Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

Hansard -- Thur., Nov. 16, 2001

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HALIFAX, THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2001

Fifty-eighth General Assembly

Second Session

12:00 NOON

SPEAKER

Hon. Murray Scott

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

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

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

Therefore be it resolved that Nova Scotia should follow the lead of other provinces in establishing an industry fund to ensure that stranded air passengers can come home without additional expense.

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

We will begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table the Annual Report of the Public Trustee for the Province of Nova Scotia for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2001.

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MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour.

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table the Quarterly Report of the Workers' Compensation Board for the period ended March 31, 2001 and the Quarterly Report of the Workers' Compensation Board for the period ended June 30, 2001.

MR. SPEAKER: The reports are tabled.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I rise today to discuss the issue of impaired driving. The issue of impaired driving is a serious issue for all Nova Scotians and particularly so as we approach the holiday season. The Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service takes very seriously offences involving impaired driving. Our Crown Attorneys understand too well the tragic consequences that often result.

The Crown conducts a detailed review of each impaired driving charge and makes carefully considered prosecutorial decisions based on the facts of the case and the applicable law. If the decision is to move forward with the prosecution, the Crown's role is to present the relevant evidence in a firm but fair manner. But make no mistake about it. The prosecution of impaired driving offences can be very complex. There are many considerations: statutory law as laid down by the Criminal Code, case law that has developed around certain evidentiary issues, sentencing principles and so on.

At the same time, there is a public expectation that impaired drivers be dealt with firmly and quickly. Victims, their families, everyone touched by this kind of tragedy wants justice for this crime and as quickly as possible. Police, road safety officials, victims' advocacy groups, these are just some of the organizations deeply concerned about impaired driving, Mr. Speaker. Each of these groups approaches the issue from different perspectives. Understanding those perspectives is beneficial to everyone working hard to eliminate impaired driving in our province.

To that end, the Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service has initiated a round table dialogue. On November 21st, a group of Crown Attorneys will meet with police, representatives of Mothers Against Drunk Driving and road safety officials to talk about the prosecution of impaired drivers.

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The Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service is eager to widen the channels of communication, to share information, to exchange ideas, and to develop a common understanding of the challenges the offence of impaired driving presents to all Nova Scotians.

As Minister of Justice and Attorney General, I will be attending and look forward to a lively discussion, with a fuller understanding of the concerns and perspectives of each one of these important groups. I know that a deeper understanding of each other and our respective roles will be mutually beneficial and will help all of us as we continue our struggle to eliminate impaired driving in Nova Scotia. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)

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

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, in response to the Minister of Justice, I have a few words. I guess as a former Crown Attorney, I am somewhat aware of some of the issues around impaired driving, from the perspective of public prosecution and the importance of addressing the issue.

A lot has happened in the past 20 years to ensure that we reduce and maybe some day eliminate drunk driving as something that may be acceptable to some in this society. We have come a long way and I applaud any efforts to continue to ensure that impaired driving is eliminated in this province.

I would suggest as well, though, that this is a pattern that should not only be done for impaired driving, but for domestic abuse and for other issues that clearly maybe are not as far along in the education of the public on things that must be stopped. This is a very good announcement, one that I am happy to see.

I would also encourage the minister to continue along this road - no pun intended - not only with regard to impaired driving, but also with regard to other issues like domestic violence, and that we can begin to see all parties working together so that Nova Scotians can really have an opportunity to eliminate these issues from society. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, I want to take this opportunity on behalf of the Liberal caucus to congratulate the government on the important step it has taken today. It is good to see the government taking a leadership role on this pressing issue because leadership on a provincial level is essential and cannot be substituted.

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The list of stakeholders who must participate in this fight is lengthy, indeed. Everyone is in complete agreement that this is not an issue that government - be it federal or provincial - can effectively tackle on its own. In this regard the fight has been taken up by citizens through victim's advocacy groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Committee-level groups such as these have been vital in heightening public awareness about the dangers of impaired driving. The comfort and support services they offer to victims is vital. Coming as it does from people who know, first-hand, the tragedies that impaired driving can cause, there is clearly no substitute for it.

Groups such as MADD have maintained a spotlight on this issue and have not wavered from their focus. They can proudly boast of having 47 chapters across this country and over 5,000 members. They have provided a constant push on government and policy makers to try and effect policy changes that are still needed.

Mr. Speaker, I can tell you, having been a member of this House at the time, it was a pleasure to be part of the Liberal Government of Russell MacLellan, which passed laws to make significant changes to the drunk driving laws in this province. The need for dialogue on this issue is constant and ongoing, which is why we welcome the minister's statement today. The round table dialogue promises to widen the channels of communication that have

begun to open. It will provide a critical forum for an exchange of views and perspectives. Hopefully a common understanding will be the final result of that process, when it will begin.

[12:15 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, at the same time, it is certainly my hope that such round table discussions on this issue and other issues of a justice nature are not one-time events but are a regular occurrence so that we can continually have these discussions to see what we can do to better protect the interests of Nova Scotians. In the end, we look forward to meeting all stakeholders and engaging in a productive discussion on this most important social issue.

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 2458

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

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Whereas the African Nova Scotian Music Association held its 4th Annual Music Awards show last weekend at Alderney Landing Theatre; and

Whereas in its short five year history, the association has made many great strides in developing, promoting and enhancing African-Nova Scotian music locally, nationally and internationally; and

Whereas the association, a not-for-profit group that is all volunteer, is making great visible contributions to its community with artists such as Linda Carvery, Carson Downey, Four the Moment and Adrian Gough;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House join me in congratulating the association for ensuring that African-Nova Scotian musicians have an opportunity to be showcased, featured and celebrated.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 2459

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

Whereas St. F.X. University has become the first Canadian university to receive the Curriculum Innovation Award presented every two years by the Commission of Professors of Adult Education; and

Whereas St. F.X. University received this award for the Adult Master of Education, a distance-delivery program; and

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Whereas this award recognizes the high level of collaborative teaching and curriculum development among the faculty;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate St. F.X. University on this prestigious award and commend it for its dedication to excellence in adult education.

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. 2460

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

Whereas many Nova Scotia Visitor Information Centres, or VICs, remain open for business; and

Whereas many VICs across the province are ready to serve visitors throughout the fall and winter seasons; and

Whereas our three Halifax locations are open year-round, while the Port Hastings VIC is open until January 11th and the Pictou and Amherst VICs are open until December 21st;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate VIC staff and the tourism industry for welcoming our visitors and making strides to grow this province's tourism industry into a world-class, four-season destination for the benefit of all Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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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 Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 2461

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

Whereas Nova Scotian poet George Elliott Clarke has been described as having the ability to bring the people and the struggle for a decent life together in unique and heart-wrenching ways; and

Whereas in recognition of this talent, Mr. Clarke has received the Governor General's Poetry Prize for his book of poems about his cousins, George and Rufus Hamilton; and

Whereas he is the first Atlantic Canadian poet to receive this prize since 1975 and the first poet of African heritage to receive this award;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate George Elliott Clarke on receiving this prestigious award and commend him on his outstanding talent.

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.

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INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 92 - Entitled an Act Respecting the Investigation of Fatalities. (Hon. Michael Baker)

MR. SPEAKER: Ordered that this bill be read a second time on a future date.

The honourable Minister of Justice on an introduction.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, it's my great pleasure to make the introduction of a visitor who is with us today in the gallery and who has been working with the Department of Justice and other stakeholders on the preparation of the bill that was just introduced. He is the Chief Medical Examiner for the Province of Nova Scotia, Dr. Vernon Bowes and I would ask Dr. Bowes to stand and receive the welcome of the House. (Applause)

Bill No. 93 - Entitled an Act Providing for Summary Proceedings Against Young Persons. (Hon. Michael Baker)

MR. SPEAKER: Ordered that this bill be read a second time on a future day.

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 2462

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

Whereas in 1995, George Marcello received the gift of life through transplant surgery made possible by organ donation; and

Whereas in 1998, Mr. Marcello and fellow transplant recipient, John Trotten, created the Step by Step Organ Transplant Association; and

Whereas on June 20, 2000, George began The Canada 769 Day Walk with planned visits to over 500 cities and towns to inspire the public, media and all levels of government about the importance of organ and tissue donations;

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Therefore be it resolved that members of this House commend George Marcello for his dedication and personal commitment to raising public and government awareness about the need for a national registry of organ and tissue donors, for encouraging governments to make organ donation a priority and wish him godspeed on the remainder of The Canada 769 Day Walk.

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.

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

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to introduce George Marcello, who is in our east gallery today. Today is the 514th day on this walk. Mr. Marcello is accompanied by his road manager, Ms. Wilson, who is from Kelowna, B.C., who is also with him here in the gallery. I would like to just, as I extend a welcome and ask members to welcome him to our area, also note that Mr. Marcello, although he is from Toronto, Ontario, actually has a connection to Halifax. His parents arrived here through Pier 22, 46 years ago, and Mr. Marcello, in fact, was born shortly thereafter in one of the Halifax hospitals, no doubt, our Grace Maternity Hospital. So I would like to welcome Mr. Marcello and I would ask members of the House to extend a warm welcome to him and wish him well as he continues on in his campaign for public awareness around organ and tissue donation. (Applause)

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

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

RESOLUTION NO. 2463

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

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Whereas the Minister of Education is once again showing her contempt for 160,000 residents of Cape Breton in relation to teacher layoffs and school closures; and

Whereas the funding shortfall in Cape Breton requires the action of the minister; and

Whereas while we recognize many regions of the province are suffering school closures, the problem is particularly acute in Cape Breton;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House urge the minister to put aside her disdain for the people of Cape Breton and provide adequate funding to all districts that have suffered declining enrolments, as was promised in the blue book.

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.

RESOLUTION NO. 2464

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

Whereas health care is moving in a new direction, making vital services available in our communities and allowing patients access to life-saving procedures closer to home; and

Whereas in recognition of the growing demand for renal care and of the heavy burden of illness for people with renal disease, and the time hemodialysis patients are required to give up each week for treatment alone, the Department of Health has recently committed $1 million towards a new satellite dialysis unit at the Northside General Hospital;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House acknowledge the importance of this new satellite clinic and congratulate the Department of Health for bringing better health care to people in the Cape Breton District Health Authority through the Northside General Hospital.

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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. 2465

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 Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations has characterized the member for Timberlea-Prospect's attacks on this government's unfair assessment policies as an attack on provincial assessors; and

Whereas the minister's misguided and unnecessary defence of his assessors must be tempered by the fact that he is trying to dump them on the municipalities; and

Whereas the minister has offered no assurances on how many of those assessors will keep their jobs, benefits and union affiliation;

Therefore be it resolved that this House chastise the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations for his pathetic attack on the member for Timberlea-Prospect and for his shoddy treatment of provincial assessment staff.

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.

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The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2466

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

Whereas five Nova Scotians have recently been named to the Order of Canada; and

Whereas the Order of Canada recognizes those who have made a difference to our country in three levels of membership: for international achievements, for national efforts and for local or regional accomplishments; and

Whereas Robert Ackman of Dartmouth and Edward Byrne of Halifax were named Officers for their national efforts;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Robert Ackman and Edward Byrne on being named to the very distinguished Order of Canada.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 2467

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

Whereas Industry Canada's mission includes fostering a competitive, knowledge-based Canadian economy, working with Canadians to improve conditions for investments and increasing Canada's share of global trade by building a fair, efficient and competitive marketplace, a mission which should extend to the shipbuilding industry; and

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Whereas provincial governments, recognizing that the shipbuilding industry is in transition, feel that the federal government must provide for its restructuring and advocate for changes to trade policies that bar Canadian shipbuilders from major international markets and new opportunities; and

Whereas although the federal Department of Industry held consultations with stakeholders and released its report on the Canadian shipbuilding industry early this year, the federal government remains silent;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House call on the federal government to finalize its national shipbuilding policy and act on the Department of Industry's mission to build a fair, efficient and competitive marketplace for all sectors of Canadian industry.

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. 2468

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

Whereas on September 30, 2001, the Dalhousie Art Gallery held an opening reception for 'Stories of the Spirit: The Films of Catherine Martin'; and

Whereas Cathy Martin's work is a testament to this exceptional woman's talents and tenacity; and

Whereas Cathy Martin continues to be an advocate for Aboriginal arts, education and language;

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Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Cathy Martin on the testament to her work, 'Stories of the Spirit: The Films of Catherine Martin,' with wishes of good luck in her future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

RESOLUTION NO. 2469

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

Whereas Scotsburn Co-operative Services Limited, its milk producers and staff have collectively pledged almost $200,000 to the new Charles V. Keating Millennium Centre in Antigonish; and

[12:30 p.m.]

Whereas these donations reflect the close relationship that Scotsburn has with the people of northeastern Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Scotsburn sees its contribution to the Millennium Centre project as an investment in the future and a great opportunity to give something meaningful back to the community;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate Scotsburn Co-operative Services Ltd., its milk producers and staff for the generous donation and look forward to the opening of the Millennium Centre in the new year.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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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 Colchester North.

RESOLUTION NO. 2470

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

Whereas Cpl. Gerry Tucker was nominated and then recently became Nova Scotia's first recipient of the newly created RCMP Commissioner's Volunteer Award at a dinner in the nation's capital; and

Whereas Cpl. Tucker, a veteran identification officer with the Bible Hill RCMP detachment has helped promote and coordinate the Law Enforcement Torch Run in support of the Special Olympics for the past 12 years; and

Whereas during this time Cpl. Tucker had worn out several pairs of running shoes and is about to break in a new pair after recently returning from Kosovo where he spent nine months speaking forensic science to the local police force;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly commend Cpl. Gerry Tucker for his dedication and many hours of active participation with the Law Enforcement Torch Run in support of the Special Olympics while encouraging him to keep up the great work.

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.

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The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

RESOLUTION NO. 2471

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

Whereas the District 18 Business and Development Association recently hosted their Second Annual Best Ball Scramble; and

Whereas the member for Halifax Atlantic shot a scratch score - no, no, sorry, I don't know how that got in there, let me do that again; and

Whereas this event brought together the business community, social agencies and the community at large; and

Whereas the event was very successful in raising awareness about needed funds for such groups as the Chebucto Boys and Girls Club and J.L. Ilsley High School;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Reg Horner, Tournament Director and the District 18 Business and Development Association on the success of their Second Annual Best Ball Scamble and for their spirit and commitment to their community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

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RESOLUTION NO. 2472

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

Whereas Canadian Blood Services honoured Nova Scotians for their generosity and commitment to the blood program; and

Whereas Modeste Gaudet of Concession was one of the Nova Scotians recognized at the awards ceremony; and

Whereas Modeste Gaudet has donated blood 75 times in the past 40 years and has worked as a volunteer at her local blood donor clinic events for the last 20 years;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Modeste Gaudet for helping to improve and save the lives of many others through her strong commitment to the blood donor program.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth South.

RESOLUTION NO. 2473

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

Whereas well known Dartmouth businessman, Charles Keating, will soon be honoured by St. Francis Xavier University for his $5 million donation to the university's new $20 million conference and recreation centre; and

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Whereas Mr. Keating, who was until recently the very successful owner of the local cable company, decided to reinvest some of his wealth back into the youth of our province through St. F.X. University and to thank him St. F.X. will be naming the centre after him; and

Whereas while his financial support to the university is impressive, so too has been his support to the community of Dartmouth for so many years;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud Mr. Charles Keating for this philanthropic endeavour which will mean so much to the university and the students who will come through the centre's doors in the years to come.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2474

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

Whereas homegrown and sustainable energy sources will make this province free from outside forces affecting price and supply; and

Whereas wind power is a renewable and non-polluting energy source; and

Whereas Mr. Jim Higgins of Musquodoboit has blazed the trail to renewable wind power by installing a horizontal wind turbine to feed Nova Scotia Power's energy grid;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Legislature congratulate Mr. Higgins on leading the province's energy producers on the way into the future and installing a horizontal wind turbine.

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Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 2475

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

Whereas Gloria MacDonald received the first award of the W. Blair MacMillan Memorial annual bursary; and

Whereas this bursary is intended for a resident of Richmond County and supports adult learners who are in need of financial assistance and who are returning to their studies three or more years following a premature withdrawal from the public school system; and

Whereas Ms. MacDonald returned to her formal education after working with the Richmond County Literacy Network and is now specializing in Food and Beverage Service;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Ms. MacDonald on receiving the W. Blair MacMillan Memorial Scholarship and wish her well in her academic endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 7126]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 2476

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

Whereas the Hallelujah Praise Choir of the St. Thomas United Baptist Church of North Preston recently recorded a compilation of their musical work on their first CD, entitled 'For You I Am Praying'; and

Whereas the Hallelujah Praise Choir officially presented their CD recording to the community on Saturday, November 3rd at the Nelson Whynder School; and

Whereas their CD was the result of the work of many individuals and groups, including and not limited to the founder of the Hallelujah Praise Choir, Joyce Downey; as well as Wallace Smith, Jr., John Dalton, Ken Falkenham of CBC Radio, Halifax; Brookes Diamond; and Louis Gannon;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Hallelujah Praise Choir for their continued musical success as marked by their recent CD recording, and thank the choir for their many spiritual and cultural contributions to their community and to the province as a whole.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

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RESOLUTION NO. 2477

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

Whereas New Brunswick Finance Minister Peter Mesheau will present an economic statement to that province's Legislature on November 23rd to give New Brunswickers the most comprehensive and current information; and

Whereas the federal government is responding to the changed economic circumstances by presenting a budget to the House of Commons in December; and

Whereas Nova Scotia's Finance Minister apparently intends to withhold his own updated estimates of revenue and expenditure until after the fall session of this Assembly;

Therefore be it resolved that the government should recognize that the budgetary situation of the province is the people's business, not a Tory secret, by presenting a revised budget to this House this month.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 2478

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

Whereas RCMP Cpl. Gerry Tucker was a recipient of the first RCMP Commissioner's Volunteer Award; and

Whereas Cpl. Tucker has helped promote and coordinate the Law Enforcement Torch Run in support of the Special Olympics for more than 12 years; and

Whereas over the past six years the run and associated projects have raised over $150,000 with the help of Cpl. Tucker;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Cpl. Gerry Tucker on receiving the RCMP Commissioner's Volunteer Award and commend him on his support of the Special Olympics.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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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 Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 2479

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

Whereas in the Community of Westfield, on last New Year's Eve, a small group of people became resolved to make upgrading their community centre a top priority; and

Whereas these volunteers, undaunted and steadfast, held fundraising events, sought private donations, and obtained provincial and municipal grants so that the former two-room schoolhouse could be transformed; and

Whereas this same hard-working group, members of the Westfield Community Centre Committee, rolled up their sleeves and now the Westfield Community Centre is a comfortable place for the entire community to enjoy;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the hard work and community spirit of volunteers Richard Selig, Edith Mansfield, Cindy Selig, Vicky Burke and Sylvia Langille, and congratulate them for following through on their ambitious New Year's resolution.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 7129]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 2480

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

Whereas the Cygnus Diving Club was formed to promote the sport of springboard and platform diving; and

Whereas this year the club has attended competitions in Halifax, Fredericton, Newfoundland and Quebec; and

Whereas 10 year old Kelly Gallagher of Shad Bay attended the nationals in Victoria, B.C.;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Kelly on her accomplishments in the sport of diving and for having attended the nationals, with best wishes for good luck in her future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.

