Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

HANSARD 03-35

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

TUESDAY, MAY 20, 2003

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Canterbury Bridge: Height - Increase,
Mr. D. Hendsbee 2901
Educ. - Bullying: Policies - Change, Hon. J. Muir 2902
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 1459, McKinnon, David: Death of - Tribute, Hon. J. Muir 2902
Vote - Affirmative 2903
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 1460, Insurance - System: Nova Scotians - Gov't. (N.S.) Heed,
Mr. J. Pye 2903
Res. 1461, NSRL - Sale: Info - Min. Table, Mr. Manning MacDonald 2904
Res. 1462, Lucas, Alma: Birthday (99th) - Congrats., Mr. B. Barnet 2904
Vote - Affirmative 2905
Res. 1463, McKinnon, David: Death of - Tribute,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 2905
Vote - Affirmative 2905
Res. 1464, MacLeod, Ryan/McCormack, Sheldon:
Nat'l. Debating Champs - Congrats., Mr. Manning MacDonald 2906
Vote - Affirmative 2906
Res. 1465, Langley, Sister Diane - Blandford Union Lodge:
Noble Grand - Selection Congrats., Mr. J. Chataway 2906
Vote - Affirmative 2907
Res. 1466, McLellan, Blair W.: E. Hants Mun. Vol. of Yr. - Congrats.,
Mr. J. MacDonell 2907
Vote - Affirmative 2908
Res. 1467, Comeau, Gaston: P.M. Teaching Award - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Gaudet 2908
Vote - Affirmative 2909
Res. 1468, Commun. Serv. - Fam. Caregivers (Pictou Co.):
Vol. Services - Applaud, Mr. J. DeWolfe 2909
Vote - Affirmative 2909
Res. 1469, Insurance - Driver-Owned System: Prem. - Intentions,
Mr. F. Corbett 2909
Res. 1470, D&R Dance/MacDonald Dance Acad.:
Millennium Dance Fest - Congrats., Mr. K. MacAskill 2910
Vote - Affirmative 2911
Res. 1471, Falk, Dan: Savage 1st Book Award - Congrats., Hon. T. Olive 2911
Vote - Affirmative 2912
Res. 1472, Safe Start Campaign: Organizers - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 2912
Res. 1473, Cosmetology Assoc., Exec. Dir. - NDP Tactics: Identification -
Commend, Mr. P. MacEwan 2913
Res. 1474, C.B. Literacy Network - Our Side of the Mountain:
Book Release - Congrats., Hon. C. Clarke 2913
Vote - Affirmative 2914
Res. 1475, East. Passage Fire (Victoria Day) - Assistance: Efforts -
Recognize, Mr. K. Deveaux 2914
Vote - Affirmative 2915
Res. 1476, Gov't. (N.S.): Bunker Mentality - Condemn, Mr. M. Samson 2915
Res. 1477, Can. Science Fair (2007) - Truro/Bible Hill: Bid Committee -
Congrats., Hon. J. Muir 2916
Vote - Affirmative 2916
Res. 1478, NSTU/Brian Forbes: UNICEF Award - Congrats.,
Mr. D. Wilson 2916
Vote - Affirmative 2917
Res. 1479, Horton HS - Reach for the Top: Nat'l. Comp. - Success Wish,
Hon. D. Morse 2917
Vote - Affirmative 2918
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 351, Insurance - Prem.: Facts - Clarify, Mr. D. Dexter 2918
No. 352, Insurance - System: Gov't. (N.S.) - Preference, Mr. M. Samson 2919
No. 353, Insurance - Benefits: Limit - Explain, Mr. D. Dexter 2920
No. 354, Educ. - Teachers: School Supplies - Purchases, Mr. D. Wilson 2922
No. 355, Educ. - Schools: Resources - Lack Recognize,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 2923
No. 356, Educ. - School: Funding - Lack Explain, Mr. W. Estabrooks 2924
No. 357, Sysco - Assets: Sale Funds - Usage, Mr. M. Samson 2925
No. 358, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Cent. Serv. Bldg.: Air Quality -
Action, Mr. W. Estabrooks 2927
No. 359, Health: Children - Support, Ms. Maureen MacDonald 2928
No. 360, Health - X-Ray Techs.: Recruitment - Details, Dr. J. Smith 2929
No. 361, Environ. & Lbr.: McNamara Case - Min. Advice,
Mr. G. Steele 2930
No. 362, Commun. Serv. - RRSS Strike Resolution: Action -
Lack Explain, Mr. W. Gaudet 2932
No. 363, Commun. Serv. - Richmond Manor: Elevator Installation -
Costs Assess, Ms. Maureen MacDonald 2933
No. 364, Environ. & Lbr. - RRFB Funds: Removal - Explain,
Mr. W. Gaudet 2934
No. 365, Environ. & Lbr. - Commercial Water Cos.: Rates - Explain,
Mr. H. Epstein 2935
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 52, Cosmetology Act 2937
Hon. A. MacIsaac 2937
Vote - Affirmative 2937
No. 17, Justice Administration Amendment (2003) Act 2938
No. 9, Municipal Law Amendment (2003) Act 2938
Mr. J. Pye 2938
Mr. W. Gaudet 2942
Mr. G. Steele 2943
Hon. P. Christie 2944
Vote - Affirmative 2945
PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 53, Massage Therapy Act 2945
No. 32, Farm Machinery Dealers and Vendors Act 2946
PRIVATE AND LOCAL BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 54, Funeral Service Association of Nova Scotia Act 2946
No. 55, Maritime Oddfellows' Home Incorporation Act 2947
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON BILLS AT 2:02 P.M. 2947
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 6:05 P.M. 2947
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Econ. Dev. - Sm. Bus.: Gov't. (N.S.) - Abandonment:
Mr. Manning MacDonald 2948
Mr. J. MacDonell 2950
Hon. C. Clarke 2952
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON BILLS AT 6:30 P.M. 2955
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 7:58 P.M. 2955
CWH REPORTS 2955
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Wed., May 21st at 2:00 p.m. 2956
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 1480, Broome, Wanda & Philip: Chester Rec. Mun. Vols. -
Congrats., Mr. J. Chataway 2957
Res. 1481, Guite, Darlene: Chester Rec. Mun. Vol. - Congrats.,
Mr. J. Chataway 2957
Res. 1482, Varner, Donna: Chester Rec. Mun. Vol. - Congrats.,
Mr. J. Chataway 2958
Res. 1483, Cahill, Linda: Chester Rec. Mun. Vol. - Congrats.,
Mr. J. Chataway 2958
Res. 1484, Gore, Erin: Chester Rec. Mun. Vol. - Congrats.,
Mr. J. Chataway 2959
Res. 1485, Walker, Rena: Chester Rec. Mun. Vol. - Congrats.,
Mr. J. Chataway 2959
Res. 1486, Martell, William: Chester Rec. Mun. Vol. - Congrats.,
Mr. J. Chataway 2960
Res. 1487, Broome, Philip: Chester Rec. Mun. Vol. - Congrats.,
Mr. J. Chataway 2961
Res. 1488, Insurance: Rate Reduction - Action, Mr. J. Holm 2961
Res. 1489, Eldridge, Stephanie - Aviso Magazine: Feature - Congrats.,
Mr. R. Hurlburt 2962
Res. 1490, Springhill Rotary Club: Anniv. (60th) - Congrats.,
The Speaker 2962
Res. 1491, Sports - Screaming Eagles/Nathan Veinot: Season -
Congrats., Mr. F. Chipman 2963
Res. 1492, Sanford, Dave - Ukrainian Eggs: Efforts - Applaud,
Mr. F. Chipman 2963
Res. 1493, Martin, Ashley - Miss Can. Int'l. Pageant: Best Luck - Wish,
The Speaker 2964
Res. 1494, McNutt, Billy: NSSAF Track Meet - Congrats.,
The Speaker 2964
Res. 1495, Purdy, Kyle: NSSAF Track Meet - Congrats., The Speaker 2965
Res. 1496, Reade, Toni: NSSAF Track Meet - Congrats., The Speaker 2965
Res. 1497, Reid, Barrett: NSSAF Track Meet - Congrats., The Speaker 2965
Res. 1498, Spence, Daniel: Wendy's Bursary - Congrats., The Speaker 2966
Res. 1499, Springhill & Parrsboro Record: Atl. Newspaper Assoc. Award -
Congrats., The Speaker 2966
Res. 1500, Turner, Tamara: NSSAF Track Meet - Congrats.,
The Speaker 2967
Res. 1501, Visser, Amanda: NSSAF Track Meet - Congrats.,
The Speaker 2967
Res. 1502, Wood, Meagan: NSSAF Track Meet - Congrats.,
The Speaker 2968
Res. 1503, Wood, Tyler: NSSAF Track Meet - Congrats., The Speaker 2968
Res. 1504, Black, Rob: NSSAF Track Meet - Congrats., The Speaker 2969
Res. 1505, Brookins, Jillian: NSSAF Track Meet - Congrats.,
The Speaker 2969
Res. 1506, Carter, Craig: NSSAF Track Meet - Congrats.,
The Speaker 2970
Res. 1507, Christie, Steve: NSSAF Track Meet - Congrats.,
The Speaker 2970
Res. 1508, Cotton, Brittany: NSSAF Track Meet - Congrats.,
The Speaker 2970
Res. 1509, Gogan, Aaron: NSSAF Track Meet - Congrats.,
The Speaker 2971

[Page 2901]

HALIFAX, TUESDAY, MAY 20, 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. Before we begin the daily routine, the subject for this evening's late debate was submitted by the honourable member for Clare:

Therefore be it resolved that the government has abandoned small business.

