Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

HANSARD 08-49

DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS

Speaker: Honourable Alfie MacLeod

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

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


Second Session

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2008

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 5350, Fin. - Economic Forecast Update: Input - Thank,
The Premier 5482
Vote - Affirmative 5482
Res. 5351, Cdn.-China Legislative Co-operation Proj.: Chinese Delegation -
Welcome, Hon. M. Baker 5483
Vote - Affirmative 5484
Res. 5352, Taste of N.S.: Prestige Aware Winners - Congrats.,
Hon. B. Taylor 5484
Vote - Affirmative 5485
Res. 5353, Justice - Restorative Justice Agencies: Work - Acknowledge,
Hon. C. Clarke 5485
Vote - Affirmative 5485
Res. 5354, Cook, Craig & Marina - Boston: Christmas Tree -
Donation Thank, Hon. D. Morse 5485
Vote - Affirmative 5486
Res. 5355, Com. Serv. - Healthy Workplace Activities: Staff - Congrats.,
Hon. J. Streatch 5486
Vote - Affirmative 5487
Res. 5356, Dillman, Briana: Agricultural Accomplishments - Applaud,
Hon. B. Taylor 5487
Vote - Affirmative 5488
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 223, Workers' Compensation Act, Mr. H. Theriault 5488
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 5357, Agric.: Agricultural Policy - Develop,
Mr. J. MacDonell 5488
Res. 5358, Can.-Russia Hockey Game: Cdn. Team - Best Wishes,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 5489
Vote - Affirmative 5489
Res. 5359, Knowles, Gordon: WWII Heroism - Applaud,
Mr. C. Porter 5490
Vote - Affirmative 5490
Res. 5360, Swanson, Gus - Pellet Furnace: Development - Congrats.,
Mr. C. Parker 5490
Vote - Affirmative 5491
Res. 5361, Prem.: Econ. Update - Bring Forward,
Mr. M. Samson 5491
Res. 5362, Otter, Wayne: Trenton Sports Ctr. - Overhaul,
Mr. P. Dunn 5492
Vote - Affirmative 5492
Res. 5363, QCCR FM: Licence Application - Well Wishes,
Ms. V. Conrad 5493
Vote - Affirmative 5494
Res. 5364, Chowdury, Nabhan/Lehwald, Keith: Donahoe Cup - Congrats.,
Ms. D. Whalen 5494
Vote - Affirmative 5494
Res. 5365, Reid, Graham & Ruth - Farmers of Yr.,
Mr. E. Fage 5494
Vote - Affirmative 5495
Res. 5366, J.L. Ilsley HS - Football Team: Opening Season - Congrats.,
Ms. M. Raymond 5495
Vote - Affirmative 5496
Res. 5367, CPR Awareness Mo. (11/08) - Congrats.,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 5496
Vote - Affirmative 5497
Res. 5368, Victoria Farmers Co-op: Bake-Off Winners - Congrats.,
Mr. K. Bain 5497
Vote - Affirmative 5497
Res. 5369, Carew, Stan: Radio Career - Anniv. (40th),
Mr. D. Dexter 5498
Vote - Affirmative 5498
Res. 5370, Gas Reg. - NDP Leader: Nova Scotians - Support,
Mr. K. Colwell 5498
Res. 5371, Traves, Peter & Lucy: N.S. Off Road Riders Assoc. Event -
Hosting Commend, Mr. C. Porter 5499
Vote - Affirmative 5500
Res. 5372, Cyr, Mr. Sandy - Waterville/Pictou Co./N.S.: Serv. - Congrats.,
Mr. C. MacKinnon 5500
Vote - Affirmative 5501
Res. 5373, Lobster Fishery - Fed. Min.: Funding - Request,
Mr. H. Theriault 5501
Vote - Affirmative 5501
Res. 5374, Skaling, Jeffrey: Heroism - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Parent 5502
Vote - Affirmative 5502
Res. 5375, Shelburne Bashers Baseball Team: Dist. Playoffs - Congrats.,
Mr. S. Belliveau 5503
Vote - Affirmative 5503
Res. 5376, Cook, Craig & Marina - Boston: Christmas Tree -
Provision Thank, Mr. H. Theriault 5503
Vote - Affirmative 5504
Res. 5377, Lightburn, Ron & Sandra: Creativity - Recognize,
Hon. D. Morse 5504
Vote - Affirmative 5505
Res. 5378, Pictou Co. SPCA: Bd. of Directors/Staff/Vols. - Congrats.,
Mr. C. MacKinnon 5505
Vote - Affirmative 5505
Res. 5379, Prem.: Econ. Update - Bring Forward,
Mr. L. Glavine 5506
Res. 5380, Cdn. Firefighter Combat Challenge: East. Passage Vol. FD Team -
Congrats., Ms. B. Kent 5506
Vote - Affirmative 5507
Res. 5381, Gov't. (N.S.): Green Jobs - Promote,
Mr. K. Colwell 5507
Res. 5382, Amherst FD: Award Recipients - Congrats.,
Mr. E. Fage 5508
Vote - Affirmative 5508
Res. 5383, Com. Serv. - Min.: Carbon Tax - Awareness,
Mr. T. Zinck (by Mr. G. Gosse) 5508
Res. 5384, Noel & Dist. FD - Anniv. (40th),
Mr. J. MacDonell 5509
Vote - Affirmative 5510
Res. 5385, Sir John A. Macdonald HS:
"What About Rights and Resources"^Group - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 5510
Vote - Affirmative 5510
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 211, Fair Registration Practices Act, Hon. M. Parent 5511
Hon. M. Parent 5511
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 5513
Ms. D. Whalen 5515
Mr. L. Preyra 5519
Mr. K. Colwell 5522
Hon. L. Goucher 5524
Hon. M. Parent 5527
Vote - Affirmative 5532
No. 215, Education Act, Hon. K. Casey 5532
Hon. K. Casey 5532
Mr. P. Paris 5536
Mr. L. Glavine 5539
Mr. W. Estabrooks 5542
Hon. K. Casey 5545
Vote - Affirmative 5546
No. 217, Utility and Review Board Act, Hon. M. Baker 5546
Hon. M. Baker 5546
Mr. G. Steele 5547
Ms. D. Whalen 5549
Hon. M. Baker 5551
Vote - Affirmative 5551
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Committee on Law Amendments, Hon. C. Clarke 5552
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON BILLS AT 6:37 P.M. 5552
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 6:41 P.M. 5552
CWH REPORTS 5552
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Tue., Nov. 18th at 10:00 a.m. 5553
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 5386, Gabarus/Gabarus Lake: Church Rebuilding - Congrats.,
The Speaker 5554
Res. 5387, Haynes, Denise: Cdn. Racquetball Championships - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Gaudet 5554
Res. 5388, Bridgewater Veterans Mem. Park: RCL Br. 24 - Congrats.,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 5555
Res. 5389, Maison Kwik Way: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5555
Res. 5390, ADM Petroleum Inc.: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5556
Res. 5391, All Excavating Needs: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5556
Res. 5392, AP Reid Insurance Stores: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5556
Res. 5393, Atl. Auto Exporters Inc.: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5557
Res. 5394, Atl. RV/Boat Exchange: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5557
Res. 5395, Atl. Water Investigations 1993 Ltd.: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5558
Res. 5396, Big Shot Lanes: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5558
Res. 5397, Ernst Wechsler Plumber Serv. Ltd.: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5558
Res. 5398, Heat - Econo-Maritimes: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5559
Res. 5399, Happy Dude's Surf Emporium: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5559
Res. 5400, Icon Electric & Control Inc.: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5560
Res. 5401, KC Landscape & Odd Jobs: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5560
Res. 5402, L. J. Mannette Electrical Limited: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5560
Res. 5403, Magneto-Inductive Systems Ltd.: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5561
Res. 5404, MRA Landworks: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5561
Res. 5405, Mueller Flow Control: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5562
Res. 5406, Munroe Plumbing & Heating: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5562
Res. 5407, Nan's Café: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5562
Res. 5408, Ocean Playground Cottage: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5563
Res. 5409, Old Times Old Friends Antiques Collectibles & Dolls:
Contributions - Applaud, Hon. W. Dooks 5563
Res. 5410, One Stitch at a Time Inc.: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5564
Res. 5411, Open Seas Instrumentation Inc.: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5564
Res. 5412, Old Riverside Lodge B & B: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5564
Res. 5413, Patty's Bookkeeping: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5565
Res. 5414, Pinehill Equestrian Ctr.: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5565
Res. 5415, Pettipas Plumbing & Septic Tank Pumping: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5566
Res. 5416, Petsgo Pet Relocation Specialist: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5566
Res. 5417, Clarke, Mandy: Commun. Contributions - Congrats.,
Mr. L. Glavine 5566
Res. 5418, Keddy, Evelyn: Commun. Contribution - Congrats.,
Mr. L. Glavine 5567

[Page 5481]

HALIFAX, MONDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2008

Sixtieth General Assembly

Second Session

3:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Alfie MacLeod

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Mr. Wayne Gaudet

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. We shall 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 member for Halifax Fairview on an introduction.

MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw the attention of the members of the House to a guest sitting in the Speaker's Gallery. Mr. Doug Martindale, who is a member of the Manitoba Legislature - he has sat there continuously for the north-end Winnipeg riding of Burrows since 1990, and members would be interested to know that Mr. Martindale and his wife, Carol, are visiting Nova Scotia because their daughter, Tanissa, is a team leader spending a year in the Bridgewater area. So I would ask Mr. Martindale to rise and receive the welcome of the House. (Applause)

[Page 5482]

5481

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 5350

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

Whereas today economic forecasters from Canada's banks, as well as the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council (APEC) and the Conference Board of Canada, gathered together to share information and offer advice regarding the impact of the world economic slowdown on Nova Scotia; and

Whereas we continue to gather information from various sources so we can provide the best possible information for Nova Scotians and get through whatever difficulties lay ahead; and

Whereas the Finance Department will release a budget forecast update by the end of December that will include an official updated economic forecast;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the continuing work that is going into balancing negative forces, such as falling oil and natural gas prices and slowing exports in some sectors, with the positive side of the equation, which includes rising employment numbers, and thank those like the business leaders today for their input.

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.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I would ask your indulgence to do an introduction before my resolution.

[Page 5483]

MR. SPEAKER: Please do.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, today in the Speaker's Gallery we have a Chinese delegation of elected and senior officials from the Budget Affairs Commission of the National People's Congress. They are visiting Nova Scotia through the Canadian Government's Parliamentary Centre in Ottawa.

Leading the delegation is Mr. He Chengjun, Deputy Director-General, Budget and Final Account Examination and Supervision Office of the Budget Affairs Commission of the National People's Congress. Accompanying him are six members of the provincial and municipal Legislatures and eight senior staff from the central and provincial People's Congresses. I would like to welcome them and have the members of the House rise to show our welcome from our Legislative Assembly. (Standing Ovation)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

RESOLUTION NO. 5351

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Legislature is pleased to host a group of elected and senior officials from China, led by Mr. He Chengjun in conjunction with the Canada-China Legislative Cooperation Project (CCLCP); and

Whereas the delegation's itinerary includes visits to the Parliament of Canada, the Nova Scotia Legislature and the Alberta Legislature to study budget processes at both the federal and provincial levels; and

Whereas while in Nova Scotia the delegation will meet with legislative officials, including representatives from the Auditor General's Office, the Public Accounts Committee, as well as representatives of the officials of the Department of Finance Legislative Officers;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend a warm welcome to our visitors from China and extend best wishes for a successful exchange of information during the remainder of their visit to Canada.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 5484]

[3:15 p.m.]

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. 5352

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

Whereas Taste of Nova Scotia recently announced its 2008 Prestige Award winners, which included Acadian Maple Products, Domaine de Grand Pre, Clearwater Seafoods Limited, Eel Lake Oyster Farm, Heather Richards, DesBarres Manor Inn and Fleur de Sel Restaurant; and

Whereas the Alex Clavel Bursary Award, presented to an individual who is seeking to enhance their culinary professional development, was given to Dafyyd Williams-Jones from the Five Fishermen Restaurant; and

Whereas Taste of Nova Scotia is a province-wide marketing program that boasts a membership of more than 100 food producers and processors and restaurants;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this Legislature congratulate all of this year's Taste of Nova Scotia Prestige Award winners for their commitment to improving business and promoting culinary excellence 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.

[Page 5485]

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

RESOLUTION NO. 5353

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

Whereas November 17th to 21st has been declared national Restorative Justice Week, and provides a time to reflect and recognize the value of restorative justice programs and processes as a vibrant element of our criminal justice system; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia Restorative Justice Program aims to provide both a voice and an opportunity to participate for the victim and community members, and to hold offenders accountable for their actions in a meaningful way; and

Whereas it is important to acknowledge the fine work of our community-based restorative justice agencies across the province who work closely with the police, Crown Attorneys, courts and corrections officers, youth, parents, victims and community volunteers to deliver Nova Scotia's Restorative Justice Programs;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in acknowledging the work of Nova Scotia's Restorative Justice agencies, their boards of directors and their teams of dedicated community volunteers, and wish them continued success in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 5354

[Page 5486]

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 Department of Natural Resources searched the entire province to find a tree deserving of the honour of becoming Nova Scotia's 2008 symbol of gratitude to the City of Boston for its help after the Halifax Explosion in 1917; and

Whereas a breathtaking 46-foot white spruce was found on the property of Craig and Marina Cook in Clementsvale, Annapolis County; and

Whereas the Cooks happily donated their tree, and over 100 schoolchildren joined to watch today, November 17th, as that tree became a part of an ongoing tradition since 1971;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House show the province's gratitude to Craig and Marina Cook for donating this wonderful gift, which becomes the centrepiece of Boston's tree-lighting ceremony on December 4th on the Boston Common.

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. 5355

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

Whereas provincial staff at the Department of Community Services organized healthy workplace activities for their co-workers throughout the month of October, in support of Healthy Workplace Month; and

Whereas these civil servants worked each day to promote a healthy workplace and lifestyle for all staff around the province; and

[Page 5487]

Whereas the Department of Community Services is proud of all staff who help organize activities to promote a healthy workplace;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating staff involved with healthy workplace activities.

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. 5356

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

Whereas Briana Dillman of Elderbank in the beautiful Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley recently returned from the Royal Agriculture Winter Fair in Toronto, with two exceptionally impressive award honours, as her Ayrshire calf was named the Royal Winter Fair Junior Champion; and

Whereas from there, Briana competed for top dairy calf honours against more than 450 Holsteins, Jerseys, Brown Swiss, Ayrshires and Guernseys from across North America, placing behind the grand champion and reserve grand champion and receiving honourable mention; and

Whereas Briana finished her last year in 4-H at the Nova Scotia 4-H show in Windsor in September, when her calf was named top dairy calf for the provincial show, marking the first time in 20 years that an Ayrshire had won this award, this after being victorious at the Halifax County Exhibition 4-H Show, which also resides in the beautiful Musquodoboit Valley as well;

[Page 5488]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly applaud the tremendous accomplishments this summer and Fall of Briana Dillman, proud daughter of dairy farmers John and Gwen Dillman, and all their work at Musqie Valley Farm.

[Page 5489]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 223 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 10 of the Acts of 1994-95. The Workers' Compensation Act. (Mr. Harold Theriault)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 5357

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

Whereas the agricultural sector has been forgotten by the Progressive Conservative Government since they took power in 1999; and

Whereas the Federation of Agriculture has tried to educate past and present Premiers and ministers of this government on the impact of their poor policies which has been quantitatively identified by three GPI Atlantic Reports this summer and Fall; and

Whereas the Minister of Agriculture's response was that he was staggered by GPI's findings;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly demand that the minister listen to our agricultural industries and develop an actual agricultural policy to address the issues raised in the GPI Atlantic Reports and aid in the survival of Nova Scotia's farm communities.

[Page 5490]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

RESOLUTION NO. 5358

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

Whereas tonight, Centre 200 will host a 2008 ADT Canada-Russia Challenge hockey game; and

Whereas the ADT Canada-Russia Challenge is the last step in the national junior teams' evaluation process and features a Russian all-star squad; and

Whereas this game is one of two being played in the Atlantic Region, the other being held in Saint John on Wednesday;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly wish the players and coaching staff of the Canadian team luck as they face off with the Russian team in this important match.

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.

