Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

HANSARD 03-13

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/

Annual subscriptions available from the Office of the Speaker.

Third Session

MONDAY, APRIL 14, 2003

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 566, Liberal Party: Trust Funds - Surrender, Mr. J. Holm 876
Res. 567, Weir, Mike - PGA Tour: Win - Congrats.,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 876
Vote - Affirmative 877
Res. 568, Scott, Speaker & Linda - Grandchild: Birth - Congrats.,
Mr. B. Taylor 877
Vote - affirmative 878
Res. 569, Agric. & Fish. - Safety Net Prog.: Decision - Revisit,
Mr. J. MacDonell 878
Res. 570, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hwy. Safety Progs.: Development -
Encourage, Mr. R. MacKinnon 879
Vote - Affirmative 880
Res. 571, Earltown Maple Syrup Fest.: Organizer - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Langille 880
Vote - Affirmative 880
Res. 572, WCB - Appeals Delay: Min. - Investigate, Mr. F. Corbett 880
Res. 573, Prem. - Election Promises: Breech - Apologize, Mr. M. Samson 881
Res. 574, Stephen, Mike: Flystar Int'l. - Congrats., Mr. J. DeWolfe 882
Vote - Affirmative 882
Res. 575, Dart. North Commun. Newspaper Soc.:
Support/Encouragement - Offer, Mr. J. Pye 882
Vote - Affirmative 883
Res. 576, PC Cabinet Ministers (1980s & 1990s): Current Events -
Focus, Mr. M. Samson 883
Res. 577, Mainland North - Anti-Smoking Poster Contest: Participants -
Congrats., Ms. M. McGrath 884
Vote - Affirmative 885
Res. 578, Health - Long-Term Care: Fin. Assessment - End,
Mr. D. Dexter 885
Res. 579, Stanfield, R.L.: Birthday (89th) - Congrats., Hon. J. Muir 885
Vote - Affirmative 886
Res. 580, Environ. & Lbr. - Digby Neck Quarry: Proposal - Assess,
Mr. H. Epstein 886
Res. 581, Ross, Norman - Senior Tennis Championships: Luck - Wish,
Mr. D. Wilson 887
Vote - Affirmative 888
Res. 582, Morrison, Alex - Pearson Peacekeeping Ctr.: Efforts -
Commend, Mr. F. Chipman 888
Vote - Affirmative 889
Res. 583, Educ. - Post-Secondary Students: Lib. Gov't. -
Mistakes Admitted, Mr. W. Estabrooks 889
Vote - Affirmative 889
Res. 584, Health - Nurses: Numbers - Accuracy, Dr. J. Smith 889
Res. 585, Jordan, Al: Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal - Congrats.,
Mr. M. Parent 890
Vote - Affirmative 891
Res. 586, Francis, Earl - Spryfield Leg.: Renaming - Congrats.,
Mr. Robert Chisholm 891
Vote - Affirmative 892
Res. 587, Hamm Gov't.: Pre-Election Messages - Management,
Mr. D. Wilson 892
Res. 588, Sea Kings: Replacement - Hasten, Mr. K. Deveaux 893
Vote - Affirmative 893
Res. 589, Buckland, Bill - Senior Tennis Championships:
Luck - Wish, Mr. Manning MacDonald 893
Vote - Affirmative 894
Res. 590, Muir, John: Athletics/Academics - Congrats., Mr. W. Langille 894
Vote - Affirmative 895
Res. 591, Heart & Stroke Fdn. - Milford/Elmsdale:
Campaign Participants - Congrats., Mr. J. MacDonell 895
Vote - Affirmative 896
Res. 592, Commun. Serv. - Reg. Res. Strike: Effects - Min. Recognize,
Mr. W. Gaudet 896
Res. 593, Sports - Antigonish Bulldogs: AAA Champs - Congrats.,
Hon. A. MacIsaac 896
Vote - Affirmative 897
Res. 594, Congres Mondial Acadien - New Waterford: Events -
Congrats., Mr. F. Corbett 897
Vote - Affirmative 898
Res. 595, Health - Pictou Co. DHA: Budget Reduction - Effects,
Dr. J. Smith 898
Res. 596, Sports - Curling: Colleen Jones Team - Congrats.,
(by Hon. N. LeBlanc), Hon. Rodney MacDonald 899
Vote - Affirmative 899
Res. 597, Parkinson's Disease Awareness Mo. (04/03) - Recognize,
Mr. J. Pye 899
Vote - Affirmative 900
Res. 598, Paul, Lawrence: Truro Business Person of Yr. - Congrats.,
Hon. J. Muir 900
Vote - Affirmative 901
Res. 599, Sports - Soccer: Girls Team - Durham Cup Comp.,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 901
Vote - Affirmative 902
Res. 600, Mackie, Tiger: Death of - Tribute, Mr. Ronald Chisholm 902
Vote - Affirmative 902
Res. 601, Paul, Chief Terry/Membertou Commun. - C.B. Reg. Hosp. Fdn.:
Donation - Thank, Mr. Robert Chisholm 903
Vote - Affirmative 903
Res. 602, Pecelj, Sanja/Supporters: Efforts - Recognize, Mr. K. Deveaux 903
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
ON MOTION FOR SUPPLY:
Mr. K. Deveaux 904
Mr. D. Wilson 909
Mr. J. Chataway 913
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON SUPPLY AT 3:23 P.M. 916
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 7:23 P.M. 916
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 602, Pecelj, Sanja/Supporters: Efforts - Recognize, Mr. K. Deveaux 903
Vote - Affirmative 917
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 1, Firefighters' Compensation Act 918
Hon. R. Russell 918
Mr. F. Corbett 920
Mr. R. MacKinnon 925
Mr. K. Deveaux 937
Mr. P. MacEwan 946
Adjourned debate 958
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Tue., Apr. 15th at 12:00 noon 959
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 603, Weir, Mike: Masters Win - Congrats., Mr. B. Taylor 960
Res. 604, Dickinson, Karen: Golden Jubilee Medal - Congrats.,
The Speaker 960
Res. 605, Springhill Leg. Dart Team: Success - Wish, The Speaker 961
Res. 606, Ling, Elmer: Parrsboro Vol. of Yr. - Congrats., The Speaker 961
Res. 607, Lightkeeper's Kitchen & Guesthouse: Award - Congrats.,
The Speaker 962
Res. 608, Lowther, Mable - Oxford Town: Service Award - Congrats.,
The Speaker 962
Res. 609, Dowe, Allison: Scouting Award - Congrats., The Speaker 963
Res. 610, Anderson, Faith: Parrsboro Youth Vol. of Yr. - Congrats.,
The Speaker 963

[Page 875]

HALIFAX, MONDAY, APRIL 14, 2003

Fifty-eighth General Assembly

Third Session

2:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Murray Scott

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

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

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

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

NOTICES OF MOTION

875

[Page 876]

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

RESOLUTION NO. 566

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

Whereas Liberals revealed this weekend that their trust fund took a beating on the stock market; and

Whereas it appears Liberals might not be able to campaign in this year's election on the trust fund's earnings; and

Whereas Liberals say this year they may have to raise election funds just like other Parties;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urge the Liberal Party to seize this historic moment to surrender the questionable, untraceable money in its dubious trust funds.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

RESOLUTION NO. 567

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, this is for all left-handed golfers, including me.

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

Whereas yesterday Mike Weir became the first Canadian golfer to win a major tournament on the Professional Golf Association tour; and

[Page 877]

Whereas this is Mike's third win this year on the tour, putting him number one on the money list, ahead of Tiger Woods; and

Whereas he is only the second left-handed golfer to win a major, joining New Zealand's Bob Charles who won the 1963 British Open;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Mike Weir on winning Canada's first major on the PGA tour.

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-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 568

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

Whereas it is said that with age comes wisdom; and

Whereas members of this House will be pleased to know that their Speaker has just become a little bit wiser, as yesterday he became a grandfather; and

Whereas Tucker Douglas Scott was born Sunday, April 13, 2003, weighing in at a healthy 8 pounds, 6 ounces, to proud parents Rochelle and Jeremy;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this Legislature join me in congratulating our Speaker and member for Cumberland South, who has now realized one of the benefits of growing older, and congratulate both he and his wife, Linda, on this tremendous news and wish the new parents and baby, Tucker, all the best.

Mr. Speaker, with your approbation, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 878]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried. (Applause)

Thank you very much to all members and thank you to the honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley for that.

AN HON. MEMBER: You and Ron can exchange pictures.

MR. SPEAKER: I couldn't let the former Speaker, the Deputy Premier, get ahead of me.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Now you both have to offer baby-sitting services.

MR. SPEAKER: Are you volunteering, member for Sackville-Cobequid?

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 569

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, congratulations.

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

Whereas the Hamm Government has been obsessed from day one with reducing expenditures rather than ensuring Nova Scotians have adequate services in place; and

Whereas this government claims it saved money by axing production technology and outreach at the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, opting to give $2.2 million in annual funding for Agrapoint International, the former minister's darling, to provide reduced services for farmers, at fees, and no accountability for its spending; and

Whereas this government signed off on the enhanced NISA with its federal counterpart without proper consultation with the farmers or ensuring that they would have adequate safety nets in place, because the new program will not require any provincial funding up front or ongoing;

[Page 879]

Therefore be it resolved that this House ask that the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries revisit his decision to join the federal government in delivering a new safety net program for farmers until he can assure farmers that the new program is not about saving his government money, but about providing safeguards to farmers.

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. 570

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

Whereas four young people lost their lives in a tragic accident early Sunday morning in Sydney River, Cape Breton; and

Whereas highway safety is everyone's responsibility, particularly when driving in wet weather; and

Whereas the government should pay special attention to our current programs which encourage highway safety;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House encourage the government to further develop our highway safety programs.

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 880]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Colchester North.

RESOLUTION NO. 571

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 Earltown Maple Syrup Festival was recently held in Earltown, Colchester County; and

Whereas this annual community festival served 809 meals, which featured local maple syrup donated by Sugar Moon Farm in Earltown; and

Whereas a festival as popular as this one would not take place without the support of so many community volunteers;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Legislature commend the many volunteer organizers of the Earltown Maple Syrup Festival, while acknowledging the importance of the Colchester County maple syrup industry.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 572

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

Whereas the statutory stakeholders' review of the Workers' Compensation Act produced many recommendations in the Dorsey Report; and

[Page 881]

Whereas the Dorsey Report recommended revamping how the system deals with chronic pain, providing universal coverage, improving benefits for injured workers, and streamlining the processing of claims and appeals; and

Whereas injured workers fear the appeal process is becoming backlogged as it was in 1996, and that appeals are being needlessly delayed as a result;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Environment and Labour investigate and, if need be, redress to the satisfaction of all injured workers, their fear that undue delays at the appeal level in the workers' compensation system are harming claimants.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 573

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

Whereas on June 17, 1999, the Premier triggered an election and said, "In the final analysis this decision is based on my belief that the essential element in politics is being honest with the people in telling them the truth"; and

Whereas during the launch of his election platform the Premier also said, "This plan is short on abstractions and long on nuts and bolts. Where there is a need for legislative changes, they are identified. Where there is a need for structural changes they are spelled out. Where there is a need for money it is budgeted."; and

Whereas the Premier costed his vision at $46 million despite the fact that his government has spent many times that amount since coming to office;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier should live up to his essential belief in honesty and apologize to the people for not being up front with them in 1999.

[Page 882]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 574

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

Whereas Mike Stephen of Mountville, Pictou County has cleverly invented and produced a fly trap which is pleasing to the eye and the environment alike; and

Whereas trapping the pests inside a box shaped like a house and made of non-toxic biodegradable material, this trap eliminates the chemicals and unsightliness of common fly traps and is also effective for fruit flies and wasps; and

Whereas getting his start through an Employment Insurance program and with the support of local businesses and development agencies, Mike brought this idea into production, founded his own company, Flystar International and is considering other ideas he can produce and market;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Mike Stephen on turning his good idea into a saleable product and wish him even greater success with his future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

RESOLUTION NO. 575

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

[Page 883]

Whereas a group of citizens has been meeting for two years to work towards creating a community newspaper in Dartmouth North; and

Whereas Dartmouth North Community Newspaper Society has been formed with the purpose of publishing a first edition this Fall; and

Whereas the society is holding its first public meeting to recruit volunteers on April 24th at the Dartmouth North Community Centre;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the Legislature offer their support and encouragement to the Dartmouth North Community Newspaper Society for their ongoing hard work to make the community newspaper a reality in Dartmouth North.

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 Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 576

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

Whereas when Tories run out of sound arguments, which is often, they play the blame game by either attacking the previous government or the federal government; and

Whereas Tories don't like it when their own past is mentioned, especially when it comes to promises like closing Sysco and opening more hospital beds or saying that health care could be fixed for $46 million; and

[Page 884]

[2:15 p.m.]

Whereas Tories from past governments really start to squirm when you mention that the true deficit was well over $1 billion back in 1993 when they left office and that every government since has had to deal with the legacy of their past misdeeds;

Therefore be it resolved that people who served in Tory Cabinets in the 1980s and early 1990s might want to stick to current events instead of dredging up the past when they are not prepared to acknowledge the fiscal disaster they were responsible for when they were members of Cabinet.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Bedford Basin.

RESOLUTION NO. 577

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 Mainland North Drug Awareness Committee recently sponsored its annual Anti-Smoking Poster Contest intended to encourage students to think about reasons not to smoke; and

Whereas students from Burton Ettinger, Duc d'Anville, Fairview Heights, Grosvenor Wentworth, Park West, Springvale and Rockingham schools participated in this smoking awareness contest; and

Whereas the first place winners from each school were Angela Cusack, Jennie David, Nadine Keays Goguen, Elisabeth Giffen, Jessica Grant, Sarah Belliveau, and Steffany Photopoulos, who is the grand prize winner;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House join me in congratulating all the winners of the Mainland North Anti-Smoking Poster Contest and all the students who participated in this worthy competition to spread the message against smoking.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 885]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 578

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

Whereas this Premier claims that the crux of growing our economy is putting money back into the hands of Nova Scotians; and

Whereas his government spent the last few years perfecting a financial assessment system that systematically strips seniors in long-term care, and consequently their families, of their assets to pay for the cost of their health care; and

Whereas his Minister of Health has promised that this unfair and discriminatory system will be phased out by 2007 but in the meantime tens of millions of dollars will be taken from our seniors in long-term care;

Therefore be it resolved that if the Premier wants to put money back into the hands of Nova Scotians to grow our economy, he immediately end the long-term care financial assessment that takes so much money out of the hands of seniors in long-term care and their families.

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 Minister of Justice.

RESOLUTION NO. 579

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

[Page 886]

Whereas 89 years ago Friday, in Truro, Nova Scotia's 21st Premier was born; and

Whereas the Right Honourable Robert L. Stanfield is a leader, statesman and gentleman, serving the people of this province in a variety of capacities for more than 28 years;

Whereas Mr. Stanfield has received many honours throughout his career including the designation of Privy Councillor, honourary doctorate designations from major Canadian universities, as well as being named an Officer of La Plade, Ordre de la Francophonie et du Dialogue des Cultures - I was going to translate for the people across there, Mr. Speaker;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in extending birthday greetings to one of the finest Nova Scotians this province has seen, not to mention the best Prime Minister we never had - Robert Lorne Stanfield - on the occasion of his 89th birthday and wish him good health and happiness in the years ahead.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 580

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

Whereas the federal Fisheries Minister declared recently that the proponent and those opposed to the proposed basalt quarry at Digby Neck and accompanying deepwater marine terminal should have their concerns dealt with under a federal environmental assessment; and

Whereas the fears of local fishers and residents about the effect of blasting on fish and fish habitat and increased shipping on right whales and eco-tourism will hopefully get a full airing and consideration under such an environmental assessment; and

[Page 887]

Whereas the other concerns of residents about the effects on groundwater, local flora and fauna and other tourism concerns are properly the subject of a provincial environmental review but the Minister of Environment and Labour refused to exercise his discretion to order one;

Therefore be it resolved that this House requests the Minister of Environment and Labour to revisit his decision and order a joint environmental assessment with the federal government of the proposal for a Digby Neck quarry so that the concerns of residents, fishers and local businesses can be addressed.

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 Glace Bay.

RESOLUTION NO. 581

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

Whereas Norman Ross of Sydney Mines will be competing in the 45-and-over men's singles tennis division beginning Wednesday in Toronto; and

Whereas the 2003 Canadian indoor senior championship is an excellent chance for our Nova Scotia players to display their talent; and

Whereas this will be Mr. Ross' first Nationals since his junior years, where he competed at two Canadian under-18 tennis championships;

Therefore be it resoled that all members of this House wish Mr. Ross the best of luck in the upcoming 2003 Canadian Senior Championships.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 888]

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 Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 582

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

Whereas Granville Ferry's, Alex Morrison, founder and former head of the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre in Clementsport, is the 2002 recipient of a United Nations medal - the Pearson Peace Medal - recognizing his outstanding achievement in international service; and

Whereas the centre opened in 1994 and provides training, education, and research on all aspects of peacekeeping operations, drawing in thousands of military personnel and civilians from over 130 countries to learn about the importance of peacekeeping; and

Whereas resigning as head of the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre in 2001, Mr. Morrison now advises governments on dispute resolution and has assisted a provincial non-profit groups which aims to create peaceful schools;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature commend Alex Morrison on the years of hard work he has put into the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre and thank him for bringing more awareness to the field of peacekeeping, and wish him success in all his 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.

[Page 889]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 583

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

Whereas Heritage Minister and federal Liberal leadership hopeful Sheila Copps attended this weekend's Liberal love-in in Halifax; and

Whereas Ms. Copps acknowledged her own government has added to the rising cost of post-secondary education because it lumped federal education transfers to provinces like Nova Scotia into the Canada Health and Social Transfer, allowing governments to redirect funding away from education; and

Whereas Ms. Copps further admitted that taking the cap off tuition costs was a mistake and something must be done about it;

Therefore be it resolved that this House thank Heritage Minister Sheila Copps for admitting that the federal government has failed post-secondary students in Nova Scotia by allowing federal funding meant for education to be redirected into other programs.

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. 584

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

[Page 890]

Whereas in the Minister of Health's message in the Your Help Matters document states that we have more nurses than we did three years ago; and

Whereas over 1,200 nurses either left Nova Scotia or left the profession as a result of this Tory Government's Bill No. 68; and

Whereas there are fewer registered nurses licensed to practice in Nova Scotia than in 1999;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Health stop spinning falsehoods about the number of nurses in Nova Scotia and be upfront with the upheaval that she and her government has created in the nursing profession and with the impact it's having on wait times and cancelled surgeries in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 585

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

Whereas Kentville resident, Al Jordan, was one of eight members of the Atlantic Provinces Korea Veterans, Nova Scotia Unit, that received the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal; and

Whereas Mr. Jordan served in the Third Royal Canadian Artillery in Korea in 1954, spent time serving with the Militia's West Nova Scotia Regiment, and volunteered for the Kings Branch and Royal Canadian Legion association for many years; and

Whereas Mr. Jordan is honoured by receipt of this prestigious honour, an award that goes out only to those Canadians who have made a significant contribution to country and community;

[Page 891]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in applauding the achievements of Al Jordan, who was willing to serve and protect his country, and congratulate him on receiving the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal.

