Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

HANSARD 08-34

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://nslegislature.ca/index.php/proceedings/hansard/

Second Session

WEDNESDAY, MAY 21, 2008

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Dill, Howard: Death of - Tribute,
The Premier 3574
Wallace, Ron: Death of - Tribute,
The Premier 3575
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 3257, Howard, Jonathan - Run the Dream Campaign,
The Premier, Mr. S. McNeil, Mr. D. Dexter 3577
Vote - Affirmative 3577
Res. 3258, 4-H Prog.: N.S. Members - Congrats.,
The Premier 3578
Vote - Affirmative 3579
Res. 3259, Duggan Laura/Mertens, Max: 4-H Hostess/Host N.S. - Congrats.,
Hon. B. Taylor 3579
Vote - Affirmative 3579
Res. 3260, Techsploration - Anniv. (10th),
Hon. M. Parent 3580
Vote - Affirmative 3580
Res. 3261, Com. Serv. - Supportive Housing for Young Mothers,
Hon. J. Streatch 3580
Vote - Affirmative 3581
Res. 3262, Health: Emergency Med. Serv. Teams - Dedication Recognize,
Hon. C. d'Entremont 3581
Vote - Affirmative 3582
Res. 3263, Sir Charles Tupper Students/Teachers - Welcome,
Hon. K. Casey 3582
Vote - Affirmative 3583
Res. 3264, Hants Co. Exhibition: Windsor Agric. Soc. - Best Wishes,
Hon. B. Taylor 3583
Vote - Affirmative 3584
Res. 3265, C.B. Metro VON - Commend,
Hon. J. Streatch 3584
Vote - Affirmative 3584
Res. 3266, Hfx. Reg. Search & Rescue: Logistic Support Vehicle - Acquisition,
Hon. D. Morse 3584
Vote - Affirmative 3585
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 3267, Williams, Sister Evelyn - Seton Award,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 3585
Vote - Affirmative 3586
Res. 3268, Wallace, Ron: Death of - Tribute,
Mr. S. McNeil 3586
Vote - Affirmative 3587
Res. 3269, Iona Vol. FD - MacNeil Fam.: Commitment - Recognize,
Mr. K. Bain 3587
Vote - Affirmative 3587
Res. 3270, Fisher, Gloria/Fam.:Dart. Entrepreneurs - Congrats.,
Ms. M. More 3588
Vote - Affirmative 3588
Res. 3271, Dill, Howard: Death of - Tribute,
Mr. H. Theriault 3588
Vote - Affirmative 3589
Res. 3272, Rowe, Amber - Ottawa Rotary Club Award,
Mr. C. Porter 3589
Vote - Affirmative 3590
Res. 3273, Domanski, Don - Atl. Poetry Prize,
Mr. L. Preyra 3590
Vote - Affirmative 3590
Res. 3274, Belliveau Motors: Fundraising - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Gaudet 3591
Vote - Affirmative 3591
Res. 3275, Stone, Dale - Horses: Dedication - Applaud,
Mr. K. Bain 3591
Vote - Affirmative 3592
Res. 3276, Mainland South Heritage Soc. - Success Wish,
Ms. M. Raymond 3592
Vote - Affirmative 3593
Res. 3277, Avon View HS - "Deliver us from Temptation": Production -
Congrats., Mr. C. Porter 3593
Vote - Affirmative 3594
Res. 3278, Old Sydney Soc./Whitney Pier Hist. Soc.: Efforts - Recognize,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 3594
Vote - Affirmative 3594
Res. 3279, Cole, Gene - N.S. Commun.: Commitment - Congrats.,
Mr. P. Dunn 3594
Vote - Affirmative 3595
Res. 3280, Landmark East Sch./Churchill Acad./Bridgeway Acad.:
Accomplishments - Recognize, Hon. D. Morse 3595
Vote - Affirmative 3596
Res. 3281, Bishara, Joe: Maple Grove Mem. Club - Congrats.,
Hon. C. d'Entremont 3596
Vote - Affirmative 3597
Res. 3282, Campbell, Louise: QC Designation - Congrats.,
Hon. R. Chisholm 3597
Vote - Affirmative 3598
Res. 3283, Webb, Francis: Retirement - Best Wishes,
Hon. A. MacIsaac 3598
Vote - Affirmative 3598
Res. 3284, Densmore, Ruby/Redden, Velma: Bedford Contribution - Recognize,
Hon. L. Goucher 3598
Vote - Affirmative 3599
Res. 3285, Forbes, Mae - Caring Cdn. Award,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 3599
Vote - Affirmative 3600
Res. 3286, Brenton, Laura - Terry Fox Run Prize,
Hon. K. Casey 3600
Vote - Affirmative 3601
Res. 3287, Boyd, Bill: Kentville Serv. - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Parent 3601
Vote - Affirmative 3601
Res. 3288, Tibert, Kim - Celebration of Sport Award,
Hon. M. Baker 3601
Vote - Affirmative 3602
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 330, Health: Critical Care - Sustainability, Mr. D. Dexter 3602
No. 331, Educ.: Autism Strategy - Commitment, Mr. S. McNeil 3604
No. 332, Health: ICUs - Downgrading, Mr. D. Dexter 3605
No. 333, Justice - C.B. Corr. Ctr.: Asbestos - Info., Mr. D. Dexter 3606
No. 334, Health: Seniors' Pharmacare - Budgeting,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 3608
No. 335, Health - Seniors' Pharmacare: Increase - Explain,
Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 3609
No. 336, Health: EIBI Prog. - Extend, Mr. T. Zinck 3610
No. 337, Environ.: E-Waste - HST, Mr. K. Colwell 3612
No. 338, Health: Continuing Care Strategy - Adequacy,
Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 3613
No. 339, TCH: Tourism Ind. - Statistics, Mr. H. Theriault 3614
No. 340, TCH: Agri-Tourism - Develop, Ms. M. Raymond 3616
No. 341, Immigration: Retention Rate - Details, Mr. L. Preyra 3617
No. 342, Health: Digby ER Plan - Status, Mr. H. Theriault 3619
No. 343, EMO - Vulnerable People: Emergency Preparedness -
Central Registry, Ms. M. More 3620
No. 344, Justice - C.B. Corr. Ctr.: Asbestos Problem - Code of Practice,
Mr. G. Gosse 3621
No. 345, Health: Rural Health Task Force - Status,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 3622
No. 346, Serv. N.S. & Mun. Rel.: Firefighters - Driver Training Assistance,
Mr. C. Parker 3623
No. 347, Fish. & Aquaculture: Fishery Mgt. (Fed.) - Min. Action,
Mr. S. Belliveau 3625
No. 348 Can. Coast Guard Coll. - Training Vessel: Removal - Update,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 3626
No. 349, Com. Serv.: Child Care Spaces - Lack Explain,
Ms. M. Raymond 3627
No. 350, Econ. Dev. - Hfx. Port: Customers - Bring Back,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 3629
OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS:
PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 139, Autism Working Group Act,
Ms. B. Kent 3630
Hon. C. d'Entremont 3633
Hon. K. Casey 3635
Mr. L. Glavine 3637
Mr. T. Zinck 3639
No. 62, Government Purchases Act,
Mr. Clarrie MacKinnon 3643
Hon. A. MacIsaac 3645
Hon. M. Parent 3647
Mr. K. Colwell 3648
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 3651
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Dill, Howard: Contributions - Salute,
Mr. C. Porter 3654
Mr. C. MacKinnon 3656
Mr. L. Glavine 3658
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Thur., May 22nd at 3:00 p.m. 3660
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 3289, Ross, Norman: Tennis Accomplishments - Congrats.,
Hon. C. Clarke 3661
Res. 3290, Go Clean Get Green Campaign (Pictou Co.):
Organizers/Participants - Congrats., Mr. P. Dunn 3661
Res. 3291, Morris, Amanda: Musical Abilities - Commend,
Mr. C. Porter 3662
Res. 3292, Barnes, Kevin: Musical Artistry - Applaud, Mr. C. Porter 3662
Res. 3293, Naugler, Noah - Bridgewater Hockey Award,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 3663
Res. 3294, Kaulbach, Ian - Bridgewater Hockey Award,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 3663
Res. 3295, Rogers, Mark - Bridgewater Hockey Award,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 3663
Res. 3296, Oickle, Jenna - Celebration of Sport Award,
Hon. M. Baker 3664
Res. 3297, Mossman, Savannah - Celebration of Sport Award,
Hon. M. Baker 3664
Res. 3298, Boudreau, Megan - Celebration of Sport Award,
Hon. M. Baker 3665
Res. 3299, Langille, Jessica - Celebration of Sport Award,
Hon. M. Baker 3665
Res. 3300, Whynot, Courtney - Celebration of Sport Award,
Hon. M. Baker 3666
Res. 3301, Worthing, Brandon - Celebration of Sport Award,
Hon. M. Baker 3666
Res. 3302, Garland, Alexander - Celebration of Sport Award,
Hon. M. Baker 3667
Res. 3303, Bernier, Michael - Celebration of Sport Award,
Hon. M. Baker 3667
Res. 3304, Mertens, Max - Celebration of Sport Award,
Hon. M. Baker 3668
Res. 3305, Haughn, Zack - Celebration of Sport Award,
Hon. M. Baker 3668
Res. 3306, Forsyth, Darlene - Celebration of Sport Award,
Hon. M. Baker 3669
Res. 3307, Langford, Jennifer - Celebration of Sport Award,
Hon. M. Baker 3669
Res. 3308, MacKinnon, Heather - Celebration of Sport Award,
Hon. M. Baker 3670
Res. 3309, Anna. Valley Bus. Environmental Comm. - Mobius Award,
Hon. M. Parent 3670
Res. 3310, C.B. Dist. Health Auth. - Mobius Award, Hon. M. Parent 3671
Res. 3311, Corp. Serv. Co. - Mobius Award, Hon. M. Parent 3671
Res. 3312, Elmsdale Recycling - Mobius Award, Hon. M. Parent 3672
Res. 3313, Clausson-Munro, Jill - Mobius Award, Hon. M. Parent 3672
Res. 3314, Lawrencetown Cons. Sch. - Mobius Award, Hon. M. Parent 3673
Res. 3315, Richmond Co. Mun. - Mobius Award, Hon. M. Parent 3673
Res. 3316, Oland Brewery - Mobius Award, Hon. M. Parent 3674
Res. 3317, Sobeys Inc. - Mobius Award, Hon. M. Parent 3674
Res. 3318, Alderson, Elizabeth - Junction Rd. Home & Sch.:
Springhill Vol. of Yr., Hon. M. Scott 3674
Res. 3319, Crowley, Marshall - Skills Comp., Hon. M. Scott 3675
Res. 3320, Gogan, Amos - KOC: Springhill Vol. of Yr., Hon. M. Scott 3675
Res. 3321, Hacz, Debbie - Girl Guides of Can.: Springhill Vol. of Yr.,
Hon. M. Scott 3676
Res. 3322, MacDougall, Mary Ellen/Booster Group - Murray Commun. Ctr.:
Springhill Vol. of Yr., Hon. M. Scott 3676
Res. 3323,Tilt, Rochenda: Life-Saving Action - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Scott 3677
Res. 3324, Quinn, Wade: Life-Saving Action - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Scott 3677
Res. 3325, Joggins FD: Life-Saving Action - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Scott 3678
Res. 3326, River Hebert FD: Life-Saving Action - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Scott 3678
Res. 3327, Hunter, WO James - Meritorious Serv. Medal,
Hon. M. Scott 3679
Res. 3328, Daborn, Cadet Calvin: Promotion - Congrats,
Hon. M. Scott 3680
Res. 3329, Isshin Ryu Karate Club: Members - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Scott 3680
Res. 3330, MacGillivary, Dwight: Bus. Success - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Scott 3681
Res. 3331, Shore Dr. Commun. Dev. Assoc.: Clean-Up - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Scott 3681
Res. 3332, River Hebert Youth Summer Soccer Prog.: Vols./Participants -
Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 3682
Res. 3333, Oxford FD - MD Fundraising, Hon. M. Scott 3682

[Page 3573]

HALIFAX, WEDNESDAY, MAY 21, 2008

Sixtieth General Assembly

Second Session

2:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Alfie MacLeod

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Mr. Wayne Gaudet

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The draw for the late debate has taken place. It was submitted by the MLA for Hants West:

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House salute the tremendous life and contributions of our province's Pumpkin King, Mr. Howard Dill.

We will now commence the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

[Page 3574]

3573

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, I rise today to note the passing of one of our province's outstanding citizens. A proud farmer and a proud Nova Scotian, Howard Dill became world-renowned for his giant pumpkins. He spent most of his lifetime to breed the Atlantic Giant, and was honoured with the World Pumpkin Confederation's highest tribute, the Lifetime Service and Achievement Award.

This kind and thoughtful man also became a tremendous ambassador for our province. His hard work and innovations in the agricultural industry made him a household name throughout our province and throughout the world. His tremendous collection of hockey memorabilia and promotion of Long Pond's connection as the "Cradle of Hockey" in Canada went a long way to raise the esteem of this province's connection with such an historical first.

On behalf of all Nova Scotians, I send our deepest sympathies and admiration to his wife, Hilda, and children, Andrew, Danny, Maureen and Diana, and his much-loved grandchildren.

Mr. Speaker, following the statements made by myself and by the Opposition Leaders, I would ask for a moment of silence, but waiting until after we acknowledge another outstanding Nova Scotian.

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

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I would begin by associating myself with the comments that were made by the Premier with respect to Mr. Dill. He was a farmer and a hockey fan who pursued his passions and excelled in them. He was a self-taught geneticist who, through determination and perseverance, bred giant pumpkins - and he and his pumpkins are in the Guinness Book of World Records. He sold the patented seeds all over the world and even had requests from China and Russia. He and his pumpkins were featured in numerous publications, including National Geographic and The Wall Street Journal.

He not only put Nova Scotia on the world pumpkin stage, he also put us into hockey history. Mr. Dill, as was mentioned, promoted his family's Long Pond as "The Birthplace of Hockey" and the place that the CBC chose to highlight in a series about the history of our national sport.

So, Mr. Speaker, I would join the Premier in expressing the deepest sympathies of our caucus to his wife, his children, and his grandchildren.

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

[Page 3575]

MR. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, I, too, rise to pay tribute to the late Howard Dill on behalf of the Liberal caucus. Mr. Dill truly was a remarkable Nova Scotian, putting Windsor on the map with his giant pumpkins and his contribution to the yearly pumpkin regatta, a race which gained international attention. Mr. Dill's agricultural skills were unmatched in the pumpkin patch, earning him a spot in the editions of Ripley's Believe It or Not, national media coverage from Martha Stewart, and countless awards. His farming talents not only contributed to the rich agricultural history of this province, but also made Windsor and his farm a popular tourist destination in this province.

On behalf of the Liberal caucus and all Nova Scotians, we express our condolences to his wife, Hilda, and his children and grandchildren during this difficult time, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I rise again to note the passing of a former member of this House and a long-serving Mayor of the City of Halifax, Mr. Ron Wallace. He served in this Chamber as the MLA for Halifax Citadel from 1970 to 1978 and as the city's mayor from 1980 to 1991. He was named to the Order of Canada for his tireless efforts to make a difference in our country through a lifetime of achievement, merit and service to his community. As mayor, Ron Wallace served the people with grace and thoroughly enjoyed his job, though there was never any doubt that he loved talking and being amongst the people whom he served. In addition to his accomplishments in the political rink, Ron Wallace excelled in the boxing ring as a champion boxer who was recognized with his election to the Canadian Boxing Hall of Fame in 1991. His son noted yesterday that Ron Wallace's most keen focus was his family. Today we send our sympathies to his wife of 60 years, Patricia, his children and grandchildren. He'll be missed by them and by many across our province.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for a moment of silence once again after my colleagues from across the floor have had their opportunity to make their statement for both Mr. Wallace and, of course, Mr. Dill.

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

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, not only was Ron Wallace one of Halifax's longest serving mayors, he was also one of the city's most respected and I'm sure, like many in this House, I can remember the mayor's panel on CBC that was keenly watched by many people around the province. Ron Wallace often dealt with issues with humour and humility. He was devoted to his community. He was dedicated to public service. As was mentioned, he served in this Chamber for eight years as the Liberal MLA for Halifax Citadel. He was a man of some contradiction. In the boxing ring, he was a champion fighter but in the political ring, he was a quiet and gentle man known for his dry sense of humour.

[Page 3576]

Mr. Speaker, I and my colleagues join the Premier and indeed with all Nova Scotians in expressing our sympathies to his wife, his children and his grandchildren.

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

[2:15 p.m.]

MR. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of our caucus, I, too, rise to pay tribute to Ron Wallace. Mr. Wallace, having served in public life for 19 years as a member of the Legislature and as Mayor of Halifax, is a shining example for all of us in public life. I want to associate myself to the remarks made by the Premier and the Leader of the Official Opposition in praising the many achievements of Mr. Wallace in his time in office, his many achievements throughout his professional boxing career, and his lasting dedication to his wife, his children and his grandchildren. On behalf of our caucus, we extend our deepest condolences to the family of Ron Wallace.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.

MR. CHUCK PORTER: Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to rise for just a moment to speak about Mr. Howard Dill, a great man from the Windsor-West Hants area and just to share a short story in the few seconds that I have. Each and every year a number of the new, young elementary school kids walk over to Howard Dill's farm and get the tour about pumpkins, about hockey and the Long Pond and so on. All of my children have had that opportunity. Recently we were there, as we are every year to have a look around and get pumpkins and do the hockey thing. As we were leaving we would exchange pleasantries with Howard and I would say, Goodbye, Howie, we'll see you again soon. As we were walking down the hill back to our vehicle, my daughter leans over and said, Dad, that's not Howie, that's Mr. Dill, the Pumpkin King.

MR. SPEAKER: Please rise for a moment of silence.

[A moment of silence was observed.]

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

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, in your gallery we have a special guest from Costa Rica, Dr. Luis Santamaria Betancourt, Medical Coordinator for Costa Rica's Telehealth program, visiting Nova Scotia from May 19th to May 24th to learn about the province's Telehealth network. Dr. Betancourt is the medical coordinator of the operative section of Telemedicine in Costa Rica. He is a pediatric surgeon. He's the president of the Association of Paediatric Surgeons of Costa Rica and the president of the Ibero-American Association of Paediatric Surgery. I would ask the House to give Dr. Betancourt a warm Nova Scotia welcome. (Applause)

[Page 3577]

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 3257

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing this notice of motion with the Leaders of both of the other Parties, again, making minority government work. (Laughter) We're all playing our part.

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

Whereas autism spectrum disorder can severely affect the ability of children to interact with the world around them and the Autism Society of Canada estimates the incidence rate for autism in Canada is one in every 286 births; and

MR. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Whereas so much needs to be learned about the causes of autism and how we can all better help families deal with the physical, emotional and financial challenges that come with having a child with autism;

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly rise and acknowledge the extraordinary efforts of Jonathan Howard as he runs across Canada on his Run the Dream campaign to raise awareness of autism spectrum disorder and raise $2.5 million towards improving services to children with ASD.

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. (Standing Ovation)

I'm going to call on the honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage to introduce our autism guests.

[Page 3578]

MS. BECKY KENT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It's my pleasure, as well, to be able to take part in today's festivities by introducing, frankly, some movers and shakers on this issue in our Province of Nova Scotia. I'd like to start with Vicki Harvey. Vickie is a resident of Eastern Passage and I'm proud to say she's a friend of mine. She's also the Executive Director of the Autism Society of Nova Scotia, so we welcome Vicki.

Bill Robertson, he is the Chair of the Run for the Dream event; Michelle Gardner, the President of the Cape Breton Autism Society and Jocelyn Tingley and Tracey Avery, Co-Presidents of the Autism Society of Nova Scotia. Welcome to the Legislature, we're pleased to have this event certainly around us today and I would ask the whole House to welcome them.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, if I might be able to make an introduction before my resolution.

MR. SPEAKER: Please do.

THE PREMIER: Thank you. Mr. Speaker, in your gallery this afternoon, we have representatives of the Nova Scotia 4-H program. Earlier this afternoon, I had the pleasure of meeting with this group of fine individuals to learn more about the valuable skills and benefits that the 4-H program offers our young.

Mr. Speaker, in the gallery today we have Laura Duggan from Antigonish County and the 2008 Nova Scotia 4-H hostess; we have Max Mertens from Lunenburg County and the 2008 4-H host; Cheryl Burbidge, past president of the Nova Scotia 4-H Council; Don Conrad, second vice president of the Nova Scotia 4-H Council; Eva Cook, South Shore director of the Nova Scotia 4-H Council; Abby Cook, a junior 4-H member; Hannah Cook, a senior 4-H member; and Danielle Comeau, a senior 4-H member. I would ask all of our guests to rise and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

RESOLUTION NO. 3258

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia 4-H program for youth ages 9 to 21 instils in its members the value of leadership, community service, friendly competition and model citizenship; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia 4-H program in 86 years has grown to include over 2,400 members, completing 4,400 projects with 1,000 volunteer leaders and 100 clubs across Nova Scotia; and

[Page 3579]

Whereas the Nova Scotia 4-H program, with the third largest membership in Canada, has appropriately chosen 4-H 2008 - A Step to the Future as its theme this year;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate all Nova Scotia 4-H members and thank the invaluable 4-H leaders for contributing to our rural communities and ensuring a vibrant future for our agricultural industry.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Agriculture.

RESOLUTION NO. 3259

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

Whereas the annual Nova Scotia 4-H weekend was held May 9th to 10th at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College bringing together over 250 4-H members; and

Whereas 4-H members competed in public speaking, demonstration and woodsmen competitions and participated in the Nova Scotia Horse Classic throughout the weekend; and

Whereas during 4-H Night in Nova Scotia on May 10th, 4-H members Laura Duggan from Upper South River, Antigonish County and Max Mertens from New Germany, Lunenburg County were selected to be the 2008 Nova Scotia 4-H Hostess and Host;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate Laura and Max for their achievement and wish them well as they carry out their duties as Nova Scotia's 4-H ambassadors for the year - they truly are learners today and will be leaders tomorrow.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 3580]

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 Labour and Workforce Development.

RESOLUTION NO. 3260

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

Whereas for the past 10 years Techsploration has provided young women in Grades 9 to12 with the information and experience they need to make informed choices in pursuing a career in the sciences, trades and technologies; and

Whereas now, more than ever, with an unparalleled demand for skilled workers, Techsploration's efforts are becoming increasingly important as they continue to provide Nova Scotia's youth with accurate information, hands-on experiences and mentoring with female role models; and

Whereas Techsploration positively affects the entire community and acts as a catalyst for ongoing partnerships between teachers, parents, female role models, educators, industry, government, unions and professional associations;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Techsploration for 10 years of success and recognize the many sponsors and volunteers whose support continues to enable Techsploration's sustainability and growth.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 3581]

The honourable Minister of Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 3261

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

Whereas Supportive Housing for Young Mothers, or SHYM, is a transitional supportive residential program in Dartmouth providing 12 two-bedroom units for young mothers aged 16 to 24 for up to two years; and

Whereas the program provides these young mothers and their children a nurturing environment while they learn skills that allow them to progress towards healthy parenting and independent living; and

Whereas SHYM celebrated a grand opening May 10th of their bright apartments where residents have access to live-in staff who assist them in various ways;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the achievements of the staff and congratulate everyone at SHYM for the tremendous effort in helping to make Nova Scotia a better place to access opportunities and raise a family.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 3262

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

[Page 3582]

Whereas the members of the emergency medical services teams are ready to provide lifesaving care to those in need 24 hours a day, seven days a week; and

Whereas the members of emergency medical service teams, whether career or volunteer, engage in thousands of hours of specialized training and continuing education to enhance their lifesaving skills; and

Whereas this week, May 18th to 24th, is Emergency Medical Services Week;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the dedication and commitment of Nova Scotia's emergency physicians, emergency nurses, paramedics, communications officers, medical and first responders, firefighters, educators, administrators and others and thank them for the wonderful job they do every day.

