Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

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21 septembre 2017

HANSARD 06-4

DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS

Speaker: Honourable Cecil Clarke

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.

Second Session

TUESDAY, MAY 9, 2006

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
Res. 1, Estimates: CWH on Supply - Referred, Hon. M. Baker 183
Hon. M. Baker 184
Mr. G. Steele 201
Adjourned debate 206
SPEAKER'S RULING: Proclamation of bills.
(Pt. of privilege by Mr. Manning MacDonald [Hansard p. 99, 05/08/06]) 206
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
TPW: Village of Maitland - Paving, Mr. J. MacDonell 207
TPW: Salmon River Lake/Clare - Paving, Mr. W. Gaudet 208
Health - Northwood Extended Care Facility, Mr. G. Hines 208
TPW: Pictou County - Paving, Mr. C. Parker 208
TPW: Fales River Subdivision - Paving, Mr. L. Glavine 209
Commun. Serv.: Recommendations - Implement,
Ms. M. More 209
TPW: Howe Avenue - Paving, Mr. L. Glavine 209
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Amendments to Judicature Act, Civil Procedure Rules,
Hon. M. Scott 210
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 132, Environ. & Lbr. - Westray Anniv. (14th),
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 210
Vote - Affirmative 211
Res. 133, Nat'l. Nursing Wk. (05/08-05/14/06) - Recognize,
Hon. C. d'Entremont 211
Vote - Affirmative 212
Res. 134, Emergency Preparedness Wk. (05/07-05/13/06) - Recognize,
Hon. D. Morse 212
Vote - Affirmative 213
Res. 135, C.B. Reg. Police - Canine Purchases, Hon. M. Scott 213
Vote - Affirmative 214
Res. 136, Borden, Walter - Portia White Prize, Hon. B. Barnet 214
Vote - Affirmative 214
Res. 137, Moose River Gold Mine - Commun. Spirit,
Hon. B. Taylor 215
Vote - Affirmative 215
Res. 138, Cdn. MedicAlert Fdn. - Anniv. (45th),
Hon. C. d'Entremont 215
Vote - Affirmative 216
Res. 139, Environ. & Lbr. - "Green Your Meetings" Cups,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 216
Vote - Affirmative 217
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 48, Children and Family Services Act, Mr. K. Deveaux 217
No. 49, Income Tax Act, Mr. W. Gaudet 217
No. 50, Government Purchases Act, Ms. Maureen MacDonald 217
No. 51, Heritage Property Act, Mr. Gerald Sampson 217
No. 52, Insurance Act/Judicature Act, Mr. D. Dexter 217
No. 53, Video Lottery Terminals Moratorium Act, Mr. L. Glavine 218
No. 54, Road Improvements Act, Mr. C. Parker 218
No. 55, Emergency "911" Act, Mr. H. Theriault 218
No. 56, Health Authorities Act, Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 218
No. 57, Motor Vehicle Act, Ms. D. Whalen 218
No. 58, Workers' Compensation Act, Mr. L. Glavine 218
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 140, Bower, Gladys - Birthday (108th), Mr. Michel Samson 218
Vote - Affirmative 219
Res. 141, Pictou Lodge - Anniv. (80th), Mr. J. Hamm 219
Vote - Affirmative 220
Res. 142, West Kings DHS - Anniv. (50th), Mr. L. Glavine 220
Vote - Affirmative 221
Res. 143, N.S. Seafood Export Ind. - Congrats.,
Mr. C. O'Donnell 221
Vote - Affirmative 221
Res. 144, Highland Fisheries Lockout: Gov't. (N.S./Can.) - Intervene,
Mr. David Wilson(Glace Bay) 222
Res. 145, CMHA Awards - Nominees/Winners, Mr. M. Parent 222
Vote - Affirmative 223
Res. 146, MedicAlert - Anniv. (50th), Mr. K. Colwell 223
Vote - Affirmative 224
Res. 147, ECCO - Sm. Bus. Award, Mr. G. Hines 224
Vote - Affirmative 225
Res. 148, Ruled Out of Order 225
Res. 149, Westville Pee Wee B Miners - Congrats, Mr. J. DeWolfe 225
Vote - Affirmative 226
Res. 150, Seniors: Ferry Pass - Provide, Mr. Gerald Sampson 226
Res. 151, Marzetti, Antonio - Yo-Yo Comp., Hon. J. Streatch 227
Vote - Affirmative 227
Res. 152, Iceland/Norway Fisheries - Study, Mr. H. Theriault 228
Res. 153, Forshner, Alison - Botswana Seminar, Mr. E. Fage 228
Vote - Affirmative 229
Res. 154, Haynes, Denise - Racquetball Championships,
Mr. W. Gaudet 229
Vote - Affirmative 230
Res. 155, Queens, Region of, Mun. - Anniv. (10th), Hon. K. Morash 230
Vote - Affirmative 231
Res. 156, O'Rourke, Ryan James - Chief Scout's Award,
Mr. S. McNeil 231
Vote - Affirmative 231
Res. 157, Swim, Ryan - Sports Accomplishments,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 232
Vote - Affirmative 232
Res. 158, Dolsen, Earle - Commun. Contribution, Mr. L. Glavine 232
Vote - Affirmative 233
Res. 159, Vaughne Assurance - BBB Award,
Hon. C. d'Entremont 233
Vote - Affirmative 234
Res. 160, St. Michael's Sch. (Glace Bay) - Fundraising,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 234
Vote - Affirmative 235
Res. 161, Clayton Park JHS Wildcats - Congrats., Ms. D. Whalen 235
Vote - Affirmative 235
Res. 162, Balls Creek Sch. - Refurbish,
Mr. Gerald Sampson 235
Res. 163, Volunteers - Applaud, Mr. W. Gaudet 236
Vote - Affirmative 237
MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT RULE 43:
Stora Enso - Labour Dispute, Mr. Michel Samson 237
ORAL QUESTION PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 1, Budget Vote - Commit, Mr. D. Dexter 239
No. 2, Fin. - Gas Regulations, Mr. Michel Samson 240
No. 3. Educ. - Post-Secondary Tuition, Mr. D. Dexter 241
No. 4, Gas Prices - Regulation, Mr. Manning MacDonald 243
No. 5, Health - Long-Term Care Beds, Mr. D. Dexter 245
No. 6, Environ. & Lbr. - Shaw Wood Ind. Closure,
Mr. H. Epstein 246
No. 7, Environ. & Lbr: - Shaw Wood Ind. Closure, Mr. H. Theriault 247
No. 8, Health - Shelburne Co. Nursing Home,
Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 249
No. 9, Health - Villa Acadienne, Mr. K. Deveaux 250
No. 10, Health - Restorative Care Beds,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 252
No. 11, Environ. & Lbr.: Westray Inquiry - Recommendations,
Mr. F. Corbett 253
No. 12, Econ. Dev.: PAC Documents - Release,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 254
No. 13, Environ. & Lbr.: NSP Generating Station - Pollution Problems,
Mr. C. Parker 255
No. 14, Econ. Dev.: PAC Documents - Release,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 257
No. 15, Environ. & Lbr. - Tobeatic Mgt. Plan, Ms. M. Raymond 257
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 1, Protection from Illegal Drugs Act 259
Hon. M. Scott 259
Mr. K. Deveaux 261
Mr. Michel Samson 262
Hon. M. Scott 262
Vote - Affirmative 262
No. 4, Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act 263
Hon. M. Scott 263
Mr. K. Deveaux 264
Adjourned debate 268
ADJOURNMENT
MOTION UNDER RULE 43:
Stora - Labour Dispute:
Mr. Michel Samson 268
Hon. B. Taylor 273
Mr. F. Corbett 275
Mr. Gerald Sampson 279
Hon. R. Chisholm 283
Mr. H. Epstein 284
Mr. Manning MacDonald 287
Hon. K. Morash 290
Mr. C. Parker 293
ADJOURNMENT, Hose rose to meet again on Wed., May 10th at 2:00 p.m. 296
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 164, Parkview Educ. Ctr. Curling Team - Congrats.,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 297
Res. 165, Ross, Merydie - Presidential Classroom Scholars Prog.,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 297
Res. 166, Martin, Jenna/Reeves, Rebecca/Skoreyko, Stephanie -
Walt Disney World Medals, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 298
Res. 167, Bridgewater HS: Marlee Powers Curling Team - Congrats.,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 298
Res. 168, S. Shore Irving Bantam AAA Team - Congrats.,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 299
Res. 169, Williams, Courtney - Nat'l. Art. Comp.,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 299
Res. 170, Parkview Educ. Ctr. Varsity Boys Basketball Team -
Championship, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 300
Res. 171, Bridgewater & Area Badminton Teams - Congrats.,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 300
Res. 172, McNaught, Coach Norm - Coaching Dedication,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 301
Res. 173, Ground Search & Rescue Associations - Applaud,
Mr.H. Theriault 301
Res. 174, Gregg, Wilfred - Commun. Contribution, Ms. D. Whalen 302
Res. 175, Dunbar, Alma - Commun. Contribution, Ms. D. Whalen 302
Res. 176, Davies, Jane - Commun. Contribution, Ms. D. Whalen 303
Res. 177, Gagnier, Janet - Commun. Contribution, Ms. D. Whalen 303
Res. 178, Soulis, Wendy - Commun. Contribution, Ms. D. Whalen 304
Res. 179, Sweet, Joann - Award of Excellence, Mr. L. Glavine 304
Res. 180, Wee Folks Ctr. - Congrats., Mr. L. Glavine 305
Res. 181, Sharpe, Andy - Patricia Roberts Award, Mr. L. Glavine 305
Res. 182, McNeil, Mikayla - N.S. Recycles Contest, Mr. L. Glavine 306
Res. 183, Pulsifer, Krista - N.S. Recycles Contest, Mr. L. Glavine 306
Res. 184, Brydon, Elvin: Larsens Plant - Contribution,
Mr. L. Glavine 307
Res. 185, Nat. Res.: Game Sanctuaries - Logging Moratorium,
Mr. L. Glavine 307
Res. 186, Blue Horizon - Bluegrass Music Award, Hon. M. Scott 308
Res. 187, Scott, Kara - Breast Cancer Support, Hon. M. Scott 308
Res. 188, Advocate Dist. Dev. Assoc. - Bluegrass Fest.,
Hon. M. Scott 309
Res. 189, Arsenault, Fred - Springhill FD, Hon. M. Scott 309
Res. 190, Austin, Ryan - Student's Choice Award, Hon. M. Scott 310
Res. 191, Baker, Ashley - NSCC Medal, Hon. M. Scott 310
Res. 192, Black, Carl, Jr. - Springhill FD, Hon. M. Scott 311
Res. 193, Adshade, Josh - Science Fair Award, Hon. M. Scott 311
Res. 194, Bowers, Meagan - Science Fair Award, Hon. M. Scott 312
Res. 195, Bowers, Meagan/Porter, Morgan - Science Fair Award,
Hon. M. Scott 312
Res. 196, Brown, Lewis - Prov. Vol. Rep., Hon. M. Scott 313
Res. 197, Burke, Jamie: Springhill FD - Serv. (10 yrs),
Hon. M. Scott 313
Res. 198, Calder, Mitch - Springhill HS King, Hon. M. Scott 314
Res. 199, Chapman, Terry: Springhill FD _ Serv. (5 years),
Hon. M. Scott 314
Res. 200, Canning, Allan: Springhill FD - Retirement,
Hon. M. Scott 315
Res. 201, Collingwood United Church - Anniv. (100th),
Hon. M. Scott 315
Res. 202, Connors, Becky - Academic Achievements,
Hon. M. Scott 316
Res. 203, Ferdinand, Justin - Youth Vol. Of Yr., Hon. M. Scott 316
Res. 204, Springhill Foodland: Employees - Fundraising,
Hon. M. Scott 317
Res. 205, Parrsboro Fundy Geological Museum Gem & Mineral Show -
Fest./Event Award, Hon. M. Scott 317
Res. 206, Springhill HS Golden Eagles - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Scott 318
Res. 207, Henwood, Troy: Cumberland Satellite - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Scott 318
Res. 208, Hunter, Adele - Springhill HS Queen, Hon. M. Scott 319
Res. 209, Cotton, Brittany - Leadership Camp, Hon. M. Scott 319
Res. 210, Dobson, Ed - Springhill FD Award, Hon. M. Scott 320

[Page 183]

HALIFAX, TUESDAY, MAY 9, 2006

Fifty-ninth General Assembly

Second Session

1:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Cecil Clarke

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

Mr. James DeWolfe, Mr. Charles Parker, Mr. Keith Colwell

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

[Res. No. 1, Estimates: CWH on Supply - Referred - notice given May 5, 2006 - (Hon. Michael Baker)]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable Minister of Finance.

183

[Page 184]

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, pursuant to a notice of motion given by me on May 5, 2006, and the Rules and Forms of Procedure of the House of Assembly, I have the honour, by command, to present a message from Her Honour the Lieutenant Governor of the Province of Nova Scotia, relating to the Estimates of Sums required for the service of the province for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2007 which is:

[1:15 p.m.]

"I hereby transmit Estimates of Sums required for the Public Service of the province, for the year ending March 31, 2007, and in accordance with the Constitution Act, 1867, recommend them together with the Budget Address of my Minister of Finance and any resolutions or bills necessary or advisable to approve the Estimates and implement the budget measures to the House of Assembly.

Signed,

Myra A. Freeman

Lieutenant Governor"

Mr. Speaker, at this time I wish to table the message from Her Honour the Lieutenant Governor transmitting the Estimates for the consideration of this House; I would also like to table the Consolidated Fiscal Plan for the government consisting of the Government Business Plan and other information contained in the budget; table the Crown Corporation Business Plans; table the Estimates and Crown Corporation Business Plan Resolutions; deliver my Budget Speech and move the Estimates of Sums required for the service of the province for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2007, being Supply, to be granted to Her Majesty and the Crown Corporation Business Plans be referred to the Committee of the Whole House on Supply.

Mr. Speaker, before I begin my Budget Speech, I would like to do some introductions. First of all, I would like to introduce in the Speaker's Gallery today, some special people to me; first of all my mother and father, Gilbert and Barbara Baker and my wife Cindy and my two sons, Matthew and Daniel, who are glad to be here to have a day away from school.

I also have here today some staff from my constituency office and elsewhere and they are, Ginny Penney, Dale Keddy, Kim Langille and Jeff Garber. These people help me get through my daily work and I would like to thank them for being here today.

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to recognize the staff from the Department of Finance and Treasury and Policy Board who helped me prepare this year's budget; Vicki Harnish, Deputy Minister of Finance and Liz Cody, Assistant Deputy Minister,

[Page 185]

and the many others, cast of thousands, who have helped in the preparation of this year's budget. If you would rise and receive the applause of the House. (Applause)

As you can appreciate, Mr. Speaker, a job like this is a job where many have contributed.

Mr. Speaker, Premier, honourable members, Nova Scotians, I am pleased to rise in this Chamber today to present Nova Scotia's fifth consecutive balanced budget - my first as Minister of Finance. (Applause)

When most people think about budgets, they think numbers. Open any of the budget documents in front of you, and you'll see plenty of them. You'll read about forecasts, key assumptions, capital costs, and debt servicing. And you'll see terms like GDP, CPI, book value, and consolidation adjustments. But really, at its essence, a budget is a plan. A plan for Nova Scotia's families. A plan for our communities. A plan for the future. And good plans shape good decisions.

It's reassuring then, Mr. Speaker, that Nova Scotia has a wealth of solid planning built up over the past six years. Plans like Opportunities for Sustainable Prosperity, Your Health Matters, Learning for Life, and soon, Route to Prosperity, and Nova Scotia's Continuing Care Strategy. Solid plans for economic growth, health, education, infrastructure, and transportation. Solid planning for the next decade and beyond.

Today's budget is built on that good work. Today's budget puts real action and real dollars behind our plans. Every decision we make, every dollar we spend, is guided by the strategies we have developed for this province and its people. In today's budget, Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians will see that we are addressing the priorities of Nova Scotia's families and building a more prosperous future.

Mr. Speaker, this, our fifth straight balanced budget is:

� A budget that ensures our economy continues to grow;

� A budget that tackles many of the challenges facing families right now, creating healthier, stronger communities;

� It's a budget that invests in infrastructure and still ends the year with a $71.9 million surplus;

� And a budget that will see us meet or exceed our debt reduction commitments.

[Page 186]

The Premier has said: "We have no greater priority than ensuring that our families can succeed here, at home, in Nova Scotia - today and tomorrow." That's what this budget is all about.

A look back to 2005-06:

Confidence in Our Economy

The past year set the stage for the good work we plan on doing this year. Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia is forecast to end fiscal 2005-06 with a healthy surplus of $151 million, almost $88 million more than we budgeted at this time last year. And as we have said before, every penny of this surplus goes directly to the debt.

The source of this good news is a sizeable increase in revenues, in particular, revenues from the offshore, which increased to almost $144 million, $114 million more than budgeted last year. This extra revenue allowed us to make some additional spending commitments to address priority areas throughout the year. These included investments in health and health promotion, assistance to universities and their students, energy and conservation initiatives, and economic development.

Together with Nova Scotians we have created an environment for business investment and success. Major private sector construction projects like the $270 million Dartmouth Crossing project and the $98 million Michelin expansion are just two examples that create jobs and lasting benefits in our communities. The $700 million gas compression deck for the Sable gas field will help productivity in the offshore. And expansion projects at the Halifax International Airport and the Port of Halifax are providing lasting infrastructure, connecting Nova Scotia to the world.

Mr. Speaker, more people are working and their incomes are growing.

� In fact, 443,000 Nova Scotians were employed in 2005, more than ever before.

� People are earning more, 4.4 per cent more than the previous year.

� Families are able to spend more. Last year retail sales grew 3 per cent.

Outlook for 2006-2007:

The Right Time to Invest

Mr. Speaker, early indications for this year are that once again Nova Scotia will show steady growth.

� Real GDP is projected to grow by 2.2 per cent in 2006 and 2 per cent in 2007.

[Page 187]

� Employment growth is forecast to increase 0.9 per cent in 2006 and 2007.

� Personal income is projected to expand 3.3 per cent in 2006 and 3.2 per cent in 2007.

� Retail sales growth is expected to increase by 3.7 per cent in 2006 and 4.1 per cent the following year.

In a nutshell, these numbers mean more revenue to enhance the programs and services Nova Scotians value. Nova Scotia's revenues are projected to grow by 8 per cent for a total of $6.587 billion. This is a sizeable increase over last year's budget, and significantly more than our average growth rate of 4.9 per cent over the past several years. Again, Mr. Speaker, this was due in large part to royalty revenues from the offshore, which are slated to be well beyond initial projections to total $288 million for 2006-07.

Despite reductions in revenue from government business enterprises, due mostly to a decrease in gaming revenue of $16.7 million, and motive fuel tax of $12 million, provincial revenues, excluding royalties, are expected to experience solid growth this year - projected to increase 3.4 per cent. Nova Scotia is largely responsible for its own good fortune. We are paying our own way. Revenues from federal sources are up from last year, as planned, but continue to fall short of growth in spending needs for the programs and services they are targeted to address. Overall, Mr. Speaker, having solid returns on the revenue side has given us the ability to make positive investments in programs.

Debt Management - Our First Investment

We understand that we have a significant obligation to future generations to do what we can to relieve Nova Scotia's burden of debt. This is why, Mr. Speaker, we will meet or exceed our debt reduction targets. Last June, former Premier John Hamm put an $830 million down payment on the provincial debt, freeing up over $50 million annually that would otherwise go to debt servicing. Nova Scotians will realize the positive impact of this decision in increased spending on programs and services. (Applause)

Last year's forecast surplus of $151 million will also help to reduce our projected debt levels beyond what we had expected at year end. This also gives us the flexibility to invest in important capital improvements like roads, bridges, schools and hospitals while still meeting our debt reduction targets. Even with these important capital investments, we are slowing the growth of our debt. Nova Scotia's net direct debt to GDP ratio is projected to go down once again - for the fifth year in a row - from 48.7 per cent in 1999-2000 to 38.2 per cent this year.

[Page 188]

Mr. Speaker, our creditors have taken note of Nova Scotia's strong fiscal management. Over the past year, all three major bond-rating agencies have given Nova Scotia a positive outlook, encouraging greater confidence in Nova Scotia's economy and in its future.

A Province Connected with the World

Good roads, modern hospitals and schools, and a province connected to the world are the building blocks for business, communities and families to succeed - and we've got some work to do. A 10-year needs assessment identified a $3.4 billion infrastructure deficit just for highways alone. Nova Scotians know all too well that our province needs to spend more on its roads and highways. We are also committed to ensure that by 2010 all Nova Scotians have broadband access to the Internet. (Applause)

Over the past few years we have worked hard to address Nova Scotia's capital needs. From 1999 to 2005, we completed 20 new schools, expanded, renovated or built 14 hospitals, and tripled annual investments in roads and bridges.

[1:30 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, our strong revenue and positive economic outlook enable us to significantly increase capital spending this year. Capital spending will increase by $55 million from $280 million to $335 million, an increase of over 16 per cent. (Applause) In addition, $40 million will be spent to improve our health infrastructure. Modernizing our province will help us keep and attract businesses and lead to good, well-paying jobs for Nova Scotians.

More than half of this money and more will be spent to improve our roads, highways, and bridges. In fact, Mr. Speaker, when we add in the $175 million we spend on road maintenance from our operating budget, we will be spending far more on road and highway improvements than we collect in motive fuel taxes. This year, and every year thereafter, government will spend the total amount collected in these taxes, plus the net revenues collected from the Registry of Motor Vehicles on our highway systems. We will make this commitment in legislation, in the Financial Measures Act.

This will support our $1.5 billion, 10-year plan to address Nova Scotia's transportation needs. It is a plan that includes more than $200 million for 100-Series Highways, including twinning sections of Highway Nos. 101, 103, and 104. It also includes plans for a bypass in Antigonish and Port Hawkesbury as well as a high-speed interchange in Truro.

In the Halifax Regional Municipality, our government will take a lead role in developing a specific strategy to address the transportation needs of citizens and

[Page 189]

businesses alike. This will involve partnering with local leaders including the Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission. Projects under future consideration include a new Hammonds Plains Road, the Burnside-Sackville expressway, an inland container terminal, and expanded harbour ferry services. The bottom line is fuelling economic growth and getting products and people where they need to go quickly, safely, with less impact on the environment.

Today's budget also commits $250,000 to the Atlantic Gateway Strategy, a coordinated effort of partners responsible for road, rail, air, and ports. The goal is to become North America's preferred eastern gateway - improving trade, tourism, our economy, and creating more quality jobs for Nova Scotians.

Quality Jobs for Nova Scotians

Mr. Speaker, government recently released its updated strategy for building a more diverse, prosperous and greener economy. This involves lowering taxes, building infrastructure, less regulation, the right mix of business incentives and solid support for a highly-skilled and educated work force.

Lower Taxes

We are expanding our commitment to reduce the tax burden for business. Last year, we began to phase out the Business Occupancy Tax. And every year for the past three years, we have increased the small business tax threshold. Once again, Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to report that effective April 1st, the threshold has been increased to $400,000. These increases have saved Nova Scotia businesses over $15 million in corporate income taxes over this period. We are also pleased to announce that we will be eliminating the 3.5 per cent liquor licence levy effective January 2007. This will benefit hundreds of small businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector across our province.

For our larger companies, we are also continuing with our commitment to lower taxes. Last year, we announced a reduction to bring down the Large Corporations Capital Tax rate over the next three years. Mr. Speaker, at the end of this period, we will extend the "phase down" for another four years at an accelerated rate until 2012, when will be completely eliminated. The Large Corporations Capital Tax generates $60 million annually that businesses will no longer pay by 2012. This will help us be more competitive in national and global markets.

Better Regulation

Sensible, streamlined regulations are one tool to help retain and attract business. This year, Mr. Speaker, we are increasing our commitment to better regulation with $400,000 to enhance activities in the second year of the Competitiveness and Compliance Initiative. This will allow for the development of

[Page 190]

regulatory training and better coordination of the province's 180 inspectors. The concept is based on improving the way laws are designed, communicated, and enforced in Nova Scotia, and improving the competitiveness of our businesses. By the year 2010, the province will have reduced the paperwork burden associated with regulatory requirements by 20 per cent.

Programs for Business

Mr. Speaker, government has an important role in supporting a strong, diverse climate for business. That is why the budget for the Office of Economic Development will increase by almost $15 million. Investments through Nova Scotia's Industrial Expansion Fund have returned $3 for every $1 invested. In fact, since 2000 the fund has helped business create a total of 3,400 new jobs in all parts of our province. Our goal is to surpass our past success.

We are adding just over $600,000 to expand economic opportunities to businesses of all sizes, including establishing a new Export Expansion Program to help Nova Scotia companies increase exports, and increasing funding to implement our community development action plan. In addition, we will expand the Business Retention and Expansion Program to nine counties.

More Skilled Workers

Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia's economic success is directly tied to the education and skill levels of its citizens. Our budget takes concrete action to ensure more Nova Scotians of all ages are better prepared to fill the jobs of today, tomorrow and well into the future. We will, therefore, once again, increase our capital investment for the modernization and expansion of our community colleges with an additional $24.8 million. We will also increase the operating budget of the Nova Scotia Community College by $6 million. The return on this investment will mean more young Nova Scotians getting an education closer to home, more skilled workers for our province, and greater opportunities for business success.

As well, we will provide an additional $140,000 to encourage and promote the trades as a rewarding career choice, and invest $200,000 to bring more skilled IT workers back home to Nova Scotia. This will help fill more than 3,500 IT jobs, which Nova Scotia Business Inc. has helped clients create. Mr. Speaker, we will also increase funding to help those on income assistance or employment insurance to access essential education skills at the work site. Almost $150,000 of additional funding will be available to One Journey: Work and Learn, a successful initiative with a 75 per cent job placement rate.

Attracting Immigrants

[Page 191]

Nova Scotia's future prosperity is also tied to bringing more people from around the world to make Nova Scotia their home. That's why we will increase funding for the Office of Immigration by $700,000 to $3.3 million. Last year, more than 1,900 immigrants received permanent resident status in Nova Scotia - an 8.5 per cent increase over the previous year. We will continue to build on that momentum. The Nova Scotia Nominee Program was key in this success and, in fact, it is considered one of the most attractive programs in the country.

Mr. Speaker, government has reviewed the fees associated with the program, and effective immediately will eliminate the portion of these fees that flows directly to the province, ranging from $500 to $1,700 per person depending on the immigrant entry stream. This will make Nova Scotia more competitive with other provinces and more attractive to immigrants. We will also do more to ensure immigrants feel welcome and supported. An additional $639,000 will be available for language training, settlement and integration services. This brings our direct funding for settlement services through the Office of Immigration and the Department of Education to almost $2 million this year alone.

Confidence in the Offshore

Mr. Speaker, creating a more confident climate for business, investing in the education and skills of our workforce, and bringing more people from around the world to achieve success here in Nova Scotia are vital to our future economic growth and social prosperity. We also need to build on the opportunities that exist in industries that have the untapped potential to further secure our progress.

We recently announced plans to help promote Nova Scotia's offshore energy with a $6.4 million investment in research and development. The goal is to generate more interest in, and wealth from, Nova Scotia's offshore. This investment has the potential to create more quality jobs, to provide more energy choices, and to generate more revenues to support the priorities of Nova Scotians.

Encouraging Conservation

Mr. Speaker, one clear priority of Nova Scotians, a priority this government shares, is to ensure that together we act to promote, protect and preserve our environmental integrity. To encourage energy conservation and the use of renewable energy sources, we will implement a new Energy Efficiency Tax Credit. This non-refundable credit will equal 25 per cent of a company's capital investment in new, cleaner, energy-efficient measures to a maximum of 50 per cent of their Large Corporations Capital Tax. The program will come into effect on purchases made after July 1, 2006.

