Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

HANSARD 03/04-58

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

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 5, 2004

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 2528, Mental Illness Awareness Wk. (10/04-10/10/04) - Recognize,
Hon. A. MacIsaac 4983
Vote - Affirmative 4984
Res. 2529, Cdn. Offshore Resources Ex. & Conf.: Attendees - Thank,
Hon. C. Clarke 4984
Res. 2530, Sustainable Communities Init. (N.S.): Award - Congrats.,
Hon. K. Morash 4985
Vote - Affirmative 4986
Res. 2531, Health Prom. - Addiction Prevention: Organizations -
Applaud, (by Hon. A. MacIsaac), Hon. J. Muir 4986
Vote - Affirmative 4986
Res. 2532, Educ.: N.S. Teachers - Salute, (by Hon. P. Christie),
Hon. J. Muir 4987
Vote - Affirmative 4987
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 123, Motor Vehicle Act, Mr. S. McNeil 4987
No. 124, Health Services and Insurance Act, Ms. Maureen MacDonald 4987
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 2533, Fisher, Ankie - Prov. 4-H Show: Success - Congrats.,
Mr. J. MacDonell 4988
Vote - Affirmative 4988
Res. 2534, Run for the Cure - C.B.: Vols./Participants - Congrats.,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 4988
Vote - Affirmative 4989
Res. 2535, Kids First Family Resource Ctr.: Staff - Congrats.,
Mr. R. Chisholm 4989
Vote - Affirmative 4990
Res. 2536, Tanner, Kellie - Mar. Fiddle Fest.: 1st Place - Congrats.,
Ms. J. Massey 4990
Vote - Affirmative 4991
Res. 2537, Graham, Jack - Tennis (N.S.): Contributions -
Acknowledge, Ms. D. Whalen 4991
Vote - Affirmative 4991
Res. 2538, Knowles, Larry & Yvonne: Foster Parenting - Congrats.,
Mr. M. Parent 4991
Vote - Affirmative 4992
Res. 2539, Econ. Dev. - Biotechnology: Potential - Recognize,
Mr. H. Epstein 4992
Vote - Affirmative 4993
Res. 2540, Tidd, Annette/Foster, Deborah: Lawn Bowling Championship -
Congrats., Mr. S. McNeil 4993
Vote - Affirmative 4994
Res. 2541, East Coast Truckers Reunion: Organizers/Sponsors -
Commend, Mr. B. Taylor 4994
Vote - Affirmative 4994
Res. 2542, Serv. N.S. & Mun. Rel.: Residential Tenancies Act -
Amend, Ms. M. Raymond 4995
Res. 2543, McCormick, Sheldon/MacLeod, Ryan: Debating Titles -
Congrats., Mr. Manning MacDonald 4995
Vote - Affirmative 4996
Res. 2544, Pictou Co. Minor Hockey Assoc.: Award - Congrats.,
Mr. J. DeWolfe 4996
Vote - Affirmative 4997
Res. 2545, Barnes, Cindy & Brian - Barnes Variety: Opening -
Congrats., Mr. C. Parker 4997
Vote - Affirmative 4997
Res. 2546, Educ. - Teachers: Sincere Wishes - Extend, Mr. L. Glavine 4998
Vote - Affirmative 4998
Res. 2547, Sydney Mines Ramblers: Peewee AA Baseball Championship -
Congrats., Hon. C. Clarke 4998
Vote - Affirmative 4999
Res. 2548, Bawtree, Michael: Joseph Howe Award - Congrats.,
Ms. M. More 4999
Vote - Affirmative 5000
Res. 2549, Sports - HS Students: Daily Exercise - Require,
Mr. S. McNeil 5000
Res. 2550, Maltby, Roy: Harris Fellowship - Congrats., Hon. E. Fage 5001
Vote - Affirmative 5001
Res. 2551, C.B. Highlanders: Tribute - Pay, Mr. G. Gosse 5002
Vote - Affirmative 5002
Res. 2552, N.S. Nature Trust: Work - Recognize, Mr. K. Colwell 5002
Vote - Affirmative 5003
Res. 2553, Quinn, Alex: Mary Kay Cadillac - Congrats., Mr. W. Dooks 5003
Vote - Affirmative 5004
Res. 2554, Nat'l. Newspaper Wk. (10/03-10/09/04):
Commun. Newspaper Staff - Congrats.,
Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 5004
Vote - Affirmative 5005
Res. 2555, Mental Illness Awareness Wk. (10/04-10/10/04):
Importance - Acknowledge, Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 5005
Vote - Affirmative 5005
Res. 2556, Noble, Lynda: Pinedale Park Skateboard Park - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 5005
Vote - Affirmative 5006
Res. 2557, Hatsis, John: Dedication - Congrats., Mr. W. Estabrooks 5006
Vote - Affirmative 5007
Res. 2558, MISA: Housing Proj. - Congrats.,
Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 5007
Vote - Affirmative 5007
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON BILLS AT 11:35 A.M. 5008
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 11:43 A.M. 5008
CWH REPORTS 5008
PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 116, Liquor Control Act^ 5009
Ms. J. Massey 5009
Mr. R. MacKinnon 5012
Hon. E. Fage 5013
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 5013
Ms. D. Whalen 5014
Mr. K. Colwell 5015
Ms. J. Massey 5015
Vote - Affirmative 5015
No. 121, Motor Vehicle Act 5015
Ms. D. Whalen 5016
Mr. C. Parker 5017
Hon. R. Russell 5018
Mr. K. Deveaux 5018
Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 5020
Mr. M. Parent 5020
Ms. D. Whalen 5021
Vote - Affirmative 5021
HOUSE RECESSED AT 12:28 P.M. 5021
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 1:04 P.M. 5021
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 578, Women, Status of: Campaign Sch. For Women - Costs,
Mr. D. Dexter 5022
No. 579, Fin. - Gaming: Addiction - Prevention Policies,
Ms. D. Whalen 5023
No. 580, Fin. - Gaming: New Directions Paper - Min. Input,
Mr. D. Dexter 5024
No. 581, Prem. - Gambling Conf.: Min. - Non-Attendance Explain,
Mr. D. Graham 5026
No. 582, Educ. - Staff: Child Abuse/Exploitation Reporting - Policy,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 5027
No. 583, Health Prom. - VLT Addiction: Prevention - Policies,
Mr. D. Graham 5028
No. 584, WCB - Insurance Costs: Call Ctrs. - Exemption Explain,
Mr. F Corbett 5030
No. 585, Health: Seniors Pmts. - Rm. & Bd. Costs,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 5031
No. 586, NSLC - Execs.: Bonuses - Criteria, Mr. G. Gosse 5033
No. 587, Health - Hujdic Case: Home Care - Adequacy, Ms. M. More 5034
No. 588, Health - ABA Therapy: Funding - Details, Mr. D. Graham 5036
No. 589, Health - Sludge: Spreading - Effects Study, Ms. J. Massey 5037
No. 590, Fin. - Tax Cuts: Reinstatement - Status, Ms. D. Whalen 5038
No. 591, Educ. - St. Pat's/QEH Replacement: Auditoriums - Costs,
Mr. H. Epstein 5039
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Reddy, Cyril - Death of: Condolences - Express, The Premier 5041
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Wed., Oct. 6th at 2:00 p.m. 5043
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 2559, Lightbridge Call Ctr.: Opening - Congrats.,
Hon. K. Morash 5044
Res. 2560, Queens Co. VON: Seniors Transport. Prog. - Commend,
Hon. K. Morash 5044
Res. 2561, Fletcher, Jeanna: Lt.-Gov's. Award - Congrats.,
The Speaker 5045
Res. 2562, Ferguson, Ken - Rifle Shooting Comp.: Honours -
Congrats., The Speaker 5045
Res. 2563, Ferguson, Allan Murray: Lt.-Gov.'s Award - Congrats.,
The Speaker 5046
Res. 2564, Dowe, Megan - Springhill Lib. Reading Club: Prize -
Congrats., The Speaker 5046
Res. 2565, Gamblin, Matt - Basketball N.S. Team: Nomination -
Congrats., The Speaker 5047

[Page 4983]

HALIFAX, TUESDAY, OCTOBER 5, 2004

Fifty-ninth General Assembly

First Session

11:00 A.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

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 2528

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

Whereas this week, October 4 to 10, 2004, is Mental Illness Awareness Week; and

4983

[Page 4984]

Whereas this week is an opportunity to raise awareness about the social and economic effects of mental illness on our society and the importance of good mental health; and

Whereas the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health is a coalition of stakeholders focused on mental health illness and supporting people living with mental health illnesses;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize October 4th to October 10th as Mental Illness Awareness Week and acknowledge the work done by organizations to promote mental health and to better the lives of those who suffer from mental illness.

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. 2529

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

Whereas the 2004 Canadian Offshore Resources Exhibition and Conference is being held in Halifax from October 5th to October 8th and highlights how multinational and local companies are doing business together internationally and locally; and

Whereas hundreds of delegates from around the world will attend the event to learn how the Canadian offshore industry is growing, both at home and abroad, they will have the opportunity to hear from more than 30 keynote speakers and visit about 175 exhibits; and

Whereas the Department of Energy supports the work of OTANS, showing our support this year with a platinum sponsorship;

[Page 4985]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House thank those who attend for their interest in our region, commend those Nova Scotia organizations that are taking part in this year's conference and congratulate OTANS for another successful and spectacular event.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour.

RESOLUTION NO. 2530

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Sustainable Communities Initiative is a partnership of more than 40 provincial, federal, municipal and First Nations' organizations that have been working to address complex issues with groups in the Annapolis/Fundy and Bras d'Or Lakes watersheds; and

Whereas the Institute of Public Administration of Canada recently awarded the Nova Scotia Sustainable Communities Initiative the silver medal for the 2004 IPAC Award for Innovative Management; and

Whereas Lorrie Roberts, Adrian Fuller and Janet MacKinnon from Nova Scotia Environment and Labour were among members of this award-winning team;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate all members of this team who, once again, have shown that Nova Scotia is a national leader in innovation and administration.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 4986]

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. 2531

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

Whereas Halifax is currently hosting the Insight International Problem Gambling Conference that will see local, national and international presenters, who are experts in the prevention and treatment of problem gambling; and

Whereas this conference provides an opportunity for professionals in this field to experience the most current research and thinking, and to learn from the experts and from their counterparts from across Canada; and

Whereas a key area of focus at the Office of Health Promotion is addiction prevention, which includes problem gambling, and the office has worked with the Gaming Foundation, the Gaming Corporation, the Alcohol and Gaming Authority, and the district health authorities to present this conference;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House applaud these organizations for providing this opportunity to the people of Nova Scotia, and recognize that Nova Scotia is becoming recognized as a world leader in its efforts to ensure a responsible gaming industry.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 4987]

The honourable Minister of Finance.

RESOLUTION NO. 2532

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the honourable Minister of Education, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has declared October 5th to be World Teachers' Day, and chosen the theme, Quality Teachers for Quality Education; and

Whereas this is a celebration of the role of teachers worldwide and recognizes that quality teaching and learning depends on quality teachers; and

Whereas Nova Scotia is fortunate to have many dedicated, skilled teaching professionals in its educational system;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House salute Nova Scotia's teachers and their solid commitment to provide our students with a quality education.

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. 123 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 293 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Motor Vehicle Act. (Mr. Stephen McNeil)

Bill No. 124 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 197 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Health Services and Insurance Act. (Ms. Maureen MacDonald)

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

[Page 4988]

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2533

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

Whereas agriculture is the cornerstone of our rural economy; and

Whereas agriculture is not attracting our youth to the industry in the numbers it once did; and

Whereas the past weekend in Truro, the Provincial 4-H Show, or the Pro Show as it's called, highlighted the interests and efforts of young Nova Scotians interested in agriculture, showcasing their quality work and their technical skills;

Therefore be it resolved that this Legislative Assembly congratulate Ankie Fisher, Chairperson of the 2004 Nova Scotia 4-H show, organizers, volunteers and the young participants on the very successful Provincial 4-H Show and for encouraging our youth to become interested in agriculture as a possible career.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

[11:15 a.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 2534

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

[Page 4989]

Whereas on October 3rd, the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation held its annual CIBC Run for the Cure; and

Whereas this year's run in Cape Breton attracted more than 4,000 participants; and

Whereas this year's run far exceeded the organizers' expectations by raising a record total of $432,168 for breast cancer research and education programs, as well as diagnosis and treatment;

Therefore be it resolved the members of this House congratulate the countless volunteers and participants who made this year's Run for the Cure in Cape Breton so memorable.

