Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

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21 septembre 2017

HANSARD 03-12

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://nslegislature.ca/index.php/proceedings/hansard/

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Third Session

FRIDAY, APRIL 11, 2003

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS 851
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 552, Drug Awareness - Mainland North Commun.: Poster Contest -
Congrats., Hon. Rodney MacDonald 852
Vote - Affirmative 852
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 553, Hamm Gov't. - FOIPOP: Secrecy Increase - Remember,
Mr. M. Samson 853
Res. 554, Paul, Chief Terry/Membertou First Nation -
C.B. Reg. Hosp. Fdn.: Donation - Congrats., Mr. R. MacKinnon 853
Vote - Affirmative 854
Res. 555, RCL - War Memorials: Defacement - Condemn,
Mr. W. Langille 854
Vote - Affirmative 855
Res. 556, Health - Gov't. (N.S.): Investment Priority - Importance,
Dr. J. Smith 855
Res. 557, Firearms Act - Liberal MLAs (N.S.): Constituents' Views -
Represent, Mr. B. Taylor 856
Res. 558, Pierce, Michelle: Paramedic of Yr. Award - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Baker 856
Vote - Affirmative 857
SPEAKER'S RULING: Pamphlet advertising details on matters not yet dealt with
by House. (Pt. of privilege by Mr. D. Wilson [Hansard p.31, 08/04/03]) 857
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
ON MOTION FOR SUPPLY:
Mr. W. Estabrooks 858
Mr. R. MacKinnon 862
Mr. B. Taylor 865
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON SUPPLY AT 9:58 A.M. 869
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 1:59 P.M. 869
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Mon., Apr. 14th at 2:00 p.m. 870
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 559, McMillan, D&J: Springhill Business of Yr. Award - Congrats.,
The Speaker 871
Res. 560, McLeod, Jeffrey: UNB Dean's List - Congrats., The Speaker 871
Res. 561, McKay, Dave: Pineapple Award - Congrats., The Speaker 872
Res. 562, Myatt, Vivian - Oxford Town: Service Award (22 Yrs.) -
Congrats., The Speaker 872
Res. 563, Guyette, Jackie: Golden Jubilee Medal - Congrats.,
The Speaker 873
Res. 564, Johnson, Bud: Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal - Congrats.,
The Speaker 873
Res. 565, Jewkes, Sonya/Girls @ The Junction: Prog. - Congrats.,
The Speaker 874

[Page 851]

HALIFAX, FRIDAY, APRIL 11, 2003

Fifty-eighth General Assembly

Third Session

9:00 A.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Murray Scott

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

Mr. Brooke Taylor, Mr. Kevin Deveaux, Mr. David Wilson

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Before we begin the daily routine, the honourable member for Cape Breton West on an introduction.

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I would like to introduce to you and through you to all members of the House a very distinguished businessman from the Town of New Waterford who is here to observe the proceedings of the day. Mr. Basil MacGillivray is sitting in the west gallery. By the way, I guess most people know Mr. MacGillivray is a nominated Liberal candidate and next Liberal MLA for Cape Breton Centre. I would ask if all members would give the appropriate applause to Mr. MacGillivray as he rises. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We certainly welcome Mr. MacGillivray to the gallery today and hope he enjoys the proceedings.

We will begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

851

[Page 852]

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 552

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

Whereas nearly two years ago we decided, as a government, that it was time to take serious action against tobacco, at which time we initiated the tobacco strategy; and

Whereas nearly two years ago Nova Scotia had the highest rate of smoking in all of Canada, but in the last two years that rate has dropped by 9 per cent, down to 21 per cent; in the last four years teen smoking dropped 13 per cent; and

Whereas we have an extraordinary network of community volunteers throughout the province all working toward a single goal: to create a healthier, smoke-free Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House applaud the volunteers of the Mainland North Local Committee on Drug Awareness for organizing an anti-smoking poster contest, and congratulate the participants who are all winners in light of their increased awareness of the benefits of being a non-smoker.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

[Page 853]

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 553

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 John Hamm Government's decision to drastically increase FOIPOP fees is based on no other reason than to prevent the public from accessing documents and holding this government accountable; and

Whereas with the recent statistics showing a 26 per cent decrease in applications over the last year, because of the onerous fees, the John Hamm Government has achieved its intended goal of reducing access to information; and

Whereas such an action of denying Nova Scotians access to government information clearly demonstrates an example of this government's failure to honour a promise on being elected by the people of the province, and that is to be accountable;

Therefore be it resolved that the Hamm Government be remembered in future history books as a government that fostered greater secrecy and undermined public scrutiny of government information.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 554

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

[Page 854]

Whereas Chief Terry Paul, on behalf of Membertou First Nation, made a $25,000 donation to the Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation to assist in the purchase of an MRI machine and bone densitometer; and

Whereas there is a serious need for a bone densitometer and MRI in the Cape Breton region;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Chief Terry Paul and residents of Membertou First Nation for their generous contribution.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Colchester North.