[Page 5491]

RESOLUTION NO. 5359

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

Whereas Remembrance Day ceremonies this week brought back memories to 91-year-old Gordon Knowles of Avondale; and

Whereas Gordon fought in World War II maintaining anti-tank guns while finding himself battling for the control of seaports in the Netherlands, after entering the war when a Canadian soldier died along with a number of other Canadians two days after D-Day; and

Whereas Gordon joined the Canadian Army in 1941, landed in Britain in 1943 and was in Holland until the Fall of 1945, before landing in Halifax aboard the Queen Mary on New Year's Eve in 1945 and returning to his dairy farm in Avondale;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the significant heroism of Avondale's Gordon Knowles during his World War II service and for speaking out today, 63 years after returning home, about the importance of voting.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 5360

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

Whereas Gus Swanson, a farmer and entrepreneur from Waterside, Pictou County, has found a way to heat homes with hay; and

[Page 5492]

Whereas the Waterside Hot Water Hay Pellet Furnace is practically particulate-free and burns 50 to 125 pounds of pellets a day and creates 30,000 to 190,000 BTUs an hour; and

Whereas this hay pellet furnace business may well open up opportunities for farmers to grow a cash crop, namely reed-canary grass to be converted to pellets;

Therefore be it resolved that this Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Gus Swanson for the development of the Waterside Hot Water Hay Pellet Furnace and wish him continued success.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 5361

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

Whereas time and time again, the Premier has stated that our province will not go into deficit; and

Whereas while he may not put us in deficit, the Premier has told Nova Scotians that he has us as close to that line as possible; and

Whereas perhaps it is for this reason that the Premier and his government are stalling at the idea of releasing an economic update;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier be open with Nova Scotians on the state of the province's finances and immediately bring forward an economic update.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 5493]

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 5362

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 Trenton Community Minor Sports Centre recently received a major facelift; and

Whereas the facility is a source of pride for Trenton residents, a commitment to the health of the community and a popular place to meet; and

Whereas Wayne Otter, rink manager for the past 22 years, believes the facility is as good as any in Pictou County;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate rink manager Wayne Otter, and his competent staff, for completing the overhaul of this centre - a smart investment for the future of the community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Queens.

[Page 5494]

MS. VICKI CONRAD: Mr. Speaker, if I could please ask your permission to do an introduction first?

MR. SPEAKER: Please do.

MS. CONRAD: Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw your attention to the east gallery, west gallery, sorry, I'm directionally challenged, I would like to introduce David Young who is here today. David is a former resident of Queens County and now a new resident of Lunenburg County, and I know many people in Queens will miss him. So if the House could give a warm welcome to David. (Applause)

[3:30 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 5363

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

Whereas having a community radio station to hear local news, local voices and a chance to participate in the broadcasting medium can be an exciting opportunity for any community; and

Whereas Queens has been fortunate to have Alex J. Walling, an experienced and seasoned broadcaster, move to the area and take on the job of setting up a local radio station with successful applications for special licences; and

Whereas 99.3 QCCR FM has been successful in showcasing many wonderful events in Queens, wooing listeners with a wide selection of music from the 1950s through to the 1970s, and giving local businesses a venue for promotion;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly recognize the Queens radio station QCCR 99.3, Dick Henneberry, Malcolm Charlton and their general manager, Alex J. Walling, and wish them well in their application for a full-time licence.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 5495]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

RESOLUTION NO. 5364

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

Whereas in March 2008, Nabhan Chowdhury and Keith Lehwald of Halifax West High School won the 2008 Donahoe Cup Debating Tournament that was hosted by the Sacred Heart School in Halifax; and

Whereas debating helps develop skills in research, communications, reasoning and self-confidence; and

Whereas debating benefits society by developing leadership and the informed, interested electorate so essential to a democracy;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly congratulate Nabhan Chowdhury and Keith Lehwald on their 2008 Donahoe Cup win and wish them continued success in their future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cumberland North.

RESOLUTION NO. 5365

[Page 5496]

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

Whereas Graham and Ruth Reid of Wallace Bay were awarded the 2008 Farmer of the Year Award and they were presented with the John VanVulpen Memorial Award; and

Whereas this award is presented by the Cumberland County Federation of Agriculture and recipients are chosen by a committee made up of past winners; and

Whereas the Reids own and successfully operate a 900-head sheep farm in Wallace Bay;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in sending our congratulations to Graham and Ruth Reid for earning and receiving this prestigious award.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

RESOLUTION NO. 5366

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

Whereas high school football, like any other team sport, demands a high level of strength, speed and coordination from its players, but had disappeared from Spryfield in 1998; and

Whereas parents, teachers, and community members recognizing the need and the potential for a team in the area have been fundraising with auctions, carwashes and barbeques, and this Fall, after 10 long years, J.L. Ilsley High School has once again fielded a football team and returned to the Nova Scotia High School League under coach Steve Saunders, the school's liaison officer with the Halifax Regional Police; and

[Page 5497]

Whereas of the 47 players fielded this year, only 12 are senior students, leaving a promising team of younger players to develop in the following seasons;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the J.L. Ilsley community of teachers, students, parents, principal Al Reyner, and coach Steve Saunders, commending the Judges on their two opening season victories to date, and wishing all success and enjoyment to the team and the community in future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Glace Bay.

RESOLUTION NO. 5367

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

Whereas each November the Heart and Stroke Foundation celebrates CPR Awareness Month; and

Whereas taking a CPR course provides a person with the skill set needed to recognize the signs of heart attack and stroke and to act accordingly; and

Whereas while we celebrate CPR Awareness Month, it is important that we recognize the men and women who give their time to teach Nova Scotians about this lifesaving technique;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly recognize November as CPR Awareness Month and encourage all Nova Scotians to become trained in this important skill.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 5498]

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. 5368

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 Victoria Farmers' Cooperative is a vibrant group of individuals believing in our government's message of Select Nova Scotia and Buy Nova Scotia products first; and

Whereas the Co-op recently took part in a local bake-off with Allysa and Allyson Hutchinson winning in the pumpkin growing category, Ronnie Horton was recognized for his carrot cake and Sara Nicholson for her chocolate chip cookies; and

Whereas the Victoria Farmers' Co-operative is a success because of the dedication and conviction of organizers such as President Lonnie Dowe, Vice-President John MacIntosh, Treasurer Linda MacIver, Secretary Janie Nicholson and Directors Joe Metz, the late John Graham MacInnis, Dolena Matheson and Norman MacInnes;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly congratulate the recent winners Allysa and Allyson, Ronnie and Sara, as well as to President Lonnie Dowe for his co-operative's tremendous work.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 5499]

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 5500]

RESOLUTION NO. 5369

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

Whereas Stan Carew, host of Weekend Morning on CBC Radio, celebrated the first 40 years of his career in broadcasting with a live concert broadcast across the Maritimes on Saturday, November 15th; and

Whereas Stan Carew started work as a teenager at radio station CHNS in Halifax, working also at CKBW in Bridgewater, CKEC in New Glasgow, other Halifax stations and - like at least one member of this House - CFDR in Dartmouth; and

Whereas Stan Carew has won a large Maritime audience with his own musical talents, his promotion of local music and his support of many good causes;

Therefore be it resolved that this House join thousands of listeners and fans in congratulating Stan Carew, host of CBC Radio's Weekend Morning, on the 40th Anniversary of his first radio job and wish him many more successful years.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 5370

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

Whereas in recent months, it has become obvious that the Leader of the Official Opposition has more in common with the Premier than he does with ordinary Nova Scotians; and

[Page 5501]

Whereas while gas prices were reaching an all-time high this summer, the NDP stated that the gas regulation should be left in place, but perhaps shifted over to the URB to take the heat off the Progressive Conservative Government; and

Whereas Nova Scotians aren't looking for a new way to be gouged by regulation, instead they are looking for someone to stand up and offer a free market, a call that the Nova Scotia Liberal Party has listened to;

Therefore be it resolved that the Leader of the socialist NDP strive to be more in touch with the people of the province rather than tell them that the Tories' failed gas regulation is doing the job, while Nova Scotians are continuing to pay over five cents per litre more than our neighbours in New Brunswick.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The motion is tabled.

The honourable member for Hants West.

RESOLUTION NO. 5371

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

Whereas Peter and Lucy Traves, residents of the Castle Frederick Road in Falmouth, wonderfully opened up their property on Saturday, October 18th, and allowed the Nova Scotia Off Road Riders Association to hold an event schedule and 2009 membership drive; and

Whereas building contractor Wayne Myles of Lockhartville assisted with the trail clearing leading up to the event and Cocoa Pesto Bistro owner Scott Geddes catered to the event and ensured the approximately 100 people had plenty of nourishment; and

Whereas coinciding with the trail ride, 22 children under 16 years of age received formal instruction by certified Nova Scotia Off Road Riders Association coaches, with Association President Paul Wamboldt saying he was thrilled with the turnout;

[Page 5502]

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs commend Peter and Lucy for being such gracious hosts, Scott for delivering his usual splendid mouth-watering food, Wayne for making sure the tracks were clear, and President Wamboldt and the Off Road Riders Association for taking part in such an informed, educational 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 member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 5372

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

Whereas Sandy Cyr had retired as Mayor of Westville, after a stellar career in municipal politics and is being honoured by the town tonight; and

Whereas Sandy Cyr was first elected to council three decades ago, has dedicated much of his life to serving the people of Westville and by extension has served the people of Pictou County through his appointments on many regional boards and committees; and

Whereas Sandy Cyr has not only been valued as a member of council, but as a friend to all staff members and residents of the Town of Westville;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly congratulate Sandy Cyr for his years of dedicated service to his town, the County of Pictou, the Province of Nova Scotia and wish him health and good tidings in his retirement.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 5503]

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 5373

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 Nova Scotia lobster fishing industry is facing an economic struggle like never before and solutions are being sought; and

Whereas the idea being suggested by the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans would cut the inshore fleet in half and create a long-term, negative impact on our coastal communities; and

Whereas the artificially high licence prices established by the Department Fisheries and Oceans has made it next to impossible for our young fishermen to enter the industry and succeed;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture lobby his federal counterpart to help our financially-strapped young fishermen and not make current problems even worse.

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 Environment.

[Page 5504]

RESOLUTION NO. 5374

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

Whereas on October 29th, the inaugural Medal of Bravery medals were awarded; and

Whereas last summer a resident of Kings North risked his own life at Lumsden Dam to save the life of a young woman who was in danger of drowning; and

Whereas Jeffrey Skaling swam out, pulled the victim to shore and performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) until help arrived;

Therefore be ir resolved that all members of this House congratulate Jeffrey Skaling, medal recipient, for his courageous and selfless act of heroism.

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 Shelburne.

MR. STERLING BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, may I make an introduction, please?

MR. SPEAKER: Please do.

MR. BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw your attention to the west gallery tonight where we have a lovely young couple who just sat down, Angela and Robert Amirault of East Pubnico. I would ask that the House give them a warm welcome. Robert is my nephew, by the way. (Applause)

[Page 5505]

The honourable member for Shelburne.

RESOLUTION NO. 5375

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

Whereas the Shelburne Bashers have advanced to the Mosquito R provincial baseball championships after winning their district playoffs on the weekend of August 16, 2008; and

Whereas the Bashers won three of their four games in the district playoffs, including a close championship win against Liverpool; and

Whereas baseball is a team sport which requires skill and dedication;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly congratulate the Shelburne team for winning their district playoffs on the weekend of August 16, 2008, and advancing to the Mosquito R provincial championships.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[3:45 p.m.]

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 5376

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

[Page 5506]

Whereas each year Nova Scotia sends Boston a Christmas tree as a thank you for their help in the aftermath of the Halifax Explosion; and

Whereas the Department of Natural Resources is given the task of deciding which tree will make the annual journey to Boston; and

Whereas this year's tree, a 14-metre white spruce, belongs to Craig and Marina Cook of Clementsvale, Annapolis County;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly recognize the significance of this time-honoured tradition, and thank Craig and Marina for providing a beautiful tree for this special event.

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. 5377

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

Whereas Ron and Sandra Lightburn, artist and writer, of Coldbrook, Kings County, moved here in 1997 from Victoria, B.C.; and

Whereas they were so impressed by the beautiful autumn and tradition of "pumpkin people" in Kentville that they were inspired to create a children's book; and

Whereas the Town of Kentville jumped to integrate the Lightburns' project into its Kentville Harvest Festival program in October, 2008, and launched the book Pumpkin People;

[Page 5507]

Therefore be it resolved that all the members of this House recognize the excellent creative teamwork of Ron and Sandra Lightburn and acknowledge their way of giving back to their community.

[Page 5508]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 5378

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

Whereas the Pictou County SPCA is now entering its 30th year of operation and has handled the interim care and adoption of approximately 700 pets per year; and

Whereas the operation of the SPCA in Pictou County involves a board of directors, three staff members, and hundreds of volunteers; and

Whereas the annual Christmas letter is being mailed this week to 21,000 households and is the primary fundraising tool for the SPCA in Pictou County;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly congratulate manager Dee Brown, the board of directors, staff, and volunteers of the Pictou County SPCA for the vital work they do in protecting and caring for animals in a clean, safe and supportive environment.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 5509]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 5379

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

Whereas last week the Minister of Economic Development told this House that the fundamentals of the Nova Scotia economy are sound; and

Whereas this past Friday, told media the province is approximately $28 million away from deficit; and

Whereas with comments such as these, it is hard to determine which fiscal situation really exists;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier bring forward an economic update and clarify what sort of shape the province's finances are in.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 5380

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

Whereas the Canadian Firefighter Combat Challenge was developed to showcase the physical fitness of Canadian firefighters, both career and volunteer; and

Whereas three- to five-person teams compete individually against the clock, wearing their full turnout gear, while breathing from self-contained breathing apparatus, and must perform their challenge in less than seven minutes; and

[Page 5510]

Whereas the Eastern Passage Volunteer Fire Department sent a team of five to this year's competitions, both on a national and international level, and improved their team and individual times;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Robert Sandeski, Steve Gallant, Cory Detchkoff, Scott Fahie and Brian Tilley for their achievements in the Canadian Firefighter Combat Challenge, and wish them every success in their future competitions as well as a safe journey through their volunteer firefighter service.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 5381

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

Whereas more than ever Nova Scotians need to strive toward the creation of a green economy with the creation of green energy jobs; and

Whereas while the Progressive Conservative Government has not promoted the sources of renewable energy, men and women are leaving this province to try to find employment out West; and

Whereas with the world's highest tides and strong Nova Scotia winds, it is troubling that the Progressive Conservatives have little or no interest in pursuing green energy;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier and his government act immediately to create a business environment to incorporate green jobs in our economy.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 5511]

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cumberland North.

RESOLUTION NO. 5382

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

Whereas the Amherst Fire Department handed out service pins during their annual banquet this month; and

Whereas Roger Gouchie was honoured for 45 years of service, while Gary Hunter and Paul Black received pins for 30 years of service; and

Whereas the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Canada took this opportunity to announce that Ken MacKenzie is their Firefighter of the Year;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in sending our congratulations to Robert, Gary, Paul and Ken for earning these awards of recognition.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 5383

[Page 5512]

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

Whereas the Progressive Conservative carbon tax will add $8 to $12 to the average electric bill; and

Whereas the Minister of Community Services lauds this year's paltry $4 increase in basic allowance for social assistance as a substantial investment in eradicating poverty; and

Whereas 30,000 individuals currently collecting social assistance will endure a winter of hardship because of this Progressive Conservative decision;

Therefore be it resolved that the minister is in the dark about the Progressive Conservative carbon tax and will hurt the very people whom she is charged with helping.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 5384

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

Whereas fires to homes and vital buildings almost always trigger an instinctive community response; and

Whereas volunteer fire departments were often the first community organizations in rural areas; and

Whereas on October 29, 2008, members of the Noel and District Volunteer Fire Department marked the 40th Anniversary of its inception;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the members of the Noel and District Volunteer Fire Department on their 40th Anniversary and wish them well for the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 5513]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 5385

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

Whereas there is a committee of Sir John A. Macdonald High School students known as What About Rights and Resources (WARR); and

Whereas these students took it upon themselves to stand against idling and the use of drive-thru services; and

Whereas this group of Sir John A. Macdonald High School students have informed the people about the environmental dangers of idling their vehicles;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate and thank this group of Sir John A. Macdonald High School students - What About Rights and Resources - for their tremendous commitment to our environment.

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

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

[Page 5514]

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

[Page 5515]

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. CHUCK PORTER: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 211.

Bill No. 211 - Fair Registration Practices Act.

