Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

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21 septembre 2017

HANSARD 01/02-115

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 29, 2002

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Tourism and Culture - Arts Council: Closure - Oppose,
Mr. J. MacDonell 10663
Educ. - MacDonald, Sir John A., HS: Split-up - Object,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 10664
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 4141, Duff, Ramsay: Contribution - Thank, Hon. N. LeBlanc 10664
Vote - Affirmative 10665
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 139, Department and Agencies Fees Reporting Act, Mr. G. Steele 10665
No. 140, Additional Appropriations and Special Warrants
Immediate Reporting Act, Mr. G. Steele 10665
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 4142, Crosby, Don - Educ. System: Service (33 yrs.) - Congrats.,
Mr. D. Dexter 10665
Vote - Affirmative 10666
Res. 4143, PC Gov't.: Accountability - Standard, Mr. D. Wilson 10666
Res. 4144, Masonic Grand Lodge: Work - Congrats., Mr. W. Langille 10667
Vote - Affirmative 10667
Res. 4145, Forbes, Brian - NSTU: Pres. - Re-Election Congrats.,
Mr. K. Deveaux 10668
Vote - Affirmative 10668
Res. 4146, C.B. North MLA: CBRM - Comments, Mr. B. Boudreau 10668
Res. 4147, Scott, Bernie - Young People: Support - Thank,
Mr. B. Barnet 10669
Vote - Affirmative 10670
Res. 4148, Britten, Dorothy - Dart. Seniors: Efforts - Congrats.,
Mr. J. Pye 10670
Vote - Affirmative 10671
Res. 4149, Hfx. Fairview MLA - Visibility Tutorial: C.B. West MLA -
Offer Accept, Mr. R. MacKinnon 10671
Res. 4150, Clarke, Allan/Tremblett, Sonny/Howell, Gordie -
Cata Fjord: Rescue - Commend, Mr. C. Clarke 10672
Vote - Affirmative 10672
Res. 4151, Hants East MLA/Dart.-Cole Hbr. MLA - NDP Leadership:
Best Wishes - Extend, Mr. Robert Chisholm 10673
Vote - Affirmative 10673
Res. 4152, S. Shore Reg. Hosp. Aux.: Fundraising - Congrats.,
Mr. D. Downe 10673
Vote - Affirmative 10674
Res. 4153, Dalbrae Acad. - Boys/Girls Hockey: NSSAF Champs -
Congrats., Hon. Rodney MacDonald 10674
Vote - Affirmative 10675
Res. 4154, Educ./Environ. & Lbr. - Sir John A. Macdonald HS:
Parents/Students/Staff - Mins. Apologize, Mr. W. Estabrooks 10675
Res. 4155, O'Brien, Dr. D. Brian - CMA: Sr. Membership - Congrats.,
Dr. J. Smith 10676
Vote - Affirmative 10676
Res. 4156, Shelburne Co. Coral - Commemorative Stamps: Release -
Applaud, Mr. C. O'Donnell 10677
Vote - Affirmative 10677
Res. 4157, Tim Hortons Camp Day: Importance - Recognize,
Hon. Rodney MacDonald 10677
Vote - Affirmative 10678
Res. 4158, VON (Anna. Valley) - Caregivers: Proactive Approach -
Acknowledge, Mr. F. Chipman 10678
Vote - Affirmative 10679
Res. 4159, Scotia Nursing Home Soc., Friends of: Fundraising -
Congrats., Mr. B. Barnet 10679
Vote - Affirmative 10680
Res. 4160, Institute for Early Childhood Educ. & Dev. Services:
Graduates (2002) - Congrats., Hon. J. Muir 10680
Vote - Affirmative 10680
Res. 4161, Mulroney, Rt. Hon. Brian - St. F.X.: Continued Support -
Congrats., Hon. A. MacIsaac 10681
Vote - Affirmative 10681
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Educ. - Schools: Drinking Water - Safety Ensure, Hon. J. Purves 10682
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 1169, Educ. - Sir John A. Macdonald HS: New Sch. - Announce,
Mr. D. Dexter 10684
No. 1170, Educ. - Schools: Deferred Maint. - AG's Report Table,
Mr. W. Gaudet 10685
No. 1171, Educ. - Sir John A. MacDonald HS: Renovation/Rebuilding -
Decision Time Frame, Mr. W. Estabrooks 10686
No. 1172, Health - Sir John A. MacDonald HS: Students -
Lead Testing, Dr. J. Smith 10688
No. 1173, Environ. & Lbr. - Sir John A. MacDonald HS: Water Testing -
Dept. Responsibility, Mr. W. Estabrooks 10689
No. 1174, Environ. & Lbr. - Water Mgt. Plan: Table - Time Frame,
Mr. R. MacKinnon 10690
No. 1175, Premier - Free Vote: Inaction - Explain, Mr. D. Dexter 10691
No. 1176, Premier - C.B. Cabinet Office: Closure - Time Frame,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 10693
No. 1177, Health - Care: Underfunding - Admit,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 10695
No. 1178, Premier - Smoking Ban Leg.: Debate Limit - Explain,
Mr. D. Wilson 10696
No. 1179, CRTC - Telephone Rates: Appeal - Plans, Mr. J. MacDonell 10697
No. 1180, Educ. - Post-Secondary: In-Study Income - Review,
Mr. M. Samson 10699
No. 1181, Environ. & Lbr. - Williams Lake: Spill - Testing Results,
Mr. R. Chisholm 10700
No. 1182, Health - Reproductive Care Prog.: Funding - Details,
Dr. J. Smith 10701
No. 1183, Nat. Res. - Deer Population: Accurate Figures - Post,
Mr. J. MacDonell 10702
No. 1184, Agric. & Fish.: Water Strategy - Explain, Mr. D. Downe 10703
No. 1185, Environ. & Lbr.: Fairground Rides - Inspect, Mr. G. Steele 10705
No. 1186, Agric. & Fish.: Crop Inspection - Methods, Mr. B. Boudreau 10706
No. 1187, Educ. - Special Needs Students: Post HS - Options,
Mr. K. Deveaux 10707
No. 1188, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Sysco: Plans - Details,
Mr. P. MacEwan 10708
No. 1189, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Bridges: Safety - Assurance,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 10709
No. 1190, Nat. Res. - Wentworth Campground: Third-Party Operator -
Seek, Mr. K. MacAskill 10711
OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS:
MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
Res. 4069, Sackville-Beaver Bank MLA - Amendments: Premier -
Fear Explain, Dr. J. Smith 10712
Dr. J. Smith 10712
Mr. Robert Chisholm 10714
Mr. T. Olive 10716
Hon. Rodney MacDonald 10718
Vote - Negative 10720
H.O. 1, Stands 10721
H.O. 2, Stands 10723
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Thur., May 30th at 10:00 a.m. 10724
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 4162, Chester Area Middle Sch. - Retiring Teachers: Dedication -
Commend, Mr. J. Chataway 10725
Res. 4163, PC Gov't. - Rural Rds./Infrastructure: Improvements -
Calls Heed, Mr. J. MacDonell 10725
Res. 4164, Bits & Boots Saddle Club - RCL: Support - Congrats.,
Mr. R. Hurlburt 10726
Res. 4165, RCL (Branch 61, Yar.): Fundraising - Congrats.,
Mr. R. Hurlburt 10726
Res. 4166, Pottie, Diane: Client/Pub. Health Advocacy Award (2002) -
Congrats., Hon. J. Purves 10727
Res. 4167, Adams, Judy: Dedication/Compassion - Thank,
Mr. K. Morash 10727
Res. 4168, Madeline Symonds Mid. Sch.: Arts inFusion Prog. -
Commend, Mr. B. Barnet 10728
Res. 4169, Robar, Ashley - Husson Coll.: Scholarship - Congrats.,
Mr. F. Chipman 10728
Res. 4170, Springhill - Stone Mural: Baseball Commemoration -
Congrats., The Speaker 10729
Res. 4171, N.S. HS Drama Fest. - AWEC: Participation - Recognize,
Mr. F. Chipman 10729
Res. 4172, Anna. Ryl. Playground - Commun./Comm.: Fundraising -
Congrats., Mr. F Chipman 10730
Res. 4173, Scrymgeour, John - Jr. Achievement N.S. Bus. Hall of Fame:
Induction - Congrats., Mr. T. Olive 10730
Res. 4174, Pineo, Donna - Nursing Profession: Dedication - Thank,
Mr. J. Carey 10731
Res. 4175, Breau, Judy - Nursing Profession: Dedication - Thank,
Mr. C. Clarke 10731
Res. 4176, Springhill HS - Jr. Achievement Progs.: Participants -
Congrats., The Speaker 10732
Res. 4177, Bermingham, Jane - Nursing Profession: Dedication - Thank,
Hon. R. Russell 10732
Res. 4178, PC Gov't.: Healthy Schools - Develop,
Mr. Robert Chisholm 10733
Res. 4179, PC Gov't. - Seniors' Pharmacare: Premiums - Roll Back,
Mr. Robert Chisholm 10733
Res. 4180, Fish. & Oceans - Moirs Pond: Infilling - Deny,
Hon. P. Christie 10734

[Page 10663]

HALIFAX, WEDNESDAY, MAY 29, 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. We will begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition today in the form of five letters to the honourable Minister of Tourism and Culture. The operative clause is, "I strongly disagree with the sudden shutdown of the Nova Scotia Arts Council by the N.S. Dept. of Tourism and Culture. This indicates a total lack of sensitivity and respect for the artists, culture and people of Nova Scotia. The speed and method of this closure is shameful and indicates a government that does not respect its people." I have signed my signature in support.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Health.

10663

[Page 10664]

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I would like to rise on a point of personal privilege. In response to a question to the honourable member for Halifax Needham yesterday, I gave her wrong information in the answer. She had asked me about the revenue generated from the Tobacco Act, this would be in violation - I think I used the term $50,000 and it's $24,000 and change. I wanted to make that correction before we get into Question Period.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Obviously it is not a point of privilege but certainly a clarification of facts for the House. Thank you.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect on a petition.

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a list of 853 Sir John A. Macdonald High School Students and their MLA's signature. "We, the undersigned strongly object to the option of splitting up Sir John A. Macdonald High School." I beg leave to table this petition on behalf of these students.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORT S OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

RESOLUTION NO. 4441

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Government has been very well served by Ramsay Duff, Assistant Deputy Minister of Finance for the past three years; and

Whereas Mr. Duff has served in the Nova Scotia Public Service for eight years at the Priorities and Planning Secretariat and Business and Consumer Services; and

Whereas Mr. Duff has accepted a position at St. F.X. University as Vice-President, Finance and Administration;

[Page 10665]

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature extend its thanks to Ramsay Duff for his enormous contribution to the government and to the people of our province, and also that this House send its best wishes to him for a successful career at St. F.X. and wish he and his family all the best in starting a new life in Antigonish.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 139 - Entitled an Act to Require the Reporting of Fees Charged by Departments and Agencies. (Mr. Graham Steele)

Bill No. 140 - An Act to Require the Immediate Reporting of Additional Appropriations and Special Warrants. (Mr. Graham Steele)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 4142

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

Whereas sadly, Don Crosby, Principal of Cole Harbour District High School, retires at the end of this school year; and

Whereas Don Crosby spent his entire 33 years of teaching and administering with the Halifax Regional School Board and with one of its predecessors, the Halifax County District School Board, spending the majority of his career serving Eastern Passage and Cole Harbour; and

[Page 10666]

Whereas Don Crosby will be sorely missed by the many students, parents, teachers and other colleagues with whom he has been associated in Cole Harbour and Eastern Passage these many years;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Don Crosby, Principal of Cole Harbour District High School, for his 33 years of distinguished service in our education system and wish him a long, happy retirement.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Glace Bay.

RESOLUTION NO. 4143

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

Whereas shortly after the Tories took power in 1978, the Speaker of the House, the current MLA for Hants West, tried to stifle freedom of the press by removing government typewriters from the Legislative Press Gallery; and

Whereas freedom of the press was restored only after an unlikely champion, Premier John Buchanan, convinced the Speaker to return the typewriters to the press gallery; and

Whereas over 20 years later, the Tories are still trying to silence journalists by imposing restrictive and prohibitive fees for information requests;

Therefore be it resolved that it is a sad day in Nova Scotia politics when the current Tory Government can't live up to the low standard of accountability set by the scandal-plagued Buchanan Government.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 10667]

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, or a point of privilege, that's a base canard. I never did any such thing.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Colchester North.

RESOLUTION NO. 4144

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

Whereas the Grand Lodge of Nova Scotia Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons will hold its 137th annual communicate in Truro next weekend; and

Whereas the Masonic Order is the largest fraternal organization in the world, with 107 lodges and approximately 6,500 members in Nova Scotia, and which was founded in 1866; and

Whereas the Lodge has had a most successful year under the direction of the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons in Nova Scotia, Brother Ted Caulier;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature congratulate the Grand Lodge of Nova Scotia and all Masons on the great work that they do in this province and wish them all the best 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. (Applause)

[Page 10668]

That resolution certainly deserves a round of applause.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

[2:15 p.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 4145

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

Whereas Yarmouth teacher Brian Forbes has taught for 30 years and has been active in all facets of community life; and

Whereas Mr. Forbes has been a dynamic figure not only within his community but within the Nova Scotia Teachers Union, serving at all levels of participation; and

Whereas yesterday Brian Forbes was re-elected to a second consecutive term as President of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Brian Forbes on his re-election as President of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union and wish him the very best in his future endeavours at the helm.

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. 4146

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

[Page 10669]

Whereas on January 9th of this year the MLA for Cape Breton North issued a press release calling for co-operation in the CBRM and criticizing negativity; and

Whereas the same MLA recently issued a press release criticizing the mayor of the CBRM, variously describing him as "misleading", "ridiculous", ignorant, and suggesting that the mayor was only up to "political mischief"; and

Whereas the Premier demonstrated whose opinion matters more in this petty squabble by dropping everything to meet with the mayor immediately;

Therefore be it resolved that the MLA for Cape Breton North admit his own comments are nothing more than political mischief caused by his fear that critical comments by municipal officials are putting this Cabinet wannabe on the endangered political species list.

