Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

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21 septembre 2017

HANSARD 03/04/05-77

DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS

Speaker: Honourable Murray Scott

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

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

Annual subscriptions available from the Office of the Speaker.

First Session

MONDAY, MAY 2, 2005

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS 6761
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 3533, WWII - POWs: Efforts/Sacrifice - Remember,
Mr. H. Epstein 6762
Vote - Affirmative 6763
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Educ.: Post-Secondary Funding - Restore, Ms. D. Whalen 6765
Educ.: Post-Secondary Funding - Restore, Mr. K. Colwell 6765
TPW: Springwaters Place (Truro) - Repave, Mr. W. Langille 6766
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Sydney Tar Ponds: Gov't. (Can.) - Panel Review, Hon. R. Russell 6766
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 3534, Atl., Battle of: Veterans - Thank, The Premier 6769
Vote - Affirmative 6770
Res. 3535, Motorcycle Awareness Mo. (05/05) - Acknowledge,
Hon. R. Russell 6770
Vote - Affirmative 6771
Res. 3536, Juno Awards - Events Hfx: Hosting - Congrats.,
Hon. Rodney MacDonald 6771
Vote - Affirmative 6772
Res. 3537, Mental Health Wk. (05/02-05/08/05) - Recognize,
Hon. A. MacIsaac 6772
Vote - Affirmative 6773
Res. 3538, EMO: Emergency Preparedness - Encourage,
(by Hon. P. Christie), Hon. E. Fage 6773
Vote - Affirmative 6773
Res. 3539, N. American OS&H Wk. (05/01-05/07/05): Opening -
Acknowledge, Hon. K. Morash 6774
Vote - Affirmative 6774
Res. 3540, Health Prom. - Active Communities: Participants -
Recognize, Hon. Rodney MacDonald 6774
Vote - Affirmative 6775
Res. 3541, Hansen, Rick - Spinal Cord Injuries: Cure -
Efforts Recognize, Hon. A. MacIsaac 6775
Vote - Affirmative 6776
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 181, Occupational Health and Safety Act,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 6776
No. 182, Public Utilities Act, Mr. Michel Samson 6776
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 3542, Asian Heritage Mo. (05/05) - Recognize, Mr. K. Deveaux 6776
Vote - Affirmative 6777
Res. 3543, Hayes, Archbishop: Contributions - Recognize,
Mr. Michel Samson 6777
Vote - Affirmative 6778
Res. 3544, Watters, Sara: New Glasgow Music Fest. - Performance,
Mr. J. DeWolfe 6778
Vote - Affirmative 6778
Res. 3545, Rural Econ. Dev.: Liberal Plan - Beware,
Mr. R. MacKinnon 6779
Res. 3546, PC Gov't.: Fed.-Prov. Agreements - Conclude,
Mr. D. Dexter 6779
Res. 3547, Malcolm, Capt. Scott: Tsunami Relief Effort - Recognize,
Mr. Michel Samson 6780
Vote - Affirmative 6781
Res. 3548, McIntyre, Dr. Lynn: Service - Thank,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 6781
Vote - Affirmative 6781
Res. 3549, Barriault, Roland Troke - Cdn. Science Fair: Team N.S. -
Member, Mr. L. Glavine 6782
Vote - Affirmative 6782
Res. 3550, Fahey, Ethel - Noel & Dist. Ladies Aux.: Volunteerism -
Congrats., Mr. J. MacDonell 6782
Vote - Affirmative 6783
Res. 3551, Harper, Frances: Memory - Honour, Mr. K. Colwell 6783
Vote - Affirmative 6784
Res. 3552, Canning & Halls Hbr. Fds/Vols.: Food Bank -
Fundraising, Mr. M. Parent 6784
Vote - Affirmative 6785
Res. 3553, East. Shore Wildlife Rehab & Rescue Ctr. - Fundraising:
Donors - Thank, Ms. J. Massey 6785
Vote - Affirmative 6785
Res. 3554, Arab, Patricia - Lebanese Emigrant of the Yr. Award,
Ms. D. Whalen 6786
Vote - Affirmative 6786
Res. 3555, Henderson, Dawn/New Germany Elem. Sch. Gr. 5/6 -
Eco Pals Poster Contest, Hon. M. Baker 6786
Vote - Affirmative 6787
Res. 3556, Tucker, Joyce - Pictou Town Vol. of the Yr., Mr. C. Parker 6787
Vote - Affirmative 6788
Res. 3557, N.S. Workforce: Employment Health/Safety - Wish,
Mr. S. McNeil 6788
Vote - Affirmative 6789
Res. 3558, Hennigar, Karen - Truro Sport Heritage Soc. Award,
Hon. J. Muir 6789
Vote - Affirmative 6790
Res. 3559, East. Front Theatre Co. - The Satchmo' Suite: Production -
Congrats., Ms. M. More 6790
Vote - Affirmative 6790
Res. 3560, Haynes, Denise: Accomplishments - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Gaudet 6790
Vote - Affirmative 6791
Res. 3561, Concours d'art Oratoire 2005: Participants - Congrats.,
Mr. G. Steele 6791
Vote - Affirmative 6792
Res. 3562, RCN: Service - Pause/Reflect, Mr. H. Theriault 6792
Vote - Affirmative 6793
Res. 3563, Hassin, Marshall & Wafie: Customer Serv. - Thank,
Hon. A. MacIsaac 6793
Vote - Affirmative 6794
Res. 3564, Gilbert, Stan/McArther, Mike: Leadership - Recognize,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 6794
Vote - Affirmative 6795
Res. 3565, Gillis, Doris Marguerite - Birthday (92nd),
Mr. Gerald Sampson 6795
Vote - Affirmative 6795
Res. 3566, Sidhu, Ajit: Badminton - Cdn. Nationals,
Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 6796
Vote - Affirmative 6796
Res. 3567, Palmer, Carl & Evelyn: Farm Safety - Contributions,
Mr. L. Glavine 6796
Vote - Affirmative 6797
Res. 3568, Bower, Gladys E. - Birthday (107th), Mr. C. O'Donnell 6797
Vote - Affirmative 6798
Res. 3569, Atl. Battle of: Victims - Acknowledge, Mr. G. Gosse 6798
Vote - Affirmative 6799
Res. 3570, Nat'l. Hospice Palliative Care Wk. (05/02-05/08/05):
Professionals - Thank, Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 6799
Vote - Affirmative 6799
Res. 3571, Dist 9 Citizens' Assoc.: Executive - Election, J. Pye 6800
Vote - Affirmative 6800
Res. 3572, Williams, Sinclair Wesley: Commun. Serv. - Congrats.,
Mr. K. Colwell 6800
Vote - Affirmative 6801
Res. 3573, Tallahassee Commun. Sch.: Tsunami Relief Efforts -
Recognize, Mr. K. Deveaux 6801
Vote - Affirmative 6802
Res. 3574, Chapman, Cst. Bill: Retirement - Congrats.,
Mr. J. MacDonell 6802
Vote - Affirmative 6803
Res. 3575, Atl., Battle of - Casualties: One Minute Silence - Observe,
Mr. Gerald Sampson 6803
Vote - Affirmative 6804
Res. 3576, McGowan, Sean/Hill, Garnet-Hfx. Choppers:
Accomplishments - Congrats., Mr. W. Estabrooks 6804
Vote - Affirmative 6805
Res. 3577, Giberson Fam.: Dart. Bottles & Metals - Environ. Protection,
Mr. J. Pye 6805
Vote - Affirmative 6805
Res. 3578, MacNeil, Rita - Helen Creighton Award, Mr. G. Gosse 6805
Vote - Affirmative 6806
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
ON MOTION FOR SUPPLY:
Mr. W. Estabrooks 6807
Mr. B. Taylor 6810
Mr. W. Gaudet 6814
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON SUPPLY AT 4:06 P.M. 6817
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 8:07 P.M. 6818
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 180, Municipal Government Act 6818
Hon. B. Barnet 6818
Ms. M. Raymond 6819
Ms. D. Whalen 6820
Mr. W. Estabrooks 6822
Mr. K. Colwell 6824
Hon. B. Barnet 6828
Vote - Affirmative 6828
No. 177, Financial Measures (2005) Act 6828
Hon. P. Christie 6829
Mr. G. Steele 6831
Mr. Manning MacDonald 6840
Mr. K. Deveaux 6846
Adjourned debate 6849
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Tue., May 3rd at 12:00 noon 6849
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 3579, Baskwell, Stephen - Educ. Wk. Award, Mr. S. McNeil 6850
Res. 3580, Robert Jamieson Elem.: The King & I - Production,
Mr. W. Dooks 6850
Res. 3581, Pictou Co. Tourist Assoc.: Trenton Pk. & Campground -
North Star Award, The Premier 6851
Res. 3582, Pictou Co. Tourist Assoc.: Cameron's Farm Country Market -
Rising Star Award, The Premier 6851
Res. 3583, Pictou Co. Tourist Assoc.: Grohmann Knives -
Shining Star Award, The Premier 6852
Res. 3584, Bishop, Marie: Commun. Serv. - Commend,
Hon. D. Morse 6852
Res. 3585, Pure Energy: TV Appearance - Congrats., Hon. E. Fage 6853
Res. 3586, Pugwash Panthers - NSSAF Badminton Title,
Hon. E. Fage 6853
Res. 3587, Wallace, Dr. Tim - Medtronic Xomed Poliquin Award,
Hon. E. Fage 6854
Res. 3588, Saunders, Martha: Special Olympics - Coaching,
Hon. E. Fage 6854
Res. 3589, McKay, Adam - Basketball Award, The Speaker 6855
Res. 3590, McMillan, Kate - Basketball Award, The Speaker 6855
Res. 3591, McNutt, Tracy - Oxford Centennial Youth Vol. Award,
The Speaker 6856
Res. 3592, Miers, Michelle: 1000 Pt. Milestone - Congrats.,
The Speaker 6856
Res. 3593, Fraser Fam. - Vol. Fam. Of the Yr., The Speaker 6857

[Page 6761]

HALIFAX, MONDAY, MAY 2, 2005

Fifty-ninth General Assembly

First Session

2:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Murray Scott

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

Mr. James DeWolfe, Ms. Joan Massey, Mr. Daniel Graham

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

Before we begin the daily routine, I would like to have the consent of the House for the honourable member for Halifax Chebucto to do an introduction and resolution on behalf of his dad.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I wish to offer my thanks to the members of the House for allowing me to do this at the beginning of today's proceedings. Today is the 60th Anniversary of my father's liberation from a prisoner of war camp. This year, of course, is the 60th Anniversary of the end of World War II and we have recognized this occasion as the Year of the Veteran.

6761

[Page 6762]

When we think about the veterans, we should remember that there were a great many of them who spent time in a prisoner of war camp. My father was in the Royal Canadian Air Force during the war. He was in one of the Lancasters, so many of which were engaged in bombing runs over Europe during the war. His plane was one that went down on a bombing run. Unusually, the whole of the crew survived, all seven men who were on that plane survived the going down of the plane; this was rare. They were all captured and they all spent time in a POW camp.

The particular POW camp my father was in is known as Stalag Luft 3. This is a prisoner of war camp that was specifically for Air Force officers. Many of us will know this prisoner of war camp because it was subsequently made quite famous by the film The Great Escape. Anyone who has seen this film will be familiar with the activities of the POWs. They were constantly engaged in trying to escape from their camp, constantly engaged in tunnelling. Indeed, when my father arrived at this camp, it was shortly after the events that formed the centrepiece for that film and they were shown the ashes of those men who had escaped but had been recaptured.

My father is in the gallery today with two of his grandchildren, my two children, Hannah and Noah. What is striking, I have to say, is that it's 60 years ago today that he was liberated along with so many others from POW camps and he was just shy of being 22. Now that's the same age, almost, that my children are and it is amazing to remember that so many of the people who were involved in the Armed Forces during the war were so extraordinarily young. They were very tough circumstances and, of course, everyone has their own, individual stories. I just think it's important that when we remember so many of the veterans, that we recall those who spent time in POW camps.

First, perhaps, I'll introduce, if I may, formally, my family to the House. I would ask my father, Ray Epstein to stand, along with my two children, Hannah and Noah, to be recognized by the House. (Standing Ovation)

And now, if I may, Mr. Speaker, my resolution.

[NOTICES OF MOTION]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 3533

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

Whereas this year is the 60th Anniversary of the end of World War II, an occasion we have recognized as the Year of the Veteran; and

[Page 6763]

Whereas among these veterans were many prisoners of war, including my own father, Ray Epstein, now almost 82 years old, and a former member of the RCAF, who spent the last year of the war as a POW in Stalag Luft 3, the camp for Air Force POWs made famous in the film, The Great Escape; and

Whereas today is exactly the 60th Anniversary of his liberation by Allied forces in the closing days of the war in Europe;

Therefore be it resolved that this House remembers with gratitude the efforts and sacrifice of Canadian veterans from World War II, who were prisoners of war in very difficult circumstances. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried. (Applause)

The honourable Premier.

HON. JOHN HAMM (The Premier): This afternoon we are indeed fortunate to have a very special guest. Today we are in the company of a real war hero and it is my honour to stand and recognize Ray Epstein. Year 2005 marks the Year of the Veteran and Mr. Epstein certainly represents the very best qualities of our veterans and represents the sacrifice of what we now call the greatest generation.

Mr. Epstein served in the RCAF during the Second World War. Answering the call to service during one of history's darkest hours, Mr. Epstein served, and served bravely, in the skies over Europe as crew on a Lancaster bomber. During one such mission, he was shot down, only to survive the last year of the war as a prisoner of war.

Such courage and strength of character speaks volumes about Ray Epstein. It speaks volumes more about the severity of the challenge of the times and how much we owe him and his comrades, many of whom did not make it home, for protecting the freedoms we cherish today. One of the greatest privileges I have as Premier is the opportunity to meet with and learn from so many of our province's veterans. They have given us all so much. With each passing year, there are fewer veterans left for us to learn from.

[Page 6764]

[2:15 p.m.]

It is up to the rest of us to ensure that those veterans still among us, like Ray Epstein, know full well the extent of their province's gratitude, appreciation and support. It is up to the rest of us to ensure that we always remember and honour the sacrifice that they made and that we take nothing for granted and ensure the lessons of history are learned well.

It was indeed a privilege to listen to our colleague in the House speak with such pride of the accomplishments of his father. I also am pleased that Mr. Epstein's grandchildren, Hannah and Noah, are joining him in the gallery here today. I'm sure, like their father, Hannah and Noah are very proud of their grandfather. The honourable member has every reason to be proud of his dad, as do we all. We are honoured and humbled to have him join us in this House. Thank you very much, sir, from all of us. (Applause)

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

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Liberal caucus and our Leader, Francis MacKenzie, it is certainly my pleasure to also welcome Mr. Ray Epstein here today with his grandchildren, Hannah and Noah. It's our opportunity to recognize his contributions and the contributions of so many other Canadians who not only fought for us, but especially those who went through the very difficult time of being prisoners of war. We have all heard many stories of the horrific conditions many of them found themselves in as prisoners of war. I imagine Mr. Epstein can share some himself.

I'm reminded that on Saturday I had the opportunity to attend the cadet inspection in Richmond County where the three cadet corps - the Arrow Corps Navy in Isle Madame, the Air Force in St. Peter's and the military in L'Ardoise all came together. One of the veterans attending there was Napoleon LeBlanc, a native of Petit-de-Grat and Isle Madame, who is 86 years old and served in the Canadian military and was a prisoner of war in Japan. In fact, Mr. LeBlanc was one of the subjects in a documentary done by Silver Donald Cameron on the many veterans that came from the Isle Madame region. Mr. LeBlanc was one of the prisoners of war in Japan whose tasks was to build a man-made airport in Japan, which is actually still in service today and was built by prisoners of war by hand. One can only imagine what sort of task that was.

It's very fitting today that we have Mr. Epstein here in this, the Year of the Veteran and I'm sure Mr. Epstein is very proud of not only his achievements, but to see his own son continue to participate in the strengthening of our democracy as an elected member. All of our caucus wishes to thank Mr. Epstein and all of his colleagues and all the veterans who allow us to stand in this House on a daily basis, to speak freely and to continue to fight for the democracy that we cherish here in our country. Thank you. (Applause)

[Page 6765]

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. We certainly welcome our special guests to the gallery today. We're honoured to have such a gentleman amongst us.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

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

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition from the Canadian Federation of Students. The operative clause is:

"Therefore, your petitioners call upon the Legislative Assembly of Nova Scotia to:

� Make a considerable re-investment in core funding to Nova Scotia's post-secondary institutions"

I have affixed my signature on it. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Preston.

MR. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition. The operative clause is:

"Therefore, your petitioners call upon the Legislative Assembly of Nova Scotia to:

� Make a considerable re-investment in core funding to Nova Scotia's post-secondary institutions

� Tie increased core funding to progressive reductions of tuition fees at Nova Scotia's public post-secondary institutions

� Implement a system of needs-based, non-repayable grants."

There are approximately 120 names and I have affixed my name to the petition as well.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

[Page 6766]

The honourable member for Colchester North.

MR. WILLIAM LANGILLE: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition. The operative clause is:

"We, the undersigned, hereby petition to have Springwaters Place of RR#2 Truro, repaved and recurbed, as the asphalt surface has deteriorated beyond repair since its initial installation approximately 25 years ago."

Mr. Speaker, I have affixed my signature to the petition.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

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

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada announced today that it would subject the Sydney tar ponds and coke ovens cleanup to an environmental assessment in the form of a full panel review. The Government of Nova Scotia and an impressive array of established organizations and community leaders argued vigorously against this approach. We find the decision disappointing and disheartening. It risks significant delay and in the worst case could derail the project all together.

Among the community groups and leaders who spoke out against the full panel review are: the Cape Breton Regional Municipality; the Cape Breton District Health Authority; the Joint Action Group for the cleanup or the Muggah Creek Watershed; the Community Partnership for the Remediation of the Muggah Creek Watershed; the New Waterford and Area Fish and Game Association; the Sydney and Area Chamber of Commerce; the Metro Cape Breton Junior Chamber of Commerce; Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation; the Cape Breton Growth Fund; the Cape Breton District Labour Council; the Cape Breton Island Building and Construction Trades Council; the United Steel Workers of America; the Cape Breton Branch of the Canadian Cancer Society; 69 of Cape Breton's University's 73 science and technology faculty members; and the Reverend Greg MacLeod, Professor Emeritus at CBU and founder of New Dawn Enterprises.

Mr. Speaker, the Province of Nova Scotia shares with the groups, a determination to get this problem solved. We share with Ministers Brison and Dion, a determination to hold to strict timelines, but given the process the Government of Canada has chosen, we do not

[Page 6767]

believe the timelines set forth this morning are realistic, achievable or enforceable. To cite but one example, consider the environmental impact statement. This massive report is the heart of an environmental assessment. Under the timelines set forth this morning, the Sydney Tar Ponds Agency, as implementing agency for the cleanup, would not even receive the terms of reference for the environmental impact statement until September of this year, yet we would be expected to complete the report by December. Remediation experts are unanimous that the preparation of an environmental impact statement for a project of this complexity will take the most part of a year. We do not want the people of Sydney to be disappointed again.

Mr. Speaker, in 1997, the government of the day found themselves at a crossroad. They had failed in one attempt to clean up the tar ponds and they had abandoned a subsequent proposal, so they decided to refer the tar ponds problem to an independent group known as the Joint Action Group. They said the Joint Action Group process would take three years to complete. After eight years, 950 public meetings, more than 600 technical studies and the expenditure of more than $70 million, the tar ponds remain with us, so we are disappointed. Nevertheless, the law unquestionably gives the Government of Canada the authority to make the decision that it has.