RESOLUTION NO. 2481

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

[Page 7130]

Whereas the Guysborough Memorial Hospital Auxiliary recently held its 10th Annual Christmas Bazaar; and

Whereas the Christmas Bazaar is a key fundraiser for the Guysborough Memorial Hospital, with funds from this year's event going to purchase furniture for the hospital's palliative care unit; and

Whereas the Christmas Bazaar is always well-supported by community and county residents, with support coming from Antigonish as well;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs extend our congratulations to Hospital Auxiliary Chair Evelyn Grant and all members for their dedication and perseverance in making this annual event such an overwhelming success.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2482

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

Whereas this year has been declared by the United Nations the International Year of the Volunteer; and

Whereas the Colchester/East Hants Seniors Council joined forces with the Cumberland Seniors Council to strike special pewter pins and certificates for presentation to a number of worthy recipients; and

Whereas Mrs. Blanche Verge was honoured by the Colchester/East Hants Seniors Council and awarded one of these special pins and a certificate;

[Page 7131]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Legislature congratulate Mrs. Verge for being awarded the Colchester/East Hants Seniors Council's pewter pin and for her lifelong example of helping out in so many ways.

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. 2483

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

Whereas Mark Botte and Arron Fisher from the University College of Cape Breton were awarded the trophy for top team at a debating tournament hosted by Dalhousie University; and

Whereas Mr. Botte was also recognized as the top individual speaker for this tournament;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Mr. Botte and Mr. Fisher on their top team award and further congratulate Mark Botte on his performance, which earned him top speaker at the event.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 7132]

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. 2484

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

Whereas the member for Glace Bay was struggling for late show debate material Tuesday night and wound up using incorrect information put in Monday's The Chronicle-Herald by the interim Leader of the Liberal Party; and

Whereas the member for Glace Bay was huffing and puffing so loudly he failed to recognize the significant achievements put forth by the Hamm Government since we came to power in 1999, including a back-to-school supplies program for less privileged children; and

Whereas the Hamm Government quickly made available $1.5 million for respite services and adult education day programs, something the former Liberal Government failed to do;

Therefore be it resolved that the member for Glace Bay keep in mind a famous saying of Albert Einstein when Einstein said, "The problems that exist in the world today cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created them."

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

[Page 7133]

[12:45 p.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 2485

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

Whereas Charles Uhlman was recently elected National Chairman of the Lions Foundation of Canada at their annual meeting; and

Whereas the foundation's mission is to provide safety, mobility, and independence to physically challenged people through the Lions Club Dog Guide Training Program; and

Whereas Mr. Uhlman was a Nova Scotia provincial chairman for the foundation for three years, and during that period the Lions Club and the province raised enough money to co-sponsor 32 dogs for the program;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House congratulate Mr. Uhlman on being elected National Chairman for the Lions Foundation of Canada and commend him on his dedication to those who are physically challenged.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works.

RESOLUTION NO. 2486

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

Whereas Windsor Regional High School recently placed second in the 2001 Valley High School Reach for the Top-style championship at the Berwick Legion; and

[Page 7134]

Whereas despite this second-place finish, Windsor Regional High School has still advanced to the provincial championships next spring and will represent Zone 8, comprised of the Eastern Valley; and

Whereas questions asked during this competition, which is now in its seventh year, concerned Canada's military and Remembrance heritage;

Therefore be it resolved that the MLAs of this House of Assembly congratulate the Windsor Regional High School team on their second-place finish and wish them the greatest success in their trip to the provincials in the spring, and commend them for their attention to and the knowledge of such important subjects.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period will begin at 12:47 p.m. and end at 1:47 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

EDUC.: STRAIT REG. SCH. BD. SALARIES - MIN. KNOWLEDGE

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, despite mounting evidence, the Minister of Education continues to insist that for the past two and a half years she knew nothing about the tidy little package that fattened the wallet of former Strait Regional School Board Superintendent, Jack Sullivan, at the expense of the children in the classroom. The minister says, I saw no evil and I heard no evil about this monkey business. You know something? Nobody - and I mean nobody - believes it. My question to the Minister of Education is - here is the last chance to come clean - what did you know about the tidy deals cooked up for the political appointees at the Strait Regional School Board and when did you know it?

[Page 7135]

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, I have stated on many occasions that October 4th was the first I began to hear of the many tidy deals at the Strait Regional School Board. It was also after that that the board itself began to know, and the reason the public knows is because I have come clean and will continue to come clean on all these deals.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the minister is starting to sound like George Bush, Sr. I was out of the information loop, she says. Well you know, according to the current chairman of the Strait Regional School Board, the minister, her department officials, and two previous Liberal Ministers of Education were all in the loop and they should have known what was going on with this deal, because the contract containing the sweetheart deal for well-known Liberal Jack Sullivan was sent to the Department of Education. My question to the minister is, why won't you come clean and tell this House that you knew about this and other special deals at the Strait Regional School Board, but did nothing until somebody else blew the whistle?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, I believe the Leader of the Opposition is misquoting the new chairman of the Strait Regional School Board, who has not said that I knew about these deals. The chairman of the board was talking about 1996, long before this government was in power. He was talking about a deputy minister who was long gone from the department when we arrived, and I cannot speak to what a former deputy minister may or may not have known.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the minister seems to think that we are naive enough to believe that the department doesn't keep copies of documents containing details of how hundreds of thousands of education dollars are being spent. Now all of this could be easily cleared up. All the minister has to do is to agree to direct her backbench minions to allow Mr. Sullivan and the others directly involved in this scandal to come before the Public Accounts Committee. So my question is this, why won't the minister commit, right here, right now, to do the right thing?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, we have done the right thing. We are doing the right thing. We are going to find out, either through the RCMP, our audit team or both, who knew what, when and all the details of these secret deals. They are going to be made public in this House for all Nova Scotians to know. That is the right thing and we are very committed to doing that.

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

FIN. - GOV'T. (N.S.): SENIOR SALARIES - REVIEW

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. There is now a much-needed review of accountability practices for school boards and the

[Page 7136]

Public Service Commission. Unfortunately, that may be too narrow in scope. As it was brought up by a member yesterday, Page 22 of the Auditor General's 2000 Report shows that Crown Corporations and boards may have salaries and expenses higher than those in government departments. My question to the minister, will the minister consider reviewing senior salaries across government, including all reporting bodies like district health authorities and Crown Corporations?

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, my colleague the Minister of the Public Service Commission indicated yesterday that a review is going on.

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General's Report also remarked that there is no rationale as to why people holding management positions shouldn't be subject to the same disclosure requirements as those working for publicly-traded companies. My question to the minister is, will the minister consider the introduction of legislation that would require full reporting of compensation packages for managers of Crown Corporations, school boards and district health authorities?

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I find this line of questioning amazing, because when we talked last year in the House in the spring when we introduced the Government Restructuring Act, which was to bring about accountability of many of the organizations that the member opposite is referring to, the Opposition rallied against it and even voted against it. Now, they're asking why we're not using the same Act to find that information. Our intent is to bring about some semblance of sanity in what they are being paid by school boards and other organizations. That's why we're reviewing these salaries. I seem to take from the questioning of the Third Party Opposition Leader today, that now he concurs with what we did in the spring.

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I am talking about what the Auditor General has said in his recent report. That's what he is saying, not what the Opposition is saying. There are tight controls on what department employees are paid and what expenses they are entitled to. My final question to the minister is, will the minister commit to requiring at least the same level of reporting for Crown Corporations and boards as there are in government departments? That's all.

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, that's probably the best question I have had in a long time, it actually made sense. I think that there should be some level of reporting. If anything that this whole thing with the Strait Regional School Board has shown us it is that full reporting wasn't taking place.

In the spirit, I guess, in that sense of the question the answer is, yes, we're going to bring about some openness in what is being reported. But the review that is going on will, hopefully, bring about some sanity as to what people are being paid. I will use an example

[Page 7137]

whereby many senior officials in our departments of government have been hired by either school boards or hospital boards for much more money, doing much less work - I am not diminishing the roles of those people who are there - but I can speak to senior officials within government who work long hours with very heavy work loads, and members opposite will agree with that, versus those other institutions which have worked less.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Be nice. (Applause)

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

SERV. N.S. & MUN. REL.: ASSESSMENTS - RATIONALE

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: My question is for the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. That minister has shamelessly tried to deflect and confuse the very serious problems of property assessment in this province. I am going to make it clear for the minister so that he can understand this. People in areas like Lunenburg, Baddeck, along the Peggy's Cove shore, they want to know why their assessments are going through the roof simply because they have water view land near where other properties have recently been sold. They want to know why other areas with water views don't also see increased assessments. My question for the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations is, will you explain to the people of the South Shore and Baddeck and other areas of Nova Scotia why people like the Premier - as an example only - from Pictou County see insignificant increases in assessment simply because neighbours like Donald Sobey aren't selling any land?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: The honourable member opposite is certainly an expert on shameless behaviour.

AN HON. MEMBER: That's unparliamentary.

ANOTHER HON. MEMBER: Answer the question.

MR. MACISAAC: He further indicates that with a preamble to his question today. If the honourable member wants to come to an understanding of what market assessment is all about, markets are driven by sales and sales determine the market value. That is what's happening. If the honourable member wants to make some constructive suggestions with respect to problems he's concerned about, we'd be more than happy to hear them.

MR. ESTABROOKS: I wonder how some of those backbenchers can applaud that because they know in their areas - because I hear from the constituents that do not call their MLA; they call us because they know we're going to bring this issue up.

[Page 7138]

This minister is in an unenviable position because he's supporting a policy that he knows is wrong. He says assessment is based on a fair market, but it isn't. It's based on recent purchases. I used the Premier yesterday as an example because it illustrates exactly what's wrong with the minister's policy. My question to the minister responsible, why won't you admit that the only way the Premier would see an increase in assessment like the retired fisherman Eric Creaser from the South Shore is if the Sobeys decided to sell land on Sinclairs Island?

MR. MACISAAC: All jurisdictions in Canada and most jurisdictions in the United States use market value assessments. That is the basis of the system that we use in this province and it will continue to be the basis of the system we use in this province. Again, I will say to the House and I will say to the honourable gentleman, if he has some positive, constructive suggestions to make, then let him bring them forward - practical suggestions.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Let's take an example and let's look at this one. At Kings Head, not far from Sinclairs Island, there are three lots for sale. They all have ocean frontage. They are each about one acre in size. They're selling for $50,000 each. There's no doubt that the market value for Nova Scotia's coastal property is extremely high and there is no doubt that taxing landowners at an outrageous level just because of neighboring sales is incredibly unfair. All members opposite and the members on this side know that. My question to the minister is, as a result of all the information and the examples brought to your attention in the last few days, are you willing to amend the assessment formula to address this unfairness?

[1:00 p.m.]

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I want to say to the honourable member that the problem to which he is referring is not confined to the assessment process. His concern is the amount of tax people are asked to pay on their land. It is reasonable to approach this question not purely from an assessment perspective, but from a perspective of tax rate. Our door is open to sound, reasonable solutions that would address the concerns the honourable member is making.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

JUSTICE - CRIME VICTIMS PROG.: FUNDS - REINSTATE

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, earlier this week, the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage raised the case of Michael Tran, the cab driver brutally and almost fatally attacked. Mr. Tran's family is attempting to bring him home to care for him, but simply can't afford it. In raising the case, the MLA asked the Premier why his government eliminated the Victims Services Program, a program that previously could have helped

[Page 7139]

people like Mr. Tran. The Premier demonstrated a real lack of understanding of the very program he cut, as he responded that the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage was seeking new spending. Mr. Premier, the Victims Services Program was funded through surcharges to those who were fined, not through taxpayers' dollars, not at all the way you categorized it. So once again, you may not have created a tax, but you took a fee away from the real need that it was created for. The Premier has had a couple of days to review his comments and to hopefully find out how the Victims Services Program was funded and was supposed to work. In light of this, is the Premier prepared to revisit the decision to cut funding to people like Michael Tran?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I am aware and was aware of how the Victims Services Program was funded, but I would refer the question to the Minister of Justice.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, with respect to this matter, as the honourable member knows, we had a program review in Nova Scotia which looked at that program, along with other programs. After that review, it was determined, in looking at what government had to do, we would look at the most important part of that program, which was counselling. Eighty-five per cent of the people involved in that program accessed counselling. That was the program that was most important. That was the program that was maintained as a result of that review because we determined that that was where there was an issue that needed to be dealt with on behalf of Nova Scotians.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, it is pretty sad because in cases like Mr. Tran, the fact is that due to his disability, significant construction changes are going to have to take place in his family's home before he comes home. So with all due respect, the Minister of Justice can give him all the counselling he wants, that is not going to address the physical barriers that now exist for Mr. Tran in returning home. It is absolutely disgraceful to hear the Minister of Justice suggest counselling for a family such as Mr. Tran. Families like the Tran's are left to fend for themselves and this government is allowing them to be victimized twice. My question is to the Premier, who is the one who made the initial statement on this, and I hope he will show leadership. On Tuesday, you promised to investigate further and report back to the House. As a result of your investigation, can the Premier inform us as to what he would tell the Tran family to do?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, one of the difficulties we have, just for a matter of history for the honourable member, is that the criminal injuries compensation program in Nova Scotia was created as a result of a federal initiative. Like many times happens with federal initiatives before and since, the federal government's funding dried up, leaving the provinces holding the proverbial bag, and that, of course, is the problem. So what is left is the provincial government has to make a decision and the provincial government had to identify

[Page 7140]

the highest priorities. We believe that we've done that by keeping the counselling in the program.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, Strong Leadership . . . . a clear course has showed us three things: this government is going to blame the previous government; they're going to blame the federal government, as we see now; and, most recently, blame September 11th for all the problems that this government has incurred.

Mr. Speaker, a self-funded program to help the victims of crime was eliminated by this Premier, not to mention the number of charities that lost out thanks to the cutting of the casino charity fund. My final supplementary to the Premier, Mr. Premier, what programs are out there through your government to help the Tran family, or are they just another part of your "pull up your bootstraps" program for Nova Scotians?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the question has good content, but I don't like the tone. What I would say to the member opposite is that there are many, many programs available to those in Nova Scotia who require support. Those programs are available to all Nova Scotians with a disability, with unfortunate circumstances, and I would like to be able to suggest that the Victims Services Program could have gone forward and gone on in its original form, but with the federal government eliminating its funding, that simply was not possible. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I would just again like to remind the honourable members that the questions and answers are starting to get a bit long again. I would ask them to shorten them up in respect of all members.

The honourable member for Hants East.

NAT. RES.: FOREST - SUSTAINABILITY

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Natural Resources. Mr. Minister, GPI Atlantic released its independent four year study into the sustainable forests in Nova Scotia; the sure conclusion is it isn't sustainable. Your own department said in 1997 that overharvesting is a potentially serious problem demanding immediate action. Softwood harvests have exceeded the sustainable supply. Increase in demand for forest products is leading to the harvesting of immature stands that should form part of the future wood supply. Will the minister advise Nova Scotians when he will act and implement a sustainable annual allowable cut in Nova Scotia?

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, certainly GPI filed the report, but I think the honourable member must note that in their report, in their own words, their findings were incomplete and inconclusive and that their observations were drawn four years ago, not in

[Page 7141]

present time. This government has put in a sustainable forestry fund, proper regulations, so that forests will be sustainable 20, 30, and 40 years from now.

MR. MACDONELL: What the minister didn't know, Mr. Speaker, was that I gave someone working on that report his department's report, Towards Sustainability, which was finished in 1996. The very demographics of our forests have undergone a profound and disturbing change. As late as 1958, 25 per cent of our forests were old growth, 80 years or more. This has been reduced to just 1 per cent, which has been stated by his department. We have lost much of the valuable species such as white pine, eastern hemlock and yellow birch, along with some of the large diameter trees that produce lumber that attracts premium prices. We have cut the best and devalued the rest. Will the minister tell Nova Scotians why he is doing nothing to restore our forests and implement true sustainability in the industry?

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, as the member opposite already knows, this government is the first government, along with the former government, who have made substantial movement toward sustainability in the forest. We have done the inventory. We know that Crown land is sustainable. Large holdings in the private are sustainable. It is the small private woodlots that are not sustainable. Last year we initiated the Sustainable Forestry Fund which ensures silviculture and reforestation of private lands, so that we are in a sustainable situation. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. MACDONELL: It is interesting the minister would say that because if that is ensuring sustainability of the forests, why is it those companies are going out of business? This minister is also the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, and he should be aware of what happened to the cod fishery. The warnings were there about the impending collapse of that fishery, and the warnings are in about the impending disaster of the forest sector. Mr. Minister, we can count the trees, something we couldn't do with the codfish. Mr. Minister, are you waiting for the forest industry to collapse before you will act, just as the Mulroney Tories did with the cod fishery collapse?