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

We will begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. DAVID HENDSBEE: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the constituents from the Preston and Eastern Shore area, I beg leave to table a petition for the Canterbury Bridge, 36 signatures for a higher height requested. I affixed my signature to it.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

2901

[Page 2902]

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition signed by 2,338 residents of the Truro area. The signatures include my own and it's a petition about bullying. The operative clause is that all levels of government be urged to make changes to existing policies, programs and laws to help put a stop to bullying.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

RESOLUTION NO. 1459

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

Whereas we were all saddened by the passing of Mr. David McKinnon, Chief of the Halifax Regional Police Service; and

Whereas David McKinnon joined the Halifax police in 1969 and since then has demonstrated exemplary leadership as inspector, superintendent, deputy chief and chief of police; and

Whereas David McKinnon will be remembered across Canada for his devotion for law enforcement and to his community;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join in expressing condolences to the McKinnon family.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 2903]

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

The motion is carried.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

RESOLUTION NO. 1460

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

Whereas Nova Scotians continue to tell us that auto insurance rates are unfair, unaffordable and government needs to act now to lower those rates; and

Whereas the Premier and the Minister of Environment and Labour, responsible for skyrocketing insurance rates, continue to tread water, but just barely, in this sea of discontent; and

Whereas the crux of what's wrong with the current private auto insurance system is summed up in these words of a Dartmouth man, "Everyone wants a deal, but most would settle for fair and equal treatment.";

Therefore be it resolved that this government listen to Nova Scotians and bring in an auto insurance system that delivers the fairest coverage at the lowest rate.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

[Page 2904]

RESOLUTION NO. 1461

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 Minister responsible for NSRL refuses to tell Nova Scotians the true nature behind the sale of the last remaining NSRL assets; and

Whereas the minister has not given Nova Scotians any concrete evidence that the $5.8 million was a fair price for these remaining assets; and

Whereas this is a clear indication that the bunker mentality has set in hard and fast across this province;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Finance come clean and table all information surrounding the sale of the remaining NSRL assets, so that Nova Scotians can see whether or not they really received a good deal.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Sackville-Beaver Bank.

RESOLUTION NO. 1462

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

Whereas on May 10th, Alma Lucas, long-time resident of Lucasville, celebrated her 99th birthday; and

Whereas Alma was joined by family and friends wishing her well on this momentous occasion at her home in Lucasville; and

Whereas Alma's birthday celebration involved five generations of her family;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Alma Lucas on the occasion of her 99th birthday, and wish her many more happy, healthy years ahead.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 2905]

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. 1463

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

Whereas this past weekend, the Halifax Regional Municipality suffered the loss of Police Chief David McKinnon, after a long battle with cancer; and

Whereas Chief McKinnon's career spanned 34 years, the last five as Halifax Regional Municipality's police chief; and

Whereas Chief McKinnon's stellar career earned him the Police Exemplary Service Medal, the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal and Officer of Order of Merit;

Therefore be it resolved that this House sends its deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of HRM Police Chief David McKinnon, whose loss has been felt deeply by all HRM residents.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

[Page 2906]

RESOLUTION NO. 1464

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

Whereas Ryan MacLeod from Sherwood Park Education Centre, and Sheldon McCormack from Whitney Pier Memorial claimed the team title in the junior high division at the national debating championships in Yorkton, Saskatchewan; and

Whereas the two young men teamed up to go 5-0 and knocked off two debaters from Ontario in the final, Saturday night; and

Whereas MacLeod and McCormack qualified for the nationals by finishing in the top six, individually, at the provincials last month in Sydney;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House congratulate Ryan and Sheldon for winning the team title in the junior high national debating championships.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

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

RESOLUTION NO. 1465

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 IOOF #7714 Blandford Union Lodge has recently selected new officers for the year; and

Whereas members of the Blandford Union Lodge were informed that Sister Diane Langley has become the New Noble Grand; and

[Page 2907]

Whereas the Blandford Union Lodge is an active group, celebrating Easter with a great party filled with fun activities, and they also held a successful auction where funds raised were donated to a family who had lost their home in a fire;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Sister Diane Langley in her new post as New Noble Grand, and best wishes to the Blandford Union Lodge for their thoughtful community events.

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.

[12:15 p.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 1466

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 give to the community that which is most precious, their free time; and

Whereas Mr. Blair W. McLellan has given up many of his weekends and evenings helping out with not only a multitude of organizations in the Walton area, but also many individuals who needed a walk or driveway shoveled free of snow; and

Whereas Mr. McLellan was honoured on April 30th in Upper Rawdon by the Municipality of East Hants for over 30 years of volunteering his time, talents and sweat for the improvement of people's lives in his area;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Blair W. McLellan of Walton on his recognition as an East Hants Volunteer of the Year and for his many years of unselfish dedication to his community.

[Page 2908]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader in the House of the Liberal Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 1467

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

Whereas on Thursday, May 16, 2003, Mr. Gaston Comeau received the Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence in Ottawa; and

Whereas Mr. Comeau was the only Nova Scotian and one of 16 teachers across Canada to receive this prestigious award; and

Whereas the Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence honours teachers in all disciplines who provide students with the tools to become good citizens and to develop and grow as individuals;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Mr. Gaston Comeau, a native of Meteghan Centre, upon receipt of this award and extend our appreciation to Mr. Comeau for the many contributions he has brought to the Grade 5 Middle French Immersion class at Bridgewater Elementary School.

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 2909]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1468

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

Whereas caregivers in Pictou County will be receiving some extra assistance thanks to part two of a Family Caregivers of Pictou County project; and

Whereas with help of an advisory committee, the organization is arranging for volunteers to help caregivers in their day-to-day duties; and

Whereas the volunteers are already having a positive impact showing that the money spent on the initiative has been well invested;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House applaud all the volunteers who offered their services to lend a hand to the Family Caregivers of Pictou County and thank all those involved in making this possible.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 1469

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

[Page 2910]

Whereas the Premier claimed yesterday that a taxpayer-funded auto insurance system- would have taken $200 million badly needed dollars since 1997 out of health care, education and transportation; and

Whereas the Premier's contention shows a clear lack of understanding that driver- owned auto insurance is self-funded and in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia, it has done this while delivering the fairest service at the lowest premiums in all of Canada; and

Whereas the Premier's assertion indicates that not only is he wrong about the operation of driver-owned auto insurance, but that he has a clear ideological bias in favour of a privately-run system that has no interest in delivering the fairest coverage at the lowest rates;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier should be sincere enough to tell Nova Scotians he has no intentions of introducing a driver-owned auto insurance system that can deliver the fairest coverage at the lowest rates.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Victoria.

RESOLUTION NO. 1470

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

Whereas D & R Dance Ltd./MacDonald Dance Academy captured top honours at the Millennium Dance Festival in Halifax May 7th to 11th; and

Whereas the dancers, under the direction of Denise Jardine and Amy Gillan returned home with 15 gold, 56 silver and 39 bronze medals; and

Whereas individual honours went to Laurel Bennett and Kristen Ann MacDonald who were awarded scholarships for their jazz and tap solos respectively;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate all those involved at the D&R Dance Ltd./MacDonald Dance Academy for capturing the top honours at the Millennium Dance Festival in Halifax.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 2911]

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. There is too much noise in the Chamber. It is difficult for myself and the Clerks to hear the speaker on the floor.

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 1471

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

Whereas the Atlantic Writing Awards were handed out at a ceremony at Dartmouth's Alderney Landing Theatre, with the John and Margaret Savage First Book Award - which celebrates their commitment to literacy and culture - being presented for the time; and

Whereas metro's Dan Falk received the award for his non-fiction work entitled, Universe on a T-shirt: The Quest for the Theory of Everything; and

Whereas his account of the obscure "theory of everything" attempts to unify quantum theory with general relativity and earned him this honour and the accompanying $1,500 award;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Dan Falk on the receipt of the inaugural John and Margaret Savage First Book Award, and wish Mr. Falk and all award winners continued success in their literary endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 2912]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 1472

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

Whereas the Minister of Transportation and Public Works stated in this House on April 9th past that, "I think every thinking person in the province recognizes that there's a problem with ATVs"; and

Whereas the ATV issue has been very much with us for the last four years of this government, but the minister just this session decided to hand it over to Voluntary Planning for an in-depth look at the issue, which will come back to this House in the fullness of time or after the next election; and

Whereas this weekend Natural Resources, HRM police and the RCMP launched Operation Safe Start to curb illegal ATV activity and at a one checkpoint alone turned away 37 four-wheel ATVs, two homemade 4-wheel ATVs and one 3-wheel ATV as well as seizing more than 12 cases of beer;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Natural Resources, HRM police and the RCMP on their successful Operation Safe Start campaign against illegal ATV use, a good start after four years of inactivity by this Hamm Government.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

[Page 2913]

RESOLUTION NO. 1473

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

Whereas the Executive Director of the Nova Scotia Cosmetology Association, Kimberly Carter, has admonished the NDP by "Urgent" letter dated May 15th, copy attached; and

Whereas the executive director identifies her concern as " . . . the actions of the NDP party in delaying every piece of legislation being introduced to the House . . ."; and

Whereas the executive director further states that as a consequence, encouragement is being given to the use of cosmetology sanitizers that cannot kill hepatitis, ringworm, scabies or lice;

Therefore be it resolved that the executive director of the Cosmetology Association be commended for identifying the true nature of NDP tactics and for pointing out very clearly the ultimate results of such an approach.

[Letter may be viewed at the Clerk's Office.]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Economic Development.

RESOLUTION NO. 1474

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

Whereas the Cape Breton Literacy Network has been in operation since 1989, offering free community-based classes to people who have been out of school for at least one year and who want to increase their reading, writing and math skills; and

Whereas in 2000, they began producing Our Side of the Mountain, a celebration of the Cape Breton Literacy Network student writings; and

Whereas this year marks the fourth edition of the book, and is a product of hard work from both students and staff who format and copy the book that goes to print;

[Page 2914]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Cape Breton Literacy Network on the release of their fourth edition of the book, Our Side of the Mountain, and wish them success in their 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 Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 1475

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

Whereas over the Victoria Day long weekend, the community of Eastern Passage was threatened by a forest fire that required the evacuation of 240 homes in the community; and

Whereas the Halifax Regional Fire Service, the HRM Emergency Measures Organization and the Department of Natural Resources did a fantastic job in containing the fire and keeping the displaced residents informed of the ongoing situation; and

Whereas the RCMP, the Department of Community Services, the Canadian Red Cross and the Salvation Army provided excellent support and assistance for those evacuated from their homes;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the efforts of the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Community Services, the HRM EMO, the Halifax Regional Fire Service, the RCMP, the Canadian Red Cross and the Salvation Army in providing assistance and support to the community of Eastern Passage during the Victoria Day weekend forest fire.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 2915]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 1476

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

Whereas a bunker mentality has set in across the Hamm Government; and

Whereas the order of the day across this government is to deny, obstruct and refuse legitimate requests for information; and

Whereas this is especially apparent in the Finance Department where the minister steadfastly refuses to reveal the true nature of pension losses even though almost every other jurisdiction and business in Canada has revealed theirs;

Therefore be it resolved that this government be condemned for its bunker mentality, which begs the question, what are they hiding?

