Act., Ms. D. Whalen 1353
No. 102, Residential Tenancies Act, Ms. Maureen MacDonald 1353
No. 103, Senior Home Medication Review Act,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 1353
No. 104, Municipal Government Act, Mr. K. Colwell 1353
No. 105, Liquor Control Act, Ms. D. Whalen 1353
No. 106, Income Tax Act, Mr. H. Theriault 1353
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 1136, Ryan, Denis - N.S. Crystal: Effort - Congrats.,
Mr. D. Dexter 1353
Vote - Affirmative 1354
Res. 1137, Preston Area Learning Skills Soc. - Anniv. (20th),
Mr. K. Colwell 1354
Vote - Affirmative 1355
Res. 1138, MacIntyre, Chief David/Southside Boularderie FD -
Anniv. (25th), Mr. K. Bain 1355
Vote - Affirmative 1356
Res. 1139, WCB - Chronic Pain Assessments,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 1356
Vote - Affirmative 1356
Res. 1140, Fitzpatrick, Laura - Lt.-Gov.'s Award,
Mr. S. McNeil 1356
Vote - Affirmative 1357
Res. 1141, Atl. Firefighters Extrication Comp.: Organizers - Congrats.,
Mr. C. Porter 1357
Vote - Affirmative 1358
Res. 1142, Versteeg, William - N.S. Fed. of Agric.: Pres. - Appt.,
Mr. J. MacDonell 1358
Vote - Affirmative 1359
Res. 1143, Breau, Judy - Diabetes Educ. Ctr.: Establishment - Congrats.,
Mr. M. Samson 1359
Vote - Affirmative 1359
Res. 1144, Izzard, Isabelle: Pictou Co. Bus. Contribution - Congrats.,
Mr. P. Dunn 1360
Vote - Affirmative 1360
Res. 1145, MacKinnon-Murray, Crystal: Walk for Juvenile Diabetes -
Congrats., Mr. C. Parker 1360
Vote - Affirmative 1361
Res. 1146, Richmond Hurricane Girls Volleyball Team - Highland Reg.
Division Two Win, Mr. M. Samson 1361
Vote - Affirmative 1362
Res. 1147, Eyking, Josh/Team: Work Ethic - Recognize,
Mr. K. Bain 1362
Vote - Affirmative 1363
Res. 1148, Duffy Freda: Waverley Leg. Dieppe Br. 90 - Vol. Serv.
(40 yrs.) Mr. P. Paris 1363
Vote - Affirmative 1363
Res. 1149, Exhibitions Assoc. (N.S.): Funding - Continue,
Mr. L. Glavine 1363
Vote - Affirmative 1364
Res. 1150, W. Hants Chamber of Commerce: Bus. Award - Recipients
Congrats., Mr. C. Porter 1364
Vote - Affirmative 1365
Res. 1151, Crouse, Andrea/Wickwire Acad. - Kodaly Award,
Ms. V. Conrad 1365
Vote - Affirmative 1366
Res. 1152, TCH: N.S. Pineapple Awards - Recipients Congrats.,
Mr. H. Theriault 1366
Vote - Affirmative 1367^
Res. 1153, Trenton Middle Sch./Chinese Exchange Students - Best Wishes,
Mr. P. Dunn 1367
Vote - Affirmative 1367
Res. 1154, Inverness Cons. Mem. Hosp.: Physiotherapy Staff - Congrats.,
Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 1368
Vote - Affirmative 1368
Res. 1155, Robichaud Tim-Br Mart: Service Award/Anniv. (140th) -
Congrats., Mr. W. Gaudet 1368
Vote - Affirmative 1369
Res. 1156, World Series Trophy - N.S. Visit: Boston/Red Sox Team -
Thank, Hon. B. Taylor 1369
Vote - Affirmative 1370
Vote - Affirmative
Res. 1157, East. Passage - Cow Bay Tree Trimming Comm. - Tree
Lighting Anniv. (18th), Ms. B. Kent 1370
Vote - Affirmative 1371
Res. 1158, Jamieson, Darlene: Frances Fish Award - Congrats.,
Ms. D. Whalen 1371
Vote - Affirmative 1372
Res. 1159, Kearney, Dave - Hugh Noble Award,
Hon. A. MacIsaac 1372
Vote - Affirmative 1373
Res. 1160, Sydney Acad. Wildcats/MVP/All-Star Goaltender:
Championship - Congrats., Mr. G. Gosse 1373
Vote - Affirmative 1374
Res. 1161, Burrows, Ian - Sydney Blood Services Clinic: Work - Congrats.,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 1374
Vote - Affirmative 1374
Res. 1162, Beckett, Clary: Fellow American Coll. of Trial Lawyers -
Induction, Hon. J. Muir 1374
Vote - Affirmative 1375
Res. 1163, Beechville United Baptist Church Ladies Auxiliary -
Cookbook Publication, Mr. W. Estabrooks 1375
Vote - Affirmative 1376
Res. 1164, McNeil, Colleen Elizabeth - Lt.-Gov.'s Award,
Mr. L. Glavine 1376
Vote - Affirmative 1377
Res. 1165, MacCallum, John & Joann - Proj. China Students:
Hosting - Thank, Hon. L. Goucher 1377
Vote - Affirmative 1377
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
NSLC: U-Vints - Laws Amend, Ms. D. Whalen 1378
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 101, IMP: Job Protection - Plans, Mr. D. Dexter 1378
No. 102, Serv. N.S. & Mun. Rel.: Heating Oil Tax Rebate -
Berwick Case, Mr. S. McNeil 1379
No. 103, Prem. - Atl. Gateway: Marketing Strategy - Update,
Mr. D. Dexter 1381
No. 104, Health - Patient Records: Glitch Review - Details,
Mr. D. Dexter 1382
No. 105, Educ.: Library Funding - Delay Explain,
Mr. S. McNeil 1383
No. 106, Health - Wait Times: Reduction Plan,
Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 1384
No. 107, Immigration - Immigrant Nominees: Refunds -
Reconsider, Mr. L. Preyra 1386
No. 108, NSLC - U-Vints: Policy Review, Ms. D. Whalen 1387
No. 109, Health: Nursing Homes - RFP Process,
Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 1389
No. 110, FIN. - ALC: Internet Bingo - Contract,
Mr. L. Glavine 1390
No. 111, Educ.: Literacy - Gender Gap,
Mr. P. Paris 1391
No. 112, Prem. - Council Atl. Premiers: Climate Change - Priority,
Mr. H. Epstein 1392
No. 113, Educ. - Dart. HS: Renovations - Delay Explain,
Mr. L. Glavine 1394
No. 114, Serv. N.S. & Mun. Rel.: Cpt. Wm. Spry Commun. Ctr. -
Service Exchange, Ms. M. Raymond 1395
No. 115, EMO: NSP Lines - Maintainance Needs, Mr. S. Belliveau 1396
HOUSE RECESSED AT 2:04 p.m. 1398
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 2:11 p.m. 1398
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 72, Retail Business Holiday Closing Act 1398
Mr. S. McNeil 1399
Hon. M. Parent 1400
Mr. D. Dexter 1403
Mr. M. Samson 1404
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 1406
Mr. L. Glavine 1408
Mr. L. Preyra 1410
Ms. D. Whalen 1411
Mr. T. Zinck 1412
Mr. K. Colwell 1414
Mr. S. McNeil 1415
Vote - Affirmative 1415
No. 94, Poverty Reduction Working Group Act 1415
Mr. S. McNeil 1415
Hon. J. Streatch 1417
Ms. M. More 1419
Mr. M. Samson 1421
Hon. M. Parent 1425
Mr. T. Zinck 1426
Mr. H. Theriault 1429
Mr. D. Dexter 1430
Mr. K. Colwell 1432
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 1434
Mr. G. Gosse 1441
Mr. S. McNeil 1446
Vote - Affirmative 1446
PRIVATE AND LOCAL BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 83, Halifax Regional Water Commission Act 1446
Ms. D. Whalen 1447
Hon. B. Barnet 1447
Ms. D. Whalen 1448
Vote - Affirmative 1449
PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING:
No. 24, Dental Hygienists Act 1449
Hon. C. d'Entremont 1449
Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 1450
Mr. W. Gaudet 1451
Mr. C. MacKinnon 1452
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 1454
Mr. D. Dexter 1454
Hon. C. d'Entremont 1456
Vote - Affirmative 1456
No. 31, Medical Act 1456
Hon. C. d'Entremont 1457
Vote - Affirmative 1457
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Law Amendments Committee, Hon. C. Clarke 1457
Law Amendments Committee, Hon. C. Clarke 1457
PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING:
No. 45, Companies Act 1458
Hon. J. Muir 1458
Ms. B. Kent 1458
Adjourned debate 1458
ADJOURNMENT
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Agric. - Cattle Producers: Challenges - Address,
Mr. L. Glavine 1459
Hon. B. Taylor 1461
Mr. J. MacDonell 1463
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING:
No. 45, Companies Act [debate resumed] 1466
Ms. B. Kent 1466
Hon. J. Muir 1466
Vote - Affirmative 1467
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON BILLS AT 6:32 p.m. 1467
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 7:58 p.m. 1467
CWH REPORTS 1467
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Wed., Dec. 12th at 11:00 a.m. 1468
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 1166, Status of Women Advisory Coun. (N.S.): Gratitude -
Express, Ms. M. More 1469
Res. 1167, Pictou Co./Mitchell, Ruth: Bike Routes - Congrats.,
Mr. P. Dunn 1469
Res. 1168, Deng, Jacob: Fundraising - Congrats., Mr. P. Dunn 1470
Res. 1169, TIR - Brookside Rd.: Paving - Time Frame,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 1470
Res. 1170, TIR - Jericho Rd.: Paving - Time Frame,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 1471
Res. 1171, TIR - Prospect Bay Rd.: Paving - Time Frame,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 1471
Res. 1172, Merriam, Ray/Fair Trade Commun. Café -
RBC Award, Hon. J. Muir 1472
Res. 1173, Col. Christian Acad. Food Bank Drive -
Anniv. (15th), Hon. J. Muir 1472
Res. 1174, CEC Cougars - NSSAF Division 1
Girls Volleyball Championship, Hon. J. Muir 1473
Res. 1175, Maxwell, Gordie: Col. Co. Sport Hall of Fame -
Induction, Hon. J. Muir 1473
Res. 1176, MacNeil, Chief of Police Dave: Truro Police Serv. -
Appt., Hon. J. Muir 1474
Res. 1177, Lockyer, Norman - CGA Award, Hon. J. Muir 1474
Res. 1178, Nicholson, Joy - Jr. Chamber Int'l. Award,
Hon. J. Muir 1475
Res. 1179, McDonah, Anne Clark - Jr. Chamber Int'l. Award,
Hon. J. Muir 1475
Res. 1180, Tam, Janet Sutherland - Jr. Chamber Int'l. Award,
Hon. J. Muir 1476
Res. 1181, Smith, Don & Glen - Harness Racing Contributions,
Hon. J. Muir 1476
Res. 1182, Glace Bay HS Boys AAA Hockey Team:
Achievements - Congrats., Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 1477
Res. 1183, Parrsboro Citizens Band Hall: Film Soc. - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Scott 1477
Res. 1184, Parrsboro Reg. Elem. Sch.: Food Drive - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Scott 1478
Res. 1185, Power, Megan - Remembrance Day Proj.,
Hon. M. Scott 1478
Res. 1186, Rector, Matthew - Remembrance Day Proj.,
Hon. M. Scott 1479
Res. 1187, Rushton, Donald: PSC Serv. (30 Yrs.) - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Scott 1479
Res. 1188, Shaw, Terry - Cent. Nova Tourist Assoc. Award,
Hon. M. Scott 1480
Res. 1189, Siddall, David - Cumb. Co. 4-H Member of Yr. (2007),
Hon. M. Scott 1480
Res. 1190, Smith, Braydon: KoC Free Throw Championship -
Gold Medal, Hon. M. Scott 1481
Res. 1191, Stewart, Elizabeth: Oxford Vol. FD Auxiliary Serv. (37 Yrs.)
- Congrats, Hon. M. Scott 1481
Res. 1192, Sun Alliance - Anne Murray Ctr.: Support -
Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 1482
Res. 1193, Thompson, Kendal: Team N.S. - Curling Title,
Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 1482
Res. 1194, Berry, Adam: Team N.S. - Curling Title,
Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 1483
Res. 1195, Cahill, Mitch: Team N.S. - Curling Title,
Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 1483
Res. 1196, Dumaresque, Matthew: Team N.S. - Curling Title,
Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 1484
Res. 1197, Thompson, Stephen: Team N.S. - Curling Title,
Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 1484
Res. 1198, Dunnington, Donna & Chandler: Kidz Talk -
Magazine Launch, Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 1485
Res. 1199, Byrne, Gina/Sackville Boston Pizza: Children's Asthma Ctr. -
Donation, Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 1485
Res. 1200, Fritz, Sherilyn & Glen: Commun./Vol. Spirit -
Recognize, Hon. M. Parent 1486
Res. 1201, Robertson, Jacob/Bearne, Katherine: TV Stardom -
Congrats., Mr. K. Colwell 1486
Res. 1202, Carleton Cons. Sch. - Sod Turning: Students/Staff -
Congrats., Hon. R. Hurlburt 1487
Res. 1203, White, Valerie - Women of Excellence Award,
Hon. J. Streatch 1487
Res. 1204, Five Bridges Jr. HS: Library Showcase - Congrats.,
Hon. J. Streatch 1488
Res. 1205, Armstrong, Calvin & Judy/Calvin's TV Sales & Serv. -
Lun. Co. Bus. Excellence Award, Hon. J. Streatch 1488
Res. 1206, Armstrong, MacKenzie Peter - Lt.-Gov.'s Medal,
Hon. J. Streatch 1489
Res. 1207, New Ross Firefighters Auxiliary - Anniv. (40th),
Hon. J. Streatch 1489
Res. 1208, Black Point FD - Post-Tropical Storm Noel: Work -
Thank, Hon. J. Streatch 1490
Res. 1209, Blandford FD - Post-Tropical Storm Noel: Work -
Thank, Hon. J. Streatch 1490
Res. 1210, Fischer Boulter, Pernille - Women of Excellence Award,
Hon. J. Streatch 1491
Res. 1211, Broome, Adam: NSIT Skills Comp. - Congrats.,
Hon. J. Streatch 1491
Res. 1212, Chester Area Middle Sch.: Sch. Improvements -
Congrats., Hon. J. Streatch 1492
Res. 1213, Carey, Graham - Duke of Edinburgh Award,
Hon. J. Streatch 1492
Res. 1214, Chaplin-Saunders, Christie/Artifacts in Clay -
Lun. Co. Bus. Award, Hon. J. Streatch 1493
Res. 1215, Chester FD - Post-Tropical Storm Noel: Work -
Thank, Hon. J. Streatch 1493
Res. 1216, Chester Basin FD - Post-Tropical Storm Noel: Work -
Thank, Hon. J. Streatch 1494
Res. 1217, Chester Pharmasave: Waste Mgt. - Commitment,
Hon. J. Streatch 1494
Res. 1218, Cochrane, Brittanie Deanna - Lt.-Gov.'s Award,
Hon. J. Streatch 1495
Res. 1219, Collicutt, Heidi Marie - Lt.-Gov.'s Award,
Hon. J. Streatch 1495
Res. 1220, Giles, Ernie - Edwina J. Wells Award, Hon. J. Streatch 1496
Res. 1221, Hiltz, Justin Travis - Lt.-Gov.'s Award, 1496
Hon. J. Streatch
Res. 1222, Hubbards FD - Post-Tropical Storm Noel: Work - 1497
Thank, Hon. J. Streatch 1497
Res. 1223, Keddy, Larry: New Ross FD Serv. (40 Yrs.) -
Congrats., Hon. J. Streatch 1498
Res. 1224, Canexel - Anniv. (40th), Hon. J. Streatch 1498
Res. 1225, McInnis, Fenton: Gourds Weigh Off - Congrats.,
Hon. J. Streatch 1498
Res. 1226, Myra, Laurie: West. Shore FD Serv. (41 Yrs.) -
Congrats., Hon. J. Streatch 1499
Res. 1227, New Ross FD - Post-Tropical Storm Noel: Work -
Thank, Hon. J. Streatch 1499
Res. 1228, Parr-Johnston, Elizabeth - Order of Can.,
Hon. J. Streatch 1500
Res. 1229, Rafuse, Charles: West. Shore FD Serv. (50 Yrs.) -
Congrats., Hon. J. Streatch 1500
Res. 1230, Rafuse, Terry: West. Shore FD Serv. (30 Yrs.) -
Congrats., Hon. J. Streatch 1501
Res. 1231, St. Margaret's Bay Area Rails to Trails: Vols. -
Thank, Hon. J. Streatch 1501
Res. 1232, Seabright FD - Post-Tropical Storm Noel: Work -
Thank, Hon. J. Streatch 1502
Res. 1233, Shoreham Village: Continuing Care Employees -
Recognize, Hon. J. Streatch 1502
Res. 1234, Smith, Frank R. - Loyal Seabright Union Lodge
Meritorious Service Jewel Award, Hon. J. Streatch 1503
Res. 1235, Swinimer, Leo - Pumpkin Regatta: Wins -
Congrats., Hon. J. Streatch 1503
Res. 1236, Van der Lugt, Stella & Brian: Waste Mgt. Leaders -
Congrats., Hon. J. Streatch 1504
Res. 1237, West. Shore FD - Post-Tropical Storm Noel: Work -
Thank, Hon. J. Streatch 1504
Res. 1238, West. Shore & Area Vol. FD - Anniv. (50th),
Hon. J. Streatch 1505
Res. 1239, C-Class Sloop: Importance - Recognize,
Hon. J. Streatch 1505
Res. 1240, The Whim - C-Class Sloop: Donation -
Baker Family Thank, Hon. J. Streatch 1506
Res. 1241, Chester-St. Margaret's Residents - Post-Tropical Storm Noel:
Work - Thank, Hon. J. Streatch 1506
Res. 1242, East Novability: Clients - Congrats., The Premier 1507
Res. 1243, Bourgeois, Ronald: Musical Accomplishments -
Congrats., Mr. M. Samson 1507

[Page 1343]

HALIFAX, TUESDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2007

Sixtieth General Assembly

Second Session

12:00 NOON

SPEAKER

Hon. Alfie MacLeod

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Mr. Wayne Gaudet

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The subject for the late debate tonight has been submitted by the honourable member for Kings West:

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Government immediately establish a plan to help address the challenges facing the many cattle producers in Nova Scotia.

That debate will be heard this evening at 6:00 p.m.

We will begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

[Page 1344]

1343

[Page 1345]

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 1124

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 the 14th session of the Council of Atlantic Premiers will meet tomorrow in Halifax; and

Whereas CAP meetings provide an excellent opportunity for Atlantic Premiers to find common ground on which to work to move our region forward; and

Whereas it is also an important time to share ideas and identify potential joint opportunities;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House welcome our neighbouring Premiers to our capital city as they join me in continuing our work to promote the long-term economic competitiveness of the 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 Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 1125

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

Whereas the Order of Canada is Canada's highest honour for lifetime achievement, recognizing people who have made a significant difference to Canada; and

[Page 1346]

Whereas Alistair MacLeod was recently made an Officer of the Order of Canada; and

Whereas this renowned writer - who returns to Cape Breton each summer - is the author of the international best-selling novel No Great Mischief as well as two collections of short stories, The Lost Salt Gift of Blood and As Birds Bring Forth the Sun;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Mr. MacLeod on the receipt of this prestigious award and wish him well in his future pursuits.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage.

RESOLUTION NO. 1126

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

Whereas the 2007 Sobey Art Award celebrates the passion and talent of Canada's contemporary young artists with a prize of $50,000; and

Whereas the 2007 Sobey Art Award was presented at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax on the evening of October 15th; and

Whereas Michel de Broin, an innovative young artist and sculptor from Quebec, was announced the winner of the 2007 Sobey Art Award;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Michel on this achievement and his contribution to contemporary art in Canada.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 1347]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 1127

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

Whereas the WinterLights Celebration, the cold weather partner of Communities in Bloom, this year awarded five stars to the Mulgrave Park Tenants Association in Halifax; and

Whereas the WinterLights Committee recognized the association for demonstrating a "common focus of community participation, beautification, neighbourhood and heritage awareness"; and

Whereas the Department of Community Services is proud to support the proactive work of the Mulgrave Park Tenants Association through the Metropolitan Regional Housing Authority;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Mulgrave Park Tenants Association for its positive influence that is evidenced not only by their five-star designation, but also by a decrease in vandalism and graffiti in the area.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 1348]

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 1128

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

Whereas breast cancer affects many Nova Scotians every year and every year we make great strides in this province to improve the survival rate; and

Whereas government, through the Nova Scotia Breast Screening Program, has invested $2.4 million this year in new digital mammography units for Yarmouth, Cobequid Health Centre, and the first digital travelling unit in the country; and

Whereas at the moment 58 per cent of eligible women who need a mammogram are getting one, a number that leads the country and can still be improved upon;

Therefore be it resolved that this House thank all stakeholders for their continued good work for the benefit of Nova Scotians suffering from the effects of breast cancer, and offer patients and their families our best wishes and support.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 1129

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

[Page 1349]

Whereas the crew of HMCS Toronto left Halifax on July 20th as part of a NATO operation; and

Whereas, while in the Red Sea, members of HMCS Toronto rescued a Yemini soldier who had fled to the sea after a volcano erupted on the Jabal-al-Tar Island, and recovered the bodies of two deceased soldiers; and

Whereas friends and family of HMCS Toronto crew members are excitedly anticipating the return of these Canadian heroes next Tuesday, December 18th;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House offer a well-deserved "Bravo Zulu" to Commander Stephen Virgin, the officers and crew of HMCS Toronto, welcome them home, thank them for their service to our country, and wish them all a happy, healthy holiday season with their friends and loved ones.

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 Emergency Management.

RESOLUTION NO. 1130

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

Whereas Nova Scotia is a member of the International Emergency Management Compact, with four other provinces and six American states; and

Whereas provincial officials attended the organization's Fall meeting in Rhode Island (November 26th to 29th); and

Whereas Nova Scotia, as Canadian co-chair, has offered to lead a major international emergency management exercise in the Spring of 2008;

[Page 1350]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House acknowledge the leadership role of our Emergency Management Office and other provincial contributors who are working to make this cross-border partnership such a successful initiative.

[12:15 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 1131

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

Whereas the Canadian Red Cross made a presentation today at Central Kings Rural High School where a campaign started in September when scores of students wore pink after a new student was bullied for wearing a pink shirt; and

Whereas Central Kings is joining a growing number of high schools offering the newly-introduced Canadian Red Cross program, Beyond the Hurt, which is designed to teach bullying and violence prevention techniques; and

Whereas the Canadian Red Cross has recently launched a new Web site which offers information and tips on how to prevent bullying at school and on-line;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Canadian Red Cross on the launch of their new Web site and extend our appreciation for their innovative program to stop bullying.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 1351]

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage.

RESOLUTION NO. 1132

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Country Music Hall of Fame recognizes the music of dedicated performers and others who have made an impact on the country music industry; and

Whereas the induction ceremonies for the Nova Scotia Country Music Hall of Fame took place on September 15th in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia; and

Whereas this year's inductees included musician and songwriter Lynne Crowell, instrumentalist Keith Ross, and vocal duo Roy and Frances Rudolph;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize and congratulate this year's inductees to the Nova Scotia Country Music Hall of Fame for their lifelong achievement and the recognition of their work.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Seniors.

[Page 1352]

RESOLUTION NO. 1133

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

Whereas seniors in the Province of Nova Scotia have more opportunities to gain health literacy skills and raise self-confidence through community-based literacy programs co-sponsored by the Department of Education and the Department of Seniors; and

Whereas we know that active participation by seniors in learning activities is essential to maintaining independence and quality of life, and that literacy is an important determinant of health; and

Whereas members of the Valley Community Learning Association and the Grandmothers' International Storytelling Circle work to help seniors improve their basic skills in order to ensure they continue to be engaged in all aspects of social, community and economic life;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Valley Community Learning Association and the Grandmothers' International Storytelling Circle on their receipt of the inaugural 2007 Seniors' Literacy and Learning Partnership Award granted jointly by the Department of Education and the Department of Seniors.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 1134

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

[Page 1353]

Whereas the Youth Development Initiative Program, through the Department of Community Services, helps youth in Nova Scotia prepare to get jobs by assisting them in developing a resumé and references and then helps them find a job; and

Whereas the program also works to match youth with an idea for a project that helps their community with the funds to make it happen; and

Whereas all of this helps move the youth in Nova Scotia toward education, leadership and skill development;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend the hard work the staff of Employment Support Services and the Youth Development Initiative Program, in particular, do every day to help youth in Nova Scotia achieve their full potential.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 1135

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

Whereas Nova Scotia's public school curriculum is designed for students to gain the literacy and numeracy skills required to learn, live and work successfully; and

Whereas the 2006 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study measured the reading achievements of Grade 4 students in Nova Scotia and across the world; and

Whereas Grade 4 students from each of Nova Scotia's eight school boards performed at or above the international average and outperformed their counterparts in England, the United States, and 26 other countries in the assessment;

[Page 1354]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend congratulations to school boards, teachers and parents for being enthusiastic partners in making our literacy initiatives work and helping to ensure success for Nova Scotia students today and in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 100 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 197 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Health Services and Insurance Act. (Mr. Darrell Dexter)

Bill No. 101 - Entitled an Act Respecting the Appointment and Duties of a Commissioner to Ensure the Fair Access to Regulated Professions. (Ms. Diana Whalen)

Bill No. 102 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 401 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Residential Tenancies Act. (Ms. Maureen MacDonald)

Bill No. 103 - Entitled an Act Respecting the Establishment of a Process to Implement Senior Home Medication Reviews. (Mr. David Wilson, Glace Bay)

Bill No. 104 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 18 of the Acts of 1998. The Municipal Government Act. (Mr. Keith Colwell)

Bill No. 105 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 260 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Liquor Control Act, to Permit the Operation of Businesses that Assist Others in the Making of Beer, Wine or Cider. (Ms. Diana Whalen)

Bill No. 106 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 217 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Income Tax Act. (Mr. Harold Theriault)

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

[Page 1355]

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 1136

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

Whereas Nova Scotian Crystal was founded 12 years ago by investors who believe in Nova Scotia and who were committed to age-old, high-quality crafts; and

Whereas Nova Scotian Crystal has established a good name for itself and has taken our province's name around the world with products of the best quality; and

Whereas Denis Ryan, regarded by most as the founder of Nova Scotian Crystal, recently ended his involvement with the company which is now profitable and more successful than ever;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Denis Ryan for the business sense, community spirit and creativity that he brings to our province as evidenced by the success achieved through the many years of effort and investment in Nova Scotian Crystal.

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. 1137

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

Whereas the Preston Area Learning Skills Society was founded in 1987 as the North Preston Community School Program; and

[Page 1356]

Whereas in 1988, the Preston Area Learning Skills Society expanded to include Lake Loon, Cherry Brook and East Preston, as well as change its name to the Preston Area Learning Skills Society (PALS); and

Whereas the Preston Area Learning Skills Society celebrated their 20th Anniversary on April 19, 2007;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly recognize the enormous contributions made by the Preston Area Learning Skills Society and congratulate them on their 20th Anniversary.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 1138

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

Whereas the Southside Boularderie Fire Department was founded in the summer of 1982; and

Whereas the Southside Boularderie Fire Department held a special ceremony August 25th celebrating this important 25-year milestone and anniversary; and

Whereas the Southside Boularderie Fire Department provides fire protection and promotes fire safety within their coverage area;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly applaud Chief David MacIntyre and the Southside Boularderie Fire Department on their 25th Anniversary

[Page 1357]

and thank its members, both past and present, for their dedication and commitment to their community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

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 Needham.

[12:30 p.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 1139

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal has ruled that workers who were injured and developed chronic pain on the job before April 17, 1985, should be assessed for benefits; and

Whereas there is now legal clarity on the issue of pre-Charter chronic pain cases, after many years of debate concerning these workers' rights; and

Whereas the Minister of Environment and Labour has stated publicly that he will ensure that an assessment process be put in place to expedite these cases;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly look forward to the fair and speedy outcomes of these chronic pain assessments by the Workers' Compensation Board.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 1358]

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. 1140

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 Lieutenant Governor's Awards are presented to one female and one male student at each high school, who have excelled in their studies and shown great leadership and service to their community; and

Whereas Laura Fitzpatrick is this year's female Grade 11 recipient from Queen Elizabeth High School in Halifax; and

Whereas Laura is an extremely talented vocalist and pianist who has performed at many events throughout Halifax, as well as an avid soccer player and runner, while reaching her academic goals;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House congratulate Laura Fitzpatrick for receiving the Lieutenant Governor's Award and wish her continued success in her future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Hants West.

RESOLUTION NO. 1141

[Page 1359]

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 2007 Atlantic Firefighters Extrication Competition was held at the Hants County Exhibition Grounds during Sam Slick Weekend on August 3rd and 4th; and

Whereas a Transportation Emergency Rescue Committee, consisting of firefighters from Windsor, Brooklyn and Summerville Fire Departments and chaired by Windsor Fire Department Lieutenant Jason Cochrane, came together to organize and host the event for the first time ever in Windsor; and

Whereas Brooklyn, Hants County firefighters won the Atlantic Challenge, defeating nine other fire departments, while in the process assisted in the education of firefighters from around the Maritimes to learn from and challenge one another;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly applaud the exceptional organizing abilities of Chair Jason Cochrane and his fellow firefighters from Windsor, Brooklyn and Hantsport in organizing such a unique and educational Atlantic Canadian event in Windsor.

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 East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1142

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

Whereas agriculture is an industry that contributes millions of dollars to the economy of Nova Scotia, as well as a way of life; and

[Page 1360]

Whereas the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture endeavours to speak for farmers and their issues; and

Whereas Mr. William (Willy) Versteeg of Milford Station has been chosen as the new President of the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate William Versteeg on his new position as President of the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture and wish him success in representing agriculture in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 1143

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

Whereas Judy Breau of West Arichat, Richmond County, started her career as a health care provider 34 years ago; and

Whereas Judy Breau is credited with starting a Diabetes Education Centre at St. Anne's Community and Nursing Care Centre in Arichat 31 years ago, which included educating residents with diabetes and incorporating an opthamology clinic with the support of St. Martha's Hospital; and

Whereas staff, board members, and residents of the area gathered at the New Horizon's Seniors' Club in Arichat to celebrate Judy's retirement and thank her for her leadership in community health education and illness prevention;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia House of Assembly recognize the leadership and hard work of Judy Breau in establishing the Diabetes Education Centre,

[Page 1361]

helping make St. Anne's Community and Nursing Care Centre a model in community health care and wish her well in her retirement.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 1144

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

Whereas Mrs. Isabelle Izzard was recently commended for her contribution to business in Pictou County for over 40 years at Izzard's Grocery in New Glasgow; and

Whereas she opened the doors back in 1963 and still runs the operation with her son, Jim, and loves meeting local residents who visit her store; and

Whereas Mrs. Izzard continues to do volunteer work with Shepherd's Lunchroom in New Glasgow and keeps a watchful eye on her neighbourhood while still selling penny candy. Mrs. Izzard has been an inspiration and a help to many in her community and believes that one will always benefit from helping others;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House send their warmest wishes and thankful appreciation for the more than 40 years of trade that Mrs. Izzard has conducted and her contribution to business in Pictou County.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 1362]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 1145

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 2007 Pictou County Walk to Cure Juvenile Diabetes held in September was the most successful yet, raising $50,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation; and

Whereas this year's event had great community support from numerous sponsors and participants and actually consisted of a 5 kilometre and 10 kilometre run, a community walk, and a gala fundraising dinner held at the Pictou Lodge; and

Whereas the goal of the Pictou County Walk for Juvenile Diabetes is to raise awareness and to help fund research that will, one day, lead to a cure;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Crystal MacKinnon-Murray and all who contributed to the success of the 2007 Pictou County Walk for Juvenile Diabetes and wish them continued success in the years to come.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 1146

[Page 1363]

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

Whereas Richmond Academy Hurricane Girls' Volleyball Team is off to another strong start this academic year; and

Whereas the Hurricanes recently captured the Highland Region Division II banner by defeating the SAERC Saints in a best of five match, allowing them to move on to the provincial championship; and

Whereas the team consists of Captain Micheline Boudreau, Denise Samson, Carlee Samson, Ashley Boudreau, Marielle Landry, Shelby Gerrior, Kelsey Brachette, Charcy Britton-Boudreau, Terrilyn Boudreau, Mirelle Landry and Coaches Nancy Britten and Chuck Boudreau;

Therefore be it resolved that this Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate the Richmond Hurricane Girls' Volleyball Team on winning the Highland Regional Division II banner and wish them continued success.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 1147

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

Whereas university student Josh Eyking of Millville, Cape Breton, is proving to be an exceptional sales person and team leader; and

Whereas Josh, through his employer, Firstline Security, recruited individuals from major universities across Nova Scotia, and that team did over $3 million in sales this past summer; and

[Page 1364]

Whereas the sales by Josh and his team literally came from making cold calls for one of the fastest growing privately-owned companies in the United States;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Josh and his team for their tremendous work ethic in achieving this level of sales while wishing them continued success with all of their future endeavours and studies.

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.

[Page 1365]

RESOLUTION NO. 1148

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

Whereas Fletchers Lake resident, Freda Duffy, has been a dedicated member of the Waverley Legion Dieppe Branch #90 for nearly 40 years; and

Whereas Freda Duffy has given countless hours volunteering with the ladies auxiliary at the Waverley Legion, playing an especially important role in strengthening the ladies auxiliary when membership numbers were declining; and

Whereas Freda was granted the honour of a Lifetime Membership Award by Dieppe Branch #90 in October 2007;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly commend Freda Duffy for her 40 years of volunteerism and dedicated service at the Waverley Legion Dieppe Branch #90.

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. 1149

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

Whereas the Exhibitions Association of Nova Scotia was incorporated in 1973 and continues to be actively involved in supporting and administering agricultural fairs and exhibitions throughout the province; and

Whereas agricultural fairs and exhibitions are an excellent way to attract tourists to the rural areas of Nova Scotia, leading to a positive contribution to the local economy; and

[Page 1366]

Whereas the Exhibitions Association of Nova Scotia relies heavily upon contributions from the Government of Nova Scotia to help make these fairs and exhibitions a success;

Therefore be it resolved that the government continue to fund these important events and investigate the matter of increasing funding in the future to cover costs associated with inflation and the pressing demand of meeting safety issues.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Hants West on an introduction.

