Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

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21 septembre 2017

HANSARD 01/02-92

















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 25, 2002





TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS 8807
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Commun. Serv. - Transition Houses: Cuts - Oppose,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 8808
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Anl. Rept. of the Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission,
Hon. N. LeBlanc 8809
STATEMENTS BY MINISTER:
Transport. & Pub. Wks.: Spring Weight Restrictions - Removed,
Hon. R. Russell 8809
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 3397, Tourism & Culture - Culture Sector Team: Appt. - Congrats.,
Hon. Rodney MacDonald 8809
Res. 3398, N.S. Environ. Ind. Assoc. - Directory: Issuance - Congrats.,
Hon. D. Morse 8810
Vote - Affirmative 8811
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 3399, Sports: Cole Hbr. Cavaliers Basketball Team - Congrats.,
Mr. K. Deveaux 8811
Vote - Affirmative 8811
Res. 3400, Smoking Ban - Legislation: Gov't. (N.S.) - Introduce/
Proclaim, Dr. J. Smith 8812
Res. 3401, Francis, Daniel: Lifesaving Efforts - Congrats.,
Mr. B. Taylor 8813
Vote - Affirmative 8813
Res. 3402, Kings North MLA - Politicians: Popular Opinion - Reasons,
Mr. F. Corbett 8813
Res. 3403, Admin. Professionals: Recognition - Extend,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 8814
Vote - Affirmative 8815
Res. 3404, Halifax, Port of: Best Port Welcome Award - Congrats.,
Ms. M. McGrath 8815
Vote - Affirmative 8815
Res. 3405, Habitat for Humanity: Anniv. (10th) - Congrats., Mr. J. Pye 8816
Vote - Affirmative 8816
Res. 3406, Sports - Clare Acadiens Midget A Hockey Team:
SEDHMA Tournament - Congrats., Mr. W. Gaudet 8816
Vote - Affirmative 8817
Res. 3407, Tamarac Educ. Ctr.: Bullying Reduction Prog. - Congrats.,
Mr. Ronald Chisholm 8817
Vote - Affirmative 8818
Res. 3408, Educ. - Pub. Sch. Progs.: Privatization - Min. Chastise,
Mr. H. Epstein 8818
Res. 3409, Atl. Writing Awards - Nominees: Best Wishes - Extend,
Dr. J. Smith 8819
Vote - Affirmative 8819
Res. 3410, MacDonald, Barb/Durant, Natalie: Courage - Commend,
Hon. A. MacIsaac 8819
Vote - Affirmative 8820
Res. 3411, Tourism & Culture - Arts & Culture Body: Min. -
Intent Reveal, Mr. Robert Chisholm 8820
Res. 3412, Victoria Standard/Publisher/Staff: Anniv. (10th) - Congrats.,
Mr. K. MacAskill 8821
Vote - Affirmative 8822
Res. 3413, Buckie, Catherine - The Lobster Kids' Guide to
Exploring Halifax: Publication - Congrats., Mr. T. Olive 8822
Vote - Affirmative 8823
Res. 3414, Legge, David - RCMP: Induction - Congrats.,
Mr. K. Deveaux 8823
Vote - Affirmative 8823
Res. 3415, Health - New Waterford Hosp.: Urgent Care Ctr. -
Repudiate, Mr. P. MacEwan 8823
Res. 3416, Pictou Co. Newcomers Club: Members - Applaud,
Mrs. M. Baillie 8824
Vote - Affirmative 8825
Res. 3417, Little, Angie - RMC: Graduation - Congrats.,
(by Mr. F. Corbett), Mr. W. Estabrooks 8825
Vote - Affirmative 8825
Res. 3418, Sports: Richmond Rockets Basketball Team - Congrats.,
Mr. M. Samson 8826
Vote - Affirmative 8826
Res. 3419, Ells, Glenn/Melvin, Richard - Kings Produce Limited:
Commitment - Applaud, Mr. M. Parent 8826
Vote - Affirmative 8827
Res. 3420, Francis, Daniel: Courage - Congrats., Mr. B. Boudreau 8827
Vote - Affirmative 8828
Res. 3421, LaPointe, Genevieve - FAO Conservation Officer Cadet:
Graduation - Congrats., Hon. Rodney MacDonald 8828
Vote - Affirmative 8828
Res. 3422, St. F.X.: Fundraising Auction - Congrats., Mr. D. Wilson 8829
Res. 3423, Airfield Engineering Squad. (14): Official Badge -
Congrats., (by Mr. D. Wilson), Mr. D. Downe 8829
Vote - Affirmative 8830
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 933, Tourism & Culture: Arts & Culture Commun./Gov't. (N.S.) -
Relationship, Mr. Robert Chisholm 8830
No. 934, Tourism & Culture: Arts Council - Reinstatement,
Mr. W. Gaudet 8832
No. 935, Educ. - Digby Elem. Sch.: Special Needs Training -
Provision, Mr. K. Deveaux 8834
No. 936, Health - Care: Spending - Plan Lack, Dr. J. Smith 8835
No. 937, WCB: Dorsey Rept. - Implement, Mr. F. Corbett 8836
No. 938, Econ. Dev. - NSP Rate Increase: Review - Details,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 8837
No. 939, Commun. Serv. - Web Site: Access - Costs, Mr. J. Pye 8839
No. 940, Commun. Serv.: Transition House - Number Retain,
Mr. D. Wilson 8840
No. 941, Health - New Waterford/C.B. DHA: Meeting - Direct,
Mr. F. Corbett 8841
No. 942, Agric. & Fish. - Crop Insects: C.B. Farmers - Protection,
Mr. B. Boudreau 8842
No. 943, Fin. - Personal Income Tax: Reduction - Budget Promise,
Mr. G. Steele 8843
No. 944, Fin. - Debt Reduction: Promise - Breach Explain,
Mr. D. Downe 8844
No. 945, Health - NSP Increases: Hosp. Effects - Countermeasures,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 8846
No. 946, Environ. & Lbr. - Asphalt: Meadowvale Rd. - Testing Details,
Mr. R. MacKinnon 8847
No. 947, Environ. & Lbr. - Whites Cove Quarry: Environ. Assess. -
Order, Mr. H. Epstein 8848
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
ON MOTION FOR SUPPLY:
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 8849
Mr. M. Samson 8852
Hon. A. MacIsaac 8856
Mr. B. Barnet 8858
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON SUPPLY AT 2:26 P.M. 8860
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 4:21 P.M. 8860
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 124, Appropriations Act, 2002, Hon. N. LeBlanc 8862
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 124, Appropriations Act, 2002 8862
Vote - Affirmative 8864
PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING:
No. 124, Appropriations Act, 2002 8864
Vote - Affirmative 8865
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Law Amendments Committee, Hon. M. Baker 8866
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Fri., Apr. 26th at 9:00 a.m. 8866
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 3424, Educ. - Timberlea-Prospect: Sch. Plans -
Residents Inform, Mr. W. Estabrooks 8867
Res. 3425, Sports - Morrow, J.B., Invitational Hockey Tournament:
Organizers/Winners - Congrats., Hon. M. Baker 8867
Res. 3426, Tatamagouche: History - Recognize, Mr. W. Langille 8867
Res. 3427, MacMullin, Gillian - Can. Bio. Of the Yr. Contest:
Winning Essay - Congrats., Mr. C. Clarke 8868
Res. 3428, Beaton, Eleanor: Springhill Vol. of the Yr. - Congrats.,
The Speaker 8868
Res. 3429, Burden, Dr. Arnold: Service - Congrats., The Speaker 8869
Res. 3430, Dickinson, Karen: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
The Speaker 8870
Res. 3431, Sports - Cumberland Macs: N.S. Minor Hockey Council
Championships - Congrats., The Speaker 8870
Res. 3432, Lowther, Mabel: Prov. Rep. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
The Speaker 8871
Res. 3433, Rector, Stacey: Accomplishments - Congrats., The Speaker 8871
Res. 3434, Murray, Anne: Career Success - Congrats., The Speaker 8872
Res. 3435, Sports: Advocate Dist. HS Lady Coyotes Basketball Team -
Congrats., The Speaker 8872
Res. 3436, RCL (Branch 45): Anniv. (70th) - Congrats., The Speaker 8873
Res. 3437, Cochrane, Freda: Cumb. Co. Vol. (2002) - Congrats.,
The Speaker 8873
Res. 3438, England, Liz/Grant-Fairn, Belle: Can. Cancer Soc.
(Anna. East) - Congrats., Mr. F. Chipman 8874
Res. 3439, Ritcy, Jim: Death of - Tribute, Mr. T. Olive 8874
Res. 3440, Ackman: Order of Can. - Congrats., Mr. T. Olive 8875
Res. 3441, Debison, Aselin: Opportunities - Congrats., Mr. C. Clarke 8875
Res. 3442, Sydney Mines Her. Soc. - Museum Complex: Development -
Encourage, Mr. C. Clarke 8876
Res. 3443, Brook Villa Farm - Holstein Cattle: Master Breeders Award -
Owners Congrats., Hon. Rodney MacDonald 8876

[Page 8807]

HALIFAX, THURSDAY, APRIL 25, 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 West.

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I would like to introduce to you and through you to all members of the House, some guests in the west gallery. The individuals represent three injured workers organizations from across Nova Scotia. With your indulgence, I would like to introduce each one of them: Sharon MacIntyre, Jimmy Lyle and Lauchie MacLeod from the Cape Breton Injured Workers Association; also Mary Lloyd, Mary Kellock and Mary Richardson from the Pictou County Injured Workers Association; and also Wally Peters, June Labrador, Terry Downey and Judy Pieper from the Nova Scotia Provincial Injured Workers Association. They are here, obviously, lobbying on many of the issues that came out of the report that was tabled last week by the minister, or earlier this week. I would ask if all members would show the traditional welcome to these very worthy Nova Scotians. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We certainly welcome our guests to the gallery for today's proceedings.

8807

[Page 8808]

Before we begin the daily routine, I would just like to bring to the honourable members' attention that today is the birthday for the honourable member for Yarmouth. He hasn't told us how many. (Applause)

The subject for this evening's late debate was submitted by the honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid:

Therefore be it resolved that this government immediately move forward to implement the recommendations of the Report of the Special Education Implementation Review Committee.

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

We will begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition, the operative clause which reads:

"To the Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLA's) of Cumberland County

Autumn House (also known as Cumberland County Transition House Association) and the New Directions Program, a program for men who have abusive behaviors, are under attack by the provincial government's proposed cuts. These organizations work closely together to provide quality services and programs to women, children, teens and men in our Cumberland County community.

We as citizens insist that the government roll back these cuts and enter into a meaningful dialogue about responsible funding for our community-based services.

We call upon our 2 members of the Legislative Assembly Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker of the House) and Hon. Ernest Fage, (Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries and Natural Resources) to ensure that these cuts are not realized."

Mr. Speaker, these petitions have been signed by 2,757 people from Cumberland County and I have affixed my signature.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

[Page 8809]

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table the 2001 Annual Report for the Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I would just like to advise all members of the House that effective at 12:00 a.m. midnight on Sunday, the Spring weight restrictions will be removed from the roads in the following counties: Cumberland, Colchester, Pictou, Antigonish, Guysborough, Richmond, Inverness, Victoria and Cape Breton. I think that means all the roads in Nova Scotia are now exempt from Spring weight restrictions.

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 3397

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

Whereas seven members were recently appointed to a new culture sector team that will help shape the future direction of the Nova Scotia Arts and Culture Council; and

Whereas this team includes respected Nova Scotia arts, culture and community leaders Eva Moore, Mike Ardenne, Linda Carvery, Dale MacLennan, Leonard Paul, Don Ferguson and Amy Melmock; and

Whereas the new Arts and Culture Council will continue to offer funding support for individual artists and artistic projects in the same manner as the previous council and will also oversee other provincial investment in programs and services delivered through the department's Culture Division;

[Page 8810]

Therefore be it resolved that all members congratulate this team for their dedication to the development of arts and culture in the province.

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 Minister of Environment and Labour.

RESOLUTION NO. 3398

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Environmental Industry Association has promoted the growth and development of environmental products and services, keeping Nova Scotia on the leading edge of job creation and economic success; and

[12:15 p.m.]

Whereas the NSEIA has released the first edition of its Nova Scotia environmental products and services directory; and

Whereas the companies in this directory, by developing cost-effective solutions to local and global environmental issues, are at the forefront of the environmental revolution;

Therefore be it resolved that we congratulate the Nova Scotia Environmental Industry Association and the 8,200 employees of its member companies on the issuance of their first directory, and wish them well during their annual general meeting which begins today, Thursday, April 25th, in Halifax.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 8811]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 3399

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

Whereas the Cole Harbour District High Cavaliers have a long tradition of excellent basketball players that have competed very well in Nova Scotia High School basketball competitions; and

Whereas this year the Cole Harbour Cavalier's boys basketball team reached the final of the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation Division I basketball championship against Dartmouth High School; and

Whereas the Cole Harbour Cavaliers won the championship over Dartmouth High in a hard-fought 100 to 83 victory;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Cole Harbour Cavaliers boys basketball team and their Coach, Darryl Johnson, on a championship season and their NSSAF Division I boys basketball title.

