Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

HANSARD 03/04/05-84

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/

First Session

WEDNESDAY, MAY 11, 2005

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Energy: Gasoline Prices - Regulate, Mr. D. Dexter 7325
Educ.: Tuition Fees - Reduce, Mr. K. Colwell 7326
Health - Public Places: Smoke-Free - Support,
Hon. Rodney MacDonald 7326
Northwest Arm - Protect, Ms. M. More 7326
Educ.: Tuition Fees - Reduce, Ms. D. Whalen 7327
Northwest Arm - Protect, Ms. M. Raymond 7327
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 3886, Burns, Jim - Outstanding Principal of Can. Award,
Hon. J. Muir 7328
Vote - Affirmative 7328
Res. 3887, Nat'l. Nursing Wk. (05/09-05/13/05) - Recognize,
Hon. A. MacIsaac 7329
Vote - Affirmative 7329
Res. 3888, EMO - Mun. Units: Preparedness - Commend, Hon. E. Fage 7330
Vote - Affirmative 7330
Res. 3889, Lun. Jr./Sr. HS - Celebration of Learning, Hon. J. Muir 7330
Vote - Affirmative 7331
Res. 3890, Hearing & Speech Mo. (05/05) - Recognize,
Hon. A. MacIsaac 7331
Vote - Affirmative 7332
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 201, Wildlife Act, Mr. J. MacDonell 7332
No. 202, Children and Family Services Act, Hon. D. Morse 7332
No. 203, Involuntary Psychiatric Treatment Act, Hon. A. MacIsaac 7332
No. 204, Gaming Control Act, Mr. D. Graham 7332
No. 205, Securities Act, Hon. K. Morash 7332
No. 206, Camp Hill Foundation Act/Victoria General Hospital
Foundation Act, Hon. A. MacIsaac 7332
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 3891, Hfx. Mooseheads: 2004-05 Season - Congrats.,
(by Mr. K. Deveaux) Mr. D. Dexter 7333
Vote - Affirmative 7333
Res. 3892, Lun. Waterfront Comm.: Efforts - Support,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 7334
Vote - Affirmative 7334
Res. 3893, Energy: Offshore Potential - Recognize, Mr. J. DeWolfe 7335
Vote - Affirmative 7335
Res. 3894, Gilby, Mr. Pat: Retirement - Congrats., Mr. J. MacDonell 7335
Vote - Affirmative 7336
Res. 3895, Prem. - Debt Increase: Promise - Broken, Mr. Michel Samson 7336
Res. 3896, Marine Atl. Adv. Comm. - Drop-Trailer Serv.:
Recommendation - Condemn, Mr. B. Taylor 7337
Vote - Affirmative 7338
Res. 3897, Lapointe, Eric: Football Accomplishments - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 7338
Vote - Affirmative 7338
Res. 3898, Gov't. (N.S.): Smoke-Free Legislation - Priority,
Mr. L. Glavine 7339
Res. 3899, RRFB - Teachers/Students: Work - Commend, Mr. G. Hines 7340
Vote - Affirmative 7340
Res. 3900, Pyne, Jacqueline: Jackie's Flower & Garden - Opening,
Mr. R. MacKinnon 7341
Vote - Affirmative 7341
Res. 3901, Cameron, Alycia: IWK Fundraising - Congrats., Mr. C. Parker 7342
Vote - Affirmative 7342
Res. 3902, Bridgewater Reg. HS: Debating Club - Recognize,
Mr. S. McNeil 7343
Vote - Affirmative 7343
Res. 3903, Canning: Playground - Congrats., Mr. M. Parent 7344
Vote - Affirmative 7344
Res. 3904, Chair-A-Tea Comm.: Sponsors/Participants - Thank,
Ms. M. More 7344
Vote - Affirmative 7345
Res. 3905, Decker, Clayton - Birthday (100th), Mr. S. McNeil 7345
Vote - Affirmative 7346
Res. 3906, RCL - East. Marine Branch 161: Contributions - Applaud,
Mr. W. Dooks 7346
Vote - Affirmative 7347
Res. 3907, Jewish Commun.: Sydney/Glace Bay/New Waterford -
Recognize, Mr. G. Gosse 3747
Vote - Affirmative 7348
Res. 3908, Kinley, Dr. Ed: Speedy Recovery - Best Wishes Extend,
Mr. D. Graham 7348
Vote - Affirmative 7348
Res. 3909, Finck, Keith - Basketball: Dedication - Congrats.,
Hon. J. Muir 7349
Vote - Affirmative 7349
Res. 3910, St. Andrew's Cons. Sch.: RRFB - School of the Yr. Award,
Hon. A. MacIsaac 7349
Vote - Affirmative 7350
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 855, Com. Serv. - Commun. Placements: Refusal - Explain,
Mr. D. Dexter 7350
No. 856, Health - Arichat Ambulance Call: Delay - Explain,
Mr. Michel Samson 7352
No. 857, Com. Serv. - Martel Case: Help - Refusal Explain,
Mr. D. Dexter 7353
No. 858, Atlantic Accord - N.S. MPs: Support - Demand,
Mr. Michel Samson 7354
No. 859, Educ. - Gov't. (Can.) Funding: Post-Secondary Educ. -
Commit, Mr. D. Dexter 7356
No. 860, Health: Mental Health Services - Wait List Mgt.,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 7357
No. 861, Gaming - VLT Bars/Lounges: ATM Removal - Costs,
Mr. D. Graham 7358
No. 862, Health Prom. - Smoke-Free Places: Action - Details,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 7360
No. 863, Health Prom. - Cigarettes: Point of Sale Advertising - Ban,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 7361
No. 864, Health Prom.: Smoke-Free Pub. Places/Workplaces -
Legislation, Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 7362
No. 865, Health - Dart. Gen.: Bed Wait Times - Address, Ms. M. More 7363
No. 866, Health - Fam. Physicians: Digby Co. - Recruitment Assist,
Mr. H. Theriault 7365
No. 867, TCH - Lighthouses: Preservation - Actions, Ms. M. Raymond 7367
No. 868, Fin. - Foreign Currency: Conversion - Results,
Mr. Michel Samson 7368
No. 869, Energy - Underground Wiring: Policy - Details, Mr. G. Steele 7369
No. 870, Justice - CBRM Swarmings: Increase - Actions,
Mr. R. MacKinnon 7371
No. 871, Educ. - Hogg Report: Implementation - Lack Explain,
Ms. D. Whalen 7372
No. 872, TCH - Bluenose II Operations: Transfer - Explain,
Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 7373
No. 873, Com. Serv. - Foster Parents: Per Diem Increase - Status,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 7374
No. 874, Educ. - CBVR Sch. Bd.: East Bay Elem. - Closure,
Mr. R. MacKinnon 7375
No. 875, Com. Serv.: Afford. Housing Prog. - C.B., Mr. G. Gosse 7376
No. 876, Agric. & Fish. - Illegal Fishing: Prevention - Plans,
Mr. H. Theriault 7377
OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS:
PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 36, Medicare Protection Act 7379
Mr. D. Dexter 7379
Hon. A. MacIsaac 7382
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 7386
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 7390
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Law Amendments Committee, Mr. W. Dooks 7393
OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS:
PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 194, Cape Breton Strip Mines Moratorium Act 7394
Mr. F. Corbett 7394
Mr. W. Dooks 7396
Mr. L. Glavine 7399
Mr. J. MacDonell 7402
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Energy: OTC 2005 - Success:
Hon. C. Clarke 7405
Mr. D. Graham 7408
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Thur., May 12th at 12:00 noon 7409
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 3881, Patriquin, Barry - Oxford Centennial Vol. of the Yr.,
The Speaker 7410
Res. 3882, Porteous, Heather - Cumb. Health Care Careers Bursary,
The Speaker 7410
Res. 3883, Oxford Guiding Movement - Oxford Hometown
Christmas Centennial Award, The Speaker 7411
Res. 3884, Bird, Cpl. Linda - Marksmanship Award, The Speaker 7411
Res. 3885, Christie, Steve - Badminton Award, The Speaker 7412
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 3911, Responsible Bikers Org. - Blessing of the Bikes, Hon. J. Muir 7413
Res. 3912, Zwicker, Olive: Charity Quilt Donations - Congrats.,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 7413
Res. 3913, Boiduk, Jane - Nat'l. Print Comp., Hon. E. Fage 7414
Res. 3914, Cumb. Co. Heritage Network: Dedication - Congrats.,
Hon. E. Fage 7414
Res. 3915, Rae, Krista - Barrington Mun. Prov. Vol. Award,
Mr. C. O'Donnell 7415
Res. 3916, Chymist, Hilton - Lockeport Prov. Vol. Award,
Mr. C. O'Donnell 7415
Res. 3917, Thompson, Clare L. - Shelburne Dist. Mun. Prov.
Vol. Award, Mr. C. O'Donnell 7416
Res. 3918, Rushton, Reba Dawn - Oxford Centennial Youth
Vol. Award, The Speaker 7416
Res. 3919, Rushton, Rouie - Oxford Centennial EMO
Nominee of the Yr., The Speaker 7417
Res. 3920, Rushton, Ruth - Oxford Centennial Pythian Sisters
Nominee of the Yr. Award, The Speaker 7417
Res. 3921, Winters, Haley - Parrsboro Lions Club Speak Out Comp.,
The Speaker 7418
Res. 3922, Welsh, Samantha: Basketball - NSAC Recruitment,
The Speaker 7418
Res. 3923, Welsh, Sam - Lady Eagles Basketball MVP Award,
The Speaker 7419
Res. 3924, Springhill HS Lady Golden Eagles - Schiefer's Ultramar
Tip-Off Basketball Tournament, The Speaker 7419
Res. 3925, Calder, Lois/Spencer, Bob: Nuptials - Congrats.,
The Speaker 7420
Res. 3926, Rushton, Lacey - Basketball MVP Award, The Speaker 7420
Res. 3927, Nurses (N.S.) - Thank, The Speaker 7421
Res. 3928, Oxford Vol. FD - Oxford Hometown Christmas
Centennial Award, The Speaker 7421
Res. 3929, Oxford Mini Bears - Basketball Championship, The Speaker 7422
Res. 3930, Oxford Mini Bears - Cumberland/Westmoreland Tournament,
The Speaker 7422
Res. 3931, Oxford Home Hardware - Oxford Hometown
Christmas Centennial Award, The Speaker 7423
Res. 3932, Oxford Reg. HS - FPA Youth Initiative Award,
The Speaker 7423
Res. 3933, Purdy, Taylor - Basketball Award, The Speaker 7424
Res. 3934, Quinn, Alissa - Basketball Award, The Speaker 7424
Res. 3935, River Hebert Jr High Raiders - Jr. Tip-Off Championship,
The Speaker 7425
Res. 3936, River Hebert - Tsunami Fundraising, The Speaker 7425
Res. 3937, Rolfe, Jarrod - Basketball Award, The Speaker 7426

[Page 7325]

HALIFAX, WEDNESDAY, MAY 11, 2005

Fifty-ninth General Assembly

First Session

2:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Murray Scott

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Before we begin the daily routine, the subject for this evening's late debate was submitted by the honourable Minister of Energy, the member for Cape Breton North:

Therefore be it resolved that the 2005 Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) was a resounding success.

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

We will begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

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

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition, the operative clause which reads, "The undersigned gasoline retailers strongly urge the government to introduce legislation to regulate gasoline prices, including minimum and maximum retail margins, before the end of the Spring setting of the Legislature."

7325

[Page 7326]

It is signed by 64 independent retailers from around the province, including Antigonish, Annapolis, Digby, Lunenburg County, Shelburne, and Halifax County.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Preston.

MR. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition signed by Nova Scotians regarding the high and ever-rising cost of post-secondary education, and I have affixed my signature thereto.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage.

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition on behalf of the community health boards across Nova Scotia who are in support of 100 per cent smoke-free indoor public places legislation for Nova Scotia, a subject of which I will be making statement on before the House rises this Spring.

I would like to acknowledge a group representing all 37 Nova Scotia community health boards who are in attendance in the gallery, Mr. Speaker. I don't know if they are all here or not, but I would ask the House to give them a warm round of applause and I ask them to rise. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, this petition contains 12,363 signatures. I have also placed my name on that petition for the purpose of tabling the petition.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

I would like to welcome our guests to the gallery today and hope they enjoy the proceedings.

The honourable member for Dartmouth South-Portland Valley.

MS. MARILYN MORE: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition with 10 signatures in support of protection of the Northwest Arm, the operative clause being, ". . . HUMBLY REQUEST THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT to take a leadership role in bringing together the federal, provincial and municipal jurisdictions so that they can co-ordinate their efforts towards the protection of the Northwest Arm and its traditional points of public access." I have affixed my signature.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

[Page 7327]

The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition signed by a further 93 Nova Scotians concerned about the high and ever-rising cost of post-secondary tuition. I too have affixed my signature.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

MS. MICHELE RAYMOND: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition signed by some 470 citizens of Nova Scotia. The operative clause is, ". . . WE THE UNDERSIGNED HUMBLY REQUEST THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT to take a leadership role in bringing together the federal, provincial and municipal jurisdictions so that they can co-ordinate their efforts towards the protection of the Northwest Arm . . ."

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, with your permission, in advance of the resolution, I would like to do an introduction.

In the east gallery it gives me particular delight to introduce a former colleague of mine and a friend of many years, Mr. Jim Burns, who is currently Principal of the South Colchester Academy in the Village of Brookfield, in the beautiful constituency of Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley - also, home of the Wolves. Mr. Burns has been a principal for 12 years in Colchester County and has been an educator for 31 years. He was recently awarded the Outstanding Principal of Canada Award from the Canadian Association of Principals. In addition, he was one of two recipients of Learning Partnerships Canada's Outstanding Principals Award and he was also named Distinguished Principal for 2004 by the Nova Scotia School Administrators Association.

Mr. Burns is accompanied by his wife, Betty, and I would ask the two of them to rise and receive the warm welcome and congratulations of the House. (Applause)

[Page 7328]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 3886

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

Whereas Jim Burns, who has been a principal in Colchester County for 12 years and is currently the principal of South Colchester Academy, has received the Canadian Association of Principals McDonald's Restaurant Outstanding Principal of Canada Award; and

Whereas in January he was also named one of two Nova Scotia recipients of Learning Partnerships Canada's Outstanding Principals Award and received the Distinguished Principal for 2004 by the Nova Scotia School Administrators Association; and

Whereas earlier this week the first Principal's Conference was held by the Department of Education to help all principals across Nova Scotia become education leaders like Jim Burns;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Jim Burns on receiving the Outstanding Principal of Canada Award, thank him for reaching out to his staff and pupils, and recognize his ability to release talent in those around him.

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 Finance on an introduction.

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, it's my pleasure today to introduce some people who have come to join us. They are ladies from the Bedford PC Women's Association. I'd like to introduce President Alma Russell, Donna Dodsworth, Grace Kendziora, Shirley Jerron, and Joan Christie. I would ask them to rise and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

[Page 7329]

MR. SPEAKER: We certainly welcome all these young ladies to the gallery today, and hope they enjoy the proceedings.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 3887

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

Whereas this week, May 9th to May 13th, is National Nursing Week, a week for us to recognize nurses across the province for their commitment to ensuring the best possible care for Nova Scotians; and

Whereas nurses are key members of health care teams and are dedicated to lifelong learning through the many changes and challenges that accompany working in the health care system; and

Whereas nurses consistently display professionalism, integrity and dignity in their everyday work, to improve the health of their patients and, in turn, the nursing profession and the health care system;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize May 9th to May 13th as National Nursing Week, and acknowledge our nurses for the critical role they play in providing high-quality patient care 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 Minister of Economic Development.

[Page 7330]

RESOLUTION NO. 3888

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

Whereas because emergencies strike locally, it is important to know that our municipalities are prepared to act on a moment's notice, whenever they might be faced with such a situation; and

Whereas every two years, the province's Emergency Measures Organization evaluates each municipality's emergency preparedness, to identify and advise the municipalities on specific areas for improvement; and

Whereas this year, 95 per cent of municipalities across the province have received a rating of excellent or good for their emergency preparedness capabilities, up from 72 per cent in the 2002-03 review;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Legislature commend this province's municipal units and the staff responsible for clearly demonstrating, this year, their professional level of commitment to emergency planning.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 3889

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

Whereas Lunenburg Junior/Senior High School and Lunenburg Academy held their Celebration of Learning 2004-05 on May 4th and May 5th; and

[Page 7331]

[2:15 p.m.]

Whereas the annual Celebration of Learning featured displays of student work along with band and musical theatre performances; and

Whereas the Celebration of Learning is the highlight of the school year for residents of Lunenburg and beyond;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Lunenburg Junior/Senior High School and Lunenburg Academy for the excellence portrayed in the Celebration of Learning and thank the students, staff and school advisory committee for bringing public school education to the public.

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. 3890

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 is Hearing and Speech Month all across Canada; and

Whereas one in 10 Nova Scotians are affected by some form of communication disorder, each day more than 100,000 need assistance to face the challenges involved with hearing, speaking, understanding and expressing themselves; and

Whereas each year the province's 29 Nova Scotia hearing and speech centres provide direct service to those people with a disorder and staff in locally run organizations undertake activities aimed at increasing awareness around the province;

[Page 7332]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize May as Hearing and Speech Month and acknowledge the work done by those individuals working either in our hospitals or in our centres in this province to provide care or promote awareness for those with hearing and speech disorders.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 201 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 504 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Wildlife Act. (Mr. John MacDonell)

Bill No. 202 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 5 of the Acts of 1990. The Children and Family Services Act. (Hon. David Morse)

Bill No. 203 - Entitled an Act Respecting Involuntary Psychiatric Treatment. (Hon. Angus MacIsaac)

Bill No. 204 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 4 of the Acts of 1994-95. The Gaming Control Act. (Mr. Daniel Graham)

Bill No. 205 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 418 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Securities Act. (Hon. Kerry Morash)

Bill No. 206 - Entitled an Act to Repeal Chapter 2 of the Acts of 1987. The Camp Hill Foundation Act; and Chapter 492 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Victoria General Hospital Foundation Act. (Hon. Angus MacIsaac)

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

[Page 7333]

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 3891

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

Whereas hockey fans throughout Nova Scotia were happy to see the Halifax Mooseheads cap an excellent season by playing in the finals of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League; and

Whereas Captain Petr Vrana, Head Coach Al MacAdam, and all the players and staff of the Mooseheads deserve congratulations for their stand-up performance in the finals; and

Whereas the one consolation for Nova Scotians is that Cole Harbour's own Sidney Crosby is a member of the league champion Rimouski Océanic and was chosen the most valuable player in this year's playoffs;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the players, staff and supporters of the Halifax Mooseheads for their excellent performance in the 2004-05 season and offer best wishes to MVP Sidney Crosby as he and his teammates prepare to play for the Memorial Cup.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

[Page 7334]

RESOLUTION NO. 3892

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

Whereas the recent relocation of major fishery interests from Lunenburg have caused the vacancy of traditional marine facilities along the waterfront; and

Whereas the reduction of these facilities will cause the loss of traditional and well-paying jobs so important to the residents of Lunenburg; and

Whereas a Lunenburg Waterfront Committee has been formed with the goal of preserving traditional marine use of these soon to be vacant facilities;

Therefore be it resolved that the province support the committee in its efforts to preserve and protect employment through the acquisition and preservation of these facilities.

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 on an introduction.

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, in the west gallery I would like to introduce Peter Whalen who is a constituent of the Halifax Clayton Park riding. Peter is a regular visitor at city hall and also follows both our provincial and municipal politics closely. It's a pleasure to recognize Peter this afternoon as he shows us that many young people are indeed interested in the political life of our province. I would ask Peter to rise and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

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

The honourable member for Pictou East.

[Page 7335]

RESOLUTION NO. 3893

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

Whereas Peter Glover, a project management consultant and Houston-based energy executive, said last week at the annual Offshore Technology Conference, "If you are not interested in Canada, you don't know what's going on."; and

Whereas following a speech given by Nova Scotia's Minister of Energy, Cecil Clarke, that Nova Scotia's offshore is filled with major natural gas basins with huge reserve potential, a U.S. Commerce Department adviser said, "the Bush administration has its eyes on the East Coast of Canada."; and

Whereas the prosperous Bass brothers situated in Texas have announced plans to drill a $40 million U.S. oil well off Nova Scotia sometime in 2006 with the well being estimated to contain 800 million barrels of recoverable oil along with 253 billion cubic feet of natural gas;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs recognize the vast potential of Nova Scotia's offshore and the benefits it will bring to Nova Scotia now and into the future and the continued work of the Offshore Technologies Association of Nova Scotia for playing such a vital role in the development of our offshore.

