Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

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21 septembre 2017

HANSARD 01/02-106

Commemorating the Golden Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, 2002

HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY

DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS

Speaker: Honourable Murray Scott

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

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

Annual subscriptions available from the Office of the Speaker.

Second Session

WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2002

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Law Amendments Committee, Hon. M. Baker 10110
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Lt. Gov. - Volunteer Firefighters: Protection - Communiqué,
Hon. R. Russell 10111
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 3893, Tourism & Culture - Rendez-vous Can. 2002 (05/18-22/02),
Hon. Rodney MacDonald 10111
Vote - Affirmative 10112
Res. 3894, SMU: Bicentennial Postage Stamp - Congrats.,
Hon. J. Purves 10112
Vote - Affirmative 10112
Res. 3895, Tourism & Culture - Gaelic & Hist. Soc. of Glendale:
Gaelic Culture - Preservation Congrats., Hon. Rodney MacDonald 10112
Vote - Affirmative 10113
Res. 3896, Nakile Home for Special Care: Occ. Health & Safety
Workplace Achievement Award - Congrats., Hon. N. LeBlanc 10113
Vote - Affirmative 10114
Res. 3897, Scott, Dr. Jacquelyn Thayer - UCCB Pres.: Retirement -
Congrats., Hon. J. Purves 10114
Vote - Affirmative 10115
NOTICES OF MOTION:^
Res. 3898, Leg. - Free Votes: Importance - Realize, Mr. D. Dexter 10116
Res. 3899, MacIsaac, Mary: C.B. Health Care Provider of the Yr. -
Congrats., Mr. Manning MacDonald 10117
Vote - Affirmative 10117
Res. 3900, Liverpool Int'l. Fest. Soc.: Success - Applaud,
Mr. K. Morash 10118
Vote - Affirmative 10118
Res. 3901, Galarneau, Johanne/Macraie, Joanne - DSU: Positions -
Congrats., Mr. K. Deveaux 10118
Vote - Affirmative 10119
Res. 3902, Currie, Tony - C.B. Sport Hall of Fame: Induction -
Congrats., Mr. B. Boudreau 10119
Vote - Affirmative 10120
Res. 3903, Sports - Prov. Black Basketball Assoc.: Success - Applaud,
Mr. D. Hendsbee 10120
Vote - Affirmative 10121
Res. 3904, Premier - Oldfield Breakfast/Westray Mem. Serv.:
Attendance - Priorities, Mr. F. Corbett 10121
Res. 3905, Koehoorn, Teena: Book Release - Congrats., Mrs. M. Baillie 10122
Vote - Affirmative 10122
Res. 3906, Little, Angie - RMC: Graduation - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 10122
Vote - Affirmative 10123
Res. 3907, Kenney, Dustin - Tri-Co. Dist. Sch. Bd. Heritage Fair:
Win - Congrats., Mr. C. O'Donnell 10123
Vote - Affirmative 10124
Res. 3908, First Nations/C.B. Mun. Leaders - Bras d'Or Lakes:
Pollution Study - Commend, Mr. C. Clarke 10124
Vote - Affirmative 10125
Res. 3909, Sport - C.B. Sport Hall of Fame: Inductees - Congrats.,
Mr. B. Boudreau 10125
Vote - Affirmative 10126
Res. 3910, Charlton, Ashley - Le Concours D'Art Oratoire:
Gold Medal - Congrats., Mr. F. Chipman 10126
Vote - Affirmative 10127
Res. 3911, Kellock, Trevor: Lt. Gov. Quinn Award - Congrats.,
Mr. J. DeWolfe 10127
Vote - Affirmative 10127
Res. 3912, Int'l. Day of Families (04/15/02) - Recognize, Dr. J. Smith 10128
Vote - Affirmative 10128
Res. 3913, SMU: Bicentennial Postage Stamp - Commend,
Mr. M. Samson 10128
Vote - Affirmative 10129
HOUSE RECESSED AT 2:37 P.M. 10129
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 2:45 P.M. 10130
SPEAKER'S RULING; Disagreement of facts between members.
(Pt. of Priv. by Mr. Manning MacDonald [Hansard p.9845]) 10130
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 1065, Premier - Campaign for Fairness: Expenditures - Explain,
Mr. D. Dexter 10131
No. 1066, Pet. Dir. - N.S. Gas: Extra-Prov. Decisions - Explain,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 10132
No. 1067, Camp Hill Med. Ctr. - Vol./Vet. Meetings: Termination -
Explain, Ms. Maureen MacDonald 10133
No. 1068, Pet. Dir. - Sable Proj.: Fredericton Hearings -
Intervener Name, Mr. Manning MacDonald 10135
No. 1069, Environ. & Lbr. - Mar. Paper Prods.: Bunker C Leak -
Awareness, Mr. J. Pye 10136
No. 1070, Environ. & Lbr. - Sewage Mgt. Discussion Paper: Release -
Time Frame, Mr. R. MacKinnon 10138
No. 1071, Educ. - Special-Needs Students: Services - Lack Explain,
Mr. D. Dexter 10139
No. 1072, Health: Anna. Valley Dist. Health Auth. - Audit Results,
Dr. J. Smith 10140
No. 1073, Educ. - Sullivan, Jack: Bankruptcy - Recovery Details,
Mr. K. Deveaux 10141
No. 1074, Fin. - Written-Off Assets: Budget Balancing - Usage,
Mr. D. Downe 10142
No. 1075, Econ. Dev. - Valley Vista Golf Course: Gov't. (N.S.) -
Takeover Confirm, Mr. H. Epstein 10144
No. 1076, Agric. & Fish. - Agric. Specialist: C.B. - Budgeting Confirm,
Mr. B. Boudreau 10145
No. 1077, Econ. Dev. - PEP: Budget Cuts - Explain, Mr. H. Epstein 10146
No. 1078, Prem. - Wentworth Pk.: Operations - Continue,
Mr. K. MacAskill 10147
No. 1079, Tobacco Control Leg. - Free Vote: Prem. - Allow,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 10148
No. 1080, Environ. & Lbr. - Fin. Resources: AG's Concerns - Action,
Mr. R. MacKinnon 10150
No. 1081, Health - Care: System - Privatization Explain,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 10151
No. 1082, Environ. & Lbr. - Prov. Energy Ventures: Approval Process -
Details, Mr. P. MacEwan 10153
No. 1083, Pet. Dir. - NEB Application (N.B.): Response -
Dismissiveness, Mr. J. Holm 10154
No. 1084, Educ. - Can. Student Loans Act: Application - Equality,
Mr. M. Samson 10155
No. 1085, Educ. - UCCB: Layoffs - Prevention Details, Mr. K. Deveaux 10156
No. 1986, Health - Midwifery Leg.: Drafting - Confirm, Dr. J. Smith 10158
OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS:
MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
Res. 3835, PACY Working Group: Recommendations -
Implement, Mr. B. Boudreau 10158
Mr. B. Boudreau 10159
Hon. Rodney MacDonald 10161
Mr. W. Estabrooks 10164
Res. 3824, Health - Smoke-Free for Life Curriculum:
High Schools - Time Frame, Dr. J. Smith 10167
Dr. J. Smith 10167
Hon. J. Muir 10170
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 10172
Res. 3832, Educ. - Schools: Physical Activity - Mandate,
Mr. M. Samson 10175
Mr. M. Samson 10175
Mr. B. Taylor 10178
Hon. J. Purves 10180
Mr. K. Deveaux 10181
H.O. 1, Stands 10185
H.O. 2, Stands 10187
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Sports - Pictou Co. Sports Heritage Hall of Fame: History -
Preservation:
Mr. J. DeWolfe 10191
Mr. W. Estabrooks 10193
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Thur., May 16th at 12:00 noon 10196
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 3914, BLT Rails to Trails: Ridgecliff Mid. Sch.: Contributions -
Acknowledge, Mr. W. Estabrooks 10197
Res. 3915, CAF: Wartime Sacrifice - Remember, Mr. C. Clarke 10197
Res. 3916, Reeves, Jodey - Le Concours D'Art Oratoire:
Silver Medal - Congrats., Mr. M. Parent 10198
Res. 3917, MacLeod, Meghan - Le Concours D'Art Oratoire:
Silver Medal - Congrats., Mr. M. Parent 10198
Res. 3918, Bridgetown - Dev.: Continuation - Success Wish,
Mr. F. Chipman 10199

[Page 10109]

HALIFAX, WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2002

Fifty-eighth General Assembly

Second Session

2:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Murray Scott

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

Mr. Brooke Taylor, Mr. Jerry Pye, Mr. David Wilson

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I would like to table for the House information that was identified and requested, I think during our Opposition Day in debate of Bill No. 66, actually from the honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley. I agreed that I would submit this information. I want to tell the member and the House that the number I used, I think it was 98 per cent . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: No, 99 per cent.

MR. MACDONELL: . . . 99 per cent, was wrong. For clear-cutting on Crown land, it is 98 per cent and for clear-cutting across the province, it is 96.4 per cent, and actually the number I used as well, as 100,000 acres per year, was wrong. It's over that. I didn't do the math but if members want to, it would come out to over 100,000 acres a year that are clear-cut. The source of this information is the National Forestry Database Program of the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers. So I will table that.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. It's not a point of order, but it is certainly the information the honourable member agreed to table in this House and he has fulfilled his requirement. Thank you very much.

10109

[Page 10110]

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I would like to indicate to the honourable member for Hants East that we are very pleased that he tabled that information and accept his apology. (Laughter)

MR. SPEAKER: I must have missed something in the words across the floor.

Order, please. Before we begin the daily routine, the subject for this evening's late debate was submitted by the honourable member for Pictou East:

Therefore be it resolved that members applaud the efforts of those in Pictou County who are ensuring, through our Sports Heritage Hall of Fame, that our sports history is kept alive as inspiration to our youth.

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

We will begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, as Chairman of the Committee on Law Amendments, I am directed to report that the committee has met and considered the following bills:

Bill No. 110 - Provincial Fossil Act.

Bill No. 113 - Agriculture Administration Amendment (2002) Act.

Bill No. 119 - Canadian Information Processing Society of Nova Scotia Act.

Bill No. 134 - Volunteer Fire Services Act.

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

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

[Page 10111]

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a communiqué from the Lieutenant Governor with regard to An Act to Recognize Volunteer Firefighters and Protect Volunteer Fire Departments. I think, as all members are aware, there is a contingency there of $100,000 in case of an accidental death of a volunteer firefighter.

MR. SPEAKER: The document is tabled.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 3893

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

Whereas from May 18th to May 22nd, the Atlantic Canada Tourism Partnership will host Rendez-vous Canada 2002, this country's premier tourism marketplace; and

Whereas this three-day marketplace combines business negotiations with specially designed tours that give some 1,500 delegates, including international media, first-hand experience of what this region has to offer; and

Whereas Rendez-vous Canada brings together major buyers from all over the world with Canadian tourism suppliers and provides opportunities for expansion in a fiercely competitive marketplace;

Therefore be it resolved that all members wish our tourism sellers the best of luck during this marketplace and extend a warm welcome to all international tourism buyers and media.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 10112]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 3894

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

Whereas Saint Mary's University is celebrating its bicentennial during 2002; and

Whereas artwork for a postage stamp to mark the institution's milestone was unveiled at a ceremony this morning; and

Whereas the honour befits Saint Mary's University's two centuries of history, renowned service to students and academic excellence;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Saint Mary's University for receiving this distinctive commemoration.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Tourism and Culture.

RESOLUTION NO. 3895

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

[Page 10113]

Whereas the Gaelic and Historical Society of Glendale is pleased to present Cape Breton, The Island on Sunday, May 19th at 7:30 p.m.; and

Whereas this event explores Cape Breton Island through the photographs of Wally Ellison, accompanied by Gaelic songs of Cape Breton sung by Mary Jane Lamond; and

Whereas this event is being held in honour of Gaelic Awareness Month;

Therefore be it resolved that all members congratulate the Gaelic and Historical Society of Glendale and its many volunteers for their continued efforts to celebrate and preserve Gaelic culture 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 Finance.

RESOLUTION NO. 3896

L'HON. NEIL LEBLANC: M. le Président, à une date ultérieure, j'ai l'intention de proposer l'adoption de la résolution suivante:

Attendu que le 10 mai dernier, le Ministère de l'Environnement et du Travail a décerné à 20 entreprises de la Nouvelle-Écosse un prix qui reconnaissait leur accomplissement envers le maintien de la santé et de la sécurité en milieu de travail; et

Attendu que Nakile Home for Special Care dans la municipalité d'Argyle était un des récipiendaires de ce prix; et

Attendu que ce prix est attribué à des entreprises qui se sont placées aux premiers rangs dans la tarification statistique de l'indemnisation pour accident du travail dans leurs comtés et est une reconnaissance de leur succès dans la prévention des blessures en milieu de travail;

[Page 10114]

Qu'il soit résolu que cette Assemblée transmette ses félicitations à Nakile Home for Special Care, son personnel et ses administrateurs pour le prix mérité et pour leur engagement envers la sécurité en milieu de travail.

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

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

Whereas on May 10th, the Department of Environment and Labour recognized 20 Nova Scotia companies with the Occupational Health and Safety Workplace Achievement Award; and

Whereas the Nakile Home for Special Care in the Municipality of Argyle was amongst those honoured; and

Whereas this award was given to companies who have received the top workers' compensation experience ratings in their counties and is a recognition of their success in preventing injuries in the workplace;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Nakile Home for Special Care, its staff and its administrators for receiving this award and thank them for their dedication to workplace safety.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 3897

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

[Page 10115]

Whereas Dr. Jacquelyn Thayer-Scott is leaving her position as President and Vice-Chancellor of the University College of Cape Breton; and

Whereas Dr. Scott has served as university president since 1993; and

Whereas the University College of Cape Breton benefited from her leadership and enjoyed many successes during her tenure;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Dr. Scott for guiding UCCB forward and wish her well in future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[2:15 p.m.]

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 on an introduction.

MR. CECIL O'DONNELL: Mr. Speaker, in the east gallery today we have visiting with us students from Hillcrest Academy in Shelburne. Also accompanying those we have teachers Allan MacLachlan, Joan Locke, Annette Mayer, Nancy Bower, Cheryl Rossetti and Joyce Dexter. I would ask that they rise and receive the traditional warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

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

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

[Page 10116]

RESOLUTION NO. 3898

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

Whereas on June 17, 1999, after he defeated the Liberal budget and hours before a general election, the now Premier declared that anti-tobacco legislation was a matter of conscience and a free vote for Conservative MLAs; and

Whereas the Premier campaigned with a platform commitment to free votes by his MLAs; and

Whereas Conservative MLAs have confirmed what the record shows, that the Premier has never again declared a free vote of his MLAs on a matter of conscience;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier should realize that matters of conscience are important every day, not just on the eve of an election campaign.

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 Dartmouth North on an introduction.

MR. JERRY PYE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I want to thank the House for giving me the opportunity to have this introduction. Today there is a resident from Dartmouth North, Mr. Walter Turner. He's an avid . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please; order, please. The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

MR. PYE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I just want to say today in the west gallery there is a resident from Dartmouth North by the name of Mr. Walter Turner. He's an avid individual who watches Legislative TV on television each and every day. This is his first trip to the Legislature. He's going to watch the proceedings of the Legislature today. I would hope the House will give him a warm welcome. Mr. Walter Turner, you can stand and receive the welcome of the House. (Applause)

[Page 10117]

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

RESOLUTION NO. 3899

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

Whereas Mrs. Mary MacIsaac is this year's recipient of the annual Cape Breton Health Care Provider of the Year Award; and

Whereas Mrs. MacIsaac has worked as a health care provider for over 40 years and currently holds the position of Diabetes Educator at the Diabetes Education Centre at the Northside General Hospital; and

Whereas the award recognized individuals who have made a significant contribution to the delivery of health services with the Cape Breton district over the past 12-month period;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Mrs. Mary MacIsaac on her award and recognize the invaluable role she plays in our health care system.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

I would like to bring the honourable members' attention to some special guests who are in the Speaker's Gallery today. We have with us 15 Grade 10 Canadian History course students from Oxford High School. They are led by their teacher, Mr. Keith Hunter, and Helen Read and Cathy Bragg-Gilmore of the Oxford area. These students are here today to tour the Legislature, as well as to have a meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister, the Honourable John Manley. I would also like to mention to members that in amongst the students is Meghan Bragg. Many members will remember a very admirable member of this Legislature, Mr. Ross Bragg, of a previous government and a minister of the Province of Nova Scotia. Meghan is with the group today. I would ask the honourable members to give them a warm welcome, and I would ask them to please rise. (Applause)

[Page 10118]

Thank you, and we hope our special guests enjoy the Legislature today.

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 3900

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

Whereas today the curtain rises on the Liverpool International Theatre Festival, a much-anticipated event among amateur performers and theatre-goers alike; and

Whereas now an established biennial event, the festival hosts amateur theatre companies from all over the world who want the opportunity to perform as well as the constructive atmosphere of the workshops and critiques that the festival offers; and

Whereas originally founded by the Liverpool International Festival Society in co-operation with the Nova Scotia Drama League, this year's event is chaired by Murray Kirkpatrick with Eva Moore as artistic producer;

Therefore be it resolved that this House applaud the renowned success of the Liverpool International Theatre Festival and wish its organizers and participants, from near and far, another successful run.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 3901

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

[Page 10119]

Whereas the Dalhousie Student Union is a body elected to defend the rights of students on and off campus and to promote accessible and quality education for its members; and

Whereas the Dalhousie Student Union recently held elections for executive positions to represent the 14,000 students attending the university; and

Whereas Johanne Galarneau, who excelled as a Page in this Chamber of the Legislature, has been elected to the position of president and another of our stellar Pages, Joanne Macrae, has been selected as Vice-President of Student Advocacy for the Dalhousie Student Union;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate former Page Johanne Galarneau on her new position as president, and current Page Joanne Macrae who takes up the reins as Vice-President of the Dalhousie Student Union, and extend best wishes to both for much success in their futures.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 3902

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

Whereas Tony Currie was inducted into the Cape Breton Sport Hall of Fame; and

Whereas the Bras d'Or native played more than 10 seasons of professional hockey in North America and Europe; and

Whereas during his eight seasons in the NHL, Mr. Currie had a total of 92 goals and 119 assists in 290 games;

[Page 10120]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Mr. Tony Currie as a new inductee into the Cape Breton Sport Hall of Fame and acknowledge his commitment to the game of hockey.