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 8812]

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 3400

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

Whereas in October 2001, at a provincial tobacco conference, Premier Hamm and Health Minister Muir announced their commitment to introduce second-hand or environmental tobacco smoke legislation in the Spring 2002 sitting of this Legislature; and

Whereas a 100 per cent smoke-free policy is the only acceptable legislation that will protect Nova Scotians in public places and in the workplace; and

Whereas smoke-free legislation is pivotal to protecting people from second-hand tobacco smoke and reducing the number of smokers;

Therefore be it resolved that the government introduce legislation for a 100 per cent ban on smoking in all public and in all workplaces to be promptly proclaimed in the Province of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, before I introduce my resolution, I would like to make an unconventional introduction. Earlier this morning, in fact before the House convened today, Grade 9 students from Brookfield Junior High School were in the Chamber and, in fact, some of the students were very delighted and honoured to sit in your chair, Mr. Speaker, and a little later on, possibly during Oral Question Period where introductions aren't permitted, I believe a Grade 8 class from Brookfield Junior High School is coming in as well.

[Page 8813]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 3401

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

Whereas last Saturday evening, Daniel Francis of Millbrook risked his own life to try to save the life of a child trapped in a burning home; and

Whereas Mr. Francis exhibited tremendous courage and fearlessness in entering the burning home that was filled with thick smoke, flames, and searing heat, but the shy and modest Millbrook citizen downplays his potentially life-saving effort stating that anyone would have done the same; and

Whereas Mr. Francis was faced with zero visibility when he entered the home, and had to rely on instinct to guide him to find the young girl who was sleeping inside the inferno, and what makes this act of extreme courage even more incredible is that Mr. Francis did this while dragging along on his cast and broken leg;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate Daniel Francis on his actions of last Saturday and commend him for this act of selflessness that led to saving the life of a little girl. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 3402

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

[Page 8814]

Whereas the member for Kings North expresses puzzlement in his weekly column as to why people seem to hate their politicians; and

Whereas he mentions the Australian custom of throwing dead cats at hated representatives, and in calling today's politicians scapegoats, he paints a colourful picture of the Biblical tradition of loading sins and woes onto the back of a goat and driving it out into the desert; and

Whereas his answer might be found closer to home if he thinks about the poor choices his government has made, like cutting funding for women's and children's centres while sprucing up the Lieutenant-Governor's digs;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urge the member for Kings North to take a long, hard look at his own government's policy if he wants answers to why people have such a low view of politicians; his government is making a bad name for us all.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

RESOLUTION NO. 3403

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 week of April 21st to April 27th marks the 50th Anniversary of Administrative Professionals Week; and

Whereas this week provides the opportunity for employers to express appreciation and thanks to administrative professionals; and

Whereas administrative professionals provide strong commitment to the efficiency, organization and wisdom of the organizations where they work;

Therefore be it resolved that this House extend recognition and appreciation for the some 500,000 administrative professionals in Canada and the millions who work in business and government across the globe.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 8815]

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 Bedford Basin.

RESOLUTION NO. 3404

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

Whereas the Port of Halifax has won an international award from the British magazine Dream World Cruise for its program that welcomes cruise passengers to Halifax; and

Whereas in Halifax, cruise ships are welcomed by uniformed bagpipers and drummers from the 78th Highlanders, along with a special greeting from the town crier; and

Whereas the Best Port Welcome Award recognizes the importance of a proper welcome to cruise passengers as an important way to encourage them to leave their ship and tour the city;

Therefore be it resolved that all members congratulate the Port of Halifax on this award and thank the members of the Halifax Citadel Regimental Association for their part in making Halifax a popular cruise destination.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

[Page 8816]

RESOLUTION NO. 3405

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

Whereas Habitat for Humanity Halifax-Dartmouth celebrated its 10th Anniversary on April 6th with a barn-raising dinner and auction held at Stadacona, CFB Halifax; and

Whereas Habitat for Humanity provides affordable, adequate housing for people in need by mobilizing community partnerships; and

Whereas in 2002 Habitat for Humanity will build its 15th Habitat home in the Halifax-Dartmouth area;

Therefore be it resolved that this House extend our congratulations to Habitat for Humanity on its 10th Anniversary and thank the various communities, volunteers and supporters for working together in a spirit of partnership to provide much-needed housing for people in the metro area.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader in the House of the Liberal Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 3406

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

Whereas the Clare Acadiens Midget A team participated in the SEDMHA International Minor Hockey Tournament in Dartmouth from April 4 to April 7, 2002; and

Whereas the team played against East Hants in the Accord Division final; and

[Page 8817]

Whereas the SEDMHA International Hockey Tournament is one of the largest and most respected multi-level minor hockey tournaments in North America;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly congratulate the Clare Acadiens Midget A team and its coaches for winning the Accord Division final during the 25th Annual SEDMHA International Minor Hockey Tournament.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.

RESOLUTION NO. 3407

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

Whereas the effects of bullying in the schoolyard have been highlighted recently by a tragic incident in Halifax; and

Whereas the Tamarac Education Centre in Port Hawkesbury has implemented an anti-violence enterprise to help with this issue, which sees one student per class in Grades 7 and 8 included on the Student Helping Committee, whose aim is to reduce the occurrence of bullying at school; and

Whereas the SHC has developed an awareness campaign and leads discussions in the classrooms of Grade 1 through Grade 6 on bullying, and has held poster contests to raise awareness;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the initiative put forth by these students and congratulate them for their desire to make their schoolyards a safer place in which to be.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 8818]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth South on an introduction.

MR. TIMOTHY OLIVE: Mr. Speaker, I thank members of the House for the interruption. It gives me great pleasure to welcome to this House Mr. Rohan Belliappa who is past president of the PC Campus Association at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, sitting in the Speaker's Gallery accompanied by Liz Bradshaw, a very hard worker for the PC Youth in Nova Scotia. I would like to welcome Rohan to the House and ask him to stand and receive the welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you and welcome to our special guests today.

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 3408

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

Whereas this week Nova Scotia celebrates provincial Education Week with the theme, French: Language, Life and Community; and

Whereas at the same time the only single-track French immersion school, École Beaufort, is in the process of being closed in June and some of the parents who have the means are registering their children in three nearby private schools for next year; and

Whereas it is reported private interests pondered snapping up the École Beaufort facility, but unlike what happened with other abandoned schools, decided not to buy it because of environmental concerns;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Education be chastised for allowing the slow but steady privatization of public school programs and facilities like those of École Beaufort.

[Page 8819]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 3409

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

Whereas two of the three authors nominated recently for the Thomas Head Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award, the region's largest book prize, are from River John, Pictou County, and Antigonish; and

Whereas the winners of the Atlantic writing awards, which include six awards in the categories of poetry, children's literature, first book award and non-fiction will be announced May 24th at Alderney Landing Theatre in Dartmouth; and

Whereas these awards will be awarded during the Atlantic Book Week and Festival, an annual celebration of writing in Atlantic Canada running May 18th to May 25th;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House wish the authors in all categories the best and sincerely thank them for the important and valuable contributions they make to literature.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

RESOLUTION NO. 3410

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

[Page 8820]

Whereas acts of selflessness and bravery epitomize the best of the human spirit and those people who demonstrate these commendable qualities deserve to be openly acknowledged; and

Whereas Barb MacDonald and Natalie Durant of Antigonish rose to the occasion last fall when a nearby house caught fire at which time the two women quickly began to help the residents out of their burning home, leaving Ms. MacDonald with second and third degree burns; and

Whereas these two admirable women have since received a bravery commendation from the Antigonish Town Council;

Therefore be it resolved that this House join the Town of Antigonish and commend Ms. MacDonald and Ms. Durant for their remarkable acts of courage.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

RESOLUTION NO. 3411

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

Whereas the Minister of Tourism and Culture has consistently cut the budget for the Nova Scotia Arts Council in what some view as a well-hatched plan to cast it as ineffective and administratively expensive and thus, dispensable; and

Whereas the minister further claims that the savings in administrative costs will be poured back into programs for arts and culture, conveniently forgetting the fact that no amount of administrative savings could make up for years of slashed funding; and

[Page 8821]

Whereas the minister's decision to use peer juries in his reworked council will be on an advisory basis so that he will be able to make the real funding decisions;

Therefore be it resolved that this Minister of Tourism and Culture admit finally to this House that his real intention for creating a new arts and culture body is to give this government a patronage dispensing machine.

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.

[12:30 p.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 3412

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

Whereas this year the Victoria Standard, out of Baddeck, is celebrating its 10th Anniversary; and

Whereas the Victoria Standard is a news and entertainment journal for and about the residents of Victoria County; and

Whereas the fortnightly serves more than 8,000 people in Victoria County, from Bay St. Lawrence to Iona;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House extend congratulations to Jim Morrow, Editor and Publisher of the Victoria Standard, and his staff, John Johnson and Jim Ryan, on a job well done as the Victoria Standard celebrates its 10th Anniversary.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 8822]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth South.

RESOLUTION NO. 3413

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

Whereas since 1998, Lobster Press has been publishing books for children and quality books that bring families together; and

Whereas Lobster Press recently published Dartmouth South resident Catherine Buckie's book, The Lobster Kids' Guide to Exploring Halifax; and

Whereas Ms. Buckie's book contains over 150 fun-filled suggestions for family outings in the Halifax Regional Municipality and is perfect for tourists, educators and families;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this Legislature congratulate Catherine Buckie on the publishing of The Lobster Kids' Guide to Exploring Halifax and thank her for promoting the HRM as a great place for a family vacation.

Mr. Speaker, I would advise the House that Ms. Buckie is the spouse of the honourable press representative Jean Laroche.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 8823]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 3414

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

Whereas the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has a much-deserved reputation as one of the finest police forces in the world; and

Whereas it is only the brightest and best in our country who have the honour to serve as an officer in the RCMP; and

Whereas on February 4, 2002, David Legge of Eastern Passage graduated from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Training Academy in Regina, Saskatchewan;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Constable David Legge of Eastern Passage on his induction into the RCMP and wish him the best of luck on his first assignment in Brooks, Alberta.

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. 3415

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

[Page 8824]

Whereas the people of the New Waterford area look to this session of the Legislature to repudiate the Health Minister's definition of an urgent care centre for the future of their hospital; and

Whereas the reasoning behind the Health Minister picking on the New Waterford Consolidated Hospital is, at best, unexplained; and

Whereas why so excellent a hospital as we have in New Waterford should come under the scalpel on the same basis as the Tories have already executed Sydney Steel and École Beaufort is indefensible and unworthy of support;

Therefore be it resolved that in the opinion of this House the judgement of the Minister of Health on this matter is unsound, does not deserve support, and should here and now be repudiated.

Mr. Speaker, I think there might be agreement on that.

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

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 3416

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

Whereas the first Newcomers Club was formed in 1961 in Calgary to help women who were new to the city adjust and make new friends; and

Whereas the Pictou County Newcomers Club was started by Kathy Robertson in 1996 and has been welcoming people to Pictou County ever since; and

Whereas the informal setting and the diversity of people and backgrounds make for an interesting group where everyone is welcome;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House applaud the members of the Pictou County Newcomers Club for extending a welcoming hand to new residents and for making them feel at home in beautiful Pictou County.

[Page 8825]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 3417

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Sir John A. Macdonald High School graduate Angie Little received a full scholarship to the Royal Military College of Canada in 1998; and

Whereas during her four years at RMC, Angie played varsity soccer and rugby, tutored at Kingston Penitentiary and held positions as choir master and section commander; and

Whereas Angie Little will graduate on May 13th with a mechanical engineering degree;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Sir John A. Macdonald alumnus Angie Little on her graduation from the Royal Military College of Canada.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 8826]

The honourable member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 3418

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

Whereas the Richmond Rockets captured a provincial basketball title last weekend in Bedford; and

Whereas the Rockets won the Division II juvenile boys banner by downing the Bedford Eagles 63 to 45 in the championship game; and

Whereas the team had finished third in last year's Division II midget provincials;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the members of the Richmond Rockets and their coaching staff on their victory and wish them continued success.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 3419

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 Produce Limited is a grower-owned produce company whose mission is to provide a full range of high-quality produce in a co-operative manner, maximizing profits for producers and satisfaction for consumers; and

[Page 8827]

Whereas the past 10 years has been a decade of expansion, due in large part to the leadership and vision of President Glenn Ells; and

Whereas Mr. Ells has announced his retirement and KPL has a new President, Richard Melvin, well known and respected in the horticultural industry throughout Canada;

Therefore be it resolved that this House welcome Richard Melvin to Kings Produce Limited, applaud Glenn Ells for his decade-long commitment and wish them both well as they each face change and new challenges.