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. 586

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 Royal Canadian Legion in Spryfield has continuously played a major role in the community activities of the Spryfield area; and

Whereas its members have resolved to honour and recognize those who have served in wartime by renaming the Legion; and

Whereas the late Earl Francis was chosen as the veteran to be given this distinctive honour;

Therefore be it resolved that we congratulate the Spryfield Legion under the leadership of its President, Terry Bobbitt, for its recognition of the late veteran Earl Francis and his contribution to freedom by renaming the Spryfield branch the Earl Francis Spryfield Memorial Branch 152.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 892]

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. 587

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

Whereas in December 2002, then Education Minister Jane Purves made a promise to post-secondary students that she would consult with them about the debt relief program when she stated, "We're going to share our options with the students first"; and

Whereas Education Minister Angus MacIsaac failed to honour that promise by only meeting with students for a half-hour before announcing last month a greatly-reduced student debt reduction program; and

Whereas the John Hamm Government has, over the last four years, demonstrated a prolonged shortsightedness when it comes to the concerns of post-secondary students, who, the Premier should be reminded, are not only important stakeholders in the education process, but this province's future;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize that the government is more interested in managing its pre-election messages than honouring the promises it makes to future generations of this 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 member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

[Page 893]

RESOLUTION NO. 588

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 terrible conflict in Iraq may be coming to a close, and military forces may be reduced as tensions ease and the rebuilding of Iraq begins; and

Whereas Canadian Forces ships and the aging Sea King helicopters remain part of the support effort in the Gulf, but may not be coming home soon because of tensions arising in Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia; and

Whereas this means Canadian Forces men and women may be required to remain abroad and in harm's way for some time, using Sea Kings that may well not be up to the task assigned to them;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate our military men and women who are serving abroad, and promise to do its utmost to hasten the replacement of the aging and inadequate Sea King helicopters they now use in peacekeeping and patrol roles overseas.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

RESOLUTION NO. 589

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

Whereas on Wednesday, the 2003 Canadian Indoor Senior Tennis championships will begin at the May Fair West Tennis Club in Toronto; and

[Page 894]

Whereas Bill Buckland of Sydney will be competing in the 45-and-over men's singles division; and

Whereas Mr. Buckland will also be competing in the 45-and-over doubles category;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Bill Buckland on his accomplishments to date, and wish him the best of luck in the 2003 Canadian Indoor Senior Tennis championships.

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. 590

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

Whereas Université Sainte-Anne student athlete John Muir of Truro was named CCAA Academic All Canadian; and

Whereas John Muir was named to the CCAA all-conference volleyball team; and

Whereas John Muir was named MVP of the Université Sainte-Anne Dragons' Men's Volleyball Team and was a nominee for Male Athlete of the Year;

Therefore be it resolved that all members congratulate John Muir for his outstanding college year in which he excelled in both athletics and academics, and wish him continued success in the future.

And yes, Mr. Speaker, John Muir is the son of our Justice Minister.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 895]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 591

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

Whereas donations to the Heart and Stroke Foundation help support lifesaving research and health education programs across the Province of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas canvassers for the annual Heart Month campaign in Nova Scotia raised approximately $650,000 this year; and

Whereas local volunteers from Shubenacadie, Lantz, Enfield, Milford and Elmsdale area were recently recognized at a reception held at the Enfield Fire Hall;

[2:30 p.m.]

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House thank Elspie Caterer of Enfield, the campaign coordinator for Cumberland, Colchester, and Hants Counties, those who contributed as volunteers and canvassers, and the countless number of people, including area businesses, for their time and donations to the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

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 896]

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader in the House of the Liberal Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 592

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

Whereas today marks day five in the strike of Regional Residential Service workers; and

Whereas despite the fact that the Minister of Community Services had some options available to him to avoid this strike, he took no action; and

Whereas those who are being impacted the most as a result of this minister's failure to act are individuals for which he has ultimate responsibility;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Community Services recognize the impact he is having on the lives of the residents and their families and take a leadership role in providing support so that these parties can get back to the bargaining table.

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 Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 593

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

Whereas the Antigonish Midget Minor AAA Bulldogs hockey team has shown that hard work, determination, and a cohesive team effort brings gratifying rewards; and

[Page 897]

Whereas the team successfully competed in two high-level tournaments in successive weekends, something few players get a chance to experience; and

Whereas the Bulldogs edged their rivals with a 5 to 3 win over the P.E.I. Western Regals at the Atlantic Minor Midget AAA Championships held in Fredericton;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House join me in congratulating the pride of Antigonish - the Atlantic Minor Midget AAA Champions, the Antigonish Bulldogs - on their outstanding win 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 Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 594

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

Whereas an estimated 100,000 people of Acadian descent will visit Nova Scotia to take part in the Congres Mondial Acadien July 31 to August 15, 2004; and

Whereas this congres will mark the 400th Anniversary of the arrival of the first French settlers in North America; and

Whereas thanks in great part the Cercle Evangeline Club, New Waterford will be hosting some of the events marking this momentous time for those of Acadian descent;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Cercle Evangeline Club for its wonderful work in having New Waterford chosen to host some of the events during the Congres Mondial Acadien in 2004.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 898]

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. 595

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

Whereas any accountant will tell you that a new budget should take into consideration increased cost pressures, the number of people expected to access the system, and a clear indication that any new monies flowing into the health care system are being used to support patient care; and

Whereas a "no vacancy sign" being placed at the Aberdeen Regional Hospital is a clear indication of increased pressures on the health care system in Pictou County; and

Whereas government has accounted for these pressures by reducing the budget for the Pictou County District Health Authority;

Therefore be it resolved that a reduction in the Pictou County District Health Authority's budget is proof that the Health budget is based on a set of faulty assumptions and poor accounting principles.

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 Finance.

[Page 899]

RESOLUTION NO. 596

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my colleague, the honourable Minister of Tourism and Culture, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas on Saturday, the Colleen Jones' rink led Team Canada to earn a silver medal at the Ford World Curling Championships in Winnipeg, Manitoba; and

Whereas Team Canada - made up of lead, Nancy Delahunt; second, Mary-Anne Waye; and third, Kim Kelly - led the championship after an impressive nine wins and zero losses after round robin play; and

Whereas Colleen Jones is the most successful skip in Canadian history with a win at the 2001 World Curling Championships and five first-place titles at the 1982, 1999, 2001, 2002 and 2003 Scott Tournament of Hearts;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House join me in congratulating Colleen, Nancy, Mary-Anne and Kim for their continued excellence in Canada's beloved sport of curling - they are true champions in our hearts - and wish them luck with their goal of reaching the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Italy.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

RESOLUTION NO. 597

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

Whereas each year April marks Parkinson's Disease Awareness Month; and

[Page 900]

Whereas the intent is to create awareness about the disease so that people will understand the plight of those suffering and join in the search for a cure; and

Whereas we need to create an atmosphere that encourages mutual support and friendship for people living with Parkinson's, their partners, families and friends;

Therefore be it resolved that this House pledge its support for those living with Parkinson's Disease, their partners, families and friends, and hope that a cure will soon be found for this debilitating and ravaging disease.

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 Justice.

RESOLUTION NO. 598

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

Whereas Chief Lawrence Paul of the Millbrook First Nation community was named 2002 Business Person of the Year by the Truro and District Chamber of Commerce; and

Whereas under the leadership of Chief Paul, the Millbrook First Nation expanded its economic base through many initiatives including retail sales, fishing, aquaculture and real estate development; and

Whereas Chief Lawrence Paul is known nationally by both aboriginal and non-aboriginal people as a leader with vision whose economic initiatives benefit surrounding communities as well as the Millbrook Band members;

[Page 901]

Therefore be it resolved that all members congratulate Chief Lawrence Paul on being named 2002 Business Person of the Year by the Truro and District Chamber of Commerce and wish him continued success as he leads economic development activity in the Millbrook First Nation community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 599

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

Whereas Nova Scotia's under 15 all-star girls soccer team left Sunday, April 13th for a 10-day tour of England; and

Whereas the team will compete in the prestigious Durham Cup, a 12-team event that includes entries from Holland, Belgium, Denmark, the United States and England; and

Whereas this team is coached by Timberlea resident Stephen Allt and Brookside native Dana Holmes-Giles;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature extend best wishes to our under 15 all-star girls soccer team as they represent Nova Scotia this month at the Durham Cap competition in England.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 902]

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. 600

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

Whereas a Strait area community leader - and a great friend to hockey - Eric Irvine "Tiger" Mackie passed away on Friday, April 11, 2003, at the age of 89; and

Whereas while he was a professional hockey player for 30 years in both Canada and the United States, Mr. Mackie settled in Port Hawkesbury where he helped design the cooling system and raised money for the area's first rink; and

Whereas he was the first president of the Strait Area Minor Hockey Association, coached many teams, was instrumental in the creation of the Strait Pirates Old Timers team and, today, his significant contributions to the game have been recognized with an Old Timers tournament named in his honour;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House join me in expressing our condolences to Tiger Mackie's family and friends on the loss of such an integral part of the lives of all those who play - or have played - hockey in the Strait 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 member for Halifax Atlantic.

[Page 903]

RESOLUTION NO. 601

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 Membertou community of Cape Breton continues to demonstrate lots of success by incorporating local economic initiatives and strategic partnerships; and

Whereas the Membertou Band community was able to share its recent success by recently donating $25,000 to the Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation; and

Whereas the generous donation will go towards the purchasing of a much-needed MRI unit and bone densitometer for the hospital;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House thank the Membertou community and Chief Terry Paul for their contribution to the well-being of the larger Cape Breton community through their donation of $25,000 to the Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 602

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 political conditions in Serbia-Montenegro and in particular, in Serbia and Kosovo, are ever changing, including the recent assassination of Serbian Prime Minister Djindjic; and

[Page 904]

Whereas Sanja Pecelj, a Kosovar Serb, worked with the U.N. in Kosovo as a translator after the 1999 war until she arrived in Canada and claimed refugee status; and

Whereas Sanja Pecelj has recently been informed that her refugee claim has been rejected and that she must return to Serbia;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the efforts of Sanja Pecelj, St. Mark's Anglican Church and other supporters to help assure Ms. Pecelj can stay in Canada.

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.

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 Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: In the 15 minutes that I have, I wanted to take some time to talk about some of the issues specifically affecting my riding. I want to start by saying for the record that my riding is changing with the new boundaries and there are certain parts actually contracting - not unlike those for the member for Bedford-Fall River or the member for Halifax Bedford Basin or the member for Sackville-Beaver Bank. Our ridings were the

[Page 905]

four largest ridings and given the numbers we had, upwards of 20,000 or even more I believe for the member for Bedford-Fall River, there was a need to actually reduce the size of the riding. Certain parts of my riding are to be moved both to Dartmouth South, Portland Valley and to the riding of Cole Harbour.

That's because, obviously, most of those ridings are ones that are suburban in nature. There's been a larger development in those areas in the past little while and that's resulted in - I can speak in my riding, Colby Village and now Colby South are areas that are growing quite rapidly and in Eastern Passage, development is increasing greatly as well. So there was a need for those changes.

I wanted to take a few minutes to talk specifically about something I do on an annual basis. This year was my fifth annual education town halls. I hold them every year in my riding in the three communities - Cole Harbour, Eastern Passage and South Woodside. Every year, this is the culmination of six months of consultations that I hold, starting with the principals and administrators at each school. I think there are 11 or 12 of them, including the high schools in my area. I take the time to meet with those principals, understand the issues that they are facing in October of each year as the school year begins. Between October and March I'll also take the time to go and meet with the parent-teacher organizations - PTOs as they're called in my riding. Also, I take the time to meet with as many school advisory councils as possible.

I do this because it is the most important issue in my riding. I would suggest that it's a very important issue, obviously, in every riding but particularly in ridings with growing communities with young families that have a lot of children in school. Because of that, it is important from my perspective that I have a very good understanding of what the residents of Cole Harbour, Eastern Passage and South Woodside are concerned about with regard to the education of their children. It is, I would argue, anecdotally if not otherwise, the most important issue.

Based on that, there's a few issues that I wanted to put on the record that I heard from constituents and school administrators. One of them that came up loud and clear was the issue of textbooks. I know this is an issue that's been raised in this House before, but I think it's one that I should note. Many who I spoke to at these town halls said that they were concerned about how their children are educated, by the lack of textbooks. On the one hand, those in administration will tell you that the way the school work is done these days doesn't involve a textbook for every child. But, I think in many other ways, there are many parents out there that would see that as a benefit to their child, knowing that the text could be taken home if extra work had to be done and that is something that was raised on a regular basis at my town hall.

[Page 906]

Also, another crucial issue is resources for children who need the extra resources. This is a major problem in our classrooms today and I hear it from the administrators, teachers and from parents and students. The problem is, there are children specifically with behavioural problems who fall through the cracks every day in the school system. Those with intellectual disabilities, those with severe intellectual disabilities, they will, to a great extent, be provided with the resources, whether it be an EPA or whether it be a resource teacher or a learning centre. Granted, there are issues there that need to be addressed. There are problems that need to be faced in those areas as well, particularly around how we implement the inclusion policy, how much funding is put to it to ensure it works effectively.

[2:45 p.m.]

But those who have ADD or ADHD or other behavioural issues, Mr. Speaker, they are the ones who fall through the cracks. They don't get an EPA, they don't get that assistant in the classroom to help them, and when it comes to prioritizing resources through a learning centre or resource teacher, they are put at the bottom of the list. In many cases, these children, these students do not even get the opportunity to have the support that they need and that's a real shame. Why? Well, partly, my understanding from talking to many, is the fact that these students have to be two grades behind in their development before IPPs kick in, before that support kicks in, but that takes a fair bit of time, particularly for girls it can take a very long time because of their maturity level. As a result, we have a problem with these children with behavioural issues and how it will be addressed. This is something that I've heard every year for the five years that I've been doing town halls.

I hear from teachers regularly that their curriculum changes. We hear about new history courses in high school. We hear about the former Minister of Education announcing more getting back to basics, more grammar. Well, Mr. Speaker, that's all well and good but the problem is not only making an announcement in this House, but implementing it in each classroom, and that involves professional development, that involves providing the support for the teachers so they feel comfortable with the curriculum, they have the support they need when they have questions so they are able to teach our children these new courses. That is something I hear regularly from teachers every year but, particularly, this year it came up.

One or two parents raised the issue of our disciplinary policies in schools, are they being objectively applied? I don't think I have to speak more on that, Mr. Speaker, but I think it's important for the record to show that this is an issue that comes up from time to time.

Mr. Speaker, what I heard from South Woodside Elementary School, which is a small school, a school that I've come to gain a lot of respect for. It's very close to the refinery in South Woodside, in the Imperial Oil area. It's a community of hard-working people, people who are clearly in what I would call a working-class community. That's a community that has a lot of children who need resource help. You could say there are a lot of children who are at risk or high-risk children for not finishing school. I speak with the principal and the

[Page 907]

PTA and the SAC in those schools on a regular basis. I work in that school in a breakfast program on a regular basis and they will tell you that their biggest problem is that their school is treated like every other school.

Now, it's the old argument, do we treat all schools equally? I will give this as an example - no disrespect to the member for Bedford-Fall River - a school in Bedford with higher socio-economic status probably doesn't have as many children with resources needs as a percentage of the students in the school. Mr. Speaker, the problem is that they get the same core funding per student as a school like South Woodside or a school in Whitney Pier, for example, potentially, places where our children obviously have higher needs.

These are the children who if they don't get that extra help - and yes, they do need extra help - those are the children who won't finish high school. Those are the children who are more likely to run into a conflict with the law, as you would know, Mr. Speaker, from your previous career. These are the ones who are more likely to be requiring the social safety net in order to make ends met. These are the ones who don't have the training to ensure they have long-term employment and in the long run, we all know now they are not as healthy and they are going to have higher demands on the health care system. As a province, we will pay tenfold for children who are at risk, in high-risk communities, unless we invest in the years where we can ensure they are able to get the education they need to succeed.

So beyond the core funding that's provided to every student in every school, I would suggest it's important that Nova Scotia and particularly the Department of Education, take a look at the need to provide more support in these high-risk areas. We see some of it now, four-plus programs or junior kindergartens, Mr. Speaker, are in the Halifax region, I think in six schools, one in North End Dartmouth, one in the south end of Dartmouth in South Woodside, there's one in North Preston and I think there are three in Halifax. I think there's one in the member for Halifax Fairview's riding as well.

Mr. Speaker, this is a good program but it's only one program. Extra resource teachers, extra support, extra reading recovery, all those other programs are required to ensure that these schools, where they have a lot of students who need resources, who are at risk, these schools have the support they need. I would encourage the Department of Education and the Minister of Education to think about this as a way of providing that support.

I would be remiss, Mr. Speaker, if I didn't talk about the main issue that's talked about at every education forum I have in Eastern Passage, and that's a high school for that community. This is an ongoing issue. I know that this Tory Government has made a decision that they don't think this is a priority. I do know that when this election is called, it will be a priority for the people of Eastern Passage and it will be my priority, talking about this, ensuring that whoever wins the next election, whichever Party is the government, knows that there is a requirement for a high school in that community.

[Page 908]

Some basic facts. It's the largest community in Nova Scotia without a high school; it has almost 12,000 people. Mr. Speaker, it is also a community with 600 children, every day, who are bused out of that community, 45 minutes to an hour to go to Cole Harbour District High School. That's 45 minutes, 600 children. In any other place outside of the Halifax Regional Municipality, 600 kids would be enough to warrant its own high school. There are debates now as to whether that is sufficient in Halifax region or not. There are schools in Halifax region with only 650 or 700 kids.

Mr. Speaker, Eastern Passage continues to grow, it will continue to have a larger number of children bused out to Cole Harbour District High School. Right now, 55 per cent to 60 per cent of that school comes from Eastern Passage. I would suggest to you that there's clearly a need, not only for one in Eastern Passage but for a fifth high school in the Dartmouth area. That's something that must be addressed, will be addressed in the coming years.

Governments can put it off as a priority now in order to build schools and cut ribbons before the election, but I can assure you it is an issue that will come up, it will continue to be put on the front burner, mainly because there's a committee in that community that is working hard to ensure that those who have influence on the decisions of where the next set of high schools and schools are built will know that Eastern Passage is not only on the radar screen but that they require a high school for their students.

I want to take a couple of minutes, Mr. Speaker - maybe I could just ask how much time I have. Five minutes?

MR. SPEAKER: Three minutes.