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, obviously the member opposite hasn't listened to the responses to his first two questions. We are responding and ensuring that it is sustainable. I would remind the member opposite (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order, please. The honourable Minister of Natural Resources has the floor.

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite obviously hasn't listened to the replies to his previous two questions. He does not have an understanding of the basic growth cycle of a forest; he does not understand the forest industry. As the member opposite was relaying

[Page 7142]

that many saw mills were going out of business, he should give us that list of these companies.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Victoria.

NAT. RES. - CAN.-U.S. TARIFFS: HAMM/CELLUCCI - DISCUSSIONS

MR. KENNETH MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier. I hope the tone will be more appreciative than the last speaker. (Interruptions) Softwood producers in the province are being hurt by this 12.5 per cent duty on softwood lumber imports. Christmas tree producers are being hurt by delays at the U.S. border. I was assured in this House that the Premier and the Minister of Natural Resources were working very hard with their federal counterparts, and the Premier was working with the other provinces in Atlantic Canada on this issue. Could the Premier inform the House as to whether the Premier brought up these issues with Ambassador Cellucci yesterday?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I last spoke with the Maritime Lumber Bureau, my recollection is it was last Friday or a week Friday, I can't recall. The answer to your question as to whether or not I did have a discussion with the Ambassador, the answer is yes, last night we had a conversation about softwood lumber. Among other things, I congratulated and thanked him for his interest in this because I had talked to him on the phone on occasions prior to this about the very issue.

MR. MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the fact that the Premier did raise the issue, but the information we have is that he did not. It's a rare opportunity for a Premier to have a face-to-face discussion with such a high-profile U.S. official. Were the remarks from Ambassador Cellucci helpful to the Premier, or was this a very worthwhile substantial discussion?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, we are indeed fortunate for perhaps the first time in a long time to have an Ambassador from the United States to Canada that first of all knows a great deal about Atlantic Canada and secondly is very supportive of Atlantic Canada. I can also say to you that the Ambassador was very receptive on every occasion that I spoke with him about the softwood lumber issue. I believe that the Ambassador understands the issue very well, and I believe, in the long run, could be considered a friend to Atlantic Canada.

MR. MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, when the Ambassador was asked by the media if this issue was brought up, he told them no. It's not up to me to decide who is telling the truth or not but I do believe that if the Premier did not - and I have no way to prove he didn't, but if he didn't - this is certainly a gaffe that's going to hurt 20,000 Nova Scotians and a very important industry. If he didn't, I ask the Premier, what will you do to make up for this lost opportunity?

[Page 7143]

[1:15 p.m.]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the meeting that I had yesterday afternoon with the Ambassador was cut short by the Ambassador's timetable. The issue to which you referred, which is a very important one, was covered in our conversations last evening, after the press conference. (Interruptions)

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

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

HEALTH: SYDNEY - LONG-TERM ASSESSMENT

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, when the member for Dartmouth East yields the floor I will begin. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I would suggest all honourable members speak when the microphone is on, otherwise I would ask you to give respect to the member who has the floor, and at this moment that is the honourable member for Cape Breton Centre. (Applause)

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, the people of Sydney have long said that what is needed for their health care needs is a long-term assessment. What they need is a long-term health care risk study - that promised and failed to be delivered by the federal government. Today's report says there is no difference between those tested in the Sydney area and those in other communities across Canada, where those toxin levels are considered normal. My question to the Premier is, why have you agreed with the federal government in delaying the long-term health care risk study that had been scheduled to be released August 31st of this year?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I refer that to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, as the honourable member for Cape Breton Centre has just suggested, the report is reassuring, and although it doesn't answer all the questions, it does do something along the lines of relieving some of the anxiety of the residents of that area.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, that's not what the people in that area are saying. They want to hear something from the Premier on this, who has been silent since he came to office. They don't need reports to tell them what isn't the problem, they need to know what is the problem. Why is this Premier prepared to tolerate the deep, emotional impact that is being suffered by these residents, while he is allowing the federal government to sit on their report? Why are you doing that, Mr. Premier?

[Page 7144]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, indeed the residents of the NOCO area and those around the tar ponds area have lived a long time with suspicions about their environment. It is for that very reason that for the first time this government has taken an initiative to first of all do soil and water table sampling, to do biological sampling and to do a proper acute analysis in terms of the acute health care risk and, as well, a chronic health care risk. You had the first instalment of the biological testing today, and the scientific analysis is that there is no acute risk. That information will be correlated with the information that will be coming out shortly, relative to the chronic health care risk.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, there are two problems here. One, let's be sure about the acute risk. There was no study done on PAHs, it was done on arsenic and lead, because there is no acceptable type of test for the PAHs. There is a problem there on the acute side of it. The chronic side is being delayed again and again by the federal government. As I stated in my first question to you, Mr. Premier, August 31st, they told the residents of that area that that is when that study would be released. Will you commit today that you will tell the government and assist in having those delays stopped and that those reports will be released immediately to help those people get over this, not a lousy Christmas present, as the feds are promising?

THE PREMIER: I thank the member opposite because he is doing his duty when he brings forward, on behalf of people that he represents, what is a very serious issue. I can assure the member opposite, and through my words today reassure the people of that area, that this is a priority of this government and the issue will be scientifically evaluated. The proper steps will be taken. Those residents will be protected by this government.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

SERV. N.S. & MUN. REL.: ASSESSMENT OPTIONS - FORUM

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. Yesterday, in this House, we discussed a very important issue for many parts of rural Nova Scotia, the issue of assessment. In some instances, that issue became very personal. That does absolutely nothing to address the problem at hand. The minister has said he is willing to listen to options. My question to the minister is, what type of forum is he, as the person responsible for this issue, willing to establish to listen to these options?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, obviously the first forum that I am using to listen to some of these options is right here in the House and I appreciate the honourable member's raising the issue. I can also let the honourable member know that we will await the final report of Voluntary Planning with respect to their investigation and there is a minority report with respect to that exercise as well. I have had telephone calls that I am in

[Page 7145]

the process of answering with respect to the same issue and I will, in consultation with my colleagues, embark upon further consultations with people of this province. It is a very important issue and I appreciate the honourable member's concern.

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, my first supplementary to the minister is, there have been a number of options that were presented to the Riverport Board of Trade on October 23rd. Those recommendations that were brought forward were there to help Nova Scotia residents who are affected by anywhere between 100 per cent and 400 per cent increases in assessment. My question again to the minister is, those options that were presented were obviously presented to your senior staff; which of those options that were presented on October 23rd, in your opinion, could be implemented by your department?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I want to again thank the honourable member for bringing the matter forward. I have made reference to the meeting that he talked about. I have had discussions with the honourable Attorney General with respect to those meetings. I have had discussions with staff with respect to that particular issue. I can say to the honourable member one of the key issues here, in addition to the concerns that he raises, is maintaining the base of assessment in this province which is used for municipal revenues. That is a very important part of the equation here that needs to be evaluated, and all of the suggestions that we are getting will be evaluated on that basis.

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, people in Lunenburg County with a 400 per cent to 500 per cent increase in assessments will have no option but to abandon their homes in order to pay the assessment. My final question to the minister is, would the minister agree - and I realize the preamble and the reports that are coming back, I don't know what is coming in it, but - that an all-Party committee, upon receipt of the report from VP on assessments, would be put together immediately following the report of VP to deal with the issues of assessment in rural Nova Scotia?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, again, I want to say to the honourable member that I am very carefully monitoring everything that's taking place, the suggestions that are taking place and at this stage I am not going to rule out any option with respect to consultation.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

HEALTH - DENSITOMETERS: SHORTAGE - CORRECT

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. People with osteoporosis are suffering serious injuries and going undiagnosed for far too long simply because there are not enough bone densitometers to meet the need. This province has one bone densitometer for every 33,000 people. Compare that to one for every 5,000 in

[Page 7146]

Ontario or one for every 6,000 people in Newfoundland. I want to ask the Premier, what do you intend to do to correct this serious lack of a vital diagnostic tool?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the government certainly is faced with a number of problems in the health care delivery system. I am very familiar with the statistics that the member opposite brings to the attention of the House. They are serious issues - that is one of the issues that government looks to be addressing. But I would hope that by bringing forward these legitimate weaknesses in our health care delivery system that the members opposite will not be so critical when government comes forward with legitimate changes in the health care system that can free up money to allow those programs to expand.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: As the Premier who is also a physician well knows, osteoporosis, particularly in the early stages, is a disease that can be treated, significantly decreasing the need for more expensive continuing care costs and medical interventions associated with this disease later on. Mr. Speaker, the first thing that's required is diagnosis so my question to the Premier is, you've heard from thousands of concerned Nova Scotians, but have you listened, Mr. Premier? Why won't you admit that it makes good economic sense to provide diagnostic tools now that will reduce expensive long-term care later?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite brings a good point to the floor of the House and that is evidence-based decision making in health care delivery, something that has been sadly lacking in this province for a long period of time. That is the road down which our Minister of Health is travelling, but it will require choices, it will require changes, it will require a change in the emphasis of the health care delivery system - something that unfortunately that member and the members of her Party to this point have not shown any indication they would support.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, if the Premier wants to talk about evidence, the evidence is clear. The evidence is failure. This government has not fulfilled their election commitments. Obviously the government's priorities do not meet the health needs of Nova Scotians whatsoever. So I want to ask the minister what he intends to do to correct the serious lack of diagnostic services. Why is he requiring that fundraising become a substitute for this government's ability to act to meet health care needs in Nova Scotia?

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, as Acting Minister of Health, I have been talking to the department about this and I know there are staff from acute care who are working on guidelines and that's comprised of physicians, nurses and other health professionals. That report is due later on this year. I want to emphasize that the member is right, that the bone densitometer is a diagnostic tool. (Interruptions) Actually, education is the way to go and we have to educate people to be aware of it and to, I guess, in a sense prevent it and also to treat it sooner. We have three of those in the province today -

[Page 7147]

Lunenburg, Truro and Halifax. Obviously, as the report comes forward with guidelines, we'll be in a better position to address the question that the honourable member has asked.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

HEALTH: DGH - BOOKING SYSTEM

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Acting Minister of Health. I know it's sort of futile, but I try every day because these issues that are coming daily to our caucus do not wait. On November 12th chaos broke out at the Dartmouth General Hospital, where people were waiting three and four hours for simple blood tests, now that's added one and two hours onto that, where a two year on-line booking system has been scrapped and replaced with a 10 year old system run from the QE II Health Sciences Centre. This has to do with re-registering. This will continue for one year. My question to the Acting Minister of Health is, why has the Department of Health okayed the changes that have caused such chaos among patients and health care workers in that community?

[1:30 p.m.]

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, obviously I don't have that information here. I would have appreciated the honourable member giving me notice that he intended to ask me the question. I would have been in a better position to give him an answer directly. I will take that as notice and get back to him as quickly as possible.

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I think that's a fair statement, and certainly, maybe next week, if the Minister of Health doesn't get back from his trip to sunny Mexico, we will have to have another avenue because these are important issues. I think it is not only for the minister, but for his whole government; it's for the Premier and his whole government. We already have over-stressed and overworked booking agents in the clinics in the community and in the hospital. When the Minister of Health went to that department there was an information technology plan in place and yet the minister did nothing. My question simply is, why has a two year old efficient system been removed from the health care system when everyone knew that a replacement would not be forthcoming for a year? This was talked about in the Public Accounts Committee this week. If the minister had been following it, he would have been aware that those changes are proposed.

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, again I tell the member that I will take the question as notice, and I emphasize again that I would have been in a better position if he had given me even a few minutes' notice on this question. I would have perhaps been in a better position to offer some suggestions.

[Page 7148]

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I thank the Acting Minister of Health for the tone of his answer, it was most encouraging. Simply, to the Acting Minister of Health, will he make the commitment to the House today to immediately report to the Minister of Health on his return from Mexico to ensure that this situation at the Dartmouth General Hospital is helped, at least rectified in some manner so those people don't have to go through this for another full year?

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, the answer, of course, is yes, but I want to emphasize that the member for Dartmouth South has also brought this issue up. However, the department will have a chance to address that. It's a valid concern, and we will get back as soon as possible.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

HEALTH - DENSITOMETERS: SHORTAGE - CORRECT

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I would like to table a copy of a letter sent to the Minister of Health from Judy Haley. Ms. Haley requires a bone densitometry test. This 48 year old woman has had two fractures in the past 12 months. Her doctors say a bone densitometry test is necessary to diagnose her condition and determine the appropriate treatment. The waiting list for the bone densitometry test at the QE II Health Sciences Centre is presently 12 months long. This is simply unacceptable. I want to ask the Premier, you're a doctor, why aren't you doing something to correct this obvious lack of necessary diagnostic equipment?

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

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I want to point out that I am aware that the waiting lists are different at the three different locations that are there. The member brings up a point about the amount of time that is required here. I believe that the one in Lunenburg has much shorter wait times. At that point, I think the Department of Health will be more than prepared to take the information provided and to see whether or not arrangements can be made so this lady who needs services can do it in a faster manner, and we would be more than willing to at least take a look at that.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I hear members on the other side saying come to Lunenburg. Let me tell you, Ms. Haley has required major surgery, numerous

X-rays, physiotherapists and many doctors visits over the last week. She has already missed at least eight weeks of work and she has and she continues to suffer a great deal of pain. What has she been told? She has been told that if she is willing to travel to Lunenburg, she can have her tests - wait, when? - maybe in February next year. My question to the Premier

[Page 7149]

is, will you explain to Ms. Haley why you feel it is appropriate for her to have to wait almost four months and to travel to Lunenburg to get a test that she so obviously needs now?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I did hear the Acting Minister of Health make an offer to the member opposite. If she would provide the details of the case, he would see, by working through the Department of Health, that if a more reasonable resolution for that Nova Scotian to have that test can be found, it will be found.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that the acting minister has made this offer, but the point is that this woman is not the only person in this situation; there are literally hundreds of Nova Scotians in this situation. Ms. Haley is at high risk for another fracture. I want to ask the Premier to explain, not only to Ms. Haley but the many other Nova Scotians requiring bone densitometry testing, why isn't it your priority?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, it is a priority of government. I previously had explained that to the member opposite. You will remember, and I believe all members of the House will remember, when we came into office there were two bone densitometers in the Province of Nova Scotia, there are now three, which, while it's a 50 per cent increase, does not provide the service that Nova Scotians should be expecting. The government is looking at the issue and will be coming forward with some solutions.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay

COMMUN. SERV.: EXPENDITURES - ANNOUNCEMENT EXPLAIN

MR. DAVID WILSON: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community Services. Yesterday in this House I asked the Minister of Community Services a question with regard to the $9.1 million in federal monies and an update as to whether it had been spent. At that time the minister indicated that, ". . . the details of that program haven't been completed or announced as yet . . .". My question to the minister is, if the details haven't been announced yet, why did the minister have a press conference on May 9th of this year to announce that $1.5 million would be spent on a home visiting program, $6 million on child care and $1.6 million to develop a coordinated system of early childhood development?

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, the press conference on May 9th was to indicate the agreement between the federal government in this process and this province as to how we wanted to move forward, what we had agreed on and the terms of that program.

MR. WILSON: Mr. Speaker, just perhaps the minister was hoping everyone involved in child care and in early childhood development would forget so that he could announce it all over again.

[Page 7150]

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, this minister either could not answer the question or refused to answer the question that was posed to him by myself about child care workers and wages. Then outside this Chamber he heard the threats of strike action by child care workers and all of a sudden he promised them an announcement next week and an increase in wages by the end of December. As a matter of fact, he said they would have their money by Christmas. My question to the minister is, will he state for the record the same commitment he made yesterday, that he will make an announcement by the end of next week and an increase in wages of child care workers before December 25th?

MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, I will say to the honourable member what I told the daycare workers yesterday, that we were finalizing the program, that we will have it done

very soon, and that we will be making the announcement as soon as it's ready.

MR. WILSON: Mr. Speaker, I was standing outside this Chamber listening to the minister yesterday and he said specific dates. Now I want to know, is he Santa Claus or is he the Grinch? What is it going to be? He told those workers they would have their money by Christmas. That's what he told them. All he needs to do is to act. My question to the minister is, I am asking him to commit here (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. WILSON: Mr. Speaker, my question to the minister is, I am asking him to commit here and now, never mind future planning for the money, that he will commit immediately investments into early childhood development, including living up to that promise that you made, Mr. Minister, to two child care workers yesterday that they would have their money by Christmastime?

MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, I did see the honourable member lurking around there and sneaking around. (Interruption) I saw him.

Mr. Speaker, the honourable member is incorrect. Those people were owners of child care whom I saw yesterday, they were not workers, and I told them that we would be getting that announced fairly soon.

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

JUSTICE: FOIPOP - ADMINISTRATORS

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice. The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act gives Nova Scotians an opportunity to access the information within government while protecting their privacy. The 2000-01 Annual Report of FOIPOP review officer, though, found that many FOIPOP administrators

[Page 7151]

were inexperienced and poorly trained. In one case, the administrator was a part-timer and in many other cases the jobs were handed over to existing legal counsel who are inherently conditioned to protect the administration and not release information. So my question to the Minister of Justice is, what is being done by his department to better train FOIPOP administrators so they can provide the kind of objective, professional administration the public expects?

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for the question because, in fact, what we have attempted to do and what we will be doing over the next while is improve the training that is provided through the Department of Justice, in particular, to FOIPOP administrators in various departments so that they are more able to better respond to requests for information from Nova Scotians and to do that more consistently and in a more timely fashion.

MR. DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, the review officer was concerned that there's an increase in fees for access to documents, and he called that an easy target for a government that might be interested in "cost recovery." Can the minister assure this House that cost-cutting in his department will not include raising fees for access to information?