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.

MR. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege. That member, unless he's prepared to present to this House the full text of that press release, I would suggest he's otherwise misleading this House and misrepresenting himself. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: I will certainly take the matter under advisement.

The honourable member for Sackville-Beaver Bank.

RESOLUTION NO. 4147

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

Whereas Bernie Scott, a famous local teacher, will be retiring at the end of this school year after many years of teaching Sackville students, both at Sackville High School and Millwood High School; and

Whereas Mr. Scott has demonstrated a long commitment to young people beyond his teaching duties; and

[Page 10670]

Whereas Mr. Scott's commitment includes the use of programs like Co-operative Education, Encounters with Canada, and many more;

Therefore be it resolved that this House thank Bernie Scott for his tireless support of the young people he taught and enlightened over his much-admired teaching career.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

RESOLUTION NO. 4148

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

Whereas the Dartmouth Seniors' Service Centre plays an integral part in the Dartmouth seniors' community by providing a variety of programs and services to seniors; and

Whereas Dorothy Britten became actively involved with the Dartmouth seniors in 1992 through their fundraising ventures and the Meals on Wheels Program, and in 1998 Dorothy became the Executive Director of the Dartmouth Seniors' Service Centre; and

Whereas after years of active involvement with the centre, Dorothy has decided to move on to the leisure life;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Dorothy Britten for her tireless efforts on behalf of the Dartmouth seniors, and wish her health and happiness in her future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 10671]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 4149

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

Whereas each Wednesday morning CBC Radio's Information Morning has a feature called Say What?, where listeners identify a voice clip from the previous week; and

Whereas this morning's clip, featuring the MLA for Halifax Fairview, unfortunately resulted in not one listener responding to correctly identify the member; and

Whereas when I was the subject of the "Say What?" feature, there was no trouble whatsoever in the fans of Information Morning identifying me;

Therefore be it resolved that the member for Halifax Fairview be encouraged to take up my offer of a tutorial to help him become more visible and well known to Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton North.

[Page 10672]

MR. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, with your indulgence, I would like to make an introduction before my resolution. In the Speaker's Gallery today are three residents from Sydney Mines. We have Ms. Annie Clarkson; her daughter, Diane MacDonald; and her granddaughter, Jennifer MacDonald. Annie just celebrated her 90th birthday and I would ask all members to join me in welcoming her to the House today. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We welcome Annie to the gallery today.

MR. CLARKE: Thank you and I thank all the members of the House for their kind welcome.

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

RESOLUTION NO. 4150

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

Whereas Allan Clarke from the Northside of CBRM, a former Canadian Coast Guard auxiliary member, was relaxing in his home when he looked out his window and noticed a catamaran yacht too close to shore; and

Whereas the Cata Fjord skipper, who wasn't familiar with the harbour, brought the boat too close to shore and ran aground on a sandbar; and

Whereas Mr. Clarke found a fisherman in North Sydney willing to go out and help the stranded Cata Fjord and hauled the boat off the sandbar and back into the harbour;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend Allan Clarke, along with Sonny Tremblett and Gordie Howell, on their actions and quick thinking that helped free the Cata Fjord from the sandbar.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 10673]

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

RESOLUTION NO. 4151

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

Whereas Nova Scotians know now more than ever we need excellent leadership from all spectrums of the political wavelength if we are to achieve economic and social fulfillment; and

Whereas this weekend Nova Scotians will be watching as New Democrats choose their Leader at their annual convention; and

Whereas the candidates for that leadership, the members for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour and Hants East, have shown over the last two months that they know and understand the issues that face us and are prepared to work hard to make life better for average Nova Scotians;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the member for Hants East and the member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour on seeking the leadership of the Nova Scotia New Democrats and wish them well at this weekend's convention.

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 Lunenburg West.

RESOLUTION NO. 4152

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

[Page 10674]

Whereas more than $170,000 worth of equipment will be provided to the South Shore Regional Hospital this year through the hospital auxiliary; and

Whereas the funds raised through the hospital gift shop and the Daisy used clothing outlet will be used to purchase equipment for the emergency department and operating room as well as a new ventilator for the respiratory therapy department; and

Whereas a $1,000 "Make a Difference" fund has also been established for students enrolled in the practical nursing program at the Lunenburg County Community College for students who need financial assistance in order to graduate;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the South Shore Regional Hospital Auxiliary for raising over $170,000 to provide equipment for the hospital and providing a fund for practical nursing students in need of financial assistance.

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. 4153

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

Whereas the Dalbrae Academy's boys and girls hockey teams both became Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation Provincial Champions this year; and

Whereas Dalbrae Academy is fast becoming known as one of the top athletic and academic schools in the province; and

Whereas the communities of Whycocomagh, Judique, Port Hood and Mabou are very proud of the athletic, cultural and academic achievements of the students of Dalbrae;

[Page 10675]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House extend their congratulations to both teams for their first-ever Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation Provincial Hockey Championships and wish them continued success in 2002-03. I might add that this is the first-ever female Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation championship.

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. 4154

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

Whereas last evening staff and the parents of children attending Sir John A. Macdonald High School listened to a consultants' report about their school that gave no firm answers; and

Whereas since their school was closed, staff, parents and students have endured much while waiting as patiently as possible for answers about the future of our school; and

Whereas after all the worry, inconvenience and questions raised by the closure of Sir John A., the Ministers of Education, and Environment and Labour did not have the decency to attend and address the audience last evening;

Therefore be it resolved that this House call upon the Minister of Education and the Minister of Environment and Labour to apologize to the parents, students and staff of Sir John A. Macdonald High School for their failure to attend, hear and address the concerns at last night's public meeting in Timberlea.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 10676]

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 East.

RESOLUTION NO. 4155

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

Whereas Halifax ophthalmologist Dr. D. Brian O'Brien received senior membership in the Medical Society of Nova Scotia last week; and

Whereas the honour of senior membership serves as official recognition of the great respect and high regard that Dr. O'Brien has received in the medical community of the province; and

Whereas many Nova Scotian residents are grateful for Dr. O'Brien's decision to open a practice in ophthalmology, specializing in retinal surgery in Halifax in 1966;

Therefore be it resolved that Dr. Brian O'Brien be congratulated for having this honour bestowed upon him by the Medical Society of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Shelburne.

[Page 10677]

RESOLUTION NO. 4156

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

Whereas many Canadians may be surprised to learn that coral - usually associated with tropical waters - is alive and thriving off our country's coasts and that for years Shelburne County fishermen have been trying to draw attention to cold-water coral and the need to protect it; and

Whereas Canada Post and Hong Kong Post have jointly created a series of four stamps featuring nine species of coral, including those species found in waters off Shelburne County; and

Whereas two of the photos used for the stamps were taken by Derek Jones, Director of the Cape Sable Island-based Canadian Ocean Habitat Protection Society from specimens brought ashore by fishermen Sanford and Jimmy Atwood;

Therefore be it resolved that all members applaud the release of these stamps which draw attention to the little-known precious species of coral which have long since been prized by Shelburne County fishermen.

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. 4157

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

Whereas the Tim Hortons Camp Day was held on May 15, 2002; and

[Page 10678]

Whereas all coffee sales on that day were donated to the Tim Horton Children's Foundation; and

Whereas the owner of the Tim Hortons in Cheticamp, Geraldine Beaton, held a Family Fun Day as an added fundraiser on May 12, 2002;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize the importance of Tim Hortons Camp Day and the valuable contribution made by the Tim Hortons owner and staff in Cheticamp.

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. 4158

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

Whereas caregivers are our communities' hidden heroes, they are responsible for a variety of tasks including personal care, food preparation, household demands as well as providing emotional support to the individual; and

Whereas in today's stressful world, caregivers are finding the demands on their time and resources incredibly high; and

Whereas VON Annapolis Valley, with the financial support of the Community Health Promotion Fund, hosted an information day for caregivers on May 22nd;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House acknowledge the proactive approach the VON is taking with regard to caregivers to help them address what is both an emotional and physical labour of love.

[Page 10679]

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-Beaver Bank.

RESOLUTION NO. 4159

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

Whereas after nine years, the Friends of Scotia Nursing Home Residents Society has raised enough money to purchase a wheelchair-accessible bus to give to the nursing home in Beaver Bank; and

[2:30 p.m.]

Whereas the money was raised by community members through events such as auctions, raffles, garden tours and donations, and will enable some of the residents the opportunity to leave the home for the first time in years; and

Whereas the Friends of Scotia Nursing Home Residents Society will lease the bus to the facility for $1 a year and will be starting immediately on fundraising for the next bus;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Friends of Scotia Nursing Home Residents Society - Brad Weatherup, Paula Marek, Elaine Saulnier, Mildred Weatherup, Marion Hickey and Cindy Kidd - on its generosity in purchasing a wheelchair-accessible bus for the Scotia Nursing Home.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 10680]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 4160

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

Whereas the Institute for Early Childhood Education and Developmental Services held its 26th Convocation on May 24, 2002; and

Whereas during the convocation, 77 students were awarded certificates or diplomas for studies in one of the following programs: Public School Program Assistant, Youth Worker, Early Childhood Education or Special Education; and

Whereas since its inauguration in 1976, the Institute for Early Childhood Education and Developmental Services has made a significant contribution to the nurture and well-being of young children, and its more than 4,100 graduates have served in Nova Scotia, other Canadian jurisdictions and abroad;

Therefore be it resolved that all members congratulate the 2002 graduates of the Institute for Early Childhood Education and Developmental Services, and wish them every success as they begin to practise the skills gained in their studies.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

[Page 10681]

RESOLUTION NO. 4161

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

Whereas the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney, a native of Baie Comeau, Quebec, graduated from St. Francis Xavier University in 1959; and

Whereas Mr. Mulroney is a former Prime Minister of Canada; and

Whereas the former Prime Minister yesterday recognized the contribution of his father, Benedict Mulroney, to his success by establishing two entrance scholarships to St. F.X. in honour of his father;

Therefore be it resolved that this House thank the former Prime Minister for his continued support of his alma mater, St. F.X., and join him in honouring his father's contribution to 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 Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, with the concurrence of the House, I would ask that we return to the order of business, Statements by Ministers.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 10682]

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the Opposition for allowing us to revert. This will be a very brief statement.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform the members of the House of additional precautionary steps we are taking to ensure that the drinking water in neighbouring schools to Sir John A. Macdonald High School is safe. As you know, environmental testing at Sir John A. Macdonald High School in Hubley has been underway since February. The result is the most extensive and comprehensive assessment ever undertaken in a school.

On Monday, we received the final report from the consultants, O'Halloran Campbell Consultants Limited. The findings in that report were shared with the board, teachers, the school advisory committee, parents and students last night. As a result of the report, we learned late last week that a preliminary test showed that the level of lead-210 in the school water supply exceeded Health Canada's guidelines for drinking water. Mr. Speaker, we are taking this very seriously. That's why we're taking precautionary steps.

The immediate step is to find out what this preliminary test result means. We have already consulted with experts of the Department of Environment and the Department of Health, in addition, we have sought the advice of Health Canada and a national expert in this field. A series of tests will be conducted over the next few months in order to get a better understanding of the results. While we have no reason to believe that there are problems in other schools, we don't want to take chances where kids are concerned. We'll begin testing the water in 13 schools in the vicinity of Sir John A. Macdonald High School.

Mr. Speaker, the provincial medical officer for the region says the preliminary tests on the water at Sir John A. only indicate further testing is necessary. His expert opinion is that there is no public health risk for people continuing to drink water from these sources during the period of investigation.

Mr. Speaker, this testing is the responsible thing to do. Again, I would like to stress that these are precautionary measures. We are taking every reasonable and responsible step so parents, students, teachers and staff are confident their drinking water is safe. (Applause)

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

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, this certainly is a serious and a very troubling issue in the community that I'm privileged enough to represent. You know, you can call it reasonable and you can call it responsible, Madam Minister, I also call it reactive - the

[Page 10683]

three r's of public water testing in Sir John A. Macdonald High School and the neighbouring schools.

Well I have a question for you and it's not Question Period yet. We will deal with that later. How come no one listened to us for the last 15 years? How come no one listened to the students and the teachers? How come it had to finally come to this stage, that now we are reacting to the water test and, more importantly, how come your colleague, the Minister of Environment and Labour, doesn't follow your example and merely have the five neighbours nearby also tested at no cost? That would be the fair, that would the reasonable, that would be the responsible thing to do. After all, water testing in schools that have wells is just common sense. It should never, under any circumstances, have ever been allowed to reach this reactive stage. Thank you for taking this late initiative, but I urge the Minister of Environment and Labour to follow your example and help those five neighbours in Hubley with the same water test as soon as possible. (Applause)

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

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for providing a copy of her statement before commencement of her dissertation. I'm a little concerned that the Minister of Education has said that this is a final report. If it was a final report, why did the Minister of Environment and Labour disclose that information on Friday through the media and create such a panic with the residents out in the Hubley area and for all those parents and students at Sir John A. Macdonald High School? The only reason that this meeting was called last evening was because it was hastily organized to try to cover up for the ineptitude of that honourable minister. What that minister has done was unconscionable. We will leave it at that for now.

Mr. Speaker, another reason that this was done in haste was because had the school not been closed, the parents and the students would never have found out that there was lead contamination. Dr. Strang, last evening, indicated that the lead levels were slightly above the Canadian drinking standards. The fact of the matter is, they are 250 per cent higher than the acceptable. How can that be marginal or slight? Now if they are only preliminary, why would they not have done further testing before they prepared "the final report?" Why create such a panic? Over 60 parents, when they were asked last night, out of the 300 or 400 people that were in attendance, indicated that their children were sick on a regular basis because of attending Sir John A. Macdonald High School and many of them are not sick now that they're going to C.P. Allen High School. So go figure. Dr. Strang himself indicated that drinking bottled water, as recommended by the Minister of Environment and Labour, was a false assurance that you are drinking safer water than you would be drinking from taps in that area.