Mr. Speaker, my government expects no less of itself when it comes to making smart energy choices than it does of business and individual Nova Scotians.

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That is why we will invest $1.2 million to convert the system that heats the Nova Scotia Hospital, the Dartmouth General, and the new community college campus to natural gas. Not only will this be more environmentally friendly and cost effective, it will mean good things for neighbouring business and residential customers, who will also have access to gas-fired alternatives to meet their own energy needs.

Every Nova Scotian has a part to play in supporting conservation efforts. That is why government will continue to support Smart Energy Choices through a $10 million investment. This program includes home assessments, grants for energy saving, home improvements, additional help for seniors, and dollars for oil furnace replacement. We will also take measures to encourage the use of alternative forms of fuel. Effective July 1st, we will eliminate the motive fuel tax on the biodiesel portion of the diesel blend that is produced in Nova Scotia, and meets accepted fuel-quality standards. It is estimated that this measure could save taxpayers up to $1 million per year and make biodiesel a more competitive fuel.

[1:45 p.m.]

We are also investing in an Environmental Home Assessment Program to provide more Nova Scotians with the assurance that their families have access to clean potable water, environmentally-safe oil tanks and properly-working septic systems. The $850,000 program will be available to close to 2,000 homes over the next two years and will provide water sampling kits, help for septic systems and an oil tank check-up.

Better Choices - Tackling the Pressures Families Face Today

Mr. Speaker, through this budget we are also taking action to support working families by having more child care options, by enhancing services for Nova Scotians with disabilities, and by providing much-needed tax relief for Nova Scotia families.

Child Care

Mr. Speaker, the recent federal budget included a new Universal Child Care Benefit of $1,200 a year for each child under the age of six. Nova Scotians will not pay additional provincial taxes on that benefit. (Applause) That is because we are introducing a non-refundable tax credit for parents or guardians with children under six. The tax credit rate will be set at the 8.79 per cent applied to the full value of the new $1,200 Federal Universal Child Care Benefit. This amounts to $105 per child. As well, Nova Scotia plans to carry on with funding for the child care system in Nova Scotia after the recent federal funding program ends.

Mr. Speaker, we will provide ongoing additional funding of $4.7 million a year to child care in Nova Scotia. This is all part of our 10-year child care strategy.

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Mr. Speaker, there is nothing more agonizing for a parent than a sick child. That is why, effective October 1st, we will introduce a new Pharmacare Program for children from families of modest means. (Applause) This program will cost $1 million this year, with another $2 million committed for next year. It will reduce the emotional stress and financial pressure on thousands of Nova Scotia parents, reduce emergency room visits, and, most importantly, ensure that 33,000 children get the medicine they need to get better.

Additional investments to support individuals and families in need include:

� $1.9 million more to increase the shelter allowance for income assistance recipients;

� $18 million more for the second phase of the Nova Scotia Affordable Housing Program; and

� $3.5 million more to enhance senior- and low-income housing through the Emergency Housing Repair Program.

We are also putting in place more support for parents who adopt children with special needs with an investment of $200,000. And I am pleased to announce that effective immediately government will eliminate international adoption fees to allow more Nova Scotians the opportunity to build and complete their families.

Mr. Speaker, too many children are without the love and support of a family. Nova Scotia is fortunate to have people who open their hearts to these children. Today government is pleased to announce it will provide an additional $400,000 to make life easier for foster families and the more than 1,200 children in their care. Currently youth in care are eligible for a bursary program to cover their post-secondary education costs. Government is pleased to extend the age limit from 21 to 24 years, so that students in care can continue their studies.

Mr. Speaker, last year government launched a pilot program in Cape Breton to help families caring for adults with disabilities. The Alternative Family Support Program provided adult foster care, independent living services and direct family support for those caring for their loved ones. This budget invests $1.5 million so that this vital service for families can be expanded to communities across Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, these are among the measures we will take to relieve many of the pressures and costs of raising a family in Nova Scotia today.

Lower Taxes for Families

Today in Nova Scotia, Mr. Speaker, government is taking action to give every family and every working individual a well-deserved, well-earned break. Effective

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January 1, 2007, government will provide every household with an 8 per cent rebate on the total provincial portion of the HST. (Applause) This will apply to all forms of home heating costs and electricity.

For major sources of heat Nova Scotians will see direct savings reflected on their heating and electricity bills. We have approached the federal government for assistance in administering this point-of-sale rebate, which is similar to the one received on books today. If the Canada Revenue Agency chooses not to participate, Nova Scotia will administer the rebate itself through Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. In that event, for all other heating sources such as wood, wood pellets, coal and kerosene, consumers will receive the full 8 per cent rebate when they submit their heating receipts.

We are confident that Nova Scotia Power and Nova Scotia's home heating fuel companies will enthusiastically support our point-of-sale rebate program. Mr. Speaker, our household energy tax rebate program will benefit all Nova Scotians, most especially seniors and those on fixed incomes. This broader program, which benefits all Nova Scotians, will replace the existing Keep the Heat Program.

Mr. Speaker, government has more good news for Nova Scotia families. Again, effective January 1, 2007, Nova Scotia will raise the basic personal exemption by $250 over each of the next four years - $1,000 in total. (Applause) As well, we will increase all non-refundable credits proportionally. Indexation of all non-refundable credits and brackets will commence after year four. Combined, the personal income tax measures outlined in today's budget will save taxpayers $113 million during the first four years, and there will be increasingly higher savings after that point.

Mr. Speaker, government knows that lower taxes not only help struggling families, they make our province more attractive to business investment, more attractive to new immigrants, and more attractive to skilled workers, all of which will bring about greater economic growth and social prosperity.

Strong, Healthy Families Today . . .

Mr. Speaker our goal is to make every generation of Nova Scotians healthier than the one before. We know that Nova Scotians can lead healthier, longer and more productive lives when they make smarter lifestyle choices. This year's budget keeps our commitment to double the Health Promotion budget within four years. The total budget for the new Department of Health Promotion and Protection is $36 million with $29.4 million going to support health promotion activities, a $14.5 million increase over the last three years.

Among the investments the department will support this year:

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� funding of just over $600,000 to promote healthy eating in our schools;

� close to $1 million in new funding to start the renewal of our public health system to deal with issues, post-SARS;

� $800,000 for youth health centres in 37 schools and communities across the province;

� $680,000 to strengthen our actions to prevent chronic disease;

� $469,000 to educate senior high students on issues like alcohol, drugs, and healthy sexuality; and

� $255,000 to expand our injury prevention strategy.

We will also invest $400,000 to increase the number of physical education teachers in our schools. And, Mr. Speaker, we will increase the Healthy Living Tax incentive by more than 300 per cent, from a maximum of $150 of eligible costs per child to $500 per child. (Applause) This incentive helps families register children in sport or recreation activities that offer lasting health benefits.

Mr. Speaker, government knows that if we're going to promote good health we have to provide Nova Scotians with the recreation facilities and natural amenities that will encourage them to become more active. To that end we are providing an additional $2.4 million to implement a physical recreation strategy, and improve recreation facilities, an increase of 25 per cent over last year. We will also spend an additional $750,000 for capital improvements to our provincial park system, and commit an additional $506,000 to establish additional boardwalks in our capital region.

Mr. Speaker, we are also providing $100,000 to determine the feasibility of establishing a United Way 211 Call Service. This will provide a one-window referral service for a broad range of government, community, and non-profit service information. These measures are tangible proof of our commitment to build a healthier Nova Scotia, and these measures are the tangible means by which we will slow the growing pressures on our health care system.

Investing in Health Care

Mr. Speaker, from government's efforts to keep young Nova Scotians healthy and active, to helping more of our seniors live longer at home, Nova Scotians will see that our investments are sound, sensible and strategic. Tomorrow, government will release a continuing care strategy that sets the course for putting Nova Scotia on the right path to provide the right level of care, at the right time and for the right reasons.

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Our continuing care strategy will make sound policy investments that are sustainable, respond to community needs, and result in better care.

This year's budget will see that strategy advanced through:

� adding 50 restorative beds;

� more dialysis options closer to and in the home;

� expanded home support services like personal care and housekeeping;

� continuing support for people to manage their own care in their own homes; and

� there will also be 1,300 new long-term care beds introduced over the next 10 years. (Applause)

This year, more than $16 million will be dedicated to moving this strategy forward. Mr. Speaker, like our investments in health promotion, our continuing care strategy and the new dollars we are putting into home and nursing home care will help ease the stresses and strains on our hospitals.

[2:00 p.m.]

Government has made a concerted effort to reduce wait times for diagnosis and treatment, and the results are beginning to show. We have more doctors in communities, more nurses at the bedside, and we lead the country in the sharing of medical information technology. New advanced medical equipment is making access to care faster, and we are taking a comprehensive team approach to meeting the health-care needs of our communities.

To build on our progress, the budget for the Department of Health will once again increase from $2.56 billion to $2.76 billion. (Applause.) A $200 million increase which will go to address the many priorities including:

� further wait-time reductions as a result of a doubling of federal wait-time funding to $34.7 million;

� $4 million for the Clinician Assessment for Practice program bringing 20 international medical graduates to our province;

� $462,000 in bursaries for medical lab and technologist students;

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� $400,000 to support nurse training at St. Francis Xavier University;

� $400,000 to enhance community-based primary health teams, which include nurse practitioners; and

� $3-million for the operation of MRI's, purchased in last year's budget.

As well, Mr. Speaker, we will invest a much-needed $15.9 million in oncology drug costs, specialists and treatment support for cancer programs in the Capital Health and Cape Breton Districts. And we are adding $12.9 million to our Pharmacare Program to help over 95,000 seniors better manage the rising costs of prescription drugs.

Opportunities for Children to Succeed Today . . .

Mr. Speaker, just as it is our goal to make every generation healthier than the one before it, it is also our goal to ensure that every generation of Nova Scotians is better equipped to find success. And that starts with a quality education. This year we are making a substantial investment in helping our children succeed from Primary through to graduation. This year the overall budget will increase 5.9 per cent from $1.075 billion to a total of $1.138 billion.

Included in this amount for the Department of Education is:

� $5 million to fully implement the recommendations in the Hogg Report; (Applause)

� An additional $20.2 million to implement the next steps in our Learning for Life II plan. This focuses on the fundamentals, further reduces class sizes, expands supports for students with special needs, offers more advanced courses for gifted students and calls for greater accountability throughout our public school system;

� Another $1 million to implement the recommendations of the BLAC report which will further our efforts to address inequities in the education of African Nova Scotian students.

Additionally we will provide $300,000 to ensure Nova Scotia students have access to one of the world's most respected pre-university high school programs. This investment will ensure every school board in the province offers the International Baccalaureate Program in at least one of their high schools.

To ensure our at-risk students stay in school, stay learning, and stay on a path to success, we will provide another $1.4 million to introduce Opportunities and Options into 20 new schools. This program matches students with qualified

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employers who provide structured, hands-on learning experiences. This year's budget will also provide $750,000 to Memorial High School in North Sydney, a composite school which provides both academic and skills training. Mr. Speaker, our vision is to have a composite school, like Memorial, in every school board in the province.

. . . And Opportunities for Youth to Succeed into the Future

Mr. Speaker, this government understands the value of post-secondary education. We also know that the cost of a university education is difficult for many families. That is why we will take every step to make the cost of a typical undergraduate degree in Nova Scotia comparable to the national average within the next five years. We will be re-opening negotiations with universities and looking to the federal government to discuss a collaborative approach to reaching this goal.

� We will introduce Nova Scotia's first Graduate Tax Credit, allowing Nova Scotia graduates to claim $1,000 as a non-refundable provincial tax credit on earnings;

� We will double the employment and repayment bonuses under the student debt reduction program, a $1.2 million investment providing debt relief to approximately 10,000 Nova Scotia students;

� As well, next year, students who are unemployed or under-employed will benefit from an improved program that sets loan repayment amounts to affordable levels;

� We will reduce the required parental contribution for eligibility for student loans by 25 per cent. As a result more students will be eligible for student loans and be able to qualify for loan forgiveness.

� We will also, beginning in 2007-08, establish direct lending which will see students benefit from the province's lower borrowing costs. (Applause) This measure alone will save students millions in interest at no additional cost to taxpayers.

Building Safe, Caring Communities

Nova Scotians rightly feel a strong sense of pride in and belonging to their communities. This budget focuses on those things Nova Scotians value about where they live, including their desire to keep their children, their homes and their neighbourhoods safe. That is why we will improve our response to the growing concern of youth crime by investing $450,000 to establish a new youth attendance center in the Halifax Regional Municipality. This center will provide programs and services such as education and counselling through a mandatory reporting arrangement. This funding is in addition to a $500,000 investment to support youth at risk through the Departments of Health, Justice and Community Services.

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As well, we are providing an additional $540,000 to put into force legislation that will address criminal activities such as drugs and prostitution. The added funding will support a new public safety investigation unit. This budget also includes new funding to hire additional police officers to track violent offenders and to address child pornography and Internet fraud. There will also be money for more officers in Aboriginal communities across Nova Scotia. Government will also continue to support the recently created Criminal Intelligence Service which improves criminal intelligence gathering in all regions of our province.

Other investments to enhance our justice system include:

� An additional $400,000 to expand electronic monitoring of those on house arrest;

� $200,000 to better monitor those on bail; and

� $700,000 in legal aid funding to ensure speedier access to justice.

We will also be investing $746,000 to upgrade our 911 emergency response system, which will improve overall responsiveness across Nova Scotia. Mr. Speaker, an additional $250,000 will assist our volunteer emergency responders, and we will take steps to ensure they are supported through Nova Scotia's EMO joint operations. We recognize the important work these and other volunteers do to meet the needs of our communities. This year we will appoint a Minister responsible for Volunteerism, and develop Nova Scotia's first volunteer strategy. (Applause)

Investing in Municipalities

Mr. Speaker, this government will do all that it can, whenever it can, to enhance the services we provide Nova Scotians. We will also work hand-in-glove with our municipalities so that they can better meet their local needs. That's why this year we will provide $4.7 million in additional transfers for all Nova Scotia municipalities, and increase funding by $1.5 million for the Provincial Capital Assistance Program, for a total of $4.25 million. PCAP allows the province to contribute to the cost of high-priority municipal projects including water, sewer and solid waste, with a focus on green projects.

Mr. Speaker, this investment, along with the $18.75 million we are dedicating to resource management, biodiversity and our forest and wildlife resources, will have a positive impact on tourism, heritage and the environment. Nova Scotia's tourism and cultural sectors generate more than $2 billion for the province's economy each year. Government is committed to working with our partners to increase the value of these vital industries to our economy. To that end we are providing an additional $600,000 to market and promote Nova Scotia as a first-class tourism destination, and increasing funding to support the cultural sector by $850,000. (Applause)

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In addition, this year's budget includes $300,000 to further develop a cultural center to showcase the history and heritage of the Mi'kmaq in Nova Scotia. We will work with Nova Scotia's First Nations, specifically to protect the unique cultural artifacts that have been found on the Mi'kmawey Debert site. Mr. Speaker, we continue to be proud of our diversity, and will continue to celebrate and recognize the contributions of all Nova Scotians. This budget will also see the creation of an Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs in Cape Breton. Additional satellite offices will open in Southwest Nova, the Valley and Central Regions in the coming years.

Traditional Sectors

Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia's forests, farms, and fishery remain the backbone of our economy. We will continue to help each of these vital areas of our economy grow. Government's new aquaculture development strategy will be supported with $450,000 to study alternative species, address health risks and advance commercialization. An additional $50,000 will be provided to conduct year-round testing on lobster quality in southwest Nova Scotia. Additionally government will begin consultations to develop a comprehensive natural resource strategy focused on four key areas: biodiversity, forests, parks and minerals. Government will also continue to support the efforts of agri-food and seafood operations by working with business to develop value-added products and adopt innovative new procedures and technologies.

[2:15 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, we will also continue to develop responsible and affordable solutions to the challenges confronting the large employers that rely on our resources like Stora, Ocean Nutrition and Oxford Frozen Foods.

Conclusion

Mr. Speaker, today we provided our plan of action for addressing what matters most to Nova Scotians. This budget is their budget. It responds to the issues we all care about: time with our families, a good job to go to, money to pay the bills, safe communities and hope for the future.

This is our plan. A plan for families. A plan for communities. A plan for the future. A future full of hope and opportunity. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. (Prolonged Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview. (Applause)

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MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise today for the fifth time to begin debate in reply to the Budget Address. This is my fifth budget reply. I am now on my third Finance Minister. One of the oddities of our job is that what is normally very private sometimes has to be public. Recently the Minister of Finance found it necessary to tell the public about a medical diagnosis he has received and medical treatment he is about to undergo within a matter of days. I would like to begin my reply by saying, on behalf of myself and our caucus and every member of the House, that we wish you well in this difficult time for you and your family, and we wish you a speedy and complete recovery. (Standing Ovation)

Now, Mr. Speaker, to the budget itself. We welcome the positive features of the budget while remaining skeptical about the government's commitment to actually following through on the promises that are made today. In particular, we welcome the removal of HST on home heating fuel. (Applause)

This is a long-standing commitment of the New Democratic Party and our Leader. When we proposed it several years ago the government said, impossible, can't be done. But patiently and persistently we said it was important and it needed to be done. Then they said, impossible, it can't be done, must consult with other provinces and federal governments, impossible to get their agreement, the NDP is dreaming in Technicolor. That's what they said, but patiently and persistently our Leader said it has to be done.

Up until just a little while ago they said impossible, it can't be done and today, Mr. Speaker, we find out it was possible all along. It can be done and we welcome the government's promise, but we are mindful of the fact that a promise is all that it is. After literally years of saying it was impossible and couldn't be done, literally days away from an election, the government is converted to our cause. We are mindful that the distance between this budget promise and reality very likely includes an election campaign, and a government that was truly committed to seeing this measure through would stay in this House and put it to a vote.

Mr. Speaker, it appears very likely that this government does not have the courage of its convictions and is not prepared to put this budget and that measure, in particular, to a vote. Instead, on their own initiative, they will go to the people with a promise and not an accomplishment. That is the wrong way to go about doing things. If this is the right thing to do, the government would put it to a vote.

You see, this budget is characterized in that instance and in others by a separation of the promise from the reality. For example, on children's Pharmacare, who could oppose children's Pharmacare, something that we have called for before, but when you actually look at the details of it, you realize that the reality is going to fall very far short of the need and indeed of the promise. The government has allocated to this long overdue measure only $1 million in this fiscal year, only $2 million in the next fiscal year. They say that 33,000 children will benefit from this

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which provides for $30 per child this year and when fully implemented, $60 per child.

Well, Mr. Speaker, I don't think any of us have to go very far to find children whose annual medication costs surpass $30. The income cut-off is $20,192. So that has to be a family that is above social assistance rates, because they already have a Pharmacare Program, but below $20,192 and also in receipt of the Nova Scotia child benefit. So this desperately needed measure is not going to be available to families earning above that amount - $21,000 and above; $21,000 and above, you don't qualify at all for this benefit. I wonder if that reality is going to be on their election brochures? The so-called tax cuts, for example, the increase in the basic personal exemption.

Well, Mr. Speaker, has this government forgotten already that they were the ones who allowed the basic personal exemptions to get out of step with the federal exemptions? It was them, it was that Party, that government that decoupled the two systems and then froze the Nova Scotia exemptions and now, literally days before an election, they're going to give a little bit of that money back. So this is absolutely typical of what we've seen from the Conservatives, stealth tax increases over the past number of years and then just before an election they're going to give a little bit of it back - not all of it, not anything even remotely close to all of it, just a little bit.

Mr. Speaker, when you actually look at the numbers, this is going to amount to pennies on the paycheque, but on their campaign brochures, you can bet, it's going to say income tax cut, but it's going to amount to pennies on the paycheque.

Post-secondary tuition - now I have to read this line from the budget because this is absolutely typical of what we're seeing from the Progressive Conservatives these days. This is a classic Progressive Conservative line. Listen to this, Mr. Speaker, let me set the stage for you - this is an issue that has essentially been ignored by the Progressive Conservatives for seven years. We've been telling them about our ideas on tuitions, it was one of our key commitments in the last election and, today, literally days before an election campaign, the Progressive Conservatives have discovered post-secondary tuition - or have they?

Listen to what they actually say, "That is why we will take steps to make the cost of a typical undergraduate degree in Nova Scotia comparable to the national average within the next five years." Mr. Speaker, I want to unpack that sentence a little bit - they're not actually going to do anything, make any commitments, they're going to "take steps". What steps? When? It's not in the budget document anywhere. Just a few days ago I was talking to a senior academic in the administration of one of our local universities and he said it all sounds good, but we want to see the details. How much money is going to be attached to this? What's the mechanism?

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There is nothing about that. Not only that, but what they're saying is they are going to make it "comparable". What does that mean? I could be wrong, but in the Throne Speech they may have used a different word, that it was going to be at the national average - now it's going to be comparable. What does that mean? What percentage above the national average do they define as comparable? You can bet we're not going to get an answer to that question before the election.

Their aim is only to the national average and then it's within the next five years - not only past this election, but past the election after that will we know whether they actually will be able to keep this promise. Very, very vague - like much of what we see in the budget, very long on rhetoric and very short on actual concrete steps. We also noticed there's not one red cent allocated in the budget towards this supposed objective of the Progressive Conservative Government.

Another example is long-term care beds. In the Budget Speech, they say tomorrow they're going to be releasing their plan. Mr. Speaker, it is my honour, today, to reveal a piece of the Progressive Conservative plan - and that is that there is not going to be one single new long-term care bed over the next three years. Yet, they say that over 10 years they're going to be spending x number of dollars and creating y number of beds, but the reality is for the voters, not one single new bed in the next three years.

I guess we'll have to wait until tomorrow for the details, as the Progressive Conservatives roll out yet another plank of their election platform.

On roads, they even mention a couple of specific roads in the Budget Speech, but they don't say they're going to do them, they don't even say they're planning to do them - they say they're thinking about doing them. One of them happens to be the so-called new Hammonds Plains Road, and I wonder if the member for that area is going to underline in his campaign literature that the government isn't promising to do it, they're not even planning to do it, but they're thinking about it - I bet that phraseology won't be found anywhere in that member's campaign literature. Once again, the distance between the promise and the reality.

Even something we can support, like the elimination of the provincial portion of the HST on home heating fuel, they couldn't even get that exactly right. The reality of the program is that while they are delivering that benefit to Nova Scotians - as we have been calling on for years - at the very same time they are eliminating the Keep the Heat program. They are eliminating Keep the Heat, which was aimed at Nova Scotians with the lowest incomes, which means that as a result of this government's plan on home heating fuel, many of the lowest-income Nova Scotians will, as a result of this budget, actually receive less - less. Mr. Speaker, that is not what is needed.

[2:30 p.m.]

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That is not what is needed, that is not what we asked for, that is the wrong way to go. Mr. Speaker, I wonder if you or anybody else on that side of the House is going to print that reality in your campaign literature. When they are considering this budget, we would like to ask Nova Scotians to reflect on the fact that the Progressive Conservatives are discovering these issues after seven years in government, after seven years of inaction and only days before an election.

I would be remiss if I did not talk about one item in particular that this government, even on the eve of an election, can't bring themselves to address, and that is the intolerable rate of poverty among our population.

Mr. Speaker, in this budget, the government says it will increase the basic personal allowance for people on social assistance by $10, but not until December 1st. It says it will increase the shelter allowance by $15. The problem here in HRM - certainly in my riding and I know in the ridings of many of my colleagues and in the ridings of many of the people on that side of the House - is the shelter allowance is already grossly inadequate, far below market rents. The reality of the world is that even for those landlords who have not already gobbled up $15, and more, in rent increases, they will take this $15, which is the reason always advanced by the Department of Community Services why the shelter allowance is not going to be raised because they had no mechanism for avoiding the problem of the landlords, some of whom keep a very close eye on the shelter allowance rates immediately raising their rents by $15 a month. In today's budget we see no idea, no provision from this government about how they are going to avoid that problem that they themselves have identified. So it doesn't actually provide any more or any better, safer housing for people on assistance. What it does is enrich landlords, unless the government has a plan for how they're going to avoid it.

I want to take an opportunity, here, to pay particular tribute to two of my colleagues. It appears that it's only going to be a matter of days that we still have among us here in this House the member for Dartmouth North. Mr. Speaker, no member of this House has distinguished themselves for their passion and conviction about issues of poverty and people with disability more than the member for Dartmouth North. [Standing Ovation]

If any of us ever forgot about the poverty agenda, the member for Dartmouth North was there to remind us forcefully, every day, of our duty to deal with the poverty that is amongst us. He believes that no society can call itself civilized if it lets its children go hungry. Mr. Speaker, I use the word "lets" advisedly, because there is no society in the history of the world that is more affluent than the society in which we live.

In developed western democracies we have a wealth that is unknown in world history and yet still we let our children go hungry, because we could choose to solve

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the problem and we do not. The member for Dartmouth North has been here every single day of his time in this House to remind us of that.

I also want to take a moment to pay tribute to my colleague, the member for Dartmouth South-Portland Valley, whose leadership on the Community Services Committee has taken the work of that committee to a whole new level about recognizing and listening and dealing with, in concrete ways and in concrete steps, the poverty agenda. On poverty, this budget is silent.

I would like to mention also, Mr. Speaker, in passing, the budget talks about economic development. Some call it the government's Achilles heel, and despite all the fine words, the extra money given to the Office of Economic Development, the additional funds being poured into the unaccountable Industrial Expansion Fund, still - still - the reality falls far short of the promise. It is with some sadness that I note, just today, 200 people at the Shaw Wood facility in Cornwallis have been told that they are losing their jobs. That is a sore blow to the community, that is a sore blow to that region of Nova Scotia - it is a sore blow to all of us. Two hundred people in Cornwallis learned today, Budget Day, that they are out of a job.

Mr. Speaker, I note also in passing that for the first time in my memory here, and perhaps the first time ever, the Auditor General has expressed a reserved opinion on the government's revenue estimates. Normally he concludes that the revenue estimates are reasonable and that the budget is based on these revenue estimates, but this year, for the first time, the Auditor General says he cannot do that. What credibility does a budget have on which the Auditor General said he has not received sufficient, adequate information to make that judgment that he has made in every other year? All is not what it appears; all is not what it appears. But we, in this caucus, know that our job is to get a better deal for today's families. That's our job, we know it, and the people of Nova Scotia know that if they want to get things done all they have to do is send more New Democrats to this House.

Thank you, and I move adjournment of debate.(Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for adjournment of the debate.

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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Before we move on to the daily routine, I have a ruling. Last night the member for Cape Breton South rose on a point of privilege. His complaint was that a number of Statutes that have been passed during the previous session had not yet been proclaimed by the executive branch of government. As I told the House last night, I knew this matter had been raised before, and I took it under advisement. The previous occupant of this Chair ruled on what was essentially the same point of privilege, on April 21st of last year, and I have a copy of that ruling which any member may have, if they wish.

In summary, it is not unusual that Statutes are passed subject to proclamation, and it is not unusual that they remain unproclaimed for some time while mechanisms and regulations are put in place to support the legislation. The key point is that it is the members of the House who choose to pass the legislation, subject to proclamation at the discretion of the Executive Council, thereby delegating that authority directly to the Executive Council.

As the previous Speaker noted in the ruling, this is nothing new or surprising and legislation can remain unproclaimed for some time. Accordingly, I find there is no prima facie case of breach of privilege.

The honourable member for Cumberland North.

MR. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of personal privilege. Unfortunately I was out of the House on Friday past when several members opposite stood to speak on points of privilege. However, after reviewing Hansard I feel that some of the said comments impugn my character. As an example, the member for Clare was quoted in Hansard, Friday past, as stating that I had showed disrespect, ill regard, and contempt toward the committee, the House of Assembly and its members. Obviously, I've done none of the following - I take exception to the statements made and would ask that you take into consideration that text, as recorded in Hansard on Friday, May 5, 2006, as well, to put into context this issue, I also ask that you review the Hansard of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, both the open and the closed session of March 8, 2006, at which time I appeared voluntarily as a witness.