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.

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, perhaps I could ask that guests in our gallery stand during the reading of this resolution. We have Grade 6 students here from Sir Charles Tupper Elementary School. Perhaps they could stand while I read the resolution.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 3263

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 end of the school year signifies big steps for our province's students; and

[Page 3583]

Whereas we have in our gallery today, Grade 6 students from Sir Charles Tupper Elementary School in Halifax who are looking forward, with great anticipation, to their graduation from the first level of our public school program; and

Whereas these young men and women have grown not only in stature, but in knowledge during their elementary years;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House welcome and congratulate our future leaders and their teachers, Bev White and Fran Schram, who have imparted on these students the importance of lifelong learning, our rich Nova Scotia heritage and our democratic process.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried. (Applause)

[2:30 p.m.]

The honourable Minister of Agriculture.

RESOLUTION NO. 3264

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

Whereas another season of agriculture exhibitions and community fairs will soon be underway in Nova Scotia, providing many opportunities for us to celebrate our agriculture industry and our rural communities; and

Whereas exhibitions have been an important part in Nova Scotia's way of life for over 200 years; and

Whereas the Hants County Exhibition, which will be held in September at the Exhibition Grounds in Windsor, was established in 1765 and has the distinction of being the oldest agriculture fair in all of North America;

[Page 3584]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature recognize this significant honour for Nova Scotia and offer best wishes to the Windsor Agricultural Society as they prepare to host the 243rd Hants County Exhibition.

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. 3265

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 week of May 19th to May 25th is Victorian Order of Nurses Week in Nova Scotia and VON volunteer members are providing community programs to improve the quality of life of our senior population; and

Whereas the Cape Breton Metro VON provides community services to approximately 20 senior citizen complexes in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, including health and nutrition information, gentle exercise demonstrations, and blood pressure and blood sugar; and

Whereas the Department of Community Services is proud of the work of VON volunteers through the coordination of the Cape Breton Island Housing Authority;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend the Cape Breton Metro VON volunteers for improving the lives of seniors in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 3585]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Acting Minister of Emergency Management.

RESOLUTION NO. 3266

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

Whereas the 1,500 volunteers who make up Nova Scotia's 24 ground search and rescue teams are key partners in the safety and security of Nova Scotians; and

Whereas on April 8th, Halifax Regional Search and Rescue debuted its new logistical support vehicle, which will act as an onsite comfort station for team members during searches; and

Whereas the Government of Nova Scotia contributed $93,000 toward the purchase of this $300,000 vehicle through the Emergency Services Provider Fund;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the members of Halifax Regional Search and Rescue on the acquisition of this new tool to assist them in their vital public service.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

NOTICES OF MOTION

[Page 3586]

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

RESOLUTION NO. 3267

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

Whereas Sister Evelyn Williams, founder and administrator of the Seton Spirituality Centre in Terence Bay, recently received the Sister Elizabeth Seton Award; and

Whereas this award is annually presented to a Sister of Charity for living a life emulating the order's founder; and

Whereas Sister Evelyn has served as a teacher in Cape Breton, a chaplain at Mount Saint Vincent, a probation officer for Correctional Services Canada, and is recognized as one of the founders of the Marquerite Centre;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly congratulate Sister Evelyn Williams on her Sister Elizabeth Seton Award, thank her for her contributions to our province, and wish her all the best in her future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 3268

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

Whereas Ron Wallace, the longest-serving mayor of Halifax, passed away yesterday at the age of 91; and

[Page 3587]

Whereas during his distinguished political career, Mr. Wallace served two terms as a Liberal MLA in this Legislature and served as mayor of Halifax for 11 years; and

Whereas in addition to politics and his family, boxing was one of his greatest passions and his active participation in the sport led to his induction into the Canadian Boxing Hall of Fame in 1991;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly recognize the many achievements and contributions Mr. Ron Wallace has made to the province, and may we send our most sincere condolences to his family and friends.

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. 3269

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 MacNeil family could almost be considered patriarchs for their involvement over the years with the Iona Volunteer Fire Department; and

Whereas Iona Fire Chief Colin MacNeil is ably assisted by other members of his family, in long-time members Dan Joseph and Charlene MacNeil, his Deputy Chief Gregory MacNeil, and firefighter Neil James MacNeil; and

Whereas Dan Joseph and Charlene also have a son, Adam MacNeil, a former member in Iona and currently employed with the Halifax Regional Fire Service, who is a member of the four-person team who won the 2007 Canadian Scott FireFit Championship;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly recognize the time, energy and commitment put forth by the MacNeil family in their involvement with

[Page 3588]

firefighting, while also paying tribute to each and every hard-working member of the Iona Volunteer Fire Department.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth South-Portland Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 3270

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

Whereas Fisher's Stationery has provided outstanding service to generations of Dartmouthians since 1959; and

Whereas Gloria Fisher transferred her many talents as secretary to the Commanding Officer at Shearwater Naval Base to maintain the business after the death of her husband in the late 1960s; and

Whereas Fisher's Stationery has successfully blended longevity, commitment to the downtown business community, and exemplary business practices;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly congratulate Gloria Fisher and her family for nearly 50 years as model entrepreneurs in downtown Dartmouth and thank them for their considerable contributions to our community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 3589]

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. 3271

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 province has lost an important member of the agricultural community in the passing of Mr. Howard Dill, a giant-pumpkin grower from Windsor, Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Mr. Dill contributed heavily to tourism and agriculture in this province, with his world-renowned giant pumpkins and the pumpkin regatta putting Nova Scotia on the map; and

Whereas I had the great pleasure of visiting Mr. Dill's pumpkin patch last Fall, experiencing first-hand his vast agricultural knowledge in the field of pumpkins;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly recognize the many accomplishments of the late Mr. Howard Dill, and may we offer our most sincere condolences to his family and friends.

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. 3272

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

[Page 3590]

Whereas Amber Rowe of Ellershouse recently captured top honours in the Rotary Adventure in Citizenship national program for students ages 16 to 19, hosted by the Rotary Club of Ottawa; and

Whereas the program, now in its 58th year, consisted of 220 outstanding senior high school students from across Canada and is designed to help students recognize their potential as leaders in their communities and in Canadian society; and

Whereas Amber will also be participating in the model legislature as the West Hants representative, scheduled for Halifax beginning next week on May 23rd;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature compliment Amber Rowe of Ellershouse, Hants County, for winning the prestigious national Rotary program and for having such a keen and driving interest in current issues facing each and every Nova Scotian and all Canadians.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

RESOLUTION NO. 3273

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

Whereas for the past nine years, the Atlantic Book Festival has highlighted many of the talented writers, poets and illustrators throughout Atlantic Canada; and

Whereas the 2008 festival featured readings, workshops, tours, book launches and children's activities with celebrations in Halifax, Dartmouth, Saint John, Sydney, Truro, Pugwash, Charlottetown and St. John's; and

[Page 3591]

Whereas on May 12th, the Atlantic Book Award winners were announced at Alderney Landing Theatre in Dartmouth;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly congratulate Halifax resident Don Domanski for winning the Atlantic Poetry Prize for his breathtaking, Governor General's Award-winning master work, All Our Wonders Unavenged.

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. 3274

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

Whereas the 13th annual Belliveau Motors Charity Golf Tournament in 2007 was held at the Clare Golf and Country Club; and

Whereas a grand total of $24,267.13 was raised; and

Whereas this money will go towards the purchase of a defibrillator for the new Clare Health Centre;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate all staff, volunteers and Belliveau Motors for raising funds for such a worthwhile cause.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 3592]

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. 3275

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 Rocking Horse Ranch Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre in Baddeck not only provides tender care for horses, but also has riding stables and offers trail rides and riding lessons to local individuals and people from across North America who visit annually; and

Whereas owner and operator Dale Stone said she knew when she was only nine years old that she wanted to look after animals and make it a passion for life; and

Whereas the majority of horses at the Rocking Horse Ranch were once viewed as untreatable, some even facing death, before Dale Stone began her healing powers for them.

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs in this Legislature applaud the perseverance and dedication Dale Stone has shown to horses, and even other animals, in bringing them back to health.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

RESOLUTION NO. 3276

[Page 3593]

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

Whereas the Mainland South Heritage Society carries the torch for heritage in the Eastern Chebucto Peninsula, an area also known as Halifax Atlantic; and

Whereas the area has many landmarks associated with the early history of the province including Sambro Island Light, built in 1758 by the Act of the First Session of the First Representative Assembly of Nova Scotia; the Warden's House of the infamous Melville Island prison, built in 1808, and the Dingle Tower built in 1908 to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of representative government in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas this year's 11th Annual Mainland South Heritage Society display and tea focused on the anniversaries of these three significant historical structures;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the Mainland South Heritage Society, wish the society continued success as it celebrates the historical significance of these three landmarks, Sambro Island Light, Warden's House and the Dingle Tower, and recognize their connection with the history of representative government in 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.

[2:45 p.m.]

The honourable member for Hants West.

RESOLUTION NO. 3277

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

[Page 3594]

Whereas the most recent statistics available across Canada show that in 2006, 6,382 young people between the ages of 13 and 17 were charged with a drug offence, 12 per cent of that number with a cocaine offence; and

Whereas it is so encouraging to see Grade 11 drama students at Avon View High School address issues such as addictions; and

Whereas the Avon View Dramantor XI class back on April 10th put on a wonderful production entitled Deliver Us from Temptation";

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate all students who worked so diligently on this high school drama production addressing the critical issue of addictions, along with Dallas Moore, chair of the West Hants Addiction Committee, local playwright, Carol Peterson, and drama teacher, Jennifer Deslauriers, who offered tremendous support to the students in staging their production.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

RESOLUTION NO. 3278

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

Whereas The Old Sydney Society and Whitney Pier Historical Society are working towards reviving neighbourhoods near the Sydney tar ponds; and

Whereas the society's goal is to establish a heritage fund which would be used to purchase heritage buildings, restore them and sell the properties to owners interested in preserving the buildings' historic qualities; and

[Page 3595]

Whereas with funding from Cape Breton Regional Municipality and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, business plans are being proposed for this important venture;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly recognize the efforts of The Old Sydney Society and the Whitney Pier Historical Society and wish them success in restoring and protecting the history of these properties.

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. 3279

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

Whereas the Town of Stellarton was pleased to present Gene Cole as its 2008 Representative Volunteer; and

Whereas the RCMP officer, who has been stationed across Nova Scotia, has spent over 20 years with the Big Brothers Big Sisters Bowl for Millions event and has been named one of its top fundraisers for several years in a row; and

Whereas that is not the only organization to benefit from Cole's work, he has worked with Pictou County food banks, was a founding member of the Toastmasters Club of Lunenburg and Sydney, was instrumental in creating the Caribou Scout Troop, and is presently involved with the Lansdowne Outdoor Recreational Development Authority, assisting those who cannot easily access outdoor recreation;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House send their congratulations and appreciation to Gene Cole for his longtime, outstanding and diverse commitment to his Nova

[Page 3596]

Scotian communities over the years, exemplifying the important role volunteers play in any 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 Minister of Natural Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 3280

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

Whereas Landmark East School, founded in 1979, does an amazing job of helping their students unlock their considerable academic and social potential; and

Whereas the students at Landmark East School require intensive academic remedial intervention from the school's dedicated teachers and staff who work collaboratively to assist students with learning disabilities to develop innovative ways for them to learn; and

Whereas the Landmark East School's students, teachers, staff, parents, alumni and volunteers form an impressive team with 87 per cent of their graduates continuing their education at the post-secondary level;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the tremendous accomplishments of Landmark East School, Churchill Academy and Bridgeway Academy in helping students with learning disabilities realize their full potential.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 3597]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 3281

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 in an issue of Readers Digest, a local resident of Yarmouth was honoured by the publication by being named Education Hero for 2007, having been nominated for his work with the Memorial Club of Yarmouth and its consideration for veterans; and

Whereas teacher Joe Bishara spearheaded the Maple Grove Memorial Club close to two decades ago and in 1993 the club expanded to include members from the Yarmouth Consolidated Memorial High School that is now 60 members strong; and

Whereas looking over its history over the past 22 years, the club has marched on Parliament Hill, was the first group to honour the Merchant Marine and the first group in Nova Scotia to honour women of war, and Joe was quoted as saying of his award, "I feel very proud, but I think it's an award that says thank you also to my family and the students . . . If I'm a hero, it's with a very small h";

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating Mr. Joe Bishara for his dedication and leadership to this fine group of young men and women and encourage him to continue to inspire them to strive to keep the Memorial Club going strong for future generations.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 3598]

The honourable Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

RESOLUTION NO. 3282

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

Whereas Louise Campbell, a successful and well-respected lawyer of the firm Campbell & MacKeen in Guysborough, was bestowed the highest possible honour a lawyer in the Province of Nova Scotia can receive, the Queen's Counsel designation; and

Whereas Louise graduated from Dalhousie Law School in 1980 and began her career in Port Hawkesbury; in 1985 she came to work in Guysborough specializing in family and property law as well as probate, with her success being in her genuine regard for others; and

Whereas in addition to raising two children with her husband, Bill, Louise always finds time to give back to her community, something she grew up learning the importance of from her parents, as she is involved in many community events, volunteering her time throughout Antigonish and Guysborough Counties;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Louise Campbell for her well-deserved designation and for 28 years of devoted service to her profession and 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 Minister of Economic Development.

RESOLUTION NO. 3283

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move, seconded by the honourable Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, the adoption of the following resolution:

[Page 3599]

Whereas Francis Webb of Antigonish has recently hung a sign at his business announcing that he has retired and gone fishing; and

Whereas most recently, Francis has owned and operated The Deli, a gathering spot for many shoppers who have visited the Antigonish Mall; and

Whereas Francis has been a small-business owner in Antigonish for over 30 years and a long-time sponsor of Goshen's Deli Raiders;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in wishing Francis Webb and his wife, Elva, a happy retirement and best of luck at the old fishing hole.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Immigration.

RESOLUTION NO. 3284

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 United Church was blessed with two ladies who went every Tuesday afternoon to visit patients in the hospital on behalf of the Bedford United Church for 24 years; and

Whereas the visits from Ruby Densmore and Velma Redden were looked at with great anticipation and pleasure from those who were hospitalized; and

Whereas the Province of Nova Scotia recognizes the significant contribution that these two ladies made not only to the members of the Bedford United Church, but also to the community of Bedford as a whole;

[Page 3600]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the contribution of Ruby Densmore and Velma Redden, and thank them for their efforts over the years to comfort those in need and wish them good health in their retirement.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Human Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 3285

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 Mae Forbes of Bridgewater has been recognized for her devotion to her community through her church work and her volunteer time for nearly 70 years to the South Shore Regional Hospital; and

Whereas Mrs. Forbes has been named as a recipient of the Caring Canadian Award; and

Whereas Mae Forbes, who is 96 years young, still continues to do volunteer work at the Dawson Daisy to help raise money to buy medical equipment for the South Shore Regional Hospital;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Mae Forbes on receiving the Caring Canadian Award and thank her for her years of volunteer work.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 3601]

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. 3286

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 Terry Fox Foundation sponsored a contest open to all students who helped raise money for the Terry Fox National School Run Day; and

Whereas Chiganois Elementary School in Masstown, Colchester North, was chosen in a draw against all the participating schools in Nova Scotia, and then Laura Brenton's name was picked in a draw for her school; and

Whereas Laura participated in the Terry Fox National School Run because she had a young friend die when he was six;

Therefore be it resolved all members of this House congratulate Laura Brenton for being the lucky winner of airfare for two to anywhere in continental North America, and express thanks to her and all students who participated in the Terry Fox National School Run.

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 Labour and Workforce Development.

RESOLUTION NO. 3287

[Page 3602]

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

Whereas Bill Boyd began to work with the Town of Kentville on July 2, 1975, as Director of Parks and Recreation, developing many recreation infrastructure projects during his tenure; and

Whereas in 1995 he moved to the position of Chief Administrative Officer to continue to use his coaching skills in this new post and challenge at the town office; and

Whereas last month Bill Boyd announced his retirement;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Bill Boyd on his many years of service to the citizens of the Town of Kentville.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Finance.

RESOLUTION NO. 3288

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

Whereas participation by students in school sport programs has been shown to increase a student's likelihood of graduation, improve their school attendance, and increase their success after graduation, as well as reduce discipline problems; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation annually provides awards to one male athlete, one female athlete and a coach from each school in Nova Scotia who has demonstrated excellence in both sport and education; and

[Page 3603]

Whereas Kim Tibert, a coach from the Lunenburg Junior-Senior High School in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, has been selected to receive the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation Celebration of School Sport Award for 2007-20008;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Kim Tibert on receiving the 2007-2008 Celebration of Sport 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.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: The time is now 2:58 p.m. and we will go to 4:28 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

HEALTH: CRITICAL CARE - SUSTAINABILITY

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question this afternoon will be for the Premier. Despite the frequent closure of intensive care units in our hospitals, this government has reassured Nova Scotians that all is well. Today we learn the current delivery of critical care cannot be sustained and that the recruitment and retention of medical, nursing, and allied health professionals needed to provide critical care is already in peril - those are not my words, they come directly from the Department of Health and I will table the document. My question for the Premier is, why has the Premier been so boastful about his health care record when the truth is that key services like intensive care are already in peril?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the government has taken a very comprehensive approach to health care in this province. We're making wise investments for our front line health care workers to give them the tools and equipment that they need to do a quality job, to provide a quality service to our citizens. We are investing in seeing more graduates from various programs, from one end of this province to the other. We are working with our

[Page 3604]

professionals and that is why the PHSOR report was so important, so we could work on initiatives like the Rural Health Care Strategy to address some of the challenges that we do have. I certainly acknowledge that there are challenges. The government is taking the steps needed to address those challenges and will continue to do so.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, on April 22nd, the government received the final report of a review of intensive care services. It identifies concerns about quality, patient safety, collaboration, leadership and human resource management. For example, staff in some units report they have been called as many as three times a day on their days off to come into work; this creates undue pressure on staff. Retention of ICU nurses relates directly to working conditions and opportunities for development, yet the report found minimal evidence of a career pathway model for the ICU staff nurse. My question for the Premier is, how could working conditions in a critical area of health care deteriorate so badly under a Premier who claims that Nova Scotians' health is his top priority?

[3:00 p.m.]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, health care is one of our top priorities and reducing wait times, to be direct. The fact of the matter is, the province underwent a significant review with the PHSOR report with over 100 recommendations. Those recommendations were looked upon by our district health authorities and those who serve in their capacities on those authorities, they have supported the government and the endeavour that we are moving forward with respect to those recommendations. At the same time, we have an Opposition - the NDP here in this province - that would rather pretend that somehow all these problems can be fixed without working with these district health authorities.

Mr. Speaker, we know better, we know that we need to work with those on the front lines, we know we need to work with our district health authorities and this government will do so.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, from his response I don't believe the Premier has read the review of intensive care services in Nova Scotia because the report states that DHAs are not held accountable. It states there is no clear guidance from the Department of Health. It found leadership problems throughout the system and says that patients are being placed at risk. This Premier demands absolute support for his approach despite the serious problems found by the intensive care review. My question for him is, through you Mr. Speaker, has the Premier and his government accepted the recommendations arising from this review and if so, when did they intend to share the results of the review with the people of this province?

THE PREMIER: I will defer this to the Minister of Health.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, as the Premier said so well, there are 103 recommendations held within the provincial health services review, ones that

[Page 3605]

really set forward a momentous amount of work that needs to be done in concert with all health care providers in this province. That includes front line health care workers, that includes district health authorities. They have a phenomenal amount of work to do and they are people of quality, they are people of value. We have a number of documents and, again, I'll provide them for this House. They are held within this report, they are also held to the timelines that we will be presenting and how we will be dealing with the Rural Health Strategy. We'll be dealing with the other pieces of research that are needed to be done, the things that we'll be doing in concert with Nova Scotians.

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

EDUC.: AUTISM STRATEGY - COMMITMENT

MR. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. Autism spectrum disorder is a condition that affects an individual's ability to communicate and engage in social interaction. Far too often, many suffer from the disorder without any prior knowledge or available screening. Many young Nova Scotians live with autism today. The disorder not only affects the way they live their lives, it also affects many of their families. Often parents feel helpless as they struggle to find a solution for their child's disorder. My question for the minister is, will the minister commit to an autism strategy here in the Province of Nova Scotia ?

HON. KAREN CASEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you to the member opposite for the question. The acknowledgment of the autism disorder and the number of students who present themselves in our schools on some part of that spectrum is significant. It's important to us and that's why our department, the Department of Education, has begun a four-year plan. We are going into the third year of that four-year plan, to try to address the issue, to try to provide support for the students in our schools. To make sure that our teachers are well prepared, both in understanding the disorder and the strategies that they need to help address that with the individual students.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, symptoms of the disorder usually appear within the first 24 months of life and are four times more common with boys than girls. Sadly, many children are not diagnosed until they enter the public education system. It is essential that early screening and early testing become available to all young Nova Scotians. There is no worse feeling than a parent who feels powerless as their child struggles with a disorder that if detected early, is treatable. So my question to the minister is, will the minister not only commit to developing an autism strategy, will she also ensure that early screening and early detection is a key part of that strategy?

MS. CASEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We certainly work in co-operation with the Department of Health and their early intervention, early detection initiative. We recognize that those are key components to providing support for any student with any disability.

[Page 3606]

We have hired at the department a consultant who works with the school boards. We are working through an autism strategy. We have started the professional development for teachers. We have in-serviced 150 of our teachers. We have a lead team in each school board and we are taking this very seriously. In fact, when we're looking at teacher education programs in our universities, one of the things that we're looking at is a component in the teacher education program that deals with learning disabilities, in particular autism.

MR. MCNEIL: According to the Autism Society of Canada, an estimated 1 in every 165 children is born with ASD. This figure does not take into consideration the families and caregivers whose lives are also affected. Mr. Speaker, roughly 5,000 to 6,000 Nova Scotians suffer from autism and every year approximately 55 children in Nova Scotia are born with ASD. This government must ensure that all Nova Scotians receive the educational tools necessary to succeed in the classroom. My question to the minister is, will the minister help those thousands of Nova Scotians who suffer from autism and implement an autism strategy immediately?

