Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

HANSARD 01/02-84

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 15, 2002

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS 8279
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Commun. Serv. - Transition Houses/Emergency Shelters: Cuts - Oppose,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 8279
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Health - Psychiatric Facilities Review Board Report, Hon. J. Muir 8280
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 3067, Graham, Danny - Liberal Party: Leader - Election Congrats.,
Hon. R. Russell 8280
Vote - Affirmative 8281
Res. 3068, Halifax, Port of - Best Port Welcome: Award - Congrats.,
Hon. Rodney MacDonald 8281
Vote - Affirmative 8281
Res. 3069, Verma, Surjit: Efforts - Congrats., Hon. J. Purves 8281
Vote - Affirmative 8282
Res. 3070, Bowl for Kid's Sake: Participants - Congrats., Hon. R. Russell 8282
Vote - Affirmative 8283
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 3071, Graham, Danny - Liberal Party: Leader - Election Congrats.,
Mr. D. Dexter 8283
Vote - Affirmative 8284
Res. 3072, Graham, Danny - Liberal Party: Leader - Election Congrats.,
Mr. W. Gaudet 8284
Vote - Affirmative 8284
Res. 3073, Muir, Robert: Service - Commend, Mr. C. Clarke 8284
Vote - Affirmative 8285
Res. 3074, Women, Status of - Funding Cuts: Min. - Condemn,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 8285
Res. 3075, C.B. Cent. & N.S. Railroad: Gov't. (N.S.) - Assist,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 8286
Vote - Affirmative 8289
Res. 3076, Knoll, Phillip - Mar. & Northeast Pipeline: Pres. -
Selection Congrats., Ms. M. McGrath 8287
Vote - Affirmative 8287
Res. 3077, Tran, Michael - Homecoming: Organizers - Congrats.,
Mr. K. Deveaux 8288
Vote - Affirmative 8288
Res. 3078, Juno Award: Winners - Congrats., Mr. D. Downe 8288
Vote - Affirmative 8289
Res. 3079, Keirstead, Jack - W. Col. Min. Hockey Assoc.:
Fundraising - Congrats., Mr. W. Langille 8290
Vote - Affirmative 8290
Res. 3080, Econ. Dev. - C.B.: Policy - Adopt, Mr. F. Corbett 8290
Res. 3081, Hiltz, Emmie Luther - Women's Health Issues:
Leadership Award - Congrats., Dr. J. Smith 8291
Vote - Affirmative 8292
Res. 3082, RCMP "H" Division : Commissioner's Unit Commendation -
Congrats., Mr. J. Chataway 8292
Vote - Affirmative 8292
Res. 3083, C.B. West MLA: Generosity/Pub. Spirit - Recognize,
Mr. J. Pye 8293
Res. 3084, North Div. - Ice Safety Drawing Contest: Winners -
Congrats., Mr. K. MacAskill 8293
Vote - Affirmative 8294
Res. 3085, Van der Linden, Scott: Achievements - Congrats.,
Hon. A. MacIsaac 8294
Vote - Affirmative 8295
Res. 3086, Educ. - École Beaufort: Pub. Sch. Progs. - Protect,
Mr. H. Epstein 8295
Res. 3087, MacDonald, Katie/Nolan, Florence: Art Show - Congrats.,
Mr. D. Wilson 8295
Vote - Affirmative 8296
Res. 3088, Brine, Jennifer: Truro Sport Heritage Award - Congrats.,
Hon. J. Muir 8296
Vote - Affirmative 8297
Res. 3089, Educ. - Maintenance/Budget Cuts: Min. - Explain,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 8297
Res. 3090, Northside Breast Cancer Support Group: Efforts - Congrats.,
Mr. B. Boudreau 8298
Vote - Affirmative 8298
Res. 3091, E. Stewiacke Combine Blues - Congrats., Mr. D. Hendsbee 8298
Vote - Affirmative 8299
Res. 3092, Scothorn Equip. Ltd.: Anniv. (25th) - Congrats.,
Mr. J. MacDonell 8299
Vote - Affirmative 8300
Res. 3093, Membertou Band - ISO 9001:2000: Compliance - Congrats.,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 8300
Vote - Affirmative 8300
Res. 3094, Safety Council - N.S.: Contribution - Congrats.,
Hon. R. Russell 8301
Vote - Affirmative 8301
Res. 3095, Fraser, Rhonda - Chrysalis House: Transition House
Worker - Applaud, Mr. D. Dexter 8301
Vote - Affirmative 8302
Res. 3096, Attractions Canada - Awards Gala, Mr. D. Downe 8302
Vote - Affirmative 8303
Res. 3097, Murree, Linda - Chrysalis House: Transition House Worker -
Applaud, Ms. Maureen MacDonald 8303
Vote - Affirmative 8303
Res. 3098, Hamm Gov't. - Promises: Breach - Recognize, Mr. W. Gaudet 8304
Res. 3099, Sea Kings - Stoffer, Peter: Advocacy - Congrats.,
Mr. K. Deveaux 8304
Vote - Affirmative 8305
Res. 3100, Covey, Scott - Joints in Motion: Participation - Congrats.,
Dr. J. Smith 8305
Vote - Affirmative 8306
Res. 3101, C.B. West - Initiative: Prem. - Respond, Mr. F. Corbett 8306
Vote - Affirmative 8306
Res. 3102, Gov't. (N.S.): Englishtown/Little Narrows Ferries -
Commitment, Mr. K. MacAskill 8306
Vote - Affirmative 8307
Res. 3103, Fudge, Capt. Murdock: Death of - Tribute, Mr. J. Pye 8307
Vote - Affirmative 8308
Res. 3104, ECMA: Winners - Congrats., Mr. D. Wilson 8308
Vote - Affirmative 8308
Res. 3105, Econ. Dev.: Funding Strategy - Implement, Mr. H. Epstein 8309
Res. 3106, Gould, Duncan - Coordinator First Nations Cultural Service:
Chignecto-Central Sch. Bd. - Congrats., Mr. B. Boudreau 8309
Vote - Affirmative 8310
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
ON MOTION FOR SUPPLY:
Hon. J. Muir 8311
Mr. J. Carey 8311
Mr. M. Parent 8312
Mr. D. Dexter 8313
Mr. D. Downe 8317
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON SUPPLY AT 3:26 P.M. 8321
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 7:27 P.M. 8321
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 112, Gas Distribution Act 8321
Hon. G. Balser 8322
Mr. J. Holm 8324
Mr. Manning MacDonald 8337
Mr. J. MacDonell 8346
Mr. D. Downe 8353
Mr. D. Dexter 8356
Adjourned debate 8359
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Tue., Apr. 16th at 12:00 noon 8360
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 3107, Delorey, Crystal - IWK Helipad: Contributions - Congrats.,
Hon. R. Russell 8361
Res. 3108, Gavel, Brandi - Princess Windsor: Selection - Congrats.,
Hon. R. Russell 8361
Res. 3109, Lantz, Marvin/Lyttle, Darrell - Men's Fastpitch
Championship (2004): Efforts - Congrats., Hon. R. Russell 8362
Res. 3110, Hants Commun. Hosp. Fdn.: Fundraising - Congrats.,
Hon. R. Russell 8362
Res. 3111, Sports - Juvenile Alpine Ski Championship: Participants -
Congrats., Hon. R. Russell 8363
Res. 3112, Knights of Columbus/Windsor: Fundraising - Congrats.,
Hon. R. Russell 8363
Res. 3113, N.S. Heart & Stroke Fdn.: Volunteers - Recognize,
Hon. R. Russell 8364
Res. 3114, Richardson, Micheal/Moser River & Dist. Vol. FD:
Responses - Commend, Mr. W. Dooks 8364
Res. 3115, Prest, Barry/Mooseland Vol. FD: Responses - Commend,
Mr. W. Dooks 8365
Res. 3116, Farris, Anthony/Sheet Hbr. FD: Responses - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Dooks 8365
Res. 3117, Lobban, Ian/Ostrea Lake & Pleasant Pt. FD: Responses -
Congrats., Mr. W. Dooks 8366
Res. 3118, Kerr, Edgar/Oyster Pond FD: Responses - Commend,
Mr. W. Dooks 8366
Res. 3119, Boutilier, Gary/Mushaboom Vol. FD: Responses -
Commend, Mr. W. Dooks 8367
Res. 3120, Duchesne, Alan/Chezzetcook Vol. FD: Responses -
Commend, Mr. W. Dooks 8367
Res. 3121, Giles, Murray/Lawrencetown Beach Fire & Emerg. Serv.:
Responses - Commend, Mr. W. Dooks 8368
Res. 3122, Falkenham, Carter/Musq. Hbr. FD: Responses - Commend,
Mr. W. Dooks 8368
Res. 3123, Hutt, Darren/Tangier & Area FD: Responses - Commend,
Mr. W. Dooks 8369

[Page 8279]

HALIFAX, MONDAY, APRIL 15, 2002

Fifty-eighth General Assembly

Second Session

2:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Murray Scott

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Before we begin the daily routine, I would like to make an introduction of some people who are in the Speaker's Gallery today. In the Speaker's Gallery this afternoon, you will find Mr. Wayne and Mrs. Florence Stackhouse who are sitting with their MLA, Papa Brooke Taylor and with his granddaughter, Lily. We would ask them to rise and receive the warm welcome of the House today, please. (Applause)

One of the members of the Assembly said this afternoon, she's a beautiful little girl, she takes right after her grandmother. (Laughter)

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, "We are solidly against the recent move of the present government to cut 20% from the budget of emergency shelters and transition houses in this province and the closing of three to four of these safe havens." This petition has been signed by 448 people who are associated with Northwood Manor, either as residents or as workers in the manor. I have affixed my signature and will table it.

8279

[Page 8280]

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table the report of the Psychiatric Facilities Review Board for the period April 1, 2000 to March 31, 2001.

MR. SPEAKER: The document is tabled.

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 3067

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

Whereas this weekend the Liberal Party of Nova Scotia held its leadership convention; and

Whereas Danny Graham was chosen Leader on the first ballot; and

Whereas he faces many new and challenging responsibilities as the Leader of a political Party;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate Danny Graham, the new Leader of the Liberal Party of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 8281]

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. 3068

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

Whereas the Port of Halifax received the Best Port Welcome Award at the recent Miami Seatrade Cruise Shipping Convention; and

Whereas Halifax won this award over other competing international ports, terminals and destinations; and

Whereas the Port of Halifax was recognized specifically for its warm and hospitable welcome of ship passengers, who were greeted by the Town Crier and pipers and drummers from the 78th Highlanders;

Therefore be it resolved that all members congratulate the Port of Halifax and everyone involved in the cruise ship industry in the city on this impressive award.

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. 3069

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

[Page 8282]

Whereas retired Curriculum Supervisor and physics teacher Surjit Verma is the creator of a family science learning program used by more than 100 schools in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas since he created his Keeping Your Dreams Alive program last year he worked with more than 5,100 students and 200 teachers; and

Whereas Mr. Verma, on his own time, has inspired students in Grades 4 to 6 with his presentation about Canadian role models and believing in your own ability;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Mr. Verma on his efforts to motivate young Nova Scotians to be big dreamers.

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 Deputy Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 3070

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

Whereas 20 teams from the provincial government participated in the Bowl for Kids' Sake fundraiser on Saturday, April 6th; and

Whereas their combined efforts raised over $11,000 for Big Brothers and Sisters clubs in the province; and

Whereas this year's event was a great success and will greatly help all the children in the province who benefit from this program;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate and thank all employees who dedicated their time to this worthwhile fundraiser for children.

[Page 8283]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 3071

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

Whereas our political system gains whenever women and men step forward to put themselves on the line in positions of political leadership; and

Whereas the Liberal Party has chosen a Leader with incomparable knowledge of the political system, most notably his father's 30 years in the Senate as a trusted Liberal advisor; and

Whereas Liberals are understandably eager to have their new Leader put his stamp on their Party;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Danny Graham on his selection as Leader of the Nova Scotia New Democratic Party. (Interruptions) Mr. Speaker, I honestly can't believe I did that - as Leader of the Nova Scotia Liberal Party.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice. (Interruptions)

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 8284]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader in the House for the Liberal Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 3072

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 Saturday afternoon Danny Graham was selected as the new Leader of the Liberal Party during the Liberal convention here in Halifax; and

Whereas the 40-year-old lawyer received unanimous support from the two other leadership candidates; and

Whereas the Graham family has had a long tradition of public service throughout Canada;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate and welcome Danny Graham as the new Leader of the Nova Scotia Liberal Party.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton North.

RESOLUTION NO. 3073

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

[Page 8285]

Whereas on April 11th, friends, family, colleagues and community gathered in Sydney Mines to honour the career and life accomplishments of the Honourable Robert Muir; and

Whereas Senator Bob was a lifelong supporter of the Progressive Conservative Party, a businessman, miner and salesman with a colourful and vibrant personality that has earned him the respect and affection of the community he was proud to serve; and

Whereas Bob Muir served as Member of Parliament for Cape Breton the Sydneys from 1957 to 1979, winning eight consecutive elections, and served as senator from 1979 to his retirement in 1994;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this house commend Bob on his service to our country and congratulate him on receiving the honour bestowed upon him by his beloved Cape Breton 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 for Halifax Needham.

[2:15 p.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 3074

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

Whereas the Minister responsible for the Status of Women has sat quietly in her place as her government attacks women and children; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women, the agency for which the minister is responsible, has condemned cuts to transition houses, women's centres and men's programs; and

[Page 8286]

Whereas it is time for the Minister responsible for the Status of Women to advocate on behalf of the very women she is supposed to represent;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister responsible for the Status of Women follow the lead of the Nova Scotia Advisory Council and condemn funding cuts that adversely affect women and children.

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 Cape Breton South.

RESOLUTION NO. 3075

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

Whereas an application by the Cape Breton Central and Nova Scotia Railroad to discontinue service from St. Peter's Junction, near Port Hawkesbury, to Sydney will have a serious, negative impact on Cape Breton Island; and

Whereas the short-line service has about 20 customers, including a number of manufacturers of plastic products; and

Whereas transportation infrastructure is vital to an economic recovery for Cape Breton Island;

Therefore be it resolved that the Tory Government immediately step in and prevent the abandonment of the rail line to ensure economic development on Cape Breton Island.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 8287]

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Bedford Basin.

RESOLUTION NO. 3076

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

Whereas a veteran of more than 20 years in the energy industry, Phillip Knoll has been named the President of Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline for Canada and the United States; and

Whereas with a wealth of experience, Mr. Knoll is responsible for the Sable natural gas pipeline, a 1,300 kilometre transmission system that stretches from Goldboro to Massachusetts; and

Whereas Mr. Knoll's promotion coincides with the decision to locate the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline Canada-U.S. headquarters in Halifax;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Phillip Knoll as he assumes his new responsibilities and acknowledge the Halifax Regional Municipality's growing importance as a centre for the oil and gas 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 Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

[Page 8288]

RESOLUTION NO. 3077

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 community spirit was clearly in abundance in Cole Harbour on February 21, 2002, when Michael Tran returned home after several months of rehabilitation in hospital; and

Whereas Michael, his wife Karen Robertson-Tran and their daughter, Morgan, were pleasantly surprised on their return home to find their street lined with well-wishers and messages of support from the community; and

Whereas the very thoughtful event was the culmination of months of fundraising and support provided to the family through a difficult time;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulates Pastor Martin Zwicker, Cheryl Eastwood, Wayne and Wanda Mercer, Sue Demmons, Kevin Thomas and all those who organized the homecoming for Michael Tran and provided support to the family to enable Michael to return home.

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. 3078

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

Whereas the 2002 Juno Awards, celebrating the best of Canadian music talent, were broadcasted live from Mile One Stadium in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador on Sunday, April 14, 2002; and

[Page 8289]

Whereas the 2002 Juno Awards, Canada's premium music awards, marked the 31st Anniversary of the awards; and

Whereas Nickleback, Diana Krall, the Ennis Sisters and Mike Murley were among some of last night's winners;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House extend congratulations to all Juno Award winners and recognize the incredible amount of talent that exists throughout all of Canada in the music 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.

Order, please. There has been a request to reconsider the motion by the honourable member for Cape Breton South. Would you read the 'Therefore be it resolved', please.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Therefore be it resolved that the government immediately step in and prevent the abandonment of the rail line to ensure economic development on Cape Breton Island.

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 Colchester North.

[Page 8290]

RESOLUTION NO. 3079

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

Whereas Jack Keirstead of Colchester County has taken on the responsibility of fundraising for the West Colchester Minor Hockey Association; and

Whereas Mr. Keirstead has always been a hockey fan and currently assists as trainer on his son's Peewee A hockey team in Debert when the usual trainer is away; and

Whereas through the 2002-03 fundraising appeal beginning in May, Mr. Keirstead has hopes of making hockey an accessible option for children who otherwise may not have been able to afford it;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House applaud the endeavour taken on by Jack Keirstead and wish him much success in the upcoming fundraising appeal.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 3080

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

Whereas the Cape Breton & Central Nova Scotia Railway has applied to the URB to abandon its line between Sydney and Port Hawkesbury; and

Whereas this government has known for two years that with the death of coal and steel in Cape Breton, that this line would be abandoned unless new economic development in industrial Cape Breton provided business for that line; and

[Page 8291]

Whereas the Minister of Transportation and Public Works appears ready to let the rail line be abandoned and allow Cape Breton's failing economy to die;

Therefore be it resolved that this government stop its deliberate policy of ignoring Cape Breton and instead adopt an economic development policy for Cape Breton that maintains and develops the infrastructure, such as the Sydney to Port Hawkesbury rail line, so desperately needed to develop business.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 3081

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

Whereas Emmie Luther-Hiltz received a leadership award for her work in women's health issues in Atlantic Canada from the Maritime Centre of Excellence for Women's Health; and

Whereas Mrs. Luther-Hiltz is a breast cancer survivor who helped establish Breast Cancer Action Nova Scotia, which educates breast cancer survivors on breast health and breast cancer; and

Whereas Mrs. Luther-Hiltz is the Coordinator of the Cancer Patient Family Network for Cancer Care Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Emmie Luther-Hiltz on receiving a leadership award for her work in women's health issues in Atlantic Canada from the Maritime Centre of Excellence for Women's Health.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 8292]

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 Chester-St. Margaret's.

RESOLUTION NO. 3082

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

Whereas the "H" Division of the RCMP has recently received the Commissioner's Unit Commendation for the exemplary performance it displayed during the Swissair tragedy off Peggy's Cove; and

Whereas the "H" Division was on hand to organize the hundreds of volunteers who came forward to assist the families of the crash victims; and

Whereas the "H" Division is one of the very first divisions in Canada to receive this prestigious Commissioner's Unit Commendation;

Therefore be it resolved that this House applaud the tremendous achievements of the RCMP "H" Division and congratulate them on the receipt of this incredible honour.