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

[Page 2916]

RESOLUTION NO. 1477

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

Whereas the 2007 Canada-Wide Science Fair will be held at sites in Truro and Bible Hill; and

Whereas the successful bid was made by a committee, which included present and former teachers and administrators, a student, an official from the Department of Education, lay persons and a university professor; and

Whereas the successful proposal was a product of a year and a half of hard work and it was chosen over the bid from Waterloo, Ontario;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the committee, consisting of: Dave Cashin, Chris Boulter, Michael Price, Steve Karrel, Tim MacDonald, Allison McNeil, Karen McNeil, Muriel Palmer, Marilyn Webster, Jenna McNeil, Jeff Hoyle, John McNeil, Al Keilty, Andy Smith, Gerry Hale, Greg Nix and Bob Purcell, for submitting the winning bid for the 2007 Canada-Wide Science Fair, and wish them every success as they continue their preparation for this prestigious event.

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. 1478

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

[Page 2917]

Whereas the Nova Scotia Teachers Union has worked diligently to raise over $40,000 for Sabak-Afghanistan's Return of Learning, allowing the program to purchase School-in-a-Box kits for Afghan children to return to school; and

Whereas 91 schools from across Nova Scotia have contributed to this worthy cause, not only helping 7,000 students and teachers in Afghanistan to attend school but teaching our own students the importance of assisting those in need; and

Whereas in recognition of these efforts to rebuild the education system in Afghanistan, UNICEF has awarded the Nova Scotia Teachers Union with the UNICEF Canada Volunteer Service Award for 2003;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Legislature congratulate Brian Forbes and the Nova Scotia Teachers Union for their tremendous efforts.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 1479

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

Whereas the Horton High School team has once again won the honour of representing Nova Scotia at the national Reach for the Top competition in Toronto this weekend; and

Whereas team members Benjamin Mitchell, Jane Sponagle, Fraser Ash, Peter Crouse, Ben Forsyth and coach Lennie Comeau are continuing the Horton High tradition of excellence; and

Whereas this represents an amazing fourth time in seven years that the Horton High team has won the prestigious right to represent Nova Scotia at the nationals;

[Page 2918]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the students of Horton High for continuing the school's tradition of academic achievement, and wish the team success at the nationals.

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.

[12:30 p.m.]

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period will begin at 12: 30 p.m. and end at 1:30 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

INSURANCE - PREM.: FACTS - CLARIFY

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier, who has now taken responsibility for skyrocketing insurance rates. Yesterday, the Premier advised Nova Scotians that driver-owned non-profit insurance plans in Saskatchewan and Manitoba are "taxpayer funded". If the Premier is looking at this option, as he claims, he will know that not one cent of taxpayer funding is going into any of the driver-owned auto insurance plans. So my question is this, will the Premier tell Nova Scotians why, after two years of record-breaking hikes in auto insurance rates, he can't get his facts straight on such an important issue?

HON. JOHN HAMM (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, the member opposite would understand, because I think he has had an opportunity to look at what is a very vexing problem for Nova Scotians, that all provinces across the country are dealing with high insurance rates that are making it very, very problematic for low-income persons to run their vehicles. We are looking at all of the possible solutions. We have gone to the URB and we have their result. We have put out a discussion paper. We have, as well, appointed an

[Page 2919]

insurance advocate and as that information comes in, we will be able, by way of regulation, by way of the Insurance Act that is now before the House, to transition into what will be a long-term solution for Nova Scotians.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the question was about the Premier asserting things that are blatantly untrue. The Premier has nothing good to say about driver-owned plans, although they have the lowest and fairest rates in the country. Yet he wants Nova Scotians to swallow the Tory claim that they are seriously studying all the options. Since the Premier did not list any benefits for a driver-owned plan when he spoke directly to Nova Scotians, will the Premier explain why you're considering the option?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, what the government has indicated, it is prepared to look at all options.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the Premier said yesterday that Nova Scotians should not endure insurance rate hikes on the basis of their age and that people with a clean driving record should not be hit with major increases. Well, that was yesterday. Today, here we are back in the Legislature where, of course, the government can act. So my question is this, why has your government introduced legislation that does not give the government any power over discriminatory rates exactly like those that you, yourself, cited?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, it is somewhat surprising that the Leader of the New Democratic Party, who has legal training, doesn't understand the bill that is before the House which, by regulation, allows exactly what he's accusing us not to allow happen, will happen.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

INSURANCE - SYSTEM: GOV'T. (N.S.) - PREFERENCE

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, another week, another flip-flop from this Premier and this government. The Conservative Government has been musing lately that a government-run insurance system may be the answer for fixing the high insurance rates in this province. With the start of a new week, this government has once again changed its tune on what system they want for Nova Scotia, now citing the high costs of a public system. Nova Scotians, who were told that this government would provide strong leadership and a clear course are confused, given that one minute this government is for a government-run system but at the next, the government says it is not feasible. So my question to the Premier is, can the Premier tell Nova Scotians today just what type of insurance system he and his government want for Nova Scotians?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, that's a reasonable question, and we are going through an exercise and a plan that will allow us to come up with the very best plan that will work for Nova Scotians.

[Page 2920]

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, one day they have a plan and the next day they're working on a plan. Stay tuned. The Conservative Government admits that a government-run insurance system will be extremely expensive to set up, costing the province and taxpayers millions of dollars. This government also admits that under a government-run insurance system, millions of dollars would not go to hospitals, schools or roads in this province. Yet, as early as this week, the Premier continues to suggest that creating a government-run insurance system may be the answer. So my question again to the Premier is, how could this government possibly be entertaining or advocating a government-run system when under their argument it would mean less hospitals, schools and roads for Nova Scotians?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, one of the successes over the last four years of this government is that despite hard economic there have been more hospital services, there have been more school services and there has been more attention paid to roads. We'll work through this the way we've worked through things over the last four years - slowly and deliberately coming up finally with the best answer for all.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, I think many Nova Scotians would use different words than "slowly and deliberately" to describe the government they've received from the Tories here in this province. For several months this government has stated that it has a plan for high insurance rates. One minute they have a plan they are ready to table, the next minute the Premier says this is not a time to talk about a final solution for insurance. Now, once again, the Premier appears ready to enunciate any plan that he thinks might get him re-elected. Even now members of government are stating they plan to talk with the three Atlantic Premiers over the next several months to determine a possible solution to high insurance rates. Nova Scotians were told they would have a strong government - a clear course and strong leadership - which they have received nothing even close to. My question again is, with an expected provincial election just around the corner, will Nova Scotians know the full details of how the Tory Party plans to address the high cost of insurance before they go to the polls?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite seems to have identified a problem. What I don't hear coming from that member, or any member of that caucus, is any kind of a solution. When you are on this side of the House you deal with solutions and we will formulate a solution.

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

INSURANCE - BENEFITS: LIMIT - EXPLAIN

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question is again for the Premier who has now taken responsibility for skyrocketing insurance rates. Contrary to the Premier's commentary yesterday, driver-owned plans include both tort and no-fault systems, yet in criticizing them the Premier said it was a disadvantage for an auto insurance plan "to limit the right of injured drivers to make claims." Then he went on to say that his own government

[Page 2921]

is considering "tighter controls on the rights of drivers to make claims." So I would like to ask the Premier, can he tell drivers, hit by skyrocketing insurance rates, why his government's preferred solution is a limit on benefits, yet his own government calls it a disadvantage?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I refer that to the minister responsible.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, the honourable Leader of the Opposition keeps talking about driver-owned plans. I don't know of any driver-owned plans but I do know of government-run insurance companies, which is entirely different from talking about drivers. It's quite obvious that that honourable member over there doesn't understand that there's a tremendous insurance problem across this country that is not only just with automobiles but it's with property, it's with liability. There are all kinds of problems with the insurance industry, auto insurance is just one, and right now in Canada we don't have the perfect solution, whether it is a government-owned solution or a privately owned system.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, since the minister responded, I would like to ask the minister this question. He issued a discussion paper that asked nine questions about how to limit benefits and zero questions about driver-owned, non-profit insurance plans. He seemingly thinks they don't exist now. Nearly 30 per cent of all Canadian drivers are all already enjoying lower rates from driver-owned, non-profit plans, yet this government is spending all its time trying to move Nova Scotians away from the lowest and fairest auto insurance rates in the country. So since the minister of skyrocketing rates claims that he just needs the approval of his legislation to finally help people, why hasn't he already released his so-called rate control regulations?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, to the Leader of the Opposition, the promoter of socialist enterprises, I would respond that within our document we do describe government-owned insurance systems and if indeed the public want to bring that forth as a recommendation to the government, they're welcome to do so. We've said that everything is open for the people to bring forward to this government to make a solution, Nova Scotian solution, to our insurance problems.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, every day that we come in here, the rhetoric from the minister responsible for skyrocketing insurance rates gets higher and higher. You see, his government seems to think that it is clever to try to take both sides of an issue and to do it at the same time, to try to give yourself breathing room. Nova Scotia drivers are getting hit by skyrocketing rate increases every day - increases that are not even touched by that minister's legislation, so-called freeze. They don't think that the government's talk is very clever. So I want to ask the minister with respect to his plan, will the minister explain whether a limit on benefits is a disadvantage or an advantage, according to this famous Tory plan?

[Page 2922]

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, in response to the Leader of the Official Opposition, the promoter of socialistic solutions to all problems, I would like to respond that we do have a plan. Part of that plan is passing through this House the amendment to the Insurance Act, which will provide this government with regulatory authority to take action.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

EDUC. - TEACHERS: SCHOOL SUPPLIES - PURCHASES

MR. DAVID WILSON: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. This government says that education is its number one priority. The government's strategy is simply not working and the proof is that if they had a properly implemented strategy then teachers would not have to be digging into their own pockets to pay for supplies. My question for the minister is, why are teachers in this province spending their own money on supplies when your government has clearly said that education is your number one priority?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for the question. Every year we have added more money to the Education budget in this province and we will continue to add additional funds so that the needs of our students will be met on a continuing basis.