The province will now study the details of the federal announcement. We will enter into discussions with the Government of Canada about the terms and conditions under which the panel review will take place. We will conclude those discussions within the next two weeks and then Cabinet will consider the province's options - these include participating in a joint review or pursuing a different course of action. On a future day, I shall report back to the House of Assembly on the outcome of those discussions.

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

MR. GORDON GOSSE: That's quite a ministerial statement. I wonder who wrote that one - we all know in the Legislature who wrote that. It has been many, many years since this project, like the minister said it has been over 15, with all the studies and everything else. But if a proper environmental assessment was done in the first place, 15 years ago, we wouldn't be talking about it today in this Legislature.

The Minister of Transportation and Public Works, Scott Brison, and the Minister of the Department of the Environment, Stéphane Dion, put to rest today in Sydney, Nova Scotia, a lot of myths and a lot of false accusations about a comprehensive review and a full panel study. Mr. Brison had said billions of dollars for projects bigger than this have been done in shorter times. The fearmongering over the comprehensive study and the full panel is over with as we speak today. Let us get on with it, as legislators, and clean up North America's worst environmental hazard as soon as possible.

The minister said today in Sydney the terms of reference, which I'll bring a point to the terms of reference in Sydney today, in which he said the timetable is in place, that they must

[Page 6768]

report back by June of 2006. There is no work to be done on that site until 2007 with any kind of remediation. He cleared that up for us today as a community, and I notice on that list that the minister read there was nobody on there from the community - I was wondering where they were on that list.

The minister also stated today in another term of reference - the cost factors are also indicated on the full panel - that the cost factors are indicated, that this project will not go above the cost factors. Engagement from the community is what is needed now as we stand here in this Legislature today. I know we had 950 meetings, I was a part of those meetings, I was a part of JAG, and I was a part of the health studies working group many years ago when this all first got started. We wasted $70 million, like the minister said, because there wasn't a proper environmental assessment done in the first place. I think the Government of Canada made a good decision today for the health and safety of the residents of Cape Breton.

I just think the province must put aside their differences and not posture on any of this project. I think that they must get together with the federal government and get it done. Get it done in a timely fashion so the residents who live next to the ponds, and the people who have been there, third generation steelworkers, third generation coke ovens employees who have lived there their whole lives, with a full panel they will have the community engagement so they can go and voice their opinion to the panel. We have so many different communities. They're against incineration, this is the whole thing, and what made the fear in this community was a mobile incinerator to burn PCB-laden sludge in Cape Breton Nova on Grand Lake Road.

Now the people felt that the only way they could stop that incineration was with a full panel, not a comprehensive study and they knew the difference and I stood up in this Legislature for the people I represent, and I will continue to stand up for them. A PCB rotary kiln incinerator on Grand Lake Road, at the site of the old Victoria Junction in Sydney, with the surrounding area - just have a look, if anybody wants to go online for something to do later today, at Swan Hills, Alberta, or have a look at Goose Bay in Labrador, have a look at those mobile incinerators and the surrounding area and the people. This is environmental racism for 100 years, and today I am very happy that Minister Scott Brison, and the Minister for the Environment, Stéphane Dion, made that announcement today.

What we as a Party are against, my caucus colleagues and myself, is a mobile incinerator burning PCB sludge in Cape Breton. I thank you. (Applause)

[2:30 p.m.]

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

MR. GERALD SAMPSON: Mr. Speaker, I want to begin by thanking the honourable minister for providing me with an advanced copy of his statement. The announcement today

[Page 6769]

is not a disappointment to us as far as we're concerned. The comprehensive review probably would have been preferable, but when the announcement was made for the full panel review and the timeline was put on it - that's the crux of the whole matter, the timeline was put on it. The comprehensive review could have taken 14 months. Now here we are with a full panel review, timeline of 14 months and that is what we agree on. The full panel review announced today, like I said, by Ministers Scott Brison and Stéphane Dion, we thank them for their commitment to this. The overriding concern is that: (1) it gets cleaned up; and (2) it's done and done right. If there was ever any chance of something being left uncovered or undone, this will resolve it.

I am pleased that the minister will keep the line of communications open between Ottawa and the province. It's not a partisan issue, Mr. Speaker, but I'm going to say that it does little good to dwell on the past, to point fingers or to blame people. If we want to go back there, the Buchanan and the Cameron Governments failed to clean it up, and the honourable minister was a member of those governments and they promised to clean that up back in 1988, so, let's forget the lecture and let's get on with the job at hand.

What concerns me is that I want a commitment from the minister here today that the money will be guaranteed, because he said that they are going to take it to Cabinet and they may choose a different course of action. Well what I want, like I said, I don't want this announcement to be used as an excuse to avoid the cleanup and I want this minister to commit to promising the funds that they've already committed to and let's get on with the job. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Any further statements by ministers?

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 3534

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

Whereas yesterday veterans recalled memories of lost comrades and near misses for their own lives during the Battle of the Atlantic, 60 years after the end of the longest-running battle of World War II; and

Whereas the Battle of the Atlantic victory stands as a significant example of just how strong the spirit and will was of our Merchant Mariners, the Royal Canadian Navy, and all others who ensured the safety of the Atlantic supply route, for not only did the forces have the enemy to contend with - as one member of the RCN recorded, it was "an Atlantic so rough

[Page 6770]

it seems impossible that we can continue to take this unending pounding and still remain in one piece"; and

Whereas this year Canada Post has issued a stamp to commemorate and vividly depict the very real dangers faced and the sacrifices made;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House add our thanks today to those veterans who helped turn the tide of the Second World War through what were extremely precarious conditions in both the sea and the air, and may we always remember the bravery shown during this seemingly unending battle during this special year and in 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.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, before reading my resolution I would like to introduce two people to the House. Jackie Norman, Executive Director of Nova Scotia Safety Council; and Nancy White, Motorcycle Manager from the Safety Council of Nova Scotia. (Applause)

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

RESOLUTION NO. 3535

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

Whereas motorcycle riding is a popular form of transportation and recreation for thousands of people across the Province of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas it is important that the citizens of our province be aware of motorcycles on the streets and highways, and that enthusiasts recognize the importance of motorcycle safety; and

[Page 6771]

Whereas all motorcycle organizations, clubs, dealerships, groups and highway safety officials in our province should join with the Nova Scotia Safety Council in actively promoting safe operation, increased rider training, improved licensing efforts and motorist awareness;

Therefore be it resolved that this House acknowledge that May 2005 is Motorcycle Awareness Month in Nova Scotia and urge all vehicle operators to join in this effort to keep our highways safe.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage.

RESOLUTION NO. 3536

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

Whereas Halifax will host the biggest music show in Canada when the Juno Awards come to Nova Scotia next year; and

Whereas the province is contributing $200,000 to support the 2006 Juno Awards which are expected to generate significant economic spinoffs for the province; and

Whereas the Junos will provide an excellent opportunity to showcase the talent of our artists to Canadians and people around the world and the nationally televised awards show will give us a chance to promote Nova Scotia as a premiere cultural and vacation destination;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating Events Halifax! for spearheading the successful effort to attract the Junos to Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 6772]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 3537

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

Whereas May 2nd to May 8th is Mental Health Week all across Canada; and

Whereas one in five Canadians are affected by mental illness in their lifetimes and most Nova Scotians will be indirectly affected by mental illness through relationships with friends, family members and co-workers; and

Whereas each year the Canadian Mental Health Association provides direct services to more than 100,000 Canadians through the combined efforts of more than 10,000 volunteers and staff in locally-run organizations in all provinces and territories, and branches in more than 135 communities;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize May 2nd to May 8th as Mental Health Week and acknowledge the work done by those individuals working either in our hospitals or in our community mental health clinics in this province to provide care for those with mental health problems and emotional disorders.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 6773]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Finance.

RESOLUTION NO. 3538

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Minister responsible for the Emergency Measures Act, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas May 1st to May 7th is Emergency Preparedness Week in Canada; and

Whereas thanks to the efforts of many staff and volunteers associated with emergency agencies, Nova Scotia has demonstrated its ability to respond effectively to large-scale emergencies, including Hurricane Juan, the blizzard of 2004 and the severe snowstorm last November; and

Whereas this year's theme for Emergency Preparedness Week is Prepare Now - Learn How;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House recognize the valuable efforts of everyone involved in emergency preparedness and encourage every Nova Scotian to become more prepared for disasters which may take place in their own communities.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour.

[Page 6774]

RESOLUTION NO. 3539

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 goal of the Occupational Health and Safety Division of Nova Scotia Environment and Labour is to improve health and safety in the workplace; and

Whereas the week of May 1st through May 7th has been designated as North American Occupational Safety and Health Week all across the continent with this year's theme being Equip, Educate and Empower; and

Whereas North American Occupational Safety and Health Week is intended to increase understanding and raise awareness of occupational health and safety issues among employees, employers and the public;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs of this House acknowledge the official opening of North American Occupational Safety and Health Week in Nova Scotia which took place at 11:00 a.m. today, May 2nd, at the Grand Parade in Halifax and encourage all employees, employers and the general public to take part in this week's events.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health Promotion.

RESOLUTION NO. 3540

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

Whereas more than 100 groups across the province have received a total of $500,000 from Nova Scotia Health Promotion's Physical Activity Grant Program; and

[Page 6775]

Whereas these groups have provided opportunities for people of all ages in their communities to be active through sport and physical recreation; and

Whereas the Physical Activity Grants Program is providing equipment, leadership, education and opportunities for people of all ages to engage in physical activity;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the people and organizations across the province who, through their applications, are making their communities more active.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 3541

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

Whereas Rick Hansen ignited the passion and interest of the world from 1985 to 1987 as he wheeled the circumference of the Earth in his wheelchair to raise awareness and funds for spinal cord injury during his Man in Motion Tour; and

Whereas Rick Hansen visited Capital Health's Nova Scotia Rehabilitation Centre this morning to publicly launch the Third Wheels in Motion event, which will roll out in communities across Canada on June 12th; and

Whereas on June 12th, individuals and groups will wheel, walk or run to raise funds to help improve the quality of life for people with spinal cord injuries;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the efforts of Rick Hansen, for his commitment to finding a cure for spinal cord injuries while supporting those living and affected by it.

[Page 6776]

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. 181 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 7 of the Acts of 1996. The Occupational Health and Safety Act. (Mr. Manning MacDonald)

Bill No. 182 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 380 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Public Utilities Act. (Mr. Michel Samson)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 3542

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

Whereas the Asian community in the Halifax Regional Municipality has grown considerably in the past 15 years, as a result of new immigrants coming to settle in our province; and

Whereas the various communities that have a connection to Asia provide a rich diversity of culture and help to enhance our communities both culturally and economically; and

Whereas May is recognized as Asian Heritage Month throughout North America, and as a time for North Americans to celebrate Asian heritage and culture within their communities;

[Page 6777]

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize May as Asian Heritage Month, and congratulate all those involved in organizing the events and festivities that celebrate the Asian communities within our province.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 3543

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

Whereas on Wednesday, April 20, 2005, hundreds of Catholics congregated at St. Mary's Basilica during a special mass to honour Archbishop James Martin Hayes; and

Whereas Archbishop Hayes was ordained Titular Bishop of Reperi and Auxiliary Bishop of Halifax on April 20, 1965, and was made Archbishop of Halifax in 1967, becoming Emeritus Archbishop on November 6, 1989; and

Whereas throughout his 40 years as Archbishop, he has served not only Halifax but Nova Scotia well, his dedication to those in palliative care, ensuring some comfort in their final days, regardless of religious background, is legendary;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize the contributions Archbishop Hayes has made to our province, and wish him every success and happiness in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 6778]

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.

[2:45 p.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 3544

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

Whereas Westville student Sara Watters recently participated in the New Glasgow Music Festival's music theatre competition; and

Whereas 11 year old Sara sang, If I Only Had A Brain, while dressed as a scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz; and

Whereas Sara's musical performance marked the opening of the music theatre portion of the festival at the North Nova Education Centre;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend young Sara Watters for her outstanding performance at the New Glasgow Music Festival and wish her continued success with her acting and singing performances.

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 6779]

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 3545

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

Whereas the economic and social well-being of rural Nova Scotia is essential to the entire province; and

Whereas on Friday, April 29, 2005, the member for Cape Breton South shouted, no, to a resolution that would require the Cape Breton Regional Municipality to develop a long-term comprehensive water strategy which would include protecting fresh water supply for the residents of rural Cape Breton Regional Municipality, in particular within the Mira wellfield; and

Whereas in 1994 the member for Cape Breton South supported legislation designed to depopulate rural Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly, indeed the residents of rural Nova Scotia, be wary of any Liberal plan for rural economic development in communities that have been drained of water and people.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 3546

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

Whereas the federal Conservatives, whose Leader has urged the earliest possible defeat of the Paul Martin Government, have stated they will respect all federal-provincial agreements signed by that government; and

Whereas British Columbia has signed an agreement for the use of the federal gasoline tax rebates by local government, Manitoba and Saskatchewan have signed agreements to invest new federal money in non-profit childcare, and infrastructure agreements are also being finalized; and

[Page 6780]

Whereas so far, at this critical time, Nova Scotia has failed to conclude an agreement on gasoline tax rebates or non-profit childcare;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urge the Progressive Conservative Government of Nova Scotia to conclude the federal-provincial agreements on childcare, gasoline tax, infrastructure and any other item now under negotiation rather than risking the complete loss of federal offers now on the table.

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 Leader in the House of the Liberal Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 3547

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

Whereas Captain Scott Malcolm, a native of Lower River, Richmond County, served with the Canadian Forces Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) in Sri Lanka following the tsunami disaster of December 26, 2004; and

Whereas Scott Malcolm received his Bachelor of Science from Harvard University and continued his education as a medical student with the Canadian Forces through Dalhousie University; and

Whereas Scott is a Canadian who has employed his expertise as a medical doctor in a selfless manner by providing his services to another country at a time when it's truly needed;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Scott Malcolm as an outstanding Canadian for his noble involvement in the tsunami relief effort in Sri Lanka.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 6781]

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 3548

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

Whereas Dr. Lynn McIntyre has been the Dean of Faulty of Health Professions at Dalhousie University since 1992 and has served three terms in that position; and

Whereas during her 13-year tenure as dean, Dr. McIntyre has carried out internationally recognized research on food security, has published widely and has often been quoted in the media; and

Whereas Dr. McIntyre will be leaving the deanship on June 30, 2005 to take up another position in Calgary, Alberta, and in anticipation of her departure, there will be a farewell reception in her honour on Friday, May 6, 2005;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature thank Dr. Lynn McIntyre for her years of service in Nova Scotia and her valuable research and that we extend her our best wishes as she embarks on a new challenge.

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 6782]

The honourable member for Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 3549

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

Whereas Roland Troke Barriault, a Grade 7 student at École Rose des Vents in Greenwood, received several major awards at the 9th Annapolis Valley Regional Science Fair; and

Whereas Roland's project "Sodium Polyacrylate: The Power of Polymers" won him the Weavexx Trophy for Best Project, Grades 7 to 12; and

Whereas his project also earned him the Valley Service Master Trophy for Best Physical Science Project and the Nova Scotia Association of Science Teachers Award, Grades 7 to 12, and a gold medal;

Therefore be it resolved that all members convey congratulations and best wishes to Roland, the son of Alain Barriault and Sharon Troke of Kingston, as he joins Team Nova Scotia as a representative of the Annapolis Valley to the Canada-wide Science Fair being held in Vancouver.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 3550

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

[Page 6783]

Whereas volunteers provide services that are not provided by any other entity; and

Whereas ladies auxiliaries have allowed many women to develop and exercise skills outside of their usual workplace in the name of volunteerism; and

Whereas Mrs. Ethel Fahey has for 20 years used her abilities on behalf of the Noel and District Ladies Auxiliary;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Ethel Fahey for donating her skills and time on behalf of her community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 3551

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

Whereas Frances Doreen Harper dedicated her life to God, a healthy community, made a difference in her quiet way, was instrumental in the establishment of the IWK supported Nutritional Program and was a founding member of the IWK Multicultural Health Committee, and the Health Association of African Canadians; and

Whereas the IWK local of the N.S. Nurses' Union created a new award called the Francis Harper Memorial Award which was awarded to an IWK nurse that demonstrated a commitment to improving the lives of women, children, youth and families; and

Whereas Frances Harper was posthumously inducted by the Black Cultural Society of Nova Scotia in the Reverend Dr. W.P. Oliver Wall of Honour on February 12, 2005;

[Page 6784]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House honour her memory by recognizing the outstanding lifetime work of Frances Harper.

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. 3552

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

Whereas in December of 2004 the Canning Fire Department along with community volunteers went above and beyond the call of duty for the Canning Area Food Bank; and

Whereas Chief Terry Porter, 20 department members and area volunteers including volunteer treasurer Edna Cox raised $1,850 and collected three and a half truck loads of food items; and

Whereas Emergency Health Services Supervisor Earl Russell brought one of their vehicles to help collect donations and lend support;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the members of the Canning and Halls Harbour Fire Departments and all the volunteers who were involved in this successful food drive.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 6785]

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. 3553

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

Whereas the Eastern Shore Wildlife Rehabilitation and Rescue Centre is a non-profit, volunteer driven centre that relies heavily on donations; and

Whereas as the result of their community spirit they raised a total of $4,300 at their open house on September 18, 2004; and

Whereas thanks to the generosity of donors, they were able to assist many species of wildlife over the past seven years in which the centre has admitted well over 6,000 mammals and birds and has seen 120 various species;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this Legislature thank all those who contributed to the ongoing success of the Eastern Shore Wildlife Rehabilitation and Rescue Centre allowing them to help many of our feathered and furry friends.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

[Page 6786]

RESOLUTION NO. 3554

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

Whereas five years ago, the Lebanese Government announced the annual Day of the Lebanese Emigrant to remember those who left Lebanon to make their way in other parts of the world; and

Whereas on April 17, 2005, in a cultural celebration of their homeland, Lebanese Nova Scotians gathered at the Diman Centre to recognize the contributions made by their community to Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the highlight of this celebration was the presentation of an award to Patricia Arab, the Emigrant of the Year 2005, in recognition of the work she has done to help newcomers settle in Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Patricia Arab on receipt of the Lebanese Emigrant of the Year 2005 Award, and wish her every success in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

RESOLUTION NO. 3555

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

Whereas many elementary school children learn about the environment as part of their studies; and

[Page 6787]

Whereas Dawn Henderson's Grade 5 and 6 class at New Germany Elementary School created posters that depicted various environmental concerns and submitted them in the Eco-Pals 2005 Canadian Poster Contest; and

Whereas Ms. Henderson's class was chosen as the winner out of 400 entries from across Canada;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Dawn Henderson and her Grade 5 and 6 class at New Germany Elementary School on the wonderful posters they created and on winning the Eco-Pals 2005 Canadian Poster Contest.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 3556

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

Whereas Joyce Tucker has received the Volunteer of the Year Award for the Town of Pictou for 2005; and

Whereas Ms. Tucker is widely regarded as the unofficial goodwill ambassador for Pictou; and

Whereas Ms. Tucker has been a tireless volunteer, canvassing for important causes, including the Canadian Cancer Society, the Kidney Foundation, the United Way of Pictou County, the Parkinson's Society, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, and the Diabetes Society, as well as being a founding member of the Pictou Housing Authority, and has volunteered for numerous other community events;

[Page 6788]

Therefore be it resolved that this Legislature congratulate Joyce Tucker on being named the Volunteer of the Year for the Town of Pictou, offer its heartfelt thanks for her long service in so many important organizations, and wish her all the best.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 3557

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

Whereas this week is Occupational Health and Safety Week, dedicated to encouraging awareness of work-related safety under the theme, Equip, Educate and Empower; and

Whereas workplace injuries are an all too common occurrence for our Nova Scotia workforce; and

Whereas statistics show that on an average day in Nova Scotia more than 44,000 people go to work, and on any single day 94 people will be injured at work or will require medical assistance;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House acknowledge the effort of the Nova Scotia workforce, and wish them health and safety in their place of employment, presently and in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 6789]

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 3558

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

Whereas Karen Hennigar was named the 2004 Outstanding Female Senior Athlete at the Truro Sports Heritage Society at its 21st Annual Sports Heritage Award Dinner for her achievements in curling; and

Whereas Karen Hennigar is a 25-year member of the Truro Curling Club, level 2 curling instructor and coach, and is a member of the 2005 Nova Scotia Senior Ladies championship team; and

Whereas Karen Hennigar was a member of the Nova Scotia 2004 Senior Ladies Championship team, which finished fourth at the Canadian Championships, and she was named the All-Star Second;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Karen Hennigar on being named the 2004 Outstanding Female Senior Athlete by the Truro Sport Heritage Society, and wish her continued success in her sport of curling.