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. 3894

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

[Page 7336]

Whereas expertise and experience at any occupation are assets not to be dismissed lightly; and

Whereas these positive assets often come as a result of a commitment to a single employer over one's employable years; and

Whereas Mr. Patrick Gilby of Enfield recently retired from the Department of Transportation and Public Works, Milford depot, after 29 years and 10 months;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Pat Gilby of Enfield, on his commitment to the maintenance of the province's roads and wish him the best in his retirement.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader in the House of the Liberal Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 3895

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. 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 adding $2.5 million in daily interest payments that could result in the employment, for example, of 900 more Summer students this year;

[Page 7337]

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 $900 million a year.

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 member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley

RESOLUTION NO. 3896

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

Whereas the advisory committee examining the future of Marine Atlantic has recommended the discontinuation of drop-trailer service in North Sydney and Port aux Basques, Newfoundland and Labrador, effective June 1, 2006, which will result in the loss of 40 stevedore jobs; and

Whereas the report seemingly contradicts itself noting that drop-trailer traffic has increased 15.3 per cent over the past three years; and

Whereas the Executive Director of the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association, Ralph Boyd, is saying that he's very concerned about the demand for more truck drivers at a time when the Canadian Trucking Human Resource Council cites major driver shortages facing the industry;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs in the House of Assembly condemn and oppose the recommendation put forth concerning the elimination of drop-trailer service in North Sydney and Port aux Basques, Newfoundland and Labrador, and condemn the advisory committee's report on the future of Marine Atlantic.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 7338]

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. 3897

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

Whereas former Mount Allison Mounties football running back Eric Lapointe has been named the best Canadian university football player in history by the Web site collegecolours.com; and

Whereas Eric played at Mount Allison from 1995 to 1999, where he won two Hec Crighton Awards as the nation's most outstanding college football player; and

Whereas Eric Lapointe, currently a member of the CFL's Montreal Allouettes, continues to contribute to alumni affairs at Mount Allison;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature recognize the accomplishments of Eric Lapointe, with best wishes of good luck in his future endeavours on and off the field.

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 7339]

The honourable member for Kings West on an introduction.

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, I'd like to ask the House to give their attention to the west gallery where Bob Fettes, a member of the Kingston-Greenwood Community Health Board, and his wife, Eileen, have joined us for today's proceedings. If they could rise and receive the warm greetings of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 3898

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

Whereas within the last three years it appears that the Nova Scotia Government has been content to go from promoting themselves as the national health promotion leader with one of the best smoke-free places legislation in Canada, to the reality of finishing in the bottom of the health promotion rankings with one of the worst smoke-free places legislation; and

Whereas Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Nunavut, and the Northwest Territories, in either passing or announcing their intention to enact smoke-free legislation, making all indoor public places 100 per cent smoke-free and restricting point-of-sale tobacco displays, have recognized the long-term physical and financial health of their citizens; and

Whereas with the community health boards' petition tabled in the House earlier today it is clear indication from Nova Scotians province-wide that they want their provincial government to move from the bottom back to the top of the health promotion podium when it comes to tobacco issues;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Government immediately move beyond its self promotion by making 100 per cent smoke-free indoor public places legislation and point-of-sale tobacco display restrictions, full health promotion priorities and not empty health promotion promises.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

[Page 7340]

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank.

[2:30 p.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 3899

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

Whereas the Halifax Regional School Board and the Resource Recovery Fund Board of Nova Scotia hosted an award ceremony earlier this Winter to promote recycling and composting programs in HRM; and (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order. The Clerks can't hear what's being read in the House. I would ask the members, if they have to talk, to go outside, please.

The honourable member for Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank has the floor.

MR. HINES: Whereas more than $28,000 in prizes were awarded to schools and students which included recycled products and $1,000 scholarships to Grade 12 students; and

Whereas Waverley Road schoolteacher Ms. Janique Caseley was the winner of a teacher's award, while Beaver Bank-Monarch Drive Elementary School student Jaclyn MacLean was the winner in the Grades 4 to 6 category, and Jonathan Rathbun from Lockview High School in Fall River was the recipient of a $1,000 scholarship;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs in this House of Assembly commend the fantastic work undertaken by both teachers and students toward understanding and learning more about recycling and composting.

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 7341]

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 3900

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

Whereas rural economic development is essential to Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Jacqueline Pyne of Albert Bridge, Cape Breton, has established Jackie's Flower and Garden at Albert Bridge; and

Whereas this family-owned business contributes greatly to the economic and social well-being of Albert Bridge and surrounding communities;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly congratulate Jacqueline Pyne on the opening of Jackie's Flower and Garden, and for her vote of confidence in rural economic development in Cape Breton.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

MR. CHARLES PARKER: Mr. Speaker, perhaps with your indulgence, I'd like to do an introduction. In our west gallery today, I would like to introduce a person who's very important to me and to my election campaign and success here in this House, my wife, Marilyn. I would ask her to stand and for the House to give her a warm welcome. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

[Page 7342]

RESOLUTION NO. 3901

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

Whereas Alycia Cameron of Durham, Pictou County, a Grade 7 student at West Pictou Consolidated School, recently organized a variety concert to raise funds to buy toys for sick children at the IWK; and

Whereas more than $1,400 was raised at the show held at the West River Fire Hall, and Alycia was among the performers who sang, danced and took part in skits; and

Whereas Alycia often spent time at the IWK visiting her brother, Warren, and read a poem at the concert in his memory;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Alycia Cameron for her great work in raising money and making life more enjoyable for the children at the Izaak Walton Killam 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 Annapolis.

MR. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw the attention of the House to the west gallery where we have eight members of the Bridgetown Regional High School Debating Club, along with their chaperone, Gary Gavel, and their teacher and debating coach, who happens to also be my sister-in-law, Mary-Ann McNeil. I would ask the group to rise and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

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

The honourable member for Annapolis.

[Page 7343]

RESOLUTION NO. 3902

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

Whereas the Bridgetown Regional High School Debating Club, a small but active group within the BRHS community, includes 10 current members from Grade 7 through to Grade 12, and seeks to broaden their knowledge of timely issues and enhance the skill of public speaking and courteous argument; and

Whereas the exceptional students of this club are involved in many other school activities, including the drama club, the band, and two members were last year's recipients of the Lieutenant Governor's Award; and

Whereas members of this group include Carolyn Ward, Daniel McNeil, Ben McMillan-Newton, Zech Gilks, Kyle Tidd, Fadi Ayoub, Beverly Ward, Beth Gavel, Cherish Woods and Melanie Spreadbury;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the exceptional students of the Bridgetown Regional High School Debating Club, and wish them much success in their future endeavours.

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 on an introduction.

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I'd like to bring the members' attention to the east gallery. We have a group of students here from the Cape Breton Highlands Academy, which is between the Margarees and the Cheticamp area - actually it goes much farther, up to Pleasant Bay. These students are part of a political science class, and they've had a little bit of a tour, met the Premier and a few others. Mr. MacKinnon, their teacher, is here and they are also accompanied by Mrs. Burchell. I would ask them to rise and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

[Page 7344]

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

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 3903

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

Whereas families in Canning will soon be enjoying more playtime options, thanks to money from the Recreational Facility Development Program of the Office of Health Promotion; and

Whereas the $3,000 contribution to the Village of Canning will help assist in the construction of a playground at Spicer Park; and

Whereas this playground is an example of the province's commitment to rural communities in an effort to get young children adopting healthier lifestyles;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Canning community on their new playground.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth South-Portland Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 3904

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

Whereas Feed Nova Scotia held a very successful 5th Annual Dinner and Auction May 10, 2005, with over 400 participants; and

[Page 7345]

Whereas Feed Nova Scotia supplies over 135 meal programs and food banks in this province, including 101 in the Halifax Regional Municipality; and

Whereas these meal programs and food banks serve 40,000 Nova Scotians each month, approximately one person every minute, every hour of every day;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate the 2005 Chair-A-Tea organizing committee, sponsors and participants, as well as the Feed Nova Scotia Board of Directors, staff and volunteers, and thank all for their extraordinary efforts to keep Nova Scotians from going hungry.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 3905

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

Whereas Clayton Decker of Middleton, son of a lighthouse keeper and a teacher, who now lives in the Veterans Wing of Soldiers Memorial Hospital, was born May 15, 1905 on East Ragged Island, near Lunenburg; and

Whereas Mr. Decker, a fisherman by trade, joined the Forces in 1944, and during his four years of service was posted as a ship engineer and was involved in search and rescue work, a service he continued after he returned to civilian life; and

Whereas Mr. Decker, who served for eight years as a municipal councillor, three years on the school board, and three years on the hospital board, will be turning 100 years old on May 15, 2005;

[Page 7346]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Mr. Decker for his years of service to his country, to his community and for reaching this milestone of 100 years.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health on an introduction.

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: I want to introduce to members of the House today a couple from Cape George, Antigonish County, Gussie MacInnes and I believe his wife, Sharon, is up behind us here. Sharon is a member of the GASHA health board and she has an interest in something that was brought forward here today. They are very valued members of our community and I'm very pleased to welcome them to the House today. (Applause)

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

The honourable member for Eastern Shore.

RESOLUTION NO. 3906

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

Whereas 2005 is the Year of the Veteran, and I would like to acknowledge the hard- working and dedicated veterans of the Royal Canadian Legions across the province, both past and present; and

Whereas many local branches of the Royal Canadian Legion are a focal point of community functions, are supportive of the needs of others, assist veterans and their families with life challenges, purchase wheelchairs and equipment for seniors, all through the work and the proceeds of their poppy campaigns and various fundraisers; and

[Page 7347]

Whereas the Eastern Marine Branch 161 of the Royal Canadian Legion offers fellowship and support, services their community with pride, and strives to preserve the memory of their fallen comrades and the sacrifices made by so many families;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contribution of the Eastern Marine Branch 161 Royal Canadian Legion and all other Legions across the province.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 3907

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

Whereas today, May 11, 2005, at the Temple Sons of Israel in the City of Sydney, Nova Scotia, the 37th annual Hadassah-Wizo Bazaar will take place; and

Whereas this major fundraiser has evolved into a day where people of many religions and ethnic backgrounds assemble; and

Whereas the proceeds of this event benefit Hadassah youth programs in Israel and a portion goes to a local charitable donation;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Legislative Assembly recognize the efforts of the Jewish people in Sydney, Glace Bay and New Waterford, for continuing their ongoing legacy in one of the most ethnically diverse communities in this fine country of ours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 7348]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

RESOLUTION NO. 3908

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

Whereas Dr. Ed Kinley, a former member of this House for Halifax Citadel and former President of the Nova Scotia Liberal Party, has served Nova Scotians as a heart surgeon, politician and health care advocate; and

Whereas Dr. Ed Kinley recently underwent emergency bypass surgery at the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre; and

Whereas Dr. Kinley always displays great compassion and concern for the welfare of his fellow citizens;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend their best wishes to Dr. Ed Kinley for a speedy and full recovery.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Education.

[Page 7349]

RESOLUTION NO. 3909

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

Whereas Keith Finck, a resident of Truro, has recently refereed his 3,000th basketball game and plans to continue refereeing for many years yet; and

Whereas Keith Finck, after officiating the 1980 CCAA nationals at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College, was selected to represent the province and officiate the following year in British Columbia; and

Whereas Keith Finck received the Wink Willox Award for his outstanding contributions made to basketball and in 1989 was given a lifetime membership in Basketball Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Keith Finck for his 36 years as a referee and for officiating his 3,000th basketball game and wish him well as he continues his devotion to the sport of basketball.

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. 3910

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

Whereas St. Andrew's Consolidated School in Antigonish County was named School of the Year in the annual Resource Recovery Fund Board's Mobius Environmental Awards; and

[Page 7350]

Whereas for the past four years the entire school has been participating in an advanced recycling and composting program with the Grace 6 students, members of the Green Team and, supervised by teacher Annette Daeman, set an example for the younger students; and

Whereas all students, teachers and staff take pride in doing their part for the environment;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate St. Andrew's Consolidated School for their commitment to ensuring a healthier environment for all.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period will begin at 2:44 p.m. and end at 4:14 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community Services. Perhaps the Premier will be able to address the question.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. (Interruptions) Order, please. Question Period will begin at 2:45 p.m. and end at 4:15 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

COM. SERV. - COMMUN. PLACEMENTS: REFUSAL - EXPLAIN

MR. DARREL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, since 2002, the head of Adult Services for the Mental Health Division has been writing briefing notes to the Minister of Health to point out how Community Services is failing people. We have received these briefing notes through

[Page 7351]

a freedom of information request and in those notes, John Campbell says that Community Services refuses to provide community placements for people in need. John Campbell also says that this means people are stuck in psychiatric units when not medically required and this puts excessive stress on the mental health system. He argues that this was being done by Community Services in order to save money.

[2:45 p.m.]

So my question for the Minister of Community Services, through you, Mr. Speaker, is this, given that you've known about this for more than two years, what explanation do you have for your inaction?

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I am aware of this briefing note. It is, as the member pointed out, over two years old and there has been tremendous co-operation between the Departments of Community Services and Health since that time, working much better together, and we actually have somebody in place to work on these problems.

MR. DEXTER: Actually, Mr. Speaker, it's a series of briefing notes that go right up to the present. We know that there are people stuck in mental health units right now because Community Services won't provide the needed community placement. The most recent information we have from the Department of Community Services has confirmed that there are also some 210 people in the community waiting for placement. We hear from support workers across the province that the real issue is that Community Services and Health are bickering over which department pays the bill.

So my question through you, Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Community Services is this, do you think it's fair that people should be left homeless while you bicker with the Department of Health?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out that the Department of Community Services is responsible for people who are considered at a level one care, the Department of Health level two care. Some of these cases are complicated and we do have to work out the appropriate accommodation for them. We work constructively with the Department of Health and we will continue to do so.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, according to the head of the Mental Health Division, the Community Service's moratorium on community placements has meant that people are not being discharged when they should. Acute and rehabilitation beds have been blocked and people are being discharged early or sent to hospitals in other districts.

Mr. Speaker, my final question will be for the Minister of Health and the question is a simple one, how do you justify your silence on this issue?

[Page 7352]

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, as the honourable Minister of Community Services has pointed out to the House, this is a matter of considerable priority between the two departments and they are working on this on a continuous basis with a view to bringing about an early resolution.

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

HEALTH - ARICHAT AMBULANCE CALL: DELAY - EXPLAIN

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, last month the family of a young girl on Isle Madame encountered challenges that no other family should ever have to experience. In addition to the pressures that go along with being young parents, the Forgerons have additional challenges in that their young baby girl suffers from congestive heart failure. Last month their worst nightmare came true. Having been examined by a physician at St. Anne's Centre in Arichat, the doctor on call indicated that the infant needed to go to St. Martha's Hospital in Antigonish for immediate care and ordered an ambulance for the transfer to take place. Three hours later and by pure chance, an ambulance arrived at St. Anne's Centre. My question to the Minister of Health is, how did this possibly happen?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I certainly appreciate the question from the honourable member and he does raise a very valid question. It is a most unfortunate set of circumstances, I have in fact been in consultation with officials in the Department of Health and EHS and there was a serious gap in communication. That is being addressed as we speak and I appreciate the honourable member bringing the question forward today. It is indeed a most unfortunate situation.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, what this family went through is completely unacceptable. No one, to date, has taken responsibility and clearly someone should when it takes three hours for an ambulance to arrive at a known medical clinic. Residents in rural Nova Scotia constantly fear long delays for an ambulance to arrive in the case of an emergency. In this case, to the family's horror, we are told an ambulance was 10 minutes away the entire three hours they were waiting. While Nova Scotia has a first-class ambulance and emergency care system, it is clear that in this case the system failed. My question to the minister is, what steps has the minister taken to ensure that this situation never happens again?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, indeed, it is a valid question. We are taking steps. Next week there will be an inservice conducted, it is scheduled at St. Anne's. It will involve the staff, all of the staff there, both in the facility and the medical professionals who work at that facility, as well as EHS. The entire subject matter of that inservice is appropriate communications, so that there is clarity with respect to requests that are made of EHS.

[Page 7353]

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, this is not the first time that we've had problems with EHS responding to calls in Richmond County. We had the unfortunate situation last year of a gentleman who suffered a heart attack and waited 45 minutes for an ambulance to arrive. Fortunately in this case, his wife was a retired RN, who was able to stabilize him. The Forgeron family went public in the hope that someone would be held accountable, and that no other family would have to go through such a troubling ideal that may have cost their child's life. Nova Scotians deserve to know what exactly happened here, and assurances that changes will be made to ensure that it does not reoccur. My question to the Minister of Health is, is the minister prepared to undertake a review of this matter and, more importantly, make the findings public to give Nova Scotians assurances that this incident will not be repeated?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, indeed, I have initiated a complete review of the situation. I believe that I've come as close to making it public today but, if the honourable member needs more than what I've said today, there was a serious gap in communication. We are addressing that gap in communication. The family, in bringing the matter forward, reacted appropriately. We will provide whatever information is required. I will share it with the honourable member, it is information that we want all Nova Scotians to understand. The average response time in that area, if you review calls over the past number of years or the past year, has been appropriate. This is a most unfortunate situation and we will take every step we can to ensure that no such situation occurs in the future. I appreciate the honourable member bringing the matter forward.

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

COM. SERV. - MARTEL CASE: HELP - REFUSAL EXPLAIN

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, Philip Martel is an 18-year old. He, in fact, is an outstanding young man who has been forced to endure a great deal at the hands of this government. Since last October, he was forced to stay in a locked-down IWK psychiatric unit, even though he does not belong there. The staff at the IWK have made countless attempts to find Philip another place to live. They've repeatedly appealed to Community Services and have been rejected. I am told that there's a community placement that's available, but Community Services and the Department of Health are arguing about who is going to pay the bill. My question to the Minister of Community Services is this, you've known about this for seven months, why have you refused to help Philip Martel?

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, for those who are listening in today, I want to clear this up by saying that there's a problem with the premise of the question. In actual fact, we're very pleased that a former careworker has come forward and offered her home - she is a professional - to take in Mr. Martel, but there are certain checks that have to be done before we can properly dispense with our responsibilities, and they are currently being done.

[Page 7354]

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, well, there is still a fight, but it's between the Department of Community Services and the Department of Health. In spite of the stress in his life, Philip Martel is a good student, but he's getting increasingly desperate. Staff at the hospital acknowledge the situation is bad for Philip's mental and emotional health and it costs $1,000 a day for Philip to stay in the hospital but would cost just $162 for the community placement that the minister has mentioned.

Today, lawyer Vince Calderhead is filing a human rights complaint with Philip and both of them are in the gallery today. My question for the Minister of Community Services is, will it really take the threat of a human rights complaint for you to provide Philip with adequate housing?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I would suggest that a letter has gone back to the gentleman's counsel explaining what has to be done. We are trying to expedite this and get it done. We do need sign-offs from certain professionals, including the family physician before we can approve that home.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, can you imagine? Seven months. Seven months. Philip Martel is not alone. There are people all over this province waiting for community placements. So far we've had to file a freedom of information request to receive wait list information. Nova Scotians deserve to know how many Philip Martels are out there. So my question for the minister is a very simple one, will you commit to providing a wait list by region of those waiting for community placements, both inside and outside of hospital, by the end of the week?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, we will commit to continue to work diligently with our colleagues in health towards assisting those people who are in need of placement.

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

ATLANTIC ACCORD - N.S. MPs: SUPPORT - DEMAND

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, the Atlantic Accord is hanging on three votes in the House of Commons. The three Nova Scotia Tory MPS - Gerald Keddy, Peter MacKay and Bill Casey - hold the future fortune of Nova Scotia's $830 million in their hands. Each week that goes by, our province, by the Premier's own admission, is losing $1 million a week while the accord is not passed. We have shown each day this Premier is allowing $2.5 million of taxpayers' money to go towards paying interest on our debt rather than being invested in Nova Scotians' priorities. So my question to the Premier is, will he demand that Nova Scotia's three Tory MPS support the Atlantic Accord and get Nova Scotians their $830 million?

