Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

HANSARD 03/04/05-80

DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS

Speaker: Honourable Murray Scott

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

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

Annual subscriptions available from the Office of the Speaker.

First Session

THURSDAY, MAY 5, 2005

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Educ.: Tuition Fees - Reduce, Mr. Gerald Sampson 7042
Educ.: Tuition Fees - Reduce, Mr. W. Estabrooks 7042
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Veterans Affairs: Year of the Veteran - 60th Anniv. Events,
The Premier 7042
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 3663, VE (60th Anniv.) - Celebrate, The Premier 7044
Vote - Affirmative 7045
Res. 3664, Christie, Joan: Vol. Efforts - Applaud, The Premier 7045
Vote - Affirmative 7046
Res. 3665, Int'l. Day of the Midwife (05/05/05) - Acknowledge,
Hon. A. MacIsaac 7047
Vote - Affirmative 7047
Res. 3666, Ski Cape Smokey: Ski Can. Magazine - Recognition,
Hon. Rodney MacDonald 7047
Vote - Affirmative 7048
Res. 3667, MS Soc. (Can.): Contribution - Commend, Hon. A. MacIsaac 7048
Vote - Affirmative 7049
Res. 3668, Cameron, Trisha: Achievement - Recognize,
Hon. Rodney MacDonald 7049
Vote - Affirmative 7050
Res. 3669, Doucet, Gerry: Hon. Deg. - Université Sainte-Anne,
Hon. C. d'Entremont 7050
Vote - Affirmative 7051
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 191, Municipal Law Amendment (2005) Act, Hon. B. Barnet 7051
No. 192, Alexander Graham Bell Day Act, Mr. R. MacKinnon 7052
No. 193, Health Authorities Act, Mr. J. Pye 7052
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 3670, Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day - Observe,
Mr. D. Dexter 7052
Vote - Affirmative 7053
Res. 3671, Prem. - Debt Increase: Promise - Broach,
Mr. Michel Samson 7053
Res. 3672, Clyke, Marilyn - Truro Sport Heritage Soc. Award,
Hon. J. Muir 7054
Vote - Affirmative 7055
Res. 3673, Fam. Caregivers: Appreciation - Extend,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 7055
Vote - Affirmative 7055
Res. 3674, Nat. Res.: Prov. Wildlife Mgt. Areas - Protect,
Mr. L. Glavine 7055
Res. 3675, Morrow, Jim - Portia White Award, Mr. M. Parent 7056
Vote - Affirmative 7057
Res. 3676, Prince Andrew HS: Renovations - Time Frame,
Ms. J. Massey 7057
Res. 3677, Educ. - Univ. Access: Problem - Address, Ms. D. Whalen 7058
Vote - Affirmative 7058
Res. 3678, Wallace, Karen - Lt. Gov.'s Award, Hon. R. Russell 7059
Vote - Affirmative 7059
Res. 3679, Noel & Dist. Ladies Aux.: Commun. Serv. - Congrats.,
Mr. J. MacDonell 7059
Vote - Affirmative 7060
Res. 3680, Rural N.S. Econ. Needs - Address, Mr. H. Theriault 7060
Res. 3681, Antigonish Bantam Lions - Basketball Championship,
Hon. A. MacIsaac 7061
Vote - Affirmative 7061
Res. 3682, Transport. Can.: Communications Strategy - Review,
Ms. M. Raymond 7062
Vote - Affirmative 7062
Res. 3683, TPW: Hwy. No. 101 (Digby to Weymouth) - Complete,
Mr. H. Theriault 7062
Res. 3684, Bolivar, Jacklyn - Discovery Quest 2004: Participation
- Applaud, Hon. K. Morash 7063
Vote - Affirmative 7064
Res. 3685, TCH - Tourism Promotion: Gull Cove - Include,
Mr. R. MacKinnon 7064
Vote - Affirmative 7065
Res. 3686, Kaiprath, Sunethra: Attitude - Congrats., Mr. C. Parker 7065
Vote - Affirmative 7065
Res. 3687, Educ.: Bill No. 48 - Implement, Ms. D. Whalen 7065
Res. 3688, Guysborough Mem. Hosp. - X-Ray Machine: Fundraising
- Participants Applaud, Mr. R. Chisholm 7066
Vote - Affirmative 7067
Res. 3689, AP Reid Ins. Ltd. - Ind.: Contribution - Recognize,
Ms. M. More 7067
Vote - Affirmative 7068
Res. 3690, Esperanto Publication: Editors/Writers - Congrats.,
Mr. G. Steele 7068
Vote - Affirmative 7069
Res. 3691, Hfx. Fairview MLA: Web Site - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 7069
Res. 3692, Keich, Ted: RCN Service - Salute, Mr. G. Gosse 7070
Vote - Affirmative 7071
Res. 3693, City of Lakes Men's Barbershop Chorus - Anniv. (25th),
Mr. J. Pye 7071
Vote - Affirmative 7071
Res. 3694, Hazell, Ron: Legislative Christmas Card - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 7072
Vote - Affirmative 7072
Res. 3695, UNSM Report: Gov't. (N.S.) - Response, Mr. D. Dexter 7072
Res. 3696, Health - Palliative Care: Legislation - Prioritize,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 7073
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 825, Health - Insured Services: Private Delivery - Details,
Mr. D. Dexter 7074
No. 826, Gaming Corp. - Smart Card/Groc. Certificate Promotion:
Prem. - Awareness, Mr. D. Graham 7075
No. 827, Ins. - Victims' Rights: Cap - Results, Mr. D. Dexter 7076
No. 828, Health Prom. - Gambling Addictions Expert (J. LaRocque):
Discipline - Refrain, Mr. D. Graham 7078
No. 829, UNSM Report - Gov't. (N.S.): Response - Time Frame,
Mr. F. Corbett 7079
No. 830, Com. Serv. - Emergency Shelters: Length of Stay - Details,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 7080
No. 831, Health - Self-Managed Care Prog.: Changes - Explain,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 7082
No. 832, Com. Serv.: Child Care System - Plans, Ms. M. More 7083
No. 833, Nat. Res. - Casavechia Case: Gov't. (Can.) - Pursue,
Mr. J. MacDonell 7084
No. 834, TPW - Leitches Creek Rd.: Repairs - Time Frame,
Mr. Gerald Sampson 7086
No. 835, Educ. - DHS: Complaints - Address, Mr. J. Pye 7087
No. 836, Health: Palliative Care Standards - Table,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 7088
No. 837, Health Prom. - Football N.S.: Field Availability - Ensure,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 7090
No. 838, Environ. & Lbr. - Outflow Prob.: Order Issuance - Details,
Mr. L. Glavine 7091
No. 839, Sports Hall of Fame - Statues: Destination - Clarify,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 7092
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
ON MOTION FOR SUPPLY:
Ms. M. More 7093
Mr. Gerald Sampson 7096
Mr. M. Parent 7099
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON SUPPLY AT 2:40 P.M. 7104
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 6:00 P.M. 7104
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Health Prom. - Nat'l. Track & Field Championships: Uniforms - Fund:
Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 7104
Mr. K. Colwell 7107
Mr. G. Hines 7110
Mr. J. Pye 7112
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON SUPPLY AT 6:30 P.M. 7113
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 7:10 P.M. 7113
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 177, Financial Measures (2005) Act 7114
Mr. F. Corbett 7114
Mr. Gerald Sampson 7120
Adjourned debate 7125
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Fri., May 6th at 9:00 a.m. 7126
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 3697, Chapman, Mr. Allison -
Netherland Liberation Anniv. (60th) Ceremony:
Attendance - Congrats., Hon. E. Fage 7127
Res. 3698, Health - Hospice Palliative Care: Value - Recognize,
Mr. D. Dexter 7127
Res. 3699, Middleton Choral Soc.: Nova Scotia is our Home - Congrats.,
Mr. S. McNeil 7128
Res. 3700, Christmas Tree Producers (N.S.) - Applaud,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 7128
Res. 3701, Bedford Vol. Firefighters - Fin. Min.: Comments - Apologize,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 7129
Res. 3702, Stewart, Scott: Forum for Young Canadians - Selection,
Hon. K. Morash 7129
Res. 3703, Langille - Queens Region Prov. Vol. Rep.,
Hon. K. Morash 7130
Res. 3704, Queens Co. Curl for Cancer: Participants - Congrats.,
Hon. K. Morash 7130
Res. 3705, Liverpool Curling Club: Grant Rink - Congrats.,
Hon. K. Morash 7131
Res. 3706, Dr. John C. Wickwire Acad.: Proj. Love - Congrats.,
Hon. K. Morash 7131
Res. 3707, Liverpool Reg. HS: Tsunami Relief - Fundraising,
Hon. K. Morash 7132
Res. 3708, Thornhill, Jennifer: Roundtable on Youth Sexual Health -
Achievements, Hon. Rodney MacDonald 7132
Res. 3709, Health Prom.: Health Lifestyle Clubs - Participants,
Hon. Rodney MacDonald 7133
Res. 3710, Donovan, Andrea/Hoddinot, Nancy: Smoking Cessation
- Efforts, Hon. Rodney MacDonald 7133
Res. 3711, Health Prom. - Surette, Rachael/Gaudet, Raymond, Josey, Paul:
Smoking Cessation - Efforts, Hon. Rodney MacDonald 7134
Res. 3712, Health Prom.: Step into Healthy Eating - Participants,
Hon. Rodney MacDonald 7134
Res. 3713, Smoke-Free Kings: Smoking Cessation - Efforts,
Hon. Rodney MacDonald 7135
Res. 3714, Dowe, Anne & Wally - Anniv. (50th), The Speaker 7136
Res. 3715, West. End Mem. Elem. Sch. - Grade 3 Class: Veterans Proj.
- Acknowledge, The Speaker 7136
Res. 3716, McBurnie, Mitch - Basketball Award, The Speaker 7137
Res. 3717, Laurie, Sarah - Basketball Award, The Speaker 7137
Res. 3718, Kaye, Mike: Commun. Serv. - Congrats., The Speaker 7138
Res. 3719, Jewett, Sgt. Maj. MWO Jillian - Cadet Pin (5 Yr.),
The Speaker 7138
Res. 3720, Jackson-Tarlton, Caitlin - Basketball Award, The Speaker 7139

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HALIFAX, THURSDAY, MAY 5, 2005

Fifty-ninth General Assembly

First Session

12:00 NOON

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, the subject for this evening's late debate was submitted by the honourable member for Halifax Fairview:

Therefore be it resolved that this government show its support for youth sports in this province by covering the cost of uniforms of Nova Scotia athletes competing in this Summer's National Track and Field Championships.

This will be debated this evening at 6:00 p.m.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Yesterday in this House the Chairman of the Treasury and Policy Board made a statement that from May 4, 2005 forward, the government would make it a condition of employment for deputy ministers to have their bonuses disclosed annually. Outside this House the minister told the media that in the case of one deputy minister who refused to provide consent for the disclosure of her bonus in 2003-04 - the former Tourism, Culture and Heritage Deputy Minister, Michele McKenzie - Nova Scotians seeking this information need to file a freedom of information request to get it.

7041

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I submit to the Speaker, through you to the minister, that this does not respect the position of members of this House, it is contrary to the new spirit of openness shown through yesterday's announcement. Through you, Mr. Speaker, I ask the minister to table that information in the House by the end of the business day today.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. It's not a point of order, but it's certainly, I'm sure, a piece of advice the honourable minister will take under advisement.

We will begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

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

MR. GERALD SAMPSON: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition signed by Nova Scotians concerned about the high and ever-increasing costs of post-secondary tuition. I have affixed my signature to the petition.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I too table a petition of 120 post-secondary students in our province urging this government to reduce tuition fees. I have affixed my signature.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

HON. JOHN HAMM (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, as you and the other members of this House are aware, 2005 marks the Year of the Veteran. Every year could be the Year of the Veteran, and certainly our veterans require our continued support and respect. The year 2005 has been singled out, however, because it marks the 60th Anniversary of the end of the most destructive conflict that the human race has ever seen. As the decades pile up between World War II and the present day, it becomes necessary for each of us to do our part to keep

[Page 7043]

the memories of those dark days alive and remain vigilant that such times are never seen again.

We must always make an effort to honour the veterans among us who fought so bravely for our freedoms just as we must always take time to remember the sacrifices of those who never made it home. This Sunday, May 8th, will mark the 60th Anniversary of the end of the European component of the Second World War. Sixty years ago the sacrifice and valour of thousands upon thousands of Canadian soldiers and their allies from around the world finally resulted in the surrender of Nazi Germany. It also marked the culmination of one of the greatest achievements in Canadian history, when Canadian soldiers were instrumental in the liberation of the Netherlands. That day, the end of the European War, was a cause of celebration in 1945 and it should be a day of celebration today.

Around the world there are events planned to mark the 60th Anniversary of VE Day. Here, in Nova Scotia, there is a veterans' parade planned at 1:00 p.m. this Sunday at the foot of Barrington Street and culminating at a public reception at the World Trade and Convention Centre. This is a special day, an important day for our veterans and I encourage you, our fellow members, and as many Nova Scotians as possible, to get out on Sunday and show veterans just how much they mean to us. Thank you.

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

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the New Democratic Party caucus and our membership and, indeed, the people in our constituencies, I'd like to associate ourselves with the words spoken by the Premier.

Every year at this time we think about the sacrifices that have been made. This anniversary of VE Day is a particularly poignant one, and I think it is so not only for those who served in the regular forces, but those who served in the Merchant Marines, so many of whom were lost trying to deliver supplies and participate in the war effort in their own way.

It's particularly significant because each year there are fewer veterans and that's a sad fact of life but it is a fact of life nonetheless, and each year still they march. They do that in order to remind the rest of us that they went overseas not by themselves, but with thousands upon thousands of colleagues. There was a time in our history when they used to send what they called "Sunday School Squads", where they would send all of the people from one village together in a squad, because the theory was that they would fight harder if they were with their friends and they wanted to protect them. The problem was that oftentimes, when a squad was wiped out, the entire village of young people would perish, so they decided against that. They decided that they would move away from that model and distribute people throughout the squads.

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There are many, many stories from this country and from the other Allied countries of the courage and valour displayed by the young men and women who went into service and gave up their lives before VE Day. Mr. Speaker, on behalf of our caucus I can only say that we want to express our heartfelt gratitude to the veterans who still march. Thank you. (Applause)

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

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, it is with pleasure that I rise in the House of Assembly today to also encourage Nova Scotians to join with the rest of the country in honouring the Year of the Veteran. This Sunday, May 8th, people all over the world will mark the 60th Anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe.

On behalf of our Leader, Francis MacKenzie, and our entire caucus, I, too, encourage all Nova Scotians to pay tribute to the men and women who fought and worked to give us the freedom that we enjoy today. This House of Assembly and we, as elected members, represent the very important reason why this war was fought. To say that the men and women who risked and gave their lives for us were courageous could never be enough recognition. Whether we gather together in public for events that are scheduled across the province or take a moment to talk to our families and our children about the sacrifices made, we will honour our veterans. Giving pause to the conflict and celebrating its end helps those of us who weren't there honour the spirit of peace.

M. le présidents, je veux aussi prendre cette occasion pour encourager les citoyens de cette Province à participer au événments ce Dimanche, le 8 Mai, qui marque la soixantième anniversaire de la fin de la Deuxieme Guerre Mondiale. À tous nos anciens combattens, à les familles qui ont si sacrifié, on donne nos remerciments les plus sincère.

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 3663

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

Whereas only those who experienced the horrors and sorrow of the Second World War could imagine the collective sigh of relief and tremendous joy felt with the heralding that Germany had surrendered, there was victory in Europe; and

[Page 7045]

Whereas on May 8, 1945, celebrations broke out in the streets as people everywhere hailed the defeat of the tyranny of Hitler and the Nazis, and the freedom finally given prisoners of war and survivors of concentration camps; and

Whereas while there was tremendous joy that day, 60 years ago, there was also a quiet concern for the fierce fighting in the Pacific, which would take the lives of so many more before VJ Day was celebrated three months later, finally marking the end of World War II;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House celebrate this weekend the spirit of victory in Europe that can still be recalled by those who had waited so long for a day that seemed would never come, and stand in a moment of silence in memory of those fine men and women who sacrificed their lives in this fight for freedom, who did not have the chance to cheer on that historic day.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

I would ask all members to stand for one moment of silence, please.

[One minute of silence was observed.]

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. Please be seated.

The honourable Premier.

[12:15 p.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 3664

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

[Page 7046]

Whereas Mrs. Joan Christie was honoured as the "Bedford Volunteer of the Year" at the Bedford Volunteer Award Dinner held on April 3, 2005; and

Whereas Mrs. Christie's extensive volunteer efforts include founding the Light Up Bedford Parade which supports Beacon House and the Food Bank; a leadership role in the Bedford Days events as well as Career Closet, Dress for Success, the Silver Bill Tea, Bryony House, Bedford United Church and Beacon House; and

Whereas Mrs. Christie's skill as a fundraiser was evident just last week when a dinner she organized raised a phenomenal $75,000 for Beacon House;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the tremendous volunteer efforts of Joan Christie and all our volunteers who selflessly give countless hours to better their communities. (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.

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources on an introduction.

HON. RICHARD HURLBURT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to bring to the attention of all members in the House, in the east gallery we have a resident from the Clare area. This individual works very hard for the cause he believes in and that's people with disabilities and that's Mr. Claridon Robicheau. I would ask all members in the House to give a warm welcome to Claridon. (Standing Ovation)

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

The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, before I introduce my resolution, I'd like to introduce some visitors we have in the gallery with us today. In the east gallery, we have Dr. Christine Saulnier who is a senior research officer for the Atlantic Centre of Excellence

[Page 7047]

for Women's Health. Also, Octavia James, who is the co-chair of the Midwifery Coalition of Nova Scotia and Karen Robb who is a midwife and member of the Midwife Association. I would ask they stand and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

RESOLUTION NO. 3665

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 5, 2005, has been designated as International Day of the Midwife by the Atlantic Centre of Excellence for Women's Health; and

Whereas midwives have been providing care to birthing women in every corner of the globe for at least a century; and

Whereas this is an opportunity to pay tribute to the dedicated and compassionate work of midwives as well as the many Nova Scotians who are the recipients of their care;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the Legislature acknowledge on the International Day of the Midwife their role in providing quality health 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.

The honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage.

RESOLUTION NO. 3666

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

Whereas Ski Cape Smokey was named this Winter as one of the best community ski hills anywhere in Canada by Ski Canada Magazine; and

[Page 7048]

Whereas Ski Cape Smokey in Victoria County employs up to 28 people while attracting up to 300 customers a day during the peak Winter season; and

Whereas Ski Canada Magazine describes Ski Cape Smokey as "having the most vertical drop in the province, and a breathtaking view of the ocean - the best of any ski hill in Canada";

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs in the Nova Scotia Legislature applaud Ski Cape Smokey General Manager Marie Cummings and her staff for their hard work and congratulate them for their recognition by Ski Canada magazine.

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. 3667

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

Whereas multiple sclerosis is a chronic, often disabling neurological disease affecting an estimated 50,000 Canadians for which there is no known cause, or cure; and

Whereas the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada has provided more than $68 million for MS research during the past 50 years, as well as a wide range of programs, services, advocacy and social action for people with MS; and

Whereas the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, founded in 1948, is the only national voluntary organization in Canada that supports both MS research and services for people with MS and their families;

[Page 7049]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join together in commending the society members for their tremendous contributions here and across Canada during May, Multiple Sclerosis Awareness month, and year-round.

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. 3668

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

Whereas Nova Scotia Health Promotion recently championed a number of stakeholders across the province who share our goals of improving the health of Nova Scotians and Trisha Cameron of Antigonish is one of those champions; and

Whereas Trisha organized the snowshoe project for her community, purchasing 52 pairs of snowshoes thanks to one of our physical activity grants; and

Whereas the snowshoes are made available to local schools and were used every day in the physical education classes and were also made available to the whole community each weekend and were so popular that there was a waiting list to use them;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the dedication and achievements of Trisha Cameron and the people of Antigonish in getting more active this winter.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 7050]

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries.

