Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

HANSARD 01/02-87

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

THURSDAY, APRIL 18, 2002

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Commun. Serv. - Transition Houses/Women's Shelters: Cuts - Oppose,
Mr. D. Wilson 8460
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Fin. - A Balanced Approach to Surplus and Debt Management,
Hon. N. LeBlanc 8461
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 3158, Princess Patricia's Infantry - Casualties: Sympathy -
Express, Hon. R. Russell 8461
Vote - Affirmative 8462
Res. 3159, Can. Charter of Rights & Freedoms: Anniv. (20th) -
Congrats., Hon. M. Baker 8462
Vote - Affirmative 8462
Res. 3160, Nat'l. Vol. Wk. (04/21-27/02): Volunteers - Recognize,
Hon. Rodney MacDonald 8462
Vote - Affirmative 8463
Res. 3161, O'Connell, Lt. Karen - Submariner: 1st Woman - Congrats.,
Hon. J. Purves 8463
Vote - Affirmative 8464
Res. 3162, Comeau, Delina: Educ. Wk. Partner Award - Congrats.,
Hon. N. LeBlanc 8464
Vote - Affirmative 8465
Res. 3163, Penguin Troop: Efforts - Congrats., Hon. J. Purves 8466
Vote - Affirmative 8467
Res. 3164, Health - Organ Donation: Prog. - Congrats., Hon. J. Muir 8467
Vote - Affirmative 8467
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 116, Labour Standards Code, Mr. F. Corbett 8468
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 3165, Princess Patricia's Infantry - Casualties: Sympathy - Express,
Mr. J. Holm 8468
Vote - Affirmative 8469
Res. 3166, Can. Charter of Rights & Freedoms: Importance -
Recognize, Mr. W. Gaudet 8469
Vote - Affirmative 8469
Res. 3167, Shand, Bonnie: N.S./NYC - Bonds, Mr. C. O'Donnell 8470
Vote - Affirmative 8470
Res. 3168, Can. Charter of Rights & Freedoms: Anniv. (20th) -
Congrats., (by Mr. K. Deveaux), Mr. D. Dexter 8470
Vote - Affirmative 8471
Res. 3169, Decker, Pam: Vol. Award - Congrats., Mr. D. Downe 8471
Vote - Affirmative 8472
Res. 3170, Boys & Girls Clubs: Access to Tech. Prog. - Launch,
(by Mr. D. Hendsbee), Mr. T. Olive 8472
Vote - Affirmative 8473
Res. 3171, Rock, Carol - Second Story Women's Ctr.: Prog. Coord. -
Applaud, Ms. Maureen MacDonald 8473
Vote - Affirmative 8473
Res. 3172, UCCB: Debating Champs - Congrats.,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 8474
Vote - Affirmative 8474
Res. 3173, Preston Adult Learning Skills: Anniv. (15th) - Congrats.,
Mr. D. Hendsbee 8474
Vote - Affirmative 8475
Res. 3174, Colby Village Elem. Sch. - DARE Prog.: Grad. - Congrats.,
Mr. K. Deveaux 8475
Vote - Affirmative 8476
Res. 3175, Nat'l. Vol. Wk. (04/21-27/02): Volunteers - Congrats.,
Mr. K. MacAskill 8476
Vote - Affirmative 8477
Res. 3176, Fraser Holmes Mem. Ladies Pipe Band - Congrats.,
Mr. J. DeWolfe 8477
Vote - Affirmative 8477
Res. 3177, Drake, Patrick - Battle of Magicians: Attendance - Congrats.,
Mr. F. Corbett 8478
Vote - Affirmative 8478
Res. 3178, Roper, Rebecca: Birthday (88th) - Congrats., Mr. P. MacEwan 8478
Vote - Affirmative 8479
Res. 3179, Northeast Kings Educ. Ctr.: Opening - Applaud,
Mr. M. Parent 8479
Vote - Affirmative 8480
Res. 3180, Leopold, Edith - Second Story Women's Ctr.:
Admin. Coord. - Congrats., Mr. J. Pye 8480
Vote - Affirmative 8481
Res. 3181, Crowell, Evelyn: Vol. Award - Congrats., Mr. D. Wilson 8481
Vote - Affirmative 8481
Res. 3182, NDP Caucus: Budget Polling - Thank, Mr. F. Chipman 8482
Res. 3183, Gov't. (N.S.) - Political Staff: NDP Web Site - Hacking,
Mr. G. Steele 8482
Res. 3184, Princess Patricia's Infantry - Casualties: Sympathy -
Express, Mr. R. MacKinnon 8483
Vote - Affirmative 8484
Res. 3185, Five Island Lake Clean Up Committee: Dedication -
Congrats., Mr. W. Estabrooks 8484
Vote - Affirmative 8484
Res. 3186, MacLean, Don: Awards/Accomplishments - Congrats.,
Mr. B. Boudreau 8484
Vote - Affirmative 8485
Res. 3187, Bursey, Frank: Vol. Award - Congrats., Mr. P. MacEwan 8485
Vote - Affirmative 8486
Res. 3188, Hants West MLA - Hants East: Relocation - Congrats.,
Mr. J. MacDonell 8486
Vote - Affirmative 8487
Res. 3189, Young, Raymond: Birthday (50th) - Congrats.,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 8487
Vote - Affirmative 8487
Res. 3190, Commun. Serv. - Masonview Homes: Advocates -
Congrats., Mr. K. Deveaux 8488
Res. 3191, Taylor, Reg: Vol. Award - Congrats., Mr. K. MacAskill 8489
Vote - Affirmative 8489
Res. 3192, Vol. Awards Day (04/19/02): Recipients - Congrats.,
Mr. B. Boudreau 8489
Vote - Affirmative 8490
Res. 3193, Mackintosh, Marilyn: Vol. Award - Congrats.,
Mr. R. MacKinnon 8490
Vote - Affirmative 8491
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 892, Tourism & Culture: Arts Council - Reinstate, Mr. D. Dexter 8491
No. 893, Tourism & Culture - Arts Council: Savings - Table,
Mr. D. Downe 8492
No. 894, Fin.: Equalization Formula - Status, Mr. D. Dexter 8494
No. 895, Transport. & Pub. Wks.: Contracting Out -Plans,
Mr. P. MacEwan 8496
No. 896, Transport. & Pub. Wks.: Contracting Out - Cease,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 8497
No. 897, Fin.: Debt Reduction - Commitment, Mr. D. Downe 8498
No. 898, Commun. Serv. - Transition Houses: Administrative Savings -
Details, Ms. Maureen MacDonald 8499
No. 899, Health: Wait Times - Details, Dr. J. Smith 8500
No. 890, Treasury & Policy Bd. - Civil Servants ($75,000+):
Increase - Explain, Mr. G. Steele 8502
No. 891, Commun. Serv. - Fam. Violence Workers: Meeting -
Sequence, Mr. D. Wilson 8503
No. 892, Health - Crosbie Centre: Relocation - Reason,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 8504
No. 893, Econ. Dev. - CN Rail (Paul Tellier): Letter - Interpretation,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 8506
No. 894, Health - Dist. Health Authorities: Cuts - Severity,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 8507
No. 895, Health - South Shore Reg. Hosp.: Pediatric Unit - Action,
Mr. D. Downe 8508
No. 896, Health - MRI Clinic: Clayton Pk. - Details,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 8510
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
ON MOTION FOR SUPPLY:
Mr. J. MacDonell 8511
Mr. R. MacKinnon 8514
Mr. B. Taylor 8518
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON SUPPLY AT 2:37 P.M. 8522
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 5:58 P.M. 8522
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Health/Commun. Serv. - In-Home Supports: Gaps -
Minister Close:
Mr. J. Pye 8523
Mr. D. Wilson 8525
Hon. J. Muir 8528
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON SUPPLY AT 6:29 P.M. 8530
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 7:08 P.M. 8530
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 112, Gas Distribution Act 8530
Mr. H. Epstein 8531
Mr. R. MacKinnon 8531
Mr. F. Corbett 8539
Hon. G. Balser 8540
Vote - Affirmative 8540
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Fri., Apr. 19th at 9:00 a.m. 8541
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 3194, Digby, Admiral, Museum: Importance - Recognize,
Hon. G. Balser 8542
Res. 3195, Vacancy Promoters: Init. - Recognize, Mr. C. Clarke 8542
Res. 3196, Decker, Pam: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
Mr. C. O'Donnell 8543
Res. 3197, Bruce, Larence: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
Mr. C. O'Donnell 8543
Res. 3198, Bruce, Joyce: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
Mr. C. O'Donnell 8544
Res. 3199, Taylor, Reg: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
Hon. G. Balser 8544
Res. 3200, MacKintosh, Marilyn: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
Hon. G. Balser 8545
Res. 3201, Landry, Tena: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
Hon. A. MacIsaac 8545
Res. 3202, Spencer, Ian: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
Hon. A. MacIsaac 8546
Res. 3203, Bursey, Frank: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
Mr. C. Clarke 8546
Res. 3204, Stone, Blair: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congtrats.,
Hon. Rodney MacDonald 8547
Res. 3205, MacRae, Hector: Prov. Reg. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
Hon. Rodney MacDonald 8547
Res. 3206, Neynens, Harry: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
Hon. Rodney MacDonald 8548
Res. 3207, Rafuse, John: Prov. Rep. Vol. - Congrats., Mr. M. Parent 8548
Res. 3208, Fitzgerald, Helen: Prov. Rep. Vol. - Congrats.,
Mr. R. Hurlburt 8549
Res. 3209, Vanderdonk, Loretta: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
Mr. R. Hurlburt 8549
Res. 3210, Newell, Joanne: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
Mr. C. O'Donnell 8550
Res. 3211, Crowell, Evelyn: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
Mr. C. O'Donnell 8550
Res. 3212, Williamson, Dale: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
Mr. J. Chataway 8551
Res. 3213, MacNeil, Betty: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Langille 8551
Res. 3214, McKay, James: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
Mr. J. Carey 8552
Res. 3215, Wong, Gene: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
Mr. K. Morash 8552
Res. 3216, Elliott, Robbins: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
Hon. D. Morse 8553
Res. 3217, Huntley, Joseph: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
Hon. D. Morse 8553
Res. 3218, Priestnall, Larry: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
Hon. D. Morse 8554
Res. 3219, Comeau, Phillip: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
Hon. N. LeBlanc 8554
Res. 3220, Goucher, Irvin: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
Mr. F. Chipman 8555
Res. 3221, Moore, Douglas: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
Mr. F. Chipman 8555
Res. 3222, Langille, Glenn: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
Mr. F. Chipman 8556
Res. 3223, Blades, Carl: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
Mr. F. Chipman 8556
Res. 3224, MacKenzie, Ila: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
Mr. J. DeWolfe 8557
Res. 3225, Bates, Dorothy: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
Mr. J. DeWolfe 8557
Res. 3226, MacKay, Anita: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
The Premier 8558
Res. 3227, Morris, Berneice: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
Mr. Ronald Chisholm 8558
Res. 3228, Haverstock, Carol: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
Mr. Ronald Chisholm 8559
Res. 3229, Duffy, Florence: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
Mr. Ronald Chisholm 8559
Res. 3230, Murphy, Joe: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
Mr. Ronald Chisholm 8560
Res. 3231, MacDonald, Elizabeth: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) -
Congrats., Mr. Ronald Chisholm 8560
Res. 3232, MacLennan, Margaret: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
Hon. J. Purves 8561
Res. 3233, Russell, Alma: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
Hon. J. Purves 8561
Res. 3234, Beaver, Keith: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
Hon. J. Muir 8562
Res. 3235, Boyce, Doug: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
Hon. J. Muir 8562
Res. 3236, Coates, Ruth: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
Hon. P. Christie 8563
Res. 3237, MacGillivary, Wayne: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
Mrs. M. Baillie 8563
Res. 3238, Bishop, Brian: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
Hon. R. Russell 8564
Res. 3239, DeLong, Robert: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
Hon. R. Russell 8564
Res. 3240, MacNeil, Alison: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
Hon. R. Russell 8565
Res. 3241, Walker, Marion: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
Hon. R. Russell 8565
Res. 3242, Anthony, Bob: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
Mr. T. Olive 8566
Res. 3243, Eisnor, Wilfred: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Baker 8566
Res. 3244, Beibesheimer, John: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Baker 8567
Res. 3245, Stiles, Austin: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Baker 8567
Res. 3246, Bolivar, Reta: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Baker 8568
Res. 3247, Tucker, Vernon: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
The Premier 8568
Res. 3248, MacNeil, Ashlie: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
The Premier 8569
Res. 3249, Moore, Michael - Springhill Rotary Club: Citizen of the Yr.
(2002) - Congrats., The Speaker 8569
Res. 3250, Moore, 2nd Lt. Michael - Springhill Cadet Corps: Medal -
Congrats., The Speaker 8570
Res. 3251, Black, Dan & Terry - Special Olympics: Medals - Congrats.,
The Speaker 8570
Res. 3252, Springhill Freshmart - St. Vincent de Paul: Donations -
Commend, The Speaker 8571
Res. 3253, Sports: Oxford Mini Girls Basketball Team - Congrats.,
The Speaker 8571
Res. 3254, Dennis, Graham/Hfx. Herald - Newspaper Publishing:
Leadership - Congrats., Mr. Robert Chisholm 8572

[Page 8459]

HALIFAX, THURSDAY, APRIL 18, 2002

Fifty-eighth General Assembly

Second Session

12:00 NOON

SPEAKER

Hon. Murray Scott

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

MR. PAUL MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, before you commence the daily routine, I would just like to indicate to the House that I didn't suffer any irreversible setback yesterday. Here I am! (Standing Ovation)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank those honourable members who did come over to the hospital yesterday afternoon. I was only there for a short while so there wasn't too much of a long lineup that developed. (Laughter) But those who did come, I thank. Those who telephoned, I thank, and those who expressed their best wishes to me here today, I thank as well. We will be resuming the action today in just a few minutes. (Laughter) (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the Minister of Health is going to waive the $600 increased fee for ambulance service for Paul? (Laughter)

8459

[Page 8460]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Certainly to the honourable member for Cape Breton Nova, it is wonderful to see you back here today, sir, and we are looking forward to Question Period where I'm sure you will be on deck first thing.

Before we begin the daily routine, I would like to bring the honourable members' attention to the Speaker's Gallery. Today we have some very special guests here. We have with us Mrs. Lois Smith who is a Councillor in the Town of Parrsboro. With Lois is Ross Robinson. They are here today and they brought with them the Town of Parrsboro's Youth Council who are very active in that community in regard to municipal politics and bringing forward the issue of the youth in that community. They meet on a regular basis. They've come here today to watch the House as it progresses through the daily routine and hopefully some of Question Period.

With Lois and Ross are Crystal Roberts, who is the Chairman of the Youth Council and she, as well, is Parrsboro's Youth Volunteer of the Year; Carla McBurnie is the Vice-Chairman; as well as Cory Harvey; Michael Brown; Christine Macaloney; Linda McPhee; Gloria McPhee; Allison Adshade; and as well a guest with them, Savannah Robinson. I would ask these people if they would rise and receive the warm welcome of the House, please. (Applause)

We hope you enjoy your stay with us this afternoon.

We will begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

MR. DAVID WILSON: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition entitled Government Putting Women and Their Children's Future and Safety in Jeopardy. The clause reads, "Our local transition houses services, women's centres and men's intervention programs . . . and agencies across the province provide direct services to abused women and their children . . ." The signers of this petition, ". . . are fully committed to providing direct services to women and their children who are victims of abuse and desperately need our services and support." There are some 4,850 signatures on this petition and I have affixed my name to it as well.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

[Page 8461]

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table A Balanced Approach to Surplus and Debt Management. It was released earlier today.

MR. SPEAKER: The document is tabled.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

RESOLUTION NO. 3158

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

Whereas four Canadian soldiers were tragically killed and eight more injured in an incident last night in Afghanistan; and

Whereas these brave members of the 3rd Battalion of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry battle group are taking part in the international war on terrorism; and

Whereas these tragic losses were the first Canadian combat deaths since the Korean War almost 50 years ago;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this Legislature express their deepest sympathy to the friends and families of the fallen Canadian soldiers, and wish their comrades well as they continue their important work in Afghanistan.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice, and also that we observe a moment of silence in memory of these soldiers.

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 8462]

The motion is carried.

I would ask all honourable members to rise for a moment of silence.

[One minute of silence was observed.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

RESOLUTION NO. 3159

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

Whereas April 17th marks the 20th Anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms; and

Whereas the Charter provides for freedom of expression, religion, thought and association; and

Whereas the Charter serves as a cornerstone of our democratic society and ensures we are all equal before and under the law;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House celebrate the 20th Anniversary and the values that make us uniquely Canadian.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Tourism and Culture.

RESOLUTION NO. 3160

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

[Page 8463]

Whereas our nation was founded upon the spirit of volunteers whose talents and energies are recognized as an important partner in government and industry work and continue to be one of our greatest natural resources; and

Whereas anyone can be a volunteer and experience the rewards that come from helping others, while participating in their community and offering their talents and resources; and

Whereas it is fitting for all Nova Scotians to join the celebration of our rich volunteer past and to give special recognition to the dedicated volunteers and volunteer programs which contribute to our quality of life;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the dedication, spirit and achievements of Nova Scotia's volunteers during National Volunteer Week, April 21 to April 27, 2002.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[12:15 p.m.]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 3161

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

Whereas 34-year-old Lieutenant Karen O'Connell made history when she became the first woman to apply for and be accepted into the Canadian Basic Submarine Qualification course; and

Whereas Lieutenant Karen O'Connell finishes her course this week and will serve on one of Canada's new Victoria-class submarines; and

[Page 8464]

Whereas Lieutenant O'Connell was the first woman ever posted to HMCS Montreal and among the first to serve on HMCS Fredericton;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Lieutenant Karen O'Connell on fulfilling her passion to serve aboard a submarine and on becoming the first woman submariner in the Canadian Navy.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Finance.

RESOLUTION NO. 3162

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

Attendu que le Education Week Partner Award est un prix de reconnaissance qui est présenté à chaque année par la Nova Scotia School Board Association; et

Attendu que le récipiendaire doit avoir démontré un intérêt marqué pour l'éducation par son engagement soutenu dans le secteur éducatif; et

Attendu que cette année, le thème de la Semaine de l'éducation est French: Language, Life and Community, et met en valeur l'apprentissage du français pour tous les Canadiens;

Qu'il soit résolu que cette assemblée transmette ses félicitations à madame Delina Comeau de Meteghan Centre pour ses 23 années au service de l'éducation par sa participation aux conseils scolaires et aux foyers écoles, et pour s'être mérité le Education Week Partner Award.