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. 3903

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

Whereas this year marks the 30th Anniversary of the Provincial Black Basketball Association's Invitational Tournament, possibly the biggest cultural event for the Black communities of Nova Scotia and the Maritimes; and

Whereas the tournament, founded by Bryan Darrell, was first intended to unite the Maritime Black communities, but has surpassed this goal with over 300 players and 30 teams gearing up to play this year, including entries from as far away as Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa; and

Whereas at this tournament, basketball is a vehicle for drawing people together and the weekend focuses on camaraderie and good sportsmanship as well as pressure-packed, competitive basketball;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House applaud the success of the Provincial Black Basketball Association's tournament and wish the organizers and each participant an excellent tournament with good competition and lots of fun.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 10121]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 3904

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

Whereas neither the Premier nor any member of his Progressive Conservative Cabinet joined the hundreds of Nova Scotians who attended the May 9th memorial service on the 10th Anniversary of the Westray disaster; and

Whereas the Premier and four of his Cabinet colleagues today attended a breakfast promoting the Caldwell Partners executive recruitment firm; and

Whereas at this breakfast, the Premier's former chief of staff was honoured for her achievement in winning two prestigious patronage appointments;

Therefore be it resolved that this Premier should explain why he considers a breakfast honour for Karen Oldfield to be so much more important than the Westray memorial service.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

MRS. MURIEL BAILLIE: With your permission, Mr. Speaker, I would like to do an introduction before I read my resolution, an introduction of someone who's very near and dear to my heart, it's my grandson, Cory Baillie from River John. He's a Grade 10 student from West Pictou High School and he's down job-shadowing me today. So rise, Cory, and receive the welcome of the House. (Applause)

[Page 10122]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 3905

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

Whereas at the young age of 19, Teena Koehoorn left her home and family in Holland behind to make a new life in Canada; and

Whereas Teena did not lose touch as she and her mother wrote faithfully over many years, ever reminding Teena of the stories of her homeland and of another life; and

Whereas after many years Teena read, yet again, the letters her mother wrote, and feeling the depth of her mother's love she was inspired to commit her memories to paper and write Not Known: Memories Inspired by My Mother's Letters;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate Teena Koehoorn on the release of her book and consider the bonds of a mother and daughter, which was its inspiration.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 3906

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

Whereas Sir John A. Macdonald High School graduate Angie Little received a full scholarship to the Royal Military College of Canada; and

[Page 10123]

Whereas during her four years at RMC, Angie played varsity soccer and rugby, she tutored at Kingston Penitentiary, and she held positions as choirmaster and section commander; and

Whereas Angie Little graduated on May 13th with a mechanical engineering degree from RMC;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Sir John A. Macdonald High School alumnus Angie Little on her graduation from the Royal Military College of Canada.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham on an introduction.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw the attention of members of the House to guests who are visiting with us today in the Speaker's Gallery. We have two guests, Dianne Hache, who is the President of the Parent Action Committee for Policy Change on the Issue of Tuition Agreements and with her is Margo Kerr, who also is a member of PACTA, but also happens to be the chair and the founder of the Titz'n Glitz breast cancer fundraiser that's been so wildly popular and successful. I would ask both of these guests to rise and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We welcome our guests to the gallery today and we hope you enjoy your stay with us.

The honourable member for Shelburne.

RESOLUTION NO. 3907

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

[Page 10124]

Whereas Dustin Kenney, a Grade 7 student at Barrington Municipal High School, was the overall winner of the first district-wide Heritage Fair sponsored by the Tri-County District School Board; and

Whereas Dustin's project was on the Seaview Motel, where an ancestor had worked as manager for many years and drew upon interviews, photos and family stories to provide the information for his prize-winning entry; and

Whereas Dustin has also won the opportunity to compete in the National Heritage Fair in July in St. John's, Newfoundland;

Therefore be it resolved that all members congratulate Dustin Kenney, winner of the first district-wide Heritage Fair, and wish him well as he travels to Newfoundland with his project to compete in the national event.

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.

Order, please. It's very difficult for myself or for the Clerks to hear the resolutions being read. I would ask the honourable members if they have to talk, to take their conversations outside please.

The honourable member for Cape Breton North.

RESOLUTION NO. 3908

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

Whereas First Nations and municipal leaders from across Cape Breton are planning to make use of the Island's youth in their efforts to remediate the Bras d'Or Lakes; and

[Page 10125]

Whereas untreated sewage from boats and homes with malfunctioning septic systems has led to an increasing number of areas being closed to shellfish harvesting; and

Whereas with training, young people will collect data about the lakes and then become spokespeople in the schools, where they will impress upon other youth the importance of keeping the Bras d'Or Lakes clean;

Therefore be it resolved that this House commend the First Nations and municipal leaders in Cape Breton for striking a partnership to address pollution in the Bras d'Or Lakes, and wish them success with their plan to provide important skills to young people while addressing a problem which is important now and for the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[2:30 p.m.]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 3909

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

Whereas six athletes, two bodybuilders and two teams were inducted into the Cape Breton Sport Hall of Fame; and

Whereas inductees include Tony Currie, Les Gillis, the late Vince Gouthro, Norman Ferguson, Donald MacVicar, Kathy MacCormack-Spurr, Cliff Mader, Pat Shetler, the 1952-53 Northside Franklins hockey team, and the 1966-67 Point Edward Junior A fastball team; and

Whereas the awards were presented during the 5th annual Cape Breton Sport Heritage Awards Dinner at the Marconi campus;

[Page 10126]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate all inductees into the Cape Breton Sport Hall of Fame and recognize their outstanding contribution to the sporting 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 Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 3910

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

Whereas speech festivals and public speaking contests promote improved oratory skills and help students to become more comfortable with public delivery of speeches; and

Whereas on Saturday, May 4th, Ashley Charlton was one of three students from the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board region to win a provincial championship medal at the provincial French public speaking contest, Le Concours D'Art Oratoire held at Mount Saint Vincent University and sponsored by the Canadian Parents for French; and

Whereas Ashley Charlton, a student from Bridgetown Regional High School, was the recipient of the Gold Medal, Grade 7/8 Extended Core;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Ashley Charlton and the other students participating from the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board on their achievements at Le Concours D'Art Oratoire on May 4th.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 10127]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 3911

MR. JAMES DEWOLFE: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my colleague, the member for Pictou Centre, the Premier, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas 18-year-old Trevor Kellock of Lourdes has an established reputation as a top bagpiper player; and

Whereas Mr. Kellock, competing on behalf of the 219 New Glasgow army cadets, recently won the Lieutenant Governor Quinn Award as the top cadet pipe band musician in Canada; and

Whereas this accomplishment is a source of pride for the entire cadet organization in Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Trevor Kellock on winning the Lieutenant Governor Quinn Award, and wish him and all the Nova Scotia cadets the very best fortune as they represent our province in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

[Page 10128]

RESOLUTION NO. 3912

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

Whereas United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed May 15th of every year as the International Day of Families; and

Whereas the Government of Nova Scotia has a key role to play in carrying out specific programs concerning the family; and

Whereas programs shall seek to increase awareness, understanding and promote policies that improve the position and well-being of the family;

Therefore be it resolved that the special unit of life that we call 'family' be recognized today, and lest we forget the importance of family, this Assembly recognize today, May 15th, by celebrating the International Day of Families.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 3913

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

Whereas Saint Mary's University is celebrating 200 years of excellence in academics and community service beginning this year; and

Whereas Ron Lewis at the Patrick Power Library at Saint Mary's initiated discussions with Canada Post for the purpose of issuing a stamp; and

[Page 10129]

Whereas Saint Mary's University will be recognized with a commemorative stamp unveiled this morning by the Honourable John Manley, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister responsible for the Canada Post Corporation;

Therefore be it resolved that Saint Mary's University be commended for their success with Canada Post, and that members of the House look to using the stamp in the upcoming year bringing recognition to Saint Mary's University.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, there's a gentleman who normally occupies the front benches who's absent and he missed a week of Question Period. I don't know if we have a stand-in, if we have a new acting Premier or not, but I am wondering if (Interruption) He obviously has as much or more support than the gentleman who used to occupy that seat. I'm wondering though if it's possible that Oral Question Period could be delayed until the Premier actually arrives to answer some questions?

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, we are quite willing to recess temporarily. The Premier's meeting a minister downstairs and I would imagine they should be finished in five minutes. Do you want to recess for five minutes or carry on?

MR. SPEAKER: We will recess until 2:45 p.m.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[2:37 p.m. The House recessed.]

[Page 10130]

[2:45 p.m. The House reconvened.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Shelburne on an introduction.

MR. CECIL O'DONNELL: Mr. Speaker, in the east gallery we have another group of students from Steven Walsh's Grade 6 class from Hillcrest Academy, again in Shelburne. Also, we have accompanying these students, five parent chaperones. I would ask that they rise and receive the traditional welcome of the House. (Applause)

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

SPEAKER'S RULING: Disagreement of facts between members. (Pt. of Priv. by Mr. Manning MacDonald [Hansard p.9845])

Order, please. Just before we go to Question Period, I would like to give a ruling on a previous issue that was brought before this House. On Wednesday, May 8, 2002, the honourable member for Cape Breton South rose on a point of privilege. He stated that the Minister of Finance said, "Today the minister told this House, during Question Period, that I endorsed this . . .", act, and he was referring to, at that time, a 10 per cent tax cut, ". . . while our Leader was in the gallery opposing that position." The honourable member for Cape Breton South stated that he made no such reference in regard to his Leader, he was, in fact, in another part of the province. The honourable Minister of Finance did clarify his statement by saying that "if the Liberal Party Leader was not in the gallery, for that I will correct my . . ." statement, which he did at that time.

I have had an opportunity to review Hansard and I do not believe there is a prima facie case of privilege and the issue brought forward by the honourable member for Cape Breton South is, in fact, a disagreement of facts between two members and I am so ruling.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Question Period will begin at 2:46 p.m. and end at 4:16 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

[Page 10131]

PREMIER - CAMPAIGN FOR FAIRNESS:

EXPENDITURES - EXPLAIN

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, every day the cost of the Campaign for Fairness mounts. Today, my office has uncovered more outrageous costs paid by the Premier for his failed Campaign for Fairness. I will table documents I obtained which show the law firm of Patterson Palmer Hunt Murphy was paid $78,000 for work on the Campaign for Fairness. Once again, the contract was handed out without going to tender. I want to ask the Premier, why are you continuing to waste taxpayers' money on a program that the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs calls a mistake and flawed from the very start?

HON. JOHN HAMM (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, I do welcome the opportunity to respond to this question because in recent weeks I have had an opportunity to receive a private endorsement for a review by the Prime Minister of Canada of issues surrounding the Campaign for Fairness. On Monday of this week I, as well, had a conversation with federal Minister Dhaliwal who, as well, agreed that we will go forward with a review of the accord including a review of the cost-sharing of revenues from the offshore with the federal government. As well, yesterday, with federal Minister Dion, he agreed that this review would go on. So the Campaign for Fairness has now achieved what it was looking for all the way, a review of the revenue sharing with Ottawa.

MR. DEXTER: You know, Mr. Speaker, I don't think the taxpayers of Nova Scotia can afford very many more of the Premier's successes at that rate. First, Roland Martin got his untendered contracts for hundreds of thousands of dollars and now we learn the Premier has shelled out another $78,000 for untendered legal work. The federal government has announced that it doesn't even want to talk to you about the campaign anymore. It said it's a mistake and it's part of the past. I want to ask the Premier, today will you table the document showing exactly how much this failed campaign has cost Nova Scotia and exactly what concessions, if any, you have obtained from the federal government? Will you table those documents here today?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, what a disappointment it must be to the member opposite when he asks a question about a failed campaign only to learn in the answer that the campaign has succeeded in achieving what it set out to achieve in the first place. But an even greater disappointment must be the disappointment of Nova Scotians to see a political Party that would choose to politicize an activity of government that could, if it is successful, provide huge benefits for the people of Nova Scotia. They are more interested in the politics than they are in representing the interests of the people of Nova Scotia.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, this falls into the same category as land for sale in Florida and buying the Brooklyn Bridge. The Premier has a serious problem on his hands. He got zero concessions from Ottawa and he spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on untendered contracts that he handed out by himself. So I want to challenge the Premier to

[Page 10132]

settle this debate by asking him immediately to call in the Auditor General to conduct a review of his failed Campaign for Fairness.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the federal Leader of the New Democratic Party is on record as supporting the Campaign for Fairness. Where is the acting Leader of the provincial New Democratic Party? Do they support Nova Scotia? Do they support increased revenues of the offshore or are they simply interested in trying to curry some sort of political advantage in this question?

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

PET. DIR. - N.S. GAS: EXTRA-PROV. DECISIONS - EXPLAIN

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier. Last week the Premier, the part-time Minister responsible for the Petroleum Directorate and 14 bureaucrats went to Houston for what now appears to be nothing more than a vacation, because nothing was accomplished over there and Nova Scotians have no idea what occurred with this large delegation that took the time to vacation in the sun over there. We do know from the Premier's speech at that event that he considered Nova Scotia and Newfoundland to be a team. Well, we know who's on top of that team. All we have to do is remember the Laurentian Sub-basin. Roger Grimes, Premier Lord and the Governor of Maine are discussing the future of Nova Scotia gas, our gas. My question to the Premier is, why are you, Mr. Premier, allowing other provinces and states to decide what they will do with our gas?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I will refer to the Minister responsible for the Petroleum Directorate, who is in charge of the gas. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

HON. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, certainly Nova Scotia was well represented in Houston. I will remind the member opposite that when he was a part-time minister, he in fact participated in that program as well, so I think he saw the benefits then. In terms of the conference that's occurring in New Brunswick, we are represented by staff. In fact, these conferences occur regularly. The honourable member opposite would say we shouldn't attend or we should attend; it would be nice if they made up their minds.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: The fact of the matter is, Mr. Speaker, that this Premier is the First Minister of this province and it's his responsibility to tell Nova Scotians why he was not at this meeting and what he's going to do for Nova Scotians with our gas, not the part-time minister of the energy department over there, who hasn't got a clue about what's going on nor does he care. My supplementary is to the Premier again. Newfoundland has its own agenda for the Laurentian Sub-basin, and the Governor of Maine wants to burn

[Page 10133]

our gas but not import our electricity. By skipping out of this high-level conference, Nova Scotia, Mr. Premier, is the laughing stock of Canada. Mr. Premier, why are you not asserting Nova Scotia's role as an energy leader instead of following the lead of others?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, it's interesting that in one breath, the member opposite is talking about the fact that we took a strong delegation to the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, and in the second breath he is saying, but why didn't you take a delegation to this particular conference? The member opposite has to make up his mind, do we go or do we stay? Clearly, we will select where we can make the most impact and that's where we will show up.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, when I asked that question in the House yesterday, the Premier's answer as to why he wasn't at this particular meeting was that he was here in Nova Scotia and couldn't be there. What an answer for the First Minister of this province when other people are dictating what we're going to do in the future with Nova Scotia gas and we don't even have a representative at the table. That person over there, the Premier of this province, is responsible for the economic development of this province and it's an affront to Nova Scotians that that Premier was not at that meeting protecting Nova Scotia's interests. My final supplementary to the Premier, why won't you, Mr. Premier, act like a Premier and defend the interests of Nova Scotia in this very important developmental issue for this province?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I refer that to the minister responsible for the Petroleum Directorate.

MR. BALSER: Mr. Speaker, I remind the member opposite and all members of this House that there are regulatory bodies in place to ensure that there is an open process that hear various issues and various concerns. Any decisions about Nova Scotia gas will involve a hearing by the National Energy Board.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

CAMP HILL MED. CTR. - VOL./VET. MEETINGS:

TERMINATION - EXPLAIN

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, for 13 years volunteers have been providing a weekly gathering for veterans at the Camp Hill Medical Centre.

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

[Page 10134]

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: For 13 years, volunteers have been providing a weekly gathering for veterans at Camp Hill. Every Wednesday, veterans and their guests gather for a few tunes, a cup of tea and companionship. Initially, 10 to 12 people attended these gatherings, but over the years they've grown to over 100 people in attendance. After 13 years of dedicated service, these volunteers were informed in a letter from the Capital District Health Authority that their services are no longer needed. No explanation was provided. I want to ask the Minister of Health, will he provide these volunteers and veterans with an explanation for the termination of this activity?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, there's no question the wonderful role that volunteers play in Nova Scotia - whether it's in the health system, the education system, community services, in church, sports and whatnot - volunteers are a remarkable group of people and they help make our society a better place. In the case of the volunteers at the Camp Hill Medical Centre, I would have to take that question under advisement.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: I would like to thank the minister. Mr. Speaker, I've been told that the reason the program was cancelled was because the tea was too popular with the veterans and their guests and that they were being entertained rather than receiving therapy. I'm not sure why having fun isn't considered therapy in and of itself, but I want to ask the minister if he's prepared to ensure that this valuable program is revived?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for the question. As she knows, programs such as that would be under the jurisdiction or would be administered or recognized or organized through the auspices of the Capital District Health Authority and that would be the group which would make the decision as to whether this particular gathering would go on or would not go on.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Every district authority in this province has been getting a message from this government to cut and pare back and offer a minium of services. I would hope that the minister would show some leadership in this situation. We have a bare bones health care system, the quality of life of patients often depends on volunteer supports - volunteers like the ones at Camp Hill. I want to ask the minister, how can his department afford to lose any valuable volunteers, particularly in service to our veterans?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, in the case of our health system, we have volunteers who perform remarkable service as part of hospital auxiliaries. They perform it as members of hospital foundations and one of the great areas of volunteerism now is serving as a member of a district health authority, for which there is no compensation.

[Page 10135]

[3:00 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, in the case of Camp Hill Medical Centre and I would have to check, it may be that the Department of Veterans Affairs contracts with the Capital District Health Authority for services to veterans, and if these are DVA veterans, then that would be a matter for the Department of Veterans Affairs to work out with the Capital District Health Authority.

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

PET. DIR. - SABLE PROJ.:

FREDERICTON HEARINGS - INTERVENER NAME

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is again to the Premier. The Premier talks about travelling and I just want to remind this House that the Premier had time earlier this year to go to Houston, New York, Boston and Russia, but he hasn't got time to attend a hearing in Saint John, New Brunswick, about a vital issue affecting Nova Scotia and its resources. He also had time to take a delegation of 14 people to a theme park in Houston, while he won't sit down and negotiate Nova Scotia's position at a very important meeting. My question to the Premier is, Mr. Premier, the National Energy Board will be holding hearings on July 15th in Fredericton regarding the future of the Sable gas project and possibly the future of all new gas projects off the East Coast - the future of our gas. Could the Premier tell this House who will be intervening on behalf of Nova Scotia, if anyone?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite should check his research relative to my being on any theme park visit. Anyway, I would refer the question to the Minister responsible for the Petroleum Directorate.

HON. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, I assure the member opposite and all Nova Scotians that when the hearing is held, we will be there with representation that will present Nova Scotia's case.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the First Minister, the Premier of this Province, is again bailing out and not answering to Nova Scotians why he abdicated his responsibilities at these hearings because of the fact that he had to be here and not there. What a ridiculous answer. He should have been there protecting Nova Scotia's interests. Instead he pushes the question off to the part-time petroleum minister, bailing himself out again and passing it off to someone who doesn't know a thing about what's going on in this regard.

My first supplementary, again to the Premier, is that the Minister responsible for the Petroleum Directorate has stated he will not reveal Nova Scotia's position on the issue at hand until these hearings begin. New Brunswick has made its position on the matter clear,

[Page 10136]

yet Nova Scotia doesn't have a position. That's not surprising with this particular minister - no idea what we're going to do in regard to these hearings. Could the Premier enlighten this House as to what is Nova Scotia's position on these hearings?

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

MR. BALSER: Mr. Speaker, I find it somewhat ironic that the member opposite spoke against the Premier's participation in the hearing process leading up to the Laurentian Sub-basin and now he would like the Premier to be there. Certainly, in terms of our position, what I said in response to the media question about the position of Nova Scotia was that I would not reveal the position to the public through the media. There is a time and a place and a forum in which that should be done and it will be done.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I don't have to ask any questions here. That minister can show his ignorance all by himself regarding this particular subject. He doesn't need any help from me.

Mr. Speaker, this issue could have grave implications for future investment on exploration and development. The government's energy strategy focuses almost exclusively on finding more gas off the coast. Without more investment, that's not going to happen. The Premier lost the Laurentian Sub-basin and now we might lose the whole industry.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: My final supplementary to the Premier is, why won't you, Mr. Premier, act like a Leader and tell Nova Scotians what your government's plans are to present in Fredericton this summer, or are you going to skip that meeting also?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite needs some convincing that this government will not be providing any advance information prior to the hearing in terms of its position. That's a reasonable thing to do because we are far more concerned with protecting the interests of Nova Scotians on this issue than we are with satisfying that member in Oral Question Period.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

ENVIRON. & LBR. - MAR. PAPER PRODS.:

BUNKER C LEAK - AWARENESS

MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Environment and Labour. I learned today that on April 15th, Maritime Paper Products in Burnside had one of their underground tanks leak thousands of gallons of Bunker C. I have also learned that much of that oil has now entered the storm drain system and has run into Halifax Harbour in an

[Page 10137]

area around the yacht club on the Bedford Basin. The city was notified and the cleanup was begun using the services of Atlantic Industrial Services. My question to the minister is, could the Minister of Environment and Labour confirm for the House that he is aware of the situation, tell us exactly how many gallons of Bunker C actually leaked out, and what he is going to do about it?