RESOLUTION NO. 555

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

Whereas the Royal Canadian Legion wants war memorials, such as cenotaphs that were erected to honour soldiers who died fighting to protect our freedom, declared off-limits to protesters; and

Whereas recently, protesters opposing the war in Iraq defaced the monument in the Grand Parade, that stands in respect of those killed, causing many veterans to question whether or not these few truly understand the importance of the cenotaph; and

Whereas the Legions are urging police to arrest those found defacing our memorials, and step up surveillance of the cenotaph, when protests are taking place nearby;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House condemn the actions of those who are defacing our war memorials and disheartening our veterans, and stand behind the Royal Canadian Legion in the pursuit of justice against those few protesters.

[Page 855]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 556

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

Whereas yesterday it was revealed that the Minister of Health conveniently forgot the additional $20 million in CHST she received for health care this fiscal year from Ottawa, as a result of the 2000 federal health accord; and

Whereas this $20 million, added to the $120 million the government received from Ottawa as a result of the 2003 health accord, means that Nova Scotia's contribution of new political health dollars is a mere $300,000; and

Whereas a provincial investment of $300,000 in health proves that the government does not place health care as its priority;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Health stand in her place and state that investing in a sustainable health care system was not a priority of this provincial government.

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.

[Page 856]

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 557

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

Whereas many hundreds of constituents from the provincial ridings of Richmond, Glace Bay and Cape Breton West are opposed to the federal Liberals' Firearms Act; and

Whereas as well, hundreds and hundreds of Nova Scotians from the constituencies of Cape Breton South, Clare, Dartmouth East, Victoria and Cape Breton Nova are against this catastrophic $1 billion boondoggle; and

Whereas the members of this Legislative Assembly for these provincial ridings appear to be still under a gag order that was imposed by their former Leaders, Mr. Savage and Mr. MacLellan;

Therefore be it resolved that this House encourage the Liberal MLAs to represent the hundreds and hundreds of their constituents who support this government's position that a moratorium be placed on the Firearms Act and quickly write to the federal Solicitor General and clearly indicate the appropriate position, or at the very least apologize to their constituents for not representing them.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works.

RESOLUTION NO. 558

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

Whereas the Paramedic of the Year award is handed out annually by the Nova Scotia College of Paramedics; and

[Page 857]

Whereas this year's honour went to Michelle Pierce, who is an intermediate care paramedic working for Emergency Medical Care Inc. in the Mahone Bay-Lunenburg area; and

Whereas Ms. Pierce is an active community member and works hard on promotion and improvement of pre-hospital care;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Michelle Pierce on the receipt of the Nova Scotia College of Paramedics' Paramedic of the Year award and wish her success in her future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

Order, please.

SPEAKERS RULING: Pamphlet advertising details on matters not yet dealt with by the House. (Pt. of privilege by Mr. David Wilson [Hansard p. 31, 08/04/03])

MR. SPEAKER: Before we go to Orders of the Day, I would like to bring a decision before the House. The honourable member for Glace Bay rose on a point of personal privilege on Tuesday, April 8th. The crux of the member's complaint was that a public pamphlet, produced by the government, breached the privileges of the House and its members in that it, among other things, set out details of the Taxpayer Refund Program and personal income tax rates, when these matters had not been fully dealt with by the House.

The honourable member relied on a decision of the Speaker of the Ontario House on somewhat similar facts in making his submission. I have looked very carefully at the Ontario decision and I've come to the conclusion that the Ontario Speaker found no prima facie case of breach of privilege on the facts of that matter. I too find there is no prima facie breach of

privilege and the decision is available for any of the members who would like a copy.

[Page 858]

[9:15 a.m.]

ORDERS OF THE DAY

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

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

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, this morning I want, during the business of the House, for a few moments, to talk about an important issue in my community. It's an issue of some personal significance, professional, and I dare say political significance and that is, of course, the topic of Sir John A. Macdonald High School, the delays, the compromises that now this frustrated community has to endure. I know there were members on this side of the House, I know particularly the member for Cape Breton Centre, who has spoken at length, has spoken with passion about the concerns of the school in Dominion and how the people in that community and the people in his constituency have been held hostage by this government and by that Minister of Education. I have heard the member for Halifax Fairview speak about the importance of schools in his growing community.

We all know the significance of schools. We all know how important they are, but I want members present to know that this is more than just politics. This is the school where I began my teaching career. This is the school where my two fabulous daughters graduated from. This is the school where I recommended numerous young people over the years for various awards. This is the school that the astronaut, Mr. Hatfield, visited the other day. The only school in Nova Scotia visited by the Canadian astronaut was Sir John A. Macdonald High School.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Would the honourable member allow for a very important introduction?