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

[Page 8465]

Whereas the Education Week Partner Award is a recognition award presented each year by the Nova Scotia School Board Association; and

Whereas the winner must have demonstrated a keen interest in education through involvement in education-related activities; and

Whereas this year, the theme of Education Week is French: Language, Life and Community, and promotes linguistic duality as a stepping stone towards greater understanding among Canadians;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Mrs. Delina Comeau of Meteghan Centre for more than 23 years involvement on school boards as well as home and school activities, and on receiving the 2002 Education Week Partner 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 Agriculture and Fisheries.

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

Whereas globalization and the knowledge-based economy become the main drivers in our economic environment, internationalization assumes a key role in the activities of the Nova Scotia Agricultural College; and

Whereas the increasing mobility of human, material and financial resources demands that students, faculty and staff be equipped with the tools allowing them to take their place as key participants in a global food system; and

Whereas internationalization has become central to the college's mandate with programs focusing on student mobility, international development work and an internationalized curriculum;

[Page 8466]

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Agricultural College is taking its place as a leader in the global food industry, evident by NSAC International being granted the honour of hosting the International Project Directors Meeting for Trans-Atlantic Programs for Cooperation in Higher Education, in association with Dalhousie University and the Greater Halifax Partnership, which will welcome 500 representatives from universities and colleges across Canada, the U.S. and Europe.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The resolution was a bit long.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Agreed.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 3163

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

Whereas the Penguin Troop, a group of 10 young people from Halifax, are using theatre to help children in hospitals and other institutions to deal with social and emotional problems; and

Whereas this fledgling troupe also leads activities that encourage children to use math and geography skills; and

Whereas the Centre for Entrepreneurship Education and Development has provided support to the Penguin Troop;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Penguin Troop on the meaningful work they are doing and wish them well 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.

[Page 8467]

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. 3164

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

Whereas a recent report from the Canadian Institute of Health Information shows that Atlantic Canadians have the highest rate of after-death organ donation in Canada, and that the average age of organ donation is on the rise; and

Whereas in the Atlantic Region, the number of donors 55 and older has doubled since 1992, as the donor's age has nothing to do with how well the organ works; and

Whereas hospitals are taking a greater interest in training hospital workers to discuss organ donation with families, and a great deal of work has been done to increase public awareness about the importance of organ donation;

Therefore be it resolved that all members recognize the goodwill of all those who have offered organ donations and urge all Nova Scotians to take part in organ donation.

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 Agriculture.

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, if I may be permitted an introduction.

MR. SPEAKER: Certainly.

[Page 8468]

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, and members of the House, it's my pleasure to introduce today, in the gallery opposite, Tony Rogers. Tony is Executive Director of the Nova Scotia Federation of Anglers and Hunters and, Tony, it's a pleasure to welcome you to the House. Please rise and receive that welcome. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: I certainly welcome Mr. Rogers to the gallery today. He is a well-known Nova Scotian.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 116 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 246 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Labour Standards Code. (Mr. Frank Corbett)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 3165

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

Whereas Canadians are deeply saddened to learn that four Canadian soldiers of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry died yesterday as a result of a tragic accident in Afghanistan; and

Whereas eight other Canadian soldiers were injured in the incident and the condition of some is listed as life-threatening; and

Whereas these casualties bring home the harsh realities of war for everyone with a family member, neighbour or friend serving in Afghanistan;

Therefore be it resolved that this House express our deepest sorrow at the loss of the four brave Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan, our heartfelt prayers for the recovery of the injured soldiers, and our resolute support for members of our Armed Forces and their families.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 8469]

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 Clare.

RESOLUTION NO. 3166

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

Whereas yesterday, April 17th, marked the 20th Anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a great legacy of the Right Honourable Pierre Elliot Trudeau; and

Whereas the Charter sets out some of the most essential rights and freedoms necessary in a free and democratic country; and

Whereas the Charter enshrines our most cherished freedoms, including our freedom of expression, our freedom of conscience and religion, our freedom to gather in peaceful groups and our right to equality, including the equality of men and women;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House, as well as all Nova Scotians, recognize the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as an important cornerstone of our democratic society.

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 8470]

The honourable member for Shelburne.

RESOLUTION NO. 3167

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

Whereas when Bonnie Shand of Cape Sable Island spearheaded the Ribbon Campaign to raise money for families and victims of the September 11th attack in New York City, she did so purely out of the goodness of her heart; and

Whereas with support of Nova Scotians and help from her friends, $25,000 was raised through Bonnie's campaign and given to five women who were widowed on that day; and

Whereas Bonnie has earned the respect of many and the special gratitude of one of the widows, who is repaying the kindness by opening her Manhattan home to Bonnie and inviting her to visit her in New York;

Therefore be it resolved that all members acknowledge these acts of kindness between two countries and all the bonds now formed between Nova Scotians and the people victimized the day terrorism struck New York City.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 3168

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

[Page 8471]

Whereas the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is a remarkable achievement in Canada's history, putting into words our values of respect, fairness and democracy; and

Whereas the Charter affirms our individual rights, applies to all levels of government, and serves as a reminder of our responsibility to respect the rights of others; and

Whereas the Charter brings us together, celebrates our diversity, and protects the many rights and freedoms that make Canada a just society;

Therefore be it resolved that this House celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and, in doing so, celebrates the values that lie at the heart of what it means to be a Canadian.

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. 3169

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 28th Provincial Volunteer Awards Day ceremony will take place this Friday, April 19, 2002; and

Whereas Pam Decker is being recognized for her involvement with the Shelburne County Women's Fishnet Association, the School Advisory Council of Lockeport Regional High School, and the Fishermen's and Scientists' Research Society; and

Whereas communities across Nova Scotia will salute our province's finest with National Volunteer Week celebrations;

[Page 8472]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Pam Decker of Shelburne County on her volunteer award, and the many other volunteers who give their precious time to help others.

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. 3170

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

Whereas the 10 Boys and Girls Clubs in Nova Scotia have benefited thousands of youth with preschool, breakfast, teen and sports programs; and

Whereas yesterday the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada launched the national Access to Technology Program at the Dartmouth Boys and Girls Club; and

Whereas this important program was made possible because of the generosity of Microsoft Canada and Future Shop, which provided 37 new computers and thousands of dollars worth of software to the Nova Scotia Boys and Girls Clubs;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend their appreciation to Paula Knight of Microsoft Canada, Frânce Tremblay of Future Shop, and Stephanie Simonsen of the Boys and Girls Clubs on their successful launch of the Access to Technology Program.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 8473]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 3171

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 and men's intervention programs are sorely needed to provide assistance 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 Carol Rock, a Program Coordinator with one year of experience at Second Story Women's Centre in Bridgewater;

Therefore be it resolved that this House applaud Carol Rock, a Program Coordinator at Second Story Women's Centre, for the care and support she provides to families.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

[Page 8474]

RESOLUTION NO. 3172

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

Whereas the University College of Cape Breton has won their fourth-straight debating championship at the Acadia Debate Invitational in Wolfville; and

Whereas UCCB placed first in all three categories, beating out teams from Atlantic Canada and one from Ontario; and

Whereas Marc Botte won Best Debating Speaker, Aaron Fisher received the top Public Speaking Award, and the first-place team included Aiden Buckland and Pat Chaisse;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the UCCB debaters Marc Botte, Aaron Fisher, Aiden Buckland, and Pat Chaisse on winning UCCB's fourth-straight debating championship at the Acadia Debate Invitational.

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. 3173

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

Whereas PALS, or Preston Adult Learning Skills, will mark its 15th Anniversary tonight with a celebratory dinner; and

Whereas the goal of PALS is to enhance literary skills for adults and promote lifelong learning and help adults in the community become proud role models for their children and grandchildren; and

[Page 8475]

Whereas the good work done by the staff of PALS is making a real difference in the lives of their clients, whether it allows them to read the newspaper, prescriptions or the Bible;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate director Laura Cain and the staff of PALS, Preston Adult Learning Skills, upon 15 years of valuable service to the community and wish them continued success.

[12:30 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 3174

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

Whereas DARE, or Drug Awareness Resistance Education, is an innovative program that helps Grade 6 students cope with social challenges and increases their self-esteem; and

Whereas Cst. Joe Taplin of the Cole Harbour detachment of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has worked closely with the students at Colby Village Elementary School to ensure they make the right choices in life; and

Whereas DARE is sponsored by Exxon Mobil and is provided to the students of Colby Village Elementary School with the assistance of teachers: Ron Roache, Lindsay Turbitt, Christine Nickerson and Thelma Skebo;

[Page 8476]

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Grade 6 students at Colby Village Elementary School on their graduation from the DARE program and thank the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Exxon Mobil and the volunteers who make the program a success.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Victoria.

RESOLUTION NO. 3175

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

Whereas tomorrow, Gordon Wood will be recognized with a volunteer award at the Annual Provincial Volunteer Awards Day Ceremony; and

Whereas Gordon Wood is being honoured for his work with the Yarmouth County Historical Society, the Yarmouth County Regional Hospital Charitable Foundation and the Nakile Home for Special Care; and

Whereas throughout the week of April 21st to April 27th , communities across Nova Scotia will salute our province's finest with National Volunteer Week celebrations;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Gordon Wood and the many other volunteers across Nova Scotia who give so freely of their time.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 8477]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 3176

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

Whereas in Pictou County, pipe bands are plentiful and the sound of pipes is familiar; and

Whereas inspired by the noted pipe major, the late Fraser Holmes, who encouraged pipers to always play, a group of women dusted off their pipes and formed a pipe band; and

Whereas 20 years later this same band, the Fraser Holmes Memorial Ladies' Pipe Band is part of local parades and has travelled far, playing at important ceremonies and events, and has observed Remembrance Day each year since its beginning in Thorburn;

Therefore be it resolved that this House applaud the spirit of the Fraser Holmes Memorial Ladies Pipe Band and founding members like Emily Feit MacGregor and Jane Priest Farrell whose love of playing brought this band together.

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.

[Page 8478]

RESOLUTION NO. 3177

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

Whereas Cape Breton is known for the great wealth of talent that it has given to the world; and

Whereas a Cape Breton artist is the only Canadian to be chosen to perform at the International Battle of Magicians in Canton, Ohio on May 2nd to May 4th; and

Whereas New Waterford resident Patrick Drake, the former guitarist for the popular Cape Breton band the Accents, is Canada's featured magician;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the Legislature congratulate Patrick Drake of New Waterford on his sleight of hand at being chosen to attend the world-class Battle of Magicians next month in Canton, Ohio.

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 Nova. (Applause)

MR. PAUL MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, before I read this resolution, I would like to recognize in the west gallery the presence of a visitor in our midst today, one of my sisters, her first name is Rebecca and she's here today to keep an eye on me and make sure I don't misbehave, so stand up. (Applause)

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

RESOLUTION NO. 3178

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

[Page 8479]

Whereas Mrs. Rebecca Roper of 123 Daly Road, New Victoria, B1H 5A1, will celebrate her 88th birthday on May 24th; and

Whereas Mrs. Roper has lived a life of distinction as a mother and community builder; and

Whereas all who know Mrs. Roper will want to wish her every happiness on the occasion of her 88th birthday;

Therefore be it resolved that this Legislative Assembly of Nova Scotia wish Mrs. Rebecca Roper a very happy birthday and many more of the same in the future.

I might note that her son, Bobby, sings in the Men of the Deeps, if anybody wants to know who she is.

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 Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 3179

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

Whereas Kings County's newest school, Northeast Kings Education Centre, recently celebrated its official opening, and a new student body and school community has been established; and

Whereas Northeast Kings Education Centre is the successful product of an excellent partnership including the construction and design, the transition and steering committees, the municipal units, and especially the Annapolis County Regional School Board; and

[Page 8480]

Whereas the students formerly of Kings County Academy and Cornwallis District High School, have successfully formed a new student body and now share excellent educational opportunities which they can use to build their future;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House applaud the opening of Northeast Kings Education Centre and wish the staff, students and their families all the best as they embark in their new educational facility.

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. 3180

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

Whereas the support services provided by women's centres 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 Edith Leopold, an administrative coordinator with three years of service at Second Story Women's Centre in Bridgewater;

Therefore be it resolved that this House applaud Edith Leopold, an administrative coordinator at Second Story Women's Centre in Bridgewater, for the care and support she provides for the women and children of the centre.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 8481]

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. 3181

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

Whereas volunteers deserve individual recognition for the time and effort they give to creating and maintaining goodness in communities; and

Whereas next week has been officially acclaimed National Volunteer Week; and

Whereas Evelyn Crowell is being recognized for her commitment to the Shelburne County Seniors Council, the Christian Women's Club of Barrington Passage, the Bayside Home for the Mentally Challenged, and the Shelburne County and local branches of the Red Cross Society;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Evelyn Crowell on her volunteer award and recognize the countless hours that she and so many volunteers contribute each year to organizations across the province.

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 8482]

The honourable member for Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 3182

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

Whereas the NDP caucus is hosting a poll on its Web site to gauge public opinion on the recent budget by asking the question, "Do you believe the Tories really balanced the budget?"; and

Whereas as of mid-morning, the public opinion shows that over 90 per cent of e-mailers are adamant that this budget is the first balanced budget in over 40 years; and

Whereas the NDP caucus should now realize that the vast majority of Nova Scotians are indeed proud of the fiscal responsibility shown by the government;

Therefore be it resolved that this House thank the members of the NDP caucus for its initiative in polling the citizens of Nova Scotia for their budget reactions, and congratulate our Finance Minister on the impeccable job done in managing this province's finances.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice, as I feel it is important to recognize the second Party for their occasional . . .

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 3183

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

Whereas on Tuesday, April 16th, an unusual number of Nova Scotia Government IP address contacts were made with the NDP caucus Web site, some 300 more than usual; and

[Page 8483]

Whereas on that same day some 300 votes were cast to state that the Tories have balanced the budget, even though Nova Scotia's debt is still going up; and

Whereas experienced hackers, like those who shut down the anti-Bill No. 68 public vote site last summer, could find a way to vote more than once on the NDP caucus Web site;

Therefore be it resolved that the Acting Premier should explain why his government's well-paid political staff have so much time on their hands that they can dedicate themselves to hacking through and rigging an on-line vote in favour of their political bosses.

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 West.

RESOLUTION NO. 3184

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

Whereas four Canadian soldiers were killed and eight injured while they were on a live fire training exercise in Afghanistan; and

Whereas these troops were members of the Third Battalion of the Edmonton-based Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Battle Group; and

Whereas these soldiers have volunteered to defend our country;

Therefore be it resolved that we all honour these brave Canadian soldiers, and express our deepest sympathies to their families on the occurrence of this most tragic incident.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 8484]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 3185

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

Whereas the final cleanup of Five Island Lake is a worthy goal for our community; and

Whereas the Five Island Lake Community Liaison Committee has conscientiously pursued this cleanup; and

Whereas volunteers John Hoyt, Richmond Campbell, Ken Jakeman, John Jardine, Danny LeBlanc, Joyce Milley and Wayne Nicholson have been instrumental in the success of this project;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly congratulate and thank the Five Island Lake Cleanup Committee and all area residents for their dedication.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 3186

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

[Page 8485]

Whereas Sydney native Don Maclean was the big winner as the St. John's Maple Leafs handed out their year-end awards; and

Whereas Mr. Maclean won as the team's most valuable player, leading scorer, hardest-working player and top plus-minus performer, in addition to being runner-up for the Molson Cup; and

Whereas Mr. MacLean was also the recipient of the American Hockey League's leading scorer award;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Don MacLean on his awards and many accomplishments, and wish him continued success in all his endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 3187

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

Whereas Mr. Frank Bursey is the Vice-President of the New Waterford Minor Hockey Association, tournament coordinator for both minor hockey and minor baseball, a member of the all-star selection committee for the Coal Bowl Basketball Classic, advertising coordinator for the Ring 73 Boxing Club, and chairman of the Maritime Junior B Hockey Championship, the Don Johnson Cup; and

Whereas tomorrow Mr. Bursey will be honoured with a provincial volunteer award for his continued dedication to the youth of the New Waterford area; and

[Page 8486]

[12:45 p.m.]

Whereas throughout the week of April 21st to April 27th , communities across Nova Scotia will salute our province's finest with National Volunteer Week celebrations;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Mr. Frank Bursey on his volunteer award and recognize the countless hours that he contributes giving back to his community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 3188

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

Whereas the member for Hants West recently moved into the friendly confines of bustling Hants East; and

Whereas a new constituent is always welcome in the Hants East neighborhood, regardless of political stripe; and

Whereas the honourable member for Hants East stands ready at any time to provide representation on behalf of his new constituent and welcomes the opportunity to work with him on some needed road projects;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the honourable member for Hants West on his wise choice of his new home in the riding of Hants East.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 8487]

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. 3189

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

Whereas Raymond Young of Sydney has been involved in many aspects of community life in his community; and

Whereas Mr. Young, although visually impaired, has contributed much to the CNIB in the Sydney area, as well as volunteering in other areas; and

Whereas Raymond Young is celebrating his 50th birthday on Saturday, April 20th;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate this outstanding citizen and wish him many more years of 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 member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

[Page 8488]

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: If I could be permitted a brief introduction before my resolution, Mr. Speaker. In the Speaker's Gallery there are residents and parents and staff of Masonview Homes, who have been coming to the House on a regular basis since last week when they first raised the issue of funding for their residents in the South Woodside area. I would ask that the House give them a warm welcome and welcome them to the House. (Applause)

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

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 3190

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

Whereas Masonview Homes is a small options home that deals specifically with the deaf and hard of hearing, and offers special services to that community; and

Whereas notices have already been sent to the residents and parents that the place will close on May 3rd, unless the Department of Community Services provides proper funding to ensure that the home can remain open; and

Whereas the Department of Community Services has relented under the weight of public opinion and agreed to provide the necessary funding to keep Masonview Homes open;

Therefore be it resolved that the House congratulate all those who successfully advocated to keep necessary funding in place for Masonview Homes and for showing the Minister of Community Services the error of his ways.

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 Victoria.

[Page 8489]

RESOLUTION NO. 3191

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

Whereas the 28th Provincial Volunteer Awards Day ceremony will take place this Friday at the Westin Nova Scotian; and

Whereas National Volunteer Week will be celebrated next week; and

Whereas Reg Taylor will be recognized with a volunteer award for using his singing abilities to comfort those touched by sickness and tragedy throughout his community;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Reg Taylor on his volunteer award and all other volunteers throughout the province for giving so freely of their time.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 3192

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 28th Provincial Volunteer Awards Day ceremony will take place on April 19, 2002 at the Westin Nova Scotian; and

Whereas throughout the week of April 21st to April 27th , communities across Nova Scotia will salute our province's finest with National Volunteer Week celebrations; and

[Page 8490]

Whereas volunteers from across the province are recognized for their hard work and contribution to our communities;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate all the recipients of the volunteer award and the many other volunteers throughout the province.