RESOLUTION NO. 3669

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: M. le président, à une date ultérieure, je demanderai l'adoption de la résolution suivante:

Attendu que lors de la cérémonie ayant lieu le samedi, 7 mai à l'Église Sainte-Marie de Pointe-de-l'Église, l'Université Sainte-Anne remettra aussi un doctorat honorifique à M. Gerald (Gerry) Doucet dans le domaine des sciences politiques; et

Attendu que M. Gerald Doucet à connu un grand succès dans tous les domaines où il a oeuvré; le droit, la politique et les affaires; élu à la legislature Néo-écossaise à l'âge de 26 ans, il est devenu Ministre de l'éducation, ainsi que Ministre responsable de la jeunesse, parmi ses autres litres et responsabilités; et

Attendu que M. Doucet, qui a pratiqué le droit pour plus de 20 ans, est devenu un des pionniers dans le domaine de la consultation entrepreneuriale auprés des clients corporatifs et a participé à un grand nombre d'activités reliés aux services à la communauté;

Par conséquent, qu'il soit résolu que tous les membres de cette assemblée reconnaissent la contribution de M. Doucet pour son apport à la société dans des domaines qui touchent la communauté.

M. le président, je demande l'adoption de cette résolution sans préavis et sans débat.

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

Whereas during a ceremony to be held on Saturday, May 7, at Saint-Mary's Church in Church Point, Ste-Anne's University will be awarding an honourary Ph.D. in Political Sciences to Mr. Gerald (Gerry) Doucet; and

[Page 7051]

Whereas Mr. Doucet is known for great success in his political endeavors as well as in law and business; he was elected to the House of Assembly at the age of 26, representing the beautiful constituency of Richmond and was later named Minister of Education, Minister responsible for Youth, among other titles he has held; and

Whereas Mr. Doucet, who has practiced law for over 20 years went on to become a pioneer in entrepreneurial consulting and participated in a great many activities linked to improving services to the community level;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Mr. Doucet for what he has brought to our society through his unending community development work.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

HON. BARRY BARNET: Mr. Speaker, before I introduce my bill, if I may, I'd like to make an introduction. Today in the east gallery we have visiting with us the President of the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities, the Mayor of Yarmouth, Charles Crosby and with him is the CEO for the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities, Ken Simpson. In addition to those two gentlemen, we also have a collection of staff from Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations who all worked very hard to bring this bill forward.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 191 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 23 of the Revised Statutes, 1989, the Assessment Act, Chapter 18 of the Acts of 1998, the Municipal Government Act, and Certain Related Statutes. (Hon. Barry Barnet)

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

[Page 7052]

The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

HON. BARRY BARNET: Mr. Speaker, I failed to ask the House to give the usual warm welcome to our guests. If the House could do that, I would appreciate it. (Applause)

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

Bill No. 192 - Entitled an Act to Establish a Day to Recognize Alexander Graham Bell. (Mr. Russell MacKinnon)

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

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, before I introduce this bill, I would like to also acknowledge a special guest in the Speaker's Gallery, from Clare, Mr. Claridon Robicheau, who was also instrumental in assisting in the implementation of parts of this legislation that is being brought forward today. Mr. Claridon Robicheau, as most of you will know, is also the Chairman of Nova Scotia LEO which is the League of Equal Opportunities and has put forward many recommendations to the government with respect to disabled persons.

Bill No. 193 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 6 of the Acts of 2000, the Health Authorities Act, and Chapter 17 of the Acts of 1995-96. The Revenue Act. (Mr. Jerry Pye)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 3670

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

Whereas Yom HaShoah commemorates the memory of the six million Jewish victims of the World War II holocaust; and

Whereas Yom HaShoah has been recognized as Holocaust Memorial Day in Nova Scotia through legislation enacted in the year 2000;

[Page 7053]

Whereas the Atlantic Jewish Council will present the 2005 Holocaust Memorial program today, Thursday, May 5th, at the Shaar Shalom congregation;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House join with the congregation of Shaar Shalom, Jewish communities throughout the world and others who come together to observe Yom HaShoah Holocaust Remembrance Day and mourn the loss of millions of Jews who perished during this tragic time in world history.

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 Leader in the House of the Liberal Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 3671

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

Whereas the Premier told Nova Scotians in 2000 that, "We have to stop piling up debt before it's too late. We have to start living within our means, stop mortgaging our children and grandchildren. Otherwise, we're going to end up financially and morally bankrupt."; and

Whereas the Premier also told Nova Scotians, "We are going to balance the budget in three years and begin reducing the debt and capturing those lost dollars in interest for Nova Scotians; and

Whereas despite the Premier's word, his promise has been broken and today we are losing $2.5 million in daily interest payments that could have resulted, for example, in the hiring of 50 nurses or cover one year's tuition for 500 Nova Scotia students;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the Legislature recognize that the Premier has broken a fundamental promise to Nova Scotians that the debt would stop growing and that this failure is costing Nova Scotians $2.5 million a day, $17.5 million a week, and over $900 million a year.

[Page 7054]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Education.

[12:30 p.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 3672

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

Whereas Marilyn Clyke was presented with a Merit Award by the Truro Sports Heritage Society at its 21st Annual Sports Heritage Award Dinner; and

Whereas Marilyn Clyke is best known for her contributions to senior hockey, including being the public relations-statistical person for the Truro-Shubie Eagles for 12 years and being secretary of the Nova Scotia Senior Hockey League for three years; and

Whereas Marilyn Clyke is a supporter of many other sport teams and organizations in the community such as the Cobequid Region Special Olympics, Tatamagouche Junior C Storm, Truro Bearcats Senior Baseball and the Truro Bluebombers Minor Football;

Therefore be it resolved that all members recognize the contribution of Marilyn Clyke to sport in Nova Scotia and wish she and husband, Dino, continued health and happiness 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.

[Page 7055]

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. 3673

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

Whereas family caregivers give of their time and energy selflessly to care for loved ones at home; and

Whereas Caregivers Nova Scotia is a provincial advocacy group for family caregivers and their families; and

Whereas Caregivers Nova Scotia is holding its annual luncheon on Friday, May 6th at Pier 21, providing an opportunity for family caregivers to come together for support and encouragement;

Therefore be it resolved that this Legislature extend its appreciation to family caregivers and wish all members of Caregivers Nova Scotia all the best at their 2005 Caregivers Luncheon.

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. 3674

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

[Page 7056]

Whereas the Department of Natural Resources is currently conducting a review of provincial wildlife management areas and game sanctuaries in the province; and

Whereas this review seems to have the department sliding down a slippery slope towards delisting of these areas; and

Whereas the residents of these areas have voiced their opposition to having these sites become delisted and are asking government to go one stop further and protect them under the Special Places Act;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the Legislature urge the Ministers of Natural Resources and Environment and Labour to work together to have the desired sites protected as nature reserves under the Special Places Protection Act.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 3675

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

Whereas Jim Morrow, a theatre artist from Port Williams, Kings County, received Nova Scotia's Portia White Prize on March 22nd; and

Whereas the $25,000 Portia White Prize is awarded each year by the province to recognize artistic excellence and achievement, and honours the memory of Portia White, a Nova Scotian who rose above adversity to achieve international acclaim as a classical singer; and

Whereas for more than 27 years Jim Morrow has worked at the Mermaid Theatre in Windsor as artistic director and has earned an international reputation for being an exceptional teacher and mentor;

[Page 7057]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Jim Morrow on receiving the Portia White award and thank him for promoting the importance of art and artistic expression to Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 3676

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

Whereas on June 12, 2003, this government presented a list of renovation projects, by regional school boards, stating that Prince Andrew High School in Dartmouth will receive $8.85 million for major renovations; and

Whereas it states that work will begin in 2007 and be completed by the 2011 school year and will include improved science labs, a renovated auditorium, roof replacement, upgraded ventilation and numerous other infrastructure improvements; and

Whereas the Halifax Regional School Board's current list of Department of Education approved additions and alterations states that Prince Andrew High School is approved for $8.85 million for 2009;

Therefore be it resolved that this government clear up once and for all, exactly when the work at Prince Andrew High School will be started as there is a big difference between 2007 and 2009 and the residents and students of Dartmouth East deserve a straight answer.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 7058]

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

RESOLUTION NO. 3677

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

Whereas since 1999, tuition for undergraduate programs has risen by 40 per cent; and

Whereas despite the so-called education budget, tuition continues to rise at an unreasonable rate, resulting in more students who are unable to attend our post-secondary institutions; and

Whereas the highest student debt load and the highest tuition fees in the country are driving our young people away from Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the Legislature recognize the failure of this government to address the problem of university access, and that all members urge that government finally take this issue seriously.

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.

[Page 7059]

RESOLUTION NO. 3678

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

Whereas Windsor Elementary School Vice-Principal, resource teacher and guidance counsellor, Karen Wallace, has become the first recipient of the Nova Scotia Lieutenant Governor's Award for a teaching professional; and

Whereas Ms. Wallace was nominated by every single colleague who teaches and works with her at Windsor Elementary School, where she has taught for 17 of her 20 years in the teaching profession; and

Whereas the Lieutenant Governor believes it is important to acknowledge teachers who contribute significantly to the development of the profession, while fostering the growth of today's children and empowering today's youth to new horizons;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs in the Nova Scotia Legislature applaud Karen Wallace, from the Windsor Elementary School, for her outstanding work and for having that work recognized in yesterday's ceremony at Government House.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 3679

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

[Page 7060]

Whereas volunteerism is the backbone of our society; and

Whereas ladies auxiliaries provide a vehicle for women to channel their volunteerism to the benefit of their communities; and

Whereas on February 5, 2005, the Noel and District Ladies Auxiliary celebrated their 20th Anniversary;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the members of the Noel and District Ladies Auxiliary for their service of 20 years to their 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 Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 3680

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

Whereas in recent years rural municipalities have seen a dramatic outward migration of its citizens between the ages of 18 and 55, as they seek employment elsewhere; and

Whereas even existing businesses like Snair's Bakery are leaving the province for what they have perceived as greener pastures in other jurisdictions; and

Whereas there does not appear to the people of my riding that there are any incentives, supports or strategies to improve this sorry state of affairs;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House agree that it is time for the government to "Come to Life" and address the economic needs of rural Nova Scotia.

[Page 7061]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 3681

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

Whereas the Antigonish Bantam Lions captured their fifth Basketball Nova Scotia Division 4 Championship; and

Whereas in the final game the team outplayed the Dartmouth Celtics 57-43, with player Eric D'Eon posting 30 points; and

Whereas the team demonstrated teamwork and determination under the direction of Coaches Gerald Kennedy and Jim MacDonald, with Assistant Coach Neil Foshay and Manager Hinchey;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating the Antigonish Bantam Lions on their outstanding win, and wish them continued success.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 7062]

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

RESOLUTION NO. 3682

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

Whereas communication is the essence of political representation; and

Whereas many new technologies exist today to enable communication, including telephones, fax machines, e-mail and Internet; and

Whereas a recent newspaper notice of application to infill saltwater coastlines encouraged many people to send responses to the Navigable Waters Protection branch of Transport Canada, but no fax, phone or e-mail address were listed and those on the Internet were incorrect or missing;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House encourage Transport Canada to review its communications strategy and proofreading, so it can supply adequate and correct information to citizens hoping to make contact with their public servants.

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. 3683

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

Whereas there were two major accidents during the last week of March and three others in the previous few months on the uncompleted section of Highway No. 101 between Digby and Weymouth; and

[Page 7063]

Whereas according to the Department of Transportation's own figures, as many as 5,000 vehicles daily travel this route, which allows the unrestricted access of vehicles to and from residences, businesses, churches and an elementary school; and

Whereas this situation is reaching critical proportions with respect to the risk to personal safety to the users and residents on Highway No. 1;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House urge the Minister of Transportation and Public Works to immediately put into action the plans developed in 1999 for the completion of this route before a fatality occurs.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour.

RESOLUTION NO. 3684

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

Whereas only about 40 exceptional Grade 11 students from across the Maritime Provinces and New England States are invited to participate in Discovery Quest, held annually at Acadia University in Wolfville; and

Whereas Jacklyn Bolivar of Port Mouton was one of the students selected to participate in the 2004 Discovery Quest program; and

Whereas this week-long program allows students to challenge themselves and discover their strengths as they work to address major environmental issues;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud Jacklyn Bolivar for being a participant in the 2004 Discovery Quest and wish her the very best in all her future endeavours.

[Page 7064]

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 West.

RESOLUTION NO. 3685

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

Whereas tourism is the cornerstone of the economy in many communities in Cape Breton West; and

Whereas the coastal and fishing Village of Gabarus, in close proximity to the historic Town of Louisbourg, replaces the original Gabarus Village that was known as Gull Cove which was abandoned in the 1920s; and

Whereas a study of the history of Gull Cove is integral to knowing the culture and fabric of life dating back 250 years;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly encourage the Minister of Tourism and Culture to include Gull Cove as part of tourism promotion.

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 7065]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 3686

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

Whereas Sunethra Kaiprath of Pictou is a Grade 12 student at Northumberland Regional High School and is a girl with a mission; and

Whereas Ms. Kaiprath won't let anything get in her way of becoming a doctor, following in the footsteps of her mother who is a physician; and

Whereas Ms. Kaiprath is an active volunteer and respect for others is an important component of her life;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Sunethra Kaiprath for her positive attitude and wish her every success in reaching her goal to be a doctor.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

RESOLUTION NO. 3687

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

[Page 7066]

Whereas the Minister of Education rose in this House of Assembly during the Fall 2004 sitting to speak about Bill No. 48, amendments to the Education Act allowing for the free use of school gyms for community groups; and

Whereas the Minister of Education said that the bill to allow free use of school gyms for community groups was a much-need amendment to the Education Act; and

Whereas yesterday, the minister said he has not had any complaints recently about community groups complaining about being charged for the use of school gyms;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House ask the Minister of Education to get serious about the free use of school gyms and act without delay to implement Bill No.48.

[12:45 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Glace Bay on an introduction.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would ask the members to direct their attention to the west gallery today, where we have a couple of people involved with the Independent Living Centre joining us - Lois Miller is the Executive Director of the Independent Living Centre and also with her today is Penny Kitchen from the Independent Living Centre. I would ask the members of the House to please give them a warm welcome today. (Applause)

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

The honourable member for Guysborough-Sheet Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 3688

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

[Page 7067]

Whereas the Guysborough Memorial Hospital is now operational with a new X-ray machine, following the installation earlier this Winter; and

Whereas the new machine, which replaced one more than 20 years old, is able to take digital X-rays that can be almost instantly transferred to St. Martha's Regional Hospital in Antigonish for review by a radiologist; and

Whereas a total of $230,000 was required to purchase this new X-ray machine, and the CEO of the Guysborough-Antigonish-Strait Health Authority viewed the replacement as one of the authority's top equipment priorities;

Therefore be it resolved MLAs applaud Dr. Anita Foley and staff at the Guysborough Memorial Hospital, along with CEO Kevin MacDonald and members of the Guysborough-Antigonish-Strait Regional Health Authority for their diligent work in ensuring a new X-ray machine for the hospital.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth South-Portland Valley.

MS. MARILYN MORE: Thank you. Before I read my resolution, I'd like to introduce Liz McNaughton who is with the Independent Living Resource Centre, on their board of directors. I ask everyone to give her a warm welcome. (Applause)

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

RESOLUTION NO. 3689

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

Whereas Aileen Reid formed A P Reid Insurance Stores on Queen Street in Dartmouth 25 years ago; and

[Page 7068]

Whereas many of those first customers still do business with the company today, helping to make A P Reid Insurance Limited one of the most influential brokerages in Atlantic Canada; and

Whereas A P Reid Insurance will be celebrating its 25th year in business on May 11, 2005, with a record of high standards, performance and community involvement;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize A P Reid Insurance Limited and their contribution to the insurance industry in Nova Scotia, and wish Aileen Reid, president and CEO, and her staff continued success.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 3690

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

Konsidere ke la Esperanta lingvo estas simpla, fleksebla kaj belsona, kaj celas esti dua lingvo por ĉiu en la mondo; kaj

Konsidere ke la Esperanta-Rondo de Halifax-Dartmouth eldonas ĉiumonatan revuon, kiu nomigis "Inter Ni" kaj kiun oni enpoŝtigas trans la nacio kaj trans la mondo; kaj

Konsidere ke la apero de la maja numero 2005 (du mil kvin) rimarkindigas la komencon de la dudeka eldonojaro de "Inter Ni" per ties 229-a (ducent dudek naŭa) numero:

[Page 7069]

Pro tio ni rezoluciigu ke la Nov-Skotia Ĉambro de Deputitoj gratulas la redaktorojn kaj la verkistojn de la Nov-Skotia esperanta eldonaĵo, "Inter Ni", kaj deziras al ili daŭran sukceson.

Whereas the Esperanto language is a simple, flexible and fine-sounding language, suitable to be a second language for the world; and

Whereas the Halifax-Dartmouth Esperanto Association publishes a monthly newsletter called "Inter Ni", which is read across the country and around the world; and

Whereas the May 2005 edition marks the 20th Anniversary of Inter Ni's publication and its 229th edition;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate the editors and writers of the Nova Scotia Esperanto publication, Inter Ni, and wish them continued success.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 3691

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

Whereas the Internet has opened up new possibilities for communication between MLAs and the people that we represent; and

Whereas many MLAs in this House have Web sites, some better than others; and

Whereas the Web site for the member for Halifax Fairview, www.grahamsteele.ca, yesterday received its 15,000th hit since his election in 2001;

[Page 7070]

Therefore be it resolved that the member for Halifax Fairview be congratulated for posting a Web site, www.grahamsteele.ca, that is obviously of such interest to his constituents and others.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 3692

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

Whereas Mr. Ted Keich was 21 years old when he left home to join the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War; and

Whereas on August 8, 1944, Mr. Keich, with three years of service under his belt, had his adventure on the high seas come to an abrupt end when his corvette HMCS Regina was sunk by a German U-boat off the Coast of Wales; and

Whereas after spending two weeks in a hospital in Cornwall, England, Mr. Keich returned to Halifax, was then transferred to the West Coast on shore duty until the end of the war, when he returned to his place of employment, Sydney Steel;

Therefore be it resolved that Members of the Legislative Assembly salute Mr. Keich for his bravery and his dedicated years of service to the Royal Canadian Navy, especially during this year, the Year of the Veteran.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 7071]

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 North.

RESOLUTION NO. 3693

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 Cities of Lakes Men's Barbershop Chorus has contributed to the musical art form of barbershop harmony for many years; and

Whereas this famous barbershop chorus will celebrate its 25th Anniversary with a musical variety show entitled, A Silver Extravaganza of Harmony; and

Whereas this special celebration will take place on Friday, May 6th and Saturday, May 7th, at École du Carrefour in Dartmouth;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House congratulate the City of Lakes Men's Barbershop Chorus on celebrating its 25th Anniversary and thank the members of this group for their commitment and dedication to this musical art form and for the recognition it has brought to the City of Dartmouth 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 Timberlea-Prospect.

[Page 7072]

RESOLUTION NO. 3694

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

Whereas the official legislative Christmas card for 2004, depicting this Legislature, was much appreciated by Nova Scotians; and

Whereas Ron Hazell of Brookside created this memorable image; and

Whereas Mr. Hazell is a recognized artist in our province;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate and thank Ron Hazell of Brookside for the legislative Christmas card of 2004.

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 Leader of the Official Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 3695

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 Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities has released a landmark report entitled, A Question of Balance: An Assessment of the State of Local Government in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the report concludes that because the province only equalizes to a standard of 40 per cent of normal expenditures, it does not enable municipalities to provide reasonably comparable services at reasonably comparable tax rates; and

[Page 7073]

Whereas the report also found that the province ignores the differences between commercial and residential assessment when measuring ability to pay;

Therefore be it resolved that the province should respond positively to the UNSM report by taking immediate steps to close the door to manipulation of the equalization formula and to close the widening gap in ability to pay for basic local services.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 3696

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

Whereas this is National Hospice Care Week; and

Whereas the Past President of the Nova Scotia Hospice Palliative Care Association has publicly questioned the lack of action on this Progressive Conservative Government's promise that a priority would be given to a province-wide standard in palliative care; and

Whereas the 2003 Progressive Conservative platform made three palliative care promises, none of which have been kept;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urge the government to truly make palliative care a priority by keeping the promise of palliative care legislation, more support for those who stay home to provide palliative care, and expansion of services to the highest possible province-wide standards.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 7074]

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period will begin at 12:56 p.m. and end at 1:56 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

HEALTH - INSURED SERVICES: PRIVATE DELIVERY - DETAILS

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, in just one week we have learned of three new private surgery clinics opening in the HRM. At least one doctor is in discussions with the Department of Health over delivering insured services. It is particularly disturbing, given the doctor shortages in Shelburne, Middleton, Digby, Port Hawkesbury and other communities, that this minister would even enter into discussions over private surgery clinics.