MR. WILSON: Mr. Speaker, the government is claiming to have a plan to address the needs of the educational system. We all know that it's not the case. They claim and they say that they're doing a great job, but the government has no qualms whatsoever about letting teachers pay for educational resources out of their own pocket. My next question to the minister is, again, why is your government allowing teachers to pay for educational supplies when it is clearly the responsibility of your government to do that?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member would know that throughout the course of my career in teaching it was not uncommon for me to come to school with supplies that I had purchased on my own. That is something that I did. The extent to which this is happening, I'd be very interested to see the resolutions that are forthcoming from the NSTU with respect to this matter.

MR. WILSON: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Education says it's okay. Our teachers should be paying out of their own pockets for resources for our children. He did it, why shouldn't every teacher be doing it? What a ridiculous comment in this day and age. Teachers help children who live in poverty, they have severe learning disabilities, who suffer from depression - this government is not doing enough for teachers in this province and for our children. So my final question for the minister is, when is your government going to adequately fund our educational system so it's one which will help all of those who are involved properly educate our children and that teachers will not have to use their own money to take care of our children?

[Page 2923]

[12:45 p.m.]

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I can tell the member opposite that we are committing funds to resources for our classrooms. We have added hundreds of thousands of new books - 700,000 to be exact - we are buying computers, we are buying math calculators for our classes, we're buying additional resources, and providing science resources for our schools. The honourable member opposite, if he wants to look back at his record, will find that they left us with P3 and a mess when it comes to the education system in this province.

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

EDUC. - SCHOOLS: RESOURCES - LACK RECOGNIZE

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Education. The annual Council of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union met over this past weekend and they issued a press release calling for more resources for the public education system. Many important issues were raised in that release, but it's often the little things that paint the picture the clearest. Parent-Teacher Associations must now raise funds to help meet some of the most basic needs so our schools can just function on a daily basis. My question is to the minister. Mr. Minister, when will you recognize that our schools are struggling without the resources needed to provide quality education for our students?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, we are in fact adding additional funds every year and we have done so ever since we became the government of this province. As I just indicated in answer to a previous question, we have supplied 700,000 new books to our classrooms, we have supplied science materials, which the honourable member objected to, we provide computers and calculators in our schools, and we will continue to add resources to our schools on a year-over-year basis.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, we have all heard of the many situations where a lack of funding has forced parents to run bake sales and other fundraising initiatives. Even the most basic safety measures may not be funded now. One example I know of is an elementary school with its playground adjacent to a busy highway, and the school board has no funds for a fence to prevent children from darting out into traffic. Faced with this very real safety concern, parents have had to step in and raise the funds to build a fence adjacent to the school. Mr. Minister, does your vision of our public school system include bake sales and flea markets as a means of funding needed safety infrastructure such as school fences?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, the fact of the matter is that, since we formed government in this province, we have increased funding for our schools in the amount of $500 per student.

[Page 2924]

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I want to talk about a subject near and dear to my heart - physically active lifestyles for young people in our classrooms. PTAs have to buy basic supplies, gymnasiums don't have the equipment, phys.ed. teachers are actually buying sports gear. Even basic office supplies such as plain white paper are being bought with PTA funds. Mr. Minister, what is your plan for eliminating the education resources deficit so teachers and students have the resources required to achieve their potential in each and every classroom, each and every day?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, we will continue to commit additional funds to education on a year-over-year basis, as we have in the past, and we will continue to make education a priority by adding additional dollars every year in every budget that we bring forward.

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

EDUC. - SCHOOL: FUNDING - LACK EXPLAIN

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, my questions again are to the Minister of Education. Last week the Chignecto Central Regional Board announced there would be 45 fewer teachers in their classrooms. High schools and smaller schools are going to be hit the hardest. Reserve funds saved the school board from making even more damaging cuts but reserves won't protect students from possible cuts this coming school year. The school board chairman has said that until this government puts more money into education we are headed in the wrong direction. Mr. Minister, why won't your government give our schools the funding they need?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, as I previously indicated, we have increased funding to our schools in the amount of $500 per student since we formed government. The Chignecto Central board has received funding in the same manner that other boards have received it. There are some fundamental issues that need to be addressed with respect to that board. We are continuing to add money to education and will do so in the future.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, our schools are in trouble because of underfunding. Last week, the minister was given a failing grade for his handling of the special education implementation report, a failing grade given to that minister and this government by parents. This followed news that the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board is being forced to cut 52 teaching positions. This board has had to increase its planned student-teacher ratio to keep within its balanced budget, meanwhile the Strait district board is losing 15 staff position. Mr. Minister, we have already learned that as many as 132 teaching positions could be lost in the upcoming school year. My question to the minister is, how does your government plan to improve our education system with fewer teachers?

[Page 2925]

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member leaves out an important fact in the equation to which he refers. The fact of the matter is our enrolment is declining throughout this province. Despite that declining enrolment, we are adding new money, additional money to meet the priorities of this government, the priorities that are based on the basics of literature and computation. We will continue to fund those priorities.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, our education system is in trouble, not just in the urban HRM but in rural Nova Scotia in particular. This government talks about improving the education system and then forces school boards to cut teaching positions. Classrooms in Cape Breton, in the Strait area, in the Chignecto region are losing teachers. Mr. Minister, your government's funding formula is short-sighted and, in the end, it just hurts students. What will it take for your government to give our students the resources they need as we prepare for another school year in this province?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, when you increase funding by $500 per student, that is a considerable amount of money. We have added additional funds to meet our priorities. Our priorities are literacy, reading, correct grammar and computation with respect to the basics. We are funding those, and we will continue to fund them. Smaller classes, that is the money we're providing. He references the number of teachers, most of those are as a result of retirement. We are meeting our commitments with respect to the students of this province. We have set standards, we know our direction, and we're moving in that direction.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

SYSCO - ASSETS: SALE FUNDS - USAGE

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, when Nova Scotia Resources Limited was sold, it was booked as a one-time item and it did not affect the deficit in the year it was sold. Last year, the government made $14 million from the one-time sale of scrap from Sysco, which, ironically, is about the same amount of money that the government claimed as a surplus for the last year. This year, the one-time sale of Sysco items will net the government just over $4 million. My question to the Minister of Finance is, could the minister inform the House whether that $4 million from the sale of Sysco assets will be placed on the operating line or will it go directly to the debt of the province?

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, with regard to Sysco, I am not aware that there are revenues, booked on our financial statements, of $4 million. If the member opposite has some information, I would be more than willing to look it. My information is that there are no revenues in our statements this year which derive from Sydney Steel.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, that begs a question. Last year you had $14 million, you put it directly on the budget, showed it as revenue, which, at the end of the year, ironically, the $14 million was near the surplus, yet this year you have revenue coming in,

[Page 2926]

yet, ironically, it appears to be going directly on the debt. One year it goes to revenue, the next year it goes to the debt of the province. It begs the question, what sort of accounting principles are being used here? When you ask the Minister of Finance a question, it's unfortunate that he would be asking me for the information on his own budget. That is the question being asked, as to what accounting rules are being used here. One year the sale of assets is revenue, the next year it's going on the debt. So I ask the minister again, why do you appear to be using different rules when it comes to the sale of assets of Sysco? One year it's revenue, the next year it goes directly to the debt.

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, in my opening answer to the member opposite, I indicated that to the best of my knowledge there were no revenues in our statements this year that are derived from Sydney Steel. The member opposite was the one who stated that there was. Obviously, he has been misinformed and so the situation is that I at least give him the courtesy of correcting his statement and he has not done so, so I will stand up and correct it.

In regard to last year, Mr. Speaker, there was a sale of scrap when Sydney Steel was closed, there was a liability set up for the renovation of it. There was scrap on the grounds at that time which had no value and, subsequent to that event, the price of scrap did go up. The fact of the matter is there were sales of scrap that was done to the extent of $14 million, and as those revenues were shown in the last fiscal year, that is the situation. That is not anticipated to be the circumstance this year.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, it simply begs a question, the sale of the assets of Sysco this year will bring in just over $4 million, where has that money gone or where is it being shown on the books? Is it on the operating line or is it on the debt? It's a very simple question. I am not the one who said that it was on the operating line. I asked the minister that and he indicates that he doesn't appear to know where that is actually being indicated. Nova Scotians are asking more and more questions about the accuracy of this budget and whether this budget will stand up to scrutiny, especially the fact the minister will not show the pension losses that have taken place in the Public Service or teachers' pensions. Therefore, I ask the Premier as a final supplementary, will the Premier today stand in his place and give his personal commitment that the budget tabled this Spring by your government will, in fact, be balanced at the end of the fiscal year as the Minister of Finance indicated?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I can confidently say that the balanced budget that we introduced a year ago was actually delivered after some tough management decisions throughout the intervening 12 months and we will work in the same method in delivering the balanced budget that was tabled two weeks ago. I look forward to the opportunity, if the electorate are willing, to be able to come to the people of Nova Scotia a year from now saying we did it again.

[Page 2927]

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

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS. - CENT. SERV. BLDG.:

AIR QUALITY - ACTION

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. This minister is responsible for the management of public buildings. As the property owner and manager, the department has some responsibilities under the Occupational Health and Safety Act to inform tenants of hazards in the workplace. At the Central Services Building at 6176 Young Street in Halifax, some potentially serious air quality concerns have emerged. Testing has confirmed harmful substances such as the mould Aspergillus fumigatus - phonetically spelled out here for me incidentally. Will the minister advise this House as to what steps are being taken to ensure the health and safety of employees at the Central Services Building on Young Street?

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Thank you very much for the question raised by the honourable minister - member rather. (Interruptions) I think that that may be a long way off. In any event, the issue he raised is one about the safety of staff at that building. I can assure you the department is obviously aware of this situation. Steps are being taken to test air quality and steps will always be taken to make sure the health of employees is protected.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, the Occupational Health and Safety Act protects workers' safety by providing employees with some basic rights. These include the right to know and the right to participate. The minister's department is the property owner and manager and yet it violated its statutory obligations by failing to inform either the employers or their employees that there were positive tests for harmful substances. You made it impossible for employees to exercise their right to participate in the process, Mr. Minister. My question for you is, through the Speaker, why did your department, violate the rights of these workers?

