Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

HANSARD 03-24

DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS

Speaker: Honourable Murray Scott

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

Available on INTERNET at http://nslegislature.ca/index.php/proceedings/hansard/

Annual subscriptions available from the Office of the Speaker.

First Session

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2003

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Anl. Rept. of Nova Scotia Business Inc., Hon. E. Fage 1889
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Econ. Dev. - NSBI: Annual Report - Highlights, Hon. E. Fage 1890
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Anl. Rept. of South Shore Health, Hon. A. MacIsaac 1894
Anl. Rept. of Annapolis Valley Health, Hon. A. MacIsaac 1894
Anl. Rept. of Nova Scotia Community College, Hon. J. Muir 1894
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Justice - Morton Simmonds Scholarship, Hon. M. Baker 1894
Agric. & Fish. - BSE: Task Force - Efforts Recognize,
Hon. C. d'Entremont 1896
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 716, Tourism & Culture - Order of N.S.: Nominations - Encourage,
Hon. Rodney MacDonald 1899
Vote - Affirmative 1900
Res. 717, Educ. - Literacy N.S.: Commitment - Congrats., Hon. J. Muir 1900
Vote - Affirmative 1901
Res. 718, Nat'l. Down Syndrome Awareness Wk. (10/01-10/07/03) -
Recognize,^Hon. A. MacIsaac 1901
Vote - Affirmative 1901
Res. 719, Nat. Res. - Educ. Ctr.: Staff - Congrats., (by Hon. B. Barnet),
Hon. R. Hurlburt 1901
Vote - Affirmative 1902
Res. 720, Tourism & Culture - Highland Links Golf Course:
Ranking - Applaud, Hon. Rodney MacDonald 1902
Vote - Affirmative 1903
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 40, Assessment Act, Hon. B. Barnet 1903
No. 41, Mechanics' Lien Act, Mr. D. Dexter 1903
No. 42, Residential Tenancies Act, Ms. Maureen MacDonald 1903
No. 43, Education Act, Mr. W. Estabrooks 1903
No. 44, Sydney Steel Corporation Sale Act, Mr. G. Gosse 1904
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 721, Justice: Whistle-Blower Legislation - Approve, Mr. D. Dexter 1904
Res. 722, C.B. Sea Salt & Pepper Potato Chips: Flavour - Try,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 1905
Vote - Affirmative 1905
Res. 723, Summer St. Ind. Fdn. (New Glasgow): Supporters - Thank,
Mr. J. DeWolfe 1905
Vote - Affirmative 1906
Res. 724, Hfx. Fairview MLA - Liberal Insurance Plan: Predictions -
Reconsider, Mr. F. Corbett 1906
Res. 725, MISA: Commitment - Thank, Ms. D. Whalen 1907
Vote - Affirmative 1907
Res. 726, Pictou Co. Ground Search & Rescue: Vols. - Recognize,
Mr. J. DeWolfe 1908
Vote - Affirmative 1908
Res. 727, Sea King Helicopters - Replacement Delay: Paul Martin
Grounding - Encourage, Mr. K. Deveaux 1908
Res. 728, Pine View Farm/Brown Family: Bus. Excellence Award -
Congrats., Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1910
Vote - Affirmative 1910
Res. 729, Wilson, Robert/Myers, Thane: Entrepreneur Award -
Congrats., Mr. J. MacDonell 1910
Vote - Affirmative 1911
Res. 730, E. Preston United Baptist Church Laymen's Assoc.:
Anniv. (50th) - Congrats., Mr. K. Colwell 1911
Vote - Affirmative 1912
Res. 731, Macumber, Tim: Softball Accomplishments - Congrats.,
Hon. R. Russell 1912
Vote - Affirmative 1913
Res. 732, Gov't. (N.S.) - Communities: Local Issues - Input Allow,
Ms. J. Massey 1913
Res. 733, Agric. & Fish. - Crisis: Pork Producers - Assistance Ensure,
Mr. L. Glavine 1914
Res. 734, Cornish, Vernon: Bridgewater Chamber of Commerce Award -
Congrats., Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1915
Vote - Affirmative 1915
Res. 735, Manning Innovation Awards Fdn.: Prize Recipients (2003) -
Congrats., Mr. H. Epstein 1915
Vote - Affirmative 1916
Res. 736, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - MacDonald Rd. (Scotch Lake):
Priority List - Add, Mr. Gerald Sampson 1916
Res. 737, Econ. Dev. - Broadband Internet: Access -
Importance Recognize, Hon. E. Fage 1917
Vote - Affirmative 1917
Res. 738, Commun. Serv. - Fam. Serv. Assoc.: Remaining Staff -
Good Luck Wish, Ms. M. Raymond 1918
Res. 739, Agric. & Fish. - BSE Task Force: Recommendations -
Implement, Mr. S. MacNeil 1918
Res. 740, House of Assembly Christmas Card: Choice - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Baker 1919
Vote - Affirmative 1919
Res.741, Windebank, John: Birthday (90th) - Congrats., Mr. C. Parker 1920
Vote - Affirmative 1920
Res. 742, Boland, Chris: Leiper Award - Congrats., Ms. D. Whalen 1920
Vote - Affirmative 1921
Res. 743, Inverness: Birthday (100th) - Congrats.,
Hon. Rodney MacDonald 1921
Vote - Affirmative 1922
Res. 744, Liberal Party Members: Gov't. (Can.) Shortcomings -
Acknowledge, Mr. K. Deveaux 1922
Res. 745, Dearman, Wilbert/Oakley, Borden - Enfield Vol. FD:
Vol. Recognition - Congrats., Mr. J. MacDonell 1923
Vote - Affirmative 1923
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 241, Health - Nursing Homes: Retroactive Billing - Explain,
Mr. D. Dexter 1924
No. 242, Health - Dr. Duncan MacIntyre: Crisis - Gov't. Responsibility,
Mr. D. Graham 1925
No. 243, Health - Cap. Dist. Health Auth.: Nursing Concerns - Address,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 1926
No. 244, Fin. - $54 M Cuts: Premier - Details, Mr. D. Graham 1927
No. 245, Justice - Domestic Violence: Prevalence - Investigate,
Mr. G. Gosse 1928
No. 246, Health - Wait Times Report: Release Delay - Explain,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 1930
No. 247, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Roadside Cross (S. Daine):
Placement - Allow, Mr. G. Steele 1931
No. 248, Commun. Serv.: Social Housing Units - Construct,
Mr. R. MacKinnon 1932
No. 249, Environ. & Lbr. - Tobeatic Wilderness Area: Jeopardy -
Explain, Ms. J. Massey 1934
No. 250, Energy - C.B. Seismic Testing - Deny, Mr. H. Epstein 1935
No. 251, PSC: Pub. Serv. Commissioner/Dep. Min. Treasury Bd. -
Conflict, Mr. W. Gaudet 1937
HOUSE RECESSED AT 1:57 P.M. 1937
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 2:15 P.M. 1937
No. 252, EMO - Power Outages: Sub-Zero Temps. - Plan Details,
Ms. M. Raymond 1938
No. 253, Econ. Dev. - C.B. & Cent. N.S. Railway: Plan - Confirm,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 1939
No. 254, Agric. & Fish. - Pork Producers: Ind.-Managed Prog. -
Initiate, Mr. J. MacDonell 1940
No. 255, Health - Soldiers Mem. Hosp.: GP Shortage - Solution Plan,
Mr. L. Glavine 1942
HOUSE RECESSED AT 2:30 P.M. 1942
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 2:45 P.M. 1942
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Law Amendments Committee, Hon. M. Baker 1943
HOUSE RECESSED AT 2:47 P.M. 1944
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 3:09 P.M. 1944
ARRIVAL OF THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR 1944
BILLS GIVEN ROYAL ASSENT:
Nos. 1, 2, 6 and 7 1944
Nos. 8, 10, 11 and 15 1945
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again at the call of the Speaker 1945
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 746, Gladwin, Barb & Graeme/Pizza Hut:
Entrepreneurial Award - Congrats., Hon. C Bolivar-Getson 1946
Res. 747, Oak Island Inn & Spa: Bridgewater Chamber of
Commerce Award - Congrats., Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1946
Res. 748, Himmelman, Michael/SMU Baseball Team:
Championship - Congrats., Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1947
Res. 749, Bolivar, Jeff/Lun. West Young PCs: Participation -
Congrats., Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1947
Res. 750, Rafuse, Sgt. Doug - Bridgewater PD: Service - Recognize,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1948
Res. 751, Sports - Bridgewater Badminton Training Ctr.: Organizers -
Congrats., Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1948
Res. 752, Environ. & Lbr. - Environmental Concerns: Univs./Colls. -
Commend, Hon. C. Clarke 1949
Res. 753, Oyster Pond Vol. FD Ladies Aux. - Hurricane Juan Aftermath:
Commun. Spirit - Commend, Mr. W. Dooks 1949
Res. 754, Ostrea Lake & Pleasant Pt. Vol. FD Ladies Aux. -
Hurricane Juan Aftermath: Commun. Spirit - Commend,
Mr. W. Dooks 1950
Res. 755, Lawrencetown Beach Vol. FD & Emerg. Serv Ladies Aux. -
Hurricane Juan Aftermath: Commun. Spirit - Commend,
Mr. W. Dooks 1950
Res. 756, Musq. Hbr. Lions Club - Hurricane Juan Aftermath:
Commun. Spirit - Commend, Mr. W. Dooks 1951
Res. 757, Musq. Hbr. Vol. FD Ladies Aux. - Hurricane Juan Aftermath:
Commun. Spirit - Commend, Mr. W. Dooks 1951
Res. 758, Chezzetcook Vol. FD Ladies Aux. - Hurricane Juan Aftermath:
Commun. Spirit - Commend, Mr. W. Dooks 1952
Res. 759, Lawrencetown Commun. Ctr. - Hurricane Juan Aftermath:
Commun. Spirit - Commend, Mr. W. Dooks 1952
Res. 760, MacNeil, Susan/Sacred Heart Parishioners - Milling Frolic:
Success - Congrats., Mr. Michel Samson 1953
Res. 761, Burke, Marie/Sacred Heart Parishioners: Milling Frolic -
Congrats., Mr. Michel Samson 1953
Res. 762, Campbell, Margie - Johnstown's Milling Frolic: Contribution -
Acknowledge, Mr. Michel Samson 1954
Res. 763, Johnston, Cathy - Johnstown's Milling Frolic: Contribution -
Acknowledge, Mr. Michel Samson 1954
Res. 764, Campbell, Louise - Johnstown's Milling Frolic: Contribution -
Acknowledge, Mr. Michel Samson 1955
Res. 765, MacNeil, Elizabeth - Johnstown's Milling Frolic: Contribution -
Acknowledge, Mr. Michel Samson 1955
Res. 766, Campbell, Margaret - Johnstown's Milling Frolic: Contribution -
Acknowledge, Mr. Michel Samson 1956
Res. 767, Walker, Carmaine/Sacred Heart Parishioners - Milling Frolic:
Hosting - Congrats., Mr. Michel Samson 1956
Res. 768, Cash, Theresa - Johnstown's Milling Frolic: Contribution -
Acknowledge, Mr. Michel Samson 1957
Res. 769, Fahey, Valerie - Honky-tonk Christmas: Play Presentation -
Congrats., The Speaker 1957
Res. 770, Ward, Ron - Chignecto Handgun Club: Retirement - Congrats.,
The Speaker 1958
Res. 771, Wilson, Raelene: Baseball Achievement - Congrats.,
The Speaker 1958
Res. 772, Hickey, Bill: Woodworking Talent - Congrats., The Speaker 1959
Res. 773, MacDonald, Grant: Lions Awards - Congrats., The Speaker 1959
Res. 774, Oxford Elem. Sch. - Grade 2-B: Colouring Contest -
Participation Congrats., The Speaker 1960
Res. 775, Springhill Elem. Sch. Students - Terry Fox Fdn.: Fundraising -
Congrats., The Speaker 1960
Res. 776, Springhill Correctional Facility: Salvation Army Foodbank
Donation - Congrats., The Speaker 1961
Res. 777, Stewart, Laurie - Can. Post: Retirement - Congrats.,
The Speaker 1961
Res. 778, Tanner, Mark: Demolition Derby Races - Congrats.,
The Speaker 1962
Res. 779, Wentworth/Wentworth Vol. FD - Power Outage: Congrats. -
Assistance, The Speaker 1962
Res. 780, Wild Blueberry & Maple Ctr.: Anniv. (5th) - Congrats.,
The Speaker 1963
Res. 781, Springhill Youth Ctr./Dept. Of Leisure Serv.: Halloween Event -
Congrats., The Speaker 1963
Res. 782, Murray, Marion: Birthday (90th) - Congrats., The Speaker 1964
Res. 783, Cochrane, David/Waverley Ratepayers Assoc. - CAP Sites:
Vols. - Commend, Mr. G. Hines 1964
Res. 784, Blueberry Harvesters (N.S.): Record Crop (2003) - Applaud,
Mr. W. Langille 1965

[Page 1889]

HALIFAX, THURSDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2003

Fifty-ninth General Assembly

First Session

12:00 NOON

SPEAKER

Hon. Murray Scott

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

Mr. James DeWolfe, Ms. Joan Massey, Mr. Russell MacKinnon

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. We will begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Economic Development.

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to table the first Annual Report of Nova Scotia Business Inc.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Economic Development.

1889

[Page 1890]

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to the first Annual Report of Nova Scotia Business Inc. NSBI represents a new way of growing our provincial economy, a new way outlined three years ago in Opportunities for Prosperity, Nova Scotia's growth strategy. Our strategy is all about creating a climate that will encourage new investment, attract new opportunities and create more jobs.

It's a plan that's working, Mr. Speaker. Since Opportunities for Prosperity was released, close to 20,000 new jobs have been created, mostly full time. Average incomes are up and disposable incomes are up. Nova Scotia's growth was the second best in Canada in the year 2001 and again was higher than the national average in the year 2002. Thanks in part to our strategy and thanks to the confidence shown by Nova Scotians, more people are working, our workers are earning more and they are keeping more of what they earn.