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to answer the member's question. He's asking for the amount, but yet he has suggested it's thousands of gallons. I would suggest that he should check that out first. It was enough to catch the attention of the people at the Dartmouth Yacht Club. They did report it to the department. We followed up on it, and as a result of that, the appropriate steps have been taken. This is fairly routine, and it is being addressed, not only with the department but also with HRM, Maritime Paper Products, Environment Canada and a number of other participants.

MR. PYE: Mr. Speaker, I would remind the honourable Minister of Environment and Labour, it's not my responsibility to inform this House of an oil spill and how many gallons actually have taken place there. It is one of these things which, in fact, the minister should be aware of, and he should be telling this Legislature. It has been one month since that original spill occurred, and the minister is not yet forthcoming with information to that community or to the residents of Dartmouth North. Our reports tell us that aquatic life may have been adversely affected by that spill. Could the minister explain to this House why his department did not inform the public about the spill?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I would be pleased to tell the member opposite that over the run of the year there are thousands of incidents that happen. If it was the wish of the member opposite for me to come in here and report each and every one of them, the House would have to sit 365 days a year. I think that's a decision that would not be welcomed by Nova Scotians. However, I would be pleased to elaborate on what took place. The spill happened in early April. It was reported to the department. As a result of that, they excavated around the tank, they checked the tank and found that it was leaking. They emptied the tank, they excavated the tank, and a remediation plan is in place.

MR. PYE: Mr. Speaker, the minister has a Web site. He could have placed it on his Web site. He could have informed the public of exactly what was going on. This is leaking into Bedford Basin and into Halifax Harbour. The lack of public notice around this issue is alarming. Residents of the area need assurances that the cleanup is progressing, and that the oil was contained and has not leaked into the water table. My question to the minister is, what assurance can you provide the residents of the area that their health and properties are not at risk as a result of that oil spill?

[Page 10138]

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I would suggest that the member opposite refer to my previous two answers. The company, Maritime Paper Products has things well under control with our supervision. We're very pleased with how they have taken responsibility for addressing the problem.

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

ENVIRON. & LBR. - SEWAGE MGT. DISCUSSION PAPER:

RELEASE - TIME FRAME

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Environment and Labour. Last year the minister released a government sewage management discussion paper. The minister is quoted in this release as saying that the time has come to seriously tackle this problem, and this discussion paper will help to do that. In a later press release he states that a strategy document is expected to be completed by March of this year. So my question to the minister is, if the time has come to seriously tackle this problem, then when will his department release this document?

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for his vigilance in following up on this; it shows that he is attentive to what's going on in the department. I would suggest that things went very well with the discussion paper last year. We got some good feedback. We're accumulating this and we can expect to release that paper shortly.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I hope it won't be another delayed process like it was with the provincial water strategy because he's had three delays on that one already. The minister mentions in his opening comments on the discussion paper that sewage disposal is a big problem and if we don't start doing something about it now, it's not going to get any better. It was made clear to HRM last night that Halifax Harbour is not getting any better and certainly the press releases of today would indicate that. They were notified that the E.coli counts are certainly increasing. My question to the minister is, if on the one hand sewage disposal is such a big problem within this province, in particular Halifax Harbour, then why is your government not working towards a solution with Halifax Regional Municipality?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, as the member opposite would be aware, it's actually Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations that gets involved with infrastructure programs, so I would refer that question to the minister.

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for the question. As members of the House might recall, yesterday during a discussion in Committee of the Whole House on Bills on the Financial Measures (2002) Act, I made reference to the fact that one of the benefits of a balanced budget is that it frees you up and allows you to do such things as address the harbour's cleanup problem with HRM and that we in fact are

[Page 10139]

going to proceed to discussions with HRM and that will be on the agenda, as well as a number of other items that we would want to work on together with them.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, last week the minister didn't even know that HRM had several proposals before its department, one in particular for $1 million a year for 30 years. He said he didn't know of such a proposal, whereas the mayor and the councillor are saying that proposal is before his department, so we will leave it at that. As you may recall, our caucus has been inquiring about this release of the much-anticipated water strategy and I also would like to focus on this Halifax Harbour cleanup. So my question to the minister, or maybe in fact the Premier would answer this question, why are you preventing the release around the water and sewage disposal strategies, especially when the tie-in with the issue of the Halifax Harbour cleanup is so vital?

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

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I refer to my answer from a few weeks ago, that the strategy is moving ahead rather briskly. We are consulting with the other departments. I indicated that it would be out shortly and he can expect an announcement in the near future.

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

EDUC. - SPECIAL-NEEDS STUDENTS: SERVICES - LACK EXPLAIN

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, all children have the right to an education, but the province is forgetting that when it comes to students with learning disabilities and behavioural disorders. These children face isolation from their classrooms, suspensions and even expulsions from school for their behaviour problems. Now that's not a solution to the serious gap in services and resources in our education system. So I want to ask the Minister of Education, why is it that the province is turning its back on these students?

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Official Opposition makes a very good point, one that's been made many, many times in this House over the last few years. The province spends millions and millions of dollars. There are hundreds and hundreds of teachers involved in special education. The problems grow all the time. More money is put in all the time and more resources. We take it very, very seriously and we stretch every dollar as far as we can for these kids.

[3:15 p.m.]

MR. DEXTER: Children with Tourette's Syndrome, dyslexia, ADD, ADHD and other disorders have a hard time in our overcrowded classrooms. They often need a specialized learning environment that our public system just doesn't offer. The process for applying for tuition agreements that will allow special needs students to continue their education at a

[Page 10140]

school designed to help them succeed is long and frustrating and most families give up. I want to ask the Minister of Education, why are families forced to pay tens of thousands of dollars to private schools to make up for the services that are not provided to special needs children in the public schools?

MISS PURVES: Yes, many parents do prefer to send their kids to specialized schools. All members of this House know that philosophically the province favours the idea of inclusion even though we do recognize that some kids may need specialized learning environments. I wish the NDP would figure out what its education policy is because on the one hand the critic comes out and he says learning centres are going to become the new homes of the future and yet the Leader of the Opposition says that we need more specialized environments. So, perhaps, when the NDP makes up its mind which philosophical position it favours, we could have a better debate.

MR. DEXTER: I think the Minister of Education has just demonstrated her own lack of understanding with respect to this issue. In fact, the parents of these children very much want their children to be included in regular school classrooms. The reality is that they need a service other than what is presently provided in the public school system. There are a group as parents known as PACTA, that has outlined the problems in the public school system and they have also come up with possible solutions. They are trying to create a dialogue, but nobody in the Department of Education is listening. So, I want to ask the Minister of Education, will you commit to meeting personally with these parents to act on their concerns before even more children fall through the cracks in the school system?

MISS PURVES: I've already committed to meeting with these parents. I have a great many meetings with people. People want a great many things. I will do what I can and certainly, I will meet with them. Whether or not I can act on their concerns, that remains to be seen.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

HEALTH: ANNA. VALLEY DIST. HEALTH AUTH. - AUDIT RESULTS

DR. JAMES SMITH: My question is to the Minister of Health. At the end of February, an audit of the Annapolis Valley District Health Authority was announced by the Minister of Health. The audit itself began over two months ago. My question to the minister, can the Minister of Health inform the House whether or not he has received the results of the audit on the Annapolis Valley District Health Authority?

HON. JAMES MUIR: No.

[Page 10141]

DR. SMITH: When the audit was announced, the minister said it was a joint decision of the department and the district health authority. Later the CEO of the health authority contradicted him and said that the audit was at the department's request. My question to the minister, will the minister confirm that the audit was ordered by his department solely and not in conjunction with the Annapolis Valley District Health Authority?

MR. MUIR: There was a situation that appeared down in the Annapolis Valley concerning the interpretation of information. We couldn't get satisfactory answers, at least ones that we could really understand. That was drawn to our attention by the board, as well as by our own staff. In conjunction with the board of the Annapolis Valley District Health Authority it was agreed there should be an audit done of the board, the financial accounting practices down there, the reporting practices. So it was done - it was an agreement between the board and the Department of Health, however, I guess maybe the crux of the answer to it is, the Auditor General and other people in the Department of Finance advised us that the report, although it was jointly requested, it would be sent to us first.

DR. SMITH: I guess that's a maybe, but there's pretty good information that that was solely directed by the Department of Health. At the time the audit was ordered, the Minister of Health said that it was because of discrepancies between his department numbers and those of the Valley District Health Authority. Remember that the person involved with finance was sent home at that time. My question to the minister is, can the minister inform the House and state exactly what those discrepancies were?

MR. MUIR: MR. Speaker, the discrepancies, no I can't tell you exactly what they were. They had to do with trying to understand the financial position as reported by the Valley District Health Board. There were certainly some parts of their reporting that we didn't understand. To be quite frank, there were parts of the reporting that the board didn't understand and that's what led to the request to have an external person look at that and see why people couldn't understand it.

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

EDUC. - SULLIVAN, JACK: BANKRUPTCY - RECOVERY DETAILS

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. My office has obtained information today on the bankruptcy proceeding respecting Jack Sullivan, the former Superintendent of Schools for the Strait Area Regional School Board. The information lists the secured and the unsecured creditors, as any bankruptcy proceeding would, who have come forward in this proceeding. But I was quite surprised to note that the province is not on the list as a creditor with regard to this bankruptcy proceeding. So my question to the Minister of Education is, can she explain why the province is making no attempt to recover taxpayers' dollars from Mr. Sullivan?

[Page 10142]

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is jumping to conclusions. Among the creditors is the school board; as well we will be attending the bankruptcy meeting on the 24th. But this is a very complex matter and we are looking at what the best method is to recapture any of the money that was lost in the case of Mr. Sullivan.

MR. DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, she's correct, the school board has put itself down as a creditor for the paltry amount of $6,500. Now since the minister is now directly in control of the finances of that school board, she is fully accountable for the actions it takes with regard to getting money back from Mr. Sullivan. So why has this minister not taken decisive action, either on behalf of the province or on behalf of that school board to at least attempt to ensure the taxpayers' best interests are advanced in this bankruptcy proceeding?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, I think it is clear to anyone, from looking at these documents, that the chances are slim of recovering in this particular case, which is why the province is at the moment in the process of filing an insurance claim - which is separate from a bankruptcy proceeding - which will attempt to get at the bigger amounts of money that we feel that we are owed in this case.

MR. DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, I suspect the minister is grasping at straws, but I will say this, your chances are even slimmer of getting any money back from Mr. Sullivan if you actually don't put in a claim through the bankruptcy. The fact remains that we are all accountable for the actions that we take and the taxpayers of this province have not been well served throughout this entire fiasco. The minister is also accountable to serve the taxpayers' interest competently and vigorously. Will she assure this House that her staff, or her legal representatives, will ensure that before this day is over the province and the school board will make full and complete claim for what Mr. Sullivan owes the taxpayers of this province?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, the most important thing, in terms of a bankruptcy claim, is to be represented on the list of creditors, and we will be represented at that meeting on May 24th. Separately, we are pursuing an insurance claim which will include a great deal more money that we believe we may be able to cover through insurance.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

FIN. - WRITTEN-OFF ASSETS: BUDGET BALANCING - USAGE

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. In the year 2000, the minister wrote off some $475 million from Sysco and that's to do with the liability of Sysco, the cleanup of Sysco and, yes, the assets of Sysco. Now, in this fiscal year, the government is selling those particular assets that they wrote off in the year 2000, and they're selling those assets, at a profit, to the bottom line of the budget of some $14.5 million. Today, in the Public Accounts Committee, I had the opportunity to ask the question of the Deputy Auditor General, Mr. Carter. He said he would have to investigate further in

[Page 10143]

order to see if the actions meet with accounting principles. My question to the Minister of Finance is, how can a Minister of Finance justify using previously written-off assets in order to claim an operating balanced budget this fiscal year?

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite hasn't done his research in regard to this. The fact of the matter is that in the year 2000 what happened was that provisions were made for the reclamation of the Sydney Steel site along with the Muggah Creek site. The fact of the matter is there were losses on these, regarding the operation of Sysco. I should point out for those who perhaps aren't following this very closely that what happened, by the format that we reported it, the losses of Sysco were shown to the people of the province rather than being kept off the income statement, as that member opposite did when he reported the financial statements as Minister of Finance.

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, today I want to table an article that was in the April edition of the Canadian Business magazine called, Hide and Seek, something that this Minister of Finance, I believe, is starting to play with Nova Scotians. In that particular article, it discusses how companies write off huge liabilities in order to make their bottom line look better in the future. The theory is known as the big bath. My question to the Minister of Finance is, did the minister give Nova Scotian taxpayers the big bath on Sysco so he could make the books look better and artificially create a balanced budget this fiscal year?

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I think the member should take a long bath and soak a bit, and look at the facts logically. The fact of the matter is, for anyone to think that (Interruptions) I'm getting a lot of help from across the floor, and I'm trying to keep my composure. The fact of the matter is, in all seriousness, the Sydney Steel operation, back in the year, I believe it was March 31, 2000, provisions were made in that year for substantial amounts of money. The member opposite talked about almost $400 million, and the fact is, it is true. We set up provisions in that for something called reclamation of the site. The members opposite are aware that there will be costs in the remediation of the site of Sydney Steel and also with the tar ponds.

Mr. Speaker, one thing that I stand here very proudly for is that we are making progress, and under the leadership of the Minister responsible for Sysco things are happening, and that site is getting remediated, something that the people of Sydney have been asking for for many years. Finally now, with the co-operation of all involved and also the federal government, it is actually happening.

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I hate to have to tell the Minister of Finance that he's all wet behind the ears. The reality is $250 million was written off to clean up the site, and the other balance of the $475 million was to deal with the liability of Sysco and the assets to be sold, off Sysco. The reality is that the $14.5 million that the minister wrote off in the year 2000 is now coming into the general revenue of the Province of Nova Scotia, leaving that minister, if he added it to the real surplus he's talking about, with a $12 million deficit. My

[Page 10144]

question to the minister is, will the minister ask today that the Auditor General, his office, immediately investigate the Sysco write-off to ensure that the minister is not using accounting procedures to distort what he says is the bottom line and in reality could very well be a deficit for the Province of Nova Scotia?

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I'm very comfortable with how we have reported the financial statements of the province. What is happening this year is that we are selling surplus steel that was left on the ground. We're going to be running Sysco as it should have been run, more as a business. If we have operations there that can create cash flow for this province, we will do it. I should point out for the member opposite who's wet behind the ears, there was also another provision that was in that number, it was to fund the unfunded liability position of the pension plan, something that should have been recognized and something with which the Auditor General is very much in agreement.

[3:30 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

ECON. DEV. - VALLEY VISTA GOLF COURSE:

GOV'T. (N.S.) - TAKEOVER CONFIRM

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Economic Development. Recently this government chose to invest in a golf course in Berwick known as Valley Vista. The records show the province handed Valley Vista owner, Gerry Fulton, some $925,000. My question for the minister is, will he confirm that the province has now had to take over operation of the Valley Vista golf course because its owner has fallen into financial difficulties?

HON. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is correct. Valley Vista, unfortunately, has come into difficult times and has been placed in receivership.

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, it's rather hard on a day when people march to the Legislature to tell you that health care is their priority that the government turns around and announces its getting into the golf course business. What I would like to know from the minister is, will he table today with the House the government's business plan for operating this golf course and will he table any anticipated future costs for this new venture?

MR. BALSER: Mr. Speaker, again for clarification to the member opposite, the operation has been placed in receivership. The province is getting out of that particular operation; we're not involved in it. The decision was taken that it's not going to be profitable and so the province has acted to have it placed in receivership.

[Page 10145]

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, if the minister is saying that they're going to close the operation down, he should be completely clear about that, but I don't think we've heard that quite yet. The business the government needs to be in is the business of providing key public services such as education and health care. Governments that are as strapped for cash as this one is should not continue to put money into something like a golf course. So can the minister commit now that the province will recover its original $925,000, along with any other monies that they're about to invest?

MR. BALSER: Mr. Speaker, a receivership involves trying to find someone who will take over that operation. At this point we don't have that solution. It would be unfortunate to lose that piece of infrastructure, but the decision was taken that under the current situation it's not economically viable. There's no new money going into it at this juncture for the member opposite's clarification.

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

AGRIC. & FISH. - AGRIC. SPECIALIST: C.B. - BUDGETING CONFIRM

MR. BRIAN BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. I recently asked the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries whether or not there would be an agricultural specialist placed in Cape Breton on a full-time and permanent basis. At that time the minister implied that there was. He stated that there were budgetary appropriations for the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries to ensure that there is an employee and an office in the Sydney area. I want to clarify that today with the Premier.

My question to the Premier, Mr. Speaker, has the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries budgeted for the department to hire a permanent, full-time agricultural specialist for Cape Breton Island?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I will refer it to the Acting Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I will have to take that question under advisement and I will get back to the member as soon as I get the response from the department.

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, I hear that pretty regularly around here. Last year crops in Cape Breton were attacked by pests. Neither the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries nor ADI warned the farmers of these pests despite the fact that they hit mainland Nova Scotian farms weeks in advance. ADI provides service to farmers in mainland Nova Scotia, but there is no agricultural specialist in Cape Breton. This is unfair to the Cape Breton farming community that has worked its hands to the bone to develop a $20 million

[Page 10146]

agricultural industry on the island. My question to the Premier is, why are you treating Cape Breton farmers differently than those on mainland Nova Scotia?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I can assure the member opposite that this government has great concern about the pressures that the agricultural industry in Canada is under, including the industry in Cape Breton and on mainland Nova Scotia. It is the intention of the government to provide support as well as we can to continue to allow the industry to flourish and survive here in Nova Scotia, whether it's on the mainland or in Cape Breton.

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, my question is again to the Premier. I recently asked your Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, as did my colleague, the Agriculture Critic, during budget estimates, whether Cape Breton farmers would receive a much-needed agricultural specialist. Your minister clearly indicated that one would be placed in Cape Breton. My question to the Premier is, will the Premier ensure that the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries lives up to his word and provides farmers in Cape Breton with an agricultural specialist this year?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries has an excellent track record of delivering on his commitments, and I would undertake to ensure the member opposite that any commitment the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries has made to the farmers in Cape Breton or to that member will be kept.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

ECON. DEV. - PEP: BUDGET CUTS - EXPLAIN

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, again to the Minister of Economic Development. In this happy month of May, it's a time of celebration for new post-secondary graduates as they commence the careers of their choice. But for students who haven't graduated and will be returning in the fall, they're all too often worried about finding summer employment to help fund their studies and gain work experience. In March of this year, the Minister of Economic Development announced the 2002 Provincial Employment Program, and he said it would create 1,500 career-related jobs. What I want to know is, why did he allow this program's budget to be cut by 25 per cent when students face rising tuition fees and no support from this government?

HON. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, unlike the Party opposite, we are prepared to make difficult decisions and face difficult choices. The decision to reduce the funding for PEP was not taken lightly, but what it did was release money to provide for other programs that the members opposite raise from time to time in this House. They cannot have it both ways.

[Page 10147]

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, gaining a post-secondary education isn't just a choice; it's a necessity these days, but this government's declining commitment to students is threatening to go into a free fall. Here's what happened. In 2000, the minister announced a student employment program cut of 682 jobs. In 2001, there was a further loss of 150 summer jobs. This year there was a further cut of more than 300 jobs. What I would like the minister to do is, will he share with this House why he thinks jobs for students in rural Nova Scotia and the non-profit sector are so plentiful and well-paid this year that his government could continue to withdraw support for the Provincial Summer Employment Program for the third consecutive year?

