Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

La Chambre s'est ajournée le
26 octobre 2017

HANSARD 01/02-79

















HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY



DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS



Speaker: Honourable Murray Scott



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



Available on INTERNET at http://www.gov.ns.ca/legislature/hansard/



Annual subscriptions available from the Office of the Speaker.





Second Session



MONDAY, APRIL 8, 2002





TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Commun. Serv. - Transition Houses/Women's Centres: Funding -
Slashed, Ms. Maureen MacDonald 7971
Fin. - HST: Wagmatcook People - Rebate, Mr. K. MacAskill 7972
CAF - Chaplains' Sermons: Words Removed - Insult, Mr. B. Taylor 7972
Commun. Serv. - Essential Services: Funding - Slashed, Dr. J. Smith 7973
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 2944, Sports - 2004 IHF Women's World Hockey Championship:
Organizers - Congrats., Hon. Rodney MacDonald 7974
Vote - Affirmative 7975
Res. 2945, Nat. Res. - Wildlife Conservation: Importance - Recognize,
Hon. E. Fage 7975
Vote - Affirmative 7975
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 112, Gas Distribution Act, Hon. G. Balser 7976
No. 113, Agriculture Administration Amendment (2002) Act,
Hon. E. Fage 7976
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 2946, Commun. Serv. - Family Violence Initiatives: Funding -
Res. 2947, Gov't. (N.S.) - Promises: Breach - Condemn, Mr. W. Gaudet 7977
Res. 2948, Budget - Balancing: Importance - Recognize, Mr. W. Langille 7977
Res. 2949, Commun. Serv.: Women's Ctrs./Transition Houses -
Consultation Info, Ms. Maureen MacDonald 7978
Res. 2950, Leeside Transition House: Anniv. (10th) - Congrats.,
Mr. M. Samson 7979
Res. 2951, McDougall, Laura - Yellowknife Conference: Attendance -
Congrats., Mr. W. Dooks 7980
Vote - Affirmative 7980
Res. 2952, Budget (2002-03): Women (Vulnerable) - Effects,
Mr. K. Deveaux 7980
Res. 2953, C.B. Wellness Ctr.: Leadership Award - Congrats.,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 7981
Vote - Affirmative 7982
Res. 2954, Service Zone Inc.: Liverpool - Welcome, Mr. K. Morash 7982
Vote - Affirmative 7982
Res. 2955, Budget (2002-03) - Supporters: Priorities - Re-examine,
Mr. F. Corbett 7983
Res. 2956, Jeffrey, Andrea: Accomplishments - Congrats., Mr. D. Downe 7983
Vote - Affirmative 7984
Res. 2957, Dartmouth Seniors' Ctr.: Volunteers - Congrats., Mr. J. Pye 7984
Vote - Affirmative 7985
Res. 2958, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Motorists (N.S.): Safety -
Jeopardizing Condemn, Mr. K. MacAskill 7985
Res. 2959, Can. Nat'l. Site Licensing Prog.: Steering Comm. - Commend,
Mr. H. Epstein 7986
Vote - Affirmative 7986
Res. 2960, Bridgewater Shriners Club: Fundraising - Congrats.,
Mr. D. Downe 7986
Vote - Affirmative 7987
Res. 2961, MacDonald, Sir John A., HS/Allen, C.P., HS: Principals/
Staff - Congrats., Mr. W. Estabrooks 7987
Vote - Affirmative 7988
Res. 2962, Doucet, Mrs. Madeleine: Birthday (100th) - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Gaudet 7989
Vote - Affirmative 7989
Res. 2963, Ki'knu Housing Comm'n.: Housing Prog. - Reinstate,
Mr. Robert Chisholm 7989
Res. 2964, L'Ardoise - Acadian Days: Anniv. (40th) - Congrats.,
3 -
Res. 2965, Sports - 2004 World Women's Hockey Championships:
Metro - Organizers Congrats., (by Mr. J. MacDonell), Mr. G. Steele 7991
Vote - Affirmative 7991
Res. 2966, Ross, Joyce: Order of Can. (Member) - Congrats.,
Dr. J. Smith 7992
Vote - Affirmative 7992
Res. 2967, Eastlink Cable - Leg. TV: Broadcast - Congrats., Mr. J. Holm 7992
Vote - Affirmative 7993
Res. 2968, Dubinsky, Leon: Stompin' Tom Award - Congrats.,
Mr. K. MacAskill 7993
Vote - Affirmative 7994
Res. 2969, Ellenvale Jr. HS - 30 Hour Famine: Participants - Commend,
Mr. D. Dexter 7994
Vote - Affirmative 7995
Res. 2970, Educ. - School Closures: Families - Effects, Mr. H. Epstein 7995
Res. 2971, Jodrey, Charlie - Westphal Cole Hbr. Firefighters Assoc.:
Service (25 yrs.) - Congrats., Mr. K. Deveaux 7995
Vote - Affirmative 7996
Res. 2972, Bill No. 9: Gov't. (N.S.) - Debate, Mr. J. Pye 7996
Res. 2973, Commun. Serv. - Women's Shelters: Budget (2002-03) -
Effects, (by Mr. K. Deveaux), Ms. Maureen MacDonald 7997
Res. 2974, Macdonald, Sir John A., HS: Big Bunch - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 7997
Vote - Affirmative 7998
Res. 2975, Tourism & Culture: Arts Council - Restore,
Mr. Robert Chisholm 7998
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
ON MOTION FOR SUPPLY:
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 7999
Mr. D. Wilson 8002
Mr. D. Dexter 8006
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON SUPPLY AT 5:30 P.M. 8010
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 9:31 P.M. 8010
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Tue., Apr. 9th at 12:00 noon 8011

[Page 7971]

HALIFAX, MONDAY, APRIL 8, 2002

Fifty-eighth General Assembly

Second Session

4:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Murray Scott

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. We will begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition, the operative clause which reads, "This government has slashed funding for essential services to women and children in Nova Scotia. To add injury to insult Peter Christie, Minister of Community Services is saying that Transition Houses and Women's Centres have been consulted and agreed to these cuts. This is not true. Transition Houses and Women's Centres would never agree to abandon women and children."

Mr. Speaker, this petition has been signed by the managers of nine out of nine transition houses, the Transition House Association of Nova Scotia and three women's centres' managers. I have affixed my signature.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

7971

[Page 7972]

The honourable member for Victoria.

MR. KENNETH MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition from the Wagmatcook First Nations that contains 88 names from concerned citizens petitioning the government to return fuel tax rebates to the members of the community and not to the chief and band council. The letter form in this petition reads in part, "The Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) was not paid by the chief and council, but the First Nation People themselves, therefore, the tax rebate should be returned to those individuals people who paid them in the first place without justification of a receipt." I have affixed my signature to the petition.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. On Friday, the Minister of Community Services, in response to a point of order I had raised earlier in the day, tabled a budget bulletin out of the summary to the budget in response to the points I had raised earlier where I had asked the minister if he would table in this House reports from his staff that he had referred to in the Thursday Question Period and, as well, notes that he had in his hands and was referring to during the Question Period.