[1:00 p.m.]

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, first of all, just to set the record straight, it is my understanding that with respect to that site, the department is purely the property owner with respect to that property and that those particular employees are employees of other departments. To my knowledge, there has been no violation of anyone's rights and there have been no violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, it took a complaint to the Department of Environment and Labour to get your department to fulfill its responsibilities and now your department is facing a number of occupational health and safety recommendations and orders which make it clear your department just plain dropped the ball on this important safety issue.

[Page 2928]

Mr. Speaker, why did your department not even involve its own in-house expert until very late in the process and, more importantly, how can we be assured, how can those workers be assured that this failure will not be repeated?

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for his question. I can assure the honourable member that we take our responsibility at Public Works very seriously to ensure that we have the very safest buildings. Frankly, I think the honourable member is stretching things a bit.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

HEALTH: CHILDREN - SUPPORT

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is for the Minister of Health. Last week the minister said she recognized that mental health services for children and youth is an area of great concern, yet her government is continuing with its plan to leave children, especially those in rural Nova Scotia, without needed services. In a memo to Treasury and Policy Board more than a year ago, the former Minister of Health pointed out that waiting lists for children are often up to a year long. Now, this Minister of Health is telling us that half measures will have to do. I want to ask the minister, what will it take for your government to give the children of this province the support they need?

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, the initiatives that we announced this year are going to go a long way towards helping children with mental health needs and the Health Department has been trying for a while to get this approved. We got this money approved. It will, indeed, help and it is going in the right direction.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the minister full knows that these measures go nowhere close to what's required. The program announced by the government is specifically a community program that only serves children in Cape Breton and HRM. Everyone in that government's Cabinet has seen the memo submitted by the former Minister of Health and they know that children and youth have had to be remanded to correctional facilities, held in police lock-ups, housed in hotels with security guards or given over by their parents to the child welfare system because they could not get the mental health services that they required. So my question to the minister is, why won't your government do the right thing and provide Nova Scotian children with the mental health services they need?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, the teams being set up in HRM and CBRM will be available to directly help 70 per cent of the children needing those services in Nova Scotia. The lessons learned from these project teams will be able to be applied to the other 30 per cent of the children who need our help. The most severe cases will also be eligible for the 12-bed unit that is going to be built here in metro, and that is available to all children of the province who need it.

[Page 2929]

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, this government sends about 30 children and youth out of the province every year for help. Yet, they are only introducing a 12-bed facility. That's not really going to meet the demand. That's just for the people who need those kinds of in-house programs. Private mental health practitioners are being contracted at great expense because the department says that they can't afford the staff they need. I want to ask the minister, how much longer do the children of this province have to wait for your government to make their treatment, their health care needs a priority?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, there are a great many medical needs in Nova Scotia, as the member opposite knows. Even if we just stayed with the needs of children, there are many areas where more money could be used. The idea is not to achieve perfection tomorrow, the idea is to move in the right direction and help more people and more children in a step-wise fashion, year after year.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

HEALTH - X-RAY TECHS.: RECRUITMENT - DETAILS

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health. Much has been reported over the last several days, on the status of recruitment and retention of certain allied health professionals, in particular, radiological technologists. While the Minister of Health glossed over the issue last week by stating what training is available for the medical lab technologists, she was mixed up. In doing that, she said nothing about what she is doing, pending the shortage of x-ray technologists, despite the fact that these individuals are being trained right here in Halifax. My question, simply, to the minister is, why has this minister and her government done absolutely nothing about recruiting and retaining x-ray technologists, despite the fact that 14 per cent are due to retire in Nova Scotia next year?

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, there are many technologists at work here in Nova Scotia, in at least four areas. Again, this is an issue that we know to be real, it's medical lab technologists, radiation therapists, x-ray technologists. We are working at this, and the enrolment at the Dalhousie program, actually, for next year, is going to be at its maximum.

DR. SMITH: Be that as it may, Mr. Speaker, today we learned that the x-ray technology student who graduates on Thursday, has been offered incentives from other provinces and the U.S., and Nova Scotia - for that person, at least, is stating publicly that Nova Scotia offers nothing. The same student will work two days a week in Bridgewater, the rest of the week in Halifax. Other jurisdictions offer stable, full-time employment. If we lose these graduates or fail to recruit new ones, then there will be a lack of services offered that our specialists require. In other words, if you're wondering why we have increased wait times in this province, this is a prime example. My question to the minister is, why did the minister

[Page 2930]

not acknowledge the critical issue of recruiting and retaining x-ray technologists in Your Health Matters, that public relations document from Health, Your Health Matters?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, all the medical personnel in our system are needed here in Nova Scotia. We do our best to try to retain those. We educate. We can't always do that. We are not as rich as Ontario or B.C., but the fact of the matter is, this particular person will be staying in Nova Scotia, and I am sure we are lucky to have him. There will be more being educating in that program at Dal, and hopefully most of them will stay as well.

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, we may not be a rich province, but it doesn't cost much to speak to these students. That student has said that this government, this minister and her department have not spoken or offered any incentive, or even encouragement to stay here. Today we hear that the student who has been getting job offers and other incentives to go to work in other provinces, however, has indicated that he was never sought after by his own province, despite the fact that we have a severe shortage that's going to increase. The president of the association of medical technologists admits that there is a difficulty in attracting technologists here. My question to the minister is, why hasn't this minister made any attempt to contact graduates of x-ray technology, given the shortage we are experiencing and will increasingly experience in the short time ahead? Why are the people graduating saying there has been no contact from this minister and her government?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, the government has produced a number of incentive packages for a number of medical personnel. Yes, perhaps we should take a closer look at this group. What the member opposite suggests is a good idea. But we have taken action in a number of other areas, including the lab technologists, the radiation therapists and we are looking at our groups of health personnel one at a time to try to find ways to keep them here in Nova Scotia even though we are not a rich province.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax-Fairview.

ENVIRON. & LBR.: MCNAMARA CASE - MIN. ADVICE

MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Environment and Labour. One year ago this month, Darren McNamara was killed on a job site in Halifax. Recently I have been assisting his mother, Margaret, to find some answers about his death. Mrs. McNamara's story is told in today's Chronicle-Herald. One of the things that amazed me is how little support there is for survivors of anyone killed in a workplace accident that is not covered by workers' compensation. For example, Mrs. McNamara has a large unpaid bill for Darren's funeral expenses and she does not have the means to pay for it. My question to the minister, my first question, is very simple, where does the minister suggest Mrs. McNamara can go to pay for her son's funeral?

[Page 2931]

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I don't have the circumstances or the knowledge to provide an answer to that question. If the honourable member will provide me details of what Canada Pension entitlement he had or what pension benefits he had, who his employer was, et cetera, I'll be pleased to give him an answer.

MR. STEELE: Mr. Speaker, the problem in this case was that Darren McNamara ran his own roofing company and as a self-employed owner of the business, he was not required to take out workers' compensation coverage and so he didn't. The Workers' Compensation Board, which is the most obvious place to go in a workplace fatality, has rejected Mrs. McNamara's claim. The problem is that self-employed owners of small companies aren't required to take out coverage - they may, but they're not required to do so. The Dorsey report recommends a different model of coverage so that people like Darren McNamara would be covered. My question to the minister is, does the government intend to amend the Workers' Compensation Act to provide for broader coverage along the lines recommended by the Dorsey report?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, this is a very long bow that the honourable member for Halifax-Fairview is casting. Workers who are self-employed are entitled, if they wish, to take out workers' compensation. Insofar as the Dorsey report, which is another tangent to the question, we'll be coming forward with recommendations and legislation in the Fall of this year with regard to implementation of certain recommendations of the Dorsey report.

MR. STEELE: Mr. Speaker, I'd like to invite the minister to come and sit with Mrs. McNamara and tell her that she's off on a tangent somewhere. Another possible way to avoid future sad cases like the McNamara's is to require general contractors to ensure sub-contractors have WCB coverage before they work on the job site. This would avoid the current race to the bottom where one- and two-person companies advertise their lack of workers' compensation as a competitive advantage. So my question to the minister is, does the government intend to amend the Workers' Compensation Act to require that sub-contractors carry workers' compensation insurance?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member is a lawyer, he's an MLA in this House and I would think that he would probably be in a pretty good position to provide the same information as I can to the lady in question. My advice to him is that he will have to wait and see with regard to the Dorsey report, which is recommending that coverage be extended to all businesses in Nova Scotia, regardless of what type of business they're involved in.

[Page 2932]

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

COMMUN. SERV. - RRSS STRIKE RESOLUTION:

ACTION - LACK EXPLAIN

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community Services. We are into day 40 of the RRSS strike and still the minister refuses to acknowledge that he has a role to play. He has a role in ensuring that clients are reunited with the workers that they have grown to love and he has a role to play as the sole funder of RRSS. For 40 days now this minister and this government have shown a complete and utter disrespect for RRSS workers and for their clients that they serve. My first question to the Minister of Community Services is, why has the minister continually shown such complete disregard to RRSS workers by failing to take any action to try to resolve the strike?

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the honourable member giving me the chance to point out that we are respecting the collective bargaining process. That in itself is a sign of respect to the parties that are involved in it. It is RRSS and the union that are at the table and as a government and as a department, we are doing all that we can to make sure that the care coordinators are in there making sure that the residents get the appropriate care and stay in contact with the families.

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, this government and this minister believe they are being fair in what they are offering. They believe they are right and are willing to allow clients to be in the middle of this cruel game. My question to the minster is, if this government believes they are so right in their position, why are they refusing to take the issue to binding arbitration?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite must have anticipated my first response because, again, we have been very diligent through the department with the care coordinators to do everything they possibly can to care for the residents and stay in contact with the families. We have put a substantial amount of money into funding this sector and we feel the agreement that was reached several years ago, and now implemented and financed by this government, is reasonable for the care that is provided so well by the counsellors - not only by RRSS but in all 378 facilities.

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, like so many other issues, this government has failed to show leadership on this strike and despite the fact that they have had several options available, they have failed to act.

My final supplementary is to the Minster of Environment and Labour. Last week the minister was sent a request from the NSGEU to appoint an industrial inquiry commissioner to resolve this dispute. My question to the minister is, will the minister respond favourably

[Page 2933]

to this request or will the minister ignore it just like this government has ignored all of the other options available to them in order to resolve the RRSS strike?