[Page 7355]

HON. JOHN HAMM (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, there are people far more influential than this Premier of a very small province trying to sort out what's going on in Ottawa. What we have is a reassurance from the three major Leaders of Parties in Canada, national Parties, that they will honour the accord. The member opposite is right - sooner is better than later, but never is not an option.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, the Premier's silence on this issue is deafening for Nova Scotians. This is a Premier that called upon all Nova Scotia MPS of all political stripes to support the accord in the first place. He stood in this House and asked for all of them to support it, which they all did at the time. Now that we have the accord, suddenly he's not so interested in three of his own federal colleagues not giving their support for the accord, which ironically, while we can't control everything that happens in Ottawa, in this case those three votes could guarantee the passage of that $830 million. We now have a situation where your own Minister of Community Services is praying that the federal budget passes because he knows how much child care money is waiting and he wants to get his hands on to be able to invest in child care here in Nova Scotia. So, my question simply to the Premier is, why won't the Premier simply speak up and guarantee Nova Scotia's $830 million by calling on his federal counterparts today to support the Atlantic Accord passage?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, as true Nova Scotians, all 11 federal representatives support this government and its position on the accord. All are supporting the accord, Mr. Speaker, and the accord money will be delivered.

[3:00 p.m.]

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, $1 million a week, does not upset this Premier. He's prepared to remain silent while $1 million a week is lost. Imagine what $1 million would do invested each week in our education system, our road system, rural economy, $1 million a week and yet the Premier remains silent. Nova Scotians are looking for leadership from this Premier that the deal that was achieved, will be signed and will be delivered, and that Nova Scotians can see the benefits of that money today, not at a later date. So my question to the Premier is, why are you, sir, rolling the dice on the passage of the $830 million Atlantic Accord?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the question allows me the opportunity to remind all members of the House and through them the people of Nova Scotia that the Atlantic Accord was not delivered in Nova Scotia as the result of a short campaign. It was the result of a very long campaign going back to January 2001, and I think if Nova Scotians would research the Hansard record of debates and resolutions that are part of the proceedings of this House, since January 2001, they would be somewhat surprised by the lack of support that this government had through many months of that campaign, from that particular House Leader and the Party that he represents.

[Page 7356]

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

EDUC. - GOV'T. (CAN.) FUNDING:

POST-SECONDARY EDUC. - COMMIT

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. The post-secondary sector is vital to both Nova Scotia's economy and our education system. It is, in fact, vital to the future of our province. News from Ottawa in recent weeks on the budget agreement between the federal New Democrats and the federal Liberals is good news for the post-secondary sector here and across the country. The agreement calls for $1.5 billion to be invested in post-secondary education to reduce the cost to students of attaining and completing their studies. If this money flows on a per-student basis, Nova Scotia stands to have $63 million over the next two years to invest in post-secondary education. Will the Premier's government commit to ensuring that every penny of this money will flow to post-secondary education in addition to the funds already committed by your government?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I refer that to the Minister of Education.

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, indeed, as I've said in this House many times, we welcome further contribution to post-secondary education by the federal government. Actually, we have put that petition forward to the federal government many times and I can tell the honourable member that this province's record of directing targeted money is second to none in Canada, and if we get money targeted for post-secondary education, it will go to post-secondary education.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the announcement made in Ottawa was certainly welcome news for Nova Scotia students and the minister's commitment, as I understand it, which is to put all of that money into post-secondary education, will also be welcome news. Financial barriers are a significant concern for students and their families. There are a number of ways to address this, tuition should be frozen and reduced. So my question then for the Premier is, will his government commit to negotiating a new memorandum of understanding to freeze and reduce tuition fees with this new federal money?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I refer that to the Minister of Education.

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, as I said in the response to the first question, if that money is intended for post-secondary education, it will go to post-secondary education. But in particular, one of the things that I would like to advance and I hope that the honourable members would help, is that that money not go on a per capita basis, or flow on a per capita basis, that it flow instead on a per student basis because we would get even more money. I want to tell you that if we get that money and our financial situation improves immeasurably, and it will reduce student costs, we would like to sit down and to work out with the university some way of halting increases in tuition.

[Page 7357]

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, whatever money is coming is the point that we would like to make because I agree with the minister, having it on a per student basis would be advantageous to this province and it makes sense. My point is this, in addition to tuition fee reduction, students have long called for a needs-based grant program for those on low and modest incomes. This is a direct way to help students from low income backgrounds improve their future prospects and, of course, by extension, those of their families. So my question, and I'll go directly to the Minister of Education since the Premier seems reluctant, will the minister ensure that some of these funds are used to establish a needs-based grant program for students?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, if that money flows, we will do our utmost to see that it is used to the best advantages of students.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

HEALTH: MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES - WAIT LIST MGT.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, this government says that mental health is a priority, but the facts don't always bear that out. Just last week the minister announced the new wait time Web page, but mental health wait times won't be included in this page. In fact, when my office asked the Department of Health for provincial health wait times, we were told to go to the nine DHAs and the IWK because the department doesn't track this information.

Mr. Speaker, if mental health is such a priority for this government, I want to ask the minister why it is that Nova Scotians needing mental health services are being treated differently by this government when it comes to wait list management?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, the responsibility for the delivery of mental health services indeed rests with the district health authorities and the IWK and they have that information. With respect to mental health being treated differently, that is not something that is intended, certainly not by me. We will of course be expanding our capacity with respect to sharing information on wait times and those concerns will be taken into account.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I've been gathering wait list numbers and here's what I've been able to find out so far. The wait list for the Capital Health District and the IWK combined shows more than 1,000 people waiting for assessment or treatment. There are 400 children and youth waiting and waiting in some cases for a year for service. There are 700 adults on the outpatient clinic wait list. In Colchester, as of January, there were 193 adults on a wait list and 105 children.

[Page 7358]

So, Mr. Speaker, I would like the minister to explain why he does not want people to know what the wait times and the wait lists for mental health services are for people across this province?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member obviously has gathered some information from some of the DHAs. The issue of wait times, of course, is one of the reasons that this government saw fit to put $2 million toward addressing mental health in this budget, with a commitment to provide an additional $2 million next year for a total of $4 million. I hope the honourable member will be prepared to support this budget so that money can go to addressing the wait times in mental health.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, there are about 500 people on the outpatients wait list at the Abbie J. Lane Clinic just to get an assessment. I've been told by personnel at that clinic that psychiatrists, nurses, social workers and OTs were told to discharge four patients a week so they could lower the wait lists. This appears to be the latest wait list management strategy for mental health services. I want to ask the minister, will he undertake to placing mental health wait times in their wait list strategy as an urgent priority to deal with this terrible situation?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, we are indeed addressing the wait time issue with a commitment of additional funds. We will continue to do that, and as we expand our capacity to share information relative to wait times in this province, then obviously mental health is one of those items that we want to share. But what the honourable member is not making clear to the House and to Nova Scotians is that all citizens who require emergency treatment, with respect to mental health matters, receive that treatment and they are dealt with on a priority basis.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

GAMING - VLT BARS/LOUNGES: ATM REMOVAL - COSTS

MR. DANIEL GRAHAM: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. We now know that if the government had removed bill acceptors from VLTs it would have saved Nova Scotia families from enormous harm, but it would also have cost this government $16 million. Another problem looms, automatic banking machines remain in the bars and lounges with VLTs, and this means problem gamblers have easy access to more cash they can stick into those bill acceptors. My question for the Premier is, when the government was costing out its options for VLTs, did you cost the removal of ATM machines from bars and lounges that have VLTs?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, in devising our gaming strategy, we certainly looked long and hard at the bill acceptors. The research on this, as the member opposite has heard directly, is inconclusive. There's another issue that is of importance as well, it precludes the

[Page 7359]

local retailer from having large amounts of free cash on hand. It was interesting, another bit of information came out about ATMs this morning at the Public Accounts Committee meeting. Back on May 6th, not very long ago, a senior official of the Gaming Corporation went to Toronto and met with the members of the gaming undercover unit. They actually took this senior official to downtown Toronto, and they went into a retail establishment and there, lo and behold, were illegal VLTs. Right beside them was an ATM, which was actually owned by the owner of the illegal VLT.

Mr. Speaker, we are looking at what we can do as a regulator of gambling to make the industry far more acceptable to Nova Scotians, and to preclude the terrible issue that we have in this province with gambling addiction.

MR. GRAHAM: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the Premier making my argument for me, because it's obvious that if he thinks it is a problem with respect to grey machines that might be in Toronto, it's a problem here in Nova Scotia above the ground and it needs to change. Let's do something. One month after the government claimed that responsible gaming would forevermore trump making money off VLTs, we see the same old values. That can change today. It's obvious it appears to the Premier that removing ATMs from bars is the right thing to do. My question for the Premier is, will he do the right thing and remove ATMs from bars that have VLTs in Nova Scotia?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, what I will commit to the good member for Halifax Citadel is we will continue to work to make the gambling strategy work even more effectively than that which we have already announced. What we will do is we will analyze the situation and we will make our decisions based on science and research.

[3:15 p.m.]

MR. GRAHAM: Mr. Speaker, how much more analysis is required? They're going to continue to study and delay, but when the rubber hits the road, when it's time to actually make a decision, something as simple as this, one that makes sense to all Nova Scotians, this is a matter of common sense for four year olds. If you put the ATMs beside these video machines, you're going to create more addictions because people can continue to stuff bills into the machine instead of taking a break. My question is a straightforward one for the Premier, why will he not remove the ATMs and slow the harm to Nova Scotia families?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the advantage of the strategy of the government, which would not be available to government if we followed the advice of the Third Party, is we can look at these issues, we can do the appropriate research and we can do the things that are proven to work.

[Page 7360]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

HEALTH PROM. - SMOKE-FREE PLACES: ACTION - DETAILS

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health Promotion. Today the minister tabled a petition containing 12,632 names on behalf of Nova Scotia's community health boards. It is calling on the government to make all indoor public places and workplaces in Nova Scotia 100 per cent smoke-free with no exemptions and no loopholes. The minister who tabled the petition sits at the Cabinet Table, has the ear of the Premier and this government so there's no question the ball is firmly in that minister's court. I want to ask the minister, what action does he intend on taking to live up to the demands that were made in the petition he tabled?

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the issue of tobacco in our province is one which our government has aggressively tackled over the last number of years and that is why we have seen the numbers go from 30 per cent of Nova Scotians smoking down to 22 per cent and continuing to drop. But we need to go further than that and we have tabled the petition today on behalf of the community health boards and I indicated when I tabled it that we would be making a statement in this House before the House rises.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the minister would know that the smoking rates aren't dropping for all age groups in this province. When this government brought in the current Smoke Free Places Act, they were quite proud and they trumpeted often how they had created some of the strongest legislation in the country. I remember the former Minister of Health at that time saying the legislation was among the strongest in Canada. Today, this legislation is among the weakest in the country. For the health of Nova Scotians I think it's time this government take action so I want to ask the minister, when will he be bringing forward legislation to make Nova Scotia 100 per cent smoke-free?

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, as I indicated to the member, I will be addressing this issue before the House rises with a statement. I can also say that she is right, the former Minister of Health took a leadership role on this issue, put forward legislation which made sense for Nova Scotians and it makes sense that we continue to move forward with respect to the 100 per cent smoke-free places.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I think Nova Scotians are deserving of a more firm timetable than what the minister is giving us here today. We have had our turn at introducing legislation and seeing it through. Now we know there are fundamental problems with that legislation that requires strengthening. So I'm asking the minister to commit here today to a firm timetable for bringing forward strengthened smoke-free legislation for the health of Nova Scotians.

[Page 7361]

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, again, as I indicated to the member, we will be making a statement with regard to the issue before the House rises. If you take a look at the aspects of the strategy which is being put forward, it's much more than just legislation. It encompasses much more than that with regard to education, social marketing. Over $2 million is being invested by this government - which is a significant investment - which is making a difference for Nova Scotians and will continue to make a difference to Nova Scotians.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

HEALTH PROM. - CIGARETTES:

POINT OF SALE ADVERTISING - BAN

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, when this government presented its Smoke-free Places Act to the people of Nova Scotia, the then Minister of Health stressed the protection this Act would afford for children. He said, "In public places, wherever there are children and youth present, there will be no smoking." But today we need more protection for our youth, we have to ban the exposure of children to cigarette advertising at the point of sale in a manner similar to that of the Province of Manitoba.

Mr. Speaker, young adults, those between 20 and 24, have the highest smoking rate of any age group in Nova Scotia and 35 per cent in this group smoke. So I want to ask the minister, when will we see legislation in Nova Scotia banning point of sale advertising?

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question from the member. This is an issue that I have discussed with Smoke-Free Nova Scotia and they have brought this issue to my attention. Certainly we're always willing to take a look at the different opportunities and we'll continue to do so as we have on other avenues for education, through various partnerships with our district health authorities, on getting at the issue of smoking in public places, getting at the issue of smoking in our homes, and getting at the issue of our young people who are now trying to kick that habit.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the tobacco corporations seem to always be one step ahead of this government. Tobacco company displays at retail stores are a contributing factor to youth and young adults smoking. These displays are in ads that tell people smoking is a normal part of life. A child buying a candy bar or a movie, today, can look up to pay and be bombarded with tobacco display cases and tobacco advertising - day after day. So I want to ask the minister again, why won't this government bring in legislation to protect young Nova Scotians from this exposure, where is the follow-through and commitment to action?

[Page 7362]

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, as the member has mentioned, I guess Manitoba is, I believe, the only province that does have the point of sale presently. Certainly this is an issue that I have discussed with Smoke-Free Nova Scotia and others. There are many factors that you have to look at in putting that type of initiative forward. I'm quite interested to gather more information and to see what is happening out in Manitoba and I'm certainly willing to take a look at that information at such time as it comes forward.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, perhaps I could help the minister a bit with his research. The Real Atlantic Superstore chain is renovating their stores throughout the province and they're placing movie rentals in the smoke shops. Now even children's movies are just inches away from tobacco promotions material and I would be happy to table recent photographs from the Joeseph Howe Superstore. Remember, under the current legislation this is legal. So, plain and simple, I want to ask the minister, when will he protect Nova Scotians and, in particular, young Nova Scotians from tobacco advertising and make these practices illegal?

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, again, as I've said through you to the member and to all members of the House, this is an issue that has been brought forward. We will take a look at all aspects of what that would entail. It's important with any movement forward with regard to smoke-free places, as we've done, we get the appropriate research, that we take a look at all aspects of any type of material. That would be the prudent thing to do and that is the move forward that we will continue to do.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

HEALTH PROM.: SMOKE-FREE PUB. PLACES/WORKPLACES - LEGISLATION

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, it sounds like a great topic. Let's keep the minister on the record today. Today the minister tabled a petition signed by 12,362 voting Nova Scotians, all looking for this government to take a stronger leadership role when it comes to making all indoor public places and workplaces in Nova Scotia 100 per cent smoke-free. While the 2002 Smoke-free Places Act was billed by government as one of the strongest provincial anti-smoking bills in the country, yet, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut have all surpassed us. We wait for action. Even the pub capital of the world, Ireland, has better legislation than we have. My question for the minister is, he said we'll hear something before the end of this sitting, I'd like to know exactly when you plan to bring us in line with the provinces and territories and show some real leadership on this issue?

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question. As I've already said, I will be making a statement with regard to smoke-free places in this House before the House rises. We are committed to doing that, and we will do so.

[Page 7363]

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, I know that the Minister of Health Promotion is supportive of 100 per cent smoke-free places. How do we know that? He signed the petition. The Minister of Health is probably also supportive, because of the significant health risks, of course, that are associated with second-hand smoke. So, will the Minister of Health Promotion guarantee that his plan will carry through on the 100 per cent ban, as is being advocated by so many Nova Scotians?

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, through you to the member, as I've said, there'll be a statement in this House before the House rises. What really concerns me is the Liberal plan to cut over $100 million out of health care, which would drastically affect tobacco in this province.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, what really concerns me is a minister who would play politics with the health of Nova Scotians who are at risk because of smoking. That's what concerns me. That minister is willing to stand in his place and make light of this issue, when thousands of Nova Scotians die every year due to smoking and second-hand smoke. That's outrageous; that's outlandish; that's ridiculous. This minister tabled a petition . . .

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

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, this minister tabled a petition today with over 12,000 names requesting 100 per cent smoke-free places. He agrees with the purpose and the intent of the petition, and he's willing to support the actions being requested by government. Again, the question to the minister, when do you plan to follow up on the support that you've shown today with some concrete action? Will we have to wait another three years? What is the timeline for your 100 per cent implementation?

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I can see how the critic would be very concerned with the fact that his Leader is willing to take over $100 million out of our health care system. How the fact that over $2 million is being invested in the tobacco strategy would be in jeopardy with that crew over there. The fact of the matter is when they raise issues in this House about health care, yet at the same time they're willing to cut money from our district health authorities. That is unacceptable to this side of the House, and we'll make sure that investment is made.

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

HEALTH - DART. GEN.: BED WAIT TIMES - ADDRESS

MS. MARILYN MORE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. The long waits to see a doctor at emergency rooms in the Capital Health District have been a

[Page 7364]

serious concern for a long time. The April 2005 operational measures indicators report shows how much strain our emergency rooms are under. At the QE II one-third of the patients admitted from the emergency room wait a considerable time in the ER while staff scramble to find a bed. At the Dartmouth General, the ER patients who wait for a bed number over 58 per cent. My question to the Minister of Health is, how much longer will this situation continue before something is done to address the need for more bed capacity at the Dartmouth General?

[3:30 p.m.]

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, there are a number of issues related to the issue of wait times at emergencies, and one of the things that has to be accomplished of course is that acute care beds within our health care facilities have to be available so that patients can be moved out of emergency care and into those facilities. That relates to the availability of long-term care beds so that individuals who are occupying the acute care beds who should be in long-term care beds are able to move in that direction. That's why we have included within the budget, this year, convalescent beds as part of that. That's why we are looking at - not looking, we are going to proceed with the construction of 100-plus beds, in the Bedford area, to provide service, and that is part of opening up acute care beds so that there can be a quicker flow through emergency services.

MS. MORE: Mr. Speaker, the minister seems to understand the factors affecting these wait lists and his government is the one in control of how quickly these factors can change, and so I'd encourage him to be much quicker off the draw. The problem is not limited to how many patients wait in an emergency room to get a bed, it's also how long they wait. The average wait time at the QE II is six hours, at the Dartmouth General it's more than double, nearly 14 hours to access a needed bed. Meanwhile that emergency room bed is blocked and another patient waits outside, unable to be seen by a doctor. I ask the Minister of Health, what is his department doing about the situation at the Dartmouth General site and how quickly is this going to change?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, as I indicated, we are in the process of adding additional long-term care beds. We have in the short term added upwards to 30 long-term care beds. We are also doubling the capacity at the QE II Health Sciences Centre emergency room and we've made money available to that. It's in this year's budget and I hope the honourable member will support the budget so that project can proceed.

Mr. Speaker, these are all parts of the elements we need in order to address, on a permanent basis, the wait times in emergency facilities throughout the metro area.

MS. MORE: Mr. Speaker, the biggest cause of wait times in the emergency room is the number of patients in acute care beds - as the minister has referred to - waiting for placement in a nursing home, and while the crisis continues the Department of Health is

[Page 7365]

delaying adding more nursing home beds in the Halifax area, including in my own constituency, Oakwood Terrace, which is just across the street from the Dartmouth General Hospital - and the minister and I have had a couple of discussions this week during budget estimates about the long delay in Oakwood Terrace getting approval for 30 additional beds. So my final question to the Minister of Health is, when is your department going to listen to the district health authority and take concrete steps very quickly to ease the pressure on emergency rooms like the Dartmouth General?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, we are working with the district health authority on a daily basis to address the wait time issue. I've already indicated that we're going to double the capacity at the QE II and there's money in the budget for that, and again I hope the honourable member will support the budget so that process will not be interrupted.

Mr. Speaker, we are adding additional long-term care beds and we're proceeding very quickly with those (Interruption) The members of the Third Party better not get me going on their $140 million cut to my budget, because I can tell you their policy certainly wouldn't allow me to deal with wait times, they would be a lot longer than they are now. We are moving with the district health authority, we are taking the steps we need to take in order to address this very important issue.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Just a reminder there's an agreement of the House that all electronics will be turned off during the session of the House, please, during Question Period.

