Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

HANSARD 03-34

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

THURSDAY, MAY 15, 2003

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Commun. Serv.: RRSS Strike - Settle, Mr. W. Gaudet 2819
Health - Nursing Homes: Care - Cover, Mr. D. Dexter 2820
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Econ. Dev. - Opportunities for Prosperity, Hon. C. Clarke 2820
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 1428, Health - RN Awards: Recipients - Congrats., Hon. J. Purves 2824
Vote - Affirmative 2825
Res. 1429, N.S. Public Works Wk. (18/05-24/05/03) - Designate,
Hon. M. Baker 2825
Vote - Affirmative 2825
Res. 1430, Health - Care: Partners - Applaud, Hon. J. Purves 2825
Vote - Affirmative 2826
Res. 1431, MacDonald, Tracey - Star Search: Achievement - Congrats.,
Hon. T. Olive 2826
Vote - Affirmative 2827
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 55, Maritime Oddfellows' Home Incorporation Act, Mrs. M. Baillie 2827
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 1432, MacDonald, Tracey - Star Search: Victory - Congrats.,
Mr. D. Dexter 2828
Vote - Affirmative 2828
Res. 1433, MacDonald, Tracey: Talents - Recognize, Dr. J. Smith 2828
Vote - Affirmative 2829
Res. 1434, Bridgetown Fire Hall - Proj. Comm.: Fundraising -
Support, Mr. F. Chipman 2829
Vote - Affirmative 2830
Res. 1435, VON - C.B. Br.: Contributions - Recognize,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 2831
Vote - Affirmative 2831
Res. 1436, Hamilton, Dr. Sylvia: Portia White Prize - Congrats.,
(by Mr. J. Chataway), Mr. D. Hendsbee 2831
Vote - Affirmative 2832
Res. 1437, Wotherspoon, Irene: E. Hants Mun. Vol. of Yr. - Congrats.,
Mr. J. MacDonell 2832
Vote - Affirmative 2833
Res. 1438, Waterman, Archbishop Vincent: Service - Commend,
Mr. P. MacEwan 2833
Vote - Affirmative 2834
Res. 1439, Russell, Jen - Atl. Police Acad.: Graduation/Awards -
Congrats., Mr. J. Chataway 2834
Vote - Affirmative 2834
Res. 1440, Day, Walter & Regis: Anniv. (74th) - Congrats.,
Mr. B. Boudreau 2835
Vote - Affirmative 2835
Res. 1441, Nat'l. Physiotherapy Mo. (19/04-19/05/03) - Recognize,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 2835
Vote - Affirmative 2836
Res. 1442, Sports - Glace Bay Lacrosse Assoc.: Success - Wish,
Mr. D. Wilson 2836
Vote - Affirmative 2837
Res. 1443, Alcock, Fran: Vol. Efforts - Congrats., Mr. J. Carey 2837
Vote - Affirmative 2838
Res. 1444, Dal. - Industrial Overfishing: Study - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 2838
Res. 1445, MacLellan, Father Vincent - Ordination: Anniv. (50th) -
Congrats., Mr. Manning MacDonald 2839
Vote - Affirmative 2839
Res. 1446, Sports - École Par-en-Bas: Accomplishments - Congrats.,
Hon. N. LeBlanc 2839
Vote - Affirmative 2841
Res. 1447, Conley, Shirley: E. Hants Mun. Vol. of Yr. - Congrats.,
Mr. J. MacDonell 2841
Vote - Affirmative 2841
Res. 1448, Chiasson, Sylvia: CMHA Award - Congrats.,
Mr. B. Boudreau 2841
Vote - Affirmative 2842
Res. 1449, Sports: Middleton Peewee Girls Hockey Team - Congrats.,
Mr. F. Chipman 2842
Vote - Affirmative 2843
Res. 1450, Cardinell, Darrell: Strathcona Medal - Congrats.,
Hon. G. Balser 2843
Vote - Affirmative 2844
Res. 1451, Prov. Black Basketball Assoc.: Organizers - Congrats.,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 2844
Vote - Affirmative 2845
Res. 1452, Hicks, Kyle/Taylor, Shawn: Hockey Awards - Congrats.,
Mr. J. Carey 2845
Vote - Affirmative 2846
Res. 1453, Veterans Independence Prog.: Gov't. (Can.) - Reassess,
(by Mr. B. Taylor), The Speaker 2846
Vote - Affirmative 2847
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 337, Health - Nursing Homes: Per Diem Rates - Details,
Mr. D. Dexter 2848
No. 338, Energy - NSRL Assets: Price - Fairness,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 2849
No. 339, Health - Nursing Homes: Companies/Seniors - Priorities,
Mr. D. Dexter 2851
No. 340, Educ.: Rankin Sch. - Status, Mr. K. MacAskill 2852
No. 341, Health - DHA Budgets: Deficit Status - Confirm,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 2853
No. 342, Health - Mental Health: Children/Youth - Priority, Mr. J. Pye 2854
No. 343, Insurance - Public System: Implementation - Costs,
Mr. M. Samson 2855
No. 344, Insurance - Driver-Owned Plan: Prem. - Credibility,
Mr. D. Dexter 2857
No. 345, Insurance - Driver-Owned Non-Profit Plan: Unveiling -
Details, Mr. D. Dexter 2858
No. 346, Fin. - Debt Reduction Plan: Importance - Indicate,
Mr. M. Samson 2859
No. 347, Health: Tech. Workforce - Details, Ms. Maureen MacDonald 2861
No. 348, Fin. - Pub. Serv. Pension Plan: Details - Provide,
Mr. M. Samson 2862
No. 349, Environ. & Lbr. - ATVs: Usage - Action, Mr. J. MacDonell 2864
No. 350, Sysco - Parts Sale: Zoom Dev. Co. - Update, Mr. P. MacEwan 2865
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 52, Cosmetology Act 2867
Hon. A. MacIsaac 2867
Mr. W. Estabrooks 2868
Mr. D. Wilson 2871
Mr. K. Deveaux 2871
Hon. R. Russell 2892
Debate adjourned 2894
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON BILLS AT 4:17 P.M. 2894
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 7:27 P.M. 2894
CWH REPORTS 2894
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Tue., May 20th at 00:01 a.m. 2895
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 1454, Kentville Rotary Club: Commun. Support - Thank,
Mr. M. Parent 2896
Res. 1455, Springhill Rotary Club: Efforts - Congrats., The Speaker 2896
Res. 1456, Hopkins, John: Golden Jubilee Medal - Congrats., The Speaker 2897
Res. 1457, Bowman, Keith: Cdn. Snowmobiler of Yr. - Congrats.,
The Speaker 2897
Res. 1458, Savage, Dr. John: Death of - Tribute, Mr. D. Hendsbee 2898

[Page 2819]

HALIFAX, THURSDAY, MAY 15, 2003

Fifty-eighth General Assembly

Third Session

12:00 NOON

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

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

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition bearing the signatures of 57 individuals who are concerned about the ongoing strike at Regional Residential Services Society. The operative clause reads, ". . . we, the undersigned people, call on the Hamm government to drop its plans for a tax refund of $155 this year, and instead use at least part of the $68 million for this refund to pay for a fair settlement that would end the strike of NSGEU Local 66 members in the very near future." I have affixed my signature to that.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

2819

[Page 2820]

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition bearing the signatures of 3,524 people. The operative clause reads, "WE THE UNDERSIGNED HEREBY ASK THE PREMIER, GOVERNMENT AND LEGISLATURE OF NOVA SCOTIA to end this unfair treatment of nursing home residents and their families, by agreeing that the Department of Health will cover the health care provided in nursing homes, just as it covers health care provided in hospitals and in home care." I am affixing my signature and if you are keeping track, this brings it to a grand total of 22,678 Nova Scotians who have signed this petition.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Economic Development.

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise with regard to an item very important to the portfolio of Economic Development. In October 2000, our government introduced an economic growth strategy for the province. Opportunities for Prosperity is a focused, consistent 10-year blueprint for a healthy, prosperous and self-sufficient Nova Scotia.

Just over two years into the plan, I'm pleased to table Opportunities for Prosperity: A Progress Report in the House today. It proves our growth strategy is working. Since launching our strategy, we've balanced two budgets, reduced taxes and made important investments in our workforce and infrastructure. The results speak for themselves. We are now sharing in the highest levels of economic activity in the country. We have set record employment numbers, and we are watching businesses take root and expand right across this province.

In the last two years we've doubled our investment in Nova Scotia's highways and bridges and found a way to keep the rail line operating in Cape Breton - and those cars run even today - and participated in 94 infrastructure projects with the federal and municipal governments. As well, through Team Guysborough, new opportunities are being realized for Canso and surrounding areas. In the meantime, we lead the country in terms of the percentage of our communities that enjoy high-speed broadband connections, critical digital infrastructure that equips us to participate in the knowledge economy.

[Page 2821]

Since 2000, we have committed millions of dollars to building new schools and renovating others. We are dramatically expanding enrolment to community college and helping adults through the School for Adult Learning.

In its first year of operation, Nova Scotia Business Inc., or NSBI, has made significant investments in Nova Scotia companies, established large job-growth partnerships, and extensive consultation from one end of Nova Scotia to the other. We've doubled our investment in InNOVAcorp's capital, for companies pursuing innovation in the IT and life sciences sectors, with an additional $8 million investment.

We have committed five-year funding for regional development authorities, a driving force for community economic development. We have helped create 2,800 sustainable jobs through the Cape Breton Growth Fund. At the same time, 10 new Community Economic Development Investment Funds, or CEDIFs, are making more than $4 million available for investment in local businesses.

Mr. Speaker, good fiscal management has made all of this possible. We have balanced budgets and reduced taxes. Lower taxes will help Nova Scotians directly, while at the same time a competitive tax structure improves our business climate. The report I'm tabling here today already reveals a more competitive Nova Scotia as a place to start and grow business and enjoy a healthy quality of life.

With momentum on our side, we will continue to follow our blueprint for economic growth, targeted investment in key growth sectors, pragmatic budgetary and fiscal management, and a more competitive tax environment, to ensure that Nova Scotia remains an economic leader in Canada. We must continue on the course we have set, because it is working. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the minister for actually making a personal effort to see that I got this. I didn't get to read it before he even got started on his comments but I do want to make a few observations.

The first thing I want to say - and I guess I've said it in this House before - I'm always curious which world the Tories live in that the rest of Nova Scotians don't. It's a real world, actually, that has abandoned rural Nova Scotia right off the start.

[12:15 p.m.]

New opportunities, the minister says, being realized for Canso. Well, I would love to hear the people of Canso tell me what they are, because they sure don't know what the new opportunities are for their area. We are going to experience and are starting to

[Page 2822]

experience a very large shortage in skilled labour in this province, and somebody needs to address this, either through the community college system or revamp what used to be the old vocational system. Anywhere you go, and people I talk to who are in the sector say, you can't find any skilled labourers or skilled workers under 40 years of age. This is going to impact the ability of this province to grow economically in a way that the minister doesn't even realize.

Small business has really not been helped by this government at all. They still struggle, trying to get financing. They are left at whatever the graces of the banks are. I would say to the minister, if he really wants to look at some way to rev up the economic engine of this province, he should look at support for small business. They create more jobs than the large business sector does, and they get no breaks. As far as a competitive tax environment, Nova Scotia has always had a competitive tax environment. It never attracted business, and yet this province has always tried to offer concessions to businesses that have been fly-by-nighters, have never proven to be committed to the province, and yet the people who are committed, the people who are here every day, working every day, can't get a break from government in any way, shape or form.

This has been a government that has turned its back on the resource sector, which is the backbone of rural Nova Scotia, in terms of agriculture, forestry and fishery. These are areas that you can generate wealth. We all talk the same talk when it comes to value added, but nobody is willing to invest in those companies who are interested in taking trees and creating more than just sticks of lumber with them. I can think of one example in the honourable member for Colchester North's area, which was Northern Lumber, making hardwood flooring. They couldn't get a break from this province in any way, couldn't get hardwood to create the product that they had a market for.

Before the minister spends too much time slapping himself on the back, we need to go a lot further than we're going in terms of economic development in this province because young people are still leaving Nova Scotia to get work elsewhere. If anywhere in this province that applies, it's in Cape Breton. Thank you.

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

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I'd like to thank the minister for providing me with a copy of his release in advance. The release is called, Opportunities for Prosperity: A Progress Report. Well, I suggest to you it should be entitled a lack of progress report.

This from a minister who has been reduced to junior status in this province. The Ministry of Economic Development has been reduced to the Office of Economic Development. This ministerial statement is nothing more than the government patting itself

[Page 2823]

on the back for doing nothing. It's a classic work of smoke and mirrors with a pre-election thought in mind. That's all this document is, here, today.

The minister is only two years into a plan which has seen the creation of only 18,000 jobs. I want you to examine that, Mr. Speaker. Let's examine and compare that. In the last two years of the previous Liberal Government, the economy grew by over 7 per cent and we created, between July 1997 and August 1999, 28,000 new jobs in this province. Those figures are from the Finance Department of this province, not from me.

The government is not building schools at the same rate as the previous government. We built 32 schools and he boasts about the ones that they're building. A lot of those schools were announced four years ago under the previous Education Minister in this province and are just now being built by this government.

This government is about band-aid solutions whether it be their small initiative in Canso, which is no initiative, to the so-called solution for the Cape Breton rail. I might remind you, Mr. Speaker and members of this House, we still don't have a permanent plan for the future of that railway in Cape Breton tabled before this House. That's another "get from here to there" position of this minister to get him through the next election.

NSBI is a private club that hands out money to a select few in this province. I'll give you an example. In the first year of that NSBI's mandate, they spent $15 million in this province. Of that total only $45,000 went to Cape Breton Island, the entire island - $45,000 out of $15 million went to Cape Breton. The minister has the gall to stand in his place and say they're doing something for areas of this province.

AN HON. MEMBER: And he's the minister from Cape Breton.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: And he's the minister from Cape Breton. You're absolutely right. Thank you for the helpful hint. In fact, NSBI has no business retention and expansion office located in the second-largest municipality in this province. In addition to that, Mr. Speaker, NSBI has only one member from Cape Breton Island out of 12. So what chance do the people on Cape Breton Island have of accessing any of the money needed to grow and expand small business in that part of Nova Scotia.

He talks about the economic record, what is worse about this government is that they're still borrowing money to get them through year to year. This government, when they said they wouldn't borrow money, has borrowed $500 million in the past three years, are borrowing another $128 million this year and are going to preside over the long-term debt in this province which is going to $12 billion in the next two years. That's economic prosperity. Well, I'm sorry, I don't believe that and I'm sure Nova Scotians are not going to believe it either. But the worst representation is the Cape Breton Growth Fund. I have never seen a minister and a government try to piggyback their way into announcements of Cape

[Page 2824]

Breton on federal government initiatives with the kind of money they have put on the plate, a paltry $2 million a year for five years, and then they said that's enough, we don't need to do anything more in Cape Breton.

Well, I'm going to tell you, Mr. Speaker, in conclusion, what we see here today, this document is probably the best example of fiction that was ever presented to this House in the history of this Legislature.

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 1428

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

Whereas there are more than 9,000 registered nurses who make a difference to the lives of Nova Scotians every day; and

Whereas last night at an awards banquet nine very deserving RNs were recognized for their particular contributions to the nursing profession and to the health of Nova Scotians; and

Whereas the awards included the Client and Public Health Advocacy Award, Excellence in Nursing Practice Awards and honorary life memberships to the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the nurses who were honoured last night: Donna Pineo from Berwick; Susan Marsh from Dartmouth; Ginette MacKinnon from Glace Bay; Maureen Topley from Truro; Mary Ellen Curley from New Glasgow; Sheila d'Eon from Yarmouth; Sheila Billard from Sydney Mines; Phillis Glenn from New Glasgow; and Norma Price from Halifax.

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 2825]

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works.

RESOLUTION NO. 1429

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

Whereas public works' infrastructure, facilities and services are of vital importance to the health, safety and well-being of the people of the province; and

Whereas such facilities and services could not be provided without the dedicated efforts of Public Works' engineers and administrators; and

Whereas it is in the public interest for the citizens and civic leaders of this country to gain knowledge of and maintain a progressive interest in the public works' needs and programs of their respective communities;

Therefore be it resolved that the week of May 18th to May 24th be designated as Nova Scotia Public Works Week and I encourage all members to recognize the substantial contributions of Public Works' engineers and administrators.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 1430

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

[Page 2826]

Whereas primary health care is a community-based approach to care and will require involvement from families, health organizations, government and community groups; and

Whereas today nearly 300 people are attending the first-ever joint conference on primary health care, taking place in Dartmouth; and

Whereas the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia is hosting the conference in partnership with the Department of Health, the College of Health Services Executives, the Medical Society, the College of Family Physicians, and Health Canada;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House join me today in applauding our health care partners who are providing the important leadership necessary for all Nova Scotians to have easier access to essential health services closer to home.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 1431

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

Whereas comedian Tracey MacDonald, 26, is Star Search's latest talent, winning $100,000 U.S. last night on the CBS talent show; and

Whereas from Dartmouth, Ms. MacDonald had her mother and twin sister in the audience, with her father and brothers watching faithfully from their home here in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas with a perfect score from one of the judges, the win also lands Ms. MacDonald an appearance on one of CBS's top-rated shows, and a development deal with a major American network;

[Page 2827]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Tracey MacDonald on her great achievement and the fabulous opportunity that she has earned, and wish her continued success in her future career endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

Order, please, this is Government Notices of Motion. (Interruptions) No, he doesn't have to read it again. The House did agree to that and it is passed.