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 Guysborough-Sheet Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 2535

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

Whereas the KIDS First Family Resource Centre in Guysborough, Nova Scotia, celebrated its 10th Anniversary on June 12th; and

Whereas the KIDS First Family Resource Centre serves parents, young children, and families through programs and services like Babies Best Start, parent co-ops, School Readiness, Parent and Tot drop-in, parenting workshops, and toy and book libraries; and

Whereas the staff of the KIDS First Family Resource Centre is committed to strengthening the voice of low-income families by providing resources and support;

[Page 4990]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the staff of the KIDS First Family Resource Centre for their hard work and dedication over the last decade, and wish them many more successful and happy years.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2536

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

Whereas on July 10, 2004, the 55th Maritime Fiddle Festival was held at the Nova Scotia Community College, Akerley Campus; and

Whereas the Maritime Fiddle Festival started out as a small fundraising idea which quickly grew into an extended weekend event, now heralded as the oldest continual fiddle contest in North America; and

Whereas Kellie Tanner of Beaver Bank was awarded first place in the 19 to 59-year-old category;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Kellie Tanner on her 1st place win and wish the Maritime Fiddle Festival continued success for years to come.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 4991]

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. 2537

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

Whereas the passion we develop for sports while growing up can lead to a lifelong involvement with an organization; and

Whereas while growing up in Antigonish and Sydney, Jack Graham worked tirelessly to improve not only his ability as a tennis player, but to develop the sport here in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Jack has recently been named Board Chairman for Tennis Canada in recognition of his lifelong commitment to the enhancement of tennis;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House acknowledge the contributions that Jack Graham has made to Tennis Nova Scotia and wish him every success in his new role with Tennis 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.

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 2538

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

[Page 4992]

Whereas the Department of Community Services has recognized Larry and Yvonne Knowles of Canning for 10 years of commitment as foster parents; and

Whereas Larry and Yvonne Knowles must be applauded for their devotion and commitment to children in need of love and guidance; and

Whereas there are an estimated 1,169 children in foster care in Nova Scotia, and this number is growing every day;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House send sincere thanks to Larry and Yvonne Knowles for their kindness and generosity and wish them many more years of success as foster parents.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 2539

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

Whereas the BioPort Atlantic Conference was held in Halifax from September 29th to October 1st; and

Whereas the conference brought together research scientists, companies and government representatives to examine the current state of play in the development of biotechnology research and development in Atlantic Canada; and

Whereas there is every indication that there is huge potential for biotechnology research and development here, focusing on such products as astaxathin from lobster shells and antioxidants in blueberries;

[Page 4993]

Therefore be it resolved - I did attend the conference - that this Legislature recognize the potential for biotechnology in Nova Scotia and encourage the government to find ways to foster its development.

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 Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 2540

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

Whereas the 2004 Canadian Lawn Bowling Championships were held on August 16th to August 21st in Vancouver, British Columbia; and

Whereas Bridgetown's Annette Tidd and Deborah Foster won the national title in the women's pair; and

Whereas this is the second time in three years that this team has won the national championship;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the Legislature congratulate Annette Tidd and Deborah Foster on their second Canadian championship victory.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 4994]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 2541

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

Whereas a reunion of the East Coast Truckers was held Labour Day weekend at Brookfield in the beautiful Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, in the Don Henderson Memorial Sportsplex; and

Whereas I was honoured to be able to act as the Master of Ceremonies of this event, which saw the Children's Wish Foundation as the main benefactor; and

Whereas the reunion realized $5,000 for the Children's Wish Foundation, a feat that couldn't have been done without the tremendous organizational abilities of Diane Lundie, Robin Fulton, Linda Bell, Pam Murchison, Tanya Dort, Linda Geddes, Kathy Haylock and Sherry Cole;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House commend the sincere support offered by organizers as well as the many financial sponsors of the reunion, and to the many other sponsors for prize donations of the 2004 East Coast Truckers Reunion.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

[Page 4995]

RESOLUTION NO. 2542

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

Whereas the Government of Nova Scotia should be concerned for the physical safety of its citizens; and

Whereas many people in Nova Scotia are living in dangerous conditions, subject to flooding, mould and electrical fires; and

Whereas these people are afraid they will be evicted if they report such conditions, because the Residential Tenancies Act is full of holes and desperately needs renovation too;

Therefore be it resolved that this House amend the Residential Tenancies Act so as to require annual inspections of all commercially-rented accommodations.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

RESOLUTION NO. 2543

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

Whereas Sydney Academy is one of the best debating schools in North America; and

Whereas Sydney Academy's Sheldon McCormick continued the tradition at the 2004 Nova Scotia Impromptu Debating Championships over the weekend, walking away with two titles in senior high school competition; and

Whereas Sheldon McCormick won the individual title and defended Sydney Academy's title along with his debating partner Ryan MacLeod;

[Page 4996]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Sheldon McCormick and Ryan MacLeod of Sydney Academy for their outstanding achievement in high school debating.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2544

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

Whereas the Pictou County Minor Hockey Association was honoured with a significant award at the recent annual meeting of Hockey Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the Pictou County Minor Hockey Association was named the top development minor hockey association for all of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the award is presented to a minor hockey association which does more than what is expected from Hockey Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly extend our sincere congratulations to President Rosalie Frazee, Vice-President Joni Roper, Development Coordinator Cliff Taylor, and the remainder of the Pictou County Minor Hockey Executive for their tremendous work ethic 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?

[Page 4997]

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. 2545

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

Whereas convenience stores not only serve a very useful purpose and are often an important meeting place for rural communities; and

Whereas Barnes Variety of Salt Springs, Pictou County, held their grand opening on Sunday, October 3, 2004, with an antique car show, a yard sale and lots of giveaways; and

Whereas it is great to see this store, formerly Graham's Quick Mart, once again open and serving Salt Springs and area with groceries, movies, crafts, ice cream cones and much more;

Therefore be it resolved that this Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Cindy and Brian Barnes for their entrepreneurial spirit and wish them much success with their new enterprise, Barnes Variety.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings West.

[Page 4998]

RESOLUTION NO. 2546

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

Whereas the teachers of Nova Scotia's public education system make immeasurable contributions to our society; and

Whereas teachers are often overlooked for their enormous contribution to the school community; and

Whereas the United Nations has designated October 5th as World Teacher's Day, observed in over 100 countries with this year's theme, Quality Teachers for Quality Education;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House extend sincere wishes of good luck to the teachers of Nova Scotia in ensuring that the needs of future generations are taken into consideration in this increasingly complex, multicultural and technological world.

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. 2547

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

Whereas the Sydney Mines Ramblers won the Nova Scotia Peewee "AA" Baseball Championship in Kentville; and

Whereas the Ramblers outscored the opposition 80-12 in five games; and

[Page 4999]

Whereas three Ramblers also received individual awards, including shortstop Jordan Sheppard who was named top defensive player and was named to the all-star team, Justin Brewer who was selected as the top pitcher and Nathan Clarkson who also earned a spot on the all-star team;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating the coaches and team members of the Sydney Mines Ramblers on winning the Nova Scotia Peewee "AA" Baseball Championship.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth South-Portland Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 2548

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

Whereas the Dartmouth Historical Association was actively involved in planning many of the 200th celebrations of Joseph Howe's birth; and

Whereas the association under the leadership of its President, Harry Chapman, instituted the Joseph Howe Fellowship Award to recognize outstanding people who have helped to preserve heritage, culture or who have been leaders in community service; and

Whereas the first award was presented to Michael Bawtree, who brought Joseph Howe to life during the 200th birthday celebrations and provided leadership and vision during the initiative;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate the Dartmouth Historical Association and the first recipient, Michael Bawtree, on the occasion of the first Joseph Howe Fellowship Award presentation, October 2, 2004, in Dartmouth.

[Page 5000]

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 Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 2549

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

Whereas obesity in Nova Scotia's children is growing at a faster rate than in adults; and

Whereas statistics show that children are less active as they get older, with over 80 per cent of our Grade 11 students getting less than a half-hour of activity a day; and

Whereas physical inactivity costs the Province of Nova Scotia $107 million a year in direct medical costs;

Therefore be it resolved that the Government of Nova Scotia follow Alberta's lead and require all elementary and high school students to participate in a half-hour of compulsory daily exercise for the health and well-being of the youth in our province.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Economic Development.

[Page 5001]

RESOLUTION NO. 2550

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

Whereas the Amherst town councillor and long-time minor and junior hockey supporter, Roy Maltby, was honoured with a presentation of a Paul Harris Fellowship by the Amherst Rotary Club; and

Whereas Roy received a medallion and the Rotary Club donated U.S. $1,000 in his honour to Rotary International for use in numerous international projects; and

Whereas Roy has received numerous awards over the year such as being honoured twice by the Canadian Hockey Association, the N.S. Minor Hockey Council's Award of Merit, the Amherst Sports Award Committee and the NHL Old-timers' Hockey Club, as well as by the provincial government for his contribution to the development of amateur sport and fitness in the Town of Amherst and following the death of his son David in 1980, he supported the creation of the David Maltby Memorial Society that presents an annual scholarship at AHRS and supports the Annual International Little League Baseball Tournament that bears his name;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in sending our congratulations to Roy Maltby.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[11:30 a.m.]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

[Page 5002]

RESOLUTION NO. 2551

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

Whereas on Saturday, September 18, 2004, the 35th annual reunion of the Cape Breton Highlanders was held in Sydney, Nova Scotia; and

Whereas this special day also commemorated the 60th Anniversary of the Italian Campaign of the Second World War; and

Whereas this decorated battalion was organized on October 13, 1871 as the Victoria Provisional Battalion of Infantry from four independent companies;

Therefore be it resolved that the Members of this Legislative Assembly pay tribute to those members of the Cape Breton Highlanders who gave their lives while serving this fine country of ours, and those who continue to carry the torch on behalf of this outstanding unit.

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. 2552

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 Nova Scotia Nature Trust was incorporated in 1994 as a non-government charitable organization with a goal to protect natural areas in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the Nature Trust currently has three major projects, which are: the Fundy Shorebirds Project, the Coastal Plain Stewards Project and the Forest Legacy Project; and

[Page 5003]

Whereas the Nova Scotia Nature Trust will be holding its 7th annual Dinner and Silent Auction on October 23, 2004 at Pier 21 in Halifax;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the fine work of the Nova Scotia Nature Trust and wish them success in their fundraising efforts.

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 Eastern Shore.

RESOLUTION NO. 2553

MR. WILLIAM DOOKS: Mr. Speaker, before I read the resolution I would like to recognize in the gallery today, Diane Quinn, from the Premiers office, and I am pleased to read this resolution in her presence.

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

Whereas Alex Quinn of Three Fathom Harbour, has earned her pink Cadillac after 17 years with Mary Kay Cosmetics; and

Whereas Alex is the Director of Sales of a group of people working together to create learning and earning opportunities for women; and

Whereas with the help of her sales unit, Alex Quinn now drives one of the 75 pink Mary Kay Cadillacs in Canada - what an achievement, Mr. Speaker;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Alex Quinn on her new pink Cadillac and wish her future success with Mary Kay Cosmetics and all that she undertakes.