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 West.

RESOLUTION NO. 3193

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

Whereas volunteers are the cornerstone to many organizations and charities in this province; and

Whereas throughout the week of April 21st to April 27th, communities across Nova Scotia will salute our province's finest volunteers with National Volunteer Week celebrations; and

Whereas Marilyn Mackintosh is being honoured with a volunteer award for her countless hours of dedication to Christmas Daddies, St. Patrick's Church and the Catholic Women's League;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate Marilyn Mackintosh on her volunteer award, and recognize the countless hours that she and so many other volunteers contribute each year.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 8491]

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. Before we go to the Orders of the Day, the subject of this evening's late debate was submitted by the honourable member for Halifax Chebucto:

Therefore be it resolved that the Ministers of Health and Community Services should immediately close the gaps created by the Hamm Government in in-home support services for Nova Scotians, so that the seriously ill and persons with disabilities are never again left with no recourse but to have their desperate situation raised on the floor of this House.

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

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: Oral Question Period will begin at 12:52 p.m. and will end at 1:52 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

TOURISM & CULTURE: ARTS COUNCIL - REINSTATE

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, as is probably evident to everyone, a jury of the peers of the Minister of Tourism and Culture has convened outside. They have a simple message. They want the Arts Council reinstated. The Tory attempt to divide and conquer this group is failing. They are pitting the arts community and the cultural community against each other and they are trying to force these two allied groups to fight over the same pot of money.

Mr. Speaker, this government has underestimated the strong relationship between the arts and cultural industries; they will not be divided. I would like to ask the Minister of Tourism and Culture, why don't you simply admit that you were wrong and reinstate the Arts Council?

[Page 8492]

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, what the member is telling everybody in this House and telling Nova Scotians is that he doesn't agree with the programs, he doesn't agree with the fact of peer assessment and he doesn't agree with the fact of putting another $0.25 million back into programs.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the minister ought to have the fortitude to go and tell that to the people who are gathered out on the street. The Arts Council has fostered excellence in this province for almost seven years. The examples are endless. Alistair MacLeod was the winner of the Portia White prize. Daniel MacIvor's Marion Bridge play has recently been turned into a major motion picture. The Arts Council works. Its peer assessment process works. It was based on merit, and it works. I would like to ask the minister, why are you meddling and trying to fix something that wasn't broken?

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, this makes it more obvious than any time. It is very obvious where the NDP stand is. The NDP believes in spending on administration instead of spending on people.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, we were the last province to get an Arts Council and the first one to lose it. The old council was working and there are hundreds of examples to prove it. Some of Nova Scotia's most prominent artists, like Lorne White, George Elliot Clarke and Alistair MacLeod, are speaking out against the actions of this minister and this government. My question for the minister is, what will it take for you to admit that you've made a terrible mistake, and what will it take for you to reinstate the Arts Council of Nova Scotia?

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned before, through the new council, to the Arts and Culture Council, the same opportunities for programs will be there, the same peer assessment model, but there will be more money for the people who are on the ground level, more money for the people who are on the ground level, more money for those involved in the arts, more money for those involved who are trying to move ahead. (Interruptions) Now that member may not want them to move ahead but I do.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

TOURISM & CULTURE - ARTS COUNCIL:

SAVINGS - TABLE

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Tourism and Culture. If that minister is so darn assured of himself that what he is doing is right, walk out that door and tell Nova Scotians exactly how you feel because they will soon tell you you're wrong. The minister, just a minute ago, indicated that he would rather put money and programs out to the arts community instead of spending additional wasted money. My question to the minister, the minister has been selling Nova Scotians that disabling the Nova Scotia Arts Council will save the arts community and the taxpayers between $270,000 to

[Page 8493]

$370,000, depending on what day of the week you ask him the question. My question to the minister is, will the minister table, by the end of the day, proof that taxpayers of this province will save $370,000 as a result of this government's takeover and shackling and dismantling of the Arts Council of Nova Scotia?

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the member definitely raises a good point and that's the fact that last year there was over $400,000 spent on administration and program delivery and this year there would have been about $370,000. We will be able to do that for substantially less money, therefore putting about $0.25 million back in programs. Now perhaps the member has a problem with that but I know the people in many areas of this province, many calls that I've received, are saying that's what they want to see.

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I asked the minister to table the documents that prove what he says to this House by the end of the day and that's the question I asked him and he's refusing to do it. So that alone indicates he doesn't know what he's talking about. The minister has been telling Nova Scotians that he has a better plan for the arts community than does the community itself. In fact, the minister is indicating that his staff is going to restructure a new program. Well, the reality is, this minister is taking an arm's-length process with integrity - and it was built by the arts community - to turn it into nothing more than a political football by him and his front benches.

MR. SPEAKER: Question.

MR. DOWNE: My question to the minister is, what measures are in place to ensure that the new arts council (Interruption) Pardon me? Did you interrupt me?

MR. SPEAKER: No, I said question, please.

MR. DOWNE: My question is, what measures are in place to ensure that the new Arts and Culture Council will not be influenced by this minister or any other minister of that government and will be accountable to the arts community and, in fact, to all Nova Scotians? What proof do you have?

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, thank you to the member because he provides me the opportunity to raise a very valid, very important point, and that is the team we put in place last week - very well-respected people from across this province, from one end to the other - will be working with our department in the next few months with respect to putting in the new Arts and Culture Council. We have very valuable members on that team and I know they will do a fine job.

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, he still didn't indicate how he's going to take his political finger out of the pot of the political interference in the new council. This minister has attempted to make the Nova Scotia Arts Council look like common criminals since he

[Page 8494]

plotted the coup against the council just a few weeks ago, people and organizations from one side of this country to the other, all over the nation, have written in outrage at what this government has done in regard to the Arts Council. It is clear that this minister has made a bad decision from coast to coast. People have said, and have been pleading to this minister to retract the position that they've made.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. DOWNE: My question to the minister is simple.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Lunenburg West on your final question, please.

MR. DOWNE: My question to the minister is the same as the question that is being asked across the nation and across this street and out the door of this Legislature. Will the minister listen to the people of Nova Scotia and re-establish the Nova Scotia Arts Council as it was?

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: No.

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

FIN.: EQUALIZATION FORMULA - STATUS

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Acting Premier. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Acting Premier. It has to do with the Campaign for Fairness. They sought equalization changes so that Nova Scotia could keep its royalty revenue. The Premier highlighted the problem on retaining only 19 cents of every royalty dollar with these words: The other 81 cents goes to Ottawa through direct taxation and by clawing back Nova Scotia revenues through the equalization formula. When he was in Alberta, the Premier explained it this way: Alberta receives 100 per cent of every royalty dollar. Ottawa didn't claw that money back through other programs like equalization. In light of those statements, on the need to change equalization, why, on March 22nd did the Premier say the opposite - that Nova Scotia's position is not to see changes to the equalization formula?

[Page 8495]

[1:00 p.m.]

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I'm going to pass that question to the Minister of Finance.

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: The honourable member asked a valid question. Nova Scotia's position with regard to this issue has not changed. I should point out to the member opposite that we did make a presentation to the Senate Committee that reviewed equalization. The problem we have with the royalty agreement is that equalization is how it is punishing us. We've always said that the remedy is outside of equalization. If the member opposite would listen, he would have known that.

MR. DEXTER: I want to table the Premier's letter of March 22nd so that the Finance Minister actually knows what it says. The Campaign for Fairness is a centrepiece of this government. It's featured on the Web site, there are postcards and other promotional materials, and in fact they've given $250,000 more to Intergovernmental Affairs to support the campaign. They even hired a former deputy minister from Newfoundland, one Roland Martin. Mr. Martin is the author of a work called, Equalization: Milestone or Millstone? which is all about changing equalization so that we can keep oil and gas royalties. My question is, can the Acting Premier explain why they paid Mr. Martin $1,050 a day for advice on the Campaign for Fairness when Mr. Martin's position is exactly the one that the Premier has rejected?

MR. RUSSELL: If you want to get the best advice, you go to the best person.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Martin is also the author of Debtors' Prison II, a critique he produced for the Atlantic Institute of Market Studies. It turns out that this government is in Mr. Martin's debt to the tune of more than $90,000 in fees, expenses, and BST, for nine months of advice on fairness. In October, for just 70 hours of advice -70 hours is a normal work week for some people in this province - he was paid $10,500 and that's a lot more than any of the artists outside ever hope to get from the Arts Council. So can the Acting Premier explain how Nova Scotians are getting their money's worth for advice the government rejected, and will he tell Nova Scotians how much more Mr. Martin was paid from all departments?

MR. RUSSELL: As the honourable member, who is a lawyer himself, is well aware that lawyers come in different disguises insofar as their expertise is concerned. In this particular case, we got good advice.

[Page 8496]

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

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS.: CONTRACTING OUT - PLANS

MR. PAUL MACEWAN: My question is to the Acting Premier and the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. Since this government came to office, highway maintenance workers for the Department of Transportation have experienced more and more of their work being contracted out and as a result department workers are more often than not cleaning up after the contractors that have done work but not done it to a satisfactory standard. My question to the minister is, does the minister plan to continue to contract out work that was formerly provided by the highway maintenance staff of the Department of Transportation and Public Works? That's my question.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: We will contract out work in the Department of Transportation and Public Works where it is in the best interests of the motoring public of Nova Scotia. We are not laying off workers in order to do that. We are not paying more when we do that. In fact, we're getting 12 per cent, approximately, more work done for the same number of dollars.

MR. MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, on September 8, 2000, the minister autographed and signed a postcard indicating that he supported the highway maintenance workers in their fight against the contracting out of services. I would like to table one of these. It has the famous Ron Russell signature on it, it looks just like John Hancock's at the bottom of the Declaration of Independence. Ron Russell, on September 8, 2000, signed this "Dear MLA" postcard saying, "John Hamm and his Conservative government's plan to replace public-sector Highway Workers with costly private contractors is a BAD MOVE for the province." Our MLAs are not supposed to support that. Sign to indicate your support. And there is his signature right there. I think I should distribute a few more of these. One for the NDP, one for the Tories and one for our Party.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order, please. Was that the question?

MR. MACEWAN: My question to the minister is, will he live up to his former support for highway maintenance workers and stop contracting out their work, when employees who want to work remain at home on layoff?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I don't know how clear I can make it, but this government does not support privatization of jobs presently performed by the Department of Transportation and Public Works when it is going to cost more to do so or when people are going to be laid off in order to do that.

MR. MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, this is my primary piece of evidence. It speaks for itself. The government claims that by doing what they're doing they're going to save the

[Page 8497]

taxpayers money. My final supplementary question would be, can the minister tell us by the end of the day how much does it actually cost Nova Scotians to have highway maintenance work contracted out to private employees, private companies, private firms?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, what it means is our capital budget dollars available to perform paving and gravelling, et cetera, is expanded simply because of the fact that in many cases we can get the job done with less money.

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

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS.: CONTRACTING OUT - CEASE

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the minister of privatization of our highways - I'm sorry, the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. This government tries to convince Nova Scotians that highways are a priority, but their actions tell a different story. Yesterday at a news conference highway workers unveiled lists of examples of waste and mismanagement. Come out to Timberlea-Prospect, I can show you what private workers do, and I can show you the quality of their work. It's awful. Department of Transportation and Public Works workers have to go behind and correct the mistakes. My question to the minister is pretty simple, will you order an immediate stop to this government's insidious program of contracting out the work of valued workers from the Department of Transportation and Public Works?

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I'm absolutely amazed that the honourable member can stand in his place and tell me to stop doing work in his constituency.

MR. ESTABROOKS: The phone rings and it's about highways, and I can tell you the phone usually says that there was a private contractor on this road, the gravelling is poor, the ditching is inadequate, can you please get somebody from the department out to do it right. And when it comes to snow removal, the number of complaints are through the roof; they are through the roof. Now, you're a man of your word, Mr. Minister. You have a proud history in this House. The good member for Cape Breton Nova tabled that postcard with your signature on it. Will you live up to what that signature is worth when it says, roads are not a private matter?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I have to be very careful of what I'm saying because I'm not absolutely sure of the name of the roads, but I understand that the honourable member complained to the department this past winter about some snowplowing in his area that I believe was carried out by the City of Halifax.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, the safety of our roads is not a laughing matter. Privatization has failed. In fact, the Auditor General in Ontario, for example, found that three-quarters of the services privatized there with their Department of Transportation cost

[Page 8498]

more and provided less safety. My question to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works is, why is it necessary for you and your department to follow the Mike Harris, failed example?

MR. RUSSELL: I don't know, Mr. Speaker; it might have been in the time of Bob Rae in Ontario, for all I know. But I can assure the honourable member that in this province, we're going to maximize the amount of work that we get done for the taxpayers' dollar on our roads.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

FIN.: DEBT REDUCTION - COMMITMENT

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, my question today is for the Minister of Finance. Today, many of us went to hear a plan from the Minister of Finance on the issue of debt reduction, a plan that was supposed to lay out a plan to deal with debt reduction in the province. Instead, what we ended up hearing was an excuse to borrow more money and ultimately grow the debt of the Province of Nova Scotia. My question to the Minister of Finance is, why have you, Mr. Minister, given up on your government's commitment to stop the growing of the debt?

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, this is an ironic question coming from a gentleman who when we took over, we inherited his statements; we had a $500 million deficit. We told Nova Scotians that we would balance the budget. We told them what year we would balance it. It is this year. That is the turning point in the history of this province. He may not agree with it, but the facts speak for themselves.

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, the reality is that we're growing the debt at $100 million a year this year, next year, last year, and the years to come. The GDP is what this government was trying to sell that got us into the debt problem in the first place. It's like the Buchanan era. It's like crossing your fingers and hoping the economy is going to resolve your problem. The Auditor General said in this House yesterday that that minister doesn't have a revenue problem, he has a spending problem, a spending problem he hasn't controlled. My question to the minister is, why aren't you able to pay down the debt when you've increased revenue by almost $0.5 billion in the last two years?

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member opposite says a few things that do make sense, most of which are that our revenue has increased. The answer to that is true. But he doesn't point out that when we took office, we had a $0.5 billion deficit that came from him. That is a small difference of opinion. In this fiscal year, we have balanced the budget. We will be adding to the debt, I don't disagree with that. We are doing that because we are doing some capital projects, and for that I make no excuses. That is investing in the

[Page 8499]

future of the infrastructure of our province. The Auditor General - which he also pointed out - agreed with the path that we're taking.

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, in 1993, from the Buchanan Government which he was a part of, we inherited over $1.4 billion of operating deficit, and this minister has grown the debt in excess of $400 million since he's been in power alone. This government continues to grow the debt. If the economy goes sideways, if interest rates go up, if the economy goes south, the game is over, Mr. Minister. Your credit card is used up. My question to the minister is, will the minister commit today to start paying down the debt next year - not in 5 years, 10 years, 15 years or 20 years, but next year? Will you commit to doing that, Mr. Minister?

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I want to point out that it did take 40 years to accumulate the debt that we had. I will stand here today and say that I was part of a government that added a great deal to that debt. Those are the facts. The problem is we are where we are today, and how are we going to face that? The honourable member opposite

is asking us to move even further in cost reduction. That is the same member who stands here along with his colleagues saying we should spend more every day. You can't have it both ways. We will stick to our plan. That member opposite is off key.

[1:15 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

COMMUN. SERV. - TRANSITION HOUSES:

ADMINISTRATIVE SAVINGS - DETAILS

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, last Tuesday the Minister of Community Services released a letter that stated at least for now no transition houses would close, but also in the same letter said the redesign of these programs will go forward, and he feels quite certain he will be able to find "administrative savings". What administration? The simple fact is that executive directors of transition houses have been known to go into these homes on weekends to clean ovens and scrub toilets. That's how bare-boned the administrations are. I want to ask the Minister of Community Services why he thinks there will be administrative savings from organizations which in truth have next to no administration?

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member has indicated the letter we sent out. The honourable member is also aware we had a chance to meet with people yesterday to look at how we were going to go forward, to look at how we were going to provide these services. That's what we're going to do, we're going to look at the core services, we're going to look at the cost of those, and between us we're going to develop a better service.

[Page 8500]

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the minister has been trying to put the best face on, saying no transition houses will close. But, he has not commented on women's centres or men's treatment programs. The staff and volunteers in those programs, they deserve some peace of mind here. I want to ask the Minister of Community Services if he's prepared to stand here today and say no women's centres and no men's programs are going to close?

MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned yesterday, I'm meeting with the executive directors from those associations. We indicated to them we would be sending letters to their boards of directors indicating where we were going to go, that those services are going to continue, that we have to look at how those services are being delivered, and that those services are going to continue. I have indicated I will correspond with the board of directors, and that's what I will do.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I didn't hear any reassurance in that for the women's centres or men's programs. Yesterday during his meeting with workers from these programs, the minister said services would continue to operate with the same budgets at least for now, until consultation has taken place, and he imposed no timeline. However, later in the day he said, out here in the halls, that the time frame was six months. I want to ask the minister, how can these organizations trust this minister when he says one thing one minute and another the next?

MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, what I had indicated to the group yesterday is that until we have developed where we're going to go there will be no funding changes. I just indicated we will be sending that to the board. What we did spend a lot of time doing yesterday was clearing up misinformation that is coming from somewhere. I was able to directly speak to them and tell them what was going on. We cleared that up.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

HEALTH: WAIT TIMES - DETAILS

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, today we heard from a senior official at the QE II Health Sciences Centre that they will be closing another 33 beds in addition to the 22 surgical beds already closed. That official also stated that there could be more bed closures, but more importantly, as a result, longer wait times. On Tuesday this minister said they hope there will not be a noticeable impact on the Capital District. Also, the minister stated on Tuesday, in terms of guaranteeing that waiting times will not increase, to be quite frank, in this season of the year, I expect that they will decrease. My question to the minister is, who is right about increased wait times, the senior official at the QE II Health Sciences Centre or the Minister of Health?

[Page 8501]

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the closing of the beds in the Capital Health District - indeed there are some being closed. Obviously the official from the hospital knows that better than me. One of the reasons for closing beds is that there are a significant number of long-term care beds reopening in the next couple of months. One of the reasons they're able to close some beds in the Capital Health District is not for any other reason. I suppose, in some ways, if you said they had enough beds it would be actually a positive story. That's because the additional long-term care beds are coming on stream and some people will be able to move from the QE II, who are there now because there isn't a bed for them.

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, that minister is going back to pulling out that old chestnut of long-term care beds. I have a letter from the Premier that states that there will be no total increase in long-term care beds in this district. He can maybe get away with it in the media, but he's not going to get away with it on the floor of this House. The senior official is saying that the wait times will increase in the Capital Health District. We know there's a domino effect with bed closures. Capital Health District closures have a noticeable impact since it doesn't just mean patients will wait longer, patients in other areas coming here must also wait longer. My question to the Minister of Health is, can the minister commit today, here, that these new bed closures in the Capital Health District won't put added pressures on the already growing wait times in other areas of this province?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the closing of those beds is going to be gradual from now through July; I certainly hope that there isn't an impact in other areas of the province.