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Yesterday a member of the NDP caucus begged leave to table a petition, alleging that it was on behalf of Lower Truro residents. I want to inform you and the NDP caucus that Lower Truro is in the County of Colchester. The petition clearly states that the NDP wants a one-kilometre buffer zone around homes from agricultural land. A one-kilometre buffer zone. I think they should go out into the farming community and explain just what they're trying to do to the farmers in Nova Scotia. They should stand up and be counted. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. That's not a point of order. It's a clarification of the facts for the House.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 55 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 134 of the Acts of 1923. An Act to Incorporate the Maritime Oddfellows' Home. (Mrs. Muriel Baillie)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

[Page 2828]

RESOLUTION NO. 1432

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

Whereas Tracey MacDonald of Dartmouth has become one of Canada's premier comics, appearing at several well-known comedy festivals, including Jest For Laughs in Montreal; and

Whereas Tracey MacDonald won $100,000 U.S. last night on the CBS talent series Star Search; and

Whereas it's clear that Tracey is a star whose zenith has far from peaked, to the delight of her parents, Howard and Esther MacDonald, and of all Nova Scotians;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Tracey MacDonald of Dartmouth on her victory last evening on the CBS talent series Star Search, and wish her every success in her career as one of Canada's outstanding comediennes.

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. 1433

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, we would be remiss if we didn't join in with the other caucuses. It's with great honour that we acknowledge Ms. MacDonald.

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

Whereas Tracey MacDonald of Dartmouth has been a favourite at the Halifax Comedy Fest, and Madly Off in All Directions presented on CBC Radio One; and

[Page 2829]

Whereas last evening the 26-year-old Dartmouth High School graduate won the comedian title on the CBS show Star Search, beating out two other comedians for the title; and

Whereas Ms. MacDonald will perform on this Friday night's Star Search Battle of the Champions, which will provide an incredible opportunity to advance her career;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize Tracey MacDonald's talents and wish her every success in the Star Search Battle of the Champions this Friday.

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 Annapolis.

[12:30 p.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 1434

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

Whereas Bridgetown's fire hall, built in 1948, and expensive to maintain and operate, no longer meets the needs of the fire department; and

Whereas the 40-member department is proposing a new building, at a better location, to house its equipment and provide room for training, and a fire hall project committee has been struck and is working to raise the monies; and

Whereas the community is showing its financial support for this project, like the staff of the Bridgetown branch of the Bank of Nova Scotia pledging to raise $5,000 which will be matched by its head office, and the Royal Bank which donated $5,000, and the Bridgetown Lions Club which has made a generous pledge of $100,000;

[Page 2830]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House wish the fire hall project committee continued success in raising funds and with their application for infrastructure money and encourage individuals, groups and businesses to get behind this project which is extremely important to the area and to everyone in the 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 Leader of the Official Opposition.

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

Whereas a sure mark of a pending election campaign is an epiphany on the part of the incumbent Party, when Opposition positions so fervently rejected earlier as the ugly ducklings of politics suddenly lose all their warts and pimples as the government comes a-wooing; and

Whereas skyrocketing auto insurance rates in Nova Scotia have induced an epiphany of sorts in the Premier and the Minister of Environment and Labour who, after months of rejecting it and refusing to include it in a public consultation on auto insurance, have suddenly said a driver-owned system might be the answer; and

Whereas perhaps the epiphany here springs from the election-trail epiphany of the Lord Tories in New Brunswick, who caved to insurance companies to call for a cut to benefits and now discover on the hustings that folks may indeed want driver-owned insurance giving them the fairest and lowest rates;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier and the Minister of Environment and Labour be congratulated on finally admitting that the NDP suggestion for a public auto insurance system is an option to lower rates in Nova Scotia with the fond hope that their epiphany is real and not inspired only by a coming provincial election.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 2831]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The resolution is way too long.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

RESOLUTION NO. 1435

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

Whereas the Victorian Order of Nurses has served Canadians from across the country, enabling individuals to stay in their homes and receive the care they require; and

Whereas VON Canada has been providing nursing service to families here in Nova Scotia for over a century; and

Whereas the Cape Breton branch has provided immeasurable support for individuals and families throughout the island, providing compassion and care to those in need;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize the contributions made by the VON and their community work in making our province a better place to live and ask the Premier to proclaim May 18th to May 24th as VON Week here in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Chester-St. Margaret's.

RESOLUTION NO. 1436

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

[Page 2832]

Whereas the Portia White Prize is awarded annually in recognition of excellence achieved in the arts by a Nova Scotian and includes a $25,000 prize; and

Whereas the 2002 recipient of the award is Halifax filmmaker Dr. Sylvia Hamilton, who credited the late Portia White with paving the way for other African artists in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas to date Dr. Hamilton has released four films, her rise to critical acclaim stemming from the NFB-produced Black Mother Black Daughter, which travelled from festival to festival in North America and Europe;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Dr. Sylvia Hamilton on receiving this prestigious Portia White Prize and wish her 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 Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1437

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

Whereas volunteers make an enormous positive impact on the communities they serve; and

Whereas Irene Wotherspoon has volunteered her time and efforts for a wide variety of worthy causes and important posts, so many that it would require two or three resolutions to list them all; and

Whereas Ms. Wotherspoon was honoured on April 30th in Upper Rawdon by the Municipality of East Hants for her noteworthy contributions to the betterment of the communities in the corridor area;

[Page 2833]

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Irene Wotherspoon for her outstanding volunteer efforts in Hants East and for the recognition bestowed upon her as a Municipality of East Hants Volunteer of the Year.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 1438

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

Whereas Archbishop Vincent Waterman has served the African Orthodox Parish of St. Philip, Whitney Pier, as parish priest for the past 20 years; and

Whereas Archbishop Waterman has set an outstanding example of dedication, commitment and solidarity with the people in his years at St. Philip's; and

Whereas this Legislative Assembly wishes to express its appreciation for Archbishop Waterman's leadership and service to the African Orthodox Church and the community of Whitney Pier and area;

Therefore be it resolved that this House commend Archbishop Waterman for all that he has done, and wish him many years of health and happiness in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 2834]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Chester-St. Margaret's.

RESOLUTION NO. 1439

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

Whereas the Atlantic Police Academy Police Science Cadet Graduation ceremony has recently taken place in Prince Edward Island; and

Whereas 20 cadets representing Nova Scotia, P.E.I., New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Alberta were graduating in the ceremony; and

Whereas Jen Russell of New Ross was one of the graduates this year, receiving the Harvey O. Brown Memorial Award and also the P.E.I. Association of Chiefs of Police Award for her essay entitled Ethics in Policing;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Jen Russell on graduating from the Atlantic Police Academy as well as on receiving the Harvey O. Brown Memorial Award and the P.E.I. Association of Chiefs of Police Award, and wish her continued success in her future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes.

[Page 2835]

RESOLUTION NO. 1440

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

Whereas Walter and Regis Day, lifelong residents of Alder Point Road, Bras d'Or, Cape Breton, celebrated their 74th Wedding Anniversary on April 23, 2003; and

Whereas Mr. and Mrs. Day celebrated this remarkable occasion along with their family which consists of 10 children, 44 grandchildren, 61 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild; and

Whereas Walter Day and Regis Jessome were married by Father Barry of St. Joseph's Church in Bras d'Or on April 23, 1929 and Walter and Regis Day were attended by Mr. Alex Jessome and Ms. Margaret Day;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend warmest congratulations and best wishes to Walter and Regis Day as they celebrate their 74th Wedding Anniversary.

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 Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 1441

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

Whereas April 19th to May 19th marks National Physiotherapy Month in Canada, a campaign started in 1984 to raise awareness of the valuable role physiotherapists play in health care; and

[Page 2836]

Whereas physiotherapists have been there to care for the returning amputees from two world wars, for those ravaged by the polio epidemics of the 1940s and 1950s and now form an essential part of our health care system, ensuring our physical mobility; and

Whereas the history of physiotherapy shows that women have been innovative pioneers at a time when women in health care fields other than nursing were frowned upon;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize April 19th to May 19th as National Physiotherapy Month and the many innovative efforts of physiotherapists throughout the years, particularly of women, that have made them an essential part of our health care system.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Glace Bay.

RESOLUTION NO. 1442

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

Whereas the third year of the Glace Bay Lacrosse Association began play this week, featuring 125 players in a variety of age categories; and

Whereas this group of players will participate in the novice, peewee, bantam and midget/junior division; and

Whereas the league has seen very few problems over the past two years, with the majority of participants interested in having fun;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House wish the Glace Bay Lacrosse Association the greatest success in the upcoming year, as it begins its third season of Canada's official national sport.

[Page 2837]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 1443

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

Whereas Kingston's Fran Alcock, 83 years old, has turned her love of knitting into a way to raise thousands of dollars for her local branch of the Christmas Daddies; and

Whereas also an accomplished dog judge, Ms. Alcock has, for the past 20 years, coordinated a great number of volunteer knitters to help her in her quest; and

Whereas Ms. Alcock doesn't limit her charity to the Christmas Daddies, last year she raised $1,300 for the Soldiers Memorial Hospital in Middleton by selling tickets on one of her unique afghans;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank Fran Alcock for her dedication to helping those in need, and congratulate her on the success of her efforts. She is truly an inspiration to all and a remarkable Nova Scotian.

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 2838]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 1444

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

Whereas a new study by Dalhousie University concludes that industrial fishing has reduced the world's large fish stocks by 90 per cent; and

Whereas the basic message of the study is our capacity to harvest fish has become our undoing, and if we do not significantly reduce efforts, our oceans will be barren; and

Whereas the study is a siren call to Fisheries and Oceans, the fishing industry and to Nova Scotia that we need to radically change our fishing efforts if we want a sustainable industry;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate and thank Dalhousie University for its groundbreaking study on the effects of industrial overfishing and commit to pushing for a sustainable fishing effort in Canada's deep-sea fisheries.

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. (Interruptions)

Order, please. It is very difficult to hear the resolutions. The Clerks can't hear them and I can't hear them. There's too much noise in the Chamber. There was a request for waiver on the last one, some people are saying yes, no.

Was it agreed?

I hear a No.

[Page 2839]

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

RESOLUTION NO. 1445

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

Whereas Reverend Vincent J. MacLellan has spent his entire career as a teacher at St. F.X. University, influencing generations of students; and

Whereas May 30th will mark the 50th Anniversary of Father MacLellan's ordination to the priesthood; and

Whereas since his retirement, Father MacLellan has continued to serve many organizations in Antigonish as their chaplain;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize the contributions Father MacLellan has made to St. F.X. University through his 50 years of dedicated service, and wish him many more years of health and happiness.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Finance.

RÉSOLUTION NO. 1446

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

[Page 2840]

Attendu que l'École secondaire de Par-en-Bas participait récemment à Sydney au championnat annuel de badminton organisé par la Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation; et

Attendu que l'École de Par-en-Bas se méritait la première place dans la catégorie garçon senior en simple et la catégorie équipe junior, en remportant la victoire dans quatre des cinq épreuves; et

Attendu que leur succès mérite d'être souligné étant donné que l'École de Par-en-Bas compte seulement 310 élèves et que ce tournoi de badminton était ouvert à toutes les écoles de la province indépendamment de leur grosseur;

Qu'il soit résolu que cette assemblée transmette ses félicitations aux élèves et à l'école pour leur accomplissement et leur souhaite autant de succès dans toute compétition future.

Mr. Speaker, I will repeat it in English.

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

Whereas École de Par-en-Bas High School recently competed in Sydney in the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation of Badminton championships; and

Whereas École de Par-en-Bas won the senior boys singles championship and the junior team title, winning four of the five events; and

Whereas their success is especially noteworthy as École Par-en-Bas has only 310 students and the badminton competition was open to all schools of the province regardless of size;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the students and their school on their accomplishments and wish them as much success in future competitions.

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 2841]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Hants East.

[12:45 p.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 1447

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

Whereas volunteers have always been the backbone of our communities and their contributions need to be recognized; and

Whereas Sherry Conley of Noel is one such volunteer who has devoted her time and talents to countless projects and undertakings in her community; and

Whereas the Municipality of East Hants chose to recognize Sherry Conley's efforts on April 30th by honouring her as one of their Volunteers of the Year;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Volunteer of the Year for East Hants, Sherry Conley, on her award and recognize her contributions to the community of Noel.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 1448

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

[Page 2842]

Whereas Sylvia Chiasson has been chosen as the recipient of the Canadian Mental Health Association's Consumer Participation Award at the CMHA National Conference in Ottawa on November 18, 2002; and

Whereas this award honours an individual who has best exemplified self-determination and a strong sense of advocacy; and

Whereas Ms. Chiasson was instrumental in the establishment of Crossroads, the region's first program within the Cape Breton District Health Authority for individuals living with mental illness;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Sylvia Chiasson as she is honoured as a recipient of the Canadian Mental Health Association's Consumer Participation Award 2002.

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 Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 1449

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

Whereas the Middleton Peewee girls hockey team has recently taken the silver medal in provincials, winning all of their round-robin games to advance to the championship game against East Hants; and

Whereas the girls had an incredible season with thanks due to the coaches, Monique Vautour and Helen Mercier; and

[Page 2843]

Whereas the team is comprised of Megan Hudgins, Gillian Forgeron, Kim Archibald, Chelsey Doyle, Stefanie Banks, Katie Brown, Emily Ann Hicks, Tabetha Bent, Aleisha Williams, Carly Gillis, Chelsey Ross, Alexandra Banks, Courtney Balcom, Ally Chipman, Leah McCabe and Samantha Pearson;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Middleton Peewee girls hockey team on their silver medal from the provincial tournament and wish them continued success in seasons to come.

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.

Just before we go on to the next resolution, I would like to bring to the attention of the honourable members two people in the east gallery. You will recognize the gentleman,

Shehzad Pradhan, one of our Pages here, who has been working during this session and has done a great job but, very importantly, I want to introduce his wife, Hameeda Pradhan, who has just arrived here from Pakistan after attempting to get here for two years. As equally important, or maybe more importantly, Hameeda is a practising physician who has practised for one year in Pakistan and who is now going to be taking her Canadian medical licence and wants to remain in Nova Scotia, in the metro area, and practise as a doctor. I would ask them to rise and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

We certainly welcome our guests to the gallery but, more importantly, we welcome our new Nova Scotians. (Interruption) She's welcome in all 52 constituencies according to the member for Sackville-Cobequid.

The honourable Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries.

RESOLUTION NO. 1450

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

[Page 2844]

Whereas QPO1 Darrell Cardinell of Bridgetown, Nova Scotia, who is currently a member of the Corp #26 Cornwallis Sea Cadet Corp, was awarded the Lord Strathcona Trust Fund Medal; and

Whereas to receive this medal, the cadet must possess a wide variety of training and experience over a period of not less than three years, be qualified to a superior level of physical fitness, have attended at least one summer training course of six weeks' duration, have qualified with distinction to a training level not below silver star, and be regarded by peers and supervisors as exemplifying the model cadet; and

Whereas Darrell has met all these criteria and has been recommended for this honour;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join with the sponsoring organizations - the Navy League of Canada and the Royal Canadian Legion - and extend our congratulations to QPO1 Cardinell on this momentous achievement.

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 Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 1451

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

Whereas the 31st Annual Provincial Black Basketball Association invitational tournament is taking place in Halifax; and

Whereas this tournament continues to be an important part of the heritage and culture of the Black community with teams coming from all over Canada, the United States and for the first time a team from Bermuda; and

[Page 2845]

Whereas the Provincial Black Basketball Association launched Back to the Books at the North Branch Library on Wednesday, May 14th, where the athletes will go into schools to speak to youth from Grades 8 to 12 about the importance of academic achievements;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the organizers of the Provincial Black Basketball Association including Irvine Carvery, Bryan Darrell, Carl Gannon, Wendall Skier and Clayton Gannon for their commitment and dedication to efforts to foster both athletic and academic success in the youth of the 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 Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 1452

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

Whereas as another hockey season in the Valley High School Hockey League is coming to a close, players who have stood out in the game are being recognized for their hard work and dedication to their team; and

Whereas Kyle Hicks of Berwick, a player on the West Kings District High School hockey team, was awarded the league's Most Valuable Player Award; and

Whereas Shawn Taylor of Aylesford, also a player on the West Kings District High School hockey team, received the Coach's Award for his efforts this year;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate both Kyle and Shawn on the receipt of the awards honouring their ability and team commitment and wish them continued success in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 2846]

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. 1453

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

Whereas the widows of veterans across Canada are asking the federal Liberal Government to change its policy regarding the benefits of the Veterans' Independence Program, or as some people refer to it, the VIP program; and

Whereas widows who are left to survive after the passing of their husbands have to try to exist without this program which terminates one year after the veteran passes away; and

Whereas it is incumbent upon all Canadians to ensure that veterans and their families are treated with respect and never forget the commitment that they made to this country to ensure democracy lives on for all of us;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House, the Nova Scotia Legislature, encourage the federal government to reassess the Veterans' Independence Program and make the benefits of that program available not only to the veterans of this country, but as well to their widows who are left behind after their passing as they attempt to remain in their own homes and to live out the rest of their years in comfort.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 2847]

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

The motion is carried.