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.

[Page 8293]

RESOLUTION NO. 3083

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

Whereas while other members do not always agree with the member for Cape Breton West, those on all sides recognize the single-minded commitment with which he brings issues to this House; and

Whereas the Member for Cape Breton West demonstrated his backbone when he resigned to protest the Liberal Government's arrogant and dictatorial conduct, especially in relation to the unilateral downloading; and

Whereas that member now selflessly offers to resign so that the Liberal Leader, Danny Graham, can contest the seat and become the first member of his distinguished family to be elected;

Therefore be it resolved that the House recognize the generosity and public spirit that has been demonstrated by the member for Cape Breton West in his offer to resign and clear the way for his Leader to win election.

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 Victoria.

RESOLUTION NO. 3084

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

Whereas students of Christmas Island Elementary and Rankin School in Iona were winners of the North Division's ice safety drawing contest; and

Whereas the winners included Carla Brooks, Colleen LeBlanc, Rachael MacNeil, Hannah MacSween and Jody Mackenzie; and

[Page 8294]

Whereas certificates were presented by Cape Breton Regional Police Service Constable Max Sehl and Laurie Finney of the Homework Assistance Program;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the winners of the North Division's ice safety drawing contest and wish them continued success.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

Order, please. I will just remind all honourable members that through agreements in the House, all cell phones are to be shut off while the members are inside the Chamber, please.

The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

RESOLUTION NO. 3085

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Economic Development's Youth Entrepreneurial Skills program selects student entrepreneurs from all across the province who have successfully operated their own business; and

Whereas 15 year old Scott Van der Linden of Antigonish is the northeastern region winner of the YES program award for his entrepreneurial achievements with his summer business, Veggies 'n Blooms; and

Whereas Veggies 'n Blooms grows all organic vegetables and is a major selling point along with the freshness of the produce;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Scott Van der Linden on the achievements of Veggies 'n Blooms and wish him much success in his future endeavours whatever they may be.

[Page 8295]

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 Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 3086

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 Minister of Education had no answers on April 12th when she met 200 École Beaufort parents about the Halifax school board's relocation of 320 children to meet her department's demand for so-called efficient use of classrooms; and

Whereas the minister is responsible for ensuring that school boards deliver the required public school programs; and

Whereas closing École Beaufort and moving most students out of their community will make the Halifax board fall further behind in meeting public school program requirements;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Education should do her job and protect public school programs for all of the students whose education will be worsened by the closure of École Beaufort and the relocation of 320 students from that full school.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Glace Bay.

RESOLUTION NO. 3087

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

[Page 8296]

Whereas 89 year old Katie MacDonald and 90 year old Florence Nolan of Glace Bay held their first solo art show running from Friday, April 5th to April 22nd at the University College of Cape Breton; and

Whereas both Mrs. MacDonald and Mrs. Nolan are members of the Cape Breton Artists Association; and

Whereas both artists are also members of the Glace Bay Artists' group and the Glace Bay Garden Club;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House extend congratulations and best wishes to Mrs. Katie MacDonald and Mrs. Florence Nolan on their most recent accomplishment and wish them continued good health and happiness.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 3088

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

Whereas Jennifer Brine of Bible Hill was named the outstanding female athlete 15 years and under at the Truro Sport Heritage Society's 18th annual awards dinner - you remember that, Mr. Speaker; and

Whereas Jennifer Brine is an all-around athlete excelling in hockey, track and field, soccer, volleyball, badminton and golf; and

Whereas in addition to being an exceptional student, Jennifer excels in music and is an Honours with Distinction student at Bible Hill Junior High School;

[Page 8297]

Therefore be it resolved that all members congratulate Jennifer Brine on being named Truro Sport Heritage Society's 2002 outstanding female athlete 15 years of age and under and wish her continuing success in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

[2:30 p.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 3089

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

Whereas this government has cut funding for school renovations by $6 million; and

Whereas older schools are in desperate need of financial help for long overdue and much needed maintenance; and

Whereas Sir John A. Macdonald High School's longstanding problems have finally resulted in students being sent to C.P. Allen High School on a split shift;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Education explain to students, staff and parents how older schools can be effectively maintained after years of neglect with a $6 million cut in the budget.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes.

[Page 8298]

RESOLUTION NO. 3090

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

Whereas the Northside Breast Cancer Support Group, under the direction of Margaret Ann MacKinnon, is working toward having a dragon boat in the waters off Cape Breton; and

Whereas the Northside Breast Cancer Support Group has 27 members and is one of the most active groups in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the purpose of the dragon boat is to raise awareness about breast cancer while, at the same time, allowing breast cancer survivors to participate for support and exercise;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Margaret Ann MacKinnon and the Northside Breast Cancer Support Group on their ongoing efforts to acquire a dragon boat, and encourage individuals to sponsor this important endeavour.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 3091

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 5th Annual Truro Oldtimers Hockey Tournament, co-sponsored by the Hero's Sports Bar, was held this past weekend; and

Whereas while winning no games in five years, the East Stewiacke Combine Blues managed to tie all three games in this year's preliminary round, earning them a spot in the divisional championship; and

[Page 8299]

Whereas the underdog, East Stewiacke Combine Blues, emerged in victory with a hard-earned 4 to 2 win over the heavily favoured Royal Canadian Air Force Club;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature congratulate the East Stewiacke Combine Blues and the member for the beautiful Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, who happened to play centre instead of right wing, and wish them all the best.

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. 3092

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

Whereas rural development depends very much on successful businesses that serve their communities; and

Whereas the agricultural and forestry industries are vital components of our rural economy; and

Whereas Scothorn Equipment Ltd. of Hardwood Lands, operated by the husband and wife team of Gary and Eileen Scothorn, celebrated their 25th Anniversary this Saturday past, on April 13th;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the Scothorns and staff of Scothorn Equipment Limited of Hardwood Lands for their successful quarter century of good business serving those who work in the forest and agricultural industries.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 8300]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

RESOLUTION NO. 3093

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

Where the Membertou Band Council located in Sydney, Nova Scotia, has become the only First Nations' Government in Canada to be recognized as ISO 9001:2000 compliant, and receive official certification; and

Whereas the International Organization of Standards is a worldwide federation of national standards that includes approximately 140 countries; and

Whereas this recognition will allow Membertou First Nation to become more accountable, and proves the community is capable of meeting its needs and those of the world;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Membertou Band Council on being the only First Nations' Government to be recognized as ISO 9001:2000 compliant.

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 8301]

The honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works.

RESOLUTION NO. 3094

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

Whereas safety is of the utmost priority to all Nova Scotians; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia Safety Council held its 20th annual conference and trade show last month; and

Whereas this event reinforces the need for timely safety education and training across many sectors;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Safety Council for its contribution to a safer Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

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 Official Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 3095

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

Whereas the support services provided by women's centres, transition houses and men's intervention programs are sorely needed to provide services to women and for counselling the perpetrators and victims of family violence; and

Whereas Nova Scotians owe much to these front-line workers who, year after year, provide excellent care and support for families; and

[Page 8302]

Whereas one of those front-line workers is Rhonda Fraser, a transition house worker with six years of service, at Chrysalis House in Kentville;

Therefore be it resolved that this House applaud Rhonda Fraser, a transition house worker at Chrysalis House in Kentville, for the care and support she provides for women and children in the Valley area.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

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. 3096

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

Whereas Attractions Canada encourages interest in attractions with cultural and educational value; and

Whereas 10 Nova Scotia attractions: Cape Chignecto Provincial Park; the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens; the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site; the Hector Heritage Quay; the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic; Evangéline, drame musical; The Nova Scotia International Tattoo; the Windsor-West Hants Pumpkin Festival and Regatta; the Highlands Links; and Alexander Keith's Nova Scotia Brewery - are finalists in 11 categories; and

Whereas these cultural, educational and historic attractions - and all our attractions, for that matter - have and continue to enrich Nova Scotia and its people;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House recognize those who ensure that these valuable attractions always shine brightly on the national stage and wish them and these attractions every success at the Attractions Canada gala awards on May 30, 2002.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 8303]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 3097

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future

day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the support services provided by women's centres, transition houses and men's intervention programs are sorely needed to provide services to women and for counselling the perpetrators and victims of family violence; and

Whereas Nova Scotians owe much to these front-line workers who, year after year, provide excellent care and support for families; and

Whereas one of those front-line workers is Linda Murree, a transition house worker with 15 years of service, at Chrysalis House in Kentville;

Therefore be it resolved that this House applaud Linda Murree, a transition house worker at Chrysalis House in Kentville, for the care and support she provides for women and children in the Valley area.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

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 8304]

The honourable Leader in the House of the Liberal Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 3098

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

Whereas the Hamm Government promised to spend all revenue raised through gas taxes and motor vehicle registration to open twinned highways and repair roads; and

Whereas after close to three years in office, the Hamm Government has not opened any twinned highways in Nova Scotia, despite stating that Highway No. 101 was a priority; and

Whereas now the Hamm Government is telling Nova Scotians that it must raise gas taxes to twin highways and repair our roads;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize that this Hamm Government has broken yet another promise to the people of Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 3099

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

Whereas there was much concern in the communities served by 12 Wing Shearwater when the federal government announced that it was studying whether to relocate the Sea King fleet to another locale; and

Whereas those communities breathed much relief when the federal government announced last week that Shearwater would remain the home base for the Sea King fleet and its eventual replacement;

Whereas Peter Stoffer, the MP for Sackville-Musquodoboit Valley-Eastern Shore, advocated forcefully to keep the Sea Kings at Shearwater;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Peter Stoffer, MP, for his strong advocacy and the federal government for its decision to keep the Sea King fleet and its eventual replacement based at CFB Shearwater.

[Page 8305]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

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.

RESOLUTION NO. 3100

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

Whereas Scott Covey, a fourth-year student at St. Mary's University, ran for eight continuous hours on a treadmill on March 21st to raise money in support of the Arthritis Society; and

Whereas Mr. Covey will travel to Dublin, Ireland, in October to compete in the Joints in Motion marathon program for the Arthritis Society; and

Whereas Mr. Covey participated in the program last year at Walt Disney World, where he placed 78th in a race of 7,950 participants, and 5th place in his class of 155 runners;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Scott Covey for his participation in and dedication to the Joints in Motion program, and wish him luck in the upcoming marathon in Dublin, Ireland.

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 8306]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 3101

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

Whereas newly elected Liberal Leader Danny Graham speaks with pride and affection of his boyhood in Cape Breton, attending school, playing hockey and enjoying his formative years; and

Whereas many Cape Bretoners supported his leadership effort by joining the Liberal Party; and

Whereas Danny Graham now has a golden opportunity to continue making common cause with his childhood friends and Cape Breton supporters by seeking election in Cape Breton West;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urge the Premier to respond quickly and positively to the initiative of the member for Cape Breton West so that the new Liberal Leader can soon take up his responsibilities and put his stamp on that Party.

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)

The honourable member for Victoria.

RESOLUTION NO. 3102

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

[Page 8307]

Whereas the Englishtown and Little Narrows ferries are among the few remaining cable ferries in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas in a release sent out in March it was indicated that ferry fares will increase from $3.00 to $5.00 for a one-way ticket; and

Whereas a result of the increase will be that more commuters will opt for an alternate route, travelling an additional 30 minutes at a savings of $5.00;

Therefore be it resolved that the Tory Government make a commitment to the people of Victoria that they will not abolish the services provided by the Englishtown and Little Narrows ferries.

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. 3103

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

Whereas Captain Murdoch Fudge served as an RCAF pilot during World War II, then became a master mariner and captain of the minesweeper, Revelstoke, before pursuing work as an air traffic controller and then as captain of a CN ferry in Newfoundland; and

Whereas on Friday, April 5, 2002, Captain Murdoch M. Fudge passed away; and

Whereas during the last 10 years Captain Murdoch M. Fudge faithfully and cheerfully served as a commissionaire at the Dennis Building here on Granville Street;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Legislature extend their condolences to Captain Murdoch Fudge's widow, Mildred, his grieving friends and family.

[Page 8308]

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. 3104

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

Whereas the East Coast Music Awards were held recently in Saint John, New Brunswick; and

Whereas Cape Breton artists, Bruce Guthro, Jimmy Rankin and Natalie MacMaster were among the big winners; and

Whereas the East Coast Music Awards is one of the biggest music industry events in the country celebrating Atlantic Canadian contributions to music. and offering East Coast musicians an opportunity to showcase their talent to key people in the music industry;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate all ECMA winners and recognize the enormous talent that we have in Atlantic 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.

[Page 8309]

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 3105

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

Whereas five years ago Liberal Governments at the federal and provincial level gave Orenda Aerospace 18 million taxpayer dollars, with no strings attached, to set up an engine plant in Debert where employment is less than one-tenth of that promised; and

[2:45 p.m.]

Whereas the Office of Economic Development will not say how much it is still owed of the $9.3 million in funding the province gave to Orenda, although a shaky Orenda admits it has paid back very little of the money; and

Whereas like many companies in the past, Orenda could collapse leaving Nova Scotia holding the bag for millions, yet the Minister of Economic Development refuses to stop giving out no strings attached money to the corporate world;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Economic Development learn from the Orenda fiasco and implement an accountable funding strategy for economic development that ties all government funding directly to job creation.

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 The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 3106

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

[Page 8310]

Whereas the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board has appointed Duncan Gould to the position of Coordinator, First Nations Cultural Services, for its region; and

Whereas this position is the first of its kind in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Mr. Gould recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Community Services with honours from UCCB where he majored in Mi'kmaq studies and communications;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Duncan Gould on being appointed Coordinator, First Nations Cultural Services for the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board, a first in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

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 the House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole House on Supply unto Her Majesty.

[Page 8311]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with two of my colleagues. I just want to make a couple of comments about what I would call loose representations of the facts that have occurred by members of the Opposition, particularly the Leader of the New Democratic Party, last week.

Last Friday, Mr. Speaker, the NDP caucus did meet with Deputy Tom Ward to talk about long-range planning and some data that the Department of Health has that helps it with decision making. It was essentially a presentation which was given two or three times a couple of weeks ago down in the Valley. You may remember that the NDP had asked for a copy of the presentation that Dr. Ward and Dr. Elliott had made. It was refused saying, we don't want to give you the straight copy of it without the explanation. So the NDP caucus did arrange, in conjunction with our department, to receive that information last Friday.

The Leader of the Opposition misrepresented the purpose of that meeting, Mr. Speaker, and indicated it was for a purpose for which it was not. After the presentation, he continued to misrepresent it and, unfortunately, the misrepresentation is public. It doesn't help anybody in the province when people, I think, in this case, probably knowing better, misrepresent the purpose of meetings and what they are supposed to do.

Mr. Speaker, I find that, in that case, the actions of the Leader of the Opposition, in response to that meeting, and actually before it, the public statements that are attributed to him, were not right. My department tries to be open and share information with all members of the Legislature and with the public to foster better understanding. It does absolutely no good for anybody to misrepresent vital information. I find that the action of the Leader of the Opposition, in relation to that meeting last Friday between the NDP caucus and the Deputy Minister of Health, Tom Ward, to be an affront to all members of the Legislature and indeed to all Nova Scotians. Mr. Speaker, I now pass my time on to the member for Kings West.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. JON CAREY: To continue on with what the Minister of Health has just talked about, this is an area that I represent and we've had rallies going on in the Valley which everyone in this House knows about. We've met with the people, we've tried to put the facts on the table and to be sure that they were well informed. We've tried to represent our people and the minister has been very open and has taken our suggestions and looked at the various avenues that would give us fairness in the Valley. We're not asking for anything more than that and we've been assured that we will get that and I believe we will.

However, on Friday when I had the radio on going home from here, when I hear the Leader of the Opposition stating that the Valley is not going to receive proper funding and is not going to get this and that, that he's had a meeting with Dr. Ward, I find it was very

[Page 8312]

distressing to me. I contacted the Department of Health and Dr. Ward was very helpful and willing to go on radio to say that he did not say what the Leader of the Opposition had said, that he was being misrepresented. So I find it very distressing that the Leader of the Opposition would not be responsible. (Interruptions) I believe that our Minister of Health is an honourable gentleman and has always used me fairly and I expect he would do the same.

As I heard this news report I couldn't believe it the first time so I listened to it - I had the, I guess you could call it privilege, of hearing it three times on the way home and it just was misleading to the people, it's upsetting to the seniors and those who are not well informed and it just causes distress in an area that I feel is irresponsible to our people. It's just fear mongering.

The Leader of the Opposition knows that there's an audit going on in our area and he knows that nothing is settled because it can't be settled until the results of the audit are in, so I just find it incredible that he would make such statements. I realize in the House you cannot call anyone a liar and I wouldn't do that, but I will tell you, being from an agricultural area, if we in the Valley see a duck and it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, then we think it's a duck. (Applause) So, I thank you and I will pass my remaining time on to my colleague, the member for Kings North.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

MR. MARK PARENT: A man was suffering from the flu and he went to visit his family doctor and he was telling his family doctor how he recovered from the flu and he said once he felt the flu coming on, he went to bed and took a bottle of whiskey with him and within four hours it was finished - the whiskey, not the flu. We've begun in this budget, I think, to recover from the flu and even to wean ourselves off the whiskey of excessive spending. I think this is important and it's important for the very reason that it will allow us to properly finance the social programs that we all hold so dear as Nova Scotians. We in the Valley believe in a balanced budget, we believe in spending what we have and not spending more than we have, so we're very committed to that.

I know that there are Opposition members who find that concept very hard to understand and they want to spend more than they have, but in spite of their difficulty in understanding these things, we do understand it and we understand it in the Valley.

In the Valley, we've been working for fairness in health care funding, as has been obvious to all people, and to seek this fairness within a balanced budget. We've been very vocal on seeking this fairness, and we've been well received by the Minister of Health who, too, wants fairness in funding, not only for the Valley region but for all the DHAs across the area. I do find it distressing, as does my honourable colleague, when this is misrepresented and when inaccurate comments are made and figures are put out there, because it makes it very difficult to seek this fairness that my honourable colleague and I are seeking.