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

HON. MARK PARENT: Mr. Speaker, it's a pleasure to rise to speak to Bill No. 21, an Act to Ensure Fair Registration Practices by Regulating Bodies - or in order to shorten it so that it's easier to say - the Fair Registration Practices Act. Now, if passed, this legislation would provide professionals and those in certified trade occupations a clearer understanding of what they must do to apply to practise in this province, be they from another country or from another province in Canada. Armed with that knowledge, that clear understanding, they can take the appropriate steps to attain accreditation.

Mr. Speaker, anyone who is denied accreditation could learn they can appeal and they can learn why they were denied and receive education and information as to what steps are needed to clear that hurdle in accreditation. I believe that this bill will speed up the accreditation process for some individuals by avoiding false starts and misinformation that they may have. Avoiding false starts will help get skilled workers and professionals on the job, earning salaries, serving Nova Scotians, and building that prosperity for this province that we all care about faster than if they're left to their own devices and left to figure out these accreditation steps for themselves.

More importantly, Mr. Speaker, I need to state categorically, as I stated in the previous House, that these improvements will be made without jeopardizing public safety. The professional bodies will retain control for accreditation standards and for the accreditation process and I've been very clear about that both in the Spring and now in the Fall. This legislation is flexible and it was made deliberately that way because it addresses the diverse needs and the abilities of accrediting bodies. Some of them are large and are well resourced, such as the medical profession, and others are small and rely on volunteers in order to process accreditation requests from people from other provinces and from out of the country.

So that's why the legislation had to be flexible, Mr. Speaker, and we worked very closely with accrediting organizations and we've worked very closely with accrediting organizations through a working group that represented both the professions, the trades and government in order to achieve the right balance in this bill. I do want to thank that working group because we're absolutely indebted to them. When they came to me and the barristers told me over the summer they would be willing to work with the other professions on our

[Page 5516]

previous bill which accomplished the same thing as this bill but in order to make it work with the various groups that it covered, I was somewhat skeptical and I have to eat my words because they went right through the summer and met weekly in order to make this bill the best possible bill it could be.

So I want to thank the members of that working group. It was co-chaired by the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society Executive Director, Darrel Pink, and Dennis Holland from the Department of Health. They were aided in their efforts, Mr. Speaker, by David Cameron who is the legal counsel for the Certified General Accountants Association of Nova Scotia; Marjorie Hickie, who is the legal counsel for the Health Network regulatory bodies; Kara MacGregor of the Interior Designers Association; Michele Wood-Tweel of the Institute of Chartered Accountants; and Linda Hamilton, Susan Wedlake and Cameron Little of the Health Network.

On the government side they were aided by Stuart Gourley of my department and Dale Crawford of my department, from Apprenticeship Training; as well as by Elizabeth Mills from the department of my honourable colleague and Carmel d'Entremont, also from the Office of Immigration; and Shanti Dogra and Lora MacEachern were legal counsel from the Department of Justice.

You can see that a wide variety of different people met over this bill and the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society were true to their word and provided the volunteer help we needed in order to make this bill as good as possible. This was stakeholder consultation at its finest and this dedicated group met throughout the summer and examined the original Act, line by line, with a thoroughness that puts me, as a theologian who's used to looking at things for theological insights, to shame. As a result of their dedication, as a result of their enthusiasm, we have a good bill, we have a strong bill, we have a workable bill.

[4:00 p.m.]

This is really the former bill we had, but made better. We had two options to bring in amendments to the former bill or a new bill - six of one, half a dozen of another, because it accomplishes the same thing. But in recognition of the hard work this group did over the summer, I felt it would be appropriate to bring this in as a clean bill without the mark outs that lawyers seem to enjoy, but I felt it was appropriate in that regard.

There are four substantive changes in this bill. The AIT reference has been changed because there is a separate Act on internal trade and so that has been changed. The role of the review officer has been made more proactive and that's another important change because some of the small volunteer organizations were saying, instead of just being reactive and reacting to complaints, is there any way the review officer can be of help? I think this is the case with smaller organizations in particular who rely on volunteers without full-time

[Page 5517]

staff, although the review officer could be of help to all the bodies that are covered by this legislation - 38, I believe, NGOs and six government departments.

The AIT reference was changed, that's the reference to the agreement on internal trade. The role of the review officer was made more proactive, reporting requirements to the review officer were clearly outlined, and the bill was strengthened in that regard quite substantially, although the timing was left to the review officer, again, because of the need for flexibility when you're covering such a spectrum of associations and accrediting bodies, some of which are very large, some of which were very small.

Lastly, the bill was expanded to include any body that provides training, certification and licensing. So the bill is a much better bill and in recognition of the hard work of all the individuals I mentioned, it seemed to me the right thing to do. The substance, the intent is the same, but the work they put in deserves some recognition.

The Fair Registration Practices Act is then intended to offer the same framework the previous bill did that will help regulatory bodies be more transparent, more objective and more timely in delivering certification and registration within their professions. I'm very hopeful that with the changes that have been made by this working group, this bill will receive the favourable support of this House and I look forward to comments from the Parties opposite. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I'm very pleased to have an opportunity to rise in my place and speak to Bill No. 211.

First of all, I'd like to tell the members of the House that the NDP caucus supports this bill in principle and will be looking forward to its passage through second reading to the Law Amendments Committee where, no doubt, we will hear from some representation from some of the regulated professions that will be impacted by this bill. I recognize the amount of work that many of those regulated bodies have put into this particular bill that's in front of us.

I can't help but say though that I find the minister's comments with respect to this bill interesting, to say the least. The minister made reference to the fact that he's a theologian. I don't know what it is that you would call stretching the facts of the bill in front of us in comparison to the previous bill. Perhaps as a theologian, the minister might have a lesson for us on what that is when you stretch the facts to the point that they're totally distorted.

I would remind members of the House of the facts of this bill that's in front of us now and the previous bill. The facts are as follows. The minister introduced some time ago, back in the Spring, Bill No. 126, an Act Respecting Fair Access to Regulated Professions. There

[Page 5518]

was little or no stakeholder consultation prior to the introduction of that bill, although the minister here today said that what we have in front of us is the finest - I believe he said the finest - example of stakeholder consultation. Well, it's the finest example of stakeholder consultation after the fact.

There was little or no consultation on the first bill and this bill is not the same thing at all; in fact, the previous bill was much more complicated. If you look at the substance of that bill, it was much more complicated, much more intrusive and much more heavy-handed with respect to the government's involvement in the regulated professions and in the processes that they use. It had broad implications for the resources that they would have had to bring forward to implement the legislation. Indeed, the regulated professions were very fearful of a significant loss of their autonomy with respect to upholding the regulated standards of practice in the various regulated bodies that would be impacted by this bill.

Let's be clear, the groups that are being affected by this legislation, a very broad number of groups, I think it's approximately 38 regulated professions, and of that probably 18 or 19 of them are in the field of health: physicians, psychologists, physiotherapists, and various health care providers. In addition to that, all of the other regulated professions - barristers, interior designers, barbers, embalmers, real estate appraisers - there are many, many other professional groups and associations also impacted by this bill.

Mr. Speaker, I don't believe there would be any member of this Legislature who isn't interested in promoting fair access, fair registration practices in regulatory bodies. We are all very aware of the fact that we have people who have been trained outside of the Province of Nova Scotia, indeed outside the Canadian jurisdiction, who are very capable of being members of professional associations and providing high-quality services in their respective regulatory bodies.

We would like to see an open, transparent, accessible system, but as many of the regulating bodies themselves said in discussions that I had with them, they have been working diligently in many cases to attempt to bring down any barriers to make information more readily available, to provide supports and assist people through the application process that various bodies have for registration and licensure. Indeed, just the title of the previous bill implied that regulatory professions were denying fair access to applicants, and for groups like the College of Nurses, for example, I think this was a troubling connotation, the naming of the previous bill, but even more so the kind of cumbersome, heavy-handed, intrusive process that was laid out was also of very great concern.

So to their credit, these organizations came together and they approached members of the Opposition Parties and talked to us about their concerns and, indeed, talked to members of the government about their concerns and, Mr. Speaker - I guess this is the beauty of having a minority Legislature - government, when they are so clearly on the wrong path, cannot just have their way with forcing legislation through the House of Assembly. When

[Page 5519]

they bring forth legislation for which they have not done adequate consultation, they haven't done adequate research, they haven't reflected in a way that is required to make legislation fit the reality of groups in our province, they're not able to just force it through when you have a minority situation.

Mr. Speaker, indeed, in this case this is exactly what happened. They knew that to move this bill forward they would need the support of members of the Opposition and they were essentially forced to hear the voices of the various regulated professions, their concerns, and to look for greater direction from those organizations like the Barristers' Society, the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the nurses, the Association of Social Workers, and so on.

So, Mr. Speaker, we have in front of us a bill that lays out a process that the regulated professions themselves are in agreement with, that they had input in defining and working on. It's one that is less complex, less intrusive, less heavy-handed than the one envisioned by the government and the Minister of Labour and Workforce Development. It is now a piece of legislation that we, in principle, certainly do support and would like to see move forward to the Law Amendments Committee where, if it's possible to improve on any aspects of this bill, we certainly will be interested in doing so.

So with that, Mr. Speaker, I will take my place. Thank you.

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

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I am pleased to rise today to speak on Bill No. 211, which is the newly introduced Act to Ensure Fair Registration Practices by Regulating Bodies.

As has been alluded to, this Act has a little bit of history now, over this year particularly, because the original Act, which was brought in in the Spring session, arrived here with next to no consultation with the bodies that were going to be affected - and we are speaking here about well over 35 regulated professions and, in addition to that, many trades that are going to be captured within the context of this bill, and it had wide-ranging and sweeping repercussions to each and every one of them. It is very important and, I think, a lesson learned for government - that it's the wrong way to start on a process of legislation when you don't involve those people and those bodies that are going to be most affected.

Mr. Speaker, the idea of having some well-defined, laid-out standards for anybody who is approaching a profession, wanting to see if their credentials will be recognized, and whether or not they can practise in their field in this province, is very important to us, and that's really at the heart of this bill, it's to help people who are moving to Nova Scotia, whether it be from another part of Canada or from another country, to understand what it's going to take to be able to practise in this province. With all of the talk we have been hearing

[Page 5520]

in the Legislature, and in the wider community, about our demographic problems, about the number of young people who are leaving our province, about the need to attract Nova Scotians to come home, and other people from much farther afield to come and make Nova Scotia their home, it makes this bill very important to us.

[4:15 p.m.]

It was just unfortunate that its initial introduction met with difficulty because of the lack of consultation and, Mr. Speaker, one of the roles that I have as Immigration Critic for our Liberal Party, and in that role I had looked very carefully at the legislation that Ontario brought in a few years ago which actually had the same name, I believe, as the former bill had - the Fair Access to Regulated Professions, and when that bill was introduced in Ontario a few years ago, by the McGuinty Government, it followed extensive consultation with the regulated bodies that were going to be affected. Its aim was very clearly at smoothing the way for immigrants to the Province of Ontario.

Now, by comparison, Ontario has something in the range of 150,000 immigrants a year who settle there each and every year, and Nova Scotia has been in the 1,500 range and we've moved up to perhaps 2,500 immigrants a year just recently, so we are nowhere near the same ballpark. But Ontario recognized the acute need to help immigrants bridge to jobs in their province, and particularly where the Canadian Government has made university education and professional credentials a main part of their attraction, or their screening really, of potential immigrants, there was a complete disconnect between the standards set by the federal government in attracting these university graduates or members of the legal or health professions, or accountancy profession, those people then got to Canada and found that they have a real hurdle or obstacles to overcome in order to practise here in our province and in all the provinces of Canada.

So as a result, probably because Ontario would feel it most acutely with those tens of thousands of immigrants every year, they were the first to bring in an extensive bill that covered a requirement that all regulated professions would have to lay out their process for looking at people's credentials and determining whether or not they would meet the standards set in Canada. And that's very important to stress - that it doesn't mean that the intent would ever be for this Legislature, or any other Legislature in Canada, to circumvent the power of the regulated professions to determine what it takes to meet their standards. They are responsible for standards that ensure health and safety because many of them are in the health professions, but also standards of practice and integrity that are clearly laid out by those professions. They want to dictate the level of education and the requirement for having covered certain amounts of learning, and that is really important to us.

We will not ever infringe upon that, but it's only fair that each and every regulated profession and trade be able to explain very clearly what it is that is required and what their process is in examining people's credentials and examining their past experience and their

[Page 5521]

past education. That was really what we were looking for in the original bill, but I think that the failure was that there was no consultation - and just to go back to the parallel with Ontario, when they introduced their bill in Ontario, my first thought was that there would have been an outcry or some upset among the regulated professions and, in fact, there was none.

The reason for that, Mr. Speaker, was that proper consultation was done and even the Opposition Parties, when asked about this bill in Ontario, their only comment back was, what took you so long? So when there is no real outcry from the Opposition and none at all from the affected regulated bodies, you can see that good consultation was done in that case. So, you know, I'm very pleased that over the summer the representatives of these regulated bodies that are affected were able to put in the hard work, and I know a lot of volunteer hours, to help the government redraft the bill that was before us. In recognition of that, it has received a new name which is now the Act to Ensure Fair Registration Practices by Regulating Bodies. For that reason, I think it is proper. Rather than trying to completely amend the original bill, it was better to bring in this newly-drafted one which does now reflect the concerns of those regulated bodies.

One of the big things that would be different here in Nova Scotia - I've already mentioned the vast difference in terms of the number of immigrants that Ontario would welcome each year and the small number that we welcome, although I know we are trying to increase that number each and every year.

By the same token, our regulated bodies are smaller. They have fewer members because we are a province of less than a million people and some of those regulated bodies are going to find - certainly under the bill of last Spring - they recognize that they would have a tremendous difficulty in meeting the requirements of that bill. There has been, as the minister has suggested, more flexibility included in this current bill so that those smaller bodies that might only have 50 or 60 or perhaps 100 members, they don't have the resources - either the staff or the financial resources - to do some things that a larger bodies like the nurses or medical profession would be able to do. So it's important that we recognize that they will be endeavouring to meet the intent of this bill but that they may not be able to do it in the same way. That is important because we want to ensure that those bodies are not left with an undue pressure and an undue cost.

I think that any of the members I have spoken to, who have worked on the working committee and have helped to craft this new bill, all of them without exception have recognized the need and the fact that there was sort of an obscurity in term of - maybe not every profession but in some of them - for the newcomers to understand how it is that they could get their credentials recognized. With that comes a lot of frustration - a lot of people leaving our province, perhaps going elsewhere where they can more quickly understand and make that hurdle or bridge into their new profession.

[Page 5522]

So we certainly want to avoid those false starts, as was mentioned. We want to make it possible for people to return to Nova Scotia who are living elsewhere in Canada, so that they can come here and more easily have their credentials recognized. That's very important and, as I say, one of my personal interests is to ensure that Nova Scotia become the province of choice when it comes to relocating as a professional. We know that within our health professions and many regulated bodies do fall under the health professions, certainly in virtually every one of those fields we are suffering a shortage here in Nova Scotia. We very much need those people to choose Nova Scotia and to come here to practice, so that is very important.

Two things that I think are important for the government to think of, as they go forward, is that when we identify gaps that people have in their current education and training and the standards that are set by Canadian regulatory bodies, we need to think about how we can bridge those gaps. Just as an example, Mr. Speaker, there was recently an immigrant in Nova Scotia who - and I am sure there are many of them, but one that I heard of - who was an attorney in his own country. He was assessed by the Barristers' Society and there were gaps in his experience, so he was told exactly what they were. But the difficulty is that there is no avenue to attend Dalhousie University which is our university that provides the law degrees, and get just the pieces that were missing in this particular person's experience. So if there are only one or two areas that need to be covered, we need to allow capacity in the university to have people come in and take the courses that they are missing.

Perhaps some fields are better than others but certainly in this particular example, the option really was for this man to go back and get a full law degree in Nova Scotia which takes much longer and certainly was not his first choice; it's a very expensive option to do. I think we need to look and work with all of the university training and professional training schools to see that they are allowing some room within their program to address these gaps in bridging, which is really the important part of just filling those gaps. Sometimes the missing components are really quite small and helping people to get that which will allow them to then fully utilize their skills and to become active in their profession in this province. I'm just suggesting it isn't enough to simply say you're not qualified and here's what you're missing, we then need to see how those people can bridge and get what they need, in order to be active in Nova Scotia. So that's very important to us as well.