That will be submitted to the federal government on behalf of all members of the House. Thank you very much.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Question Period today, we were not informed that members of the front benches were not going to be here and particular members of the front benches are very important to us in our questions here today. I would ask, then, perhaps if the Government House Leader would consider going into Committee of the Whole House on Bills . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: Public Bills for Second Reading.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Or Public Bills for Second Reading until the minister who is absent returns to the House so we can ask him some questions. Because we weren't informed he wasn't going to be here.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I'm rising in support of this point of order. We aren't allowed to make reference to the presence or absence of a particular member but, of course, if the Question Period were to go on, then it would become quite obvious as to who is not present. The gentleman who members would like to question in fact had told me in front of the media in a scrum outside earlier this session, that it was his practice always to extend the courtesy to members of the Opposition if he was going to be absent. He's not here right now and there are questions . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I think the House has got the point.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I cannot attest to this but I believe that a phone call was made to each of the caucus offices . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: No, there was not.

MR. RUSSELL: Well, I'll have to check on that because I didn't do it, but I understand somebody else did - advising the two Opposition Parties that the Premier was attending and speaking at the Annual Canadian National Institute for the Blind Vision Luncheon and Fundraiser. It started at noon and he expected to be here at approximately 1:15 p.m. Mr. Speaker, I would suggest to you the fact that the Premier is in the province, he doesn't have to have a replacement and we have the front benches full today, so I see no reason why Question Period cannot commence immediately.

[Page 2848]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I can't verify that the call didn't come in after 12:00 p.m. or after the time that we left to come over to this House. That may have happened, but certainly it would not inconvenience the government and I'm sure the government would like to have the opportunity to have the Premier be here and be accountable on one of the last Question Periods. So, if we were to delay it for 15 or 20 minutes or half an hour so that he could be present, it certainly would not interrupt the business of the House at all.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable Government House Leader in response?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, as I say, we have Cabinet here and it's not untoward for the Premier to be late getting here. Heaven help us, lots of members arrive late for Question Period. The Premier will be here during Question Period, I suggest we start.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period will begin at 12:57 p.m. and end at 1:57 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

HEALTH - NURSING HOMES: PER DIEM RATES - DETAILS

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, yesterday, we learned that all the nursing homes in Nova Scotia have seen an increase of $5 to $6 since April 1st and another $3 hike is planned for November. This means that seniors lost half of the $12.75 per diem relief before they ever got it. The minister says that she has no control over the cost of per diem rates. Well, nothing, nothing could be further from the truth. Her department approves every increase before it goes into effect. I would like to ask the Minister of Health, why did you implement a per diem supplement when you knew full well that most of it would never reach the pockets of seniors?

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, I believe it was I who informed people that the per diem increases that are granted to nursing homes are in fact approved by the Department of Health in the yearly business planning process. It is normal for per diems to go up a certain amount every year. That has nothing to do with the relief that we are giving to seniors in terms of the medical costs of nursing care. Seniors are benefiting from that decrease in the medical cost and they will benefit further next year.

[Page 2849]

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the minister knows that that's not true. The Hamm Government had the ability to pay for health care costs for nursing home residents this year, instead, they chose Tory election cheques and more big business handouts. They chose to offer a $12.75 per diem nursing home fee supplement, and a piddly one at that. On April 1st, residents of Gables Lodge saw their per diem increase by $12.04, that's nearly every penny of the $12.75 supplement before they even got it. My question to the Minister of Health is, nursing home residents and their families want an answer, why are you making them wait until 2007 to help them?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, the help that we are giving seniors is not only with the medical cost as talked about, but it is also with the changes we made to the system last November. To that particular case of $12.04, to the best of my knowledge and the best of my staff's knowledge, that was not a pre-approved increase, and we will be looking into that particular increase. The average increase in per diem costs across the province was about $5 a day this year.

[1:00 p.m.]

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, it doesn't end there, because rates will go up by another $3 a day to cover wage increases in November. In 2001 the average daily rate was $139, the 2002 rate climbed to $148. Goodness knows what it will be by the end of 2003, but you can bet your bottom dollar that most increases will surpass $12.75 a day. I want to ask the Minister of Health, why can't you admit that the $12.75 was more about the election than offering meaningful relief to nursing home residents?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, the commitment we are making to nursing home residents is to take over the medical costs of nursing care, which are, on average, about $85 a day, out of $150 total cost. That is our commitment. It is a $40 million commitment, and we intend to keep it.

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

ENERGY - NSRL ASSETS: PRICE - FAIRNESS

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Energy. Nova Scotia Resources Limited has been a boondoggle since it was started under a Progressive Conservative Government. If the MacLellan Government hadn't invested in Sable, the company would be worthless today. Because of that investment, the government was able to get back $400 million. Unfortunately, another $400 million in debt still remains. Yesterday it was announced that the last few remnants of NSRL have been sold for a paltry $5.8 million. These last remnants were left over from Tory investments. Could the minister inform the House if he believes $5.8 million is a fair price for the last remaining assets of Nova Scotia Resources Limited?

[Page 2850]

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, I would refer that question to the Minister responsible for NSRL.

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I'm surprised the member opposite referred the question to the Minister of Energy, because I do have the responsibility for it. This is the same member who said we shouldn't sell NSRL, that we should keep it, and this is the same member whose Party is saying that they're preoccupied about debt. The fact of the matter is we did sell NSRL and the combined total is about $385 million, that's $385 million that this province doesn't owe today. I find it very difficult to understand the member opposite's question, because he seems to be speaking out of both sides of his mouth.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, it's not surprising that the Minister of Energy would refer that to the Minister of Finance, because this is the second Minister of Energy who doesn't know what's going on in his department. My first supplementary is to the Minister of Finance. Remember, this Minister of Finance was part of a government that started NSRL, and he's the only minister who gets a chance to bankrupt the province twice in his political career. Pengrowth is offering to purchase NSRL's interests in all significant discovery licences except one. Shell Canada will purchase NSRL's interest in the remaining licence, covering Deep Cohasset for $1.3 million. The province will retain interest in the two Cohasset-Panuke production licences. The minister seems to be going for quick cash in order to balance the budget instead of holding on to an asset. My first supplementary to the Minister of Finance is, why did you, Mr. Minister, sell significant discovery licences that could be worth much more than the $5.8 million and decide to keep those assets which really aren't an asset at all?

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, government made the decision to sell the assets of NSRL. When we began the process, there were many on the opposite side who were saying we would receive very little for it. We received in the vicinity of $400 million for those assets. The remaining assets at the end were put out to a request for proposals, and the proceeds that came forward were the two that the honourable member opposite mentioned. They were in the vicinity of about $6 million. That pretty well concludes the chapter of NSRL. We, as a government, have made the decision that we will focus on things the people expect us to, such as health, education and infrastructure.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, if you translate that, it means another $5 million to try to balance the books this year, even though this Finance Minister sits in his place, or I should say stands in his place, from time to time and states that even though we're going to balance the books, we have to borrow money in this province just to get us through to the end of the year. The government gave up Deep Panuke for a song and now it's giving away even more potential. My final supplementary to the minister is, why is your government settling, Mr. Minister, for $5.8 million now, when the significant discovery licence could be worth much more in the future? Why are you giving it away?

[Page 2851]

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party can't have it both ways. They're saying that they would not add one cent to the debt. When we sell assets that many were saying had virtually no value, we did a commercial sale, we received approximately $385 million. That's $385 million that the taxpayers of this province won't have to repay. This government will stand by its actions because we did so in the best interests of our province and the value that we received was a fair one for the assets that we put on the market.

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

HEALTH - NURSING HOMES:

COMPANIES/SENIORS - PRIORITIES

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, residents of nursing homes lost half of the $12.75 per diem relief before they even got it. That's over and above the staggering rate increases many nursing homes levied on their residents in 2002, rate increases anywhere from $41 to $59 a day in one fell swoop. In addition to paying for health care they shouldn't have to pay for, residents are also paying to keep the profit margins healthy for the parent companies. I want to ask the Minister of Health, why are you choosing the side of private-for-profit nursing homes instead of the side of seniors and their families?

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, the profit margin on individual nursing homes is looked at very carefully, and both profit and not-for-profit nursing homes do see increases in cost. This is something that happens every year, but our commitment is to help seniors with the medical care costs of nursing homes and to eventually take those over. That is the commitment we have made, and by 2007 we will have done that and we will stop examining seniors' assets.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, a very interesting reply from the Minister of Health because, of course, private-for-profit nursing homes hiked their rates last year by as much as $61.80 cents a day, and residents, the choice they were given was pay up or move out. The minister says that the profit margin of these homes is looked at very carefully, but how would anyone know? The Department of Health refuses to disclose the budgets for any privately-owned nursing homes in Nova Scotia. Millions of taxpayers' dollars go into these facilities and their budgets are not accountable to the public. I ask the Minister of Health, why do you continue to protect these nursing homes from being truly accountable for their spending?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, accountability for spending has been a hallmark of this government, and what we are looking at was an average increase; the Leader of the Official Opposition is quite right, last year there was an average increase, average, across the province in costs of about $26 a day. We are no longer in the days where nursing homes can get 50-year mortgages. Nursing homes have to be improved, they have to be rebuilt, the rooms have to be expanded to accommodate the needs of the patients. There are capital costs

[Page 2852]

that increase and there are wages that increase for the nurses in the nursing homes. No Nova Scotian expects costs to remain exactly the same year after year.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the minister has a choice. She could open the books and prove what she says and not hide behind them. The rates keep increasing. The nursing home residents keep paying. This government would rather attempt to buy the goodwill of voters than offer meaningful relief to nursing home residents. I want to ask the Minister of Health, we know the system is unfair, you know the system is unfair, why doesn't your government end the practice when it had a chance?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, meaningful relief to nursing home residents is precisely what we are providing.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Victoria.

EDUC.: RANKIN SCH. - STATUS

MR. KENNETH MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, my question today is for the Minister of Education, again with relation to the Rankin school in Iona. When the Rankin school in Iona was first announced in 1999, it was determined that the opening date would be the Fall of 2004. I asked the Minister of Education on April 30th the status of Rankin Memorial School to enquire whether or not that was still the projected date. The House was informed that the school should not be delayed for more than a year. So my question to the minister is, when was the site decided upon and first announced as to the location of the new Rankin Memorial School in Iona?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for the question. I'm not in a position to be able to provide the precise date. I can tell the honourable member in the House that the site has been confirmed and it has been purchased and design work is now proceeding for the construction of that school.

MR. MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the minister. The site was first announced to a school advisory council in November 2002. At that time, it was well known that getting three-phase electricity to the site was going to be an energy problem. The minister's answer to one of my questions suggested that the reason for the delay was one of infrastructure problems and getting three-phase electricity to the site. There has been plenty of time since this problem was first recognized. I believe the minister is still using the energy concerns as an excuse. So my question to the minister is, will the minister explain why his government has done nothing to address the energy problems over the last six months at the new site of the Rankin Memorial School?

[Page 2853]

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, it is not often that I find myself in a situation to disagree with the honourable member for Victoria, but I do disagree with his assertion that we have done nothing. We have worked diligently with respect to resolving this matter. As I indicated in my first answer, the design of that school is proceeding and the school will be under construction shortly. I'm quite confident that while the school may not be completed precisely on schedule, that it will be as close to schedule as possible.

MR. MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, in a letter from the chairman of the local school board to the honourable minister in April, it mentions that the Department of Education officials informed the board that the reason for the delay in construction of the Rankin school is due to cash flow difficulties. My question to the minister is, what happened to the funding that was set aside to build Rankin Memorial School when it was first announced in 1999?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I'm familiar with the correspondence to which the honourable member refers. I was quite concerned when I read that correspondence. I checked with my office and I was told that is not the reason for the delay. The reason for the delay is as outlined by the honourable member in his first supplementary. We appear to be in a position of resolving those difficulties and we are now designing the school with the intention of proceeding with the construction with the funds required for that construction in place.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

HEALTH - DHA BUDGETS: DEFICIT STATUS - CONFIRM

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, since the Minister of Health says that accountability is a hallmark of this government, I will give her an opportunity to prove that with a very simple question. The province still has not publicly released the DHA budgets despite the fact her government's own budget for this fiscal year has detailed line items for DHA funding. My simple question to the Minister of Health is will she confirm whether the combined DHA budgets show a deficit?

[1:15 p.m.]

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, I will certainly commit to releasing the budgets when they are finalized. I believe that's in the process of happening right now. Yes, there were deficits in the DHA budgets at the end of the year, I don't think that was a secret.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the minister knows full well we're talking about the fiscal year we're currently in. A Minister of Health under the former government raised the ire of the Auditor General when he kept health board budgets in draft form. This allowed him to keep the budgets from scrutiny by this House. Minister, your DHA budgets should be available by now, but your Department of Health is refusing to release

[Page 2854]

them. I want to ask the Minister of Health what instruction her department has provided to DHAs who are forced to operate with draft budgets which show deficits?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, I can't speak to what my department may or may not be refusing to release, if she's referring to a freedom of information request because I wouldn't know about that. We are not informed of these things. I certainly will commit to releasing the budgets as soon as they are finalized. They will not be in draft form all year.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, this government made a big deal about announcing three-year funding so there could be planning by the DHAs, yet it appears they have no budgets in place. The fact is my office has received calls from senior DHA officials informing us that combined deficits are in the range of $40 million. The province has instructed them not to make this information public. There are three ways to address DHA deficits. One, the province absorbs the losses in which case your budget is no longer balanced; two, you jack up the user fees again; or three, you make cuts. My question to the minister is, why won't you release those budgets which are required under the Act to be released within 30 days, so members of this House can see whether DHAs are projecting deficits for this fiscal year?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, I find it a bit odd that deficits that in the past couple of years have been reduced to tiny percentages of the operating budget compared to previous deficits of $180 million and $132 million would be absorbing the time of this House. I have committed and will commit to releasing the budgets of the DHAs when they are finalized.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

HEALTH - MENTAL HEALTH: CHILDREN/YOUTH - PRIORITY

MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health. Children and youth suffering with mental health issues are in desperate need in this province. My office has finally learned the full extent of this situation. I want to table a memo submitted by the former Minister of Health last October. It states that the families have been forced to relinquish their children to the Minister of Community Services to access care, that youth have been detained by the police or held in hotels in an effort to gain access to mental health services. It says that services are contracted out, which is expensive and often ineffective, because the current system can't meet the needs. Minister of Health, what will it take for your government to make the children and youth a priority?

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, the member for Dartmouth North is quite right, there are many pressing cases for children and youth, and we recognize that. That is one of the reasons we introduced new mental health initiatives this winter and provided funding for them. They will be directly targeting children and youth most in need.

[Page 2855]

MR. PYE: Mr. Speaker, the recent initiatives announced by this government just aren't good enough. The community treatment teams are leaving out children in rural Nova Scotia. The planned residential treatment facility will have just 12 beds, when approximately 30 youth are sent out of the province every year. The total cost of these two projects will be $3 million next year. The government's communication plan says that for the last 10 years, government has been criticized for not putting more money into the mental health services for children and youth. Minister of Health, why has your government refused to really address the needs of children and youth in this province?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, there are a great many health care needs in Nova Scotia for people of all ages. Because we recognize children and youth as an important priority, we announced the initiatives we did. I would say that we are making progress, we will make progress, and that 12 beds are better than no beds. We will get there.

MR. PYE: Mr. Speaker, that just simply is not good enough. Another memo submitted by the former Minister of Health acknowledges that children are waiting up to one year for services. This government knows that the current system isn't working, but they refuse to fully address the problem. Families and children are suffering. They have been neglected by this government and the previous Liberal Government before them. Minister of Health, will your government put people first and fully address the mental health needs of the children of this province?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, the new facility and the intensive community-based teams are proof this government is serious about doing something for children and youth with mental health difficulties.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

INSURANCE - PUBLIC SYSTEM: IMPLEMENTATION - COSTS

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, once again, the Premier of this province is proving that he will consider anything as long as there is a chance it might help him get re-elected. Whether it be the debt, Sunday shopping or vote rebates, this Premier will try just about anything. Today the Premier expressed amazement that private insurance companies didn't come up with a solution on their own for the skyrocketing rates. Now the Premier is musing about public insurance with the other Atlantic Provinces as the possible solution. No one has told Nova Scotians what public insurance would look like or how much it would cost, other than the minister responsible, who has hinted it could cost between $300 million and $500 million to the Nova Scotia taxpayers. My question to the Premier is, based on his musings, now that he is considering public insurance, will he tell Nova Scotians exactly how much it will cost the taxpayer to get this public system up and running?