[Page 10684]

So what kind of standards do we have, Mr. Speaker? Where is the provincial water strategy? Certainly I would ask, given the fact that the minister, the Deputy Minister of Environment and Labour has stated this is before Cabinet, it's something that's been promised for a year, let's do something good for the parents and the teachers and all stakeholders at Sir John A. Macdonald, for all the people in Halifax Regional Municipality

and for all the people of Nova Scotia, now.

MR. BRIAN BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of personal privilege. In response to the member for Cape Breton North's earlier point of personal privilege, I would like to table the member's own press release. I would point out that in the release, the following words are used by the member for Cape Breton North, "misleading", "ridiculous", "political mischief". In addition, the release goes on to describe the mayor as having the inability to understand a letter sent to the mayor from the Premier. If the member for Cape Breton North is unhappy then it's certainly not our fault, these words are his. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Neither point raised by either member is a point of privilege. It is a disagreement of facts between two members and is so noted by the House.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period will begin at 2:41 p.m. and end at 4:11 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

EDUC. - SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD HS: NEW SCH. - ANNOUNCE

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Education needs to make a decision about Sir John A. Macdonald High School, because every day she stalls is another day that these students are going to have to remain with split shifts outside of their community. The facts of the case are clear. Spending another $14 million in repair and additions is no answer at all. I want to ask the Minister of Education, why won't she immediately announce what is obvious; why won't she announce a new school to replace Sir John A. Macdonald High School?

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, it may be obvious to the Leader of the Opposition but it is certainly not obvious to me. There are many options to consider, or at least several options to consider for Sir John A., and we do not intend to make a hasty decision in this case.

[Page 10685]

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, if we just look back at a previous decision made by the minister, after five months of stalling and on the brink of a by-election in Halifax Fairview, the minister and the Premier finally announced the new Halifax West High School. The minister said, engineering reports placing the repair costs of Halifax West High School at $11.4 million made it sensible to simply replace the school. She said, "As the renovation costs started to get past $10 million, we seriously had to look at whether or not it was the right decision from the taxpayers' point of view." My question to the minister is simple. If spending $11 million on Halifax West was wrong, how can it suddenly be right to spend $14 million fixing up Sir John A. Macdonald High School?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, indeed that's a very good question. We have not made that decision and I never said that was right.

MR. DEXTER: Well, Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Education stated publicly that replacing Sir John A. Macdonald High School would take until the year 2006. This is simply untrue and I'm prepared to release the minister's own documents about how long it takes to replace schools, and those documents indicate that it would not be more than 17 months. I want the minister to admit that the only reason why they are not announcing the opening of a new Sir John A. Macdonald High School and its construction is that her government and this minister want to save that announcement so they can do it during the next election campaign.

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, the announcement of what will be done about Sir John A. Macdonald High School will be occurring within the next few months. I'm not going to leave the students who have previously attended that school in limbo until whenever the next election might be called. That would be absolutely silly.

[2:45 p.m.]

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

EDUC. - SCHOOLS: DEFERRED MAINT. - AG'S REPORT TABLE

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. We learned officially last night that Sir John A. Macdonald High School is a mess. Unfortunately, that school is only one of many that are suffering from long-term neglect and either have to be fixed or replaced. The 2001 Auditor General's Report states, "Internal Department of Education reports indicate that a serious deferred maintenance problem currently exists in Nova Scotia schools." I will table a copy of that section of that report. My question to the minister is, could the minister table in the House the reports referred to by the Auditor General that highlight the severe deferred maintenance problem that exists in Nova Scotia schools?

[Page 10686]

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, any reports referenced by the Auditor General, I can certainly table. I don't have them with me but I can take it on notice and that will not be a problem.

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the minister for agreeing to table that report. The Auditor General's Report goes on to say, "To ensure that this problem does not escalate further, the Department of Education should begin to monitor Regional School Board spending on preventative maintenance to ensure that adequate funds are being directed toward this area and spent in the most effective manner." New schools being built today will become the John A. Macdonald schools of tomorrow unless money is properly allocated toward school maintenance. My question to the minister is, what is the minister doing to ensure that adequate funds are being put toward the maintenance of our schools, and what is being done to monitor that spending?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, one answer to that question is it's fairly clear that in two school boards we have taken over operations of the finances and the facilities; therefore, we are doing it ourselves.

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, new accounting rules enable the government to build schools on an amortized basis. Unfortunately, the government is not allocating for long-term maintenance. My final question to the minister is, what specific plans does the minister have to help alleviate the significant, long-term deferred maintenance problems in the schools attended by our children today and in the future?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, we spend millions of dollars on building new schools, renovating schools and cleaning schools. We are continuing to do all those things that the previous government did, except we are not involved in P3.

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

EDUC. - SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD HS:

RENOVATION/REBUILDING - DECISION TIME FRAME

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Education. Last evening in a packed gymnasium in the community that I'm privileged to represent, I witnessed firsthand the anger, frustration and sadness with the situation at our grand old Sir John A. Macdonald High School. It's too bad that the Minister of Education couldn't be there. Last evening we were told there is petroleum in the soil, there's lead in the water, there's mould in the school and the ventilation is inadequate. Could the minister please inform the House on what she's going to base the decision to renovate or to rebuild this school, and when will this decision be forthcoming?

[Page 10687]

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, one of the reasons we commissioned the O'Halloran report, which is extremely extensive, is to find out exactly what the matter was at Sir John A. Macdonald High School. Yes, the member for Timberlea-Prospect is absolutely correct; there are a lot of problems there, but the report says the school is salvageable and can be made to have another 20 years of life. That is an option that any responsible government has to consider as one of the options.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, these problems didn't just appear. The minister can perhaps defer the question today, but it's her department that's going to make the final decision. In addition to the environmental problems mentioned in the report, there are major problems with facilities and the ability to be able to deliver the basics of curriculum that high school students should be able to have in schools all across this province, including a new gym, new science labs, bigger classrooms. We're talking meat and potatoes, bread and butter, basic curriculum issues in our high school. The building is overcrowded. This is in a growing community. Can the minister tell the House why a new high school in Halifax West didn't appear to be such a tough decision, but when it's out in Timberlea, represented by a member of the New Democratic Party, it seems to be a lot tougher decision to come to?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, I would like to correct the member for Timberlea-Prospect on one aspect of what he said. The decision on Halifax West was a very long, very tough decision. We want to make a decision soon. We want to make the right decision. We do not want it to be a hasty decision, and making a decision two days after receiving a report is hasty.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I'm going to go to the Premier, if I may. In combination with the hard work of Halifax West parents, there happened to be a by-election called in Halifax Fairview. During that by-election, mysteriously, there was an announcement of a new high school called Halifax West. I want to ask the Premier, is it a coincidence that a by-election produces a high school and that Cabinet Ministers that are on the front bench, on the Treasury council with you, whether we are including a new high school in Windsor or a new high school in Truro, is that, after all, the way we now build schools in this province, based upon politics, as in the old way of how we paved roads in this province, based upon politics?

HON. JOHN HAMM (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, as the Minister of Education had previously reported, the process leading to the decision on Halifax West was a prolonged, exhaustive kind of evaluation of the situation. If the member opposite is suggesting that that was the wrong decision, that the school should not be built, if he thinks the new school should not be built for Halifax West let him get up and say so.

[Page 10688]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

HEALTH - SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD HS:

STUDENTS - LEAD TESTING

DR. JAMES SMITH: My question is for the Minister of Health. Mr. Speaker, last night parents of the students of Sir John A. Macdonald High School met with government officials. They expressed concerns about their children's health and well being, even after hearing the reassuring comments of Dr. Strang, the Health Department's medical officer. Many parents stated that they would prefer further reassurance. My question is for the Minister of Health. Public health is an integral part of health care, will the minister give the parents of this community the further reassurance they are requesting and they need and test their children for increased levels of lead?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, Dr. Strang was at the meeting last night, along with a nationally and internationally known toxicologist from the University of Guelph. What the conclusion was was that the single sample of water that was taken from Sir John A. Macdonald High School was not sufficient to establish that there is indeed a problem, but what it indicated was that further testing is merited and further testing will be done.

DR. SMITH: . . . from 60 parents last night about their displeasure with the way the situation is being handled by this government. Whether it's one reading or 100, to an anxious parent with an ill child, that really is meaningless. The bottom line is that these parents' concerns are legitimate because they haven't received answers about what is happening to their children at Sir John A. Macdonald High School. My question to the minister is, reports indicate 2.5 times over the acceptable level of lead in the water. What will this government do to allay the fears these parents have when it comes to their children's health?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, according to health officials, the initial finding does not imply that the water is unfit to drink. What it implies is that further testing is needed. As they explained very carefully last night, a single test is not enough, therefore additional testing will be carried out. In addition, the medical people assured residents that in the period of time that these tests would be conducted there would be no risk to health.

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, lead poisoning in children is not just a simple influenza-like illness. This can have long-term chronic effects. The minister's comments are not reassuring. So given the concerns and the potential for severe illnesses, wouldn't the prudent course of action be to test these children and notwithstanding the province's medical officer's statement, right now the people of this community are looking for something more tangible than that medical officer's reassurance.

[Page 10689]

My question to the minister, will this minister guarantee to this House that now and in the future more precautions will be taken to ensure the health and safety of children from environmental illnesses, environmental illnesses of all types? (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. There is too much noise in the Chamber and it's very difficult to hear the speaker.

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member should know, and I think he probably does, that this test that was done at Sir John A. Macdonald High School is one that is not normally carried out any place in the province and, indeed, it may be the first time it was done, ever, it's not a normal test. It just happened that they did it. I think the steps that the Department of Environment, the Department of Education and the Department of Health are taking are extremely appropriate in light of the best scientific information available.

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

ENVIRON. & LBR. - SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD HS:

WATER TESTING - DEPT. RESPONSIBILITY

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Environment and Labour. Hubley residents who live adjacent to Sir John A. Macdonald High School need clear answers about the state of their drinking water. The Minister of Environment and Labour has alarmed them with the secrecy surrounding this sensitive issue and on late Friday out comes this announcement about lead in the water at Sir John A. Macdonald High School. He doesn't make the comments in here during ministerial statements, he doesn't hold a press conference, he talks to a few members of the media. That has alarmed residents of this small community. Last evening at the public meeting, there was nothing said to allay these fears.

So my question to the minister is, will the minister take responsibility and pay for the water testing for the five homes adjoining Sir John A. Macdonald High School?

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I have been asked this question both in the House and indeed in front of the media a number of times and I've given the member the assurance, and in fact the people in the community, that we will do everything that is reasonable and responsible to assist his constituents.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Reasonable, responsible and reactive, but my question was, it's a matter of dollars and cents for these long-time residents of this community. You know, Mr. Speaker, this community has a long-time problem with environmental issues. This is a community in which two houses were recently torn down and one actually moved because of the close proximity to the PCB site at Five Island Lake which, incidentally, is just off the

[Page 10690]

end of the soccer field at Sir John A. Macdonald High School. These citizens are not going to put up with this. They want their water tested.

Will the minister publicly state that he, or his officials, although I would prefer he and his officials, will meet with these residents privately or publicly, with their MLA present, or with him not present, those are the options, but they would like to . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour.

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I want to assure the member opposite, indeed all members and all Nova Scotians, that any time anybody has any concerns about something that may pertain to the environment and particularly their drinking water, the department is there to answer their questions and they would be pleased to go out and meet with his constituents with or without him being present, that would be his decision and their decision.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, Sir John A. Macdonald High School is out Highway No. 103 about 20 minutes from this very House and soon this House will be in recess, so let's go canvassing. Five homes. Let's go door-knocking an hour after the House rises. Let's meet the people on their doorsteps. I will provide the drive. I will provide the NDP canvassing material, you bring yours, and we will have a chance to listen to these people. Let's make sure, as public officials, that we make ourselves available. Will you or will you not accept the drive to Hubley, 20 minutes from this House, and go canvassing with the MLA for Timberlea-Prospect?

[3:00 p.m.]

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, actually, the member opposite could point out that I'm a little delinquent in another commitment I made to him. (Interruptions) I've not heard a great deal back from the New Era Farm residents, but I did undertake to have breakfast in his community at that time. I would be happy to follow through on that commitment. This is not a problem.

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

ENVIRON. & LBR. - WATER MGT. PLAN: TABLE - TIME FRAME

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Environment and Labour. The Premier, in his Speech from the Throne on March 22, 2001, quoted, "My government recognizes that the tragedy in Walkerton, Ontario, raised concerns about the quality of drinking water here at home. To provide even greater protection for Nova Scotians from a similar tragedy, my government will soon . . . ", and he emphasized

[Page 10691]

soon, " . . . release a comprehensive water management plan for both water quality protection and water quantity management." My question to the minister is, specifically referring to that plan that the Premier promised one year ago, would the minister please advise members of this House and all Nova Scotians when that plan will be made public?

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, there are two processes going on here. The first one is that we are recognizing areas where we think we should be able to do better, and we have taken those steps. Indeed, that was included in the budget for 2001-02. Many of the things that are going to be included in the water strategy are, in fact, already being done. I think that's the important thing to realize here. With regard to the release of the strategy, there have been things that have happened in the last year that we felt should be addressed before we released the strategy. When they are addressed, then we will be releasing the strategy.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I would like to table a reply that our caucus received as a result of trying to secure that particular water strategy, dated April 14, 2002, from the Deputy Minister of Environment and Labour, saying that that document was before Cabinet. My question to the minister is, can the Minister of Environment and Labour confirm that the water strategy is still before Cabinet and not back in his department?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, as I indicated, I believe just yesterday here in Question Period, the strategy has been evolving over the last little while and it continues to evolve. We look forward to having that brought for final ratification before Cabinet soon, when it is ready, as I answered in my first question.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, obviously the Minister of Environment and Labour is hiding something. On several occasions he said nothing was done between 1993 and 1997, yet on the Web site for his seatmate it says quite clearly that the Liberals were developing the water strategy. Essentially what he's done is tailored what he's preparing off what was done right up until the time of the election. The minister has been misleading Nova Scotians. My question to the Minister of Environment and Labour is, why is he hiding that water strategy from the people of Nova Scotia when it was promised a year ago?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians want us to do what is right by them. They want us to make sure the appropriate protections are out there. That has been done. In terms of releasing the final strategy, when we have it absolutely right we will release it at that time.