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. 3420

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

Whereas Daniel Francis of Millbrook is being hailed as a hero after saving a little girl's life; and

Whereas Mr. Francis entered a burning mobile home twice, despite flames and thick smoke; and

Whereas Mr. Francis performed this selfless act with his leg in a cast;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Daniel Francis of Millbrook for this courageous deed.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 8828]

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. 3421

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

Whereas Genevieve Lapointe of Port Hood, Inverness County, will soon graduate as a Fisheries and Oceans Conservation Officer Cadet; and

Whereas Genevieve was one of 25 students from the Maritimes and the only one from Cape Breton selected from over 4,000 participants from across Canada; and

Whereas the people of Inverness County are proud of Genevieve's accomplishments;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate Genevieve and acknowledge the pride felt by her proud parents, Susan Mallette and Luc Lapointe.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Glace Bay.

[Page 8829]

RESOLUTION NO. 3422

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

Whereas a fundraiser for a recruiting drive for the St. Francis Xavier football team

was held in Halifax last Friday night; and

Whereas money raised will help augment funds used to help attract students from all over North America attend university in our fine province; and

Whereas an auction aided the fundraising, with the auctioneer being Communications Nova Scotia's own Blain Henshaw;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Mr. Henshaw, as well as Coach John Stevens and organizer Ian MacArthur for their fundraising efforts.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Glace Bay.

RESOLUTION NO. 3423

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

Whereas the 14 Airfield Engineering Squadron received their official badge in a ceremony held yesterday; and

[Page 8830]

Whereas the badge features the national colours, red and white within a ring of blue, representing the Air Force roundel, the service to the nation is underlined by the red maple leaf, while the beaver is the most recognizable emblem of Canadian military engineering, and the three wavy blue lines symbolize maritime flights; and

Whereas the badge, whose motto is, To Construct, has been approved by the Governor General of Canada, was officially presented to the squadron by Mr. Robert Watt, the Chief Herald of Canada;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the 14 Airfield Engineering Squadron on having received their badge and recognize this as a great honour in that squadron's history.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period will begin at 12:40 p.m. and end at 1:40 p.m.

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

TOURISM & CULTURE: ARTS & CULTURE COMMUN./

GOV'T. (N.S.) - RELATIONSHIP

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, in today's Chronicle-Herald 300 organizations and thousands of Nova Scotians have sent the Minister of Tourism and Culture a message. The message is to resign.

[Page 8831]

Mr. Speaker, the article goes on to say, the minister, ". . . has lost the faith, trust, and respect of the community he is sworn to serve. He has angered and alienated large segments of the arts community, the culture sector, and the public. He should immediately tender his resignation as Minister of Tourism and Culture."

Mr. Speaker, the relationship between the arts and culture community and government has been built up over 20 years of hard work by members of that sector. I want to ask the minister why it is that he has decided, with the flash of a pen, with the administration of a padlock on a door, to turn his back on this important relationship that has been built up over so many years with the arts and culture community?

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for the question. If that member takes a look at what this government has done since 1999, in fact what he will see in our cultural programs is that we now have an open application process for those programs. We now have a process where every individual across this province has an opportunity to apply for those dollars we invest. We will be investing over $5 million in programs this year, programs which are available to every Nova Scotian.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, the minister has been called gutless, it's been said that he is . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. It doesn't matter if he is quoting or not. I would ask the honourable member to retract that, please. I ruled last week in this House that that word was inappropriate.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: I would agree that for me to call the minister gutless would absolutely be unparliamentary and I wouldn't want to do that.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I ask the honourable member to retract that, please.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Some of these things - and I will retract that . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic on your first supplementary, please.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Some of these things have been said about the minister and the way he has been presenting the information, and it's because people are so concerned and so upset about the way they have been treated. As the facts point out in this ad that has been presented, a full-page ad, Mr. Speaker, the issue around real savings has been shown to be false. The question about this new council being arm's length, still having peer assessments in wrong. It's advisory only, and the minister still has control. The allegations in this paper are well-founded and Nova Scotians deserve a response. I want to ask the minister, he has turned his back on the arts and culture community, he refuses to speak to

[Page 8832]

them, I want to ask him to explain to me and people in the crowd who are here today to hear his response, why he won't sit down with the arts and culture community and explain this dramatic and drastic action that he has taken?

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, thank you to the member for the question. This process, during the past number of months, the past few weeks, has gained a lot of media attention because it is a passionate issue for many people in the arts and culture community across this province. Indeed, those who were involved with respect to helping set up the previous council, and those who were involved in the council, did establish a strong foundation. The fact, and as the member alluded to some of the facts and I don't know which facts he was referring to in the newspaper, but I can tell you, there will be significant administrative savings. Those administrative savings will go back into programs where they should be. I do not apologize for that.

[12:45 p.m.]

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, the minister has said that he wants to build a council that will be more accountable to the artists, and yet through his actions he's showing that he cannot be accountable. This minister has tried to cut artistic freedom. He's tried and effectively divided. He tried to conquer the arts and culture community and the solidarity that exists. He tried to ignore the very groups that he's supposed to represent, and I say he has vastly underestimated how much we, in this province, value the arts and culture community. I want to ask the minister to stand up here today, recognize the mistake that he and has government have done, and reinstate the Arts Council once and for all.

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, if the member is asking me to reinstate the Nova Scotia Arts Council when we can save significant savings and reinvest that back into the people of this province, the answer is absolutely no. The fact is perhaps that member won't stand up for the people of this province, but this member will.

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

TOURISM & CULTURE: ARTS COUNCIL - REINSTATEMENT

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, my question is also for the Minister of Tourism and Culture. Over the last month the arts community has proved that an independent arm's-length Arts Council is vital to Nova Scotia, that the minister will not save, as he's said time and time again, $270,000 in administrative costs by shutting down the Arts Council, and that the future of the Arts Council is in jeopardy because the minister now has control over the $1 million endowment fund of the former Arts Council. My question to the minister is, will the minister admit that he made a mistake and that the arts community is right in demanding that the government reinstate the Nova Scotia Arts Council?

[Page 8833]

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, he speaks, first of all, to the endowment fund. The endowment fund is clearly outlined. The framework around which the endowment fund was originally intended will be followed as outlined in the Financial Measures (2002) Act. In addition, as I have mentioned, significant savings will go back into the arts and culture community across this province. As well, the member, probably, perhaps, should ask his colleagues who sit in his caucus and talk to them. Funny, I haven't seen any Cape Breton members from that side of the House stand up and talk about this issue. I would be more than willing to hear what they have to say. I would be more than willing for them to stand up and speak on behalf of their constituents. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, again, my question is for the minister. This minister has the responsibility to protect the arts community in this province. Instead, he has shown them absolutely no respect. This minister would not even address a crowd gathered in front of this building last week, who desperately wanted to speak with him. The minister has done nothing but attempt to divide the arts community and to destroy the solidarity that exists among the artists. My question to the minister is, why is the minister, who is supposed to protect the artists of Nova Scotia, showing such disrespect for the very people he should be protecting?

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, if the member takes a look - obviously he hasn't taken a look, at what we have put forward - the same programs will be delivered. The peer assessment process will be maintained. It's not the Nova Scotia Arts and Culture Council that will be making decisions on the creation grants. The peer assessment process will be maintained as it was in the past. The member obviously hasn't been listening to what's been put forward in the past few weeks.

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I'm just wondering who hasn't been listening. There are over 300 organizations and over 2,000 individuals that have publicly called for the reinstatement of the Nova Scotia Arts Council. So members of the former Arts Council have asked the minister to work with them to look for ways to reinstate this independent council. Today is the minister's last chance to do what he knows in his heart is the right thing. My final question to the minister is, will the minister take advantage of this last minute opportunity and do the right thing, to reinstate the arm's length Nova Scotia Arts Council?

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, in the member's question he asks, are we willing to work with those in the arts and cultural community? Of course we are, and the transition team that we put forward are very qualified individuals from across this province and I believe will put forward a new Nova Scotia Arts and Cultural Council that will make us proud. Again I go back, and I'm sure my colleagues from Cape Breton, I'm sure all their constituents are wondering why they're not standing up and speaking on behalf of their constituents, but I will certainly stand up and speak on their behalf from Cape Breton Island.

[Page 8834]

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

EDUC . - DIGBY ELEM. SCH.:

SPECIAL NEEDS TRAINING - PROVISION

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education, and it concerns the disturbing incident at Digby Elementary School. This unfortunate incident is a direct reflection of how far our education system has fallen short in helping students with special needs. The Special Education Implementation Review Committee, the minister's own requested report made the recommendation "an ongoing in-service plan for teachers and teachers' assistants" must be provided. So my question to the Minister of Education is, can she confirm, did the two teaching professionals involved in this incident receive in-service training with regard to special needs students?

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, despite what the honourable member is trying to say, this particular incident is not a budget issue. In that school were speech pathologists. There was a resource teacher available for that class who was never called in.

MR. DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, let's be clear, the minister is right. It is not a budget issue, it's about policies and procedures in our classes to ensure that inclusion is effective for all students in that class. But let's go on, the report also suggests that there be an immediate $20 million invested this fiscal year in our education system directed specifically at special needs issues and yet this minister has decided not to provide that money in this budget. Blame cannot be reassigned to anyone else, the responsibility lies directly with this Minister of Education in ensuring special education students get the education and the support they need.

So my question, Mr. Speaker, to the minister is, can she explain to special needs students and their parents why she has delayed implementing her own report and the funding needed to improve special needs support in our classrooms?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, I'm the first person to admit there are funding issues in the education system, but I repeat for the House that this particular incident is not a funding issue; it's not a resource issue. It's an entirely unfortunate and sad incident. It has nothing to do with reports or money.

MR. DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, I would suggest to this House through you that if this minister implemented her own report that she requested, incidents like this would not be happening and that is what this is about. Proof of her lack of leadership on this issue is clear. Even though inflation will go up this year there has been no new money put into special education in this province, which means in real dollars there will be a cut in special needs education in Nova Scotia. So I want to ask this minister how she can stand in this House and

[Page 8835]

say that she's doing all she can with regard to this issue when, in fact, she's cutting funding to special needs education in Nova Scotia?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, I repeat again this is not a funding issue. The resources were available in that school; they were not used. I don't know if the member opposite goes to the dentist very often, but I would suggest that he do so and have a wisdom tooth put in.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

HEALTH - CARE: SPENDING - PLAN LACK

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health. I would like to table the report, the words of the Premier during the last election when he stated that health care providers have told us that $1.5 billion is enough money to run a quality health care system in this province, if it is used properly. This year, the minister is spending approximately $2 billion and health care is not improving and emergency rooms have closed. We have another notice of the Northside General Hospital being closed for 24 hours or so. Emergency rooms have closed there, communities are losing doctors, acute care beds are still filled by long-term care patients. My question to the minister is, why hasn't the minister presented a comprehensive plan to control health care spending and maximize every health dollar?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, one of the documents that we did present last year that was endorsed by all members of this House was our clinical services planning document. We have introduced a nursing strategy. These are simply two of the steps that we have taken. The other thing I can say is that every time we try to make more efficient use of taxpayers' dollars, these people stand up and holler.

DR. SMITH: He's spending more money, he's throwing more money at the health care system in a very ad hoc manner. As a minister, you've had three years to develop some sort of a comprehensive plan and a health care management system. Either it was a case of wishful thinking, a case of pure fiction or perhaps it was a case of the doctor telling the patient to go and heal yourself. My question to the minister simply is, does the minister have any idea what he wants to do to fix our health care system?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, despite the fact that there are some hiccups, the honourable member knows perfectly well that the health system in this province is as good or better than the others in any other Canadian jurisdiction. This government has put this system on the road to sustainability. The services are being improved; the quality of medicine continues to improve each year. I am very proud of what has been done in our province in the last three years in terms of health under this government and I look forward to continued improvements in the future.

[Page 8836]

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, during the last election, the Tory Party said that health care didn't require a massive investment to stabilize costs. All that was needed was a little pinch of restructuring and a little dash of investment. So the question I have, simply, for the minister is, when will this minister finally introduce a long-term health strategy, not a clinical footprint, not a nursing strategy, not an ad hoc, but a long-term health strategy, instead of the current ad hoc approach?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, if there's one thing our department does not have it's an ad hoc approach to health. We are moving ahead. It's like when we went into office, we looked in that drawer that said health plan and it was empty. I can list a number of things: the clinical services plan, Phase II of that has to so with long-term care. We're trying to clean that mess up that they left. I can tell you the nursing strategy, the physician strategy, our information system that's coming in. I can tell you that we are moving ahead with direction that the health system has never seen before.

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

WCB: DORSEY REPT. - IMPLEMENT

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, the Dorsey report was tabled in this House last week. As opposed to this government's first reaction being , as we endorse it, we will move forward with it because, as we all know, the Dorsey report was a mandated report of this House. It was a stakeholders' review where all the stakeholders signed off and agreed to it. But what was that minister's response? Give it to me for 90 days. It's been vetted through the stakeholders. They agree with it. They know the document isn't perfect, but they want to go forward. I want to ask that minister, why are you holding onto that report? Are you going to have your Tory friends tear it apart, like they tore apart the Arts Council? Will you implement that today?

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for asking the question. Of course, the member opposite would know that it was outlined and that clearly there would be a response within 90 days and we will stay within those timelines.