In reviewing what it was that the minister tabled on Friday, and in reviewing the electronic Hansard, it would appear that the Minister of Community Services misunderstood the point of my point of order because this does not appear to be the same document, nor is it a report from the staff of his department. Mr. Speaker, I would ask if you would review the electronic tape of Hansard, and I would be happy to provide you with a copy of that, and perhaps rule on my earlier request that the minister table the reports he referred to and the notes he was referring to in that Thursday Question Period.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Although I was not in the Chair at the time, I did hear the honourable minister state to the House that he would table those documents. I have asked for a copy of the video from the people upstairs who videotape the transactions. Once I have had an opportunity to review it, then I will report back to the House.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition on behalf of over 100 folks here. The prayer of the petition states, "We, the undersigned are protesting the decision to remove all references of Jesus Christ from the sermons of Armed Forces chaplains. We feel that this is an insult both to the Christian faith and to Christians everywhere." Mr. Speaker, I have affixed my name to the petition.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

[Page 7973]

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition. We've been asked by the transition houses, women's centres and services for men, as Third Party Opposition, to co-operate with the NDP on this most important issue. So just to voice our willingness to co-operate and work on this most important issue facing transition houses, women's centres and services for men, I want to table a petition that we received in our office, with 14 signatures and I have affixed my signature to that. Essentially it says, this government has slashed funding for essential services to women and children in Nova Scotia and I would want to serve notice that we see this as a very serious matter and we intend to take other avenues in the House to address that. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. We certainly welcome all guests to the gallery and welcome guests today but I would ask that you not respond either positively or negatively please with what is happening on the floor of the House.

[The petition is tabled.]

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

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I'm very pleased today to introduce to the House visitors from the country of Bhutan. They are currently students at St. Francis Xavier University. They are participating in a Master of Education program which is conducted through the co-operation of the Bhutanese Government and the Department of Education at St. Francis Xavier University. They have been in the city for the day and being from a land-locked country, they had an opportunity today to visit aboard one of Canada's naval vessels. I'm sure they must have found that experience interesting. I believe they have been visiting Nova Scotia since 1999, different groups of students and they have included a visit to the Legislature on each of those occasions. I would ask that the House extend a warm welcome to these students and they are accompanied by Brenda Berthiaume, who is the Director of International Students at St. Francis Xavier University. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, on an introduction. I would like to introduce the guests we have here this afternoon in our gallery. I don't know each of the individuals but I will name those that I do know and I will ask them to stand as I name them: Janet Guildford from the North End of Halifax; Stephanie Hunter; Ann Clark and Mabel Davis, who both work at Bryony House; Rene, Jean and Rae, who also work at Bryony House; Clare MacNeil from Dalhousie Legal Aid; Sandra Nimo, Chair of the Board at Bryony House; Shirley Oickle, Executive Director of the transition house in Bridgewater; and Lynn Barrett from your neck of the woods, Mr. Speaker, Cumberland County. The other women, I apologize to, I don't know you by name but I would ask that everybody here recognize the women who have come here today, who work with victims of family violence every day and

[Page 7974]

they've come here because of their concern of the impact of this budget on the services they offer and the women that they're with. (Applause)

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

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

[4:15 p.m.]

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

RESOLUTION NO. 2944

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

Whereas a bid to host the 2004 IIHF Women's World Hockey Championship was made to a selection committee in Calgary in March by the Trade Centre Limited and Events Halifax committee; and

Whereas Halifax's reputation as a host city for major events is growing year by year, and interest in women's hockey is on the rise especially since Canada's women's hockey team won the gold medal at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City; and

Whereas Halifax won the bid to host the 2004 IIHF Women's World Hockey Championship;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature congratulate and recognize the President and CEO of Trade Centre Limited and Chair of Events Halifax, Fred MacGillivray, and members of the presentation group for their excellent work in securing the bid to host the 2004 IIHF Women's World Hockey Championship in Halifax.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 7975]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 2945

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

Whereas the week of April 7th to April 13th is National Wildlife Week, a week that focuses on the importance of wildlife and the need to conserve this nation's wildlife and its habitat; and

Whereas this year's theme for National Wildlife Week, Climate is Changing . . . Help Wildlife Weather the Storm, challenges us all to look at the impact warming temperatures, rising sea levels, weather events and other phenomena have on wildlife and its habitat; and

Whereas we need to work together to find solutions to help protect our natural world from climate change to ensure Canada's wildlife and its habitat remain beautiful and diverse;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House recognize the importance of conserving and protecting the diversity of wildlife species and the integrity of wildlife habitat throughout this province, not just during National Wildlife Week but every week.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 7976]

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 112 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 4 of the Acts of 1997. The Gas Distribution Act. (Hon. Gordon Balser)

Bill No. 113 - Entitled an Act Respecting the Administration of Agriculture. (Hon. Ernest Fage)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 2946

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

Whereas one of this government's first and worst cuts was the elimination of the Family Violence Prevention Initiative; and

Whereas one of the most shocking budget moves this year was the $890,000 cut in funding for transition houses, women's centres and other community-based programs to deal with family violence; and

Whereas one self-styled right-winger correctly compared many of these services to a fire department which is necessary even if it is not fully occupied every night;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urge the government to restore and increase funding for community-based groups dealing with family violence instead of choosing increases like the extra $300,000 for the Justice Minister's Office and the $20,000 raise for the Premier's Chief of 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.

[Page 7977]

The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 2947

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

Whereas on June 30, 1999, the Premier said that his plan didn't include tax increases; and

Whereas, as seen in last week's budget, this Tory Government is increasing fuel tax by 2 cents a litre, another $20 million or $30 million, to the coffers of the Province of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the Hamm Government promised in their infamous blue book "to reduce the excessive tax burden on Nova Scotians";

Therefore be it resolved that the Tory Government be condemned for yet another broken promise to the people of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Colchester North.

RESOLUTION NO. 2948

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

Whereas for the first time since 1962, a true balanced budget has been brought forth by the Minister of Finance; and

[Page 7978]

Whereas the incoming President of the Metropolitan Halifax Chamber of Commerce, Jeff Somerville, was quoted on the front page of The Chronicle-Herald business section on Friday saying, "We're very happy to see a balanced budget (and) we congratulate this government for staying the course they promised us when they were elected."; and

Whereas the executive director of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nova Scotia was also quoted Friday saying "the government should be respected for taking this political risk and standing by its convictions.";

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly, not just government members, understand the importance of what a balanced budget means to all Nova Scotians, and the benefits that will result in the years ahead.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I heard several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 2949

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

Whereas women's centres and transition houses say they were not consulted before this heartless Tory Government decided to cut almost $1 million worth of funding from their budgets; and

Whereas these services already struggle desperately with the current funding they receive; and

Whereas the Minister of Community Services tried to suggest that he had in fact consulted with these groups;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Community Services come clean about who he consulted with regarding funding for women's centres and transition houses by tabling a list of people and organizations he spoke to about cutting funding to these groups.