MR. BALSER: Mr. Speaker, as I said in response to an earlier question, the choices are difficult. The reality is that the economy is performing reasonably well, but what we have to do is make investments in the future. It's unfortunate that we can't put as much money in PEP as we would like, but to have done so would mean that other programs would have gone wanting.

MR. EPSTEIN: I hear the minister saying reasonably well. The C+ he thinks he deserves is more like an F. During this minister's watch, there has been an astounding reduction in support for summer job opportunities for students. This minister can add to his list of so-called accomplishments the axing of 42 per cent from the summer employment budget and the loss of a staggering 862 summer jobs for students. So my question for the minister is this, instead of saying cut, cut, cut to jobs for students, will the minister start saying, cut, cut, cut to this province's tuition fees, which are - in case this minister doesn't realize it - the highest in the nation?

MR. BALSER: I would remind the member opposite that education-related issues are the responsibility of the Minister of Education. But having said that, we have the strongest-performing economy in Canada, next to Alberta. We created some 5,900 full-time jobs, and I believe that's what Nova Scotians are expecting and wanting.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Victoria.

PREM. - WENTWORTH PK.: OPERATIONS - CONTINUE

MR. KENNETH MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier. The Premier mentioned just a few moments ago, to a question from my colleague, the member for Cape Breton The Lakes, that the Minister of Natural Resources had a good track record, so I want to question the Premier on the track record.

Quality of life for Nova Scotians will be affected this season by the closure of provincial parks. We have already seen significant reductions at Myra Park and Salsman Park, and now we are witnessing the closure of the Wentworth Park in Cumberland County. My question to the Premier is, and if I may, without blaming the previous government as we

[Page 10148]

heard in most of the answers yesterday, what will the government of today do to save the Wentworth campground from closing this summer season?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I would have wished that the member opposite could have given me a little advance warning about a question as detailed as that. I will take the question under advisement.

MR. MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, I thank the Premier, and I'm sure he will give me an answer later. My first supplementary. The Province of Nova Scotia owns the land of Wentworth campground, and the Department of Natural Resources has committed to, "improving access to park facilities and expanding park and outdoor recreation experiences available to residents and visitors." My question to the Premier is, while searching for a private operator for Wentworth campground will your government continue the operations for the sake of the Wentworth community and the visitors coming to Nova Scotia?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I will take that under advisement.

MR. MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, my final supplementary is again to the Premier. This government brags about forming a separate Tourism ministry and that minister brags about a strong industry and growing numbers. That's what we hear yet the government keeps excusing their decisions to close parks because of low numbers. My question to the Premier is, how will the unique beauty of Nova Scotia appeal to tourists if they're unable to visit the natural habitat we have to offer in the Wentworth Valley of this province?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I refer that to the Minister of Tourism and Culture.

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I can assure the member that the minister responsible is working actively on that file. He did mention numbers, and I do have some numbers. As he mentioned, I have talked about some numbers. In fact, since August 1, 1999, until December 2001, we have increased Tourism revenues by 12 per cent compared to the previous period under the Liberal Government. I will table that information for the member.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

TOBACCO CONTROL LEG. - FREE VOTE: PREM. - ALLOW

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, in spite of our requests that the Premier allow his MLAs to vote according to their conscience on the half-measure Smoke-free Places Act, we know that the backbenchers are feeling the heat to toe the Party line. This is the same John Hamm who, in Opposition in 1999, said a vote on tobacco control legislation at that time "was a matter of conscience." That's quite a U-turn. My question to

[Page 10149]

the Premier is, why won't he allow his MLAs to vote according to their conscience on his government's tobacco control legislation?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is showing an intense interest in the internal workings of the caucus of the government. If she really wants to become informed, let her cross the floor and join the caucus. (Applause)

[3:45 p.m.]

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

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: . . . silence on the backbenches in the Tory Government. Mr. Speaker, you, yourself have grown the growing list of Tory caucus members who have indicated that there should be a free vote on this piece of legislation. Just as the honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley has indicated his desire to see a free vote on the tobacco control bill. So my question to the Premier is, these two respected members who belong to your caucus are sending you the message that MLAs should be free to vote their conscience on this piece of legislation. When will you listen to them and call for a free vote?

THE PREMIER: The member opposite again chooses to talk about process instead of talking about what is the most progressive tobacco legislation in Canada and I would hope that the member opposite will be recommending to all of her caucus members that they vote for the legislation because I believe that it deserves to be supported.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: I want to remind the Premier that the most progressive government measures in this country are in the Annapolis Valley in Kings County and in the Town of Wolfville. Elected officials are supposed to be the voice of the people. The people have clearly indicated that this legislation is simply not tough enough and MLAs should be allowed to reflect the wishes of their constituents in their vote. I want to ask the Premier, if you're so certain that this legislation is the best answer, is the most progressive legislation, why aren't you prepared to put your money where your mouth is and allow each member of your caucus to vote according to their own conscience?

THE PREMIER: One of the tests that legislation undergoes is the kind of response it gets from Opposition Parties. I believe that come the day when we vote on third reading of this bill, there will be significant support for this bill from members on the Opposition benches. I think that will perhaps be the greatest testimony to the wisdom of this piece of legislation that we could achieve.

[Page 10150]

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

ENVIRON. & LBR. - FIN. RESOURCES: AG'S CONCERNS - ACTION

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: My question is for the Minister of Environment and Labour. Earlier today the Auditor General appeared before the Public Accounts Committee to answer questions with regard to his annual report. In his annual report, the Department of Environment and Labour was harshly criticized for a number of major issues, a number of major concerns. In fact, one major concern that the Auditor General and his staff raised with Public Accounts Committee this morning is the lack of financial resources for the staff in the department to be able to do its job. So, my question to the minister is, what is the minister doing in response to the Auditor General's concerns on the lack of financial resources?

HON. DAVID MORSE: Delighted to respond to the honourable member's question. Indeed, the Auditor General did come into the department about a year ago and he looked at the Occupational Health and Safety and the Public Safety sections. He had a lot of positive things to say about the department, but he did point out there were some areas where we could do better. In fact, we were pleased to hear that because we were already looking at those areas. We appreciate his suggestions and we will be implementing his recommendations.

MR. MACKINNON: I'm not sure if the minister even read the Auditor General's report, but perhaps I may refer to Page 162. He has effectively condemned the Public Safety Division of that department. I'm not going to get into the Occupational Health and Safety because that's not far behind. One of the reactions from the minister and the government after the Auditor General's Report was to remove the Deputy Minister of Environment and Labour from his posting. Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Environment and Labour stated that that decision was made prior to his knowledge of that, yet in Cabinet, he's one of the Cabinet Ministers who signed off on that decision to remove the deputy minister. So essentially what he's saying (Interruption) Well, he said that during estimates and during the budgetary process.

Quite simply, Mr. Speaker, we're having the minister saying one thing publicly and doing another thing privately. My question is, while the minister who is the CEO for the Department of Environment and Labour is saying one thing publicly and doing another thing behind closed doors, how can the staff in his department have any confidence that they are being supported by the minister while doing their jobs?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, that was kind of a rambling preamble that I guess ended up in some sort of question. Anyway, there are a number of questions that one might answer there, and I would just say that this government is focused on delivering services, front-line services. We stayed true to that with the budget. As a result of that, there was a contraction by one of the need for deputy ministers, and one was chosen and it happened to be the former

[Page 10151]

Deputy Minister of Environment and Labour. I would say that he did a good job, but I would say that I'm also very pleased with his replacement. He is fitting in very well with the department.

MR. MACKINNON: Well, Mr. Speaker, it's absolutely disgraceful that we have such a silly minister in charge of this department. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. For the honourable member for Cape Breton West to call the honourable minister a name like that, I would say is unparliamentary, and I would ask you to retract that, please.

MR. MACKINNON: I will retract that, Mr. Speaker, and indicate quite clearly that his response to the very serious issue on worker safety is silly. My question to the minister is, why are the minister and the government weighing in on the side of business over safety concerns for the workers of this province?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I would say the first thing is that Nova Scotians made a decision about who should be Minister of Labour and it turned into Minister of Environment and Labour. So I think that was the first good decision, and we've got to give Nova Scotians credit for that one because the member opposite indeed used to be the Minister of Labour.

But with regard to workplace health and safety concerns, I would point out that we now have 27 officers in place where there were just 19 in 1997. We've got room for three more. We're doing far more inspections. We have issued more than three times as many orders. The prosecution rate has gone from 44 per cent to 83 per cent in convictions; indeed, there are a lot of good things that are happening in the department. We are also targeting our inspections and making use of the Workers' Compensation Board's accident statistics. I want to thank the member opposite for giving me a chance to send that message to Nova Scotians and point out what a positive change it has been since there was a new Minister of Environment and Labour.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

HEALTH - CARE: SYSTEM - PRIVATIZATION EXPLAIN

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, today a group gathered at Province House to demonstrate its support for publicly-funded health care in Canada. Nova Scotians are afraid that their provincial government is allowing our public health care system to erode in favour of private-for-profit care and they have good reason to be afraid. Not one policy or decision of this government has given citizens any reason to feel that their public health care system is secure, and last night the member for Preston said Medicare programs are expensive and they're responsible for this province's debt. Imagine, Mr. Speaker. My

[Page 10152]

question to the Minister of Health is, why is our health care system up for sale in Nova Scotia?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, it's clear that the honourable member didn't read the Nova Scotia submission to the Romanow commissioners. We have said - and I have stood in this House on a number of occasions, as has the Premier, and said - that this Party continues and this government adheres to the principles of the Canada Health Act.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, they say one thing, but they're actually doing another. According to figures released recently by the Canadian Institute for Health Information, the John Hamm Government dramatically increased the amount of private sector health care spending. We now sit well above the national average and at the same time the increase in health care spending in this province is well below the national average. I want to ask the Minister of Health, given these figures by a respected national health care research group, how can his government claim they are living up to the standards of the Canada Health Act?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, this government continues to support the principles of the Canada Health Act. I know that if you look at the organization which runs our emergency transport system, the spending for that has increased about, I suppose, 40 per cent in the last three years. That's a public-private partnership, I guess, that seems to work very well. Our acute care facilities continue to be publicly funded. Our physicians are publicly funded. Our nurses are publicly funded. We do contract with agencies such as the VON to deliver some home care services. That's a public-private partnership effectively and they're against the VON, is all I can say.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, in this province we are spending $114.54 more per person of an increase in private health care services since this government has come to power. Our private health care expenditures for 2000-01 are the second highest in the country, surpassed only by Ontario. This government owes an apology to the people of this province for failing to protect public health care. I ask the Minister of Health, how can you continue to stand in this House day after day saying that health care is a priority when your government is allowing the privatization of our health care system?

AN HON. MEMBER: Shame on you, Jamie.

MR. MUIR: Well, it may be shame on me, Mr. Speaker, but I'm sorry to hear that they're criticizing such an esteemed organization as the VON for the services it delivers on behalf of the people of Nova Scotia. I could also talk about the long-term care that this province provides and the increase in that budget and a good many of the operators are private operators. I could also say that there was a decision a number of years ago to make the province the payer of last resort in our Pharmacare Program, yet our Pharmacare costs continue to increase each year. We have good services here in Nova Scotia and I think I

[Page 10153]

would right now be more concerned about quality and availability than the percentage of those that are delivered by "private agencies such as the VON."

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

ENVIRON. & LBR. - PROV. ENERGY VENTURES:

APPROVAL PROCESS - DETAILS

MR. PAUL MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Environment and Labour. A firm called Provincial Energy Ventures has been awarded a permit that allows them to operate the Atlantic Canada bulk terminal, or the Sysco pier, at the former Sysco site in Sydney. This permit allows them to use that site as a lay-down and blending area for coal and petroleum coke. Residents who live nearby are concerned about the environmental effects that this will have. My question to the minister is, can the minister describe the approval process that was completed before Provincial Energy Ventures was awarded this permit?

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite brought this up before and I would say that the approval process was to make sure that the protection of the community was foremost. There were a number of considerations that were taken into account, things like the wind velocity and the direction, that there's a sprinkler system in place to make sure that any dust is not spread to the surrounding community, and the number of cards that are allowed to be there at one point in time. I could go on for some time. I would also say that in fact there is an inspector on the site all the time. So I would say that we were very conscientious before we gave the approval.

MR. MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, listening to those assurances, I can say that they're very reassuring. Unfortunately, they don't compare at all with the reports that I get from people who live in that immediate neighbourhood, which I suggest the Minister of Environment does not, and so I have to listen to them over him. Those who live in that area want a complete environmental assessment done on what this company is doing and the effect it is going to have on the area and on the people who live there. The company plans to ship coal, coke, gypsum, and slag all from this terminal and people deserve to know what the effects will be of doing that. So my question to the minister is, can the minister inform us what groups, organizations, and individuals were consulted before the permit was awarded to Provincial Energy Ventures and can the minister table that information here in the House today?

[4:00 p.m.]

MR. MORSE: I would point out to the member opposite - and the member is a wily and experienced member of this House and a very good speaker - that he would know that the approval process is not something that is done by the minister. In fact, it's done by the

[Page 10154]

regional staff, so in order to get that information for him I would have to send a request to the Sydney office. I assure the member that all regulations and guidelines were followed in the approval process.

MR. MACEWAN: I've been in touch with the Sydney office, I've been in touch with Mr. Peter Weaver in that office who is the engineer in charge of this particular permit, but he tells me the same words I just got from the minister. They're both singing from the same song sheet but neither one is answering the question. My question to the Minister of Environment and Labour is, before awarding this contract or permit to Provincial Energy Ventures did your department complete a full environmental assessment? Yes or no?

MR. MORSE: The department would follow the appropriate protocol in issuing the approval and the member has asked for some specific questions, he's looking for the information and he shall have that information. I will get the names of the people who were approached prior to issuing the approval.

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

PET. DIR. - NEB APPLICATION (N.B.): RESPONSE - DISMISSIVENESS

MR. JOHN HOLM: I couldn't help but be struck by the very dismissive attitude of both the Premier and the Minister responsible for the Petroleum Directorate when they were asked earlier about what position Nova Scotia would take with regard to New Brunswick's application to the NEB about a Canada-first policy. The ministers, both of them, know that is a topic that's under some considerable debate at the Atlantic Energy Summit. My question to the Premier is simply this, isn't it true that your dismissive response to those questions is nothing more than a cover-up to cover up the fact that the government hasn't yet determined what your position is going to be and that you are really waiting for some high-priced consultants like Rollie Martin to tell you what you should be saying?

THE PREMIER: I would refer that to the minister, so he can remind the member opposite of the answer he had previously given to another member on the same question.

HON. GORDON BALSER: To the member opposite, he's making much ado about a summit. Meetings around petroleum-related issues are occurring constantly - some we attend, some we do not. In terms of the province's position, it seems to me that the appropriate forum at which to make the position of Nova Scotia available to the public is through the NEB and the hearing process.

MR. HOLM: The question that I had asked was not the same as had been raised earlier, despite the fact that they want to try to recycle their answers.

[Page 10155]

The resources that exist off our coast don't belong to big oil and they don't belong to the Premier - they belong to the people of Nova Scotia. I ask the Premier, why are you being so contemptuous of Nova Scotians? Why aren't you putting your position paper on the table so that Nova Scotians, who own that resource, who should be getting the primary benefit from that resource, can have some input into what position Nova Scotia will take to those NEB hearings?

THE PREMIER: Again, I can say to the member opposite, as I did to another member answering a very similar question, we are not going to jeopardize the position that we take. We are not going to, in any way, jeopardize the chances of our success by starting the discussion here. We will have the discussion in the appropriate venue.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, the Premier doesn't want to jeopardize the fact that he doesn't have a position, he wants to keep that hidden. Over and over again we've seen this government, like the one before it, cave in to big oil. Already we're hearing big oil making threatening sounds. All you have to do is take a look at the reports in the media and listen to the reports on the radio, and the threats, once again, are coming. Don't dare, they say, put Nova Scotian interests or Canadian interests over big oil interests and over American interests. Through you, Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the Premier, since you won't put the position on the table, what guarantees can Nova Scotians have that you will finally start looking out for our interests instead of rolling over yet again to big oil?

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

MR. BALSER: Unlike the member opposite, Mr. Speaker, who has never had to make a decision and stand behind the consequences of that decision, he can vacillate on any position any given day. What we've said very clearly is that Nova Scotia's concerns will be well represented in the appropriate forum.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

EDUC. - CAN. STUDENT LOANS ACT: APPLICATION - EQUALITY

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. MacTech Distance Education is designated as a post-secondary institution by the Province of Nova Scotia. Designation policy allows students taking courses from MacTech to receive student loans. This is the same policy for students taking programs at Dalhousie University or the Nova Scotia Community College, for example. My question to the Minister of Education is simply this, is it the policy of the Department of Education to apply its policies equally to all institutions designated under the Canada Student Loans Act?

[Page 10156]

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, institutions are designated according to a designation policy, and as long as institutions follow the rules they are eligible for their students to get student loans.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, it appears that the rules are suddenly changing for certain institutions. In order to receive a student loan, it is mandatory that you are a full-time student enrolled in a designated post-secondary institution. Every year student status is confirmed by a "confirmation of enrolment" form, which is issued by student assistants and signed by an authority at the post-secondary institution. This is required before the Department of Education will release the loans to the students. My question to the minister is, can the Minister of Education clarify why her department has informed MacTech, a designated institution, that their students may no longer be eligible to receive student loans?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, what I can say about this instance is that our department has discovered some issues with that particular institution, and until those issues are resolved we will not be issuing student loans to their students. This is a lawyer-to-lawyer thing, and I can assure the member opposite that as soon as it is cleared up we should be able to begin reissuing loans to students of MacTech.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, the minister answered the first question by saying that the policies were being applied equally across the board to other institutions. Now she admits that a specific institution is being treated differently from other institutions. Again, which one is it? The minister's department has informed MacTech that no further student loan documents will be processed until students have the computer equipment necessary to begin classes in a distance education environment. It seems absurd that MacTech is required to deliver material before a course begins, when other institutions are not required to deliver course textbooks before classes begin. Therefore, my final supplementary, very simply, to the minister is, can the minister please clarify why loan applications continue to be processed for all the other institutions and that processing for student loans for students at MacTech has stopped?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, I thought I was perfectly clear, but in case I wasn't I will repeat what I said before. There are problems at MacTech that do not exist at other institutions and once those problems have been cleared up, then everything will be fine again with issuing student loans to its students.

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

EDUC. - UCCB: LAYOFFS - PREVENTION DETAILS

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education and it has to do with the University College of Cape Breton. This is a unique institution in this province, not only because of its location but because it is both a university and a

[Page 10157]

college. This dual nature makes it a key pillar in the economic revival of Cape Breton and yesterday the Board of Governors of UCCB brought down a budget that will lay off 36 employees; this is an area of the province that is already suffering from the highest unemployment rate in the province. So I want to ask the Minister of Education, what steps has she taken to prevent the need for layoffs at UCCB?

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, yes, UCCB is unique. All the universities in this province are unique in their own way. As he knows, the department does not run the affairs of the universities directly. The boards of governors and the universities and the presidents have to run their own ships as tightly as they can.

MR. DEVEAUX: I think that means she's done nothing, Mr. Speaker, and really didn't want to say that on the record. The minister can say all she wants that UCCB gets to decide its own budget. Any institution that gets taxpayer dollars is accountable for what it does with those dollars. The board of governors had rejected the budget on two previous occasions because of concerns they had with it. On the third attempt to pass the budget, there was reportedly a cut of $225,000 from administrative areas in order to reduce some of the job losses. So my question to the minister is, does her department conduct an audit to ensure educational institutions such as UCCB comply with the 65 per cent/35 per cent rule for teaching/non-teaching expenditures?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, our department pays attention to what goes on at the universities. There are program reviews. The MPHEC program reviews apply also to all our universities. I know the Party opposite would like the government to run everything, but even though they do have taxpayer dollars at UCCB, they are still run by a board of governors that we expect to be responsible and we expect not to spend, spend, spend when the money isn't there.