The original bill had quite a lot in it which was in addition to what the Ontario bill had really proposed and what I had originally proposed here in a private member's bill and that was that they looked a great deal at the mobility of trades and skills within Canada, which is another matter altogether and we do believe that's a very important issue that needs to be addressed. I was pleased to hear today that definitely there will be another bill coming forward from the Department of Labour and Workforce Development because we do need that in there. But, by adding it and adding the complexity to the bill in the Spring, that actually probably complicated the matter of discussing and arranging with the regulated bodies; how we can make more transparent and more clear the rules that apply to everybody

[Page 5523]

who moves here to Nova Scotia. So I am glad to see that that has been taken out at this time and will come back in another form and we can look at it and debate it on another day.

[Page 5524]

I think it is very important that we keep in mind that this is really an act to ensure that there is transparency and clarity around the rules and the processes that are used to assess people as they come to Nova Scotia and that that will help in the long run, especially as those will now be available on line; that will be the requirement That means that people can actually research and plan their entry to Nova Scotia and perhaps even have their credentials analyzed and assessed before they get here, which would be a big improvement over sitting here - and this is what happens, Mr. Speaker. They come to Nova Scotia and will find themselves, really languishing for months while they wait to see what is the next step in this process. Because of lack of clarity, there was often confusion and perhaps they weren't even doing the things that were required of them.

You have to realize too, that often English is an issue in a newcomer's experience or the difficulty in communication and therefore there could be some miscommunication or confusion. So this will really take that away from the situation, make it much easier for people to come to Nova Scotia and understand how they can become productive in their professions. With that, we are very pleased and we do look forward to any further comments that may come at the Law Amendments Committee. Certainly, there could be improvements again, but we feel this is an awful lot better than it was to begin with.

One of the things that we are looking at, that we think is an improvement specifically was that the review officer was much more of a punitive role in the original bill. I think the fact that this person's role has now become more proactive and will allow that government review officer to help these organizations comply and help them to meet the standards that are going to be set out, is a much improved situation.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to see this move forward to the Law Amendments Committee and I look forward to anybody who comes to speak at that time. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. The honourable member for Halifax Citadel-Sable Island.

MR. LEONARD PREYRA: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise here and speak on Bill No. 201, the Fair Registration Practices Act. It is an important piece of legislation. It's important to ensure that we have fair, transparent and accountable practices and processes as they relate to all professionals, but especially to our foreign-trained professionals.

It's important to the economic development of our province, especially given the demographic challenge that we face - the out migration of population and the out migration of our immigrants who come here. It's important for the economic future of rural Nova Scotia, in particular - regions of the province that are working very hard to attract and retain citizens and foreign-trained professionals. It's important to fill gaps in our labour market and the demand for skilled workers, especially in the skill trades and the health care professionals.

[Page 5525]

This bill is also important to those skilled workers and professionals who come to live in Nova Scotia from elsewhere, who come here to pursue their dreams and to raise their families and generally to build a better life for themselves, their families and their communities. We have to make Nova Scotia a more attractive place for them to live and work.

Unfortunately, many skilled workers and professionals come to live in Nova Scotia in the expectation that their education, that their experience, that their unique talents would be recognized and rewarded and find that their hopes are dashed once they get here.

I speak from personal experience. My father came here in 1968 as a lawyer, he was a labour lawyer on the Indian Railways, he supervised over 5,000 workers, he was trained in the Commonwealth law tradition and when he came here he found he couldn't find work. He put in 148 applications and in each one of those he was told that either he was overqualified because he was a trained Commonwealth lawyer who had supervised 5,000 people or he was underqualified because his credentials as a lawyer were not recognized. It was an extraordinary situation for him to be in because he had 10 children and he had to pursue a livelihood and he had these great skills and Canada said to him that he could come here because he had these skills that the country needed. So I speak from personal experience when I talk about the challenges that many immigrants face when they get here and their credentials are not recognized.

[4:30 p.m.]

It's important that our regulatory bodies provide clear and understandable information about their registration and licensing practices and requirements and that those are easily accessible to immigrants and potential immigrants. It's important that we make timely decisions and respond to applicants in a timely fashion.

We need to ensure there's a place for individuals in the appeal process if they feel that somehow the system is not working in their favour or the system is not being fair. We need to ensure a process that addresses the specific needs of internationally educated professions. We have to make sure we assess their qualifications in a transparent, objective and impartial and fair manner.

This bill goes a long way in working in partnership with our regulatory bodies to ensure that this happens. The bill, in fact, recognizes that many of our regulatory bodies have worked very hard and responsibly to establish fair and transparent and accountable practices. But, they need to do more and I'm delighted the government is willing to work alongside them in helping them do that. I dare say they're willing to help the government to understand their challenges and to make sure they work in a way that works both for the regulatory bodies, but especially for our foreign-trained professionals.

[Page 5526]

While this bill attempts to regulate regulatory bodies, it really doesn't say enough about the government's own role and responsibility to create conditions that are fair to foreign-trained professionals. We need to begin with the immigration recruitment and approval process itself. As I was saying earlier in terms of my father's experience, we have to be honest with immigrants about what to expect when they come to Nova Scotia, especially as it relates to the recognition of their credentials.

Our Office of Immigration sometimes paint too rosy a picture for foreign-trained professionals. Paints too rosy a picture of conditions here in Nova Scotia. We need to be honest with them, we need to meet with them before they immigrate here, perhaps even allow visits for them so that they can see what conditions are like here in Nova Scotia.

Once they get here, we need to do more to integrate them. Some countries meet potential immigrants or immigrants at the airport and they offer them an orientation session. They meet with members of their communities who can help them in those difficult first months. They could meet with professionals who can orient them in their specific professions, navigators would certainly help in the immigration field and many countries have them just to help those immigrants find their way in those difficult first few months and year.

Language training, many of these foreign-trained professionals have the skills and experience but they don't have the ability to communicate in their chosen profession or to communicate effectively in fields where communication is vital. We need to make sure that while we're assessing their educational criteria, that we also find ways to enhance their language capacity and the capacity to communicate in their professional field.

The government could also do more to create learning and work opportunities for foreign-trained professionals while they re-qualify and while they upgrade their skills. I'm thinking here about specifically defined, or narrow licences, in complementary or alternative careers related to these fields, again as they re-qualify and as they develop these skills, to provide co-op education options for these foreign-trained professionals, so we can provide more pathways and transitions for these people as they re-qualify. I'm thinking here about residencies perhaps, more residency spaces, observerships, mentorships, and internships in their chosen fields or in fields that are closely related to it.

Many of them need to earn a living, Mr. Speaker, and it's disgraceful to see the number of these foreign-trained professionals who are doing jobs that are well below what they're qualified for. There's nothing wrong with working in those fields per se, but they have talents, the country needs those talents, we should make sure that we take full advantage of those talents and that we give them opportunities to use those talents. The government can also support those regulatory bodies, colleges and universities in assessing credentials of foreign-trained professionals, especially from non-traditional countries.

[Page 5527]

Again, Mr. Speaker, we've had a flood of immigrants recently and foreign-trained professionals from the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Many of those potential immigrants and those immigrants don't work here because we don't have the capacity to assess those credentials. One way to do that would be to harmonize our policies and adopt best practices from other provinces. In short, this bill is a step in the right direction but it could go much further. It should go beyond regulating just the regulatory bodies and talk about what the government itself can do to create a climate here for foreign-trained professionals that's welcoming; to create a climate here for foreign-trained professionals that is fair, that is accountable, that is transparent and that is also timely.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Preston.

MR. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, it's a pleasure to get up to speak on Bill No. 211 - the Fair Registration Practices Act. I believe, at last, this appears to be a very good bill. The first bill that the government introduced, Bill No. 126 - Fair Access to Regulated Professions Act, in the Spring session, was definitely not up to scratch and, indeed, once the organizations that have to live by this fair registration policy, or enact a law, saw the initial bill, they raised some very serious concerns, concerns that should have been addressed before the bill was introduced. Not only that, but the government has been very slow in bringing this forward. My colleague, the member for Halifax Clayton Park, introduced a bill actually two years and one day gone, to help address this issue, and our government has taken another two years for this very, very important issue.

As everyone is aware, our population is getting older and we need more and more professionals, professionals such as doctors and nurses, and all the other professions. We also need tradespeople in this province to ensure that our economy is strong and grows as time goes forward. Unfortunately, the structure isn't here. My colleague referred to an individual in my area who actually is a lawyer from another country. He has been living here now - not practising law of course. When the person found out that they had credentials with 10 years' experience in the country they came from, they applied, and we sent some letters off to the regulatory body in Ottawa. They sent back a list of criteria that they had to follow and two years to get these things done. When they applied to Dalhousie Law School, lo and behold, they couldn't get the required courses to indeed register as a professional here in Nova Scotia.

So there seemed to be a bit of a closed-door policy on this process and it isn't fair to the individuals who are coming to this country, with great hopes and wishes for themselves and their family, and also to help move our province and country ahead with the injection of very, very highly skilled people to help our industries and our province to grow.

I know when I was first working in the trades, I was very, very lucky, I could apprentice under some people from Yugoslavia and indeed, I learned a tremendous amount

[Page 5528]

from these individuals, although if you look back today and see what the credentials could have been today, I would doubt if any of these individuals could have worked here in Nova Scotia under the new regulations that we have.

Indeed, they did work here and did set up very successful businesses and did improve the quality of work that was turned out here in Nova Scotia, in conjunction with the very highly-skilled people we had here to start. So immigration does work and it does work very, very well. Unfortunately the provincial government has had a very poor record of immigration, as we've been talking about the immigration scandal that has happened here in the province with so many people coming here, investing money in Nova Scotia and not even getting a job in the positions that they were trained to do or, indeed, haven't even worked after investing money in companies. That is an ongoing issue here in the province.

Then if you tie the inability to get up-to-date or to meet Nova Scotian or Canadian standards on a particular profession, then it makes it even more complex for people who come here. It's a big change for someone to move from a society that they've grown up in and know and where all their family is, to a country like Canada - although we are very free and open in Canada - to learn what our traditions are here, what is expected of you in the workplace and what you need to do to become qualified in the workplace. It's a very daunting task, indeed.

I know that we have requirements for many, many highly-skilled people here but if we have the skilled people here and they can't work here, we don't gain and definitely the immigrant doesn't gain. So the long and short of it is, we have to work co-operatively on these issues to make sure that the people who come here have the ability to work here and to share some of the expertise that we may not have here and improve our overall situation.

I'm very pleased to see that the shareholders and stakeholders in this, especially the professions and the trades, have come together to really consult on this bill at last. It's very important that that happens because there are a lot of issues that revolve around ensuring that someone is qualified to work in Nova Scotia. We want the best possible people we can have, no matter if it's someone doing plumbing work or if it's someone being a nurse or a doctor or other profession, we want to make sure we have the best possible people and that people have the best opportunity they can have for training in the province.

I believe that many of the people who come from other countries have many of these attributes, maybe all of them. Maybe their criteria are a little bit different in their country but in order to fairly assess this, and assess this in a timely manner - because we don't want people coming here who are highly skilled and have to wait four or five years, taking some job at a Tim Hortons or something, to work there. Although there's nothing wrong with working at Tim Hortons, but why would you ask a nurse to work at Tim Hortons when we badly need nurses? It would be more sensible to immediately get them in the system and

[Page 5529]

work toward attaining their accreditation here, to make sure they can put their skills and experience to work here in Nova Scotia.

As you go through this process and the process that the stakeholders have done in this, I think it's very, very positive. I will give the government credit for that, for withdrawing their initial bill or just not calling the initial bill and, indeed, going through this consultation process, because I think that makes a stronger bill and a bill that we can support. I look forward to the interjection at the Law Amendments Committee to see what kind of ideas are brought forward from the general public, from the associations, from maybe hopefully some immigrants who have gone through this very daunting task, to indeed make it better for all of us and make it better for Nova Scotia.

If we're going to grow our economy, we see so many people leaving here now to go out West to work, many of our young people, that's taking away many of the young people who we would hope would become professionals in Nova Scotia and stay here in Nova Scotia, that we typically have here. So if we can backfill those positions until the economy improves here in Nova Scotia, so our young people can come back and share their experiences here and their expertise and make our economy grow.

With those few words, Mr. Speaker, I'd like to see what comes out of the Law Amendments Committee, and hopefully the government will move this forward and continue consultation with the different stakeholders to ensure that this is best possible bill that we can have for Nova Scotia, and indeed for the professions, the trades, and the people who do come to our country with so many great hopes and aspirations, that hopefully they can fulfill those and make our province a stronger and more economically sound province. Thank you.

[4:45 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Immigration.

HON. LEONARD GOUCHER: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise and speak on the Fair Registration Practices Act, Bill No. 211, that was introduced by my colleague, Minister Parent. This bill goes well beyond the Ontario legislation. We've heard a lot about the Ontario legislation being professed here today, but the Ontario legislation is very narrow in scope - and this particular bill touches on every regulated profession in this province and it's very broad in its approach. It is an important piece of legislation, particularly for newcomers to Nova Scotia.

One of the key factors in an immigrant's decision to stay here is access to meaningful employment, to be able to pursue his or her chosen profession and provide for his or her family. Access to employment is a key factor in anyone's decision to stay here, including Nova Scotians who were born in this province. It's great to be able to say that - we heard about retention from my colleagues across the floor, and the Province of Nova Scotia's

[Page 5530]

retention rate which started out a few years back at 37 per cent, right now sits at about 64 per cent, so we're very proud of that fact. That number is growing, along with the number of immigrants who are coming into this province. As of our October numbers, we are well ahead of last year's numbers.

Helping new immigrants pursue their careers impacts on us all. Local businesses and organizations need access to skilled professionals. Skilled, talented labour will help keep Nova Scotian companies and organizations competitive, and it will help keep our hospitals, universities and schools ranked among the best in the world, as we are now. Helping newcomers integrate into the workforce is necessary to ensure we, as a province, are able to grow our economy and pay for services we all cherish - services such as quality health care and education for our families and ourselves.

Newcomers who can successfully settle in our communities will help us encounter the economic consequences of a declining population base, and that is something that we're dealing with not only in Nova Scotia but right across this country of Canada and into the United States. As has been well reported, Nova Scotia's population base is not growing significantly - we need more people; we need skilled people.

Gaining access to the jobs and careers they want and need will improve the likelihood that new immigrants will stay in Nova Scotia and contribute to the province's economy. That goes hand in hand with our retention rate, as I was speaking to earlier.

We know what incredible advantages this province has to offer. I just mentioned a couple such as quality health care and education services. We also enjoy clean air, safe commutes, a reasonable cost of living and access to North American markets - and let's not forget Nova Scotia's gorgeous landscape and, of course, the compelling beauty of the sea, as is often related by our Immigration Minister. These are all important and our government invests significantly in marketing them.

Yet if we are to truly succeed in attracting new immigrants, potential newcomers need to know what employment opportunities are here, they need to know what registration and licensing is required, and what courses they may need to practice their profession here in their new home of Nova Scotia. We must ensure that our province has fair, transparent and accountable processes in place so more people can live and work here. This Act will help potential newcomers better understand these processes and, in turn, what's expected of them.

Mr. Speaker, it is appropriate that I point out some of the work already underway in helping to provide such fair access. For example, the Council of Atlantic Deputy Ministers of Education and Training, otherwise known as CADMET, is working to establish an international credential and competency assessment and recognition centre in our region. The project underway will include consultation and outreach sessions to determine the viability of such a centre and its functions, mandate and its structure. The Department of Labour and Workforce Development is the lead on this.

[Page 5531]

The federal government, through Citizenship and Immigration Canada, will establish a foreign credentials office in Ottawa which provides regional services. Nationally the Foreign Credential and Recognition program provides strategic and financial support to provinces and stakeholders in their efforts to bring about systematic changes to foreign credential recognition in Canada. Through the program thus far, one project with the Metropolitan Immigrant Settlement Association, some people know it as MISA, and the Halifax Immigration Learning Centre, it's also known as HILC, have received funding.

I specifically want to congratulate my colleague, Chris d'Entremont, the Minister of Health, for his partnership with Health Canada on the Internationally Educated Health Professionals initiative. Under this initiative numerous projects have been established with the aim of integrating internationally educated health professionals into Nova Scotia - and we all know how critically important that is these days. Some internationally educated health resources and professional projects have included an environmental scan to determine the needs of internationally trained health care workers in Nova Scotia; a bridging program at the Nova Scotia Community College to help internationally educated licensed professionals and nurses move into the workforce more easily; and a bridging program led by the Registered Nurses Profession Development Centre for internationally educated nurses who are pursuing their RN licences here.

