Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

HANSARD 03/04/05-91

DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS

Speaker: Honourable Murray Scott

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

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

Annual subscriptions available from the Office of the Speaker.

First Session

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2005

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Fin. - CBRM Residents: Home Heating Oil - Tax Cut, Mr. D. Dexter 8090
TPW - Pictou County:Toney River Bridge - Replace,
Mr. C. Parker 8091
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Anl. Repts.- District Health Authorities, Hon. Rodney MacDonald 8091
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Premier: Hfx. Citadel MLA (D. Graham) - Tribute, The Premier 8092
Premier: Earthquake (Pakistan) - Assistance, The Premier 8093
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 4425, Russell, Hon. Ronald - Welcome Back, The Premier 8096
Vote - Affirmative 8097
Res. 4426, CBC: Lockout - Resolution, Hon. R. Russell 8097
Vote - Affirmative 8098
Res. 4427, Chester-St. Margaret's MLA - Welcome, The Premier 8098
Vote - Affirmative 8098
Res. 4428, UNSM - Women: Gov't Inclusion - Recommendations,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 8099
Vote - Affirmative 8099
Res. 4429, Agric. & Fish.: Vet. Techs. - Contributions,
Hon. C. d'Entremont 8099
Vote - Affirmative 8100
Res. 4430, Jones, Catherine: At the End of the Day Exhibition - Thank,
Hon. C. Clarke 8100
Vote - Affirmative 8101
Res. 4431, Women, Status of: Women in Conflict - Contribution,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 8101
Vote - Affirmative 8102
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 222, Tobacco Damages and Health-care Costs Recovery Act,
Hon. M. Baker 8103
No. 223, Nova Scotia Power Rate Application Act, 2005,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 8103
No. 224, Income Tax Act,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 8103
No. 225, Smoke-free Places Act,
Hon. Rodney MacDonald 8103
No. 226, Human Rights Act,
Mr. R. MacKinnon 8103
No. 227, Public Utilities Act,
Mr. Manning MacDonald ~ 8104 ^
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 4432, Hamm, Prem. John/Graham, Daniel: Pub. Contribution - Recognize,
Mr. D. Dexter 8104
Vote - Affirmative 8104
Res. 4433, Nat. Res. - Boularderie Island: Strip Mining - Cancel,
Mr. Gerald Sampson 8105
Res. 4434, Nat'l. Gypsum - Strike: Negotiation - Encourage, Mr. B. Taylor 8105
Vote - Affirmative 8106
Res. 4435, Villa Acadienne - Long-Term Care: Baie Sainte-Marie - Ensure,
Mr. K. Deveaux 8107
Res. 4436, Veterans - MLAs: Service - Thank, Mr. Michel Samson 8106
Vote - Affirmative 8108
Res. 4437, Bondarenko Fam. - Work Visa: Immigration & Citizenship -
Encourage, Hon. M. Baker 8108
Vote - Affirmative 8109
Res. 4438, Safe Hbr. Church - Anniv. (14th), Ms. Maureen MacDonald 8109
Vote - Affirmative 8109
Res. 4439, Beals, Sister Rosetta: Church/Comm. - Service,
Mr. K. Colwell 8110
Res. 4440, Fougere, Pat: Death of - Tribute, Mr. R. Chisholm 8110
Vote - Affirmative 8111
Res. 4441, Nat'l Gypsum: IUOE Local 721B - Negotiate, Mr. F. Corbett 8111
Res. 4442, Hurricane Katrina - Cdn. Navy Coast Guard Crews:
Commmitment - Thank, Mr. W. Gaudet 8112
Vote - Affirmative 8112
Res. 4443, Shoreham Village: Staff/Vols. - Thank, Ms. J. Streatch 8113
Vote - Affirmative 8113
Res. 4444, Nine Mile River Women's Institute - Anniv. (25th),
Mr. J. MacDonell 8113
Vote - Affirmative 8114
Res. 4445, Emin, Bob: Anna. Royal Vol. FD - Service (55 years),
Mr. S. McNeil 8114
Vote - Affirmative 8115
Res. 4446, Evergreen Home for Special Care: Staff/Vols. - Thank,
Mr. M. Parent 8115
Vote - Affirmative 8115
Res. 4447, Hawkins, George: Death of - Tribute, Mr. H. Epstein 8116
Vote - Affirmative 8116
Res. 4448, Autumn House - Anniv. (15th), Ms. D. Whalen 8116
Vote - Affirmative 8117
Res. 4449, Serv. N.S. & Mun. Relations - Mun. Politicians: Contributions -
Acknowledge, Mr. R. MacKinnon 8117
Vote - Affirmative 8118
Res. 4450, Atl. Salmon Fed./Participants: Lime Doser Proj. - Applaud,
Ms. M. Raymond 8118
Vote - Affirmative 8119
Res. 4451, Raise-A-Reader: Contributors - Congrats., Ms. D. Whalen 8119
Vote - Affirmative 8120
Res. 4452, Fortune, J.D.: Success - Wish, Mr. J. DeWolfe 8120
Vote - Affirmative 8120
Res. 4453, Miller, Tom & Lori - N.S. Woodlot Owner of the Yr.,
Mr. C. Parker 8120
Vote - Affirmative 8121
Res. 4454, Jackson, Wilfred: Retirement - Honour, Mr. K. Colwell 8121
Vote - Affirmative 8122
Res. 4455, C.B. & Cent. N.S. Railway - Prem. John Hamm/
Hon. Cecil Clarke: Assistance - Thank, Mr. R. MacKinnon 8122
Res. 4456, Com. Serv.: Hfx. YWCA Housing Prog. - Closure,
Ms. M. More 8123
Res. 4457, Comeau, Phillip: Courage - Applaud, Hon. E. Fage 8124
Vote - Affirmative 8125
Res. 4458, Ugandan Cdn. Assoc. - Fundraising Efforts, Mr. G. Steele 8125
Vote - Affirmative 8126
Res. 4459, The Birches: Staff/Vols. - Thank, Mr. W. Dooks 8126
Vote - Affirmative 8126
Res. 4460, Vaughan, Hannah - Athletic Performance, Mr. J. Pye 8127
Vote - Affirmative 8128
Res. 4461, Team N.S.: Lun. Co. Participants - Congrats.,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 8127
Vote - Affirmative 8128
Res. 4462, Sysco: Steelworkers - Pensions, Mr. G. Gosse 8128
Res. 4463, Hfx. Int'l. Airport Auth. Bd. - Work Ethic, Mr. B. Taylor 8129
Vote - Affirmative 8130
Res. 4464, YouthLinks Summit: Sackville HS Students - Congrats.,
Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 8130
Vote - Affirmative ~ 8131^Res. 4465, Clark's Hbr.: Veterans Dinner - Congrats., Mr. C. O'Donnell
8 131
Vote - Affirmative 8131
Res. 4466, Hfx. Reg. Sch. Bd: West. Region HRM HS - Naming,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 8131
Vote - Affirmative 8132
Res. 4467, O'Brien, Audrey: Clerk of the House of Commons - Appt.,
Hon. M. Scott (By Mr. J. DeWolfe) 8132
Vote - Affirmative 8133
Res. 4468, UNSM - Reports: Mun. Equalization Prog. - Basis,
Mr. D. Dexter 8133
Res. 4469, Waverley FD - Anniv. (50th), Mr. G. Hines 8134
Vote - Affirmative 8134
Res. 4470, East. Passage-Cow Bay Intermediate Minor Baseball Team -
Championship, Mr. K. Deveaux 8135
Vote - Affirmative 8135
Res. 4471, Fultz Corner Restoration Soc. - Veterans Recognition Night,
Hon. B. Barnet 8135
Vote - Affirmative 8136
Res. 4472, Youth in Care Newsletter Prog.: Funding - Provide,
Mr. J. MacDonell 8136
Res. 4473, Educ. - Hfx. High Sch.: Completion Date - Ensure,
Mr. H. Epstein 8137
Vote - Affirmative 8137
Res. 4474, Windsor Pumpkin Regatta - Martha Stewart TV: Danny Dill/
VanEssa Roberts - Commend, Hon. R. Russell 8138
Vote - Affirmative 8138
Res. 4475, Com. Serv.: Early Childcare System - Create, Ms. M. More 8138
Res. 4476, Marks, Jenna - Athletic Performance, Mr. J. Pye 8142
Vote - Affirmative 8142
Res. 4477, Can. Games: Medal Recipients - Congrats.,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 8142
Vote - Affirmative 8143
Res. 4478, Hamilton, Wayn - Off. of African N.S. Affs.: CEO - Appt.,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 8143
Vote - Affirmative 8144
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 945, Prem.: Energy Plan - HST Removal, Mr. D. Dexter 8146
No. 946, Energy: Policy - Electricity Users, Mr. Manning MacDonald 8147
No. 947, Energy: Home Retrofitting - Assistance, Mr. D. Dexter 8148
No. 948, Energy - Crisis: Address Delay - Explain, Mr. Manning MacDonald 8150
No. 949, Energy: Dal. Cuts - Min. Explain, Mr. D. Dexter 8151
No. 950, Environ. & Lbr.: Dart. Crossing Cleanup - Responsibility,
Mr. J. Pye 8152
No. 951, Nat. Res.: ATV Task Force - Recommendations,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) ~ 8153^No. 952, Educ. - B. Bruce: Assistance - Details, Ms.
Maureen MacDonald 8155
No. 953, Nat. Res.: Strip Mining - Remediation, Mr. G. Gosse 8156
No. 954, Com. Serv. - Income Assistance Recipients: Energy Rebate -
Effect, Mr. Manning MacDonald 8157
No. 955, Nat. Res.: Donkin Mine - Proponent, Mr. F. Corbett 8158
No. 956, Educ. - Energy Costs: Univ. Budgets - Impact, Ms. D. Whalen 8159
No. 957, Health Prom.: Tobacco Marketing - Strategy,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 8161
No. 958, Health Prom.: Tobacco - Point-of-Sale Marketing,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 8161
No. 959, Educ. - Sch. Heating Costs: Sch. Bds. - Meeting, Ms. D. Whalen 8162
No. 960, Com. Serv: Women's Housing - Barriers, Ms. M. More 8163
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 203, Involuntary Psychiatric Treatment Act 8165
Mr. J. Pye 8165
Mr. K. Deveaux 8167
Adjourned debate 8175
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 43:
Energy: Crisis - Ramifications:
Mr. Manning MacDonald 8176
Ms. D. Whalen 8179
Hon. C. Clarke 8180
Mr. D. Dexter 8185
Mr. Gerald Sampson 8189
Hon. E. Fage 8192
Mr. F. Corbett 8196
Mr. H. Theriault 8200
Mr. B. Taylor 8201
Mr. H. Epstein 8203
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Fri., Oct. 14th at 9:00 a.m. 8206
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 4479, High-Crest Sherbrooke Home for Special Care: Staff/Vols. -
Thank, Mr. R. Chisholm 8207
Res. 4480, Duncan MacMillan Home for the Aged: Staff/Vols. - Thank,
Mr. R. Chisholm 8207
Res. 4481, Canso Seaside Manor: Staff/Vols. - Thank, Mr. R. Chisholm 8208
Res. 4482, Guysborough Home Support Agency - Anniv. (25th),
Mr. R.Chisholm 8208
Res. 4483, Milford Haven Nursing Home: Staff/Vols. - Thank,
Mr. R. Chisholm 8209
Res. 4484, Willow Lodge: Staff/Vols. - Thank, Mr. W. Langille 8209
Res. 4485, Seabright Rest Homes: Staff/Vols. - Thank, Ms. J. Streatch 8210
Res. 4486, Wedgewood House: Staff/Vols. - Thank, Mr. M. Parent 8210
Res. 4487, Mar. Fall Fair: Organizers/Participants - Congrats.,
Mr. S. McNeil 8211
Res. 4488, Beals, Sister Ruby Mae: Church/Commun. - Service,
Mr. K. Colwell 8211
Res. 4489, Bundy, Sister Rosella: Church/Commun. - Service,
Mr. K. Colwell 8212
Res. 4490, Cain, Sister Gladys: Church/Commun. - Service,
Mr. K. Colwell 8212
Res. 4491, Colley, Sister Edith: Church/Commun. - Service,
Mr. K. Colwell 8213
Res. 4492, Cromwell, Sister Edith: Church/Commun. - Service,
Mr. K. Colwell 8213
Res. 4493, David, Sister Irene: Church/Commun. - Service,
Mr. K. Colwell 8214
Res. 4494, Daye, Sister Dorothy: Church/Commun. - Service,
Mr. K. Colwell 8214
Res. 4495, Daye/Ashe, Sister Hattie: Church/Commun. - Service,
Mr. K. Colwell 8215
Res. 4496, Douglas, Sister Grace: Church/Commun. - Service,
Mr. K. Colwell 8215
Res. 4497, Fairfax, Sister Marjorie: Church/Commun. - Service,
Mr. K. Colwell 8216
Res. 4498, Fowler, Sister Vivian: Church/Commun. - Service,
Mr. K. Colwell 8216
Res. 4499, Fraser, Sister Emma: Church/Commun. - Service,
Mr. K. Colwell 8217
Res. 4500, Glasgow, Sister Gracie: Church/Commun. Service,
Mr. K. Colwell 8217
Res. 4501, Grant, Sister Evelyn: Church/Commun. Service,
Mr. K. Colwell 8218
Res. 4502, Jackson, Sister Evelyn: Church/Commun. Service,
Mr. K. Colwell 8218
Res. 4503, Jackson, Sister Theta: Church/Commun. Service,
Mr. K. Colwell 8219
Res. 4504, Johnson, Sister Elsie: Church/Commun. Service,
Mr. K. Colwell 8219
Res. 4505, Johnson, Sister Josephine: Church/Commun. Service,
Mr. K. Colwell 8220
Res. 4506, Johnson, Sister Rita Mae: Church/Commun. Service,
Mr. K. Colwell 8220
Res. 4507, Lucas, Sister Mildred: Church/Commun. - Service,
Mr. K. Colwell 8221
Res. 4508, MacLean, Sister L. Maude: Church/Commun. - Service,
Mr. K. Colwell 8221
Res. 4509, Mansfield, Sister Mayola: Church/Commun. -
Service, Mr. K. Colwell 8222
Res. 4510, Marsman, Sister Viola: Church/Commun. - Service,
Mr. K. Colwell 8222
Res. 4511, Mills - Clements, Deacon Frances: Church/Commun. - Service,
Mr. K. Colwell 8223
Res. 4512, Nelson, Sister Miriam "Hilda": Church/Commun. - Service,
Mr. K. Colwell 8223
Res. 4513, Oliver, Sister Edith: Church/Commun. - Service,
Mr. K. Colwell 8224
Res. 4514, Parsons, Sister Enid: Church/Commun. - Service,
Mr. K. Colwell 8224
Res. 4515, Provo, Sister Ruby: Church/Commun. - Service,
Mr. K. Colwell 8225
Res. 4516, Ross, Sister Bessie: Church/Commun. - Service,
Mr. K. Colwell 8225
Res. 4517, Smith, Sister Mildred: Church/Commun. - Service,
Mr. K. Colwell 8226
Res. 4518, Smith, Sister Noreen: Church/Commun. - Service,
Mr. K. Colwell 8226
Res. 4519, Sparks, Deaconess Bessie: Church/Commun. - Service,
Mr. K. Colwell 8227
Res. 4520, Sparks, Sister Mary: Church/Commun. - Service,
Mr. K. Colwell 8227
Res. 4521, Sparks, Sister Pearl: Church/Commun. - Service,
Mr. K. Colwell 8228
Res. 4522, Symonds, Deacon Emeritus Joyce: Church/Commun. - Service,
Mr. K. Colwell 8228
Res. 4523, Thomas, Sister Aleta: Church/Commun. - Service,
Mr. K. Colwell 8229
Res. 4524, Upshaw, Sister Evelina: Church/Commun. - Service,
Mr. K. Colwell 8229
Res. 4525, Williams, Sister Aleta: Church/Commun. - Service,
Mr. K. Colwell 8230
Res. 4526, Smith Wright, Sister Elizabeth: Church/Commun. - Service,
Mr. K. Colwell 8230

[Page 8089]

HALIFAX, THURSDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2005

Fifty-ninth General Assembly

First Session

2:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Murray Scott

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

Mr. James DeWolfe, Mr. Charles Parker, Ms. Diana Whalen

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I will call upon the honourable Premier to introduce a new member to the House.

The honourable Premier.

HON. JOHN HAMM (Premier): Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present to you and to all members of the House Judy Streatch, a newly elected member for the electoral district of Chester-St. Margaret's. The honourable member has taken the oath, signed the roll, and now exercises her claim to take her seat.

MR. SPEAKER: We certainly welcome the honourable member for Chester-St. Margaret's and on behalf of all members I would ask her to take her seat. I hope she enjoys taking part in the proceedings. Congratulations. (Standing Ovation)

The honourable Deputy Premier on an introduction.

8089

[Page 8090]

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour today to welcome two very special guests in the east gallery. I would like to introduce to the House the MP for South Shore-St. Margaret's, Mr. Gerald Keddy and the husband of the new member of the House. At the other end of that row we have Mr. Ken Streatch, who is known by many people in this House, he is a former colleague of mine - we came into the House back in 1978 - and a former Cabinet Minister and now retired and living the life of a retiree. Welcome to you all. (Applause)

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

At this time I would also like to take the opportunity to welcome and introduce two new Deputy Speakers to be presented for this session, the honourable member for Pictou West for the Official Opposition and the honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park for the Liberal Party. I would ask them to rise and receive the welcome of the House, please. I'm certainly looking forward to working with these two new members in their new duties. (Applause)

The late debate for this evening was submitted by the honourable member for Digby-Annapolis:

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House demand the Premier act immediately and substantially to protect Nova Scotians from the high costs of heating their homes this Winter.

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

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition. The operative clause is, "We, the undersigned residents of CBRM, request the Government of Nova Scotia to remove, by September 30, 2005, the 15 per cent tax on home heating oil."

Mr. Speaker, it is signed by 7,485 residents, primarily of North Sydney but also of the surrounding area. I have affixed my signature. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

[Page 8091]

MR. CHARLES PARKER: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition on behalf of a number of residents in the Toney River area of Pictou County. It's at Little River Bridge at Toney Mills. The petition reads, ". . . to urge the Nova Scotia Provincial Government and the Department of Transportation to make funding available and to replace the condemned Little Toney River Bridge on the Carmichael Road, closed to traffic since May 1, 2003, with a new bridge structure." It's signed by 308 residents of the area, and I, too, have affixed my signature.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis on an introduction.

MR. HAROLD THERIAULT: Mr. Speaker, I'd like to bring the Assembly's attention to the west - I was going to say wing - gallery. I would like to introduce you to one of my seven sisters. (Interruptions) She's here to take care of me, but she's one of Wayne's constituents. Anyway, I'd like to introduce my sister, Laurina Tucker. Give her a warm welcome. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We certainly welcome the honourable member's sister here today. I'm sure she'll keep a close eye on him. (Laughter)

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

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

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a number of district health authorities' annual reports, the Cape Breton District Health Authority Annual Report 2004-05; the Guysborough Antigonish Strait Health Authority Annual Report 2004-05; the Colchester East Hants Health Authority 2004-05 Annual Report; the South Shore Health Authority 2004-05 Annual Report; the Annapolis Valley District Health Authority 2004-05 Annual Report; the Annual Report of the Psychiatric Facilities Review Board for 2002-03; and I believe I mentioned the Capital Health Report, but after doing so many, I forget.

[2:15 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The reports are tabled.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

[Page 8092]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I stand in my place today to publicly thank former Halifax Citadel MLA Danny Graham for his public service and earnest commitment to making Nova Scotia a better place to live, work and raise a family. As I noted on the day of his announcement, Danny Graham has brought great energy and great sincerity to his Party, his constituency and his province throughout his term as Leader of the Liberal Party, through an election campaign and while carrying out his responsibilities as an MLA.

While we do not share the same politics, we found numerous areas where we could agree or at least compromise and improve upon government policies and legislation. I know all in this Legislature would agree that Mr. Graham had a genuine respect for his House and for his colleagues in this House. His gentle demeanor and command of the law allowed for co-operation and progress on many areas of importance to Nova Scotians.

Marian Wright Edelman, a passionate children's rights advocate in the United States, said, "Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it." I believe the same can be said for public life and for Mr. Graham's contribution during his time in government.

On behalf of my caucus and, indeed, all Nova Scotians, I wish Mr. Graham well as he returns to the private sector, hopefully finding some relief from the pressures of public life and more time to spend with his wife, Sheelagh, and their sons, Patrick, Andrew and Colin. May this be a positive new chapter in their lives. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to join with the Premier and the members of his caucus, and on behalf of our own caucus, to extend to Mr. Graham our thanks. I believe that over the time that he had to serve in this House and, in fact, in the run-up - because we should remember there was a period of time when he was working outside of the House on behalf of his Party in his capacity as Leader - I believe that he served this House with distinction. He served his constituents with great passion and I believe that the House and the Province of Nova Scotia are better off as a result of those contributions.

I would also on behalf of my caucus like to extend a special thank you to the members of his family who allowed him the opportunity to be able to make those contributions for which we are all grateful. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Annapolis.

MR. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, I'm honoured to have the opportunity today to speak in tribute to Danny Graham on behalf of the entire Liberal caucus. My remarks are based on my experience with Danny, first as a supporter, then as a colleague and, finally, as

[Page 8093]

a friend. When Danny entered public life he brought with him high expectations. We had high expectations for him and he for us.

He had a fresh approach and a belief that life could be better for Nova Scotians and that government could be reformed. He has the ability to make people feel stronger and hopeful - rare talents in a politician. One of Danny's biggest assets as Leader was that he listened. He solicited the views of others and paid attention. While the public perception is that many politicians can make you feel that they're looking over your shoulder for the next hand to shake, you never felt that way with Danny, and he has passion. One might disagree with him on issues such as VLTs or special education, but one could never question the passion and belief of his position and sometimes that position was hard to sell no matter how much passion was behind it.

It is not easy to tell voters in the province that you could not afford a tax cut, as he did during the 2003 election campaign. The truth hurts and sometimes it costs you votes. There are missteps along the way, Mr. Speaker. You, yourself, have sometimes had to remind Danny he was asking a question, not making a summation. Indeed, on many occasions, I think he may have called you Your Honour.

There are several men in this Chamber who know how difficult it is to be a political leader under the very best of circumstances. Although it is a very important job, it is not the most important job in one's life. A good leader leads by example and, for us, Danny showed leadership when he made the choice two years ago to put his full energy and support behind Sheelagh and his family. Lots of people talk about family values - Danny lives them.

I want to conclude on this note. It was Danny's commitment to public policy and broader issues of justice which brought him to politics; ironically, he leaves politics to pursue these same goals and we wish him the very best. To Sheelagh, Patrick, Andrew and Colin, I want to say thank you for sharing your husband and your father with us. We appreciate your sacrifice, and I know that all my colleagues in this Chamber want to wish you the very best in the future. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you, and I'm sure on behalf of all members we all wish Danny and his family nothing but the very best in the future.

The honourable Premier.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the disturbing images of yet another natural disaster have travelled from across the world to our living rooms - this time, as a result of an earthquake, with a magnitude of 7.6 on the Richter scale, that hit 95 kilometres northeast of the Pakistan capital of Islamabad. The number who have died as a result is estimated now at a possible 40,000. However, the United Nations reminds us that some 4 million people are affected, including 2 million who have lost their homes. The United Nations also warns that

[Page 8094]

what may follow - measles, cholera and other diseases - could add to the already frightening death toll.

We have today lowered the flags at Province House to half-mast out of respect and in shared grief for this horrific tragedy.

While relief efforts are pouring in from around the world, many still suffer awaiting medical aid or essentials like food, water, immunization and shelter. Simply trying to reach affected citizens in rural parts of this mountainous region is adding to the task of just trying to attend to the mammoth number injured and killed.

Our province, on behalf of all of our citizens, has committed today to a donation of $100,000 to be channelled through the Canadian Red Cross Society. The society's most urgent request is for cash to provide the survivors of the disaster with food, shelter, first aid, basic health care and medical supplies.

The federal government has committed to helping reunite close family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents who are seriously and personally affected by the earthquake, taking a similar approach to the crisis following the tsunami in southeast Asia.

Nova Scotia is already home to many people from the south Asian region affected by this terrible disaster; we know there are more than 100 families from Pakistan alone in our province. While we have a feeling of helplessness when again watching from afar a tragedy of such immense proportions, we too want to lend a hand. In concert with the federal government's efforts, we will also work to assist those in the earthquake-devastated region of south Asia to help reunite those people with their families.

Our Nominee Program is open to people who have strong community ties with the province. People who have been affected by this disaster and who have close family ties in Nova Scotia are welcome to apply to our Nominee Program. To add more than simply words of welcome, we will also waive the application fees. As well, these files will be dealt with on a priority basis.

The innocent face of the five-year-old girl found after being trapped for nearly 100 hours is a small victory for rescuers and residents, mindful of the future for this region where, it seems, according to those on the ground, children and women were affected in greater proportion.

We pray for more miracles like this one as we continue to monitor the tragic images of entire villages lost and the schools filled with children simply buried under rubble and as time runs short in the desperate attempt - many digging through the rubble with their bare hands - to try to find more survivors.

[Page 8095]

Mr. Speaker, after we hear from the Opposition Leaders, I would ask all members of this Legislature to rise for a moment of silence and reflect on the devastation, the tens of thousands who have died and on those who survived but must now wait for medical aid and emergency relief efforts.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I want to welcome the statement by the Premier. I think his words were entirely appropriate and the actions of the government are of course entirely appropriate. As it happens, last evening, I had a long conversation with a gentleman whose parents are still in Pakistan. He was explaining to me something about the geography of the place and the fact that they really fear that the real scope of the devastation won't be known for some time yet and of course that the effects of the earthquake had also extended into areas of India as well. So this is obviously a matter of compassion on behalf of the government and we appreciate it, and so on behalf of our caucus we would like to associate ourselves with the statement made by the Premier.

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

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. On behalf of our Leader, Francis MacKenzie and on behalf of our entire caucus, I certainly want to thank the Premier for making the statement here today. Our entire caucus is saddened by the devastation that this earthquake has had for the people of Pakistan and the up to 40,000 lives that have been lost.

Mr. Speaker, we know that residents of Pakistan have continually made up a large percentage of new Canadian citizens over the past number of years and has played an important role in the makeup of our Canadian fabric and I am certainly pleased to learn that there are over 100 families in Nova Scotia who are of Pakistani descent. We want to commend the government for at this time choosing to waive the application fees under the Nominee Program and we certainly hope that residents in the Pakistani area will be applying to become Nova Scotia citizens and Nova Scotia residents. We're also pleased that the government has contributed $100,000 to the Canadian Red Cross. When one looks at the global picture, Nova Scotia is quite a small player, but I think all Nova Scotians will be proud to see that in a time of need, our province is always prepared to give a helping hand.

Mr. Speaker, while we may have our differences politically, I think all members recognize that as Nova Scotians, we are people who live in peace. We do not fear attack from outside forces. We do not fear civil war based on religious or ethnic grounds. We do not fear the natural disasters that are all too common in certain parts of the world. So let's take this opportunity to grieve for the lives that have been lost, for the families who have been

[Page 8096]

devastated, but let us also once again take this opportunity to be thankful for the peace and the stability that we enjoy as Nova Scotians. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. I would ask all members to rise for a moment of silence.

[One minute of silence was observed.]

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you, please be seated.

The honourable Leader in the House of the Liberal Party.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, I would draw the members' attention to the west gallery where we are joined today by a young gentleman - I will call him young because he is the same age as me - who our caucus looks forward to seeing much more of in the near future here in this House. I would ask members to join me in welcoming the Liberal candidate for Halifax Citadel, Mr. Devin Maxwell.(Applause)

[2:30 p.m.]