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, to further my response, we have taken on the initiative to have an autism strategy within the department. We have representatives from the Autism Society of Nova Scotia who are represented on that, because these are the folks, these are the parents who know the disorder best. They are their children and we want to tap into the resource and have their expertise working with us.

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

HEALTH: ICUs - DOWNGRADING

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question will be for the Minister of Health. The review of intensive care services, which the minister received before this legislative session began, recommends that most of the existing ICUs be downgraded to Level 3. It states that the sustainability of those intensive care units may be compromised during the change phase because staff may leave and the remaining staff will probably not have enough experience. My question to the minister is, how is the minister going to deal with the negative consequences for Bridgewater, Yarmouth, Antigonish, Amherst and the other communities that will have their ICUs downgraded to Level 3?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. It's all in a name when it comes to Level 1, 2 or 3. The quality of the service will remain the same, the service to the citizens will remain the same. We will continue to make sure that all areas have the same service that they have today, if not better in the future.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the report's author - this is the report generated by the Department of Health for the Department of Health - described the surgical and intensive care services that are provided across northern Nova Scotia from Amherst through to the

[Page 3607]

Strait area as unsustainable. They recommend that one of the four regional hospitals have a level two intensive care unit while the others are downgraded to level three. The minister knows that the reliability of hospital services is already a significant concern for the 200,000 people served by those hospitals. The review recommends that communities be involved in the input and designs. So my question to the minister is, why has this report been kept under wraps if communities are to be involved in selecting one hospital in northern Nova Scotia that will have a level two ICU?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, as it comes down to the PHSOR, the report and recommendations held within it, there are a number of items that need to be further done. One is the clinical services review and the Rural Health Strategy. Both of those projects will continue, begin their work in September. The information that the member opposite is referring to will be a starting point for that group.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the review recommends the closure of the intensive care unit in Glace Bay. The minister may have heard directly, as I did, that the Glace Bay ICU has been providing vital services for seriously ill Cape Bretoners while the CCU at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital was shut down for an extended period of time. So my question for the minister is, in view of the isolation of the major Cape Breton hospitals, a factor emphasized in the report, will the minister agree that it would be unwise to close the Glace Bay ICU?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, once again, we will work with the district health authorities. We will work with the community. We will work with Nova Scotians to decide what is the best course of action for the continuation of these ICUs in all districts in this province. We will not only ensure that we have the same level of service that we have today, we will make sure we'll have a better service for Nova Scotians into the future.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition on a new question.

JUSTICE - C.B. CORR. CTR.: ASBESTOS - INFO.

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question will be for the Minister of Justice. We learned yesterday that Correctional Services was informed 20 years ago about the presence of asbestos around heating pipes, hot water tanks, or boilers in four correctional centres across Nova Scotia. That information was contained in an appendix to the Province of Nova Scotia's Custody Configuration Plan. I'll table excerpts of the report.

According to a memorandum accompanying the report, dated November 8, 1988, asbestos fibres were present in correctional facilities and centres in Antigonish, Cape Breton, Cumberland and Colchester. The latter facility has since been closed. So my question to the

[Page 3608]

minister is this - how could his department have not known about the presence of asbestos in the Cape Breton Correctional Centre until an inmate informed them on March 26, 2008?

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Official Opposition highlights a report back to 1988 and if he would go forward almost 10 years to 1997 when a facilities evaluation was done and released as part of a government of the day for both Health and Justice as a go-forward. In 1988, as he would know, there was consultation with the union of the day that, in 1997, it would have been shared with the union of the day. With regard to that, it isn't about not saying there was asbestos. People know that, that in many buildings around this province, there is asbestos.

What we do know then and now, there has always been a conscious adherence to the maintenance and safe operation of facilities. That continues today and we've had two tests where science shows that the air quality in the Cape Breton facility is safe and that's what we do know today.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, there's no evidence whatsoever that that information was shared. Corrections Services knew about asbestos at the Cape Breton Correctional Centre for 20 years, yet we have learned today from employees that extensive renovations involving heating pipes have been conducted at that institution over the last eight years and nobody was warned about the asbestos. That's a big step in the wrong direction. In 1988, departmental officials advised one correctional centre manager to ensure, "that tradespeople responsible for the proposed lockup renovations are advised of the presence of asbestos fibre in the insulated pipes so that the necessary precautions may be taken." It seems that this advice has been forgotten. So my question to the minister is, can he explain why renovations have been allowed to take place in the Cape Breton Correctional Centre without following long-established procedures for handling asbestos?

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, again, what the honourable member knows is that the science has shown that indeed the air quality within that facility is safe for the occupancy of inmates, of staff and the general public who may enter that facility. He would also know that, as we have responded to concerns that have been raised, we have followed the policies and procedures, are acting in accordance to that. Any evaluation from the Department of Labour and Workforce Development is being adhered to and, as we move forward, we will follow the guidelines and, most importantly, continue to ensure what we know today, that the Cape Breton facility is a safe facility for air quality.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my final question is to the Minister of Labour and Workforce Development. The Justice Department has shown, in the handling of the recent complaint, that it does not respect the health and safety of its correctional staff and inmates. These latest revelations show that the problem extends back many, many years. So my question to the Minister of Labour and Workforce Development is, what will he do about the chronic disregard of employee health and safety shown by the Department of Justice?

[Page 3609]

[3:15 p.m.]

HON. MARK PARENT: It is difficult to answer the question when you are accepting a premise that you don't necessarily agree with in the question but I do want to state categorically that our Occupational Health and Safety Division has been involved. We have issued two reports. I have stated in the House before, that they are continuing a study in regard to the internal responsibility system, which is at the heart of our occupational health and safety regime and they will report in due time on their findings.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

HEALTH: SENIORS' PHARMACARE - BUDGETING

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. Today at the Public Accounts Committee meeting, officials from the Department of Health admitted that the Seniors' Pharmacare budget has been underspent over the past seven fiscal years; a total of $27 million. While there were a couple of years in which there were over expenditures, those amounts paled in comparison to the $17 million in surpluses left over in the budget over the past two fiscal years. My question to the minister is, could he please tell us whether the surplus was reinvested in the Pharmacare Program, used to fund over expenditures in other areas of health care or was it simply added to the surplus of the province?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, of course I talk to the savings that were in the Pharmacare Program. There has been difficulty in budgeting for that because of the unknown cost of the drugs, the changes in generics, et cetera. I know that the savings that have been held within that have gone to other programs within the Department of Health.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, there may have been a difficulty in budgeting but there was no difficulty on behalf of the government in raising the premium by $24 per senior. That would have yielded, at a minimum, an addition $1.1 million in revenue for the program. In the fiscal year of 2005-06, the Seniors' Pharmacare Program was underspent by almost $3.5 million. Presumably, government would have known that before they made a decision to increase the premiums. So my question for the minister is, why did his government choose to increase the Seniors' Pharmacare Premium in 2006-07 when it was quite clear that you didn't have to?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, again, it wasn't clear until we came to the end of the year. When it comes to the budgeting of the Pharmacare Program, it is something that takes 18 months for those individuals to do. The people who work in our Pharmacare division work tirelessly to make sure that they have the right numbers. The changes in the pharmaceutical world have been such that we have been unable to hit the mark when it

[Page 3610]

comes to the dollars that we spent there. There have been substantial savings there but if I can say it, the seniors have paid no more than the 25 per cent that we have said they would pay. We will keep that promise.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, we saw today a fine example of what happens when programs within the Department of Health are left to operate without proper public scrutiny. This year, co-pay caps are removed so seniors are paying more out of pocket. Last year there was a surplus of $8.7 million. We see seniors paying more when the evidence is before government that shows the increases were not required. My final question for the minister is, will the minister, with that news today, now admit that a Standing Committee on Health would be a good idea in light of all the challenges that we face in health care, including increasing the cost to seniors when you didn't have to?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, the scrutiny of this program is right here in this House of Assembly. The scrutiny for this program happens during estimates. The scrutiny in this program happens with the Group of IX. I don't think the member opposite is criticizing the Group of IX. We will continue to work with the public, we will continue to work with the Group of IX who give us the best possible advice that we possibly can get on the changes and the updates to that program. Again, there is a 25-75 split in that where the seniors pick up 25 per cent and the Government of Nova Scotia picks up 75 per cent and we will stick to that number as we promised.

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

HEALTH - SENIORS' PHARMACARE: INCREASE - EXPLAIN

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. Nova Scotia has the oldest population in Atlantic Canada and the third oldest in the country. Seniors are expected to be 25 per cent of the population by 2026 and cost of living for those valuable members of our society seems to increase every year, although their incomes don't. I'd like to ask the minister, why has his department increased Seniors' Pharmacare premiums at a time in their lives when they can least afford it?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, this year our premiums did not increase.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, the minister told reporters in February last year, the increase of $24 per senior in the premiums was because of the rising drug costs and an increase in the number of people using the program. Yet, the Deputy Minister of Health told the Public Accounts Committee today the department realized significant savings in the cost of drugs because of the introduction of generic brands. Because of those savings this year, the department underspent its budget by $9.3 million in

[Page 3611]

2007-08 alone. My question to the Minister of Health is, why is this government unnecessarily charging seniors more for their Pharmacare Program?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, again, we made a commitment to the Group of Nine and all seniors in this province to cost share a program 25-75. When it comes to the projection of pharmaceutical costs, it is a very inexact science. One, we don't know when generics will be coming on line, what those generics will be worth, what the cost will be. I know that they do a phenomenal amount of job work within that department to make the best possible projections for this program. I can say that no senior in this province is paying any more than they need to be for the Pharmacare Program in this province.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, the Group of Nine criticized the government last year when they raised the premiums by $24. The deputy minister said the savings from the Seniors' Pharmacare budget was spent elsewhere in the Department of Health and the minister said that today. I'd like to ask the minister, where exactly did they spend $27.4 million of savings in the Seniors' Pharmacare Program since 2001 and why wasn't that passed on to the seniors of this province?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I'm unaware of who's asking the question today because the member for Cape Breton Centre keeps asking me the questions and talking while the member opposite is asking questions. Maybe the member for Sackville-Cobequid might want to re-ask his question. But, I think I'll come up with an answer anyway.

I know seniors in this province - it is a very difficult program to project - I know they do a phenomenal amount of work and I have said it before and I'll say it again, the seniors will pay no more than they have to. It is a cost-shared program of 25/75 and we'll make sure we have the dollars available for them.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

HEALTH: EIBI PROG. - EXTEND

MR. TREVOR ZINCK: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. I'll table a summary report from last Fall of the early intervention, or EIBI, program for children with autism spectrum disorder. The results for children participating in the program have been very positive. Children who are 18 months behind in their language skills gained more than a year's worth of ability in just a year of being in this program - but this $4- million- a-year program is helping only 27 children. My question to the minster is, when will the early intervention program be extended to more children with autism spectrum disorder?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I'm glad the member opposite asked me this very important question. Autism in this province and in this country is one that is of special concern for us. To date, 116 children have completed or are currently

[Page 3612]

involved in the program. Currently there are 75 children available or eligible for the program. We will continue to make sure we increase that program to make sure that it basically covers those individuals as they need it.

MR. ZINCK: Mr. Speaker, the current estimate from the U.S. Centre for Disease Control is that one in 150 people have some form of autism spectrum disorder. There are many families around the province today who want access to this program for their children; however they were not lucky enough to get one of the few spots. Families incur rising personal debt, refinancing their homes, working extra jobs - anything to give their children a chance at early intervention training. So I'll ask the minister again, given the positive reports on the results of the EIBI in Nova Scotia, why hasn't the program been expanded further?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, as the member opposite has alluded to, the program is not only helping children speak and understand language, but it is also helping improve the problem-solving skills and is reducing behavioural problems. It's also helping parents better deal with their children.

Mr. Speaker, some parents surveyed also indicated that improved behaviour and reduced symptoms have allowed the family to participate more fully in community activities with their children. We know that we could expand the program some more to try to cover all those individuals who might have autism, but again we have to make tough decisions when it comes to the size of the programs and the other things that are, of course, important to Nova Scotians.

MR. ZINCK: Mr. Speaker, the minister is well aware that the best chance for children with autism spectrum disorder is early intervention as soon as possible. Just look at the results of this program - improved communication skills, better interaction with others and, yes, reduced stress for families. So I'll ask the minister, why are so many children with autism still going without access to early intervention programs that will obviously give them a more positive future?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, not only is there work going on in the Department of Health but there is also some work going on through the Department of Community Services, the Department of Education, as we work together when it comes to autism, to design programs that better meet the needs of those individuals.

Mr. Speaker, again it really comes down to our early intervention and we'll continue to work with that program, as it is having positive results for Nova Scotians and their children.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Preston.

[Page 3613]

ENVIRON.: E-WASTE - HST

MR. KEITH COLWELL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Minister of Environment. When the e-waste program was announced in February 2007, the government stated that charges would be applied to newly purchased electronic items to help pay for the cost of the program. While most people don't mind paying a little extra for the well-being of our environment, we now know that the GST is being applied to the e-waste fee, making the cost much higher for Nova Scotians. My question to the minister is, why is the GST being charged on the e-waste fee collected by the province?

HON. MARK PARENT: I want to thank the member for the opportunity to talk about the electronic e-waste program. It's a wonderful program, Mr. Speaker, we're the fifth province to enact it, but the first province to have year two in regard to it, and so another evidence which I would extend to the honourable member for Halifax Fairview of how we're leaders on the environment.

MR. COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, we contacted the RFB about their $3 charge on new tires used for recycling. We were told by the RFB that the HST is not applied to the $3 fee on tires. The e-waste program has been confusing and frustrating from the get-go with improper communications with the public about the program for interstructure for pickup and drop-offs, and now we finally see the government's true meaning of this charge - a tax on top of the tax to generate additional revenue for the province. My question is, where are the new taxes generated by the new tax on tax going?

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the honourable member for the question. In point of fact, the e-waste charge, in fact, is a simple increase on the price that is applied by the manufacturers of those products which pass on to the retail sector. So in accordance with the general rules that any price that's charged by a company in Nova Scotia for goods sold, those prices are subject to the HST as the final tax applied.

[3:30 p.m.]

MR. COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, this indication of this government's whole mandate - tax upon tax upon tax to the average Nova Scotian. We are getting gouged at the pumps because of government implementing gas regulation. Now Nova Scotians are being gouged at the retail businesses. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Preston has the floor.

[Page 3614]

MR. COLWELL: Now Nova Scotians are being gouged at the retail businesses when they want to buy their new TVs or computers. My question to the minister is, will your government immediately eliminate the HST on the e-waste recycling fee?

MR. PARENT: Mr. Speaker, well, the Finance Minister has explained the rule to the honourable member, but I do want to talk a little bit about this being an industry-led program, because that was deliberately chosen. That's the model that's used with other jurisdictions except for Alberta, but the benefit of that model is that it encourages the industry not only to take care of their products after they've been used by someone, but to design products that are less likely to end up in the waste stream. It's a very, very important principle, and that's why it's done in that way, and the Minister of Finance has outlined the rules, but it's very important why it's designed this way. It's designed to help lessen the impact upon our environment and for stewardship programs for industry to begin to have the motivation to create goods and products that will not end up in our waste stream.

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

HEALTH: CONTINUING CARE STRATEGY - ADEQUACY

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): My question is for the Minister of Health. When the NDP released its plan aimed at helping seniors who are waiting in hospitals and at home for nursing home beds, the minister's response was, we're already doing it. I'll table a document obtained from the Department of Health through Freedom of Information. It highlights his government's so-called action with phrases like, we have plans to identify it as an action, we're considering various options, and we are developing. Mr. Speaker, my question through you to the Minister of Health, why can't he admit that when it comes to supporting our aging population, his department falls short?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, again, we rolled out a 10-year continuing care strategy, one that addresses the needs of seniors who need our help the most. We will continue to invest the $260 million in that continuing care program which includes the things that the NDP talked about and a whole bunch more that are important to Nova Scotians.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): And it only took, Mr. Speaker, nearly 10 years for them to start to unroll those plans. Taking the care allowance we proposed as one example, the minister claims seniors can already access this through self-managed care. However, I will table the rules for the program that include the person must have a physical disability and they must be able to manage their own finances without help. Furthermore, the policy clearly states that a client is not allowed to compensate a family member for providing that care. So I would like to ask the minister, why would he point seniors to a program which the majority of them are not eligible to receive?

[Page 3615]

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, had the members opposite voted in positive to the budget, they would have realized that there was an in-home support program, an in-home support program that this Party is very happy to support, that I believe the Liberals are very happy to support. That in-home support program is one that will put dollars in the hands of people who take care of our loved ones. Again, we will continue to work on our continuing care strategy, one that has been clearly laid out, one that is concise, one that truly helps Nova Scotians.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, this government has been out of touch with the needs of our seniors for almost 10 years - 10 years. The response to our plan was phone calls, letters, e-mails from family caregivers and seniors asking how they could access this self-managed care, self-managed care that they would not likely be receiving under the current program that the government proposes. My final question to the Minister of Health is, if he doesn't want to listen to the NDP's ideas, why won't he consult with families, read the studies and implement a self-managed care allowance that permits payments to family caregivers here in Nova Scotia?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, to help the NDP out with their research, I have a number of programs, some things that are going on, things we are investing, things that they talked about but don't want to give us the credit for it. By the way, things that they voted against - $4 million to expand the Home Repair/Adaptation Program (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable Minister of Health has the floor.

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Over $1 million to expand the challenging behaviour program; $2.7 million for the restorative care programs; $250,000 to provide home care nursing services to DCS and DOH facilities. I could go on - develop increased home support entitlements, over $2.7 million; develop primary care and long-term care, $1.2 million. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order, please. The Minister of Health has the floor.

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I have over five pages, so if they want to hear about it (Interruptions) Aw, come on.

MR. SPEAKER: Please table those documents.

MR. D'ENTREMONT: I will table them after the end of Question Period because just in case he asks me the question, I have more to tell him.

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

TCH: TOURISM IND. - STATISTICS

[Page 3616]

MR. HAROLD THERIAULT: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage. Last week the minister seemed more than satisfied with the state of the tourism industry in Nova Scotia. With what I've seen for figures, it's not something to be satisfied with. Visitation by point of entry has witnessed a steady decrease since 2004 and is less than 2002 levels when the government first made its tourism commitment. My question to the minister is, why is the minister praising the two million visitors, time after time, when in actual fact fewer tourists have visited Nova Scotia since 2004?

HON. WILLIAM DOOKS: Mr. Speaker, tourism is a very important part of our economy here in Nova Scotia. We certainly respect those who visit from within our boundaries or borders and also those from abroad, and I believe those people should be respected.

MR. THERIAULT: We do respect them, Mr. Speaker. I just wish we had more of them to respect. In 2004, roughly 2.2 million tourists arrived in Nova Scotia; in 2007, 2.13 million tourists decided to visit. That means that roughly 70,000 fewer tourists decided not to visit Nova Scotia over a three-year period. Mismanagement in advertising, declining tourism revenue, endorsing New Brunswick as a tourist destination and yearly visitation . . .  

MR. SPEAKER: Question?

MR. THERIAULT: . . . are the legacy of the minister. Yes, I have a question. Will the minister finally admit that he is not addressing the economic squeeze the tourism industry is facing in this province?

MR. DOOKS: Mr. Speaker, obviously the member has stood in his place the last four times and asked the question. I think the question should be answered and I believe I've answered the question. Tourism is certainly without a doubt facing some challenges. In facing the challenges, we have a very astute Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage that is doing a lot of things to enhance our visitations.

Once again, when you speak of tourism we must not only just speak about numbers, we have to provide a product to encourage our visitors to attend Nova Scotia. Recently, in Heritage, our Premier and this government have provided over $670,000 to upgrade our museums so that when the people come they have a place to visit. Also in Culture, this government, in the Throne Speech of last Fall, and also demonstrated by the budget, has increased the budget of $8 million for Culture and demonstrated that by approving $1.2 billion to that division. These things contribute to a strong foundation and will enhance our numbers.

[Page 3617]

MR. THERIAULT: Mr. Speaker, it's not about museums, it's about the proper advertising for this province. Every region, with exception of the Halifax International Airport, has experienced a decline since 2004. In 2007, Amherst decreased 13,000; Tignish, 12,000; Caribou, 20,000; North Sydney, 12,000; Yarmouth, 44,000; and Digby, 4,000 in decline. Every region outside the HRM is struggling to fill vacancies. It's simple equation - fewer tourists means fewer tourist revenues. My question is, what is the minister going to do to ease the concerns of tourism operators in this province that have had significant visitor decreases since 2004?

MR. DOOKS: Mr. Speaker, we continue to invest in advertisement, marketing. We're in partnership with private sector people. I would like, for instance, to table a magazine here that's internationally renowned promoting Nova Scotia. This is a partnership incentive and also a few stats maybe that I'll table here today for the pleasure of the House.

From January to March, I see that our U.S. visitors are actually up 25 per cent - 1,500 more. (Applause) Thank you. There is more to come, Mr. Speaker. Overseas visitors are up 68 per cent to 4,900 people. I would like to say in the House that the H.O.G. rally in Digby has, I believe - unless that member wishes to disagree - with the support of this government, doubled its figures. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

TCH: AGRI-TOURISM - DEVELOP

MS. MICHELE RAYMOND: Mr. Speaker, my question too is for the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage. As he mentioned in referring to the H.O.G. rally, he must be aware that Nova Scotia has a rich fishing and farming tradition and this has tremendous tourism potential. People come here to enjoy the products of our farms, our markets, our vineyards, our wineries, smokehouses, cheese makers. These businesses have been working very hard to entice people to come here and capture the attention of tourists, but they need provincial policy support.

I'll table some documents obtained from Web sites from British Columbia and Alberta where tourism really is flourishing. It specifically addressed their agri-tourism industries. My question to the minister is, why is this province not doing something similar to develop this popular niche-tourism market?

HON. WILLIAM DOOKS: Well I thank the member for the question. As always, Mr. Speaker, my response is indeed we are working with the agricultural community to promote tourism. We do a lot of work and support the wine industry, for example.

MS. RAYMOND: I'm pleased to know that the wine industry is being supported and I'm sure everyone is. Mr. Speaker, it's true that the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture

[Page 3618]

has done some work on agri-tourism but the Tourism Department itself needs to get on board. There was a study commissioned and released in October 2005: Nova Scotia Culinary Tourism and Agri-Tourism Sector Study. We have some world-renowned chefs and others working in our restaurants here but few of the tourism report's recommendations have been developed beyond the conceptual stage. B.C. and Alberta, for example, have dedicated agri-tourism Web sites, branding programs, signage for local operators and generous development programs. I ask the minister, why aren't we doing something similar for our equally distinguished agri-tourism industry?

MR. DOOKS: Well, Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform the member across the way with our new brand that we're promoting this year, different initiatives to promote that industry. We promote it here within our own region across Nova Scotia. We're very happy to share what we have to offer with the world. You know, everything has to do with growth. We're moving very carefully to promote and to understand that industry. Thank you.

[3:45 p.m.]

