Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

HANSARD 03/04-32

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

MONDAY, APRIL 26, 2004

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
TPW: White Hill Rd. - Pave, Mr. C. Parker 2587
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Supplement to the Public Accounts, Hon. P. Christie 2588
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 1078, Sports - Curling: Jones Rink - Gold Medal,
(by Hon. Rodney MacDonald), The Premier 2588
Vote - Affirmative 2589
Res. 1079, SMU - CAUBO Award, Hon. A. MacIsaac 2589
Vote - Affirmative 2590
Res. 1080, Energy - Efficiency Promotion: Staff - Congrats.,
Hon. C. Clarke 2590
Vote - Affirmative 2591
Res. 1081, Sports - Curling: Dacey Rink - Bronze Medal,
Hon. Rodney MacDonald 2591
Vote - Affirmative 2592
Res. 1082, Heys, Jodi/Kellock, Mike - Paramedic Award,
Hon. A. MacIsaac 2592
Vote - Affirmative 2592
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 61, Theatres and Amusements Act, Ms. J. Massey 2592
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 1083, Sports - Curling: Jones/Dacey Rinks - Congrats.,
Mr. D. Dexter 2593
Vote - Affirmative 2593
Res. 1084, TCH - The Swan: Ads - Remove, Ms. D. Whalen 2593
Res. 1085, Agric. & Fish. - East. Shore Lobster Fishery:
Bountiful Season - Wish, Mr. W. Dooks 2594
Vote - Affirmative 2595
Res. 1086, MacDonald, Brian - North End Outdoor Rink: Pres. -
Congrats., Ms. Maureen MacDonald 2595
Vote - Affirmative 2596
Res. 1087, Dal. Faculty - Med. Int'l. Health Office: Donations -
Congrats., Mr. L. Glavine 2596
Vote - Affirmative 2596
Res. 1088, Brine, Jennifer - Truro Sport Her. Soc. Female Athlete
of Yr. (Over 16), Hon. J. Muir 2597
Vote - Affirmative 2597
Res. 1089, Burgess, Ted: Mun. E. Hants Prov. Vol. - Nomination,
Mr. J. MacDonell 2597
Vote - Affirmative 2598
Res. 1090, African United Baptist Assoc.: Laymen's Coun. -
Anniv. (60th), Mr. K. Colwell 2598
Vote - Affirmative 2599
Res. 1091, S. Shore Health: Health Services - Efforts,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 2599
Vote - Affirmative 2599
Res. 1092, J.L. Ilsley HS: Teen Health Ctr. - Peer Educ. Teams,
Ms. M. Raymond 2600
Vote - Affirmative 2600
Res. 1093, Cdn. Cancer Soc.: Vols. - Thank,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 2600
Vote - Affirmative 2601
Res. 1094, Crow, Bob: Pictou Co. Mun. - Vol. of Yr., Mr. C. Parker 2601
Vote - Affirmative 2602
Res. 1095, Q104: Rockathon (2004) - Congrats., Ms. D. Whalen 2602
Vote - Affirmative 2603
Res. 1096, Hefler, Linda - Sackville Vol. of Yr.,
Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 2603
Vote - Affirmative 2603
Res. 1097, McCullough, Matt - 30-Hour Famine: Fundraising - Congrats.,
Mr. L. Glavine 2604
Vote - Affirmative 2604
Res. 1098, Educ.: Student Debt/Tuition - Reduce, Mr. W. Estabrooks 2604
Res. 1099, Sports: Glace Bay Miners Peewee A Team - Congrats.,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 2605
Vote - Affirmative 2606
Res. 1100, Douglass, Rebecca Jane - HRM Vol., Mr. J. Pye 2606
Vote - Affirmative 2606
Res. 1101, Adams, Wayne: Order of Canada - Congrats., Mr. K. Colwell 2607
Vote - Affirmative 2607
Res. 1102, Yazer, Jack - Birthday (90th), Mr. G. Gosse 2607
Vote - Affirmative 2608
Res. 1103, Sports: Curling: Jones/Dacey Rinks - Congrats.,
Mr. D. Graham 2608
Vote - Affirmative 2609
Res. 1104, Sir John A. Macdonald HS: Improv. Team - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 2609
Vote - Affirmative 2610
Res. 1105, Nat'l. Day of Mourning: C.B. Dist. Lbr. Council -
Remembrance, Mr. G. Gosse 2610
Vote - Affirmative 2610
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
ON MOTION FOR SUPPLY:
Mr. W. Estabrooks 2611
Mr. Gerald Sampson 2615
Mr. R. MacKinnon 2617
Mr. B. Taylor 2618
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON SUPPLY AT 3:22 P.M. 2622
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 5:02 P.M. 2622
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 62, Financial Measures (2004) Act, Hon. P. Christie 2623
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON SUPPLY AT 5:03 P.M. 2623
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 7:27 P.M. 2623
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 48, Education Act 2624
Mr. L. Glavine 2624
Mr. J. MacDonell 2625
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 2627
Mr. K. Deveaux 2628
Mr. J. Pye 2631
Hon. J. Muir 2635
Vote - Affirmative 2636
No. 49, Mi'kmaq Education Act 2636
Hon. J. Muir 2636
Mr. J. MacDonell 2637
Mr. H. Theriault 2638
Mr. Gerald Sampson 2638
Mr. R. MacKinnon 2639
Hon. J. Muir 2640
Vote - Affirmative 2641
No. 50, Credit Union Act 2641
Hon. K. Morash 2641
Mr. G. Steele 2641
Mr. Manning MacDonald 2642
Hon. K. Morash 2642
Vote - Affirmative 2642
No. 51, Provincial Acadian Day Act 2643
Hon. C. D'Entremont 2643
Mr. K. Deveaux 2645
Mr. M. Samson 2647
Mr. R. MacKinnon 2652
Hon. C. D'Entremont 2654
Vote - Affirmative 2654
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Tue., Apr. 27th at 12:00 noon 2655
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 1106, Davis, Mark: Software Progs. - Congrats.,
Mr. R. Hurlburt 2656
Res. 1107, Shelburne Figure Skating Club: Medal Winners -
Congrats., Mr. C. O'Donnell 2656
Res. 1108, Clarke, Shawn - Springhill Basketball Award, The Speaker 2657
Res. 1109, Carmichael, Ryan - Springhill Basketball Award, The Speaker 2657
Res. 1110, Henderson, Rob - Bowling Award, The Speaker 2658
Res. 1111, Parrsboro HS: Entrepreneur Class (Gr. 12) - Congrats.,
The Speaker 2658
Res. 1112, Harrison, Jeffrey/Herrett, Wes - Hockey Awards,
The Speaker 2659
Res. 1113, JC Excavating: Contributions - Congrats., Mr. W. Dooks 2659
Res. 1114, Sammy Keizer Automotive: Contributions - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Dooks 2660
Res. 1115, Musquodoboit Hbr. Barber: Contributions - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Dooks 2660
Res. 1116, M.L. DeBaie Const.: Contributions - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Dooks 2661
Res. 1117, Live Wire Appliance Serv.: Contributions - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Dooks 2661
Res. 1118, Warner Vineyard: Award - Congrats., Mr. M. Parent 2662

[Page 2587]

HALIFAX, MONDAY, APRIL 26, 2004

Fifty-ninth General Assembly

First Session

2:00 P.M.

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

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

MR. CHARLES PARKER: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition on behalf of a number of residents of the White Hill, Pictou County area who are very concerned about the poor condition of their secondary road. The petition reads:

"Whereas the White Hill Road is in a badly deteriorated and unsafe condition and

Whereas the citizens of this area have been requesting repaving for more than fifteen years and

Whereas the more than 100 residents of White Hill depend on this road daily and suffer frequent and expensive damage to their vehicles due to the condition of the road.

2587

[Page 2588]

Therefore be it resolved that the Department of Transportation and Public Works make this road the highest priority for repaving for the 2004 season."

Mr. Speaker, this has been signed by 110 residents of the area and I, too, have affixed my signature.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings North on an introduction.

MR. MARK PARENT: Mr. Speaker, I thank the MLAs for allowing me to make this introduction. I'm very pleased to introduce to you, and I hope you will give them a very warm welcome, Claude O'Hara, the Executive Assistant to the President of Acadia University; Harvey Gilmour, Director of Alumni Development; and Neil Carruthers, General Manager of Alumni Development. If the three gentlemen would stand and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We certainly welcome our guests to the gallery today and hope they enjoy the proceedings.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table the Supplement to the Public Accounts for the year ended March 31, 2003.

MR. SPEAKER: The document is tabled.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 1078

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

[Page 2589]

Whereas on Saturday, in Sweden, Nova Scotia's Colleen Jones and her team from the Mayflower Curling Club came from behind to win the Gold Medal at the World Curling Championship; and

Whereas this is the second world championship for Jones and her colleagues; and

Whereas all Nova Scotians and all Canadians are proud of the Mayflower Club for their remarkable success, building on a record of five Canadian titles in the last six years;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Team Canada: Colleen Jones, Kim Kelly, Mary-Anne Arsenault and Nancy Delahunt along with the support of their fifth, Mary Sue Radford and coach Ken Bagnell, for bringing gold home 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 Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 1079

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

Whereas Saint Mary's University placed second last Fall in the Canadian Association of University Business Officers quality and productivity awards program; and

Whereas Saint Mary's achieved national recognition for a new funding system now in use at its health centre; and

Whereas Saint Mary's reduced its health centre costs by 30 per cent, while at the same time doubling student visits and reducing waiting times;

[Page 2590]

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs acknowledge the superlative efforts of Saint Mary's University for winning $5,000 and second place nationally, and wish them nothing but continued success.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Energy.

RESOLUTION NO. 1080

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

Whereas this April the Department of Energy continued its commitment to energy efficiency in Nova Scotia by encouraging homeowners to use less energy, saving them money on their electric bills and helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions released during energy consumption; and

Whereas a direct mail-out to almost 120,000 homeowners in the HRM and the CBRM provided homeowners with low-cost, effective steps that they can follow to reduce

energy use in their homes, as well as foam electrical outlet and switch plate insulators to get them started on reducing drafts in their homes; and

Whereas the department has also made these and other energy-efficiency tips available on their Web site for all Nova Scotians to practice;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House join me in congratulating the department staff on their continuous efforts to promote wise energy use, and thank Nova Scotians for doing their part.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 2591]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health Promotion.

RESOLUTION NO. 1081

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

Whereas Nova Scotia is proud to welcome home two world curling champions, including the mens' bronze winner, the Mayflower rink of Mark Dacey; and

Whereas Mr. Dacey, along with his Mayflower teammates: third, Natural Resources own Bruce Lohnes; second, Rob Harris; and lead, Andrew Gibson, with the support of their fifth, Matt Harris, and coach, Peter Corkum, made a clean sweep of the round robin and suffered only one defeat in the semifinals, rebounding to easily snatch the bronze medal from the 2002 Olympic champion; and

Whereas this tremendous showing for Canada at the World's and for Nova Scotia at the Brier is evidence of the talent of this province's curlers;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud Mark Dacey and his teammates for bringing the Canadian men's curling title back to Nova Scotia, and for taking on the world and taking home a bronze medal for Canada.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 2592]

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 1082

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

Whereas it was Television's Emergency stars, Roy DeSoto and Randy Gage, who first captured the attention of paramedic Jodi Heys, saying it has been the only job she has ever wanted to do since she was three years old; and

Whereas paramedic Mike Kellock is a volunteer and helps numerous clubs and individuals outside his job; and

Whereas Jodi and Mike co-shared the honour of being chosen Nova Scotia's best paramedic in a March ceremony sponsored annually by the professional association, Nova Scotia College of Paramedics;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs recognize the tremendous effort put forth by Jodi and Mike and all paramedics across Nova Scotia who work every day at saving lives and soothing the fears of injured people.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 61 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 466 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Theatres and Amusements Act. (Ms. Joan Massey)

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

[Page 2593]

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 1083

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

Whereas Nova Scotia was proud to send two teams to the World Curling Championships in Gavle, Sweden; and

Whereas skip Colleen Jones and her teammates, Kim Kelly, Mary-Anne Arsenault, and Nancy Delahunt, defeated the Norway rink to capture the gold medal; and

[2:15 p.m.]

Whereas skip Mark Dacey and his teammates Bruce Lohnes, Rob Harris, Andrew Gibson and Mat Harris were victorious in their bronze medal game against Norway;

Therefore be it resolved that Members of the Legislative Assembly join with all Nova Scotians in congratulating the Team Canada rinks of Colleen Jones and Mark Dacey on their world curling victories this past weekend in Gavle, Sweden.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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. 1084

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

[Page 2594]

Whereas the Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage has purchased advertisement space on Global television and are airing their tourism ads during the Fox reality show, The Swan; and

Whereas on the show, women who are in clear need of counselling and support are instead taken from their families for three months, given a long list of their visible flaws, pressured to undergo dangerous and intensive medical procedures, put on a 1,200 calorie a day diet and forced to exercise daily while they should be recovering from their surgeries; and

Whereas Lefty Lucy Communications of Halifax has recently issued a media release demanding that the ads be removed from episodes of The Swan since women and teenage girls in the audience are being sent the message that to fall outside of a very narrow and unrealistic conception of female beauty is to be unlovable, unsuccessful and undeserving;

Therefore be it resolved that the government recognize this show is toxic to audience members and have Nova Scotia tourism advertisements immediately removed from this show and agree to spend our advertising dollars more wisely and considerately in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Eastern Shore.

RESOLUTION NO. 1085

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

Whereas the Eastern Shore lobster fishery started on April 20th and will run until June 20th; and

Whereas the hard-working men and women of the Eastern Shore lobster fishery were permitted to set their traps on April 19th and hauled in their first catch for this season on April 20th; and

[Page 2595]

Whereas the Eastern Shore involves provincial Areas 31 and 32 from Three Fathom Harbour to Canso;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House join me in wishing the men and women who work in the Eastern Shore lobster fishery a safe and bountiful season.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 1086

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

Whereas skating and ice hockey on outdoor lakes, ponds and rinks is practically a rite of passage for Canadian children; and

Whereas there were no outdoor ice surfaces on the peninsula of Halifax until three years ago when a small dedicated group of North End Halifax residents came together to plan and develop the North End Outdoor Rink; and

Whereas through the efforts of many volunteers, the North End Outdoor Rink has been enjoyed by many residents of HRM, young and old alike;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature extend our thanks and best wishes to Brian MacDonald who has worked so hard to make his dream become a reality as he completes his tenure as President of the very successful North End Outdoor Rink.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

[Page 2596]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 1087

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

Whereas Dalhousie Faculty of Medicine International Health Office hosted its first rich man/poor man fundraiser dinner to raise money to help medical students travel to impoverished nations to work in medical clinics; and

Whereas this dinner will also honour 13 medical faculty who have agreed to donate $1,000 per year for five years to this worthwhile cause; and

Whereas the experience these medical students will obtain while they are working in a developing world will greatly improve their ability as physicians;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate the Dalhousie Faculty of Medicine International Health Office and the students for their contribution throughout the world.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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 2597]

The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 1088

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

Whereas Jennifer Brine of Bible of Bible Hill was named Athlete of the Year in the 16 years and older category of the 20th annual Truro Sport Heritage Society awards dinner; and

Whereas Jennifer Brine, earlier in the same day, earned tournament MVP and top scorer award at the Nova Scotia Midget AAA female hockey championship; and

Whereas Jennifer Brine also excels at golf, soccer, track and field, and badminton;

Therefore be it resolved that all members congratulate Jennifer Brine on her athletic achievements and awards and wish her every success in her future athletic and academic pursuits.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1089

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

Whereas local communities are enhanced and made into something more than just a collection of houses by the selfless commitment of volunteers; and

[Page 2598]

Whereas Mr. Ted Burgess of Walton has made his mark as an exceptional volunteer, having accomplished much in the field of local tourism, most notably the reconstruction of the Walton Lighthouse; and

Whereas Mr. Burgess was honoured April 13, 2004, as the Municipality of East Hants' nomination for provincial volunteer;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Mr. Ted Burgess for his willingness to give his time and talents for the betterment of his community and the preservation of his province's heritage.