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

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 4425

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

Whereas the longest-serving member of this House - our Deputy Premier - started off his Summer with upsetting news and had to quickly prepare for surgery to deal with the cancer doctors had found; and

Whereas not only is he back in his seat, he has returned to the job with a clean bill of health from his doctor and looks better than ever; and (Standing Ovation)

Whereas it is thanks in large measure to this member's incredible efforts as Government House Leader, and positive working relationship with his counterparts across the floor, that we have moved forward on so many legislative issues during this minority government;

[Page 8097]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature give a warm welcome back - well, we already did - to this valued member of government who has, yet again, shown that age is not a limiting factor when you have the strength, drive and level of energy of a 20- year-old. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Deputy Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 4426

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

Whereas this week, loyal listeners and viewers of the CBC welcomed news that the national broadcasting corporation and its employees had ratified a new agreement and returned to the airwaves; and

Whereas the two-month long labour disruption was difficult for employees, their families, and the CBC, and left a void for audiences across Canada; and

Whereas the end of the lockout includes a return to duty of our own press gallery president and radio legislative correspondent, Jean Laroche, as well as veteran CBC legislative television correspondent Paul Withers, and French correspondents Jean-Albert Maire and Madeleine Blais-Morin;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the Legislature thank both sides for coming back to the table and making some difficult decisions to ensure a successful outcome for what was a very tough situation for all.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 8098]

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 Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 4427

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

Whereas the passing in 2004 of a loyal friend to this Legislature, Mr. John Chataway, left a great void for the people of Chester-St. Margaret's, including, of course, the need for a new provincial representative; and

Whereas while John left big shoes to fill, I believe he would have been pleased to see the field of enthusiastic and qualified candidates who put their names forward in the recent by-election; and

Whereas the new member for Chester-St. Margaret's not only brings to this role enthusiasm, a love of politics, of her community, and of her family, she also brings over 15 years as an educator, experience in business, as well as a keen understanding of the needs of rural Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the Legislature give a warm welcome to the House of Assembly's new representative for Chester-St. Margaret's, and thank all of those who took the brave step of placing their names forward for public office.

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 8099]

The honourable Minister of Human Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 4428

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

Whereas the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities recently heard from women in this province about women's participation in municipal decision making; and

Whereas women participate in decision making as citizens, as government employees and as elected officials; and

Whereas municipal councillors of Nova Scotia and the UNSM Board have considered and accepted the recommendations of their Women in Local Government project and will surely act upon those;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize and congratulate the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities on their support of increasing women's participation in many forms of government decision making.

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 Agriculture and Fisheries.

RESOLUTION NO. 4429

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

Whereas Animal Health and Registered Veterinary Technologists have practised in Canada for over 30 years as valuable professionals in the field of animal health and veterinary medicine; and

[Page 8100]

Whereas the number of veterinary technicians and membership in the Eastern Veterinary Technicians Association in Nova Scotia continues to grow; and

Whereas October 9th to October 15th is Veterinary Technicians Week in the Province of Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize that veterinary technicians are important contributors to animal health and are to be commended for the work that they do.

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 on an introduction.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I believe in both east and west galleries we have operating engineers, members of Local 721B, who are presently on strike at National Gypsum in Milford. They're here today to draw attention to their plight, and I would like them to stand and get the recognition of the House. (Applause)

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

The honourable Minister of Energy.

RESOLUTION NO. 4430

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

Whereas a beautiful exhibition of paintings celebrating the reconciliation and forgiveness of a group of World War II veterans opened at Province House yesterday and will remain on display until October 21st; and

[Page 8101]

Whereas this is a fitting tribute, during the Year of the Veteran and the commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of the end of World War II, to the peace and freedoms secured as a result of the tragic sacrifices made by so many; and

Whereas the exhibition, At the End of the Day, features veterans from Canada, Britain and Germany and was inspired by the Dinner of Reconciliation in Ortona, Italy, in 1998, when former combatants gathered for dinner - Ortona being the scene of heavy fighting in the Second World War;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature thank artist Catherine Jones for sharing these tremendous images with us and for the message of forgiveness her 21 paintings relay, and encourage all to experience the exhibition while housed in the Legislature so that this enduring message is shared as widely as possible.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Human Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 4431

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

Whereas Canadians have been marking Women's History Month since October 1992; and

Whereas this year we remember the contributions of women in conflict and peace, and the consequences of war for women; and

Whereas many Nova Scotia women have served Canada, in conflict and in peace, in our Armed Forces as medical support, as logistic support, in fact in nearly every capacity;

[Page 8102]

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize and applaud the contributions women have made for decades to the peace and freedom Canadians enjoy today, and that we work to ensure that the progress of women continues until the day we celebrate their true equality in Canada.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition on an introduction.

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It's with great pleasure that I introduce in your gallery Karen Haslam, who is the new provincial secretary for the provincial New Democratic Party. So you're going to see her around here a little bit from time to time. She's coming in to get a view of the House and what we do here. So I'd like to, on behalf of the House, welcome her and give her the approbation of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. I certainly welcome our special guest to the gallery today.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage on an introduction.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, in the west gallery, I wanted to recognize some members of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union who are here with regard to the issue of the Shelburne facility: Mr. Francis Campbell, Mr. John Waters, Mr. Bill Slack, also Robin MacLean, Joan Jessome and Linda Power here as well from the union; and they can get the welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: I certainly welcome our special guests to the gallery today.

I'd like to bring to the attention of the members two guests who are seated in the Speaker's Gallery today. One is a gentleman who has been here before, Speaker Bev Harrison from the New Brunswick House of Assembly. With Speaker Harrison today is a gentleman, his name is Mphiwa Dlamini. Mphiwa is a Member of the Parliament of Swaziland. He's visiting Canada and the Maritime Provinces - New Brunswick, P.E.I. and

[Page 8103]

now Nova Scotia - and he's being escorted by Mr. Harrison. Of particular interest, Mphiwa is a Member of Parliament in Swaziland, as I said, but he's also a member of the royal family of Swaziland. I believe he's a relative of the king. Mphiwa has been here, he's visited with myself and with the clerks and he's been touring the Legislature doing a review of the procedures and rules, the way we do things here in Eastern Canada. I would ask Mphiwa and Speaker Harrison to rise and receive the warm welcome of the House, please. (Applause)

Welcome to Nova Scotia and to Canada, Mphiwa, and we hope to see you back again.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 222 - Entitled an Act to Recover Damages and Health-care Costs from Manufacturers of Tobacco. (Hon. Michael Baker)

Bill No. 223 - Entitled an Act to Delay the Application for Rate Increases by Nova Scotia Power. (Mr. Manning MacDonald)

Bill No. 224 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 217 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Income Tax Act. (Mr. William Estabrooks)

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

The honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage.

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, if I might introduce a few people in the gallery who are here for the introduction of this bill today. There are four people in the east gallery here today who have been instrumental in the bill moving forward that we're putting forward today, and I'd ask them to rise and receive the welcome of the House, Dr. Robert Strang from Smoke-Free Nova Scotia, Meg McCallum of the Canadian Cancer Society, Nova Scotia, Sharon MacIntosh of Capital Health, and Allan MacEvoy of the Hearth and Stroke Foundation. I would ask all members to give them a warm welcome to the House.

[2:45 p.m.]

Bill No. 225 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 12 of the Acts of 2002. The Smoke-free Places Act. (Hon. Rodney MacDonald)

Bill No. 226 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 214 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Human Rights Act. (Mr. Russell MacKinnon)

[Page 8104]

Bill No. 227 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 380 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Public Utilities Act. (Mr. Manning MacDonald)

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 4432

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

Whereas on September 29th, Premier John Hamm announced that he will step aside from his position once the Progressive Conservative Party has chosen his successor; and

Whereas on October 7th, former Liberal Party Leader Danny Graham resigned his seat in the Legislature; and

Whereas both the Premier and Mr. Graham have provided the kind of principled and dedicated public service that earns the respect of Nova Scotians from all political viewpoints;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the positive contribution made by Premier John Hamm and Mr. Danny Graham to public life in our province, and thank their families and supporters for making it possible for these two leaders to foster confidence in our democratic system of government.

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 Victoria-The Lakes.

[Page 8105]

RESOLUTION NO. 4433

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

Whereas strip mining has been called remediation mining; and

Whereas strip mining is also being referred to as surface mining; and

Whereas Boularderie Island is a jewel in the Bras d'Or Lakes with its pristine environment and second-to-none community environment;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the damage that this proposed strip mining will cause to this jewel of Boularderie Island and petition the Minister of Natural Resources to cancel any and all permits for strip mining on Boularderie Island.

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. 4434

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

Whereas approximately 95 workers at the National Gypsum Milford-Dutch Settlement-Carroll's Corner quarry and the Burnside loading facility have been on strike for nearly 10 weeks now; and

Whereas the employees' collective agreement expired on April 21st of this year; and

Whereas the operating engineers are trying to improve their pension plan, job security, compulsory overtime, layoff recall and safety;

[Page 8106]

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature encourage the management and employee teams to get back to the table so a solution can be found to resolve this very difficult situation.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 4435

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, I'll be doing this resolution in something that sounds like French and translating it into English afterwards. (Interruptions)

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

Attendu que les citoyens de la baie Sainte-Marie avec besoins de soins continues sont souvent placés dans des maisons de soins à l'extérieur de leur communauté; et

Attendu que les personnes francophones ne peuvent pas recevoir des services en français dans plusieurs de ces communautés; et

Attendu que le bureau de direction de Villa Acadienne, une maison de soins située à Meteghan, voudrait adjouter 10 lits pour continuer à bien servir la population de la baie Sainte-Marie chez elle;

Qu'il soit résolu que cette gouvernement travaille avec le bureau de direction de Villa Acadienne pour s'assurer que la population acadienne de la region de la baie Sainte-Marie peut recevoir le soins continues dans leur propre communauté.

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

[Page 8107]

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

Whereas the residents of the Baie Sainte-Marie area who require continuing care are often placed in nursing homes outside their community; and

Whereas French-speaking people cannot receive services in French in many of these communities; and

Whereas the board of directors of Villa Acadienne, a nursing home located in Meteghan, would like to add 10 beds to continue serving the population of the Baie Sainte-Marie area in their own area;

Therefore be it resolved that this government work with the board of directors of Villa Acadienne to ensure that the population of Baie Sainte-Marie can receive long-term care in their own community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader in the House of the Liberal Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 4436

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

Whereas 2005 has been designated Year of the Veteran in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas all Nova Scotians should remember and honour those who fought so bravely and contributed in so many ways, on and off the battlefield; and

Whereas this is an opportunity for all Nova Scotians to recognize the sacrifices and hardship of our veterans and current Armed Forces for their great duty and service to all Nova Scotians;

[Page 8108]

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly thank our veterans for their service to Canada, and recognize that every year is a year to honour our veterans.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

RESOLUTION NO. 4437

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

Whereas the Bondarenko family has been waiting in Bermuda for the federal Department of Immigration and Citizenship to approve their application for a work visa and permanent residency since the early Summer; and

Whereas the Bondarenko family has been approved as a candidate for the Nova Scotia Nominee Program as a highly-skilled person; and

Whereas the Bondarenko family and the Province of Nova Scotia are awaiting approval from the federal Department of Immigration and Citizenship so that the Bondarenko family may return to Nova Scotia where their friends and business associates await them;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly call upon the federal Department of Immigration and Citizenship to take all the steps necessary to facilitate the return of the Bondarenko family to the province in the near future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 8109]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 4438

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

Whereas Safe Harbour Metropolitan Community Church was established in Halifax in 1991 as a member congregation of the Metropolitan Community Churches, the world's largest Christian denomination with a positive, affirming ministry to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered communities; and

Whereas Safe Harbour Church, its pastor, Rev. Darlene Young, and its members have provided valuable services to this community, including operating, for the past eight years, the Manna for Health Food Bank, which assists people living with HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening illnesses; and

Whereas Safe Harbour Church recently celebrated its 14th Anniversary on September 25, 2005, with a special service attended by Rev. Elder, Dr. Troy D. Perry, the founder and moderator of the Metropolitan Community Churches;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Safe Harbour Metropolitan Community Church on the occasion of its 14th Anniversary, and extend its appreciation for the desperately needed services which the church has provided over that time and will continue to provide.

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 8110]

The honourable member for Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 4439

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

Whereas the Women's Institute of the African United Baptist Association, known as the AUBA, is the governing body of all women's groups and organizations within the AUBA and continuously strives to promote Christian hope and charity within the church, home and community; and

Whereas the AUBA Women's Institute is honoring 40 women from the ladies auxiliary on October 15, 2005; and

Whereas Sister Rosetta Beals has been recognized for 50 years of continuous service to the AUBA Women's Institute through the local ladies auxiliary;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Sister Rosetta Beals and honour her dedication and service to her church and community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Guysborough-Sheet Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 4440

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

Whereas it is with great sadness that the people of Canso recognize Pat Fougere, who passed away August 14th, for his many contributions to his community; and

[Page 8111]

Whereas Pat Fougere will always be remembered for being an advocate for the fishery and the Town of Canso; and

Whereas Pat Fougere was a passionate man, who worked tirelessly as a voice for local fisherman, and was a pillar of the community who will be greatly missed;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House express their appreciation for all that Pat Fougere accomplished in his short 51 years, and extend their deepest condolences to the Fougere family and friends.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 4441

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

Whereas the members of the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 721B at National Gypsum's Milford quarry and Burnside loading facility were forced on to the picket line on August 10th of this year; and

Whereas the union, because of the greed of National Gypsum, was forced into this situation in order to fight for better pensions, seniority rights and living wages; and

Whereas this international company is mining one of our precious natural resources with little or no regard for Nova Scotian workers;

Therefore be it resolved that this House insist National Gypsum go back to the table for meaningful negotiations with Local 721B of the International Union of Operating Engineers to get a collective agreement to give these workers the dignity they deserve.

[Page 8112]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Clare.

RESOLUTION NO. 4442

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

Whereas the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina to the southern States has been a shock to many across North America; and

Whereas in an effort to help our neighbours to the South, Canada sent 1,000 members of our Navy and Coast Guard to help with the cleanup of this disaster; and

Whereas members of our Armed Forces delivered desperately needed supplies, cleaned up debris left by the storm, while our Navy divers and Coast Guard workers continued to raise sunken ships, clearing shipping channels and repairing navigational beacons, ensuring the ports are able to reopen for business;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House recognize the commitment and sacrifice made by the crews of HMCS Athabaskan, HMCS Ville de Québec, HMCS Toronto and our Coast Guard ship, Sir William Alexander.

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 8113]

The honourable member for Chester-St. Margaret's.

RESOLUTION NO. 4443

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

Whereas September represented Continuing Care Month across Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Shoreham Village in Chester provides professional care and comfort to seniors in need; and

Whereas Continuing Care Month celebrates all of the organizations, staff and volunteers, who dedicate themselves every day to caring for citizens in need;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank the compassionate staff and volunteers in continuing care, as well as the many Nova Scotians who are the recipients of their hard work and dedication.

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.

[3:00 p.m.]

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 4444

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

Whereas since Adelaide Hunter Hoodless' 18-month-old son died from drinking contaminated milk in 1897, rural women have organized to provide a forum to better themselves and their communities; and

[Page 8114]

Whereas Women's Institutes were created directly from this beginning; and

Whereas October 14, 2005, marks the 25th Anniversary of the Nine Mile River Homemakers Women's Institute;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the members of the Nine Mile River Women's Institute branch for their contributions to their community over the years, and wish them success for the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 4445

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

Whereas Bob Emin of Annapolis Royal has been an active and well-respected community member in that town, serving in many capacities including a prominent businessman, deputy mayor and fire chief; and

Whereas Bob often put his safety and well-being at risk responding to the needs of others as a volunteer firefighter with the Annapolis Royal Volunteer Fire Department; and

Whereas Bob is being recognized by his peers at the Annapolis Royal Volunteer Fire Department's annual banquet on November 5, 2005, for 55 years of active, outstanding service to the department and to his community;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly extend their thanks and appreciation to Bob and his family for many years of selfless giving.

[Page 8115]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 4446

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

Whereas September represented Continuing Care Month across Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Evergreen Home for Special Care in Kentville provides professional care and comfort to seniors in need; and

Whereas Continuing Care Month celebrates all of the organizations, staff and volunteers who dedicate themselves every day to caring for citizens in need;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank the compassionate staff and volunteers in continuing care, as well as the many Nova Scotians who are recipients of their hard work and dedication.

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 8116]

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 4447

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I

shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas a stalwart of Nova Scotia politics, Mr. George Hawkins passed away in September of this year at the age of 81; and

Whereas George Hawkins was universally known as a wonderful raconteur, as a well-motivated reformer, as having a genuine interest in all people, and as a treasured fellow citizen; and

Whereas his contribution to the serious debate of important public issues in Nova Scotia politics will long be remembered;

Therefore be it resolved that this House offer its sympathy to the family of the late George Hawkins, a man to be respected.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

RESOLUTION NO. 4448

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

Whereas for the past 15 years, Autumn House has been a beacon of hope in Cumberland County for women in need of safety; and

[Page 8117]

Whereas Autumn House has sheltered 1,600 women and children since its inception, and provided counselling to hundreds of other men and women who have required assistance to end the cycle of violence; and

Whereas the work of the Cumberland Transition House Association has transformed the lives of many women through counselling, encouragement and support;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate Autumn House for their 15 years of service, and recognize the vital services transition houses provide in our communities.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 4449

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

Whereas there are 441 elected municipal members in 55 municipal units across the Province of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the local government represented by talented, civic-minded citizens is essential to the conduct of good government; and

Whereas each year there is at least one councillor in each municipal unit who excels during the execution of his or her duties;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House acknowledge and congratulate contributions made by our municipal politicians within Nova Scotia and lend support to an effort by the Department of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, in conjunction with the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities, in having each municipality present a

[Page 8118]

councillor of the year award for the councillor in each municipal unit who makes an outstanding contribution during the performance of his or her duties.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

RESOLUTION NO. 4450

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

Whereas on September 21st, Nova Scotia became the first North American jurisdiction to install a lime dozer, a sophisticated remediation device, at the West River near Sheet Harbour; and

Whereas this technology has been adopted from Norway and Sweden to distribute powdered limestone into rivers damaged by acid rain; and

Whereas reducing the acidity of such a river makes it more productive to salmon spawning and generally can lead towards restoring it to a healthier watercourse;

Therefore be it resolved that this House applaud the tremendous efforts put forth by the Atlantic Salmon Federation, community volunteers, their sponsors, and the Nova Scotia Salmon Association for making the lime dozer project on the West River a successful example of citizens working together to make positive change in our environment.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 8119]

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.

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Just before I read the resolution, I'd like to draw the members' attention to the west gallery for an introduction, if I could. We're joined today by Dr. Christopher Miller who is a well-known community volunteer in the Clayton Park and Rockingham area and works very tirelessly on the protection and preservation of the Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lakes Crown lands. I wonder if Chris would stand and receive the welcome of the House. (Applause)

RESOLUTION NO. 4451

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

Whereas September 29th was CanWest Raise-a-Reader Day, where volunteers traded copies of The ChronicleHerald for a donation to literacy programs throughout Nova Scotia; and

Whereas literacy is the foundation of all education, and without the ability to read, day-to-day living can be a challenge; and

Whereas the number of individuals who are functionally illiterate is staggering, and this has a huge cost to our people and our province in terms of quality of life;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate the contributors to Raise-a-Reader and acknowledge the contribution that literacy groups make to our province.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 8120]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 4452

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

Whereas the musical talent which exists in Pictou County keeps getting more and more attention all of the time; and

Whereas the latest example is J.D. Fortune, a native of Salt Springs, Pictou County, who won CBS Television's INXS talent show this Summer after being involved in a rock band for six years; and

Whereas J.D. grew up listening to his grandfather sing, and began performing at a very young age and worked as an Elvis impersonator for a few years then as an entertainer and a writer of pop songs for television shows in Ontario before performing at the Skydome in Toronto in front of 50,000 people;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud J.D. Fortune for keeping Pictou County and Nova Scotia in the international music spotlight, while wishing him nothing but continued success.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 4453

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

[Page 8121]

Whereas Tom and Lori Miller of Greenhill, Pictou County, have been chosen as recipients of the Nova Scotia Woodlot Owner of the Year Award for their commitment to sustainable forest management; and

Whereas the Millers practise selection harvesting on their woodlots at Greenhill, Pictou County and at Earltown, Colchester County, and are certified by the internationally recognized Forest Stewardship Council, or the FSC; and

Whereas their management practices include annual harvest limits, designating protected areas, improving wildlife habitat, and working to restore the Acadian forests that are native to our Maritime region;

Therefore be it resolved that this Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Tom and Lori Miller on being chosen as the Nova Scotia Woodlot Owner of the Year and in showing leadership in sustainable forest management now and for future generations.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 4454

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

Whereas Mr. Wilfred Jackson, born and raised in Halifax, has dedicated a great deal of his life to improving the lives of children and youth; and

Whereas Mr. Jackson has been involved with numerous organizations including the YMCA, Council of Canadian Child & Youth Care Associations, the Nova Scotia Child & Youth Care Workers Association, the Dartmouth Boys & Girls Club, and the provincial Task Force on the Family, to name but a few; and

[Page 8122]

Whereas Mr. Jackson was hired in 1980 as Executive Director of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children and is now retiring after serving for 25 years;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly recognize and honour Mr. Jackson at the time of his retirement for his years of dedication and service to the youth and children of this 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 West.

RESOLUTION NO. 4455

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

Whereas on September 22, 2005, the Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia Railway got a five-year lease on life with the announcement of $10 million by Premier John Hamm and the Minister of Energy, the Honourable Cecil Clarke; and

Whereas this link for small business to mainland markets is fundamental for growth, stability and prosperity; and

Whereas the five-year agreement will give potential shippers the needed security to explore new ways of moving freight and product;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House acknowledge and thank Premier John Hamm and the Minister of Energy for fulfilling the provincial government's commitment to maintain this vital transportation link on Cape Breton Island.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 8123]

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth South-Portland Valley on an introduction.

MS. MARILYN MORE: In the Speaker's Gallery, I would like to bring your attention to the HRM councillor for Dartmouth Centre District 5, Gloria McCluskey, and ask you to give her a warm welcome. In the west gallery, I would like to ask Helen Fleet to stand. She's a very well-respected volunteer in the metro area and we welcome her here this afternoon. (Applause)

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

RESOLUTION NO. 4456

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

Whereas last year the Halifax YWCA provided over 3,200 bed nights to women in transition in its 16-bed facility; and

Whereas the YWCA placed a proposal to the Department of Community Services to provide the same level of services for 24 beds in a new location for the same amount of operational funding it received for operating 16 beds; and

Whereas the Department of Community Services chose to cut the operational funding, leaving the project unsustainable and forcing the YWCA to make the difficult decision to close its housing program effective November 1, 2005;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Community Services explain to Nova Scotian women who require transitional housing while dealing with challenges ranging from mental illness to leaving abusive relationships, why he and his department have allowed this vital service to disappear.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 8124]

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Finance on an introduction.

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw the attention of the House to the east gallery. In the gallery is Mr. Steven Craig, the elected Conservative candidate at a very large convention in Sackville-Cobequid. I would ask him to rise and receive the warm welcome and the good wishes of the House. (Applause)

[3:15 p.m.]

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

MR. GERALD SAMPSON: Mr. Speaker, I'd like to address the audience's attention to the west gallery to recognize a constituent of mine, Mr. Wilfred Isaac, a very active community activist in my community. I'd like to welcome him here today and have the pleasure of the attendance of the House.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park on an introduction.

MS. DIANA WHALEN: I'd also like to have an introduction and I believe this introduction is of interest to all members of the House. In the west gallery, we are joined today by Jennifer Bond, who is a former Page of this House and is now the Vice-President of Dalhousie Student Union. She is here in her elected capacity and perhaps you would like to rise and we can give you a warm welcome Jenn.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Economic Development.

RESOLUTION NO. 4457

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

Whereas this past Victoria Day, Phillip Comeau took heroic measures to save an Amherst resident, Edward Maltby, from a burning apartment; and

Whereas Amherst Fire Chief Bill Crossman said Mr. Maltby, who is 73 years of age and disabled, would have likely died if Mr. Comeau had not made the split-second decision he did, and entered the burning structure; and

[Page 8125]

Whereas three other occupants residing in another apartment in the house, a mother and her two small children, managed to make it safely out of the burning structure;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs applaud the outstanding courage exemplified by Phillip Comeau over the 2005 Victoria Day weekend and recognize him for what he is - a hero.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 4458

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

Whereas the Uganda Canadian Association of the Maritimes aims to provide assistance and fellowship for Canadians of Ugandan origin living in the Maritimes; and

Whereas the association also raises funds to assist with various humanitarian causes in Uganda; and

Whereas on October 8th the Association held its annual fundraiser at St. Lawrence Parish Hall in Halifax, to coincide with Ugandan Independence Day on October 9th;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly congratulate the Ugandan Canadian Association of the Maritimes for its ongoing humanitarian efforts, and wish the association continued success in welcoming people of Ugandan origin to the Maritimes.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 8126]

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Eastern Shore.

RESOLUTION NO. 4459

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

Whereas September represented Continuing Care Month across Nova Scotia; and

Whereas The Birches in Musquodoboit Harbour provides professional care and comfort to seniors in need; and

Whereas Continuing Care Month celebrates all of the organizations, staff and volunteers who dedicate themselves every day to caring for citizens in need;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House thank the compassionate staff and volunteers in continuing care, as well as the many Nova Scotians who are the recipients of their hard work and dedication.

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 North.

MR. JERRY PYE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Before I introduce this resolution I just want to make mention that the councillor representing (Interruptions)

[Page 8127]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

MR. PYE: Before I introduce this resolution I just want to make mention that the councillor for District 5, Central Dartmouth, is also the grandmother of the person mentioned in this resolution.

RESOLUTION NO. 4460

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

Whereas the Canada Games provides a positive environment that offers fulfilment, cultivates new friendships and fosters leadership through development in sports; and

Whereas competitive sports brings out the best in athletic achievement both individually or working together as a team; and

Whereas in this competitive environment of athletics success is achieved through passion and commitment to the sport, and Hannah Vaughan proved this by winning gold in the Women's K1-1,000, the K1-6,000, the K2-1,000 and winning silver in the Women's K4-500;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly show their appreciation of Hannah Vaughan's outstanding athletic performance on behalf of all 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 Human Resources.

[Page 8128]

RESOLUTION NO. 4461

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

Whereas the Canada Games in August may have ended, but the experience lasts a lifetime for its participants; and

Whereas Team Nova Scotia had nine athletes from Lunenburg County: Natasha Baker, Stephen Keeping, Jenna Martin, Anthony Nestel, Krista Stockman, and Ashley Wambolt, all of Bridgewater; Nichol Larade from Blockhouse; Alex Legge from Mahone Bay; and Rebecca Reeves from New Ross; and

Whereas these athletes demonstrated extraordinary athleticism and teamwork in each of their sports, and achieved many personal bests;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House congratulate these Lunenburg County athletes for their success on the national sporting stage and thank them for their extraordinary performances that make us, on the home team, so proud of them.

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. 4462

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

Whereas in March 1999, the Tory Leader, in a speech outlining the Conservative position on Sysco, stated that "First and foremost, Sysco workers must be fairly and reasonably compensated for their years of service"; and

[Page 8129]

Whereas four years later, in June 2003, the Premier stated, in a speech in Sydney, "I can't protect Sysco jobs, but I promise to protect the steelworkers"; and

Whereas in the Progressive Conservative election platform of 2003, the Premier was quoted as saying, "We will not abandon the Sysco workers or their families;

Therefore be it resolved that this Legislative Assembly recognize the commitments that have been made to the steelworkers of Sysco, who remain without an adequate pension for their years of employment with this former Crown Corporation, and call upon the Premier and this government to finally deliver what was promised to them and what they truly deserve - an adequate settlement.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 4463

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 Halifax International Airport is staying in the forefront of security and technology across Canada with upgrades at its international airports; and

Whereas the present $90 million expansion underway at the Halifax International Airport includes upgrades at the south-end departure terminal, where two new baggage systems are being installed, both capable of handling 1,200 bags of luggage an hour; and

Whereas other upgrades involve a new passenger holding room and new passenger walkway, along with three more jet bridges and common self-serve automated boarding pass cubicles;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the tremendous work ethic of the Halifax International Airport Authority's board members, and all workers at the airport, continually striving to make your air travel safe and worry-free.