MS. RAYMOND: Mr. Speaker, that brand needs to be known beyond the bounds of Nova Scotia. Nova Scotians know about Nova Scotia food; people around the world are finding out about it but why aren't we telling them, because they will come to visit. Many provinces and other jurisdictions promoting their agri-tourism industry find it is one of the fastest growing segments and is a strong contributor to the real strength of their tourism industries. Developing this, ensuring we've got quality experiences to offer and branding and targeted marketing will help not only the tourism industry but stabilizing rural communities and agricultural producers across this province. My question to the minister is, when will he work dedicatedly with his counterparts in agriculture and in economic development to fast-track the implementation of agri-tourism policies, development and promotion?

MR. DOOKS: Mr. Speaker, the answer to the member is that this minister is dedicated now. We are working aggressively to promote what we have to offer.

My Speaker, in my last response to her question I was speaking of being more parochial but actually we spend over $20 million advertising and marketing the brand of Nova Scotia. Taste Nova Scotia is an award-winning group that brings us all great pride. Nova Scotians chefs, our agriculture, our fishing ports, our forestry, our industry are well-known to promote tourism. We work in concert with other departments, and this Premier and this government, to promote tourism in Nova Scotia and I suggest we're moving forward, we're moving on a positive track. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

IMMIGRATION: RETENTION RATE - DETAILS

[Page 3619]

MR. LEONARD PREYRA: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Minister of Immigration. His government boasts that our immigration retention rate has gone up to about 63 per cent, from a dismal 48 per cent in 2001. New Brunswick and Manitoba are about our size, have the same sort of resource-based economies and a similar mix of rural and urban life. New Brunswick is keeping 75 per cent of its immigrants, Manitoba 80 per cent. Our retention rate is much lower; we've gone from a D-minus to a C-minus. Sure, it's better, Mr. Speaker, but it's still mediocre. Mr. Speaker, through you to the minister, can he tell this House why our sister provinces are doing a much better job of attracting and keeping immigrants?

HON. LEONARD GOUCHER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. You know for a department that is really only three years old, since 2005, and for a department that has increased our retention rate from 36 per cent to 63 per cent - if you look at Manitoba or some of the other provinces where their immigration departments have been working for the last 10 to 12 years to raise their immigration retention, I'll tell you what, Mr. Speaker - Nova Scotia is doing a great job and 63 per cent - and we are targeting for 70 per cent by 2010 - is a great goal.

MR. PREYRA: Mr. Speaker, I'm not sure I heard the minister say that he has increased the rate from 36 per cent to 63 per cent since 2005. We know that the minister responsible in 2005 is now the Premier and I'm not sure if he's saying that he's a much better minister than the Premier was. (Interruptions) Mr. Speaker, the minister may be aware of a new report from Professor David Flint at Dalhousie University. Dr. Flint has done a careful study of recent immigrants to Colchester County. His main conclusion is that Colchester, and by extension other small towns and rural parts of the province, needs to be not only friendly but also equipped to be helpful if it wants to attract and retain immigrants. Can the minister tell the House how many of Dr. Flint's sensible suggestions his department plans to implement this year?

MR. GOUCHER: Mr. Speaker, first of all, you know, somebody has got to lay the groundwork for a successful department. That's why we have a Premier, that's the Premier, that's why I'm the minister - he laid the groundwork, he provided the tools and I'm trying to implement the program. (Interruptions) I'm very proud to be a minister in this government. That member should be very ashamed that he turned down a budget that provided for a 30 per cent increase in settlement for immigration in this province. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Halifax Citadel on his final supplementary.

MR. PREYRA: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I don't know why the minister is so upset. I was just pointing out that he had said (Interruptions) I just thought that he had said, that on the Premier's watch the retention rate was 36 per cent and he had improved it. That's all I was pointing out. That's what he said.

[Page 3620]

Mr. Speaker, we're not talking about large amounts of money or lengthy planning processes. We're talking about having a local number for immigrants to call to help them navigate through unfamiliar systems. We're talking about job matching services for immigrants who are skilled trades people. We're talking about including recent immigrants in the Colchester Immigration Partnership. Will the minister tell us what simple, straightforward, on-the-ground solutions his department plans to implement to attract and keep immigrants outside the Halifax Regional Municipality?

MR. GOUCHER: Mr. Speaker, you know, the one great thing about the Immigration Department is that you can always refer to numbers and I refer to the first quarter of 2008, where this province and this Immigration Department has increased the total number of immigrants in this province by 10 per cent in the first quarter of this year.

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

HEALTH: DIGBY ER PLAN - STATUS

MR. HAROLD THERIAULT: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. On December 6, 2007, the minister stood in this House and stated, "We will have a 24/7 ER in Digby as of January." I'll table that quote for you. When commitments are made in this House, they should be kept, especially when it comes to the well-being of our people. So my question to the minister is, what happened with your plan, minister, to have a 24/7 ER in Digby as of January?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Well, Mr. Speaker, you know, it's one of those things where I can say, well, he got me. Really, when we were hiring that new physician who was coming from Prince Edward Island, we were under the assumption that he would be taking over the slack time that we had in the emergency room. We found that that individual could not cover all those shifts, so the emergency room is still having trouble in opening on a 24/7, 365 rotation.

MR. THERIAULT: Mr. Speaker, from January 1, 2008, to the end of May 2008, the Digby ER has been and will be closed for a total of 449 hours. People in this community were counting on the minister's comment and are wondering why things have gone so terribly wrong. So my question is, why did the minister make a commitment in this House to the residents of Digby to provide a 24/7 ER if he had no intention of keeping it?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, my intention and that of this government is to have a 24/7, 365 day per year emergency room in Digby.

MR. THERIAULT: Mr. Speaker, since January 1st, the ER in Digby has been closed for 449 hours and it is believed it is going to get worse from the lack of human resources. In our community, a promise made is a promise kept. So if the minister can't keep this

[Page 3621]

commitment, just tell us. Can the minister please give the residents of Digby any idea as to when they can expect a regular 24/7 ER department up and functioning at the Digby General Hospital?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, it is still our intention to have that facility open 24/7, 365. We will continue on the recruiting of another physician, another person who can work in the emergency room. There is also the recruiting of two nurse practitioners that is ongoing. I know I have spoken a number of times with the member opposite who has a concern for that area to basically have people in those positions. Right now it is not of great comfort to have two positions without the nurse practitioners in them. We will work as hard as possible to make sure that those nurse practitioner positions are filled as well as those emergency room doctors that Digby so well needs.

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

EMO - VULNERABLE PEOPLE: EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS -

CENTRAL REGISTRY

MS. MARILYN MORE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Emergency Management. The office recently announced that it had developed a booklet to help persons with disabilities and seniors prepare for possible disasters. Information is a good thing but it needs to be part of a broader plan to help protect vulnerable Nova Scotians in the event of an emergency. So I ask the minister, has her government made any progress in developing a central registry of vulnerable people who will require help?

HON. JUDY STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak to the issue of emergency management and services for persons with disabilities. We were pleased just last week to provide information packages to all members in this House that were made available to ensure that proper procedures, proper information was disseminated to all Nova Scotians. Specifically to seniors and to persons with disabilities, to ensure that in the event of an emergency that the information was available to them and all of the access that they would require would be available at their fingertips.

MS. MORE: Mr. Speaker, that side of the House may have forgotten the lessons of Hurricane Juan but this side of the House has not. Disabled persons, people with health conditions and the frail elderly sat in their homes without power, with spoiling food and needing help. Emergency responders didn't know who might need help because there was no central list. Other jurisdictions have these registries so that officials know exactly where to find vulnerable people who are at risk. I ask the minister, why are elderly and disabled Nova Scotians at risk still left to fend for themselves if a disaster strikes?

MS. STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, again I will table for my honourable colleague's information - perhaps she wasn't here the day or perhaps she was and simply misplaced her

[Page 3622]

copy - Are You Ready? Nova Scotia's Guide to Disaster Preparedness: Tips for Persons with Disabilities; Tips for Older or Frail Seniors, that all members of this House received a copy of.

MS. MORE: Mr. Speaker, unfortunately that information package won't help a senior who is without power and on oxygen. So a government-operated central registry of persons with disability, illness or are frail seniors would be a sensible, responsible and practical tool to help Nova Scotians and our emergency responders and planners. Soon seniors will represent 25 per cent of our population and we have, in addition, very high incidences of disability and illness. I ask the minister, will she commit to having her staff look into other jurisdictions and at least weigh the options of a central registry of persons at risk here in Nova Scotia?

MS. STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, again, to my honourable colleague, the sensible, practical response is the package that was just tabled in this House. It provides a wide range of services, contacts for seniors, for persons with disabilities. Helping seniors and helping the disabled is a priority of this side of the House. Again, I'm more than pleased to remind all members of this House of the $6 million investment that we made that the Liberals supported last week - in-services for persons with disabilities that the NDP said, no, not going to support.

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

JUSTICE - C.B. CORR. CTR.: ASBESTOS PROBLEM -

CODE OF PRACTICE

MR. GORDON GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice. Yesterday, in response to a question, the Minister of Justice stated, when the government became aware of this situation, the appropriate measures were taken. (Interruptions) Today in the media, the Department of Labour and Workforce Development says it is investigating how Cape Breton Correctional Centre employees learned about the asbestos line pipes at the facility. What I'm hearing from the guards is that they learned about the asbestos on May 14th from a maintenance worker who was told of the asbestos and had it confirmed by management on May 15th. My question, through you Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Justice is, why was the Joint Health and Safety Committee not informed immediately as called for in the Code of Practice?

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member for Cape Breton Nova is correct, the maintenance workers were aware because they were part of the process and the policies and procedures and they were following and doing their due diligence just as we expect them to do.

[Page 3623]

MR. GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, the appropriate measures were not taken. Asbestos was confirmed in the facility on April 25th and the guards did not get confirmation until May 15th. My question to the Minister of Labour and Workforce Development is, does he consider that time length appropriate in meeting the Code of Practice set out by his department?

HON. MARK PARENT: Mr. Speaker, I've reiterated my answer several times. The Occupational Health and Safety Division is investigating the internal responsibility system and have produced two reports. I'm sure more information will be coming in the future and I leave that up to them because this minister will not interfere, one way or the other, with the work of Occupational Health and Safety. It's too important an issue to let it degenerate into petty politics.

MR. GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, the Code of Practice was not followed. The Minister of Labour and Workforce Development said last night that in his view, immediately would mean immediately. That's what the policy is. We were informed by the Department of Justice that they have to adhere to it. My question to the minister is, so with this minister's grafting on the meaning of immediate, does he feel the Department of Justice followed the Department of Labour's Code of Practice?

[4:00 p.m.]

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member for Cape Breton Nova, who seems to feel that politics is more important than people, we have taken the measures to ensure that the safety, the well-being, the security of the public, inmates and employees are adhered to. What that member knows is that upon the receipt of the report, the report that said that the safety of the air quality was within acceptable limits, the goodwill of the department was to follow up on the union ask to have a further report, which was done, which was released today, which is in safe limits. That's what we will continue to do, that is the action and anything that has come to my attention, I have acted on immediately. If only they will get to their immediate senses, we'd get on with better government in this province. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

HEALTH: RURAL HEALTH TASK FORCE - STATUS

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. The provincial health services operational review, which we know as the Corpus Sanchez report, outlines some recommendations around the delivery of health services in rural Nova Scotia. Most specifically, Recommendation No. 23 states that the Department of Health establish a Rural Health Task Force made up of individuals from community health boards, district health authorities, business people and private citizens, to develop a rural

[Page 3624]

health strategy. So my question to the minister is, could he please indicate whether this Rural Health Task Force has been appointed?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: No, the full task force has not been appointed. Where we are right now is working with our partners, the district health authorities, to basically pick chairs for issues like the rural health strategy, like the model of care, like the other pieces that need to be happening. Once we have those chairs in place, then we can start populating the positions on those task forces.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, as you know, yesterday I asked the Premier whether certain hospitals across this province would be designated as primary care centres or community health centres and may not have a 24/7 emergency department, as recommended by Corpus Sanchez and endorsed by his government. He indicated there would be no closures of emergency departments. This report, which the government endorsed wholeheartedly, indicates otherwise. So my question for the minister is, will the Rural Health Task Force be told that emergency room closures are not an option, as the Premier indicated yesterday, or will this government allow them to make closure recommendations and then use them as an excuse as to why that needs to be done?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Again the idea behind a rural health strategy is to find methods and ways to keep ERs open, to better serve those populations. I look forward to the work that is going to be done by that task force.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, the health care system throughout this province is in crisis and it's being felt most acutely in rural Nova Scotia. Human health resource issues are becoming strained and will only get worse. Without lab techs, without nurses and X-ray techs, doctors will not have the supports to practice. So my question for the minister is, will the minister please direct that Rural Health Task Force to examine the issues around health human resources, as they pertain to rural communities, as soon as possible before it really becomes too late?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Again, over the last number of weeks and months, I've been visiting communities, visiting chambers of commerce, visiting Rotary clubs, talking about the issues in health care.

We are not sitting out there and saying that everything is rosy. We know there are some issues, especially when it comes to the human health resource issues. We know we're going to have challenges going into the future and I know that this rural health strategy will be one that will strengthen health care in Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

SERV. N.S. & MUN. REL.: FIREFIGHTERS -

[Page 3625]

DRIVER TRAINING ASSISTANCE

MR. CHARLES PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question through you is to the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. We all know the valuable service that volunteer firefighters provide in our communities. Today the fire department in Caribou, just outside the Town of Pictou, was dealing with a very serious situation, that in the event of an emergency they could have no one to drive their fire trucks. The three members who hold an air brake endorsement could be unavailable due to work commitments, and the department needs help in getting more drivers trained as soon as possible. So my question to the minister is, what steps is he prepared to take to help the Caribou Volunteer Fire Department and others like it around our province, that are short of qualified drivers?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. One of the things that I can tell the honourable member is that the firefighter tax credit was being enhanced this year and he voted against it.

MR. PARKER: Well, Mr. Speaker, it's a very serious problem. In order to drive a fire truck, volunteers must take a course and then they must complete a written test. For many, the way the training and the tests are structured requires considerable time and travel by anyone trying to get the airbrake endorsement. So one suggestion that has come to me by the board of directors in the Caribou Fire Department was perhaps that the trainers could travel to meet the firefighters instead of the other way around. So my question to the minister is, what steps will he take to get his department to examine this suggestion and any other means of ensuring availability of drivers for volunteer fire trucks?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, as members of this House will know, last year this government made an outstanding commitment to emergency responders in the province, a commitment of about $8.5 million, and there was more included in this year's budget which the honourable member voted against. The issue of human resources for volunteer fire departments is, no question, he raises an important issue and it's one that's difficult right across the province. That's why, among other things, the province has supported the volunteer firefighters the way we did last year and has also upped the volunteer firefighter tax credit, and again an increase next year, to try to encourage more people to join volunteer fire brigades.

MR. PARKER: Mr. Speaker, again my question is for the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. Residents in our communities depend on these volunteers to protect the health and the safety of their families and their homes. Gaps in this vital service are exposing people to increased risks. Today in Caribou there is nobody to drive the fire trucks. So I'm asking, when can the volunteer fire department in Caribou expect to hear from this minister about a solution to training and testing for airbrake endorsement?

[Page 3626]

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, other than refer to the excellent mutual aid system that we have in Nova Scotia, I want to refer to the minister responsible, the Minister of Labour and Workforce Development.

HON. MARK PARENT: Mr. Speaker, the government has put $500,000 towards beginning (Interruption) Did they vote against that as well? Hypocrisy.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. PARENT: We have $500,000 that hopefully, well, with the support of the Party opposite and our leadership, will go forward to help with a mobile training unit. It's just the start of an enhanced training program that we intend to offer to our firefighters. So we've already started with $0.5 million and we'll be more aggressive in the future.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Shelburne.

FISH. & AQUACULTURE: FISHERY MGT. (FED.) - MIN. ACTION

MR. STERLING BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. This past week we witnessed the blockade in Inverness Harbour by Nova Scotian fishers over the allocation of lucrative crab quota. In my area there is much anger arising from Irish moss harvesters who wish to expand from district 12 to district 11 to be able to sustain their livelihood. However, these decisions are being made in Ottawa in regard to our quotas and our coastal communities. My question to the minister is, what is he doing to deal with the poor management of our fishery in Ottawa?

HON. RONALD CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for that question. I guess he had a few questions there. His first question was on the Inverness issue on the weekend. We had a very good meeting down there yesterday. My executive assistant and I were in Inverness and met with the fishermen. The Premier was there on the weekend and met with the fishermen. DFO had a meeting with the fishermen on Monday and that issue is being worked on with Ottawa and we will continue to work with that. As for the issue of the Irish moss, that's an issue that has to be addressed by both areas, area 12 and area 11, I believe it is, and until they get it resolved among themselves, as to that fishery, we will continue to work with them.

[4:15 p.m.]

MR. BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, now that I've got his attention, I want to add a couple more questions here. A fisherman this year has been required to return sculpin as an incidental caught fish that traditionally has been used as bait. Fishermen are quite worried about the potential of having cusk placed on a species at risk list and the major impact this

[Page 3627]

will have on our lucrative lobster fishery. My question is, what plans does this minister have to bring these issues forward to his federal counterpart?

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, thank you to the honourable member for that question. We did have a late debate here last night. That was the topic that we discussed. Our Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, we realize the impact that the listing of cusk would have on the lobster fishery. We don't agree with the science that has been presented by DFO and we have made that very clear to DFO and the minister. We will continue to continue that battle and we will work with them to try to get a resolve to that.

MR. BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, fishers across Nova Scotia have a number of issues such a low catches, crews paying for quotas and now are plagued by high fuel costs, and the highest WCB rates in Atlantic Canada. Will the minister call on the federal minister to carry out a review of the issues facing our troubled fisheries and work with the communities to develop solutions?

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, we work on a daily basis with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans for the betterment of all the fishery in the Province of Nova Scotia. I guess I look around and I think to myself, and I look at all the members of the Legislature, how important the fishery is to us all. That member over there, the member for Shelburne, has voted against the largest investment in the fisheries in the last 30 years in the Province of Nova Scotia. He voted against it. A loan for a licence program that we have implemented - the member for Queens, a large fishing community, how did she vote? She voted no. The member for Pictou West voted no. The member for Pictou East voted no. All very, very intense fishing communities, and you look across and you see all of them voted against the fishery. (Interruption)

Mr. Speaker, we know how important, on this side, the fishery is, and we will continue to work with the fishermen, not like the NDP.

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

CAN. COAST GUARD COLL. - TRAINING VESSEL: REMOVAL - UPDATE

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I hope I can get equal time here. (Laughter) My question is for the Premier. Early last week we learned that the federal Conservatives will once again be moving a Coast Guard vessel out of Nova Scotia, the Cap Perce, from the Sydney Coast Guard College. On Thursday, May 15th, the Premier stated he had sent a letter to the Prime Minister to stay the moving of this vessel to Quebec. It has almost been a week since the Premier informed us about that letter. Will the Premier inform the House whether or not he has received a response from the Prime Minister?

[Page 3628]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, not to my knowledge, as yet. I have not seen a response to the letter which was sent, but I certainly will check with my office. If one has been received today or in the last 24 hours, I will make it known to the House.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, on Monday, May 12th, Prime Minister Harper was in Halifax watching a hockey game, and obviously on the advice of the provincial Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage. On Wednesday, the Premier stated, on the matter of the Cap Perce, "I did not have a heads-up, and I would have brought it up to the attention of the prime minister (if I had)." So my question to the Premier is, if the lines of communication are so great between you and your federal cousins, why didn't the Prime Minister give you a heads-up on this matter when he was literally up the street?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the lines of communication between myself and the Prime Minister are very good, and this government and the federal government. That is why we signed an infrastructure agreement of over $600 million for the people of this province. That's why we're settling a 20-year issue, which the previous federal Liberal Government wouldn't deal with, that being the Crown share, which will enhance the future opportunities for young people in this province in the years ahead.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, this is the third announcement in just over a year that will move important vessels from the shores of Nova Scotia's coastline. It's clear the federal government is playing political games with the Province of Nova Scotia while the Premier, obviously, is kept out of the loop. Three times in the last year ships have been moved out of Nova Scotia - two up here and one in the Coast Guard College in Sydney.

The plain fact is, the college in Sydney needs this ship. It provides hands-on experience for cadets and allows instructors to keep up their professional expertise. It's now three ships and counting. My question to the Premier is, how many more ships will be taken from us before the Premier stands up for Nova Scotia and stands up for the people of our province? Mr. Speaker, we need the Premier to speak on behalf of the people who are attending the Coast Guard College in Sydney to have the Cap Perce returned to Point Edward.

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, I'd like to thank the member opposite for the question. It's a very good question, both for this province and for the Coast Guard College. I can tell you that the morning we became aware of the issue my office made immediate contact with Minister MacKay's office in Ottawa; as well we also documented to the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans our concern and displeasure with this vessel being moved. I can assure the honourable member this government and this minister will continue to dialogue with the federal Minister of ACOA and as well the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to ensure that the Coast Guard College is secure for many years into the future of this province.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

[Page 3629]

COM. SERV.: CHILD CARE SPACES - LACK EXPLAIN

MS. MICHELE RAYMOND: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community Services. As the minister knows, working families need child care. In my constituency, many of those families qualify for the portable subsidies which help them afford care for their children while they are at work. But there's only a very limited number of spaces and very, very few of those are for preschool care, licensed, in the Spryfield area, and there are absolutely none in the communities further out. So even those families living in the urban core have very few options for child care, none for child care before the age of four years old, and the situation is even worse in outlying communities. My question to the minister is, why is there population of over 25,000 people anywhere in this province which is served by less than 100 licensed child care spaces?

HON. JUDY STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, I thank my honourable colleague for the opportunity to rise and to speak to the $200 million child care plan put in place by this government. That $200 million plan has a wide variety of components to it. One of those components, of course, concerns subsidy. I'm pleased to address the issue of subsidy, it was just last month that we, on this side of the House, recognized the importance to have subsidy for Nova Scotian families. We increased the income allowance for families for those hard- working families in Nova Scotia to ensure they were better able to access the subsidized spaces.

At the same time we did that, we also decreased the daily fee from $2.25 a day to $1 a day - concrete, practical, real solutions for Nova Scotian families who require that quality child care that we deliver here in Nova Scotia each and every day.

MS. RAYMOND: Mr. Speaker, unfortunately that response simply does not answer the question of how a population of 20,000 people can be expected to need fewer than 100 licensed child care spaces. (Applause) The minister should be well aware that Spryfield is one of the areas with some of the highest concentrations of lone-parent families in the province. Even those families with two parents often find both parents need to work to make ends meet. Parents want to work, the minister says she wants them to work, but the fact of the matter is it's not even legal to leave your children at home while you go to work. So I ask the minister, where is the licensed child care where those subsidies can be used in this community?

MS. STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, again, thank you very much for the opportunity to rise and speak of the millions of dollars of investment made in the child care plan - over $200 million to add 1,000 spaces to the entire Province of Nova Scotia. We make available those loans and those grants to commercial and non-profit child care centres to expand. Indeed, $4.4 million for expansion funding was just recently awarded. As well, repair and renovation to the tune of $1 million. Again, we know there are challenges in different areas of the province and we make those dollars available and it is entirely up to the sector to come

[Page 3630]

forward and present to us projects that we can support. We will continue to support those projects from one end of the province, many of which happen right here in the central district. So, again, a $200 million investment on behalf of this side of the House. We absolutely do believe in choice quality child care for all families here in Nova Scotia.