DR. SMITH: . . . he's changed a lot since Tuesday, Mr. Speaker. My final supplementary to the minister is, the increased waiting times, besides the possible causing of deaths of Nova Scotians, lead to frustration, not only for patients, but the doctors and nurses. When doctors and nurses get frustrated with the system, they won't stay here, and how are we possibly going to recruit physicians and nurses into this environment? My question to the minister is, with these added pressures, how will the minister be able to retain and recruit specialists and specialized nurses so that quality health care can be provided here in Nova Scotia?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, one of the reasons, in addition to people being moved into long-term care beds in other parts of this integrated system that we have set up is that the reason that they are closing beds is because of lack of staff. I think the honourable member remembers that the Capital Health District has, in conjunction with our department, embarked upon a very good nursing recruitment program. Indeed, there were figures released not that along ago by the Capital Health District indicating that their complement of nurses was rapidly growing. Unfortunately, the complement is not high enough at this present time to allow those beds to remain open when people start going on vacation.

[Page 8502]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

TREASURY & POLICY BD. - CIVIL SERVANTS ($75,000+):

INCREASE - EXPLAIN

MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Chairman of the Treasury and Policy Board. This government is telling artists, abused women and students in tumbledown schools that there just isn't enough money. They claim they're shutting down the Arts Council because the cupboard is bare; but for the $1,000-a day Rollie Martins of the world life is sweet. Life is also good at the upper end of the Civil Service. So I would like to ask the Chairman of the Treasury and Policy Board, why has your government dramatically increased the number of civil servants who are paid over $75,000 a year?

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: I thank the honourable member for his question. I take it the honourable member has a problem with improving and paying the people in the Public Service of Nova Scotia properly. We don't.

MR. STEELE: Mr. Speaker, the problem is not paying people decent wages, the problem is the contrast. I'm going to table information showing that while the government cut the number of full-time civil servants by nearly 900, it increased the number of top pay by almost 50 per cent. So I would like to ask the Chairman of the Treasury and Policy Board to explain why the government can afford 50 per cent more civil servants paid more than $75,000 a year when there's so much else that the government claims it cannot afford?

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, we know, like all the public servants, like nurses, like doctors, we have to pay our professional people adequate wages so that those professionals can be there to provide the kind of advice that Nova Scotians need. Unfortunately, the honourable member doesn't understand anything about retention of the Public Service of Nova Scotia.

MR. STEELE: I do know, as a former civil servant, that I took a big pay cut to sit right here in this chair. I wonder if that minister would care to speak to the members of the NSGEU who are still waiting for their contract. They say they have to cut day surgery in Annapolis Royal, they have to get rid of the Arts Council, they even have to make children attend unhealthy schools. I would like to ask the Chairman of Treasury and Policy Board, why has this government chosen to put Nova Scotians' money into more high-priced help, like Rollie Martin, while it cuts front-line workers and front-line services?

MR. BAKER: The question is quite ironic coming from the Party that defends administration for the sake of administration in the case of the Arts Council because that's all that is, is purely a discussion about administration. The real other issue here is that the honourable member doesn't appreciate the fact that we have a collective bargaining process in this province. That process will give the public servants of Nova Scotia an answer very

[Page 8503]

shortly and they will know what they're being paid. What he is doing here today is attacking the integrity of our Public Service.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

COMMUN. SERV. - FAM. VIOLENCE WORKERS:

MEETING - SEQUENCE

MR. DAVID WILSON: My question is for the Minister of Community Services. The Minister of Community Services met yesterday with family violence workers from throughout the province and it's going to be interesting to see now what the minister will propose to do about transition houses and women's centres and men's treatment programs. I would hope that the minister is now convinced that the decision to cut $890,000 from those services is wrong. The minister has not replied to some difficult questions so far today so I will give him an easy one. My question to the minister is this, will the minister admit that the meeting that took place yesterday was indeed the first real consultation to have taken place with family violence service workers from across this province?

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Yes, that was the first meeting I had with executive directors of all of the services across the province.

MR. WILSON: I hope that the minister was listening when those voices told him not to close transition houses and women's centres, but I don't know if the rest of the Cabinet is listening. I will table an article from today's Amherst Daily News and the headline reads, "Transition House Closures Rumour, says Ernest Fage". Nothing but a rumour. Let me quote from that article, "'There was a misconception that transition houses were slated for closure', said Fage . . ." - that would be Ernest Fage - ". . . who insisted Wednesday that information didn't come from the government but was, rather, a rumour." The redesign will still occur but over a much longer time period.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. WILSON: That minister, who's a member of that front bench of clowns over there . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order. Order, please. Order. I ask the honourable member to retract that, it's unparliamentary, and get on with his supplementary question.

MR. WILSON: I will retract that, Mr. Speaker. My question to the minister is this, is the minister going to put your money where your mouth is, Mr. Minister, and ensure that all women's centres, all transition houses, all men's treatment programs will be funded at 100 per cent from April 1st this year until your redesign is finished?

[Page 8504]

MR. CHRISTIE: Let me go back to the first part of his question. He said no transition houses were closing. What we had indicated in our draft document is there would be a minimum of one, we had not indicated transitional houses were going to close. Somewhere that story came and I don't know where from, but what I can tell you is that it started, we indicated to them the funding would be there while the redesign was going on. (Interruptions)

[1:30 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. WILSON: Mr. Speaker, hello, anybody home over there? Anybody listening to what people are saying? The minister gave his word to the workers and the volunteers at transition houses and women's centres that those services will not suffer a gap in closure in June. The problem is they don't trust the minister.

My final question to the minister is, will the minister commit that the number of women's centres, transition houses and men's treatment programs available will be in existence at this time next year?

MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, as the honourable member had the opportunity to speak to some of the people who were at that meeting yesterday, they came down to the House and I had a chance to talk with them too, so he knows that I told them that those services will be there as we go through the redesign and we work our way to a better program delivery for all Nova Scotians.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

HEALTH - CROSBIE CENTRE: RELOCATION - REASON

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the Crosbie Centre in Kentville, an addiction treatment facility, is under threat of relocation by this government. I would like to table an article in which the widow of the founder of the Crosbie Centre is angry about this move. The community itself is upset and it's offering to find a building in Kentville for the centre. I want to ask the Minister of Health why is he allowing the relocation of a community-based program like the Crosbie Centre from Kentville to an institutionally-based setting in Middleton?

HON. JAMES MUIR: I'm always interested to hear these questions, Mr. Speaker. They get up and they lambaste the government for interfering in the decisions of communities, and then they stand up on the floor and they lambaste the government for not interfering in the decisions of communities. You know, I've used the words suck and blow, and I don't know if this bunch over here is the same as that bunch over there. That is part of the business plan process by DHA 3 and that's a matter for the board to deal with.

[Page 8505]

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I find the non-answers from the members of that bench much more edifying, frankly. The fact is this government is creating so much confusion around its health cuts that no one knows what to think. Even the member for Kings North has written a letter in which he says he doesn't know whether to believe a newspaper article which reports this move, or the district health authority business plan. I would like to ask the Minister of Health to explain whether or not he approved the move of this facility to Middleton as part of the Annapolis Valley District Health Authority business plan to relocate Crosbie Centre?

MR. MUIR: The issue of the Crosbie Centre is of great concern to a number of people. It provides a very good service. It has a program which is unique in Nova Scotia and, indeed, I can tell the honourable member that the member for Kings North has spoken to me about that and has expressed a concern about it, too. The fact of the matter is that the district health authority proposed a very detailed business plan for that particular part of Nova Scotia; included in that was the relocation of the addiction services and, Mr. Speaker, I guess just to remind people - and the honourable member for Halifax Needham knows this too - the building in which the Crosbie Centre is located has been condemned by the fire marshal; it must move out of that building. I mean this is not something that the board is doing because it simply wants to move something. The facility . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Member for Halifax Needham, your final supplementary.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I'll table the District Health Authority Plan released on Monday, which shows the Crosbie Centre will be relocated to Middleton. People in Kentville understand the importance of Crosbie Centre. Mr. Parent, an astute politician, knows how to play both sides of an issue. He has clearly come down on the side of keeping Crosbie Centre in the community. I want to ask the Minister of Health why he will not stand in his place and say he too recognizes the importance of the Crosbie Centre and make the commitment that it will stay in Kentville?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I recognize the importance of the Crosbie Centre and I recognize the importance of addiction services in this province. One of the things is that you have to make the separation. Do people have access to the same quality service and if they have, I believe the service availability is probably more important, not only for the Crosbie Centre or any other service, than the physical location. People want to know that if they need the service, they're going to get it. It was like the honourable member for Dartmouth East talking about the beds at the QE II. What he forgot to mention was that that release also said that any urgent or emergent cases would be treated. There would be no change.

[Page 8506]

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

ECON. DEV. - CN RAIL (PAUL TELLIER):

LETTER - INTERPRETATION

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question today is to the Minister of Economic Development. No rail line to Sydney means the end of any hope of economic renewal for that part of Nova Scotia. Yesterday, in various media reports, CN boss, Paul Tellier, says he's not obligated to keep rail service in Cape Breton because his letter to former Premier John Savage was about RailTex and not RailAmerica. There was no indication in those media reports that the Minister of Economic Development even met with the CN boss to discuss this matter. I want to ask the minister, first of all, does he agree with the interpretation of the letter and has he obtained any legal opinion on the matter?

HON. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, since this is the second or third time that I've answered this question, we've been looking at the letter. It requires a legal interpretation. We don't know exactly the strength of either position. We've talked to CN about their commitment to moving traffic. At the end of the day, in order to sustain the rail line into Sydney, we have to have a volume of traffic. We're working towards that. This government is committed to dealing with that problem and everyone recognizes the seriousness of the situation.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: That answer was fine, Mr. Speaker, if he was answering the question that I asked. The question that I asked the minister was did he get a legal opinion from his own battery of lawyers that are working for the government, or did he meet with Paul Tellier? There was no answer to either one of those questions. That's just another indication about the contempt that this minister has for the eastern part of this province, particularly Cape Breton Island. I will table the correspondence, the letters to Dr. Savage, from Paul Tellier and also the agreements that were reached between CN and the government of the day. I would have thought that the government would have obtained an opinion by now, or at least sat down with Mr. Tellier. We have sought legal advice on this matter. My question is, is the province going to press this matter in the courts to make CN live up to the agreement?

MR. BALSER: Mr. Speaker, one thing about lawyers, if you don't like one opinion, get another. Certainly, from the province's perspective, we've retained legal advice on this. It's a consideration that we take very seriously. We want to find a solution that works involving a private sector operator with a volume of traffic that makes it work.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the economy of Cape Breton is at stake here and that minister can't even take the time to meet with Mr. Tellier or to obtain a legal opinion on behalf of the government because he couldn't care less whether any railway

goes down into Sydney.

[Page 8507]

Mr. Speaker, my final supplementary to the minister is, Mr. Minister, what are you going to do to ensure that there's going to be a viable rail service in the Cape Breton area of this province in order to spur on economic development in Cape Breton Island and, in particular, in industrial Cape Breton?

MR. BALSER: Mr. Speaker, I would remind the member opposite that this government has put more new jobs into Cape Breton than they did in their entire term. We have also committed perhaps the largest number of people within the department to deal with this issue. We take it seriously, and we will solve the problem.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

HEALTH - DIST. HEALTH AUTHORITIES: CUTS - SEVERITY

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians are waiting too long to have the surgery they need, and bed closures that have been announced this week at the QE II Health Sciences Centre mean those waits will be even longer. My office has been getting e-mails, letters and phone calls every day that demonstrate this point. I would like to table a letter that is one example of this from James Budge of Masstown. He waited 107 days to have a cancerous broken arm surgically repaired. This broken arm and unresolved cancer caused Mr. Budge unimaginable physical pain, as well as mental and emotional distress. I would like to ask the Minister of Health, how much worse is this situation going to get with service cuts by the district health authorities?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, waiting lists are something we all cringe about when we hear stories. I certainly have a great deal of sympathy and empathy, not only for Mr. Budge but for other people who are awaiting treatment. There are some things that contribute to that. Closing the beds in the Capital Health District - I said there were a couple of reasons for it. One is that there are some long-term care beds opening, which will move some people from there. The others, basically, are closing - part of it is for staffing reasons, and part of the staffing reason is the cost of overtime because there isn't a sufficient complement. As much as I regret that, I can tell the honourable member, as I told the honourable member for Dartmouth East, that the urgent and the emergent surgeries that are required will continue on schedule.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, if you listen to this minister you see very quickly that what's going on is a shell game. Walter Scott is a teacher from Lower Sackville. I will also table his letter. He needs back surgery, and until he gets it he can't work. Mr. Scott was told March 12th that his surgery is scheduled for March 11, 2003. My question to the Minister of Health is, you receive letters like this; how can you ignore the indications that our health system is in serious trouble?

[Page 8508]

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, as I said, I very much regret anybody who has to wait a long period of time for surgery, whether it's for back surgery or a broken arm or, indeed, a number of people who were on the cardiac waiting list last year. Waiting lists, unfortunately, are a fact of life, not only in Nova Scotia but in other jurisdictions right across Canada. The waiting lists are managed by the district health authorities. We make our resources available to the Capital District Health Authority, indeed other districts, to try to shorten those waiting lists. I wish I could snap my fingers and make them go away.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, he is the Minister of Health; it is his responsibility to deal with these problems. Wishing them away isn't going to make it happen. Oswald Sullivan is still waiting to have two ribs removed so he can have a second surgery to replace a pain control device in his back. His surgeries have been cancelled twice while he sits in pain. I want to ask the Minister of Health to explain to Mr. Scott, Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Budge, through this House, why his government is allowing situations like theirs to go on every day?

[1:45 p.m.]

MR. MUIR: If I knew anything about the individual cases, as the honourable member knows, I would not be at liberty to speak of them on the floor of this House. Unfortunately, we have waiting lists and we are managing them the best we can. As I said, my response to the last question, it would be my sincere wish that I could snap my fingers and they would go away. We don't have sufficient personnel to deal with the volume on sort of a day-to-day basis. I can also say that I don't like to speak comparatively, but if you take a look at the wait lists in Nova Scotia, people are better served in Nova Scotia than most other jurisdictions in Canada.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

HEALTH - SOUTH SHORE REG. HOSP.:

PEDIATRIC UNIT - ACTION

MR. DONALD DOWNE: My question is for the Minister of Health. Earlier this week it was revealed that an ENT - ear, nose, and throat - specialist from Ontario declined the specialist's position of the South Shore Regional Hospital in part because the DHA announced the closure of the pediatric unit. Last evening hundreds of residents gathered in outrage and expressing their frustration at the fact that the board is closing the pediatric unit as we know it; their concern that it could lose more specialists because of the closure of the pediatric wing. My question to the Minister of Health, who is ultimately responsible for health delivery in Nova Scotia, minister, what are you going to do to rectify the problem at the South Shore Regional Hospital?

[Page 8509]

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, there were basically two questions there. One was the physician who visited the area and chose not to accept a position. I really don't know about that, but I would expect that the decision either to come or go didn't depend on the situation which he just described. The fact is - what the honourable member, although it's a different story than he spun the other day - that the pediatric services will continue to be available to the residents of the South Shore at that hospital. The reasoning behind the board in making that decision appears to be sound. The fact is that there will beds specifically assigned to pediatricians and I believe the effect of reduction is going to be one bed.

MR. DOWNE: My only hope would be in that the minister, himself, could have come down to that meeting last night to hear what men and women and children were saying with regard to what has happened to the health delivery in our area. The South Shore District Health Authority was provided an alternative. The health care professionals proposed a plan that would result in savings in administration so that the pediatric unit would remain open as it was. In fact, neither the CEO nor any member of the board would appear to explain why they rejected the plan presented to them by specialists in the health department. As a result, hundreds of people passed a vote of non-confidence toward the board. My question to the minister is, will you immediately arrange for negotiations with members of your department, members of the board and members of the health care professionals to find a solution so that the pediatric unit, as we know, will be retained and remain in the South Shore Regional Hospital?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the South Shore District Health Authority, or DHA 1 is dealing with this matter. There is no question that there were people at a meeting last night, I'm told, unfortunately, whether it's the Opposition Parties or people are unhappy about it, they get the idea that the service is not going to be delivered. That service will continue to be delivered and, very well, there.

MR. DOWNE: Forty-seven doctors and specialists in the South Shore Regional Hospital signed a letter saying they are concerned about the future of the South Shore Regional Hospital and the pediatrics service delivery in our area; not only the doctors and specialists, but also the pediatrics specialists nurses. The minister knows that one of his front bench members was at that meeting and that front bench member indicated that he would relay the concerns of the people to that minister and do whatever he could to help fix

the problem. My question to the minister is, will you immediately intercede to protect the long-term viability of the South Shore Regional Hospital and the pediatric ward?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I will tell the honourable member that the member for Lunenburg has spoken to me about the meeting last night and did articulate the concerns that were expressed there. They're slightly different than the ones you're putting on the floor, but he did do that. Again, I want to go back; I really get alarmed and I find it disconcerting for members on the opposite side to stand up there and, for political reasons, fear-monger. (Interruptions)

[Page 8510]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

HEALTH - MRI CLINIC: CLAYTON PK. - DETAILS

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my office is receiving repeated calls about a possible private MRI clinic in Halifax. Specifically, I'm told that the clinic is being established in Clayton Park. So my question to the Minister of Health is simple; are you aware that a private MRI clinic is being planned for Clayton Park?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I have been approached by, I suppose, four or five groups in the past year and a half who have expressed interest in setting up a private MRI clinic. Am I aware of specific plans that one is going to go out in Clayton Park? No.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham. You have about five seconds.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Will the minister commit to the House that his government will not allow a private MRI clinic in the province?

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

The honourable member for Kings North on an introduction.

MR. MARK PARENT: Mr. Speaker, I would like to welcome to the House Linda Hutchison, a member of the Visual Arts Association of Nova Scotia, a resident of the Town of Kentville and a friend of mine; and Sue Gibson Garvey, the past chairperson of the Steering Committee for the Nova Scotia Arts Council, a resident of the Village of Canning and a friend of mine as well. They're here to express their concern regarding the Arts Council. I would ask them to stand and for the House to recognize and welcome them. (Applause)

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

The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I hope that the Minister of Tourism and Culture (Interruption)

[Page 8511]

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

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I have an introduction. In the east gallery, I am very pleased to introduce 37 students from Grade 12 at Bridgewater High School who are very interested in the pediatric ward, I am sure, in the South Shore Regional Hospital. Accompanying these students are four teachers: Chuck LeCain, Sandy Bergeron, Charles Williamson and Jasenthe Magnon. I would ask them all to rise and receive the warm welcome of the House and let you all know that we're very proud of you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you very much, honourable member, for that, and we appreciate and recognize the attendance of these special members in the gallery today.