[Page 2856]

HON. JOHN HAMM (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, the whole issue of insurance is a tremendous problem for Nova Scotians. We are being reminded of that on a regular basis when we talk with Nova Scotians, when we receive information from them. If you look at the report that came from the URB, as well, the insurance companies haven't been faring too well. What this government is going to do is come up with a rational plan that results in fair premiums for Nova Scotians in an industry that can be supported.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, four years ago we were promised strong leadership and a clear course. Imagine what we're left with here today on the eve of an election. The Premier says he just can't understand why private companies didn't come up with a solution on their own, and now he says he's considering a Maritime public insurance plan. Why doesn't the Premier just put Maritime Union back on the table, because that's certainly a fast-moving file. We can only hope that this one will move just as quickly. If the Premier is considering inter-provincial public insurance, he should be able to tell Nova Scotians what this would cost. This Premier has promised Nova Scotians a debt reduction plan, but he has not released it. Instead, he intends to borrow until 2013. My question to the Premier is, what effect would a public insurance system have on any plan to pay down the debt of Nova Scotia?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite, clearly, is more interested in asking questions that he feels will advance his political opportunities. What this government is interested in doing is finding a resolution to a very vexing problem that is affecting the lives of Nova Scotians. If the member opposite could provide any suggestions, we would be very pleased to entertain them.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, in 1999, Strong Leadership . . . . a clear course, a big picture of the Leader of the Tory Party saying, I will lead this province, I will have the answer to the problems of today. Now we see the Premier saying, please help me, I've failed and I don't know what to do. First, it's no public insurance; now, maybe public insurance; now, maybe Maritime insurance. What's next from this Premier?

Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians have seen that this Premier has not had a debt reduction plan. Now he is musing about adding to the debt with the possibility of a public insurance plan and he can't figure out why private companies haven't solved this. My question to the Premier is, why won't the Premier simply demonstrate leadership on the issue of insurance and put forward, today, a feasible plan instead of inter-provincial insurance schemes or hoping that the private companies will come up with a solution of their own?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, we have a plan and the plan involves a number of things. First of all, it was referring the issue to the URB which has indicated that in fact unusual profits have not been accruing to the insurance companies. In addition, we put out a discussion paper to allow Nova Scotians to look at some reasonable options and to provide us with some input. In addition, we have appointed an insurance advocate who will go out

[Page 2857]

and retrieve from Nova Scotians their concerns about insurance, and any suggestions they might have. When all of this comes together, we will come forward with a reasonable and cogent plan that will, in fact, provide the very best insurance rates that we can possibly provide in Nova Scotia.

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

INSURANCE - DRIVER-OWNED PLAN: PREM. - CREDIBILITY

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier who is taking responsibility for skyrocketing insurance rates. The government has tried to lead Nova Scotians into thinking that there was a freeze on auto insurance costs but every day people are getting renewal notices and find that they have much higher rates. Yesterday the Premier tried to create the impression that his government is considering a driver-owned plan. Well, I would ask the Premier, will you explain why people should believe you when your own minister calls driver-owned insurance "a crackpot scheme"?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite I think correctly points out that the government is looking at all possible options. On the other hand, I don't think we should let the Leader of the Official Opposition get away scot-free because if the government had followed the advice that his caucus was giving to the government, in other words, simply go back and freeze rates going back many, many months, we would have had a monumental meltdown in insurance in the Province of Nova Scotia today, and tens of thousands of Nova Scotians would be refused insurance. Thank goodness we didn't listen to that member.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the only monumental meltdown in this province is the electoral prospects of the government. The Conservatives tell the insurance company that a non-profit, driver-owned plan is a crackpot scheme. The Conservatives tell drivers that a non-profit, driver-owned plan is under consideration and that they will do it some time in the misty future. Then they have the gall to say that it is the Liberal Leader whose policies swing like the weather vane. Will the Premier of skyrocketing insurance rates explain why his government is floundering in its approach to an issue that is so important to Nova Scotians?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the government has come forward with I think, a very comprehensive plan. One of the elements of that plan is a piece of legislation and the minute that legislation passes, we can start, by regulation, adjusting some of the inequities that have been allowed to creep into the premium process of insurance. So if the members opposite really want the government to get going, they will pass the bill.

[Page 2858]

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the NDP task force reported on March 24th that the driver-owned plans had the lowest rates and the slowest increases in rates in the country. Our task force reported on May 7th that the only driver-owned plans that do not discriminate on the basis of age, gender or marital status are those same driver-owned, non-profit insurance plans. In light of this evidence, Mr. Premier, will you explain why your government has worked so hard to get drivers to accept a cut in benefits rather than working hard to understand the option of driver-owned, non-profit auto insurance?

[1:30 p.m.]

THE PREMIER: It must be, Mr. Speaker, very disappointing for the Leader of the Opposition to have the rug pulled out from under him by the URB report, who clearly articulated there is a real fundamental problem in terms of premiums and payouts. Regardless of what the ultimate resolution of this issue is for the people of Nova Scotia, that is now a proven fact. What I can't understand is that Party opposite on many occasions has urged the government, has exhorted the government, to go to the URB with certain questions to get a non-political answer, but when the answer doesn't suit them, then, in fact, they even abandon the URB.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

INSURANCE - DRIVER-OWNED NON-PROFIT PLAN:

UNVEILING - DETAILS

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Well, Mr. Speaker, the Premier is right about one thing; that was a very disappointing response. So I am going to move on to the minister who is actually responsible for skyrocketing insurance rates. The minister says his plan has been unfolding as it should for some 18 months now. The minister will therefore be able to explain how his government has developed the proposal for a driver-owned, non-profit insurance plan that the Premier discussed with Prince Edward Island. So my question is this, when and how does the minister intend to unveil all the good work that he has done to develop the government's proposal for driver-owned, non-profit auto insurance?

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, we will unveil our plan when the Opposition stops their political gamesmanship and puts impediments in the way of the government acting, not talking.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians deserve to know whether this government has been doing anything, anything, more than making things up as they go along in an effort to dodge the auto insurance issue throughout the election that the Premier says will take place in 2003. Two provinces with the same size population as ours have established driver-owned insurance plans that are so successful that no political Party dares to interfere with them. So my question is this, why is this government still trying to come up

[Page 2859]

with excuses for not proceeding immediately towards the one choice that gives the lowest and fairest rates, a driver-owned plan?

MR. RUSSELL: If rhetoric was going to solve this problem, then obviously the Opposition could probably solve it. It cannot be solved by rhetoric but it can be solved by legislation. We have the legislation in this House and that Party over there, Mr. Speaker, is not permitting us to proceed. (Interruptions)

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, in the long list of ridiculous things the minister has said, that is perhaps the worst because he knows, like everybody else, that the legislation is retroactive no matter when it is passed. Nova Scotia drivers want to know if the option that offers the lowest and fairest rates is really on the government agenda or is it just a barrage of flak as the Conservatives try to avoid detection of their real plan to cut benefits for the sake of company profits. Drivers deserve to know why this is suddenly a matter of regional co-operation, days after it was called a crackpot scheme. So my question is this, why should anybody believe that the Premier's focus on regional co-operation is anything more than the latest Tory excuse to avoid the lowest and fairest rates for Nova Scotians? (Interruptions)

AN HON. MEMBER: Calm down.

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, it is very hard to calm down . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour.

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, this is so simple that I cannot understand why an educated person across the way cannot grasp the fact that this government needs to put in place regulations and those regulations are dependent on an Act being passed through this House. That bill is on the floor. You would think that the Opposition would be trying their very best to expedite it rather than stalling.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

FIN. - DEBT REDUCTION PLAN: IMPORTANCE - INDICATE

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, all Nova Scotians now know that the Premier has broken his promise made to Nova Scotians not to add to the debt as per his blue book in 1999. In fact, he missed that target by at least $521 million and probably more after Nova Scotians finish paying for this Premier's pre-election of commitments which now surpass $700 million. Two weeks ago the Deputy Minister of Finance told the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, "With the budget out of the way, I was told now it's time to move on to giving us the specific debt reduction plan." Now, if this government's debt reduction plan

[Page 2860]

is as concrete and as accurate and specific as their insurance plan, heaven help us all in this province. Given that the Deputy Minister of Finance is directly responsible to the Premier overall, I would ask, could the Premier indicate why a debt reduction plan has been but a mere afterthought of this government?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, if the member opposite would turn to Page 18, there's a specific commitment that we made to Nova Scotians back in July 1999 and that is that during the course of this mandate we would come up with a debt reduction plan with specific targets and we will do that. We will provide that to Nova Scotians.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, one can also look in the blue book and see, my government will live within its means, I will respect Nova Scotian voters, a clear course, strong leadership - something that we just have not seen in the last four years under this government. The debt is now approaching $12 billion and Nova Scotians cannot wait any longer for this Premier to act. Debt-servicing charges are continuing to grow and that is money that we cannot spend on new schools, roads or hospitals in this province. The deputy said that he would have a plan to present to Cabinet this month. My question to the Premier again is, why won't the Premier simply table in this House his debt reduction plan, if indeed it has ever been a real priority of this government?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, we will be providing publicly the debt reduction plan when the appropriate opportunity presents itself. One of the things that continues to amaze me is when did that caucus become converted to strong fiscal management? It certainly could not have occurred to them between 1993 and 1999 when annually they were adding almost $600 million to the debt, each and every year - $3.6 billion being added to the debt during the six years of their stay in office. Clearly put, they did leave us with a tremendous challenge, but we have met the challenge, we have met the blue book challenge and once we have completed every single challenge that we set ourselves in the blue book, then we will take that opportunity to go and defend our record with the people of Nova Scotia by way of an election.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order, please. The honourable member for Richmond on your final supplementary.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, for the Premier today to stand in this House and suggest that in 1993 the government of the day, led by the Premier of the day, did not bring about efforts to bring financial stability and deal with deficit is absolutely disgraceful. For this Premier to stand here and say that today, I think the Premier knows that those comments are disrespectful and disgraceful, for him to be making those kind of statements today, for pure political reasons.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Richmond on his final supplementary.

[Page 2861]

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians will judge him for those comments. This government is taking in $1 billion more in revenue this year due to added user fees and taxation. Ironically, that is what we'll now be paying of Nova Scotians' money to foreign banks on debt service charges. Mr. Premier, if the Premier does not care about the situation today at least he could prove that he cares about the next generation, especially even his own grandchildren.

MR. SPEAKER: Order. Order, please. How dare anyone question anybody on the length of their question.

The honourable member for Richmond on the final supplementary only, please.

MR. SAMSON: Glass house or whatever. Mr. Speaker, if the Premier was serious about debt reduction, why can't he give the elected members of this House some indication of what his debt reduction plan might look like instead of offering only platitudes and partisan posturing on this important question?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite did suggest that this member owed him an apology, if I was inferring that they didn't try to conquer the deficit monster that was part of the challenge when they became government. Yes, I do believe that they made an effort to bring the deficit under control, but they failed. That's the issue. They failed and we have succeeded. They tried for six years and they failed. We, in three years, have conquered the deficit monster. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order. Order, please.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

HEALTH: TECH. WORKFORCE - DETAILS

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, a media report on Monday discusses a shortage of X-ray and laboratory technologists, particularly in the Antigonish area. I would like to table a document, obtained through the freedom of information Act in which Department of Health staff states, "Nova Scotia is in the most perilous position of all the Canadian provinces with 60 per cent of the current medical laboratory technologist workforce expected to retire by 2016." I want to ask the minister, why are you stating in the media that this shortage isn't a crisis when technologists and your own staff are telling you otherwise?

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, there are actually two separate issues here that are getting somewhat mixed up, and there's a reason for that. The issue of X-ray technologists is one of the issues, the other issue is that of the medical lab technologists. The issue that we are addressing with the med lab technologists, to which the member referred,

[Page 2862]

is the reason that we are training 25 instead of three in the upcoming year, with this new program with the community college. In fact, we do recognize that there is going to be an issue with a shortage of medical laboratory technologists.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the minister didn't answer the question. Technologists say, we're losing graduates to other provinces that offer far more competitive salaries than Nova Scotia. Salaries are a huge issue for graduates because of the huge debt load this province forces them to accumulate in order to get training. The Student Loan Remission Program, you will remember, was there to help many of these graduates manage their debt and stay in this province. I want to ask the minister, since your government axed the Loan Remission Program, will you now admit you had a part to play in driving off much-needed technologists?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, no government can prevent every single person from leaving Nova Scotia, but we are making great efforts to try to keep people here. Since the member brought up the issue of salaries, I would like to say that the national average is about $36,700 to about $46,000, and ours is between $36,000 and $43,000. That is fairly competitive.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I am sure that these technologists are able to take summer vacations in other provinces, which they're not going to be able to do here. The minister thinks buying more seats and offering a few bursaries is going to bring technologists back to Nova Scotia. Bursaries in exchange for working in Nova Scotia doesn't help much when you graduate and you owe as much as $40,000 in student loans. I want to ask the Minister of Health, when are you going to put some meaningful measures in place to address this issue?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, one would think from that question that the member opposite is not in favour of buying more seats and is not in favour of bursaries. These are measures that help keep people in Nova Scotia.

[1:45 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

FIN. - PUB. SERV. PENSION PLAN: DETAILS - PROVIDE

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, I guess we get a chance to see just how much more of a disgrace the Premier can make of himself today. (Interruptions) Two weeks ago before the Public Accounts Committee, the Deputy Minister of Finance referred to the Public Service Pension Plan when he said, "We are going to be making some presentations to Cabinet over the next little while with respect to pension funds and bringing him up-to-date as to where we stand with those pension funds."

[Page 2863]

Mr. Speaker, I have asked for an update in February and the Minister of Finance said it would be ready in March. Then in the House the minister was saying sometime in the Spring and now we are told it won't be until June when the actuarial report will be ready. So my question is to the Premier. Since the Finance Minister is incapable of providing this information and considering that the taxpayer is ultimately responsible for any pension losses, why is the Tory Cabinet privy to this information and not the people of Nova Scotia?

THE PREMIER: I refer that to the Minister of Finance.

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, the only disgrace here is the line of questioning opposite. I should point out last year - and I will stand corrected - it wasn't the NDP, it was the Liberal caucus in that regard, and I will say that last year the annual report of the pension was reported to the House in the Fall. This year I have indicated to the House that they will be ready prior to that. The member opposite is correct that it will be sometime in June. When the information is ready, it shall be shared with the people of Nova Scotia. That was my commitment then and it's my commitment today.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, the Deputy Minister of Finance made it clear that there were quarterly updates being provided to the Department of Finance as to the performance of these pension funds. Being the last quarterly update was on November 30, 2002, I think even the Minister of Finance's math would tell him that by May 15th of this year another quarter has passed and yet we have not been provided with those numbers. The deputy indicated that there has been underachievement in the targets set out by the Pension Investment Committee. The deputy indicated that he will table that information before this committee, yet we haven't seen anything.

Mr. Speaker, by the government not coming forward and providing the quarterly update and where these pensions stand leaves Nova Scotians with the impression they have something to hide. Therefore, I ask the Premier again, when will you order the Minister of Finance to tell Nova Scotians exactly what is the state of the pension plans and how much has the Pension Investment Committee underachieved on those pensions?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I was quite satisfied with the answer that the Minister of Finance gave to a similar question that was directed to him.

MR. SAMSON: Open and accountable, strong leadership, clear course, respect voters, where did all that go, Mr. Speaker? Where did all that go? Four years and now they hide the truth about the public pensions, Nova Scotians' own money, what many civil servants, teachers and others are relying upon for their future, this government will not tell them what the health of those plans are. We know as of November, one of those plans was $0.5 billion underfunded. Therefore, I ask the Premier again, you have the quarterly report for this Spring in your government's hands, if you have nothing to hide, why will you simply not tell Nova Scotians what that quarterly report indicated about the pension plans?

[Page 2864]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I refer that to the Minister of Finance.

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, first of all, the member opposite talks about being open and accountable. We have brought about the most transparent accounting procedures in the country versus that gang across the room, who couldn't shoot straight, who told Nova Scotians they had balanced the budget when they had deficits in hospital boards, when they had deficits in Sysco, when they had deficits in NSRL. They told the people they had a balanced budget when they had a deficit of $500 million.

Mr. Speaker, regarding the pension funds, teachers sit on that committee, civil servants sit on that committee. They are well represented. Those funds are sound. They're invested over the long term. The Liberal Party is trying (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Hants East.