MS. RAYMOND: One thousand spaces across the province. Mr. Speaker, it actually gets worse. There are families in communities in this province that can't even get their children to the places where the child care is; no public transit, for instance, in Spryfield. So if you get a child who cannot reach licensed child care, that portable subsidy is completely and utterly worthless when the child can't get to the child care. My question to the minister is, when will that federal funding which was allocated to child care subsidy stop being hoarded and used to put licensed quality child care actually where it's needed?

MS. STREATCH: Well, Mr. Speaker, again I would stand and reference the investment of this side of the House, the $3 million public transit announcement last week in the budget which the NDP voted against. The increase in repair and renovation, the expansion of loans and grants that this side of the House put in place to provide quality child care for all Nova Scotians, something that we take very seriously on this side of the House, we take it very seriously. We will continue to invest in quality child care for this province despite what the NDP would have us do.

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

ECON. DEV. - HFX. PORT: CUSTOMERS - BRING BACK

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: My question, Mr. Speaker, is for the Minister of Economic Development. Over the past few months we have seen several reports of the struggles being faced by the Port of Halifax. Container traffic has seen a large decline and customers are beginning to leave or are threatening to do so. Caterpillar still has yet to confirm that they will bring back their business to Nova Scotia for the long term. My question to the minister is, what steps are you going to take to help bring back customers such as Caterpillar back to the Port of Halifax?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for the question. We have been working very closely with the Port of Halifax and, of course, with our federal counterparts on the Gateway initiative. There are three principles. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. We're having difficulty hearing the minister.

The honourable Minister of Economic Development has the floor.

MR. MACISAAC: It must be my cold, Mr. Speaker.

[Page 3631]

MR. SPEAKER: It must be.

MR. MACISAAC: We are working very closely with the Port of Halifax and, Mr. Speaker, we have three very important initiatives that we want to get underway. We are persuading the federal government to join us in a program of, first of all, training to make the Port of Halifax one of the most efficient ports on the Atlantic Seaboard. We want to do research to ensure that we are able to get out and contact the decision-makers in the industry. We also want to do the marketing which would flow from that research in order to ensure that, as the post-Panamax ships start plying the waters of the North Atlantic, that Nova Scotia is the first port of call for those ships as they come to the North Atlantic and the Atlantic Seaboard of North America.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, Caterpillar has yet to confirm the long-term contract for the terminal and Mersk has recently announced a short-term line connected to the crab fish season, but they stopped calling their sustained long-term line to our port back in early 2007.

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

OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.

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

PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 139.

Bill No. 139 - Autism Working Group Act.

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

[4:30 p.m.]

MS. BECKY KENT: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity today to rise and speak in support of the bill that I introduced earlier in this session, Bill No. 139, an Act to Establish the Autism Working Group. I am pleased to be able to rise and speak today on

[Page 3632]

behalf of the NDP caucus and certainly the Nova Scotia families that are challenged every day by this disorder.

Simply put, Mr. Speaker, this is a bill that will begin the necessary steps to help families facing these challenges, the challenges of autism, or autism spectrum disorder. The bill is to form a working group of stakeholders, government officials, various provincial departments, advocate organizations and, importantly, parents. As expressed to me by residents of the Eastern Passage and Cole Harbour riding, the goals for them would be that this government, through the working group, determine the true scope of the issues that are facing these families through evidence-based decisions around this issue. The goal, again, would be to compare supports, programs and services in other provinces and thus to make recommendations for supports, intervention, and to address the needs through the entire lifespan of the people in Nova Scotia who are affected by this disorder.

This isn't a new idea, Mr. Speaker. There was an all-Party resolution that came through the Standing Committee on Community Services, but there has been a failure by the minister to endorse this recommendation to date. It's not a difficult thing to understand. It is fairly plain and simple to understand. These families are in need of help. They face challenges that we often, as parents, take for granted in our everyday lives. The list is lengthy, but something as simple as communicating with our child, feeding our child, watching our child play with friends, going to the movies, balancing the needs of the entire family, the needs of a child with autism and balancing the needs of the rest of the family, the list goes on and on, and these supports, they are needed. They need to be given to these families to help these families have the quality of life that all Nova Scotians deserve, but to provide these supports the most important factor is to understand the full scope of what our families are facing.

Mr. Speaker, autism is the most common neurological disorder affecting children. The disorder changes the way the brain processes information and it affects all aspects of that person's development. Their impairments include social interaction, relationship and behaviour, sometimes persons with autism may appear aloof or indifferent, they may be unable to have a conversation. To the person who might be witnessing or watching a conversation or an interaction between a child and a parent, they may be looked at as out of sync, they are not connected. Social communication is impaired, verbal and non-verbal communication. There would be a recognition that they are not really understanding, potentially, just things we take for granted, in facial gestures, facial expressions and tone of voice.

There are impairments around, again, what we take for granted every day in our lives. A resistance to a change in a schedule can throw a family completely off day after day after day, where a family has a child with autism who needs a consistent routine every day, the schedule can't change, to the other members of the family. I don't know about you, but my family changes every day, our schedules. It's challenging. So these families have the extra burden of facing the need of that very, very rigid schedule.

[Page 3633]

Sensitivity to sounds, Mr. Speaker, that's another example of an impairment. The unbelievable effects of a high-pitched sound, a loud noise, a sudden loud noise, or even just as simple as going to a movie and having the surround sound that you or I every day we enjoy. We want to go, we want to hear that surround sound. We want to be at the movies with our family and with our children. Of course, we want all of our children to be able to go to those Disney movies and to have the popcorn that they want to enjoy in that environment, as a family.

A child with autism or a person with autism, at whatever age, can have severe difficulty in dealing with that. Those are the kinds of things that they're facing, Mr. Speaker.

It's estimated, and again I stress estimated because we don't have the detail, we don't have the actual facts in Nova Scotia. Estimated, it's been said before, 1 in 150 people have autism spectrum disorder, but we don't really know for sure. Those are just the people who actually are living every day with that spectrum disorder. That doesn't include the parents, whether it be one or two, or the grandparents, they are affected and trying to help cope with the results of this disorder. It doesn't include the family and friends who are trying to help and support. The teachers, and again that list goes on and on. They are all affected in so many different ways, Mr. Speaker, and it's time that we helped these families do the best they can to help provide their child through a lifetime of this disorder. It's not going away.

Currently, Mr. Speaker, we can acknowledge the great and positive outcomes of the current EIBI program in Nova Scotia. It's been acknowledged through several opportunities here today that this program is effective, it is working, but it's important that we acknowledge that it is only to age 5. This disorder is life-long. We need programs, we need support, we need intervention for the lifespan of these people. They are beautiful, strong people who can contribute to society but they need the extra help. There are only 27 people in our province, out of a potential 5,000 to 6,000 who can receive that EIBI program. That's shameful.

It has been suggested to me that people don't necessarily like the term, the EIBI program is a lottery. Mr. Speaker, I'm going to call a spade a spade. When you have a program that potentially to a family who will actually get the call and say your child, your family has been drawn out of that random draw and you now get that program - that's a pot of gold to that family, they've won. Frankly, that's a lottery.

The families that are in need, they are relying on intervention and opportunities for all ages across their lifespan. I can't say that enough and I believe that's what this bill will provide. The families are relying on each other. They are relying on asking and helping their family and friends, their teachers. Thank goodness we have the support of our local organizations from Cape Breton, Autism Nova Scotia, the Valley; we have support groups I know, in HRM.

[Page 3634]

I had the pleasure of working to help develop a support group in the Dartmouth area. Today's event is significant, it's a significant step and I thank everyone from all Parties, all levels, everyone contributed to that awareness today.

I do want to take the time to make a special note to Ron Gerard, an NDP caucus staff person, who really played a lead role in that. I'm proud to have been able to come in this Chamber today and introduce a friend of mine, Vicki Harvey, who is on her way somewhere in Nova Scotia doing the job that she does so well, the Executive Director of Autism Nova Scotia. I'm proud to be able to say that my experience with her in my life and my family's life has blessed my family. Vicki's son, Conlin - I just got off the phone with him - he changed our life for the better. My son Tyler is one of his very best friends since Grade Primary. Conlin is blessed to have Vicki and Darrell, Conlin's dad and Conlin's brother, Brendon, in his life because they've been able to advocate and move this issue along and help him develop and blossom to the best of his ability. He's now in Grade 10 but every family should have these opportunities, but not every family has the background, or the skills, or the strength and resolve to move that along without support.

Knowing Conlin has given me and my family certainly, but me - now as an MLA representing Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage - insight into this issue. That's why I pushed and brought this forward, with the support of the NDP caucus and my colleagues, to move this bill forward. This government needs to have the same insight. I'm not convinced that they do.

Through this working group, as a result of this bill, I believe they can do that. I believe they can get a full scope, with the evidence they need, to come up with complete, resourceful and good opportunities and support for our families facing this. I've had the chance, again, to help Vicki and residents of Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage create a Dartmouth support group. What that does, is it provides our families who are facing this every day - the moms, the dads, the grandparents - to come together and talk about the things they're facing. They provide support for each other.

Two particular stories I had during that first meeting stand out to me and are examples of the kind of insight you need. Something you or I would take for granted with our child is a loss of a tooth at age 5, they lose their first tooth. It's a right of passage for most parents. It's something, oh wow, they've lost their first tooth. Well, I heard a heartbreaking story in that support group of how that loss of a tooth was a completely profound experience for a little boy with autism. It became something very challenging and stressful and difficult for them, because they weren't sure how to cope with it.

I also had a person come in, and frankly, this support group offered her a chance. It's very difficult to articulate these experiences - but to cry, to cry over the emotion she experiences with this new child who's going to school and doesn't understand why they're missing out on opportunities with friends. These parents come together and they tell each other about this so that they can get the support they need.

[Page 3635]

But they need more, they need this bill to move forward. They need this working group to start, only to begin to fill in the gap. In closing, I look forward to the minister's remarks, I look forward to a sign of support for this bill so we can finally start to help these families in a larger way. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I'll be sharing some of my time with the Minister of Education as there are a number of programs that fit under both our responsibilities.

I'm very pleased to have the opportunity to rise and talk about what our government is doing to support children with autism and, of course, their families. In December, 2004, the Department of Health introduced a $4 million treatment program for young children, not yet in school, diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder-a move that I relish, one that I was very happy that our government was able to do, as I, as all members of this House, have constituents that have children with autism.

I know of one family who have two. You know the responsibility and the difficulty there is in raising one child with autism, can you imagine trying to do it with two? That is not uncommon as well, it does happen in many areas.

To speak of the program specifically, we've received some very positive interim results for this program, which is now up and running in eight DHAs and at the IWK Health Centre. I know through the questioning I had during Question Period, I talked about some of the numbers there. I'd be the first one to agree that we should be doing more. We also have to be providing services for other children with other challenges, children with muscular dystrophy, children with Down's syndrome, children who have every right to succeed in our province as anyone else does.

We have to have our numbers and can we do more? Absolutely. To date 116 children have completed, are currently involved in the program. There are 75 children still eligible for this program, so it basically keeps a queue of people lined up who, when space becomes available the person can be randomly picked out of those 75 to go into our program.

Mr. Speaker, the Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention program is not only helping children speak and understand language, but it is also helping to improve problem-solving skills and is reducing behavioural problems.

Now some of the parents who were surveyed also indicated that improved behaviour and reduced symptoms had allowed the family to participate more fully in community activities with their children. The member also mentioned something very simple, something

[Page 3636]

that I would take for granted with my children as we do go to see a lot of movies at the Yarmouth theatre. You know, all the things going on, I can only imagine when you have trouble comprehending all the things going on, the difficulty you would have with your child there. But we do take some of those things for granted, although what we are seeing with this program is it is allowing these families to partake in some of these things where there is a lot of noise going on, when there is a lot of commotion, which we know that these children do have trouble coping with.

Mr. Speaker, we are pleased to see that this program is truly making a difference in the lives of children and families with autism. As the program continues to expand, we expect it to improve the future for many more young children.

[4:45 p.m.]

Now there are currently other initiatives underway in the Department of Education and in Department of Community Services, including enhanced support for children and youth in the school system - and I know the Minister of Education will speak more in-depth on those. Mental health, children's services, the Addiction Treatment branch of the Department of Health has several working groups currently in place, and this is speaking specifically to the bill that is before us, on setting up a working group.

The current working group includes Community Services and Education, a families group, there's an advisory team, as well as the EIBI implementation management team. Mr. Speaker, there are a lot of people who are interested in the well-being of these children.

Mr. Speaker, I just don't want to see another level of bureaucracy created and dollars go to support that kind of bureaucracy when, in my mind, the dollars should be going to the children. So that's where maybe our differences fall, where our disagreement maybe, on this bill, will come from. We don't believe necessarily that a working group will solve some of these issues. There are a lot of people involved today, looking forward to the well-being of the children.

At a recent meeting of the families group, it was suggested that representatives from Education and Community Services be invited to attend one of their meetings to give an update on what their departments are doing. Mr. Speaker, I know that staff are looking into having this meeting in September to look at those issues, to look at where we are, to look at where those gaps are.

Mr. Speaker, evidence has suggested that early intervention - we talked about this many times - it has the most positive and significant impact on improving the lives of these children and their families. Now in the past six years, we've invested $6 million to develop and implement services for young children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and we'll continue to support and invest in programs and services such as these, and indeed in the areas of mental health.

[Page 3637]

So, as I close and maybe share my time in a couple of seconds, I'll share one quick anecdote. My wife, who is becoming a teacher, is in her first practicum and in the class - she's very happy to talk about her class and what she's learning there - there are two children who have autism. Mr. Speaker, one functions very well without an aid worker, the other one needs some help. It was neat - what she saw was the interaction of the other students who are in this class that when the autistic child succeeded with something and in a way disrupted the class a little bit because he was so happy to have actually done it that he cheers and says, oh, I did it, and the whole class stands up and claps and sort of tells him to reinforce him that he is doing the right thing, he is really contributing to the class.

So with that, Mr. Speaker, I will take my seat and share my time with the Minister of Education.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to this piece of legislation. Of course, members will recall a recent question in Question Period today about the importance of the school system, in particular, being able to respond to and address the range of disorders that present themselves in the classroom. Our government is committed to working with community agencies to create programs and services that address the challenges of all people with special needs and, to that end, we have instituted a range of options and services that help our students achieve success regardless of any challenge they face.

Mr. Speaker, included in these efforts are students with autism spectrum disorders, and we have a series of initiatives in place at the department. For example, each board in the province has demonstration and training sites to help our teachers learn more about the disorder and effective strategies and techniques to support the students in their classroom who have that disability. These Strategies for Teaching based on Autism Research sites, or STAR sites, provide a wealth of knowledge to our teachers. As I said in Question Period today, we recognize that many of our teachers do not understand the disorder, and we want to make sure that not only do they understand the disorder but they also have strategies that are appropriate that they can use.

These training programs help educators ensure success for their students, Mr. Speaker, their students with autism spectrum disorders. We have implemented an autism professional development initiative and, to date, we have in-serviced over 150 of our classroom teachers and our resource teachers, teachers who will be able to deal effectively with these students on a daily basis.

We have also, as we have heard in the House many times, responded positively with our Tuition Support Program, and that program, of course, is not specific to autism, but it is

[Page 3638]

to students who have disabilities. We consult, Mr. Speaker, with the families, with the experts and with other departments, such as Community Services and Health. We have a provincial education autism advisory team, and we do have members of the Autism Society of Nova Scotia represented on that committee. We do want to hear from those people who are close to the families and close to the concerns, so we want them represented, and they are represented on those particular committees.

These two panels advise the Department of Education and help us and our partners move in the right direction to support students with autism. They provide a forum for the review and the monitoring of our programs as well as other government initiatives. The committee meets regularly, and we will continue to work with the Department of Health. We know that early detection and early intervention is important, and we know that by changing our age of entry date, we are capturing students at an earlier age in our schools, and we will be able to follow up with the supports that are needed there.

So in review, if I could, Mr. Speaker, we have targeted funding, we are in the third year of a four-year initiative. We have eight lead teams in our schools. We have developed an autism strategy. We have hired an autism consultant. We have included the Autism Society of Nova Scotia representatives. We have 11 demonstration sites, and we will continue to put our efforts together with those of the Department of Health to make sure that we fully identify, serve and support those students and those families who have need. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased today to rise on the NDP bill brought before the House, which was on April 28th. Just a few days later, on May 2nd, the Liberal caucus also put a bill before the House, probably, in essence, I think a very similar one.

Our bill focused on three areas - enhanced early identification of autism in students, enhanced public awareness respecting autism, and increased co-operation between departments in the Public Service respecting autistic students.

It has been almost five years now since I asked the first question about autism in the House. It was one of the early issues that the member for Annapolis, the member for Halifax Citadel and myself brought to the Legislature. At that time, I guess the member for Annapolis and I had a unique situation in that in our part of the province, Annapolis East Elementary School was one of the first schools, in fact, in Atlantic Canada that developed a program. A lady by the name of Kym Hume was the developer of that program, a very successful program, so much so that air force parents sent their children to that school. The word got around and before long we had servicemen from other parts of the country asking for transfers into the Greenwood base. At one point, this is now about 10 years ago, they had 16 children in a program, each one with an EA.

[Page 3639]

That program was the beginning, in our area, of a great awareness of autism. I guess it was during my first campaign that autism really impacted on me. As I went to two homes, almost in succession, where in one home there were two children with autism and in the second home another child with very, very profound autism spectrum disorder. Of course, the spectrum can range from a rating of 1 to 12 and this child probably was an 11 or a 12 in the rating.

It was probably the next year that a man by the name of Norm Donovan - I want to give Norm a lot of credit not only with VAST, but provincially he came to committee in 2004 and presented to the committee, on behalf of autistic parents and children, the absolute need to do something in support of autism. So, all nine members of the committee, on that particular day, a motion was made to make it a line item in the budget - it was one of the most memorable parts of committee life - that we were able to take from committee and put into the budget a $4 million support to autism in the province.

This bill, introduced by the NDP and a very similar one we've introduced as well, around a working committee, I believe is the next good piece that all members of the Legislature should be supporting. While the Minister of Health has some concerns around it, I think it, again, like the working committee on chronic pain, really brought to the attention of this House and to Nova Scotia the need for a pan-provincial input and that's what this working group can do. I think it can cross the borders of Community Services, of Health, of Education and give us a great insight as to what's going on, but more importantly, what are the gaps in delivering some help to persons of autism, right across the life cycle. That's what we must realize here - while there's a great focus on EIBI and intensive therapy and so it should be, because the greatest changes can be made, as we know, in those early years.

One of the things about autism, since it was first being talked about 60 years ago by the American psychiatrist, Leo Canner, is that we now know that autism is almost like cancer. It's many diseases with many distinct causes. It's well-known there is a wide range in the severity of symptoms from profound disability to milder forms like Asperger syndrome in which intellectual ability is generally high but social awareness is low. So it manifests itself in many, many different ways.

Even though we have worked to get this $4 million budget item, as the member opposite who introduced the bill has said, it's still only a small number of those who need the therapy who are actually being treated. I think to have a lottery system to choose which children will be supported, is indeed something that the province must look very long and hard at very, very quickly. So I'm hoping that that's one of the things again that a working group can be strong advocates for, continue to demand that we would get the kind of help.

Also, I think they would be working on programs like a three-year-old testing program, whereby at three years old, every child in Nova Scotia has a basic test around

[Page 3640]

speech, hearing, all of those areas of behaviour that by age three we could get a good idea if a child has some part of the autism spectrum that they fit. So I think a series like that we need to give greater support to.

[5:00 p.m.]

The Minister of Education in responding to the question today talked about a four-year strategy that the Department of Education has in place, and again it's a very, very valuable asset in dealing with children who have autism and is now in its third year. The STAR program has again made a huge impact, but we still need a lot of training in our school system. We need a lot of EA type of support to these children in an ongoing way. So I think there's a whole number of areas.

When you take a look right here in HRSB, in a recent meeting with the superintendent of HRSB and the school board, they have identified 50 children who will be coming into the HRSB school system this year who will fit somewhere on the spectrum of autism. So that's a tremendous challenge to the school system to deal with. So I think this is where a working group can be using professionals, parents, volunteers, to assist with these children.

Just to move through that a little bit again, I think the areas of identification, we talk about the statistics showing there could be about 5,000 to 6,000, I guess from the two-year-old, although it's interesting now that they're actually looking at the potential as early as nine months old to see some of the first possibilities that a child may have autism. This was, in fact, a Globe and Mail article on May 16th. I seem to have misplaced my copy here, but again it's one of those areas where tremendous amounts of research are changing things here very, very quickly.

I think some of that early identification, the gaps provincially, one of the areas that I've heard from a number of parents about is the fact that many family doctors have had no professional development in identification of autism. Again, it's a case now where each year they must put in so many hours of professional development, and to have doctors get the professional development for early identification I think is pretty essential. We all know, as I've referenced just even HRSB, of the school needs that we do have and many adults in the life cycle.

One of the articles that I have come across recently was Time Magazine, the May 7th edition and it was the story, of course, of Hannah and there is a great paragraph here and I would like to read it into the record: "The road to Hannah's mind opened a few days before her 13th birthday. Her parents, therapists, nutritionists and teachers had spent years preparing the way. They had moved mountains to improve her sense of balance, her sensory perception and her overall health. They sent in truckloads of occupational and physical therapy and emotional support."

[Page 3641]

Anyway, nothing was working. She had no vocabulary whatsoever and Hannah proved them wrong. She was set up with a computer, keyboard and she was asked, "'Is there anything you'd like to say, Hannah?', asked Marilyn Chadwick, director of training at the Facilitated Communication Institute at Syracuse University." who couldn't believe when she wrote into the computer, "I love Mom." So you can imagine what happened to that family and today, just a year and a half later, she is actually studying high school biology, algebra and ancient history. So we have much to learn and I believe a working group in this province would be a wonderful assist to all of the departments to give greater importance to autism and how, supporting them in the early years of life and throughout the life cycle can make profound changes. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

MR. TREVOR ZINCK: Mr. Speaker, today I take my place not just as the Critic for Community Services but also a member of the Standing Committee on Community Services who, some time ago had the opportunity to hear from some of the voices and organizations from around the province that are trying to bring to light some of the situations that families find themselves in dealing with autism.

One of the resolutions that came out of that committee, Mr. Speaker, was the fact that we did want to push for the very bill that is forward in the House today that we present. The one point I want to make so that all members understand, as I know we do, but people out there who might be watching, people in the gallery today, is that this is an all-Party committee. There are members on that committee who happen to be at the Cabinet Table, strong voices at the Cabinet Table. The resolution that was passed, pushing for this working group, was supported by all members.

There is an important point to impress upon the Minister of Health, the importance of this. That day, when organizations from around the province came in, they came also, Mr. Speaker, to tell us some of the stories that some of the families had faced and this is what the premise of this whole bill is about. It is not just about all the benefits that the EIBI has helped some families so far, a small number. The minister today spoke about 75 families now but we know that coming out of that meeting there are many more parents across this province and children across this province who are struggling with this disorder. So, we hope that this is an opportunity to present an education piece. We have seen the success.