Mr. Speaker, these are just a few of the initiatives underway. There are many more examples of other initiatives beyond the IEHP. There are multi-task stakeholder groups that are exploring issues related to internationally educated pharmacists; the Dalhousie Faculty of Medicine leads a large multi-stakeholder working group to discuss the challenges and options for credential recognition facing international medical graduates; and the Department of Education is working with its partners to discuss teacher certification for internationally educated teachers.

The Halifax Immigrant Learning Centre has developed a course entitled the Communication and Orientation Program for the Internationally Educated Engineers - this three-month course has been accepted as credit to the one-year Canadian experience required by the Association of Professional Engineers for Nova Scotia or APENS. I am pleased to note that the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration provides funds to develop this course.

Mr. Speaker, there are many good examples of work underway in the area of foreign credential recognition which I won't go into today. Yet even with these good initiatives, there are still many challenges to overcome. My department is committed to working with our partners in government, regulatory agencies, settlement agencies and others to explore viable solutions. I will conclude my remarks by reiterating the importance of the proposed Fair Registration Practices legislation, Bill No. 211. Immigration is critical to our province's future. Helping new immigrants gain fair access to employment in their chosen careers is

[Page 5532]

vital if we are to attract and retain skilled workers who can make a significant economic contribution to our communities and our province.

This legislation is a good first step. It is important to the immigration and the successful programs that we run in this province. We have a target of 3,600 immigrants by 2010. Mr. Speaker, I believe we will meet that target. I think immigration in this province is critical to its future. I think Bill No. 211 is critical in us achieving, not only the immigrants to this province, but the retention of those immigrants to successfully integrate into our province and provide the economic benefits to not only themselves, but to every person in this province.

Mr. Speaker, with those few words will take my seat and I look forward to any other comments that will be coming forward. Thank you.

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

The honourable Minister of Labour and Workforce Development

HON. MARK PARENT: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, although I must admit I am somewhat discombobulated by the remarks of the member from the NDP caucus who seemed to infer that I was perhaps stretching the truth a little bit with my remarks as being a theologian and not a lawyer. I did say very clearly that the stakeholder consultation in this particular round was an example of consultation at its finest. I wasn't referring to the former consultation, which I admitted at the time, and have been very forthright about, probably wasn't as fulsome as it should have been, Mr. Speaker, but the intent of the bill - not all the details - is the same, and that's why I am somewhat discombobulated by her remarks, although I do welcome, very much, the support of the Parties opposite for this bill.

When I talked about being a theologian, I was making a bit of a tongue-in-cheek comment about lawyers and theologians, Mr. Speaker. We love to tease each other and I enjoy having the opportunity with my colleague, the Minister of Justice, to tease him a little bit about the legal profession. Of course he comes back and teases me about being a theologian. I am not a Thomistic theologian, Mr. Speaker, in the Thomistic tradition, which looks at many details and therefore I find lawyers are very detail-oriented. I admire them for that and the working group combed through the details of this bill with a fine tooth comb in a way that a Thomistic theologian could do, but a theologian trained in the tradition - I have trained in, the Anabaptist tradition, which is not nearly as detailed in its training - would fine somewhat disconcerting, Mr. Speaker. So I was trying to make a bit of an allusion to that in a bit of a humourous way and that was behind the comments about the theologian and the remarks about the working committee.

The working committee - I can't say enough, and it's worth repeating - worked hard throughout the summer. As I said, Mr. Speaker, when they met in my office, I remember

[Page 5533]

meeting with Mr. Pink and with Ms. Hickey and the others. Mr. Pink made the offer that the Barristers Society would be willing to sit down over the summer, on a weekly basis, and look at the bill and make it better. I have to admit, Mr. Speaker, in spite of usually seeing the good in other people, I thought my goodness, that's an offer that I'm not sure they're going to be able to adhere to, with the lovely weather we have here in the Province of Nova Scotia in the summer, in July-August, when most people would rather be on vacation.

Yet, to the credit of Mr. Pink, Ms. Hickey and many other names that I already mentioned did get together - Darrel Pink, Marjorie Hickey, Michelle Wood-Tweel, Kara MacGregor, David Cameron, Linda Hamilton, Susan Wedlake, Cameron Little, and then from our own department - Adele Crawford, Stu Gourley, Dennis Holland, Elizabeth Mills, Carmelle d'Entremont, Shanti Dogra and Lora MacEachern. Mr. Speaker, to their credit, they did meet and they went through this bill with a fine tooth comb and make it an excellent bill. That was my reference to stakeholder consultation at its finest, not the previous consultation, which I admitted when we introduced that bill, needed a more fulsome discussion, but the consultation that took place to take that previous bill and turn it into the bill it is now.

I cannot overstate my thanks to those people who actually formed a bond, Mr. Speaker. When I was speaking to them afterwards, and talked about the process, and thanked them for their work over the summer, they actually told me that one of the most valuable things that came out of that was that they formed a sort of model and relationships that would help as we move forward on the agreement on internal trade. If anyone thinks that this bill had any complicating factors in it, Mr. Speaker, I can assure you that the agreement on internal trade is a bill that will have people going through it backwards and forwards with a fine tooth comb and will take more work because it has a far greater substance. It deals with - as the honourable member said - it deals with the issue of labour mobility within the provinces of Canada. I was surprised when I became Labour Minister that the mobility between the provinces in Canada is far less than the mobility that they have within the European Union, in many instances. That's mobility between different countries whereas ours was mobility, or lack of mobility, between different provinces in the same country and that did surprise me.

[5:00 p.m.]

That agreement on internal trade which the leaders of the Confederation, the Premiers, made, and the subsequent work that will go into buttressing their vision, will be very important, but it will be an awful lot of work as well.

So the relationships and the model that are formed amongst the regulated professions and trades in moving and bringing this bill forward to where it is, they told me will serve as a good model and will serve as a relationship-building of trust that will help as they move into the more fulsome discussion on the agreement on internal trade.

[Page 5534]

I do want to speak about that agreement on internal trade in the sense that I do want to boast about the Red Seal Program because it's easy to talk about labour mobility, but you have to mesh up the training and standards to have that mobility. You may have someone designated as a certain trade or profession in one province and the same designation in the other province, but if their training is totally different and they are substantive things that one person is trained in and the other person isn't, then mobility is very difficult to attain.

We have in the trades, in particular, we have a wonderful model in the Atlantic Provinces because of the Red Seal Program, that Nova Scotia's been very, very good at. We're going to put forward, as a model, particularly for the trades - the tradespeople have, actually, for the past 40 years, through the Red Seal Program, been advocating for this mobility and have really done an awful lot of work in order to help that mobility move forward.

So, the Red Seal Program is an important program and when we talk about the agreement on internal trade and labour mobility within Canada, I hope the Red Seal Program gets a good look. I know it will from our province and I think it will within the Atlantic Provinces, but across Canada, I hope it's viewed as a model on how to achieve that standardization of training, or recognition of training, so that you know when you hire a plumber in one province, it's the same as a plumber in other provinces, et cetera.

The other thing that was mentioned, by the member of the Liberal Party, was that this bill's important and I think it was echoed by the member for Halifax Citadel-Sable Island, but more needs to be done, that the bill is good, but more needs to be done. We are working at that and the Minister of Immigration alluded to that. I've been part of discussions supported by the minister and his department on setting up a centre called the ICAR Centre which is to help immigrants. We have been in discussion with Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick on this centre. There is federal government money involved in the centre. I think, if memory serves me correctly, there is about $1 million a year for at least two years, maybe a bit longer, and then there would be some corresponding money from the four provinces. Our share of it would be in the $100,000 range, or something like that.

This centre would be a resource for all four Atlantic Provinces in regard to helping immigrants and bridging those gaps, so beyond the recognition of credentials, but helping them once they've established that they need such and such a training, or such and such a credential, to attain that. How do they attain that? I think the members from both Parties mentioned that as a need that would need to come alongside of this bill, that this bill by itself needed other elements to it - the labour mobility across Canada and then this centre helping immigrants with their credentialing and accreditation within this province.

We've had these talks, we've been unable, as the four provinces, to arrive at a consensus of where this centre should be. I've argued, of course, that it should be in Nova Scotia, for very good reasons - one is that in Nova Scotia, we have more different languages

[Page 5535]

spoken than in any other province in the Atlantic Provinces. We have, I think, about 27 different languages, I'm not sure (Interruptions) 32 different languages just at one school, so we have more languages spoken in Nova Scotia.

We have a strong French community, so we have that strong bilingual, that historic Canadian French-English linguistic ability which is very important, Mr. [Deputy] Speaker - something that you would know a lot about and something that you have been instrumental in helping to safeguard and promote and for that we honour you here in the House. We have the Prior Learning Assessment Centre in Halifax, which has already been doing some of that assessment of prior learning and how that matches up with qualifications and that's an important part of it.

We have MISA here in Halifax and I know many of the members of HRM have spoken about MISA, about the work they've done. They've even helped in my community, in Kings County, partnering with smaller groups in my riding to provide support for immigrants. One of the problems we had prior to the member for Bedford-Birch Cove becoming minister that we knew we had to work at, was that we had a big front door for immigration but a big back door as well.

Many immigrants that came into the province did a year or two years and then moved on to what's called TMV - Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver. We need to change that so we retain their skills and retain their input. So MISA has been instrumental in doing that because it offers support for immigrants who come and stay here and with that support, great things can happen.

Really, immigrants need supportive communities. When you look at the Lebanese community in Halifax and you trace back the history of how the Lebanese community grew so strong, in that case I think you can actually bring it back to the church, the Lebanese Marionite Catholic community and to a certain priest who is here, who helped strengthen that church community and formed a nucleus that then became a home for the Lebanese community. Now we have a vibrant Lebanese community that has contributed to the business climate here in the HRM and throughout Nova Scotia. The culinary food, the Lebanese community has expanded our culinary offerings in large part. The cuisine, Mr. Speaker - I could go on and on about what the Lebanese community has brought, but it came about through that community of the church, the Lebanese Marionite community. The core father, whose retirement I was at and spoke at - he actually attributed the help he received to John Buchanan, although in the same breath he also spoke glowingly of his current member, who is the member for Halifax Fairview. He wasn't partisan, he was grateful for what politicians did on all sides of the House to help him, but it has created that community.

I can think of the Dutch community in Kings County and that Dutch community formed a substantive enough community that they were able to support each other and then

[Page 5536]

integrate into the larger community. What they've done - farming in Kings County would be impoverished without the Dutch community that came over after World War II.

Currently right now, there is a large, growing Caribbean community in the Valley, who have come in as temporary summer workers and have intermarried, some of them. I was at a funeral for one of the younger members who tragically died of a heart problem and I couldn't believe - there were about 250 people in the funeral home and most of them were immigrants. They weren't the indigenous Black community which we have a small but very vital community centred around Gibson Woods - they were there in support - but it was mainly people from the Caribbean.

So, we need to work at those and my colleague, the Minister of Immigration has been working at it. We think that this centre will be helpful and the Premiers, between themselves, will decide where it is best situated. I made the argument, of course, with my colleagues that it should be Nova Scotia. The minister from Newfoundland and the minister from New Brunswick made similar arguments on behalf of their provinces, although I feel we had far more data to back up our argument. In fact, I offered to bring in an external adjudicator to take a look at which province would have the best claim to this centre but my colleagues didn't want to do that. I suspect the reason why is because any impartial adjudicator of the resources that are already in place for such a centre for immigrants would certainly decide that Nova Scotia, and particularly HRM, would be an appropriate location. So the Premiers will decide as to where the location is and this centre will move forward and we hope that it will be helpful in the issue that my honourable colleague, the member for Halifax Clayton Park, mentioned.

I do want to speak for just a small moment about the demographic challenge which was alluded to by all the speakers and the importance of this bill in helping with that demographic challenge. Mr. Speaker, the McNiven Report, written by Professor McNiven and then updated, is on our Web site of Labour and Workforce Development and it's fascinating reading, if somewhat challenging reading, not challenging in terms of the difficulty of the reading, but challenging simply because the demographics in this province are challenging. Mr. McNiven talked about a shrinkage in the population of Nova Scotia, if everything remains the same, by about 4 per cent at the same time that the senior population would increase by 70 per cent.

When you look at the demographics of Nova Scotia, you have a narrow top which, of course, makes sense as people age, but you have a narrow bottom as well, which is not symptomatic of Latin America or Asia or Africa, where you have quite a few young people. We don't have that; our largest percentage of population, our largest cohort, Mr. Speaker, is in the middle age range - 42 is the median range - and very few young people coming after them. I sort of joke about it as my syndrome - balding at the top, long skinny legs and bulging at the middle.

[Page 5537]

As that bulge moves up, Mr. Speaker, in another 15 or 20 years, one can see tremendous pressures upon the Province of Nova Scotia. That's why it's so important that my department work collegially with the Department of Environment, which we do very, very much, because there are not that many options to deal with this. There's immigration, there's repatriation, there are efficiencies and productivity increases that we can work at, but the menu of what can be done is not large. So we need to be efficient, we need to be proactive and we need to work hard at it.

[Page 5538]

We believe that this bill is one small piece of that. I don't want to oversell it, in the sense that the colleagues in the Liberal and NDP Parties have rightly pointed out, more needs to be done, but I don't want to undersell it either, Mr. Speaker. It's an important bill, it was originally modeled after the Ontario bill with the same title - as the member from the Liberal Party mentioned - but over the summer this working group made it very much a Nova Scotia bill - by a Nova Scotia bill, I mean a bill that's better than the bill that came out of Ontario, a bill that will serve Nova Scotia well and a bill that I believe other provinces will model and it will become the pattern for other provinces.

So with those few comments, Mr. Speaker, I will take my seat and call for the vote to close debate and move second reading.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 211. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. CHUCK PORTER: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 215.

Bill No. 215 - Education Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to stand here today to move second reading of Bill No. 215. This bill is a very important piece of legislation that our government believes will increase the effectiveness of school boards in the area of board governance.

[5:15 p.m.]

As you know, Mr. Speaker, our province has eight elected school boards - seven of those English and one French-speaking - and the model of delivery that we currently have in our province does give responsibility to all of those eight school boards. I think we should make no mistake that the school boards are made up of very dedicated board members and they do a good job of delivering public education programming to our students - 133,000 students in 430 schools spread across this province. School boards work very hard to manage the challenges that come with operating a $1 billion a year school system.

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One of the most significant challenges that our school boards are facing, and indeed our government is facing, is that of declining enrolment. As it stands, we have experienced a decline over the last number of years - approximately 2,000 fewer students in our public schools each year. So the challenge to school boards is real when it comes to delivery of programs in schools when their numbers are on the decline. School boards have a responsibility for providing a productive, safe and healthy work environment for their teachers and their support workers as well as delivering program to our students.

They also ensure that the transportation needs of our students are met and as a rural province, Mr. Speaker, we bus close to 100,000 students each day. In addition to busing those students, our boards are responsible for maintaining the bus schedules and for keeping the fleet of buses well maintained and in good repair. Most importantly, school boards are responsible for providing a high quality of education to all of our students from Primary through to Grade 12.

The demands on our board are great and that is why I want to state clearly at the beginning of this discussion that I am very proud of the work that our board members do. I'm proud of their dedication to serve as a board member and I'm proud of the way they devote so much of their time, energy and expertise to help educate our young people. But as sometimes happens, Mr. Speaker, boards can occasionally run into difficulties and risk losing their focus on the people that they are there to serve. This legislation, we believe, will help boards stay on course and to more effectively manage their responsibilities under the Education Act. These amendments will provide the boards, as well as the minister, with a broader range of measures to maintain discipline, respect and proper decorum - attributes which are all necessary if Nova Scotia is to get the best from its elected boards.

There is always room for strong opinions and passionate debate on the issues that face education, Mr. Speaker. In fact, I encourage that healthy debate. What there is no room for is ongoing negative behaviour and disrespect for positions honestly taken by one's colleagues. There is no place for in-fighting or feuding if it negatively impacts or has the potential to negatively impact on our students in the classrooms of this province.

Mr. Speaker, there will always be tough choices that board members have to make, tough choices to be made when it comes to the educational welfare of our students. The challenges we are faced with in public education can sometimes lead to differences which, in turn, can spark that strong and heated opinion and debate expressed around the school-board table.

Again, Mr. Speaker, I repeat, those debates are a healthy part of the decision-making process and they help boards make good and well-considered decisions about the future of our students. What we want from this bill are a few clear rules that will ensure professionalism and respectful behaviour for all who serve this province as elected board members. We know that twice in the last 22 months, decisions were made to disband two

[Page 5540]

elected school boards because they were not able to function in the best interests of the students. Members of the Strait and the Halifax Regional School Boards were dedicated to public education but each of these boards did become mired in internal conflict undermining their very best intentions.