[Page 5004]

Mr. Speaker, maybe she will give the MLA for the area an opportunity to ride with her someday.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 2554

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 October 3 to October 9, 2004 is National Newspaper Week in Canada; and

Whereas community newspapers tell the stories of Nova Scotians keeping the spirit of communities alive across the province;

Whereas the fine tradition of local community newspapers is one well worth celebrating;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the hard-working staff of community newspapers in Nova Scotia during this, National Newspaper Week 2004.

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 5005]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Glace Bay.

RESOLUTION NO. 2555

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 October 4 to October 10, 2004 is Mental Illness Awareness Week; and

Whereas this week's theme, Face Mental Illness offers the opportunity to draw to the attention of the community, the courageous faces which are helping bring mental illness out from the shadows; and

Whereas one in five adult Canadians will suffer a mental disorder in their lives and almost 20 per cent of children and youth in Canada suffer from a diagnosable psychiatric disorder;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the Legislature acknowledge the importance of Mental Illness Awareness Week, and recognize the important role professionals, volunteers and family members play in their support of those with mental illnesses.

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. 2556

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

[Page 5006]

Whereas the skateboard park in Pinedale Park, Prospect Bay has proven to be extremely popular with area young people; and

Whereas this park has become a reality because of the hard work of area youth and the guiding hand of Lynda Noble; and

Whereas Lynda Noble's example and positive influence are appreciated by our community;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Lynda Noble and all involved with the Pinedale Park skateboard park in Prospect Bay.

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. 2557

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's in Whites Lake is an important business and meeting place in our community; and

Whereas John Hatsis has provided a valuable service to Whites Lake and the surrounding area for many years; and

Whereas John always is there with friendly advice and a positive approach;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate and thank John Hatsis on his many years of hard work and dedication in our community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 5007]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 2558

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 there is a dire need for affordable housing for low-income Nova Scotians; and

Whereas the Metropolitan Immigrant Settlement Association, known as MISA, has started a project aimed at creating additional housing options for single immigrant men in Halifax; and

Whereas this project will not only benefit new immigrants to the city, but hopefully will encourage more immigrants to our province;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Metropolitan Immigrant Settlement Association, and extend its best wishes as its project moves forward creating affordable housing for single immigrant men in Halifax.

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 5008]

ORDERS OF THE DAY

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

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

The motion is carried.

[11:35 a.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker, Mr. James DeWolfe in the Chair.]

[11:43 a.m. CWH on Bills 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 Bills reports:

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

Bill No. 82 - Halifax Regional Water Commission Act.

Bill No. 84 - Motor Vehicle Act.

Bill No. 90 - Highway 104 Western Alignment Act.

Bill No. 92 - Motor Vehicle Act.

Bill No. 93 - Gas Distribution System Municipal Taxation Act.

Bill No. 98 - Municipal Government Act.

Bill No. 103 - Regulations Act.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

[Page 5009]

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

[11:45 a.m.]

PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you call Bill No. 116, the Liquor Control Act.

Bill No. 116 - Liquor Control Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

MS. JOAN MASSEY: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to stand here today and talk for a bit on Bill No. 116, An Act to Amend Chapter 260 of the Revised Statutes, 1989, the Liquor Control Act.

This bill would simply allow the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation to post, for example, warning signs warning women of the dangers of consuming alcohol during pregnancy. As it stands right now the Liquor Corporation did have a brochure at one time available and I believe it has gone out of print. They weren't able to actually hand it out to people, it was just sort of on a shelf somewhere. What I'm looking for in this bill is mechanisms which the government can put in place to really help educate women who are either thinking of becoming pregnant or are pregnant and educate them on the issue of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. The corporation could do educational things such as labelling alcohol and beer. This is done in the United States. We could post posters in our liquor stores and we definitely could put up some signs.

Mr. Speaker, consumption of alcohol during pregnancy is the cause of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. That is the simple truth, and it's estimated that in Canada 9 babies out of 1,000 are born with FASD. This is totally preventable. FASD is a lifelong disability. Many people with FASD have an IQ within normal range, but they will face many varying degrees of social and economic challenges. They can require support services and, most of all, compassion from all of us. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder can be prevented. Health Canada's Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder: A Framework for Action document which is around 10 pages long, talks about FASD as being preventable over and over again. This is not something new, but it is something that I believe women need to be warned of. Fetal alcohol syndrome was actually first established as a medical diagnosis in 1973. So this is not something that was talked about before that time. It's still fairly recent.

[Page 5010]

North America researchers have found, Mr. Speaker, that there really is no safe limit of drinking in pregnancy. There's no safe limit to the unborn baby. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause children to suffer learning disorders and memory loss as they reach their teens. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder can cause a wide range of physical and mental defects. The impact of alcohol can vary according to the amount that's consumed, the timing, and the frequency.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to tell you a little bit about how I came across developing this piece of legislation. Somebody sent me an e-mail. I'm sure all of us get e-mails on a constant basis. I received this e-mail back in April. I read it and I thought, oh, this is interesting and, I have to admit, I put it aside for another day. Then I came across it again and I thought this looks like a piece of possible legislation to me. So then I went on to just do a bit of background checking. The e-mail told me about Sandy's Law. This is a law that has recently been passed in Ontario. Mr. Ernie Parsons, an MPP in Ontario, lost his son, who was 25 years old, to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. The Parsons adopted their son at the age of two, but he was not diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome until he was six. Sandy died of a brain aneurysm. This is one of the disorders that this Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder can carry with it. There can be inward signs and outward signs of this.

So, Mr. Speaker, I think it's something that we should seriously look at. Studies have shown that the most serious damage to the fetus occurs within 20 days of conception. This is before most women even realize they're pregnant. When you talk to physicians, they will actually tell you that the period before people realize that they are pregnant is actually a time of great concern. The more that we can educate people on this issue, the better off we'll be.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Would the honourable member allow for an introduction?

MS. MASSEY: Certainly.

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

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for according me the moment for an introduction. Up in the gallery we have some members from the Nova Scotia Federation of Anglers and Hunters. I just want to get them to rise. We have Tony Rogers, we have Gary Penney and Darlene Caldwell. (Applause)

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

The honourable member for Dartmouth East has the floor.

[Page 5011]

MS. MASSEY: Mr. Speaker, I'm not the only one who I believe will support this piece of legislation. Our own Premier John Hamm and our Minister of Community Services both signed a proclamation for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Day on September 9, 2004. This was the 6th International FASD Awareness Day in Nova Scotia. They stated, among other things in the proclamation, that our children are our most important resource, that it's our responsibility to care for and nurture our children, and protect them. In order to reduce the incidence of FASD, they stated, it is essential that women in pregnancy are provided with support and information. This is simply a way of providing that information.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome can carry a wide range of physical abnormalities. Children can be born underweight and under normal height. They can suffer speech impediments, hearing problems, facial abnormalities, hyperactiveness, autism, aggressive social problems and, Mr. Speaker, all these things are very serious. They can have inward disorders such as heart defects, kidney defects and eye problems. The largest cause of neurological damage in children is prenatal exposure to alcohol. The damage often goes undiagnosed, but not unpunished. Children who suffer this disorder inwardly and don't have any outward physical effects are the children who become our forgotten children, with invisible disabilities.

But they don't go unpunished, Mr. Speaker. These are the children who have arms and legs and they can run and play, but these are the children who don't get invited to the birthday parties, they don't go to the sleepovers, who are the last to be chosen to play. They're the first to be blamed. Their behaviours seem odd and unpredictable to themselves and to other people.

More than 10 per cent of children have been exposed to high levels of alcohol, and they're going to suffer varying degrees of effects, anywhere from mild disabilities to major physical and mental intellectual impairment. This is a lifetime disability. There's no cure. A child will not grow out of it. However, early diagnosis and intensive intervention can make a difference in the prognosis for the child. However, there is a very small window of opportunity there, Mr. Speaker, and it's up to about the age of 10 or 12.

As I've said, fetal alcohol syndrome can actually present individual distinctive physical appearances, and these children can have lower IQs, but when the outward signs are there, those children can be diagnosed and they tend to have lower crime rates and addiction rates. Then there's the children who are born without the outward effects. These are the fetal alcohol effects. These children can be better protected by society and their parents. It's estimated that more than 42 per cent of all of our federal prison inmates suffer from some degree of FAS. Individuals with FAS between the ages of 12 and 51 can suffer any degree of disabilities - 95 per cent will have mental health problems, 60 per cent will have disrupted school experiences, 60 per cent will experience trouble with the law.

[Page 5012]

Mr. Speaker, I would just like to say again, in closing, this bill just simply educates women and allows us to put steps in place. It's common sense; it's totally preventative. There's absolutely no reason why everybody in this room cannot support this bill. We're put in a place where we have to protect those who cannot protect themselves, so any time that all of us can work together to help those in society who are at a disadvantage, then we're all doing something right here.

Mr. Speaker, I would move second reading of this bill.

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

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, at the outset let me say that our caucus fully endorses this particular piece of legislation. It's a very positive piece of good news. Any initiative that would help to raise the awareness of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, or any type of alcohol abuse in the Province of Nova Scotia, is certainly a cause that's worthy of support.

Also, too, Mr. Speaker, it's an opportunity to raise the awareness of alcoholism on a wide variety of fronts. As we know, there has been considerable concern about the increase of alcoholism in the past 10 years, not just, as has been suggested, in the lower economic spectrum of society but particularly very much so in the white-collar community which, surprisingly, if one were to do considerable research on that and do some analysis, perhaps even more so than any other sector of society, and certainly many of the points that have been raised by the previous speaker are very solid points.

They're documented and they speak to a growing concern for all members of the Legislature and, in particular, for the Minister of Health and for the government on dealing with the effects of alcoholism and treating it, because the issue, for example of education, I know that there's not a member of this House who is not aware of the effects of alcoholism in their constituency. We see it almost daily when we hear some of the presentations that are put forth by representatives of transition houses who come before different legislative committees. They indicate the severe effects and the impact that it has, not just on the mother but also on the children - and the long-term implications.

Also, Mr. Speaker, with regard to the other forms of drug abuse that are becoming of increasing concern in the Province of Nova Scotia. We know in various communities across the province, in particular the Cape Breton region, where the increased use of OxyContin and other forms of drugs is having a major negative impact not just for today but for years to come, the cost to our health care system, the cost to our educational system, the cost to the family structure, the social and the economic and the psychological effects will be felt for years to come.

[Page 5013]

So without belabouring many of the points, Mr. Speaker, that have already been made - I could certainly go into considerable detail, but I think there's a general consensus and a feeling that this is a good piece of legislation. Certainly, it's not going to cost the province anything. I think it is going to save the province in so many ways, both in terms of the individual, the mother, the child, the family, the community, the educational system, health care costs, community services, you can pick just about any department in government and you can readily see that this is not a cost, this is an investment in the individual and to the common good.

[12:00 noon]

So with that, Mr. Speaker, I will conclude my remarks and certainly, again, reaffirm our commitment to this particular piece of legislation.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Economic Development.

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of this piece of legislation. I want to commend the honourable member for bringing it forward. As she said in her remarks, the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation, from time to time, has had literature available on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome but I think this particular piece of legislation is very common sense, it's dear to the heart and just re-emphasizes the point of protecting those who cannot protect themselves.

Raising that awareness level, whether it's at the teenage level or middle age, I think it's critical to remind women of child-bearing age and all of society that anything that can help protect the unborn is critical to having a healthier, safer and more productive society. It does, certainly, protect the unborn infant but it brings information and knowledge, and knowledge is power and opportunity for change for the family members and for our community at large. This piece of legislation fulfills all those commitments and obligations.

I just briefly want to reiterate our support of the legislation and commend the member for bringing this legislation forward, because, indeed, it is the type of warning and advisement that can help prevent a tragedy or serious situation in a family or for a young infant in the future. We will be supporting this piece of legislation, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I won't take too much of the time of the business of the House today but I really wanted to rise and speak briefly to what I think is a really good piece of legislation and a really important piece of legislation.