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. 1090

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

Whereas the Laymen's Council of the African United Baptist Association is the umbrella group of all laymen in the African Baptist Church; and

Whereas they take part in numerous ministry, outreach and fundraising programs for their churches, and this year marks their 60th Anniversary of this good work; and

Whereas on June 5, 2004, they will honour 18 laymen who have made a difference in the past 60 years and launch their 60th Anniversary Commemorative Booklet which highlights their history; and

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Laymen's Council of the African United Baptist Association and encourage their continued good work as they celebrate their 60th year of service to the community.

[Page 2599]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Human Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 1091

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 South Shore Health had included the creation of a cardiopulmonary health and wellness program in their clinical services plan; and

Whereas South Shore Health has expanded the existing Heart Function Clinic and added a Cardiac Rehabilitation and Risk Factor Clinic; and

Whereas this clinic will target patients with unstable angina, those who have had heart attacks or open heart surgery and those with a high risk of developing heart disease;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House express our thanks to the staff and board of directors of South Shore Health for their continued efforts to improve health services for their patients.

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 2600]

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

RESOLUTION NO. 1092

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

Whereas J.L. Ilsley High School's pioneering Teen Health Centre, under the direction of Sheila Lane, now regularly trains teams of high school students as peer health educators; and

Whereas the student facilitators deliver health education in the local junior high schools, a model now exported as far as Gambia by former J.L. Ilsley principal, Burris DeVanney; and

Whereas the student training was filmed for a documentary - It's How You Say It - the only local documentary selected for the Viewfinders Film Festival;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Sheila Lane, Willie Reid, Ariella Pahlke, and all the peer education teams on their outstanding work and recognition by the Viewfinders Film Festival.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Glace Bay.

RESOLUTION NO. 1093

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

[Page 2601]

Whereas recent statistics released by the Canadian Cancer Society show that in Nova Scotia there will be 5,200 new diagnoses of cancer and 2,500 deaths as a result of cancer this year alone; and

Whereas April has been designated as Cancer Awareness Month in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas under the capable leadership of the Nova Scotia Division of the Canadian Cancer Society, countless volunteers will be knocking on doors to raise both awareness and funds for cancer research and programs;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend our appreciation to the volunteers who are canvassing on behalf of the Canadian Cancer Society and be ever mindful of the needs of cancer patients and their families in our deliberations.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 1094

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

Whereas Mr. Bob Crowe of Toney River is the Volunteer of the Year for the Municipality of Pictou County; and

Whereas Mr. Crowe has served for the past seven years as the President of the Toney River Community Association and has worked as a volunteer with the Independent Order of Oddfellows for the past five years and also acts as an advocate for the Nova Scotia Heart and Stroke Foundation; and

Whereas Mr. Crowe is very involved in his church and sits on both the Manse Committee and the Board of Managers for St. David's Presbyterian Church;

[Page 2602]

Therefore be it resolved that this Legislature congratulate Mr. Crowe on being named Volunteer of the Year for the Municipality of Pictou County and offer its heartfelt thanks for his long service in so many important organizations and wish him and his family all the best.

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. 1095

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

Whereas from Friday, April 16th to Sunday, April 18th, radio station Q104 held its Pay for-Play 2004 Rock-a-thon for the Q104 Children's Trust Fund; and

Whereas the Q104 Children's Trust Fund provides support for children who need special medical equipment to help enhance their quality of life; and

Whereas $11,920 was raised for the Q104 Children's Trust Fund, topping last year's total, through listeners who donated $25 for each song requested and $104 for a six-pack of songs;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the staff of Q104 for raising $11,920, which will go a long way to support children in Halifax metro and congratulate all those who participated in the weekend event by donating to such a worthy cause.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 2603]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 1096

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

Whereas the Lake District Recreation Association will be hosting their 25th Volunteer Recognition Dinner this Wednesday, April 28, 2004; and

Whereas this, their Silver Anniversary, is honouring a special volunteer in the community and choosing them as "Sackville's Community Volunteer of the Year; and

Whereas this year's recipient, Linda Hefler, has volunteered in her community for many years and is well deserving of this recognition;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this Legislative Assembly congratulate Linda Hefler for being chosen as this year's Sackville Volunteer of the Year and thank her for her commitment to her 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.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

[Page 2604]

RESOLUTION NO. 1097

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

Whereas Matt McCullough is currently organizing a 30-hour famine in Amherst, sponsored by World Vision; and

Whereas this Grade 12 student will go without food for 30 hours straight to support the fight against famine and world hunger; and

Whereas Mr. McCullough is currently collecting pledges and encouraging others to join him, this young man is a fine example of working for the betterment of others, not only in our immediate community but internationally;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Matt McCullough and the others involved in this fundraiser for their work in bridging gaps between our world communities.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 1098

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

Whereas John Hamm's Government has loaded an unprecedented $40 million in extra debt on the backs of post-secondary students and their families since the year 2000; and

Whereas tuition fees in Nova Scotia are the highest in Canada and will grow by hundreds of dollars per student again this year; and

[Page 2605]

Whereas this government is also forcing tuition up at the Nova Scotia Community Colleges, denying accessibility to higher education for many low-income students;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House direct the Hamm Government to take constructive, meaningful steps to reduce student debt and tuition fees so that deserving young Nova Scotians will have access to a post-secondary education in this province.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Glace Bay.

[2:30 p.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 1099

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

Whereas the Glace Bay Miners Peewee "A" team ended a fun-filled year of hard work and dedication under the guidance of head coach, Keith Anderson; assistant coaches, Chris Burke and Mike Snow; goalie coach, J.R. Reid; and the co-managers, David Ferguson and Mike Binder; and

Whereas after winning the Cape Breton Championship, the Glace Bay Miners travelled to Antigonish and won the Provincial Peewee "A" championship; and

Whereas Bryce Popwell, was named the tournament's top scorer, as well as the all-star centre, while team mate Daniel Jackson was named top defenceman.

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Glace Bay Miners Peewee "A" team, along with their coaches, on their success.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 2606]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

RESOLUTION NO. 1100

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

Whereas volunteers give so generously of their energies, skills and family time and are the unsung heroes and backbone of our communities; and

Whereas April 18th to April 24th was National Volunteer Week, a week dedicated to honouring many volunteers who are the key to community success; and

Whereas Rebecca Jane Douglass was recognized by the Halifax Regional Municipality for her many efforts in the community including board member of the Dartmouth North Community Centre, Membership Co-ordinator of the District Nine Neighbourhood Watch, HRM Police Volunteer, Treasurer of the Young at Heart Senior's Program, Treasurer of the Dartmouth North Vial of Life Program and organizer of the Reaching out to you Program;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the Nova Scotia Legislature recognize the important role volunteers play in our lives and pay tribute to Rebecca Jane Douglass for her outstanding volunteer service which has contributed to the well-being of the Dartmouth North Community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Preston.

[Page 2607]

RESOLUTION NO.1101

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

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

Whereas Wayne Adams is the first Black member and first Black Cabinet Minister elected to the Nova Scotia Legislature, as well as a community leader involved in numerous service groups; and

Whereas Wayne Adams has been awarded the Order of Canada;

Therefore be it resolved that all Members of this House congratulate and honour Mr. Adams on the receipt of this esteemed award.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 1102

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

Whereas Jack Yazer was the founding Chairman of the Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation and helped raise funds for the construction of the first regional hospital; and

Whereas Jack Yazer has touched the lives of many youth in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality through his work with Youth Speaks Up, which he himself founded in 1996; and

[Page 2608]

Whereas, for more than 50 years, Jack Yazer has dedicated his energies and time to the benefit of others;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Assembly join me in thanking Jack Yazer for his work and for being a fine example of a community activist whose visions and determination have helped to transform dreams into reality and that all members of this Legislative Assembly join me in wishing Jack Yazer a very Happy 90th Birthday and wish him many more.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

RESOLUTION NO. 1103

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

Whereas Nova Scotia's Colleen Jones, Kim Kelly, Mary-Anne Arsenault and Nancy Delahunt, reining Canadian Champions, recently made sports history by again becoming the World Women's Curling Champions; and

Whereas the Jones Rink once again displayed outstanding character by coming from behind in the round robin draw of the World Championships and in the playoffs of that championship; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia Rink of Mark Dacey, Bruce Lohnes, Robert Harris and Andrew Gibson, reigning Canadian Curling Champions, captured the bronze medal at the World Men's Championship, going undefeated in round robin play; and

Whereas the members of the Jones and Dacey Rinks have been impeccable ambassadors for our province and country and have personified the best of what Nova Scotia can offer in sporting excellence; and

[Page 2609]

Whereas the spouses, children and employers of these great champions make generous sacrifices for these teams and our provinces;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate these great athletes for the magnificent job they have done, and thank their families and employers for they support.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 1104

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

Whereas the Improv team at Sir John A. Macdonald High School has earned the honour of representing Nova Scotia at the National Improv Games in Ottawa; and

Whereas these students and their teacher, Colleen Putt, display tremendous energy and commitment during Improv; and

Whereas Sir John A. students have established a valuable tradition of Improv competitions;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate the Sir John A. Macdonald Improv team with best wishes of good luck in Ottawa.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 2610]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 1105

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

Whereas the annual Day of Mourning ceremony will be held April 28, 2004, at the Steelworker's Hall, Sydney, Nova Scotia; and

Whereas this day is in memory of those workers killed and injured on the job; and

Whereas we continue our commitment to fight for the living, and mourn those we have lost;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Legislative Assembly congratulate the Cape Breton District Labour Council for their continued efforts to honour the past, present and future members of our proud and dedicated labour force.

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.

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Government Motions.

[Page 2611]

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move that you do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole House on Supply unto Her Majesty.

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

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I look forward, for the next 15 minutes, to bringing to your attention some of the concerns of the people in the constituency of Timberlea-Prospect.

Mr. Speaker, it's all about fairness. That's why my constituents have elected and re-elected me. They expect fairness and they expect me to speak up in this historic Legislature.

Fairness for our seniors as they prepare to enjoy their golden years without financial worries about long-term care and their health; fairness for our students as they plan for their education, without hugely unfair tuition increases and personal debt; fairness for many young families in the constituency of Timberlea-Prospect who deserve the schools, the roads, the services for which they pay their taxes; and fairness for all Nova Scotians regarding property assessments, insurance rates and waiting times for medical care.

Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians know that they can count on the NDP to fight for fairness. (Applause) The people who voted for me know that if it's not fair, then this Tory Government and the Liberals in the Third Party will hear from me and the members of my caucus.

I know the members of the old-line political Parties from time to time get upset, which only means that we must be hitting the target on some sensitive topics - after all that's why we are here.

Mr. Speaker, I hear from many people with their advice and opinions, and as MLAs we were elected to bring these views to your attention and, if we fail to accept that responsibility, we do not deserve to stand and speak in this Nova Scotia Legislature, the home of Joseph Howe and, of course, responsible government.

I want to bring to your attention - and I will be tabling for the members of the House - interesting comments from members of my constituency. As I know members opposite will of course say these must be all his students, well this first one is not one of my students. I hope he isn't, I play oldtimers hockey against him and he is a grandfather in the community that I represent. His name is Terry Dolan, and Terry Dolan has written in an April 11th letter in the Sunday Daily News this headline: Our school system needs a big overhaul. Terry then

[Page 2612]

proceeds to outline for the Minister of Education and for the public, the necessity for, after all, the importance of education, old-fashioned education, values education, grammar, spelling, discipline. I want to thank Terry Dolan for taking the time to introduce this letter to the readers' forum.

I also want to bring - and I will be tabling these documents - the House's attention to Art Gilbert's letter, which he wrote to Premier Hamm. Art Gilbert is the President of the White's Lake Legion, Branch 153, on the Prospect Road, where, currently, my cut-in-two Boston Bruins tie resides. I want you to know that Art Gilbert has written a letter to our Premier about insurance, a major concern that is just not going away. I want to quote from part of that letter, if I may, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Gilbert writes, "We have not seen the governments of Canada or Nova Scotia speak on our behalf on this issue." That's the issue of insurance. "You may see or read about it but no action. Is it because the members of government are not running legions and don't know what it is like to go to meetings month after month as volunteers and have to discuss and cut costs and in some cases say to the membership we can no longer afford to run our legions as we have no money?" That's an insurance issue, Mr. Speaker, that is not going away, and that Art Gilbert and legionnaires from across this province are turning to us as MLAs to look at, to solve and to do something about.

Mr. Speaker, the other day I was canvassing in my community, something that I try to do on a Friday afternoon, and I had the opportunity to run into Harold Landry. Harold Landry lives at 3769 St. Margarets Bay Road. Harold has asked me to deliver this personally, to the Premier and to the Leader of the Official Opposition, my good friend, the member for Cole Harbour. Mr. Landry writes: This country has been ruined by people who only think of themselves, and look where it has gotten us. Somebody has to take care of the ordinary Nova Scotians and, Darrell, it is you. I write this message to the Leader of the NDP and the Official Opposition.

Mr. Landry, I thank you for taking the time . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I appreciate that, and I would ask the honourable member to table that document that he has read from.

MR. ESTABROOKS: It's right here, Mr. Speaker. These documents that I'm bringing to your attention, that last one, incidentally, I guess the union member that I am, I'm delivering that one personally because it is an important letter of real concern to Harold Landry and to seniors in my constituency.

Mr. Speaker, I have some other concerns to bring to your attention. I'm going to table them as a group, because they are e-mails and letters about the rotten roads in the constituency of Timberlea-Prospect. In particular, I would like to bring to your attention the

[Page 2613]

e-mail that was sent to me by Rebecca Jones, regarding Highway No. 333. That, after all, is the road to Peggys Cove. If you drop into Peggys Cove this summer, if you drop into the Sou'Wester Restaurant and you sign the guest book that's there, and you look at the comments that are there - now, this is based upon the comments of last year - the comments that are in that book revolve around, do something about Highway No. 333 or, as we call it, the loop.

Mr. Speaker, I want to point this out to you, particularly because of a young woman named Rebecca Jones, who has moved into our community. Rebecca Jones quite quickly points out that once you get beyond Brookside and you're travelling into the community of Whites Lake, Prospect Bay or Terence Bay, you are driving on truly second- or, at best, third-class roads in some places.

There are people in the constituency that I represent that I would like to bring to your attention, and I would like to thank them for being in contact with me on a regular basis. They include, particularly, Reg Knight of the historic Village of Lower Prospect. I would also like to thank Muriel Bartlett of the community of Terence Bay, for bringing forward her concerns about things in her community. In particular, I would like to recognize Pauline and Eddie Andrews, who are regularly in contact with me on any number of issues - the one, of course, with road safety on the Prospect Road is one that I hear from on a regular basis from Eddie and Pauline.

[2:45 p.m.]

We have a huge responsibility as elected officials in this province. The responsibility is to listen to Nova Scotians and then to bring forward to this House and to your attention the concerns that these Nova Scotians bring forward. I'd like to share with you some of the things that, for example, we have commitments for over the next few weeks in the constituency of Timberlea-Prospect. The Brookside Homeowners Association is holding an important meeting on Wednesday of this week where we are meeting with the developers who are continuing to put pressure on our growing community. Developers who are expecting changes in our community, overflowing our schools, crowding our highways and then moving on to the next community. Timberlea has learned from that experience and Brookside does not want to have it happen in our community along the Prospect Road.