MR. DEVEAUX: I just want to touch briefly on a couple of other issues that have come up in my riding, in the riding of Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage. Economic development, it's an area with good economic development. The communities are strong, well-employed, but there's a key issue. We have a lot of parkland in my riding, from the Cole Harbour Heritage Park to Rainbow Haven to MacCormack's Beach to the Nelson reserve lands to, now, the new McNabs Island Park, which is a brand new park, one that will be developed in a sustainable, environmental manner that will ensure that the islands are preserved for many generations and forever.

At the same time, Mr. Speaker, I think it's important that it be reflected that that is a part of the community of Eastern Passage and that economic development be done through the gateway to the islands, which is through Eastern Passage. I'm hoping that with the draft management plan that will be developed by the Department of Natural Resources that will be reflected to ensure that Eastern Passage has its opportunity to have the economic development potential that can come through that. Add to that a trail system that's developing from Cole Harbour into Eastern Passage, Mr. Speaker, and with Fishermen's

[Page 909]

Cove development, it's a community that has economic development and has the potential for strong tourism, just outside the downtown core of Halifax.

Briefly, as well, transportation for those living in the Cole Harbour area and the Eastern Passage area, there is a requirement to alleviate the congestion of traffic on Caldwell Road and Portland Street. These are crucial issues in that area. It can be resolved if only this government - it has known for three years that the City of Halifax has demanded the building of off-ramps on Highway No. 111, the Circumferential Highway, that would allow for the Shearwater bypass, the Shearwater extension over to Caldwell Road. It would do wonders for alleviating traffic concerns on Portland Street, on Caldwell Road, and it will make the trip a lot easier into Eastern Passage and into the south end of Cole Harbour.

The city is ready to build the road, but the province has never committed the funds in order to build the off-ramps. That is one thing that I know this government could do, could do easily. I look forward to talking to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works in detail, in Supply debate, about this specific issue. It's one that I would suggest, Mr. Speaker, that if this government likes to talk about a transportation infrastructure program for the City of Halifax, well, this is one that's easily done, that can alleviate a lot of traffic concerns, and at the same time can provide a real opportunity for economic growth, open up that land; the industrial development that can happen on Shearwater is another thing that can be assisted by the extension. All of this can happen if this province would commit to building that off-ramp on Highway No. 111, as we like to say "near the pig farm".

Mr. Speaker, that is something that can be done. This government should have made that commitment in this budget in order to ensure that that development can continue and I do look forward to hopefully having that debate during the election with whomever the candidates are from the other Parties. I hope we can all agree that whoever wins the next election, that is a priority for the government so that Nova Scotians, and particularly the people in my riding, have an opportunity for the economic development in that area. I look forward to these debates, and many others, as we go forward to the next election.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

MR. DAVID WILSON: Mr. Speaker, I want to take the opportunity to, as my colleague has done, address some particular concerns in my riding, the riding of Glace Bay. I received a press release last week from the Cape Breton District Health Authority about paid public parking for the Glace Bay and Northside General Hospitals, which will begin on April 28th. As all good Liberal MLAs do, I very carefully considered what was in that press release before saying anything about it. I gave it a lot of time, to think exactly where you would take a stand with paid parking at a hospital. Is there anything wrong with it? What's right about it and what's going to be done at both the Glace Bay and Northside General Hospitals which are two hospitals which have never had the paid parking before.

[Page 910]

Of course, Mr. Speaker, as you would know, there are other areas of the province where that system has been in place for some time. There are other hospitals in Cape Breton where that system has been in place for some time, but there are areas throughout the province - and my area is one of them, and there are other areas such as the Valley that has some concerns about whether or not you should actually have to pay for parking when you go to a hospital to pay a visit to your friends, family and relatives who may be in that hospital. So what I'm saying is not taking great exception or great issue with the paid parking issue, but there are some concerns that have been expressed to me.

The Regional Health Care Complex has gone to great pains to make sure that not everyone will be affected by this; for instance, if you are a patient in the long-term care floor at the Glace Bay Hospital, you will be provided with a pass and that pass you can pass on to your family, or friends perhaps, to get in on a regular basis. The paid parking will not apply to the veterans' facility in Glace Bay, Taigh NA Mara. The paid parking will apply to staff and physicians, so I guess it may be an issue among some staff there, that they're being charged now to go to work. It's always a question that comes up.

Mr. Speaker, I must say this is an issue that, for someone in a very urbanized area, it may be no big deal that you pay for parking. To a rural area, or to an area as small as - I wouldn't call Glace Bay rural, but it certainly is not as big as the metropolitan area, and when you all of a sudden start to pay for parking it becomes an issue. When you live in an area and you're a senior, or you're on a fixed income, or a low income, and you're going to the hospital, where you used to pay nothing to park your vehicle and all of a sudden you're now charged $2 for a visit, then it starts to add up. If you had a friend or a relative who's in the hospital and let's say they had been in for a three-week stay, if you went to visit them on a daily basis, you will be paying $42. If you went to visit them more than once a day, which a lot of seniors do - if I may use a senior as an example - if you went to visit them say in the morning and told them I will be back this evening to visit, if you're going to pay twice . . .

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I didn't want to interrupt the member's speech, but I do know that the changes that have been implemented in the other ridings, that people who have family members as patients at the hospital can make provisions to have lower fees. I know that happens in Yarmouth and I'm sure that if the member does the research, he will find it's the same thing in his riding.

MR. WILSON: Mr. Speaker, first of all, I'm honoured that the Finance Minister is paying that much attention to what I say, but let me correct one thing - when I talk about a senior visiting, it doesn't necessarily mean that they're a relative. They could be visiting a friend. If they're visiting a friend and they visit twice a day they're going to be charged $4 in total to pay those visits. If they're charged over a long period of time, there is no break given by the hospitals.

[Page 911]

[3:00 p.m.]

Again, I raise this, I know the importance of raising money for hospitals. I know that the Cape Breton Health Care Complex has said this money is going to be used for the repair and maintenance of the parking lot itself, or it will be used for the purchase of new equipment. But, the fact of the matter is, there are going to be those - seniors, those on fixed income or low income - who simply will not be able to afford the $42, the $84, whatever the price will total up to. They won't be able to afford that, through no fault of their own.

Which means, they will not be going to visit their friends in the hospital, which means the friends will not have their company which certainly is a part in the healing process of having people pay a visit to you on a regular basis.

There are all sorts of exceptions, I guess, and I may not be aware of them. But, there are also those people who will slip through the cracks, whether they be friends, clergy, whatever the case may be. If this is an added fee, an added increase to them, it eventually adds up to a hardship which is not necessary.

If I could take a look at the Glace Bay General Hospital itself, you never had to pay for parking there before, if we recall correctly in a previous budget, this government cut the budget of the Cape Breton Health Care Complex by some $8 million. Just walked in and said, we're chopping $8 million from your budget, now you find a way to fix it. Well, all of a sudden, the Cape Breton Health Care Complex had to start thinking about such things as paid parking and now you have that $2 charge.

If that side of the House, if the government can prove to me that charging seniors or people on fixed incomes is not an added hardship, it's not an extra burden, then I'd love to see that proof. Unless you're going to say to all seniors and all people on low and fixed incomes that there must be an escape clause for you somewhere in this. May I add that the Cape Breton Health Care Complex - and perhaps the Finance Minister talked to them, and they haven't had any complaints about this so far - they announced it a year ago, but they had a slight delay, if you call a year slight, in getting the equipment to put up at the parking lot itself. I dare say once that equipment goes up and you start paying for parking, that the complaints would come in a lot more than if you're not charging and the equipment is not there operating.

Let me give you an example of that, the complaints still to this day come in complaining about paying for parking at the University College of Cape Breton where you pay on a daily basis as well. The charge in their parking lots is $1, not $2 that you'll be charged at the Cape Breton Health Care Complex now in Glace Bay and in North Sydney. Yes, the students at UCCB, as my colleague says, have to pay $1 a day. I don't know if the staff does or not, I'm not sure of that. Even if they do, they're offered some sort of a deal, but that does not apply to the students. That's another issue for another day.

[Page 912]

My point here today, we're faced with a situation where we have a hospital - in this case, Glace Bay - that 33 times last year had to close its emergency department. If you drove up and paid $2 now to get into the parking lot, you may go to the door and find out that the emergency department is not open. I guess I'm finding it just a little ironic that we're worried about such things as keeping an emergency department open, keeping New Waterford Consolidated Hospital open, keeping the services that are available at the Northside General open and running on a daily basis - that's a concern. But to this government, it pays no heed whatsoever to starting to charge parking at $2 a day for facilities that did not have it.

I stress that the difference I think here is that these are facilities that have never had that. There are a lot of people, especially in this area, my area, and in other areas of this province, in rural areas, who feel that if you drive into a health care facility, you should not have to pay to get in there. I know some metro members will scratch their heads and say, well, we pay for parking up here all the time. Well, yes, Mr. Speaker, but you have a much enhanced transportation system up here which will take you to a hospital and drop you off. In rural areas, you're forced to take your vehicle there. You have no other choice but to take your vehicle there to get to the hospital. I'm not disagreeing with the fact that sometimes we have to pay our way.

My only point in bringing this up was that there are those people who are going to fall through the cracks here, who are being disadvantaged by all of a sudden having this charge slapped upon them. It may mean, in a lot of cases, that what they did on a regular basis, what may have become part of their life over the years, paying visits to hospitals - a lot of people do that - they may not be able to do that anymore because all of a sudden there is another cost brought about by this government, placed upon, in this case, the citizens of Glace Bay and Northside and area; all of a sudden there is another user fee that's there that wasn't there before.

Mr. Speaker, I don't think we hear the real hardships that are associated with all those user fees, those extra costs that are out there that will now prevent people from doing what may have been a normal routine part of their life, and may have been contributing a lot more than they actually thought it was contributing to people who are actually part of the health care system, who go to visit and make people feel better and take an interest in what's going on in their community.

Mr. Speaker, there are a lot more things and I know I don't have the time that I certainly would like to, to address at this point in time. Again, I stress that what led up to this is the fact that in a previous budget there was an $8 million cut from the Cape Breton Health Care Complex. Before that they were not even considering, they did not talk about paid parking in those facilities. They did have paid parking, it was instituted from day one at the Cape Breton Health Care Complex at the Sydney facility. I know at the time there were complaints when that was instituted, and probably there still are to this day, complaints that you have to pay to visit that facility.

[Page 913]

In closing, Mr. Speaker, with the remaining time that I have left - I think I have a couple of minutes left, three minutes left - I would like to remind the government that it may seem clear to them sometimes that this is the obvious thing to do, to tell district health authorities, to tell the Cape Breton Health Care Complex, yes, by all means, go ahead with paid parking and institute it, but let's not forget, let's never forget that there are people who are affected by this that we may not be considering. There may be exceptions that are made and, as I mentioned, there are some exceptions. I know the Finance Minister was trying, I think I will give him the benefit of the doubt, that the Finance Minister was helping me in what I was trying to get across by telling me, there will be exceptions made for family members. But it's not always the case that we've covered everybody, that we've thought of everybody, and that we know that there are going to be some instances where there are people who would normally visit hospitals on a regular basis, that we may be stopping them from doing that.

I guess in saying so, I would hope - and I know that the regional health care officials, who are very efficient in their work, I have a great deal of respect for the senior administration at the Cape Breton Health Care Complex, and I know the work that they do they have a great public relations department, and in all facilities of the Cape Breton Health Care Complex, they have, I would say, bar none, the best staff and facilities that are available in this province, Mr. Speaker.

I would respectfully suggest to them that perhaps we should very carefully look at how this is going to be administered and who's going to be affected by it. If there's anything that can be done, if problems occur, if there are problems that are brought to their attention, they should deal with them on an individual basis and assess the situation.

There are some people who simply will not be able to afford the parking charges that are going to be there now in both Glace Bay and area and Northside and area. In those areas a great deal of the citizens would be seniors and also a large number would be on low and fixed income. So I would appeal to them that certainly they take this under consideration and ask them to give it the respectful perusal that it requires to make sure that everybody is being treated fairly. I thank you for the time.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Chester-St. Margaret's.

MR. JOHN CHATAWAY: Mr. Speaker, I very much appreciate this opportunity to say a few words. I'm sure that the member for Chester-St. Margaret's would very much prefer other people in the House not to chat away while he has got a few minutes to speak. (Interruption) The member for Chester-St. Margaret's may chat away by times, but he does not necessarily chat away that often in this House. So I think he prefers the opportunity that he has to speak, to himself.

[Page 914]

Mr. Speaker, this Supply debate is a very important debate. I think it's always very sensible when many, many people in this House refer to the blue book and things like that, that's good, because I think the actual fact is we are working on a similar book of commitments and promises for the next four years. The specific goals may be somewhat different from the last four years, that is the specific goals, but the values, and I underline the word values, are similar. We will live within our means and another value that we will be pursuing is we will lower the taxes and we will do that I think in the next four years. Many Nova Scotians will support these values because they have in the past and I think we're going in the right direction, that's for sure.

Basically our commitment is, and our commitment has been, to have a strong economy and sound fiscal management as a basis for a healthy society, a society that can meet the needs and supply the services that Nova Scotians want. Of course, before we committed the promises, the values and the goals we had in the book, we had to get the house in good financial order and that's what we did. Certainly, at least on this side of the House, of course, we appreciate most Nova Scotians did pay their taxes.

We understand that certainly on this side of the House. Nova Scotians can spend their money better than governments can and basically they start off with their money, they pay their taxes and other bills and stuff like this and they can spend it better than governments can. Certainly in the past four years we've all shared in the sacrifices that we've had to make, but now we can share some of these gains that we have gained. Certainly on this side of the House we realize that people understand their needs and better know their needs and the way to use their money. We certainly trust Nova Scotians to allow them to keep their money and do the best they can in that regard.

Mr. Speaker, it certainly was very, very interesting because the provincial economy is very much improving in Nova Scotia. We're not at the top of the list, but we're certainly not at the bottom of the list; we're nearer the top of the list and basically we're going in the right direction. I understand that most people realize that there are 10 provinces in Canada and we are near the top of the best performing economies in Canada - near the top and not the bottom. Certainly we have to go in that direction.

I very much appreciate the Speech from the Throne and, basically, they do point out what we do plan to do with the economy, the values we have and where we're going with that, and certainly just basically we are now talking about Nova Scotia's second balanced budget in a row. After 40 years, maybe it's about to happen, and certainly we are going to lower taxes for everybody and certainly we will be helping businesses by bringing Nova Scotia's small business tax threshold in line with the most recent federal budget. Certainly we are going to enhance our business retention and expansion program and there are very many various plans that would do this, but we certainly want business to expand in Nova Scotia and also the retention they have and certainly the many, many things that we've done that will take us down this road.

[Page 915]

I don't have the time to talk about it all, but I think we are all aware that we are certainly going in that direction.

[3:15 p.m.]

One of the things is that we're going to introduce Brand Nova Scotia to promote our province as a place to live, work, and raise a family. Certainly, I have the honour of representing Chester-St. Margaret's, and one of the most thrilling things is the people in Chester-St. Margaret's are one of the best Christmas tree producers in Nova Scotia. In fact, I heard the figures that, basically out of all the Christmas trees exported from Canada, half come from Nova Scotia, and out of those that are exported from Nova Scotia, they come from Lunenburg County and half of those come from New Ross and area. Long story short, we're very proud what we're doing with all these things, and Brand Nova Scotia. We have a very good product to sell, and we're certainly going to encourage them to go around the world with what we can do.

The other thing is we will be making new investments to improve our roads, highways and bridges. Oh my goodness. Basically the EMO, the great shock that all Nova Scotia had, but before that of course we did have roads that needed repairs, bridges that needed repairs, and we're going in that direction, and thank goodness. Many parts of Nova Scotia attract tourists, it's the second-biggest business in Nova Scotia, people from inside the province, outside the province, just visiting parts of Nova Scotia, and it's so nice when they can get there without ruining their cars and things like that. We certainly have a good plan and are moving forward in that regard.

Of course, another wise plan is to create a capital district transportation authority, where everybody who lives in HRM sits down and talks about a plan, not just one whimsical plan for this week and another one for the next week, they sit down and they get a good authority that makes a good plan to the transportation authority in the HRM. HRM is a beautiful county, obviously, but it's getting more and more crowded, so we have to make sure that everybody wants to get along in that regard, they don't want to spend years and years, when they should have only spent a few minutes.

The other thing is, of course, in my riding, and I think it's very encouraging, I will tell you - I have a few minutes - about some international companies that are based in Chester-St. Margaret's. I'm very proud of it, because it just proves that many people, not only in Chester-St. Margaret's, but also right across the Province of Nova Scotia, have the three Cs: many companies in Nova Scotia are competent, they are very competitive, and they are classical communicators. They're telling the people in the province, they're telling people in Canada, and they're telling people all across the world that, yes, they have a very good service, or they have a very good model, and they say it's very competitive because it's properly priced. They're doing this, and my, oh my, I'm so proud.

[Page 916]

One of the companies I think of right off is Nautel in Hackett's Cove and they are transmitters and they go all over the world. In fact, I think many people realize that the volunteer head of the red tape reduction task force is headed by Mr. David Grace who also runs Nautel. He's doing a wonderful job. They're competing with worldwide competition and doing a very good job of that.

Then you get to Chester, you might be aware of GM Plastics, thermal heating - everything is made out of plastic. Of course, that was originally Chester Plastics, it was a good company, but GM Plastics makes the machines that do that. Literally, they deal with over 50 companies in the world. It's very wonderful what they're doing and they're very competitive, many people want that. Again, it just proves that many people in Nova Scotia - I know my riding better than other ridings, certainly in Chester-St. Margaret's, we are very competitive worldwide. I think everybody appreciates that's the way Nova Scotia should be and that's where we're going.

Another interesting thing was Louisiana Pacific. Louisiana Pacific runs about 34 companies that are dealing with wood and things like this. So they came up to give the whole plant at East River an award for going to hemlock. Some of the people had never been to Nova Scotia before and they said, oh my goodness, what a beautiful place it is. The other thing, of course, they did point out in some of their plants that they deal with around the world, about one-third of their people retire every year. They realized that many people work in East River, they've been there for 25 to 30 years and it just proves that many Nova Scotian workers are very dedicated and very competent. So we're on the right track.

Mr. Speaker, just how much time do I have? About two minutes. Well, time flies when you're having fun. But, to make a long story short, I feel very pleased to have this opportunity to say a few words. Basically, we do have a province with a balanced government, we do have a very sensible government too. There's some people in this House who say they want to spend anything all the time and some don't want to spend anything. This is a sensible, balanced government.

The other thing, we are encouraging all sorts of great companies in Nova Scotia, keep them up, so in the long run, I certainly feel strongly that there is benefit for everyone in this Supply. I very much appreciate the opportunity. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.

[3:23 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Supply with Acting Deputy Speaker Mr. William Dooks in the Chair.]

[7:23 p.m. CWH on Supply rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Murray Scott, resumed the Chair.]

[Page 917]

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

THE CLERK: That the committee has met and made some progress in considering Supply and asks leave to sit again.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I would request the concurrence of the House to revert to the order of business, Notices of Motion, to reconsider Resolution No. 602.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

[It is agreed.]