[Page 7979]

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 Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 2950

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

Whereas on March 23rd Leeside Transition House in Port Hawksbury celebrated 10 years of service; and

Whereas Leeside Transition House provides safety for abused women and their children throughout the Counties of Richmond and Inverness: and

Whereas this Tory Government has taken away nearly $1 million from domestic violence emergency services and counselling programs, which will have a severe effect on services such as those provided by the Leeside Transition House;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Leeside Transition House on its 10th Anniversary and condemn the Tory Government for failing to protect women throughout rural Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Eastern Shore.

[Page 7980]

RESOLUTION NO. 2951

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

Whereas 16 year old Laura McDougall of Seaforth is one of 10 Nova Scotia students participating this week in a conference in Yellowknife, the Northwest Territories, entitled "Changing Land - Changing People"; and

Whereas Laura is a Grade 11 French Immersion student at Cole Harbour High School; and

Whereas the conference in Yellowknife is offering many challenging opportunities to Laura and the group of students from Nova Scotia, including a fly-in tour of diamond sites, and a tour of the Northwest Territories Legislative Assembly as well as snowshoeing and ice fishing expeditions;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature extend its warmest wishes to Laura and other Nova Scotian students participating, as well as the organizers of this educational conference which is celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 2952

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

Whereas abused women are now facing reduced services due to the Tory provincial budget; and

[Page 7981]

Whereas this heartless Tory Government is also making it more difficult to get a peace bond by increasing the fee by 10 per cent; and

Whereas women in abusive relationships need more help, not less;

Therefore be it resolved that this government stop its targeting of vulnerable women in order to balance the provincial books.

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 South.

RESOLUTION NO. 2953

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

Whereas the Cape Breton Wellness Centre recently received one of 10 leadership awards given out to Nova Scotians and organizations for leadership in women's health issues in Atlantic Canada; and

Whereas this award was presented by the Maritime Centre of Excellence for Women's Health on February 28, 2002; and

Whereas the Cape Breton Wellness Centre is dedicated to helping people in communities across Cape Breton increase control over and improve their health;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Cape Breton Wellness Centre on receiving one of 10 leadership awards for its leadership in women's health issues in Atlantic Canada.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 7982]

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. 2954

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

Whereas Service Zone Inc. has announced plans to build a new high-tech facility in the Town of Liverpool; and

Whereas this enterprise, which will create over 200 new jobs for Queens County, is made possible through Nova Scotia Business Inc., with the co-operation of the Region of Queens Municipality and ACOA; and

Whereas this province is a leader in customer support services and by attracting Service Zone to Nova Scotia, Queens County, as well as Annapolis and Digby Counties, will now benefit from this growing industry;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend the continued efforts which have made the customer support industry successful in rural Nova Scotia and welcome Service Zone Inc. to Liverpool, Queens County.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 7983]

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 2955

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

Whereas last Thursday's budget removed $890,000 from transition houses in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas last Friday in Sydney, the sold-out Girls' Night Out was held as a fundraiser for the transition house foundation in Cape Breton; and

Whereas money raised from this all-women's event will help the Cape Breton Transition House to purchase much-needed basic household items, support outreach programs for women leaving abusive relationships and support educational programs in the community;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House who support the 2002-03 budget re-examine their priorities.

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 Lunenburg West.

RESOLUTION NO. 2956

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

Whereas Bridgewater native soprano Andrea Jeffrey was the top vocalist at the Nova Scotia Music Festival, winning the Gordon and Irene MacKinnon Memorial Voice Rose Bowl and a cash award of $500; and

[Page 7984]

Whereas a music student at Dalhousie University, Ms. Jeffrey, daughter of Dr. Peter and Linda Jeffrey, is also a recipient of the Music Department Scholarship and is a Dean's List scholar; and

Whereas in June, Ms. Jeffrey will travel to Italy for intensive Italian language and opera training as one of the 25 students selected by the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio to participate in this summer's study programs;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate Ms. Jeffrey and wish her continued success 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 Dartmouth North.

RESOLUTION NO. 2957

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

Whereas we have come to value the important role volunteers play in our society by giving selflessly of their time without remuneration; and

Whereas on Saturday, April 6th, the Dartmouth Seniors' Centre recognized 347 volunteers who gave of their time between January 1, 2001 and December 31, 2001; and

Whereas the combined volunteer hours were equivalent to nine full-time jobs, again demonstrating the loss of programs and services if it were not for volunteers;

[Page 7985]

[4:30 p.m.]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Legislative Assembly applaud all volunteers of the Dartmouth Seniors' Service Centre for their valuable contribution in enabling programs and services to continue.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Victoria.

RESOLUTION NO. 2958

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

Whereas this Tory Government will be closing the mechanical branch of the Department of Transportation and Public Works in Baddeck; and

Whereas as a result of this closure, no mechanical services will be offered between Antigonish and Sydney; and

Whereas combined with the government's increase in ferry fares for passengers travelling the Englishtown and Little Narrows ferries, this decision will have serious negative effects on the community of Victoria;

Therefore be it resolved that this government be condemned for jeopardizing the safety of Nova Scotia motorists.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 7986]

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 2959

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

Whereas the Canadian National Site Licensing project is a $50 million online data base of mainly scientific journals and research sources; and

Whereas the project will save money for 64 participating university libraries across Canada, including Halifax's Dalhousie, Mount St. Vincent and Saint Mary's Universities and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design; and

Whereas the service provides access to over 750 journals which universities would otherwise not be able to afford;

Therefore be it resolved that the Canadian National Site Licensing Project's steering committee be commended for its cost-sharing initiative with local universities in enabling access to costly journals.

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 Lunenburg West.

RESOLUTION NO. 2960

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

[Page 7987]

Whereas the Bridgewater Shriners' Club, under the leadership of Harry Rhyno is organizing three fundraising variety shows; and

Whereas all monies raised will support Shriners in their ongoing work with children; and

Whereas the Bridgewater Shriners send children to the Shriners Hospital in Montreal for assessment and provide costs associated with the children's condition;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Bridgewater Shriners' Club under the leadership of Harry Rhyno and his committee on their efforts to raise funds by hosting three variety shows and wish them great continued success in their work with children.