[Page 8313]

I think I want to back up, I do back up the comments the minister has made and that my honourable colleague, the member for Kings West, has made, and would encourage the Opposition, who have a legitimate right to have differences of opinion about things, to stick to fairness and to stick to accuracy in their comments. I want to thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the chance to go on record on this important issue.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Just a reminder, again, to all members to please shut off their cellphones while they are in the House.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to speak going into Supply. The first thing I want to tell the members opposite is that every single word I said was right, was true, was correct. Every single word was right. (Interruptions) Do you know something? The members over there don't even know why they're here. They're here to stand up on behalf of their constituents, and if the member for Kings West had a little bit of fortitude he would stand up for his constituents, because that's why he's here. That's why he's here, and he refuses to do that. He decides instead that he's going to sit in his place and accept what's happening in his community. That's wrong. It's wrong. He should take a lesson from the member for Shelburne, and stand up on behalf of his constituents. They don't know why they're here.

Mr. Speaker, I will tell you something, the members on this bench, they know why they're here: we're here to protect the people of Nova Scotia from the likes of those fellows over there, those rascals, because what they want to do is they want to strip health services out of our communities, they want to close down programming. Those rascals over there, as the member for Kings North used to say - and I want to tell them even more, because I didn't tell them everything on Friday. I took the time to point out to Dr. Ward that the data on which he was making the cuts to the Valley and advising the minister were wrong, were faulty, and those concerns are expressed by CIHI itself. It's on their Web site. They had hospitals in Ontario that went back and readjusted their data, because they knew their data reflected how they were going to be funded, so they went through and did adjustments.

Mr. Speaker, when I raised it with the deputy minister, he said, well, of course people are going to game the system, but we assume that everybody is gaming the system. Can you imagine? Their data is wrong, and they think it's wrong because everybody is going to be putting in wrong data, so therefore it's somehow going to balance itself out. That's ridiculous. It's ridiculous, and the Minister of Health should know that. You ask him. You ask him yourselves. (Interruptions) Nobody misrepresented anything.

The Minister of Health has been the biggest misrepresentation of the state of the health care system in this province. He doesn't seem to realize how long people are waiting in waiting rooms; he doesn't seem to realize that access to family physicians is a chronic

[Page 8314]

problem in rural Nova Scotia; he doesn't seem to realize the effect that his cuts have had on programming in this province.

Mr. Speaker, I will tell you something, we know because that's why we're here, and we are going to keep it up. We are going to keep the pressure on that minister, and we're going to make sure that people in rural Nova Scotia are protected. (Interruptions) The people on this side understand that government can and should make a positive difference in people's lives instead of what these fellows are doing - destroying services and pulling programs out of communities. We understand that it's not enough to cut and slash your way, that you have to actually have some good ideas that are going to have positive effects on the people of Nova Scotia, and that's what we're doing. (Interruptions) There is the member for Dartmouth South . . .

[3:00 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. It's only early on Monday as well. The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition has the floor and I would ask the honourable members to give him the same courtesy that he gives to other members when they're speaking.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, you know what they say, you throw a stone into a pack of dogs and you hear a yelp, you know you hit something. That's why they're so loud, because they don't like what they're hearing because they're hearing the truth. They're hearing the truth and they don't like it one little bit. (Interruptions) You're darn right, I didn't, misrepresent anything. We're here to protect families. We're here to protect women, children, and men across this province in the desperate need for more and better services at transition homes, women's centres, and men's programs, not less of those services, which is what these fellows want to do.

We know why we're here. We're here because we know it's wrong, Mr. Speaker, to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars painting closets, big screen TVs. We know that those are not the priorities that this government should have. And we're here to stand up for seniors, seniors who have the choice between buying groceries and buying medicine, thanks to this government here, the increased Pharmacare tactics. You know, if only it were only what that member says, the reality is that the people who elected this government are the ones who are being hit most dramatically by the actions that they have taken.

Mr. Speaker, we're here to stand up for people like Lesley Anne Doucet, when this government tried to take away what she needed in order to have a decent standard of living, to get the food that she needed to survive, when these fellows across the floor were dedicated to not meeting the needs of that young person. We know why we're here. We're here to ensure that children have healthy schools to learn in. That's why we're here; we're not quite sure why the members over there are there because they refuse to meet the challenges on a

[Page 8315]

day-in and day-out basis. They are unable to summon the strength of character, the strength to do the things that they should do to protect the people of this province.

Mr. Speaker, we're here for families who are struggling to make ends meet in the face of hundreds of millions of dollars of new user fees and taxes that have been implemented by this government. We're here to speak up for those people, and the Minister of Health, the member for Kings West and the member for Kings North, they want to silence us. We will not be quiet; we will have our say and we will stand up on behalf of the people of this province and you can be certain of it.

Mr. Speaker, we're here to speak up on behalf of the Arts Council. We're here to speak on behalf of the arts community who had to suffer through (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order.

MR. DEXTER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I know certainly that it is sometimes difficult to hear in this Chamber, but you know when you're striking a cord. And when they have to deal with what it is they're doing they don't like it one bit, because we are going to speak up on behalf of the arts community and we are not going to let this government get away with the actions that they've taken - moving in, padlocking the doors, not listening to the arts community, putting in place their own mechanisms so that they can take control of the endowment fund. We are going to speak out on behalf of the arts community because that is why we are here. We are here to represent the concerns of the people of the arts community, as well as other Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, we're here to speak up for the special-needs child who's struggling to get an education in the classroom where there are no supports for her. We're here to speak up on behalf of those children who are looking to their government to provide them with the support that they need to be able to get an education. We know that need is not being adequately met in this province today. We intend to continue to speak up because that, most assuredly, is why we are here.

Mr. Speaker, we are going to speak out and ensure that Nova Scotians aren't gouged by skyrocketing insurance rates, another thing that comes about as a result of the actions of this government. We're going to make sure that Nova Scotians are heard on the issues of the day. That is, in fact, why we're here. We are going to speak out on behalf of coastal property owners who are seeing their assessments go through the roof. They have a right to hear from the government as to why they intend to do the things that they are doing. Why is the government prepared to allow those people to be chased off their land; land, in some cases, that has been in their families for generations. We do intend to speak up on behalf of them and we are not going to allow those members over there to stop us from doing our job. They don't like it, but I have to tell them, they're going to hear from us.

[Page 8316]

Mr. Speaker, we know that the Nova Scotia Government, regardless of its stripe, must stand up and ensure that Nova Scotians are the primary beneficiaries of their offshore resources; in fact, of all our natural resources. We intend to continue to speak on this. We intend to tell this government that they shouldn't be supporting a royalty agreement put in place by the former government that sees to it that Nova Scotians do not receive the benefits that they are entitled to. Why is it that we make less in this province off our offshore resources than the government makes in one month from the VLTs? Why is that? Why is this government prepared to accept it? Why is it that natural gas is being burned in New England and in New Brunswick but not in Nova Scotian homes? Why is it that the benefits like the jobs on the Alma Platform are in Louisiana instead of in Halifax and in Cape Breton and in Pictou and in other parts of this province?

Mr. Speaker, we are not satisfied and we say the people of Nova Scotia are not satisfied, and that's why we're here, to speak up on their behalf, and we are going to be here day in and day out, because Nova Scotians need somebody on their side. They need somebody working to improve their lives, to improve their communities where they live, where they work, where they get an education, where they receive their health care services. Those people need somebody on their side and that's why we're here. The reason why we're here is because the people of Nova Scotia - they don't see it over there, and they sure as heck don't see it over here - they don't hear, in most cases, from their own members. That's why it is that it's the task of the New Democratic Party and the task of the members of this caucus to stand up and to speak on behalf of the people of Nova Scotia who are not being represented by their own MLA in these matters.

Yet, Mr. Speaker, when somebody tries to push for a decent funding formula for health services in the Valley, what do they do? They stand up and they criticize, instead of standing up on behalf of their own constituents. It's a shame. They should put the energy into standing up on behalf of their constituents. That's what they should be doing. You know, they are going to have an opportunity because this budget's going to come along and the members for Kings North, Kings South and Kings West are going to have an opportunity to either vote for or against the budget that's going to have profound consequences on the services delivered in their community.

In the end, maybe the member for Kings West will be right. Maybe it isn't carved in stone and maybe the government will do something to help preserve those services, and if they do, it won't be because of what that member did and it won't be because of what the member for Kings North has done. It will be because of the battle that was fought on behalf of those people by the members of this caucus. That's why we're here. (Applause)

[Page 8317]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to stand and speak. I found it interesting listening to the member who just spoke, I don't know if it's his campaign election program well underway. Time will tell when the member for Hants East has a chance to get up and speak as well, unless he's only going to hog the puck in the front bench for the whole time. It's easy to sit and criticize; it's harder to come up with some solutions. Gosh only knows it's easy to criticize this government because they've made so many mistakes since they've been in power.

I think one of the areas that we should be talking about in this particular opportunity to respond to the budget is the fact that this government has missed so many great opportunities on behalf of the province and the people of the Province of Nova Scotia. This is a government that has missed opportunities to turn what they consider as being the black day of Nova Scotia to a day when we can have prosperity and opportunity. This is a day when we should be talking about clear options for people to start growing and expanding the economic base of the Province of Nova Scotia. This is a day when we should be talking about the ability to improve our educational component so that children are going to be coming into the education system able to take over and run this province.

These are opportunities that this government seems to have forgotten. I don't see anybody really talking about those during this session. I too can get fairly upset about some of the issues - and we will talk about them later on - and some of the poor judgment decisions this government has made.

Let's take a look at Economic Development. We have a province that is poised for economic prosperity in the future. I've heard the argument about somebody holding a vial up years ago and nothing's been done for so long and why hasn't anything been done because of the current government's mismanagement or somebody else's mismanagement. Well, it was under a Liberal Government that started the offshore by the private sector, not by paying $0.5 billion for NSRL to get going, but by having a $3 billion offshore play come to Nova Scotia. That was an important initiative. What we need to start doing as a government and as Nova Scotians and as a Legislature, is talk about how do we expand that opportunity so we can create more jobs in Nova Scotia, create more economic opportunity, more wealth potential for this province, more tax revenue for this province.

That's the type of thing, that's what this government should be looking at. The NDP will continually sit back and criticize and yang about anything they want to yang about because they've never had to make a decision and God only help us if they ever have to make a decision in the Province of Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid on a point of order.

[Page 8318]

MR. JOHN HOLM: No, Mr. Speaker. I was just wondering if the member, the former minister, would entertain a very brief question?

MR. SPEAKER: Would the honourable member for Lunenburg West entertain a question from the honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid?

MR. DOWNE: Absolutely not, Mr. Speaker, I have only a few minutes. And the other thing, Mr. Speaker, I think I have the floor, don't I?

MR. HOLM: Yes, Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I understand quite clearly why that member would not entertain a question.

MR. SPEAKER: It's not a point of order. The honourable member for Lunenburg West has the floor.

MR. DOWNE: I hope the member is happy now, he's played his little game. The reality is that Nova Scotians are concerned about the future of this province, they're concerned about jobs and opportunity. They're not interested to hear the pathetic approach that some MLAs in this Chamber want to take. Let's talk about the missed opportunities for economic development in this province. I will give you an example. Why isn't the government doing more to meet with the industry and the players to find solutions to why we haven't gotten all the contracts we want to get? Why aren't we doing more? Why isn't the government doing more in playing a role as a facilitator to find solutions to problems instead of just turning its eye and its back toward the problem that is there?

[3:15 p.m.]

I think the issue is really that either the government has no vision or direction or they really don't care. If they really did care, why wouldn't they say, look, we are not just going to simply listen to the staff around us; we will go out and meet with the industry people, whether it's forestry or offshore or agriculture or any of those, and find solutions. They are not necessarily ones that cost money for government, as the member for Kings North was saying, that it's money. Well, it's not necessarily always money. Sometimes it's opening economic opportunities. Even the member who was just ready to play some political games here, when he was in Houston he explained very well that what we need to start doing is dealing with industry, with government, in an all-Party approach so that we can create wealth. He said that to me, not anybody else. I'm saying why aren't we talking about those opportunities in this Legislature? We're afraid to, I guess. But I think Nova Scotians are looking to people to find solutions and not simply say, no, there is no opportunity.

I want to say that this particular budget is going to be an important one for the backbenchers, because the backbenchers of this province have a question they have to ask themselves. Do they support the priorities of what this government has said its new direction

[Page 8319]

for the future of Nova Scotia truly is? I know some who are there saying maybe it is. But I've also heard some of them say, no, this isn't the right budget. This is not the right approach. When one takes a look at the fact that - I'm sure that tomorrow and on Thursday the new, young, minted Minister of Tourism and Culture will start understanding that the way they handle and show lack of respect for the arts community will come back to him, and he will sit back and realize that maybe he made a mistake.

We're not talking about money; we're talking about respect for a cultural community, the arts and cultural community of Nova Scotia. I think that minister maybe got bad advice. He didn't take advice from people he should have listened to, or maybe he just did it on his own, but nevertheless, it's the Minister of Finance and his colleagues who agreed to that strategy. I'm sure that when they sat down and hammered out a budget, that minister brought in a proposal for what he said, in his mind, would save $200,000 or $300,000. That whole front bench, whether they want to agree or not, will bless the OIC that went to Cabinet, the OIC that talked about restructuring his department. That whole front bench would have agreed, every minister would have agreed, that that's the way it should be done.

Although everybody's after the minister, and I've been after him pretty darn good myself, people in Nova Scotia should not forget it's the whole front bench that, in fact, supported that. I don't know if everybody on the backbench agrees with it, but I think they have a chance to make a decision one way or the other if they want to. If they don't, they should be making their voices heard, as will Nova Scotians this Thursday.

Transition houses, facilities for women, facilities for men - we have had very compassionate discussions in this House about that issue. We're talking about the fact of where this government's priorities truly are. Quite frankly, besides not having the ideas on how to grow and create new wealth and grow the economy, they also seem to have shown their true colours on what they believe are priorities in society.

They don't believe in the arts community being an independent arm and able to deal with the community independently as what they believe is right. They don't believe in that. They don't believe in the fact that facilities like Harbour House, Second Story and men's centres, and centres like that throughout all Nova Scotia, are important. It wasn't all that long ago when monies for charities were disbanded, very early in their mandate, that those dollars coming from casino revenues for charities weren't going to be an important issue for food banks.

So what we're seeing here is a government that, number one, really doesn't show very much compassion at all for any of those who are going through the hardest time in society, whether it's because of sexual abuse, or physical abuse, or psychological abuse. It doesn't seem they have a priority about the poor, the people who are going to the food bank to survive. They don't seem to have a priority about the social safety nets of society that are there to help people who are trying to make a transition for themselves. They don't seem to

[Page 8320]

have a priority on the other side for the business community and economic growth in the Province of Nova Scotia. So I really don't understand what this government's views are.

What is their plan coming into this House? We didn't even have a Speech from the Throne. We didn't even have a direction of what this government is all about and what their new plan will be for this upcoming year. You know, at best, they could save themselves - maybe they're just holding the fort down. Well, I don't think they're holding the fort down very well. I believe opportunities are being missed in Nova Scotia to the extent that in generations to come people will realize that we've missed the boat; we're missing the boat economically.

There are business people in that caucus and if they missed a deal, they would fight to try to find out, number one, why and, number two, they would try to fight to see if they could win it back. But what do we see with this government? They're kind of like, oh, well, so what, we'll just let it go, we'll just let it slide away, and that is wrong. That is wrong of that government not to start fighting for Nova Scotians. It's almost like that government would rather fight Nova Scotians than stand up and fight for the rights of Nova Scotians, instead of standing up and fighting for the rights of Nova Scotians and the rights of the poor and the rights of the battered women and children and the rights of those who have no say in society to the degree that they do. (Interruptions)

Mr. Speaker, I've heard people on all sides of the political spectrum talk about the needs of individuals and I've heard individuals speak very eloquently about the need of helping battered individuals who are in, for example, women's centres and safe houses. I've heard the concern of people talk with all the compassion in the world. I mean it's not just an NDP realm. I've heard Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, NDP, all sorts of people talk about it, people who are not even in politics talk about it. The problem is it's not a matter of what your political stripe is, the problem is what your political agenda is, and their political agenda is not for the people. It's for someone else, and that's what's sad. That's what's sad about what this government is missing. It's missing the opportunities of showing leadership and showing a principle and an attitude toward what this province is all about.

This government is also showing, in regard to health care - they had all the answers. They had all the answers with regard to whether it was education, health care or economic development, and we have not seen that. They had the answers and the expectations prior to 1999 when people believed everything they said. They had it all figured out. Well, the reality is that I think Nova Scotians are saying, as they scratch their heads and take a look at what this government is doing, borrowing $100 million more than they're spending.

Everything is fine, health care has got problems, I've got a pediatric ward down in Bridgewater, at the South Shore Regional Hospital, that is now being collapsed and the parents of those sick children are wondering what's going to happen to them. We've got problems in education on the South Shore, where people are saying to the minister, why

[Page 8321]

aren't we able to deal with the issue of even having the separation between the two boards legitimized and they won't do it, even at a saving of $100,000 a year to the government and they say no.

This government is not being decisive and not going forward with the future of this province. Do you know what? Each and every one of us are responsible for not holding them accountable for those initiatives. They dare to be bold, they dare to try, they dare to move this province in the direction that they promised.

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

The motion is carried.

[3:26 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Supply with Deputy Speaker Mr. Jerry Pye in the Chair.]

[7:27 p.m. CWH on Supply rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Murray Scott, resumed the Chair.]

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

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call 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. 112.

Bill No. 112 - Gas Distribution Act.

[Page 8322]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister responsible for the Petroleum Directorate.

HON. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, honourable members, I would like to take a few moments this evening to talk to you about the principles behind the bill which was introduced to this House earlier this session. First, we're at this point today because the previous system failed. I think all members of this House, in fact all Nova Scotians, I believe, felt in their hearts that there was a basic advantage to natural gas, and that basic advantage would convince Nova Scotians that they should immediately move to this new source of fuel.

Nova Scotian consumers wanted to see clearly that there was an economic advantage before they invested in a new furnace or changed the way in which they cooked meals or dried their clothes. In point of fact, Mr. Speaker, a fluctuation in price in the last year and a half made it very difficult for Nova Scotians, in fact for Atlantic Canadians, to see that it made economic sense for them to convert to natural gas. Sempra's very optimistic projections began to crumble very early on. Even when the prices moved back to a more normal and acceptable range it was clear that Sempra would not be able to meet their commitments. They just simply were not economically viable.

So, with the abandonment of the franchise by Sempra, the government was left with the task of trying to rewrite the rules for gas distribution in a way that made sense for the people of Nova Scotia. In fact, to determine exactly what those rules should look like, we, as a government, consulted far and wide. Mr. Speaker, the energy strategy which this province introduced not that long ago is reflective of what we have heard and, in fact, that energy strategy is being recognized nationally and internationally as a fine piece of work in terms of putting together a comprehensive energy strategy.

[7:30 p.m.]