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I can indicate to the honourable member that one of the things that government is always having to do is review the costs of providing any program to determine whether the cost benefit analysis is appropriate for Nova Scotians, and I am not going to prejudge anything. I can tell you, though, that the cost of administering this program has risen astronomically over the last number of years.

MR. DEVEAUX: Obviously, Mr. Speaker, it hasn't risen so much that this government doesn't feel it can't afford to take things to the Supreme Court of Canada that it doesn't have to take. The review officer also reported that the names of applicants have been circulated more than was necessary through the public bodies. We've seen examples in this Legislature of that before. Who wants to know is not part of the process and certainly should not be taken into consideration. The review officer has asked that the legislation be changed so that the officer has the power to investigate and report on privacy complaints. So my question to the Minister of Justice is, will the minister introduce changes in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act to empower the review officer to fully investigate privacy complaints?

[1:45 p.m.]

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I find it a tad ironic that the honourable member is protecting privacy interests when every time when government indicates that they don't want to release documents because of privacy interests, they are being accused of a cover-up. I

[Page 7152]

think that there is a certain amount of inconsistency in the honourable member's approach to this issue.

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

PET. DIR.: HIGHFIELD, GARY - HIRING

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier. Things continue to defy logic and good business practices at the Petroleum Directorate here in this province. Could the Premier confirm that Gary Highfield, formerly the General Manager of Sempra Atlantic, has been hired by the Petroleum Directorate for his advice on gas distribution and, if he has, will you table the information, on his salary and his terms of reference, in this House?

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

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, had I had notice of that question, I would have been quite happy to obtain the information and make it available. I will take the question as notice.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Yes, well the acting minister, Mr. Speaker, can table it later today if he likes. If he gets the information, I would appreciate that. He says that he will take it under advisement.

My supplementary, again to the Premier is, Mr. Highfield has been giving his advice to the province free in his role with Sempra Atlantic. Gas distribution, you know, will not occur in rural Nova Scotia without the allowance for pipe to be placed in secondary roadbeds. Does the hiring of Gary Highfield signify a change in the policy of this government towards allowing pipe to be placed in the roadbeds of these highways in Nova Scotia?

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

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

[Page 7153]

PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 23.

Bill No. 23 - Enforcement of Canadian Judgments and Decrees Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I didn't hear the order of business . . .

MR. SPEAKER: We are on Bill No. 23.

MR. BAKER: Yes, that's right.

Mr. Speaker, I have very few comments with respect to this matter. I think it is, frankly, a good bill. What it does is it guarantees that judgements in civil proceedings are going to be able to be enforced in Nova Scotia. It enables Nova Scotia to enforce judgements, but more importantly what it does is it signals to people that Nova Scotia is open to business, that we are in a position to encourage business to come to Nova Scotia, we have an open market and those people who owe debts will have the ability to have them collected in this province. Thank you. Oh, third reading. (Interruption)

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

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: I am not sure if the record shows that the minister did move third reading of the legislation.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice did move third reading of Bill No. 23.

MR. DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, my comments will be possibly even briefer than the minister's. Again, this is another piece of legislation that is involved in harmonizing the rules across Canada. I remember when this originally came up at second reading, I had asked questions about why we needed this if we already have reciprocal agreements on judgments with other jurisdictions, and it was explained to me by Legislative Counsel as to the reason why we need this legislation. There are certain types of judgments, certain types of enforcements and orders that weren't covered by the previous legislation. This helps ensure that there is a broader scope of the ability to reciprocal enforcement of judgments, and it also ensures that decisions made in other provinces are given, I guess on the face of it, respect and can't be openly questioned by other courts in Canada, and I presume the same thing is being

[Page 7154]

passed in other provinces to assure that our orders and judgments are also not being questioned on the face of it.

So having said that, Mr. Speaker, I applaud the legislation as another sign of harmonizing legislation in Canada and I look forward to third reading.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, I don't think the MLA for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage was briefer, but I will certainly be briefer than both of them. Bill No. 23 is a good piece of legislation that certainly reflects the commercial reality here in this province and the fact that businesses and Nova Scotians in this province do business throughout the entire country. There were no presentations at the Law Amendments Committee, there have been no changes to this bill, but clearly this had our support from the beginning and we certainly support it at this stage.

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the minister it will be to close debate.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable members . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Could we have some quiet in the Chamber so that I can hear what's going on. Thank you very much.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I do appreciate that you have assisted me in having my comments heard. I would like to thank my colleagues for their support with respect to this bill, and with that I would close the debate on this bill.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 23. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. WILLIAM DOOKS: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 74.

[Page 7155]

Bill No. 74 - Costs and Fees Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, if brevity is a virtue, I will try to be even more brief than I was the last time. This bill is a very good bill. What it does is it enables Nova Scotians of limited economic means to receive a reduction or elimination in the court fees they would be paying in order to bring matters in front of the court rather than going to a justice of the court by court officials. Basically, it is a bill that enables people to have access to the justice system. With that, I move second reading.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice on a clarification.

MR. BAKER: I am sorry, I misspoke, Mr. Speaker, it's third reading. I would like to move third reading of the bill.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, we concur with the honourable minister. This is a very good move. It's a matter of waiving fees for individuals who go through the court process. Not only is it a matter of waiving fees but there are also costs for photocopying and documentation of materials as well. This is basically designed to assist individuals who would not normally have access to the courts because of the limited resources they have - I am speaking about financial resources, basically incomes. On that basis, we concur with the government that, in fact, this is a very good amendment to the Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, I will again try to be brief one more time. It's a pleasure to speak on Bill No. 74. We have supported this bill throughout. There were no changes at the Law Amendments Committee. Our entire judicial system is based on the fact that everyone should have access to it, regardless of race, colour, religion, income or anything else. What this bill does is remove any sort of barrier that would exist for income. The concern we raised, and I raised it again with the minister, in developing the regulations is that it is important the policy that is to be used in our courts be used uniformly throughout the entire province, and that individual courts not be applying different standards to different cases. We want to make sure this bill is clearly able to achieve the goal that is meant, and I am sure that through the regulations process the minister will be able to make sure of that.

Other than that, this is certainly good legislation. I commend the minister and the government for bringing it forward and hopefully we will make sure to open all the doors of our justice system to all Nova Scotians.

[Page 7156]

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the minister it will be to close the debate.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: I rise to close debate. Mr. Speaker, again I would like to thank my colleagues for their comments and their helpful support of the bill. With that, I close debate.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 74. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. WILLIAM DOOKS: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 73.

Bill No. 73 - Agriculture and Marketing Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries.

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise and make very brief comments. The intent of this revision in the legislation is to promote and modernize the nomenclature and the function of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries as well as meet a government commitment to reduce red tape in the numbers of boards and commissions. I think this piece of revised legislation does a fine job in eliminating red tape as well as streamlining the activities of people involved in agriculture interacting with the government department. With those words, I move third reading.

MR. SPEAKER: The member for Hants East.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I am not sure if I will be quite as brief as the minister. I certainly take the minister at his word when he says streamlining the activities of members of the Department of Agriculture because, under this minister, if ever a department was streamlined, it certainly was the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

I want to say that most of what the minister said I have to agree with. I think some of this is housekeeping information and the name change from Agriculture and Marketing to Agriculture and Fisheries to meet the existing structure would be appropriate for the minister

[Page 7157]

to do. I think I have raised the concern in the past around the Apple Maggot Board and the disappearance of that board through this legislation. As long as the role of the board is still continued in a form that the industry finds acceptable, I should say that I have to applaud the minister in his commitment to reducing the red tape, I can't be critical. The government said they would do that and the minister is trying to do that by getting rid of this board and as I've said earlier, we certainly made it clear to the minister in the right-to-farm legislation that they created another board and we weren't impressed at all by the government moving against their commitment in that regard.

I do want to raise one thing that does cause me some concern, I guess, only because I hadn't noticed it earlier and the minister may get a chance when he closes debate to address it. In looking through the bill, it occurs to me that in Clause 120(1) of the bill that, "The Minister shall appoint an agrologist who is responsible for this Part and for the inspectors appointed pursuant to this Part." In the next subclause, Clause 120(2), "Where the agrologist appointed pursuant to Subsection (1) is not an employee of the Department, the agrologist is subject to the supervision of the Department." It wasn't made clear to me as to who's hiring the agrologist. If he's not an employee of the department, then he's got to be an employee of somebody unless in the International Year of the Volunteer that person is willing to do this work for nothing. I find that somewhat hard to believe and I am just worried there may be more than one maggot in the apple here. I wonder if the minister could explain that, I don't want to see this turned into a user fee for farmers to try to get this service provided. I want to say, not that that would be significant enough for me to not support the bill, I do want to make it clear that a lot of what the department has done around fees for farmers, the New Democratic Party will just wait until they're in power and then they'll fix it at that time.

I am interested to hear what the minister's response would be to that because it says that an owner or occupant is required to control apple maggot in or on infested vegetation. So if it's their responsibility to control it, then I am assuming there's going to be a cost associated with that. So with those few relatively brief comments, Mr. Speaker, I will relinquish the floor and wait with bated breath for the comments from the honourable member for Lunenburg West on this bill.

[2:00 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg West. (Applause)

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I am very honoured by the round of applause. I thank my learned . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: A little sarcastic.

[Page 7158]

MR. DOWNE: I should have thought it coming from the NDP, of course; I should have realized it. It could never be sincere and real, but anyway, in regard to the bill at hand, I think, as we brought up before on this particular bill, Bill No. 73, there are two questions that we raised from the Liberal Party. One was with regard to the Apple Maggot Board and the inspection side. I had understood by the nodding of the head of the minister that the inspection will be carried out and ongoing by the department and that that responsibility will be the responsibility of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. I wait to hear the minister reconfirm that statement here as that is what I understand he informed members of the council and the members who would be affected, the apple producers in the Province of Nova Scotia. So I, too, listened to the comments that were made. That issue, I believe, we brought up before and the minister, I am sure, will address that issue.

Secondly, the issue of streamlining the department, there are some of the areas that are logical moves that he's moving. Changing the name, of course, is a historic moment. I remember a former Minister of Agriculture indicating to me that Agriculture and Marketing should be a stand-alone department, and that minister doesn't live too far from the current minister. But, nevertheless, you know, things change and we now have Agriculture and Fisheries together and, obviously, we know that the changes that are there are really not anything major. They're substantial in regard to the restructuring of the department, but they are streamlining that process.

So my third comment is I did indicate to the minister on the issue of consultation and were all parties consulted. I understand that the appropriate bodies with regard to the Apple Maggot Board and the AI work was done, but I don't know if the minister can clarify, I think the Federation of Agriculture was informed after the fact, not before, and I brought that to the floor, or to the attention of the minister, that I didn't believe that they were consulted prior to. So, you know, maybe an oversight, but I think it's important to always make sure that the umbrella organization, the Federation of Agriculture, which he knows all too well is a very important body with the voice of agriculture in Nova Scotia, would be consulted on any kind of substantive or changes in the Act. With that, we will be supporting this bill to go forward, but I do wait to hear the minister's response to both my colleague's concerns and my concerns relative to inspection.

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the minister it will be close debate.

The honourable Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries.

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleagues for their interventions and the issues they raised. I would offer to the Agriculture Critic for the NDP that the two clauses you were referring to enable the regulation (Interruption) The East Hants Party? It's shrinking, is it? Anyway, the two clauses enable whether it was an employee of

[Page 7159]

the department or somebody else who hired another agronomist, the regulations in the department would be the ones supervising it. That's what those two clauses allow to happen.

I would also say that inspection services will be the responsibility of and carried out by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. This particular bill is important because it does modernize and redefine the official combining in the Act of the two departments. As the member for Lunenburg West pointed out, that is a very historic moment because, traditionally, those have been two stand-alone departments for more than half a century. We see, obviously, some great advantages to putting them together.

Agriculture and Fisheries both had record years in the last year, the largest output for either industry, and they had strengths in both of those departments that complement and offered advantages to the other department from marketing expertise, marketing systems, management counselling, all those type of functions. I think it certainly offers stronger services to both of those resource industries that are extremely important here in Nova Scotia. They continue to remain the backbone of rural Nova Scotia. So, Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to close debate on third reading of this bill.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 73. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. WILLIAM DOOKS: Mr. Speaker, would please call Bill No. 78.

Bill No. 78 - Conservation Easements Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, the Conservation Easements Bill is a good piece of legislation. It again eliminates government involvement and red tape involving individual landowners or groups who would want to put easement restrictions for a given time length or perpetuity. They would put those easements on through eight approved groups that are now presently in Nova Scotia that they could make those commitments with. This particular piece of legislation deals with easement restrictions only on those pieces of property and that would be protecting them for different types of conservation and environmental particulars that those individuals who currently own the land and who had signed that easement with one

[Page 7160]

of those groups would want to see maintained into the future regardless of who the property owners were in the future.

So I think it is a very progressive piece of legislation because it eliminates the requirement that after the individual and the conservation group come to their easement agreement that it would have to go through Order in Council here in the province, because the guidelines on what is allowed in the conservation easement bill is covered under department act and regulation and once those two groups have agreed, that would be a process that should be with them and not have to be subject to government approval, each one. I move third reading of this bill.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I will be briefer than my intervention on the last piece of legislation. I do want to say that this would appear to be a good move on the part of the minister and the government. I would say anything that may allow the process to move along much more freely and more quickly when it comes to parties interested in conserving those ecologically and biologically sensitive areas of the province or of individual properties, that this would be a smart thing to do. I think that as far as protected areas across the country, there is a standard of around 12 per cent and I think Nova Scotia is somewhere in the range of about 8 per cent, although I think it's the responsibility of the government to ensure that those protected places, that percentage of protected spaces is ensured.

I think that even though they are willing to allow for private parties to engage in this and to somehow help the process along is an important step, but this does not somehow allow them to abdicate their responsibility in this regard, protected spaces are spaces that should be ensured for all Nova Scotians. For that reason, it is the responsibility of government to ensure that we meet a percentage that is presently greater than the one that the province does have and certainly if not going back to Order in Council to complete these deals would speed that up. I would say that it appears that it should, then I would agree with the minister, this seems to be the most substantive change in the legislation, and anything that will encourage conservation of sensitive sites I would endorse that with our caucus.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, we are almost the tag-team guys over here, with this bill. (Interruptions) It's always fun. Bill No. 78. It's my pleasure to stand and speak in regard to the Conservation Easements Bill. As indicated before, the principles behind the amendments to the Act are valid and are good. It speeds the process up. I believe most of the environmental groups are positive towards the change, so we can move forward the issue of setting aside land either in perpetuity or for a designated period of time so that we can be able to preserve them.

[Page 7161]

I remember doing properties when I was a minister, and it was a very special . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The member for Lunenburg West has the floor.

MR. DOWNE: It was an important piece of legislation when it was brought in, and it's an important piece of legislation the minister has brought forward. I believe I had brought up a couple of concerns that we had previously. Maybe the minister could enlighten the House. I understand from the minister, in regard to the Conservation Easements Bill, in the event of a couple who has set aside land for a short period of time, maybe a 20 year period or a 30 year window for conservation purposes, in the event that one of the partners was forced to go into a seniors' home, under the Department of Health they would claw back part of that process. I understand that is now going to be brought over to the Department of Finance to be dealt with. Maybe the minister could clarify that point.

The other one was, in the event an individual is putting land aside for conservation purposes, sometimes there could be a land swap for that purpose or a tax credit. I would assume those are not going through OIC, that would be part of the Department of Finance. Maybe the minister could clarify. It's outside the bill, but there is a hole in here. I'm trying to figure out how to deal with that, and maybe the minister could clarify that, that if it's under the auspices of the Department of Finance, where do we follow the paper trail on those transactions to know, in fact, how things were done. Other than that, the Conservation Easements Act, Bill No. 78, we will be supporting for third reading.

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the minister it will be to close debate.

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleagues for their interventions. They have made good points, and I appreciate their support on the Conservation Easements Bill. Indeed it is a very important piece of legislation, because when you look at Nova Scotia's makeup of land ownership only approximately 25 per cent of land in Nova Scotia is property of the Crown, for all people of Nova Scotia, 75 per cent of it is privately owned. That what this legislation is solely intended for. It is not a piece of legislation that deals with protected areas, tax implications of annuities, trusts or those types of things. Those are arrangements on those types of deferrals for tax or health implications that would be dealt with through other departments.

This is basically an agreement which is termed an easement, but this is an agreement between a private individual who wants to put restrictions on conservation, on a piece of property they would own, enter into an agreement with an organization, and I will use the Nature Trust of Nova Scotia as one of the eight, and they would put those restrictions on that piece of property. Those restrictions are solely for conservation concerns. As the honourable

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member for Lunenburg West raised the example, if it was two people, an elderly couple, and it was for a given time period, and one of them had to have the services of an extended care facility, this legislation would have no bearing on that situation. What they have agreed to with the easement is that those restrictions, and we will say that there is a ravine with old growth forest on it, that is to never be touched or cut, they have made that agreement. Then the next property owner of that property, who it was sold to, or the existing property owner, could not change that agreement. If it went through 10 different hands over 100 years, if it was in perpetuity, that restriction would stay on that piece of property. There are overall guidelines that sanctify the agreement of what an easement group can protect.

[2:15 p.m.]

In the guidelines, in that particular piece, there are specific time frames and if an organization went defunct over time, then there are the regulations of how they could join with another group or if there was no interest, that would be the point of disentanglement and those are spelled out clearly in the regulations. But I would emphasize that this one has no tax implications. What it does is it puts a restriction for conservation on a specific site or purpose for that piece of property and the landowner does that freely with the conservation group and following the guidelines of this particular easement bill, it in no way interferes with tax policy or those types of things. Those are financial arrangements that would be made if you set it aside for wildlife preservation or those types of things. That is a completely different tax process than this one.