A growing economy is not only important for the new jobs it creates and the new incomes it generates for working families here in Nova Scotia, a growing economy is also essential to give government the dollars needed to invest more in the priorities of the people of Nova Scotia. More money to hire nurses, more money to reduce class sizes, more money to build highways, roads, and bridges. That's why nothing we can do as a government is more important than to stick to our plan for growth, Opportunities for Prosperity.

NSBI has been an instrumental part of keeping our economy growing. This annual report is clear, tangible evidence of its success under the leadership of President and CEO Stephen Lund and his board of directors - representing the very best our province has to offer - university President Sheila Brown; exporter Grace White; energy executive Larry LeBlanc; manufacturer Tom Stanfield; and former Sydney Chamber of Commerce President Alistair MacLeod.

Let me review some of the highlights from the 2002-03 fiscal year: over 60 companies with increases in export sales, leveraging an additional $1.33 from other investors for every dollar contributed by NSBI; over 470 businesses and business leaders who have met with NSBI over the last 12-month period; attracted new direct investment from seven companies, companies that create jobs, help families and contribute to the local economies here in Nova Scotia. Perhaps the best, Mr. Speaker, is that for all the discussion surrounding NSBI's investment, be they through a payroll rebate or another form, little is mentioned about the return on investment.

NSBI makes money for all Nova Scotians, our payroll rebate, our forecast to generate over a $6 million surplus for the public purse.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I understand there is a report with this statement as well, because there is a report here, but it is also a statement by a minister, so I will allow the Opposition the opportunity to respond once the honourable minister is finished.

[Page 1891]

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, and as I mentioned earlier, NSBI's overall investment draws other investment into our economy - $18 million to be exact.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the special emphasis NSBI has dedicated to our communities outside of greater Halifax and Dartmouth. Although 60 per cent of Nova Scotians live outside of HRM, more than 70 per cent of NSBI's clients come from communities on the South Shore, the Valley, northern Nova Scotia, and Cape Breton. In fact, in recognition of the special challenges facing Cape Breton's economy, the share of NSBI's clients from the Island exceeds the region's share of the population.

NSBI is helping Nova Scotia become a stronger, prouder, more prosperous province. More people are working, more families are better off, and government has more tax dollars to spend on the things people care about like, health care, like education, like our highways. With new business thinking, NSBI is taking our province's growth strategy to new heights.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Honourable minister, there was a report with that to be tabled, was there?

MR. FAGE: Yes, it was tabled.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

There is a part of that that's a Ministerial Statement, as well.

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto in response.

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, I would also like to thank the honourable Minister of Economic Development, whose office provided me with a copy of the statement that the minister just delivered, in advance. It's welcome news to have the first Annual Report of Nova Scotia Business Inc. It will no doubt form a useful part of the basis for the examination of the operations of NSBI that is to take place shortly, through the Committee on Economic Development of this Legislature. We are very interested to know, in detail, how it is that NSBI has been performing.

Indeed, although the minister has pointed to some growth in the Nova Scotia economy and has suggested that NSBI has had a lot to do with it, I think many of us might have a different view. Many of us would take the view that the main factors in the growth of the Nova Scotia economy have been things such as the hard work and dedication of Nova Scotia employers and employees, it would have a lot to do with the geographic proximity of Nova Scotia to the market in the United States, it would have a lot to do with the value of the Canadian dollar vis-a-vis the American dollar and the Euro, and it would have a lot to do with our offshore. Speaking of the offshore, of course we would be a lot more prosperous if

[Page 1892]

this government were making advances on developing our realistic and beneficial benefits package with respect to the offshore.

None of that has anything to do with what NSBI has had on its agenda. I think the minister should also contemplate, as he considers the plight of communities around this province, such places as the Town of Canso, which remains in a serious crisis condition. The minister should consider the Town of Liverpool, which is facing the prospect of losing one of its main employers, Stenpro. The minister should consider the Valley, where Britex is in big difficulties. The minister should consider the Town of Yarmouth, where the airport and its important link for commercial development has in fact eroded its business.

The minister, in giving numbers of jobs created, should remember that fully half or more than half of those jobs are in call centres. Call centre jobs are important for those communities that are in desperate need, but they're short term, we don't know if they're going to be long term. That's an open question and for more than half of the growth in jobs that has taken place on this government's watch to be in call centres is a worrisome signal. I want to thank the minister again for presenting us with this report which we intend to examine in detail, not only in our caucus but through the device of the Committee on Economic Development, and I also want to remind the minister that there's a lot of work yet to be done.

[12:15 p.m.]

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

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the minister for providing me with his statement prior to the House sitting today and to say at the outset that I have no difficulty with the quality of the people who are operating NSBI, particularly the President, Stephen Lund, and this group. I think they're all quality Nova Scotians who are trying to do a job under the rules that were set out for them and it's the rules that I have the problem with in this particular NSBI.

Mr. Speaker, NSBI is an example of why this government has been given a code of silence award. NSBI has taken a step back into the past where there was little accountability for how taxpayers' dollars were spent. NSBI conducts its business under a veil of secrecy and this annual report is not what I would consider an accountability. Rarely, if ever, do they produce press releases indicating where they have loaned money. Instead, if we are lucky, it might show up in an Order in Council.

Mr. Speaker, what is also alarming is that unemployment has gone up since the election despite what they're trying to take credit for. More jobs were created in the last two years of the Liberal Government than were created in four years under a Hamm Regime. I find it strange that the minister would include Cape Breton in a group of regions where 70

[Page 1893]

per cent of clients are located. At the last report there was only one project, one project, funded by NSBI in Cape Breton for a mere $27,000 and that was in the constituency of the Minister of Tourism and Culture - a Tory riding. That's the sum total of the amount of money in NSBI that was spent in Cape Breton - at the last report one project.

To add insult to injury, there was no business retention and expansion office located in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality and, indeed, Mr. Speaker, the Economic Development Office in Sydney has been reduced to one person and is on the way out the door. They don't have any responsibility for any loans or grants to local businesses in the Cape Breton area any more. They just refer them to NSBI and, as I outlined earlier, we know what NSBI's record has been in Cape Breton. This is the second largest municipality, the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, and no representation on the ground to deal with business requests in that area of Nova Scotia.

As well, the board makeup, Mr. Speaker, has only one representative from Cape Breton and that representative is a well-known Tory who hadn't even applied for the job, but other Cape Bretoners had applied. They didn't like any of the other Cape Bretoners, including people like Father Greg MacLeod and other people that the former Minister of Economic Development likes to use their names all the time, about energetic people from Cape Breton, but yet when it comes to putting them on this board, none of his friends from Sydney Mines made it, or Father Greg didn't make it but, lo and behold, they went out and solicited a Tory. You might say a token Tory from Cape Breton is the lone representative on the NSBI and the minister is trying to tell us that this is a province-wide organization.

Also, Mr. Speaker, to add further insult to injury, the Cabinet Office in Sydney is getting ready to close and it will close as soon as this government can find a home for the current manager, a Tory hack, an appointment of the Tory Government and the Cabinet office, and as soon as they can find a job for that person in the same kind of situation that Alfie MacLeod was in, as soon as they found a job for Alfie, he went off to his just reward. As soon as the new person gets a just reward, they're going to close the Cabinet office in Cape Breton. I suggest you should keep it open and put the NSBI in there which would be more, in talking about fairness and distribution of NSBI influence across this province.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, what I want to say is, again, I believe the people who are operating at NSBI are good people. I believe they're honest people. I believe the process is flawed here in respect to the fact that this government said on day one, and before they were even elected, they would not get involved in any more loans or grants to businesses in Nova Scotia - that would be left to the private sector. Well, guess what? They're operating a payroll rebate system that was our system prior to them being elected to office; we put that into place here. But yet we had to stand in our place regularly in this Legislature and defend every single deal that we did in Economic Development, while we were in office. This is not the case anymore, the veil of secrecy is alive and well in this government. Thank you.

[Page 1894]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I think, excuse me, we're back to Tabling Reports, Regulations and Other Papers.

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table the Annual Report of South Shore Health for the year 2002-2003. At the same time I will also table the Annual Report of the Annapolis Valley Health for the fiscal year 2002-2003.

MR. SPEAKER: The reports are tabled.

The honourable Minister of Education.

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, in advance of tabling this report, I would like with your permission, to make an introduction. I would like to welcome, for the second time this week, to our east gallery the President of the Nova Scotia Community College, Mr. Ray Ivany. Ray, please stand and receive the welcome of the House. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table the Annual Report of the Nova Scotia Community College, A new view of learning for the year 2002-03.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Yes, Mr. Speaker, it's really by way of more of an introduction, but with your permission I'd like to introduce a special guest here today in the east gallery.

We issued a news release earlier today announcing the Morton Simmonds scholarship for two students in the Correctional Workers' program at the Nova Scotia Community College.

I'm very pleased to introduce, in the gallery, the person for whom this scholarship is named. Mr. Morton Simmonds of North Preston had a long and distinguished career as a correctional officer in the Department of Justice. I would ask Mr. Simmonds if he would stand and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

[Page 1895]

Mr. Simmonds has served the province with professionalism and dignity. Mr. Simmonds is believed to be the first African-Canadian correctional worker in Atlantic Canada. He began work as a correctional worker in Nova Scotia in 1972, Mr. Simmonds informed me. Mr. Simmonds is now very active in community work and I would like everyone to acknowledge his great work. We believe this will improve diversity in our correctional system in Nova Scotia. Thank you.

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

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, I just want to echo the words of the Minister of Justice. This is a good announcement and it's very nice to recognize someone who is the first African-Nova Scotian to be a correctional officer in naming the scholarship - hopefully this will lead to more diversity in the correctional service in the coming years. I know the department is also pushing to do a review to ensure that there's more diversity, and hopefully this is another step in that direction. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, I too simply want to commend the department and the minister for scholarships that were awarded today in honour of Mr. Simmonds, and congratulate him for his dedication to the correctional service and his accomplishments and having more representation from the African-Nova Scotian community. In speaking of diversity, I would once again certainly encourage the minister and the correctional staff to also work towards having bilingual staff, especially in areas where there is significant French population. We do want to see diversity in that sense, also. It's an issue that I've raised with the minister before, whether it be with the sheriffs who operate here or the correctional officers, there is a need not only for racial diversity but also cultural diversity and language diversity, reflecting the mosaic that we find here in Nova Scotia. Congratulations to those who won the bursaries today, and to Mr. Simmonds on today's important announcement.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Preston.

MR. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, I know Mr. Simmonds very well. The minister was kind enough to point out some of the things he has done outside the community in his career as a correctional officer, and the many things he has done in the community. He has really been a community leader in the community of North Preston and has set an example for many young people to follow, as time goes on. Indeed, he really needs to be honoured by this House for the work he has done and the groundbreaking work he has done in the Corrections Services, as well as the work he has done in the community. I want to congratulate him, and I thank the minister for recognizing such a very important member of our community, and look forward to many more from our community coming forward in this way. (Applause)

[Page 1896]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to recognize the work of the Agricultural Task Force on BSE. As you are aware, the task force presented their report to me yesterday. There is no doubt that BSE has had a serious impact on our province's agricultural industry. The task force was able to capture those concerns through their meetings with farmers and many others.

I would like to take a moment to identify the members of the task force who were introduced in this House yesterday. Mr. Brooke Taylor, the MLA for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley; Mr. George Archibald, former Minister of Agriculture; Mr. Don Cox, a producer and 1st Vice-President of the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture; Mr. Leo Cox, a producer and Chairman of Nova Scotia Farm Loan Board; Mr. Stephen McNeil, MLA for Annapolis, and the Liberal Agriculture Critic; Mr. Kurt Sherman, who is a producer; Mr. Anthony Van Oostrum, a producer and Past President of the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture; and Larry Weatherby, a producer. (Applause)

As you may be aware, Mr. Speaker, I extended an invitation to my colleagues across the floor. I was extremely pleased when Stephen McNeil, MLA for Annapolis, accepted, and I want to thank him for his participation in all the task force activities and subsequent discussions. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, the task force was able to work within an ambitious time frame. In less than a month, the task force gathered the necessary information, met with farmers and came back with a report. I must note they did this before the deadline. The task force met with producers and others involved in the agricultural business, like farm equipment sales people and veterinaries. They met on four separate occasions in Wentworth, Antigonish, Brookfield and Kentville. Each of these four sessions was a minimum of seven hours long, with some going later into the evening. All in all, over 75 people made formal presentations, while many others attended to support the presenters and hear what they had to say. Participants were asked to explain how BSE has impacted their farming operation and if current programs are meeting their needs.

I had the opportunity to meet with the task force members yesterday and hear from them their findings and suggestions for improving the plight of our farmers impacted by BSE. I enjoyed meeting with them and hearing their thoughts. The agricultural industry is important to our rural economy, and the agricultural industry is important to this government. I've taken the recommendations and comments from the task force seriously, and will be addressing them with my staff over the next few days.

I also want to thank the presenters for their participation in the community meetings. Many people described personal situations, which I am sure was very difficult to do publicly. I appreciate their frankness and for taking the time to make their presentations. One cattle

[Page 1897]

producer, Marcia Greenough talked about the tremendous stress her family is under because of the BSE issue, as did John Tilley, Bill Scott, Wesley MacLellan and many others. Gillian Foster, a large animal veterinarian from the Cumberland County area, talked about the issue of preventative animal health, stating that with the additional numbers of animals sharing barns and the increased financial stress of the farmers to care for their animals, it may impact on the ability to keep animals healthy. Patrick Van Oostrum, owner of a farm equipment company in Port Williams, talked about the impact on his sales, saying that with beef producers accounting for 20 per cent of his business, the impact for him would likely be the layoff of one or two or three of his staff.

The presentations pointed out that BSE has had an impact not only on farm operations but to many others in the agricultural community. There is no question that the pressure from several years of drought, changing markets and chronically low margins are now compounded by Hurricane Juan and BSE.

[12:30 p.m.]