We laid down a path that was firmly against subsidies, Mr. Speaker. There is no reason why the general taxpayer in this province should subsidize the fuel choice for a minority. Natural gas will come to those communities on the same basis that any other business operates in this province; that is, when it makes economic sense and customers justify the investment, then it will come. Having made the decision to proceed on a commercially and economically sound basis, we've made a number of decisions that balance the need for the distributor to make a reasonable profit and the need to protect communities and consumers from the potential of a monopoly.

One of the solutions is only to allow a distributor a monopoly in a territory that it is likely to serve in a reasonable period of time. Now, some would suggest the reasonable period of time might be five years or six years or seven. The problem is, Mr. Speaker, there are a lot of upfront, front-end loaded costs to develop a distribution system. Building a customer base takes time. The build-out of systems elsewhere has, in fact, taken decades, so we have decided on 10 years as being a reasonable time frame to allow a distributor to

[Page 8323]

recover capital investments and make opportunities available into the future. In fact, if there should be an abuse of this time frame, the public has a right to ask the Utility and Review Board to intervene on their behalf so consumers are protected.

I would also note that the system we are proposing is one that is called an open access system. This means that a community outside the border of the franchise that wants its own franchise cannot be cut off. They simply need to apply to a board for a connection to the neighbouring franchise to get access to gas. So under the plan that we are proposing, Mr. Speaker, communities that want access to gas and are not part of the original franchise can move forward. Other significant highlights in this bill include the fact that the sale of natural gas itself remains open to competition. The distributor will be allowed to sell gas directly during a seven-year development period, but others may market gas as well. That issue was one of concern to Sempra. We have also worked out ways in which we can make the rules and the system simpler. Interim tolls can be set and expanding a franchise area can happen more easily.

Finally, we settled the issue of how large industrial users will gain access. We believe we have a significant advantage in being close to a natural gas supply. We can avoid transportation costs, Mr. Speaker. We want to use that advantage to help grow our economy and create jobs. We also understand that a local distributor needs a large energy user to achieve a reasonable year-round load on the system. If you or I or residential Nova Scotians were to hook up to natural gas, we would have high demand in winter, of course - to run your furnace and heat your home - but relatively low demand during the summer season. Those large commercial users will help to create an economic franchise model. So amidst all these competing demands, we made a couple of fundamental decisions.

First, the critical Goldboro advantage is preserved. Large industrial users will be able to connect directly with an offshore supply of gas before it goes into the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline. If it makes sense, a user in Guysborough or the Strait of Canso can connect directly to a gas supply before it goes into Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline's system, Mr. Speaker. Our industrial advantage is thus preserved. Second, we will allow connects to Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline outside of the franchise area. A local distributor's decision not to serve an area will not in and of itself be a barrier to service. It makes economic sense for large energy users to propose their own line outside of a franchise area that they will be able to do so. However, when it comes to a direct connect or bypass, the local distributor within the franchise area will be protected.

Mr. Speaker, that cannot happen for a 10 year period. This period of time will allow the local distributor to hook up as many large customers as possible to give their system the kind of balanced year-round load they will need to make it economic. It will ensure the distributor can count on being able to serve potential customers within the franchise area. In closing, I would also note that the definition of what is economically viable today can, quite possibly, change in the future. New discoveries of natural gas off our coast may well result

[Page 8324]

in new landing points for offshore gas. We could see a new landing point somewhere in southwestern Nova Scotia or, in fact, in Cape Breton.

Mr. Speaker, remember the energy strategy which I mentioned at the beginning of my remarks. It makes it a policy that all pipelines carrying Nova Scotia offshore gas must land onshore in Nova Scotia before going to market. I can tell you that the proponents that have come forward talking about the opportunity to develop infrastructure off our shore to deliver our gas all have recognized this fact. A new landing point could allow a distributor, or distributors for that matter, to add new services in regions within the province.

Mr. Speaker, I believe that this bill sets the stage for a sound and long-term policy that will result in benefits to Nova Scotia homes and to Nova Scotia businesses. We're already using a significant part of our offshore natural resources in Nova Scotia. The amendments before you today will broaden that use and result in a more competitive energy environment. In closing, in the spirit of co-operation, I believe it's in the best interests of all Nova Scotians to move this bill forward as quickly as possible so that we can then proceed to the URB process and ultimately determine who may be interested in receiving this franchise to distribute gas in Nova Scotia in the near term. So, in closing, I would like to table the regulations which, in fact, are a very critical part of the new policies and the Act that we will be considering.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid. (Applause)

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleagues for that really rousing applause. I want to say a few words this evening as we proceed on the bill and, first of all, I wanted to say to the minister, I appreciate the fact that he did table the regulations. I had spoken to the minister last week and the minister had indicated when we were talking that he would look favourably upon tabling the regulations because, quite truthfully, the Act by itself is a pretty hollow shell without taking a look at the regulations. The real meat and potatoes are in there and if we are, in fact, trying to encourage companies, co-operatives, municipalities, those who have expressed an interest in considering applying for a franchise, to do so, then obviously the full-meal deal has got to be on the table and the meat and potatoes really is in the regulations, so I am pleased that they were brought forward.

Mr. Speaker, as I begin, I have to touch upon a couple of things that the minister said. For example, in his opening remarks he sort of almost like blamed it on the consumers for the fact that we don't have a distribution system right now because he was saying that Nova Scotians wanted to see that there was a clean, economical advantage to switching to natural gas when the reality is, of course, that Nova Scotians haven't had the opportunity to look at it or to consider it because it hasn't been available. I mean you can consider it. I've considered it. I've thought about it. I'm interested in the fact that I might be able to get rid of an oil tank and the potential environmental harm there, but I can think about it all I want, unless there is gas available and a franchise distribution system in place that can actually

[Page 8325]

deliver it to the homes and the industries across this province, that's all you're doing - thinking about it but you don't give it very serious thought until there is going to be a system in place.

The minister talked about rewriting the rules and I will come back to this, but in a sense, what the government is actually doing is going back to revisit, going back to the future, going back to look at a discussion paper - and I've got one a copy in my hand right now, a copy of the discussion paper - that was prepared by Stikeman Elliott in association with Ziff Energy Group for the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources. They recommended back in 1996 that a lot of the things that are being proposed in this legislation, in fact, be done. Issues that we in this caucus have been arguing in favour of for a long time. For example, the bundling or, for example, disallowing the direct industrial bypasses. These are things that were unheeded by the former government and quite honestly, when this government was sworn in to office, they accepted what the former government had adopted and they accepted the Sempra - yes, I will yield the floor, just let me finish this sentence, Mr. Speaker - they also accepted the terms and conditions that were laid out in that contract and so therefore the government bought in wholeheartedly to the plan that was doomed to fail from the very beginning. With those few brief remarks to begin, I will yield the floor because I think somebody wants to make an introduction, is it?

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. The honourable Leader of the Opposition would like to make an introduction.

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: I want to thank the member for Sackville-Cobequid because I know that he was just getting warmed up with respect to the regulations. He speaks only briefly, as you all know, but it carries great weight and meaning.

Mr. Speaker, it's my pleasure to introduce to the House members of the 5th Cole Harbour Venture Company who are joining us this evening and I understand there is Peter Harvey, Daniel MacIsaac, Alan Irvin, Chris Soulis and scouter, Anthony MacIsaac. These folks do great work in the Cole Harbour area and I'm glad they could be here with us tonight, especially to see such important debate as that's going on here this evening. So, I would ask the House to extend to them the usual welcome. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: I welcome our special guests to the gallery this evening. The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

MR. HOLM: Thank you and when my colleague was saying that I'm known to speak for a few minutes or make a few brief remarks, what people in the gallery may not know is when I take to my feet and I say that I wish to speak for a few minutes, that normally means that they're in for an hour of listening to me. I'm not sure that I'm going to inflict that much on them tonight, but I don't know until I sit down.

[Page 8326]

I want to go back if I could though and take a brief look at a number of things. It's going to be very brief for me. Nova Scotians - and here's part of the problem - have been told and have been promised for so long that we're going to be reaping such tremendous benefits from the offshore development that they have become disillusioned. We can talk about royalties and the minister knows, the Minister of Finance knows, the Minister of Finance probably better than most, that for example, the 2 cents that he imposed on gasoline - actually 2.3 cents because HST is added on - so that 2.3 cents that they have added on is going to generate three to four times more in way of revenue for the province than we get in royalties from a product, our gas, coming out of our offshore which would have a value of well in excess of $1 billion.

So we're not getting rich. If that money had been available, we would be getting a lot more. Nova Scotians wouldn't be getting cut and slashed by the cut of a thousand knives in terms of cuts of programs, health, education, transition house funding. My colleague might not have had to search as hard as he did today to find an extra $1 million that the government didn't know it had stashed away in the budget, because we would have more money to make available for those projects.

[7:45 p.m.]

We haven't gotten what we were promised in the way of royalties or what we were led to believe. In terms of jobs, we have received some employment. There's no question about that; jobs have been created in Nova Scotia and, hopefully, many more will. Many of those jobs are short term, others are longer in duration. But, Mr. Speaker, even this Tory Government, when they were on this side of House, agreed with us, in the Official Opposition at the time, that the agreement that the former Liberals had entered into in the Sable project, which was going to provide 29 per cent to 30 per cent Nova Scotia benefits, was inadequate. They agreed. Do you know, we haven't heard them standing up when we hear that PanCanadian is proposing 18 per cent Nova Scotia benefits.

I've said it before and I will say it again, the minister should be prepared to tell PanCanadian - or whoever is going to be occupying that seat whenever the Cabinet shuffle takes place, maybe the same minister, maybe another, but that minister has the ability to say to PanCanadian and they could say it right now, no, we will not agree with, we will not approve your development plan if the percentage of benefits coming to Nova Scotia isn't greatly increased, because we haven't gotten our full fair share of benefits and advantages.

I would suggest to the minister that industrial Cape Breton would be an ideal site for the location of many jobs that could come from, for example, in fabrication and roll-out platforms. I might even be able to suggest to the minister a site where it could be done in Cape Breton. Sydport is one site, maybe even Sysco.

[Page 8327]

Mr. Speaker, industries, businesses are locating elsewhere using our natural resources, our gas. Power plants are being built in the States. People in New Brunswick and the U.S. are burning our natural gas while we sit, we wait and we watch, and they have a competitive advantage against Nova Scotia businesses, often because they have access to our natural gas, which we don't. Years have gone by. Industries, businesses that have considered coming to Nova Scotia, the Minister of Economic Development would know that one of the disadvantages in trying to attract them here versus elsewhere is that they know here we don't have the natural gas.

Mr. Speaker, natural gas can be a tremendous advantage, and it can be a tremendous boost in developing industry, for example, even in areas like rural Nova Scotia, it's not only the big industrial parks that can benefit. I remember a few years ago I had the opportunity to go out to Alberta and to travel around looking at a number of the gas distribution systems. I don't profess that I had the wisdom on my own, and it's not too hard to convince my colleagues in the House that if I had any wisdom at all in what I was saying at any time I must have spoken to someone who gave me the idea. When I toured around in those areas, particularly rural areas, far flung from the urban centres, you came across thriving communities, thriving businesses that would not have been possible if natural gas wasn't available, and industries that couldn't develop in urban areas. Examples of the kinds of things that I looked at were, obviously, large greenhouses, even peat moss operations, where the peat moss could be dried and a year-round operation underway because of the availability of natural gas. That created important long-term, year-round jobs in these rural communities. It could also be, in Nova Scotia, important for that aquaculture industry, for example, and all kinds of other industries that could benefit from it.

Obviously, Mr. Speaker, natural gas has tremendous potential to help to develop industry. One of the concerns with this legislation that is before us is that the way that it is set up, obviously many parts, if not all, of rural Nova Scotia are going to be waiting a very long time to get that gas. They could be waiting a long time as those franchises roll out.

Mr. Speaker, one of my obvious concerns in that is that it will mean rural areas in this province will continue to be placed at an economic disadvantage to the larger urban areas, because I am, frankly, quite sure that whoever is going to be applying for franchises - one of the first places that they are going to try to cherry-pick is metro and the areas where we have industrial parks and large, heavily concentrated populations. So, obviously, they will have the advantage in getting it first.

I agree with the minister in that the Utility and Review Board, the URB, is anxious or would be anxious to get this legislation passed in a hurry and the regulations in place, because without those it's sort of difficult for them to start to schedule hearings or notify would-be potential franchise holders when those hearings will be held and under what terms and conditions companies can apply for licences. So, obviously, the URB needs that information, so too do the potential companies, whether it be SaskEnergy or somebody else.

[Page 8328]

I don't expect Sempra to come back, Mr. Speaker, but you never know. I think that's what you call a real long shot. But those companies, co-operatives, municipalities - and in fact, there are some other companies that are looking at trying to facilitate and build models for municipalities, small urban centres and small communities that may not, in fact, be able to be connected to a line right away. They have other innovative ideas as to how they might be able to distribute natural gas in those areas, so they need to know.

The minister also knows that the agreement with SOEP, the Sable Offshore Energy Project, where they are agreeing to provide a guaranteed source of natural gas to Nova Scotia, expires at the end of this year. So whoever the franchise holders are or may be, they're going to want to be able to be in the field, so to speak, before the end of the year so that they will be able to start to negotiate and try to secure some long-term supply. There is no guarantee. Even though the majority of the gas that is now being produced at Sable is sold supposedly on short-term kinds of contracts, there is no guarantee - especially as more and more power plants are being built - to burn our natural gas in the United States - that they will not enter into long-term agreements with those U.S. power plants and others so that our gas is all committed and none is left for Nova Scotia. Of course, this government sold NSRL and our 8.4 per cent interest in that, Mr. Speaker, so we cannot use that as a guaranteed supply of natural gas for Nova Scotia. So they need to do that.

Another thing is the construction season, and companies and businesses are anxious to get rolling if they're going to be distributing natural gas. If franchises are not awarded, let's say, before the end of July, we've really passed the opportunity, this construction year, to do much, if anything, in terms of laying pipes in the ground to roll out a system. So it would put them back a year, Mr. Speaker. However, if a franchise is awarded soon, then it would be quite possible, in certain areas where there is pipe already in the ground, that natural gas could begin to flow into some Nova Scotia businesses, particularly in the Burnside Industrial Park, and to some selected homes.

Of course, Mr. Speaker, there is another reason. It's called the electoral cycle. Elections are coming in Nova Scotia sometime within the next two years. Some suggest that an election could be called as early as this Fall or next Spring. Heavens! Members opposite say, oh, heavens, I must start to get organized, Mr. Speaker, must start to get ready. Well, once you have passed the three-year time frame everybody better be starting to get ready because you know how governments operate, when the polls are right or they think they're right, then they go. Even John Buchanan had the habit of going - I think once he called an election and hadn't even been three years into his terms. Now this bunch, I don't really feel too worried because their popularity so far has been on the downturn rather than the upturn.

One of the things that they would be looking forward to try to boost a little bit of popularity would be to say, look, at least we got a gas distribution system now up and running and somebody in Nova Scotia, some homeowner - maybe we can get the Premier going to a hamburger joint and as a person who operates a hamburger joint turns a switch and

[Page 8329]

gas is burning in Nova Scotia. Great photo op, wonderful photo op. It would be a tremendous advantage to get something at least started. You can be darn sure, Mr. Speaker, that this government isn't going to want to be going too far down that electoral road while one more huge failure hangs around their neck.

Down in my notes here somewhere, Mr. Speaker, I even have the Tories blue book commitment. Oh yes, here it is. "Establish a comprehensive energy policy that includes all domestic energy sources and reduces our dependence on imported oil; our energy policy's central priority will be to ensure province-wide economic development, the lowest possible cost to consumers and businesses;" (Interruption) Province-wide. So now, we see, of course, that the Tories have backtracked from that because no longer is there commitment to a province-wide distribution system, it is only to those areas that are economically viable. (Interruption) As wide as the wallet, that's a good line. Now, in reality, there are some difficulties. I will pick on a couple of areas.

One, unfortunately, is Cape Breton. Now, we do have a line running to Cape Breton. I can't blame this one on the current government. But you know, members, good friends in the Liberal caucus made a little bit of fun of me when I was complaining about the line that was being laid to Cape Breton. I have to admit they took me by surprise because I had never heard of this environmental conservation body, I don't know that anybody had but it was somewhere on the books and it had the ability to give approval for transportation systems across bodies of water without any public consultation. Nobody knew of this body but the government somehow discovered that it was there, they appointed members to it, and one day down in the bunker, behind the red curtain, that line was approved.

A line that was 8 inches in diameter; they didn't have the inspection process in place so that line, when it eventually was laid, lo and behold when they do the tests, they discovered that the pipes had flaws. So that line could not carry the volume of gas and, in fact, for a while, quite some time, it was not permitted to be used, but when they did finally get permission from the National Energy Board to start to transport gas through that line, they had to reduce the pressure of the gas. So it's carrying what may be the equivalent of a 4-inch line could carry. They cannot increase the pressure on that line, nor can they compress it to make that pressure even higher - as we were told they going to be able to do in the beginning - to ensure that there was a ready supply of natural gas available to service industrial Cape Breton.

[8:00 p.m.]

So the only two ways, really, to get gas across would be one, to lay a new line, properly inspected and properly tested, so that we can get natural gas to Cape Breton, and that would cost, conservatively, $25 million to $30 million because you have to get the special pipe and bring in the special barges to be able to lay it and so on. Or the other chance would be for, and hopefully it will be, natural gas to be discovered in the Laurentian Sub-basin on Nova

[Page 8330]

Scotia's 16 per cent share that the minister said we did so well in getting. He had a Three Stooges tie on that day too. I couldn't resist that one.

If natural gas is found on our much-reduced share of the Laurentian Sub-basin and is pumped to Cape Breton then there will be gas available if it is shipped across the Island. The minister talks about the southern area and the gas might land there; sounds like the government has already decided that it's going to approve the El Paso line. Of course, the El Paso line would - if that is actually approved and goes ahead - create five and one- half jobs down in either Shelburne or Queens County, permanent jobs. Five and one-half I think is the correct number, and I see a head nodding across the way to confirm that is the number. If in fact the line does land down there, the gas would have had to have been processed offshore, so all of those jobs would have gone somewhere else, plus all the taxation, but then at least we could tap into that system and start to distribute in the southern region of the province.

Of course, if you do that and it is landed down there, then we are diluting the concentration of natural gas coming to shore in one area, for example in the Goldboro area. If you concentrate it together it makes the potential development of petrochemical and value-added industries much greater, and if you stagger the landing spots all over the province, you don't have that concentration of supply and it makes the development of those industries that much harder. I am not necessarily enamored with the idea of landing it at that site unless there is going to be, certainly, a lot more in the way of benefits flowing to that area and to the province as a whole.