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. 2961

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

Whereas students and teachers from Sir John A. Macdonald High School and C.P. Allen High School are sharing the Bedford school on a split-shift basis; and

Whereas Sir John A. Principal Muriel Tupper and C.P. Allen Principal Raymond Whitman have shown great leadership throughout this unfortunate situation; and

Whereas the teachers from both schools are working together to provide quality education to their students;

[Page 7988]

Therefore be it resolved that the Legislature congratulate the Principals of Sir John A. Macdonald and C.P. Allen High Schools, Muriel Tupper and Raymond Whitman respectively and their teaching staff for their commitment to their students.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I negatived - I can't say the word - said no to a resolution raised by the honourable member for Halifax Chebucto and I mis-heard what the honourable member read and so we have no objection to the passage of that.

MR. SPEAKER: Could we ask the honourable member for Halifax Chebucto to read the "Therefore be it resolved" portion only, please?

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: I would be happy to in just a moment. Thank you very much. I will just read the operative clause if I may.

Therefore be it resolved that the Canadian National Site Licensing Project steering committee be commended for its cost-sharing initiative with local universities in enabling access to costly journals.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried. (Applause)

[Page 7989]

The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 2962

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

Whereas today Mrs. Madeleine Doucet of Clare will celebrate her 100th birthday; and

Whereas Mrs. Doucet is a resident of Le Villa Acadienne in Meteghan; and

Whereas today Mrs. Doucet will be surrounded by friends and family as she celebrates this important milestone in her life;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House extend congratulations to Mrs. Madeleine Doucet of Clare on her 100th birthday and wish her continued happiness and good health.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

RESOLUTION NO. 2963

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

Whereas this Tory Government has decided to end the successful, long-standing Rural and Native Housing Program it took over from the federal government; and

Whereas the native community has successfully run Ki'knu, or Our House, Housing Commission Society of Truro for a number of years, providing employment to 14 natives and developing great expertise in native housing issues; and

[Page 7990]

Whereas this move will mean the loss of 14 jobs and a loss of service for clients across the province by an agency familiar with their housing needs;

Therefore be it resolved that this government act immediately to reinstate the successful native housing program administered by Ki'knu Housing Commission Society and apologize to the native community for their lack of sensitivity and knowledge.

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 Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 2964

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

Whereas from July 25th to July 28th of this summer the community of L'Ardoise will celebrate the 40th Anniversary of its summer festival, better known as Acadian Days; and

Whereas the festival is a celebration of culture and Acadian heritage, bringing home family and friends to reunite in the community of L'Ardoise, with this year's theme being, "Revenons Chez Nous"; and

Whereas established in 1745 the community of L'Ardoise stretching from Grande Greve to Point Michaud has a population of 1,300 residents;

Therefore be it resolves that the members of this House recognize the dedication and commitment of the organizers of Acadian Days and wish them much success during this year's festivities.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 7991]

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. 2965

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

Whereas women's hockey continues to grow by leaps and bounds, no doubt helped by Canada being the reigning Olympic champion; and

Whereas today the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association announced that Halifax will be the host of the 2004 Women's World Hockey Championships; and

Whereas hosting the world championships will do much to advance the sport and Nova Scotia as a site for major sporting events;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Halifax and all those involved in bringing the 2004 Women's World Hockey Championships to metro.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

[Page 7992]

RESOLUTION NO. 2966

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

Whereas Joyce Ross of East Preston was inducted as a Member of the Order of Canada; and

Whereas Ms. Ross was recognized for accomplishments in social work and child care; and

Whereas Ms. Ross founded the East Preston Day Care Centre and started education programs for children and adults in her community;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Joyce Ross of East Preston on being inducted as a Member of the Order of Canada in recognition of her commitment to children and the entire community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 2967

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

Whereas increased public access to the affairs of this House of Assembly is a necessity in this technological age; and

Whereas Eastlink Cable now broadcasts Legislative TV live from Monday through Thursday across the province except for Sydney and Shelburne, which hopefully will soon be connected to Eastlink's regional grid; and

[Page 7993]

Whereas Eastlink's coverage now allows Nova Scotians to better educate themselves on the conduct of our public affairs in viewing their elected officials wrestling with the issues of our times;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate and thank Eastlink Cable for making Legislative TV available to the majority of Nova Scotian communities, and wish them every success in extending that coverage to include Sydney and Shelburne.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Victoria.

RESOLUTION NO. 2968

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

Whereas Leon Dubinsky of Englishtown is this year's recipient of the Stompin' Tom Award; and

Whereas this award honours musicians who have made long-term contributions to the East Coast music industry and have paved the way for many successful East Coast artists of today; and

Whereas this year's East Coast Music Awards were held in Saint John, New Brunswick from January 31 to February 3, 2002;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Leon Dubinsky as this year's recipient of the Stompin' Tom Award and wish him continued success in all future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 7994]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 2969

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

Whereas Ellenvale Junior High School on Belle Vista Drive in Dartmouth this weekend organized and successfully completed a 30 hour famine to help feed children in Third World countries; and

Whereas under the sponsorship of World Vision Canada, a total of 50 Grade 7, 8 and 9 students from Ellenvale organized and took part in the event, drinking only fruit juices on Friday and Saturday as part of this famine; and

Whereas by the end of 30 hours, the students had raised approximately $3,500 and raised awareness around issues of poverty, hunger and injustice in other parts of the world;

Therefore be it resolved that the student organizers, Craig Jennex, Jiv Parasram, Brianne Wartman, Kaysha Riley and Jessica Kerr and the participants at Ellenvale Junior High School be commended and congratulated for their hard work and effort in their 30 hour famine to help feed children in Third World countries.

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 7995]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 2970

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

Whereas school boards across Nova Scotia have struggled for years with the tight financial circumstances imposed upon them by inadequate provincial funding; and

Whereas part of the coping mechanisms adopted by school boards is to defer maintenance on buildings and to seek to close schools themselves; and

Whereas the process of examination of schools for possible closure causes a huge amount of stress on the affected parties and it is not clear that the process followed is always rational and fair;

Therefore be it resolved that this House seek ways to avoid unnecessary stress for families through the prospect of school closures, including increased funding for schools.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 2971

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

Whereas the Westphal-Cole Harbour Firefighters Association has a long tradition of protecting the property and residents of Westphal and Cole Harbour; and

Whereas as a volunteer organization, the Firefighters Association has proved its commitment to the community through fundraising for various charities, particularly Muscular Dystrophy and local residents who need assistance; and

Whereas the association is only as strong as its membership and, in particular, those who dedicate many years as a volunteer firefighter to help their community;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Charlie Jodrey on 25 years of service as a volunteer firefighter with the Westphal-Cole Harbour Firefighters Association.