MR. CHUCK PORTER: Mr. Speaker, I'd like to welcome to the House today my wife, Leslie, and daughter, Erica. It's nice to have you here for a few minutes. I would like everyone to give them a warm welcome. (Applause)

The honourable member for Hants West.

RESOLUTION NO. 1150

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 West Hants Chamber of Commerce is a vibrant mix of robust companies wanting to promote their local business interests to a network of groups and individuals; and

Whereas the Chamber held their annual business awards reception at Kings-Edgehill in the late Spring; and

Whereas four prominent local businesses were recognized for 2007, and they were: Brooklyn Office Supplies in the Micro Business Segment, the Woodshire Inn and Cocoa Pestro Bistro in the small-business category, Minas Basin in the large-business group, while Mermaid Theatre captured the 2007 President's Choice Award;

[Page 1367]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate these four outstanding and successful businesses for helping and wanting to make Hants West a shoppers' destination.

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. 1151

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

Whereas the Kodaly Society of Canada is a non-profit organization named after Hungarian musician and educator, Zoltan Kodaly; and

Whereas the Dr. John C. Wickwire Academy applied for the Kodaly Society of Canada Award last Spring for the hard work their music teacher puts into the music program at the school, receiving the 2006-07 Music Education Excellence Certificate; and

Whereas the students of Dr. John C. Wickwire Academy, over 430 students from Grades 2 to 6, take part each year in Christmas concerts and music festivals, learn how to play recorders and the ukulele;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly recognize Dr. John C. Wickwire Academy's music teacher, Andrea Crouse, for her strong belief in music education and ongoing commitment to the music program at Dr. John C. Wickwire Academy.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 1368]

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. 1152

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 pineapple is a centuries-old symbol of greeting and generous hospitality, and when European colonists brought the now familiar pineapple to North America our nautical ancestors placed a pineapple on their porch, door, or entrance after returning from a long voyage, welcoming visitors into their home to celebrate, announcing to all, "Our voyage is over, our door is open, food and drink for everyone!"; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia Pineapple Awards recognize individuals who have gone above and beyond what is expected to enrich a visitor's stay in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas this year's recipients are Carol and Bill Fenstermaker for A la Maison d'Amities Bed and Breakfast, John MacLellan, a taxi driver in Antigonish, and Fraser and Ina Chabassol of Malagash;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate these hospitable Nova Scotians on winning this award and thank them for making tourists feel at home in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[12:45 p.m.]

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 1369]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 1153

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

Whereas there was a sad group of students at Trenton Middle School recently, as they bid farewell to their friends from China; and

Whereas 15 Chinese exchange students said goodbye to the community, leaving a void amongst their peers - where aside for curriculum differences, the two groups had much in common with a trip to a Mooseheads game in Halifax, a resounding highlight for the group; and

Whereas the special guests enjoyed their five-month stay in the province, billeted with local families, where an emphasis was placed on practising their English language skills - and they returned the favour with tutorials in math and science;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House send their best wishes to the community of Trenton Middle School and its 15 Chinese students as they completed an extremely successful exchange program that allowed for the special visitors to take part in all Nova Scotia has to offer, and for the important lessons our students learned about the world beyond our shores.

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. 1154

[Page 1370]

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 of the Inverness Consolidated Memorial Hospital help local residents stay mobile and treat injuries and disease through their physiotherapy clinic; and

Whereas with an aging population in Nova Scotia, physiotherapy services are more important and necessary than ever;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate and thank the dedicated staff delivering physiotherapy services at the Inverness Consolidated Memorial Hospital and all health care providers throughout 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 Clare.

RESOLUTION NO. 1155

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: M. le Président, à une date ultérieure, je demanderai l'adoption de la résolution suivante:

Attendu que les Lauriers de la PME ont été présentés à Ottawa le 10 novembre en reconnaissance de l'importance des entreprises francophones à l'extérieur du Québec; et

Attendu que U.J. Robichaud Tim-br Mart de Meteghan Centre a reçu le Laurier de la PME de l'enterprise de service pour le service remarquable offert à sa clientèle; et

[Page 1371]

Attendu que Marc Robichaud, représentant la cinquième génération qui dirige cette entreprise familiale, a reconnu que ce sont les employés qui constituent la force derrière le succés;

Par conséquent, qu'il soit résolu que tous les membres de cette Assemblée félicitent U.J. Robichaud Tim-Br Mart d'avoir reçu ce prix et lui souhaitent un succés continu dans le cadre de son 140e anniversaire cette année.

M. Le Président, je demande l'adoption de cette résolution sand préavis et sans débat.

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

Whereas the Laurier de la PME Awards were presented in Ottawa on November 10th, recognizing the importance of francophone businesses outside of Quebec; and

Whereas U.J. Robichaud Tim-br Mart, from Meteghan Centre, received a Laurier de la PME Award for Service, recognizing the outstanding service they provide to their customers; and

Whereas Marc Robichaud, who represents the fifth generation running the family business, recognized that their employees are the strength behind their success;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly congratulate U.J. Robichaud Tim-br Mart for their award and wish them continued success as they celebrate their 140th Anniversary this year.

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 Agriculture.

RESOLUTION NO. 1156

[Page 1372]

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

Whereas there are thousands of Boston Red Sox fans in our province, including the Bluenose BoSox Brotherhood who are a big part of the faithful Red Sox nation; and

Whereas the Red Sox's win, this year in the World Series, delighted their many Nova Scotian fans; and

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. It is getting very difficult to hear.

MR. TAYLOR: Whereas thanks to this strong fan base, the team is including Nova Scotia on its World Series Trophy Tour, a rare Canadian inclusion for an American team indeed;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank our neighbours in Boston and their world-class team for bringing the trophy to our shores, rewarding their many fans, and congratulate all those avid Red Sox fans who helped ensure Nova Scotians will have a chance to glimpse the famous baseball World Series trophy up close.

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.

MS. BECKY KENT: Mr. Speaker, with your permission, I would like to make an introduction. I could draw attention to west gallery, my sister, Susan Kendell, is here. She is mad at me now for introducing her. It's her first visit to the Legislature. She is from the Bridgewater area and she has made the trip in. If I could ask for the House to offer her a warm, stand up, Susie, and we will give you a nice warm welcome. (Applause) It's Christmas, she'll still love me.

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

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RESOLUTION NO. 1157

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

Whereas 18 years ago, dedicated residents of Eastern Passage and Cow Bay organized a tree trimming party as a way to celebrate the spirit of Christmas and raise money for local families; and

Whereas people purchase bows, which have lovingly been made by seniors of the community, and they write a heartfelt message to the community and place the bows on the community trees; and

Whereas the sale of bows, an integral part of the event, raises money for worthwhile causes in the community, and whereby each year local residents take time out of their busy schedules to plan the event, which includes carolling, festive treats, Santa, and the lighting of the community Christmas trees, encouraging community partnership and community spirit;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the Eastern Passage Cow Bay Tree Trimming Committee on their 18th annual tree lighting and wish residents of Eastern Passage and Cow Bay many more years of continued success and community spirit.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

RESOLUTION NO. 1158

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

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Whereas in 1918, Frances Fish became the first woman admitted to the Nova Scotia Bar, paving the way for future generations of women lawyers in our province; and

Whereas the 2007 Frances Fish Women Lawyers' Achievement Award was presented to Darlene Jamieson, Q.C., for the commitment she has made to improving women's equality in the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society; and

Whereas Ms. Jamieson is an active member of the National Association of Women in the Law, she has served as a mentor to many young women lawyers and has committed her time and expertise to many boards and commissions which serve to enhance the quality of life of women;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate Darlene Jamieson, Q.C., on receipt of the Frances Fish Women Lawyers' Achievement Awards for 2007 and wish her continued success in 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 Minister of Economic Development.

RESOLUTION NO. 1159

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

Whereas Antigonish teacher and coach, Dave Kearney, was honoured with the Hugh Noble Award for distinguished service and outstanding contribution to school sports; and

Whereas Dave Kearney is a well-known and respected educator who has coached junior and high school soccer for 27 years; and

Whereas the prestigious award is given ut to a teacher in the Strait Regional School Board once every four years;

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Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House join me in congratulating Dave Kearney on receiving the Hugh Noble Award.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 1160

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

Whereas on Tuesday, October 23, 2007, the championship game of the Mae Kibyuk Memorial Green and Gold Hockey Tournament took place; and

Whereas the Sydney Academy Wildcats took home championship honours by defeating the Riverview Redmen; and

Whereas Jason Kolanko was selected Tournament Most Valuable Player as well as being selected to the all-star team and Brandon Morrison was chosen all-star goaltender;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the Sydney Academy Wildcats on their championship win, Jason Kolanko as being named the Tournament Most Valuable Play, Brandon Morrison as all-star goaltender, and wish the Sydney Academy Wildcats all the best in the season at hand.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 1376]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Glace Bay.

[Page 1377]

RESOLUTION NO. 1161

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 Ian Burrows, a resident of Glace Bay and a fourth year nursing student at Cape Breton University, was the guest speaker at the grand opening of Sydney's Blood Services Clinic on April 24th , 2007; and

Whereas Ian has been the recipient of over 200 transfusions of A-positive blood products for neuroblastoma cancer; and

Whereas Ian is a wonderful example of our youth giving back to the community, while also educating the public about the simple act of donating blood;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Ian Burrows for his work on behalf of the Sydney Blood Services Clinic.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

RESOLUTION NO. 1162

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

Whereas Clarence Beckett, Q.C., a senior partner in the Truro office of Patterson Palmer, was recently inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, one of the most prestigious legal associations and whose membership is restricted to the best trial lawyers in North America; and

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Whereas Clary Beckett,Q.C., a Dalhousie law graduate, who was admitted to the Bar in 1971, has practiced civil litigation and insurance law specializing in the defense of professional liability claims on behalf of professional associations; and

Whereas Clary Beckett, Q.C., has served as chairperson of numerous committees of the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society, is a past member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Bar Insurance Association, and a past member of the Management Board of the CBIA;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House congratulate Clary Beckett, Q.C., on being recognized as one of North America's best trial lawyers through his induction as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and wish him many more years of successful practice.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 1163

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

Whereas on Saturday, September 22nd, the Beechville United Baptist Church Ladies Auxiliary hosted a book launch of their cookbook, A Pinch of This and a Pinch of That; and

Whereas this wonderful cookbook not only contains fabulous recipes from local residents, but also some insightful history; and

Whereas this cookbook was coordinated by Ada Thompson and Bernadette Hamilton-Reid;

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Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the Beechville United Baptist Church Ladies Auxiliary on the publication of their cookbook, A Pinch of This and A Pinch of That.

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. 1164

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

Whereas the Lieutenant Governor's Awards are presented to one female and one male student at each high school who have excelled in their studies and have shown great leadership and service to the community and school; and

Whereas Colleen Elizabeth McNeil is this year's female recipient from Bridgetown Regional High School; and

Whereas Colleen is extremely active on school committees, athletic teams, as well as in her church community and political organizations, while maintaining a 90-plus average;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House congratulate Colleen Elizabeth McNeil for receiving the Lieutenant Governor's Award and wish her continued success in future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 1380]

It is agreed.

[1:00 p.m.]

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. 1165

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

Whereas the Bedford South School is participating in Project China, which is a program to allow students from Suzhou, China, to learn and experience Nova Scotia and the Canadian culture with a host family; and

Whereas by providing a home during their visit for these students, the host families have the greatest impact on experiencing the Nova Scotia culture and language; and

Whereas these visiting students, upon their return home, will have vastly improved their English language skills and be able to tell their families and friends in China what a remarkable culture we have in Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend their thanks to John and Joann MacCallum of Bedford for opening their home and sending these students back to China with a truly Nova Scotia experience.

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.

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

[Page 1381]

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

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

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, thank you and I appreciate the indulgence of the House. I beg leave to table a petition which includes 615 names, the operative clause of the petition reads:

"I support the Minister to amend the provincial laws and regulations to allow facilities where an individual can make their own wine/beer for personal consumption and not for commercial use (also known as u-vints or brew on premise).

I support the Minister to allow these facilities which will create needed jobs and support the economy."

Mr. Speaker, I have affixed my signature to that petition.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: The time is 1:02 p.m. and we will go to 2:02 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

IMP: JOB PROTECTION - PLANS

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my first question will be for the Premier. In today's paper, the comments made by the Minister of National Defence make it appear more likely that the IMP contracts to refurbish the Auroras will be cancelled in next week's announcement, which will put Nova Scotian jobs in jeopardy. IMP has been carrying out engineering and structural upgrades, and much of this work has been done here in Nova Scotia.

To quote the Premier, "It's very important to employment. We have good-paying, solid jobs . . . The federal government has a good aircraft there and it's my hope we'll be

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pushing forward aggressively to ensure that continues." My question to the Premier is, what is his government doing to protect those good-paying jobs at IMP?

THE PREMIER: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, Indeed, I share my honourable colleague's belief that those are good-paying jobs in our province and that's why this government has been so supportive of growing the aerospace industry in our province since day one and we'll continue to do that. We have already written to the Minister of Defence around this issue, in fact the Minister of Economic Development has taken the opportunity to do so to put forward our position.

MR. DEXTER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Perhaps the Premier would like to table that correspondence, we'd certainly like to have a look at it. When he created the Cabinet position for Military Relations, the media release stated, "The minister will oversee the province's Defence Forum, an interdepartmental committee of provincial staff who promote and support relationships with the Department of National Defence and Canadian Forces."

My follow- up supplementary question to the Premier is this, what message has he given to the Minister of Military Relations to convey to the Department of Defence?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the Minister responsible for Military Relations, as well as all ministers, carry the same message, and that is that we support the aerospace industry, we support the work that is being carried on there and we want that work to continue.

MR. DEXTER: Well, thank you, Mr. Speaker. There is no reason for a Nova Scotian Minister of National Defence to delay such a decision other than it being bad news that he hopes to hide. Why the federal government might want to take this contract away from Nova Scotia and potentially give it to Bombardier is a question I suppose best left to Peter MacKay to answer. With mere days before the final decision is announced, my question to the Premier is this, what is the Premier's plan to keep those contracts here in Nova Scotia?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I'll refer that to the Minister of Economic Development to refer to some of the aspects contained in his letter.

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I don't have the copy of the letter here with me today but will certainly table that at the earliest opportunity. In that letter we made it very clear to the Government of Canada how important this industry is to the economy of the Province of Nova Scotia and underlined the need for that level of economic activity to continue into the future.

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

SERV. N.S. & MUN. REL.: HEATING OIL TAX REBATE -

BERWICK CASE

[Page 1383]

MR. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. Last week it was brought to my attention that the residents of an entire street in Berwick, living in mobile homes, had not been receiving their tax rebate on heating oil. Many of these people are seniors on fixed incomes. The department has been notified and nothing has been done, so my question to the minister is, if these homes are clearly residential, why are you forcing people to pay tax on their home heating oil?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. If the honourable member would give me details on that I would be prepared to look into it.

MR. MCNEIL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The department has been notified several times about this street, and particularly by one resident, Ms. Coyne. She has not received the rebate all year and has been forced to pay tax on her oil bill for the full year. The oil company wants to give the rebate and the company has notified the department of the situation of Ms. Coyne and the entire street in Berwick yet the department refuses to act. My question to the minister is, if the oil company wants to give her the rebate at the door and she's clearly living in a residence that is not commercial, why is your department saying no?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, this is a $75 million program that benefits many, many Nova Scotians and I am pleased that the honourable member gave me the opportunity to praise it a little bit more. That's a program that - despite the enormity of it, and it was big because it affected most of the residents of this province - is a tribute to our staff, how well that has been implemented and the adjustments that were made in making it. Some people in this House know that there had to be adjustments made to that, particularly to small suppliers when we began the program. So again, Mr. Speaker, I offer the honourable member, if he would care to provide me with some detail on this, then I would ask staff to look at it.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, his staff know about it. I would assume his staff would give him detail, if the minister is actually listening and paying attention. Many of our seniors are forced to buy oil several times throughout the year because their fixed income does not allow the purchase of a full tank. These are the very people who we should be providing rebates to in this province and yet the government refuses to make this process easy for them. You took away the $250 Keep the Heat rebate and now you are forcing some to pay tax on their oil. So my question to the minister is, will you do the right thing and bring back Keep the Heat and allow Ms. Aucoin the rebate on her oil?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I think he has sort of, what do you call it, confused two things. You can't do them both and we have opted to do the one which will benefit most Nova Scotians.

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

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PREM. - ATL. GATEWAY: MARKETING STRATEGY - UPDATE

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question will be for the Premier. Last May, the Premier spoke at his own symposium on the Atlantic Gateway and he said, this year Nova Scotia will develop and implement an aggressive gateway marketing strategy. It will work to maximize the province's full potential as a strategic, international transportation gateway. Well, today we read that traffic in the Halifax port will dip below 500,000 TEUs - its worst year since 2000. So I would like to ask the Premier if he wouldn't mind updating us on his aggressive gateway marketing strategy.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I find it hard to believe my colleague across the way does not share my belief in the infrastructure and the opportunities that we have here in the Port of Halifax, that we have as a province. We are well positioned. We are well positioned geographically. We are well positioned with our deep, ice-free ports and the work that is being carried on is not a short-term vision for this province, it is a long-term vision and I believe that we can capture that opportunity.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I guess his long-term view means things have to get worse first. The Port of Halifax reached a traffic high of about 550,000 TEUs in 2005. Since then, its share of international container traffic has been slipping, despite the huge natural advantages, which he just enumerated, including the ice-free, deep-water port. The politics of shipping seems to be turned against us right now. So in the May symposium, the Premier stated, we recognize that the window of opportunity is narrow and that it is right now. So my question to the Premier is, what is his government doing right now to ensure the Halifax port succeeds with this narrow window of opportunity?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I will refer that to the Minister of Economic Development, the Deputy Premier, to provide more clarification to the Leader of the Opposition around some of the steps the government is taking around one of the greatest opportunities this province has.

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, the honourable Leader of the Opposition would, I am sure, recognize that our efforts in the long term, of course, are to seize upon the emerging markets that are taking place in the world. We have been working very closely with the Port of Halifax in joining their strategy to do that. We also recognize that in the shorter term, situations such as the rapid increase in the Canadian dollar is having an impact on shipping from traditional markets that are being felt in the short term. I can assure the honourable member, and all members of the House, that we will be out there. We intend to make the Port of Halifax the most efficient port on the North American seaboard. We are going to work with them to ensure that happens and we will be with them as we market this port throughout the world.

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MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the minister is aware that the increase in the Canadian dollar has not affected the Port of Montreal which has, in fact, increased its container traffic by 5.9 per cent while Halifax's has been falling. The federal government has earmarked $2.1 billion for gateways and border crossings over the next decade. Almost $600 million is going to be spent in B.C. on the development of the Pacific Gateway. Winnipeg, Manitoba, has already received $35 million for its gateway, developing rail links into the American mid-west. So my question for the Premier is, could he tell Nova Scotians how much money we will be getting for the development of the Atlantic Gateway?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, already the efforts of this government, in working with the federal government - contrary to perhaps some of the opinions on the other side of what we should be doing - has resulted in this province ensuring that we signed an over $600 million infrastructure agreement with the federal government in recent weeks. We have already made sure we protected our offshore revenues for the people of this province and we are in the process, through the MOU, of signing an agreement, I believe, that will see millions of dollars coming to the benefit of Atlantic Gateway.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

HEALTH - PATIENT RECORDS: GLITCH REVIEW - DETAILS

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: My question again will be for the Premier. This past October, the Minister of Health announced that the government is going to spend some $50,000 on a third party to investigate a problem with the province's electronic patient records. A computer glitch meant that many lab results, diagnostic test results including blood tests, skin swabs, X-rays, MRI results and CT scans went astray. My question to the Premier is, what assurances can he give Nova Scotians that sensitive electronic patient records will no longer be subject to these kinds of computer glitches?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I will refer that to the Minister of Health to provide my colleague with an update.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, that issue has been monitored very closely by our department, making sure that all the information is being transferred to patients as soon as it is available. Even with the glitch, as it was, during October, over 99 per cent of those records did make it to patients on time and in correct fashion.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, in fact, investing in technology is a great way to reduce wait times, especially if the technology is safe and effective. As we outlined in the shorter wait times options paper, greater access to electronic patient files will help to attract and retain young doctors, especially in rural areas. My question to the minister is, can the

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minister tell the House what the government is doing to expand the use of electronic patient files throughout Nova Scotia?

[1:15 p.m.]

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, over the last couple of years we've had the opportunity to expand our electronic patient record when it comes to PACS, or the picture archiving system, making sure that all diagnostics do feed into one system. We will continue to work through Doctors Nova Scotia, through our offices, to make sure that we talk to primary health care physicians, family doctors and those individuals to get them on the system. We still have about 30 per cent on the system, so we still have a lot of work to do to get more doctors on this valuable system for Nova Scotians.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, interesting that the minister should say that this happens over the last couple of years because despite what the minister says, there is a growing body of evidence that shows he is doing very little to improve health care in this province. I would like to table, if I may, from the 2007 Capital District Health Authority Business Plan, that Capital Health has not received any provincial funding over the past several years for system development and upgrades. My question to the minister is, why has this government failed in its responsibility to improve health care?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, Capital Health being our largest health district in the province receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in order to operate their system for all Nova Scotians, being the tertiary care network for all Nova Scotia, just one example that I can hit on is we provided, through our agreement with the federal government, over $24 million for radiology and radio systems for all Nova Scotians.

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

EDUC.: LIBRARY FUNDING - DELAY EXPLAIN

MR. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. Libraries large and small, urban or rural, are critically important to every single community in this province. Despite the calls by many regional libraries for increased funding, the minister and her department stood silent when many were forced to reduce operating hours, slash community programs and cut office staff. After months of stalling, the minister finally responded to the cries of regional libraries and announced a task force to examine library funding. My question to the minister is, why did she wait so long to respond to the needs of libraries?

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite, I thank you for the question. As minister, and within my department and from our provincial government here,

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I think it's important to recognize and we do recognize the value of libraries in our communities. There are nine library boards across the province, 77 provincial libraries, and we fund those libraries to the best of our ability. I will recognize that the base funding for those libraries had not increased over a couple of years prior to this current budget year but what we did in this last budget year was increase their base by $1 million and that certainly was an asset for them. We recognize it may not be enough but it's certainly a beginning.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, regional libraries have been calling for increased funding for months. Many libraries, such as Cape Breton, Cumberland, Pictou and Antigonish in the western region are just a few of the libraries that have been put into crisis mode due to the lack of provincial funding. The task force announced by the minister will only report back with recommendations next Spring. Next Spring is far too long for libraries that are in desperate need of financial aid immediately. Many libraries have been forced into cost saving measures and reduced programs. So my question to the minister is, will the minister show leadership and respond to the financial needs of regional libraries immediately?

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, I do recognize the ongoing costs, the operating costs and the escalating costs of libraries. To that end, I met with the library board in Truro within the last month and what I asked them to do was to let me know what their pressures were at this point for the balance of this budget year and once I have that information, I will respond.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, the Cumberland Regional Library alone has had to make sacrifices to the library and their community program. The chief librarian, Frances Newman, has stated that the library had to cut back on a pre-school reading program aimed at introducing toddlers to books. Instead of the program being offered every week, it is now being offered once a month. Ms. Newman further indicated that there has been a 49 per cent decrease in the number of programs that the regional library provided between April and September of this year compared to last year. So my question to the minister is, will the minister stop forcing regional libraries to cut education programs and commit additional funding?

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the library boards for working to provide the level of service that they have in the past, also that I recognize their challenges and as I've indicated, I'm prepared to work with them and work through those challenges.

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

HEALTH - WAIT TIMES: REDUCTION PLAN

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. Last week, the Premier stated we needed private hospitals to help reduce wait times

[Page 1389]

but, at the same time, he said he's not in favour of queue-jumping. I quote from his statement at the Nova Scotia Chamber of Commerce, "I'm not in favour of queue jumping by individuals, nor am I in favour of people waiting too long for appropriate procedures. We need to be innovative and that means working more with the private sector." Mr. Speaker, how does the Premier propose to shorten wait times by taking doctors out of the public health care system?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I was very clear on what I had stated during my address and that is we need to ensure that we put in the appropriate protocols and the safeguards to protect our public system, but we also have to be innovative in our thinking and work with the private sector, no differently than we do with his former employer - a private sector company in the health care system.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, if the Premier doesn't know, they're a not-for-profit company and the Department of Health owns all the equipment that EMC uses. Private hospitals promote queue jumping while the public wait times lengthen. You don't have to take my word for it. The president of the Canadian Medical Association, Dr. Brian Day, said he has twice used his connections and money to get ahead in line - once to get an MRI and once to get knee surgery. Is that what this Premier wants? Does he want the rich and powerful to use their influence to get preferred treatment while other Nova Scotians suffer because he privatized our health care system?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, EMC will be very interested to learn that they're not in it to make a profit because, indeed, I believe the member may want to take a look at his statements. I said very clearly that we believe in the parameters of the Canada Health Act; we believe in a publicly funded system. We do not believe that we should be put forward in any lineup because of the size of your wallet - we don't stand for that type of health care system in Nova Scotia and we never will. But we do believe in partnering; we do believe in being innovative; and we do believe that the public of Nova Scotia deserve to know when they go to a clinic that the standards and the protections are there for them for the health care that they receive.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, maybe the Premier should look at their Web site where it states they are a not-for-profit company. This government has simply not thought things through - private hospitals do not provide better, faster service, but what they do do is make profits for their investors. Just last week a man died, at a private hospital in Brampton, after waiting more than 12 hours in the emergency room with severe abdominal pain. I'd like to ask the Premier, why does this Premier want to embrace private health care instead of protecting the health services we currently have under the public system?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, my honourable colleague and his Party are stuck in the past - and I will refer this to the Minister of Health to add to my answer.

[Page 1390]

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Thank you very much. Mr. Speaker, there are a number of examples around Canada that show that private-public partnerships work, that private delivery of public services does work.

Mr. Speaker, there is Trillium Health Care Centre in Ontario that works very well - it is a model for health care in Canada. There is the Diamond Health Care Centre - which back in December, I believe, of last year I had the opportunity to visit Vancouver and I had a couple of critics with me who had the opportunity to visit the Diamond Centre, which is a P3 organization. The comment from the member for Queens, if I remember correctly, was that this is the kind of thing that we need here in Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

IMMIGRATION - IMMIGRANT NOMINEES:

REFUNDS - RECONSIDER

MR. LEONARD PREYRA: Mr. Speaker, I have another question about a very successful public-private partnership, the Cornwallis contract, and my question is for the Minister of Immigration.

Leo Karunanayake came to Halifax from Sri Lanka in January, 2007, as part of the Nominee Program. He was a bank manager in Sri Lanka and he hoped that the $130,000 he paid to the program would land him a job with a company where he could use those skills. After searching for seven months, Mr. Karunanayake was pressured by the Office of Immigration to take a job - any job - and he ended up being hired by a local restaurant, but was not assigned any work.

Mr. Karunanayake signed up for mentoring in good faith and with the blessing of the Office of Immigration and he didn't get what he paid for - now he wants his $130,000 back. My question to the minister is, will he reconsider the decision not to provide refunds to deserving immigrant nominees who did not get a fair shake from his department and the mentorship program?

HON. LEONARD GOUCHER: Thank you. First of all, Mr. Speaker, I think there are two questions there. As I stated previously, I think in the very first question in this House, I will not respond to individual cases and that's shut and dried.

As far as the issue of the rebates for those 203 people who have gone through the program and where the monies have already been disbursed, it has been made very, very clear those monies have been disbursed. They have all, in accordance with the program, signed a successful mentorship, even if the individuals are saying that there may have been

[Page 1391]

some problems, but those individuals have gone through the program and those funds have been expended, and at this point in time there will not be any further refunds in the program.

MR. PREYRA: Mr. Speaker, not only will the office not respond to these requests for information, but he will not even give any files to the Auditor General on his handling of these files.

Mr. Karunanayake asked for a refund from the minister's department and he was given three choices: he could continue in his mentorship at the job - and "continue" is used loosely here because he never started it; start a new mentorship with the same employer; or abandon the program and lose all of his $130,000. My question to the minister is, does he consider these to be reasonable choices to offer to an individual who has been taken off by a failed program established by his office and this government?

MR. GOUCHER: Mr. Speaker, I would like some clarification from the member what particular documents we won't hand over. I would like some clarification on that right now. Maybe you could expand a little bit on what files. Were they the files that were handed over to the committee, the 560 documents that were handed over that were eventually released into the public domain by the chair of the committee and were never properly protected, and the individual names that we have an obligation to protect were still visible for over seven days in our Library to the public? There is an obligation on our part, a legal obligation, to ensure the privacy of individuals. So maybe you could clarify that for me.

MR. PREYRA: Mr. Speaker, I would encourage the minister to ask the Auditor General, because he is asking those questions. This government approved of the businesses in the mentorship program, and in Mr. Karunanayake's case, the employer first told him not to bother reporting for work and, after the program came under public scrutiny in October, the employer asked Mr. Karunanayake to come to work. Then, on December 7th, this week, the employer wrote to Mr. Karunanayake, terminating his employment for not coming to work. It's ironic. He has, in fact, been fired from a job that he is paying for five times over. My question to the minister is, will his department help Mr. Karunanayake recover some of his money from this company, which was recommended by the Office of Immigration which received tens of thousands of dollars for doing almost nothing?

[1:30 p.m.]

MR. GOUCHER: Mr. Speaker, as I have said earlier, and I have made it very clear, any monies that have been expended, have been expended. The other thing here, too, is it was made one of the key criteria, and I think this is critical in the program, there was to be no cost - and I repeat, no cost - to the taxpayer of this province with regard to the Nominee Program. This government has made sure that has happened, all the while increasing immigration in this province, bringing over 6,900 immigrants into this province between 2001 and 2006. So

[Page 1392]

I don't believe it is a failed program, I believe the immigration in this province is extremely successful.

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

NSLC - U-VINTS: POLICY - REVIEW

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister responsible for the Liquor Control Act. In the Throne Speech that opened this session of the Legislature, the government talked at length about the new Nova Scotia and their commitment and pride in the small-business sector. One quote from that speech is, "From one end of our province to the other, local entrepreneurs are using their ingenuity and determination to make a better future." You also say let's be careful about hypocrisy. It also says that this new Nova Scotia is getting out of the way of business growth by cutting red tape and taxes. My question for the Minister responsible for the Liquor Control Act is, can you tell the House if your government is willing to review regulations that appear to inhibit business growth and innovation in this province?

HON. LEONARD GOUCHER: Mr. Speaker, I believe the member is probably referring to U-Vints. Back in 2002-03, that issue in the policy was reviewed. The policy arrived at, and the one that we are living by today, I believe, and I believe our government believes, strikes a balance between the consumer and those hobby wine makers, as well. So at this point in time that is the policy and that is what this government lives by, and there is no intent of this government at this point in time to review that.

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, I was, indeed, speaking about U-Vints and brew on premises. If that were allowed in this province, as it is in others - it is allowed right now in British Columbia, Ontario and even in our neighbouring New Brunswick - it helps small business, it meets consumer demand, it helps older and disabled customers, and it provides convenience and service to customers. I call that innovation and I call that customer service. The previous minister for the liquor commission gave me a similar answer and I believe this Tory Government needs to wake up and step into the 21st Century. I'd like to ask the minister directly, will your government commit to re-examining the practice of on-site brewing in Nova Scotia in light of the fact that New Brunswick allows it?

MR. GOUCHER: Mr. Speaker, I look for your direction with regard to answering that question, where there is a current bill before the House.

AN HON. MEMBER: The question's not about . . .

MR. SPEAKER: I thought he asked me to make the ruling. (Applause) From what I understand, this question is with enough breadth that you can answer the generalities of the question.

[Page 1393]

MR. GOUCHER: Mr. Speaker, I'll try to answer it very generally. We have a thriving, it's young, but a thriving wine industry in this province. My main concern is that the U-VINTs currently use little or no Nova Scotia content in their wine- making kits. I want to ensure that, for the future of the agricultural industry here in this province, that whatever our decision is protects the wine industry in this province because we have a wonderful wine industry. That's the bottom line.

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, I've had the opportunity to speak to the wine industry as well and they don't see this as a direct competition to their activities. In fact, it enhances it. The government says it wants to have a " new" Nova Scotia, but it sends a signal to business that the only way you can get things changed in this province is through the courts. My question to the minister is, will you live up to your "new" Nova Scotia rhetoric and step up and update the Liquor Control Act to allow brew on premises?

MR. GOUCHER: Mr. Speaker, I can't - with regard to the bill. Mr. Speaker, I guess, generally speaking, all I can say is that my number one concern for this province with regard to the wine industry is to ensure its success. Whatever this government does will be in that regard. That's about all I can say on the subject, really.