[Page 8130]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 4464

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

Whereas YouthLinks was created to encourage students to communicate with their counterparts in other regions of Canada, and around the world, in order to promote understanding and respect; and

Whereas YouthLinks provides a means for students to collaborate on projects of common importance; and

Whereas in May 2005, a group of students from Sackville High took a trip to Alberta for the annual YouthLinks Summit titled "The Meeting of Cultures";

Therefore be it resolved that members of this Legislature congratulate Christopher Mossop, Ryan MacNamara, Mitchel Anderson, Caleigh Babin, Gillian Fung, Sidney Comstock and teacher/adviser Kendrick LeBlanc, on a job well done representing Sackville High School and the Community of Sackville, at the YouthLinks Summit in Lethbridge, Alberta.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 8131]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Shelburne.

RESOLUTION NO. 4465

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

Whereas Royal Canadian Legion Branch 148 in Clark's Harbour will be holding a supper tomorrow evening to honour all local veterans; and

Whereas the dinner is being hosted by the Town of Clark's Harbour, in this, the Year of the Veteran; and

Whereas on August 15, 1945, six years of war ended and the Second World War was over and Canada was ready to welcome its heroes home;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Mayor Leigh Stoddart and town council members of Clark's Harbour for showing their genuine interest and wanting to give thanks to the local veterans in and around the area of Clark's Harbour at Friday evening's dinner.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 4466

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

[Page 8132]

Whereas the construction of the new Western Region HRM High School is much appreciated by the communities served by the current Sir John A. Macdonald High School in Hubley; and

Whereas current students, graduates and teachers want the new high school to be known as Sir John A. Macdonald High School; and

Whereas we are proud of the traditions of Sir John A. and wish to keep them alive;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly urge the Halifax Regional School Board to name the new Western Region High School, Sir John A. Macdonald High School.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 4467

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

Whereas the House of Commons in Ottawa has been faithfully served by its Clerk, Bill Corbett, who has announced his retirement; and

Whereas Audrey O'Brien, who has held several positions with the Office of the Clerk, has been chosen as Clerk of the House of Commons; and

Whereas Audrey is the first female ever to hold that position;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Audrey O'Brien on her new appointment, and wish Bill Corbett happiness and a well-deserved retirement.

[Page 8133]

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 of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 4468

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

Whereas in April and July 2005, the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities published significant reports on the funding of municipal services; and

Whereas the main report recommended fundamental principles for the province's municipal equalization program to ensure that municipal services meet acceptable standards and are fairly funded; and

Whereas delegates at the recent conference of the UNSM have supported the effort to gain a fair, principled municipal equalization program to ensure that municipalities provide good local services without unduly high property taxes;

Therefore be it resolved that this House encourage the government to use the UNSM reports as the basis for negotiating a new municipal equalization formula and new standards for local services so that Nova Scotians do not suffer unduly high taxes or unduly poor local services.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

[Page 8134]

The notice is tabled.

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

RESOLUTION NO. 4469

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

Whereas back on May 2, 1955, a public meeting was called in Waverley to discuss different scenarios of providing fire protection in the community; and

Whereas it was agreed at this meeting that fire protection was a must, and efforts began to organize a volunteer fire department; and

Whereas today, 50 years later, the service has expanded and encompasses the greater Waverley area, with Waverley Fire Chief Ron Dalrymple being the 10th fire chief in the department's history with a firefighting force of 27 members who continue to provide rock-solid emergency fire suppression efforts while also answering other emergency calls wherever and whenever needed;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House applaud the significant community spirit exemplified by members of the Waverley Fire Department while extending our best wishes to Chief Dalrymple and all fire department members on the 50th Anniversary.

[3:30 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

[Page 8135]

RESOLUTION NO. 4470

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

Whereas Eastern Passage-Cow Bay has a strong tradition of excellent athletic teams and has become a formidable force in minor baseball in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas at the recent Nova Scotia Provincial Championships, Eastern Passage-Cow Bay Intermediate League team won the provincial title in their division; and

Whereas the team is made up of dedicated players who have played baseball together from an early age;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Eastern Passage-Cow Bay Intermediate Minor Baseball team for winning this year's provincial championship and thank the dedicated volunteers - Bernadette Angle, Steve Angle and Cindy Harrison - for their ongoing support.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

RESOLUTION NO. 4471

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

Whereas the Fultz House Corner Restoration Society held its annual dinner on October 5, 2005 where they honoured the region's veterans who served in both world wars, the Korean conflict and the Gulf war; and

[Page 8136]

Whereas in this the Year of the Veteran it is that much more important to remember those who sacrificed so much to allow us the freedoms we now enjoy; and

Whereas this event was a huge success, with a presentation and a wonderful meal;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating the Fultz House Corner Restoration Society for their Veterans' Recognition Night and for all the good work Fultz House does in the community of Sackville.

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. 4472

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

Whereas the Youth in Care Newsletter Project provides youth who are in the care of the minister with the opportunity for self-enriched communications, education and the means to make connections with their peers and the community at large; and

Whereas we were all presented with a copy of The Voice which is full of heartfelt stories and poems; and

Whereas there is still no sustained funding for the program in its fourth year, they can only afford to publish The Voice once per year, although there is interest and need of a full-time program;

Therefore be it resolved that the government provide appropriate sustainable funding for the Youth in Care Newsletter Project so that young people in care can continue to benefit from this wonderful program.

[Page 8137]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 4473

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

Whereas the Halifax Regional School Board plans to construct one amalgamated high school for the Halifax peninsula; and

Whereas the site of the new high school is to be that of the former community college campus on Bell Road; and

Whereas the current projected date for occupancy of the new high school is September 2007;

Therefore be it resolved that the Department of Education work closely in co-operation with the school board to ensure that the new Halifax peninsula high school is ready for occupancy no later than the start of the school year in 2007.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works.

[Page 8138]

RESOLUTION NO. 4474

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

MR. SPEAKER: A little premature there, sir, but it's okay; a very wise man.

MR. RUSSELL: Whereas the Town of Windsor and its famed Pumpkin Regatta was shown in a lengthy television feature across North America this morning on the Martha Stewart show; and

Whereas despite being storm-stayed in Bar Harbour, Maine on Sunday morning, one of Stewart's television production personnel replaced her in the regatta race which was given heavy coverage on the television show, as were interviews with Danny Dill and three-time regatta champion Leo Swinimer; and

Whereas the free television coverage on such an international level can do nothing but boost the world-wide tourism potential for Windsor - the little town of big firsts;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend Danny Dill and VanEssa Roberts, the Town of Windsor's Economic Development Officer, and all others involved for their diligent work in putting Windsor in the international spotlight in the past 10 days.

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. 4475

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

[Page 8139]

Whereas licensed early learning child-care centres in Nova Scotia continue to struggle with increasing costs and inadequate subsidy rates; and

Whereas a recent freedom of information request revealed that over half of the province's daycare centres failed their annual inspections and were given conditional licences; and

Whereas with the ever-growing costs of insurance, heat, electricity and supplies, the number of child-care spaces in this province continue to be placed in jeopardy by this government's lack of a long-term plan for accessible and affordable child care;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Community Services act on international research and experts in the early childhood education field and put measures in place to create a properly funded, sustainable, quality early childhood care and learning system in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Premier on an introduction.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to introduce to the House a group of extraordinary young Nova Scotians who are in the gallery opposite today. We are joined by members of Team Nova Scotia who attended the 2005 Canada Summer Games in Regina this past August. The group is here today representing their 430-member team which brought a total of 46 medals home to Nova Scotia.

We have invited them here today to recognize their personal achievements and to thank them for their dedication to sport, to healthy living, and to their province. These athletes and coaches have displayed tremendous athleticism, sportsmanship and leadership at the games, and represented our province with commitment and strength. It is an honour to be able to thank so many of them personally here today.

Behind every great athlete is a great coach, manager and supportive parents and families who are also here today to be recognized for their tireless efforts. We are joined as well by the flag bearers and the mostly volunteer mission staff who worked diligently night

[Page 8140]

and day to make things as smooth as possible for the team while they were in Regina. These athletes are the type of young citizens who will continue to teach and inspire others in their communities to do their best and help others achieve their own goals and we, in turn, will continue to encourage and support these fine individuals to continue to do their best. With the success of these athletes and the feelings that they inspire in all of us to work harder, we are making steps toward a healthier and more active province.

Team Nova Scotia has had the experience of a lifetime and we were there cheering them along every step of the way. Nova Scotians are proud of this team. Ultimately, the games were an opportunity for our athletes to learn and to grow. They learned how to handle themselves under pressure. They learned how to hold their heads high, knowing that they did their best regardless of the outcome, and they are growing more confident in themselves as they set and achieve their goals.

To the athletes, be proud of the fact that you are an inspiration to other youth across the province as they work toward their dreams and their goals. Vince Lombardi said, "The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather in a lack of will." Thank you, for having the courage of conviction, the will, to make such a great success of yourself and, in turn, to make our province and your country proud. Welcome and thank you. (Standing Ovation)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health Promotion.

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased just to say a few words in my role through Health Promotion. I, too, would like to welcome our athletes, family members, coaches and managers, and our members of our mission staff and if there are any members as well from the Canada Games Management Group. We are very proud of what our athletes have done and what they've accomplished for our province. Indeed, they have worked hard to go to the games, to get there and their dedication and perseverance is evident in the fact that they've come home with so many medals. We are equally as proud of all the athletes who have worked so hard for so many years and have been so dedicated to whatever their particular sport is.

Mr. Speaker, as Minister of Health Promotion, I want to thank the members of the mission staff and many others for their dedication to the Canada Games athletes and for what they have done as well for our province.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to join with the Premier and the minister in congratulating the young athletes who are in the House today. The truth of the matter is that it's the culmination of a lot of time spent training, a lot of time when you're really with yourself, perfecting the skill at your particular endeavours. The

[Page 8141]

dedication and training that goes into the individual sports by these athletes is not only commendable but it's something that will strengthen their character for their lives.

I know that it's not just the athletes, that it's the coaches, the managers and the parents who work so hard to support them. I know that over and above just undertaking the training that they have to take, that many of them are out raising money to support their sport, their teams and their clubs. All of that just goes to the tremendous dedication that they have to be the best at their particular endeavour. On behalf of our caucus, we want to extend our congratulations and thank them for their great showing.

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

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of our Leader, Francis MacKenzie, my entire caucus and our Critic for the Nova Scotia Sport and Recreation Commission, the member for Clare, it's with great pleasure that on behalf of the Liberal caucus that we too extend our sincerest congratulations to all of the athletes of the 2005 Canada Summer Games that represented Nova Scotia in the recent competition in Regina.

It has been said that the dedication and the hard work that it takes to be able to be selected to represent the province is something that all of the athletes should be proud of. We certainly want to take this opportunity to thank the managers, the coaches and the volunteers who worked so hard to put together such an impressive team every year on behalf of Nova Scotia. We certainly want to commend the family members of each of the athletes who are always there to support their children who are selected for these important games.

Fourty-six medals is something our province can be proud of and each of the athletes stand as a model for your friends and your colleagues to show that hard work does pay off and certainly the recognition of being able to say that you represented your province at these National Games.

A toutes les athlètes, les entraîneurs, les bénévoles et les membres des familles de les athlètes, je prends cette occasion pour vous félicitez. Vous nous avez bien représenter aux jeux et nous sommes très fieres de vos efforts. Merci encore.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. We certainly welcome our special guests to the gallery today. I believe we have two more resolutions, then another notice and then the House will take about a 20 minute break so that all members can go outside to the Red Room and meet with our special guests and give them an opportunity to meet with the members as well.

[3:45 p.m.]

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

[Page 8142]

RESOLUTION NO. 4476

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

Whereas the Canada Games provides a positive environment that offers fulfilment, cultivates new friendships and fosters leadership through development in sports; and

Whereas competitive sports bring out the best in athletic achievement both individually or working together as a team; and

Whereas in this competitive environment of athletics, success is achieved through passion and commitment to sport and Jenna Marks proved this by winning the silver in the Women's C2 - 1000 and the bronze in the Women's C1 - 200;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly show their appreciation of Jenna Marks' outstanding athletic performance on behalf of all 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 Human Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 4477

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

Whereas the Canada Games give our athletes the opportunity to demonstrate the very best Nova Scotia has to offer; and

Whereas Team Nova Scotia's athletes won 46 medals over the two-week competition in August; and

[Page 8143]

Whereas Special Olympian Krista Stockman of Bridgewater won three medals in women's swimming;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate all medal recipients for their excellent performance at the games.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 4478

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

Whereas Beechville native and Sir John A. Macdonald High School graduate, Wayn Hamilton, has been appointed the first chief executive officer of the Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs; and

Whereas Mr. Hamilton has a long and distinguished list of accomplishments in the service of his community, his province and his country; and

Whereas Wayn Hamilton will provide valuable leadership in his new position;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate Wayn Hamilton on his appointment as the first chief executive officer of the Office of Nova Scotian Affairs.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 8144]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

Before we go to Orders of the Day, I call upon the honourable member for Cape Breton South.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I hereby serve notice as per Section 43(2) with a request for this House to entertain an emergency debate. I move that the business of the House be set aside for the purpose of discussing a matter of urgent public importance. The matter is as follows:

Mr. Speaker, soaring energy costs are the biggest issue facing Nova Scotia today. The impact of sky-high energy costs is being felt throughout the economy as we speak. Just last month, Statistics Canada reported that 6,000 Nova Scotians lost their jobs, mostly in the retail and wholesale sector. The high cost of gasoline and heating fuel is being felt by all Nova Scotians and higher prices for virtually all consumer goods, including food and clothing. As transportation and manufacturing costs rise, so will the price to consumers. Nova Scotians are facing bleak prospects this Winter as they choose between heating their home, driving their cars, or putting food on their tables.

As Nova Scotians make these unpalatable choices, there will be fewer dollars available to spend in retail as the Christmas season approaches. As Winter progresses, the impact of high energy costs will also mean a great expense to government. The already razor-thin surplus will be in jeopardy due to the higher costs to run school boards, universities and district health authorities. The cost of infrastructure projects will rise with higher transportation costs and for materials like asphalt.

The Department of Community Services will be overwhelmed with new cases as those on the margins are forced onto public assistance. The education of our children and the health of our families cannot and must not be compromised by the impact of rising energy costs. Higher transportation costs for Nova Scotia lobster this Winter will greatly impact the winter lobster fisheries in southern Nova Scotia. Projecting out to next Summer, Nova Scotians and North Americans will have very little money left at their disposal for leisure travel which will have a devastating effect on our tourism sector.

Mr. Speaker, we believe that government has not fully explored the long-term ramifications of this energy crisis and Section 43(4A) of the Rules and Forms of Procedure of the House of Assembly states that "the Speaker also shall have regard to the probability of the matter being debated by the House within a reasonable time by other means." The size, scope and urgency of this crisis dictates that the time for debate is now.

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Given the extent of the problem, there is no other forum within the daily routine or through the course of ordinary debate that can convey the magnitude of this problem. Mr. Speaker, I therefore urge that you and all members support this request.

MR. SPEAKER: According to Rule 43, a request for emergency debate has to be submitted in the Speaker's Office two hours prior to resumption of the House which was done today. As well, I have determined that the issue that has been requested to be debated this evening is proper to be discussed and within the scope of administerial action, I am asking now if the House gives lead to the member for his request at this time for the debate.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The emergency debate will take place at the time of adjournment at 6:00 p.m. this evening for two hours. I'll ask that a schedule be drawn up for members, a maximum of 15 minutes each and we will resume debate on that at 6:00 pm.

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

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Waive the late debate as a result.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. It will be a two hour emergency debate at 6:00 p.m. The House will now recess until approximately 4:10 p.m. to allow the members to meet with our special guests. The House will resume at 4:10 p.m. for Question Period.

[3:52 p.m. The House recessed.]

[4:22 p.m. The House reconvened.]

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

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period will begin at 4:22 p.m. and end at 5:22 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

[Page 8146]

PREM.: ENERGY PLAN - HST REMOVAL

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question to begin this session is for the Premier. With yesterday's lukewarm energy plan, this government missed a great opportunity to position Nova Scotia as a leader in energy efficiency, conservation and renewable energy. Indeed, it was an energy plan that doesn't address the transportation sector, or gas. In fact, it is the lack of any real vision or goals in the plan that will greatly disappoint Nova Scotians looking for signs of leadership from the government.

Leadership would have been to listen to the majority of Nova Scotians and to remove the HST from home heating sources and give all families a needed break.

Mr. Speaker, in August, with an election on the horizon, the government told Nova Scotians they were, once again, considering taking the HST off heating sources. So my question for the Premier is this, where between Oak Island and the Legislature did the HST being taken off of heating sources get lost?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the question from the Leader of the Official Opposition. Government is always challenged to come up with practical solutions and what we saw yesterday revealed by two ministers was a very practical solution. Number one, it deals with conservation and efficiency, and number two, it provides help to low-income Nova Scotians to allow them to stay warm this Winter.

Relative to the HST, Mr. Speaker - and if I don't finish my answer, I'll finish it in my next answer - in order for the government to remove the HST, there would have to be changes to legislation in at least two provinces and there would have to be changes to the Excise Act of Canada.

Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians would be cold a great many Winters, if that is the way the government had decided to move.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the Premier knows that they could do point-of-sale rebates if they wanted to. They just don't want to. I find it difficult to square the Premier's version of reality with the cold reality facing Nova Scotia families this Winter. Yesterday's plan will do nothing to help two-thirds of Nova Scotian households. Their homes will be the ones underwriting the HST windfall this government stands to make this Winter. In contrast, of course, the government planned to give a $54 million tax break to extremely profitable insurance companies and other large corporations in this past budget. So my question for the Premier is this, why does your government choose to give tax breaks to big insurance companies instead of helping Nova Scotians afford the necessities like home heating?

[Page 8147]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the government has committed a substantial amount of funding to the Keep the Heat program, a substantial amount of funding to the energy and efficiency portion of our plan. The government has many, many places where it can put money. We have decided this was a very important place to put money. We put a substantial amount of money in the program that was announced yesterday, and as a result, that program combined with the federal program, will provide a great level of comfort to Nova Scotians this Winter.

MR. DEXTER: What we're hearing from the Premier is arguments of convenience that have been put forward by this government. Today I table in this House a petition with over 7,400 signatures from residents of North Sydney. To put that in perspective, that's nearly as many signatures on the petition as the total number of people who voted in the Minister of Energy's North Sydney riding in the last election. My question for the Premier is simply this, what will it take for your government to finally listen to the families in this province and remove the HST on heating sources?

THE PREMIER: Simply put, Mr. Speaker, our plan is better than their plan.

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

ENERGY: POLICY - ELECTRICITY USERS

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: But not as good as ours, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Minister of Energy. Nova Scotians are faced with an energy crisis this year and that crisis will only continue until government begins to take it seriously. Like everything else this government does, it waits until there is a crisis before it acts and when it does act, it's a day late and a dollar short.

Mr. Speaker, for example, the $100 rebate for some users of electricity may only cover a portion of present rates. It's a far cry from the $250 being offered for oil which also is inadequate as the income levels are too low. What is worse, it barely covers the families that need it. My question to the minister is, why is the minister treating electricity users differently in its recent policy announcements?

HON. CECIL CLARKE: The honourable member raises a very valid and important question and it comes down to the realities of the cost pressures. Electricity rates have gone up 6 per cent, furnace oil costs have gone up 20 per cent. It's simple numbers of math.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Electricity rates have gone up 6 per cent and could go up even higher in the very near future. Mr. Speaker, the government is failing electricity users in this province, it's failing Nova Scotians. Electricity is a necessity that everyone uses and it is indeed a necessity in every household in this province. My first supplementary, what is the minister going to do to stop the rate increase being advocated by Nova Scotia Power?

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MR. CLARKE: The honourable member also is aware of the fact that we focus much on energy conservation and efficiency with our plan. Nova Scotians have 35 million good reasons why this government is responding in a very targeted, measured and reasonable manner. When it comes to the rate increase by Nova Scotia Power, we will intervene and we are an intervener again as we've done before. Nova Scotians have been well served by this government as well as by the Utility and Review Board.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, intervention is not enough, stopping it is. My final supplementary, if Nova Scotia Power gets its current rate application approved, it will be devastating for families and business. The government made a backdoor deal with Nova Scotia Power last year outside the URB process. Before that, they overturned a URB decision regarding Chester, we know why that was overturned, that was done for political reasons. Maybe the minister could check with Lord Black or Peter Kelly before answering my final supplementary and yes, my final supplementary - if the minister wants to check with them first or answer it - will this government intervene and stop the unfair rate application by Nova Scotia Power so that families don't suffer again next year?

[4:30 p.m.]

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, no, not only have we filed to intervene, we've acted as a government in a very responsible manner with a $35 million response recognizing other pressures that our hospitals, our schools, our nursing homes and our other buildings require. That is responsible.

To the honourable member's point previously, he highlighted the fact that the board did its job the last time and I'm very confident it will do its job again and government will be there for the ratepayers of this province.

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

ENERGY: HOME RETROFITTING - ASSISTANCE

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Energy. Retrofitting a home is the best financial investment an individual or family can make according to contractors and energy-efficiency experts. In my recent tour around the province, I've seen first-hand the advantages that come from making investments in energy conservation and efficiency, like the Wolfville resident I visited who invested in insulating her basement who recovered entirely that investment in two years.

Making these changes involves a substantial capital investment and most Nova Scotia families don't have that kind of money lying around. Yesterday's promise of a small rebate for a tiny portion of the population will do nothing to change that. My question for the

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minister is, why has he refused to provide interest free loans to Nova Scotians who want to make the smart choice to increase their home's energy efficiency?

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member's point, the government has provided, as I say, a very targeted, reasoned and measured approach to the pressures that all Nova Scotians are facing at this time. Part of that will be providing, with the audits and working with complementing the Government of Canada's programs, to make the best value and the best outcomes for Nova Scotians. As well, for those other Nova Scotians in need, we have been looking at ways to make sure that we can help them with some of the cash flow of that and working between my department and that of the Department of Community Services, we're recognizing and taking ideas under advisement. I will report back to the House during this session on how we can improve upon that.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the minister spoke of a targeted approach and usually their targets are bull's eyes on the consumers in this province who they take more and more and more from. As well as expecting Nova Scotia families to come up with large capital sums to invest in energy efficiency, the minister has taken no notice of the delays in obtaining energy audits necessary for the rebate. In Halifax there's a three month waiting period at present, in Cape Breton there's just two auditors working flat out and people have to wait up to 60 days for an audit. At the current rate, of 1,000 energy audits being done a year, this would mean it would take 330 years to audit all of the Nova Scotia housing stock. My question is, why won't you provide direct, targeted funding to train and employ enough auditors to meet the existing and future demands?

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, what this government has presented is a very clear and transparent approach within the means of Nova Scotians to deal with the priorities. There is no hidden agenda, as I think is being suggested in the plans from the NDP. We have a plan that Nova Scotians can afford. What we also have is an opportunity, we have auditors in this province that are there, the government will be working with them. We will have the auditors out. We also have auditors right now, they're doing it in two to three weeks. So, if we're going to get the stats out, maybe we can get them right. That's what this government is doing, it's doing the right thing for Nova Scotians.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the minister is well aware of the up-front barriers to Nova Scotians to making their homes more energy efficient. His plan does nothing to address them. There are many people who would very much like to retrofit their homes, but they can't even afford the $150 for the energy audit. That amount, Mr. Speaker, as you would know is equivalent to a month's groceries or more for many families. My question is this, will the minister provide funding to cover that charge to ensure that all Nova Scotians have the opportunity to make the smart choice by investing in energy efficiency?

[Page 8150]

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, as I committed to the honourable member just moments ago that we would have a response that helps to deal with that pressure on individuals and we'll bring it before the House.

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

ENERGY - CRISIS: ADDRESS DELAY - EXPLAIN

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Energy. The minister is all puffed up over his energy plan, but what we have here is no plan at all. The government has known for some time that there was a looming energy crisis. Energy costs will drive up the price of everything in Nova Scotia, including food and clothing. Tourism will be adversely affected as well as our primary sectors, forestry, fishing, agriculture and mining. My question to the minister is, with the heating season already upon us, why has the minister waited so long to address the energy crisis?

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, as we said, we would be responsible to Nova Scotians, that's why we wanted to make sure we understand the federal response, so that we would complement those programs and achieve better outcomes as a result and with the Keep the Heat program through Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, we'll actually be ahead of last year's delivery times.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, energy prices are high and will continue to increase for the foreseeable future. There are broad ranging implications for the economy but the government is ignoring them. Just last month we lost 6,000 jobs, mostly in retail, wholesale and construction. It will only get worse as more and more disposable income is directed toward soaring energy prices. I'll ask the minister. What is this government's plan to address the economic impact of high energy and transportation costs?

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, our response this year also takes into account transportation, as well as the program between the federal government and the province, and I'm sure that the minister responsible would be happy to address the transportation component. But what we also have and what we announced yesterday is that next week we'll be providing our energy and environmental action plan and the framework that takes us to long-term, for stability and innovation and improvement in our environment but also in our electricity and energy sectors.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the short answer to that was that there's no plan at all. This is just to get us through the next election. This is just an election gimmick. This whole plan that's put forward by the government is something that's going to come in the future. By the time they get the applications out this Fall and return them, and the rebates, as small as they are, get to the people who need them in this province, and those who are not eligible will be still waiting, but those who are eligible will even get them too

[Page 8151]

late. I think this government is waiting for orders. I think the minister is waiting for orders from the aforementioned Lord Black or Peter Kelly, to see what their policies are going to be in how they're going to treat Nova Scotians once they duke it out for the leadership over there.

So my final supplementary, when can Nova Scotians, Mr. Minister, expect a real strategy, that will address the long-term consequences of soaring energy prices?

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, again maybe there's some lack of ability to hear on that side of the House, but as I said, next week and that's next Thursday, to be specific.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

ENERGY: DAL. CUTS - MIN. EXPLAIN

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, just to convey to the Minister of Energy, I can hear what he's saying, I just can't believe it. My question is to the Minister of Energy. We have been hearing for months about challenges for Nova Scotia homeowners, for renters and businesses and the challenges that they are going to face this Winter when it comes to the cost of heating. Increasingly we are also hearing from many provincially supported institutions in operations who are planning cutbacks in key areas to try and fund skyrocketing energy costs. I will table a memo that has been sent by the President of Dalhousie University, outlining across-the-board cuts to deal with the demands like the projected $900,000 increase in heating costs. My question is this, will the minister explain to this House why students at Dalhousie University should be forced to live with these cuts because his government refuses to help them deal with skyrocketing energy costs?

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, again, our plan that we put forward for Nova Scotians is what Nova Scotians can afford. We've also said that we were doing it within the limitations because we recognized extra pressures that are on government to make sure that patients stay warm, that nursing homes are heated, that schools and our buildings are cared for and that's a pressure. We'll work within our means as a government within what Nova Scotian taxpayers can afford to pay, and we're doing it through efficiency and conservation measures and our long-term strategy addresses that very effectively as well.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the minister knows that his answer is not only disingenuous but is also at odds with the facts. His government has set aside $1 million for the entire government sector, an amount that will barely cover Dalhousie's challenges not to mention schools and hospitals. One of the great ironies of Dalhousie's situation is that they have not only made across-the-board cuts, they have also, "cut projects in the area of energy conservation, to deal with the rising heating costs." So my question for the minister is this, will this minister get the message that the government must demonstrate leadership in helping Dalhousie and others with their mounting bills?

[Page 8152]

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, unlike the NDP, this government has dealt with the issues of the day in a responsible, reasoned manner and there is no hidden agenda by this government as is being proposed by a Party that would suggest $100 million is some sort of fix that they're putting out. We're not in a bidding war. We're dealing with the realities of energy pricing in this province. We're doing it in a responsible manner and there's no hidden agenda such as the one that the NDP has put out there. He hasn't said where he's going to find $100 million for a budget they voted for in this House and numbers don't add up, the NDP don't add up. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the minister's answer is to give tax cuts to big insurance companies. I guess the minister wanted to make sure that the insurance companies aren't cold this Winter and it's too bad he doesn't apply the same care to hospitals and schools. The minister just doesn't get it. It comes down to a choice of pay now or pay later. When it comes to the use of tax dollars, the government needs to make smart choices by investing now in ways to save energy and money in the future. Yesterday he proclaimed that he would not let schools or hospitals go cold this Winter, yet what they are proposing will do exactly that.

My question is this, when will he finally do the right thing and help schools and hospitals cope with energy costs and make the much needed efficiency improvements?