So with those few remarks, it is my pleasure to close debate on third reading of this particular bill. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 78. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that the bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. WILLIAM DOOKS: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 76.

Bill No. 76 - Consumer Protection Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

[Page 7163]

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I move that this bill be now read for the third time.

MR. SPEAKER: Is there any debate? The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, would you like to repeat that, please? I am having a problem, if I could, with conversations and particularly, with that door open, I can hear conversations on the phone. Also, if I may, I have a head cold today, so I am not being picky here, but I did have a problem. I hope you will accept that from me. I am sorry, Mr. Minister, I did not hear what you said. So if you would please repeat it.

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I move that this bill be now read for a third time.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise as the NDP Critic for Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Affairs and, therefore for the Consumer Protection Act. Clearly, our caucus is going to support this bill, but there are a couple of aspects of it that I think are a little disappointing. This is part of a national effort and all provinces have agreed to enact legislation in substantially similar form to deal with transactions over the Internet. As a regular and frequent user of the Internet and somebody who has bought a number of goods and services over the Internet, I certainly can understand the importance of consumer protection in this new environment in which we find ourselves. We don't just go into a store, but you can buy from vendors who can reside, quite literally, anywhere in the world.

I guess the disappointing things are these, Mr. Speaker. The first one is that like so much legislation these days, this bill is really an empty shell because the core of the bill, the part of the bill around which the whole thing revolves in Clause 21(a)(a), which says, in a nutshell, to paraphrase, that an Internet contract can be cancelled in the circumstances set out in the regulations. But we don't have those regulations. So if anybody were to say to me or the minister, well, now that you have passed this legislation, under what circumstances can I cancel an Internet contract, we would have to say, we don't know. We don't know because the regulations are not here, in the House. and every other provision of this Act flows from that original part about when exactly you can cancel an Internet contract.

I am sure the regulations will be fine and they'll be put together with the best of motives but, Mr. Speaker, you know, this House deserves I think a little better than being asked to pass shells of legislation where the real meat of it, the real heart, in this case the consumer protection, is somewhere else and we're not told what it's going to say. We're not given the opportunity to review it and comment on it, to treat the regulations and the legislation as a complete package, and that is a bit of a shame. I am not saying that this minister is at fault for that; I am not even saying that this government is at fault for that. This

[Page 7164]

is a general problem in this Legislature and in Legislatures across Canada, but it is a serious problem and it undermines the purpose of this House.

The second concern I have, or the disappointing aspect of this bill, Mr. Speaker, is simply that on second reading a number of questions were raised. Our caucus doesn't oppose this bill, but there are a number of issues, questions, things that needed to be clarified, and my colleague, the member for Sackville-Cobequid, raised the questions and I am a little disappointed that the minister chose not to answer those questions on the record of the House, because the questions are on the record but now that the minister has moved third reading and sat down, apparently we'll never have the answers to those questions.

This bill gives consumers protection, but it's not at all clear how it is going to work. This is a Nova Scotia piece of legislation and, of course as we all know, Internet vendors can reside anywhere around the world and it's not as if a piece of legislation in Nova Scotia is going to stop them, at least the ones who want to cheat and defraud Nova Scotians are not going to be deterred by the fact that in Nova Scotia we'll now have a piece of legislation because, as everybody knows, Nova Scotia legislation can't touch anybody outside the borders of Nova Scotia. So there's a real question about how, in fact, this consumer protection is going to work. I am not saying that there aren't answers to those questions, but there are legitimate questions that I was really hoping the government would answer.

So, Mr. Speaker, I say on this bill yes, we'll support the bill. It can't hurt to have these protections, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if we find ourselves in six months, or a year, or five years, saying no, this is not enough. It's not good enough, it's too weak, because with the bill that's currently before us, I am not at all convinced that this provides the answer that Internet consumers are looking for and, as for myself, at the end of the day when I am buying things over the Internet, I don't feel any better now that this legislation has been passed because I am going to continue to do what I have always done, which is to buy things only from highly reputable vendors who have some kind of security guarantees that I am aware of and that they make aware to me. I am not going to send my credit card or send money by other means to fly-by-night companies. I am going to continue to rely on good, reliable vendors whose names I know.

Mr. Speaker, I don't know how much help this is going to be. Like I said, it can't hurt, but I was really hoping for legislation like this that I could make more of a ringing endorsement than simply 'it can't hurt.'

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

MR. BRIAN BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak on Bill No. 76, the Consumer Protection Act. The current legislation, of course, as we're all aware, was drawn up in a world that didn't know anything about the Internet. Back then, the

[Page 7165]

most common method, I guess, was ordering items over long distances from various catalogues, you know, basically we could look at Sears Catalogue or we could look at other catalogues. That's sort of the process that the consumer was familiar with.

The Consumer Protection Act is a piece of legislation that has to be current and relevant to what is going on right now in the marketplace and if it isn't, then the government is not doing its job. It's quite simple. Consumers will be vulnerable and they will suffer the consequences. Unfortunately, all of us have already heard of many incidents of consumers in Nova Scotia and across Canada who have fallen through the cracks in our current legislation. Changes have been long overdue, especially since the magnitude of electronic commerce is growing. Perhaps it is not growing as quickly as before the so-called bubble burst, but no one believes for a second that the Internet commerce is going to fade away.

As was mentioned last week, there has been over a 209 per cent increase in the value of Internet commerce in Atlantic Canada in the last year alone. Even if this bill is being introduced a bit too late for some perhaps, it will hopefully ensure that future consumers will enjoy some of the enhanced protection as more and more shoppers go on-line.

We are particularly encouraged to hear that this bill reflects a joint effort by Ministers of Consumer Affairs right across Canada. We might have enhanced laws here in Nova Scotia but, for instance, if a vendor is in British Columbia then a valid question for consumers is, will this legislation protect them and whether that vendor is bound by our laws. That's a very important issue.

The issue of legal jurisdiction is one that is being grappled with by our courts today; as yet there is no real clear direction on where we're going on this particular issue. The most effective approach then is to try and implement uniform legislation that spells out similar rights and obligations for consumers from coast to coast.

We have heard that both Manitoba and Alberta have passed similar legislation. This is encouraging, of course, but it will be interesting to see what rules eventually come forward in the Province of Ontario. In terms of the substance of the bill, it attempts to take away some of the nervousness that many consumers feel about Internet commerce. Sometimes it is difficult to figure out where these companies are even located, for instance. They may be operating out of the house next door and there's no way to find out where they're located, no organization in place. So, even if the vendor is next door, no one would be any wiser.

Requiring information that identifies where the company is situated, as this bill does, is crucial to reassuring consumers in this province. It is also noteworthy that Internet vendors will have to provide their customers with a contract within a certain period of time. Consumers need to be aware of their legal rights and obligations, as well, with respect to the on-line transactions that they engage in.

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More importantly, however, is the provision that addresses what occurs if vendors fail to provide required information or to abide by the terms of this contract. These are provisions that will allow a consumer to return the order items and, if they are not satisfied, to obtain a refund on their credit card purchase. Since credit cards are turning out to be the principle method of conducting transactions on the web, consumers want to know that if things go bad on a purchase that the credit card statement or even their credit rating will not suffer. We are encouraged to hear that the credit card companies are on side with respect to this legislation. Without their support, consumers will never have enough confidence to give Internet commerce a fair chance in succeeding.

For the time being this appears to be a good piece of legislation. It will clarify some of the rights and responsibilities of vendors and consumers. However, the area of Internet law is very new. We don't know for sure how the issue of jurisdiction will play out in the courts. These amendments will probably not be the last word on changes to the Consumer Protection Act to address Internet commerce.

[2:30 p.m.]

In terms of more short-term changes, the government must take additional steps to inform consumers of their new and existing rights under this legislation. Many unfortunate incidents occur; not because there was no remedy to deal with the situation, rather the person had no idea that options and legal remedies existed for them. So with these amendments, Mr. Speaker, we would encourage this government to enhance and step up the measures to inform consumers of their rights.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, I would just like to say that the bill is a vast improvement over the current legislation and I do recognize the minister's direction in this area. I think it is one area where he has recognized there is a danger here for consumers, and I want to both congratulate him and thank him for working with the necessary people to bring forward this piece of legislation. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the honourable minister it will be to close debate on the bill.

The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable members for their comments. I want to thank the member for Cape Breton The Lakes; he does raise a very good point that the legislation isn't of much value unless people are aware of it, and we certainly intend to make sure that people are aware of it. If he wanted to take that very good speech that he used today and mail it to his constituents, then they would all know about it.

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AN HON. MEMBER: You would support that.

MR. MACISAAC: I would support that, yes.

Mr. Speaker, I honestly thought that I had addressed questions that were raised at the second reading level. The only one that I heard repeated today is the one with respect to the protection of the consumer. The ultimate protection of the consumer here is that the legislation enables the consumer to get their money back, and that is the ultimate satisfaction when it comes to an unsatisfactory transaction. So I believe that inasmuch as we are capable of doing it with the world of electronic commerce, with the co-operation of credit card companies, consumers do have the ultimate protection.

I want to thank honourable members for their participation in the debate, and I look forward to this legislation becoming effective. I just want to point out again, Mr. Speaker, that the regulations will enable us to be current with respect to the provisions that are provided in the legislation. As was pointed out in the debate, it is a rapidly changing world, the world of electronic commerce, and regulations provide the opportunity of being able to respond to that changing world. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 76. Is the House ready for the question? Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that the bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. WILLIAM DOOKS: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 71.

Bill No. 71 - Izaak Walton Killam Health Centre Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my colleague, the honourable Minister of Health, and my other colleague, the Acting Minister of Health, I ask that Bill No. 71, the Izaak Walton Killam Health Centre Act now be read for a third time.

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

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my colleague the Health Critic, I just want to say (Interruption) That's right, my children were born at The Grace and my mother worked there for 33 years, so it's with a bit of sadness that the name "The Grace" is going to be removed. But I understand, having been at the Law Amendments Committee, the rationale behind it and the changes. I think we all look forward to the IWK and the former Grace part of it still being a strong contingent in our community and in our province and in Atlantic Canada.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: The real minister.

DR. SMITH: Everybody's acting, acting. I will be very brief and just add a few comments on my previous comments relative to Bill No. 71, which involves the name change, the Izaak Walton Killam Health Centre bill introduced by the Minister of Health that reflected the more comprehensive nature of the Grace Health Centre, particularly with the emphasis on youth within those programs. I, too, share the nostalgic passing of the name Grace Maternity. The two hospitals came together and made a new complex. The Children's Hospital went back to, I think, 1909, and the long term of the Grace Maternity and such a distinguished role that that institution and the Salvation Army played in this community, not only in the hospital per se but in Bethany Home. It was very much a place that was used by people with difficulties and in times of great stress. They ensured the care of those women who came to that institution at that time.

Mr. Speaker, we don't see those types of institutions now. The delivery of service has changed a great deal, and the way we deal with particular issues in society in general. At that time it was very worthwhile. Bethany Home and the Grace Maternity Hospital were an integral part of this community. It's interesting that when someone is introduced today, and said they had been born in Halifax, someone said they were probably born at the Grace. That could be, but there were also the Sisters of Charity at the Halifax Infirmary at that time as well. We were well served. The things I remember as a physician are the kindnesses that you were treated with in both of those institutions, the Halifax Infirmary and the Grace Maternity Hospital. Those institutions have now changed and are disappearing from the landscape of health. In some ways it represents a time of change, but there is a sadness for me that the level of care that people got in those institutions is not able to be delivered in this century. I think that's a sadness.

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You listen as politicians to people who come to your office often speaking in terms of expecting to get a back rub or to get some kindness and one-on-one care in a hospital, and now I think what they're realizing is that people are telling them that they don't have time for those types of direct patient care, things are becoming high-tech, they are changing, and we must change with that and try to keep the humane aspect of the types of care that was given in the Grace Maternity Hospital and the Halifax Infirmary, as far as the maternity aspect goes. The Halifax Infirmary was also very much a community hospital. We have lost that community hospital.

The tools must be given to the Izaak Walton Killam-Grace Health Centre to do the job in this 21st Century, trying to maintain, and I know the board and the staff and the administration of that institution are very much aware of the need to keep the human face where no child knocks in vain, the saying of the old Children's Hospital. It's a crucial part of our history, that the level of care and kindness and sharing that was given by earlier institutions such as the Grace Maternity Hospital is maintained.

Mr. Speaker, I don't want to speak any longer on Bill No. 71, in support of this bill. We've had opportunity to follow through second reading and Committee of the Whole House on Bills and also the representations made at the Law Amendment Committee. Our caucus wants to wish them well, particularly as they focus on the needs of older children and youth, to maintain and strengthen the team approach that they have not only introduced to the hospital setting, the facility setting, but also a model that can be used in the community. There you have physicians working along with nurses of equal status. It is not a pecking order as sometimes one sees in some institutions. So this hospital, over the years, has developed the team approach to epilepsy, cystic fibrosis, diabetes and all of that, and extended this to camps during the summer and those types of initiatives.

So I think we have to look at innovative ways to make up for what some people see, Mr. Speaker, as a loss of personal contact and an interest in the human value of the person that sometimes our health care system is accused of not being as sensitive and as caring as they had been. I think it is. I think it is every bit as much as it was in the good old days, as we like to remember them. But it has changed and people have to get on with other jobs and there is more technology and sometimes we are technology driven.

So I think the Izaak Walton Killam-Grace Health Centre is making every effort in this 21st Century to deliver top-notch care to the whole Atlantic Region and maintain a human face on those who offer the service and meet with kindness and compassion those children and their families, as they come either in a crisis or a need for renewal or support during chronic illnesses. Because that is where they go, particularly those with serious illnesses and serious injuries. They go from their community hospitals in the Atlantic Region to the regional hospitals into this centre, which is really a tertiary care flagship for the Atlantic

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Provinces. I am pleased to recommend passage of this bill on third reading, Bill No. 71, Izaak Walton Killam-Grace Health Centre Act. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Minister of Health I thank my colleagues for their comments. I had forgotten until the member for Dartmouth East started to talk about the old Grace Maternity Hospital - and of course, my own son was born there - my whole family was taken by my father to stare at a window where my mother was with my younger brother and not being allowed in. Things were very much different in those days when women had children, but I guess it was no different for having little bundles of joy arrive to disrupt your life afterwards. Anyway, I appreciate all the comments for this hospital, which is a very proud landmark in my riding, and I move third reading of Bill No. 71.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 71. Is the House ready for the question? Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. WILLIAMS DOOKS: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 77.

Bill No. 77 - Motor Vehicle Act and Public Highways Act.

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

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Minister of Transportation and Public Works, I move this bill for third reading.

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

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: I thank the member for Lunenburg West for that point before I get on my feet. There are a number of things of course that concern safety, and particularly the safety of highway workers, in our province. I think many people are aware of the fact that in certain situations on certain days when repairs are being made across our highway system, we certainly know that we have repairs to be made on highways across our province. Now aside from the fact that I could stand - and I know all members could, particularly those members in areas served outside of the HRM - as much highway work as

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possible when it comes to having our workers out there in those particular parts all over the province at all times of the year, when you look at the traffic control people who are put in those positions of responsibility when they are monitoring traffic as highway work is being done beside them, behind them, as they are making sure that approaching motorists are showing due diligence and caution when it comes to those dangerous places on the highway where construction is underway.

[2:45 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I think it's of real importance that we look at this bill and thank the minister for bringing it forward. In earlier comments that I made, I would have certainly been more pleased if the minister had also included in these particular amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act that there could have been much more authority given when it came to people speeding through school zones, and also infractions on crosswalks, but that is not included in this bill.

That's not the issue that we are addressing. We're addressing the importance in this case of making sure that proper authority is given to traffic control people so that these people can have the authority to make sure that offenders who, for one reason or another, aren't aware of construction ahead, or in such a hurry that they just aren't going to pay any attention and going to go right through that construction zone without showing the appropriate caution, well now those people are going to face demerits because of the authority given to these traffic control people.

It is also of some import to look at the fact that when lights go out in certain parts of the province, and on some occasions, of course, they're out at four-way stops, it is very important that we know the rules of four-way stops then apply. I have had this discussion with my learned friend, the member for Dartmouth North, who was pointing out how traffic lights work in his constituency as opposed to other areas of the province.

More importantly, I would like to point out, however, that there is a concern that has been brought to the minister's attention, and his staff, prior and that is that there is a very close distinction made in the legislation about young drivers, graduated license holders, who are 16, 17 and 18. I have cautioned the minister and cautioned his staff on the advice of some of the legal members of my caucus, and particularly the member for Halifax Fairview, who has pointed out that that's discriminatory against teenage drivers, 16, 17 and 18. But what about that 19 year old driver? That 19 year old driver, when we look at graduated licenses and we look at the 35 year old who for some reason hasn't had a license and now is going to go and get one, we are certainly, in the view of the advice that I have received, we are really hammering it to teenage drivers.

[Page 7172]

Mr. Speaker, it is not just teenage drivers who are at fault in many of these accidents, it is people with bad habits when it comes to driving. Yet the department has not heeded this advice, it will be something we'll learn from experience whether this is something that could be up in future years in court when we look at a Charter challenge for one reason or another and it is certainly important when we look at the issue and mothers against drinking and driving. Mothers Against Drunk Drivers have certainly done excellent work when it comes to educating people across this province at all times of the year, particularly the holiday season.

It is very important that the early reinstatement of people who have been caught, when it comes to driving under the influence that for those people there is no provision for early reinstatement. You do the crime, you pay the time, and that is something that, hopefully, people who are put in situations over the next few weeks and months, when there is a need to be cautious at all times when it comes to getting behind the wheel of a vehicle, that people are aware of the fact that there's no provision for an early reinstatement of your license.