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

HEALTH: NURSING HOMES - RFP PROCESS

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. After eight years of cutting long-term beds in Nova Scotia, the government has finally changed direction and announced critically-needed nursing homes for Nova Scotia. (Applause) This will be well received by some communities, however, the news was not good for many small, rural communities whose projects received no bids. I'll table an article from the December 8th Chronicle-Herald that outlines nine communities whose projects didn't receive a bid. The RFP process was daunting and it turned off many small proponents early on. My question to the minister is, why were these projects made so unattractive that nobody bid on them?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I can say that on Friday we had the first batch of stand-alone facilities we were able to announce. I look at probably the end of this week we'll make the announcement on the attachment beds, or the beds that will be additions to existing homes. All communities that were listed will be covered under this report. Thank you.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, I'll quote the minister from the article I mentioned a few minutes ago, "We can't coerce people into building facilities, so we might have to move from one community to another community to try to get

[Page 1394]

them as close as possible, but to some place that actually wants them." To think that the minister thinks Chester, New Ross, River Hebert, Advocate Harbour, Parrsboro . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Question.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Guysborough wouldn't want these long-term care facilities. I'd like to ask the minister, since most projects are attached to existing facilities, why not give the money to the district health authorities to put the units in place instead of moving the project out of these communities?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I'm just wondering where he got the idea that we're going to be moving them out of those communities. We intend to put them in those communities and we will be putting them in those communities. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, we've had complaints from small operators and non-profit components that the RFP process was tilted in favour of the larger companies. The costs were prohibited to smaller operators who might have liked projects in rural communities. So I would like to ask the minister, why won't he admit the process was flawed and start working with small operators and non-profit groups instead of blaming them?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I'm just wondering which of those 500 beds does he not want? Is there a community that he does not want to have those beds? This was a rigorous RFP process I admit. We wanted to make sure that as soon as we made those announcements, beds could be constructed, not, again, waving a magic wand and expecting them built like the NDP would try to convince Nova Scotians.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

FIN. - ALC: INTERNET BINGO - CONTRACT

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister responsible for Gaming. Over the past few months we have heard how an untendered, multi-million dollar contract for Internet Bingo was awarded to a Swedish firm by the Atlantic Lottery Corporation. We have since heard testimony from the CEO of ALC who believes they did nothing wrong and they say, "Yes, I would it all over again." The ALC did not even announce the contract until almost a full year after it was awarded. My question, minister, do you believe that the ALC followed the proper course in awarding this contract?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, as the honourable member would know, the ALC operates with a board of directors. We have members from the Nova Scotia Gaming

[Page 1395]

Corporation as members of that board of directors. I have written to them expressing the concern of the Government of Nova Scotia with respect to the confidence level the people of Nova Scotia have with respect to the operations of ALC and have asked that they satisfy themselves that the interests of Nova Scotia are indeed being looked after, through the operation of that company.

MR. GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, the performance review is one step out of several which need to take place to bring accountability and integrity back to the gaming industry in this province. The Premier and the minister have been silent on demanding that ALC fully comply with the Atlantic Procurement Agreement. Nova Scotians expect that contracts will be awarded fairly and in an open process. My question to the minister is, will you demand that ALC become fully compliant with the Atlantic Procurement Agreement?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, the ALC has indeed been made aware of the requirements with respect to procurement and it is our expectation that they should be operating in a manner so that all Nova Scotians would have confidence in their operation.

MR. GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, well, one voice has been silent since the story broke about the ALC and this untendered contract, and that has been the voice of the Premier. Nova Scotia is the most significant shareholder to the ALC and apparently this does not concern our Premier. There was a secret search, secret criteria, secret negotiations and then a secret contract. This is no way to do business with the public money. My question to the Premier is, will you step in and collaborate with the other Atlantic Premiers and demand better procurement practices from the ALC?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, when a government minister speaks and puts forward a message, they put it forward on behalf of the government of this province and I am very proud to lead that government.

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

EDUC.: LITERACY - GENDER GAP

MR. PERCY PARIS: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. Two weeks ago, the results of the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study were published. The study compares Grade 4 literacy across 40 countries in the OECD. One of the study's key findings was that girls read better at Grade 4 than boys at the Grade 4 level. The PISA study highlights that this gender gap is particularly pronounced in Nova Scotia. Girls score on average 22 points higher than boys in reading. I would like to ask the minister how she plans to tackle this gender gap in literacy?

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite, thank you for the question. I certainly appreciate and quite like the statistics that the member shared, but however, I do

[Page 1396]

take that seriously. One of the things that we do within our department is focus on assessment. We recognize that early detection and early intervention are key and these results are telling us that there's an issue with gender that we have to address and we are prepared to do that.

MR. PARIS: Mr. Speaker, I am very interested in the literacy study because it proves conclusions that we, the NDP, have been talking about for years. For example, children who have parents who promote reading do better in literacy at school and for most people, this is an accepted wisdom. This report proves that is the case. My second question to the minister is, when is the minister going to increase funding to adult literacy programs so that they can help parents enjoy and promote reading?

[1:45 p.m.]

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite, we recognize the importance of parents reading to their children. We also recognize that having books in the hands of preschoolers is important and to that end, if members will remember, I did make a visit to a school and presented two of the pre-Primary students and their parents kits with reading materials, so that process could begin at home. We also recognize that the Read to Me Program, sponsored with the Department of Health and which we support, puts reading materials into the hands of parents prior to students coming to school. We also recognize that within my department, there is a very active adult literacy program and I am very pleased and satisfied that we are reaching the lives of many adult learners and helping them to become literate.

MR. PARIS: Mr. Speaker, another interesting finding from this report is that students with access to an early education program experience increased success in reading. A good early education program can reduce the need for resource teaching if student learning disabilities are identified and supported from an early age. However, there is no sign that the minister plans to increase the early education pilot program in place. My final question to the minister is, what is her government's policy on early childhood education for every child in Nova Scotia?

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased that the member has mentioned the pre-Primary early childhood programs that we have in place. We had a three year pilot, we developed a very appropriate curriculum for pre-Primary. We monitored the implementation of that and the outcome of that and we are very pleased to say that we have the conclusive evidence to show that early intervention does make a difference in the readiness of students when they come to Primary. We are taking that information and we are taking those results and using them when we look at the change of entry date, so we get those students in our schools earlier than now.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

[Page 1397]

PREM. - COUNCIL ATL. PREMIERS: CLIMATE CHANGE - PRIORITY

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. Today the world's diplomatic and environmental community is in Bali, Indonesia, discussing the need to take very aggressive action to prevent the planet's overall atmospheric temperature from increasing by a very dangerous 2 degrees Celsius. We know that the federal government is not interested in action to reduce emissions, the federal Conservatives will only fund programs that deal with the consequences of global warming after the damage has been done. That's a leadership vacuum at the national level, so it becomes all the more important that other levels of government lead the way. Tomorrow, the Council of Atlantic Premiers meets and I ask the Premier what steps he will bring to his fellow Atlantic Canadian Premiers to bring forward to make sure that Nova Scotia and the other Atlantic provinces lead the charge against global climate change?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question from my honourable colleague who I know does have a deep interest in environmental issues. Not only will we have this on our agenda tomorrow, talking about various items regarding environment and energy, but in fact, if my honourable colleague will take a look at the communiques put out from the Council of the Federation of the Atlantic Premiers and Eastern Governors' meetings, he will see that this has always been a priority for all of us who are involved in those groups.

I am very proud, because at each and every meeting that I go to, I talk about the goals that we have set forward in our Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act, which not only are positive steps for this province, but are even more aggressive than that of the federal government.

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, the Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act sets goals for greenhouse gas reductions by the year 2020, but those are inadequate goals and with no clear means of implementing the policies that will meet these meager goals. Setting targets 12 years out, with no accountability for our annual progress, was already tried. The Paul Martin Government did it, it didn't work. My question for the Premier is, what measures is he going to bring forward to ensure that Nova Scotia is actually progressing, year to year, in meeting its greenhouse gas reduction targets?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, when the honourable member takes a look at what this government put forward in that Act, you'll see very clearly that this government is not just a government that is talking the talk - we are walking the walk. A good example of that was last week, with the protection of more land, with the Ship Harbour-Long Lake area, which environmentalists in this province are calling a true success and partnership between the private sector, government and non-governmental organizations.

[Page 1398]

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, in 1990, the environmental community told the government of the day that it had to do something about greenhouse gas emissions and now the environmental community, in the Atlantic Provinces under an umbrella group, is now pointing out that we actually have to make some of the largest greenhouse gas reductions in the country, in the Atlantic area. So I would like to ask the Premier, why he simply won't admit that his stated target is grossly inadequate.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I will refer that to the Minister of Environment and Labour who can further talk about the levels that we have put forward in the Act.

HON. MARK PARENT: Thank you very much for the question from the honourable member. The honourable member will be well aware that the goals that were set in the Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act were goals that were set in tandem with Quebec, the other Eastern Provinces and the New England States. Those goals are very aggressive goals and the member will know that in the famous movie, An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore specifically referenced the New England States as being amongst the leaders and those are the targets that we have adopted for this province and we are going to deliver on.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

EDUC. - HS: RENOVATION - DELAY EXPLAIN

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. Dartmouth High School, like many other schools in Nova Scotia, is in desperate need of renovations. Because of years of deferred maintenance, many students are receiving an education in sub-par classrooms. Parents, teachers and school administrators have long advocated for renovations, due to the buildings' steady deterioration. Despite the efforts of the School Advisory Council and the countless attempts to have the school prioritized, this government has turned its back on the project. My question to the minister, why has the minister neglected the renovation needs of Dartmouth High School?

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite, I'm pleased to be able to speak to the Capital Construction Program that we currently have. The 2003 Capital Construction List that was approved by Cabinet at that time, brought schools, new schools, renovated schools or additions to existing schools to 57 communities across this province and that's a $400-plus million commitment and we are going to stick to that commitment and that will look after the needs that have been identified and on that list. We continually work with school boards to have them bring back to us any new needs that they may have or any change in priorities, so we're always constantly working with the school boards and the school communities.

[Page 1399]

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, on June 22, 2005, the Halifax Regional School Board approved a motion that would clarify its list of requested school capital construction projects. Among the board's top priorities was Dartmouth High. The motion further accentuated the school's priority by stating Dartmouth High School's urgent needs for capital repairs be given serious consideration. In other words, a stitch in time would save millions. My question to the minister is, will the minister listen to HRSB's request and finally make renovations at Dartmouth High School a priority?

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, I did have an opportunity to accept an invitation to visit Dartmouth High. I did tour that school. I spoke with school advisory council folks and with students and staff there. There's no question, there are needs in that school and they are being considered by my department for our next round of construction.

MR. GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, the gymnasium is in dire need of repair, hardboard panels along the roof contain asbestos, most of the windows are original and need replacement and the school's ventilation systems are out of date. Science labs are outdated and delivering the PSB is extremely challenging. These are just a few of the repairs that students, teachers and school administrators have been waiting for. My question to the minister is, will the minister commit to making Dartmouth High School a priority and begin renovations immediately?

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, as everyone in this House knows, I take seriously the conditions of all of the schools in our province and work closely with the school boards. I also would recognize it is within our financial means that we address those. Again, I've said this earlier, but if we need to make some adjustments within our budget lines, we have some places we could go. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

SERV. N.S. & MUN.REL.: CPT. WM. SPRY COMM. CTR. -

SERVICE EXCHANGE

MS. MICHELE RAYMOND: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Affairs. In 1985, this House passed special legislation to create a multi-service centre to address coordinated comprehensive health, education, cultural, recreational and social services for the residents of Mainland South and to build a specific building to deliver these services. This is how the Captain William Spry Community Centre was built. In the mid-1990s, service exchange relieved municipalities of all social service responsibilities and the centre was turned over to the new Halifax Regional Municipality. My question to the minister is, what agreements were in place and what did the province get in exchange for turning over its investment in the centre, which it had helped to build?

[Page 1400]

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, to be quite frank, it's an interesting question and as the Minister for Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, I'm not sure the province fared all that well in the service exchange. I think the municipality came out far ahead because the province picked up the cost for long-term care and community services. In exchange, one of the things - the William Spry centre would fall into that - the responsibility for recreation and recreation facilities was given to the municipalities.

MS. RAYMOND: Thank you for that very candid response. As you may be aware, several provincial programs and social service related community groups have recently been forced out of the Captain Spry Centre as the Halifax Regional Municipality redesigns the centre for its exclusively recreational purposes. This has left critical provincial programs, including addictions and various community services' projects, looking for a new home. These services must be maintained in this community. I ask the minister, how will the government redirect its investment to ensure that its original aims are fulfilled and supports these now homeless provincial services, projects and organizations?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the redesign of the William Spry Centre, which has been a corner piece of the Spryfield area, certainly, the question probably, in terms of its use, is better addressed to HRM because they are the ones that made this decision.

My colleagues in the Department of Community Services and Health as well as my colleague in Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal will be the ones who will be faced with the decision of where to relocate so they can continue to serve the residents of that area in the near future.

MS. RAYMOND: Mr. Speaker, I hope I'm correct in understanding that this means that the province will, in fact, these various departments, maintain its responsibilities in this community because this is integrated service delivery and it has worked in this community. However, this integrated service delivery has now lost space from which to work. So I ask the minister, will your department work with the community to ensure that these multi-service programs can continue their work in Spryfield?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, thank you very much for that, and government does work with communities in a variety of ways and through a variety of departments whether it's Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, the Department of Health, the Department of Community Services, the Department of Immigration, or Economic Development. We do a lot of things and government will continue to work with municipalities and local communities in the best interests of the citizens.

[2:00 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Shelburne.

[Page 1401]

EMO: NSP LINES - MAINTAINANCE NEEDS

MR. STERLING BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Emergency Management. Residents of Shelburne County, and across Nova Scotia generally, have suffered power outages already this year. Tropical storm Noel cut power and so did the northeastern snowstorm in mid-November. People have patiently waited to have their power restored, sometimes for weeks. The residents of Clyde River in Shelburne County awoke again on November 16, 2007, to find that they were the victims of yet another power outage. The residents of Clyde River in Nova Scotia generally will confirm that poor infrastructure and the abundance of foliage around Nova Scotia power lines has been poorly pruned over the last decade and a half and this is the main cause of the outage.

MR. SPEAKER: Question.

MR. BELLIVEAU: Will the Minister of Emergency Management explain why there is still urgent need for the improved maintenance in pruning of foliage close to Nova Scotia power lines?

HON. CAROLYN BOLIVAR-GETSON: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member opposite for the question. I also would like to thank Nova Scotians for the early warning signs they did take in preparing for the tropical storm Noel that did happen back in November. I also would like to say that we continue to work with our partners, and one of those being Nova Scotia Power, to make sure that we are ready for events when they do happen in this province.

MR. BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, I think the people of Nova Scotia want to know if in the worst case scenario, if we have an ice storm, when is this minister going to do something to prevent that from happening?

MS. BOLIVAR-GETSON: Mr. Speaker, again, we will continue to work with our partners across this province to make sure that people are prepared for weather storms in the event that we do have another one.

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

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. During Question Period, the Minister of Immigration stated that the Chair of the Public Accounts Committee improperly released Nominee Program documents which, in his view, should have been concealed. I take great offence to the minister's statement as the Chair of the Public Accounts Committee. If the Public Accounts Committee had accepted the direction of the minister's department, the Public Accounts Committee would have withheld most of the documents and would have been holding in camera meetings and even blackening out

[Page 1402]

the name of the company that is now suing the government, Cornwallis Corporation and Mr. Steven Lockyer, even though Mr. Lockyer has himself said this is contrary to his wishes.

So, Mr. Speaker, on this point of order, for a minister who said he intended to be open and transparent on the nominee file, he's remarkably defensive when information is made available to the public and I would ask that he withdraw those comments.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member's comments, if I recall the comments by the honourable minister, he talked about improperly. It's an opinion that the government has held, the member of the Committee on Law Amendments has held, and I am sure you will take that in, that he didn't say it was wrongful, he felt it was improper, and you will take that under advisement, I am sure.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Economic Development.

HON. ANGUS MACISSAC: Mr. Speaker, if the previous matter is concluded, during Question Period . . .

MR. SPEAKER: I am sorry, I don't think I have made a ruling yet, so I guess we will have to go there. I am going to take a five minute recess just to discuss it with the Clerks to see if they heard what I heard. Five minutes, please.

[2:04 p.m. The House recessed.]

[2:11 p.m. The House reconvened.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. In relation to the point of order raised by the member for Halifax Needham, there are a lot of things that need to be taken into consideration. Having done that and trying to give a fair and unbiased opinion, I would say the following: The word " improperly" could be construed as being unparliamentary language - this would be a point of order, and I would ask that the honourable minister reconsider his remarks.

The honourable Minister of Immigration.

HON. LEONARD GOUCHER: Mr. Speaker, I don't think any member in this House ever tries to deliberately impugn anybody and, if those remarks were deemed by the House and by the Chair to be inappropriate, I will withdraw them.

MR. SPEAKER: I thank the honourable minister.

The honourable Minister of Economic Development.

[Page 1403]

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, during Question Period, reference was made to a letter written by myself to the Minister of National Defence, and I indicated to the House that when I got a copy of that letter, I would table it, so I'm now prepared to table the letter.

MR. SPEAKER: The letter is tabled.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, will 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, will you please call Bill No. 72.

Bill No. 72 - Retail Business Holiday Closing Act.

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

MR. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise and open debate on Bill No. 72, an Act Respecting the Holiday Closing of Retail Businesses. This issue has been in the news across Nova Scotia since we entered into the new age of Sunday shopping. Quite frankly, businesses and Nova Scotians have been looking for some clarity and we have called upon the government to show some direction to the business community of reaching out, to making sure that we have a uniform policy from one end of this province to the other when it comes to the retail closing hours and holidays.

It is important that we recognize that this is about protecting and allowing Nova Scotian workers an opportunity to have set aside seven days throughout the year that will allow them to be committed to spending time at home with their families. Our piece of legislation refers to Boxing Day, Canada Day, Christmas Day, Good Friday, Labour Day, New Year's Day and Thanksgiving Day, Mr. Speaker. It is mirrored on the old Retail Holiday Closing Act, the one that was thrown out by this government when they brought in the issue of Sunday shopping. We were quite pleased to be part of that debate on Sunday shopping. We, as a caucus, led that charge in 2003 to ensure that the business community had an opportunity to control the retail hours of their store.

Through that whole time, at no time had this caucus ever alluded or proposed the idea that those special holidays that Nova Scotians had begun to expect and deserve, were thrown into this debate. We had always maintained and always kept up that these holidays would be

[Page 1404]

protected to ensure that Nova Scotia workers could count on a certain number of days of the year that they could be at home, with their families, or enjoying our Province of Nova Scotia, Mr. Speaker.

[2:15 p.m.]

The Chamber of Commerce has come out and has actually been opposed to the position that we have taken and said that we are telling business what to do. This couldn't be further from the truth, Mr. Speaker. We have allowed the business community in Nova Scotia to deal with the retail hours - an additional 52 days a year when it comes to Sunday shopping. But this, quite frankly, is about allowing Nova Scotia workers to count on eight days a year, seven days a year - perhaps maybe eight as we move forward - but seven days a year they can count on to ensure and build their family time. Build their personal time around those days each year as we move forward.

I want to say thanks to the Government of Nova Scotia for recognizing the importance of this issue and calling the bill forward. This caucus has been pushing this issue since the beginning of Sunday shopping. I want to recognize the Premier for listening and the Minister of Environment and Labour for listening and helping bring this legislation forward. I will want to also say to my caucus colleagues, who have really led this fight prior to my tenure as Leader, that Nova Scotian workers should know that this caucus has stood firmly behind them and beside them from the very beginning of this debate. We will continue to stand beside them until this debate is finally put to rest and they can count on those eight holidays at home with their family.

[2:15 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to open this debate and I look forward as the minister and his government stands up and comments on this piece of legislation. In conversation with the minister, I know he has some amendments, perhaps, he would like to make and will bring forward through the Law Amendments Committee. I look forward to the discussions that we will hear from him and other members of his caucus as well as well as members of the New Democratic Party. So with that, I look forward to hearing those remarks.

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

HON. MARK PARENT: Mr. Speaker, I am proud to stand in this House and announce once again the government's support for the Liberal's Retail Business Holiday Closing Act. I do want to commend the Liberal Leader and thank his mother for the prayers that she is giving on my behalf.

The designated Retail Business Holiday Closing Act is an important bill for Nova Scotian retail workers and businesses. Mr. Speaker, this government is committed to

[Page 1405]

fostering a thriving business environment in this province but we are also committed to promoting a balanced life for Nova Scotians. I believe, with strong amendments that the Leader of the Liberal Party already alluded to, this bill can achieve just that.

As you know, Mr. Speaker, in October 2006, the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia's decision resulted in all businesses being permitted to open on all holidays, except Remembrance Day. But in the year since that decision has been made, we've heard from business owners and retail workers across this province. We've listened carefully at my department and paid attention to what both parties have said regarding this issue.

It is clear that both retail workers and businesses operating in Nova Scotia want clarity, particularly over the traditional holidays and that is why we are supporting, as I said, amendments to this Liberal bill. Business owners and operators in Nova Scotia do not want to feel pressured to open because they're competitors are opening and with this bill it will be clear, as the Liberal Leader has stated, to all businesses, when they can open and when they cannot. This will alleviate pressure on those businesses and it will give, as stated already, retail owners certainty. This means that retail owners and workers can make arrangements and plans to celebrate holidays, as indeed, the letters that the Premier and I are getting, are already stating.

I do want to stress though, Mr. Speaker, that since October 2006, retail workers in this province have been protected from working on these holidays. Under the Labour Standards Code, as I mentioned in this House, they had the right to refuse to work on holidays. Now with this new bill, they will not need to exercise that right on the traditional holidays, but I still want to make it clear that under the labour code bill, the right to refuse all workers who worked in this sector previously to October 2006, still have the right to refuse to work on Sundays, that has not changed. This bill will protect them under the holidays, as the labour standards code bill protects them if they choose not to work on Sundays.

The changes we're proposing at the Law Amendments Committee will make the bill even stronger and fairer. We're proposing in broad strokes that will add Easter Sunday to the list of days that businesses will be closed, so the five statutory holidays included in this bill are Christmas Day, New Year's Day, Good Friday, Canada Day and Labour Day, and the other traditional days included in this bill are Thanksgiving Day, Boxing Day and with the support of the Liberal Party, Easter Sunday will be added. This will bring the total number of days that businesses must remain closed in Nova Scotia to eight.

Now the eight days that I just mentioned include Remembrance Day in addition to that and by adding Easter Sunday we're more in line with the other provinces. Before I continue, may I be permitted to make a short introduction?

[Page 1406]

Mr. Speaker, in the gallery opposite me is a former seatmate. I had the privilege of introducing another former one last time, too much change in this House on this side, but this former seatmate was a good friend of mine as well and since leaving politics, she has continued her work on behalf of the community and was instrumental in an announcement this government made, protecting Blue Mountain and Birch Cove area. I want to introduce in the gallery opposite, Mary Ann McGrath. (Applause) She used to bring great cookies and we miss that. The member who took her place does not bring good cookies.

Mr. Speaker, back to the bill. It's important that this bill take effect as soon as possible, so this bill will come into effect on Royal Assent, as in agreement with the Party opposite.

The other thing that will be changed is the fine will be increased and, in order to enforce the bill, we will be appointing officers who have regulatory authority to inspect, enter premises, examine records and lay charges when necessary. Because we're committed, along with the Liberal Party, to getting this Act proclaimed by Christmas, we're seeking the assistance of police officers to help enforce the Act for the next three holidays which are coming up very quickly, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day.

These amendments that we'll be adding and that the Leader of the Liberal Party mentioned, will be introduced at the Law Amendments Committee, will make this bill clear, strong, consistent and enforceable. As I said, the objectives of the bill are to give certainty to retail workers, they have the right to refuse on Sundays, but on traditional closing days, they will not have to exercise that right. It will also help small business owners and even larger businesses, Mr. Speaker, were phoning my department and asking for clarity and certainty on the traditional holidays.

I do want to take this time, if the members will indulge me just a bit, to talk about some of the larger, philosophical issues behind this bill as well because there are important philosophical issues behind it. One, of course, is the importance of having specific days during the year that are considered special days, on which families can get together to celebrate and families can get together with friends and Nova Scotians can have time off.

The McGill philosopher, Charles Taylor, has talked about the flattening out of time, which he feels is something, in his opinion and I would agree with him, that has been detrimental to society in that it has moved the meaning of time from specific, punctuated days during the year to the end of time. That, Mr. Speaker, can be problematic in that we end up with people on this great treadmill, working towards when their ship comes in at retirement and then feeling that they have lost the joy and they have missed the joy in their life ever since. So these eight days will give people a chance to celebrate - to celebrate with their neighbours, to celebrate with their family members and to realize that life is a rhythm of work and rest and that that's important for all Nova Scotians.

[Page 1407]

Secondly, Mr. Speaker, it will also help us to realize that buying and selling, while they are important, are not the most important things in life and there are times for other activities. I think this is important when we look at environmental issues and the ecological footprint. We've gone perhaps a bit too far in defining life as the accumulation of material possessions. I think that this, too, makes a statement that other things are more important.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, I think this has implications for civic engagement because many of these days that we're talking about are days when we celebrate this province and we celebrate this country; Canada Day, when we celebrate workers; Labour Day; when we celebrate gratitude towards all people; Thanksgiving Day.

In this multi-faceted society in which we live we need to be aware of the many different days that people consider special, due to cultural or religious background. We also need common days, as a society, that we need to celebrate. Those are days such as Sunday, as Canada Day, days that I think are important when we celebrate this country, when we celebrate what makes this country great and when we gather together as a community.

So these are some of the larger philosophical questions, I think, that are behind this bill. I want to thank, as I said, the members opposite for the bill that they brought forward and for supporting the amendments, which will make, as I said, this bill enforceable, consistent and clear. So thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I'm pleased to join the debate this afternoon with respect to this bill. It's one that I consider to be an important one. The House would be aware that I introduced Bill No. 5, which was the first of the bills to be introduced in the House with respect to the closings on holidays. In fact, I introduced that a number of times, starting just shortly after the government made the decision to withdraw those statutory holidays. I think it is important to note that what working people are getting back in this bill is what was taken away from them by the government, Mr. Speaker.

I know that the minister responsible, who just spoke, is well aware of the concept of conversion and it couldn't have been better illustrated than it was here today because the minister spent a long time ridiculing both our bill and the current bill that is before the House, talking about the protections that were already in place for the workers and how that was sufficient for the purposes that we said it wasn't sufficient for and now stands up to talk about the philosophy behind these bills. Well, it's a very simple thing, Mr. Speaker. This is about working people having the opportunity to have time to spend with their families.

On Friday, when the government announced they were going to support this bill, I no more than arrived at my house when a woman called my home and said that her husband,

[Page 1408]

who is a butcher working in one of the local retail stores, was now going to be able to have two days in a row off to spend with their family after the holidays and that this made a great deal of difference in their lives. So I have to say, people recognize that we have been asking the government to recognize that this was a mistake from the very first day that they made the decision that they made to get rid of statutory holidays.

Mr. Speaker, it isn't just working people, I have certainly received additional e-mails, since the government's decision, from people who recognize this has been an ongoing attempt for our caucus to have the government recognize the error they had made, but it was also coming out of many facets of the business community as well, because the reality is that many people in the business community never asked to have what was a decision with respect to shopping on Sundays extended to statutory holidays. They never asked for that. They didn't want it. What they did want was a level playing field with respect to those statutory holidays. They simply wanted the same rules to apply to everyone, and that is, essentially, what this bill will do, it will essentially set the playing field so people are aware of what statutory holidays are there.

[2:30 p.m.]

The government was certainly aware this was something that was sustainable at law that they were capable of instituting, because it was already done, Mr. Speaker, with respect to Remembrance Day, and Remembrance Day, through an independent Act, sets out a holiday, sets out who can open and who can't. Interestingly enough, in the Remembrance Day Act, which the minister may have read, it also mandates a three-minute break starting at one minute to 11:00 a.m. until two minutes after 11:00 a.m. in order for employees who must work to observe the two minutes of silence associated with Remembrance Day. So the capacity and the jurisdiction of the province to be able to make laws with respect to these kind of holiday periods is absolutely within the capacity of the government to do.

So I'm not going to take a lot of time with respect to this bill because, frankly, I want to see it passed. I want to see it enforced so the people, like the ones I've just talked about, are able to enjoy these days with their family. So, with that, Mr. Speaker, I'm going to take my place, and I thank you for the opportunity to speak on this bill.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, allow me to say that it is truly a pleasure to be able to rise to speak on Bill No. 72, the Retail Business Holiday Closing Act. I want to start by commending our Leader for having brought forward this legislation and having continued to pursue this issue on behalf of workers throughout our province. Allow me to say that it is one thing to bring forward legislation in this House and claim that it's a good idea on behalf of Nova Scotians, it's another thing to have those bills passed and surely provide the protection for Nova Scotians which we often present in bills. I want to commend

[Page 1409]

our Leader for having been able not only to bring forward this bill on behalf of workers, but making it into a reality.

Mr. Speaker, as was mentioned by our Leader earlier, this is an issue which our caucus has pursued ever since the government made its decision on Sunday shopping, when it was decided to have absolutely no regulations or rules dealing with Sunday shopping other than what was provided through the Remembrance Day Act. Clearly, the message from Nova Scotians, those who were in favour of Sunday shopping, those who were even against Sunday shopping, no one ever thought that statutory holidays themselves, would be open to the Sunday shopping rules and that we would be allowing those stores, large retailers, to be open during those holidays. Mr. Speaker, we immediately, our caucus, the Liberal caucus, immediately started to lobby the government to make that change and provide that protection.

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Environment and Labour and the Premier have talked about some of the legislation they have introduced which they claim protects workers. All they have to do is go and speak to the workers themselves. The Premier only has to go to the Port Hawkesbury shopping centre and ask the workers there, do they feel that they are protected if they refuse to work under the rules that his government has introduced and they will tell you, no they don't. There is no better means of justifying that to the government than to look to see how many workers have sought that protection to date. If I am not mistaken, the Minister of Environment and Labour has told us, none. So how do you claim success of being able to provide protection if no one yet has even sought that protection? So I don't think there needs to be any further discussion about that specific part of it.

Mr. Speaker, as I indicated before, when this was first announced on Friday of last week, I did commend the Premier and when I spoke to the media in the Strait area, I commended the Premier, because it is not always easy for a government to recognize that it may have gone too far or that one of their decisions may have had ramifications which were not foreseen when they were initially made.

But clearly, Mr. Speaker, this is the first Christmas season that we are entering since the rules have changed around Sunday shopping, where no one knew what to expect. The level of anxiety which existed out there is something which I am sure all members of this House would have been made aware of. I can tell you, on the drive home to Cape Breton on Friday, I phoned one of the ladies who had been raising this issue with me on a continuous basis. I called her and I said, did you hear the news? She said, as soon as I walked in, I had missed the 6:00 o'clock news, but my husband watched it and when he walked in he said, the Liberal caucus has given you a Christmas present this year. As soon as she asked, what is it, he said the member for Richmond, I can name myself, Michel Samson, and Stephen McNeil, in the Liberal caucus, fought to make sure that you would not have to work on Boxing Day this year. She said, that is the best Christmas gift that could have been given to

[Page 1410]

her and to all of her colleagues at her workplace and she looked forward to going and giving them that message, that this was something that was able to be achieved.

Mr. Speaker, I believe that is an example of how minority government can work for the benefit of Nova Scotians. I think we are seeing, during this session, where not only have we, as an Opposition Party in the Liberal caucus, been able to bring forward legislation, but we have been able to find ways of having that legislation brought forward for the best interest of Nova Scotians. I think, at the end of the day, all members of this House will agree that it is legislation which will benefit all Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, I heard stories, for example, that as a result of the fact that Boxing Day was up in the air, many workers feared that they would have to work on Boxing Day. Now the way they explained it to me was that if a store is going to open on Boxing Day, workers have to go in the night before, or the day before, to prepare it for that opening. So what was happening - and in my own area, workers were being asked to report to work on Christmas night, after supper, to go work and prepare for the opening on Boxing Day.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I don't think any member of this Legislature ever imagined that we would have made rules in this province, or allowed a situation to continue, where retail workers would be asked to work on Christmas night in preparing for Boxing Day sales. Obviously, this is a major victory for retail workers and I want to say, as well, that I was quite pleased to see the reaction from many of the business leaders, owners of these large retail businesses who reacted very favourably to the Liberal bill being called for second debate and saying that they are pleased that there is clarity and that their workers will be able to have the day off. I want to commend them because I don't think the owners of these large retail stores themselves really wanted to have to see their workers working, but without any rules in place, that is the situation we found ourselves in.

As was mentioned by our Leader earlier, Mr. Speaker, there are amendments that are being discussed as we speak. I want to make sure, and our caucus wants to make sure, that we make this bill as strong as we possibly can so that we don't find ourselves in a situation again where certain large retailers are looking to bring the government or the province to court on this issue.

As has been said on other bills - and many times the justice system and the judges will look to the debate on legislation to see what the true intent of the legislation was - allow me to say it very clear, Mr. Speaker, we do not want to see large grocery chains or large retail businesses open on these statutory holidays, and I would certainly hope that none of those businesses will be looking at trying to find ways to subvert the legislation which we are bringing forward today.

I believe the comments from the Leader of the Official Opposition make it clear that there is unanimous support for this legislation to go forward, so I do hope that should this ever, unfortunately, find its way into the courts that the courts will look at the message from

[Page 1411]

all members of this House of Assembly, that we are looking to ensure these workers have the days designated under this legislation off and they are not going to try to find ways to get around the legislation. We are very unanimous in that message and we would hope that if it ever finds its way into the courts that the courts would be respecting the wish of the Legislature in upholding that as well.

Again, Mr. Speaker, allow me to close by reiterating and thanking our Leader for the leadership in not only bringing this bill forward, but finding the means to have this bill passed and to making this minority government work - more importantly, making it work for the best interests of the people of Nova Scotia. I'm proud to have been part of that caucus. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I'm very pleased to have an opportunity to speak on this bill, Bill No. 72. At the outset, I'd like to say that perhaps the member of the Liberal Party, his mum's prayers were answered - it seems that the Minister of Environment and Labour had quite an epiphany between last Thursday's Question Period and Friday when this was announced by the government.

If you remember, Mr. Speaker, in Question Period on Thursday, I had an opportunity to ask the minister some questions with respect to protections for retail workers, and he assured me they had all the protections they needed, and more, and if any of those workers wished to exercise their rights not to work on statutory holidays such as Boxing Day, then that protection was there. Suddenly the following day, this government - of which that member is a minister - had an epiphany and they saw what both Opposition Parties have been working hard for and advocating for and fighting for for a considerable period of time now.

I don't want to poke the minister in the eye though because the reality is this is a very good idea which will have a very good result for retail workers. As the member for Cole Harbour - the Leader of the Official Opposition - has said, this restores to retail workers the rights they previously had. Rights they lost when the Premier rather abruptly - some would say recklessly - reacted to the court decision to strike down regulations that had been made by Cabinet imposing closures on large retailers who wanted to open on Sundays.

I would say - particularly in light of the previous comments by the member for Richmond who talked about how, hopefully, this legislation will stand up if there is a challenge - that is my hope as well, and I take some consolation in the fact that what we have here is legislation, not regulations. In fact, what the court said in striking down the previous regulations were, in fact, that the Legislature is the proper place to make these kinds of decisions. Because the Cabinet had not done that, this, in fact, was why we ended up with Sunday shopping and, in fact, a government that then was cowed and unprepared to take any action to protect workers in the retail sector.