[Page 5014]

I want to congratulate the honourable member for Dartmouth East for bringing this legislation forward. I also would like to commend the government for moving it along in this process. You know, as someone who has worked in the community for a long time with families and I currently sit on a board of directors where we deal with a lot of young people who are in care through foster care and wardship and what have you. I recognize the disadvantage and the lifelong disabilities that occur when alcohol is consumed during a pregnancy. This is a very, very sad problem, Mr. Speaker, and it is one that is absolutely preventable if we can raise public awareness and do more to further public education and to change our whole consciousness, really, of the importance of not consuming alcohol during pregnancy.

I think, certainly, where we have the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation as part of our public services, that it's a very sensible thing for us to do to have warning notices and public education information prominently displayed on-site in liquor stores. Perhaps the ability to put labelling on various products, as well, that there is a grave danger to a child if the mother is consuming alcohol during pregnancy, and that the long-term impact of doing so can be with a child for life and can result in many of the problems that people have talked about here, in terms of learning difficulties, difficulties in comprehension, difficulties in cognitive development.

So, this is, I think, one of those fairly simple pieces of legislation that can have quite a significant impact in a problem that, sadly, is still too common, Mr. Speaker. I fully support this bill going forward.

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

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, I just wanted to add a few words to the discussion on this bill, which is to properly publicize and post signs in places where alcohol is sold and served, to warn women about the dangers of drinking during pregnancy. I really do think that this is a very smart thing to do, it's the right thing to do. I think a lot of women are uninformed, and, as a result, are taking a tremendous risk in drinking during that period of time. As was mentioned, sometimes this damage can occur before women are even aware of a pregnancy, so it's really important to let women know, to drink responsibly and to think about this potential danger.

There is no cure, as has been mentioned. If a child is affected by fetal alcohol syndrome, there is no way to reverse that effect, and that means you have a lifelong tragedy, really, that plays itself out. The suffering for families and for the individuals is severe. I think that anything that can be done to better alert people and educate the public should be done. I think there's a lot of similarities to other programs that we have, whether it's with our warnings for cigarette smoking and our advisories on gambling responsibly. We try to avert problems before they actually occur. I think this is another very good opportunity to do exactly that, and not to avert ourselves from a very important issue.

[Page 5015]

A simple thing like posting signs and educating the public is really important. I think that the tragedy and the impact of this kind of neurological damage that can occur is very severe, and it's the right thing to do. So, I applaud the member for bringing it forward initially, and the government for looking at moving this along. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Preston.

MR. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, I, too, want to commend the honourable member for bringing this forward and the government for moving it forward, as well. Any time we can stop a child from having any kind of problem later in their life, it's well worth the effort. The cost of doing this is very small, compared to one child being positively affected. I would also ask the government, while this is proceeding, I realize it's within their authority to do it now, but they could ask the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission at the present time to start this process before the bill gets in place and the regulations get in place. If the government would commit to do that, I think that would be a fantastic thing for them to do in the interim, again, for the sake of saving a child from any kind of problem that they definitely can't help. I, too, am going to support the bill. I think it's a great idea. I look forward to the rapid passage and the rapid implementation.

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the honourable member for Dartmouth East it will be to close debate.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

MS. JOAN MASSEY: Mr. Speaker, I would just like to say thank you to everyone who made comments here today and everyone who has supported this bill. I look forward to it going through the process. I would move this bill for second reading.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 116. 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. 121.

Bill No. 121 - Motor Vehicle Act.

[Page 5016]

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

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, it's a great pleasure for me to rise today and to speak a little bit on this bill on second reading. This is a bill to Amend Chapter 293 of the Revised Statutes, 1989, the Motor Vehicle Act. The intent of the bill is to provide protection for children who are between 40 and 60 pounds or 18 - 27 kilograms in ensuring that they sit in car booster seats rather than in seats with adult lap belts on them for safety. This has really come to light because of changes that have been made in a number of other provinces - most notably, Quebec - and in terms of how the legislation was introduced there. They actually had a very tragic accident occur which drew the attention of the government to the need for proper safety restraints for children in that age and size category.

I've referred to an age from between four to nine years old and that's not always specific, but it's nice to have an actual sense of what age group might fall into this weight category. Essentially, they're the forgotten group because over time we've come to accept that infants, when they leave the hospital and are brought home, must be in infant car seats. As they age a little bit, the car seats turn around, we make sure they sit in car seats up to the size of 40 pounds. Beyond that, a lot of children are anxious to sit in the chairs and they sit on the car seat as would be normal, not realizing they're at risk and their parents not realizing the risk they're in.

I'm sure many of us have seen children or even shorter people where the lap belt cuts across your neck, which is unsafe, because you don't have the height which is needed to wear an adult seatbelt. In addition to that, when collisions occur and the lap belt locks, for a young child in this weight category, their bone structure isn't developed well enough to protect them and they suffer a lot of internal injuries as a result. This has been well noted at the IWK and in children's hospitals across the country. Pediatricians have called for some legislation that would make car booster seats mandatory for this age group. I'm sure, as well, our emergency services' people have seen many accidents that involve that age group.

One thing in researching this that I found particularly troubling is that across Canada the good news is that we have had a decrease in traffic fatalities in the last number of years. But, the rate of fatalities for children in the age group of 4 - 9 has remained the same - there's been no improvement. I think that's evidence in itself this is a category of children that have been missed in being protected by our legislation and through law.

I'm very happy to see this bill being called for second reading because, again, I note that a number of safety groups have been calling for governments across the country to take action. I think we have an opportunity here to be leaders in Atlantic Canada and be the third province to enact legislation that would protect children by requiring mandatory use of the car booster seat.

[Page 5017]

The groups that have taken a particular interest have been the IWK - they're now called the Child Safety Link which documents dangers to children - the Road Advisory Council has mentioned this issue and so has the Nova Scotia Safety Council. I know that they're very happy to see the government looking seriously at making changes.

Clearly, for all of us, it's similar to the earlier Act. We talked about public education being so important. If, in fact, parents were made fully aware of the danger to their children and recognizing they were at greater risk of death or serious injury in a car accident with that adult seat belt on, I think they would be very quick to conform to this legislation. I think the difficulty is that parents are unaware in some cases and therefore children are placed at risk.

So, we're very anxious to see this move forward. I think it will help to ensure that all Nova Scotians of all ages are protected and that we have not left out a very important category of children in our province who are currently not protected by legislation for seat belts. With that, I would like to move second reading of Bill No. 121.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

MR. CHARLES PARKER: Mr. Speaker, I'd like to take a few minutes to speak on this bill, Bill No. 121. I think it's good legislation and I commend the member for bringing it forward. Certainly, anything we can do to protect our children.

As was mentioned in the previous bill, it's important we look after the safety of our infants, our young people, our children, and there's nothing, it has been said, that's more precious than our children and when riding in a motor vehicle, it's important certainly to protect them as always. We're always looking out for our children and our grandchildren. I guess maybe this has been brought home to me most recently whereas my wife and I are recent grandparents and have had the opportunity to visit our grandchild a couple of times over the past few months, with her family living in Ottawa. As they grow up, we'd like to see that they're cared for and loved and protected, so it certainly comes home to us in this particular case.

[12:15 p.m.]

There is protection certainly for babies, for young toddlers, for infants, with a car seat in a vehicle, usually in the backseat of a car and they're fully protected. I've seen some of the car seats now that are quite adaptable, they can be used for a car seat, but they can also fold out and even be a stroller to roll down the street afterward. So, they are new and modern and certainly quite protective of young children.

I guess, for all of us, Mr. Speaker, as adults, we're protected when we travel in a vehicle with our seatbelts on and our shoulder belt and lap belt and there's strong evidence that this has provided protection and is saving lives in this province and right across the

[Page 5018]

country. Right across the world, as most jurisdictions now have gone to using seatbelts. It's the folks that are in between that the member's bill is addressing, I believe she says the weight from 18-27 kilograms. There is a middle age group there from the time they are toddlers right up until they're not quite to the adult stage, but there's certainly a middle section there where there's a weight class of people who are not protected.

So, I think this bill is good. Seatbelts save lives, certainly car seats for infants and babies and young toddlers, save lives, so let's make sure that the folks in between are also fully protected. So, I commend the member again for bringing this legislation forward. I think it's good and I for one certainly will be supporting this legislation.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works.

MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, the government is pleased to support this legislation. We've had the subject of booster seats under consideration within the department for some considerable time. I believe that the time has come for us to institute this legislation to not only bring about a more safe regime for children who are not adults, but are not toddlers, so we are therefore pleased to support the legislation brought forward by the honourable member opposite. Thank you.

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

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, I wanted to take a couple of minutes, both as a member of this Legislature and as a father of two children who happen to be using booster seats, to speak on this bill. First, as a father, I want to say that this is an important piece of legislation, one which, I think, clearly sends a signal to families and it's all too often I see it, sort of shockingly at times. I actually remember hearing a recent study in Ontario where they checked and the number of people who weren't using child restraints systems for children over the age of three was actually fairly high. Probably because there is a legal question as to whether it was illegal. In Nova Scotia, I'm glad to see this legislation coming forward, one that will clearly spell out when a child should be in a booster seat and when it shouldn't be.

As a father, as I say, with two children, and it's funny because we've been going through a battle with my six-year-old son who now says he doesn't want to use one anymore. He's about 50-52 pounds, I presume, so he's at a stage in his life where he's thinking, I'm a big kid, I don't need this. So it's been interesting to sort of go through this on a personal level and the battle there is to try and explain why it's important.

Now I want to change hats and talk about it as a legislator. I want to start by saying I happened to get a copy of the regulations that apply to child restraint systems before we had the debate, and looking at the letter from the IWK that was part of the Liberal's package with regard to this, what I am gathering from - what I actually read in the bill, all it does is change

[Page 5019]

the word, in the definition of child restraint system in Section 175 of the Act, to include a booster seat. The regulations actually spell out when a booster seat is required.

As a point of fact, my understanding is that there is nothing in here that couldn't have been done by the government by regulation. The government could have easily changed the regulation to include, where as right now a booster seat is required between 18 kg and 23 kg, the IWK Grace in their letter - Deshayne Fell - I don't know, was that letter tabled? I will table the letter then, and it says in the second paragraph: "Current evidence suggests that children between 18 kg and 27 kg cannot be safely restrained by a lap-shoulder belt alone." - I will table that.

I think it's important to note that the government through their own regulations could have easily adjusted the wording in the regulations to reflect that it could just be 27 kg from the current 23 kg. It is unfortunate that in this case it takes an Opposition member having to bring forward a bill - and the minister says the government has been thinking about this, didn't take legislation to fix this - I'm glad to see the legislation coming forward, I'm glad to see the initiative, but on the other hand this is something the government could have done through regulation, and shouldn't have had requirement to have to have a piece of legislation brought forward which makes an adjustment to the definition.

Even after, I may note, this passes - and I'm sure it will - if it gets through third reading in this session, Mr. Speaker, it is still going to require the government to change the regulation, because if you actually read Section 175 (3)(A) of the Motor Vehicle Act, it says that a child restraint system as prescribed must be used - and prescribed in the Act means by regulation. Even after we pass this, even after this House has clearly sent the intent that we want to ensure that children under 27 kg need to be in a child restraint system, the government is still going to have to pass the regulation.

I just want to put on the record that I am glad to see the member for Halifax Clayton Park bringing forward a piece of legislation that will help the children of this province and help families, but I also want to make it clear on the record that the government still has to do something about this. They just can't say this bill is passed; the regulation still have to be amended. They still have to change that 23 kg to 27 kg, and I expect the government to do that in short order, and I know I, for one, as a father of two young children, and other people in this Assembly and other people in this province are going to be watching to make sure this wasn't just idle chit-chat on the behalf of the Minister of Transportation and Public Works and the Government House Leader in passing and endorsing this legislation. But we are going to see them done quickly, so that we are going to ensure that children are going to be properly protected. Thank you.