So I want to ask, Mr. Speaker, through you to the Minister of Health, would the Minister of Health explain to what degree his department is negotiating with health service providers for the private delivery of insured services?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, the Department of Health operates with an open-door policy and when people want to come forward to discuss proposals, we're prepared to discuss them. Discussion does not mean negotiation, Mr. Premier, and we are going to support and ensure that the tenets of the Canada Health Act are protected in all decisions that we make.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I can't help but think that the Minister of Health is understating what is actually happening here. I'm going to table a page from the latest contract between the Department of Health and Doctors Nova Scotia, and it contains a clause that says the two parties will establish a working group to determine a process for evaluating whether it is appropriate for certain diagnostic tests and procedures to be conducted at places in addition to, or other than, health care facilities.

Mr. Speaker, I'd like to ask the minister, through you, why is his department negotiating in secret with Doctors Nova Scotia for private delivery of insured services if they don't intend to allow it to happen?

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MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, as I indicated in response to the first question, all decisions that we take with respect to the delivery of health care in this province will be decisions that respect the tenets of the Canada Health Act. That is our position and will continue to be our position.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, that must be why they're under investigation by the federal government, for violations of the Canada Health Act.

The reality is that the minister has agreed to set up a committee to negotiate with Doctors Nova Scotia for the delivery of private health care. The committee on the doctors' side includes Dr. Belliveau from the Private Eye Surgery Clinic, the backers of the new plastic surgery clinic in Dartmouth, the backers of the private MRI clinic in Halifax, so my question to the Minister of Health, through you, is, if this committee comes to you recommending private delivery models for health care, what will your answer be?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, all services that are insured under the tenets of the Canada Health Act, it is the position of this department that they will be delivered under the terms of the Canada Health Act. If, however, there are elective procedures that can be delivered in a manner other than through the elective uninsured services, then those are different circumstances and we are prepared to consider those circumstances. All decisions that we will take will recognize the tenets of the Canada Health Act.

[1:00 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

GAMING CORP. - SMART CARD/GROC. CERTIFICATE PROMOTION: PREM. - AWARENESS

MR. DANIEL GRAHAM: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. The Gaming Corporation and the Premier and this government have been bragging about its VLT pilot project, the so-called "smart card", in Windsor. The card may be smart, but the Gaming Corporation is not. In an attempt to sign up problem gamblers in the Windsor area, officials from the Gaming Corporation are giving away $50 grocery certificates to people who are willing to use the card. My question is for the Premier, are you aware of this perverse action, where there's groceries for gambling bribes?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the gambling issue is one we take seriously. What I hear in the tone and the text of the question is the member opposite will be extremely disappointed if our strategy to dissuade problem gamblers to gamble will succeed. We are going to succeed.

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MR. GRAHAM: Mr. Speaker, everyone in the Legislature knows that that was not an answer, and I'm not making this up. In the Speaker's Gallery today is a resident of the Windsor area who was offered this bribe. Louise Phillips admits she's addicted to VLTs. She took the card and she took the groceries. Unlike many who will be offered that deal, she's not going to use this card. Is the Premier aware that if Louise used the card for the next four months she's been promised another $50 certificate for groceries?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, is the member disappointed that we are looking for a way to control problem gambling? Is the member worried that it's going to succeed? We have a strategy, 800 machines will be removed on November 1st, we will reduce the hours on July 1st, we'll remove the stop button on January 1, 2006, and we'll continue until we succeed. What we are proposing will work, what that member is proposing will not work.

MR. GRAHAM: Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians who would have listened to the Premier's answer to the last two questions will clearly understand why we're saying that he's sticking his head in the sand when it comes to this problem of VLTs. He can't stick his head in the sand. The sick irony here, and it's not lost on anyone, is that many problem gamblers gamble instead of eat. The food from their tables goes into these machines. My question to the Premier is, will he, once and for all, admit that the Gaming Corporation doesn't get it, that he doesn't get it, and the people of Nova Scotia need protection from his Gaming Corporation?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I had occasion on a previous day to do some quotations from the 2003-04 report of the Gaming Foundation. I'll take a little excerpt from that report. VLT retailers have agreed, under the terms of their retailer agreement, to contribute 1 per cent of their VLT commission to the foundation. The Gaming Corporation has also agreed to contribute an equal amount to all contributions made by the VLT retailers. If we followed the strategy that that member proposes to this House, those revenues would not be available to do the good things that money can do to deal with this very serious problem. That money would be in the hands of the owners of illegal machines in Nova Scotia.

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

INS. - VICTIMS' RIGHTS: CAP - RESULTS

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, Helen Hartling is 60 years old. She used to work as a presser for a dry cleaning company. On April 15th, she was hit by another vehicle. She has a serious injury to her neck and back. She's in constant pain and suffers from headaches. Helen tried to return to work last Fall on a part-time basis but could not. Her family doctor has reported she will not likely be able to return to work. Her life outside of work is now also severely limited. The insurance company involved thinks that Helen should fall under the cap. So my question for the Premier is this, was this the result you intended when your government put a limit on victims' rights?

[Page 7077]

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

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I have to remind the honourable member again that we have a system that is working. It's working effectively and it has achieved better than called for results in that insurance rates for automobiles in Nova Scotia have decreased by 25 per cent.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, Helen Hartling's case shows just how difficult it is now for victims to prove they're suffering from a major injury. I want to give you just an example of what the insurance company is demanding. The insurance company is demanding her Section B file, her employment file, a consent and authorization to attend the medical examination of their choosing. Her family's doctors file for 10 years prior to the accident. Her income tax returns. The addresses of her family members and fellow employees who can speak of her activities of daily living, and the complete MSI printout for five years prior to the accident, and after it. They also want an opinion from a chronic pain specialist that she has a moderately severe or severe injury as defined under the regulations. So my question to the Premier is this, how many more stories like this one do you have to hear before you're going to repeal this unfair and unjust cap on victims' rights?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I'll refer that to the Minister of Justice, who has experience in dealing with these claims before the cap was put on minor injuries.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I can answer the honourable member that it was my experience in dealing with personal injury claims long before the cap was in place that people needed to prove the nature and extent of their injuries. That is a routine practice that has existed in insurance claims in this province long before the cap legislation. It has nothing to do with the cap legislation, it has only to do with being able to demonstrate the nature and extent of injuries a person has suffered. If they qualify as having a long-term injury under the legislation, they will be entitled to compensation by law.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, these people used to have lawyers that would stand up to protect them and now they don't because the cost of that alone would exceed $2,500 and the member, the Minister of Justice, knows that. Helen Hartling is one of the parties arguing that the cap placed by the Progressive Conservatives on victims' rights is unconstitutional. The Premier and the minister responsible should know that her life is never going to be the same. So my question to the Premier is this, when are you going to see that the only thing that your cap is accomplishing is fattening the bottom line of the insurance companies?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, one of the great benefits of the cap on minor injuries was that shortly after implementing our automobile insurance strategy, $55 million was mailed to Nova Scotians who had previously purchased insurance. This was by way of a rebate. A direct result of our strategy, and a good result.

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MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

HEALTH PROM. - GAMBLING ADDICTIONS EXPERT (J. LAROCQUE): DISCIPLINE - REFRAIN

MR. DANIEL GRAHAM: Mr. Speaker, I recognize there's a limit to the responses that one gets in Question Period. It's run-and-hide period not Question Period, but later today in the Red Room there will be an opportunity to question the minister responsible for the gaming corporation. I look forward to asking those questions and making sure that these myths that the Premier is continuing to perpetuate are gone. On April 15th, members of the Public Accounts Committee from all three Parties heard devastating testimony from the province's gambling addictions expert, John LaRocque. He disclosed a systemic pattern of government manipulation of research, government indifference to health concerns and questions whether the province's new gaming strategy would help problem gamblers. My question is to the Minister responsible for the Office of Health Promotion. Will you commit today that your gambling addictions expert, John LaRocque is not going to be disciplined in his attempts to protect the health of Nova Scotians?

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, through you to the member, what I can assure the member is that we take the advice of all of our staff very seriously when moving forward on any type of strategy. The gentleman in question is no different, the fact of the matter is the question coming from the member resides with the fact that we have put forward a very strong strategy, which is meant to be there to help those in need. Over the long term, the money that is available, that $3 million additional dollars will be there and it will make a difference for those individuals.

MR. GRAHAM: Mr. Speaker, Mr. LaRocque was the vice-president of the most prestigious addictions agency in the world for many years. He has been with this government, in their employ, for 10 years. Earlier this week, the chief financial officer from the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation was actively recruiting someone from outside government to swear an affidavit that would discredit Mr. LaRocque and his testimony before the Public Accounts Committee. The CFO stated that such an affidavit would be placed before the lawyers for the Gaming Corporation. My question is for the Minister responsible for the Gaming Corporation. Is the senior management at the Gaming Corporation building a case to fire John LaRocque?

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, as the honourable member knows, the officials of the Gaming Corporation and the officials of the Office of Health Promotion have been working together on the gaming strategy. They've been consulting, they've been working together on the gaming strategy, and I'm sure they'll continue to do that.

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MR. GRAHAM: I hope that those aren't the questions we get in the Red Room later today, and hopefully the minister will have a chance to read the testimony of Mr. LaRocque, where he says that nobody was listening to him, essentially. Mr. LaRocque has been gagged in his attempt to get important information to the Premier, he's been muzzled from speaking to the media. The actions of the CFO certainly would place a chill on any employee. There's a pattern of intimidation here. Here's my question to the Premier, will he protect the job of John LaRocque, the one person who has been trying to protect the public, the people of Nova Scotia from VLTs for the past 10 years?

THE PREMIER: Mr. speaker, this is a very serious question. This government has a record, since 1999, of protecting the employees, it has a record of being fair to employees. It will not abandon its challenge to be fair to all employees, we will be fair to all employees.

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

UNSM REPORT - GOV'T. (N.S.): RESPONSE - TIME FRAME

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, my question today is to the Premier. Yesterday the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities released its report on the state of local governments in this province. The report says that Nova Scotia's equalization program has been compromised due to chronic underfunding. The report makes three broad recommendations regarding government responsibility, funding, equalization and the need for municipalities to be able to provide comparable levels of service across the province. For years municipalities' concerns have been ignored by previous governments and this government. I want to ask the Premier today, through you, Mr. Speaker, when will your government provide a detailed response to this report's recommendations?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I refer that to the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

HON. BARRY BARNET: Mr. Speaker, we have not seen the report yet. We will provide a response at some point in time after we receive the report.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, just about everybody else in this province has seen it. Through you again to the Premier, this chronic underfunding is crippling areas like the CBRM. We have some of the highest residential and commercial tax rates in this province. Cape Breton is not being given a fair shake by this government, indeed, when you look at the NSPI property tax shortfall for CBRM alone, it's almost $7 million per year. That's not talking about the damage they do on the roads with heavy trucking in areas like Lingan, and indeed back in Pictou County and the Trenton area. My question through you, again, to the Premier is, when are you going to deal with the longstanding unfair NSPI taxation issue that affects areas like yours in Pictou, and mine in Cape Breton Centre?

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[1:15 p.m.]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, while I normally would refer that to the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations in this province, I remember very clearly being in Opposition and dealing with the issue because it is a local issue for me as the MLA, and actually arranging a meeting with officials from the Town of Trenton to meet with the Premier of the day and receiving a reassurance on that particular occasion that the government of the day would in fact look at the issue of Nova Scotia taxation to provide some additional revenues, in particular to those municipalities with substantial infrastructure of Nova Scotia Power within their borders.

Mr. Speaker, despite the assurances of that Premier, nothing happened, but I didn't forget that it was an issue and that's why this government has arranged for increased taxation from Nova Scotia Power that is distributed right across this province to municipalities.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, as much as I enjoy kicking around past administrations, I've got to say, you're the Premier today. The problem is that we see deterioration of infrastructures in my community, in the areas around Point Aconi, and anywhere where there are large plants, and you're not addressing that problem. We know that in the next 20 years we will lose over 40,000 people off Cape Breton Island in spite of the best efforts of these hard-working people to turn that economy around.

So my question through you, Mr. Speaker, is to the Premier. Mr. Premier, the real measure, the real true idea of leadership is to offer an olive branch. Will you give an olive branch to the leadership at CBRM to sit down and deal with the economic crisis that's there so we can turn this thing around - will you do that?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is suggesting that there isn't an improved economy in the province and actually since 1999 there is an improved economy in the province. There are additional resources being made available to individual municipalities to allow them to provide comparable levels of service right across this province. We have made good progress and that progress will continue.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

COM. SERV. - EMERGENCY SHELTERS: LENGTH OF STAY - DETAILS

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, recently I toured the Booth Centre, which is the Salvation Army emergency shelter and addictions rehab program on Gottingen Street. During the visit I learned that most residents of this shelter, indeed in other shelters like Metro Turning Point as well, stay for many months, indeed, in several cases, even for over a year.

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Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the Minister of Community Services, through you, is he aware of the changing use of emergency shelters from transient to long-term stay?

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for her question. It's a good question. I have also been to the Salvation Army Booth Centre on a few occasions, I have taken the tour, and I asked the question of Major Wayne Loveless who is their executive director. Actually they had encouraged these guests to move out to apartments on their own, but what they've found out was that without the structure that they provided to them, oftentimes it did not work out, things came apart for them, and they ended up coming back to the Booth Centre.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, it's very nice to see how informed the minister is on this. I also learned that the minister's department used to provide a small allowance of $20 a week, or $81 a month, to those staying in this shelter for their personal comforts, but last Fall the minister's department ended this allowance because they felt residents should be treated as if they were transient or short-stay. So I want to ask the minister if he really thinks it's fair to take this small amount of money from those who the minister knows full well are not transient, short-term residents of this emergency shelter.

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the interest that the member opposite is paying to the homeless and those people who are dependent on these shelters. Whether they get the allowance or not depends on their circumstances. If they are being supported by a per diem from the Department of Community Services, that is meant to cover their food and shelter. If they are clients of the Department of Community Services, there are other provisions made available to them so it depends on the individual case as to whether they get that extra comfort allowance.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, there's often a lot of discussion in the media about why people are panhandling on Spring Garden Road and other parts of the city. I would suggest to the minister that some of the responsibility can be traced right back to his department. Major Wayne Loveless, Ross MacKay and others at the Salvation Army Booth Centre work hard to bring comfort and dignity to those in our community who are in these circumstances, often without material means. They face many challenges of overcoming addictions and mental health disorders and the scars that come from years of childhood abuse and neglect. I simply want to ask the minister, will he please reinstate this small comfort allowance for these homeless people in need?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, on one of those recent tours there, I was accompanied by our regional administrator. A number of issues came up - per diems, comfort allowances - and there's been a great rapport that has built up since that time between not only the Salvation Army but all six of the permanent emergency shelters in the area. They're working better together, they're talking between themselves, they're providing us with the information as to the vacancy rates and this is one of the things that was being discussed with the regional

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administrator and I'm very comfortable to continue working with them through the regional administrator and pursuing this dialogue.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

HEALTH - SELF-MANAGED CARE PROG.: CHANGES - EXPLAIN

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, last week the Minister of Health indicated the self-managed care program as currently delivered by the Independent Living Centre will become a program of the past. The Department of Health will be creating from scratch and managing a new self-managed care program. This will include the nine clients currently in the self-managed care pilot program.

For 10 years the Independent Living Centre managed the program with an unprecedented attrition rate of zero. They have successfully met the needs of disabled individuals, have been formally assessed on their performance and have exceeded expectations. My question to the Minister of Health is, why try and fix something that ain't broken?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, the Department of Health and indeed the government is very much appreciative of the efforts that have been put forward by the Association for Community Living in their administration of this pilot program.

We have taken the decision to make what was the pilot program a permanent program of the government and it is appropriate in those circumstances for the department to administer the delivery of a program which is a full-fledged program of the department.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, with all due respect, the reason why the self-managed care program started was because programs of the department failed to meet the needs of the disabled individuals. Now it would appear the minister is grabbing control of a program that has been so well structured and well managed by the Independent Living Centre that it's actually saved the system money. Unfortunately, the department does not have the same successful track record. My question for the minister is, could he please explain the real reason why he is taking control of the self-managed care program for individuals with disabilities?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, what we are in fact doing, as I explained in the answer to the first question, we are taking what was a pilot program and turning it into a full-fledged program of the department. The appropriate decision to take in those circumstances is for the department to administer a full-fledged program of the department.

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MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, what the minister is saying, his actions make no sense. We have an organization that is ready, willing and able to provide a successful program - ready tomorrow, if need be. They would do so with very little administrative overhead, they've been doing it for 10 years. Now the Independent Living Centre in Ontario manages the self-managed care program for people with disabilities in Ontario. So my question to the minister is, why don't you tell the executive director of the Independent Living Centre, who is with us today, why you don't trust her organization to do the same thing here in Nova Scotia?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, the manner in which the honourable member characterized our decision is unfair to government, it's unfair to the Independent Living Association because we did indeed trust that association for 10 years, as they administered a pilot program in this province. The pilot program is going to become a permanent program of government, and in those circumstances it's appropriate for the government, through the Department of Health, to administer such a program, and we did indeed trust that association for a period of 11 years. We're changing the nature of the program, it's becoming a permanent part of government, therefore it's appropriate for the Department of Health to deliver that program.

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

COM. SERV.: CHILD CARE SYSTEM - PLANS

MS. MARILYN MORE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community Services. Nova Scotia is in desperate need of more regulated child care spaces, trained staff, and quality early learning programs in every community of this province. Fewer than 20 per cent of Nova Scotian children with parents in the workforce are getting regulated care. We all have a stake in this investment, both for the children's best interests and as the future workers of this province. My question for the minister is, what is your plan of action to create a child care system in Nova Scotia?

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for bringing up the question because she would know it would be topical at this time with the child care agreement between the federal government and the Provincial and Territorial Governments splitting into bilateral agreements. There is already certainly a very significant commitment to child care in the province, some $28 million is invested in that area currently. But what the member, I think, is perhaps alluding to is the possibility of an additional $20 million being added to that this year, which would be a godsend for children and families, particularly low-income families in the province, and I assure the member that we are actively pursuing that bilateral agreement.

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MS. MORE: Mr. Speaker, I'm not alluding to anything, I'm screaming as loudly as I can that we need a plan in Nova Scotia. We don't need a piecemeal, band-aid approach. Time is of the essence because of the uncertain climate in Ottawa these days. We have no indication that a federal Conservative Government would deliver a public child care system to Canadians. It's crucial that as many provinces as possible sign agreements in principle, before a federal election, to protect this public investment in a national child care system. So I ask the minister, will you commit today to releasing the terms that are being considered in the bilateral child care agreement for Nova Scotia?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I didn't catch all the final question, but I got enough of it to offer a response. First of all, there is a strategy in Nova Scotia, it's been in place for a time. Our children are today's investment, tomorrow's promise. What I want to say is that throughout the last few days, in fact going back to early last week, there have been discussions with the federal government, I've spoken with Minister Dryden twice - including late last night - in these negotiations, and we are doing all that we can to try to secure a bilateral agreement that we hope will be binding upon any potential future government of Canada.

[1:30 p.m.]