In 2006, the current government started talking about breaking down silos and the importance of different departments communicating. Well, here is another example where a working group can assist in those situations and help the government get a real understanding of how families and children are dealing with this and not just at the early ages. We know the benefits, Mr. Speaker, of early intervention. We have seen it.

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The issue that came out of the standing committee, as well, however, and some of the lines of questioning were, we don't have any concrete figures in Canada. I think that, here again, is an opportunity for a working group to come together to reach out with the departments and the government but also other families, to make other families comfortable enough to come forward to say there are people in government who are understanding. There are other families who can relate to us. This is an opportunity to have their stories told, their experiences not just at birth or in their early years, as the EIBI program extends to only the age of six. There are many things that happen, Mr. Speaker, in families' lives after that time. When the child goes through high school.

One of the saddest stories I had to hear during that committee meeting, Mr. Speaker, was to have a mother tell me that she didn't want to tell her 18-year-old son that he couldn't go on to university and he wanted to be an engineer, but there are no safeguards or provisions. We heard the Minister of Education speak about some of the programs, and we do recognize that there are some implementations in the school boards to try to address autism, but what happens after? What happens when a child with autism spectrum disorder wants to go on to community college or university? Are they going to have those supports there? These are some of the stories that we, as legislators, have an opportunity to listen to if we're able to put forward a working group.

Now I raise the question about the EIBI Program, and in 2005, yes, it was very momentous to have a portion of the budget dedicated to this program, a $4 million budget. That's fantastic, Mr. Speaker, but it was limited to how many families, and as was mentioned here in the debate, it was a lottery shot for some of the families.

I've been very fortunate to have one family in my community of Dartmouth North benefit from that program and, absolutely, a single mother raising a young child with autism - a single mother, period, has difficulty, but having an autistic child and having that opportunity to participate in this program was tremendous, Mr. Speaker, and she benefited. However, we haven't seen that budget increase. We haven't seen that $4 million go to $5 million. The minister talked about extending the program to potentially 75 people today. It's still not enough. This working group, if we can get this bill passed in this House and we can provide the opportunities for parents to form a working group with any stripe of government that sits on that side of the House, I believe it would give Nova Scotians an opportunity and a voice at the national level.

Really, I don't expect the Government of Nova Scotia, any government in Nova Scotia, to carry the burden because this is an epidemic right now. As was mentioned again in Question Period, 1 in 150 children are being diagnosed with some form of autism spectrum disorder. So we recognize across Canada that it's an issue.

What has to happen is, collectively, we have to come together, and what better way to do it than to hear from the families that have been affected by this disorder, to hear from

[Page 3643]

the children who have been affected by this disorder, but that means a commitment by governments, and not just this government but the government that may come after it and after that one. It's about implementing it and improving upon it.

We have a real opportunity here, because autism spectrum disorder is in the limelight, Mr. Speaker. We have people's attention, but what we don't have is the education piece, we don't have the statistics and we don't have the full understanding of what families are really dealing with. That's important that we allow them a mechanism, a process that can bring their stories to this legislature.

Now I know the Minister of Community Services, over the past week, has talked about the continuum of care provided for persons with disabilities. I will concur to her that, yes, her department does allow families to have those supports. And this was another thing that came out of that committee meeting, Mr. Speaker, the fact that some of these families - and this is one of the stories that we don't hear, unfortunately, but with a working group we would hear, Mr. Speaker - some of these families don't have the opportunity to enjoy their lives. Some of the families, they lose their marriages over struggling financially. The don't have that relationship because so much attention is being put on the child.

Those are sad stories that really don't have to take place if we had that support and understanding, as governments, to support these families. One of the things that came out of it was the fact that some of these families need respite care, but, unfortunately, we aren't able to accommodate all cases, and that's sad, Mr. Speaker, because it puts more stress, and undue stress, on those families.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, what I'd like to talk about is that we really do recognize now - I know there's a working group that's formed an ASD-RT, Autism Spectrum Disorder Research Team, across this country but what greater way than to have a Nova Scotia working group? Allow them to have the understanding and education to what families in Nova Scotia are struggling with. We can provide them with that information, Mr. Speaker.

When I think about any piece of legislation that is brought forward from the House, the opportunity to sit with those, to listen to those stories of people's lives who that piece of legislation is going to affect. That's the important key that we have, that's the role we have as legislators. We have to become educated to the process and have a full understanding before we actually stand here and vote on a piece of legislation.

I think this is an important bill from the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage, who I know has a great passion for the subject of autism. I know the all-Party members of the Standing Committee on Community Services - again, we've heard those stories from families across the province. To stand in my place today and say I don't understand is the truth, because I haven't had to deal with the pressures of raising a child. The financial

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pressures, the relationship pressures that dealing with some of the situations these families go through.

I think the onus is on government to bring something like this forward. This is a start. This is a piece of the puzzle that we can allow these families to have confidence that their legislators are paying attention, that their legislators actually want to see their families benefit. It is about the life span because family members get older, husbands and wives get older, grandmothers and grandfathers get older, but eventually that child will move on in life. Or, the family will pass on and that child is going to be left out there.

[5:15 p.m.]

If we don't start listening to some of these families, some of the situations they're dealing with - again, early intervention is very important. It is the lifespan that we have an opportunity with this working group to hear from. There are children out there today who are living with this disorder, who we haven't discovered yet. We haven't had to deal with them. In the past, we've labelled them as having some other form or disability, but we now know from stats and figures coming out of the U.S. and we know that we're working on it across Canada. There is no greater process we can put in place right now, in my opinion and the opinion of the NDP, than to have a working group that would instill in the parents that are dealing with this disorder, the confidence that their government is listening and their government will take those stories to Ottawa so that Ottawa can fund this.

Again, we can't fund this as a whole, as a government, because it is an epidemic. We need the help of the federal government. That's crucial. But, they're not going to listen to somebody in Cape Breton or Yarmouth who has a child but they will listen to a government that's ready to stand up for families in this province. There's no better way to do it than with a working group for autism spectrum disorder. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The time allotted for debate on Bill No. 139 has now expired. The honourable Official Opposition House Leader.

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 62.

Bill No. 62 - Government Purchases Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou East.

MR. CLARRIE MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, it's a great pleasure for me to stand in this House in support of Bill No. 62. Not just because it is my private member's bill, but because it sends a real message to government departments and agencies. It's an important bill.

[Page 3645]

The whole thrust of this bill is that goods purchased by the provincial government will be produced in accordance with minimum fair labour practices prescribed by regulation. This bill could also be called the anti-sweatshop legislation. The thrust of this bill is to have government departments and agencies look at the purchases they are about to make and ensure that fair labour has been involved in the process. More importantly, to also look at a product to see if it has been made in Nova Scotia, to see if it has been made in Canada.

We are constantly purchasing items that are made in China, Bangladesh, India and we realize that there is a global economy but we also have to realize that we have to look at industries here within our own province and within our own country. We shouldn't all be rushing to the bottom, we should be trying to help to raise some of these countries up rather than engaging in activity that will in fact help to, in some ways, diminish the labour of Nova Scotians and others.

You know, Mr. Speaker, if Dickens were around today and could write about some of the sweatshops that exist in countries like China and like Bangladesh, and in some cases India as well, where we are becoming aware that we're not just dealing with sweatshops, we are dealing with child labour situations. We are dealing with situations where children sometimes are actually sold for the equivalent of a few dollars and are working at 10, 11 and 12 years old, in conditions that you just could not imagine.

Now, this strikes home to me, Mr. Speaker, because a lot of my forefathers started to work in the pit when they were 13 and 14 years old. I always remember a situation where my grandmother used to tell me about her brother, whom she loved and admired and respected, and she was coming home from school as a little girl and she saw the neighbour women going to her home and she was wondering why everyone was heading for that house. When she got home, she found out that her 14-year-old brother had been killed in the pit.

Now, those are situations that we have moved so far away from, in Nova Scotia. There have been so many progressive things that have happened in this province, but why do we need this legislation? Well, just two examples, very recently we have had t-shirts made on behalf of Nova Scotia that were, in fact, made in Haiti. Made in a country that has had Papa Doc and Baby Doc and all kinds of other docs who have known absolutely nothing about democracy, fair trade, fair wages and fair labour.

Mr. Speaker, when we look at the garment industry, I think it's important that we look at Stanfields, for example, or even Wear Well Garments, which is a stone's throw away from my riding. When we look at the Stanfield Company, capable of making just about anything, and the history of that company, when Charles Stanfield came to America in 1855, he didn't realize that he was going to be one of the leaders in the field of the garment industry. It was in 1870 that Charles founded the Truro Woolen Mills, way back in 1870 - the company is still existing there today. Through that family, it has produced one of our

[Page 3646]

outstanding Premiers in this province. It's a company that has contributed so much to the economy of the Province of Nova Scotia.

You know, we look at that garment industry and we don't often think that the first cardigan jackets ever produced anywhere in the world were produced here in Truro, Nova Scotia. The first stockinettes were produced in Truro. The famous drop-seat underwear that took people to the Klondike and beyond in the gold rush were produced in Truro and those drop-seat underwear were an invention developed in a shed in Charles' backyard, I believe. Anyhow, the situation, and the question has been raised, I do, in fact, wear Stanfield's and proud to say so.

AN HON. MEMBER: Too much information.

MR. MACKINNON: Thank you. I could table them tomorrow.

AN HON. MEMBER: Please don't.

MR. MACKINNON: So, Mr. Speaker, we need this kind of legislation to make us all look at what we are purchasing. We recently had a very embarrassing situation here with the Department of Labour and Workforce Development in this province having little squeeze safety helmets which I could table one, perhaps right now, but they were actually made in China, when we have a company here in Nova Scotia that was very capable of making those trinkets and perhaps at a . . .

HON. MARK PARENT: On a point of order, the company in The ChronicleHerald stated that they couldn't make that product.

MR. SPEAKER: That is certainly not a point of order. I will not entertain a disagreement between the honourable two members.

The honourable member for Pictou East has the floor.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, they could have made something equivalent or something that could have been recognized as a safety promotional tool in this province. There are companies throughout this country that are capable of doing that kind of thing. So we have to look at more than price when we are doing the purchasing within this province. We have to look beyond price.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I'm not exactly sure of how much time I have here but I want to move beyond the garment industry. I believe that I have about five minutes but I want to look beyond the garment industry and I want to look at . . .

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

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The honourable Minister of Economic Development.

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. The bill that is before us is, indeed, very interesting. I hope in the few moments that I have to contribute to the debate this afternoon that members will see that the intent of this bill is, in fact, in the process of being fulfilled by the actions of our procurement policy and the steps that we're taking to implement our procurement policy in the Province of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I hope to be able to share some of my time with the Minister of Labour and Workforce Development. If we go to the fundamental principles under which this government approaches issues such as purchasing, we would begin by looking at the Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act, which sets out more than 20 goals to make the province one of the cleanest and most sustainable environments in the world by the year 2020.

One of these goals is a sustainable procurement policy by 2009. A working group with representatives from Economic Development, Environment, and Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal has been formed to guide the development of this policy. Stakeholder outreach is already underway and a public consultation will start this summer, Mr. Speaker. It is expected the policy will be finalized and put into practice early in 2009. Nova Scotia's economic growth strategy, Opportunities for Sustainable Prosperity, and its social strategy, Weaving the Threads - A Lasting Social Fabric, discuss how economic prosperity, the social prosperity and environmental sustainability weave together to support the sustainable prosperity of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, Procurement Services is leading the evolution of sustainable procurement for provincial government departments. Once complete, the new policy will provide a framework for adoption by school boards and health authorities. This updated policy will coordinate and support existing efforts and provide direction for making sustainable procurement the standard for all provincial procurement.

Sustainable procurement is not just about the environment or the economy, it includes social factors such as fair trade, fair labour practices, minority, and health issues. Currently, Mr. Speaker, Manitoba, the only NDP Government in this country, is the only Canadian province to adopt a "no sweat" policy, but it has its shortcomings. It covers clothing and apparel purchased by government departments, but the policy does not cover the so-called MASH sector - municipalities, academic institutions, school boards, hospitals, health authorities - and Crown Corporations, where most of the purchasing is made.

[5:30 p.m.]

So here in Nova Scotia, Mr. Speaker, our procurement practices, with their associated terms and conditions, give the province the right to terminate contracts with unethical

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companies. If Procurement Services became aware of an unethical practice, including unfair labour practices, it would take the necessary steps to disqualify that company from the tendering process.

This government recognizes the important role public procurement could play in contributing to the sustainable prosperity of the province. In 2006-07, the province purchased more than $800 million in goods, services and construction. By practising sustainable procurement, this annual consumption becomes a driver for change toward increased innovation, sustainable competitiveness, and the sustainable prosperity of this province.

Significant benefits can result to our economy as a result of introducing sustainable criteria in our purchasing decisions. Nova Scotia's suppliers that meet our criteria will be more competitive in the worldwide market for sustainable goods and services. The new policy will also maintain our support for innovation and economic development initiatives for Nova Scotia business.

So right now, Mr. Speaker, the province's Supplier Development Program encourages Nova Scotia companies to sell to government; it helps small-business operators learn how to bid on government tenders; and provides outreach services and community workshops on how to access business opportunities with government. These so-called reverse trade shows are held across the province every year and the connections our small- business owners make with public purchasers at the trade shows provide opportunity for growth and market expansion.

The benefit to our environment from a sustainable procurement policy will be significant. For example, the government's Stationery Stockroom purchases about 360-metric tons of letter-size bond paper each year for printers and copiers. By using paper with just 10 per cent recycled content, the province would, each year, save 680 trees, over a million litres of water, 100-cubic metres of landfill, 164,000-kilowatt hours of power and nearly 30-metric tons of airborne pollutants - and that's just one tiny example of the power of going green.

Nova Scotia is the first province in Canada to undertake a comprehensive sustainable procurement policy. We are taking a leadership approach and setting new standards for our environmental, economic and social well-being. At the same time our sustainable procurement policy will retain the primary goals of open, fair, consistent, efficient and competitive procurement, as well as honouring all interprovincial trade agreements.

Mr. Speaker, I am going to turn the remainder of my time over to my colleague, the Minister of Labour and Workforce Development.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Labour and Workforce Development.

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HON. MARK PARENT: How much time do I have, Mr. Speaker?

MR. SPEAKER: Approximately two and a half minutes.

MR. PARENT: Two and a half minutes, thank you very much. I just wanted to add to the words that my honourable colleague said and whenever he speaks, he always speaks with great wisdom and great insight. I just wanted to add, in response to the member opposite, when he made the comment that what we should do is try to raise some countries up to our standard. That's exactly what we're trying to do with the bill that I brought forward that I anticipate the honourable member will support, the North American Labor Cooperation Agreement Implementation Bill. It's a beginning sort of a step in this process where we enter into labour co-operative agreements, in this case with the other NAFTA countries, but beyond that we may enter into agreements with other countries as well.

What we do in that regard, Mr. Speaker, is that we export, in a sense, our labour standards, our expertise to them, in order to help them bring their labour standards up in their country. Now, the reverse is true too. They can increase our labour standards but we feel confident that we have some of the best labour standards in the world. If there are ways to improve it, we're open to that, but what we want to do is enter into these agreements. There are about four other provinces that have such agreements - Prince Edward Island, Manitoba, Quebec - and it's an attempt to work with other countries to do exactly what the honourable member advised that we do which is to help raise the labour standards of other countries for better competitiveness of our own companies. Also because it's the right thing to do, because what we want for our own workers - good labour standards, good safety standards - we want for others as well.

So I take it from the member putting forward this bill that he will be supporting wholeheartedly, the North American Labor Cooperation Agreement Implementation Bill. I know that the critic for the NDP has already signalled their willingness to support this because this is a way of working together. The process would be, Mr. Speaker, that labour union leaders - and I've talked to several of them - would partner with companies and go over to some part of Mexico. I suspect we'll find that they want to schedule those trips for January, February. I may be wrong on that but they will go over. The important thing is they'll go over and they'll work with their counterparts on some aspect of labour law, labour standards, occupational health and safety standards, whatsoever. (Interruption)

Yes, if they're interested in sweatshops, they'll go in June and we'll see the commitment but, Mr. Speaker, this is a way of raising up labour standards in other countries - exactly what the honourable member is calling for.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Preston.

[Page 3650]

MR. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, I've been listening very intently to some of the comments by my honourable colleagues and I tend to agree with them on many of the issues they brought forward. I don't believe that in this country we should be buying products from other countries that are produced in sweatshops, using children or any other means to produce goods cheaper and be able to flood the market with them. That's basically what has happened in some of these cases. Unfortunately, we can't control what happens in other countries, we can only control what we purchase. I believe that this bill, although I don't totally agree with the bill in all aspects, does address part of that issue.

When you leave the bill to go to regulation, then I get very nervous based on other things that have happened here in this Legislature with regulation, but when you really get down to the real issue that's involved here, we're talking about purchases to be made by government and only by government which is a small but very important part of the economy here in Nova Scotia. The honourable Minister of Economic Development indicated that it also should address the MASH sector with the school boards and municipalities and other areas. I would agree with that because as we move forward we have to do these things.

But getting to the real issue, the real issue here in Nova Scotia is we can buy goods almost anywhere in the world cheaper than we can produce them here and that raises the question of why? It's a very important question because until we address that issue, as the Minister of Labour and Workforce Development indicated, he feels that this new economically sustainable bill that they put in place will fix problems in other countries. Well, I'm afraid, I've travelled a lot and dealt with businesses in other countries and we're not going to change anything in another country with our bill here in Nova Scotia.

We can suggest things but if people want to change, they will, and if they don't want to change they will tell us basically to get lost. That is a fact of business, and that is the way it works. Anyone who thinks anything else really hasn't been involved in business in the past.

We have many obstacles here in Nova Scotia, very serious obstacles to business. These are things that we have to address. We have very high labour costs because we have a high standard of living, and the more our standard of living goes up and the more our inflation rate goes up - which I heard today has gone up substantially because of the increase in oil products, and which will continue to increase inflation, the first inflation we have seen in years, one that we have no control over. So that is going to become very, very serious to our economy as time moves forward.

Then you look at the taxes that we pay here in the regional municipality, if you run a business in the regional municipality you are basically taxed to death. There is no other way to put it, that is simply what happens. If you run a manufacturing operation and you are competing with someone, even in the U.S., which is one of the easier places to compete with and then if you go to Mexico, it is impossible to compete with the taxes, it puts you on an

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unfair playing field immediately. So you have that burden. I am speaking from experience, because I did export a lot of products that are manufactured here in Nova Scotia.

Then the next issue we have is red tape. Every government, including the government I was in, and I was minister responsible for that at one time, committed to reducing red tape. There has been some movement in that area, not near enough. They talk about this, but then you have government bureaucrats, who don't really understand business, trying to cut red tape. Now they have the best intentions and the best kind of people, but if you don't understand what burden it puts on a business, you can't understand how to correct it and still get the information government needs and ensure that the business isn't unduly burdened.

I can remember one incident. I used to get, from Census Canada on businesses, all this information, this long form I had to fill out every couple of months, and it asked me if I was going to expand my business. At the time it was Brian Mulroney in power and our economy was in the garbage can, and John Buchanan here in Nova Scotia. So there was no way you were going to invest in any kind of business at that time because interest rates were right through the roof and the economy in Nova Scotia was horrible. So finally I wrote on one - don't send me any more. Then they sent me a nasty letter back and said, by law, you have to fill them out. So I kept filling them out. So last going off, what I did, which was the truth, and I didn't lie on the forms - are you going to invest in Nova Scotia? The answer was no to every question. No, to every question. So after I did about three of those, they gave up giving them to me. They went to someone else, I guess, to get the information really that they wanted, not really what the truth was. So that's red tape.

We have to have low cost of energy in this province. We don't have low-cost energy. We have high cost of energy, and there has been no effort by this government, true effort by this government, to reduce the cost of energy by using renewable energy resources and sources and encourage the development of those sources, and not only the sources but the manufacturing of those sources and have a double improvement in our economy. So that's an issue that is a problem.

We have an infrastructure problem, transportation infrastructure problem. So if you get your goods, how do you get them to your market? Did you ever try to get a product to Europe that's not quite enough to fill up a container, too much to fly? So what do you do? You have a big problem on your hands. So you fill the container half full and you pay the full price. So that puts the cost of your products up. There has to be other infrastructure developments in transportation. Our roads are - as the government and everyone agrees with, we have about a $4 billion deficit in our transportation system, on our roads, where we transport most of our goods if we are going to the U.S. or upper Canada. So that's a deterrent for us.

If you look at another problem, and I know this from experience and I know this for a fact, we don't have the proper education system here to train tradespeople. We don't have

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it. It has been watered down so badly that, basically, when you get someone, usually, unless the person has a fantastic mechanical aptitude - and there are a number of people who have, but most people have a regular mechanical aptitude and they take a little bit longer to learn but are fantastic employees when they do learn and given the opportunity and actually wonderful people to produce - I can tell, with the people we have in Nova Scotia, given the right opportunity, the right equipment and the right training - they can produce as well as anyone in the world and that's a fact. But if you don't give an individual the tools and the opportunity to do things and learn, they can never achieve that. And it's not their fault, it's the fault of the system for not really working to ensure that it happens.

I think what has happened is that over the years, the educators have taken over the industrial trades and not understanding what the trades were, set criteria up for these trades and not knowing that at the end of the day, it's nice to know some of these things that they're teaching, and probably all them, but it's more important to know these practical things that you have to know in an industry, to make a living, and to ensure that you're efficient and work safely in the workplace. So I think that really has to be addressed in the province here.

[5:45 p.m.]

If we don't address that and address some of these issues - and there are many more obstacles to business, many, many more - we're not going to improve our economy and if we don't improve our economy and we don't get Nova Scotians working here, we can't displace these items that we're bringing in from other countries, with a real low labour rate, and some of these countries are better trained than we are here.

There's one thing I've got to say about the Minister of Economic Development talking about using recycled paper and using 10 per cent of it. Well, if we're going to use 10 per cent of the recycled paper that comes out of Nova Scotia, we've got to start collecting it again at the Enviro Depots. The RFB, in their great wisdom, decided not to do that.

In estimates - and I've mentioned this before - when I was talking to the Minister of Environment, he was explaining how wonderful it was that the Minas Basin Pulp and Paper mill actually makes all their paper now from recycled paper. However, they're buying their recycled paper because they can't get enough in Nova Scotia now, and I would probably guess it's because the Enviro-Depots don't pick this material up or make it easier for people, out of the U.S., at a great expense. So that's really not being efficient to the environment or to the business. If you have to truck all this material in or ship it in, you're creating a ton of greenhouse gases just to get the raw material here, when we have it here in Nova Scotia and are not using it.

So if we're going to make things work properly in this province, we've really got to rethink how we do business in the province, how we train our people and how we make everything integrate to move forward. We've got to do that. I think, as politicians, we owe

[Page 3653]

it to the people of this province to make sure that's the case but I don't see the movement in this province, by this government, to make that happen. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I'm very pleased to have an opportunity to speak briefly to this bill regarding government purchases and procurement. I've listened with interest to the debate. I agree with many things that the previous speaker said in the Liberal caucus, but I would say to him that I think we need to be more hopeful that, in fact, we can effect change in other countries.