Following such, I would ask that you make a ruling as to whether or not members opposite have indeed called into question my integrity as a member of this House.

MR. SPEAKER: I will take that under advisement and report back to this Chamber.

We will begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

[Page 207]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition for the people of the Village of Maitland in my constituency, in particular for paving for Maple Street and Church Hill. The operative clause reads:

"This road is only scrapped [sic] twice a year and we are driving over potholes year round. On this street there is a senior citizens complex, two cemeteries, a church and two church halls. Besides the seniors [sic] citizens there are eleven residences with eighteen vehicles. There are also pulpwood trucks that travel down beyond the residential area, oil trucks and many visitors to the seniors complex and the cemeteries. Traffic can be quite heavy at times. The time has come for the provincial government to take action. We have had enough of bad roads. Rural people are not second class citizens."

Mr. Speaker, there are 42 signatures on this petition, and I have my affixed signature, as well, in support.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Clare.

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition with over 700 signatures. The operative clause reads:

"We the residents of the Salmon River Lake area and surrounding communities in Clare, hereby, petition the Department of Transportation and Public Works, Province of Nova Scotia to have a section on the d'Entremont Road in Meteghan Sation [sic] paved immediately as it present [sic] itself as a safety hazard to the motorists and pedestrians."

Mr. Speaker, I have affixed my name to that petition.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

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

MR. GARY HINES: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to submit a petition concerning the Northwood Extended Care facility for the Cobequid Health area. The operative clause reads:

"We the undersigned are very concerned by the rumor circulating that Northwood have decided to locate the facility in Hammonds Plains.

[Page 208]

We believe the Rocky Lake Commons to be a superior location; more central, nearer to the Cobequid Health Centre, adjacent to shopping, with many youth facilities . . . excellent transportation with the Burnside Expressway soon to be built, plus the land is available immediately for development."

Mr. Speaker, I have affixed my signature.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

MR. CHARLES PARKER: Mr. Speaker, I rise to table a petition on behalf of a number of Nova Scotians who are not very happy with their secondary roads. This is from citizens in the community of Braeshore in Pictou County. The operative clause reads:

"We the regular users - residents, landowners, and business operators - of Lodge road . . .", that would be Pictou Lodge, ". . . and Salty Reef road in Braeshore, Pictou County request that due to the ongoing poor condition of Lodge road, the NS Dept. of Transportation take immediate measures to bring it to a reasonable standard."

Mr. Speaker, the petition is signed by 34 residents of the road. I, too, have affixed my signature.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition. The operative clause reads:

"We, the undersigned, request the NS Department of Transportation & Public Works to reconstruct and pave the heavily used Fales River Subdivision Roads."

With over 200 names on this petition, I have added my name, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth South-Portland Valley.

MS. MARILYN MORE: Mr. Speaker, before I present this petition, I wonder if I might introduce some people in the west gallery. These are members of the Face

[Page 209]

of Poverty Consultation, which actually sponsored the petition. I would like to introduce them, and perhaps they could stand as their name is called: Corrie Douma, Barbara Cruikshanks, Elizabeth Brown, Carolyn Earle, and Atze Douma. I would ask my colleagues in the House to give them a warm welcome. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition sponsored by the Face of Poverty Consultation. The operative clause reads:

To support the recommendations of the Standing Committee on Community Services, ". . . to dramatically improve the situation of the poor in Nova Scotia."

Twenty-eight hundred people have signed this petition, and I, too, have affixed my signature.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition requesting the Department of Transportation and Public Works to reconstruct and pave the heavily-used Howe Avenue in the Greenwood Area. There are 150 names on the petition, and I have affixed my name to it.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In my capacity as Attorney General, pursuant to Section 51 of the Judicature Act, I hereby table amendments to Civil Procedures Rules that were made pursuant to the Judicature Act by the Judges of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia on October 28, 2005 and by the Judges of the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal on November 8, 2005.

[2:45 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The amendments are tabled.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

[Page 210]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour.

RESOLUTION NO. 132

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 today is the 14th Anniversary of the tragic explosion in the Westray mine in which 26 miners were killed and the lives of their family members and community were changed forever; and

Whereas the death of those miners has provided a lasting lesson to Nova Scotians about the continuing need to put safety on the job above all other considerations; and

Whereas the legacy of Westray has given Nova Scotians strong protection under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, where all workers are afforded the right to participate in workplace health and safety decisions, the right to know about and eliminate any hazards in the workplace, and the right to refuse unsafe work without fear of reprisal;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House respect and honour the memory of those who died at Westray, and use that memory as our inspiration to remain vigilant in the cause of safety in Nova Scotia workplaces.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

Mr. Speaker, I ask that we all recognize a moment of silence to commemorate the Westray Anniversary.

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.

Please stand.

[One minute of silence was observed]

[Page 211]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, if I may, I would like to do an introduction. I do want to thank the folks for sitting around for some time and taking in the budget. I want to introduce some folks who are in the east gallery from the College of Licensed Practical Nurses and I'll ask them to stand to be welcomed: Ann Mann, Albert MacIntyre, Joan Gray and Sara Telfer; and from the College of Registered Nurses: Linda Hamilton, Michele Brennan, Colleen Arnold and Leona Telfer. I wonder if they could be given the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 133

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 this week, May 8th to 14th, is National Nursing Week, a week for us to recognize nurses as key members of health care teams and for the valuable role they play in the care of Nova Scotians; and

Whereas we are pleased to support nurses across the province through Nova Scotia's Nursing Strategy which has been successful in recruiting and retaining nurses in Nova Scotia; and

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

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize May 8th to 14th as National Nursing Week and acknowledge our nurses for the critical role they play in providing high-quality patient care to Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 212]

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 134

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

Whereas May 7th to 13th is Emergency Preparedness Week in Canada; and

Whereas Nova Scotia has demonstrated its ability to respond to even extreme emergencies over the past few years thanks to the many staff and volunteers associated with emergency agencies; and

Whereas this year's theme is 72 Hours . . . Are You Prepared;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the valuable efforts of all those who are involved in emergency preparedness and encourage every Nova Scotian to become more prepared for emergencies which may take place in their own 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 Minister of Justice.

RESOLUTION NO. 135

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

[Page 213]

Whereas Niko is less than two years old, but recently became the fifth all-black canine to be purchased by the Cape Breton Regional Police Force since 2004; and

Whereas Niko, who is a native of the Czech Republic, completed six weeks of extensive training on exactly how to sniff out suspects, evidence and the missing; and

Whereas Niko is part of the regional police force's dog unit which covers 2,700 square kilometres of territory, and has already accomplished remarkable feats such as tracking down the driver involved in a high-speed car chase a quarter mile away in a garbage bin, preventing a man from hanging himself, and finding a missing man who had wandered off into the woods by himself;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly recognize and applaud the significant efforts put forward by volunteers and the business community in industrial Cape Breton, allowing for the purchase of these canines.

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 African Nova Scotian Affairs.

RESOLUTION NO. 136

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

Whereas on Wednesday, March 1st, African-Nova Scotian artist Walter Borden was recognized for his contribution to the arts. The New Glasgow native received Nova Scotia's Portia White Prize. The prize honours African-Nova Scotian vocalist Portia White's memory and legacy of artistic excellence; and

Whereas Mr. Borden, whose talents are world renown, is considered one of Canada's hardest working actors, an ambassador for Nova Scotian arts; and

[Page 214]

Whereas Mr. Borden, in his 40-year career, has served his community as a writer, actor, an advocate and mentor for African-Nova Scotian artists;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating Walter Borden on winning the Nova Scotia Portia White Prize.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 137

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

Whereas 70 years ago this Spring, the world was captivated by a cave-in at the Moose River Gold Mine, largely through the efforts of broadcaster J. Frank Willis of the CBC who reported the events around the clock; and

Whereas the men and women in nearby communities came to the rescue and were able to save two of the men who were trapped for 10 days; and

Whereas the story of this tragic event is told through interpretive displays at the Moose River Gold Mines Museum in Moose River, Halifax County;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House acknowledge the community spirit that was alive and well in April 1936 and which continues to this very day.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 215]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 138

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 MedicAlert, Canada's largest membership charity, is celebrating its 45th Anniversary of protecting and saving lives by ensuring that health professionals have immediate access to a member's vital medical information when it is needed most - in an emergency; and

Whereas the Canadian MedicAlert Foundation provides essential emergency medical information services that are a critical part of emergency preparedness and health care in our community; and

Whereas celebrating 45 years of charitable service to Canadians is indeed a significant milestone for any organization;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the 45th Anniversary of the Canadian MedicAlert Foundation and acknowledge the contributions of this organization to health care in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour.

[Page 216]

RESOLUTION NO. 139

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 government's plan entitled Towards a Sustainable Environment, generally referred to as The Green Plan, commits the Government of Nova Scotia to managing its operations in an environmentally-responsible manner; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia Department of Environment and Labour has taken a leadership role within government by developing a pollution prevention plan for its operations which includes in-house measures to encourage employees to reduce, reuse and recycle within the department; and

Whereas the government supports the Department of Environment and Labour's efforts to promote "green meetings and events" which reduces waste going into landfill by using reusable mugs, drinking glasses and other items when groups gather for meetings or events;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House demonstrate their commitment to a greener government by foregoing the use of disposable beverage cups for their hot or cold drinks here at the House and outside in favour of these new "green your meetings" reusable cups which have been made available to all members.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 48 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 5 of the Acts of 1990. The Children and Family Services Act. (Mr. Kevin Deveaux.)

Bill No. 49 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 217 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Income Tax Act. (Mr. Wayne Gaudet.)

Bill No. 50 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 188 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Government Purchases Act. (Ms. Maureen MacDonald.)

[Page 217]

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

MR. GERALD SAMPSON: Mr. Speaker, with your permission, an introduction.

MR. SPEAKER: Please do.

MR. GERALD SAMPSON: I would like to draw the attention of the House to the west gallery to my brother, Gordon H. Sampson, a retired professor and he's here today to observe the proceedings and I would like him to receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

Bill No. 51 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 199 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Heritage Property Act. (Mr. Gerald Sampson.)

Bill No. 52 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 231 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Insurance Act; and Chapter 240 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Judicature Act. (Mr. Darrell Dexter.)

Bill No. 53 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 3 of the Acts of 1998. The Video Lottery Terminals Moratorium Act. (Mr. Leo Glavine)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

[3:00 p.m.]

MR. CHARLES PARKER: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to introduce today, in our west gallery, some folks from Pictou County. They're here today because they're very concerned about the air emission standards of Nova Scotia Power in Trenton. I'll ask them to rise as I say their names. We have Peter Boyles, Laura Trowell, and Sharon MacDonald. I'll ask the House to give them a warm welcome, please. (Applause)

Bill No. 54 - Entitled an Act to Set Criteria for Prioritizing Road Improvement Projects. (Mr. Charles Parker)

Bill No. 55 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 4 of the Acts of 1992. The Emergency "911" Act. (Mr. Harold Theriault)

Bill No. 56 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 6 of the Acts of 2000. The Health Authorities Act. (Mr. David Wilson, Glace Bay)

Bill No. 57 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 293 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Motor Vehicle Act. (Ms. Diana Whalen)

[Page 218]

Bill No. 58 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 10 of the Acts of 1994-95. The Workers' Compensation Act. (Mr. Leo Glavine)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 140

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

Whereas on May 8th, 2006, Ms. Gladys Bower of Upper Ohio, Nova Scotia, reached the marvelous age of 108; and

Whereas this lady has witnessed countless world events spanning more than 100 years and experienced things the rest of us can only hear about; and

Whereas Ms. Bower has been and remains an outstanding individual in the community of Upper Ohio;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly show their delight and wish Ms. Bower a very happy 108th birthday.

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 Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 141

[Page 219]

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

Whereas Pictou Lodge Resort, now celebrating 80 years in business, has come a long way from its original start as Wentworth Lodge back in 1926; and

Whereas over the years, Pictou Lodge Resort has had many guests from around the world including King George V and Princess Juliana of Holland, who stayed at the lodge during World War II; and

Whereas Pictou Lodge Resort boasts thousands of visitors each year and is well known for oceanside dining, fabulous views, and Taste of Nova Scotia approved cuisine and service;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Pictou Lodge Resort owners, operators and employees on making the lodge such a popular place to stay and dine, and wish them many more years of success and memory 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 member for Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 142

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

Whereas West Kings District High School will be celebrating its 50th Anniversary in late June with a reunion of former students and staff; and

Whereas West Kings was one of the first district schools in the province when it opened its doors for the 1956-57 school year; and

[Page 220]

Whereas throughout its 50 years in operation West Kings has distinguished itself as a leader in many curriculum and extracurricular endeavours, being recognized both provincially and nationally for its achievements;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate West Kings for 50 years of excellence, both academically and in athletics and music, and wish them every success with the 50-year reunion celebrations.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Shelburne.

RESOLUTION NO. 143

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 2005 saw Nova Scotia lead the way once again as Canada's top seafood exporter at a value of $1.03 billion; and

Whereas Nova Scotia lobster accounted for almost 40 per cent of the nearly $1 billion in Canadian lobster exports last year, with the United States remaining our biggest customer; and

Whereas southwestern Nova Scotia, with Shelburne County at the forefront, accounts for 40 per cent of Canadian lobster stocks;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs in this House commend lobster fishermen in southwestern Nova Scotia and all other regions around the province, the Nova Scotia Fish Packers Association, and everyone associated with the Nova Scotia

[Page 221]

seafood export industry, as the industry continues to strive to keep Nova Scotia seafood the most sought after in the world.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Glace Bay.

RESOLUTION NO. 144

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the workers at Highland Fisheries in Glace Bay have been locked out by Clearwater Fisheries since March 14th; and

Whereas efforts to have the provincial Minister of Fisheries and the Minister of Labour meet with the employees to try to resolve this lockout have been cast aside by this government; and

Whereas the Human Resources Development Service Commission has not yet decided whether to award EI benefits to these workers, and the federal Fisheries Minister has done nothing to try to resolve the matter;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly demand the Minister of Fisheries, both provincially and federally, immediately intervene and put these employees back to work and/or award them the benefits they deserve.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

[Page 222]

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 145

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

Whereas the 2nd Annual "Inspiring Lives" Awards, presented in conjunction with the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia and the Canadian Mental Health Association, was held yesterday in Halifax; and

Whereas 15 nominees from across Nova Scotia were nominated by various CMHA chapters and organizations; and

Whereas the Kings County chapter was one of those chapters, and is well regarded for its work in assisting the surrounding community with its mental health needs and promoting positive attitudes towards mental illness;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize all the nominees and award winners from across Nova Scotia, and the work of the Kings County chapter and, in doing so, place importance on mental health awareness during this Mental Health Week.

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. 146

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

[Page 223]

Whereas the MedicAlert Foundation is a non-profit health care information organization dedicated to providing services to people with serious medical conditions; and

Whereas the MedicAlert repository can connect to and provide critical medical information between patients, providers, payers and first-responders 24 hours a day, seven days a week, anywhere in the world; and

Whereas MedicAlert is a non-profit membership organization founded in 1956, with a mission to protect and save lives, and has earned the trust of over 4 million members worldwide;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly acknowledge the month of May as MedicAlert Awareness Month on this 50th Anniversary of saving lives around the globe.

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 Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank.

RESOLUTION NO. 147

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

Whereas Dartmouth-based Environmental Consulting & Contracting Incorporated, ECCO, recently claimed the silver award for Small Business of the Year at the Metro Halifax Business Awards; and

Whereas ECCO is known for its cost-saving and innovative approach to such environmental services as Phase I, II and III site assessments, groundwater monitoring, and project management services; and

[Page 224]

Whereas the successful company also contributes to its expertise to community projects like supporting recycling programs in elementary schools and providing supplies to those less fortunate;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House sincerely congratulate ECCO on their latest honour and for being invited to take part in this month's Team Canada Atlantic Trade Mission to Florida. Businesses such as ECCO represent the cutting edge status of growth and world-class service available in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

RESOLUTION NO. 148

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

Whereas yesterday I read a resolution asking the members of this House to recognize the validity of on-line petitions in view of their rising prevalence and the need for the House of Assembly to move into the 21st Century; and

Whereas this resolution was voted down yesterday by the government, which points clearly to this government's resistance to progress and change; and

Whereas on-line petitions bring grassroots democracy to a broad cross-section of people, and the House of Assembly needs to step forward and recognize the importance of any measures that increase public participation;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly condemn the government for its rejection of the principle of on-line petitions, and recognize that this rejection speaks loudly to Nova Scotians of a tired, worn-out government with no willingness to step into the future.

[Page 225]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 149

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 Pee Wee B Miners recently won the 10th Annual Pee Wee Tournament at the Westville Miners Sports Centre; and

Whereas Westville team coaches Delbert Brown, Mike Rankin and Colin MacKenzie guided the team to a 4-3 win over the Dartmouth Whalers; and

Whereas the Pee Wee B Miners team consists of players Blair MacLaughlin, Jamie Kerr, Chris Duchemin, Alexander Dignan, Jesse Hubley, Norman Kennedy, Kirk Cummings, Lewis Wright, Matt MacNaughton, Johnny Evans, Jake Rankin, Brandon MacKenzie, Aaron Hemphill, Mason Emery, Bryan Sinnis and Greg Brown;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Westville Pee Wee B Miners and their coaches on their tournament win, and wish them all the best in their future games.

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.

[3:15 p.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 150

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

[Page 226]

Whereas seniors have been receiving discounts for years because of having reached the appropriate time in their life where respect should be given; and

Whereas seniors, having contributed to society through taxes all their working years, continue to do so in retirement; and

Whereas seniors do not have their income increasing at the current rate of tax increase, heating fuel and transportation costs;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly recognize the need for financial assistance to seniors and call upon government to provide seniors with a yearly pass to use ferries, such as at Englishtown, Little Narrows and LaHave, for a small, nominal fee.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage.

RESOLUTION NO. 151

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

Whereas Grade 8 Chester Area Middle School student Antonio Marzetti will fly to Florida in August to compete in the 2006 World Yo-Yo contest; and

Whereas the Mill Cove resident is consistently monitored by his mother as she watches out for household items as Antonio can do practically anything with a yo-yo, including the Flying Squirrel, the Mach 5 and the Super Boing Boing, while painlessly being able to knock an apple off anyone's head who might be brave enough to step forward; and

Whereas Antonio will be competing against 200 competitors from across the world while performing his routine to the music from the Will Smith movie Wild Wild West;

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Therefore be it resolved that wishes for a World Yo-Yo title be extended to Mill Cove's Antonio Marzetti by all members of the House of Assembly, while offering our sincerest good luck as he competes.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 152

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

Whereas the Province of Nova Scotia was built from its coastal fishery and the downturn in the fishery has caused great out-migrations of its people in the last 10 to 15 years; and

Whereas the fishery of Nova Scotia could be restored to its former state if the will was there to do this, creating triple or more of its present value; and

Whereas years ago, Iceland and Norway encountered exactly what Nova Scotia has experienced today and they, in their wisdom, returned their fishery into one of the best in the world;

Therefore be it resolved that this government study Iceland and Norway's effective management of their fishing industry, so we can rebuild Nova Scotia's fisheries, taking us out of a have-not-province situation.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 228]

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cumberland North.

RESOLUTION NO. 153

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

Whereas Alison Forshner, a resident of Wallace Bay, Nova Scotia, and fourth-year university student, has been selected as one of 20 Canadian students to participate in the 2006 International Seminar in Botswana, Africa, this Summer; and

Whereas this seminar is a six-week, intercultural exchange that exposes students to the realities of life in a rural community and familiarizes them with international co-operation; and

Whereas Alison is interested in seeing what rural life will be like in Africa, compared to her own rural community, she will participate in a local initiative and undertake a multi-disciplinary group research project focusing on HIV/AIDS and local economic development;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in sending our congratulations to Alison for being selected for such a prestigious program, and representing Canada with enthusiasm and pride.

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 229]

The honourable member for Clare.

RESOLUTION NO. 154

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 2006 Junior National Racquetball Championships took place in Burlington, Ontario, from April 24th to April 29th; and

Whereas Denise Haynes of Clare placed first in the 18 and under category as well as the 16 and under, which Denise won in 2005, giving her a first-place finish in these two divisions; and

Whereas Denise brings honour to the young people and the population of this province;

Therefore be it resolved that this Assembly congratulate Denise Haynes for her accomplishments and wish her every success in the upcoming world junior championships in Phoenix, Arizona, in December.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Economic Development.

RESOLUTION NO. 155

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

Whereas the term amalgamation is defined as the uniting of two or more organizations to share resources and work towards shared common goals; and

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Whereas on April 1, 1996, the region of Queens and the Town of Liverpool voluntarily joined to form the Region of Queens Municipality; and

Whereas on April 6, 2006, the municipality celebrated 10 years of sharing and managing departments dedicated to local concerns for residents of our communities;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the region of Queens Municipality on the 10th Anniversary of the amalgamation and that it may effectively serve Queens' residents for many more years to come.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 156

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

Whereas Ryan James O'Rourke of Middleton, Nova Scotia, will be receiving the Chief Scouts Award on May 13, 2006, from the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Ryan has been in the scouting movement for a period of 11 years and has worked diligently to receive this prestigious award by completing at least six different challenges in categories such as citizenship, leadership and personal development, which includes spiritual, intellectual and physical; and

Whereas Ryan had to obtain the World Conservation Award and, in order to do so, had to complete two badges in the environmental category;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly congratulate Ryan James O'Rourke of Middleton, Nova Scotia, for earning his Chief Scouts Award and being an example for all Nova Scotia youth.

[Page 231]

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 Environment and Labour.

RESOLUTION NO. 157

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 excelling in a sport takes great skill, dedication and endurance; and

Whereas excelling in more than one sport is very rare; and

Whereas Grade 12 student Ryan Swim of Conquerall Bank, Lunenburg County, has been scouted by a Major League Baseball representative, as well as a variety of Atlantic university basketball coaches;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House extend best wishes and congratulations to athlete Ryan Swim as he plans his successful future in the world of sports.

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 232]

The honourable member for Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 158

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

Whereas Earl Dolsen has served his community, province and country for over 33 years; and

Whereas Mr. Dolsen has volunteered his time and effort to various causes over his life, he has brought music into people's lives, his work with the Canadian Legion and his commitment to various organizations throughout the province promoting seniors issues as an example to all; and

Whereas it is Mr. Dolsen's sense of kindness and compassion to others that has been a driving force behind his work to help improve the lives of others;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House acknowledge the remarkable contribution Earl Dolsen has made to his community and wish him many years of 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 Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 159

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 the Better Business Bureau honours a business with a community achievement award each year; and

[Page 233]

Whereas these awards are given not only to recognize a company's commitment to the Better Business Bureau but to the communities they serve as a whole; and

Whereas Vaughne Assurance Ltd-Ltée is the recipient of the award for the tri-county area for 2006. The company has been a member of the BBB for 19 years and in operation for 40 years with offices in Tusket, Barrington, and Church Point that employs 22 full-time staff who volunteer their time to many organizations;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating Vaughne Assurance Ltd-Ltée, its owner Eddie Madden and to all their dedicated staff for their commitment to their community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Glace Bay.

RESOLUTION NO. 160

MR. DAVID WILSON(Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the 29 students of Grade 8 class at St. Michael's School in Glace Bay have raised money to purchase toys for the pediatric ward in the Cape Breton Regional Hospital; and

Whereas one of the students recently at the hospital noticed the need for new toys and decided to bring the matter to the attention of her teacher and classmates. The students sold pizza, collected recyclables and set up a coat check at the school dance to raise more than $300; and

Whereas the Grade 8 students take on a project every year focused on giving back to the community as part of the class curriculum;

[Page 234]

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate St. Michael's Junior High School Grade 8 French Social Studies students, as well as their teacher Mrs. Lisa Roach, for both their generosity of spirit and a job well done.

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. 161

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

Whereas the Clayton Park Junior High Wildcats captured their third Capital Zone Hockey Championship in February, defeating their Fairview Junior High rivals by a score of 6-3 in a two-game total goal format; and

Whereas the championship capped off an undefeated season for the Wildcats who finished with an 11-0 record; and

Whereas coaches Russell Walker and Sid Moore have enthusiastically volunteered their time for many years to ensure that the students had the chance to play junior high hockey;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Clayton Park players and coaches for their winning season in 2005-06, and wish them continued success in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 235]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 162

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

Whereas the province is flush with excess amounts of funds promising millions of dollars a day since March 1, 2006; and

Whereas education is the cornerstone of a respectful, civilized society and necessary for the development of our children's future; and

Whereas this government must recognize that big is not always better and education is the right of every community and taxpayer;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly call upon the government to provide the necessary funds to immediately repair and refurbish Balls Creek School and show their commitment to allow this school to reopen for classes by September 2006.

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 Clare.

RESOLUTION NO. 163

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

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Whereas there are 253,000 volunteers in the Province of Nova Scotia each giving approximately 200 hours of their time to make our communities a better place to live; and

Whereas Nova Scotia volunteers give more time to their province than any other volunteers in this country; and

Whereas our Nova Scotia volunteers are more dedicated by staying with an organization longer than any other volunteers in this country;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly applaud all of our volunteers and work to make them feel more appreciated.

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.

Before proceeding, I do want to say that on one of the Notices of Motion brought forward to the House this afternoon by the member for Halifax Clayton Park about electronic petitions, that motion is out of order because it talked about a decision of the House and it was in fact referring to a notice, it was not voting down a decision. I just note the Clerks to record such.

The honourable Leader in the House of the Liberal Party.

[3:30 p.m.]

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, you have been previously provided with a copy of this motion before the time requirements.

Mr. Speaker, I hereby serve notice as per Section 43(2) of the Rules and Forms of Procedure of the House of Assembly 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.

[Page 237]

Stora Enso, one of the largest companies in Nova Scotia is currently involved in a severe labour dispute, which has seen the plant shut down for some time now, forcing many workers out of work. Unfortunately, there is no end in sight to the lockout. Given the extremely large scale of the Point Tupper plant, there are several major economic effects which cannot be ignored and if this lockout continues, it will be devastating to the local and provincial economy.

Each month the labour dispute continues, the province is losing out on $750,000 in income tax revenue. Nova Scotia Power is losing roughly $4 million per month. This lost revenue will undoubtedly be put on the backs of consumers by power rate increases and Stora Enso itself is losing almost $6 million per day in potential revenue.

The spinoff effects of the already lengthy closure have been felt around the province, especially in the Strait area. The Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia Railway has been forced to lay off employees. The North Inverness Forest Management Co-operative has warned they will be forced to lay off individuals in the Communications, Energy and Paper Workers Local No. 972 if the dispute cannot be resolved shortly.

We have word now that as recently as yesterday, the two sides have been brought back to the table, but talks broke down after only two hours of discussion, as they still have not been able to reach necessary compromises.

This is all deeply troubling for myself as the member for Richmond and for, I believe, our entire province. Each day that continues to go by, several workers are home without paycheques and the spinoff effects to the regional and provincial economy are extraordinary. We can no longer sit by without this issue being debated at full by our Legislature. We know the company has told the government and the Opposition Parties that it needs stable power rates and a new tax structure, along with a new labour agreement, before they will reopen the mill.

The government, to date, has failed to act on these issues. This labour dispute requires immediate attention and I would ask that you would rule favourably on my request for an emergency debate. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: I have received the motion according to the Rules and Forms of Procedure for the House of Assembly. I have considered the motion. While there are matters outside the jurisdiction of this House, there are impacts that are of urgency to many Nova Scotians. Therefore, I rule that the motion is proper to be discussed.

There is a motion before the House that an emergency debate be considered. Is it the will of the House that the motion be considered?