ENVIRON. & LBR. - ATVs: USAGE - ACTION

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, my question will be for the Minister of Environment and Labour. All-terrain vehicle use is of serious concern to the residents of this province. Yet in spite of public safety and environmental issues involved, this government continues to drag its heels. Last year the Department of Environment and Labour took part in an internal review on this issue, and now the minister says they need another study. I would like to table the first study now, and it's called, Strategies to Promote the Responsible Use of Off-Highway Vehicles in Nova Scotia. Mr. Minister, we have been waiting four years, when can we expect your government to finally take some action on this issue?

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, we have taken action. We've taken the action of consulting with Nova Scotians by a body outside government.

MR. MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, we're dealing with a government that studies studies and then studies some more. The latest study released - actually released under a request for freedom of information - this month recommends a number of initiatives that would protect the environment and improve public safety. It calls for legislation and regulations that would provide for effective management of off-highway vehicles. It also calls for legislation that would prevent the use of ATVs in environmentally-sensitive areas. Mr. Minister, no one believes that you need to study this issue any longer, so why are you refusing to introduce measures that would improve safety and protect the environment?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, that simply shows how out of touch that honourable member is, because the agricultural industry, the tourism industry, the users, generally across the province, welcome the study by government to come forward with a policy for ATVs.

[Page 2865]

MR. MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, they're in the position of welcoming anything that might possibly get some action but they haven't seen any from this government or this minister. Off-highway vehicles are incredibly popular throughout this province. Like any other motor vehicle, they need effective regulation. Nova Scotia has some of the highest accident rates in the country, and many of our most sensitive areas are not adequately protected. Mr. Minister, how much longer are you going to put the public safety and our environment at risk?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, there are in excess of 40,000 of those vehicles in this province, probably almost 50,000 by the end of this year. I shouldn't say they all support but the responsible users support the study that we're having undertaken by Voluntary Planning. I would point out to the honourable member that the environmental community of this province welcomes the fact that Voluntary Planning is looking into this problem.

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

SYSCO - PARTS SALE: ZOOM DEV. CO. - UPDATE

MR. PAUL MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries. I will tell you why. It's not that Agriculture and Fisheries aren't important, they are, but the honourable minister is also the minister responsible for the Sydney Steel Corporation. I am wondering if he could bring the House up to date with reference to the sale of the Sydney Steel plant, the operating part of it, the electric arc reduction furnace and the universal mill and the intervening parts to the Zoom Development Company of India, which intends, as I understand it, to take the steel plant apart piece by piece, label each one, put them on ships to India, and then reassemble them at the other end so they can make steel and sell it to Nova Scotia. Would the minister bring us up to date on that particular scheme or plan?

HON. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member opposite for the question because he brings a very (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order, please.

MR. BALSER: . . . in which this government has responded to its responsibility around the decommissioning of Sysco. We have been able to move forward very aggressively, we've been able to invest in that area, in terms of putting in a highway infrastructure that was much needed. In terms of Zoom, yes, we are proceeding to have them move forward to dismantle the electric arc furnace and take it offshore, because it's clear, after 40-some-odd years - actually 100 years, the last 40 of which it never turned a profit - that you can't make steel at that facility in Nova Scotia and make money. I wish Zoom the best of luck and what we've done is gone outside to a global market to find the best value

[Page 2866]

for Nova Scotian taxpayers. It is an important issue and I'm glad he brought it here for consideration.

MR. MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, I didn't hear him say that they were zooming ahead. Perhaps they are. Time will tell. Concurrent with the operational steel plant zooming to India, I wonder if the minister could update the House on the other Sysco-related activities his department now has underway in terms of the demolition of the existing steel plant that was down - that is, between the EAF and the docks - the blast furnaces, the open hearth department, et cetera. It's all gone right now and being sold as scrap, I understand by the shipload. Could the minister confirm the intent of the government with that particular activity?

MR. BALSER: Mr. Speaker, yes, we are taking down facilities that will not be needed and selling it for scrap. That's bringing money into the province. In terms of a long-term plan, we went out and had a private consultant who very successfully dealt with the redevelopment of the former Moncton rail yards and they have a plan in place that will see that structure and that facility be an economic engine into the future. What we're doing is taking the time now to ensure that the planning will allow those facilities that can be of use in the future, remain and be upgraded. In fact, we now have tenants on-site who are using the buildings. We have an anchor tenant in Provincial Energy Ventures that is going to be there for the long term. What we've done is ensured that the infrastructure in place . . .

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I would like to rise on a point of order. Earlier in the session today a reference was made to the absence of the Premier from the House. I advised the Opposition that they had been informed and they said that they had not. I have two faxes - one to the NDP caucus and one to the Liberal caucus - which were dispatched at shortly after 10:00 a.m., and they are receipted. If you'd like copies of those, I'll table them.

MR. SPEAKER: Obviously, it is not a point of order, it's a clarification of facts for the House and a clarification of the information.

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

[Page 2867]

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 52, the Cosmetology Act.

Bill No. 52 - Cosmetology Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I move that this bill be now read a second time and I'm happy to have the opportunity to explain how these amendments will increase protection for Nova Scotians who are consumers of hairdressing and esthetic services. I wish to acknowledge the presence in the gallery of Kim Carter, the executive director of the Cosmetology Association of Nova Scotia and Susan Clark who is the executive director of post-secondary education for the Department of Education and Carol Louthers who is the director of private and career colleges who has worked in the development of this legislation.

The association is responsible for regulating the industry in the province and they wanted us to update the Act to increase consumer protection and we were happy to be able to do that. You will recall that last Fall we passed amendments that expanded the definition of cosmetology to include esthetics, which is a growing industry. The association now has the authority to regulate this previously unregulated industry. The amendments also gave the association the authority to set entrance requirements for cosmetology training programs.

With the amendments we're now proposing, there are two key changes. One deals with inspection and the other deals with handling complaints. The amendments include a provision that will give the cosmetology association the authority to inspect places where cosmetology services are delivered. This provision was in the amendments we brought forward last Fall. It was in the form of two deeming clauses that put the onus on a person to prove they weren't practising cosmetology.

[2:00 p.m.]

However some stakeholders found this wording troublesome, so we pulled those clauses to allow the rest of the legislation to pass. We continued to work with the stakeholders and we now have agreement on the wording from everyone involved. Inspections will help the Cosmetology Association ensure that Nova Scotians have access to safe, professional hairdressing and esthetic services. When problems arise, however, there has to be a process in place for dealing with them. So our amendments include a provision for the association to receive and address complaints through a disciplinary process.

[Page 2868]

Once this legislation passes, the Cosmetology Association will detail these processes in its bylaws. I want to thank the association's members for their patience throughout this period of updating their legislation. By working co-operatively, we now have the measures in place to improve consumer protection. I'm confident that with the will of the House we will soon have more measures in place to protect Nova Scotians. I know the association is eager to have these amendments passed so they can get on with the next steps for regulating the cosmetology industry. So, Mr. Speaker, I want to thank members for their attention and look forward to this bill proceeding through the various stages. Thank you.

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

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I look forward to making a few comments. I was told, jokingly, ahead of time, that I could make up some comments, however, that is not the way to begin this important piece of legislation. I want you to know that I would like to thank and congratulate Ms. Carter, Ms. Clark and Ms. Louthers for their input. After all, that's how good legislation happens, that the stakeholders are involved in the process. It's, after all, part of the process when we look at legislation like this, particularly when we are looking at this growing industry. I want the stakeholders who are present to know that in a previous career I had the opportunity on numerous occasions to refer students of mine to this particular profession.

It is, after all, a service industry, an important part of the opportunity for young people in our province to be well employed, but, of course, the situation comes down to, as we all know, that there has to be regulations, there has to be controls, and the consumer, of course, has to be protected. Consumer protectionism, as we are well aware, is an important part of the responsibilities that we have as legislators in this province. Having had the opportunity to look at some of the details, I also look forward to the next stage. For those visitors who are here, it's an important part of the process, that when legislation is introduced, in this case by the Minister of Education, that we'll have the opportunity in the Red Room to hear from - or we could be in the committee room, as my friend has just pointed out to me - Nova Scotians, we will have the opportunity to hear from the people involved and some of their comments on this particular piece of legislation.

The key concern, of course, as we all know, when it comes to legislation like this, that it is not necessarily the rule, it is the exception to the rule. I can tell you from previous experience, when you are dealing with whatever the profession is, that the consumer has to have the opportunity and the proper channels to lodge the complaints because those things do happen in any profession. It is really of some consequence that the consumers can have faith in the process and can be made aware of, whatever the profession, Mr. Speaker, that there is a way to deal with complaints, and in some cases, disciplinary complaints for whatever reason, because standards of professionalism in many ways are the judge, after all, of how a profession is responsible to its consumers but is also responsible to itself.

[Page 2869]

Mr. Speaker, as you know from your previous experience and previous career, no matter what the career, we are often judged in terms of how we, ourselves, make appropriate decisions when it comes to, and I will use the expression because of your career, Mr. Speaker, of policing our own profession. Again, it's consumer protectionism, but it's also to make sure that when we look at regulations of this nature, with this particular business interest, we're looking at protecting consumers, making sure that they have an opportunity to clearly be able to define, if they do have a concern, if they do have a complaint, they know the process that has to be followed.

I want you to know also one of the concerns of real importance, whether it's in the Cosmetology Act which we have in front of us or other pieces of legislation similarly, it's important to make sure that we do know how schools of whatever level are recruiting young people. I say young people, but they could be people of all ages, that they're recruiting potential students into this avocation.

Mr. Speaker, that's after all one of the real concerns that we always have, as educators, that we're making it very clear to the young people who are choosing this as a potential career that they are aware of the implications of joining this particular business, of becoming a professional in this particular business. And, of course, the standards that are necessary when it comes to entering the profession, but also making sure that there is a high standard of performance in this particular industry and that the stakeholders involved have a very clear definition of what the expectations are of the people in the profession.

Mr. Speaker, as we are well aware, when it comes to any kind of consultation, it's important that all consultation involves the fact that everyone involved would have had the opportunity to speak and to make sure that they feel comfortable with this legislation. The minister assures us that there has been a process that has taken place. I look forward to the opportunity at the Law Amendments Committee, and I want the stakeholders and I want Nova Scotians to feel comfortable with the fact of how the Law Amendments Committee works in this province, and it's a necessary step. It's a valuable step.

I'm sure on this piece of legislation that we will hear representation when they appear in front of the Law Amendments Committee. There are five government members who are on the committee, there are also two members of the Official Opposition of which, I am proud to say, I am a member and there are two members from the Liberal Party. At that time we have an opportunity, Mr. Speaker, as you are well aware, not just to listen to the representations in front of the Law Amendments Committee, but we also have the opportunity to ask questions. It's during those question and answer periods where we have the opportunity to engage the presenter to make sure that we, as legislators, understand fully the implications of this piece of legislation. Whether there are pros, whether there are cons, whether there are particular points in a piece of legislation that they might want redefined because after all these are the people who we have to continue to hear from. We have to continue to hear from the experts, in whatever particular field, or whatever particular

[Page 2870]

avocation, so that we can make sure that, as legislators, when it leaves the Law Amendments Committee and comes back to this House, that we are very clear on the intent of this piece of legislation.

So I look forward to the opportunity of hearing from some of the people who have already been involved in the consultation and it's important for them to make sure that they present to us, as legislators on all sides of the House, that we are looking at the opportunity to make sure that this piece of legislation, An Act to Amend Chapter 5 of the Acts of 1995-96, the Cosmetology Act, is the best possible piece of legislation that we can bring forward at this time. Now, when those witnesses appear in front of the Law Amendments Committee, I want them to understand that it's a real consequence in the time limits that they have. The time limits are usually agreed to at various times because of the number of presenters, but if it's a 15-minute - an example only, Mr. Speaker - presentation, I encourage witnesses when they come forward on this bill, Bill No. 52, that they give us the opportunity, as legislators, to be able to ask a few questions to make sure that we fully understand some of the factors in this particular industry and this particular profession that perhaps we don't understand. As I've always said to students that I've had in my care, there is no such thing as a stupid question. It's a question that we have information, we would like to request details on, and it's a question of process. It's a question of why this is included or why that isn't included.

When we go to that next stage of the Law Amendments Committee, whether it's held here in the Red Room in our historic Legislature, or whether it's over in the committee room, I would hope that the witnesses would look at the fact that for a 15-minute presentation that, I would say, out of guidelines, we certainly would like to have at the very outside, half of that time, so that we could have the opportunity to ask a few questions, to engage the witnesses, so that they will understand - or make us better understand - exactly where we will be going with this piece of legislation.

The key thing, of course, in this Cosmetology Bill is that consumers feel comfortable that their interests are being protected. From what we have heard thus far, and I am sure we are going to hear further in the Law Amendments Committee, that is, after all, the ideal intent of a piece of legislation in this province and in this Legislature, that we bring forth legislation that does have the best interests of all involved, the consumers in particular, but also we look forward to having the fact of hearing from young people who are looking at this as a potential career. We feel that this sort of legislation could be an example, which we can live with as consumers, we can live with as legislators, and I can say from my previous career as an educator, I could look forward to recruiting young people into this career, a career that has a future in this province, a career that provides a valuable service in this province, and a career that will allow Nova Scotians from one end of the province to the other to make a worthwhile income.

[Page 2871]

With those comments, Mr. Speaker, I look forward to the next stage as we move this legislation on. When it comes to the Law Amendments Committee, I look forward to the opportunity to meeting some of the earlier stakeholders the minister brought forth at that time. I encourage Ms. Carter, Ms. Clark and Ms. Louthers to take the opportunity to appear in front of the Law Amendments Committee; it will be a worthwhile experience, and I look forward to seeing them at that time.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

MR. DAVID WILSON: Mr. Speaker, I want to join my colleagues in looking forward to sending this bill on to the Law Amendments Committee. The Cosmetology Association finds itself in a rather unenviable position of having the obligation but not the authority to protect patrons and staff in some 1,400 salons throughout this province, with currently some 6,000 licensed cosmetologists in Nova Scotia. So we can see the importance of such a bill and we can also see the importance of making sure that of paramount importance, above all, is consumer protection, which is a major part of this bill. It's regulating the industry in terms of the Cosmetology Association, and dealing with inspection and handling of complaints.

Mr. Speaker, it's important for all of the stakeholders throughout this to be heard from. Of course, as we all know very well, there is no better place for that to happen than before the Law Amendments Committee of the Legislature. Keeping my remarks very brief, I would like to thank Kim Carter of the Cosmetology Association, who has kept us up to date on the happenings with this bill, and in particular I would like to thank Amy O'Keefe of Glace Bay, who has been keeping me up to date on what has been happening.

We have had some problems in the past with the bill, and we know that. We have had concerns raised about the bill. It's my understanding, from the people involved, the major stakeholders within the industry itself that those concerns have been worked out, that wording has been clarified and so on, but I would urge them and any others who would have any concerns whatsoever about the bill to make sure that they appear before the Law Amendments Committee. With that in mind, Mr. Speaker, we look forward to moving the bill along to the Law Amendments Committee stage to hear from the stakeholders within this industry and moving on from there.

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

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, I am glad to have a few moments to talk on Bill No. 52, the Cosmetology Act. When I was Education Critic last year, we also dealt with the same Act before the House. I am glad to have an opportunity to talk a bit about the history around this particular piece of legislation, and also a few minutes about the bill as it now stands.

[Page 2872]

Mr. Speaker, cosmetology is one of those interesting professions that we all come in contact with on a regular basis; everyone has to get their hair cut, at least for a part of their life anyway. At some point some of us end up not having to get our hair cut as often as others, but at some point in our lives we all have to get a haircut. I think at this point we take it for granted - we take for granted the hygiene issues, we take for granted the training that these professionals have, and we take for granted the work that they do.

We go in and we say, these are hair stylists, these are people who are doing the work for us. I always think when I'm in a shop, particularly, getting my hair cut, you can see certain things that are done for hygiene reasons, the Barbacide, the cleanliness of the place. These are things that years ago were very important issues, as they are today, but they were important issues that created a regulatory framework, Mr. Speaker, that resulted in a very clear delineation of what was a cosmetologist, what was a barber. Now, more recently, we have things called estheticians, various things: nails, pedicures, manicures, even a certain amount of non-therapeutic massage work that is done by individuals that to a lesser or greater extent, are either called cosmetologists or barbers now.

[2:15 p.m.]

As a result of that, we have a situation, as I said, in history there were very strong regulations put in place with regard to this because there were very strong hygiene issues. I'm not an expert in the history of it, Mr. Speaker, I'm not clear on why those issues grew at those times, but for now we have a tendency to accept these things as a given. Like a lot of regulations that have a long history, I think a lot of people in Nova Scotia begin to wonder is there a reason to continue to regulate them at this level? Is there a reason to continue to provide detailed regulations and delineation of what a barber or a cosmetologist is?

Well, Mr. Speaker, I got a very strong lesson last year when I was the Education Critic for our Party on these very issues. I had an opportunity on a regular basis to meet with various barbers in Nova Scotia, and that was the Cosmetology Association, and as I think all members of this House and all members of our caucus did, and I do know that along with the honourable member for Dartmouth North we met with estheticians and representatives of a college that trains estheticians, and that gave me a much better understanding of some of the issues that are now currently in place with regard to these things.