[1:00 p.m.]

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, when it comes to tearing apart our arts society in this province, or not giving a heck about injured workers, this government does a very fine job of it.

There are proposals in there that Mr. Dorsey emphasizes should move forward quickly, those especially around chronic pain. He says a functional restorative program is wrong-headed and it doesn't work; it says chronic pain should be compensable. I want to ask you,

[Page 8837]

Mr. Minister, are you prepared in the House, today, on this very floor, to say yes, chronic pain is compensable and let's get at it?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for his question and I assure the member opposite that we will stick to our commitment. There will be a response within 90 days, and we're pleased that he feels that we did a good job selecting the committee. We will look forward to responding at the end of the agreed time.

MR. CORBETT: It's an insignificant answer from an insignificant minister, Mr. Speaker. There are people in this province who are finding it hard to live day-to-day; not 90 days, but day-to-day. This government sits on its hands while it gets a bunch of its political hacks together to make sure that this will work for them and not for injured workers. There are many things they can do today to implement the Dorsey report. Show some leadership, Mr. Minister, get up in this House today and tell us we're going to implement things that are going to help injured workers make their lives liveable and let them get on, because they didn't ask to be injured, your ill-advised legislation has done that to them. Help them. (Applause)

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, one thing the member opposite and I do agree on is that the workers' compensation system is a very important feature in this service to this province and, indeed, ultimately to injured workers. We are very concerned about the Workers' Compensation Board's work with the province, with injured workers, assisting employers and, of course, we are going to give the appropriate consideration to all the recommendations that have come forward and we'll look forward to issuing a recommendation to Cabinet within the 90 day period.

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

ECON. DEV. - NSP RATE INCREASE : REVIEW - DETAILS

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the minister of what's left of the Economic Development Department and the part-time Minister responsible for the Petroleum Directorate. As the minister is aware, Nova Scotia Power is applying for a rate increase before the Public Utilities Board - Utility and Review Board I should say. The minister's department has introduced an energy strategy which will deal with the future energy needs of Nova Scotians. That's a very important document and I was wondering if the minister would tell this House whether or not his office has done a comprehensive review of the proposed rate increase and what effect it will have on Nova Scotia business and, if so, would he table that report in this House?

HON. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, until such time as a Department of Energy is up and fully running, the responsibility for dealing with the electrical side rests with the Minister of Natural Resources, so I refer it to him.

[Page 8838]

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member certainly is aware of Nova Scotia's application to the URB. The province has retained several consultants to put forward the case for the Province of Nova Scotia and that will be tabled with the URB within the week.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, do you mean to tell me that the Minister of Economic Development is telling this House that when a matter as important as rate increases and power costs in this province is imminent, that that department hasn't even initiated a study to see what the effect on business that's going to create in the future in this province? I think that's shameful, but it speaks volumes about that department and its part-time minister. That's what it speaks volumes about. My first supplementary, Mr. Speaker, I don't know if you remember, but I do, that during the last election the minister said that under his watch Nova Scotia will be competitive and have the lowest cost of doing business in Atlantic Canada. If that's so, I would think it's relevant to the future of the economy whether or not electricity rates go up in this province. This government is cleaning out the wallets of all Nova Scotians as it is and increasing gas prices to the consumers who drive vehicles in this province, and it is getting away with that. My question is, is he going to allow Nova Scotia Power to fleece Nova Scotians even more than they're fleecing them now with power costs?

MR. BALSER: What I said was that the Minister of Natural Resources is responsible for coordinating our efforts. In terms of our efforts in Economic Development, we've been looking at the situation very carefully and helping to draft the response of the province to the URB process. So certainly so.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Again, the Minister of Economic Development is responsible for development and future development in this province, and I'm telling you, Mr. Speaker, that increased power rates are going to react negatively in this province for business in the future. I'm going to tell you that this province is going to pay for that. I will ask a direct question which he can't put to the Minister of Natural Resources. I would ask the minister, the bottom line is that people will lose their jobs, whether they work at StoraEnso, Trenton Works or the Port of Halifax. The question is going to be, how many? Why isn't the minister, at the very least, calling on Nova Scotia Power to cease and desist in its application for power rate increases in this province until you can get a handle on what it's going to do for the employment factor in this province and business in the future?

MR. BALSER: In terms of the process, it's clear how this has to move forward through the URB. In terms of the province's response, whether it's dealing with the energy strategy or how we ensure that potential power rate increases do not negatively effect the economy, we're working very closely to ensure that the arguments on behalf of Nova Scotians are heard very clearly by Nova Scotia Power through the URB.

[Page 8839]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

COMMUN. SERV. - WEB SITE: ACCESS - COSTS

MR. JERRY PYE: My question is to the Minister of Community Services. In October 2002, the client service delivery initiative will begin in the Department of Community Services. Exploring ways to improve the services is commendable, but the process must be transparent and staff needs to be kept informed along the way. So far, things are off to a poor start. Anyone wishing to access the Web site has been told that they must pay $1,000; $1,000 to access the Web site. I ask the Minister of Community Services, why is his department hiding information from staff and the public on this process?

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: The department has been fairly open with all the staff. We've had a number of meetings where we have gone around the province to talk to staff about the plans, to show them what the proposal is and what the desired outcome is. We will continue to do that.

MR. PYE: The minister knows he's standing in this House and misspeaking to this Legislature. The minister is very much aware that staff is not being brought in tune with the process that's taking place there. According to the department, the goals of this client service delivery initiative include improving the work environment for staff; without adequate information about the initiative and where it is heading, the Department of Community Services is creating an environment of fear and uncertainty. That's what they're creating in that department, fear and uncertainty. My question to the minister is, what is the role of privatizing these services for the long period?

MR. CHRISTIE: The honourable member outlined one of the purposes, to make the system sustainable, to be able to provide us with the ability to provide all the services that people require from Community Services. We have met with people; we have met with the staff. We have had meetings, and we will continue to do so.

MR. PYE: Mr. Speaker, the staff wants to see the improved services for clients as much as anyone else, but they need to be included in the process. Once again, they need to be included in the process of making changes within the department. What assurances can the Minister of Community Services offer his front-line workers that they will be included in the client service delivery initiative?

MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, as the honourable member knows, as we talked in estimates last week, we have not selected the person who's going to carry that on. If and when there is somebody who answers the RFP we will be working with them to work out the process. As we indicated to staff, people will be available and we will be open and transparent all the way through.

[Page 8840]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

COMMUN. SERV.: TRANSITION HOUSE - NUMBER RETAIN

MR. DAVID WILSON: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community Services. The Minister of Community Services has retreated on his plan to cut services to family violence victims in this province. His commitment, however, only guarantees no disruption to services or loss of resources until after the redesign plan is complete. The people who work in transition homes, women's centres and with men in treatment programs are worried that their services will be cut, whether it be six or seven or 12 months from now. My question to the minister is this: will the minister commit to keeping the nine transition houses at that same number one year from now?

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, we have written to all of the stakeholders in that group. We have indicated that we will not be closing any transition homes. Our communications will be with all of the groups, the transition houses, the women's centres. We have written to them. We have set up a process, and we're going to carry out exactly what we agreed on with them.

MR. WILSON: Mr. Speaker, I hope the minister is saying that he's not going to close any transition houses or shelters. I hope that's what the minister is saying. But the government is worried that women's centres and transition homes are duplicating services and therefore wasting resources. Let me clarify once again, women's centres and transition homes provide unique, necessary yet different services. Mr. Minister, they have never been and never will be a waste of money. My question to the minister is this, will the minister commit then to investing in the same number of women's centres in this province one year from now?

MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, as I indicated before, we have had the opportunity to talk with those people. We have set up a process where we're going to discuss the way we're going to go through. We have indicated to them that with only a certain percentage of people using those services, we have to expand it, so we can provide services to all Nova Scotians.

MR. WILSON: Mr. Speaker, we also cannot forget the importance of men's treatment programs for abusive partners, because these programs are needed if we're ever to stop the cycle of partner violence. My final question to the minister is, then, on behalf of family violence workers, will the minister commit to maintaining comparable services in each region of this province in his plan to redesign?

MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, at the meeting with the people from the men's treatment centres, what we indicated to them is that we are going to have the Department of Justice involved. They agreed to that process. They are as interested in looking at programs, in

[Page 8841]

looking at how programs can be all across the province as we are, and we are going to work with them exactly the way we told them we would.

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

HEALTH - NEW WATERFORD/C.B. DHA: MEETING - DIRECT

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health. The people who are serviced by the New Waterford Consolidated Hospital have been dealing with potential cuts to their emergency room for several months now. So far the efforts to set up a second meeting with the district health authority officials and with community members regarding the emergency room have been stalled by the Cape Breton DHA, from a complete lack of co-operation on their behalf. The same district health authority that told the public their opinions will be sought and looked for. I want to ask the Minister of Health, why won't you direct the DHA to meet with these concerned citizens so these voices can be heard?

[1:15 p.m.]

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the Cape Breton District Health Authority has met with the residents of New Waterford. The honourable member drew that to the attention of the House some time ago and we responded to it. I am sure that that board is very conscious of the public it serves, does an excellent job and I'm sure if it's appropriate to hold another meeting then another meeting will be held.

MR. CORBETT: Well, Mr. Speaker, obviously the minister wasn't listening because I alluded in my first question to him that they did have one with the promise of having a second one. The chairman told them that night that they would have a second meeting. The DHA and the Department of Health officials need to hear stories of what's going on at that hospital. They need to hear the personal stories of how the emergency room in New Waterford have saved their lives. One meeting isn't enough, they need more.

Mr. Speaker, I want to ask this minister in this House today what forms of public consultation does his department consider as adequate to seek out before approving a DHA plan to close emergency rooms?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the operations of the Cape Breton District Health Authority lie with the duly constituted board. To be quite frank, his question is better addressed to the board than it is to me because they are the ones who are running that health authority.

MR. CORBETT: It says a lot about how this government operates, Mr. Speaker, when unelected boards will not meet with elected officials from a community. That's what we're asking for, that's what we're asking this government to help facilitate. I ask the minister, the residents of New Waterford are ready for a meeting. I, as their MLA, am ready for a meeting.

[Page 8842]

Why won't this government tell that board that they have to meet with these people? This is a major piece of community infrastructure. This is a way of life for many of these people. Yet this minister will sit by and watch it leave. I want to ask the minister to get involved and tell that DHA to have another meeting with the citizens of New Waterford.

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, that district health authority is doing an excellent job and I'm sure that if a decision was made that it would meet with the residents of New Waterford, again, I'm sure that meeting will occur in due course.

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

AGRIC. & FISH. - CROP INSECTS: C.B. FARMERS - PROTECTION

MR. BRIAN BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries. Last summer, a provincial attack of crop insects was detected in Truro weeks before it was discovered in Cape Breton. In fact, the Department of Agriculture did not notify Cape Breton farmers of this attack. It was only because of the farmers' knowledge and skills that they were able to save their crops from being destroyed. Farmers in Cape Breton aren't being kept up-to-date on the latest farming techniques and strategies or being warned of potential crop pests in time to take the proper precautions. My question to the minister is, what is the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries doing to resolve this problem facing Cape Breton farmers?

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, certainly as the honourable member would know, the climate of Nova Scotia's geography is that it's normal that if there is an infestation of insects for a particular crop that it will move from the southern end of the province to Cape Breton and it may take a number of weeks. The crop advisory from the department would advise, once it is picked up in Nova Scotia, farmers in other areas of Nova Scotia to be on the look-out for that particular pest.

MR. BOUDREAU: My question, Mr. Speaker, is also to the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries. Cape Breton has the largest vegetable and strawberry acreage in Nova Scotia and is the second largest producer of turnips. Farm gate sales of agricultural products account for over $20 million in the Sydney area alone. Cape Breton farmers deserve the same resources and technology that their counterparts in other parts of the province have available to them. My question to the minister is, when is this agricultural specialist going to be placed in Cape Breton on a full-time basis?

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, again, to the honourable member, certainly there are crop advisory and specialist services provided through the Agricultural Development Institute, and they would service all of the Province of Nova Scotia. When a particular area, such as Cape Breton, that has a strong horticulture industry needs more support, we're there to assist where we can.

[Page 8843]

MR. BOUDREAU: My final question is also to the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries. Cape Breton farmers deserve a full-time agricultural specialist. Farmers in Cape Breton are sick and tired of not having the resources needed to do their jobs. My question is, will the minister commit here today that an agricultural specialist will soon be in place in Cape Breton and that other specialists can be called on as required to assist the farmers in that area?

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, we have, certainly, through the Agricultural Development Institute (Interruptions) (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, there are services available through ADI. As well, there are budget appropriations for the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries to ensure that we have an employee and an office in the Sydney area.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

FIN. PERSONAL INCOME TAX: REDUCTION - BUDGET PROMISE

MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. The Premier and the minister have been trying to downplay their Party's commitment to a 10 per cent reduction in Nova Scotia income tax. But in the fine print, at the bottom of Page B22 of his Budget Address, the minister says that next year's revenue projections "include the government's commitment to reduce personal income taxes." My question to the Minister of Finance is, will he tell Nova Scotians what, exactly, is the commitment in his budget to reduce personal income taxes?