On Thursday of this week, I have the opportunity to go to the annual general meeting of the BLT - that's Beechville-Lakeside-Timberlea - Rails to Trails organization headed up by Catherine Klefenz. We have a major concern happening. As you will know, one of the great recreational needs in the growing community is that we have had the opportunity to take the old railbeds and make it into a trail which goes from the Lakeside Industrial Park through to Hubbards where we have walkers, bikers and ATVers. It is a multi-purpose trail.

[Page 2614]

The concern that I'm bringing to the House's attention is where the Rails to Trails intersects with the current twinning project of Highway No. 103. This community does not want the proposed tunnel. It does not want a darkened passageway under the twinned highway. We would like to have an overpass as currently exists on the Highway No. 103 so that people can continue to safely bike, hike or ATV along the Rails to Trails. I know the Minister of Transportation has been contacted on this issue and it's an issue I know he is going to address.

Also, I have heard the minister speak recently about the poor condition of bridges across this province and I'd like to take this time to bring to his attention that there is the community of Linwood. Linwood is down off the Club Road and Linwood had a bridge - no, we won't call it a bridge, we'll call it a culvert, a huge massive culvert that was absolutely blown away. Not by Hurricane Juan but by last Fall's floods. Those floods, after all, had people going back and across - we're talking about a number of people who live on this street and streets - they had people going back and across because the local firefighters provided a walkway. We have had a temporary bridge in that section of Linwood for far too long. I would encourage the minister to fulfill the commitment that he has given to us that we will have a proper bridge across to the people who live on the opposite side of Linwood. I know the minister is opposite and he will be listening to these comments.

Mr. Speaker, when you represent a growing community such as I do, you hear from people on many topics. The topic that will not go away is the assessments issue. The assessments issue is one that is just not in the coastal communities - it is in the growing subdivisions. I can recall the names of these growing subdivisions because I'm in regular contact with their executive. When you look at some of these subdivisions and how their assessments are continuing to go up, the question that's asked is, if our assessment keeps going up, why do I live on a gravel road?

I know there are people, members opposite, who say the HRM, Peninsula Halifax-Dartmouth, they get everything. What are you complaining about? I would like to point out to the members opposite, I'd like to point out to the Minister of Transportation, that there are growing subdivisions in the communities that I represent who pay big assessments, who live outside of the core. It wasn't this government, but it was a previous government who in all their wisdom brought in amalgamation. We know that the members of the Third Party continue to wear that because amalgamation in the HRM, we are living with it, we are surviving with it, but we certainly don't like it. Once you're outside of the urban core, there is a double standard when it comes to paving, when it comes to roadwork, and there is a double standard when it comes to schools.

Mr. Speaker, as you're well aware, in the previous profession that I had, I hear from many of my past students, who bring forward their concerns about schools. This weekend I had the opportunity to be the MC at the 50th Anniversary of Gladys and Leo - although his name, as we call him in Terence Bay, is Turk - Slaunwhite. As we went through that event

[Page 2615]

that afternoon, so well attended by the many people in Terence Bay, the concern was brought up again, what about our schools? To the family members who were there and, yes, some of them were past students of mine, they want to make sure that this government and this Department of Education is aware that schools are a growing concern in the community that I represent. They're a growing concern because of overcrowding, because of the fact that we have concerns with regard to getting students to and from school in a safe manner, and that when the students get there, they're being dealt with in a manner that is respectful of the year 2004.

Mr. Speaker, I bring these issues to your attention. I want to assure you and members of the House that I will continue to bring these issues to this House. After all, let's remember what Joseph Howe said, speak the truth and feel it. There's a challenge which I accept each and every day, and I look forward to the response from the members opposite. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes.

MR. GERALD SAMPSON: Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak on a very important environmental issue, and it has to do with municipal governance included in it. The issue is bio-solids and, basically, on the spreading of them and the lack of input allowed by municipalities. I have a newspaper article here that states, that Colchester County Council's request for extension on the consultation process was refused. This is a municipality that would like to see the date of eight business days extended rather than see them place a lot more emphasis on the fact that the deadline for ATV use in rural areas that was liberally extended to allow more public consultation, and here we are with something that could impact immensely on rural waterways, rural wells and municipal drinking sources.

Mr. Speaker, it's not proper that the minister refuses to extend the deadline. Municipalities are requesting this. They are the closest level of government to the people. Given the fact that this is a minority government, it would be a good experience, a good exercise, a show of goodwill, that the province would be willing to extend the deadline and give the municipalities a little more time to get the input that's required. Municipalities are the ones that have to deal and usually suffer from provincial decisions that go against their wishes. To date their requests have apparently fallen on deaf ears.

As I said, the ATV consultation process, which was extensive and toured the province and heard from numerous groups, it has been extended, whereas something as toxic as sludge is given eight days only. I think the government should reconsider. I believe the minister is failing to ensure that there's been full consultation. I think the Minister of Environment and Labour and the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations should get together and honour their commitment to the communities, from one end of the province to the other. Mr. Speaker, it's an issue that affects the whole entire province, every municipality.

[Page 2616]

The new treatment facility that was erected in Baddeck, Victoria County, additional dollars were spent on that in order to allow the fact that you could dewater the sludge, therefore making it easier to transport to the landfill where there, with a permit from the province, it's going to be allowed to be put into compost.

Mr. Speaker, this is a modern plant, with a large capacity in excess of what's required. What I would like to see is permission given to that plant and other plants throughout the province, as an interim measure, to allow them to take this sludge and treat it and alleviate any pressing problems. I know that you can't store this sludge too long and there are some areas, as the saying would go, are bulging at the seams and they need to be emptied, so maybe that could be transported to these areas that could accommodate it. In the interim, this would allow an extension by this government for municipalities to receive more input from their residents.

Mr. Speaker, it's a province-wide problem and we need a province-wide solution. We don't want to close these sites, because it's almost a necessary evil. This material has to go somewhere, but given the toxicity of it, it needs to be treated and that's what I'm requesting today. We have contractors out there who, as I say, have an emergency need to empty tanks, to empty their facilities, what do they do with it? If they could take it to these areas that are already approved to accept it, where there may be a few of them around the province - I don't know how many there are - but some of the modern plants can accept this, then that would relieve the pressure.

With that, Mr. Speaker, we would encourage contractors to know that we're not against what they're doing. It's a change in rules and regulations and things have to be upgraded. They are willing to do that, but this will take time for them to comply with the new rules and regulations and that's probably why the urgency that the province is moving ahead so quickly. But at the same time, the residents and the municipalities, the municipal governments that are requesting time for input, I think that should be honoured also.

Mr. Speaker, waste has been around since man has been on earth and it's going to be around forever. It's almost like insurance, it's a necessary evil, it has to go somewhere. So with that, I would make an urgent and heartfelt request that the Minister of Environment and Labour, the Minister of Natural Resources and the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, anything that affects municipalities, should come together, decide what they can do, how they can do it. Even a minimal extension would be beneficial to the municipalities requesting that. I think it would show a respectful attitude towards the request of municipalities, that they are being heard, their requests are legitimate and they're worthy of being honoured.

[Page 2617]

With that, Mr. Speaker, I would respectfully request that the ministers who I have mentioned, revisit the situation with the possibility of extending - for the benefit of municipalities, residents and contractors - the issue of the spreading of biosolids and allow the municipalities to get the proper input to give the government guidance as request. Thank you.

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

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, it was generally agreed by myself and my colleague for Victoria-The Lakes that we would share this time.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to shift the focus just slightly with regard to a matter that is presently before the House. As you know, and it's not my intent to get into debating the principle of this particular piece of legislation because, obviously, we have Rules of the House to deal with that, but I refer to the piece of legislation, the amendment to the Education Act. The Minister of Education is putting forth a piece of legislation that would enable the government to ensure unfettered access, in measured form, to schools for community groups and individuals who would like to have access for purposes of recreation, sporting and the like, I suppose in some way to build on the efforts of the Office of Health Promotion.

[3:00 p.m.]

There's an issue which has not been spoken to and that is what this particular piece of legislation does not speak to specifically. It's a matter that was brought before Public Accounts several years ago when the Deputy Minister of Education came before Public Accounts and confirmed that discussions had been taking place between the Deputy Minister of Education and the CEOs of the school boards around the Province of Nova Scotia - the discussions I refer to had a twofold purpose: Number one, the province would consider taking over all transportation matters from the school board; and number two, it would take over responsibility for all facility issues with regard to school boards.

That having been said, it's quite obvious what would be left is that the school boards would be only responsible for curriculum or educational matters. Many of the monetary related issues would then become the responsibility of the Province of Nova Scotia, centralizing control of educational matters further in the hands of the provincial government and the central bureaucracy in the capital city, further isolating educational matters from many communities across Nova Scotia, and particularly those in rural Nova Scotia where, as has been pointed out on numerous occasions, school boards have a declining population.

Rather than meet the challenge of some of these issues, what is the government doing? It is establishing a blueprint to further depopulate rural Nova Scotia. This is just another initiative towards that particular objective. I would hope that the Minister of Education would take time to stand in his place and tell the people of Nova Scotia and members of this Legislative Assembly what the long-term plan is because, in the last budgetary process that

[Page 2618]

took place before the Supply of the House, the former Minister of Education, who is now Minister of Health, conceded that there had been some discussions to that effect, but that was about as far as it went.

It's not what we see that's concerning, it's what we don't see. This particular piece of legislation that I referred to that the Minister of Education now has before the House is, in my view, superfluous to the need and the objective of what the government can easily accommodate itself, and the school boards and the community interest and the people of Nova Scotia, by either regulation, policy or guideline - and it's built right in the present Education Act.

I would submit that the Minister of Education who I'm hoping, when his deputy appears before the legislative Committee of the Whole House on Supply will be able to answer some of these questions. I think there's a rather significant long-term impact on what will happen with school boards across Nova Scotia - in particular, those outside the capital region.

Mr. Speaker, when I see what's happening - whether it be in Kings County, Halifax County, Cape Breton County, Victoria County - there is no considerable issue per se that the government has laid before this House or the members of this Assembly, or indeed the people of Nova Scotia, that would quantify the need for him to pursue in the fashion that he has. Indeed, if anything, this is another effort by the minister to exact upon the people of Nova Scotia yesterday's politics.

A debate that already took place was well examined by all three Parties of this House and does not address the essential concern that they, themselves, the minister himself in his own press release has stated, and that is community access to all the schools of Nova Scotia. By his own admission he will not achieve that. By his own admission, the issue of liability still rests with those individuals and groups of individuals and organizations. How many small community organizations can afford to supply liability insurance at a minimum base of $1 million before they access those schools?

Mr. Speaker, this is another opportunity for the government to wrestle away authority and self-determination and self-autonomy from the school boards back into the hands of the provincial government and I look forward to debating this on a further day. I realize my time has now expired.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I welcome an opportunity to rise this afternoon, on going into Supply and to speak a few words. I would like to begin by speaking about one of the communities in the beautiful Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley and that is the Upper Stewiacke and extended community.

[Page 2619]

Mr. Speaker, just about a year ago, members of this Legislature will recall that the Province of Nova Scotia, and more especially the Upper Stewiacke area, was heavily flooded by a freak, if you will, Spring storm and the flash flood came down the beautiful Upper Stewiacke Valley and it literally rolled away acres and acres of topography. Farmers' fields were turned into tributaries where watercourses shouldn't be and the community of Upper Stewiacke, being a very resilient community, decided to work together, to work with the Department of Environment, to work with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, and to work with the local Emergency Measures Organization.

Mr. Speaker, Mrs. Sandra Fisher facilitated a meeting at the Upper Stewiacke volunteer firefighters building and we had a large turnout, or at least Sandra had a large turnout of community members, stakeholders, Department of Environment, Emergency Measures, and so on, folks appropriate, and the people involved, the agriculture community more especially, decided that they would put together a plan that would help the farmers deal with this devastation that was incurred as a consequence of the flood. Now, I told you about the topography literally being rolled off the intervales and fields of the farmers and tributaries and watercourses being created where they shouldn't be, but, as well, as you can imagine, a lot of the farmers, and their families lost some of their buildings, they lost fencing, they lost bridges and, in fact, on Route 336, which runs between Newton Mills and Eastville, two bridges were taken out, one over the Sam Cox Brook and the other one was over the Stewiacke River and, as well, down in Springside, another bridge was destroyed as a consequence of this flash flood.

Well, Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to say that the community and government worked together very cooperatively and were able to quickly put a bridge in place across the Stewiacke River so people could communicate back and forth. The firefighters were extremely concerned because the detour was several kilometres until the temporary Bailey bridge was put in place.

I want to make it clear, here, today, that I don't think I've ever seen a community any more resilient, dedicated and committed to a cause than the Upper Stewiacke and area communities were during the aftermath of that flood. Today, if you were drive up through the beautiful Upper Stewiacke Valley, you would hardly notice that just a year ago, hundreds and hundreds of acres, several metres of fencing, buildings, et cetera, roadways, bridges were destroyed and, as a result of the dedication and fortitude of the people and the governments - the governments, perhaps, even to a lesser degree - were able to bring the Upper Stewiacke and area back to some semblance of order. In fact, it's a very fine community there today. That was in early April, the end of March of last year.

Mr. Speaker, you might recall - I'm sure you would recall - that on May 20th of last year, we received the news that the border between these two great countries, Canada and the United States, was closed to Canadian beef and Canadian beef products. Well, it goes without saying that that severely impacted the Canadian and Nova Scotian beef industry, but

[Page 2620]

as well other commodities were greatly impacted. One of those commodities was, and still is, the sheep industry.

The sheep industry in Canada is quite significant. For example, in Ontario alone, the sheep industry is worth some $37 million, and there are over 250,000 head of sheep. Nova Scotia has a very substantial sheep industry as well. I'm very pleased to say that the President of the Canadian Sheep Breeders Association, Mr. Jonathan Ward resides in Upper Stewiacke. Jonathan is the President of the Canadian Breeders Association. Just recently, Jonathan e-mailed me to tell me that the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry in Ottawa recently released, if you will, an interim report on the impacts of BSE in Canada. Well, we all know of some of the consequences of mad cow disease.

Mr. Speaker, unbelievably, the sheep commodity in this country of Canada didn't have, or they're alleging that they didn't have, an opportunity to make a presentation to the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry working up this report. I had an opportunity to put together a missive to the chairman of the committee and asked that Eastern Canada be given an opportunity to have some standing at the committee level, by way of a presentation, so the views of Eastern Canada and, in fact, all of Canada can be reflected in the final report of the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry.

Like I said, for example, the sheep industry in Ontario alone is worth some $37 million to the Canadian economy - that's not small change, by any stretch of the imagination. Nova Scotia farmers, too, would like to have the opportunity to speak on behalf of that commodity. All ruminant livestock has been impacted, because of the measure that was taken on May 20, 2003.

As you know, the affect in Nova Scotia has been very significant. As a consequence of the problems that the farming community were dealing with in this province, the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Honourable Chris d'Entremont decided that we would establish a task force on BSE. I was very pleased to have the opportunity to chair the committee, and extremely pleased that we were able to welcome the Agriculture Critic from the Nova Scotia Liberal Party to our delegation. As well, we had stakeholders from all across this province. Mr. Leo Cox from Inverness was on our committee. We had Mr. Anthony VanOostrum from the Valley on our committee.

[3:15 p.m.]