As I have indicated, I will take a closer look at the report and I have asked my staff to do so as well. I do take the work of the task force seriously and I can assure you that I will consider all available options. I hope that all members of this House will take the opportunity to read this report. I think it sums up a lot of the issues that farmers are dealing with today. There is a BSE impact, no one is denying that and certainly not my department nor this government.

Mr. Speaker, I ask the House to join me in recognizing the efforts of the task force members. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I wish I could thank the minister for his statement in advance but I didn't get it. (Interruptions) I can tell by the catcalls coming across the floor the actual intent of the minister was trying to coerce me into going on the task force. I want to say that for producers in this province and the members on the government side and maybe even on the Liberal side, maybe they do want to play politics with the BSE issue. (Interruptions) I guess I'm going down the right road by the response I'm getting.

Mr. Speaker, I watched the news last night and actually I was astounded to hear that the minister is going to take the next few weeks to review the task force report, 14 pages, that any member of this House could have read yesterday while the presentation was being made. Two recommendations is what this task force has come up with. Two significant recommendations and the minister in his speech today has talked about the people who came to this task force, and they came in good faith to that task force, and I didn't go on it in good faith to those people.

[Page 1898]

Now, the worth of this task force report and the worth of the minister will be decided in the next short while. If this minister is going to try to convince this House and those people who are in serious trouble in this industry that he's going to need weeks to determine what he's going to do, then that really shows that this was just a waste of those people's good time. Because that minister knew before this task force ever started that his programs were not going to meet the needs. His deputy minister could have told him that in a half-hour. I have also been told that the federal minister had announced that he had been talking with the provinces on a program. If the minister was involved in those talks and he didn't inform the task force members that he was involved in those talks, then he has an obligation to apologize to those members and to the industry for leading them down this road.

I want to say to the minister, everything that has come from his department recently has been attached to a federal program and quite often attached to a poorly developed federal program. He should be well aware, first of all, that Nova Scotia producers need help now, not in weeks and if that federal program, if it turns out there is one and that minister was negotiating it while this went on, if it doesn't come up to the standards that we need, then he has to produce something that Nova Scotia's made to help those producers.

I told the minister at the start of this process that if he did the right thing for Nova Scotia's producers, he would have my accolades. Even though I chose not to go on his task force, I would stand in this House and I would give him my approval for doing the right thing. He has my word on that. I am waiting to see, and so are they, that he will do the right thing. I want to tell the minister, you don't have the luxury of weeks. These producers can't hold on any longer. That was the statement of those task force members when they left this House yesterday. They don't have time. So I encourage the minister, do something, do it now for those people. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Annapolis.

MR. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the minister for providing me with his statement in advance and for his kind words. I also want to thank the participants who came out to the four community meetings that we had. As you well know, the agricultural community is made up of very proud, hard-working people. They came to those meetings and laid out some of the intimate details of their personal lives in a very difficult situation, and they did that because this really is their last hope, for many of them. Without some action by the government, there will be no beef industry in Nova Scotia next Spring. The minister has been provided with two solutions, two made-in-Nova Scotia solutions, and I encourage him to act on those immediately. (Applause)

I appreciate the financial difficulty the government is under, but we heard, time and time again, if you can write us a cheque before an election and you can promise a tax cut in January, then surely you can look after the rural economy of Nova Scotia. (Applause)

[Page 1899]

At a presentation in Antigonish, one of the producers, in his closing remarks, said they would like a Department of Agriculture that stood behind the industry in times of prosperity, stood in front of them in times of difficulty and not stood and faced them. Mr. Minister, we're giving you an opportunity to turn your department around and lead the agricultural community to prosperity. (Applause)

We can wait no longer. These recommendations need to be implemented immediately. Two weeks is too long. Producers can't wait. We need them now. Thank you very much. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to introduce, to the House, in the west gallery today, 37 Grade 6 students from Chebucto Heights Elementary School in my constituency, with six leaders: teachers Sharon MacDonald and Diane Tomes-Low; and chaperones Alana MacDonald, Kyle McMullin, Donna Perry and Liz Barrett. I would like to ask the students to please rise and receive the welcome of the House. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, I did have a special request, which I passed along to the Premier, that he stand up and turn around and wave to them during their introduction. I thank the Premier for doing that. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We welcome our special guests to the gallery today. We hope they enjoy the proceedings while they're with us.

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Tourism and Culture.

RESOLUTION NO. 716

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

Whereas the Order of Nova Scotia is the province's highest honour; and

Whereas the Order of Nova Scotia recognizes the achievements of deserving people throughout the province; and

Whereas up to five Nova Scotians receive the Order of Nova Scotia each year;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House remember to encourage people to nominate candidates for the Order of Nova Scotia before the March 21, 2004 deadline.

[Page 1900]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 717

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

Whereas Literacy Nova Scotia supports people and organizations involved in adult education, including advocating on behalf of the adult literacy community; and

Whereas this year's Literacy Action Week is during the week of November 3rd with the goal of promoting literacy awareness and the theme, Valuing Adult Literacy; and

Whereas community-based literacy organizations provide opportunities for Nova Scotians to improve their literacy skills that are so critical to strengthening the province's economic and social prosperity;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Literacy Nova Scotia and its members on their commitment to adult literacy in this province and their efforts to raise awareness of the importance of promoting literacy in our society.

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 1901]

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 718

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

Whereas Down syndrome is the most common chromosomal abnormality, occurring 1 in every 800 births; and

Whereas Down syndrome is one of the leading clinical causes of delayed development in the world; and

Whereas the Canadian Down Syndrome Society is a national non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of persons with Down's syndrome;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize November 1st to November 7th as National Down Syndrome Awareness Week.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

RESOLUTION NO. 719

HON. BARRY BARNET: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the honourable Minister of Natural Resources, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

[Page 1902]

Whereas staff at the Natural Resources Education Centre in Middle Musquodoboit have developed a new program entitled Woodlots and Weather to foster a better appreciation of the effects that severe weather events can have on our forests; and

Whereas participants will learn about storm and tree risk factors such as why some trees uproot while others break off and still others are not affected at all, and they will also learn about the types of severe weather events that can affect our forests; and

Whereas program participants will be taken on a tour of parts of the Department of Natural Resources' McCurdy Woodlot to see first-hand the power of Hurricane Juan and the impact it had on our woodlands;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate staff at the Department of Natural Resources Education Centre for their foresight in using the event to educate our children and youth about the effects severe weather events can have on our environment around us.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Tourism and Culture.

RESOLUTION NO. 720

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

Whereas the famed Highland Links Golf Course is once again ranked as one of the top 100 golf courses in the world; and

Whereas Golf Magazine, with newsstand sales of 1.5 million, ranked the Highland Links at No. 65 in their annual list of the top 100 courses in the world; and

[Page 1903]

Whereas the Highland Links Golf Course, which averages 26,500 rounds of golf per season, is only one of two Canadian courses to make it on the list of the top 100 in the world;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs in this Legislature applaud Ms. Irene Khattar, Acting General Manager of the Highland Links, and club pro Joe Robinson, who described the ranking as the most valuable that could be obtained, and wish them continued success with their operations of this world-renowned golf course.

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. 40 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 23 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Assessment Act. (Hon. Barry Barnet)

Bill No. 41 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 277 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Mechanics' Lien Act. (Mr. Darrell Dexter)

Bill No. 42 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 401 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Residential Tenancies Act, to Provide Fair Remedies for Tenants. (Ms. Maureen MacDonald)

Bill No. 43 - Entitled An Act to Amend Chapter 1 of the Acts of 1995-96. The Education Act, to Implement the Recommendations of the Special Education Implementation Review Committee. (Mr. William Estabrooks)

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

[12:45 p.m.]

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I just wanted to table the fax status reports that the NDP member did receive my statement prior to the House opening at 11:35 a.m., I do believe.

[Page 1904]

MR. SPEAKER: It's obviously not a point of order, but a disagreement of the facts between two members.

Bill No. 44 - Entitled an Act to Restore the Legal and Environmental Rights of the People of Sydney. (Mr. Gordon Gosse)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 721

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

Whereas a recent survey by the Environics Group found that 89 per cent of Canadians support whistle-blower legislation to protect public servants who expose corrupt, wasteful, and improper government action; and

Whereas Liberal and Conservative Governments in Nova Scotia have refused to support whistle-blower legislation to protect honest civil servants in this province; and

Whereas the danger of reprisals against civil servants who tell Nova Scotians the truth about their government helps win the Hamm Government's reputation as the most secretive in Canada;

Therefore be it resolved that whistle-blower legislation should be approved during this minority government to demonstrate the increased openness and accountability that Nova Scotians expect.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

[Page 1905]

RESOLUTION NO. 722

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

Whereas on October 27, 2003, Frito Lay announced that Cape Breton Sea Salt & Pepper has been selected as the next Lay's Taste of Canada flavour; and

Whereas Cape Breton Sea Salt & Pepper was chosen by Canadians from among four different flavours and from four different regions of the country; and

Whereas 1 million bags of this flavour will be made available across Canada;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate all those who voted for Cape Breton Sea Salt & Pepper and encourage all members to try this unique flavour from Cape Breton.

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. 723

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

Whereas Summer Street Industries Foundation is a community supported, not-for-profit organization that provides skill development opportunities to enrich the lives of people with mental challenges; and

Whereas the Kinsmen Club of New Glasgow President, Bob MacDonald, recently presented a cheque for $15,000 to Summer Street Industries' President Rob Roy in support of the organization's mandate; and

[Page 1906]

Whereas this donation is the first installment of the Kinsmen Club pledge of $150,000 in support of Summer Street Industries;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize the incredible work of Summer Street Industries and express our gratitude to Bob MacDonald and all the members of the Kinsmen Club in New Glasgow for their support of this very worthwhile organization.

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 Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 724

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

Whereas the member for Halifax Fairview predicted that the Liberal auto insurance plan, which was proposed by insurance companies and enacted by the Tory Government, was a scheme that would only last for one year; and

Whereas that member's prediction was proven wrong when insurance companies and the Liberal authors of the plan opened fire on their own plan exactly one day after it received third reading; and

Whereas all members of this House should be cautious when they make predictions about the future;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urges the member for Halifax Fairview to remember that unreliability of the Liberals and their insurance industry friends before he again predicts that their schemes can last as long as a year.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 1907]

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

RESOLUTION NO. 725

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

Whereas since 1980, MISA, the Metropolitan Immigrant Settlement Association, has been offering programs and services to help newcomers in their efforts to participate fully in Canadian life; and

Whereas MISA was recently given $238,133 from the Government of Canada as part of its National Homelessness Initiative; and

Whereas MISA has joined forces with the Halifax Immigrant Learning Centre and opened new offices in the Halifax Shopping Centre Annex to maximize their support for newcomers to Canada;

Therefore be it resolved that this House thank MISA for its continuing commitment to easing the transition of newcomers to Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

[Page 1908]

RESOLUTION NO. 726

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

Whereas volunteers with the Pictou County Ground Search and Rescue recently spent a weekend honing their skills just in case they are called upon to find someone lost in the woods; and

Whereas the weekend began with information training and then proceeded into two demanding staged rescues; and

Whereas Gary MacKinnon, coordinated this extremely intensive semi-annual weekend;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House recognize Gary MacKinnon and all the men and women who have so selflessly volunteered their time and efforts to the Pictou County Ground Search and Rescue and who are prepared to be called upon whenever the need for their skills arises.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 727

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

Whereas the Canadian Department of National Defence has announced that the Sea King helicopters are grounded due to unknown mechanical problems; and

[Page 1909]

Whereas the Sea King helicopter has been in service to the Canadian Armed Forces since 1964, more than 40 years of active duty; and

Whereas the Sea King should have been replaced more than 10 years ago except for the political grandstanding of the Liberal Party;

Therefore be it resolved that this House encourage the permanent grounding of Paul Martin and other Liberals who have already delayed replacing the Sea King helicopter for 10 years.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Richmond.

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

Whereas in typical fashion, the NDP will take credit for the good things but ensure others take the blame for the bad things; and

Whereas the NDP, failing to realize that they can't have their cake and eat it too, must take the blame for any and all consequences that the Tory Government will ultimately make that hurts seniors because of the choices they made in not blocking the tax cut; and

Whereas despite what the NDP MLA for Halifax Needham said in her whining, self-congratulatory speech last night about her Party supporting long-term care, when she wakes up to the fact that she supported the Tory's tax cut, she will then finally realize that she will have to explain to seniors why the services they need won't be delivered;

Therefore be it resolved that the NDP, no matter how hard they try to twist their words, will play an important part in inflicting pain on Nova Scotia's students, seniors and hard-working families, the same people they claim to support.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 1910]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The resolution is out of order because the wording is unparliamentary.