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I don't have the exact number. I would have to take that question as notice. The member opposite brings up a good point. In regard to the revenues that we have projected for next year and the projections that we have for next year, the answer is yes. There is in those projections, a reduction of income taxes that would encompass a tax cut of 10 per cent.

MR. STEELE: Mr. Speaker, the government's making choices by stealth. Ten per cent of income taxes is $132 million. According to the Department of Finance's own figures, hundreds of thousands of Nova Scotians will receive nothing, while by far the biggest benefit will go to this government's millionaire friends. But the whole plan only works if the government jacks up user fees and other regressive taxes like Seniors' Pharmacare, cuts back on essential programs like transition houses, closes down hospital beds and other health services and offers no plan for repayment of the debt. All of that has been done in this budget. So my question to the Minister of Finance is, why won't the minister be clear with Nova Scotians about the choices his government is making instead of hiding a $132 million choice at the bottom of the page at the back of his budget?

[Page 8844]

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is trying to assert that this year's budget was affected by an income tax cut. That is not the case. We told Nova Scotians that we had a four-year plan. The third year was to bring about a balanced budget. We have done that. Have Nova Scotians as a whole contributed? The answer is yes. The fact of the matter is that the debt that has accumulated in this province over the last 40 years has also affected everyone in this province, and they collectively have helped resolve it. Those are the facts. In regard to the comment that's on the bottom of the page, we have information so that Nova Scotians could understand the projections going forward and for that, giving information to Nova Scotians, I make no apologies for that.

MR. STEELE: Mr. Speaker, once again, under this government, the rich get the gravy and poor and middle income get the shaft. I would like to release and table, right here, the results of a question the NDP placed in the most recent CRA Omnibus Poll. The question asked was, "All things considered, which is more important to you, cutting taxes, or spending that money to maintain and improve public services?" By 72 per cent to 26 per cent, Nova Scotians replied that their higher priority was maintaining and improving public services. My question to the Minister of Finance is, why won't the minister release the full details of his tax cut for the rich buried deep in his budget so Nova Scotians can see for themselves the choices this government is making?

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite has a way of trying to twist the facts that don't reflect the proper setting. We have included in our budget projections going forward that if there was to be a tax cut next year, the fact is (Interruptions)

Mr. Speaker, in regard to that, we said to Nova Scotians they will get a tax cut next year. We have also said we are doing one year at a time. The member opposite, very selectively, omits to say that we have chosen to continue the large corporation tax which will add $40 million more to the revenues of this province. I notice that he selectively doesn't include that. So what we have here is political grandstanding by the member opposite.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

FIN. - DEBT REDUCTION: PROMISE - BREACH EXPLAIN

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask a question to the Minister of Finance. I want to start by tabling a document, an interview that the Premier had with The Chronicle-Herald when he was running for the Premiership in 1999. By the way, Mr. Premier, welcome back and we are trusting that you are healthy enough to be back and we are all happy about that aspect, that you are healthier.

[Page 8845]

The Premier stated, "A Progressive Conservative Government is commited to reducing the provincial debt. Over our first four-year mandate we will ensure the debt, that being the true debt that includes all on-book and off-book borrowing, will not increase." Could the minister explain why that promise has not been kept?

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, one thing that the member opposite selectively doesn't talk about is the fact that we have moved to have open and consolidated financial statements in accordance with GAAP. That means entities such as Sysco would have been included, it means entities such as NSRL are included and the fact is those two entities lost huge amounts of money and were selectively kept off the books of the Province of Nova Scotia to make the books look better. We put everything in. Our budget is all-inclusive and it shows a surplus. I don't disagree with the member opposite, in this fiscal year, that the debt is rising. However, the fact of the matter is that we have increased our capital spending and is a consequence of doing that. For that, to invest in roads and in schools and in hospitals in this province, I make absolutely no apologies.

MR. DOWNE: This minister has tabled a debt management strategy that does not articulate any plan on paying down the debt. We realize he is borrowing. We realize that he can borrow through the tangible capital asset provision but there is no plan in regard to paying down the debt now or in the near future. In fact, there is no plan to keep the debt where it is. It's a plan that relies on economic growth yet the minister has no plan for growing the economy. Why won't the minister simply go back to the drawing board and present a true strategy that reduces debt?

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I heard the member saying that we had no plan for growing the economy. That's strange because I recall that last year Nova Scotia's economy was the second highest growing economy in Canada. (Applause)

Obviously, Mr. Speaker, we are doing something right and obviously that must be that we are not listening to the member opposite.

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, the minister must be a surfboard rider because he is only riding the crest that the Liberals created in creating economic opportunity in the Province of Nova Scotia.

Finally, borrowing for capital may be necessary, but it should not be the exclusive aspect for looking to paying down the debt as the real issue of the Province of Nova Scotia. In absence of a true infrastructure plan, one that will grow the economy, how can the minister justify adding to the debt of the Province of Nova Scotia?

[Page 8846]

[1:30 p.m.]

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, obviously he had the question written down, because I already answered it - in the sense that the economy is growing. The fact of the matter is the job growth in this province has been exceptional. I often hear the members, especially from Cape Breton, saying that Cape Breton is not growing their economy. That flies in the face of the statistics coming down from Ottawa that the jobs are being created in those areas. The members, especially from Cape Breton, can try to distort the facts, but the facts speak for themselves and they should be ashamed of themselves.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

HEALTH - NSP INCREASES:

HOSP. EFFECTS - COUNTERMEASURES

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the impact of power rate increases on hospitals is even worse than we thought. The average rate increase sought by Nova Scotia Power is 8.9 per cent, but we've learned from Nova Scotia Power officials that larger hospitals will face a 16.5 per cent increase pending URB approval. This will have an astronomical impact on the budgets for district health authorities. I want to ask the Minister of Health what measures will his department take to address such increases in hospitals?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, this government, like most people, doesn't like increases in power rates. Indeed, if there have to be increases, we are very much concerned that they be reasonable and justified. That's why the government will be making an intervention at the URB, and those hearings. I can tell you that during the business planning process the district health authorities have to take into account projected increases in a variety of costs, power rates being one of them. As the honourable member will know, in the allocation of the district health authorities this year there were additional monies of $22.5 million put in to account for things such as power rate increases.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I don't think anybody anticipated an increase in this amount. It's been six years since there were power increases in the province, and we're pretty sure they're going to be coming this time. The IWK budgeted $1.5 million for electric costs this year. A 16.5 per cent increase will mean its budget will go up by $250,000. That's just one hospital. My question to the Minister of Health is, are DHAs expected to meet this budget demand without additional resources or not?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, that is a hypothetical question, but I will repeat what I said in response to her first question. During the business planning process the DHAs and, of course, the IWK Health Centre would consider routine increases in costs in their business planning process. Certainly the issue of Nova Scotia Power applying for more increases was

[Page 8847]

no secret during that process, and I'm sure they did build in some provision for power rate increases.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, we all recognize that some incremental increase was built in but the point is nobody would ever have anticipated these kinds of increases to be built in. What is this government prepared to do about it? The Capital Health District Authority budgeted $5.6 million for electricity this year. Their increase would be nearly $1 million. I want to ask the Minister of Health, will this government come up with the extra money to pay for increased electric costs, or will DHAs be forced to cut even more programs?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the government has already provided a significant amount - actually if you were to take a look at the operational costs of the DHAs and the provincial health centres, it was about an additional 10 per cent put in for operational costs. In addition to those operational costs, the government has committed to pick up the negotiated salary increases. What I would like to point out again is that the additional monies going to health next year in our health budget approximate $135 million.

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

ENVIRON. & LBR. - ASPHALT:

MEADOWVALE RD. - TESTING DETAILS

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Environment and Labour. Yesterday in this House I notified the Minister of Environment and Labour of asphalt that was being dumped on Meadowvale Road in Kings County; this asphalt that has been removed from the runway at Greenwood Air Base that has been saturated with a de-icing fluid over the last seven years. Last year there was an environmental study done by an independent contractor to study this particular asphalt, but this contractor did not, I emphasize, did not test the asphalt to see if it would be harmful to the environment. My question to the minister, if there was a need for an environmental study done on this particular asphalt, why was it not tested to see if it would be dangerous to the environment before it was dumped on the Meadowvale site?

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite in his diligence for pursuing this matter. I would like to advise that the member's concern about the de-icing fluid possibly being in the area that's been excavated at the Greenwood Air Base was not the site that was dug up and put on - and I think it's the Rock Notch Road, not the Meadowvale - the Rock Notch Road site.

MR. MACKINNON: There are six sites altogether between Rock Notch and Meadowvale Road. The minister knows that because his staff has been contacted and invited to the site. Regardless, one site contains approximately 50,000 tons of this contaminated

[Page 8848]

asphalt and, another site, a considerable amount has been buried by another contractor. Both, I'm advised from the local councillor, came from the Greenwood Air Base. My question to the minister, will this minister commit to having this particular asphalt tested to ensure the safety and peace of mind for these residents?

MR. MORSE: Actually, Mr. Speaker, I believe it was just the other day that an inspector was called out to look at the site, did survey it. That was with regard to a siltation concern that there might be some leaching into the river, and found that there was no siltation at the site.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, the fact of the matter is, the inspector went out but refused to test the water. Just simply took some pictures and drove away. That's exactly what that lady environmental employee did on that site. That will be confirmed by the residents who were in attendance at that time. That was, again, confirmed this morning by another employee in your department. It would only cost approximately $600 to find out if this asphalt is contaminated with this toxic chemical. My question to the minister, how is this minister planning on protecting the environment, particularly in the Valley area, if he will not even commit to the people of Nova Scotia to test materials that are obviously, or could very well be detrimental to their health and well-being and, indeed, the environment?

MR. MORSE: As I mentioned in my first answer, Mr. Speaker, the asphalt in question, that was taken to this site, was not from the area that had the de-icing fluid applied to it at the Greenwood Air Base.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

ENVIRON. & LBR. - WHITES COVE QUARRY:

ENVIRON. ASSESS. - ORDER

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, my question is also for the Minister of Environment and Labour. I want to ask the minister about the proposed quarry for Whites Cove on Digby Neck. The minister is treating this, apparently, as an industrial permit. He knows he has power to order an environmental assessment. Will he use that power that he has under the Environment Act to order an environmental assessment of that proposal?

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

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley on an introduction.

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure and privilege this afternoon to make an introduction to you and all members of the House. In the gallery opposite, students from the Brookfield Junior High School Grade 8 class are accompanied

[Page 8849]

by their teacher, Jane Chabassol; Vice-Principal Mike Topshee; and parents Samantha Muise and Barbara Holland. I would ask the class from the great constituency of Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley to rise, along with the parents and teachers, and receive a warm welcome from honourable colleagues. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We welcome our young guests to the gallery today and hope they enjoy their stay.

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I'm very pleased to be able to take this 15 minutes before we go into Supply to speak on an issue that's of major concern to residents of the southern part of my constituency and that is the location of the sewage treatment plant. I feel it's very important to bring that issue here onto the floor of the Nova Scotia Legislature because, frankly, there's been very little opportunity to speak in the municipal process that has not afforded enough opportunities for residents from parts of my constituency, particularly the Brunswick Street, Gottingen Street, Creighton Street and Bauer Street area, to really have a voice in this process. It's not a lot to ask in a situation where we feel that there could be long-term implications for the location of such a plant.

Mr. Speaker, for a number of months now, much of the decision making around the location of sewage treatment plants, as part of the harbour solution process, has been going on behind closed doors and to the credit of citizens in the inner city community, they've been attempting to bring those discussions out of the back rooms and into the public arena for a full and fair airing and public debate. I have to say that I've been very disappointed and somewhat disturbed at the manner in which some very fine citizens have been shut out and the attempts that have been made to shut down voices of dissent in this province.

[Page 8850]

Mr. Speaker, it's certainly not the intention of the reformed Municipal Government Act in this province to see that decision making occur behind closed doors. The intention of a reformed Municipal Government Act was, in fact, to ensure more openness, more accountability and more public participation by citizens at the local level. So the citizens in the area have refused to be silenced and they have attempted to have their points of view put forward at the municipal government level with respect to the location of the sewage treatment plant.

Mr. Speaker, I never really imagined that I would have to stand in my place in this House and defend members of the faith community in my constituency, but I have to say that when I read the newspaper accounts after three members of the faith community appeared in front of Halifax Regional Municipality on Tuesday past to express their views. It affected me profoundly, the manner in which they were treated by some members of council. If the newspaper reports are an accurate reflection of what was said, it is truly unfortunate. I think that members of council demonstrated that they don't understand the enormous amount of respect and the esteem in which these church leaders are held in our community, the regard that people in our community have for them, and for good reason.