With those comments, Mr. Speaker, I will take my place. There are some positive points to this legislation. I am sure that highway workers will be pleased with some of the suggestions, and I would also point out that it is of some consequence that the members of the Department of Transportation and Public Works consider also the need for tougher regulations when it comes to school zones and crosswalks. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise and speak on Bill No. 77. As a former Minister of Transportation and Public Works, I had the pleasure and the honour of meeting many of the individuals who ran signage when we were doing our road repairs. Those individuals (Interruption) this is not a laughing matter because those individuals put their lives at risk everyday. Surprisingly enough, at one of the meetings we had they had actually clocked individuals going through areas of construction in excess of 100 kilometres per hour; in excess of 100 kilometres per hour with an individual holding a sign out either to stop, they've gone through when individuals are holding stop signs up or they have yield signs. When you're standing out on a highway and all you have got on is your fluorescent outfit and a sign and somebody's driving by at 100 kilometres an hour, I can tell you that will scare you half to death.

What this bill is, all about is number one, pointing out the serious health and safety risk that these individuals are under every day that they're on the job. Secondly, what it does is it has clear sanctions that will now be applied to the offenders, clear sanctions that will be applied to the offenders. So the question that really arises then is whether or not we can enforce those offences. That is the issue. I think all members of the House realize that individuals who are involved with failing to observe the traffic directions given by the

[Page 7173]

department officials will be prosecuted. We have the motor vehicle under the department. I hope the Minister of Justice and others who would be involved with that would make sure that the sanctions that are there will be properly applied to individuals who do not recognize the issue of workplace health and safety, and under this bill that we would make sure that we make it a deterrent for individuals not paying attention to the traffic controls that are there. Unfortunately, we will have to wait and see the results of a safer working environment for our workers by the number of prosecutions that will be brought forward for that area.

The other point I wanted to make is that that bill finally clarifies the law that drivers must stop when they encounter such a situation and treat it like a four-way stop. I guess the bill clarifies when individuals are supposed to stop. The clarification of that bill points out when you come to a four-way intersection that you have to stop, and the process of that.

Both of these measures that are in the bill, as I understand it, are important ones. People call these somewhat housekeeping. I don't call them housekeeping, I call them important bills for health and safety of the individual workers who put their lives on the line every day.

I talked with a former employee of another department and his daughter worked in a summer jobs while going to university and I can tell you the stories that come back from those individuals who nearly got hit or did get hit by individuals not paying attention driving the roads to the individuals working out there, it is a huge problem. I don't think anybody here understands it until they, themselves, are standing out on the highway and all they have on is a little reflector and a sign and you hope and pray that the individuals driving a car are paying enough attention to watch for their safety.

It is a huge issue, it's a real issue, and I know the staff at the Department of Transportation and Public Works, more importantly the staff who are there for traffic control, will be happy to see this brought forward. They will be even happier if prosecutions are brought and that the full letter of the law is adhered to for those individuals that break that. So we will be supporting Bill No. 77 as it goes forward. Thank you.

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

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Deputy Speaker, again, on behalf of the Minister of Transportation and Public Works, I close debate on third reading of Bill No. 77.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 77. Is the House ready for the question? Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

[Page 7174]

Ordered that the bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. WILLIAM DOOKS: Mr. Speaker, I move that you do now leave the Chair and the House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

[2:56 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Acting Deputy Speaker Mr. David Hendsbee in the Chair.]

[3:27 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened with Deputy Speaker Mr. Brooke Taylor in the Chair.]

MR. SPEAKER: The Chairman of the Committee of the Whole House on Bills reports:

THE CLERK: That the committee has met and considered the following bills:

Bill No. 82 - Municipal Law Amendment (2001) Act.

Bill No. 75 - Revenue Act.

and the chairman has been instructed to recommend these bills to the favourable consideration of the House, each without amendment.

Further, Mr. Speaker, that the committee has met and considered the following bill:

Bill No. 29 - Elections Act.

and the chairman has been instructed to recommend this bill to the favourable consideration of the House, with certain amendments.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, could we recess for approximately two minutes while we get the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries in here, please?

[Page 7175]

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed that we recess for a couple of minutes until the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries surfaces?

It is agreed.

[3:28 p.m. The House recessed.]

[3:30 p.m. The House reconvened.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 89.

Bill No. 89 - Wildlife Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to say a few remarks on Bill No. 89 , the Wildlife Act. The purpose of introducing this legislation is one of housekeeping, but I think I will deal with the most critical part, which is a much clearer definition of what domestic or indigenous wildlife is here in Nova Scotia. That redefinition allows one to deal with a whole host of problems that have cropped up over the last number of years, not only with vertebrate wildlife, which is clearer in this new definition, but really the definition of a domestic organism is probably the key one. That particular one allows us to deal with such pests as the longhorn brown beetle, ones that would come in on foreign vessels, that would be aquatic, and a whole host of other situations that can, would and do arise when you deal with organisms that are not native to the Province of Nova Scotia and proper action to control them or extinguish them needs to take place.

Other sections of the Act have been updated and revised. It is my pleasure to hear the comments of the members opposite. I move this bill for second reading. Thank you.

[Page 7176]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I think I understand the intent of the minister and the government in this piece of legislation. I will raise a couple of issues, not so extreme to me that not changing them would force me to think about voting against this piece of legislation.

I want to say that I think it's good that the minister in this bill has recognized that angling, hunting and trapping are valuable parts of the heritage of the Province of Nova Scotia and although it's not in writing, I hope that the minister is at least inferring that these are done in a humane manner and it would be difficult to support them otherwise. I think that the concerns raised around the globe on some of these issues are ones that this Legislature can appreciate and I think that it should be noted that I certainly support that the recognition of these traditional methods of hunting, or fishing, or trapping are recognized and have a value, but certainly we wanted to emphasize that these things should be done in a humane manner. I think today would be the first day in the province that you could snare rabbits and I think that it would be appropriate that we consider those things.

I want to address the minister's definition of wildlife. I am not sure that this is the definition that I would use although I understand what the minister is saying when he refers to the ability of this bill to allow for dealing with non-indigenous species coming here, like the spruce longhorn beetle, but I think his definition of wildlife could be rewritten and I would rewrite it not just to mean vertebrates. I would write the definition of wildlife to mean those organisms under the Kingdom Animalia, but to identify them as indigenous to the province and that would mean that beetles and mussels and whatever else in the province that are not vertebrates, would be considered as wildlife in the province, but would be considered as referring to those indigenous species to the province. I don't think this would affect the minister's ability to deal with those non-indigenous species that would find their way into the province's ecosystems.

I also would say to the minister that when he includes domestic organisms that are physically similar to their wild counterparts, I am not sure what he has in regulation around the rest of this definition, exotic wildlife, hybrid descendants of wildlife or wildlife and of domestic organisms. The minister I think should be careful on what he allows in the wild gene pool and organisms that are some hybrid descendants of wildlife, or a descendant of wildlife and domestic organisms. I think something we should be very clear about is how we maintain the gene pool of the indigenous species and not alter that. The minister and I spoke the other day and he would be aware, and he makes the comment in this piece of legislation, that this bill does not override other pieces of legislation, and there would be federal legislation that would apply in terms of the keeping of wild animals.

[Page 7177]

I am someone who actually has a small flock of Canada geese. Canada geese and a number of subspecies are controlled or regulated or overseen under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. Although most subspecies of Canada geese in this country are not at all endangered, although a couple of years ago the wild flock that would come into the Cornwall area in Ontario didn't show up and there was no wild goose hunting in that area. They shut down the hunt because of concerns for the numbers of those particular geese. I am not sure if it's actually been explained, just what happened to the flock, whether they went somewhere else that year or not.

Here is an area where the keeping of these wild Canada geese comes under the federal Department of Environment, Canadian Wildlife Service and you have to have a permit renewed every year, an aviculture permit is what it's called. You are assigned a number and you can't buy or sell any of these birds unless you get them from or sell them to someone who also has an aviculture permit. You are not allowed to kill and sell any of these birds. I think the reason the federal government is concerned about this is they don't want people buying a licence, shooting Canada geese and then selling the carcasses. I think that would certainly make some sense.

When we include exotic wildlife in the definition of wildlife, as the minister has in this bill, that tends, I think, to open up a can of worms that may cause more complication. There are a lot of exotic wildlife kept by private breeders in the province, anything from red golden pheasants to wild turkeys. These are not indigenous to the province, although once upon a time the ring-necked pheasant wasn't indigenous to Nova Scotia but because of the time that it's been here in the province it has been naturalized, and I think Nova Scotians and certainly the government regard the ring-necked pheasant as now to be indigenous.

I want to say to the minister that I think his definition could be streamlined to be somewhat more inclusive of the indigenous species in the province that are not vertebrates and not hinder his ability to act on any infestations that come from other jurisdictions. I would ask that the minister make the process around the issuing of permits a simple one. I think most people don't know, Mr. Minister, that in order to keep pheasants - I believe, I remember at one point going to my local depot for the Department of Natural Resources to get a permit to keep ring-necked pheasants. I think the same thing applied in the case of wild turkeys.

I am sure if you were to go to anybody who is breeding pheasants in this province, most of them don't even know that you need to have a permit. I'm not sure this legislation will necessarily inform them of that, but I think what I want the minister to assure those people who do this as a hobby, or commercially, that the process will be streamlined enough that they can go to their local depot and get a permit and get it there, and not go through a lot of red tape to do something that basically is fairly innocuous.

[Page 7178]

I want to say that I think the minister should pay attention a bit to regulations around what can be released into the environment. If there are species that are similar to indigenous species or genetically similar enough that they can interbreed, in some cases this is taken care of naturally by a slight difference in chromosome number and offspring - if they're generated at all, are sterile. Therefore they're taken out of the gene pool effectively and don't contaminate the indigenous species in the area, and this is similar for a variety of species.

There are concerns, and this piece of legislation doesn't address it, in the area of what we would refer to as indigenous species - waterfowl species in this province; there is a significant problem with hybridization of the local black ducks in Nova Scotia. Concerns have been raised by biologists for years now that mallard ducks, which are a western duck, have moved more and more to eastern North America, they can breed with local black ducks. I am not sure how many of the members are hunters of waterfowl but, certainly, if you were to go to Sullivans Pond in Dartmouth or the wildlife park in Shubenacadie, anywhere that any large number of black ducks congregate, you can start to identify changes in the population which are not characteristics that are known to pure black duck populations.

In other words, they're being altered slightly to be somewhat more similar with characteristics of mallards. There was a time when the eastern black ducks were a unique species. I would say this is something I think the minister should think about because we're actually running the risk of losing an entire species just because of its influence with the ability of another species to interbreed with it.

If the minister can make the licence or permit process fairly straightforward, then I certainly would approve of that. I think he should take somewhat more interest in what is happening with wildlife species in the province and I think he should revisit his definition of wildlife, or his department's definition, and see whether or not it's actually appropriate for the wildlife in the province. With those comments, I would tell the minister I certainly wouldn't oppose his legislation and hope that it works to some benefit for the government and for the people of Nova Scotia.

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

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: I will just rise for a moment on this bill and on behalf of my colleague, the honourable member for Victoria. He wanted me to pass along that he thanks the minister for bringing this bill before the House today. Unfortunately, he couldn't be here to give his remarks but has suggested that in Committee of the Whole House on Bills that he would perhaps make a few remarks at that time. Presently, we allow this to go on to committee. Thank you.

[Page 7179]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: I wanted to speak only with respect to one aspect of the bill that is presently in front of us. It has to do, of course, with this question that the honourable minister referred to when he was explaining the portions of the bill that have to do with the possibility of some dealings with exotic species. I have to say, we want to be on very careful grounds here in terms of our legal coordination and, of course, our practical coordination with what the federal government does. A number of us were involved fairly heavily with the issue of the T fuscum or brown spruce longhorn beetle, when it was discovered a couple of years ago in Halifax.

[3:45 p.m.]

There exists, of course, a comprehensive piece of federal legislation, the Plant Protection Act, that attempts to deal with the question of exotic species that might be a threat both to agriculture or forestry. There are extensive regulations that have been put in place under the Plant Protection Act. All of this is pursuant to an international plant protection convention that goes back as far as 1979. Detailed protocols have been worked out for the way in which exotic species - and the risks that they might pose - are to be explored and studied.

I have to say that it is not at all clear to me that the federal legislation is entirely satisfactory. There are many amendments that I would want to see in order to improve both the focus and the procedures that are available under that Act. But the point that I want to raise here is a question of just how far it is that the province believes it ought to be involved in this issue. Clearly, this is a matter of the international movement of species. Undoubtedly of course there is impact, if there is impact, at a provincial level. At the same time the problem is recognized as being an international problem; it is one on which it is important that national governments deal with one another.

So I raise this only because I am concerned about defining with some precision the extent to which it is that the province proposes to become involved in this. It seems to me it ought not to be left loose. If the province is proposing to take on additional responsibilities, then I think the minister ought to say that. I think, in particular, he ought to say it to his colleagues who are Ministers of Natural Resources around the country, and he ought to say it to the federal minister responsible for the federal Plant Protection Act. I don't see why it is that the province would particularly want to take on this responsibility. It potentially involves expense and it potentially involves us in an arrangement that may well be beyond our existing competence.

[Page 7180]

So I worry about that. I will flag, as well, the legal issue as to whether it is possible for the province to engage in this once the federal government has legislated with what seems to be an attempt at a fairly comprehensive code. That said though, I think at this point certainly we are prepared to support the bill in second reading and I would be interested to hear, upon more detailed exploration, what it is that the minister has in mind for the provincial role when it comes to exotic species. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the minister it will be to close debate.

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate and welcome the comments of members opposite. I think it is important to remember this is clearly defining definitions and those who are involved, legal counsel and biology experts, to help clear this up because we are not looking to take over any federal responsibility in any way. What this does is allow for an organism to be classified and then allows the province to permit or not permit by regulation. It gives us a clear definition so that if we are dealing in situations where somebody was importing it or wanted to raise it or to have it, we have a clear definition of what that is.

We are provincial partners with our federal government in dealing with outbreaks of exotic pests. CFIA is clearly the lead agency with the federal government, the same as the longhorn beetle, we would assist with our biologists and staff, but they are the lead and in no way are we infringing upon that role. Secondly, whether it is the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, or wildlife or endangered species, all those conventions where again, I as minister and the province would be partners like other provinces and states across North America, and would deal with everything from worldwide issues and North American issues to humane trapping. So we are members and signatories to all those conventions. That's how those would align, and this allows us to do proper permitting with much clear definition, the goal of this piece of legislation. With those few remarks, I move second reading of Bill No. 89.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 89. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

[Page 7181]

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 90.

Bill No. 90 - Co-Operative Associations Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I move that this bill be now read a second time. Nova Scotia is the birthplace of co-operatives in Canada, and the first co-operative was established in 1861 in the Town of Stellarton. Since then more than 1,000 co-ops have been incorporated in Nova Scotia, half of them in the past 30 years. I might add, Mr. Speaker, with your indulgence, and point out to the House that my late father spent most of his adult life organizing co-operatives in this province and New Brunswick and P.E.I. He was with the Extension Department of St. Francis Xavier University and worked very closely with the late Dr. Moses Coady. I had an opportunity as a youngster to travel with him to many of those co-op stores and meet people throughout the province, and I still run into people who knew my father in that capacity and remember meeting me as a much younger person than I am today.

The longevity of our co-operatives is impressive; even more so are the economic contributions they make to our province. In the year 2000, provincial co-operatives contributed more than $612 million in sales to our economy. Their total assets now exceed $312 million. Rural communities are attracted to co-operatives because they are owned by the community, and the benefits of profit, employment and ownership are kept within the communities. Today, close to 3,000 Nova Scotians are employed by co-ops, and more than 35,000 hold local shares in them.

Mr. Speaker, since 1935, when the first Act was introduced, amendments have been made three times, most recently in 1977. The time has certainly come again to update the Act and make it more relevant for current times. Staff at the Department of Economic Development and an interdepartmental committee have been working with the co-operative sector for close to a year now to identify and review the changes needed. Significant resources have been dedicated to ensuring that the amendments move forward and were on the legislative agenda this fall. Some of these revisions involve non-profit co-operatives, where provisions have been added that would protect members when a co-operative dissolves. Non-profits will be required to distribute any surplus cash or other assets to another non-profit organization, where they wind up after all liabilities have been paid. This will eliminate the potential for abuse by individuals benefiting financially from a non-profit co-op becoming a profit-based organization during its windup phase.

[Page 7182]

Under the revised Act, beneficiaries of members who die without a will will be eligible to receive up to $2,000 from the deceased person's account instead of the present $500. Other revisions provide for changes to the reporting requirements of financial information to protect the privacy of individual investors. The specific rules for reporting of securities transactions by co-operatives will be clarified under the Securities Act of Nova Scotia.

These and other proposed changes outlined in our amendments have been sought by the co-operative sector for some time and are welcomed. These changes are important if not necessary for our co-operatives and as a result are beneficial to Nova Scotian communities and Nova Scotians who invest in our co-operatives.

I want to thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and I look forward to comments of other members in this debate. I am moving this motion today on behalf of the Minister of Economic Development.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: The last comment of the honourable minister explains something that I had been a little puzzled about because, of course, the Orders of the Day give some ownership to the honourable Minister of Economic Development for Bill No. 90. I had wondered if responsibility for the bill today went to the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations for a reason parliamentary tradition does not allow me to mention, but perhaps it's a different reason. Perhaps it's simply because he represents Antigonish which is the home of the co-op movement in Nova Scotia. Who knows? But it is entirely appropriate that the minister does bring this bill forward given the long historic association of the part of the province he represents with co-ops in our province.

Our Party certainly intends to support the bill in principle and, therefore, at second reading. I do, however, have some comments that I want to put on the record because we have one or two concerns but, of course, it's a question as well of understanding exactly what the role of co-ops ought to be in the economic life of the province. The minister was quite correct in pointing out that there is substantial influence on the economic life in the Province of Nova Scotia through the co-op movement. We recognize a variety of different co-ops. There are producer co-ops. There are consumer co-ops. These are not exactly the same in their operation and yet in many respects a similar legal regime is perhaps appropriate for them.