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the unanimous consent of the House. I will just read the therefore be it resolved:

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the efforts of Sanja Pecelj, St. Mark's Anglican Church and other supporters to help ensure Ms. Pecelj can stay in 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.

The honourable Government House Leader.

[Page 918]

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Public Bills for Second Reading.

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 1.

Bill No. 1 - Firefighters' Compensation Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to move second reading on Bill No. 1 - Firefighters' Compensation Act. Firefighters perform a valuable service to their communities, and Nova Scotia has 550 paid firefighters in this province and 7,500 volunteers who put their lives daily on the line to protect us from the ravages of fire.

In 2001 alone there were more than 800 reported fires across the province, Mr. Speaker. These resulted in nine deaths and 39 injuries, of which 22 were to firefighters. Firefighters not only risk their lives in the short time that they fight a fire, they also risk their long-term health. The incidents of cancer is, on average, three times higher to firefighters than for the normal population. This has been linked to plastics and other chemical-based products that are now common in homes, industrial sites and businesses and these are released into the air during a fire.

Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to report that this bill will allow for a presumption that benefits should be paid to firefighters who contract specific types of cancer, under the Workers' Compensation Program. This legislation will ensure that they have the best possible insurance and health coverage available should they need it. What sets our bill apart from others is that we will make these benefits available to all firefighters, both paid and volunteer.

Cancer doesn't differentiate from those individuals who make their living and make a career of fighting fires, to those who give of their free time to protect their communities. This bill will be supported by a regulation that will detail the specific types of cancers and occupational diseases that will be covered.

We are currently looking at the five or six cancers that are covered in Manitoba or under consultation in Alberta. These include: brain; bladder; kidney; leukemia; non-Hodgkins lymphona (Interruption) lymphoma, right; and possibly colon cancer. Obviously, I'm not of the medical profession, Mr. Speaker.

[Page 919]

AN HON. MEMBER: You were Minister of Health.

MR. RUSSELL: I was, I forgot all that stuff. This bill provides flexibility for the Workers' Compensation Board to change and update both the types of cancer covered as the medical evidence changes, as well as setting out the employment periods for firefighters to be covered. The list can be updated from time to time and I have asked for a further review to be conducted of other firefighters' diseases. Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out that this same approach is the one that has been adopted by Saskatchewan in their legislation, which is presently coming before the House.

With this bill, benefits for specific cancers will be expedited through the system without further anxiety to firefighters or to their families. The average coverage that most municipalities purchase for their volunteer firefighters is $30,000. Paid firefighters are usually closer to the highest insurable amount for workers' compensation which, at the present time is $41,800. There are 2,200 volunteer firefighters at the present time covered under workers' compensation, there are a large number covered under other private systems in co-operation with the municipalities, and there are about 100 paid firefighters who are covered under workers' compensation; the balance are again, covered under private systems.

Mr. Speaker, I think this is good legislation, I think it's something we should do for volunteer firefighters. As all others are aware, firefighters not only fight fires in our communities but they are tremendous people to have within a community to get things done. They are the spark plugs that every organization turns to when they want to get something underway. If they want to build a new library, if they want to build a new rink in the town, normally the first people on the line to help are the volunteer firefighters. They are very, very important people.

With those few words, I move second reading of Bill No. 1, but before I sit down I will tell the honourable members that if they say well, you're fooling around with the regulations, we're not. We have draft regulations but by the manner in which we deal with regulations they must first of all go to the Workers' Compensation Board, then they're going to come back and go to the Treasury Board, and from Treasury Board to Cabinet, before they become regulations. There is a process in place, we do have draft regulations which indeed I may be persuaded to table sometime before we get into the Committee on Law Amendments or certainly, when we are in the Committee on Law Amendments.

[7:30 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, the regulations themselves are just one page. They are very simple. They list the cancers that are covered, they list the minimum period of employment and outline what a firefighter is for the benefits of the regulations, it is exactly the same for a volunteer firefighter who is applying for licence plates or for coverage under the death benefits and that person is certified by the fire chief to be an active firefighter. So, that is all there are to the

[Page 920]

regulations. They are very simple. They are very straightforward. We will certainly have them available for the Law Amendments Committee.

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

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, well, I guess this is the case of the old Tilden line that when you're number two, you try harder. We called Bill No. 2 before this House approximately two weeks ago on basically the same thing. I listened to the minister and the minister is trying to cut us off at the pass in saying we have the regulations and they are going through the system, be patient and it may come to you. But it is very important that those regulations are brought forward as soon as possible, because without them you are really buying a pig in a poke here with this bill.

Now, (Interruptions) I hear the member over there saying you forgot volunteers. Has he read our bill? Read Bill No. 2 and you will find that volunteers are in there. So, Mr. Speaker, as someone who represents five volunteer fire departments and some paid staff, I know the importance, certainly as most members do. That's a point of clarification, the floor is open for debate. (Interruption)

What is the noise in here? That's right. Mr. Speaker, what we have to look at here is a very, very large empty spot in the government's bill here and that's retroactivity. The purpose of retroactivity as the minister said when he introduced this bill, talked about the amount of firefighters whether they be full time, paid volunteers or volunteers, that there is a certain amount covered under the WCB and a certain amount covered under a private carrier, paid directly by the municipality. That's important, because in Bill No. 2, we, in that bill, talked specifically about a retroactivity period.

Now, why the retroactivity period? Well, pre-amalgamation in Halifax County and so on, there were various paid departments and volunteers and one of the paid departments, Dartmouth, had a private insurer and the rest were either not paid or were WCB. Upon amalgamation, the HRM adopted the Dartmouth model and they went to a private carrier, excluding themselves from the WCB. Now, without the retroactivity period there are actually two people out there today who have cancer, who are firefighters, who fit all the criteria in this bill except retroactivity. That's extremely important because they are not being paid, their premiums aren't being paid through the WCB, so therefore they are outside the window. As the bill clearly says, that everything comes into effect the day this bill is passed. There is not one iota of retroactivity. So why would they do that?

I heard the members across the way saying, your bill didn't include volunteer firefighters, what do you have against firefighters? Well, I suppose if I wanted to be mean-spirited back I could say, what do you have against volunteer firefighters or paid firefighters who have cancer? Because what this bill effectively does is cut those people out, saying that you have primary site cancer but that's not good enough.

[Page 921]

The minister has said to us that in his regulations he will have such things as the firefighters suffer from - whether it's primary site brain cancer, primary site bladder cancer, primary site kidney cancer, primary non-Hodgkin's lymphoma or primary leukemia and colon cancer.

Colon cancer, to the minister - I've got to say that goes to a nice area - it's good to have in there, but again it's the retroactivity prospect of it. If the minister would look at bringing in that, that is a major part around this bill, the idea of having it available for retroactivity. We leave out a very large segment and it's of great importance. We've seen various studies, the Guidotti studies and the Goldberg studies and we find these primary cancers that most affect many of our firefighters, but you know 80 per cent of all injuries to firefighters is from smoke inhalation. Therefore, that's where a lot of the diseases come from after taking in that probably contaminated air and some forms of oxygen deficiency. This is what happens to some of these firefighters and it carries on from there.

For the government to say that this bill addresses those needs is somewhat short and I would say that it really doesn't make a lot of sense to me if you're going to bring this bill and take it on to the Law Amendments Committee and eventually have it enacted without the recognition of retroactivity. Why would you want to exclude those brave souls?

It's something we all agree on. There's not one person in this House who would argue the work these brave women and men do whether it's paid or volunteer. I have to tell you some people will stand up and talk about the idea that there were volunteer firefighters excluded. When you look at it in reality, the hard part about including - and the bill said they would study it, same as the Manitoba bill - was for the purpose of trying to get a call system down. Professional firefighters have a more demanding type of schedule. When they answer a call they have a roster and I'm sure you would know well yourself, Mr. Speaker, in your former profession, not being a firefighter, but being a first responder with the police service. You would know there's always an incident report and they would go out and when they came back from the run, they would put down the members that answered the call and the time out and time in. Then they would list in the incident report the type of fire and right down the list.

You could, from that, extrapolate fairly easily who was involved and how many runs each firefighter had to take. You could keep a scorecard there. That was the problem we were facing looking around volunteers, because is this going to add another layer of work to our already overburdened volunteers? Just today in estimates and last week in this House we were questioning the minister on problems besetting volunteer firefighting brigades across this province regarding insurance for their buildings and their property. This is becoming a real problem. Now we're going to heap another line of work on them, another level of bureaucratic concern because the small municipalities certainly don't have the time to go and say, okay, last night there was a fire at 1 Main Street and the volunteer fire department from this area responded and these five people were there and so on.

[Page 922]

It's another level of bureaucracy that we're going to put on the backs of volunteer firefighters without having any real discussion with them or with municipalities, and saying, how can we implement this so these folks are covered. I make no excuses, Mr. Speaker, this was taken from the Manitoba bill. My bill, when I introduced it, Bill No. 2, was basically reflective of that. Also I will be glad to see, when the minister brings them forward, around the regulations, the amount of time these people will have to work in the profession before they're considered for these various illnesses. That's an integral part of automatic assumption. Some of the wording around - and we won't get into that today, the clause-by-clause aspect of it because you may shut me down when we get into clause by clause, we will be talking about it. I think the wording is a little weak and that would give the board, maybe, if they would feel that they have an argument, to shut down the automatic assumption side of it. So we will be talking about that at another time.

The idea of years is an important one, because, as I said in an earlier speech, the idea of automatic assumption isn't a new idea, totally, to this province. We certainly broke ground with the coal miners' automatic assumption, and so we deal with that. But here's a problem we're facing today at workers' compensation over automatic assumption, and I think it's particularly vicious and particularly cruel, before the demise of the industry in Cape Breton, there was a period of about the last three to four to five years of downtime because of the closure of the Lingan Mine and then the uncertainties of the roof strata in the Phalen Mine and maintenance and work, and so on, at the Prince Mine, so there were lots of shutdowns.

There were periods of time that people weren't working, the miners weren't working. Although they have a work record that shows, for the sake of argument, Mr. Speaker, they were hired in 1975 and were laid off in 1999. But what the board is doing now is coming back and saying, no, no, well, it shows that you worked there for 23-plus years. If we start to take into account the times that you were on layoff, you do not meet the 20-year litmus test, which goes against, I believe, the spirit of the legislation.

I think what we take into consideration here is that it's 20 years working. It's not like this person didn't go to work because they didn't want to or whatever. There were such factors as layoffs, sick days, vacation days, all these allotments, which I would have thought, in the goodwill around that bill, those things were considered, and it was from hired to when you were no longer considered an employee.

The board has taken a very strict vision of what 20 years is. I would ask the minister to be cognizant of that when putting that wording forward to the board, that there's clarity there that they can't fool around with, that it means from the time you were hired to the time, because of your injury, you could no longer work. Don't be playing with minuscule numbers. In real terms I have coal miners in my constituency, Mr. Speaker, who are considered to have some form of lung dysfunction but they missed the 20-year date because of, say, well, you were laid off for four months here, now it's 19 years and 7 months, so you miss it, or 19 years and 10 months, and you miss it. Therefore, you're out the door.

[Page 923]

I don't think that was the intent of that bill, but indeed when you look at the bill the wording isn't strong enough to support that. So what you end up doing is going to the Workers' Compensation Appeals Tribunal with these and saying, you're arguing intent, there are many more learned people around here who have law degrees who will know more about that than I do, but I'm sure it's an awful hard position to argue when you're arguing intent,

unless you have the people - if you took in all 52 people who were members of the House at the time to say, do you swear that that was the intent of that bill, because it's almost impossible. It's extremely important that we include and make sure that that's in that bill.

[7:45 p.m.]

I want to go back for a minute to talk about what we were looking for in Bill No. 2 by putting everything in the bill, not by way of regulation as the minister said about Bill No. 1, because I believe him for sure when he says he's going to bring regulations forward and they are in the vetting process, if you will allow, Mr. Speaker, but I just kind of wonder why they are not encapsulated in the bill. Why aren't they there for people to see and then not get tangled up in the intent sometime down the road and we'll be arguing it somewhere with WCAT or internal appeals with the WCB of why it wasn't in the bill. Why is it in regulations, why is it not in the bill? You know, at some point I hope the minister will be able to answer that question directly.

There are two firefighters who I mentioned earlier. One is Gary Harris and the other is Moe Cannon, both who worked for the Halifax Fire Department here and both suffering from cancer. When our bill was introduced, which is Bill No. 2 - and the government introduced Bill No. 1 - which was the first Friday we sat, on that Saturday I got home and there was a message for me to call Mr. Harris. Mr. Harris is quite a unique guy. He gave his all when he worked for the fire department. He's a good community guy. He's all those things you want as a neighbour and a friend. He's the type of guy who if you're out getting winter wood in, he'd cut it with you. He's the type of neighbour you would like to have and the type of friend you would like to have. But Gary knows that he can't be that type of friend or that type of neighbour anymore and he doesn't know how long he's going to be any of those things anymore, because he has cancer. He's not worried about what will happen to poor Gary. He's not kicking the dirt and saying why me or anything like that. What he is saying, though, Mr. Speaker, is that I worked hard, I got paid good and all I want is what most of us want in this province, that if something disastrous happens to me that my family is looked after. That's what we are looking for with the retroactivity. If the government doesn't want to come back and treat Gary Harris or Moe Cannon with that type of fairness, then there is something fundamentally wrong with their bill.

You know we are not talking about opening the floodgates at the WCB on items, Mr. Speaker. We know basically, it's a finite number we are dealing with here. If the government would look at that in a serious way, I think they would see that that is a fundamental piece of fairness that they should buy into and protect Gary Harris and Moe Cannon and say look,

[Page 924]

you treated us well and we're going to treat you well. That's all it is. It's not somebody asking for something. They aren't wanting the bar raised especially for them. They're not looking for anything that they don't deserve. They're not looking for anything like, give it to me but don't give it to that person. They don't want boxes put around them, they want this available to themselves and all their comrades so they can go and know that if they work as they can, they'll work as safe as any Nova Scotian worker can work. They also want to know that if, through no fault of their own, that they'll be covered and their families will be looked after.

That's what we need here. We need a bill that would look back and help these people. I want to tell the minister that that is such an important part. It is an important part of every bill whether it's in the 21 States in the U.S., whether it's in Manitoba, or whether it's the proposed legislation by a backbencher in Alberta. I notice the minister brought up about the Saskatchewan bill today; he's got me at a loss on that one but I will certainly go to it and look it up after debate today, but each one of those look at the retroactivity aspect of it. I applaud the minister for including colon cancer, because in many of these places colon cancer is still under study. The Guidotti report still, I believe, I'm not sure - and Goldberg - I believe that their studies have said that while it's inconclusive, they would certainly look at following that - the incidences are there, but aren't as solid as the other primary site cancers.

We need government to come to the table and lay out exactly what they're going to put in their bill. I want to go back and say while I respect the minister's position around his saying that he will bring the regulations forward and possibly before we go the Law Amendments Committee, that would be good. It would be a step, but I still say to the minister that we should have them enshrined in the bill, that the minister should - you know, I guess the bigger picture in this bill is the best way to put it, Mr. Speaker, that they should allow us to see all these things here.

Let's look at the latency periods, let's look at whether they're 10 years,or 15 years, or 20 years. They are of necessity to put in there because, again, they go to the Guidotti and Goldberg studies - and they're considered the benchmark throughout North America as the study around cancer related to firefighters - they set out these periods as long as these people have been employed and it goes back to, I guess before - and I'm not talking about excluding people, but that's part of the problem with tracking the volunteers and if we can track that, that's great, but I'm not talking about excluding, I'm just talking about what the experts have found, problems that you will find, that we will find if and when this bill is passed, finding a way to make sure that we could accurately portray the length of time people were employed, if you can be employed as a volunteer - I don't think so - but performed your duty as a volunteer and how you can do that, how they will be able to track that.

[Page 925]

It will be interesting to see that one because most studies have shown it's pretty much impossible, but if this government can do that, then my hat goes off to them. If they can do that without costing municipalities any money, all the better, and if they can do it without the expense of taxing more work on top of the already overworked volunteers in the community.

As the minister said, the volunteer aspect of this is interesting because they're the ones we always go to first, rural communities or smaller urban areas, they're always the ones they go to first. I'm sure, Mr. Speaker, they're active in revitalizing the rink and arena in Springhill. They're always involved. You know yourself if you want to get a parade going in your town - I remember one time when we were kids, the big thing always was if you won your high school soccer championship in the province, or if you won a baseball tournament, the big thing was always getting a ride in the fire engine, well, that's gone for other reasons. What they do, if you come in from a championship from somewhere, who's usually out waiting by the highway to take you through town but the fire department. They're probably the most recognizable group. They're so recognizable, they're even relied on to take Santa around. Mr. Speaker, that's probably right up there with driving the Speaker of the House around.

Nonetheless, if we can help, if we can encourage, if we can take (Interruptions) If we can take volunteers and put them in this bill and make this bill better, Mr. Speaker, then I'm all for it. There's not a person, as I started out to say tonight, in this room tonight who disagrees with the important role, whether it's paid or volunteer firefighters in this community, from one end of the province to the other. We agree with the role they play.

Mr. Speaker, I will be taking my seat, so I want to tell the minister that I hope to see some changes, that we will be looking forward to when the bill goes on to the Law Amendments Committee. I would appreciate it if, before that, he could get the regulations to us. It would be very good. Hopefully we can come up with a bill that will give it some retroactivity and that will look after all of our firefighters right across the province.

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

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise and speak on Bill No. 1, An Act to Provide Compensation for Full-time and Volunteer Firefighters Who Suffer from an Occupational Disease. At the outset, I would compliment the minister for recognizing the importance of firefighters in this province, and particularly the need for volunteer firefighters and the very vital role that they play.

Mr. Speaker, in my constituency, presently I have 14 volunteer fire departments, with an average complement of 25 volunteer firefighters. So we can see that that's a considerable contribution, and that's spread over a 62-mile distance. Then with the redistribution taking place, I will lose one but I will pick up an additional two, so I will be up to 15. Initially, back in 1988, when I came to the House of Assembly, I had 17 volunteer fire departments in my

[Page 926]

constituency, and then with some realignment that changed. I feel that I have a fairly good rapport with the volunteer fire departments across rural Nova Scotia, as represented through my constituency. I feel that the need for volunteer firefighters is absolutely paramount in this day and age.

Mr. Speaker, the minister has indicated some 8,000 volunteer firefighters and paid-service firefighters in the province, of which 500 are paid, or sometimes we refer to as professional, and the other 7,500 are volunteer. That doesn't, in any way, diminish the level of training or the expertise that volunteer firefighters provide.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Halifax Bedford Basin.

MS. MARY ANN MCGRATH: Mr. Speaker, would the member allow an introduction, please?

MR. MACKINNON: Yes.