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

HEALTH - FAM. PHYSICIANS:

DIGBY CO. - RECRUITMENT ASSIST

MR. HAROLD THERIAULT: Mr. Speaker, my question is also for the Minister of Health. Currently in Digby County there are at least 5,000 residents without a family doctor. There's a family physician vacancy in Weymouth; two vacancies in Clare; and one in the Town of Digby. These are denying residents access to primary care and ultimately adds additional strain on those physicians who continue to practise in Digby County. My question to the minister is, what is the government doing to help Digby County recruit family physicians?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, we are working very closely with the district health authority with respect to the issue of recruitment. As my colleague, the Minister of Health Promotion, had suggested earlier, we are also working with the College of Physicians and Surgeons, and Doctors Nova Scotia to bring forward a program with respect to international medical graduates. That program will be unveiled by those two bodies in the very near future. That will make available considerably more human resources with respect

[Page 7366]

to the provision of physicians in this province. We are working continuously at it. But I would remind the honourable member that 93 per cent of Nova Scotians have a family doctor, and we are working very hard to increase that percentage.

MR. THERIAULT: Mr. Speaker, according to Health Canada, 12 per cent of Canadians living in rural communities do not have a family doctor. Based on this figure, Digby County is way above the national average when it comes to rural communities not having access to a family doctor. Nearly one-third of the people there don't have a family doctor. My question is, why is it acceptable that Digby County be way over the national average when it comes to not having access to a family doctor?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, it is never acceptable when families are without family doctors. That is what motivates those who work in the Department of Health, those who are working in the district health authorities, in order to shorten that. That's why we have added eight seats per annum to the medical school, so we would increase the graduates coming out of that school by eight, as they move through the program. That is why we continuously recruit to bring qualified physicians to the Province of Nova Scotia. That is why we provide incentives for them to move to rural parts of the province. We will continue work in that direction, and we will not stop until every citizen who needs a doctor indeed has a doctor. I expect that's a challenge that will continue and will be ongoing, and we will continue to work at it.

MR. THERIAULT: Mr. Speaker, residents are expressing their concern over this issue to me constantly. Many residents are concerned for the well-being of those physicians who still remain committed to that community. They are afraid the heavy workloads may result in other doctors leaving there also. My question to the minister is, could the minister please indicate whether there will be future and more incentive programs so as to make it more attractive to establish a practice in rural Nova Scotia, like Digby?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, of course we will continue to bring forward programs to assist in the recruitment of physicians to all parts of rural Nova Scotia. I'll tell you this, if the Third Party gets its way and strips $140 million out of my budget, there won't be any programs to bring recruitment forward. Live with the situation you have, your Leader wants to strip $140 million out of my budget. The consequences of doing that are no incentives for rural doctors in this province, that's plain and simple. Either that or I close the QE II Health Sciences Centre for five months to save $140 million. Either that or I cut back on the DHAs' budgets (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order, please.

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

[Page 7367]

TCH - LIGHTHOUSES: PRESERVATION - ACTIONS

MS. MICHELE RAYMOND: I hope we'll see a little more light on this subject. Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia was built on the shipping trade, and 150 lighthouses mark our rocky shores, and they've enabled the settlement of this province. Now, though, they are an obsolete technology and the Coast Guard is actively divesting them. Many lighthouses occupy the most prominent, desirable, scenic points of the coastline and Nova Scotia communities quite rightly fear that they may not be able to keep those properties in their own hands. My question for the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage is, what is the department doing to help Nova Scotians to preserve these crucial elements of our Maritime heritage?

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage has been leading an interdepartmental review committee on this very issue to provide advice to my colleagues on this issue, because there are many factors when taking a look at the divert and divestiture process. I would expect that we'll be able to move forward to DFO with a statement on our position within the near future.

MS. RAYMOND: Mr. Speaker, I hope that the near future is very near indeed, because while we wait, these lighthouses are in fact falling victim to vandalism and all sorts of other things because they are simply seen as being empty places. The Coast Guard's first step in divestiture was to offer lighthouses to the Nova Scotia Government. This government was asked to supply a list of properties they were interested in, but the deadline has passed, the government has said nothing. Now the Coast Guard is moving forward with other divestiture plans that may leave Nova Scotians high and dry without the lights. Why has the government not yet responded to the Coast Guard?

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, as I had said through you to the member, we will be responding shortly, because there are many aspects to the divestiture process, including environmental issues, including other issues, and we want to ensure that in any such process that those involved in that process, be it our communities, or the council, or municipalities, know full well all the information that is available to them and to ensure that the federal government follows a process which makes sense and where Nova Scotians' interests are protected.

MS. RAYMOND: Mr. Speaker, there in fact is help available to the province in these negotiations. The Nova Scotia Lighthouse Preservation Society, for example, founded in 1993, has set an example for similar societies around the world concerned about lighthouses, keepers' houses, and ensuring that they remain in community control. The Nova Scotia society wants to help local communities preserve these lighthouses and they can help. Why has the minister not consulted the Lighthouse Preservation Society in negotiating with the Coast Guard?

[Page 7368]

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, there have been many concerns and many points of interest brought forward through the department and through myself and through my colleagues. I can assure the member that all of those concerns brought by the society and by other individuals are being considered as we take a look at this very important issue and a very complex issue. Indeed, lighthouses play a very important role for our coastline, for tourism, and to the culture of our communities. That is why we are ensuring that we take a look at all the evidence before putting an appropriate position forward through the federal government.

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

FIN. - FOREIGN CURRENCY: CONVERSION - RESULTS

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, for years, the government has been patting itself on the back for its currency repatriation program. This program sees our debt in foreign funds being converted into Canadian funds. While the program was started by the previous government, it is clear that this minister has continued to bring down the amount of debt in foreign currency. My question to the Minister of Finance is, can he tell the House whether he believes that every transaction made over the last four years in converting our debt has resulted in a savings for Nova Scotians?

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member is quite right, the department set an objective of getting its foreign currency in U.S. dollars and in yen and so on, down from 40 per cent down to the 20 per cent range and we achieved that last year.

[3:45 p.m.]

Each transaction is a transaction that's either retiring debt that's already there or acquiring new debt and those are determined based on the day rates. A lot of times there are futures purchased and they're done in that way. So, overall the goal of the department is to provide benefit and reduce the rates, but transaction by transaction, things fluctuate.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, small fluctuations can cost a lot of money for Nova Scotia taxpayers when you're talking about the size of the debt that Nova Scotia has. Nova Scotians need some reassurances that the government is not losing money because it may be making bad currency exchange decisions. Nova Scotians have been led to believe that the repatriation of the debt is a good thing, but not if the transactions were poorly executed. The issue becomes whether the exchange rate used in the conversion to Canadian funds is cost effective. So my question to the minister is, can he table any documents to ensure that Nova Scotians had the best deal possible when currencies were exchanged?

MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, I think if Nova Scotians are wondering as to how we're doing with our debt and how we're progressing, they of course will look at our

[Page 7369]

reduction and our interest costs. They will look at our changing the foreign debt so that we are not putting out so much money in foreign countries and we're watching our interest expense go down. But, I'm happy to table for that member what the bond rating agencies have said to this province and how they view us going in the right direction.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, yes, the bond rating agencies continue to tell us we're 8th out of 10 provinces - that's what they continue to tell us. Yes, the Minister of Justice, I know even he was fooled by his own government as to how well they're doing. Read your own budget, we're 8 of 10. Hurray for the Province of Nova Scotia, we're 8 of 10. That's how well the bond rating agencies see us. The issue becomes, when you're converting funds from foreign debt to Canadian funds, that sounds like a laudable goal. The issue becomes, what exchange rate are you using because if the exchange rate is inflated, at the end of the day, it's not a very good, wise move by our province.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member is having some competition from close by there which makes it very hard for Hansard as well.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, I know the noise from the Minister of Finance is deafening here at times. There was a Deloitte & Touche report that expressed concern over the proper controls in the Department of Finance. Our concern is whether we have been paying a proper exchange rate when we are converting our debt. Again I ask, can the minister guarantee that Nova Scotians did not lose any money because of poor management during the currency swaps on our debt?

MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, the question the honourable member raises is a very serious and a good question. That is why the Department of Finance engaged Deloitte & Touche to do that review, to ensure our practises and the things we were doing were up to date. They made a few recommendations to us, they made some suggested changes and we are just about fully implemented with those. Nova Scotians can know that we are providing the best risk management and the best treasury policies that can be available.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

ENERGY - UNDERGROUND WIRING: POLICY - DETAILS

MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Energy. Nova Scotia Power has recently been on the hot seat about last year's power outage. The company has suggested that cutting down more trees may be part of the answer. Others, like the Halifax Regional Municipality have weighed in in favour of more underground wiring. I have a special interest in this topic because the Cowie Hill neighbourhood in my constituency has enjoyed underground wiring for the past 30 years, but on this issue the provincial government has been conspicuously silent. My question to the minister is, what is the provincial government's policy on underground electrical wiring?

[Page 7370]

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, I truly want to thank the member for the question and for a question here. Actually, he does raise an important point. He's speaking about an existing development. Obviously in the instance of Cowie Hill, any expenditure over $25,000 would therefore be regulatory and goes to the URB. What I'd like to know is some specifics around that because then we can look at it, but obviously the utility is to put in place infrastructure at a competitive price for all you ratepayers in the province and this is I think a historical arrangement and one that we'd have to look at as a policy if we were going to engage that province-wide.

MR. STEELE: Mr. Speaker, many residents of Cowie Hill point out that they lost power for only an hour or two during Hurricane Juan, when other parts of the city were without power for days or even weeks. Yet, Nova Scotia Power has told Cowie Hill homeowners that when the system has to be replaced it will pay only to put the wires back above ground. If Cowie Hill homeowners want to keep their wires underground, they, the homeowners, will have to pay for it. Quite simply the cost is more than most Cowie Hill homeowners can afford. My question to the minister is, what steps is the provincial government taking to promote the use and retention of underground wiring in neighbourhoods like Cowie Hill?

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, and to the honourable member opposite, one of the things we have to do in the first instance here is to start talking about underground wiring across the province, and look at it as a policy and also a rate-impact analysis. But with regard to that particular development, and it was a private development at the time, is to go back, there was an agreement with Nova Scotia Power - it's important to look at the premises and the details of that agreement and the obligations that are pursuant to that agreement. That's something I would be prepared to do and that's something with regard to a wider policy consideration with regard to underground wiring, I'd also be willing to examine it.

MR. STEELE: Mr. Speaker, the municipal government has weighed in on the side of the homeowners. We're glad for their help but more help would be welcome. When this matter comes for a hearing before the Utility and Review Board, as it eventually will, we expect to see HRM there with us arguing in support of the homeowners. My question to the minister is, when this hearing commences, which side will the province be on, Nova Scotia Power's or the people of Cowie Hill?

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, what I can say is the province is going to be on the side of all ratepayers in this province and what is fair and balanced. As I indicated to the member, I am willing to consider the agreement that was in place and the implications associated with that with regard to Cowie Hill. If we're going to look at other implications province-wide then we'll keep the interests of all ratepayers in mind, but I am prepared to review the case in question.

[Page 7371]

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

JUSTICE - CBRM SWARMINGS: INCREASE - ACTIONS

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice. Last weekend there was a gentleman in Sydney Mines who was swarmed by eight 12-year-old to 15-year-old teenagers, and one of those teenagers threw a brick and broke this gentleman's leg and at the same time there was a group of other individuals who suggested, give him the axe. My question to the minister is, what is he and his department doing to deal with the increased swarmings in Cape Breton Regional Municipality?

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I'd like to thank the honourable member for the question. In point of fact, I met with officials from the Cape Breton Regional Police Force and the RCMP when I was visiting Cape Breton in the recent past. We actually had discussions about youth crime in Cape Breton and there's been agreement that we are going to create a task force which has worked very effectively, I might add, in the area of OxyContin abuse on Cape Breton Island. Modelled in that, a task force of all the community interests, including policing to make sure that we do everything we can to make Cape Breton County safe.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, one of the Northside councillors, Councillor Wes Stubbert expressed concern about the fact that there would be a shortage in policing service in the Cape Breton Municipality to deal with crime. So my question to the minister is, what action is the minister prepared to take in order to assist the Cape Regional Municipality in the eventuality of a shortage of policing service in that municipality?

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I can indicate that actually at the meeting where we discussed that was the municipal councillor he refers to. We are looking at ways of partnering with the Cape Breton Regional Police Force and Cape Breton Regional Municipality to find ways of enhancing policing and in particular, an example of that is that in creating Criminal Intelligence Nova Scotia, we are actually going to pay for the cost of officers seconded from that resource.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I believe the minister may have answered part of the question, but the fact remains that the statistics show that in some regions of the municipality crime has doubled over the past five years. So I would ask the minister, what specific measures are being undertaken by his department in conjunction or in collaboration with CBRM officials to deal with this matter?

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I can indicate to the honourable member that there were very specific kinds of policing measures that were discussed at the meeting I participated in, some of which can't be disclosed here because they would have the effect of reducing their

[Page 7372]

effectiveness, but I can indicate that we are looking at very specific matters that will help the police in reducing youth crime.

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

EDUC. - HOGG REPORT: IMPLEMENTATION - LACK EXPLAIN

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, after years of chronic underfunding and requests for action from the school boards, the Hogg Report was finally presented in March. The Minister of Education asked for the Hogg Report and yet it has not yet been fully, officially accepted. My question to the Minister of Education is, would you please tell Nova Scotians today why you would not accept and implement the report for this year in order to rebuild our classrooms with adequate staffing and resources?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I would remind the honourable member that the public school officials who talked about the Education part of the budget tabled by my colleague, the Minister of Finance, just about to a person, were very complimentary to the effort that the government had put forth this year in public education funding.

MS. WHALEN: I don't think that really answered my question, but I will remind the minister, as well, that the Nova Scotia School Boards Association asked for a commitment of $30 million over five years, every year $30 million. That has not been forthcoming. Now the relationship between better test results and smaller class sizes and more one-on-one time with the teacher is irrefutable. Adopting the teacher-pupil ratios recommended in the Hogg Report would start Nova Scotian students on an upward climb from our current position as the province with the lowest test results in the country. My question to the Minister of Education is, would the minister explain why he has chosen to sit on the recommendations of this report that would have an immediate benefit to Nova Scotian students?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I just want to remind the honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park of the comments of the president of the Nova Scotia School Boards Association upon learning of the money, and he said, we got it.

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, well, he got something. As I've said before, the people of Nova Scotia and, unfortunately, the teachers and the school boards are used to getting absolutely nothing from this government, so even crumbs look like something to celebrate. (Interruptions) Now is the time to implement the strongest recommendations that are in the Hogg Report, and to start to reduce the teacher-student ratio in junior and senior high schools would be one of those. This will help to improve the test results that we're seeing. Even the minister himself lamented the test results in his report to parents, especially the 36 per cent score in Grade 8 math. My question to the Minister of Education is, when will we move to adopt the teacher-pupil ratios recommended in the Hogg Report?

[Page 7373]

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the government received the Hogg Report back, I believe it was, December 31, 2004. We reviewed it. There were things in the Hogg Report which the opinion, I think, of all who read it, some of the conclusions that he reached, it was better if they were discussed with the individual boards. Indeed, I believe it's within two weeks that the meetings with the school boards to discuss the recommendations Mr. Hogg made will begin to take place.

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

TCH - BLUENOSE II OPERATIONS: TRANSFER - EXPLAIN

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, it's somewhat ironic that the Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage is also responsible for preserving our history in our province. I say that because the minister doesn't seem to learn much from past mistakes. After the operations of the Bluenose II were handed over in a secret sweetheart deal in the early 1990s, you would think this government might try a more open process, but they chose a different track. So my question to the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage is, why did his department hand over the operation of Bluenose II to yet another society without the benefit of a public process?

[4:00 p.m.]

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, in fact, I popped into my boardroom earlier this morning and who did I meet but a former captain, Captain Walters, of the Bluenose. I don't know if the member - and the NDP caucus - has a problem with Mr. Walters and those involved in the society, but if he does, feel free to speak up in the House and I'll listen to what he has to say.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): That wasn't the question I asked the minister, if he wants to have comments like that.

Mr. Speaker, nobody is questioning the integrity of the Lunenburg Marine Society, it's the process we have a problem with. The government doesn't understand the process that they go through to get this deal done. The minister and his staff retreated behind closed doors, in secret, and announced out of the blue who would operate the Bluenose II. So I ask the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, where was the transparency in this process?

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I don't know how much more transparent you could get in dealing with part of our own Nova Scotia museum system. That's part of the public system right here in Nova Scotia.

[Page 7374]

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, after the difficulties with trademark and lawsuits under the previous operation agreement, it's easy to understand why Nova Scotians are a little skeptical this time around. So my final question to the minister, and I hope he'll answer it, will he commit to table in this House by the end of this session the full details of the agreement between the province and the Lunenburg Marine Museum Society about the operation of the Bluenose II schooner?

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, in the very near future we'll be able to show the member, and show all Nova Scotians a document which will look at things such as the operations, unilateral property, and a number of different aspects. Indeed, I believe the government has made the right choice with the Lunenburg Marine Society. I've heard nothing but positive comments and I have faith in what they are going to do for the Bluenose II and its sailing capacity.

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

COM. SERV. - FOSTER PARENTS:

PER DIEM INCREASE - STATUS

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question today is to the Minister of Community Services. Almost three years ago the Federation of Foster Families requested adjustments to the per diem rates and maintenance rates since there had been no increase since 1999. Two years ago the department responded, indicating that due to financial pressures there would not be any increases in the per diem for fiscal years 2002-03 and 2003-04. My question to the minister is, could the minister please indicate whether the requests for a per diem increase for foster parents is still an active file in his department?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. There is too much noise in the Chamber.

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for his interest in foster parents. The Federation of Foster Families is a fine organization. It has been a delight to work with them and indeed we are working through the P.R.I.D.E. program, which is competency-based program and as they take additional instalments in that program their monthly per diem goes up.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, it's the minister's interest in foster care that I'm interested in, not mine. My first supplementary is, the proposal provided to your department, Mr. Minister, almost three years ago included data from Statistics Canada which showed the maintenance of a child costs about $45.72 a day - $25 more than the highest per diem for a foster child here in Nova Scotia. My first supplementary to the minister is, how can the minister justify a discrepancy when hundreds of foster parents throughout this province provide invaluable service to our young children?

[Page 7375]

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I share that interest in working with the Federation of Foster Families. I meet with them a couple of times a year, I did so recently, along with staff. We are working constructively with their board and their executive director to address the concerns they are bringing forward.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, words are not what's needed here today, it's action that's needed from this minister. At least in New Brunswick, the central office of the Department of Health and Community Services reviews and adjusts foster care rates to take into account the annual cost of living on an annual basis, that does not happen in Nova Scotia. My final supplementary to the minister is, could the minister please indicate when he anticipates having consultations with the agencies, the regions and the Federation of Foster Families to specifically discuss per diem rates?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, in actual fact, the deputy minister is working with the foster families in reviewing their rates and will continue to do so. We look forward to a successful conclusion to this process.

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

EDUC. - CBVR SCH. BD.: EAST BAY ELEM. - CLOSURE

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. The Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board has had preliminary discussions with the possible closure of the East Bay Elementary School and proposing to move the students from East Bay Elementary to Mountain View Elementary in Floral Heights Subdivision. My question to the minister is, has the minister or any officials within his department, had or are they having any discussions with officials from the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board regarding the possible closure of the East Bay Elementary School?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, as the honourable member would know, there is a rather lengthy and precise process for what would be school closures. My department has not had any conversations with the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board about the possible closure of East Bay Elementary.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, to date the parents of the students attending East Bay Elementary School have not been afforded any opportunity to discuss this particular issue. In fact, I would suggest that perhaps they're not even aware of this possible closure. I would ask the minister if perhaps he would consult with the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board and assure the parents of students attending the East Bay Elementary School that they will be afforded an opportunity at a public meeting to discuss this issue.

[Page 7376]

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, earlier this afternoon I had the opportunity to seek some advice from my staff and I'm advised that any school such as the East Bay would have to go through, if closure was contemplated, a public consultation process.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board adopted a new policy on schools in their school board similar to what happened in Halifax several years ago and that is they have now classified the East Bay Elementary School as being part of a family of schools. In other words, East Bay Elementary and Mountain View Elementary are now considered to be one school. My question to the minister is, given his comments, would he consult with the school board and take that extra step, because this family of schools concept doesn't assure the residents, the parents or the students, any opportunity for this review process that he refers to? If he would in fact ensure that this public meeting will take place.

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for the question. Indeed, to be quite frank, there was some question about the relationship of the Mountain View School and the East Bay Elementary School. Actually, as late as since my arrival in the House, I was advised that if any action were to be taken on East Bay, there would need to be public consultation.