MR. DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, again the Minister of Education seems to have it all backwards. What we're saying is that we need a minister and a department that has the vision and the leadership to ensure that people throughout this province have access to affordable post-secondary education. It's really not much more difficult than that. The government continuously says it wants to help the people of Cape Breton by reviving the economy, but one proven way of reviving the economy - funding UCCB fully - has not been followed through with. With a tuition hike of almost 6 per cent, students in Cape Breton are now facing higher education costs with no jobs to go to. So my final question to the minister is, can she tell this House what her department's plans are to ensure the viability of UCCB and the fact they will still have affordable tuition for its students?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, the viability of UCCB, the viability of the Cape Breton economy, the viability of the Nova Scotia economy are all issues that this government is working on very, very hard. (Interruption) Yes, indeed, we have done a great job of bringing in the first balanced budget in 40 years.

[Page 10158]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

HEALTH - MIDWIFERY LEG.: DRAFTING - CONFIRM

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health. A working group was established in 1998. In 1999, there was movement towards drafting legislation for midwifery in Nova Scotia. Since this government has taken office that legislation has never been tabled. My question to the minister is, can the minister please indicate if his government has drafted midwifery legislation for Nova Scotia?

HON. JAMES MUIR: No.

DR. SMITH: Five jurisdictions in four provinces have funding models to support the profession of midwifery. Is this government prepared to move forward on the recommendations of the working group on midwifery?

[4:15 p.m.]

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, we have had meetings with representatives of the midwives by themselves. I have also, and I suppose it was about three or four months ago, met with representatives of what I will call some of the allied health professions and there were people from the midwifery coalition who were there. It's not just midwives. We have a number of people who make contributions to health care here in Nova Scotia who would like to have legislation. We are assessing that. There is a limit to how much legislation we are able to introduce at any particular period of time.

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

OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS

MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Liberal House Leader.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Resolution No. 3835.

Res. No. 3835, PACY Working Group: Recommendations - Implement - notice given May 13/02 - (Mr. B. Boudreau)

[Page 10159]

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

MR. BRIAN BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, it is an honour for me to rise today and speak to this resolution. The PACY report is the result of a growing national and international interest in disease prevention.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Would the honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes allow for an introduction?

MR. BOUDREAU: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Shelburne.

MR. CECIL O'DONNELL: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes for allowing me this time for an introduction. Again it is my pleasure to introduce to all members of the House in the east gallery members from Hillcrest Academy in Shelburne who are visiting with us today and also accompanying them are St. Clair Roache, Angela Feswick, Gary Mitchell, Edith Grear, Susan Roscoe and Laura Jeffrey. I would ask that they rise and receive the traditional welcome of the House. (Applause)

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

The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes.

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, the PACY report is a result of a growing national and international interest in disease prevention. There is a link between physical activity and health. Physical inactivity is a major health problem. There is a need for a long-term strategy to create an environment to increase physical activity and health. The PACY report is a good place to start on creating a long-term strategy to increase physical activities and reduce disease. Physical activity is a long-term investment in the health and wellness of the people of Nova Scotia, especially our youth. Nova Scotia needs to value physical activity for its children and its youth.

The PACY report creates an awareness of the importance of physical activity and provides ways to create change. The report identifies six objectives that should be adopted by this government and those six objectives are, Mr. Speaker:

These are all important objectives, and this government must accept all six recommendations. There is an increasing number of children and youth who are overweight and obese. This makes the need for government to act now even more important. Research shows that the current activity levels of children and youth are low. It is estimated that only one-third of children and youth are active enough for health benefits. The fact is that inactive kids become inactive adults. There is also a rise in child obesity rates.

Mr. Speaker, televisions, computers and video games are causing more young people to stay at home and indoors. This makes the need to create a long-term strategy even more important. The evidence shows that participation in physical activity and recreation helps promote long-term health benefits, prevents crime, develops youth leadership skills, enhances student academic performance and strengthens personal performance. Physical activity also helps in the prevention of chronic disease.

The PACY report has a goal, to increase the number of children and youth who are active enough for health benefits by 10 per cent by the year 2003. The Department of Education recommends 150 minutes of physical activity per week. Right now, some students are only receiving 60 minutes of physical activity every week. I would like to remind the government that healthy Nova Scotians use the health care system less. Incorporating the PACY report in government policy makes sense if the government truly wants to reduce health care costs in this province while maintaining a healthy population.

Mr. Speaker, this report, the PACY report - I should add that PACY stands for Physically Active Children and Youth. My concern, as the Critic for Sport and Recreation in this province, is that I have seen this government, in 2001, increase its budget for recreation by $500,000. That was in 2001. The concern I have is that this year, cuts to the

[Page 10161]

budget in regard to Sport and Recreation are up to approximately $2 million in that particular department.

Mr. Speaker, the concern is real. This government, despite pretending that it has programs to involve our youth in physical activity daily in Nova Scotia, simply does not enforce that approach with proper funding for these programs. These programs have historically shown that they have a major impact on our children and youth in Nova Scotia. In that regard, in 1997, the committee was created by the government of the day in an attempt to deal with the issues of health and wellness of our young people and our children.

Mr. Speaker, in closing, I would just like to remind this government that if they are serious about the health and wellness of Nova Scotians and the prevention - prevention is exceptionally important in these times because of the cost of the health care system to Nova Scotians. If by spending 2 per cent more in Sport and Recreation, we can save as much as 20 per cent in the health care budget, that, I would suggest, is the direction that this government should move into.

Mr. Speaker, I know my time is just about up. I believe I have just a few seconds. In closing, I would encourage the minister . . .

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

The honourable Minister of Tourism and Culture.

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, first of all, before getting into my speech, what I have to say, I want to thank the member for Cape Breton The Lakes for bringing this issue forward. Indeed, I think we should be speaking more about physical activity on the floor of this House and the well-being of our children and adults across this province.

I do want to clear up a couple of things that the member did say and also in looking at the resolution, he talked about - if you look at the estimate first of all in the Sport and Recreation Commission, I believe the member said a number of $2 million. In fact, that is incorrect, from estimate to estimate. The fact is it's a little over $1 million. We are also able to make some key investments on some projects which were completed quicker than anticipated. We were able to make investments in the year prior, so indeed we are making significant investments once again - very similar to that of last year. Projects which are coming forward will have the ability, in many cases, to be funded.

I also want to take a look back to 1997. He mentions physical activity and about the previous government starting the PACY. Well it's an issue I'm quite interested in. In 1997, I was teaching at the time, not only a classroom teacher, but also a physical education teacher, so it's an issue I take very seriously. I can tell you that at that time when I heard the

[Page 10162]

previous Liberal Government was carrying it forward, I was quite elated, I was quite happy, as well as my colleagues. But to my disappointment, as with many initiatives in 1999, three years later, 1997, 1998, 1999, nothing was happening. Last year, following the Minister of Education having the responsibility of Sport and Recreation Commission, I was very fortunate to take on the Sport and Recreation Commission, at that time in June we announced that we would be moving forward on a physical activity strategy.

One of the things - and there's no doubt the member mentioned, he mentioned that many people are overweight. Kids are overweight. In fact, if he takes a look, about two-thirds of our province's population are not being physically active enough to obtain health benefits. That is something that we have to address. That's something not only has government spoken of time and time again and the Premier has been an advocate of this day in and day out since we formed government, but it's something we have brought to the national level. We have brought this to the national federal/provincial/territorial meetings. We have been a part of the national sport policy which is coming forward very shortly. As well, we have also had the opportunity to lead a discussion in active school communities at the last federal/provincial meeting.

What I can tell you is one very important first step in announcing that, last Spring, in 2001, was moving forward with the very steps needed. One of the very first steps we needed was to form a committee and we have done that. A committee not only made of government representatives, but also from across the community - from groups like Recreation Nova Scotia to Sport Nova Scotia, just to name a couple.

In fact, one of the key areas before you continue and put forward your strategy which we are doing this Spring is having appropriate research. If the member will take a look back at what this government has initiated, he will see that we have initiated some of what will be the best research, not only in this country, not only North America, but indeed, after taking a look at Grades 3, 7, and 11 and using an accelerometer, which gives you an objective measurement, not necessarily a subjective measurement, we will have some of the best research in the world. That definitely will be a benefit. It will be a benefit because we will be able to utilize that research now, we will be able to track those students. We will be able to track them as adults. We will be able to track various groups in various parts of the province. That is very important, as I know the member will be quite interested in his area.

[4:30 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, the member was also correct that we did put forward some dollars last year and we have dollars for it this year with respect to investing in physical activity. I can tell you that those dollars are back again. What I can also tell you is that we made some key investments last year across this province. In fact, he would be interested, and I can provide the member with a list. If he takes a look in the last sport and recreation times update, there's a list. It goes from everything in the Valley to various school projects, the Mi'kmaq Sport

[Page 10163]

and Recreation Circle to On The Move, physical activity coordinators to leadership programs, initiatives in the Valley to initiatives across the province. There will be initiatives and they were upon the recommendations of each regional sport and recreational coordinator.

Mr. Speaker, in our physical activity strategy this year, you will see many of the things the member listed. He talked about the various components and he will see such things as leadership. He will see such things as community use of schools. In fact, we can compare what the previous government did on schools and what this government did. If he takes a look back at the P3 school concept, which I know the honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect is quite interested in, he will see the problems that I'm sure he saw and experienced, and perhaps that his colleagues experienced, in the P3 school concepts. I'm not sure if they have, but some of these struggles that teachers and community leaders have had with that concept of getting into schools, getting students into schools and making use of those gymnasiums and classrooms on the weekends. Why, Mr. Speaker? Because it costs money.

I, along with the Minister of Education, have been working closely on a community use of schools policy that will work for this province. In fact, in this province, not only are health and education and sport and recreation involved, we are involved together. In fact, it was recognized by the then Secretary of State (Amateur Sport) Denis Coderre. The minister at that time, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration now, commented on this particular province being at the table with all three ministers. I can tell you that our Minister of Health was also at the active schools symposium held in Prince Edward Island just last fall. That was recognized at that time and it will be recognized again.

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned, we will be moving forward this Spring with the physical activity strategy. I believe that the components of that strategy will be of benefit to our children. Indeed, this is not a one-time answer. It's not something that strategy is simply going to address in one year. This is a long-term strategy. It's a long term that we have to start addressing now. Indeed, if you take a look at what physical inactivity is doing to our province, you can point to things like type 2 diabetes. You can point to things like cardiovascular disease. You can point to many things that are affecting our health.

In fact, I believe the tobacco strategy is also a key component of this because we're not only looking at one particular aspect, we're not only taking a look at physical education in the classroom or what happens at home; we're taking a look at what happens in our communities. We're taking a look at what happens across this province when our children are in schools, but also when they leave high school, all of these components. There is not a single thing that is going to address the problem. It's a combination. It's going to take interdepartmental co-operation and we, as a government, have stood for that. We as a government, are going to do that. We are doing that.

[Page 10164]

In June of this year, we will not only release the results of our accelerometer study and our research, but indeed, Mr. Speaker, we will be releasing a strategy. I hope that the honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes will stand up at that time and congratulate this government because it will be a positive initiative. It is a positive initiative. I can tell you (Interruption) I hear some chitter chatter on the other side. I can see how the member would be quite upset because, after all, his previous government talked about a lot of things and this government is doing a lot of things. This is one of those things where we are doers, not just sayers. How much time do I have left?

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member has about a minute and a half.

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I wish I had 50 more minutes. I wish I had another 50 minutes, but I will have to limit it to a minute and a half. Indeed, not only will we be addressing physical activity, but there are many other aspects. You have to take a look, and I don't know if the member mentioned it or not, at the areas where we have children who have challenges. That's very important. We have to take a look at women and how much physical activity they're doing. Some of the initiatives we have taken in the last year have addressed that. Another example is the High Five program with Recreation Nova Scotia, which is developing those leaders we need across these communities, working with the provincial sport organizations that we have been doing.

Mr. Speaker, the list can go on and on, the RF program, the recreational facilities development program, which we will announce within the next week, hundreds of thousands of dollars are going into communities across our province. We are committed to physical activity in this province; we are committed to the well-being of our citizens. I can assure that honourable member, when he sees the physical activity strategy of this province, he will be quite pleased, because it will not only be an initiative of Sport and Recreation, it will be an initiative of government with all components of government involved.

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

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, it's a pleasure to stand in my place this afternoon and speak on a topic, of course, of grave concern to all of us as adults. In my chosen career as an educator and a physical activity - I would say at times - a bit of a nut on the topic of trying to have young people in your schools stay active. It remains an ongoing concern.

The minister has taken a number of initiatives, and I think it's important to recognize the minister and this government for some of their initiatives. There's more to do. What we don't need is window dressing and pronouncements. We do need some positive steps. I would like to take a couple of minutes, if I may, and I would like to point out to you that my constituency office at 1492 St. Margaret's Bay Road in the beautiful community of Lakeside, which of course is part of the BLT Recreation Centre.

[Page 10165]

Mr. Speaker, I have the opportunity, first-hand, to see the comings and goings throughout the year of many of the young people and seniors who are coming into that facility and using it. It used to be a school, previous to its use as a recreation centre. Young people like Phil Hammond and Jeanine Shirley, who work in that community rec centre, they make it happen. They make it happen because of the energy and the enthusiasm that they bring to their jobs. The concern, of course, you have in a growing constituency such as mine is the lack of facilities.

It's no time to point fingers, but I have to bring it up. Our problem in the growing community of Timberlea-Prospect and Hammonds Plains is that we have to get on the soccer fields. You heard me the other day introduce a resolution congratulating a new football club, that is a Canadian football club, the Timberlea Titans, that has been formed in our growing community. The Timberlea Titans need a place for these young men to play football. Our concern, of course, is you are competing with fastball, lob ball, of course, whip pitch, you're competing against soccer, and now we put football in the mix. The problem is that we have a number of P3 school fields.

This is the issue. We welcome the schools; they're there. We don't agree on how they were financed, but that's another issue. We still have the inability to be able to get on the school fields. As you know, Mr. Speaker, this is the time of year when many young people across this province and across the areas that we represent want to have the opportunity to get outside to do some exercise, to become involved in some kind of physical activity. It's of real importance that the Minister of Education continue to press the P3 developers to make sure that these school fields are brought up to scratch, because they are not.

Mr. Speaker, recently I had the opportunity to table in this House a petition from 376, I believe, 377 - if my memory serves me correctly - young people in the community that I represent who would like to have more recreation in the form of a skateboard park. Mr. [Deputy] Speaker, based upon your experience in the community you represent, you know that's a popular recreational event. We can't only rely upon the standards of hockey rinks and gymnasiums. There are so many other ways that young people, and people of all ages, are into recreation.

The example I would like to use, and I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the volunteers in the community I represent, who have transformed the old rail line along the South Shore that goes through the growing communities of Beechville, Lakeside and Timberlea and extends out to St. Margarets Bay all the way down to Hubbards, is the Rails to Trails organization. There are volunteers in the community that I represent, Catherine Klefenz, in particular, Wayne Rogers, and numerous other people that I don't want to start mentioning or I will forget one or two of them, who have put in innumerable hours in making sure that these recreational facilities are developed.

[Page 10166]

To the credit of that minister opposite, there has been some funding put in place to assist the development of the BLT Rails to Trails and the St. Margarets Bay Rails to Trails, but there is much more that has to be done. There's an example which we can follow, Mr. Speaker. It's an example I know my colleague, the member for Cape Breton Nova, often refers to and that's the example of Saskatchewan. I want to use the Saskatchewan example particularly because I had the opportunity in the past of travelling with groups of students, athletes, to other parts of this country through an open house Canada grant program. This open house grant program was financed by the federal government and it's a bit of a coincidence, I know, that as a teacher at the time and as a coach, we ended up in the community of Yorkton, Saskatchewan.

I want you to know that the financing and funding of recreational and athletic activities in that community of Yorkton is heavily financed by the provincial Saskatchewan Government because in that province the example of the benefits of the lotto, the benefits of that weekly lotto that we have in this country, instead of it disappearing into the great black hole of general funds, the funds that come out of the lotto in Saskatchewan are used for young people, they are used for seniors, they go to athletics, recreation, they go to sports; because there is one true axiom that the inactive youth becomes the inactive adult and eventually ends up in the health programs across this province.

Mr. Speaker, however, I have to come to a factor that gravely concerns me and that is in this sort of debate who do we always turn to, the great panacea of all answers to all problems, we turn to the school teacher. It's the school teacher in the middle of all the other commitments that we have that day, oh, we are suddenly going to also now take on the challenge of having young people active.

Now, Mr. Speaker, those are easy words to use. We have to make sure that we have the support from the appropriate Department of Education officials because there is a current program in the high schools across this province that, in my opinion, is laughable. It's called by various acronyms and I know the Minister of Education has heard these exchanges before during estimates with me, as a previous school teacher and as the member for Timberlea-Prospect, it's called PAL, physically active lifestyle. The problem is - and I know that the Minister of Tourism and Culture in his previous life, we've had this discussion, not that I would take any of his comments off the record here - the physically active lifestyle course in high schools is a joke. Do you know what they do during these activities? They take them for a walk.

When Sir John A. Macdonald was operating - and it is not - Sir John A. Macdonald High School has a junior high gymnasium. It doesn't have the facilities next door that other schools might have. It doesn't have all the resources, and the school that you represent, Mr. [Deputy] Speaker, or the two high schools I think it is that you represent, physically active lifestyle at Sir John A. Macdonald High School, they take the big common room, Room 233, and they often have nothing for these young people to do. There has to be facilities in place,

[Page 10167]

there has to be funding in place when it comes to having an effective physically active lifestyle course.

The question is, why isn't physical education - dressed up with window dressing called physically active lifestyle - a compulsory course? It's a concern if we're going to address the issue and we are going to have funding in place, many seniors will say, we're glad we're active, we're glad we're involved in our community, but we are worried about the many young people who are so inactive, who basically have not been involved in this community and have to eventually take up the baton of volunteering and being involved in all the various activities.

[4:45 p.m.]

There are many challenges ahead, Mr. Speaker. The challenges ahead, of course, revolve very simply around an old axiom that my dad used to use - of course you know my dad was a penitentiary guard - keep him busy, keep him out of trouble. Let me tell you, in the community I grew up in, I was busy. I was actively involved, and most of the time I did stay out of trouble.

MR. SPEAKER: The time for debate on Resolution No. 3835 has expired.

The honourable Liberal House Leader.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Resolution No. 3824.

Res. No. 3824, Health - Smoke-Free for Life Curriculum: High Schools - Time Frame - notice given May 13/02 - (Dr. J. Smith)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak on Resolution No. 3824 this afternoon. The resolution addresses the need for a mandatory program to educate and to assist children in our school system to not become addicted to nicotine. We know that increased taxes are a great deterrent toward this initiative as well that would prevent the early addiction of children to smoking and continued smoking throughout their lives. The non-smoking legislation in public places that we have before us in the Legislature is another step in that direction, although be it a small step.

Thirdly, we have the matter of programs in schools. We have some experience here in Nova Scotia because we have an excellent program that's available and not being used, and that's the purpose of this resolution today. Nova Scotia does need to mandate a smoking prevention program in the classrooms of our schools as part of a strategy to reduce youth

[Page 10168]

smoking rates in this province. We are well aware, and I don't want to get into the negatives but it must be stated, that Nova Scotia has the highest smoking rate in Canada, 29 per cent of Nova Scotians smoke. Nova Scotia has the heaviest consumption of cigarettes per smoker.