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

PREMIER - FREE VOTE: INACTION - EXPLAIN

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: The Premier has turned out to be quite a quotable politician and I want to remind him of one of the statements he made. He said: More and

[Page 10692]

more people are looking for non-partisan leadership from political leaders. Old-style politics is no longer acceptable. Government can always find reasons for not acting, but I believe it requires more courage and integrity to take action in tough situations. But instead of courageous, non-partisan leadership, the Premier can't even tolerate a free vote of his own caucus on a life and death issue - the smoking ban. I want to ask the Premier, what happened to the courage and integrity, and why is he making excuses for not acting?

THE PREMIER: In response to the question from the Acting Leader of the New Democratic Party, this government has acted. As a matter of fact there have been only two other governments in Canada that have acted with tobacco cessation legislation. Other jurisdictions have avoided it, the previous government in Nova Scotia avoided it, but this government addressed the issue and it has addressed it effectively.

MR. DEXTER: We're talking about the Premier's commitment to all Nova Scotians. He wasn't elected to sit here and just rebuke the member for Sackville-Beaver Bank, that's not his job. The Premier has defended his undemocratic and unprecedented filibuster of his own members on this very important public matter. I want to ask the Premier, whatever happened to your proud boast that it was only the Conservatives who would work with the other Parties to do what was in the common good? Whatever happened to that?

THE PREMIER: If the member opposite will recall, this government did listen. It did listen to the Opposition Party, it adopted one of its amendments. It listened to what went on in Law Amendments and provided other amendments to what is a very effective bill. This is a good bill, it's a reflection not only of consensus in this caucus, but what we heard in Law Amendments and what we heard in this place.

MR. DEXTER: You have to have an open mind, but your mind can't be so open that all your brains fall out. That's the end of it, Mr. Speaker.

In his speech about the need for consensus, the Premier said: Who are we, the elected representatives, to end individual freedom to smoke in a public place?

He was referring to the casinos and to Legions. He didn't mention everyone, he didn't mention the workers and the other patrons who are exposed to that smoke. I want to ask the Premier, why is this government willing to put people at risk of facing significantly higher risk of cancer for the sake of the political optics of the Conservative caucus's consensus?

THE PREMIER: The member opposite must have missed part of the debate. One of the amendments that was put into the bill was a protection for workers. No worker will in fact be jeopardized in their employment by refusing to work in a smoke-filled environment. That is one of the amendments we accepted. I believe that this bill is a good bill, it reflects what we've heard, it reflects our consensus, and it is a monumental step forward.

[Page 10693]

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

PREMIER - C.B. CABINET OFFICE: CLOSURE - TIME FRAME

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: My question today is to the Premier. When it comes to Cape Breton, nothing surprises me with this government. Today we are hearing reports that the Premier is considering closing the Cabinet office located in Sydney. That's another blow for Cape Breton, but it's not surprising since the current occupant of that office has found other meaningful employment within the government service. The Premier says he's not going to hire anyone to replace the individual who previously ran the office because the member for Cape Breton North provides a presence in Cape Breton. (Interruptions)

I might remind the Premier that they have one member down there now and it will be one less after the next election, so he better have a Cabinet office there again. But I also might remind the Premier that the Cabinet office was set up to enable government ministers to come to Cape Breton and meet with interested citizens of that area of Nova Scotia who have problems. Now, first, the Department of Economic Development has been reduced down to one development officer in Sydney . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Cape Breton South on a question, please.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: . . . and now they are going to close the Cabinet office. My question to the Premier is, when will the Cabinet office close?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I would make a strong suggestion to the member for Cape Breton South that he perhaps read the reports. The office will not be closed. What will happen is consideration of the future of the office. I indicated that yesterday and we will be in consultation with the mayors, councillors and other interested people in the Cape Breton vicinity to determine the fate of that office.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the Premier's story changes as the day goes on. This is just another version of what he told the press. What he told the press earlier was that they were going to close the office because it will save money for the government. That's what he said to the press and he saw no need of it. Alfie is gone to his just political reward, so there must be another Tory in Cape Breton to go in that office and I was just wondering if they have anybody? (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: My supplementary to the Premier is . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

[Page 10694]

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: I might remind the honourable members that the member for Cape Breton North is not a member of the Executive Council, at least not yet, although we hear that's imminent. But until he's made a member of the Executive Council, we would like to see Cabinet Ministers in that office, not MLAs. The member for Cape Breton North was . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order, please. The honourable member for Cape Breton South on his supplementary question, please.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Yes, my supplementary to the Premier is, the member for Cape Breton North was elected over a year ago, why is it just now that the Premier is deciding to close the office?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the real question here is that the same Party that criticized the government when they established the Cabinet office is the same Party and the same member that today is criticizing the government for reviewing the presence of the office in industrial Cape Breton. The member opposite made reference to the fact that we have one development officer in Cape Breton right now. Well that development officer is obviously doing a good job because we've done more in two and a half years for employment in Cape Breton than that government did in six.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the development officer in Cape Breton is not doing anything down there because he's been given no budget and he cannot make any decisions on behalf of the people of Cape Breton. This government is doing nothing in Cape Breton, absolutely nothing except riding on the backs of the federal initiatives in Cape Breton. That's what that government is doing. My final supplementary to the Premier is, will the Premier commit here today to have the Cabinet office in Sydney open and commit to having Cabinet Ministers come to the Sydney area on a regular basis to discuss concerns with the citizens of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for reminding the members of the House and the public in general how much more effectively this government works with the federal government than the previous government. I would also thank the member opposite for giving us an opportunity to indicate how effectively we have been creating employment in industrial Cape Breton and remind him that employment levels today are higher in industrial Cape Breton than they have been in the last 15 years.

[Page 10695]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

HEALTH - CARE: UNDERFUNDING - ADMIT

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, this government likes to brag about how generous it is when it comes to funding for health care, but we have been skeptical about the government's rosy claims and now a new report by the Canadian Institute for Health Information shows we were right to be skeptical. Of all the provinces, Nova Scotia ranked third lowest in per person spending on health care, marginally above Prince Edward Island and Quebec. I want to ask the Minister of Health, will you finally admit that your government is underfunding health care in this province?

[3:15 p.m.]

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, in proportion to its ability to pay, this province does very well in supporting health care. Indeed, as the honourable member knows, if you take away the payment on the debt, we're spending close to 44 per cent or 45 per cent of our provincial income on health. Don't tell me we're not spending money on health.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I will table for the minister a sheet from the report that came out today that shows that other provinces, like Newfoundland, for example, and New Brunswick, are doing much better than we are in terms of spending on health care. While Nova Scotia is the third lowest in the country for what government spends on public health care per person, we rank second highest in the country on private health care spending, only behind Ontario. This government spends, on average, $950 per person for private health care; 29 per cent of the overall money spent on health care services went to private-for-profit providers. So my question to the Minister of Health is, why is your department spending 29 per cent of its budget on private-for-profit health care?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I have to get in the inside of that question, but as the honourable member would know, our Pharmacare Programs and the MSI programs are administered by a private corporation. If you're looking at the payments to them, it would certainly account for it.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, this increasing reliance on private sources of health care for Nova Scotians is an alarming trend, and this government is ripping apart our public health care delivery system in favour of private-for-profit providers. It goes against the fundamental principles of publicly-funded universal health care. So I want to ask the Minister of Health, will you finally admit in this House that health care is up for sale in this province?

[Page 10696]

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I had the privilege about two hours ago to cut the ribbon over at the opening of the renovated Dartmouth emergency department. (Applause) I can tell the honourable member that there are people in this province who do appreciate the health care system we have here and are grateful for the amount of money this government has been able to put to health care, including an additional $134 million this year in a very tough situation.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

PREMIER - SMOKING BAN LEG.: DEBATE LIMIT - EXPLAIN

MR. DAVID WILSON: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. The Premier says that he will not apologize for pushing through the Smoke-free Places Bill since there was consensus in his caucus, but that's not true considering that this Premier had to have his own government filibuster in order to prevent a backbencher from making an amendment that actually would have strengthened the bill. During the great debate, Nova Scotians heard government members speak on various topics, for instance: lumbering near Meaghers Grant, the ferry service for Halifax-Dartmouth, and a son's admiration of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Instead, they should have been hearing a clause-by-clause debate. My question for the Premier is, if there was such a consensus on this bill as the Premier has suggested, can he explain why he chose to limit debate to the title of the bill instead of allowing Nova Scotians to hear a clause-by-clause debate in this Legislature?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite started off his preamble by suggesting that the government would not apologize for bringing forward a great piece of legislation. The real question here is when is the Opposition Liberal Party going to apologize for its failure in its six years in office to bring forward a similar piece of legislation?

MR. WILSON: Mr. Speaker, as this bill now moves on to third reading, I'm going to remind the Premier of his promise to give MLAs greater freedom to represent the views of their constituents, his promise, and that they would be allowed to vote their conscience on matters that were appropriate. In fact, just yesterday during Question Period, the Premier was asked about fulfilling the 1998 election campaign platform promise. The Premier did not answer the question, so I will ask it again. My question to the Premier is, notwithstanding the fact that the Premier says there is something that resembles consensus on this issue, will the Premier rethink his decision and consider this issue as one appropriate enough for a free vote?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, one of the things that influenced me relative to how our caucus looks at legislation was the fact that for six years, travelling up and down the elevator with my colleagues in the Liberal caucus when we occupied the same building, was that they had never even seen the bills that their government was introducing. I vowed if we ever became government that that would not be the case. We caucused this bill seven times. It

[Page 10697]

received a full consensus of government and, fully, this bill reflects the consensus of this caucus.

MR. WILSON: Mr. Speaker, the Premier says the bill was discussed by the Conservative caucus and must go forward as is. Nova Scotians know differently, and they know that many government members are also in favour of what we're saying should be a 100 per cent ban. Yesterday the Premier said an all-out ban would infringe on the rights of others to make a personal choice, which seems contradictory given that he is ensuring that members don't get a chance to exercise their personal choice on this matter. My question for the Premier, again, is, if the Premier feels strongly enough that all his members would vote for this bill, can he please tell this House why he is afraid to grant his members a free vote?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, it's interesting that the current Leader of the Liberal Party in Nova Scotia gave our bill a 7.5 out of 10. It's obvious that he thinks a lot more of the bill than his colleagues in the caucus do. Perhaps he would be far more comfortable sitting with us than he would with them.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East. (Applause)

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Speech. Speech.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. No speech, just a question.

CRTC - TELEPHONE RATES: APPEAL - PLANS

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I will be glad to see if the minister applauds after I raise the question. My question is for the minister responsible for the telecommunications policy. People are already lining up in preparation for tomorrow's CRTC decision on telephone rates. It's widely expected that there will be several appeals to the federal Cabinet for a final decision on the regulatory framework for the phone system, including a decision about whether rural rates will increase dramatically. My question for the minister is, what steps is this government taking to prepare an appeal to the federal Cabinet if, as expected, the CRTC decision gives the green light for much higher phone rates in most of Nova Scotia?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I believe that question would be directed to the honourable Minister of Economic Development, would it not?

MR. MACDONELL: I think it's the honourable Minister of Education.

MR. SPEAKER: No, I believe it would be (Interruptions) Order, please. I believe it would be the Minister of Economic Development.

[Page 10698]

MR. MACDONELL: I will defer to the Premier, please.

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

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite brings up a good question. I am going to have to take it as notice, and I apologize for that. However, I am acting today, and I do believe my colleague will be here tomorrow and he would, I'm sure, by that time, be in a better position to answer the question.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I would just remind all members to turn off their cell phones, please. The honourable member for Hants East on his first supplementary.

MR. MACDONELL: It's obvious that the issue has caused a reaction already, Mr. Speaker. The decision to deregulate the phone industry was a political decision. The decision to crank up monthly rates for basic service, while lowering long distance, was a political decision. Corporations with billions of dollars at stake have lobbied long and hard to get the decisions which they think will fatten their profits. This province can, and should be, a strong voice on behalf of the consumer. When will the government be in a position to say whether it is submitting an appeal and how does the government propose to improve its chances of winning that appeal in the face of the federal government's indifference?

MR. LEBLANC: I'm not in a position to answer that question. The member opposite brings forward an issue, a matter of debate which is deregulation. There are many different components of it. One of the things that we have today in regard to that is more competition on long distance which has really helped, I guess, us as a country to be competitive. However, with regard specifically to the question that he asked, I will have to take it as notice and I hope the member opposite understands.

MR. MACDONELL: The federal Liberal leadership candidates undoubtedly see more campaign donations coming from the corporate lobbyists than from hundreds of thousands of Atlantic Canadians who will be paying more from their income for basic phone service. So, can the minister indicate what kind of coalitions the government intends to build or join to try and get through to the federal Cabinet that this rural phone increase is simply unfair and unacceptable?

MR. LEBLANC: I've been asked to give air time by the other Party, but I will say I think the federal Cabinet is getting a message these days loud and clear with some of the problems the federal ministers are having. Whenever we think things are bad here, all we have to do is look to Ottawa and we realize how great things are here in Nova Scotia. In regard to the member opposite, I will again take it as notice, but the member opposite brings up a valid question.