[1:45 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, these are leaders in the spiritual community who not only see themselves as having a responsibility with respect to the spiritual life of our community, but in fact they are people who take a very direct interest and involvement in the everyday lives of people in our community and they know only too well the struggles and the challenges, the obstacles, the barriers, but also the great capacity, the skills, the intellect, the commitment of members of our community. So I would like to apologize to those church leaders who attempted to have their voices heard on behalf of our community in front of the municipal leadership as a way to ask for a more sensitive response to what people were saying.

Mr. Speaker, it is so important, as you know, when people have a point of view that as elected people we listen respectfully to those points of view, and even if we disagree with those points of view that we respond to the content of what is being said and that we don't attempt to discredit people for saying it. To say to Reverend Lionel Moriah from the Cornwallis Street Baptist Church, and to say to Reverend Gus Pendleton from the New Brunswick Street United Church, and to say to Reverend Greg McMullin from Trinity United Church, that what they had to say on behalf of their community was a paid political advertisement for a union, or for some other organization, is the height of disrespect and basically the height of really a lack of awareness of the importance of the North End Council of Churches in our community, and what it is they do in that community and what they mean to the community.

[Page 8851]

Now, Mr. Speaker, ever since the two community organizations, the Brunswick Heritage Area Residents Association and the Central Halifax Community Association, have expressed their concerns with the process and the decision to locate the sewage treatment plant at the corner of Cornwallis and Barrington Streets, the North End Council of Churches, for example, which also includes the three churches I've named and the ministers from those churches in addition to St. George's Round Church and St. Pat's Catholic Church, that council of churches has been there, as they always are in our community, to lend their support, to speak on behalf of and with residents, and this is something that the residents in that area truly appreciate, and this is why those churches in fact remain such a vibrant part of our community.

Mr. Speaker, there are many different points of view with respect to the location of this plant. Some people want no sewage treatment plant whatsoever; others want more consultation that is a real consultative process, that really involves the community and the whole community, not just select parts of the community; and other people are saying, well, what we want is we want the necessary studies to be done so that we can identify precisely the impact of the location of this plant and we can develop a plan with HRM to mitigate any of the negative impacts. In a way, it's looking at compensatory issues.

Mr. Speaker, there are many questions that remain unanswered with respect to this particular development; why solar aquatics weren't considered, whether or not secondary treatment facilities will contribute to even more of a land grab and a presence in that community. There's the question of the loss of the South End site, what this means now for the size and the capacity, the implications of what will happen at the North End site. There are questions about the contract with the private consortium, and what are the implications, both financial and other, for going this route.

Mr. Speaker, the municipality certainly had provided an extensive list of the elements that would go into the selection and the location of such a site. If you look at the agreement that had been adopted, ratified unanimously by the regional council back in 1999, many aspects of the components of what would need to be addressed have not been addressed, and yet this plan is going forward.

Not so long ago there was a stand-in at city hall, and that evening the council offered to people a public meeting. A public meeting has not occurred. Last night there was an information session in the constituency, and residents are not happy that what was offered in terms of a public meeting has not been delivered as part of this process. They're still looking forward to a real public process where people will have an opportunity to raise some questions.

Mr. Speaker, it's not too late for Halifax Regional Municipality to step back and to listen to the men and women who live in this community, who work in this community, who are committed to the long-term health and well-being of this community. We're talking about

[Page 8852]

this enormous expenditure of public funds, $800 million in public expenditure over 30 years. The implications of this are extraordinary. To take the necessary time to actually enter into a dialogue with people who support the cleaning up of Halifax Harbour, who are fully prepared to host a sewage treatment plant in their community if, in fact, they can establish that any of the negative impacts that they've identified are adequately studied and then planned for in terms of the mitigation of those negative impacts, where is the harm in that?

This is a community that really has not been well done by in terms of government at several levels, to be quite frank, provincial as well as federal. This is a community that requires a long-term plan to address the economic and the social conditions in this community. We have an opportunity right now to sit down and engage in a process that could be very exciting. It could realize a plan that, developed collaboratively, people would have a real commitment to carrying through. To throw that plan away, and the goodwill that could exist, is a real tragedy.

Mr. Speaker, I certainly hope that having this opportunity to lend my voice here in the Legislature to the residents of that part of my constituency may result in sober second thought on the part of our municipal government. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, it's a pleasure to rise today and speak, going into Supply, as the MLA for Richmond. Clearly I could stand in my place today and talk on a variety of issues that affect the residents of my riding, such as the current lack of daytime or weekend emergency room physicians for the Strait Richmond Hospital, the serious issues of doctor recruitment throughout our county, the high unemployment rate that still exists in Richmond, the sad state of our roads, the serious concerns over housing and the serious attack on seniors by this Conservative Government.

Mr. Speaker, today I want to talk about an issue that not only seriously impacts the residents of my riding but has a serious impact on the residents of several counties around the Strait area. Today I want to speak about some of the challenges facing StoraEnso. As you're probably well aware and most members are well aware, StoraEnso is the largest employer in eastern Nova Scotia. Stora, at its direct mill, which is located in Point Tupper, Richmond County, has 800 employees. On top of that, over 600 people are employed indirectly by Stora through the woodlots and the various truck drivers who bring the pulp into Stora's plant. In total, that represents over 1,400 individuals and families who rely upon Stora for their well-being.

Mr. Speaker, StoraEnso's annual payroll is $66 million. On top of that, it has wood costs of $63 million. This equals a contribution by this one company of $129 million to the economy of Nova Scotia. I'm sure the MLAs for these areas will agree, and in the Counties of Victoria, Richmond, Inverness, Guysborough and Antigonish - and even the Halifax

[Page 8853]

County area - it is hard to find any resident who does not know anyone, or even themselves, whose livelihood depends on StoraEnso.

Mr. Speaker, with such high wages and wood costs, one would think that these are clearly the largest expenses that Stora would have. Yet, unlike all other paper mills in North America, power and electricity represent Stora's largest single cost, at a whopping $66.7 million annually. I point out again that unlike every other paper mill in North America, Stora is the only one where power and electricity represent the single largest cost.

Mr. Speaker, Stora, like other paper mills in North America, is going through very difficult times. There has been a serious drop in sales and prices for newsprint and supercalendered paper. As a result of this, Stora is forced to examine its major costs, those being electricity, wages and the wood costs. The cost of wood is currently being negotiated between Stora and the woodlot owners and the harvesters. The issue of wages is also being reviewed by the company, along with its workforce. Yet this is an issue that only the company and the workforce should be involved in, not Members of Parliament, not MLAs nor municipal leaders, especially mayors.

[2:00 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, for power costs, there is a clear role for elected representatives to play, especially for this Conservative Government in Nova Scotia. The fact is that Nova Scotia Power Inc. has a monopoly over the distribution of electricity in this province. Stora and other industrial users, such as every Nova Scotian, are forced to buy electricity from Nova Scotia Power, due to the lack of any competition. Again, I point out that StoraEnso pays more electrical costs than any of their competitors in North America. On top of this, the operating costs at StoraEnso are higher than the paper mills in Europe, putting them at a clear competitive disadvantage.

Mr. Speaker, we met with StoraEnso at a meeting that they called together of all the municipal leaders and the MLAs in order to discuss their situation. That meeting took place at the mill on March 26th. I was certainly pleased to have been there, as the MLA for Richmond, to hear their concerns and to discuss what possible role could be played as a provincial representative to assist Stora in this matter. As I pointed out then, as I point out today, it's very unfortunate that the minister from Antigonish, the minister from Inverness and the MLA for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury chose not to attend that meeting. It was extremely difficult to discuss what options were there when there was absolutely no elected representation from the Conservative Government to discuss what role they may be able to play in this situation.

Yet, Mr. Speaker, I stand in my place today, being they were not at that meeting, to try to discuss with them what options are there for them and for ourselves, as MLAs, to be able to make changes to assist Stora. Stora presented us with the two options that currently face

[Page 8854]

the management of that mill. The first option is to lower costs and to move to their new vision. Now, what is their new vision? I can tell you that I'm quite pleased their new vision is to increase their total production to 600,000 tons from 535,000 tons. Their vision is to expand their terminal chemical pulp plant to supply newsprint with pulp. Their plan is to build a new wood room, and their plan is to eventually build an integrated world-class saw mill, producing 200,000 cubic metres of sawn lumber.

Mr. Speaker, as an MLA for that area I can tell you that the vision that Stora wants to move forward is one which I'm sure all of us are excited about and all of us would like to see them moving towards that, which could possibly create construction jobs and more employment for the residents of our area. Their other option is that if they cannot control their wages, their wood costs and their electricity costs, their other option is to permanently shutdown PM1, which is better known as the old newsprint section. That decision could mean half of the workforce at the mill will be lost. I'm sure I don't have to convince any of my colleagues, regardless of their political stripes, how devastating that could be to the whole Strait area.

Again, Mr. Speaker, I return to what role and what action can we, as MLAs, do to address the power cost issue faced by StoraEnso. As you are well aware, the Tory Government presented an energy strategy called Seizing the Opportunity, Nova Scotia's Energy Strategy Volume 1. In that strategy, the province openly talks about opening up the electricity marketplace. The province goes on in the strategy to stay they want to encourage competition in the electricity sector. Yet, ironically, why the province wants to encourage competition is the energy strategy specifically dictates that large industrial customers, such as StoraEnso, are specifically prohibited from seeking outside electricity other than Nova Scotia Power.

The strategy continues to give Nova Scotia Power a monopoly over the distribution of electricity in this province and forces companies such as Stora, Bowater Mersey and others to have to fight with Nova Scotia Power to get energy. I would state, Mr. Speaker, that many of the other mills throughout North America have options as to where they can purchase their electricity, unlike the monopoly we have here in this province. Clearly, right now, the elected members of the Conservative Government are protecting Nova Scotia Power and they are protecting their monopoly. Only they can change this protection. Stora, like many other industrial users, would like to see the deregulation of the electricity supply here in this province; again, only the provincial government can make such a change.

How can we bring about deregulation? First of all, Mr. Speaker, there needs to be more flexibility in the rules on the distribution of electricity in this province; number two, we clearly need to get rid of the monopoly that Nova Scotia Power currently has; and number three, the government must do this in a constructive approach whereby they ensure that there is available competition that is willing to locate here, which will allow our different companies to take advantage of and negotiate with for their electricity.

[Page 8855]

Mr. Speaker, one of the ways in which the government has said that they want to structure their approach to competition electricity is through the establishment of what they have called the Electricity Marketplace Governance Committee, the EMGC. Stora supports the establishment of such a committee. They have clearly told us that they want to see a structured approach to the deregulation. There's no use for the government to say tomorrow that Nova Scotia Power no longer has a monopoly here if there is no competition out there that is prepared to provide competitive electricity here in this province.

One of the things which I would suggest to the Progressive Conservative members is to lobby the Minister of Economic Development or the Minister of Natural Resources, whichever one is responsible for the energy strategy today, to establish this committee immediately. Currently this committee does not exist therefore we cannot start moving towards the deregulation and to talk about having competition if the committee set up to oversee that has not even been put in place yet. So there is another example of what the government can do constructively to help Stora in their current situation.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations is well aware of the concerns that I have raised, and I am sure they are concerns that are shared by many others, that his proposed equalization scheme which will see Nova Scotia Power paying higher costs into the equalization, based on their assessment. The timing of that announcement, in light of the fact that Nova Scotia Power is now in front of the URB seeking an electricity increase, could not have been worse, because immediately after the announcement by the minister Nova Scotia Power representatives immediately said now it is for sure that they need to have this increase go through because of what the minister has announced.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the minister has gone public in stating that the decision to have Nova Scotia Power pay higher fees into the equalization scheme was well-known by Nova Scotia Power before they made the rate application to the URB. The Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations has said that publicly - that Nova Scotia Power was aware of that. Tonight, when I make a representation on behalf of the people of Richmond County, on behalf of the employees of Stora, on behalf of the management of Stora, I will certainly be raising that point to Nova Scotia Power that if they are arguing that they need the rate to go through now because of the additional burden put on them by the provincial government which they were not aware of, I will certainly remind them that the minister has publicly said they knew they would be paying this increased amount into the equalization plan well before their application went before the Utility and Review Board.

Mr. Speaker, I cannot stress enough to you what a disastrous situation it would be if Stora is forced to close down the old newsprint section. There is clearly a role for us to play, and I want to take this opportunity, as the member for Richmond, to pledge working with the government if they bring these changes forward, providing support to those changes in a timely fashion so that we can address the serious issue faced by the company. There is a role

[Page 8856]

there to play. I am not standing in my place simply to criticize, I believe I have offered constructive suggestions that the government and only the government can put in place.

I want to tell you, Mr. Speaker, I will be prepared to support those, and I hope that this government will put the interests of the workforce, the interests of the company, and the interests of the economy of the Strait area in the forefront of its thoughts. Again, with the Minister of Economic Development, I would hope that he immediately put together this energy committee, the Electricity Marketplace Governance Committee, which I understand Stora has already forwarded its nominee to the minister and the government as to who it would like to see on this committee. I would hope that they move on that immediately and do what they can to make sure that we can address the serious concerns there so we can see Stora once again implement its new vision, which would see an increased investment in the Strait area building on the investment we saw a mere four years ago with the opening of the new supercalendered paper mill. Working together, all of the elected representatives from the Strait area, it is my belief that we can address the serious concerns they face and see a prosperous future for the company and the local community. Thank you.