The honourable Minister of Human Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 728

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

Whereas businesses of all sizes must demonstrate determination, devotion and creative entrepreneurial spirit in order to be successful; and

Whereas the Bridgewater and Area Chamber of Commerce recently held its 4th annual Business Excellence Awards banquet; and

Whereas Pine View Farm, a nursery operated by two generations of the Brown family, was recognized as the Best Small Business for 2003;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Chris Brown, Sr., Mary Brown, Chris Brown, Jr., and Karen Brown on their recognition by the Bridgewater and Area Chamber of Commerce and acknowledge their dedication and creativity in running Pine View Farm.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 729

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

[Page 1911]

Whereas an entrepreneur is the kind of person who not only perceives an opportunity but also is willing to take a financial risk to act on that opportunity; and

Whereas such risk taking which often results in new jobs and a more diversified and vibrant economy needs to be encouraged; and

Whereas on October 23rd, Mr. Robert Wilson and Mr. Thane Myers, the co-owners of R/T Auto Body Limited, were honoured by the East Hants and District Chamber of Commerce with their Entrepreneur of the Year Award for 2003;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Mr. Wilson and Mr. Myers for their determination in turning a perceived opportunity into a thriving business that adds to the economy of Hants East and Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 730

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

Whereas a group of forward-thinking women from the Black Baptist Church community known as AUBA, which is the African United Baptist Association, 60 years ago came up with a concept of a parents men's association; and

Whereas men from the East Preston Baptist Church were receptive to the concept and formed the East Preston United Baptist Church Laymen's Association; and

Whereas the East Preston United Baptist Church Laymen's Association has shown leadership in our community achieving their goal of ministering to men and youth in the community;

[Page 1912]

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the members of the East Preston United Church Laymen's Association on their 59th Anniversary, which was held at the East Preston Rec Centre, Saturday, October 25, 2003, and wish them every success as they continue their important work in 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 Deputy Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 731

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

Whereas Newport Station native Tim Macumber was a member of Canada's Pan-American Men's Softball team which captured a gold medal this summer in the Dominican Republic; and

Whereas Macumber was also a member of the Canadian National Men's Softball team that played in the World Championships earlier this year; and

Whereas Tim is also looking forward to playing in the Canadian National Senior Men's Fastpitch Championship when it returns to his home of Newport-St. Croix next August;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs in this Legislature applaud the efforts of Tim Macumber for his participation and talents at being able to play at the world level.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 1913]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 732

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

Whereas communities across this province are frustrated by the government's failure to consult with them before approving industrial developments that threaten local economies and natural environments; and

Whereas residents of Digby Neck, North West Cove, Yarmouth County, Annapolis, and Kings County, Halifax Atlantic and Cape Breton Island have all felt that the Hamm Government has forced developments on them that are not in their best interest; and

Whereas an obvious pattern is beginning to emerge, as it is becoming a habit for this government to ignore the protests of communities and make decisions that put these communities at risk;

Therefore be it resolved that this government finally recognize that communities must be empowered to weigh in on local decisions and that the Hamm Government could illustrate good faith today by stopping a mega-quarry from moving into Digby Neck and stopping the fish-farm development in North West Cove.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[1:00 p.m.]

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings West.

[Page 1914]

RESOLUTION NO. 733

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

Whereas in the face of agricultural difficulties over the past year, Nova Scotia's pork producers continue to receive low prices; and

Whereas Nova Scotia's rural and urban economies will receive an immense blow if we do not support our pork producers; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia Agricultural Task Force on BSE has been presented to the government with recommendations on how to deal with present financial impacts and future personal concerns within Nova Scotia's agriculture industry;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House, while remembering the important contribution farmers make to this province, should also ensure that Nova Scotia's pork producers are included as part of the government's intervention in the province's agriculture crisis.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw the attention of the members to the west gallery, where we have members of the Success College in Lower Sackville here to watch the proceedings today. It's a paralegal class, and their instructor is Diane Newell. I would like to welcome everybody to the House. Would you please stand and receive your welcome. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We certainly welcome our guests to the gallery today.

The honourable Minister of Human Resources.

[Page 1915]

RESOLUTION NO. 734

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

Whereas the Bridgewater and Area Chamber of Commerce is a very active business-oriented community organization dependent on the generosity of its volunteers; and

Whereas the Bridgewater and Area Chamber of Commerce President's Award honours those volunteers who exhibit exceptional dedication to the organization; and

Whereas past-President Vernon Cornish has been awarded the President's Medal for his numerous hours of commitment to various chamber committees and as a representative of the chamber;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House join me in extending our congratulations and best wishes to Vernon Cornish on being awarded the 2003 President's Award by the Bridgewater and Area Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 735

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

Whereas the Manning Innovation Awards Foundation was established in 1980 to recognize excellence in commercial technological innovation in Canada, and held its annual awards dinner in Halifax on October 3rd; and

[Page 1916]

Whereas this year, all of the Foundation's winners are researchers and entrepreneurs in Atlantic Canada, including two in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the success of Atlantic Canadians, as scientific researchers and industrial innovators, clearly indicates the extent of our indigenous talent;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Kirk Swinimer of Chester, Nova Scotia, Chris Griffiths of St. John's, Newfoundland, Tim Edmonds of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Nancy Mathis of Fredericton, New Brunswick, as winners of the 2003 Manning Innovation Awards Foundation prizes.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 736

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

Whereas the one-mile long MacDonald Road in Scotch Lake is home to 25 residences and growing; and

Whereas the MacDonald Road has been a dirt road since 1950; and

Whereas the Minister of Transportation and Public Works is responsible for paving the MacDonald Road in Scotch Lake;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Transportation and Public Works immediately place the MacDonald Road in Scotch Lake on his priority list for paving.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 1917]

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Economic Development.

RESOLUTION NO. 737

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

Whereas businesses in Victoria County will soon have greater access to world markets with the implementation of broadband high-capacity Internet; and

Whereas the county was one of the first communities to apply for funding from the Broadband for Rural and Northern Development Pilot Program; and

Whereas under this, businesses in tiny rural communities such as St. Margarets Village, New Haven and Middle River will receive the same quality of Internet service as businesses in downtown Sydney;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize the importance of broadband-high capacity Internet access across this province and acknowledge the added advantage that having such access gives rural communities throughout Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

[Page 1918]

RESOLUTION NO. 738

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

Whereas the Family Services Association of Halifax Regional Municipality is funded by the United Way and the Department of Community Services and has for 27 years provided counselling for members of the Halifax community on a sliding fee scale; and

Whereas the Family Services Association was forced to close down its Dartmouth office on September 1st, leaving only the Spryfield, Lower Sackville and downtown Halifax offices; and

Whereas this can only further increase the frustration of those waiting for affordable help in already strained family situations and pressures on the three remaining offices;

Therefore be it resolved that this House wish all good luck to the staff of the remaining offices as they attempt to pick up the slack and encourage the Minister of Community Services to bolster funding available for this very important service.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 739

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

Whereas the BSE crisis has hurt beef producers throughout Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the BSE Task Force has reported back to the minister outlining the need for provincial assistance; and

Whereas the minister should accept all recommendations of the BSE Task Force;

[Page 1919]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House unanimously agree that the government should act on all recommendations of the BSE Task Force.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

RESOLUTION NO. 740

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 Christmas card prepared for the House of Assembly for this year shows a picture of the Red Room with a magnificent balsam fir Christmas tree; and

Whereas Lunenburg County is the balsam fir Christmas tree capital of the world; and

Whereas the Lunenburg County Christmas Tree Producers Association donates a tree to be placed in Province House every year;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly congratulate Province House staff for the choice of this year's card and thank the Lunenburg County Christmas Tree Producers Association for the donation of a Christmas tree to Province House.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 1920]

The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 741

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

Whereas John Windebank of Waterside, Pictou County, is celebrating his 90th birthday on November 1st; and

Whereas John Windebank is well-known in the local community for his work with mental health issues and with the Council of Canadians; and

Whereas John is still active physically and often seen riding his bicycle;

Therefore be it resolved that this Legislature congratulate John Windebank for reaching the milestone of 90 years and wish him good health and 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 member for Halifax Clayton Park.

RESOLUTION NO. 742

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

Whereas Christopher Boland of Clayton Park West recently received the Leiper Award from the Halifax Dunbrack Soccer Association; and

Whereas the Leiper Award is given annually to a youth player who has contributed the most to his or her club over their years of soccer; and

[Page 1921]

Whereas Chris has volunteered with the club during registration, during annual tournaments and has been a referee for soccer at the Special Olympics;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Chris Boland for his contribution to the Dunbrack Soccer Association and for receiving the Leiper Award for 2003.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Tourism and Culture.

RESOLUTION NO. 743

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

Whereas on March 29, 1904, the incorporation of the Town of Inverness became official; and

Whereas this newly incorporated town went on to achieve an illustrious history - producing literary greats, influential community leaders, successful mining and fishing industries, and became a mecca for harness racing in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas although now part of the municipality, the community of Inverness will officially celebrate it's 100th birthday on April 6, 2004;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Inverness and her people on their 100th birthday and recognize the community with honorary town status for the year 2004.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 1922]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 744

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

Whereas the Leader of the Liberal Party in Nova Scotia has criticized those, like the federal Cabinet, who failed to keep a healthy distance between themselves and the Irving companies who lobby government; and

Whereas the member for Digby-Annapolis has urged Nova Scotians to oppose the federal government's bias against smaller boat owner/operators who are the backbone of our fishery; and

Whereas the member for Annapolis has acknowledged that federal support for cattle farmers is so inadequate that it should not be the basis of Nova Scotia's response;

Therefore be it resolved that in the next federal election the members of the Liberal Party should be just as honest with Nova Scotian voters about the many shortcomings and failures of the federal Liberal Government as they have been in this House when the federal vote seems safely in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

[Page 1923]

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 745

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

Whereas every community needs a well-trained and dedicated firefighting force as a matter of public safety and protection; and

Whereas volunteer service given to one's community is one of the best things a person can do for his neighbours; and

Whereas on October 25th Mr. Wilbert Dearman and Mr. Borden Oakley were honoured by the Enfield Volunteer Fire Department for 35 and 45 years of service respectively;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Mr. Dearman and Mr. Oakley for having their long-term commitment to serve their community recognized by the Enfield Volunteer Fire Department.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period will be begin at 1:12 p.m. and end at 2:12 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

[Page 1924]

HEALTH - NURSING HOMES:

RETROACTIVE BILLING - EXPLAIN

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, we already informed this House that the very day a nursing home rate supplement went into effect - that being April 1st - many nursing homes increased their rates; this used up most, if not all, of the supplement increase. Now families are calling to tell me that nursing homes have increased rates this fall and have billed the increases retroactive to April 1st. One nursing home billed residents $4,800 on top of the regular monthly costs to cover the increase since April 1st. My question is for the Minister of Health. Why is the government allowing this kind of retroactive billing to continue?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, the operation of nursing homes, obviously, is a matter that requires that they operate and are able to cover their expenses. The fact that that is happening is one of the reasons that we have, in fact, put forward a plan to gradually cover the costs of health care costs for individuals within nursing homes, and that plan will proceed.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, in the meantime, the taking of the assets, what these people work their lifetime for, continues by this government. In 2001, I asked the present Minister of Education, who was then the Minister of Health, about retroactive billing and he said "It's not a problem that I'm pleased about, but I can tell the honourable members of this House that we are taking all possible steps to see that this situation does not occur." Those are the former minister's words. Well, over two years later, the Annapolis Royal Nursing Home just sent residents a bill for a retroactive rate increase totalling over $6,300. My question for the Minister of Health is, how many rate increases approved by your department this year were retroactive?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, that's a number that I don't have with me. I will take it as notice and provide the information to the honourable member at my first opportunity.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, as you know, the NDP introduced legislation in 2001 that would have banned retroactive billing by nursing homes. This government refused to pass it so I want to ask the Minister of Health, will he commit today to take immediate steps to end the practise of retroactive billing for nursing home residents?

[1:15 p.m.]

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, what I will undertake to do is to let nursing homes in this province know that they should try to conduct their businesses in such a way that that practice can be avoided.

[Page 1925]

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

HEALTH - DR. DUNCAN MACINTYRE:

CRISIS - GOV'T. RESPONSIBILITY

MR. DANIEL GRAHAM: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. Eighteen months ago extensive renovations were undertaken at the New Waterford Consolidated Hospital. Across the hall from these renovations was the office of Dr. Duncan MacIntyre and his staff. During these renovations, Dr. MacIntyre and his staff were exposed to very high levels of heavy metal poisoning. Two years ago this father of four was a healthy, athletic 37 year old. Today at age 39, he is wiped out - financially, medically, physically, emotionally. He is bedridden and not able to work since April of this year. He has been treated for heavy metal poisoning in Mexico and the United States and he is furious because there has been no acceptance of responsibility in Nova Scotia and he is receiving no support from this government, the district health authority - and the runaround from MSI. My question for the minister is, what will this government do to accept responsibility for Dr. MacIntyre's crisis and help him attempt to recover?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, there has been an extensive activity on the part of the DHA with respect to that facility, attempting to identify causes. That has been an ongoing effort on the part of the DHA. To date, they have not established any link with regard to the relationship that the honourable member suggests.

MR. GRAHAM: The runaround may be continuing, Mr. Speaker. Lynsy MacMullen is 8 months old. Eleven days ago her family learned that her levels of lead and other heavy metals in her blood were over 100 times the normal level. Her mother is Sherry MacMullen was pregnant with Lynsy at the time that she was working in Dr. MacIntyre's office. She is saturated with lead, aluminum, mercury, cadmium, barium - these readings increase her risk of autism and ADD. My question for the Minister of Health is, what will the government do to accept responsibility for Lynsy MacMullen and her family and her problems, for their crisis and help them attempt to recover?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, as I indicated previously in my other answer, there has been considerable testing done. There have been no traces of moulds, metal or hazardous compounds and we have no evidence of a link between a particular work area and the link is not established and we went further than that and brought in experts, the DHA did, and the results of their activity have not established the link.

MR. GRAHAM: Mr. Speaker, there are now at least a dozen people who have tested positive for heavy metal poisoning as a result of those renovations. Several of these people are terribly ill and are off work. Is the minister prepared to have his officials do a comprehensive study and take action immediately to ensure that this problem does not develop into a bigger crisis in New Waterford and the surrounding area of Cape Breton?

[Page 1926]

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I can tell the honourable member through you that indeed the DHA continues to try to find the source of the problem, relative to that building. They continue to do that and it is the desire of all involved to find any causes that are related to these incidents. That work will continue.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

HEALTH - CAP. DIST. HEALTH AUTH.:

NURSING CONCERNS - ADDRESS

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Health. I want to table a letter written to the minister yesterday by the president of the Nova Scotia Government Employees Union in which she raises concerns she has about the situation at Capital District. She says: I learned that almost every unit is short up to ten RNs and that the use of overtime has become an accepted practice to address these shortfalls. She goes on to say that in light of the limits now being placed on overtime use, charge nurses have frankly been intimidated by management from properly fulfilling their staffing duties.