A lot of statistics have been thrown around about smoking this last while, and there are always statistics and there are always issues beyond those numbers. So, the heaviest consumption, along with the highest number of smokers, has the highest rate of nicotine addiction in this country. This government is aware of these startling figures. The Minister of Health is aware of these, so is our caucus and so are other Opposition members. Most importantly, the public in Nova Scotia is aware of the smoking rates in this province.

Because of this, we're seeing an increase, year after year, and a lot of support for this government to implement a 100 per cent ban on smoking in all public places. Perhaps, most importantly, the young people in Nova Scotia must be protected from tobacco smoke. Twenty-eight per cent of pregnant mothers smoke and expose their unborn children to nicotine. Thirty-one per cent of teenagers, aged 15 to 19 years, smoke in Nova Scotia. At today's rate, more than 65,000 Nova Scotia children and teens alive today will become regular smokers. Of these, 15,000 will be killed by their addiction in middle age, each losing about 22 years of a non-smoker's life expectancy. None of us want to see such a dismal and such a drastic future for Nova Scotians. That's the reality.

That's the type of presentation we had last evening in the Law Amendments Committee from Dr. Dennis Bowie, a physician in this area who's well-versed in matters of smoking. He is a specialist in chest diseases. He highlighted on a screen for all to see very clearly the results of smoking here in Nova Scotia. Even those illnesses when you look at them on the screen, the chief causes of death of Nova Scotians, you may not relate that they are related to smoking until a closer look is involved. The chronic obstructive lung disease that he highlighted as being in the top bracket causes of death, almost all, always, almost totally related to deaths caused by smoking. So I think anybody who saw that slide presentation and talk by Dr. Bowie last evening would realize what I'm saying here today is the truth and Nova Scotians are becoming aware of it and they want something done about it.

Speak all you want to of the rights of people to do what they want, but those who run restaurants and bars in this province, Mr. Speaker, do not own their patrons, their clients. We've heard that so many times. It's like the attitude we had in the 1890s toward children, and later to the 1990s, that children were owned and parents would decide what's good for them. If a little whipping now and then smartened them up, that was supposed to be okay because they were the property of the parents. No one believes that today - I hope they don't, but I suppose there are a few. So attitudes are changing and people have rights and the right to be healthy. The health and wellness program is an initiative of our caucus and this is an integral part, the program I speak of today is an integral part of our overall health and wellness approach to what Nova Scotians are expecting and what they deserve.

[Page 10169]

Mr. Speaker, if we want to combat youth smoking, then Nova Scotia must mandate a smoking prevention curriculum in our schools. Nova Scotia is blessed with an already existing, outstanding school-based tobacco prevention curriculum. Nova Scotia's Smoke-Free for Life curriculum has been identified nationally as one of the best in the country. The Smoke-Free for Life program has curricula for Primary to Grade 3, Grade 4 to Grade 6 and Grade 7 to Grade 9. Research on programs less rigorous than the Nova Scotia program has been shown to reduce smoking instances by 6 per cent initially and by 4.8 per cent over the longer term. Research indicates that investment in the Smoke-free for Life program in our schools would lead to a higher level of decline, a 10.5 per cent decline in teenage smoking initially and a 7 per cent reduction in the long term. That would be a lot of lives saved.

Mr. Speaker, to reach all 76,000 students in Primary to Grade 9, total costs for the program would be $1.1 million annually. This is not a terribly huge amount of money, especially when we see that research shows that for every $1 invested in the Smoke-Free for Life curriculum, the province would save $8.80. For every $1 spent, $8.80 in avoided health care costs would be saved. That's just speaking economics, not the human terms of life and suffering that that would involve. This amounts to an annual saving of $33 million, the same amount as the tax increase that we could double the revenues if delivered to 36,000 students, $69 million if delivered to 76,000 students. Unfortunately, the outstanding Nova Scotia Smoke-Free for Life curriculum is not required in Nova Scotia's schools and is not being used as widely as it should be. Response from the teachers using that program and the studies that have been done have been very, very minimal.

In May and October 1996, the Nova Scotia Department of Health conducted a series of in-services around the province to update teachers on the youth smoking issue and to introduce the new smoking prevention program for Primary to Grade 9. A program evaluation took place in August 1997 and results of this study showed that less than 20 per cent of Nova Scotian teachers used the Smoke-Free for Life curriculum in the classroom. If this program is not being taught in our schools, there's clearly a missed opportunity to combat youth smoking.

Teenage smoking has increased 40 per cent since 1991, yet very few teachers provide smoking prevention education in the classroom. It is the role of the government to mandate curriculum that can combat teenage smoking and save the lives and money of Nova Scotians. It is the role of this government to look out for the best future and the opportunity to provide a healthy environment, where health and wellness are at the forefront, for Nova Scotians. If we want to protect youth and combat teenage smoking, it is important that this government . . .

[Page 10170]

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

The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. JAMES MUIR: I'm pleased to rise in my place this evening and speak for a few minutes on Resolution No. 3824, which talks about the Smoke-Free for Life program that is available for youths between the Primary to Grade 9 in Nova Scotia schools.

Obviously, the Department of Health, which has had a good deal of responsibility for the implementation of that program and the training of people, endorses that program and certainly supports its widespread use in the schools. I'm sure all members of the House do. The issue, unfortunately - and I will say this as a person who was formerly involved in education in a variety of spheres here in the province - is not so much a matter of it being a good program or one that's desirable. It's a matter of setting priorities; it's conflicting programs, which are also of high quality; and the matter of time. However, from the health perspective, my department is working with people in the Department of Education and my colleague, the Minister of Education, to encourage more people to use this material more widely in the schools of Nova Scotia. As the member for Dartmouth East has mentioned, it has been shown that this program does have positive results in the prevention of young people starting the smoking habit.

However, I think it's important to recognize that this program, as good as it is, certainly is not sufficient by itself, and that's why this government did endorse and adopt a comprehensive tobacco strategy. It was launched in October 2001. This particular strategy has seven parts and it's based on the results of stakeholder consultations. Those would be stakeholders from the health professions and others who were concerned about the deleterious effect of tobacco on young people and on other people. It would be in the interest of preventing people from smoking, encouraging people who do smoke to stop, and preventing or lessening the exposure of children and youth and, indeed, all members of the public to second-hand smoke.

So it was based on the results of stakeholder consultations and also on research after review of the research and best practices. It identified seven key components to the success of tobacco control efforts in Nova Scotia. First of all is taxation. As I said in the House yesterday, my colleague, the Minister of Finance, obviously with the encouragement of his colleagues, the Minister of Health and the Minister of Education, did increase the price of tobacco three times in this past year. The price of tobacco was increased in April 2001 - I guess that would make it 13 months - November 2001, and April 2002. Price increases, as you know, have proven to be one of the most effective youth prevention tools. Cigarettes now cost approximately $7 a package in Nova Scotia and that price increase not only discourages young people from smoking, but you and I both know a number of adults who finally said, hey, that's it guys, no more, $7 a pack is just pushing it too much and I'm going

[Page 10171]

to give up the habit and that's a good thing. That's what that particular price increase was intended to do.

[5:00 p.m.]

Secondly is the issue of legislation and policy. There is a piece of legislation currently before this House that will go a long way to significantly reduce the exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke and it is particularly geared to preventing young people from coming into contact with second-hand tobacco smoke and what basically this legislation does, and it's good legislation, it has been endorsed by all of the health groups, recognizing they say it doesn't go as far as we would like it to go, but it is a tremendous step forward. As the member for Dartmouth East has indicated, it basically bans smoking where young people are allowed to go. If young people are there, you can't smoke. It will also ban smoking in schools and on school property and it makes it illegal for youth to possess tobacco.

The legislation is among the very strongest pieces of legislation in the country, Mr. Speaker. We believe that in conjunction with the other six parts of the tobacco strategy, it will go a long way to reduce exposure to second-hand smoke and obviously reduce the number of people smoking and also encourage a number of smokers to quit. In terms of programs to help people stop smoking, there are a number of them. We have a 1-800 line established. It's toll-free and it's a province-wide cessation help line. The line provides the opportunity to access a wide range of services, including self-help print resources, cessation counselling and a follow-up and referral to group-based programming. We expect that this 1-800 line will be operational within the next month.

Thirdly, we also had a provincial conference for addiction staff and provided funding for it. The particular conference was to provide those who are working in the area with information on effective nicotine addiction treatment options. There is another school-based program called No More Butts and it's a school-based cessation program in partnership with public health and addiction services. This program was developed, it's a new peer-led group cessation program for high school age students. Pilot testing of the program in schools and seven of the nine DHAs began in March of this year, Mr. Speaker.

Fourthly, we have a number of community-based programs. There was a provincial conference, the first ever provincial tobacco control conference, entitled Tobacco Nova Scotia Communities Taking Action. It was held in October 2001 and we had over 200 delegates from across the province attending that two-day event. There are tobacco control coordinators. We have provided funding to DHAs to assist with community-based tobacco control programming. A number of the DHAs used the funding to hire tobacco coordinators to develop, implement and evaluate anti-tobacco use strategies at the district level.

[Page 10172]

We also commissioned the Atlantic Health Promotion Research Centre to prepare a report on tobacco use in Canadian Aboriginal populations and this report, of course, will be shared with Aboriginal communities in Nova Scotia to help begin an effective dialogue on tobacco control interventions. In terms of youth prevention, we had meetings of the Youth Advisory Committee and that was coordinated by the Department of Health. The committee activities included the drafting of recommendations to the Premier on effective smoking prevention strategies. It provided media training and media interviews and it included the review and the editing of the No More Butts Program.

The Smoke-Free For Life program, which was the substance or the operational thing that triggered this debate, was updated and reprinted. It is intended for Grades P-9. There are plans underway for the promotion and distribution of the resource through the DHAs and the Department of Education. The program is there now, but there are plans underway to see that it is used more widely; school policy guidelines, called Making it Work. We partnered with the Nova Scotia School Smoking Prevention Coalition in the development of guidelines for the effective school-based policy.

We had a series of television ads, media awareness. We aired a mass media campaign from January to March 2002. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable Minister of Health's time has expired.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley on an introduction.

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the NDP for permitting me to do this brief introduction. I would like to introduce to you and members of the House a very fine gentleman, Mr. Graeme Hicks from Halifax. Mr. Hicks comes to the Legislature quite frequently. He's a federal civil servant. He also spends the other half of his time, I understand, down at the Halifax Regional Municipality's council meetings. We certainly commend you for having such a very interesting constitution. Thanks for coming in. Please rise and receive a warm welcome from members in the House, Mr. Hicks. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We certainly welcome Mr. Hicks to the gallery today. We hope you enjoy the proceedings.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I'm very pleased to have an opportunity to rise in my place and speak to what I think is one of the more important debates and issues to come onto the floor of this House. I think this is an issue, in fact, where there is no disagreement across Party lines. I think that whether you're a member of the Tory caucus or the Liberal caucus or the NDP caucus, we're all in agreement about how important we feel it is to prevent children and youth from smoking, and the strength of our desire to

[Page 10173]

ensure that whatever it takes to make sure that young people are encouraged to avoid the use of tobacco is something that I hope and I know that we would all be prepared to work together here to ensure that is an obtainable goal.

Mr. Speaker, I think, if anything, the disagreement between us - while we can share the goal or the objective, the disagreement - sometimes arises in the how to approach this. I know that, speaking for myself, this is not an area where I can claim to have any expertise or experience in working with young people around smoking cessation or around prevention. However, we're very fortunate, I think, in this province to have a considerable number of people with expertise in the area, who have been looking hard at the tobacco cessation and tobacco control, and who have been giving advice to the Minister of Health and certainly to members of other Parties.

I only wish that the Minister of Health would take that advice a bit more seriously than has happened to date. We've had people, for example, come before us at the Law Amendments Committee who have worked extensively with adolescents, and they have raised concerns and they have raised their reservations about a piece of the government's legislation that the government claims will prevent young people from smoking, but in fact people who work with young people are saying that will not be the case and there's no evidence that it will prevent young people from smoking, and in fact young people, particularly young people who want to demonstrate their rebelliousness and their behaviour as being like adult behaviour may, in fact, be encouraged to take up smoking. I don't think that's an intended consequence of this legislation, but people who are experts in the field are telling us that may very well be the outcome. I would hope that the Minister of Health would pay attention to people with that kind of insight and appreciation for these issues.

We are told by people who work with young people and have studied the root causes of smoking, particularly in youth, that essentially, there are a number of elements that need to form a program to keep young people from smoking. If there's one thing that will deter young people from smoking, it's the cost of cigarettes. We heard in the Law Amendments Committee that taxation is probably the most effective. It is certainly an area that should have priority attention from government. We've been told that, yes, this government has increased taxation, but there's still a certain amount of room to grow, particularly since cigarettes in this province continue to be quite a bit cheaper than they are, let's say, in border American states. So there's room to increase taxation, therefore serving as a deterrent for young people taking up the practice of smoking.

We're also told that a very important piece of keeping young people from smoking is having smoke-free legislation in public places. The whole purpose of this kind of legislation de-normalizes the practice of smoking for everyone, for adults, and the message goes out to young people that it's not an adult behaviour that they should aspire to and that in fact it's a habit and a practice that is not normal. It's not something you can do for enjoyment when you go out and socialize in a bar, a club, a restaurant or what have you.

[Page 10174]

Finally, we are told that education is a very important feature of deterring children and youth from taking up smoking. The Smoke-Free for Life curriculum that has been available as a curriculum supplement from the Department of Health, through the work of the Drug Dependency Services and the Tobacco Control Unit, was recently updated, as the minister indicated, in 2001. It's not a mandatory piece of the curriculum, but there are very interesting lesson plans and tips for teachers that will help them understand this tool and how to use it at the various school levels with children who are in Primary to Grade 3, Grade 4 to Grade 6, and junior high school.

This curriculum has some pointers in terms of how to reach out to students who are considered to be at high risk, and it indicates that tobacco companies have identified certain youth who are more likely to smoke and design marketing campaigns to appeal to the high-risk group. It talks about the risk factors: the low socio-economic status, poor academic record, lower self-esteem, peers or parents who smoke and rebellious or devious behaviour patterns. I think it's a tool, certainly, that used in conjunction with a very targeted approach to identifying, perhaps, school populations that may be at higher risk - for example, like the inner-city schools, three that are in my constituency of Halifax Needham.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. There's too much noise in the Chamber and it's hard to hear the honourable member for Halifax Needham who has the floor. Thank you.

[5:15 p.m.]

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. So, perhaps a curriculum like this, as I was saying, in an inner-city school in my constituency, where obviously the at-risk population exists, would be a very useful tool to ensure that we do put our resources and target them where the most likely at-risk population is.

I would like to say in closing, Mr. Speaker, that the current legislation leaves a very mixed message for young people in terms of the lack of enforcement that accompanies the provisions in that legislation that keep young people from possessing tobacco. I think everybody agrees that we need to look at education.

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

The honourable Liberal House Leader.

[Page 10175]

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Resolution No. 3832.

Res. No. 3832, Educ. - Schools: Physical Activity - Mandate - notice given May 13/02 - (Mr. M. Samson)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, it's a pleasure to rise today to speak on a very important topic, part of the theme of what we've been discussing here today as a Liberal caucus, and that is a theme on healthy lifestyles, something which we as a caucus feel is essential to stress and to strive towards here in Nova Scotia, not only for the best interest of our residents for their healthy life, but certainly to help address some of the concerns in our out-of-control health care system and some of the other support systems that are out there necessary to help Nova Scotians because of, in many ways, the unhealthy lifestyle that we have been leading and that we have been raising our children into in the last little bit.

Mr. Speaker, I will just read the resolution quite quickly. It says:

"Whereas a recent Statistics Canada study indicates that 20 per cent of Nova Scotians are obese and less than half of Nova Scotians exercise regularly; and

Whereas promotion and education of healthy lifestyles must be taught to our children, in our schools and otherwise; and

Whereas the Minister of Education has no plans of making gym class mandatory for high school students even though recent statistics show obesity is on the rise in Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Education review her decision that will negatively impact Nova Scotians and make provision for mandating physical activity, including physical education, integral to the curriculum of our high schools."

Mr. Speaker, we've been talking quite a bit lately about the need, especially in our education system, to start providing better supports and better education tools to our kids. The message behind that, which is not rocket science for anyone, is that if we can teach our kids certain values, certain lessons, certain goals at a young age, one can only hope that they will carry this out through the rest of their lives. I think history shows that to be the case. It is interesting because we know that the Minister of Education, while we've criticized her on other fronts in regard to the education system, she has certainly shown an interest in some of the education programs which are being offered at the schools throughout our province.

[Page 10176]

For example, shortly after getting the post of Education, the minister indicated that she wanted to have a mandatory Canadian history class for our high schools throughout this province. I think that was a good decision on her part. We do have a bit of concern as to whether she's got all of the textbooks and necessary supplies for the teachers before going forward with it, but the concept is one we support.

What we are saying today and what we have heard, especially recently with the tobacco discussions we have been having, the smoking discussions, is one about healthy lifestyles and it's about trying to assist Nova Scotians as much as possible to lead healthy lifestyles. It's safe to say now and I don't think anyone would argue with the statistics and I'm sure the Minister of Health should be the first one who should be able to jump and say that the statistics are there to show that right now, for the most part, Nova Scotians lead, in many ways, unhealthy lifestyles. I think the minister has said that; in some of his answers, he has talked about lifestyle choices.

Mr. Speaker, the question is, what can we as legislators, what can we as teachers, what can we do as leaders to try to change that trend and address that trend? Well, on the smoking issue, we're calling on the government to go with a 100 per cent total ban on smoking. The idea being if you do not allow smoking in public places it will be a severe deterrent to young people to start smoking and will hopefully help those who do have a smoking addiction break the habit. What we are saying with this resolution and what our Party is telling the government is that we need to address the lifestyles also, the eating habits and the exercise habits of Nova Scotians.

Now, where can we start? What is an inexpensive way to start doing that? Mr. Speaker, what we are proposing and what we would ask the minister to look at is to start with the high school. You've already got the schools built. You already have the teachers in place. The infrastructure is there. So it's not a question of large financial costs involved here. So what can we do? What we are saying is that the Minister of Education should look at making gym class mandatory in our high schools. Now, what can we teach in those gym classes? Well, we could teach regular exercising. We could teach healthy eating habits. We could teach the concerns of obesity and what that leads to down the road, some of the health problems it might cause, and it's the idea that we would allow our youth to go forward into their life having this background with them.

We do have mandatory gym class for most of our elementary and junior high, but at high school it is no longer a requirement. So, Mr. Speaker, what we are proposing today is that the government take that step. The statistics are there. If you don't believe it, going through any high school, or junior high, or elementary school in this province and seeing the number of children throughout this province who are obese is alarming and I'm sure the Minister of Education has seen that first-hand as she has gone throughout schools in this entire province.

[Page 10177]

Mr. Speaker, we need to do something to address that. We know the health effects that has in the future. We know what those children and what our young adults are going to be faced with if they do not get that under control. We have talked to the minister. She has agreed that smoking education in our schools is a positive and effective tool to discourage youth from taking up smoking. What we are saying today is extend that to the issues of healthy lifestyles by making gym class mandatory throughout this province.

Now, it's interesting, Mr. Speaker, because the studies clearly show that what teenagers are exposed to in high school, what they learn, in many ways they carry with them for the rest of their lives. It is a time and a period in their lives where they're able to absorb a great deal of information. They're able to process it and they're able to take that forward with them for the rest of their lives.

So a tremendous opportunity is there for the government to put this in place. It is interesting, a healthy lifestyle is something all of us can work to achieve and all of us can work to try to strive towards in our everyday life. I remember last week there were some comments made by some of the elected members about their concerns about healthy lifestyles since being elected. Today I attended a function where the Honourable John Manley, the Deputy Prime Minister of Canada, spoke and it was quite interesting what was pointed out; he participated in a marathon in New York and the fact that he is also an avid runner in Ottawa and has participated in some of the marathons there.