The Sempra proposal, which was approved - and we have to remember what was very soon to follow the tabling of the regulations and the targets by the last government. Of course, the former government said that whoever got the franchise was going to have to be able to have natural gas available to 62 per cent of the province. Of course, that then would be leading - it's a very popular kind of a statement as you're heading into an election campaign. Sempra, of course, wanted to win it and Sempra came out and promised not only to meet it but to exceed it. In fact I was accused of being a naysayer, but when they were awarded that contract, I made the statement and I made it publicly. My statement was that Sempra will be back before the Utility and Review Board within the three years allotted to them to ask for an amendment to their franchise because it just wasn't economically viable as they had it laid out. It didn't take them that long.

Sempra said it was all because of the road shoulders; that was the main reason. That was a reason, it was a part of it, but I think it was a lot deeper than that. Part of it I think was when they realized that they were going to have to lay out over $1 billion and not getting any real return for at least 10 years, that's a heck of a lot of money to have sitting out there. Their shareholders might be scratching their heads and saying why do we make a commitment to invest so much money when we aren't getting a rate of return?

[Page 8331]

Now, Mr. Speaker, I believe that that was a good part of the reason back then why they decided that they were going to be pulling. Of course, there was a change in the senior management of Sempra's parent company back in California and I think that they just simply said, we want out and a $50 million loss now is a lot smaller than what it will be if we go ahead with the project and after 10 years only then do we begin to start to see that we might be getting a rate of return on our money. So, you know, I wasn't surprised, unfortunately, that Sempra pulled out, but they did have some other very legitimate concerns as did other companies that pulled out of the bidding process.

So I say to the minister and I say to the government that I am pleased that one of the key things that you're doing in this legislation is preventing direct industrial bypasses within a franchise area. I am very pleased about that and that is something that I have argued for as long as we have been talking about gas distribution in this House because without them you are taking off of that franchise distribution system a critical load that is needed to share in the costs for the development of that system. So that is a very important change.

In the regulations that the minister tabled a few minutes ago he did, however, say that companies that are not within a franchise area can still apply, can still try to get a direct industrial bypass. Mr. Speaker, while I don't favour that, I can understand it, but what I don't agree with is within the regulations where the Utility and Review Board, or the minister, if the minister still has the power according to his regulations - and I will explain briefly in a minute, but I don't agree that they should be able to exempt the company or the business that wants that single franchise for their business. I could pick any one of a number of large businesses across the province, I'm not going to name one, but let's say that there was a large pulp and paper company that wanted it, or somebody else that wanted a direct bypass, they should not be exempt from preparing a social impact study or a cost-benefit analysis, nor should they be exempt from employing and training Nova Scotians to do the work, or purchasing their goods and services that are needed to install that system from Nova Scotia businesses if those Nova Scotia businesses can provide those goods and services at competitive costs.

The minister's regulations that he is tabling today would give the board, or he thinks, the minister, the power to exempt it, Mr. Speaker. I see him having a major impact on the Minister of Finance; he is swaying in his seat, trying to keep up with all of the comments that I'm making.

Mr. Speaker, if you don't do a cost-benefit analysis, if that isn't looked at by a company that is applying for a direct bypass in an area outside, we won't know if it would be more advisable to say, no, you can't have a direct bypass, however, you can work with somebody who would like to develop a franchise in that area so that you can become a major load on the system to help to share the costs of developing a distribution system in the surrounding communities. So that's one thing certainly in the regulations that I'm not overly pleased with.

[Page 8332]

I'm pleased that the minister, the way that it's set up will allow for example if a neighbouring community is outside of a franchise area, that if somebody else wants to, whether it's the municipality or a co-op, develop a gas distribution system in that area they can be required, where that franchise currently exists to become a carrier of the natural gas so that the neighbouring area can tap into it. If that were not the case, you could have the cherry-picking and they take the primary areas and those on the outside would be pretty well excluded forever.

You couldn't afford to run the line all the way from the Maritimes & Northeast pipeline, for example, if a franchise were to go out as far as Windsor but wasn't going to go on to Wolfville or Kentville; it would not be economic to develop a line from Wolfville to the Maritimes & Northeast pipeline, or it would make a tremendous cost to try to do so. The cost would be greatly reduced if they only had to go and hook up in the Windsor area, for example, if that's where the end of the franchise was. So, I was pleased to see that is done.

I am also pleased to see that bundling is now going to be permitted. Although I wonder why it is that the franchise is going to be permitted for a 10-year period, but the bundling is really only for seven years. I have some concern. I'm one of those the minister was referring to, and I've told him this before - the franchises are going to be granted for 10 years, even if you're not going to be prepared to reduce it down to five years, change that, instead of saying 10 years, say up to 10 years. So that if it becomes quite obvious a franchise holder who has a licence for a particular area that they are not going to be rolling out within their time frames to the outer limits of their franchise and that those people, those industries, those individuals who live beyond or at the outer edges of it, they aren't going to get it within the 10 years as was initially promised, if that becomes obvious, then if another company, another group wishes to apply for a franchise in that area, then I think they should be allowed to do so. So instead of saying 10 years, I would say up to 10 years. My preference would be five, but certainly not giving them, carte blanche, 10 years. I think that is reasonable.

I note in the legislation, one of the areas that the government's new legislation differs from - what was it they paid for that report? I've got the numbers here somewhere. This one that was ignored, that was a report from 1996 that suggested no direct industrial bypasses, that recommended or suggested that there should be multiple franchises, which is something that we also in the NDP caucus were pushing for instead of simply one province-wide monopoly. The total report, I think, cost close to $504,000. (Interruptions)

No, this was paid for by the Nova Scotia one. Of course the Minister of Finance makes a valid point, but on an unrelated topic. He was talking about the federal government paying for parts of the cost. This is sort of the same price that they paid several times for one particular federal report. But the other thing that the federal government did is in the past, when distribution systems were being developed in western Canada, and I believe even in some of the areas of Ontario, the federal government shelled out some money to assist in the development of those distribution systems. So if the new Leader of the Nova Scotia Liberal

[Page 8333]

Party has a good close working relationship - and I understand he's well-connected to the Liberal establishment - he might be able to persuade the Prime Minister and Finance Minister Martin, maybe they would like to shovel a few dollars Nova Scotia's way towards helping to establish a distribution system throughout all of Nova Scotia. It might be quite helpful.

[8:15 p.m.]

One of the things that I started to talk about, I'm saying that one of the areas the government has deviated from this $504,000 report was that back when that report was done - and I might point out, if members don't know, that the Ziff Energy Group is a major consulting company that is involved in the oil industry around the world and one of the major authorities in natural gas distribution - one of the things that they recommended against was allowing utilities to also have gas distribution franchises. I don't know if somebody from Emera got to the government. I understand they have quite a cordial relationship; of course it was the Tories who privatized Nova Scotia Power in the first place, and the relationship probably has only but grown from there.

Mr. Speaker, I have very serious reservations about the government's plans to allow the power utility to also have a natural gas distribution system, because what we are really then doing is giving that one company the opportunity to really have control over two major sources of power, plus of course they have a home heat delivery system as well, they are into oil deliveries and so on. A major concern is that where they are the major players and both in an area, that that means they have more of a stranglehold over the sources of energy that are available to residents who live in that area.

Mr. Speaker, that report, that Ziff report of 1996, basically outlined and suggested that there be a number of franchises that should be awarded, each to cover an area for which there was a reasonable business plan to distribute the natural gas. That's, again, the same kind of thing the minister is now talking about. Successful franchises would have the right to gain other nearby franchises; in other words, growing outward. It's a point, again, that we were talking about, and it is a point that is critically important, because if you don't do that, then you are going to have the cherry-picking and the rural areas are going to be waiting for an eternity, if it even comes then.

Mr. Speaker, back in 1996, the consultants at that time recognized that there would be those who have the franchise should be required to make natural gas available to those others down the line. It warned about the dangers of industrial bypass. Really what we are doing, as was said, is going down the road, going back to the future.

Mr. Speaker, just one or two other points that I will make before I conclude my remarks. One of the things - and the minister talked about it in his remarks - is that Nova Scotians have to be shown that there is an environmental and economic advantage to switching to natural gas. One of the things that would assist in convincing Nova Scotians that

[Page 8334]

there is an economic advantage, one of those things that would assist in the rolling out of a distribution system would be to have a - dare I say this slanderous or horrible phrase, called heresy I guess, by the industry - made-in-Nova Scotia price. (Interruptions) I will yield the floor for the introduction.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect on an introduction.

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I thank the good member for Sackville-Cobequid. I have the privilege this evening to introduce some constituents. In fact, I even heard that there was a Boston Bruins fan up there. I want you to know that this evening we have the 1st Timberlea Scout Troop here. You are going to have an opportunity to listen to this member with all the grey hair, and he got most of it in here. We're on an important bill tonight, Bill No. 112, the Gas Distribution Act. (Interruptions)

That voice on the other side is the other old white-haired guy in here, here's the Minister of Finance. Excuse me, I will try to stick to the text for a change. (Interruptions) The last thing we want to talk about is white hair. It's a sign of maturity. I don't have any, right? I read your mind.

I would like to introduce, first of all, Doug Rideout, the scout troop leader; Paul Ratson; parents Brent Rowley and Roy Wilkinson; and the 11 members of the Timberlea troop. Can you stand and we will recognize you in our House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We certainly welcome our special guests to the gallery this evening. I hope you enjoy the proceedings of the House.

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I want to point out that my hair turned grey since coming to the House. The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid's hair was grey when he came to the House. There's a slight difference.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The only thing I can say is it is obvious that the people in this House use shoe polish on their shoes and other people put it elsewhere.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, what we haven't clarified yet is when you started to become distinguished looking. I was talking about a made-in-Nova-Scotia price, and I throw this at the minister: these companies that are making tens and hundreds of millions of dollars in profit from our natural gas are charging Nova Scotia the Boston price for the commodity. The amount of natural gas that Nova Scotia would use, compared to the amount that we are exporting, is small. In fact, one of the major problems with our distribution system was that, really, the project didn't proceed on the basis that it was to serve Nova Scotia; it was developed as an export project to ship our natural gas to the United States markets.

[Page 8335]

They really didn't anticipate that Nova Scotians would want to use, to take up, natural gas. Nova Scotia, and the distribution system in Nova Scotia, is merely an add-on to the development of the project. I say to the minister, if we were to say to those companies, if you wish, since you aren't paying us hardly anything in the way of royalties and you didn't provide us with the economic benefits that we deserve in the development stages - and they still aren't offering to do so - sell your commodity in the Nova Scotia gas market for, let's say, I will be modest, 10 per cent below the Boston price. You still get your transportation charges, those other things added on by Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline, your franchise charges, which are going to be laid on as well, and the tolls. But sell the product for 10 per cent. That would be peanuts in the grand scheme of things for ExxonMobil, for example. The poor fellows. What was it, $36 billion they made last year? That's U.S. dollars. It's peanuts to them.

You want to develop another phase? Give us a made-in-Nova-Scotia price. All of a sudden, there is a tremendous price advantage; that would help you, Mr. Speaker. I know where you are at; I don't know how long it's going to take for natural gas to get to your neck of the woods. It might be more likely - I don't know if they're talking about methane extraction down in your area. I believe they are, and there are other places across the province, which become more viable, by the way, as distribution systems are developed because then whether it's a methane field that is going to be tapped into from an old coal mine area or a smaller pocket of gas found onshore in Nova Scotia - and we have licences across this province where people are exploring for natural gas. Once you get a distribution system in place, those smaller projects all of a sudden become economically viable because they can tap in. But if we had a 10 per cent reduction in price, it's more economic to switch, plus it gives Nova Scotia businesses a price advantage over U.S. businesses, then maybe we would be able to attract more businesses here.

Now, I know that this runs contrary to what the minister and the government's philosophy would be. Because their philosophy is if industry . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: The market rules.

MR. HOLM: The market rules, right, and if industry tells us they want us to jump, the question is, how high? What's wrong, Mr. Speaker, with sometimes doing a little pushing back. Even the minister said it's our gas, Nova Scotians' gas. Those other big players, the shareholders of these companies who are mainly in the U.S., who are making millions and tens and tens and tens of millions. (Interruption) The Minister of Transportation and Public Works, and Government House Leader - who was distinguished before either you or I, Mr. Speaker, as we talk of the earlier speakers - however, he said maybe even billions. Before all of the natural gas that is off our shore has been exploited, I'm quite sure he's correct, their profits will be in the billions.

[Page 8336]

So what's wrong with us pressing them for a price advantage? What's wrong with us doing that to try to help get a distribution system up and running to help Nova Scotia businesses to be able to get access to a less expensive fuel, help our environment, create jobs in your community, in the member for Shelburne's community, in the Valley, all across this province, not just in one area? I think that's something the government should consider.

They finally came around to our way of thinking about the bypasses, about the bundling, about the fact that there needs to be multiple franchises, we shouldn't just have one province-wide franchise. Maybe they will come around to this too. Maybe then, Mr. Speaker, it won't take as long to get the natural gas down to Chester, to Bridgewater, to Liverpool, to Digby, to Annapolis Royal, Middleton, Sydney, Glace Bay - I'm coming back that way - then around through Cumberland County and good places like - how is it that Guy Brown used to say? - Springhill, Joggins, River Hebert, he had a list of about four or five communities that he would just rattle off. I think that that would be a reasonable approach to take.

Mr. Speaker, we haven't done particularly well, a stellar job so far. I defy you to walk around this province, if you were to waste money on a poll, you wouldn't get 10 per cent of the population that believes we're getting our fair share out of our resources, of what's coming to us. Not 10 per cent.

Natural gas, Mr. Speaker, is an option. It is only one option. Nobody should be trying to compel any business, any individual to switch. But surely in our province, we should have access to it. Hopefully, as I said before, I'm sure, because you know I understand from - although I don't know the gentleman directly but, from what I've seen, the new Leader of the Liberal Party is a real take-charge kind of guy and that he has the good connections with the establishment; I'm sure he'll be able to persuade the federal government that they should be throwing some more money this way. The money that they throw our way plus a 10 per cent reduction that the Minister responsible for the Petroleum Directorate is going to get for us and the price of the natural gas, the system will roll out, businesses will develop, governments will save money in their facilities that they have to pay to heat and so on, the economy will start to pick up. If we continue on down the road we're going, that certainly will not happen.

[8:30 p.m.]

So with those brief remarks, Mr. Speaker, at this stage I indicate that I will be supporting the bill to go on to the Law Amendments Committee where I will be looking forward to the comments that are being made. I will take my seat. I know somebody else would like to join us, and then I will head outside briefly to join those who are in a candlelight vigil to mourn what this government has been doing to the transition houses, which is another issue. But, of course, if we were getting fair amounts of money, the government wouldn't even have to consider it and certainly would never have thought about

[Page 8337]

being so nasty because the money would have been there if we were getting our fair share from the resources.

Mr. Speaker, with those brief remarks I will resume my seat.

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

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, as usual, my good friend to my right - not to be mistaken politically, just where he happens to sit - took an hour to say in a very convoluted way that he's going to support this bill at least to go on to the Law Amendments Committee. Perhaps we could say that in a couple of minutes and save everybody a lot of time here. I believe there are some points that have to be raised, however, and some concerns that we have.

I might start off by thanking the minister for making the regulations available to us well in advance of this bill being called for second reading, which is certainly a welcome departure from what normally happens with regulations, and I thank him for that. As usual, the bill is very thin. There's only a handful of clauses here but, as usual, the devil is in the details and the details are in the regulations and the regulations are what I would like to touch on for a little bit but, before I do that, I have to refer to the former stand of this present government when they were in Opposition and when they were trying to be the government of this province.

I go back all the way to 1998, when the Premier on an open-line show in the Annapolis Valley promised natural gas would be available to local residents. Natural gas would be available to local residents under a Progressive Conservative Government. Now, I think we have to ask what happened to that promise. We set the stage for that promise to happen, but the promise the then-Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, now the Premier, made to the people of the Annapolis Valley. I didn't make that promise to them, he did, but that's no longer part of the program of the current government. So the current program of this government is to fly in the face of the wishes of the then-Leader of the Tory Party and now the Premier.

Mr. Speaker, the bill represents a failure by this government. It represents the inability of the Premier to live up to promises and expectations, and it represents a flip-flop on the part of the Tories and the NDP. I'll explain that in a moment. Every time the issue is discussed we hear that previous gas distribution targets were politically motivated and unrealistic. Prior to when the current regulations were introduced, the Opposition Parties would accept no less. I remember the debate in this House about the regulations where all parts of Nova Scotia have to get this gas, nothing else would suffice. We were pounded time and time again in the House on that by both Parties. I will give you an example. The long-time member for Queens, the honourable John Leefe, when he was a minister of government and later when

[Page 8338]

he was in Opposition, but I will refer to a resolution - and I will table these resolutions; I have a number of resolutions to table, Mr. Speaker.

"RESOLUTION NO. 460

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

Whereas Sable gas is a Nova Scotia resource belonging to all Nova Scotians; and

Whereas access to natural gas by all parts of Nova Scotia is essential if we are to avoid two classes of Nova Scotians, those who have and those who have not this cheaper, cleaner energy resource; and

Whereas without access to natural gas as an industrial and domestic energy source, the economic opportunity in western Nova Scotia will be depressed;

Therefore be it resolved that the Liberal Government commit to supporting natural gas distribution applications which will assure access to natural gas by communities throughout western Nova Scotia."

That was John Leefe's resolution in the House, Mr. Speaker, and I will table that resolution. He was a former minister in the Progressive Conservative Government, a long-time serving member of this House, and a gentleman who I believe knows far more about this particular industry than many of us, including myself, and has expressed, on a number of occasions, his concern about what was happening with energy problems in this province.

Mr. Speaker, now we have a minister, who by the way besides his lack of fashion in regard to ties, I don't think it's any accident that he's wearing the same tie tonight on another gas bill that he wore when he was discussing the other gas bill (Interruptions) Yes, there must be something in that. Not being a real connoisseur of fine fashions myself, I really thought that we would only see that tie once, but lo and behold we see it again tonight, so he must be liking that kind of publicity.

I wonder, Mr. Speaker, if the minister has talked to John Leefe to see what he thinks about these changes. After all, he was a former minister in the Tory Government, a man who I think people should consult with in matters such as this, and a gentleman who is currently involved in municipal politics. It's odd still that the government sells the El Paso project as a way of getting gas to southwestern Nova Scotia quicker. Under these regulations, the only town that would see gas would be Lockeport, and even that would be in doubt.