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

MS. MCGRATH: Mr. Speaker, I would like to introduce, in the east gallery, Irene Swindells, the national Vice-President of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, who has joined us this evening. Irene, would you rise and receive the welcome of the House, please. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We welcome Irene to the gallery this evening.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West, thank you, and you have the floor.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I too welcome the special guest for the member for Halifax Bedford Basin. There are a number of issues with this bill that I have to bring before the minister and the House here this evening. First and foremost is the question as to whether we should even be having this bill before the House, not in any way to diminish the merits of what the bill has to offer, but rather if the minister were to check with the existing Workers Compensation Act, Chapter 10 of the Acts of 1994-95 which was subsequently amended.

[Page 927]

[8:00 p.m.]

Under Part I, referred to as Workers' Compensation Scope, Application of Part I, Section 3(1), "This Part applies to employers and workers engaged in, about or in connection with any industry prescribed by the Governor in Council by regulation." And, Section 3(2), "The Governor in Council may, by regulation, exclude any employer, class of employer, or class of worker engaged in, about or in connection with any industry prescribed pursuant to subsection (1)."

Mr. Speaker, if you take that section of the Workers' Compensation Act and if you were to go and look at the regulations to the Workers' Compensation Act - Mr. Speaker, I can't even hear myself let alone yourself when you intervene. I can't proceed unless I get silence of some sort here.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton West has the floor. I would ask everyone to give the same respect that he does to other people when they're . . . (Interruption)

MR. MACKINNON: I can see why you're in the Chair. It's just that I feel it's somewhat technical in detail and the minister is trying to listen with his earpiece and he's struggling to hear what I'm saying. I don't think I'm that quiet - I could raise the tone slightly if he needs. He says he's deaf. He's probably deaf to what some of the stakeholders are saying on this bill as well because if you look at the exemptions to the regulations, the regulations specifically exclude police officers and firefighters for the province.

All it would take is for the Governor-in-Council, the Cabinet, to go downstairs, amend the regulations to include fire departments and/or police departments. Then the minister could direct the board to develop a policy surrounding this entire issue. I'm sure the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage may have some insights on this as well, having worked within the workers' compensation system.

The question I would ask is, what consultation did the minister have with the Workers' Compensation Board? What directive or what information did he have aside from, perhaps, a discussion with the chairman of the board? I understand that the board will be meeting on Wednesday of this week to deliver on this very issue, but wouldn't it have been better to have the deliberations, prior to the introduction of this bill, involve the stakeholders? Would it not have been better had we some insight from the Workers' Compensation Board? The chairman of the board, perhaps and the chief financial officer, I believe, should come before Law Amendments to give an explanation of the detail that they see to this particular piece of legislation.

[Page 928]

That having been said, it wouldn't take much for the minister to call Huey, or Louie and Stuewe, I think that's their names, Louie and Stuewe and they could bring Huey and Dewey if they like, but the fact of the matter is, we haven't seen any input from the board which represents both industry and labour, again, representatives from the government and the general public at large. I think that's very unfortunate. I somehow can't help but think that perhaps the minister rushed with this because he was afraid the NDP was going to get some credit in rural Nova Scotia for the introduction of their bill. Quite frankly, I don't care who gets the credit. I really don't as long as we do something to help volunteer firefighters. Isn't that what we're here for? It seems like a rather impetuous move by the government to do what was done on such short notice.

Mr. Speaker, the government says it's only good for volunteer firefighters or paid firefighters if they contribute to the workers' compensation system. In other words, if there are premiums being paid by either the local municipality or the volunteer fire department or what have you, but if they don't pay into it, they're out in the cold. By the minister's own admission, 3,000 volunteer firefighters will get absolutely nothing. They will get nothing by this piece of legislation.

I understand, Mr. Speaker, what the minister is trying to do is to go on a similar parallel to automatic assumption as with black lung disease in the coal miners. But by his own admission, the medical experts at the board will still have to review the evidence and my colleague, the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage, knows what can happen there. So, what's the time frame? All the more reason to see these preliminary regulations, these draft regulations. As well, I believe the minister has to give some clarity on how this will either be integrated or not with the functional restoration program with the board.

So by the time you get through all these hoops, Mr. Speaker, I mean look at the fact, for example, CBRM, perhaps Truro, Lunenburg, maybe a few of these municipalities that pay into the workers' compensation system on behalf of their volunteer firefighters, they essentially have coverage now. The minister is saying, well, we're going to cut through all the red tape and make it easier for them. Well, that could be done by regulation and policy of the board. If anyone were to look at the policy manuals of that board, it's enough to spin your head for three years to figure out some of the detail on various issues and illnesses that injured workers are dealing with when they apply for compensation. Very little - the empowerment is there, I would submit. Hopefully, one of our legal minds on the floor of the Legislature here may be able to offer better insight.

The bill seems rather obvious to me, Mr. Speaker. The existing legislation deals with it, so why bother? Was it simply to get out and get public relations? The media reports were: government providing compensation for firefighters, and they focused on volunteer firefighters for certain illnesses, cancers and so on. Well, that's great, but the fact of the matter is, if you can determine the cause and effect relationship you're receiving it anyway, you're going to receive it. So if the issue of presumption is what the minister is trying to cut

[Page 929]

through to compete with the NDP, then I think he's ill-advised. Somebody gave bad political advice. This is a political document.

If it doesn't take away from the volunteer firefighters, Mr. Speaker, pass it or don't pass it. The fact of the matter is that you can achieve the same goal by regulation and policy. Why isn't the government going that extra step for the 3,000 volunteer firefighters across rural Nova Scotia, with more than half of the volunteer fire departments in this province getting nothing, absolutely nothing from this government. So, so much for the grand billing that this minister and this government put out for volunteer firefighters. They aren't getting anything, that's the disappointment.

Let's look at some of the others. Look at Halifax Regional Municipality. They don't pay into the workers' compensation system because they have what they feel is their own private insurance program, compensation program . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: A self-insurance program.

MR. MACKINNON: A self-insurance program. So none of the Halifax regional firefighters will see any benefit to this particular piece of legislation.

Now, what about employers who give time off to their employees to go and engage in fighting a fire? Mr. Speaker, again, those employers will be paying for this volunteer service. So where does the government come in? The only thing we've seen the government come in so far is to try to scramble to get a good public relations exercise out there going into an election. Great. If that's what they want, fine and dandy. I'm only here to get protection for those volunteer firefighters who aren't going to get protection and I think the government owes that.

When you look, Mr. Speaker, at the hundreds of million of dollars that volunteer firefighters save for the people of Nova Scotia, for municipalities, for the province, for industry, for the insurance companies - report, well, this one is almost five years old, and it's close to $250 million in a 10-year period. That's just what volunteer firefighters did and that's not a complete report. They get that information by the submissions of information that come in from the various volunteer fire departments. We have approximately 315 volunteer fire departments which the minister says only about half are going to get coverage. Why a half measure? Why not do it and do it right? Why isn't the government going to some of these multilateral corporations that are saving hundreds of millions of dollars and still increasing insurance premiums for householders, car owners and businesses across Nova Scotia? They are almost doubling the insurance premiums and the government is collecting a hidden tax and still, who is doing the dirty work? The volunteer firefighters who get no protection from this government. I say shame.

[Page 930]

Between life insurance, automobile and home insurance, hidden taxes, this government, this year, will collect $48.5 million and how much of that is coming on the backs of volunteer firefighters? I dare say, a fair bit. If the government wanted to do something, get past the facade of trying to take credit and take ownership in such a paternalistic fashion as if volunteer fire departments will become ingratiated by this action and beholden to this government when, in fact, more than half of them really - when you add up the ones with HRM and the other ones that are going through the private insurance scheme - will see little or no benefit. Why isn't the government doing something about that?

In the absence of those who are exempted out of the plan, let's say 4,500, or 5,000 if the minister wants to include the paid service, let's assume, for the sake of discussion, if you took the 8,000 and bunched them all together in one envelope and you took the total cost of the compensation for the 8,000 across this province, I dare say you would be looking at somewhere in the vicinity of about $800,000. Is that a lot to ask the various stakeholders? Municipalities, I'm sure, would be a willing partner to share some of that $800,000. Surely to heavens the insurance industry should be able to.

[8:15 p.m.]

How many times do you see the insurance industry line up and make contributions to volunteer firefighters in rural Nova Scotia? Not too often. Maybe they do and I'm sure in some cases they do, but when you consider the millions and millions of dollars, the tens of millions of dollars that are taken out of these communities on the backs of these volunteer firefighters, it pales in comparison, and then what about the government? What's the government doing besides legislating a further burden on the private sector and downloading more on the municipality? If that's the argument the minister wants to use, that it's only if they pay into it, well, what's the government going to pay into it?

You know, Mr. Speaker, when we were on that side of the House and we introduced the Workers' Compensation Board Act, the amendments in the Spring of 1999, the Progressive Conservative caucus said that it was not fair to the employers of this province to be paying 100 per cent of the cost of occupational health and safety training. So what did we do? There was a compromise. That's essentially what it was. It was an 85/55 per cent split. (Interruption)

Yes, it was a minority government, Mr. Speaker, indeed it was, but as soon as the government got in power, what did they do? They pumped that up to 91 per cent. They stuck it to the very people they said they were going to champion a cause for and why is that issue important to this? It's because volunteer firefighters, as well as paid service, have to receive that training in order to be operational, in order for them to receive insurance. I think that's not fair what the government is doing, it's patently unfair. Is there anything inherently negative with this particular piece of legislation? One could argue no. Everyone you help is one less you worry about, and that's a good thing because that's what we're here for, but I'm

[Page 931]

disappointed that we have missed an opportunity. Maybe when it goes to the Law Amendments Committee we will have an opportunity.

Mr. Speaker, you have volunteer fire departments in your riding. Maybe the Town of Springhill covers them, maybe Amherst - well, I think your colleague covers the Amherst area, but Parrsboro (Interruptions) Like my former colleague would say, Parrsboro, Lower River Hebert and all these names that we always - Joggins, and so on and so forth, he used to name them with great clarity and persistence because that was the good part about it. Here we had a champion of rural Nova Scotia. I sense the government is only creating a facade, an image of wanting to help volunteer firefighters in rural Nova Scotia. They represent two-thirds of the population, so why isn't the government doing something else for them?

Mr. Speaker, I would be very interested in having David Stuewe and Louis Comeau come down and give us some detail and explanation. And the costing of this particular piece of legislation, the minister said that it would only cost about $200,000 a year. Well, why wouldn't it? He has excluded the best part of all the volunteer firefighters in the province and by his own figures, I would submit that he's wrong that it would only cost $200,000 a year in payouts. It would cost more. So I'm a little at a loss to why the minister is doing what he's doing. He said, well, if the municipality will pay for the premiums or the volunteer fire departments can raise the money they can pay in.

Has anyone had a reality check lately in rural Nova Scotia about how hard it is for volunteer fire departments to exist, to continue? Remember down in Colchester County less than two years ago when they were talking about packing in one of the volunteer fire departments because they couldn't get volunteers? I'm sure if we went down to Digby or Annapolis or some of those areas, Mr. Speaker, we would find that the government is letting them down.

Mr. Speaker, with all the downloading on the municipality you can't expect the municipal units to do it all either. They just don't have the money. The government already downloaded the equivalent of, for some municipalities, a 5 per cent property tax increase by downloading the cost of education in this budget. Now they're expecting to download further costs for fire departments. What is the government doing in all this? They claw back somewhere in the vicinity of $4 million a year from the Workers' Compensation Board, what are they doing with it? Why aren't they helping volunteer firefighters in this province?

Mr. Speaker, you'll recall in March 2002 a gentleman by the name of Mr. Dorsey provided a report for the government. It was essentially a review of the workers' compensation program in Nova Scotia. Now, aside from the issue of supplemental benefits that the government provided, no other recommendations have been acted on. The government has not said so, but the costing of these recommendations would be somewhere in excess of $240 million. Maybe that's why the government doesn't want to deal with these

[Page 932]

issues right now, because there's an election. Maybe it's because the investments at the Workers' Compensation Board are not working out as well as they would have liked.

Mr. Speaker, when we were in government the unfunded liability and the plan to pay it down was very effective and at the rate we were going, we would have had a 40-year debt - that's what it was amortized over - paid off in 16 years. When this government came in, what happened? It started to slow down. Indeed it did. Work out the percentages. I know the minister is kind of itching to get into the debate and I'd welcome any comments from the minister on this particular issue.

Mr. Speaker, it would take very little to help those firefighters across this province, whether they be down in Canso, anywhere in Guysborough. What about all the Tory backbenchers? They're sitting there quietly and not one volunteer fire department in their area will see a benefit from this bill, not one, unless they pay in through the municipality, the system. So what about those that can't afford it? The cost of the additional occupational health and safety training is the equivalent of what a volunteer fire department would pay in workers' compensation premiums in the run of a year. Depending upon the size you could be looking at anywhere from $1,500 to $2,500 and anyone who has worked with a volunteer fire department would know what I'm saying.

I'm hoping that the minister would be good enough before we're finished debating, when he closes debate on second reading, that he would be willing to stand in his place and acknowledge that the government is willing to do something for the other 50 per cent of all the fire departments in this province, do something for these 3,000 volunteer firefighters.

It would be interesting to hear the costing from our chief financial officer of the board, and I would encourage the minister to make a formal request to the chairman of the board and to the chief financial officer, Louie and Steuwe, have them come down before the Law Amendments Committee and explain what the cost of this particular piece of legislation will be. Because if they're only going to meet on Wednesday of this week, obviously they haven't had a chance to digest and analyze and prepare. And how can you prepare policy when you don't even have the regulations? The minister says he only has draft regulations.

When is this going to come into effect? After the election? Well, what a coincidence, maybe they don't proclaim it. They can proclaim the Act, but if you don't have the regulations, it's of no value. We know the Act only sets out the principles and the direction and the general issues that you would like to achieve, and the regulations are the working component. That's what makes it happen, Mr. Speaker. I think the minister should, as we did, when I was Minister of Labour, we tabled those draft regulations. We tabled them for all members of the House to digest and analyze and come back with a constructive criticism or analyzation, and hopefully a resolve to improve.

AN HON. MEMBER: But that was a minority government.

[Page 933]

MR. MACKINNON: Minority, majority, whatever, Mr. Speaker. The NDP, they wanted the regulations, they got them. They can't say that we weren't co-operative and we weren't willing. This whole issue surrounding volunteer firefighters, it's a little more complex than just saying, we're going to provide a benefit, and then when you start reading the detail, and more than half of them are excluded, get a reality check. The rest are already covered in the system. Really, what the minister is saying, what we will do is bring in that assumption factor so as to dispense with all the red tape, all the loopholes that people have to go through for medical evidence. Are they going to bypass the medical experts altogether? Or, do volunteer firefighters have to have that disease for x number of years before they can receive any compensation, similar to coal miners? I believe the figure there is 20 years.

Mr. Speaker, if you're a volunteer firefighter, you might not be able to go back to your full-time job because of this. What's the time frame? What are the parameters that the minister is talking about? Yes, I'm very concerned about this functional restoration program. If they're going to bypass that, the minister has an obligation to say that, because it could have a dramatic impact as to what the level of income will be. The minister goes on and waxes eloquent about the low end of the scale is about $10,400 - and I'm just paraphrasing numbers, it may not be exactly but it's within a couple of hundred dollars - up to about $41,000. Then, man, once he uses the figure $41,000, that's the figure he runs with, to try to make every volunteer firefighter believe, psychologically, that they're going to receive $41,000. Well, that's hogwash. That's absolute hogwash, and he knows it and the government knows it.

I would like to see, if the government is very dogged on this, if they're so determined to eclipse the NDP for what they were proposing and if they think that will achieve the same goal, then so be it, Mr. Speaker. I would advocate that the government has to shift the focus of this particular piece of legislation substantially. Yes, if this issue of automatic assumption will improve or streamline the process to make it easier for those who are already in the system, so be it, even though clearly I believe it can be done by regulation and policy at the board, because, ultimately the board is the one that's going to have to do the detail on this.

[8:30 p.m.]

Another asset to this particular piece of legislation would be - and if the minister is so inclined, he can introduce an amendment himself, or we could introduce an amendment that would require the government to take the initiative, to take the action to provide coverage for the 3,000 volunteer firefighters in this province who get absolutely nothing. There's no benefit in this bill for them. Just because they don't pay compensation, or the municipality or the fire department doesn't pay Workers' Compensation premiums, doesn't mean to say that they don't inhale smoke at a fire, they're just as susceptible to illness and disease from inhaling all these toxic fumes as those who do receive coverage.

[Page 934]

There's an opportunity here for the government to save some face too. Improve the bill. I would hope that the minister would take an opportunity to reflect on that over the next day or so. I know there will be some of my colleagues, both in our caucus and in the NDP caucus, who will want to expand on this considerably. I don't want to lose an opportunity to help volunteer firefighters, Mr. Speaker.

Back in 1999 when we had the budget that was defeated - and that's fair, that's the democratic process - but in that I had worked very hard to bring that issue forth for licence plates for volunteer firefighters, and I was pleased to see that the government didn't take it out of the budget in the Fall of that year. But that's only a small step; it was only a small step.

Here is an opportunity for this government and for all members of this Legislature to make a real difference for those volunteer fire departments who don't have the benefit. The minister, during estimates, suggested that they could go out and raise their own money, but some of them are struggling just to keep the lights on. Yet they have to go around and be on ready alert, and it doesn't matter whether it's 2:00 in the morning or 2:00 in the afternoon, they have to be there.

They're always upgrading their training. It's amazing how many firefighters in volunteer fire departments in this province have received their Level 1 training. Another program that we had introduced when I was minister was the educational program that would enable both volunteer and paid-service firefighters from any jurisdiction to be able to come to Nova Scotia and complete the training program that was laid out by the fire school and the Fire Marshal's Office that met not just national but international standards, and that brought the level of professional training and expertise for volunteer firefighters of this province to be able to apply for and receive opportunities in the full-time, paid-fire service, whether it be in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick or British Columbia or what have you. I believe we were one of the first in the country to do it. I would also like to hear the fire marshal come down before the Law Amendments Committee - hear what the fire marshal has to say about this.

Recent amendments to the Municipal Government Act or to the - I forget the name of the Act - the new Fire Prevention Act last year, that enabled municipalities to take greater control of their destiny at the local level, but what it also did was allow that government to download costs on municipalities and volunteer fire departments. Not too much was said about that; there was not too much fanfare about that. You know, the minister and the government couldn't wait to run out and tell the people of Nova Scotia that they were getting this special benefit for volunteer firefighters across Nova Scotia. That's not entirely true. It's not entirely true. So if you put all these packages together (Interruptions)

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

[Page 935]

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I have the attention of one very concerned member and I do appreciate your indulgence. I think I've made many of the points that speak to this particular issue. I can only implore the government to really give some serious consideration to amending this bill to address the needs of volunteer firefighters, particularly in rural Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, look at the population trends. They're working against volunteer firefighters. The average age level in some of these volunteer fire departments has increased significantly. Why? Because the younger men and women in rural Nova Scotia are finding it increasingly difficult to commit to the amount of time required to provide this service. They go out, I can point out that out of the 14 volunteer fire departments in my constituency, they are raising money almost seven days of the week, whenever they can, you know, whether it be lobster dinners, whether it's flea markets, whether it's bingos, or what have you, and it's getting increasingly difficult to make those things happen.