[Page 859]

MR. ESTABROOKS: I shall.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, in the east gallery today we have 34 members of the Halifax Regional School Board's Adult English as a Second Language class visiting here today. Their leaders are Donna MacIntyre and Judy Terrio. I wonder if they would please stand and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: I certainly welcome our very special guests to the gallery today and hope they enjoy the proceedings and thank you to the honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect who now has the floor.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Welcome to this historic Legislature. This important topic that I know these young people are concerned about are safe schools, schools that our children in this province have the right and privilege to attend. I want to make it clear with the members opposite and the current Minister of Education, promises were made and now promises must be kept. The concern is that this morning, in the morning newspaper I received, Cheek-by-jowl at Sir John A., "Gym delays puts much-needed expansion plan at cramped school behind schedule", and I want to table that for the interest of the Minister of Education and the members of this House.

Now, I had the privilege, along with the member for Sackville-Beaver Bank, the Minister of Education and the Premier of this province, to attend a meeting in the community of Hammonds Plains at which time, Mr. Speaker, there was a very important announcement on a very needed middle school throughout the community, an elementary school (Interruption) Thank you, a P to 9 school in the community of Hammonds Plains. That community has for many years put up with frustrations and portables. At the same time, during that news conference, it was said there would be eight other announcements of new schools during the upcoming months.

My question for you, Mr. Speaker, and for the Minister of Education, although I know this is not Question Period, eight new schools, money available, now tell me why my community, the growing community of Timberlea-Prospect, has to compromise when it comes to their plans for their school - a 36-year-old high school that we didn't even have the opportunity to attend during the last year because it was under an environmental review and over $4 million was used to move those kids out of that school - an important decision. I congratulated the previous Minister of Education on numerous occasions.

Let's look at the history of this decision. The deputy minister, the high profile Deputy Minister of Education came into our community and he laid out the options. You would have to wait so many years for a new high school, you can, however, go on some kind of split shift situation with other schools, there will be an environmental refit, you will get as good

[Page 860]

as a new high school in your community. The community, the School Advisory Council under the leadership of Sarah Nightingale, made a tough decision. It wasn't a decision that I necessarily agreed with. I can tell you I believe the communities of Timberlea-Prospect deserve a new high school and under no circumstances will we allow another project to jump the queue.

If there are further announcements of new schools during the next upcoming months in this House, I will assure our Sergeant-at-Arms, he'll have to take me out here in a straight jacket. Because under no circumstances will my community allow Sir John A. Macdonald to be put on the back burner. Under no circumstances.

We are in a situation where we cannot even deliver the basics of the public school program. The public school program of this province cannot be delivered in this high school. We cannot offer the physically active lifestyle course. During estimates I'll have more to say about that infamous course. Our cafeteria - with over 1,000 students - can sit at one time, 200 kids. We cannot hold our graduation in our own school. The gymnasium is absolutely inadequate. Most importantly, the classrooms at Sir John A. Macdonald High School are 650 square feet in size. Currently new schools that are being built or renovated, classrooms are 900 square feet in size.

If we have to put up with 35 and 38 students per class, the community that I have the privilege to represent should be treated fairly and equally, like the other communities across this province. Under no circumstances can the young people who attend Sir John A. Macdonald High School receive an equal education under these circumstances.

In particular, I want to quote directly from this document that I tabled earlier by Rick Conrad, the Education Reporter, "Right now, we have kids crammed shoulder to shoulder . . .", Sarah Nightingale said. We have students crammed shoulder to shoulder yet we are to put up with this inconvenience and this delay - we are talking about politics when it comes to building schools. That is unacceptable. A promise was made and a promise will be kept by this Minister of Education and by that Premier.

The community of Timberlea-Prospect will accept nothing less. Absolutely nothing less. The commitment was made by the Minister of Education at that time that we will receive as good as a new high school with renovations and additions. That commitment has to be fulfilled. I will assure you that the young people who attend that high school, the parents, the teachers will ensure that commitment will be fulfilled.

I want to draw attention to two outstanding young people in the community that I happen to know and I have heard from on many occasions. One is Lillian Drysdale from the community of Hatchett Lake. She's the co-president of Sir John A. Macdonald High School and in her travels to other high schools throughout the HRM and throughout the province, Lillian has had the opportunity to see other schools. Perhaps she's been to Cobequid

[Page 861]

Educational Centre. Cobequid Educational Centre - and I hope somebody from this renowned AIMS organization is listening to this old school principal - in my opinion is the best high school in this province. It is the best high school because of its extracurricular programs, because of its solid teaching staff, because of its support from the community. I don't care where AIMS put it on the list.