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I would like to take an opportunity to speak today regarding the cutting of funds to transitions houses, women's centres and treatment programs for men. I want to say to the members opposite, actually to all members of the House, that this is an issue where maybe if we look at the makeup of this Legislature, where we have - certainly in terms of equity and numbers of male representatives to female representatives, maybe if this Legislature was more reflective of the population in this province and there were more women MLAs, then perhaps this would be a decision that wouldn't have been made in the first place.

I want to say, in particular, to the minister and to all members that I think men don't look closely enough at this issue. I think that the world of men and their perceptions of the world are different than those of females, and I think there are so many issues around security and safety for women that men don't think about often enough.

[Page 8512]

Mr. Speaker, just a simple thing like walking through a parking lot at night in the dark, men do not think seriously about their safety or security in the same way that women do. It's because of their lack of consideration on these issues that I think the government has been able to come up with a decision that really impacts the lives of women in this province in such a significant way. I want to say to all the members of this House that those of us who live in safe, secure circumstances, those of us who have been raised in safe, secure circumstances should consider ourselves lucky that we carry no baggage or scars or damage from those circumstances, but yet there are people who live in this province every day of their lives and for periods - either short period or long periods - live in fear for themselves and for their families.

This is an issue that the members opposite and in particular the Minister of Community Services, cannot ignore. If it's true that a society measures itself by how it takes care of the most vulnerable in its society, then this society and this government do not measure up very well. It would be incumbent on any government to ensure that those in need, those in fear have the securities in place to address their fears. I want to say to the minister, would you close down the fire departments across this province and say, look, there are many days that go by when there are no fires, therefore it makes sense to close down fire departments and fire stations? That type of thinking is lunacy - to say that because some of these shelters and transition houses are not at full occupancy that we can close them down, we can shut down that number of beds or those places for women to go in need of shelter.

Mr. Speaker, you can't plan an emergency. You can't give a specific date and say I will be there on Thursday because I think I may be under attack on that day. You have to have the services in place so that they're available at a moment's notice, and people have to be reassured that they are there. How many years are they there, and people would know they're there and not make use of them? How many women live in abusive situations that never go for help? How will they ever make that first step knowing that the help may not be there? Who will they contact then?

Mr. Speaker, having the supports in place is a necessary step for people to reach out to get that help. What government, if you can't think about the effect of this on adults and how it traumatizes their lives, then certainly how can you sit idly by and allow this to happen to children, allow them to be scarred for years and require treatment and counselling to get them through this for the rest of their lives? Why is that such an easy decision?

The questions here today in this House in Question Period addressed the issues of money spent by the government to get advice from high-paying bureaucrats. Yet to put security and safety in place for those who may need it is not a priority. As a matter of fact, to spend money for advice and not take it seems to be a ridiculous notion to me and not in the best interests of Nova Scotia taxpayers.

[Page 8513]

Mr. Speaker, the minister is not out of time yet to change his mind. Everything we've heard from the minister would indicate that he will try to convince us that he's proactive in this regard, that's he's willing to listen. Well, he wasn't willing to talk prior to making his decision, so what indicators would there be that he'd be willing to listen? If it wasn't for the actions and activities of those people who recognize the need for these transition houses and centres and the voices coming from members of both Opposition Parties, then the minister would never stand and address any of this. He wouldn't have met with any of those people. He even admitted today that today's meeting was the first meeting he had with any of the directors.

[2:00 p.m.]

So when the minister is backed into a corner, he will try to talk his way out of it and that's what we're seeing. We've never gotten a clear message from the minister as to what he actually intends to do, even to this point. We've never gotten a clear indication that he will back off from this agenda. We've only heard that he will move at a slower pace, but it looks as though the axe is going to fall at some point in time. What he'll hope is that the House will have risen, he can carry on his work to destroy the support that is out there for women in danger and with the Opposition away from the House, that he'll get away

I want to know, I'd like the minister to explain, not just to me, but to all Nova Scotians, what planet he lives on. I would like to know if at the end of the day, does the minister board a shuttle and go somewhere else that he cannot be aware of the impact of his decision, that he cannot have someone near, dear, close to him, a friend of a neighbour or someone that he knows of who actually could make use of these facilities? I'm amazed that the members on the government side seem to live totally oblivious to the concerns of Nova Scotians in any regard, but certainly in this regard. Perhaps in a moment of need, if women were to call the minister and show up on his doorstep looking for security, perhaps he'd realize how necessary these institutions are.

The government has a majority in this House - lucky for them, Mr. Speaker, unlucky for Nova Scotians, certainly. But the minister has time to make a public commitment to the people who work to maintain security and safety for women and children in danger in this province. He can stand publicly in this House and he can assure them that he will restore the funding to transition houses and women's shelters and treatment programs for men. The question is, is he willing to be that proactive? Is he willing to back down and say he was wrong? Is he willing to bring some element of security to those women and children in this province? I would say he's probably not, but he has that opportunity. Before this budget passes, he can restore that funding.

The members on the government side have to make a decision as to whether or not they will support those cuts. They have to go back to the people in their own communities and let them know that yes, I voted for that budget, or I voted against that budget. Last year,

[Page 8514]

we found that there was one member on the Tory side who actually had some backbone and was willing to vote against the government, for good reason. The question is, are there any more?

I want to say that we have heard nothing from the Minister of Education, who is in charge of the Advisory Council on the Status of Women in this province. There are three women MLAs in that caucus. I want to know, where are their voices? When they're at home in their communities, what are they saying? Who are they standing up for? Are they standing up for the protection of this government or are they standing up for women and children in danger in this province? Mr. Speaker, they should be speaking more loudly and clearly than perhaps any other members on the government side and we hear nothing.

Mr. Speaker, there are decisions that the members on the government side make that we argue against every day, but this is one that I have to say is the lowest of the low. It is one that even somebody's remotest possibilities of thinking cannot come up with an answer as to why anyone would ever make this cut. Even the minister has not been able to reassure Nova Scotians that this makes any sense, but yet doesn't back away from it.

If anyone on the government side can actually acknowledge that there is some sense in doing this, I would like them to stand and do that. I would like them to convince Nova Scotians that this makes sense, because even in terms of balanced budgets - we've been told there is one - there's actually been $1 million extra found so that the surplus is even greater than the minister had declared when he announced his budget, a greater surplus. Actually, when they said there was no money, now they have it. That money could be replaced. Why isn't it?

I say to the minister, do the right thing, restore the funding, tell people publicly and show your commitment that you intend to support people - women and children who are endangered in this province and whose safety is in jeopardy - that you actually care about their welfare.

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

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise and make a number of interventions on a variety of issues going into Supply. In particular, I'm going to focus on the Department of Environment and Labour, since that's my critic portfolio and is always a favourite topic for the minister. I know he always enjoys me raising issues with him. I will not fail him again today.

Mr. Speaker, as we recall, several weeks back the Auditor General tabled his annual report. I have to say, after reading the section dealing with the Department of Environment and Labour, he spent some 25 pages doing what can only be described as a stinging indictment of the way the minister, and indeed the government, has turned the Department

[Page 8515]

of Environment and Labour into a political domain. There's considerable evidence to support that. My concern is with what the government is doing, moving back to pre-Westray. Again, I will submit some evidence that will support that contention.

Just recently the government released the annual report, in fact the Workers' Compensation Board released its annual report. What it shows is a very disturbing trend. As we recall, under the John Buchanan and Donnie Cameron Administrations, the unfunded liability for the Workers' Compensation Board had ballooned to more than $476 million. In other words, a debt of $476 million. When the Liberals came to power in 1993, some rather significant changes were made that would see that unfunded liability reduced so that the system would not go bankrupt.

In fact, Mr. Speaker, from 1993 until 1999, when the Liberals were defeated in that general election, the unfunded liability decreased consistently and persistently against a number of variables, market forces, the slumps in the economy, the whole thing. But despite that, the unfunded liability went from about $476 million down to about $340 million, and at the present trends, when I left that office as minister, the projection was that within 16 years henceforth that unfunded liability would be paid off. In other words, in less than 50 per cent of the time frame we allotted for paying down the unfunded liability, that would have been eliminated.

But yet, Mr. Speaker, in the latest report we notice that the unfunded liability has increased by nearly $20 million, and I will table that document we picked up. It's the latest quarterly report from the workers' compensation system. From the period of September 2000 to September 2001, the unfunded liability increased from $296,894,000 to $316,678,000. So quite clearly, you know, things are going amiss at the Department of Environment and Labour.

Equally so, Mr. Speaker, the number of new claims for injury, compensable claims at the Workers' Compensation Board, has increased for that same nine-month period. From September 30, 2000, to September 30, 2001, the number of claims have increased. Again, that is coincidental to the fact that the government brought in a sunset clause on the occupational health and safety regulations last year. In other words, we're going to slacken back on the safety laws of this province so as to be user-friendly to friends of the government who are putting pressure on the government.

I demonstrated on several occasions, Mr. Speaker, where business interests have gone in the back door to the minister's office and asked for some reprieve. I direct you to Nova Scotia Power Inc., where one lineman is now required to go out in an emergency situation whereas before it was two. The response I got from the minister was, what do they have to do if they get into a difficult situation? Well, they can use their cell phones. If you get zapped with 25,000 volts of electricity, it's pretty hard for you to pick up your cell phone and make a call. This is the type of logic . . .

[Page 8516]

AN HON. MEMBER: You're charging the cell phone.

MR. MACKINNON: Yes, you're charged all right, but it's absolutely disgraceful when you see that type of capitulation to the safety laws of this province.

Another piece of startling evidence, Mr. Speaker - the Auditor General was quite concerned. In fact, the only response I have been able to ascertain from the minister over the last number of months in dealing with the way that the government has politicized the Department of Environment and Labour is an abdication of his responsibility and blaming it on the employees. I will give you an example. Last week during estimates I asked the Minister of Environment and Labour what deliberations took place before the deputy minister was relieved of his duties. The minister's response was that that was a decision made without any input from myself; I had nothing to do with that decision. That decision was made before I was notified.

Well, Mr. Speaker, let's look at the facts. On March 8, 2002, and I will table this Cabinet Order, this honourable minister was one of seven ministers who signed the Cabinet Order relieving the deputy minister of his duties. So either he knew that the deputy minister was going to be dismissed or, in fact, he's admitting that he's a mindless functionary in Cabinet and only doing what he's told to do. This is very serious, when we have a Minister of the Crown who sits in on a Cabinet meeting, makes a decision as to what's going to happen to staff in his department, and says he knows nothing about it, but yet he signs the document. That's why, time in and time out, I have come before this House and said that the issue here before this department is not so much the ability of the staff to do its job or the fact that we don't have enough resources to address a lot of the issues - and in some cases we don't, but for the most part the department is moving in the right direction and making some rather substantive gains - it's the issue of confidence and trust, and that is being undermined by this minister. It's being undermined because this minister blames his staff for his administrative problems.

[2:15 p.m.]

Despite all that, Mr. Speaker, in just about every division within the Department of Environment and Labour, the administrative costs have gone up, with the exception of the minister's office - I think it went down by about $50,000 or $60,000, which is not bad when you consider you're amalgamating two departments and some interdepartmental shuffling. For the most part, the administration within the department has gone up and the front-line activities have really been reduced or they've been hamstrung.

The people in Nova Scotia are losing confidence; even more so, the employers in Nova Scotia are now starting to question the wisdom of what's happening in that department. We saw, through the budgetary process, where the government is now going to claw back 91.9 per cent on Occupational Health and Safety charges, when prior to the budget it was 82 per

[Page 8517]

cent. For those who aren't really familiar with what that's all about, there's an Occupational Health and Safety Division within the Department of Labour which historically - this is all post-Westray - was set up so as to better educate the employees and the employers of worker safety, and to ensure that by hiring occupational health and safety officers. Those who continue to violate, they will be warned, given opportunities, and then ultimately they will be charged if they don't clean up their act, so to speak.

The argument was, the employers - because it's a no-fault insurance program through the Worker's Compensation Board - should pay 100 per cent of that. Mr. Speaker, as you will recall when you were on this side of the House, when we introduced Bill No. 90 it was the position of the Progressive Conservative caucus that the employer shouldn't pay 100 per cent of the cost of Occupational Health and Safety. In the final analysis, the final consensus, the agreement of all members in the House was that it would be 82 per cent. This minister and this government has gone back on its commitment to the employers of the province. Not only is the unfunded liability going up, but now they're clawing more money out of the pockets of the employers of this province, contrary to the commitment that they made when they were on this side of the House.

Invariably, what we're going to see - and I will make this prediction, same as I made the prediction last year when they put the ultimate domain of Environment and Labour under the Policy and Management Board - once they start to politicize, I predicted this time last year that the unfunded liability would start to grow, and it has - by $20 million. I will make another prediction: By this time next year, at the present trends, the rates for employers will increase - they will not go down as they should have. That is what will continue to happen.

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. The unfunded liability dropped by $19 million last year. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. It's not a point of order, but a disagreement of facts between the two members.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I will table the document that says quite to the contrary. September 30, 2000, the unfunded liability, $296 million; unfunded liability, third quarter 2001, $316,000.

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I've already tabled that document. It was the Workers' Compensation Board of Nova Scotia Annual Report 2001. I did so a couple of weeks ago and so I'm sure the honourable member opposite will be pleased to know that actually, the unfunded liability dropped by $19 million last year. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: That is not a point of order. The honourable member for Cape Breton West has the floor.

[Page 8518]

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, if you wonder why people have lost confidence in that minister and that department, it is because he can't even read. It says right here that the unfunded liability has increased from $296 million in 2000 to $316 million, and I will table it, in 2001. Is it any wonder he didn't know that he himself had signed the order to fire his deputy minister. This is very serious when you have a minister who signed a Cabinet Order, and I'll table this too for the minister, to fire his own deputy minister and he tells us during deliberations that he didn't even have anything to do with it.

Now what in the name of heavens is going on in that department? So, yes, Mr. Speaker, I will make the prediction. At present trends, the unfunded liability will continue to grow and the rates will increase for employers, when they should be going down. They couldn't wait to get their grubby paws on that pool of money. It took them a short 17 years to nearly bankrupt the Workers' Compensation Board. It's going to take us close to 40 years to clean it up. What did they do as soon as they got on that side of the House? They had to figure out a way, legislatively, to get their hands on that money, get access to it and politically manipulate the process. That's the point I wanted to make today. Thank you.

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

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity on debate going into Supply to speak for a few moments on the Canadian Firearms Registry. I have a letter here I would like to read some excerpts from. It's from the Municipality of Pictou County. This letter was sent to the honourable Peter MacKay, MP, and to my colleagues, Mr. Jim DeWolfe, MLA, and Ms. Muriel Baillie, MLA. The letter makes some very good points. I will start by perhaps reading a few sentences and making some comments. Perhaps the honourable member for Dartmouth North, who seems to want to chime in, would like to support the good people in Pictou County, the councillors and their municipality.

The letter begins, Since the introduction of Bill C-68 in 1995, Statistics Canada data indicates that the number of violent crimes involving firearms has increased. Statistics for attempted murders show an increase by 20 percent and the number of homicides have also increased substantially over that period. The question then arises, what has Bill C-68 accomplished? We are aware of the series of shootings that occurred in the Halifax-Dartmouth area on March 3rd, March 6th, March 8th, and again on March 9th. All of those shootings involved a handgun. The requirement for handgun registration dates back to 1934. Now, some 68 years later, we see that the registry has failed. As Canadians, we assume that we all are entitled to our opinions about firearms.

I know, Mr. Speaker, as the MLA for Cumberland South, you have some strong opinions about the federal Firearms Act. Of course, in your former profession as a police officer, the opinions that you hold, I think, should carry considerable weight. Incidently,

[Page 8519]

while the honourable member for Dartmouth North continues to heckle and continues to support his federal Liberal cousins in Ottawa, he should recognize that in this very same House, he is the first person on his feet to criticize what he believes are inequities in the social systems that we have across this province. But does the honourable member for Dartmouth North realize and recognize and acknowledge that over the last nine years, the federal Liberals in Ottawa have cut the Canadian health social transfers to the Province of Nova Scotia by some nearly $2 billion over nine years? Wouldn't it be nice if the province of Nova Scotia had some of that $2 billion. Yes, it would be very, very helpful.

We may not have some of the concerns we have today when, in essence, most issues, especially when you're talking about capital funding, and sustaining and enhancing existing programs, does come down to funding. So let's not forget and let's remind the honourable member for Dartmouth North that this province has not received, in terms of social transfers, its fair share from Ottawa.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to continue, if I could, with the letter from the Municipality of Pictou County. Municipal council realizes that Bill C-68 has been the subject of continual debate and opposition, however, there is still time for changes to be implemented. Rather than agreeing with everything that has been done, council would like to believe that we have elected politicians that will speak out on behalf of the taxpayers.

Now, since the terrorist attack of September 11th our Canadian Government has spent approximately $1.8 billion on the military, RCMP and other protective resources. At the present time, the implementation of the gun registry bill is in excess of three-quarters completed with over $700 million already spent. Do you remember that, I believe it was - was it Allan Rock who said we would implement and effect the gun registry for some $68 million? Well, according to several documents and the Municipality of Pictou County, the Canadian Government has already spent over $700 million.

Now it is speculated that implementation of the last one-quarter could cost the taxpayers at least as much or more than what has already been spent. The last one-quarter of gun owners are determined not to register. Over the last five years, on breast cancer, and we know the statistics - just by way of comparison, and I hope it's a fair comparison - the federal government in Ottawa spends less than $5 million a year on breast cancer research and development, yet they can find $700 million to throw into an ineffective gun registration system.

I commend the Municipality of Pictou County for being vigilant. They recognize a boondoggle, a sham. I know, Mr. Speaker, you recognize a boondoggle and a sham when you see one. I will gladly table that letter because perhaps some honourable members would like to take the chance to read the correspondence from the great County of Pictou, the municipality. I will table that.

[Page 8520]

MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I want the honourable member for the beautiful Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley to remember that while he was speaking about the gun registry legislation, Bill C-68, we, as a political Party, both at the federal level and at the provincial level have stated that, in fact, the gun registry legislation, there are portions of that legislation that are flawed and we would like to have some talk about it.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. That's not a point of order, but it is certainly a point of fact.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I'm sure, like you and like honourable colleagues in the House, we recognize that the NDP caucus is a bit tardy, quite a bit late. The legislation went through in 1995, and here it is 2002. I commend the NDP caucus for seeing the light, somewhat late, but we appreciate your support. They realized that many rural Canadians, we're talking about rural Nova Scotians here, have been impacted by this costly, ineffective, cumbersome, over-bloated, boondoggle. It is an embarrassment to this great country, Canada.