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, I'm very pleased that the Leader of the Official Opposition has highlighted their hidden agenda and what they want is to take now and take more later from the taxpayers of this province for plans that they have no ability to put forward. We said and we committed that we will deal with the pressures on government and we're going to do the responsible thing. That's what our plan has done with $35 million for Nova Scotians.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

ENVIRON. & LBR.: DART. CROSSING CLEANUP - RESPONSIBILITY

MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Acting Minister of Environment and Labour. Even before work began on the Dartmouth Crossing project, Dartmouth was being warned by residents that the project would have a direct negative impact on Shubie Canal, Lake MicMac and Lake Charles. The department did not heed these warnings or request an environmental assessment of the area before the work began. On at least three separate occasions since work began, runoff from this project entered waterways and two stop orders have been issued. People are upset and they want answers.

My question is, who is going to be responsible for any cleanup required in the Shubie Canal, Lake Charles and Lake MicMac - the developers or the taxpayers?

[Page 8153]

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member raises a very serious matter. I can indicate that the Department of Environment and Labour inspectors are investigating this matter and will take the appropriate action based upon the investigation they have made.

MR. PYE: Mr. Speaker, this is a very serious matter. I also want to say to the acting minister once again, I sat in a meeting in June with my counterpart, the member for Dartmouth East. We were assured that the silting problems had been remedied and that the developer had produced a plan to stop any future siltation. Well, it happened again. Their mediation and this department's monitoring has failed and now we have dead fish littering the park.

Mr. Speaker, I'm trying to determine who is most at fault here, is it the minister's department for lack of supervision or is it the developer's poor preparation?

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member is absolutely right, it's a very serious situation which has occurred. That is why the Department of Environment and Labour is investigating to determine what happened and if anyone is at fault. Until such investigation is completed, I cannot answer the member's question because that's the purpose of the investigation.

MR. PYE: Mr. Speaker, this is one, two, three times the problem occurred. This whole issue comes down to responsibility. Who is going to stand up and protect our environment? You will excuse me if I'm mistaken in thinking it was the minister's job. When will this government stand up for the people of Dartmouth and bring forward some real actions that will make sure this damage is not repeated again and again?

[4:45 p.m.]

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I can indicate to the honourable member that I've spoken to senior officials in the department. They take this matter very seriously, and that's why they're conducting a thorough investigation. Appropriate action will be taken to protect the environment there and elsewhere.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

NAT. RES.: ATV TASK FORCE - RECOMMENDATIONS

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Natural Resources. Yesterday the minister released this government's plan to deal with all-terrain vehicles. The plan lacked any real strength or leadership, and it did little to tackle the real challenges surrounding ATVs. The minister claimed to have accepted 37 of the 39 recommendations put forward by the Voluntary Planning Task Force, when in fact most of

[Page 8154]

the recommendations were watered down - you changed 31 of the recommendations, you put two on hold, and only six remained in their original form. A perfect example of that would be the recommendation designed to protect children under age 14 from being injured in ATV-related incidents. The recommendation from the task force was to prohibit children under the age of 14 from operating those vehicles. My question to the minister is, I'd like to know, who influenced the minister not to accept the recommendation to prohibit children under the age of 14 on those machines?

HON. RICHARD HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, through you to the honourable member opposite, what we've done in government was we had a task force made up of nine different government departments and we went over the report from the task force which, I might add, did a great job for this government and for all Nova Scotians. I thank them very much for doing their job. Our interdepartmental group has met numerous times over the last several months, and what we've come up with is a balanced approach to the Off-highway Vehicles Act.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, the minister seems to defer all of his questions to other departments and so on, so maybe the minister doesn't understand his plan very well, or he doesn't want to bear the responsibility for what is a weak attempt to take on a serious safety issue in this province. My question for the minister is, given that the Premier has said this government will be focusing on safety this session, I'd like to know, did the minister discuss the issue with him, or the Minister of Health? Please tell us, Mr. Minister, what was going through your mind when you went completely against the recommendations of the task force, the IWK Health Centre, the Canadian Pediatric Association, and other health care professionals who were begging you to protect children from injuries on these very large and powerful machines?

MR. HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, through you to the honourable member, I think maybe he should take the time to read the report of the action plan for the Province of Nova Scotia. It's a balanced approach. We have worked with all the departments that have been engaged in this. This is a very complicated file. We have worked with it very diligently, and we've come up with an approach for all Nova Scotians. Educating our youth - we now have four officers with their feet on the ground, and two more coming in two more weeks, we will have six more with their feet on the ground in February 2006, to complement the 60 officers that we already have in the Department of Natural Resources. They are going around educating through our school system. I think that is the right approach for ATVs.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, the minister can't run and hide in caucus like he did from the news conference yesterday. You have to answer questions here. It's clear to me that this minister is not taking the responsibility for the safety issue, and because of it, children in this province are going to continue to be injured and die. They're too young to have the physical strength and the judgment to operate those machines safely, and that minister knows it. My question to the minister is, this plan does not tackle the safety

[Page 8155]

issues surrounding ATV use for children under the age of 14, so will this minister commit today to immediately review his decision on this issue and report back to this House with the changes that you've made?

MR. HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, through you to the member opposite and all members, I think that we have a balanced approach. We have mandatory off-highway vehicle training for all ATV drivers, it's mandatory that children under the age of 14 have to be in the custody of an adult with the proper training and a licensed operator. The member opposite maybe should take the time to read the report before he blows off fog.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

EDUC. - B. BRUCE: ASSISTANCE - DETAILS

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is for the Minister of Education. Bullying has been in the news far too often. Britany Bruce is a Grade 10 student here in Halifax who, due to severe bullying by schoolmates, has attended less than six weeks of school since November 2004. Britany has been refused a tuition agreement to attend a suitable, safe school near her home and the department has not found a safe place for her to receive an education despite having had a year to do so. My question through you to the Minister of Education is, what steps have you taken to assist Britany Bruce and her family since they were in contact with your department last Summer?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, bullying is unfortunately still an issue in the education system in Nova Scotia and elsewhere but keeping students safe in school is our number one priority. We are taking steps within these school systems to provide safe and encouraging learning environments for children. We have a provincial code of conduct, a school code of conduct, we have provincial school conduct guidelines, we had a group of students do a report on bullying for the Minister of Education, we have accepted all of the recommendations that came from the PSAC report.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Well, I didn't hear an answer to my question. Mr. Speaker, the startling number of highly publicized incidents in this school year alone has led student advisors on the Halifax Regional School Board to call for some in-depth analysis of this problem. In Britany's case, she was badly beaten a year ago in a lunch time swarming, an incident where her tormentor organized that attack on a cell phone from her own classroom. My question to the minister is this, why is he sitting on his hands when children like Britany are being physically and emotionally battered on a daily basis while in the care of the Department of Education?

MR. MUIR: I'll repeat what I said in the first answer, that keeping students safe in school is a number one priority of the Department of Education. We're working with school boards and other agencies to deal with situations where it appears that children are at risk and

[Page 8156]

we will continue to do that. We have the school code of conduct, the provincial code of conduct and we have a four-year initiative in place now to help schools find their own codes of conduct. We have taken steps; unfortunately, sometimes the steps which are taken are not sufficient to help everybody.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Britany's mom and dad are here with us today and I really don't think these answers help them or help their daughter in terms of getting her the education she's entitled to in this province. My final question to the minister is this, when are you going to provide tuition agreements for children such as Britany so that they can access a safe educational environment?

MR. MUIR: Keeping our students safe at school is a number one priority for the Department of Education and the department has worked with school boards and others to improve safety for all children over the past number of years. There is in place a tuition support agreement. For a variety of reasons, parents of any child can approach the school board to enter a tuition support program.

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

NAT. RES.: STRIP MINING - REMEDIATION

MR. GORDON GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is for the Minister of Natural Resources. Last year the beauty of Cape Breton Island, and Boularderie Island in particular, was threatened with the possibility of becoming home to strip mines. In this morning's paper there was a story about a strip mining company that before it can remediate the Alder Point site it says it needs a permit to extract 7,000 tons of coal to pay off some of its debts. This is the same company that said last month that it was packing up and heading to Edmonton for greener pastures. In light of this veiled threat, what protections are out there to stop this company, or others like it, from folding up shop and leaving Nova Scotia taxpayers holding the bag?

HON. RICHARD HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, I'm not aware of this application. It has not come into my office and I can tell you maybe it has gone to the Department of Environment and Labour, but an application has not come in to my office yet.

MR. GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, this is one of the biggest concerns of residents, whether they live beside the quarry in Digby Neck or in the areas threatened by strip mining, they fear their communities will have to live with scarred land and dried wells long after the companies are gone. What guarantee does this government have to offer these residents the land will be fully remediated if a company leaves before completion?

MR. HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, I may suggest through you to the honourable member, he should stop into the Town of Stellarton and look at a project that's been ongoing

[Page 8157]

there. The mayor and the council have endorsed reclamation mining in that community. I can tell you as early as this morning there has been a commercial identity that's trying to purchase land on reclaimed land in Stellarton to open a business. I believe what we need to do is work with the communities and make sure those properties are reclaimed in an environmentally proper manner.

I can also assure the member there are bonds in our department for these companies, to make sure if they do not do it we will do it with their bonds.

MR. GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, I did tour Alder Point and Boularderie Island and looked at some of the stuff that was left there. As we walked over to the Legislature today maybe he could have a look at what's on the fence outside. What is obvious to me, having spoken to residents in these communities, is that strip mining operations should not have been set up in these communities in the first place. There are better ways of extracting coal and better seams which will allow for underground mining. Will this government defend the residents of communities like Boularderie and Port Morien where strip mines are not welcome and ban strip mining in Cape Breton?

MR. HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, I can tell you and all members of this House that this minister supports mining in this province, but I support it by doing it in an environmentally friendly manner and in a safe workplace for our workers. It's an economic generator and it's used in our own resource that we have in the province. I think what the member is alluding to is past history; we have to look at the future in front of us. There are lands in the Cape Breton coal field area that have to be reclaimed and we have companies that are willing to do it for the taxpayers so the taxpayers do not have to foot the bill.

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

COM. SERV. - INCOME ASSISTANCE RECIPIENTS:

ENERGY REBATE - EFFECT

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Community Services. Yesterday we heard of government's weak plan to address high energy costs. However, the silence was deafening when it came to comments from the minister as to how he will protect individuals he has a direct responsibility to protect - those on income assistance. My question to the minister is, will the minister guarantee today that any client who was in receipt of income assistance will not see the $250 rebate, or $100 - whichever is the case - clawed back on their assistance cheque?

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's question and the answer is yes.

[Page 8158]

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, this issue needed to be clarified as we in the Liberal caucus want to make sure this government won't be taking out of one hand and giving with the other hand. Recently the federal government announced a rebate program for families in receipt of the National Child Tax Benefit. So again to the minister, will the minister guarantee today that any client in receipt of income assistance who is entitled to receive the federal rebate will not have this $250 clawed back on their assistance cheques?

[5:00 p.m.]

MR. MORSE: Once again, Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member opposite for his question and the answer remains yes.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased at that answer, but I'll go a step further here. Given that this minister oft-times changes his mind on his interpretation of what he says in this place and in operations of his department, my question is, will the minister immediately issue a directive to his staff and table a copy of that directive in this House stating that income assistance clients will not see their provincial and federal fuel rebates clawed back?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I feel I was fairly clear in my answers and those will remain the answers.

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

NAT. RES.: DONKIN MINES - PROPONENT

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Natural Resources. As we all know, it's going to take some time before we can significantly move Nova Scotia Power off burning fossil fuels to cleaner, more renewable energies. Currently NSPI burns a great amount of petroleum coke, but mostly it burns South American coal mined under dubious labour standards in those countries, but they could be getting coal mined in Cape Breton by Cape Breton miners. Now, this government was to have picked the proponent for the Donkin site over 10 months ago.

So my question to the minister is, 10 months have passed, Mr. Minister, where is the proponent for that mine?

HON. RICHARD HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, through you to the member opposite, it's a good question and I can tell that member, and all members, that we are looking at the file on the Donkin resource. I will be having a briefing next week and I will be informing my Cabinet colleagues in the very near future on the Donkin proposal.

[Page 8159]

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, that answer was all well and good, but as I said earlier, it has been 10 months now since these proposals have been out there. The successful bidder needs lead time to get out and get that mine in working order. So I want to ask this minister, what is new this time and will you finally stick to your timelines of when it's going to be put to the public and when that mine is going to be opened?

MR. HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, through you to that member, I will stick to this timeline - soon, very soon.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, soon, very soon, doesn't cut it. It's not uncommon for Nova Scotians, particularly Cape Breton miners, to come to the aid of this province when we're in an energy crunch. We saw it in the 1960s and 1970s and you very well know, Mr. Speaker, coming from a coal mining region, we often refer to the types of coal like lump coal, peanut coal, or duff coal. So I'm asking this minister, when is he going to get off his duff coal and announce who's the proponent of that mine?

MR. HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, this minister is off his duff, and he has that file in front of him and he will be working on it next week with his staff. I will be taking it to Cabinet with a recommendation for Cabinet to either accept or reject or work with the proponent, but I made it very clear when we announced the Donkin resource that it would be a stand-alone project. There will be no government subsidies in the Donkin resource and I want to make sure that the taxpayers of this province get a bang for their buck out of the Donkin resource.

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

EDUC. - ENERGY COSTS: UNIV. BUDGETS - IMPACT

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, Clause 11 in the MOU that was signed with the universities in December states that the province will make adjustments to the funding agreement if a new tax or charge is deemed to make a significant impact on the budgets. This Summer and Fall we've seen the cost of heating fuels skyrocket. On top of this, the Utility and Review Board is about to begin hearings on a proposed 15 per cent increase on the price of electricity. My question to the Minister of Education is, does the minister think that the potential power increase and the high cost of heating oil constitute a new charge for universities that will make a significant impact to their already strained budgets?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the issue of high-energy costs, whether it's electricity or whether it's heating oil, are a matter of concern for all Nova Scotians and my colleague the Minister of Energy and the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, released a policy yesterday to help a good many Nova Scotians. So this government is dealing with it. The case of the universities, we have told the institutions and my colleague the Minister of Energy referred to it in answer to your colleague earlier this

[Page 8160]

afternoon is that, we are monitoring the situation of those agencies that rely for most of their funding on the government.

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, during a legislative committee meeting on July 26th of this year, Dr. Colin Dodds, the President of Saint Mary's University, said that if NSPI is given the full rate increase they're asking for, it will cost Saint Mary's University alone, $150,000. That's before even considering the cost increase for heating oil. These increases are going to cost our universities, hundreds of thousands of dollars, as we saw today as well from the document that was tabled from Dalhousie University. The students of those universities who are already paying the highest tuition in the country, are once again in danger of having to cover the shortfall. My question again for the Minister of Education is, will the minister tell the House if he intends to honour the agreement and provide more funds to the universities to cover these new charges?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I repeat the answer I gave to the first question. My colleague the Minister of Energy referred to institutions and other agencies that receive the bulk of their funding from the government. We will continue to monitor that situation and act appropriately.

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, the bottom line is that the government has an MOU at the universities. Now that Clause 11 covers the incident that if there are new charges or new costs, the government will then consider covering those charges. If the government does not cover them, then the universities will have no choice but to go to the students and increase fees. Once again, I believe that the university community and the students themselves, most particularly, would like assurances that the government is doing more than monitoring. That the government will, in fact, commit to cover additional charges, as laid out in the MOU. Once again, will the minister honour that agreement or is he going to force students to pay for his failure to do so?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, there are two things. I guess, first of all, I'll go back to the answer I gave to the first two questions referring to the comments by my colleague yesterday at that good news announcement that he and my other colleague made. Mr. Speaker, we've just begun the heating season. This is speculation on the part of the member across and to be quite frank, unfortunately, it's probably going to be a reality. I will continue to say that we have taken the position that with these agencies and institutions that received the large portion of their funding from the public purse, obviously we will continue to monitor that and we will take appropriate action.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

[Page 8161]

HEALTH PROM.: TOBACCO MARKETING - STRATEGY

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I'd like to table some photos that were taken at the Superstore on Joseph Howe Drive in Halifax. These photos, taken a few months ago, clearly show that the tobacco products are being displayed almost side by side with movie rentals, including children's movies.

Allowing tobacco companies to advertise their products in the same place where children's products are present, flies in the face of everything we know about the best practices for reducing tobacco use in our young population. I want to ask the Minister of Health Promotion, why hasn't his government's tobacco strategy address point-of-sale marketing by the tobacco companies?

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, through you to the member, I have raised and discussed this issue with members of a variety of groups, including Smoke-Free Nova Scotia, which has been very vocal on this issue. Indeed, Saskatchewan and I believe Manitoba have moved forward on this. At present, that has been a short term decision made by their governments to move forward in that direction. We need more information and I've made the commitment to Smoke-Free Nova Scotia to work with them to do the appropriate research so that we can make evidence based decisions.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

HEALTH PROM.: TOBACCO - POINT OF SALE MARKETING

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Well, the good Governments of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, NDP Governments, have seen the light in this and I'm hoping this government would do the same.

Mr. Speaker, many stores have tobacco signage or products right beside or near merchandise that would attract children and youth. If you look at those photos I've tabled you'll see Bambi being advertised right beside tobacco and Daffy Duck right beside tobacco. The tobacco companies are highly motivated to target young people in order to create a new generation of consumers and retailers are strongly guided by tobacco companies in where and how they place products and signage. My question to the minister is why hasn't your government intervened to stop this point-of-sale marketing to children?

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: The fact of the matter is our government has taken the strongest steps for many years in our province. We introduced Nova Scotia's first Tobacco Strategy. We have seen over 78,000 Nova Scotians quit the habit of tobacco usage in our province. We have taken a leadership role. Mr. Speaker, as I have said, we will look at the research. We will make an evidence based decision and we will do what is in the best interest of Nova Scotians.

[Page 8162]

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: I'd ask that minister to keep that image in his mind, Bambi - tobacco, Daffy Duck - tobacco. It's not a big leap to understand that that should not be allowed to continue. When they were approached on this issue, Atlantic Superstore stated they're abiding by the current legislation and they have no intention of changing their practices, Bambi - tobacco, until the law tells them they have to do it. I want to ask the Minister of Health Promotion, when is he going to table legislation to stop tobacco companies and retailers from marketing their deadly products to children?

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: What bothers the New Democratic Party is that this government just tabled the strongest legislation in the country for 100 per cent smoke-free places. That's what bothers them. The fact of the matter is, I go back to my original answer, I indicated that we would do the appropriate research, we'll work with the groups involved and we will make an evidence based decision.

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

EDUC. - SCH. HEATING COST: SCH. BDS - MEETING

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. Yesterday, we did hear the government's weak plan to address high energy costs. Missing in the announcement was the government's acknowledgment of the challenge school boards will face with the rising cost of fuel this Winter. Will the minister please indicate whether he has met with school boards for the purpose of developing an action plan to address the rising cost of heating schools this Winter?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, my colleagues, the Minister of Energy and Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, outlined a strategy to deal with high energy prices right across Nova Scotia. Included in that was reference to institutions and other agencies that received the bulk of their funding from the provincial government.

MS. WHALEN: Let me explain some of the magnitude of this problem. Despite the huge volume of oil that the Halifax Regional School Board and other school boards use, the price they pay is set at the beginning of each month as they are unable to lock in a price for the entire season. In May, the HRSB, here in Halifax Regional Municipality, budgeted 53 cents per litre and on September 1st, the cost had already risen to 59 cents. Every one cent increase in the cost of fuel costs them $93,000 on the HRSB's budget. Last month, the rising cost of fuel resulted in them estimating more than $0.5 million shortfall, in fact almost $600,000 short for this year. My question to the minister is, could the minister provide specific details on the plan he has in place to ensure that all school boards are adequately funded to absorb the rising cost of fuel this Winter?

[Page 8163]

[5:15 p.m.]

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I'm going to refer that question to my colleague, the Minister of Energy.

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Education's previous comments, governments have been very cognizant of the need to deal with the pressures on government from the tax base that we have available to us and that's why we have the reasoned and measured approach we do, because we have other pressures we have to address and we've acknowledged that. Also, on conservation efficiency, we've taken it a step further with our government house in order. We've taken measures to make sure that we provide efficiency and improvements.

That's why, Mr. Speaker, the new Iona school is a new energy efficient school and it will be the most energy efficient in the province. We're taking the measures necessary to provide that assurance to all government-related institutions, and the government does take the matter seriously, and schools are included in that process.

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, while I appreciate hearing from the Minister of Energy, I believe the responsibility for school boards rests with the Minister of Education. I would like to hear the answer from the Minister of Education to what plans he has taken to ensure that there will be additional funding to cover the shortfalls school boards will almost certainly experience so that parents will not see money taken out of their children's education in order to heat the school. So, once again, could the Minister of Education please reply directly on plans he is making?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, there must be a lot of noise on that side of the House because I think we've answered this question five times. So let me say that we'll make an appropriate response when response is needed. It's very early in the heating season. We meet with the school board officials monthly to discuss any issues they might have, and if that does become a concern, we will certainly take an action which is appropriate and within the means of this province.

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

COM. SERV. - WOMEN'S HOUSING BARRIERS

MS. MARILYN MORE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community Services. The Halifax YWCA has served a very specific population of women, many of whom are difficult to house, for many years. The organization has been struggling with underfunding from the Department of Community Services, something the department's own auditors pointed out last year. In spite of these findings, per diem rates and operational funding continued to fall far from the mark of what is needed to provide the service. I ask the

[Page 8164]

minister, why has your department consistently placed barriers in the provision of housing services for women in need?

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member opposite bringing up the subject of the YWCA because they are a long-standing and well-respected organization in this province and, indeed, the work of the YWCA and the YMCA is respected well beyond the boundaries of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I would like the honourable member to be assured that a couple of years ago when they came to us with the concerns about their building that we came to the fore with $83,000 to assist them. The next year there was another $13,000 to assist them. We are not their only funders but, indeed, last year when they had a problem because they missed a grant from another organization and they came to us, we came to the rescue with $100,000, and they were very appreciative at the time.

MS. MORE: Mr. Speaker, last year the YWCA provided 3,200 bed nights for women in need in a 16-bed program. Now that they are leaving their location on Barrington Street, the board proposed a new 24-bed program for the same amount of funding. After months of negotiation, Community Services left them a take it or leave it offer that cut operational funding, only providing inadequate per diem rates. So my question to the minister is, why has your department treated the YWCA in such a shoddy manner?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, again, maybe the member opposite missed some of the initiatives that we've undertaken over the last couple of years to try to assist them. I would point out that with the sale of their property, all the monies we put into the maintenance and renovation of that building are, unfortunately, lost to those people that both the member opposite and I are so concerned about serving.

The member opposite, in her resolution earlier today, talked about how we had walked away from the table and abandoned these women. Well, perhaps the member opposite would be pleased to know that as of the other day I'm advised that we have an agreement with the YWCA and they will continue to be providing residential services funded by the Department of Community Services.

MS. MORE: Mr. Speaker, I'm assuming from his answer the minister is suggesting that the housing program will not close on November 1st, because if it did that would only leave one private room in all of HRM for women who face challenges staying at other shelters. One private room. My question to the Minister of Community Services is, why did the process between his department and the YWCA reach a point where they were very close to closing that program and why wasn't the department up front with the leaders, board of directors and staff of the YWCA that there would be funding coming? They actually announced to the women in that housing program they were going to have to leave. It caused

[Page 8165]

a lot of apprehension, concern, worry and stress on their lives so why weren't they more up front?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The time allotted for Question Period has expired. Before we go to Government Business, there was a mistake in one of the numbers with regard to bills, so the Clerks would like to rewrite the bills with new numbers and I would like to have the agreement of the House that be done.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Thank you.

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 203.

Bill No. 203 - Involuntary Psychiatric Treatment Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North has about 12 minutes.

MR. JERRY PYE: There are 12 minutes remaining, Mr. Speaker? Thank you. I want to say I recall back on May 19th, in the Spring sitting of this Legislature when I first started to debate this piece of legislation, Bill No. 203, the Involuntary Psychiatric Treatment Act. I want to say that we, as the Official Opposition, had talked about how flawed this piece of legislation was. We had also recognized when drafting legislation there was a need to make sure the piece of legislation was going to stand the test of time, that piece of legislation would be acting in the best interests of Nova Scotians who that legislation may have been specifically designed for and that it was ensured to protect them. This particular case, it was designed to help people who have mental disabilities as well as individuals who may have physical disabilities.

We've looked very carefully at this piece of legislation and we do know there were people in the community telling us this piece of legislation was flawed, much as the decision this Party had come to. We agreed there would be ample opportunity if the government were

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to set aside that piece of legislation in the Fall to get out there in the Summer, in the BBQ pits and the greeting trails and so on as you do the Summer tour, as politicians do, to get feedback from citizens with respect to this piece of legislation that is before us.

I can assure you that many members of the government have heard from people who will be affected by this piece of legislation and from members of their family as well. Most recently, I received a call as early as today and the government had made some comments with respect to the Schizophrenia Society wanting this piece of legislation to go forward, and that this legislation was something that that society was looking forward to help the persons who are suffering from schizophrenia, at least get the kind of treatment that they needed right away. I want to say that in speaking to some people whose family members or partners have suffered the unfortunate disease of schizophrenia that in fact they are not in support of this piece of legislation and they believe that the old Hospitals Act itself, would in fact cover much of the needs that would be required to provide treatment for persons with schizophrenia.

One lady actually related an issue to me where in fact her partner would sometimes get into these very serious, what is called, I believe or termed, damaging psychotic breaks. That's an area where there's a very serious problem. It may be a result of not taking the medication immediately. It may be a result of a circumstance. It may be the result of almost anything, but they do periodically get these breaks and this individual had informed me that in fact the policemen knew about her partner and they knew him well and they knew that these are some of the problems that he may encounter.

As a result of that, they were prepared to recognize the situation with respect to this individual and offer the assistance and bring the individual home or take the individual to a place of treatment. These are the kind of things that you need to recognize. You need to recognize that rather than do what is called the community treatment orders, that there needs to be some sensible approach to what you do when assisting individuals who have very serious issues. I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, the concern that this individual had brought to my attention was that now under this new piece of legislation that the police can pick up the individual, take the individual to get a psychiatric order and in fact it only takes one psychiatric assessment to do the order and the individual would then be confined somewhere where even the family member may not have participated or wanted that individual to be. So it becomes an extremely frightening experience around the whole area of support.

It's also important to know that there has been an issue around where to provide the services for these individuals. The important issue here is the lack of services that are needed to provide the individuals who may find themselves in this situation. Now I do know that we had hoped to be able to provide facilities for them in small options homes, but the minister and his government must realize that in 1999, I believe it was his government that put a moratorium on small options homes, as a matter of fact, and the facilities have never been the same since. There is a continued decline in the facilities available at small options homes.

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There's no space available for individuals who would want to go into a community and get that community support. It's a matter of having the timely treatments and options available to citizens who find themselves in this situation with respect to mental health issues.

[5:30 p.m.]

I would say to you, Mr. Speaker, when I talked about this issue back in the Spring sitting of the Legislature that we had heard from our learned colleagues who are professionals in this area about what is wrong with this bill. The bill of course meant that there was a very serious problem with respect to the delivery of services and programs, that the old existing Hospitals Act was there. The Act sustained the kind of legislation that was necessary to provide the services to persons who found themselves in this sort of situation.

We, as a political Party, have decided that there was a way to approach this and the way to approach this was to make certain that individuals had the opportunity to speak before this piece of legislation. I know that we have suggested amendments to this piece of legislation and Mr. Speaker, the amendments of this legislation will probably be heard on this floor as well as across to the red room. I want to say that we are very fortunate to have delayed this piece of legislation at this point. I do believe that it will give us an ample opportunity to listen to those presenters who come before Law Amendments to hear and speak about this Bill No. 203, the Involuntary Psychiatric Treatment Act.

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

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: I'm glad to have, as my predecessors of this House used to say, a few moments to speak on Bill No. 203, which I think as we call it the Mental Health Act, but for the record, it's the Involuntary Psychiatric Treatment Act. This is a seriously flawed piece of legislation and I'm up on my feet today because this is a bill that I've had a chance to read and I have some serious concerns about, as does my caucus. We look at some of the changes being made in this legislation and I think it's fair to say that there are concerns about accountability, about capability of the province to actually address the needs of people with severe mental health issues, mental disorders, and also there's liability issues if you actually look at the legislation. I'm going to take some time to address all of those.