MS. MORE: Mr. Speaker, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and the minister cannot afford to fence-sit. Manitoba and Saskatchewan have signed agreements, they were quick off the mark, they were prepared, and they knew what they were doing. They'll be investing in a not-for-profit delivery of early childhood education as soon as the federal budget is passed. Mr. Minister, where is our agreement in principle in the pipeline, and will you be sure that it's going to be signed before the federal election?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, again, I appreciate the member's questions, because these are significant matters. A couple of weeks ago the Gomery Inquiry was starting to create concerns about the future of this government's continuance that I initiated, through my department, these discussions. I would tell the member opposite that at the conclusion of Question Period today, staff are coming over and they're going to brief me on what took place in Ottawa the last couple of days. There have been many telephone calls in the meantime, and three senior staff returned home last night. So we're looking forward to hearing what they have to say.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

NAT. RES. - CASAVECHIA CASE: GOV'T. (Can.) - PURSUE

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, there are landowners like Bill Casavechia who have had their bad situation created by Hurricane Juan compounded by the fact that their land is in the federal quarantine zone for the brown spruce longhorn beetle, rendering them

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unable to harvest their downed wood, therefore also rendering them unable to participate in the disaster relief program provided to other landowners. My question to the Minister of Natural Resources is, why did you not pursue the federal government for a program to address their special situation?

HON. RICHARD HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, through you to the honourable member and all members, I guess maybe if I drew picture for the federal minister, he might get the picture then. I have sent numerous letters and I've commented. I went to Ottawa to meet with the minister. I don't know what else I can do to get their attention, that Nova Scotia needs some help, also, in the Hurricane Juan cleanup.

MR. MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I can tell the minister what he can do, and that is instead of drawing a picture, he can draw a line in the sand and go to Ottawa to get some reaction. I want to table a letter I received from federal Minister Efford that indicates there were joint federal-provincial programs to aid woodlot owners like those impacted by the ice storm of Quebec, and that these were initiated by the provincial governments going to the feds for assistance. In his letter, Minister Efford stated that, to date, he has received no request from his provincial colleague, the Honourable Richard Hurlburt, Nova Scotia Minister of Natural Resources. This letter is dated September 8, 2004. So my question to the minister is, why did you allow close to a year to go by after the hurricane without approaching the federal minister for a program to help these woodlot owners in the quarantine zone?

MR. HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, maybe I should take the member back in history. I think we had an election just months back, a federal election, and there was a previous minister that I had sent correspondence to, and his name was Mr. Speller. I asked for assistance through him. When that letter was addressed back to the honourable member opposite, he did not have all of his facts from his staff that there already was correspondence from this minister to the federal government. Maybe, also, where the climate in Ottawa is as it is today, the NDP maybe have better clout, and maybe they could go to Ottawa and talk to the federal minister.

MR. MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, we'd be glad to take him up on that offer. I want to tell the minister that Minister Efford was the minister after the election last year, September 2004. I want to table three pieces of correspondence. Number one is my November 30th letter to this minister indicating Mr. Efford's response, and asking if he made such a request. Number two is the December 21st minister's response saying he made a request but he didn't send any supporting documents with it. Number three is my January 11, 2005, letter asking for any correspondence from that minister to indicate he indeed approached the federal government.

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Mr. Speaker, we're into May, that was a January letter. I haven't received any correspondence from that minister to indicate that he approached the federal government for a program. So I want to ask the minister, can he table in this House today a photocopy of the back of the napkin on which he made his request to the federal minister?

MR. HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, just to bring a history class here, that member sat down in the Uniacke Room with myself and my deputy, and other members, to deal with CFIA and HRM. We have requested the federal government. That member knows that I have sent numerous letters to Ottawa. He knows the good member for the Eastern Shore accompanied me to Ottawa and we pleaded with the federal minister. So that member is stating that he would dearly love to go to Ottawa, well, I recommend that he and his whole caucus go to Ottawa and request their help for the people of Nova Scotia.

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

TPW - LEITCHES CREEK RD.: REPAIRS - TIME FRAME

MR. GERALD SAMPSON: Mr. Speaker, I am tabling today pictures of the Leitches Creek road in Cape Breton Regional Municipality. There's all this strip of crumbling fractured asphalt of paved road, is a joke, and it's no joke to the people who live on the road. My question to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works is, how much longer must the people of Leitches Creek wait for their road to be repaired?

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, like many other roads in the province, we are doing our very best and the Leitches Creek road is one that is certainly high on the priority list, but I cannot guarantee when it will be paved.

MR. GERALD SAMPSON: High on the priority list is what I've been hearing for years, Mr. Speaker. It's more than 25 years since the Leitches Creek road has been resurfaced and the residents of that road feel it's neglected by this government. My question to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works is, why should the residents of this road, or any other road in Nova Scotia, have to wait for 25 years to have their road repaired?

MR. RUSSELL: It's interesting, Mr. Speaker, that the honourable member opposite mentioned 25 years of age for that particular road because the average age of our paved rural roads in Nova Scotia is 25 years.

MR. GERALD SAMPSON: Mr. Speaker, I'm glad to see that the honourable minister is keeping up to his average. (Interruption) A silver anniversary, not bad for a local. The minister and this government are looking forward to the deficit growing on highway construction. Their own figures say $3.1 billion in deficit now, looking forward to 2011 when it's $4.4 billion. Most everybody else that has a deficit or a debt look forward to paying it down. These people are looking forward to having it grow. My question to the minister is,

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when will he put together a comprehensive multi-year plan for the paving of this province and address the $3 billion deficit now?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, we do have a plan, the only thing we're lacking is the money. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works has the floor.

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, we have a deficit in the transportation system with regard to the condition of the road system in Nova Scotia. I can take a little bit of criticism from the NDP, but I sure can't take criticism from that Party over there who caused the problem. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

EDUC. - DHS: COMPLAINTS - ADDRESS

MR. JERRY PYE: That's a tough one to follow. Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Education. Dartmouth High School is in serious need of repair. Parents and students say the skylight leaks, there is mould in some of the classrooms, there are problems with the field, the gym and the equipment isn't working in the labs. The parents and students don't know where and when any of these problems are going to be fixed or by whom. My question is to the Minister of Education. You've heard their complaints, what are you prepared to do about this situation?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member would know that the renovation repair budgets for school buildings is controlled by school boards and to remind him that we did increase that budget in the Spring last year when we actually restored some money to that budget - the renovation-repair budget. I can also tell the honourable member that the Halifax Regional School Board, like the other school boards in the province, they construct capital priority lists. That list I understand has been submitted, there is a capital construction TCA committee that looks at these requests. I have not seen it yet but I expect to have that list which would include the requests of the Halifax Regional School Board in my office before too long.

MR. PYE: Mr. Speaker, I would say to the honourable minister, he has the authority that when that list comes in, to at least have a review and I don't know if he makes an assessment or an evaluation on what schools for repairs will get the priority, but I hope that this is one deep in his mind. The parents and the students are worried about safety. They say a 200-pound light fell from the ceiling and almost hit someone. The soccer field is so full of

[Page 7088]

holes the students have to go to another school to play. Some students are complaining of breathing problems and headaches, and the parents don't know who to blame. It is only so long before someone gets hurt. My question to the minister is, how much longer are the parents and the students going to have to wait, not for the regional school board to step in, but for you, Mr. Minister, to step in?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I have heard a little bit about Dartmouth High School recently. There is additional money that has been allocated to school boards for renovation and repair, so the Halifax Regional School Board, I'm sure, is very aware of the condition of that school, but also I go back and repeat the answer to the first question. The capital priority list of the Halifax Regional School Board has been submitted to the committee across government that looks at TCA spending. There is a report being constructed of what will be done in education - a prioritized list. I have not yet seen that list, so when I see I would be quite happy to communicate with the honourable member.

MR. PYE: Mr. Speaker, once again, I want to remind the minister that that's the reason why I'm standing here today. It's to make sure that in fact that priority list has Dartmouth High School on it, and that there is some very serious consideration by that committee with respect to the repairs of Dartmouth High. His government says that education is a priority, but they are not helping the students and the parents in my constituency. This thing has gotten this bad because education has been so underfunded, for so long. My question to the minister is, what will it take for him to realize how serious this situation is and provide immediate help?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, in the past year this government has invested something like $36 million to build new schools and over the next few years there's an additional $320 million committed. To imply that the government has not embarked on a rather ambitious school construction program that helps Nova Scotians in all parts of this province, I don't think is really accurate. I can tell the honourable member, I've heard his question, we are aware that there are some concerns being presented by people who have children going to the Dartmouth High School and other community residents. The Halifax Regional School Board is aware of those concerns and I'm sure that when they submit their priority list, if the school board feels that Dartmouth High should be the number one priority, then I expect it will be number one on their list.

[1:45 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

HEALTH: PALLIATIVE CARE STANDARDS - TABLE

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, this is National Palliative Care Week, a week designed to celebrate and recognize the achievements of palliative care in the

[Page 7089]

community. Unfortunately, with the exception of a small but much-needed investment in palliative care in South West Nova, we do not have much to celebrate. Almost one year ago today, the minister stated in this House, ". . . we are in the process of establishing a standard approach across this province finding the best services that we can provide. It is a priority with respect to moving forward."

My question for the Minister of Health is, given that it was a priority and it is one year later, will the minister please table in the House the province-wide standards for palliative care?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for the question. Obviously, the member indicates we said it was a priority last year, it continues to be a priority and we've made considerable progress with respect to the development of those standards. We have not completed the job, but we continue to work at it and I look forward to the day when I can, in fact, bring those completed standards before the House.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, the federal government has made end of life care a priority. It's now up to this minister and this government to implement palliative care programs in which federal dollars will be made available. So my second question to the minister is, will the minister please indicate when he is going to be announcing a province-wide palliative care program?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, when we have completed our work and we have what we believe to be the very best set of standards that we can bring forward to the people of this province with respect to palliative care, is the day I will be bringing that forward. I anticipate that happening in the relatively near future.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, a comprehensive plan for palliative care would include 24 hour, seven day a week palliative care professionals. It would include home support, respite, prescription medications and non-prescribed therapies. So my final question for the minister is, will the minister's province-wide palliative care program - when he does announce it - address all of those necessary components?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, if I knew what the details of the program should be at this juncture, I would announce them. I've indicated that we're preparing that and it will be brought forward when it is ready. I can assure the honourable member and all members of the House that it will be the very best program possible for the people of this province.

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

[Page 7090]

HEALTH PROM. - FOOTBALL N.S.: FIELD AVAILABILITY - ENSURE

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I bring to the attention of the Minister of Health Promotion an important topic - a topic involving youth and the character building sport of football. I've been hearing from parents, coaches and players involved with Football Nova Scotia we're having a really hard time finding practice fields and playing fields for the Football Nova Scotia provincial team. For months Football Nova Scotia has been trying to find a place to have these practices as they prepare for an important exhibition game against a team from New Brunswick on June 10th - an important day to football fans, one day before the CFL exhibition game between the hated Toronto Argonauts and the always mighty Hamilton Tiger Cats.

It's time for you Mr. Minister to help out these young men and women who play this sport. There are more than 2,000 people involved playing football across this province. It's time for the minister to strap on the pads, to clear away some of the bureaucratic obstacles, to tackle this problem head on and instruct his staff to make proper field time available immediately to the provincial football program in this province.

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, what I can tell the members is that we do indeed support football in our province and will continue to do so through the provincial sport organizations. If the team in question is having a problem getting a field, I'm sure we can be of assistance to try to accommodate their needs.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, let's go deep on this one too because we all know how important it is to get kids active in this province yet Football Nova Scotia feels they are constantly facing an uphill struggle. In 1999, Football Nova Scotia received over $12,000 in provincial funding. Last year that funding dwindled to $1,000. I'm told the Minister of Sport and Recreation, the Minister of Health Promotion, or should I say it the other way around as Sport Nova Scotia gets continually shuffled to the back burner. Recently a letter was written to the organization saying funding would be restored. My question to the minister is, will you restore the funding to Football Nova Scotia and these young football enthusiasts to the tune of a full $12,000?

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, in fact, I signed a letter just the other day indicating that they will be receiving the funding this year.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, let's kick that one around for a while. The amount was important. It is always of importance as next month the CFL is coming to town. We can take advantage of that event, we can do much more for football players, aside from having them sell the programs and assist with getting the fans into a stadium that I'm unable to get tickets to. Would the minister make assurances, aside from the fact that 6,000 tickets were reserved immediately to corporate sponsors, that there will be football tickets available to young minor football players in this province?

[Page 7091]

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, it sounds like the member wants tickets. I think I'm hearing what he's saying. Tickets for the kids. I'll certainly look into it and take it under advisement and see what we can do.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

ENVIRON. & LBR. - OUTFLOW PROB.: ORDER ISSUANCE - DETAILS

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Environment and Labour. Dartmouth is blessed with an abundance of lakes that are enjoyed by all residents in the HRM. On the weekend of April 23rd, the Department of Environment and Labour was informed of an unusual discolouration of Lake Micmac. As a result the Department of Environment and Labour ordered a company, an asphalt plant, to install grit separators and put proper controls in place, because waste water from the plant discharges directly into the lake without this necessary equipment. I would like to table photos taken on Tuesday, May 3rd, showing that the problem has not gone away. Has the department followed up on the order to correct the outflow problem that was issued well over two weeks ago?

HON. KERRY MORASH: Mr. Speaker, the department certainly has been working on this issue. It's still under investigation, and there may be additional changes that take place or requests that go to the individuals or the group that have the concern. We're looking forward to a remedy.

MR. GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, residents in the area are alarmed. Lake Micmac is used for swimming, and I believe, rightly so, government should be doing more to protect them. Without proper controls in place, it is possible that an asphalt plant could be discharging silt, rocks and possibly even oil-based waste water. While silt and rocks are one thing, oil-based waste water is a whole different matter. Could the minister please table, before the end of today, any baseline water quality information on Lake Micmac, as well as updated information his department would have collected over the last couple of weeks?

MR. MORASH: Mr. Speaker, I can tell you that at this point in time it appears that the problem was silting that was causing the discolouration, and that has been the determination at this point in time.

MR. GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, residents are alarmed, while the department has done just the bare minimum to ensure the problems with the discharge flow into Lake Micmac is corrected. The local councillor in the area indicated that on at least one occasion, the discharge flowing into the lake was bright red. Given that the local councillor has written and phoned the minister with his concerns and those of the residents, could the minister please explain why he has been slow in following up with this issue?

[Page 7092]

MR. MORASH: Mr. Speaker, I guess we need to maybe find out what the definition of bare minimum is, if inspecting the site and asking people to do things that would remedy the situation and solve the problem is the bare minimum. Certainly the department has done that, but the intention is to correct the problem.

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

SPORTS HALL OF FAME - STATUES: DESTINATION - CLARIFY

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: I want you to know, Mr. Speaker, that it's important that we are aware of the fact that the Sports Hall of Fame has made a very wise move to its new location. It's a new location that anyone involved in athletics will support as we recognize the great contribution that Billy Robinson and staff have made to Nova Scotia. However, I believe that there's a glaring deficiency at this stage as there are two wonderful statues outside the Hall of Fame of that classic young boxer and the women's basketball player. I was wondering if the Minister of Health Promotion could clarify, what is the destination of those two statues in a more prominent role for Nova Scotians as it recognizes sports in this province?

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health Promotion, you have about 15 seconds.

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I saw those two statues today and I can tell you they weren't going anywhere today, they were simply standing there.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect, you have about five seconds. (Interruptions)

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

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto on an introduction.

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw the attention of the members in the House to the presence in the west gallery of some visitors from a school that's located in my constituency. They are 19 Grade 7 students from Oxford Junior High School. The Oxford School has two streams, it has an English stream and a French Immersion stream. These students are students in the French Immersion Program. They have come, as so many students do, to observe us in our work. They are accompanied by Joan McNaughton, Rhonda Knubley and also, of course, by one of their teachers who would be known to many members in this Chamber, that is to say Jamie MacDonald, who served here as a Page and whose sister, Julia, now serves here as a Page. So I would ask members to join me in welcoming these students and I would ask the students to rise and be recognized by the members of the House. (Applause)

[Page 7093]

MR. SPEAKER: We certainly welcome our guests to the gallery today and ensure them they're in great hands. We appreciate the opportunity to have them here today with us and hope they enjoy the proceedings. Thank you, Jamie.

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 the House resolve into a Committee of the Whole House on Supply.

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

MS. MARILYN MORE: Mr. Speaker, I wish to use my time today to speak about my deep concern with this government's treatment of the vulnerable in Nova Scotia and especially through the Department of Community Services. There is growing evidence that the financial bottom line is driving the agenda rather than a strong sense of social responsibility.

First, I want to explain what my Party, the New Democratic Party, stands for. Our philosophy is based on the principles of social democracy and this is not an empty phrase. It drives our policies and actions and to the best of our ability what we present and discuss here in the Legislature. The condensed version of social democracy is that we are working towards a society where people: one, have a basic right to be treated with dignity and freedom; two, that a government priority must be abolishing poverty and exploitation; three, that citizens have the right to be involved in meaningful ways in public decision making; and, four, that the economy in service delivery must meet social and individual needs of citizens while sustaining the environment. Most Nova Scotians share these principles and values. Yet they don't seem to be high on the priority list of this government.

I'm basically a very positive person. I like to give people and situations the benefit of the doubt. So it has taken some time for me to get disillusioned about the Department of Community Services and I want to be clear that I'm not talking about the front-line workers. Most of the people there started out with all the ideals and passion that one could expect, that they wanted to help people and I respect that position, but there seems to be an underlying push in atmosphere, both subtle and not so subtle, that it's contrary to the social democratic

[Page 7094]

principles that I just reviewed. So this puts me and my Party on a collision course with the department.

[2:00 p.m.]

There's a bad smell, quite frankly, to this department's recent practices, and now this budget. While it has been perfumed over to try to make it more palatable, the underlying motivation leaves a bad taste in my throat and my heart. Whether we're looking at changes in legislation, regulations, policies, procedures, or decision making, the scent of mean-spiritedness is getting stronger. The trend I see is to delay, download, underfund, add procedures, review, limit access, freeze and confuse. So citizens in this province are denied their social safety net, and the results are leading to frustration, fear, despair, missed opportunities and, quite frankly, second-class citizens.

It's taken me two years to reach this level of frustration. Now, many of my colleagues have been in the House and have been trying to advocate, on behalf of people, with the department for much longer and I know that they share my views and they feel just as strongly, but I had to learn it myself and now I feel compelled to share what I did learn. For example, this year's department's business plan admits that the department does not have a social policy framework. To quote their own words: "A social policy framework is key to enabling government to respond to the changing needs of Nova Scotians in a coherent and effective manner." They will be taking a first step toward developing a social policy framework this year, which to my way of thinking, and certainly what I've seen over the past two years, is an admission that they have not been responding in a coherent and effective manner, let alone in a way that meets the standards of my Party.

Just to remind my listeners in the Chamber, my Party standards include treating citizens with respect and dignity, and working to eliminate poverty. So how seriously is the minister and his department taking this pledge to develop a social policy framework? You will be pleased to know that it will go so far as beginning some preliminary research in 2005-06. So the lack of any social policy framework and principles may account for the piecemeal, inconsistent and unfair approach that has been evolving under the Department of Community Services. However, while developing the social policy framework sometime in the future is a worthy goal, it does not excuse an imbalance that is becoming more obvious throughout the department - that is the focus on saving money over serving our most vulnerable.

I want to give a few examples of themes that we will be following up in our Party's questioning of the minister during estimates. There's a freeze on placements for people with disabilities and long-term mental illness, under the Community Supports for Adults program. You may remember a story I raised, last year in the Legislature, about a woman who had to remain in the Truro prison for women far beyond her release date because of the department freeze. In metro alone, there are 100 people who have met all the eligibility criteria for placement in the Community Supports for Adults program, but are on a wait list. I was

[Page 7095]

stunned when I heard that number and I questioned the reason why. I was told that this program depended on available resources, that people, even though eligible and in great need in this province, were not entitled to this program - and I'm talking here about the most vulnerable people who, along with their families, need help desperately.

Another example of outrageous decision making is the increasing number of cases in which young people in the care of the minister are being transferred to other settings against the advice of medical and other professionals to cheaper situations. And people who try to intervene on their behalf are intimidated by department officials and the transfer goes ahead, just to save money, not in the best interests of children.