At the constituency office, and I would suggest at all constituency offices, we receive many calls from Nova Scotians asking if they should register their firearms. The federal Firearms Act says that you must register every single firearm that you have by December 31, 2002, or, the very next day, January 1, 2003, you become a criminal. We are encouraging Nova Scotians to register their firearms. I trust that honourable members in the House will do likewise. But the fact of the matter is, speaking personally, that after a lengthy, peaceful protest, I started the long, arduous process, of trying to register my firearms back in September - I think it was around the 20th or the 24th. I went over to the post office in Stewiacke and picked up a possession-only licence application, the acronym POL.

[2:30 p.m.]

So I filled the POL out and sent it off, and a month later, or thereabouts, I received a letter back from the firearms centre in Miramichi, New Brunswick, telling me . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: City.

MR. TAYLOR: Yes, in Miramichi city, advising me that, oh, by the way, Mr. Taylor, you can no longer purchase a possession-only licence. You must fill out an application for a possession and acquisition licence. Nowhere - unless you get the Royal Gazette or some other subscription, Nova Scotians or Canadians wouldn't be aware that possession-only licences are no longer available. I'll have to continue on this. We'll save that one for another time. I apologize. We were going to try to talk on a couple of different topics, but in order to do this one some justice, I think I should continue on with this train of thought.

[Page 8521]

Mr. Speaker, possession and acquisition licence applications also require that the applicant submit proof that they have passed the Canadian Firearms Safety Course test. Many Nova Scotians received a lot of training from family members - their fathers, perhaps their mothers - in the handling of long guns. Apparently if you applied sometime back in 2000, maybe before October, you might have been grandfathered in. Anyway, I sent in my Canadian Firearms test. I took the test at the Royal Canadian Legion in Upper Musquodoboit on a cold January day. Nonetheless, I took the test, passed the test and sent the test off to Miramichi, but before they received my possession and acquisition licence application, they sent me a letter saying, Mr. Taylor, if you do not submit your possession and acquisition application by the middle of March, we will close your file and we will not refund your $60.

Now, I think that's very unfair. I personally think it's terrible treatment for a firearm owner, a law-abiding citizen, to receive. But you have to question how many Canadians across this country, from one end of it to the other, from coast to coast, are being treated the same way? So, anyway, they finally received it and then just last week I got another letter seeking additional information. They're still not satisfied. Mr. Speaker, I have told them everything. I filled out everything appropriate on the application. They had all kinds of questions about your spouse, your family and your children. In my case, my wife had to sign the document. I had to get witnesses to sign the document. I've complied, as far as I'm concerned, with everything they had asked, but they're still not satisfied.

So, again, here we have a federal regime in Ottawa pushing this Firearms Act down the throats of Nova Scotians and, Mr. Speaker, it's a sham. It's a terrible, time-consuming, expensive, inefficient, ineffective piece of legislation. We have no money to put into - if you want to speak about social programs, whether it's transition houses, breast cancer research, the military, the RCMP or the trucking industry, you name it. They've got their priorities in Ottawa severely screwed up. But, nonetheless, I just wanted to point out for the benefit of my colleagues that I am trying and it's very difficult to obtain the necessary documents to register my firearms.

I have, for example, Mr. Speaker, an heirloom that's very near and dear to me. My great-great-grandfather Taylor had an old .4570; that firearm has been passed down to the oldest son in my family, who happens to be me, and I would very much like to keep that firearm, but keep it legally, in compliance with this Firearms Act, but you can see how difficult it is. I also have a .303 jungle carbine firearm that is a long-barrelled rifle. Now we would entertain bids, no, just kidding - it's a really nice piece of work, a nice firearm. Anybody who appreciates long-barrelled firearms would appreciate a vintage jungle carbine World War II model. Now, I have a few other firearms, but they don't - well, I do have one that's very important to me. It's the first firearm that I ever owned, and it's a single-shot Cooey 12-gauge shotgun.

[Page 8522]

Mr. Speaker, I don't hunt anymore myself. I certainly support the hunting industry and I know the president of the hunters and anglers association who was in here earlier today, and I appreciate the good work that Tony Rodgers and the wildlife association does for Nova Scotia. We're certainly much better off because of that organization. I think it's important when politicians, at any level, craft legislation that they recognize that there are stakeholders out there, people who are being impacted by the very decisions that they make. While, in fact, we have this Firearms Act and it is law, we recognize it, but we still think it is not appropriate.

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

MR. TAYLOR: Yes.

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

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: I thank the member for ceding me the floor for a moment. I'm proud to say that in the west gallery I have a constituent, a well-known artist, a member of that infamous group called the Women Down Prospect. I would ask her to stand at this time, Ariella Pahlke, and receive the greeting of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you, and I thank the honourable member for his time.

The motion is carried.

[2:37 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Supply with Deputy Speaker Mr. Brooke Taylor in the Chair.]

[5:58 p.m. CWH on Supply rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Murray Scott, resumed the Chair.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The subject for this evening's late debate was submitted by the honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

[Page 8523]

HEALTH/COMMUN. SERV. - IN-HOME SUPPORTS:

GAPS - MINISTERS CLOSE

MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak on this resolution and the resolution states:

"Therefore be it resolved that the Ministers of Health and Community Services should immediately close the gaps created by the Hamm Government in in-home support services for Nova Scotians, so that the seriously ill and persons with disabilities are never again left with no recourse but to have their desperate situation raised on the floor of this House."

Mr. Speaker, it comes to mind, and I want to bring the member's attention to one of the very personal issues that came before this House, the personal issue was brought before this House by our Leader, the honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour, and he brought the issue with respect to a family, the Lesley Anne Doucet Family. I do know that we recall that. Lesley Anne Doucet had to have their case brought before the public, causing embarrassment and giving up their privacy out of desperation. Now the reason why this happened, Mr. Speaker, is because apparently there doesn't seem to be a policy that connects the Department of Community Services with that of the Department of Health, to tell the Department of Health and the Department of Community Services that this is a foolhardy approach and that it's going to cost them a tremendous number of dollars in the long run.

Mr. Speaker, when we had talked about this one particular family who came before the Legislature, I must say that it was the Opposition, the media and everyone involved, including the families, who pressed the government to change its way of action, particularly that of the Department of Community Services, who decided that they were not going to provide the tube feeding for this Lesley Anne Doucet Family. Now think about the embarrassment that the Lesley Anne Doucet Family must have had to face talking to the Department of Community Services for at least a few months, trying to make sure that they were going to receive the funding available to provide this Lesley Anne Doucet, this disabled person, with the food that was required to go through that tube to keep Lesley Anne Doucet alive. Had Lesley Anne Doucet not, after interventions by the media, by the members of the Opposition and by our Leader, the member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour, not have received that, then I fear to know what the cost would have been to the Department of Health.

Not only that, Mr. Speaker, I think the most amazing comment from the Department of Community Services was, in fact, when questioned through Question Period on this particular issue, that there were 1,100 Lesley Anne Doucets out there with the same issue.

The Department of Community Services implied or stated to this Legislature the way that they deal with these issues is on a one-to-one basis, and I would say that it is not only dealt with on a one-to-one basis, but it's dealt with the amount of pressure that can be applied to the Department of Community Services as well, because if the family does not know the ropes, does not and is not prepared to continue to pressure the Department of Community

[Page 8524]

Services, my guess is that they would not receive funding. Many people are intimidated by that process; they're intimidated by the process of having to challenge government. It is an embarrassing situation to be in because you're disclosing all your personal disabilities and all your personal hardships to the public by bringing it through this forum.

I think there needs to be, on this particular issue, given the fact that there are 1,100 cases out there, this Department of Community Services has decided each will be based on their own merit, I certainly hope that the Minister of Health who is listening to this debate tonight would have communications with the Minister of Community Services indicating that if they don't provide that funding up front, what will happen is that cost to the Nova Scotia taxpayers will be significantly higher when that individual ends up in the hospital. When that individual ends up in the hospital, the cost to the Nova Scotia taxpayer will quadruple. Not only that, there is a period of time in which there will be beds used in that particular hospital at a time when bed closures are taking place.

This is not the only case that we have heard of. We know that there has been talk with respect to the minister saying there are about 1,100 families, yet we've heard from some other families, they came to us, talked to us about basically the same kind of issues, and I can tell you as we go through this and now that it has become public knowledge that there are many cases out there and if government doesn't address those particular cases, then what's going to be left is that we are going to have to advocate on their behalf on this legislative floor; in fact bringing each one of those personal, individual cases before us.

I don't think that's the way we want to bring their issues, to their particular concerns, through this Legislative Assembly. I don't think government wants to do that either, Mr. Speaker. I think government recognizes that there is dignity and respect for those individuals who are disabled or who find themselves in need from a government department or agency. Now, we know that Nova Scotia has a high proportion of disabled people who live in poverty and who will need help. We also know that most of them have average incomes of less than $18,660; about 45 per cent of those have less than $18,600 as an income. Yet these are the people who actually request our services.

Now, Mr. Speaker, there is also the issue that the Department of Community Services and long-term care have to look at as well. When we look at the resolution we recognize that in this province, and in other provinces, I should say, the issue with respect to long-term care - people who are entering long-term care don't have to pay for their room and board in some other provinces, but yet in Nova Scotia they are expected to pay for their room and board, and sometimes this can cost up to $4,800. Many families don't have this; government is very much aware of this, but they ask them to sell their homestead or their assets. Fortunately for those individuals who are on social assistance, there is protection - one who is on social assistance will not be able to sell their home. But there are people on fixed and moderate incomes who, in fact, are faced with this very important issue of where do they find the money.

[Page 8525]

Now we also know that there is the need for long-term care; there is the need for nursing care facilities; there is the single-entry access that individuals are funnelled through. People are left at a whim as to when and where and how they fit into that single-entry access and how long they will have to wait. People are shifted, maybe, depending on where the long-term care facilities may be. They may be moved out of their community and into other communities that are completely foreign to them. Many of them are certainly unaware of where they will be from one minute to the next. All this is a reflection of how government functions and operates. That sends out a message to many Nova Scotians, that in fact the vulnerable need to be protected by this government and that is why we are here, and that is exactly the kind of message we will send across.

We also know there are people who are asking - I have spoken to the Minister of Health, through his budget estimates, about the delivery of home care services. There are people who are requesting numbers of hours of home care support simply because they have families and persons who are severely disabled, who may very well require lifting and who may require to be moved into levels of care that are heavy-burden levels of care because they do not have the respite care services. They are left there on their own. It is the responsibility of government, Mr. Speaker; I would say that the Department of Community Services and the Department of Health ought to develop a comprehensive plan that looks at this particular issue in the whole.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

MR. DAVID WILSON: Mr. Speaker, I rise in my place to join in this debate, one of extreme importance to the people of Nova Scotia because in-home support services are an essential part, as we all know, of the continuum of care. The provision of services enables people to stay at home, in familiar surroundings and close to their families, as my colleague from Dartmouth said. It provides a certain amount of dignity and respect for that to happen. I am sure we have all heard horror stories of some cases, unfortunately, when this did not happen. I know that, personally, in my time here as an MLA, I have heard stories from people who certainly wish that they were able to access more in-home care and in-home support. Indeed, what they had was certainly not adequate enough to make a difference in the lives of their loved ones.

Families who care for family members in their own homes are doing that service with loved ones and families who care for family members in their own homes are doing that service with very little reward. That's despite the fact that this government, I do believe, promised a tax credit at one time for family caregivers. The families who care for their family members in their own homes work very hard day in and day out. It becomes a very trying experience and certainly wears down those family members who are doing this sort of thing.

[Page 8526]

I've talked with quite a few and they will tell you the stories of the hardship that they're undergoing, not only because they have a fellow member of their family who is ill and has to receive the care, but because of the time and effort that it takes and it's an unselfish sort of effort that they give towards this sort of thing and they ask for nothing in return. They do it because simply they're caring for individuals, whether they be children or young adults, or their parents, or whatever the case may be, and they're doing it in their own home. They're doing it without a lot of thanks, but certainly on behalf of our caucus, I would like to thank those countless Nova Scotians who are out there caring for individuals.

Mr. Speaker, I think perhaps the most important point to bring out in this debate this evening is the issue of gaps in the level of service. What will happen to a child in a home who all of a sudden doesn't fall under the Department of Community Services any longer? For instance, the child has a birthday and all of a sudden they become the responsibility of another department; this is where perhaps the Department of Health's care coordination could come into play.

Mr. Speaker, there should never be that gap in service. The Department of Community Services should simply be able to make contact with the care coordinator in any particular district and simply say, you know, we have an individual here who is receiving service from us and they're now going to enter into your system, so they have to continue, they must continue to receive that same level of care. If you simplify it, that's as easy as it gets. It could be just a matter of a phone call from the department, but it would also require sometimes, and I'm not being cruel by saying this, but it requires what's missing sometimes here, a lot of compassion in this instance.

The infrastructure is in place for departments to communicate so it should be easy. It should be, but many times we've heard in this House, you've heard the phrase breaking down the silos which has been used from time to time. Well, it's probably time to break down the silos in those departments as well and it's a matter of communication. If we take a look at it and we know that the individuals require the care, we know that that is a fact, that care is necessary, that care should be given to the individuals in this case and no one is arguing that fact. So the problem and the gap occurs between departments and if we can get rid of those gaps and we can make the communication stronger and, as I mentioned, if we can have the compassion that's necessary, then we won't be dealing with these problems any longer.

Mr. Speaker, not that I want to stray away from the subject, but it's that kind of compassion that we should be seeing displayed in a lot of other areas and if I may on the subject of community services, that kind of compassion should have been quite evident when we were dealing with transition houses and transition shelters, women's centres and men's treatment programs. There's more to it than the bottom line. There's more to it than the almighty dollar. There's always the individual. There's always the human part of any equation that we deal with, whether it be in politics or whether it be in the subject of health or community services.

[Page 8527]

We have to realize that that human factor should sometimes override anything else. When we talk about compassion and we talk about that human factor, then we are talking about actual caring as individuals. No one says that we don't care because we become politicians. Indeed, it should - from what we deal with on a daily basis - give us more compassion and more caring because we realize that there is a lot of hardship out there within our communities and within the Province of Nova Scotia, unfortunate as it may be. But from time to time we have to overlook the politics that are involved, the finances that are involved, or whatever the case may be and bring us around, once again, to the subject of compassion. Whether or not we actually care about what's happening and in this case, whether we should provide the care to the particular individuals, whether it be from one department to another department; there's more to it than that.

[6:15 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, as I said, the provision of services that enabled people to stay in their own homes, in those familiar surroundings - and we've heard that from many people, whether they be ill, they're seniors, whatever the case may be - it is a trying endeavour. It can be devastating to some people to tell them that they're going to have to leave their homes where they may have spent their entire lives and they're going to have to go to some other facility to get the care that's required, when that care can be provided in their own home, under their own roof.

I've had it told to me many times before, especially by seniors, that they're just not going to leave their surroundings. They know they require the care that is necessary and they may not be able to - certainly in a lot of cases - afford that care. If indeed this happens, if that gap is there because they're transferring from one department to the other, because of whatever circumstance, then we have the opportunity to make sure that doesn't happen. We should have the compassion to make sure that that does not occur, that that care is there on a continuous basis for those people who are affected. Again, to the many family members who are out there taking care of their family members in their own homes and are doing that service with little reward, I think that we all owe them a thank you on behalf of this House, that indeed, what they're doing is important and what we're talking about tonight is a very important issue in this debate.

I guess it is incumbent upon me to say to the Department of Community Services, the Department of Health - whatever departments we're talking about - that if it is only a matter of communication, if it's only a matter of closing that gap, if it's only a matter of breaking down those silos then really, that's not hard to do. This is a rather important issue and that can be done fairly easily with our staff, with the ministers responsible taking the initiative to get out there and showing the compassion that's necessary, and making sure that in-home support services remain an essential part of the continuum of care that should be provided. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

[Page 8528]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise tonight and say a few words about in-home support and the services that the government does provide to those who need help in their homes. I guess, to begin with, I have to say I'm a little disturbed by the resolution, although not surprised. What it does is it implies that people who need help in most cases don't get it and that's simply not the situation. Although there are occasionally gaps, by and large, the government and its agencies provide care for people who need help.

Before I get into specifics, I'm just going to say a couple of things and I'm going to speak to the line in the motion that refers to the seriously ill and persons with disabilities having no recourse but to have their desperate situation raised on the floor of the House. There are a lot of situations raised on the floor of the House, although I can probably think of one or two cases where they had some validity, for the most past they are the members of the Opposition trying to score cheap political points on the backs of those who need help. It's always difficult to speak to the personal stories before this House, because we respect the confidentiality of any person and, of course, don't divulge particulars of any case. Mr. Speaker, please know that there are usually two sides to every story.

Mr. Speaker, I'm concerned about the issue of the in-home support program, but I also will say, as I told the member for Dartmouth North during the estimates process, that we have been working on it with a great deal of effort. There are a number of past complexities in delivering this service that make it a particularly challenging issue. Here's a little history.

First, municipalities had accepted the responsibility of offering whatever help they could to people who needed support. What this turned out meaning, Mr. Speaker, was that somebody in Digby, with the very same circumstances as somebody who lived in my community of Truro, would receive a very different level of service. It was unfair to people who needed help, and it was also unfair to communities.

Next the adult programs went under the auspices of the Department of Health, but fortunately - or unfortunately - they had a detour through the Department of Community Services, because they were administering the program while Health focused its resources, at that time, on establishing a Home Care Program. So what we had - and I think people have to understand this - it was being transferred from the municipalities into the Department of Health, the Department of Health was also trying to establish a Home Care Program at that time with a fair bit of difficulty, so the Department of Community Services was able to help with that portion of the program.

The Department of Health's Home Care Program is now a key component of the continuing care services that are offered to Nova Scotians, and having gotten the Home Care Program, working on that for some time, devoting considerable effort to it and getting some standardization of that program across the province, we're now able to turn our attention back

[Page 8529]

to the in-home support program that the Department of Community Services had been administering.

For the past two years staff in my department and in Community Services have been working very hard to sort out what has been historically, as I indicated a couple of minutes ago, a mishmash of policies, of needs, of priorities, in a way that would meet the needs of our people and in a way that is sustainable into the future. In opening up the in-home support program again - which we will do - it would have been very irresponsible to Nova Scotians if we didn't make sure that what we were going to implement had all of the i's dotted and the t's crossed; we had to make sure that the program met the needs of the clients and that it could be implemented and sustained. We have done that, Mr. Speaker, and we are just about ready to move forward.