[Page 1412]

Mr. Speaker, there is one issue in particular I'd like to address before I take my place, with respect to this bill. We all read the Letters to the Editor and we all have members of our constituency who call us and write us on various pieces of legislation. Sometimes, there's a criticism out there of retail workers who wish to have the statutory right of being able to enjoy holidays. I've seen people question, why should retail workers be singled out? What makes them special, some people say.

[2:45 p.m.]

I think we need to really point out that yes, there are other workers who work on statutory holidays - health care workers, fire fighters, police officers, even people in the service sector, perhaps in gas stations and what have you. But the reality is that the vast majority of workers who work in health care, and in fire stations and police departments - they are unionized workers. They have collective agreements and they have provisions in those agreements that give them greater protections with respect to how they are remunerated and how they are compensated for working on statutory holidays. These protections are far more extensive than workers in the retail sector of our economy enjoy. Therefore, it is incumbent on us, as legislators, to ensure that some minimum standards of protection are available to retail workers in this sector, workers who often have no choice but to be working in this sector.

As was pointed out earlier, the retail sector is one that often requires retail sector workers work the day previous, in order to prepare the retail store for an opening the next day. In this case, Mr. Speaker, we would see retail workers working Christmas Day in grocery stores and at Wal-Mart and at various retail stores, to ready those stores for an opening on Boxing Day. Surely that's not acceptable and it is incumbent upon us to make sure that a holiday, that so many families enjoy, is available to working people in the retail sector.

Mr. Speaker, this is what makes retail worker special - this is why we singled them out. This is why we need legislation like this - to provide them with some protections that they don't have available to them through collective agreements or through other means.

Mr. Speaker, much has been made of the confusion that existed in the retail sector with the government's decision to throw their hands up and leave workers, in this section, to their own devices. Businesses themselves were having a very difficult time making decisions on whether or not they should open or close. We've seen a number of holidays now, statutory holidays, come and go with that kind of confusion in this sector. This bill will put an end to this and it will provide the kind of direction that I think both employers and workers are looking for and it will ensure some certainty, in terms of what the rules are and there will be a level playing field and a fair playing field for all.

Mr. Speaker, I'm very pleased. A great deal was made on Friday, when the announcement came from the government that they would call this bill, of whose bill this

[Page 1413]

was and at that time, on behalf of the NDP caucus, I was asked about this and the fact that it was a Liberal bill that was being called. I said then and I say again in all sincerity, it makes no difference whose bill this is. What difference it makes is that workers will get to enjoy the time with their families on statutory holidays that so many people in this province take for granted.

Mr. Speaker, working together, fighting for these rights for the last year and a bit, I feel very, very good to see this happen and I know members of the NDP caucus are very, very happy that the government has had, for whatever reasons, divine intervention - political death wish on their death bed, perhaps. Whatever the rationale has been, we're very, very pleased that it's the working people of this province who will benefit in the end. We hear the government make a great deal about prosperity and the positive future of this province. All of us in this Chamber should be reminded of why it is we have prosperity in the province. The prosperity of this province comes from the hard work of the men and women, the working people of this province and this is something that will certainly contribute to their well-being. So it's very supportable for that reason.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, I'm certainly pleased to rise in my place today to speak obviously in support of this bill, but also to talk a little bit about the fact that we were losing our statutory holidays here in Nova Scotia. Ones that had been highly regarded, ones that families and I think not just the retail workers, but retailers themselves, you know, also saw a break. It was an important time for families and communities to rest and to recover and I think which makes us all more productive citizens.

We had gone through two days - Labour Day and Thanksgiving Day this Fall - and I received a number of e-mails and calls and a couple of visitations to my office as to what we were doing about this as a Party and I, as an MLA, was I prepared to lobby and work for them to recapture those days? It was interesting when the Premier came to my riding in the late summer to make an announcement on the Acrobat Research call centre that, in fact, there were a few protestors who came out to see the Premier and to pass along letters, correspondence and perhaps a petition wanting to make sure that our statutory holidays would be restored. The time was fast approaching with Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day in our country and really embraced by the new cultures that have come to Canada and to Nova Scotia, in particular, that these were days that they were psychologically setting aside during the calendar year when a special trip, a special family event, also community celebrations were part of their annual selection of holidays.

So I think having these restored is very positive, and I think all MLAs in this House are feeling good as we go into the Christmas season knowing that a group of workers, comprised of many casual workers and part-time workers, feel a sense of obligation when they are asked to fill in and be the main group of workers on those days that are often given

[Page 1414]

to the long-time, full-time workers in retail. So now these workers won't have to go through that anxiety of dealing with their employer as to whether or not they would be coming into work.

I think the other side of this, which I see as a positive development, is that since Sunday shopping, our mom-and-pop stores, our corner stores, our convenience stores, have been hit financially, economically, by the fact of having Sunday shopping. In fact, in Nova Scotia, we had shopping 364 days of the year. When these stores opened on Sunday, there was a dramatic decline in their revenues. I think these stores that can't open because of their size and because of the nature of the store, I think makes real good business sense for them. I think more of these small stores will actually survive as a result of this bill, as well - I think it has a number of positive elements to this.

Just going back a little bit on the history of Nova Scotia joining the other nine provinces and permitting Sunday shopping, certainly, when Nova Scotians took part in the plebiscite in 2004, they didn't vote in favour of Sunday shopping - it was brought in by government after the election of 2006. When it did come in, they did not vote for either holding onto statutory holidays or doing away with them, as government did in 2006.

I think having these days now restored and is getting us back to the old retail holiday closing Act, I believe, is a very good thing. Each of these days has important significance in their own way. Perhaps it's a little bit difficult to talk about one day over another, but one day that I've always been a bit upset about with seeing retailers open, especially this summer, is our July 1st, our Canada Day holiday. If we're going to create a greater deepening and devotion to our country, setting aside a special day and giving all Nova Scotians and Canadians an opportunity to be part of celebrating and acknowledging and giving tribute to our forefathers and to our country, I think we need to be away from work to do that.

As an MLA, I've been really able to capture the Canada Day spirit, because in my riding there are four communities. Basically, they're small communities, like Burlington - not many in this House have probably heard of Burlington - Aylesford Lake, of course, Berwick and Greenwood all have major events in celebration of Canada Day. I heard a number of people this year, in fact, who were upset to see that some stores had opened on that particular day. So I think this is a really significant step for us and I think the workers across Nova Scotia will be thanking all MLAs come this Boxing Day and New Year's Day and obviously Christmas Day. So with that, Mr. Speaker, I will take my place.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

MR. LEONARD PREYRA: Mr. Speaker, I would like to join with my colleagues on both sides of the House and echo their comments supporting this legislation. In particular, I would like to compliment the Leader of the Official Opposition and Leaders in this caucus for championing this issue for such a long time and especially to compliment the member for

[Page 1415]

Annapolis for bringing this bill forward. I think it is an important piece of legislation, a much-needed piece of legislation and I welcome its introduction and am looking forward to its passage.

[3:00 p.m.]

As much as I would like to compliment the members of this House for passing this bill, real credit should go to the thousands of young workers who petitioned this House. Those workers who are working part-time in the retail sector, who had the courage to take up petitions, to sign those petitions and who spoke publically against stores and malls being opened on statutory holidays. I specifically would like to draw attention to some of them. Patrick Lundrigan, who started his Facebook page this summer, Nova Scotians against Sunday shopping, that has 2,400 members. Really, Patrick and his fellow signatories should feel proud that they did make a difference here. Rhonda Jackson at the MicMac Mall who gathered 500 signatures on a petition against store openings. There were many other petitions but those are the ones that come readily to mind.

Last year, around this time, the member for Dartmouth South-Portland Valley introduced a petition from Genevieve Vetese, Tammy Cameron and Jason Walker - 2,200 signatures from Nova Scotians, Mr. Speaker. My point is that a lot of the credit for this action by the House surely should go to those young retail workers who work part-time, who despite their vulnerability, took the time to sign these petitions. Credit should also go to the small business people who struggle to compete in that environment that the government created, who despite their loss of business, chose to stay closed to spend time with their families in this 24/7 shopping world.

The government created this problem for them, Mr. Speaker, and they responded with a great deal of commitment to their families and to their communities and to their own workers. I want to say how encouraging it was to see so many large businesses and malls voluntarily decide to close on Sundays and statutory holidays out of respect for their employees, out of respect for their religious traditions and out of their desire to spend more time with their families. Some of them just to take the guesswork out of retail store closing, to remove some of the confusion over store closing. Particularly in my constituency on Spring Garden Road, on Barrington Street and the Park Lane Mall where so many of those businesses chose to remain closed.

Mr. Speaker, my constituents support this bill and I support this bill because it responds to the needs of vulnerable retail workers, small businesses and many larger retail stores. It really does represent a better deal for today's families. I must compliment the member for Annapolis, the Leader of the Liberal Party, and I also want to take this time to compliment the Minister of Environment and Labour for changing his mind on this bill. I think it is an encouraging sign and we hope that the government will change its mind on other bills that it has before this House.

[Page 1416]

Again, I commend the government for calling this bill and the member for Digby-Annapolis for raising it and for the Leader of the Official Opposition for championing it. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, it gives me pleasure to rise today just to say a few words about Bill No. 72 which is the Retail Business Holiday Closing Act. It's a great pleasure to see this bill come forward here today for second reading and to move through and become law before this Christmas season arrives. It has been a great concern, at every holiday, since the change in the laws over a year ago. When the law was changed to allow Sunday shopping, we left a huge void, really a lot of confusion and a legal void in terms of what should or shouldn't be the case for holiday closings. The workers have been the ones most directly affected, without a doubt. Thousands of Nova Scotians work in the retail sector and they have had very little certainty about their own holidays from one day to the next. The fact that each store made its own decision left a lot of confusion.

Mr. Speaker, on Canada Day, I was interested to see that I had spent that in Queens County and the stores were closed there at that time, but here in the city they were open. So even from one community to the next, there was a different response to what would be the right decision about closing on official holidays and on a few of the other traditional holidays that we have previously enjoyed.

I think it's very important that we've taken this step to just clarify the situation for everyone. There have been some retail owners who have shown leadership in this respect. In my riding of Halifax Clayton Park, the owner of the Canadian Tire Store has always signaled that the store should close on these holidays, to allow workers the time they need to both spend time with family and refresh themselves for work. No one should be expected to work every day of the year, Mr. Speaker, and it's just not fair to leave that uncertainty with the workers.

I think it's a wonderful thing that we've actually got this bill moving forward. I also want to thank the government for choosing to move this one along. I think it is essential and it is the right thing to do and I very much commend them for choosing to take that stand and to allow this to become law. As well, I would like to thank the Leader of the Liberal Party for his work in seeing that this did receive the attention that it deserves in our province.

There are literally thousands of people, as I say, in my riding and in others - many of them here in metro - who have been very unhappy about this. Mr. Speaker, we've talked about people approaching us and e-mailing us and so on. I think it's probably something that all of us in the Legislature have heard, about this issue, directly from the people concerned, and it has made a huge impact, I'm sure, on each and every one of us when we hear the

[Page 1417]

stories of what this means to their lives. Perhaps they are unable to travel to be with family because of the need to stay close to work, because they have only a single day off. Perhaps they won't be able to share that day with their family and friends.

It is a very personal face to what should never have happened, really. It should never have been left to chance. But I've also heard from others who are not in the retail industry and they feel just as strongly when they've stopped and asked people in the stores where they shop, what is happening at Christmas. They've been very struck by the sadness of the workers, really. One woman e-mailed me and said that when she asked about Christmas, the person she spoke to responded by her eyes welling up with tears and she was that sad that to just even speak about, it brought her to tears. So, I think this has been a huge relief for many people and it is very much the right thing to do. I think that to see a common response to holidays across the province is going to make this province a much better place to live, a better place to do business, a better place for all of us. I think it is a proper thing and I thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

MR. TREVOR ZINCK: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It gives me great pleasure to rise on this bill before the House today. Due to the fact that in my past as a retail worker, as a retail manager - I can honestly say that when the Premier's announcement about Sunday shopping came down and the restriction of the cutbacks and the statutory holidays, I know that I was contacted by several people who had worked for me, who I had worked with throughout my community in the retail sector, who said, you have to voice our concerns here, these are rights that we should have, we should have time with our family.

I want to follow in the words of my colleague from Halifax Needham in saying that it's not important whose this bill is - it's not important that it's an NDP or a Liberal Bill. It's important that the government has seen fit to change its mind and give the people back their rights to have time for themselves. This is, indeed, a bill for the people, the people of Nova Scotia, especially in the retail sector.

Mr. Speaker, I also want to follow up on the words of my colleague from Halifax Needham in saying that I, too, when the announcement of Sunday shopping came out and the Remembrance Day statutory being the only one acknowledged, had followed a lot of the editorials that we had in the paper, and some of the comments that were made on the radio and in the media regarding the rights of the retail worker, and why they should have this right, and much to what my colleague had said, that yes our health care workers work, our ambulance workers work, you know, a lot of those individuals have a voice - they do have a union that represents them when there is an injustice, it can speak out for them.

The retail workers, Mr. Speaker, they don't have the opportunity to have someone speak out for them, but what they do - and if we all think about it - they serve the people of

[Page 1418]

this province. When we go into a gas station, we're greeted with a friendly smile and we're given service; when we go into our local big-box Wal-Mart stores, or our Home Depots, we are served by individuals who have our utmost concerns at their disposal and they want to really see us benefit from the experience that we expect. And, for that one reason, when I hear someone say they shouldn't have that right, that they chose that opportunity, they chose that career path, well I say to that individual the next time you're in a lineup and you see how that young person or that senior is dealing with an individual in a retail shop, you see the smile on their face and how they serve that customer and greet them, you should acknowledge that and respect it, because all too often in this province we don't acknowledge the good things that happen.

I can tell you that I have had many young people and many seniors who have worked for me, as a manager, who made my job much, much easier to deal with because I knew that they wanted to serve our customers and they deserve this right. I want to speak of my past as well in the small business sector, Mr. Speaker. I had been involved in the operation of several small convenience stores where I worked 365 days a year. In one particular business I operated in the Spryfield area, I worked 110 hours a week in that little business. Now, when I told my community I was going to open up on Christmas Day, my community said you don't have to do that, Trevor, take some time off with your family. I wanted to serve the people in my community. What my community came back to me and did was they brought me meals; they brought me gifts. The children of that community brought me gifts and they acknowledged and thanked me for giving them representation and service to their community.

Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, in the retail sector all too often the retail workers don't have that. Like I said, when you're standing in a lineup, chances are you're in a rush and you're not really appreciating what that individual is going through. So when we take away their rights to have a uniform day off that we've always acknowledged, be it Thanksgiving, Remembrance Day, or Christmas - and I can tell you that those individuals whom I managed in my previous career, I used to go around and ask them and have them volunteer for Christmas and Boxing Day because I knew my company wanted to stay open and they wanted to make that profit. And I understand that, but we gave them the option, but that doesn't happen everywhere.

Those days, and what Nova Scotians I believe have gotten away from is that family unit, that time that we actually spend with our families. What greater time to do that than Christmas when there are so many individuals who find themselves alone or find themselves at a great distance away from their families? But if they had that extra time, they could travel. The day after Christmas, when I grew up, Mr. Speaker - and I'm still pretty young - but I remember fondly the day after Christmas was spent travelling down to Peggy's Cove and the West Dover area where I visited with ten relatives, and my grandmother used to put on a big dinner. But I wouldn't have been able to do that if that right was taken away from me because I worked in the retail sector.

[Page 1419]

So I want to support this bill. I'm pleased that it was brought forward and, like I said, Mr. Speaker, this is not a bill that is designed for any one Party. This is a bill that is designed and a government that has finally acknowledged and changed its mind, rightfully so, for the people of this province. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel on an introduction.

MR. LEONARD PREYRA: Mr. Speaker, I would like to acknowledge the presence in the east gallery of a number of squeegeers, and also members from the Halifax Coalition Against Poverty and other front-line groups advocating for street-involved youth. They're here to listen to the debate on Bill No. 94 and also parts of Bill No. 7. While I'm on my feet, I would like to thank them for their presence in the House and for their very constructive and respectful participation in the Law Amendments Committee, in particular. I would ask them to rise and receive the applause of the House for their participation. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Preston.

MR. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, it's with pleasure I stand to speak on this very positive bill today. We see in our communities so many retail workers who are working long hours and basically don't have time off with their families. There are so many families in that situation, that it's very, very difficult, especially when you're trying to raise a young family, a family that needs attention, especially on holidays, and it is really good to see. I want to give the Leader of our Party, Stephen McNeil, a lot of credit for bringing this forward, and thank the government for bringing it forward as well, and the Official Opposition for supporting it.

I think this is a win for everybody in the province. It's a win for the workers. One less day a retail store isn't open won't make very much difference to their bottom line, and we have to stop worrying about bottom line in these situations and do what's best for the people in our province.

It's also going to help the small convenience stores in our area that struggle all the time to make a living - that work 365 days a year - and give them an opportunity to help their business a little bit, and that will be very positive in the local communities. I know it will help in my community. We have several small convenience stores and we have no big box stores. It's very good to see this bill will help them some, too. On a holiday when everything else is closed, if you need a half gallon of milk or a loaf of bread, whatever the case may be, those people are always there, always so willing to help and support the community. It's good to see they will have, hopefully, more customers at that time when people need things in an emergency situation - and get to know these retailers who are there to really help the community.

[Page 1420]

It's very positive legislation. I'm pleased to see it's going to move forward. I look forward to the comments at the Law Amendments Committee, and hopefully it'll pass in this session, and quite quickly, to ensure this Christmas that there will be people who can have a holiday who wouldn't otherwise have had a holiday to be able to spend very important time with their family and enjoy the holiday, as most everyone else will. Thank you.

[3:15p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the Leader of the Liberal Party it will be to close the debate.

The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

MR. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to thank all members of the House for their comments surrounding Bill No. 72, and I look forward to going to the Law Amendments Committee and hearing from the community. With that, I move second reading.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 72. 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. 94.

Bill No. 94 - Poverty Reduction Working Group Act.

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

MR. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise and say a few words and begin debate on Bill No. 94, an Act to Establish a Poverty Reduction Working Group in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, as you are aware, since being a member of this House, this is an issue that has been very near and dear to me. It's one I've spoken about across this province, not only in this House. It's one I've wanted to keep on the radar of the Government of the Province of Nova Scotia to ensure that the people living in poverty in Nova Scotia feel there's somebody working on their behalf and having a voice to deal with this issue. I think it is the largest social issue facing our province today and it is one, as a province, we can no longer ignore.

[Page 1421]

We need to put together strategies around how we are going to cope with the issue of poverty and how we are going to allow Nova Scotians to move forward, begin to move out of a life of poverty and begin to move forward. When you consider that one in five children in this province are living in poverty - a statistic that has stuck with me has been that there are 11,400 children of a working parent who are living in poverty in the Province of Nova Scotia, Mr. Speaker. That is 11,400 children of a working parent. Over 40,000 children in the Province of Nova Scotia living in poverty and it is time, quite frankly, that we put together a strategy, collectively, on how we are going to move forward to make sure that those children have an opportunity to reach their full potential to be able to help grow the Province of Nova Scotia.

One of the real challenges has been, since the very beginning of talking about this issue, that whenever we talk about the issue of poverty, inadvertently, we always end up back at the desk of the Minister of Community Services. It has been something that has been a frustration to me and I am sure it is a frustration to the minister because this is just not an issue that should be focused in the Department of Community Services. It is one where we should be tearing down the silos inside government in reaching across many departments, bringing together the experts in each of those departments to be able to build that comprehensive strategy that we know we need in order to deal with this issue.

In the province, we are very fortunate to have many front-line people who are dealing with this issue on a day-to-day basis, who want to participate, who want to find a solution. Who want to be a partner with government to be able to solve this problem, to be able to lay out a strategy and a framework on how we are going to move into the future over the next number of years.

Oftentimes, Mr. Speaker, in this House and other places, people look at the business community as being someone who is trying to keep wages low, trying all the things that they can do to hit the bottom line but there is a real desire in the business community in the Province of Nova Scotia to deal with the issue of poverty. You can ask and you can go to different community organizations, different community groups, and they have bridged that gap between themselves and the business community who are working in tandem to build a sustainable program inside of individual communities to help alleviate the issue of poverty. What we need to do, we need to then reach out and make sure we have that strategy from one end of this province to the other so that Nova Scotians see a clear path on where we are going with the issue of poverty.

I know in conversations that I have had over the last number of months with the Minister of Community Services, that there is a desire in her department for us to move forward but it is also important that we recognize that recommendations cannot be made to government to sit on a shelf. Part of this piece of legislation is about building a working group which will take those recommendations and move them beyond that to make sure they are implemented. I know the desire is in the department and in the minister to make that

[Page 1422]

happen and I am hoping that the desire goes across the government benches to make sure that we can implement a program around the poverty reduction strategy working group, Mr. Speaker.

I want to speak about an issue that is dealing with the issue of poverty and was mentioned by the member for Halifax Citadel, who introduced people in the gallery dealing with squeegee kids. The issue that was brought before us in a separate bill, Mr. Speaker. It leads to the real reason why I believe there needs to be poverty reduction strategy. Quite frankly, it was tough, on my part, to make the decision that we did as a caucus, about what we believe, squeegee kids stay and it has to stop. It's about the issue of safety for me. I am not prepared to compromise the safety of a Nova Scotian just because they are poor. I am here today, and I have been here all along fighting this issue, and we, as a caucus, have fought this issue. I challenged the government and I continue to challenge the government to make sure that those programs are in place to ensure that those kids do not have to be at the intersections in downtown Halifax cleaning windows.

But for me, I want to be put on the record, this is about safety. As much as I am going to fight, and continue to fight, for the issue of poverty and the minister knows that I will do that and continue to do that in reminder of this, I am not going to compromise the safety of Nova Scotians because I don't believe that is the issue of this bill. This bill is about building a poverty reduction strategy. The other bill, quite frankly, is not about poverty, it's about safety for Nova Scotians. During the debate, we get confused sometimes, but we as a caucus have made that decision and I want to say to the minister, it is all the more reason, in the debate that was going on in Bill No. 7, it's all the more reason why we need to act quickly, we need to move forward and we need to build those strategies to make sure that we have in place that safety net that needs to be in the Province of Nova Scotia to deal with those children who need our support who are the most vulnerable, quite frankly, in our society, we need to make that happen.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I look forward to hearing the comments of the minister and other members of the House as we move forward in debate on this bill.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Community Services.

HON. JUDY STREATCH: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm certainly pleased to rise and participate in the debate on Bill No. 94, calling for the creation of a poverty reduction strategy working group. I know that the issue of poverty is more than a topic for the Leader of the Party and his Private Member's Bill reflects that. It reflects his intent to move this issue beyond debate and to put this issue into action, and I agree with my honourable colleague.

Mr. Speaker, I also want to recognize that the Leader of the Liberal Party has consistently been very passionate in his debate, in his moving forward the issue of poverty

[Page 1423]

reduction in this province. He referred to it in his response to the Throne Speech, indeed, I believe it was a key component to his leadership success speech, so I know that this isn't something that he or his caucus came up with overnight. Certainly I commend him for continuing to push forward as passionately as he has.

Mr. Speaker, I've said it before and I'll say it again, poverty is a community-wide problem and it requires a community-wide solution. Addressing poverty is not only government's responsibility, it's not a single department's responsibility as my honourable colleague alluded to. I know my colleague, the Minister of Environment and Labour, will have a few words to say as well because, indeed, we do recognize, on this side of the House, that it is a collective and not simply a single department's responsibility.

Mr. Speaker, nor is it up to the churches to go it alone, nor is it up to the businesses to go it alone. We certainly cannot expect that the advocates will continue to shoulder the entire burden on their own. Together, collectively, we all need to play a part in finding a solution.

So good work is being done in Nova Scotia by many sectors of society. Individuals and groups are chipping away at poverty, but the only way we can truly crush it, the only way we can truly defeat it, is to come together, combine our strengths and tackle it as a team, as a collective. That's why we've gathered together the relevant research done already by different organizations, many members of this House and we've begun a series of consultations with interest groups and, indeed, the wider public.

Mr. Speaker, that's also why we, on the government side of the House, will be supporting the establishment of a poverty reduction strategy working group, as proposed by the honourable Leader of the Liberal Party. We see it as another way to ensure public input into our poverty reduction strategy and strengthen the relationships that are necessary if we are going to truly address poverty in Nova Scotia. It is only through the strength of those relationships that we truly will have success collectively.

So, Mr. Speaker, we have to break down any communication barriers between government, poverty stakeholders and advocates. This is the first step in doing that and, indeed, our first round of consultations allowed for frank discussions and honest discourse on this challenging issue.

We know there are challenges, Mr. Speaker, we recognize that. We will continue along that path with the working group. I made the comment yesterday when asked about this bill and I welcomed the concept that perhaps this bill would keep the government's feet to the fire and I repeat that here today, in this House, because that is, indeed, what we certainly intend to do.

[Page 1424]

We need to keep moving, Mr. Speaker, we need to come up with long-term solutions. We also believe this process will help us cement our long-term relationships. I want to thank the honourable Leader of the Liberal Party for bringing this bill forward and certainly I want to commit the support of all members on this side of the House, as a collective, as we move forward to tackle this very important, complex issue, that we recognize needs to be a priority and is a priority for all members of this House. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MS. MARILYN MORE: Mr. Speaker, before I start, could I make an introduction?

MR. SPEAKER: Please do.

MS. MORE: I just want to recognize, in the west gallery, a couple of people who have been instrumental in informing, I would say, all members of this Legislature. We have Darcy Harvey who's here representing, I believe, the Coalition on Homelessness. Earlier we had Renee Ross, who now is executive director of Stepping Stone, but actually, perhaps, in relation to this issue is very well known as the researcher and writer of the Struggling to Survive report and updates, she did a number of consultations around the province, and also Amy Moonshadow whom I believe is with the Community Advocates Network. These are just typical of the hundreds, if not thousands, of Nova Scotians who are working on these issues every single day and have been for many, many years.

[3:30 p.m.]

In fact, I was somewhat amused by earlier discussions on Bill No. 94 because it was almost like a reinvention of history. So I actually went back to check some of the facts. My memory was not mistaken. In fact, the original idea, in most recent years, for a provincial strategy on reducing poverty, actually came from the NDP caucus. I would like to mention that I've been involved with this Party, the NDP, for many, many years, and reducing poverty has been an issue as long as I can remember within this Party. So I just think, for the sake of fairness and accuracy and also future collaboration, we have to recognize that no one Party can claim to be the instigator or the developer of this issue.

In fact, I just want to remind people that the Standing Committee on Community Services, as everybody knows, in 2006-07 had two separate forums on poverty. These were eye-openers, I think, for a lot of us because although we had been exposed to some of the impact on Nova Scotian families, of inadequate income across this province, I don't think within a one- or two-day period we had heard so many heart-rending stories, facts and statistics about this issue. Believe me, every single person who was in that room, those presenting and those listening, were forever changed by the stories that they heard during those two forums.

[Page 1425]

I remember, in particular, the first one we had, it stretched over two full days in the Red Room. The afternoon of the second day, which was actually Friday, January 13, 2006, the Standing Committee on Community Services sort of reconvened, trying to decide what approach they would use to handle the numerous suggestions and recommendations that had come forth. In fact, later I had a chance to listen and I believe there were over 75 different suggestions and recommendations made by the various groups that had presented to us. As you can imagine, we were somewhat overwhelmed with the amount of information made available.

So I remember, actually in the afternoon, as chair of that standing committee, suggesting to the committee that we might look at this in terms of putting forward some recommendations for the short-term, for immediate action. We wanted to have some impact on that year's budget also, in the medium term and in the long term. During my discussion of possible long-term strategies, I brought up the idea of developing a provincial strategy using both the information that we had collected from all these organizations, agencies and individuals who had been involved in this work for many, many years, but also putting together representatives from all three Parties, because we recognized at that point that this issue doesn't belong to any political Party, it belongs to Nova Scotians.

As the representatives here in the Legislature, I think we have an opportunity to take away some of the emotionalism around the ownership of this issue and various strategies and try to work in collaboration, because I believe that Nova Scotians believe that collective effort on all our parts.

So I would like to suggest that we be a little careful about who claims that they brought in certain initiatives and that we recognize that we have a responsibility to all Nova Scotians to move this forward. I would like to state that certainly, the NDP will support this bill. It represents an idea and kind of work that we have been doing for generations and, of course, we are going to support it. That is not to say, though, that it couldn't be improved.

I think there is a danger in listing the number of organizations and who they specifically are to work on the task force, because poverty, inadequate income, impacts on women more than men in this province. That has been proven time and time over again. I think there needs to be something in this legislation that actually suggests that if there is not gender parity, we could actually go for an ideal situation in that there be more women on this committee, representing various groups, than men, because we are more severely impacted by a lot of the situations and issues and lack of public policy on some of this.

Also, there are other very obvious missing groups, immigrants. I know that we had very good presentations from Affordable Energy Coalition, so I think we have to rethink whether or not this list is inclusive. I also would like to suggest that we have representatives there from all political Parties in Nova Scotia. I think this is a way for all of us to take ownership of the problem, all of us to be motivated to move forward with the

[Page 1426]

recommendations, no matter under whose watch the report happens to come in. This is just too important to politicize it and I really feel that if we had some representatives there from all political Parties, it would ensure that we each have a stake in implementing the recommendations.

I also want to pay some credit to a number of movements that I think have led us to this point in Nova Scotia. Those include the healthy communities movement and also the community social development movement in Nova Scotia. These include a lot of individuals, activists, agencies and community-based organizations that have been working on related issues. I think that's one of the reasons we actually need a strategy, because poverty is not just about income levels. I think previous speakers have mentioned, it just doesn't belong to one particular department. This issue actually touches on absolutely every single department in this province and also on all levels of government, including school boards. So this is going to be a major change in perspective, a major change in priorities, a major change in planning if we continue with it, and I certainly hope we do.

So I am pleased to see that we seem to have a consensus that we need to move forward on this. There are a lot of vulnerable children, women and men in this province who will benefit and we will all win. This is one of the pieces of legislation that creates a win/win for everyone, because the more secure that citizens are in terms of their health, their income, their education and their opportunities, the better the economy, the better the quality of life for everyone in this province.

This certainly, to me, is a healthier and more productive route to take than focusing on the symptoms and the problems that happen after people fall through the cracks of the social security network and system. So this is proactive in that it is looking at some of the root causes of a lot of the problems that we talk about every day in this Legislature. We need to get back and secure the basics of life for all Nova Scotians. So I'm very pleased to have this opportunity to speak on Bill No. 94 and I certainly wish it success and I hope that we can actually improve it so that it is even more effective in its outcomes. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Again it is a privilege to be able to rise and speak on Bill No. 94, the Poverty Reduction Working Group Act. I again want to take the opportunity to commend the Leader of the Liberal Party, the honourable member for Annapolis, for having brought this to the forefront and, as I've said before and after listening to the speaker from the Official Opposition, it is one thing to say that you've been pushing and pushing for an issue, it's another thing to be getting results.

Today this bill is getting results and it is taking action, rather than simply speaking about it, it's actually getting something done. I want to commend our Leader for bringing it forward and commend the government for recognizing that so that we can work together

[Page 1427]

in this minority Legislature to get results done for the people of Nova Scotia, and in this bill, for those who need it most.

It is interesting, Mr. Speaker, in one sense I listened to the previous speaker say that no one Party can claim jurisdiction to speaking of poverty, yet she went on to say it's our Party that is the one who speak for poverty. How interesting, Mr. Speaker. I agreed with her when she first said no one Party should claim that; I disagreed certainly with her second statement. But again, this was an opportunity during this Fall session to put this issue at the forefront, again not just speak about it but actually get something done. Getting this bill passed sends a strong message to the government and a strong message to Nova Scotians that we are seeking results.

I am pleased with the message that has been given by the Minister of Community Services in recognizing the fact that not only do we want to see results, but that this bill will help hold her accountable and hold her staff accountable for making sure that results are being achieved here in this province. Poverty is an issue that affects us all.

Mr. Speaker, in many ways when we come here to the city we can see the faces of poverty but let us not for one minute think that poverty does not exist in each and every one of our ridings throughout the Province of Nova Scotia. Poverty has many different faces, some that you may see on the streets but many who are in their homes but are still living in conditions which can be described in no other way but through the term poverty.

So, Mr. Speaker, I think that this is a very important piece of legislation and again, it's the results which we are all going to be looking for. I think all Nova Scotians appreciate the quality of life which we enjoy but, at the same time, we are very saddened to see that certain members of our society are not enjoying the same rights and privilege and benefits which we enjoy. That's what makes Nova Scotia what it is, that we reach out and try to find solutions to how we can help those most in need, to enjoy everything that we like about Nova Scotia and enjoy a better quality of life.

There are very different reasons why people may not be enjoying that same level of success and that's why we must work together, as all parliamentarians, and certainly throughout government, through all of its different departments, to try to seek solutions to those very problems.

Monsieur le président me permetrait de prendre quelques minutes pour faire des remarque sur le project de loi 94. Il n'y a pas longtemps au début du mois de novembre que moi-même, comme Chargé de Mission de la Région Amérique de l'Assemblée Parlementaire Francophone, et le member de Claire, de notre caucus, a eu l'occasion de visiter le pays de Haiti. On a arrivé au Port-au-Prince et on a eu l'occasion de rencontrer avec les parlementaires de ce pays. C'est vrai qu'on a la pauvreté içi à la Nouvelle-Ecosse mais nous ne connaisser pas la pauvreté comme ils connaissent dans ce pays. C'est un pays de 9 million

[Page 1428]

personnes, quand on regarde la grandeur du pays c'est plus petit de Cap Breton mais il y a 9 million. Il y a juste 3 pourcent de leur forêt qui demeure dans ce pays.

Il y a beaucoup de problèmes. Les ressources naturelles ne sont pas là et on trouve dans les villes beaucoups d'enfants 3:43

on trouve dans les villes beaucoup d'enfants ou les parents ont les abandonnés et qui marche les rues. Nous avons eu des examples des situations qui font face les jeunes enfants et jeunes garçons qui sont très troublante. Je pense que c'était une expérience pour moi même et aussi pour mon collègue, le deputé de Claire, de reconnaître lavraie face du pauvreté et de travailler ensemble quand on retourne içi au Canada et à la Nouvelle-Écosse de qu'est-ce qu'on peut trouver comme solution pour le peuple en Haiti et en même temps de faire certains que jamais la journée soit içi à la Nouvelle-Écosse ou nous allons voir la pauvreté comme qu'il fait face maintenant à ce pays, Haiti.