Another example for today's purposes only is the fact that Nova Scotia saw the highest increase in food bank use in the Atlantic Provinces, 46 per cent since 1997. Approximately 40,000 Nova Scotians are forced to use food banks, and 40 per cent of the people who benefit from this service are under the age of 18; 40 per cent of the people who receive food from the food bank are under the age of 18. Yet, last October this government gave a $4 increase for food to people most in need, and this year tax breaks to large, profitable corporations.

I received a call a few weeks ago from an individual trying to track whether or not this government actually gave grants to food banks. He couldn't believe - I did check it out, and it is true, there are a number of food banks in this province that receive direct grants from the government. He couldn't believe that a government would actually create a problem where people didn't have enough food, their income was low, and they were forced to go to food banks, and rather than dealing with the problem directly, the government would turn around and fund food banks and actually verify that this was a problem, one that they were not dealing with.

Mr. Speaker, this is disgraceful, and the NDP and the people of Nova Scotia expect the government to meet its responsibilities to all citizens of this province, not just those who vote for them or who donate to them. I will have some very tough questions for the Minister of Community Services. This situation has gone on long enough, and I have to say that it's a shared responsibility among all the ministers. Often the weaknesses in the social programs in other departments are leading people to fall under the mandate of the Department of Community Services.

So, when you notice that the clients being served by Community Services are people who suffer from multiple challenges, including low education levels, low literacy rates, people who have not been able to receive adequate mental health services and others, you realize that the social safety net in Nova Scotia is weakening and a lot of these people are being shifted to Community Services, Community Services is not following through with the adequate supports that are necessary, and so these people are being pushed out into the street, back

[Page 7096]

into their communities and their families without the adequate resources that we expect from a responsible government.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

We'll have a slight delay until we find our speaker. I know one of our speakers is currently in the Chair in the Red Room. He was going to go last.

The honourable member for Victoria-The-Lakes.

MR. GERALD SAMPSON: Mr. Speaker, it's a pleasure to speak today on the Financial Measures (2005) Bill. The bill is especially important to the goverment because it's one that could be called and it could result in the defeat of the government if it doesn't receive a majority vote.

The most interesting part of the bill is the debt management fund and the commitment to ensure that $830 million can't be used to balance the budget. That $830 million coming from the offshore, there's already a stipulation in place from the federal government that it can't go anywhere else but there. I believe we're being led to believe that it could be put here, there, and everywhere, but at the same time it must go on the debt. The budget must be balanced without the offshore fund. While the intention is noble, that's not what the government seems to be doing.

The $830 million is a very key part of the budget and what happens if it doesn't arrive, or arrive on time? It would cause this government to have to borrow $1.2 billion to keep the budget that was presented in this House.

This budget is claiming to be a surplus of $63 million. If this bill becomes law, then the government must change that part of the budget. It's another - I wouldn't say, deception, that's probably too strong, smoke and mirrors may be more appropriate, but it shows poor financial policies and planning on behalf of the government. There's no plan for reduction - you've heard me before in this House and I will, later, in my talk refer to the escalating costs of the Department of Transportation and Public Works.

According to the proposed budget it would be 2009 before the debt goes back to the levels that they are today. So what I would like to ask is, where is the balanced budget? People who have a balanced budget have a financial plan and all accounts are balanced. But this year the debt is growing and, to be quite frank, the debt is going to grow by $90 million this year. I will give some finer specifics later on in my talk - but how can the government say they're putting $830 million on the debt and the debt is still growing by $90 million a year?

[Page 7097]

Don't take this out of context, but I always seem to refer lately to my sociology professor back in Xavier Junior College, Father Brooks Campbell, when he told us statistics don't lie, only the people that make them. I suppose you can put whatever you want into a computer and get the proper information back. The province seems to be only interested in things that cost money, not things that make money, as you heard me say yesterday when I spoke in favour of the royalty, on the Water Royalty Bill. Mr. Speaker, we should be receiving royalties on all our natural resources.

Here's what we have, a supposed $63 million surplus, the debt is going up by $90 million and supposedly the offshore money is going to the debt. There's no choice, as I said. The offshore money, in order to receive it from the feds, must go to the debt. I would like the province and this government to explain that to the people of Nova Scotia, not to lead them to believe they're doing a wonderful thing by putting this money to the debt.

After all is said and done, the government is still borrowing $340 million to supposedly balance the budget. Now if you have to borrow to balance, that to me is mismanagement. It's not fiscal restraint, is not living within our means, it's not fiscal management. I'm wondering when will this kind of fiscal mismanagement and underachievement stop. The honourable Premier promised in 1999, then again in 2001, that the debt would stop growing.

[2:15 p.m.]

So, Mr. Speaker, let's look at the facts and we'll see whether the Premier misled the people or not. Every resident in the Province of Nova Scotia today owes over $12,000 each, that's what it would take to remediate the debt, over $12 billion in debt for the province. So where's the balance? Oh, I have a balanced bank account, yet I owe $12 billion. It doesn't seem right to me. On April 17, 2001, the Premier told this Legislature here, "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." Did the Premier break his promise? I think so.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to quote from The ChronicleHerald. The Premier wrote in The ChronicleHerald: To be sure there are some people who suggest that the government should continue borrowing on its debt and spending beyond its means, I don't believe there is merit in this argument. Such an approach might feel good today, however, we need to ask ourselves who pays for it tomorrow.

Mr. Speaker, $2.5 million in interest, as you heard the honourable member for Richmond state today, $2.5 million in interest per day is what it's costing Nova Scotia residents and this government - another day older and deeper in debt. There's no industry left down in my riding, in Cape Breton. There are no coal mines left there, there's no steel plant left there, and as I quoted from the old song, you can't load 16 ton any more because there's

[Page 7098]

no business down there to do that, but we can surely be one day older and deeper in debt. The question arises, who pays for it tomorrow? I would like to say tomorrow has arrived because we're all paying for it now. It's funny that back in 1999 the Premier wouldn't support the budget because it added to the debt. Since the Premier came to office, the debt has grown by $2.5 billion - underachievement, mismanagement, poor operations, I don't know, or a combination of all; $2.5 billion is the entire Health budget for this province for this year, $1 billion more than in 1999.

Mr. Speaker, let's look at what the Premier told The ChronicleHerald on New Year's Eve in 2001: The Conservative caucus voted against a budget of a $600 million deficit. I told Nova Scotians that in good conscience I could not support more debt. That's the Premier's words. So I don't see that there's a halo around this man anywhere or around any of this government. It looks like the man can do no wrong, or nobody can do any wrong, yet the debt is going sky high. The Premier does know in good conscience that he is adding to the debt.

The Premier and the government don't have any credibility on the debt, Mr. Speaker, because there are promises broken and it looks that he has clearly misled Nova Scotians. This bill does have some good clauses, including the $150 credit tax for participation in recreation, but I wonder who that will serve because for the $150 credit tax, it's going to amount to a saving of $15 per child. My evaluation of that tells me that to save $15 per child, that's only going to affect people who have their children already enrolled in sporting activities. Nobody is going to invest the hundreds of dollars required to enter their child in sporting activities to save $15.

The film tax credit, something that was brought forth when we had a sound studio down in Cape Breton, the tax credit was cut, the sound studio gone like the coal mines and the steel plant. Now the tax credit comes back, but there are no incentives outside of Halifax. They are not adequate to want people to create more film industry and receive a good tax credit.

I look at roads - $3.4 billion to grow to $4.3 billion in 2011. Most people want to pay down their debt, Mr. Speaker, and as I said in a question previous to the minister, we're sitting back and watching this debt grow. Am I disappointed? Yes, that's mismanagement. Are there accomplishments there? No, that's underachievement. We have a government that promised the world in 1999 and has failed to deliver. What do we have - missed opportunity. Most people make a plan, any local community group or organization, they always talk about you should have a five-year plan to see where you're going to go and a 10-year plan to where you intend to be in 10 years' time.

Well, there's no plan here, Mr. Speaker, that I can see - six years of missed opportunity, six years of neglecting our education system. There is $500 million in deferred school repairs, $500 million in repairs to the schools that has been deferred. Our students,

[Page 7099]

we're number 10, the lowest funded in the country, and we went from number 10 to number 10 because of this budget. Six years of increased fees and taxes, there were 500 user fees slipped through in one day in the Fall when the House wasn't sitting. Talk to the people about that one and see if they agree with that and, as I said, six years of neglected roads. Where is the fiscal management and the planning? How can you look forward to your debt increasing rather than having a management plan looking forward to the debt on the roads decreasing? Six years of watching the offshore oil industry.

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Energy stated in the House that they are going to increase the budget for the Department of Energy by another $1 million. They're going to hire four more people to work in the Department of Energy and I'm wondering if these are just going to be four more patronage jobs because I will tell you why - increasing the budget after the oil companies have left, boasting that $55 million in penalties have been put into the economy of this budget. I can quote from the Cape Breton Post, May 5th, today, an article by Wes Stewart who says, "An offshore technologies conference in Houston, Texas, was told improved regulatory processes will streamline the exploration of natural gas and oil off Nova Scotia." Then I quote our honourable Minister of Energy saying, "Operators want a predictable and competitive business environment, one in which they can reasonably anticipate costs and approval times." That's what the Minister of Energy said on Wednesday.

That means upfront costs and quicker cycle times for explorers. Now, the oil companies have become explorers and the upfront costs and quicker cycle times, Mr. Speaker, lovely, flowery words, $55 million paid in penalties by oil companies leaving. They have no intention of coming back and one of the gentlemen from EnCana was quoted on CBC just recently saying that they left because there was too much minute testing and too many costly rules and regulations that they had to go through in order to succeed. It was too costly. It was cheaper for them to pay their $55 million in penalties and pull up stakes and leave.

Mr. Speaker, I talked about the loss of mining, the steel plant, the sound studio down in Cape Breton, and I'm wondering when I come to the tourism sector and I remember the slogan of Nova Scotia's masterpiece, and I believe what has happened under this government is they have allowed Nova Scotia's masterpiece to become a piece of pizza.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The time has expired for the honourable member.

The honourable member for Kings North.

MR. MARK PARENT: Mr. Speaker, thank you for this opportunity to speak. Tony Blair at a Labour Party conference in October 1996 sat at that conference and asked me what my platform is and I responded three words - education, education, education. I feel like I'm imitating Tony Blair a little bit this afternoon because last night I spoke about education, the importance of education and in particular about the funding that this government has provided for the community college system. I mentioned last night how important this is for two

[Page 7100]

reasons; the first is that we're entering an economy where people, to gain employment, will have to have a post-secondary education. We know that to be true, Mr. Speaker. The jobs for people who have Grade 12 or less are disappearing, while the jobs for people who have a post-secondary education are increasing, and that causes a problem, I mentioned, in this province because the majority of our citizens have less than a Grade 12 education and of those who go to post-secondary education, the vast majority go to university rather than community college, which is out of whack, out of balance, with the other provinces across Canada.

Part of the reason for this was really that our community college was underfunded to a certain degree and was an institution in need of change and in need of a new vision. Our government was the government that did this, with the co-operation of the many professors, teachers, administrators and particularly with Principal Ray Ivany, this government helped transform the Nova Scotia Community College system into being one of the leaders in community college education in Canada. One of the cornerstones of this government has been its funding for the community college system, over $130 million. Two years ago it was announced and then last year it came into effect, and operating money to help complement that capital spending.

I'm particularly pleased, Mr. Speaker, that Kingstec Campus in Kentville was one of the schools that received additional funding. Indeed, outside of Halifax, Kingstec Campus received the largest amount of money for funding in order to expand its program in Kentville, $13.4 million in capital spending and increased money in operating expenses to help pay for new courses that they'll be offering and for a renovated building there. I mentioned yesterday that my colleague, the member for Kings South, David Morse and myself had the opportunity to tour this facility on at least two occasions and on the second occasion we went through the woodworking, the small-engine, the large-engine and the plumbing shops, the new buildings they had which made their work as teachers and as students so much more productive. At the very end of it we asked the question of one of the instructors about the job prospects for these students and the instructor replied that 10 years ago, the students would have had difficulty finding jobs but that now they have their pick of jobs and that they couldn't graduate enough students to meet the job opportunities that were out there.

Mr. Speaker, this is one of the great accomplishments of this government and something to be lauded. The Minister of Education and the Premier have made this a priority and it is something that has benefited the province as a whole and certainly it's something that has benefited the riding of Kings North.

There are other parts of the budget that I want to speak to besides the impact upon the community college and the operating money that's there for the expansion. I should mention, Mr. Speaker, while I'm on it talking about the LPN seats that will be at Kingstec community college that there's a nice synergy between the new LPN seats that will be at the community college in Kentville, along with the new nursing seats that will be funded at

[Page 7101]

Acadia University right next door. What a wonderful synergy. The riding of Kings North, along with Kings West and Kings South, is becoming quite an educational centre with Acadia University, one of the leading universities in Canada and the world, with Kingstec which now, with its infusion of capital, is one of the leading community college facilities in Canada, with the work that goes on the base there in Aldershot and the training of reserves, a wonderful academic influence within the riding.

The other thing I want to laud about the budget, Mr. Speaker, is the help for the orchard renewal program in agriculture. Agriculture is one of the most important activities within Kings North. It's a $430 million industry, and it's an industry that's committed to Nova Scotia, committed to the area. It's not going to pack up and move away after people invest their lives, invest their blood, sweat, toil and tears in making this industry grow. The heart of it is in Kings County and to a large part in Kings North.

[2:30 p.m.]

I'm pleased for the support that this budget has shown for the orchard renewal program. This is a program that is farsighted, where the growers are looking towards the future and anticipating where they need to be in the future, and the government, in recognition of this farsighted, futuristic vision of our orchard growers has decided to fund this as a new initiative, $250,000. I know the Fruit Growers of Nova Scotia, that I worked with to help lobby the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, who in turn lobbied Cabinet colleagues to have this orchard renewal program go through, I know that they're very pleased with it.

In terms of health, Mr. Speaker, there have been some programs that I've been working on for many years and they're finally coming to fruition. The new MRI in Kentville is something that has been well received by the community, at the Valley Regional Hospital; the expanded emergency room at the Valley Regional Hospital; the 21 new acute care beds at the Valley Regional Hospital, again, desperately needed in a hospital that has one of the highest efficiency rates and that operates at almost 100 per cent, and sometimes over, with people in the hospital. So these 21 beds are a welcome addition to the Valley Regional Hospital. Then, of course, the long-term care beds in Berwick, 32 new long-term care beds in Berwick and Grandview Manor. I was there for the dedication of the facilities and of these new beds, and it was something that was very well received by the residents and by people throughout the area.

In the area of health, there have been significant investments of funding to the area of Kings County and Kings North that I've been working on for years, along with my colleagues. I'm very pleased to see the budget bring them into reality. I know that the residents of the riding are very pleased as well. In fact, I heard that David Logie, the head of the district health authority was very effusive in his praise at the volunteer banquet for Health officials in the government. For those of you who know Mr. Logie, he's a very straight

[Page 7102]

speaker, a straightforward speaker, and when he has criticisms, you hear them, and when he has praise, you heard it. He's full of praise for what this government has done, and in particular mentioned what I was able to do, I was very thankful for that.

In terms of roads, Mr. Speaker, the riding of Kings North is getting, I've been promised, the riding has been promised, three paving projects and perhaps some others to follow, depending on how the money flows in regard to the federal budget in Ottawa, this is welcome news. I learned a very quick lesson in how the Liberals do politics in this riding, because when I came into office I was able to get the list of how much money had gone into roads in Kings North since 1993. In 1993, when the government changed and the Liberals took power, Kings North received no funding for capital roads, none whatsoever. It wasn't really until late in 1999 that we got $200,000, thanks to the courtesy of Don Downe, who took some pity on us. The riding was frozen out because it was on the wrong side of the government at that time.

It's taken some time, Mr. Speaker, to get funding back into capital projects in Kings North. Two years ago we had the Main Street in Canning paved, after 20 years, they told me, that it had never been touched. We had some pavement going up on Highway No. 358, going up the mountain there. We'll have some significant work coming, as well, this year. Secondary roads, for those of us who are rural MLAs, are our bread and butter in many ways. Like the old real estate slogan that my colleague, the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, would know, it's sort of a play on location, location, location - for a rural MLA it's roads, roads, roads.

Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased that our budget for highway spending has increased dramatically since we've come into office. Every year it's gone higher and higher. There's still much to be done, but we have done much. We've progressed. In this regard I want to speak about Highway No. 101 and the twinning of Highway No. 101. I'm very appreciative that the highway is twinned now, as far as it's twinned. I will continue to push, and I've made that commitment to the Chamber of Commerce, I've made that commitment to my residents, and I will continue to push for this twinning to be completed all the way to Coldbrook and passing lanes beyond. There's been a bit of a delay. I've written letters to our Minister of Transportation and Public Works, I've written letters to the federal minister and to our federal Member of Parliament saying let's get on with this, people's lives are put at jeopardy when Highway No. 101 isn't twinned. We need that twinning. The Chamber has been behind it primarily because of the safety. It's not that there are more accidents on Highway No. 101 than on other highways, it's just that there are more fatalities - a very, very sad fact.

So, the road needs to be twinned for safety. It also needs to be twinned for economic reasons as well, because it's a vital economic linkage. With the railroad gone there's so much more truck traffic on the road, so we need that twinning. I would urge both provincial and federal governments to get on with the job and to continue with that very important task.

[Page 7103]

In the area of Health Promotion, I want to laud in this budget the work of Minister Rodney MacDonald in Health Promotion, and the work of that department. One of the key endeavours that I've seen under Health Promotion that's taken place in my riding has been the healthy schools project, helping school children to eat a more healthy offering and helping schools to offer more healthy food. Port Williams Elementary School, which was lauded recently as one of the leading elementary schools in Canada, received national acclaim, was one of the ones that was chosen as a pilot project for the healthy eating project. It's been well appreciated.

I was there in Somerset School - which is in the riding of the member for Kings West - for the launch of the healthy eating program. It's been a very, very important program that has been well received by these schools, and hopefully will spread to schools across the riding and across the province as we attempt to change the eating habits of young people, as we attempt to encourage them to become more involved in exercise, in different athletic activities and, therefore, start on the road that would see them grow up as healthy adults, something that will be of great benefit to our society in future.

I was pleased to see the increase in mental health funding. I have community groups such as the Friends of Schizophrenia, the Kings Mental Health Association that has been very active in lobbying me and the government for more help in that regard, to help people who suffer from mental illness, to help them both in treatment and to educate people so we can overcome the stigma that mental health illnesses have in our society still today.

In the budget as well, the help for diabetics. I want to mention this in particular because I want to tie this in with my predecessor, the honourable George Archibald, who held this seat and was in this Legislature, I believe, for about 15 years. Since that time, George has gone on and he's given his time and efforts in a volunteer capacity to many different community organizations, L'Arche Kings is one of them, but one that's been near and dear to his heart in large part because of his daughter who suffers from diabetes, is the Diabetic Association. George Archibald was in the gallery when the budget was read because he wanted to say thank you to our government for what they had done. I, in turn, want to say thank you to him for the work he has done in helping raise this issue. He was there with quite a big smile, I have to admit.

In terms of small businesses, I mentioned before some of the things that have helped small businesses in my riding that I've been appreciative in the past, the Small Business Loan Program, the multi-year funding for RDAs, in this particular budget, the removal of the business occupancy tax, which small businesses in my area kept telling me was an irritant, and also the raising of the tax threshold. I should also include, because it doesn't get mentioned as much as it should, small businesses appreciate so much the balanced budgets that we've had over the past four years.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The motion is carried.

[Page 7104]

[2:40 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Supply with Deputy Speaker Ms. Joan Massey in the Chair.]

[6:00 p.m. CWH on Supply rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Murray Scott resumed the Chair.]

[MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. We have reached the moment of interruption. The subject for this evening's late debate was submitted by the honourable member for Halifax Fairview.]

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

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

HEALTH PROM. - NAT'L. TRACK & FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS:

UNIFORMS - FUND

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, I appreciate this opportunity to speak on this very important issue, and that is pertaining to the condition of amateur sports in this province. I'd like to read the resolution.

"Therefore be it resolved that this government show its support for youth sports in this province by covering the cost of uniforms of Nova Scotia athletes competing in this Summer's National Track and Field Championships."