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health has refused to admit that his tough-love approach to health authority funding budgets is hurting patient care. Now, nurses are telling us that morale is deteriorating and sick time and burnout is increasing. So I want to ask the minister, how long is he going to let this situation at the Capital District drag on while the health of the nursing staff and the quality of patient care suffers?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, the overtime budget of the Capital District Health Authority was a figure of up to $7 million. They're attempting to manage that overtime more effectively, through a reduction in that figure, but not an elimination of overtime. There will still be in excess of $6 million paid out for overtime charges in that facility. That has been a very recent decision taken by them and, obviously, we are going to want to watch it very carefully to ensure that patient services are looked after.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Well, Mr. Speaker, while the minister sits by and watches, a crisis is developing in the Capital District for the nursing staff. In her letter, Ms. Jessome tells the minister that health care staff have serious concerns about the quality of care, patient safety and increased risks for themselves as they attempt to uphold their own professional standards. The CEO of Capital Health is also worried about the impact these measures are having on patient care. So my question to the Minister of Health is, patients, administrators and staff are telling him this is a bad situation, when will he approve the DHA budgets and terminate these completely unacceptable budget reduction exercises?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, as I have indicated in previous Question Periods we, in fact, are allowing the DHA to manage their situation and they have come forward with a plan which they have indicated to us will not impact patient care. We have real very concerns

[Page 1927]

about the patients and as well as the nurses and we want to ensure and we will work with the Capital District to ensure that those concerns are met.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I want to remind the minister that hospitals are accredited facilities based on independent evaluation and a list of well established standards. One of those standards is "the appropriate staffing to minimize gaps in services and risks of staff burnout." Will the minister then tell this House today why he is refusing to take action on an issue which can have an impact on the accreditation of the Capital District's facilities as outlined in the Canadian Council on Health Services accreditation standards.

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, the professionals that are charged with the responsibility of operating the Capital District Health Authority are not going to take actions that would in any way threaten their accreditation. They are professionals, they know their business and they know it far better than anybody in this Chamber. So, I am going to allow the professionals at the Capital District to do their work and part of that job is to ensure that they maintain their accreditation and that's what will happen.

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

FIN. - $54 M CUTS: PREMIER - DETAILS

MR. DANIEL GRAHAM: Mr. Speaker, before I begin my second question, I would like table before the House a report on Lynsy MacMullen's heavy metal readings that I intended to table from my first supplementary earlier.

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. Over the past few weeks we have repeatedly called for the government to come clean with respect to the state of Nova Scotia's finances. We now know that the Spring budget that was described during the election campaign is very different from the Fall budget, which came after the election campaign. There is a price to be paid for the Tory/NDP tax scheme. We will see more cuts to health, to education, to roads and community services. Is it too much to ask how people will be hurt? My question for the Premier is, will the Premier tell Nova Scotians here in the House today where the $54 million worth of cuts will be made?

HON. JOHN HAMM (The Premier): I refer that to the Minister of Finance.

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, I can say to this House that when we announced the program in September that we would be looking for $32 million, as we indicated, we would be looking at the departments to come up with a management plan. We have done that. The departments are responding and we anticipate having that particular task done in a very short period of time so we can activate those suggestions the departments have made.

[Page 1928]

MR. GRAHAM: Mr. Speaker, as the Minister of Finance knows, we are now seven months into a 12-month fiscal year. Nova Scotians are asking us whether or not we will be supporting the budget for next year. It's difficult to talk about next year's budget when we still don't have it settled with respect to this year's budget. The Deputy Minister of Finance could answer some of our questions but the government and the NDP control the agenda on the Public Accounts Committee and neither of them will support our repeated requests to have the Deputy Minister of Finance appear before the Public Accounts Committee. My question for the Premier is, Mr. Premier, will you confirm in this House that you support our request to have the Deputy Minister of Finance appear at the earliest opportunity before the Public Accounts Committee to speak about the finances of this province?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, it's an established principle in this House that the Public Accounts Committee operates without pressure from either the Premier or Party Leaders. It would appear that not everybody in this House supports that time-honoured tradition but this Party does.

MR. GRAHAM: Mr. Speaker, my question is not whether or not the Premier will pressure the Public Accounts Committee to positively put the Deputy Minister of Finance on, we would like for him to go on record as saying that he is not opposed to the idea of the Deputy Minister of Finance coming. This is going to be a cold, harsh winter for Nova Scotians with cuts and labour unrest. We know that government officials have made specific recommendations to cut university operating budgets, regional school boards, community colleges, highways, roads, bridges, the Departments of Energy, Environment and Labour, Health, Natural Resources, only to name a few. My question is for the Premier. Will the Premier tell the people of Nova Scotia what cuts will have to be made to support his ill-timed tax cut?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, when this government came to office, we were faced with, after what were called six years of cuts, we were still dealing with a $500 million deficit. So the kinds of things that the member opposite is describing are things that we have dealt with ever since we were elected in 1999 but they had to be dealt with in the interest of the people of Nova Scotia. If we were unwilling to accept those kinds of challenges, this province, today, would be bankrupt.

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

JUSTICE - DOMESTIC VIOLENCE:

PREVALENCE - INVESTIGATE

MR. GORDON GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, my question, through you, is to the Minister of Justice. Cape Breton Regional Police are reporting that there are disturbing trends about incidents of spousal abuse. They say there is a 30 per cent increase over last year. This problem, of course, isn't limited to Cape Breton. It happens far too frequently across this

[Page 1929]

province, which makes this government's attempt to cut funding from transitional houses all the more galling. Many people are wondering what fate transition houses and women's centres will have during the current budget reduction exercises. My question is, what has your government done to investigate the prevalence of domestic violence in Nova Scotia, and what is your plan to deal with it over the next few years?

[1:30 p.m.]

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member obviously brings up a very important subject to Nova Scotians, and that is the unfortunate continuing prevalence of domestic violence. I could indicate to the honourable member that in Nova Scotia, through the Public Prosecution Service and through policies and protocols, we have a very, very tough attitude towards domestic violence. The Public Prosecution Service takes this matter very seriously, so we try to deal with it at that level. Obviously, as well, we have legislation in place that allows for people who are the victims of domestic violence to return to their property and take possession of homes and those kinds of things.

MR. GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, not only is domestic violence on the rise in Cape Breton, but so is violent crime. Police are investigating why murders and other violent crimes are on the rise there. This problem is not isolated to Cape Breton. At a recent community meeting in Dartmouth, residents told the police force they need more community policing support. My question to the minister is, what is your government's plan to support citizens on patrol, community policing, and to provide more policing in schools?

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member also raises a good issue, and that, of course, is the importance municipal government plays in dealing with these issues. It is the municipalities that fund police services across this province, and municipalities that tailor that police service to their own community needs. We, in the Department of Justice, have been working with police services in this province to provide improved standards for policing, to ensure that the police in Nova Scotia continue to deal with crime in an effective way.

MR. GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, in Cape Breton one of those factors cited for the increase in domestic violence was high unemployment, yet last week the Premier dismissed a report of the CBRM Council which pinpointed employment and other needs in Cape Breton. My question to the minister is, will your government begin to address this serious situation by establishing a team of local police, RCMP, and government officials to address outbreaks of violence across the province, and report back on causes and solutions?

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I can assure you that the justice centre that our government opened in Truro is working on very important domestic violence issues, police training and those kinds of things. We are working on, in fact, improving the delivery of Justice services all across this province.

[Page 1930]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

HEALTH - WAIT TIMES REPORT: RELEASE DELAY - EXPLAIN

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. On several occasions during this sitting of the House we've raised the serious issue of wait times in this province. While the previous Minister of Health committed to releasing information in the Fall, with regard to wait times in this province, the current minister, during this session of the House, has said it will be closer to Christmas. However, we know the ability of this government to do something is severely restricted. My question to the minister is, will the minister please indicate whether or not the release of this report is being delayed because recommendations will require money, money that the government doesn't have because of its fiscal bind and its tax scheme?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, no.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, the issue of wait times in this province is an extremely serious one, and it's time for this government to be accountable for a lack of action. My question to the minister is, will the minister please confirm, to all members of this House, that there are now over 6,000 people on the wait lists for orthopaedic surgery in the Capital District?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, that's not a number that I have at my fingertips. I will be glad to research the number and give it to the honourable member.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, we've already done the research for the minister so let me fill him in. But, don't call your deputy minister because he doesn't think wait times are a big deal. Call the Capital District and they'll confirm that close to half of that 6,000 - 2,827 are on the wait list for major orthopaedic back surgery, scopes, hip and knee replacements. Those statistics are shocking to say the least. But what's even more frightening is the $54 million that will come out of services this year and the $147 million that will come out of the program next year in order to pay for the government's NDP-supported tax scheme. My final question to the minister is, as bad as those statistics are, and they're bad, will the minister commit right here, right now in this House, will he commit (Interruptions) serious stuff, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Glace Bay on his final supplementary question.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): This is serious stuff and it's treated as a joke by this government. I'm asking the minister to commit right here that the wait times will not get any worse this year.

[Page 1931]

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I think in all fairness, the honourable member should admit that he is the person that created the joke, not this side of the House.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay):You're over there laughing.

MR. MACISAAC: I'll try to restrain myself in the future from laughing at your jokes.

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

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, indeed, yesterday if the honourable member had listened very attentively to the deputy minister, he would have learned that the difficulty with wait times is not one that requires only an infusion of money to resolve. That is not it. It's a structural problem that has to be addressed. That is why there is in place a committee supported by the Department of Health staff and by the DHAs that is examining the issue of wait times. Orthopaedic surgery is one of their specific assignments and that report, when I receive it, we will be acting on it to ensure that we address the issue of wait times as effectively as we can. We need the information, when we get it, we will act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS. - ROADSIDE CROSS (S. DAINE):

PLACEMENT - ALLOW

MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Transportation. One year ago tomorrow, Darren Daine died when the Brinks truck in which he was a passenger rolled on the Cobequid Pass about a mile north of the toll booths. Darren's father, Stanley, is a constituent of mine. Stanley Daine has hand-made a beautiful small cross with his son's name and picture on it. But, the Department of Transportation has told Stanley Daine that he will not be allowed to place that memorial cross on the spot where Darren died. My question to the minister is, why will the Department of Transportation not allow Stanley Daine to place a roadside cross in memory of his son, Darren?

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: We have a policy within the department that permits MADD to place white crosses on the side of a highway where an accident occurs that is occasioned by a driver who's driving under the influence. We have resisted others who have asked to have the same privilege simply because of the number of requests that we received would result in a distraction for drivers on the highway as they pass numerous crosses. This particular cross, incidentally, I believe, is quite a large one. It's roughly, I think, two metres high so it's quite a large structure.

MR. STEELE: Mr. Speaker, I have stood in Stanley Daine's kitchen and I held the cross and it is nowhere near the size that the minister has just indicated. There's a tradition in the Daine family of serving in law enforcement or the Armed Forces. Stanley Daine

[Page 1932]

himself is a veteran of Canada's Armed Forces, another son served in Bosnia as a peacekeeper. Now the Daine family wants nothing more than a roadside memorial to Darren but has been told that it is departmental policy that only fatalities caused by drunk drivers can be memorialized by a roadside cross. My question to the minister is, why has the Department of Transportation and Public Works adopted a policy approving some memorial crosses but not others?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I have every sympathy for the family concerned and it would be fine if we could make that exception and then that would be the end of it but, unfortunately, there are many, many requests every year made to the department for that same memorial to be erected on our highways.

I believe that I am correct in saying that across this country the only crosses that are permitted beside highways, Mr. Speaker, on the national highway system, are those that are erected by MADD.

MR. STEELE: Mr. Speaker, the minister knows or ought to know that there are memorial crosses for fatalities caused by other reasons, including one just outside Baddeck. Stanley Daine has the cross in his kitchen waiting for word from the minister that it can be placed. He doesn't have a car, so he can only place a cross on a weekend when he can get a ride with one of his sons. He wants to place the cross before the frost comes. He wants to place the cross this weekend as close as possible to the anniversary of Darren's death. So my question to the minister is, if Stanley Daine places his memorial cross on the Cobequid Pass this weekend, will the minister promise Stanley Daine and this House that his department will not remove it?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I cannot guarantee that.

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

COMMUN. SERV.: SOCIAL HOUSING UNITS - CONSTRUCT

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community Services. Over the past few weeks, we have asked questions on behalf of Nova Scotians with regard to the issue of social housing. The minister's reaction was a hastily crafted press release prompted by pressure applied not only by the Liberal caucus here but the federal minister, the Honourable Steve Mahoney, as well as Halifax Regional Municipal Councillor Sue Uteck, on this particular issue.

Mr. Speaker, the federal-provincial affordable housing fund of $37 million has been available for more than a year. Given the circumstances of the fact that the minister has only spent $385,000 out of that fund, which is approximately 1 per cent, my question to the minister is, will the minister commit to and not just a plan but the actual construction of the

[Page 1933]

remaining 1,485 housing units that should have been constructed, given the fact that he's only constructed 15 or so?

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would have to say that I disagree with the premise of the question with regard to some of the allegations the member made. It is news to me about all these people who were involved in crafting our press release yesterday, but anyway, thank you very much for the information. Also, the member is mistaken about the amount that has been expended so far out of the fund, it is not $385,000. As I have indicated in this House now on numerous occasions, I do look forward to making many announcements over the coming months for new affordable housing for low-income Nova Scotians.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, there is a lady by the name of Mary Budden, she's a constituent of mine who has been forced to live with her elderly mother. She is now on Canada Pension, Ms. Budden is, receiving $404 a month. She was cut off her medical card from the Department of Community Services because of a breakdown in communications with his staff and I've been trying since August of this year to have a staff member visit Ms. Budden, who for the most part is ridden with three terminal diseases. She has cancer, she has a blood disorder and she is on the waiting list for a liver transplant and I can't even get someone from his department to go and visit this individual. My question - given the fact that the minister has all this money for the elderly, for the abused, and for those as he describes as poor, my question is, why is he foot-dragging and leaving such individuals as Mary Budden in such a vulnerable position?

[1:45 p.m.]