Mr. Speaker, what's really clear is that there is still a need for regulation of this profession. This profession requires regulation, it requires there be some level of protection of the consumers in Nova Scotia and, quite frankly, that is every Nova Scotian who ends up requiring some level of cosmetology service. Whether it's getting your hair cut, whether it's getting a perm, whether it's getting your hair dyed, a manicure, a pedicure, non-therapeutic massage, these are all things that are now covered under our Cosmetology Act that ensures the people of Nova Scotia have some level of protection.

[Page 2873]

This came up a couple of times. I know when we were in the Law Amendments Committee last year, we heard, Mr. Speaker, from people who were estheticians, who were very eager to see that their profession be covered and regulated in some way by the Cosmetology Act. They were talking about the fact - and I'll try not to be too glib about this - I'm not a person who goes out and gets a manicure and a pedicure on a regular basis, but I have talked to others who have and there are issues.

There are some people in this province and across North America, who are setting up shops and these shops aren't properly regulated. We don't know the type of level of service and we think, well all it is is someone getting their nails done or whatever. Well, no, Mr. Speaker, it's much bigger than that. Damaged nails are a health risk (Interruption) Well, that's right. But a damaged nail can cause a very serious health risk and we are actually learning that a lot of estheticians are actually beginning to work - sort of like the partnership between a dental hygienist or a dental assistant and a dentist - we are seeing estheticians beginning to work with dermatologists, which I wasn't even aware of.

So, quite frankly, this is now a health care profession. The Cosmetology Act will now be regulating people who work in the health care industry. I think that clearly opens the people's mind that it is not just esthetics, not just about a haircut, this is much bigger than that, Mr. Speaker. This is about professionals who are working in our health care industry as well. There are estheticians who do nails, who do work with feet, work with hands, that are doing work with dermatologists in their office. If you went to a dermatologist - this is my understanding from the Law Amendments Committee last year - there might be some analysis, some diagnosis by the actual doctor, by the dermatologist, but then you might be passed on to someone in the office who is the esthetician, who will be doing the work - maybe you have particular problems with your hands or problems with your feet.

In those circumstances, there is a real need to ensure that those Nova Scotians have the protection they need, that's no longer about getting your hair cut, that is now a health care concern. Nova Scotians have to know that under the Cosmetology Bill that they have regulations to protect them. I am hoping that this legislation will begin to address some of that as well. That's what we heard at the Law Amendments Committee. I must say, even if it isn't in the health care sector - which presumably there are certain standards that a dermatologist would want to meet in their office, whether it's regulated by the province or not - there are standards that should still be met for people who walk in as consumers, who walk in off the street and are paying for the services of an esthetician. That's an important part of cosmetology as well.

We heard of those who may set up shops, who really aren't properly trained. I am not sure how many of them there are in this province or what percentage of the profession it might be. But this is always an issue when you have professions that are not properly regulated in the province. There will be those who will live on the margins, who will set up shops, who will hang a shingle and call themselves esthetician, will call themselves a nail

[Page 2874]

shop. You may find that this is being done in places where they do it on the side. Can you even remember, it used to be you had a hair salon, people would go and it would be hair salon. Well, now we have tanning booths in these places, we have people who do nails, we have people who do feet, we may even have non-therapeutic massages happening in these places. As a result, a lot more health issues are coming into play. This legislation, 10 years ago, was probably adequate for what was cosmetology at the time.

Cosmetology has changed, Mr. Speaker, and it's time that the legislation changed with it. I am glad to see the government has introduced this. The shops that we have in our communities, whether it be Eastern Passage, my community, or Barrington Passage or any other place named "Passage" in this province, they have shops, as everyone else does in this province, that are hair salons. But those hair salons are doing more. It's vital that we have a Cosmetology Act and regulations that ensure people are protected when they go in there. There are issues that are coming up that are health issues.

There are concerns. I know, talking to Ms. Carter last year on many occasions around this legislation and this bill, she had particular concerns about ensuring that we regulated those estheticians. I am glad to see this legislation coming forward, that estheticians are going to be covered and that we're going to have protection for the people of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, these are things that need to be done. These are the things that we need to ensure the consumers of this province are protected. I think, to a great extent, in the past 15 or 20 years, there has been some sense of deregulation, for lack of a better term, with regard to cosmetology and with regard to consumer products, generally. As I said, in North America, there's no institutional memory of the problems that were maybe caused when we had unregulated consumer activity. Fifty, 60, 100 years ago, we probably had shops opening were calling themselves hairstylists, but maybe they didn't have any form of professional designation. There were no regulations protecting us. Barbers, the same way. There are many other products that I can probably go through.

The point is, for our grandparents or our great-grandparents, they may recall some of the incidents that might have been caused, causing health concerns, causing the spread of diseases because there wasn't proper regulation. That is why the government stepped in when they did at those times. This maybe, quite frankly, was some of the earliest forms of consumer regulation, the cosmetologists and barbers. I think because it's been so long, there's a tendency for us to forget that there was a requirement for this, things have been going so well.

We now recognize the need to regulate these professions, as we do other consumer-related professions. As a result, I think many in this province who are younger, I could say even under the age of 80, probably have no recollection of the need for regulating cosmetology.

[Page 2875]

That's a problem. That's a problem we have in this province, and it's a problem, quite frankly, because we end up going to the conclusion, why do we need the regulation at all? I always go back to the point that when I'm sitting in that chair and I look at that bottle of blue Barbicide, why do they keep putting those combs in the Barbicide? I know there's a good reason, but I think to myself, hygiene. Clearly these are rules that have been in place for a long time, but for the average Nova Scotian, maybe we forget the reason why those regulations are in place.

It's legislation like this that is a good reminder to the people in this House and to Nova Scotians generally, that we need legislation to regulate these professions. That's why this legislation is before us today. I think there's a tendency at times to be glib about it. Quite frankly, last year, I know when this legislation came forward, and I know even in talking to the Minister of Health, now the former Minister of Education, there was a tendency to say

this seems like such a simple piece of legislation, good legislation, why is it becoming so complicated?

The fact is at times, again in history, we had two professions that were particularly involved in the profession of cutting hair. I don't know if it was always divided on gender lines, but we had barbers, whom I think most people in this province would recognize as haircutters for men, and then you had cosmetologists or hair stylists, who were haircutters for women. Again, as I said, the issue has become much more complicated. I actually understand now that where maybe 50, 60, 70 years ago there were just as many barbers as there were cosmetologists, it's quite different now. Talking to some of the cosmetologists last year, there are now I believe a very much larger number of cosmetologists than there are barbers.

I know Mr. Boudreau, in fact it's funny enough, the guy whose office is right next to my constituency office, his name is Bernie Boudreau - interesting name - and he is actually a barber and a cosmetologist. I'm beginning to understand that's actually quite common as well. People can actually call themselves a barber for the purposes of men who may come in, who may feel more comfortable going to a barber, for whatever reason, but also he's a cosmetologist. He has both licences and he's regulated by both associations. As a result, he also is able to do those things that only cosmetologists can do.

I remember asking this question last year: What is it a cosmetologist can do that a barber can't do? At the time, I was told it's about chemicals. I said, what does that mean? What do I know? But I was told it was about giving perms, about dying hair, about some of the things - in fact, I remember talking to one barber, it was a woman who was here in this House last year saying that she had some inspector come in - she was very upset, and I can understand, it's her profession, she is a barber, she chose that profession like I chose law or other people chose teaching and it's a noble profession and one that she felt the need to go into. She opened a shop, which is her right in this country, to open a shop and say, I want to hang my shingle and be a barber. The problem was, she said, she was caught holding a bowl,

[Page 2876]

which I believe was a bowl that had some kind of chemical in it for purposes of giving someone a perm or a dye job and because she was holding that bowl and she had a barber's licence and not a cosmetology licence, that was going to cause trouble for her.

Some would say, in Nova Scotia, has regulation gone awry? Are these things that maybe we should have been looking at through the blue ribbon, red tape panel that members in the backbench of the Tory Government looked at? Well, I don't know enough about it to say whether we need to have clear definitions of who can hold a bowl that has chemicals in it, but again there are legitimate reasons for these regulations, so that Nova Scotians have a clear understanding when they see that certificate on the wall. Are they a cosmetologist, are they a barber?

Well, that depends. It depends on what type of service you want to get. What we do have with this legislation are cosmetologists being regulated under the Cosmetology Act by their own association. They want the opportunity to take the time to begin to have better regulations; this is also caused because the profession has changed. As I noted earlier, estheticians are now a very strong component of a hairstyling shop - whether it's nails, whether it's feet, and, again, those who do non-therapeutic massages.

I think that they need to know that when they hang their shingle and they say that they're a masseuse, or they say that they are a nail technician or a foot technician - whatever the terms may be, pedicurist, I guess, or manicurist - that they need to know that they are being protected, because quite frankly there are very serious health risks with this as well, whether they're cracked nails or there are problems with your feet. These are things that need to be addressed and now we have a Cosmetology Act that's being modernized to reflect those changes to ensure that Nova Scotians have a good understanding that there is a real need, a real need for protection.

These are all about health and safety issues. Not just health and safety issues in the workplace, but health and safety issues for Nova Scotians. I know, having come from a background of workplace health and safety that the regulations can be quite cumbersome at times. In many cases, if you work in an office, or a white collar job, you have a tendency to not even consider health and safety on a regular basis. It's very funny because you walk into a government office - and there are some health and safety issues, but we take them for granted. We don't have to wear a hardhat when we go into our workplace in a building; we don't have to wear safety boots; we don't have to talk about SCOT packs, or respiratory machines, you know, we're not like the firefighters in this province who end up getting cancer. No matter where they work, whether they work for a municipality, whether they're volunteer firefighters, these people have a higher preponderance of getting cancer because of the work they do.

[Page 2877]

[2:30 p.m.]

Those are health and safety issues. They probably have a better understanding of it, but the average white collar worker, Mr. Speaker, does not and, as a result, I think we have a tendency again to assume that someone else out there is looking after our health and safety when we're doing and getting services from a cosmetologist. That is why this legislation is important because again it gives us an opportunity to reflect on what is important to ensure that our health and safety is being protected as consumers.

Mr. Speaker, I know we're not allowed to go clause by clause and I don't intend to, but I think it is important that we do take some time to talk about the various clauses in this legislation that as a principle need to be addressed. I was noting some of the things that I think will make this legislation much more effective, not only for consumers, but for cosmetologists. One of them was, appeal procedures are being improved with regard to examinations and some might say, what's the reason for doing that? Well, I think it's very important.

At the Law Amendments Committee the other day, we were listening to people with regard to the Apprenticeship and Trades Qualifications Act. I'm not sure this is an apprenticeship trade, and maybe it is, I'm not absolutely sure, but I do know, Mr. Speaker, that it is a certified trade. It's one in which someone has to have a certificate in order to conduct work under it and there's a reason for that.

There's a reason we have certified trades, whether they be plumbers, or mechanics, or cosmetologists, or barbers, or many others out there, electricians. We do this because we want to ensure that if the people of Nova Scotia are going to have work done, that that meets a minimum standard, and I may want to note by the way, not all electricians in this province have to be certified. Only construction work needs to be done by a certified electrician.

So, quite frankly, you're safer knowing that you're actually going to get your hair cut because we have certified people doing it, than we are if we have industrial electricians doing work in a factory, or we have industrial electricians doing work in our own homes for residential purposes, Mr. Speaker. They don't need to be certified. There's no guarantee of the level of qualifications that they have. Yet because of the work of the Cosmetology Association and because of the Cosmetology Act, we have guarantees with regard to the protection of consumers and that is very important. I digress a little, Mr. Speaker, my point is that we are in a position to talk about what happens if somebody writes an exam and this happens. I think all of us have people who come into our office and they're very upset because they may have written an exam for an association, or they were trying to write an exam.

[Page 2878]

They've worked a long time to get to the point where they - and, let's be clear, there are a lot of people out there who end up going to private schools with regard to cosmetology and they're not cheap. Private schools and private colleges that provide cosmetology, or manicures, or pedicure services, that train them, are quite expensive. I recall, and the member for Dartmouth North may correct me, but when we met with a woman who has a college, I think it's the maritime beauty college, or something like that, in Dartmouth, Maritime academy of beauty, or something like that, in Dartmouth, she was saying that one of the changes in this legislation would be the number of hours.

MR. JERRY PYE: Maritime Academy of Cosmetology.

MR. DEVEAUX: Maritime Academy of Cosmetology, I thank the member for Dartmouth North for correcting me on the record. Mr. Speaker, they have an opportunity now because of the extra hours to get that extra training. Now, of course, that also means they're going to pay more. They're going to pay a heck of a lot more to become a manicurist, to become a pedicurist. I remember at the time, this woman, as principal of that school, was quite upset. She said, is this required, how is this going to affect us? She specifically said the problem is that, I'm competing not only in Nova Scotia, but I'm competing against New Brunswick, Toronto, Alberta, and Boston and, let's face it, globalization is not just about the extension of trade, it's about opening up educational services as well.

The problem is, why should I take, if I have to take four years to finish my manicurist course here in Nova Scotia, or three years, or two years, or whatever it may be, why don't I just go to New Brunswick and, do you know what, maybe I won't come back here and work because the requirements in Nova Scotia mean I have to have more requirements. I will go work in Fredericton. I will go work in Quebec City. I will go work somewhere else where they don't have the same standards and this is the problem that we always have. In a federal system, in regard to the United States as well.

Whenever you try to regulate to improve standards, and you're the first one over the trench, you're the first one to say, we think you need higher standards to be an esthetician in Nova Scotia, well, that's something the Cosmetology Bill thinks is important. That's something the Cosmetology Association thinks is important, and they are the people who regulate this important profession. Mr. Speaker, it's pretty clear that they must have some sense of why it's important.

When you do that, and you're the first to talk about increasing the number of hours required before you can be approved and certified, you're always going to be competing against those other provinces that haven't done it. There is always the fear that you have students here who will decide not to go to school here, will decide not to practice here, but will decide to go somewhere else, will decide to leave and to go to another province. As a result, Nova Scotians, particularly those who are in college, were worried about how this would impact them.

[Page 2879]

My point is, though, when you have examinations, you need a procedure to ensure that they can appeal, and that is in this legislation. I hope that this will help in some way to address some of the issues that were raised by the colleges that teach estheticians, teach manicurists, teach pedicurists. I would hope that this would have some means of ensuring that Nova Scotians who are in the process of becoming a cosmetologist have an opportunity, if they write an exam, to have an appeal procedure. This legislation seems to address that. I am glad to see that the Cosmetology Association has considered this and is thinking about this as an important issue.

Just as important, Mr. Speaker, and I know from my own profession, as you probably do from yours, any profession cannot be properly regulated unless there is a complaint and discipline procedure as well. I see that this legislation is going to begin to recognize that as a principle of good cosmetology legislation. I am sure it was in there before, but now it's being approved. Again, if cosmetology has changed over the past 13 years or the past 20 years, if we've had changes in the legislation, if we have changes in the nature of the industry, then I think it's vital that we make changes in the legislation to ensure that the complaints process and the discipline process is also updated.

This can be very cumbersome, it can be very difficult. I know that members don't always like to see these, because they start worrying that when you make things more complicated or when you have complaints processes that things become bogged down and they worry they have to get lawyers, and that makes things much longer, over a longer period of time.

Mr. Speaker, that is a real concern of all Nova Scotians. No one wants to see an overly litigious society. No one wants to see a complaints process become bogged down in legal wrangling or having to be appealed to courts if they're not happy with decisions. But the problem is, if you don't have a complaint process - it's really the rule of law for the association - then how do you deal with a complaint? If I have a complaint against an esthetician or against a cosmetologist or someone else in this province does, where do I go? How do I deal with it?

Well, the Cosmetology Bill spells that out, and I am glad to see that it does, and I'm glad to see it's changing with the times, and it's identifying the changes that need to be done to ensure that Nova Scotians have the ability to have a legitimate complaint raised and dealt with by the association. This is a self-regulated profession, no different than lawyers or doctors or nurses or many other organizations and professionals in this province. As a result, it is vital, I say vital, that Nova Scotians have a means of knowing their complaints are going to be dealt with.

Of course there's also the discipline. That's what happens if you have complaints, there must be some means of disciplining, revocation of a certificate to enable them to be cosmetologist, or potentially a suspension. I am sure these are things that are in the Act. As

[Page 2880]

our society changes, as we change the rules to reflect what cosmetology is today in Nova Scotia, I think it's also important that discipline and a complaint process is also updated.

Again, the Cosmetology Association has been very proactive in trying to ensure that their legislation is up to date and that they are protecting consumers in Nova Scotia. I give full credit to Ms. Carter and her group for the efforts they have made to ensure that Nova Scotians have the protection they need to ensure that they have what they can when they go to an association.

Mr. Speaker, that is really what all this is about, protecting consumers. As I say, I think a lot of Nova Scotians have an assumption about the health and safety when they walk into a shop to get their hair cut, or to a manicurist or a pedicurist. As a result, I think there's an opportunity here for them, particularly as their representatives here, to have an opportunity to consider some of the work that's being done by the association to protect them.