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

COM. SERV.: AFFORD. HOUSING PROG. - C.B.

MR. GORDON GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community Services. It's been nearly three years since the province signed a federal-provincial affordable housing program. To date only one project has been announced for Cape Breton - 20 units for seniors, non-elderly, single people in Sydney Mines. I was at that announcement. Unfortunately, that project is on permanent hold while Cape Bretoners continue to wait for affordable housing. So my question to the Minister of Community Services is, why hasn't his department stepped in to ensure low-income residents of Cape Breton have accessible, safe, affordable housing?

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I want to start by acknowledging that the member has corrected the speech that he made earlier in this session, where he said that there were no announcements in Cape Breton, and in actual fact you have now announced there has been one. I think if you check Hansard, you will find that you said there were none. I appreciate his acknowledgement that we're trying to work with all parts of the province, and we look forward to more announcements.

[Page 7377]

MR. GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, now you can see why this Party did what we did yesterday to that minister over this foolishness, and he knows that. The community groups in Cape Breton struggle just to stay alive and deliver core services in the wake of years of social programming cuts by the federal Liberals. It is too much to expect them to initiate funding. Non-profit organizations have to go out and sell things, do affordable housing, and do fundraising. This government needs to show some leadership in developing affordable housing, accessible housing in Cape Breton. My question to the Minister of Community Services is, why doesn't Cape Breton seem to appear on his radar?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I would want to point out that there are more announcements of new affordable housing projects for rental. We've got the Home Renovation Program, there are other programs that are available. Some of those have gone to Cape Breton. I just want to say that I know the folks at the Community Action on Homelessness would be very pleased to see that the member is taking an interest in this, because they pointed out to me recently how disappointed they were with your Party's position on affordable housing, and that it was nowhere on your radar screen.

MR. GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, this minister stood in the House last year and said to this member that Cape Breton will receive its fair share. Well, we have zero homes built in Cape Breton, affordable housing. That's our fair share. Residents of Cape Breton need accessible, affordable housing as much as anybody else. Some of the existing housing stock is in terrible condition, and there's a lack of affordable housing in key communities. My final question to the minister is, when will Cape Breton get its fair turn?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member seems to be a little confused, because one moment he's saying that they have something and the next moment he's saying they have zero. I'm not sure which one he means. I am pleased that the NDP is finally, under the Leadership of their new Leader, taking some interest in the people who are served by the Department of Community Services, because from the time he's become Leader, it has not been a priority with that Party.

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

AGRIC. & FISH. - ILLEGAL FISHING: PREVENTION - PLANS

MR. HAROLD THERIAULT: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries. Last year during the close of the lobster season in LFA 34, in West and Sou'West Nova, violence erupted because of illegal fishing. This year's season's closing is only two and a half weeks away, on May 31st. The season is closed for the future health and rebuilding of this fishery that is vital to this province. My question is, will the minister tell us what plans the province has in place to ensure that this does not happen again during this closing of the season, which is close by?

[Page 7378]

HON. CAROLYN BOLIVAR-GETSON: Mr. Speaker, what I can tell the honourable member on the other side, with the Third Party (Interruptions) What this minister and what this government have done and will continue to do is put more enforcement officers in that area to see that that problem doesn't arise again.

MR. THERIAULT: Mr. Speaker, my question is again to the minister, to the honourable member of the soon-to-be Third Party (Interruptions) Last year the province did nothing to ensure that safety of the fish stocks or even the safety of people involved. Violence erupted in that area, and we don't want to see it happen again. My question to the minister is, what is your government doing to ensure that the illegal buying of any illegally-caught lobster does not infringe on the conservation of this vital fishery?

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

The honourable member for Dartmouth North on an introduction.

MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the House for giving me the opportunity to do this introduction. In the west gallery there is a person by the name of Terri Ann Lewis, a student from the Province of Ontario, who is completing her degree in social work at the Maritime School of Social Work. I also wanted to say that I am very pleased to say that Terri Ann Lewis has successfully completed her student placement in the office of the constituency of Dartmouth North. So I would certainly hope that she will rise and receive the warm welcome of this House. (Applause)

[4:15 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: I welcome our guest to the gallery today.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South on an introduction.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, also in the west gallery today are two good friends of mine from Sydney. Iris and Gordie Gillespie are with us today. I want to tell this House that Mr. Gillespie has been a distinguished city firefighter for many years in the Sydney area. I can tell you, also of interest, that Iris and Gordie's daughter, Jenn, is a very valuable employee of our caucus office over here. I want to ask them to stand and receive the warm welcome of the House today. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: I certainly welcome our special guests to the gallery today. It's Opposition Day.

[Page 7379]

OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Private Members' Public Bills for Second Reading.

PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 36.

Bill No. 36 - Medicare Protection Act.

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

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, as you noted for those in the gallery and for those of us here on the floor of the House, this is Opposition Day and, in that regard, we have chosen to call for debate this afternoon, An Act Respecting the Protection of Medicare in Nova Scotia. I'm sure that the members opposite, the Speaker, and those here in the Third Party will understand that the reason we have called this bill for debate today is because of some of the activity that we have witnessed in the province over the last number of weeks, and that is what appears to be a proposal coming forward from a number of different quarters for the set-up and operation of private health clinics in this province.

I wanted just to address for a moment, if I can. I know that many people who are here to listen to this debate will have already heard the federal Minister of Health Ujjal Dosanjh,

and Roy Romanow, on CBC speak about the question of private clinics and on the future of Medicare itself. Everyone, I believe, in this province understands that Mr. Romanow led a very thoughtful and very in-depth clinic. I remember, along with my colleagues, attending the hearings here in Halifax that at the time talked specifically to the health issues relating to long-term care, the provision of health care to seniors, facilities, and how difficult it was in this province - unlike other provinces - that health care was actually provided at a charge and the fact that we felt that that was inappropriate. Mr. Speaker, I don't have to go through the history of that with you, you well understand the history of that and what actually happened in order to make it become resolved.

I did think there was one point that bears repeating, because it's the one we hear all the time out among the naysayers of the public health system, the argument that our health care is just too expensive. The people of Nova Scotia - for that matter, the people of Canada - can no longer afford to have a public health care system and I think, Mr. Speaker, of all of the myths around Medicare and around the provision of the public health care system, that is the

[Page 7380]

most dangerous. I understand that the ministers of governments like our own, have reason to want to justify their inability to be able to appropriately fund the health care system in this province and I understand that they are struggling with very large debts - some of their own making, some not. I understand that there are cost pressures every day within that system and that trying to find a reasonable balance is a hard thing to do, but that is not to say that health care spending in this country is out of control because the facts speak quite differently.

Mr. Speaker, the reality is, as Mr. Romanow pointed out, about 9.7 per cent of the GDP is actually spent in the provision of health care in this country, and over the years that has fluctuated up and down a little bit by a per cent or so, but if we look at other systems, and most particularly our neighbour to the south, what you will see is they spend some 16 per cent of their GDP on the provision of health care services - and this is in a country where public health care is in fact the exception for the most part. There are public health clinics in all of the states, I think, in one form or another, but they are there only to provide care to the most destitute in many cases.

I think the last statistics I saw, Mr. Speaker, were that in that privately-run mecca down to the south there were some 40 million Americans who didn't have health insurance, for whom access to health care could only be a matter of being able to purchase it. I reflect on my own experience in that regard. I was in North Conway, as many people in Nova Scotia have been, we were on a trip when my son was very small, and he developed a fever such that it was of great concern to me and to my wife so we went to the local hospital. The hospital was a great new modern facility and it had a first-class emergency room. The first thing you noticed when you walked in the door was that the emergency room was empty, there was nobody there. There was a window and you went up to the window and there was a person behind the window who asked you what your difficulty was and then they asked you how were you going to pay for the service you required.

I had my MSI card and I also had insurance that I had purchased knowing that I was going into the States and I produced those, and at that point they agreed that they would provide me with the services that I required. But what really struck me was that there was a sign on the window that said they had exhausted the gratuitous health care budget for this year, and if you would like to apply next year, please take an application form.

Now I assume that they, like most people, have a fiscal year that runs from April 1st through to around the end of March. What really startled me about it was that the date on the notice was June 1st. So anything that they were going to provide free of charge had been exhausted in the last fiscal year within two months of that year happening. I can tell you the clinic provided excellent care; they provided excellent service. They got our tests done quickly and everything was quickly determined, but had I not been in a position to be able to pay for it, then I'm not sure what my alternatives were and there was certainly no explanation as to where I might go.

[Page 7381]

So, Mr. Speaker, an examination the world over, through the Romanow Commission, came to the one fact which I think all of us can agree on, the one sure fact that we can all agree on, which is that Canada has the best health care system in the world, and those of us who speak in favour of this bill today have in mind only one goal and that is to ensure that the medical care system that we have in this province and in this country is properly protected, because the reality is that those who would promote the culture of private clinics have foremost in their minds not the protection of the health of the citizens of the province or the country, they have foremost in their minds the ability to be able to generate income and profit for either themselves or their shareholders. Mr. Romanow was very clear on the role that Medicare was to play in this country, historically, and today in the provision of medically-necessary treatment.

Mr. Speaker, that is the focus of what the Medicare Protection Act does, it seeks to ensure that those services that are provided today through the Medicare system will continue to be wholly kept within the publicly-funded system. I'm not going to go through the tenets of the Canada Health Act. We are all aware of the principles that are contained therein. But those principles are not just a trite repeating of values that existed long ago. The values that are contained within the Canada Health Act are the values of Canadians, and I believe that they're the values of the people of this province. That's why we're seeking to try to protect them through the proclamation of the Medicare Protection Act, which would ensure that no medically-necessary procedure would be performed outside of the public health care system.

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Romanow also addressed his mind to the whole question of the private clinics and the roles that they have traditionally played in this country and in this province, and he pointed out, as he spoke on that question of what is medically-necessary, that there were procedures that were done that were non-medically-necessary procedures that had traditionally been done outside of the system. He also had a warning about those. He warned people to understand that the proliferation of those clinics tended to take, out of the public system, expertise that was needed in the publicly-funded system to provide the medically-necessary services.

Mr. Speaker, it's not as simple as just saying all of these services outside of the Medicare envelope are kind of harmless in their execution, they do come with a cost. We understand that that means drawing a line between the continued role of private clinics, because they have existed for some time, and the role of the publicly-funded Medicare system. We understand that it's a very difficult line, but it's one that must be drawn. We must commit ourselves as legislators in this province.

I'm hopeful that the Minister of Health will stand up and talk about this, and will say that the sole commitment of this government when it comes to the provision of health care in this province is to ensure the protection of the public good through the Medicare system within the principles of the Canada Health Act. I'm hoping that when the Minister of Health stands up to speak on this, as I'm sure he will, that what he will say to the people of Nova

[Page 7382]

Scotia who are watching, or those who are listening in the gallery is that he will support this piece of legislation, because he understands it's important as a foundation value for the people of the province and the people of this country. I would remind the minister that it was, I believe, Robert Stanfield, who brought forward the original Medicare plan for Nova Scotia, something that I think he was very proud of in his day, and that the government of the day was very proud of. I would hope that the minister would stand in defence of that system.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I'm very pleased to rise and discuss the principles related to the bill that is before the House this afternoon. I can tell the honourable member, the Leader of the Opposition, that I have a very keen interest in the time frame in which Medicare was brought into this House, because my father represented Guysborough at that particular time and he was one of the very strongest proponents of Medicare, along with Dr. Tom Gorman of Antigonish. The two of them collaborated to bring about support for Medicare in this province and I can assure you, if I were to act in a manner that did not protect the tenets of the Canada Health Act and Medicare in this province, I wouldn't be surprised if the two of them would reach out from the grave and take hold of me. So, that is where I stand with respect to this.

[4:30 p.m.]

Canadians and Nova Scotians care a great deal about how government manages their health care system. For all provincial governments today, this is an ongoing issue. I'd like to thank the honourable member for bringing it forward to discuss further.

As I stand here today, there is common ground among these elected members. I know all the members of this House believe the Canada Health Act should be upheld. I have said this before and I will say it again to ensure I'm very clearly understood. The government is committed to upholding the tenets of the Canada Health Act. This year we will spend $2.6 billion to deliver health care in Nova Scotia. This is after having added an additional $218 million in new dollars this year alone.

All of this money is going to the public health system. We have added new programs and are sustaining existing services to which all Nova Scotians have equal access. We use this money for home care; long-term care; programs in our acute care hospitals; mental health; specialized equipment; and new hospitals for nurses, doctors, lab technicians, social workers, care coordinators, administrators and therapists.

The $2.6 billion list goes on and on. This is a demonstration of how this government upholds the Canada Health Act. We have funded these programs and services so that Nova Scotians can access them when needed. Canadians need to think about maintaining a public health care system that continues to require more and more funding, year after year. Demands

[Page 7383]

on the system have never been so high and these costs will be challenging to sustain. If we continue with current trends, then we know that there will be little money for other services in government. We need to address this issue as a province and as a nation.

When we talk about sustainability, four elements come to mind: funding our health care system, becoming a healthier population, looking at alternative ways of delivering care, and legislation. I can speak for a few minutes about funding our health care system. When we talk about a health care budget, it is obvious that this provincial government will do what it takes to put forward the dollars needed. We need to see more participation from the federal government in health care funding. At last year's First Ministers' meeting, there was some acknowledgement from the federal government that they needed to bring a bigger chequebook to the table. This led to more dollars, but it is still not enough.

In managing the money allocated to health care, we are moving to become more efficient as budget managers. Expecting balanced budgets from DHAs, ensuring people get the right level of care, whether it's home care versus acute care, self-managed care versus nursing home care or community-based mental health services versus institutional beds. Policies for controlling escalating costs of drugs, implementing technology; PACS reduces travel for patients, reduces costs for film and supplies. Telehealth reduces travel for consults or business meetings. Hospital information system reduces duplication of tests and errors. These are just some examples of how we are being good stewards of Nova Scotia's health care dollars and our commitment to funding a public health care system.

Yet, when a person's health deteriorates, they are often unable to achieve these things. This government has taken proactive steps to address this area. We have set up a ministry solely focused on health promotion. Their goal is to give people the opportunity in their communities to make healthy choices in their lives promoting kids' participation in sports, supporting recreational and sports facilities in communities, moving toward introducing 100 per cent smoke free legislation, healthy eating, preventing falls among seniors. These are just some examples of how we are supporting Nova Scotians. Over time, we will see less demand on the health system, that will not occur overnight.

I now want to talk about new ways of delivering care. Nova Scotia has an excellent track record in introducing innovative health care. One example of how we are changing health care to meet the needs of our citizens is when we begin to integrate nurse practitioners into communities. Earlier in Question Period, the honourable member for Digby-Annapolis referred to the shortage of doctors in rural Nova Scotia - this is one of the methods by which that shortage is being addressed. We need to continue to explore options that serve Nova Scotians and we will do that.

With respect to legislation, not only do we need to sustain health care funding, promote health among Nova Scotians, but we need to ensure that private health services do not erode our public health system. We cannot close the door on our options before the

[Page 7384]

debate even begins. We have a responsibility to talk about delivery models of insured health services. I want Nova Scotians to be very clear on this point - this government has no interest in contravening the Canada Health Act. We only have an interest in making sure Nova Scotians have equitable and universal access to safely delivered, insured health care services today and in the future.

You may ask yourself how can a private clinic in Halifax offer MRIs? These are insured services. This clinic is a concern to us. We had no part in setting it up and do not want to see clinics begin to proliferate with no ground rules. Over the past year, Health Department staff members have been working with Health Canada to review this issue and will continue monitoring it. This is a very serious issue and improving access to diagnostic equipment is a key element to a patient receiving timely treatment and care, and the legislation that we bring forward is legislation that needs to ensure that there is no queue-jumping with respect to privately provided services, and that those services meet the standards required for safe health care delivery.

I'm pleased to remind Nova Scotians of this government's recent announcement of six new MRIs to address the access issue. Over the next year we will introduce this service to four new sites around the province and replace two aging machines in Halifax. These will be provided in the public health system in our regional hospitals, using public health dollars. Access will be improved, wait lists will go down, and treatments will be provided sooner. This investment is not unlike many others we are making to ensure our Nova Scotians have access to a high-quality, well-staffed public health care system.

My department is now working on this legislation that will address many of the public's concerns about how health services are provided in the community. At the same time the groundwork is being done, research being collected and legal opinions being sought in order to pull a bill together. We are committed to ensuring that there is an adequate public and stakeholder consultation and we hope to move forward with consultation before the end of the Summer. This legislation is important to all Nova Scotians and we need to make sure we take the necessary steps to have a well-informed bill

Mr. Speaker, I hope people understand that legislation is not the only solution. It is part of a puzzle, and this government is committed to putting the pieces together so that we have a sustainable health care system. We must remember that in the provision of health care in this province, doctors are independent contractors. They can choose the province in which they work, and have a great deal of autonomy from the government-run system. Some doctors are specialists and offer services that are not insured by the province. Two examples that are being talked about these days include some cosmetic and dental surgeries. These services are paid for by the patient now, whether they are delivered in a hospital setting or a private clinic.

[Page 7385]

Mr. Speaker, when there are challenges scheduling cancer surgeries or hip replacements and emergency surgeries in the public health system, the non-insured procedures fall to the bottom of the priority list. Nova Scotians would agree that this is the right way to manage ORs and other surgical resources, yet, often we don't think about who ends up at the bottom of the list. We've heard that a few doctors are interested in controlling their own schedules. They plan to open a clinic in Dartmouth and perform non-insured day surgeries.

Mr. Speaker, we need to work with doctors who are thinking about new and different ways of offering non-insured services to their clients. What we can do is develop well-informed and thoughtful legislation to ensure that they are performing appropriately. As mentioned, we will be seeking input from Nova Scotians on exactly what this legislation should look like.

Mr. Speaker, health care workers are the cornerstone of our public health system. They offer high-quality, professional care when Nova Scotians need it most. They are our most valuable asset, and as such, people have some concerns about the impact on our health human resources when there is talk about private clinics opening. I understand these concerns and share them, too. Last week I met with several members of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union who represent thousands of health care workers in this province. My commitment to that group and to all Nova Scotians is that I will learn more about the plans for this clinic and keep them informed.

We know that health care providers want to work in the public health system and that our contracted doctors have expressed their intent to meet their contractual obligations to the public health system. That being said, we have a continued interest in carefully monitoring any impact this and other clinics may have on our short supply of human resources. I commit to Nova Scotians that we will carefully examine any and all potential impacts on health care before moving forward on funding any insured service outside a hospital setting.

Mr. Speaker, the technology of providing health care is changing very rapidly, and that means that what used to require a stay in hospital no longer requires a stay in hospital. So we believe insured services need to be delivered in a way that assures quality care, timely and equitable access and patient safety. The issue of sustainability is not unique to Nova Scotia. So we must take action as a province to plan for the future. The Premier has encouraged more public debate and discussion on this issue, and I agree.

Mr. Speaker, I will not support this bill, but promise Nova Scotians that I will bring forward legislation within a year that incorporates the views of our citizens and stakeholders. I appreciate the opportunity to participate in this debate, and I want to reaffirm the commitment that I've made here this afternoon. This government supports the tenets of the Canada Health Act, and all actions taken with respect to the delivery of health care in Nova Scotia will be done under the tenets of the Canada Health Act and the principles espoused by it. (Applause)

[Page 7386]

[4:45 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, it's a pleasure to rise and debate today Bill No. 36, the Medicare Protection Act. There has been a lot of debate that has surfaced over the past several weeks with respect to the private delivery of health care services in our province and I would assume that this is probably the major reason why we're debating the bill today, because the health care system has grown to a point where it's about to totally collapse on itself.

Mr. Speaker, there are many people - and I'm one of them - who believe that the inability of this government to manage the health care system is directly responsible for the sudden increase that we see in the creation of private health clinics or hospitals, whatever it is you want to call them, today. One has to question whether there are greater plans on the part of this government to create even more private clinics and that perhaps was the reason for slashing the Provincial Health Council, if you recall, because the Act itself also has the Provincial Health Council as the body that would receive complaints, but that body no longer exists because that government canned it, even after it begged to be reinstated.

Mr. Speaker, the whole issue brought up by Bill No. 36, the Medicare Protection Act, requires a full, informed public debate. You will recall that it was the Premier who once promised to fix health care for less than $46 million. I know that's a statement that has been said time and time again over the last six years in this Legislature, but it was the Premier who said, during an election campaign, that it would cost $46 million to fix health care. We all know the end result has been over $1 billion - not $46 million, but over $1 billion later and here we are opening private surgical facilities in Nova Scotia. So, obviously, it leads you to the conclusion that something is terribly wrong.