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Another resolution in the House, this one from the member from the Valley, the honourable George Archibald, who was a minister in the previous Tory Government, and a member of the Opposition when we were in government discussing gas regulations. Here's what George Archibald had to say. Members are talking about his current role as lobbyist, but I can assure the member opposite, the Finance Minister, that he hasn't lobbied me on this issue. Here's what George Archibald had to say:

"Whereas natural gas and oil can have an economic benefit for Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Nova Scotians from across the province are requesting information about distribution to their community; and

Whereas the government does not seem to have a plan for distribution to all regions;

Therefore be it resolved that the Government of Nova Scotia provide the government plan so that we can understand the goals of natural gas distribution for the Province of Nova Scotia."

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Archibald wants to know where is the plan of this government - and I'm talking about the then-Liberal Government - where is the plan to distribute gas to all regions? There is none now, and Mr. Archibald, I'm sorry to say, obviously one story in Opposition for the Tory crowd opposite and another story when they're in government. The rules have changed, and I will table that Resolution No. 21 by the honourable George Archibald. These aren't Liberals who are saying this, those are Tories, senior Tory Cabinet Ministers in the former Governments of John Buchanan and Donald Cameron, and later on as representatives of the Third Party, and of course echoing the comments of the now-Premier, Dr. Hamm.

There is not a chance under these regulations that all regions will see the gas; in fact only a handful of communities will see gas in the foreseeable future and some communities will never see it. I guess this minister forgot what George Archibald wanted and forgot what John Leefe wanted and forgot what the Premier wanted. The Premier is still here, and his statements that he made at the time are up for scrutiny now. He's still a member of this House; the other two gentlemen are no longer members of this place but, nonetheless, both of them contributed many valuable years and wise counsel when they were here.

There was rarely an occasion that both Opposition Parties didn't take an opportunity to attack us for not putting in a plan to distribute gas to all Nova Scotians; we as a government were vilified by both Opposition Parties. Every place in Nova Scotia, from Glace Bay to Yarmouth, had to have natural gas when the Tories were in Opposition, and the NDP echoed that sentiment. They even wanted us to put gas in Ingonish - didn't care how we got

[Page 8340]

it there, but they wanted it down there and they wanted us to put gas in every nook and cranny of this province. That's how adamant they were in their bluster about this during debate on the bill when we were in government.

So where does this bill come from? It certainly bears no resemblance to what the Tories have said in the past. In fact, on November 4, 1998, when the current Premier, then the Opposition Leader, started to lecture us on natural gas, he certainly had the support of the House Leader for the NDP, who was the critic at the time.

The government said, the Opposition at the time, when the member for Richmond who was then a member of the Executive Council was speaking on this bill and I quote again: "We have the member for Richmond up defending the government's position and saying it was going to be all right in Richmond. Of course it is going to be all right in Richmond. You are right next door to the gas. What this bill is about is getting gas to the rest of Nova Scotia and you did not address that with one single word."

So why is the Premier against gas for all Nova Scotians now? Back then he attacked the member for Richmond because his community lives close to the gas. Now he tells a community like Richmond that getting gas there is near impossible unless they discover gas in Isle Madame. The Premier went on to say the following about the member for Richmond: "The member for Richmond would have us believe and have us give credit for putting the gas under the sea to this Liberal Government, but what he fails to say is that unless the good Lord is also going to get the gas to Yarmouth and to the rest of our communities, that it is not going to happen because this Liberal Government is not making the provisions to get that gas to the rest of the province." Now it's the Premier saying that the gas is not going to go to Yarmouth because the Liberal Party didn't have a plan to put it there.

Where is the Tory plan, to put gas to Yarmouth, that the Premier promised?

AN HON. MEMBER: They don't have one.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: They don't have one. That's right; exactly - and no intentions of living up to the Premier's promises. I didn't make the promise the gas would go to Yarmouth - the Premier did, who was then Leader of the Tory Party and now Premier of this province. Another broken promise. What changed? What changed between what John Leefe wanted? What changed from what George Archibald wanted? What changed from what John Hamm wanted? There's no plan, it's not going to happen now either. When will Yarmouth get gas under the new Act? Ten years? Twenty years? Thirty years? Who knows, if ever? By the time Yarmouth gets gas under this bill, an alternative energy source might be found - another alternative energy source because it will be the only way that Yarmouth's going to get any new incentives energy-wise.

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I've just been informed by the good member for Preston that the Screaming Eagles are ahead 3 to 1, and I thank him for that valuable information. (Interruption). That's right. Say to the House Leader, give that member a raise.

[8:45 p.m.]

By the way, Mr. Speaker, I didn't even use that as a commercial for the folks back home because we still don't get the Eastlink broadcasts out of this place. Only Sydney and Shelburne don't get it now. No, Sydney and Cape Breton, I should say, and Shelburne. We can't even play to the home crowd here. Anyway, neither can the honourable member for Shelburne.

Mr. Speaker, what this minister doesn't say is that the oil regulations would have worked had pipe been allowed in the roadbed. Now, there's a disagreement and my good friend from the NDP, the NDP House Leader, the honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid, said that's not the only reason. No, it may not be the only reason. Pricing had a play in it too and the current conditions. But I'm going to tell you, this government did a disservice by holding Sempra up for over a year before they would make a decision on whether or not they were going to allow access to pipe on secondary roads in this province. Is it any wonder they gave up in frustration? Two departments were sending out two different messages. The Department of Transportation and Public Works was saying no way and the Department of Economic Development was saying maybe. After a year of that kind of harangue, they couldn't come to any decision except that nothing is going to happen there. Sempra folded their tent and left.

So, Mr. Speaker, the end result, and I said this before in my place, that it is goodbye Cape Breton and see you later Valley. There is not going to be any gas down there. So long South Shore. What they are going to do here, to echo the comments of the honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid again, they are going to cherry pick throughout the province where it's lucrative and that will be metro Halifax.

Now here is another quote from the Premier, Mr. Speaker. Think of what today's Premier said five years ago. "The member on the government benches failed to understand that those communities that won't get gas by way of a distribution system that guarantees gas to those communities, will wither on the vine." Those are John Hamm's words. "The Liberals don't seem interested in the rest of Nova Scotia." These are John Hamm's words: "They don't seem to understand that unless communities like Yarmouth, my community . . ." in Pictou County, ". . . and industrial Cape Breton get gas, then, in fact, much of this is for naught." I didn't say that, John Hamm said that.

Basically, Mr. Speaker, to say again what the now Premier, then Leader of the Opposition or the Third Party, at the time, said, those communities that do not get gas will wither on the vine. There is no gas for Annapolis, Digby, Yarmouth, Berwick, Wolfville,

[Page 8342]

Kentville, Bridgewater, Lunenburg, Sydney and Glace Bay. Using the Premier's logic and his statements, those communities will wither on the vine. But you know, that's the danger of an ill-informed Opposition. Hamm and company said what they needed to say at the time to curry favour with Nova Scotians to get themselves elected to government. They had no intentions of fulfilling those promises, no intentions of living up to what Dr. Hamm said in Yarmouth when he said, you will get gas under my government. This bill effectively kills any chance of gas going to Yarmouth. So what do the members do from those areas? Do they go back and say, oh, we're sorry, Dr. Hamm didn't really mean that. We were only trying to get elected. Now we're elected so we don't have to fulfill those promises.

Mr. Speaker, one of the basic reasons why areas in the province are not going to receive gas is that this government made it impossible to distribute gas throughout this province by putting roadblocks in the way. For argument's sake, let's say the original targets may be too ambitious, probably were in hindsight because of the changes in the pricing, because of the political implications of perhaps moving in a direction that maybe some backroom boys in that Party weren't comfortable with, but at the very least the bill should give some indication that it has goals for what the franchisee should deliver. I don't have the answer to that, but I suggest that neither does the government.

The government just recently raised fuel tax with an eye towards improving roads. That may not happen, but at least the intention is there to do that, I would hope, or is that just another hollow promise? To do the same thing, ensuring that natural gas is distributed, maybe it's not feasible, but has the government explored that opportunity? No. (Interruptions)

Oh well, it's all over. For the benefit of those in Sydney who don't see me tonight, it's 4 to 1 for the Eagles, but for those of you in Halifax who are watching me, go Eagles go. (Laughter)

Mr. Speaker, maybe the bill could be modified so that at least if a new project comes on-line in the Laurentian or the Sydney Bight, that any producer might be required to provide Nova Scotia gas to a franchisee. What I'm saying there is, perhaps we failed to do what we set out to do in distributing gas throughout the province in the particular projects that are underway now, or that are completed and are waiting for distribution. There are other projects that are sitting there, waiting to be developed if the regulations favour a development of gas, and I speak now of Corridor Resources and Hunt Oil.

If the regulatory process approves those two companies to bring gas to market off the Sydney Bight or in western Cape Breton, then I believe that the government has a role now to act as an intervener with these gas companies to make sure that this gas does not bypass land in Nova Scotia, not mainlined to the United States in a sub-sea bed, that it is required to come ashore either, in the case of Hunt Oil, in Glace Bay or Louisbourg, and perhaps then that part of the province will have the opportunity to receive gas. I've said it time and time

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again, the only gas that we're going to get down in industrial Cape Breton, in particular, is what comes east to west, not what comes from west to east.

The government doesn't make any provision in this bill, so hopefully there will be another bill coming before this House or that the minister will undertake to have some discussions and say to these companies that you're not going to do anything with Nova Scotia's gas here unless Nova Scotia benefits from this gas directly, not providing a vehicle for these gas companies to shoot this gas right to the United States, to the lucrative markets and bypass us altogether. It shouldn't be allowed to happen.

When they start to bring the gas to production, it's too late. What has to happen now is this government has to assert itself here with these companies, and say that it's Nova Scotia first or the gas is staying where it is. I believe that this government - I believe that the oil companies concerned here might agree with that, if there's a chance that they may be able to separate the gas or they may be able to get involved in a partnership with some kind of an industry that might accrue because of the gas coming ashore in Cape Breton. You have the other side of Cape Breton, western Cape Breton, and you also have the possibility of a major supply base area in Cape Breton to service these particular projects that are, hopefully, to get underway sooner than later should the regulations be favourable to permit them to do it.

I realize that in the case of Hunt Oil and perhaps Corridor Resources there are still some discussions going on about the environmental concerns, and that's fair. I don't have a problem with that. All I'm saying is that if the green light is given at some point for this gas to be brought to the surface, I believe that the government has a responsibility to make sure that this gas comes ashore somewhere in Nova Scotia and with Hunt Oil, of course, it would be in the Glace Bay-Louisbourg area.

Imagine, Mr. Speaker, guidelines on electricity when it was a public utility. The guidelines were that all Nova Scotians had to be guaranteed electricity. Imagine if one part of Nova Scotia was denied electricity simply because it was felt that it was not market-driven economically or something. We would be in a pretty bad state here. (Interruption) Yes. That's the way it was, you know. Are we going to get involved in the same situation here where only the lucrative areas up front are going to have access?

If that's the case with this particular project, then I suggest that the minister should be talking publicly about ensuring that the areas that have yet to be developed in Nova Scotia - and I referred to two and there could be others, you know; we're still not sure where we're at with the Laurentian Sub-basin. The minister says that everything is all right. Well, I still have difficulty with 16 per cent out of 100 per cent being all right; France got almost as much as we got. (Interruption) Yes, that's right.

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The logic that there are only winners here escapes me, but nonetheless with the little part of this project that is now Nova Scotia owned, you know, it's going to be awful difficult for us in the poorer areas of the province, like Cape Breton that is desperately trying to get into the oil and gas business, if not in the distribution of it, if not in the development of a petrochemical industry because of it, then at least in the supply area.

There are people in my area of the province who have invested great sums of money to prepare themselves for the work that might accrue from the Laurentian Sub-basin. Now, put yourself in the position of the major oil companies. They have two decisions to make here. Do they deal with Newfoundland or do they deal with Nova Scotia? Do they deal with somebody who has 71 per cent, I believe, of the area or do they deal with somebody who has 16 per cent?

AN HON. MEMBER: It's 75 per cent.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: What suppliers do they deal with, Mr. Speaker - 75 per cent - do they deal with the suppliers in Cape Breton or do they deal with the suppliers in Newfoundland?

AN HON. MEMBER: Actually Newfoundland says they've got 77.5 per cent, we've only got 12 per cent.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Well, whatever, if it's 12 per cent or 16 per cent, it pales in comparison to 70 per cent. (Interruption) It's now 5 to 1, good - not in the ratio of gas distribution here, in the hockey game score I'm talking about. It's hard to concentrate here when we're going all the way to the Memorial Cup. (Interruptions) We already have the Calder Cup. (Interruptions) They're even going to pick on Cape Breton for winning the hockey game. They just can't help themselves.

Mr. Speaker, part of the bill that disturbs me is provisions that have been removed that would prevent Emera from controlling our electricity and natural gas markets. Those who have given us just a passing glance in the bill have to realize that this could be very significant. This could be very significant if something like Emera wanted to take the government up on their offer now that the provision preventing them is removed. I speak not only of Emera, but perhaps Irving Oil as well, two major players in the distribution of energy in this province right now, one with oil and one with electricity. The third player here in the lucrative metro area could be natural gas.

[9:00 a.m.]

What happens, Mr. Speaker, if one of these companies is allowed to be the franchisee for natural gas? They already control the other energy source. So are we looking at perhaps predator pricing? Are we looking at monopoly control? What protections are there for the

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consumer? I bring that up because I am not saying that is going to happen, but I'm saying now the stage is set where it could happen. I wouldn't want to be sitting here five years from now saying, I told you so, that you gave that franchise to a company in this province that already controls the energy prices of say electricity or oil and now you've given them natural gas or both. Regulations that no longer prohibit the franchisee from selling the gas directly to consumers. The purpose of that regulation is so that there is a competitive gas market, a gas market that ensures that companies like Emera or Irving are not in control of two sources of energy.

Now I haven't heard the minister say too much about that. I can't believe that even on that side of the House that members would not be concerned about the fact that a company like Emera or a company like Irving could control two energy sources in this province. I just can't believe that members opposite wouldn't be concerned about that. I'm sure consumers have a reason to be concerned about it, if it comes to pass, because we've seen all too often what can happen when we have a monopoly in Nova Scotia, particularly in the energy sector.

AN HON. MEMBER: Even on coal.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Even on coal, right. Lifting those regulations, Mr. Speaker, I think was unwise and I believe that as this bill makes its way through the House, that there may be some intervention at the Law Amendments Committee on that particular clause. At least I hope that members would agree that it raises cause for concern. I believe that the province, instead of giving up on this, should maximize every opportunity to try to come up with a vehicle that will see gas distributed throughout Nova Scotia. At least the government could do that. Not only have political promises been made to that effect, but I believe there is a case that could be made for it if the government would turn its attention to it rather than saying, oh well, this is the way it is going to be and that's good enough for us, like they did with the Laurentian Sub-basin. That was clearly a loss for Nova Scotia, but there are other players out there. We may be able to access their gas, but we should be sitting down and talking to them about it and exploring all options before they're allowed to produce any gas that's rightfully the property of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I want to table these resolutions here. These are the original resolutions I was reading from my text before, but I will table these resolutions to the House. I am not going to go on much more about this tonight, but I think that there are a number of issues in this particular bill that I believe the minister should be outlining more fully to Nova Scotians. One is about the distribution of gas throughout the province and the monopolistic flavour that could happen because of this. I believe that unless we take control of this bill now and say to the minister, look, we're going to send this on to Law Amendments. I'm not naive enough to stand here and think that this bill is not going past second reading, it's going to Law Amendments. I would hope that Law Amendments would decide perhaps, Mr. Minister, there may be room for some amendments at Law Amendments or some amendments in Committee of the Whole House on this particular bill. Perhaps one of those amendments the

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minister may want to consider is the lifting of restrictions of public utilities in this province getting involved in distribution.

AN HON. MEMBER: Not lifting, reimposing.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Or reimposing, yes, pardon me. My good friend is helpful all the time here - so reimposing those restrictions. But I believe there's room there, Mr. Minister, for some reconsideration of that particular clause. That would be one of the clauses that I would feel much more comfortable with if we weren't looking at perhaps somebody controlling more than one energy source in this province and, as a result of that, imposing predatory pricing, having their way with Nova Scotia consumers. If you don't think that the bottom line, namely looking after their shareholders, is number one and foremost in their minds, then you're just not being realistic, Mr. Minister.

So, why run the risk of doing that? Why don't we make it impossible for somebody to control more than one energy source in this province? I believe most members would agree with that. I believe that most members would agree that we don't want a public utility controlling more than one energy source in this province. I don't think that's healthy for consumers. I think there should be an option out there; there should be competition out there.

The minister talks about it being market-driven, well people who want to get into the marketplace should be competitive and not have a monopoly. I would hate to see the day come when we have a large corporation in this province controlling the prices of more than one option in delivering energy to households in Nova Scotia.

Having made those remarks, I certainly am going to pick this up again in Committee of the Whole House, and perhaps we will see some outside interest at Law Amendments. Hopefully we will also be able to present some amendments to this House that will clean this bill up a little bit and put it in the shape that we can support. I believe that some consultation can happen between the minister and myself, and perhaps the Official Opposition, to make that happen. As I say, if this bill is cleaned up in the areas of concern that I'm pressing on with right now, I believe that perhaps we could support it, at least to the point where it's a bill that we could be supportive of, but I think we have to sit down and discuss some amendments here and our Party is certainly a long way from supporting this bill as it is. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I'm glad to have an opportunity to speak to this bill at this time, and I want to say that from the interventions of the honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid and my colleague for Halifax Chebucto I got a crash course in the history getting to this point today, Nova Scotia's role in the distribution of natural gas. I want to say that I thought that some of the comments from the honourable member for Cape

[Page 8347]

Breton South were on the mark, and I want to know why they weren't on the mark when this process was being carried forward under the Liberal Government. There were some things that could have been done and should have been done that weren't done, and I'm sure we will hear more from the Liberal caucus as to what should have been done that they actually could have done and didn't.

In a couple of cases, actually, there were two cases where the government could have kept some control on gas, where the government at the time could have actually acted in the best interests of Nova Scotians, chose not to do that and, actually never gave a justifiable reason. The place that happened, one was in the back-in rights where the province could have had 50 per cent ownership of the pipeline but, yet, under the Liberal Government chose not to do that. On the submissions to the hearings for this project under the Ecology Action Centre, this was raised as to why the government of the day didn't choose to take advantage of those back-in rights and have control or ownership of 50 per cent of the pipeline.