I think it's a very serious issue that we need to pay some attention to, and I think the government needs to pay attention to this. Amateur sport in Nova Scotia really needs a commitment from this government to start funding them adequately enough so that our youth, especially our youth, have the opportunity to participate in sports across this province and across the country.

It was brought to my attention, pertaining to this resolution, Mr. Speaker, as a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee, I was sitting there and had the opportunity to witness the Legion member, Mr. Jack Hatcher, who is actually a member of the Legion in my area, Calais Branch No. 162, but he's also on the executive for the Executive Provincial Council for Nova Scotia-Nunavut Command for the province. Ironically enough, with all the important issues and important ventures that the Legion is involved in, especially when it pertains to our veterans in the province, one of the issues, one of the things that they deal with and try to support is initiatives that pertain to youth and youth sports.

[Page 7105]

This resolution came about because here was Mr. Jack Hatcher, who is heavily involved with a lot of the opportunities, heavily involved in promoting youth sports, especially the Legion Track and Field Program that we see in the province. He was coming to our committee to actually ask and almost beg us to give him some advice on where he could go to get funding for the young athletes who are going to represent this province later this Summer out West. I was appalled to hear him in front of the Committee on Veterans Affairs, asking us for assistance in trying to get funding for our young athletes. I believe there are 38 athletes who are going to represent this province later this Summer, and their coaches and some of their chaperones.

These athletes are being asked to pay for their uniforms, something that I just can't believe. It's shameful to think that these athletes who train and work hard throughout the year just to make these track and field meets throughout the province and throughout the country, have to spend their own money to cover the cost of the uniforms. This is a uniform that's going to have the Legion logo on it, and the Legion spends a lot of money promoting and supporting this track and field initiative and program, but they're also going to have the Nova Scotia name on it. The letters N.S. are usually across the back of their jerseys, when they're out West representing our province.

These young athletes are going to be great ambassadors for our province, yet the government is not supporting these people. That's all we're asking, Mr. Speaker, that government needs to step in and support our young athletes, especially the ones who are excelling in the sport that they choose to be involved in, especially with the track and field athletes. They're going to be representing our province, when they go out West this Summer, they're going to be asked, where are you from, and they're going to say, I'm from the Province of Nova Scotia. It's really sad to say that these athletes are going out there having to fund themselves just to wear the uniform that represents our province.

I'm really disappointed that this motion was denied several days ago. The member for Timberlea-Prospect brought this forward, and I couldn't believe when government members Nayed this motion. Mr. Speaker, I was sitting in my seat and I saw the Minister of Health Promotion Nay this motion. I cannot believe that the Minister in charge of Health Promotion in this province - the day after I was elected, this government, promoting the new Office of Health Promotion, promoting that they want to initiate programs throughout this province that would hopefully change the lifestyle of Nova Scotians, especially our youth - I think his department is trying to target a problem we see in society and in Nova Scotia, and that's the inactivity of our youth.

Here's a chance for some of our youth to participate in a sport, they're being active, they're actually, I think, in the long run, going to save this province money, especially health care money, down the road, because they've chosen to be active. They've chosen to be involved in sport and recreation in this province, and here they have a chance to represent our province and they can't even go to these games and have the uniforms provided for them. I

[Page 7106]

can't believe the Minister of Health Promotion actually sat in his chair and Nayed this motion, it's unbelievable.

I had the opportunity years ago, about 15 years ago, Mr. Speaker, to attend the Canada Games out West, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. I remember being a young athlete, being so proud to be able to represent my province in those Canada Games. I remember being paraded around in the Red Room across the hall, I was very proud of that, but I didn't pay for my uniforms. I didn't have to cough up money just to have a uniform to go out West. Actually, this year is the year of the Canada Games which ironically enough is going to be in Saskatoon. I never had to pay for my uniform and I can't believe, 15 years later, that our youth and some of the track and field athletes in this province are being asked and are required to pay for uniforms to represent this province. I think it's appalling and I think the Minister of Health Promotion especially needs to commit to these young athletes to pay for their uniforms.

What would it cost, Mr. Speaker, maybe $1,000 I think for the 38-40 athletes to represent this province. I can't believe that this has even come to my awareness, in Veterans Affairs, I know that Jack Hatcher who worked hard to try to promote the initiatives of the Legion track program here in the province, he would love one day to be able to host the national Legion track and field championships here in the province. They would love to do that, but they don't have the funding and it brings me back to the point that I'm trying to make, that amateur sports in this province needs the help of this government. They need to have the opportunities to grow their programs, to hopefully get more youth involved in it. When they have to spend most of their time fundraising and trying to raise money just to put uniforms on their backs, that's where I can't believe it.

Mr. Speaker, I would hope that this government, with the initiatives that they stated over the last 18 months or so since I've been elected, want to try to promote health promotion is this province. The minister announces money for this and money for that, all these small programs, and these athletes don't even have uniforms to wear, they have to supply their own uniforms. It is shameful and I hope the Minister of Health Promotion realizes the importance of adequate funding to amateur sports in this province. It's not just track and field. I know that this resolution pertains to track and field, but it's every sport known that's being played in this province that is underfunded. It's unbelievable how much money is coming off Sport Nova Scotia and other athletics that Nova Scotia has had in the past and what they have today. I think it's time that this government - if they're serious about their initiatives on health promotion and promoting a healthy lifestyle for our youth and for all Nova Scotians - get up and pay for these young athletes' uniforms.

They are not there representing Sackville or representing Yarmouth, Mr. Speaker, they are representing the Province of Nova Scotia, the people that we are here elected for, and stand up in this Legislature for, to hopefully bring good public policy forward. It is unbelievable to me that these young athletes can't even get uniforms paid for by this

[Page 7107]

government at a mere $1,000, $1,500. The people that I represent in my area are frustrated when we hear of wasteful spending by this government and I hope that the Minister of Health Promotion will realize the importance of funding, especially uniforms for our athletes.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Preston.

MR. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, youth are a priority for our caucus and we are in full support of this resolution presented by the Opposition Party. It's time that the people of Nova Scotia are represented properly at these track and field events. The young people work so hard and give up most of their lives to get to a standard where they can compete on a national basis. I think it only fitting they should be provided with nice uniforms to go to the national track and field championships this Summer.

Unfortunately, the government hasn't seen the wisdom in investing in youth as much as they should. I'm sure my honourable colleague from the government side will disagree with that, but unfortunately they haven't. We've seen many programs cut and changed and eliminated, programs that make a big difference. You hear in the news all the time about the swarmings in the community and youth out on the streets causing all kinds of problems. Probably if those children, when they were children, before they became youths, had the opportunity to participate in organized sports and could afford to do those things, they probably wouldn't participate in these swarmings, they would be doing more productive things and really help our community.

The whole basis of our economy is based on youth, what the youth can do and the new ideas they bring to things. As we get older and retire, we have to have strong youths in place with a good education and good, solid backgrounds. Sports builds character, self respect and team work, all the things we need to contribute to our lifestyle and financial well-being of our province and our country.

It seems simple, $1,000 or a little bit more, whatever the case may be, for uniforms, it doesn't sound like very much for athletes to go and properly represent our province. Don't forget we're going to be there and it's the image of our province we're leaving with these young people. If they go there and represent us, it helps our tourism, helps build role models for the young people from our community who go to other competitions.

I have an excellent athlete in my area, Steve Giles, who is an excellent role model for other young children in the sport he participated in, and now we have many more young men and women in that community who are really setting, not only national standards, but international standards, for the competition, dedication and work they do. If they have to spend all their time fundraising for things such as uniforms, they're really taking away from the time they have to practice and work on their training - the things they really have to do to ensure they can truly compete at these competitions.

[Page 7108]

There's nothing worse than to see our young people go out and not be properly prepared for these competitions. They are tough, they're national, they're the best in the country competing against each other. Their families can't afford to do the things that they need to do to put a young athlete through this process, it's a very expensive job. If it's track and field where you don't need a lot of equipment, it's still expensive.

All the trips you have to take for training and to get coaches, and probably tutors for the classroom work they miss because of training, and all the other things the families have to do, all the time families have to spend away from other activities that may make it better for them at home. But, it's worth it, it's worth it for the family. I think it's just a small price for the people of this province to pay to help many young people that will definitely bring an excellent representation to Nova Scotia.

There's a lot of disparity between youth in our communities. A lot of youth don't have the opportunities that some others may have. This will be one opportunity to ensure this is one thing they don't have to raise funds for or do things for to make sure they can go and compete and be professional, look and act professional, which I know they will do.

The other thing is, sports keeps youth fit and healthy. We see our health care costs going through the roof, almost to a point we can't afford health care anymore, but we can't not afford it, if that makes any sense. We have to invest in health care. If we have a healthier, more fit society - which we work towards all the time with smoking laws and all the other laws we put in place to try to get people to be more healthy and fit, if we set the youth in place and work with them to ensure they have the tools and the role models, they can move forward with this and represent the province in a very positive way. It's also part of our culture. Sports has been a part of our culture for a long time in this province.

[6:15 p.m.]

You go to the Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame here and see so many Nova Scotians who have done so well in this province and outside this province and set many standards. Seeing the young hockey player there from Cole Harbour who has done so well. You see the years and years of training that he had to go through to get to the level of playing ability that he has. It also helps youth when they participate in sports especially at this level to set goals for themselves, now, in the future and for the things they'd like to see change in our province. Hopefully, some of those youth will be in this room when they get older, so they can do the things that need to be done or change the laws and make it fairer for Nova Scotians, and make sure that our great-great-grandchildren are set in a situation where they have positive possibilities of living here and our young people can stay in Nova Scotia rather than going out West, to Ontario or to the U.S. to work.

[Page 7109]

All this is tied together, when you put it all together. Now it seems like a small thing and it's a stretch for some people to say well you buy a uniform for a young child, well not a child, these aren't children, these are youth, and it helps them work and do things we need so desperately done in this province.

I already mentioned the cost to families. When you get a family that has one member in a sport of any kind, there's so many trips to the park where they practice and making sure they get things done for them. Maybe they have to be on a special diet that costs extra, maybe there's some training equipment they need, all things that typically aren't covered by any program that would be in place here. But the families have to pick that up and that's very expensive. Maybe one of the parents have to pick the youth up when they go to a sports facility and may not be able to work extra hours that week that they need to provide funding for something else they want to do, and the whole family really makes a sacrifice when this goes in place. So it's a very small sacrifice for us, as politicians, to go and see this happen.

I can't imagine the government not spending money on something like this. You know, there are a lot of things we criticize the government for spending money on, and justifiably so. Sometimes they spend money on things we don't give them credit for and we should, but this is something, to return so much back to Nova Scotians, and especially to the youth and to the families of the youths who are privileged enough, to be good enough in their sport to attend these functions.

I don't know why we can't convince the government to spend $1,000 as we see by some of the bonuses that have been paid to some of the deputy ministers and some of the other things money has been spent on. That's a very small amount when you look at a $5 billion-plus budget, $1,000 doesn't really represent even a small, tiny fraction of that, and the debt load this province is carrying, the millions of dollars that goes through every day. I believe it's $2.5 million every day, that the debt service charge is in this province. Well $1,000 is nothing and the benefit to the community, the benefit to the youth would be incredible. So we really have to look at the things that we do and ensure that this is one thing we never forget because we lose our youth, we lose the heart and soul of our province. We see them moving away, we see them doing things that they shouldn't, but if we have role models in young men and women who can set the example for so many more people to come, and the small children, when they see these people participate and do well nationally, it's important that we can support them in every way we can.

Now the support comes in the training and all the years they've worked to get here, it makes it very difficult, so the least we can do as people in this province, is provide them with a decent uniform that doesn't cost them or their families anything, and really support them as they go forward so they can represent this province with pride. Thank you.

[Page 7110]

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

MR. GARY HINES: Mr. Speaker, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to stand before this House. I think in starting out I'd like to recognize some of the athletes who actually sit in this House. The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect being one, and perhaps another equally talented individual would be the member for the beautiful Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley. Somehow they got there on their own because they didn't have the benefit of governments supporting recreation the way that this government has supported recreation. I would also like to take the opportunity to look at the members opposite and ask them when Bill No. 172 comes to the floor of this Legislature, if they're prepared to recognize the statements they've made today and recognize the fact that we have an opportunity for $15 million of infrastructure, free of taxpayers' dollars, to come to the Bedford Commons for ice rinks that my residents and the residents of this area need. So, to stand across the floor today and tell me that they support recreation to the degree we need to support it, I invite them to support this when this bill comes to the table.

I would also like to recognize the achievements in my community that this government's been a part of. Our Cheema Canoe Club recently sent four athletes to the world championships, where they fared very well. We not only sent athletes, we sent coaches, and we sent parents along to accompany athletes, for their support as well. Recently, we announced $300,000 to support an increased facility to accommodate the Cheema Canoe Club, as well as an international training facility. This government, Mr. Speaker, made that possible. Also, I would like you to know that just recently, as recently as yesterday, I had an announcement of $25,000 to support a project that is an HRM project that, in fact, I fought for as a councillor to get, and didn't get it until just recently with the support of this government, with a donation of $25,000 to resurface the Ryan Rosen Soccer Field.

Mr. Speaker, my reason for standing here today was not to boast about what goes on in my district and the money that this government has put into my district, I would like to bring you a few words regarding the Office of Health Promotion and what the minister has done for this area. Nova Scotia Health Promotion is in the business of promoting health, but health is more than just the absence of disease, it's a state of emotional, physical and spiritual well-being. Sports can and will play a vital role in achieving that. We're helping Nova Scotians be more active, especially children and youth and it's a priority at the Office of Health Promotion. We're providing tools to make regular physical activity a part of everyone's life.

I'd like to tell you about some of the ways that we have supported young people in being more active. In August of this year, we're sending 450 members of Team Nova Scotia to the 2005 Canada Games in Regina. They're provincial teams, and we're providing their team uniforms. Each year we provide block funding, a total of $840,000 to provincial sports organizations. We review their spending, but we do not dictate. They manage their own

[Page 7111]

funds. Some choose to spend the funds on uniforms, others choose to spend the money on things like officials and athletic development.

We also provide annual funding to Sport Nova Scotia, a total of $1 million a year for Sport Nova Scotia to offer sports programming, funding, advocacy, fundraising, and they provide support in many ways to all provincial sport organizations, Mr. Speaker. They are a very valuable partner to us and we work closely with them to enhance sports in this province. In October 2002, we launched the Active Kids, Healthy Kids strategy, a provincial physical activity strategy for children, youth and families, aimed at increasing the number of children and youth who accumulate the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity at least five days a week.

The strategy has six components, ranging from grassroots, community approaches to policy and program development. As part of the strategy, we provide funding to some schools and communities to create sport and physical recreation opportunities. This year we're repeating our research from 2001, that will tell us what progress has been made in the physical activity levels of youth. It will give us new information with which to plan for the future of programs and enhance our existing ones.

Last year, as a government, we launched a physical activity grant program. A total of $500,000 was awarded to organizations that created or expanded opportunities to help Nova Scotians be more physically active. A lot more people got active this year thanks to those grants. People who might otherwise be inactive have had the opportunity to participate in activities that lead to lifelong physical activity. That's why we're continuing the grant program again this year.

Mr. Speaker, we know that cost can be a barrier to kids participating in sports, and we have two initiatives to help reduce that barrier. New this year is a $1 million investment to help families with the cost of registering their kids in sport and physical recreation. Parents or guardians can claim up to $150 on their taxes. That means, if you register your children for three sports programs throughout the year at $50, you can claim all three for a total of $150.

We are reducing cost barriers to sports in another way, too, Mr. Speaker. Last year we provided $330,000 to KidSport, and we're providing funding again this year. KidSport is a program administered by Sport Nova Scotia that has helped children overcome financial barriers which present or limit their participation in organized sports. Parents can receive up $200 per child to help the cost and our investment will triple KidSport's previous budget.

I must commend Sport Nova Scotia for so successfully administering this program. Recently they partnered with the Department of Community Services, Mr. Speaker, to ensure that people who need it will know about it and will access the help that's there. Earlier today the Health Promotion Minister attended Sports Fair at Dalplex. It's an annual event put on

[Page 7112]

by Sport Nova Scotia and partially funded by Health Promotion. It's an alternative of multi-sporting events that encourages children and adults to be more physically active by exposing them to different sports in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, the minister played basketball, fencing, and although he plays a little fiddle, he didn't do that today. He witnessed the kids of all ages trying out every sport you can imagine. Over the next three days thousands of kids will visit Sports Fair and be immersed in that sport. Sport Nova Scotia's CEO, Jamie Ferguson, was also at Sports Fair and had a chance to commend on this issue of funding team uniforms. He said: Recognized provincial sports organizations are responsible for producing and spending their own budgets. Some organizations provide uniforms while others allocate their funding elsewhere. Jamie, too, felt that it should not fall to Nova Scotia Health Promotion to examine and approve their individual expenditures.

The province simply cannot purchase uniforms for every individual team that asks. In any given year up to 400 teams go to national competition and it's cost-prohibitive, but I do wish the track and field team the best of luck at their competition. I congratulate them for making sport a part of their lives and, Mr. Speaker, in closing, I again reiterate I look for the support of those opposite for $15 million of sports funding for the children of Nova Scotia in the Waverley-Fall River-Bedford area.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, I want to say that it's appropriate for the government member on the government side of the legislative floor to talk about the government's commitments to Health Promotion. Let me tell you that it was simply long, long overdue and what the government has done is gradually meted this out in a piecemeal sort of fashion. Many Nova Scotians as a result of the government not recognizing the importance of being actively involved in sports, at least a few years ago when the government started generating surpluses, that in fact it would have done a much greater job and today many of those Nova Scotians would not have found themselves with obesity and a number of other diseases that are contributing as a result of that.

With respect to sport related facilities and so on, Mr. Speaker, you and I both know that in fact in Springhill here a few years ago, there was a serious . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. No cell phones in the Chamber, please.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North has the floor.

MR. PYE: Mr. Speaker, as I was reiterating with respect to Springhill and the Springhill hockey rink that was destroyed as a result, and the people in that community recognizing the importance of having that facility available, in fact, did a tremendous job in

[Page 7113]

bringing forward the need, of making sure that there were funds available to restructure and rebuild the Springhill rink. I'm sure, today, many of those people are taking an active role and I can assure you that that rink is used year-around.

Mr. Speaker, I would say that I would only be too pleased to have the Minister of Health Promotion, the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Health and everyone else come to the constituency of Dartmouth North and take a complete review and look at what other particular needs with respect to many people in Dartmouth North who would be delighted to take advantage and have the use of facilities. We do have a facility called the Dartmouth Sportsplex, but it's off limits to many Nova Scotians and to many Dartmouthians, I should say, simply because many Dartmouthians, even though there are some registration fees, particularly in Dartmouth North, are unable to afford to participate in some of the sport activities.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The time allotted for this debate has expired. I thank the honourable members for taking part in the debate this evening.

The House will now resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole House on Supply.

[6:30 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Supply with Deputy Speaker Ms. Joan Massey in the Chair.]

[7:10 p.m. CWH on Supply rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Murray Scott, resumed the Chair.]

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

THE CLERK: That the committee has met and made 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.

[Page 7114]

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: 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 member for Cape Breton Centre. You have approximately 35 minutes.

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, I don't think I'll be taking my whole 35 minutes tonight.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Back to the good old days.

MR. CORBETT: Back to the good old days. My good friend, the member for Richmond, is here to encourage me and, with that type of encouragement, Mr. Speaker, we may just reach the stars tonight. We may reach the stars tonight. With those infamous words - where was I the other day?

Mr. Speaker, I was getting glaring looks from my good friend, the Minister of Transportation and Public Works, when I was ready to take my seat. I was talking about roads and I said that's a subject that we'll be coming back to, hopefully, when I get to stand up again in this House, because as we know I was up on Tuesday, then yesterday was Opposition Day, so here we are again debating Bill No. 177. What we want to talk about is - again, I will not talk about what's in the bill because I can't, but one of the things that I really missed in the bill is where we're going with road repaving, reconstruction and so on.

Mr. Speaker, there's not a member, I don't think, in this House, save and except those who live in municipalities, who do not have county districts or rural districts, and I'm sure there are some here, there's one from CBRM, the member for Glace Bay - as a matter of fact the member for Glace Bay does have a TPW because he has a bridge that's owned by TPW at the bottom of Commercial Street. But many of the members in this House from HRM do not have those same concerns. Many of us, other members, do.