We had a number of people who served the agriculture industry in this province and they have done it with great distinction, great commitment and dedication, I might add, but we had a committee that was very well balanced and focused. We were able to come up with a report after traveling around to a number of very important agriculture communities in this province. We held a meeting, Mr. Speaker, in your constituency, as you know, you attended

[Page 2621]

that meeting. I know that Mr. Kurt Sherman was very pleased that we were able to go to the Wentworth Community Centre and listen to the concerns of the farmers and their families.

Mr. Speaker, we had members from the veterinarian community who came and expressed the concerns that they had. We had people from the dairy commodity, the poultry commodity, the beef commodity, blueberry growers, equipment dealers. People representing their concerns to the BSE task force committee. We did that, not only in Wentworth, we were able to go to Brookfield, we were able to go to Antigonish and I'd like to point out that the honourable Minister of Health and the MLA for Antigonish attended the meeting, as well as the honourable member for Pictou East who came over to the meeting in Antigonish. It was very heartening that my colleagues, and colleagues on all sides of the House, took the opportunity to go to the meetings. We had a well-attended meeting in Kentville and I believe that the BSE task force recommendations did reflect, still do reflect, the concerns that Nova Scotia farmers are facing relative to the mad cow crisis, and it is a crisis, make no mistake.

Just earlier this month, as you know, we were able, especially through the facilitating of your office, Mr. Speaker, to take a trip to Washington, D.C., and Annapolis, Maryland. We had an opportunity to meet with USDA, the United States Department of Agriculture. We met with congressmen, we met with chairmen of finance committees. You and I even had an opportunity to get our picture taken with the Governor of Maryland. Maryland, although it's small in geographical dimensions, so to speak, the State of Maryland has a population of a little over 5 million people and the main commodity in terms of agriculture in Maryland is the poultry sector. We were told, as you remember, that the avian influenza, or the bird flu as it's commonly called, was really impacting the State of Maryland and the State of Maryland provides the State of New Jersey with their chicken and poultry needs and as well, for the most part, they supply the City of New York.

Mr. Speaker, the point I'm trying to make, is that irrespective of the commodity, we have to be very careful and vigilant that we do have the necessary checks and balances and programs in place, based on what's happening out in British Columbia, for example, right now with the avian influenza. It can negatively impact any province, any state, at any time and we're so closely intertwined and integrated here in North America, that I think for awhile, it took time for officials from Canada to have the Americans realize and acknowledge - and they do now - that we are, in fact, intertwined.

I think the progress that we have noticed relative to the border opening, over the course of the last two weeks, is sending a good signal to the Canadian and American farmer, that the politicians and the various committees that have dealt with this issue are being listened to. I think it was just last week that we learned that ground beef and now bone-in meat, provided the product is under three months, is now permitted to cross the border. It may not have great significance in this province, but I did learn that just last week the United States agreed that animals that are in conjunction with or related to a rodeo and an exhibition and things of that nature, are allowed to go into the United States from Canada. I think that's

[Page 2622]

sending a good signal to Nova Scotia and to this country that, in fact the United States, and more especially the USDA are listening to Canada, and now they are acknowledging that both countries' agriculture industries are very interconnected. We are very pleased with those signals.

Mr. Speaker, the Province of Nova Scotia through the delivery of several programs has provided income support to the ruminant livestock industry to offset the financial pressures created by BSE. It has been suggested by some, just a few, that the aid packages delivered to date provided little assistance to certain segments of the ruminant livestock sector and that support fell below the BSE task force recommendations. The fact of the matter is we've had provincial programs, we've had federal-provincial programs, we've had federal programs, and we've also had international programs.

I want to point out that our recommendation, one of the main recommendations of the task force, and I really did appreciate, and I know the farming community did appreciate the Agriculture Critic, Mr. Stephen McNeil, being on the committee, but collectively through some deliberation and consideration one of our recommendations is that Nova Scotia farmers receive $400 a head for their animals, and with the provincial and federal-provincial and federal programs and the latest announcements, I believe that the assistance will reach that mark.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The motion is carried.

[3:22 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Supply with Deputy Speaker Mr. James DeWolfe in the Chair.]

[5:02 p.m. CWH on Supply rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Murray Scott, resumed the Chair.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, with the consent of the House, I would ask to revert to the order of business, Introduction of Bills.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 2623]

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 62 - Entitled an Act Respecting Certain Financial Measures. (Hon. Peter Christie)

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move that you do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole House on Supply unto Her Majesty.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The motion is carried.

[5:03 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Supply with Deputy Speaker Mr. Russell MacKinnon in the Chair.]

[7:27 p.m. CWH on Supply rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Murray Scott, resumed the Chair.]

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

THE CLERK: That the committee has met and made some progress in considering Supply and asks leave to sit again.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Public Bills for Second Reading.

[Page 2624]

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 48.

Bill No. 48 - Education Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, when we take a look at Bill No. 48, certainly, at first read, the idea of opening up the public schools of the province to greater use, greater participation by the wider community, and especially in conjunction with what we heard last week, a renewed emphasis on health promotion, certainly the two go hand in hand. However, as we take a further look at this bill, there is certainly a number of questions that come to mind. Is this bill going to mean absolute control of the schools? In other words, the minister will be designating what groups, beyond school and youth groups, will be able to come into the schools. That potentially has a great limiting impact at a time when we do want our schools to once again reflect what the strong values of our community schools are, especially in rural Nova Scotia.

Over the past number of years, we have moved from a time when our schools were very open to all groups in the community, now to a time where they are much more restricted. Restricted by the fact that we have to have agreements with these groups, insurance coverage, and obviously, fees have to be collected and contracts have to be signed. It has been an inhibiting factor for these groups to come into the school. In rural Nova Scotia, we certainly don't have the YMCA facilities, we don't have community clubs and gyms and organizations and places for our youth, and in fact a wide range of groups to use our schools.

[7:30 p.m.]

As we start to take a look, then, at this bill, certainly that is one of the questions that comes to mind, will there be a very restrictive list of groups that will be permitted to use the facilities? If we're going to have no fees charged to our youth and school groups, then will other groups that will come into the school have to offset those kinds of costs? There will always be, in our schools, janitorial costs, lights, heat, maintenance, that whole area that will need to be made up in one manner or another.

I do have a number of reservations, and our caucus has a number of reservations, as to what the true intent of this bill really is. I think it is certainly going to need some exploration in the Law Amendments Committee, to have groups come in and give their views, perhaps on what the intent of the legislation is. With that, Mr. Speaker, I would have to say

[Page 2625]

that the hope is that it would go to the Law Amendments Committee and have groups would explore this piece of legislation much further.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes on an introduction.

MR. GERALD SAMPSON: Mr. Speaker, in the west gallery, I would like to take the opportunity to introduce Mr. Leslie MacKinnon and Mr. Kevin Sangster from Cole Harbour, good Liberal supporters. I would like to have the House give them a resounding welcome of applause. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We welcome our guests to the gallery today, and we hope they enjoy the proceedings.

The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I welcome our guests in the gallery. I've been an MLA for six years. I have to say that when I'm out and about in my constituency, my constituents ask me how I like the work and so on. I tell them that I'm not a cynic, that I recognize that it is possible to make change in this province, even though I haven't recognized much of it from the previous two Parties. I want to say that, for sure, I believe that it is possible to use the power of government to improve people's lives.

If there's been anything that may have pushed me, a bit, towards cynicism, it's this bill that's before us today, Bill No. 48. The reasons are that this bill, on the face of it, would appear to be relatively innocuous, you would tend to think it's actually a very good intention by the minister, but there's something about this bill that I find particularly confusing. The bill is actually a law to allow the Minister of Education to bring in a policy. Now, he is the minister. He's the minster. The minister can bring in policy, ta da. That's not (Interruptions)

It finally occurred to me. Mr. Speaker, the minister has the power already to write policy for the Department of Education. So, there has to be something more to this than meets the eye, if the minister is having a policy written that would be illegal to break it.

Now, we could think that maybe some school boards might not act according to policy in some cases and the minister could rap them on the knuckles, the minister could ask them if they could bring themselves in alignment with the policy. There'd be some negotiation back and forth and the school board could say, look we have a little problem with this and here's the reason why and the minister would say, I agree - just keep working towards the policy.

I don't see that's going to be the case with this piece of legislation. There's a reason for this and I'll tell you what I think the reason is. School boards in this province are required by law to balance their books. It would seem to me that one thing that school boards have

[Page 2626]

been forced to do in this province is really to collect user fees. This is something that the government has a habit of thrusting upon Nova Scotians in a variety of ways so to make school boards search for dollars is not necessarily new. Schools, in particular, if you have been a parent in this province for any length of time, you can go back to every chocolate bar campaign - I can remember in high school the penny parade. Trying to collect pennies to help pay for whatever initiatives the school wanted to do.

This is really no different. This is on a much bigger scale that schools require funding. People never regard how much teachers spend out of their own pockets when it comes to going to school - bringing pens and pencils for their students. I bought paper to run my exams off on two or three occasions. My wife works for the federal government and I'm sure if she walked into her office in the morning with paper and staples and pens, people would say, what's wrong with you? But when it comes to teachers and schools, they can supply any amount of material out of their own wallet and people take that as the norm. The education system in this province has been subsidized for a good many years by communities - above and beyond the taxes that they pay.

So, I have to say that on the face of it, it appears to be quite sensible for the government to try to have a policy that would eliminate those fees for non-profit groups in the communities. I know that some of them - certainly in my area - have been feeling the pinch. I guess, for me as a member who actually has three of the four new schools in my area that are all P3 schools, this is not going to address the issue of the fees that are charged by P3 schools. I know the minister has indicated in this House that the conversations are still going on, they're negotiating with the proponents of those schools, but I would say if they've been doing that since 1999, I wouldn't be overly optimistic that there's going to be much change in the funding and that P3 schools will milk their communities in whatever way they can in order to have access if community groups want to access those facilities.

That's not something that was entirely clear when the Liberal Government went down this road. This was sold as purely a way to finance much-needed schools but it didn't really make it clear that communities were not going to have access to those P3 schools the same way that they were going to have access to the more traditionally built school.

I applaud the government for its initiative to move away from the P3 structure. I have to say that I'm worried about the minister's direction in this regard as far as this legislation is concerned. The fact that the minister already has the power to write policy that would apply to school boards and in this case, it's a policy that becomes a law. I only can think that in light of what had happened in New Brunswick around the elimination of school boards, lack of funding to boards - which this may result in - their inability to balance their books, may give the government the in that it needs to eliminate elected boards in this province and I think that would be a very dangerous step for them to go although it's a road they have initially gone down in one part of this province I would say.

[Page 2627]

I didn't intend to speak long, Mr. Speaker. So with those comments, I'll be really interested to see this bill go on to the Law Amendments Committee and see what the public's reaction to this is.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak on Bill No. 48 which amends the Education Act and actually prohibits school boards from charging fees under certain circumstances for the use of their facilities. I have a number of questions about this bill and I will be very interested to hear people who come before the Law Amendments Committee speak to this bill because I think generally this is a good idea.

One of the first things that I had to deal with as a member representing the north end of Halifax, Halifax Needham, was in fact dealing with a situation where an elementary school in my community that had been used for a long time, the gym had been used for a long time by the Ward 5 Community Centre for after school, evening and weekend (Interruption)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham has the floor.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The school in my community which is an inner-city school, one of the designated inner-city schools here on the peninsula, had been used by the Ward 5 Community Centre for programs with young people from the inner-city, mostly basketball and recreational-type programs. Lo and behold, unknown to them, the school board had instituted a policy to charge for the use of that facility and they had received a bill for almost $1,000. They were, to say the least, fairly shocked when this occurred and as a small, non-profit organization, they certainly didn't have the money to deal with these fees.

I think in that scenario we were able to negotiate a situation where they didn't have to pay those fees because they had not been advised ahead of time. Nevertheless, they stopped using that facility because they couldn't afford any more to use the facility and that meant that a lot of young kids from the inner city were left without the recreational programs that had meant a lot to that community over a long number of years. So if that kind of scenario would be addressed by this bill, then certainly it would be a welcome piece of legislation.

I think, Mr. Speaker, this begs the question of who owns schools in our province and who are the schools there for. There's another school in my constituency that's currently dealing with this very question with respect to before, during and after school programs for the children of working parents. Throughout the HRM there are quite a few schools that offer before school programs, after school programs, either in the school or at a facility close to the school. St. Stephen School in the north end of Halifax has seen a marked decline in its enrollment and, therefore, a utilization of the physical space that is dropping all the time. Parents in that community are having a heck of a time getting agreement from the principal

[Page 2628]

and from the school board with respect to using that school, to have the YMCA come in and use that school to offer a program for children who have working parents and this has been an ongoing issue of controversy.

When I look at the bill, I'm not clear whether or not the bill in fact would capture that

situation. I'll be looking for some clarification from the Minister of Education in terms of what is meant by other groups being designated by the minister, besides community youth groups. Would we also be looking at children, and programs for children in the school, and programs that could be put into a school that isn't fully utilized that would ensure there is a good program, adequate supervised program with a recreational component before school, and maybe after school programs as well as during the lunch hour.

[7:45 p.m.]

With those few words on this bill, I will look for those answers from the minister and I look forward to hearing what people have to say in front of the Law Amendments Committee. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: I am glad to have a few moments to speak on Bill No. 48. It's of particular interest in my riding, Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage I think for a couple of reasons. First of all it's a suburban, growing riding, not unlike those of Timberlea-Prospect, or Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville or even parts of the riding of Eastern Shore or the riding of Preston, Mr. Speaker, where you have a lot of young families moving in. Facilities usually follow later. Development happens then eventually you get facilities. One of the facilities that are most demanded, of course, are schools, not only for education, but after school as well and before school.

The problem in our province, Mr. Speaker, is that we've had a difficult time being able to ensure that our children and indeed all citizens have access to these schools. I'm proud to say that in my riding, back before the P3 fiasco, there was a development of a school, Tallahassee Community School. I believe it is only one of two in Nova Scotia, the other being in the riding of the member for Chester-St. Margaret's. It's Forest Heights. They are both community schools, and the concept is that at one end of the school, you have the school, the other end is usually a rec centre or a facility that enables - the line is blurred, you wouldn't know where one ended and the other began - but it allows access to a building for more than just the regular times of the day, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. or 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. or whatever. It worked very well. Unfortunately, the community has ballooned to 12,000 or 13,000 people, and that is no longer enough of a facility for what our community needs.

[Page 2629]

Then we built a P3 school, the Eastern Passage Education Centre, a very nice school, beautiful school, but at the same time, that gym sits empty. That field that is there, Mr. Speaker, sits empty. It's a crying shame to see how this school with fantastic facilities cannot be used by its own community, indeed, there are some discussions in the community that it's actually being used by people outside, who can afford it. Other communities outside of Eastern Passage come in and rent it because they have the ability to collect the fees better than Eastern Passage. They have actually been utilizing it while the community of Eastern Passage cannot, because of the cost of having to rent these facilities. They are very high. To the point where it makes it prohibitive to use them, whether you are playing basketball, badminton, whether you are using a less athletic but more active program in the cafeteria, the soccer field, these are all facilities that could be used in my community and they are not being used. That is a crying shame.

This bill, Mr. Speaker, does not go far enough. It talks about eliminating the fees in schools that are not P3, but for P3 schools it will not touch them and we are going to be left with the same dilemmas in our growing communities. Let's be clear, it will be a two-tier system. It is now to some extent. It is not going to get any better. The real issue is when we went through this growth in P3 schools in the late 1990s they were built predominately in two types of areas. Rural consolidation, and those schools are going to be there for a long time. They are not going anywhere. Whether it be the schools in Pictou County or in Richmond County, those P3 schools are going to be there for a long time, unless there is sudden spurt of growth that is going to result in the need for a second school being built.