I want to tell you, Mr. Speaker, that I stand here today committed to providing the services to adults who can live at home or within their own communities with the right and appropriate level of support. We are now developing two options to bring the existing in-home support program under the umbrella of home care services. As an example, one option we are developing as part of this in-home support program and also to assist other clients who are in the Home Care Program - and this has been raised a number of times of the floor of the House - is the establishment of a health equipment loan program; indeed we have committed money to that in this year's budget. I mentioned that in the estimates. The partner we will have as this program comes to fruition is the Red Cross. This program will provides aids to daily living, wheelchairs and other assistive devices on a consistent, province-wide basis. We think this is a good thing.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to report that policies for several new options are largely complete. The predictions on the numbers of clients and the anticipated additional costs are also nearly complete; we are in the refinement process right now.

Despite what the Opposition may imply on the floor of the House, there are approximately 650 clients who have continued to receive in-home support funding through the Department of Health, while we have basically had a moratorium on new admissions. I want to assure the clients who are in that program that they will continue to receive in-home support funding until other available and appropriate options are made available.

The Department of Health continues to work with the Department of Community Services to discuss joint approaches to issues which affect people who are disabled. Children who receive in-home support, that program continues to be administered by the Department of Community Services, up to the age of 19. The Department of Health works closely with the Department of Community Services to transfer the clients to the Department of Health once that 19 years of age is reached.

[Page 8530]

Mr. Speaker, my department knows that replacing the former in-home support program with one consistent and equitable provincial policy that has options to suit varying needs will improve the care given to clients, and improve the level of accountability for how the funding is spent. I have indicated that in government, accountability is a very strong theme work; we have to have evidence to support our decisions. It is government's intention to provide the services to those who cannot help themselves, but we must have a consistent policy; we must be prepared to evaluate our programs; and we must be prepared to change when change is required. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you and I would like to thank all the honourable members for taking part in the debate this evening. The time allotted for the late debate has expired.

[6:29 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Supply with Acting Deputy Speaker Mr. William Dooks in the Chair.]

[7:08 p.m. CWH on Supply rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Murray Scott, resumed the Chair.]

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

THE CLERK: That the committee has met and made some progress in considering Supply and asks 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 the order of business, Public Bills for Second Reading.

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 112.

Bill No. 112 - Gas Distribution Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto, I believe you have about three minutes left.

[Page 8531]

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I will try to sum up as quickly as I can. When we left off the other day I had given some of the history of why it is that the province's dealings with the offshore from start to finish - one would wish that we might be finished but we're not yet - have been a complete mess. I'm going to try to sum up exactly what the problems are that we're facing right now that are not addressed by the bill that we have in front of us. However desirable it might be to try to get access to our resource for as many people as possible around the province, this bill won't do it.

There are outstanding questions and I listed a couple of them the other day. The road shoulder issue, not addressed, not clear. What's the current status of that? I think the minister and any other ministers concerned ought to tell us. The second point I made was that the postage stamp rate had been done away with by this bill and its associated regulations with no explanation of why that ought to be. The postage stamp toll was seen as being the appropriate, fair way to go but, in fact, that is not the case. There has been a change here. Somehow fairness has been redefined. It's been redefined in a way so that different toll rates will apply in different parts of the province - no explanation, no analysis, no grappling with the issue to explain why there ought to be this differential. Finally, we hear the assertion made by the minister that this bill provides protection from monopolies. I think his words were, we can protect consumers from monopoly. We are protecting consumers from monopoly through this bill.

Where is that? How does this bill do that? The bare assertion is made. There is no explanation of what the minister could possibly mean by that. The suggestion might be that because it's possible for franchises to be awarded in smaller parts of the province, then, the whole of the province, that is somehow protection from monopoly. It isn't. That's not protection from monopoly. I think the minister has to explain that to us.

Finally, I want to make this observation. SaskEnergy which is a provincial Crown Corporation in our sister province, Saskatchewan, was initially interested in the franchise for Nova Scotia and seems now to be interested again. Its president, Mr. Clark, was here talking publicly not so long ago. If SaskEnergy, a provincial Crown Corporation can do that, we have to ask, why is it that we cannot have the equivalent kind of entity? That's consistent with my view that this ought to have been developed in the first place as a public entity with the rights of Nova Scotians forefront in our minds - it's not too late to do that and that would be the appropriate thing to see happening here, but it isn't. Thank you very much.

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

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise and make a few comments on Bill No. 112, An Act to Amend Chapter 4 of the Acts of 1997, the Gas Distribution Act. I'm sure the minister will be pleasantly surprised if I indicate I won't speak too, too long because of this somewhat raspy voice. My comments will be pointed and I think the minister will appreciate that as well.

[Page 8532]

I can certainly appreciate where the government is going with this particular piece of legislation. I believe the essence of the legislation is to ensure that gas distribution throughout Nova Scotia is market driven and not through a regulated form that would make it cost prohibitive. If I'm wrong, I'm sure the minister will correct me on that. That having been said, I think it's equally stated that one has to look at the history of this government in terms of its commitment for gas distribution throughout Nova Scotia as it relates to Bill No. 112.

I know other speakers have raised the issue of competition versus the possible monopoly that could be maintained by certain corporations. Bill No. 112 now would allow public utilities such as Nova Scotia Power, Emera or what have you to now become franchisees. The danger with that is that would not only lead to a monopoly, but certainly lend itself very close, because of the structure here in Nova Scotia with the public utilities, to an oligarchy. That is very concerning. We've already gone through some painful experiences with the privatization of Nova Scotia Power where the government of the day, the Donald Cameron Government, gave very special and particular tax relief to Nova Scotia Power and now we find the present government looking at the very possibility of clawing that back to be able to deal with the issue of equalization with the municipalities. Had the government of the day allowed proper taxation strategies to evolve as they should have, then they wouldn't have found themselves in the situation with the equalization process today and we wouldn't have had municipalities kicking at the doors of Province House looking for some fairness.

[7:15 p.m.]

The Premier at that time - Donald Cameron, I believe - despite the fact that there were over 120 hours of debate on that one particular piece of legislation on the floor of the House, was very deaf to the fact that what he was doing, exempting Nova Scotia Power from property taxation on its assets, really exacerbated a lot of the problems that are now before us here, particularly in municipalities that are a little more economically hard-fixed, such as the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.

Mr. Speaker, as we all know, 50 per cent of all the tangible assets for Nova Scotia Power are on Cape Breton Island. If property taxation had been allowed to go forth at that particular point in time, many of the problems in terms of the need for additional transfers and subsidies from some of the weaker municipalities - particularly CBRM, which has faced a lot of financial difficulties as of late because of the downturn in the economy. We're going through a very difficult transition from a lot of the traditional, industrial economies into the high-tech, communications and tourism economies and so forth.

Mr. Speaker, we also have to examine the issue of distribution. Nova Scotia has taken quite a step back in its commitment to provide natural gas to just about every region in the province, which, realistically, is almost impossible in any event because the cost factors almost make it prohibitive. Now, that having been said, there are a lot of areas, particularly

[Page 8533]

down on the South Shore, northeastern Nova Scotia and, indeed, Cape Breton Island, that would need that extra leverage to be able to ensure fair access to this natural resource.

Mr. Speaker, as we all know, people in New Brunswick, Maine and in New Hampshire all enjoy our natural gas. There is something wrong.

AN HON. MEMBER: If you would sit down, we would too.

MR. MACKINNON: We're in a rather odd position here. I hear one Tory backbencher suggesting that if I were to sit down, we would have it too. Is he implying that perhaps more Tory backbenchers would get up and we would be exposed to more gas? I'm not sure. There's certainly some liquefaction; I'm not sure. We don't want to get hit by rabbit tracks here.

AN HON. MEMBER: Kind of hot air.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I think there would be lots of hot air. That is certainly an area of concern. Also I think the government has not addressed some of the environmental concerns that would be attached to this particular piece of legislation. Even in the agreement between the Province of Nova Scotia and Sempra Atlantic Gas back in October 2001, where Sempra gave up its distribution rights. I was rather surprised to find the value that was put on all the assets for this particular company - which we know include the piping, a lot that has been installed in the ground in Dartmouth and all through Nova Scotia and so on - that the value of the Sempra Atlantic assets shall be priced for sale to any subsequent franchise holder or potential franchise holder in accordance with the agreement at a price not to exceed $2.25 million.

Mr. Speaker, the last time I heard, we were dealing with over $40 million worth of assets that had been installed throughout various communities in Nova Scotia. So, obviously, somebody is going to get a sweetheart deal once this particular piece of legislation goes through. Because if we're now going to allow public utilities to enjoy the possibility of a franchisee, a franchise for the actual installation in the various domestic, commercial and industrial sites, then we see that they're going to get quite a leverage advantage before they even start.

I'm not sure what the methodology was. I suppose in contract law, if Sempra wasn't able to fulfill its terms of their agreement, then that's fine. But, then, if that's a benefit to the province, why are we giving it away? Why are we giving it away without demanding greater value for the product? Here's an opportunity, if the government were to tack another $10 million on that I'm sure that would solve all the problems they're having with the equalization arguments across the province; an extra $10 million and it could be more. It could be $20 million for capital construction on our roads. There are a lot of things that could be done here, Mr. Speaker.

[Page 8534]

It's quite disappointing that on one hand the government is quite anxious to have this legislation shoved through the House as quickly as possible, or rushed through, I suppose, for better terminology, and on the other hand they seem to be quite lackadaisical in protecting the interest of Nova Scotians. Now, surely to heavens giving that type of leverage to a particular individual corporation or what have you, I think, is a little disappointing. As well, Mr. Speaker, another disappointing fact I think we lost some opportunity is the fact that this agreement, which leads right into Bill No. 112, in fact, contains a confidentiality clause. This agreement overrides many of the authorities of the Public Utilities and Review Board.

Now the question I would ask, Mr. Speaker, is why? Why are we usurping the authorities and the powers of the Public Utilities Board through a private agreement with a corporation? In other words, all the factors that led to the exit of Sempra from Nova Scotia or, in fact, many of the vital pieces of information that led to the exit of Sempra from Nova Scotia will never be known, and the Public Utilities and Review Board will not have the ability to be able to examine any of those factors should be the public hearings commence again for the distribution rights once Bill No. 112 is passed.

Mr. Speaker, again, I think the government missed an excellent opportunity, not only from a financial perspective, but also a lot of the intellectual properties and a lot of the benefits that would have been secured for the people of Nova Scotia should we have used this information to leverage the best possible deal. So I hope the government is not using this as an opportunity to kind of soft-pedal because they already have somebody in the wings waiting to get a sweetheart deal. That is a real concern because we saw what happened with Nova Scotia Power. It's so ironic; it's almost like "déjà vu all over again".

The Premier of the day stood in his place and he said it was a feeling, it was a philosophical feeling that made him want to privatize Nova Scotia Power, and he couldn't offer any tangible evidence to support that. It was terrible, year in and year out, all the deficits. They could never have a profit or they could never break even. Mr. Speaker, that wasn't quite correct. When you look at the quality of service and (Interruption) More than not quite correct, as one of my colleagues rightfully pointed out. There was a lot of expansion going on at the time, there was the new Point Tupper power generating station that was a rather substantial investment, there were a lot of upgrades to other facilities, and that accounted for a lot of capital costs that always put the bottom line in a negative position; but in reality, things were going great.

The irony of the process was, within 12 months of being privatized, with no change in staffing or management in large measure, that company was able to declare - and I do stand to be corrected - well over a $100 million profit. So how ironic that a Premier was able to stand in his place and give this newly-created private company very generous tax concessions on property taxes and tax exemptions, as well as a lot of other privileges that hurt rural Nova Scotia. For example, the elimination of the Rural Electrification Act, which was a great asset to many small communities throughout southwestern and northeastern Nova Scotia, down

[Page 8535]

through Colchester County, a lot of those small rural communities, that was a benefit. The same parallel can be drawn here, the government is almost moving in the same direction, they are putting all their eggs in one basket. In other words, let's support the big, the big will get bigger and may the fittest survive. Ultimately, in another 5 or 10 years down the road, we will find ourselves trying to reverse the process because it just doesn't work and that's what we're seeing through that equalization process. I would respectfully submit that we will see the same with this Gas Distribution Act.

We also have to be cognizant of the issue of royalties that the government said it was going to get for natural gas here in Nova Scotia. Mr. Speaker, we see with what is being pumped out of the ground now, it will take approximately 400 years to be able to get enough money in royalties to be able to pay the interest on our debt for one year. That's a sad commentary on what's happening over in the Department of Economic Development, if that's the type of negotiating processes that are in place, then it's all the more need to have very close scrutiny on this particular piece of legislation.

The government has taken a very conservative small "c" view on this gas distribution by saying that it has to be market-driven. We know that as a government we also have a social responsibility. Certainly, it's not to the point where you create infrastructures and policies that are designed to be counterproductive at the end of the day. We have to design them in such a way so that they support an opportunity where an opportunity just couldn't exist on its own in the private market and that's part of our responsibility as legislators, it's part of our responsibility as public policy makers.

If we were to put a cost-analysis, for example, on many of the infrastructure programs that we support - say for a water treatment plant in a small town or community - for example, let's use your community, Mr. Speaker, Springhill. If you took dollar for dollar the total cost of that system and if that were to be translated down onto the backs of the municipal taxpayer, I dare say that number one, the taxpayers in Springhill would not support it. I'm only conjecturing at this point but I would conjecture that their property taxes, their rate, would almost have to double for a certain period of time in order to be able to cover the cost of that. Does that mean that Springhill doesn't deserve a good, healthy water supply and a good water distribution system? No, not at all. It needs it. But without the support of the federal and provincial governments, it just would not have been possible; much the same with the gas distribution systems throughout Nova Scotia.

[7:30 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, as we know, for example in industrial Cape Breton, without access to the natural gas distribution system, then we will be at a competitive disadvantage for many years, for decades. That's the reality of it. We have to ask ourselves what in Bill No. 112 will help to enhance those opportunities in industrial Cape Breton? I recall reading a report that was done back in 1983-84, I believe it was, referred to as the Brown and Root report. When the

[Page 8536]

Premier of the day, John Buchanan was seeking out some professional expertise as to where were the best places in Nova Scotia to be able to support the offshore gas and oil exploration, lo and behold this report that came back, it was done by experts from Great Britain, who had tremendous expertise in the offshore, in the Black Sea and so on. They recommended Sydport as the natural site for building platforms and support systems and so on.

What happened to that report, Mr. Speaker? Well, the government of the day buried it so deep that you would almost have to dig a tunnel under Province House to find it, because that was not what Premier John Buchanan wanted to hear. He didn't want to hear that. Had the government not interfered in a negative way at that particular juncture, perhaps the playing field would have been more evenly set, and indeed we would have had greater prosperity, not just here in metro, because it was a natural for metro as well, but it would have also, I believe in retrospect, dealt with a lot of the economic ills that we're now faced with in industrial Cape Breton.

The government on one hand says, this is the right way to go, but on the other hand, when you start digging deep into the archives, you will find quite quickly that the political biases were there, and yes, people are still suspect as to whether they're still there, based on past experiences, based on that Nova Scotia-federal agreement, with all the money supported for the offshore, the infrastructure. If my memory serves me correctly - one of my colleagues can correct me - I believe there was approximately $450 million set aside for Nova Scotia.

What happened to it? Well, there was one Tory Cabinet Minister, he had a swimming pool built over in his constituency, a community swimming pool. There's another Cabinet Minister, he had a road built to nowhere and a bridge that you could cross on one side but you would fall off into a hole in the ground on the other side, down the Eastern Shore. That's the way they wasted all the money that was set aside for the infrastructure in Nova Scotia at that time, it's one of the reasons that people are so concerned that this will be another missed opportunity. I realize it's difficult for the government to be all things to all people given the circumstances we are in financially. Obviously, this Nova Scotia Resources Limited, that was a good plan, that was a good thought process. But like everything else, even before Public Accounts, the representatives from Nova Scotia Resources Limited acknowledged it was because of the Premier of the day, John Buchanan, who was so anxious to produce something politically that there were a lot of cost overruns and waste and a lack of accountability.

No matter what happened after the John Savage Government came in, it was never going to catch up because we weren't able to generate enough money through our shares on the offshore or through royalties to be able to even pay for the interest payments on their debt. (Interruptions) That's right. There's so much history that when you look at Bill No. 112, you can't help but ask yourself, is the government doing the right thing. Now, it might be the right thing in the short term, it might be the right thing to satisfy the needs of perhaps 300,000 or 400,000 people in Nova Scotia, but that will be the extent of it based on the market-driven philosophy that the government has. So if you want to go down to the Eastern Shore, or if you

[Page 8537]

want to go down to the Annapolis Valley, or anywhere in Kings County, to the industrial park there, you're not going to see natural gas. You won't see that distribution system down there and that's the long and the short of it.

Mr. Speaker, I think the government has a missed opportunity. What about down through the most beautiful Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley? You won't see any gas distribution down there. I'm hoping, and I say this in all sincerity, I'm hoping that the government is just not a little anxious to get this bill through the House so that it can rush down to its southern partners, or southern friends, and conclude some kind of a deal that perhaps is already in the wings. We don't know that. We don't know if perhaps the government is under pressure by certain potential franchisees. All these things always have a funny way of surfacing after the fact and then the government will say, well, nobody raised that at the time when we had the bill before the House. Nobody raised any concerns about this; you supported it so it must have been a good thing.

Mr. Speaker, we can only make decisions based on the information that's provided and I'm hoping that the minister has provided full details on this particular issue to ensure that at the end of the day we will have a quality product. I think the minister and the government knows that as a responsible Opposition we'll support anything that will enhance the economic and the social prosperity for Nova Scotia, but there seems to be a lot of cat and mouse here. I mean look at, for example, the proposed regulations with the dumping of sludge from the offshore rigs into the Atlantic Ocean. Do we have any quality control there? Are they going to have a negative effect on our fishing beds, you know, out at the edge of the Grand Banks, or wherever, near Sable Island? Where's all this sludge going to go?

I know a number of proponents have come and made proposals through various government agencies to be able to dump that sludge in various sites in various counties and try to decontaminate it, Mr. Speaker, and that doesn't seem to be going over so well, but what's happening there? The fact that the government is looking at putting those regulations, will have a negative impact on our ocean environment, our fisheries, and then it will only make it that much easier for this gas distribution process to be able to contribute to the delinquency of what's happening from an environmentally economic perspective, but the government really hasn't given enough detail on that particular aspect. So in supporting Bill No. 112, are we in fact contributing to that as well? Perhaps the minister may wish to make an observation on that.

Ironically, Mr. Speaker, I would have more confidence in the Minister of Economic Development making a statement on this environmental issue than I would the Minister of Environment and Labour because I mean his track record, or lack thereof, speaks for itself. So I'm hoping that the Minister of Economic Development will be able to speak to the issue of dumping all this sludge that's left over, these oily soils that are generated as a result of drilling for natural gas.