Mr. Speaker, there is a road that has caused me a great deal of concern since I was elected and as a matter of fact, I live on it, it's the Lingan Road. One could say it's about personal survival, but what is interesting is this road, when I was first elected in 1998, the residents of the area called a public meeting - I was much more naive than I am today - I met with the residents and they were saying the road is being done from the City of Sydney limits to the Devco Railway tracks. It just so happened that it was a Liberal Government and it stopped at the end of the riding that a Liberal member was in.

[Page 7115]

When I went looking to get some more of this road done - and I'll explain what an important piece of road infrastructure that is - I was told by members of the Liberal Party that as long as there was a member of the New Democratic Party sitting in this House that wouldn't be finished. I felt, okay, that's politics. I'm in here less than six months - okay, you learn the hard way, that's the school of hard knocks, if you're not on the side of government, you don't get pavement.

[7:15 p.m.]

Now, this was fine, and I sort of took my lumps with it, but walked away and said, you know, that's wrong, that's wrong for a lot of reasons, but not the least of which, many people in my community - besides living on it - use that as an access road to get to work in Sydney and it's so important. You know what happened was that road has now deteriorated after six years to a point, you know, the minister realizes, I've sent him correspondence on it and this minister has acknowledged it - and I wish I knew where the list was, but nonetheless he and I have corresponded on it. At least I can say this much, I got a good and fair hearing. I would have liked to have gotten the infamous letter that here's the contractor, but nonetheless, we're working through that and hopefully it will change.

The problem is, Mr. Speaker, I wanted to highlight that because this is not about who represents the riding, it should never be that. We are all Nova Scotians and we pay our taxes and they should have the right to get back and forth to work in the easiest way of conveyance as possible when you're travelling our roads and it should be in a safe manner. That's what it's about, it's not about a bucket of asphalt, it's about safety and it's about being able to provide for your family. So I would have liked to have seen a more finite reasoning, a finite list probably of what is really going to be paved in this province but, do you know what, I will continue to pursue this minister and I'm sure he will continue to write me back and, hopefully, it won't be too far down that road - that bumpy, rotten road - that the minister says, you know, you're right. That's what it's about and I take it the delays are over money, I know that, it's not about a personal grudge against me, or against the people who elected me, it's about trying to get the appropriate funds. I hope that this is the budget that proves it.

But I don't see it here in Bill No. 177, Mr. Speaker, so I worry about that. I worry about the safety. I worry -I guess a real personal reason - because that's the way my wife gets back and forth to work every day, that's the way my daughter - when she goes to university - goes down that road to pick up friends and vice versa. I understand those, they're gut level concerns. I don't need a petition of residents per se to tell me what's wrong with that road and why it should be fixed, I know from personal experience why it should be fixed, it's right in my area. I know why it should be fixed, but it's just not for that sole reason alone, the reason is the broader community. The member for Glace Bay, residents from his area go through there; people from Cape Breton Nova go through there, it's a valuable piece of infrastructure.

[Page 7116]

I go back to something earlier today about that road. I asked the Premier today about equalization and the report done for UNSM and part of that deteriorating infrastructure is Nova Scotia Power. Nova Scotia Power continuously drives over that road with tandem trucks bringing raw fuel into the largest generating station in this province and it's them, Mr. Speaker, who are beating the you-know-what out of that road, that's a large part of the problem. The problem from the intersection of Highway 128 right up to the generating station, approximately four to five kilometres, is in wicked, bad shape because of that traffic. All right and good if the NSPI were to do the right thing, they have a fantastic rail spur that could take most of that in there and there's no reason for most of those trucks to be travelling on that road, but they choose not to. They choose to take a cheaper route, one would expect, and then they're beating the roads up and that causes the problem.

So what happens, we have two real problems. We have one where there's a real $7 million deficit, the property taxes owed to the Municipality of Cape Breton you would say by the lack of a real municipal tax arrangement with Nova Scotia Power. So we don't see anything in the budget or Bill No. 177 about that taxing arrangement, and that's where you would assume that this would show up, but it does not. So what happens now is here is a large company that should be paying its fair share of taxes that the onus would not be on TPW to do that work as fast at it would, but it is called upon to do much more work then it should because of the amount of heavy traffic by these large tandem trucks beating the roads up, Mr. Speaker.

While I'm on the issue of roads, I have to say that the engineer, Barb Baillie and the foreman, Walter Crane are excellent people to deal with, Mr. Minister. I have to put that on the record, that they're responsive, you call these folks they will get back to you. People are not always with the answer and that's fine, but the fact is that you should be proud if you have people like that working for you. The dispatchers during the Winter, when you call - now the member is not quite as happy with the workers. Now I have to tell you, the dispatcher-snowplow thing, local councillors who want to take the photo op when we do get a J Class road page, they're the first ones out by the spreader getting their picture taken. But they're the first ones to tell their people to call me because the snowplow wasn't there on time. But I tell you, when we call the dispatchers, they'll tell you where the equipment is and when we can expect to get it there. They're only human and they have to work within a system.

So, Mr. Minister, if there's anything you can take out of this debate tonight, I'm sure they're not all great, fantastic, through-the-roof workers, but I'll tell you, the ones I have to deal with on an ongoing basis, if they call me back I would always like to hear them say, yes, sir, we're going pave this road, we're going to fix this culvert, but something - I'm answering in a somewhat one-sided debate here - I did get some, but it showed up in the councillor's campaign literature as they got it done. No, and I thank you for that.

[Page 7117]

A second part of May Street was done through RIM. There were Holland and Belgium Streets and Centre Street in Reserve done through RIM projects, and there was one other street over in Gardiner Mines but these are the ones I tell you that all of a sudden when it comes to Winter to get them plowed, they're mine and your problem, but when they get paved, the same people are hanging out the back of the spreader machine, telling everybody how they got it done. You tell me how they do it? I don't know.

Nonetheless, that's the way it goes. You have to be more vigilant, and that's why more money in Bill No. 177 would have been great. I appreciate what was done and I'm sure there's not a member out here that wouldn't like to see more done in their rural communities and hopefully, I've ingratiated myself enough with the minister tonight that something good may come out of tonight's conversation in a very public way.

Mr. Speaker, let's get off of roads for a while. Let's go to the road less travelled. That was a famous line put forward by a former Finance Minister when we talked about his budget and he had taken the road less travelled. I laughed that day and I said I know why you would want to take the road less travelled in this province, but nonetheless, the fact is, about what's in Bill No. 177, it is touted as an education bill. It's a budget that's supposed to help everybody, but you know, where it's at on post-secondary.

You had a chance to be in Cape Breton a few weeks ago, I heard, Mr. Speaker and you stayed on Olive Street, with one of the finest men and families in the New Waterford area, you stayed with Mr. Jack Tighe. Now Mr. Jack Tighe's father, whose name was also Jack, was a councillor for years in the old County of Cape Breton and that's when they looked after schools directly. The county would have their own schools and municipalities and Jack, himself, was a councillor in the Town of New Waterford.

These were folks who always struggled with finding funding for local schools and so on. It's kind of grown over the years, the roles and the size of school boards, how they're set up. They've gone from, basically, trustees to elected officials. That's one level.

The level I want to talk to is about post-secondary - our fine university in Cape Breton, Cape Breton University, I talked about this earlier in my speech and I talked to the minister somewhat during estimates about designation. I don't know what the catch phrase is this year and I asked him that, is it designation or de-designation they call it now? I'm not sure. What this is is a system where if you have people taking courses and the default rate on the repayment of their loans, they will look at possibly doing something, taking the designation of the institution away so it will not be eligible for student loans, which would be devastating. It would be truly devastating, Mr. Speaker, because when you live in areas of high unemployment, these are things that - it's not always easy. It doesn't say the courses aren't good and the facilities are not good, but if people have a hard time accessing employment in their area, what would happen is the pressure would be to close a facility, whether it's a public or private college.

[Page 7118]

The other thing I talked to the minister about in estimates was just that. However you contemplate this, it sends a ripple to the education community. When I sit down and talk to the student union at Cape Breton University, that's their fear. Their fear is, because of such high, chronic unemployment rates, are we going to have a problem getting these bills paid, and will CBU become one of these designated institutions?

I somewhat feel a bit better after talking to the minister because his idea, I think, is a bit more focused now. It's not necessarily - and I'm not putting words in his mouth, but the fact that it's contemplated more on smaller institutions that are giving more specialized training that may not be relevant to the area, while it may be good training, there's just not the training where you could get gainful employment in the area.

I would like to see something on the record about that. It would be good to see in Bill No. 177 that if there's to be support for designation, or if we're not going to do it, or define it, as opposed to putting it out there, that's what I would have liked to have seen, Mr. Speaker.

Health care - we always know in the budgets where the health care line is going to be. It's going to be the highest line item in budgets. Yet, the fact of the matter is that there are people, when you talk of health care, who are saying my needs aren't being met here. That's a fair comment on their part. I also understand the fair comment about the burden it places on government, because you can't be all things to all people. You know we're talking about expanding the long-term care facilities and expanding beds and so on, getting more beds, yet we don't know where they are at. Now, again, I appreciate that Bill No. 177 can say that, but I think in your budget document you could start massaging where these are going to go. As I talked earlier, it's not like roads where it's done from a political purview, it's done by a needs assessment.

Our DHA was one of the first DHAs to have basic single entry. Single entry, people would complain about it, I think when let to run its course, it is a valuable tool to figure out where the needs are. Now, we've done it, we're there, we know where the needs are, and now we need them to be answered by government. I know that the Maple Hill Manor would like 20 extra beds, Mr. Speaker. The need is there, the need is shown, the need is transparent, and it would be nice if government would say that's where some of those beds are going to go. That's in the heart of my community, it's an aging population, and it's there. Right now we have residents from my community being put in, or being asked to be sent to areas like Richmond. You may as well put them in Toronto, for some people, because these are people of very modest means. There's just no way. They can't get to Sydney, let alone go another 60 miles down the road to St. Peters. So what you're doing is you're separating families.

[Page 7119]

[7:30 p.m.]

That's why I would think that we wouldn't do that. It's a community-based options home, the Dominion Long-term Care Home, it's a not-for-profit group. They've taken over the old convent in the Town of Dominion, Mr. Tom Donovan runs it, it's a great facility, and it serves a need. When you look at Statistics Canada, their numbers and where it's at, it serves that need, because it serves the idea of people whose only means of transportation is public transit and that doesn't run all that often, or cabs. Again, if you're asking somebody, a family member, to go to a bed in Dominion and they live in Gardiner and they took a cab, it's a few dollars. But a return trip, if they were to go New Waterford or Glace Bay, now we're talking about $20, $30, $40. These people are on fixed incomes, and we really shouldn't put that financial pressure on them.

Mr. Speaker, I would have liked to have seen, in Bill No. 177, a clearer portion of where this is all going. When I talk about the health care aspect and the education aspect, it takes me back where I started, on my road to discovery on Bill No. 177, and that is what does this bill do for people in poverty? We have many people living in poverty. The oldest saying around poverty is that it's relative. People in certain groups don't feel that they're poor or that they're in poverty, because they're a little bit better off than the one next door.

Mr. Speaker, we do see in the budget, and mentioned in this bill, about a lunch program and a breakfast program for children, that's a good step forward, that says a lot about where we should be as a community. If you do not have children who are well fed, the reality is they're not going to learn. The most despicable phrase I hear is child poverty. There's no such thing as child poverty, there's no such thing as a poor child, children are born into poverty, circumstances, but they're a child of poverty not child poverty. That's what we have to worry about.

We have to worry about, when we spend our money on programs like breakfast programs, whether we spend it through such things as $150 for sports and so on, what we have to remember first and foremost is that there are young children in this province who are hungry. If we lose sight of that, we're in real trouble, because they go to school that way, and sadly enough they come home and stay that way, Mr. Speaker.

There's that other side of poverty that we don't acknowledge, and that is the home caregiver, the mother more often than not, who, herself, ends up being in health distress, a lot of times, because the nurturing nature is to give to the children and not take for themselves. What we have is that cycle of poverty where there's not enough even for the children, and the parents have nothing at all.

[Page 7120]

So we have to answer those questions, Mr. Speaker. Until such time as we work forward to eradicating parents in poverty, we're always going to have this problem and it's going to cause more stress on our health care system, it's going to cause more stress on our education system, and until governments recognize in real terms that poverty is a driven issue, that poverty and getting rid of poverty is more important than giving tax breaks to large corporations, until we get a government that looks at it really face to face, looks in the mirror and says this is what we've got to do, we've got a mandate and the mandate here is to help Nova Scotians, not a multinational corporation over in the Netherlands like ING, no, what we need is a government that's responsible for the welfare of our most needy people, our children who need to be clothed and fed, our seniors who need to be looked after. They are the ones who are not mentioned substantively in Bill No. 177 or in the budget.

So, Mr. Speaker, if we don't do those things, we're failing the majority of our citizens as a government and as a province. They're the ones who put us here, they're the ones who will take us out. So they're the ones that we've got to be responsible to, not a nameless corporation, but the people who built this community, the veterans who we're celebrating this year, the children who will come behind them. Therefore this bill has to attain the respect of those groups of people, not the international moneylenders.

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

MR. GERALD SAMPSON: Mr. Speaker, it's a pleasure to stand here this evening and address the honourable audience on Bill No. 177, the Financial Measures (2005) Bill. It's important to me and especially to this government - voting against this bill could cause the government to fall and that could be a good or a bad thing.

Let me get deeper into my discussion here. The most interesting part of the bill is the debt management fund and the commitment to ensure $830 million from the offshore to this budget. Mr. Speaker, it is a general consensus that the $830 million can be put on whatever the government chooses to do. I would like to clear that up - it's already in law from Ottawa that to receive that money it must go on the deficit. If that money doesn't come through because of the government falling in Ottawa, the government here will have to borrow $1.2 billion to be able to keep the budget so-called balanced the way that it was presented.

Mr. Speaker, they talk about this budget being balanced and showing a $63 million surplus. That's very thin in a financial market that this government deals in. To me, it doesn't show a very good fiscal financial policy for this government. They talk about the reduction of the deficit and that's nothing more than a sham. It's going to take to 2009 for the budget to go back to the same level as it is today. So where is the balance?

How can the government say it's putting $830 million on the debt and still grow the debt by $90 million this year? I go back again - my honourable members - to Father Brooks Campbell, back in Xavier Junior College, who told us in sociology class that statistics don't

[Page 7121]

lie, only the people who make them. I say that not to be derogatory, but whatever figures you put into a computer would probably give you the results that you're looking for. So that's why I, myself, am a very untrusting person when it comes to somebody handing me figures.

When I think about the figures and the debt, I truly believe we should be making royalties off our natural resources. That's what I spoke on last night on the Water Royalty Bill, Mr. Speaker, we always seem to be giving this away and never getting anything for them.

The $90 million of debt - supposedly the offshore money is going to the debt, and as I said, there's no choice, that has to go on the debt full stop - nobody has a choice to do that, that's where it must go and if it doesn't, it won't be received. But, Mr. Speaker, the debt keeps going on and on.

The government, as I said this afternoon, is still borrowing $340 million this year. To me, that's total mismanagement. If you have a bill, most people owing money work out a plan on how to pay it off. We have a plan here that's looking forward to the bill - I'll just cite the Department of Transportation and Public Works - going from a deficit of $3.1 billion to 2011, when it will become $4.4 billion. To me, there should be a plan in place to help lower that down and eventually eradicate the bill.

Mr. Speaker, let's look at what the Premier has said about the debt, and will Nova Scotians decide whether or not he told the truth. Every resident of this fine province today owes more than $12,000 each on the deficit and with over $12 billion in debt, I'd like to know where the word balance comes into this. This province can no longer afford to grow the deficit. It sounds like a definitive yes that we were misled and to be sure, there were some people who suggested that the government should continue borrowing on the debt while others say they should not. The Premier himself said he didn't believe that there was merit in the argument that we should keep on borrowing. He said such an approach may feel good one day, but then who pays for it tomorrow? As I said, I think with that kind of debt, tomorrow is here now; $2.5 million in interest as was said during Question Period here today by the honourable member for Richmond. That is how much the interest is climbing, $2.5 million in interest daily. That's a staggering amount.

There is an old song that said, ". . . we load sixteen tons . . .". Well, there's no coal mines left in Cape Breton to load 16 tons. There's no steel plant left in Cape Breton to load 16 tons. So with the industries gone, the only line of that song that's relevant today is, " . . . another day older and deeper in debt." That's not a very good legacy to leave behind. Mr. Speaker, as I said, tomorrow has arrived and it's time for us to stop adding to the debt.

It's funny, back in 1999, the Premier wouldn't support the budget and brought the government down because it added to the debt. Well, since that time, the debt has grown by $2.5 billion and, to me, that is underachievement; $2.5 billion is the entire Health Budget of this year, $1 billion more than in 1999. At that time, he said that he could fix health care for a lot less and brought the government down.

[Page 7122]

Mr. Speaker, I also said that there's no halo around this government nor around the Premier because, in good conscience, we should not be supporting more debt. On June 18, 1999, the Progressive Conservative caucus voted against the budget to borrow $600 million. The Premier told Nova Scotians at that time, in good conscience, I cannot support more debt. Here we are, deeper in debt, sir. The Premier does not have any credibility left because of the rising debt and he has clearly misled Nova Scotians. That's kind of harsh and hard to say.

This bill does have some good things in it. For example, the $150 tax credit for the participation in recreation. My evaluation of it is that that $150 will credit - it will save $15 for the people who have their children already involved in sports. How many parents are going to invest hundreds of dollars that they don't have to enter their children in sports, to save the $15?

[7:45 p.m.]

The honourable member prior to spoke about the breakfast program. It is a good program, but it should be looked upon as a necessary stop gap measure. When breakfast programs are growing, I feel if the parents of the children had employment then they wouldn't be required to have their children going to school hungry. As we all agree, the children surely can't learn on an empty stomach.

I move to the film tax credit. It was a good move, but it was eliminated when we had the film studio down in Cape Breton. The film studio has been closed and sold. I believe it's a warehouse somewhere and now the film tax credit has been increased. It doesn't do much for outside of Halifax.

Roads, $3.4 billion, as I said before, to grow to $4.3 billion in 2011. Most people want us to pay down the debt, but it seems there's an enjoyment watching the debt grow. I coined the phrase the other day, "pro-regressive" - I don't think there's such a word, I don't even understand the meaning of it - but proactive means you want to do something to help somebody or to resolve a problem, but when you look forward to the debt growing, you're being regressive, but you're looking forward to it so I called it pro-regressive. I'm disappointed with that and I say that's mismanagement. The lack of accomplishment is underachievement.

To date we've lost six years of missed opportunity. I say that because there's no plan for five years where you want to be, ten years where you definitely intend to be. That's a standard practice with any and all, even small communities that do an economic development plan. Six years of neglecting the education system, never mind that our students are the lowest funded in Canada. We have $500 million worth of deferred repairs in our school system, six years of increased fees and taxes. Just go back to the 500 user fees that went through in one day in particular in the Fall when the House was not sitting. Six years of neglected roads, I speak on that continually, capital expected to grow by 2011.

[Page 7123]

Where's the fiscal management? Where's the plan? To work toward eliminating that large capital deficit and allow the rural areas to catch up with the pavement and the planning that's required to help at least some rural economic development. When I talk about the lack of a plan, if there were a five year plan - I'm looking now, every day there are numerous calls for tenders, there are numerous tenders being awarded, but this is May.

To my estimation, those tenders should be awarded in the Fall. The reason for that being the contractors then know that when the roads open, they do have work to go to. What that does is it allows the contractor to project ahead to the coming year, that he has two, three or four contracts. Yes, I will buy new equipment, yes, I will hire some more workers. The workers themselves know that yes, I'm going back to work as soon as the roads open so I'll allow myself to spend a little more on my family or to buy a new vehicle or to buy some furniture or what not for the household. It puts stability in the market, the workers know they're going back to work, the contractor knows they're going back to work, so it helps all the way around.