[Page 238]

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

This debate shall commence following the regular business of the day and shall replace the late debate.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period shall commence at 3:33 p.m. and finish at 4:33 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

BUDGET VOTE - COMMIT

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. Today this government presented a document that contains a number of promises to the people of the province. It acts on some, though not all, of the promises made in last Thursday's Throne Speech. I have to say, I'm encouraged to see the long campaign by so many Nova Scotians like John Hill, the Pictou County Council, CBRM Council, the Golden K Kiwanis Club, our caucus and many others to have the HST removed from heating source shows some promise of coming to a close.

I use the word "promise" very deliberately and this brings me to my question. I ask the Premier, will he commit to bring this budget to a vote so consumers can realize these long-awaited HST savings before calling an election?

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, I thank the Leader of the Opposition for the question. The budget document tabled today has a number of priority areas for the government, one of those being the relief on the HST. What I can assure that member and all Nova Scotians is that it is our intention to ensure that Nova Scotians receive that benefit.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, this is not the time for the Premier to dance around the question, so I want to be clear. It has been a decade since the unfair, unethical tax was applied by the Liberals, and nearly as long since the Hamm Conservatives first campaigned against it. Consumers have waited for years and paid hundreds of millions of dollars in HST on heating. Making them wait even longer for inexplicable reasons is not what they deserve. I know that anyone who intends to keep their promises will use any reasonable opportunity they encounter to do so. For the Premier, that opportunity is here in this House with these budget documents. So

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my question is, Mr. Premier, will you guarantee that this budget is brought to a vote through the normal budget process later this month?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition should know by now that those on this side of the House don't make promises, we make commitments, and we keep commitments, and we will keep this commitment to the people of Nova Scotia.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my recollection is that the list of broken promises and commitments is long and undistinguished. Unless and until this budget is brought to a vote in this House, and judgment passed on the many initiatives that it seeks to pursue, it will be nothing more than words on a page, promises in print. Leadership requires that those placed in positions of influence use that power to the benefit of their constituents and those they represent. My question is, will the Premier put his written commitment to remove the HST from home heating into law through this budget, or will he leave yet another question mark hanging over Progressive Conservative promises?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, we have made a commitment to the people of Nova Scotia, and I can assure you we will keep that commitment, and we will keep many other commitments. We will keep the commitment to invest more in our highways and infrastructure. We will keep our commitment to adding $200 million to the health care system. We will keep our commitment to low-income families in Nova Scotia, and we will keep many, many other commitments in the days ahead.

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

FIN - GAS REGULATIONS

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, in February of this year, 2006, the Tory Party celebrated the legacy of the former Premier, the now MLA for Pictou Centre. They highlighted his legacy of fiscal prudence, more importantly his stand that gas regulation was bad for Nova Scotia, that he could not raise the basic personal exemption, and that he could not remove the provincial portion of the HST from home heating oil. How things have changed in three months. This new government has flip-flopped on all three of these issues. My question to the Premier is, at what point did you decide that the former Premier, the MLA for Pictou Centre, was wrong on gas regulation, HST on oil, and raising the basic personal exemption?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member the member is speaking of is the same member who brought $830 million here to our province to put towards our debt. He is the same member who balanced the books in our province for four consecutive years. He is the same member we're proud to have called our Leader and our Premier during the past six and a half years to put a foundation in for Nova Scotians for the future, and we will build upon that foundation.

[Page 240]

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, the way they're flip-flopping on the issues that were first decided by the former Premier one can only wait to see what else they'll decide suddenly is no longer in favour for the Tory Party. It's unfortunate that under the Rules of our House that I'm unable to even ask the member for Pictou Centre to tell us exactly what he thinks of today's budget. Maybe the media will have the opportunity to see what his legacy was celebrated in February and what he's left with today.

Mr. Speaker, the decision, suddenly, to raise the basic personal exemption was announced, and the Minister of Finance told us that he missed the deadline from Revenue Canada, just like they missed the deadline in 2003 for the 10 per cent tax cut. We now hear that only this morning did they meet with bulk retailers of oil to talk about removing the provincial portion of the HST. Mr. Speaker, it is clear that these are not well thought out decisions but they're policy on the fly. Will the Premier admit today that these are only knee-jerk policy flip-flops leading into a provincial election?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the document that the Minister of Finance put forward today focused on the priorities of this government and I believe focused on the priorities of Nova Scotians. It finds a balance between lowering our taxes for our families and for our students and for individuals across our province whether it be on personal income tax or otherwise. It finds a balance between growing the economy and lowering our taxes and investing in much needed infrastructure. Mr. Speaker, it's a type of document which I believe Nova Scotians believe is the right document for this time. We will continue to make the right decisions for the right reasons. When we make a decision to go in our budget or when we make a decision on a daily basis we do so ensuring that we maintain our balanced approach, maintain a balanced budget, and with the best interests possible of all Nova Scotians. We will continue with that.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: You know, Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians remember all too well the last time that the Tories came promising tax cuts prior to an election only to see what happened as soon as they were voted back into government when they rescinded that tax cut. Here we are in 2006 and once again the Tory Party of Nova Scotia comes bearing gifts for Nova Scotians. My question is, will the Premier assure Nova Scotians that his budget will be fully debated and voted on prior to an election call?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I can tell you it's fully our intention - we put a budget in place - for Nova Scotians to receive their healthy living tax credit, it's fully our intention to give them the graduate tax credit, the childcare benefit tax credit, the tax free on used motor vehicles, the large corporation capital tax and the many other initiatives put forward in this budget. I can make the commitment to the honourable member that we will do that this year.

[Page 241]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

EDUC.: POST- SECONDARY TUITION

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: I can see the Premier's got his message track down pat but it's not very enlightening really. My question is for the Premier. Last Thursday Nova Scotia post-secondary students were encouraged to hear a promise from this Conservative Government to deal with the highest tuitions in the country. Let me remind the House of the numbers we're dealing with here. Tuition in Nova Scotia is 50 per cent above the national average, a staggering $6,200 per year. This makes Nova Scotia not only the least affordable place in Canada to get an education but also the least affordable in North America. Tackling this problem is no small feat and this is not a government that has shown any willingness to make post-secondary education more affordable, they have in fact made it much less affordable. My question to the Premier is why would you make a promise last week when you knew you were not going to keep it this week?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, we have made a commitment to the students here in our province and it is our intention to keep that commitment over a five year period. You can't do everything all at once in government, you have to make decisions which are in the best interests within budgetary means. The NDP may not realize that and I can fully understand that but we will keep that commitment.

MR. DEXTER: Well, Mr. Speaker, for those listening to the Conservatives' Throne Speech last week it seemed clear that tuition would be rolled back this year, instead it will increase by at least another $250. Breaking faith with people is a decision not to be taken lightly in any circumstance but breaking faith with students and their families so quickly and clearly undermines the very credibility of this government. My question for the Premier is this, will the Premier tell this House how he can justify forcing tuition even higher, pushing post-secondary education further out of the reach of Nova Scotia families?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, we were very clear in our commitment last week in the Throne Speech with regard to getting our tuitions within the range of the national average over the next five years. We're very clear in our commitment as well with a number of other initiatives, about giving more opportunity through student loans to increasing the threshold by 25 per cent, by providing more opportunities to our students through our student debt relief program, giving them more opportunity to stay here at home in Nova Scotia. Mr. Speaker, there are not just one or two initiatives, there are a number of initiatives for our students in this document and in our Throne Speech, and I can assure that member and all members that when we make those commitments, we take them seriously and we will keep those commitments.

[Page 242]

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, students from rural areas are three times less likely than those from urban areas to pursue a post-secondary education. Those from low-income backgrounds are less likely to seek a post-secondary education if their parents did not pursue one, and I remind the House that this budget does not reverse the practice brought in by this government that prevents single parents on social assistance from getting ahead through an education. So my question is, why does the Premier refuse to recognize the value of a post-secondary education and fulfill his promise to reduce the cost of tuition in Nova Scotia?

[3:45 p.m.]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, to give further clarity in this issue, I will refer to the Minister of Education to highlight some of our initiatives.

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, this government's commitment to post-secondary education is really unparalleled in this country. I want to tell you that we have not only increased the funding for the universities and for the community college, we have also, beyond my colleague the Minister of Finance, introduced a number of measures today that talked about adjustment to the Student Loan Program, which will actually see - the student takes advantage of all those things, coupled with the Millennium Scholarship, 65 per cent of the Nova Scotia student loan can be reduced, or can be forgiven, if all of the options are accepted.

Mr. Speaker, there is no other province in the country, as far as I know, that does that. The other thing I want to tell the honourable member, this government understands that the tuition fees are high, and that is why we made a commitment over a five-year period to get them down to the national average, but I wanted to tell him one other thing . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you, honourable minister.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

GAS PRICES - REGULATION

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question today is to the Premier. Back in 1991, Nova Scotia ended its policy of gas regulation and at that time this province had the highest gas prices in the country. Apparently this Premier is prepared to walk down the same road again. Back in the Fall, this Legislature commissioned a study to be completed on gas regulation. The study concluded that gas regulation would not provide Nova Scotians with lower prices relative to a competitive market.

Mr. Speaker, the now Premier, along with many other ministers, all declared that gas regulation would not work in Nova Scotia. This was only months ago. What

[Page 243]

has changed since then? My question to the Premier is, do you disagree with the findings in the study that you and the Cabinet spent over $100,000 of taxpayers' money on?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, we would be the only province east of Ontario not to be regulated in this area. We want to ensure that we provide greater stability to the consumers of Nova Scotia. This will do that. In addition to that, it will also give further opportunities for our independent stations out in rural parts of Nova Scotia, many in the member from the other side's riding. The government takes this issue very seriously. Yes, a great deal of time and effort has taken place in reviewing this, but the government made a decision which they felt was in the best interests of the consumers and the taxpayers of Nova Scotia.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, what's in the best interest for the government as it heads to an election is to try to give the perception to Nova Scotians that they're going to get something here, when in effect what they're going to get is higher gas prices. The Premier himself does not believe that gas regulation will provide lower prices and he said that. If you ask Nova Scotians what they want, it is not some false sense of stability. They want lower prices. We all know that. We all know what the answer to that question would be if they're asked. Consumers want lower prices and always will.

Mr. Speaker, this Premier is sacrificing the pocketbooks of Nova Scotians for a false sense of stability and for his perceived political gain. He knows this is the wrong thing to do and he said so in the past. My first supplementary to the Premier, Mr. Premier, yes or no, will gas regulation provide higher prices at the pumps for the consumers of this province?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I have said from day one, there is a price to stability. That is fact and I've said that and I stand here today and I say that, but stability is very important and the people of Nova Scotia want to have that stability. There will be days when the gas prices will be lower. There will be other days where the gas prices will be higher. That is the reality under a regulated environment.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, what this Premier is saying is that higher gas prices are okay in Nova Scotia. He just said that once again. He said that higher gas prices are okay. In Nova Scotia, gas prices are ranging anywhere from $1.11 per litre to $1.15 per litre. In P.E.I - and these are yesterday's figures - gas prices are ranging from $1.18 a litre to $1.22 a litre. In a regulated market today the prices are generally 7 cents per litre greater than in our competitive market.

Mr. Premier, consumers are not willing to pay an extra 7 cents a litre which you consider is okay for your personal political agenda. My question to the Premier is, why are you prepared to sacrifice the pocketbooks of Nova Scotians for political

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gain by implementing a plan which you, yourself, said would make consumers pay more in gas prices?

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

HON. RICHARD HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, through you to the member opposite, I can tell him that this government has listened to Nova Scotians and businesses across this province who have said they want stability in this province. I can tell you, yesterday, driving up from Yarmouth, gasoline was $117.9. When I got here in the city, it was $111.9. People across this province want stability and this government is going to give them stability.

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

HEALTH - LONG-TERM CARE BEDS

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question is once again for the Premier. We know that there have been many promises made by this government in the documents tabled in the House today and one of these promises deals with the long-known need for long-term care beds for the elderly ill. These beds are required so that seniors who have worked their entire lives, paid taxes, contributed to their communities, can live out the rest of their lives in comfort and dignity. This budget, however, makes no short-term relief available to the many seniors currently awaiting placement in a nursing home. Will the Premier confirm that under his budget no additional long-term care beds will be built this year or next?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, as we highlighted in our budget, we will see 1,300 new beds over the next 10 years which is very good news to the people of our province; 1,300, it's a huge commitment which means $16 million in this year alone. The Minister of Health will be outlining the continuing care strategy tomorrow and all of those details will be made available.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, how this government can justify further delaying the beds that are needed is beyond me. It's hard to fathom just how this Premier and his government can accept an additional $0.5 billion in revenue next year without placing a priority on building the needed nursing home beds. In Shelburne, in Clare, in Cape Breton, the North Shore, HRM and all across the province, the needs are growing.

[Page 245]

Mr. Speaker, my question is this, why has the government failed to meet the immediate needs of seniors requiring long-term care and the longer waits in emergency rooms and for surgery that results as a result of your delay?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, nothing could be further from the truth. The continuing care strategy will be released tomorrow. It will outline the government's priorities for this year and the years ahead. It will focus on seeing more long-term care beds, expanded home support services, and a number of other initiatives, but the Minister of Health will outline all of those details tomorrow.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, what not everyone in the province knows is that the number of long-term beds are actually fewer than they were when this government came to power. Everything in this budget is about choices. This government made a choice to cut the number of beds and now they are making a choice to leave hundreds of seniors and people with serious disabilities waiting for nursing home beds that just aren't there. So my question is this, why was an increase in the number of nursing home beds so important that it was a major Progressive Conservative promise in 1999, but now it is apparently so unimportant to you?

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

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I find it entertaining that the member opposite is bringing this up now. These are very important things that we've been working very, very diligently on in the last five years to find the right services for our communities and for our seniors. We take our seniors very seriously and we want to make sure they have the home care supports they deserve, that they have the monies they deserve to take care of their own destinies, and that they have the long-term care beds they require. Let's do the right thing for Nova Scotians,let's take care of our seniors.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

ENVIRON. & LBR. - SHAW WOOD INDUSTRIES CLOSURE

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, my question will be for the Premier.

Today there are termination notices going to more than 200 households in the Valley community of Cornwallis. The Shaw Group has announced the closure of its subsidiary, Shaw Wood, effective July 31st. This manufacturing facility has been in operation for the past seven years. There will be 200 former working families gathering around the supper table tonight wondering what their futures hold; there will be 200 former working families wondering if they can continue to live in their home communities. I ask the Premier, what will his government be doing for these families?

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THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for the question and, as this falls under the purview of the Minister of Economic Development, I will refer it to him to answer.

HON. KERRY MORASH: Mr. Speaker, I'd like to thank the member opposite for the question. This certainly is a sad announcement that has taken place today and there certainly are some workers whose futures are in question. I would like to assure the member opposite and the workers that the government, along with Nova Scotia Business Inc., the community, and all the entities involved will be working very hard to look for new employment for those individuals.

MR. EPSTEIN: Well, sympathy won't do it, Mr. Speaker. I note that in today's Budget Speech it says the Progressive Conservatives will help the forest industry to grow, and the budget repeats the old Progressive Conservative promise about an increase in value-added production. We know the pulp and paper industry is in big trouble and now a manufacturing business based on our forests is closing, yet there is no specific measure for the forest industry in a budget that tries very hard to suggest that all is well in Nova Scotia.

Again, to the Premier, where do the 200 former employees of Shaw Wood fit into these Progressive Conservative promises to grow the forest industry?

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

MR. MORASH: As I mentioned before, there certainly are challenges that we face and there certainly are challenges within the forest industry. We will work with each individual group to look at everything we can possibly do for them. We will look for employment for those individuals and will do all we can to ensure the industry can rebound and can become healthy and vibrant again.

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, again to the Premier.

Sir, it is clear we are dealing with an industry that in all parts of this province is going to be in big trouble. It's clearer than ever this is a government long on promises, but short on action to keep those promises. These families affected today will apparently just be the latest victims of a government's ad hoc approach. Mr. Speaker, what does the Premier have to say to these employees and their families about his government's failure to keep its long-standing promises to build a sustainable, value-added forestry sector in Nova Scotia?

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

MR. MORASH: Mr. Speaker, we will be doing everything with the forest industry that we possibly can. As the member opposite would know, there are

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certainly challenges throughout Canada and North America, and we are there with that industry and we will be working with them to get them back to prosperity.

[4:00 p.m.]

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

ENVIRON. & LBR. - SHAW WOOD INDUSTRIES CLOSURE

MR. HAROLD THERIAULT: Mr. Speaker, I didn't seem to understand that answer and I've got to ask it myself because this wood plant, this furniture plant, is in my riding and we don't need 200 people down there out of work because the main employer right now seems to be the funeral homes anyway. If it keeps going that way, there's going to be more room for more funeral homes. That's all there's going to be in Digby-Annapolis. So we don't need to lose that.

What is the government going to do for this vital industry in Digby-Annapolis? I heard the answer from the Economic Development Minister. I would like to hear that answer from the Premier, please?

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

HON. KERRY MORASH: Mr. Speaker, we'll be doing everything we can and that will also include working with the community, working with the member opposite who has asked the question, whose heart I know is with those individuals and those employees, and together we will do everything we possibly can to assist them in any way.

MR. THERIAULT: I believe there are more problems coming in Cornwallis Park, too, for export industry in this province. I think a lot of it is because of the Canadian dollar going up and we're going to see bigger problems in our export business. This question is to the Premier, does this government have a plan in place for the rising dollar and the exports that we need to export from this province, including our fishery?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, certainly I want to add to the comments of the Minister of Economic Development. It's a very unfortunate situation that the employees face right now with Shaw. It's very unfortunate for the region, it's very unfortunate for their families, and we certainly recognize that. The minister and his staff, and NSBI and others, are working very closely and have been working very closely with Shaw to ensure that we do everything we can to help those individuals out.

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Mr. Speaker, what I will say is, as the member would have noticed in today's budget document, it does talk about an export strategy and I'm sure the Minister of Economic Development would be more than happy to expand upon that program with the honourable member.

MR. THERIAULT: To the Premier again, Mr. Speaker. It seems like there was some help for a potato farm in this province not long ago and there was some help for Magic Valley fun farm, or whatever it is. Is there some help immediately for this plant in Cornwallis?

THE PREMIER: I refer that to the Minister of Economic Development.

HON. KERRY MORASH: Mr. Speaker, I do thank the member opposite for the question. As the member would know, the manufacturer in the park had one client and that client has gone other places for the services. So that greatly limits the ability that we have at this point in time to be able to assist or to be able to bring those jobs back.

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

HEALTH: SHELBURNE CO. NURSING HOME

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, my question today is for the Minister of Health. Since the 1970s the residents of western Shelburne County have been waiting for a nursing home in their community. A committee was formed six years ago and is asking this government for a 50-bed nursing home. They're tired of watching their seniors being sent out of the region in order to receive nursing home care. Earlier this year they were told by this government that they could get a 12-bed to 16-bed expansion in the community, but a recent letter from the Minister of Health stated that that will not happen now. So my question to the Minister of Health is, why have this committee and the residents of Shelburne County been misled with an earlier offer up to 16 beds and now have it removed from the table?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for his concern for Shelburne County. I do want to also underline the issue that we have not said no. We were talking about a continuing care strategy to be released tomorrow which will have more details on where we'll be making our investment in beds and at that point we can retake up the negotiation with Bayside on an expansion to that facility. That's the go-forward. So if they read into that letter that we said no, that is exactly false. They're reading between the lines, for some reason, words that are not there.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, I'm going to quote from this letter, and I'll table it for the members of this House. "The proposal

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for additional beds in the facility has not yet been considered." What does that mean to you, that the people in this community, in this region of the province are still waiting for long-term care beds so that they don't have to send their seniors out of the region, out of the area where they have their support and their families? So I ask the Minister of Health, why is his government completely ignoring the needs of residents not only in all of Nova Scotia for long-term care, but especially for western Shelburne County?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I just want to underline that only a number of people have been working on this for a very long time to ensure that the proper bed representation is there in each region. The member for Shelburne has been working very diligently on this, and working with me, to make sure that we have the correct decisions there. The continuing care strategy will be out tomorrow. We'll talk about our investments in that area and the negotiations will continue. All we said at that time, when that letter was sent, was that we can't talk about where our beds are going to go until the strategy is released. They talk about planning - I remember in a speech, in a comment in last night's dissertation from the member for Richmond that says: Where is your plan, how come there's no plan? We put together a plan, and they're criticizing us for that. I don't understand it.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, South Shore Regional and the Yarmouth Regional Hospitals are experiencing huge pressures leading to the expulsion of 75 seniors from the area to nursing homes in other regions of the province. Clearly more nursing home beds are needed in this region, and it was needed yesterday. I ask the Minister of Health, why have the seniors in western Shelburne County been told they must wait for treatment in long-term care facilities that could take up to 20 years to address the problems?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I can say that I am absolutely excited to have a continuing care strategy coming forward tomorrow that favours, that actually takes care of our seniors, the ones who are so important to our community. We'll be taking care of them. Find out tomorrow.

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

HEALTH - VILLA ACADIENNE

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health as well. There are a lot of francophones in the Counties of Yarmouth and Digby, and many of them, when they are elderly, have to go to nursing homes. Many of those under the single-entry system are being sent far distances to nursing homes that are anglophone, where they don't speak French. Obviously they cannot communicate at these nursing homes. They're elderly. They're obviously very ill. Clearly there is a lot of trauma to these elderly francophones from those two particular counties. Recently Villa Acadienne has asked specifically for 10 beds in

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the Meteghan area where they have a nursing home, in order to ensure that these elderly francophones from that part of the province have an opportunity to stay in their community and have the services provided for them in French.

My question to the Minister of Health is, why did he reject the request from Villa Acadienne for 10 new beds in Meteghan so that francophone services could be provided to francophone elderly people in this province?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member opposite for underlining this very important issue. Back in the Fall, almost a year ago, the member for Clare and the member for Richmond, as well as other community groups brought up the issue of Acadians having to go to different regions in order to get long-term care. I can say that the Minister of Acadian Affairs at that time wrote a letter to the then Minister of Health underlining that very concern. I want to make sure that in tomorrow's continuing care strategy that issue will be addressed.

MR. DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, I'm just waiting for him to say soon, very soon, and we will all know exactly what is going to come out. There is an example of one elderly francophone who was sent to the Annapolis Valley because it was within 100 kilometres of the home of the elderly person. She was dying, she wanted last rights, and they couldn't find a priest in the area who spoke French to be able to provide her with that. To me, for our seniors who are dying and who are ill and who are in these long-term care facilities, they deserve dignity. That is not what they are receiving under the current system. It is quite disturbing. It has been a number of years since we've had the single-entry system. I want to ask the Minister of Health, when are we going to see a comprehensive review of that system to ensure it is working for all Nova Scotians?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: I tell you, they keep asking the same questions. I want to thank them for the question, and how important that is. I also want to say that we visited Villa Acadienne just the other day. The Premier had the opportunity to tour that wonderful facility. I had the opportunity to tour that wonderful facility, as well. We're going in there trying to have investments into long-term care. We'll be talking about those policies and those issues tomorrow in the continuing care strategy.

MR. DEVEAUX: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. You know the Minister of Health when he was minister- I assume he is still Minister of Acadian Affairs - we worked hard on getting a French-language Services Act in this province to ensure that we reflect the rights of francophones in this province both to have services in their native language and to ensure they can do it close to home. One of the problems - and I think what's pretty ironic about this particular situation - is that the Villa Acadienne in Meteghan has a number of anglophones at the facility who don't speak French, and the services are predominately in French at that nursing home. I would suggest to you

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that the system clearly has problems. I want to ask this minister, when will there be a review of the single-entry access system to ensure that we reflect both the cultural issues and linguistic issues before we decide to ship someone 100 kilometres away to a community that is distant both culturally, linguistically, and, obviously, geographically?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, not to let go of everything we have in our continuing care strategy, but the single-entry access program will be talked about in how to enhance it, how to make it better. That will be in there. The francophone issue will be in there. Building more beds in Nova Scotia and having more services for our seniors will be in the strategy tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

HEALTH - RESTORATIVE CARE BEDS

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. During last year's budget this government committed $1.65 million to add 50 restorative care beds in Nova Scotia. On February 13th of this year, government finally issued a tender call for these beds. On March 8th, the award date of the tender, the tender was then cancelled. Mr. Speaker, despite the fact that this was promised in last year's budget, they failed to deliver on that promise. My question to the minister is, why did you, Mr. Minister, fail to deliver on the 50 restorative care beds that were promised in last year's budget?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I just want to give an idea, the RFP was cancelled. The evaluation selection committee determined that the desirable criteria - we couldn't actually compare submission to submission. We wanted to be sure that we have the right issue. We committed to 50 restorative beds, we will deliver on 50 restorative beds.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, the minister's response is not acceptable. This government said last year that 50 restorative care beds would be added to the system while the assessment of the provinces continuing care and alternative levels of care was being completed. This government promised to deliver while the review was going on, not to bundle up last year's announcement into this year's plan. My question again to the minister, why did you, Mr. Minister, cancel the tender that would have delivered 50 restorative care beds that were promised in last year's budget?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: I said before, we have a commitment for 50 restorative beds, some of them being in the Cape Breton region, of course, and we are going to continue to do the work and be diligent to make sure that those beds that are so very important to our population will be put in place. We committed to it, and we will honour that commitment.

[Page 252]

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Minister, you did not deliver on it. You did not. You made a promise, and you did not deliver on that promise. Mr. Speaker, there's an old adage that goes like this, fool me once, shame on you, but fool me twice, shame on me. That's how Nova Scotians will view today's budget, and that's how they will view future promises as they relate to that government.

Mr. Speaker, my question again to the Minister of Health, why should Nova Scotians believe what you are saying today and what you're going to say tomorrow, when you fail to deliver on last year's budget promises?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Again, Mr. Speaker, they talk about planning and doing due diligence, and making sure that we make the right decisions for the right reasons. That is why this has been delayed. We will commit to the 50 beds. There will be more talk about it in the continuing care strategy tomorrow and I will be looking forward to bringing that forward. We committed, we will deliver on that commitment.

[4:15 p.m.]

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

ENVIRON. & LBR.: WESTRAY INQUIRY - RECOMMENDATIONS

MR. FRANK CORBETT: My question is for the Minister of Environment and Labour. This marks a terrible day in our history in this province. This is the 14th Anniversary of the Westray tragedy where 26 miners lost their lives. Following that disaster, a judicial inquiry led by Chief Justice Richard, brought forward extensive recommendations that would have protected workers in Nova Scotia. These regulations were ignored by the former Liberal Government and after almost seven years, have been doing nothing but gathering dust with those guys over there. So I want to ask this minister, why have you ignored the recommendations of a well-respected jurist like Judge Richard, and turned your back on the working women and men of this province?

MS. BOLIVAR-GETSON: Mr. Speaker, as in my resolution earlier, I did mention and acknowledge what Westray has meant to this province, and occupational health and safety measures are a joint measure. They're a measure that needs to be shared by the employees, the employers, and the community as a whole. We have taken occupational health and safety standards way into the future and we will continue to do that, working with communities and employees.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, since 2003, 37 per cent of the budget in OH&S has been cut. That's not taking things seriously. In her former position as Minister of Public Service, she ignored the hiring irregularities such as applicants being given the answers to interview questions. This was wrong, but the really large problem with

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this, was for OH&S officers, who are supposed to look after the safety of workers at work places. This lack of due diligence in her old job and lack of response in her current position, is putting Nova Scotian workers at risk and creating a pall over the workers she represents down at the Department of Environment and Labour. So I want to ask you, Madam Minister, why don't you do the right thing, tell this House who gave out those answers and get rid of the scoundrels?

MS. BOLIVAR-GETSON: I would like to thank the member opposite.