You have those places where schools were built in rural communities as consolidated schools, and they are going to be there for generations probably. Those are P3 schools, in many cases the only one with decent facilities and yet they're not going to be accessible to the community. On the flip side you have the ones that were built in suburban Halifax and Dartmouth, ones built in Eastern Passage or in Beechville, or in the Head of St. Margaret's Bay.

Mr. Speaker, these places are growing, they're developing quickly and we do not have the ability to ensure that they have the facilities they need as well. As a result, our children are suffering; as a result, our communities are suffering. I would like to see this bill address the issue of P3 schools. It can be done. I don't see the government having the will to do it and that's unfortunate. I would hope that in the end, whether it be the soccer field, whether it be baseball fields, whether it be gym or cafeterias that can be used, that they be opened up as well, because, if not, we're going to create a two-tier system, and that's a system that we don't support.

I guess the other part that I want to bring up in my brief comments, Mr. Speaker, is with regard to the actual bill itself, not getting into the detail or the language. A couple of things concern me. I heard some school board staff, after this bill was introduced, and they

[Page 2630]

were talking about the fact that there are two fees. There's a fee for rental and there's a fee for, "monitoring" or "door-opening", or something like that . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: Custodial fee.

MR. DEVEAUX: Custodial fee, Mr. Speaker, and I got the sense from the spokesperson, at least for the Halifax Regional School Board that these fees aren't going to be done away with. Even though this government is talking about eliminating fees for youth groups and facilities, the fact is that I think the school boards are already looking at ways to levy fees. Call it by another name, it's still a rose, and the fact is, that in this case I think you have school boards looking at a way to impose a fee that will go around this bill.

This bill has to be drafted in a way to ensure that if this government is serious about saying that this is supposed to be free access, then make sure it's free. No fees, no fee of any kind, no levy, no charge that can be imposed in some other way, that will be used as a means to get around the collection of the fee that they are now not going to be able to collect if this bill is passed, Mr. Speaker. I would hope that this government will look seriously at that.

My second concern, is exactly who is eligible for accepting and developing and getting access to this. This government talks about regulation and policy. Well, I've been around this House long enough, Mr. Speaker, to know, that I would like to see the bottom line before we pass this bill. Does it mean Scouts? They're not athletic necessarily, they may be doing crafts or they may be doing other things. You could be talking about organizations that are more ad hoc, you see local ground hockey leagues that do a very good job of getting kids out, working with them, or basketball leagues, that maybe aren't really organized, just a bunch of people getting together, renting the gym and fooling around, but as a result, are they going to be able to access this? I don't know.

According to this, Mr. Speaker, it has to be a youth organization. I'm concerned as to what that means. I would hope this government would take the time to clarify it. They, quite frankly, have been very conservative in their use of paper with this bill, since it's only three or four lines long. They could fill up the rest of the page maybe with a couple of definitions and a couple of issues that we'd like to see addressed, so that we know that this bill is going to address, specifically, what needs to be done in those schools, that all youth have access to these schools, for free, no fees and it addresses P3 schools as well.

While we're at it, Mr. Speaker, seniors in our communities also need healthy living as well. There are times that they can use these buildings in a way that maybe can't be utilized by others. I would encourage us to also look at how seniors may be able to access this as well. I understand that this is predominantly addressed to youth, but seniors can use these buildings as well and I would hope that we'd be looking at that. I look forward to hearing from organizations at the Committee on Law Amendments, who have some comments on this because this bill has a lot of work to do. Thank you. (Applause)

[Page 2631]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, I do know that you won't have to call order while I'm speaking because I do know that the members in the Legislative Assembly will be rather attentive to what I have to say.

Mr. Speaker, I want to say to you that I'm speaking on Bill No. 48, the Education Act. I want to say to this Legislative Assembly, as well, that I'm absolutely aghast with respect to the fact that this bill does not address the issue of P3 schools. I can only imagine what my colleague, the honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect, must have to deal with, also the member for Cape Breton Nova, because each of these members has a total of five P3 schools in their constituencies. Three, I believe, in the constituency of Timberlea-Prospect, and two in the Cape Breton Nova constituency.

Mr. Speaker, I do know that these honourable members are quite interested in their communities and, community-minded individuals that they are, they have worked very closely with the citizens in their communities to try to make some sort of accommodations with respect to having access to the P3 schools. The access to those P3 schools, with respect to maybe Brownies, maybe the Scout movement, maybe a seniors' program, whatever, could go into those P3 schools.

Mr. Speaker, I remember as a young person growing up in a rural community, in a small fishing village, how important a local community school was to the entire community. That local school not only was the focal point of education, it was also the point whereby people had an interest in bringing issues, and organizations had an interest in bringing forward - as a matter of fact, local community schools, even to this very day, are polling stations within communities - that is where people recognize it's the place to go, the place whereby they have the use of that facility, and it is theirs.

Mr. Speaker, although Bill No. 48 has good intentions, I think that's about as far as it goes. The intention that it recognizes, through Bill No. 48, was the need to make available additional facilities whereby it wouldn't put an added cost on government, yet government would turn around and introduce healthy programs that could be administered out of school facilities for the citizens. I think that, in itself, is a good thing; I absolutely don't see anything wrong with that at all.

The problem is that it goes to the point whereby there are no definitions - and I do know that the honourable member for Cole Harbour made comment with respect to definitions - it doesn't go to the point of defining what is an organization, who is entitled to the use of these facilities, and how many people make up a group of individuals that would have access to these facilities. This is significant to the constituency that I represent, Dartmouth North. I know that two years ago we went through school closures in that community. There were actually two school closures, one, the Notting Park School, and the

[Page 2632]

other, the Northbrook School closure as a result of indicating that these schools were surplus to the educational needs and the population could be dispersed.

Those facilities were used primarily for some meetings, so it squeezed up and used and demanded a greater use for the existing school facilities that were there. The people in the constituency of Dartmouth North are in a unique position to most parts of the province, because inside proper of the city of Halifax and Dartmouth, there is an agreement that, in fact, the schools actually belong to the municipality; they are the property of the school board until they become surplus to the needs of the school board.

Once they become surplus to the needs of the school board, they're reverted back to the municipality. That's under a formula that the members on the government side understand, whereby the land was dedicated to the Department of Education - I think that's the appropriate term - to build the facilities, knowing full well that they would come back to the municipality.

Mr. Speaker, under that kind of an arrangement, the facilities proper, the physical structure, the physical plant, in fact, is administered by the school board. The playgrounds and the ground areas adjacent to the school are maintained and administered by the municipality, under an agreement with the school board. So you tell me how this bill enhances or improves access to school grounds, as one of the components for better fitness and better active community living. Tell me how that better fits the needs, when in fact the school board will say that it is not our responsibility, it's the responsibility of the regional municipality, and the regional municipality is not governed under this piece of legislation to tell how many people they will pay for the use of the facilities.

Mr. Speaker, that's an opt-out for the Department of Education. Also, the fact that the school boards can charge a fee - a custodial fee for opening the door, for pushing a button - of $7, and the request is a minimum of four hours, usually, in order to turn around and have the use of those facilities. So it doesn't only become $7, it becomes $28. Again, on top of that, is a fee arrangement set out for each of the classrooms, the gymnasium, the library and the cafeteria, and each of those different fee arrangements are structured and set out, again, with a minimum of four hours to the cost.

[8:00 p.m.]

I represent a constituency in this Legislative Assembly, Mr. Speaker, that requires and needs all the facilities that it can have available to its citizens without charge. We have, in fact, the Dartmouth North Community Centre, which is adjacent to John Martin Junior High, and I do know that the honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect, a former teacher - I don't know if you still hold your credentials or not as a teacher and if you can go back after (Interruptions) But we certainly won't go there.

[Page 2633]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North has the floor.

MR. PYE: Mr. Speaker, I want to say that the honourable member is very much aware of the connect between a community school and a community facility, and the connect between an educational institution and community facilities. They, in fact, harmonize programs that go together that is to the benefit of a community. Those programs are run in link with each other so that those programs can gain the maximum benefit. So when I use the Dartmouth North Community Centre to put on a program for the youth, then the youth have to turn around and use the facilities of John Martin Junior High School or John MacNeil Elementary School or Harbour View Elementary or Bicentennial or Dartmouth High. There's a cost to running those programs.

Now, where does that cost come from, Mr. Speaker? That cost will come out of the administrative section of the community centre, if, in fact, it is the community centre that's going to rent the facility on behalf of the program or the students or the youth. The other thing, if it doesn't come there, it's going to come from the children who cannot afford it and cannot use it.

Mr. Speaker, two weeks ago on a Wednesday night, I attended an interesting meeting in my community where a number of youth and that community did not have the programs they had wanted in that community. As a matter of fact, I had a conversation with the Minister of Health Promotion last Fall with respect to the concern about youth activity in the constituency and what kind of programs and services could come out of the Department of Health Promotion that would complement the use of the educational facilities in this community. I want to say that it is that kind of community that needs access to educational facilities to complement - again, I don't want to sound redundant on this issue but I want to backtrack again, remember when the government decides that it's going to open the door for educational facilities and the use of educational facilities to promote healthy, well-being communities, then government has to recognize that it, too, has a role to play. It has to pony up the dollars that are needed to those agencies, groups and organizations that are going to need the use of those facilities.

I know that this happens, and I do know that a number of teachers in this Legislative Assembly can attest to the fact that there is a lot of fundraising in education. A lot of children who want to take tours or go into science programs or go out on to nature trails and so on and so forth, who want to be actively involved in their community and so on and so forth, it costs money.

AN HON. MEMBER: Field trips.

[Page 2634]

MR. PYE: Field trips, that's the appropriate term I'm looking for, field trips. You know, children are expected to go out there and fundraise for this. What happens if children who don't fundraise for this and who do not bring in the money? They don't go. Do you think that that's fair? When someone lives in a community where they cannot participate in a fundraising venture for them to take active pursuit in field programs, to take active pursuit in recreational programs, then that somehow is wrong.

So, Mr. Speaker, I want to say to you, again, with this bill, I think the government, when it crafted this bill, had all good intentions. The intentions were good. The motive was there to create the environment that's needed to make sure that we maximize the potential use of all the facilities available to us. I think there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. Nobody would condemn the government for this approach. It's the approach that, along with introducing legislation . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. There's too much noise in the Chamber. I would ask the honourable members, if you have to talk, to take your conversations outside, please.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North has the floor.

MR. PYE: Mr. Speaker, I must say that when I got up here to speak that I didn't think that you would have to go through that process of calling order because I thought that every member of this Legislative Assembly would be listening intently to my speech and that you could actually hear a pin drop, but that didn't happen and it's obvious that the message is not getting through, so I can do the whole thing over again.

Mr. Speaker, we can certainly go through the whole process again. I can do it in what is called slow format language so that maybe it can be presented across the floor and so that it can be absorbed by someone who really has an interest in making sure that this legislation gets there. I think this is such a serious piece of legislation that, obviously, it requires the attention of government, particularly government, all members, but particularly government because it's a government bill. It's a piece of legislation that the government sent through their bureaucracy to have addressed and crafted. It's a piece of legislation that was crafted by this government to satisfy a need in the community where people obviously must have told them about during the 2003 election campaign. They must have had talks with the Department of Education, they must have had talks with community groups on this very issue; if not, we would not see this piece of legislation on the floor.

Now, the fact is, once again, there are no exemptions for anyone under the existing legislation with respect to absolutely total free access to facilities. Let's make it perfectly clear that there will be a cost. I think that the honourable members who have said that there needs to be definition with respect to groups, agencies, and also the honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage brought up another good point and I do know that the member for Timberlea-Prospect, I think, made comment with respect to it in his speech a few days ago,

[Page 2635]

and that was with respect to seniors, people who are 60 years of age and over. I think that this bill addresses those concerns of 21 years of age and under who have the use of these facilities, but, in many communities, persons 60 years of age and over don't have access to these, and many seniors, even in seniors' homes, don't have access to the appropriate facilities to do fundraising ventures for seniors' programs - not only that, to run out just-to-get-to-know-you programs, just-to-get-to-know-you senior programs and so on.

So, Mr. Speaker, I want to say to you that when we craft legislation in here that we need to know that it's important. We also know that this bill is going to cross the floor and go to the Law Amendments Committee, and we do know that there will probably be a great deal of presenters - I should say, witnesses - before the Law Amendments Committee, who, in fact, will be speaking on this bill and will certainly be able to enlighten and inform the Members of this Legislative Assembly on the direction they should go. They will also enlighten the members of where there ought to be amendments or changes to this piece of legislation.

I can tell you at the present time it is fair to say, you often hear the phrase that you can drive a Mack truck through it, and the honourable member here for the beautiful Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley can't say those sorts of things, so I guess the most important thing is that we recognize that with good legislation, you can't put your finger through let alone drive a Mack truck through.

Mr. Speaker, I will tell you that I am looking forward to this piece of legislation going across the floor to the Law Amendments Committee and listening to the presenters or the witnesses bringing their recommendations to the committee with respect to this bill. I will then have the opportunity on a future day to speak on this bill and to have a better knowledge of what's really needed out there in the community. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the honourable Minister of Education it will be to close the debate on Bill No. 48.

The honourable Minister of Education.

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I rise to close debate on this bill and I'd like to thank the members of the Opposition for their helpful interventions and even those that weren't so helpful. It's rewarding to see this bill has the interest of the House and I look forward to it passing through the Committee on Law Amendments.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 48. Is the House ready for the question?

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

[Page 2636]

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 49, the Mi'kmaq Education Act.

Bill No. 49 - Mi'kmaq Education Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise for a few minutes to speak this evening on Bill No. 49 which is an amendment to the Mi'kmaq Education Act. Basically what it does is, I think as members know, the education on the First Nations communities here in Nova Scotia is really a matter between the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs and the Mi'kmaq Kina'matnewey here in Nova Scotia. Currently, nine of the First Nations communities have opted to provide their education on reserves. What this bill does, it amends the Act so that a 10th First Nations community can be added, and that is the Bear River community.

This is an interesting thing. There are still some of the First Nations communities, including the one in my home community of Millbrook which has a formal agreement with the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board and their students are provided for in the public schools of that board. Anyway, the communities which have gained autonomy have signed a three-party agreement with the federal government and the Mi'kmaq Kina'matnewey, which is the provincial body that coordinates First Nations education.

What this bill does is simply recognize their autonomy and it requires Mi'kmaq students to follow programs similar to those of other educational jurisdictions. In other words, the concern is that the students, all Nova Scotian students receive education comparable to that which is prescribed by the public school program. Of course, this requirement is necessary if students leave the First Nations community and wish to transition to the public schools.

Bear River First Nation is taking the initiative to provide education to its students in its own community. The Band is entering this three-party agreement to gain autonomy for its education programs.

Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased that this government, with the support of the members on the other side of the House, will be able to accommodate the Band's wish to be included in this legislation as well.

[Page 2637]

[8:15 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to speak to this bill. I want to say, whether members of the House would know, in my previous life I was a teacher. I think many days I consider myself to be a teacher here. I'm trying to educate the members on the opposite side of the House. (Interruptions)

Mr. Speaker, there's a reason for this grey hair, as you can see how difficult the job is. I want to applaud the Bear River First Nation. I think this is a good step for that community. Actually, I think we all would have to recognize that this is a step that community wished to take. In that regard, I think we should all congratulate them. The minister is correct in that these students need to be guaranteed a course load that would allow for a transition into the other public school systems. I think we would deem that to be particularly important, to know that the students across the province have similar education opportunities.