Mr. Speaker, the answer was that they weren't interested in being in the gas business. Well, that's fine. That might be entirely appropriate if a government says we're not interested in being in the gas business. But the strange thing about that is not so much that they weren't interested in being in the gas business, but they gave up their right for nothing. In other words, they didn't say, we don't want to be in the gas business, what's it worth to you, will you pay us for our rights, for our back-in rights. That didn't happen. The questioning that occurred during those talks indicated that no one in government ever raised that, that we should get some value for this, that this is a resource that belongs to the people of Nova Scotia, and if we're going to give up this right to that pipeline then we should have something to give to the people of Nova Scotia for that. It didn't happen.

The second place where Nova Scotians actually had some ownership was in NSRL with 8.5 per cent of the gas that they owned, and that we sold last year. I know that the Minister of Finance will say that the timing of that sale couldn't have been more appropriate, that Nova Scotians got the maximum benefit that they could have gotten at that time, and this may be a point of debate for some time. I take the Minister of Finance's assessment to be one that's worthy of listening to, certainly, but I want to say that here were two instances where Nova Scotians actually had an opportunity to get real benefit outside of the royalty regime which, in this case, we might as well say was a giveaway, it was a better deal the oil companies could not ask for. As a matter of fact I don't know why it is in Nova Scotia, if we don't demand the lowest possible price, we wind up giving something away and almost paying people to take it; never a consideration that this resource is actually a resource of the people of the province.

I remember the press conference they had when they announced the sale of NSRL. This is a year ago February. What really surprised me, I guess, wasn't necessarily what was said at the press conference but what was said to me afterward. After I left, actually I got home and got a call from one of the reporters who had attended the press conference that the

[Page 8348]

companies had who had been buying the assets of NSRL. The comment the reporter made to me was that Pengrowth, which had bought the gas, had made the statement that they were going to recognize a pretty near $100 million profit by the end of the year.

Mr. Speaker, as I said, this announcement was made in February 2001. There was a time span there of, I forget, a month, somewhere in that range, where ExxonMobil and Shell actually had right of first refusal and they would have to make a decision as to whether or not they were going to buy in on this. (Interruptions) Longer than that. Well, I want to thank the minister, even if it was longer than that. I was assuming that if it took a month for them to decide that means that Pengrowth could not start to realize anything until those companies had made a decision. They were already saying that by the end of the year they were expecting to do either $94.7 million or $97.4 million in profit. Now what the minister told me earlier around the timing of the sale, that probably affected the profit level for Pengrowth because of the change in the price of gas that dropped. So, that probably affected the bottom line. I have no figure to indicate what exactly Pengrowth realized by the end of the year on that.

[9:15 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I want to say this, it was a $420 million sale for NSRL, the province still retained over $300 million, almost $400 million in debt. Here was a company, one of the companies that was saying they could realize almost $100 million. I would say if that's the case, if there is that potential for profit, why didn't the province hang on to it and in more than four years they would have realized the price that they got. Perhaps one of the members from the government side will address that. I hope somebody will. I am curious to know, in those terms, whether or not that actually turned out to be a good deal for Nova Scotians. My thought is that it was not.

We had two opportunities to have some say and to get some benefit from the offshore other than the royalty regime. Under the Liberals we didn't capitalize on one of those and under the Tories we didn't capitalize on the other. No one seems to be interested in talking about a change in the royalty regime so that Nova Scotians could actually get a real benefit from the gas that is produced off this province.

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I don't want to interrupt the member in full flight and I apologize for that. However, he has made some comments that I think should at least have some comments on my behalf, the fact that Pengrowth said they were making that kind of money. I know that that is not the case and, member, if you want to use information and to state that someone who bought that, I think that you should speak to the company along the lines because overall the assets, the gas profits I think were bought for $355 million including the infrastructure, which Emera ended up buying. There is no way that the company made that kind of return on that and I anticipate they would want to make a return. I have been listening to the debate and you have been making statements which I

[Page 8349]

know were not stated at that press conference, that may be what a reporter told you and I don't disagree with that, but if you could put it in context I think it would appropriate.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. It is obviously not a point of order. I believe it is a disagreement of facts between two members. The honourable member for Hants East has the floor.

MR. MACDONELL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I take the Finance Minister at his point and if I was sitting there and he was sitting here and, hopefully, some day that will happen, then certainly I know that if he was standing here I wouldn't have to rise over there because I know that the information that he would have to complain about would be so nil that it wouldn't require a response.

I want to say to the minister that he raises a good point. I agree that I haven't spoken to anyone from the company at all to find out if that prediction that they made actually turned out to be an accurate one. I am only telling the minister and the members of the House that that's the information that was conveyed to me on the day, and it wasn't from that press conference that I attended, it was from another. Even if that was wildly extravagant, I thought that the potential there would make me question whether or not this was actually a good deal for Nova Scotia. So, that's that point I want to raise for the minister and for the members of the House. I want to say, too, that there are those people who have thought that for Nova Scotia to allow this pipeline to become part of the American system may have been a disadvantage for the Maritimes, that we should have tried to make use of that as a Maritime commodity and, in doing that, actually try to ensure a much longer-term supply of natural gas for the Maritimes and use it as the basis of a much cleaner fuel that would bring Nova Scotia to the forefront of trying to address obligations that this country had in terms of its responsibility to Kyoto, and even its responsibility to its citizens, and in trying to make some statement about our concern for their health in terms of the environment.

The members opposite should be aware, and I'm sure the Minister of Economic Development is, that we're still burning a fossil fuel if we burn natural gas. So we still have that problem, some would say, in terms of greenhouse emissions, and I'm willing to concede that. I want the minister to be aware that this is certainly a much better fuel that we would be burning than what we're presently burning in this province, and therefore the benefits to the citizens outweigh what they might see as an advantage in shipping the gas to other jurisdictions and using it up far more quickly. Actually, what that would do is not only buy Nova Scotia some time, but any of those entrepreneurs who are interested in providing energy from a source other than hydrocarbons that they could actually have a long-term supply that would be a transitional energy fuel that could take us to a stage where the next step would be some energy sources that would lessen the impact on the environment and the people of Nova Scotia.

[Page 8350]

Mr. Speaker, there is something that Nova Scotians - and as Canadians, we're going to have to realize, when we hear talk south of the border, actually from the present administration, that they certainly have no intention of signing on to the Kyoto Accord. Somebody has to take a first step, and I think it's pretty difficult for Canadians to wave the flag and say this is something that's important unless they do show some initiative. This is an area where Nova Scotians, I think, could be front and centre and actually lead North America in an energy source that shows we're committed not only to trying to maintain a business environment, but also to trying to do it in an economically and environmentally sustainable manner.

At some point all jurisdictions are going to have to realize this. If ever there was a reason to ensure a supply of natural gas in Nova Scotia, there is definitely an economic one. Businesses in Nova Scotia are going to have to compete with the eastern seaboard of the United States with our gas, and that is not fair to them.

Mr. Speaker, when that agreement was signed, New Brunswick - actually there was a three-year window of access to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick; that window is rapidly closing. Actually, I think that by December of this year, under the agreement, the ability of Nova Scotia to access its own gas will extinguish. The same thing applies to New Brunswick as well. But New Brunswick already has access to Nova Scotia's gas, and New Brunswick also got a cut rate on the tolling fees or the transportation costs in the pipeline, getting the gas to New Brunswick. They got a cut at 4 per cent.

Nova Scotia actually got a greater cut. Nova Scotia had a cut of 10 per cent for the first eight years and 4 per cent for the next two years. Now, you have to ask yourself, if Nova Scotia has a cut rate in transporting the gas or the tolling fee from Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline, then how does that relate to the fact that we don't have any gas being distributed in Nova Scotia anyway.

Now, if I was in this business, I would want to sell my gas to the person who could pay the most, depending on the condition of the market. But if the market would demand a higher price, I would want to try to get it for my product. Now what we are going to see actually, by December, is that the terms for Nova Scotia to actually get access to its own gas will extinguish, so it will have no lever to get gas in this province. I would say that if I was Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline and I still had an obligation to provide Nova Scotia with a cut rate on the tolling fees, then I would use that as a bargaining chip. I would say to Nova Scotia, well, look, you don't have access to the gas anyway, but I will be willing to let you have access if you want to pay the regular rate. In other words, you lose your discount on the tolling fees to get access to the gas.

Now we would assume that anywhere there's a market and you can make money that that's where the gas would go. People in New Brunswick, I think, shouldn't be concerned. But there's no guarantee for Nova Scotia to get its own gas. I think, very much, that's a

[Page 8351]

concern, Mr. Speaker, that for gas that we have off our coast, that the terms for getting access to that will extinguish. If we had had this as a Maritime project and our gas didn't go to the United States, then there would have been 400 kilometres of pipeline that, as part of the infrastructure necessary to establish that market, would have been a cost that wouldn't necessarily had to have been spent and that would have made it a much more reasonable approach to supplying gas to the Maritime Region, as well.

We do want an industry that will stand on its own. We want an industry that doesn't need to be subsidized. We want an industry that can carry on and doesn't require any other funding from the province to establish itself.

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

MR. MACDONELL: Sure.

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

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw to your attention and to the attention of all members of the House that we have some visitors in the east gallery this evening who have come to observe the proceedings and bring a message to us. Along with Pamela Harrison, Karen O'Hara, Bernadette MacDonald, Trish Spark, Sandra Nimmo, Susan LeFort, Joan Gilroy, Della Longmire, Kathy Love, and they are, as well, themselves, the individuals I've named, representatives of the following organizations: Bryony House, Tearmann House, Harbour House, Chrysalis House, Autumn House, Pictou Women's Centre, Antigonish Women's Resource Centre, Second Story Women's Centre, Central Nova Women's Centre, Tri County Women's Centre, Lea Place and the Nova Scotia Association of Women and the Law and a number of citizens who have come to express to us their views on the recent budget and, of course, I would ask them to rise and I would ask members of the House to give them a warm welcome to our proceedings this evening. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: I certainly welcome our guests to the gallery this evening to watch the proceedings of the House.

MR. MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I, as well, want to welcome our guests in the gallery tonight. I think they're sending a greater message than I am this evening. The political responsibility for this present arrangement that the province has made lies with the previous administration. The present administration embraced that agreement so I would say to the Minister of Economic Development and the one responsible for the Petroleum Directorate, that this piece of legislation is an improvement. It actually has worked out some wrinkles that my honourable colleague, the member for Sackville-Cobequid, has raised and I would say that supporting it would certainly improve things rather than make things worse.

[Page 8352]

[9:30 p.m.]

There are still some unanswered issues, some unanswered questions and there is a question of liability for this province in terms of the Sempra deal. We still don't know where that's going in terms of whether or not the province has worked out some arrangement with that company or if the province can be sued by that company. I would say I'm surprised that something hasn't happened by now. If I were them and had made the investment that they made, I would be very curious to know whether or not anybody has ever approached the minister in this regard and whether Nova Scotia will be facing some liability in terms of Sempra leaving town.

My colleague, the member for Sackville-Cobequid, had raised some issues around franchises for distribution - that some co-operatives or municipalities may be interested. SaskEnergy was interested in the distribution of natural gas in Nova Scotia and that is a Crown Corporation. I want to say that probably, I'm assuming, that SaskEnergy would be interested in coming back to look at that now with this legislation, but I want to tell the minister, if SaskEnergy is a Crown Corporation that distributes gas in Saskatchewan, then why can't we develop a Crown Corporation to distribute gas in Nova Scotia and have Nova Scotians get the profit from that distribution? If they can do it in Saskatchewan, why can't we do it in Nova Scotia? Perhaps the minister would like to address whether or not he's thought of that or recognized that there's a potential yet again for Nova Scotians to reap some benefit from the natural gas of this province in terms of having their own company do the distribution of that gas throughout the province.

This is not an original idea and I would say the fact that it's not an original idea would mean that maybe the government could pick up on it because original ideas are not something that they're noted for. If the minister wants to, in his closing remarks, I would say I wouldn't mind hearing something from him in that regard.

You have to ask yourself, why was it that at every opportunity there was to maximize a benefit for Nova Scotians through this whole process, that it wasn't done? Why is it that members will stand in their place today and rail about what could have happened and should have happened for Nova Scotians, why is it that we have a Liberal caucus that's made up mostly of members from Cape Breton that will talk about the lack of advantage for Cape Breton in this whole process? Why is it the gas didn't go to Cape Breton to try to ensure stability and sustainability in that area to generate wealth and to attract business? Why wasn't that done? And yet, the member for Cape Breton South even raised that in his own comments and definitely if ever there was an opportunity to do it, it was under the Liberal Regime before the Tory Government was formed.

There are those in this province who would say, if Nova Scotians don't benefit from the gas, then leave it in the ground. I would say that I'm one of those people. This is our resource, that Nova Scotians deserve to get the best possible benefit. If this government feels

[Page 8353]

the need to cut health care and dollars to women's shelters, then why not try to maximize the benefit from the offshore for all Nova Scotians so that if dollars are your biggest concern, if everything to you is a cost and nothing is an investment, then why not try to maximize the most that we can get from the offshore to try to offset what you see as costs and help the people of Nova Scotia? Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I don't want to take up too much time. The NDP have a little bit more they want to say on the issue as well and I know my colleague, the member for Cape Breton South, has spoken very well on the whole issue of predatory pricing and the concern that that would have in regard to having one company with exclusivity of distribution and control of other sources of energy distribution in the Province of Nova Scotia. I would assume that the minister responsible will be watching that aspect very closely so that we don't have a total monopoly in regard to that distribution process.

But do you know what I find interesting? When you look back at the Sempra arrangement and during that time the then Minister of Energy talked about every area of the province, within a period of time, having the ability to access natural gas in the Province of Nova Scotia, and that was generally supported by many of the rural communities because many of the rural communities were concerned that they would not, in fact, have the ability to access natural gas. I know that probably the minister at the time . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. There is too much noise in the Chamber. I would ask the members to take their conversations outside, please.

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, we're here talking about the ability of natural gas and distribution, but very much my heart is with the people in the audience right here wishing me to talk about an issue that's very important to my riding and to many, many rural ridings and that is the ability to be able to have safe places for women who are beaten, battered, and abused. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member will bring his remarks to second reading of Bill No. 112, please.

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I'm just saying . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Lunenburg West on Bill No. 112.

MR. DOWNE: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I was just saying that it's hard . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Twice.

[Page 8354]

MR. DOWNE: Yes. I'm not trying to take advantage of my position, Mr. Speaker, but sometimes you have to express your feelings.

But the issue about having access of gas distribution throughout all Nova Scotia is an issue of concern, whether it's in Cape Breton, or whether it's down in Lunenburg County, or in Shelburne, or Queens, or Cumberland, and I believe that the distribution aspect was for rural development. The concept was to develop economically the opportunities throughout rural Nova Scotia and that was, I understand from the former minister, part and parcel of the thrust of that initiative and that to be able to have that gas, not in one year or 50 years from now, but in a period of, I think, seven years, and so that would be there to help our businesses and our homes to be able to access Nova Scotia's natural gas.

Then came along the issue of whether there was or was not agreement for the gas line to be put in along the shoulder of the road. Well it was interesting watching how this government appeared to not want to have the distribution of that gas throughout rural Nova Scotia, because from what I understand - and I could be corrected - the information I have been told is that the government said they didn't want to put the pipeline in the 100-Series Highways along the shoulder of the road, buried at a certain depth, because they're worried about the possibility of an explosion or it blowing up, or causing danger or damage.

Well, I understood that there is an agreement between Sempra and the province to choose an independent individual to assess that particular problem and to determine whether or not that particular process was done in other jurisdictions and if it is safe and can be done safely. I understood that report came back saying yes it was safe but, for some reason or another, the government said no they didn't want to do it anyway and forcing the hand of Sempra to say then you're taking away our ability to live up to the contractual agreements that we made with the province. That's what I've been told. Now, I'm open to it being corrected by the government leaders, front bench, or the Minister of Health. He has lots of gas concerns, I am sure, and in Truro, maybe he has some information on that issue. I don't know. But that's what I'm aware of. So, besides that, Sempra ended up not being able to fulfill the agreement that they originally entered in.

AN HON. MEMBER: There was a Tory Government . . .

MR. DOWNE: The Minister of Health has a question. Maybe he wants to talk about homes for battered women and children or something.

AN HON. MEMBER: Join the debate.

MR. DOWNE: Join the debate, Mr. Minister. The other issue that came up was the ability to negotiate and have distribution of that gas at a fair market price. Now, Nova Scotians would love to be able to access natural gas at a competitive price. I don't know what we are going to have this exercise under what the government is talking about, and now they

[Page 8355]

are dealing with SaskEnergy. I was in Saskatchewan a year ago and SaskEnergy said, well, if Sempra isn't going to get the deal, maybe we should go down there and bid on it because we are used to putting gas pipelines in the shoulder of the road. It has been done. It is being done. It is a possibility. The other difference was, as I understand it, under utilities, basically it was a return on investment based on capital; the higher the capital, the 12 per cent or whatever the rate of return was - but the capital didn't matter.

What we've tried to do in Nova Scotia is reduce the cost of the distribution so that it would be more cost-effective to the consumer, as I believe was the original bid. That's what the principle was. But when you take away the ability to access the least costly areas for putting the line in, all of a sudden, the costs go up. Guess who's going to pay for it? Nova Scotians. I know that in my area there is a major concern whether or not gas distribution will happen in Lunenburg County. I don't know when. Market-driven forces are important. I don't dispute that. But you know, there has got to be some mechanism why you would want to bring it in. Under one of the proposals, they are talking about beachheading gas somewhere along the South Shore might help that area. But what we should be looking at is having some zones in those areas where economic development can be used, for example, so that we can have some economic benefits from that gas coming to Nova Scotia.

The petrochemical industry - this government seems to be asleep at the switch. Why aren't we doing more to promote the petrochemical industry and the potential of that industry here? Instead, it is almost like hands off. If anybody else wants to try to talk about it, go ahead, but as far as the government goes, it doesn't appear that the government is trying to foster that concept. Maybe the minister, with his notable ties, can get up and explain this and I'll listen to that. But you know, there is a responsibility of this government to create a better environment to foster those economic opportunities in the Province of Nova Scotia and I haven't seen them yet. I haven't seen what it is that they are trying to do to foster economic opportunities for Nova Scotians. The more economic opportunities we have, the more wealth is generated; the more wealth that is generated, the more money the Minister of Finance has and the Minister of Finance will then be able to say to the Minister of Community Services and other ministers that they can help fix the problems that we are trying to struggle with in this Legislature today.

AN HON. MEMBER: We already found $1 million. If we found $1million, it would go a long way.