The capital costs of operating, Mr. Speaker, you know, one time the government had the Little Red Schoolhouse Program to be able to assist uncertain community-based facilities. That has been changed somewhat but, you know, there are some volunteer fire departments that are having trouble even being able to raise money to be able to repair the roofs and the windows in their complexes. If we continue at the rate we're going, there will be further centralization and there will be closure of some of these volunteer fire departments.

Mr. Speaker, I had the good pleasure of attending some of the hearings in your particular jurisdiction several years ago and I was quite impressed for a small community, a community that was hard hit over the years, you know, with the closure of the coal mining industry and it's a little off the beaten trail in terms of the Trans-Canada, I was really impressed with how committed and how dedicated they were to fighting fires and the issue of fire protection in your community and probably a number of communities there. One only has to sit down and listen to some of the stories that they will tell you when you go to visit them and I'm worried, if we don't protect these volunteer fire departments, because of the cost to individual homeowners, the cost to industry and indeed, most importantly, I think the increased risk to one's health and safety.

Mr. Speaker, we've been quite fortunate in my family, and just on a personal note, I have a niece who ironically when she was a small child, she was playing with matches and she was burnt. If it wasn't for the quick action of some of the paramedics and those who were quick to respond - I think that's when the new air ambulance system came in - I fear whether that young lady would be here today, but she is. I can comment about another situation in our family when another family member received the effects of fire.

I'm sure everyone in this Chamber, Mr. Speaker, can relate, in one way or another, to the seriousness and the endangerments of what fires can do. Without volunteer firefighters, I'm afraid that it's going to continue. Another aspect is the fact that the insurance industry,

[Page 936]

depending upon the level of service. Earlier this year there was a constituent of mine and his family who lost their home, in an upscale Sydney River area. Part of the problem was because of the heavy snow and the fire hydrants were covered. The other facet is because they were fighting the effects of the cold weather. If it wasn't for the fast action of the adjoining volunteer fire departments that were able to come to the rescue of the Sydney River Volunteer Fire Department . . .

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

The honourable member for Cape Breton West has the floor.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, if it wasn't for the quick action of the adjoining volunteer fire departments, there could have been many other homes in Sydney River that would have been lost and, dear knows, there could have been some lives lost as well. Perhaps this family was lucky because the fire was in the middle of the afternoon, and the two young occupants who were home were able to escape that fire. It only takes minutes, at most, to engulf some of these homes.

Mr. Speaker, many volunteer fire departments are dealing with a lot of situations that require the services of the Fire Marshal's Office, particularly in industrial Cape Breton. I believe the highest percentage of fire inspections by the Fire Marshal's Office, of any jurisdiction in the Province of Nova Scotia, is in industrial Cape Breton.

AN HON. MEMBER: Mr. Penney.

MR. MACKINNON: That's right, Mr. Penney and Mr. MacCormick. I believe the figures will bear out on that. That's not because there are more violations, it's because of a combination of a number of factors, one of which has been because of the excellent working relationship that the Fire Marshal's Office officials in the Sydney office have with these volunteer fire departments. Every year, almost without exception, there will be a representative from the Fire Marshal's Office come and participate in the annual training and annual celebrations and deliberations, and the swearing in of officers and so on of all these volunteer fire departments in my riding.

It's that type of collaborative approach which really is a plus for these communities. It's that type of benefit. I fear that the government will miss an opportunity here, and it could be quite some time before we come back to an issue like this because, like everything else, the government has the majority and no matter what we say on this side of the House, at the end of the day, whatever the government decides is what they're going to do. That will become law.

[Page 937]

Mr. Speaker, we can lay out point after point on what we feel are ways to go and how to achieve them, but if the government doesn't want to do it, well, so be it. But I do believe, I think the minister would be well advised to make a formal request, as I said before, of Mr. Stuewe and Mr. Comeau and, indeed, the fire marshal, to appear before the Law Amendments Committee, and give us some substantive detail on this particular piece of legislation, because it's lacking in detail. It's lacking in detail, it is lacking in substance because it only addresses a selected number of volunteer firefighters in this province, and many of the paid ones are already covered under different plans. With that, I thank you for the opportunity to raise these few remarks.

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

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, I'm glad to have an opportunity to speak on this bill. This is an important piece of legislation. I think it's important that the members of the House understand a bit of background on the nature of the Workers' Compensation Act, which I'm sure we're all familiar with. Every day or on a regular basis, as MLAs, I'm sure we have people come through our doors with a lot of problems that are related to workers' compensation.

[8:45 p.m.]

This bill doesn't address the vast majority of those, it addresses one specific issue, which is the issue of firefighters and whether or not they should have what is called automatic assumption. That if they contract certain diseases, occupational diseases - which are not listed as to what exactly those diseases are in this bill - if they contract such diseases, then there will be an automatic assumption that they will receive workers' compensation. It's a noble goal. I think all of us here, by introducing such legislation - and I know that my colleague from Cape Breton Centre introduced similar legislation with a little more detail - I think the government is recognizing that in Nova Scotia, as they've done in other provinces, we recognize there is an occupational hazard in firefighting that does create certain occupational diseases and because of that we are going to assume that people have that disease and our firefighters will be compensated unless the opposite is proven.

Mr. Speaker, we already do that here with coal miners with many diseases that coal miners have faced over the years. What I think is just as important is a bit of background to the system that has been created in workers' compensation. Why we need this background is to understand why - it's like putting a fresh coat of paint over rotten wood. It's not very long before the rot seeps through that fresh coat of paint and the paint peels off and we end up seeing that it's still rotten to the core. To some extent that is what we have in the workers' compensation system. Again, good legislation, but based on a system that has a lot of problems.

[Page 938]

Mr. Speaker, first let's make it clear my background, so everyone understands, originally related to this area, a prosecutor in Ontario doing occupational health and safety prosecutions. Subsequently returning to Nova Scotia I worked on the Occupational Health and Safety Act after Westray, and then after that I represented injured workers through the Workers' Advisers Program. That being said, I think it is important to reflect on some of the background.

First of all, occupational diseases can be a very difficult thing for people to have to prove at the Workers' Compensation Board. The fact that this legislation has been introduced is a good thing because firefighters will not have to fight that uphill battle of proving that if they get brain cancer - well again, I shouldn't even specify any type because there are no specific illnesses identified in this legislation. The one that has been specifically talked about in the media and other places is brain cancer. The preponderance of brain cancer in firefighters is much higher than the normal rate for the average Nova Scotian or average Canadian. Therefore I am presuming that in the regulations this government will at least identify brain cancer as one in which firefighters will be automatically assumed to be compensated unless the contrary is proven.

Mr. Speaker, very difficult to prove. Medical records are difficult to compile to prove that there was not pre-existing conditions. In many cases, the workers have to show to medical officers with the Workers' Compensation Board and to caseworkers, when it comes to occupational disease, that they worked in certain jobs, that there are records proving how long they've worked in those jobs, that those correlate to effects of exposure to certain chemicals or certain biological hazards. As a result of that combination and having to compile all those records you still have to make that leap, that that is a cause and effect.

That's compounded in this province, I may note, and the Minister of Labour can correct me if I'm wrong on this, but it's my understanding that still in this province we use as threshold limit values, or TLVs, for chemical exposures, rates that go back to 1975. Those have been updated on an annual basis by industrial hygienists in North America. Those TLVs are updated annually, they have changed dramatically in the last 28 years, yet we still use rates going back to 1975. That's a major problem in itself.

How can we confirm whether or not someone is exposed to a hazardous chemical when we're using rates - there's been scientific proof in the last 28 years that can turn on its ear those rates that were identified in 1975. Let alone the fact that those 1975 rates are based mainly on acute exposure in many cases where it's a one-time only exposure. That means the level is much higher than if you're exposed over a week or a year or 20 years. Because of that, we have as a basis of proof the legal standard in this province, antiquated rates of exposure, in many cases based on acute exposure not chronic exposure. That in itself produces a massive burden on the part of workers that have to prove whether or not their exposure was work-related. Therefore, that resulted in a disease.

[Page 939]

Many times in the past I and others have observed workers who clearly were exposed to chemical or biological hazards that by today's standards, or standards that were identified based on clear and consistent scientific research, which show that those workers were exposed at a level that could cause the illness they have. Yet, in this province, because we use standards that are 28 years old and in scientific terms, a massive change since then, we are in a position where many of those workers are not getting the rights that they deserve.

I think what's also important to reflect on within the workers' compensation system is the role of medical officers. I know that there are people in the Workers' Compensation Board who will read these remarks and maybe they have done it in the past, maybe they will do it in the future, they will feel offended by these comments, but let me be clear, the medical officers are a problem. They're a problem in our system because, in many cases they never see these workers. In the case of firefighters, they will probably never meet them. They will look at a medical file and they have an institutional bias against those workers. Period.

Their position usually is, how do we try and stop these people from getting compensated? Time after time after time, workers tell stories of these medical officers that do this. What we're going to get with this legislation is, potentially medical officers, even with automatic assumption - and I think the member for Cape Breton West noted this - we're going to have medical officers that will be looking through files with fine-tooth combs trying to identify how they may be able to reverse this. That may happen, it may not happen. I hope that with automatic assumption they don't, but there's nothing in this legislation that would stop them from taking on that role.

In some places you could use terms like it's rebuttable. That forces a legal burden on the Workers' Compensation Board to have legal proof. I'm not so sure of the language in this and not to get too much into the language, I'm not sure the language in this is strong enough that would avoid those medical officers from turning around and trying to prove contrary, whatever that might be, prove contrary that the worker did not get exposed at work.

Mr. Speaker, that's a problem. That's a problem with this legislation, it is a problem with the workers' compensation system. Again, putting a fresh coat of paint on this before an election to say that volunteer firefighters and firefighters in this province will be protected. Noble goal, one we all agree with, but the rot that's underneath that fresh coat of paint that is the workers' compensation system, will only create problems. The paint will begin to crack; it will begin to peel; the rot will be exposed again and the people who will suffer will be those volunteer firefighters and paid firefighters who think they're getting protection with this legislation. Until we address the workers' compensation system in this province, we will continue to have ongoing problems.

I want to talk about a couple of other problems. We have a system that's like a quilt or a patch job. We have legislation in workers' compensation - I'll give credit, in the early 1990s there was an attempt to write a whole new Workers' Compensation Act. But, again,

[Page 940]

we've gotten back to patchwork amendments. Bill No. 90 which was introduced by the member for Cape Breton West when he was the Minister of Labour, a bill that we opposed in the minority government, a bill that was supported by the Tories and Liberals, that was a bill that tried to quietly end a court ruling that specifically addressed issues of chronic pain and how workers are going to be paid through chronic pain.

Bill No. 90 was a compromise. A compromise that the other two Parties believed was the right thing to do. Yet, again, it's now before the Supreme Court of Canada as to whether or not that legislation, Bill No. 90, and the compromise that was passed in that legislation, is constitutional. We may find out in a matter of months, maybe longer, as to whether or not that whole Bill No. 90 and the whole workers' compensation system is going to be thrown for a loop. If it is recognized as unconstitutional, what they've done in the chronic pain regulations and with how chronic pain is dealt with, we are going to be back at trying to deal with a workers' compensation system that is in serious trouble. And that will be supported by decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada, potentially, if they decide that the chronic pain regulations are unconstitutional.

Again, what we hoped was patchwork that would resolve the issue in 1999, well, again the cracks will expose themselves and we could potentially be back trying to address a system that clearly, the rot is showing through. We've buried the rot for four years, we tried to put another patch on it with this legislation, but in the long run the rot will continue to be exposed, because the workers' compensation system needs an overhaul that reflects the rights of the workers, reflects the rights of injured workers, reflects the rights of people in this province who think, when they go to work, because they get injured or obtain a disease because of work, they are going to be compensated.

Many are, but many are not. The ones who specifically suffer are the ones with disease, the most difficult ones to prove. If you break your leg at work, the Workers' Compensation Board will probably treat you pretty fairly. But back injuries and diseases are almost impossible for workers to be able to get a fair shake. I can remember many workers who had carpal tunnel or had epicondylitis or other forms of injury, because of repetitive strain. This province could easily pass legislation or regulations to help ensure how we define it and how workers who may be working in factories or are postal workers, who are getting these injuries, could be protected.

Instead, no, we have a workers' compensation system that has continually ignored the possibility of some form of assistance through regulation or recognition, at least defining the rules. Instead, it has gone on to try, on a regular basis, to shut down these claims, instead of actually recognizing that these workers did have an injury caused by work. In return, those workers have to get lawyers, those lawyers end up arguing, and most of the cases that I remember, they were winning. Yet instead of the system trying to address it, we try to patch it over, we try to put a coat of paint on it in hopes that the rot will go away for awhile. Mr.

[Page 941]

Speaker, it hasn't worked in the past. Though this legislation is good legislation for firefighters, it's just another fresh coat of paint on a system that isn't working.

I want to talk specifically, though, about volunteer firefighters, it's very important. Mr. Speaker, they, as the member for Cape Breton West noted, are the backbone of our communities. They're there to volunteer, not only as firefighters but almost as a service club. They provide services well beyond just the firefighting that is required in emergency situations, whether it is supplying water or whether it is fundraising that they might do as an organization in order to help those in the community, emergency services, ambulance services, traffic control, there are so many things that they do. They are the backbone of our communities in rural Nova Scotia, and they are important.

Mr. Speaker, I know from my own community, a community that had a vibrant volunteer fire department for years, in Eastern Passage, another one in Cole Harbour, these are still there, but with amalgamation and with HRM being created, it's more difficult to sort of build that bond. You can see that, probably, in other communities. The member for Sackville-Beaver Bank or the member for Bedford-Fall River, who have volunteer fire departments in their areas, Sackville-Cobequid, the ones who have them, you begin to see those volunteer firefighting services begin to decay and fall apart, slowly but surely and, as a result, we lose something in our community. We lose the soul of our community because of it.

Now, this legislation is meant to provide something for those workers. Those volunteer firefighters could potentially, if they obtain a disease, a cancer, presumably, they could receive compensation. Well, here's the problem, the government doesn't define how a volunteer firefighter will be compensated. At what rate? How long does someone have to be a volunteer firefighter? One day, one week, one year, 10 years, 40 years? We don't know. I do know in Manitoba, where they have the legislation, it's between 12 and 20 years of permanent, full-time service as a paid firefighter, that if you contract a disease you will be recognized. How many equivalent hours of service would a volunteer firefighter have to have before they're considered equivalent to someone with 12 years' experience, 15 years', 20 years' full-time experience? I don't know the answer to that, and I don't think the government does either.

[9:00 p.m.]

Isn't it interesting that they haven't specifically spelled that out in this legislation, Mr. Speaker? There's an election coming. The last thing they want is legislation that says you have to be a volunteer firefighter for 40 years before you will see any benefit from this legislation, but let's be clear, that is potentially what this legislation is saying. Potentially if we assume that someone has to be a paid full-time firefighter for 12, 15 or 20 years before this legislation will kick in, that for a volunteer firefighter, presumably who isn't working as many hours, it could be more, but the government hasn't said that. That will be buried in

[Page 942]

regulations sometime after the next election so that the people of Nova Scotia won't notice it until they show up at their workers' compensation hearing, when some widow or widower shows up because their husband or wife was a volunteer firefighter and wanted to particularly get automatic assumption, but somewhere buried in the regulation this government has identified how much service had to be provided by a volunteer firefighter before automatic assumption would kick in. The problem is . . .

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I was wondering, the member opposite, I believe, is referring to the fact that there will be a length of time, a gestation period for the various cancers. Is he arguing against that? Because, if I remember correctly, in their bill they came out with a gestation period.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage, there's a question for you.

MR. DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, what I am saying is, wouldn't it have been nice if all this was clarified in the bill, to spell out exactly how long these workers would have to be exposed, whether they would be paid as full-time firefighters, whether they would be paid as part-time firefighters, whether they be volunteer firefighters.

My specific point, Mr. Speaker, is that no matter what, there are going to be people who would assume by reading the press release, or looking at the shiny pictures of the Minister of Environment and Labour at a press conference a few weeks ago, are going to assume that if they contract the cancer, again, I don't know what this bill is going to cover. It doesn't actually say what illnesses are covered in it, but they're going to assume that they, themselves, if they get sick and happen to, God forbid, pass away because of an illness, they're going to assume their family is going to be taken care of because of this automatic assumption in here. Somewhere buried in regulations after the fact, long after the next election I presume, this government is going to spell that out. What does it mean? I don't know.

You know there are many people out there who are epidemiologists, who are occupational industrial hygienists, who probably do lots of years of studying before they can ever determine exactly how long, but this government has not spelled that out and without that legislation, without that in the legislation, Mr. Speaker, I think there's clearly an opportunity for many Nova Scotians, when they go to the Workers' Compensation Board looking for that automatic assumption for their loved one who has passed away, who was a volunteer firefighter, they will not get the compensation they think that they're going to be entitled to. We here in the Assembly will be again probably asking questions, raising resolutions, maybe even debating laws, putting that fresh coat of paint over to make sure that that crack, that rot, doesn't expose itself and that we move on.

[Page 943]

These are the problems we have with the system, Mr. Speaker. Again, good legislation, but I would hope that this government would have tried to spell out in some detail. This is the point of democracy, is that in legislation people are openly told what to expect in legislation. There are a lot of questions in this law that need to be answered, ones that our caucus will be asking at the Law Amendments Committee. We will be expecting many others to come forward to ask these same questions as to exactly who's covered, how long they have to work or volunteer in order to be covered. We don't know these answers.

I want to talk a bit as well, this is, some would say bitterly ironic, that this government is bringing forward legislation to protect the loved ones of workers who die because of occupational disease and it is bitterly ironic that this Minister of Environment and Labour, I think this is his second term in this government as the Minister of Environment and Labour because I believe he was the Minister of Environment and Labour when they first became government back in 1999.

Mr. Speaker, do you know why I know that? Because within literally days of this government being sworn in, this Minister of Environment and Labour came forward and announced that all those regulations that were being developed under the Occupational Health and Safety Act were going to be shelved, shelved, and isn't it ironic that this government just before an election comes forward to help the loved ones of people who have died because of exposure in the workplace to an occupational disease because of chemicals, yet at the same time does not have the fortitude to go out and the courage to pass regulations that actually prevent these people from dying - occupational health regulations, industrial health regulations that would spell out exposure levels that aren't antiquated, that aren't 28 years old, that spell out proper equipment, respiratory equipment, technical means, administrative means of ensuring that these workers are not overly exposed to what is causing the diseases that eventually they might be compensated for if they pass away.