Mr. Speaker, we need to do everything possible to try to encourage our youth at a young age to lead healthy lifestyles, to make exercise a part of their daily life. Again the fact is - I know that the government accuses mostly the NDP, not so much us I would argue, but is always saying that we are trying to encourage the government to spend, spend, spend - well, this is not that kind of issue because, as the minister I'm sure will agree, the infrastructure is there. We have a lot of that in place. The schools are already in place. The teachers are there. So the cost here is not one that is of a great nature, but when one looks at the benefits, well, she only needs to look at her satiate, the Minister of Health, who could clearly tell her how much an early investment in teaching healthy lifestyles will pay off in savings to the health care system down the road.

So what we are saying here is that this is a positive step the government can take, that it can implement, that over time and with time will have a positive benefit on our students. I would argue that this type of program will have a positive impact on the teachers and on the staff within the schools if we are encouraging all of our schools to follow this healthy lifestyle and to change the path which we're going down because we all know that our health care budget continues to rise. The Minister of Health has been continually pumping more and more money into the system and yet he knows himself how many deficiencies still exist within the system regardless of how much money is put in.

[Page 10178]

Mr. Speaker, with that, our point today is that we need to start pushing and need to start working together towards healthy lifestyles. How can we do that? We know the value of a proper education system. We know the impact that a good education can have, therefore it is a natural suggestion and a natural plan to incorporate healthy lifestyles in our high school programs, in our education system. We know what the benefits will be. I've talked about the benefits in savings to the government and the savings to the province but, more importantly, it will lead to healthier lives for our youth and a brighter future for this province.

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

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I would like to share my time with the honourable Minister of Education.

The benefits of physical activity have been extolled throughout western history and western society. Recently we learned that 33 per cent of boys and 27 per cent of girls in Canada are overweight, and the numbers for this province are about the same. In addition to helping control our weight, research shows that regular physical activity can reduce the risk for several diseases and conditions, and also improve our overall quality of life.

Mr. Speaker, we all know that from regular physical activity we can help protect ourselves from heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, obesity, and much more. (Interruptions) Some honourable members are kind of, I suppose you would say setting a few rabbit tracks, but actually what they're trying to do is tease because I am sticking to my script here, and I plan on doing that because it's a very important matter, one that this government takes very seriously.

Mr. Speaker, studies on psychological effects of exercise have found that regular physical activity can improve our mood and the way we feel about ourselves.

AN HON. MEMBER: How do you feel?

MR. TAYLOR: Well, you know, I feel pretty good today.

Researchers have also found that exercise is likely to reduce depression and anxiety and help us to better manage stress. There's no shortage of research on this topic; there's also no question about the importance of developing healthy lifestyle habits. (Interruptions)

Mr. Speaker, I'm receiving lots of help here this afternoon.

Physical activity and the overall health of our children is very important, but so is the same thing for adults. Along with parents, health partners and sport recreation organizations, the school system can play a key role in helping Nova Scotians to adopt a healthy attitude. (Interruptions)

[Page 10179]

Mr. Speaker, I can see that the assistance I'm getting has become encouragement, as far as I'm concerned, to possibly this turn this script upside down. It is a very important matter and I would like to talk about something that's rather unique along the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia, and that is the Eastern Shore Old-Timers Hockey League. (Interruptions) Now, when the rink was opened back in 1971, the Eastern Shore Old-Timers Hockey League was formed.

We are referencing physical activity, and I know a number of my colleagues here are hockey players and former hockey players, and some of us are hockey player wannabes; nonetheless the fact of the matter is a good, vigorous game of hockey, if one is in reasonably good physical condition, can only help one's well-being and it does contribute to a healthy lifestyle. I know that the federal government has employed a program now where old-timer hockey players stop and they will have their cardiovascular check, they will take their pulse and things of that nature. I think that's very important and those types of programs are helpful because there are concerns and in fact there have been documentaries and things of that nature about playing old-timer hockey and really not being in the physical condition you think you are to engage in that sport. But I do know my colleague had the opportunity to be on the ice with several of my colleagues and my colleague, the honourable member for Sackville-Beaver Bank seems to be in pretty darn good physical condition because he's a rascal to try to catch when you're playing against him.

[5:30 p.m.]

Now on the other hand, the honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect, unless he has been able to - I suppose you would say - obtain some recent speed, sometimes I was able, Mr. Speaker, to catch up to that scoundrel. Nonetheless, old-timer hockey is a great game and I just want to say that the teams that play (Interruption) Oh yes, the camaraderie is very important, but it really doesn't contribute - well, it does contribute to lifestyle, I just don't know how healthy that lifestyle would be. The fact of the matter is down on the Eastern Shore, that old-timers hockey league, I guess what's unique about it is that in 1971, eight teams formed that league and to this day, the same teams, not especially the same players, but the same teams are still playing out of the rink in Musquodoboit Harbour in the riding of Eastern Shore, which borders on the beautiful Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

Now, Mr. Speaker, . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: The former riding.

MR. TAYLOR: Well, the honourable member for Eastern Shore is saying the former riding. How much time do I have, Mr. Speaker?

MR. SPEAKER: Four minutes.

[Page 10180]

MR. TAYLOR: Four minutes, thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would just like to name some of the communities that (Interruption) Well, I guess you're not allowed to reference props. We're not allowed to use props. Does that include taking your teeth out?

AN HON. MEMBER: Table them.

MR. TAYLOR: Well, maybe the honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect should table them, but, nonetheless, I never mentioned his name, only the riding he represents. Yes, and he's a very entertaining old-timer hockey player. He sets a good example. (Interruption) Well, old-timer, he's over - oh, I better not say. You know the age limits, Mr. Speaker, to play old-timer hockey. But the teams from Jeddore, Musquodoboit Harbour, Musquodoboit Valley, Chezzetcook, Ecum Secum, Ship Harbour and there's a team called Jupiter that comes - I'm just going to, informally, to my honourable colleague for the Eastern Shore, Jupiter, that team would reside in what? Is that Jupiter Foundation?

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes it is in Jeddore.

MR. TAYLOR: In Jeddore, okay, another team from Jeddore. Mr. Speaker, what I'm saying is that physical activity and physical well-being do go hand in hand and its very important that we do exercise and I will gladly yield the floor to the honourable Minister of Education to finish this.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education has about three minutes.

The honourable Minister of Education.

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, really, I can't get up and talk about hockey like my colleague, which is probably fortunate for everyone here. The honourable member for Richmond brought up a very good point when he talked about physical activity and physical education in high school. The fact is that there is a course in high school. It is mandatory. It has a very funny name. People in the department like it. PAL, it's Physically Active Lifestyle. Part of what's good about that course is it's not gym. It does allow students to make some choices about what they may want to do later in their life. Obviously, when they graduate in a year or two, they're not going to be going to gym class and the aim of the course is to expose them to other forms of physical activity that they may in fact use in their later life. (Interruption)

Well, a lot of people don't like it, but the aim of it, Mr. Speaker, is very good because you can have dance classes. They expose kids to curling. Even playing pool is better than sitting in front of a television set eating fast food. So the idea that the member for Richmond was talking about is very good. The idea is already there. What we have to do outside the school is to reinforce those good ideas because once the kids leave, even if they have been exposed to the right ideas, if they end up in a life of sitting in front of a computer, of always

[Page 10181]

using a car or a bus or never walking anywhere, whether it's to a gym or to soccer or to hockey or wherever, then essentially, we will have done them a disservice.

I happened to be speaking about this subject to the Youth Advisory Council on Saturday and asked them their opinion. Their opinion was that gym should not be mandatory in high school, that efforts in elementary schools should be beefed up, that they recall their gym classes as being way too much dodge ball and not enough of anything else - and one particular student said if he'd been exposed to curling in high school, he would have known about it much sooner, and it happens to be his favourite sport and he is a very fit individual.

I have one other idea that I know will . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Honourable Minister of Education, your time has expired.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Just to follow up on the minister's comments. I started taking up curling this year as well, so maybe if I had taken it in high school I would have started curling earlier too. The best part of curling is the fact that I find in that sport - it's a great game - if you lose, the winning team has to buy you a beer.

AN HON. MEMBER: What?

MR. DEVEAUX: Yes. That's the rule in curling. Of course, when you first start curling, obviously you lose all your games.

AN HON. MEMBER: Shocking.

MR. DEVEAUX: It's shocking. I want to pick up on a point though. The member for Richmond brought this resolution forward to debate, but I think what's important to reflect on is that this is not something that we - and partly it is about high school and I understand the rationale with wanting to talk about high school, I also understand the comments of the Minister of Education about PAL, Physically Active Lifestyle, or something like that and how it works in high school and I understand the member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley's comments about remaining active in adult life. But, I would suggest, and I guess like everyone in this House, when you stand up you draw on your life experiences. I have two very young children, a three-year-old and a one-year-old, and I think that we can't wait until high school to be talking about physical activity. It's something that must be done at a very early age.

We talk about the obesity statistics we have in Nova Scotia, across Canada, and the issues that are being faced. These are very important issues, but if we are to have a healthy lifestyle, it doesn't start when the children or youth are 15 years old, it can't start when

[Page 10182]

they're 20, it can't start when they're 30, it can't start when they're 45 or 50 when they get angina, or when they're 60 when they're told to quit smoking because they had their first heart attack. It has to start at a very young age.

What I actually particularly note through all this is something that - because in many cases we talk about regimented time to actually go out and be physically active. In school we will have 30 minutes a day, whether it's dodge ball or softball or track and field or something like that, but it has to be simpler than that, and the fact is - and I observed this amongst younger children - playing outside is something that you just don't see as much any more. I remember reading an article not that long ago on this very issue. We have a tendency, because of our fears of criminals, or fear of crime, or fear of safety issues, to try to actually discourage our children from going outside and playing. Going outside and walking down to the park or bicycling down to the park because we can't see them, we don't know where they are. The fact is, crime rates in this province and in this country are lower than they've been in 30 years. Violent crime rates are lower than they've been in 30 years, still we have this overriding fear - especially as adults, we love our children, we want to protect them, but because of that we're afraid to let them go out the door on their own and go out and play.

It's as simple as that. If we allowed our children to play, if we felt confident in knowing they could walk out a door and know that they could go down the street, out of eye- shot, but down the street to a playground and play or bicycle around the corner, maybe then we would know that it doesn't have to regimented, it doesn't have to be something that they're forced to do for 30 minutes twice a week during school hours. It's something they do because it's fun; it's something they do because it gets them out of the house. But we're afraid to do it, and I don't know how we change that. That's as much a question as anything else - I don't know how we begin to encourage parents to allow their children to go out and play.

Some have argued it's a bit about out suburbanization of our lifestyle. It used to be when you lived in a community you knew everyone on that street. You knew who all your neighbours were, you were friendly with them and, because of that, you could feel comfortable allowing your child to go out that door and know that if you weren't watching them, someone else would be. Now, we live in suburbs or we drive our cars back and forth from the house and we don't actually know our neighbours and, therefore, we don't feel comfortable allowing our children to go out into those neighbourhoods with a limited amount of supervision. All of that has added up to our children having a much more sedentary lifestyle.

Mr. Speaker, I remember talking to a friend of mine who was teaching in the South Bronx, probably one of the most dangerous areas in North America, if not the world, an area that had a large crime rate. I presume it still does to some extent. He was teaching at a parochial school there. He talked about how the children of the parents, when they went home from school, would go directly home. In many cases the parents worked, they were latchkey kids, these were older elementary school children, junior high school children. What

[Page 10183]

would they do? The goal of those parents was to buy a Nintendo or a Play Station for their children so that they knew they could go home, sit in front of the television and play those video games until the parents got home, because they knew they were safe. They knew, behind that locked door they were safe.

Maybe that's something they need in the South Bronx, but I would suggest it's not something we need to do here. It's something that has been encouraged. We've discouraged active, outdoor playing. We've discouraged our children from taking an active lifestyle. We've encouraged them to stay in front of televisions, to stay in front of computers, and to use that time to be very sedentary.

Mr. Speaker, that, in itself, is a problem that I think is resulting in our children having issues of obesity more than they did in the past. I'm not saying I have the magic answer to it, but I do suggest to you it is something that needs to be thought about, it's something that needs to be addressed because, quite clearly, I think it is a problem, and one we are not addressing. It doesn't start at high school, it shouldn't even start in elementary school, it must start from the time the child is born, whether it's hiking with your children, bicycling with them, there are many options, but they have to understand that they're out there. Instead, I fear that in many cases it's just as easy to do something else, and that's what's causing a lot of the problems we have.

Mr. Speaker, this goes hand in hand with recreational services, and maybe the government does have a role to play. There are things sort of what they call within youth organizations, semi-structured recreational services with our youth. Instead of having them in after-school programs or having them in something very regimented, having youth drop-in centres, encouraging youth drop-in centres. It may not cost the government a dime, but doing something that would allow older buildings in communities to be freed up for recreational services for our youth so that we know that they are going to go to a place that's safe, while at the same time, it gives them the opportunity to do activities that will give them an opportunity to be more active.

Mr. Speaker, it needs to be done. If not, we're going to face higher and higher health care costs, we're going to face more and more problems. The only thing we can do is talk about how we can make our children more active, and there are options out there. Those recreational services just aren't youth drop-in centres, we need more playgrounds. Speaking as an MLA for a riding in suburban Halifax-Dartmouth area, I know there are a lack of playgrounds. You can always use more playgrounds, you can use more playing fields. My colleague, the member for Timberlea-Prospect, talked about new fields that were built with the P3 schools and, in many cases, aren't even up to standard and cannot be used.

The cost of joining hockey, the cost of joining sports teams has skyrocketed because we're not subsidizing recreational services and children have to pay for the full cost of renting the ice or renting a ball field. All of these are preventing our children, discouraging them from being active. If we saw it as an investment, if we saw recreational services for our

[Page 10184]

children as an investment, much like we saw other forms, whether it's paving roads or investing in health care, I think we would begin to see it could pay off with a lot lower health care costs in the long run, lower levels of obesity, lower stress on our heart, less risk of cancer, all these things can occur from an active lifestyle.

The member for Richmond has raised this, because he's pointed out that there's a need for us to do it in high school. Maybe we already have that through the PAL program, but I would suggest it must start earlier. By the time they turn 15, our children have already become quite cemented to a lifestyle, a lifestyle that can be active or it can be inactive, depending on what we do to help them along. We must ensure our children are more active, are willing to go out and enjoy themselves and, in many cases, it's not them, it's the parents who are afraid to allow them to go out, and that is a shame. If we have the ability . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage has the floor.

MR. DEVEAUX: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I think I just have one minute left, is that right?

MR. SPEAKER: Yes.

MR. DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, in conclusion, it's vital that we, as a society, find ways to allow parents to feel comfortable with allowing their children to go outside and enjoy the fresh air, to some extent, but recreation. It should be about playing, it should be about enjoying a summer day or enjoying a trip down to a local swimming hole or to a playground or even just to a day program, letting them bike or walk there. Everything is about driving them now; everything is about ensuring they're safe.

[5:45 p.m.]

Safety is vital, but I would suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that in this day and age, with the crime statistics the way they are, maybe we're being a little overprotective at times and we are not allowing our children to play. That starts at a very young age, but it must be done because if we're going to address issues of obesity, activity or lack of activity in our children, we must start as soon as possible to teach them how they can have an active lifestyle. That starts with parents who have the comfort and the feeling that their children will be safe.

MR. SPEAKER: The time on Resolution No. 3832 has expired.

The honourable Liberal House Leader.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call House Order No. 1.

[Page 10185]

H.O. No. 1, Commun. Serv. - RRAP Grants: 1999-2002 - Details - notice given May 13/02 - (Mr. R. MacKinnon)

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

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I so move.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Minister of Community Services would you please read House Order No. 1.

[House Order No. 1 was read by the member for Cape Breton West.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, in the absence of the Minister of Community Services, this is a fairly lengthy request for information and it will take some time to get, but I would also like to be satisfied that it's within the purview of the department to provide that information so I would ask that it be stood.

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

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Yes, that's fine, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Shall the order stand?

House Order No. 1 stands.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, would you please call House Order No. 2.

H.O. No. 2, Justice: FOIPOP Applications - Details - notice given May 13/02 - (Mr. R. MacKinnon)

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

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I move House Order No. 2 which essentially details an order of the House for the following information . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. House Order No. 2, would it not be the Clerk who would read (Interruptions)

[Page 10186]

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I so move.

[The House Order was read by the member for Cape Breton West.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I commend the honourable member for taking me down memory lane here with respect to House process. I would also just ask the honourable member for the record if he could confirm what FOIPOP is because it's an acronym and I may have a guess on that, but I think for the record it might be helpful if he could do that.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, for greater clarity, it's freedom of information request applications, that's essentially what the acronym stands for.

MR. BAKER: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, likewise I'm going to have to ask to have this matter stood. I understand the honourable member's request and we will certainly see what information we can provide. I'm not sure what information we can provide. I, frankly, just saw the matter for the very first time today - not very long ago today - and I therefore would ask to have the matter stood until I can have a chance to discuss the matter further with the department.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I can appreciate what the minister is saying, although I would think he would have a little more detail at his disposal on that, but given the fact that we're embarking on a new process of securing information from the government since they've kind of closed one door, figuratively, in terms of accessibility to public information, we thought we would come in another door through this rather unique process which I think some of the newer members in the House find rather intriguing. So with that, I would certainly concur and await the response from the minister on this. Perhaps if he could give an undertaking that perhaps in a week or so, if that would be acceptable?

MR. BAKER: Yes.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed that the information will be provided within a week?

Is it agreed?

The honourable member for Cape Breton West asked that the information be provided. (Interruptions)

[Page 10187]

MR. MACKINNON: Quite simply, Mr. Speaker, if the government can give the information, I think a week shouldn't be too long to expect that response. We can wait two weeks if need be. (Interruption) Well, if there's some reason the government can't provide the information, I mean, it has made a policy decision and it has indicated in the House on a number of occasions, both through the Premier and through the Minister of Justice that they based that on certain analysis and I guess that's really what we're looking for. If he can't give it all, I certainly appreciate that. But certainly some detail, I think would be expected.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I just want to make it clear on what my undertaking to the House would be. What I'm indicating is that we will attempt to have a response by next Wednesday as to what information we will be able to respond, with respect to the order. I want to make it clear that I did not undertake to provide the information because I don't know whether the information is available or not, so it would be very unreasonable for me to do that. So I just want to make it clear what I was committing to do.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed that the order stand?

House Order No. 2 stands.

A response from the Minister of Justice as to what information can be provided will be provided within a week. That's what was asked by the honourable member for Cape Breton West. Order, please. The honourable Minister of Justice asked that it be stood and there was an agreement. The honourable member for Cape Breton West asked for a response to the request, to which the government side indicated that they would agree to. So is it agreed or not for a response?

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: It is not agreed that there will be a response. It is agreed that the House Order is stood. The honourable minister then may advise the honourable member at some future date as to whether or not the matter can be taken off the table and come back again for reconsideration. (Interruptions) Exactly, when a House Order is stood, it must be moved again within the House to get further consideration.

AN HON. MEMBER: That's not what the motion was.

MR. RUSSELL: The motion was to move House Order No. 2 and the response was that it be stood and that is what the House has agreed to.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

[Page 10188]

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I'm sure you heard quite clearly what the Minister of Justice has said. It's a little contrary to what the Government House Leader is saying. As I understood, the Minister of Justice indicated that he would endeavour, within a week's time, to be able to provide a response and whatever information he possibly could.

MR. SPEAKER: If I can, just for clarification. First of all, the motion was by the Minister of Justice that the House Order be stood, which I think we all agree to. The second issue was that the Minister of Justice, I believe, indicated that he would respond with what information he will be able to provide at some date. (Interruption) Well, he may come back within a week and say he can't provide anything, but he would respond within a week with what information he could.