We have to be careful to make sure that when we consider the laws that are to apply to co-ops, we do continue to recognize that distinction. In fact, there is a particular kind of co-op, that is the housing co-op, that one has to wonder whether the legislation as it exists now and, indeed, as it would exist after the amendments are brought in, is well served. I have had occasion, a number of us have, to speak with the Co-op Council of Nova Scotia. This

[Page 7183]

is the body that represents, I believe most, perhaps all of the existing co-ops in the province. They have a membership of about 400 entities. They range in size from some very small co-ops to some very large co-ops as, for example, the Scotsburn Dairy. Scotsburn Dairy is a very large business enterprise, but it is organized as a co-op. Other large entities that are co-ops, of course, are credit unions. They belong to the Co-op Council as well. So there's quite an array of economic actors in our province who are either governed or affected to some extent by the legislation that we're dealing with. It's a very large sector.

It has been a traditional part of the economic policies of the Party that I represent that the co-op sector is to be given as much opportunity to grow and thrive as possible. We recognize a mixed economy in Nova Scotia. We recognize the government as an active participant in the economy with its appropriate role. We recognize the private sector, of course, with its appropriate role and we recognize the volunteer sector and, of course, we also recognize the co-op sector. All of these ought to be encouraged in an appropriate way to perform their functions. Indeed, for a long time it has been part of the policy of our Party to consider the possibility of setting up a full government department to deal with co-operatives and to deal, along with it, with community economic enterprise. We see these two as linked. We see the necessity of concentrating on local, small-scale, indigenous producers as being almost inextricably bound up with nurturing co-ops.

[4:00 p.m.]

The minister has spoken correctly I think, about Nova Scotia's close history with the co-op movement. We have an outstanding history when it comes to the co-op movement and yet there inevitably is room for growth in that sector. At the moment many of the producer and consumer co-ops are located in rural areas of the province, for whatever reason they don't seem to have made major inroads in the urban parts of the province. This is regrettable. I hope the opportunity will be taken by the co-op council which is located, appropriately enough, in Truro, to think about ways in which their influence in urban areas might be expanded.

To the extent that co-ops are a very significant presence in the urban core of the province, it is with respect to housing co-ops. Housing co-ops are common in my constituency and I know in the constituency of Halifax Needham and I believe in a number of others in the metro area. People have, in their need to find affordable housing, been driven away from what might be a natural desire to own their own individual property into operating on a co-operative basis with each other in order to find affordable housing. There is a serious problem and one that is well within the direct jurisdiction of the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

[Page 7184]

So far, I don't think there's anything I've said that in any way would criticize the content of Bill No. 90. I think that the amendments that have been brought forward are appropriate amendments. Yet, at the same time, I am mindful of the fact that it has taken a huge amount of time to get to this point. The representatives of the co-op sector have been agitating for a decade for extensive amendments to their governing legislation. The 25 or so amendments that are now in front of us are only about one-quarter of the full range of changes that they have been proposing for a decade. We have to ask why it has taken so long to get so few of the amendments in front of this Legislature.

I think the answer is that, unfortunately, successive governments have not taken the co-op sector seriously the same way they have taken the purely private sector and their interests seriously. This is a difficulty and this is the kind of difficulty that we often hear co-operatives complain of.

Nonetheless, we do have some changes here and it is our intention to support them - at least to support this bill at second reading. The one problem I believe the co-operative sector would have, and that we wonder about and would wish to hear more comment on, has to do with the operation of the Securities Act when it comes to co-ops. I know from my discussions with the Nova Scotia Co-operative Council that they're concerned about having the Securities Act apply to them. I would be interested to hear what they have to say when this bill goes to the Law Amendments Committee. I would be interested to see whether the particular form that those clauses of this bill take meet their concerns, but we're not into a detailed discussion of the bill at this point - I merely flag this as an issue because I understand from the co-operative council that they have reservations about whether the Securities Act ought to apply to their sector at all.

That said, I am very welcoming of the initiative now finally to move forward with at least some amendments to the governing legislation. The minister I am sure knows and now all members of the House should take note that there is a much larger agenda that the co-ops have in Nova Scotia for amendments to their governing legislation. I hope that after we deal with Bill No. 90 we'll have the opportuntiy soon to deal with other amendments that the sector is interested in seeing coming forward. Thank you very much for the opportuntiy to speak on second reading of Bill No. 90.

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

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I rise for just a few moments on this particular bill and I would like to say at the outset that I appreciate the fact that the acting minister of everything has brought this bill forth today in second reading. I appreciate him doing that on behalf of the Minister of Economic Development. I also want to say for just a moment that I disagree with the comments made by the member for Halifax Chebucto when he talks about successive governments tending not to take co-operatives seriously. I

[Page 7185]

can't speak for the government opposite, but I can tell that member that the government that I was a part of certainly took co-operatives seriously and will continue to take co-operatives seriously in this province. The fortunate thing here is that the government to which that member belongs will never have the luxury of taking anybody seriously in this province. I just wanted to leave you with that comment today. I expect that when the minister returns we will have a further chance at the Committee of the Whole House on Bills to discuss the bill as it moves through that stage, but for now we are prepared to support the bill and have it go on to committee.

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations it will be to close the debate.

The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I thank the members opposite for their comments and look forward to the bill proceeding through the next stages of the process.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 90. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, could I have the consent of the House to revert to the order of business, Introduction of Bills?

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed. (Interruptions)

Another recess has been called for.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

We will take a couple of minutes, until the honourable member for Preston surfaces this time.

[Page 7186]

[4:07 p.m. The House recessed.]

[4:08 p.m. The House reconvened.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 94 - Entitled an Act to Authorize a Marketing Levy in the Halifax Regional Municipality. (Mr. David Hendsbee)

MR. SPEAKER: Ordered that this bill be read a second time on a future day.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, that concludes the government's business for the day. I move that the House do now rise to meet again on the morrow at the hour of 9:00 a.m. The House will sit until 3:00 p.m. or until the conclusion of business. The order of business on the morrow will be Committee of the Whole House on Bills, Public Bills and Private and Local Bills for Second Reading. I move the House do now rise.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is to adjourn.

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 adjournment motion was submitted by the honourable member for Halifax Chebucto:

"Therefore be it resolved that Nova Scotia should follow the lead of other provinces in establishing an industry fund to ensure that stranded air passengers can come home without additional expense."

[Page 7187]

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

INDUSTRY FUND: N.S. - ESTABLISH

MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise on this topic which was raised in the House earlier this week. It is an important topic because once again we find a very difficult situation in the travel industry, namely the bankruptcy of Canada 3000. Many Nova Scotians and many Canadians find themselves holding worthless plane tickets.That included my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, I might add, who had tickets, and two days before they were to leave for sunnier climes found themselves holding tickets that weren't worth the paper they were printed on.

Mr. Speaker, it affects many thousands of people. In particular, the ones who need the most protection in circumstances like this are the ones who are in fact already away from home and find out when they are gone that the airline on which they were planning to return home has disappeared from under them. It is a serious issue and it is unfortunate, but I suppose it is the way of the world that this kind of thing only comes up when there has been a real, substantial problem where many people are affected all at once.

It seems to me, Mr. Speaker, that now is a good time for everyone on all sides of this House to talk about the possibility of Nova Scotia having the kind of legislation, the kind of protection, that is offered in other provinces in circumstances like this. Because one of the unfortunate ironies of this Canada 3000 situation is that any Nova Scotian who booked through an Ontario travel agency, for example, is protected and would be able to get home. In fact, many of them will be able to get a full refund from the travel agency itself. But for a Nova Scotian who booked through a Nova Scotia travel agency, there is no such protection. Particularly for those Nova Scotians stranded elsewhere in the country or around the world, there is no such protection.

So the purpose of raising this topic in late debate tonight, Mr. Speaker, is to commend to the government's attention the protections that are available in other provinces. In particular, I would like to refer to the protections that are available in the Province of Ontario. Although it is not the only province with such protection, it is the one with which I am most familiar. So I would like to commend to the government's attention and to the attention of the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, who is responsible for consumer protection in this province, the idea that Nova Scotia might have similar legislation. I think the minister can be assured that if he were to bring such legislation forward, it would readily receive the support of the Official Opposition.

[Page 7188]

In Ontario, Mr. Speaker, there is a piece of legislation called the Travel Industry Act. The Travel Industry Act, as the name implies, deals with all aspects of the travel industry, and what it also does is give the Governor in Council the ability to pass, by regulation, protections for consumers. It does something else as well, and that is it stipulates that monies received by travel agencies are held by the travel agencies in trust until the end supplier of travel services is paid. The advantage of that is quite simply this - and it may be a legal point, but at the end of the day, it is a very important one - that monies held in trust still belong to the consumer. So if a travel agency goes under, as has happened in Ontario, sometimes with catastrophic consequences for consumers, that money that is in the trust account doesn't actually belong to the travel agency, it still belongs to the consumer. So the consumer can quickly and easily get their money back without going through the whole painful process of being an unsecured creditor in the bankruptcy and insolvency process.

[4:15 p.m.]

So that is one change that we would commend to the government's attention, that all of this money would be held in trust. But for present purposes, Mr. Speaker, more importantly, there is a set of detailed regulations dealing with what is called in Ontario the compensation fund. Now the compensation fund is available to consumers who book through travel agencies in Ontario. It is paid for by a levy on the travel agencies and it is a very small part - I believe I am right in saying that the current levy in the year 2001 is 25 cents per $1,000 paid over to the travel agencies - so it is a very small extra amount and really it is neither more nor less than insurance.

It is insurance against the bankruptcy or insolvency of the travel agency. But it does more than that, because although money is payable if the travel agency goes out of business, money is payable from the compensation fund, it is also important to recognize that money is payable for Ontarians who are stranded outside of Ontario as a result really of any failure in the travel industry, and I would commend to the minister's attention, and to the attention of his department and staff, in particular Section 60 and Section 61 of the Travel Industry Act regulations in Ontario.

If I might, Mr. Speaker, I would like to just briefly summarize what those regulations accomplish. It says that the board of directors can make payments out of the compensation fund in order to enable the immediate departure of a travel agency's customer if the person was preparing for immediate departure and was prevented from doing so through no fault of their own, or where the customer has been placed in circumstances where immediate funds are necessary to alleviate suffering to the customer - and then there's another circumstance which doesn't particularly apply here.

[Page 7189]

Section 61 says that the director of the fund may direct the council - that's the Travel Industry Council of Ontario - to make payments from the compensation fund to repatriate a travel agency's customer and to provide necessary accommodation for that customer, and really, Mr. Speaker, our proposal to this government is just as simple as that. It does happen the travel agencies go out of business costing many people thousands of dollars, but the most immediate need are those people who are stranded elsewhere in the country, or stranded abroad. Many people, of course, don't have the money to just walk up to another airline and say here is the money for a one-way ticket home, because we all know, I think, the cost of a one-way ticket under those circumstances, and certainly in these circumstances Air Canada said, and I heard them say, that they're not a charity, they are a business, and they weren't about to offer any breaks to Canada 3000 customers, and in fact they didn't.

So, Mr. Speaker, I don't need to say any more than this: there are other schemes available; they're tried, they're tested, and they work. They protect the consumer really at relatively little cost. It's a form of insurance that Nova Scotians need. Certainly this Canada 3000 fiasco shows that it's really needed in this province, and with the greatest of respect to the minister, and in the true spirit of co-operation and the helpful suggestions from the Opposition, I commend it to the minister's attention and his department's attention for their consideration.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for bringing forward the resolution that we are discussing this afternoon. Certainly the circumstances which have led to this discussion are most unfortunate. They have resulted from the failure of an airline company that was developing and growing in this country and providing much-needed competition for the airline industry in this country as a result of the combining of Air Canada and Canadian Airlines. It also comes at a time when the entire air industry is in considerable turmoil as the result of recent events, some directly attributable to September 11th but other events that were developing at any rate. Certainly in the case of Canada 3000 many suggest that it was a case of, perhaps, expanding too rapidly at a time when there was great uncertainty with respect to air travel. All of this has resulted in the circumstances that are described by the honourable member, circumstances that are indeed unfortunate for individuals who were stranded as a result of the failure of this airline.

Mr. Speaker, it should be noted, and I do want to draw attention to the House and to any travellers who might be listening to this discussion, that consumers should be aware that many credit card companies will provide a credit if you pay for a flight with a credit card. Travellers in this circumstance should check with their credit card companies to see if they have this protection. People who have recently booked a trip on Canada 3000 through a

[Page 7190]

travel agency and paid by cash or cheque may be eligible for a refund, and I emphasize may. They should contact the travel agency to see if that is the case.

There is, of course, already in existence an excellent means for people to protect themselves in their travel, and that is through travel insurance. Trip cancellation insurance is widely available and it is relatively inexpensive compared to the cost of a ticket. This insurance is usually provided by a third party, not by the airline and, therefore, it is generally a reasonably safe investment. That might form the basis of protection to individuals in the future, if they would look seriously at trip cancellation insurance. I would think they would want to satisfy themselves that all possible circumstances are covered by that insurance, i.e. the collapse of an airline industry as a result of its financial failure. That is an option that is definitely open to people.

I am interested, and I don't know what the rules are with respect to reading from documents and tabling documents in the late show, but I don't know whether the honourable member tabled the document he was referencing earlier or not but certainly his interpretation of the compensation funds that exist in other provinces is different from the version that has been provided to me. We may well be dealing with a difference of opinion here. The information that was provided to me may not be definite. I am not going to take issue with him except to point out that the information I am getting and the information he referenced here this afternoon is not the same. The information I am given is that the fund that exists in other provinces is a fund relative to the failure of the travel agency that provided the tickets and, should that agency fail, then there would be compensation for individuals who made purchases or had transactions through that particular agency.

Mr. Speaker, we are dealing with what is truly an unfortunate situation for the individuals involved, one where anything that we do from this point forward is a matter which would be looking after future events. We are certainly not going to be able to make anything retroactive by way of our actions here, so it would be entirely appropriate for us to study very carefully what is done in other jurisdictions. I would think that we would want to look very carefully at trip cancellation insurance to see whether there is protection that could be provided to people, whether people could make a conscious decision as to whether or not they want to take that trip cancellation insurance - the question is in fact put to them. That would be a requirement that may be part of the solution that we would want to consider in these circumstances.

Again, I want to thank the honourable member for bringing the issue forward and it is something that will be given consideration. Thank you for the time to participate in this discussion this afternoon.

[Page 7191]

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you and, honourable minister, my understanding is although the quorum requirement is relaxed during late debate, that when you do read from documents they are to be tabled, if in fact they are read from extensively in the mind of the Speaker. The honourable member for Halifax Fairview did reference documents. Would the honourable member have any difficulty tabling that?

MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Not in the least. In fact, what it is is the Ontario Travel Industry Act and the regulations under the Travel Industry Act and I am quite happy to table it.

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

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: I am pleased to rise in support of this particular resolution because I think it's a very worthy resolution and it's an issue that perhaps should have been addressed in a different form at a different level on a previous day. Now, that having been said, we can only deal with the situation as it exists now and that being that many air travellers are faced with not only a lost opportunity to travel with Canada 3000, but also possibly not arriving at their point of destination that they wanted to in a timely fashion.

More importantly, they're out considerable amounts of money. It's not so bad if you're able to go to your travel agent and that travel agency has an insurance fund and thereby you're able to in some form be able to receive your funds back. But, in that case, what happens sometimes is the fact that they'll say you have to go to your credit card company because you've used your credit card so there's a bit of buck passing there.

I think there's a responsibility with government to address that disparity because if you buy your ticket directly from Air Canada, let's say on-line for example, they have essentially stated that you're out of luck and that's the long and the short of it. Unless for some reason Canada 3000 is able to get a lot of money from the federal government or some other source to be able to bring it back into service and provide the money for that which is highly unlikely, then we have a situation that teaches us a lesson. That is, as a government agency, as a regulator of air travel - because this is an essential service in many ways - we have an obligation. It's not just like a private charter service around Halifax Harbour where you have an option of either going by that charter service or some other means, this has become an integral part of our transportation system and a vital link for many travellers, for both personal and business reasons.

The government by virtue of the fact has full control of, for example, not only regulating the industry and the rules of engagement, but also security measures. Unlike in the United States where they contract out to private contract firms and what happens is that these private firms start hiring individuals at minimum wage with little experience and in some cases with little or no security checks, it compounds a problem. Without digressing too much

[Page 7192]

away from the issue of the resolution, I believe the federal government has a primary responsibility here to ensure that some process be put in place.

[4:30 p.m.]

For example, a fund would be established - I don't know if it would be some sort of a check-off system similar to what's happening here in Nova Scotia with the silviculture program where every time somebody would sell a cord of pulp to the pulp mill, there is a check-off and that would go into that silviculture fund and then all the stakeholders would have an opportunity.

Similarly, when somebody buys an airline ticket, if a small check-off were made available, I don't know if the federal government would have to match it or what responsibilities would lie herein with the respect of provincial authorities, but perhaps there would have to be some type of co-operative effort with the local airport authorities to ensure that a fund is established or at least if not that fund, then perhaps some type of insurance policy be established to ensure that in situations like what transpired here, where tens of thousands of Canadians have been left holding the bag because of the situation, not only because of September 11th, but to a large measured degree, by all evidence that is coming in, poor management at senior levels within Air Canada.

This issue was raised long before September 11th, Mr. Speaker, the issue of management and financial accountability within that airline. We remember a little more than a year ago, perhaps two years ago, when there was an attempted takeover of the airlines by a private individual; that failed because of the concerns that were raised by the competition boards involved. But the long and the short of it is that the resolution speaks to a very important issue. It is one that, provincially here, the government and the Opposition Parties have an obligation to find ways to make recommendations to the federal government. In particular, the Minister of Transportation and Public Works should be a lead agent on this because transportation is his responsibility.