[Page 7996]

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. 2972

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

Whereas on March 27, 2001, the Minister of Labour introduced amendments to the Pension Benefits Act; and

Whereas these amendments were of particular benefit to individuals who own life income funds, offering them better options to preserve their incomes and provide for their survivors; and

Whereas the government has the sole control of the agenda for government business and it has left these amendments sitting with the Law Amendments Committee for almost one year;

[4:45 p.m.]

Therefore be it resolved that this House urge the government to live up to its responsibilities by bringing Bill No. 9 forward for the usual debate and a final vote by the House on the Pension Benefits Act amendments.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

[Page 7997]

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 2973

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

Whereas shelters for battered women were already facing a funding crisis before this Tory Government announced its budget last week; and

Whereas women in Yarmouth, Bridgewater, Port Hawkesbury, Truro, Amherst and New Glasgow are facing the possibility of having no place to go when in need; and

Whereas women's shelters already have to fundraise a portion of their budget because of chronic underfunding by government;

Therefore be it resolved that this mean-spirited government stop attacking those in desperate situations like battered women by strangling the funding needed to run shelters and programs for them.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 2974

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

Whereas Sir John A. Macdonald High School has a strong tradition of student involvement; and

Whereas the Sir John A. Big Bunch program, which includes 19 high school students, was developed at Sir John A. Macdonald High School several years ago; and

Whereas Joanna Barker and Rebecca Wood are this year's coordinators of the Sir John A. Big Bunch;

[Page 7998]

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly congratulate the exemplary role of students of Sir John A. Macdonald High School's Big Bunch and, in particular, this year's coordinators, Joanna Barker and Rebecca Wood.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

RESOLUTION NO. 2975

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 Minister of Tourism and Culture has left the arts community in disarray after axing the Nova Scotia Arts Council; and

Whereas members of the artistic community have been left in limbo by this government, not knowing when or if their funding is still available or if they must reapply; and

Whereas the arts community wants programs funded based on artistic merit, not political consideration;

Therefore be it resolved that this government act immediately to restore the Nova Scotia Arts Council and restore the respect it owes to the arts community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

[Page 7999]

The notice is tabled.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Government Motions.

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move that you do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole House on Supply unto Her Majesty.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I don't know how many members of this House listen to CBC Radio on Sunday mornings, but often they have some very good programming on. This Sunday, on CBC Radio, they replayed a documentary called Murder in the House that won a fairly significant award. I have to tell you that this particular documentary is one that every member in this House should take the time to listen to. It is a chilling documentary.

It is a story of a real-life situation where a woman is murdered in her home by her partner. It is a story told by the neighbours of the people who attempted to save that woman as she was pleading with them not to let her go and not to allow him to drag her back into the house. It is a story of a woman who was attacked in her home when she was in the shower. She ran out into the streets, without a stitch of clothing on, with her young child. It is a story of a neighbour who took the child from this woman and of a young boy and a man who grabbed this woman as she was being yanked back and hauled into her home by her husband and she was saying, don't let me go; he's going to kill me today. It is a story of a woman who died that day when that man had a gun. It is a story of a woman whose life was lost when the people trying to save her saw the firearm and realized that they could be murdered by this man, leaving their families without a bread earner in one case and a young man in another. It is a story of people who are haunted still about the events of that day, that they will never, ever forget.

[Page 8000]

We have here this afternoon women who dedicate their lives to working with others, women and children who are frequently in these situations. Women have died in this province, sadly, in these situations and, Mr. Speaker, as a former police officer you would know this very well, you would know that members of your profession in fact have died in these situations. There is probably no one here who would know better than a police officer what the rage and what the danger is in these kinds of situations.

Unfortunately, we have a Minister of Community Services and a Minister of Justice who don't seem to understand the reality of situations of profound dysfunction, violence, and abuse in the households of battered women and children in this province. Mr. Speaker, last week, on Thursday, this Minister of Justice and this Minister of Community Services colluded to gut services in the Province of Nova Scotia that provide safety for women and children to prevent them from being murdered in the house. Not only have they attacked transition houses, but they have attacked women's centres and they have attacked men's treatment programs.

Let me read from the bulletin in the budget that says that they are going to redesign programs dealing with family violence because these programs operate independently of one another and it is not practical or efficient. But, Mr. Speaker, it is what is required; it is what works. Let me start by answering a question that people put to me: What's a transition house and what's a women's centre, and what's the difference? They are not the same thing; they are no way close to being the same thing.

A transition house is an emergency facility that has beds, that has a crisis line, that offers counselling for women and children in abusive relationships. We have in this province nine very fine transition houses and in addition there is an aboriginal transition house funded by the federal government. There is also a safe house network - the Universal Shelter Association.

Mr. Speaker, we have women's centres in the Province of Nova Scotia; they are completely different from transition houses. They have no beds. They do not deal with the same population of women. They work with teenagers; they work with single mothers. They assist people in terms of their education and training aspirations, in terms of getting emergency shelter or in terms of getting permanent shelter. They work with women around teenage pregnancy and issues around sexuality.

There is no duplication of services between transition houses and women's centres. What you have is a complementary set of services for women. In some cases, yes, a women who is in a transition house may in fact go to a women's centre after she has dealt with all of those other very immediate issues - going through the courts for maintenance, going through the courts for possession of the matrimonial home, whatever. Then maybe down the road she will go to a women's centre and she will look for services, that she needs to get into a training program, to get child care, to get some assistance for her teenage children, whatever. There

[Page 8001]

is no duplication of services here. So there's a real reason why we have two different sets of organizations providing services for women. Many women who come to the women's centres will have no issues around violence in their families and in their homes. So it's quite often a quite distinctly target population.

Now, what about men's treatment programs, Mr. Speaker, because they're being affected by these asinine cuts as well. Men's treatment programs obviously are programs for the partners, men who have abused women and children. These are programs that often men are mandated into through the courts and, in some cases, they're voluntary in terms of their participation. These are programs that attempt to work with men so they can understand what triggers their violence and their anger, what's unacceptable about their violence and their anger, and hopes to reach some kind of an outcome that will see those kinds of behaviours cease if the relationship resumes, or if the relationship never resumes but that man goes on to be involved with someone else in the future. So the hope is that these people will learn that their behaviour is not acceptable and they have alternatives and they're the ones who are responsible.

Mr. Speaker, there's a very good reason why men's treatment programs often aren't conducted by transition houses. Transition houses are under-resourced and their primary concern has always been about safety and security for the women and children. Men's treatment programs do not occur on the sites of transition houses. The men don't have access to the shelters and the services. The men's treatment programs are offered by people whose expertise is in terms of dealing with men who exhibit abusive behaviour. These are organizations where they talk, they co-operate, they work together when they can, but they are not the same and nor should they be the same, nor should they be operated under one roof; it would be totally inappropriate.