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 6790]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth South-Portland Valley.

[3:00 p.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 3559

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

Whereas Dartmouth's Eastern Front Theatre recently finished its very successful run of The Satchmo' Suite; and

Whereas Nova Scotians were prominently featured as playwrights, directors, cast, crew and sponsors in this musical; and

Whereas Dartmouth is proud of its strong arts and cultural life and heritage;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate the Board of Directors, staff and supporters of the Eastern Front Theatre Company, especially Hans Böggild, Executive Director, co-writer and Director; and thank them for bringing The Satchmo' Suite to Dartmouth's Alderney Landing Theatre.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Clare.

RESOLUTION NO. 3560

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

[Page 6791]

Whereas 16th International Racquetball Federation World Junior Championships took place in Mexico from December 17 to December 22, 2004, with over 320 players participating from 15 countries; and

Whereas Denise Haynes of Comeauville was one of 30 Canadians to compete in the tournament as a Junior Racquetball player in the girls 14 and under category; and

Whereas the five hours a week Denise has dedicated to developing her skill has paid off with two bronze medals, one in the under 14 girls category and a second with her partner, Christine Richardson, in girls 14 and under doubles competition;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Denise Haynes for her accomplishments and wish her every success in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 3561

MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Merci, M. le président. à une date ultérieure j'ai l'intention de proposer l'adoption de la résolution suivante:

Attendu que l'Association Canadian Parents for French est une organisation ayant pour but promotion de français langue-seconde dans la système d'éducation; et

Attendu que la CPF a établi un Concours d'art oratoire pour les étudiants et étudiantes d'à travers la Nouvelle-Écosse; et

Attendu que le 22ième Concours d'art oratoire a eu lieu le 30e avril à l'Université Mount Saint Vincent avec la participation de plus de 140 étudiants et étudiantes;

[Page 6792]

Qu'il soit résolu que cette Assemblée legislative felicite la CPF et les parents, les professeurs, et les benevoles qui ont appuyé le 22e Concours d'art oratoire et felicite surtout les étudiants et étudiantes qui ont démontré un niveau excellent d'art oratoire et d'expression français.

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

Whereas Canadian Parents for French is an organization dedicated to the promotion of French language education in Canada; and

Whereas the CPF Nova Scotia sponsors an annual concours d'art oratoire or public speaking contest for students from across Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the 22nd annual concours d'art oratoire was held on April 30th at Mount Saint Vincent University and attracted over 140 students from across the province for a lively demonstration of public speaking;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate the Canadian Parents for French and the parents, teachers and volunteers who made the 2005 concours d'art oratoire such a success and especially congratulate the students who demonstrated an outstanding level of ability in French language public speaking.

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 Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 3562

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

[Page 6793]

Whereas we all acknowledge with pride Canada's part in winning the Battle of the Atlantic against tremendous odds, in the face of a determined foe and harsh elements; and

Whereas since that victory in the Atlantic, the noble work has continued and the Canadian Navy has answered this country's call by deploying ships wherever needed, whenever needed and for as long as they are needed; and

Whereas on Sunday, May 1st, the Battle of the Atlantic, was an opportunity to pause and consider our ships at sea today as they follow the honourable tradition of service to Canada by the veterans of the Battle of the Atlantic, the Korean, the Gulf War and the many peace enforcement and peacekeeping operations of the intervening years;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House take time to pause and reflect on the tradition of exemplary service provided by the Royal Canadian Navy and the role the Navy continues to have in the preservation of peace, security and freedom.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 3563

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

Whereas Mr. Marshall Hassin, owner of Marshall Hassin's Furniture and Appliances, is retiring after operating this business for 26 years; and

Whereas Mr. Hassin and his wife, Wafie, ran their business together serving customers in Antigonish and surrounding areas; and

[Page 6794]

Whereas Mr. and Mrs. Hassin were dedicated to ensuring the satisfaction of all who walked in their store;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House join me in thanking Mr. and Mrs. Hassin on their years of retail service to the customers and wish them well in their retirement.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 3564

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

Whereas Mike McArthur and Stan Gilbert have a special friendship as students at Sir John A. Macdonald High School; and

Whereas Mike is the Student Council co-President at Sir John A. and has been a long time mentor for Stan, a member of Nova Scotia's Special Olympics team; and

Whereas on February 28th, the Nova Scotia Secondary School Students Association presented the first provincial conference for special needs high school students;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia House of Assembly recognize high school students Stan Gilbert and Mike McArthur for their leadership with best wishes for the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 6795]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 3565

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

Whereas Doris Marguerite Gillis has been a resident of Victoria County since the age of 21; and

Whereas Mrs. Gillis left her profession as a school teacher to raise a family of nine and later returned to the classroom before retirement; and

Whereas Mrs. Gillis was active in Home and School, her church, senior citizens' groups, and the Women's Liberal Association;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Doris Marguerite Gillis on the occasion of her 92nd birthday, May 3rd, 2005.

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 6796]

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 3566

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 Ajit Sidhu spent many years mastering the skills needed to be one of the best young badminton players in our province; and

Whereas Ajit's friends, family, and the whole community of Lower Sackville are very proud of his accomplishments and wish him all the success in his efforts to be national champion; and

Whereas Ajit will be attending this year's Jr. Canadian Nationals in Richmond, British Columbia from May 10 to 14, 2005;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly wish Ajit Sidhu great success while attending this year's Jr. Canadian Nationals for Badminton in Richmond, British Columbia from May 10 to 14, 2005.

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.

RESOLUTION NO. 3567

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

Whereas last fall Carl and Evelyn Palmer of Aylesford were recognized at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Ontario for the many hours they have provided to farm safety outreach programs, while advocating on behalf of disabled farmers; and

[Page 6797]

Whereas the Agri-Food Award of Excellence was given to one couple from Nova Scotia and four couples from across the rest of Canada in recognition of the remarkable dedication and leadership as well as outstanding achievements in the Agriculture and Agri-Foods Industry; and

Whereas following a 1979 accident where Carl was entangled in farm equipment causing him to lose both his legs, Evelyn and Carl founded Farmers with Disabilities Atlantic Canada along with the Canadian Coalition of Farm Safety and Rural Health, while Carl has become an inspiration and model of determination for the local farm community and beyond;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Carl and Evelyn and recognize the contributions of the Palmers as they continue to promote farm safety.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Shelburne.

RESOLUTION NO. 3568

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

Whereas another special birthday is scheduled for Sunday, May 8th in Upper Ohio when Gladys E. Bower turns the incredibly young age of 107; and

Whereas a small birthday celebration is scheduled for the afternoon in the home where Gladys still resides and makes her own meals daily; and

Whereas Gladys is still a keen observer of current affairs and up for a talk with residents of the community;

[Page 6798]

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs in this Legislature take this moment and extend hearty birthday congratulations to Gladys E. Bower of Upper Ohio, Shelburne County.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 3569

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 Sunday, May 1, 2005, the annual ceremony commemorating the Battle of the Atlantic was held; and

Whereas on that day we honoured the memories of the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Merchant Navy members who died on ships bringing supplies to the Allied war effort in Europe during the Second World War; and

Whereas the year holds special significance, as it marks the 20th Anniversary of the Cape Breton Naval Veterans;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this Legislative Assembly acknowledge those men and women who lost their lives in the Battle of the Atlantic; at the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 6799]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Glace Bay.

RESOLUTION NO. 3570

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 May 2nd to May 8th is National Hospice Palliative Care Week; and

Whereas hospice palliative care involves a team-oriented approach to medical care, pain management, and emotional and spiritual support tailored to the patients' needs and wishes; and

Whereas National Hospice Palliative Care Week celebrates, recognizes and shares the achievements of palliative care in the community;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the Legislature extend our appreciation to the health care professionals and caregivers who provide support and enrich the lives of Nova Scotians requiring end-of-life care.

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.

There is too much noise in the Chamber and even I, and the Clerks, can't hear the resolutions, so I ask honourable members to take their conversations outside, please.

[Page 6800]

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

RESOLUTION NO. 3571

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

Whereas the District 9 Citizens' Association objective is to promote and support the improvements of District 9 and the well-being of all its residents; and

Whereas the association consists of volunteers from the district who give freely of their time and service to improve the quality of life in District 9; and

Whereas at the annual general meeting of the District 9 Citizens' Association the membership elected an executive for the year 2005;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Trevor Zinck - Chairman, Richard Edwards - Vice-Chairman, Sheldon O'Brien - Secretary, and Doris MacKaracher, Treasurer, on their successful election as the District 9 Citizens' Association executive and wish them success in 2005.

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.

[3:15 p.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 3572

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

[Page 6801]

Whereas Sinclair Wesley Williams was the first Black police officer hired in the City of Dartmouth and received a number of awards and recognition from the police department for his outstanding bravery, as well as serving for many years as a mentor at the Bell Park Academic Centre; and

Whereas Mr. Sinclair Williams has paved the way for many others from the Preston area to follow in his footsteps to become police officers in the City of Dartmouth and now HRM; and

Whereas Mr. Sinclair Williams has been honoured and recognized by many community organizations for his outstanding volunteer work and was inducted by the Black Cultural Society of Nova Scotia into the William P. Oliver Wall of Honour on February 12, 2005;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House honour and congratulate Mr. Sinclair Williams for his lifetime of service to his community and the Province of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 3573

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

Whereas the devastating tsunami that ravaged numerous countries in the Indian Ocean had a dramatic impact throughout the world and motivated many to raise funds for the victims; and

Whereas the staff, students and parents at Tallahassee Community School in Eastern Passage were motivated by the tsunami disaster to raise funds for the victims by encouraging students to collect loose change and bring it to the school for a collection; and

[Page 6802]

Whereas the students at Tallahassee Community School quickly raised over $2,000 for the UNICEF Tsunami Relief Effort;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the efforts of all those who raised funds for the tsunami relief effort, in particular, the students and staff at Tallahassee Community School in Eastern Passage who raised $2,040.20 that was donated to UNICEF's Tsunami Relief Effort.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 3574

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

Whereas policing is possibly the most original and basic of public services; and

Whereas this necessary profession is often extremely dangerous and demanding, both on officers and their families; and

Whereas on March 31, 2005, Constable Bill Chapman of the Enfield RCMP detachment retired after a long and illustrious career;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Constable Chapman on his many years of excellent public service and wish him well in his retirement.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 6803]

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 3575

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

Whereas the Battle of the Atlantic, which lasted 2,075 days, the longest campaign of WWII, pitted Allied navies against the Axis naval forces, especially submarines, in a battle to safeguard the essential flow of shipping between North America and Europe; and

Whereas it is noted that the Canadian Navy provided 47 per cent of all convoy escorts to 25,343 merchant vessels which carried 181,643,180 tons of cargo to Europe, hence sustaining the Allied war effort; and

Whereas by 1945 the Royal Canadian Navy had suffered 2,210 fatalities and the loss of 24 war ships, the air force had over 900 fatalities and lost 350 aircraft and the merchant navy of Canada had over 1,700 fatalities and lost 73 vessels;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House stand for one minute of silence in memory of these valiant Canadians who gave their lives to secure the peace and freedom that we in this country cherish.

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 6804]

The motion is carried.

The House will stand for one minute of silence.

[One minute of silence was observed.]

The honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage on an introduction.

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, if I might direct members' attention to your gallery, we have a very special guest, the Chairman of the Arts and Cultural Partnership Council for Nova Scotia, Mr. Paul Gallant. I'd like to welcome Paul here and also ask him to rise to receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We certainly welcome our special guest to the gallery today. The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 3576

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

Whereas Halifax Choppers has gained recognition as one of the best custom bike builders; and

Whereas Sean McGowan and Garnet Hill have provided valuable leadership to this company; and

Whereas their Pro Street Cycle Chopper, custom built and designed by Halifax Choppers, recently won an honourable mention at the Classic Bike Show in Quebec City;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Sean McGowan and Garnet Hill of Halifax Choppers on their accomplishments, with best wishes in their future endeavors.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 6805]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

RESOLUTION NO. 3577

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

Whereas one way of protecting our environment is to conserve our resources by reducing, reusing and recycling goods we produce; and

Whereas the Giberson family has operated Dartmouth Bottles and Metals, a recycling and reusing operation since 1979; and

Whereas the family operation has not only played an important role in conserving our environment, but also offered employment to many Dartmouthians;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate the Giberson family for being in the forefront of the environmental protection through their business operations for more than a quarter of a century.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 3578

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

[Page 6806]

Whereas on Sunday, February 20, 2005, the East Coast Music Awards were held at Centre 200 in Sydney; and

Whereas Rita MacNeil, a native of Big Pond, Cape Breton, was presented with the Dr. Helen Creighton Lifetime Achievement Award; and

Whereas Rita received this award in recognition of the strength, determination and talent that has contributed to a career spanning three decades and 20 albums;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the Legislative Assembly congratulate Rita MacNeil, an ambassador for Nova Scotia in the true sense of a word, on receiving the prestigious Dr. Helen Creighton Lifetime Achievement Award.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

[Page 6807]

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

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I welcome the opportunity to make a few comments to the House on some important issues involving the community of Timberlea-Prospect.

As you well know, Timberlea-Prospect is a growing community, a constituency that I have been proud to represent for the past seven years. One of the issues that constantly is brought to my attention, an issue that I know people, of course, want to hear about in a constituency that is made up of the amalgamated Halifax Regional Municipality - and that word "amalgamated" sticks deeply in the craw of many people within the HRM - and I am proud to say that I am going to bring the concerns of some of my constituents on that topic to your attention today. Particularly, I want to talk about the fact, of course, that there really is a different level of service when it comes to road maintenance and paving.

First of all, I should pay compliments to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. Over the last number of years there has been, in those areas outside of the core, and I know that the member opposite who used to serve in the HRM Council - nothing really grates me more is a person who lives where I live in the HRM, whether I live in the core or I live in the suburbs, or I live in the rural area, that particular creation is an absolute nightmare. To the credit of the Minister of Transportation and Public Works, he and his department have continued to address the important matter of the twinning of Highway No. 103 from Exit 3 to Exit 5. They have provided valuable upgrades along the Prospect Road, and they also are currently calling tenders for improvement to the Terence Bay Road, which goes down to the scenic community of Terence Bay, Lower Prospect, and I wish I could say Sandy Cove.

One of the main reasons we lobbied hard to have this road upgraded was because of the location of the SS Atlantic Museum and Heritage Park, a wonderful destination, but as Laurie Appleby brings to the minister's attention - and I will table these letters for your attention, it's of real importance that if we're going to upgrade these roads down to Terence Bay, that the Sandy Cove Road is also included. I would like to thank Laurie Appleby, along with some other people in our community in that particular part of the constituency for expressing their points of view.

However, in particular, I want to turn your attention, Mr. Speaker, to three different subdivisions, and I have the privilege of tabling letters from the Lake of the Woods subdivision, which is outside the core area; I have the privilege of tabling letters from the Three Brooks subdivision, which is located in back of Sir John A Macdonald High School and is outside the core area of the HRM; and finally I have the privilege of tabling letters from constituents who live in the expanding subdivision of Haliburton Hills-Highbury Estates, where there are over 750 homes, many of them located on gravel roads, and that subdivision again is outside of the core.

[Page 6808]

Mr. Speaker, as I look, and I know you're paying attention as we discuss this issue, I'm not talking apple core here, I'm talking amalgamation and the disaster that it has been when we look at the multiple levels of service that we, unfortunately, have been subjected to in the growing constituency of Timberlea-Prospect. In particular - and I've tabled copies of these letters for your attention - I want to thank a number of my constituents for taking the time to send me e-mails and to send me letters pointing out the difficulty with work that's needed in their particular part of our constituency.

Katherine McLeod is the chairman of the Lakes of the Woods Home Owners Association. Katherine McLeod points out that the lack of work that has been done on that subdivision's streets is absolutely unacceptable. The Lake of the Woods is just on the other side of Highway No. 103 and, because it is on the other side of Highway No. 103, it's treated much differently - as if it was on the Timberlea side of Highway No. 103, if I could point out the geographical difference to you at this time. The Lake of the Woods subdivision continues to expand, trucks continue to go into the entrance to the Lakes of the Woods. We have a very popular drop-off spot for the Rails to Trails, and the amount of traffic on that entrance to the Lakes of the Woods has resulted in real damages to the road and this wonderful older subdivision in the community that I represent.

On the topic of the Lake of the Woods, I would be remiss not to mention the long-standing commitment of resident Debbie Darrah who constantly brings to my attention, as her MLA, the need for attention to roads and streets in the Lake of the Woods subdivision.

Now, many times, Mr. Speaker, you've heard me stand in this place and talk about Sir John A. Macdonald High School. In back of Sir John A Macdonald High School, in the community of Hubley, is the wonderful subdivision of Three Brooks. Three Brooks, however, has a road that enters into it that is absolutely an embarrassment. It's an embarrassment because of how the conditions of that road have been allowed to deteriorate year after year until calls are made, gravel trucks and graders arrive and the road is brought up to some kind of manageable service again. But Debbie, in her last e-mail to me, points out the difficulty with the road and I will quote from this e-mail, if I may, and table it if you wish. She concludes her comments by saying, "someone is going to get hurt on this road", because of the fact of how people are avoiding potholes, navigating their way down that street as you come into the wonderful subdivision of Three Brooks.

Now, Jason Dain is a resident of the Haliburton Hills-Highbury Estates subdivision and Jason Baine brought to my attention by e-mail, and also at a public meeting that we held at the St. Margaret's Arena, the discrepancy between the assessment that people in my growing community have to put up with as compared to the services that they receive when it comes to proper road maintenance. Haliburton Hills is an expansive subdivision of over more than 700 homes, as I've mentioned numerous times. When you come into Haliburton Hills, you're travelling on paved streets and then you go through a section of the subdivision where that particular part of the subdivision is gravel. I can mention the streets because someone,

[Page 6809]

obviously, was a big fan of the Beatles in their day, because there's Abbey Road and there's Penny Lane, all of these streets are gravel streets. You go over these connector roads, where you come to more paved streets. Now the sense that's made of that, as the Department of Transportation and Public Works tries to have different levels of service, different plows in the Winter, and of course gravel and grading that's necessary.

[3:30 p.m.]