But what does Lillian Drysdale say when she sees CEC? What does she say when she sees Auburn Drive School? What does she say when she sees Horton High, or as we still call it, Harrison High? That equity among students is not there when they have to return to Sir John A. Macdonald. Sir John A. - the kids in that school call it their "welfare school". That's the term they use. The young people who attend that school describe their school as "the welfare school". As you know quite well, that is a term of derogatory connotations, but that's how they speak of their school. They have no lockers because they have no room in the hallway; they have inadequate gymnasiums; they have labs that don't work; they have crowded classrooms. That frustration, Mr. Speaker, will not be allowed to continue.

I want to talk about the other outstanding young man who I've had the opportunity to know, who is a Grade 12 student at Sir John A. Macdonald High School. His name is Ronnie Lee. Ronnie Lee lives in Greenwood Heights. Ronnie Lee is not political, but he said to me recently, Mr. Estabrooks, you get me the biggest NDP sign you can find and you put it right on our lawn. I will get it worked out with dad. Mr. Lee, who incidentally was a student of mine, the dad, has assured me that his son has every right, because he's going to be a first-time voter when that crowd over there has the courage to go to the polls. Let me tell you, that big sign decided by that student of Sir John A. Macdonald High School is on one reason alone that I and we deserve a better high school, says Ronnie Lee.

So when you have people of Ron Lee's age, Lillian Drysdale's age, becoming politically motivated, politically active, because if they see the frustrations that have happened in their community, let me tell you this is going to be the issue. The members of the Third Party can come out with all the signs they want, we build schools. I want to ask the members of the Third Party and their representatives in Timberlea-Prospect, where have you been for the last three and a half, four years? Where have you been through the struggles that we've had to put up with in this community? The answer is, they haven't been there. They haven't been to the community meetings. They haven't been speaking out.

To the credit of the previous Minister of Education, the previous Minister of Education knew the issue and addressed the issue. I have said publicly and privately to her on numerous occasions, I appreciate that. However, we now have a new Minister of Education, and that new Minister of Education has to step up, has to reassure the community, has to make sure that the lack of trust that has happened between the Department of Education and the community that I represent, that veil of distrust has to be lifted. It can be lifted by a clear statement that the commitment to the building of Sir John A. Macdonald High School, to the renovations of Sir John A. Macdonald High School will be on time, that

[Page 862]

they will be appropriate and they will be acceptable to the level that was originally agreed to so that the public school program in the community of Timberlea-Prospect can be delivered to the outstanding young people who we are fortunate enough to have live there. I thank you for your time, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise and speak going into Supply. I have a number of topics I would like to discuss here this morning. Number one is with regard to the issue of the Dominion School, as has been put forth before the House on a number of occasions, and the serious subsidence issue that has forced the closure of the Dominion High School, the MacDonald Complex as it's better known.

Mr. Speaker, less than two weeks ago the director of planning for the Cape Breton Regional Municipality made a pronouncement, which I found quite surprising and maybe a little disturbing. In his announcement with regard to the situation in Dominion, he also indicated there's a strong possibility that the elementary school in Donkin, Cape Breton, could also be adversely affected by subsidence. That particular school is in my constituency. Less than two years ago, the playground adjacent to the Donkin Elementary School was closed because of subsidence.

We have elementary children who have now been restricted from - I received a little message from heaven, so I'll send it back over to the Tory caucus, it's rabbit tracks. The problem here is that there is an air of uncertainty about what's going to happen with Donkin Elementary School. Will we find ourselves in a similar situation, as has happened in Dominion, where they will close that school and transfer the students to other communities? The question is, what is the federal government doing about it, because it's a subsidence issue? What is the provincial government doing, because that school, ultimately, was built by the province and there is a provincial responsibility? Of course, most of all, what about the rest of the community?

[9:30 a.m.]

I realize that the tar ponds and the coke ovens are major environmental issues, but if one wants to look at what has happened over the last number of years with the issue of subsidence, what we're facing now is only the tip of the iceberg. Prior to 1967, under the old Dominion Coal Company, Dominion Iron and Steel - but essentially the Dominion Coal Company, and prior to that it was the old British Coal Company, alike - a vast percentage of coal mining in Cape Breton was done underground, under the townships, it wasn't done out under the sea. Post-1967, when the federal government established the Cape Breton Development Corporation Act, coal mining from that date forward was done undersea.

[Page 863]

When that Act was proclaimed there was a provision to prevent the federal government from assuming any responsibility for subsidence under these townships. It also didn't address the issue of responsibility with the province and the government of the day under then Premier Robert Stanfield. So what happened is that the Towns of Dominion, New Waterford, Glace Bay, Donkin, Port Morien, as far over as Birch Grove, were left without any safety net whatsoever.