I guess I want to start by putting on the record some of my sense about how this piece of legislation is supposed to work because we are debating the principle of the legislation here in second reading. I think it's important to put on the record, before I go on to talk about my concerns, how I understand it, and if there's some concern about that the other members have a chance to respond. Also maybe I assume there's always someone from the Department of Health taking notes and they can always discuss it with me as well.

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My sense of this legislation is that it starts by two psychiatrists having to decide that they feel someone needs to be accessed. Someone with a severe mental disorder, mental illness, I'm not a practitioner in that area so I'm not even going to try and guess what we're talking about with that regard to (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. There is quite a bit of noise in the Chamber and I'd ask that the members take their conversations outside.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour- Eastern Passage.

MR. DEVEAUX: Clearly, there are in this legislation, certain types of disorders that people are considering as ones that are severe. I think it's an outcome based way of looking at it, is the person a threat to themselves - presumably suicide, are they a threat to someone else - physical harm to someone else. Mr. Speaker, these are the traditional ways of judging whether someone has to be, I think the common lay term is committed. Committed to a hospital, committed to a psychiatric unit at the Nova Scotia Hospital of the Abbie Lane or at one of the regional hospitals where there may be a psychiatric unit.

What does it take for them to be committed, as we would say in lay terms, to a hospital without their choice? So for the protection of themselves and others in the community it's felt that because of the severe mental illness they need to be, in some way, prevented from leaving. Now that's a very nice way of putting it. I wouldn't say incarcerated, because that means that they are charged with a crime and convicted. Of course we all know that if they have committed a crime and there is an issue of their mental capacity, then there's the forensic unit at the Central Regional Correctional Unit - if that's the name - in Burnside, where they can then be sent for purposes of people who have committed crimes but are found not guilty or are in the process of being assessed because of a mental illness.

Mr. Speaker, we're talking about people who are not committing crimes, people who are in the community, who have a mental disorder, who have a mental illness, who need treatment that maybe they refuse to get or because of the threat they face to themselves or to others, there's a need for them to be hospitalized. That's where this bill starts. It starts by saying that two psychiatrists separately have to say that this person needs an assessment, and that that assessment needs to be done under some form of restraining. They're brought into a hospital - I think it's 72 hours in the bill, Mr. Speaker, I stand to be corrected on that - for up to 72 hours that they can be in a facility, they can be brought in without permission, again involuntarily, and, in return, that gives an opportunity for the psychiatrists, if two psychiatrists say it's okay, then they're brought in. If they, themselves, don't deliver themselves, they can actually be arrested and brought in by the police or a peace officer. Clearly, this bill talks about two psychiatrists required to actually say this person needs an assessment to determine whether they need to be committed.

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So that's the first step, Mr. Speaker, saying okay, we need to bring this person in for an assessment. Frankly, I don't have a problem with that, assessing a person, having two psychiatrists independently say it's important to assess them I think is a reasonable rule. I don't have a problem with that part of the bill. I think it does a very good job of saying, where two psychiatrists say that it's important to do this, it will be done. I might note that it can also be done by judge's order. If someone wants to go to court and ask a judge to issue an order that someone is committed for assessment, that can be done.

Also, where a police officer sees that there's a problem, and because of the timeliness of it, because it's not reasonable for them to go for a court order or to access two psychiatrists, a police officer also has the right to detain people in those circumstances and demand an assessment. I think that one is basic law for someone who would be, prior to conviction - the famous sort of 30-day assessment or whatever, that may come under the Criminal Code. Mr. Speaker, clearly there's the ability to assess. It's very important that someone who, clearly, we're not sure if they have a mental disorder that is so severe or so threatening to themselves or others, it's important that they then be brought in. Again, I don't think our caucus particularly has much of a problem with that.

Here's the problem, if the person is to be committed, if the assessment done by one psychiatrist determines that the person has a severe mental disorder that prevents them or makes risk to them or to others, it takes one psychiatrist to sign that committal order, Mr. Speaker. One psychiatrist can say, we think this person needs to be committed. Well, I can tell you right now I have a problem with that. Any time a person's ability, a person's freedom, a person is being judged by one other individual, I have a concern. I do believe the system, as we have it now under the current Act, calls for two psychiatrists to have to make a committal. Again, there's accountability. There is some form of check and balance so that we ensure that two independent psychiatrists take a look at a person and then they both have to say, yes, this person has to be committed.

Right now, if this bill passes as is, we would have it down to one psychiatrist, signing a form, can commit someone without their permission and keep them in a mental hospital, in a psychiatric facility. I want to be clear, they can keep them in there for a long time. Indeed, it has to be renewed every month or two months, depending on which renewal it is, but frankly, from my reading of this bill, they are able to keep them in there for an extended period of time. I don't want to say in perpetuity or for years, because I hope that's not something this bill is considering, but the opinion of one psychiatrist can keep someone, without their permission, committed into a psychiatric facility for a very long period of time.

Mr. Speaker, I will tell you right now, that's a major problem with this piece of legislation. We are basically saying that one psychiatrist has the right to sign away the rights of someone else, lock them up in a psychiatric facility without their permission and tell them that they have to stay in there. Well, I'll tell you that's a problem. Under the current Act, my understanding again is that it takes two, and there's a check and a balance with regard to it

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having two. It ensures that if you have one psychiatrist and I'm not questioning the reputation of psychiatrists or the physicians who are psychiatrists in this province but any time you have a system, it could be a psychiatrist, it could be a lawyer, it could be another type of doctor, it could be any professional, any time we're putting in the hands of one professional the right to sign away the rights of one individual and to put them in a facility where they are unable to leave and they have their rights removed from them, I think we have a problem. A problem that easily can result in some form of abuse and I just don't mean the physical abuse in that obviously, I mean abuse of the system. That's a problem we have with this legislation.

One psychiatrist can lock away one individual and remove every right that they have. It can force them to have to take medications. It can have them strapped down, Mr. Speaker. I'm sure that doesn't happen like it used to but that all can be done because one psychiatrist says I think this person needs to be committed. That's a problem, a problem our caucus has with this bill, Bill No. 203. Why does this government think that it's important that we remove the check and balance that came from having two psychiatrists have to sign?

Now, I know this came up, this bill has been debated for awhile in one form or another and there was a previous bill as well, Mr. Speaker, that the government left on the order paper. It's still there and I recall we raised this issue in the Spring. The Minister of Health said, oh, no, you need two psychiatrists. Well, I wish the Minister of Health would actually read his own bill because what I understand from this is it takes two psychiatrists to do the assessment but only one psychiatrist to commit them for an extended period of time and that's my reading of the bill. Again, if there's someone in the House or someone in the Department of Health who wants to raise this issue with me later on, I'll be glad to talk to them about it but that's my interpretation of this legislation and with that, clearly we're removing a check and a balance that ensured that there was a situation where one psychiatrist would not be left on the hook for having to defend a decision alone for committing someone and removing almost every one of their rights.

Mr. Speaker, that's a problem with this legislation. We would like to see two psychiatrists have to sign the admission, sign the involuntary admission, committal as we would call it and this could be renewed. It can be renewed on a constant basis and I think the third or fourth renewal, the first renewal is for like a month, the second renewal is for two months and then it says the third or any subsequent renewal is for three months. Well, that reads to me the first time is one month and then the second one is a month. That's two months and then you have a second renewal. That's another two months. That's four and then you can have a third renewal which is three months which would be seven.

So, Mr. Speaker, we're already looking in the legislation. They already anticipate seven months of committal but in theory it says it can be subsequent and that means even more time. This could be continued. One psychiatrist continuing to sign one form saying one person has all their rights removed and they have to be locked up in a psychiatric facility. We think that that is not right, that this system needs to have the checks and balances that

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requires another psychiatrist to actually be there, to be in place. That's part of the accountability issue that we have a concern with, is that with all due respect to the psychiatrist profession, to doctors in this province who practice psychiatry, there needs to be, and if I was one, I would want to have that second opinion to make sure that there is an opportunity to ensure that this person actually does need to be committed. There are times when it has to happen. No one is saying there isn't. There are people who are a threat to themselves or to others who need to be involuntarily put into a psychiatric facility, but I would urge this government to consider the fact that before we do that, that there at least be a second opinion provided.

Now, an individual who ends up being committed, I'm using that term loosely, Mr. Speaker, but as I say it's the lay term, a person who has to be committed to a psychiatric facility does have the right to appeal this. They have the right to appeal to a board. They have the right to have a board review this decision, well and good, but I would argue why should we be taking away the rights of a person while they wait for an appeal to a board when, in fact, we have a situation where the rights would be removed for an extended period of time and all I have to do is refer to the document that was tabled today which is the Annual Report of the Psychiatric Facilities Review Board from April 1, 2002, to March 31, 2003.

So it's two and a half years old, Mr. Speaker, but they specifically talk about the fact on Page 5, this has been tabled earlier today by the Minister for Health Promotion, but they talk on Page 5 under (b) appointments to the board, the discussion paper prepared by the Mental Health Legislation Development Committee in March 2004 and the recently introduced Bill No. 109, which is now Bill No. 203, it's a new version of it, proposed that the timings required for hearing should be shortened. So, clearly, they're looking at the possibility of trying to shorten the hearing process, so that clearly if someone is committed, if one psychiatrist says that this person has to be committed to a psychiatric facility, there was a need for the board to work quickly to deal with that.

[5:45 p.m.]

All well and good but here's the kicker, they go on to say these proposals, with regard to shortening the length of time for hearings, with the present shortage of psychiatrists may not be practical. As far as I can tell, that's government-speak for them to try and say that without more resources, without more psychiatrists in this province, without more resources to the board, the board will not be able to hear these appeals, these reviews, on a timely basis. Which means, one psychiatrist can sign a piece of paper, commit one individual to involuntary care in a psychiatric facility and it could be months before that person has a review of their decision - their rights will be suspended or removed, medical treatment will be provided to them and it may be months before they actually have a chance to have their decision reviewed.

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What does this mean? This means one individual who may or may not need psychiatric treatment or may or may not need it in an involuntary manner, because of the opinion of one psychiatrist they're going to have their rights removed for an extended period of time. It could be months. I would say to you that is a concern that we have.

Why not ask for that second opinion up front to make doubly sure. We're talking about taking away someone's rights. I think it's important we ensure we have that second opinion before we start issuing involuntary care admission orders that force someone to have their rights removed and have treatment forced upon them. Clearly, from this board for psychiatric facilities, the report that came out today says they're not going to be able to work quickly given the shortage of psychiatrists and given their own resource base right now. Clearly the board is already saying they don't think they will be able to act quickly to address or review or hear appeals of these decisions by one psychiatrist - and I'm urging the government in this case to also review whether that's necessary.

I also want to talk about the definition - because it has been expanded. The definition used to be - I can't be quoted on this because it's been awhile since I read the old Act - the definition was that you had to be a threat to yourself, i.e., suicide, or a threat to someone else - physical harm, threatening to kill them, actually acting in a way and manner that clearly showed concerns.

Now that it has been expanded they don't necessarily need to meet that test. There's a separate test they can meet, which is that they can be locked up if the person is likely to suffer serious physical impairment or serious mental deterioration. Well, Mr. Speaker, you could drive a truck through that. Where before you had to show direct facts that showed that one individual was either going to try and commit suicide, harm themselves or harm someone else, now the psychiatrists don't have to prove that anymore, all they have to do is prove the person is likely to suffer serious physical impairment or serious mental deterioration.

What does that mean? I'm not sure, and the terms aren't defined in the Act. These may be terms that are acceptable to the psychiatric community. As a member of this House, being asked to vote on this legislation, all I ask is for some clarification as to exactly what that means and why that will not result in us having to have a lot more orders possibly being issued. The person may not be a harm to themselves, they may not be threatening to commit suicide, they may not have threatened to harm themselves or anyone else, but if they're likely to suffer serious physical impairment because of a mental disorder - I'm not even sure how that particularly happens, in theory I guess it can happen, but I'd like some clarification as to exactly why and how that's a reason for locking them up.

What about the fact that also if they are likely to suffer serious mental deterioration? So their condition is going to get worse. They may not be a threat to someone else, they may not be a threat to themselves, but their condition is deteriorating - they can be locked up. That

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might be anticipatory, that might be saying we see that right now they're not threatening someone else or themselves, but if their condition deteriorates in the next few days or weeks, then they might.

I have a concern with that. When I used to work in the court system years ago, I used to see the people who came in when they would be put "in bail" overnight, and you would see them first thing in the morning and they were the ones who perhaps weren't taking their medication, they had some form of mental illness and you would see them repeatedly return, return, return. We'd get frustrated because it was like a turnstile. What do you do? You send them back for some treatment, they go on their medication, they go off their medication and then they're back in court. It happens.

I don't think we necessarily need to move in the other direction and say that we anticipate this person is going to harm someone - either themselves or someone else - and in anticipation of that we're going to lock them up. There has to be a less intrusive way, a way that does not result in the complete removal of someone's rights by saying that we anticipate that their mental health is going to deteriorate, or their physical impairment is going to get more serious and as a result we're going to lock them up now.

There has to be a better way, a less intrusive way. This is using a sledgehammer to kill a fly, and we need to find a way that results in something that is less intrusive. There's got to be a better way of doing it than saying, we lock you up because we think in a week or two you may hurt someone. I have a problem with that, and maybe that's not what it means. I go back again and say, it's important that someone define these terms in this Act so that we have some clear understanding of exactly what they mean.

I'm just taking a layperson's interpretation of these terms, but that's what you do with legislation. The first time a judge sees this Act in front of them, if this bill is passed as is, they're going to look at that and say, well those are terms. If they're not defined in the Act then we take the regular meaning of them. That's going to leave a very large and vulnerable opportunity for psychiatrists - one psychiatrist, I may note - to sign a warrant that would say that someone has to be committed and their rights removed.

Those terms have to be defined. They have to be defined in a way that limits the scope so that we're talking about a very specific issue that needs to be addressed. If that's the case, fine, let's do that. Otherwise, as they're written into this Act right now, it opens a huge opportunity for again, one psychiatrist, to end up issuing a warrant committing someone to a psychiatric facility for months on end with their rights removed. That again, is a concern that we have with this legislation.

Again, this is all about accountability. Who's accountable for these decisions? Yes there's a board that can review it but we were hearing from the board itself today, that they don't have the time. Given the resources they have and the psychiatrists they have, it's going

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to take a long time before they're going to actually be able to review or hear an appeal of a decision to commit someone to a psychiatric facility. So we're in a situation where for months on end someone could have their rights removed, treatment forced upon them because one psychiatrist said so, for reasons that have expanded definitions of how they get into that situation. There's no immediate accountability as to why this is happening.

I understand that they're professionals, these psychiatrists. I understand that they have licences and there's a board that reviews them. I am not saying that they're unethical people, of course I'm not saying that, Mr. Speaker, but again, it's about accountability. It's about knowing what is happening, why it's happening, and for what purpose. Why don't we have those checks and balances at the front to make sure that before someone is actually committed, there's an opportunity to actually ensure that there's a second opinion being brought before we start committing them and having their rights removed.

That's the accountability issue and that's a major issue for our caucus; one of them. I talked about capability or capacity. I've talked about liability; I'm going to get onto those as well. But for today, talking about accountability I think it's important to note the problems that this bill raises with regard to changing the law to make it possible for one psychiatrist to sign a warrant that takes away the rights of an individual, and sends them into a psychiatric facility.

Mr. Speaker, that is where we're coming with to start with. Accountability means ensuring that there are opinions. That there's a second opinion and that the test by which they actually can be committed is such that it's a legitimate test, one in which we can all feel comfortable that people are not being locked away for the wrong reasons. That's what we need to ensure. We're taking away someone's rights. Yes, they have a mental disorder, yes, that mental disorder could be causing trouble, I don't doubt that, but there's got to be a way that if they're not specifically causing harm to themselves or others.

Why do we allow them to be locked up unless there's a clear understanding as to why they need this extra right to do it. Why one psychiatrist should be able to do it instead of two. Why in these circumstances we're ensuring that this is the way it's done instead of something that's less intrusive. There has to be another way and this government needs to find it instead of just saying that this is what we're going to do. We're going to allow one psychiatrist, with an expanded definition of why they can commit someone, to allow them to do it without a second opinion, that's a concern that we have with this legislation and it's one that I think that many in this province will have as well.

At the Law Amendments Committee, if this bill makes it there, Mr. Speaker, we're going to hear from a lot of people on both sides of this issue. I understand it's controversial. I understand within those, what we'll call mental health consumers and, in many cases, the loved ones of people who suffer from mental illness, this is a bill that can be considered important. Some think it's necessary, some think it isn't. I'm telling you that our caucus

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believes that we have some serious problems of how this bill has been drafted and the impact that it will have on the rights of individuals who suffer from severe mental illness. These are situations that we think need to be addressed in this bill. On the principle, we cannot support a bill that's going to go in that direction, and I think that is crucial.

I think it's also important for me to talk a bit about capability. We talk about the fact that we're going to bring people into psychiatric units, involuntary care, but then we start talking about moving them back into the community. I'll tell you that in Nova Scotia we have a very poor track record of what we do with people with mental health issues or people with intellectual disability or people with physical disability who have been, unfortunately, in the past, put into institutions.

I think about one that I've worked in as a youth that just closed a few years ago, the Halifax County Regional Rehabilitation Centre. We said there were people in there who were going to move out after years of keeping them in that facility. Then there were certain ones who they couldn't put into a group home, so they're staying at Sunrise Manor. They said that was a temporary measure, that they would be at Sunrise Manor for only a year, a year and a half, until they built the new facility for them, somewhere in the eastern part of HRM where they would be able to go and have more of an assisted living, more support, so it's more than a group home but they would still have an opportunity to live a little bit more independently. Well, they're still at Sunrise. I think my colleague, the member for Cape Breton Centre asked this question in the Spring session. Someone in his riding has a son who's in Sunrise and has been in there for a long time, and it's abominable conditions from what I understand. It's not the right place for them but this government said, we'll make a quick fix to that problem, will close that building and we will move people out. That doesn't necessarily mean they're fixing the problem and the resources aren't necessarily there with regard to it.

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

MR. DEVEAUX: I move adjournment of debate, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is to adjourn the debate on Bill No. 203.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[The motion is carried.]

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

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, the House will meet on the morrow at the hour of 9:00 a.m. and will sit no later than 12:00 noon. The order of business will be public bills for second reading. The bill we will be dealing with is Bill No. 203. If we complete that bill shortly before 12:00, then I would suggest that we wouldn't go onto any further business for the day.

Mr. Speaker, I move the House do now adjourn.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The House is adjourned to 9:00 a.m.

[6:00 p.m.]

We will now move to the honourable member for Cape Breton South's emergency debate for this evening.

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 43

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

ENERGY: CRISIS - RAMIFICATIONS

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I will be sharing my time with the honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Everyone has a copy of the schedule? We're off by a couple of minutes but we'll make it up.

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MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, earlier today our caucus requested that the entire question of energy in this province was a serious issue that would merit emergency debate in this House, thereby creating a vehicle where our Party and the other two Parties in the house can debate this very serious issue. I want to thank you at the outset, Mr. Speaker, for allowing this debate. It shows that your office considers this to be a serious issue for Nova Scotians, as I'm sure all Nova Scotians consider this issue to be very serious, because it does affect virtually every single person in this province in one way or another.

In regard to the recent government initiatives, I think you could sum it up as too little, too late. The government, after many months of knowing that there was going to be a serious situation in this province this coming Winter with home heating oil, with gasoline, with other forms of energy that are getting up there in price, the government comes up with what I would consider to be a less than adequate solution to the problem. Not only is the solution, in my opinion and the opinion of our Party, inadequate, it's also ill timed. By the time those who are eligible, the few Nova Scotians who are going to be eligible, get the request forms sent to them and return those forms and they are evaluated and the cheque is finally cut for the magnificent sum of $250 for home heating oil and $100 for electricity, it'll be well into the Winter before those cheques get sent out and the impact of the high cost will have already been filled. So, in other words, the government is late off the mark with this particular ill-conceived program and ill-timed program.

The program doesn't hit many Nova Scotians this Winter and those Nova Scotians are still going to feel the brunt of high energy costs whether they heat with oil, whether they heat with electricity, whether they heat with wood or other forms of energy. Soaring energy costs is the biggest single issue facing Nova Scotians today and this government's half-hearted announcement is typical, Mr. Speaker, of government announcements of late - always projecting something out, always a half measure, never gripping the problem and doing something about it immediately. This particular plan is a plan that they hope will get them by the next election, as are the other plans that have been promoted by this government in the past few months - nothing substantive. Just enough to whet the appetite to get Nova Scotians thinking about down the road that we may actually get something from this crowd opposite, which is, again, anything that they do get from the government will be minimum at best.

I suggest that the increased costs that consumers in this province are going to incur this Winter, the paltry sums that this government is going to send out to them, when by the way they eventually get around to sending out to them, which will be well after Christmas, into the new year, when people will have already been into the heating system and will have already paid a great deal more for home heating oil, as an example, than they normally would or what they did last year.

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So, Mr. Speaker, we're left with a half measure here. We're left with Nova Scotians, for example, a family of Nova Scotians who make more than $25,000 a year, that magnificent sum of $25,000 a year, are not going to be eligible. I say to you that people working in the system today in Nova Scotia, two people working in a family who make more than $25,000 a year, are still in need. I suggest to you that families in this province that make less than perhaps $40,000 a year, with a family, are in need of some assistance, but this plan doesn't address that. It doesn't say anything about anybody making more than $25,000 a year except on the back end of the proposal when it comes to retrofit but there again there's a cost to the consumer. There's a cost to the householder and that cost is substantial in order for them to take advantage of the ill-conceived program that this government has put together.

So what does it do for Nova Scotians immediately? It does nothing. It gives them some hope that down the road they might get a cheque, just like the $155 cheque they got prior to the last election. On the eve of the election actually $155 went out to Nova Scotians. A cynic might say that was vote buying, you know, but nevertheless $155 cheques arrived in the mail prior to the last election and then a tax cut, which was since hauled back, also it was announced by the government and now the energy plan calls for the government to give $250 when they get around to it this Winter. I suggest that perhaps some of the leadership contenders over there, the two I mentioned earlier today, Lord Black and Peter Kelly, who would be two people who are interested in how much money the government plans to give away this Winter, would probably be. Well, I don't think John Morgan would be very welcome from your Party these days, to run for it, but anyway. (Interruptions) Well, you know, Brooke Taylor has always been a person who is very interested in pursuing his career in politics and perhaps, if that's the way he feels, he should go. Maybe he should but anyway I would like to get his views on this ill-conceived program as well.

Nevertheless, I wonder if the latest attempt at obtaining a favour of some Nova Scotians by a $250 cheque, or in the case of electricity a $100 cheque, or of other sources of energy, are going to be pleased with that. They might be pleased for a week when they find they can get maybe a quarter of a tank of oil with that, and then it's game over. That's it. There's no long-term strategy here. There is a short-term cheque. A cheque and this one is for $250 to some people and I say to Nova Scotians that anybody who is making over $25,000 a year as a couple, can forget about the cheque. They're not going to get it. Anybody, a single person making more than $15,000 a year is not going to get the cheque either, so they can forget about it. Any family that makes over $25,000 a year and is struggling to put children through school and struggling to maintain a house with a mortgage, they're not going to get anything because they make more than the magnificent sum of $25,000 a year. Who is going to get it? People who make $25,000 a year or less.

A great number of those people in that income category, for the most part, some of them may be on community services or they may be in minimum wage jobs. I don't know how they can afford a house to put the oil in the tank in the first place. So I don't know which segment of our population this government is trying to target here because the people who

[Page 8179]

are out there that are making between say $25,000 as a couple and $50,000 a year, are going to be hurting this Winter. But there's no plan to do anything about that and I question the fact that I believe the figure was used that there are 78,000 homes in Nova Scotia going to be eligible for this program.

The first part of the program, the $250, I would like to see how many of those actually are making less than $25,000 who can actually afford to own a home if there are two people with children. I don't know very many who can afford to pay a mortgage in the first place and they certainly can't afford to be paying their $700 or $800 for every fill-up of oil in their tank this Winter. So $250 is not going to go very far to somebody who is making $25,000 a year or less. If you make $25,001, you're not eligible for anything, and there are a lot of people in Nova Scotia in that category as well.

Anyway, I would say to you, Mr. Speaker, that we have a serious situation here that deserves much debate. The plan that we witnessed here by the government is totally inadequate. The addressing of the problems that people are facing with home heating oil this Winter, with the price of gasoline - by the way with the surplus the government had this year, I would have thought maybe the government when they boasted about the surplus that the Minister of Finance brought in would have said, now's the time to give this surplus directly back to Nova Scotians, as a tax break or as a direct meaningful contribution to the serious problems people are going to face with home heating oil this year, with gasoline, with electricity, with wood, with all the things that people consider necessities this Winter.

This is nothing but, as I said earlier in Question Period, a bridge to get the government from this point to a point past the next election. This is what this government has done in all their planning. Never make a decision that will benefit the majority of people they're elected to serve, just throw enough of the carrot out there that people will have perhaps a little hope they're eventually going to get something from this government. In the meantime, the government is hoping to buy some political popularity. Well, I can tell you, the last polls in Nova Scotia show that this government is going one way, down, in the last poll, despite what - and I suggest now that the current Leader is retiring that those polls will continue to go down unless this government can continue to fool Nova Scotians into thinking they're actually doing something for them.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I will defer to the member for Halifax Clayton Park.

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

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Today in Question Period as well we asked a number of questions concerning the institutions in this province that are also going to be under tremendous pressure through the Winter as these costs are actually felt and their budgets go out of control.

[Page 8180]

Today, the document was tabled from Dalhousie University showing a $900,000 shortfall that they're anticipating - yes, was tabled by the Leader of the Opposition who is here today. All of our public institutions, school boards, hospitals, municipal buildings, all of these organizations are going to suffer tremendously. I know that other members of the House will be speaking specifically about the individuals who are going to be hit. In my own constituency, I've been speaking to many individuals who have already called about the difficulty of locking in at more favourable prices, the huge increase they're taking from last year to this.

I wanted to go to the government's response today and talk some about their response to the municipal, the school board and university sector saying it's business as usual, we're monitoring the situation, and we'll continue to meet monthly, the way we always have with our school boards, and perhaps this issue will come up. Really, there's no sense of being proactive and about looking at what the prognosis is essentially for this coming Winter, recognizing the world prices and the costs that are already being seen here in Nova Scotia, and taking some action that would help to remediate the impact.

We'll see a cut in our school boards in other educational programs in order to make up the difference. Clearly, we're not going to have our schools cold or wings shut down, so therefore we're going to have to take money from educational programs. We see from the universities that they're looking at exactly that - cutting other programs that make sense. At Dalhousie they talk about actually cutting their energy efficiency program. The fact that they're suffering these high costs for energy means that they will now cut back on improvements to their buildings and other facilities that would actually save money in the long run, be good for the environment and good for their budgets.

So what I really want to say today is, on behalf of those public institutions like universities and school boards, that the government's response is clearly inadequate. It's not good enough to say you're following the issue and you'll talk periodically to the people - you have to be proactive because all of us will suffer when these institutions are stressed and don't have the funds necessary to offer the services we depend on.

With that, I believe my time is up. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Energy.

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, I'm very pleased to be able to rise and speak to this matter of debate before the House on an issue I agree is of paramount importance to all Nova Scotians, and an issue that we have to take seriously and this government has.

Part of what I think we don't want to get into is just a debate over whose plan that has been released in a bidding war is better than the others. What is interesting was for people suggesting, from the Liberal side, that this is too little, too late when we're ahead of schedule

[Page 8181]

for last year, and that this is a halfmeasure. Do you know what was interesting? All throughout Question Period and even just this recent speech from the Liberals, they didn't talk about the Liberal plan, because the Liberal plan fell short already. If you look at the Liberal plan, they would talk about it being effective in 2006, 2007 - $15 million for heating relief. We've put $25 million on the table for Nova Scotians.