So I would submit, Mr. Speaker, that what should be done is that we set some time aside, perhaps at one of the committee levels, to deal specifically with this. I know that one of the options that could be considered is to invite representatives from the Halifax Airport Authority or any of the other airport authorities before some of the committees of the House, whether it be Economic Development, Public Accounts or what have you, to be able to do some type of a cost analysis on this. Yes, it is standing room only on this particular issue. I know the Minister of Finance has chosen - perhaps he would want to entertain his position in this debate because it is a financial matter.

[Page 7193]

The long and the short of it is, Mr. Speaker, provincially, I think the provincial government should demonstrate some leadership by consulting with not only the airport authorities here in the province, not only the stakeholders - that being the consumers - but to seek out some opinions and some considerations. For example, the travel agencies in this province, I am sure they would have some very worthy suggestions and recommendations as to how to address problems which have arisen because of the Canada 3000 collapse.

So to just say that it is a problem and it is a federal government problem, that is just not good enough. I believe the provincial government does have a leadership responsibility The Minister of Transportation and Public Works should perhaps be the lead agent here and all members of the Legislature, I am sure, would support an initiative to ensure that travelers using this essential service, as I refer to it, are given better protection.

So with that, Mr. Speaker, I realize my time is pretty well elapsed. I just have 55 seconds. I will allow that extra 55 seconds for anyone else who would so choose. Essentially, I believe it would be safe to say our caucus supports this resolution and urges the provincial government to demonstrate some leadership, at least through some written correspondence between the respective lines of authority between the provincial and federal Transport Ministers and take the initiative to start addressing this before it happens with one of the other airlines. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member's time has exhausted, as has the time for the late debate. We are adjourned.

[The House rose at 4:35 p.m.]

[Page 7194]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 2487

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 Nova Scotia's Public Service is recognized within Canada and across the world as among the best in the world; and

Whereas the Long Service Awards are this province's opportunity to commend its 25 year public servants for their contributions to our society and to honour their contributions and dedication to serving the public of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas in John Vincent MacIsaac's dedication to this province over the past 25 years, he has been required to work through periods of tremendous change while under the scrutiny of the people of Nova Scotia - challenges he has faced with professionalism, commitment and hard work;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize John Vincent MacIsaac's achievement and thank him for the excellent services provided to the people of Nova Scotia over the past 25 years.

RESOLUTION NO. 2488

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 Nova Scotia's Public Service is recognized within Canada and across the world as among the best in the world; and

Whereas the Long Service Awards are this province's opportunity to commend its 25 year public servants for their contributions to our society and to honour their contributions and dedication to serving the public of Nova Scotia; and

[Page 7195]

Whereas in M.D. MacKenzie's dedication to this province over the past 25 years, he has been required to work through periods of tremendous change while under the scrutiny of the people of Nova Scotia - challenges he has faced with professionalism, commitment and hard work;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize M.D. MacKenzie's achievement and thank him for the excellent services provided to the people of Nova Scotia over the past 25 years.

RESOLUTION NO. 2489

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 Nova Scotia's Public Service is recognized within Canada and across the world as among the best in the world; and

Whereas the Long Service Awards are this province's opportunity to commend its 25 year public servants for their contributions to our society and to honour their contributions and dedication to serving the public of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas in Sharon Perry's dedication to this province over the past 25 years, she has been required to work through periods of tremendous change while under the scrutiny of the people of Nova Scotia - challenges she has faced with professionalism, commitment and hard work;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Sharon Perry's achievement and thank her for the excellent services provided to the people of Nova Scotia over the past 25 years.

RESOLUTION NO. 2490

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 Nova Scotia's Public Service is recognized within Canada and across the world as among the best in the world; and

[Page 7196]

Whereas the Long Service Awards are this province's opportunity to commend its 25 year public servants for their contributions to our society and to honour their contributions and dedication to serving the public of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas in Colleen Dorothy MacLean's dedication to this province over the past 25 years, she has been required to work through periods of tremendous change while under the scrutiny of the people of Nova Scotia - challenges she has faced with professionalism, commitment and hard work;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Colleen Dorothy MacLean's achievement and thank her for the excellent services provided to the people of Nova Scotia over the past 25 years.

RESOLUTION NO. 2491

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 Nova Scotia's Public Service is recognized within Canada and across the world as among the best in the world; and

Whereas the Long Service Awards are this province's opportunity to commend its 25 year public servants for their contributions to our society and to honour their contributions and dedication to serving the public of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas in Peter H. Weaver's dedication to this province over the past 25 years, he has been required to work through periods of tremendous change while under the scrutiny of the people of Nova Scotia - challenges he has faced with professionalism, commitment and hard work;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Peter H. Weaver's achievement and thank him for the excellent services provided to the people of Nova Scotia over the past 25 years.

RESOLUTION NO. 2492

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:

[Page 7197]

Whereas Nova Scotia's Public Service is recognized within Canada and across the world as among the best in the world; and

Whereas the Long Service Awards are this province's opportunity to commend its 25 year public servants for their contributions to our society and to honour their contributions and dedication to serving the public of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas in William Barrett's dedication to this province over the past 25 years, he has been required to work through periods of tremendous change while under the scrutiny of the people of Nova Scotia - challenges he has faced with professionalism, commitment and hard work;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize William Barrett's achievement and thank him for the excellent services provided to the people of Nova Scotia over the past 25 years.

RESOLUTION NO. 2493

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 Nova Scotia's Public Service is recognized within Canada and across the world as among the best in the world; and

Whereas the Long Service Awards are this province's opportunity to commend its 25 year public servants for their contributions to our society and to honour their contributions and dedication to serving the public of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas in Richard Dalrymple's dedication to this province over the past 25 years, he has been required to work through periods of tremendous change while under the scrutiny of the people of Nova Scotia - challenges he has faced with professionalism, commitment and hard work;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Richard Dalrymple's achievement and thank him for the excellent services provided to the people of Nova Scotia over the past 25 years.

[Page 7198]

RESOLUTION NO. 2494

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 Nova Scotia's Public Service is recognized within Canada and across the world as among the best in the world; and

Whereas the Long Service Awards are this province's opportunity to commend its 25 year public servants for their contributions to our society and to honour their contributions and dedication to serving the public of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas in Edmond Evong's dedication to this province over the past 25 years, he has been required to work through periods of tremendous change while under the scrutiny of the people of Nova Scotia - challenges he has faced with professionalism, commitment and hard work;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Edmond Evong's achievement and thank him for the excellent services provided to the people of Nova Scotia over the past 25 years.

RESOLUTION NO. 2495

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 Nova Scotia's Public Service is recognized within Canada and across the world as among the best in the world; and

Whereas the Long Service Awards are this province's opportunity to commend its 25 year public servants for their contributions to our society and to honour their contributions and dedication to serving the public of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas in Linda J. Miles' dedication to this province over the past 25 years, she has been required to work through periods of tremendous change while under the scrutiny of the people of Nova Scotia - challenges she has faced with professionalism, commitment and hard work;

[Page 7199]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Linda J. Miles' achievement and thank her for the excellent services provided to the people of Nova Scotia over the past 25 years.

RESOLUTION NO. 2496

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 Nova Scotia's Public Service is recognized within Canada and across the world as among the best in the world; and

Whereas the Long Service Awards are this province's opportunity to commend its 25 year public servants for their contributions to our society and to honour their contributions and dedication to serving the public of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas in Allan Aucoin's dedication to this province over the past 25 years, he has been required to work through periods of tremendous change while under the scrutiny of the people of Nova Scotia - challenges he has faced with professionalism, commitment and hard work;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Allan Aucoin's achievement and thank him for the excellent services provided to the people of Nova Scotia over the past 25 years.

RESOLUTION NO. 2497

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 Nova Scotia's Public Service is recognized within Canada and across the world as among the best in the world; and

Whereas the Long Service Awards are this province's opportunity to commend its 25 year public servants for their contributions to our society and to honour their contributions and dedication to serving the public of Nova Scotia; and

[Page 7200]

Whereas in Donald Hardy's dedication to this province over the past 25 years, he has been required to work through periods of tremendous change while under the scrutiny of the people of Nova Scotia - challenges he has faced with professionalism, commitment and hard work;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Donald Hardy's achievement and thank him for the excellent services provided to the people of Nova Scotia over the past 25 years.

RESOLUTION NO. 2498

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 Nova Scotia's Public Service is recognized within Canada and across the world as among the best in the world; and

Whereas the Long Service Awards are this province's opportunity to commend its 25 year public servants for their contributions to our society and to honour their contributions and dedication to serving the public of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas in Deborah Ingraham's dedication to this province over the past 25 years, she has been required to work through periods of tremendous change while under the scrutiny of the people of Nova Scotia - challenges she has faced with professionalism, commitment and hard work;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Deborah Ingraham's achievement and thank her for the excellent services provided to the people of Nova Scotia over the past 25 years.

RESOLUTION NO. 2499

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 Nova Scotia's Public Service is recognized within Canada and across the world as among the best in the world; and

[Page 7201]

Whereas the Long Service Awards are this province's opportunity to commend its 25 year public servants for their contributions to our society and to honour their contributions and dedication to serving the public of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas in John Young's dedication to this province over the past 25 years, he has been required to work through periods of tremendous change while under the scrutiny of the people of Nova Scotia - challenges he has faced with professionalism, commitment and hard work;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize John Young's achievement and thank him for the excellent services provided to the people of Nova Scotia over the past 25 years.

RESOLUTION NO. 2500

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 Nova Scotia's Public Service is recognized within Canada and across the world as among the best in the world; and

Whereas the Long Service Awards are this province's opportunity to commend its 25 year public servants for their contributions to our society and to honour their contributions and dedication to serving the public of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas in Judith Mary Binder's dedication to this province over the past 25 years, she has been required to work through periods of tremendous change while under the scrutiny of the people of Nova Scotia - challenges she has faced with professionalism, commitment and hard work;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Judith Mary Binder's achievement and thank her for the excellent services provided to the people of Nova Scotia over the past 25 years.

RESOLUTION NO. 2501

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:

[Page 7202]

Whereas Nova Scotia's Public Service is recognized within Canada and across the world as among the best in the world; and

Whereas the Long Service Awards are this province's opportunity to commend its 25 year public servants for their contributions to our society and to honour their contributions and dedication to serving the public of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas in Gerald J. Bourque's dedication to this province over the past 25 years, he has been required to work through periods of tremendous change while under the scrutiny of the people of Nova Scotia - challenges he has faced with professionalism, commitment and hard work;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Gerald J. Bourque's achievement and thank him for the excellent services provided to the people of Nova Scotia over the past 25 years.

RESOLUTION NO. 2502

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 Nova Scotia's Public Service is recognized within Canada and across the world as among the best in the world; and

Whereas the Long Service Awards are this province's opportunity to commend its 25 year public servants for their contributions to our society and to honour their contributions and dedication to serving the public of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas in M. Donald MacAulay's dedication to this province over the past 25 years, he has been required to work through periods of tremendous change while under the scrutiny of the people of Nova Scotia - challenges he has faced with professionalism, commitment and hard work;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize M. Donald MacAulay's achievement and thank him for the excellent services provided to the people of Nova Scotia over the past 25 years.

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RESOLUTION NO. 2503

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 Nova Scotia's Public Service is recognized within Canada and across the world as among the best in the world; and

Whereas the Long Service Awards are this province's opportunity to commend its 25 year public servants for their contributions to our society and to honour their contributions and dedication to serving the public of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas in Charles J.M. MacKenzie's dedication to this province over the past 25 years, he has been required to work through periods of tremendous change while under the scrutiny of the people of Nova Scotia - challenges he has faced with professionalism, commitment and hard work;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Charles J.M. MacKenzie's achievement and thank him for the excellent services provided to the people of Nova Scotia over the past 25 years.

RESOLUTION NO. 2504

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 Nova Scotia's Public Service is recognized within Canada and across the world as among the best in the world; and

Whereas the Long Service Awards are this province's opportunity to commend its 25 year public servants for their contributions to our society and to honour their contributions and dedication to serving the public of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas in A. Vincent MacRae's dedication to this province over the past 25 years, he has been required to work through periods of tremendous change while under the scrutiny of the people of Nova Scotia - challenges he has faced with professionalism, commitment and hard work;

[Page 7204]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize A. Vincent MacRae's achievement and thank him for the excellent services provided to the people of Nova Scotia over the past 25 years.

RESOLUTION NO. 2505

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 Nova Scotia's Public Service is recognized within Canada and across the world as among the best in the world; and

Whereas the Long Service Awards are this province's opportunity to commend its 25 year public servants for their contributions to our society and to honour their contributions and dedication to serving the public of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas in Carl George MacSween's dedication to this province over the past 25 years, he has been required to work through periods of tremendous change while under the scrutiny of the people of Nova Scotia - challenges he has faced with professionalism, commitment and hard work;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Carl George MacSween's achievement and thank him for the excellent services provided to the people of Nova Scotia over the past 25 years.

RESOLUTION NO. 2506

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 Nova Scotia's Public Service is recognized within Canada and across the world as among the best in the world; and

Whereas the Long Service Awards are this province's opportunity to commend its 25 year public servants for their contributions to our society and to honour their contributions and dedication to serving the public of Nova Scotia; and

[Page 7205]

Whereas in Gerald Edward McInnis' dedication to this province over the past 25 years, he has been required to work through periods of tremendous change while under the scrutiny of the people of Nova Scotia - challenges he has faced with professionalism, commitment and hard work;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Gerald Edward McInnis' achievement and thank him for the excellent services provided to the people of Nova Scotia over the past 25 years.

RESOLUTION NO. 2507

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 Nova Scotia's Public Service is recognized within Canada and across the world as among the best in the world; and

Whereas the Long Service Awards are this province's opportunity to commend its 25 year public servants for their contributions to our society and to honour their contributions and dedication to serving the public of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas in Anthony McIntosh's dedication to this province over the past 25 years, he has been required to work through periods of tremendous change while under the scrutiny of the people of Nova Scotia - challenges he has faced with professionalism, commitment and hard work;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Anthony McIntosh's achievement and thank him for the excellent services provided to the people of Nova Scotia over the past 25 years.

RESOLUTION NO. 2508

By: Hon. Peter Christie (Minister of Community Services)

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

Whereas the Canada Games have been held at two year intervals since 1967, allowing approximately 45,000 young Canadians to participate in the games and allowing another 180,000 to engage in tryouts and qualifying events; and

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Whereas Ms. Leslie Joudrey of Fall River won the gold medal in Kayaking K-1 1000 Metres, Kayaking K-1 500 Metres, Kayaking K-2 1000 Metres and Kayaking K-4 500 Metres, as well as the silver medal in Kayaking K-1 200 Metres and Kayaking K-2 200 Metres in the 2001 Canada Summer Games; and

Whereas through hard work and dedication, Ms. Joudrey has helped to promote excellence in sport, sport development and healthy, active lifestyles;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Ms. Joudrey for her recent athletic success, a fine reward for dedication to sport as demonstrated by many long hours of training and practice.

RESOLUTION NO. 2509

By: Hon. Peter Christie (Minister of Community Services)

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

Whereas the Canada Games have been held at two year intervals since 1967, allowing approximately 45,000 young Canadians to participate in the games and allowing another 180,000 to engage in tryouts and qualifying events; and

Whereas Mr. Kenneth Lenihan of Bedford won the bronze medal in Men's Baseball in the 2001 Canada Summer Games; and

Whereas through hard work and dedication, Mr. Lenihan has helped to promote excellence in sport, sport development and healthy, active lifestyles;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Mr. Lenihan for his recent athletic success, a fine reward for dedication to sport as demonstrated by many long hours of training and practice.

RESOLUTION NO. 2510

By: Hon. Peter Christie (Minister of Community Services)

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

[Page 7207]

Whereas the Canada Games have been held at two year intervals since 1967, allowing approximately 45,000 young Canadians to participate in the games and allowing another 180,000 to engage in tryouts and qualifying events; and

Whereas Mr. Paul O'Connell of Bedford won the bronze medal in Men's Soccer in the 2001 Canada Summer Games; and

Whereas through hard work and dedication, Mr. O'Connell has helped to promote excellence in sport, sport development and healthy, active lifestyles;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Mr. O'Connell for his recent athletic success, a fine reward for dedication to sport as demonstrated by many long hours of training and practice.

RESOLUTION NO. 2511

By: Hon. Peter Christie (Minister of Community Services)

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

Whereas the Canada Games have been held at two year intervals since 1967, allowing approximately 45,000 young Canadians to participate in the games and allowing another 180,000 to engage in tryouts and qualifying events; and

Whereas Ms. Katie Thompson of Bedford won the bronze medal in Women's Sailing - Single-Handed Europe in the 2001 Canada Summer Games; and

Whereas through hard work and dedication, Ms. Thompson has helped to promote excellence in sport, sport development and healthy, active lifestyles;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Ms. Thompson for her recent athletic success, a fine reward for dedication to sport as demonstrated by many long hours of training and practice.

RESOLUTION NO. 2512

By: Hon. Peter Christie (Minister of Community Services)

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

[Page 7208]

Whereas the Canada Games have been held at two year intervals since 1967, allowing approximately 45,000 young Canadians to participate in the games and allowing another 180,000 to engage in tryouts and qualifying events; and

Whereas Mr. Chris Webb of Lake Fletcher won the bronze medal in Men's Soccer in the 2001 Canada Summer Games; and

Whereas through hard work and dedication, Mr. Webb has helped to promote excellence in sport, sport development and healthy, active lifestyles;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Mr. Webb for his recent athletic success, a fine reward for dedication to sport as demonstrated by many long hours of training and practice.

RESOLUTION NO. 2513

By: Mr. Russell MacKinnon (Cape Breton West)

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

Whereas the spruce longhorn beetle became a serious problem for Halifax when it was discovered in Point Pleasant Park in 1999; and

Whereas presently there is evidence this infestation has spread to Harrietsfield and Sackville; and

Whereas the Minister of Natural Resources has been totally silent on this most serious issue;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Natural Resources provide a detailed report to the Legislature on the full impact of this increasing infestation and outline his department's plan to deal with this issue.