[Page 5020]

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

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, it's great to stand and talk on Bill No. 21. I only have a few comments to make. I too, as a father of two young children who are in that category where they are using booster seats, it always seems to be a fight to get my kids into those seats. It is frustrating to note as a father, and also as a paramedic to witness other residents and other travellers on the roads, how they don't use the same precautions as I do when it pertains to restraining their children in their vehicle.

I also have been involved in hundreds of motor vehicle accidents as a paramedic - or attending motor vehicle accidents, and there is nothing worse, Mr. Speaker, and I'm sure you're aware of it in your former profession, than to arrive on a scene and realize that there are children involved in such a collision. On top of that, it's very concerning when you do attend these motor vehicle collisions and realize that the children aren't restrained properly or they are in between that age of an infant and a toddler and the restraints in the vehicles today are not properly fitted to them.

It's amazing to see that the same restraints in the vehicle for me are supposed to protect the toddler. I think it's very important that we do pass this piece of legislation to ensure the safety of our kids, especially in between the age of an infant and a toddler. I too want to echo the comments of my colleague to the government members, and especially the minister responsible, that yes let's change this piece of legislation, but ensure that changes in regulation do occur quickly and, most importantly when that is done the public education part of this needs to really take place and is important to get the message out to all Nova Scotians that this is the law and that the people in our province have to abide by the law. Hopefully that will create a safer environment for our kids.

I, too, commend the member for Halifax Clayton Park on bringing this forward, and the government for entertaining second reading and, hopefully, third reading and passing this, and also changing the regulations required.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

MR. MARK PARENT: Mr. Speaker, very quickly, just a few comments. I want to commend the member for Halifax Clayton Park and the minister for his openness to this. The person I want to speak to, who's involved most in my riding on this, is Constable Angela Gibson. Constable Angela Gibson is a community policing officer, who has done marvellous work in many areas in the community in terms of anti-bullying campaigns, in terms of smoking in the high schools, trying to curtail that and help out, and she's also been a keen advocate of this issue, as well, and has written me and sent me article after article from the Waterloo Regional Police Department and from the Canadian Multidisciplinary Road Safety Conferences and from the Canadian Health Digest. I just wanted to stand, really, because I'm

[Page 5021]

sure Angela, at this stage, will be very pleased that there is some action, some movement on this, and to commend Angela Gibson for the work that she's done on this issue.

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

The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, I very much thank the other members of the House who have spoken on this bill. I really do believe it's the right thing to do. It's time we got on with it, and I appreciate the willingness of everybody here to move it forward. Seatbelts for adults and car seats for children definitely save lives, and if we've now recognized that there was a group that was not protected, this is the time to move on that. Car booster seats are a necessity, and I'm glad to see us recognize it. Really, this amendment to the Act really opens the door to allow us to make those changes through regulation, and I very much thank the government for looking at that.

With that, it's my pleasure to close debate on second reading, and I look forward to this moving towards the Law Amendments Committee. I move second reading.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 121. 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, as the House is aware, there's an event occurring down at Government House. As a consequence, we're delaying Question Period until 1:00 p.m. However, if the participants arrive back before then, perhaps we could commence Question Period a few minutes before 1:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER: The House will stand in recess until 1:00 p.m. or until the sound of the bells.

[12:28 p.m. The House recessed.]

[1:04 p.m. The House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Murray Scott, resumed the Chair.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Are the Whips are satisfied?

[Page 5022]

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period will begin at 1:05 p.m. and end at 2:05 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

WOMEN, STATUS OF: CAMPAIGN SCH. FOR WOMEN - COSTS

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question is going to be to the Minister responsible for the Advisory Council on the Status of Women. The minister responsible announced recently Canada's first ever non-partisan campaign school for women to be held next month in Halifax. This is a great idea - unfortunately the registration fee is $395. There is no assistance for transportation or accommodation and the participants must provide their own childcare or senior care. It would appear the financial pressure that keeps most women out of politics in the first place will also keep them out of this workshop. So my question for the minister is, why is the participation in this non-partisan campaign school limited to those who have the greatest financial resources?

HON. CAROLYN BOLIVAR-GETSON: Mr. Speaker, this is a campaign school that is put on as a direct result of several workshops that were held throughout this province. It's in response to those people who participated and to encourage more women to run for elected office. The Advisory Council on the Status of Women has set up a committee of three independent people who will choose 30 individuals who will be eligible to come and the Status of Women is also providing sponsorship for five individuals who apply. Those individuals will be chosen by the three individuals who are picking the 30 to come. There are five scholarships available or entrance fees available for this campaign school.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I think the minister is totally missing the point. There are only 30 spots available in this process in any event. The bursaries that are available don't cover the costs so women from the African-Nova Scotian community, the Aboriginal community, single parents and family care givers all run a significantly higher risk of living in poverty. Now we need the voices of these women in politics, yet they are exactly the women to whom this workshop will not be accessible. So, I want to ask the minister, how is a $395 workshop going to address the under representation at all elected levels of government in this province?

MS. BOLIVAR-GETSON: Mr. Speaker, again, this campaign school is a bargain. There is another campaign school that is held on the West Coast of this country that is far more expensive. This campaign school's intended for individuals who have already made the commitment to run for political office. They've already made a commitment to either run municipally, provincially or federally, or for First Nations. It's to give them first-hand the

[Page 5023]

information as to what to expect in media scrums, as to the one-on-one interviews, as to what it takes to run an effective campaign and everything involved with the actual running, but for those individuals who have already made the commitment.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I believe the campaign school to which the minister refers is the one in B.C., that she went to and the people of Nova Scotia paid her way.

Municipal politics is the most accessible level of public service and it is often the entry point for women interested in politics. This campaign school is either several months too late or four years too early, to help women run for local government. So, my final question to the minister is this, will you ensure that the Advisory Council on the Status of Women has the resources to ensure that this non-partisan campaign school is actually accessible to all women?

MS. BOLIVAR-GETSON: Mr. Speaker, the comment was made that either we're four years early or too late. The timing is perfect. You don't plan to run an election campaign overnight. You need to plan for these things. This is an opportunity for women to get the expertise that they need to run an effective campaign.

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

FIN. - GAMING: ADDICTION - PREVENTION POLICIES

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister responsible for the Gaming Control Act. Having participated in the Problem Gaming Conference, an international event being held in Halifax this week, it's clear to me, as it should be to the Government of Nova Scotia, that problem gaming is causing severe hardship for Nova Scotia families. As public officials, it's incumbent upon us to address this very serious problem. My question for the minister is this, has the minister taken the time to hear what the experts are saying and if so, what measures will he personally take to fight gambling addiction?

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, in response to the member's question, yes, I have been following the proceedings at the conference, indeed, people from the Office of Health Promotion and the Gaming Corporation were there and have made presentations, the honourable member will know that, having attended those sessions. Certainly, we are taking the information from this conference as we are taking the information from our public participation process that we're doing to bring that all together and consider all of those items.

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, I believe the minister when he says he's concerned about the problems facing the families of problem gamblers. But I'm not convinced that the proper programs are in place. For example, the $4 million fund specifically designated to combat gaming addictions is simply sitting idle earning interest. My question for the minister

[Page 5024]

is, will the minister commit to using the $4 million to design and develop effective treatment programs for gaming addicts?

MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, what we do make the commitment to is to listen to Nova Scotians through the process that we're going through now, to hear what people are saying, to look at the issues around it. When we have done that, we'll be able to look and determine which directions we need to move. We're aware that the Gaming Corporation puts money into the foundation each year. That's part of the program towards responsible gambling and the commitment that we've made.

Mr. Speaker, we are looking at all of the issues. We will hear what people have to say and then we will decide how we will go forward.

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, there are many, many dollars sitting idle right now while people are suffering in our province. Those monies could be put to good use right now to help people. We in the Liberal caucus believe that a comprehensive strategy must be developed in consultation with multiple stakeholders without undue delay.

My final question to the Premier is, will the Premier immediately strike a select committee on gambling addiction to hold province-wide public hearings and to design a comprehensive addiction program?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite shares the government's concern about problem gambling. The discussion paper has generated a tremendous amount of interest, which is very appropriate, it is a very serious problem. But the government believes that the course that we are travelling, with regulated gambling, is the right one. As a matter of fact, it was endorsed at the conference earlier by Ralph Nader, who indicated that gambling must be regulated by government. What the discussion paper will allow us to do is to regulate better.

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

FIN. - GAMING: NEW DIRECTIONS PAPER - MIN. INPUT

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the reality is, the way this government is dealing with problem gambling is rotten. When this government set out to develop a strategy, they started with a discussion paper that even the experts called hollow and without substance. The Minister of Finance put the Gaming Corporation, the same group that promotes gambling in Nova Scotia, in charge of collecting the information, which is an obvious conflict. The result is they refuse to hold public meetings, they tell the experts that they can attend the closed door meetings but they can't answer questions and they can't even speak.

[Page 5025]

So my question for the minister responsible for the gaming strategy is a very straightforward one, did you provide any direction in what should or should not be included in the New Directions discussion paper?

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, I interpret his question to mean did I personally get involved in designing the program as to how we were going to go forward in the process. (Interruption) That program was developed, as we've indicated, by the Office of Health Promotion and the Gaming Corporation. They've been very public in their announcements. They have had press conferences to say how they were going to move forward. It has been a very open process for people to make comments and that's what we're doing, inviting people's comments.

MR. DEXTER: An open process, Mr. Speaker, that includes closed door meetings where the public can't even attend. I would like to table the Annual Report of the Gambling Addiction Help Line, because I'm not sure if the minister has read it. Six people run the 24-hour help line. Last year, they received more than 3,000 calls. They received calls from gamblers, from family members and from people looking for information. Here's what the annual report says.

[1:15 p.m.]

Ninety-five per cent of the gamblers who called were struggling with VLT addictions. Almost a third of them had been struggling for more than seven years. Most of the gamblers who phoned, spent over $1,000 a month, and 31 per cent of the gamblers had lost between $10,000 and $20,000. My question to the minister is this. It's clear that we need a real gaming strategy for Nova Scotia, so why won't you start a real discussion with Nova Scotians, and start holding public meetings right away?

MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, the member has indicated some of the statistics, some of the concerns that people have had throughout this province, indeed some of the concerns that the Gaming Corporation has, some of the concerns the Office of Health Promotion has, and indeed we hear people at the conferences talking about these issues. That's why we have undertaken the process. So we can look at these problems, and we can look at the issues and we can set directions that will take care of those issues.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, last year the province made $175 million from gambling. This government spent just $3 million of that to help people who are devastated by this addiction and their families. Now the province is holding closed door meetings, inviting whom they like and telling the experts to be quiet. My question for the minister is this, how do you expect anyone to believe that you have any plan to help those gamblers in this province who are affected by this addiction?

[Page 5026]

MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition indicates that we are not prepared to listen. I just want to read the final paragraph from the letter that the honourable member tabled last week. It was from the addictions services people from the district health council. The last sentence in that letter says "Thank you for the opportunity to provide input into this process." That's what they said.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

PREM. - GAMBLING CONF.: MIN. - NON-ATTENDANCE EXPLAIN

MR. DANIEL GRAHAM: Mr. Speaker, there is nothing quite like Question Period for things to be taken and quoted out of context. So, let's start first if I could with the Premier's comments about Mr. Nader yesterday when he attended that conference. Mr. Nader said that the gambling of the type that is described in Nova Scotia doesn't touch on human ability, it results in social decay, that there are no redeeming socially constructive goals to this. Those comments that the Premier made a few moments ago would have been in context if one of his elected ministers had bothered to attend the conference in the first place. My question for the Premier, why was there not a minister there then or now?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I am glad that the member opposite made reference to the conference. He was suggesting that in some way I may have been confused about what Mr. Nader said. I'd like to read to the members of the House what Mr. Nader said. Mr. Nader said: "But governments that run gambling operations also have the chance to regulate a more responsible system . . ." That is what is going on now, through the discussion paper. Again, I quote "It's better than trying to prohibit it because then it goes underground and creates organized criminals. It's better for the state to monopolize it because otherwise you'll have (Donald) Trumps . . ." he is referring to Donald Trump. ". . . and out-of-control gambling machines." I believe we are moving in the right direction toward responsible gambling.