I say that, thinking of the example of the ending of apartheid in South Africa, Mr. Speaker, which was the result, we must remember, of a worldwide boycott of companies that invested in South Africa. That boycott was organized and led by the international trade union movement, or the international labour movement. The result of that was, in fact, a withdrawal of investment throughout parts of South Africa and a coalescing, I think, politically across partisan lines within Commonwealth countries that sought profound social change in a country that still struggles, I think, as we've seen lately in the news, to rebuild itself.

Mr. Speaker, this is what is important, I think, to remember when we look at a bill like this. When I first came to this Legislature, the Province of Nova Scotia's budget was about $4 billion. Today, it is in excess of $8 billion and as the Minister of Economic Development indicated, about $800 million is spent annually, right now, on procurement of goods and services by this government. That is an enormous amount of expenditure, but even more importantly, in some ways it's an enormous amount of clout in terms of saying to all of those small, medium and large businesses that do business with government that we have a certain standard we're interested in seeing met for anybody who does business.

I remember in this Chamber when I was first elected, the member for Preston at that time standing up and fighting really hard to get the government to put in place a policy that law firms in the Province of Nova Scotia, doing business with the government, had to move in the direction of employing Aboriginal lawyers and lawyers who were from African-Nova Scotian communities. Today, that is the policy of this government and it's an important policy.

Mr. Speaker, I know you, and members of the House, would agree with this policy. We need procurement policies that are fair, open, transparent, clear, cost-effective, but also that contain some ethical imperative in terms of using the enormous purchasing power of public dollars to not only benefit the taxpayer, but also to benefit our communities and more broadly the global as well as the local community.

[Page 3654]

I'm very pleased to hear the Minister of Economic Development endorse the principles of this bill in terms of the work that his department is doing to put in place a procurement policy with effective standards. Hopefully they will be in place when the Canada Games come to Nova Scotia, which is going to happen in the not too distant future. I'm hoping we will avoid the spectacle that we're seeing with the Olympics where the Canadian team in the Olympics, their uniforms have been contracted out, outsourced, to companies outside of Canada. This was in the news quite recently.

We have a fine textile industry, not only in the Province of Nova Scotia, but in this country, and with the Canada Games coming to Nova Scotia in the not too distant future, I'm looking forward to those procurement policies reflected in the principles of this bill ensuring that our young men and women, athletes, from this province will not be decked out in uniforms that have been manufactured in countries like China. I think that, particularly for national events of this magnitude, we really need to take an opportunity to show our flag in many ways, including the pride in our own manufacturing sector.

I think it's important to understand that this bill shouldn't be characterized as protectionism, just protecting your own industries, which are very important. At the same time, a bill like this, and the principles in it, can certainly be used to raise the standards of workers in other jurisdictions. I think that's also a very important aspect.

We all recognize in this House that not every product that government procures or an agency gets in this province is made in the Province of Nova Scotia, that often we will have to go looking elsewhere for products outside of the province and probably outside of the country. But when we do that, we should have some minimum requirements in place in terms of what it is that we are expecting for the wages and the working conditions of those people who make the products and the kind of health and safety that they have available to them.

Mr. Speaker, I had the privilege, a number of years ago, of studying in the United Kingdom and I was in a very international kind of program with students from all over the world. I had in my class students from South Africa, from southern Asia, I had a colleague in my course who was a trade union organizer in southern Asia. He and his partner worked in many of the free trade zones throughout southern Asia and I can tell you that in those countries, at that time, the conditions under which he did his work, attempting to organize workers, was fraught with danger. Quite often the trade unions and the rights that we come to accept in this country as legitimate human rights are not a part of their system and quite often governments have their own trade unions that they expect workers to belong to and independent trade unions are outlawed. People can go to jail and not have fair court process in these countries for being members and for attempting to organize and improve the wages, the working conditions and what have you.

[Page 3655]

One of my other colleagues, Mr. Speaker, was a student from Zimbabwe and he was studying child labour on four continents. That's a whole other area of exploitation of workers in different countries throughout the world. So we need to set the bar, we need to have some minimum requirements and this legislation would certainly, I think, at least give us the assurance that we keep in mind some moral imperatives beyond just the bottom line when we look at how we do business in the Province of Nova Scotia. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The time allotted for debate on Bill No. 62 has now expired.

The honourable Official Opposition House Leader.

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. That concludes the Official Opposition's business for today and now I turn it over to the Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. CHUCK PORTER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I move that you do now rise, to meet again tomorrow. The hours will be from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. After the daily routine and Question Period, Public Bills for Second Reading, the following bill numbers: Bill Nos. 79, 126, 127, 130, 131, 133, 148, 151, 156, 163, 167, 168 and 176.

MR. SPEAKER: Just for clarification, could the honourable member repeat the hours for tomorrow?

MR. PORTER: From 3:00 p.m to 7:00 p.m., is my understanding.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. The motion before the House is for the House to rise and meet again tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. Is the House ready for the question? The question has been called.

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

The motion is carried.

We have arrived at the moment of interruption. The adjournment was chosen and announced earlier and won by the honourable member for Hants West:

"Therefore be it resolved that members of this House salute the tremendous life and contributions of our province's Pumpkin King, Mr. Howard Dill."

ADJOURNMENT

[Page 3656]

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.

DILL, HOWARD: CONTRIBUTIONS - SALUTE

MR. CHUCK PORTER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It's an honour to rise this evening to speak for a few minutes about a man well-known around the world for some great things that he accomplished in a short 73 years. It was about 24 hours ago now actually, well, it was around seven o'clock last night that I received a call that Howard Dill had passed away, succumbed to that horrible disease, cancer, after quite a battle.

It still came as a bit of a shock to us all and a shock not only to me, Mr. Speaker, but to people across North America and around the world. Simply because Howie's great-natured way in dealing with life and with the thousands and thousands of people who he met and adored and they adored him as well.

[6:00 p.m.]

Mr. Dill was a predominant name in the agricultural circles in Windsor-West Hants, for many years and then came the late 1970s and early 1980s. Pumpkins, as we have all come to know, have been growing in North America for around 5,000 years they say and they are low in calories, fat and sodium and high in fibre.

AN HON. MEMBER: Low in calories?

MR. PORTER: They are indeed low in calories. Great sources of Vitamin A and B as well as potassium, protein and iron. In the 1500s, Mr. Speaker, shortly after the French explorer, Jacques Cartier, explored the St. Lawrence region in North America, he reported finding something he named gros melons. That name was translated into English as pompions and today we know that as pumpkins, of course. In saying this, Mr. Speaker, I have my doubts if Mr. Cartier, however, ever thought there would be a day when he would see a single pumpkin that would weigh in at over 1,600 pounds. This is all because, of course, of Howard Dill and the Atlantic Giant pumpkin seeds.

In 2007, using Dill's Atlantic Giant seed, Mr. Joe Jutras broke a new historic world record with one weighing 1,689 pounds. Mr. Don Young from Iowa placed second in the world with one at 1,662 pounds. It was back in 1980 when the world record for a pumpkin was 460 pounds but Howie Dill changed that and grew one close to 500 pounds and pumpkins have never stopped growing.

I want to revert to a quote from a citation presented to Howie a few years ago by the Nova Scotia Agricultural College. The citation making Howie an honorary associate stated,

[Page 3657]

"Despite having no formal education in genetics, Howard Dill is responsible for the growth and development of the variety of pumpkin known as Dill's Atlantic Giant." The citation concluded saying, "Mr. Dill is a distinguished Nova Scotian and has brought worldwide attention to Nova Scotia."

When you reference worldwide attention, you only have to look at the features done on Mr. Dill in National Geographic Magazine, Country Living, Canada AM, Harrowsmith, Macleans and so on. The list is practically endless. Mr. Dill was a World Pumpkin Confederation Champion four times and is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records. In his book, The Pumpkin King, Al Kingsbury stated, "TheAtlantic Giant is being grown each year by an estimated 10,000 serious competitors and perhaps millions of home gardeners."

Howard Dill had trademarks for his Atlantic Giant pumpkin seeds in Canada, the United States, United Kingdom, Austria and many, many countries around the world, Mr. Speaker, including Portugal and Spain. In their Canada Day edition on July 1, 2006, the Vancouver Sun listed 139 reasons to love this country of ours. Number 56 on the list was giant pumpkins, saying Howard Dill had a great idea, an idea that grew to 1,446 pounds.

An article in the Friday, May 11, 2007, edition of the Dallas Morning News discussed in detail the subject of growing pumpkins and whose seeds and abilities were mentioned? None other than Howard Dill's Atlantic Giant seeds from Nova Scotia. An enormous amount of people visited the Dill farm on College Road every year and Howie has always had time for each and every one, including those students who I mentioned earlier today. They had a great time going there and Howard certainly loved to see many young people come, as well as the old.

It didn't matter whether it was hockey great Brad Park, who visited Howie and autographed a few hats last September or former Canadian Heavyweight Boxing Champion George Chuvalo, or Hockey Night in Canada's Ron MacLean and Don Cherry who spent some time there. I think it was 2002, CBC did the Hockey Day in Canada live from the Long Pond and from the Windsor area. That was a great experience as well.

We can't forget, of course, about Martha Stewart, all the excitement around that. We thought she was going to come to Windsor and row in the pumpkin in the great challenge in the Fall. Martha never made it, apparently due to being grounded by heavy rain problems in the U.S. So perhaps another day she will be back to do just that. She has since, I believe, sent someone out to row and represent her.

They all came and they all saw. Mr. Speaker, I can't finish tonight without talking about Howie's great love of the game of Hockey and his Boston Bruins. It's too bad the member for Timberlea Prospect wasn't here - I think he's a Bruins fan. So, Howie, besides being a Pumpkin King was also considered to be one of Windsor's best known hockey

[Page 3658]

historians and he has a lot of stuff there. Howie Dill's hockey collection - simply outstanding. He had collections dating back to the New York Americans hockey team and a program they had for their games back in the early 1930s. Whether it was a player's autograph or any kind of hockey memorabilia, Howie Dill had it. The Boston Globe's number one hockey features writer, Kevin Paul Dupont, did an incredible on Howie, his love of the game and the Bruins back in 1993 and it continued on.

The New England Sports Network did a story on Howard as late as last Fall and it didn't matter if he wanted to talk about Eddie Shore, Bobby Orr, Johnny Bucyk or Harry Sinden, Howard always had a minute for his Bruins. Speaking of the Bruins, Howie was exceptionally proud of all of his grandchildren and took immense joy in hearing about grandson Michael Dill who was rapidly garnering considerable attention as a hockey player. Mr. Speaker, this young man is nine years old.

Just over 24 hours ago, the Town of Windsor, the Province of Nova Scotia and this great country lost an agricultural icon and a renowned hockey historian. I want to extend my sympathies to Howard's wife, Hilda, and his children Danny, Andrew, Maureen and Diana. Nova Scotia has lost a farming icon and a real gentleman. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou East.

MR. CLARRIE MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, it's both a pleasure and an honour for me to stand in this House tonight and pay tribute to Howard Dill. There is no debate here in late debate tonight because we are involved in a united tribute, a salute to Howard Dill, the Pumpkin King.

Now some members of this House may not be aware that for 16 years, my family and I lived in Hants County and I would like to relate to this House the bonds that developed between the Dill family and the MacKinnon family, and the number of times I cannot count that my wife and I sat at the table with Howard and Hilda and had a cup of tea and listened with great interest to this man's love of life, his love of farming and his great love for the giant pumpkins.

During those years, I should say two of our three children - Mary Kay and I - actually were involved in dating two of Howard and Hilda's children way back years ago in their teenage years and the bond that existed was one that was very great between the families. We continued, over the years, we exchanged cards at Christmas and kept in touch and it was a great shock to be notified by the family that Howard was fighting cancer and the prospects were not good.

One of the reflections that I have is that our son, Kent, worked on the Dill farm and was involved working on the farm during pumpkin season. There was more than one time that Howard Dill wrote excuses to the teachers that Kent was involved in delivering

[Page 3659]

pumpkins to Moncton, that he had accompanied Howard to CBC to appear on a TV program or maybe it was a radio interview or so on, but there were so many times that the Dill family and the MacKinnon family interacted and I'm very proud to have had that period of time to have known Howard Dill on a very personal basis.

One of the things that I've always admired Howard Dill for was the fact that he was getting into the World Book of Records, the Guinness Book of World Records, and he was willing to share his secrets. He was willing to distribute his seeds to others who had longer growing seasons, who lived in more palatable climate than we have in our northern area and so on, but it was that sharing of the seeds, the sharing of his knowledge and the sharing of his love for those giant pumpkins that I will always remember. Certainly this House and my family extend condolences to Howard's wife, Hilda, and to Maureen, Danny, Diana, and to Andrew Dill, at this time.

I remember when the gourds that he was growing first broke the 500-pound record and the excitement that all of us had back in those days. It's really interesting that just a few moments ago I went out and I ran off the Dill's Atlantic Giant - world's largest pumpkin variety, the newsletter that Howard and Danny put out. It's really interesting. As the member for Hants West mentioned, here is Howard congratulating Joe Jutras of Rhode Island on a new historic world record at 1,689 pounds and also big kudos to Don Young of Iowa for growing the second heaviest pumpkin in 2007 at 1,662 pounds and Dan and Jason McKie of New York at 1,631.5 pounds. That joy, that is the top of his Web page, you know, it was always congratulating others who, with the longer growing seasons, were achieving so much with the seed.

The Dill's Atlantic Giants were grown for 25 years. For 25 years he has been making history with those pumpkin seeds. It's really phenomenal that in the first page of his newsletter, he says that 10 pumpkins broke the previous historic record of 1,502 pounds and what I really like about this first page is the fact that Howard Dill, in typical fashion, signed Yours in pumpkins, Howard Dill, originator. To me, that is the Howard Dill that all of us who became on an intimate basis with him, that was the Howard Dill that so many people loved and respected for so many things that he did.

Certainly nobody, absolutely no one could promote pumpkins like Howard Dill. Perhaps Danny is in there too, Danny has that finesse as well and other members of the family, but to have pumpkins that you could actually cut out, get inside of and get involved in a race on an annual basis, I believe, is something phenomenal in this Province of Nova Scotia. So many people around the world, movie stars and Hollywood, were just totally enthraled with Howard Dill and the pumpkins. Martha Stewart is only one of many, many who, in fact, over the years, got very excited about the Dill pumpkins and the Atlantic Giants.

He also promoted Windsor and area with the Long Pond situation and first in Canada for hockey and so on. He's brought so much attention to us in this province that we are very

[Page 3660]

humbled, I believe, to have had the pleasure of knowing such a giant. It wasn't just the pumpkins that were, in fact, the giant, Howard Dill was a giant in Nova Scotia. With that, I think my time has about expired, but I really appreciate the opportunity to speak tonight. Thank you.

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

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I'm pleased to join my colleagues in saying a few words about the life of Howard Dill. I probably can't add a lot new in terms of facts and things about his life, but I thought today, when the House started at 2:00 p.m. and the Leaders all took time to pay tribute, and for all MLAs to stand on their feet for a moment of silence said, tremendously, huge volumes about the life of Howard Dill and what he has meant to Windsor and what he has meant to the province and how his name has gone around the world and, of course, by extension, his community and the things that he has dedicated part of his life to.

You know, I don't think it was by accident that Howard fostered the development of extremely large pumpkins. In fact, I guess the story about his interest to excel and do well goes back to his childhood experiences in 4-H. Any of us who know about 4-H and what it brings out in young people, Howard would be the poster person, I guess, to say here's the kind of life that can be influenced by your time and years in 4-H.

[6:15 p.m.]

For many of the people who are in 4-H, it does foster, I think, a way of life. Of course, being on the farm he had every opportunity to exhibit all those good qualities that he had learned both at the personal growth and also in terms of, in this case, the product of the pumpkin. So Howard really started early, in that respect, in terms of shaping an interest of his.

It was quite astounding in 1979, almost 20 years ago, that Howard's first huge pumpkin, weighing in at 438 pounds, at that time caught - that's now almost 30 years ago, sorry - the imagination of anybody growing anything. With that, he started something that many others in their back yards wanted to participate in. Growing up or living in the Valley, each year we started to hear, from 1979 on, how big would Howard Dill's pumpkin be this particular year.

We all need to perhaps be reminded and remind ourselves that you just don't grow a large pumpkin by putting a seed in the ground and just letting Mother Nature alone take care of it. This is literally a love affair, you have to have a passion for this, you have to have time to feed a pumpkin to grow this large. So this was a passion of Howard's. As my colleague opposite has said, as he learned about the growing of pumpkins and - also some years, when he knew he had one larger than the previous year, and just days before it was

[Page 3661]

going to be weighed in, the pumpkin split. So he learned a lot about growing a pumpkin that would hold its shape and would be able to be lifted from the field for a weigh-in.

The marvelous thing, as my colleague opposite alluded to, was that Howard was willing to share whatever information he learned about the growing and the seeds, he passed on. So winning the world championships was the beginning of patenting the Atlantic Giant seed and currently there are about 3,000 pounds of these seeds that are sold and distributed literally around the world. So he has started something that his family and Howard Dill Enterprises will continue.

It was in 2004 that he sort of thought perhaps this is about the limit that we are going to be able to grow these pumpkins when Al Eaton of Richmond, Ontario, set a record of 1,400 pounds with, again, a Howard Dill seed. So the one thing we need to be cognizant of here, of course, is that all of these champion pumpkins have their origins with Howard Dill. That's why the term, Pumpkin King, of course, became synonymous with him. So, now as we had read into the record today, a new record, 1,689 pounds and that is a phenomenal gourd, to say the least. You know, I think Howard Dill will be the first one to be delighted that the barrier of 2,000 pounds, which I think at some point will be broken. This is the nature of genetics and adaptations and learning to fine-tune during a growing season.

So Howard has brought enormous attention to Windsor and to the province and I think it will continue to grow. It is a name that is going to be with us here in the province. My own view and love of hockey and having met Howard and talked hockey with him, I absolutely believe that the Long Pond story has not reached its final chapter. I think there will be still more that will be uncovered and discovered about what he deeply believed was Canada's beginnings of hockey as we know it today. So he has brought great, positive attention to his community with two of these great loves of his life that he dedicated so much time to.

This year, when the Pumpkin Regatta comes around, there will be lots of stories, I am sure, as the member who represents the riding where Howard lived his life, Hants West, there will be a lot of stories exchanged about Howard Dill, his contribution to agriculture, to really, what I would call one of the founders of agri-tourism, when you think of the spinoffs from what he has given us here. I think the Pumpkin Regatta will continue to grow.

Today is a day to extend condolences to Hilda and the family. It is also perhaps I think we will keep in mind, I am sure, Windsor and perhaps the province should also look at something named in Howard Dill's memory because he has given tremendously with his dedication and passion for his two great loves, growing pumpkins and the world of hockey. With that I will take my place, Mr. Speaker.

[Page 3662]

MR. SPEAKER: I want to thank the honourable members this evening for taking part in this late debate, saluting the tremendous life and contributions of our province's Pumpkin King, Mr. Howard Dill.

The motion for adjournment has been made. The House stands adjourned until 3:00 p.m. tomorrow.

[The House rose at 6:23 p.m.]

[Page 3663]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 3289

By: Hon. Cecil Clarke (Justice)

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

Whereas on September 1, 2007, Norman Ross was inducted int the Nova Scotia Tennis Hall of Fame following the final day of play at the Dexter's Subaru Nova Scotia Open Tennis Championship at the Waegwoltic Tennis Club in Halifax; and

Whereas the 51-year-old Sydney Mines resident has had a long and illustrious career in the sport; and

Whereas Norman has won a number of championships and he is still quite active in the sport, entering a number of tournaments each season;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in sending congratulations to Norman Ross on his accomplishments in the sport of tennis.

RESOLUTION NO. 3290

By: Mr. Patrick Dunn (Pictou Centre)

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

Whereas Pictou County recently celebrated its fifth annual "Go Clean Get Green" community clean-up campaign at the North Nova Education Centre; and

Whereas event organizers were excited by the increased participation at this year's event and that it demonstrates the growing commitment of the people of Pictou County; and

Whereas the campaign was also the recipient of the 2006 RRFB Mobius Award for the best community-based project. The young people of the community have also taken a leadership role and have set a standard, committing to recycling and saving energy year round;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House send congratulations to the organizers and participants of the annual Go Clean Get Green campaign in Pictou County and its commitment to being one of the most energy efficient regions of Nova Scotia.

[Page 3664]

RESOLUTION NO. 3291

By: Mr. Chuck Porter (Hants West)

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

Whereas Amanda Morris of Brooklyn, Hants County, Nova Scotia, has been playing the alto saxophone since Grade 4 and is a member of "Easily Distracted", a local jazz band which performed in Ottawa at MusicFest 2008 this past weekend; and

Whereas Amanda is also a member of the Avon View High School Grade 12 Concert Jazz Band; and

Whereas Amanda's interests also include activities outside music such as public speaking and 4-H and eventually hopes to become a social worker enabling her to integrate music with helping her community;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly commend Amanda Morris for her musical abilities and wanting to carry those abilities to a higher level while helping others.

RESOLUTION NO. 3292

By: Mr. Chuck Porter (Hants West)

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

Whereas Kevin Barnes is a phenomenal trumpet player at 17 years of age and a gold medal winner at MusicFest 2008 in Ottawa this past weekend, an event he attended with other band members, "Easily Distracted"; and

Whereas Kevin is a resident of Belmont, Hants County and is a member of the Acadia University Symphonic Band while playing principal trumpet with the Four Seasons Orchestra; and

Whereas Kevin is a self-taught piano player who wishes to pursue music studies at Dalhousie University and worked last summer as a musical director and pianist for Quick As A Wink Theatre Society's production of Sleepy Hollow;

[Page 3665]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly applaud the musical artistry of Belmont, Hants County's Kevin Barnes and wish him every success with all future career choices.

RESOLUTION NO. 3293

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas the sport of hockey requires a lot of stamina, aggressiveness both offensively and defensively, skill, positioning and dedication as a team; and

Whereas the Bridgewater Minor Hockey Association held its annual hockey banquet to recognize individuals for their attributes and commitment to the league; and

Whereas Noah Naugler, Bridgewater, of the Atom A Team received the Most Sportsmanlike Award;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Noah Naugler on this great achievement.

RESOLUTION NO. 3294

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas the sport of hockey requires a lot of stamina, aggressiveness both offensively and defensively, skill, positioning and dedication as a team; and

Whereas the Bridgewater Minor Hockey Association held its annual hockey banquet to recognize individuals for their attributes and commitment to the league; and

Whereas Ian Kaulbach, Bridgewater, of the Atom A Team received the Most Improved Award;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Ian Kaulbach on this great achievement.

RESOLUTION NO. 3295

[Page 3666]

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas the sport of hockey requires a lot of stamina, aggressiveness both offensively and defensively, skill, positioning and dedication as a team; and

Whereas the Bridgewater Minor Hockey Association held its annual hockey banquet to recognize individuals for their attributes and commitment to the league; and

Whereas Mark Rogers, Bridgewater, of the Atom A Team received the Most Dedicated Award;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Mark Rogers on this great achievement.