Mr. Speaker, I will continue by saying that this government is committed to Occupational Health and Safety in this province. When irregularities were picked up in that audit, it was a complete audit carried out and that audit was acted on.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, her attempt at comedic relief was pitiful and the answer in general was pitiful. This tragedy was compounded by a former Tory Premier, who blamed the workers for that problem at Westray, and you should know that Madam Minister. There has been nothing done since successive ProgressiveConservative Governments have been in power. Now there is a rumour that we will be going to the polls soon and we just wonder, what's going to be done for the families of those 26 miners, or workers like Yancy Myers, who died in a convenience store in Antigonish, or Kenneth James Purcell, who was murdered while driving a cab on Christmas Day? So if it's working so well, tell me what you're doing?

MS. BOLIVAR-GETSON: Mr. Speaker, as part of Environment and Labour's business plan this year, we have recognized violence in the work place. It is something that we will - we have named it in the business plan. We will continue to work with it. Again, Occupational Health and Safety, in this province, will continue to be on this government's radar and we will continue to work with individuals.

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

ECON. DEV.: PAC DOCUMENTS - RELEASE

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question, again, is to the Premier. We've seen this Premier and his Cabinet over the past couple of months continue to hide and conceal documents. We've seem them refuse to answer questions. This has all been done under the secret veil of Cabinet confidentiality. It seems evident they are living up to their recent award for the most secret government in Canada. Nova Scotians want answers to their questions and they deserve to know the truth about these two grants that the Tory Cabinet decided to give out to their friends, S&J Potato Farms and Magic Valley. My question to the Premier is, Mr. Premier, will you commit today to the full disclosure of the documents requested in the Public Accounts Committee's warrant?

[Page 254]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member brought up economic development, and I'll refer that to the Minister of Economic Development.

HON. KERRY MORASH: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question. I guess I can answer it by saying we had the lawyers and people in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy office go through documents, do what they felt was necessary, and process those documents and pass them along to the people who had requested them. I had never viewed those documents until they had gone through and was made aware of them by the Opposition. We did everything according to the laws that we have, and we abided by the laws to protect people's privileges.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the Office of Economic Development Minister is now becoming the chief apologist for the Cabinet. Let me try this question on the Premier. The Premier of this province, who was the then Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, received advice, back in 2003, not to give financial assistance to Magic Valley. The Minister of OED receive that same advice in 2004, and again in 2005. Yet, still this Premier and this Cabinet decided to give taxpayers' money away to political friends. It seems evident to me what they are trying to hide. This Cabinet made a bad deal for Nova Scotia, and they're trying to cover it up. My question to the Premier is, yes or no, do you believe that a $350,000 grant to a company that already owes this government $220,000 is a good way to spend taxpayers' money?

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

MR. MORASH: Mr. Speaker, we invest money in Nova Scotia on a regular basis, and we will continue to invest money in Nova Scotia. We had questions this morning with regard to some of the challenges that we have in rural Nova Scotia. I think it's our job to step up to the plate and do what we can to help people create employment in this province.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, that minister should tell that to Shaw in Cornwallis. He should give that same message that he just gave me down to Shaw.

On my second supplementary, the people of this province expect the government, led by this Premier, to make investments which are in their best interests. They expect a government and a Premier who is open and transparent, not a Premier and Cabinet who believe in censorship, secrecy and dishonesty. The people of this province deserve better. My question to the Premier is (Interruptions) Would you advise that talking head over there to shut up? (Interruptions)

[Page 255]

MR. SPEAKER: Order. Order. Order. Order. Would the honourable member take his seat. I will not tolerate members asking other members to shut up in this Legislature. It's unparliamentary language.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

ENVIRON. & LBR.: NSP GENERATING STATION -

POLLUTION PROBLEMS

MR. CHARLES PARKER: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Environment and Labour. Airborne emissions from Nova Scotia Power generating station in Trenton, No. 5, are causing serious problems for residents in that town, and in surrounding communities. Cars, decks, entire homes are often covered in fly ash. The health and the properties of residents are being badly affected by this pollution. My question to the minister is, Madam Minister, how seriously is your department monitoring this public health crisis?

HON. CAROLYN BOLIVAR-GETSON: Mr. Speaker, NSBI, at the Trenton Works Plant, is operating within their environmental approval. It is monitored on a regular basis. We will continue to work with the community, and as the community does see concerns, we ask them, we request them to bring them forward, and we will continue to investigate and make sure that they are acting within their environmental approval.

MR. PARKER: Mr. Speaker, I might point out it's not Trenton Works, it's the Trenton generating station owned by Nova Scotia Power. Nova Scotia's emission standards here in this province are way below recently-published WHO standards for air pollution. In 2010, the Canada-wide limits for a fine particulate matter pollution, which has been known to be linked to lung cancer, pneumonia, and cardiovascular disease, will be 30 microns per cubic metre over a 24-hour period and here in Nova Scotia the standards are 120 microns per cubic metre over that same 24-hour period. In other words, our standards are four times what will soon be the Canadian standard; unacceptable here in this province.

My second question to the minister is, what action is your department taking to meet these new guidelines and to protect the health of Nova Scotians?

MS. BOLIVAR-GETSON: Again, Mr. Speaker, the plant is operating within the parameters set down in the air pollutants strategy. They are in compliance. Issues that are raised by the community, we will continue to monitor to make sure this company stays within compliance.

MR. PARKER: Mr. Speaker, since I seem to be getting nowhere here, I'm going to switch to the Minister of Health and ask his thoughts on this very serious issue. The residents of Trenton have been putting up with this serious problem of fly

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ash for decades. The incidents of cancer and heart disease and other health problems are very high in the area. Many people believe there's a link between these health problems and the diseases and deaths in the area. So my final question to the Minister of Health is, what action is your department taking to protect the health of the people in Trenton and in Pictou County?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, this is all under the purview of Environment and Labour. The minister has really put forward the reasons why and how the function works and I'll refer that to the minister - if she doesn't have anything further to add.

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

ECON. DEV.: PAC DOCUMENTS - RELEASE

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I'll continue with my question from before with the second supplementary question to the Premier. I'll try to get through it this time without interruption, I hope. Mr. Premier, the people of this province expect a government that will make investments which are in the best interests, not only to Tory friends, they expect a government that is open and transparent and will make decisions in this place and in the Cabinet Room on behalf of the people of Nova Scotia and in the best interests of the people of Nova Scotia, not a Premier who believes in censorship, secrecy and dishonesty. The people of this province deserve better.

Mr. Speaker, I'll ask the Premier one more time, will you commit today to providing the full disclosure of the documents . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, order, please. To the honourable member, the word to suggest dishonesty in the House is unparliamentary.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: I'll retract that word, Mr. Speaker. Evasion may be a better word, evading issues and evading information to the people of Nova Scotia, conveniently forgetting to provide truthful documents when we ask. Mr. Premier, I'll ask one more time, will you commit today to providing the full disclosure of the documents in question to the people of Nova Scotia respecting S&J Potato Farms and Magic Valley? Will you do that, Mr. Premier?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, unlike the previous government, before we came into office in 1999, you stifled the economic growth at every opportunity. This government has created over 40,000 jobs since coming to office in 1999. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, this government has lowered taxes for the business community in our province. This government has made wise investments and has attracted new

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companies here to our province and we will continue to do that in the years ahead. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

ENVIRON. & LBR. - TOBEATIC MGT. PLAN

MS. MICHELE RAYMOND: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Environment and Labour. The public consultation period on the management plan of the Tobeatic Wilderness ended two years ago and the implementation of the plan since then has been nothing more than promise after promise, delay after delay. The mayor of the Region of Queens Municipality had it right when he said, it's really a case of paralysis through analysis.

This past February, the predecessor of the minister offered a program for dismantling campsite leases. When this minister took over, though, one of her very first moves was to delay that decision until October 31st of this year. This plan has already been studied, it already has shown wide support and it has been on the minister's desk for two years - since June 2004. Why will the government not implement the Tobeatic plan as written?

HON. CAROLYN BOLIVAR-GETSON: Mr. Speaker, this minister did not delay until October 31st; this minister gave a final commitment that they would have a Tobeatic plan in place by October 31st. The campsite lease plan was not delayed, it was extended to give individuals the opportunity to see what that management plan will say before having to commit to a decision.

[4:30 p.m.]

MS. RAYMOND: Okay, I'm not going to extend that particular line of questioning.

The government promised, in a different move, that in Section 34 of the Off-highway Vehicles in Nova Scotia provincial direction and action plan, that it would amend the Wilderness Areas Protection Act. The same commitment was made in the December 2005 Green Plan. Also, in a letter from the former Minister of Environment and Labour to the Ecology Action Centre he stated he would amend the Wilderness Protection Act; however, I have just received on my desk a letter from the new Minister of Environment and Labour in which she tells me that no additional amendments to the Act are being considered.

I will table all of these documents but, Mr. Speaker, with all the commitments made by this government to amend the Wilderness Areas Protection Act, why does this minister now state that she refuses, or at least will not bring forward any legislation to make those previous promises reality?

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MS. BOLIVAR-GETSON: Mr. Speaker, under the Wilderness Areas Protection Act we feel that we have the authority in there to implement what needs to be implemented at this point in time. The Off-highway Vehicles Act did reference those details and we will continue to be committed to the release of the Tobeatic draft management plan on October 31st.

MS. RAYMOND: I appreciate the minister's commitment to commit herself. However, since taking over this portfolio there has also been a consistent commitment to turn back on progress made by the department towards the implementation of the Tobeatic management plan and to better protect the wilderness areas. Consultation took place because there was already a known deficiency in the existing legislation. The predecessor committed, in fact, to change that legislation as requested and committed not to issue more permits for off-highway vehicle use in protected wilderness areas.

Mr. Speaker, I am confused. My question, therefore, is, what is this government's position on the issuing of permits to allow recreational use of off-highway vehicles in protected areas?

MS. BOLIVAR-GETSON: Mr. Speaker, when the campsite lease plan was . . .

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

The honourable Minister of Fisheries on an introduction.

HON. RONALD CHISHOLM: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw to your attention and to the attention of all members of the House, in the east gallery we have with us the Warden of Richmond County, Mr. Richie Cotton. We also have Chuck Boudreau, the principal of Antigonish High School, in Antigonish County, and I'm also told that he is going to go for the nomination for the PC Party in the County of Richmond. (Applause) I ask everybody to welcome them.

MR. SPEAKER: I would like to welcome all members to the gallery today.

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

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MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 1.

Bill No. 1 - Protection from Illegal Drugs Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased today to rise on second reading of Bill No. 1, the Protection from Illegal Drugs Act. Nova Scotians are growing increasingly concerned about the impact of illegal drugs on our communities and especially on our youth throughout Nova Scotia. The development and distribution of illegal drugs and the resulting crime has led to increasing concern among law enforcement and its communities as well.

Mr. Speaker, this legislation will allow us to tackle crime, providing more tools to help make Nova Scotia's communities safer. The Protection from Illegal Drugs Act will allow government to regulate the following: storage, transportation, distribution and sale of ingredients, materials and equipment used in the production and use of illegal drugs. While we have yet to see the significance of crystal meth in our province, it is very much on the radar. At the same time, we have seen the impact other illegal drugs have had on communities across Nova Scotia. This legislation allows us to put in place very strict controls. For example, the bill requires people to notify authorities if they become aware of the loss or theft of certain ingredients, materials or equipment. This kind of information is critical to law enforcement and their duties.

Mr. Speaker, we also know that sometimes children are put at risk by those involved in the illegal drug trade. Under this legislation, people will also be required to notify authorities if there is reason to believe that the health or safety of any child has been or is at risk from the production, manufacture, growth or use of illegal drugs. This legislation will put serious penalties in place for those involved in the illegal drug trade. Conviction of a first offence will result in a fine of $2,000 for an individual or $10,000 for a corporation. Fines for second and subsequent offences increase to $10,000 and $50,000 subsequently. This of course will be in addition to any Criminal Code charges that may be laid as a result of the offence.

Mr. Speaker, this legislation is an important step and we know other measures are needed to fight against illegal drugs. We know it is a co-operative approach and this is clearly shown by the work done in Cape Breton against illegal prescription drugs, which is a good example for us to follow as the rest of the province. To that end, we are working with law enforcement and other key partners to create a comprehensive drug strategy tailored to meet the needs of Nova Scotians. This new legislation will support that effort. The strategy that we develop will be focused on prevention, enforcement, reduction of harms and treatments. Departments include

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Justice, Health, Health Promotion and Protection, Community Services and Education.

A great deal of work is underway to prevent and address illegal drug use in our province. The Nova Scotia drug strategy and new legislation will tie these efforts together, ensure that we're doing all we can to address our current needs and prevent the problems being experienced by other provinces. Mr. Speaker, I am looking forward to support from the other parties in regard to this bill and on that I move second reading of Bill No. 1.

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

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am glad to have a few moments to speak on Bill No. 1. I will set the record straight immediately, yes, he will have the support of the party that has been pushing for this very issue for at least six months if not longer. This is an issue that clearly, for once, it's an opportunity to be proactive before a drug comes into this province. Crystal methamphetamine is a very serious drug, not that there's any illicit drugs that aren't serious, but this is one that most people who have dealt with this drug will tell you that within even one or only two uses of the drug, you become addicted, unlike cocaine and other amphetamines and speed where it can take longer. This drug is so powerful and the high is so long that the addiction is almost immediate.

I think the other part that is important about crystal meth that I think particularly should be of note to the Tories in this House and all the members who represent rural Nova Scotia, because they have so many of them over on that side, is that this is a drug that does have an impact on urban areas but if you look at how it has impacted in western North America, it is rural communities in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Montana, Oregon, Washington - these are places where rural communities particularly have been desperately hit by crystal meth. It is a drug that does not come in through the front door like most other drugs, where you see on downtown streets the impact is in urban centres. This is a drug where its impact is most directly hit in rural communities.

I would suggest to you that in Nova Scotia, like a lot of other places in Canada and North America, we are inadequately prepared to deal with a drug that has such a severe impact in rural areas. Our infrastructure for drug addiction, for drug awareness, for education, is almost all based in urban communities where we think we are going to get the biggest bang for our buck. It is rural communities that are going to have the impact, that are going to be devastated by this where they do not have the infrastructure. My greatest concern about this bill, notwithstanding the fact that it was clearly drafted in a matter of hours before the House was brought in because compared to every other justice or even other government bills, this one is very thin on details, very thin on details.

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Mr. Speaker, one thing that is missing, and that is what we've been asking for - in fact I think we have a sister bill to this one that does lay this out - is provide a task force that would be meeting regularly and would identify the people who would be involved. This is not just an issue for police officers. Yes, they have a key role to play in enforcing the law, but there are people on the ground, Direction 180 here in Halifax and I'm sure there are many others in the province, who are directly dealing with drug addictions at the street level.

They need to have their voices heard as this bill is being introduced in the House, and throughout, past this bill. When this bill is passed, an opportunity for them to be there, meeting with people, professionals like themselves who are seeing the impact of these drugs on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. They need to be there, the people who are working on the streets with the addicts, people from Drug Awareness. I'm not talking about high-level people, I'm talking about people who are working with the addicts on a regular basis. They need to have their voices heard as well. That's why we think that's an important part to this bill.

If - and I know that's a big if at this point - this bill goes to the Law Amendments Committee, our caucus will be seeking some amendments to ensure that we entrench some form of advisory council that will reflect all those who should be at the table, Mr. Speaker. Not just those who maybe sit behind a desk and pontificate, but those who are actually working on the issue on a regular basis. We need all those voices, those who can make the policy, and those who know the impact on the ground. I'd be glad - since the government was so keen on taking our suggestion with regard to this bill, hopefully they'll also take our amendments as well.

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

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, my comments will be very brief on Bill No. 1. I believe this is very important legislation. I find it unfortunate that I don't believe this legislation has any hope of seeing the light of day under this current session of the House. It's unfortunate that this bill will not be passed and implemented so that it could actually be able to achieve its goals. I have no intention of wasting the time of this House speaking on a bill which I believe the government has absolutely no intention of actually passing during this sitting. Maybe if it comes up again on another day, with an administration that actually plans to pass the bill, I would have further comments at that point.

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the honourable Minister of Justice it will be to close the debate.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

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HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable members for their comments. I certainly want to take into consideration suggestions by the honourable members opposite. With that, I move second reading of this bill.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 1. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill be referred to the Committee on Law Amendments.

The honourable Acting Government House Leader.

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 4.

Bill No. 4 - Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise again on Bill No. 4, Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act. I expect, as well, that this is a bill that I hope will receive the support of all sides of the House. Again, it's a bill that goes to making our communities safer and stronger. We know that Nova Scotians are very concerned about rising crime throughout this province. A big part of our Nova Scotia way of life is a feeling of safety and security in communities throughout this province.

Mr. Speaker, we are working to support law enforcement in their efforts to tackle crime. At the same time, there's a role for communities to play, and this bill gives them a tool to take action against criminal behaviour in their communities, wherever it is in this province. Under the Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Bill, complaints from community members can result in court orders to close locations that are home to prostitution, illegal liquor, drugs or gaming. These are activities that are very detrimental to healthy communities and their ability to survive. The bill also allows people to register their concerns about buildings that are unusually fortified, buildings that are often home to illegal activities.

To implement this work, a new investigative unit is being established. This team will follow up on complaints and work with community members on their concerns.

[4:45 p.m.]

Under legislation, if a court is satisfied that certain activities are a serious and immediate threat to public safety, it can order the property be closed and remain

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closed for up to 90 days. The court can also order individuals to stay away from the property and set many other conditions. Owners can also be held liable for any cost to close their property in the interest of public safety.

Mr. Speaker, this bill allows communities and the new investigative unit to work together with law enforcement to push criminal activity out of the neighbourhoods and away from their families. This public safety initiative is working in other provinces, and it will complement successful measures already taken by our local and provincial partners.

These tools go hand in hand with other provincial actions to address crime and improve the safety of Nova Scotians. With that, Mr. Speaker, I move second reading of Bill No. 4.

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

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am glad to have a few minutes to speak on Bill No. 4. I'll start by saying you're welcome, to the Minister of Justice. I want to go into some detail on this particular piece of legislation. This is legislation, as well, like the last piece, where this is something our caucus has been promoting for awhile. In fact, I believe the province that has passed this legislation is an NDP government in Manitoba. So this is a piece of legislation that has a long history affiliated with the NDP and one I'm glad to have an opportunity to speak on today.

This is one of the tools. When the NDP talks about the need to be tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime, this is one of those tools that addresses that need. When the NDP talks about the fact that we need more community-based policing, this piece of legislation is one of the tools that helps create a better sense of community safety, but also having police forces working with community members to help identify these locations, to help identify these places that are consistently the location where we have problems with illegal activity.

Those are the locations that we need to address, whether because it's owned by a negligent property owner who leases the land or rents the house on a piece of land to anyone who may want to come and is willing to look the other way and not ask any questions and is willing to allow them to continue their illegal activity. When one is removed, someone else rents it. Or, maybe it's owned by a particular criminal syndicate - maybe not a syndicate, but somewhat organized - and may have an opportunity when two or three people who get arrested at the bottom level of that organization, three or four more will come in and operate the same activity.

This is the problem we have in our communities, communities that are unable to address this problem. This doesn't solve all the problems with regard to community safety. The Minister of Justice, as a former police officer, should know

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that. This is one component that we're trying to address with this legislation. One component that will ensure that Nova Scotians who see a problem in their communities, who have trouble closing down these locations or they've closed them down only to see them opening the next day or a week later as the same sort of outfit, the same sort of criminal activity or maybe slightly different or greatly different activity, have an opportunity to shut these locations down permanently, at least for an extended period of time so the criminal activity will not continue.

This is one thing, as I said, it's one tool to promote community-based policing. It's one tool to ensure that we are being tough on criminals and criminal activity. This is not a panacea that will solve crime in our province, will not ensure that a province and a city that has become the most violent in Canada under the tutelage of this particular government. They have a lot more to do with regard to this issue than they are doing.

In fact, it's pretty clear that the only vision they have is to usurp the legislation that's being promoted by the Opposition. I'm glad, like anyone, to see this legislation pass, because I think it's good for Nova Scotia in the long run, but it would be nice to see some vision from this government, some vision that identifies their own way of looking at justice issues in this province.

Mr. Speaker, I do want to talk a bit about some of the substance with regard to the principles of this legislation. For example, we heard in today's budget that this government is looking at $400,000 or $450,000 to create a special investigation unit in the Department of Justice to implement and enforce this legislation. I can't think of something that would be more of a serious problem than creating another police force in this province that thinks it has the power to go out and do investigations. The whole point of this legislation is to build relationships between the municipal police forces and the communities. Those police forces are the ones that know their communities, they know the people in their communities, they're the ones who can talk to them and are talking to them on a regular basis, and if they are not, they should be.

This should be a tool to ensure we have much closer connection between communities and our police forces. Instead, this government is talking about creating a special provincial investigative unit that will be doing the enforcing of this legislation. So instead of someone in a community who sees a problem, maybe they see a house across the street where there is a lot of traffic in the middle of the night, or maybe they see a place where they can sense, or even eventually can prove that there is illegal activity; instead of calling their local police department, instead of picking up the phone and talking to Constable Joe, whom they know and they want to talk to, this government is going to use this legislation to create some sort of special provincial-based investigative unit.

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Mr. Speaker, that investigative unit probably will be based right here in downtown Halifax. I find it quite ironic that a government that always likes to take shots at HRM, or a government that likes to promote itself as being the one that reflects rural values, is the one that is going to create a special investigative unit, most likely based in Halifax, that is going to be used to enforce this legislation. They are going to step on toes, they are going to be getting in the way and interfering with the local police activity by moving in themselves to try to deal with this.

Well, Mr. Speaker, I don't understand what the basis of that is. Why not provide those powers to the local police forces. If you want to have special investigators who are going to work with them, fine, but to create a special investigative unit is only going to create a bureaucratic mess in this province with regard to justice. Indeed, I would argue that it is going to create more problems than it will actually solve, because you are going to have special investigative units trying to do the job that should be done by municipal police forces and we all know when you have that problem, you have problems of harmonization or lack thereof, you have problems of lack of communication.

I'm thinking about in New York city recently, Mr. Speaker, post-9/11 there were recommendations for the fire department in New York and the police department in New York to actually have one communication system. They still haven't solved that post-9/11. I can only imagine the communications problems we are going to have between this special investigative unit at the provincial level and the municipal police forces. Many of those forces, as the minister will quite well know having come from one, are smaller units that don't necessarily have the manpower, but clearly they should be the lead organization. If they need backup support, we have in this province a system where the RCMP have specialized units - dive units, or criminal investigation units.

When there is a crime in communities controlled by the RCMP, Mr. Speaker, they bring in those people. That is the way it should be done, but my fear is with these investigative units we are going to create a new level of bureaucracy, a new police force that is going to feel it has not only the right but the power to do the enforcing, and that's going to create some serious problems in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, again, this is about being tough on crime and being tough on the causes of crime. What this government has tried to do, even though clearly, statistically, they haven't had much success, is they are trying to sound like they are being tough on crime. They are doing it by taking legislation that we've been proud to introduce, proud to promote, whether it's crystal meth regulation, or whether it's this and other legislation, stricter sentences for people who joyride under the Motor Vehicle Act - this is all legislation that my Party has put forward because we believe it's good for Nova Scotia.

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We're more than glad to have this legislation passed if it will be passed in this session, Mr. Speaker, but let us be clear. There is no vision on how we are going to bring down the numbers with regard to violent crime in Nova Scotia, with regard to Halifax, these are some of the most serious numbers in Canada. This government will probably try, as the former Minister of Justice tried to do, to blame this on the Youth Criminal Justice Act, but I think it is important to note that the same Youth Criminal Justice Act that is here in Nova Scotia is in Vancouver, or in Whitehorse, or in other cities in this country that do not have the highest rates of violent crime in Canada. So don't blame the Youth Criminal Justice Act because it is the same Act that applies across the country.

Yes, it's part of the problem, but clearly there is something else going on in Nova Scotia beyond the Youth Criminal Justice Act that is making this city, this province, more violent every day, Mr. Speaker, and this government in its budget and in this bill is not providing us with any clear vision of how they intend to address those issues. How are we going to ensure that the causes of crime are being addressed - throwing some subsidies at landlords so they can build a few houses, Mr. Speaker, or building public housing that is reflecting the needs of the communities in this province? Is it about ensuring a few dollars here and there for businesses that have particular interests or is it ensuring that we have recreational facilities, that we have infrastructure in place so that the youth in this province have an opportunity to chose positive alternatives when they're youth and not only negative ones?

Mr. Speaker, I come from a part of this province that is a burgeoning community, it is 13,000 people. It is one of the fastest growing communities in Nova Scotia and it has a very large youth population. Our community is starting to solve those problems on our own and we've had very little help from the provincial government. Frankly, the municipal and federal governments seem to be the leaders in this. I would like to see a government that is prepared to show the people of Nova Scotia that yes, we've got a problem with violence. We've got a problem with youth who don't have the services they require. We've got a problem not only with crime, but with a lack of vision with regard to the causes of crime. This government isn't prepared to do that. This government has not been prepared to provide that leadership role. They're more likely to blame the federal government, push down to the municipalities, but have not shown any leadership.

It's taking communities on their own that are willing to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and address the problem that needs to be addressed. I don't call that leadership. I don't call this government a leader with addressing crime, addressing the causes of crime and ensuring that we're no longer the most violent city in this country. That we're no longer a province with an increasing rate of violent crime, but that we're a province that is actually going to do something to ensure that youth in this province, and adults in this province who are leaning toward criminal activity, are going to have the opportunities to succeed but when they do commit a crime, we're going to have a province that's going to get tough with them.

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I don't see that with regard to this government. This piece of legislation is one tiny piece of that. A piece that's very important. A piece that will ensure that we will have safer communities, if we allow the municipal police forces to do their job, but this government, without that vision, without that coordination, and instead just pointing the finger at other levels of government, are unable and unwilling to actually follow through. They're able to copy. They're clearly able to photocopy. They were able to take our bill from last year and put it through the photocopier pretty well. I'll give them credit for that, but I don't see the leadership that's going to result in us actually addressing the chronic problems we have in this province, both on the causes of crime, whether it's poverty, lack of recreational facilities, an education system that's unyielding to those who have special needs, whether that be behavioural, intellectual or a learning disability.

These are problems that are faced in our province and this is a government that is unwilling to address those and is unwilling to address the needs, both on the causes of crime and the fact that we need to address criminal activity as well, and it's that lack of vision that is most disturbing to me. I may have more words on this, so I'm going to move adjournment of debate.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for adjournment of debate. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, quite honestly, I've forgotten, but I believe that at this time we adjourn the House before we go into the emergency debate. So in that case, I move that the House do now rise to meet again on the morrow. The business for the day for tomorrow - the Opposition House Leader, I'm sure, would be pleased to advise the House.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, I move adjournment of the House, to meet again tomorrow at the hour of 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m., and after the Orders of the Day and the daily routine in Question Period we'll be calling Resolution No. 45 and Resolution No. 21. I do move adjournment of the House for today.

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

The motion is carried.

ADJOURNMENT

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MOTION UNDER RULE 43

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

STORA - LABOUR DISPUTE

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, it's with a sense of sadness and great concern that I rise in my place this evening to speak on the emergency debate motion which I introduced this evening and I'm pleased that the Speaker had ruled favourably in allowing the debate on such an important issue which is facing my constituents, the residents of the Strait area and I would argue the Province of Nova Scotia as a whole.

Mr. Speaker, it had been my hope that by the time this House would have been sitting for this session, by the time we would have received the Throne Speech, that this matter would have been resolved. Unfortunately, it is not. Let me start by saying from the start that there is very little that we can do as Legislatures or that the government can do to resolve a labour dispute between the employer and it's unionized workforce, but we all know that this issue and this lockout is much bigger than just a dispute between the employer and its unionized workforce.

Mr. Speaker, we know that on December 24, 2005, the Stora Enso Mill, located in Point Tupper, Richmond County, was closed down for a regular shutdown. Once it became clear that the union had taken a strike vote, the company filed to lock out its employees and then at that point, on January 26th, 2006, the lockout officially took place. As a result of that, the unionized employees of Stora Enso have been locked out of their mill since that time.