Monsieur le président vous allons rappeller que nous avons eu l'occasion d'aller visiter l'École de Musique àCité Soleil, une école qui a était crée pour les enfants de Cité Soleil. Pour ceux qui ne connaisse pas Cité Soleil, c'était une des villes au Haiti qu'il a eu des problèmes domestiques - les derniers quelques années il y avait plus de violence. Aujourd'hui, parce-que la situation est beaucoup mieux, il y a des responsables qui ont decidé pourquoi pas faire une école de musique pour les enfants? Si les enfants de dix à onze ans sont capables de tiendre un fusil à main, pourquoi pas leur apprendre comment tiendre un instrument de musique? Je peux vous dire qu'on était très content quand on a eu l'occasion de les visiter. On est arriver là et on était donnait l'information que c'était l'ambassade de Canada au Haiti qui avait payée pour les instruments de musique pour ses enfants. Quel bonheur que c'était pour nous lorsque nous sommes arrivés que les jeunes ont joué l'hyme national du Haiti suivi par l'hyme national de Canada et de savoir le rôle Canada a joué pour ces enfants et pour le futur de ces enfants.

Monsieur le président nous avons aussi eu l'occasion d'aller voir l'école des jeunes garçons, les garçons de la rue, les garçons qui ont laissé le paysage pour venir en ville parce-qu'il y avait rien pour eu avec leur famille. Ils se trouvait dans les rues de Haiti avec aucun espoir, aucun travail, aucun métier. De savoir que cette école était crée par un curé catholique. On se rappel il était quatre-vingt ans et c'était lui qui a crée l'école pour ses enfants. Là on a appris que c'était l'ambassade de Canada qui était responsable pour payer les frais pour ces enfants, les enfants maintenant qui vont avoir une éducation, qui vont avoir un métier, qui vont avoir un futur qu'il n'avait pas pour commencer.

Finalement nous avons aussi eu l'occasion d'aller voir une école speciale pour les enfants du Sida. C'était soit des enfants infecté ou affecté par le Sida, qui veut dire que peut-être ils avaient la maladie eu même ou qu'ils avaient perdu leur parents à cause du maladie de Sida. Encore, c'était une école qui a était crée avec les subventions de l'ambassade de Canada et du peuple canadien. Je peux vous dire que j'était très fière d'être canadien, de

[Page 1429]

savoir que nous sommes entrain de travaillé avec le peuple haitien pour trouver un meilleur futur et un meilleur espoir pour leur population et certainement pour leur jeunes. Alors je veux prendre cet occasion de vous dire içi à l'assemblée que pour moi c'était très touchant de voir la pauvreté mais en même temps ça ma donner le courage et la determination de faire certains que jamais on aura la journée içi à la Nouvelle-Écosse que nous aurons ce niveau de pauvreté.

Au même temps il faut reconnaître que nous avons la pauvreté içi dans la Nouvelle-Écosse par un différent face. Ca existe chez nous dans mon coin, ca existe dans votre coin, ca existe partout à travers de la province. Nous avons beaucoup de nos gens d'âge d'or qui sont maintenant sur des pensions qu'il va faire neuf, dix, onze mille dollars par année. Imagine d'avoir une maison, un loger, un camion et être capable de vivre aujourd'hui sur neuf, dix, onze mille pièce. Ils viennent souvent à mon bureau et ils me demande, est-ce que tu peut vivre sur ça? Je pense pas que je pourrais passé une semaine ou deux semaines, non, pas un mois.

[3:45 p.m.]

Alors la pauvreté existe partout dans notre province, il faut se rappeler de cela. Il y a un rôle pour le gouvernement fédéral à jouer dans ça et un gros rôle pour le gouvernement provincial pour jouer dans ce dossier au même temps. Alors oui il y a la pauvreté dans la ville, oui il y a la pauvreté dans le jeunesse, mais il y a la pauvreté dans les gens de Nouvelle-Ecosse de tout les âges et dans tout les coins de notre province. Pour faire certains que nous oublions jamerais ça. Quand ont parlent aujourd'hui à ce projet de loi, laquelle de les groupes qu'il doit faire parti? À la fin de la journée nous pourrions avoir cent groupes impliquer dans ce project de loi. À la fin de la journée quand on regarde à les groupes des églises, des groupes de services, dans tout les coins, il pourrait tous jouer un rôle dans ce project de loi et il n'y aura pas de fin. À la fin de la journée nous voulons pas créer un groupe qui est trop gros et qui ne peut pas identifier les questions qui font face à la pauvreté içi à la Nouvelle-Ecosse. Encore je veux féliciter notre Chef du parti Libéral pour proposer ce project de loi, je félicite la ministre des Services Communautaires, le Premier ministre pour reconnaître l'importance de la pauvreté içi à la Nouvelle-Ecosse et le fait que, comme dit le ministre de Services Communautaires depuis son élection comme député et comme le Chef de notre parti, le membre d'Annapolis, a toujours parlaient du sujet de la pauvreté içi à la Nouvelle-Écosse. Il en a parlé quand il a presenté pour la Chef de notre parti, après qu'il a gagné et depuis ça et a fait la promesse comme Chef de parti Libéral qu'il allait addresser la question de pauvreté, qu'il allait presenter des solutions içi à l'assemblée législative et aujourd'hui nous voyons les résultats. Pour ça je le félicite et à la fin de la journée, même si ce project de loi est adopté, il faut faire certains qu'il y a des résultats à la fin.

Aujourd'hui nous avons eu une présentation par la Société de Cancer qui ont parlé des différents taux de cancer qui sont baissé. J'attend la journée ou la ministre de Services Communautaires, le Premier ministre et le gouvernement peuvent ce mettre debout içi à

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l'assemblée et nous parler du montant de pauvreté qui est redruit içi à la province de la Nouvelle-Écosse. Je pense que ce projet de loi est un bon début pour accomplir cela dans notre province. Merçi.

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

HON. MARK PARENT: Mr. Speaker, I, too, want to rise and speak on behalf of Bill No. 94, an Act to Establish a Poverty Reduction Strategy Working Group in Nova Scotia.

I notice the recent CTV poll that came out today highlighted the fact that the two main concerns of Canadians are climate change and the growing gap between rich and poor. I've always known that Canadians are generous people who are concerned about larger social issues and particularly about creating a society that has a strong level of income for all people and creates a society where all people can enjoy the benefits of being part of this great country.

It's interesting to me, and somewhat sad, that our neighbours to the South have allowed their economy to develop to the place where, amongst the industrialized countries in the world, they have the greatest gap. I was reading a biography on John Kenneth Galbraith, that great Canadian economist who moved to the States and was the advisor to many presidents, taught at Harvard. Interestingly, in that biography, the gap that started to occur in the States, that moved them to the bottom of the pack amongst the industrialized countries, began under Jimmy Carter, which surprised me, since I've always been quite a fan of him with regard to his approach to Latin American relationships.

In Nova Scotia, I was quite pleased to see that gap has reversed. Nova Scotia has made great gains and this will be highlighted in a report that will be coming out by the Genuine Progress Index people , Ron Coleman's group, and it was highlighted at the Power of Green Conference that the gap in Nova Scotia has gotten less and that we've made great strides in this province and so I was pleased that we've done that.

The member opposite talked about his experience in Haiti, the poorest country. The second poorest country is Bolivia, where I grew up, and I often refer to it and the member for Timberlea-Prospect likes to tease me about talking about Bolivia, but when you grow up in a country with that poverty, you're marked by the fact that you don't want it to happen in your own society. So I'm delighted that this bill will augment efforts that the government has already taken on poverty reduction, a program launched by my colleague along with some assistance by myself.

She alluded to the fact that in a globalized society such as ours, with a small province that has been dependent upon traditional industries, that these are great challenges for us to undertake and the only way we can deal, in any effective way, with poverty is to do so in a

[Page 1431]

collaborative fashion with all the departments of government working together and working with Opposition members as well and also reaching out to groups across this province.

The honourable minister and I had the opportunity to launch a consultative forum in Truro which covered two days from groups across the province that put their collective thinking caps on. Using material that had already been arrived at, through the Standing Committee on Community Affairs that I have the privilege of co-chairing along with the member opposite who is the chairman and who did a lot of work as well. So this two-day consultation used all that and was able to put it together and to begin the process of moving even further to alleviate poverty in this province. So I am pleased to be a part of that.

Mr. Speaker, it was a very proud moment for me when I sat with the Minister of Health and the Minister of Community Services and the Premier launched or spoke about a social prosperity framework for this province. The understanding was there that economic prosperity without social prosperity was an uneven, unbalanced society and we wanted all people to benefit from the economic prosperity that we have seen happen in our province and that we intend to continue to support. The graphic that they had of all these various factors weaving together to produce a strong Nova Scotia in which all Nova Scotians would benefit was a moving graphic and a moving commitment to holding up not only economic prosperity, which we are very proud of, but social prosperity as well. The commitment of government was made at the very highest level when the Premier spoke at that meeting which was composed of high-ranking officials from across the government coming together.

So we have had a wonderful sense of cooperation among the Civil Service, from the very highest level. We have worked with community groups across the province that came together in Truro and under the strong leadership of my colleague, we are very excited about the things that are going to be happening. So this bill adds to the work that has been done with a group.

I do want to inform the member opposite, the member for Dartmouth South-Portland Valley, I believe that the list of people on this is not an exclusive list. The bill simply states that these people should be on but the minister, in her discretion, can certainly add others, if so needed, to help on moving this poverty strategy forward. Because, as speakers have said, and I will close with this, Mr. Speaker, we in the government are not interested in words for words' sake. We are interested in action. We want to not just talk the talk, we want to walk the walk. So anything that will help government do that on behalf of all Nova Scotians is something that we intend to support. So we are pleased to support Bill No. 94.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

MR. TREVOR ZINCK: Mr. Speaker, I, too, am very pleased today to rise in my place to discuss an all too important issue. Some of the very issues that surround poverty that we discussed today and in the last few sessions in this House, have been issues that we

[Page 1432]

discussed, that all Opposition Parties brought to the forefront and presented to government over the last number of years. Today we are in the position, finally, where all Parties and all MLAs that sit in this House recognize the need, the necessity, to address the real issues and causes of poverty that affect Nova Scotians. As the Minister of Environment and Labour had stated, there is a gap. What he stated was that it is closing. However, I think what we have done is created that new working poor family in this province because of the gap and disparity.

Mr. Speaker, poverty in this country, in a country of such great wealth is absolutely amazing. We have been criticized by the United Nations for the conditions that some of our children across this country are living in and across this country for what some of our citizens are experiencing. I pay great heed to that message by the United Nations. When other nations from around this world can look at us, we should be leaders in something that affects so many people across this country, not just in this province. I think it's important to state that. I am pleased, and again I believe that this piece of legislation is a bill that represents all people of this province. This is a bill for the people, not of any Party, and I want to put that right up to the forefront.

I want to speak a little about the Throne Speech where the Premier had stated, early on in this session, when he talked about the economic development in our province and how it will lead people out of poverty. I agree with him on that, very much so, and I think it's important that it hasn't been made mention in this bill, it wasn't made mention in the government's strategy on youth, but we should really have that other Department of Economic Development in both of those strategies. I think it's very important because jobs will lead people out of that poverty and we've heard the Minister of Environment and Labour speak to that as well, just as recently as now.

The other thing, Mr. Speaker, that I want to make perfectly clear is that not only do the silos have to be broken down and staff have to buy into this, I believe that any government that sits on that side of the House has to buy into the fact that poverty will always be an issue in some respect and that any government, of any stripe, that sits on that side of the House, must adhere to and improve upon any strategy that we put forth in the coming months and the coming years. I believe that is our responsibility.

[4:00 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, we've seen many great examples from all around the world, in Ireland - and I know the minister has had her department study that. We've had presentations come to this province in recent months, from individuals who have brought forth change in Newfoundland. Up east we have Quebec. You know, when I look at Quebec, I think of one of the things that people have always said about the Olympic Games and how long it took Quebec to pay down the Olympic Games. What we don't talk about is some of the best social programs that the Province of Quebec has, some of the best child care programs that Quebec

[Page 1433]

has, and they have done that and instituted that, all the while they were paying down that debt. They recognized that they wanted certain standards for their citizens to live.

Now, in a recent visit to Montreal this past summer, Mr. Speaker, I can tell you that they still today have work to do. There are still people sleeping in the parks in and around Old Montreal and they're trying to address that. They've come up with a little solution. They're going to open up the vacant meters and allow people in the surrounding communities to put money into those metres and that will go towards the poor, but when we can walk in our own country and in our own province and see people living on the street, this is why we are here.

We are here to help those who are weakest, those who are marginalized and, Mr. Speaker, I think that we are on to a good thing because finally, like the hot topic that the environment has become, poverty now has crossed over all borders. We can no longer tuck it away, no longer acknowledge it, it has moved into affluent communities. We've seen that with the rising rates in crime. I'm encouraged by the minister's comment regarding the local churches and charitable organizations and I know that there are changes coming with policy when we've asked individuals to go out and approach charities first. I know that's coming.

Mr. Speaker, I've stated many times that I assist at our local food bank. What we do at our local food bank though, is we have individuals who belong and volunteer there, who not only give out food to those in need, they help guide them through the system, help transfer them over into programs and get them set on the right paths so that maybe some day they can come back and volunteer. I encourage a collaborative effort and I would like to think that all Parties will participate in that process.

I do want to say that when this takes place, this bill goes through this House, that my next concern will be the concern as to how fast it gets proclaimed. To me, Mr. Speaker, that's saying a whole lot, because if history repeats itself, and as we've seen with many of the pieces of legislation that have gone through this House, there is delay in having things proclaimed. I stand here today and state to you that the NDP Party would love to see this implemented as fast as possible. Let's not waste time in delayed consultations and reports. We have organizations that have come to us over the years and presented us with things and processes that can be put in place today that can improve the lives of those who need it most in our province.

I would encourage the government to take those steps, to take those very ideas that we know and we acknowledge can be implemented today and have a great effect on people's lives, and continue on to that consultation. But this piece of legislation has to be proclaimed because if we stand here and we say that this is an important piece and we don't follow through, Mr. Speaker, what that says to the rest of Nova Scotians is that we truly don't care.

[Page 1434]

I want to end by saying one thing, maybe a word of advice, a word of criticism - and it is not a personal attack, but each and every one of us in this House who stands in their place or speaks to media knows full well that a consistent message must be sent to all Nova Scotians who are affected by every piece of legislation that comes through this House, comes before us, comes before you, Mr. Speaker. There must be a consistent message sent by all our leaders in our communities and especially at the provincial level. People will respect us for taking that stance, but if we merely change our minds on a whim, I think we are being dishonest to those individuals who really respect us for the job that we do here. Thank you.

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

MR. HAROLD THERIAULT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm pleased to stand here today, too, to speak on Bill No. 94, the Poverty Reduction Bill that was submitted by my colleague, the member for Annapolis. I'm glad he did submit this bill because I believe that the member for Annapolis, like myself, knows poverty - and probably a lot of us in this House may know poverty.

I believe to correct poverty you've got to know what poverty is. How can you correct something that you don't know what it is? My friend, the member for Annapolis, was brought up many years ago in a family of seventeen people and probably only enough potatoes in the pot to feed fifteen of them - so I'd say that's one little form of poverty. I had nine in my family, Mr. Speaker, not quite as many as my friend from Annapolis had, but there were nine children and some days there were only enough potatoes in the pot for seven or eight of us, so you wanted to get to the table when supper was called. I know a little bit about poverty and my friend who submitted this bill does, too.

So what is poverty? That's one little form - not enough food in the pot at night to eat. There are many different kinds of poverty; I think lack of education is a big problem in poverty. I haven't got a real high education in school, but when I was 15 years old I set out on the waters because I was taught that if you give a person a fish, you can feed him for a day; if you teach him to fish, you can feed him for life. And that goes into anything that you do - you can hand somebody a few bucks on the street, whether he is squeegeeing, whether he's just panhandling through the streets, and all you are doing is helping him maybe to get a little hungrier if it's not enough in his hand for the full meal.

These people, through no fault of their own, are in this position because maybe they never had a parent like I did to teach me how to catch those fish, to feed me for my life. So I do feel sorry for these people. This workshop that is put together to make this work, the poverty in this province, and there is a lot of poverty, I know there is, I see it everyday.

I'm not talking about panhandlers - I'm talking about people who live in shacks in my riding who are too proud to even tell you they're hungry. I know of seniors who are living on pensions who are too proud to ask for a little more help to help fill their oil barrels.

[Page 1435]

They're receiving government pensions - it's not quite enough to do it. There is all kinds of poverty out there. So, it's not just teaching our young people how to catch those fish to feed for life - we also have to take care of the older ones who maybe never had that chance.

With that, I know that this bill is a good bill and this bill can be worked on by the working group that's put together and hopefully it will be a good working group from around the province. I hope some of us who know poverty may be able to have input into that and I believe we could do great things. I think we can correct the problem of poverty in this province. I know and I was taught not only to fish, I was also taught that for every problem, there is a solution. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, it's my pleasure to join in the debate of Bill No. 94 this evening. I've had the opportunity to hear some of the submissions with respect to this bill already. I believe my colleagues have already indicated that we're going to be supporting the passage of this bill and look forward to the working group getting under way and composing, for the benefit of the province, recommendations with respect to a poverty reduction strategy.

I want to raise a couple of things I think have to be considered, maybe have been mentioned already and some which I'm sure have not and that is just exactly how the committee is going to be funded, whether or not it's going to have the ability to actually carry out its mandate, whether those resources are going to be handed to the committee so they can operate independently. Will they have the appropriate administrative facilities to be able to do the work? Will they have a research capacity? Where is that funding going to come from in order to make sure the working group actually has the wherewithal to do the very important job it's being asked to do?

Now, it may be those resources will be allocated departmentally, perhaps people will be seconded - I'm not sure what the government has in mind with respect to this. I notice the bill says there will be an appropriation of the funds that are required for the implementation of the bill. I don't know, frankly, at this point, whether or not that means they are expecting that the bill will not be fully implemented until the next budget year and therefore there would be an appropriation that would come in the Spring, through the budget, which would be used to facilitate the working of the group, or, whether or not, in the meantime, individual departments will have funds allocated in order to make sure that whatever resources are required to make the working group effective, will be allocated.

These are questions I raise because I don't know whether or not the members opposite have thought about them or whether or not this is to ensure there is an understanding that when we strike a committee like this, we ask them to do a job, that there

[Page 1436]

is an expectation and a requirement that they be properly resourced to do the job. Other than that, it handicaps the committee before they even get underway.

I want to talk for a second - I know that there are a lot of talk about poverty reduction as a societal goal and certainly it has become the lexicon of discussion in the public these days to talk about poverty reduction. I reflect back on the many years that I have been involved in various groups, Mr. Speaker, when I started out in law school, working at Dalhousie Legal Aid Clinic during the law school session. I was the resource person for the Victoria Road Tenants Association at the time. We worked to try to organize the tenants in Scotia Court and in the housing development in downtown Dartmouth in order to facilitate their ability to be able to stand up for some of the changes that were required with respect to their own living conditions.

Mr. Speaker, I am not going to take the time this evening because I want this bill to get fully through, but I can tell you that in the work that I did with those groups in those days, there were circumstances that people were living under and demands that were being made on people, which if we looked even this short time since then back on, we would be shocked to think that the government allowed these kinds of conditions to exist. I think unfortunately, if we were to canvas closely some of the current facilities that belong, we could find examples where we would not be happy with the standards that exist in some of those facilities.

[4:15 p.m.]

We have talked about poverty reduction but I don't want to lose sight of the fact that the discussion that we used to have, the language that we used to use, talked about breaking the cycle of poverty. We don't hear that as much anymore and I don't want it to get lost because we have to fundamentally be concerned with lifting people out of poverty. Allowing them to achieve, allowing them to break that cycle not only for themselves but for their families. So we can't lose sight of the fact that poverty is a very complex thing. It is as individual as the people who suffer in poverty. It is a result of individual circumstance, whether it is income or health, whether it is physical health or mental health. It is affected by things like education, by opportunity. It is a very complex subject that we speak on so we have to be prepared to understand that it is going to take a complex answer, that there are many things that are going to have to go into the mix, many things that are going to have to change in our society, including attitudes in order to truly break the cycle of poverty.

At this point, and I am not trying to be obstinate or controversial but, Mr. Speaker, soon, before this House, we will bring the bill with respect to amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act and I have to say that I am not satisfied that fining people who are homeless. Fining people who are on the street because of disabilities, who are there because of addictions. I do not believe that that is a poverty reduction strategy and I do not believe that this House ought to be supporting it. We have said this on numerous occasions and we tried

[Page 1437]

to get the Law Amendments Committee to make the appropriate changes to that particular bill. I know that the Speaker is soon going to say - talk on this bill and not on that bill- so we will get the opportunity, but in the context of this bill, I think we must be dissatisfied that this is a substitute, some kind of a substitute in the government's mind, for actually taking action with respect to these matters.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, I want to talk about what happens after the bill is passed and that is the question of implementation because all of us here have seen reports and recommendations and we have seen the product of the fine work that has been done on behalf of legislators here, on behalf of community groups. There have been many, many studies done and recommendations made that simply have not been implemented - and a bill without implementation is just words. So let's make sure that as we all stand up here tonight to support this bill and to talk about its importance that we not forget that in the end those recommendations have to be implemented.

So, Mr. Speaker, I want to thank you for the opportunity to join this debate tonight and I look forward to the passage of this bill. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Preston.

MR. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, this bill is very important to many people, and we all, as MLAs, see people in our offices who have particular problems with their financial affairs mainly because they haven't had the opportunity to get a good job or there has been some kind of illness in the family, or whatever the circumstances are, and it's important as legislators that we work towards eliminating poverty in our communities.

When you look at a lot of seniors - I have a lot of seniors in my area who years ago when there weren't pensions available, it really didn't enable them to get the income they need today to survive , and that has been a very, very serious problem and I've spoken about that in this Legislature many times. We've seen seniors who actually are looking after their homes and looking after themselves very well in almost impossible situations, but they're doing it very well, and those people I give a tremendous amount of credit to because they can manage money beyond anyone I have ever seen - and they deserve a lot of credit for doing that. If they had more money, they would be able to do more things and ensure that instead of making a decision this week whether they're going to buy oil to make sure they keep warm or to have food on the table, that decision wouldn't have to be made - and in this province that decision should never have to be made by anybody.

Unfortunately, that's the reality of where we are. We see a lot of difficulties in other countries and appeals for funds to go to other countries where there's severe poverty and situations. I feel we've got to do some more things here in our own country, to help here as well as other countries to ensure that we have people who have a good job if they're working age. If it's a single mother with a couple of children, that the system is put in place to ensure

[Page 1438]

that mother can either continue her education so she can get a well-paying job or have the daycare that she needs to go take training, whatever the situation may be - and every situation is different, every single person is different, and some people I've seen come into my office, they simply need a way to get to a job interview, and with some other help, some minor help, just minor things, they can get a job and look after themselves and look after their family.

I haven't talked to anyone who doesn't want to do that. You know there's always a view by some individuals that people who are on community services don't want to work. I've seen a lot of people in my office and a lot of people in our community who indeed do want to work, but if you don't give them the skills, the opportunity to get the skills and the education, there's no way they can ever get a job that will pay them enough so they can look after their family and themselves. These are good people. These aren't people who have had other problems. They're people who just didn't get the opportunity for an education, or their family situation at the time, maybe they had to go to work at a very early age and couldn't continue their education, whatever the situation was.

As I say, every individual is different. Every individual family is different and you see some of the things that go on in the community and see the benefits from it. There's one thing that I will praise the government for, the legislation they put forward to qualify tradespeople who have been working in the trade for years and years and have the practical knowledge but never got the document that says indeed you can do that work - and without that document it means that you can't join the union and get the highly paid, coveted jobs that that involves, or go to work at a business that's not union and get the top rate in their facility and the benefits that go with that, but they're working in maybe the same company with a lot less income, and it means that their family suffers and their family lives in poverty. We see so many families like that, who struggle every day to just do the basic things in life and that should not be the case here in Nova Scotia - it definitely should not be the case and we cannot tolerate it.

I want to thank our Leader, Stephen McNeil, he has been a leader on this right from the beginning and really, really positive approach to this whole situation as we move forward.

A lot of people say they're going to do things, I think this is very progressive legislation which will start us on the road. This is a long, hard road we're going to be on, but we have to be there, we have to be persistent, we have to continue to talk to the community and the people who are affected and see what they need, and work with them to ensure that those tools are in place, those opportunities are in place and all the things that are necessary to help a family do what they want to do and make sure that they can look after themselves, and also that their children have opportunities that perhaps they never had when they were growing up.

[Page 1439]

I know in my generation there were so many families that really pushed us to go to school, worked with us to ensure we had the things we needed to go to school. I'm sure that some days, in our families at that time, there were difficulties doing that, but the family always made that happen. I think we have to give our families in the past a lot of credit for what they did achieve with very little to work with.

Some of those people today are seniors and they still have very little to work with, but they live in pride, and they are doing incredibly good things with the small amount of income they do have. Those people need a lot of credit. We could learn from them. We need to learn from them in two ways, number one, how they managed their affairs, which I think is outstanding, and also learn from them not to make those mistakes again, and give the next generation opportunities to ensure that when they retire, or as they're working in their working life, they have enough income to look after their families and to make sure our province is a stronger place.

We have a better educated workforce here, people who aren't struggling every day, it means that our whole economy moves forward and we all win. That is the only way the province can move forward. So if you give somebody an education and a good job they deserve and they've worked hard to get, they will give you benefits back. I think we have to start doing that, and I think we need to do that one person, one family at a time, and very, very soon we will have the situation in place that we won't have to discuss this any more because we'll have the problem underway to get resolved long-term.

We'll never totally fix it, there's no way to ever totally fix it, but if we can eliminate most of the problem and get a plan in place to help people when people fall into that trap, and it can be for many reasons that could happen, that there's the support there for the families to move forward and get out of that cycle. With those few words, Mr. Speaker, I'll take my place. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I'm pleased to have an opportunity to rise in my place and make a few remarks on Bill No. 94. This is an Act to Establish a Poverty Reduction Strategy Working Group in Nova Scotia. The purpose of the Act is that a working group will be appointed to make recommendations concerning a strategy for the reduction of poverty in the province.

Mr. Speaker, to be honest with you, I have very mixed feelings about this bill. First of all let me be clear, I certainly support not only in principle, but the fulfillment of the terms of this legislation but, frankly, my support is tempered with some considerable frustration at the lack of action on many fronts, where we already have had lots of talk but very little action with respect to reducing poverty in the Province of Nova Scotia.

[Page 1440]

Maybe I feel a little jaded and cynical, because as a member of the social work profession and someone who has worked for many, many years with low-income families and people living in poverty and struggling to overcome the barriers and the challenges that they face as a result of living in poverty, I've seen many, many work groups come and go, many, many reports, fine reports developed and not implemented, or barely implemented, and I have always a fear that we just repeat the processes of the past and the problems of the past.

Mr. Speaker, as I was listening to the debate here today, I was thinking about the former Director of Social Planning for the old City of Halifax, Harold Crowell. Harold is well-known in the social planning community, not only in the Province of Nova Scotia but across the country, as somebody who, when he worked in the social planning department at City Hall, had a real passion for social development. He was an innovator. He did many things, out of that department, that had been untried in Nova Scotia. For example, the social planning department set up a unit where they purchased a Rent-A-Wreck franchise. They took people who were on social assistance with mechanical skills, they were employed fixing up cars and then renting the cars and providing a retail service in the community, and they supported and they assisted people from short-term poverty and being out of the labour force, back into the labour force with marketable skills.

[4:30 p.m.]

This was an initiative under, I think, a group called HRDA, a component of the social planning department that really attempted to make a difference in terms of moving people from short-term poverty, and maybe even longer term poverty, back on their feet and into the labour market and self-sufficiency.

Harold Crowell, when he was the Director of Social Planning, initiated a task force on poverty reduction for the City of Halifax. It was chaired by Dr. Fred Wien, a professor at the School of Social Work at Dalhousie, someone who I had the privilege of working for as a research assistant a number of years ago. All of these little work groups were set up to look at a variety of issues, including adult education and helping adults get their high school diplomas, and housing and homelessness. I remember the incredible coming together of all of these working groups to report back. Steven Lewis came to town, was the keynote speaker at a conference. It was a very exciting process and one - I think at the time I may have been working at the Dalhousie Legal Aid Clinic in the North End of Halifax. It was something that we really invested a lot of time into.

The unfortunate outcome of this really creative and intense process, however, was a report that really went nowhere, because the political will to implement the recommendations of all of these working groups simply did not exist. The mayor and the council, who received the report, weren't around long enough to implement the report, and the political will that supported the work of this initiative dissipated with the loss of those members in the political

[Page 1441]

arena. Mr. Speaker, that was certainly a frustrating experience for many of us who worked so hard on this initiative.

It causes me pause, you know, to think about how you build a process that then has to be carried through to action. This, I would suggest, is actually a weakness in the legislation that's in front of us. It talks about the players who should be involved. It talks about the government departments that should be consulted. But it does not hold accountable the implementation of any strategy or any recommendations that are developed. Frankly, without that piece being in the bill, this bill runs the very real possibility of a very interesting process being developed with some good recommendations that there's no requirement they be implemented, there's no time frame in which they would be implemented. Once again, it becomes kind of an exercise in theory without any impact and practice. That concerns me.

The member who introduced this bill, the member for Annapolis, introduced a bill previously in November 2006, Bill No. 74. I had an opportunity to look at and contrast Bill No. 74 with Bill No. 94 to try to get a sense of what the changes might be, if any, and to try to understand how this bill has developed. I would suggest there are some improvements in the bill that's been tabled, but also there seem to be some differences that I'm not quite understanding, that I would very much appreciate more information on.

In the previous bill the member for Annapolis introduced, there were other groups that were included for the working group that have been left off the list in this new bill. I want to make mention of those groups and I want to ask if we have an opportunity in the debate that maybe some explanation be given for why various groups were left out of the bill that's in front of us here.

Women's Centres CONNECT! are the women's centres across the province. The first bill introduced by the member for Annapolis had Women's Centres CONNECT! in it, but they've been left out of the second version. The United Way was listed in the first bill, it's been left off the second bill. The Nova Scotia Association of Social Workers was included in the first bill, it's been left out of the second bill. MISA, the Metropolitan Immigrants Settlement Association, were in the first bill, they're not here in the second bill. The Halifax Coalition Against Poverty was listed in the first bill, but they're not here in the second bill. The Affordable Energy Coalition was in the first bill, they're not here in the second bill. The Black Community Advocates Association and the Nova Scotia Government & General Employees Union were in the first bill and are not in the second bill as well as a community health board.

One of the things I have noticed in the second bill that was not in the first bill, which I think is very laudable, is that a group representing Aboriginal interests has been added to the second bill. It wasn't in the first bill and I think that's an important addition.

[Page 1442]

I think the groups, if I'm not mistaken, that are listed in Bill No. 94 are all the groups the government have had their first consultation meeting with that occurred several weeks ago, so I understand this is what is reflected. The Minister of Environment and Labour has said that it is not a final list, that the minister has the discretion to add in other groups. I would encourage, very much, the minister to consider the groups that were on the list of organizations' representatives to be consulted and included in the first Liberal bill, to be very much involved in the process. I think they bring very, very important and useful perspectives.

The Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union, for example, Mr. Speaker, as we well know, many, many of the front-line workers in the Department of Community Services, and child welfare and the income support office, are members of that union. It's difficult for workers to involve themselves in a consultation process, sometimes, where they want to be critical of government policy but they fear for any kind of discipline. We have seen child welfare workers come to this Legislature in the past, critical of government policy, and have disciplinary letters placed on their file. So to have, for example, the government employees union able to be represented in that process would be a very important process.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The chatter is getting a little high.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I know that my colleague, the member for Dartmouth South-Portland Valley made reference to the concern she had with respect to gender parity, or the participation of women in this process. I, too, share those concerns. The reality is that there are more women who either live in poverty or are responsible for the well-being of other people living in poverty than any other group in our society. Those perspectives really do need to be advanced, which is why I'm somewhat disappointed that the bill that we currently have in front of us doesn't have Women's Centres CONNECT! as part of the working group specifically outlined in the legislation.

As we all know, the women's centres across the province do a fantastic job, but not only do they do a fantastic job, they have developed a wealth of expertise with respect to single-parent families, low-income households, women who work but who continue to be poor, either single women or women with children or women in two-parent households who struggle. So I would really hate to see the perspective of the women's centres not represented, and I'm somewhat surprised that they've been left off the list.

The United Way, as well, Mr. Speaker, as we know, has a tremendously long history of working with community services organizations and charities across the province. They bring a wealth of expertise and experience and innovation in terms of outcomes and measurements. They've been doing some of the cutting-edge work in terms of outcome measurements of any of the community service-based organizations. It's a pity to not have them represented on the working group.

[Page 1443]

Mr. Speaker, as the member of the Official Opposition said when he spoke, the issue of poverty is a very complicated one. It's not easy to define what poverty is and there is so much disagreement about what the measurements actually should be. The Fraser Institute, for example, seems to promote a standard that if you're hungry, without a home, or without basic necessities, that should be our measurement and nothing more.

I remember a former Minister of Community Services one time in this province saying there were no hungry children in Nova Scotia, pretty much implying that there was no poverty in Nova Scotia. But, Mr. Speaker, this is one measurement of poverty that is considered absolutely poverty. You're absolutely poor if you have no food, if you have no home, if you're cold and you can't adequately clothe yourself. It's kind of a Third World standard.

[Page 1444]

[4:45 p.m.]