[Page 10699]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

EDUC. - POST-SECONDARY: IN-STUDY INCOME - REVIEW

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: More and more parents are unable to afford their child's dream of a post-secondary education. Students in Nova Scotia are accumulating huge debt loads. Parents are expected to contribute to their child's education even when they financially cannot under the student financial assistance policies. Even more obscure, when a student finds a part-time job to cover the costs of their education, this government only allows them to make $600 over eight months before it starts to claw back on their student loans. My question to the Minister of Education is, will the minister review the amount of in-study income that a student can earn during their period of study?

HON. JANE PURVES: We are reviewing a number of things to do with student loans, but I would not want to raise any false hopes because a great deal of the policy that we follow in Nova Scotia regarding student loans mirrors that of the federal government and that is the way it has to operate. There are areas in which we can change and we plan to change some of those.

MR. SAMSON: This is a serious issue for university students throughout this province. Increasing the amount of in-study income to Ontario levels is estimated to cost the Government of Canada less than $10 million. Seeing as this government has failed to offer students a debt relief program for yet another year, seeing that they are sitting by idly as tuition continues to increase, will the minister commit to costing a raise to the current levels of in-study income under Nova Scotia's student loan program for loans to be issued in 2002-03?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable Minister of Education.

MISS PURVES: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I will.

MR. SAMSON: Raising the level of in-study income will not increase debt loads for students. For the most part, students need to work because student assistance does not provide enough resources that they require for their actual year of study. It's quite ironic that this government is going to Ottawa on a campaign for fairness to try to get Ottawa not to claw back money from the offshore, from the transfer payments, yet this government is more than happy to claw back from university students any income that they make over $600 a year while they are studying.

[Page 10700]

[3:30 p.m.]

This government should maybe look at a campaign for fairness to start right here at home for our Nova Scotia students. We have heard the minister talk a few times about reviewing student assistance. My question is, when will the Minister of Education commit to reviewing the policies related to student financial assistance and table them here in this House for all students and all Nova Scotians to see?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, we are constantly reviewing our student assistance policies, as well as the one the member opposite brings up so often, the designation policy. Some of these reviews actually help students, but student loans are a great thing to enable accessibility to universities. Yes, many students are in debt, but it is an investment that is worth a great deal to the students who have this education. What we have to do is to continue to achieve a balance between the benefit to students and the benefit to taxpayers.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

ENVIRON. & LBR. - WILLIAMS LAKE: SPILL - TESTING RESULTS

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I want to bring a matter to the attention of members opposite, in particular the Minister of Environment and Labour. There was an incident last week, on Wednesday, where a contractor dug into a sewer line and there was a spill into Williams Lake. There's been some conflicting information that's been released with respect to that issue, in terms of water safety at Williams Lake. I would like to ask the minister if he would provide this House, hopefully by the end of the day, complete reports of the testing and the results that have occurred since that spill took place on Wednesday last?

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I am aware that there was a problem in the Williams Lake area. I will, through a Page, request that the department send that information over and, hopefully, it will be here before the end of Question Period.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, the issue of water quality and the veracity of the department's testing and enforcement has been an issue in this House before. Williams Lake is used for boating, it's used for swimming, and it's also used as a water supply for two boat clubs in the neighbourhood, and there is some significant confusion about whether or not the water is safe for use, any type of use, let alone drinking by the boat clubs. I want to say to the minister that there have been some flyers dropped off to local residents, but there's been no general information provided like a public meeting where individuals could ask questions of government officials. I would like to ask the minister and this I think shows a flaw in the disclosure of information to people affected by this issue, will he examine the protocols of his department on issues like this to ensure that local residents are properly and promptly informed of the issue of safety water quality?

[Page 10701]

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, it's a constructive question on the part of the member and I appreciate his informing the House as to what steps appear to have been taken by the department. I'm not able to follow each and every case that happens in the province, of course, because there are literally hundreds and thousands of them that occur throughout the year. I do acknowledge his bringing that forward that some attempt was made to contact them. If the community is looking for more information, I would be happy to assist in making sure they get that information, be it by way of a public meeting or whatever the member suggests. I am sure we can come to some sort of reasonable agreement.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the minister suggesting that my question was constructive. That doesn't often happen in this House and I thank him for that. I would like to follow up on his comments by asking if he will commit to holding a public meeting in the area in order to discuss with local residents how this incident took place, how the department responded, what the test results showed and what it is that local residents should do in order to protect the safety of themselves and their families?

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour, if you would like to answer one of those questions, it would be fine, please.

MR. MORSE: Yes.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

HEALTH - REPRODUCTIVE CARE PROG.: FUNDING - DETAILS

DR. JAMES SMITH: My question is to the Minister of Health, Mr. Speaker. The reproductive care program in Nova Scotia is very much the envy of North America and it works directly with health care facilities and community-based professionals to assist in the development of programs to ensure that women and their unborn or their newborn child get the head start they need and that is wherever they live in Nova Scotia. My question to the minister, could the minister please confirm whether his department has reduced or is planning to reduce funding for the reproductive care program in Nova Scotia?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, like all other departments or agencies or programs that are funded by the Department of Health, the funding is reviewed annually.

DR. SMITH: I know it's reviewed, Mr. Speaker. I asked whether it was being reduced or not and we didn't get an answer. So, more specifically, one program that the reproductive care program has identified and worked on was developing the cessation program for women who smoke during the course of their pregnancy. I don't need to tell the minister the complications a newborn faces when their mother smokes during pregnancy, such as low birth weight, increased risk for asthma, generally a failure to thrive for the infant, with extra health costs and human costs. My question to the minister, why does the minister not view

[Page 10702]

this program as valuable given the fact that the types of programs reproductive care programs recommend and support save the health care system money in the long run?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, this government does recognize the value of the reproductive care programs. It also recognizes the value of programs that a number of community health boards and a number of the DHAs have put on to help people cease smoking. I'm really surprised when the honourable member gets up and talks about the evils of smoking for pregnant women, why he is not going to stand in his place and vote for Bill No. 125?

DR. SMITH: It's question and answer period today, I guess we would call it, but he's asking me questions. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Dartmouth East on his final question.

DR. SMITH: . . . trying to please everybody and please no one, including the unborn baby. Another area, Mr. Speaker, that the program is involved in is identifying the rate of breast feeding across the province where they tailor the programs in areas of the province that may require more attention than others; in other words, ensuring that the programs are available in communities where they are needed most. My question to the minister, does the minister not see the reproductive care program as being valuable to the health and well-being of women in this province and give assurance to those people in that program that he will enhance funding, not take away funding from that program?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I have stated in the answer to the first question that we certainly do understand the value of that program, but I have no idea, quite frankly, where he's coming from about saying that the funding for the program is going to be reduced. He must know something I don't.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

NAT. RES. - DEER POPULATION: ACCURATE FIGURES - POST

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Natural Resources. I visited his Web site today to inquire about the deer hunt. I am a hunter and I was astounded by what I found or didn't find. The minister is not posting current figures for deer population and last year's harvest, yet he charges hunters $6.90 to call a 1-900 line to enter a draw for an antlerless deer licence when they haven't the remotest idea what chance they have of getting a deer or if they even should hunt one. So my question is, why won't the minister post accurate figures on the deer population that allow hunters to make an informed decision on whether to enter the deer draw?

[Page 10703]

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member makes a good observation. The annual count for deer takes place in late Spring and early summer; that count has been conducted and the results are being tabulated. When they're put together, then they will be put on the Web site.

MR. MACDONELL: Well, then maybe, Mr. Speaker, the minister might consider holding the draw after he makes the numbers public so that people would know whether or not they want to enter it.

Mr. Speaker, the minister's site says that there 12,200 permits available this year for the antlerless deer or doe hunt. That sounds like a lot of deer available, doesn't it? So what this is is a bait and trap gimmick that last year was so successful that over 35,000 hunters entered the draw. Why is the minister putting exploiting hunters over properly managing the deer hunt?

MR. FAGE: Thank you for the question. Obviously the member opposite appears to be as confused as his question. When you have the proper numbers after you do the deer count, then you assign the number of tags that will be assigned to meet the population.

MR. MACDONELL: Well, I think most people can figure that out, Mr. Speaker. The problem is that the minister is assigning the tags after the hunters make the call for the tags. Last year the minister took over $200,000 from these hunters, and I want to know what the minister did with that $200,000 to advance efforts in conservation for the deer herd in this province?

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the honourable member's question. Obviously, funds raised from that particular draw go to revenues that go back into wildlife protection and environment enhancement and running the department to ensure that officials are able to accurately control and police the hunting of deer in Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

AGRIC. & FISH: WATER STRATEGY - EXPLAIN

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries. He's not always able to be in the House because of his involvement in a national organization, so when he's here, we're going to get him. I have a question for the minister.

Last week the minister stood in the House and stated that his government has contributed some $500,000 to the AWARD program. He went on to say that that program generated a water strategy for farmers in the Province of Nova Scotia and has been doing so for the last two years. My question to the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries is, if there has

[Page 10704]

been a water strategy for agriculture generated by the agricultural community, would the minister give us a brief explanation as to what that strategy is all about and also table the document?

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for his question. It is a good one. Obviously, my remarks in the House last week were not exactly as portrayed. What the department has participated in is the $500,000 AWARD program over the last three years. That evaluated, with a number of producer groups in Nova Scotia, the potential for water projects, research and accumulating the data so that we can move forward with a water strategy for Nova Scotia farms and we're indeed doing that.

[3:45 p.m.]

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I would like to table for the House, Hansard from the minister. The minister says, "This is the government that contributed $500,000 to the AWARD program that generated the water strategy for the agricultural community for the last two years." That's what the minister said in this House last week, so again, my question goes back to the minister. Mr. Minister, either you misled the House by saying that you have a water strategy for Agriculture, or if you have one will you table it here?

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, again, $500,000 indeed has been spent over the last three years on the AWARD program which is contributing to a water strategy for the overall agricultural community, and that's proceeding.

MR. DOWNE: I think he spent too much time in Mexico, he's starting to slide around like one of those little worms in a bottle of tequila. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Lunenburg West, I would suggest that comment is unparliamentary and I would ask you to retract it, please - not the part about the tequila, the part about the worm. (Interruptions) Order, please. Order, please.

MR. DOWNE: I will take back "tequila."

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Honourable member for Lunenburg West . . .

MR. DOWNE: Okay, I will take back the reference to the trip to Mexico, and the worm in the bottle of tequila. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, the minister stated in the House, and again I quote from Hansard, "This is the government that contributed $500,000 to the AWARD program that generated the water strategy for the agricultural community for the past two years." His

[Page 10705]

words. Farmers are going bankrupt in the Province of Nova Scotia, and farms are closing. The government has said it spent $0.5 million on a report for Nova Scotia, yet Nova Scotians have not seen it. There is a possibility of another drought yet this year. My question to the minister is, what plan is this minister going to have in place to help the farmers in this province as the drought season approaches in this province this year?

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, I think there were several questions there. The first one is quite obvious. Obviously the member opposite will be contributing to the Sheila Copps campaign through the Tequila-Sheila fund. The second one is, obviously, we have programs in place that have doubled the amount of money in income support, and we're working on the water strategy.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

ENVIRON. & LBR.: FAIRGROUND RIDES - INSPECT

MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Environment and Labour. In the Public Accounts Committee this morning we heard that the Auditor General has discovered that there are certain kinds of fairground rides that are not inspected by the province, and this is despite the fact that the Amusement Devices Safety Act specifically assigns responsibility for inspection to the Minister of Environment and Labour. The problem is that that department has interpreted its obligations in such a way as to exclude responsibility for these rides. My question to the Minister of Environment and Labour is when will your department start inspecting these rides and stop breaking the law?

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I realize that there is some question as to the definition as to what point in time do you inspect a ride. My understanding is that those rides at fairs are inspected by the department, but there are some rides, such as swings maybe in a playground that theoretically could be argued to be part of the definition and we're not inspecting them, as an example. So it's a question of the risk management.

MR. STEELE: Mr. Speaker, this minister continues to astonish with his lack of grasp of what's going on in his department. We are not talking about swings in playgrounds, and we are not talking about timing, but his department's refusal to inspect rides. Specifically the Auditor General talks about water slides, bumper boats and go-carts, and all of this might be a bureaucratic detail except that the Auditor General says in his report - and representations of the department confirmed this morning - that there have been injuries on these uninspected rides. My question to the Minister of Environment and Labour is, how many more people have to be injured before your department starts doing what the law requires it to do?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I believe that what I heard the honourable member say is in fact he acknowledges that we are inspecting many of the rides in the fairs, but it is based on how we perceive the risk of the rides to the public and the concern here is that the

[Page 10706]

resources be applied against those rides, that we deem under the legislation, to provide a risk to the public.

MR. STEELE: Mr. Speaker, this is about rides that have injured people and that his department is responsible for inspecting. It's not a matter of assessing the risks; they just refuse to do it. My question for the minister is this, as we head into the summer season of country exhibitions and fun fairs, what assurances will the minister give to Nova Scotians who watch their children climb onto these fairground rides that their children are safe?

MR. MORSE: Actually, Mr. Speaker, one of the things that I learned when I became minister was that I got to personally sign all these certificates for the various rides that come to the province. I would say that the member opposite is basically pointing out that some rides are of greater risk. But you know, if I take my child to the playground and my child falls off the swing, there could be an injury. The point here is, what is the risk to the public? There's got to be some sort of method for assessing risk management and that is what is being done by the department and that's what is being encouraged by the Auditor General.

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

AGRIC. & FISH.: CROP INSPECTION - METHODS

MR. BRIAN BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries. Farmers in Cape Breton still do not have any agricultural specialists to inspect their crops, as promised. When these farmers contacted ADI with a concern about the health of their crops, they were being told to buy a digital camera and computer software and take pictures of the crops and send them along to ADI. This is obviously not the best way to investigate crops for pest infiltration. My question is, is this the practice of ADI, to inspect farmers' crops based on a computer image?

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite poses a very good question. I was just reading a news release today from the Agricultural Development Institute on the operational status of the 1-800 number, which is available to any farmer in Nova Scotia. If there is a disease problem, crop update, weather conditions, pest control, they're all there. Anyone can phone that 1-800 number and avail themselves. In regard to technical equipment, I really couldn't answer that question.