[5:00 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I am sure you will appreciate the concern that this has placed on not only the employees and their families, but on the communities surrounding the Strait area and the impact it is already having on our economy. Let me talk to you a little bit about the impact that Stora Enso has on the Strait economy. Stora Enso employs 650 people directly and it is estimated that they are also responsible for 2,400 spinoff jobs - many of those jobs I'm sure that my colleague, the member for Victoria-The Lakes, will be speaking of when he has the opportunity to speak during this emergency debate. Stora Enso has $500 million in direct sales annually both to their newsprint line and their supercalendered line. One of the most important figures is that Stora Enso is responsible for a payroll of $65 million annually in wages and benefits - let me say that figure again, $65 million in wages and benefits is what right now is on the line with the lockout that is taking place in the future of this mill.

Mr. Speaker, as well, Stora Enso purchases 950,000 tons of wood annually - that's what it uses and my understanding is that almost half of that is purchased from

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private woodlot owners, and we can certainly appreciate the impact that it is having on those woodlot owners and the revenue it brings into them. The problems that are being faced at Stora Enso are not entirely problems that are not being seen by other pulp and paper mills in North America. We know that the Canadian dollar is very high, we know that the markets for newsprint have been on the decline, and those are problems that are being faced by mills throughout North America. We have seen that a number of mills in New Brunswick, in Newfoundland and Labrador, and even in Ontario and other provinces, and in Quebec, have shut down because of the decline in the pulp and paper industry.

Mr. Speaker, it has become quite clear to us that Stora Enso and their Point Tupper mill have very specific issues and challenges that they are faced with that must be addressed. This issue is not a new one for myself, for the member for Antigonish, for the member for Guysborough-Sheet Harbour, or for the member for Inverness who now sits in the Premier's chair. A number of years ago Stora Enso brought together municipal representatives and provincial representatives and explained to us exactly what their situation was. At that time Stora Enso was being faced with challenges on their power rates, on their taxation, and on their labour costs which were making them uncompetitive. This government has had years to work with Stora Enso to address some of the concerns that have been raised, but unfortunately we find ourselves here today in a lockout with no government response or proposed solution to this situation.

Mr. Speaker, let me walk you through the timeline that we find ourselves in here - the lockout took place on January 26th, and on March 19th there was a rally that took place in Port Hawkesbury with over 1,000 people who came to show their support for Stora Enso's workforce . I had the pleasure to be there, I had the pleasure to address the crowd, and I was also pleased, through my office, to provide the union with $500 to help and assist their workforce through this lockout. What was most distressing was I was the only MLA from the Strait area who showed up. The Premier wasn't there, the member for Antigonish wasn't present, nor was the member for Guysborough-Sheet Harbour. I'm sure I don't need to remind those three members how important Stora is to the economies in their ridings and how many of their constituents are dependent on Stora Enso for their livelihood yet, unfortunately, they chose not to be there, not to show their support, not to be there with their constituents through such distressing times.

Shortly after this, the Premier of the province, the MLA for Inverness, the new Premier, said he was going to remain neutral in this dispute, that there was no role for government to play. Shortly after that we watched the Minister of Economic Development, prior to going into a Cabinet meeting, saying there is no pot of money for Stora, no pot of money. Then, on April 28th, the Premier was a guest speaker for the Strait Chamber of Commerce in Port Hawkesbury, and at that point he stated that his government did have a role to play in bringing a resolution to the lockout at Stora. As I said earlier, another flip-flop, another change in position by this government.

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Then, Mr. Speaker, on May 2nd, we had the Minister of Economic Development and the Minister of Natural Resources come out and announce a $65 million deal for Stora on an issue regarding the purchasing of future woodlots that wasn't even on the radar screen for the government, that wasn't even on the radar screen for Stora, but what it was meant to do was to be a smokescreen to somehow convince the people of the Strait area and somehow to give false hope to the workers that this would help bring an end to the lockout that was taking place at Stora.

Mr. Speaker, allow me to quote the words from a Cape Breton Post article dated Thursday, May 4, 2004, where Russ Waycott, the Stora Woodlands Vice-President said: But the agreement alone isn't enough to prompt Stora to restart the paper machines, Waycott said, saying the company will continue to work on the labour contract and power rates. Then he went on to say that Stora will also continue to look for tax breaks from Richmond County and the province.

Mr. Speaker, what we now know is that the $65 million deal announced by the Minister of Natural Resources, and announced by the Minister of Economic Development, would do absolutely nothing to deal with the three main issues raised by Stora. What are those three main issues? Number one, they want stability in their power rates. Well, why would they want stability in their power rates?

First of all, before last year Stora was paying $85 million a year to Nova Scotia Power. They were paying more for power than they were paying for labour, which I already indicated was $65 million, while this government sat back and watched the URB approve increase after increase for Nova Scotia Power. Here is Stora, with the challenges they face, being told that they would now get a power increase of 15 per cent, which would mean an additional $10 million to $12.75 million a year on their power rates when they were already paying $85 million a year.

Mr. Speaker, this government knew three years ago that Stora had indicated they were paying too much for their power rates and they were uncompetitive compared to other mills. I remember that meeting, which I mentioned earlier, and I know the member for Inverness wasn't present, nor was the member for Antigonish, nor was the member for Guysborough-Sheet Harbour. They sent representatives to be there at that meeting. I was there. I recognized the importance of that meeting. I sat there and I listened, because when Stora says they have problems, I want to hear about it, and I want to hear what can be done to find solutions, and they sent representatives. But that was three years ago.

So this is not a new issue for this government. It is not a new issue for the new Premier. Lo and behold, Mr. Speaker, now all of a sudden, the Premier, who at one point had decided to be neutral and that the province didn't have a role to play, in the Cape Breton Post on March 30, 2006 said: While the province has a role to play in the effort to maintain the mill, MacDonald admitted that at this point he doesn't know what the role is. So the Premier didn't know what the role was at that point. But he

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went on further to say: In the long term we in the province are going to have to take a look at the issue of power rates for large industrial users if we want to have large industrial users here in our province.

Mr. Speaker, how much longer is it going to take before this province is prepared to look at the power rates that are being charged to companies such as Stora? What the government needs to realize is Stora is only the beginning. It is only the beginning. Other Nova Scotia companies will come forward as long as the Canadian dollar is as high as it is. As long as our exports are down, other companies will start coming in as well and saying that we are uncompetitive here in Nova Scotia, because if we were in Ontario or if we were in Alberta, we'd be paying lower power rates than what we pay here in Nova Scotia.

We were uncompetitive three years ago based on the charts Stora presented to us at that meeting, and had the Premier been there he would have seen those charts that were shown to us then. If we were uncompetitive three years ago, imagine where we are now three power rate increases later that this government has sat by and allowed to take place. The fact is that Stora Enso is competing against other pulp and paper mills throughout North American. In Quebec, for example, power rates are their number three expense. Wood and labor are a larger expense than their actual power rates, yet here in Nova Scotia the number one cost is power rates, then it is wood and then it is the labour agreement.

I hear the Premier on the other side asking what the solution is. Well, you know, Mr. Speaker, you are in the job now to find a solution and I shouldn't have to tell you what that solution is nor should I have to tell you the importance of Stora Enso, because I don't need to remind you or your family how important that mill has been to our people. It is no exaggeration to say that permanent closure of that mill will be utter devastation to the Strait area, it will be devastation to Richmond, it will be devastation to Inverness, it will be devastation to Guysborough and it will certainly have an important impact on Antigonish as well as on Victoria. Again, what has the government done to be able to address this issue? Yes, the Premier says he can't get involved in the union negotiations with the company, no one disagrees with that, but Stora Enso has made it clear even if the union signed a new agreement tomorrow, the mill will remain closed until there is stability in power rates and until there is a new tax agreement. Now it's my understanding that a tax agreement may not be too far off, but again the question becomes, what is the province prepared to do to bring an end to this?

Mr. Speaker, I hope the Premier will take this opportunity to tell this House, to tell me, to tell the people of the Strait area what their plan is. What are they prepared to do to keep Stora Enso here because we are all kidding ourselves and the Premier is kidding himself if he believes that Stora Enso will not walk away from that mill. At the end of the day, Stora Enso is a corporate entity. The Point Tupper Mill is not a large player in the overall entity. We hear rumors as well that the company has

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brought in assessors -why assessors? They are brought in to assess the value of the assets and to determine what can be used by their other mills and what can be sold. How much longer is the government prepared to sit back? Why would the government even entertain going into an election knowing that such an important employer is still in a lockout situation, that over 600 families directly employed by that mill are still walking a picket line because they are locked out?

Mr. Speaker, I hope tonight's emergency debate has brought a level of importance of this issue to the Premier, to his government, and I'm certainly prepared to do what I can to work with them, to find solutions for Stora Enso and to make sure that the pulp and paper industry both at the Point Tupper Mill and throughout Nova Scotia are guaranteed for the long term in the Province of Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

HON. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for Richmond for bringing this matter to the floor of the Legislature. It is a very important issue and it is an issue that this government takes very seriously. Like all Nova Scotians, this government hopes that Stora Enso and its unionized employees will come to an agreement. We've said that from day one, the work stoppage is a matter for the two sides to settle. We know from experience how devastating the consequences of a strike and a labour dispute can be. Right in my own backyard and that of the honourable member for Hants East we had to deal with a strike at National Gypsum that went on for months and months and months, devastated the local area and created a lot of concern for the employees and management. Subsequently that labor dispute was settled and work is going on as we speak, it is going on 7/24.

We encourage all members in this Legislature to do their part and encourage both sides to get back to the table. Minister Morash and I and this government took great pride in announcing an agreement with Stora Enso last week, an agreement that offers benefits to the company, the Strait region and the taxpayers in Nova Scotia. Now I do want to say from a recent trip to Cape Breton, and you don't have to go to Cape Breton to be concerned about the strike at Stora Enso, but during a recent trip to Cape Breton we heard from a number of stakeholders, a number of community leaders that were very pleased that this government took the initiative with Stora Enso to come up with a plan, come up with an agreement. An agreement that supports local woodlot owners, it supports truckers, and it supports other workers throughout this important industry. This agreement eliminates an obligation, a debt. It was really a debt that was incurred by a previous government, a debt that really didn't have to be paid to the year 2013 at a future cost that no one can easily predict.

The agreement works out today to a cost of $325 per acre. We know the price of land varies from acre to acre depending on the composition of any given piece of real estate. We know, Mr. Speaker, the negotiations this government took on behalf

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of the Province of Nova Scotia and with Stora Enso were in the best interests of this province. More importantly, they were in the best interests of the workers and management at Stora Enso.

[5:15 p.m.]

No one today, no one, can predict what a parcel of land might be worth tomorrow, but this government had an obligation and a responsibility and a commitment, and we are confident the negotiators who worked on this agreement did strike a fair accord, one that both parties obviously agreed to in spirit of co-operation.

Mr. Speaker, in central Nova Scotia, in northern Nova Scotia, in Cape Breton, we are especially concerned about the consequences of Stora Enso and the fact that the labour dispute is still going on today. We've heard from retailers, we have heard from the service industry, we have heard from truckers, we have heard from power saw operators, everybody's concerned, but the dispute has to be settled at the table. I think the honourable member for Richmond knows that, as well.

We know, in fact, that Stora Enso did bring some issues to this government's attention, and this government wrestled with the issues Stora Enso brought forward, but this government has to sit down at the end of the day and be accountable to all industry in the Province of Nova Scotia. There's absolutely no doubt about that.

We do want to speak a little bit more about the arrangement and the agreement that we do have with Stora Enso regarding $65 million for approximately 800,000 acres of land. That first payment to be made to Stora Enso can only be made after both mills have been in operation for 12 months. It does not necessarily have to be 12 consecutive months, it's 12 cumulative months. If they work for three months and shut down for any reason, then, of course, there's a gap in the continuity of the mill's working. We feel that is an extremely important incentive for both sides to get back to the table, Mr. Speaker.

We understand there are outstanding issues, there were outstanding issues before this government and Stora Enso reached an agreement on the land or the debt this province owed. That debt was incurred, and we understand why and we're not criticizing the previous government, we are not criticizing the previous government for entering into that arrangement. We think it's very important to provide . . .

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I'm sure it's not the intention of the minister to in any way mislead this House, but I believe it's important the minister be aware, had he read Stora Enso's release, the initial agreement on Crown lands was signed in 1960. What took place in 1997 was a reactivation of the 1960 agreement, and Lord only knows who was in power back in 1960, but it would certainly be misleading to suggest it was the last government here in Nova Scotia that somehow entered into an agreement that he says he had to reach

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the $65 million. That agreement was from 1960. Maybe the Government House Leader was still around back then, maybe he can tell us who was in power, but it would be erroneous to blame the previous administration.

MR. SPEAKER: Order. That is not a point of order.

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

MR. TAYLOR: Well, I thank the honourable member for pointing that out. I do want to clarify, and not to correct the honourable member, but the obligation started, actually, back in 1969. That's when the obligation started, in 1969. So forgive me if I unintentionally did mislead the House. He's right, he's absolutely right that it didn't just happen in 1997, there's no doubt about that. It shows that this government, today, in 2006, is extremely concerned about agreements and debts this province has borne, and the fact that they were basically created by former governments doesn't mean a hill of beans today.

As you know, Mr. Speaker, you, as a representative of Cape Breton North certainly would have heard and still do hear concerns in your riding about the fact that Stora, the management and the employees have not reached an agreement. It is a serious situation, but this government will continue to listen to Stora Enso. We will continue to listen to the employees, but all we can do at this point, and the honourable member I think knows and the Parties opposite, that all we can do is encourage both sides to get back to the table.

Government has appointed a conciliator and, you know, it's great to get up and pontificate and criticize, you know. Last evening, the honourable member for Colchester North said that criticism is the lowest form of wit, Mr. Speaker, and I kind of half believed him when he brought that forward. I think what we are trying to say here, well, what we are trying to say here today is that while the honourable member for Richmond got up and said that it is up to you to find a solution, I think that we all recognize that this problem is a problem not only for the Province of Nova Scotia, it is a problem for everybody in this Legislature because Stora Enso is one of the staples, one of the backbone companies of the Province of Nova Scotia and Cape Breton. There's absolutely no doubt about it.

So, Mr. Speaker, this government is very committed to working with Stora Enso. We are very committed to working with other companies that are in trouble in Nova Scotia and we will continue to do that. I do want to thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I do want to thank the member opposite for bringing this very important matter to the floor of the Legislature.

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

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MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, first of all, I want to congratulate the member for Richmond for bringing this forward because it is indeed a very serious matter for all Parties involved in this. No matter what side of the dispute you're on, it is a serious matter and one that really and truly fits the definition of an emergency debate for what is going on in this province.

As some of my seatmates will be getting up and speaking on other aspects of this debate, I'm going to limit most of my remarks to the collective bargaining process. Let's get something off the table first, Mr. Speaker, the fact of the matter is when someone makes the statement that the government has provided a conciliator, that's a non-starter. We know through the Trade Union Act, before a work stoppage, whether a lockout or a strike can be legally effected, that it is part of the process you have to go with. So it is no big magnanimous type of decision made by government to appoint a conciliator. It's a matter of fact. So, you know, when members bring that to this floor, it's much more a ruse.

Now, we look at what's going on at Stora Enso and it is a very involved industry, the paper-making industry, the pulp and paper industry in general, but for years before many of us were ever in this House, it has always been agreed to - that industry had what is referred to as pattern bargaining, and pattern bargaining is quite simply this way: that the unions affect one employer and that employer then signs on to an agreement that is patterned out throughout the rest of the industry from Quebec east. It is a very simple process, but what we were hearing yesterday when Stora Enso left the table, they were saying, look, we have to change this process, which is fine and they have every right to do in the collective bargaining process.

The problem with it is you can't be saying that after five months into a lockout. They knew where they were going with this problem. They knew, as they're telling everybody today, that the collective agreement isn't the only kind of obstacle in the way of getting that mill up and operating but, nonetheless, that is where they are at. So let's look, they have not said anything yet about what is referred to as the Abitibi Agreement. They have not come out publicly and said this is wrong with the Abitibi Agreement. Yet they keep using kind of veiled threats of what they're going to do. If they want public money, public participation in their settlement, I think they have to be open and tell the general public what's wrong with the Abitibi Agreement that would hurt them in the collective bargaining process.

You know we hear, and they say, and I think that the industry will bear this out, that there is an excess of newspaper-making capacity within North America. Some industry analysts will tell you that there is probably as much as 15 redundant machines in North America. So how do we weed those 15 machines out? I'm just hoping that Stora Enso isn't using this walkout as their initiative to get rid of that, what is referred to as PM1.

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Again, why aren't they telling the people of Nova Scotia what they want? They're asking for participation from this government, which, in essence, is the people of this province to give them something. If that's what they want, then they have to be open and make sure that all Nova Scotians know what it's going to take to keep them here. It's a very simple plan.

We see this coming, and the Premier, himself, has excused himself from the process. Some of the other speakers said, well, we really don't expect the Premier to be at the table, and I firmly agree with that, but there are times when the Premier can be with the community. Now, on March 18th they had a public rally. Now, was he there? No. He had other commitments. Well, that's fine. I respect that. The Premier is a busy man. Was the Minister of Transportation and Public Works there? One of his senior ministers who I'm sure has people in his constituency who work directly with Stora Enso and are indirectly involved. No, they weren't there. My good friend, the Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture, I'm sure some of his constituents are involved either directly or indirectly with this lockout. Were they there? No.

This is the angst that community feels about this government, that the government has let them down. The government is not there for them, when the Premier and two senior ministers can't be there in the dire of need to show that there is community support. No one asked any of those people to get up and say we support one side of the dispute against the other side of the dispute. All they were there for was to show that they support the community. There was no one to be found to represent any of those offices.

I know I was there. My Leader was there. The member for Richmond was there, but nobody from the governing Party, and that has to be demoralizing for the people in that community. The people in that community wanted their leaders. Not to say the workers are right and the employer is wrong. They didn't want that. They wanted to know that their government was in the trenches with them. It's all they expected from them, but they got no reply from their government.

Some of these problems are starting to worry the workers more than just no paycheque. There is a problem within that industry, within the pulp and paper industry that has been manufactured by this government, and part of that problem is what we call the grow-in benefits in their pension plans. Now, this government could have kept their hands out of there and allowed just the municipalities that wanted to be exempt from the grow-in benefit. No, that wasn't good enough for this government. This government opened that Pandora's box, and industry said we want that too.

So what is going to happen now that these employers are giving their right to the grow-in benefits, we see that we're going to have what was done in Mactaquac in New Brunswick, very simply, here, Mr. Speaker. Members of this House, their own families work there, possibly be injured in their pension benefits simply because of a

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government action on the grow-in benefit, and yet the government doesn't take responsibility for it. This is a major problem.

Mactaquac - you see people who went out on pension and are receiving about 50 per cent of the benefits that they had worked a lifetime to get, but, with a stroke of a pen from the Executive Council, that can all be in danger now - because of government inaction, if this plant is taken and shut down and moved away to Wisconsin, or wherever, that is a real problem. It's a problem that this government has to bear fully and completely. It's a problem of their doing, it's nobody else's. It's their doing, they could have done the right thing last year when we asked them to take it out, but yet they did it in Governor in Council and they know they did it in a way that was going to offend people in this province.

[5:30 p.m.]

We have many problems facing us. Stora Enso wants a 10 per cent rollback in wages. Neenah Paper has signed, they've signed down in Liverpool, why are Stora Enso's power rates more? Well, one reason is how they make pulp in Neenah, but they make pulp the same way at Bowater. We're all being held hostage here in some respect and it's how we free those hostages which is going to be a telltale sign, that's going to tell us whether we're a progressive province or we're one that just throws up our hands and says that's it, whatever you want, we're hostage, we're going to do it.

Stora Enso is not Nova Scotia Paper Products, it's not Stora Enso from Sweden, it's Stora Enso from Finland - we know it's a different employer - we've seen Stora Enso go from " these are the highest electrical rates we face anywhere" to admitting to Nova Scotia Power that it's actually middle of the pack. What we need from that employer is clarity and honesty, so that we can deal with them. We respect them as an employer, they should respect us as a province and as workers. They should be truthful with us, let's not play a game of "chicken" here, let's not play a game with the employees and their lives. You look down at the Strait area, and I'm sure the members of this House who come from that area know that the local board of trade is trying their darnedest to put a good face on this situation, and it's almost becoming painful to watch - they're out there doing everything they can do to make this situation palatable.

Thank goodness we've gone through a mild Winter that would allow some lower costs to people for home heating and so on, so this lockout has not been as burdensome as it could have been. We have an industry that, when it's working, pays its employees well. The benefits are very good, but these weren't benefits that the employer kind of parachuted in overnight and said we'll give you this, give you this, and give you this, these were items that were garnered through hard, tough bargaining, some strikes and some lockouts, but they were, over a period of time, agreed to and they were agreed to in an era when papermaking was different. We acknowledge that. I think the Communication, Energy and Papermakers Union

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workers understand that, but the fact of the matter is nobody can negotiate with the proverbial gun to their head.

We are in an era of change - that's fine but the employer has to change too. The employer can't just come and want the full collective agreement wiped out and give all the stack of chips over to their side of the table. Management employees work better when there is a give and take, when there is an honesty and when things are in balance. The whole idea around collective bargaining is that of balance. Nobody wants to negotiate themselves out of a job with agreements that are too rich - there's nobody saying that, but on the other side of it is you're not going to grow an economy by making yourself out to a bunch of Wal-Mart- type workers who are all part-time. You need dependable salaries coming into communities that people know are going to be there at the end of the day. They know that at the end of the day, you can't have anything guaranteed, but they will have a good understanding, there will be a measure of income they will have from one year to another. These things are not to be taken away.

But, if there are certain differences and anomalies that are going on in the world around the paper industry, then I think the union is sympathetic and will be able to react to it. As we see, unless Stora wants to come forward with some real numbers, then I don't believe that it's incumbent upon anybody to give them money out of the public purse unless we see what the public is getting back for it, that they will be around, that there will be secure jobs, that there will be well-paying jobs, that people will see a future there, that our forests are looked after. I'm sure the other members in my caucus will certainly be talking about that.

Mr. Speaker, it's too late in the game for Stora to come forward now and say, we need to change the bargaining process. They need to come forward and say, let's deal with what we have and get a collective agreement.

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

MR. GERALD SAMPSON: Mr. Speaker, I want to begin by thanking the honourable member for Richmond for bringing the issue forward, not so much because it's located where it is, within his riding, but because he recognizes, along with myself, the heavy financial impact that Stora has on the whole Province of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, what I would like to do is refer to some local companies in my own area, and that example can be taken and applied all across the province. Before I do that, I would like to mention the fact that Stora, when they made a presentation to caucus, gave their side of the story. My question to them at that time was, your business is changing - at one time the telephone was a wonderful thing, we were amazed at faxes, and now faxes have gone by the wayside and everybody carries a Blackberry or a cell phone. So just the fact that faxes have gone by the wayside

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means that there's less paper being used, it's electronic communication. I said, what are you going to do in your business, producing paper? They have a plan that even local newspapers would change over a period of time. Therefore, there's a downturn in the paper industry, and they are suffering the effects of that.

But while they're here and have been here, and you heard the honourable member for Richmond say numerous times, $65 million in wages, let's just concentrate on that for a moment. That $65 million, although it's a massive figure, is only the wages for Stora. The questions I receive on a daily basis are, what about me, what about me and my business, what about my trucking business? Come on, Sam, do something for me. I truck logs. I sell chainsaws. I supply tires to these guys. I supply teeth for their cutting machines. It just goes on and on.

Because Stora is such a giant, because Stora is such an invaluable part of the economy of Nova Scotia, and it was so very welcome to be here, we're caught in a bit of a web, I wouldn't say a spider web, but I would say, Mr. Speaker, that it's a web of economic spinoff, which creates a web of development, but on the reverse side it has created a web of dependability. Stora can go out to its customers, and they have several of those, but these local companies depending on this giant need Stora to sell their products. Without Stora there are no trucking companies, no logging companies, no small mills, no large mills, and the list goes on and on.

I would just ask the honourable members to think of just the local hardware store, somebody who deals in something as standard as nuts and bolts, how much of an income that would be for them with such a large giant in their presence. When all is said and done with these companies, how about the families, the numerous families?

I will mention, Mr. Speaker, companies that work in Cape Breton and, as I said, there will be a perfect example for all across the province when you take, for example, MacInnis Lumber in Frenchvale. One week after the announcement of a strike, I received a call from Brent MacInnis, owner of MacInnis Lumber, and he was very upset of the fact wondering how long the strike would continue, if I had any information, could I go public, is there anything I could do, are there any members of the caucus I could contact, what could we do to facilitate an end to the strike?

The reason he was so concerned, Mr. Speaker, was because when he called me one week after the strike, with 20 employees, he had to lay off 17 immediately - 17 families got hit from his company alone the very first week of the strike. Secondly, if you were to phone MacInnis Lumber, the answering service would tell you that you've reached the MacInnis companies. They have MacInnis Lumber, they own a transport company, and they also own Frenchvale Pulp. So there are three companies under one umbrella of the MacInnis companies.

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Brent MacInnis informed me that there were five other operations that are tied into them through the forestry industry that were being severely impacted, finding hardships through the extreme amount of lack of work, nowhere to sell their wood and the psychological effect of not knowing the future. None of us know that and none of us have a crystal ball, but we know the future at least when we have a paycheque coming and that's what I'm referring to.

On Boularderie Island there is a young couple there that I know, Mark and Jeanna Ryan, a young married couple balancing their financial needs, and they decided that with their large investment they would sell off wood on their property and that would allow them to help a local woodcutter who has been very good to them. They would also make a few dollars to offset their financial investment to improve the property that they invested a large amount of money in. They did that through the Fall and, lo and behold, just before the market time came for their wood, along came the strike. The strike has progressed so long that now they're told their wood is too dry to sell. So this wood will, I guess, eventually be cut up and supposedly burned in a wood stove rather than being sold to the pulp and paper mill. So it affected somebody that's not even involved in the industry, it affected them also.

All along when I was watching these trucks before the strike, I saw a lot of these trucks taking the wood to Stora which is good, but I also see a lot of these trucks now taking the wood off the island to New Brunswick. It's costly and yet the processing of this wood - the jobs are always in the processing more so than in the initial beginning of the product and we are losing out on that, Mr. Speaker, because other areas actually are benefiting from our strike.

We've heard today about the Shaw Group, the furniture division, closing in Cornwallis with a loss of 200 jobs. What has that got to do with Stora? The fact is that, Mr. Speaker, they had one product, one purchaser and one outlet to sell their product. This is what has gone on with the forestry industry in our area. Stora Enso was the big buyer. Without Stora Enso, everything else seems to fall apart. They are the key to the economic driver in the forestry industry here in Nova Scotia.

What I would like to see, Mr. Speaker, we have NSBI, who invests in companies and develops business, but I would like to see them be more proactive. Sometimes rather than going out and always looking for something new, my motto has always been to develop what we have. We have Stora Enso, we have these other companies around, we have these small mills, we have some larger mills. Take a look at those and see what improvements could be made to those in modernization and something that would be innovative, because you just can't stand still in today's market.

[5:45 p.m.]

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The web of economic spinoff is felt from my area, Victoria-The Lakes, right through to the other end of the province in Yarmouth. We have wood cutters, people selling chainsaws for a living, some selling chainsaws as an addition to a hardware store, the trucking industry.

Mr. Speaker, let me give you an absolute example, instead of speaking in some generalities. I'll go back to Brent MacInnis. One week after the strike he said to me, Gerald, I have arrangements made with my financial institution to purchase a $180,000 piece of equipment and the bank just can't wait to give me the money. What I'm telling you was prior to the strike. Since the strike came about, he said, we are pretty well ready to move forward with this new piece of equipment, I had difficulty phoning the bank, I had difficulty getting an answer and, basically, nobody wanted to speak to me about investing in my business until the strike is over. On top of that, large, large, payments per month on the existing machinery, large payrolls that they provide, and all held in abeyance until the strike is settled.