Now, Mr. Speaker, we live in one of the most wealthy countries on the planet. We're a member of the G-8 and I think we can do better than looking at absolute poverty for our citizens. We really need to be thinking about what the social scientists call relative poverty. You don't take people who are poor in Nova Scotia and measure them against people living in an underdeveloped country and say, well, you know, if you were in Africa, or if you were in Haiti, you would be living in a tarpaper shack and you wouldn't have enough to eat. You would only be able to feed yourself for two and a half weeks of the month and, therefore, because relative to Haiti you're not living in that kind of poverty, then you're not poor. That's comparing people in a very wealthy country to people in a very poor country and that is, in a way, the Fraser Institute's measurement. They want to have an absolute measurement of poverty that puts everybody on the globe at the same level and then you compare our citizens against that standard and, of course, in a developing country we're never going to fall that far behind.

Mr. Speaker, I would submit, and many people in the social work field would say that you have to compare people in our country to people in our country. You compare people living in poverty against people who are your neighbours, people who are living in your community, and you say that's the standard where you determine what the average kind of lifestyle and opportunity would be. Then you say how many people have the ability to hit those average kinds of standards versus people who have no hope on an income level, on an educational level, on an opportunity level, to ever get there. It's the idea of relative poverty. Poverty is something you measure relative to the people who surround you in your community and in your province and, indeed, in your country. As a Canadian citizen, people should be entitled to a certain basic standard of living that we shouldn't fall below.

The Minister of Environment and Labour earlier in the debate made reference to a report that came out today, Mr. Speaker, about a growing gap between the rich and the poor. I haven't seen the report but I'm not surprised because it wouldn't be the first report in recent times that has talked about the growing disparity inside Canada. It's something that the social scientists tend to call the hollowing out of the middle class. What it means is that more and more people who once enjoyed middle-class or a middle-income standard of living, more of those people are falling off, falling into the lower income categories and the disparity, at the same time, grows because on the other end there are more of the double, high income families that we see particularly in professional groups. We have seen a huge loss of manufacturing jobs in this country, a growth in service sector, low income relative to manufacturing jobs, low income and low benefits relative to the jobs we used to have.

So, it's not surprising that there has been a growing gap, but one of the things that the people at Statistics Canada have been talking about for a bit, not too loudly, mind you, but for a bit, is that the people who are on the bottom, the people who have the lowest incomes in our country, have really stagnated. Their incomes have completely stagnated for probably

[Page 1445]

10 years or 12 years. So it isn't only that they have been poor, their poverty is getting worse. They, themselves, are not a growing group. The very bottom percentile in the income distribution in the country, anything that I have read, doesn't show that very bottom group is actually growing, but what is growing is the depth of their poverty. So the quality of their lives has tended to really deteriorate. Many of these people live in our communities, in the emergency shelters, in the slum rooming houses, on the streets and there has been so little attention paid to these groups. They are not a group that have very powerful advocates, very strong voices or any political clout.

It's something that bothers me a great deal, having emergency shelters like Metro Turning Point in my constituency and I have to say the new executive director of Metro Turning Point, who I believe has met with the Minister of Environment and Labour - I don't believe he has been able to meet with the Minister of Community Services, although he would like to - is a phenomenal individual, working with the people who are the most disadvantaged in our community and these people have fallen further and further behind.

Mr. Speaker, there are so many aspects to what a poverty strategy has to touch on. It's not just about trying to find some agreement about what poverty is and how we measure it, but also, then, what are the causes. How do you establish a cause and effect for poverty. There are about as many theories about why people are poor as there are people who live in poverty.

Certainly, earlier in the debate, I think the Minister of Community Services talked about children who live in poverty and, Mr. Speaker, children aren't poor on their own. Children live in poverty because their parents live in poverty. They mostly live in poverty because they are the children of single mothers living in poverty with one income, a low income, and even with a good education, these women often live in poverty because they can't afford the high cost of child care. We still have a situation where we don't have a national child care program. We have a federal government that is ideologically opposed to the social provision of child care by government. We have a federal government that scuttled a national child care plan and replaced it with a $100 a month payment to families. Who on earth can find child care for $100 a month? I would like to meet that person. I have yet to meet that person. I am sure we are all looking to see if that person exists. But for children who live in poverty, a great deal could be done if we had some action on the child care front - and if we had a federal government who believed in a national child care plan, and we certainly don't have that.

We have a list of organizations in front of us to make up this working group, but the list doesn't necessarily reflect geographic concerns. I would like to say that rural poverty and urban poverty are not the same thing, and I think the member for Digby-Annapolis made some excellent points and speaks very well on behalf of his part of the world and that's what he was pointing out. He was pointing out that in rural Nova Scotia, the circumstances of people who live in poverty are different than the circumstances that people living in poverty

[Page 1446]

in the metropolitan area face. In the metropolitan area we have more institutional community-based services and social services, where in the rural areas there are probably more informal supports in a community, but it's not enough.

I remember when I lived in the Annapolis Valley for a short period of time, I was very shocked and very surprised - I had grown up in rural Nova Scotia, but lived in Halifax for many, many years - moving back to the rural area and seeing the extent to which poverty that reflected circumstances I would attribute to an economy in the 1940s or 1950s still existed in rural Nova Scotia.

People who could only get employment on a very seasonal basis in very low wage occupations - picking strawberries, picking apples, working in agriculture for a very, very short period of time, back-breaking work, and not work that someone who wasn't physically strong and capable could very easily do. We all know that people who live in poverty with inadequate nutrition often have many of the health problems that go with those circumstances.

I remember talking to a farmer in the Delhaven area on a research project that I was working on and he talked about the difficulty that he and the farmers in the area had in terms of harvesting their crops - the fact that the local social service office would literally disentitle people on social assistance during the productive months of the agricultural season so that they would have to go work on farms. I remember him saying that he had people come and they were not well enough to be able to do this work - it's back-breaking work - the work that was mechanized, he wasn't putting an untrained, unskilled worker on a piece of equipment that cost him $250,000 or more. Who could blame him? You can't just pluck somebody off the welfare rolls and thrust them into an agricultural environment and expect they're going to know how to handle the produce, how to work the farm equipment - it just ain't that simple.

The kinds of policy solutions for the problems that we have with respect to poverty are very, very complicated. One of the largest groups of people living in our province in poverty are people with disabilities, and it's pretty disgraceful what happens to people who develop a disability or become disabled. People who receive Canada Pension disability are prohibited from working more than a small amount of hours and earning a small amount of money - I think it's something like $4,000 a year that they are able to earn annually. These are people who don't have a drug plan.

Now I don't know too many people who have disabilities who don't require some form of prescription drugs, yet CPP doesn't provide them with a drug plan. They're not allowed to work a little bit - even if they can do some kind of work where their disability can be accommodated - to the extent that they can actually afford drugs.

[Page 1447]

This province, along with every other province in the country and the federal government, were supposed to set up a working group to actually work at this and try to resolve this issue. I've seen no action and no activity around that. In fact, I've had an exchange of correspondence with both the federal and the provincial ministers with respect to this, and really can't find out what is happening.

[5:00 p.m.]

All I know is that for people in my constituency on CPP, in those positions, they live very, very limited kinds of lifestyles because they have inadequate income and inadequate opportunity to be able to do anything to boost their income.

So, Mr. Speaker, there are many things we could talk about in this debate. I know that this is an issue that will no doubt come back here to this Legislature on occasion and I look forward to having an opportunity to talk more, when those opportunities present themselves.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the members that this Friday, Feed Nova Scotia will be doing their annual fundraising event in conjunction with the CBC, near the CBC building. Ironically it will be groups like Feed Nova Scotia, that I totally support, who in the future will be able to fundraise in the streets, to provide charity to the very people who we won't permit to do that without fining them.

It just strikes me as being a little two-faced, Mr. Speaker. I don't know if that's a parliamentary term or not - borderline. I think it sort of does express my feeling about this bill and a bill that we will be debating fairly shortly, Bill No. 7, that has the provisions that would prevent people who are poor - and you know, Mr. Speaker, I want to say I understand - I don't, I'm not somebody who would ever, in my wildest dreams, argue that poor people should have to beg. I spent too long in the trenches, working with people who are poor and people who wanted to be able to be self-sufficient, people who wanted to get out of poverty, to suggest for one moment that begging is an answer to the poverty they live in. It isn't; it never was and it never will be.

How we approach people, how we make people who are poor, deviant, by bringing in legislation that labels, in some way, their behaviour as they attempt to deal with the realities of their lives, concerns me very much. I'm not really all that interested in having more groups sort of fall into the purview of legislation that labels people's behaviour as deviant in some way, when they're simply victimized by an inadequate social policy in our country. So, Mr. Speaker, with those few remarks on the bill, I take my place and I look forward to hearing from other members of the Assembly.

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

[Page 1448]

MR. GORDON GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, I, too, am glad to rise today on Bill No. 94, an Act to Establish a Poverty Reduction Strategy Working Group in Nova Scotia. I really enjoy the title of that. I am just wondering what the working group in Nova Scotia are going to study. When I worked in my former job as Executive Director of the Whitney Pier Youth Club, I prepared many breakfasts for kids on their way to school, I am just wondering if this study is going to feed those kids on the way to school. I wonder if this study is going to feed those kids at dinner time. Those are some of the things that I wonder about this study. I wonder about recommendations.

I remember the first forum on poverty on January 12th and January 13th and I sat through that and I am not going to say who was there and who wasn't there, Mr. Speaker, and what went on at that forum but those recommendations were given to the Standing Committee on Community Services. We have hundreds of recommendations that were given from these groups that came and so many groups with so many issues about poverty in the Province of Nova Scotia, from transition groups and I don't see transition groups on the new list. Actually, in this new bill, I don't see the Department of Education. The Department of Education was on the former list but I don't see the Department of Education on this new list. I don't know if it was an omission or what it was.

I thought that for many years - when I first got elected, my colleague, who actually I am standing in his place here today - the member for Dartmouth North, was a very good advocate for poverty and people living with disabilities, the honourable Jerry Pye. It's a pleasure that I say his name because I idolized Jerry for his advocacy for people with disabilities. Jerry Pye was one of the finest gentlemen who ever sat in this Legislature, to bring up people with disabilities living in poverty.

Even today I can still hear his click in the back of my ear as I stand in my place today and listen to Jerry talk about all these issues and realize that one of Jerry's main issues was around housing, and I am the Housing Critic for the Opposition, talk about housing issues and affordable housing. I have stood in my place many times in Question Period and late debate and talked about housing issues but there is another issue. Living at home in Whitney Pier, people with disabilities or people with physical or mental disabilities come into your office and say, I have applied for housing, the Island Housing Authority in Community Services but I get a letter back saying that I am not eligible because I am under the age of 58. Because you are under the age of 58, there is no, I guess, policy for them to fit in with housing, 58 years of age and above, there is seniors' housing but below 58 years of age they have nowhere to go. Being as you are not in that age bracket, you will be put on a list. I have constituents of mine who have been on a list for almost three years, people with disabilities, mental disabilities and physical disabilities are on a list.

I will give you an example of a lady by the name of Patricia Lewis who has many problems, mental problems and other problems and is disabled and living in a rat-infested house and comes to my office and tells me, as a Member of the Legislative Assembly, I am

[Page 1449]

living in these horrible conditions. I am after killing a couple of rodents in my apartment. So what can I do as an advocate on behalf of her? Is my job as an advocate for people like that? I know when I call the Department of Community Services and tell them that these are things that you have to do as an MLA . I remember getting an e-mail back when I first got elected saying that I was no longer allowed to speak to Community Services workers, that I had to speak to the supervisor. I wondered why. I go to appeals, go to Community Services appeals. I go to Community Services appeals on a regular basis. I go to EI appeals. I go to Canada Pension appeals.

As an MLA those are things other people say, well why do you do those things? I do those things because I find that this job is an advocate. I am an advocate for those people. I wonder why we have on one hand this bill being introduced, Bill No. 94, and yet we have another bill before the Legislature which I am confused in a sense that we are going to say that the underlying issue with young people is young people are out squeegeeing cars and young people are out doing this and causing problems. So I am just wondering, what is the underlying issue? They are living in poverty, they have no other way to get themselves out of poverty, so we're going to fine them? Is that not putting them back into poverty? Where are they going to get the money to pay those fines? Where are they going to get the money to do those things and pay those issues? So they're going to be put in jail?

I think the biggest thing that we've had lately, and I've heard this a thousand times, is that our jails are becoming our institutions. People who are mentally disabled and people who are paranoid schizophrenics and other people who are on medication and come off their medication, they're in jail. We are filling our jails with people who actually need affordable housing, people who need help, people who need help to stay on their program. We are filling our jails, we are institutionalizing, which we got rid of years ago. Yet we continue today, as I stand in my place, to fill our jails because this is what is going to happen to these young people. They are going to be fined and put in jail - is that the proper thing to do?

I don't think that's the proper thing to do; on one hand we're introducing a poverty reduction strategy working group. I mean, the reduction strategy working group, are they going to recommend that and are we going to accept that, or when are they going to implement? There are no timelines on this. When this working group comes back to the Legislature and reports back, there's no timeline. When are they going to implement this?

We've had hundreds and hundreds of recommendations, we live this as MLAs and we live this in our offices when people call and we understand what they're going through. We understand yet we sit here again and we say okay, it was 2003 when I was first elected to the Legislature and I remember back in 1989 or 1990 when the UN passed a resolution saying, we're going to get rid of child poverty by the year 2000. Here it is 2007, soon to be 2008, have we gotten rid of child poverty? One in every five children in the Province of Nova Scotia lives in poverty. Is this recommendation going to get those children off poverty? Is this group going to get those children off poverty?

[Page 1450]

This is a good step forward but when are they going to be implemented? When is the timeline on this? This is the problem that I have. I'm just wondering, the recommendations, are they going to feed kids? Are they going to help kids in the street? The policies in Community Services for children between the ages of 16, 17 and 18, they are archaic, they are absolutely archaic.

I visited three young people living in the woods earlier this year and somebody said, what are you doing in the middle of the woods behind the old city dump in Sydney, visiting three young people who lived in a tent. They said - oh, I went to Community Services but I don't have an address so I can't get any help, I'm living in a tent. So I called a supervisor, they're living in a tent and my CA says gee, I should go with you because I'm afraid. I said you don't have to come with me, I'm going to go up there. I went up behind the old city dump and I walked down and I hollering the kids names in the woods and these three young people come out of the woods, ages 17, 18 and 16. One was accepted into the Nova Scotia Community College and said - well, I can't get any help because I don't have an address. I called the department and said he doesn't have an address, well I had to go through and try to find him a place. I had to call landlords and see if I could get them a place. If I could get a landlord to agree that they would have the place and then the department would pay for that.

It took three months to get those kids living out of the woods. I felt ashamed of myself as a Member of the Legislative Assembly that I couldn't do anything. I went out there every week for a week and a half and my CA was saying geez, you know, what are you doing, and the smell out there, I mean they were living in a tent, they lived in one tent and they had the food in the other tent. One day I went out there to visit them and the young lad told me that somebody had stolen his bike, so he couldn't even get to get his bike, they had stolen his bike and the neighbourhood out there was getting mad at him because they were walking back and forth. So finally I got her some help and she got a job as a dishwasher in a restaurant. So that was one step.

The young lad, I got him to move in with his brother. I mean these are things that I see every day on a daily basis in my constituency and I imagine everybody else sees that in their constituencies in Cape Breton and from one end of this province to the other. These are actual facts. We have people living in poverty in this province and again we go back to say okay, we're going to study the problem, we're going to make recommendations on the problem. But how many of these studies and recommendations are going to actually feed and help these young people? Are we going to change the policy that they have in the department for ages 16, 17 and 18? These are the ones who are falling through the cracks.

You understand, as an MLA, how you have to go and say okay, well you can get help for them, we're going to call their aunt, their uncle, their grandmother, their great-grandfather and see if they'll take them in. Make sure that their father is living in Alberta - he doesn't want them, the mother doesn't want them because she is on drugs. So you have to prove that

[Page 1451]

fact to the department to make sure they have no other avenue for them to get them out of where they are. They have no other avenue.

So as an MLA you have to say okay, everything is done, so find somebody to look after them, get them a boarding house, get them somebody to board with them, you have grandparents who are raising children today, trying to raise children, and they go to the department and say, can I get boarding? Well, you're the grandparent, you're not going to get boarding. Then you have to get them to sign a sworn document so they can get the child tax credit. It takes three or four months to get the child tax credit - you do that as an advocate, to get that. I recently had a case where the lady had a baby and had not received the child tax credit and was living on her community services and I had to write to Revenue Canada to get her child tax credit. Monday just past, she ended up getting $2,100, it was owed to her, yet the bureaucracy of getting it. Young people don't understand, they come to your office with all kinds of matters.

I remember my colleague, Jerry Pye, talking about seniors living in poverty, how many seniors in the province. That number is only going to double as the baby boomers get older, and the population growth in the senior aspect, how many of those people are going to be living in - I think a stat in Cape Breton, I forget, over 60 per cent of the seniors living in Cape Breton pay more than 30 per cent of their income for housing. They're doing without housing.

There are so many faces of poverty, I'm only touching a little bit on the faces of poverty, but there are so many faces of poverty. From all the youth groups that work along Bay St. Lawrence, and my colleague, the member for Victoria-The Lakes, would very well know of the little community up in Bay St. Lawrence and the youth centre they have and what they're trying to do to deal with some of these issues of poverty.

What are the underlying causes of poverty? Is it drug abuse? Is it alcohol? When I looked at this and I realized the Department of Education was not on the new group, I just wondered - we had a strategy here for many years, I always said that when I spoke on different issues and on youth things, we always had Community Services, Justice, Education, Department of Health had to be involved in the young fella. The old saying, it takes a village to raise a child.

[5:15 p.m.]

Over the years I've seen - working in my past job - how one department didn't know what the other one was doing. Is that a recommendation? What's going to happen? I'll give you an example of the Whitney Pier Youth Club. It provides very many excellent programs to young people in the Province of Nova Scotia. What they do, they live from grant to grant. How many non-profit organizations in this province live from grant to grant? St. Vincent de Paul, the Salvation Army, all of these organizations, they don't actually have core funding

[Page 1452]

and the staff, but they live from grant to grant. They spend most of their time writing proposals, but what they are doing is providing services that we as a government should be providing, yet we depend on the church groups, the non-profit organizations to provide those services.

Mr. Speaker, there are so many issues to deal with this poverty - I'm glad this poverty reduction is going to go forward. I'm happy in that sense, but we do know the recommendations in this province, and all of us as MLAs know the issues around poverty.

With that, I'm going to sit down in my place and finish up. I could go on and stand in my place for an hour tonight and talk about this, and talk about issues that we see each and every day, but I look forward to seeing this bill go forward, and look forward to being in the Law Amendments Committee and seeing what recommendations come in. Thank you.

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

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I would just for a moment like to rise for a couple of seconds to make an introduction of some individuals who have been in our gallery for some time now waiting for the debate on the Dental Hygienists Act. I just want to thank them for paying attention today. I would ask them to stand and receive the warm welcome of the House - Terry Mitchell, from the Legislative Committee of the Nova Scotia Dental Hygienists Association, Patricia Grant from the Legislative Committee, and Patricia's husband who is here to lend support as well. If you could give them the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the Leader of the Liberal Party it will be to close the debate.

The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

MR. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank all members of the House for the comments they made on Bill No. 94. I would move second reading of Bill No. 94.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 94. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contract minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that the 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, Private and Local Bills for Second Reading.

[Page 1453]

PRIVATE AND LOCAL BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. CHUCK PORTER: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 83.

Bill No. 83 - Halifax Regional Water Commission Act.

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

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise today to bring forward Bill No. 83 which is a bill respecting the Halifax Regional Water Commission. In May of this year, the Halifax Regional Council approved the transfer of responsibility for HRM's waste water and storm water assets to the Halifax Regional Water Commission and that transfer was unanimously approved by the Water Commission Board later in the month of May. So this bill comes to us with the full endorsement of both those bodies.

It creates here in Nova Scotia, the first regulated water and waste water utility in Canada. The purpose behind this and really the compelling reason to move this forward is the aging infrastructure in HRM and the fact that there's a great deal of work that needs to be done both in new infrastructure; for example, the waste water treatment that we have coming forward and also the old sewer lines and water lines that need to be maintained and upgraded. It was felt that under this new structure there would be greater financial sustainability and a better ability to meet environmental standards and upgrades and look after the infrastructure of HRM.

This piece of legislation adds flexibility to the commission to do things such as issue securities, bonds and debentures for the purchase of funding and financing the infrastructure upgrades. There's greater flexibility for the new commission rather than for HRM to do this as it goes forward. The commission is managed and governed by a board which is laid out in the bill as well. It includes the mayor, three members of council, three residents of HRM, and one member of HRM's staff.

In terms of accountability, Mr. Speaker, I think it's important to note that the rates that will be charged are set through the Utility and Review Board as we go forward, that that's a very important aspect of this. I think what we're looking at here is a bill that strengthens the ability of HRM to continue to provide the services, not just of what they have today but even to upgrade and meet higher environmental standards as we go forward. With those few words of explanation, I would like to move second reading of Bill No. 83, the Halifax Regional Water Commission Act.

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

[Page 1454]

HON. BARRY BARNET: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to spend a few moments of the House's time to speak specifically about Bill No. 83, a bill which I have some familiarity with. However, I would point out that I have more familiarity with the water commission itself. I happened to serve on the very first Halifax Regional Water Commission in 1995 and subsequently through until 1999. As a member of council, I was council's appointed member to sit on that commission and to help direct the Halifax Regional Municipality as we moved forward with the provision of water for our citizens in Halifax Regional Municipality.

During my time on the commission, we saw some very substantial improvements to our water system here in Halifax, including the commissioning of the Lake Major water treatment plant that provides water for all of the Dartmouth side of this municipality. As well, we saw the expansion of services into communities like Beaver Bank, Middle and Upper Sackville and Hammonds Plains. We saw other communities receive improvements to their existing infrastructure, Mr. Speaker, during that period of time. Since then Halifax Regional Municipality and the water commission have moved forward to bring together their waste water and their water systems so that they work in harmony and unison to support the goals and the objectives of both entities.

I would point out that this collaboration and cooperation and now the combining of these two departments was done as a result of a piece of legislation that was tabled and debated in this House in the Spring. Since that time the water commission itself and the municipality have been able to work through a lot of the circumstances that saw that combining of those two resources.

This particular piece of legislation provides in it one additional measure that wasn't in the original bill and that is Clause 19 that enables the Water Commission to apply the same rules and principles that they now use for water, for wastewater, and that is the opportunity to utilize the Public Utility Act to approve the rates and the charges for wastewater and storm water, Mr. Speaker.

This provides for greater protection for the residents. There is now an entity, or a body, that will oversee rates. I have great confidence that the Water Commission and its employees will continue to do good work on behalf of the municipality. I would point out, Mr. Speaker, that Halifax Regional Water Commission, in and of itself, is known nationally and internationally as a top provider and producer of clean drinking water. The combination of the employees who have now moved over from Halifax Regional Municipality wastewater and storm water systems into the municipality will enable seamless service to homeowners and to developers, will provide for, as I earlier indicated, greater protection for rate setting for the citizens and I am sure we will see the continued advancement of more services to communities that currently don't have water and wastewater and we will also see an improvement to the overall system.

[Page 1455]

So with those few words, I am very pleased, and our caucus is pleased, to support Bill No. 83, the Halifax Regional Water Commission Act, Mr. Speaker.

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

The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, as I say, I appreciate the comments from the minister on this bill and I think it is worth repeating that the Halifax Regional Water Commission has a very fine reputation, a very professional organization that is well run and has done an excellent job with the Water Commission responsibilities and I believe they will do very well for the citizens of Halifax and HRM as they go forward with this new mandate. With that, I would like to close debate and move second reading of Bill No. 83.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 83. 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 Private and Local Bills.

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. CHUCK PORTER: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Public Bills for Third Reading.

PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. CHUCK PORTER: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 24, the Dental Hygienists Act.

Bill No. 24 - Dental Hygienists Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, thank you very much for allowing me the time to quickly stand and move third reading of Bill No. 24, the Dental Hygienists Act. Again, just a few moments ago, I introduced people who were in our gallery to see this bill through. Through the Nova Scotia Dental Hygienists Association and through the individuals that we have, excluding Sue MacIntosh who could not join us today, have been working on this college, this idea to have a self-regulated profession, dental hygiene, for approximately 27 years.

[Page 1456]

They worked through successive government, successive ministers, to get it. They are a very patient group. The last push, of course, started in 1994 and moved through a couple of governments and another batch of ministers to make it to this day. Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to have been the minister to bring this one forward and this is a very well-researched bill. This one has been well drafted and I know the regulations that are coming forward to go along with this bill will be done as speedily as possible to make sure that the dental hygienists can move on with the next level of their profession, to be there for the oral health of all Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, quickly, this does provide better access, we believe, to Nova Scotians. This will provide better access to oral health care, especially in my mind, for seniors, as dental hygienists would be able to work outside of the traditional dentist office, public health office or what have you, to bring their services to seniors in homes, our handicapped individuals, to their houses and their homes; and to those individuals who do have difficulty in going out and going to a dental office to receive that care, the dental hygienist would be able to provide that kind of service.

So, Mr. Speaker, again I thank the Nova Scotia Dental Hygienist Association for their perseverance on this one and I'm very proud to move third reading of Bill No. 24.

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

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, I, too, wanted to stand and have a few words on this bill on third reading. I know I stood a few times now, in my place, to talk about the need for such an Act and the importance of the government's need to recognize the role the dental hygienist can play here in Nova Scotia, in delivering oral health to, not only everyday Nova Scotians, but to those, I think, most vulnerable here in the province.

[5:30 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I must say with the minister's comments on perseverance, they have been at this for a very long time. The minister mentioned 27 years, eight of those years under his government's ruling here in the province, and it just shows that - thank heavens they didn't give up, because who knows how long we would have been waiting to see this go through the procedures. But I want to mention the importance of not only third reading of this piece of legislation, but the importance to recognize that you would have to have a quicker response when it comes to creating the regulations that have to go hand in hand with this legislation.

I know the dental hygienists have worked hard, and are working hard currently, to come up with those regulations but I've got to say, Mr. Speaker, that this government doesn't

[Page 1457]

have a good track record when it comes to creating those regulations. For example, the College of Paramedics here in this province, the paramedics of this province have been advocating for years about the creation of a college here in Nova Scotia, and I was pleased, as a member, to see that go through this House and the process - but we're still waiting today. Paramedics are still waiting, in this province, to have regulations to go in hand with the passing of that legislation and I wouldn't want to see that happen to the dental hygienists and this bill that we have before us today. I mean, we're looking at four years nearly that has passed since the Paramedic Act was proclaimed through the process here in the House. So I need to emphasize that, you know, in order for this to proceed and in order for the dental hygienists to play an important role in delivering oral health care in the province, we need to have those regulations and it can't happen years down the road, Mr. Speaker, it needs to happen quite quickly after this.

So I would like to thank many of those who have spent, as the minister has said, 27 years, or the last few years informing me as Health Critic for the NDP caucus, of the need for this, Mr. Speaker. I know the minister mentioned the people in the gallery but I believe one person, not in the gallery, is Sue MacIntosh, whom I have met with on many occasions. who played an important role and, I believe she is from the Pictou County area. I have to say it again, they've shown themselves in such a professional manner throughout this whole process when it would have been easy for them to just give up, go away and forget about the idea of having a self-regulated body to oversee their practice, and the expanded scope of practice, that they want to deliver and provide Nova Scotians here in this province.

As I said, Mr. Speaker, I hope this legislation will provide a service to those individuals who fall into gaps when it comes to obtaining dental care here in this province. I was pleased to see the dental hygienists again appearing before the Law Amendments Committee to say how important this is to them and also to have the Dental Association there, not making any recommendations or criticizing the legislation but really, ultimately, showing up and giving their support to the dental hygienists and the Dental Hygienists Association of this province.

So again, Mr. Speaker, I can't emphasize enough that I hope that the regulations will come and marry up with this legislation in a timely manner so that the hygienists in Nova Scotia can proceed, which I think is the most important thing we need to have happen with this legislation.

Mr. Speaker, with those few words, I'll take my seat.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Clare.

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to have the opportunity to say a few words on Bill No. 24 and, first of all, I want to congratulate the Nova Scotia Dental Hygienists Association for all their hard work and determination to see this bill come

[Page 1458]

forward. The Minister of Health indicated they've been working at this for the last twenty-seven years. I know the association has been working very hard and a very long time to achieve self-governance for their association.

I also know the association has been working extremely hard for the last five years to try to get the government to introduce this piece of legislation. I recall meeting many times to discuss this bill with my next door neighbour, Bernice Doucet. She's a past president of the Nova Scotia Dental Hygienists Association. I know, meeting with Bernice, we talked about Sue MacIntosh, and I recall for the last number of years meeting with both of them on several occasions to try to move this bill forward.

I know the association has been working extremely hard for these health care professionals, so today I'm quite pleased to see they are finally receiving the recognition for all their hard work. Of course, this recognition has taken way too long to achieve. I also understand that about 92 per cent of the dental hygienists in Canada are self-governed, and I also understand that our dental hygienists here in Nova Scotia will be the first in Atlantic Canada to receive and to achieve self-governance.

Nova Scotia was one of the first provinces in Canada to allow self-governing legislation for many different professional groups. So far, many professional groups here in Nova Scotia now have self-governance.

Again, it's a shame it took so long for the hygienists to be recognized, and finally today the dental hygienists in Nova Scotia are receiving the recognition they deserve. With that, in closing I want to thank the government for finally having agreed to table this piece of legislation and moving debate on this piece of legislation to allow it to go through this House.

I'll close with this: I hope that the government will act quickly upon the regulations. I hope, again, that the dental hygienists won't have to wait long, or as long for the regulations to come forward as they've waited for this bill to come forward. So with that, Mr. Speaker, I will take my seat. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou East.

MR. CLARRIE MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I'm very pleased to take my place in this House and speak in favour of Bill No. 24. Bill No. 24 has been a long, long time coming - we've heard twenty-seven years; we've heard twenty-four years; we've heard the minister say 1994; and we know that it has taken, from my knowledge, a good eight years from the people that I have been dealing with.

First, I want to pay tribute to the dental hygienists who had the fortitude to stay at this for so many years. In particular, I would like to mention a constituent of mine, Sue

[Page 1459]

MacIntosh, who has been working diligently for a long time at the provincial and national levels to try to get better situations in place, both provincially and nationally, for dental hygienists.

I believe that Sue MacIntosh would be with us today, but there was a death in her family, and I would like to pay tribute to her father-in-law who passed away last week who was a Supreme Court judge here in Nova Scotia, a great Nova Scotian, a great Canadian, Alexander " Dooley" MacIntosh, who was the Mayor of New Glasgow when I was a very young teenage news reporter at CKEC in New Glasgow. I have so many fond memories of Alex MacIntosh, Sue's father-in-law.

I am pleased that this government, after eight years in office, has finally come to the conclusion that it is important to recognize the dental hygienists in this way. So I want to commend the current minister who has, in fact, been able to do what his predecessors have not been able to do and the fact that this is at the stage of third reading. I do give him a bouquet for the action that has finally taken place, so the current member does deserve some praise for that.

Now through this bill, dental hygienists will continue, for the most part, to work in dentists offices and there will be the bond that has existed between dentists and dental hygienists for many years. However, the big change is the fact that the dentists are no longer the gatekeepers of the dental hygienists and that is a major accomplishment. Dental hygienists will be able to go out and do some of the great services that they provide on their own. This is something that has been so long coming but that gatekeeper status is no longer there.

Now, Mr. Speaker, one of the things that I would like to talk about is the fact that the demographics in relationship to dental hygienists - just a few months ago, we were looking at numbers of approximately 600 dental hygienists in this province, 600. It is my understanding that 594 of those were female and four of them were male. I have to wonder aloud whether if it had have been numbers that were reversed, if the numbers were skewed the opposite way, I wonder if it would have taken all these years for this to come about.

Mr. Speaker, the House will be a better House when 50 per cent of the occupants of these seats are female. There is only one Party that is moving in that direction and with the election of the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage, this Party has at least reached 30 per cent and we are on our way, the only Party that is showing upward mobility in relationship to gender equality.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I just want to make the point that the Liberal Party, or the third Party in the House, is stagnated at 11 per cent.

[Page 1460]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. First of all, there's way too much noise in the Chamber. I would ask the honourable member to return to the third reading of the bill that's before the House, please.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I thought I was, in fact, dealing with that in relationship to the demographics of dental hygienists. However, I will leave that. It was just a thought that came to me as I was on my feet.

Mr. Speaker, I'm very concerned that the regulations go into place as quickly as possible, and certainly when we look at the paramedics and so on, we want to ensure that every time there is a bill before this House and it does receive royal assent, we would always hope that it would be a very short time frame in which we would be dealing with an issue and that the regulations would be in place very, very quickly.

Mr. Speaker, I do want to say, and on a very serious note, I do commend the current minister, and I do commend all of those who worked so diligently to bring this piece of legislation to third reading. I will not belabour this situation. We are at a milestone with it. On that note, I will take my seat. I congratulate all who were able to bring this about. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

[5:45 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, I agree with most of the comments from my honourable colleague, the member for Pictou East. There was a time perhaps I would have been inclined to teach him a lesson at this point, but now is not the time or the place to do that. (Interruptions)

Mr. Speaker, let me just say very briefly, because I've made most of my points on this bill at second reading, Bill No. 24 is, of course, a bill whose time has come, I want to mention one group in particular, and that would be the staff, the minister's staff in the Department of Health, who have done a tremendous amount of work on this legislation over the years and have been there from the very beginning and have been through some rather trying times. It did take a while, but we're finally there. In particular, one staff member, a former staff member who's no longer with the minister, a policy adviser, Bobby Sutherland, who has moved on to work with Nova Scotia Power, put a lot of time and effort into this legislation. So I want to make sure that we congratulate them.

[Page 1461]

I do want to congratulate the minister. This is a piece of legislation that, as I said, is important. It's going to do good for this province, and the most important part of it is that it will provide access to care for people in this province.

So, having said that, I congratulate the minister, his staff, and everyone involved with this bill, for a fine piece of legislation.

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

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, it's my pleasure this evening to join in the debate on Bill No. 24, an Act Respecting Dental Hygienists in this province. I realize that every time you are here in the House during a debate, you learn something from the other members when they get up to speak, and I want to say I do admire the restraint of the MLA for Glace Bay. It is not always thus and so, but it was good to see this evening. It's the season - he's feeling generous.

The reality is, the member for Pictou East, I thought, made a number of very good points. Among them, the fact that this piece of legislation has a significant impact on 600 people in this province who are engaged in the profession of dental hygiene and, more importantly, on all the people who are their patients - who they come in contact with, who they provide a service to.