The estimated time - according to the engineers - that it would take for subsidence to really kick in, would be anywhere from 50 years to 100 years after coal mining has been executed in that general location. So if you go from 1967 to present day, we're getting dangerously close to a time frame where we are going to have major environmental problems in industrial Cape Breton, none of which we have seen the likes of. Not even the tar ponds or the coke ovens will even compare, unless substantive action, corrective measures are taken; and not just to deal with the flooding situation, I believe it was a mistake to allow those coal mines to be flooded in the way that they were.

What happened, knowing anything about the soil and the strata there, once the mines became flooded, the soil above the coal seams were somewhat of a rock/clay formation, and they became very soft and the ground started to collapse. The support systems with that flooding was just not enough to prevent the damage, and that's why we have the problem with the MacDonald Complex in Dominion. Notwithstanding the fact that the government built that school, despite the fact that the engineers, the experts, said it was very dangerous to build it there. Yet, Premier Buchanan wanted to build it there because he thought he could win the seat, that was the real reason, any which way you cut it. Now that doesn't mean to say that Dominion shouldn't have had a high school, but it shouldn't have had it in that location and the experts were ignored because of the political gamesmanship that took place at that particular time.

Now, let's switch over to Donkin, Mr. Speaker. What's going to happen if the director of planning for the Cape Breton Regional Municipality is correct? What is the province going to do? What has it done since that public pronouncement? We haven't heard one word from the provincial government as to what it's going to do. I've heard suggestions about a provincial insurance subsidence program. Well, let's be realistic. If you took every homeowner, every property owner in all these mining towns and they each paid $100 a year, all it would take is one subsidence claim to wipe out every dollar that would have been paid into that. So it's unrealistic to expect the individual homeowners and the landowners and the people in those communities to accept that responsibility because government is shirking its responsibility.

Mr. Speaker, ultimately, mineral claims in this province are owned by the province. They are the ownership, they are the province's property and they were leased to the federal government under certain terms and conditions. The province is just hoping that this issue will go away and they won't have to deal with it. The federal government has a major

[Page 864]

responsibility here as well but what we've seen so far is bureaucrats taking the lead on the issue of, well, let's deal with the flooding issue, let's put the pumps on and get the water levels down in the mines. Well, that only addresses one small fraction of what the real problem is. Who's going to compensate these landowners, these homeowners? Who's going to assist them when the value of their homes is in jeopardy? Who's going to help those people if there's a major subsidence issue where somebody is seriously injured or killed?

That's not fearmongering, Mr. Speaker, and I will give you a clear example of why it's a major concern. Not too long ago, on Dominion Street in Glace Bay, there was a sinkhole there that would fill the best part of this entire Chamber, and it took several days for the responsible authorities to have that filled in. There was another one not too many years back, maybe three or four years, on Sterling Road, and I went and I witnessed that sinkhole. That sinkhole had to be at least 30- to 40-feet deep and it was at least 200-feet long. You could drive down the street and all of a sudden it stops, you've got a hole and you have a hole for another 200 feet and then you have the street continuing again. This is serious; this is a serious issue. I'm curious as to why the Minister of Natural Resources has said and done absolutely nothing and I'm also curious as to why the Minister of Environment and Labour has said and done absolutely nothing.

Now what does it take for this government to do anything? Why is it that just the bureaucrats - yes, staff from the Department of Natural Resources have been working with some of the stakeholders, the bureaucrats who are employed from the Cape Breton Development Corporation or for the various agencies that have been commissioned from the private sector to deal with the flooding issues, but they're not addressing the major problems that confront these people. I think it's shameful that these people are left to their own devices.

Mr. Speaker, we will recall what happened in Pictou County several years back when homes started sinking in the coal shafts, well, the provincial government of the day, they provided a compensation plan for those residents. If it's good enough for the residents in Pictou County, why is not good enough for the residents in other jurisdictions, whether it be Cape Breton County, Cumberland County or what have you?

Mr. Speaker, I know you would be very familiar with the issue of subsidence in and around Springhill and down towards Parrsboro and so on. We need the government to step forward and stop hiding behind this maze of bureaucrats who are only dealing with the stop-gap measure. The flooding issue has been backed up so much, and it's such a complex inner network, it's almost like the blood vessels in your system, one is always connected to the other. That's the same with the coal mines in Cape Breton. If you're dealing with the flooding issue at, let's say, 1B or No. 5, you're also dealing with flooding in at least five to six other coal mines.

[Page 865]

It all started back when they shut off the pumps at 1B, back when Ernie Boutilier was the President of Devco, at that time, and chairman of the board. The board of directors said, no, we're going to shut that off because we can save several hundred thousand dollars a year by shutting it off. Yes, they may have saved several hundred thousand dollars on the bottom line for that fiscal year, but what they've done is created millions of dollars of future costs for the residents, for the government and, yes, for the taxpayers of Nova Scotians, and indeed for the taxpayers of Canada.