[Page 8538]

Mr. Speaker, the issue of the politics is one that the government seems to kind of wash its hands from and I often wonder, the timing of this legislation with this proposed trip to Texas or wherever the minister and his entourage are planning on going to. What's the significance? What's the coincidence? How will all this - and it's great. I mean, if timing is important, if timing is of the essence, as they would say in contract law, then that's great. The sooner we get to distribute natural gas to Nova Scotians, the better. But, they've been sitting on this for going on three years. For three years they indicated in their blue book promises, as I understand, within the first year, Nova Scotians would have natural gas.

We've got lots of burps from the government benches, but we didn't get any of the natural gas that they were supposed to provide; I mean the natural gas from the offshore. Why all of a sudden, in year three of its mandate, is a week absolutely critical, or two weeks absolutely critical? Is it because perhaps the public utilities and review hearings will take a considerable amount of time? We really don't know.

I'm going to table this document, I think, for the benefit of all members of the House who might be interested because it will give great insights as to where things went wrong and how the government could actually be benefiting in a positive way by referring to many of the terms and conditions of this exit agreement between the Province of Nova Scotia and Sempra Atlantic Gas. I note with a little bit of irony the legal counsel for Sempra Atlantic Gas who signed off on this was a gentleman by the name of James L. Connors, Q.C. I don't know if the fact that he was a former president of the Tory Party of Nova Scotia had anything to do with that or not, but there's a lot of important detail in that contract that I think that we as Nova Scotians could benefit if we were to use it and not allow the government to go unfettered in just pushing ahead.

What about the regulations? Has the minister at least come up with or prepared, has his staff prepared, a draft set of regulations? (Interruptions) Well, okay, I do apologize. I wasn't in the House earlier in the week, as the minister well knows, so - I mean, he's getting a little antsy. Every word has to be perfect otherwise he gets antsy. That's what he does, he sits there and he waits for you to make one little mistake. You could make 10 good points and he sits mum there. You make one little mistake and he's all over you like a wolf on a rabbit. I've never seen anything like him. I think it's only fair to raise these points.

With that - I think the minister knows I've made many of the points I would like to have made and there will certainly be some opportunity to come back on a future day at the Law Amendments Committee and perhaps Committee of the Whole House and maybe some amendments that might be forthcoming that would help to improve this particular piece of legislation. With that, I thank you for the opportunity to speak at second reading.

[Page 8539]

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

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Well, in the hour allotted to me, I'm going to only make a very few remarks about this bill and would like to see some things on the record because this is not the first time this House, and other editions of this House, have dealt with legislation around gas projects in this province and, indeed, around gas distribution in particular.

[7:45 p.m.]

The fear that I have about this bill, and I would like to get it on record, is the wild-card effect it will have on Cape Breton. There's really no idea of when we will have access to that. In other rollout forms as it was, it was fairly bad when we were looking at rollouts of seven or eight years. There was a time, indeed, that there was a different argument about natural gas. There was an argument of the imminent possibilities it could have on the coal industry; now we know by the acts of another House that that's not a problem any more.

Mr. Speaker, I want to see this bill go forward. I want to see it take some shape and I want see if it will really help Nova Scotians to get gas rolling in this province. As other people have said before me, and I know that the minister doesn't like it when people re-plow the ground, but we've heard some of this before, we see where gas is being used in other provinces, our gas - and indeed in other countries, in the United States - so I want to see this bill take shape to see what benefits are really in it for Nova Scotians because, by and large, with all forms, right from the exploration point to distribution I don't believe Nova Scotians have gotten their fair share of this, whether it's construction of platforms, whether it's out working directly on the rigs, whether it's bringing the gas right to the doorstep.

So those are real problems and I would hope that through the Law Amendments Committee, and when we come on to third reading, that there will be some flesh put on the bones of this bill that would allow people in my area some comfort to say that it's going to happen. It's not just another pipe dream - pardon the pun - it's one where we don't have to worry. We've proven over and over again that the capacity coming across the Strait isn't good enough to fuel the markets in industrial Cape Breton. We do look at maybe spinning out of this something like using the Sysco sites for platform construction, a lay down area. All these things are things that we would certainly look forward to working with this government on if we could get a vision and if there was some thought put in there, Mr. Speaker. That's what we're looking for here.

I want to see those things. It's not just something that the member for Cape Breton Centre wants, I think it's what people who are living in and around industrial Cape Breton want to see. So there's really no vision with this bill yet, Mr. Speaker, but I would hope that the minister would start laying this out for us and, as this bill goes forward, that people who are attracted when it gets to the URB, and how people respond and who's really interested in distributing gas in this province, obviously, there has to be some concern about

[Page 8540]

monopolization and so on, those fears have to be put out there. I am just so worried that this is just another bill that came to the House about gas distribution and that, again, Nova Scotians will not get the best benefit for it, somebody else will.

Mr. Speaker, I will be taking my seat and I hope that these things, with the passage of this bill and some real thought put into it when it goes through the public review process, the URB, that we can finally get a system in here that Nova Scotians benefit from, not somebody from outside of our borders. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the honourable Minister of Economic Development, it will be to close debate on Bill No. 112.

The honourable Minister of Economic Development.

HON. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, I've listened with great interest to the comments from across the way. I think it's important that we move on now to the Law Amendments Committee to allow Nova Scotians to have an opportunity to put their stamp on this piece of legislation. So I would move second reading.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 112. Is the House ready for the question?

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

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move that the House do now rise to meet again on the morrow at the hour of 9:00 a.m. The House will sit until 3:00 p.m. or until such time as we have four hours in Supply, and if that should occur earlier, the House will rise.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that the House do adjourn until tomorrow at 9:00 a.m.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 8541]

The House is adjourned until 9:00 a.m. tomorrow.

[The House rose at 7:51 p.m.]

[Page 8542]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 3194

By: Hon. Gordon Balser (Economic Development)

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

Whereas the Admiral Digby Museum is going to be receiving $6,000 in funding from the province's Tourism Department; and

Whereas museum representative, Sheryl Stanton, claims that due to the incoming funding, the Admiral Digby Museum will be able to hire a consulting firm to assist in the museum's growth; and

Whereas the 17th Century Georgian home-turned-museum has displays ranging from maps and photographs to historical archives;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the important historical role the Admiral Digby Museum plays, and hope the incoming consultant provides the museum with valuable information to allow it the opportunity to develop further.

RESOLUTION NO. 3195

By: Mr. Cecil Clarke (Cape Breton North)

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

Whereas a new initiative in urban Cape Breton, Vacancy Promoters, is designed to meet the needs of employers and the unemployed alike; and

Whereas Vacancy Promoters is proactive and a much-needed community resource which will help strengthen the local economy; and

Whereas through a partnership with the Province of Nova Scotia and the Northside Economic Development Assistance Corporation, this initiative compliments the focus and work of the Cape Breton Response Strategy;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize this new initiative and hope it will promote further employment in urban Cape Breton.

[Page 8543]

RESOLUTION NO. 3196

By: Mr. Cecil O'Donnell (Shelburne)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Pam Decker, representing the Town of Lockeport, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Pam Decker for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 3197

By: Mr. Cecil O'Donnell (Shelburne)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Lawrence Bruce, representing the Municipality of the District of Shelburne, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Lawrence Bruce for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

[Page 8544]

RESOLUTION NO. 3198

By: Mr. Cecil O'Donnell (Shelburne)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel, to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Joyce Bruce, representing the Town of Shelburne, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Joyce Bruce for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 3199

By: Hon. Gordon Balser (Economic Development)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel, to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Reg Taylor, representing the Municipality of Digby, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Reg Taylor for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

[Page 8545]

RESOLUTION NO. 3200

By: Hon. Gordon Balser (Economic Development)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel, to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Marilyn Mackintosh, representing the Town of Digby, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Marilyn Mackintosh for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 3201

By: Hon. Angus MacIsaac (Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel, to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Tena Landry, representing the Municipality of the County of Antigonish, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Tena Landry for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

[Page 8546]

RESOLUTION NO. 3202

By: Hon. Angus MacIsaac (Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel, to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Ian Spencer, representing the Town of Antigonish, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Ian Spencer for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 3203

By: Mr. Cecil Clarke (Cape Breton North)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel, to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Frank Bursey, representing the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Frank Bursey for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

[Page 8547]

RESOLUTION NO. 3204

By: Hon. Rodney MacDonald (Tourism and Culture)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel, to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Blair Stone, representing the Municipality of the County of Richmond, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Blair Stone for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 3205

By: Hon. Rodney MacDonald (Tourism and Culture)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel, to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Hector MacRae, representing Victoria County, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Hector MacRae for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

[Page 8548]

RESOLUTION NO. 3206

By: Hon. Rodney MacDonald (Tourism and Culture)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel, to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Harry Neynens, representing the Municipality of the County of Inverness, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Harry Neynens for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 3207

By: Mr. Mark Parent (Kings North)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel, to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas John Rafuse, representing the Town of Kentville, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate John Rafuse for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

[Page 8549]

RESOLUTION NO. 3208

By: Mr. Richard Hurlburt (Yarmouth)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Helen Fitzgerald, representing the Municipality of the District of Yarmouth, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Helen Fitzgerald for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 3209

By: Mr. Richard Hurlburt (Yarmouth)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Loretta Vanderdonk, representing the Town of Yarmouth, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Loretta Vanderdonk for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

[Page 8550]

RESOLUTION NO. 3210

By: Mr. Cecil O'Donnell (Shelburne)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Joanne Newell, representing the Town of Clark's Harbour, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Joanne Newell for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 3211

By: Mr. Cecil O'Donnell (Shelburne)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Evelyn Crowell, representing the Municipality of the District of Barrington, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Evelyn Crowell for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

[Page 8551]

RESOLUTION NO. 3212

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

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Dale Williamson of New Ross, representing the Municipality of the District of Chester, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Dale Williamson for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 3213

By: Mr. William Langille (Colchester North)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Betty MacNeil, representing the Municipality of the County of Colchester, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Betty MacNeil for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

[Page 8552]

RESOLUTION NO. 3214

By: Mr. Jon Carey (Kings West)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas James McKay, representing the Town of Berwick, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate James McKay for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 3215

By: Mr. Kerry Morash (Queens)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Gene Wong, representing the Region of Queens Municipality, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Gene Wong for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

[Page 8553]

RESOLUTION NO. 3216

By: Hon. David Morse (Environment and Labour)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Robbins Elliott, representing the Town of Wolfville, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Robbins Elliott for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 3217

By: Hon. David Morse (Environment and Labour)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Joseph Huntley, representing the Village of New Minas, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Joseph Huntley for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

[Page 8554]

RESOLUTION NO. 3218

By: Hon. David Morse (Environment and Labour)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Larry Priestnall, representing the Municipality of the County of Kings, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Larry Priestnall for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 3219

By: Hon. Neil LeBlanc (Finance)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Phillip Comeau, representing the Municipality of the District of Clare, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Phillip Comeau for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

[Page 8555]

RESOLUTION NO. 3220

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Irvin Goucher, representing the Town of Annapolis Royal, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Irvin Goucher for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 3221

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Douglas Moore, representing the Municipality of the County of Annapolis, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Douglas Moore for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

[Page 8556]

RESOLUTION NO. 3222

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Glenn Langille, representing the Town of Middleton, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Glenn Langille for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 3223

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Carl Blades, representing the Town of Bridgetown, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Carl Blades for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

[Page 8557]

RESOLUTION NO. 3224

By: Mr. James DeWolfe (Pictou East)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Ila MacKenzie, representing the Municipality of the County of Pictou, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Ila MacKenzie for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 3225

By: Mr. James DeWolfe (Pictou East)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Dorothy Bates, representing the Town of Westville, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Dorothy Bates for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

[Page 8558]

RESOLUTION NO. 3226

By: Hon. John Hamm (Premier)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Anita MacKay, representing the Town of New Glasgow, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Anita MacKay for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 3227

By: Mr. Ronald Chisholm (Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Berneice Morris, representing the Town of Mulgrave, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Berneice Morris for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

[Page 8559]

RESOLUTION NO. 3228

By: Mr. Ronald Chisholm (Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Carol Haverstock, representing the Town of Port Hawkesbury, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Carol Haverstock for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 3229

By: Mr. Ronald Chisholm (Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Florence Duffy, representing the Municipality of St. Mary's, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Florence Duffy for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

[Page 8560]

RESOLUTION NO. 3230

By: Mr. Ronald Chisholm (Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Joe Murphy, representing the Town of Canso, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Joe Murphy for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 3231

By: Mr. Ronald Chisholm (Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Elizabeth MacDonald, representing the Municipality of the District of Guysborough, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Elizabeth MacDonald for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

[Page 8561]

RESOLUTION NO. 3232

By: Hon. Jane Purves (Education)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Margaret MacLennan, representing the Halifax Regional Municipality, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Margaret MacLennan for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 3233

By: Hon. Jane Purves (Education)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Alma Russell, representing the Halifax Regional Municipality, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Alma Russell for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

[Page 8562]

RESOLUTION NO. 3234

By: Hon. James Muir (Health)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Keith Beaver, representing the Town of Truro, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Keith Beaver for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 3235

By: Hon. James Muir (Health)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Doug Boyce, representing the Village of Bible Hill, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Doug Boyce for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

[Page 8563]

RESOLUTION NO. 3236

By: Hon. Peter Christie (Community Services)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Ruth Coates, representing the Halifax Regional Municipality, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Ruth Coates for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 3237

By: Mrs. Muriel Baillie (Pictou West)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Wayne MacGillivray, representing the Town of Pictou, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Wayne MacGillivray for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

[Page 8564]

RESOLUTION NO. 3238

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 volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Brian Bishop, representing the Town of Hantsport, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Brian Bishop for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 3239

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 volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Robert DeLong, representing the Town of Windsor, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Robert DeLong for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

[Page 8565]

RESOLUTION NO. 3240

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 volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Alison MacNeil, representing the Municipality of the District of West Hants, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Alison MacNeil for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 3241

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 volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Marion Walker, representing the Municipality of East Hants, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Marion Walker for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

[Page 8566]

RESOLUTION NO. 3242

By: Mr. Timothy Olive (Dartmouth South)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Bob Anthony, representing the Halifax Regional Municipality, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Bob Anthony for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 3243

By: Hon. Michael Baker (Justice)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Wilfred Eisnor, representing the Town of Lunenburg, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Wilfred Eisnor for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

[Page 8567]

RESOLUTION NO. 3244

By: Hon. Michael Baker (Justice)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas John Beibesheimer, representing the Town of Mahone Bay, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate John Beibesheimer for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 3245

By: Hon. Michael Baker (Justice)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Austin Stiles, representing the Town of Bridgewater, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Austin Stiles for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

[Page 8568]

RESOLUTION NO. 3246

By: Hon. Michael Baker (Justice)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Reta Bolivar, representing the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Reta Bolivar for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 3247

By: Hon. John Hamm (Premier)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Vernon Tucker, representing the Town of Stellarton, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Vernon Tucker for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

[Page 8569]

RESOLUTION NO. 3248

By: Hon. John Hamm (Premier)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards will be presented to individuals from across Nova Scotia at the Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony and Luncheon on April 19th at the Westin Hotel, to pay tribute to the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Ashlie MacNeil, representing the Town of Trenton, will be named as a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Ashlie MacNeil for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication of all volunteers throughout the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 3249

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Michael Moore has recently been named the 2002 Citizen of the Year by the Springhill Rotary Club; and

Whereas not only was Mr. Moore an educator for 34 years in the elementary schools of Springhill, but he also participates in the Springhill Lions Club, the Family and Children's Services Board, St. Andrews-Wesley United Church, the Music and Irish Festival Committee, Crimestoppers and the local Cadet Corps; and

Whereas the award was presented to Mr. Moore by Rotary Club member, Jim MacDonald, at the club's March meeting;

Therefore be it resolved that this House acknowledge the long hours and tremendous dedication put forth by Michael Moore over the past decades and thank him for the incredible service he has provided to his community.

[Page 8570]

RESOLUTION NO. 3250

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas on March 6, 2002, Second Lt. Michael Moore was presented with a medal to honour his 32 years of service to the 1859 Springhill Cadet Corps; and

Whereas during this time, Lt. Moore has served with the cadets and the militia; and

Whereas the medal was presented to Lt. Moore at the Springhill Armouries by Captain Stan Hunter;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Second Lt. Michael Moore on the honour bestowed upon him and thank him for the 32 years of service he provided his country.

RESOLUTION NO. 3251

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas at the Nova Scotia Special Olympics held in February 2002, two brothers from Springhill, Dan and Terry Black, helped the Amherst floor hockey team take third place honours with an 8-7 victory over Halifax; and

Whereas Dan scored the goal that broke the tie in the close final against Halifax; and

Whereas Dan and Terry are no strangers to capturing medals as at the Special Olympics held last summer, they assisted the Amherst baseball team in achieving a silver medal and the Amherst soccer team a bronze;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Dan and Terry Black on their floor hockey medals and wish them luck on the route to gold in the upcoming summer Special Olympics.

[Page 8571]

RESOLUTION NO. 3252

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Frank Bailey of the Springhill Freshmart has been donating the extra bread from his store to a local charity at the end of each month; and

Whereas the charity that benefits from the Freshmart's generosity is St. Vincent de Paul, which has been supplying local families with food for the past 20 years; and

Whereas there are more than 100 families that rely on the charity each year so these recent donations from Mr. Bailey and the Freshmart are of incredible assistance;

Therefore be it resolved that this House commend the Springhill Freshmart for their generosity to the St. Vincent de Paul organization and wish them all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 3253

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas the Oxford Mini Girls basketball team hosted a tournament on March 24th; and

Whereas the girls took first place in the tournament, downing the Pugwash girls team to clinch the title; and

Whereas the girls team is comprised of Sam Moore, Christina Beaumont, Chelsey MacDougall, Krista Rector, Lauren Purdy, Janine Black, Tiffany Allen, Katelynn Ripley, Katie Wood, Virginia King, Brandy Purdy and Laura Murphy;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Oxford Mini Girls basketball team on their triumph in the tournament in their hometown.

[Page 8572]

RESOLUTION NO. 3254

By: Mr. Robert Chisholm (Halifax Atlantic)

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

Whereas the independently-owned Halifax Chronicle-Herald has offered Nova Scotians a version of the news since the early 1800s; and

Whereas Halifax Herald Limited is planning the construction of a new production facility at Atlantic Acres, Bedford, to be completed and ready for use in 2004; and

Whereas the Halifax Herald's new production press will be a state-of-the-art printing press designed to meet the needs of readers and advertisers for years to come;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Legislature today congratulate owner Graham Dennis and the Halifax Herald on being leaders in the Nova Scotia newspaper publishing business and wish Mr. Dennis well in taking the paper to a new dimension.