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased that we have a conciliator on the task at the present time. He is probably the best conciliator that we have in the province and I'm sure that he will work to bring both parties back to the table and resolve this through the normal negotiation process.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

COMMUN. SERV. - RICHMOND MANOR:

ELEVATOR INSTALLATION - COSTS ASSESS

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Community Services. Richmond Manor is a small, 30-unit, three-storey housing complex for seniors and persons with disabilities in Halifax's North End. Many residents of Richmond Manor find it very difficult to climb multiple sets of stairs with groceries or to get to the laundry room or even to get to events in the common room. I want to ask the minister, will you direct your staff to do an assessment of what it would cost to install a lift or an elevator at Richmond Manor?

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member opposite bringing forth the question. As a policy, the department tries to put seniors who have mobility problems, or any people with disabilities, in either ground floor apartments or ones that have elevators or lifts. That's not always possible and sometimes just with the passage of time problems develop which make it more problematic, but in terms of looking at any particular facility, that is done on an ongoing basis and there's no problem having the authority take a look at it to see if it's within the realm of possibility.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Thank you and I want to thank the minister. Mr. Speaker, at least one resident of Richmond Manor, who will be 99 in December, is having a very difficult time negotiating the stairs in this building and Richmond Manor isn't the only three-storey seniors' home that has this particular problem. I know that Acadia Lodge North and South is in the same boat in terms of people in that housing complex with heart conditions, strokes, walkers, various forms of disabilities. So I want to ask the minister, since the Department of Housing has been downgraded as a department into just a section of Community Services, could he please tell the Legislature what the long-term assessment needs of seniors in these housing complexes is going to be in his department, how are they going to assess these needs?

[Page 2934]

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, it is part of the ongoing process of running the Housing Services section of Community Services, in conjunction with the regional housing authorities, to continuously assess what the wants and needs are out in the community and doing our best to meet them within the means that are available to us.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I've been here for five years and I and members of this caucus have been asking questions about the three-storey seniors' complexes for some time now and we're not seeming to get through to this government. They say they want to keep people in their own homes. Those units are their own homes. So I want to ask the minister if he's prepared to take some action to ensure that the mobility of people in these three-storey manors is addressed by the housing authority for whom he is responsible?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, as I've mentioned in my opening response, this is something that is taken under consideration with the housing authority. They do try to place seniors, or people with disabilities, with mobility problems, in ground floor apartments or ones with elevators, or lifts, or other measures, to assist them. Again, with the passage of time, sometimes a person's condition deteriorates and requires a different level of service.

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

ENVIRON. & LBR. - RRFB FUNDS: REMOVAL - EXPLAIN

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Environment and Labour. We have recently heard and seen concerns of the environmental recyclers in this province. In April 2000 the Minister of Environment and Labour acknowledged that $500,000 was taken from the RRFB and put in its general budgetary numbers. As well, in April 2002, the Minister of Environment and Labour said the government was expecting $1 million from the RRFB. My first question to the minister is, since your government has assumed power, why have you seen fit to remove funds from the RRFB when it was designed to be used to support recycling in this province?

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I believe that the recycling bill that came into this House, when that member was in government, foresaw part of the revenue from the returnable materials going not only to the Enviro-Depots, but also to education and to assist the expansion of the recyclable and recoverable campaign in this province.

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I believe another reason why the recycling operators are so upset is because this minister has refused to get involved. No wonder the minister won't get involved. His government is collecting a substantial amount of revenue from the RRFB. This program started under the previous Liberal Government and has been extremely successful. I think it's safe to say that this program, we're probably well-known as world

[Page 2935]

leaders in this industry. My first supplementary to the minister is, how long is the minister going to stay uninvolved before he realizes the severity of the issue at hand?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, that was rather a convoluted question, but I presume the problem that he's talking about has to do with the Enviro-Depots. I would remind the honourable member that it was his government that first established the rates for returns. I could also advise the honourable member that on the 26th of this month - I believe it is - the Resource Recovery Fund Board is meeting to examine the rates that are paid to Enviro-Depots.

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, the recycling operators receive the lowest handling fee in the country. Our recycling operators are frustrated with this government and with the minister's inaction. My final question to the minister is, will this minister commit to this House to get involved to bring an end to this important issue, before we lose our internationally recognized recycling industry?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, when a government establishes a function of government at arm's-length, I presume they do it for a good reason, in fact, I should ask the honourable member why he did that. However, they established the system, and I am abiding by the system that was set up.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

ENVIRON. & LBR. - COMMERCIAL WATER COS.:

RATES - EXPLAIN

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, this question also goes to the Minister of Environment and Labour.

It's no secret that clean drinking water will only increase in value as populations grow and water shortages throughout the world continue, yet this government continues to offer our water up at bargain-room prices. For 1 million litres, the province charges companies like Sparkling Springs and Big 8 Beverages just $110. These companies in return make a hefty profit by charging $1 for 750 millilitres - that's quite a severe markup. My question to the minister is this, why is your government so intent on giving our very valuable water away at these low prices?

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, we do not give the water away. I would be rather surprised if the honourable member for Halifax Chebucto didn't understand what he actually said. He said that the water companies, who are bottling this water, are receiving $1 a bottle - that's the retail price, my friend.

[Page 2936]

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, last year Sparkling Springs withdrew 27 million litres, they have been withdrawing water since 1998. In 2001, Big 8 Beverages withdrew 14 million litres. Do the arithmetic - 41 million litres of Nova Scotia's best drinking water, it's a steal at any price. The issue is how much revenue does the Province of Nova Scotia get for it. Mr. Minister, how long is it going to take for your government to realize that our water is one of the most valuable resources we have?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I believe that when the honourable member or his staff contacted my department to get that information that he is giving to the House today, he was told at that time that the matter of the water rates are under review.

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, this issue has apparently been under review for a couple of years, because we've been asking these questions for a couple of years. Clean drinking water is only going to increase in value as the years progress. I want the minister to understand that and to take action. Water shortage has been identified as an issue that threatens the global community. I would like to know, Mr. Minister, just how much longer are you going to continue to allow our water resources to be exploited this way and not give Nova Scotians the return that we deserve for that water?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I presume that the pat answer from the New Democratic Party is that we should establish a government water system, just as they would probably want us to get back into the steel business, they probably want us to get back into Nova Scotia Resources Limited, they probably want us to take over Emera, the former Nova Scotia Power, and they probably want us to take over Maritime Tel&Tel . . .

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

[1:30 p.m.]

The honourable Minister of Education on an introduction.

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, in the gallery, we have with us three young ladies accompanied by their dad. Their dad is Jeff McLatchy and Jeff would be a friend of many members of the House. He is accompanied today by his daughters, Abbie, Haley and Anna, aged 7, 8 and 5. They are very good readers, and they're also very inquisitive. They have recently been exposed to some symbols of our Legislature and that curiosity has drawn them here today. Would the members of the House please join us in welcoming these young ladies and their dad. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We certainly welcome our very special young guests to the gallery today.

[Page 2937]

The honourable Leader in the House of the Liberal Party on an introduction.

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, through you and to all members of the House, I would like to introduce some special guests sitting in the west gallery. Our newly-nominated Liberal candidate for Digby-Annapolis, Mr. Junior Theriault, accompanied by his wife, Mrs. Diane Theriault. I would ask them to rise and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Again, we certainly welcome our guests to the gallery today.

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

Bill No. 52 - Cosmetology Act.

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the honourable Minister of Education it will be to close the debate on Bill No. 52.

The honourable Minister of Education.

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, first of all, I want to thank honourable members for their comments and for the apparent support to move this bill forward to the Law Amendments Committee. I know that a number of questions have been raised, and when the bill is addressed at the Law Amendments Committee there will be an opportunity, of course, for those questions to be addressed. I want to thank members of the House for their consideration of this piece of legislation at second reading.

[Mr. Speaker, I move this bill for second reading.]

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 2938]

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 17.

Bill No. 17 - Justice Administration Amendment (2003) Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Minister of Justice, I move second reading of Bill No. 17. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 17. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 9.

Bill No. 9 - Municipal Law Amendment (2003) Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, I do know that my colleague, the Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations Critic, has spoken to the minister and has spoken to this House with respect to some concerns around Bill No. 9. There are a number of amendments to the bill that express some concern. I won't go into a long debate about them because it will go on to the Law Amendments Committee and we will have an opportunity to speak about them when we came back.

Just some salient points, Mr. Speaker. The unsightly premises, with respect to the 30-day legislation that has been requested by the municipalities, has some subjective standards, and I know the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations is very much aware of that. As a former member of municipal government and a former mayor for the Town of Bedford, he certainly is very much aware of the unsightly premises bylaw which now exists within the municipalities and the concerns that they have, particularly around the 30-day notification and the time to shorten up that notification.

[Page 2939]

Mr. Speaker, there's also some concern with, in my particular view, enumerators in municipal elections where the federal and provincial electors' lists are going to be used. There may be a time lapse with respect to year and maybe there had been a provincial election within a two-year period and those enumerator lists may not be up-to-date and up to specs. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I would ask members to take their conversations outside, please. The honourable member for Dartmouth North has the floor.

MR. PYE: Mr. Speaker, this poses a concern simply because there are a number of parts within the municipalities, as the minister is very much aware, where there are multi-unit residential developments and because of the transient population, it's often difficult to make sure that those individuals are on the enumerators' lists. If, in fact, a federal or provincial election had occurred within that period of time of two years or more, then it's extremely difficult to make sure that those individuals are on the list. I would go so far as to ask the minister to have a look at that particular section and to make some suggestions around speaking with the municipalities on what might be appropriate. It might be a year, it might be two years, but I'm sure the minister will.

Another issue is around non-conforming uses. The minister is again aware of non-conforming uses. Those are uses that are normally grandfathered into a zoning application and they're there simply because they were there before the application of zoning had taken place. Once the zoning moves out, or once the business no longer is in effect or doing business within the community, then it ceases to be a non-conforming use and ought to revert back. This piece of legislation allows the extension of that use and I think that that would be an error. It would simply be wrong. Those individuals who have developed municipal planning strategies for their municipalities, would certainly not favour the extension of non-conforming uses because after all, when we look at municipal planning and development, we do know that municipal planning and development divides the zonings that are consistent with the neighbourhood.