RESOLUTION NO. 3296

By: Hon. Michael Baker (Finance)

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

Whereas participation by students in school sport programs has been shown to increase a student's likelihood of graduation, improve their school attendance and increase their success after graduation, as well as reduce discipline problems; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation annually provides awards to one male athlete, one female athlete, and a coach from each school in Nova Scotia who have demonstrated excellence in both sport and education; and

Whereas Jenna Oickle, a student athlete from Bayview Community School in Mahone Bay, has been selected to receive the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation Celebration of School Sport Award for 2007-2008;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Jenna Oickle on receiving the 2007-2008 Celebration of Sport Award.

RESOLUTION NO. 3297

By: Hon. Michael Baker (Finance)

[Page 3667]

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

Whereas participation by students in school sport programs has been shown to increase a student's likelihood of graduation, improve their school attendance and increase their success after graduation, as well as reduce discipline problems; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation annually provides awards to one male athlete, one female athlete, and a coach from each school in Nova Scotia who have demonstrated excellence in both sport and education; and

Whereas Savannah Mossman, a student athlete from Centre Consolidated School in Centre, Nova Scotia, has been selected to receive the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation Celebration of School Sport Award for 2007-2008;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Savannah Mossman on receiving the 2007-2008 Celebration of Sport Award.

RESOLUTION NO. 3298

By: Hon. Michael Baker (Finance)

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

Whereas participation by students in school sport programs has been shown to increase a student's likelihood of graduation, improve their school attendance and increase their success after graduation, as well as reduce discipline problems; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation annually provides awards to one male athlete, one female athlete, and a coach from each school in Nova Scotia who have demonstrated excellence in both sport and education; and

Whereas Megan Boudreau, a student athlete from Lunenburg Junior-Senior High School in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, has been selected to receive the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation Celebration of School Sport Award for 2007-2008;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Megan Boudreau on receiving the 2007-2008 Celebration of Sport Award.

RESOLUTION NO. 3299

By: Hon. Michael Baker (Finance)

[Page 3668]

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

Whereas participation by students in school sport programs has been shown to increase a student's likelihood of graduation, improve their school attendance and increase their success after graduation, as well as reduce discipline problems; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation annually provides awards to one male athlete, one female athlete, and a coach from each school in Nova Scotia who have demonstrated excellence in both sport and education; and

Whereas Jessica Langille, a student athlete from New Germany Rural High School in New Germany, Nova Scotia, has been selected to receive the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation Celebration of School Sport Award for 2007-2008;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Jessica Langille, on receiving the 2007-2008 Celebration of Sport Award.

RESOLUTION NO. 3300

By: Hon. Michael Baker (Finance)

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

Whereas participation by students in school sport programs has been shown to increase a student's likelihood of graduation, improve their school attendance and increase their success after graduation, as well as reduce discipline problems; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation annually provides awards to one male athlete, one female athlete, and a coach from each school in Nova Scotia who have demonstrated excellence in both sport and education; and

Whereas Courtney Whynot, a student athlete from Park View Education Centre in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, has been selected to receive the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation Celebration of School Sport Award for 2007-2008;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Courtney Whynot on receiving the 2007-2008 Celebration of Sport Award.

RESOLUTION NO. 3301

By: Hon. Michael Baker (Finance)

[Page 3669]

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

Whereas participation by students in school sport programs has been shown to increase a student's likelihood of graduation, improve their school attendance and increase their success after graduation, as well as reduce discipline problems; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation annually provides awards to one male athlete, one female athlete, and a coach from each school in Nova Scotia who have demonstrated excellence in both sport and education; and

Whereas Brandon Worthing, a student athlete from Bayview Community School in Mahone Bay, has been selected to receive the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation Celebration of School Sport Award for 2007-2008;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Brandon Worthing on receiving the 2007-2008 Celebration of Sport Award.

RESOLUTION NO. 3302

By: Hon. Michael Baker (Finance)

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

Whereas participation by students in school sport programs has been shown to increase a student's likelihood of graduation, improve their school attendance and increase their success after graduation, as well as reduce discipline problems; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation annually provides awards to one male athlete, one female athlete, and a coach from each school in Nova Scotia who have demonstrated excellence in both sport and education; and

Whereas Alexander Garland, a student athlete from Centre Consolidated School in Centre, Nova Scotia, has been selected to receive the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation Celebration of School Sport Award for 2007-2008;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Alexander Garland on receiving the 2007-2008 Celebration of Sport Award.

RESOLUTION NO. 3303

By: Hon. Michael Baker (Finance)

[Page 3670]

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

Whereas participation by students in school sport programs has been shown to increase a student's likelihood of graduation, improve their school attendance and increase their success after graduation, as well as reduce discipline problems; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation annually provides awards to one male athlete, one female athlete, and a coach from each school in Nova Scotia who have demonstrated excellence in both sport and education; and

Whereas Michael Bernier, a student athlete from Lunenburg Junior-Senior High School in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, has been selected to receive the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation Celebration of School Sport Award for 2007-2008;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Michael Bernier on receiving the 2007-2008 Celebration of Sport Award.

RESOLUTION NO. 3304

By: Hon. Michael Baker (Finance)

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

Whereas participation by students in school sport programs has been shown to increase a student's likelihood of graduation, improve their school attendance and increase their success after graduation, as well as reduce discipline problems; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation annually provides awards to one male athlete, one female athlete, and a coach from each school in Nova Scotia who have demonstrated excellence in both sport and education; and

Whereas Max Mertens, a student athlete from New Germany Rural High School in New Germany, Nova Scotia, has been selected to receive the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation Celebration of School Sport Award for 2007-2008;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Max Mertens on receiving the 2007-2008 Celebration of Sport Award.

RESOLUTION NO. 3305

By: Hon. Michael Baker (Finance)

[Page 3671]

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

Whereas participation by students in school sport programs has been shown to increase a student's likelihood of graduation, improve their school attendance and increase their success after graduation, as well as reduce discipline problems; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation annually provides awards to one male athlete, one female athlete, and a coach from each school in Nova Scotia who have demonstrated excellence in both sport and education; and

Whereas Zach Haughn, a student athlete from Park View Education Centre in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, has been selected to receive the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation Celebration of School Sport Award for 2007-2008;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Zach Haughn on receiving the 2007-2008 Celebration of Sport Award.

RESOLUTION NO. 3306

By: Hon. Michael Baker (Finance)

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

Whereas participation by students in school sport programs has been shown to increase a student's likelihood of graduation, improve their school attendance and increase their success after graduation, as well as reduce discipline problems; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation annually provides awards to one male athlete, one female athlete, and a coach from each school in Nova Scotia who have demonstrated excellence in both sport and education; and

Whereas Darlene Forsyth, a coach from Bayview Community School in Mahone Bay, has been selected to receive the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation Celebration of School Sport Award for 2007-2008;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Darlene Forsyth on receiving the 2007-2008 Celebration of Sport Award.

RESOLUTION NO. 3307

By: Hon. Michael Baker (Finance)

[Page 3672]

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

Whereas participation by students in school sport programs has been shown to increase a student's likelihood of graduation, improve their school attendance and increase their success after graduation, as well as reduce discipline problems; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation annually provides awards to one male athlete, one female athlete, and a coach from each school in Nova Scotia who have demonstrated excellence in both sport and education; and

Whereas Jennifer Langford, a coach from Centre Consolidated School in Centre, Nova Scotia, has been selected to receive the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation Celebration of School Sport Award for 2007-2008;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Jennifer Langford on receiving the 2007-2008 Celebration of Sport Award.

RESOLUTION NO. 3308

By: Hon. Michael Baker (Finance)

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

Whereas participation by students in school sport programs has been shown to increase a student's likelihood of graduation, improve their school attendance and increase their success after graduation, as well as reduce discipline problems; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation annually provides awards to one male athlete, one female athlete, and a coach from each school in Nova Scotia who have demonstrated excellence in both sport and education; and

Whereas Heather MacKinnon, a coach from Park View Education Centre in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, has been selected to receive the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation Celebration of School Sport Award for 2007-2008;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Heather MacKinnon on receiving the 2007-2008 Celebration of Sport Award.

RESOLUTION NO. 3309

By: Hon. Mark Parent (Environment)

[Page 3673]

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

Whereas the 10th Annual Resource Recovery Fund Board Nova Scotia Mobius Environmental Awards were held on April 16th; and

Whereas outstanding environmental achievements set apart the leaders in waste reduction and serve as role models for others; and

Whereas Annapolis Valley Business Environmental Committee was winner of the Best Community-Based Project;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Annapolis Valley Business Environmental Committee on their achievement as all Nova Scotians win when they "reduce, reuse and recycle".

RESOLUTION NO. 3310

By: Hon. Mark Parent (Environment)

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

Whereas the 10th Annual Resource Recovery Fund Board Nova Scotia Mobius Environmental Awards were held on April 16th; and

Whereas outstanding environmental achievements set apart the leaders in waste reduction and serve as role models for others; and

Whereas Cape Breton District Health Authority was winner of the Institution of the Year;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Cape Breton District Health Authority on their achievement as all Nova Scotians win when they "reduce, reuse and recycle".

RESOLUTION NO. 3311

By: Hon. Mark Parent (Environment)

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

[Page 3674]

Whereas the 10th Annual Resource Recovery Fund Board Nova Scotia Mobius Environmental Awards were held on April 16th; and

Whereas outstanding environmental achievements set apart the leaders in waste reduction and serve as role models for others; and

Whereas Corporation Service Company was winner of the Business of the Year (Small);

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Corporation Service Company on their achievement as all Nova Scotians win when they "reduce, reuse and recycle".

RESOLUTION NO. 3312

By: Hon. Mark Parent (Environment)

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

Whereas the 10th Annual Resource Recovery Fund Board Nova Scotia Mobius Environmental Awards were held on April 16th; and

Whereas outstanding environmental achievements set apart the leaders in waste reduction and serve as role models for others; and

Whereas Elmsdale Recycling was winner of the Enviro-Depot of the Year;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Elmsdale Recycling on their achievement as all Nova Scotians win when they "reduce, reuse and recycle".

RESOLUTION NO. 3313

By: Hon. Mark Parent (Environment)

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

Whereas the 10th Annual Resource Recovery Fund Board Nova Scotia Mobius Environmental Awards were held on April 16th; and

[Page 3675]

Whereas outstanding environmental achievements set apart the leaders in waste reduction and serve as role models for others; and

Whereas Jill Clausson-Munro was winner of the Individual Excellence in Waste Reduction Award;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Jill Clausson-Munro on their achievement as all Nova Scotians win when they "reduce, reuse and recycle".

RESOLUTION NO. 3314

By: Hon. Mark Parent (Environment)

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

Whereas the 10th Annual Resource Recovery Fund Board Nova Scotia Mobius Environmental Awards were held on April 16th; and

Whereas outstanding environmental achievements set apart the leaders in waste reduction and serve as role models for others; and

Whereas Lawrencetown Consolidated School was winner of the School of the Year;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Lawrencetown Consolidated School on their achievement as all Nova Scotians win when they "reduce, reuse and recycle".

RESOLUTION NO. 3315

By: Hon. Mark Parent (Environment)

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

Whereas the 10th Annual Resource Recovery Fund Board Nova Scotia Mobius Environmental Awards were held on April 16th; and

Whereas outstanding environmental achievements set apart the leaders in waste reduction and serve as role models for others; and

Whereas Municipality of the County of Richmond was winner of the Region of the Year Award;

[Page 3676]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Municipality of the County of Richmond on their achievement as all Nova Scotians win when they "reduce, reuse and recycle".

RESOLUTION NO. 3316

By: Hon. Mark Parent (Environment)

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

Whereas the 10th Annual Resource Recovery Fund Board Nova Scotia Mobius Environmental Awards were held on April 16th; and

Whereas outstanding environmental achievements set apart the leaders in waste reduction and serve as role models for others; and

Whereas Oland Brewery was winner of the Business of the Year (Large);

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Oland Brewery on their achievement as all Nova Scotians win when they "reduce, reuse and recycle".

RESOLUTION NO. 3317

By: Hon. Mark Parent (Environment)

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

Whereas the 10th Annual Resource Recovery Fund Board Nova Scotia Mobius Environmental Awards were held on April 16th; and

Whereas outstanding environmental achievements set apart the leaders in waste reduction and serve as role models for others; and

Whereas Sobeys Inc. was winner of the Waste Reduction Education Award;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Sobeys Inc. on their achievement as all Nova Scotians win when they "reduce, reuse and recycle".

RESOLUTION NO. 3318

[Page 3677]

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 Elizabeth Alderson was chosen by the Junction Road Home & School Association to represent them as Springhill's Volunteer of the Year for 2008; and

Whereas Elizabeth has participated in the annual Rock-a-Thon (Rocking Grannies) since its origin nine years ago, where all proceeds go to raise funds to purchase various items for the Junction Road Elementary School, including lunch tables, computers, playground equipment and school trips; and

Whereas Elizabeth Alderson is a dedicated and hardworking volunteer who truly makes a difference for youth of her community;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Elizabeth Alderson on her volunteer efforts and being named Volunteer of the Year and wish her all the best in future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 3319

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 Marshall Crowley of Oxford, Cumberland County, participated in the Nova Scotia Skills Competition on April 25, 2008; and

Whereas the competition took place at the Nova Scotia Community College, Akerley Campus, in Dartmouth; and

Whereas Marshall Crowley earned top spot in the post-secondary welding category in this competition;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Marshall Crowley on earning the top spot in the competition and wish him all the best in his future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 3320

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal)

[Page 3678]

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

Whereas Amos (Jr.) Gogan was honoured when chosen by the Knights of Columbus as their representative for Springhill's Volunteer of the Year for 2008; and

Whereas Amos has been a Knight since 1972 and from that time to present he has held every council office or position, including Grand Knight along with being a fourth degree Knight, the highest rank within the fraternity; and

Whereas Amos has spent countless hours volunteering his time to activities associated with the Knights of Columbus and his community including preparing an Irish dinner to raise funds for Christian Child Care International;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Amos Gogan on being chosen by the Knights of Columbus as Volunteer of the Year for 2008 and wish him all the best in all future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 3321

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 Debbie Hacz has been chosen by her group, Girl Guides of Canada-Springhill District, as their representative for Springhill's Volunteer of the Year for 2008; and

Whereas Debbie Hacz is one of the strong but silent members of Springhill District where she sees when a job needs to be done and takes it on with enthusiasm as she did for the Christmas Parade; and

Whereas Debbie is the take-out-Queen for the annual salad supper, has attended many provincial workshops, conferences and area training days where she holds current first aid and food handlers certificates, has organized annual camps for Brownies and Sparks and is the district PR person and a regular helper at Cumberland Area Camp Day;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Debbie Hacz on being chosen as the representative for Girl Guides of Canada-Springhill District and being named Springhill's Volunteer of the Year and wish her continued success in all future endeavours.

[Page 3679]

RESOLUTION NO. 3322

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 Mary Ellen MacDougall was chosen by the Dr. Carson & Marion Murray Community Centre's Booster Group to represent them as Springhill's Volunteer of the Year for2008; and

Whereas over the past four years, the Booster Group has raised much needed funds to help offset the cost of operation for the community centre and under Mary Ellen's direction this versatile group has successfully hosted in excess of 80events providing the clients of the community centre with a wide range of professional services; and

Whereas Mary Ellen and the Booster Group do many volunteer services, such as their mouth-watering meals that recently received praise nationally from CBC;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Mary Ellen MacDougall and the Booster Group on being named Springhill's Volunteer of the Year and wish them continued success in all future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 3323

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 Rochenda Tilt from Malagash learned CPR over 10 years ago, and Sidney Melanson is grateful that she took the time to learn this lifesaving procedure; and

Whereas Sidney Melanson, a volunteer at the Brookside Curling Club, had just finished cleaning the ice when he collapsed to the floor with a heart attack when Rochenda Tilt and Wade Quinn, who had taken the CPR training years earlier, sprang into action; and

Whereas Tilt began chest compressions, with Quinn performing mouth-to-mouth, until the River Hebert Fire Department and the Joggins Fire Department responded at the scene and resuscitated Melanson with a defibrillator that saved his life;

[Page 3680]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Rochenda Tilt on her quick action that saved the life of Sidney Melanson and wish her all the best in future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 3324

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 Wade Quinn of River Hebert learned CPR over 10 years ago and Sidney Melanson is grateful that he took the time to learn this lifesaving procedure; and

Whereas Sidney Melanson, a volunteer at the Brookside Curling Club, had just finished cleaning the ice when he collapsed to the floor with a heart attack, and Wade Quinn and Rochenda Tilt, who had taken the CPR course 10 years earlier, sprang into action; and

Whereas Tilt began chest compressions, with Quinn performing mouth-to-mouth, until the River Hebert Fire Department and the Joggins Fire Department responded at the scene and resuscitated Melanson with a defibrillator that saved his life;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Wade Quinn on his quick action that saved the life of Sidney Melanson and wish him all the best in future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 3325

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal)

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

Whereas the Joggins Fire Department received a 911 call on February 29, 2008, and rushed to the Brookside Curling Club where it was reported that a man had collapsed from a heart attack; and

Whereas upon arriving at the scene, the Joggins Fire Department took over for Rochenda Tilt and Wade Quinn who were using their CPR skills to keep Mr. Sidney Melanson alive; and

Whereas the Joggins Fire Department quickly and efficiently assessed the situation and used a defibrillator to resuscitate Mr. Melanson, thereby saving his life;

[Page 3681]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Joggins Fire Department on their quick and skilled response that helped save the life of Sidney Melanson and thank them for their dedicated service to their community and the Province of Nova Scotia.

RESOLUTION NO. 3326

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal)

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

Whereas the River Hebert Fire Department received a 911 call on February 29, 2008, and rushed to the Brookside Curling Club where it was reported that a man had collapsed from a heart attack; and

Whereas upon arriving at the scene, the Joggins Fire Department took over for Rochenda Tilt and Wade Quinn who were using their CPR skills to keep Mr. Sidney Melanson alive; and

Whereas the River Hebert Fire Department quickly and efficiently assessed the situation and used a defibrillator to resuscitate Mr. Melanson, thereby saving his life;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the River Hebert Fire Department on their quick and skilled response that helped save the life of Sidney Melanson and thank them for their dedicated service to their community and the Province of Nova Scotia.

RESOLUTION NO. 3327

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 Warrant Officer James Hunter, a Springhill native, received the Meritorious Service Medal for his work to help rebuild a wartorn nation; and

Whereas James Hunter called on his life experiences growing up in Springhill and travelling abroad to create peace in one small corner of Afghanistan, although the task before him seemed daunting, to rebuild a thousand year old hierarchy destroyed by conflict and make the government and military part of its order; and

[Page 3682]

Whereas on two occasions, Hunter and his platoon found themselves under insurgent fire which came during the nation's annual poppy harvest since Afghanistan is one of the world's largest producers of the opium poppy and where fighting picks up when the crop is ready for export;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Warrant Officer James Hunter on receiving the Meritorious Service Medal and wish him all the best in future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 3328

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal)

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

Whereas the River Hebert Army Cadets No. 1442 understand that hard work and perseverance are two key ingredients needed to get promoted as a cadet and this year 14 cadets from this corps showed that they have what it takes; and

Whereas on Wednesday, April 16, 2008, these cadets stood at attention as Captain Harry Dowe inspected the troops and announced the name of this year's promoted cadets; and

Whereas rank promotions went to Calvin Daborn who was promoted to Chief Warrant Officer;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Cadet Calvin Daborn on being promoted to Chief Warrant Officer and wish him continued success in all future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 3329

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:

[Page 3683]

Whereas the Isshin Ryu Karate Club from Oxford attended a martial arts tournament at the Agricultural College in Bible Hill with six members aged 9 to 15 years old; and

Whereas these six members brought home eight trophies for their achievements with approximately 250 people competing; and

Whereas members of the group bringing home trophies included Emily Adshade, 3rd place in Kata; Rebecca St. Croiz, 1st place in sparing and 2nd place in Kata; Zack Knol, 3rd place in sparing; Thomas Adshade, 1st place in Kata; Jordan Graves, 2nd place in Kata; Lucas St. Croix, 2nd place in sparing and 2nd place in Kata;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the members of the Isshin Ryu Karate Club on their accomplishments and wish them continued success in future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 3330

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 Dwight MacGillivary's Welding & Metal Fabricating Ltd. is tucked away in the Village of Advocate Harbour in Cumberland County and is one of the province's best kept secrets and a small-business success story which started in 1979 doing portable welding and fixing equipment used in forestry operations; and

Whereas the company also landed a contract with Scott Paper to fix the machines at its sawmill in Parrsboro and provided the firm with about three-quarters of its business and now Dwight's business produces custom-made Mac trailers that have become exceedingly popular with the construction industry and other heavy equipment haulers; and

Whereas Dwight MacGillivary credits his business success to doing quality work and looking after their customers needs since most of their business comes from word of mouth and that only happens if you do good work;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Dwight MacGillvary and his staff on his successful business and wish him continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 3331

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal)

[Page 3684]

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

Whereas the Shore Drive Community Development Association in Port Greville held its annual Ditch Witches and Beach Beetles community cleanup on Saturday, May 3, 2008, collecting two truck loads of trash to deliver to the local waste transfer station; and

Whereas 20 to 30 volunteers from the Port Greville area joined together to pick up the trash from the ditches and beaches between Wharton and Brookville and then gathered for a post-cleanup barbecue at Shaw Country Market; and

Whereas the cleanup program started six years ago and has made a significant difference in the area, although the volunteers continue to work hard towards this cause where they hope that all people will take pride in their communities and do their part in stopping the litter problem;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Shore Drive Community Development Association and their volunteer members on their achievements and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 3332

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 a group of local parents have got together to start River Hebert Youth Summer Soccer and are hoping to get as many participants as possible to make it a viable program for the summer; and

Whereas 25 parents attended a meeting where it was decided to move ahead with plans for a local summer soccer program put on by volunteers with the program being open to boys and girls from Grades P to 6, and play will take place at both the elementary and high school soccer fields twice a week; and

Whereas having a program available in River Hebert will provide an opportunity for families who could not otherwise afford the commute to Amherst for soccer and will not have to drive one half hour there and back to allow their children to participate in soccer programs;

[Page 3685]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the local parents from the River Hebert area on starting the River Hebert Youth Summer Soccer program and wish them all the best in this endeavour.

RESOLUTION NO. 3333

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 a cold, blustery day in March didn't dampen the spirits of the Oxford firefighters and their annual Muscular Dystrophy Boot Drive, which is held by many fire departments all over; and

Whereas with temperatures in the minus, winds from every direction and snow in the air, the firefighters set up booths at the Oxford Mainway and the Tim Horton's parking lots and by mid morning all the helium-filled balloons for the children had been handed out and the event was well underway; and

Whereas when all was said and done, the Oxford Fire Department and the community worked towards a total of $1,300, in just a few hours, for this tremendous cause;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Oxford Fire Department on their fundraising efforts for Muscular Dystrophy and wish them all the best in future endeavours.