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

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, before you leave the Chair, I welcome this opportunity to address some of the concerns that have been articulated by the honourable member for Richmond. I want to say at the outset that I believe the honourable member for Richmond has done a very good job of presenting the situation as it exists at Stora with respect to both the position of the company and the decisions that are facing that company as it looks to the future.

I can inform the honourable member through you, Mr. Speaker, the reason I am able to say he has done a good job of presenting that particular situation and articulating it here in the House this afternoon is that because I have been fully briefed on the situation with respect to Stora. I was fully briefed by a member of the Board of Directors of Stora. I spent more than two hours with the member of that board of directors. I was also, along with my colleague, the honourable Minister of Tourism and Culture, briefed by Ms. Patricia Dietz of StoraEnso with respect to the issues that are facing that company and as it looks to the future.

I can only say that when the honourable member through you suggests that all of us work together in the Strait area to support the efforts of this company to stay in the area, it becomes rather difficult to work with someone who would prefer to politicize the issue rather than make a genuine effort to work with people. For the honourable member to criticize both myself and my colleague, the honourable Minister of Tourism, for not attending a meeting that occurred at a time when we were attending Treasury and Policy Board - and the honourable member should understand the nature of those conflicts, having been a previous

[Page 8857]

member of the Executive Council. It shows that his motivation is less than genuine, or at least could be interpreted as being less than genuine, with respect to the issue.

The honourable member is quite correct. We should work together, but working together to ensure that we're not taking needless political shots at one another. That particular meeting, as does other meetings of Executive Council, deals with issues such as the intervention that will be made on behalf of this government before the Utility and Review Board with respect to the power rate issue. The future of StoraEnso - well-known by my colleague, the honourable Minister of Natural Resources, with respect to this issue and the minister responsible for energy - is front and centre in the concerns this government has with respect to the continued presence of that strong, viable industry in the Strait of Canso.

For the honourable member opposite to suggest that I or the honourable Minister of Tourism and Culture should not have been attending our duties as members of the Executive Council, I believe is a slight that is not appropriate and certainly not one that generates an attitude of people working together in order to address the very important concern. I can appreciate that the honourable member is at times motivated by politics, but I would urge him to emphasize the issue of working together with respect to this particular issue.

[2:15 p.m.]

One other matter that I want to touch on, Mr. Speaker, is the matter of the Municipal Equalization Program.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I hate to have to interrupt my honourable colleague in the middle of his speech. My point, in saying the meeting was called to discuss what strategies could be brought forward by municipal representatives and provincial representatives to see what could be brought forward on different strategies to address the problems at Stora, the fact that no elected representative from the government was there made it impossible to hear from them what sort of approaches they could bring on working together to move forward on that. So even though they were briefed beforehand by members, the fact they were not there with all the other elected leaders to work together on a strategy made it impossible to know where the government stood on this position and what possible options they would be willing to look at. That was the reason why I raised the concern about them not being there.

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

The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, it just goes to show the honourable member missed a perfect opportunity to work together with respect to this issue because he might have

[Page 8858]

pointed out to the mayors and wardens and to the officials of Stora that if we had been consulted and asked when we would be available, we would have endeavoured to make ourselves available. The honourable member opposite knows the tightness of a member of the Executive Council's schedule and knows that it is possible to rearrange schedules. He could have pointed that out, but he chose not to do that. We were living up to our priorities. We were working with the Minister of Natural Resources.

Mr. Speaker, the honourable member suggests that (Interruption) It's not often I get that endorsement. The honourable member suggests that somehow our equalization plan was going to compound the problem with respect to Nova Scotia Power. Here is the situation, if the honourable member is interested. I explained it to him once previously in Question Period. The amount of the increase which we have requested or will require Nova Scotia Power to pay is an amount of $5 million less than Nova Scotia Power had anticipated paying and the evidence of that is in their application before the URB. That's one point.

The second point is that we have been able to arrange for Nova Scotia Power to make the increased payment in the next fiscal year of Nova Scotia Power. So that means, Mr. Speaker, that their anticipated rate increase, as a result of increased municipal taxes, will, in fact, be less than they had planned for by $5 million. Those are the facts and for the honourable member not to present those facts is misleading. We will not be responsible for the huge increase that is being put forward. I can again point out that (Interruption) Well, there's the honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes who doesn't think I've got enough out of NSPI in order to give to CBRM. He better make up his mind; he can't have it both ways.

Mr. Speaker, I have encroached upon an honourable member's time, but I welcome the opportunity to make those comments this afternoon and I am quite prepared, as are my colleagues, the honourable Minister of Tourism, the member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury, to work together, but working together means a coming together in a positive, constructive manner. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Sackville-Beaver Bank. (Interruptions)

Order, please. Order, please. If the honourable members don't bring themselves to order, I'm going to ask them to leave.

MR. BARRY BARNET: Mr. Speaker, just to change the focus of the debate a little bit, I want to spend some time in the House to talk about a meeting that I attended last night in the riding of Sackville-Cobequid. I had the opportunity to meet with a number of constituents of Sackville-Beaver Bank and Sackville-Cobequid to launch what has become a very successful project in the Sackville-Beaver Bank-Lucasville community and it is a program that was developed in part by the volunteer fire department in Sackville and in part by the Recreation Department of the Halifax Regional Municipality.

[Page 8859]

The groups came together recognizing a need in our community to provide some leadership training and some skill development for a number of young people. They made an application to HRDC to provide some funding so that they could hire a number of young people, give them the kind of training they needed to get meaningful employment, and to help develop their skills, particularly towards the fire service, Mr. Speaker. In January, the organization was able to hire 10 young people, two coordinators and eight youth to train them on a number of initiatives. They trained them in computer skills, in leadership training, public speaking. They trained them in environmental skills and they were able to take these young people and put them through a program and help better the communities of Sackville and Beaver Bank and do a number of projects that are worthwhile and provide a genuine service to not only the community, but to the people who were working on these projects.

I would like to just very briefly mention, Mr. Speaker, Dan Parker who is the volunteer chief of the Sackville Fire Department. He was a brainchild behind this program. He, along with Andrew Hilliby of the Halifax Regional Municipality and Chief Dan Eddy, a fellow by the name of Anthony Gough, and others, came together to try to build a new program and they've done great things. The member for Sackville-Cobequid wasn't in attendance at the meeting, but I briefed him this morning and I am sure he would agree that it was a worthwhile project.

Mr. Speaker, I only have about four minutes left, if I recall correctly, is that right?

MR. SPEAKER: Yes, you have until 2:26 p.m.

MR. BARNET: Unfortunately, the earlier debate took up a great deal of time that I would have liked to have had to talk about a number of issues. I want to talk, Mr. Speaker, about this government's agenda and it's clear; we spelled it out in our blue book. One of the things that we said we would do is balance the budget and this government did just that.

Mr. Speaker, at the same time we understood and we recognized that there was a need to meet certain and basic needs of the people of Nova Scotia. We recognized that there was a need to invest in health care; we recognized there was a need to invest in education; and we recognize, most importantly, there was a need to provide balance.

We've heard from members of the Opposition, talking about this government's budget and talking about the plan that we've gone down but, frankly, we believe, on this side of the House, that we've done the right thing. I know that I've heard from members of the Official Opposition, the New Democratic Party, who've said that it's not the right time to balance the budget, that it's not right to balance the budget, but I want to say it's never the wrong time to do the right thing. This government has done the right thing. (Applause) And we're getting a great deal of endorsement from our constituents for the things that we've done.

[Page 8860]

Mr. Speaker, I want to talk briefly about the Minister of Tourism and Culture's decision to make changes to the way the programs were delivered in the arts and culture sector in this province. Interestingly enough, it's an item that I've been interested in for quite some time. I'm very surprised that I might be able to report back to members of the House that not one single constituent that I represent contacted me on this issue. That doesn't mean they're for or against what the government does, but it does go to say that those people who are making the decisions and making the noise about this are the ones who are directly affected.

Mr. Speaker, one of the things that I've discovered is that people who are most concerned about administrative savings are administrators; they're not the artists, they're not the musicians and they're not the writers. The ones who are most concerned about administrative savings are the administrators themselves. I think this government has done the right thing by taking money out of administration and putting it into programs. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, I also believe that it's not right that when we fund arts over a global economy and a global budget that we have the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, for example, last year only receiving $4,000 in funding while the Halifax Regional Municipality received over $300,000. That's not right. I know that peer assessment will be part of this program, and I support that. I also know that the right decision around what government funds in arts should be made by those people who are in the industry, and that's why we have a peer assessment process in place.

Mr. Speaker, I will tell you this, in my view and in the view of Nova Scotians, there needs to not only be peer assessment but there needs to be equity, equity that didn't exist. Maybe that's why we're not hearing from the members for Cape Breton on the other side. That could be exactly why we're not hearing from them.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The motion is carried.

[2:26 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Supply with Deputy Speaker Mr. William Dooks in the Chair.]

[4:21 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:

[Page 8861]

THE CLERK: That the committee has met, has considered the estimates referred to it, has approved the 43 estimates so referred to it, and the Chairman recommends them to the favourable consideration of the House.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that the House concur with the report of the Committee of the Whole House on Supply.

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye.

A recorded vote has been called for.

Ring the bells. [Call in the members.]

[4:21 p.m.]

[The Division bells were rung.]

MR. SPEAKER: A recorded vote has been called on the motion that the House concur on the report of the Committee of the Whole House on Supply.

[The Clerk calls the roll.]

[5:21 p.m.]

YEAS NAYS

Mr. Rodney MacDonald Mr. Corbett

Mr. Christie Mr. Deveaux

Mr. Baker Ms. Maureen MacDonald

Mr. Russell Mr. Holm

Dr. Hamm Mr. Manning MacDonald

Mr. LeBlanc Mr. Downe

Mr. Muir Mr. Gaudet

Miss Purves Dr. Smith

Mr. Fage Mr. MacAskill

Mr. Balser Mr. Wilson

Mr. Parent Mr. Boudreau

Ms. McGrath Mr. Samson

Mr. Ronald Chisholm Mr. MacKinnon

Mr. Olive Mr. MacEwan

Mr. Morse Mr. Steele

Mr. MacIsaac Mr. Robert Chisholm

Mr. DeWolfe Mr. Estabrooks

[Page 8862]

Mr. Taylor Mr. Epstein

Mr. Dooks Mr. Pye

Mr. Langille

Mr. Chataway

Mr. Clarke

Mr. Hendsbee

Mrs. Baillie

Mr. Carey

Mr. Morash

Mr. Chipman

Mr. Barnet

Mr. O'Donnell

Mr. Hurlburt

THE CLERK: For, 30. Against, 19.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.

The honourable Government House Leader.

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

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 124 - Entitled an Act to Provide for Defraying Certain Charges and Expenses of the Public Service of the Province. (Hon. Neil LeBlanc)

[PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I move second reading of Bill No. 124, the Appropriations Act, 2002.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 124. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye.

A recorded vote is being called for.

Ring the bells.

[Page 8863]

[5:24 p.m.]

[The Division bells were rung.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The motion before the House at this time is second reading of Bill No. 124, the Appropriations Act, 2002.

A recorded vote was called for. The Clerks will call the roll.

[6:24 p.m.]

[The Clerk calls the roll.]

YEAS NAYS

Mr. Rodney MacDonald Mr. Corbett

Mr. Christie Mr. Deveaux

Mr. Baker Ms. Maureen MacDonald

Mr. Russell Mr. Holm

Dr. Hamm Mr. Manning MacDonald

Mr. LeBlanc Mr. Downe

Mr. Muir Mr. Gaudet

Miss Purves Dr. Smith

Mr. Fage Mr. MacAskill

Mr. Balser Mr. Wilson

Mr. Parent Mr. Boudreau

Ms. McGrath Mr. Samson

Mr. Ronald Chisholm Mr. MacKinnon

Mr. Olive Mr. MacEwan

Mr. MacIsaac Mr. Steele

Mr. DeWolfe Mr. Robert Chisholm

Mr. Taylor Mr. Epstein

Mr. Dooks Mr. Pye

Mr. Langille

Mr. Chataway

Mr. Clarke

Mr. Hendsbee

Mrs. Baillie

Mr. Carey

Mr. Morash

Mr. Chipman

[Page 8864]

Mr. Barnet

Mr. O'Donnell

Mr. Hurlburt

THE CLERK: For, 29. Against, 18.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.

[PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I move third reading of Bill No. 124.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 124. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye.

A recorded vote has been called for.

Ring the bells. [Call in the members.]

[6:26 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 124.

A recorded vote has been called for.

[The Clerk calls the roll.]

[7:26 p.m.]