Now, Mr. Speaker, there's a lot of fear, anger and anxiety in the women's community in this province with respect to the actions of this government. Where is this government going? The Minister of Community Services, outside this Chamber three minutes ago, basically agreed to release, by Wednesday, a copy of a framework document that the Department of Community Services has with respect to family violence that, until three minutes ago, this minister and people in his department were telling the transition houses, the women's services, the men's programs, they weren't prepared to release. This minister needs to take responsibility for the fact that they've been working on a plan without consulting any of the affected groups, without consulting people who know one heck of a lot more than that minister knows today about this issue, or I daresay he will ever know about this issue. He needs to take a good hard look at the process that he has used here. There's no point in cutting services first and then talking about it later.

The first thing you do, Mr. Speaker, is you consult with people and you share information with people. This has become too often a hallmark of this government. This government conducts itself in secret. This government conducts itself in the backrooms. This

[Page 8002]

government has no respect for people in this province, hardworking people in this province who are the ones who make the quality of life in this province, the province we happen to love dearly, and people have seen through that. What has occurred here is just another example of a government that is completely out of touch with what people in this province expect of their government.

Mr. Speaker, the right thing for the minister to do would be to reinstate, 100 per cent reinstate, the funding to these programs and then go to the table and have the discussion about what's required to have an efficient, effective, holistic approach to services for women, children and men who abuse women and children in this province. Thank you very much.

[5:00 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

MR. DAVID WILSON: Mr. Speaker, I join with my colleague from the NDP in calling immediately for the Minister of Community Services to reinstate the funding that has been taken away from this group in Nova Scotia. As the many individuals who have shown up outside of this House today to greet the minister on his way in here have indicated, this was not a matter that should be discussed today, this is a matter that should have been discussed before this decision was made. These groups, these individuals, should have been consulted before any decision was made by the Minister of Community Services to make such a drastic cut, a cut which I and many Nova Scotians, including Opposition members in this Legislature, find reprehensible. This is a reprehensible act by a minister who is as cold-hearted as you can possibly get. That is quite evident that that cold-heartedness exists because of where this cut has been made.

At the same time, Mr. Speaker, that minister increases spending in his department by close to 9 per cent. The increase in deputy minister's expenses and minister's expenses has gone up by 9 per cent but at the same time, we cut $1 million or more from these services. There has been a total lack of consultation with the groups that have been necessary, that had the expertise and could have made a different decision at this point in time if the minister had said what he did say outside of this Chamber. I stood outside of this Chamber and heard the minister say that he had consulted with these groups, that they were the ones who indicated to him that there should be cuts.

Mr. Speaker, I have never heard such a ridiculous statement in my life. I have not known anybody from transitional houses or shelters, women's centres, who have said, Mr. Minister, cut our budget, we have enough. Shame on this minister. Shame on this minister for what he has done. Shame on this minister for what he has tried to put over on Nova Scotians outside of this Chamber by telling us that he consulted with the groups that were concerned and they were the ones who said, please, cut our budget and close those beds, we don't need

[Page 8003]

them. Nothing could be further from the truth, absolutely nothing could be further from the truth than what has happened in this particular case.

Mr. Speaker, this is going to put the most vulnerable women and children in Nova Scotia at risk. How hypocritical of a government to say that they are interested in taking care of children and providing for families and helping families in this province when they would go ahead and make such a cut. That is at the height of hypocrisy to make those kinds of statements. It makes us wonder what exactly are the priorities of this government.

Where do the priorities stand with this government when the Minister of Community Services can make such cuts, when the Minister of Community Services can say there is no need to have those beds available in transition houses and shelters. There's no need to have those beds empty so we have to close them. Well, if you don't have the beds empty, you don't have the services to provide to Nova Scotians who are going to be in need when the crisis arises. Without those beds, you can't provide the services. Without that money, you no longer have the services that are necessary to Nova Scotians who find themselves in abusive situations. The minister knows that. The minister's advisors know that. This has been nothing more than an absolute money grab, a slash, a cut from the people who need it most in this province. Again, shame on that minister.

The minister has the chance right now - there have been many inferences to a framework document redesigning family violence services, but the groups that are going to be affected, again, those who will be in charge of redesigning, they haven't seen it. Well, here's your chance, Mr. Minister, Mr. Speaker. Table the document right here, right now. Let's see the document. Table it so that everybody can see it; so that Opposition members can see it, so that groups affected can see it, and every Nova Scotian can have a look at this document that you're purporting to be one of the greatest documents ever written. Let's see it, let's see the proof as to exactly what you're going to do and show the groups - again, consult, there's a lack of consultation. Well, here's your chance to correct that. Let's see you consult with these groups.

The minister stood outside and said, we will meet with the groups next Monday although there's been no firm commitment as yet. He promised that he would give them a call and again, if he's going to give those groups a call, then absolutely right now - I think he's been hearing from Nova Scotians that this was the wrong decision - he has the opportunity to reinstate the funding. He has the opportunity to table the document. He has the opportunity to meet with the groups that are affected and to talk to the people who deal with these situations on a daily basis. But it is like the minister is in Never-Never Land. He's not listening. Nobody's home. Took him a while to even come here today because I'm sure he's been facing the criticism from this decision since it first came to light with the tabling of the budget.

[Page 8004]

This is not only a decision that rests in the hands of that particular minister. This is a decision that rests in the hands of each and every individual MLA in this Chamber because this affects our people, our constituents, and there are backbench MLAs on that side who are going to be facing this situation with constituents in their ridings. I hope that they have given the minister a clear message that the people from their particular constituencies, the people from their riding are saying this is not the right decision, stop it before it goes any further and reinstate that funding immediately to these groups.

Mr. Speaker, at some point in time you have to take a stand. When a decision has been made that is wrong and you can clearly see that - I think even members on the government side can clearly see in this instance - this has been the wrong decision. This has been a cut that has been made in a department that should never have been touched. This has been a cut that has been made in a department that, indeed, in that area, there should have been more funding, not less funds. If anything, we should have increased the funding to these groups because that's what's needed, unfortunately, in our society.

I've heard from many individuals of the work that is done in transition houses and shelters. Women's centres do a lot more work than what is indicated, the work that they do is incredible with women, providing job retraining - you can run the whole gamut, there are many, many issues that women's centres deal with. That's just scratching the surface. I won't go into detail to try to explain exactly what's done by those centres. We all come to the agreement and we all know that the work that they do is important, the work that they do is necessary in our society, but that work will not continue, that work cannot continue with such a drastic cut. It's absolutely impossible to continue that work.