MR. DOWNE: So, Mr. Speaker, my concern is the fact that this minister and the government - I hope they watch the issue at the end of the day of who has full control over the gas distribution. Secondly, that we should be doing whatever we can to make sure that gas is not just going to be landing here in Halifax and goodbye for the rest of the province; there should be something to see what they're going to do. I don't know how you're going to do it. I'd like to know what type of mechanisms you would like to put in place for distribution of gas throughout the Province of Nova Scotia at a rate that is reasonable and

[Page 8356]

competitive so that industries and homes across the province will have a future opportunity to take a look at having that gas in their homes.

The other aspect is, what is the government doing with regard to the further development of the gas industry in Nova Scotia? The minister is quiet on this and he will eventually be able to get up and speak on this. I wait with interest to find out the exact plan that this government has in the further development of the potential of the offshore and the natural gas development in the Province of Nova Scotia. I wait, as does a lot of other Nova Scotians wait to hear what this minister has to say about his specific plan.

[9:45 p.m.]

We can have people criticize him all we want, but I want to give the minister some chance to lay out in front of all Nova Scotians what the blueprint is for gas distribution and gas development and economic opportunity and economic self reliance and benefits and jobs and the future of Nova Scotia. We have some ideas that we would like to share with the minister at some time, but I first want to see what this minister has to say to us about what this government's plans are. All we've seen so far is, well, too bad, if it doesn't work out we can't do anything about it; well, we lost this, we lost that, too bad, we're not going to appeal it. I want to see what they're going to do to fight for a benefit for Nova Scotia in that regard.

With those few words Mr. Speaker, I understand the Leader of the New Democratic Party would like to have a few minutes to finish off until 10 o'clock, so I will now allow the Leader to take over.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I know we only have a few minutes left in this evening's session but I wanted to have the opportunity to address this bill. I think what we are doing here underlines in part some of the expectations that Nova Scotians have with respect to the distribution of gas. Also some of the expectations that Nova Scotians have that have failed, quite frankly. The distribution of natural gas was portrayed, certainly by the former government and, in fact, the expectation of that distribution, even prior to that time, was sold to Nova Scotians as something that was going to be of such great benefit to them in so many ways that people looked to it as one of the ways that we were going to go about financing, either directly through the royalty agreement or indirectly through economic activity, the operations of government.

They realized, or thought they were, or were led to believe I should say, that the people of Nova Scotia could expect to have a decent health care system, could expect to have a decent education system, could expect to have all of those parts of government that were necessary for a decent standard of living in this province because we had this great natural resource sitting off our shores that, once it was properly exploited and properly brought

[Page 8357]

ashore, was going to lead to economic prosperity in this province on a scale that had never before been seen. We, all of us I am sure who grew up in this province remember that this goes back for so many years, this expectation. It was, in part, fostered by the various governments, whether they were Liberal or Conservative over the years, who told Nova Scotians that exact thing.

It was interesting when I read through the bill, the bill is technical in nature and it amends a previously existing gas distribution Act and it talks about a number of things, but it specifically says, (3) "The Board shall not grant a franchise pursuant to this Section unless the Board is satisfied that the granting of a franchise (a) is in the public interest;" Well, you know something, the entire development of this industry, that should have been the guiding principle, that the development of the offshore, the development of the gas distribution system should have been in the public interest. Every piece of that, as it develops, should have been in the public interest because the reality is when we look around and we see this bill come forward and we realize that access to our own resource is running out, the end of this calendar year we will be in a position of not being able to get access to a resource that belongs to the people of this province. Can you imagine the irony of industry in the U.S. being able to have access to our resource but we can't, the irony of people in New Brunswick having access, as they say, cooking hamburgers on natural gas, when we can't even get access to it? This is not only a tragedy, it is certainly unconscionable and it is another economic burden that is going to be carried by the people of this province.

Mr. Speaker, the reality is that our resource, the resource that is not being delivered to the people of Nova Scotia, is being delivered into markets in the United States, they are using natural gas so they get the benefits of a cleaner-burning fuel, which they use either directly in industrial manufacturing plants, or they use it in the manufacture of electricity which is in turn used in their industry, it's done at a cheaper rate and then those industries subsequently compete with our industries. Not only are we not getting the benefits of the resource, we're in fact losing out because we are suffering under an additional economic burden that, ironically, is brought about by the export of our own natural resource.

The minister says, oh my goodness. Well, it is oh my goodness. It is a terrible thing for a province, and I think my colleague, the member for Sackville-Cobequid, mentioned earlier that if you had to waste the money on a poll and I don't think you have to waste the money, if you went around the province and asked people, what do you think about the benefits that Nova Scotia is getting off their own natural resources, there would be virtual unanimity among the people of this province that Nova Scotians are not getting benefits off their own resources, or if they are getting benefits, they are so modest and so small and so irregular in the way that they come to the province that it is hardly a deal to be proud of.

I remember, with respect to gas distribution, my colleague and I sitting over in our caucus office meeting with the distributors from Alberta. They were talking about how distribution took place within the province in such an economical way, and how it can be

[Page 8358]

such a generator of economic activity, if it's done in the right way. They said, you're going to want to do this, you're going to want to do this because you are going to use, in part, your royalties from your royalty regime to push out the distribution into those areas where it may not be solely economical to do, because you're going to want to get the gas out to those areas to allow them to develop economically, and when you do that and you add more end users onto your system, you're going to make more in royalties, because you are going to move through more of your product.

Well, then we took the time to explain to them what our royalty agreement was. They said, oh my goodness, why would anybody in their right minds enter into a royalty agreement like that, you're virtually giving away your resource. We said, that's exactly right, but unless you think we're foolish, we want you to know that we're also unrepentant because our government is apparently set on not only signing this deal but making sure that the same deal applies to all of the fields as they develop our offshore.

Needless to say, these distributors from Alberta, who have now had the benefit of a maturing industry, said, this is unbelievable, how can anyone do this, how can anyone act in this manner, this is tantamount to destroying the economic base of your province. I must say, they didn't get much in the way of disagreement from us. We felt that was, in fact, exactly what was happening, and what we've been saying, and certainly what my colleague has been saying for many, many years. I guess everyone understands that his interest in this goes just beyond a legislative interest because he has taken the time to become a virtual expert in energy and in matters dealing with the offshore. We're certainly pleased to have him because even though the government won't listen to the advice that he gives, I want to assure you that we in this caucus listen very closely to him.

The member makes . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. We just have a very few moments left. I ask the honourable members to give their attention to the honourable Leader of the Official Opposition who has the floor for another couple of moments.

MR. DEXTER: Well, that was very timely Mr. Speaker, because, as it was, I was just about to say something very important so I'm glad you decided that you would draw their attention back to me. (Interruptions) Not that my compliments to the member here were not important, Mr. Speaker, but I knew you would want to hear this because my honourable colleague talked in his presentation about what the effect on the economy of Nova Scotia would have been had we negotiated as part of the benefits package a 10 per cent reduction for consumers in this province of our own natural gas. Can you imagine what effect that would have had on the economic development prospects of this province?

[Page 8359]

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I know that the honourable Leader of the NDP is in full flight there but I just wanted to inform this House that the battle of Nova Scotia is now over and that the Screaming Eagles have persevered. It's going to be really good to see Mayor Kelly flying a Cape Breton flag at City Hall and wearing a Screaming Eagles sweater. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Obviously, it is not a point of order, but certainly a point that caught a lot of attention. I thank the honourable member for Cape Breton South for that. The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition, you have another moment or so.

MR. DEXTER: Thank you. Yes, not a point of order, I guess a good point. Or at least a point, coming from Halifax, I don't know if it was a good point or not. The point I was trying to make is that if we were able to receive that kind of a break here in Nova Scotia on our own natural resource, the rollout of that in terms of savings to companies and the encouragement of companies to come here, the development of new locally owned and based companies, would have been significant.

What the gas companies will tell you - and they will use this - they will say, but you see, we're a price taker, we're not a price setter. What we do is take whatever the price is that's in the market at the time. Well, all that tells you is that they speculate on the resource that they sell. That's all it is. They go down into a market and they're looking for a price and it's as high as they can get. That is not an excuse for not being able to provide Nova Scotians with a break on our own resource. You still ought to be able to negotiate a break that allows Nova Scotians to get a preferential rate on the cost of natural gas, which would be . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Would the honourable Leader of the Official Opposition care to move adjournment of debate, please?

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I will move adjournment of the debate.

MR. SPEAKER: 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.

[Page 8360]

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move the House do now rise to meet again on the morrow at 12:00 noon. The House will sit until 8:00 p.m. The order of business following Daily Routine, will be Question Period, CWH on Supply for four hours and then into Public Bills for Second Reading. The bill that we have under consideration at the present time is Bill No. 112 and if we complete that, we will carry on with Bill No. 109, The Financial Measures (2002) Act. I move the House do now rise.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that the House will adjourn until tomorrow at 12:00 noon.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The House is adjourned until tomorrow.

[The House rose at 9:59 p.m.]

[Page 8361]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 3107

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

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

Whereas the Izaak Walton Killam-Grace Health Centre for children recently named its new helideck Luke's Landing in memory of the late Luke Dunsworth of Windsor; and

Whereas Luke died two years ago from a tragic aneurysm just days after being transported to the IWK-Grace; and

Whereas Luke's mom, Crystal Delorey, worked tirelessly in raising the necessary funds to ensure the helideck became a reality, raising more than $10,000 herself and upon hearing of Ms. Delory's efforts, Abbott Laboratories donated $1 million to make the helideck fully operational by mid-February of this year;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs commend the sincere efforts of Ms. Delorey in almost single-handedly getting the IWK-Grace helideck operational in memory of her son, Luke, while resulting in quicker air transport for more than 200 patients annually.

RESOLUTION NO. 3108

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

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

Whereas Ms. Brandi Gavel, 19-year-old daughter of Leo and Cindy Gavel of Falmouth was chosen Princess Windsor for the 70th Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Festival at the March 23rd Princess Windsor Tea at the Hants County War Memorial Community Centre; and

Whereas Brandi is presently in her second year at Acadia University and is a graduate of Windsor Regional High School; and

Whereas Brandi has a wide variety of interests and is sponsored by the Honourable H.E. Kendall Chapter IODE and will be accompanied during festival events by her six-year old attendant, Allison Boyd of Windsor;

[Page 8362]

Therefore be it resolved that this Legislature extend our sincerest wishes to Brandi Gavel and also to the organizing committee of the Princess Windsor Tea for hosting another outstanding event this year.

RESOLUTION NO. 3109

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

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

Whereas following an overwhelming success in 1998, St. Croix, Hants County, was awarded on March 27th, the 2004 Canadian Senior Men's Fastpitch Championship by Softball Canada; and

Whereas close to 50,000 people jammed the two ballparks in St. Croix in 1998 to view world-class athletes at their very best; and

Whereas Marvin Lantz and Darrell Lyttle, who both played a predominant role in the success of the 1998 championship tournament, are now working hard on the 2004 championship event;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs applaud the significant efforts of both Darrell and Marvin as they work toward making the 2004 Canadian Senior Men's Fastpitch Championship another outstanding success.

RESOLUTION NO. 3110

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

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

Whereas the Hants Community Hospital Foundation recently held their third annual Ski Challenge at Ski Martock; and

Whereas the foundation has raised over $30,000 the past two years to assist with projects such as the Hants Community Hospital helipad along with other equipment for the hospital; and

Whereas the Ski Challenge is always favourably supported by the business and corporate community in the Windsor-West Hants area;

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Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly applaud the efforts of the Hants Community Hospital Foundation for their diligent fundraising work and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 3111

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

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

Whereas Alpine ski coaches Greg Fox and Greg Hansen, along with Caitlin Owens and Tita Szlachetka of Martock, recently travelled to the Canadian Juvenile Alpine Ski Championships in Panorama, British Columbia; and

Whereas Caitlin and Tita placed 47th and 58th overall in the Juvenile Alpine Championships with total overall times of 2:07:64 and 2:19:29; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia Juvenile Alpine Ski Team placed seventh overall in the nine team provincial competition with a total of 288 points;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs acknowledge the superlative efforts of athletes Caitlin and Tita and all Nova Scotia team members as well as the hard work of their coaches in representing Nova Scotia so proudly at the 2002 Canadian Juvenile Alpine Ski Championships two weeks ago in British Columbia.

RESOLUTION NO. 3112

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

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

Whereas the Knights of Columbus played a large role in the Alzheimer Society's fundraising campaign in the Town of Windsor this winter; and

Whereas the Knights of Columbus under the direction of Gary Brown went door to door many times during exceptionally adverse weather conditions; and

Whereas as a result of this effort nearly $6,000 was raised in the Town of Windsor on behalf of the Alzheimer's Society of Nova Scotia;

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Therefore be it resolved that this Legislature extend our warmest regards to the efforts of the Knights of Columbus as well as fundraising coordinator for the Town of Windsor, Bev Bowie, for their superb work on behalf of such a worthy organization.

RESOLUTION NO. 3113

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

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

Whereas Hantsport Mayor Wayne Folker was recently presented with the Nova Scotia Heart and Stroke Foundation's Big Bike Ride; and

Whereas Mayor Folker was one of only 15 recipients of this award in Nova Scotia in 2001 and is presented to those participants who are able to raise $1,000 in support of the Heart and Stroke Foundation's Big Bike Ride; and

Whereas in the first nine years of the ride, the foundation has raised $1 million with plans now underway for this year's 10th Anniversary ride with $175,000 having been set as a fundraising objective;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly recognize the considerable effort put forth by the Nova Scotia Heart and Stroke Foundation and their many volunteers such as Wayne Folker and wish them every success as they aim for 80 29 member teams to participate in this year's fundraiser.

RESOLUTION NO. 3114

By: Mr. William Dooks (Eastern Shore)

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

Whereas firefighters are summoned in times of need regardless of the time of day or night; and

Whereas the Moser River and District Volunteer Fire Department under the capable leadership of Chief Michael Richardson answers a number of alarms annually; and

Whereas a community without the dedication of volunteer firefighters would be a community at great risk because of the uncertainty of when an emergency can arise;

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Therefore be it resolved that MLAs commend Chief Michael Richardson and firefighters from the Moser River and District Volunteer Fire Department for their excellent responses in times of need while wishing them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 3115

By: Mr. William Dooks (Eastern Shore)

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

Whereas firefighters are summoned in times of need regardless of the time of day or night; and

Whereas the Mooseland Volunteer Fire Department under the capable leadership of Chief Barry Prest answers a number of alarms annually; and

Whereas a community without the dedication of volunteer firefighters would be a community at great risk because of the uncertainty of when an emergency can arise;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs commend Chief Barry Prest and firefighters from the Mooseland Volunteer Fire Department for their excellent responses in times of need while wishing them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 3116

By: Mr. William Dooks (Eastern Shore)

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

Whereas firefighters are summoned in times of need regardless of the time of day or night; and

Whereas the Sheet Harbour Fire Department under the capable leadership of Chief Anthony Farris answers a number of alarms annually; and

Whereas a community without the dedication of volunteer firefighters would be a community at great risk because of the uncertainty of when an emergency can arise;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs commend Chief Anthony Farris and firefighters from the Sheet Harbour Fire Department for their excellent responses in times of need while wishing them continued success.

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RESOLUTION NO. 3117

By: Mr. William Dooks (Eastern Shore)

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

Whereas firefighters are summoned in times of need regardless of the time of day or night; and

Whereas the Ostrea Lake and Pleasant Point Fire Department under the capable leadership of Chief Ian Lobban answers a number of alarms annually; and

Whereas a community without the dedication of volunteer firefighters would be a community at great risk because of the uncertainty of when an emergency can arise;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs commend Chief Ian Lobban and firefighters from the Ostrea Lake and Pleasant Point Fire Department for their excellent responses in times of need while wishing them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 3118

By: Mr. William Dooks (Eastern Shore)

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

Whereas firefighters are summoned in times of need regardless of the time of day or night; and

Whereas the Oyster Pond Fire Department under the capable leadership of Chief Edgar Kerr answers a number of alarms annually; and

Whereas a community without the dedication of volunteer firefighters would be a community at great risk because of the uncertainty of when an emergency can arise;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs commend Chief Edgar Kerr and firefighters from the Oyster Pond Fire Department for their excellent responses in times of need while wishing them continued success.

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RESOLUTION NO. 3119

By: Mr. William Dooks (Eastern Shore)

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

Whereas firefighters are summoned in times of need regardless of the time of day or night; and

Whereas the Mushaboom Volunteer Fire Department under the capable leadership of Chief Gary Boutlier answers a number of alarms annually; and

Whereas a community without the dedication of volunteer firefighters would be a community at great risk because of the uncertainty of when an emergency can arise;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs commend Chief Gary Boutlier and firefighters from the Mushaboom Volunteer Fire Department for their excellent responses in times of need while wishing them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 3120

By: Mr. William Dooks (Eastern Shore)

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

Whereas firefighters are summoned in times of need regardless of the time of day or night; and

Whereas the Chezzetcook Volunteer Fire Department under the capable leadership of Chief Alan Duchesne answers a number of alarms annually; and

Whereas a community without the dedication of volunteer firefighters would be a community at great risk because of the uncertainty of when an emergency can arise;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs commend Chief Alan Duchesne and firefighters from the Chezzetcook Volunteer Fire Department for their excellent responses in times of need while wishing them continued success.

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RESOLUTION NO. 3121

By: Mr. William Dooks (Eastern Shore)

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

Whereas firefighters are summoned in times of need regardless of the time of day or night; and

Whereas the Lawrencetown Beach Fire and Emergency Service under the capable leadership of Chief Murray Giles answers a number of alarms annually; and

Whereas a community without the dedication of volunteer firefighters would be a community at great risk because of the uncertainty of when an emergency can arise;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs commend Chief Murray Giles and firefighters from the Lawrencetown Beach Fire and Emergency Service for their excellent responses in times of need while wishing them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 3122

By: Mr. William Dooks (Eastern Shore)

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

Whereas firefighters are summoned in times of need regardless of the time of day or night; and

Whereas the Musquodoboit Harbour Fire Department under the capable leadership of Chief Carter Falkenham answers a number of alarms annually; and

Whereas a community without the dedication of volunteer firefighters would be a community at great risk because of the uncertainty of when an emergency can arise;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs commend Chief Carter Falkenham and firefighters from the Musquodoboit Harbour Fire Department for their excellent responses in times of need while wishing them continued success.

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RESOLUTION NO. 3123

By: Mr. William Dooks (Eastern Shore)

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

Whereas firefighters are summoned in times of need regardless of the time of day or night; and

Whereas the Tangier and Area Fire Department under the capable leadership of Chief Darren Hutt answers a number of alarms annually; and

Whereas a community without the dedication of volunteer firefighters would be a community at great risk because of the uncertainty of when an emergency can arise;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs commend Chief Darren Hutt and firefighters from the Tangier and Area Fire Department for their excellent responses in times of need while wishing them continued success.