Mr. Speaker, these regulations are doable, they are done in most provinces in Canada and this government has failed to act, has failed to ensure that those regulations are in place. So instead of putting in place what's necessary to ensure that workers are protected in the first place so that they don't get sick and don't die from an occupational disease - and indeed this government has specifically gone out and stopped regulations from being passed that would deal with that - in turn they wait four more years and bring forward legislation that will compensate workers and their families after they die.

There's something really ironic in that. Why not at the same time, why not when we are announcing what we are doing for firefighters who pass away because of occupational disease, why aren't we also talking about what we are going to do to ensure they don't get those diseases. It's not a fait accompli; we can't assume, Mr. Speaker, that these workers are all going to get cancer, or whatever disease will be identified in the regulations. There are means of stopping it, there are means of protecting those workers, and that should be our first priority - protecting those who are entering firefighting services now or entered a few years

[Page 944]

ago so that they don't have to face the same problem that so many of their colleagues have had to face, and their families having to go to funerals of workers who have died because they were firefighters, because they were protecting us.

It can be stopped, yet this government refuses to pass regulations and legislation that would help protect those firefighters in the first place, and so many other workers who are being exposed on a daily basis to chemicals and biological hazards that are going to cause occupational disease and may eventually, in many cases, take their lives. But this government has refused to do that, they talk about red tape and they talk about the fact that we need to get off the backs of business.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage has the floor.

MR. DEVEAUX: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. These are the problems that I have with this government agenda. It's not about this legislation specifically, it's about the principle of this legislation and the principle of protecting firefighters who have occupational disease. We can protect them after the fact, after they die of those diseases or we could do something beforehand so that they do live a long and full life with their families. It isn't that complicated, yet this government has ignored those opportunities in order, I would argue, for some political expediency. Our Party has introduced similar legislation while at the same time it has consistently said we need new regulations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act to ensure that people are protected from industrial hazards, exposure to industrial levels of chemical and biological hazards, and that we have new levels of threshold limit values, TLVs, that reflect today's scientific evidence, not the evidence of 1975. It's not that hard; a lot of the work has already been done.

It wouldn't be that hard to do more work if this government - almost the first act it did, the government of Westray, I may note - this is the Party of Westray, Mr. Speaker - one of the first things they did when they came to power, one of the first things this minister did when he came to power, was shelve regulations under the new Occupational Health and Safety Act that would have provided more protection for firefighters, police officers, and so many other workers, all the workers in this province who come under provincial jurisdiction. Yet this government has failed to do that as a minimum. Even when they try to do something for firefighters, they do half a job - we don't know how long a worker, either volunteer or paid, has to work in order to get compensation; we don't know what diseases they will be compensated for automatically. We don't know these things.

This government has passed a legislation that literally is one and one-quarter pages long. Three clauses, Mr. Speaker, that's it. The real problem is there are so many details that need to put into this legislation and yet they are not in here. There are so many other things this government has to do if they have a legitimate and serious concern for the health and safety of firefighters, both volunteer and paid, yet they don't do that either.

[Page 945]

What we get, again, with regard to the protection of workers and the compensation of workers, is a fresh coat of paint to try to cover up the rot in the system, instead of actually trying to build a system that helps protect the workers, protect their loved ones, so that they are able, not to go to work and be exposed to chemicals. I can't imagine being a firefighter right now and thinking, this government recognizes that we are dying from diseases, yet they are doing nothing to allow me, when I go to work, to feel comfortable in the knowledge that I'm being protected from those diseases. They will compensate me if I die from one, they will compensate my family, but what are they doing to make sure that I don't get sick in the first place? What are they doing to ensure I live a full life, I can enjoy my retirement with my grandchildren, maybe even my great-grandchildren, if I'm lucky enough, because I'm not going to be exposed to those chemicals in the first place.

They don't have that comfort. What they know is they're going to work with the full knowledge that this government recognizes that they're being exposed on a daily basis to chemicals, to the point in which they're going to assume that the diseases, whichever ones they identify, are ones that they should be compensated for automatically. That's a big political step, that's a big legal step, in making that recognition. Yet they will not go the extra step, or, I would say, the first steps of trying to protect those people from it in the first place, Mr. Speaker. That's a real shame. It's something I think this government is going to hold its head down for in the long term.

Again, the rot will seep through the fresh coat of paint, and we will be back here again debating these issues. This is the way we've dealt with workers' compensation for too long. I would hope that this government would have learned its lessons and tried to do things differently. Mr. Speaker, it's not just about regulating occupational health and safety, there's also education. We could be doing a lot to try to educate workers. In many cases firefighters are going into homes and businesses, and maybe that's where they're being exposed to these chemicals, because of the fire. We don't know. It may not just be straight fire, it could be a fire that's mixed with certain chemicals that are burning, or what have you. We don't know the specific reason, but there are studies out there that could probably tell us. If we're making these assumptions, then there must be studies telling us what they're being exposed to. And if we know what they're being exposed to, then we should be able to prevent them from getting exposed.

That's not only regulation, it's also education. It's educating those firefighters, it's educating homeowners and business owners, as to what they have in their places for fire safety. It's about preventing fires so workers aren't exposed. All these things can be done, yet this government refuses to do many of them, Mr. Speaker. This legislation takes baby steps towards protecting firefighters in this province. It takes major steps towards recognizing that firefighters, whether volunteer or paid, part-time or full-time firefighters are exposed to chemical and biological hazards that kill them.

[Page 946]

Their work kills them, that's what this legislation says. Yet this legislation only takes tiny steps, in fact, I would argue, probably none towards preventing those illnesses. In many cases, with regard to how they're compensated, when they're compensated and for how long they have to work before they're compensated, this legislation is silent. We didn't need another coat of paint in the workers' compensation system, Mr. Speaker. We need something more substantive that's addressing the problems in the system, and this legislation, though it's only a tiny piece of that puzzle, could at least show the government's commitment towards that.

Mr. Speaker, we don't see it here. We look forward to the Law Amendments Committee to be able to talk to the people of this province and to the firefighters of this province as to what they have to say on this legislation and what they have to say with regard to how they're protected in the workplace. And I look forward to further debate.

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

MR. PAUL MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, I am glad to be here tonight to speak on this bill. I noticed that this bill is this government's amendment to the Workers' Compensation Act for this session. That's what it is. I have here on my desk a document that has already been tabled in the House, and unless I read from it I don't need to table it again. That's the library's copy, by the way.

AN HON. MEMBER: I think Margaret wants it back.

MR. MACEWAN: Margaret wants it back, exactly, and 2 cents a day fine if it's kept out more than two weeks. Anyway, this document over here recommends to this government steps to take on workers' compensation. It was made 13 months ago by a committee of eight, headed by a Mr. Dorsey - not the fellow who blew the trumpet - although you could say this fellow did blow his trumpet when it came to workers' compensation and he blew it quite well. Now, was this particular amendment at the head of their list of recommendations? No, it wasn't. Was it anywhere in their list of recommendations? Well, it is a big book, Mr. Speaker, as you know and I can't go through all those pages just like that but I am sure the Minister of Labour has, he has had time to, anyway, and there are so many recommendations in that report that could have been acted on that one wonders if this is all that there is - that was one of Peggy Lee's songs, a hit in 1971, I believe, "Is That All There Is?" this bill when you have this much raw material to work from?

[9:15 p.m.]

Well, apparently it is. That's all there is. I notice that we have another bill in here, Bill No. 2, that seemed to say about the same thing but seemed to say it in a more readable form, it seemed to have some substance to it, some meat. But this bill, Bill No. 1, is an enabling bill, empowering the Governor in Council to do things that I think the Governor in

[Page 947]

Council already has the legal power to do. In other words, the bill is not really necessary. If the government wanted to act to help the firefighters, it would simply go down to the Cabinet Room or wherever they meet now, they used to meet in the bunker but now I hear they've moved upstairs somewhere, but they could go there, wherever it is, and they could pass regulations and they could have it all done by Thursday, by Holy Thursday, have the job all done instead of tying us up here in the House with this piece of legislation that really doesn't amount to a hill of beans because it says that they can do things that they already have the power to do.

So it is just simply repetition. I thought we had a rule in this House against repetition. I thought that was in the rules. I thought repetition, unduly vexatious and trivial in nature was considered to be out of order. Is the bill out of order? I do not know. (Interruption) I don't know. But I do know that the bill is very, very close to the border. I think I can say that in my humble opinion, Mr. Speaker.

The bill first of all attempts to define what a firefighter is. That's kind of a hard definition, because we have a variety of municipalities in the province and they have a different way of doing things. Now, if the Halifax Regional Municipal unit was to employ the honourable member for Halifax Chebucto as a legal adviser but on a part-time basis also assign him to firefighting duties as needed, would this bill cover him? I suggest that if you read it carefully you would see that it probably doesn't. It would probably have to go all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada to get a legal interpretation to say that perhaps maybe it does but we're not sure, because it requires that all firefighting employees be full-time firefighting employees.

You can't have a mechanic who can also drive the fire truck when the fire whistle sounds. That's not allowed. He has to spend his day polishing the fire truck when there is no fire or oiling it or changing the tires but he's not permitted to do anything else. Is that good? Is that sound municipal administration? I don't think that is the kind of municipal administration that the honourable member for Cape Breton West would propose. I have my doubts about many other members of the House in just looking around the room here.

Why? Why does this government determine in its wisdom that if you are employed as a firefighter you can't do anything else? What about the firefighter who sweeps the fire house, is by sweeping he taking himself out of the provisions of this bill? I would suggest that a very strong case could be made to argue, yes, it would, because he's not a firefighter full time, he's also, 10 per cent of the time, a sweeper. That's what the bill says. If you look at its reading, if you read it carefully.

That's the first thing this bill attempts to do, is to define what a firefighter is and to make a ruling, which I don't think we've ever had in this province before, that if you were a firefighter you could not do anything else. You couldn't collect taxes, you couldn't paint, you'd have to get the painter to do the painting. (Interruption) With a nice ladder he could

[Page 948]

paint the fire hall, but he's not allowed to have the paint brush in his hand, under this bill. Use a ladder, yes. Use a ladder, climb to the top, then you can only climb down again. It reminds me of the story of prisoners who were put to work digging holes so they could fill them up again, that kind of work. (Interruptions) That's in Clause 2 Section 35A(1), that's what that section means, in my view, and I trust my interpretation is just as good as anybody else's.

Let's not deal with that particular clause at length, let's go on to Clause 2 Section 35A(2) (Interruptions) I'm not reading the NDP bill, I'm reading the government's bill. If you want me to go on to the NDP bill that could be clause 2 of my speech. Now, this says that when a worker has been a firefighter and suffers from cancer or other disease that is prescribed by the Governor-in-Council - my, my, imagine with an election coming how they could make mischief with that particular clause. On Tuesday they could put measles into the list and on Wednesday they could put mumps and on Thursday they could put in chicken pox (Interruptions) and German measles on Friday, exactly. On and on the list could go.

That is what the government can do if we pass this bill unamended. They can go through a medical dictionary and they can find 365 diseases and pass one a day for 365 days to say and cancer and these other 365 diseases. That's what they have the legal power to do under Clause 2 Section 35A(2) of this bill. Read it, see.

Armed with that, my, my, the government propaganda says, they are in touch - this is a schedule of PC nominating conventions across Nova Scotia, I think I might as well table that one so honourable members can read and see that they are in touch. This bill is no doubt evidence of how they are in touch (Interruptions) Well, someone says they're touched, well, I won't comment on that, Mr. Speaker. It's an interesting thought, because if they are touched they could make much more mischief with Clause 2 Section 35A(2) than if they aren't. That's a fair observation.

What a way to address serious problems. I was told not to speak about Bill No. 2 because it was NDP, but I'll say this, that the NDP had a method. They named specific diseases, they said primary site brain cancer, primary site bladder cancer, they named various forms of lymphoma and leukemia. That was what their bill dealt with, it didn't have this sort of "name anything you want and stick it in the blank type clause." It didn't. (Interruptions) Malaria, there's another one they can add on to their list. If you pass a bill saying cancer and any other disease that the Governor-in-Council prescribes by way of regulations, you can put in anything that is recognized as a disease, you can.

Now, I'm not going to name various diseases and try to get the members of the House laughing. I mean we just need to think about all the serious health concerns there are out there. We're debating the Estimates of the Department of Health in the Committee on Supply, and in that committee we can examine all the diseases there are and all the hospitals there are and all the doctors and medicines there are to try to fight the different diseases that

[Page 949]

exist. Name them all, put them into this bill in Clause 2 Section 35A(2), because by passing regulations of sufficient volume, they can name every disease on the block and then some and put them into this bill. Yet, purportedly, the purpose of the bill is to deal with the problem of occupational cancer. I rest my case on Clause 2 Section 35A(2).

Let's move on Clause 2 Section 35A(3). I know we're not supposed to debate this stuff line by line or clause by clause, we're debating the principle of the bill, but the principle is enumerated in the clauses, I submit.

Now, we're looking at the general provisions of the bill. This is Clause 2 Section 35A(4), "The Governor in Council may make regulations (a) prescribing diseases for the purpose of subsection (2);" well, that is what I've just been talking about. Again, it's repetitious because it repeats Clause 2 Section 35A(2) as Clause 2 Section 35A(4) and says the same thing again. They used to say et cetera, et cetera, I don't know about adding ad nauseam, but some speakers have used that as a conclusion for a series of et ceteras. Now, that's what this bill does and they have other clauses in here prescribing periods of employment or volunteer work for the purposes of subsection (3) and that gives the Governor in Council the power to make regulations laying out anything they want, you know, Mr. Speaker. You could put down that only firefighters earning less than $3,000 a year shall be eligible or you could pass the regulation saying only firefighters earning more than $100,000 per year shall be eligible. (Interruption) Yes, you guys would do worse. You would probably pass (Interruption) We have a question, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley on a question.

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, having only been around this Chamber for nearly 10 years now, I want to say that this government in its short mandate has done more for the volunteer firefighters than any government within the last decade - free licence plates for firefighters, volunteer firefighters day, protection for firefighters against court actions, $100,000 for the family of a firefighter if, God forbid, they lose their life in the line of duty and a Firefighters' Compensation Act. How dare that member for Cape Breton Nova stand and accuse this government and cast aspersions and saying we might make this available to only firefighters who earn over $100,000 when, in fact, it was us that brought in the volunteer fire department and 131 volunteer fire departments across Nova Scotia - 131 volunteer firefighter stations across Nova Scotia will benefit. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley does not have a point of order, but he certainly clarified the facts for the House.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova has the floor.

[Page 950]

MR. MACEWAN: I thoroughly enjoyed his speech, Mr. Speaker. While he was speaking, I was reading this list of Progressive Conservative nominating conventions and I notice that Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley is not on the list, but I will leave that for him to straighten out with his own Party.

Now, as far as what the government did for the firefighters, I recall that when our Party was in power, Mr. Speaker, we brought in a budget by the honourable Don Downe, a budget that before it had ever been printed, the honourable member opposite in that direction had said let it be rejected even though they had never read it, but when they found out what was in it - I'm talking about them and them, those two together, the PC and NDP axis, well, I shouldn't call them that, but the PC and NDP Alliance, that group - they found within it a provision for free licence plates for volunteer firefighters and the hair of the NDP stood up on end like that, the hair of the PCs like that, the two of them got together and said we've got to defeat this budget because it contains that provision and they did. That's how they got into power. That's how they got their 19 members down to 11, or 10, whatever, and that's how we got over here because of that act of treachery against the volunteer firefighters of Nova Scotia. (Interruptions) So I rest my case, I can say no more, but I thank the honourable member opposite for his most entertaining and illuminating speech.

Now, where were we? "The Governor in Council may make regulations (b) prescribing periods of employment or volunteer work for the purpose of . . ." being considered a firefighter. Well, that means what it says, Mr. Speaker. It gives them absolute and unfettered power to make the most ridiculous and non-sensical regulations that they want. You know, if they think, well, if we say that all people earning any money at all as a volunteer firefighter, even $1 a year, just like when you buy a piece of property and it says whereas in consideration for the payment of $1, the parties agree hereto. All right, well, they can put in a clause saying if you earn $1 a year as a firefighter, you're entitled or, conversely, they could put in if you earn even $1 a year, you're not entitled. Only those that get absolutely nothing shall be entitled and so on and so forth.

[9:30 p.m.]

Why do we need to have these things in law? What is the need of this Legislature sitting at 9:30 p.m. to debate such a proposed law? It doesn't make sense in my view. "Prescribing the earliest effective date for the payment of benefits in respect of the diseases prescribed for the purpose of subsection (2)." That's a very important section there because it gives the Cabinet the unfettered power to set dates of onset.

In disability cases a date of onset is of paramount importance. If you sign up for an insurance policy that has a clause in it that states, notwithstanding when the disease actually began, this company shall consider your disability to be effective as of the 5th day of April, 2010. Well, that's what the insurance says and you pay for it and you get nothing if you

[Page 951]

become disabled before that date because the policy says there's no payment required. None will be paid.

This gives the government the power to do the same thing. There are no grounds stated, there are no qualifications stated. It gives them the power to set whatever they want. They could set a date in the next century. They could set a date not later than two years before or after this bill is passed. Or whatever turns them on. You're voting for, shall we say, free enterprise when you vote for this bill because you're giving the government the freedom, the enterprising power to put whatever they want in there and so you can leave here thinking, oh, boy, we passed a nice bill to help the firemen. We actually passed a bill that contains the powers to destroy any benefits that the bill might convey. If the Governor in Council gets out of control when the moon is full or whatever it is that makes them go the wrong way. (Interruptions) They're howling already and it's only 9:30 p.m.

What else does the bill prescribe? "The exercise by the Governor in Council of the authority contained in subsection (4) is regulations within the meaning of the Regulations Act." That's like maybe putting in another clause saying, and all definitions not covered by this bill shall be governed by the definitions act, the evidence act and such as our Statutes might apply. It's what they call padding.

I used to be a school teacher and I'm familiar with padding. It means that you write the longest answer you can putting three words to a line so that with a yardstick it looks like a long answer. The answer may contain nothing in terms of substance, but it looks impressive. It's a quality that politicians frequently develop as they mature in office. The ability to say a great deal, but mean nothing. A clause is put in here sort of saying that, to give extra additional space to the bill and make it go over to Page 2.

Now, let's get to Page 2. "Subsection 83(2) does not apply with respect to a firefighter who learned before this Section came into force that the firefighter suffered from a disease prescribed pursuant to this Section." That's a very serious clause to put into a bill because it means that the bill will only apply to those that in the future develop cancer or other diseases who don't know now at the time that we pass it that they have such a condition. In other words, it's a retroactive nullification within a bill, which is a very unusual step to put into this kind of program because what you're trying to do generally in social legislation is to convey and grant benefits to people. It's not to take them away from them.