Mr. Speaker, I guess there's also permits that are given out for schools and for salons as well. That's very important, because you know what can happen is you can have a single permit for an individual and if you have an individual who has six or seven cosmetologists working in the shop, again, given the changing times, they may not all be hair stylists, there may be some who are non-therapeutic masseuses, there may be manicurists or pedicurists or others as a result of that. There may be not one person or one organization ensuring that salon actually has the ability to be properly regulated. Yes, there's an owner, I think in many cases I think what we need is some sort of licence to ensure and I'm glad to see that this Act and this legislation is beginning to address that as well ensuring that Nova Scotians know that those shops are being properly handled as well.

I know the employers are protected to some extent by Labour Standards Code in this province, I would argue, not very well. Labour Standards Codes in this province are abominable, antiquated, probably the worst in Canada. I would suggest Mississippi might be one of the only places in North America that has worse labour standards legislation than this province. But I don't mean to insult Mississippi in that process. The point is, the consumers who go into these salons need to know that there's protection. Again, the Cosmetology Association, through licensing of these shops, is ensuring that.

In schools as well. The member for Dartmouth North and I met with schools, met with people who are involved in teaching these professions. As a result, there is definitely a need to ensure that standards are being met. We talked about this as well under the Apprenticeship and Trades Qualifications Act and one of the biggest problems we have with certifiable trades and professions is coordination between the school that teaches and the organization that certifies. Very rarely are the two the same, very rarely.

[Page 2881]

For example, if I go to a law school, the law school dictates its curriculum, decides what courses it's going to teach. How does that coordinate with the bar admission course that I may write as a lawyer? As a doctor I may go to a medical school - how does that co-ordinate with the medical society's requirements for me to become a doctor when I write my exams? The same thing occurs with regard to cosmetology. You have schools that are out there, entrepreneurs in some cases, hardworking people, professionals who are trying to raise money and make a living and part of that is, they create a school. That school is there to ensure that those students receive a proper education and then, quite frankly, one of the best ways they have of encouraging someone to come to their school as compared to their competition is by saying, 95 per cent of the people in our school passed the exam.

That means that they are clearly meeting the standards that are required by the Cosmetology Association to pass the certification exam. That is a very important component of the legislation, one that I think needs to be addressed and I'm glad to see the legislation is doing that. I would also like to see the opportunity for more coordination between the schools and what's going on with regard to the legislation as well. I would say those schools would have an opportunity to do that.

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

MR. DEVEAUX: Yes, sure.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou East.

MR. JAMES DEWOLFE: Thank you to the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage for yielding his time for a moment while I do an introduction. We have in our gallery today and I'm very pleased to have 15 students of the Westville Occupational Preparation Program, better known as the OPP program. It's the graduating class, the last one from what we will soon call the old Westville High School. The classes in the Fall will be held in the new state-of-the-art high schools in Pictou West and Pictou East. Along with the 15 students, we have teacher Bruce Moore and welcome back to the Legislature, Bruce. Also, Mike Hawley is assisting Bruce with the class today and I hope they enjoy their stay in Halifax. I would ask the members to welcome them in the usual manner. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: I welcome our guests to the gallery today. The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage, thank you for the time, you have the floor.

MR. DEVEAUX: I'm glad to see there's a class here because as my colleague for Timberlea-Prospect noted, as our Education Critic and as a former administrator and teacher, that there are many who choose this profession, there are many in schools that when they're starting to leave high school, say what am I going to do? Am I going to go to university? Am

[Page 2882]

I going to go to community college? Many of them choose to go to cosmetology schools, both here and in other provinces.

[2:45 p.m.]

I want to talk about two points there. First of all, as I said, there needs to be co-ordination between the Cosmetology Association and the schools. By issuing licences to schools so that they're able to have some level of coordination, that is vital. It's vital, Mr. Speaker, because Nova Scotians then know that they have an opportunity, when they go, to know that the curriculum they're taking in the schools - again, as I say, they pay a lot of money for these colleges. I say $5,000. It could be more, but they pay a lot of money to learn that training, and it's a very important training. It's not just about learning to cut hair. It's about the safety, it's about the hygiene, it's about the artistic. I mean, it's a very fascinating profession when you think about it. They're looking at both a skill, an art and also the hygiene issues that are involved,

As I said, in some cases some choose very different paths. Some will become hair stylists. Some will end up going into more institutional settings. Some will go into medical - as we said, those who work in dermatologists' offices end up going into the health care system. All this is being taught at one school, one school that has to meet all those standards and all those levels.

Mr. Speaker, I would say to you that's a very difficult and cumbersome thing to do and I'm glad to see that we now have with the Cosmetology Bill and the Cosmetology Association a vibrant proactive association that is out there ensuring that there is some coordination. As I said, when we met with some of the people who were teaching esthetics and manicure and pedicure issues - I think they were concerned last year, I think the member for Dartmouth North would agree - they were concerned whether that coordination was happening. How were they notified about these extended hours that needed to be required, what did they know about them?

Mr. Speaker, the point is, that, now I hope that that is happening, now they all come under the umbrella of cosmetology that I hope that there is an opportunity in Nova Scotia for more coordination. Presumably now that licences are being issued, or that we're renewing the opportunity to issue licences under the amendments to the legislation, I would presume that there would be a bigger opportunity and a greater opportunity for that coordination. That is, again, vital to ensure that - when somebody spends $5,000 to $10,000 for a course to become a cosmetologist, or an esthetician, they need to know that that course is going to meet the standards and is going to help them pass that exam later on.

Certification, Mr. Speaker, is the end goal. School is the way in which they get there and learn the trade so they can pass that exam, written, and I presume there's also some form of clinical exam as well. But in order to pass those exams, they need to get through school

[Page 2883]

and there needs to be that coordination. Again, I would think that if I was a principal or owner of a school that I would be very worried if I was providing a curriculum that was not in coordination with the Cosmetology Association.

I would be nervous because what would eventually happen is the reputation of my school would be, do you know what, they're teaching things that I don't need to know for the exam and, again, those in other professions know. I know from law school, there was always the debate in law school, should I take the courses that I like or should I take the courses I need to take in order to pass the Bar exam. Maybe the other members who went to law school have some recollection of that. But there was the whole debate about should I take - because I have to honestly admit that I was never big on real estate or wills in estate law, but the point was if you didn't take them, it would be a lot tougher to pass the Bar later. So a lot of people would only take the courses that they knew were going to be part of the Bar exam and, in many cases, they lost out on some of the other courses they might have found more interesting. (Interruption) That's right, cosmetology law, that's right.

There are others, Mr. Speaker, who may be in administrative law. Administrative law deals with complaints and discipline procedures under the Cosmetology Act. See, so there is a connection between the two. But there are those in law, just following through with my thought, who only took the courses they liked, and I saw those. When they went to the Bar admission course, you could tell that they were having a much tougher time cramming and working and studying for the Bar admission courses because they maybe didn't take real estate, or wills and estates, or criminal law. They knew what they were doing when they wanted to go in, but they made that compromise at the time, but maybe, again with the coordination with the Cosmetology Association, we would have the opportunity to ensure that those Nova Scotians, young Nova Scotians primarily, who want to go into the profession know - because in many cases they're trusting the school they're going to to provide a curriculum that's going to ensure that they're going to have a better chance to pass that exam.

As I say, the reputation of a school relies on what percentage of those students are passing the exam, what percentage are being certified as cosmetologists, Mr. Speaker, and that is very difficult to do if your curriculum is not coordinated with the association and what they're asking for on their exam. As I say, the profession has changed, it's involved in health care now. Dermatologists' offices have estheticians. What if we're talking about institutional settings? Well, as the profession changes, it's the Cosmetology Association and this Act that regulates that association that will be the one to ensure that as the profession changes that the standards are being met. Again, Ms. Carter and her organization have done a wonderful job of doing that. What's important is that they also have the ability to regulate and to also coordinate with the schools, and by issuing permits to those schools there is a much greater opportunity for them to be able to do that.

[Page 2884]

Mr. Speaker, that's all that's really being considered in here, and again, I go back to my original point, that this is about the protection, health and safety, and hygiene of consumers in Nova Scotia. Everyone in this province at some time or another has to get a haircut and to a lesser extent, they also have to deal with the other issues with regard to cosmetology. As a result, this legislation is incredibly important for them to be able to do that.

There are also schools, Mr. Speaker, there may be Nova Scotians who will say to themselves, why should I go here? We just extended the number of hours we need to become an esthetician, or the amount of hours we need in order to become a cosmetologist. There might be someone who will say, do you know what, I will go and become a barber instead. Well, these issues need to be ironed out and I'm glad to see that last year, there were a lot of issues that came up around barbers versus cosmetologists. I was glad to see some of this being ironed out.

I might note that I don't think there is anyone in this province right now who is teaching barbering, I could be wrong. There was a guy in New Glasgow but I don't think he is teaching it any more. So in some ways the number of barbers has really diminished and maybe someday in the near future I will be sad to say that the profession may be gone. But at the point now, cosmetology is a much bigger profession, but at the same point, I would hope that they would reflect the need to have the standards that are being met by the cosmetologists. They are being proactive, Mr. Speaker. They are considering the needs, not only of their practitioners, but of the consumers, of the school principals, of the owners of schools, of those who run hair-styling shops and esthetician shops and manicures and pedicures, they are considering their needs and on a regular basis, they are trying to update it to ensure standards are being met for certification. That is vital.

This legislation quite frankly is one of the components they need to continue to be proactive, not only for their members, but for the consumers in Nova Scotia. That is why this legislation is so important. I am proud to support this legislation. I don't know if I mentioned that yet, but I will be supporting this legislation. It is important to have the opportunity to talk about what exactly cosmetologists are doing, Mr. Speaker, and why they need to have the regulation that they have.

Mr. Speaker, there is also power in here for inspections, I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure. Again, inspecting is one of those things. I talked about the rule of law, I talked about why in Nova Scotia we need to have rules, and a rule of law with regard to cosmetology as we do for lawyers, and doctors, and nurses and many other professions. But, as a result, this is something that was always talked about when I used to do health and safety. Education versus enforcement.

[Page 2885]

No one would deny that you need both. You need to educate your membership, you need to educate practitioners, things change in the profession, the profession changes, it's an opportunity to continue to provide ongoing education to them, to ensure that they know those changes and they are able to adapt and ensure that Nova Scotians again are not only protected, but are provided with the best service possible. Well, Mr. Speaker, the same thing with regard to inspections. Education can only go so far. There will always be those who will push the envelope, will try to skirt the rules, try to avoid regulation for whatever reason: because of time, because of shortness of cash flow in their business, there are always reasons. At the time they may seem legitimate, no matter the business, but the fact is, in the long run, they need to ensure that they are protected as consumers when they go into those shops, inspections are a vital component of that.

I noted earlier a barber who said that he or she was caught holding a bowl of chemicals and was upset that these rules are being put in place, that it prevented her from being able to do what she needed to do, Mr. Speaker. But the fact is, they are there for a reason. I'm not familiar enough with cosmetology to know exactly the reason why barbers can't handle chemicals but there is a legitimate reason and I'm glad to see the cosmetology association is there to ensure that this is being done.

Well, Mr. Speaker, those are some of the things that inspections can catch, some of the things that inspections can pick up on. (Interruption) I'm looking forward to the Law Amendments Committee, maybe to hear from Ms. Carter and others as to how many inspections there actually are, who does the inspecting? Is it their association? I assume to some extent it is, but I would think their job has become much more difficult because now that they have estheticians covered under their legislation, now that they have manicures and pedicures and non-therapeutic masseuses in their organization, there are those who were not regulated, who are now going to have to understand that they cannot practise without meeting certification.

That's a big hurdle to cross. Some of these people were working in other countries, are working in other provinces, Mr. Speaker, maybe they didn't have to get certified there. Maybe the certification didn't meet the standards we had in Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia has been proactive because of this association in recognizing the need to improve standards, to increase standards, to make sure people are protected as consumers. To do that, you need inspections and inspectors to go out and check those facilities that maybe, just maybe, aren't meeting those standards. That is what the inspection process is for.

I'm glad to see this bill has the teeth to give the inspections and the inspectors the power to go out and ensure the regulations are being maintained. I wish we had the same mandate and the same commitment from the Government of Nova Scotia with regard to occupational health and safety or environmental protection.

[Page 2886]

The fact is, because this is being done by a private organization, it's self-regulated, they are much more committed and they have to meet a higher standard, because quite frankly the government will say if you do not properly regulate your own industry, things will be done to prevent you from regulating your industry. That's the threat that's always handed over to the Barristers' Society or the Medical Society or the Cosmetology Association or any other number of organizations - they're threatened with you are self-regulated because we trust you and if you break that trust, we will do something, we will bring down the hammer and prevent that from happening.

The sad fact is, Mr. Speaker, we don't have those same rules with regard to health and safety in the workplace, or environmental protection, because the government is the one that does the inspecting and the enforcement, and they do it as they see fit. I always remember one of my first days as an articling clerk with the Attorney General in Ontario, with the Ministry of Labour. The legislation said with regard to inspectors that the inspector may enter a workplace, the inspector may issue orders, the inspector may do this, may do that. That was always the classic component; if there is one word that's important to a government lawyer, or the government generally, to prevent from being sued in occupational health and safety and environment protection legislation it's the word "may".

That one word means you can't sue them because they may enter, it doesn't mean they have a duty to enter, and so many hats have been hung on that, by governments in this country saying you know maybe we didn't see that oil spill, maybe we didn't see that accident in the workplace, but the fact is we didn't have to go in, we may go in. In those circumstances, many Nova Scotians, many Canadians, have suffered greatly because the government isn't prepared to have strict regulations in those areas.

Yet the government, with regard to the Cosmetology Act, has agreed because it's self-regulated, because it doesn't cost them a dime to ensure that cosmetologists have proper inspections, have proper procedures to ensure that they have inspectors that are going out there and regulating and routinely checking on businesses to make sure that they are meeting the licences they have for their salon, they're going to schools to make sure the schools are meeting the standards that they have to for their licences and permits, and are making sure that certified cosmetologists, which now include estheticians and manicurists and pedicurists, also get a certain level of protection.

Again, education on one side. Yes, I'm glad to see the schools are now coordinating with the Cosmetology Association, but at the same time you need inspections, you need the ability to go out and ensure that there is someone who is going to come around from time to time and do the inspections to protect workers. That is what's required, that's what Nova Scotians need, and I am glad to see that that's the case.

[Page 2887]

Mr. Speaker, this is legislation that is changing with the times. This is legislation that is ensuring that cosmetologists in this province have the protection they need, and that the consumers in Nova Scotia have the protection they need when they go into a shop. We heard last year, when legislation came forward at that time with regard to the Cosmetology Act, about individual situations, mainly from cosmetologists. Ms. Carter did a very effective job bringing forward representations from estheticians and cosmetologists about the problems they had with the legislation - not with the legislation, but with the legislation before the changes, about those who weren't regulated, very compelling stories, stories that we knew needed to be addressed.

Mr. Speaker, that is what was so important about hearing it last year. Quite frankly, there were bumps on the road. Again, the Minister of Health who was the Minister of Education at the time knew there were bumps on the road to ensure that there was coordination not only within the Cosmetology Association but as they took over the regulation of estheticians, as they had to coordinate with barbers who do very similar work but are separately regulated, and I think a lot of political lessons were learned by the Cosmetology Association, they were learned by the Barbers Association - quite frankly they were learned by members in this House, as we began to understand exactly the problems that were being faced in regulating similar but slightly different, if not greatly different, professions.

Mr. Speaker, that is a problem. As I said, in Nova Scotia we have barbers, we have cosmetologists - cosmetologist are a much bigger organization by membership numbers than the barbers - and it's important that Nova Scotians know that no matter which one they go to, they have consumer protection. I'm glad to see the Cosmetology Association is proactive, is taking the time to go out to talk, to consult, to bring forward legislation that will protect consumers. That's the complaint process I talked about, that's a disciplinary process I talked about - it's about education, it's about coordinating with schools.

[3:00 p.m.]

One of the things I forgot to mention about schools, Mr. Speaker, is that one of the difficulties we have in our federal system is that we have rules in Nova Scotia, we're in this Legislature because under the Constitution of Canada we have rules that say that we regulate cosmetology, as Ontario and Alberta and British Columbia do. But the problem is, how much coordination is going on amongst the various associations or regulatory bodies like the Department of Education as to what we put in? Do we have harmonized rules? I presume not. I believe Nova Scotia has moved to increase the rules, increase the standards because they think it's important, that association does. I trust them in that. But the fact is in doing that, there are other provinces, whether it be the Maritime Provinces or other parts of Canada, I don't know which ones have or have not increased their standards, maybe we're the first, but having increased our standards, we take the chance of being the first over the trench. In

[Page 2888]

doing that there's also the possibility that many people that might have chosen to do their trade here may go somewhere else.