MR. GRAHAM: Again, Mr. Speaker, if the Premier or one of his ministers had bothered going a half mile down the road, they would have had the full context of what was being provided by Mr. Nader. It's absolutely clear that this was damning. What he was saying was that this is a scourge on society. It's obvious that this needs to be regulated. That gaming in some fashion is going to continue to happen. The question is whether or not somebody is going to take it seriously.

So on the question of context, I'll go back to the answer provided a moment ago by the Minister of Finance where he's quoting from the letter that was tabled by the Leader of the Official Opposition last week, but what seems to be missing, for example, is from Page 4 of that document where it clearly states that the number of VLTs since the hollow comments in last Spring's sitting, has risen by 500 just in the last several months; 500, that's over 10 per cent. My question for the Minister of Finance is whether or not he is prepared to

[Page 5027]

state before this House that the number of VLTs in this province is growing, as we sit here, on Reserve circumstances?

MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, the member brings up the discussion that we had last Spring. What I think the member's question is, is the number of VLTs growing on First Nations lands, and the answer is yes. Under the agreements the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs indicated last year, there were agreements that those would grow. Yes, there is some growth in VLTs on those circumstances.

MR. GRAHAM: Mr. Speaker, it does bring us back to the Spring dialogue with respect to this in Question Period when the Premier reaffirmed his commitment to the bill that he tabled just six years ago. Last week he said he wishes that we didn't have VLTs in this province. My question to the Premier is, six years ago you were prepared to put a moratorium on the growth of VLTs in this province, in the last several months it has grown by 500, what happened to your moratorium?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I did take advantage of our position in a minority government to bring forward a bill that limited the number of video lottery terminals in Nova Scotia. We were able to convince the government of the day that it was a good bill, and this House passed the bill. However, the bill does not apply to machines that are part of the Reserve Nation infrastructure.

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

EDUC. - STAFF:

CHILD ABUSE/EXPLOITATION REPORTING - POLICY

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Education. Last week I learned of a man who pled guilty to possession of child pornography and continued to work as a school photographer in the Annapolis Valley. No one said a word. Even more distressing is the fact that this man's spouse works for the Department of Education, and part of her job is to prepare training material for school boards on their obligation to report threats to students' well-being and health. Yet a Department of Education spokesperson has said staff aren't legally bound to report this kind of situation. To me, there's something wrong about that. My question to the minister is, what direction does your department give to staff to report abuse, mistreatment or exploitation of children or anyone else working with children?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, our staff is bound by the same rules and regulations and Statutes that would govern any member of this Legislature or citizens at large.

[Page 5028]

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, during my teaching career, I lived by the motto, you always put the kids first. What we need here is common sense, not legalese about what staff are or are not obligated to report. This is a clear moral issue. There is an international war on against child pornography because it revolves around the completely unacceptable exploitation of children. I want to know, from the Minister of Education, what are you doing to fix the obvious gaps with policies, practices and processes concerning the protection of children when people in your department do not come forward?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, it's a very poor analogy and I'm reluctant to use it, but I'm really not sure how to answer. The Child Abuse Register is for people who are gainfully employed by school boards and other youth organizations. I guess if we were trying to do the comparison - I discussed this legally, to be quite frank, with my colleagues, to try to get an opinion on it. We had a situation in this Legislature a number of years ago, a very unfortunate situation, which saw a member leave a particular Party. In some ways, although this is school, the other thing was public policy, it would be like naming that person's wife because somebody did something.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, we're talking about the most vulnerable people in our society. We're talking about our children and keeping them safe in public and private institutions. I'd like to go to the Premier if I may, Mr. Premier, when you look at the standards set out in the Children and Family Services Act, the definition of abuse is clearly inadequate in my opinion. Parents have been coming up to me over the last few days asking how this situation in the Valley could possibly take place. How could this be allowed to happen? I think those are pretty fair questions, I would assume the Premier agrees with me on this. So, Mr. Premier, what action are you prepared to take to address this fundamental issue about protecting our children in our schools in this province?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I refer that to the minister responsible.

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, there was no question, it's a sensitive issue that the honourable member has raised and in response to that, as I indicated when I answered the previous questions, I did consult people to give me legal advice. The other thing is, we're currently reviewing our policies in the department to see what might be possible to prevent such recurrence.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

HEALTH PROM. - VLT ADDICTION: PREVENTION - POLICIES

MR. DANIEL GRAHAM: Mr. Speaker, in answer to the last question, the Premier conceded that the number of VLTs in the province has grown despite his intention to put a moratorium on, perhaps suggesting that he doesn't have jurisdiction over non-Reserve

[Page 5029]

situations when it is absolutely clear with respect to the administration of VLTs, this is a responsibility that this province has some authority to help regulate.

I'm going to table a paper that was put before the International Problem Gambling Conference earlier this morning by Dr. John McMullan and Dr. David Perrier. This was a paper that was done in Nova Scotia for Nova Scotians and for other Canadians at an international conference. These are the findings that come from this paper. It says that, ". . . lower income households . . ." I'm on Page 4 ". . . are over-represented in the top gambling expenditure quintiles and they spend a larger proportion of their income on gambling products than do other household income groups." On Page 6 it says, "Gamblers in the lowest educational household groups gamble more intensely . . ."

My question for the Premier is, what is he doing to help those economically and educationally disadvantaged when it comes to VLT addiction?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I need a clarification of the question because I thought the member opposite was asking a question as it related to the practices on First Nation Reserves and then the question seemed to come out as if it were a general question. I will answer the general question in that we are proceeding with the discussion paper to allow the government to come to conclusions that will make our responses to the gambling issue more effective. If the member has a question that he wants to direct as to the policy on First Nation lands, he would perhaps be well-advised to direct it to the minister responsible.

MR. GRAHAM: Mr. Speaker, I will clarify a part of what I had referenced earlier because it frankly relates to the second part of my question. The first part related to a report that was released this morning that suggested that the problems of gambling are greater amongst the economically and educationally disadvantaged, what are you doing about that? It turns out that this report again - and I'm referring to Page 10 of this document - it says, "Average charitable donations are lower for households with gambling expenditures compared to those without."

So, what we're finding is that the gambling problem in our province is taking away from charities. My question for the Premier is, what do you intend to do to help the charities when they are having their money taken by your gambling regime?

[1:30 p.m.]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member continues a line of questioning that allows all of us to conclude that it is a very serious problem, but what I can say regarding the issue of charities is if you look at the record of Nova Scotians and the contributions they make to charities, we are among the leaders in the country and it's something about which we can be very, very proud.

[Page 5030]

MR. GRAHAM: Mr. Speaker, it seems that when it comes to the talk of this being a serious issue, it's all clear but, when it comes to the actions, it's something different.

Again, referring to the paper that was tabled just this morning, Page 9, it also indicates that vulnerable seniors in this province are having their RRSPs taken because they, to a greater extent, are using up their life savings in order to gamble. So my question for the Premier is, what are you doing for seniors who are disproportionately using up their RRSP savings in order to gamble in our province?

THE PREMIER: I refer that to the Minister of Health Promotion.

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, through you to the member, the fact of the matter is what the member is really pointing out is that there are many views coming forward with respect to this conference. The whole idea of the conference is to hear those views and to have the opportunity for people coming from a variety of different aspects to bring those views forward.

Mr. Speaker, I will point out one view that was from a national gaming critic, and I will quote Sol Boxenbaum from Montreal: "As a gambling critic and consumer advocate in issues relating to gambling, I monitor gambling news across Canada and United States. I must commend the Nova Scotia Gaming Corp. and the Office of Health Promotion, for the steps they are taking to curb problem gambling. I believe the Nova Scotia government is leading the way in attempts to minimize the dangers created by expanding gambling. I am appalled, however, by the comments made by NDP MLA Bill Estabrooks and Liberal MLA Diana Whalen." (Interruptions) I will table that.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I should remind honourable members not to mention other members by name in the House, but by their constituencies.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

WCB - INSURANCE COSTS: CALL CTRS. - EXEMPTION EXPLAIN

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister responsible for the Workers' Compensation Act. In this province many small- and medium-sized businesses are shouldering the burden of higher insurance costs from unfair taxes like the business occupancy tax. They can ill-afford any additional costs and that's why many are shaking their heads at the hike in WCB premiums just recently announced, but not all businesses have to shoulder that cost. The larger, newer employers in this province are call centres and many are exempt. So I want to ask the Minister responsible for WCB what call centres are exempt and why are they?

[Page 5031]

HON. KERRY MORASH: Mr. Speaker, that's not information that I have right at my fingertips, but I'll make it available to the member opposite.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, there was a double-barrelled shot and he didn't know either one, but this speaks to a basic fairness of what's going on at WCB. This minister gives his blessing to a fee increase, a rate hike increase, but doesn't know who's paying it, and who's paying what. Staff at WCB say the reason there is no policy in place with call centres is because the industry is new. That's pretty darn silly, so I want to ask him again, why is your government making homegrown industries pay rate hikes at WCB and exempting call centres?

MR. MORASH: Mr. Speaker, I think it's important to point out that the Workers' Compensation Board is an insurance company that looks at the costs that it takes to run their business, and through their board of directors they will put in price increases from time to time, or assessment increases, and that's not something that is passed to the government for our approval or disapproval. That's something that the board has the ability to do.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, there's nowhere in regulation where these employers are exempt, but it seems like the minister is happy to go along with this. He's all right with our small businesses that are overburdened, that can barely compete in any markets, let alone local or international, but he can turn a blind eye to these international companies. This is the same province that over a year ago had chronic pain legislation overturned and this government has done nothing on it. So why has this minister allowed chronic pain sufferers to continue to suffer and allowed these large multinational companies, such as call centres, to not pay their fair share? Why is that, Mr. Minister?

MR. MORASH: Mr. Speaker, I think the one thing that bears pointing out here is that we do look at risk and risk is a factor with regard to determining these types of things. I worked in an industry where there was considerable risk and it was certainly covered by the Workers' Compensation Board, as the member opposite would know. However, with some of the call centres and the industries that he is talking about, the risk has been assessed and it's been assessed as minimal.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

HEALTH: SENIORS PMTS. - RM. & BD. COSTS

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. In the latter part of August, the Department of Health sent out letters to residents of nursing homes which outlined how residents will pay for room and board come January 1st. In this letter it states that no more than 85 per cent of their income will go toward room and board costs.

[Page 5032]

Mr. Speaker, according to the most up-to-date information I have from the department, $65 a day is the cost figure last used for room and board. So for a senior with a $30,000 income, it's possible that they could be paying over $2,100 a month for room and board, an increase from what is charged based on that $65 a day cost figure. My question to the minister is, what mechanism are you putting in place to ensure that no senior will be paying more for room and board than what is actually required to cover the cost?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, we are doing a very thorough evaluation of the costs involved with respect to nursing home care as it relates to living expenses within the thing, or to separate out the health care costs, and the figures that we will come forward with are figures that will represent an average across the province so that everyone will, in fact, be treated the same relative to what they are charged.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, you have to admit, when residents receive letters that state a percentage of your income will be used to pay for room and board, but you really have no idea of the costs associated, residents and families are going to begin to question whether they're paying more than they need to, given that nursing homes are provided global budgets from the Department of Health, and these global budgets are broken down, line by line, and it may also be possible for the department to authorize an increase for room and board that may not necessarily reflect the increased costs for any particular line item.