Mr. Speaker, what is worse is that the government is admitting its failure by saying that the whole Health budget is going to swallow up the provincial budget by the year 2025. Before that occurs, before 2025, the health care system may itself become unsustainable. That is an unacceptable cop-out by this government. Everyone knows the government's failure, but what they don't know, I guess, is that this is a bill brought forward by the Leader of the Official Opposition, the Leader of the New Democratic Party in Nova Scotia. Now I'm wondering when the Leader finally found out about this issue and he's awakened enough to bring in the Medicare Protection Act, only it was brought to the floor of this Legislature by this Party, the issue of private hospitals.

It was the Liberal Party in Nova Scotia that made the minister aware of a third private hospital opening in this province, Mr. Speaker. The minister wasn't aware of the first one, it was the media that brought the second one to his attention, and we brought the third one to his attention. The bill, for instance, in Section 7 of this proposed Medicare Protection Act,

[Page 7387]

let me read it to you, it says: "For greater certainty, but not so as to limit the generality of this Act, no privately owned health-care facility, operated for profit, shall be permitted to operate in the Province if it offers insured health services that are reasonably available through the health-care insurance plan of the Province."

I guess one of the questions that came to mind when I read that particular section, Mr. Speaker, is exactly what the Official Opposition means by the word "reasonably". It's rather vague; as a matter of fact it's so vague you could drive a truck through it. But the whole bill loses some meaning I think, it opens government up to allowing private services, which goes against the intention of the whole bill, which has left me wondering again.

Mr. Speaker, we need a new look at health in Nova Scotia. We need to take a system that will be there, and ensure that it's going to be there in 25 years' time. It's going to require an open consultation across this province. In order to do that you need a plan for health care, something that this government has never provided us with. We've never had a plan, and I don't know if this bill is enough or if this is a poor substitute for that plan. We have to address the issue of sustainability, I agree.

The Minister of Health, who just spoke before I stood in my place said, both provincially and federally we have to address the issue of sustainability, we have to become innovative in ways of delivering health care, and continue to explore options. Mr. Speaker, the examples of that by this government are few and far between.

I would suggest what we need even furthermore is a more common-sense approach to health care in this province, and that's what we were told. I've made reference to our Liberal Party Roundtable on Health Care Wait Times that toured the province a year and a half ago. My colleague, the member for Kings West, and I were the two members of the Liberal caucus on that roundtable and we toured the province from Yarmouth to Sydney. We met with people, we heard people, we heard their complaints.

One of the common themes that we heard, of course, was the problems that we're experiencing with wait times and health care in Nova Scotia, and one of the other common themes that was repeated to us was one of health care now needs a common-sense approach in Nova Scotia. I know that's a rather vague statement when I say that, I know that saying you should have a common-sense approach to something could be misinterpreted as saying that's a cop-out as well. But I think what people were telling us was that there are things that are happening within the health care system that just don't make any sense, there's no common sense to them.

People have come to the realization that you can guarantee delivery models of insurance services, and you can say all the correct verbiage that you want, but we have to have universal access, it has to be equitable access. We guarantee the tenets of the Canada Health Act, and all of the above but unless you have the resources, unless you have the

[Page 7388]

common-sense approach to back that up, those words mean absolutely nothing. I know those words mean nothing to people who are standing and waiting for ER rooms to open up and the ER rooms that are down in my area close on a regular basis in Glace Bay, in New Waterford, in the Strait area. The Soldiers Memorial Hospital is closing an ER temporary, and the first thing that comes to mind to those people, when an ER is closed on a temporarily basis is, could this possibly be permanent? It's temporary for now, but could we be looking at a permanent closure down the line because health care services are no longer sustainable?

Mr. Speaker, let me say this to the government - and my Leader, Francis MacKenzie has made this statement - that we cannot afford to continue to pour money into health care. You had an 11 per cent increase last year, you have a 9.2 per cent increase this year, and an expected increase next year. Under the former Ministers of Health, we had increases in health care. So what my Leader said is, where does it end? How can we continue to pour money into health care? But not once - and show me, and I'll challenge every backbencher on the government side to show me - where the Leader of the Liberal Party said, take money from health care. Show me where it said that. Not only that, I'll provide all the backbenchers with all the bravado over there, with the taped comments of the scrum that the Leader was in, and you show me - let me hear in those taped comments - where he said he was going to take the money from health care. You can't do it, because it was never said.

What he said, and what makes sense to every Nova Scotian but it doesn't make sense to the members of government, is that we cannot continue to pour money, after money, after hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars into health care and not eventually come to an end. You cannot stand up during an election campaign in 1999 and say, we'll fix health care for $46 million, and then $1 billion later say, we still haven't fixed the problem.

With all the money that you're going to get from Ottawa, all the money you've received from Ottawa, and all of the credit that you never gave to Ottawa for all the money you received for health care, you still have not fixed the problems within the health care system. Mr. Speaker, if that's not proof that this government is a failure, I don't know what is.

The Minister of Health stands up and says we have brand new MRIs coming to Nova Scotia. The hospitals in Halifax are waiting to have outdated MRIs replaced, they're not included, but at the same time other areas of this province - and I'm not denying any area of this province the proper equipment in health care - are given MRIs and they do not have the staff to operate the equipment.

Mr. Speaker, you would think a forward-thinking government would have said, do we have the staff to operate the equipment before we put it in place? You would think that those ideas would come to the government before they moved ahead, but that's not the case with this government, which leads me to some final points that I'm going to make in the short time that I do have remaining here.

[Page 7389]

As I said, Bill No. 36, Medicare Protection Act, probably the reason we're debating it is because - and I'm not saying there are some bills that come before this Legislature and are called on Opposition Day that are only there perhaps to cause some mischief, I'm not saying that this is the case with this bill, because, let me tell you, in the first paragraphs of this bill, it says, "Whereas the provision of public health-care services under the Canada Health Act is one of the most cherished accomplishments of Canada as a nation;".

No one could disagree with that, Mr. Speaker. No one would disagree with that. It also says, "And Whereas it is desirable to entrench the principles of medicare in order to protect them from erosion and to strengthen the principles by recognizing the need to prevent physical and mental ill health;" No one is arguing with those comments either.

But what we're saying as a caucus is that what's needed in this province - it's not part of this bill - is a plan to bring some common sense to providing health care in this province, because if we don't, we won't have a health care system. The government has admitted to that, that it's going to take, in 2025 - I suggest it won't take that long - by 2025, we may not have a health care system to look after. We know how much it's eating up of the provincial budget, and we have the projections that it's going to continue to grow, year after year.

Mr. Speaker, it's time for this government to come up with a plan to open up, to publicly consult with anyone who possibly wants to be consulted on this subject, and to finally come up with a plan that we can have a sustainable health care system in this province. That common-sense approach that I'm talking about should always apply to government. Government is not up here and common sense down here. Of course government can bring common sense to Nova Scotia, if they wanted to, but for six years what we've seen from this government is health care budgets continually increasing, that's all it does.

We cannot look forward to that anymore. We cannot sustain it anymore. The government knows that. The government knows that this province won't generate enough revenue. Ottawa eventually is not going to be able to supply you with the windfalls that they've been supplying you with in order to keep feeding what has become a health care monster. We can't do it. Mr. Speaker, we have to take a look, certainly, not as the NDP bill says. It says a cherished accomplishment in Canada as a nation, the Canada Health Act. We're not looking at doing anything to the Canada Health Act to subvert that in any way, shape or form.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Would the member allow for an introduction before she begins?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Yes.

[Page 7390]

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

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague, the member for Halifax Needham. I bring the members' attention to - well, one's a visitor but the other is a regular - the west gallery. I don't know whether you would recognize him out of uniform, but I know he has a friend with him today. I would like them to stand in their place and receive the recognition of the House. Matt Whynot could look good or bad out of uniform, it's nice to see you. With Matt today is Charlotte Killan. Could you stand and be recognized. (Applause)

[5:00 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: I welcome our visitors to the gallery. I'm very pleased to have an opportunity to stand in my place and participate in this debate. I want to start, Mr. Speaker, by reading a little quote as follows:

The advent of Medicare gave my mother the one worry-free period of her adult life, a miraculous reprieve. Medicare has done much more than the provision of medical service for this country. It has transformed it from a rather cold, hard, negative society to the very pleasant one that we have been privileged to enjoy for the past few decades. The dismantling of Medicare may mean more than the loss of medical help. It may signal our return to the hard old ways of the 1930s and 1940s.

The person who said this is B.L. Williamson from Ottawa, Ontario, and it's contained in a very excellent book called Life before Medicare - Canadian Experiences.

Mr. Speaker, I used that as a reference point into this debate for a reason. I want to start by saying I do take some exception with the argument that was being made by the former speaker. I don't think it's at all helpful for any of us to stand in our places and argue that the system is about to collapse on itself. This in fact I think is the hysteria of the right wing in this country that would frankly see Medicare dismantled because they claim it is not sustainable and, therefore, people need to take either more personal responsibility, which is code for people who are better off being able to purchase private health care and the development of a two-tier health care system in this country. If anybody has read the recent study that was authored by former Ontario Premier Mike Harris and former Conservative Party Leader Preston Manning, you will see quite clearly that this is the rationale that they base their argument that our public health care system is no longer sustainable and, therefore, we need to abandon it in favour of a market-driven health care system.

[Page 7391]

Mr. Speaker, we have serious problems in our public system and the problems tend to be centred around the question of access to the public system, wait times are too long, and timely treatment does not occur in the manner in which it should. These are not problems that are insurmountable, they are problems that are fixable and there are many very good studies that have indicated some of the initiatives that governments need to take to make this a reality, to make our system accessible in a timely fashion and keep it sustainable at the same time.

Mr. Speaker, you know, I listened with great concern to the Premier the other day when he contributed to this hysteria by talking about the unsustainability of our health care system and citing the large growth in dollars into health care budgets over a short period of time. What the public has got to remember, and I guess we have to remind the public over and over again, that what actually occurred was the federal government in 1995 under the leadership of our current Prime Minister, who at that time was the Finance Minister, they reduced health care expenditures by the federal government by 20 per cent over three years. They reduced the transfers to the province by 20 per cent over three years and so, yes, we are seeing a large increase in the dollars now because we are attempting to catch up to those years when we were starved for federal cash. At the same time here in Nova Scotia we were seeing a reduction in federal transfers on other fronts as well, around education and social services.

I think we have to be very careful and not overstate the financial situation, with respect to the sustainability of our health care system. We have to understand how it is that we got to the situation of having massive cash infusions. During those years when we saw the reduction in federal health care dollars that meant we weren't buying the updated equipment, that meant we allowed our infrastructure to deteriorate, that meant our health care workers were overworked, they were demoralized, and we lost people, we weren't able to hire people, we lost people who were already in the system - all of these problems that we are experiencing can be traced back to the federal government's decision in 1995 to balance the federal deficit on the backs of the provinces. That's the reality, and at the time that it occurred there were many people who said this would be the result, and indeed it has been the result.

Lets not dwell too much on the past, I think we need to look at how do we move forward. One of the ways that we can move forward, I think, is looking at some of the recommendations from Romanow. In particular, we had a Royal Commission on the future of health care in this country and Commissioner Romanow made recommendations that the Canada Health Act not only be upheld, but in fact be strengthened, that a sixth principle be added and that be the principle of accountability and that some of the ambiguity in the Canada Health Act, with respect to diagnostic services as an insurable service outside of hospital settings, be clarified and that issues such as queue-jumping and the differential treatment for people, whether they're workers' compensation clients or they're citizens at large, with health care needs, that those issues be handled in a very focused and timely manner.

[Page 7392]

I have to say I'm very disappointed that the federal government has not strengthened the Canada Health Act and has not dealt with those recommendations from the Romanow report. Let's look at the current government and the government's record here in Nova Scotia as well. I was quite surprised to hear the Minister of Health stand in his place today and make the statement that the private MRI clinic is of concern to his department. This I believe is the first time I have heard a member of the government say anything about the private MRI clinic that would lead the public in this province to understand that the government does in fact see this as a problem.

In the two and a half to three years that the private MRI has been operating I know that I consistently, along with many other members of this caucus and public health care advocates, members of the Nova Scotia Nurses' Union, the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union, CUPE, many of the groups that represent health care workers have expressed their sincere and grave concerns about the operation of the private MRI clinic. It has taken two and half to three years to get a member of this government to say that they are concerned. But what do they do about it? Being concerned isn't enough.

Here, earlier this week on Health estimates, I asked the Minister of Health how many people in his department were tasked with the responsibility to examine and analyze and track, the privatization of health care in the Province of Nova Scotia. I was really quite surprised and very disappointed to learn that there isn't anybody in the Department of Health who has that individual task, very specifically well-defined job.

Now I would think, if this government were concerned about the private MRI and they have received correspondence from the federal Minister of Health indicating that the federal government is concerned that the presence of the private MRI clinic, for example, is possibly operating in a manner that it contravenes the Canada Health Act, we have to recognize, that places our federal health care transfer dollars in some jeopardy. This minister would not have and would not be sure that there was at least one person in his department who has the dedicated task of keeping track of the privatization of health care, of the difficulties between the ambiguities sometimes between what is an insured service and an uninsured service, and what this means for the potential jeopardizing of federal health care money to this province.

I would like to believe that now, given the concerns that have been expressed and given the new developments, particularly the fact that we have a ophthalmologist who is opening a private clinic and is talking about doing insurable surgeries in his clinic with the full support and participation of our public health care system, that the minister would not drag his feet and would act quickly to deal with this. I also think that people have been quite disturbed to learn about clauses in the collective agreement between Doctors Nova Scotia, the Medical Society and physicians who would allow for the establishment of a working group between the government and the Medical Society, to examine the possibility of

[Page 7393]

alternative delivery models for public health care that aren't necessarily going to be delivered in a not-for-profit framework.

Madam Speaker, we have enough private health care in our province. Roy Romanow has indicated that it is time for governments across this country to not only reaffirm their commitment to the Canada Health Act and expand the Canada Health Act, in fact we should expand the kinds of insurable health care services that are currently not included in the Canada Health Care Act. And we need to be looking at home care, and we need to be looking at prescription drugs. These services now are so fundamentally a part of health care delivery and the Medicare, what people require to either stay healthy or to deal with illness, that it's high-time we do this.

I welcome, and members of this caucus certainly welcome, any public debate that occurs on the delivery and expansion of public health care in this province. We will look forward to participating in this debate.

MADAM SPEAKER: The time allotted has expired.

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. WILLIAM DOOKS: Madam Speaker, with the concurrence of the House, I would ask permission to revert to the order of business, Presenting Reports of Committees.

MADAM SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. WILLIAM DOOKS: Madam Speaker, on behalf of the Chairman of the Committee on Law Amendments, I am directed to report that the committee has met and considered the following bills:

Bill No. 153 - Public Service Act.

Bill No. 168 - Securities Act.

Bill No. 173 - Bee Industry Act.

and the committee recommends these bills to the favourable consideration of the House, each without amendment.

[Page 7394]

[5:15 p.m.]

MADAM SPEAKER: Ordered that these bills be referred to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

[OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS

PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING]

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Madam Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 194.

Bill No. 194 - Cape Breton Strip Mines Moratorium Act.

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Madam Speaker, I want to open my debate today with a line. It goes, "Daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County, down by the Green River where Paradise lay? Well, I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking, Mister Peabody's coal train has hauled it away."

Madam Speaker, that's a couple of lines from a prolific songwriter from Chicago by the name of John Prine whose family grew up in Western Kentucky, an area rich - as many parts of Cape Breton are - in coal mining. When John moved with his family to the South Side of Chicago at a young age and would go back to Western Kentucky, more and more of this great historic part of that great state was being stripped away by strip mining. That's why we're here today debating Bill No. 194.

Bill No. 194 is about the reality of what strip mining does to a community. The government has talked about giving exploration to many companies and allowing what they're calling a reclamation of sites. If you were to take them on their word, you assume these sites are recently worked sites, that they're sites that are covered with debris and so on, but that's not the case. These are areas that haven't been mined for 50, 60, 70 years. These are areas that are in very sensitive ecological settings. Yet, government is telling us we need this resource. They're about the only ones that think we have to go in after this resource.

Community after community have told us and this government that no, we don't want it, it will ruin a way of life. The problem with this is government isn't listening and that's why we have Bill No. 194 in front of us. We need to protect what we have left in our areas. We need to take places like MacAskills Brook in the Port Morien area and say, this is too great a resource to be tampered with for a few dollars.

[Page 7395]

It very seldom generates many meaningful jobs, there are really no royalties given to the province by it and any of these people that tell you they'll come back and reclaim this land just can't be believed. All we have to do is look at the area of St. Rose. That area has been devastated by surface mining. They changed the idea - it used to be called strip mining and they want to call it surface mining now to make it more palatable. But it is strip mining.

Back of the old St. Rose mine is not only an ecological disaster, but I would say it's a safety one because of access by children. There are some of the companies that want to go in and strip mine in Cape Breton, that's a problem. All we have to do is - on our way up here many of us drive past the Stellarton exit in Pictou County. We see this huge mound on the skyline, and what it is is it's Pioneer Coal's strip mine. It looks like something from a disaster film. Do we want that in Cape Breton? Absolutely not.

We see that there's certainly tracts being looked at in my home community of New Waterford that will go right next to our watershed, just after we've averted a disaster with the former Cape Breton Development Corporation when they put a tailings pond out by there to get rid of some of the excess from mining at the coal prep plant. This stuff just doesn't work, nobody wants it.

Why, all of a sudden, is government rushing to do this? It bothers not only myself but members of these communities. These people who are out there trying to stop this aren't what government would like to portray as these wild-eyed environmentalists. Do you know what they are, they're schoolteachers, they're former coal miners, they're retired Armed Forces people, they run the gambit of community citizens who are concerned. The only group that doesn't seem to be concerned is government. Government just says, take Mr. Peabody's crane and just take it away, just clear it away, we have nothing left for you; for whose benefit? Is it the benefit of the inshore fishery in Port Morien? Absolutely not, the industry that sustained us for over 100 years, Port Morien, the very site of the first underground coal mine in North America. So these people aren't your wide-eyed environmentalists who say, no, no, no expansion at any cost. No, they are people from their community who say, this is important, this is way too important to future generations for a few quick dollars.

This is felt in other parts of my constituency, Madam Speaker, it's the Gardner area, all you have to do is look at that reclamation site, the mess they made on Centreville Road, the mess they made at the reclamation project up at the Summit. These are all areas that look like it was used for nuclear testing. They seeded it and it lasted for a couple of years, but it was gone because there wasn't enough earth to sustain it, not enough soil. Then, we're now looking at in Boularderie, in that area, and the former Prince Mine site. They're telling us no, don't worry, we're going to make this pristine. All you have to do is take the Prince Mine Road up the Prince Mine and see the devastation along the road, what former strip mining has done there.

[Page 7396]

Madam Speaker, it looks like, again, a nuclear waste site. Yet, government after government is not doing what they should be doing to protect that environment. What we have to do is to stop this. Do like this bill asks, have a moratorium, allow the residents of the area to voice their opinion in a reasonable, rational way. Ask the people from Morien, they'll tell you. They've lived it all their lives. The people out back in Broughton, they know the difference. The people up in Boularderie, who fought putting the Point Aconi power plant where it is. They know what it's going to cost their community.

So these are items we need to put together now in legislation. We have to have a moratorium on strip mining. It's not about progress. If they want to get Cape Breton coal, go to Donkin. Go underground, the portals are there, dig it up, hurry along, government, I say to them, hurry along and do Donkin, but do not, in any way, shape or form, do strip mining in Cape Breton. Nobody wants it, nobody gains by it, everybody loses. The only winner is a few rich people like the Chisholms, and we don't want to see them get rich at the expense of the ecology of Cape Breton Island. Cape Breton Island has paid too great a price for too long a time, fuelling the fires of this province and the industry and the power plants. Stop strip mining, and stop it today, Madam Speaker. (Applause)

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Eastern Shore.

MR. WILLIAM DOOKS: Madam Speaker, I rise in my seat today to bring some remarks from the minister, the Honourable Richard Hurlburt, but before I do that, I would like to speak to my colleague across the floor and tell him that I understand what he speaks of, maybe in a different capacity. I certainly understand a member wanting to represent his constituents; not different than any other one in here. I've also been approached with many challenges on the Eastern Shore and I'm going to bring attention to something that's very near and dear to my heart, and that's the work that I've done with the Ship Harbour-Long Lake area.