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, again, I would not wish to argue with the Speaker, but however, a response to a House Order that the House Order is stood means that the House Order is tabled and it stays there until such time as the honourable member who originated the House Order gets to his feet and asks again for a response to that House Order.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I clearly understand what was said, but also, for the record, I want to say that both the Government House Leader and Minister of Justice shook their heads in agreement when the honourable member for Cape Breton West asked for a response on the specific time. So whether the response is what he wants or not is for another debate.

The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I don't want to belabour the point. The fact of the matter is when a minister agrees to a House Order, he's under an obligation; if he agrees with this House, it is a commitment that he makes to provide the information. You, as the Speaker, shall endeavour to ensure that he complies with it. We haven't done many of these things, we have to get started again.

The motion in this instance was to stand it. The discussion that happens after is not a motion of the House. The fact of the matter is, subsequent to it being stood, the minister stated that in a week's time he would be prepared to answer the question as to whether or not he could comply with the House Order and what information he could give. That's the only undertaking that he took. It was not a motion to be voted on. He indicated his position that in a week's time he would be able to answer. There's a difference between the two.

MR. SPEAKER: I agree.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

[Page 10189]

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, some people aren't too familiar with these House Orders, for good reason. There is a possible suggestion, because of the increased cost for FOIPOP, that maybe this would have to become a process because nobody can afford it anymore, to apply for freedom of information. However, if it is passed, of course, then it is the Speaker's job to endeavour to see that it is fulfilled. Unfortunately, when they are passed, there isn't a time limit attached to it, and we're still waiting for some House Orders that were passed 10, 12 years ago to be provided.

That having been said, another thing that governments often used to say is when a House Order came in, they would agree to provide what information they could. It avoided having to wait for a response to come back. Maybe the Minister of Justice would like to say, we will provide you with whatever information we are able to provide you with in that period of time. Not that I want to try to do their work for them, but those are the lines they used to use when they really didn't want to give you much.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I noted with interest the honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid stating that there were a number of House Orders that were outstanding. As he is aware, we had a whole stack of them, however, the House adjourned rather abruptly in 1993, and they all died on the order paper.

MR. SPEAKER: One more time, the honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

MR. HOLM: When the House died in 1993, some of those were outstanding since about 1988.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice rose and made a request that this matter be stood.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, that concludes the Liberal Party's business for today. I would ask the Government House Leader to just confirm - I know that he's about to give the hours for tomorrow - that Friday's hours will be until the completion of the vote on the Financial Measures (2002) Bill. There will be no other business Friday morning, is that correct?

[Page 10190]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move that the House do now rise to meet again on the morrow at the hour of 12:00 noon; the House will sit until 8:00 p.m. On Friday, the House will sit until such time as we're finished the examination of Bill No. 109 in the Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

AN HON. MEMBER: What time are we coming in?

MR. RUSSELL: We're coming in at 9:00 o'clock on Friday. Tomorrow we will be doing the Committee of the Whole House on Bills, following Question Period. If we get through Bill No. 109, I would be pleased to go into other bills for Third Reading and possibly some others also in the Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

Mr. Speaker, I move that the House do now rise.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that the House adjourn until tomorrow.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[6:00 p.m.]

We have reached the moment of interruption. The subject for this evening's late debate was submitted by the honourable member for Pictou East:

["Therefore be it resolved that members applaud the efforts of those in Pictou County who are ensuring, through our Sports Heritage Hall of Fame, that our sports history is kept alive as inspiration to our youth."]

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou East.

[Page 10191]

SPORTS - PICTOU CO. SPORTS HERITAGE HALL OF FAME:

HISTORY - PRESERVATION

MR. JAMES DEWOLFE: Mr. Speaker, I'm so pleased to be able to rise this evening to speak to a subject that while not controversial in terms of debate is a topic worth bringing forward to the attention of all members.

Of course, the topic is our proud sports heritage back home in Pictou County. I remember the excitement and the hype when I was just a student back in Pictou County, in junior high school in New Glasgow, and we had the men's senior hockey leagues. I remember the old Big Four: the Moncton Hawks, Charlottetown Islanders, Halifax Atlantics, and New Glasgow Rangers. The senior hockey league included a vast number of teams. The Rangers played in that, the Truro Bearcats, and the Windsor Maple Leafs, the Sydney Millionaires and the Antigonish Bulldogs (Interruption) And my colleague is saying the Ramblers. There were many teams and those were exciting times in hockey and in Pictou County and in other areas of the province.

We used to jam-pack the stadiums. It was hockey night in Canada. I don't know where the fire marshal was in those days, but it was standing room only.

AN HON. MEMBER: He was watching the game.

MR. DEWOLFE: Yes, the fire marshal was watching the game, one of my colleagues just mentioned. They were certainly exciting times and that excitement is still very predominant in Pictou County. In fact, the president and owner of the New Glasgow Rangers, at one time, was our Premier, John Hamm. He was instrumental in bringing in Fleming Mackell from the Boston Bruins. Fleming played proudly with the New Glasgow team and certainly the players on that team were proud to have him there.

I wanted to say a few words in particular about the Pictou County Sports Heritage Hall of Fame. It's operated by the energetic chairman, Billy Dee. This community resource and historical snapshot of the many achievements of Pictonians in all fields of sports is something to see. In operation since 1989, the Pictou County Sports Heritage Hall of Fame has inducted over 300 people and has over 4,000 pieces of memorabilia, all with connections to Pictou County. The operation is phenomenal. Open six days a week with no admission charge, the collection is worth a visit by all members, and I encourage all members to do so, regardless of whether or not you have a connection with the county. Tourists certainly come from all over North America to drop in on that sports hall of fame. The organization is on the verge of building a new hall of fame that will also include a highland museum. Sports and highland culture are a perfect marriage of Pictou County heritage.

To see just how many sports heroes we have had from Pictou County is quite remarkable. It's inspirational to all those who are working toward a goal in their particular activity. Billy Dee and his volunteers do not simply have a static display. They have ventured

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into other educational tools, ones that would truly capture the minds and attention of our youth. What better resources could you have today than a video and a CD game? Both were developed by the small group with the Pictou County Sports Heritage Hall of Fame, with help from local sponsors to have it produced. They have been passed along to our Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame through the minister responsible for our sport and recreation commission.

The role of the sports hero is often underestimated, but who among us hasn't taken a turn on the road hockey rink as Bobby Orr, Bobby Hull or Ken Dryden or daydreamed of hitting the ball on the sweet spot like Hank Aaron or Sammy Sosa? That's why I believe that the work of the Pictou County Sports Heritage Hall of Fame is so important. It provides role models and local heroes for each person who has a sports dream and lets those young people know that their dream is indeed attainable.

I'm proud to stand in my place tonight to tell members about the Pictou County sports heroes who have inspired a couple of generations of young people right here, close to home. I'm talking about the Thorburn Junior Mohawks of 1963, 1964 and 1965. In those years, more than 30 years ago, Gordie MacKinnon, Allan MacLaughlin, Mason Johnston, Donnie Bowden, Mel Smith, Hillard MacDonald, Steve MacDonald, Francis Kiley, John Vance, John Kyle, Billy MacKinnon, Graham MacLean and Billy Munro, as well as coaches, Bobby MacDougall and Tommy Forsyth, and manager, Cyril MacLeod, captured the imagination of all Pictonians and Nova Scotians alike and achieved more than we ever thought possible - a Maritime title three-peat.

Mr. Speaker, this was not a team with a high-priced talent. It was a team with heart and drive and determination, the kind of team that against all odds fulfilled a dream. In mid July, 1963, the Thorburn Junior Mohawks were formed. About a dozen rough and rowdy teenagers came together to revive a proud and honoured tradition of the Mighty Mohawks of Thorburn. Like their predecessors of the 1930s, the Junior Mohawks were a group of home-grown boys and it didn't take long for softball fever to seize the area. The Junior Mohawks practiced three evenings a week and parents and community members showed their support through weekly card parties, raffles, donations and transportation.

The team registered with the Nova Scotia Softball Association so that it could compete for the provincial junior championship. On route to their first championship, the Mohawks withstood the toughest challenge from cross-county rivals, the Trenton Juniors. The Mohawks won the best of three series in two straight games by scores of 14-9 and 21-8. Next the team got by Antigonish in two games, trimmed Liverpool 9-6 and 15-9 and then whipped Westmouth 21-1 and 33-6 to win the Nova Scotia title - quite impressive. The team then followed that up by defeating West Prince, P.E.I. team, 12-6 and 22-2, winning the Maritime title in front of more than 1,000 fans. The rough and rowdy ruffians were now softball royalty - an accomplishment they would repeat in 1964 and 1965.

[Page 10193]

In fact, Mr. Speaker, in 1964 the team once again roared past Trenton, Antigonish and then crushed Point Edward and Sheet Harbour to claim the Nova Scotia title. The team successfully defended its Maritime title by defeating West Prince for the second straight year. Then 1965 was the year of the three-peat - a feat no team in Nova Scotia had ever accomplished. Soon they had captured the Trenton championship. They then took down Canso, Newport and Point Edward to win the provincial championship and defeated the Geary, New Brunswick team to reclaim their third consecutive Maritime title.

The Thorburn Junior Mohawks, or the Mighty Mohawks as they came to be known, are true champions and worthy inductees to the Pictou County and the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame. These individuals are ordinary Nova Scotians who were blessed with extraordinary athletic abilities, determination and heart. They did not ask for recognition, but their achievements have been recorded publicly for all to note - today and well into the future. By adding these names to our Hall of Fame, we ensure that we will always have our heroes and never has the sports community, especially our young athletes, needed role models like these gentlemen as much as they do today. As I said, our sports heritage is something to be proud of. That is why I was so pleased to participate last October in the induction of the newest members of the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame. Included in this list of inductees were the famous Mohawks.

Muhammad Ali said, "Champions are not made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them: a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have last minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill." Our sports heritage shows so many Pictonians who have had that will that can be held up as examples. I look forward to the induction of our present day Pictou County heroes, Jon Sim and Colin White, young men from Pictou County who served both as role models and indeed ambassadors for this province. It is part of our heritage of which I am proud. Our community, with the leadership of some very committed people like Billy Dee, has found some unique ways to preserve for all time.

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

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, it is with much pride that I take a few moments tonight to share my feelings and to congratulate Pictou County residents, and Bill Dee in particular, on his initiative and the group's initiative, of course, when it comes to sports and recognition. As you well know, Mr. Speaker, with the wonderful community that you represent, it's local sports that deserve the recognition. Whether it's the Springhill Fence Busters or the Amherst Ramblers, the good old days, some days when we sat there in those stands or maybe had the opportunity to go out and play ball against some of these people, it is a wonderful opportunity for us all.

But it's Pictou County that I want to bring recognition to this evening because. as the honourable members for Pictou are aware, I have deep roots in the community of Westville, and the wonderful coal mining tradition of that great little community. I too had the

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opportunity that evening in October to witness the Thorburn Junior Mohawks as they were inducted into the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame and it was a proud moment. It was a proud moment because these men had shown the commitment as a bunch of young - I think they were called rowdies, but I don't know if we were allowed to call them that that night. They certainly had a good time that night, because they were, of course, sharing in their moment because they had been the three-time Maritime champions.

It was a wonderful event and it was also a good event, Mr. Speaker, I should point out for some outstanding young men from the community that I represent, not to take away from Pictou's recognition at this time, but I think it's appropriate to recognize that Craig Cavicchi, Paul Blackmore, and Darren Harrison that night were also inducted into the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame. Of course, the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame is just down the street here and Bill Robinson does a great job, but what we want to focus on here is recognition of local sports.

In that day, Mr. Speaker, they didn't do it for the money, they did it for the love of the game. They did it for the love of having the participation and the support of the community. In many cases that's what's missing these days. I heard the member opposite wax poetic about the New Glasgow Rangers. I can tell you that I had the wonderful opportunity in the Amherst rink to see my father play those games, because as you might be aware, Mr. Speaker, my father had much more athletic ability than his son. He played in the Cape Breton league, he was a proud member of the Sydney Millionaires and, of course, came home to New Brunswick and played just across the Tantramar Marshes with some great hockey players of his day. In fact, my father and the Amherst St. Pats from 1937 are in the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame. I recall that I was there for an event one evening and you look through those pictures in the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame and, lo and behold, there is Bill Estabrooks, Sr. Let me tell you, it's a proud moment when you see that recognition.

I want to tell you a Pictou County story. My grandfather Darroch was the chief of police in Westville and he used to tell us about the colliery league. He used to tell us about the time that Babe Ruth, of all people, came to Nova Scotia. I can remember as a young shaver at the time listening to this wonderful grandfather of mine who explained that right down where the old rink is in Westville now was the ballfield and the Drummond Mine is on the other side. At the time, as a young fellow, I was more impressed with the fact that, Babe Ruth, I knew who he was. But my grandfather went on at great length about some of the men that he saw play in that field. Those are the golden moments that an organization such as the Pictou County Sports Heritage Hall of Fame is going to keep alive for young people in the community, because that's after all what young people know more of.

Mr. Speaker, I can tell you that a past friend of mine, Sandy Young, God bless him, Sandy Young - the father of the Young girls in Brookside - who, of course, wrote the classic volume 1 and 2 of Nova Scotia's sports heroes. In that, Sandy, of course - unfortunately, he's passed on, he was a professor at Dalhousie University - passed on the legacy of the history of sports in this province and it's something that we can't forget because history is something

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we have to pass on to the young people. We have to pass on the uniforms, we have to pass on some of those helmets that they wore, we have to pass on the love of sport, the traditions of sports in small town Nova Scotia, not that there's anything wrong with the Metro Centre being full, but look where they're from.

[6:15 p.m.]

Look at those young men who are playing in the NHL, or those young women who played for the gold at the Olympics. Where were they from? Young Cassie Campbell is from Prince Edward Island. The Sim family and their deep roots in Pictou County. They're from small town Nova Scotia; they're from small town Canada. That's what's keeping the sports tradition alive in this province. You look at the young men who just competed for the Halifax Oland Exports - again, congratulations to Jim Bottomley. There's a man, after 20-plus years, who should be considered for the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame. Where were those young players from? They were from small towns throughout this province and throughout this country.

Mr. Speaker, history teaches us many things. It teaches us many things if you have the opportunity as a young fellow to drop in to the corner store in Thorburn. At the time you realize this is the man who runs the store, but his son is playing in the NHL. I can remember that moment well. It was a moment I will treasure. When you have the opportunity to realize that sporting heroes, we need more of them. We need to make sure that these men and women the young people in our community look up to, these men and women are proper role models for us all.

Mr. Speaker, we can go to the negative of sports heroes, because with the big bucks, are they the real heroes these days? Their lifestyle and some of the decisions they make, doesn't make them heroes. I can tell you, at the time, it was a simpler time perhaps, but I encourage people throughout the province, if they have a wall of fame in their community, if they're fortunate enough to have a hall of fame and they're recognizing sporting heroes, whether it's in rugby, whether it's in Canadian football, whether, of course, it's in softball, whip pitch, fastball - and I would assume that the Monarchs played softball as opposed to how they dive off the mound now in fastball - the great sporting traditions have to be kept alive so that young people across this province, across this country can have the opportunity to see what the hall of fame is all about.

You don't have to go to Cooperstown. It's a wonderful place to go see the Baseball hall of fame. You don't have to go to the hall of fame, the hockey hall of fame in Toronto, but it is a wonderful event when you go there. It's that local sports connection, that local sports connection when maybe the name Estabrooks never was on and probably never will be on - well, I shouldn't say that - the Stanley Cup, but when you go into the local sports hall of fame and you realize that's your father or your mother, or that's the elderly gentleman who lives down the road who you just might pause and ask him, what was it like that night playing for the Allan Cup? What was it like that night during the Second World War when your job as

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a hockey player - yes, during the Second World War my father's job was to play hockey, because he was overseas for four long years. Finally, when they had the chance to go ashore at Normandy, well, he had to give up his full-time job entertaining the troops as a hockey player. I can remember my father telling me that he played with Turk Broda, that he knew Syl Apps. Those are moments which I can always treasure.

So to the people in Pictou County and to the people across this province, let's be clear, local kids need local heroes. They don't have to see them on TV, they have to see them and the pictures of their accomplishments and the news clippings of their accomplishments and the uniforms of their past, they need to see them and be able to touch them. That's why we must continue to have local halls of fame, local walls of fame. To Bill Dee and to the people of Pictou County, congratulations on maintaining a great sports heritage, you have much to be proud of.

MR. SPEAKER: I thank the honourable members for bringing this debate before the House this evening. We're adjourned until tomorrow at noon.

[The House rose at 6:20 p.m.]

[Page 10197]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 3914

By: Mr. William Estabrooks (Timberlea-Prospect)

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

Whereas 100 Grade 9 Ridgecliff Middle School students are taking their classroom paintings to the great outdoors; and

Whereas this student art will be displayed along a popular 3.5 kilometre stretch of the BLT Rails to Trails; and

Whereas the artists and the BLT Rails to Trails Association hope the art work will draw even more attention to this wonderful recreation facility;

Therefore be it resolved that this House acknowledge the contributions to the BLT Rails to Trails by Ridgecliff Middle School art students and the continuing initiative shown by the BLT Rails to Trails volunteers.

RESOLUTION NO. 3915

By: Mr. Cecil Clarke (Cape Breton North)

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

Whereas during the 1940s when U-boats severed Britain's supply routes to Europe, bridging the Atlantic was the key to essential supplies, and maintaining that lifeline fell to Canadians; and

Whereas the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Merchant Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force battled a determined enemy and a ferocious North Atlantic to maintain control of the Atlantic sea lanes with the cost of nearly 5,000 Canadian lives, the Battle of the Atlantic was finally won; and

Whereas this year, veterans and their families gathered in New Waterford and Sydney to commemorate the Battle of the Atlantic and to pay tribute to the lives of those who fought so bravely;

[Page 10198]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House remember with pride those Canadians whose sacrifice ensured that vital supplies reached Europe and defended our coast from enemy attack.

RESOLUTION NO. 3916

By: Mr. Mark Parent (Kings North)

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

Whereas public speaking contests and speech festivals make students more comfortable with public delivery of speeches and promote improved oratory skills; and

Whereas on Saturday, May 4th, Jodey Reeves was one of three students from the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board region to win a provincial championship medal at the provincial French public speaking contest, Le Concours D'Art Oratoire held at Mount Saint Vincent University and sponsored by the Canadian Parents for French; and

Whereas Jodey Reeves, a student from Central Kings Rural High School, was the recipient of the Silver Medal, Grade 11/12 Extended Core;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Jodey Reeves and the other students participating from the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board on their achievements at Le Concours D'Art Oratoire on May 4th.

RESOLUTION NO. 3917

By: Mr. Mark Parent (Kings North)

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

Whereas public speaking contests and speech festivals make students more comfortable with public delivery of speeches and promote improved oratory skills; and

Whereas on Saturday, May 4th, Meghan MacLeod was one of three students from the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board region to win a provincial championship medal at the provincial French public speaking contest, Le Concours D'Art Oratoire held at Mount Saint Vincent University and sponsored by the Canadian Parents for French; and

Whereas Meghan MacLeod, a student from Horton High School, was the recipient of the Silver Medal, Grade 9/10 Extended Core;

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Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Meghan MacLeod and the other students participating from the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board on their achievements at Le Concours D'Art Oratoire on May 4th.

RESOLUTION NO. 3918

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas the total population of Nova Scotia has decreased for the first time since the 1920s but one town has made steady progress increasing its size; and

Whereas since 1996, Bridgetown has grown in population over 4 per cent, a great feat for one of Nova Scotia's smallest municipalities; and

Whereas the increase in population in Bridgetown is suspected to be due to the high numbers of young families that have been moving to the community;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House acknowledge what others have known for some time, that Bridgetown is a beautiful place to live and wish the town continued success in its development.