I must bring to your attention at this time, Mr. Speaker, a really humorous piece. I'm going to table this, when I finish speaking from it. Of course it's the advantages - are you ready - for having a gravel road named Abbey Road. Here are some of the reasons that this constituent, Jane Campana brings to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works' attention. First of all, she points out, "Navigating around potholes takes great driver skill. Those who have it, make it. Those who don't, end up in the ditch." She points out, "The washed away gravel is now covering the weeds along the side of the road, eliminating all those ugly dandelions and lupins."

She also points out that "Potholes are a natural barrier against speeding automobiles." We don't have to have speed bumps, we have potholes. She also points out, "Kids can have sailboat races in the potholes after it has rained." Let me tell you, these comments are all made tongue-in-cheek, but I saw it on Sunday and aside from the fact that it was a downpour of rain, the resulting damage to Abbey Road was certainly an embarrassment to our community.

She also points out, "We have to drive on the wrong side of the road to avoid the graters and thus play Russian roulette with oncoming traffic - a cheap thrill.", Jane points out to me with this e-mail. "We keep the local garages in business replacing shocks on our cars." Small businesses benefit because of the rotten roads in the community of Haliburton Hills. No one on the street that's Abbey Road drives a fancy car now, which means no one has to worry about keeping up with the Joneses.

But here's the best one in my opinion, and I will table these for the interest of the members opposite and the Minister of Transportation and Public Works, "It's not like the government is throwing money down the drain. It's just going in the ditch." Now those particular comments come from a constituent who continually brings to my attention the unfortunate situation when it comes to roads in the growing community of Timberlea-Prospect.

I can mention other subdivisions, there's the MacDonald Lake subdivision in Brookside, there is the notorious Club Road that has been neglected for years. There is the Lynwood Road, made up of Ben's Court and Sarah Crescent. All of these streets are gravel roads, gravel roads that need the attention of the Department of Transportation and Public Works. All the constituents are asking for is fair treatment based upon the taxes and the assessment that they're assigned. That's the key thing. That's the important thing for Nova

[Page 6810]

Scotians, whether they come from Timberlea-Prospect or they come from other areas outside of the HRM.

I know members opposite sometimes say, and not to point to them directly, Halifax gets everything. We've got the Mooseheads, we've got Neptune Theatre. But let me tell you, in the community that I represent, we also have rotten roads. They are not just out in the rural areas, outside of the HRM. They are within the HRM, and that is because there are two levels of services within this amalgamated municipality. There's the level of services within the core that if you're well connected and have influence with a particular councillor, and you want one of those automated stop lights on Quinpool Road, then you get one.

But if you live in Upper Tantallon on a dangerous intersection where we need crosswalks, adjoining the position where Tantallon Junior High School, Tantallon Elementary School and St. Margaret's Bay Subdivision, you have that intersection, and as dangerous as it is, there is no chance that we are going to get a crosswalk. We're not going to get a crosswalk, because we don't have the influence of living within the core area of the amalgamated HRM.

I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, residents are frustrated. They are frustrated. Amalgamation was something they were never consulted about. It was something that was brought upon us as residents, something we never had our say on, and we've continued to suffer the consequences. Whether it's crosswalks, whether it's the repair of bridges, or whether it is, of course, our neglected roads, the people in Timberlea-Prospect have turned to their MLA on this issue, as on other issues, saying there should be one level of service so that within the HRM we are all treated equally. We all have access to automated crosswalks. The need is there, it should be met. We all have to have access to safe roads and comments that Jane Campana forwarded to me in her e-mail are somewhat amusing, there's no doubt, but when you have homes that are assessed in excess of $250,000, $325,000, and they are on gravel roads and those people are paying taxes to reflect that assessment, where is the level of service?

I thank the residents of my community for bringing these concerns to my attention. I plan to continue to bring them to the attention of this government and to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. Fair treatment is what Nova Scotians deserve and fair treatment for the people of Timberlea-Prospect is expected. I look forward to working with the minister to meet those expectations.

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

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, it's certainly a privilege to rise today in my place as the MLA for the beautiful Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley and say a few words as we go into Supply. I'm certainly privileged to follow the very esteemed member for Timberlea-Prospect. He's working very hard on behalf of his constituents, trying to make things better

[Page 6811]

for his constituents. It's important that we do note that all members generally have the best interests of their constituents at heart and in Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, I've been very blessed that my constituents have sent me back to the Legislature by way of four elections. There are some 66 communities in Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley and my riding is very much reliant on agriculture, forestry and, of course, mining.

Those are traditional resource-based industries but as well, we have one of the biggest employers in Nova Scotia and that being the Halifax International Airport where some 4,000 employees on a daily basis commute back and forth and work for various companies up at the Halifax International Airport. I would like to tip my hat to the Halifax International Airport Authority that is doing such a great job up there promoting our international airport. It recently received some very significant global awards.

Mr. Speaker, we also have a problem, as you well know, in fact I'm aware and other members in this Chamber are aware that you are originating a petition in support of the federal research station in Nappan and that's the experimental station. I do know that a number of MLAs in this Chamber have signed that petition that you hope to advance off to Ottawa. I know from speaking with you, as the member for Cumberland South, who deeply cares about our farming community, that you and MLAs in this Chamber believe that that federal institution should not only continue, it should be enhanced and be, once again, fully funded by the federal government.

Having said that, we're not talking about a partnership, we're talking about it being funded as it should be and has been by the federal level of government. So let's make that very, very clear. It was one of the first experimental stations established and that was established back in the 1880s. It's very, very important and significant to not only Cumberland County, but to this province and to the Maritimes and to our farming community. By way of a newspaper clipping for many of us in this province to find out, to read that the station has closed is very, very insensitive and wrong-headed.

Anyway, Mr. Speaker, if other members in the Chamber, or members who haven't signed the petition in support of the Nappan Experimental Farm, I know that you will be only too pleased to provide that petition to MLAs in this Chamber so they can sign it. I have observed that many members of the Liberal caucus have signed the petition, many members of this caucus have signed your petition, Mr. Speaker, and I understand from speaking with you that the NDP caucus, as well, is very supportive of the federal government continuing to fund the experimental station in Nappan, Cumberland County.

Mr. Speaker, I want to commend you for taking it upon yourself and working very hard with the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture, and the Cumberland County Federation of Agriculture in support of the Nappan Experimental Farm station.

[Page 6812]

Now, Mr. Speaker, if I could, just for a moment, I would like to focus on the budget that was tabled just last week. I know the honourable member for the beautiful Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage is going to support the budget. I know he's whispering that in your ear as I speak. I'm particularly pleased with the plans that the Department of Economic Development has. The planning and the delivery of a stronger economic climate will lead to an economy that we can continue to be proud of here in Nova Scotia.

As some of the budget documents and briefing notes that we received, there certainly is support for this budget in the business community, there is certainly support in rural Nova Scotia for this budget, but a wide range of factors go into supporting a growing economy: fiscal stability, a competitive tax, a regulatory environment, support for research and development, a strong integrated transportation network, a quality education system, and a quality of life, I would submit, that is second to none; and that's the quality of life here in Nova Scotia.

I am a very proud Nova Scotian, and I'm very pleased that my government continues to improve the environment for economic growth in Nova Scotia, and we'll continue to do that. It will be a top priority of this government to continue the improvement of the environment for economic growth in the Province of Nova Scotia.

My government is going to put more money into economic development. It's going to invest $5 million into a Nova Scotia research and innovation trust. This will help deepen the capacity of our provincial economy. I know that all members share my enthusiasm about our provincial economy and the great opportunities that are available in the Province of Nova Scotia.

Let's take a look, if we can, for just a few moments, at some of the initiatives the Progressive Conservative Government of Nova Scotia has undertaken to improve the economy in Nova Scotia. For example, we will continue supporting the Cape Breton & Central Nova Scotia Railway. That is an economic development measure the good members in the PC caucus and the good members in this Legislature, I believe, understand is very significant and very important to Nova Scotia and especially important to Cape Breton.

I'm very pleased that the MLA for Cape Breton North and the MLA for Inverness really work very hard, both publicly, but, Mr. Speaker, as you know they work very hard behind the scenes, and they're a driving force in seeing the Cape Breton & Central Nova Scotia Railway sustains. The Department of Economic Development has allocated an additional $1.5 million for a total of $2 million in the fiscal 2005-06 budget year to support the CBNS Railway. I'm very proud that my government has taken upon itself to continue supporting the Cape Breton & Central Nova Scotia Railway. Very, very important.

The Learning for Life initiative the Department of Education fosters and supports is another very important program, and it has many initiatives.

[Page 6813]

[3:45 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, it's very important that the government continues, and will continue, supporting the reduction of class size in the early years. More than 1 million books are in our schools, more support for students with special needs, and targeted funds to priority areas, like literacy, math and whole school improvements. I want to commend the Minister of Education, who works very hard, as I say, not only publicly but privately.

Now, in the coming fiscal year, $5 million will be invested to meet our commitments in the Learning for Life initiative, specifically, more resource teachers, speech language pathologists, school psychologists and other professionals to increase support for students with special needs. Reading recovery for Grade 1 students will continue, and Grade 2 students will benefit from smaller class sizes. Grade 2, we're adding Grade 2 to go with Primary and Grade 1. That is very important.

Now let's talk about capital funding, Mr. Speaker. Members seem to, usually, perk their ears up a little bit when we talk about capital funding, and whether it's Transportation and Public Works or Education initiatives, it's very important that capital funds be allocated. The province has committed to carry out construction of 12 new schools. Four schools, Amherst Elementary School, Cumberland Elementary School, Barrington Municipal High School and Hammonds Plains Elementary School will open in 2005-06. I would like to commend the government and the hardworking MLAs for those constituencies. My colleague, the MLA for Shelburne, has worked very hard on behalf of the citizens of the constituency of Shelburne.

My colleague across the way, the member for Dartmouth-Eastern Passage, Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage - Mr. Speaker, when I used to sit in the Chair, I was more familiar with the constituencies. That member also used to sit in the Chair, too. Nonetheless, times change and MLAs move on, but I wanted to point out that those four schools will open during this fiscal year. Obviously when you have many more Tory-held ridings, you're going to have many more projects. It's just a matter of being based on the numbers.

Let's look at a few more. The remaining eight schools - we talked about four - St. Patrick's High School, Queen Elizabeth High School, Western Halifax Regional Municipality High School - I don't hear the NDP caucus saying too much or frowning on a new school, St. Patrick's High School or Queen Elizabeth High School - Harbourside, Robert Jamison High School, and the very hardworking MLA for the Eastern Shore knows very well where that school is going to be, Truro West Elementary School, Northside Elementary School, Musquodoboit Rural High School has found its way on the list, Rankin High School, and Glace Bay Junior High School.

[Page 6814]

Now, Mr. Speaker, again, these schools will open in the subsequent two years. The honourable member for Dartmouth North may have an opportunity to take the floor sometime soon, and he can advocate on behalf of - and I'm sure he is working hard on behalf of his constituents and I'm sure he's pleased that St. Patrick's High School and Queen Elizabeth High School will open within two years. It's much needed in metro. Rome wasn't built in a day, but this government is committed to working hard on behalf the students, parents and teachers in the Province of Nova Scotia, irrespective of the location. I again want to commend the very hardworking, intelligent Minister of Education.

Let's talk about families now, let's talk about a little more support for Nova Scotians. Support to Nova Scotian families continues to be a priority of this government. In 2005-06, an additional $22 million is being added, bringing the annual budget up to $716 million. This funding will be used to support families, individuals and people with disabilities in the Province of Nova Scotia. We are working to improve childcare. I see the honourable member for Dartmouth North nodding in acknowledgement. We appreciate the support of the honourable member for Dartmouth North. We are supporting, and working hard, this government is working hard to support people with disabilities.

As well, we are investing in programs to address family violence. We are increasing income assistance, and we're providing more affordable housing. All these programs go a long way to enhancing families and individuals in Nova Scotia. This a very caring Party, Mr. Speaker, as I'm sure you are aware. Again, it's been a great opportunity to get up and say a few words. I wish there was more time, perhaps on another day I can say a few words on behalf of Nova Scotia and behalf of this government and on behalf of the beautiful Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley. I thank you, Mr. Speaker, and appreciate that another honourable member will follow with some very insightful dissertations. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Clare.

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm pleased to rise and speak going into Supply as well.

Mr. Speaker, this afternoon I want to focus on the need for more family physicians in our province. The vast number of people in Nova Scotia have a family doctor. When I look at the last census of the province, 937,000-odd Nova Scotians, the vast majority of Nova Scotians have a family doctor, but I'm told between 45,000 and 50,000 Nova Scotians don't have a family doctor. Many Nova Scotians are very fortunate to have a family doctor and I guess sometimes we take many things for granted. Luckily these individuals don't have to worry about not having a family doctor. Most Nova Scotians have not experienced yet what it's like not to have your own family doctor and I hope that they will never have to find out.

Unfortunately, as I said, there are thousands, probably anywhere between 45,000 someone said 51,000, but there's a large number of Nova Scotians who don't have a family physician.

[Page 6815]

Mr. Speaker, when I look at the government Web site and look at the physicians available for family physicians throughout Nova Scotia, it states there are 33 physicians available immediately in communities throughout Nova Scotia. I see, Antigonish, Barrington, Bridgewater, Digby, Halifax, Glace Bay, Mahone Bay, Lunenburg, Sydney, Truro, Wolfville, Yarmouth, Bass River, Isaac Harbour, Lockport, River Herbert. Saulnierville, which happens to be in my riding, and Weymouth. So there's 33 physicians being advertised. Communities that are in need of family physicians. It's hard to imagine all these communities are looking for immediate family physicians. Everyone recognizes the difficulties in recruiting family physicians, especially for rural communities throughout Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I recall former Liberal Health Minister, Dr. Ron Stewart, back in the mid 1990s, had introduced incentives for general practitioners in underserviced areas in Nova Scotia. Those incentives included a guaranteed annual income. It also included a signing bonus yearly for five years, and it also provided moving expenses. I'm pleased to see that our current government has kept those incentives in place to help recruit doctors for communities throughout Nova Scotia. Speaking of incentives, it was brought to my attention just recently, even New Brunswick - I have a copy of a press release dated January 31, 2005 - even the Province of New Brunswick came forward with an incentive package in order to attract family physicians in that province.

Many communities have been very active in working together with the provincial government in recruiting doctors. I want to acknowledge all the hard work, all the efforts and all the good work that local municipal councils, local doctors, local residents, local clubs, and many others have done in the past. Mind you, many of them are still involved in many of our communities trying to recruit family physicians for their communities but, today, I want to focus on the need for more doctors, especially for the people of Clare and for the Weymouth area.

Mr. Speaker, we used to have seven family physicians in the Clare-Weymouth area and now we're being served by only four family physicians. The people of Clare and Weymouth are very fortunate to have four outstanding and dedicated family physicians. We have Dr. Michelle Dow, Dr. Alban Comeau, Dr. Don Westby and my own family doctor, Dr. Lionel d'Entremont. We are very grateful for the medical services that they all provide. However, the Clare and Weymouth area are in immediate need of three family physicians. Last September we lost one of our family physicians, who decided to move back to her birth place, back here to the city. Two years ago Dr. McGraw, who had been with us for about seven years, decided to move back to her home. She moved back to Moncton. We also lost a dedicated physician, Dr. Felix Doucette, who had been practising in the Town of Weymouth for the last 42 years. So just imagine the number of patients who were left behind when his practice closed due to his illness prior to his passing.

[Page 6816]

However, Mr. Speaker, practically every day I hear of someone from my constituency of Clare who does not have a family doctor. A few days ago, a gentleman in his early 50s, who was diagnosed with diabetes and colitis, came in to see me, expressing his sincere concerns regarding his health, explaining to me that he didn't have a family doctor to go to. The anxiety was clearly visible in this man's face. Another individual, a 61-year old who recently passed away from cancer, faced the need of finding a family doctor upon discharge from the QE II because this individual's own doctor had left the area. So, again, just imagine the unnecessary anxiety and the discomfort felt by this individual at this late stage in this person's illness.

Another group of concerned citizens is the companies' employees needing medical assessments required for their employment and again, Mr. Speaker, at least once a month I have a call from a constituent looking for a physical or a medical for employment. An appointment for such an assessment is not easily attained when you do not have your own family doctor. It may take several weeks before you can get in to see one of the doctors in our area. Every day someone from our area needs to travel a distance for an appointment, referral, surgery, treatment or a followup and more and more medical reports remain in the patients' charts at the institutions where they were seen because there is no family physician to forward the report to.

I want to share with you, Mr. Speaker, a story that I can recall. I recall getting a call from an elderly man from Clare who went to the QE II for an operation, but before he was discharged, he was asked by the surgeon to whom the report should be forwarded. So, again, this elderly man indicated to his doctor that he didn't have a family doctor at home. Of course, the surgeon, not knowing the situation at home, wanted to know why this man did not have a family doctor. This elderly gentleman broke down at this point and started crying and when he called me upon his arrival from the QE II, he broke down again while he was telling me his ordeal. I tried to comfort him and reassure him by making him aware that he was not the only one in this predicament and that I would do my best to address his concerns.

[4:00 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, who does the yearly physical for men and ladies who don't have a family doctor, or who refills the many prescriptions needed for our seniors? Seniors are unable to grasp the concept of seeing a different doctor when in need; the continuity of care is so important to them. Again, who removes the cast, the sutures that were put in at the ER department and, again, who removes the sutures that need to be removed post-operatively? Who visits the elderly and the sick who are bedridden in their own homes? Who renders to the needs of the home support workers, the RNs, when new orders are needed for treatment or medications? Who renders to the need of the caregivers in the seniors' nursing homes when orders are needed for the care of these individuals? I know, at our nursing home, at the Villa Acadienne in Meteghan, every day some of our residents need to see a doctor, need a prescription, need some doctor's support.

[Page 6817]

Mr. Speaker, this government has talked, has announced, has pledged, has promised a renewed effort to recruit doctors, particularly for rural Nova Scotia, but I'm afraid that if this Tory Government does not hurry up with recruiting we are going to lose some of our own doctors because of the heavy workloads and their responsibilities. Our doctors have long hours and, yes, you have to consider the possibility of burnout. I do not know, and I can't even start imagining to know how our local doctors right now are able to do their job.

The number of patients per practice is certainly beyond acceptable numbers. I recall asking my own family doctor how many patients he had and I remember he told me too many, and then he went on to say, he has over 4,000 patients he's trying to look after. Mr. Speaker, as I understand, according to the Canadian Medical Association, the acceptable numbers of patients for a rural family physician is between 1,600 and 2,000 patients. I know all doctors at home, all four doctors I talked about earlier say they have well over 1,600 patients.

Mr. Speaker, I've heard many residents express their concerns for the well-being of our physicians. Some of them are afraid that they will lose their own family doctors because of their heavy workloads and their schedules. These dedicated professionals, men and women doctors, deserve better working standards and reasonable working standards. Furthermore, our four present doctors in the Clare-Weymouth area work together to provide an on-call service to the people. It's a daily 24-hour rotation which is provided 365 days of the year for urgent medical needs - yes, that includes weekends and holidays.

This on-call service gives reassurance and comfort to our residents. This provides a service for the individuals who do not have a family doctor. Again, this service was made available for urgent medical needs. Luckily, the individuals who do not have their own family doctor are able to access these services for removal of sutures, prescription refills, sore throat, and earaches, as well.

Again, this does not provide the services for the medical yearly checkups. The residents of the area are very appreciative of this on-call system, because they are well aware of the waiting game at the local ER departments at the Digby General Hospital and at the Yarmouth Regional Hospital. I'm told the wait times at the ER in Yarmouth, right now, can be at least six hours; anywhere between six and 10 hours. Again, these dedicated doctors go beyond the call of duty. Covering for a weekend certainly makes a long, enduring 12-day stretch after you've put in five days, a weekend, and then you start again for your next five days.