In the list, on the schedule of the previous Act that we're amending, Mr. Speaker, it has a list of the nine First Nations communities that are presently under the Act, and Bear River is an addition to that. The Shubenacadie First Nation, Indian Brook, is in my constituency. We certainly had a number of First Nations students from Indian Brook in Hants East Rural High School, where I taught. The change allowed for many of those to continue schooling on the Indian Brook Reserve, which many did, but it also allowed for those who opted to come back to the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board system to do so, and many of those did, as well.

Mr. Speaker, as good as this is, I think there's a responsibility on the part of government, because I think the final responsibility lies with the government, in terms of gathering information about the outcomes of First Nations students. To this day, there's really only one province that actually does that, and that's British Columbia. British Columbia is the only province where the Education Minister gathers detailed evidence on Aboriginal school outcomes. I think it would be important for this minister and this government to actually track the progress of First Nations students in this province to ensure that the education that they get, whether it's through the regular public system or through the system that is under the control of the Band, that the best possible outcomes are being achieved.

I want to say that, to a point, we may want to congratulate our Prime Minister. Last week, I think it was April 19th, was the opening of the first Canada Aboriginal People's Roundtable in Ottawa, and the Prime Minister has already taken it upon himself to chair the Cabinet committees on Aboriginal Affairs. I would say that this is an indication that the Prime Minister deems this to be important. I think that all legislators and, in particular, all Education Ministers should deem this to be important. The First Nations communities that want to take this step, it's an important one for them, and it's important that they get the support that they

[Page 2638]

deserve in order to ensure the proper outcomes for their students. Just 41 per cent of Aboriginals over age 15, who live on reserves have at least a high school graduation certificate. Just 24 per cent have a trade certificate or higher. For those living off reserve, the record is better, 56 per cent have a high school or better and 32 per cent held a trade certificate or better; for non-Aboriginals, 69 per cent complete high school.

The numbers are still not where we'd like to see them, but if the communities want to go in this direction, Mr. Speaker, I think this is a positive, but they cannot be left there without somebody ensuring that the resources are in place and that the outcomes are being met and I look forward to this bill moving through the House. Thank you. (Applause)

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

MR. HAROLD THERIAULT: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to stand here today and say a few words for the Bear River First Nation. Bear River First Nation is located in the riding of Digby-Annapolis and situated about 20 kilometers from the Town of Digby, inland off the beautiful Digby-Annapolis Basin. It has approximately 200 individuals and I know most of these people personally.

Frank Muise is the Chief of the Bear River First Nation, who I worked with personally through the Fall of 1999, Supreme Court Marshall Decision. As leader of the local inshore fishermen at that time, myself and my fishermen got to know Chief Frank Muise and his community, very well as friends. Bear River First Nation are kind, caring, proud people who are always looking for ways that will make life better for all their people.

Mr. Speaker, after speaking with Frank Muise this past weekend about the Mi'kmaq Education Act, his comments were, we are hoping this move, under this Act, will become positive for ourselves, other First Nations and most of all, our children. We are hoping that this move will help us to become closer with First Nations of this province on similar issues, which, in turn, may give us more unity as a people of First Nations.

Mr. Speaker, I want to wish Bear River First Nation well, in the first Mi'kmaq Education Act they're involved in. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes.

MR. GERALD SAMPSON: Mr. Speaker, I, too, would like to rise and welcome the Bear River First Nation, into the fold. By adding Bear River First Nation, it gives them full advantage to take advantage of the education programs. As Critic for First Nations, I've had a real life-learning experience, being exposed to First Nations culture by being involved with the remediation of the raw sewage in the Bras d'Or Lakes, where we created the Pitupaq Committee. We signed an historical document, signed by the five chiefs, Chapel Island, Membertou, Eskasoni, Waycobah, Wagmatcook and the municipalities of CBRM, Victoria

[Page 2639]

County, Richmond, Inverness and the Town of Port Hawkesbury. The crowning signature on that was Elder Albert Marshall.

You say, well what does this have to do with education? A large component of this committee was sending students, one from each municipality and one from each of the Mi'kmaq First Nations, around to gather data and what we did was sent them to the schools, to teach the children, what they discovered. Teaching the children in the schools, is allowing these children, tomorrow's cottage owners, homeowners and boat owners on the lakes, to bring them up with a care for the lakes, through the education process, then it'll resolve the problem over a period of time.

Chief Terry Paul of Membertou, is an extreme example of success in the economic development, the education and overall thrust moving forward in development. I can't help but think with Bear River into the fold, that this will allow, what we were doing on Cape Breton Island, to move deeper into the mainland and spread the education, spread the word. I can't help but mention that I have personal experience after being at the Wagmatcook School, under the direction of Gordon MacIvor, who is the Director of Education of Waycobah, which was originally Whycocomagh. I have the greatest respect for the education that is taught there, and I am looking forward to that being spread and unity being created all across the province, Mr. Speaker.

With that, like I said as Critic for the Aboriginal First Nations, I want to welcome Bear River. Mr. Speaker, one thing that I must mention and enter into the record is, to my knowledge, there are no First Nations representatives on any of the school boards. I don't know why that is, but I think if you are being included in an Act or something, then there should be some First Nations representatives. Maybe the honourable minister may be able to clarify that for me, but I don't know of any myself. If that is the case, I would like to see something done along those lines, and welcome them fully by giving them the representation on those boards.

With that, Mr. Speaker, once again, welcome to Bear River, and thank you very much for the opportunity.

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

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I'll be quite brief on this matter. Suffice to say, I fully support this legislation. At the risk of being chastised on a future moment, I'd like to bring to attention to all members of the House that, indeed, the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board does have a Native representative in the name of Bernd Christmas. Bernd, I know quite well. He's a very able member, and I think a very active participant during deliberations with MLAs in industrial Cape Breton and school board officials when the last budget was brought down. I think he was quite supportive of the fact

[Page 2640]

that rural Nova Scotia was being disadvantaged in much the same way as many of the Native communities throughout Cape Breton Island were being disadvantaged.

As you know, Mr. Speaker, Eskasoni is the largest Native community in Nova Scotia, with some 4,000-plus residents. I'm very proud of the way they've taken hold of many of the issues in their community. They've provided considerable leadership with their own school board and managing school issues. Quite a unique process in many ways, with a considerable amount of integration, commissioning many non-Native school teachers to teach in Eskasoni, thereby sharing many of the unique characteristics of both different systems. I've had occasion to work with some of the officials there. Actually, the first time I visited Eskasoni on an educational exchange program was in 1971. I believe it was the first Native/non-Native exchange program in the history of the province. What we would do, we would go and live in Eskasoni or in a Native community for a week, and they would in turn visit non-Natives. It was kind of a cultural sensitivity issue. To be honest, the first time I ever saw a colour television was when I visited Eskasoni. We were still dealing with the old black and white box back in Grand Mira, so it was quite a shock to my system.

I've been quite fortunate in the last year to come to know many very prominent individuals who have contributed a lot not just to Cape Breton Island, but to the Province of Nova Scotia in this community. I'm extremely excited about the fact that so many of the young people from Eskasoni are now moving on to post-secondary studies. It's unprecedented, the number who are going on and developing professional careers. I know the Minister of Fisheries who attended - as did I'm sure the Minister of Justice and others - some of the activities at Eskasoni over the last several years would attest to the high calibre of expertise, particularly with the Department of Fisheries. We have young Kara Paul, who is a marine biologist and does a phenomenal amount of research with the Department of Fisheries and particularly with the fisheries issues related to the Bras d'Or Lakes.

[8:30 p.m.]

I could go on and expound on many of the virtues and the attributes of the success of this community and the people in general, but I think the point is made. This document that we have before the House here further complements what's happening there because what happens in Bear River has an impact on Eskasoni and so on and so forth, and with that, I'd like to acknowledge and commend the minister and the government for bringing this bill forward.

MR. SPEAKER: I recognize the honourable Minister of Education to close debate on Bill No. 49.

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I want to express my thanks to members of the Opposition Party for their endorsement of this bill. Clearly, it's the wish of the Bear River First Nation to be included in that agreement along with nine other First Nations'

[Page 2641]

communities. In response to the question from the member for Victoria-The-Lakes, there is provision for school board representation. I don't know the exact number right now, but I do know that where First Nations' students attend public schools then there are members on those particular boards.

With those few words, I look forward to the rapid passage of this bill in the House. I move second reading.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 49. Is the House ready for the question?

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

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 50.

Bill No. 50 - Credit Union Act.

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

HON. KERRY MORASH: Mr. Speaker, I move second reading.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 50, the Credit Union Act.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, I was a bit taken aback at the brevity of the minister's comment. The Credit Union Act is one of the longest and most complex pieces of legislation on our Statute books. It's only normal that in the normal course that housekeeping changes would be needed. This bill is very complicated and involved but, at the end of the day, after having had an opportunity to look at the amendments closely and after having an opportunity to meet with the minister's staff, who was provided at my request, and after having an opportunity to consult with the Credit Union Central, we're satisfied that these changes are in the nature of housekeeping. They will help credit unions to deliver the excellent service that they've delivered to Nova Scotians for so many years. On that basis we are certainly prepared to support this bill on its way through second reading. Thank you.

[Page 2642]

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

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I too rise in support of this bill, an Act to Amend Chapter 4 of the Acts of 1994, the Credit Union Act - an Act that should have been before this House long before 1994, but unfortunately in Nova Scotia the credit union movement has enjoyed a somewhat slow evolution to where it is today. I guess you could call this some housekeeping of "a coming-of-age Act", finally bringing the credit union movement into some sort of parity with the banks of this province, and that's long overdue and welcomed by many Nova Scotians.

I might say, on a personal note, that I've been a member of the Sydney Credit Union for 45 years. My two children are members and my four grandchildren are members of the Sydney Credit Union. I can also tell you that I was President of that Sydney Credit Union in 1978 and at that time the assets of Sydney Credit Union some 25 years ago were $10 million. Today that credit union in Sydney has grown to an asset base of over $90 million and serves 1 in 4 residents of industrial Cape Breton, the area known as the Cape Breton Regional Municipality. Now, there is 1 in 4 people in that municipality who belong to the Sydney Credit Union. That's quite a testament as to where the Sydney Credit Union has come over the years.

I realize, Mr. Speaker, that these are only housekeeping improvements, but I don't think we should lose the significance of the fact that the Sydney Credit Union and all credit unions in this province, and indeed the Credit Union Central, have come of age in this province and I think Nova Scotians have welcomed that. So I will certainly be supporting this bill right through the process of the House.

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the honourable Minister of Environment and Labour, it will be to close debate on Bill No. 50.

The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour.

HON. KERRY MORASH: Mr. Speaker, I certainly appreciate the comments from the members opposite. The credit union is certainly an intricate and very important part of the fabric of Nova Scotia. It has been around for a long time and we look forward to making improvements and working with the credit union again in the future. I would like to move second reading.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 50. Is the House ready for the question?

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 2643]

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 51.

Bill No. 51 - Provincial Acadian Day Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Acadian Affairs.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to open second reading of the debate on Bill No. 51, the Provincial Acadian Day Act. I will be presenting in English and French. I'm trying to do it as equally as I possibly can for the benefit of the members in the House. As outlined in the bill, Provincial Acadian Day will be celebrated on August 15th throughout Nova Scotia.

L'introduction de ce projet de loi vient juste à temps. Cette année représente le 400e anniversaire de la fondation de l'Acadie. En fait, c'est en 1604, que 120 français quittaient le port français de Havre-de-Grâce et bâtissaient sur lle Sainte-Croix le premier établissement qui allait mener à une présence française permanente en Amérique du Nord. L'année suivante, en 1605, après un hiver dûr au cours duquel bon nombre de compatriotes ont perdu leurs vies, ils ont déménagé à Port-Royal, en Nouvelle-Écosse.

Cet été durant le Congrès mondial acadien, des acadiens du monde entier seront acueillis en Nouvelle-Écosse, le berceau de l'Acadie, pour renouer avec leurs racines acadiennes. Nous estimons le nombre de visiteurs qui viendront de l'extérieur de la Province célébrer avec nous à plus de 250,000. Quelle belle fête! En l'honneur de cette année historique, le Premier ministre John Hamm a déclaré 2004 L'Année de l'Acadie. Ainsi, le drapeau acadien a été hissé à la législature le vendredi, 2 avril, et sera arboré pendant toute la durée des célébrations acadiennes de cette année.

Mr. Speaker, it is timely that this annual day of recognition be proclaimed during the historic year; 2004 marks the 400th Anniversary of the first permanent French settlement in North America. In fact, it was in 1604 that 120 Frenchmen left Havre-du-Grâce, France, and established on St. Croix Island what was to become the beginning of a permanent French presence in North America. To mark this special occasion, Premier John Hamm has proclaimed 2004 as L'Année de l'Acadie. In addition, on April 2nd the Acadian flag was raised here at Province House where it will fly proudly throughout this year's festivities.

Mr. Speaker, this summer Acadians are gathering in Nova Scotia to celebrate this occasion by attending the Congrès mondial acadien - a family reunion of Acadians from around the world. We estimate that over 250,000 visitors will come to Nova Scotia to participate in those celebrations. What a party! Provincial Acadian Day will fall on the final

[Page 2644]

day of the Congrès, which will take place in Acadian communities throughout the province from July 31st to August 15th. This event is sure to focus the spotlight on Nova Scotia and demonstrate to the world the great contributions that the Acadian community has made to the economic, social and cultural development of this province.

Depuis 1881, les acadiens célèbrent le15 août comme étant leur fête nationale. Le gouvernement fédéral a déclaré le 15 août La journée de la fête nationale des Acadiens et des Acadiennes. Et maintenant, le 15 août sera officiellement une fête provinciale.

Mr. Speaker, since 1881, Acadians have recognized August 15th as their national holiday. It's been proclaimed National Acadian Day by the federal government, and now August 15th will officially be known as Provincial Acadian Day in Nova Scotia.

Mon gouvernement est engagé au développement de la communauté acadienne et de la langue française de cette province. L'année dernière nous avons, avec l'aide du gouvernement fédéral, aménagé un local permanent pour le bureau des Affaires acadiennes et ajouté deux postes et demi. En plus, nous nous proposons d'augmenter de nouveau le personnel de cette année.

Au début de 2004, le ministère de la Santé a créé et comblé un poste de coodonnatrice de service de santé en français afin de travailler de près avec la communauté pour identifier les besoins et mettre en place les services demandés.

Je continue à travailler de concert avec mon collègue le ministre de l'Éducation et avec les partenaires en éducation pour améliorer la qualité de l'éducation qui reçoit la communauté francophone.

Mr. Speaker, my government is committed to the development of the Acadian community of this province. With the financial assistance of the federal government we will have provided new office space for Acadian Affairs, and added two and a half staff positions. Furthermore, we are hoping to add more staff in this fiscal year.

Earlier this year, the Department of Health created a new position to work closely with the Acadian population, to identify and provide health services in the French language.

Furthermore, my colleague, the Minister of Education, and I continue to meet regularly with the Partners in Education Committee to ensure that our youth receive the best possible education.

I am also very pleased with the advice I receive from the Advisory Committee on Acadian Affairs, under the leadership of Mr. Stan Surette. Committee members are really well informed on what is happening in their community and provide me with valuable direction.

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Within government, we now have a Committee of French Language Coordinators advising both the Office of Acadian Affairs and my office on ways to provide more government services in French. These truly dedicated public servants are making a difference.