Mr. Speaker, it is our hope and our expectation that this legislation will give boards the structure and the procedural mechanisms they need to ensure that their school resources are well managed, to ensure that relationships among board members and staff are respectful, and to ensure the very best interests of our students are foremost in every decision they make. As the members of this House know, the proposals behind these amendments were the subject of consultation over this past summer in the form of a White Paper. I'm pleased to say that there was general support for the direction this government is taking with this bill. It was important for us to know and for me, as the minister, to know how the public would react and would respond and thus we put out to the public our thoughts on what this legislation might include.

Once the consultation period had been finished, the final legislation for presentation here was drafted and I want to touch, Mr. Speaker, on some of those key amendments and they do reflect the responses we received to the White Paper. This legislation will require school boards to adopt a standardized provision in their code of ethics. This will ensure that all boards have a consistent code by which to abide. The standardization of the elements in that code of ethics does not limit boards but it does maintain or ensure that all boards have as their core the same code of ethics.

School board members will also be required to take an oath, an oath of office, with a specific promise to abide by the code of ethics and by the bylaws. Those bylaws will be prescribed by the minister based on consultations with boards. Boards will also be required to adopt a standard procedural bylaw for preserving order at their meetings and, again, this is to make sure that there is standardization across all boards with some elements of their procedural bylaws. Boards, too, will have the authority to censure individual members. This will range from sanctions including the power to suspend a member for between one and three months, a public reprimand, a revocation of the member's right to sit for up to three months or a recommendation to the minister to vacate the member's seat. One of the challenges and one of the criticisms that we heard as a result of the decisions made with respect to the Strait and Halifax boards were that there may have been other outcomes or other options. We know, as the legislation now exists, there were no other options. What we're proposing here is a menu of options that will allow boards to be disciplined without disbanding a complete board.

We are also, with this legislation, giving responsibility to board members to discipline at the board level. This will give individual boards the authority that they need to deal more effectively within any ongoing or disruptive behaviour from board members. Currently, as I've said, when a board is faced with disruptive behaviour that negatively

[Page 5541]

affects its ability to function, there is only one solution and that is the replacement of the entire board with a single individual under Section 68 of the Education Act and I want to repeat, the single individual, because we will be addressing that.

Our first expectation is always that individual members exercise self-discipline but, failing that, it is clear to everyone that boards need the ability to discipline and govern the conduct of their own members before the matter ever arrives at the doorstep of the minister. It is equally clear that the minister must have some flexibility in the circumstances if the circumstances again warrant the replacement of an entire board. This legislation will preserve the minister's current authority to replace a board. However, it will also give the minister the ability to appoint more than one individual to act as the board, which most would agree is preferable to the current legislation which allows the minister to identify one person to assume those responsibilities. So it will be more than one individual who would be assigned all of the duties and responsibilities associated with running a board should the board have to be disbanded.

This legislation will also extend the terms of a school board chair and vice chair. Currently there are annual elections and the length of the term of the appointment is one year, but this legislation will change that from one year to two. We believe that this will provide boards with stability at the helm and at the same time give that individual time to get to know the job. Mr. Speaker, chairing a school board is an important role that requires specific knowledge and skills. That additional year can provide the time necessary for that individual to hone those leadership skills.

Mr. Speaker, this bill also addresses what will occur in the event of a school board seat becoming vacant. As you know, the government's White Paper on school board governance originally proposed filling all vacancies by appointment. We took this position with some reluctance but we proposed it as an option for two reasons. First, staging a special election or by-election for a seat on a school board is costly, currently close to $50,000 per by-election. Secondly, it is painfully apparent that there is very little interest among voters in this province for school board by-elections. The voter turnout is traditionally very low. For example, the last by-election held to fill a seat on the Halifax Regional School Board in June 2006, cost taxpayers almost $45,000 - 23,178 eligible voters, 962 exercised their right, 4 per cent of the electorate bothered to turn out. One has to ask, did we really have democracy? Would that money have been better spent in the classroom?

We put that question to the public in our White Paper and we heard quite clearly that by-elections are important and should not be abandoned entirely. As a result of that feedback, this legislation strikes a balance. Any vacancy occurring two or more years before the next regularly scheduled election will be filled by a special election pursuant to the Municipal Election Act. A vacancy occurring within two years, but more than six months, of the next election, will be appointed through an expression of interest and in consultation with the

[Page 5542]

School Advisory Council. A seat that becomes vacant six months prior to the next election will remain vacant, as it currently does with the legislation we now have.

Let me close by saying that this legislation is intended to improve the governance structure of our boards, to help them be more effective as they manage our schools and better govern the conduct of their own members in a way that is accountable to the communities they serve.

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank you for the opportunity to bring this bill forward for second reading and I look forward to any additional input that we may receive from our stakeholders and members of the public at the Law Amendments Committee. I would move second reading of Bill No. 215. Thank you.

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

MR. PERCY PARIS: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to stand in my place and speak to Bill No. 215, the Education Act. Before doing so, on behalf of the Leader of the Official Opposition and the entire NDP caucus, I would like to recognize the minister. We are pleased and we welcome her back to the House today. Through you Mr. Speaker, we want her to know that for the last week and some, the thoughts of our entire caucus were with her during a very stressful time in her life.

I heard - you have to excuse my voice today, I was doing an auction on the weekend so I may lose it from time to time - the minister refer to the work and the dedication of school board members, and I think if I heard correctly, the words that were used were passionate and hard workers. We certainly would echo those exact words. We know that anytime you're elected to any office, you do it out of passion, out of a wanting to see things be better. People do work hard, and we do recognize that, and I will pick up on that later as I stand here for a few minutes.

One of the first things, when I look at Bill No. 215, that I referred to in my own personal thoughts is, as we talked about - because what we're talking about here initially is attitudes and behaviours, in a large part, attitudes and behaviors by elected agents of the people. When I think of that, I think that, well here we are, we're passing legislation that's going to - I don't know if I want to use the word, force, but I'll certainly use the word - encourage individuals how to behave and have some effect on behaviours.

We, MLAs - it struck me as somewhat problematic when I consider that sometimes even when I witness the decorum in the House of Assembly, or lack of, and here we are passing legislation for school boards to effect change in behaviours. I think it's important for me to mention that because sometimes, certainly in my two years and some experience in the House, the lack of decorum in this House certainly left a lot to be desired.

[Page 5543]

I think with school boards and with that passionate - school boards, we're talking about our children and our grandchildren. It's a very hot, heart, emotional subject when we talk about education in the Province of Nova Scotia, so I think the minister is dead on when she uses those words around passionate and hard work.

I also have some concern with two-year appointments for vacant seats. I don't know why it's a two-year because it's a four-year term and I would think that for a seat to be there by appointment on an elected board causes me some concern. I would like to think that even though we recognize the costs associated with any elections, we also recognize that democracy comes with a price. Sometimes, in the name of democracy, we have to bite the bullet and do what's right for the sake of democracy.

Around suspensions, and I know I'm going to keep referring to passionate and hard work that the minister's words brought up, when we talk about censorship and suspending individuals for what may be considered as inappropriate action, it's going to be hard sometimes, I think, to determine what inappropriate action is, even though in the last year and some we've had two school boards here in the Province of Nova Scotia that were suspended.

I think that those suspensions came as a result of maybe what somebody termed inappropriate action, not by one member but members of the board, and how do you define what's inappropriate, when you give somebody the authority as your elected agent, and that person has the passion and the indulgence of that hard work and is trying to sometimes, even in this House of Assembly, whether it be a member looking for something from government and sometimes has to go through great lengths to plead his or her case and, at the same time, has to raise that topic over a number of times, maybe even years, before he or she actually gets what their constituency is looking for.

So if somebody is going to sit in judgment around this whole topic around censorship, I think that in itself is maybe somewhat problematic. When we think of censorship, and I think that at some point in time, when the board makes a recommendation to the minister, the minister approves the expulsion of that member of the board, and then that member has the right to appeal that suspension and the person that he or she is going to appeal that suspension to is a person who is appointed by the minister. That again, to me, is somewhat problematic - if you have the minister okaying a suspension of whether it be one month, two months, or three months, of that individual board member, then that member appeals and that adjudicator is appointed by the minister - I'm just questioning the fairness and the appropriateness of that sort of action. At the same time one has to ask the question, during that period of time of the suspension, is the jurisdiction that individual represents left without a spokesperson for that particular constituency? What one may consider as passionate, another person may consider as inappropriate behaviour.

That also goes with respect to reprimands. I think everybody in this House and everybody in the electorate wants to see effective boards right across this Province of Nova

[Page 5544]

Scotia because again they are our future, they will determine what the future is going to look like, not only for themselves, but also for their children and their children's children. I think when we come to education, we are all passionate about it whether it be around the curriculum, whether it be around the building or the review of any particular school in the province.

We see that time and time again and we've certainly seen it in the House over the years - myself included - seeking and asking for changes in education such as a school building in any one of our ridings. I know I've raised issues a number of times about schools in my jurisdictions and I've raised them repeatedly. At some point in time it may be considered as inappropriate. Someone could have said well MLA Paris, you've already raised that issue once, we've discussed it, that's the end of it. So I have some real concerns about when and how it is appropriate to shut somebody down.

I always thought - and Mr. Speaker I'm sure that you, in your position as the Speaker, would recognize that the role of the Chair, the individual who occupies that chair, is about maintaining - and I'm going to use the word control - over the room that he or she is facilitating. I certainly have no issue with the position of Chair being amended from one year to two years, but I also think it's incumbent upon whoever occupies the position of Chair to see that things flow in an orderly fashion. I'm just wondering why we are introducing legislation to that effect. It's certainly appropriate at any given time - and Mr. Speaker, you've done it yourself - to call the room to order, indicate when an individual is out of line or out of order. The role of that person who occupies that chair of facilitation is to maintain that control and that decorum over the particular room that he or she presides, so I have some issue with added legislation that's just for things that already exist. Those roles are well established and they've been the norm for countless years and here we are introducing additional regulations, I guess, for whatever reason or reasons.

I know one of the things that we are looking forward to, we're looking forward to this going on to the Law Amendments Committee simply because we want to see more public input. When this bill was first being discussed, the government was allowing, I think initially it was allowing for three weeks - the three weeks was added time when it was the barbeque season. I know I wrote to the minister personally, requesting an extension, that I didn't think that three weeks was an adequate amount of time to have public input, to allow public consultation for such an important topic related to education, especially when it was done during the peak of the barbeque season.

At that time the minister saw fit to extend the consultation period by another week. At least by this going to the Law Amendments Committee, it will give the public yet another opportunity - maybe some missed opportunities - to have some input into this bill once more.

So I think there are some good things in this bill and one of those good things I think I may have mentioned, if not, I'll just reiterate it just in case I did miss it, but it's the whole idea of the chair going from one year to two years. I don't have any particular argument or

[Page 5545]

disagreement with that move, I think it's a good one and I think whoever the future chairs may be, it will stand them in good stead in the future.

All in all, I'm looking forward to hearing more about this bill as it moves through the process and, having said that, my greatest concern is around the censorship, around the fact that after two years or for a two-year stint, there will be an appointment, as opposed to an election process. So having said that and letting my concerns be known here for the record, I will take my seat.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise tonight to speak on Bill No. 215. Before doing so, I do want to convey to the minister our Party's sympathies with what she has had to deal with in the last week.

This is a bill that has come to the House out of a time of turmoil. Sometimes that is the time and place to strengthen legislation that will make for better governance, in this case, for school boards. It's something that I know the minister and I have talked about, actually before the events of the Halifax school board and the Strait school board and their dismissals. We talked about this a number of years ago, because school boards generally have a very good history in our province, as they do across the country, and, in fact, have played a pivotal role in the direction not just of the entire school system but also their impact on the direction of a Department of Education.

The Nova Scotia School Boards Association has, in fact, been a very effective body. It's made up, of course, of school board members, as well as an executive staff. I know when I was first elected to the House one of the very press conferences that I went to was when the Nova Scotia School Boards Association was delivering a lead and achieve document. I felt that was a landmark paper that in fact had a carryover to the Department of Education and probably to the minister of the day, the member for Truro-Bible Hill, because they came forward with several recommendations. They had at the time, I believe, 10 or 12 major directions that they would like to see implemented in the province around standards of excellence, around a greater number of vocational courses which, in my view, led to the O2 initiative in the province. So school boards, therefore, can be a very, very effective and directional body in our province.

It was unfortunate that we moved to a time where we actually, in less than two years, saw two school boards dismissed in this province. We can go back and find a number of the reasons as to why that did take place. That being said, the fact that now - we will have a governance, piece of legislation, that hopefully will move through the House over the next weeks because while it will receive, I'm sure, perhaps some amendment after it goes before the stakeholders in education. As the member opposite said a moment ago, there was a short period in which people wanted to comment on the document that the minister and the

[Page 5546]

department put out, and it did get extended by a short time, but still it was perhaps a poor time of year when that document was available during the prime holiday season.

So I think there will be some further strong statements that will come before us during the period of the Law Amendments Committee. However, overall this bill will strengthen governance of school boards in this province and I'm sure I join the minister and my fellow critic from the NDP in saying that we hope it will be an end to dissonance and to downright dysfunction of a school board. It was in fact very good to see this year that on the heels of the difficulties that the Halifax and the Strait boards had that there were many elections to boards this year. There were some members acclaimed but many elections were needed in order to determine the slate of school board members in the eight school boards of the province. To those who came forward, I commend them for their interest in education and I congratulate those who are successful and will be the school boards, hopefully, for the next four years.

I think it would have been nice to have had this piece of legislation prior to the October 18th election. However, things didn't quite unfold that way. However, now that it probably will be there in a short time and hopefully it will be proclaimed quickly as well, I think having a code of conduct and a code of ethics that school board members will have to follow. Hopefully that will be a good guideline for those members. It is perhaps something that all of us who are elected from time to time do need to have a bit of self-examination about how we conduct ourselves. Sure, the topics can be heated and difference of opinions are common. I think the purpose in this case of school boards is indeed the very future of the next generation of Nova Scotians and it's one that must be at all times to be taken very, very seriously.

When I take a look at some of the decisions that school boards have to make, one of the ones that we've heard a lot about in the last couple of years is whether or not school boards have adequate funding and funding to put in place the full PSP - the public school program - and where cuts have to be made in order for essentials to go forward.

One of the developments that school boards are currently facing are school reviews. This is always a very contentious topic, when we see the possibility and also the reality of schools being closed across Nova Scotia. For a community to lose its school is indeed a monumental decision and yet we place that in the hands of our elected school board members. It is indeed very serious matters that they do have on their plate for discussion around the board table, also looking at the inadequacies of facilities, the upgrades that are needed from time to time and whether or not the capital budget will allow that.

So, school board members do have this very onerous responsibility that we place upon them, that Nova Scotians place on them. Therefore, their operation and function on a monthly basis, on a year round basis, is very critical. They're also on committees, committees that review staff, for example, if a staff member is suspended, down to student suspensions.

[Page 5547]

There are board members who have to review the severity of the behaviour and the action of a student, and school board members are involved, along with central office, in deciding the future of that child. They have very serious responsibilities on a day-to-day basis.

That's why some of this governance structure that is being put in place, I think will lead to greater consistency across Nova Scotia as well. In this bill, there are guidelines on how the board members not only conduct themselves, but the process of censure of a board member and the role the minister will take on in case that is required. I think all of us are hoping that these new boards will turn the corner on the dissension that has gone on among some boards, that there will be a new model and a new set of guidelines that they will operate under.

For our Party, perhaps the most controversial part of this bill is the fact of having no elections of a dismissed board member, or somebody who leaves the board, or if somebody were to die in office - in all of these areas, there will be no election. If an entire board, once again, were needed to be dismissed, then there will be an appointment of, yes, more than one member, but again, that is troublesome. If we think of both boards, it was inside of two years, one at 22 months - distinguishing among 26 or 28 months there will be an election, but for 22 months there will be no election.

I believe up to one year of the normal four year cycle of elections may be one of the amendments that may need to come forward in this bill. It's one we may as well hear from stakeholders because we do want, despite costs, despite low turnout - I think the democratic process should take its natural process in determining who will make up the school board. That's one of the areas that I'm hoping to hear from people across the province. Perhaps some former board members, some current board members, the Nova Scotia School Boards Association and other people from the education community who perhaps do have strong opinions on how this exercise of replacing board members should indeed take place for the future.