It also may mean those who are unregulated, who aren't meeting standards, are also going to go somewhere else. That may be a good thing. It also means that Nova Scotians will have that level of protection. This is always the battle we have. Should we protect Nova Scotians, or should we allow the free market to dictate? Well, Mr. Speaker, I think in this case, with the cosmetology association, we've recognized the need for regulation. As we've said, historically, there always has been regulation, or at least in the past 50 or 60 years of this profession, and it's important that that continue. I think Nova Scotians have taken this for granted, but I think as a result of this legislation, as a result of some of the issues that came up last year, there are people out there who now have a much better understanding of how Nova Scotians are being protected.

One of the other things in the legislation is enforcement. Again, something that I'm somewhat familiar with from other situations. Enforcement is something that can take many forms. I would hope, through the Law Amendments Committee process, we may hear of some of the more creative ways in which we can enforce legislation. If someone isn't properly complying with the Cosmetology Act, if someone is operating an unregulated manicure shop or if someone is violating the conditions of their certification as a cosmetologist, there are things that can be done. Fines obviously are the easy answer. I would hope the fines in this legislation - again, I wait to hear from the Law Amendments Committee as to what the members of the association and others have to think. I would hope that the legislation would have fines that would ensure that Nova Scotians would be properly protected.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova on an introduction.

MR. PAUL MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, I am advised in your gallery is a former member of this House and of the Executive Council, the honourable Glen Bagnell, who was Minister of the Environment, then called the Water Act, who served in that capacity, and many others in this House will from 1974 and afterwards. I'm sure we all want to welcome him here to our midst this afternoon. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We certainly welcome Mr. Bagnell to the gallery today and hope you enjoy the proceedings, and his wife as well. Shirley, is it? (Interruptions) Welcome Shirley.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage has the floor.

MR. DEVEAUX: How much time do I have remaining?

[Page 2889]

MR. SPEAKER: Approximately 11 minutes.

MR. DEVEAUX: Talking about enforcement, Mr. Speaker, and this is one thing that I'm glad to see, I think, legally in the last 10 years, there have been more creative ways of addressing enforcement. Fines are one option. Of course, there's always the threat of jail that's usually put into most legislation. Quite frankly, in these sort of quasi-criminal circumstances, I doubt that these are things that, depending on the nature of the violation, would be used on a regular basis. There is obviously revocation of a licence, suspension of a licence, these are things that are done.

I remember, harking back to some of my experiences, there were very creative ways in which you can actually address - if these are issues of hygiene, if these are issues of health and safety of the consumer I would hope that the association and this Legislature might look at opportunities to see how we can creatively try to ensure that Nova Scotians are protected and that those who violate the regulations of the Cosmetology Act are given some level - you know, there are things as taking ads out in newspapers. If there's an issue of a cosmetologist who maybe wasn't properly protecting the hygiene or the health and safety of consumers and maybe there should be a way of providing advertisement and forcing them to put ads in newspapers, spelling out some of the hygiene issues that need to be addressed, that's just one example. There are many other things.

Instead of fining, you could put the money towards a foundation or an organization, or maybe even the Cosmetology Association for education so that cosmetologists can be properly educated on an ongoing basis. That's something sometimes we forget, but using those fines for creative reasons to ensure that the cosmetologists are able to continue. (Interruption) Of course, another one, endowment, yes, an endowment. You can also put in place, Mr. Speaker, a requirement or an order that they have to do a certain amount of continuing education in their field. I'm not sure if the legislation addresses continuing education.

I would suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, like most professions, things change very quickly, rapidly in this day and age. I would hope that the legislation would have in place certain rules that would ensure that there's continuing education. Not all professions do, not all professions require it. Some are lucky enough to call it self-study, but there are ways in which we can ensure that we're providing some level of continuing education. If not, at least when someone violates the Act, when someone is brought before a disciplinary hearing, if someone is charged under the legislation and has to go before a court - the adjudicator, the judges, tribunal people, or disciplinary committee chairs, let's give them the power to provide some creative ways of ensuring enforcement. Fines are obviously important and I would be the first one to say that, but sometimes someone learns a lot more if they have to go back and get that continuing education, maybe if they have to give that money to an endowment that goes towards education.

[Page 2890]

Mr. Speaker, these are all ways of doing it and community service, that's another one. You know maybe from time to time, if we get too wrapped up in our business and things happen and we end up violating professional guidelines under the Cosmetology Act, or other legislation, it may be an opportunity to do community services. It might be an opportunity for people to really appreciate what they're doing and the fact that there is a need for them to ensure that they continue to meet those standards. Let's remember, a licence to be a cosmetologist, like a licence to be a lawyer or a doctor or a teacher, is a privilege, not a right. As a result we must ensure that we always understand that it is a privilege and every day when we make decisions in our jobs, we should always have in the back of our mind that privilege of being and having a licence to perform that profession.

As I said, there were students in the gallery earlier, some of them are going to decide to go into cosmetology most likely, it's a very popular profession. They're going to decide to do that because they want to and I'm proud of them for making that decision. Once you start down that road, paying large tuition fees, going to school, getting certification, you're also entering into a contract with the association and with the people of Nova Scotia that you will meet the standards required to be a professional cosmetologist. That's why we have these standards because when people walk into those doors of a shop, they need to know they're protected and many of us don't even assume and that's something good.

Mr. Speaker, I had the opportunity to travel around other parts of the world, not a lot, but some, and I have observed and had an opportunity to see standards in the Third World and this is one of the differences. In Canada, in the United States and western Europe, there are standards and there are Acts such as the Cosmetology Act in place to know that when we walk through a door, we're meeting standards. If you walk through the door of a shop in Beijing to get your hair cut, are they meeting standards? Are they meeting the standards that they're required to meet here? I have no guarantee of that. I have no guarantee that they have a certificate on the wall or that certificate was properly obtained, or that they had to meet a standard they would have met. People will say, well, that's just getting your hair cut.

No, there are the hygiene issues, the health and safety issues, Mr. Speaker. These are all issues that need to be addressed and we have an association here that is doing that and I'm proud to say that they are continuing to be proactive in how they do it. They are prepared to continue to ensure that their legislation is top-of-the-line. As a result, Nova Scotians know, and this is one of the great things about living in Canada, when they walk through the door of a hair salon, or they go into get a manicure or pedicure, they know that they have standards that are being met, that that certification on the wall means something, that there are inspections taking place, that there is education going on, that there is enforcement of the legislation. Those who are unregulated, those who set up shops that don't meet the standards and do not have a certificate will be quickly shut down. These are the things we do so that we don't even have to think about it. This is sort of the invisible hand of regulation, to sort of misquote Adam Smith, the invisible hand of regulation as part of the market system, they go hand in hand.

[Page 2891]

Mr. Speaker, the invisible hand of regulation will go out and ensure that when I walk into a shop, into a butcher shop, I know certain standards are being met. If I walk into a restaurant I know certain standards are being met. If I walk into a hairstylist to get my hair cut, I know certain standards are being met. That's what defines in many cases the difference between a country like Canada and the living standards we have and countries in other parts of the world where standards aren't being met and there is no guarantee that a certificate on the wall was not gotten in a nefarious way or there is no certificate required at all.

Again, we have relegated to history the reasons why we regulate cosmetology so strictly, why we have such strict hygiene issues. Well, Mr. Speaker, maybe most of us have forgotten that. Maybe most of us never knew why, but that's a good sign. That's a sign that regulations have been working but regulations only work when they are updated; regulations only work when we have an opportunity to ensure that Nova Scotians know that as times change, as the profession changes, there are also procedures in place to ensure that the Cosmetology Association is updated, that the Act and the legislation that governs certification is updated. That is why we are here. That is what this legislation is for.

People will say this is just legislation that needs housekeeping, some people will call it. Well I think it is important that we take the time to talk about this legislation. I think it is important that we take the time to talk about the fact that on a regular basis this legislation comes forward. I think we need to reflect that this is one of the most important jobs that government can do, regulating professions to ensure that consumers are protected. That is a very important job of the government, one that I would suggest is one of the most important. I'm glad to have the opportunity to get up here and talk about it, Mr. Speaker, because I know that Nova Scotians, when they go to a hairdressing shop, may not know exactly why there is a regulation, may not know how they are being regulated, but I think they do trust that they are.

It is only in those circumstances, Mr. Speaker, where they are not, that we end up finding the problems. I think one of the biggest ones in recent history would be Westray where we found that we were not properly regulating and enforcing legislation to protect workers, not consumers, necessarily, but workers, and people were outraged to find out. I'm sure the Minister of Environment and Labour, and the Minister of Finance - who were members at the time, have a very good memory that among other reasons that's why their government was defeated in 1993, because people were outraged at what they thought was sort of a broken bond of trust between a government and the people of this province that there would be proper regulation to ensure things like that didn't happen.

Well, Mr. Speaker, I also suggest to you that this type of legislation is vitally important to ensure that that bond of trust of proper regulation occurs. I would also say to you that in this day and age, as we talk about things like SARS and other infectious diseases, that it is even more important that we ensure we have proper regulation. There have been a lot of people who have been afraid to go to Toronto lately because of SARS. I'm glad to see

[Page 2892]

that the World Health Organization has finally taken it off the list of places that were under a SARS alert. But the point is, and again, just reading from the general media, newspapers, television, that one of the biggest problems with SARS is that the virus actually stays on things for a longer period of time than your average virus. The average virus can die quite quickly, but this can stay on a railing or on a chair for a while, and if someone else touches it a couple of hours later, they might pick it up if they touch their eye or face.

Mr. Speaker, that's a major problem. It is more important that we have again an association and legislation that is keeping pace with the times to ensure that Nova Scotians have the Cosmetology Act and regulations that will ensure hygiene is at the top level, that SARS and other infectious diseases that we now have - and we don't know what is going to happen in the future. We don't know what other types of infectious diseases may be created or caused and as a result it is important that we have an association that is diligent, that is proactive, that is doing the job it must do to ensure that the workers who work in that profession are protected, to ensure that the people of Nova Scotia are protected. That's what consumers need. That's what the people of Nova Scotia need and I'm glad to have had some time to speak directly on the Cosmetology Bill. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I move that we adjourn debate on Bill No. 52.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is to adjourn the debate on Bill No. 52.

Is it agreed?

A recorded vote has been called for.

Ring the bells to the satisfaction of the Whips.

[3:15 p.m.]

[The Division bells were rung.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The motion is for adjournment of debate on Bill No. 52. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

[The Clerk calls the roll.]

[Page 2893]

[4:15 p.m.]

YEAS NAYS

Mr. Rodney MacDonald Mr. Corbett

Mr. Baker Ms. Maureen MacDonald

Mr. Russell Mr. Holm

Dr. Hamm Mr. Steele

Mr. LeBlanc Mr. Deveaux

Mr. Muir Mr. Estabrooks

Miss Purves Mr. Epstein

Mr. Fage Mr. Pye

Mr. Balser

Mr. Parent

Ms. McGrath

Mr. Ronald Chisholm

Mr. Morse

Mr. MacIsaac

Mr. Clarke

Mr. DeWolfe

Mr. Taylor

Mr. Dooks

Mr. Langille

Mr. Chataway

Mr. Hendsbee

Mrs. Baillie

Mr. Carey

Mr. Morash

Mr. Chipman

Mr. Barnet

Mr. O'Donnell

Mr. Hurlburt

Mr. Manning MacDonald

Mr. Gaudet

Mr. MacEwan

Mr. Wilson

Mr. Boudreau

THE CLERK: For, 33. Against, 8.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried. The debate on Bill No. 52 is adjourned.

The honourable Government House Leader.

[Page 2894]

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The motion is carried.

[4:17 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker Mr. Brooke Taylor in the Chair.]

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

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

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move that the House do now rise to meet again on Tuesday at the hour of 00:01 a.m. and we will sit until 23:59 p.m. on Tuesday, in other words we will sit around the clock on Tuesday. The order of the business, following the daily routine and Question Period, will be Committee of the Whole House on Bills. If we get through those bills, we will then move into third reading.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that the House adjourn until 00:01 a.m. on Tuesday morning. (Interruptions) That will be it. It will be 12:01.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 2895]

The House is adjourned until Tuesday a.m.

[The House rose at 7:27 p.m.]

[Page 2896]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 1454

By: Mr. Mark Parent (Kings North)

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

Whereas Rotary International is an organization of business and professional leaders united worldwide that provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations and help build goodwill and peace in the world; and

Whereas Kings County is very fortunate to have such a dedicated organization as the Rotary Club of Kentville supporting our local community groups; and

Whereas the Alternative Transportation Society, the Kings County Opportunity Funding Network, the Technical Resource Centre and the Annapolis Valley Work Activity Committee have all benefited from the support of the Rotary Club of Kentville;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House join me in expressing our gratitude to the members of the Rotary Club of Kentville for their ongoing support of our important community organizations.

RESOLUTION NO. 1455

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 Rotary Club of Springhill will be celebrating its 60th Anniversary in the community on May 24th by hosting a banquet and the planting of a tree to commemorate this milestone in its history; and

Whereas the Springhill Rotary Club was organized on May 28, 1943, and was admitted to membership of Rotary International on June 14, 1943, with the club's first major project helping children of families whose fathers were serving overseas during the war and as well, those of other low income families, with the club building the Springhill Rotary Camp on the Gulf Shore near Pugwash in 1943, with children being served with milk and nourishing food and healthful recreation over the next several years; and

[Page 2897]

Whereas the Springhill Rotary Club became very much involved in projects such as the Easter Seals in 1952, with the proceeds going to the care of crippled children; hospital clinics, where medical specialists could diagnose children's disorders and prescribe treatment; in 1957 developing a picnic park; Toys for Tots; Club Rotario; Adventures in Citizenship; school bursaries; and many other events, fundraisers and community projects that have greatly enhanced the way of life for many here in our community, especially the club's assistance throughout the disasters of 1956 and 1958 through the Disaster Relief Fund, Disaster Children's Fund and Springhill Rotary Club Disaster Fund;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate the members of the Springhill Rotary Club for their commitment, dedication and unwavering support for the residents of the community of Springhill and wish them many more years of success.

RESOLUTION NO. 1456

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas John Hopkins of Springhill has been awarded the Commemorative Golden Jubilee Medal of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, part of the Canadian Honours System established in 1967; and

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

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

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

RESOLUTION NO. 1457

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

[Page 2898]

Whereas Keith Bowman, President of the Cumberland Snowmobile Club, who was nominated by the Cumberland Snowmobile Club in 2002 and won the Snowmobile Association of Nova Scotia Excellence Award for Outstanding Snowmobiler in 2002, has now been notified that he is the recipient of the National Snowmobile Excellence Award for Canadian Snowmobiler of the Year 2003, where a presentation will be made at the International Snowmobile Congress in June; and

Whereas Keith works tirelessly to promote the ever-increasing popular sport of snowmobiling by travelling 1,200 to 1,500 kilometres per year, not only locally but on excursions which take him to other parts of the Maritimes, and as well Keith continues to involve himself in snowmobile club activities, such as the Annual Rally Committee, New Groomer Fundraising Committee, and the building, signing and maintaining of trails, where he just recently was successful in negotiating an agreement with the Town of Springhill to permit snowmobile access into the town, which is believed to be the first such agreement in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Keith is held in high esteem by his colleagues as he works tirelessly towards protecting, enhancing and developing trails by meeting with local and provincial officials to address the concerns and issues of the snowmobilers of his area;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Keith Bowman on being the recipient of the National Snowmobile Excellence Award for Canadian Snowmobiler of the Year 2003, for his commitment not only to the Cumberland Snowmobile Club but as well to his time and efforts he offers to ensuring that many Nova Scotians continue to enjoy a safe and enjoyable sport of snowmobiling throughout the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 1458

By: Mr. David Hendsbee (Preston)

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

Whereas John Patrick Savage was a man of many roles as a son, a brother, a student president, a doctor, a husband, an officer, a father, a community activist, a Sunday school teacher, a school board member, a mayor, an MLA, a Premier and most beloved of all as a grandfather - regardless of his role, his guiding principle was to take on any challenge with dignity, honesty and grace; and

Whereas Dr. Savage was a champion for public health, literacy, the arts, education and many charitable endeavours and community-based initiatives as such the North Preston Medical Clinic & Daycare Centre and the N.S. Home for Coloured Children; and

[Page 2899]

Whereas Dr. Savage has been bestowed with many honours such as the YMCA Peace Medal, Rotary International Paul Harris Fellowship, the Red Cross International Humanitarian Award, Canada 125 Commemorative Medallion, the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal, honorary degrees from Saint Mary's University (Halifax) and Queen's University (Belfast), the Order of Nova Scotia, the Order of Canada and a street in the Burnside Industrial Park bearing his name as recognition for his many contributions to our society;

Therefore be it resolved that all Nova Scotians pay tribute to the life and memory of Dr. John Savage, a great Nova Scotian and Canadian who served our province and country with distinction and the community of North Preston and the constituency of Preston, thank him for his years of community service, human kindness and being a man of faith and character.