I'm not an expert in coal mining. The only time I visited a coal mine, I went to the face of the Phalen coal mine when I was Minister of Labour, when it was in operation. It was amazing to watch. The scary part is a week later the coal mine collapsed. The deputy and I were there and it's by the grace of God, perhaps, that we were there and we left before that happened. I can only imagine what these people are going through.

Mr. Speaker, I realize my time has pretty well expired. I thank you for the opportunity to raise this important issue before the House.

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

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, it is with a great deal of pleasure that I rise today to make some remarks about a topic that perhaps hasn't been spoken about a whole lot in this Nova Scotia Legislature. Yesterday I had an opportunity to travel to Truro to engage and participate in the Truro & Area Drug Awareness Awards ceremony that was held at Colchester Royal Canadian Legion Branch 26. I can't think of a more fitting place than the Colchester Legion to hold the ceremonies. As you know, a lot of young men and women have sacrificed a lot for the peace and democracy and freedom that we enjoy today. With the unrest going on in the world today, I think it's appropriate that from time to time we do commend our young men and women, especially the young men and women who sacrifice so much to preserve the peace and freedom and democracy that we enjoy, and the rights that we have as Canadians.

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Truro Police Service was well represented at this function. I have had an opportunity over the last several years to work with the Truro Police Service. That police department is very community-minded. A lot of times we don't recognize just how valuable and important our police service is. I know the Truro Police Service promotes a number of initiatives that mean a lot to people in Colchester County and the Truro area. They have a benefit hockey game once or twice through the winter, and the proceeds go to underprivileged children. They go to the Colchester Workshop Foundation. They also have a safe grad for the Cobequid Educational Centre program that they support and they have Cops for Cancer, of course, where the police officers and some other dignitaries, if they're so inclined, will get their head shaved to raise funds for those who have the misfortune of being inflicted with that dreadful disease - cancer.

[Page 866]

[9:45 a.m.]

Yesterday the Truro Deputy Police Chief, a constituent of mine, Glenn Rogers, was in attendance at this Drug Awareness Award Ceremony. The councillor for Colchester County for that area was there. The Bible Hill Village Commissioner, and I think he's the Chairman of the Bible Hill Village Commission, Wayne McCormick, was in attendance and former Truro Police Service Community Public Relation Officer, Dennis Wright. Mr. Speaker, I believe that you know Dennis, Dennis was in attendance. Dennis is now retired, but everybody in Truro and beyond knows Dennis Wright. Dennis has done an awful lot of work with the young people in the Truro area and representing the RCMP, a gentleman, Constable Al Hanlon, was in attendance and Al has done a lot of good work and continues to do a lot of good work, not only with drug awareness but through Neighbourhood Watch and different community programs that serve to protect and enhance our communities.

Mr. Speaker, I know a young student going to school, a number of young students, but I know one particular student, she's a good student, she's on the soccer team, she is in the drama club but, unfortunately, as far as I'm concerned, she smokes a little weed now and then except the now and then has shifted from now and then to every weekend and now to two or three times a week and after school. At first weed seemed to calm her down before a big game of soccer or before the big rehearsal for her plays, but one night not too long ago she was feeling really anxious, her pulse was racing. We had an opportunity to speak with her. She was really bothered. Her head was spinning and her pulse was racing, like I said, and she indicated that her drug dealer had changed. She also discovered that several of her peers and several of her friends were feeling the same way. The local police in the area attributed her problem to a pesticide residue that is on the marijuana plants.

That's just one of several dangers, Mr. Speaker, that people may encounter if they smoke marijuana. Now, in the past 20 years I'm told, and you don't have to be a rocket scientist to pick up different publications that reference marijuana growing, but apparently marijuana has undergone a lot of sophistication that would literally make your head spin. Apparently if you smoke hydroponically grown marijuana, or joint, the THC levels in the weed have increased from 3 per cent to somewhere between 10 per cent and 12 per cent and the new grow houses use the pesticides apparently because there are spider mites that love this marijuana plant and the pesticides that are so harmful are added and increased in amounts that are applied. The growers are not very careful about removing the residual chemicals and some users have found themselves in hospital after being poisoned by smoking the powerful plant. So I think that's important information that our children must know about today.

The RCMP through DARE, Mr. Speaker, Drug Abuse Resistance Education, are promoting some of the safe initiatives and safe ways that young people can deal with all the pressures and things that they encounter as school children. So my hat is tipped to the RCMP, the police services and the drug counsellors who are working with our young people.

[Page 867]

Yesterday nine young Colchester area students received awards that were a consequence of participating in a poster contest and there were hundreds and hundreds of posters received by the facilitators of the poster contest. It was very difficult for the judges to narrow it down to nine young people and it was really nice to see these nine students from Primary through to Grade 6 come forward and receive the commendation and congratulations and awards that they deserved.