[5:00 p.m.]

One of the other areas that again is a change of course is the school board chair appointment for two years. Generally speaking we've been, again, fortunate in Nova Scotia to have school board chairs who for most of the boards have given very strong leadership and having them appointed for two years and understanding the function of the board, taking a leadership role on the issues I think is a good thing. Sometimes in one year, a board chair is really just getting established and just getting to know all of the intricate workings of the board. The chair also will often work very closely with the superintendent and therefore having the chair in place for a couple of years will help with some of the continuity of the work of the board.

[Page 5548]

In speaking about the roles and the mandate of school boards I'm sure there are many in this House and a number of members of the House have been teachers, administrators, assistant superintendents, et cetera, and we know, for example, that the board makes choices around the educational leadership of these boards. The AVRSB - the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board - will have a change in its superintendent at the end of January so selecting the next educational leader for a board that has 15,000 to 16, 000 students is indeed a critical decision, a very significant decision. When I think back to some of the superintendents in that board, people like Jim Keith, Jim Gunn, and currently Dr. Norman Dray - very strong leaders who in fact have injected new ideas and new programs for their school districts. So it is an area that while we haven't had the kind of participation in school board elections that we would desire still it is one that I am pleased to see.

We're bringing forth a bill that will hopefully change the direction and in particular how school board members do conduct themselves. Like the member opposite, I am looking forward to the Law Amendments Committee and to having this come to further discussion. With that, Mr. Speaker, I will take my place.

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

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, as I remove the Halls from my mouth I have a few things to add. I know my good friend from Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank sort of ran out of gas but that's okay when you have two auctions. You'll see me next Monday and I will have the same problem with a Friday and Sunday afternoon auction. I just wanted to add a few thoughts, particularly.

I do know and I think we all know the value of school boards in this province. I know in particular on occasion as a school teacher, I went out of my way to make sure there were people offering for those important positions. Obviously as provincial politicians, we're asked who is going to be running for council in your various communities? Those people who run for council, municipal politics based on my experience as a provincial politician is something that I don't get involved in. When it comes to school board elections, I'm always concerned that we have quality candidates and in some cases any candidates to get out there and put their name on the ballot. If there's grassroots democracy anywhere in this province it's at the school board level. So I'm quite proud to say that Sheryl Blumenthal-Harrison is the successful candidate. Blumenthal, there's a name that has a ring to it. I know that Sheryl, of course, will admit that Jerry is her dad and Bill Swan, who is a neighbour of mine, who offered his name also for the school board - good response, people getting out, asking questions about school boards and their role because school boards have some tough decisions to make.

I want to compliment the minister who is in the House today - it's great to see you here, the best of wishes to you and your family - I want to compliment the minister for how she handled the school board situation in Halifax. At the time, in particular, I think that some

[Page 5549]

people were perhaps taken aback by my response at the time, when the media came to me and said, after Mr. Windsor had been appointed to replace the really dysfunctional school board at the HRSB, the question was, well, Mr. Estabrooks, what do you think of the appointment and would you support the minister's decision?

The response I had, and as I said publicly and I've said privately to the minister, what took you so long? My compliments to you for doing that, because we heard from so many parents who said something has to be done, and it has been done. But what have we learned from that experience? The Strait experience, the HRSB experience - have the new members of the board understood and understand the important grasp the issue of a code of ethics, behaviour, decorum and all the types of things?

The concern that I always have when it comes to school boards and municipal government, maybe even at times this Legislative Assembly of which I am a proud member, are there other things on the agenda? Those other things on the agenda can sometimes cloud the issues of the day.

I look at what is important to school boards as they decide their agenda. They've got some tough decisions to make - busing, curriculum, what are we going to ask teachers to do next , personnel, class enrolments - but where do students fit? If the students are at the top of the agenda, if the students are at the top of the priority list then the school board will function in a proper way and they won't be concerned about turf, they won't be concerned about cliques, they won't be concerned about themselves. They would be concerned about their priority and that, of course, is putting students first.

Mr. Speaker, if I may, could you allow me to have an introduction, sir? Thank you. I notice in the west gallery I have a person from my constituency who has been heavily involved in various issues but I know, of course, he's had very strong opinions on schools. I know he's not here for that reason tonight. I'm sorry I don't know his two associates but I would ask Dan MacDonald from Timberlea, the President of the Metro Transit Union, to stand in his place and receive the recognition of this House. (Applause)

You see, Mr. Speaker, it's people like Dan MacDonald who need a school board member to call because when they are not there, he calls the MLA and says, do something about this. It's great to hear from Mr. MacDonald and all of his topics at whatever time he calls me before he leaves for his shift, at 4:30 a.m., but I know when it comes down to concerns about our schools, parents such as Dan, parents in the community that I represent, they want to talk to people who have a grip on the situation in their schools because if schools have issues, we have to have school board members willing to take on those issues, issues that need real solutions and are something that we have to look forward to.

I want to, if I may, table this November 8th copy from Saturday's Mail Star, "Spare the rod, spoil the board. Proposed rules would keep school board members in line." This is

[Page 5550]

an excellent article by David Jackson from The ChronicleHerald staff. In it he quotes various people involved in the school board but in particular he quotes the only member of the Halifax Regional School Board, Gin Yee, who was re-elected to this new board. Mr. Yee quite correctly says, these new rules ". . . basically would have given us an opportunity to self-govern. Before, there was only one way of dealing with it - firing all of us." Gin Yee is a very credible school board member, Mr. Speaker. He's a gentleman who calls his constituents back, he is a gentleman who I am sure we will hear from in the future and I would like to table this news article, if I may, with the Page, as we look at some of the moves we have to make with this new school board.

But have they learned their lessons? My good friend, the member for Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank brought the issue up but it has been brought up by me, it has been brought up on a number of occasions. At times, Mr. Speaker, from where you sit, I know that the decorum in this House, perhaps even at times by this member for Timberlea-Prospect, can be questioned.

So I think, Mr. Speaker, to use an old axiom, don't do as I do, do as I say, and the decorum issue is one which we are to be very concerned about, particularly when it looks at the behaviour of the school board, or all school boards in this province, as they begin to solve the problems that they're asked to be there for. Based on my experience as a school teacher, I can tell you it was a pleasure working with the school board in the HRSB, although at times I think it's a little big these days, I think that they're going to do a fine job with the new candidates that we have there.

Some of the people that I've had the pleasure of dealing with - first of all, Deborah Brunt, Debora did not offer for the school board this time in my constituency, instead she opted for municipal council. It's great to have someone with Deborah Brunt's qualities and character offer her name for the school board and the municipal council and I would like to thank her for her good years of service with the Halifax Regional School Board.

Also I had the pleasure - and he will deny that he's related to me - I had the pleasure of working for years with Kevin Estabrooks, and he is no relation to me incidentally. He's from the St. Stephen part of the family, not the Dorchester, New Brunswick part of the family, Mr. Speaker. Kevin Estabrooks was the chairman of the Halifax Regional School Board, and during his time he provided great leadership in our community. Those are the sorts of people that we have to continue to be involved with.

Now, there is a balance, there's a plus and there's a negative to this. The positive - and it has already been noted - I'm pleased to see that the Chair will now serve for two years. I think anyone who has ever chaired any committee of this nature knows the significance of the fact, you get in there for one year, you basically just get your feet under you, you basically just understand the ground rules, and someone else succeeds you. The chair on this occasion

[Page 5551]

will be appointed for two years and that's a very, very positive step and I compliment the minister on that decision. Now, that's the good news.

Unfortunately, I don't want to be overly negative about this, but I'm concerned about the fact that by-elections now have a dollar cost to them. I heard the member opposite, and I heard a member of her caucus, I think, do some quick division for her, when in a by-election recently of the Halifax Regional School Board there was only a 4 per cent turnout in the range of 900 people, and the cost was $45,000 for that by-election. I don't think that we should put a cost on democracy. I don't think that we should suddenly have to find out what each vote is going to cost and what issue when it comes to a by-election.

It's important that when a by-election comes, people such as yourselves as MLAs, HRM councillors, councillors in other municipalities around the province, step up and get out there and say we need a contested election. We need a by-election with some credible candidates. Let's see if we can encourage some of these people to step forward. That is something I'm sure that the minister has heard about and I know she said in her comments, and I appreciate her candour as usual, it was a difficult decision, it was something that she looked at very carefully. That's a decision which I think we will have more debate about and there will be something brought forward at the Law Amendments Committee, and perhaps if we look at it in a better way, it might even be changed.

So Mr. Speaker, with those comments I want to take my place. The Law Amendments Committee is an important process in our Legislature. The Law Amendments Committee will be an opportunity for Nova Scotians; the School Boards Association of Nova Scotia, a very credible organization; past and present school board members; parents at large who just want to have their say on who is running the schools of this province; I encourage them to come forward at that time as we continue to discuss Bill No. 215, an important piece of legislation and a piece of legislation that the NDP caucus looks forward to debating further at another time. Thank you for your time.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member Timberlea-Prospect - sorry, for Preston on an introduction.

MR. KEITH COLWELL: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I don't think I'll ever be MLA for that area, although I've changed ridings before.

In the east gallery I would like to introduce Mr. Dan MacDonald, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 508; Richard Dexter, vice-president of the same union; and Paul MacDonald, the shop steward and executive member. I would ask them to rise and receive a warm welcome from the House. (Applause)

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

[Page 5552]

The honourable Minister of Education.

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, before I close debate, I would like to thank the two current Education Critics and the past Education Critic for their comments. I know that they do care deeply about education and our students in this province and I thank them for their comments. I do hope that anything that comes forward will do nothing but strengthen this legislation and make our education system even stronger.

With that, I move second reading of Bill No. 215.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 215. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. CHUCK PORTER: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 217.

Bill No. 217 - Utility and Review Board Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to propose second reading of Bill No. 217, the Utility and Review Board Act.

In its essence, this bill is straightforward. We're proposing to amend Section 51(1) of the Utility and Review Board Act to increase the maximum number of full-time members from eight to 10. However, this simple change will have many benefits over time for the regulatory environment in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, as you know, the Utility and Review Board is an independent, quasi-judicial body with both regulatory functions and adjudicative functions. In each of the last two years the board has decided between 700 and 800 matters over a wide scope of subject areas. The work of the members may involve a public hearing or a decision by the board following a hearing or as a result of written submissions. These board members must become experts on some of the most complex, legal and financial issues in the province today.

It's critically important that we have the right people in place. This bill will mean that the URB will have the authority to put the resources in place to meet its mandate effectively. As you may know, Mr. Speaker, the board currently has a maximum complement of eight full-time members allowed under legislation.

[Page 5553]

However, the work load of the board has increased over the last couple of years due to additional regulatory responsibility. I would like to highlight some examples. Under the Liquor Control Act, the URB now approves changes in managers of licensees, temporary extensions of licensed premises - including seasonal changes - and temporary suspensions of licences, renovations and entertainment privileges. Under the Consumer Protection Act, the URB now regulates fees and interest rates for payday loans and reviews these rates at least every three years. Under the Insurance Act, the URB has taken on the responsibility of regulating automobile insurance, a function previously assigned to the Insurance Review Board.

[Page 5554]

Aside from the added workload, the URB is expected to reach its decision in a more timely way as time really is money. Not only are they doing more, but they need to do it faster. Once this legislation is approved, the URB will be able to recruit up to two full-time members, as needed. It is important to point out there is a very thorough process involved in choosing the members to make sure they are well qualified. URB members are hired based on merit, using a process similar to the appointments of the provincial Judicial Appointments Advisory Committee. Candidates must have professional qualifications suitable for reviewing some of the most complex information in government.

These are important positions, given the very significant role that the URB plays in the lives of Nova Scotians. With that, I would propose second reading of Bill No. 217.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise for a few minutes today to speak to the bill on behalf of my colleagues in the NDP caucus. I do have a particular professional interest in this matter since regulatory law was an area that I worked in and did quite a lot of studying and writing in in my time. I can say that we agree with the minister that the Utility and Review Board is the main regulatory adjudicative tribunal in Nova Scotia. That's an evolution over time. There used to be a whole lot of different boards, some more professional than others, some frankly did a very poor job, some did an excellent job, but always the one that was the most professional was the utility board whose primary function was reviewing the work of the public utilities, the water utilities, and particularly the electric utilities.

Over time, Mr. Speaker - I'm talking about over the course of the last twenty years - the government has seen fit to slowly abolish and amalgamate these other boards that were less professional, less able to do their job, and has given a great deal of authority to the renamed Utility and Review Board. So now it is highly professionalized, very important to the proper functioning of government, to the proper functioning of our economy, since they are the ones who make decisions affecting all fields of endeavor in which the government indeed has regulation. It's extremely important that the right people sit on this board.

The importance of this board is underlined by the conditions of employment. Now these are highly sought-after jobs - the last time I looked, the jobs paid about $130,000 a year and not only that, but one of the other unique features of these jobs is that they are lifetime appointments typically, at least for the full-time members. Last time I looked the appointments were to age 65 . . .

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Age 70.

MR. STEELE: It's now 70, I'm informed by the minister. So these people have very well-paid jobs and they're guaranteed employment up to the age of 70, and that's a good

[Page 5555]

thing. The reason for that was to promote the independence of these boards so that they would not feel beholden to government - the same reason why judges are paid so much. In this province, Provincial and Family Court Judges are paid around $180,000 a year, a Superior Court Judge I believe it's in the range of $250,000 to $260,000 a year - the reason for that is that they should be beholden to no one. Their financial security must be assured and guaranteed and we do that by paying them a great deal of money. Well, we do that with the Utility and Review Board as well.

The problem is, Mr. Speaker, is it because of the security of tenure and because of the amount of money these people were paid they became prime patronage plums? Now I know this is going to be a shock to members of this House, but some people have been appointed to that board only because of their politics. There is nobody in the legal profession who would say that those people merited being on that board. It brought down the integrity of the board, the honour of the board, the respect in which that board was held, because past governments have seen fit to appoint people who are not qualified, on any objective standard, to be there. I'm pleased to say that it has been quite some time since we saw such an appointment.

As the minister has pointed out, the new process for appointment is considerably more at arm's length from government ,although the final decision rests with Cabinet. There is never any publication of which names are on the short list that goes to Cabinet. Cabinet is free to choose someone from the list or they are free to choose anyone else at all.

So, Mr. Speaker, needless to say we support the bill because as more and more duties get added on to this board it is important that they have the people to hold the hearings, to render the decisions so that the economic functions of the province are not stalled by the inability of the board to produce timely decisions. In fact, one of the main reasons why the board is being expanded from eight to 10 in this case, is because the Nova Scotia Insurance Review Board is essentially being folded into the Utility and Review Board, so a board of part-timers is essentially being abolished and in exchange, their function is being given to the Utility and Review Board. Of course they need more people to do the function that up until recently was performed by the Insurance Review Board.

We will be watching very closely, Mr. Speaker, to make sure that the right quality of people are appointed because this board is so important. Let me say, it has never been my position, or the position of the NDP, that political affiliation disqualifies someone from serving their province in another capacity. What has been our position is that it should not be a qualification, it should simply be irrelevant. That is why we could have former MLAs or former political people very active in a political Party role, appointed to the board, with nobody raising any questions. The same with the bench, you have former MLAs on the bench, very political people on the bench, but that's okay if they are otherwise qualified. The problem comes in if their partisan activities become the sole or the main reason why they are in that role.

[Page 5556]

So let me say, there are some superb people on the board now, some people who have in the past maybe been associated with one Party or another, or no Party at all. Let me mention Margaret Shears, Peter Gurnham, Kulvinder Dillon, Dawna Ring - these are just the ones that come to mind, by leaving some out I don't mean to imply anything about them, but there are some really superb members of that board who do a fine service to the province day in and day out. While we support the bill for the expansion of the board, we want the government to know we will be looking very carefully to make sure that the mistakes of the last Liberal Government are not repeated and that the people who are appointed to this board deserve to sit there, deserve to hold the position that is so highly paid and with lifetime tenure, so that they can serve the province from a position of merit. That's what we will be looking for. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou East on an introduction.