Again, I urge the Minister of Community Services - I wish he had consulted with these groups beforehand. I wish that the consultation had already been there because if he had talked to these people and had listened to them, I don't think he would ever had come to the conclusion that it was necessary to cut over $1 million from their budget. It's important now that the decision has been made - as unfortunate as it may be - that individuals on the government side stand up to their minister; that individuals on the government side stand up to their Finance Minister and stand up to their Premier and tell them that this is not the right decision and apply the pressure that is necessary - that kind of pressure that is used in political situations - the political pressure that is necessary, that comes from groups who are demonstrating outside of the Legislature, that will come from average Nova Scotians, to say, this is the wrong decision. That pressure should be applied to the Minister of Community Services, again, the Finance Minister, the Premier and the entire Cabinet to say, okay, halt, stop, please don't go ahead with this cut; it is not the right decision.

Some things, as I indicated, are terribly wrong, Mr. Speaker, but in this instance, as I mentioned at the beginning of this talk, this is actually reprehensible, what the minister has done. It is hypocritical. It is hypocritical because the minister said, as I mentioned earlier, that he had spoken and he had consulted with the groups that were involved in this. I guess you

[Page 8005]

could take the minister at his word - I certainly would hope so - but then to turn around and hear from the groups that are affected and the people that are affected that say no such prior consultation ever took place. Nobody ever came to Province House and said, would the Minister of Community Services please cut over $1 million from this budget that is aimed towards helping families in crisis in this province because those families in crisis don't need that $1 million anymore.

As I indicated, Mr. Speaker, they were actually looking for more money. If the truth be known, the fact of the matter is that more money was needed and more money was being requested, not less. Again, the minister has the perfect opportunity, at this point in time, to stop it. He can reinstate the funding immediately before any such meeting take place. He doesn't have to wait. He has made the decision to cut the funding and he can make the decision just as easily to reinstate that funding, as Opposition members on this side of the House are calling for. As a matter of fact, I would say we are going as far as demanding that the Minister of Community Services reinstate this funding. That is a demand from the Opposition benches.

It is very heartening to see outside of this Chamber today, as I indicated earlier in a petition that was placed before this House from various transition houses and women's centres across the province, some of the people who have come here today. Mr. Speaker, they are from across the province. If I may, I would like to enter their names into the record. Mary DeWolfe is here. She is the Executive Director- I hope I can read some of the writing - from the Chrysalis House Association. I apologize. I am getting new glasses, by the way. I have a problem seeing up close sometimes. Also, Edith Leopold is here from the Second Story Women's Centre and Shirley Oickle from Harbour House. These are all executive directors or administrative coordinators. Marina Martens is here from the Leeside Society and Bea LeBlanc, who is from Cape Breton Transition House. Everybody knows the great work that Bea LeBlanc does in Cape Breton and we welcome her here today.

Pamela Harrison is from the Transition House Association of Nova Scotia, Lucille Harper from the Antigonish Women's Resource Centre, Cathy Love from Bryony House and Elaine Smith from Juniper House, Lyn Barrett from Autumn House in Cumberland County, Bernadette MacDonald from the Pictou County Women's Centre and Diane - again, I apologize, I am sorry Diane Crowell, from Yarmouth County Women's Centre, Nathalie Jamieson from Third Place Transition House and Karen O'Hara from Tearmann Society for Abused Women.

Mr. Speaker, these are women who have made the trip here today to Province House and stood outside patiently waiting for the Minister of Community Services until he finally showed up so that they could get their feelings across to him and the message across that this is not the right thing to do. I think they clearly gave that message to the Minister of Community Services on the way in here and they have talked to us individually as MLAs and

[Page 8006]

told us that, indeed, this decision is so far from being right that it is very clear and easy to see that this decision should be overturned.

On behalf of the Liberal caucus and on behalf of all Nova Scotians and the people you serve and help out on a daily basis, Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate those women for showing up today and making their views known to the Minister of Community Services. I thank them and I thank you for your time, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)

[5:15 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to use this time and I realize there are many people who are here and perhaps many across the province, because as you know, these proceedings are now broadcast in many parts of our province, who may not understand exactly what's going on here. This is an opportunity for all the caucuses, not just the Opposition caucuses but also the government caucus, to speak on the motion going into Supply. What that does is it gives all of us an opportunity to speak on issues that are current and it gives us an opportunity to speak on things that are affected by the budget.

Now, it is, therefore, entirely regrettable, Mr. Speaker, and I think we want to point this out, that no member of the government caucus would rise to speak on an issue as important as this issue - taking almost $1 million out of the budget for transition houses, women's centres and for men's treatment programs. So because this is broadcast out to all the province, I want to invite people who are out there watching these proceedings today to call their MLA and to tell them and to share with them what they think about these kinds of cuts to these programs. I for the life of me can't understand why the Minister of Community Services wouldn't take the opportunity in the House, today, knowing that all the people involved with transition houses and women's centres are here, that he wouldn't take the opportunity to address that question. I don't understand why the member for Kings North, who understands the importance of these kinds of programs, wouldn't get on his feet and address the issue here today because this is his opportunity.

You know, Mr. Speaker, if any member of the government would like to speak to this issue, I will sit down immediately in order to allow them the opportunity to speak and I can't understand why the member for Kings South wouldn't stand up in this House today and explain to the people who are here today what piece of philosophy it is that motivates this government to make this kind of cut. I don't understand that. Why is it that the member for Kings West, who doesn't often get an opportunity to speak in this House, doesn't take this opportunity to address this very important issue to his community.

[Page 8007]

Mr. Speaker, I don't understand why the Minister responsible for the Advisory Council on the Status of Women wouldn't get on her feet and explain to the women of this province the position that she takes on this issue.

Mr. Speaker, as regrettable as this is, I think there are two possibilities. There are two possibilities - either the minister just has no idea what the effect of these cuts are going to have on this community and, therefore, this is a competency issue, it is a competency issue. He's ill-informed, doesn't understand, it's a competency issue. It's either that or the minister knows the effect that this is going to have on the community and as morally reprehensible as it is, as unconscionable and as unthinkable as it is, he's prepared to accept the consequences of his actions.

Well, you know, Mr. Speaker, the last option that I set out here is so repugnant, is so ill-conceived that I have to hope that's not it. I have to hope that, in fact, this is a competency issue, that he's just ill-informed, doesn't understand what it is he's doing, and that he can take the benefit of the advice that he's - I can't repeat that - being offered, that he will listen to the people who have gathered out here in the hallways to offer advice, and he will eventually come to the right decision.

Mr. Speaker, the minister will, I hope, eventually have the intestinal fortitude, will find the strength to go back to his Cabinet colleagues and simply say to them, this was a mistake, we made a mistake and we intend to set it right. I think that the minister, right now, could do more for the political future of this government and for his own political future - and, certainly, the future of the backbenchers - if he would just simply stand up and say he made a mistake, and that this government was prepared to learn and to make decisions that were in the best interest of all Nova Scotians, and reverse this decision and reinstate this funding.

AN HON. MEMBER: All they would have to do is get rid of a few of their spin doctors.