That $25 million is very much going to Nova Scotians - 73,000 Nova Scotian households that are eligible under our government's plan, a plan that will see more Nova Scotians included, that will partner on the Government of Canada's and will enhance the incentives from the Government of Canada. We have to deal with the realities of their decisions, we've had to analyze that as well.

But when you look at how the Liberal plan would come into play, I don't hear the Liberal caucus talking about their plan anymore. It has fallen short. It doesn't address the real pressing needs of Nova Scotians and it doesn't do it in the manner that our plan does. We've dealt with it in a responsible, reasoned and reasonable manner of what Nova Scotians can afford.

Part of this whole debate comes around to how much more money should be spent. Well, what I do know and what Nova Scotians are very well aware of is there's only one wallet that people draw from on a basis for tax revenue - one. The Government of Canada has taken its response and we've tried to be responsible and our response to that is trying to work within that framework they put forward. They're doing that plan and they're releasing that plan and we want to make sure we get the most benefit for Nova Scotian tax paying dollars to go into that plan. We've also recognized a more long-term approach to this. We've talked about the energy efficiency and conservation piece. We also recognized the best kilowatt hour is the one that you don't have to use to reduce cost. It's a long-term approach, I do agree. I know that as we go forward our budget considerations for the Spring will include a very comprehensive and more far-reaching approach in the longer term plan towards energy efficiency and conservation.

[6:15 p.m.]

That is something, Mr. Speaker, that we will continue to do in a very responsible manner with the tax dollars of Nova Scotians and doing it within the fiscal framework of what this government can afford to do, balancing out the other priorities of Nova Scotians as well and the needs that Nova Scotians have of government and their services to the people. It is all about balance, and that's the approach we have taken to this and that's the approach we'll continue. Recognizing those in greatest need, understanding that those people who are in greatest need, need assistance from their government at the provincial level to do what we can. We've maximized that benefit, we've brought that forward to Nova Scotians, and we're going to see more Nova Scotians this year benefit.

[Page 8182]

We've recognized increasing financial pressures, that's why we've increased by 25 per cent the amount of money available, up to $250, if you consider where it started, from $50 to $200 to $250. So those who would suggest government has not been aware of the pressures on Nova Scotian families then they're not paying attention to the actions of government and the investments of government for Nova Scotian families. That is something we are not going to deter from, it's something we're going to remain committed to, again, in a responsible manner, with targeted measures that meet the needs of Nova Scotians, the families and households across this province, at the same time, being responsible, putting in stringent measures for government, so that government's house is in order and is a leader by example.

That's what this government is doing, we're making sure that we have the best buildings, we're retrofitting smartly, we're insuring energy efficiency savings are being achieved as we go forward to retrofit. As we train our government employees, for instance, over 200 of the Department of Transportation and Public Works employees have been recently trained on energy efficiency and conservation measures and how to better utilize government equipment and reduce cost, at the same time providing greater efficiency of those machines.

That's not about a government sitting back and not taking action, it's about engaging everyone, it's about recognizing that throughout government simple tasks such as shutting down computers and making sure lights are out are all going to save dollars that we need as a government for priorities of Nova Scotians. I think that's responsible and all government employees and people who work for the Civil Service I am sure are going to meet that need so that the money we can save will go back to those in greatest need in this province and also for targeted investment in the areas that will achieve better outcomes and conservation in energy efficiency. That's part of our plan.

We have to put our plan in context with the framework we have to deal with, and that was the federal government's response. It's important to know that the direct payments to low-income families and seniors by the Government of Canada and where we as a province fit into that. There's $250 from the federal government to families who received the National Child Benefit supplement and they have also $250 for senior couples with the Guaranteed Income Supplement and $125 for single seniors. Part of our plan in Nova Scotia is response that would actually capture some people that the federal program and response doesn't. Also, to build on the energy efficiency and conservation measures of the Government of Canada so that we are maximizing outcomes, we're making sure that we maximize the benefit that Nova Scotians can receive to incent and to make changes.

Nobody has the "one plan fits all" because nobody credibly could get up in this House and say that they can offer the total solution. The total solution requires a commitment on everyone to conserve, it requires a commitment to build on energy efficiency, it requires a commitment to deal with the pressures of those in greatest need, but if anyone comes in here

[Page 8183]

and suggests that they're just going to spend their way through this problem, that they can spend their way through global energy pricing pressures, then I think they're being irresponsible. They are being irresponsible because, as I've stated during Question Period, if they're suggesting they could do all of that then there is a hidden agenda, and that agenda is take the tax off here because we're just going to up taxes elsewhere. There is no way that any plan that has been brought forward, a hidden agenda, by the Opposition Party, the New Democratic Party, will talk about balance.

We all, I believe, in this House have made a commitment to making minority government work. In so doing, we also brought a budget before this House and looked at where the balance would be and the compromises necessary for program expenditures, but also on the revenue streams that government would have to fund $6.4 billion in a budget. I'm sure, Mr. Speaker, that members of this House are going to hear about the windfalls to government and all these money revenue windfalls.

Well, I'm going to tell you, Mr. Speaker, I look forward to the ensuing debates, and I suspect we'll have many over the course of this session, for people who would lay out something that is not there. This government is doing what we have with the resources that we have available to us for the best outcomes possible. So other folks who want to talk about we're just going to spend our way through it. They're going to spend in one hand to provide relief and they're going to take in the other from other forms of taxation.

As I've stated, Mr. Speaker, we've looked at many models. There was also Question Period in this House, when people talked about the equivalency of the HST on home heating fuel. As part of the number crunching and the analysis, I talked about that and I talked about it for a reason because we were looking at what the equivalence would be. Rather than try to suggest that we were going to, in short term, change the taxation system of this nation and agreements that we're tied in with other governments, that we actually would look at what the equivalencies are. Part of the equivalency and part of the considerations that government has responsibility to do is to recognize those other pressures.

So I've heard the members from the Liberal caucus and I understand their concerns, as others, about people who are in publicly funded facilities and the need to keep them with the energy supply and sources they need. This government is very much aware of that and because of those pressures we are being responsible. We have to be prudent with those tax dollars because we will have to deal with some of those pressures and we will continue to do that within the context of what Nova Scotians can afford to do. One of the things we can't afford to do is not change the way we function as a government in terms of our physical operations and our energy consumption, how we do it as households, and we need tools and incentives to assist with that.

[Page 8184]

So, Mr. Speaker, the government is doing a very responsible and responsive approach for Nova Scotians. If you consider that with our $25 million with regards to expanded Keep the Heat, that we are providing additional sources. More people are included with that. More people will take advantage and have the ability to have our energy saving kits that have had a phenomenal response from Nova Scotians. The reason we're including that in a comprehensive way to all our program aspects is because of the feedback from Nova Scotians, it works. A $50 value that's providing over $100 in return in one year. That's smart investment. It's also providing people with some of the tools that they can use to prove that there's a way to help reduce energy use and thus costs, and that's something that we will continue to assist Nova Scotians.

Making sure as well, for those with electric heat - old thermostat devices were inefficient, could have a four degree variance. Well, a four degree variance is costing people so we're putting in place a program to get 3,000 older homes with those style thermostats replaced for a $200 value. We're working on our furnace tune-up voucher, as we did last year, in expanding that further and assisting to make sure that those efficiencies and upgrades can be done. That's all to be done in a time frame that is going to be shorter than last year's delivery. So for the Liberals to suggest that this is too little too late when, in fact, we had to do the responsible thing and see what the Government of Canada was going to do so we could do what we've been able to achieve. That's getting out there and provide a better program response for Nova Scotians with their tax dollars, making better use of their other tax dollars, that the Government of Canada made decisions and choices on. So Nova Scotians have a better outcome because we have done the responsible planning process.

If we get into our energy efficiency and conservation measures, one of the questions that came up in Question Period, Mr. Speaker, was talking about transportation. Well, part of the program response we're doing this year is to help areas, especially some of the universities, with ridership programs that have been successful. So we do that, encouraging car pooling and other forms of reducing traffic and thus energy use and supply issues.

We're also working in a much broader way. Aside from our incentive programs that we're going to be looking at for public ridership and transportation, the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, we have an additional $27 million coming in for public transportation in this province. That's a significant investment. It is going to help increase ridership, provide better equipment on our roads, safer equipment, and also encourage more Nova Scotians to use public transit as a way of efficiently and cost effectively getting to and from work and other personal priorities. That's what this government is doing - $27 million there as well. That's in addition to the $35 million.

As well, Mr. Speaker, we've responded, whether that's with the planning, they talked about education, the new Iona school in Cape Breton is going to be the most energy efficient one in Nova Scotia. It's about changing practices. We talked about the long term. The long term has always been at the forefront of our planning process. We've been engaged in a very

[Page 8185]

important process with the Government of Canada over Project Green and other initiatives. Next Thursday we'll provide our environmental and energy action plan, the framework that will build us out many years. It'll take us to a lower-carbon future, and provide Nova Scotians with the diversity, with the integrity in our energy supply, in our electricity-generation capacity, to provide us with long-term investments for economic opportunities, but, at the same time, more reliable, more consistent ability to plan and maintain rates so that the fluctuations we're seeing on the international market do get mitigated.

That's why, Mr. Speaker, also in Question Period, this government has been very dedicated to doing a very responsible thing in the energy market, and that's recognizing that our power generation for electricity in this province is predominantly from coal. We have a coal source here domestically, and not just the international marketplace. We're going to develop the Donkin Mine, but we're not going to develop it by dumping more public money, we're going to have private investment. Private investment is going to create more jobs, which will create more tax revenue, so that we as a government can come forward, as we continue to do, within a balanced budget framework and provide the best form of governance and program priorities for Nova Scotians.

As others would talk about going to the test, well, this government is prepared to go to the test. We're going to stand up throughout this session of the House and we're going to make sure we continue to deliver in a responsible manner with our targeted measures that will achieve the best outcomes and that Nova Scotians can rest assured that their tax dollars are being invested wisely, prudently, and it's going to help those in greatest need and help others to become part of a longer-term approach and solution for the integrity and well-being of Nova Scotians well into the future, a future that Nova Scotians can afford, can plan on and, more importantly, rely on this government. Thank you.

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

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I certainly rise with pleasure to engage in this debate. I want to begin by saying that I think for all of us in this debate the fundamental thing that we have to keep in the forefront of our minds is that it doesn't matter whether it's the government caucus that comes up with the plan that fits the homes of Nova Scotia, the families of Nova Scotia, it doesn't matter if it's the Opposition Party that comes up with it, it doesn't matter if it's the Liberal Party. What matters is that what eventually is arrived at in this Chamber is what is in the overall best interests of the people of this province. After all, that is certainly why we're here.

When we lay out our respective plans, whether it's through the Opposition caucus or the Third Party or through the government, we do that to try to make available to the government and to the people of Nova Scotia all of the options. I would begin to speak this evening with an entreaty to the government caucus to not get caught up in the rhetoric of Question Period or get caught up in the rhetoric of the heated debate in here. (Interruptions)

[Page 8186]

No, I'm serious, instead try to focus on simply that, what is in the constructive best interests of the people of the province. That's why myself and my colleagues are here, and I have to believe, with many longstanding ministers in that government that that must be why they are here. That's why, when we suggest these things to you, it is in the fervent hope that as democrats, that as participants in the public process, you will try to take the best that is here to be offered and to try to mould a plan that will truly serve all of the citizens of this province. I remain committed to that. I'm hopeful that every member in this House is committed to that notion.

[6:30 p.m.]

I want to deal with a small piece of what the Minister of Energy had to say, and I think it's important we do this because part of the government position around the energy program they've brought forward is with respect to the notion of physical balance, of the ability of the government to be able to respond to the wishes, the needs, the concerns of the people of Nova Scotia. That, in particular, has to do with the notion of taking the HST off home heating sources. I know I heard the Minister of Finance say at one point in time that he was deep in negotiations with other provinces to see how this can be done - I remember when he said that. I remember the Minister of Energy said at Oak Island that he had a recommendation on the table that was going to go to Cabinet around taking the HST off home heating sources.

I think they understood that that is not something that simply materialized out of the Opposition on a whim. That's because that belief that this is an unethical tax, this is a tax on a necessity of life, doesn't just come from the members sitting on these benches, and I can tell you where it comes from - it comes from the people in my riding.

This Summer as I went door to door, no matter what I was out to talk to people about, they would always say keep up the fight to get the HST off necessities like home heating. I heard it in Cole Harbour, but I also heard it in North Sydney. Just today I tabled some 7,500 signatures on a petition that asked exactly that. You know where else I heard it, Mr. Speaker? I heard it in Thorburn, at the doors in Thorburn. I heard it in Pictou Heights, in Clare, in Sherbrooke, in Guysborough County, in Amherst - wherever I went I heard them say this was an unethical tax. This isn't even about energy, it's about the ethical nature of a tax on the necessity of life, on home heat - something you cannot do without in our climate.

I think to be fair - and I don't want to crank up the members of the Third Party, but this was a mistake that was made when the HST was first brought in. Nobody can tell me and they can't tell the people of Nova Scotia. You can try, but they're simply not going to believe you when you tell them the tax law of this province is engraved in stone, that they have to be prepared to live with unfair taxes for the rest of their lives and for their children's lives. They don't believe you, and they won't believe you, and they shouldn't believe you, because it's simply not true. (Applause) It's simply not true.

[Page 8187]

I want to give you an example. The minister spoke of the windfalls. Let me tell you this - on July 27, 1999, which is a date that I remember well, if not fondly, the price of a litre of gasoline in Nova Scotia was 59.9 cents. It's almost hard to believe that was only six or seven years ago. But when it was 59.9 cents a litre, what the Government of Nova Scotia took in in HST was 7.8 cents. Do you know what they're taking in today? They're taking in 15 cents. So one of two things is happening, either Nova Scotians are paying more and the government is getting more, or the HST deal was so bad that the federal government is reaping the benefits of the HST agreement, and if that is true, that is only so much more reason why we ought to be getting out of a terrible tax deal that is not benefiting the people of Nova Scotia.

You should know that overall the HST, the tax revenue, a consumption tax on the people of Nova Scotia - and let us remember that it is consumption taxes that disproportionately affect those people on modest and low incomes, those people on fixed incomes, it is the poorest people in our society who are disproportionately affected by consumption taxes - the HST has increased in value to this government by $370 million, since this government came to power, and what we have asked for, Mr. Speaker, is for them to simply admit that this unethical tax ought to be allowed to be taken off and to allow consumers to benefit from that. There's no hidden agenda. It's very simple. This was an unethical tax. It was a mistake that should never have happened in the first place and consumers in this province should reap the benefits of the increases in taxation revenues that this province has seen.

The last quarter, in the last Consolidated Statement of Operations and Accumulated Deficits in this province, saw a surplus to the Government of Nova Scotia in excess of $16.9 million. It's not that they can't afford it and you remember, Mr. Speaker, as I'm sure I do, them standing up and they had no problem when they brought forward a budget that was going to roll out a tax break for the large corporations. They had no problem with that and they said its a matter of good physical balance. That we can do it because we've been good stewards of the economy and we can afford to do it. When they were going to roll back taxes by 10 per cent they said, we can afford to do it because we've been good stewards of our economy and we can afford to do it. Well surely to goodness, the people who pay taxes every day, who pay their income tax, who pay their property and who, yes, pay their HST, deserve to get a break on the necessities of life. Surely, if you've been good stewards of the economy, surely you can afford to do that.

That's why, Mr. Speaker, and I'm sure I've gone on a lot longer about this than I wanted to but I wanted to make the point to the ministers and to the other members in the House and whoever's watching out there that this is not a pipe dream, this is very practical, to use the government's notion. It's a very balanced kind of approach. It is about being fair to people. It's about knowing that there are seniors who go out to fill up their oil tank and they get that slip at the end and they see the HST on it and they get angry and they ought to, because they ought not to be paying on a necessity like this.

[Page 8188]

So, Mr. Speaker, our program is about that. It's about fairness. We said to the minister, if you want to deal with retrofit programs, make them available to everybody, so that people can truly invest in home energy efficiency. Make available interest-free loans so that people have the capital to be able to make those and to pay them back and if he doesn't like no interest, make them low interest; make them affordable for people. Find a way to let consumers in on the program. You look at the renewable resources around the province that people are using, like solar and they proposed a 10 percent rebate on solar power, less than the HST on those products. Do you really think that that's going to make it more affordable to people? I wish it was true but it's just not there.

When you look at wind power, for example, in this province, Mr. Speaker, the government needs to take a tougher position with Nova Scotia Power Inc. The amount of renewable energy that's being used in this province as a percentage of consumption has not increased. It has declined over the last number of years. We need to see greater investments by the monopoly utility in renewable resources. I was down in Argyle and I went to the Pubnico Wind Farm. You know they're supplying 1 percent of the energy needs of Nova Scotia presently. We have one of the best wind regimes anywhere so we should be taking advantage of that. The member for Hants West, I realize it's all good sport, but the reality is that Nova Scotia Power Inc. as a utility is going to continue to use coal for many years to come and it makes great sense to the people of Nova Scotia and great sense to the utility, I think, to use Nova Scotia coal - and we ought to be - for that portion of the load that it needs to operate its facilities. The Donkin Mine, whenever that announcement takes place, will be, I think, a very welcome announcement on behalf of the people of Cape Breton. (Interruptions)

I know I'm following rabbit tracks here and I shouldn't, because they're rascals over there, as someone used to say. The reality is that there are a lot of sites in this province that were strip-mined that have never been cleaned up, have never been reclaimed, and that's a tragedy. They are scars on the landscape, and the people, for example in Boularderie, they don't want to see that kind of activity where it's going to affect the other industries that are already there - the tourism industry, the agriculture industry.

Mr. Speaker, the government needs to learn to listen to the people of these communities and take into account the way they feel about what the government is proposing. I remember seeing a recommendation that came forward to the government and they said that the proponent of this strip mine hasn't actually done a very good job with respect to this proposal, so we have two choices - we can either send it back to them and say you have to put in a better proposal or we can simply accept it because since we only got one proposal, it's the best proposal we received. Can you imagine that that's the kind of advice that's coming forward to the government?

[Page 8189]

Anyway, Mr. Speaker, this is an important debate. I hope we have had an opportunity to add something to it. I do believe that there's an opportunity here; I really hope that the government takes the opportunity to seize it because I think that we can become a national leader in renewable energy and energy conservation and efficiency and there is a pathway there. I'm not asking that you do everything today. I'm saying, show the road map for people so we know how it is they're going to go about saving what they need to save in energy efficiency to be able to afford to live in this province. That's what I'm asking for; I'm asking for a reasoned approach and I think that's what Nova Scotians are asking.

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

MR. GERALD SAMPSON: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to stand here this evening and speak on the energy crisis that we are already in. It's not imminent, it's not the future, it's here and it's here now.

Mr. Speaker, the proposed increase of NSPI will surely eat up the $100 rebate that's proposed in the present plan and $6,000 to retrofit, not very many people are going to have that money. We need immediate results and really the planning for this Winter should have started a long time ago; this is not something that has come overnight.

I will reference the cost of fuel at the pumps later in my talk, but what we're talking about is the soaring cost of energy as the biggest issue facing Nova Scotians today, and what I would like to do is quote from the honourable Minister of Energy when he said that the province only has "one wallet" to draw from. Well if that's the case, I would like to know why this government procrastinated and lollygagged for two years to try to make a decision on the twinning of Highway No. 101and wound up costing this province, this taxpayer, this one wallet, $20.1 million more than it would have two years ago, and suddenly it's the cost and it's the problem and it's the result that the bureaucrats couldn't make it.

So what I usually do, Mr. Speaker, is I look at the person in the mirror, and if I make a mistake I blame the person in the mirror who's looking back at me. I don't point fingers at somebody else, but this government always seems to be, it's always somebody else's fault and they seem to be trying to spend their way through to another election.

[6:45 p.m.]

The high cost of gasoline and heating fuel is being felt by Nova Scotians virtually in every element of life, from consumer goods, clothing, food, just everyday living has gone to everyday existence. I deal an awful lot with people who are in subsidized housing and people who are looking for assistance but the priorities are roofs, a heating system and water. What good is a rebate to somebody in a substandard house that the more heat you provide the more of it goes out through the window or through a door that doesn't close properly and lets the

[Page 8190]

weather in. I don't see the result of that. I know I would be severely chastised for throwing money away in a public domain, yet that seems to be what's happening.

The financial cut-off for this program is far too low, it eliminates an awful lot of people who need help, and a lot of those people who need help are referred to the middle income bracket as the working poor. Mr. Speaker, there are going to be long-term ramifications from this energy crisis. We need a plan, it has to be a long-term plan. As the honourable Minister of Energy said, no one has the perfect answer. That's why I believe that government should put flexibility into their policy. One size fits all does not, will not and has never ever worked. We experience that on a daily basis between rural and urban areas. Policies are made for the large area and the heck with the rural area. This is a one-year plan and this one-year plan appears to me to be going from crisis to crisis. Wait until the lightning strikes and then maybe we'll get out of the way, if we can.

It's a stop-gap measure, Mr. Speaker, that will bridge from election to election. The $155 cheques seemed to work, almost, and now we're into subsidizing again, not everyone, but that certain element that maybe we can win another election on. As I said, $250 won't mean much to a middle-income Nova Scotian or the working poor when they don't qualify to get it. It covers for one year but what about the implications of the long term that it's going to have on our economy.

There's a tough Christmas coming up for a lot of people and there's going to be a tougher new year. We need more than energy, we need an economic plan. It has to be dovetailed together, it has to be a long-term plan, long-term economic development, because that's what energy is. Any person involved in economic development 101, the very basics of economic development, the first thing you will hear is, you should know where you want to be in five years and definitely where you intend to be in 10. If you can't raise your head and look down the road then there's something wrong. You're going to have seniors, middle-income people, commonly referred to as the working poor, consumer goods, food, clothing, every aspect, and my learned colleague next to me here is going to develop on the business aspect of it.

The price of furnace oil, did this just start? August 2003, 55 cents a litre, a 27 percent increase; August 2004, we're up to 70 cents a litre, the storm is coming, another 21.8 percent increase; lets go to August 2005, 85 cents a litre. It's not that somebody has not be pre-warned, it's not that this just all of a sudden overnight skyrocketed to over $1 a litre, it has been coming, and it's been coming slow and steady and nobody has taken the time to recognize that.

Mr. Speaker, let's give back to the consumer the excess money that's being collected at the pumps. If the government says they can't control gas and oil prices, then give the excess back to the customer. Why did they tack an extra 2 cents a litre on, just so that they could make more money a few years back? The volatility that's in the fuel oil market and

[Page 8191]

gasoline and home heating fuel, we've seen it spike to $1.48 a litre. It's gone back down to $1.08.

If you think back, when oil was $30 a barrel, there was a group that is very familiar with a colleague of mine, who at that time said, you fellows better be prepared, oil is going to go to $60 a barrel. There were those who laughed and scoffed at it and thought they were way out of line. Well, guess what, $60 is a standard price now, give or take a few dollars up or down, depending on whether it's a Monday, Thursday or Saturday. This informed group has now made the prediction that within a year $60 a barrel will be a deal. They're saying that within a year you're going to be looking at $100 a barrel.

I refer to somebody who was interviewed on CBC, not all that long ago, and the statement they made was that you people in North America have it easy. You're complaining because you're paying $1 litre. In Europe, we've been paying $2 a litre for a long time. If the oil companies can get $2 a litre, they'll get it. Greed knows no boundaries. They'll gouge you to the nth degree. Whether you can make it to work or not or whether you'll freeze to death is immaterial to them. The bottom line is give us more, give us more.

Mr. Speaker, we need a long-term plan, not crisis to crisis. You have to have leadership that will recognize the implications of a crisis that's impending now that we have to do something about. I think about independent truckers who signed contracts at a fixed price and all of a sudden their fuel costs have gone through the roof, their profits have gone to zero and yet they're locked in. The province can return the 2 cents a litre that they put on three years ago.

Of course we talk about removing the HST. It's a noble gesture, Mr. Speaker, but it's not doable in the short period. A lot of people don't know that, but a lot of people expect it to happen. There are also plans that are being put forward, where there's nothing for electricity, wood or coal. So that's a narrow deal and it just does nothing to affect the crisis in the economy.

Governments are elected to provide leadership, to create legislation and to bring forth programs that will drive change. We have industry, universities, community colleges, municipalities and individuals - give them some additional funds. Create scholarships so that they'll drive research and development. Reward them for being proactive. Tell them what we want. As a government we have to encourage conservation but we have to put investments into research and development, which is the future of the energy market.

Mr. Speaker, there's no reason in this world why Nova Scotia should not be anything but a leader. The long-term goal, as I said, must focus on incentives and producing alternate energy sources and conservation technologies. That's a must. We have to know where we're going and have an idea of how we're going to get there, but keep the project flexible so that as things change the program can be adapted to it. We have to encourage investment in

[Page 8192]

innovative and sustainable energy sources, cogeneration facilities, solar, wind and tidal power.

Mr. Speaker, I just love to talk about Wreck Cove. In my riding, Wreck Cove was a $170-plus million investment plus, back in the seventies. They tied together the Chéticamp River, Indian Brook, North River and every little tributary thereof. They created dams and large areas to store water. Since that investment back then, but the way which I must say is only assessed at $640,000 of which any one of us here would run out and buy it if they would sell for $640,000, when it's probably now worth $640 million. But what I'm getting to, is the fact that we talk about coal which is a major energy source in Cape Breton, and should be used, but we have to develop clean technology. Here we have Wreck Cove which produces as much power as Point Aconi and Lingan, and guess what, it's all free. Mother Nature fills up these dams and fills up the rivers and so there's no buying of any energy. So why don't we develop? We have lots of rivers in Nova Scotia. We have lots of wind around the coast.

Solar heating. Prince Edward Island has had solar panels on the roofs of their houses since the 1970s. Why don't we put in a program out there to create incentives for that, Mr. Speaker? We have to be proactive and develop what we have. We have wind. We have rivers. We have water supply, that's our fuel of the future. As I said, what's before the Legislature now and released yesterday by the present government is just a bid for another election. The answer is out there. We can resolve 75 percent of the problem by using what we have and allow research and development to bring us the answer to the rest.

Mr. Speaker, I hope that what I am saying will not fall on deaf ears. Nova Scotia Power has to step up to the plate. Here we have Alberta, a leader in oil production, is also the leader in wind energy, and why can't we have that here? It's not something that's not available to us. I aim to emphasize Wreck Cove, the utilization of free source. Once it's built, Mother Nature provides the rest. There's no reason in the world why Cape Breton and Nova Scotia cannot be a leader in what we have. Solar power, I haven't woken up a day yet that the sun hasn't risen and that's an energy source that could be tapped also. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cumberland North.

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, it gives me a great deal of pleasure to rise tonight and to comment on a number of proposals that have been put forward. Look at the alternatives for this province, so that we can move forward to provide measures that help our citizens during this period of prolonged elevated energy crisis and to face the reality of higher energy costs in the future. A number of my learned colleagues from across the aisle have put forward their Parties' plans of how short-term, long term they would like to see Nova Scotians supported and conservation developed; conservation enforced and enhanced.

[Page 8193]

Mr. Speaker, I think it's really key to look at the facts, instead of as one honourable member said, the rhetoric of Question Period. On this side of the House we've been dealing with facts for six years now. The fact to make sure this province prospers, there's opportunity for our people and for our children and our grandchildren, involve fundamentals. They involve a balanced budget. We're into our fourth one. We were able to achieve that as a government in cooperation with Nova Scotia citizens and taxpayers.

We also, during that period, looked at the long term. The energy strategy that this government formulated in the year 2001-02, speaks to many of the issues that were ignored by members of the floor opposite. The NDP fails to recognize or acknowledge that renewable energy in the form of wind is a key plank in that strategy. To achieve that and to get to the point where we are now where projects are being announced throughout the province that will meet the target in the energy strategy of 10 megawatts of production by the year 2010 are already announced. Some of them are under construction, other ones will begin next year. I'm sure the honourable Leader of the Opposition, when he was in Amherst, would have been informed of 19 units that are going across the Tantramar Marshes. That would not have happened without the hard work of Nova Scotians and the foresight of the Energy Strategy of the governing Party.

[7:00 p.m.]

A number of things had to be in place. We had to get agreements with Nova Scotia Power, we had to get agreements, and I can remember as minister working with my colleagues across the country and working with Minister Goodale, at the time, to get that one cent of kilowatt hour in for green or renewable energy. That turned the business case so that we could attract those companies from around the globe to put those facilities in place here in Nova Scotia. Those facilities are now being announced and now being built.