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of all of the residents in nursing homes in this province, I have to ask the minister, how does the minister plan to reassure nursing home residents that the room and board rate being charged reflects the actual cost of room and board?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, as I indicated in answer to the first question, that is part of a very thorough analysis that is being done by the department with respect to determining the charge that will be made for seniors relative to their costs. That is a figure that will be open and clearly available to everyone in this province and it's something that will be determined very clearly and it represents an average figure, but no two facilities are the same, so we can't have a separate number for every facility, that's not appropriate, nor is it fair. The number that we will use will be one that will represent the average cost throughout the province.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, I'm all for openness and transparency, so if the minister is asking nursing home residents to produce proof of income, I suppose, what we're asking this minister to produce is proof that he doesn't plan to slip through the back door and have some increases in room and board costs beyond what are actually needed. The letter to the residents also stated that in the Fall, residents will be informed as to what they will be required to pay for room and board. So, my final question to the minister is, could the minister please confirm whether or not, in that same letter, that he plans to notify residents of the true room and board costs for the facility in which they live?

[Page 5033]

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, what, in fact, we will make available to the residents is the average cost that will be charged to all residents. All residents across the province, regardless of where they are, will in fact be paying the same amount for room and board and the service they receive, relative to that. Again, I want to point out that no person will be required to pay more than 85 per cent of the income they have available for that room and board.

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

NSLC - EXECS.: BONUSES - CRITERIA

MR. GORDON GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister responsible for the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation. Last week it was revealed that the executives at the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation took home nearly $100,000 in bonuses this year, just for doing their jobs. The CEO took home the largest amount, a hefty $35,000. That's the equivalent of a 1,000 24s of Keith's. Now, I'm scratching my head, like many Nova Scotians, over why someone can get a bonus that's larger than the average wage in this province, just to sell beer. I'm also scratching my head over just what these executives do to earn these extravagant bonuses. Will the minister tell this House what criteria are used to determine whether or not NSLC bigwigs get to cash in at taxpayers' expense?

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, I'm glad that the honourable member used a brand that's produced here in Nova Scotia as an example. Beyond that, I think it's important to recognize that the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation is a corporation. It has a board of directors, it has rules governing its senior management employees, and part of that structure is if they meet their financial targets, they are entitled to bonuses to achieve those returns for taxpayers.

MR. GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, well, those bonuses are based on meeting the annual revenue target. I'll table e-mails from the NSLC verifying this. This government has a history of ordering back-door tax increases through increasing prices at the Liquor Corporation. We saw that last Spring when the government ordered a 9 per cent increase in sales. This is the only agency of government where executives get bonuses when politicians demand more revenue. Will the minister tell this House how he can justify giving bonuses to the Liquor Corporation executives, simply because his government demands higher revenues?

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, I certainly assume the honourable member likes to see government services provided through health care, education, transportation and other services. Those services are paid, in part, by the revenues generated (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable minister has the floor.

[Page 5034]

MR. FAGE: Those services are paid for in part, as the honourable members know, by revenues generated through the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation. I think it's incumbent upon us as elected officials to ensure services are there and to protect taxpayers' money, and that maximum returns are achieved. That's why qualified individuals are given bonuses if they achieve those revenues to contribute toward our health care, toward our roads and our education.

MR. GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, it seems like a double-edged sword here. We have the Office of Health Promotion opened by this government, and then they're telling Nova Scotians to drink 9 per cent more alcohol. Earlier this year the NSLC apparently needed an extra $3 million through a so-called price harmonization. Someone called this "taxation by stealth". It seems the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation executives can get a bonus every time the government increases the price of beer. When will the minister abolish the bonus bonanza at the Liquor Corporation and pay people a justified salary and call it a day?

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, part of the salary is a bonus based upon achieving the financial target in the business plan. Certainly, when you look at those revenues, those revenues are keenly important to providing the dollars and resources for the maintenance and improvement of health care and its delivery in this province, and education and our transportation system. I think if the honourable member checked with most Nova Scotians, they would certainly like to see those revenues maintained and increased so that those services can be increased as well.

[1:45 p.m.]

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

HEALTH - HUJDIC CASE: HOME CARE - ADEQUACY

MS. MARILYN MORE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. Ann Hujdic of Dartmouth has advanced MS and relies on help for even her most basic daily activities. Her home care services have been minimal from the beginning. Her friend, who is visually impaired, and her daughter, who is also disabled, have been expected to give her the bulk of her care. Even though she has a lift to get her in and out of the bathtub, home care workers would only give her sponge baths. I ask the minister, is this his government's idea of adequate home care?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, we work very hard to achieve a standard of care for all persons who are treated by the services of the Department of Health and that is very often something that people work very hard at. Certainly people want to ensure that all individuals are treated appropriately and we strive to achieve that objective.

[Page 5035]

MS. MORE: Mr. Speaker, as this woman's condition worsened, she was offered fewer services and when Ms. Hujdic complained and expressed her frustration, she was deemed verbally abusive and was cut off home care. It took 10 months of negotiations, facing many unnecessary delays and meetings and phone calls, to get her services restored, but they are still far less than she requires. So my question to the minister is, clients seem to lose services easily, but appeals are difficult and lengthy while they sit without those services. How does he intend to address this situation?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, there is a balance that has to be achieved and very often that balance is not achieved easily. It's the balance between the services that are to be required to patients in the province, but there's also, on the other side of the scale, the protection that health care workers need to receive as they carry out their duties. The health care workers are very often placed in vulnerable situations and it's appropriate that they receive the level of protection they need. Unfortunately, when there is a difference of opinion relative to that struggle and the balance, the resolution sometimes is not found quickly or easily. But, we do have to protect our workers and that is one of our priorities as well as providing the best service we can for our patients.

MS. MORE: Mr. Speaker, the department will have more resources to spread among other people because the lack of home care, inadequate transportation and the constant harassment by Community Services over disability payments, are actually driving Ms. Hujdic, her daughter and her friend out of the province. They are moving to Abbotsford, British Columbia, where they will have access to transportation, greater home care, and better opportunities to participate in community activities. My question to the minister is, how could your government allow services to sink to such inadequacy that people have to flee our province to get the help they need?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I can't comment on the decisions taken by individuals within this House, but I can remind all members of the House that we have, in fact, increased our spending on health care in this province over the period of the past five years by over $0.5 billion. That was not achieved easily. It was not achieved without sacrifice, without sacrifice of my other Cabinet colleagues, and all of the government departments that they oversee, but we're committed to delivering the very best health care we can in this province. We've demonstrated our commitment to funding that level of health care. Last year, we increased the budget by over $230 million and we'll continue to make health care spending a priority in this province.

[Page 5036]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

HEALTH - ABA THERAPY: FUNDING - DETAILS

MR. DANIEL GRAHAM: Mr. Speaker, earlier in Question Period we were reminded again that when it comes to decisive, clear action as opposed to comforting words, this government seems to opt for the comforting words when it pertains to VLTs.

That's similar to the challenges that relate to ABA therapy, and my question is for the Minister of Health. Almost one year ago to the day the minister indicated he had recommendations from the Neurodevelopment Delay Committee that he should be taking ABA therapy to Cabinet. This Spring the minister, in debate, stated this program is a priority as soon as federal funding was available. In the Summer of this year he provided a letter to families who are advocating for ABA therapy to be covered that this was a top priority. Well, the funding has arrived. The Premier has put forward a wish list of priorities including $20 million for mental health. My simple question to the Minister of Health is whether or not ABA therapy was indeed somewhere inside that $20 million envelope?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I can tell the honourable member that the letter to which he referred is the letter that I intend to stand by.

MR. GRAHAM: Mr. Speaker, I take that to mean that the money was part of the $20 million line item. It was never clear, until just last week when this matter was raised that perhaps it was covered under mental health, but perhaps it wasn't part of the Premier's wish list that was released last month.

The Auton case is well known to this government - the B.C. Court of Appeal found that the government's failure to cover ABA therapy was a violation of the Charter. This matter has gone to the Supreme Court of Canada - and who intervened in a factum that said that ABA therapy should not be covered? The Government of Nova Scotia. In that factum it said that ABA therapy was not a cure, failing to point out the broad acceptance that this is a workable solution over many decades. My question for the Minister of Health is, why was the government saying one thing about its support for ABA therapy but fighting against it at the Supreme Court of Canada?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member has a far better capacity to deal with the legal questions than I do in the fact that he is a lawyer and I am not. Very often all persons who find themselves dealing with courts need to say things before the courts that are appropriate to protect the larger picture of the context in which they find themselves, and it is not necessarily reflective of specifics relative to what individuals are dealing with . . .

[Page 5037]

MR. GRAHAM: Mr. Speaker, perhaps this is a matter that can be sorted out at another time in an opportunity that provides the government a full opportunity to provide an explanation why it seemed to be saying one thing and doing yet another. My question for the Minister of Health, he said that he would stand by his word to the families who received his letter this Summer, my question is, when will they receive a concrete indication that you will stand by that word?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I would hope that it would be soon. I'm unable to define soon, but obviously I do not want to be in a position of having to answer similar questions well into the future.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

HEALTH - SLUDGE: SPREADING - EFFECTS STUDY

MS. JOAN MASSEY: Mr. Speaker, one of the research articles I recently looked at focused on 48 individuals at 10 sites in the United States and Canada. These individuals were questioned about the environmental exposures and symptoms to sewage sludge. Primary complaints were coughing, burning throat and eyes, headaches, residents developed nasal and chest congestion, fatigue and flu-like symptoms - these are not unlike the symptoms that the residents in Lower Truro are experiencing now. Yesterday we did learn that the farmer in Colchester has been told to stop spreading, but we're still waiting for a study on the health impacts. My question is to the Minister of Health. Mr. Minister, is your department studying the effects that the spreading of sewage sludge is having on the adults and children in Nova Scotia?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, the Department of Environment and Labour consulted with the people in the office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, and their broad picture, big picture response was that their judgment is that there were no health risks associated with this activity. That opinion was based on the best knowledge they could bring to the situation, based on previous research and the body of knowledge that exists relative to this subject.

MS. MASSEY: Mr. Speaker, I'm not sure if the minister understood what my question was. I'm not referring to before we started spreading, I'm referring to what's happened since we started spreading. U.S. federal guidelines advise wearing protective gear when handling class-B biosolids. The poor health of residents in Colchester should raise even more concerns. Resident say they have begun to show signs of sludge syndrome, burning eyes, nosebleeds, headaches, skin and throat irritations, stomach upset. Surely a study of these reports needs to be done before any further biosolids are spread. My question to the Minister of Health is, when is your department going to begin to study the reported illnesses and develop methods for assessing our communities' exposure to these contaminants?

[Page 5038]

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, the professionals within the Department of Health make every effort to keep themselves current on all materials that are available relative to current subject matter, and they will do so with respect to this matter as well.

MS. MASSEY: Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Environment and Labour announced he had revoked the permit at a farm, due to, I believe, odour problems, however, I believe there are still two other permits out there. Two weeks ago when the minister called this situation in Colchester a pilot project, he said he would provide me with the test results. I haven't seen them. I want to ask the Minister of Environment and Labour, when can I expect these test results?

HON. KERRY MORASH: Mr. Speaker, as of this morning we're looking at eight to 10 days for those test results to be available.

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

FIN. - TAX CUTS: REINSTATEMENT - STATUS

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Finance. Last week the Minister of Finance told the media, "Clearly the tax cut is one of the items on the table as we look towards starting next year's budget." That seems like a pretty definitive slip of the tongue. The original statement was crystal clear, and the about-face which followed was hasty. My question for the minister is, has the reinstatement of tax cuts been discussed for the upcoming budget year?

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, as I indicated last week, the budget and the items that will be discussed in the budget are off in the future. The budget is not developed yet. When it is, we will let all the members of the Legislature know.

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, for the minister to even muse publicly about tax cuts is irresponsible. Health care needs more investment, education is grossly underfunded, and our crumbling roads need a massive infusion of capital. My question to the minister is, how does the minister reconcile the contemplation of tax cuts with the need to reinvest in the real priorities of Nova Scotians?

MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, the member is questioning and debating the issue of what are all the needs that are on the table for the future. As this government has indicated, there is a demand and need for health care, there is a demand and need for education. There's a lot of things that this government will be looking at and that they will be bringing forward, and to start now and say what will be in the budget or to have that debate now - they will know when the budget is tabled.