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

The motion is carried.

[4:06 p.m. the House resolved itself into a CWH on Supply with Deputy Speaker Mr. James DeWolfe in the Chair.]

[Page 6818]

[8:07 p.m. CWH on Supply rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Murray Scott, resumed the Chair.]

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

THE CLERK: That the committee has met, made considerable progress and begs leave to sit again.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

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

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 180

Bill No. 180 - Municipal Government Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

HON. BARRY BARNET: Mr. Speaker, I will be brief. I would like to move second reading of Bill No. 180. However, I do have a few brief remarks. This is a very straightforward bill. The Halifax Regional Municipality wants to offer some of its residential property owners who have been hit by higher than usual municipal tax bills, relief. HRM can only do this if the Legislature amends the Municipal Government Act.

I would like to take this opportunity, first of all, to address issues that arose in Saturday's The Halifax ChronicleHerald. The article, with the help from the member for Timberlea-Prospect, left the impression that this was a provincial initiative, arbitrarily imposing relief on lucky residents of one municipality, leaving others to fend for themselves. Let there be no doubt, this legislation was introduced at the express request of the Halifax Regional Municipality Council. If any of the other 54 councils requested similar legislation, we'd be happy to consider that as well, Mr. Speaker.

[Page 6819]

There's not much to say about the bill. It's about HRM wanting to give a break to its hardest-hit municipal taxpayers. The HRM Council has determined that it can afford to offer this break, so I would suggest the Legislature should not stand in their way. I will be supporting this legislation, and I look forward to comments from other members.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

MS. MICHELE RAYMOND: Mr. Speaker, I'm glad of the opportunity to speak to this bill because, to be quite honest, I was surprised to see it come forward. Bill No. 40 had set itself out as being an attempt to begin to address some of the problems which plague us in the assessment area within this province. It has taken a three-year time frame within which to begin this, however.

My curiosity is, why does Bill No. 180, if it is effectively an attempt to remedy a shortfall in Bill No. 40, not set out to empower other municipalities to do the same thing as HRM? I cannot understand exactly why this bill would be coming forward solely on the initiative of HRM, and why it would not empower other municipalities just as well. It reads in entirely lenient language, and refers to a policy which I understand has not been seen in any way, shape or form by the provincial government. It seems to me that carte blanche is a dangerous precedent to be setting in any such complex and long-term enterprise as that of property assessments.

We are only too well aware that there are difficulties in the property tax assessment in Nova Scotia. We are only too well aware that there are municipalities where the average assessment is not the 7.6 per cent, which has bedevilled the residents of HRM. The average increase of property assessments may be 7.6 per cent in HRM, but in Stellarton it's 9.4 per cent; in Lunenburg, it's 19.1 per cent; Chester, 12.4 per cent; Shelburne, 15.3 per cent. These are municipalities in which it would be reasonable to expect there are a number of property owners whose immediate problems are every bit as dire as those in Halifax.

So, given that we have so many different - I won't say assaults - approaches available to deal with this at the moment, at the municipal level, I am somewhat surprised. There is the much-vaunted property tax rebate program available to any municipality and there are, of course, options in tinkering with or even possibly reducing tax rates, and we know that averaging is certainly a possibility there.

We have several other bills coming to us at the moment, all of which purport to touch on property taxation difficulties - some commercial, but even those have not been specifically unlinked from or uncoupled from the residential issues.

[Page 6820]

We know Bill No. 40 did not address a couple of particular categories of residential properties and those are multiple unit residentially assessed buildings - condominiums and apartment buildings. Two very different sorts of things, both falling under the cap and neither mentioned by name as far as I can see, except in the unseen policy.

I would like to say, once and for all, the temporary tax rebate suggested by HRM is a very, very open sort of terminology to be used. It's one year at the moment, but how temporary is the rebate itself? It may be a temporary program, is the rebate also temporary? Is this a question of averaging? One has no idea. It seems to me, as I would say again, the precedent of giving carte blanche to fine-tune the assessment system rather than carte blanche to fine-tune the applications of the assessment system is a dangerous one. If we're going to do something like this, it should be done for all of the province, all of the municipalities - those suffering now and those which might.

In closing, I look forward to moving this to the Law Amendments Committee. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: I recognize the honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, it gives me pleasure to rise and have a chance to address Bill No. 180, which is designed to amend the Municipal Government Act to allow HRM to have some greater control over the setting or alleviation of some of the tax burden that has fallen to their residents as a result of rising assessments.

It definitely does point to the fact that there were shortcomings last year in Bill No. 40 that was passed here in the House. I think it's important to note at this time that with Bill No. 40, the first thing that I had said last year when I spoke on it was that it didn't cover condominiums, and in HRM in the Clayton Park riding and the Citadel riding and some others there are a great deal of condominiums - many people who live in condominiums, a great number of those units, and therefore I felt it was going to leave a lot of people left out who are suffering from very rapidly rising assessments.

That, in fact, has been the case. In this last year when assessments have risen, the government and the city councillors as well have heard from many condominium owners about the problems they were experiencing where there was no help whatsoever under Bill No. 40. I believe the minister may be looking at making amendments to that, and I hope they are, to make it somewhat more applicable to all of the property owners in the province.

At the same time, the cap that was set in our bill was somewhat high and what HRM councillors have recognized was they had many people who will meet an income threshold - I guess they will determine that in policy - people that they would like to give more assistance to. In their deliberations they talked about those homeowners who experienced assessment increases above the average, the average being 7.6 per cent this year. So, I think their intent

[Page 6821]

is to provide half of that additional lift in assessments, have half of the amount forgiven for those people who qualify if they fall within an income threshold, and I think it's a good thing to do. It will help people here in HRM.

[8:15 p.m.]

What's unusual about it though, is to go through the efforts of making an amendment and a change like this going through the legislative process for a single year. I find that kind of strange, Mr. Speaker, and I think that we might question why any legislative change would be done for a single year. It just seems a little bit short-sighted, so perhaps other changes are being planned that will make this redundant, or maybe we'll intend to extend it at some point in time, but I do question that. I think it's very unusual in this House to be looking at a single year for any legislation and I think we should all be aware of the amount of time and effort and money that goes into preparing legislation and bringing it to this point.

So I think there is a question there, but apparently HRM has requested this. Their councillors would like this power and with that in mind we are certainly supportive of any measure that will help individual homeowners and condominium owners to be able to afford their taxes and to just have a measure of relief from the rising assessments.

Again, last year we had spoken against the bill. We felt that Bill No. 40 was not the right tool or had not been fine-tuned enough to do the job that was needed, and I think that this has pointed that out as well as other private members' bills that have come out in the last couple of weeks, one from the NDP benches, perhaps we'll see others from the government as well. But I think it sort of highlights the fact that there are shortcomings in what was passed last year and I do believe that we saw those coming and I think that more time and effort needs to go into fine-tuning what Bill No. 40 was attempting to do for those areas of the province where really rapidly increasing assessments have been a major problem.

We do fully acknowledge that there are areas that have been very hard hit by this. If the average in HRM is 7.6 per cent, we know it's considerably higher in the South End and along areas where there are lake and water frontages. We know that that's particularly true in certain areas, and I think that it is important to note that the HRM councillors have been grappling with the same kind of problem that we here in the Legislature have and that it is how to provide some kind of . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park has the floor.

MS. WHALEN: I believe the city councillors are dealing with much the same kind of pressure that we ourselves have been experiencing here in the Legislature, trying to respond and find a proper avenue and mechanism to help our citizens to be able to afford to stay in their own homes, which is the goal of all of us as representatives.

[Page 6822]

With that in mind, as I say, I certainly question the idea that it's only for one year and that we may want to see where this is headed in future, but I'm very anxious to see it go to the Committee on Law Amendments and I know that it does have the support of HRM councillors. I'd like to, with that, conclude my remarks and we look forward to the Committee on Law Amendments.

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

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, the minister has urged me to my feet. I urge the member not to get too tied up on what's reported in the media, but it's a nice picture. It shows off the smile. It points out, however, Nova Scotia backs metro tax relief plan. If the minister wants to see his picture again, as long as I can have it for my display in my office, I'll table this and they can make copies and bring it back to me, but let's clarify a few things here, okay, Bill No. 40, was not and to this day is not perfect. We all know that and I know the members of this caucus were lobbied personally, pretty strongly by me, because I had a particular vested interest in one clause in that bill that I felt was extremely important and we call it the homestead clause. That homestead clause was included in that piece of legislation.

It was there because it was the right thing to do at that time and at that time the minister certainly received publicly and privately my commitments and my compliments to the fact that I was proud to see that that was included. So that's very important. I can hear the members of the Third Party say, well, it was a bad bill, why did you vote for it. That's the reason why the members of this caucus supported this member because I said - and they agreed with me at our caucus meetings over the time of looking at that piece of legislation - that clause and its inclusion is important enough to allow Bill No. 40 to go through to the Law Amendments Committee, to listen to what people have to say. It's not perfect, we know it's not perfect, and we see the example again of a particular clause, a particular thing that was not included and it was brought to the minister's attention by the members of this caucus again, the fact that condominiums and multiple rental units were not part of this piece of legislation.

Now, when we bring the legislation forward, we don't have a patent on good ideas, but when the Mayor of HRM comes calling, it's suddenly brought forward by the government. It would seem to me that it could be just as appropriate that the NDP bill could have been called. The NDP bill could have been brought forward to the Law Amendments Committee, the opportunity to discuss, to vote against, or to support particular clauses in the piece of legislation that was brought forward, but that was not the way it was decided to be done.

I would like to clarify, and this is an important thing, let's compliment the influence of the HRM; let's compliment them. They have shown the initiative. They are aware of the problem, but their problem in the HRM and, heaven forbid, I take it back, Mr. Speaker, if we're suddenly going to start talking about the core and the urban area and the suburban area, or the rural area, heaven forbid, but let me tell you where I see assessments going through the roof is the rural area, the coastal area. I'm not talking the South End of Halifax here, I'm

[Page 6823]

talking St. Margarets Bay, I'm talking Terence Bay, I'm talking coastal communities. Those are important parts of this province, coastal communities . . .

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Cow Bay.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Cow Bay, I hear the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage bring forward at this time, but I'm pointing out that those are areas with the HRM. If you want skyrocketing assessments, I want you to know, Mr. Speaker, I will almost guarantee you that Laurence Mawhinney, Mayor of the Town of Lunenburg, will be there at the Law Amendments Committee because if the HRM has a problem, they have little or nothing to complain about in some of their average assessment rates as compared to what is happening in the Town of and the Municipality of Lunenburg and I'm sure that members from the South Shore are fully aware of that. The comment that I made in the media was, and it's a comment that I stick with, I urge the other municipalities to come forward, get onboard because if it's good enough for metro Halifax, surely it's good enough for the rest of this province. (Applause)

That's the one issue that always - and I know you probably hear it at home in Springhill, Mr. Speaker, or maybe the member for Victoria-The Lakes hears the same thing, when you're saying, it seems Halifax always gets the breaks. Here is Halifax showing the initiative and perhaps let's call it like it is, they've done their homework in advance. Someone over there at city hall has said, let's go to the province and let's see if they would consider this particular piece of legislation, but there are other municipal units around this province that perhaps don't have the staff.

I'm not saying they don't have the expertise, I know that we have the previous warden of a municipality here, who's sitting to my left, I know that they perhaps don't have the staff to be able to look at this sort of legislation, but this is the sort of legislation that would really be an important piece of legislation that should be considered in places like Lunenburg. It should be considered in communities such as Baddeck. It should be looked at along the Bras d'Or Lakes. It should be a piece of legislation that applies to all Nova Scotians and not just the HRM and that's the flaw that we see at this stage.

Yet the minister is quite correct, a piece of legislation was initiated and brought to the government by the Halifax Regional Municipality. At this time I believe, yes, I'll have to include that in my comments, you know, the HRM does have the advantage of all the brains and the brain power that comes from Cape Breton and settles in this community. I can tell you that specifically, Mr. Speaker, in the community of Timberlea-Prospect, I'm proud to say that there are streets after streets where I have many young people from Cape Breton who've moved here to work in Burnside. That is an unfortunate development yet it is after all something the HRM has a responsibility to advocate on behalf of their residents and they've done that. There is a short-sighted approach to this piece of legislation, it's a reactive piece of legislation, it's tinkering again with the flaws of Bill No. 40. I guess the question will be, will

[Page 6824]

we ever get assessments right if we do it in this sort of piecemeal fashion? If we do it well this year we're going to add condominiums and furthermore we'll look at properties that have lakefront as opposed to oceanfront.

There could be all kinds of technicalities and specialities here. Let's call it like it is. The assessment department in this province is under attack because of the system and how it's based. I know the member for Dartmouth North and myself, we've met with people in the department before, we've pointed out to them that market value is not the only way to go and we've told them time after time after time, market value is not the only way to go, unless you happen to be a real estate agent. Then of course you're aware of the fact of the line they always give to Nova Scotians, well, it's assessed at that value, just imagine what would you do if you sold that piece of property, if you sold that historic home, if you sold that nice little bungalow in St. Margarets Bay, are you aware of what you could make?

The response that the member for Dartmouth North gave that day was so appropriate, people don't want to sell their little piece of Nova Scotia heaven, they want to keep it, they want to pass it on to their children or their grandchildren. I know that people in the assessment office have their hands tied because of how they're looking at real estate market and market value. That's the safe way to do it, it's not risk taking, it doesn't involve any real outward looking, trying to find a better way of doing it because assessments in this province are in shambles. People are upset with assessments, how they're arrived at, how they're arrived at in areas where you begin to look, well, there was a piece of property sold down around the cove and because it went for $250,000, my grandfather's home that he's lived in for so many years, and made no real improvements to, suddenly jumps through the roof. I should point out, that I'm not just talking about coastal communities. I've heard from other people, I've heard from certain members of the media concerned about the fact that their assessment has jumped because there happens to be a real estate connection to every sale that takes place.

We can all go online and we can all look at how our neighbors are assessed and for what amounts. We all know that this system has been flawed. Now we have another addition to what was Bill No. 40 and it is specifically designed to help out the residents of HRM. I'm sure that members of the Law Amendments Committee will have the opportunity to hear from other municipal leaders. I urge them to come forward and say, if this piece of legislation is good enough for the HRM it's good enough for the rest of this province. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Preston.

MR. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, this is an ongoing problem that all municipalities have, fairness in taxation. It's too bad that the whole system couldn't be changed to a system where you strictly pay for services. If you've got a service, you pay for a service and it's evenly distributed over whatever municipality you're talking about. This bill that's been proposed by the Halifax Regional Council, I realize has had a lot of thought by council

[Page 6825]

and they've identified some problems that they've run into and hopefully they've thought it out very well.

I am very concerned any time they start chopping taxes off of one area and benefit another area that may have the services. The big problem we have in the rural areas is that it's always a concern that our areas are not getting the services for the tax rate we pay. They talk about hefty increases here, there were some articles in The Daily News, one thing and another that said that some of the people had a $50,000 assessment hike in one year. Well, I've got a neighbour who has had, five years in a row, $50,000 a year. That a quarter of a million dollars in five years in the assessment hike and guess what, no more services, absolutely no more services, absolutely nothing. No fire hydrants, no sidewalks, we have no curbs, no sewer, no water - I can go on and on with the list, but that person is paying as much tax as someone in the South End of Halifax who has all the services.

[8:30 p.m.]

I think there has been some effort made here by government to readjust the assessment system. When I was a municipal councillor, the municipality reduced the tax rate two or three years in a row to try to address some of these issues, but the problem is as long as the value in the municipality and other municipalities goes higher and higher because property values go up, the system it is rated on, so will the cost of your property taxes and it's really taking people out of their homes.

I've had some tax sales in my area this year. People with $2,000 owing in taxes have lost their lifetime home because they couldn't pay the taxes, and there's no structure in place to save that. That's the thing we should be talking about here. If someone lives in an area, they have a very expensive home and they can afford to pay the taxes - and again that's all relative because so many people have situations were when they're working they may be able to afford to pay the taxes and the tax increases, but when they retire it's a situation where they can't cope and over time you get major hikes in your assessment which seem to be on an ongoing basis.

I'm a little bit concerned about this process. As my honourable colleague said, it's only for one year, and that's sort of a band-aid. We're getting lots and lots of band-aids on this assessment issue and the taxation issue, and in the meantime while we're putting lots of band-aids all over the place, the tax rates are still going up and people are in jeopardy of losing their homes or having to move from their homes to another location. I think you are going to see a lot of people move outside the regional municipality to the fringe areas where the taxes are lower and they are actually paying for services they receive.

It has been a big controversy in my area, the tax rate and the taxes we do pay. I know there are some people who pay $5,000 or $6,000 property taxes and, again, for what? We get some police protection, which is uniform across the municipality; we get garbage collection;

[Page 6826]

we get fire protection, even though in our area fire protection is part volunteer and part paid firemen.

AN HON. MEMBER: You have to pay for the water.

MR. COLWELL: We have to pay for the water and, not only that, we don't have hydrants every place to supply the fire department so they have to put other equipment in place to compensate for that - reduced response times, and the list goes on and on.

So it makes it very difficult for people in the rural area to understand why they are paying so much tax for very little service. And again, there's no bus service - the list goes on and on.

Then we have this marvellous thing called an area rate, so some councillors get carried away with area rates and all of the sudden the tax rate in the rural area is higher than the downtown core, so figure that out, and with no services, again. The municipal tax review that the municipality did a couple years ago was actually instigated by a question I asked in council at the time I was there. I asked why it was that downtown Halifax was paying 2.2 cents per hundred of assessment for street lights, for a light on every pole, and in my area we were paying 4.6 cents for lights here and there at an area rate. So the CEO at the time couldn't answer my question and very quickly changed the topic and after that we initiated a tax review process which evened out some of the problem, but didn't really address the problem.

It makes it really difficult for people in the rural areas to understand why they're paying such high taxes for such little service, and the argument has always been you're more rural. We have to do other things, every time a new home is built in a rural area - you have a home that attracts $2,000 in taxes for example, that's $2,000 pure profit to the municipality because they don't have to put any water in, no sewer in, they don't have to put any more firemen in place, no more policemen in place, they're not responsible for building the roads, they're not responsible for building the schools or any other service that typically puts your taxes up, but yet they collect the money and say "You guys really are paying your share" - I think more than our share.

So I think that we really have to look at this whole issue as legislators here in this building to see what kind of fair taxing process we can put in place so all residents of any municipality pay fair taxes for the services they receive, and that the municipalities can get the money that they need on a fair basis so they can provide the services they do, but there should be a law passed here that you could not charge taxes for services you do not receive. I believe that's happening right now, as we talk, in the Halifax Regional Municipality in the rural areas. If you really broke the tax rate down, which the municipality has not done and won't do unless it's legislated here to make them do that, I think it would be a very interesting conclusion when that came out.

[Page 6827]

If you look at all the other things, for instance, in the core here, the crossing guards that the municipality pays for - an excellent thing. We don't have any of those in the rural areas, none. So our tax rate doesn't pay for that. In Dartmouth they have sidewalk snow removal. They pay an extra fee for it, but that's not something we will ever have in the rural areas, we have no sidewalks. I think I've got probably about 400 feet of sidewalks in my whole riding. So snow removal on sidewalks isn't really an issue for anyone in my area.