I certainly hope the honourable Leader of the Opposition availed himself when he was in Amherst to see that natural gas is flowing in public buildings, in hospitals, in schools, as well as private enterprise. A cleaner form of energy, an opportunity for Nova Scotians to use their own resources right here in the province. Those are important first steps, they're important beginnings on a cleaner, more efficient energy source across the spectrum. They also are good for our economy. The economy here in Nova Scotia, with the faith of the business community, has made great strides in the last six years. Last month, the seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for Nova Scotia was 7.2 per cent. I believe it was in the vicinity of 11.2 per cent when this administration stepped forward with Nova Scotians and accepted the challenge of let's make Nova Scotia the best place to raise a family and the best place to live. Those things are happening, the plan is working and we're moving forward.

My honourable colleague, the Minister of Energy, announced an energy platform and strategy yesterday. That platform and strategy deals in two common-sense key things for Nova Scotia. The first, it recognizes and works closely with the federal agreement on direct

[Page 8194]

payments and support to low-income families and seniors across this province. Think back, it was this government that has stepped to the plate the last three out of four years, when required, to support families and people in need in Nova Scotia when energy prices rose too high. We're here again before the heating season begins with a workable policy.

I had a look at the Liberal plan. They were going to let this Winter go by, not spend any money to help out those families and they were going to have a plan ready in 2006, 2007. We know that this Winter is going to be a difficult Winter for many Nova Scotians. That's why the plan's in place, that's why the dollars are there, and payments can flow at the beginning of the heating season, in the month of November. That's dealing with reality instead of political rhetoric.

When I look at the plan tabled by the members of the New Democratic Party, their cost, $100 million, Mr. Speaker, that's their cost. Other people have said it would be double that, with some expertise. That $100 million, when you look at it in context of the revenues and expenses, there's only one way you are going to pay for that, and members in this House are certainly taxpayers on both sides of the House and dealt with enough budgets, supported or voted against them that they know that there's only two ways to pay for that, in a balanced budget. The Official Opposition has said that they believe in a balanced budget. That $100 million, you either cut services or are they closing schools, hospitals, other government services to pay for that? Or are they going to increase taxes? Are they going to double personal income taxes for Nova Scotians? Double corporate taxes? Drive unemployment from 7.2 per cent to a number somewhere in the teens? Those are the real options.

Nova Scotians understand that. Nova Scotians want us to deal in a reasonable, measured manner with the resources we have to make sure we support those at risk and the most vulnerable, and ensure that we continue on the road of growing our economy. This economy has performed well over the last two years.

We will pay for programs like this, increased services for the people of Nova Scotia in health care, education, roads, by a vibrant economy that continues to increase the tax base - not by raising taxes and using taxpayers' money to provide an unsustainable program.

When the Leader of the Opposition talks of removing the HST - a very impassioned speech - the only thing he forgot to mention was where he would get that income. Did he tell Nova Scotians he would double their personal income tax or - pick a number - on corporate tax? Endanger business, our economy? He didn't mention that.

When he spoke of a 2 cent extra surtax on the motor fuel tax, he didn't mention that for the first time in a decade there are road improvements in this province. There's actual construction, there's actual maintenance. We're actually seeing Nova Scotians - and I encounter them every day - say for the first time in a decade that they're seeing improvements in our roads. Those are vital commitments to the people of Nova Scotia.

[Page 8195]

The member for Victoria-The Lakes wants that two cents removed. He apparently likes potholes in the road. That two cents is going purely on the road, as well as all motor fuel taxes are going back into road repair and construction. If you take that off, the progress slows down. Maybe that's what he wants in his area, but I can tell you Nova Scotians I have talked to want accelerated improvements in the road. They like what's happening, but they know it's the first step, they know we need more construction, more resources to put into the roads because those roads are vital to our economy - whether it's tourism, protection for our citizens, transportation to and from work, the economic base across this province - they are the backbone of the economy in this province.

With the neglect they received for 10 years with the previous administration, Nova Scotians fully see what condition they're in. You know yourself, Mr. Speaker, you've collected petitions - you spend the majority of your time collecting petitions - and what are they about? They're about roads and they're about those roads that are vital to the citizens of Nova Scotia. Reasonable Nova Scotians want those improvements.

The economy in Nova Scotia will continue to prosper as long as government respects taxpayers' money. When I say respect taxpayers' money, that's doing our best to live within our means. Taxpayers aren't asking to have their taxes raised. Those who make comments to me look to have them lowered, but they realize there are vital services to be provided. We have to protect those who are vulnerable.

I can't say enough in commending my colleague in his announcement yesterday on the short term making sure it's there for Nova Scotians who are in need and vulnerable. He has dovetailed the program so it matches with the federal program of $250, which is basically the equivalent to the 20 per cent increase in oil prices for home heating. The plan addresses the electrical increase that occurred last year - no Nova Scotian would look at you responsibly if you increased support payments for an increase that might happen or hasn't happened yet. That's not prudent. The plan is there in case and when it does happen.

The other important key component in the announcement yesterday is about energy conservation and energy efficiency. It addresses across the board some of the highest use potential and saving potential from burners and furnaces to dealing with direct support. I have to emphasize that, direct support in dollars in Nova Scotians' hands, low income Nova Scotians' hands, to help improve the insulation value, improve the heating value of their homes with various supports if they do the energy audit and are prepared to move forward.

Mr. Speaker, individual Nova Scotians will make that decision. They will look at where we can save dollars on their operating and heating costs, their light costs and how long it will take to pay that back. In a world of increasing energy prices, that everyone in the House has certainly noted tonight, it is a new reality that we have to deal with. It's a long-term plan that was announced yesterday that we can afford as Nova Scotians that is reasonable and workable, that will move us towards that future. When we look at renewable

[Page 8196]

energy sources we have here in Nova Scotia, there is absolutely no question, reserves in coal, reserves in natural gas, are going to be important to our future.

Developing them in a responsible business manner is also key and important to our future. There are not the dollars to subsidize those industries, those dollars, and Nova Scotians tell us that. They want better health care services, shorter waiting times, better access to medical procedures and specialists. They want better education for their children and their grandchildren and we're doing that. The number of new school constructions, books and supplies in the classroom, the improvements to community colleges, are moving our young people to a future where they can work in Nova Scotia and raise their families if they want to. It's a balanced, measured approach, Mr. Speaker, that is working with the resources of Nova Scotians, respecting their taxpayers' dollars and protecting those most at risk. Thank you for the opportunity to speak tonight.

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

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, it's an interesting speech from the member. I guess the only thing missing from his speech was at the end to say that's why I'm running for the Leader of my Party, but certainly all the indications were there.

Mr. Speaker, this is an interesting debate put forward tonight and as the preamble and so on was put forward, there are many things that we can all agree on how energy impacts on our day-to-day lives and what our plan as the New Democrats, or what the plan of government is, or the plan of the Liberal Party, what those various plans, the long side of them and the short side of them and I would suspect that people could make a fairly large debate over each one. So those things being in real terms, that none of us have the complete 100 per cent answer, I think makes it altogether a fair debate. I guess what I want to talk about in a large portion of my speech tonight is around retrofitting homes because the government says they're taking this long view of energy conservation. They see the big picture and the other two Parties on this side of the House do not.

Well, Mr. Speaker, they've really missed the boat on retrofitting of homes because I want to talk about in my constituency of Cape Breton Centre, in areas in New Waterford, Dominion and Reserve, where there are older company homes, some of them over 100 years old. Some of these homes, because of the wisdom of the great insurance companies that we're going to give tax rebates to, tax concessions to, will not insure because of their conditions. Some of those conditions are just that, very, very real terms about how they could have firewalls put up and would help with insulation, how they can stop the bitter north wind from whipping through their homes but yet this government has really done nothing substantive to help these people. The amount of money they're putting out really could not buy two Triple-E glazed windows and have them installed by a qualified person. Yet they say we're doing this within our means. Well, what do you think those poor Nova Scotians, who are living on fixed incomes, are trying to do?

[Page 8197]

Move over this government, they're trying to live within their means. This government parades itself as the only group that ever thought of living within their means. Well, you know what, and the honourable member for Hants West says that's right, well, I'm going to tell him that I have people living in my community making $9,000 a year, trying to live within their means. These are hard-working people, people who worked hard all their lives, Mr. Minister, and they deserve a break but yet you can nonchalantly sit in your chair and say so what. Well, Mr. Minister, you're not helping those people, in a substantive way, you're not. You are the people who are keeping them down.

[7:15 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, that's a real concern for me, what we're going to do to help these people in a substantive way. It's much like seeing someone dying of thirst and giving them a thimble full of water. That's what this is about, this isn't about real substantive help. I'm going to tell you, things that this government does that people find themselves in that economic stratum, that the government will not give any real kind of help or any serious counsel to.

A senior couple living in my constituency just recently applied for what's called Join the SLAP program, which is a small loan assistance program. They wanted to get some money to retrofit their home, make it more airtight, comfortable, so that they wouldn't waste energy this winter. What did the Department of Community Services, that runs that program, what did they tell them, did they tell them this is a great idea, you people are the type of people that we want to get up and help? No, lo and behold that department told them, you're over-housed, you're a couple with two bedrooms.

This was seniors living in a home they brought their children up in and what does this government do, does the government encourage them to stay in that house, to give them an appropriate amount of money? They weren't asking for free money, they were looking for an assisted loan program that could be amortized for a long period of time, that they could pay back at a reasonable rate. But what did the government department do? Say no. You're a couple, you only need one bedroom, never mind in two months' time when families who were forced to move away come home or want to come visit their mom and dad for Christmas and put them in the extra bedroom. No we can't do that, you're over-housed. My goodness, you're over-housed.

As I said earlier, this is another instance of looking at an area, especially in areas that I live, indeed areas that the Minister of Energy lives in and the member that brought forth the emergency debate. The older stock housing in these areas is some of the oldest areas of this province with homes along some of the streets of my colleague, the member for Cape Breton Nova, along Victoria Road and all of that, some of those homes are in the 100-year age range. These are good people, these are people who lived in these communities, built these communities and want to stay there.

[Page 8198]

They haven't lived on government handouts, they've worked all their lives and it's like what we're doing now is some of these people are living on pensions and we're going to penalize them. We're not really going to get to the substantive level of saying we're going to make this house for you, that if your next generation wants to come live in this house, that it will be a sustainable piece of residential infrastructure that another family could live in, it would be energy efficient. We're going to give them enough to get about half a tank of oil and maybe a window in the back porch so the snow won't come in. Overall, these homes because of their age will still be by and large not energy efficient.

So what are we trying to do? What message are we telling them? Government is saying we're living within our means, but they don't care about the means of their own citizens. These citizens who contribute to the economy more so I can say than the Conservatives themselves who were the ones that drove this province into a considerable amount of debt. Now they're telling people who worked all their lives, who were taxed, no. All of a sudden the big spotlight of fiscal responsibility has shone down on us and we know what to do. We know exactly what to do. We know how to extract you from those other Parties that will take all your tax dollars.

Well, you know, Mr. Speaker, if we want to go into a debate of Parties that governed this province and that were responsible for the public purse, then, I think, we will gladly bring that debate to the floor if the government wants to do so. We'll talk about some of those people who are still sitting on those benches. The type of debt they hoisted upon these people that they're now asking to pay these exorbitant energy costs because they all of a sudden are fiscal goons. They know how to run it, they are the ones with all the wisdom, they're the Yodas, they know all this stuff but, do you know what, Nova Scotians know better. Nova Scotians know, as friends of mine were telling me today, they were going in to buy stuff at retail stores and go do their banking, that by and large this plan is a joke, that it does not help anybody in a substantive way. It's the proverbial throw it against the wall and let's see what sticks.

There's absolutely nothing in a large substantive way that you can say that tomorrow my life is going to be better, even a year from now my life is going to be better, by the government's plan. So all we're asking government to do is to say, look, we do have an energy crisis in this province and we have a deficit of energy efficient homes. You folks don't have all the answers. My Party doesn't have all the answers and the Third Party doesn't have all the answers, but I think if you're serious about trying to advance what Nova Scotians need and want, then you certainly can look at the other options. We're not asking you to break the bank here. We're asking you to see what's reasonable for Nova Scotians to expect. We're asking you to tell us that people in this province want and deserve to live in an energy efficient home and to find our way there. That doesn't mean that they want to do it all with government money, no. The problem is that most of these people can't afford the front money and this is the part that government doesn't seem to get.

[Page 8199]

We talked earlier about people making $40,000 a year. Well, you know, that isn't a princely sum of money for two workers trying to put two or three kids through school, you know, with a pair of running shoes costing about $120, $140. It doesn't take long to eat up that type of income. We're saying, let's look at what our consumers want and need, our taxpayers. Let's help these people. That's what we need, Mr. Minister, when we talk about energy problems in this province.

The purpose of this debate today I would think, just by reading the resolution, was not to embarrass the government. The member for Cape Breton South brought it forward, and it was agreed to that it was in order and it was appropriate for a late debate. It was not one to chide the government. It was not one to say that the other two Parties, their plans are useless, and the Liberal Party was the only one that was good. I don't read that in here. I read in here that this opens up a debate that we should have on the floor of this House, of how do we resolve this problem facing all Nova Scotians.

My purpose for standing here tonight is to tell you stories about what happens in my community. I'm quite sure that my community isn't much different than those of the other 51 members in this House. We have lots of seniors, we have families on low and fixed incomes trying to send their kids to school, trying to pay exorbitant tuition costs at universities. We have all these things, that's what makes Nova Scotia great, that these people can get together and do these things. They don't do these things because they have large chunks of money or trust funds or whatever. What they have is the will to succeed in this province.

Mr. [Deputy] Speaker, you come from an area that's steeped in Scottish history with the arrival of the Hector. These people didn't arrive on these shores looking for a handout. They were earnest, hard-working people that said, we have to do something, we have a problem. We come from a country that we need a fresh start. Yet, some few hundred years later, we're being pushed back again by a government that's telling us, you have to live within your means. Well, do you know what? For over 200 years, Nova Scotian families have been living within their means, it's governments that have been living outside their means. It's government that has been spending their money. It's not Nova Scotians who have been squandering money and not paying their light bill or their oil bill, it was government that was doing it. Then they have the unmitigated gall to stand in front of Nova Scotians here today and say we are the fiscal saviours of this province.

That is so much phooey because it's wrong. The people who are fiscally responsible in this province are the men, women and children who built this province, who shouldered that debt, who pay for that debt every day when they go to school, who pay that debt every month when they get small pension cheques instead of ones that rightly should be given them for working in dangerous industries for 50, 60 years. That's who makes this province great. It's not some Tory Government that's into self-congratulations - it's the hard-working men

[Page 8200]

and women from Victoria County down to Yarmouth who do what's right in this province. They should know that it's the people, not them. Thank you.

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

MR. HAROLD THERIAULT: I'm honoured to stand here in my place tonight and speak on this debate.

As stated in our request for this debate, soaring energy costs are the biggest issue facing all Nova Scotians today. The impact of sky-high energy costs is being felt throughout the economy even as we speak. Just last month, Statistics Canada reported that 6,000 Nova Scotians lost their jobs, mostly in the retail and hotel sector and mostly because of higher fuel prices.

I believe it's great that we're trying to help the people of Nova Scotia. God knows we need to help them. But, what about the low income small businesses and medium-sized businesses that are being affected in this province? The high cost of gasoline and heating fuel is being felt by all Nova Scotians; the higher prices for virtually all consumer goods, including food and clothing, are being affected. As transportation and manufacturing costs rise, so will the price to consumers and in turn create inflation like our generation has not seen before.

Nova Scotians are facing bleak prospects this Winter and beyond as they choose between heating their homes, driving their cars and putting food on the table. Small businesses are facing closure and at the least they have to lay people off because of it. As Winter progresses, the impact of high energy costs will also mean a great expense to this government. The already razor-thin surplus will be in jeopardy due to the higher cost of running our schools, our universities and our district health authorities. The cost of infrastructure projects will rise with higher transportation costs for materials such as asphalt.

Community Services will be overwhelmed with new cases as those on margins are forced into public assistance. With the current Community Services, I fear for those who live on the margins. It's bad enough there's little for current recipients as it is now. If we reduce taxes, how much worse will this department be? It seems we can't take care of our people now because of the lack of funds. Let's hope there is a community service system available for those who find themselves collecting social services from this province.

[7:30 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, our transportation costs for Nova Scotia lobsters this Winter, are going to have great impact on this economy. As we speak right now the price of bait for that fishery - a $300 million fishery - has doubled. The fuel costs are doubling. The fuel costs will be doubling to get into the market. The American economy is no better or worse off than ours

[Page 8201]

is. Projecting out to next Summer, Nova Scotians and North Americans will have very little money at their disposal for leisure travel. Tourism this year was down 35 percent in our rural area of Digby-Annapolis; more impact on this because of the higher prices of fuel. What is that going to do to the tourism industry of this province? We had more to look at here than the low-income people of this province. Like I said before we need to take care of our low-income people but if we see the reduction in financing coming into this province, we're going to have a lot more low-income people and you can bet your bottom loonie on that one.

We believe that the government has not fully explored the long-term ramifications of this energy crisis. The government says it has long-term plans but where are they? Where is the plan to deal with the full impact of an energy crisis? Between the high Canadian dollar and the high energy costs, people are going to lose their jobs and we're going to hear about it this Winter. Businesses are closing now, small independent businesses. They're laying people off. It's happening as we're speaking, at this moment.

The $250 will mean very little and it won't affect middle-income Nova Scotians or the working poor and it's not helping small businesses whatsoever. This is nothing but a little more subsidy for big oil and it's simply inadequate. Even if it were adequate, it only covers this year. What about the long-term implications for this economy, for the people, for the small businesses that drive this economy? When is government going to address the economic impacts? We need more than an energy plan. We need an economic development plan that will help the oil companies from driving us, this province that I speak of, into bankruptcy. Big oil companies are making billions of dollars, record profits. Why aren't they part of the solution, if they're part of the problem? People need that answer. The only viable long-term solution is to reduce the dependency on oil and gas. Government, industry and individuals must work collectively to implement alternatives and for renewable energy resources and reduce our dependency on oil and gas.

Mr. Speaker, I am asked by a lot of people, they ask me, why can we make insurance companies reduce their insurance by 20 per cent, yet not be able to do that to big oil companies? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Thank you, very much, Mr. [Deputy]Speaker, if I could I'd like to begin by welcoming you to the Chair. I don't think that you have presided over the House previous to tonight's emergency debate and I would like to on behalf of all MLAs, welcome the honourable member for Pictou West to the Chair. (Applause)

I've had the privilege and honour of serving in the Chair for a number of years and really enjoy the insight sitting in that seat gives one. These deliberations tonight are very important and I want to thank the honourable member for Cape Breton South because I

[Page 8202]

believe that he was very honest and sincere when he brought forward the energy issue so I want to thank the member for Cumberland South for bringing this to the forefront.

Energy prices and the crisis that we now face is essentially a global problem. In fact, economists say that the latest surge in energy prices could inflict harm on the whole global economy, possibly pushing inflation further. It's something that all political parties in Nova Scotia are wrestling with.

I just heard the honourable member for Digby-Annapolis suggest that this isn't really a good program for the working poor, for low-income Nova Scotians. He may not have full comprehension of the energy program, the $35 million plan we announced yesterday - I do hope and ask that he take the time to clearly read the strategy and all the details regarding the program.

Irrespective of what the Leader of the Official Opposition said about rhetoric, there's a lot of rhetoric going around about this plan and I always take great pride in defending politicians irrespective of their level, whether you are a federal politician, a provincial politician or a municipal politician. Speaking of the federal government - and the NDP probably realize the implication I am making here - we don't have a Royal Canadian Mint to print money in this Party, there's no doubt about that. If the NDP ever has the privilege of trying to, and I'm just suggesting if they ever do, and I know it's hypothetical at this point, they're going to find it very difficult to be all things to all people.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley will be hammering away irrespective of his or her political stripe for more roads. They want their hospitals to stay open, their schools to stay open and they want community services provided to those who really need that help. Don't forget that it's very easy to stand up and make promises but, look, we heard what the politicians have had to say, that it's no good for low-income Nova Scotians, it's no good for the working poor, but that is political rhetoric.

I will table this document, this is The Daily News. Let's have a look at it and I'll read verbatim. Thursday, October the 13th "Help on the way, gov't heating-oil rebate targets those most in need, UP TO $250 BACK: Dartmouth resident Mary Crosby is happy to hear about a rebate. Filling her oil tank yesterday cost her $478." I ask you, how many Mary Crosbys are your constituents? How many are your constituents out there, and here we are tonight saying that the program doesn't help low-end Nova Scotians.

Now on Page 5, "Rebate 'helps an awful lot', says resident on a budget." So what type of rhetoric is being spewed about here tonight? This is what the real people are saying who are impacted by the high cost of energy. In fact, if I could quote one individual here, Mary Crosby said, "Oh, my God, that will come in handy. It will sure as heck help." How about Wade Bowser? Wade Bowser, 28, said "They spend about $115 per month on oil, so the $250 rebate will be very welcome. That will be going straight into my oil drum."

[Page 8203]

It's fine and dandy to play games and make accusations about honourable members standing in their place defending what really is a well thought out, financially accountable energy program. It's fine and dandy but you know what you're going to have to do. The fact of the matter is you're going to have to convince Nova Scotians. You're not going to convince us, the politicians, you're not going to convince the Third Party, you're not going to convince the government that you can only provide the help that you're talking about by raising taxes, that's the only way you can do it. So if there's an ulterior motive and that would be desperate, this MLA would tie himself to the hospital door, the Musquodoboit Memorial Hospital door and to Colchester Regional Hospital, if they dared tried to close one of our hospitals to deliver some other programs.

You have to do things in balance, you have to do things in harmony. That's what you have to do, you have to do things in balance and have to do things in harmony. So please don't try to promise everything; you can't be all things to all people. You have to provide leadership and that's what the Minister of Energy is doing for Nova Scotia, he's providing leadership and this government is providing the leadership that's necessary.

Mr. Speaker, I realize that the hour is ticking along, but I did want to just stand in my place and commend the Minister of Energy for bringing forward a well thought out plan that will not break the financial back of the Province of Nova Scotia and put us back into deficits that seem to be the direction - the only implication I can make is that either the NDP will take us into deficit financing again or they're going to raise taxes. Which is it?

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: The days of gasoline at the pumps at anything under $1 are gone. I don't think that in our lifetimes we're likely to see gasoline at less than $1 a litre again.

Now, I start with this point because, unlike some of the previous speakers, I want to make not a broad observation about all of the energy problems that beset Nova Scotians. I really only have one point that I would like to make to you this evening. It will take me a few minutes to get there, but the point is one that I think we all have to bear in mind and it has to do with the question of context, of history. How is it that we actually got to this point in the first place. Others have spoken about electricity, home heating fuel, gas at the pumps, those three main aspects of energy, and they've spoken about all the alternatives and how we can develop renewables. In fact, I was quite interested to hear the Energy Critic for the Third Party, the member for Cape Breton South, talking about how important it is that wind energy be developed. I found this amusing given that over the last number of years, on occasions when I've talked about the importance of wind energy and its potential in Nova Scotia, all I've heard from him is redicule and abuse.

[Page 8204]

If there's anything that stinks in politics, Mr. Speaker, it's the hypocrisy of a Liberal. That's not my one point though. The one point I want to raise is to ask this question. Why is it that in Canada, which is a producing nation, that is a country that produces energy and a net producer of energy, why is it that we have to pay the exorbitant world price for energy? Why do we have to do that? Is it the case that in the OPEC nations they pay $1.25 a litre for gasoline at the pumps? They certainly don't. In Venezuela, do they pay it? They don't. In Mexico, do they pay that? They certainly don't. In Nigeria, they don't.

So far as I know, Canada is the only country which is a net producer of energy where we pay the world price, the so-called world price. The U.S. pays it, Japan pays it, Europe pays it, but they're not net producers of energy. Japan is not a net producer of energy. It doesn't produce, I think, any gasoline. Do you know what? The U.S. produces, but it's not a net producer, it imports I think about 70 per cent of its gasoline. So the question is, where we have a choice, why is it that in Canada we have to pay the so-called world price? That's a starting point, and this is the issue that I want to talk about just briefly, and like many questions like this that are complex, they have a history; they have a history mostly at the national level. I want to remind members here of what that history is.

Energy issues in Canada have always been central to national politics. I'm old enough to remember, although I was very young, the pipeline debate that brought down the Liberal Government in 1957 and brought in Mr. Diefenbaker's Government. That was an energy debate. Mr. Diefenbaker promptly appointed a Royal Commission, the Borden Commission, to study energy and report on it, and when it reported in 1959, he established the National Energy Board and in 1961 he adopted a National Energy Policy. That was the first National Energy Policy that this country had, 1961. You know what? There were two prices for energy in the country at that time. Quebec and the Atlantic provinces, under the national Diefenbaker Government, paid what was the cheaper price. At that time that was the international price and the Western provinces, Ontario and the West, paid for Canadian-produced gasoline and they are slightly higher prices.

[7:45 p.m.]

This was not a good policy, but at the same time, note the fact that there were different prices in different parts of the country. What then followed in the 1970s, was the Opaque Oil upheaval. By that time, we were under a national Liberal Government which brought in policies which had to do with establishing one Canadian domestic price lower than the international price and that was true as of 1975. In those times they were much preoccupied with security of supply in increasing the amount of energy that was produced in Canada and they were much absorbed with the question of foreign ownership and trying to increase domestic Canadian ownership.

[Page 8205]

Included was the fact that all of Canada was paying below world prices due to national policy being exactly that. That was national policy until the election of Mr. Mulroney as Prime Minister in 1984 and you may recall that in 1985, Energy Minister Pat Carney promptly negotiated the Western Accord with the western provinces and that was the end of Canadians being protected so far as a domestic price that was lower than the world price. That was it. We had it for 10 years for sure and depending on how you look at the years between 1961 and 1975, there was a two-price system in effect then, but for 10 years national policy was, we protect domestic consumers and we do a variety of other things as well.

What happened next wasn't just the Western Accord and the abandonment of that previous policy. It was the institutionalization of the fact that we had to pay the so-called world price and that was done through the free trade agreement and through NAFTA. That institutionalized it by making us part of the so-called continental energy policy in which our energy was directed toward export to the United States. The USA first is really what NAFTA is all about when it comes to energy and tied to that is the fact that we cannot differentially treat Canadian consumers from the way American receivers of our exports of energy are treated. That sets the contexts.

Why do I point this out? Because I'm talking here in a provincial forum. Am I saying, blame the feds? Well, yes, I am saying blame the feds. That's certainly a starting point. That's a very good starting point and I don't forget for a moment the 1988 Federal Election in which the Liberals then led by John Turner were absolutely opposed to the Free Trade Agreement. Do you remember that? I remember it. That was something that seems to have been lost on subsequent Liberal Prime Ministers, Mr. Chretien and Mr. Martin. They haven't done anything about it. They have no intention of doing anything about. Despite the Prime Minister's speech in New York last week in which there were some hints about energy. They're not about to give this up and give us the kinds of protections that we ought to have as a net-producing country when it comes to energy.

This is no surprise because as I pointed out earlier, there's nothing less surprising than the hypocrisy of Liberals in politics. My question is, why don't we hear from that government across the way the same critique that I've just made of the federal government? Why is it that they don't start by saying how come the federal government is not protecting Nova Scotian consumers and all consumers in Canada? Why aren't they standing up and saying that? The answer is either they don't know this history or they don't remember it. I don't know that that's really the case and certainly now if that were the reason, I have just reminded them. I think the answer is they don't care because they agree with this. They agree to the benefit of Alberta, to the oil companies - most of which are no longer Canadian-owned oil companies - that it's fine for Canadian consumers to pay this price.

[Page 8206]

What are they prepared to do to defend us? Very little. There are things that can be done to protect us, but it starts with the federal government, it starts with recognition, that the federal government is the main culprit here and we wouldn't have to be struggling with this if it weren't for that policy that was brought in by a Progressive Conservative Government nationally, starting in 1984-85 and continuing through the negotiations of the FTA and NAFTA.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, gas could be selling at the pumps at 60 cents a litre and all the participants - the producing countries, the refineries, the companies that are the retailers and the governments - could still get tax revenue and all those producers and companies could still be making a profit and we could be paying half of what we have seen gas at in this province this Summer.