Madam Speaker, that is not a coal mining or strip mining production, but nevertheless it is about a resource in which industry wants to capture, wants to harvest and bring opportunities to the people of the Eastern Shore. In saying that, I believe that the rule of thumb, or what we think that industry wishes to come in, wishes to harvest all to gain the most profit for the shareholders and in doing that create opportunities and benefits for their employees. We have to talk about balance here. We have to talk about plans. We have to talk about input. We have to talk about government, industry and most important, community input.

Community input is very important, Madam Speaker, because it's the people who are going to gain or lose by harvesting the fibre or resource of the industry's challenge. So in saying that, I do respect the member, I understand that this issue today is about listening, about understanding, about working together. It's about government, once again, industry and the community creating a balance. I believe, in speaking with the minister, both the

[Page 7397]

Minister of Environment and Labour, and the Minister of Natural Resources, that the intent of government is to go to the beautiful Island of Cape Breton to talk and to do particular studies.

They've assured me, Madam Speaker, that these things are in line, or I wouldn't stand in my place today and promote any type of industry moving into an area that was not going to be to the favour, or not going to have a certain structure in place. So at the end of the day, I should hope that the department, industry, and also the community can come to an agreement on this issue. I'm pleased that the member stands in his place and represents his people, but in saying that, I would like to take this opportunity to read a few of the minister's comments.

It goes like this, Madam Speaker, "Cape Breton still has significant coal resources, which can provide important economic benefits to our communities . . ." Our efforts to make these coal blocks available to the private sector reflects the government's ". . . commitment to develop these . . . resources in a responsible way, is a commitment we made to Nova Scotians in our energy strategy, Seizing the Opportunity."

Under our government's watch these resources will only be developed by the private sector and only by companies with sound management and financial means of doing so, we're not going to, I guess, permit any industry to come in and just cut the resource down without providing sound management. In return, Cape Breton residents will benefit from the economic opportunities these operations present. We know in most parts of rural Nova Scotia that there are many communities that need job opportunities. Once again, going back to what I said, it's good to have a job opportunity as long as that balance is there.

The potential for surface coal mining in Cape Breton by way of the private sector is an important means of providing jobs for residents in the area and for generating royalty revenues. It is also a critical avenue for correcting damage caused from past mining activities without using public funds, and for restoring lands for other public uses. If permitted to proceed, here's the key sentence, members, if permitted to proceed - the private sector will generate employment in both the mining and supply sectors.

[5:30 p.m.]

While the job numbers may not mirror Devco days, several million tons of coal presents a significant economic opportunity, Madam Speaker. I want my honourable colleagues to understand that the government will not sacrifice anyone's health or the water supplies to seize these opportunities. As I said before I would stand in my place and read the notes, I had conversation with the minister and they assured me that these things would be looked into.

[Page 7398]

The Department of Environment and Labour will engage as they do with all proposals of this nature. In an environmental assessment, as provided under the Environment Act, successful companies will be subject to all rules and regulations of the province. So once again, Madam Speaker, they're going to put these policies in place and they're going to regulate and watch over it, and they've made a promise not to violate the rights of the community.

This bill would prohibit a lot more than surface coal mining on the Island if passed in its manner. It would also eliminate existing operations from many other commodities, commodities that hold great current value and tremendous potential for our future economic development in a most deserving area of the province. The bill that has been presented in the form does not just zero in on strip mining in Cape Breton, which I believe was the caucus' intent, but also will affect all other mining operations in Nova Scotia - I understand that it would even include quarries and also small mining operations to some degree.

I think the bill went a little astray, because it is important that we do have our quarries as long as they're managed, and our pits, as long as they're managed. I speak once again of community involvement, I speak about the government's involvement, I speak about industry and the balance there so I think the mechanism will work.

This bill would effectively limit the growth of existing gypsum operations in Milford and Little Narrows, potentially costing more than 200 jobs. We have to be very careful - the power of a bill is very important. We can pass a bill here without quite understanding the effect on all others of the province, so I think it is incumbent upon us to be able to read, debate and understand any bill that's put forward in the people's House.

We have a quarry in River Denys that would also be negatively impacted if this bill is passed and I can go on, and on and I know that you don't want me to continue to mention the different areas that will be affected but I think it's responsible of me to stand up and say that this bill would cause some jobs - once again, going back, it's not the intent of anyone to bring issue with this, to take anybody's livelihood away or to take anyone's job away, I think the intent of this bill is to bring awareness and to also make sure that the government is listening to the people of Cape Breton. I'm sure the intent of this bill was to make sure that they're sending a message to government saying to make sure you police your regulations, make sure you have your community input, and make sure that everything is once again in balance.

I believe, as Nova Scotians, we must live in a balanced province. As I said clearly - before I take my seat - I have supported the Ship Harbour-Long Lake in a very aggressive manner and I would not want someone to come down and cut the Ship Harbour-Long Lake without a plan. So, Madam Speaker, my time is running short, I believe I have less than a minute but I hope that I have brought some relief to the author of this bill. I hope I explained to the caucus that the government is concerned, aware and certainly understands this bill.

[Page 7399]

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to be able to rise on this bill. It's a very important issue and I would like to commend the member for bringing this bill forward because it does have some merit for discussion.

The question that I would pose and our caucus would pose is whether a bill is necessary. There are three things that I think we need to establish, very clearly, that the NDP bill is proposing.

First it would halt the development of a new or expansion of existing strip mines in Cape Breton immediately upon the passage of the bill. That would have that kind of immediacy and an impact that would be very far-reaching. Second, it would require the Minister of Natural Resources to conduct public hearings with residents of the areas where new or expanded strip mines are proposed. The third part of the bill is that public hearings must be conducted within six months of the passage of the bill and a report filed with the Legislature after the hearings.

If this bill has merit, and I think this is a key point I would like to make and establish, then it should be a bill that applies to all of Nova Scotia. That would be one of the key arguments that I would indeed present. There are strip mines in several locations and we also have the possibility of others in the future. Certainly we know that public consultation on these matters must be part of the process and consultation also needs to be opened up to industry and all stakeholders who are involved with strip mines.

We know that one of the areas of the province where the greatest consultation was not carried out was the quarry proposal for Digby Neck. We know that people came forward then and continue to come forward with their concerns and we know that tourism and the natural beauty of the province should not be put on the line when strip mining is being proposed.

More importantly, I'd like to see legislation that ensures these sites are remediated back to their pristine condition when they are finished. We know that has been a condition on a few of the strip mining operations that have taken place in the province; however, it is not there on a wholesale manner. We know this can be done, it is done in many provinces, a number of the U.S. states now, if you're going to strip mine, especially for coal, this is one of the contractual requirements and the cost of the resource is factored into the remediation of the site. This certainly is one of the aspects again that we would like to have as part of any bill, any legislation in regard to strip mining.

It's interesting, Madam Speaker, that back in 1998 the member for Cumberland South, our current Speaker, introduced a bill to prohibit strip mining in the Town of Springhill. That bill did not pass and I think due to the very serious limitations of this bill, I

[Page 7400]

also feel that probably it will not pass. I believe in a provincial approach to such an important topic, I think a long-term policy of sustainability as opposed to bills that just apply to one particular region or area of the province is really a very limited scope.

Strip mining may be appropriate in some areas, but not in others. That must be addressed by government in a stronger fashion and a better mechanism than we have seen in the past. What this bill is doing is drawing us to take a serious look at where we are with strip mining and where we're going to go in the future. I think, as the member opposite pointed out, a balanced approach is the one we are going to absolutely need as we go forward in this area.

In fact, to that end, my colleague for Victoria-The Lakes sent a letter to the minister and asked some very strong questions about the strip mining going on and proposed in his area. I would like to draw the attention of the House to a few of those questions that the member for Victoria-The Lakes proposed.

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Madam Speaker, I was wondering if the honourable member would entertain a very short question? I need some clarification on a couple of points he made, if he would be willing to answer.

MADAM SPEAKER: Would the honourable member for Kings West entertain a question?

MR. GLAVINE: Perhaps when I finish, Madam Speaker, because I did want to continue the letter and the intent of where I was going here.

The questions that the member for Victoria-The Lakes proposed to the minister are outlined in this fashion, "What are the official stages a company must follow in order to begin such mining? What precautions are in place in the event that a resident is negatively impacted by the mining?" We all know that issues around water supply are one of the biggest ones when it comes to strip mining. While there isn't strip mining, for example, in my riding, there are sandpit operations, and that very question around water supply comes into question.

I asked the Minister of Environment and Labour during estimates about that very fact, when the Department of Environment and Labour gives permits and so on for sandpit development. He did point out that while there is strong assessment done, he feels that his department perhaps doesn't have the resources to continue to monitor and follow up to make sure that the supply of water of local residents and so on is protected.

[Page 7401]

Another question was, "What examples can your office provide of reclamation mining in the province by the same companies currently involved in Victoria-the-Lakes? Is it the current intention to allow these contracts to proceed if all necessary steps by the companies involved are followed?" The last question that he asked the minister to deal with, "Are members from your office available to my constituents directly if additional questions or concerns arise?" I would like to table that letter in the House so that it can be there for the record.

Just to finish up, I think the long-term policy of sustainability as opposed to a bill affecting just Cape Breton is where the province and where, we, as legislators, need to go. Clearly, strip mining, on certainly some small scale operations, has been accomplished, has been carried out very successfully in some parts of the province. I think there is an example in the Pictou area of a recent strip mine and then reclamation of the area certainly to the satisfaction of local residents.

So I would like to end off by saying that if we want to protect our natural beauty, we must ensure that we protect areas that need to be protected, but also ensure that those areas scheduled for development must also be improved when development activity ends.

I would entertain a question.

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton West on a question.

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Madam Speaker, I do thank the honourable member for entertaining this question. I'm just kind of receiving some mixed signals here about the sense of purpose for the bill before the House as the member raised in his opening remarks and then went on to do the pros and cons of the issue. I need to know specifically, is it the position of the Liberal caucus, or the Party position to support strip mining in Nova Scotia, given all the parameters that he outlined?

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. GLAVINE: What our position is, as I stated today very clearly, is that we will take a balanced position, where there will be occasions when strip mining will be feasible, when full environmental assessments are carried out, the residents are satisfied with the process that will go forward. There will be some areas where strip mining will be turned down because of wide consultation with everybody. Simply, again, this bill doesn't really take us into the global picture of the province. This is really Cape Breton, although I have alluded to a provincial position that our Party would like to see, and that is some development, but always with very strong and stringent guidelines.

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

[Page 7402]

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Madam Speaker, I thank the member for Kings West for the three or four seconds of his time that I got. Some interesting comments and I actually should make my comments as close to the bill as I can and if I have any time I'll address some issues raised by some of the other members.

[5:45 p.m.]

The idea that this type of action doesn't necessarily have to come by way of a bill, well common sense should tell us as legislators that that's true. The government has the right to set policy. The minister and his department can set policy around strip mining and doesn't have to bring in an Act to do that, at least in most cases, to my understanding. It would seem that, in terms of the Opposition, we don't get to write much government policy on this side of the House. Therefore we raise the issue to try to get agreement from the government members, to see if the government's interested in either calling our legislation or drafting their own legislation along similar lines, something that we could accept. This is a good way to raise the issue.

The Act, number one, deals with Cape Breton. The member for Eastern Shore spoke for the minister and spoke for himself, and I think to a degree mentioned about the mine. I think he must have meant Melford, did he, he said Milford.

AN HON. MEMBER: Melford.

MR. MACDONELL: Melford, okay thank you. I was going to say Milford wouldn't be affected. I think the people of Cape Breton, who are represented by a number of members in the Liberal caucus and a couple of members in the Tory caucus, who have approached us would be very pleased if this bill deals with Cape Breton. If the Liberal Party wants to draft other legislation that deals with the whole province and addresses this issue in Cape Breton, we would be really happy to have a look at that. The issue presently is Cape Breton and it makes perfect sense to us to have a bill that addresses this issue in Cape Breton. What this would hopefully do is put a moratorium on both expansion and creation of new mining operations and allow six months for the minister to actually consult.

I have to say on both sides of the House I have heard, I think a lot of fence sitting - yeah if it's done this way, if it's done that way, we kind of agree, and we think there are jobs. I think what members want to try to remember and I think certainly the members on the government side and I don't think I should lay this at the feet of the members of the Liberal Party because they didn't say it, but the members on the government side, it was the Premier, who in 2003, maybe even back as far as 1999, said let communities decide. There was a whole range of issues from mining to aquaculture that the Premier said let communities decide.

[Page 7403]

I have to say the Premier hasn't really lived up to that statement in a big way in his term in this House as Premier. I have to say for us, this is the matter, that communities don't want these activities, they shouldn't have to be made to bear them. Now, the proponent, they can come in, take the coal, sell it wherever and the member for Kings West raised a good point around the issue of reclamation, but that hasn't happened. Even in the Pictou case, there's no evidence from the people there that their pleas with the reclamation. My colleague, from Cape Breton Centre, mentioned that some of these areas had not been mined for 50 to 60 years.

Well, then, I'm assuming, he said they're ecologically sensitive, and some of these areas - if they were impacted years before - but you would have to assume that there are ponds and bogs and woods and whatever after 60 years, and this is not going into a kind of open field or gravelly area or whatever in a lot of these cases. You're not going to pull the machinery out, push a little soil around and maybe plant a few trees and say, there, that's as good as it was when we got here. That's not going to be the case.

The member for Eastern Shore - I guess if you say something long enough, maybe you can make people believe it - his point about Ship Harbour-Long Lake, he's a member of a Tory Government that has not protected Ship Harbour-Long Lake, has not protected it. Every now and then you can kind of get tired of this sanctimonious, we're great guys, but we're ripping everything out of this province, exploiting it, and think, if I can get both hands and pat myself on the back, I'm going to do it.

You have to, at some point, recognize what you're saying and what you're doing are in conflict. That's what's happening with this government. (Interruptions)

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Eastern Shore.

MR. WILLIAM DOOKS: Madam Speaker, would the member take a question, please?

MADAM SPEAKER: Would the honourable member for Hants East take a question?

MR. MACDONELL: I can take a question.

MR. DOOKS: Madam Speaker, I'm a little confused with the emotion that's been showing through the member across the way. I want to bring it a little bit more personal, is the member across the way stating that the member for Eastern Shore has not worked to bring positive results to the Ship Harbour-Long Lake? I would ask him to come up, come clear with that and clearly say, has the member worked for the Ship Harbour-Long Lake or has he not? I want to ask that question.

[Page 7404]

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. MACDONELL: If the question was, and brought positive results, I say no, he has not. That was your question. (Interruptions)

Now, as yet, I'm not able to understand, since 1999, actually you might as well say since 1998, because the Liberals were no different, why it is that they will ignore the concerns of people in their homes, where they live, who cannot pull up stakes and move, because of some activity that the government has allowed in their area that they have indicated that they do not want, and, no, I will not entertain a question.

MR. WILLIAM DOOKS: Madam Speaker, on a point of order. I don't know what's gone wrong in this House here this afternoon, but certainly something, clearly, has taken place.

MADAM SPEAKER: Do you have a point of order?

MR. DOOKS: The point of order is that that member did not answer the question from the member for Eastern Shore. My question to that member was clearly, has the member for Eastern Shore not worked towards positive results for Ship Harbour-Long Lake?

MADAM SPEAKER: Order, please. Order. It's not a point of order. You maybe could continue your conflict outside, later on.

The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. MACDONELL: Madam Speaker, perhaps the member for Eastern Shore should recognize there's a difference between answering a question and getting an answer he doesn't like. (Interruptions)

MR. WILLIAM DOOKS: Madam Speaker, on a point of order. If the good member is not able to answer that question, I suggest he should call the Member of Parliament, Peter Stoffer and ask him the question, because I have been congratulated by Peter Stoffer, MP, on the work in trying to save and protect the beauty of the Ship Harbour-Long Lake . . .

MADAM SPEAKER: Order, please. Order. (Interruptions)

The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. MACDONELL: If I could stand in my place (Interruptions) The honourable member made the statement here today, I wouldn't want someone to cut Ship Harbour-Long Lake without a plan. To me, the plan would be, don't cut it, I haven't heard you stand up and say that. Thank you, Madam Speaker. (Applause)

[Page 7405]

MADAM SPEAKER: Order, please. The time allotted for the debate has ended.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Madam Speaker, I move the House do now rise to meet again tomorrow at the hour of 12:00 noon. The House will sit from 12:00 noon until 8:00 p.m. Following the daily routine and Question Period we'll go into Committee of the Whole House on Supply and continue on with Supply for four hours and then we'll take up Public Bills for Second Reading.

I'd like to bring to the attention of the House it would be my intention tomorrow to call Bill No. 177 for a little while and to also call Bill No. 198, the Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission Act and Bill No. 191, the Municipal Law Amendment (2005) Act, and we might try the Securities Act. So with those words, Madam Speaker, I move the House do now rise.

MADAM SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[The motion is carried.]

[6:00 p.m.]

We have reached the moment of interruption. The subject for this evening's late debate was submitted by the honourable Minister of Energy.

"Therefore be it resolved that the 2005 Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) was a resounding success."

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Energy.

ENERGY: OTC 2005 - SUCCESS

HON. CECIL CLARKE: It's a pleasure to rise today to speak on the Offshore Technology Conference for 2005 as it relates to Nova Scotia's presence in our growing and emerging oil and gas sector, as we move forward and now deal with the opportunities that lie ahead as a result of the resounding success achieved at Houston this year for Nova Scotian companies, and indeed for all of our province.

[Page 7406]

I was very pleased to help lead the Nova Scotia delegation and mission to Houston this year. This year we saw over 31 organizations from Nova Scotia join with the Department of Energy as well as with OTANS - The Offshore/Onshore Technologies Association of Nova Scotia - go down to Houston for this, the largest offshore oil and gas event in the world. Last year there were over 50,000 delegates participating in the OTC, as it's known, this year there were 65,000 delegates present for the Offshore Technology Conference. Nova Scotia's presence there, with 31 organizations with the Province of Nova Scotia, with OTANS and you consider the context of Nova Scotia's presence and participation with that.

For instance, with another province in Canada, Alberta, that had 30 participating organizations from that province, it goes to show you the level of interest and the level of activity that is now emerging and continues to be re-energized, so to speak, here in our offshore.

Last year Nova Scotia had to deal with certain realities associated with the natural cycle in the oil and gas sector and that was dealing with forfeitures at the time and those revenues that came in, and the $55 million that did come in, as you know, that went towards the surplus of the budget for the Province of Nova Scotia; indeed, that $55 million was applied against the debt of the province.

But what we see in our offshore in positioning and why there was such momentum was the working efforts of this province with industry, with other provinces, and with the Government of Canada through the Atlantic Energy Roundtable, in terms of efficiencies and regulatory processes and moving forward and trying to provide a better climate from lessons learned. Looking at the history we had, with regard to our Cohasset-Panuke project, with the Sable project, we see the development potential of the Deep Panuke project and the go-forward opportunity that it presents with tie-in to the Sable infrastructure, with tie-ins to that as well and with the potential of developing the Annapolis well and getting on for other exploratory activity in our offshore.

At Houston there was new momentum this year, a new enthusiasm for what the prospectivity of our offshore has to offer, and part of what we did as a government is look at creative solutions as to how we can incent more development in our offshore. That was not done by sitting back and waiting for activities to come to Nova Scotia, it was done by getting out there and working, working very hard, doing our homework, preparing ourselves, getting our business case, and going to Houston and advancing it. That's just what we did, and we did it in partnership with industries.

We've seen new trade deals that were done in Houston by Nova Scotia-based companies, and doing global deals. We're seeing Nova Scotia-based companies realizing more opportunities. When you consider it, Mr. Speaker, we have the base infrastructure of a $1 billion pipeline, through Maritimes & Northeast here in the province. We've seen billions of dollars invested in our offshore. We have 33 licensed blocks available for development with

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$1.15 billion in commitments on those blocks in our offshore for new development, and we want those commitments realized. So, to do that, we're looking at the possibility of doing some consolidation of licence blocks so that people will take the work commitments they have and make sure they're out there drilling. Mr. Speaker, our government's preference and priority is to see royalties, not penalties, derived from our offshore activity. We heard clearly from major players in the offshore that they want to be in Nova Scotia.