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, my question is again to the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries. It is apparent that the minister doesn't believe that an agricultural specialist should be placed in Cape Breton. So my question to the minister is, does he believe that taking pictures of crops and sending that image to ADI is the method that should be used for inspection of farmers' crops in Cape Breton?

[Page 10707]

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, the question posed is a hypothetical one. Obviously, there are specialists employed by the agricultural community. It's a board controlled by all farmers. They will make an appointment, I am told - I have met with them - to be on site at any farm in Nova Scotia in any location. In regard to technical assistance, technology, like a digital camera, in specific instances, maybe would work, but I can't comment on that type of circumstance.

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, my final question is also to the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries. With the demise of Sysco and the closure of Devco, the $20 million agricultural industry in this area of Nova Scotia is vital to the economy in Cape Breton. My question is, is the minister going to investigate this issue with ADI, and what steps is he going to take to solve this problem for Cape Breton farmers?

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, I think there's some confusion here. The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries does maintain an office and a general farm specialist in the Sydney area. We made that commitment and that's an obligation we will make sure is fulfilled and we can direct additional resources required through that particular department. Specialists employed by ADI are specific farm specialists where an individual would be associated with pests, or forage crops, or ruminant livestock. The province traditionally and through ADI would only employ one of those specialists to begin with. So the services are there. We're talking about the access.

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

EDUC. - SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTS: POST HS - OPTIONS

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. There's a concern amongst parents of children with special needs that the special education students as they prepare to leave school are going to be left wanting. Historically, the students with special needs had an opportunity to stay within the school system before they went on to a sheltered workshop at the age of 21. It appears that this is changing and causing families of students much concern as the student may require supervised care between the time that they finish their high school program and the time they're able to enter a sheltered workshop at the age of 21.

So I want to ask the Minister of Education, Mr. Speaker, to tell the House what options a student with special needs will have starting next year, once they've completed their high school program, but before they reach the age of 21?

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, I have not been informed of any changes in any policies that the member opposite brought up and, yes, I will take that question under advisement and I will provide some detail to this House.

[Page 10708]

MR. DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, it's our understanding that the changes are being made without any consultation as well and in a report of the Special Education Implementation Review Committee, which this minister requested, one of its recommendations - and I will table it here today - states that they must update the 1994 handbook, Transition Planning in Nova Scotia, that dealt with the issue of special needs students leaving the school system. I want to ask the Minister of Education, can she inform this House what specific progress is being made with regard to implementing that recommendation?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, it is my understanding that is one of the recommendations of the report to which the member opposite refers that we are making progress on. Indeed, we're working with the school boards on 20 of the 34 recommendations of that report and we've made considerable progress on some.

MR. DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, sheltered workshops are underfunded and they cannot accept students, or clients I guess for lack of a better term, until they turn 21 years of age. Parents need to work to support their children because of the high cost of supporting children with special needs and therein lies the rub and the challenge with regard to this. So my final question to the minister, will the minister publicly declare here in the House that all students currently in the system will be grandfathered in before we have any public consultation so that they know that when they're entering high school next year, they will be able to stay until their sheltered workshop is able to take them on?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, I understand where the member opposite is coming from, but I'm not going to make public declarations about alleged changes in policy about which I have not been briefed and which may not, in fact, be taking place.

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

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS. - SYSCO: PLANS - DETAILS

MR. PAUL MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, I would like to pose a question to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works concerning the Sydney steel plant, Sydney Steel Corporation. We're coming to the end of this session of the Legislature and before we go home, I think it would be good if the government could be forthcoming enough to give some general statement or sense of their vision for the Sysco property in Sydney, what they intend to do with it and what they intend to do perhaps to spend some of that money that the Minister of Finance is sitting on for Sysco remediation and site cleanup. Would it be possible for the minister to elaborate on that?

[Page 10709]

[4:00 p.m.]

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, in response to the member, he has a very good question. In truth, that does not come directly under my department. However, I can assure the member that I will make available to him what plans we have in place at the present time for the future of the Sydney Steel site.

MR. MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, I think it would be good if the government would come out with some sort of a document, a report, a white paper or whatever you want to call it, to indicate their general sense of direction on Sysco. I know the people that I represent and those from the surrounding areas are all very, very concerned about this and want some sense of direction in the way the government is heading on this matter. Is it possible that they could do that?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I think it's quite possible that we could provide for all members and for the people of the area what information we have at the present time. I think, as the honourable member is aware, we are still negotiating with various companies as to what eventual use will be made of that particular site. It is a most desirable site for particular purposes and, hopefully, we will have an operation in place there that will be very welcome to the community and I'm sure to the members for Cape Breton.

MR. MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, there's only one last kick at the cat left so I will have to come down to this specific question to the minister. Is it possible that the government could indicate what it's intentions are with respect to the actual steelmaking parts of the Sydney steel plant, the electric arc reduction furnace, the finishing mills and so forth? I understand that this is up for sale. Is that up for sale on-site or up for sale to be dismantled and taken somewhere else? Would the government encourage an investor who had the know-how and the financing to operate that steel plant on that site right in Sydney?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I would suggest that that is very unlikely, but, however, I would suggest to the honourable member that at the present time, elements of the plant are still up for sale and that if somebody should purchase them and decide of their own volition to re-establish steelmaking in Sydney, of course they could.

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

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS. - BRIDGES: SAFETY - ASSURANCE

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, my question, through you, is to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. It was reported in the Truro Daily News yesterday that a third bridge has collapsed in Colchester County. Incidently, that's three bridges in one county thus far this year. Stories of bridges collapsing are becoming disturbingly familiar and Nova Scotians, especially those in rural areas, are rightly concerned.

[Page 10710]

This bridge in Riversdale has been described as being in a poor state of repair. Now we have, as the minister knows, about 3,900 bridges. Many of them are single-lane, steel-truss structures dating back to the early part of the last century. Through you, to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works, can the minister assure this House and all Nova Scotians that this province's bridges are safe?

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Yes, Mr. Speaker, that's a very good question. We have about 200 of those steel-truss bridges, which are approximately 100 years old. This bridge that he is speaking of that collapsed yesterday was built in 1906, so it's about 97 years of age. I should point out that we do not know the circumstances surrounding the collapse of that bridge, whether or not it was through some malfunction of the bridge or whether or not it was because of an overload or whether it was because of a collision with the bridge. But, however, the previous two occasions prior to the last one were occasioned by being hit by vehicles crossing the bridge. They did not collapse because of the malfunction of the structure itself. I don't want to take up too much time on this answer, but I would point out that the bridge was examined and inspected three weeks prior to this incident.

MR. ESTABROOKS: I appreciate some of those details, especially the inspection. But about a year ago, your department, Mr. Minister, released a report entitled "Nova Scotia's Primary and Secondary Highway Systems:10-Year Needs." In this report it states, "Detailed condition estimates for the entire bridge inventory are not available." That's disturbing to people using bridges all across Nova Scotia. Will the minister tell this House if the comprehensive bridge management system talked about in his department's report has been implemented?

MR. RUSSELL: Yes, we have. We've only just got started on it, though, I must confess. We first of all had to train some technicians within the department in the latest techniques. As a matter of fact, we sent them on a very brief course - I believe it was somewhere in the United States - last Fall, and they have come back to Nova Scotia and are being employed in the various districts. They are now abreast of the current procedures for the maintenance, inspection, repair and conservation of those older bridges.

MR. ESTABROOKS: That's good news, Mr. Minister. That's good news and a good start and a brief course. But the problem is that there are so many other bridges that have to be looked at. The concern with this bridge, again, is not just that there was a truck that went under this time; school buses regularly use this structure and other structures like this across Nova Scotia. The minister's staff have identified needed bridge repairs over a 10-year period to require expenditures of $560 million. That's a lot of cash to put out, but it's an important issue. So will the minister identify for us and Nova Scotians and agree to provide for us a priority list of what bridges are going to require what work over the next year as a 12-month period, indicating good planning and good use of limited funds in your department?

[Page 10711]

MR. RUSSELL: The unfortunate part about it is, of course, that the 200 bridges that are approximately 100 years of age are all high-priority replacements. It's interesting that the honourable member brought up a subject that was discussed this morning within the department, and that was with regard to those old bridges that carry school buses. We're doing an inventory of which bridges those are and they will be subject to a priority.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Victoria.

NAT. RES. - WENTWORTH CAMPGROUND:

THIRD-PARTY OPERATOR - SEEK

MR. KENNETH MACASKILL: My question is for the Minister of Natural Resources. Cumberland County residents have lost the use of the Wentworth campground for this season. The minister indicated that his department would accept offers for operation by a third party. Residents have heard that there is potential for the park to be open on a part-time basis for summertime special events. So my question to the minster is, will the minister assure residents of Cumberland County that his department is seeking a third-party operator for the Wentworth campground for this season?

HON. ERNEST FAGE: I thank the honourable member for his question because the Wentworth park - as all members of the House know, its use was changed from being a provincially run campground to a private operator and that private operator did not want to fulfill the terms of the lease that the previous administration signed. Therefore, the camping section, so far this season, has no operator. We are currently entertaining private proposals that would see opportunities for that park to operate later this year and hopefully in the years to come. We're pleased to receive proposals.

MR. MACASKILL: Again to the minister, a representative from parks and recreation has indicated that Wentworth campground will not be opening this season, nor are they seeking third-party operators. This has come as a surprise to members of the Cumberland County communities surrounding the area. My question again, is this minister or is this minister not seeking a way to open Wentworth campground? Mr. Minister, is it yes or no?

MR. FAGE: I'm not sure where the confusion or where the statement is arising from. It's certainly not arising from directors in the department responsible for campgrounds or myself, the minister, as I've stated to a number of organizations and people during the last several weeks, we are definitely open for proposals, and my understanding is we currently have a couple of proposals that are being evaluated.

MR. MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, I will table these documents for the minister. It's coming from a media report. If there's confusion, it's certainly finding its way to Cumberland County, where the park is. I hope that the minister will be looking at finding . . .

[Page 10712]

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

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, it's following up on a commitment that I undertook during Question Period, if that's a point of order. I have the test results that we received from HRM with regards to Williams Lake, and, in addition, as a bonus for the member, a ministerial briefing note which outlines the six hours since the time we were made aware to what we felt was the satisfactory conclusion. I would like to send one over to him and one to table.

MR. SPEAKER: The documents are tabled.

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. 4069.

Res. No. 4069, Sackville-Beaver Bank MLA - Amendments: Premier - Fear Explain - notice given May 27/02 - (Dr. J. Smith)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I rise in my place to commence debate on Resolution No. 4069. The operative clause reads:

"Therefore be it resolved that the Premier be called on to state why he fears allowing introduction of amendments as proposed by the MLA for Sackville-Beaver Bank."

Much has been said in the public domain over the last few weeks on Bill No. 125, the Smoke-free Places Act. Many representations were made through the Law Amendments Committee process. We in the Liberal caucus heard very clearly what the government did not hear. We heard industry call for a level playing field, and that is what the amendments the honourable member for Sackville-Beaver Bank would provide. We heard health groups indicate that they want legislation that protects the health of all workers and citizens, this mirrors what the honourable member for Sackville-Beaver Bank is calling for. We heard municipal leaders plead for some leadership from the provincial government; the honourable member for Sackville-Beaver Bank, having a very distinguished career in municipal politics knows all too well the importance of having strong provincial legislation that complements

[Page 10713]

the bylaws of municipal units, not compromises them. The government, the member for Sackville-Beaver Bank and, indeed, our caucus have all heard these messages.

There should be absolutely no fear in enabling the government backbencher to do the right thing and bring forward his amendments. Sadly, Mr. Speaker, the issue of whether a government backbencher or we as Opposition are afforded opportunity to bring forward amendments has overshadowed the importance of Bill No. 125. Perhaps that was the government's plan all along. Perhaps this was part of the great political plan of the Premier. Maybe it was the Premier's intention to allow internal dissension around this bill so that the content of Bill No. 125 is no longer the focal point of attention. You have to admit that this could potentially be part of the plan. If you create internal intrigue and attention, people soon forget what you are debating.

Mr. Speaker, what a sad day for Nova Scotia politics if this was to be the case. But fortunately for all of us, Nova Scotians are smarter than that. Nova Scotians today, right now, are willing to accept a total ban on smoking in restaurants, bars and other public places, including the workplace. It is beyond my comprehension why government would fail to legislate what people are demanding and even more incomprehensible that this bill, three years ago, would have been ahead of its time. Today, Bill No. 125 is not as strong as many of the municipal bylaws introduced in the province.

Mr. Speaker, that is what leadership and provincial politics is all about, making sure that what is proposed and what is debated and enacted not only represents the wishes of the people but it protects all of the people. We all know too well that governing is about making tough decisions. Governing is also about making the right choice. That is what the honourable member for Sackville-Beaver Bank wanted to do. He simply wanted to make a right choice. It's unbelievable to comprehend why the Premier would be so fearful of a member of his own government caucus coming forward, when all this member wanted to do was to bring forward amendments that would do the right thing. Is doing the right thing so wrong?

[4:15 p.m.]

You know, Mr. Speaker, I have sat in the Legislature now for 18 years. I would like to think I've worked fairly hard, I would like to think I've been truthful, and I would like to think that I've been forthright. However I fail to comprehend why the Premier could stand in his place and blame other Parties as a justification for not going the full distance on such an important public health issue. Why would someone in such a prominent leadership role, someone with so much power and so much clout, stoop to a level where he defends this bill by claiming that it's better than what you did?

[Page 10714]

Mr. Speaker, again, fortunately for us, Nova Scotians are smarter than that. This Premier (Interruption) Is that the guy who writes the columns in the paper, who talks about heckling and he's standing up out of his seat heckling?