MR. DEXTER: That's what we hope they would do because, Mr. Speaker, this is a government that has spent $0.5 million, $500,000 getting a clinical footprint prepared by out-of-province spin doctors so they could tell people how good the cutbacks in health care were going to be. This is a government that decided they were going to spend $400,000 on a communications program. (Interruptions) Look, if you would like to speak on this issue, Mr. Minister, I will sit down. Why don't you get up on your feet, and I will sit down, and you can address this issue, as you should be, instead of sitting in your seat. (Interruptions)

This is a government that decided they were going to spend $400,000 on a communications program designed to tell people that Bill No. 68 was a good idea. They have spent more, and wasted more of taxpayers' money on communications, on spin doctors, on advertising than that program, than the transition house program (Interruptions) It was cut from that program this year in that budget. (Interruptions)

[Page 8008]

I can see the minister is getting quite exercised. Would he like to speak? There's a couple of minutes left. Unfortunately, he makes a lot of noise over there, but he doesn't say a lot.

AN HON. MEMBER: Not on the record.

MR. DEXTER: Not on the record.

Mr. Speaker, on the heels of the cuts to the Family Violence Prevention Initiative, one of the worst and one of the first cuts that this government made, comes this particular piece of news. It was done, as has been said before but I think it bears repeating, without consultation; it was done without, apparently, any idea of the effect that it was going to have on the communities of interest involved; it was done without any kind of consultation with respect to the family violence legislation.

Mr. Speaker, I believe, if it weren't so regrettable, if it weren't so contrary to everything that people hold as being a responsible attitude toward government, it is certainly a breach of the promise that they made in this. This is, Mr. Speaker, as you may know, Strong Leadership . . . . a clear course, and what this really speaks to is a lack of leadership, the lack of a course, a rudderless government. I want you to compare it to what they said in their blue book, which was to provide established core funding for organizations which deliver preventative and rehabilitative programs in areas such as the prevention of family violence and substance abuse. (Interruptions)

Mr. Speaker, can you imagine? This was the program on which the government was elected and, yet, as has been the case throughout, this government seems to have no qualms about focusing very narrowly on one line, the budget line, in their program, and everything else they said during the election campaign has simply faded into the background.

I want to, again, just go back, and I don't want to give up this time because we have been trying to do what the government has not been doing, which is actually consult with people and talk to them about the effect that this is going to have right across the province. Certainly, we have kind of uncovered a number of issues, as you might know, Mr. Speaker. We have heard from people and one of things they talk about is protection orders and what we have seen and what we have heard from people in our consultations is that protection orders don't work. In fact, there is some suggestion coming from many professionals that, in fact, protection orders may even go some distance to making the situation even more volatile and unsafe.

So, as a tool, Mr. Speaker, it is ineffective in trying to deal with the situations that women and children often find themselves in. That is why the transition houses and the counselling that comes out of transition houses is so important. That is the kind of service that is going to be lost as a result of this government's decision to cut the funding. I have had an

[Page 8009]

opportunity to name a number of members from around the province who I think ought to be speaking on this. I certainly think there are two more that I would like to draw your attention to and one of them is the Minister of Finance.

Mr. Speaker, ultimately, this was the Minister of Finance's call. He is the person who is charged with the responsibility to put together the budget. He is the individual who has to bargain with all of his other Cabinet colleagues and he has an opportunity right now, and I know he wants to stand up and speak to this issue because surely he sees it as being important.

I was in the lock-up, and I don't know how many others were there, but we were in the budget lock-up - which is the pre-budget briefing before the Budget Speech - the minister was asked, well, all you did was increase tax revenues and all you did was bring in more user fees and you didn't really cut anything. The response of the minister was, oh yes, we cut transition houses. It was the first thing that came out of his mouth after they asked him why it was he didn't cut anything. So maybe it would be incumbent upon the Minister of Finance to stand up and explain to the people of Nova Scotia why it is he was so proud that he had an opportunity to cut the funding to transition houses, to women's centres and to men's treatment programs.

Mr. Speaker, consistently in this House there has been one individual on the backbenches of the Tory Government who has had the strength to stand up for the things that he believes in. I want to bring your attention to the member for Shelburne. I would like to see the member for Shelburne stand up and address this issue. When they were going to take the beds out of the Roseway Hospital, the member for Shelburne said, if you take the beds out of the Roseway Hospital, I am going to resign. That was the right decision for him to make. The beds are in the Roseway Hospital as a result of it. When Bill No. 68 was brought in, the member for Shelburne said, I am not going to accept this because I can't walk down the street in my community and hold my head up if I have to vote for that bill, and he voted against it. Consistently, the member for Shelburne has spoken up on behalf of the people in his community. I would like to offer him the rest of the time here today to speak out on behalf of his constituents once again.

Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate. It is unfortunate because I know . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The motion is carried.

Just before I leave the Chair, with the indulgence of the House, I would like to introduce two people from my constituency of Cumberland South.

[Page 8010]

In the east gallery we have Councillor Ernest Gilbert and his wife, Barb, who are here in the House today. Councillor Gilbert is a Councillor for the Municipality of the County of Cumberland and is doing a very effective and efficient job of representing his people very well in Cumberland County. I would like to acknowledge them and have them rise and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

[5:30 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Supply with Deputy Speaker Mr. Brooke Taylor in the Chair.]

[9:31 p.m. CWH on Supply rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Murray Scott, resumed the Chair.]

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

THE CLERK: That the committee has met and made some progress, and begs leave to sit again.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Just before I recognize the honourable Government House Leader, I would like to take the opportunity to point out some very influential people from Cumberland County in the Speaker's Gallery tonight. There's Mr. Tom Trenholm of Amherst; beside Mr. Trenholm is Deputy Warden Eddie Gilbert, who was here earlier this evening; beside him is Councillor John Reid, who represents the Joggins-River Hebert area; beside John is Councillor Kathy Redmond, who represents the Wentworth-Westchester area; and beside her is, again, Mrs. Barb Gilbert, who is with her husband this evening.

I can tell you that these fine people were here planning their strategy for Cumberland County in the future, but as that county has a great history of electing wonderful representatives, I know they're doing a great job. (Laughter) We certainly welcome you to the gallery tonight. Welcome to the Legislature. I would ask that you please rise and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move that the House do now rise to meet again on the morrow at the hour of 12:00 noon, to sit until 6:00 p.m. The Government Business, we will continue with the estimates; the Minister of Health here and in the Red Chamber, Agriculture.

[Page 8011]

AN HON. MEMBER: And after the four hours?

MR. RUSSELL: After the four hours, we will close the place down.

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to inform the members of the House that the Premier's operation went well, and he is on the road to recovery. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that the House do rise now until noon tomorrow.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The House is adjourned until 12:00 noon tomorrow.

[The House rose at 9:33 p.m.]