It has been my pleasure, over the years, to get to know a good number of these people and certainly Sue MacIntosh's name has come up time and time again and she's been congratulated on the work that she has done and, in fact, the House has acknowledged again and again the tremendous patience with which the dental hygienists approach this matter. I think any one of the members who have been in this House, any period of time, would agree, I think we've all had meetings in our constituency office with dental hygienists who are from our particular area as they adopted a strategy to make sure that - and I thought a very good one - that each MLA understood that there were actually people in their constituencies who were watching the work that was being done and who were prepared to come to their offices and talk to you about the importance of that legislation.

I was impressed, Mr. Speaker, particularly, with the aspects associated with this effort that were associated with the seniors population. Mr. Speaker, I'm not sure if you're aware of this but certainly over the years, either when I was on city council or in this job, I've represented seniors - many seniors' organizations, many seniors' facilities, many housing units, where the access to this kind to service will be of tremendous benefit to those individuals.

I know there had been some concerns that had been raised with respect to the scope of practice that dental hygienists were incorporating. I think the point that was made over and over again - which was a very good one - is that the access to this service, by people who may not now have the ability or have even the funds to transport themselves to a dentist or

[Page 1462]

may not have a dental plan or may not have the money to regularly visit dentists, that this legislation will help identify early on, those people who may have real oral health problems that otherwise would go undiagnosed, would other not maybe come to the attention of the individual until it was a very serious problem.

So, this is an aspect of the extension of this practice that I don't think was mentioned earlier in the debate on the bill, but it is one of the point that was made, certainly to me, by the people, by the dental hygienists who either sought to meet with me in position as the Leader of the Opposition, or who met me as the MLA for the constituency of Cole Harbour so I certainly took all those representations seriously. I certainly committed, a number of years ago, to try and do anything I could to help this process along and we have made our opinion, with respect to this, known to the various Ministers of Health, over the years, of whom I think there are three right now sitting on the front benches on the government side.

Mr. Speaker, I would point out that there are other groups that seek similar kinds of self-governance models and that this one is one that is, I think, relatively common to some of the other professions that we have seen come before the House. I know that the paramedics are out there looking for a similar kind of self governance model that they would like to engage government on and that they had been talking with the Department of Health and, I assume, with the minister and with others, about the importance of that kind of regulation. Of course, as a member of the Barristers' Society, I have been a member of a self-regulating profession for many, many years.

I think it is a tribute to the tenacity of dental hygienists to see this bill here. I wanted to, in addition to my colleagues, extend to them my congratulations on the hard work they've done to get this bill here. I know the time is running out and the minister will want to have a few minutes to close debate on the bill, so I am going to sit down, but I did want to take the time to put on record an acknowledgment of what I think is the hard work that's been done here. With that, I'm pleased to take my seat. Thank you.

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

The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, quickly, I want to thank the members opposite for their interventions and comments in this. I thank them for their input and support of this bill.

If we speak to those who have helped along the way, I do want to send thanks to people like Bob Kitchener, who worked in our department; Dennis Holland, Sara Gorelick. Individuals like that who have been working on this file, I think probably as long as they've been in the department.

[Page 1463]

So, again, I want to thank the Nova Scotia Dental Hygienists Association for their perseverance and support on this one. This one did take consensus from all sides and I do believe it was important to have consensus for those individuals and organizations who are committed to good oral health care. Of course, I want to thank the Nova Scotia Dental Association for their support of this one as well. With those short words, after 27 years, I move third reading of Bill No. 24, An Act Respecting Dental Hygienists.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 24. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried. (Applause)

Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. CHUCK PORTER: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 31.

Bill No. 31 - Medical Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: I'll be even shorter on this one. I call for third reading of Bill No. 31.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 31. Would all those in favour of the motion, please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, I would like to seek the consent of the House to revert to the order of business, Presenting Reports of Committees.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 1464]

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, as Chairman of the Committee on Law Amendments, I'm directed to report that the committee has met and considered the following bills:

Bill No. 19 - Class Proceedings Act.

Bill No. 55 - Public Service Superannuation Act.

and the committee recommends these bills to the favourable consideration of the House, without amendments.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, as Chairman of the Committee on Law Amendments, I'm directed to report that the committee has met and considered the following bills:

Bill No. 6 - Smoke-free Places Act.

Bill No. 51 - Education Act.

Bill No. 72 - Retail Business Holiday Closing Act.

and the committee recommends these bills to the favourable consideration of the House, with certain amendments.

MR. SPEAKER: Ordered that these bills be referred to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. CHUCK PORTER: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Public Bills for Third Reading.

PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING

[Page 1465]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. CHUCK PORTER: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 45.

Bill No. 45 - Companies Act.

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

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to move that Bill No. 45, the Companies Act, now be read for a third time.

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

MS. BECKY KENT: Mr. Speaker, I rise to support Bill No. 45, An Act to Amend the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Companies Act. I believe this to be a good amendment. Certainly anything that reduces the burden of paperwork for businesses, in my books, is a good thing. Many businesses, particularly small businesses . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. We have reached the moment of interruption.

The Adjournment debate has been chosen, as announced earlier, and won by the honourable member for Kings West who will debate:

"Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Government immediately establish a plan to help address the challenges facing the many cattle producers in Nova Scotia."

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

AGRIC. - CATTLE PRODUCERS: CHALLENGES - ADDRESS

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, I was pleased to put forward this motion today to start, hopefully, what will be some ongoing talk, debate and deliberation over what is a crisis in the beef industry, comparable to the BSE crisis. During the Summer of 2003, as a candidate in the provincial election that year, as I went throughout the farm community of Kings West, I was hearing about the impact that the BSE crisis was having on the beef industry and people were anxious that if I became their representative, that I would take this to the Legislature. At that time, of course, we had an emergency debate and we had many

[Page 1466]

farmers show up there and perhaps in many ways we are now at a similar point where we should be perhaps having an emergency debate on this issue.

Just to put it in perspective, I spoke with a cattle farmer in the Annapolis Valley by the name of Darrel Geddes. Just last week he took 25 of his herd to market and he received between 70 cents and 75 cents a pound for his cattle. Just last Fall, he received $1.05, where he could actually make a little bit of money because he primarily has his cattle forage fed and so therefore he is able to reduce his cost without having a great deal of feed purchased from grains for his cattle operation.

The element here that really brings it into perspective is that this is a $100 million industry and if we compare that to the hog industry it, too, was a $100 million industry but has gone into dramatic decline and will soon be half that amount in the province. Just looking at cattle and calf alone, just the direct income, in 2001 Canada Statistics, $34 million was made from the sale of cattle in Nova Scotia; in 2006 it was down to $24 million and this year, in 2007, it will be down further again.

Now what is interesting, however, is that the actual number of cattle have not been reduced dramatically. We've very similar numbers; farmers have been able to retain the numbers. However that kind of impact on the dollar is where farmers today, throughout Nova Scotia and through the winter, will be sitting around the kitchen table wondering if their third, fourth and fifth generation cattle farmers will be able to stay in business beyond the next number of months.

So it is a time where the farmers are hoping to get some type of relief. I'm sure the majority were pleased that the Government of Nova Scotia put forth $2 million as part of a $12 million package to keep the beef products plant in Prince Edward Island viable for the next while. That is part, in our Party's view, of developing an integrated Maritime beef industry. So that piece is now in place.

I believe there's going to have to be a number of other developments, both in the short term and in the long term, in revitalizing the cattle industry in Nova Scotia. The thing about this industry, unlike some of the other agricultural sectors, is that a head of cattle can be produced and is being produced in every county of Nova Scotia. Every county will have different sized beef operations. So we have to be cognizant of the impact that this industry does have throughout Nova Scotia.

I feel it's a time where the major players, like Sobeys and Superstore, have to be brought into the discussion about not only providing shelf space and an opportunity to get Nova Scotia beef in the major food chains, but also a price - a price that is suitable to allow the farmer to continue.

Now associated with that, I believe a very strong study that was done that needs to get, again, some immediate attention and action taken and that is the Kelco report. The Kelco

[Page 1467]

report, in our view, has a great deal of merit because it will put a few more cents per kilogram, or per pound, back into the farmers' hands - and I don't think it is a very complex formula and remittance process that would be required to enable that program to move forward.

I also believe that the Buy Local is starting to have an impact - again, this is a more recent development. Select Nova Scotia, the Buy Local program that government kicked off late last summer, is starting to show up in the farm markets, in particular in the farm markets that go year-round like the Halifax market, the Wolfville, the Annapolis Royal, and I'm sure some others throughout the province. Individual farmers are taking their cuts, taking their products and I think, again, if they get a little bit of help with that program, I think it's going to have a substantially positive effect.

Along with the Buy Local, there are a number of farmers who are moving towards an organic product with beef, and here in Nova Scotia we are able to put a first -class organic product on the market since most of our beef is very, very close to that already. We use hay and forage to feed our cattle and that has been a longstanding practice and puts us very, very close to a certified organic product in which people are willing to pay a little bit more of a premium price for that product which, again, is a direct return to the farmer. But, right now, a stabilization program that will, either so much per head of cattle, or in some way is able to get money that will allow that farmer to survive the current crisis and allow them to hold on to that third, fourth and fifth generation farm.

I think an integrated Maritime beef industry that includes perhaps a grind operation that Tony's has some connections with Bowlby's and Armstrong's is part of a total picture that can benefit Nova Scotia, the cattle producers who are certainly hanging tough and ever optimistic and looking forward to a better day and partnering with the province to move the industry forward. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Agriculture.

HON. BROOKE TAYLOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I would like to thank the honourable member for Kings West for bringing this resolution forward this evening. It is a very important topic. The cattle industry is facing many, many challenges.

Mr. Speaker, I'm the proud product of a dairy farm in the beautiful Musquodoboit Valley, and while we generated most of our income, as a boy growing up, at least, through the dairy herd, we as well ran a number of beef cattle, had a big vegetable garden and so on, but the challenges today are much, much more complex. There are costs, and mandatory costs associated with food safety. There are high debt levels, astronomical debt levels, actually, and of course the higher Canadian dollar is impacting the agriculture sector the same as it is, again, especially our resource-based sectors. As well, we're dealing with, the farmers are, at least, low market prices and consumption trends, they change from time to time as well.

[Page 1468]

So I do appreciate the resolution that's brought forward, and as the member indicated earlier, I participated this past weekend in a funding announcement, which I believe was a huge boost of confidence to the beef industry in Nova Scotia. Along with our partners, the Government of Canada through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, and the Governments of Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, we announced $12 million to be invested in the future of the Maritime beef processing industry. Primarily, that's for the development of higher value differentiated beef products for international, national, and - near and dear to us in this Legislature - local markets. The investment will assist the Atlantic beef products of Borden-Carleton, P.E.I., to undertake marketing initiatives for diversified and value-added products and to purchase specialized equipment and provide advanced training.

I think it was Premier Ghiz who said at the press conferences on Sunday that basically the business plan, or the former business plan that Atlantic Beef Products had, was thrown out the window. PricewaterhouseCoopers did a very comprehensive study on the Atlantic Beef Products plant in P.E.I. and came back with several recommendations. Three or four of the recommendations spoke to the need to change the governance structure to come in with a different type of board of directors and to engage in some aggressive and effective marketing strategies. But as the Maritimes' only federally-inspected beef processing facility, Atlantic Beef Products, I believe, is critical, and is a critical piece of infrastructure for the Maritime beef industry.

Now, I'm not so sure that all people in the beef sector and, in fact, in politics, agree with the $12 million investment, but I can tell you that we received a lot of correspondence on this side of the House from groups such as the UNSM, from the Women's Institute of Nova Scotia, from the Maritime Cattle Council, imploring us to invest in the Atlantic Beef Products facility in Borden, but most all indicated that there was a need to change the business plan at the beef plant. So along with the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister responsible for ACOA, Premier Ghiz and the Agriculture Minister from New Brunswick, Ron Ouellette and the Agriculture Minister from P.E.I., Neil LeClair, we decided very early on in the game that, in fact, the beef plant will continue, provided it meets those conditions that were outlined by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

With the significant funding announcement, we believe we are investing in the future of the beef industry in this region but we can't stop there, Mr. Speaker. It is $12 million and this province is contributing $2 million. It will allow the industry to focus on higher value and differentiated products but as you may be aware, over the past several months, we have been discussing with the Nova Scotia producers some of the challenges that they are facing. While they want us to work with them and support the Maritime Beef Council, we think it's very important that we support our local producers.

[6:15 p.m.]

[Page 1469]

I do want to acknowledge and tip my hat to the Nova Scotia cattlemen and I know no stranger to the critics on the other side of the House would be Jim Bremner and Greg Sheffer and there's a farmer who is on the council from Cumberland County, Kurt Sherman, a young gentleman who certainly has articulated his point of view and the point of view of the industry many, many times to this minister.

I want to say that we're going to continue to work with the Nova Scotia Cattle Producers and this is really a national problem. I had an opportunity just last month to be in Toronto with the other Agriculture Ministers and all Agriculture Ministers across this country are working with the federal government to see if we can't put in place something to assist the red meat sector, and especially the cattle producers, because they need help and they need help now.

One thing I believe, Mr. Speaker, that will greatly assist - it's not the be-all and end- all - is the Agri-Invest and that's the upper 15 per cent of the CAIS program that will go into a program that is somewhat similar to the former NISA program, but the federal government - and I want to congratulate the federal government as they are going to kick-start those producer accounts to the tune of $600 million and we were, I believe, the first province across the country to sign off on that program, because come the end of the fiscal year, March 31st, we, of course, will have to pony up and do our part.

I don't believe that is enough, quite frankly, and I've expressed to my colleagues in the strongest possible terms that this sector needs assistance and they need assistance very, very shortly. I've been speaking with my colleagues, the Minister of Environment and Labour and the Minister of Energy and, of course, the federal government, about the need to look at the very fact that the farmers are the very best stewards of our land that you could see and appreciate across this country. Look at the green spaces that the farming community are creating and they get very, very little support from some of the green projects that are in place, if you will.

I truly believe that there has to be a cross department, or an interdepartmental review of the programs that are available provincially, the programs that are available federally and make those programs available to the farmers and, in fact, the resource-based sector, but especially to the farming community, because again, they create these green spaces. Just - oh my, it must be a month and a half ago, we were up in Masstown and there's a young farmer up there in the poultry business who invested in windmills and renewable energy and the program we have in the department, the Farm Investment Fund, while it does provide $10,000 on an annual basis, when you're investing $25,000 per windmill, well it's a help but is it really enough, Mr. Speaker? So I think we have to look at those types of projects, the farmers are providing the necessary leadership and I believe that we have to be there to support them, because renewable energy will help the farming community.

[Page 1470]

On the beef side of things, we are working on an industry strategy. Most of our feeders, Mr. Speaker, as you would know, go to P.E.I. for finishing, and with that beef plant now with a more secure future, I believe that will help our farmer in the long run. But in the short term, because of mad cow disease and because of things that have culminated since, the price now, I believe, is lower than it was, I think, four and a half years ago when the border closed. So we really have to bear down and look at things, we have to work together, we have to work with all Parties in this House, and we have to work with our federal colleagues in Ottawa, because it really is a national problem.

There's no magic bullet, there's no silver lining here, but we have to really be committed and recognize there is a future for the beef sector, and with our plant in P.E.I., should, God forbid, the border ever close again with our biggest trading partner, at least we have a federally-inspected plant that will take some of our product. So that's a good thing, but there is a lot of work to be done, and I'm certainly committed to working with the industry, working with my colleagues on all sides of the House to see if we can find a solution. Again, I tip my hat to the member for Kings West, because he brought forward an issue that really, really is important. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I want to thank the member for Kings West, as well, for bringing this issue forward for this debate. Some of my colleagues have hinted that they would like to share my time, but I'm not going to let them. I want to say how glad I am to see the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, and the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal there along with the Minister of Agriculture.

The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, in a former life, was the Minister of Agriculture and he had shown some interest in that sector. I think the people in the sector actually appreciated having him there - comments I hear were not all negative. There were mostly positive remarks regarding the minister. I know the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal's area, Cumberland County, has a very active beef sector and some very active farmers who promote their industry.

I wish I could speak in an overly-optimistic fashion about the industry, I cannot, and I'm not going to necessarily hammer the minister or the government on what I think they haven't done. But I want to say that governments used to talk about job creation, and we do hear it, we hear it about call centres, payroll tax rebates, and all this, these make great announcements, or governments like to think they do, but you know, in Nova Scotia, we finish about 8,000 head of cattle a year and we bring in the equivalent of 9,000 head a month to feed the people. So we don't really produce a twelfth of what we consume, and that's worth $200 million to $240 million consumer dollars that actually is used to buy mostly

[Page 1471]

Alberta beef into this province - probably the lion's share of taxes in that regard, which is supposedly $80 million, winds up in the coffers of Alberta.

I think it would be worth a significant investment on the part of the province to capture those dollars and to think what that would mean to sustain rural Nova Scotia. I'm only talking about one commodity, I'm only talking about beef, I'm not talking about investment in hogs or the ruminant sector, in particular, and I'm a sheep producer. The problems we have with the shipment of grain and the cost of grain, and the impact of corn production going into ethanol, and the cost of grain in that regard, really should make us look at finishing cattle on grass.

If there's anything that we can grow here - farmers in my area, it's a big dairy farming sector of the province, actually we produce 30 per cent of the milk consumed in this province, and those farmers sometimes make three or four cuts a year, they try to produce excellent haylage and silage, 19 per cent, 20 per cent , 21 per cent protein. If you buy grain from the mill, 8 per cent, 9 per cent, maybe 10 per cent protein, so you have to think about - and plus the grasses, the forages, are a much more balanced ration. That wouldn't mean you wouldn't have to add something. You can finish cattle on grass and this is a direction we actually should be moving.

In the Walkerton water contamination - when you have heavily grain-fed cattle, it causes them to produce a particular E.coli, which was part of the problem with the contamination at Walkerton. Grass-fed cattle don't produce that same organism, or in the significant amount. In 2003, before BSE, finished beef sold for $2.05 a pound, that's carcasses. A couple of weeks ago, it was selling out of the Atlantic Beef Products Plant, they were paying $1.11. Presently, right now, they're paying $1.30. So four years ago, cattlemen could get $2.05 or $2, you know, say $2 a pound; now they're getting $1.30. Four years ago diesel was 42 cents; now it's $1 a litre. So diesel is over doubled, but the price to the farmer is not over doubled.

So, I have to say to the minister and to the members opposite, to my colleagues, there are some things we should be pursuing. I actually am an advocate of approaching the federal government to see whether or not they couldn't give us another designation to our provincial plants, to consider them federally inspected. The product coming out the door at the end is every bit as good as what comes out of federally inspected plants. It's a healthy product. It's government-inspected by our inspectors.

As a matter of fact, some of the provincial inspectors will go work at a federal plant, or vice versa, so that we know the training component is the same. So we either should make an investment to bring these plants up to federal inspection qualifications or we should go to the federal government and say, well, look, call your present qualifications category A and call our provincial plants category B, but allow them to sell products across borders, and I think that would improve their marketability for these plants and for Nova Scotia producers.

[Page 1472]

The other thing that Nova Scotia producers are facing, Mr. Speaker, is this issue around the SRM material. The federal government had set aside for Nova Scotia, $6 million to transport SRM material to Quebec. Now, we're hoping that there will be some other interim solution in this province, but that will only be a temporary solution. Presently we're hauling backbones and whatever other SRM material is being frozen and hauled to Quebec at an incredible cost. So there's $6 million over two years. The federal government, through ACOA, announced $6 million to the Atlantic Beef Plant; our government put $2 million more. So there's $14 million and with absolutely no indication that producers will stay in business.

Now, there is an issue and my colleague, the member for Kings West, alluded to it, the Kelco report, which looked at the value chain and producers have to get more of the dollars out of the display case into their pockets and that's the challenge for government. There is a program in Quebec, the ASRA program, it's an insurance program, Mr. Speaker, and they set a base price and then if it drops below that price, the insurance kicks in and the farmer gets topped up to that price. They pay into the program, the government pays into the program. Maybe that wouldn't be the exact fit for Nova Scotia, but I think it's something we should be looking at for sure.

I think we should have a risk management program that the producer contributes to, the processor contributes to and the retailer contributes to, all into a fund that gives money to the producer. I think that would be a much more sensible approach to get those dollars out of the value chain and, you know, Mr. Speaker, something else. When you think about the things that government can do to help producers, in the Environment Act there's a clause around injurious affection. In other words, if they're found to have caused a problem environmentally, say, or whatever blame to be, then the government can step in and shut down their operation, no compensation to the producer.

In this bill - Bill No. 11, an Act Respecting Civil Forfeiture of Property - I'm not sure how much thought the government put into this bill but under provincial Statutes, if a farmer contaminated a stream, if a forestry operation contaminated a stream, then the province has a right to go in and seize their property. I don't know if the government actually intended for that to be an aspect of this bill, but this is another component of legislation that farmers would see hanging over their head in a case where they're not making enough money to meet their obligations, environmentally or otherwise.

So I want to say that I have some optimism for the industry. They have a ready market, but it's going to take some vision from government to help them move to a point where they are viable, and that has to come with dollars in the farmer's wallet so that he can invest. I thank the member for Kings West for an opportunity to debate this issue. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

[Page 1473]

MR. SPEAKER: I would like to thank all the honourable members for having taken part in tonight's late debate. We will now continue with third reading on Bill No. 45.

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING

Bill No. 45 - Companies Act. [Debate resumed.]

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

[6:30 p.m.]

MS. BECKY KENT: Mr. Speaker, as I started to say earlier, I rise to support Bill No. 45. It's a good amendment, as I noted before. Many businesses, particularly small businesses, are in need of measures like this in a sometimes very daunting world of regulations. But I would like to note as well though, that it is such a shame that a bill as relatively easy to move forward as this would have been allowed to die last year, a year of opportunity that businesses could have taken advantage of. But, nonetheless, it is here today, and I and my colleagues are prepared to support it. Thank you.

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

The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to - I want to thank the member opposite for that helpful information. She did begin by talking about the reduction of red tape. If I remember my comments back on the second reading of the bill, it was about 30,000 hours annually by which red tape in this province will be reduced. It will make it easier for companies to do business, not only native Nova Scotia companies but, as others will know, we have a number of companies from the States coming here and setting up unlimited liability companies and it will help them and also maintain our competitive advantage, because we now have Ontario and Alberta in that business as well.

Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to close debate on third reading of Bill No. 45.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 45. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

[Page 1474]

Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. CHUCK PORTER: Mr. Speaker, I move that you do now leave the Chair and the House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

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

The motion is carried.

[6:32 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker Mr. Wayne Gaudet in the Chair.]

[7:58 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened with Deputy Speaker Mr. Wayne Gaudet in the Chair.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The Chairman of the Committee of the Whole House on Bills reports:

THE CLERK: That the committee has met and considered the following bills:

Bill No. 4 - Pension Benefits Act.

Bill No. 16 - Human Rights Act.

Bill No. 36 - Liquor Control Act.

Bill No. 63 - Oil Refineries and L.N.G. Plants Municipal Taxation Act.

and the chairman has been instructed to recommend these bills to the favourable consideration of the House, each without amendment.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, I move that the House do now rise to meet again tomorrow at the hour of 11:00 a.m. The order of business will be the daily routine, followed by Opposition Members' Business.

[Page 1475]

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that the House now rise to meeto tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

We stand adjourned until 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday.

[The House rose at 7:59 p.m.]

[Page 1476]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 1166

By: Ms. Marilyn More (Dartmouth South-Portland Valley)

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women has a distinguished history of identifying and addressing issues that affect women in this province and beyond; and

Whereas without strong leadership and support of grass roots women's groups from the Advisory Council, many programs that benefit women today might not exist; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women celebrated its 30th Anniversary this year;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly express its gratitude to the Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women and to members and staff, past and present, for their hard work on behalf of all of the women of this province.

RESOLUTION NO. 1167

By: Mr. Pat Dunn (Pictou Centre)

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

Whereas the Pictou Regional Development Commission, in partnership with provincial departments and agencies, recently hired Active Communities Co-ordinator, Ruth Mitchell, to oversee 331 kilometres of new bike routes in Pictou County; and

Whereas roughly 61 kilometres will cover a bike lane on high traffic roads connecting towns in the county and the remaining 270 kilometres will cover recreational trails; and

Whereas the planned changes will encourage safer biking, promote well-being and now Pictou County can start to advertise itself as a biking destination, with plans to do so in the upcoming edition of the Doers and Dreamers Guide for Nova Scotia;

[Page 1477]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House send their congratulations to Pictou County and Ruth Mitchell for the hard work and initiative to see this important project through, proving that small changes can yield big and better things.

RESOLUTION NO. 1168

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 26-year old Sudanese refugee, Jacob Deng, first arrived in Canada in 2003, after escaping a horrific civil war in his home country; and

Whereas Mr. Deng escaped Sudan to start a better life in Nova Scotia, where he is currently a business student at Acadia University and founder of the Brick by Brick program; and

Whereas he started the campaign that encourages people to buy a brick for $25, with proceeds going towards the construction of much-needed schools in the African country and was recently a special guest speaker at St. George's Anglican Church in New Glasgow, where he informed the community of not only his goals and experiences, but his belief that education is the first step to a better life;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House send a hearty congratulations to Acadia Business School student Jacob Deng, reminding us all of the vast talent that newcomers can offer Nova Scotia, not only today, but in the future as well.

RESOLUTION NO. 1169

By: Mr. William Estabrooks (Timberlea-Prospect)

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

Whereas residents of the growing provincial constituency of Timberlea-Prospect have patiently waited for road improvements and paving; and

Whereas Brookside Road should be identified by the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal as a priority paving project; and

Whereas Brookside Road residents would much appreciate this necessary road work;

[Page 1478]

Therefore be it resolved that the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal clarify when Brookside Road will be paved.

RESOLUTION NO. 1170

By: Mr. William Estabrooks (Timberlea-Prospect)

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

Whereas residents of the growing provincial constituency of Timberlea-Prospect have patiently waited for road improvements and paving; and

Whereas Jericho Road, in Hubley, should be identified by the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal as a priority paving project; and

Whereas these residents would much appreciate this necessary road work;

Therefore be it resolved that the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal clarify when Jericho Road, in Hubley, will be paved.

RESOLUTION NO. 1171

By Mr. William Estabrooks (Timberlea-Prospect)

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

Whereas residents of the growing provincial constituency of Timberlea-Prospect have patiently waited for road improvements and paving; and

Whereas Prospect Bay Road should be identified by the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal as a priority paving project; and

Whereas these residents would much appreciate this necessary road work;

Therefore be it resolved that the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal clarify when Prospect Bay Road will be paved.

[Page 1479]

RESOLUTION NO. 1172

By: Hon. James Muir (Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations)

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

Whereas Ray Merriam and his business, the Fair Trade Community Café, were recently awarded the RBC New Small Business of the Year Award, which recognizes businesses less than five years old that have fiftyor less employees; and

Whereas Ray Merriam opened the Fair Trade Community Café on Prince Street almost two years ago, and in the Fall opened a second on Inglis Place which is co-owned by Janice McDougall and Jon Keddy; and

Whereas Ray Merriam's Fair Trade Community Café, which employs between ten and twenty people at each location, was also featured in a recent Costco Connections magazine and has received a food and beverage award from Central Nova Tourism Association;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House congratulate Ray Merriam and the Fair Trade Community Café on receiving the RBC New Small Business of the Year Award and wish them continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1173

By: Hon. James Muir (Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations)

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

Whereas the Colchester Christian Academy of Truro collected 18,416 pounds of food for the Colchester Food Bank in a three-day drive; and

Whereas during this, the 15th annual Colchester Christian Academy food bank drive, the average collection for each of the 95 K-12 students was 193.9 pounds; and

Whereas once again the Colchester Christian Academy demonstrated the true meaning of the Christmas season;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate and thank the students and staff of Colchester Christian Academy for their continuing demonstrations of the true Christmas spirit through their annual drives for the Colchester Food Bank.

[Page 1480]

RESOLUTION NO. 1174

By: Hon. James Muir (Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations)

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

Whereas the Cobequid Education Centre Cougars captured the 2007 NSSAF Division 1 Girls Volleyball Championship, besting Dr. J. H. Gillis School in the final; and

Whereas the CEC Cougars won all five of their tournament matches and did not lose a game during the tournament; and

Whereas the CEC Cougars have won the NSSAF Division 1 Girls Volleyball Championship in eight of the last ten years;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the CEC Cougars on winning the NSSAF Division 1 Girls Volleyball Championship and congratulate Cobequid Education Centre for its outstanding academic and athletic programming.

RESOLUTION NO. 1175

By: Hon. James Muir (Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations)

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

Whereas Gordie Maxwell of Truro is a 2007 inductee into the Colchester County Sport Hall of Fame; and

Whereas Gordie Maxwell started playing intermediate baseball at age 13, was a Maritime champion in 1957 as a member of the Truro Atlantic Electric Juveniles, won the Ontario fastball batting title in 1961, and played local baseball for the legendary Truro Sheiks, Londonderry Ironclads, and the Bible Hill Dairymen teams; and

Whereas Gordie Maxwell earned MVP honours playing hockey for the Hilden Owls and has also played with Bible Hill, Shubenacadie, and in Sudbury where he played with Bobby Mentis and future NHL-er Frank St. Marseilles;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Gordie Maxwell on being inducted into the Colchester County Sport Hall of Fame and wish him success in all his future endeavours.

[Page 1481]

[Page 1482]

RESOLUTION NO. 1176

By: Hon. James Muir (Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations)

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

Whereas Dave MacNeil was recently sworn in as the new Chief of Police in Truro, replacing retiring chief Ken MacLean; and

Whereas Chief Dave MacNeil, a native of Halifax, attended the police academy in P.E.I. fifteen years ago and did his on- the- job training with the Halifax Police Department; and

Whereas Chief MacNeil began his regular service in Truro and moved up the ranks of corporal, sergeant deputy chief;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House congratulate new Truro Chief of Police Dave MacNeil on assuming the leadership of the Truro Police Service and wish him all the best in his future work.

RESOLUTION NO. 1177

By: Hon. James Muir (Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations)

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

Whereas Norman Lockyer was presented with the 2007 CGA Association of N.S. FCGA Award for service to the CGA association, profession and community; and

Whereas Norman Lockyer has worked for the last 26 years as a CGA and currently serves as controller for O'Neil Fisheries in Nova Scotia, chaired the Chamber of Commerce in Port-aux-Basques, N.L. and the Newfoundland and Labrador Chamber of Commerce, chaired Digby's Scallop Days, coached minor hockey in Newfoundland and Labrador and high school hockey in Annapolis Royal and is an active curler; and

Whereas Norman Lockyer joined CGA Nova Scotia's Board of Directors in 2000, chaired association committees, served as Nova Scotia's representative on the board of CGA Student Services - Maritime Region and has been treasurer, second vice-president of CGA Nova Scotia;

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Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Norman Lockyer on receiving the 2007 CGA Association of N.S. FCGA Award and wish him continued success in his professional and community endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 1178

By: Hon. James Muir (Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations)

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

Whereas Joy Nicholson recently received an Outstanding Young Persons Award from the Colchester Chapter of Junior Chamber International in recognition of her excellence among her peers aged 19 to 40 in community innovation, leadership, accomplishment, achievement and contribution; and

Whereas Joy, whose love of yoga began in 1998, launched her business Joyful Yoga in 2006, also has her own line of Joyful Yoga bags; and

Whereas Joy taught her first yoga classes to mental health consumers while she was employed at the Canadian Mental Health Association;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House congratulate Joy Nicholson on receiving an Outstanding Young Persons Award from the Colchester Chapter of Junior Chamber International and wish her continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1179

By: Hon. James Muir (Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations)

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

Whereas Anne Clark McDonah recently received an Outstanding Young Persons Award from the Colchester Chapter of Junior Chamber International in recognition of her excellence among her peers, aged 19 to 40, in community innovation, leadership, accomplishment, achievement and contribution; and

Whereas Anne Clark McDonah is the owner and operator of the Belgravia Bed and Breakfast in Truro and has also opened her bed and breakfast to public tours sponsored by the Truro Tulip Festival and has made numerous other community contributions; and

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Whereas Anne volunteers for numerous organizations including those at her children's school, her local church, and she is on the board of directors for the Nova Scotia Bed and Breakfast Association, and has received the Provincial Volunteer Award from the Nova Scotia Lieutenant Governor;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Anne Clark McDonah on receiving an Outstanding Young Persons Award from the Colchester Chapter of Junior Chamber International and wish her continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1180

By: Hon. James Muir (Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations)

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

Whereas Janet Sutherland Tam recently received an Outstanding Young Persons Award from the Colchester Chapter of Junior Chamber International in recognition of her excellence among her peers, aged 19 to 40, in community innovation, leadership, accomplishment, achievement and contribution; and

Whereas Janet has been the Human Resource Manager at Peter Kohler Windows and Entrance Systems for the past four years and has made a positive impact on their employees, their families and the company; and

Whereas Janet has implemented innovative programs giving her company's employees an improved sense of self-confidence, personal fulfilment and enjoyment in their work;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Janet Sutherland on receiving an Outstanding Young Persons Award from the Colchester Chapter of Junior Chamber International and wish her continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1181

By: Hon. James Muir (Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations)

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

Whereas brothers, Don and Glen Smith of Truro, were honoured by the 2007 Host Committee of the Atlantic Breeders Crown as Nova Scotia Family of the Year for their decades of contributions to the harness racing industry; and

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Whereas Don and Glen Smith have been associated with harness racing since the early 1950s and have owned numerous racehorses and broodmares, such as the mare Bet's Messenger, stakes winners Joe Bifstick and Sir Elmo, top local stakes performer Sunnyside Ofstreet, broodmare Canal Street and her offspring, Kilkerran Scot and mare Bradlypond Nutmeg with stakes winning offspring Ornery Don, This Dons For You, Pinch of Nutmeg, Too Spicy For You and Outta Nutmeg; and

Whereas Glen Smith was also involved with Ken Starratt and Jamie Bagnall in establishing the Maritime Breeders Association, which has provided top purses each year for Maritime- bred two- and three- year horses since 1984;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Don and Glen Smith on their many contributions to harness racing and horse breeding, and wish them continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1182

By: Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay)

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

Whereas Carter Tracey, Kyle Comer, Jeff MacKinnon, Jonathan McKinnon, Liam Buchanan, Mitch Carabin, and Wayne Bedecki, members of the Boys AAA Hockey team at Glace Bay High School, received awards at the Cape Breton High School Hockey League awards banquet; and

Whereas Carter Tracey was named most valuable player and top scorer in the Cape Breton High School Hockey League and was also named to the first all-star team; Kyle Comer was awarded playoff MVP and was named the first all-star team as well; Jeff MacKinnon was named to the first all-star team and the league's top defenseman; the Panthers goaltender Jonathan McKinnon was named rookie for the year; and Liam Buchanan, Mitch Carabin, and Wayne Bedecki were named to the second all-star team; and

Whereas these players helped the Glace Bay High School Boy's AAA Hockey team to become regional champions;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate these students on their achievements and wish them success in their future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 1183

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal)

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

Whereas you can soon treat someone to dinner and a movie in Parrsboro without leaving town thanks to a brand new initiative underway at the Parrsboro Citizens Band Hall; and

Whereas as part of the ongoing Save the Hall campaign, a local film society has been formed as a branch of the Parrsboro Citizens Band Association and will soon launch a series of film showings at the historic hall; and

Whereas all proceeds will go towards paying off the equipment and eventually to the Save the Hall campaign;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the members of the Parrsboro Citizens Band Hall on this achievement and wish them success in this endeavour.