[Page 5039]

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, it's good to know that the government acknowledges the many needs facing Nova Scotians, but the government keeps teasing Nova Scotians with more loose talk about tax cuts, and that's not right. My question to the minister is, will you commit to drop the irresponsible talk of tax cuts until such time as this province can really afford it?

[2:00 p.m.]

MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, we talk about all of the demands on this government, the demands that people of this province want, we talk about the issue of the First Ministers' Conference and all the items that they need to get - there are a lot of challenges this province has, this government is looking at all those challenges and will respond to the needs of the people of this province.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

EDUC. - ST. PAT'S/QEH REPLACEMENT:

AUDITORIUMS - COSTS

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Education. Two venerable education institutions on the Halifax peninsula will soon cease to have independent existence - St. Patrick's High School and Queen Elizabeth High School are to be merged. For the most part this merger has been going along with a minimum of fuss and bother. I want to ask the Minister of Education about one aspect of the merger that has become something of a focus among parents here, and it is the problem of an auditorium for the new high school. The department says that for the new school to have an auditorium that is separate from the gymnasium, parents are going to have to do fundraising. What I would like to know from the minister is, will he tell us exactly what dollar amount he expects Halifax peninsula families to raise for this purpose?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the auditorium would fall into the category of enhancements. A good many schools across the province, communities across the province have provided enhancement funds, including my own community of Truro and Bible Hill and Millbrook, and the two high schools in Pictou County and the one out in South Colchester. When the tender is let and the design is completed, then a cost would be available.

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, both of the existing high schools have auditoriums that are separate from their gymnasiums - both of them. That has been the case here for better than 50 years, so will the Minister of Education explain why his department is not prepared to pay the full replacement cost for what has been the standard design for the Halifax peninsula high schools?

[Page 5040]

MR. MUIR: I'm not so sure that has been the standard design. The Halifax peninsula high schools, as I understand it, three of those high schools had been constructed in the last 60 years, one of them is torn down, and I don't think it had an auditorium - Halifax West, if I remember correctly. Mr. Speaker, there is no question, I have been in both auditoriums, at QE and St. Pat's, and attended productions and various things there; indeed the first public political meeting I ever went to in Halifax, having to do with city, civic politics, rerouting streets, when I was living in that section of the town some number of years ago. I can remember the mayor at that time and writing him a letter that was not complimentary . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Honourable member for Halifax Chebucto, your final supplementary.

MR. EPSTEIN: Thank you indeed, Mr. Speaker. A separate auditorium contributes to the quality of education for our children. It is a place for music, for theatre, for ceremonies, and it is used as a community facility. The minister may recall that a few years ago I explained several times to his predecessor why she was going to lose her seat - it was because she neglected the public's demand for quality in education. So will the minister tell us how many more seats his Party expects to lose in the communities all over this province that value high-quality education more than he apparently does?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member for Halifax Chebucto knows that no government in recent memory has made a greater contribution to education than the one that is in power right now. (Applause)

We are talking $123 million for the community college; we're talking 37 new schools - not P3 - built by the people. We are talking about millions of dollars more for math, millions of dollars more for literacy. We're talking about . . .

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, could I have the consent of the House to revert to the order of business, Statements by Ministers?

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

[Page 5041]

THE PREMIER: Every member in this House knows that we all rely heavily on many people to help us carry out our duties and responsibilities, men and women who are equally committed to making life better for their fellow Nova Scotians. I say that, Mr. Speaker, because today our province lost one of those remarkable Nova Scotians.

It is with deep regret and a great sense of personal loss I share the sad news that Cyril Reddy died this morning. Cyril was a personal friend to me, to many members of this House, and to countless Nova Scotians. His love of life, people, his province and politics, was only outmatched by the love he had for his wife, Judy, his daughters, Michelle, Helen, Kathy and son, J.C.

He was a long-time civil servant, employed 30 years with the Department of Community Services, as five-time President of the Nova Scotia Government Employees Union and a great fan of horse racing, he was known in practically every nook and cranny of our province. He rarely forgot a name, but if he did, he could soon recall your family tree and recite its voting history.

As someone who relied on him heavily and travelled with him extensively, I will deeply miss his warmth, friendship and advice, as I know many of you here today will. I will also deeply miss what he said practically every day of his life, "It's a beautiful, beautiful, Nova Scotia day," and although it is another beautiful, beautiful Nova Scotia day, it's a sad one for everyone who knew and loved Cyril. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family and his many, many friends.

Mr. Speaker, I understand members of the Opposition Parties wish to comment on this statement. I would ask following that, that we would stand for a moment of silence and reflection. Thank you.

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

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, first of all, I'm making this statement on behalf of our Party and my Leader who is out now attending the funeral another great Nova Scotian who passed away late last week and that is Chester Sanford, who was former President of Nova Scotia Federation of Labour and who gave many years to this province.

Mr. Speaker, on a very personal note, this is a very sad day for me also, because I counted Cyril as one of my friends. He certainly knew how to cross political lines when friendship was involved. My first contact with Cyril was when he was President of the Children's Aid Society in Cape Breton and I was producing the Cape Breton version of Christmas Daddies and that's where our funds would go to and Cyril was such a strong advocate of that show and the support it gave to the children in need and the extra money that was garnered through that. He was always so eager to lend a hand.

[Page 5042]

In another arena that the Premier spoke about, was his love of horse racing. I think horse racing is a tough game at the best of times and you're mostly in it for the love and not for the money and that's where Cyril was at. What he did at Truro Raceway was nothing less than spectacular with that industry and he should always be remembered for that.

Mr. Speaker, I think what we have to do is move away a bit from those other larger things in life and Cyril, the individual, who I think is in all of our hearts, who we talked to out in the lobby and he was just a good human being. He did a lot of things for Nova Scotia, for which a lot of us are grateful, but I think those who had the great fortune of knowing Cyril Reddy, the individual, are really saddened today. Mr. Premier, I know your connection with Cyril and my deepest condolences personally, to you and your family, but indeed, to Cyril's family and I think that they know that maybe his passing is really a blow to all of us, but I hope they will take some comfort in the words we say today and the little tribute we give him because as much bravado as maybe Cyril would have, he was never one to run out in front and be the leader of the train, he was the thoughtful, good person in the background. On behalf of my Party, I want to offer my condolences to the Premier and to the family and we will certainly be sharing in a moment of silence, very shortly, thank you.

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

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I would like to echo the very kind words of the Premier and my colleague, the member for Cape Breton Centre, for a very dedicated and much loved Nova Scotian.

Mr. Speaker, I had the pleasure of meeting Cyril when I was Minister of Agriculture about 10 years ago. At that time, Cyril was giving myself and Ed Lorraine the benefit of his wisdom for another of his great passions - horse racing. While Cyril and Ed were long-time fans of horse racing, Cyril took me under his capable wing as I made a few wagers. As it turned out, Cyril and Ed made the money while beginner's luck eluded me.

As politicians, we depend on a great number of people for information, guidance and support, and sometimes just to listen, and Cyril's contribution to government and in the lives of all Nova Scotians won't soon be forgotten. I want to extend, on behalf of the Liberal caucus, our deepest sympathy to Cyril's wife, Judy; daughters, Michelle, Helen and Kathy; and his son, J.C. The Province of Nova Scotia has lost a great friend, but his legacy in our province will live on.

MR. SPEAKER: I would like to thank all the members for their kind words and ask everyone to rise for a moment of silence in memory of our friend - Cyril Reddy.

[One minute of silence was observed.]

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. Please be seated.

[Page 5043]

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I think we have cleaned off the order paper and, therefore, I'm going to move that the House do now rise to meet again tomorrow. Tomorrow being Opposition Day, I would suggest that the Leader of the Liberal Party would apprise us of the order of business for tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Liberal House Leader.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Yes, Mr. Speaker, tomorrow the House will meet from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Following the order of business and Question Period, we'll be calling Bill No. 88, Protection from Quarries Act, and also Resolution No. 2498. I move that we do now adjourn until 2:00 p.m. tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that the House adjourn until tomorrow at 2:00 p.m.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The House is adjourned until 2:00 p.m. tomorrow.

[The House rose at 2:13 p.m.]

[Page 5044]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 2559

By: Hon. Kerry Morash (Environment and Labour)

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

Whereas the Lightbridge Call Centre officially opened in Liverpool on August 10, 2004; and

Whereas the Lightbridge Call Centre is eventually expected to employ over 200 staff; and

Whereas the Lightbridge Call Centre is expected to add approximately $4.5 million to the economy of Queens County every year;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank everyone involved in encouraging Lightbridge to open their first Canadian call centre in Liverpool.

RESOLUTION NO. 2560

By: Hon. Kerry Morash (Environment and Labour)

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

Whereas in early August the Victorian Order of Nurses branch in Queens County launched a Seniors' Assisted Transportation Program; and

Whereas this service has been designed to provide transportation to seniors for medical appointments, to buy groceries, to go to the bank, and other important errands; and

Whereas the Queens County Crime Prevention has offered to loan the Victorian Order of Nurses their Seniors Safety Program vehicle for several months to assist with their program;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend the Queens County Victorian Order of Nurses, the Queens County Crime Prevention Program, and the volunteer drivers for their efforts in assisting seniors in our community.

[Page 5045]

RESOLUTION NO. 2561

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Jeanna Lynn Fletcher of Advocate was the recipient of the Lieutenant Governor's Award for the Province of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas this very prestigious award is given to students who show hard work, effort and dedication to their studies, community and family; and

Whereas Jeanna received this honour at the Lieutenant Governor's Awards Ceremony on May 20, 2004, in Sydney, Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Jeanna Fletcher on receiving this outstanding award and wish her continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 2562

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Ken Ferguson from Springhill, Nova Scotia, fired away to top honours at a national rifle shooting competition in Ontario; and

Whereas Ken is a near 20-year veteran of competitive rifle shooting who earned the Grand Aggregate Award while competing in the 122nd National Service Conditions Championship in Connaught, Ontario; and

Whereas the National Rifle Shooting competitions are organized by the Dominion of Canada Rifle Association and Ken has competed in England, Australia, Scotland and the U.S. rifle shootings;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Ken Ferguson on receiving top honours at the National Rifle Shooting Competition and wish him continued success in the future.

[Page 5046]

RESOLUTION NO. 2563

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Alan Murray Ferguson of Springhill, Nova Scotia, was the recipient of the Lieutenant Governor's Award for the Province of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas this prestigious award is given to students who show hard work, effort and dedication to their studies, community and family; and

Whereas Alan received this honour at the Lieutenant Governor's Awards Ceremony on May 20, 2004, in Sydney, Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Alan Ferguson on receiving this outstanding award and wish him continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 2564

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Megan Dowe received a prize as a participant in the summer reading club at the Springhill Library which wrapped up at the end of August; and

Whereas the program starts at the end of the school year and concludes at the end of August with over 60 students participating in the program, picking several books that they would like to read and making out a log sheet to keep track of their progress; and

Whereas children from the age of two, with a reading buddy, to the age of 12 participated in the program with the children reading and discussing their books with each other;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Megan Dowe for her interest and enthusiasm in this very important reading program.

[Page 5047]

RESOLUTION NO. 2565

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Matt Gamblin, a 16-year-old student at Parrsboro Regional High School, is a shooting guard who has been named to the Basketball Nova Scotia Juvenile Men's Team that will be competing in a host of tournaments and games in preparation for the 2004 Juvenile Men's Nationals slated for Regina, Saskatchewan, in early August; and

Whereas this is the fourth consecutive summer that Matt has been part of the BNS elite programs and as he enters his Grade 12 year at Parrsboro Regional High School, it will be his last year; and

Whereas Matt is an honours student with distinction and an accomplished musician as well;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Matt Gamblin on being named to the Basketball Nova Scotia Juvenile Men's Team and wish him continued success in the future.