Mr. Premier, as a medical doctor, knows full well (Interruption) Well, I have the right to speak, Mr. Speaker, and be heard here as a member of this Legislature. To the Premier again, as a medical doctor he knows full well that ventilation systems don't protect people. The Premier also knows full well that he will be sending workers into an environment where they will still be exposed to cancer-causing toxins. Why then would the Premier blame others for his inadequate bill? Why would the Premier not allow his own government caucus to do the right thing?

You know, Mr. Speaker, thankfully I will be able to face my medical colleagues because I know I, myself, and the Liberal caucus are doing the right thing. We are trying to do the right thing. I know that when I'm confronted by people they don't say, hey, why didn't you bring in that legislation? They knew what the attitude of the people was back several years ago. They simply say thank you for doing the right thing.

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

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to stand and speak in support of this resolution. We've seen some interesting events transpire over the past number of days in particular around this bill, Bill No. 125, with respect to banning smoking in public places. I listened to the Premier yesterday in debate at the Committee of the Whole House on Bills and I listened to him say some pretty interesting things about needing to respect the rights of individuals to smoke wherever they wanted to, and listened to him say things about the fact that it was the right of their caucus to shut down participation by any member of caucus in the debate by bringing forward any amendments to a particular piece of legislation.

The member previous got up and said he has been here for 18 years, well I haven't been here that long, but I've been here for 11 years. I've been here as long as the Premier has, sitting here as he has since 1993, and what I've heard him say, certainly when he was on this side of the House, was talking about being non-partisan, showing non-partisan leadership, hearing him talking about free votes, about the need for all MLAs to come into this House and be able to represent the concerns of their constituents, and then, Mr. Speaker, when we have an issue before this House, an issue that many members take very seriously and want to represent the concerns of their constituents, the first opportunity I would suggest for the Premier in fact to show the commitment to those words and to those convictions with respect to free votes and democracy within caucuses, that dissent and that level of independence, that level of freedom has been shut down, and shut down in a way that is unprecedented in this House.

[Page 10715]

I think it's extraordinary, frankly, around a bill like Bill No. 125 that the Premier would stand in his place and say that they have reached the great compromise, that they have brought together two extremes. What are the two extremes? The two extremes are the 70 per cent to 75 per cent of Nova Scotians who want a 100 per cent ban in public places and the small minority in the province, Mr. Speaker, bar and restaurant owners, who want people to be able to smoke at will. Frankly, if they had their will, they would get the government out of their way completely in terms of any regulation, whether it had to do with health and safety, whether it had to do with the provision of food or cleanliness or any other issue with respect to the bars.

But you know what? That's not the way it works. In order to get a licence to sell food or to sell liquor in the Province of Nova Scotia, in order to get the right to do business in the Province of Nova Scotia you have to follow certain rules. Mr. Speaker, why would we ensure that there are rules within those kinds of establishments, that you have to have a certain level of cleanliness, that you can't have food within a certain distance of where it is that booze is being sold, some pretty arcane rules that drive bar and restaurant owners crazy, and yet when it comes to an issue that affects the very life and comfort of people in Nova Scotia, of workers in Nova Scotia, the Premier and his colleagues would back off? The Premier and his colleagues would back off when they have a vast majority of Nova Scotians in support of a 100 per cent ban. They back off and they won't fulfill the kind of commitment that they've talked about in Opposition.

I want to say, Mr. Speaker, that I find it extraordinary that the Premier and his colleagues have stood up and said, well, we're banning smoking in all of these public places. Well, you know what? Municipalities have gone the distance in the majority of this province, across this province, and ensured that there isn't smoking. Smoking is not allowed in most public places in the Province of Nova Scotia. Why is it that the Premier and his colleagues opposite wouldn't ensure that Nova Scotians who don't smoke would be able to go to a public place and not consume secondary smoke, which has been proven without a shadow of a doubt to kill? Why would they object to that? Why would they object when we have one of the strongest pieces of health and safety legislation in this country? Why would the Premier and the members opposite not want to ensure that working people in the Province of Nova Scotia don't have to work in that type of environment where they have to suck back people's second-hand smoke?

It just simply does not make any sense, Mr. Speaker, that the government would not show the leadership necessary at this point and let me tell you, it's not like this is a controversial issue because the majority of Nova Scotians support a 100 per cent ban. With respect to free votes, this was the time for the government, for the Premier, to allow members of his caucus to speak their mind, to represent the views of their constituents. Instead, he has shown a tremendous lack of courage by shutting down any possibility of dissent, any possibility of contrary views being expressed and the democracy in the Province of Nova

[Page 10716]

Scotia and parliamentary democracy in this House is the lesser for the actions taken by the Premier around Bill No. 125. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova on an introduction.

MR. PAUL MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, I would like to introduce to the House a very dear friend of mine who is sitting in your gallery next to the honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes and that is Mr. Harold MacKinnon. Mr. MacKinnon is the President of the Cape Breton The Lakes Liberal Association and campaign manager for the honourable Brian Boudreau. So in that capacity, I would like to welcome him here to the House today. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We certainly welcome Mr. MacKinnon here today. I hope he enjoys the proceedings.

The honourable member for Dartmouth South.

MR. TIMOTHY OLIVE: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to respond to the resolution that ironically enough was introduced by the member for Dartmouth East, a former doctor and Health Minister. The first whereas clause in the resolution we are debating here today reads:

"Whereas members of Cabinet repeatedly prevented members of their own Party from introducing amendments to toughen the smoke-free places legislation;".

How ironic. How preposterous that a former Health Minister, a doctor, the member for Dartmouth East is criticizing this government for not toughening a bill that as Health Minister he didn't have the initiative to introduce while he was in power. How ironic that he can stand in his place now and wave his finger across the way and say that the bill should have been tougher. We should move to 100 per cent ban in one fell swoop. The former Liberal Government repeatedly, repeatedly, promised smoke-free legislation but never had the courage to deliver it. How many times did former Health Minister Ron Stewart say it was coming? How many times did the honourable member for Dartmouth East say, it's on its way? Five, six, seven? I don't know, Mr. Speaker, I lost count. In fact, the former Liberal Government had a weak bill. A very weak bill. A bill that wasn't nearly as tough as the one they now oppose because it's not strong enough.

It never saw the light of day. It never saw the light of day because the member for Dartmouth East and his colleagues figured it would be political suicide to move it forward. Let me remind the member for Dartmouth East and all of his colleagues, that when Bill No. 125 was first introduced in this House just a few weeks ago, their new Leader gave it a 7.5 out of 10. Not a bad score - in fact, I would say it's pretty darn good.

[Page 10717]

So what happened between then and now to lead the Liberals to oppose the bill? That is far stronger than the one they drafted and then let it die on a shelf somewhere in the Liberal caucus office. Well, it's called petty politics. It's called putting partisan interests ahead of sound public policy. In a word, you could call it mischief.

As a member of the government's caucus, I want to tell the honourable members opposite that as the Premier said yesterday, this government extensively consulted for over a year with all interested parties, health care groups, small business representatives, the hospitality and tourism industries on the smoking bill. The result was a sound bill that balanced a lot of competing demands and a lot of divergent views.

I would also like to tell the members opposite that as a member of the government caucus I can attest to the fact that this bill was the subject of many extensive discussions where every member of caucus had a chance to share their views. But, let's face it, like most bills, not everyone agreed with everyone else on every detail in the bill. Something that is pretty much the case with practically every piece of legislation, especially legislation that involves very strong emotions. That should not come as a surprise to anyone across the way - particularly the member for Dartmouth East, who, as a former Health Minister, couldn't advance his own draft smoking bill through his own caucus.

They drafted a bill. Usually when you draft a bill, you expect it to be brought forward, but they didn't. Why didn't they bring it forward? Probably because not everyone in their caucus was onside. So, why didn't the member for Dartmouth East bring it forward anyway and give everyone a free vote? Why didn't he do that? Why didn't he do what he demands of this government to do?

This resolution is about one thing and one thing only - it irks the Liberals that they couldn't do what we have done. Let's remember, that every member of our caucus said from day one this was a good bill. A bill that should be supported. A bill that every member on this side of the House recognizes is miles ahead of most jurisdictions. In fact, seven provinces and three territories have absolutely no comprehensive smoking legislation.

It is both preposterous and ironic that the final clause of the resolution we are debating today references the Premier being afraid. Unlike the member who moved the motion in the first instance, the Premier and the members on this side of the House had the political courage to do what the member for Dartmouth East and his colleagues were too afraid to do. They were, and continue to be, more interested in playing politics than in doing what is right. If Nova Scotians need any proof of that, all they have to do is consider the nonsense resolution they put forward here today.

In the final analysis, Nova Scotians will have a progressive anti-smoking bill that will result in a healthier Nova Scotia. That took courage. Nova Scotians are not fooled by the rhetoric and position of the member for Dartmouth East or his caucus on Bill No. 125. They

[Page 10718]

could not make the right decision then and they can't, or won't, make it now. If those members opposite truly were interested in the health of Nova Scotians, they would support this legislation. Nova Scotians indeed will remember. Thank you.

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

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: It is my pleasure to stand up for a few moments and offer my comments on the resolution put forward by the honourable member for Dartmouth East, a former doctor. I can tell you first of all (Interruptions) Well, he will probably be a former politician soon, Mr. Speaker, as well. The member referred to me as a former fiddle player, as well. I should note that on the record. Perhaps he will take that up during his next career after he retires from this place. It probably won't be too long.

[4:30 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I don't want to be thrown off what is a very important issue. Indeed, Bill No. 125 is a bill that we are very proud of on this floor. I am very disappointed in the resolution put forward by the member for Dartmouth East. I believe it's what we could call a desperate resolution. It's desperate because it shows to me once again, as I said the other day during my comments, that the Liberal caucus is divided on this bill. I have no doubt. It shows in this House and it shows out in the public, and it shows because what we see are many previous members of the Cabinet sitting there, as well as some new colleagues, and they're sitting there. They didn't have the fortitude to take in a smoking bill. Politically, they were worried about it and I can understand that. It takes some fortitude to do that. The Minister of Health has done that for us. The good Premier has done that as well.

I can hear them hollering over there, the member for Lunenburg West hollering. I don't blame it. It's a tough thing to do, but we have done it. Indeed, Mr. Speaker, like they were divided on this issue, they were divided on many issues. (Interruption) Well, I hear the member for Lunenburg West hollering again. Mr. Speaker, let me tell you, they are divided on this issue. They are divided on many issues. They are divided on how they cut and slash highway spending in this province. They are divided on education and how they turned the education system upside down. Indeed (Interruption) Well, I hear the members. I am going to sit down in my place. I have offered enough comments. I think I've struck a chord. I hear the member for Lunenburg West, and with that, I think I will keep it at that. Thank you for the opportunity.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I was wondering if the honourable Minister of Tourism and Culture would entertain a question.

[Page 10719]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. His time has expired.

MR. MACKINNON: Well, maybe I will make the point then, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. MACKINNON: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I am very disappointed to hear the honourable Minister of Tourism and Culture say that it is such a great piece of legislation when only two days ago he said that almost 1,900 Nova Scotians are dying every year because we don't have a complete ban on smoking in Nova Scotia. So how can he accept anything less than a 100 per cent ban? To me, it's a total contradiction in logic, mind and spirit.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. It is not a point of order. If there are no further speakers, I will call for the question on Resolution No. 4069. Is the House ready for the question?

A recorded vote is being called for.

Ring the bells. Call in the members.

[4:34 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Are the Whips satisfied? The Whips are satisfied. A recorded vote has been called on Resolution No. 4069.

[The Clerk calls the roll.]

[5:31 p.m.]

YEAS NAYS

Mr. Corbett Mr. Rodney MacDonald

Mr. Dexter Mr. Christie

Mr. Holm Mr. Baker

Mr. Manning MacDonald Mr. Russell

Mr. Downe Dr. Hamm

Mr. Gaudet Mr. LeBlanc

Dr. Smith Mr. Muir

Mr. MacAskill Miss Purves

Mr. Wilson Mr. Fage

Mr. Boudreau Mr. Parent

Mr. MacKinnon Ms. McGrath

[Page 10720]

Mr. MacEwan Mr. Ronald Chisholm

Mr. Estabrooks Mr. Olive

Mr. Pye Mr. Morse

Mr. MacIsaac

Mr. DeWolfe

Mr. Taylor

Mr. Dooks

Mr. Langille

Mr. Chataway

Mr. Hendsbee

Mrs. Baillie

Mr. Carey

Mr. Morash

Mr. Chipman

Mr. O'Donnell

Mr. Hurlburt

THE CLERK: For, 14. Against, 27.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is defeated.

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Earlier in Question Period today, the assertion was made in regard to the Wentworth park, that the department was not actively seeking proposals and considering them. I consulted with staff as I had said earlier and have consulted with the member for Cumberland South who has worked very hard on the issue of making sure there is a new occupant there, I might add. Those assertions obviously are not true, we are actively considering.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Obviously not a point of order, but certainly a point that all the members I'm sure will be glad to hear today, and noted for the record. The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: I must say you're very generous in your latitude on that one too. Mr. Speaker, would you please call House Orders.

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

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I realize that two weeks ago both of these House Orders were tabled and I would ask for the concurrence of the House that they be untabled so that we could seek the approbation of the House and, hopefully, the respective ministers will give their concurrence.

[Page 10721]

Mr. Speaker, would you please call House Order No. 1.

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

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, in view of the absence of the Minister of Community Services, I would ask that that be stood.

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

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: I understand what the Government House Leader is saying although I must say I'm disappointed because the whole purpose of standing the House Order, and it's rather basic information that I'm sure that the minister would not have any problem giving to any member of the House, so I'm a little disappointed to think that we would stand that, knowing that the House is going to close within the next day or so.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I would ask that it be stood but, however, I will give my commitment to speak to the Minister of Community Services to see if he can make that House Order available.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed that the House Order stand?

MR. MACKINNON: It is agreed, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: 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)

[Page 10722]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, we're still reviewing the matter. It has taken longer than I expected and I would ask to have the matter stood.