Yet, the clause that I just read has that very effect. It means that if right now I know because I was a firefighter for 25 years and inhaled all kinds of poisonous gases while fighting fire and have now developed lung cancer, inoperable, I don't get anything out of this bill. I only get benefits if the bill is passed, proclaimed and then the day after that I get the diagnosis confirmed. That's what that clause I just read means.

[Page 952]

Now, let me say this about all this. They have more members in the House than we do. We only have a handful of them here. There are four members right now present on the Opposition side. I'm not talking about members who are absent, I'm talking about those who are present. We have four. They have all those.

Now, if they're concerned about the problems that I'm raising here and enunciating, why don't they get up and give us the answers, because maybe I'm wrong, maybe some of the things that I've said are, perhaps, incorrect. If any of them over there are wanting to get up and set me straight, like the honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley did there a few moments ago, they can go at me. I'm here as a target. But we don't hear any response from them. They will just let the bill be debated to exhaustion, and then the Minister of Environment and Labour will get up and say, Mr. Speaker, I move second reading of the bill, and that will be the total examination that the bill will get here in the House.

Is that a good way to legislate? I thought that bills proposed by any member of the House here would be subjected to all-Party examination. I won't get off into procedure in the British House, but I will tell you, Mr. Speaker, that's not the way they do things in the British House at all. In fact, the government in power, when I was over there, when John Major was Prime Minister, he had a terrible problem with rebellion in his backbenches. He had a paper majority of two, and he stayed in power by courting the rebellious members of the Opposition and getting them to vote with the government so he could stay in office, and did that for a long time.

AN HON. MEMBER: How about quoting Churchill . . .

MR. MACEWAN: You want me to get into Churchill, not at the moment. For greater certainty, Mr. member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, for greater certainty, compensation payable for the period before this section . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order. Order, please. I think I extended the honourable member quite a bit of latitude. The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova certainly has a lot more experience in this House than I do, particularly as Speaker, and he would know that we are in the second reading of this bill, the principle, which is not to be read sentence by sentence or clause by clause. I would ask the honourable member to get back to the principle of the bill, please.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova has the floor.

MR. MACEWAN: I agree with you, Mr. Speaker. Possibly to prevent a repetition of sin, I will close the book. Now the principle of the bill, what is the principle of the bill? I've already gone through the bill and tried to find the principle, but it escaped me. It flew out of

[Page 953]

my butterfly net. Maybe the Minister of Environment and Labour could explain what the principle of the bill is so we could have something to focus our debate on.

As I read it, it's a series of enabling provisions, enabling the government to provide compensation for cancer or any other disease, but you can't know that you have it at the time the bill was passed, you have to find out about that at least a day after. It enables the Governor in Council to lay out how long you can be employed as a firefighter; it could be two years, 10 years, 20 years; how much money you make as a firefighter, it could be $10, $100 or $1,000 or whatever; they can determine all that in the Cabinet Room. That, I suggest, is the principle of the bill. It would give the government those powers.

If I'm wrong, I will stand corrected. I've invited them to get up and tell me where I'm wrong. But I hear nothing. I have some firefighters in my constituency. I just did a little calculation with the member for Cape Breton West, and I found out I have five fire departments or stations in my riding. Grand Lake Road, South Bar and New Victoria are all-volunteer, completely. The two in Sydney, in Ashby and in Whitney Pier are professional firefighting forces, like you normally find in a city; in all, that's five firefighting departments.

So I have a stake in this, Mr. Speaker. Some of the people I'm up here representing are directly and personally involved in this bill. For that reason, I want to see this bill done in the best way possible. I know that on this level of debate, we're supposed to debate the principle of the bill - are we in favour of the bill or are we not? Ostensibly, the purpose of the bill is to help the firefighter who has cancer. But if you look at the specific details of the bill, you find out that the power is there to take all that away. That's what I find.

I think that is the ultimate essence of the legislative process, to examine legislation, find if it's satisfactory or not, and if it's not satisfactory, to identify where and how. Now,

there are all kinds of firefighters in Nova Scotia that have been injured, that do have these diseases that the bill is designed to address right now because this bill is advanced with a purpose. It's not advanced simply to kill time.

As I understand it, our friends across the way are very much on a schedule and the countdown is now on and the days are passing. They want to be out of here and they want to be out doing something else. They wouldn't pass any piece of legislation unless they felt it fit into their package of showing that they are in touch with the people. (Interruption) Are you a Hammite? (Interruptions) Well, I had my name on the ballot ten times, Brooke, I think that was enough. Anyway, who knows, I might try it again.

We have all kinds of volunteer firefighters in Nova Scotia that undoubtedly have these diseases now. I don't know at what stage, I'm not a doctor. I can't say whether they're fatal or not, whether they're terminal or not. Let's just say that there are 3,000 firefighters in Nova Scotia that have either cancer or any other disease that you can think of that could be

[Page 954]

put into this bill. None of them will get any benefits if the bill is passed because it says so. They have to find out the day after the bill gets proclaimed. That's what the bill says.

I can't understand why anyone across the way would take pride in the passage of this piece of legislation, it doesn't produce the goods. It has no beef. It's a retrograde measure that will take away the very things that it promises, have, but don't have, all at once. That's the Conservative act.

We want to know what the opinion is of the Workers' Compensation Board on this legislation, Mr. Speaker. I believe in that. I believe in the principle contained in this report. That principle was one of consultation with those who had studied the field in depth and made informed policy recommendations to government. I've looked through this book from cover to cover and I can't find anywhere in it a recommendation that we do what this bill is doing - take benefits away because people know that they have a disease. That's not a principle of workers' compensation.

Workers' compensation has been in this province for a long time and it has never been based on that principle at all. It's been based on the principle that if you have a demonstrable injury or industrial accident from your employment, you will then be compensated. That's why it's called the Workers' Compensation Board. It's not a dis-compensation board, it's a giving compensation board. This bill will not further the aims of that board. This bill will take away from the board powers that I think it has now.

I know from experience with firefighters and other workers that if they have inhaled smoke and fumes and flame and so forth and there is a demonstrable after-effect in the form of a burn or a toxic condition or a disease, emphysema, you name it, that they are compensated now. They are, under the terms of the Workers' Compensation Act. I know that, Mr. Speaker, because I've taken such cases on and I've won them. This bill, as I see it, would take that power away from the Workers' Compensation Board. It would say that because Joe knew yesterday that he inhaled fumes from the burning chemical factory that he was putting the fire out at, and got the diagnosis from the doctor yesterday that you've suffered a tremendous problem to your health, he wouldn't get anything, because the bill says so.

I don't know how much I can rest my case on this, I'd like to know what Louis Comeau and David Stuewe have to say about this bill. I know that they can come in as witnesses before the Law Amendments Committee, but will they? Would the Minister of Labour make a commitment to that effect? If he could get them, Louie and Stuewe, I'm told, get them in before the Law Amendments Committee and let them tell the committee what they think of this particular piece of legislation.

AN HON. MEMBER: Stewiacke.

[Page 955]

MR. MACEWAN: Is Upper Stewiacke in your constituency?

[9:45 p.m.]

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes.

MR. MACEWAN: I thought so, yes. I have here in my hand a summary of the Workers' Compensation Act. It's only two pages long, the same length as the bill, but it has one section that's circled, and that is presumption when 100 per cent impairment. That refers to a clause - I should know it by number, my constituency assistant does, I don't - but there is a section in the bill stating, not in this bill but in the Act, that when disability is total or 100 per cent, that the benefit of the doubt has to be given to the worker. That's called benefit of the doubt.

In a later stage in the bills debate, if they want to press this matter forward, I can get the Workers' Compensation Act to read that section out to the House, but it is in there. It is a section that is diametrically opposite to the bill now before the House. The benefit of the doubt states that the worker is to receive - you will have to help me on this one, somebody who's a lawyer, maybe my friend, the member for Halifax Chebucto - but when the preponderance of evidence is more or less in favour of the worker, the board is instructed by law to go all the way and give the worker the benefit of the doubt.

AN HON. MEMBER: Judge Judy.

MR. MACEWAN: Judge Judy, all right, I don't care. If Judge Judy makes those kinds of rulings, I support her, yes.

Now, you know, that's in the Act now. Does this bill take that out of the Act? The answer is it doesn't. So you're going to amend the Workers' Compensation Act by putting a clause up here saying, you don't get any compensation unless you find out that you are sick the day after the bill is passed, but down here in the same law, you have another section saying, but you shall have the benefit of the doubt. It's like you're innocent and you're guilty at the same time. It's hard to figure out.

Mr. Speaker, I have all kinds of notes here. I guess some want me to go through them line by line. Why are the Conservative backbenchers not standing up for their volunteer firefighters, reads one such note. Well, I can't do anything more than invite them to. We have regulations under the Workers' Compensation Act now in effect, and these provide for, among other things, that the following classes of workers are excluded from the Act - wait a minute now, persons employed by city, town or municipal corporations, members of a police force or the fire department. These are regulations under the Workers' Compensation Act that are in conflict with the Act.

[Page 956]

If the government wants to help the firefighters, it could just repeal that regulation, this one. It's all it needs. But instead of doing that, they want to do something a little spectacular so as to show that they are in touch and, therefore, this bill. Well, I don't know what more I can say, Mr. Speaker, I seem to be making a case against this bill. I didn't start out with that intention, it just kind of developed as I went along, because I took a look at the bill. You see that's what you have to do if you want to understand legislation. You have to read it just like a book, from cover to cover and then you get the big picture. (Interruption) What's that? (Interruption)

Nothing - oh, my, I thought he was going to speak. I would have sat down if he had gotten up to speak, as I did for the member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

Well, there are many, many ways in which these problems could be addressed. Mr. Speaker, in general terms, I think that the bill is too vague. It's too vague. (Interruption) Let me tell you about this. I'm looking around at this Chamber and I'm seeing five paintings on the walls. They're all well-done paintings. They're paintings of Sir John Thompson, Sir Charles Tupper, Joseph Howe, I think that one is John Uniacke, and this one is Mr. Fielding. Now, they look like those men. (Interruption) Wayne Adams, well, that's not a painting, that's a photograph, a difference, but don't let me get into that one.

If someone had taken a tube of paint and given it to a baby to squeeze over a canvas like that and then put it up for sale at $25,000 as a great piece of art, I don't think too many people would want to buy it because it wouldn't be a picture of anything, and that's what this bill reminds me of. It's not a clear picture of anything. It's not like the picture over there of Sir John Thompson, you can see his nose, his lips, his ears and his hair, but in this bill you can't see where it will lead us. It might lead us right over the brink. I kind of think that this bill doesn't really merit much support; I can't get enthusiastic over it. Maybe the Minister of Labour said something that I didn't hear.

AN HON. MEMBER: It lacks clarity.

MR. MACEWAN: It lacks clarity. How's that? It lacks clarity and I think it would be a fair proposition to make in taking my seat, Mr. Speaker. I'm not here to keep the House all night (Interruptions) Some want me to? No, I won't.

I think the government should put clarity to this bill; I think they should amend it. Perhaps even we might be able to prepare an amendment overnight, bring it in tomorrow, but we should be able to look at this bill so that we would have it, if they want to deal with cancer, let the bill deal with cancer. Take out that stuff about any other disease that you think of by Tuesday - take that out. Take out this definition of a firefighter by which somebody who also swept the floor and swung a paintbrush would be excluded. Have it cover all firefighters.

[Page 957]

I would think that the proper definition to use for a firefighter would be anyone who is considered to be a firefighter by the employer, namely the municipality, and let it go at that. Let the municipality devise a way in which it works out who does what. Some of the municipalities are very small, they're not that rich, and they might find it better to find someone - a firefighter, yes, but when there's no fire, have them work down in the tax office collecting taxes, so there's some money to pay the fire department. But if you did that kind of thing under this bill, you would be out of order.

I think that the other provisions in there about the Governor-in-Council having the right to determine the wage levels that would qualify and how far back you had been a firefighter in order to qualify are far too vague; they're absolutely imprecise. They're not the kind of thing that would get you through surveying school or medical school or the teachers' college - they're not. You would have to give clear answers on your examinations to pass. I know that because I passed, but I couldn't have passed if I had submitted this bill as my final exam answer in economics, or whatever. It just wouldn't have gotten me through because there was nothing to it.

Now, there's one more thing that they should take out of this bill in my view because it is the most horrendous portion of the bill of all, and certainly is the principle of the bill, and that is this business about you can't know if you have cancer or any other disease until after this bill is passed and proclaimed in order to get benefits under this bill. If you know now that you're dying of cancer from having swallowed up too much smoke in a fire, that's tough. That's what the bill is saying. If you're a volunteer, it doesn't matter.

This appears - and I hope I'm wrong, I'm open to refutation, just let them produce it - to me to be a massive denial of fundamental rights to the firefighters of Nova Scotia. If that is the case, how can they then expect members of the Opposition to support the bill and grant it speedy passage? You do that stuff when the legislation is good. I don't think I heard any political Party fighting the $155 cheque. They all hasten to say, yes, we'll pay it too. But with this kind of a bill, you can't give that kind of a response because the bill does not appear to be on the side of the firefighter.

I see the time is getting rather late. I think I've made most of the main points that I would like to make. Are there any speakers from the government side who want to speak on the bill? If so, I'll take my seat right now. (Interruptions) Well, we could look into many aspects of the bill and I'm sure that we will in the days that lie ahead. I can't see this bill given the rapid rubber stamp; it just doesn't warrant that, as it's now worded.

Now there are several things the government can do. They can give us a commitment now that they admit that the bill is deficient but if we would support it on second reading they would attempt to clean it up in the Law Amendments Committee. That's not a hard thing to do. It only takes about a half a minute of your time, but it takes the courage to make that kind of commitment - that's point one.

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The second thing that they could do is stand up here in this debate and explain where I'm wrong. They should know me well enough to know that I'll admit very quickly when I'm wrong. I've often been wrong over the years - repeatedly wrong, some may say.

But if I'm wrong, tell us where I'm wrong. That's what I ask. If they won't do either, I suppose we will have to tie up the debate a little longer, and we can do it and can in the Law Amendments Committee and also in Third Reading. And there are all those amendments - remember the reasoned amendment and the referral to a committee and the hoist, three months or six months, it has to be one or the other, not both?

AN HON. MEMBER: . . . the fire marshal has questions.

MR. MACEWAN: I think it would be a good idea, yes, not just the Workers' Compensation Board leaders, but the fire marshal. All the government would have to do is say yes, we will call the fire marshal down to give us his views on the bill, before the Law Amendments Committee not in a secret conclave. If they give us that kind of assurance - I'm not against the firemen . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Would the honourable member like to move adjournment of debate because of the late hour?

MR. MACEWAN: I agree with you, Mr. Speaker, and would move adjournment of second reading.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is to adjourn debate.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

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

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move the House do now rise, to meet again on the morrow at the hour of 12:00 noon. The House will sit until 8:00 p.m. At the conclusion of Question Period and four hours of Supply, we will move into Public Bills for Second Reading, and we will go through the bills in numerical order. With that, I move adjournment.

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

[The House rose at 9:56 p.m.]

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NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 603

By: Mr. Brooke Taylor (Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley)

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

Whereas Mike Weir became the first Canadian ever to win one of golf's four major grand-slam tournaments and, as well, the first left-hander to win a major since Bob Charles in the 1963 British Open; and

Whereas Weir said following yesterday's win, "to go bogey-free at Augusta National on a Sunday, you can't ask for anything more than that. It was a gut-wrenching day"; and

Whereas at Augusta National, as most golfers are aware, champions are forged on the greens, and Weir said, he putted better from inside of 10 feet this week than at any time of his life;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this Legislature congratulate the kid who grew up in Ontario playing hockey, and idolizing Wayne Gretzky, for becoming the first Canadian ever to win the coveted Masters at the famed Augusta National Golf Course.

RESOLUTION NO. 604

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Karen Dickinson of Southampton 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";

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

RESOLUTION NO. 605

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 Legion dart team of Rick Melanson, Jim Snell, Corey Symes and Rob Harrison are heading off to the Legion dart provincials; and

Whereas the four Springhill residents are heading to Cape Breton for the provincials for the second time in three years; and

Whereas Rick, Jim, Corey and Rob earned the spot in the provincials by winning the Zone 7 championships in March 2003;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Legion dart team of Rick Melanson, Jim Snell, Corey Symes and Rob Harrison for earning a spot in the provincials and wish them continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 606

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Elmer Ling from Parrsboro, Nova Scotia, was honoured by being named Volunteer of the Year for the Town of Parrsboro in March 2003; and

Whereas Elmer, a retired banker, is a past president of the Parrsboro Curling Club and Lion's Club. Elmer also served as vice-president of the Parrsboro Home and School Association, Chair of Cumberland Development Corporation, and represented the province as Lion's Club District Governor; and

Whereas Elmer also served on the Parrsboro and District Board of Trade and served on Parrsboro Town Council for two terms. Elmer is a veteran member of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 45, he is elder of the Trinity United Church, and secretary of the Trinity

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United Church. Elmer also served on many groups and organizations prior to settling in Parrsboro;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Elmer Ling for being named Volunteer of the Year, thank him for his commitment to these very important and worthwhile organizations, and wish him all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 607

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 Lightkeeper's Kitchen & Guesthouse, Cape d'Or, Nova Scotia, was awarded a citation from the Central Nova Tourism Association for the year 2002; and

Whereas The Lightkeeper's Kitchen & Guesthouse was featured as the "restaurant not to miss while touring Nova Scotia" by the Los Angeles Times' food and travel editor; and

Whereas the Central Nova Tourist Association was pleased to bestow the CNTA Food & Beverage Award to Darcy Snell of The Lightkeeper's Kitchen & Guesthouse;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate The Lightkeeper's Kitchen & Guesthouse on receiving this prestigious award and wish them continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 608

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

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Whereas Mable Lowther was presented with a plaque thanking her for all the time and dedication that she has given to the town, therefore earning her the title of Oxford's Volunteer of the Year;

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

RESOLUTION NO. 609

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Allison Dowe from Parrsboro, Nova Scotia, was recently recognized and honoured by the Scouting organization; and

Whereas Allison Dowe was honoured for his outstanding volunteer service; and

Whereas Mr. Dowe was presented a certificate of recognition from former local Scouting Committee Chairman Guy Bergeron;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Mr. Allison Dowe on receiving a certificate of recognition for his outstanding volunteer service and wish him the best of luck in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 610

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas 17-year-old Faith Anderson from Parrsboro, Nova Scotia, is the town's newest Youth Volunteer of the Year; and

Whereas in addition to being a member of Parrsboro's Youth Town Council, she also represents the province on the Emergency Health Services Nova Scotia Trauma Committee; and

Whereas Faith also works on the school newsletter, is a member of the Safe Grad Committee, editor of the yearbook, and vice-president of the student police. As well, Faith organizes an AIDS awareness campaign, volunteers her time to the Multiple Sclerosis

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Carnation Campaign. Faith plans on attending Dalhousie University where she will study towards a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Faith Anderson on being named Youth Volunteer of the Year and wish her the best of luck in the future.