I was very honoured to attend that ceremony, I was able to bring regrets from the MLA for Truro-Bible Hill, the Minister of Justice, who has attended these ceremonies in years past and, of course, for the MLA for Colchester North. Our Whip, the honourable member for Pictou East, trying to make sure that he has a quorum, can only afford, at times, to let one of us go away, so I won the flip of the coin, so to speak.

Core training of the DARE program takes place in the latter stages of elementary school through to Grade 6, and young people, according to the experts, use drugs to feel grown up or use drugs to fit in and feel that it relaxes them somehow to feel good and sometimes they want to take risks and they want to rebel. Sometimes they just do it to satisfy curiosity. But if you stop and think about it, with everything going on in today's society, it is a shame that children feel drugs are the only answer as a result of them feeling the way that I previously have referenced. As parents, I don't believe we can do enough.

Studies show that children who are the least at risk from using drugs have warm, affectionate ties with their parents. They have strong bonds with family, with school, with police services. They feel they can discuss rules and limits with their parents and have a clear idea of what is expected of them. Children must receive encouragement for good behaviour, as well as consequences for breaking rules. I believe that children who have a parent or guardian who spends a lot of time with them, who joins them in activities and provides guidance in developing social skills and a strong self image, can find out that you can stand up and say no and no definitely does mean no. There is a lot of pressure, it's a busy world out there, not only for us but for our young people.

I just wanted to point out that if we can, as individuals, as parents, as politicians and as police officers, just keep one child from getting hooked on drugs, I think it's something that we can be very proud of and it's something that we can never forget for the rest of our lives.

Again, I was very pleased to attend that drug awareness awards ceremony up in Truro yesterday and I'm very pleased that so many individuals from high-profile places, like the Village Commission of Bible Hill, the Truro Police Services, provided so much inspiration and leadership to our young people.

[Page 868]

Again, I want to thank the Whip of this caucus for providing me with the opportunity to travel there and engage in such a very important function, to meet and talk to young people and to observe and experience and acknowledge all the hard work that community leaders - the teachers too have to be recognized. The teachers in our classrooms right across Nova Scotia from the north to the south from the east to the west, the teachers are providing a lot of leadership to students. There are young people who are in trouble and having difficulties and I'm encouraged to know that we have organizations out there, whether it's the police services or fellow parents who are working so hard to work with our young people to keep them off drugs. Drugs can kill. There's no question about it.

Mr. Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity just to speak on that topic. It was very important.

Shifting gears a little bit, just last evening we had an opportunity in this Legislature to debate a resolution that was brought forward, I believe, by the NDP, about transportation. While it would be on record in the late debate, I would like to again reiterate that I was very pleased that our government and caucus supported a program called The Rural Impact Mitigation program - or, RIM, Mr. Speaker, roll up the rim to win. When we're talking about fairness, and I can recall when the Liberals were the government of the day, especially from 1993 through to 1998, how the former Transportation Ministers, Mann and Huskilson, would go out of their way, quite frankly, to shut out the ridings that were held by Tory members as far as receiving any support. In fact, you could hardly get a centimetre or a teaspoon of asphalt to fill a bloody pothole, that's how parochial and mean-spirited they were.

In fact, when they became the minority government, Clifford Huskilson, the then-Minister of Transportation, he used to come up and he would say this about every other month: Now what did you say that road was; where did you say that road was; from where to where? He didn't realize and recognize that he was working - they operated in that minority government as if they were a majority. They said, to heck with you guys, and then they wonder why they're sitting over there. I remember that former Minister of Transportation, as if I haven't told him once, twice, three, four, 100 times where that section of road was that so desperately needed to be repaired.

Mr. Speaker, it was from Middle Musquodoboit, Halifax County, to Upper Musquodoboit, going by the largest sawmill in this province. A road to industry, payroll taxes, between 300 and 400 people working there, and that former government turned their back on the citizens of Nova Scotia in Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley. They should be absolutely ashamed of themselves. Then it was so ironic, yesterday the member for Richmond, the present member for Richmond, had the audacity to get up on his pins and beg and plead and criticize, not only the present Minister of Health but also the Minister of Transportation and Public Works for not paving more in Richmond. Well, he better go talk to his predecessor about some of the roads he paved; probably now the chickens are coming

[Page 869]

home to roost and they do need to be repaved. But do you know what? We're treating Nova Scotia fair. (Interruptions)

The RIM program - they did not have any program where each Department of Transportation and Public Works base in this province, even in the constituency of Clare, they receive proportionally, based on the number of gravel and asphalt roads they have, funds to provide some shoulder spreading, some ditching, some bush-cutting and some paving, every riding of the 52 ridings across this province. But they couldn't come in with a program that provided fairness. No, they were parochial, they were political, and they tried to shut out the Tory ridings. Now we bring in a program where the riding of Glace Bay, for example, receives, through the RIM program, on a proportional basis, based on the roads - the riding of Richmond does, the riding of Glace Bay, the riding of Cape Breton West, the riding of Clare, the riding of Cape Breton Nova . . .