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

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I think this speaks really to the heart and soul of what we can expect from the Minister of Justice. On a previous day he stood in his place and he indicated that the purpose of the fee increase on the freedom of information requests was based on evidence, you know, everything that the minister was doing in the future was evidence-based. The Premier on two separate occasions indicated to the members of this House and to all Nova Scotians two different cost factors that were associated with this fee increase, one in the vicinity of some $400,000-plus and then at a later date said it was going to cost the government over $700,000.

So, quite simply, I can't understand why the Minister of Justice is hiding this information from the people of Nova Scotia. If it's a base line for which the government has made a rather substantive change in public policy, denying access to the people of Nova Scotia, denying access to people in the media, I just can't understand why the minister would want to stand it. It's just a delay tactic. He knows that. Quite frankly, I think it's being a little irresponsible that he doesn't at least allow it to go to a vote and say, well, no, we're not going to give it to you. That's my mindset on it anyway.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. It is requested that the matter be stood.

Is it agreed?

MR. SPEAKER: There is a request for a recorded vote on standing a House Order.

A recorded vote is being called for.

Shall House Order No. 2 stand? (Interruptions)

There is a request for a recorded vote on that issue. (Interruptions)

A recorded vote has been called for. Is the House ready for the question?

[The Clerk calls the roll.]

[Page 10723]

YEAS NAYS

Mr. Rodney MacDonald Mr. Corbett

Mr. Baker Mr. Holm

Mr. Russell Mr. Manning MacDonald

Mr. Muir Mr. Downe

Miss Purves Mr. Gaudet

Mr. Fage Dr. Smith

Mr. Parent Mr. MacAskill

Ms. McGrath Mr. Wilson

Mr. Ronald Chisholm Mr. MacKinnon

Mr. Olive Mr. MacEwan

Mr. Morse Mr. Estabrooks

Mr. MacIsaac Mr. Pye

Mr. DeWolfe

Mr. Dooks

Mr. Langille

Mr. Clarke

Mr. Hendsbee

Mrs. Baillie

Mr. Carey

Mr. Morash

Mr. Chipman

Mr. Barnet

Mr. O'Donnell

Mr. Hurlburt

THE CLERK: For, 24. Against, 12.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.

House Order No. 2 stands.

The honourable Liberal House Leader.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, that completes the Liberal Party's very productive day. I would now defer to the Government House Leader for tomorrow's business.

[Page 10724]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader on tomorrow's business and hours.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move that the House do now rise to meet again in the morning at the hour of 10:00 a.m. The House will sit until 6:00 p.m., or the conclusion of business for the day. The business for tomorrow shall be Public Bills in Committee of the Whole House and Public Bills for Third Reading.

AN HON. MEMBER: What are the hours for Friday?

MR. RUSSELL: Friday's hours will be announced tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. (Interruptions) I will take it under advisement.

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

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is the House do adjourn until 10:00 a.m. tomorrow to 6:00 p.m.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The House is adjourned until 10:00 a.m.

[The House rose at 5:44 p.m.]

[Page 10725]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 4162

By: Mr. John Chataway (Chester-St. Margaret's)

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

Whereas five long-serving teachers from the Chester Area Middle School are settling into retirement this year; and

Whereas they are Terry Atherton, Jack Hatcher, Lee Brannen, Lynne Ross, Louise McKee; and

Whereas the retirement celebration for these outstanding educators will be tonight;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House acknowledge the time and dedication of these tireless teachers and join me in commending their contribution to the education system in this province.

RESOLUTION NO. 4163

By: Mr. John MacDonell (Hants East)

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

Whereas the NDP caucus invited Nova Scotians to speak out and make a difference by telling Premier Hamm and the Conservative Government what positive steps people want the government to take; and

Whereas one such suggestion from the constituency of Hants East calls for the Premier and his government to improve rural roads and infrastructure; and

Whereas the Premier has told this House that he can listen and learn from Nova Scotians;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier and the Conservative Government should listen to those who call upon them to make improvements to rural roads and infrastructure.

[Page 10726]

RESOLUTION NO. 4164

By: Mr. Richard Hurlburt (Yarmouth)

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

Whereas the Bits and Boots Saddle Club is supporting the efforts of the Royal Canadian Legion; and

Whereas proceeds will be divided between the club and the Royal Canadian Legion in order to buy a van to serve the Veterans Place residents; and

Whereas not only is this event an auction but includes such things as pony and horse rides, canteen facilities and sucker pull;

Therefore be it resolved that the House congratulate Bits and Boots Saddle Club for their support of the Royal Canadian Legion and wish them luck on the May 4th event.

RESOLUTION NO. 4165

By: Mr. Richard Hurlburt (Yarmouth)

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

Whereas Royal Canadian Legion Branch 61 undertook a fundraising campaign chaired by Irene Nickerson; and

Whereas through these fundraising efforts the committee and branch members well exceeded their goal and raised $7,000 towards the purchase of a veterans van; and

Whereas this was a committee which included Bernard Olive, Cal Kent, Dal Jacquard Amy Moulaison and was chaired by Irene Nickerson;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 61, Yarmouth, and wish them luck in their future fundraising activities.

[Page 10727]

RESOLUTION NO. 4166

By: Hon. Jane Purves (Education)

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

Whereas the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia held their annual banquet and awards ceremony this month recognizing several nurses for their extraordinary contributions to the nursing profession; and

Whereas the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia Client/Public Health Advocacy Award was established in 1998 and honours the significant contributions of registered nurses, individually or collectively, in the protection and improvement of the health, well-being and safety of Nova Scotians; and

Whereas Diane Pottie, neuroscience nurse at the QE II Health Sciences Centre, is the recipient of the Client/Public Health Advocacy Award and having served as a staff nurse in the neurosurgical ICU at the Victoria General Hospital she played a key role in creating Spinal Cord Injury Prevention Nova Scotia, including lobbying for the establishment of head injury and helmet legislation and the reduction of spinal cord injuries in Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House thank Diane Pottie, recipient of the 2002 Client/Public Health Advocacy Award, for her dedication to public safety and the nursing profession.

RESOLUTION NO. 4167

By: Mr. Kerry Morash (Queens)

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

Whereas the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia held their annual banquet and awards ceremony this month recognizing several nurses for their extraordinary contributions to the nursing profession; and

Whereas the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia Honorary Life Memberships are granted to those leaving their professional careers who have rendered distinguished service or valuable assistance to the nursing profession; and

[Page 10728]

Whereas Judy Adams, retired from Queens General Hospital after a distinguished 37-year career in nursing, served as head nurse at the Queens General Hospital, was involved in provincial initiatives to improve the quality of obstetrical care, served on committees and held executive positions at both the chapter and regional level of the Registered Nurses Association of Nova Scotia and generally epitomized the ideal of a professional nurse;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House thank Judy Adams, honorary life member of the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia, for her steadfast dedication and compassion throughout her career.

RESOLUTION NO. 4168

By: Mr. Barry Barnet (Sackville-Beaver Bank)

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

Whereas Madeline Symonds Middle School has raised the bar for arts courses in our education system through their Arts inFusion Program; and

Whereas the school has received national acclaim for their arts-based initiative; and

Whereas this program offered students a chance to broaden their foundations and to understand that the arts is an attractive career prospect and also expands a person's ability to communicate;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend the Madeline Symonds Middle School on its extremely successful Arts inFusion Program and wish them luck in their further initiatives to expand the study of arts in education.

RESOLUTION NO. 4169

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas Husson College in Bangor, Maine, was founded in 1898 and is a well-known private institution that allows students to pursue career preparation and personal growth; and

Whereas Ashley Robar, daughter of Neil and Patricia Robar, recently received the prestigious President's Leadership Scholarship in the amount of $2,000; and

[Page 10729]

Whereas she will be majoring in the field of Sports Management;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Ashley on her recent scholarship and wish her luck in her studies at Husson College.

RESOLUTION NO. 4170

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas a third mural stone commemorating an aspect of Springhill history is almost ready to be put in place; and

Whereas the newest addition memorializes Springhill's baseball heritage depicting the legendary Fence Busters; and

Whereas Springhill officials are hoping that the latest mural will be ready for residents and tourists in June;

Therefore be it resolved that this House join with the Town of Springhill in honouring their baseball heritage with a commemorative mural and wish them luck in constructing their fourth and final stone mural.

RESOLUTION NO. 4171

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas recently, drama students at AWEC went to the Nova Scotia High School Drama Festival; and

Whereas it was held at Dalhousie University; and

Whereas it was an excellent opportunity for students to share ideas and experiences while demonstrating their drama talents;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize those students who participated in this drama festival and wish them luck in their future theatre performances.

[Page 10730]

RESOLUTION NO. 4172

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas playgrounds offer children time to be free and enjoy the outdoors while offering rejuvenation and solace for the caregiver; and

Whereas the community of Annapolis Royal is working together with a local committee in order to prevent the playground on Lower St. George Street from being sold or falling into disrepair; and

Whereas the generosity from the community has been a huge factor in the success of the fundraising, providing local talent in design, landscaping and construction of the play structure;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the community of Annapolis Royal and specifically the efforts of the committee, including Billy Wambolt, Deb Kuzyk and Madeline Embree, in preserving and enhancing this playground and the solace it provides for children and parents alike.

RESOLUTION NO. 4173

By: Mr. Timothy Olive (Dartmouth South)

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

Whereas the Junior Achievement Nova Scotia Business Hall of Fame recognizes the achievements of Nova Scotia's prominent business leaders; and

Whereas in recognition of his success, leadership and entrepreneurial achievements, John Scrymgeour, a native of Dartmouth, will be inducted into the Junior Achievement Nova Scotia Business Hall of Fame; and

Whereas Mr. Scrymgeour began his career at the age of 26 by consolidating his friend's family business with Home Oil and later buying controlling interest in Commonwealth Petroleum, successfully expanding to international markets, while also serving on many corporate boards;

[Page 10731]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House acknowledge the many contributions of John Scrymgeour made to this province and recognize Junior Achievers as an important part of Nova Scotia's growing economy now and in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 4174

By: Mr. Jon Carey (Kings West)

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

Whereas the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia held their annual banquet and awards ceremony this month recognizing several nurses for their extraordinary contributions to the nursing profession; and

Whereas the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia Excellence in Nursing Practice Awards were established in 1991 to recognize registered nurses who have made outstanding contributions in one or more disciplines of the nursing profession, including administration, community development, counselling, education, practice and research; and

Whereas Donna Pineo, a Program Manger at Kings Regional Rehabilitation Centre in Waterville, was one of six nurses who recently received the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia Excellence in Nursing Practice Award;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House thank Donna Pineo for her dedication to excellence within the nursing profession.

RESOLUTION NO. 4175

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 the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia held their annual banquet and awards ceremony this month recognizing several nurses for their extraordinary contributions to the nursing profession; and

Whereas the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia Excellence in Nursing Practice Awards were established in 1991 to recognize registered nurses who have made outstanding contributions in one or more disciplines of the nursing profession, including administration, community development, counselling, education, practice and research; and

[Page 10732]

Whereas Judy Breau, a St. Anne Community and Nursing Care Centre Coordinator in Arichat, was one of six nurses who recently received the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia Excellence in Nursing Practice Award;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House thank Judy Breau for her dedication to excellence within the nursing profession.

RESOLUTION NO. 4176

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas in today's financially run marketplace knowledge and skills are key assets to many young people; and

Whereas Junior Achievement realizes the necessity of offering such programs as money management, budgeting and present real life situations with the assistance of Oxford Frozen Foods, Ropak, Surrette Battery, Hatheway Ford and the RCMP; and

Whereas recently Grade 9 students at Springhill High School were able to experience the real world thanks to the help of Junior Achievement and local businesses;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize the proactive approach that Junior Achievement is taking with regard to our youth and congratulate all those students at Springhill High School who got to participate in this eye-opening, practical experience and wish them all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 4177

By: Hon. Ronald Russell (Transportation and Public Works)

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

Whereas the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia held their annual banquet and awards ceremony this month recognizing several nurses for their extraordinary contributions to the nursing profession; and

[Page 10733]

Whereas the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia Excellence in Nursing Practice Awards were established in 1991 to recognize registered nurses who have made outstanding contributions in one or more disciplines of the nursing profession, including administration, community development, counselling, education, practice and research; and

Whereas Jane Bermingham, a VON in Colchester-East Hants, was one of six nurses who recently received the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia Excellence in Nursing Practice Award;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House thank Jane Bermingham for her dedication to excellence within the nursing profession.

RESOLUTION NO. 4178

By: Mr. Robert Chisholm (Halifax Atlantic)

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

Whereas the NDP caucus invited Nova Scotians to speak out and make a difference by telling Premier Hamm and the Conservative Government what positive steps people want the government to take; and

Whereas one such suggestion from the constituency of Halifax Atlantic calls for the Premier to develop preventative health care such as ensuring healthy schools for our children;

Whereas the Premier has told this House that he can listen and learn from Nova Scotians;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier and Conservative Government should listen to those who call upon them to develop preventative health care along the lines of providing healthy schools for Nova Scotians.

RESOLUTION NO. 4179

By: Mr. Robert Chisholm (Halifax Atlantic)

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

[Page 10734]

Whereas the NDP caucus invited Nova Scotians to speak out and make a difference by telling Premier Hamm and the Conservative Government what positive steps people want the government to take; and

Whereas one such suggestion from the constituency of Halifax Atlantic calls for the Premier to end Seniors' Pharmacare premiums; and

Whereas the Premier has told this House that he can listen and learn from Nova Scotians;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier and Conservative Government should listen to those who call upon them to roll back the premiums they increased on Seniors' Pharmacare.

RESOLUTION NO. 4180

By: Hon. Peter Christie (Community Services)

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

Whereas the citizens of Bedford Lane have submitted many requests to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans; and

Whereas the residents have submitted petitions of 4,300 signatures to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans;

Therefore be it resolved that this House request the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to not permit the infilling of Moirs Pond in Bedford.