Mr. Speaker, the Premier knows only too well of the effect of employment just on his immediate area, because with his relatives who work there, his constituents who work there, and just any and everyone who travels to and from the area who are employed, to take, as the member for Richmond said, $65 million out of the economy in payroll and benefits is a large impact, but, at the same time, not the total amount of the dollar value that we're talking.

All these companies, the five companies in my area, the three companies that MacInnis Lumber had, the wood that's laying on the shoulders of the road that can't be sold, the wood that was cut previous to the strike, the wood that's not cut now because of the strike, it's too important to ignore. I'm not saying that the government is ignoring it, but somebody has to step up to the plate and resolve this.

I give a note of caution for this government not to play roulette with this important employer. I understand that you can't just back away from this giant. David killed Goliath, that may be a wrong example, because I don't think in this situation it would work. Fuel prices have gone through the roof, power rates are excessive to encourage development, and I understand through Nova Scotia Power, from the presentation that was made to our caucus, that Nova Scotia Power is making more money selling this power on the grid than they were when they were selling it to Stora Enso. There's really no impact on Nova Scotia Power.

Mr. Speaker, trying to summarize what was said and give some actual facts of the impact, I can't overstate the fact that something has to be done, and it has to be done soon. If we're going to look at what was said in the budget today about the improvements to highways and whatnot, after what I heard today, I know that I now live in Utopia. I'm just wondering if I can discover the postal code. I have my address, I have the name, but I don't have the postal code. I hope that we can look forward to the resolution of this strike, and that we can all say, a job well done.

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Mr. Speaker, I fear that's not going to be the case. With that, I thank you for the time and the privilege of addressing this severe situation.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Agriculture.

HON. RONALD CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I'm very pleased tonight to be given the opportunity to rise and speak to an issue that's of great importance to my constituency and to the people. I commend the member for Richmond for bringing this resolution forward. For, as has been noted already this evening, the enormity of Stora's business means not only is the future of its workers in question, but even as I speak, others are being impacted while the business of the mill remains at a standstill, contractors, pulp cutters, not to mention the many retailers, gas stations, convenience stores and others whose business is lucrative only because of the business of the mill and its workforce. Many have stated the closing of the mill means the subsequent closing of their business.

Mr. Speaker, I'm not saying anything that hasn't already been emphasized in debate this evening. However, I wanted to be on the record on an issue of such importance and of my deep concerns for Stora's future. It has been a few years, but I, too, was one of those individuals relying on the contract work from Stora, at one point in my life. I have cut wood for Stora. I have trucked wood to the mill for Stora. I know many of the workers at Stora. I know many of the contractors that supply Stora, to name a few: Thomas Hayne from Country Harbour, Myles MacPherson from Guysborough Interval, Shawn Hadley of Guysborough, Lloyd and Ellis MacGrath from Aspen, Sherman Wilson of Liscomb, Anthony Turner of Moser River, John Archibald of Newtown. All of these contractors who supply Stora employ at least 10, some of them 20, employees, so it does have a real impact in my riding.

This issue, as everyone here knows, is not about the quality of the individuals employed with the company. It is not about their commitment to their product. It is not about their reluctance to do hard work and to do it well. It's about issues slightly beyond everyone's control. The industry itself is facing serious challenges; however, as a government we recognize that the spinoff effects would be devastating to the region. As Roger Taylor of The ChronicleHerald noted this past week, if a compromise cannot be found to save that plant, it will have a devastating impact on the economy of the Strait of Canso area, which will send ripples through the rest of the provincial economy.

While we could not in all fairness accommodate all the items addressed by the mill, we did work on a solution that we felt would be helpful to the mill and, most importantly, we hoped it would help with a solution for the workers and the community. As my colleagues have noted, we have an agreement in place that would pay Stora Enso now for land government was obligated to provide the company in the future. The offer to pay Stora $65 million over the next seven years, provided the

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company continues normal operations, means we no longer have to buy 200,000 acres of land it had been obligated to provide to Stora by 2013.

We also felt it would be a workable component of a solution needed for both employer and employees. As I have said, I was just one of those individuals who benefited some time ago from work generated in our community by Stora Enso. I know the solution we presented also meant that a little less Crown land would mean more product would be needed from our private woodlot owners, and, Mr. Speaker, that's a good thing. That was just one part of the puzzle.

The bottom line for, I believe, everyone in this Chamber this evening is that Stora Enso reopen its doors, as one member has said, we see smoke coming from the stacks again. The only way that that can happen is for both sides to get back to the table. We need everyone to be realistic about what is at stake and what is possible to put on the table. While news that the return to the table Monday was not a positive venture, I remain hopeful that both parties can find common ground to ensure that Stora Enso remains a part of our economy and a part of our community so that livelihoods of all those relying on it can continue to do so.

Mr. Speaker, thank you again for allowing me to take part in this evening's debate on this very important issue to the people of my riding. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, thank you very much. We've been told that the Stora Enso situation has something to do with what have been called issues beyond our control. Issues beyond our control. Do you know what? I don't believe that's the case. It simply is not true.

What is within the government's control? What has been within the government's control? I will tell you the answer to that. It has always been within the government's control to foresee and anticipate that we would arrive one day at this situation with respect to our forestry. Let's be clear, our forestry is in big trouble in Nova Scotia, and this should come as no surprise to anyone.

We heard today about the closure of a manufacturing plant in the Cornwallis Industrial Park in the Annapolis Valley - 200 jobs are going to be lost in July. Now, that's a manufacturing, a secondary industry, a value-added industry tied to forestry, and we're losing those jobs. Stora Enso, one of our three major pulp and paper plants which has been in this province along with the others for about 40 years, is also in big trouble. Yet we have known for a long time that our over-reliance in our forestry industry on pulp and paper as a final destination for our forest products has been a big mistake and that that industry is hugely vulnerable. It has always been hugely vulnerable, and yet that basic fact was ignored year in, year out, by government after

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government who failed to try to put into place an effective transformation of the forestry industry.

Well, here we are. Here we are at the point where we are probably going to lose at least one of our major pulp and paper plants. Now, I'm suggesting that this was foreseeable. I am now going to demonstrate to you not only that it was foreseeable, but that it was foreseen. I am one of those who happens to have foreseen it, but I am not alone in this, many others, anyone, who looked seriously at forestry over the last 20 years in Canada would have known this.

Mr. Speaker, in the early 1990s it became the fashion in Canada for each province to set up what was known as a Round Table on the Environment and the Economy. Each province was encouraged to do this by the federal government which had set up its own Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, an entity that continues to exist to this day. Well, for a couple of years Nova Scotia had an active Round Table on the Environment and the Economy and, in 1991, a group of people from the environmental movement in Nova Scotia made a submission to the Nova Scotia round table, and the submission was called Building a Green Nova Scotia. It's dated 1991. It's in our Legislative Library. I was minded to pull it out. I was one of the main authors of this report, and I went to see what it is that we had to say about forestry, not that I had forgotten, because I remembered exactly what we had said about forestry. What we said was it's an internationally traded commodity. Let me pause for a moment and point something out about environmentalists. I've heard some comments in this House and elsewhere over the years that suggests that environmentalists are interested in admiring the view, that we don't have hard-nosed approaches to the economy. Let me tell you that is not true.

[6:00 p.m.]

One does not have to think that clear-cutting is an abomination or that growing only one or two species is an abomination, to arrive at the conclusion we arrived at in 1991 that our forestry was in big trouble because here were the factors that we identified. We said first, we are being competed with by warm climates where they can grow, very quickly, trees like eucalyptus in ten years that are ready to be made into pulp and paper compared with our 40-60 years to grow our trees to be made into pulp and paper. It used to be that those trees from the warm climates, they didn't know how to make them into good pulp and paper but they learned pretty quick. On the supply side, our trees, our forests were being competed with - we said this in a submission in 1991.

I'll tell you something else we said, we said in 1991, the Cold War was over, it had been over for two years and what that meant was that the vast forests of the former USSR were going to come onto the international marketplace and they were going to compete with us. It used to be that their products were aimed only at the

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Soviet Bloc in terms of where they went but we said that was going to change. Later, in the year after we said that in our reports, I was at a national forestry conference where the chief forester of Abitibi-Price was present and I put it to him, is this going to happen? Do you think it's going to happen? He said, oh, yes. Is it going to happen within 10 years, I said which is what I thought. No, he said, we've thought about this, we've actually had teams over in the Soviet Union looking at their forests, I figure it will take about 25 years before they get onto the international commodities market in a really big way. We Canadian companies are going to be building pulp and paper plants over there for them. Now isn't that wonderful. They knew then that it was going to be a potent factor.

Let me add another factor. Pulp and paper is used for newsprint and newspapers were already losing out to their main advertising dollar competitors, namely radio and television at that time and now you can add the internet as a competitor for advertising dollars. Now those are hard-nosed economic facts that have nothing to do with whether you think that the way we have clear-cut our province, the way we have confined ourselves to growing only a few species has been ridiculous and an abomination. I think those things but a person did not have to think those things in order to arrive at the conclusion, as we did in 1991, that our forestry industry was gravely at risk. Here we are, 15 years later and it is coming to pass. I want to emphasize that I am not the only one who predicted this.

One merely has to look at any of the writings of people from the environmental movement in those days to see that this was what was on the agenda and was identified as being on the agenda. What should government have done? Government should have stood up at the time and said the same thing, the number one job of government when it comes to transformation of the economy is to identify that it is coming, tell people that it is coming, help communities plan for the transformation because that's what we're seeing. We're seeing a transformation of the economy, in this case, the forestry sector, but there's a transformation going on in all aspects of the economy; forestry, fisheries, agriculture, energy and in all forms of land use it's happening.

Here's one of the things we said in this report and I'll table it. I'll table the extract. "If there is no planning now for diversification, what will happen to the many people who now rely on forestry? They will have to move, and we will have clear-cut our population along with our forests, a double waste. Unless urgent steps are taken, in twenty years the forest industry in Nova Scotia will be unable to support people in anything remotely approaching the same manner as now." That's exactly true and it's coming to pass right now.

There are a huge number of people, who, to a greater or lesser degree in Nova Scotia, rely upon forestry. We have been laggards in trying to make the transformation, but we have to adjust our thinking and realize that there are major changes coming.

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What are we going to do about Stora Enso now? The government has said it's prepared to come up with a little bit of financial help. Do you know what? That makes no sense if they have to do it year after year after year. Surely it was that Party now in government that told us, when they so successfully ran and accomplished the role of becoming a majority government in 1999, that they didn't want to continue to support industries that were old industries and were money-losing industries and that the government had to keep on supporting.

That's what the closure of Sydney Steel was all about, that was their main plank at the time. They're not going to do that. We shouldn't expect them to do that. Some money should certainly be put into it as a transition measure if that's what we have to do to take care of the workers who are going to be displaced if that plant closes up. Be clear, if that plant closes up, it will be closing not because of their local taxes, not even because of the corporate tax on their capital goods, and not because of their electricity rates. It will have nothing to do with that. It will be because of those factors that we identified back in 1990 - international competition from other sources and diminishing markets for their products. That's why they'll be closing up, if they close up, indeed.

We have three major pulp and paper plants in this province, each one just as vulnerable. We have to be prepared for that. What about the workers? They have to be taken care of. If the government wants to put money in in conjunction with a transformation project in which they help people find other work in which they address the forestry sector, they address the needs of rural Nova Scotia and they find other kinds of work, that's fine. I would expect that of them, but I don't want to see this continue to happen in every other sector of our economy, but I am much afeared that if the history goes on in this way, that's exactly what we'll see.

Mr. Speaker, we saw a new document come from the government just a couple of weeks ago called their sustainable economic strategy. I was reminded, when I read that sustainable economic strategy, of the old jokes we used to see about detergent where it says "new" on the outside of the box. What's new, people ask each other? The word "new", that's all that's new on the outside of the box.

What was different about the economic strategy we saw from the government a couple of weeks ago was they put the word "sustainable" on the outside. Sustainable is the right principle, but let me tell you, there was nothing that reflected it in the actual strategy, itself. Sustainability is what we have to achieve in all of our sectors, and sustainability is exactly what doesn't seem to be on the government's mind.

I say that this is where we have to move. We have to take that as our guiding principle in every sector. In every sector. We have to realize that the Nova Scotia economy, being so resource reliant, is under threat. We could have learned from the time of the fishery collapse and prepared for the forestry. Now we're looking at the

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possibility of a forestry collapse, we have to learn the lessons and act on them. Thank you, Mr. Speaker

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

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. it's appropriate that all members of the House are concerned about what's happening at Stora Enso, and I believe all members are concerned in varying degrees. I'd rather be somewhere else at this hour of the evening than talking about Stora Enso. I wish that situation was stabilized and that the people who work at that mill could look forward to going back to work sometime in the future, but it doesn't appear that's going to be the case.

First of all, I'd like to thank the member for Richmond for raising this matter today and bringing it to the attention of all Nova Scotians. I want to say that the member for Richmond speaks about issues with much passion, especially when it comes to the issues of businesses like Stora Enso in our province, businesses like Stora Enso that are so important to the economy of the entire province. I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, that the member for Richmond is certainly not playing politics with this issue. He is genuinely concerned about the future of the people of the Strait area and the future of the people of this province when it comes to the economic stimulation that a business like Stora Enso has produced for many years in Nova Scotia, the kinds of salaries that are generated in the economy, and the kinds of spinoff benefits that a company like Stora has contributed over the course of their time here in Nova Scotia.

It is appropriate that we're having an emergency debate this evening on this subject, and it is also appropriate, Mr. Speaker, that we remind the government that this situation, this impasse, this situation with the future of Stora did not happen overnight. The government has known for some time, or if the political masters opposite didn't know, certainly the bureaucrats in this government, at senior levels, who were dealing with Stora Enso knew that this situation was becoming intolerant for the company, for the workers, and for government. The government knew this, but did nothing until the last moment when the employees decided that they couldn't come to a contract and all of a sudden Stora Enso decided that it was becoming too expensive to operate here in Nova Scotia.

What did the government do? Nothing in the first going off, nothing at all. They just sat back and said, we're not going to get involved. Now that was up until a few days ago, and like this government in so many ways in the past week or so, they've suddenly changed their minds on what level of involvement they're going to have in this province in regard to various issues. Gas regulation, they said they weren't interested in it before, and now it's on the plate. The fact that this government has now, with Stora Enso, gotten to a situation where they're advancing an agreement that was made, and to see a member of the government here today try to blame the $65 million payment on the previous government was drawing a long

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bow to the point of being ridiculous and, by the way, is not going to solve this problem.

There are certain issues here, Mr. Speaker, that are very relevant to the situation currently, and also situations which have to be rectified in the future if Stora Enso is going to continue to operate here in Nova Scotia. We heard earlier today that this government was considering doing some work on the highways between New Glasgow and down into Cape Breton over the next 10 years - it's called twinning. Well, five or six years ago we heard the same announcement, between New Glasgow and Antigonish, to help the economy of eastern Nova Scotia and Cape Breton.

Since that time, and before that, we now have the mines closed in Cape Breton, we have the steel plant that has closed in Cape Breton, we have very little left in the fishery in Cape Breton, forestry is in great jeopardy in Cape Breton, the farming industry is pretty well gone in Cape Breton, so what do we have down there? Well, we have a lot of call centres. Now the government must realize - and I'm making the analogy here because it's very important - that the technology that's in place in call centres is not going to be around forever, and the government has to have a plan for the future economy of that part of Nova Scotia at some point without call centres.

But the government is not paying any attention to that, because that's off into the future regarding the economy of this province. What they're dealing with is today, and today only, in regard to that. It's funny, the Industrial Expansion Fund has been put in place as a government slush fund to dish out money at will to friends of the government, or to businesses in this province that NSBI won't touch for various business reasons I suppose, like Magic Valley or S&J Potato Farms and other examples I could give. The example I want to give is that Stora Enso is a business in this province that employs a great number of people and the spinoffs are - well, it's so large that you can't conceive of that business not operating without devastating that area of Nova Scotia and, to a lesser extent, all of Nova Scotia, particularly, as my colleague, the member for Victoria-The Lakes, talked about the fact that his friends in the woodlot business, customers using Stora Enso as a customer. They've laid off people. I know people, personally, in that business, who have gone to Alberta looking for work. That's a direct result of the inability of that particular woodlot business to keep these people employed.

[6:15 p.m.]

So we're dealing with a devastation here. We're dealing with a situation that needs the government's attention. It needs the senior people, employed by this government, to sit down and stay at the table with Stora Enso officials, to stay at the table with the people who are working there to try to hammer out some kind of an agreement that will at least see a stability there until the future of that business can be

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properly evaluated by everybody. I believe that is going to take a lot of good will from a number of people.

The government wasn't getting involved at all up until a few weeks ago, and then they come up with what the Premier, I think, hoped would be a satisfactory solution. We know now that that is not the case. This is a serious situation. Government mediators should be there, and there all the time. It's about doing what's right. It's about protecting jobs here in Nova Scotia that I believe the administration has a responsibility to do.

What's the sense in improving infrastructure. Albeit, it was over a 10-year period that those highways were announced, and we've seen very little as you move east. You know, Mr. Speaker, when you go east, the highways get worse and worse and worse, until you get down in Cape Breton where Route 4 looks like the Burma trail when you drive down it, and you take your life, literally, your life in your hands driving down Route 4.

If we're going to get good infrastructure, we have to have a reason for it. We have to have business down there. We have to have business at the Strait area. We have some other troubling things happening at the Strait area. Anadarko, what's happening down there? If the government doesn't realize that there is a problem there as well, then the government should be sitting down with them and finding out what the problem is. That's another major hit that could happen down there.

I say, Mr. Speaker, that those situations are situations that the government has a responsibility to be debating and trying to do something with all the time. I can tell you that our Party is hoping that the government will come up with a meaningful solution to the problems at Stora Enso, and our hope is that the men will be able to return to work and meaningful employment many, many years into the future. I know the member for Richmond wishes that as well, and we're certainly following his lead in this matter. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Economic Development.

HON. KERRY MORASH: Mr. Speaker, I'm very pleased to be able to rise this evening and speak about the importance of Stora Enso. I think it's certainly important for all members of this House to appreciate and understand, and as has been said earlier, we certainly all agree on what an important industry Stora Enso is for that part of the province, as well as the entire province. It's certainly everyone's intention that we get that plant back and running. We certainly want them to reopen the mill. We want them to continue to have a long history of success, and we want to ensure that we have employment in that area and that we get those 600 people back to work. Now, my information says 600, I know the member opposite earlier said 650, but certainly that would be the ballpark range of the number of employees who are

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dependent on that mill as their primary income and, at this point in time, do not have jobs to go to during the day.

We have at least that many people working in the forests, or are not working in the forests at this point in time because they supply that mill. Their job is to make sure that they have the raw material to the machinery that produces the pulp and produces the paper. That means we have probably a threefold number of people who are dependent as, I guess you would say, secondary income, or secondary spinoff income from that facility. It's a large employer, it's an economic generator, and it certainly is important, as I said earlier, to all of us.

The mill is also significant for taxpayers, in general. It brings in export dollars, and most of its product is exported. One of the ways that we grow this province is to export a product and bring money from other areas back home. That's one of things that we haven't been doing in that area as well as we had been doing previously because of the shutdown at this point in time. We get that boost, and it's a very significant boost from Stora, and it's something that we all agree we want to have the mill back. Direct and indirect provincial taxes alone generate about $17 million each year through the continued operation of the mill and that's $17 million in revenues to the province that are used for schools, for hospitals, for roads, and for all those infrastructure issues that have been mentioned by the member previously. That is a secondary thing as well. The big issue is making sure that we have people back to work and we have people in that mill.

There's also another matter, or a second matter, that certainly everyone in this House agrees to, and that is the quality and the dedication of the employees of that facility. We are fortunate to have excellent employees in this province, throughout the province, and that workforce is a dedicated and skilled workforce that has the ability to run a very complex factory and to do it very effectively and efficiently. Through the years, as we've gotten to this stage, those employees have certainly worked very, very hard. There have been issues in the past and they have been able to overcome those issues and this is certainly one that has taken much longer than anyone had anticipated or expected, and we really want them to be able to sort out the issues that are in front of them, get through those challenges, and get that facility running.

Some of the realities that face industry are some of the issues that really make this quite a difficult issue and a difficult one certainly to fix, I guess is a very simplistic way of looking at it. There are a lot of factors at play here. We have great people working in a very important industry and they're now facing challenges, and a lot of the challenges are outside their areas of control. The challenges facing the industry are not unique to Nova Scotia. The demand for paper products in North America is falling. It's not increasing, unfortunately, from our point of view and at the same time energy prices, which everybody has been following and has been

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discussed in this place today, are increasing and that poses additional costs to running a facility such as that.

Also, one other issue that has come to the forefront recently is the rise in the Canadian dollar. Most of these facilities would sell in U.S. dollars and have been able in the past to have a rate of return because of the exchange on the dollar; that rate of return has diminished considerably and it certainly appears by what the economists tell us that it's not likely to drop drastically any time in the near future and, if anything, it will hold where it is and maybe even increase in the future. So that's a very concerning issue because it is a global issue and it's not one that anybody in this place, or anybody in this province, has a direct hand in adjusting, changing or regulating. That's the way the global economy works and that's the way the money market works.

Earlier today my colleague, the Minister of Finance, announced our plan to promote a more competitive corporate tax environment. First, the province will continue phasing out the capital tax for large corporations until it's fully eliminated in 2012. That I believe is important for industry to hear. That's a tax that has had lots of discussion and the majority of industry certainly wants to see that tax eliminated. I think most would appreciate that if we could do that in a more timely manner, that would be great, but there are limitations and we do have 2012 as our date for the tax to be fully eliminated.

We're also introducing a new energy-efficiency tax credit against the large corporations capital tax and the credit will help promote energy conservation and the use of renewable energy. Those measures are intended to help all industries become more competitive, not just Stora, but that is something that they will be able to use and to benefit from and our government has tailored the plan so that Stora will be able to access that and gain some benefit from it.

We've committed to provide Stora Enso with $65 million over the next seven years. In return Stora needs to keep both mills open and taxpayers will be freed from an obligation that they had to buy 200,000 acres of land for the company in the future. We believe that this is something that the province and that the government could do to assist the company at a time when they do need some cash to be able to look at cogeneration or whatever it might be that the company decides is the most efficient and effective way for them to move forward. This plan does this, and I know the members opposite said "all of a sudden" but I can assure everybody that these deals take more time than all of a sudden, and we were working with them and dealing with them for a period of time prior to the deal being finalized.

The reasoning behind the agreement is really quite simple. We want to make sure that they have some money for strategic investment and that they can be more competitive. The word that we have heard in my time in this House, when it comes to economic development, is competitiveness and it is something that is going to

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continue. We have the global economy out there breathing down our necks and we need to be very efficient, effective, and smart in order to be able to cover what we need to cover and compete.

Members disagree about what we can and cannot do, but we do agree on the importance of the facility and I think it's really important for all of us to realize the parameters that are there and also there are some things that we can work on together, but if we look at the collective bargaining system it really falls to the union and to the negotiating team for the employer to sit down and look at the challenges that face this facility globally as well as locally. They are the ones at the bargaining table, they are the ones who should be at the bargaining table, and I don't believe that this government or any member of this House has a right to be at that table.

Mr. Speaker, I see that I am getting the nod that my time is just about over. I'd just like to close by saying that we all want to see that facility up and running as soon as possible and there are avenues that are there for this to take place and we encourage and will assist in any way that we can.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

MR. CHARLES PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I, too, appreciate the opportunity to have a few minutes to speak about this very serious situation involving Stora Enso and its impact on our economies throughout Cape Breton Island and the eastern mainland of Nova Scotia. It certainly affects the seven eastern counties and I think even beyond into Colchester, Cumberland, Halifax ,and probably even beyond that. Certainly for the last 45 years or more Stora has been the backbone of the economy in the Strait area, but certainly has important repercussions throughout many other surrounding counties, including Pictou County where I come from. I've had contact, too, with a number of my constituents who are very concerned about this issue - they work either directly or indirectly for the pulp company and they and their families are being seriously impacted.

I can remember back in the 1960s when my father was a contractor for Stora and also operated a trucking business - in fact I think he had one of the first trucks in Pictou County that hauled to the Strait area. He bought a brand new GMC truck in 1960 and snaked his way down through the old No. 4 Highway, through Pictou and Antigonish Counties, and across the Causeway which was relatively new at that time, and delivered pulpwood to the plant down there. In fact, it was just five years previous to the mill opening in 1955 that the Causeway was established, and that really opened up the opportunity to have a mill that served both the mainland and Cape Breton Island.

Of course, back in those days forestry was conducted in a far different manner than it is today. I can remember my dad picking up pulpwood from different farmers and woodlot owners, and often they would cut a load or two through the Winter

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months and make a dollar to support their families or to pay the taxes on their farm property. It was a method of forestry that's long since gone, but people would go to the woods maybe with a chainsaw and maybe the horse that did other work in the Summer months and snig out a few logs or pulpwood to the roadside and the trucker would come and pick it up and away they would go.

[6:30 p.m.]

Of course, things have changed very much in the woodlot industry since those days. I guess the chainsaw has been replaced with the processor - a huge machine that comes in and just picks the whole tree, harvests it, cuts it down, lays it out. The horse was replaced by the tree farmer and the tree farmer in turn now has been replaced with the huge forwarder that comes and takes it all out to the roadside; a huge difference in the way we do forestry in this province.

Really what we've gone to is from a woodlot where you took a little bit of wood out, maybe selectively harvested the trees you wanted to cut to today where we have an industrial forestry model that is so, so different. With the rapid pace of change, it's bigger, but is it better? There's the question. You can cut an acre down in a day and it's gone where it might have been all Winter somebody worked to do the same amount of wood or the same amount of territory that they would work over.

My colleague, the member for Halifax Chebucto had mentioned this as well, the forestry practices; it has been predicted that we're running into some problems. Basically today we have all our eggs in one basket. We have a huge company that produces pulp and newsprint at their supercalendered operation but by concentrating on one or two products, the workforce has changed, the mechanization has cut way down on a number of employees that are in our woodlands. As I said, bigger is not always necessarily better.

I guess we have gotten into the industrial forestry model and that's just clear-cut and replant and spray the heck out of any competition that comes along. Then, 40 years later, you clear-cut and replant and spray again. It's a cycle, but it's unnatural for our woodlots that Nova Scotia has had for thousands of years. We had a very diversified Acadian forest that was hardwoods and softwoods. We had a balance in nature and it was better for our water table, wildlife, people.

But the model today is so, so different. Maybe there's a need to look at not having all our eggs in one basket, but look at diversity again and see if there's a better way to do it. Then if some industry goes down, it's only part of a diversified forest industry, it's not going to affect the economy so much. There's real merit in looking at that other model rather than the industrial model we have at the present time.

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I only have a few minutes but I want to mention that maybe there's a better way of doing the forestry that could diversify the economy. In reality, we don't have that model at this time and it's something that needs to be worked on.

What we do have is a large employer that is in danger maybe of closing out. I know other provinces have looked seriously at what they could do to protect their forest industry. In the Province of Quebec, I think they spent close to $1 billion looking at supporting their forest industry; $925 million, or somewhere in that range, was allocated to prop up and support diversity and support a payment plan for purchasing equipment and so on.

It's similar in New Brunswick - I think they spent over $200 million recently to support their forest industry with the diversity of things, including a 50 per cent credit on any equipment that was purchased for in the woodlot.

I think Newfoundland and Labrador had recently tried to do something there to help, I think it was the Abitibi mill in Stephenville. While they were not successful in allowing that plant to continue and remain there, at least they gave it their best shot. So maybe there is something government can do to look at a package that would help our forest industry.