M. le président, je suis très heureux de l'avis que je reçois des membres de mon Comité Consultatif dont la présidence est assurée par M. Stan Surette. Les membres connaissent bien leurs communautés. Et à l'intérieur du gouvernement, nous avons mis en place un Comité de Coordonnateurs des services gouvernementaux en français pour aviser le Bureau des Affaires acadien et mon bureau sur les meilleures façons d'offrir des services en français à la population francophone. Ce groupe de fonctionnaires dédiés est en train de faire une différence.

My government believes that the Provincial Acadian Day Act is good legislation for the province and that it is good legislation for the Acadian communities of Nova Scotia. As a proud Acadian, and a member of this House and this government, I urge all members to support the Provincial Acadian Day Act. Merci. Thank you.

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

M. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Merci, M. le président, c'est mon plaisir de parler pour un moment au sujet d'un jour provinçiale pour les acadiens de la Nouvelle-Écosse.

Je suis Acadien et Nouvelle-Écosse est ma patrie. J'ai étudie dans l'écoles anglophones et j'ai habité en anglais pour toute ma vie. Malheureusement, j'ai perdu la langue de mon père.

Je suis un père, et il est donc très important à moi que mes jeunes enfants ont toujours l'abilité de communiquer dans la lange français. C'est aussi important qu'ils ont un sentiment de fierté à leur héritage acadien.

Les autres Acadiennes et Acadiens à Nouvelle-Écosse ont la même désire pour leur enfants et touts les générations qui suivent.

Les acadiens ont célébré le jour acadien depuis près de 125 ans sur le 15 auot. Je serai honoré cette année de marquer le premier fois que le jour acadien soit reconnu par le gouvernment de la Nouvelle-Écosse.

Mais, un jour de congée en l'honnneur des acadiens de cette province est seulement un geste symbolique.

Il y a beaucoup plus de travail que ce gouvernement doit entreprendre pour les acadiens de la Nouvelle-Écosse.

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Les acadiennes doivent avoir le droit d'obtenir les services provinciale en français, par example.

C'est vrai qu'il y a un plan d'action pour développer des services de santé en français pour toutes les régions acadiennes de la province. C'est un mesure très important.

Mais on doit avoir un vision et un plan de proviser des autres services fondementales en français. L'access pour les francophones aux cours provinciales et cour de famille est très important.

Mais on doit avoir un vision et un plan de proviser des autres services fondamentales en français. L'accès pour les francophones aux cours provinciales et au cour de famille est très important. C'est alors un principe principale de justice qu'on peut accéder à des services en la langue maternelle.

Aussi, ont besoin de l'accesbilité en français aux autres services: les permis de conducteurs, la matriculation des véhicules, et un carte de santé, par exemple, M. le président. C'est aussi important de travailler avec les régions acadiens sur le développement économique. Plusiers des communautés acadiens existent dans les régions qui relèvent des défis éonomiques. Ils ont besoin des resources nécessaires au développement de la communauté.

Le Conseil scolaire acadien provincial est doté des resources humaines et matériaux néessaire pour réaliser son mandat. L'education dans la langue français est critique si on veut avancer la la société acadienne en cette province. Je connaît très bien que c'est plus facile d'apprendre un langue quand tu est eu en enfant.

Les francophones de la Nouvelle-Écosse connaîtent que ces mesures prendront de temps. Ils demandent de voir le progrès visible, et ils veulent également continuer leur participation au plan pour promovoir leurs droits linguistiques.

Ensemble, nous pouvons créer un nouveau monde pour les acadiens de cette province,

M. le président, un nouveau monde où la contribution des acadiens est identifiée comme un partie importante de notre histoire collective comme province.

De plus important, on peut créer un monde où on mise en valeur les besoins et les droits de la population acadien.

Ça serait une province que je serai fière d'appeller ma partie. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

In English I would like to say that as an Acadian and a Nova Scotian, I find that this Bill No. 51 is an important piece of legislation but it is a symbolic gesture. It recognizes a day that for 125 years Acadians have already recognized as their day, August 15th. I will be happy

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to celebrate this day, it's the first time that this province has recognized it as an official day, but so much more has to be done. Assimilation of Acadians in our province has been happening at a rapid pace and it continues to grow and this province must do much to ensure that the francophone and the Acadian languages in this province aren't just antiquated languages, but functional languages in our society.

As I said, Acadian Day is symbolic, but there is so much more that can be done. We talk about economic development in the regions in which we have Acadians, whether it be Clare, Argyle, Cheticamp, Isle Madame, Pomquet, there are many areas in this province where economic development for francophones is important, so they can live and work in the language in their community, Mr. Speaker. This government has not done enough to address that and I hope they will look at that as well.

This is the 400th Anniversary, Mr. Speaker, of the French coming, the Acadians coming, to our shores and I think it's important that more than symbols, we must have real legislation to ensure that Nova Scotians and Acadians have the right to speak French, with services in the provincial government, whether it's getting a health card, accessing a hospital, talking to a doctor or a nurse, whether it is going to Family Court or motor vehicle court, they do not have the right, currently, to do it in French. This is part of the problem. I'm not saying it's the entire problem, but it's part of the problem, that we're creating assimilation in our province because the francophone community, the Acadian community, does not have the right to speak their own language when they go to access provincial services.

I hope that this year, the 400th Anniversary of the arrival of the Acadians, Mr. Speaker, this province can do more than just a symbolic gesture like Bill No. 51 and begin to put in place legislation that ensures basic provincial services in French are available in French to Acadians. If we can do that, Mr. Speaker, we'll recognize the important role, not only in history but today and in the future of Acadians in our province and also ensure that it's a vibrant language for years to come. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond

M. MICHEL SAMSON: Merci, M. le président, et puis je veut commencer dès le début de féliciter mon collègue de la circonscription de Cole Harbour Eastern Passage. C'est le premier fois j'ai eu l'occasion de l'attendre faire le discours en francais dans cette assemblé et je l'encourage de le faire encore dans le future parce que je suis certaine que les gens de la Nouvelle-Écosse sont entrain de regarder ce soir et sont très impressioné par les efforts du membre de Cole Harbour Eastern Passage pour faire son présentation en francais. Je suis certaine que son père et sa famille Acadienne serait très fière de lui aussi.

M. le présidente, sa me fait plaisir comme député du Richmond et comme Acadien de présenter ce soir sur le projet de lois numéro 51 qui est la lois instituant la fête provinciale des Acadiens et des Acadiennes ici en Nouvelle-Écosse.

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Comme les deux qui ont déja disent, M. le président, cette journée le 15 d'aout qui était déja reconnnue par le gouvernment fédérale comme la journée pour reconnaitre la fête nationale de l'Acadie et des Acadiens.

Sa fait plusieurs années, la fête sa fait depuis l'année 1842 depuis quand célèbre la fête nationale des Acadiens sur le 15 auout. Je peut vous dire que chez nous, M. le président, nous avons le festival Acadien de Petit-de-Grat durant le douxième semaine du mois de auot qui est très proche du temps du 15 aout. Alors c'est seulement que nous avons le festival premier et juste en fin du festival vient le 15 aout. Pour nous au Petit-de-Grat à Île Madame ce n'est pas just le fête nationale chez nous c'est la journée quand fait le tatamort et c'est une journée ou est ce que dans les années passés que les Acadiens et les Acadiennes sortaient de leur maison des fois avec des pottes des fois avec des cuilleurs et puis en frappaient sa ensemble pour faire du tatamort. C'était pour laisser savoir tous les gens à la communauté que nous étions entrain de célébrer et fêter la culture des Acadiens sur la journée nationale de l'Acadie et j'espère M. le président si nous allons avoir comme le Ministre nous l'a dit 2500 de nos amies Acadiennes et Acadiens qui vont venir nous trouvées cette année que sur le 15 aout sa va être toute un tatamort qui va prendre place cette année avoir tous les gens qui vont nous rejoindre cette année.

M. le président, je suis contente de voir que sous le Premier Ministre Hamm qu'on a déclaré l'année 2004 ici en la Nouvelle-Écosse l'année de l'Acadie. Je suis aussi fière que comme l'a dit le Ministre des affaires Acadiennes que le drapeau Acadien vol maintenant en dehors sur la terrain de l'assemblé Legislative. Mais, comme Acadien et comme beaucoup des Acadiens M. le président, j'attends le jour que le drapeau Acadien ne vol pas juste sur le terrain de l'assemblé Legislative, j'attends la journée que le drapeau Acadien vol sur le toît de l'assemblé Legilsative avec le drapeau Britannique, le drapeau de la Nouvelle-Écosse et le drapeau du Canada. Le temps est venu pour reconnaitre l'histoire des Acadiens et l'importance de la culture Acadienne ici à la Nouvelle-Écosse et je ne peut pas penser à une meilleure place de déposer le drapeau Acadien, mais sur le toît de l'assemblé Legislative.

M. le président, comme l'a dit la membre de Cole Habour Eastern Passage il y a eu beaucoup de buts qui ont été accomplis par la communauté Acadienne ici en la Nouvelle- Écosse, mais il a encore beaucoup de défis. Le fait est que M. le président, que je me présente à cette assemblé comme membre élu de circonscription de Richmond comme Acadien et le fait que vaut M. le président est la majorité des députés à cette assemblé ne peut pas comprendre mon discours, je trouve sa très troublante.

Dans l'année 2004, ce n'est plus acceptable qu'on dit aux gens de la Nouvelle-Écosse et aux Acadiens et Acadiennes d'être fière de leur culture, mais ici à l'assemblé de la province aux que leurs députés sont élus pour leurs représentés que nous ne pouvons pas prononcer dans notre langue maternelle et entendre que le président et la majorité des députés peuvent nous comprendre pendant notre débat.

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Mr. Speaker, I find it very distressing that in 2004, I am permitted to stand in my place, as a duly elected member and speak in my maternal tongue, of French, and yet the Speaker and the majority of the members of the House, cannot understand when I am speaking in my maternal language.

Mr. Speaker, in the year 2004, the time has come for us, as legislators, to look at providing translation services here in the people's House, in this House of Assembly and truly sending the message to the Acadian community that not only are we permitted to have debates; in our maternal tongue here, but that we can be expected to be understood by not only the Speaker, but by all the members of the House. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, I know this is an initiative which you have raised in the past and that you have shown interest in. I cannot encourage you enough in this year, the year of Acadie in Nova Scotia that we sit down as legislators and look at the possibilities in working with the official languages department in Ottawa of bringing translation services here to the Legislature to send a message out to all Nova Scotians that while we've achieved a great deal for the Acadian community, more can be done. I can think of no better place to set an example than here at Province House. I look forward to those continued discussions under your direction as the Speaker of this House.

M. le président, comme l'a dit le député de Cole Harbour Eastern Passage c'est aussi nécessaire d'identifier des services du gouvernement qui peuvent être accesible pour les Acadiens et les Acadiennes spécifiquement dans les régions qui sont déja identifié par la province, comme des régions acadiens et acadiennes. Voici un sujet que j'ai parlé deçu depuis le premier fois que j'étais élu dans 1998. J'ai toujours suggéré au Ministre responsable qui sa soit le Ministre et les Ministres Affaires Acadien, ancien Ministre Neil Leblanc que c'est le temps de ne pas déplacé les employés du gouvernement de la Nouvelle-Écosse qui étaient identifier d'être les positions qui pourraient offrir les services en français. Mais, avoir des ouvertures. S'il y a des personnes qui allaient predre leur retraite ou changer de position quand ils avaient une overture ont doit être certaine qu'on va les remplacés avec quel qu'un qui peut parler français et qui est bilangue et qui peut offrir ses services. Sa respect l'intérêt des employés et sa respect les intérêts du syndicat qui veut faire certaine qui ne veut pas avoir de leurs membres déplacés. Mais, c'est un façon de faire un petit pas et d'offrir des services.

M. le président, ce n'est pas juste le temps de garder offrir les services en français si nous allions êtes un province où nous invitons des immigrants à venir à notre province et d'être partie de notre communauté et d'être fière de leur culture. C'est le temps aussi de garder les services à ses immigrants quand ils arrivent à la province.

M. le président, j'ai travaillé au bureau où est ce que c'est le bureau des membrea de registrer nos permis de conduire et nos permis de voiture et puis ici à Halifax c'est à ce bureau là. C'est incroyable le montant de personnes qui venaient qui ne pouvaient pas parlé ni l'anglais, ni français et qui avaient beaucoup de peine à faire comprendre. Alors, c'est le

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temps, je pense que m'ont dit que à l'Ontario on peut prendre l'examen pour notre permis de conduire je pense que c'est en 17 différentes langues, c'est incroyable. Et nous içi à la Nouvelle-Écosse on est juste permis de le prendre en anglais écrit ou en français orale.

C'est le temps, M. le président qu'on ne regarde pas juste à faire des changes pour les services en Français mais aussi pour les services pour les autres cultures qui existent ici dans la Nouvelle-Écosse et les autres cultures qu'on veut encourager de devenir est se placé içi à notre province et d'être fière d'être içi à notre province.

Alors, j'espère que le Ministre des Affaires acadiens va être sérieuse quand il parle de vouloir identifié des services du gouvernement en Français. On ne demande pas comme communauté Acadien que les personnes soient déplacer, toute en fait on change le système qu'on a maintenant avec les fonctionnaires mais il y a des facons de le faire et les facons qui doivent être mise en place, plus-tôt avant que plus loin.

M. le président, on est content que le bureau des Acadiens est en train de grandir et qu'ils vont grandir aux nouveaux. Je vois que la plusieurs des fonds qui viennent du gouvernement fédérale spécialement de la bureau des langues officielles. Mais dix années passés je le dit encore, que je vois beaucoup de cette argent être dépenser içi à Halifax c'est le temps de ne pas oublié que les communautés Acadiens haut d'Halifax sont les communautés qui sont plus éloignés et les communautés que je vous soumettra que c'est même plus difficile à maintenir la langue et à préserver la langue. Alors, l'argent de le gourvernement fédérale de la bureau des langues officielles font face à investir au communautés rurales soit les communautés de Clare, Argyle, Pomquet, Richmond, Cheticamp, Sydney, et tous les autres communautés. Il ne faut pas les oubliés et il ne faut pas que le gouvernement pense que ses communautés là qu'ils sont Acadiens et qu'ils sont bien et la langue est forte et puis on va investir içi à Halifax pour les langues officielles. C'est le temps d'arrêter ça et puis j'espère que le Ministre va garder le projet haut d'Halifax pour investir dans les communautés rurales à travers la Nouvelle-Écosse.

La fédération Acadienne à la Nouvelle-Écosse et différent groupes des Acadiens ont identifiés des services à la santé comme un priorité pour la communauté Acadienne. Le fait qu'on 2004, M. le président, que nous pouvons avoir de nos résidents de nos communautés Acadiens qui se trouve içi à Halifax qui est le centre médicale de la province et puis qui ne peuvent pas avoir personne à parler francais ce n'est pas acceptable.

Quand on a des personnes qui sont plus agées et qui ne comprennent past trops bien l'anglais, mais ils sont rendus un médecin qui sont entrain de dire qu'est ce que le problème et qu'est ce qu'ils ont l'intention à faire et puis que le personne et là et qui ne comprenne pas et ils vont faire des décisions sans avoir la bonne information de qu'est ce qui va prendre place, il faut que sa change.

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Alors, je suis content que le gouvernement à identifier ceci comme un priorité et puis il y a quel que qui était employé pour commencer à voir qu'est ce qui peuvent être fait. Encore, c'est un autre question, M. le président, sa ne va pas prendre d'employés sans personne, ou deux cents ou cinque cent personnes, mais d'avoir faire certaine qu'à chaque une des centres médicaux dans les communautés qu'ils sont identifiés qu'on a au moins une personne qui peut être là pour communiquer avec les gens dans leur langue maternelle.