Although I focused only on one point, I think it's an important point and we should always remember the starting point and remember in our heart of hearts what it is that Mr. Mulroney and the Progressive Conservative Government brought us in the 1980s, because we're reaping the harvest now. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: That is the time allotted for the debate this evening. I thank the members for taking part in this very interesting debate and we're adjourned until 9:00 a.m.

[The House rose at 7:52 p.m.]

[Page 8207]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 4479

By: Mr. Ronald Chisholm (Guysborough-Sheet Harbour)

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

Whereas September represented Continuing Care Month across Nova Scotia; and

Whereas High-Crest Sherbrooke Home for Special Care provides professional care and comfort to seniors in need; and

Whereas Continuing Care Month celebrates all of the organizations, staff and volunteers who dedicate themselves every day to caring for citizens in need;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank the compassionate staff and volunteers in continuing care, as well as the many Nova Scotians who are the recipients of their hard work and dedication.

RESOLUTION NO. 4480

By: Mr. Ronald Chisholm (Guysborough-Sheet Harbour)

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

Whereas September represented Continuing Care Month across Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Duncan MacMillan Home for the Aged provides professional care and comfort to seniors in need; and

Whereas Continuing Care Month celebrates all of the organizations, staff and volunteers who dedicate themselves every day to caring for citizens in need;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank the compassionate staff and volunteers in continuing care, as well as the many Nova Scotians who are the recipients of their hard work and dedication.

[Page 8208]

RESOLUTION NO. 4481

By: Mr. Ronald Chisholm (Guysborough-Sheet Harbour)

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

Whereas September represented Continuing Care Month across Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Canso Seaside Manor provides professional care and comfort to seniors in need; and

Whereas Continuing Care Month celebrates all of the organizations, staff and volunteers who dedicate themselves every day to caring for citizens in need;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank the compassionate staff and volunteers in continuing care, as well as the many Nova Scotians who are the recipients of their hard work and dedication.

RESOLUTION NO. 4482

By: Mr. Ronald Chisholm (Guysborough-Sheet Harbour)

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

Whereas 2004 marked the 25th Anniversary of home support services in Guysborough County; and

Whereas the Guysborough Home Support Agency program began in 1979 and was then called the Guysborough Homemakers; and

Whereas the Guysborough Home Support Agency provides unique services to senior and disabled persons across Guysborough County for personal care, meal preparation, family relief, and light housekeeping;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Guysborough Home Support Agency on 25 successful years of service to the community, and thank all of the committed volunteers and staff of the agency.

[Page 8209]

RESOLUTION NO. 4483

By: Mr. Ronald Chisholm (Guysborough-Sheet Harbour)

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

Whereas September represented Continuing Care Month across Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Milford Haven Nursing Home in Guysborough provides professional care and comfort to seniors in need; and

Whereas Continuing Care Month celebrates all of the organizations, staff and volunteers who dedicate themselves every day to caring for citizens in need;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank the compassionate staff and volunteers in continuing care, as well as the many Nova Scotians who are the recipients of their hard work and dedication.

RESOLUTION NO. 4484

By: Mr. William Langille (Colchester North)

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

Whereas September represented Continuing Care Month across Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Willow Lodge in Tatamagouche provides professional care and comfort to seniors in need; and

Whereas Continuing Care Month celebrates all of the organizations, staff and volunteers who dedicate themselves every day to caring for citizens in need;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank the compassionate staff and volunteers in continuing care, as well as the many Nova Scotians who are the recipients of their hard work and dedication.

[Page 8210]

RESOLUTION NO. 4485

By: Ms. Judy Streatch (Chester-St. Margaret's)

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

Whereas September represented Continuing Care Month across Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Seabright Rest Homes provides professional care and comfort to seniors in need; and

Whereas Continuing Care Month celebrates all of the organizations, staff and volunteers who dedicate themselves every day to caring for citizens in need;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank the compassionate staff and volunteers in continuing care, as well as the many Nova Scotians who are the recipients of their hard work and dedication.

RESOLUTION NO. 4486

By: Mr. Mark Parent (Kings North)

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

Whereas September represented Continuing Care Month across Nova Scotia, and

Whereas Wedgewood House in Kentville provides professional care and comfort to seniors in need; and

Whereas Continuing Care Month celebrates all of the organizations, staff and volunteers who dedicate themselves every day to caring for citizens in need;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank the compassionate staff and volunteers in continuing care, as well as the many Nova Scotians who are the recipients of their hard work and dedication.

[Page 8211]

RESOLUTION NO. 4487

By: Mr. Stephen McNeil (Annapolis)

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

Whereas the 6th annual Maritime Fall Fair is at the Exhibition Park here in Halifax from October 7th to 16th; and

Whereas this year's event features several attractions including, among others, the Eukanuba Superdogs, barrel racing and pole bending, Hatfield Farms, a strongman competition, a dairy cattle competition, a carnival midway, as well as a craft display and marketplace; and

Whereas this year's event also includes a Country 101 youth talent show;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House congratulate the organizers and participants who make the Maritime Fall Fair a success each year.

RESOLUTION NO. 4488

By: Mr. Keith Colwell (Preston)

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

Whereas the Women's Institute of the African United Baptist Association, known as the AUBA, is the governing body of all women's groups and organizations within the AUBA and continuously strives to promote Christian hope and charity within the church, home and community; and

Whereas the AUBA Women's Institute is honouring 40 women from the ladies auxiliary on October 15, 2005; and

Whereas Sister Ruby Mae Beals has been recognized for 50 years of continuous service to the AUBA Women's Institute through the local ladies auxiliary;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Sister Ruby Mae Beals, and honour her dedication and service to her church and community.

[Page 8212]

RESOLUTION NO. 4489

By: Mr. Keith Colwell (Preston)

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

Whereas the Women's Institute of the African United Baptist Association, known as the AUBA, is the governing body of all women's groups and organizations within the AUBA and continuously strives to promote Christian hope and charity within the church, home and community; and

Whereas the AUBA Women's Institute is honouring 40 women from the ladies auxiliary on October 15, 2005; and

Whereas Sister Rosella Bundy has been recognized for 50 years of continuous service to the AUBA Women's Institute through the local ladies auxiliary;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Sister Rosella Bundy, and honour her dedication and service to her church and community.

RESOLUTION NO. 4490

By: Mr. Keith Colwell (Preston)

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

Whereas the Women's Institute of the African United Baptist Association, known as the AUBA, is the governing body of all women's groups and organizations within the AUBA and continuously strives to promote Christian hope and charity within the church, home and community; and

Whereas the AUBA Women's Institute is honouring 40 women from the ladies auxiliary on October 15, 2005; and

Whereas Sister Gladys Cain has been recognized for 50 years of continuous service to the AUBA Women's Institute through the local ladies auxiliary;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Sister Gladys Cain, and honour her dedication and service to her church and community.

[Page 8213]

RESOLUTION NO. 4491

By: Mr. Keith Colwell (Preston)

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

Whereas the Women's Institute of the African United Baptist Association, known as the AUBA, is the governing body of all women's groups and organizations within the AUBA and continuously strives to promote Christian hope and charity within the church, home and community; and

Whereas the AUBA Women's Institute is honouring 40 women from the ladies auxiliary on October 15, 2005; and

Whereas Sister Edith Colley has been recognized for 50 years of continuous service to the AUBA Women's Institute through the local ladies auxiliary;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Sister Edith Colley, and honour her dedication and service to her church and community.

RESOLUTION NO. 4492

By: Mr. Keith Colwell (Preston)

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

Whereas the Women's Institute of the African United Baptist Association, known as the AUBA, is the governing body of all women's groups and organizations within the AUBA and continuously strives to promote Christian hope and charity within the church, home and community; and

Whereas the AUBA Women's Institute is honouring 40 women from the ladies auxiliary on October 15, 2005; and

Whereas Sister Edith Cromwell has been recognized for 50 years of continuous service to the AUBA Women's Institute through the local ladies auxiliary;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Sister Edith Cromwell, and honour her dedication and service to her church and community.

[Page 8214]

RESOLUTION NO. 4493

By: Mr. Keith Colwell (Preston)

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

Whereas the Women's Institute of the African United Baptist Association, known as the AUBA, is the governing body of all women's groups and organizations within the AUBA and continuously strives to promote Christian hope and charity within the church, home and community; and

Whereas the AUBA Women's Institute is honouring 40 women from the ladies auxiliary on October 15, 2005; and

Whereas Sister Irene David has been recognized for 50 years of continuous service to the AUBA Women's Institute through the local ladies auxiliary;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Sister Irene David, and honour her dedication and service to her church and community.

RESOLUTION NO. 4494

By: Mr. Keith Colwell (Preston)

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

Whereas the Women's Institute of the African United Baptist Association, known as the AUBA, is the governing body of all women's groups and organizations within the AUBA and continuously strives to promote Christian hope and charity within the church, home and community; and

Whereas the AUBA Women's Institute is honouring 40 women from the ladies auxiliary on October 15, 2005; and

Whereas Sister Dorothy Daye has been recognized for 50 years of continuous service to the AUBA Women's Institute through the local ladies auxiliary;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Sister Dorothy Daye, and honour her dedication and service to her church and community.

[Page 8215]

RESOLUTION NO. 4495

By: Mr. Keith Colwell (Preston)

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

Whereas the Women's Institute of the African United Baptist Association, known as the AUBA, is the governing body of all women's groups and organizations within the AUBA and continuously strives to promote Christian hope and charity within the church, home and community; and

Whereas the AUBA Women's Institute is honouring 40 women from the ladies auxiliary on October 15, 2005; and

Whereas Sister Hattie Daye Ashe has been recognized for 50 years of continuous service to the AUBA Women's Institute through the local ladies auxiliary;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Sister Hattie Daye Ashe, and honour her dedication and service to her church and community.

RESOLUTION NO. 4496

By: Mr. Keith Colwell (Preston)

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

Whereas the Women's Institute of the African United Baptist Association, known as the AUBA, is the governing body of all women's groups and organizations within the AUBA and continuously strives to promote Christian hope and charity within the church, home and community; and

Whereas the AUBA Women's Institute is honouring 40 women from the ladies auxiliary on October 15, 2005; and

Whereas Sister Grace Douglas has been recognized for 50 years of continuous service to the AUBA Women's Institute through the local ladies auxiliary;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Sister Grace Douglas, and honour her dedication and service to her church and community.

[Page 8216]

RESOLUTION NO. 4497

By: Mr. Keith Colwell (Preston)

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

Whereas the Women's Institute of the African United Baptist Association, known as the AUBA, is the governing body of all women's groups and organizations within the AUBA and continuously strives to promote Christian hope and charity within the church, home and community; and

Whereas the AUBA Women's Institute is honouring 40 women from the ladies auxiliary on October 15, 2005; and

Whereas Sister Marjorie Fairfax has been recognized for 50 years of continuous service to the AUBA Women's Institute through the local ladies auxiliary;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Sister Marjorie Fairfax, and honour her dedication and service to her church and community.

RESOLUTION NO. 4498

By: Mr. Keith Colwell (Preston)

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

Whereas the Women's Institute of the African United Baptist Association, known as the AUBA, is the governing body of all women's groups and organizations within the AUBA and continuously strives to promote Christian hope and charity within the church, home and community; and

Whereas the AUBA Women's Institute is honouring 40 women from the ladies auxiliary on October 15, 2005; and

Whereas Sister Vivian Fowler has been recognized for 50 years of continuous service to the AUBA Women's Institute through the local ladies auxiliary;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Sister Vivian Fowler, and honour her dedication and service to her church and community.

[Page 8217]

RESOLUTION NO. 4499

By: Mr. Keith Colwell (Preston)

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

Whereas the Women's Institute of the African United Baptist Association, known as the AUBA, is the governing body of all women's groups and organizations within the AUBA and continuously strives to promote Christian hope and charity within the church, home and community; and

Whereas the AUBA Women's Institute is honouring 40 women from the ladies auxiliary on October 15, 2005; and

Whereas Sister Emma Fraser has been recognized for 50 years of continuous service to the AUBA Women's Institute through the local ladies auxiliary;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Sister Emma Fraser, and honour her dedication and service to her church and community.

RESOLUTION NO. 4500

By: Mr. Keith Colwell (Preston)

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

Whereas the Women's Institute of the African United Baptist Association, known as the AUBA, is the governing body of all women's groups and organizations within the AUBA and continuously strives to promote Christian hope and charity within the church, home and community; and

Whereas the AUBA Women's Institute is honouring 40 women from the ladies auxiliary on October 15, 2005; and

Whereas Sister Gracie Glasgow has been recognized for 50 years of continuous service to the AUBA Women's Institute through the local ladies auxiliary;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Sister Gracie Glasgow, and honour her dedication and service to her church and community.

[Page 8218]

RESOLUTION NO. 4501

By: Mr. Keith Colwell (Preston)

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

Whereas the Women's Institute of the African United Baptist Association, known as the AUBA, is the governing body of all women's groups and organizations within the AUBA and continuously strives to promote Christian hope and charity within the church, home and community; and

Whereas the AUBA Women's Institute is honouring 40 women from the ladies auxiliary on October 15, 2005; and

Whereas Sister Evelyn Grant has been recognized for 50 years of continuous service to the AUBA Women's Institute through the local ladies auxiliary;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Sister Evelyn Grant, and honour her dedication and service to her church and community.

RESOLUTION NO. 4502

By: Mr. Keith Colwell (Preston)

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

Whereas the Women's Institute of the African United Baptist Association, known as the AUBA, is the governing body of all women's groups and organizations within the AUBA and continuously strives to promote Christian hope and charity within the church, home and community; and

Whereas the AUBA Women's Institute is honouring 40 women from the ladies auxiliary on October 15, 2005; and

Whereas Sister Evelyn Jackson has been recognized for 50 years of continuous service to the AUBA Women's Institute through the local ladies auxiliary;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Sister Evelyn Jackson, and honour her dedication and service to her church and community.

[Page 8219]

RESOLUTION NO. 4503

By: Mr. Keith Colwell (Preston)

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

Whereas the Women's Institute of the African United Baptist Association, known as the AUBA, is the governing body of all women's groups and organizations within the AUBA and continuously strives to promote Christian hope and charity within the church, home and community; and

Whereas the AUBA Women's Institute is honouring 40 women from the ladies auxiliary on October 15, 2005; and

Whereas Sister Theta Jackson has been recognized for 50 years of continuous service to the AUBA Women's Institute through the local ladies auxiliary;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Sister Theta Jackson, and honour her dedication and service to her church and community.

RESOLUTION NO. 4504

By: Mr. Keith Colwell (Preston)

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

Whereas the Women's Institute of the African United Baptist Association, known as the AUBA, is the governing body of all women's groups and organizations within the AUBA and continuously strives to promote Christian hope and charity within the church, home and community; and

Whereas the AUBA Women's Institute is honouring 40 women from the ladies auxiliary on October 15, 2005; and

Whereas Sister Elsie Johnson has been recognized for 50 years of continuous service to the AUBA Women's Institute through the local ladies auxiliary;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Sister Elsie Johnson, and honour her dedication and service to her church and community.

[Page 8220]

RESOLUTION NO. 4505

By: Mr. Keith Colwell (Preston)

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

Whereas the Women's Institute of the African United Baptist Association, known as the AUBA, is the governing body of all women's groups and organizations within the AUBA and continuously strives to promote Christian hope and charity within the church, home and community; and

Whereas the AUBA Women's Institute is honouring 40 women from the ladies auxiliary on October 15, 2005; and

Whereas Sister Josephine Johnson has been recognized for 50 years of continuous service to the AUBA Women's Institute through the local ladies auxiliary;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Sister Josephine Johnson, and honour her dedication and service to her church and community.

RESOLUTION NO. 4506

By: Mr. Keith Colwell (Preston)

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

Whereas the Women's Institute of the African United Baptist Association, known as the AUBA, is the governing body of all women's groups and organizations within the AUBA and continuously strives to promote Christian hope and charity within the church, home and community; and

Whereas the AUBA Women's Institute is honouring 40 women from the ladies auxiliary on October 15, 2005; and

Whereas Sister Rita Mae Johnson has been recognized for 50 years of continuous service to the AUBA Women's Institute through the local ladies auxiliary;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Sister Rita Mae Johnson, and honour her dedication and service to her church and community.

[Page 8221]

RESOLUTION NO. 4507

By: Mr. Keith Colwell (Preston)

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

Whereas the Women's Institute of the African United Baptist Association, known as the AUBA, is the governing body of all women's groups and organizations within the AUBA and continuously strives to promote Christian hope and charity within the church, home and community; and

Whereas the AUBA Women's Institute is honouring 40 women from the ladies auxiliary on October 15, 2005; and

Whereas Sister Mildred Lucas has been recognized for 50 years of continuous service to the AUBA Women's Institute through the local ladies auxiliary;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Sister Mildred Lucas, and honour her dedication and service to her church and community.

RESOLUTION NO. 4508

By: Mr. Keith Colwell (Preston)

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

Whereas the Women's Institute of the African United Baptist Association, known as the AUBA, is the governing body of all women's groups and organizations within the AUBA and continuously strives to promote Christian hope and charity within the church, home and community; and

Whereas the AUBA Women's Institute is honouring 40 women from the ladies auxiliary on October 15, 2005; and

Whereas Sister L. Maude MacLean has been recognized for 50 years of continuous service to the AUBA Women's Institute through the local ladies auxiliary;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Sister L. Maude MacLean, and honour her dedication and service to her church and community.

[Page 8222]

RESOLUTION NO. 4509

By: Mr. Keith Colwell (Preston)

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

Whereas the Women's Institute of the African United Baptist Association, known as the AUBA, is the governing body of all women's groups and organizations within the AUBA and continuously strives to promote Christian hope and charity within the church, home and community; and

Whereas the AUBA Women's Institute is honouring 40 women from the ladies auxiliary on October 15, 2005; and

Whereas Sister Mayola Mansfield has been recognized for 50 years of continuous service to the AUBA Women's Institute through the local ladies auxiliary;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Sister Mayola Mansfield, and honour her dedication and service to her church and community.

RESOLUTION NO. 4510

By: Mr. Keith Colwell (Preston)

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

Whereas the Women's Institute of the African United Baptist Association, known as the AUBA, is the governing body of all women's groups and organizations within the AUBA and continuously strives to promote Christian hope and charity within the church, home and community; and

Whereas the AUBA Women's Institute is honouring 40 women from the ladies auxiliary on October 15, 2005; and

Whereas Sister Viola Marsman has been recognized for 50 years of continuous service to the AUBA Women's Institute through the local ladies auxiliary;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Sister Viola Marsman, and honour her dedication and service to her church and community.

[Page 8223]

RESOLUTION NO. 4511

By: Mr. Keith Colwell (Preston)

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

Whereas the Women's Institute of the African United Baptist Association, known as the AUBA, is the governing body of all women's groups and organizations within the AUBA and continuously strives to promote Christian hope and charity within the church, home and community; and

Whereas the AUBA Women's Institute is honouring 40 women from the ladies auxiliary on October 15, 2005; and

Whereas Deacon Frances Mills-Clements has been recognized for 50 years of continuous service to the AUBA Women's Institute through the local ladies auxiliary;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Deacon Frances Mills-Clements, and honour her dedication and service to her church and community.

RESOLUTION NO. 4512

By: Mr. Keith Colwell (Preston)

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

Whereas the Women's Institute of the African United Baptist Association, known as the AUBA, is the governing body of all women's groups and organizations within the AUBA and continuously strives to promote Christian hope and charity within the church, home and community; and

Whereas the AUBA Women's Institute is honouring 40 women from the ladies auxiliary on October 15, 2005; and

Whereas Sister Miriam "Hilda" Nelson has been recognized for 50 years of continuous service to the AUBA Women's Institute through the local ladies auxiliary;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Sister Miriam "Hilda" Nelson, and honour her dedication and service to her church and community.

[Page 8224]

RESOLUTION NO. 4513

By: Mr. Keith Colwell (Preston)

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

Whereas the Women's Institute of the African United Baptist Association, known as the AUBA, is the governing body of all women's groups and organizations within the AUBA and continuously strives to promote Christian hope and charity within the church, home and community; and

Whereas the AUBA Women's Institute is honouring 40 women from the ladies auxiliary on October 15, 2005; and

Whereas Sister Edith Oliver has been recognized for 50 years of continuous service to the AUBA Women's Institute through the local ladies auxiliary;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Sister Edith Oliver, and honour her dedication and service to her church and community.

RESOLUTION NO. 4514

By: Mr. Keith Colwell (Preston)

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

Whereas the Women's Institute of the African United Baptist Association, known as the AUBA, is the governing body of all women's groups and organizations within the AUBA and continuously strives to promote Christian hope and charity within the church, home and community; and

Whereas the AUBA Women's Institute is honouring 40 women from the ladies auxiliary on October 15, 2005; and

Whereas Sister Enid Parsons has been recognized for 50 years of continuous service to the AUBA Women's Institute through the local ladies auxiliary;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Sister Enid Parsons, and honour her dedication and service to her church and community.

[Page 8225]

RESOLUTION NO. 4515

By: Mr. Keith Colwell (Preston)

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

Whereas the Women's Institute of the African United Baptist Association, known as the AUBA, is the governing body of all women's groups and organizations within the AUBA and continuously strives to promote Christian hope and charity within the church, home and community; and

Whereas the AUBA Women's Institute is honouring 40 women from the ladies auxiliary on October 15, 2005; and

Whereas Sister Ruby Provo has been recognized for 50 years of continuous service to the AUBA Women's Institute through the local ladies auxiliary;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Sister Ruby Provo, and honour her dedication and service to her church and community.

RESOLUTION NO. 4516

By: Mr. Keith Colwell (Preston)

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

Whereas the Women's Institute of the African United Baptist Association, known as the AUBA, is the governing body of all women's groups and organizations within the AUBA and continuously strives to promote Christian hope and charity within the church, home and community; and

Whereas the AUBA Women's Institute is honouring 40 women from the ladies auxiliary on October 15, 2005; and

Whereas Sister Bessie Ross has been recognized for 50 years of continuous service to the AUBA Women's Institute through the local ladies auxiliary;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Sister Bessie Ross, and honour her dedication and service to her church and community.

[Page 8226]

RESOLUTION NO. 4517

By: Mr. Keith Colwell (Preston)

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

Whereas the Women's Institute of the African United Baptist Association, known as the AUBA, is the governing body of all women's groups and organizations within the AUBA and continuously strives to promote Christian hope and charity within the church, home and community; and

Whereas the AUBA Women's Institute is honouring 40 women from the ladies auxiliary on October 15, 2005; and

Whereas Sister Mildred Smith has been recognized for 50 years of continuous service to the AUBA Women's Institute through the local ladies auxiliary;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Sister Mildred Smith, and honour her dedication and service to her church and community.

RESOLUTION NO. 4518

By: Mr. Keith Colwell (Preston)

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

Whereas the Women's Institute of the African United Baptist Association, known as the AUBA, is the governing body of all women's groups and organizations within the AUBA and continuously strives to promote Christian hope and charity within the church, home and community; and

Whereas the AUBA Women's Institute is honouring 40 women from the ladies auxiliary on October 15, 2005; and

Whereas Sister Noreen Smith has been recognized for 50 years of continuous service to the AUBA Women's Institute through the local ladies auxiliary;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Sister Noreen Smith, and honour her dedication and service to her church and community.

[Page 8227]

RESOLUTION NO. 4519

By: Mr. Keith Colwell (Preston)

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

Whereas the Women's Institute of the African United Baptist Association, known as the AUBA, is the governing body of all women's groups and organizations within the AUBA and continuously strives to promote Christian hope and charity within the church, home and community; and

Whereas the AUBA Women's Institute is honouring 40 women from the ladies auxiliary on October 15, 2005; and

Whereas Deaconess Bessie Sparks has been recognized for 50 years of continuous service to the AUBA Women's Institute through the local ladies auxiliary;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Deaconess Bessie Sparks, and honour her dedication and service to her church and community.

RESOLUTION NO. 4520

By: Mr. Keith Colwell (Preston)

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

Whereas the Women's Institute of the African United Baptist Association, known as the AUBA, is the governing body of all women's groups and organizations within the AUBA and continuously strives to promote Christian hope and charity within the church, home and community; and

Whereas the AUBA Women's Institute is honouring 40 women from the ladies auxiliary on October 15, 2005; and

Whereas Sister Mary Sparks has been recognized for 50 years of continuous service to the AUBA Women's Institute through the local ladies auxiliary;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Sister Mary Sparks, and honour her dedication and service to her church and community.

[Page 8228]

RESOLUTION NO. 4521

By: Mr. Keith Colwell (Preston)

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

Whereas the Women's Institute of the African United Baptist Association, known as the AUBA, is the governing body of all women's groups and organizations within the AUBA and continuously strives to promote Christian hope and charity within the church, home and community; and

Whereas the AUBA Women's Institute is honouring 40 women from the ladies auxiliary on October 15, 2005; and

Whereas Sister Pearl Sparks has been recognized for 50 years of continuous service to the AUBA Women's Institute through the local ladies auxiliary;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Sister

Pearl Sparks, and honour her dedication and service to her church and community.

RESOLUTION NO. 4522

By: Mr. Keith Colwell (Preston)

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

Whereas the Women's Institute of the African United Baptist Association, known as the AUBA, is the governing body of all women's groups and organizations within the AUBA and continuously strives to promote Christian hope and charity within the church, home and community; and

Whereas the AUBA Women's Institute is honouring 40 women from the ladies auxiliary on October 15, 2005; and

Whereas Deacon Emeritus Joyce Symonds has been recognized for 50 years of continuous service to the AUBA Women's Institute through the local ladies auxiliary;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Deacon Emeritus Joyce Symonds, and honour her dedication and service to her church and community.

[Page 8229]

RESOLUTION NO. 4523

By: Mr. Keith Colwell (Preston)

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

Whereas the Women's Institute of the African United Baptist Association, known as the AUBA, is the governing body of all women's groups and organizations within the AUBA and continuously strives to promote Christian hope and charity within the church, home and community; and

Whereas the AUBA Women's Institute is honouring 40 women from the ladies auxiliary on October 15, 2005; and

Whereas Sister Aleta Thomas has been recognized for 50 years of continuous service to the AUBA Women's Institute through the local ladies auxiliary;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Sister Aleta Thomas, and honour her dedication and service to her church and community.

RESOLUTION NO. 4524

By: Mr. Keith Colwell (Preston)

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

Whereas the Women's Institute of the African United Baptist Association, known as the AUBA, is the governing body of all women's groups and organizations within the AUBA and continuously strives to promote Christian hope and charity within the church, home and community; and

Whereas the AUBA Women's Institute is honouring 40 women from the ladies auxiliary on October 15, 2005; and

Whereas Sister Evelina Upshaw has been recognized for 50 years of continuous service to the AUBA Women's Institute through the local ladies auxiliary;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Sister Evelina Upshaw, and honour her dedication and service to her church and community.

[Page 8230]

RESOLUTION NO. 4525

By: Mr. Keith Colwell (Preston)

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

Whereas the Women's Institute of the African United Baptist Association, known as the AUBA, is the governing body of all women's groups and organizations within the AUBA and continuously strives to promote Christian hope and charity within the church, home and community; and

Whereas the AUBA Women's Institute is honouring 40 women from the ladies auxiliary on October 15, 2005; and

Whereas Sister Aleta Williams has been recognized for 50 years of continuous service to the AUBA Women's Institute through the local ladies auxiliary;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Sister Aleta Williams, and honour her dedication and service to her church and community.

RESOLUTION NO. 4526

By: Mr. Keith Colwell (Preston)

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

Whereas the Women's Institute of the African United Baptist Association, known as the AUBA, is the governing body of all women's groups and organizations within the AUBA and continuously strives to promote Christian hope and charity within the church, home and community; and

Whereas the AUBA Women's Institute is honouring 40 women from the ladies auxiliary on October 15, 2005; and

Whereas Sister Elizabeth Smith Wright has been recognized for 50 years of continuous service to the AUBA Women's Institute through the local ladies auxiliary;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Sister Elizabeth Smith Wright, and honour her dedication and service to her church and community.