YEAS NAYS

Mr. Rodney MacDonald Mr. Corbett

Mr. Christie Mr. Deveaux

Mr. Baker Ms. Maureen MacDonald

Mr. Russell Mr. Holm

Dr. Hamm Mr. Manning MacDonald

Mr. LeBlanc Mr. Downe

Mr. Muir Mr. Gaudet

Miss Purves Dr. Smith

Mr. Fage Mr. MacAskill

Mr. Balser Mr. Wilson

[Page 8865]

Mr. Parent Mr. Boudreau

Ms. McGrath Mr. Samson

Mr. Ronald Chisholm Mr. MacKinnon

Mr. Olive Mr. MacEwan

Mr. Morse Mr. Steele

Mr. MacIsaac Mr. Robert Chisholm

Mr. DeWolfe Mr. Epstein

Mr. Taylor Mr. Pye

Mr. Dooks

Mr. Langille

Mr. Chataway

Mr. Clarke

Mr. Hendsbee

Mrs. Baillie

Mr. Carey

Mr. Morash

Mr. Chipman

Mr. Barnet

Mr. O'Donnell

Mr. Hurlburt

THE CLERK: For, 30. Against, 18.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried. (Applause)

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I request concurrence of the House to revert to the order of business, Presenting Reports of Committees.

[7:30 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 8866]

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, as Chairman of the Committee on Law Amendments, I am directed to report that the committee has met and considered the following bill:

Bill No. 98 - Volunteer Protection Act.

and the committee recommends this bill to the favourable consideration of the House, with certain amendments.

MR. SPEAKER: Ordered that this bill be referred to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move the House do now adjourn to meet on the morrow at the hour of 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 a.m. The order of business (Interruption) That would make for rather a long day, so we will consider 3:00 p.m. and the order of business will be Public Bills for Second Reading and we will continue with debate on the Financial Measures (2002) Act.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

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

[The House rose at 7:31 p.m.]

[Page 8867]

RESOLUTION NO. 3424

By: Mr. William Estabrooks (Timberlea-Prospect)

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

Whereas students in a growing constituency deserve to go to schools that are not overcrowded; and

Whereas the number of portable classrooms continues to grow throughout the Timberlea-Prospect constituency; and

Whereas area residents, particularly on the Hammonds Plains Road, want a clear plan for schools;

Therefore be it resolved that this government inform the residents of the growing constituency of Timberlea-Prospect about its plans for schools to serve them.

RESOLUTION NO. 3425

By: Hon. Michael Baker (Justice)

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

Whereas the J.B. Morrow Invitational Hockey Tournament was held March 15th to March 17th at the War Memorial Arena in Lunenburg; and

Whereas the tournament raised over $1,000 for local charities; and

Whereas the High Liner Foods team won the Division A trophy after a shootout finish with a team from the Lunenburg Fire Department;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House thank the organizers of the J.B. Morrow Invitational Hockey Tournament and congratulate the winning High Liner team.

RESOLUTION NO. 3426

By: Mr. William Langille (Colchester North)

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

[Page 8868]

Whereas the name Tatamagouche is derived from takumegooch and was adopted by the first European settlers, the Acadians; and

Whereas takumegooch in the Mi'kmaq language means to lie across, which referred to the French and Waugh Rivers meeting at angles nearby; and

Whereas 11 settlers, including the families of Tattrie, Mattatall, Langille and Millard who all have family descendants residing in Tatamagouche today, first settled in the area in 1771 and 1772, and were later followed by Wellwood Waugh whose three sons built the first ship in Tatamagouche in 1790; and

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs recognize the rich history behind the great village of Tatamagouche and plan to visit whenever possible.

RESOLUTION NO. 3427

By: Mr. Cecil Clarke (Cape Breton North)

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

Whereas the A&E Television Network hosted its second annual Canadian Biography of the Year Contest, where participants composed an essay on who they believed had the most substantial impact on Canadian society in 2001; and

Whereas Gillian MacMullin, a Grade 8 student at Malcolm Munroe Memorial Junior High School, was the first-place winner in the Grades 5 through 8 category for her essay on the positive impact of volunteers on Canadian society; and

Whereas for her excellent essay, Ms. MacMullin receives a prize of $2,500, which she plans to save to go towards her post-secondary education in veterinarian studies;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Gillian MacMullin on her first- place winning essay and wish her the best of luck in her future studies and literary success.

RESOLUTION NO. 3428

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

[Page 8869]

Whereas the Province of Nova Scotia recently held its annual Provincial Volunteer Awards Day Ceremony and Luncheon at the Westin Hotel in Halifax; and

Whereas several Nova Scotians were recognized for their many hours of giving of their time and effort to family, friends, neighbourhoods and communities, thereby making Nova Scotia a better place to live; and

Whereas Eleanor Beaton of Springhill was recognized by being the provincial nominee for the Town of Springhill for her countless hours given to the Cancer Society, her work through the United Baptist Church and, as well, much assistance to many people who require her services and assistance, and for various other tasks;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature congratulate Eleanor Beaton on being chosen as Springhill's volunteer of the year and wish her many more years of continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 3429

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas this week, the family and friends of Dr. Arnold Burden of Springhill will gather to help Arnold celebrate his 80th birthday; and

Whereas Dr. Burden is well known for his many years of service to the people and community of Springhill, as he served as a family physician for 38 years, as well as five years overseas with No. 7 general hospital as a medical officer; as well as a very active member of the Royal Canadian Legion, where he assisted veterans in many ways, Remembrance Day programs, school visits speaking to students; and a member of the Rotary Club of Springhill, receiving the highest award, the Paul Harris Fellow Award; and

Whereas Dr. Burden has written a book about Springhill, "Fifty Years of Emergencies," describing his experiences as a young boy, a doctor and a mine rescuer, as he played a major role in going underground to help rescue many trapped miners, and today he still continues to volunteer on the Miner's Museum Committee and other community organizations in Springhill;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature thank and congratulate Dr. Arnold Burden of Springhill for his many years of service to his province and country, and wish him many years of health and happiness.

[Page 8870]

RESOLUTION NO. 3430

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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; and

Whereas the 2002 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards were 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 Karen Dickinson, representing the Municipality of the County of Cumberland, was named a Provincial Representative Volunteer in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions spanning three decades, such as Cumberland Development Corporation, Advisory Committee for the Nova Scotia Community College Cumberland Campus, Chair of the All Saints Community Health Care Foundation and many more;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Karen Dickinson 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. 3431

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 Peewee AA Cumberland MacDonald Macs have become the Nova Scotia Minor Hockey Council provincial champions at the competition recently held in Truro; and

Whereas goaltender Kenny Terris received much of the credit in this victory for his outstanding performance; and

Whereas Kenny was also named top goalie of the tournament;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Cumberland Macs on their triumph in the Nova Scotia Minor Hockey Council Championships, and also Kenny Terris for the special honour he received of top goalie.

[Page 8871]

RESOLUTION NO. 3432

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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 were 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 Mabel Lowther, representing the Town of Oxford, was 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 Mabel Lowther 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. 3433

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 Wendy's Classic Achievers Scholarship Awards Program began six years ago with many students from the Maritime schools being recognized; and

Whereas principals of these schools are asked to nominate one male and one female student who they feel are outstanding "classic achievers" based on sport, academic and community achievement; and

Whereas one of these students who has excelled and has been chosen as a classic achiever finalist is Stacey Rector of Oxford Regional High School, Oxford, Cumberland County, for her many accomplishments in her life;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Stacey Rector and wish her all the best in her future endeavours.

[Page 8872]

RESOLUTION NO. 3434

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Anne Murray continues to be a great ambassador for Nova Scotia as she follows her singing career throughout the world; and

Whereas the Anne Murray Centre has depicted the life of Springhill's daughter as she grew up in this Nova Scotia town, drawing thousands of fans and tourists to the community each year; and

Whereas August 3, 2002 has been declared Anne Murray Day in Springhill to acknowledge and celebrate the career of this wonderful Nova Scotian who will be at the centre on that day to welcome visitors;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Anne Murray on a very successful career and wish her many more years of success.

RESOLUTION NO. 3435

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 Nova Scotia School Athletics Federation Division IV girl's basketball championship was recently held in Oxford; and

Whereas Advocate District High School Lady Coyotes won the Division IV title, defeating Oxford High in a close 55-53 point overtime game; and

Whereas this is the second consecutive Division IV title for the Coyotes and I was honoured to present the co-captains, Carrie Nuttall and Joanna Reid, with their team's championship banner;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Advocate District High School Lady Coyotes basketball team on their second consecutive championship, and wish them all the luck in achieving a Division IV championship hat trick.

[Page 8873]

RESOLUTION NO. 3436

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 Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 45, has recently celebrated its 70th Anniversary; and

Whereas the anniversary was commemorated with an Open House and buffet lunch in Parrsboro; and

Whereas I was honoured to present a certificate of recognition to Branch President Bill Connors on the occasion;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Branch 45 of the Royal Canadian Legion on their latest milestone, and hope they have many more.

RESOLUTION NO. 3437

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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 volunteers are being recognized throughout Nova Scotia this past week for their commitment to community and province; and

Whereas Freda Cochrane, representing the County of Cumberland, was named as one of Cumberland County's volunteers in recognition of significant community volunteer work and contributions such as Director of the Age of Sail Heritage Museum board, a strong supporter of Grace United Church, a life member of UCW, treasurer and member of the Session Committee, and supporter of FPW Volunteer Fire Department;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Freda Cochrane for being named a Cumberland County Volunteer for 2002 and offer thanks for the continued hard work and dedication she continues to offer.

[Page 8874]

RESOLUTION NO. 3438

By: Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas Belle Grant-Fairn is stepping down as President of the Annapolis East Unit of the Canadian Cancer Society; and

Whereas Ms. Grant-Fairn, who has served as president of the organization for the past nine years, says she wants to move aside to allow room for someone new and fresh; and

Whereas Liz England, who will be taking over the presidential duties in October, is Chair of the Daffodil Campaign and has been volunteering for the past 10 years;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Liz England on becoming President of the Annapolis East Unit of the Canadian Cancer Society, and thank Belle Grant-Fairn for all of her hard work and dedication over the past nine years and wish her well in years to come.

RESOLUTION NO. 3439

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 James (Jim) Ritcy of Dartmouth passed away on April 24, 2002, in peace and with the comfort of his family and loved ones by his side; and

Whereas a family man, Jim was a loving husband and father who took great pride and joy in his grandchildren; and

Whereas a co-owner of Dominion Diving Ltd. for 32 years, Jim was active in his community and an enthusiastic and valuable member of a range of business, industry and sport associations;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in acknowledging the tremendous contributions and life of Jim Ritcy and extend their condolences to his wife, Linda, his children and grandchildren.

[Page 8875]

RESOLUTION NO. 3440

By: Mr. Timothy Olive (Dartmouth South)

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

Whereas the Order of Canada is awarded on behalf of all Canadians to recognize people whose life's work has made a significant impact on this country; and

Whereas Robert Ackman of Dartmouth, a research professor at Dalhousie University, is one of Canada's leading oil chemists, has dedicated over 50 years of his life to the science and understanding of the biochemistry of oils, fats and lipids, and has recently been inducted into the Order of Canada; and

Whereas his research is highly acclaimed and credited with important developments in the canola oil and fish farming industries with raising public awareness about the nutritional value of fish oils, and for innovating the chromatographic method, which is used worldwide;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Robert Ackman on the national honour of induction into the Order of Canada and thank him for his dedication to science, which has brought credit to our country and province.

RESOLUTION NO. 3441

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 Glace Bay's 11-year-old singing sensation, Aselin Debison, released her debut album, The Littlest Angel, just prior to Christmas 2001; and

Whereas Ms. Debison has recently signed a major recording contract with Sony Classical International after last month's East Coast Music Awards; and

Whereas a deal is in the works with the Nova Scotia Film Development Corporation for a television special featuring the rising star;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Ms. Debison on the incredible opportunities - now before her thanks to her amazing talent - being presented to her and wish her great success in the many years before her.

[Page 8876]

RESOLUTION NO. 3442

By: Mr. Cecil Clarke (Cape Breton North)

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

Whereas the Sydney Mines Heritage Society has been working hard to get the museum complex ready and open for the busy tourist season ahead; and

Whereas the museum complex has been steadily growing, and the society is working toward expanding its fossil and learning centre; and

Whereas this complex is also the home base for a project creating a museum information system that is cataloguing pictures and details of an extensive collection of plant fossils, minerals and coal, and making the information available through the World Wide Web to students and scientists everywhere;

Therefore be it resolved that this House wish the Sydney Mines Heritage Society all the best in the upcoming tourist season and encourage its members to continue to develop the museum complex in Sydney Mines.

RESOLUTION NO. 3443

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 the Master Breeders Award is considered one of Canada's top farming awards; and

Whereas the owners of Brook Villa Farm, the Campbell brothers from Brook Village, Inverness County, will be going to Quebec City on April 26th to receive the award, the highest achievement for the breeding of Holstein cattle; and

Whereas Brook Villa Farm is home to approximately 175 Holstein cattle, 70 of them milking cows and the rest heifers and calves;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs applaud the efforts of Brook Villa Farm in Inverness County, which were awarded with this prestigious honour, and wish them continued success as purebred breeders of Holstein cattle.