Let me go to the offshore industry. The Minister of Energy, saying now that the budget is going to be increased by $1 million. That's going to be to hire four new workers in the department. I'm wondering what they're going to do because the oil companies have paid their $55 million in penalties and gone off. They've taken their ball and bat and gone home, now we're going to put more money into that department and hire people to go looking for business. They're saying, oh, now we're going to streamline the regulations, it's going to make it easier for people to develop. I don't know if that's going to be four more patronage jobs, or whether it's going to be just some kind of smoke and mirrors for people to think, yes, we have an offshore industry and we're developing it, when right now, as I say, all we have is a project, one single project that's been there for years.

Mr. Speaker, I want to quote from the Cape Breton Post, today, an article by Wes Stewart. He quotes the honourable Minister of Energy, "'Operators want a predictable and competitive business environment, one in which they can reasonably anticipate costs and approval times,' Energy Minister Cecil Clarke said Wednesday."

"That means lower up front costs and quicker cycle times for explorers." Well, I guess our oil companies are becoming explorers; the quicker cycle times, I'll leave that to the minister to explain. "Clarke said a more flexible approach to licensing rules also could spur further exploration." Well, the flexible approach, Mr. Speaker, was long overdue before these companies became frustrated and packed up and left.

Having said that, the $55 million paid to the oil companies - I personally believe they have no intention of coming back, not those companies, because with the oil seminar that's going on in Houston, one of the officials from EnCana stated, recently, about two to three days ago, that they were frustrated with all this minute testing that had to be done at

[Page 7124]

extremely high costs when dealing with Nova Scotia, therefore, they pulled up and left. That's why they are gone from here today.

Mr. Speaker, let's move to Tourism in the budget. I look back and think of Cape Breton being called Nova Scotia's masterpiece. If something is not done soon, it will be a piece of pizza, that's about it. Their Come to Life, well, I say we better get a life and invest in Nova Scotia's masterpiece, called the Cabot Trail and the Bras d'Or Lakes Scenic Drive. Those are international icons, especially the Cabot Trail; known internationally. They come to that trail, and the whole province benefits. They'll come either through the Yarmouth ferry system, they'll fly into Halifax, but the whole province benefits from tourists travelling to the Cabot Trail. The problem is when I say the Cabot Trail and the Bras d'Or Lakes Scenic Drive, the word trail is what's evident.

I'll move to tuition fees, skyrocketing tuition fees, Mr. Speaker. I was told by a couple of students that their loan was cut off. One student in particular stated that he has one more course to finish his degree, but because he needs six more credits, one full course, and he can't take that in a Summer course, it must be a full year in college, the problem is the student loan board has decided that they would cut off his funding. Now, what do we have? A catch-22 situation. We have a student who's that close, one course away from getting his degree; number two, he can't get a good paying job because he doesn't have a degree; number three, how can he afford to pay his student loan when he can't get a job. So they funded him right up to the goal line, and then they put up a fence and the student can't score. I don't understand the analogy behind that, Mr. Speaker.

Let's talk about rural depopulation, watching our small communities slowly die, gas stations in rural areas that are a lot more than gas stations, they are an essential service in a rural area, but they're waiting and waiting for a decision of this government, and there's nothing in this budget to allow for the gas stations to hang on any longer, and so they're closing.

I'd like to cite Wayne and Carolyn Leal, residents and neighbours of mine. I can see their house from mine. They have a son and a daughter, both college graduates. The son is teaching school here in Halifax, the daughter working here in Halifax. Look down the road a little further, Cathy and Stewart Squires - a son and a daughter, both college graduates, both working here in Halifax.

Mr. Speaker, with that kind of analogy or that kind of thinking, there's nothing there left for them and the idea is there that I've been fighting since 1991 when I was first elected as a councillor, if you don't like the rural area, number one, either don't complain or, number two, move to Halifax and that's very evident today in this budget. So where is the investment in rural Nova Scotia? Neglected roads for years, I mean we put on a Neglected Road of the Week campaign, capital deficit to grow by 2011, just in transportation.

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Mr. Speaker, right now in Victoria County we can't even dispose of our septic sludge - have our tanks pumped - unless we call an operator from outside our area. The Department of Environment and Labour closed the septic sewage disposal site that was available in Victoria, it had outlived its life, it was over 30 years old. Well, that's fine, I agree with that, but give us an alternative. The company now is struggling and paying more to dispose of their septic than they are to collect it and I hope that will be remediated through the Department of Environment and Labour as I have been speaking with them.

Mr. Speaker, there are six years of lost opportunity and, as I say, no planning to solve the present or reoccurring problems. Where is the vision? Where do you want to be in five years? Where do you definitely intend to be in 10 years? Given the time frame, as we all know, time and years go by with the snap of a finger, and sooner or later you'll be where you want to be. Rural infrastructure and, as I say, it's not water and sewer in the rural areas, it's roads.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Would the honourable member like to move adjournment of the debate, please.

MR. GERALD SAMPSON: By all means, Mr. Speaker, I will move adjournment of debate.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[The motion is carried.]

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 tomorrow at the hour of 9:00 a.m. The order of business tomorrow will be a continuation of the review of the estimates and the House should be rising tomorrow at approximately 1:00 p.m. or shortly thereafter.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that the House adjourn until 9:00 a.m.

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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 9:00 a.m. tomorrow.

[The House rose at 7:57 p.m.]

[Page 7127]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 3697

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 Allison Chapman, a Second World War veteran from Amherst, Nova Scotia, will travel overseas with other veterans from across Canada this week for the 60th Anniversary ceremonies of the Liberation of the Netherlands; and

Whereas Mr. Chapman is an original North Nova Scotia Highlander, beginning his military career in 1936 serving with his battalion through the entire length of the war, and he was in Germany on VE Day and Chapman also served in Korea in the 1950s and he remained in the militia for some years after active duties making his total service time 36 years; and

Whereas Mr. Chapman plans to visit the gravesites of his fallen comrades, making it an emotional time for him, as he says, "When you go back to a place like that, it brings tears to your eyes.";

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in sending our congratulations to Allison Chapman for making this momentous trip and sincere thanks to him and all veterans for their service.

RESOLUTION NO. 3698

By: Mr. Darrell Dexter (Cole Harbour)

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

Whereas May 2 to May 8, 2005, is Hospice Palliative Care Week in Canada; and

Whereas the lack of palliative care services, especially in rural communities, forces many patients to die in hospitals - the most expensive and the least desirable location for end-of-life care; and

Whereas organizations including the Federation of Seniors and Pensioners and the Catholic Women's League have called on the province to expand palliative care services, including hospice palliative care, across the province;

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Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Legislature recognize the value of hospice palliative care and commit to working towards improving end-of-life care options for patients and their families.

RESOLUTION NO. 3699

By: Mr. Stephen McNeil (Annapolis)

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

Whereas the Middleton Choral Society under the direction of Maureen MacLean has been captivating Valley residents with outstanding musical performances over the years; and

Whereas on May 7, 2005, the Middleton Choral Society will be celebrating the 400th Anniversary of the Port Royal settlement with a concert; and

Whereas renowned arranger, Gary Ewer, adapted five Nova Scotia folk songs from various cultures for exclusive use of the Choral Society for the performance;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend congratulations to the Middleton Choral Society and, in particular, director Maureen MacLean, for all their hard work and effort on launching the premiere performance, Nova Scotia is our Home.

RESOLUTION NO. 3700

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas Lunenburg County has been recognized for years as the balsam fir capital of the world; and

Whereas the grand opening of the Nova Scotia Christmas Tree Interpretive Centre was held in New Ross on Wednesday afternoon; and

Whereas New Ross Consolidated School students, Jordan Bell and Jesse Lohnes, have earned a spot in the county finals of their school's heritage fair competition on Friday as a result of their incredible work on Christmas tree research;

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Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly applaud all Christmas tree producers in Nova Scotia, along with Jordan and Jesse, for their keen interest in an industry worth $30 million a year to Nova Scotia's economy.

RESOLUTION NO. 3701

By: Mr. Manning MacDonald (Cape Breton South)

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

Whereas volunteer firefighters are the backbone of safety in many communities in our province; and

Whereas the Minister of Finance commented in the House yesterday that reward for volunteer firefighters was in place in this province in the form of compensation when a volunteer firefighter is diagnosed with cancer; and

Whereas it is obvious that the Minister of Finance has no concept of what it is like to be called upon as a volunteer firefighter and risk his life to save others by entering a burning building with temperatures of upwards of 180 degrees;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House call upon the Minister of Finance to send an official apology to the members of the Bedford volunteer firefighters in his constituency for his comments.

RESOLUTION NO. 3702

By: Hon. Kerry Morash (Environment and Labour)

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

Whereas only 600 students from across Canada are invited to participate in the Forum for Young Canadians, held annually in Ottawa; and

Whereas Scott Stewart, a student at Liverpool Regional High School, has been chosen to attend the week-long session that is recognized as Canada's premier educational program, teaching youth about the Canadian system of government, leadership and citizenship; and

Whereas only students between the ages of 15 and 19 who have a strong academic record, social and leadership skills, extracurricular activities and an interest in national and community affairs are nominated to attend;

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Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud Scott Stewart for being selected to attend the Forum for Young Canadians, and wish him the very best in all his future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 3703

By: Hon. Kerry Morash (Environment and Labour)

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

Whereas volunteers truly are the heart of the community; and

Whereas Ann Langille was chosen as a representative for the region of Queens to attend the 2005 Provincial Volunteer Awards Ceremony in Halifax on April 12th; and

Whereas Ann was chosen because of her dedication to a number of organizations, including Parents of Wickwire Home and School Association, Wickwire Winter Carnival, Queens County Girls Choir, Kids on the Move Society, Festival of Trees, and the Friends of the Hank Snow Society;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Ann Langille for her commitment to her community and for being chosen to represent the region of Queens at this very special event.

RESOLUTION NO. 3704

By: Hon. Kerry Morash (Environment and Labour)

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

Whereas cancer is the leading cause of premature death in Canada; and

Whereas once again this year the Curl for Cancer fundraiser in Queens County was a huge success, raising more than $10,300; and

Whereas money from fundraisers such as Curl for Cancer is used to assist the Canadian Cancer Society achieve its mission of eradicating cancer and enhancing the quality of life of people living with cancer through research, education, supportive care and advocacy for public health policy;

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Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the volunteers, donors and curlers involved with the Queens County Curl for Cancer on their successful event.

RESOLUTION NO. 3705

By: Hon. Kerry Morash (Environment and Labour)

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

Whereas the Liverpool Curling Club has a history of producing very successful junior curlers; and

Whereas that tradition has been continued by Josh Grant, Wade Davison, Ben Callaghan and Gavin Mansfield, who won the Under 15 Provincial Curling Championship; and

Whereas the team, coached by Allan Foster, also won the Junior High School Western Zone Championships this year;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Josh Grant, Wade Davidson, Ben Callaghan and Gavin Mansfield on their very successful year, and wish them the very best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 3706

By: Hon. Kerry Morash (Environment and Labour)

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

Whereas Project Love is an initiative of CODE that encourages students to raise money to send school supplies to children in developing counties; and

Whereas students at Dr. John C. Wickwire Academy raised over $860 by collecting pennies between October 15 and December 15, 2004, enabling them to send school supplies to students in a developing nation where supplies are scarce and expensive; and

Whereas on February 14, 2005, students at Wickwire Academy created 275 kits that included pencils, erasers, notebooks, rulers and Canadian flags that were sent to students in Mozambique;

[Page 7132]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate students at Dr. John C. Wickwire Academy for their efforts to make school so much easier for their counterparts half a world away.

RESOLUTION NO. 3707

By: Hon. Kerry Morash (Environment and Labour)

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

Whereas over 125,000 people were killed and over 800,000 were left homeless when a tsunami and earthquake hit Asia and Africa on December 26, 2004; and

Whereas millions of dollars have been raised in Canada to help with relief efforts in devastated counties; and

Whereas students at Liverpool Regional High School collected over $4,000 for victims of the tsunami as part of the UNICEF's Canada Kids Earthquake Challenge;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate students at Liverpool Regional High School for their commitment to helping people in their time of need.

RESOLUTION NO. 3708

By: Hon. Rodney MacDonald (Health Promotion)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia Health Promotion recently championed a number of people across the province who share our goals of improving the health of Nova Scotians, and Jennifer Thornhill, a member of the Nova Scotia Roundtable on Youth Sexual Health, is one of these champions; and

Whereas Jennifer joins health professionals, government staff, educators, and program and policy staff who are improving and promoting youth sexual health, which means physical well-being, emotional and mental health, self-esteem, values, choices and responsibility; and

Whereas their goal is to provide a strategic direction for an all-encompassing approach to sexual health education, services and support for youth in all parts of Nova Scotia, ensuring that the issues and experiences of our culturally diverse youth are recognized and represented as the plans and strategies develop;

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Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the achievements of Jennifer Thornhill and the members of the roundtable who are dedicated to ensuring our youth have the resources and support they need to achieve sexual health.

RESOLUTION NO. 3709

By: Hon. Rodney MacDonald (Health Promotion)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia Health Promotion recently championed a number of people across the province who share our goals of improving the health of Nova Scotians and Anna Galvin, Jordan March, and Jeanne Farrell are three young people who are making a difference; and

Whereas they teamed up with other students at Northumberland Regional High School, Pictou Academy, and North Nova Education Centre who wanted to promote healthy living to their school communities and so they started the Healthy Lifestyle Club; and

Whereas students at each school have a say in what programs are offered in their school's club, and now participate in a range of activities from Pilates and cooking clubs, to weight training and wellness lessons and the students also write and produce a healthy lifestyle newsletter called Scoop, which focuses on a different health priority each month;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the achievements of these young Nova Scotians, the schools that support them and all young people in Pictou County who are participating in the healthy lifestyle clubs.

RESOLUTION NO. 3710

By: Hon. Rodney MacDonald (Health Promotion)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia Health Promotion recently championed a number of people across the province who share our goals of improving the health of Nova Scotians and Andrea Donovan of Antigonish, and Nancy Hoddinott, Health Promotion's Tobacco Strategy Manager, of Dartmouth, are two of these champions; and

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Whereas Andrea and the Guysborough Antigonish Strait and Cape Breton Health Authorities created Smoke Free Around Me, a program to drive home awareness of the dangers of second-hand smoke to local residents by encouraging smokers to be heroes to their families by protecting them from the dangerous smoke; and

Whereas the project had such success that Health Promotion's Nancy Hoddinott helped ensure the project was rolled out across the entire province so that all Nova Scotians would take steps to protect their families and friends from second-hand smoke;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the achievements of Andrea Donovan and Nancy Hoddinott and the efforts of all Nova Scotians to protect others from smoke and, ultimately, to stop smoking.

RESOLUTION NO. 3711

By: Hon. Rodney MacDonald (Health Promotion)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia Health Promotion recently championed a number of people across the province who share our goals of improving the health of Nova Scotians and Rachael Surette of Yarmouth is one of those champions; and

Whereas Rachael's goal is to reduce tobacco use in Yarmouth, which now has a 100 per cent municipal smoke-free bylaw and their local initiative KATS - Kids Against Tobacco Smoke - is keeping youth from taking up the habit; and

Whereas tobacco control is one of the Health Promotion's six priority areas and we are proud to support community partners such as these;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the achievements of Rachael Surette, Raymond Gaudet, Paul Josey, and the people in Yarmouth who are clearing the air of tobacco smoke.

RESOLUTION NO. 3712

By: Hon. Rodney MacDonald (Health Promotion)

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

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Whereas Nova Scotia Health Promotion recently championed a number of people across the province who share our goals of improving the health of Nova Scotians and Ruth Seamone, Director of Food-Nutrition and Environmental Services at South Shore Health is one of those champions; and

Whereas Ruth helped people on the South Shore gain a healthier appetite by starting an initiative called Step into Healthy Eating, which involved dietitians, the food supplier and the food service staff; and

Whereas they created an environment for healthy eating through choice and education, added healthy meal ideas to South Shore Health's cafeteria menus at an attractive price, and educated food service staff about healthy eating;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize the achievements of Ruth Seamone, the staff at South Shore Health, and all the people who are now making healthier choices.

RESOLUTION NO. 3713

By: Hon. Rodney MacDonald (Health Promotion)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia Health Promotion recently championed a number of people across the province who share our goals of improving the health of Nova Scotians and Stephen Peters, Sue Crouse and Doug Hergett of the Annapolis Valley are three of these champions; and

Whereas along with the help of other Smoke-Free Kings volunteers, Berwick and Wolfville are seeing lots of bad habits go up in smoke as the first two communities in Nova Scotia to adopt 100 per cent smoke-free bylaws, and more than 1,600 homes and vehicles in Kings and Annapolis counties are now registered as smoke free, and recent reports show a reduction in youth tobacco use; and

Whereas Health Promotion is proud to have supported their important work by provided funding and advice;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the achievements of the members of Smoke-Free Kings and the people in the Annapolis Valley who are making healthy choices and clearing the air of tobacco smoke.

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RESOLUTION NO. 3714

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Anne and Wally Dowe of River Hebert will celebrate their 50th Anniversary on Saturday, May 7th; and

Whereas this fine couple will be honoured by family and friends at Clarence Clarke's on Saturday at a gathering to celebrate this special occasion; and

Whereas the Dowes are well respected in the community for their many years of being in business and of raising their family who are known to everyone through the entire area;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Anne and Wally Dowe on their Golden Anniversary and wish them many more years of health and happiness.

RESOLUTION NO. 3715

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Linda Scott's Grade 3 class at the West End Memorial Elementary School in Springhill has embarked on a project to recognize 2005 as the Year of the Veteran; and

Whereas these students have taken time to interview many veterans who are sharing their experiences during wartime years with the students so they will better understand what our veterans experienced and the value of their service to our country; and

Whereas these experiences will be put together on DVD and made available to the school, community, the veterans and their families to be kept and cherished forever;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the Nova Scotia Legislature acknowledge and congratulate Mrs. Linda Scott, her Grade 3 students, fellow teacher Dan Calder, high school students Amy Calder and Jena Bowes, and especially the veterans who have come together to ensure we have a lasting record of the great efforts of these heroic Canadians.

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RESOLUTION NO. 3716

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Mitch McBurnie was honoured at the Springhill Student Appreciation Night in Springhill; and

Whereas Mitch was awarded a plaque for the Most Valuable Player of the Junior Boys 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 work so hard and show so much dedication all year to their team and their school;

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

RESOLUTION NO. 3717

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Sarah Laurie was honoured at the Springhill Student Appreciation Night in Springhill; and

Whereas Sarah was awarded a plaque for the Student Athlete 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 work so hard and show so much dedication all year to their team and their school;

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

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RESOLUTION NO. 3718

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Mike Kaye from Springhill, Nova Scotia, has volunteered for 32 years to the local fire department selling tickets on their weekly 50/50 draw fundraiser; and

Whereas Mike started when he was 15 years old and it is estimated that Mike has raised approximately $250,000 over the years; and

Whereas Mike also volunteers at the All Saints Springhill Hospital everyday from 11:30 to 2:00 p.m. putting trays away and also helps out at the Legion's bingo nights and at the AA hall and Mike also is the watchdog for the community, keeping an eye on everything that is going on around town and passing along information to anyone who needs it;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Mike Kaye and thank him for dedicating his life to making Springhill a better community and wish him continued health and success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 3719

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Company Sgt. Major MWO Jillian Jewett was presented her five year pin along with two other cadets; and

Whereas Jillian is a member of the 1442 River Hebert District Army Cadet Corp; and

Whereas the pins were presented by Second World War veteran Bert Hatherly who congratulated the cadets as well as their commanding officer Capt. Harry Dow;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Company Sgt. Major MWO Jillian Jewett on this outstanding achievement and wish her continued success in the future.

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RESOLUTION NO. 3720

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Caitlin Jackson-Tarlton was honoured during the Student Athlete Appreciation Night in Springhill in April; and

Whereas Caitlin Jackson-Tarlton was awarded a plaque for Most Valuable Player on her Junior A Girls Basketball team; and

Whereas it was a night where the school honoured many of its outstanding athletes and showed their appreciation for the hard work and determination that the team members have given;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Caitlin Jackson-Tarlton on this outstanding achievement and wish her continued success in the future.