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I'm sure the honourable member would agree that it would not be appropriate to be bringing up individual cases in the House and using them for political advantage and to cast aspersions on the dedicated staff that I have in the department and I'm sure the member would agree with me.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I tabled a letter from a constituent authorizing disclosure of a file yesterday and the minister still buried his head in the sand. Today I have authorization again to speak on that and he knows that I, as a senior member, would not even raise such an issue in the House. My question to the minister is, given the fact that you've only spent approximately 1 per cent of $37 million in one year in a 5-year program, that would mean you would only spend about 5 per cent at best, why is the government continuing to foot-drag at the rate that you will see a large percentage of these dollars forfeited back to the federal government, or indeed lost for another day?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate again the chance to stand up and say that we've consulted with Nova Scotians, advocacy groups, over the last year and many other people who have concerns about the availability of affordable housing. We're very pleased

[Page 1934]

with what has come forward as a result of this, and look forward to making a formal announcement on the program in the very near future, to be followed by many affordable housing initiatives shortly thereafter.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

ENVIRON. & LBR. - TOBEATIC WILDERNESS AREA:

JEOPARDY - EXPLAIN

MS. JOAN MASSEY: Mr. Speaker, I'm going to go at this one more time; this is the last chance for this session and I'm going to go at this issue one more time.

This government has just handed Black Bull Resources 435 hectares right on the border of the Tobeatic Wilderness Area. I would like to table this map, and on this map you will see that these borders are so close to this wilderness area that you can hardly differentiate where one starts and one ends. They've given Black Bull a 10-year lease. It appears a mine that Nova Scotians have been fighting against for years is about to get underway even though we know that this mine could lead to an environmental disaster.

The Tobeatic Wilderness Area is one of the most unique and precious wilderness areas in the world. Mr. Speaker, my question to the Minister of Environment and Labour is, why are you willing to jeopardize one of Nova Scotia's most valuable environmental resources?

HON. KERRY MORASH: Mr. Speaker, we certainly aren't willing to jeopardize the Tobeatic. We will do everything that we can to ensure that the mine can operate and the Tobeatic remains pristine.

MS. MASSEY: Well, the people who live in that area believe that you're giving them the shaft - they don't want that mine. (Interruptions) Mr. Speaker, Black Bull wants to put a quartz mine right on the border . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. That's unparliamentary and I would ask the honourable member to retract it, please.

MS. MASSEY: I'm sorry, I will retract that statement, Mr. Speaker. Black Bull wants to put a quartz mine right on the border and, as I've said, it's too close. Just before the election the Hamm Government released its much-anticipated green plan promoting and promising to protect and manage our unique ecological features. The Hamm Government promised this to these people. The Tobeatic is the last wilderness area of its kind in Nova Scotia; it cannot be replaced, yet the Hamm Government is showing no interest in protecting this area. The new Minister of Environment and Labour has flatly refused to meet and hold an alternate dispute resolution with these people. My question to the minister is, caution

[Page 1935]

should be our priority here, why won't you let an independent scientific panel look at this situation?

MR. MORASH: Mr. Speaker, we certainly have taken a lot of time and effort to look at the application that came in to do the environmental assessment and to ensure that all rules and regulations have been met and followed. (Interruptions)

MS. MASSEY: Mr. Speaker, I didn't even hear what you said, there was too much talking going on. But do you know what? You've been saying the same thing since the session began, so, you know it doesn't really matter, I'm hearing the same thing.

Mr. Speaker, just this month the government handed Black Bull 435 hectares bordering the Tobeatic. The project appears to be full steam ahead. The company has a 10-year lease. Time is running out. My question to the minister is, how can we possibly take your green plan seriously, when you won't even step up to protect Nova Scotia's most valuable treasured protected areas?

MR. MORASH: Mr. Speaker, I would like to defer that question to the Minister of Natural Resources for some additional information.

HON. RICHARD HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for the opportunity to speak on this important issue that happens to be in the Yarmouth County area. We have met with the residents of all of South West Nova Scotia, and everybody has been well informed, over two years. They've had public meetings, with the residents of all of South West Nova. Maybe the member opposite should know that members of this government met with the council as early as 9:00 o'clock on Monday morning of this week. The Minister of Environment and Labour, the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, and myself met with the Council of Argyle that represents the area that Black Bull is going to be situated in. We have listened to the concerns of the residents of all of South West Nova, and we are listening to them. There will be mechanisms in the mining permit, if the mining permit goes ahead.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

ENERGY - C.B.: SEISMIC TESTING - DENY

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, my question goes to the Minister of Energy. Corridor Resources Inc. has applied to undertake seismic testing just off the shores of Cape Breton. The Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board is considering allowing seismic testing in this area in spite of massive opposition. Most disturbing is that this decision that affects thousands and an entire industry - that is to say, fishing - will be made behind closed doors. Nova Scotia has two representatives on this board, that is the CNSOPB. Will the minister instruct those representatives not to allow seismic testing in this area?

[Page 1936]

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for that question. It allows me the opportunity, through you to the House, to enlighten him of the fact that there has been a two-year process around the seismic application and through the board there have been measures in place that are quite detailed, that respect the environment and also let seismic activity proceed. So no, I will not be seeking for those members to reject it.

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, I wish to now direct a question to the Minister of Environment and Labour. Fisheries scientists have determined that the area in question is too fragile for seismic testing. More than 20 concerned groups, including the Ecology Action Centre and the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia, have openly opposed seismic testing in the fragile areas proposed. Clearly, allowing the seismic testing in this case will only open up the area for further testing in the future, and if the CNSOPB is willing to allow testing, we can be sure they will allow drilling in this area. My question to the Minister of Environment and Labour is, when are you going to stand up for Nova Scotians and order a full Class II environmental assessment of this proposed exploration before it's too late?

HON. KERRY MORASH: Mr. Speaker, I would like to refer that question to the Minister of Energy for additional information.

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, as the Minister of Environment and Labour would know, with our department, and to that member as well, the process around the seismic activity off of Cape Breton has been as exhaustive as that member's question has been in the House. Really, all the mechanisms are in place for the proper seismic activity, and we hold to that process.

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, the appropriate mechanism is a full public hearing, independent, arm's-length, Class II environmental assessment, which the Minister of Environment and Labour can order. Seismic testing will threaten the Cape Breton fishery and tourism industries, local habitat and the environment. This government has one last chance to do the right thing, but time is running out. Again to the Minister of Environment and Labour, when will your government act on behalf of Nova Scotians and prevent seismic testing in this fragile area.

MR. MORASH: Mr. Speaker, we will certainly ensure that all aspects of the project are considered and look at them and follow along with the regulations and the processes that are in place to make sure that the environment is taken care of. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Clare.

[Page 1937]

PSC: PUB. SERV. COMMISSIONER/

DEP. MIN. TREASURY BD. - CONFLICT

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. Last week the minister responsible for the Public Service Commission stated that the Deputy Minister of Treasury and Policy Board is not in conflict when she performs her role ensuring a fair collective agreement for civil servants. A conflict is defined as being or potentially being in a situation where it's reasonable for others to wonder whether an individual's interest might compromise their ability to exercise good judgment. As the appointment of deputy ministers is the responsibility of the Premier, my first question to the Premier is, could the Premier please explain how an individual who is responsible for reigning in budgets is not in a conflict position when it comes to negotiating fair collective agreements for civil servants?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to declare before the House my complete confidence in the person to which the question referred. I believe that in the performance of professional duties, since there's no personal issue at hand, that that person, in their professional capacity can fulfill the requirements of both offices.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Just for a technical reason the House will recess for about 15 minutes and we will start the clock back at 1:57 p.m. So we have 15 minutes left in Question Period once we come back at about 2:10 p.m.

[1:57 p.m. The House recessed.]

[2:15 p.m. The House reconvened.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Question Period will begin again at 2:15 p.m. and it will end at 2:30 p.m.

The honourable member for Clare on his first supplementary.

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I promise I won't be asking any more questions after today during this session. (Laughter) I will try again, and again to the Premier as the individual responsible for the appointment of deputy ministers. Could the Premier please explain to all those about to begin contract negotiations how an individual who is responsible for directing cuts across government is able to perform a role in ensuring a fair collective bargaining process?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, what I can say to the member opposite, because he does have considerable experience on the government benches, is that the Treasury and Policy Board function to which he refers is one that is carried out by elected members who serve on Treasury and Policy Board. It is not an administrative function. The Treasury and

[Page 1938]

Policy Board is responsible for policy, but the policy is dictated and directed by the elected members who serve on Treasury and Policy Board.

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, my final question. Last week the Minister responsible for the Public Service Commission stated that no one should be worried because negotiations would be conducted in an open environment. Yet, it has been recently confirmed that negotiations for health care workers in the Capital District will automatically go to binding arbitration for the current round of negotiations. So my final question to the Premier is, could the Premier explain to all members of this House how immediate binding arbitration can be described as negotiations in an open environment?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, what I can say is that the government will do everything in its power to have an appropriate process available to all public sector workers. It is not the intention of government to start a negotiating process here on the floor of the House of Assembly.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

EMO - POWER OUTAGES: SUB-ZERO TEMPS. - PLAN DETAILS

MS. MICHELE RAYMOND: Mr. Speaker, my first question through you is for the Minister responsible for the Emergency Measures Act. When Hurricane Juan struck a month ago we were lucky and we experienced unusually warm weather afterwards during maybe two weeks without power. We might not be as lucky next time, as winter storms may well bring down weakened trees and knock out power for an extended period during cold winter weather. Many emergency shelters were actually without power during the period after the storm, so what is the plan for addressing power outages in sub-zero temperatures?

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, that's a very good question. Yesterday I participated for two and a half hours in the debrief of all organizations and levels of government authority under EMO. That was a concern raised by not only myself, but a number of other individuals and organizations. That contingency plan is being addressed with local municipal authorities to ensure that those situations where generators can and should be installed, and where better shelter locations can be located that have those services during an emergency, would be part of the go-forward plan. Thank you.

MS. RAYMOND: My next question actually is not for the Minister responsible for the Emergency Measures Act, but for the Minister of Environment and Labour. Increasing numbers of Nova Scotians are living and working in apartment and office buildings. The Halifax Regional Water Commission can supply water of a pressure that would reach the 11th storey of any given building, after that it has to be electrically boosted and, as we all know, elevators run on electricity as well. The provincial Building Code, however, does not appear to require backup generators in any of these buildings. Can you, perhaps, address this?

[Page 1939]

HON. KERRY MORASH: Mr. Speaker, it's a very good question, because as early as yesterday I was talking to the gentleman responsible for elevators and there are a lot of issues that have come up. We haven't been used to power outages for this extended period of time. A review is taking place and suggestions will be made and we'll look at whatever we can do to make improvements.

MS. RAYMOND: Mr. Speaker, the problem actually gets worse for many of the more vulnerable citizens. The building inspectors will tell us that in a power outage that's why we have stairs, but if you're living on an upper storey and are required to use stairs, not only to get out but also to get even water, there is difficulty and this is a problem for many seniors and disabled. Specifically however, seniors' complexes and nursing homes, most of which don't reach 11 storeys but some of which do, are really vulnerable in the case of a prolonged power outage. They should have backup power for these basic needs. Will the minister please be proactive and ensure that seniors' complexes and nursing homes do have generators as backup before the onset of winter this year?

MR. MORASH: Mr. Speaker, I'm not aware of all of the circumstances for all the nursing homes, but I am aware that some certainly do have backup power. I'm sure that was part of the debriefing that the Minister responsible for EMO went through yesterday, and I'm sure it's being looked at and will be addressed.

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

ECON. DEV. - C.B. & CENT. N.S. RAILWAY: PLAN - CONFIRM

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, today my question is for the Minister of Economic Development. Recently, during this House session, I asked the minister to table his department plan to save the Cape Breton & Central Nova Scotia Railway. The minister said when a plan was ready, he would table it in this House. We have yet to see it. The former minister, the member for Cape Breton North, said a plan is in place, but he would not release it because it contained proprietary information. The former Minister of Economic Development, now the member for Cape Breton North, said in Sydney that this was indeed proprietary, giving the opinion that the plan was already there but couldn't be released. My question to the minister is, Mr. Minister, is there a plan or is there not a plan?

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, there certainly is a business plan. I would certainly like to say to the member opposite, during this past construction season, tracks were being repaired and laid down in Cape Breton, not torn up.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question was light years away from the condition of the track down there. I'm talking about a plan to save the Cape Breton railway. Now he says the plan exists. If the plan exists, the taxpayers of this province have a right to see that plan. It should not be deemed proprietary by a previous minister. It's a

[Page 1940]

public document and the people of Nova Scotia, particularly the stakeholders of the railway in Cape Breton, and the people of Cape Breton have a right to know whether they're going to have a railway in the future. My question, again to the minister, is, will the minister tell the people affected by this possible closure of the railway whether or not they're going to have a railway in Cape Breton in the future?

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, as I said previously, they're laying tracks in Cape Breton, not tearing them up. Obviously this government is supportive of a plan for a sustainable railway system and continues to keep it in Cape Breton. We have a number of private companies and publicly-traded companies that are interested in that proposal. Obviously there is a plan, and obviously there is proprietary information with that plan.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the minister states in this House that there is a plan. Well, we would like to see the plan. Is that too much to ask? As taxpayers and as legislators in this province, is it too much to ask if the minister would table the plan? We're getting two stories here from two different ministers. We're getting one story in Halifax, and another story in Cape Breton. I'm convinced that the plans for the railway were to get the member for Cape Breton North through the last election, and that's all the plan that was in there. My final supplementary to the current minister is, will the minister assure this House that the government will be involved financially, if need be, to keep this railway open in Cape Breton?

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, certainly there is one plan in place, and it's on the government side of the House. The double-plan is obviously invested in the opposite member's head. I can tell you one thing, we have made a commitment to this railway, and we will continue in the future to make that financial commitment.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

AGRIC. & FISH. - PORK PRODUCERS:

IND.-MANAGED PROG. - INITIATE

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, my question will be for the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries. The past two years have been difficult for hog producers in this province. If there is anything predictable in prices, it's that they are predicted to remain low for some time. Last year, after refusing to meet with pork producers, the government finally initiated a loan program for individual hog producers that only put them into greater debt. Last Spring, the pork industry participated in a task force whose report is still gathering dust. So my question to the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries is, 2003 markets are still unstable, will your government initiate an industry-managed program for pork producers immediately?