So I would certainly ask the minister to pay special attention to this particular clause. It's a very important clause and any clause that allows the extension of a non-conforming use, an NCU, is certainly to the detriment of the community and we don't need to elaborate on what those non-conforming uses may be. We can say that it may be a business, a corner grocery store, it may be an institution, it may be a church, it may be a hospital - it may be a number of different entities that come into those NCUs. Nonetheless, having said that, I know that the former mayor, and the minister now, is very much aware of the abuse that non-conforming uses can take and the effect that it will have on the community.

Another one is with respect to the restrictions of counsellors on in camera sessions. Many of us who served in municipal government have often talked and spoke about in camera sessions and many of us had believed that there is no room for in camera sessions and

[Page 2940]

as much should be made to the public through committee of the whole or the sitting of the council in order to bring issues forward. But there is some legitimacy with respect to needs that need to be discussed through an in camera session. Yet this piece of legislation doesn't specify and I would hope that this piece of legislation would specify and that the minister takes into consideration that the only things that I believe - and I believe my Party believes and many Nova Scotians believe - should be discussed within an in camera session should be, in fact, staffing, property and legal matters.

Those are the three areas and often, the minister himself knows full well, that often when you get into an in camera discussion, many other things take place and many other things are added to the agenda of an in-camera discussion which really doesn't have any bearing or meaning to be there and shouldn't actually be discussed.

With respect to restricting members of council, I don't believe it's the right of government or the legislation to restrict an elected body. If in fact the public isn't satisfied, or concerned about the in camera information being leaked out, that will happen through an election process and individuals, if they're not pleased with the information that's being leaked out through an in camera session, will have the right to vote those politicians, particularly municipal politicians, out of office.

What I want to put forward here are some of the concerns that I know that the member for Halifax Chebucto, the Critic for Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, has already expressed to the minister. I do know that this is going to move forward to the Law Amendments Committee and there will be some discussion around these particular amendments within the Act and so I know that the minister will be paying special attention because each one of these sections of that Act has a significant impact on how municipal government is going to function, particularly around enumerators. Once again, non-conforming uses and in camera sessions.

The issue of unsightly premises, again, Mr. Speaker, is one that I know he has received correspondence from His Worship, Mayor Peter Kelly on this issue. I have received correspondence with respect to that issue from the councillor of District 9, Councillor Jim Smith and the former councillor, Clint Schofield as well. This unsightly premises amendment had actually been requested over a year ago and the former Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations is very much aware.

Dangerous and unsightly conditions are ones that are extremely difficult to set standards for because it's subjective. If we look at the issue that occurred on Robie Street - I forget the name of the property owner - but there were a number of buildings on Robie Street where the individual didn't get a development proposal and he started painting some of his houses pink, purple and all different colours. It certainly presented an unsightly image to the residents in that community and particularly to the tourists who came to the Holiday

[Page 2941]

Inn in that area. Nonetheless, the courts determined that it was not necessarily considered - as a matter of fact, said that it was not considered to be an unsightly premise.

I believe that whether this is in the legislation or whether it's set in the regulations, something needs to be looked at with respect to standards that are set out, that won't be subjective, that can be effective and that can be used when you take individuals to court. I know, particularly in the area that I represent, there are many, many unsightly premises and we've been trying to get an enforcement on this by the bylaw enforcement officers of the municipalities and so on. All municipalities have this particular problem.

What happens is they give the 30-day notification, the landlord, the property owner I should say, I shouldn't say the landlord, but in many cases they are landlords and absentee landlords. You have to search them out, you have to identify them. Some of them are numbered companies, you have to go through this whole process. A 30-day process takes place and at the end of the day there's another issue that has to be warranted out again and it could take two or three months because of the inability to locate the individual, the inability to make sure that the bylaw will stand up in court when you take the individual to court and the fines are somewhat lenient.

Having said this with respect to the unsightly premises I would hope that the minister will look at making sure there are teeth in the unsightly premises legislation, an amendment to the municipal Act, that's going to take place. After all, it will deal with a whole number of what we term slum landlords or property owners who don't look after their property and keep their property up to spec, and one that causes a tremendous grief to the municipality with respect to addressing that sort of area. I know it doesn't only happen in the area that I represent, but it happens throughout the HRM. It might very well be Dartmouth, Halifax, Spryfield and other areas, just to name a few. I don't want to go into pinpointing or naming particular areas within the HRM that would be affected by that, but it would certainly make their job much easier.

[1:45 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, having made my points, and I do know the honourable member for Halifax Chebucto has made his points known as well and that he has made points known on behalf of our Party with respect to the amendments to the Municipal Government Act, I must say that the Municipal Government Act is a new Act, it's only a few years old. As a matter of fact, I believe it came into effect in April 2000, so actually the Municipal Government Act is a little more than three years old. The Municipal Government Act has been amended before this House, at least during three sessions of the Legislative Assembly that I sat in. I know that it will be continuous, that there will be a need to continuously amend the Act from time to time.

[Page 2942]

Mr. Speaker, having said that and not delaying Bill No. 9 that is before the Legislature, I will certainly wait until it goes into the Law Amendments Committee and comes back to this floor again to find out just exactly what amendments have taken place and if any of the suggestions we have brought forward to the minister have made change. Some of them are very important. So, once again, I will wait for it to come back from the Law Amendments Committee before I discuss it much further.

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

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise and say a few words on behalf of our caucus on Bill No. 9, to amend the Municipal Government Act. This legislation appears to address some of the concerns that were brought forward by the municipalities in this province. The very people who are affected by this legislation are the same people who are asking for the changes that are before us in this bill. How can you disagree with the municipalities that are asking for these changes in the first place?

Mr. Speaker, while much of what is in this bill appears to correct, clarify or change some of the provisions in various Acts affecting our municipalities, there is one provision that has some people concerned, and that is Clause 50. "Clause 50 provides that a councillor or employee of a municipality who releases information from a private meeting will be responsible for any loss or personal profit arising from the release of the information." At first blush, it makes sense, given that many meetings are held to discuss legal issues, land issues or personal problems. It would seem that it would be reasonable that those aspects should be kept secret or private.

There is some concern on the harsh penalty imposed, and there is some concern that employees who feel that there is something amiss will not come forward. The amendment would make councillors and municipal employees liable if they leak details from a secret meeting or an in camera session. We can be sure that even among municipal units, there is some discussion on whether that provision should be included.

Mr. Speaker, we have seen in The Chronicle-Herald, on April 2, 2003: Kelly in favour of outlawing loose lips at secret meetings, and Morgan disagrees. Well, again, here we have the Mayor of the Halifax Regional Municipality in favour of this amendment, and at the same time we have the Mayor of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, John Morgan, who is not in favour of this proposed amendment.

Mr. Speaker, I'm sure that during the Law Amendments Committee process we will be hearing some very interesting discussion on this very same provision that's before the House. Beyond that media concern, the bill does represent the recommendations of the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities. We could talk of how the government is ignoring some interests of the municipalities, the contributions that municipalities are making to education, and how municipalities will deal with those increases this year. Two other issues, of course,

[Page 2943]

include the property tax issue for Nova Scotia Power property and infrastructure funding. Now, those are three very critical issues that are facing 55 municipal units in this province. Again, there's nothing said on those three issues in this bill.

So again, Mr. Speaker, while these are all interesting issues and could well lead to debate for days in this Chamber - without resolution - they are not being addressed in this bill, but these few things that are being addressed that are before us. We should be aware that while the UNSM has many more issues, those probably will eventually be brought up at future meetings with provincial and federal leaders or in future sittings of this House and I expect these issues will certainly generate some future debates, both inside and outside of this House.

Mr. Speaker, we should also be aware as well, as I have stated earlier, that it is the UNSM that has brought these changes that are currently before us today. We have asked for their input and through recommendations they have provided us with their recommended changes. So as we move this bill forward, I look forward to seeing a representative from the various municipal units from across this province appearing at the Law Amendments Committee and I'm looking forward, as well, to hearing what they will have to say, especially with regard to Clause 50.

Mr. Speaker, I would be remiss if I didn't point out some of the other interesting aspects to this bill. There are some changes to the Municipal Elections Act that will remove the restrictions on political campaigning in apartment buildings which is a good thing. Indeed, living in a democratic country, it only seems reasonable to allow a candidate to enter an apartment building during reasonable hours for the purpose of lawfully campaigning, just as it is to allow a tenant to display election posters on the premises. Another change that's welcome too, is requiring accessible polling stations. Just as giving municipalities the authority to adopt new voting technology, as we move forward, voting will take on different forms. So it's good to see that the municipalities are addressing this issue.

So, in closing, our caucus will be supporting this bill to go through second reading and allow this bill to then move to the Law Amendments Committee, to allow the public, to allow representatives from the 55 municipal units, if they so wish, to allow the meeting of Nova Scotia municipalities to come forward to the Law Amendments Committee to speak on this bill. So with those few words, I will take my place and wait to see what other representatives will have to say on this bill. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, very briefly, I'd like to rise to make just one comment on the bill. Of course, it's always difficult with an omnibus bill like this to pick out the principle of the bill, but like the previous speaker, I did want to focus in particular on Clause 50.

[Page 2944]

While I understand the idea behind this, we don't want councillors running around releasing information from closed door meetings, it seems to me that imposing personal legal liability on them is not the right way to go about it. We could perhaps consider other kinds of penalties, even up to and including, removing them from office. Imposing personal, financial liability on a councillor is not, I think, the right way to go. I can't think of any other law where councillors take on personal financial liability. I can't think of any law where we, as members of this House, take on personal financial liability. I'm not sure why we, as a Legislature, would want to impose that on municipal councillors.

The real problem here is not the councillor who goes out and gains financially from releasing information from a closed door meeting. I don't think any of us have any sympathy for that. But the councillors said if this particular provisions passes, that they'll be personally liable if the municipality had lost money as a result of their action. What's going to happen here is that we're going to create a huge kind of chill - a chill where councillors are afraid to speak or say anything. There needs to be some room in a democratic society for whistle blowers, for people who see a wrong thing being done and an illegal thing being done, and going forward with it without the threat of personal financial liability hanging over their heads.