MR. CLARRIE MACKINNON: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. It's my pleasure to rise and point to the west gallery. We have three very special guests here this evening. Two of them are from Saskatchewan and now working and living in Alberta. They are very dear friends of my daughter Sarah, who is also up there, and I would like to introduce to the House Dion Harlos and Russell Mayer. They are touring through the Maritimes and we have had them in Pictou East, the great riding of Pictou East. So I would ask them to stand and receive applause from this House. (Applause)

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

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. It's my pleasure to stand and say just a few words on this bill which will increase the number of URB members. Certainly this is an important bill in that the URB is under a lot of pressure. As was mentioned, they have between 700 and 800 decisions that they have to render each year. They're hearing an awful lot of different matters and they are restricted at the moment to eight full-time members. So it is important that if the government has chosen to add more duties to the URB and to pass some of the regulatory burden and work to that body, then we need to make sure that they are adequately resourced.

It's my understanding, Mr. Speaker, that the board themselves have asked for this change, that they need the increased capacity in order to maintain their timely response to matters. The minister did mention that in his remarks, that it is not only the quantity but we don't want to have huge waiting lists at the URB as we've had in other areas, like Health. We want to make sure that they're able to continue to have that timely and thoughtful response in each and every matter that comes before them.

There's no question there has been a number of new issues that have been brought to the fore that we've asked the URB to help with. The idea that we're changing the

[Page 5557]

Insurance Review Board and allowing their duties to come to the URB, I think is important because it is the sort of matter that the URB are uniquely qualified to do. They are experts and specialists in dealing with exactly this sort of regulatory matter.

So, rather than having a proliferation of smaller boards that maybe specializing in one area and meeting sporadically, it's a lot better, I think, to allow a professional board like the URB to be managing their workload and planning and hearing all of the regulatory matters that need to be heard before members of the Utility and Review Board. We realize the need is there, it's been signalled by the members themselves and the chair of their board.

[6:30 p.m.]

I do think it's important, just as we move this forward, to speak about the professionalism of the members. I think that, without question, the board is functioning at a very high level, the selections of members has been exemplary in the last number of years, most definitely. I think every member serving on that board is serving by merit and on the strength of their own capabilities, and it should be said that they are doing a huge service to the province.

I fully understand why they have the special employment condition which allows them to stay up to a certain age, and I gather it's up to age 70. It's important because they are dealing with very complex, very important matters that need to be - and they need to be - completely objective in all of their decision making. They can't be concerned that there will be repercussions or loss of employment, for example, based on a decision they might render. They have to be charged, just as judges are, with using their best judgement, their highest ethical standards, in reviewing each and every issue whether big or small, each and every issue that comes before them is of importance to the people of Nova Scotia.

I know from discussions that I have had at different times with a number of members just how seriously they take that role and just how proud they are of the organization they're working for and the work they do. So, collectively, I think they have a great spirit of camaraderie and pride in their work and that they maintain the highest standard among themselves and for anybody who's associated with the URB. I think we can be very pleased and proud of the people who we've selected to be on that. I do believe it's important that it be free from political interference. There is clearly a system of merit in place. That should comfort and remove any concern any Nova Scotian has. It's a wonderful organization and we are asking them to do ever more regulatory work on behalf of government. I hope that isn't a reflection on the fact that we're regulating evermore aspects of our life in Nova Scotia.

As was mentioned, I hope that we will see gas regulation removed rather than expanded. We don't believe they should be looked at by government because that does lead them open to some political - I hate to use the word interference, but political involvement when we're setting things like gas prices. It would be better to have an arms-length

[Page 5558]

organization do that if it were to be done. As the Speaker knows, you know well, we are not in favour of any regulation of that, and that just again extends the reach even further into the lives of Nova Scotians. But insurance certainly became an issue around 2003, and it was determined that was an industry that needed to be more carefully monitored. We needed to see the increases and justify the increases that were coming before Nova Scotians. That was in an attempt to really help prevent unwarranted increases and cushion Nova Scotians against them.

Many of these things are very important, although I think that in principle we don't want an over regulated economy or over regulated province. The work that the URB is doing is very valid, very important and we do support it. I think the addition of two more full-time members will enable them to do an even better job, and give even more timely responses to the many issues that come before them. Often, a timely response is important to business, to individuals and to municipalities where they're having a direct impact on their business.

With that, I would like to see this go forward and I hope to hear from some members of the public as this goes to the Law Amendments Committee. Thank you very much.

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

The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my two colleagues for their comments with respect to the bill. With that I look forward to the bill moving forward to the Committee on Law Amendments and ultimately to passage. With that I move second reading.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 217. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. CHUCK PORTER: Mr. Speaker, with the House's consent I would ask that we revert to the order of business, Presenting Reports of Committees.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is to revert the order of business.

Is it agreed?

[Page 5559]

It is agreed.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

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

Bill No. 191 - Motor Vehicle Act.

Bill No. 193 - Municipal Grants Act.

Bill No. 195 - Partnerships and Business Names Registration Act.

Bill No. 196 - Beneficiaries Designation Act.

Bill No. 200 - Human Rights Act.

Bill No. 208 - Conservation Property Tas Exemption Act.

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

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

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. CHUCK PORTER: Mr. Speaker, I move that you do now leave the Chair and the House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

[6:37 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Acting Deputy Speaker Mr. Wayne Gaudet in the Chair]

[6:41 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Alfie MacLeod, resumed the Chair.]

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

THE CLERK: That the committee has met and considered the following bills:

[Page 5560]

Bill No. 191 - Motor Vehicle Act.

Bill No. 193 - Municipal Grants Act.

Bill No. 195 - Partnerships and Business Names Registration Act.

Bill No. 196 - Beneficiaries Designation Act.

Bill No. 200 - Human Rights Act.

Bill No. 208 - Conservation Property Tax Exemption Act.

and the chairman has been instructed to recommend these bills to the favourable consideration of the House, each without amendment.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, that concludes the government's business for today. I move that the House do now rise to meet again tomorrow at the hour of 10:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. Following the daily routine and Orders of the Day, we will consider Public Bills for Second Reading, Bill No. 220, and Public Bills for Third Reading, Bill Nos. 191, 193, 195, 196, 200, 208, and that we would consider - that will be enough for now, thank you. I so move.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion before the House is that we should now rise to meet again tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

We stand adjourned until 10:00 a.m. tomorrow.

[The House rose at 6:42 p.m.]

[Page 5561]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 5386

By: Hon. Alfie MacLeod (Speaker)

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

Whereas the communities of Gabarus and Gabarus Lake lost their church to a devastating fire on February 10, 2003; and

Whereas the church plays an integral part in the life of rural communities across this province; and

Whereas churches across this province of every denomination are struggling to stay open and we see closures and amalgamations so that they can survive;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the residents of Gabarus and Gabarus Lake who are "bucking the trend" and building a new church in their community.

RESOLUTION NO. 5387

By: Mr. Wayne Gaudet (Clare)

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

Whereas Denise Haynes from Clare competed in the Canadian Racquetball Championships in Burlington, Ontario, in May of 2008; and

Whereas Denise finished second in the women's singles division in the tournament; and

Whereas for many years Denise has competed as a youth representing our province at the national level, where she continues to set an example to her peers;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Denise Haynes for her second place finish at the Canadian Racquetball Nationals and wish her continued success in her future endeavours.

[Page 5562]

RESOLUTION NO. 5388

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 Veterans' Memorial Park has become a unique focal point for the citizens of Bridgewater and area; and

Whereas the veterans and members of the Royal Canadian Legion, Bridgewater Branch 24, have dedicated themselves to creating an appropriate Veterans' Memorial Park; and

Whereas new gates were recently installed and dedicated at the Veterans' Memorial Park on behalf of the D250 Legacy Fund in celebration of 250 years of democracy;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Branch 24 President Ken George, Vice-President Sonny Hubley, and all veterans and members for their efforts in creating a significant park in memory of those who gave their lives to secure our freedoms.

RESOLUTION NO. 5389

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas there are many small businesses along the Eastern Shore; and

Whereas small businesses like Maison Kwik Way offer valuable services to residents; and

Whereas our communities are strengthened because of the small businesses located on the Eastern Shore;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of Maison Kwik Way and wish them continued success.

[Page 5563]

RESOLUTION NO. 5390

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas there are many small businesses along the Eastern Shore; and

Whereas small businesses like ADM Petroleum Inc. offer valuable services to residents; and

Whereas our communities are strengthened because of the small businesses located on the Eastern Shore;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of ADM Petroleum Inc. and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5391

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas there are many small businesses along the Eastern Shore; and

Whereas small businesses like All Excavating Needs offer valuable services to residents; and

Whereas our communities are strengthened because of the small businesses located on the Eastern Shore;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of All Excavating Needs and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5392

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

[Page 5564]

Whereas there are many small businesses along the Eastern Shore; and

Whereas small businesses like AP Reid Insurance Stores offer valuable services to residents; and

Whereas our communities are strengthened because of the small businesses located on the Eastern Shore;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of AP Reid Insurance Stores and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5393

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas there are many small businesses along the Eastern Shore; and

Whereas small businesses like Atlantic Auto Exporters Inc. offer valuable services to residents; and

Whereas our communities are strengthened because of the small businesses located on the Eastern Shore;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of Atlantic Auto Exporters Inc. and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5394

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas there are many small businesses along the Eastern Shore; and

Whereas small businesses like Atlantic RV/Boat Exchange offer valuable services to residents; and

Whereas our communities are strengthened because of the small businesses located on the Eastern Shore;

[Page 5565]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of Atlantic RV/Boat Exchange and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5395

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas there are many small businesses along the Eastern Shore; and

Whereas small businesses like Atlantic Water Investigations 1993 Limited offer valuable services to residents; and

Whereas our communities are strengthened because of the small businesses located on the Eastern Shore;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of Atlantic Water Investigations 1993 Limited and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5396

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas there are many small businesses along the Eastern Shore; and

Whereas small businesses like Big Shot Lanes offer valuable services to residents; and

Whereas our communities are strengthened because of the small businesses located on the Eastern Shore;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of Big Shot Lanes and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5397

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

[Page 5566]

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

Whereas there are many small businesses along the Eastern Shore; and

Whereas small businesses like Ernst Wechsler Plumbing Services Limited offer valuable services to residents; and

Whereas our communities are strengthened because of the small businesses located on the Eastern Shore;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of Ernst Wechsler Plumbing Services and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5398

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas there are many small businesses along the Eastern Shore; and

Whereas small businesses like Heat-Econo-Maritimes offer valuable services to residents; and

Whereas our communities are strengthened because of the small businesses located on the Eastern Shore;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of Heat-Econo-Maritimes and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5399

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas there are many small businesses along the Eastern Shore; and

Whereas small businesses like Happy Dude's Surf Emporium offer valuable services to residents; and

[Page 5567]

Whereas our communities are strengthened because of the small businesses located on the Eastern Shore;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of Happy Dude's Surf Emporium and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5400

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas there are many small businesses along the Eastern Shore; and

Whereas small businesses like Icon Electric & Control Inc. offer valuable services to residents; and

Whereas our communities are strengthened because of the small businesses located on the Eastern Shore;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of Icon Electric & Control Inc. and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5401

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas there are many small businesses along the Eastern Shore; and

Whereas small businesses like KC Landscape & Odd Jobs offer valuable services to residents; and

Whereas our communities are strengthened because of the small businesses located on the Eastern Shore;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of KC Landscape & Odd Jobs and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5402

[Page 5568]

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas there are many small businesses along the Eastern Shore; and

Whereas small businesses like L.J. Mannette Electrical Limited offer valuable services to residents; and

Whereas our communities are strengthened because of the small businesses located on the Eastern Shore;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of L.J. Mannette Electrical Limited and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5403

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas there are many small businesses along the Eastern Shore; and

Whereas small businesses like Magneto-Inductive Systems Limited offer valuable services to residents; and

Whereas our communities are strengthened because of the small businesses located on the Eastern Shore;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of Magneto-Inductive Systems Limited and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5404

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas there are many small businesses along the Eastern Shore; and

[Page 5569]

Whereas small businesses like MRA Landworks offer valuable services to residents; and

Whereas our communities are strengthened because of the small businesses located on the Eastern Shore;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of MRA Landworks and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5405

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas there are many small businesses along the Eastern Shore; and

Whereas small businesses like Mueller Flow Control offer valuable services to residents; and

Whereas our communities are strengthened because of the small businesses located on the Eastern Shore;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of Mueller Flow Control and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5406

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas there are many small businesses along the Eastern Shore; and

Whereas small businesses like Munroe Plumbing & Heating offer valuable services to residents; and

Whereas our communities are strengthened because of the small businesses located on the Eastern Shore;

[Page 5570]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of Munroe Plumbing & Heating and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5407

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas there are many small businesses along the Eastern Shore; and

Whereas small businesses like Nan's Café offer valuable services to residents; and

Whereas our communities are strengthened because of the small businesses located on the Eastern Shore;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of Nan's Café and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5408

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas there are many small businesses along the Eastern Shore; and

Whereas small businesses like Ocean Playground Cottage offer valuable services to residents; and

Whereas our communities are strengthened because of the small businesses located on the Eastern Shore;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of Ocean Playground Cottage and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5409

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

[Page 5571]

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

Whereas there are many small businesses along the Eastern Shore; and

Whereas small businesses like Old Times Old Friends Antiques Collectibles & Dolls offer valuable services to residents; and

Whereas our communities are strengthened because of the small businesses located on the Eastern Shore;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of Old Times Old Friends Antiques Collectibles & Dolls and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5410

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas there are many small businesses along the Eastern Shore; and

Whereas small businesses like One Stitch at a Time Inc. offer valuable services to residents; and

Whereas our communities are strengthened because of the small businesses located on the Eastern Shore;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of One Stitch at a Time Inc. and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5411

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas there are many small businesses along the Eastern Shore; and

Whereas small businesses like Open Seas Instrumentation Incorporated offer valuable services to residents; and

[Page 5572]

Whereas our communities are strengthened because of the small businesses located on the Eastern Shore;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of Open Seas Instrumentation Incorporated and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5412

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas there are many small businesses along the Eastern Shore; and

Whereas small businesses like Old Riverside Lodge B & B offer valuable services to residents; and

Whereas our communities are strengthened because of the small businesses located on the Eastern Shore;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of Old Riverside Lodge B & B and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5413

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas there are many small businesses along the Eastern Shore; and

Whereas small businesses like Patty's Bookkeeping offer valuable services to residents; and

Whereas our communities are strengthened because of the small businesses located on the Eastern Shore;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of Patty's Bookkeeping and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5414

[Page 5573]

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas there are many small businesses along the Eastern Shore; and

Whereas small businesses like Pinehill Equestrian Centre offer valuable services to residents; and

Whereas our communities are strengthened because of the small businesses located on the Eastern Shore;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of Pinehill Equestrian Centre and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5415

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas there are many small businesses along the Eastern Shore; and

Whereas small businesses like Pettipas Plumbing & Septic Tank Pumping offer valuable services to residents; and

Whereas our communities are strengthened because of the small businesses located on the Eastern Shore;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of Pettipas Plumbing & Septic Tank Pumping and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5416

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas there are many small businesses along the Eastern Shore; and

[Page 5574]

Whereas small businesses like Petsgo Pet Relocation Specialist offer valuable services to residents; and

Whereas our communities are strengthened because of the small businesses located on the Eastern Shore;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of Petsgo Pet Relocation Specialist and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5417

By: Mr. Leo Glavine (Kings West)

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

Whereas Feed My Lambs has been a successful fundraiser to aid the Kings County School Nutrition Program as well as provide a summer camp experience to disadvantaged youth; and

Whereas through the sale of collectible pewter Christmas ornaments designed by Twila Robar-DeCoste, Feed My Lambs has had 10 successful years of helping children in Kings County by raising over $150,000; and

Whereas Mandy Clarke has demonstrated leadership and passion to make a difference in the lives of children through this outstanding poverty reduction initiative by the Feed My Lambs action and advocacy team;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly recognize the contributions Mandy Clarke has made to her community and thank her for the many years of dedication she has made to Feed My Lambs.

RESOLUTION NO. 5418

By: Mr. Leo Glavine (Kings West)

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

Whereas Feed My Lambs has been a successful fundraiser to aid the Kings County School Nutrition Program as well as provide a summer camp experience to disadvantaged youth; and

[Page 5575]

Whereas through the sale of collectible pewter Christmas ornaments designed by Twila Robar-DeCoste, Feed My Lambs has had 10 successful years of helping children in Kings County by raising over $150,000; and

Whereas Evelyn Keddy has demonstrated leadership and passion to make a difference in the lives of children through this outstanding poverty reduction initiative by the Feed My Lambs action and advocacy team;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly recognize the contributions Evelyn Keddy has made to her community and thank her for the many years of dedication she has made to Feed My Lambs.