[Page 1941]

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, less than two weeks ago, or about two weeks ago we met with Pork Nova Scotia and had a really good conversation with them. I spoke with the vice-president last evening about this issue as well. We're looking at having a meeting next week to discuss these very issues and it's looking very favourable.

MR. MACDONELL: I'm just not clear, Mr. Speaker, as to what's looking favourable, whether or not they're actually going to help pork producers or they're actually going to dodge the issue like they do most issues. Neither the cost of the production nor pork prices are expected to improve until at least next April. Farmers are struggling to access capital, improve their bottom line, and keep the industry alive. These producers are concerned that the province has changed its agricultural policy to simply reflect federal policies instead of developing its own programs that reflect the unique situation of our agricultural sector. They need a permanent risk management tool.

Mr. Speaker, I ask the minister, what made-in-Nova Scotia solutions is his department prepared to put forward for these pork producers since he has said he's already talking with them?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Well, I do want to inform the member opposite that the shortcomings of the current stabilization program are identified by industry and government. Now, this has been an ongoing situation for the last few years, that we knew that the CFIP program wasn't working right, the NISA program wasn't working right, and that's why this government and this province were at the table in the negotiations of the new program. That is why we have signed on to the APF and that's why we signed on the case because we feel and we know that this program will help all producers in this province, not just the pork, not just the beef, but all producers in Nova Scotia.

MR. MACDONELL: Well I say to the minister, you don't have to convince me, convince them, because they are the ones who are worried about negotiations with you. Mr. Speaker, feed costs are staggering in Nova Scotia, but nobody at the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries can provide producers with statistics on grain usage in this province. With all the recent cuts, there's probably nobody left to track that data. So my question to the minister is, producers feel with justification that this government has turned its back on agriculture, when will you finally take action that will indicate to farmers that this province and your government is actually interested in making agriculture a priority?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite knows very well that this government is here for agriculture. We sat down and negotiated these plans with the federal government to make sure that we had the best bang for our buck. We got 60/40 dollars out of the federal government to help in times of need. We're here, we're trying to help, and our solution is Nova Scotia made because we were at the table to design that solution for Nova Scotian farmers.

[Page 1942]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

HEALTH - SOLDIERS MEM. HOSP.:

GP SHORTAGE - SOLUTION PLAN

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. Several times during the House session I have raised the issue of the state of health delivery in the Valley. We are now at the stage where there are ER closures at Soldiers Memorial; getting to the point, my question is to the Minister of Health. Could the minister please update this House on his plans for coming up with a long-term solution to address the shortage of GPs at Soldiers Memorial?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, we're working very closely with the Annapolis Valley District Health Authority, we work continuously with them in order to recruit, and we're also working to resolve issues relative to bed shortages in that area. It's an ongoing effort and we will continue to be very determined in our efforts to find solutions.

MR. GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, late this summer, paramedics had to move in to assist the staff at the Valley Regional. Nurse recruitment is slow and the current complement of nurses is stressed. My question to the minister is, could the minister please outline his action plans for dealing with the health care situation in the Annapolis Valley?

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move that the House do now recess for 15 minutes while the Committee on Law Amendments meets, to resume again at 2:45 p.m..

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The House will recess until 2:45 p.m.

[2:30 p.m. The House recessed.]

[2:45 p.m. The House reconvened.]

[Page 1943]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I would request the unanimous consent of the House to revert to the order of business, Presenting Reports of Committees.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

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

Bill No. 17 -Youth Secretariat Act.

and the committee recommends this bill to the favourable consideration of the House, with certain amendments.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I would move that Bill No. 17 be considered to be on today's order paper.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

AN HON. MEMBER: No.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is denied.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, that concludes the government's business for today.

[Page 1944]

Mr. Speaker, I thought that you might want to have the honour of saying that we are going to recess until 3:00 p.m. and I so move. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The House will recess until 3:00 p.m., at which time we will welcome Her Honour to the Chamber.

[2:47 p.m. The House recessed.]

[3:09 p.m. The House reconvened.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

SERGEANT-AT-ARMS: Her Honour the Lieutenant Governor is without.

MR. SPEAKER: Let Her Honour be admitted.

[The Speaker and the Clerks left the Chamber.]

[The Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable Myra Freeman, preceded by her escort, and Mr. Noel Knockwood, Sergeant-at-Arms, bearing the Mace, entered the House of Assembly Chamber. The Lieutenant Governor then took her seat on the Throne.

The Sergeant-at-Arms then departed and re-entered the Chamber followed by the Speaker, the Honourable Murray Scott; the Chief Clerk of the House, Roderick MacArthur, Q.C.; Assistant Clerk, Arthur Fordham, Q.C.; and Assistant Clerk, Neil Ferguson.

The Speaker, with the Sergeant-at-Arms on his right and the Clerk on his left, took up his position at the foot of the Speaker's Table.]

SERGEANT-AT-ARMS: It is the wish of Her Honour that the ladies and gentlemen be seated.

MR. SPEAKER: May it please Your Honour, the General Assembly of the Province has, in its present session, passed certain bills to which, in the name and on behalf of the General Assembly, I respectfully request Your Honour's Assent.

Bill No. 1 - Automobile Insurance Act.

Bill No. 2 - Retail Business Uniform Closing Day Act/Labour Standards Code.

Bill No. 6 - Public Service Superannuation Act.

Bill No. 7 - Labour Standards Code/Vital Statistics Act.

[Page 1945]

Bill No. 8 - Volunteer Protection Act.

Bill No. 10 - Municipal Elections Act.

Bill No. 11 - Collection Agencies Act/Consumer Creditors Conduct Act.

Bill No. 15 - Court Jurisdiction and Proceedings Transfer Act.

THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR:

In Her Majesty's name, I Assent to these Bills.

[The Speaker and the Clerks left the Chamber.]

[The Lieutenant Governor left the Chamber.]

SERGEANT-AT-ARMS: His Honour, the Speaker.

[The Speaker took the Chair.]

MR. SPEAKER: I would ask all honourable members to face the flag and join me in the singing of the National Anthem.

[The national anthem was sung by the members.]

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. Please be seated. It gets better every year.

The honourable Premier.

THE PREMIER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Members of the House of Assembly, I move that this Assembly be adjourned to meet again at the call of the Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: 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 House is adjourned.

[The House rose at 3:19 p.m.]

[Page 1946]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 746

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 Bridgewater Pizza Delight has been recognized by the Bridgewater and Area Chamber of Commerce for its creative entrepreneurial spirit; and

Whereas the Bridgewater restaurant was recently recognized for Best Entrepreneurial Achievement for 2003 by the local chamber of commerce; and

Whereas the Bridgewater and Area Chamber of Commerce's Awards Banquet is an annual event that honours local businesses for their demonstrated determination, devotion and entrepreneurial spirit in order to be successful;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Pizza Delight franchise owners Graeme and Barb Gladwin, and their staff, on their recognition by the Bridgewater and Area Chamber of Commerce and acknowledge the dedication and hard work of all those involved in making this business such a success.

RESOLUTION NO. 747

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 Oak Island Inn and Spa has been recognized by the Bridgewater and Area Chamber of Commerce for its creative entrepreneurial spirit; and

Whereas the Lunenburg County facility was recently named Best Large Business for 2003 by the local chamber of commerce; and

Whereas 90 per cent of the business' staff are from Lunenburg County and 50 per cent of the supervisory staff were trained at the Lunenburg Campus of the Nova Scotia Community College;

[Page 1947]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Oak Island Inn and Spa Manager Helmuth Wiegert, and his staff, on their recognition by the Bridgewater and Area Chamber of Commerce and acknowledge the dedication and hard work of all those involved in making this business such a success.

RESOLUTION NO. 748

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 Saint Mary's Huskies baseball team recently won the Canadian University Baseball Championship; and

Whereas the leading batter for the Huskies was Bridgewater's Michael Himmelman; and

Whereas Michael's two-run double in the sixth inning of the championship game broke the tie with Queens University;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize Michael Himmelman for his outstanding efforts during the 2003 Canadian University Baseball Championships and congratulate all members of the Saint Mary's Huskies baseball team on becoming the Canadian university baseball champs.

RESOLUTION NO. 749

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 encouraging our young people to become involved in our democratic process is a serious responsibility that we all should embrace; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia Young Progressive Conservatives have exhibited exceptional commitment to politics in this province; and

Whereas Jeff Bolivar has been named the new President of the Lunenburg West Young Progressive Conservatives;

[Page 1948]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize Jeff Bolivar, the new executive and members of the Lunenburg West Young Progressive Conservatives for their participation in the political process in Nova Scotia.

RESOLUTION NO. 750

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 we are fortunate to have such dedicated police officers in this province who spend every day making our communities better places to live; and

Whereas Sergeant Doug Rafuse of the Bridgewater Police Department has spent many years as a police officer working with young residents of the town; and

Whereas the well-respected police officer recently retired after serving the residents of Bridgewater for 36 years;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize Sergeant Doug Rafuse for his many years of service to the people of Bridgewater and extend to him our best wishes in his retirement.

RESOLUTION NO. 751

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 promoting healthy lifestyles is vital to develop a healthy population in this province; and

Whereas Hebbville resident Michelle Hayward has established the Badminton Training Centre in Bridgewater; and

Whereas the centre was established with the support of the Nova Scotia Badminton Association, Bridgewater Elementary School, the Michelin Athletic Club, and Sport Nova Scotia;

[Page 1949]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize Michelle Hayward and all those involved in establishing the Badminton Training Centre in Bridgewater, and wish them much success in this endeavour.

RESOLUTION NO. 752

By: Hon. Cecil Clarke (Energy)

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

Whereas all Nova Scotia universities and colleges were invited to join the New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers in advancing the goals of our Climate Change Action Plan; and

Whereas the institutions were encouraged to assess their energy use, to take advantage of opportunities to research global climate change, to educate students on global climate change, to incorporate global climate change into their curriculum, and to reduce their use of carbon-intensive forms of energy; and

Whereas global climate change is one of the most significant environmental problems we will deal with in our lifetimes, with the effects on our environment, health and economy already apparent;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House commend the universities and colleges of our province for their environmental concerns, for taking advantage of opportunities to research global climate change, and for their support of the Climate Change Action Plan.

RESOLUTION NO. 753

By: Mr. William Dooks (Eastern Shore)

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

Whereas Hurricane Juan, according to weather forecasters, was a 100-year storm which bore down on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia in late September, leaving many families without everyday necessities such as running water and electricity for an extended period of time; and

Whereas despite the significant hardship created for many families by Juan, community volunteers were willing and ready to help in whatever way they could; and

[Page 1950]

Whereas the Oyster Pond Volunteer Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary provided home-cooked meals every evening for more than 10 straight days to assist community residents in need;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs in this Legislature commend the sacrifice and community spirit shown by the Oyster Pond Volunteer Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary, while wishing them continued success with their future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 754

By: Mr. William Dooks (Eastern Shore)

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

Whereas Hurricane Juan, according to weather forecasters, was a 100-year storm which bore down on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia in late September, leaving many families without everyday necessities such as running water and electricity for an extended period of time; and

Whereas despite the significant hardship created for many families by Juan, community volunteers were willing and ready to help in whatever way they could; and

Whereas the Ostrea Lake and Pleasant Point Volunteer Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary provided three home-cooked meals every day, while using a generator for power at the station, to assist community residents in need;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs in this Legislature commend the sacrifice and community spirit shown by the Ostrea Lake and Pleasant Point Volunteer Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary, while wishing them continued success with their future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 755

By: Mr. William Dooks (Eastern Shore)

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

Whereas Hurricane Juan, according to weather forecasters, was a 100-year storm which bore down on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia in late September, leaving many families without everyday necessities such as running water and electricity for an extended period of time; and

[Page 1951]

Whereas despite the significant hardship created for many families by Juan, community volunteers were willing and ready to help in whatever way they could; and

Whereas the Lawrencetown Beach Volunteer Fire Department and Emergency Services Ladies Auxiliary assisted community residents in need;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs in this Legislature commend the sacrifice and community spirit shown by the Lawrencetown Beach Volunteer Fire Department and Emergency Services Ladies Auxiliary, while wishing them continued success with their future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 756

By: Mr. William Dooks (Eastern Shore)

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

Whereas Hurricane Juan, according to weather forecasters, was a 100-year storm which bore down on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia in late September, leaving many families without everyday necessities such as running water and electricity for an extended period of time; and

Whereas despite the significant hardship created for many families by Juan, community volunteers such as the Musquodoboit Harbour Lions Club were willing and ready to help in whatever way they could; and

Whereas the Musquodoboit Harbour Lions Club assisted community residents in need, doing whatever they could, whenever they could;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs in this Legislature commend the sacrifice and community spirit shown by the Musquodoboit Harbour Lions Club, while wishing them continued success with their future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 757

By: Mr. William Dooks (Eastern Shore)

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

Whereas Hurricane Juan dealt a crushing blow to the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia in late September, leaving many families without basic everyday necessities; and

[Page 1952]

Whereas despite the substantive hardship created for many families by Juan, community volunteers such as the Musquodoboit Harbour Volunteer Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary were willing and ready to help in whatever way they could by preparing home-cooked meals for residents in need; and

Whereas the Musquodoboit Harbour Volunteer Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary continued with their program during the critical times when people simply had no access to hot meals;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs in this Legislature commend the sacrifice and community spirit shown by the Musquodoboit Harbour Volunteer Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary, while wishing them continued success with their future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 758

By: Mr. William Dooks (Eastern Shore)

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

Whereas Hurricane Juan dealt a crushing blow to the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia in late September, leaving many families without basic everyday necessities; and

Whereas despite the substantive hardship created for many families by Juan, community volunteers such as the Chezzetcook Volunteer Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary were willing and ready to help in whatever way they could; and

Whereas the Chezzetcook Volunteer Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary worked diligently to assist community residents in their time of need;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs in this Legislature commend the sacrifice and community spirit shown by the Chezzetcook Volunteer Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary, while wishing them continued success with their future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 759

By: Mr. William Dooks (Eastern Shore)

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

Whereas Hurricane Juan dealt a crushing blow to the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia in late September, leaving many families without basic everyday necessities; and

[Page 1953]

Whereas despite the substantive hardship created for many families by Juan, community volunteers who assist with the operation of the Lawrencetown Community Centre prepared hot meals when such necessities were simply not available at home due to the power outages; and

Whereas the community volunteers associated with Lawrencetown Community Centre worked diligently to assist community residents in their time of need;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs in this Legislature commend the sacrifice and community spirit shown by volunteers associated with the Lawrencetown Community Centre, while wishing them continued success with their future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 760

By: Mr. Michel Samson (Richmond)

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

Whereas in August, the residents of Johnstown and the surrounding area celebrated the 70th Anniversary of the Johnstown milling frolic; and

Whereas Susan MacNeil of the Sacred Heart ladies group was one of this year's key organizers of the event, the most successful milling frolic ever held at the Johnstown Parish Hall; and

Whereas the milling frolic provides an opportunity for residents to celebrate their Gaelic heritage in the forms of fiddling, singing and weaving;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Susan MacNeil and all of the parishioners of Sacred Heart for hosting the most successful milling frolic to date in its long-standing history.