I want to mention briefly, last week I tabled here in the House a petition that was from a number of residents in my county who are very concerned about the Stora Enso impact on our local economy. It affects everybody in the economy, really. The operative clause was this:

"WE THE UNDERSIGNED CALL UPON THE NOVA SCOTIA GOVERNMENT TO DO ALL WITHIN ITS POWER TO BRING ABOUT A SUCCESSFUL RESOLUTION TO THE CURRENT CRISIS WITH STORA-ENSO OF THE CANSO STRAIT AREA"

It was signed by 157 contractors, residents, business owners and others who are impacted by this. They are people from all over Pictou County, people from Westville, Stellarton, White Hill, Hopewell, Plymouth, Trafalgar Road, New Glasgow, Woodburn, Sunny Brae, Aspen, which is in Guysborough County, on it goes. They are all people who feel seriously the government has got to put its best effort forward and do something to resolve this issue as quickly as possible.

I see here one of the signatures is Sterling MacDonald. Sterling and his wife run a service station in Union Centre in Pictou County. It very much impacts their local business for gasoline and for vehicle repairs. It's also signed here by Clem and Patricia DeYoung, who are forestry contractors in the White Hill area. They've just spent somewhere around $300,000 to upgrade their equipment, and the bank is calling on them for payment.

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So there's a serious impact on our local economy all over. Mr. Speaker, I guess I call on government to get back, do what they can. If they have one negotiator, maybe they should have two, or three, or four, to try to mediate here to get some solution. Power rates, property taxes, regulations, there are a lot of problems that need to be resolved. So that's one aspect. The other side of it is working on diversifying our forest industry so that we don't have all our eggs in one basket, and look at more sustainability and returning our forests back to the Acadian forest we should have.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I thank you for your time. Hopefully, there's a resolution real soon. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The debate has concluded.

The House stands adjourned.

[The House rose at 6:37 p.m.]

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NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 164

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Environment and Labour)

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

Whereas lifelong sports, such as curling, are critical to promoting healthy living; and

Whereas Parkview Education Centre of Bridgewater entered curling teams in the Nova Scotia Schools Athletic Federation Provincial Curling Championships in 2006; and

Whereas the team skipped by Lindsay Gear from Parkview captured the 2006 Nova Scotia Schools Athletic Federation;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Coach Ben Smith, skip Lindsay Gear, second Kyle Mossman, third Brad Whynot, lead T.J. Pittman, and fifth Matt MacDonald.

RESOLUTION NO. 165

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Environment and Labour)

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

Whereas high-achieving and ambitious students deserve the opportunity to seek out challenging experiences; and

Whereas the Presidential Classroom Scholars Program challenges young scholars to commit to public service; and

Whereas Merydie Ross, a Grade 11 student from LaHave, Lunenburg County, was selected to join an elite academic group of students for a one-week program in Washington, D.C., during the Summer of 2006;

Therefore be it resolved that this House commend Merydie Ross for her success and her leadership, and wish her well during her one-week Summer program.

RESOLUTION NO. 166

[Page 297]

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Environment and Labour)

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

Whereas athletes improve their skills by participating in experiences which test their performances; and

Whereas the prestigious Walt Disney World Invitational Track and Field Meet provides opportunities for elite, international athletes to demonstrate their skills; and

Whereas three Lunenburg County athletes earned medals at the meet, including: Jenna Martin, who won gold in the 100- and 200-metre sprints and the 4x800- and 4x400-metre relay teams; Rebecca Reeves won gold in the 2,000-metre steeplechase, as well as the 4x800- and 4x400-metres; and Stephanie Skoreyko won gold in the one-mile race;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend congratulations to elite athletes Jenna Martin, Rebecca Reeves, and Stephanie Skoreyko.

RESOLUTION NO. 167

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Environment and Labour)

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

Whereas school athletics play a major role in the life of many students; and

Whereas Bridgewater High School sponsors girls curling teams; and

Whereas the team skipped by Marlee Powers, consisting of mate Tara LeGay, lead Leah Squarey, second Laura Murray, and Coach Tim LeGay won the Nova Scotia Schools Athletic Federation Western Region Middle School girls championship for 2006;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the curling team from Bridgewater High School, skipped by Marlee Powers, for this very successful year.

RESOLUTION NO. 168

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Environment and Labour)

[Page 298]

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

Whereas Canada's sport of hockey is strong and healthy on the South Shore; and

Whereas the South Shore Irving Bantam AAA hockey team ended the season with a league record of 21 wins; and

Whereas the team consisted of Zack Brown, Jeremy Church, Christian Crouse, Jacob Conrad, Cory Corkum, Ryan Getson, Jack Strowbridge, Ryan Nickerson, Jory Uhlman, Peter Whynot, Bryce Hirtle, Matt Zinck, Cody Scott, Evan Chute, Logan Quinlin, Andrew Morrison, goaltenders Ben Bailey and Lucas Boyle, Head Coach Brad Muise, and assistant coaches Jason Knickle and Mike Bailey;

Therefore be it resolved that all players and coaches of the South Shore Irving Bantam AAA team be congratulated by this House for their 2006 championship victory.

RESOLUTION NO. 169

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Environment and Labour)

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

Whereas art competitions such as Visa's National Olympics of the Imagination Children's Art Challenge offer opportunities for young students to participate in cross-Canada events; and

Whereas student artist Courtney Williams of New Germany Elementary School, Lunenburg County, entered and was selected as a grand prize winner in her region for her figure skating poster; and

Whereas Courtney and her dad received an all-expenses-paid trip to the Olympic Games in Torino, Italy, along with tickets to attend three Olympic events;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate Courtney Williams for her art work and her success in the National Art Competition.

RESOLUTION NO. 170

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Environment and Labour)

[Page 299]

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

Whereas school sports promote healthy living through physical exercise and sportsmanship; and

Whereas Parkview Education Centre of Bridgewater sponsors a variety of school sports, including junior varsity basketball; and

Whereas the Grade 10 Junior Varsity Boys basketball team won the 2006 Provincial Basketball Championship;

Therefore be it resolved that the following coaching staff and athletes be congratulated by this House for their excellent effort and success during the 2006 basketball season: Aaron Bishop, Ken Wright, Brett Barkhouse, Tristan Zinck, Glenn Fischback, Steven Joudrey, Derek Gates, Matthew Rhodenhizer, Tanner MacKay, Adam Walker, Colin Zinck, Saied Saied, Chris Myers, Will Barkhouse, and assistant coaches Matt Sarty and Josh Meisner, and Coach Dean McDow.

RESOLUTION NO. 171

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Environment and Labour)

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

Whereas badminton is a challenging and lifetime sport; and

Whereas Bridgewater and area teams have attracted very dedicated and talented athletes; and

Whereas 16 badminton players placed at provincial playoffs, including: Rachael Pineo, Blake Brown, Jenny McGinis, Colin Hayward, Tineke Vanerweit, Nick O'Hara, Meghan Adams, Olivia Adams, Ian Smith, Jordan Mullan, Kathryn Emeneau, Sam Huyer-Upton, Courtney Tremere, Jennifer Mederios, Brendon Hayward, and Craig Stadnyk;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate all 16 badminton players and their coaches for their excellent performance in the 2006 provincial championships.

RESOLUTION NO. 172

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Environment and Labour)

[Page 300]

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

Whereas school sports are instrumental in developing physical, social and emotional skills; and

Whereas Parkview Education Centre sponsors a variety of school athletic teams, including wrestling; and

Whereas Coach Norm McNaught has coached the team for the past 17 years, winning 19 provincial banners;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House thank Coach McNaught for his dedication to his athletes and for his 17 years of coaching wrestling, and wish him well in his retirement from the teaching profession.

RESOLUTION NO. 173

By: Mr. Harold Theriault (Digby-Annapolis)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia Ground Search and Rescue, which operates under the authority of the Emergency Measures Organization of Nova Scotia, along with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police "H" Division, is made up of 24 independent voluntary associations; and

Whereas each member of a ground search and rescue association is required to make a significant personal commitment to time and resources and is highly trained to the NSCSRA standards; and

Whereas these selfless individuals are available to EMO and the RCMP to conduct organized searches for evidence and missing people.

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly applaud the continuing efforts of the ground search and rescue associations to assist in their communities.

RESOLUTION NO. 174

By: Ms. Diana Whalen (Halifax Clayton Park)

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

[Page 301]

Whereas Wilfred Gregg, a retiree living in Clayton Park West, is an example to all Nova Scotians for his constant efforts to clean up litter in his neighbourhood; and

Whereas Mr. Gregg decided to do something about the litter because he found it was getting out of control, and he now spends up to five days a week picking up garbage along busy Dunbrack Street; and

Whereas Mr. Gregg, at 81 years of age, is an inspiration to many in his continued service to his community.

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly recognize and thank Wilfred Gregg for his dedication and the significant contribution that he is making to his community.

RESOLUTION NO. 175

By: Ms. Diana Whalen (Halifax Clayton Park)

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

Whereas volunteers are the heart and soul of our communities and their efforts support so many important organizations and activities; and

Whereas Alma Dunbar was recognized by the Mainland North Volunteer Recognition Committee on May 4th, 2006, for making a real difference in her community; and

Whereas Alma was nominated by St. Peter's Anglican Church in Birch Cove for her contribution to the parish over the years, and for being willing to step up and help many worthwhile charities and organizations such as Ronald McDonald House and the Daffodil Campaign.

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Assembly congratulate Alma Dunbar, recognize the tremendous contribution she is making to her community and the province and wish her every success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 176

By: Ms. Diana Whalen (Halifax Clayton Park)

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

[Page 302]

Whereas volunteers are the heart and soul of our communities and their efforts support so many important organizations and activities; and

Whereas Jane Davies received a volunteer award from the Mainland North Volunteer Recognition Committee on May 4th, 2006, for establishing the Halifax West Feeder School Group and making a real difference in her community; and

Whereas Jane was nominated for her outstanding campaign to address the air quality issues at the old Halifax West High School which ultimately led to the building of a new environmentally-safe school for the students and staff of Halifax West.

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Assembly congratulate Jane Davies, recognize the tremendous contribution she has made to her community and the province and wish her continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 177

By: Ms. Diana Whalen (Halifax Clayton Park)

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

Whereas volunteers are the heart and soul of our communities and their efforts support so many important organizations and activities; and

Whereas Janet Gagnier received a volunteer award from the Mainland North Volunteer Recognition Committee on May 4th, 2006, for making a real difference in her community; and

Whereas Janet was nominated for her continuing contribution to the schools in Mainland North as a parent volunteer and for her advocacy on behalf of French Immersion and quality education over the years.

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Assembly congratulate Janet Gagnier, recognize the tremendous contribution she is making to her community and the province and wish her every success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 178

By: Ms. Diana Whalen (Halifax Clayton Park)

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

[Page 303]

Whereas the Mainland North Volunteer Recognition Committee held its third annual volunteer recognition awards dinner on May 4th, 2006, to honour volunteers who are making a difference in our community; and

Whereas Wendy Soulis was recognized for her hard work and dedication as an active member of the Rockingham Residents Association, particularly her efforts to keep in touch with the growing number of supporters and members through the association database and newsletter; and

Whereas the association has established traditions for their neighbourhood like the Canada Day party, annual Easter egg hunt, and outdoor skating rink, and has taken on the challenge of fundraising for the renewal of D.K. Butler Park.

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Assembly congratulate Wendy Soulis, recognize the contribution she is making to her community and the province and wish her every success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 179

By: Mr. Leo Glavine (Kings West)

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

Whereas Care Connections Nova Scotia recently presented the first Early Childhood Learning and Care Award of Excellence for practice to Joann Sweet; and

Whereas this award recognizes the commitment Ms. Sweet has made to support the growth and development of children and families, while demonstrating a commitment through leadership to the ECLC program and profession; and

Whereas since the late 1970s, Ms. Sweet has strived to provide the foundation children require to develop throughout their lives her commitment to educating the leaders in early childhood education will ensure future generations receive the same commitment;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate Joann Sweet and acknowledge the tremendous commitment she exhibits for shaping future generations.

RESOLUTION NO. 180

By: Mr. Leo Glavine (Kings West)

[Page 304]

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

Whereas Care Connections Nova Scotia recently presented the first Early Childhood Learning and Care Award of Excellence for program to Wee Folk Centre of Greenwood; and

Whereas this award recognizes the commitment Wee Folk has made to excellence in programming, a quality work environment, ensuring parents and the community are actively involved in the innovative services provided by Gisela Gurrie and the staff; and

Whereas since opening in 1981, Wee Folk Centre has strived to provide a safe and enriching environment for the children to grow into productive adults by giving each child the inspiration to grow to meet their full potential;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate the Wee Folk Centre and acknowledge the tremendous commitment they have to shaping future generations.

RESOLUTION NO. 181

By: Mr. Leo Glavine (Kings West)

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

Whereas Andy Sharpe was presented the Patricia Roberts Award in recognition of the leadership, dedication and hard work he has shown to advancing ecological monitoring and research in Canada; and

Whereas presented with the award at the Ecological Monitoring and Assessment Network's National meeting, Mr. Sharpe insists this award is not only a recognition of his work, but recognizes commitment of the Clean Annapolis River projects to monitoring ecological stability of the Annapolis River; and

Whereas it is CARP's groundbreaking ideas for using the fresh water monitoring techniques for salt water that is leading the charge to provide decision makers with the information needed to measure the health of our environment;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate Andy Sharpe on receipt of the Patricia Roberts Award and the Clean Annapolis River Project for their unwavering commitment to protecting our environment.

RESOLUTION NO. 182

[Page 305]

By: Mr. Leo Glavine (Kings West)

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

Whereas the RRFB of Nova Scotia has initiated the Nova Scotia Recycles Contest to encourage students to create an awareness of recycling; and

Whereas the contest is open to students for Grade Primary to Grade 12, with prizes given to the winners and their schools; and

Whereas Mikayla McNeil from Somerset and District Elementary was runner-up for the Grade 2 and Grade 3 water bottle design contest;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate Mikayla McNeil for her success in the Nova Scotia Recycles Contest and encourage her to go further with her commitment to improving our environment.

RESOLUTION NO. 183

By: Mr. Leo Glavine (Kings West)

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

Whereas the RRFB of Nova Scotia has initiated the Nova Scotia Recycles Contest to encourage students to create an awareness of recycling; and

Whereas the contest is open to students for Grade Primary to Grade 12, with prizes given to the winners and their schools; and

Whereas Krista Pulsifer from Kings County Christian School was runner-up for the Grade 7 to Grade 9 magazine collage contest;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate Krista Pulsifer for her success in the Nova Scotia Recycles Contest and encourage her to go further with her commitment to improving our environment.

RESOLUTION NO. 184

By: Mr. Leo Glavine (Kings West)

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

[Page 306]

Whereas Elvin Brydon has been employed with the Larsen's plant for over 42 years; and

Whereas Mr. Brydon has served the plant for longer than any other employee, his years of commitment have outlasted several of the original owners; and

Whereas Mr. Brydon has been a model employee throughout his long career with the Larsen's plant, his commitment has been unwavering to the extent that it took 23 years of service before he was forced to take a day of sick time;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House acknowledge the tremendous contribution Elvin Brydon has made to Larsen's plant and congratulate him on his longstanding service above and beyond the call of duty while wishing him many years of service.

RESOLUTION NO. 185

By: Mr. Leo Glavine (Kings West)

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

Whereas the province's game sanctuaries are made up of some of the largest blocks of public land in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas sanctuaries provide critical habitat for species at risk, such as the mainland moose and wood turtle; and

Whereas a coalition of five conservation groups representing local, provincial and national organizations have asked that these areas be protected from logging and road building;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Natural Resources call a moratorium on logging and road building in all provincial game sanctuaries and wildlife management areas.

RESOLUTION NO. 186

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Blue Horizon, a local area bluegrass band, launched their first CD at the Springhill Lamp Cabin Dining Room and Lounge on Saturday, March 18th; and

[Page 307]

Whereas Blue Horizon's band members, Joe Doucete, Kyle Legere, Larry Rushton, and Mary and Jessie Haley made a great impression with their debut of songs from their album, No More Tears; and

Whereas Blue Horizon was nominated the most promising band of the year at the Eastern Canada Bluegrass Music Awards, and that was agreed to by listeners all over the Maritimes and into the United States;

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

RESOLUTION NO. 187

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Kara Scott of Springhill, a member of Gus's Gals, is preparing for a trip to Montreal in August to walk the 60 kilometre trail to take part in the Weekend to End Breast Cancer event; and

Whereas Kara understands that everyone has someone who has been touched by breast cancer, her family included, and feels that making this commitment to train to walk 60 kilometres is a small sacrifice to help fight the cause; and

Whereas Kara is preparing by walking daily, using the new facilities at the Dr. Carson & Marion Murray Community Centre, where she's the marketing promotions and program manager;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Kara Scott on her dedication and commitment to such a very important cause and wish her all the best in this endeavour.

RESOLUTION NO. 188

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas the Advocate District Development Association is planning the first Advocate Harbour Bluegrass Festival; and

[Page 308]

Whereas the people of Advocate are firm believers that if you develop it, people will come and enjoy it; and

Whereas the association decided to hold the three-day festival beginning June 23, 2006, to try to attract more people to one of the best kept secrets in Nova Scotia, including Chignecto and Cape D'Or, featuring eight bands, music workshops and giant yard sales;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Advocate District Development Association on the planning of this outstanding event and are confident that the festival will be a huge success for the community.

RESOLUTION NO. 189

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Fred Arsenault, a member of the Springhill Fire Department, was honoured with the title of Most Fires by a Firefighter; and

Whereas On January 28, 2006, local dignitaries, friends, family and special guests gathered together to honour the firefighters of the Springhill Fire Department; and

Whereas Fred Arsenault is one of many dedicated firefighters who work many long, hard hours to protect the Town of Springhill and surrounding areas when needed;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Fred Arsenault on this outstanding achievement and wish him all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 190

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

[Page 309]

Whereas Ryan Austin, a Grade 7 student at Springhill High School, was awarded the title of Student's Choice winner, for the Springhill science fair; and

Whereas the young scientists had their projects judged by science students from Mount Allison University; and

Whereas the science fair was sponsored by the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Ryan Austin on winning Student's Choice Award in the science fair and wish him all the best in all future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 191

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Ashley Baker of Oxford, a second-year student at Nova Scotia Community College, Cumberland Campus, was the silver medal winner of the skills competition on March 8, 2006; and

Whereas the skills competition was hosted by Kingstec Campus this year; and

Whereas the skills competition is an incredible display of hands-on expertise, talent and determination which helps showcase the many promising futures to be found in trades and technology careers;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Ashley Baker on this outstanding achievement and wish him all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 192

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Carl Black Jr., a member of the Springhill Fire Department was honoured with the title of Most Work Nights by a Firefighter; and

[Page 310]

Whereas On January 28, 2006, local dignitaries, friends, family and special guests gathered together to honour the firefighters of the Springhill Fire Department; and

Whereas Carl Black Jr. is one of many dedicated firefighters who work many long hard hours to protect the Town of Springhill and surrounding areas when needed;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Carl Black Jr. on this outstanding achievement and wish him all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 193

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Josh Adshade, a Grade 8 student at Springhill High School, along with his partner, Isaac Smith, won first place for their hydraulic arm at their high school science fair; and

Whereas the young scientists had their projects judged by science students from Mount Allison University; and

Whereas the science fair was sponsored by the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Josh Adshade on winning first place in the science fair, and wish him all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 194

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Meagan Bowers, a Grade 7 student at Springhill High School, along with her partner, Morgan Porter, won the Judges Choice Award for their entry, Make More Free Throws with your Right or Left Eye, at their high school science fair; and

[Page 311]

Whereas the young scientists had their projects judged by science students from Mount Allison University; and

Whereas the science fair was sponsored by the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Meagan Bowers on wining Judges Choice in the science fair, and wish her all the best in future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 195

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Meagan Bowers and Morgan Porter received top honours by being given the award for Judges Choice at the Springhill Junior Senior High School Science Fair; and

Whereas Meagan and Morgan used a sports setting to prove a fact whereby they asked the subjects they studied to shoot basketball free throws by covering first their left eye and then their right eye to formulate the data to see which side was more dominant, or if in some subjects they were relatively equal; and

Whereas the judges were science students from Mount Allison University, making the science fair a huge success with over 70 different projects in a variety of different sciences;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Meagan Bowers and Morgan Porter on receiving this outstanding award, and wish them all the best in all future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 196

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Lewis Brown, a long-time resident of Parrsboro, was honoured by being chosen by Parrsboro Town Council to represent his community at the provincial volunteer appreciation banquet; and

[Page 312]

Whereas Lewis is a 34-year member of the Parrsboro Lions Club, donating much of his time and energy to the organization, particularly to the arena, as well he has been involved in the installation of Lifeline help alarms for seniors, and also helps with the Parrsboro and area food banks; and

Whereas Lewis Brown has always been involved in community volunteering such as Old Home Week events to driving a neighbour to a doctor's appointment or checking on a friend in need, and is an invaluable resident to his proud community of Parrsboro;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Lewis Brown on this well-deserved honour, and thank him for his hours of dedicated volunteer service to his community and to the Province of Nova Scotia.

RESOLUTION NO. 197

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Jamie Burke, a member of the Springhill Fire Department, was honoured for his 10 years of service; and

Whereas on January 28, 2006, local dignitaries, friends, family and special guests gathered together to honour the firefighters of the Springhill Fire Department; and

Whereas Jamie Burke is one of many dedicated firefighters who worked many long, hard hours to protect the Town of Springhill and surrounding areas when needed;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Jamie Burke on this outstanding achievement and wish him all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 198

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Mitch Calder of Springhill Regional High School held the honour of being crowned the new king at the coronation on February 21, 2006; and

[Page 313]

Whereas it was a night filled with pomp and pageantry as the annual coronation was held to crown a new king and queen who will reign over the kingdom that is known as Springhill High School; and

Whereas Mitch was also given the title of Mr. Congeniality, making his friends, family, teachers and community very proud of his accomplishments;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Mitch Calder on being crowned king of the Springhill High School and wish him all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 199

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Terry Chapman, a member of the Springhill Fire Department, was honoured for his five years of service; and

Whereas on January 28, 2006, local dignitaries, friends, family and special guests gathered together to honour the firefighters of the Springhill Fire Department; and

Whereas Terry Chapman is one of many dedicated firefighters who worked many long, hard hours to protect the Town of Springhill and surrounding areas when needed;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Terry Chapman on this outstanding achievement and wish him all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 200

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Allan Canning, a member of the Springhill Fire Department, was honoured on his retirement from the department; and

Whereas on January 28, 2006, local dignitaries, friends, family and special guests gathered together to honour the firefighters of the Springhill Fire Department; and

[Page 314]

Whereas Allan Canning is one of many dedicated firefighters who worked many long, hard hours to protect the Town of Springhill and surrounding areas when needed;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Allan Canning on this outstanding achievement and wish him all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 201

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Collingwood United Church celebrated its 100th Anniversary in 2006, where the congregation and members of the Masonic Lodge attended to take part in the church service; and

Whereas the Collingwood United Church was to opened in January, 1906, but due to an epidemic of diphtheria the first service was not held until February 4, 1906; and

Whereas several events will be held during 2006 in celebration, including an evening of music, anniversary services and much more;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Collingwood United Church on its 100th Anniversary and wish them many more years of service to the community.

RESOLUTION NO. 202

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Becky Connors, a Grade 11 student at Advocate District High School, has been racking up the academic accolades, including earning the right to compete at the provincial French-speaking level for the third straight year after finishing first at the regional level; and

Whereas Becky has competed in her local in-house competition at her own school, then a regional competition, and then to the provincials in French speaking where she placed first in both the school level and the regional levels this year; and

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Whereas Becky has now competed in the provincial French competition at Mount St. Vincent University in April, and she has also excelled at math, placing 14th out of a total of 1338 students in the region.

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

RESOLUTION NO. 203

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Justin Ferdinand of Wentworth was honoured for his volunteer efforts by being named Youth Volunteer of the Year for 2006; and

Whereas the presentation was made at a special dinner at the E.D. Fullerton Municipal Building at Upper Nappan on Wednesday, April 5th, 2006; and

Whereas the presentation was given to Justin in Council Chambers along with other local volunteers for their volunteer activities in Cumberland County.

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Justin Ferdinand on this outstanding achievement and thank him for his many hours of volunteer service to his county and to Province of Nova Scotia.

RESOLUTION NO. 204

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas employees of Foodland Grocery in Springhill made a difference in the lives of those less fortunate during Christmas 2005; and

Whereas the employees have worked on this project to get donations and toys for the needy at Christmas; and

Whereas all of the items donated will go to needy families in the area through the Toys for Tots organization.

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Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the employees of Foodland for this unselfish act of kindness during the holiday season and wish them the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 205

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Parrsboro Fundy Geological Museum Gem and Mineral Show was honoured by being presented with the Festival and Event Award; and

Whereas the gem & mineral show is an annual Parrsboro event that draws vendors and visitors to town by the hundreds each August; and

Whereas the award was presented by Central Nova Tourist Association's Second Vice President Terry Shaw, and was presented in memory of Marilyn Smith who was a guiding light for the CNTA.

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Parrsboro Fundy Geological Museum Gem & Mineral Show on receiving this prestigious award and wish them many more years of success.

RESOLUTION NO. 206

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas the Springhill High Golden Eagles made their school, families and community proud when they claimed the title of NSSAF Northumberland Region Division III girls basketball champions; and

Whereas the Golden Eagles, in winning its eighth regional crown in nine years, and its fifth in a row, downed the other teams by a long shot to earn another title; and

Whereas members of the championship team include Sam McCormick, Tela Varner, Marley Spence, Courtney Sauveaur, Lacey Rushton, Kathryn MacDonald, Tiffany Hunter, Patti Gilroy, Sara Laurie, Hilary Burbine and Teesha Symes.

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Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Springhill High Golden Eagles on this outstanding achievement and wish them continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 207

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Troy Henwood, owner and operator of Cumberland Satellite is the one person you need to call if you're looking for satellite signals and to tame the growing world of services that are running wild in the sky; and

Whereas Troy has roped his way to the county's leading installation specialist, so much so that his former employers allowed him to take over the satellite installation division of the Product Finder's Factory Outlet and make it his own; and

Whereas Troy has years of experience and training in the business of satellite television, high-speed internet and installation.

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Troy Henwood on his successful business and wish him many years of success ahead of him.

RESOLUTION NO. 208

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Adele Hunter of Springhill Regional High School held the honour of being crowned the new queen at the coronation on February 21st, 2006; and

Whereas it was a night filled with pomp and pageantry as the annual coronation was held to crown a new king and queen that will reign over the kingdom that is known as Springhill High School; and

Whereas Adele is a well-admired and respected student who has made her friends, family, teachers, and community very proud;

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Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Adele Hunter on being crowned queen of the Springhill High School and wish her all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 209

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Brittany Cotton of Oxford was honoured by being picked as one of 20 Chignecto-Central Regional School Board students chosen to attend a leadership camp there; and

Whereas Brittany, a 17 year-old student, was ecstatic when she heard that she was picked to go, and is excited about her chance to learn some Spanish and attend tours of museums, city hall and other government buildings, archaeological sites, and many other educational trips that are planned; and

Whereas Brittany Cotton is certainly a deserving student, who, we are assured, will set a fine example for her fellow students, family and community.

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Brittany Cotton on this outstanding achievement and wish her all the best in all future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 210

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Ed Dobson, a member of the Springhill Fire Department, was honoured with the title of Most Fires & Most Worked Nights by a Fill-In; and

Whereas on January 28th, 2006, local dignitaries, friends, family and special guests gathered together to honour the firefighters of the Springhill Fire Department; and

Whereas Ed Dobson is one of many dedicated firefighters who works many long hard hours to protect the town of Springhill and surrounding areas when needed.

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Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Ed Dobson on his outstanding achievement and wish him all the best in the future.