There are players who are making a larger position in Nova Scotia, and there are people looking to make go-forward decisions. I saw that confidence all around the trade show floor in the meetings we had with industry working to help promote our local companies, and seizing the opportunity of the day of advancing our energy strategy and working towards the types of outcomes that make Nova Scotia a stronger economic base, but make us a stronger province for a quality and quantity of living for our citizens, and that's what we all strive to do.

We see that, Mr. Speaker, as a result of the accomplishment we had even with our offshore deal with Ottawa - $830 million in an up-front payment, that money, directly against our debt, again enabling government to go out there and work to provide the economic and other priorities for our citizens. It's all because good, hardworking Nova Scotians have local ability with global reach.

We're seeing the success that has been derived off the Sable Offshore Energy Project and other initiatives moving forward. We've seen Norsk Hydro, now known as Hydro, moving forward. Hydro is going from having licenses, to becoming an operator in our offshore, the fifth largest operator in the world with deep water plays. We're seeing that come forward in this area.

We've had positive discussions with Marathon. We continue to work with ExxonMobil. We continue to have dialogue with EnCana, and we've seen new investment, for instance, by Bass Enterprise that have put, up front, an initial $40 million U.S. towards their perspective drilling offshore Nova Scotia, and that that drilling activity can see what they've estimated to be 800 million barrels of oil in that particular play. That is the equivalent of a Hibernia project, Mr. Speaker, as well as 250 billion cubic feet of natural gas. That, in itself, is more prospectivity. That's confidence that's helping our local companies grow. That's the type of confidence that's growing Nova Scotia and building new opportunities. That's why we were in Houston. That is why we will continue to do our best to ensure that Nova Scotians know full well that their government is working in partnership with and in concert with every opportunity.

We are not going to try to suggest that there are not economic concerns with regard to making sure that projects are realized and that we have to work within the market conditions, and that we will move fully to achieve that. I welcome the other comments from

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my colleagues in the House. I know we will continue to build on the resounding success of Offshore Technology Conference 2005.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

MR. DANIEL GRAHAM: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise and speak on this late debate on this particular matter. I thank the honourable minister for his comments. The minister and I had some comments before the conference where I had an opportunity to encourage him quite wholeheartedly to go, because I was strongly of the view, I remain of the view, that this initiative, our offshore, represents tremendous hope for Nova Scotia.

I am somewhat concerned about overstatement, however. I think to proclaim it a resounding success without some context is - well, perhaps it's my responsibility, Mr. Speaker, to provide some context to that. If the minister's resolution were to say that it was a resounding success in difficult times, then it might have been more appropriate; or that it went well in difficult times, and perhaps that would have been more appropriate. Clearly we are, ultimately, in difficult times when it comes to our offshore. Nonetheless, I concur with his comments that it is largely through the hard work of Nova Scotians and the ingenuity that is being shown by our private sector that we have been as successful as we have and we've kept the buzz alive.

I would remind the minister what many of my colleagues would want me to remind the minister of, and that is that the single project that Nova Scotia presently enjoys is one that was brought on by a Liberal Government a number of years ago. I would also add this, I had an opportunity to watch the waxing and waning of the Deep Panuke Project, and like him, I remain hopeful, hopefully it's not hope against hope, but I remain hopeful that we will be able to land that project. It was clear to me, as clear as it could be for somebody who was seated in the seat that I was in, that we would have Deep Panuke EnCana on the books right now, if it hadn't been for the regulatory problems that we encountered for the period of time that we did.

We can do much better than we have been doing. We are in an ebb when it comes to our offshore. I'm encouraged to see that the government has at least taken some steps in this recent budget to provide money, and I recognize the increased amount that is provided in the budget for this department and the priorities that have been set out. Nonetheless, it has been six years, Mr. Speaker. It's not just about the failure of this government, because it's not just their responsibility, it's about the geology. Nonetheless, my overriding conclusion with respect to this great possibility that sat before Nova Scotians in the late 1990s is that we could have been much further along than we are right now if we had straightened out the regulatory problems, if we had created a more positive buzz about us being open for business. We didn't get there at that time.

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The minister speaks strongly about a new era, and I'm hopeful that, indeed, that will be coming, but the proof will be in the pudding. Nova Scotians deserve to be skeptical, certainly many of them are skeptical, and I think their skeptisism is warranted, given the history of the last six years or so, particularly on the regulatory regime and demonstrating to the world industry that we know what we're doing. The minister has spoken positively about what's happened in Houston, I'll take him at his word that there was a strong commitment. Nonetheless, we're a long way from where, hopefully, we will be and, frankly, where we should be. I wish the minister well in his efforts to promote this. I'm encouraged to see that promotion is going to be an important element of the go-forward plan. Hopefully we do with the level of tenacity and the level of sophistication that is warranted for this, because in the end it will be all Nova Scotians who will benefit over a long period of time. Thank you. Those are my remarks.

MR. SPEAKER: I would like to thank the members for taking part in the debate this evening.

The House is adjourned until 12:00 noon tomorrow.

[The House rose at 6:08 p.m.]

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NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

[Tabled Tuesday, May 10, 2005]

RESOLUTION NO. 3881

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Barry Patriquin of Oxford, Nova Scotia, was presented with the Centennial Volunteer of the Year Award for 2004 by the Town of Oxford; and

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

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

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Barry Patriquin on receiving this award and wish him continued success and prosperity over the coming years.

RESOLUTION NO. 3882

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Heather Porteous, a native of Oxford, has been chosen as one of four recipients of the Cumberland Health Care Careers bursaries; and

Whereas Heather is attending St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish and will graduate in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science Nursing program; and

Whereas the Cumberland Health Authority and the five health care foundations that serve Cumberland County launched the bursary program in 2004 and is intended to assist the CHA in addressing anticipated human resource shortages in various health care professions in the upcoming years;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Heather on receiving this outstanding bursary and wish her all the success for the future and look forward to having her be an important part of our health care system upon graduation.

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RESOLUTION NO. 3883

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Oxford Guiding Movement of Oxford, Nova Scotia, was awarded the Hometown Christmas Centennial Award by the Town of Oxford; and

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

Whereas the awards were given out to businesses in the town that went above and beyond to make the town a special site over the Christmas holidays in their centennial year;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Oxford Guiding Movement on receiving this award and wish them continued success and prosperity over the coming years.

RESOLUTION NO. 3884

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Cpl. Linda Bird of #2553 Oxford Army Cadet Corps placed third in C Division at the April 16, 2005, Army Cadet League; and

Whereas it was a shoulder-to-shoulder shooting competition in Sheet Harbour earning Oxford a first-time placing in the medals; and

Whereas the medals were presented on April 18, 2005, and Linda was congratulated by Capt. Charles Albert, marksmanship coach, Capt. Kathy Lawrence, and Capt. Richard Chapman;

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

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RESOLUTION NO. 3885

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Steve Christie of Oxford teamed up with Katie Wortman and they took home the silver medals in the Provincial Senior Mixed Doubles at the NSSAF Badminton Championship in Truro; and

Whereas the pair won six games before giving up first place for second in the provincial final; and

Whereas this is Steve's fourth NSSAF provincial medal in badminton in the last five years where he won silver in boys singles in Grade 8 and Grade 10 and another in doubles with Dan Wortman in Grade 9;

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

[Page 7413]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 3911

By: Hon. James Muir (Education)

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

Whereas the 17th annual Blessing of the Bikes ceremony was held in Truro as a formal beginning of the 2005 motorcycle season in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas more than 270 motorcyclists and their passengers attended the event which featured music and messages about safe biking and good living, and proclamations of Motorcycle Awareness Month in the Town of Truro, the County of Colchester, and the Province of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas participants in the 2005 Blessing of the Bikes came from across Nova Scotia, and there was also a biker from New Brunswick;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House support the effort of the Organization of Responsible Bikers to promote safe motorcycling and congratulate it on another very successful Blessing of the Bikes.

RESOLUTION NO. 3912

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 volunteers contribute significantly to their communities; and

Whereas volunteers contribute in a variety of ways, including the giving of goods and services; and

Whereas Olive Zwicker, of Newcombville, Lunenburg County, has donated more than 70 homemade quilts over the past 20 years, which helped raise more than $25,000 for local charities;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend sincere congratulations to Olive Zwicker for donating her superb homemade quilts to charities for the purpose of fundraising.

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RESOLUTION NO. 3913

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 Janis Boiduk of Amherst, and a graduate of the NS College of Art and Design, captured national acclaim for photo restoration at the 2005 National Print Competition held in Calgary last month; and

Whereas her image, titled Prairie Harvest, was accepted and exhibited in the national Print Salon, judged at the convention by a panel of master photographers nationwide; and

Whereas this acceptance into the salon earned her merits towards several degrees offered to PPOC members - this is twice that Jan has won at the national level, indicating her ability and talent to produce extraordinary images;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in sending our congratulations to Janis Boiduk for her national recognition and wish her continued success in the world of photography.

RESOLUTION NO. 3914

By: Hon. Ernest Fage (Economic Development)

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

Whereas the Cumberland County Heritage Network has a lot to be proud of according to an official with the Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage who states this heritage group is the "most active" in the province; and

Whereas the Federation of N.S. Heritage also praised the network for being the first county to have their own Web site, and their latest project in the spirit of co-operation is a brochure outlining countywide heritage sites; and

Whereas while working on the brochure they will coordinate a countywide themed exhibit, entitled Business Now and Then, with every museum in the county participating this Summer, and each site will have a display dedicated to businesses that might have applied to their particular areas of location - this effort is another first for the province, with Cumberland County being the only one to do countywide themed exhibits;

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Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in sending our congratulations to the Cumberland County Heritage Network for their dedication and hard work of bringing Cumberland County to the forefront in the field of heritage.

RESOLUTION NO. 3915

By: Mr. Cecil O'Donnell (Shelburne)

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

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

Whereas Krista Rae, for her outstanding volunteer work, is the Municipality of Barrington's nominee for 2005; and

Whereas Krista's devotion to her junior high school and her fundraising abilities, along with her work for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Canadian Cancer Society, and her involvement with her church, where a group of young people meet to raise funds for local food banks, exemplifies the tremendous commitment Krista has made and still makes to her community on a daily basis;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs in this Legislature commend Krista Rae, from the Municipality of Barrington, for her prolific community leadership and encourage her to continue with this fantastic work.

RESOLUTION NO. 3916

By: Mr. Cecil O'Donnell (Shelburne)

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

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

Whereas Mr. Hilton Chymist, for his outstanding volunteer work, is the Town of Lockeport's nominee for 2005; and

Whereas Hilton's contribution to his community for more than three decades has been one of total commitment, having served as church treasurer for the Lockeport Independent Baptist Church for the past thirty years, while also teaching Sunday School and serving as a

[Page 7416]

church deacon, being secretary/treasurer for the Lockeport Cemetery Company, coordinating local fundraising for the Alzheimer's Society, while also serving as treasurer, secretary, dispatcher and fundraiser for the Lockeport Volunteer Fire Department, demonstrates the tremendous commitment Hilton has made and is still making to his community on a daily basis;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs in this Legislature commend Hilton Chymist from the Town of Lockeport for his outstanding community leadership.

RESOLUTION NO. 3917

By: Mr. Cecil O'Donnell (Shelburne)

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

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

Whereas Clare L. Thompson, for her outstanding volunteer work, is the Municipality of the District of Shelburne's nominee for 2005; and

Whereas Clare's contribution to her community since 1974 has been one of total devotion, having served as the district deputy president while representing the Jordan Falls Rebekah Lodge 127 numerous times at the Rebekah Assembly of the Atlantic Provinces, being an associate member of the Seabreeze Rebekah Lodge, serving as warden on the church council at Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Jordan Falls, while also serving on the board of directors of the Shelburne County Exhibition, and for the past two years as president of the Shelburne County Exhibition and still having the time for work with the Canadian Cancer Society, the Arthritis Society, and the CNIB, only exemplifies the tremendous commitment Clare has made and still makes to her community on a daily basis;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs in this Legislature commend Clare L. Thompson from the Municipality of the District of Shelburne for her prolific community leadership.

RESOLUTION NO. 3918

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

[Page 7417]

Whereas Reba Dawn Rushton of Oxford, Nova Scotia, was presented with the Centennial Youth Volunteer of the Year Award by the Town of Oxford; and

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

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

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

RESOLUTION NO. 3919

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Rouie Rushton of Oxford, Nova Scotia, was presented with the Centennial EMO Nominee of the Year Award by the Town of Oxford; and

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

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

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Rouie Rushton on receiving this award, and wish him continued success and prosperity over the coming years.

RESOLUTION NO. 3920

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Ruth Rushton of Oxford, Nova Scotia, was presented with the Centennial Pythian Sisters Nominee of the Year Award by the Town of Oxford; and

[Page 7418]

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

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

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

RESOLUTION NO. 3921

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Haley Winters, a Grade 12 student of Parrsboro Regional High School, was recognized for her participation in the Parrsboro Lions Club Speak Out competition; and

Whereas Haley spoke about 'club drugs' such as ecstasy as she is planning to pursue a career in pharmacy, and she delivered a well-researched talk on the different drugs available, the effects and ways for people to protect themselves from the harmful substances; and

Whereas Haley would like to see drug education in the schools focus more on these drugs rather than marijuana and cocaine, and also Haley delivered her speech with an outgoing personality and a positive attitude;

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

RESOLUTION NO. 3922

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Samantha Welsh concluded her high school basketball career with a provincial championship, but her playing days are far from over; and

Whereas the almost six-foot, 17-year-old Springhill Golden Eagles forward has attracted the attention of the Nova Scotia Agricultural College Basketball Program, and she has been recruited to play for the Truro college next year; and

[Page 7419]

Whereas Samantha's high school team captured its second straight Division III NSSAF provincial banner this year;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Samantha on her high school basketball career, and being recruited for the Nova Scotia Agricultural College Basketball Program, and wish her continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 3923

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Sam Welsh was honoured at the Springhill Student Appreciation Night in Springhill; and

Whereas Sam was awarded a plaque for the Most Valuable Player 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 Sam Welsh on this outstanding achievement, and wish her continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 3924

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas the Springhill High School Lady Golden Eagles defeated the Oxford Regional High Lady Golden Bears to claim the 11th Annual Schiefer's Ultramar Tip-Off Basketball Tournament; and

Whereas the Golden Eagles finished with a 3-0 record to bring them the win; and

[Page 7420]

Whereas Sara Laurie struck for 17 points, and Sam Welsh hooped 16 to lead SHS in the final, while Kate McMillian and Patti Gilroy both shot 10, Stacey Carter had four, Teesha Symes, Kathryn MacDonald, Darcee Wilson and Ashton Gogan each brought one basket as well;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Springhill High School Lady Golden Eagles on winning the Schiefer's Ultramar Tip-Off Basketball Tournament, and wish them continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 3925

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas on June 18, 2005, Lois Calder and Bob Spencer will be united in marriage at Cameron Beach; and

Whereas this fine couple is well respected in our community, and loved by all who know them; and

Whereas everyone, including their families, friends, neighbours and community wish them well in their future together;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Lois and Bob on their wedding day, and wish them many years of health and happiness together.

RESOLUTION NO. 3926

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Lacey Rushton was honoured during the Student Athlete Appreciation Night in Springhill in April; and

Whereas Lacey Rushton was awarded a plaque for Most Valuable Player on her Junior A Girls Basketball team; and

[Page 7421]

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 Lacey Rushton on this outstanding achievement, and wish her continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 3927

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas May 9th to May 15th is National Nursing Week; and

Whereas those individuals involved in health-related careers in Cumberland County's various facilities and services do so much to assist people and families in their time of need; and

Whereas nurses have earned the respect of Canadians for their caring, commitment and dedication to helping others through all types of illness, emergencies and stages of their lives;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the Nova Scotia Legislature offer their sincere thanks and congratulations to all nurses of Nova Scotia, and wish them well, not only during National Nursing Week but throughout the entire year.

RESOLUTION NO. 3928

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Oxford Volunteer Fire Department of Oxford, Nova Scotia, was awarded the Hometown Christmas Centennial Award by the Town of Oxford; and

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

Whereas the awards were given out to businesses in the town that went above and beyond to make the town a special site over the Christmas holidays in their centennial year;

[Page 7422]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Oxford Volunteer Fire Department on receiving this award and wish them continued success and prosperity over the coming years.

RESOLUTION NO. 3929

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas the Oxford Mini Bears captured the Basketball Nova Scotia Mini Championship; and

Whereas the Mini Bears swept through the competition and won each of their contests by more than 20 points going 4-0 en route to the event; and

Whereas team members include Morgan Forrest, Heidi Dormiedy, Nicole Wood, Madisan Swan, Emily Davis, Raelene Wilson, Justine Griffin, Elizabeth Jones, Nicole Cotton, Paige Black, Lindsay Blake, Cassie Newell, Megan Deveaux and coaches Peter Swan and Kendall Black;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Oxford Mini Bears on winning the championship and wish them continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 3930

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas the Oxford Mini Bears were in Port Elgin recently where they won the Cumberland/Westmorland Mini Boys League tournament; and

Whereas Milton King of the Bears was awarded MVP and Leslie Oderkirk the sportsman trophy; and

Whereas the Mini Bears team consists of assistant coach John Stewart, Milton King, Casey Visser, Chris Rogers, assistant coach Angel McCormick, coach Alf King, Dylan Ellis, Matt Graves, Nikolas Reitmaier, Mark Banks, MacKenzie Stewart, Randy Rushton, Josh Dorn and Leslie Oderkirk;

[Page 7423]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the members of the Oxford Mini Bears on this achievement and wish them continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 3931

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Oxford Home Hardware of Oxford, Nova Scotia, was awarded the Hometown Christmas Centennial Award by the Town of Oxford; and

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

Whereas the awards were given out to businesses in the town that went above and beyond to make the town a special site over the Christmas holidays in their centennial year;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Oxford Home Hardware on receiving this award and wish them continued success and prosperity over the coming years.

RESOLUTION NO. 3932

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas students at Oxford Regional High School are this year's winner of the Forest Products Association of Nova Scotia Youth Initiative Award that the association announced at its 71st Annual General Meeting in Halifax; and

Whereas Ernie Fage, Minister of Economic Development and MLA for Cumberland North, presented the award which recognizes an individual or group that exhibits a commitment to enhancing the sustainability of Nova Scotia's forest resource; and

Whereas Oxford Regional High School received the award for their Northumberland Trail Education Initiative;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Oxford Regional High School on this outstanding achievement and wish them continued success.

[Page 7424]

RESOLUTION NO. 3933

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Taylor Purdy was honoured at the Springhill Student Appreciation Night in Springhill; and

Whereas Taylor was awarded a plaque for the 3-D award winner of the Senior 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 Taylor Purdy on this outstanding achievement and wish him continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 3934

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Alissa Quinn was honoured at the Springhill Student Appreciation Night in Springhill; and

Whereas Alissa was awarded a plaque for the Most Valuable Player of the Junior B Girls 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 Alissa Quinn on this outstanding achievement and wish her continued success in the future.

[Page 7425]

RESOLUTION NO. 3935

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas the River Hebert Junior High Raiders were victorious over the North Colchester High Mustangs en route to grabbing the championship in the River Hebert District High Junior Tip-Off Tournament; and

Whereas helping bring the team to victory were Lawson MacLeod, Dwayne Ripley, Corey O'Brien, Kyle Vansnick, Ben Harrison, Mike Mills, Nick Roberts, all adding points to the game along with their other teammates backing them up; and

Whereas the River Hebert Raiders won the championship banner with their win over North Colchester with a 59-48 victory;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the River Hebert Junior High Raiders on this outstanding victory and wish them continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 3936

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas the community of River Hebert, Nova Scotia, showed their energy, love and effort to raise over $11,000 for the Tsunami Disaster Fund; and

Whereas the churches within the Cumberland Pastoral Charge of the United Church of Canada, Immanuel United in Amherst, Brookdale United and the River Hebert and Joggins United Churches also hosted a concert; and

Whereas the residents of River Hebert and the surrounding areas have made a tremendous contribution to this very worthy cause and have made a difference in the lives of people they will never know, which shows what their small community is all about;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the community of River Hebert for their outstanding effort and contribution to the Tsunami Disaster Fund and acknowledge this province's pride in them.

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RESOLUTION NO. 3937

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Jarrod Rolfe was honoured at the Springhill Student Appreciation Night in Springhill; and

Whereas Jarrod was awarded a plaque for Student Athlete of the Senior 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 Jarrod Rolfe on this outstanding achievement and wish him continued success in the future.