I have a small area where they have sewer and water. The only reason they have sewer and water is because the former City of Dartmouth needed the water supply so the deal was we will give you water and sewer if we can get the water supply from you. So that has been an issue too. Then they go along and charge, the municipality was charging North Preston for instance, for fire hydrants for fire protection, fire hydrants that don't even meet the standards. You can't use them to fight a fire, but yet they were paying property taxes on it. So that shows a lot of the inequity that's going on in the tax rate.

I'm going to support this because a municipal council brought it forward and if it helps alleviate some of these things that will make it better for taxpayers in their area and the property taxpayers, it will be a bonus for all of us, but as soon as you drop taxes in one area, or you remove some of this lift in property taxes, someone else is going to pay the bill, guaranteed. So the tax rate is going to go up or the general assessment rate will soak up the rest of the money. So you could be talking a substantial amount of money when you go through this process.

It's a difficult situation to say to someone you're going to have to put 20 per cent more on your tax bill, or 10 per cent more on your tax bill this year. If you're on a fixed income, or a working family that has kids in school, and their income stays almost stable over the time, if they get faced with a 10 per cent or a 20 per cent increase in your property taxes, it's a serious problem and add that to the cost of insurance costs going up all across the board and all the gasoline costs that you have to travel, home heating fuel, and all those things put together, all of a sudden the burden gets more and more difficult for people to handle every time taxes go up; I really think the solution to this whole thing would be for the municipality to keep reducing the tax rate by substantial amounts, but still be able to do, instead of taking the lift, they take half the lift every year to put new services in place and half the rest of it for other things that the municipality is going to do. They could chop that lift in half and reduce the tax rate. It would be very, very simple for them to do. They've done it in the past, but it appears they have no appetite for that anymore.

But saying those few things, I will support the bill if it does give a reduction to somebody and will help somebody, I think we should go at a further day and have a further discussion on how we can get a fair taxation and I believe this place should have a bill passed here that says you only pay property tax for service you receive. If you do not receive them, you do not pay the property tax.

[Page 6828]

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

The honourable Minster of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

HON. BARRY BARNET: Mr. Speaker, a few brief comments in closing the debate. As members would know, I have indicated publicly in the past that our government intends to bring forward amendments to the regulations for Bill No. 40 that would resolve issues around condominiums and other prescribed types of dwellings. As well, I want to point out for members of the House that over 30,000 Nova Scotia families benefited directly from Bill No. 40, a bill that we believe has been effective.

In addition to that, I would like to say, in regard to the comments made by the member for Timberlea-Prospect, that any municipality that brings forward a request for similar amendments to this legislation, or other legislation, we would be more than happy to consider that, Mr. Speaker. We believe that municipalities have the authority and the jurisdiction to set rates and to establish the amount of taxation that should be levied on each individual home. We know that the assessment of properties has been an ongoing issue for many Nova Scotians. We have made a number of attempts to resolve the issues around fairness. As I have indicated, over 30,000 Nova Scotia families have directly benefited from lower municipal taxes as a result of Bill No. 40. This gives HRM residents an opportunity to benefit as well that otherwise they wouldn't have had.

As I indicated earlier, we are more than happy to look at requests from other municipalities if they bring them forward. I move this bill for second reading. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 180. 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. 177.

Bill No. 177 - Financial Measures (2005) Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

[Page 6829]

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to move second reading and have an opportunity to speak to this bill tonight.

The Financial Measures (2005) Bill enables changes to six Acts of the Nova Scotia Legislature. These changes were included in the 2005-06 budget which we had the opportunity to present last Tuesday. Passage of these bills implements the government's fiscal plan for 2005-06 and specifically reaffirms our commitment to deal realistically and practically with the province's debt.

It's worth noting the government has introduced a budget with an estimated $63.1 million surplus for 2005-06; $57.1 million of the surplus relates to the expected receipt by the province this year of the portion of the $830 million of the offshore transfer. Our government has committed to using these funds to pay down the debt. Bill No. 177 creates a new public debt management fund that consolidates separate funds used previously to manage and retire the province's debt. The requirement to pay any extraordinary revenue in these accounts is continued.

The province will be committed legally to balance its budget without relying on the year's portion of the $830 million related to the offshore agreement brought into revenue this year. The province will be required to maintain that balance throughout the year. As and when we reduce the debt, annual interest charges will be lowered, making the province more attractive to financial markets and providing us with greater flexibility to respond to the issues facing Nova Scotians.

In addition to the issues arising from the offshore agreement, the Financial Measures (2005) Bill touches on some of the key priorities of our budget this year ranging from healthy children to promoting sound, fiscal management with an updated financial management plan. We continue this year to follow through with the commitments we made to Nova Scotians. The Equity Tax Credit continues to help communities each year. It provides flexibility by allowing eligible corporations to obtain equity financing rather than going into debt. Hundreds of companies from Yarmouth to Sydney have benefited from the Equity Tax Credit as it allows them to attain equity financing that was otherwise unavailable.

In addition to housekeeping amendments, we are seeking to improve the pace with which investments are made by labour-sponsored venture capital corporations in this province. Strengthening the minister's power to require these corporations to meet these obligations means the investments promised to Nova Scotia will take place and the expected benefits to these companies from these tax credits will be realized. We work with the Canada Revenue Agency each year to ensure the taxation rules are clear and concise and consistent as possible, making life easier for taxpayers, no matter where they live.

[Page 6830]

As a result again this year, Bill No. 177 includes an amendment to the request of Canada Revenue Agency. New this year is a new tax credit to promote healthy living and participation by our youth in recreation and sporting activities. Improving the health of Nova Scotia's children is a responsibility shared by parents, communities, governments and schools. This year the Province of Nova Scotia is doing its part by investing in an initiative aimed at helping kids get in shape and stay in shape.

We are building on government commitments as we set out the Blueprint for building a better Nova Scotia to increase the small business limit under which the small business tax rate applies. This year the small business threshold is increased for corporate taxes from $300,000 to $350,000 for tax year ending March 31, 2005; and from $350,000 to $400,000 for the tax year ending March 31, 2006 and beyond.

[8:45 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, this measure is a step toward making the Nova Scotia economy more competitive, because a more competitive economy is the only way to guarantee that the required programs and services are available to our families today and tomorrow.

This province's film industry has generated more than $100 million of protection activity in each of the last six years, and consistently employs about 2,000 Nova Scotians. Our government recognizes the film industry's contribution to the economy, and that is why we are extending the film tax credit by 10 years, to 2016. Effective January 1, 2005, the tax credit rate increased to 35 per cent for productions in HRM and 40 per cent for productions outside HRM, with an additional 5 per cent available for third and subsequent productions in any two-year period.

We are also taking another positive step toward encouraging business to invest in Nova Scotia by decreasing the large corporation tax credit on capital, from 0.3 per cent to 0.2 per cent for a four-year period, starting July 1, 2005. This tax applies to 1,400 Nova Scotian corporations. A fair and effective tax system is only as good as our ability to enforce it. Mr. Speaker, Bill No. 177 includes provisions to ensure that there is consistency with the Canada Revenue Agency and the federal Income Tax Act. The bill strengthens and enforces provisions to the provincial Income Tax Act through the inclusion of general anti-avoidance measures.

Also, Mr. Speaker, Bill No. 177 contains provisions touching on issues related to agricultural society year-ends, grants in lieu of taxes for supported institution, residence and tobacco tear tape. These changes come about in a budget that is balanced, the fourth balanced budget this government has brought into the House in as many years. The details of the measures I have spoken about this evening may not fascinate every citizen, but Nova Scotians can take comfort in knowing that our province's fiscal situations continue to improve and that our government is committed to a debt reduction plan that will see a better future for our children and generations to follow. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

[Page 6831]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today as the Opposition Finance Critic to address the Financial Measures (2005) Bill, which is the other important piece of the government's budget. As the minister has stated, what it does is simply legislate all the changes to the existing laws that are made necessary by this year's budget.

Mr. Speaker, we are very pleased about one thing in this Financial Measures (2005) Bill and that is for the first time in a number of years, the government hasn't used this bill as an omnibus bill to throw in everything that they could think of. We only have to go back to last year, for example, to remember that the government threw in at least a couple of completely gratuitous provisions that had no connection whatsoever to the budget that they knew would be controversial, and if I may use such a word, the government tried to sneak through the House by putting them into the Financial Measures (2004) Act.

Mr. Speaker, we are pleased to see that this year's Financial Measures (2005) Bill is, at the very least, confined to measures that were discussed in the minister's budget. The government learns its lessons slowly, but it does eventually learn its lessons.

There are many provisions in this bill which are highly technical. Many are suggested by the Canada Revenue Agency in order to harmonize federal and provincial income tax. So it's certainly not my intention to deal with everyone. You will be aware, of course, that one of the difficulties in dealing with a bill such as this on second reading is that the debate on second reading is supposed on the bill's principle, but in a bill like this which contains quite literally, dozens of sections amending, I think the minister said at least five different laws, there is no particular connection between all the different clauses. There's no principle as it runs through the bill. So, I hope, Mr. Speaker, you'll forgive me if I come a little closer than we normally do in second reading referring to particular sections of the bill.

What I'd like to do is highlight the provisions of the Financial Measures (2005) Bill that are more than routine, that are more than technical and, Mr. Speaker, there are only six. First of all, this bill implements a tax credit for children's sport and recreation costs. The government has hit upon the happy name of the healthy child tax credit in order to describe this credit that is being made available to Nova Scotians.

Now, Mr. Speaker, who can argue with a healthy child tax credit? It's a good thing. But there's a couple of problems that I would be remiss if I didn't point out about this so-called healthy child tax credit. The first one, of course, is that it is so very meagre. The only thing the government could do that would be less would be to do nothing, because the tax credit is going to average, for each family who qualifies, $15. Now, $15 is not going to affect the behaviour, in my opinion, of very many Nova Scotia families. The families that already have their children in sport and recreation programs are going to continue to do that, and they'll get their up to $15.

[Page 6832]

The families that don't do it are not going to be impelled to do it by the offer of an extra $15 off their taxes, especially if you have programs like hockey, or anything that costs a substantial amount of money for equipment. Even soccer has an equipment cost - one of the reasons it's so very popular, and I'm pleased to say that it's a sport I played most in my youth - over and above the registration fees. Mr. Speaker, so that's the first problem with the so-called healthy child tax credit, and that is that it is so very small. It's one example of how, throughout the budget, the government has taken very small steps, almost as if they want to be able to say, look, we're doing something, even if it's not very much.

But there's a bigger problem with the healthy child tax credit, Mr. Speaker, and I'll say this about healthy children, if this government wants healthy children, really wants healthy children, then I'll tell them, on behalf of our caucus, what they need to attack. What is the biggest threat to Nova Scotia children today? It's not sitting around, doing nothing, not being active enough. It's not smoking, it's not drinking, it's not gambling. The biggest threat to our children is poverty. If you want to have a healthy child, then let's do something about the poverty in which far too many Nova Scotia children live. That is the way to achieve healthy children in Nova Scotia. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, this government does not have a poverty agenda. I don't believe this government knows what a poverty agenda looks like. This government is doing nothing, or next to nothing, about providing adequate support and income for Nova Scotia families who are in need of assistance.

I will say, Mr. Speaker, from my consistency alone, there are far too many children living in poverty. There's no nice way to describe it. I would love to be able to take some of the ministers over there to the parts of my community that are simply poor. But then I doubt that they would necessarily want to do that, because in every one of their communities, there are children who are poor.

Here's the great irony of this healthy child tax credit, so-called, it's that those poor families don't qualify for it. The children who are most in need of this government's help, and they offer a very small healthy child tax credit, but it's not available to poor people, because in order to take advantage of this tax credit, you have to be earning enough money to pay the provincial tax. As we went through with the $155 cheques that this government handed out before the last election, you only qualify for this if you earn enough money to pay tax, and there are literally hundreds of thousands of Nova Scotians who do not earn enough money to pay tax.

This healthy child tax credit is a non-refundable credit. I checked this out with the Department of Finance and they have confirmed for me that it is a non-refundable credit which means that poor people, that people whose children most need the support of their government, are out of luck again.

[Page 6833]

The second thing that this bill does is deal with corporate taxes. Contrast what the government is doing on corporate taxes with what they are doing on child poverty. Contrast what they're doing with the personal allowance in residential care facilities, $10 increase. A very meagre increase in social assistance rates which, for the second year in a row, won't even match inflation. The real income of people most in need of the help is actually falling. Contrast that with what's being done for our largest corporations. This is a budget and this a Financial Measures Act, that offers no help to people but offers help to the largest corporations, some of which are enormously profitable already, thank you very much.

Now the government's doing two things, one of which we can support and one of which we have a harder time with. The first thing is that there is an increase in the exemption level for the small business threshold. We certainly support that. The government could be doing a lot more for small business. Support for small business is one of those things that everybody talks about but so very little is actually done about so this a very small step to help Nova Scotia's small business, which as we all know and gets repeated in this house over and over again, they're the real drivers of the economy, especially of employment. Those small businesses, they're not going anywhere. They're not about to pack up and leave when the government subsidies run out because Nova Scotia is their home, where they want to be, it's where they're going to stay; any help they can get is most welcome. We can definitely support that.

One of the many ironies, one of the almost Kafkaesque ironies of government, the small-business deduction is also available to larger businesses. So the largest Nova Scotia businesses get the same break as the small businesses; even though they're not small businesses, they get a small business deduction. Only in the world of government that you can have a situation where every business, no matter how large, gets advantage of a deduction called the small business deduction. How much is that going to cost us, offering it not just to truly small businesses but to every business? We don't know because the figure's not in the budget document.

Then there is, over and above this, the decrease in the large corporation tax rate, something that this government didn't promise in the last election. When they raised the rates last year they didn't say that they were going to reduce it the following year. This is an unpromised bone being thrown to large corporations which the government justifies by saying, well, it creates jobs. Of course, they can't prove that, it's just an article of conservative ideology. Giving money to companies is good. It doesn't matter that this government can produce not one iota of evidence that this is going to create one single job in Nova Scotia.

When they engaged in the $155 taxpayer refund program before the last election, the Department of Finance documents which we obtained after the election showed that not even the government had any information about what impact this would have on the Nova Scotia economy. At the very best, you could say that the government didn't know. At the very worst, the government's own data showed that it would have a negligible impact on the economy

[Page 6834]

because all it did was shift spending from one place to another place. That's all it did, and they would trumpet the fact that with this $155 retail spending would go up. Of course it would, you're putting it in the hands of consumers so of course retail spending is going to go up, but then spending in other sectors of the economy goes down. For every $155 that's spent in the retail sector, there was $155 less to spend on roads, on schools, on paying public servants, all the things that government does.

[9:00 p.m.]

So all it did was shift the money around, and the government's own analysis showed that it was such a small amount that they couldn't even track its impact on the economy. That's even more true of this large corporation tax deduction, which despite its size, $53 million over four years, it can't be tracked. The government has no idea where this money is going. As I said in the debate on the budget itself, Mr. Speaker, since ING, Nova Scotia's largest and one of the most profitable auto insurers, gets the benefit of this large corporation tax rate, what do you think is going to happen to the money? It's going to disappear out of the province like the rest of ING's profits. It's not going to create one single job, and the government knows that but it doesn't stop them from standing up and claiming the opposite.

What do you do with that? What do you do when you have a government that has ministers that are prepared to stand up and say things that aren't true? Like the Minister responsible for the Insurance Act standing up the other day and saying public auto insurance doesn't work. It works, it works great, and it's been working for 30 years. I grew up in Manitoba and the first insurance that I've ever had was under Manitoba Public Auto Insurance. Guess what, Mr. Speaker? It works fine, and it's a heck of a lot cheaper than the insurance that's available in Nova Scotia - and the only organization that doesn't agree with that is the right-wing propaganda machine, the Fraser Institute. That's the study that our minister stands up and cites over and over again even though nobody, outside the Fraser Institute, believes it's true.

What are you going to do with a government that stands up and says this large corporation tax cut is going to create jobs. Clearly it's not true, because even if it were true they would have to acknowledge that when they raised it last year it killed jobs - am I seeing the government ministers agreeing with that? I'm seeing government ministers nod their heads over there and say yeah, they acknowledge now that raising it last year killed jobs. So if we're going to lower it over the same amount over four years, that means gradually over the next four years, we're going to get the same jobs back that they killed all at once last year. Of course you know they're not going to say that, Mr. Speaker, because you know they're not going to stand up there and acknowledge that. They're just going to stand up with the Conservative ideology and say "Yup, hand money to corporations, that has gotta be good", whether they can prove it or not.

[Page 6835]

The third thing this bill does, Mr. Speaker, is it improves and enriches the film industry tax credit. I won't spend a lot of time on this since it's clear that all three Parties in the House support that. We certainly called for that, I know the Liberal Party called for that, and I know the government eventually came onside. It's a good thing for our film industry, but we have to ask ourselves the question: How far do we go with this? Every year for the number of years the film industry tax credit has gone up and, as soon as we get to a certain level, we get outbid by competing provinces, so how far can we go down this road?

I don't think that question has been properly answered. Clearly we can't continue to enrich the film industry tax credit every year. There comes a point when, essentially, our government would be propping up the film industry. This is a government who said they're not into propping up any private industry. There comes a point - which it appears we haven't reached yet, but we will someday - when we've just gone too far, and even if we get undercut by another province we won't be able to go any further. It would be interesting to know where the government thinks that point is, but at the very least we can support this provision in the Financial Measures (2005) Bill.

Then there's something else that's interesting, Mr. Speaker, the government is finally implementing something that has been in federal tax law for a very long time. Something mysterious and complicated called general anti-avoidance rules. These have been around for a long time. I remember when I was in law school, oh those many years ago, it's getting to be almost 20 years since I was in law school, that's hard to believe, but we were studying - even back then, when I had a full head of wavy hair - general anti-avoidance rules even back then. When the Government of Nova Scotia decoupled its income tax system, gosh, it has got to be four years ago now, it's hard to believe that they didn't include this before now, but there they are.

What it is, it is just a general rule, forget all the super technicalities of income tax law, if a transaction is designed to avoid tax, if its essential purpose is to avoid paying tax, then it can, in principle, be disallowed. Now, this brings us into harmony with federal rules and that's the reason that we're doing it now. But what it does, Mr. Speaker, also, it underlines a very fundamental point about tax law - is that our whole system is premised on the idea that every Nova Scotian, or as many as possible, has to believe that the tax system is fair. They have to believe if they're going to be expected to pay their fair share every year, they have to know that other people are paying their fair share too. Because once Nova Scotians stop believing that, it's a slippery slope to chaos. We see this around the world in new democracies, in developing countries, when people stop paying their taxes, people say, it's not fair, I'm not going to pay my taxes either and then you have chaos.

The only way we keep the system going - well, two things keep the system going - one is that people believe the system is fair; and the other one, of course, is the heavy hammer of the Canada Revenue Agency, people have to believe that if they cheat on their taxes they will eventually be caught and punished.

[Page 6836]

Now, what the government has never done is actually try to persuade Nova Scotians that the existing tax system is fair. It's something that my Party has promised through the last couple of elections. I remember a past Liberal Premier mocking that promise, Mr. Speaker. Of course, he and his Party ended up in third place in the ensuing election, although I wouldn't say it was because of that, but I think that particular Premier just chose the wrong things to mock. But one of the promises that we've made now, is that the tax system in Nova Scotia has to be re-examined, because we've gone far too long without a proper examination of whether the tax system is fair. Is everybody paying their fair share?