L'autre project que j'étais très content de voir qui était annoncer ce printemps c'était le project pour mettre des panneaux d'information sur la route pour identifier les communautés Acadiens. Mais, M. le président, je veut suggérer aux Ministre des Affaires Acadiens et aux Ministre de transportation nous voila rendu le 26 avril si on va utiliser ses panneaux c'est le temps de les mettre debout. C'est panneaux sont assis à une bureau ou une usine içi à Halifax ne va pas faire pour le congrès qui prend place cette année c'est le temps de mettre ces panneaux et c'est le temps d'identifié les communautés Acadiens pour toutes les visiteurs qui vont venir les trouvés. Alors, sa c'est le défis qui continue pour le communauté Acadien.

Mais laisse moi terminé sur un aspet positive. Qu'est ce que c'était le but à accomplir les communautés Acadiens des derniers années. Gardez içi, dans l'assemblé Legislative. M. le présidente, je suis fière que içi à la Nouvelle-Écosse dans les 52 circonscriptions que nous avons, trois circonscriptions a été identifier comme les circonscriptions Acadiens des circonscriptions qui sont protégés. Içi à la province pour vouloir faire certaine aussi-tôt que possible mais de le faire lire des Acadiens dans c'est trois circonscriptions. Mais, nous avons vu aujourd'hui, que ce n'est pas just trois circonscriptions, nous avons bien appris aujourd'hui d'après le discours du membre de Cole Harbour Eastern Passage qu'on a des Acadiens même hors des différentes régions, on a des Acadiens même dans notre Caucus içi, qu'on est très fière d'avoir.

Qu'est ce qu'un autre but, l'établissement de l'Université Sainte-Anne, une université qui était là pour la communauté Acadienne pendant plusieurs annés, qui était là pour préserver et enrichir la culture et la langue française ou on a vu plusieurs des gradués qui ont venu de cette université qui ont été des leaders dans cette province et dans autres provinces. Qu'est ce que nous avons içi l'établissement du collègue Acadie et les campus qui ont étés établis à travers la province. On est très fière d'avoir une dans mon circonscription de Richmond au Petit-de-Grat. C'est très importante de faire sure que les communautés Acadiens d'un bout de la province à l'autre on accès à l'école sécondaire dans leur communauté.

Un des autres accomplissements, M. le président, c'est le développement du conseil scolaire Acadien provinciale. Nous avons maintenant donnés le doit aux Acadiens et Acadiennes de prendre le direction de l'éducation de leurs enfants et de prendre le direction de l'éducation de la communauté Acadienne et nous avons maintenant des communautés Acadien de grade primaire à douze dans plusieurs communautés d' un bout de cette province

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à l'autre. Les écoles étaient un grand succès et c'était un grande étape pour préserver et promovoir la langue française, la culture Acadienne à la Nouvelle-Écosse.

Nous avons aussi même une association des juristes d'expressions française à la Nouvelle-Écosse qui sont aussi entrain de faire développer des différents idées de qu'est ce qu'on peut faire pour donner un meilleur accès aux services de droits en français. Il y a déja différents réussites qu'on étaient accompli, mais encore il beaucoup de plus travail à faire.

Dernierment, M. le président, nous avons le conseil de développement économique de la Nouvelle-Écosse aussi qui était créer sous partenaire de la province et du gouvernement fédérale pour avoir faire de développement économique dans les communautés Acadiennes. À la fait du journé sous partenaire de la province et du gouvernement fédérale pour avoir faire de développement économique dans les communautés Acadiennes. À la fin du journé si nous sommes sérieux que nous voulons pas juste réfléchir et de promovoir la fête nationale des Acadiens sur le 15 d'août il faut faire certaine que nos communautés Acadiens que nos Acadiens et Acadiennes de toute âges sont en bonne santé, sont dans les endroits de bonne économie et qu'ils on accès à une bonne éducation, une bonne moyen de vive et si quand on peut continuer à faire se travaille on peut être fière que la Nouvelle-Écosse pour les annés avenir va continué d'avoir une culture Acadienne très forte à sa province.

Le project de loi aujourd'hui, numéro 51 est une grande étape symbolique. J'espère que le Ministre des Affaires Acadiens et le gouvernement de Premier Ministre Hamm vont suivre se project de loi avec des étapes concrèts pour faire une meilleure Nouvelle-Écosse pour tous les gens de la Nouvelle-Écosse et certainment pour les gens Acadiens pour permettre notre culture de réussir et de continuer à devenir plus forte chaque année. Merci, M. le président. (Applause)

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

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, unlike the previous speaker, I think I'll opt for my mother tongue. I want to speak in favor of this for a slightly different reason. I think it's important to recognize and compliment our Acadian colleagues here in the Legislature because what we're hearing here today is obviously a reflection of 400 years of frustration. We cannot change the annals of history, or turn back the hands of time.

One thing that I think was an extremely important turning point for all Nova Scotians, was back in 1755, when the Chief Justice of the Court for the Colony of Nova Scotia made the decision that, in fact, Nova Scotia was to be considered as a conquered colony as opposed to a founded colony. Some would say, what is the significance of that? Anyone of Acadian descent would know very quickly what that means. What that means is, if Nova Scotia was considered to be a conquered colony then, in fact, the laws of British Parliamentary rule would not apply and, in many regards, we would not be here in this Legislature, in all

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likelihood, following the principles of responsible government, under the Constitution Act and the British North American Act.

Despite the ruling of the court, which would have generally allowed for inclusion of the Acadian communities, the commissioners of the colony, who were appointed by the Lieutenant Governor who, in turn, was appointed by the British Lords and the King, made the decision to consider Nova Scotia as a founded colony. What they did by design is specifically, deliberately and methodically exclude all Acadians from across Nova Scotia, from any voice in the Legislative process.

That went on, Mr. Speaker, for the best part of 100 years and well thereafter. Even well after 1848, when responsible government was completed here in the Province of Nova Scotia. Starting in 1758, they made sure that the Acadians were completely excluded. I think on and about that time was when the clearances and the expulsions of the Acadians took place.

As we know, Louisbourg was still a French stronghold and was not part of Nova Scotia and there was considerable concern. So rather than take any risk of being influenced by the influence of the Acadians in the coastal communities under the strong loyalty to France, what did they do? They moved the capital of Nova Scotia from Port Royal to Halifax. To make sure that they firmed up the numbers against the French-Canadian communities they, in turn, brought with them over 2,400 people, directly of British descent. They changed the rules and the laws such that to completely exclude the Acadian community for a considerable amount of time.

I think to a certain measure, the declaration that has been made by the Premier through this legislation and the minister who introduced this is speaking to a lot of injustices that have taken place. I think Nova Scotia, even here in this Legislature - and the member for Richmond County has rightfully pointed out - under previous administrations there was a policy in place that would allow individual members of the Legislature - I believe they would allow anywhere from eight to 12 members - that would voluntarily enrol in a French-speaking program at the Université Sainte-Anne. For whatever reason that was stopped on or about 1990. In reality, I think, something like that should be started again to ensure (Interruptions) Well, maybe it was the Premier from Pictou County that stopped it. But I do believe that should be enacted again so as to better educate individual members who are not of Acadian descent or who do not speak French fluently.

I believe that many Nova Scotians are missing a golden opportunity here to capitalize on this. As we could tell from my colleague, the member for Richmond, he feels very comfortable speaking in his mother tongue. And why wouldn't he and why shouldn't he? He should be very proud of that. I believe we owe it to this member and to all Acadian members, an opportunity to better prepare ourselves to understand this culture.

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This is a bilingual country and I know that New Brunswick is perhaps the only legislated bilingual province in the country. It's an opportunity for Nova Scotia, not just to make a pledge through a piece of legislation to recognize this day but to go one step further and start doing some rather substantive things. I know to jump into a bilingual province will cost money. It's a significant undertaking, but small steps do help. I would encourage the government and the Premier in particular to consider allowing individual members to enrol in some of these French programs at some of the French universities - in particular, the Université Sainte-Anne - to better understand not only the culture and the language, but indeed, our history which I think has been neglected in so many ways.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I would conclude my remarks and compliment the previous speakers on this bill.

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

The honourable Minister of Acadian Affairs.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Merci, M. le président, et j'aimerai remercier à tout le monde avec leur bonne commentaire.

I'd like to thank everybody for their good comments. To provide a little translation for the member for Richmond, he thought everything is great, that I'm such a great guy. But they are all good statements and I look forward to discussing them further with my colleagues.

Therefore, I'd like to move second reading of the Provincial Acadian Day Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 51. Is the House ready for the question?

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

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move the House do now rise to meet again on the morrow at the hour of 12:00 noon. The House will sit from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Following the daily routine and Question Period, we will go into Supply. On completion of four hours of Supply, we will then return to Public Bills for Second Reading. We will do

[Page 2655]

the Mechanics' Lien Act and then if time permits, we'll start off on the Financial Measures (2004) Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is the House adjourn until 12:00 noon tomorrow.

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 until 12:00 noon tomorrow.

[The House rose at 9:15 p.m.]

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NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 1106

By: Mr. Richard Hurlburt (Yarmouth)

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

Whereas it appears as if Bill Gates might have finally found some competition; and

Whereas 15-year-old Mark Davis of Yarmouth, despite his youth, has attracted the interest of world-wide computer industry giants; and

Whereas MacWorld, considered the bible of MacIntosh computer users, recently gave Mark a three out of five for one of his software creations with the highest mark usually being a four, while two Japanese magazines have written about Mark's creation;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs congratulate Mark, now in only Grade 10, with hundreds of ideas for software programs on the back burner at any given time, for his computer brilliance and wish him every success with his computer excellence.

RESOLUTION NO. 1107

By: Mr. Cecil O'Donnell (Shelburne)

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

Whereas at the 2004 Nova Scotia Star Skate Championship held in Kentville back in February, four skaters from Shelburne County brought home medals; and

Whereas more than 150 skaters from across Nova Scotia participated in this event at Centennial Arena in Kentville; and

Whereas three of the four medal winners from the Shelburne County Figure Skating Club were sisters with Lynsay Thurber winning a gold in the Ladies Short "C" competition, Beth Thurber a silver in the Ladies Gold Triathlon event and Katie Thurber, a bronze in the Ladies Silver Triathlon, Emma Swaine was also a bronze medal winner in a Pre-introductory Ladies "B" competition.

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Therefore be it resolved that the four medal winners from the Shelburne Figure Skating Club be commended by members of the Legislature this afternoon for their outstanding work in Kentville at Star Skate 2004, while also congratulating the Shelburne Figure Skating Club which now has more than 140 registered skaters ranging in age from three years right up to adult.

RESOLUTION NO. 1108

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Shawn Clarke, a member of the Senior Boys Springhill Basketball Team was honoured with an award in Springhill during the Springhill Basketball Association's annual award night; and

Whereas Shawn Clarke showed dedication and hard work over the year which earned him the award for Most Improved Player; and

Whereas Shawn shared this title with his fellow teammate Ryan Carmichael;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Shawn Clarke on this outstanding achievement and wish him continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1109

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Ryan Carmichael, a member of the Senior Boys Springhill Basketball Team was honoured with an award in Springhill during the Springhill Basketball Association's annual award night; and

Whereas Ryan showed dedication and hard work over the year which earned him the award for Most Improved Player; and

Whereas Ryan shared this title with his fellow teammate Shawn Clarke;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Ryan Carmichael on this outstanding achievement and wish him continued success in the future.

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RESOLUTION NO. 1110

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 native Rob Henderson was recently crowned as the Men's World Candlepin Bowling Champion when his team, MacLaughlin Truck & Trailer of Halifax earned their second straight title; and

Whereas the team was proud of this accomplishment, especially since they were the first Canadian team ever to win back-to-back titles in the 19-year history of the event; and

Whereas Rob, a competitive bowler for many years who has taken part in three world championships, recorded an average of 131.29 over the course of the event this year, earning him the title of Champion;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Rob Henderson on this outstanding achievement and wish him and his team continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1111

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 Grade 12 entrepreneur class of 15 boys and girls at the Parrsboro High School recently made a donation to the Canadian Cancer Society; and

Whereas the students made articles for a Christmas basket and sold tickets as a fundraiser; and

Whereas one of the students, Janice Perrin, donated a 12-inch braid of her own hair to be used for wigs for cancer victims;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Grade 12 entrepreneur class of Parrsboro High School on making this donation to such a worthwhile and important cause and wish them all the best in all future endeavours.

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RESOLUTION NO. 1112

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Jeffrey Harrison and Wes Herrett of Springhill, Nova Scotia, are members of the Peewee Double A Mac's Hockey Team; and

Whereas the Peewee Double A Mac's Team placed second in the provincial championship on March 28, 2004, in Cape Breton; and

Whereas in the third game of the provincials, which was played against Cole Harbour, Jeffrey Harrison was named All Star Defenceman and All Star Player of the Game;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Jeffrey Harrison and Wes Herrett on their second-place win in the provincial championship and wish them continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1113

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 small businesses account for more than 70 per cent of jobs in this province; and

Whereas small businesses are the lifeblood of our rural communities and play a significant role in growing the economy here in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas JC Excavating in East Chezzetcook is one such company that is making a positive contribution to the economy on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House join me in recognizing JC Excavating in East Chezzetcook for all the contributions it makes to Nova Scotia, particularly the Eastern Shore.

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RESOLUTION NO. 1114

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 small businesses account for more than 70 per cent of jobs in this province; and

Whereas small businesses are the lifeblood of our rural communities and play a significant role in growing the economy here in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Sammy Keizer Automotive in Musquodoboit Harbour is one such company that is making a positive contribution to the economy on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House join me in recognizing Sammy Keizer Automotive in Musquodoboit Harbour for all the contributions it makes to Nova Scotia, particularly the Eastern Shore.

RESOLUTION NO. 1115

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 small businesses account for more than 70 per cent of jobs in this province; and

Whereas small businesses are the lifeblood of our rural communities and play a significant role in growing the economy here in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Musquodoboit Harbour Barber in Musquodoboit Harbour is one such company that is making a positive contribution to the economy on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House join me in recognizing Musquodoboit Harbour Barber in Musquodoboit Harbour for all the contributions it makes to Nova Scotia, particularly the Eastern Shore.

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RESOLUTION NO. 1116

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 small businesses account for more than 70 per cent of jobs in this province; and

Whereas small businesses are the lifeblood of our rural communities and play a significant role in growing the economy here in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas M.L. DeBaie Construction in Head of Jeddore is one such company that is making a positive contribution to the economy on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House join me in recognizing M.L. DeBaie Construction in Head of Jeddore for all the contributions it makes to Nova Scotia, particularly the Eastern Shore.

RESOLUTION NO. 1117

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 small businesses account for more than 70 per cent of jobs in this province; and

Whereas small businesses are the lifeblood of our rural communities and play a significant role in growing the economy here in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Live Wire Appliance Service in Musquodoboit Harbour is one such company that is making a positive contribution to the economy on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House join me in recognizing Live Wire Appliance Service in Musquodoboit Harbour for all the contributions it makes to Nova Scotia, particularly the Eastern Shore.

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RESOLUTION NO. 1118

By: Mr. Mark Parent (Kings North)

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

Whereas ice wine is a product that has been increasing in popularity both here at home and abroad; and

Whereas Lakeville's Warner Vineyard is now home to about 40 acres of Vidal, New York Muscat and Ortega ice wine grapes; and

Whereas these grapes have been harvested to produce award-winning wine such as the 1999 Muscat that was a double gold medal winner at a recent Californian annual wine competition;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Warner Vineyards owner Joe Warner and his staff Larry Long, Donnie Vaughan and Derek Pleasant on their award-winning product and wish them much success in the production of their ice wine.