MR. DAVID WILSON: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Just to remind the member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, there are no provincial roads in Glace Bay.

MR. SPEAKER: That's not a point of order, it's a clarification of the facts. The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley has about five seconds.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, five seconds. Well then, he shouldn't complain about the subdivision roads. They're not getting anything. If they don't have any, don't ask for any support.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The motion is carried.

[9:58 a.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Supply with Deputy Speaker Mr. William Dooks in the Chair.]

[1:59 p.m. CWH on Supply rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Murray Scott, resumed the Chair.]

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

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 870]

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader on Monday's hours and the order of business.

MR. WILLIAM DOOKS: Mr. Speaker, I move that the House now rise and adjourn to sit again on Monday, the hours being 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. At that time we will go through our daily routine, four hours of estimates, and we are going to do some Public Bills for Second Reading, Bill Nos. 1, 3, 9, 11, 17 and 28. When we agree to finish those bills, we will finish for the day.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that the House adjourn until 2:00 p.m. on Monday.

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 2:00 p.m. Monday.

[The House rose at 2:00 p.m.]

[Page 871]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 559

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas D&J Home Hardware of Springhill, Nova Scotia, was honoured in January 2003 as Business of the Year by the Springhill Chamber of Commerce; and

Whereas Dan and Joyce McMillan set up business in 1977 in Springhill and have run a successful business since that time; and

Whereas the McMillans thanked their employees and the Town of Springhill for their support over the years and for playing a major role in the success of the business;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Don and Joyce McMillan of D&J Hardware of Springhill, Nova Scotia, on their award and wish them continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 560

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Jeffrey McLeod of Oxford, Nova Scotia, is 1 of 14 Cumberland County students who have been named to the University of New Brunswick Dean's List; and

Whereas Jeffrey McLeod is 1 of 5 students who received the designation in the faculty of education; and

Whereas Jeffrey McLeod earned the distinction by maintaining a grade point average of 3.7 or above which equates to an A;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Jeffrey on being named to the University of New Brunswick Dean's List and we wish him continued success in the future.

[Page 872]

RESOLUTION NO. 561

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Dave McKay who serves as manager, desk receptionist and chef at The Sunshine Inn in Parrsboro was honoured November 26, 2002, at the 25th annual Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia Tourism Conference and Trade Show at the World Trade Centre in Halifax; and

Whereas Dave McKay was presented with the Pineapple Award for providing special service to tourists; and

Whereas Dave McKay was singled out for his friendliness, enthusiasm, warmth, and loving care for his guests and for helping expand the Elderhostel program in the region;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Dave McKay for receiving this award and we wish him continued success in all of his future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 562

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas on December 5, 2002, the Town of Oxford held a banquet where it honoured some of its citizens; and

Whereas each honoured citizen was presented with a plaque for the service that they had given to the Town of Oxford; and

Whereas Vivian Myatt was presented with a plaque thanking her for her 22 years of service to the Town of Oxford;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Vivian Myatt on receiving this honour and we wish her the best of luck in the future.

[Page 873]

RESOLUTION NO. 563

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Jackie Guyette of Springhill has been awarded the Commemorative Golden Jubilee Medal of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II - part of the Canadian Honours System established in 1967 - and was awarded this medal on January 22, 2003; and

Whereas medals are being awarded to Canadians who have made a significant contribution to their fellow citizens, their communities or to their country; and

Whereas the Governor General gave a fitting tribute to earlier recipients saying the medal recipients ". . . reflect the complexity and diversity which is Canada in 2002 and they have helped contribute to the Canada we know, the Canada we have made and the Canada that we will be in the future";

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate and commend Jackie Guyette on being awarded the Golden Jubilee Medal for exceptional service to community and country.

RESOLUTION NO. 564

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Reginald "Bud" Johnson played a key role in developing the cornerstone of tourism in River Hebert, Nova Scotia; and

Whereas many of Mr. Johnson's models depicting local history are on display at Heritage Models; and

Whereas Mr. Bud Johnson was honoured by being presented with the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal for his dedication and hard work in tourism for River Hebert;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Mr. Bud Johnson on receiving the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal and we wish him continued success in the future.

[Page 874]

RESOLUTION NO. 565

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Sonya Jewkes, along with a group of girls from West End Memorial and Junction Road schools, received a lesson in empowerment when she and the others participated in the Girls @ The Junction program; and

Whereas The Junction included topics ranging from drugs and alcohol to peer pressure and dating; and

Whereas Sonya Jewkes and the Girls @ The Junction group celebrated their participation in the program by completing a mural and donating it to the Springhill Library;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Sonya Jewkes and the Girls @ The Junction group on participating in such a great program and completing and donating the Celebrate You mural and we wish them all the best in the future.