Now, it's interesting that in the budget presented by the minister and in the Financial Measures (2005) Bill there is no discussion of this except for the general anti-avoidance rules. But mysteriously, Mr. Speaker, the promise, the commitment to review the tax system is found in the Department of Finance's business plan for 2005-06, a document that is not tabled with the budget, to which the minister made no reference in his Budget Address, but according to the Department of Finance's business plan, there will be in this fiscal year a comprehensive review of the Nova Scotia tax system. To which I say, that's great. It does take the government, this government, a long time to catch up with the ideas that we offer. An idea that we've been offering now for at least six years and I'm glad to see that they're finally catching on. But what we need are the details. When? By who? What are their terms of reference? If you're promising us a tax review, what can we expect? We agree that that is important, but we need more details and we need them soon.

Mr. Speaker, the fifth thing that this bill accomplishes is it makes a change to the Municipal Grants Act. The thorny question of the taxation of university residences, which is important for my municipality, the Halifax Regional Municipality, which is the home to so many fine post-secondary institutions and post-secondary residences, but it's also important to places like the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, Wolfville, Antigonish, the home of the Université Sainte-Anne. Any place with a university residence, this is an important matter, because they don't get the full value of property taxation for these university residences.

The Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities has asked for 100 per cent grants in lieu. The current rate is 40 per cent. This bill puts it up to 50 per cent. Certainly that's something we can support. It is a thorny question, and it is difficult to see how, in the long run, it is possible for this Legislature to avoid moving it up to 100 per cent. We're not saying that has to happen in one year. We recognize that it's a difficult question, but it's hard to see why municipalities should have to put up with 40 per cent or 50 per cent of the value of the property on which those university residences happen to sit.

Mr. Speaker, the final thing that I want to talk about in this Financial Measures (2005) Bill, that is the items that are more than merely technical, is the government's debt management plan. Well, it's good the government has a debt management plan. What they've done is they've tossed out last year's debt management plan, they've abandoned that one, which was released with such fanfare and then amended with a little less fanfare, and now

[Page 6837]

they've completely tossed it out. Now they have a new debt management plan, because they're expecting a great deal more money from Ottawa.

Mr. Speaker, I've said many times before, and I said it in my Address in Reply to the Budget, that if there is one thing that just makes me angry about government in Nova Scotia, it is this 1,000-pound millstone that past governments have left around our necks. This incredible, growing debt, $12.3 billion, which sucks up $900 million a year in interest alone. Just imagine if we had a debt that took interest payments of half that amount. Of course we can all agree that some debt is good. Just like Nova Scotians know that if you have debt for a house, that can be good; if you have debt for a car, that can be good. Some debt is good if you have an offsetting asset. Everybody knows that, and it's no different for the government.

But we have about $2 billion of assets to show for that debt, and it doesn't take a mathematical genius to see that we have about $10 billion of debt and nothing to show for it. Imagine if that $900 million a year was $500 million or $400 million. The government's room for discretionary spending is so small. There's so much that just has to be laid out every year, that what we end up fighting over in this Legislature, Mr. Speaker, is remarkably small sums of money. So very much is committed, just to keep a basic system running - $900 million in debt, $2.5 billion, almost $2.6 billion for health care, $1.2 billion, $1.3 billion, I think it is now, for Education, over $700 million for Community Services, and that's just to keep the wheels turning.

It leaves a remarkably small amount of money that is in any sense discretionary. Just imagine if the interest on our debt was half of what it is today. There would be so much more that we could do to tackle the poverty agenda, so much more that we could do to deal with roads for that matter, or promoting excellence in education, both for our children in the P-12 system and in the post-secondary institutions of which we're so proud. Just think how much we could do, but we can't because of this 1,000-pound millstone around our necks.

As a result of this government's debt management plan, we can take about 20 pounds off that millstone. Mr. Speaker, we're not going to notice an awful lot of difference. This is perhaps what is most discouraging about the Offshore Accord, and that is that despite what appears to be a very large sum of money, it's actually going to make a really small dent in that debt. It just makes me so angry about what past governments have done. It's not this government's fault, it's not even, much as I like to talk about the Liberals, much as I like to point out the weaknesses of the Liberal Party, it's not even, strictly speaking, their fault.

Mr. Speaker, let's be clear about who ran up the debt. It wasn't the Regan Liberal Government, they passed along a fairly modest debt - it was that, sorry, I have to not use unparliamentary language - it was that Buchanan Government. From 1978 to 1990 and then the Cameron Government that followed them just spent money like drunken sailors. They didn't look past their own noses and they ran up this enormous debt with nothing to show for it.

[Page 6838]

[9:15 p.m.]

Then when the Liberals came in, let's be frank, they inherited one heck of a mess. They didn't even have a straight set of financial books to deal with, they had to spend their first year or more in office just figuring out just how bad the situation was that had been bequeathed to them by the previous Progressive Conservative Government. They tried, after their fashion, to do something about it, but by the time their term was over - 1997, '98, '99 - they were just tired and they had completely given up on any attempt to deal with the debt.

So, they inherited a substantial debt and a province in financial disarray. Let's never understate what they inherited. But, at the end of their term - their six years in office - they, too, had added an extra $3 billion to the debt. In the 1999 budget, the one that ultimately was defeated, they were proposing to borrow another $600 million off-book debt and they said that would save the health care system.

Then this government, despite its best intentions, has run up the debt even further. Now, again, since I'm in the spirit of fairness, one of the main reasons why this government has run up the debt is because they finally published an honest set of books and they took on all the debt - NSRL, Sydney Steel, all the things that had been left off in a filing cabinet somewhere and the government would pretend it didn't count, but of course, it did count because the people of Nova Scotia owed the money.

Having said that, they have run up a modest debt of their own, but whatever happened, whoever's fault it is - I know I dwell on this, but this is the thing about Nova Scotia politics that just makes me so angry, that whoever's fault it was - we have this debt and it leaves us so little room to deal with the real issues confronting Nova Scotians today. So this government's debt management plan which is embodied in the Financial Measures (2005) Bill is such a modest attempt to deal with the debt.

Having said that, we agree with it. We support it. We think that the rate and the rhythm at which this government proposes to pay down the debt is the appropriate one. The Liberals say it should be paid down faster, but then they skate around the issue of what services they would cut in order to pay it down faster or what taxes they would raise. They completely refuse to deal with that question and you can't have it both ways. You can't say the debt should be run down faster and then refuse to say how you would do it.

So, we agree with the government, but at the same time we have to acknowledge what a tiny, tiny dent this government's debt management plan is going to make in that debt, that after all these years, still hangs around our neck.

What is our caucus' attitude to the Financial Measures (2005) Bill? It matters on this bill more than on most because this bill - unlike almost any other - is a matter of confidence in the government. It is an integral part of the government's budget. If this bill is defeated, the

[Page 6839]

government falls. So we have to approach it with the appropriate measure of seriousness, the appropriate measure of weighing all of the factors because it is no small thing to defeat a government, as we are learning with all the turmoil in Ottawa.

I still haven't come across anybody in my constituency who thinks this is the right time for a federal election, but it appears the federal Conservatives know differently. For some reason, in their ridings, people appear to be telling them something different than anything I've heard.

But, anyway, it's no small thing to have a provincial election over a budget. It's no small thing to have a provincial election at the same time as a very probable federal election. At a time when the federal government is in turmoil, there is a certain amount to be said for some stability on the provincial scene, but our reaction to the Financial Measures (2005) Bill is the same as it is to the budget. Of course, if we're going to vote against the Financial Measures (2005) Bill, we're going to vote against the budget. If we're going to vote against the budget, we're going to vote against the Financial Measures (2005) Bill. It's not like we're going to support one and oppose the other.

Our attitude towards this bill is the same as it was to the budget. We are pleased at some of the measures. We're pleased, Mr. Speaker, with the healthy child tax credit, but it is so very little in the face of such very great need. We are wary of this government because more than once what they do falls so far short of what they say and some of the promises in the budget and in the Financial Measures (2005) Bill. In fairness, we would need time to see whether they can actually follow through on what they say they're going to do, particularly on this issue of waiting times.

We're disappointed, Mr. Speaker, at some of the choices the government has made at the time when the Financial Measures (2005) Bill contains no real break for people. There's no break on the HST on family essentials. There is nothing in the budget or the Financial Measures (2005) Bill where I can point to it and say to the people in my constituency, look, this is what you get if this budget passes, this thing here, this is good for you and your family, this is going to make a real difference to you and your family. At most it's a few dollars here, a few dollars there.

They are not going to notice any difference in their day-to-day lives if we pass this Financial Measures (2005) Bill and we are disappointed in that, Mr. Speaker. To the extent that the government had some discretionary spending, they chose to give it to large profitable corporations like ING instead of to the people. That is not a choice this caucus would have made. We are very disappointed that that is a choice that they made and so ultimately we are surprised at how difficult our decision is going to be. We were hoping, expecting, it was going to be easier. We were hoping and expecting that we would see something like last year's budget, a real win for the people of Nova Scotia.

[Page 6840]

What this government did on long-term care, Mr. Speaker, was a good thing last year. It was the right thing to do. Unfortunately, the implementation has proven to be more problematic than it should have been and we are very disappointed to find out that the good in that initiative has been tarnished by some of this government's choices over exactly how to implement it. So we are surprised at how difficult our choice ultimately is. We will, as part of the budget, be considering very carefully this Financial Measures (2005) Bill. We have been and we will be up until the vote comes on the estimates and on this Financial Measures (2005) Bill, we will be consulting with the people in our constituencies and beyond - what is it that they want - does this government deserve to survive through another budget cycle or is it time that the choice was put to the people about the choices that this government has made versus the choices that this caucus would make on behalf of the people that we represent? It remains to be seen.

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

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, it's a pleasure to join in the debate this evening on the Financial Measures (2005) Bill. I might say it's a hard act to follow the profound musings of the member for Halifax Fairview, scintillating to say the least, everyone on the edge of their seats for that address I'm sure.

AN HON. MEMBER: Riveting.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Yes, rivetting. It is a pleasure to speak this evening for a few moments on Bill No. 177. This bill is important to government. It's an enabling bill to the budget and it's also a companion bill. In short, Mr. Speaker, it's a money bill and it's one of the few bills that could be called that would result in the defeat of the government if it does not receive a majority of votes and in this particular House with a minority government, that's always a possibility.

I speak from experience, Mr. Speaker. When I was House Leader sitting in that chair over there with a government of 19 members in a House of 52 and was being prodded every day of the week to call the Financial Measures Bill and steadfastly refused because I knew that the guillotine was going to drop the minute I did. So somehow the government went on for awhile without this money bill being passed in the House, but at the appropriate time the current government, with the help of the NDP, put an end to our government anyway and the Financial Measures Act was still on the order paper . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: Put them out of their misery.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Yeah, that's right, the only thing good about it was that the NDP didn't take over.

[Page 6841]

Anyway, Mr. Speaker, because as bad as this government has dealt with the finances of this province in terms of the long-term debt, I shudder to think where that long-term debt would be today if the NDP were governing this province - probably twice as much, because all they know is tax and spend, and that has been proven right across this land time and time again.

The most interesting part of this bill, Mr. Speaker, is the debt management fund and the commitment to ensure that the $830 million can't be used to balance the budget. In other words, the budget must be balanced without the offshore fund. While the intention is noble, that is not what government is doing. The reality is that $830 million is a key part of the budget. Without the offshore money, the surplus would be a razor-thin $6 million. If that's the case, then why is the government claiming this budget has a $63 million surplus? If this bill becomes law, then government must change that part of the budget.

It's simply smoke and mirrors, Mr. Speaker, the debt reduction plan is a sham. It will until 2009 before the debt goes back to the levels of today. How can that be? How can the government say it's putting the $830 million on the debt, but the debt will still grow by $90 million this year. So here's what we have - government claims a $63 million surplus, the debt is going up by $90 million and supposedly the offshore money is going to the debt. I would like the government to explain that to Nova Scotians. How can the Premier say that the $830 million is going to the debt, but the debt keeps going up? I think the government should do an advertising campaign to explain that one to the people of Nova Scotia because I certainly haven't been able to figure it out.

Mr. Speaker, after all is said and done, this government is still borrowing $340 million. So my question to the government, when is this going to stop? The Premier promised that in 1999 and again in 2001, that the debt would stop growing. In fact, let's look at what the Premier said about the debt and we'll let Nova Scotians decide on whether or not those statements were truthful. On April 17, 2001, the Premier told this Legislature, "Mr. Speaker, what I will confirm is that a year from now this government will introduce a balanced budget and from that day onward the debt of this province will no longer grow." So, did the Premier break his promise? Sounds like a "yes" to me - that was his quote, not mine.

On March 25, 2002, the Premier wrote in The ChronicleHerald, "To be sure, there are some people who suggest that government should continue borrowing on the debt and spending beyond its means. I don't believe there is merit to this argument. Such an approach might feel good today, however we need to ask ourselves who pays for it tomorrow." The Premier said that, yes - who pays for it tomorrow?

This is the best opportunity in 30 years to stop adding to the debt and start paying it down. This Premier is losing that opportunity for a whole generation. It's funny that back in 1999 the Premier wouldn't support the budget because it added to the debt, and he voted against the budget because it added to the debt. Since the Premier came to office the debt has

[Page 6842]

grown by $2.5 billion - $2.5 billion is the entire health budget this year, $1 billion more than in 1999. If you don't believe me, let's look at what the Premier told The ChronicleHerald on New Years Eve, 2001, "On June 18, 1999, the Conservative caucus voted against the budget with a $600 million deficit. I told Nova Scotians that in good conscience I could not support more debt." That was a direct quote from the Premier on New Year's Eve, 2001.

So does the Premier now, in good conscience, add to the debt? The Premier does not have one iota of credibility on the debt management program. He broke this promise, and those are his statements that I've outlined to you and he has clearly misled Nova Scotians on the provision of debt retirement versus debt increasing.

[9:30 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, this bill does have some good clauses, including the tax credit for participation in recreation. Unfortunately, that only amounts to about $15 in tax savings per child. A good measure, but in many respects it's a half measure. I was pleased to see the film tax credit increase but, again, it does not match that of Manitoba, and the incentives to film outside of Halifax are not adequate.

Mr. Speaker, this particular tax credit is a real sore spot with those of us who come from the other end of this province. When we were in government, we set up the sound stage in Point Edward, in Cape Breton, to develop the film industry. We did that with a purpose. It was a new industry for the area. We trained people to work in the film industry and the stage production industry in Cape Breton. When we did, we as a government wanted the tax credit to increase to 35 per cent at the time and on to 40 per cent which, at the time, was catching up with Newfoundland and Labrador.

Pit Pony was a successful production in that sound stage in Cape Breton. There were other productions and possibilities of new productions on the sound stage in Point Edward. What happened, Mr. Speaker, is when this crowd came into office, they backed up the tax credit in Cape Breton, destroyed the film industry in Cape Breton and now, lo and behold, once the film industry is no longer alive in Cape Breton, the sound stage is gone, it is now a warehouse. The workers have all migrated to work in the film industry somewhere else. Guess what the government does? They reinstitute the tax credit after they've destroyed the industry in Cape Breton.

So you have to wonder what was on the government's mind when they could not have done the increases in the film tax credit when they took power, but had to wait until the sound stage was destroyed and all the workers who had been trained in the film industry had left. A great opportunity wasted by the government to promote an industry in Cape Breton.

The big disappointment in the budget is that there are no tax measures to stimulate the rural economy that was promised in 1999, but like most other promises, it was broken. The

[Page 6843]

bill, Mr. Speaker, highlights a series of disappointments rather than accomplishments. What we have is a government that has lost its way from what it promised back in 1999, a year full of promises, full of hope. What we have is six years of missed opportunity, six years of neglecting our education system, six years of increased fees and taxes, particularly user fees, six years of neglecting our roads, six years of watching our offshore industry deteriorate - and I will say a few things about that in a moment - six years of no growth in the tourism sector, six years of skyrocketing tuition, six years of rural depopulation, watching our small communities slowly die. Where is the investment in rural Nova Scotia that was promised? This budget tries to make up for six years of lost opportunity. The question on the minds of all members is whether this government deserves our support. Our Party understands the choices that government must make. The difference, however, is our Party had $1.8 billion less in revenues than the current government.

I want to talk about the offshore for a moment. The Sable project laid the foundation for growth throughout the first six years of this government. Where is the incentive to grow our offshore? The Sable project is the only project that is viable and was viable, created a lot of jobs in Nova Scotia, a great deal of jobs, a great deal of activity here in metro, with offices springing up all over the place, with people working in good jobs, and the excitement that Sable brought to the province. What has happened since, Mr. Speaker? The only thing that happened was this government changed the name from the Petroleum Directorate to the Department of Energy. There hasn't been one project brought in by this government in the offshore industry since this government came to power.

I don't know why we have a Minister of Energy and a whole floor full of people working over there in the same building that we're in, when there's nothing going on in the energy sector. I'm going to drop down to their office one day and find out what they're all doing over there because there is no activity in the offshore - nothing. I would love to be - that has to be the best job in Nova Scotia, to be - the Minister of Energy. It has to be the best job in Nova Scotia to have a Cabinet position, to be the Minister of Energy because he has absolutely nothing to do. Absolutely nothing. (Interruption)

At least, that's right because the member opposite says I wanted to create the ministry, I certainly did because when I was Minister of the Petroleum Directorate, we had Sable. The reason this government is getting over $800 million from the federal government today is because of the Sable project, not anything this crowd did to bring anything in the energy sector to Nova Scotia. All this money came as a result of the Sable project, the much-maligned Sable project. Well, it was maligned by this crowd, but what have they done? What projects has this government brought into Nova Scotia since they came to power? None. Absolutely none. Now, if anybody could stand on their feet and refute that, do so.

This Minister of Transportation and Public Works and his government chased Sempra Gas out of the province when they were wanting to run laterals throughout the province to distribute natural gas, when it was viable to do it. They wouldn't make a decision for a whole

[Page 6844]

year until Sempra threw up their arms and said, I'm not going to do business in this backwater and they left. Because this government had no plan for the offshore, still doesn't have a plan for the offshore, has a minister with a department of high-paid people over there doing absolutely nothing, absolutely nothing. All the major oil companies have left. They've all left. You don't see them, all the offices are closed. There's nothing going on in the offshore.

Yet, we have the resources out there to make this province a have province, to make this province much more successful than even the Sable project did in the late 1990s. Without the Sable project we wouldn't be debating the potential for $830 million in additional revenue. I want to remind Nova Scotians again, and all members of this House, that it was the Liberal Government that brought the Sable project to Nova Scotia and it is the Progressive Conservative Government that's benefiting from that project to the tune of $830 million coming from the federal Liberal Government. So, it all adds up to the provincial Liberal Government when it was in power - it brought the projects here, the federal Liberal Government is giving this crowd the money to balance their books in Nova Scotia and still the debt goes up.

What has this government done? Nothing. The House Leader the other day credited the Premier for good negotiating in Ottawa. Negotiating what? He negotiated a deal that was predicated on the fact that the previous Liberal Government in this province brought Sable into this province and the federal government lived up to its promise, a promise that was kept by the Martin Government.

You could stand here and argue that Nova Scotia got a good deal or they didn't get a good deal on the royalty program. You can argue that until the cows come home, but what you can't argue is, this government and its current Minister of Energy and its current Department of Energy has brought nothing to this province, nothing in the way of new development in the energy sector for Nova Scotia. You can't point to one solid thing this government has done with regard to developing our offshore or resources, not one thing.

That is a terrible legacy that when this government leaves office, soon, that they will leave behind. Absolutely nothing in the offshore. As I said, if there were ever a job in Nova Scotia that was a job that would rival any other job in terms of its - I'm looking for a word here because I'm trying to get the correct word - what I will say is that this is the best job. I will say this, the Government House Leader works hard, there's no question about that. What they should do is do away with the Ministry of Energy and put it under the House Leader. It wouldn't be any more strain on him because there's nothing going on in that department anyway. He could handle it.