RESOLUTION NO. 761

By: Mr. Michel Samson (Richmond)

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

Whereas Marie Burke of the Sacred Heart ladies group was instrumental this year in Johnstown having its most successful milling frolic to date; and

[Page 1954]

Whereas the Johnstown milling frolic has been held in the same location over the past 70 years - the Johnstown Parish Hall; and

Whereas the milling frolic provides an opportunity for residents to celebrate their Gaelic heritage in the forms of fiddling, singing and weaving;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Marie Burke and all of the parishioners of Sacred Heart for hosting the most successful milling frolic to date in its long-standing history.

RESOLUTION NO. 762

By: Mr. Michel Samson (Richmond)

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

Whereas Margie Campbell was an organizer in the most successful Johnstown milling frolic to date held at the parish hall last August; and

Whereas the residents of Johnstown and the surrounding area celebrated the 70th Anniversary of the Johnstown milling frolic; and

Whereas the milling frolic offers residents of the surrounding area a chance to celebrate their Gaelic heritage which is evident in many of its people;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House acknowledge Margie Campbell's contribution in organizing the most successful milling frolic in Johnstown's history.

RESOLUTION NO. 763

By: Mr. Michel Samson (Richmond)

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

Whereas Cathy Johnston of the Sacred Heart ladies group was instrumental this year in Johnstown having its most successful milling frolic to date; and

Whereas last August the residents of Johnstown and the surrounding area celebrated the 70th Anniversary of the Johnstown milling frolic; and

[Page 1955]

Whereas the milling frolic offers residents of the surrounding area a chance to celebrate their Gaelic heritage which is evident in many of its people;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House acknowledge Cathy Johnston's contribution in organizing the most successful milling frolic in Johnstown's history.

RESOLUTION NO. 764

By: Mr. Michel Samson (Richmond)

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

Whereas Louise Campbell was an organizer in the most successful Johnstown milling frolic to date held at the parish hall last August; and

Whereas the residents of Johnstown and the surrounding area celebrated the 70th Anniversary of the Johnstown milling frolic; and

Whereas the milling frolic provides an opportunity for residents to celebrate their Gaelic heritage in the forms of fiddling, singing and weaving;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House acknowledge Louise Campbell's contribution in organizing the most successful milling frolic in Johnstown's history.

RESOLUTION NO. 765

By: Mr. Michel Samson (Richmond)

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

Whereas Elizabeth MacNeil was an organizer in the most successful Johnstown milling frolic to date held at the parish hall last August; and

Whereas the residents of Johnstown and the surrounding area celebrated the 70th Anniversary of the Johnstown milling frolic; and

Whereas the milling frolic offers residents of the surrounding area a chance to celebrate their Gaelic heritage which is evident in many of its people;

[Page 1956]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House acknowledge Elizabeth MacNeil's contribution in organizing the most successful milling frolic in Johnstown's history.

RESOLUTION NO. 766

By: Mr. Michel Samson (Richmond)

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

Whereas in August, the residents of Johnstown and the surrounding area celebrated the 70th Anniversary of the Johnstown milling frolic; and

Whereas Margaret Campbell of the Sacred Heart ladies group was one of this year's key organizers of the event in the most successful milling frolic ever held at the Johnstown Parish Hall; and

Whereas the milling frolic provides an opportunity for residents to celebrate their Gaelic heritage in the form of fiddling, singing and weaving;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House acknowledge Margaret Campbell's contribution in organizing the most successful milling frolic in Johnstown's history.

RESOLUTION NO. 767

By: Mr. Michel Samson (Richmond)

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

Whereas Carmaine Walker of the Sacred Heart ladies group was instrumental this year in Johnstown having its most successful milling frolic to date; and

Whereas the Johnstown milling frolic has been held in the same location over the past 70 years, the Johnstown Parish Hall; and

Whereas the milling frolic provides an opportunity for residents to celebrate their Gaelic heritage in the form of fiddling, singing and weaving;

[Page 1957]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Carmaine Walker and all of the parishioners of Sacred Heart for hosting the most successful milling frolic to date in its longstanding history.

RESOLUTION NO. 768

By: Mr. Michel Samson (Richmond)

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

Whereas in August, the residents of Johnstown and the surrounding area celebrated the 70th Anniversary of the Johnston milling frolic; and

Whereas Theresa Cash of the Sacred Heart ladies group was one of this year's key organizers of the event; and

Whereas this year's milling frolic was its most successful event in its 70-year history;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House acknowledge Theresa Cash's contribution in organizing the most successful milling frolic in Johnstown's history.

RESOLUTION NO. 769

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Valerie Fahey of Springhill, Cumberland County, will once again be presenting a play she has written, her most recent, A Honky-tonk Christmas, which is to be presented by the Tantramar Theatre Society this Christmas season; and

Whereas Fahey has written very popular and successful plays in the past, including, The Matchmakers, A Girl from Away, and A Miner's Song; and

Whereas many local residents with great talent have taken part in these performances, including Fahey's husband, Ed, who will be included in the all-star cast in A Honky-tonk Christmas;

[Page 1958]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Valerie Fahey as she continues to bring great entertainment to the residents and visitors of Cumberland County, and wish her well not only in this most recent play but for many years to come as she shares her talents with so many people.

RESOLUTION NO. 770

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Ron Ward has stepped down after 20 years with the Chignecto Handgun Club, 10 of those as range officer; and

Whereas the club membership demonstrated their appreciation for his years of service with presentations of gifts for him and his wife; and

Whereas Ron's fellow members say he has been the glue that has kept them together, he also, after serving 14 years as an auxiliary officer with the RCMP, turned in his badge in 1999 due to health reasons, but had it returned to him at a recent event, mounted on a plaque, in appreciation for his years of service to the police;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Ron Ward on receiving such gracious words and appreciation from the people whom he has served with, and wish him all the best of luck in his retirement.

RESOLUTION NO. 771

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Raelene Wilson of Oxford, Nova Scotia did claim the provincial title in the baseball competition, Hit-Run and Throw; and

Whereas for only the second time in Oxford Minor Baseball history did a player claim the provincial title in this competition; and

Whereas Raelene won the Mosquito girls' competition in Dartmouth on August 23, 2003, also winning locals, regionals in Truro, and finished it off beating the best under-12 aged girls in the province;

[Page 1959]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Raelene Wilson for this outstanding achievement, and wish her continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 772

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Bill Hickey of Oxford, Nova Scotia has been making unique wooden table lamps for years, taking scraps of whatever wood he finds, cuts and glues them together then turns them on his lathe, creating a unique coloured pattern; and

Whereas Bill has collected oak, maple, birch, cedar, light and dark mahogany and bird's eye maple, and has turned these rough and unfinished pieces into treasures; and

Whereas Bill's family and friends have been honoured over the past 25 years to receive pieces of his work such as lamp, clocks, candle holders, picture frames and many other various items into which he has put his heart and soul, and has sold many pieces as well, with his next goal being to make a grandfather clock;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Mr. Bill Hickey on his outstanding talent and wish him continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 773

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Oxford Area Lion Grant MacDonald recently received two prestigious District Lions Awards; and

Whereas he received a Life Membership in the Lions Foundation of Canada as one of 34 Lions within the province, as selected by District Governor Lion Earl Einarson; and

Whereas Grant MacDonald also received the Buster Woodworth Runner-Up Secretary Award in District 41-N2 for the past year, 2002-03, and has been a member of Oxford Area Lions since 1977, serving as President twice;

[Page 1960]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Grant MacDonald on these prestigious awards and wish him all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 774

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Mrs. Black's Grade 2-B Oxford Elementary class participated in a recent wild blueberry colouring contest; and

Whereas the contest ties in with the school's healthy eating habits mandate and promotes the health benefits of wild blueberries, a crop that is extremely important to Cumberland County, making Oxford the Blueberry Capital of North America; and

Whereas the top three winners in that contest were Bradley Van Dam, 1st place; Colby Hicks, 2nd place; and Megan Rushton, 3rd place, and the winners were awarded prizes which were donated by Oxford Frozen Foods Ltd.;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate these Oxford Elementary School students for their participation and awards, and wish them all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 775

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Springhill elementary children raised over $500 in donations from their fellow students; and

Whereas over the last 10 years, the elementary schools have raised thousands of dollars for the Terry Fox Foundation; and

Whereas the students of the Springhill Elementary School were thrilled to be able to send this cheque to the Terry Fox Foundation;

[Page 1961]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the elementary students of Springhill Nova Scotia on raising this money for such a worthwhile cause, and wish them all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 776

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas inmates at the Springhill correctional facility challenged staff to meet their donation of $250 to the Salvation Army's food bank on October 2, 2003, after discovering the community service was in dire need of food for a growing number of families; and

Whereas staff rose to the challenge and raised $185 along with 10 boxes stuffed with groceries for the cause; and

Whereas the Salvation Army, which holds a monthly service at the institution, says this act of charity from the inmates and staff is a tremendous and timely one;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the inmates and staff of the Springhill correctional facility who raised this money for such a worthwhile cause and wish them all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 777

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Mr. Laurie Stewart of Oxford, Nova Scotia, retired after 24 years of service with Canada Post; and

Whereas staff gathered at the Oxford Fire Hall on September 13, 2003, to host an open house on behalf of Mr. Stewart and to wish him health and much happiness; and

Whereas Laurie Stewart, who served as a rural route driver since July, 1979, will be missed by staff and those on Mr. Stewart's route who, as well, wish him all the best;

[Page 1962]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Laurie Stewart on his retirement after 24 years of dedicated service and wish him all the best in the years to come.

RESOLUTION NO. 778

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Mark Tanner of Parrsboro took first and third place during demolition derby action; and

Whereas Mark took first place in the back-up race in the preliminary demolition action; and

Whereas Mark took third place finish in the 150 lap, six and eight cylinder Enduro race;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Mark Tanner on his first and third place wins and wish him continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 779

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Wentworth community members rallied around its volunteer fire department last week while power was out in the community; and

Whereas firefighters and their families and friends provided food and refreshments to community residents; and

Whereas much of the food and water was provided by Cumberland County EMO with residents also offering contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the community of Wentworth and their volunteer fire department on standing together and helping the people of Wentworth get through this difficult time and wish them all the best in the future.

[Page 1963]

RESOLUTION NO. 780

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas the Wild Blueberry and Maple Centre celebrated its 5th Anniversary on October 9, 2003; and

Whereas about 40,000 people have passed through the centre's doors in those five years; and

Whereas a new service to be implemented at the Wild Blueberry and Maple Centre next year is a genealogy site;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Wild Blueberry and Maple Centre, and particularly its staff, on five years of service to the community and wish them continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 781

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas the Springhill Youth Centre and the Springhill Department of Leisure Services are holding their 7th annual Halloween dance on October 31, 2003; and

Whereas the dance is held at the Lt. Col. Daniel Murray Armories in Springhill with students who pre-register for the event, where there are cash prizes drawn every hour as well as other prizes donated by local businesses who support the idea of this dance to help keep children off the streets on Halloween night; and

Whereas all profit made from the dance goes directly back to the youth centre which is a very important part of the community of Springhill;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Springhill Youth Centre and the Springhill Department of Leisure Services on providing a safe and fun alternative for the students of Springhill on Halloween.

[Page 1964]

RESOLUTION NO. 782

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Marion Murray of Springhill will celebrate her 90th birthday this upcoming week; and

Whereas Mrs. Murray is the mother of Anne Murray and the wife of the late Dr. Carson Murray; and

Whereas the new Springhill Community Centre presently under construction will be named The Dr. G. Carson and Mrs. Marion Murray Community Centre which will be a great addition to our community;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Mrs. Murray on her 90th birthday and the Murray family for the decision to name the Springhill community centre and thank them for their contribution to Springhill and to Nova Scotia.

RESOLUTION NO. 783

By: Mr. Gary Hines (Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank)

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

Whereas the use of a public computer with an Internet site was such an overwhelming success this summer at the Waverley Village Office, plans were underway to keep access of the computer open to area residents year-round; and

Whereas upwards of 25 people were making use of the computer on a daily basis this summer, including senior citizens coming in to learn how to use the computer for the first time; and

Whereas the Waverley Village Office is one of three CAP sites in the village, with the other two being at the fire department and at Waverley Manor;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs in this House of Assembly commend people, such as David Cochrane - a member of the Waverley Ratepayers Association - who volunteer their time and work so hard at making CAP sites so successful in their communities.

[Page 1965]

RESOLUTION NO. 784

By: Mr. William Langille (Colchester North)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia blueberry growers ended the 2003 growing season with a record crop; and

Whereas the executive director of the Wild Blueberry Producers Association of Nova Scotia, David Sangster, said the total amount harvested was expected to be 40 million pounds; and

Whereas approximately 13,200 hectares of land are used for blueberry production across Nova Scotia, making our province Canada's leader in production;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs in this House of Assembly applaud the hard work and dedicated efforts of all Nova Scotia blueberry harvesters, congratulate them on a record crop in 2003, and wish them many years of continued success.