RESOLUTION NO. 1184

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 Parrsboro Regional Elementary School has gathered three tables of non-perishable food items for the Parrsboro and Area Food Bank since Thanksgiving; and

Whereas elementary students who participated in this annual food drive were excited to be able to be part of such a worthwhile and important cause for their community; and

Whereas the students were so excited about giving back to their community that they are planning another drive in February 2008;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Parrsboro Regional Elementary School students on this outstanding achievement and wish them continued success in all future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 1185

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal)

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

Whereas Megan Power, a student at West End Memorial School in Springhill, was one of three Grade 3 students that had her Remembrance Day project 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 Megan Power 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 Megan Power on having her Remembrance Day project chosen to be presented at this very important ceremony and wish her continued success in all future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 1186

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 Matthew Rector, a student at West End Memorial School in Springhill, was one of three Grade 3 students that had his Remembrance Day project 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 Matthew Rector 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 Matthew Rector on having his Remembrance Day project chosen to be presented at this very important ceremony and wish him continued success in all future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 1187

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal)

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

Whereas Donald Rushton was honoured on October 22, 2007, for his 30 years of dedicated service to the Province of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Donald Rushton has worked for the Department of Natural Resources for 30 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 contributes 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 Donald Rushton on his 30 years of service and wish him all the best in all future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 1188

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 resolutions:

Whereas Terry Shaw of Port Greville, Cumberland County, was shown how much he was appreciated by the Central Nova Tourist Association; and

Whereas Terry received the CNTA President's Award in recognition of his contributions to tourism development in the area, accepting a plaque from President Carol Taggart at the organization's annual awards banquet in Debert in May, 2007; and

Whereas Terry Shaw, who operates Ebb Tide Bed & Breakfast and Shaw Country Market with his wife, Gayle, in Port Greville, has been vice-president of the CNTA for the past five years and served on numerous committees, as well;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Terry Shaw on receiving this prestigious award and wish him continued success in all future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 1189

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal)

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

Whereas David Siddall of Southampton, Cumberland County, was named the Cumberland County 4-H Member of the Year for 2007; and

Whereas David, a member of the three-way 4-H Club, was instrumental in starting a basketball tournament in support of the Isaac Walton Killam Children's Hospital that has garnered over $4,000 in funds raised; and

Whereas David has been a 4-H member for 12 years, in which time he has taken part in beef, draft horse, welding and showcase activities, in addition he has served as president, vice-president, treasurer and club reporter, always sold tickets, organized fundraisers, worked on the float for the Christmas parade and much, much more;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate David Siddall on this prestigious award and wish him continued success in all future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 1190

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 Braydon Smith of Springhill participated in the Knights of Columbus Nova Scotia Free Throw Championships in Truro in May 2007; and

Whereas Braydon, along with 150 other students between the ages of 10 and 14, participated in the annual event; and

Whereas Braydon came home with a bronze medal for scoring 12 out of 25;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Braydon Smith on receiving the bronze medal for the Knights of Columbus Nova Scotia Free Throw Championships and wish him continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1191

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:

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Whereas Elizabeth Stewart of Oxford, Cumberland County, was one of several who were recognized for their dedicated service to the Oxford Volunteer Fire Department's Auxiliary by receiving service awards; and

Whereas on November 10th, friends, family, and firefighters and auxiliary 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 realizing it was essential that the volunteer auxiliary be recognized for their service as they play such an important and crucial role in the success of any department; and

Whereas Elizabeth Stewart was recognized on that evening for 37 years of dedicated service to the Oxford Fire Department Auxiliary;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Elizabeth Stewart for her 37 years of dedicated service to the auxiliary, her community and to the Province of Nova Scotia.

RESOLUTION NO. 1192

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 Sun Alliance has committed, through donations, to support upcoming events as part of an ongoing fundraising campaign for the Anne Murray Centre in Springhill; and

Whereas the Anne Murray Centre is a non-profit association established in Springhill, Nova Scotia - the original initiative for the Anne Murray Centre was to act as a catalyst to stimulate the economy of the community and to promote awareness of the music of Nova Scotia and Canada through the public presentation of Anne Murray's life and career achievements with Sun Alliance supporting this; and

Whereas Sun Alliance joined the board of directors and town officials for a presentation of their support to the Anne Murray Centre;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Sun Alliance on supporting the Anne Murray Centre and wish them all the best in all future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 1193

By: Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid)

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

Whereas Kendal Thompson plays skip for Team Nova Scotia which curls out of the Lakeshore Curling Club; and

Whereas Team Nova Scotia qualified for the Sylvan Learning 17 and Under Atlantic Curling Championship held in Brookfield; and

Whereas Team Nova Scotia captured the title for the Sylvan Learning 17 and Under Atlantic Curling Championship in Charlottetown, P.E.I.;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate Kendal Thompson on contributing to the success of Team Nova Scotia in capturing the title for the Sylvan Learning 17 and Under Atlantic Curling Championship and wish him and the team continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 1194

By: Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid)

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

Whereas Adam Berry plays third for Team Nova Scotia which curls out of the Lakeshore Curling Club; and

Whereas Team Nova Scotia qualified for the Sylvan Learning 17 and Under Atlantic Curling Championship held in Brookfield; and

Whereas Team Nova Scotia captured the title for the Sylvan Learning 17 and Under Atlantic Curling Championship in Charlottetown, P.E.I.;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate Adam Berry on contributing to the success of Team Nova Scotia in capturing the title for the Sylvan Learning 17 and Under Atlantic Curling Championship and wish him and the team continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 1195

By: Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid)

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

Whereas Mitch Cahill plays second for Team Nova Scotia which curls out of the Lakeshore Curling Club; and

Whereas Team Nova Scotia qualified for the Sylvan Learning 17 and Under Atlantic Curling Championship held in Brookfield; and

Whereas Team Nova Scotia captured the title for the Sylvan Learning 17 and Under Atlantic Curling Championship in Charlottetown, P.E.I.;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate Mitch Cahill on contributing to the success of Team Nova Scotia in capturing the title for the Sylvan Learning 17 and Under Atlantic Curling Championship and wish him and the team continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 1196

By: Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid)

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

Whereas Matthew Dumaresque plays lead for Team Nova Scotia which curls out of the Lakeshore Curling Club; and

Whereas Team Nova Scotia qualified for the Sylvan Learning 17 and Under Atlantic Curling Championship held in Brookfield; and

Whereas Team Nova Scotia captured the title for the Sylvan Learning 17 and Under Atlantic Curling Championship in Charlottetown, P.E.I.;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate Matthew Dumaresque on contributing to the success of Team Nova Scotia in capturing the title for the Sylvan Learning 17 and Under Atlantic Curling Championship and wish him and the team continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 1197

By: Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid)

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

Whereas Stephen Thompson is the coach for Team Nova Scotia which curls out of the Lakeshore Curling Club; and

Whereas Team Nova Scotia qualified for the Sylvan Learning 17 and Under Atlantic Curling Championship held in Brookfield; and

Whereas Team Nova Scotia captured the title for the Sylvan Learning 17 and Under Atlantic Curling Championship in Charlottetown, P.E.I.;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate Stephen Thompson on contributing to the success of Team Nova Scotia in capturing the title for the Sylvan Learning 17 and Under Atlantic Curling Championship and wish him and the team continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 1198

By: Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid)

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

Whereas Donna Dunnington and her 11-year old son, Chandler Dunnington of Sackville, have launched a monthly magazine called Kidz Talk; and

Whereas Kidz Talk magazine will include kid-friendly information and will be available in local schools and businesses; and

Whereas Kidz Talk magazine will contain jokes, advice columns, classifieds as well as featured on serious issues such as global warming and recycling;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly commend Donna Dunnington and 11-year old Chandler Dunnington of Sackville on the launch of the family-friendly Kidz Talk magazine and wish them success.

RESOLUTION NO. 1199

By: Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid)

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

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Whereas Gina Byrne is the owner/operator of Boston Pizza on Sackville Drive and is committed to promoting health and fitness in the community; and

Whereas Boston Pizza supports organizations such as the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Juvenile Diabetes and the Kids Help Phone; and

Whereas Ms. Byrne organized the first annual 3-on-3 Street Hockey Blast in the Boston Pizza parking lot, raising $810 for the Children's Asthma Centre at the Cobequid Community health Centre;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly commend Gina Byrne, owner of Sackville's Boston Pizza, on her commitment to promoting health and fitness in the community and her generosity in raising $810 for Children's Asthma Centre at the Cobequid Community Health Centre through the first annual 3-on-3 Street Hockey Blast.

RESOLUTION NO. 1200

By: Hon. Mark Parent (Environment and Labour)

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

Whereas Sherilyn Fritz, a resident of Port George, Annapolis County, has been the organist in the Port George/Mount Hanley United Baptist Churches for the past 25 years; and

Whereas since 1887, Sherilyn Fritz's family, through many generations, have been the organists for these respective churches; and

Whereas besides organist, Sherilyn Fritz has also served as secretary/treasurer, deacon and on the board of trustees for both the Port George and Mount Hanley United Baptist Churches, while along with her husband Glen, devoted many years of service to the communities of Port George and Mount Hanley;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly recognize the tremendous community and volunteer spirit offered by Sherilyn Fritz and her husband Glen to the people of Port George and surrounding areas in Annapolis County.

RESOLUTION NO. 1201

By: Mr. Keith Colwell (Preston)

[Page 1495]

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

Whereas Are You Smarter Than a Canadian Fifth Grader is a spinoff of the popular American show Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader, a show which challenges adult contestants to answer Grade 5 level questions on their quest for a $1 million prize; and

Whereas this summer Jacob Robertson of Bedford and Katherine Bearne of Halifax were chosen to play the role of the classmates, answering the questions and assisting the contestant; and

Whereas Jacob and Katherine were chosen from more than 1,000 applicants to be part of the team of seven classmates for the show;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Jacob Robertson and Katherine Bearne on their TV stardom and wish them every success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1202

By: Hon. Richard Hurlburt (Energy)

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

Whereas on December 3, 2007, Carleton Nova Scotia Consolidated School students, teachers, parents, volunteers and others participated in a ceremony marking the start of construction for a new gymnasium, library and music room after almost 49 years of functioning without them; and

Whereas Grade 6 student Brandon Goudey, Primary student Nolan MacDonald and pre-primary student Devan McDow assisted principal Linda Gallagher, Education Minister Honourable Karen Casey and yours truly, MLA Richard Hurlburt, to heft the ceremonial shovel; and

Whereas these three students performed their ceremonial task with much interest, enthusiasm and expertise, such as would leave no doubt that this is a very worthwhile and long-deserved improvement to the almost 50 year old facility and one which will greatly improve the education experience of students for years to come;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate and thank Brandon Goudey, Nolan MacDonald, Devan McDow, principal Linda Gallagher and all students at Carleton Consolidated School for the wonderful enthusiasm they have shown for

[Page 1496]

this project and the assistance they provided to two ministers of this House on a very cold, snowy day.

RESOLUTION NO. 1203

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas Valerie White is a native of New Ross, Lunenburg County, and a Registered Social Worker with more than 30 years of public service in direct social work, social policy and planning; and

Whereas in her role as the CEO of the Seniors Secretariat, she works closely with government departments, seniors, seniors' groups and professional organizations concerned with aging; and

Whereas on November 22, 2007, Ms. White was the recipient of the 18th Annual Progress Women of Excellence Awards in Management and the Professions;

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

RESOLUTION NO. 1204

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas October was Canadian Library Month and to celebrate libraries, the Five Bridges Junior High School student library crew hosted a Library Showcase on October 19, 2007; and

Whereas this showcase was an opportunity for students who are excited about reading and passionate about their school library to pass these feelings on to other students in the school and was also an excellent opportunity to increase literacy awareness in the school and greater community; and

Whereas the showcase was well attended and by all means a great success in helping to raise the awareness of the importance of libraries in our school system;

[Page 1497]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislative Assembly congratulate the staff and students on organizing a fantastic event and wish them much success in their future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 1205

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas 43 years ago, Calvin Armstrong, owner of Calvin's TV Sales and Service, set up a small business in his bedroom while working one day a week in New Ross, with a $500 loan from RCA; and

Whereas over the past 43 years, his business has grown steadily thanks to unparalleled customer service, competitive pricing and a commitment to community service; and

Whereas this past October, Mr. Armstrong was the only person surprised in the room when his business was selected as the winner of the Small Business of Excellence at the Lunenburg County Business Excellence Awards;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Calvin Armstrong, his wife Judy and all the staff at Calvin's TV Sales and Service on receiving this award and wish them much success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1206

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas the Lieutenant Governor's Education Medal had its inception in 1961 and is awarded to one boy and one girl in each school who has demonstrated qualities of leadership and service in the school and community; and

Whereas the Lieutenant Governor's Education Medal is open to all Grade 11 high school students and those in the first year of a vocational school program and students are nominated by their school; and

[Page 1498]

Whereas MacKenzie Peter Armstrong of Black Point was one recipient at the Sir. John A Macdonald High School;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate MacKenzie on receiving the Lieutenant Governor's Award and wish him much success in his future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 1207

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas the New Ross Volunteer Firefighters Auxiliary has been assisting the men and women of the New Ross Fire Department since 1967; and

Whereas firefighters at the New Ross Fire Department will readily admit that they could not be nearly as successful if it wasn't for the support of the members of the auxiliary, be it through fundraising or providing comfort in a time of need; and

Whereas this year the New Ross Volunteer Firefighters Auxiliary is celebrating its 40th Anniversary and are determined to continue their quest in supporting the firefighters;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the New Ross Firefighters Auxiliary and wish them much success in the years to come.

RESOLUTION NO. 1208

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas on November 3, 2007, Mother Nature decided to remind Nova Scotians just how powerful she can be; and

Whereas post-tropical storm Noel came barrelling toward our shores with wind speed in excess of 130 kilometres per hour and more than 70 millimetres of rain; and

Whereas as the power was disrupted all across Chester-St. Margaret's, men and women of the Black Point Fire Department went above and beyond to ensure that everyone was safe and sound;

[Page 1499]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank the men and women of the Black Point Fire Department for their dedication and hard work during post-tropical storm Noel and wish them much success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1209

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas on November 3, 2007, Mother Nature decided to remind Nova Scotians just how powerful she can be; and

Whereas post-tropical storm Noel came barrelling toward our shores with wind speeds in excess of 130 kilometres per hour and more than 70 millimetres of rain; and

Whereas as the power was disrupted all across Chester-St. Margaret's, men and women of the Blandford Fire Department went above and beyond to ensure that everyone was safe and sound;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank the men and women of the Blandford Fire Department for their dedication and hard work during post-tropical storm Noel and wish them much success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1210

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas Pernille Fischer Boulter is the founder and president of Kisserup International Trade Roots, a company that actively assists small and medium exporters throughout Atlantic Canada to find new international markets for their products and services; and

Whereas Ms. Boulter has a Master's Degree in Business Administration from the Copenhagen School of Business and has more than 20 years of experience in international business and has worked on projects in over 30 different countries; and

Whereas on November 22, 2007, Ms. Boulter was the recipient of the 18th Annual Progress Women of Excellence Awards in Communications and Public Affairs;

[Page 1500]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Ms. Boulter on her award and wish her much success in the years to come.

RESOLUTION NO. 1211

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas Adam Broome of New Ross, Lunenburg County, was selected to compete in a skills competition at NSIT; and

Whereas Adam competed in his chosen field of graphic design and out-designed his competition to take first place; and

Whereas by finishing first, Adam won the rights to represent Nova Scotia at the Nationals in Saskatoon earlier this year;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Adam on winning the skills competition and wish him much success in the future as he embarks on an exciting career in graphic design.

RESOLUTION NO. 1212

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas before the paint even had a chance to dry on the walls of the Chester Area Middle School, there was so such community interest in seeing the improvements that took place during Phase 4 of their multi-year renovation project that the school decided to host an open house on October 29, 2007; and

Whereas people attending the open house were treated to a slide show of students and staff at work, open classrooms, displays of student work, and refreshments; and

Whereas the shiny new classrooms, hallways, foyer and furniture were appreciated by all and the new technology dazzled but equally impressive are the not-so-obvious improvements such as an excellent ventilation system, substantial electrical upgrades, modern and efficient heating system, inter-classroom communication system, a new public address and sound system and a new state-of-the-art water treatment plant;

[Page 1501]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the students, staff and parents of the Chester Area Middle School on the improvements to their school and wish them much success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1213

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas Graham Carey from the Head of St. Margaret's Bay is just 19 years old and has been involved in his community for many years; and

Whereas Mr. Carey took on the ambitious task of participating in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award, a program aimed at youth between the ages of 16 to 25; and

Whereas in November of 2006, Graham was awarded his Bronze Standard by completing 15 hours of community service, an overnight outdoors expedition, learning to play the piano, and participating in 37 hours of fitness while playing for the St. Margaret's Bay SLAM basketball team;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend their most sincere congratulations to Graham on the completion of his Bronze Standard in the Duke of Edinburgh Award and wish him much success in the years to come.

RESOLUTION NO. 1214

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas Christie Chaplin-Saunders of Artifacts in Clay has increased her exposure to her customers - most of which are wholesalers - by participating in the largest craft buyers market in the United States; and

Whereas her beach-themed items, which can be purchased individually at her store in Chester or by wholesale, appeal to a wide range of people; and

Whereas this past October Ms. Chaplin-Saunders was honoured at the Lunenburg County Business Excellence Awards by winning the Export Achievement Award;

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Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislative Assembly congratulate Christie Chaplin-Saunders and all the staff at Artifacts in Clay on receiving this award and wish them much success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1215

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas on November 3, 2007, Mother Nature decided to remind Nova Scotians just how powerful she can be; and

Whereas post-tropical storm Noel came barrelling toward our shores with wind speeds in excess of 130 kilometres per hour and more than 70 millimetres of rain; and

Whereas as the power was disrupted all across Chester-St. Margaret's, men and women of the Chester Fire Department went above and beyond to ensure that everyone was safe and sound;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank the men and women of the Chester Fire Department for their dedication and hard work during post-tropical storm Noel and wish them success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1216

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas on November 3, 2007, Mother Nature decided to remind Nova Scotians just how powerful she can be; and

Whereas post-tropical storm Noel came barrelling toward our shores with wind speeds in excess of 130 kilometres per hour and more than 70 millimetres of rain; and

Whereas as the power was disrupted all across Chester-St. Margaret's, men and women of the Chester Basin Fire Department went above and beyond to ensure that everyone was safe and sound;

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Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank the men and women of the Chester Basin Fire Department for their dedication and hard work during post-tropical storm Noel and wish them much success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1217

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas the Municipality of the District of Chester runs a Business Rewards Program where they recognize a particular company within their jurisdiction for being leaders in waste management; and

Whereas in April of this year, the municipality recognized Kim Geldart, Jack Miller and the entire team at the Chester Pharmasave as leaders in waste management; and

Whereas Jack has set an outstanding example for his coworkers by encouraging them to sort waste properly and he also ensures that proper waste containers are in convenient locations and staff are well informed of proper procedures and should they be unsure as to where material goes, Jack has put signs in prominent places as a reminder;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the commitment that Kim Geldart, Jack Miller and all the staff at the Chester Pharmasave has made in protecting our environment and wish them much success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1218

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas the Lieutenant Governor's Education Medal had its inception in 1961 and 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 the Lieutenant Governor's Education Medal is open to all Grade 11 high school students and those in the first year of a vocational school program, and students are nominated by their school; and

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Whereas Brittannie Deanna Cochrane of Hubbards was one recipient at the Sir John A. Macdonald High School;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Brittannie on receiving the Lieutenant Governor's Award and wish her much success in her future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 1219

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas the Lieutenant Governor's Education Medal had its inception in 1961 and 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 the Lieutenant Governor's Education Medal is open to all Grade 11 high school students and those in the first year of a vocational school program, and students are nominated by their school; and

Whereas Heidi Marie Collicutt of Chester was one recipient at the Forest Heights Community School;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Heidi on receiving the Lieutenant Governor's Award and wish her much success in her future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 1220

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas the success to any non-profit organization such as Through the Years Day Care is the team of volunteers who are willing to assist in many different aspects; and

Whereas the Edwina J. Wells Volunteer Award recognizes the importance that the volunteers play in the success of Through the Years Day Care by paying tribute to the one person who goes above and beyond the call of duty; and

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Whereas Ernie Giles of Mill Lake was named the ideal recipient of this award;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislative Assembly congratulate Ernie on receiving the Edwina J. Wells Award and wish him much success in his future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 1221

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas the Lieutenant Governor's Education Medal had its inception in 1961 and 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 the Lieutenant Governor's Education Medal is open to all Grade 11 high school students and those in the first year of a vocational school program, and students are nominated by their school; and

Whereas Justin Travis Hiltz of New Ross was one recipient at the Forest Heights Community School;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Justin on receiving the Lieutenant Governor's Award and wish him much success in his future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 1222

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas on November 3, 2007, Mother Nature decided to remind Nova Scotians just how powerful she can be; and

Whereas post-tropical storm Noel came barrelling toward our shores with wind speeds in excess of 130 kilometres per hour and more than 70 millimetres of rain; and

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Whereas at the power was disrupted all across Chester-St. Margaret's, men and women of the Hubbards Fire Department went above and beyond to ensure that everyone was safe and sound;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank the men and women of the Hubbards Fire Department for their dedication and hard work during post-tropical storm Noel and wish them much success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1223

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas firefighters are the lifeblood of rural Nova Scotia communities who are called out at any given time of the day or night; and

Whereas Larry Keddy has been a volunteer with the New Ross Fire Department for 40 years and has dedicated countless hours and effort in keeping New Ross safe and his volunteer work has been greatly appreciated; and

Whereas a community without the devotion of volunteer firefighters would be a community living on the edge, not knowing whom they could call at a time of peril or distress;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank Larry Keddy for 40 years of voluntary service to the New Ross Fire Department and also for his bravery and commitment to the community.

RESOLUTION NO. 1224

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas LP Canexel is a leading manufacturer and distributor of building products worldwide; and

Whereas LP Canexel opened its doors in East River back in 1967 and has been producing high quality and affordable building materials ever since; and

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Whereas on September 26, 2007, plant managers and employees hosted an open house in celebration of the plant's 40th Anniversary;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the management and staff of LP Canexel for 40 successful years and wish them much success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1225

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas growing large gourds take a lot of patience, care and plain and simple good luck in order to be successful; and

Whereas Fenton McInnis of Simms Settlement has been able to harvest all three of these talents to grow what could be the world's largest pumpkin weighing in at an amazing 669 pounds and was heavy enough to earn him first place at the recent pumpkin weigh off in Hubbards; and

Whereas the pumpkin was not the only large gourd that Mr. MacInnis has been growing this year; during the same weigh off he presented a squash that weighed in at 146 pounds;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Fenton McInnis on his recent success of growing these large gourds and wish him much luck in future growing seasons.

RESOLUTION NO. 1226

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas firefighters are the lifeblood of rural Nova Scotia communities who are called out at any given time of the day or night; and

Whereas Laurie Myra has been a volunteer with the Western Shore and District Fire Department for 41 years and has dedicated countless hours and effort in keeping Western Shore safe and his volunteer work has been greatly appreciated; and

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Whereas a community without the devotion of volunteer firefighters would be a community living on the edge, not knowing whom they could call at a time of peril or distress;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank Laurie Myra for 41 years of voluntary service to the Western Shore and District Fire Department and also for his bravery and commitment to the community.

RESOLUTION NO. 1227

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas on November 3, 2007, Mother Nature decided to remind Nova Scotians just how powerful she can be; and

Whereas post-tropical storm Noel came barrelling toward our shores with wind speeds in excess of 130 kilometres per hour and more than 70 millimetres of rain; and

Whereas at the power was disrupted all across Chester-St. Margaret's, men and women of the New Ross Fire Department went above and beyond to ensure that everyone was safe and sound;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank the men and women of the New Ross Fire Department for their dedication and hard work during post-tropical storm Noel and wish them much success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1228

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

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

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

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Whereas on June 29, 2007, 40 years since the Order of Canada's inception, Elizabeth Parr-Johnston of Chester Basin was named as a Member of the Order of Canada for her work and dedication in the field of education;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Elizabeth Parr-Johnston on being named to the Order of Canada and wish her much success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1229

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas firefighters are the lifeblood of rural Nova Scotia communities who are called out at any given time of the day or night; and

Whereas Charles Rafuse has been a volunteer with the Western Shore and District Fire Department for 50 years and has dedicated countless hours and effort in keeping Western Shore safe and his volunteer work has been greatly appreciated; and

Whereas a community without the devotion of volunteer firefighters would be a community living on the edge, not knowing whom they could call at a time of peril or distress;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank Charles Rafuse for 50 years of voluntary service to the Western Shore Fire Department and also for his bravery and commitment to the community.

RESOLUTION NO. 1230

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas firefighters are the lifeblood of rural Nova Scotia communities who are called out at any given time of the day or night; and

Whereas Terry Rafuse has been a volunteer with the Western Shore and District Fire Department for 30 years and has dedicated countless hours and effort in keeping Western Shore safe and his volunteer work has been greatly appreciated; and

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Whereas a community without the devotion of volunteer firefighters would be a community living on the edge, not knowing whom they could call at a time of peril or distress;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank Terry Rafuse for 30 years of voluntary service to the Western Shore Fire Department and also for his bravery and commitment to the community.

RESOLUTION NO. 1231

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas on October 27, 2007, trail enthusiasts gathered in the St. Margaret's Bay area to celebrate the completion of the St. Margaret's Bay Area Rails to Trails, after 12 years of determined work by dozens of community volunteers and funding partners; and

Whereas the final 3 kilometres of trail were rolled with crusher dust this past summer and is now smooth for walking or riding all the way from Hubley to Hubbards, a distance of almost 31 kilometres; and

Whereas the completed trail system will be a legacy for many generations to come and provide a means for recreational enthusiast to enjoy the great outdoors;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank the many volunteers of the Rails to Trails Association who have helped to make this trail possible, congratulate them on their grand opening and wish them much happiness in the years to come.

RESOLUTION NO. 1232

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas on November 3, 2007, Mother Nature decided to remind Nova Scotians just how powerful she can be; and

Whereas post-tropical storm Noel came barrelling toward our shores with wind speed in excess of 130 kilometres per hour and more than 70 millimetres of rain; and

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Whereas as the power was disrupted all across Chester-St. Margaret's, men and women of the Seabright Fire Department went above and beyond to ensure that everyone was safe and sound;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank the men and women of the Seabright Fire Department for their dedication and hard work during post-tropical storm Noel, and wish them much success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1233

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas for more than a decade continuing care organizations in Nova Scotia, such as Shoreham Village in Chester, have recognized the month of September as continuing care month; and

Whereas the purpose of this promotional campaign is to increase public awareness and understanding about continuing care organizations, the programs and services they deliver and the important role they play in the lives of the people they serve; and

Whereas the aim of this year's campaign was to pay tribute to continuing care employees for their commitment to providing high quality care and the energy and compassion they bring to the important work that they do;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the commitment that the continuing care employees at Shoreham Village play in providing quality care and wish them much success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1234

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas October 20, 2007, was a grant day for Frank R. Smith of Glen Haven as he received the Meritorious Service Jewel Award for his years of service to the Loyal Seabright Union Lodge; and

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Whereas Mr. Smith has been involved in the Lodge for over 50 years and currently holds the office of Provincial Corresponding Secretary/Treasurer in the Acadia District; and

Whereas this is the first time that the award has been given to a person living in Nova Scotia by the Unity in Manchester, England, and was presented by the Provincial Grand Master of Lodge Dorothy Mae-Decamp;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislative Assembly congratulate Frank R. Smith on receiving the Meritorious Service Jewel Award and wish him much success in his future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 1235

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas like DiMaggio, Gretzky and Armstrong, New Ross's Leo Swinimer Sr. has set a record unlikely to ever be broken, but unlike those other guys, he accomplished his feat while in his 70's; and

Whereas under the gaze of media from as far away as New York and Boston, the 73-year old retired police officer won his fifth consecutive Windsor-West Hants Pumpkin Regatta on October 14, 2007; and

Whereas with six wins in seven attempts Mr. Swinimer has decided that he is ready to retire from the sport that he has pioneered and will not be paddling in the race next year;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Leo Swinimer, the Babe Ruth of pumpkin regattas, on all of his wins and wish him much happiness and health in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1236

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas the Municipality of the District of Chester runs a Business Rewards Program where they recognize a particular company within their jurisdiction for being leaders in waste management; and

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Whereas the Municipality recognized Stella and Brian van der Lugt, the owners and operators of VDL Property Management, as leaders in waste management; and

Whereas VDL is a firewood and property care business with practically no waste. Using e-mail instead of paper and giving away their scrap wood, sawdust and ark for reuse are just a couple of things they do to eliminate waste;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the commitment that Stella and Brian van der Lugt has made in protecting our environment and wish them much success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1237

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas on November 3, 2007, Mother Nature decided to remind Nova Scotians just how powerful she can be; and

Whereas post-tropical storm Noel came barrelling toward our shores with wind speed in excess of 130 kilometres per hour and more than 70 millimetres of rain; and

Whereas the power was disrupted all across Chester-St. Margaret's, men and women of the Western Shore Fire Department went above and beyond to ensure that everyone was safe and sound;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank the men and women of the Western Shore Fire Department for their dedication and hard work during post-tropical storm Noel and wish them much success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1238

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas the Western Shore and Area Fire Department has been helping to keep residents of Western Shore safe since 1957; and

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Whereas the entire force of firefighters are a voluntary group of men and women who offer their services to the Western Shore Area; and

Whereas this year they are celebrating their 50th anniversary of fire protection and emergency response for the Western Shore area;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the importance that the Western Shore and Area Volunteer Fire Department plays to the local community and wish them all the best in the years to come.

RESOLUTION NO. 1239

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas in the 1930s Reuben Heisler was approached by a group of local yachtsmen with concerns over the lack of variety in the area's sailing vessels; and

Whereas Mr. Heisler responded by designing the C-Class sloop, a cruising yacht that quickly became renowned in the Chester Basin area and beyond; and

Whereas The Whim, a 37-foot sloop, was one of the first C-Class sloops built in the series and was owned by Alberta Baker's family for the past 70 years and recently donated to the maritime Museum of the Atlantic, where Alberta and her family recently celebrated the completion of the first phase of a restoration project of The Whim, with Wayne Heisler of Chester, grandson of Reuben Heisler;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the importance that this boat has played in the sailing community around the world.

RESOLUTION NO. 1240

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas in the 1930s Reuben Heisler was approached by a group of local yachtsmen with concerns over the lack of variety in the area's sailing vessels; and

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Whereas Mr. Heisler responded by designing the C-Class sloop, a cruising yacht that quickly became renowned in the Chester Basin area and beyond; and

Whereas The Whim, a 37-foot sloop, was one of the first C-Class sloops built in the series and was owned by Alberta Baker's family for the past 70 years and recently donated to the maritime Museum of the Atlantic, where Alberta and her family recently celebrated the completion of the first phase of a restoration project of The Whim, with Wayne Heisler of Chester, grandson of Reuben Heisler;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank the Baker family for their donation in helping to preserve Nova Scotian history.

RESOLUTION NO. 1241

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas on November 3, 2007, Mother Nature decided to remind Nova Scotians just how powerful she can be; and

Whereas post-tropical storm Noel came barrelling toward our shores with wind speed in excess of 130 kilometres per hour and more than 70 millimetres of rain; and

Whereas the power was disrupted all across Chester-St. Margaret's, heeded warnings to take the necessary precautions as the storm approached and because of this, serious injuries were avoided with the rebuilding and cleanup process now schedules to move ahead;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank the residents of Chester-St. Margaret's for being so understanding during this difficult period of time.

RESOLUTION NO. 1242

By: Hon. Rodney MacDonald (The Premier)

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

Whereas on December 3rd, the International Day for the Disabled, East Novability in Port Hawkesbury held its Open House in part to thank the community for its support year-round and to highlight the achievements of four individuals; and

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Whereas clients Crystal Burke, Kara Gillis, Troy MacLean and Evan Sampson were recognized by the society for their individual successes; and

Whereas each has overcome significant challenges and changed their lives for the better, finding employment and independence;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate these four Nova Scotians on their significant achievements and thank East Novability for its work in assisting the disabled access employment opportunities while helping to unite with employers this skilled labour pool, while promoting universal access.

RESOLUTION NO. 1243

By: Mr. Michel Samson (Richmond)

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

Whereas Ronald Bourgeois has been involved with Canada's entertainment industry for over 30 years; and

Whereas Ronald is a national award-winning singer/songwriter, having received rave reviews and East Coast Music Award nomination as Francophone Recording of the Year and Male Artist of the Year; and

Whereas one of his songs, "Viens Avec Moi" is among the tracks on Roddy Romero and the Hub City All-Stars' CD, The Louisiana Sessions, an album which just recently was nominated for a Grammy award;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Ronald Bourgeois on his accomplishments and wish him many more years of success in the entertainment industry.