Listen to this, Nova Scotians should really know what's going on here. They talk about balancing the budget. There's $55 million in forfeited offshore leases that go back to the government in revenue. What does that mean? All these oil companies have left. They forfeited their leases, the money goes back into the provincial Treasury, and the provincial Treasury

[Page 6845]

puts it on their books as a surplus. Now what a way to get a surplus. All the oil companies have left the province, and turned in their leases and said we no longer want to do business here, we can't do business with this crowd, they're strangling us in regulations, they're not offering any incentives, they don't want us here.

So they all left, just like Sempra left when the Minister of Transportation and Public Works put the run on them, because he wouldn't allow them to put laterals across the highways or the secondary roads in Nova Scotia. He held them up for a whole year. Every other place in the world was doing it but here. So Sempra left. Well, I would ask the minister to explain, why did Sempra leave - at some future point.

Instead of growing the industry and moving it forward, this government is feeding on the decline. This government is feeding on the decline in the industry, not in the growth of the industry but in the decline of the industry. Nova Scotians have to know that. The reason they're $55 million richer is because these oil companies have left and turned in their leases, forfeited them, said see you later, we don't want to do business in Nova Scotia, we'll go elsewhere with our major companies.

I guess the question, Mr. Speaker, is can Nova Scotia stand another year of this kind of inaction? I don't think so. If this kind of thinking continues, this $830 million will be the last cheque this government gets from the offshore. Again I remind Nova Scotians, this money is coming as a direct result of the Sable project, a project brought to Nova Scotia by the Savage and MacLellan Governments of the late 1990s. This crowd had nothing to do with it. I think Nova Scotians should know that, and they know that. They know that since they've come to power there has been nothing done in the offshore, absolutely nothing, except certain members of the government like to attend offshore conferences and tell the world what they're doing, but I haven't seen any evidence of any rewards coming from those conferences or any deals that we're making in Nova Scotia. The big oil companies have given up on Nova Scotia, and this government knows it.

What we don't have in this province, Mr. Speaker, is an industry. What we had was one project, Sable, that's it. There has been nothing happening since. I say that's a shame. That's a shame that this government did not seize the opportunity to go after, chase and maintain large oil companies, to encourage them with incentives to develop the offshore here, to proceed with the many projects that we could have used to make Nova Scotia an even better place to live than it is now.

Mr. Speaker, what we need from this government is leadership. We need leadership to create an industry here, an oil and gas industry that we can all be proud of. It's been done in other places in the world. It's been done in Europe, it's been done in the States, it's been done out West. Why isn't it being done in Nova Scotia? Is it that this government doesn't care about the offshore, doesn't care about the rewards that can come from developing the offshore?

[Page 6846]

Mr. Speaker, there are many factors that we have to look at in this budget before we can decide to support this bill and, in fact, to support the budget. I'm not going to take up too much more time of the House this evening, except - because I would certainly like to defer to my friend, the Opposition House Leader, to wind up the debate this evening - I do want to say that over the next few days many of our members will have an opportunity to debate the Financial Measures (2005) Bill. At some point, this bill is going to come to a vote. It's going to come to a vote, and we haven't decided whether or not we're going to support the Financial Measures (2005) Bill yet because, again, there are a lot of things in the Financial Measures (2005) Bill that this government is taking credit for that they don't deserve to take credit for, and they know that.

Mr. Speaker, we're going to watch the debate over the next few weeks, and we're willing to listen to what the government has to say as time moves on and what the Official Opposition has to say. At the appropriate time, our Party will make our decision as to whether or not we're going to support the Financial Measures (2005) Bill and ultimately the budget.

[9:45 p.m.]

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

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: I'll just say a couple of words and then adjourn debate for the evening and then we can start up tomorrow. I do want to say that this legislation, this Financial Measures (2005) Bill is really one part of the vision for this government for the coming year as to how they see the province being improved, how this government sees things being received. It is the legislative changes that go along with the money changes that we see in the budget that will be voted on in a couple of weeks. This is our first chance to debate the legislative changes that will come with that. They are many and they are significant changes.

At the same time it's about talking about the juxtaposition, comparing what they do provide in this Financial Measures (2005) Bill and what they don't. I'll give you a couple of quick examples this evening. On the one hand they give $4.5 million in tax cuts to large corporations. On the other hand, they get $15 to a child to help them register for a sport. It doesn't seem like much of a comparison. I mean, $15. I have young children and I register them in sports. My son played hockey in the Winter and Fall, he plays soccer. My daughter joins certain activities as well. In those circumstances I can tell you, $15 goes nowhere. You have $300 for hockey, it's $105 if not $125 for soccer. That's not even including the equipment, that's just registration. These are quite expensive sports, $15 will do nothing.

I would suggest to you that if we can provide $4.5 million in tax cuts to large corporations, I think we can provide more than $15 to every child who wants the chance to play a sport in this province and that is a classic example of where this Financial Measures (2005) Bill in this government is laying its priorities.

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I'll give you another example, on the last full day of the election in 2003 the Premier, for some reason, showed up in my riding, went out to Ocean View Manor to make an announcement saying - someone must have the polling, someone must have told him that the polls said that you'd better solidify some of that senior vote, you'd better get on TV the last night and promise them that allowance, the personal comfort allowance. I think it was like $105 and he promised it would go up significantly, they would have a lot more money in their pocket - $10. That's what they get from this budget, a $10 increase in. You actually say that with a straight face. I can't believe that the Minister of Transportation and Public Works is saying that was a 10 per cent increase. My recollection was, I recall $150 being bandied about last year. (Interruptions) Yeah, I heard $200.

The Premier was more than willing to show up in my riding, I remember this. I remember waving at the bus as it left, I was on my lunch break and sort of laughing at him as he left. I thought to myself, you're coming out here to make an announcement, I'm not sure why you picked my riding, but you came out here to make an announcement on the last day of the election. As a result he made a promise to seniors in my riding and in a lot of other ridings, they were in nursing homes and for families that had a parents or relatives in nursing homes that they would get a larger personal allowance, and yet in this budget we get $10.

Well, I'm not even going to say what the woman from Ocean View Manor said what the Premier can do but I will say this, $10 on one hand for seniors and on the other hand we see bonuses equivalent to over $1 million for senior civil servants. Again, another example, and that's not even in this fiscal year, that's in last fiscal year, that's two fiscal years ago. So again, we see the comparison, $1.1 million in bonuses for senior civil servants and Crown Corporation executives and board members and on the other hand $10 for a senior. I wouldn't consider that a choice that would be made. I wouldn't consider that something that Nova Scotians would say is adequate yet those are the choices we see this government making and those are classic examples of comparing what this Tory Government wants to do with the money.

I take with interest the point by the House Leader of the Liberal Party when he said that in the past six years we've had increase in revenue of $1.8 billion, more this year being spent than there was in 1999 and yet what do we have - $10 increases for seniors in nursing homes, a $15 tax credit for children who want to play sports, $4.5 million in tax cuts for corporations, $1.1 million in bonuses for senior civil servants. People want to know where their tax dollars are going, there is a good example of what this government is choosing to spend their tax money on and frankly that is a serious problem with this Financial Measures (2005) Bill and frankly it's a serious problem with this government - their lack of vision, their lack of scope, their lack of desire to actually spell out to Nova Scotians how and where they'll spend the money in a way to make the lives better for Nova Scotians because frankly that is what this is about.

[Page 6848]

That's why we're elected, because people believe that as elected officials we're going to do things to make their lives better. They elected a Tory Government, they elected 25 members, Mr. Speaker, because those people in those ridings believed that that government would do something better for them and yet what do we see - $4.5 million in corporate tax cuts, $1.1 million in bonuses, and almost nothing for seniors and for children.

I want to give another example, a very good example I think because, you know, I have in my riding fishermen, Mr. Speaker. I have lobster fishermen, I have fishermen who fish herring, and I actually see the boats from my office. My office overlooks the crick as we call it in Eastern Passage. There are about 30 to 35 boats in that part of the harbour and, you know, those fishermen have licences. Eventually they want to pass them on to their children. They want to be able to hand them over to them and know that they're going to be able to carry on in what is a good profession, a good career for the community. The money can stay in the community. Good jobs that pay good money will stay in the community, not necessarily being taken over by corporate interests, because we all know what happened to the cod fishery when corporate interests got involved. We all know what happened to a lot of other fisheries in this region when corporate interests got involved.

There are still some good fisheries left in this province, most of them shellfish, Mr. Speaker, and as a result, what we do know is that we slowly are seeing the corporatization and the corporate takeover of those licences and one very crucial way of stopping that would be to provide a capital gains exemption for fishermen. You want to talk about tax cuts? Let's not talk about $4.5 million in tax cuts for corporations, let's talk about tax cuts for hardworking fishermen and their families so that when they retire, that $0.5 million licence can be sold without having to pay the tax on it, and maybe they'll sell it to their relatives, maybe they'll sell it to someone else in the community.

I guess I'm going to have to spell this out, Mr. Speaker. A few years ago we decoupled the tax system in this country and in this province. We have two tax Acts. We have the federal tax Act and we have a provincial tax Act and under the provincial tax Act, if this province wants to exempt capital gains for fishermen in this province for the Nova Scotia portion, they can do that. They do not need the federal government to approve that. They don't need the federal government to agree to that. Yet they, and we've heard the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries say in this very room last week that, well, we need to work this out with the federal government. No, they don't.

That's a cop-out, Mr. Speaker. If they wanted to exempt on their portion of the tax, they could do it. They should have done it and they could do it in this bill. I would suggest to you that that is a tax cut that Nova Scotians in rural communities in this province would much appreciate. It would give an opportunity for the people, the fishermen in this province, to be able to sell their licences so that those licences and those benefits could stay in their communities. These are all things that could have been done and should have been done in this legislation, should have been done in this budget, but instead what we see are the choices made

[Page 6849]

by this government, Mr. Speaker, and what I would say to you is those are choices that most Nova Scotians, if they actually had a chance to look in-depth at this budget and the Financial Measures (2005) Bill the way we did, would actually be very shocked and surprised to see exactly the choices this government is making.

I will have more comments to make tomorrow, Mr. Speaker, but for today I'll move adjournment of debate.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is to adjourn debate on Bill No. 177.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader on tomorrow's hours and order of business.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move the House do now rise to meet again on the morrow at the hour of 12:00 noon. The House will sit until 8:00 p.m. The order of business following the daily routine will be Question Period followed by Supply for four hours and then we'll go into Public Bills for Second Reading. We'll continue with the Financial Measures (2005) Bill and when we complete the Financial Measures (2005) Bill, we'll go on to Public Bills for Third Reading.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The House is adjourned until 12:00 noon tomorrow.

[The House rose at 9:55 p.m.]

[Page 6850]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 3579

By: Mr. Stephen McNeil (Annapolis)

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

Whereas Education Week in Nova Scotia was celebrated April 17 to April 23, 2005; and

Whereas this year's theme was History: Look in your own backyard; and

Whereas Stephen Baskwell, a teacher at Lawrencetown Consolidated School, was honoured for his work;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Stephen Baskwell and congratulate him for his dedication to teaching his students the history of their community.

RESOLUTION NO. 3580

By: Mr. William Dooks (Eastern Shore)

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

Whereas over the past decade, the Robert Jamieson Elementary School has been putting on annual school plays; and

Whereas this year's play, The King and I, performed by well over 100 students and volunteers, was a great success; and

Whereas just a few of the many people who made this play a success, Robin Webber, Don Russell, Genny Mendl and Betty Boutilier, can all be commended for their hard work on this production;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate all of the students and volunteers who made this year's play a fantastic success, and we know the students at Robert Jamieson Elementary School will help keep theatre alive in their community.

[Page 6851]

RESOLUTION NO. 3581

By: Hon. John Hamm (Premier)

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

Whereas tourism is an industry which greatly benefits the County of Pictou; and

Whereas to encourage our area's citizens and organizations, the Pictou County Tourist Association annually commends local groups for their contributions during its gala awards dinner; and

Whereas the 2005 North Star Award, as sponsored by the Pictou Regional Development Commission, was presented to Trenton Park and Campground;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature congratulate this year's North Star on their contribution to the Pictou County tourism industry, and wish the owners and staff all the best with their operation in the coming year.

RESOLUTION NO. 3582

By: Hon. John Hamm (Premier)

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

Whereas tourism is an industry which greatly benefits the County of Pictou; and

Whereas to encourage our area's citizens and organizations, the Pictou County Tourist Association annually commends local groups for their contributions during its gala awards dinner; and

Whereas the 2005 Rising Star Award, as sponsored by Northern Opportunities for Business Ltd., was presented to Cameron's Farm Country Market;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature congratulate this year's Rising Star on their contribution to the Pictou County tourism industry, and wish the owners and staff all the best with their operation in the coming year.

[Page 6852]

RESOLUTION NO. 3583

By: Hon. John Hamm (Premier)

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

Whereas tourism is an industry which greatly benefits the County of Pictou; and

Whereas to encourage our area's citizens and organizations, the Pictou County Tourist Association annually commends local groups for their contributions during its gala awards dinner; and

Whereas the 2005 Shining Star Award, as sponsored by Trenton Works Ltd., was presented to Grohmann Knives;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature congratulate this year's Shining Star on their contribution to the Pictou County tourism industry, and wish the owners and staff all the best with their operation in the coming year.

RESOLUTION NO. 3584

By: Hon. David Morse (Community Services)

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

Whereas hard-working provincial volunteer award recipients have now been named for every town and municipal unit across Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Marie Bishop, for her outstanding volunteer efforts, is the Village of New Minas' nominee for 2005; and

Whereas Marie is 75 years old and has been in a wheelchair since she was eight years old after being stricken with polio, yet takes excellent care of her 99-year-old mother who lives with her, while also raising money for the New Minas Volunteer Fire Department, the Flower Cart, and being a local organizer for a seniors' club and a representative for the Paraplegic Association;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs in this Legislature commend Marie Bishop of New Minas for her outstanding work in the community and wish her nothing but continued success.

[Page 6853]

RESOLUTION NO. 3585

By: Hon. Ernest Fage (Economic Development)

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

Whereas Pure Energy, located in Amherst and Area Industrial Park, will receive international attention later this year when it appears on Discovery Canada's How's It Made television show; and

Whereas this publicity of battery manufacturing should be an excellent marketing tool, bringing international exposure to the company, its town and this province; and

Whereas this show is expected to air this Fall in Canada, Europe, Japan and Korea;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in sending our congratulations to general manager, Pat Terrio and his staff at Pure Energy for this excellent opportunity to showcase their company.

RESOLUTION NO. 3586

By: Hon. Ernest Fage (Economic Development)

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

Whereas the Pugwash Panthers claimed the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation badminton title for the 3rd consecutive year; and

Whereas in a rematch of last year's championship, the Pugwash school defeated Cobequid Educational Centre of Truro three games to two to claim the provincial senior title; and

Whereas the Pugwash Panthers made their fellow students, staff and fans proud;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in sending our congratulations to the Pugwash Panthers, and wish them all the best in future competition.

[Page 6854]

RESOLUTION NO. 3587

By: Hon. Ernest Fage (Economic Development)

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

Whereas Dr. Tim Wallace, one of Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre's newest specialists, has received a prestigious award at the national meeting for the Canadian Society of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery; and

Whereas Dr. Wallace was presented the Medtronic Xomed Poliquin Award for original research in basic science and clinical science in the field of otolaryngology; and

Whereas Dr. Wallace's technique allows him to use an endoscope to internally repair damage to the face's orbital floor, avoiding opening the face from the outside which would leave scar tissue and require a lengthy patient recovery;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in sending our congratulations to Dr. Tim Wallace on earning this prestigious award for his research leading to an un-invasive medical technique.

RESOLUTION NO. 3588

By: Hon. Ernest Fage (Economic Development)

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

Whereas Martha Saunders has spent over 20 years coaching and guiding local athletes of the Special Olympics for the Amherst area; and

Whereas over the years coaches have come and gone but not Martha, who is considered an unsung hero, and if not for her dedicated and faithful volunteering with Special Olympics, they would not be this successful in Amherst; and

Whereas Martha has a special way of encouraging mentally challenged people to be involved physically and socially in these local sports that include basketball, softball, athletics, bowling, floor hockey and soccer; at the provincial level there is skiing, power lifting, aquatics, curling and snowshoeing;

[Page 6855]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in sending our congratulations and thanks to Martha Saunders, who makes sure these Special Olympians are given the opportunities to be their best, have fun and be healthy.

RESOLUTION NO. 3589

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Adam McKay, a 13-year-old student of Parrsboro, Nova Scotia, won 1st place in the 13-year-old division in the District Basketball Shootout competition held by the Knights of Columbus; and

Whereas Knights of Columbus member Jerry Lisi presented Adam with a certificate for the accomplishment; and

Whereas Adam was pleased to win the 1st place honour and will no doubt be the winner of many more awards in the future;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Adam on this achievement, and we wish him continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 3590

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Kate McMillan was honoured at the Springhill Student Appreciation Night in Springhill; and

Whereas Kate was awarded a plaque for the 3-D of the Lady Eagles basketball team; and

Whereas it was a night for the school and the students and staff of Springhill Regional High School to show their appreciation to all the athletes who worked so hard and showed so much dedication all year to their team and their school;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Kate McMillan on this outstanding achievement, and we wish her continued success in the future.

[Page 6856]

RESOLUTION NO. 3591

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Tracy McNutt, of Oxford, Nova Scotia, was presented with the Centennial Youth Volunteer of the Year Award by the Town of Oxford; and

Whereas the Centennial awards were presented at a tea held at the Oxford Lions Community Centre on Thursday, January 27, 2005; and

Whereas the awards were given out to residents of the town who went above and beyond in volunteering their time and effort to the Town of Oxford and its residents;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Tracy McNutt on receiving this award, and we wish her continued success and prosperity over the coming years.

RESOLUTION NO. 3592

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Michelle Miers, co-captain of the Oxford Regional High School senior Golden Bears, achieved a career milestone on December 9, 2004; and

Whereas Michelle had the opportunity to sink her 1,000th point during the game, marking an incredible milestone for her before she graduates in June 2005; and

Whereas Michelle was honoured and was presented with a plaque commemorating this milestone;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Michelle Miers on reaching this 1,000th point milestone, and we wish her continued success in all future endeavours.

[Page 6857]

RESOLUTION NO. 3593

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas the Fraser family of Springhill were honoured and recognized as the Volunteer Family of the Year at the Dr. Carson & Marion Murray Community Centre in Springhill; and

Whereas Barb Fraser has been active for over 11 years at the Junction Road Elementary School as a member of the Home and School Association, has been involved in many community groups for the Marion McLeod Head Start Group, has been a volunteer with local dinner theatres, is very involved in the church as treasurer with the Catholic Women's League and is a Sunday School teacher, and Carl Fraser was a Boy Scout leader for many years, a member of the Knights of Pythias and has helped fundraise and volunteer at many events for the school and community; and

Whereas the three Fraser children are also very involved in helping out their school and community with 17-year-old Monica teaching Sunday School, volunteering at All Saints Hospital and the high school cafeteria; Heidi, 14, volunteering at the cafeteria at Junction Road Elementary Autumn Extravaganza and, having a brilliant hand at calligraphy, she prepared all of the certificates for the Community Walk last Fall; and David, 12, is an altar server at their church, helping with all fundraising events the family is involved in, including salad suppers and school events;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate all of the members of the Fraser family, and thank them for the time they give to their community, schools and churches.