I think we're kidding ourselves if we think that no council in Nova Scotia, no mayor in Nova Scotia, is capable of misusing this particular provision by even holding the threat of a lawsuit. Let's remember, as a lawyer I know that sometimes just as much as a lawsuit itself, it's the threat of a lawsuit that provides the chilling effect. The idea that somebody, even though they're acting in good faith and it turns out that they're vindicated in the long run, they have to go through the time and expense of defending themselves against a lawsuit, however much merit that it may or may not have.

This is not the way to deal with a serious issue. As this bill moves through the rest of the stages, I'd very much commend to the attention of the minister, the idea that we consider other ways of dealing with a problem if information released from closed door meetings. Imposing personal financial liability on councillors, I'm afraid, is not the way to do that.

With those thoughts, Mr. Speaker, I look forward to dealing with this bill at future stages.

MR. SPEAKER: I recognize the honourable Minister of Community Services to close debate on Bill No. 9. I'm sorry, the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: I want to thank the honourable members for Halifax Chebucto, Dartmouth North, Halifax-Fairview and Clare for their participation. We've made note of those issues that they raised. I did have a discussion with the member for Halifax

[Page 2945]

Chebucto to provide some more information. The member for Clare indicated these are recommendations from the UNSM and indeed, they are. When I spoke to the executive at their workshop at Keltic Lodge on Friday, I indicated that there might be some amendments coming and were they favourably disposed to those. They said they would have a look at them, but I suspect we will hear people speaking to these at the Law Amendments Committee.

So with those comments, I move second reading of Bill No. 9.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 9. Is the House ready for the question? Would all those in favour of the motion say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

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

PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 53, the Massage Therapy Act.

Bill No. 53 - Massage Therapy Act.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the honourable member for Queens, I move second reading of Bill No. 53.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 53. Is the House ready for the question? Would all those in favour of the motion say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

[2:00 p.m.]

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

[Page 2946]

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 32.

Bill No. 32 - Farm Machinery Dealers and Vendors Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Energy.

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to move second reading of Bill No. 32.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 32. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

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

PRIVATE AND LOCAL BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 54.

Bill No. 54 - Funeral Service Association of Nova Scotia Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou East.

MR. JAMES DEWOLFE: Mr. Speaker, I move second reading of Bill No. 54.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 54. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that the bill be referred to the Committee on Private and Local Bills.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 55.

[Page 2947]

Bill No. 55 - Maritime Oddfellows' Home Incorporation Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

MRS. MURIEL BAILLIE: Mr. Speaker, I move second reading of Bill No. 55.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 55. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that the bill be referred to the Committee on Private and Local Bills.

The honourable Government House Leader.

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

The motion is carried.

[2:02 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker Mr. Brooke Taylor in the Chair.]

[6:05 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Murray Scott, resumed the Chair.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The subject for this evening's late debate was submitted by the honourable Leader in the House of the Liberal Party.

"Therefore be it resolved that the government has abandoned small business."

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

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

[Page 2948]

ECON. DEV. - SM. BUS.: GOV'T. (N.S.) - ABANDONMENT

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, it's now 6:05 p.m. Can you tell me how the time is being apportioned? Like, between the three Parties? Is it equal time until 6:30 p.m. - is that the way it goes?

MR. SPEAKER: It will be approximately eight and one-quarter minutes.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in my place this evening to discuss the ". . . be it resolved, that the government has abandoned small business." If there ever was a truism in this province, it's that, that this government, the government of the day, has completely forgotten about small business.

Small business is the backbone of the provincial economy, yet this government is doing nothing to ensure that businesses have access to capital. Nova Scotia business stats, 2002 from the Department of Finance, this government's own Department of Finance, in 2001-02, there were 9,507 new company registrations in the province, a 9.3 per cent decline from 2000-01 and a further 0.2 per cent decline from 1997-98.

Mr. Speaker, the number of new partnerships and business name registrations have declined from 57.7 per cent of all new registrations in 1997-98 to 51.3 per cent in 2001-02. That's according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. Almost three-quarters of Nova Scotia businesses employ fewer than five people. More than 90 per cent of Nova Scotia businesses have fewer than 50 employees, the upper limit most often used in defining small business. Businesses with more than 50 employees make up nearly 8 per cent of Nova Scotia's business population.

The question, however, is, what is the Nova Scotia Government doing to help small business. The answer, of course, is nothing. Companies in rural areas have little or no access to capital as decisions about loans are handed over to computers instead of local bank people or local people who work with the Economic Development Department of the province. They kept that premise at least towards small business, but businesses like Sobeys, Crossley and Xerox get the subsidies while small businesses are left with little or nothing.

I'm not against assistance for creating jobs, but why is this government simply handing over money to large companies while small companies do not have a chance in this province? When this government took over it gutted the Department of Economic Development which means small businesses are out of luck. For all intents and purposes, there was no such thing as the Department of Economic Development. Instead, the province created Nova Scotia Business Inc. which used to be called Industrial Estates. Of course, Industrial Estates had no time for small business like this new entity.

[Page 2949]

The other thing that makes NSBI an insult to Nova Scotians is the fact that Cape Breton obviously doesn't matter. I'm going to table some statistics. The Cape Breton Regional Municipality is the second largest municipality in the province and yet businesses in the CBRM are forced to call long distance to access a business retention and expansion officer. I want to table, a Nova Scotia Business Inc., a letter to the Legislative Committee clerk, and it outlines the financial transactions between November 6, 2001 and December 31, 2002.

There are approximately $15 million worth of transactions here, most of them by the way in Tory ridings, but not only that, most of them, if they're not in Tory ridings, they're in Metro Halifax. The one area of the province that perhaps needs the assistance least of all of any area in the province is this particular area, yet it gets the most from this NSBI. A grand total of $45,000 was spent in Cape Breton Island out of this $15 million fund - $45, 000 was spent and that went to Inverness, a Tory riding in Cheticamp. I'm not saying that they shouldn't have got money in Cheticamp, what I'm saying is that a paltry amount of $45,000 went to the Island and that went to a Tory riding and I will table that.

Some will say, well, here we go, Cape Breton is whining again, but I can say that it's not only Cape Breton, it's rural Nova Scotia that is not accessing any money out of NSBI or Economic Development. In the case of CBRM, for example, at one time small business could go to the Economic Development Office in Sydney and they had the latitude to sit you down, discuss your business proposal with you, and actually allow you to access funds through the local office in Cape Breton with a certain limit, but at least small business could go in there and talk to a live person across the desk in the second-largest municipality in Nova Scotia and actually have the opportunity to present a case. That's not the case any more.

NSBI, Mr. Speaker, is made up of 12 people, one of whom is from Cape Breton Island, one of the 12, and that was a Tory appointee even though a number of local people in Cape Breton, some very close to the current Minister of Economic Development from the Northside area, who wanted to get on this particular board, sent their name in. One person as an example is a community-minded activist in Cape Breton who wanted to get on this board. His application was ignored and the Tories appointed a friend of the government from Cape Breton. So we have one out of 12 and that one is a Tory appointee. So what chance do you have. Rural Nova Scotia has very little representation on that board as well. Rural Nova Scotia has very little representation.

One of the problems that we also have here, it's interesting as well in agriculture that the government also set up an arm's length agricultural body called AgraPoint, again with no presence in Cape Breton, no presence again in Cape Breton. So I mean if this government considers itself to be helping small business, I don't know where they're helping them at, but I want to remind you, Mr. Speaker, that this government said when it came to office that it would not issue any more grants or outright loans to business and they would do better than

[Page 2950]

that, they would adopt a new method. What are they doing? They're looking after their friends. They're giving money out in the form of grants whenever it's advisable to them and whenever they think they're going to get any political mileage out of it and, other than that, they've left the rest of it to NSBI which is not responsible to this Legislature.

The minister does not have to stand in his place and justify public spending by NSBI and, Mr. Speaker, I think that's an affront to this Legislature. At least when the previous government had dealings with business in Nova Scotia, it had to stand up in this place and justify those business deals. I think it's an affront to democracy that the minister or his department does not have to account to this Legislature for public funds that are being doled out by NSBI.

Mr. Speaker, that's an affront to democracy. This government is doling out money exactly where it wants for political purposes in this province and because of that, the way they're doing it, they don't have to answer here directly in Question Period or at the Public Accounts Committee, in this forum here in the House during estimates for their expenditures.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I will take my chance to speak now because I'm curious to hear what the minister says although I will give up my opportunity to rebut. For sure this government has abandoned rural Nova Scotia, or it has abandoned small business, and certainly lots of those in rural Nova Scotia are small. When this government became newly minted, the first thing they did in their first official budget was to cut the Production Technology Branch. Now, this branch offered extensive extension services to the agricultural sector. This was a branch that offered the blueberry specialists and other types of specialists who could go out and offer assistance to businesses that were starting up. For whatever reason, I'm not sure what the thinking is in this province, but we seem to think about agriculture as something completely different than other businesses.

We don't seem to think of agriculture as business in the same way that we think of other sectors of the economy as business and we seem to do a lot more kicking of agriculture than other sectors. I don't know whether we think that, you know, this doesn't make good ministerial statements, whether the media doesn't pick up on statements around agriculture, it's not newsworthy. I have no idea why it is that we don't really pick up the ball and pursue agriculture in a much more aggressive way. We hear the classic statements, I think we all say them, I'm not sure that we all mean them, we talk about value added, we say apples to applesauce. We know that agriculture can produce jobs, it can create wealth. It does it. Sarsfield's frozen pies is an example. Although they sold that company, I think to the Weston company, Sarsfield's have started up another similar operation. Even if you look back at the history of that family around the Canning area, they've been involved as entrepreneurs in business for many, many years. I think that this is an area that actually has sustained rural Nova Scotia.

[Page 2951]

[6:15 p.m.]

The government I think always seems to say the right things. I don't think I need to table anything from the blue book because I think it's probably been tabled here. "No government incentives of any kind will be provided for new start-ups when they are competitively harmful to existing businesses." Well, that almost makes sense, but when you look at it, Mr. Speaker, you have to say to yourself, okay, what is the government really doing? I have to say that I have a problem using taxpayers' dollars to give somebody a competitive advantage over somebody else in business. So, if the government is meaning that, then I agree. Yet, I'll bet you it will be really difficult for anybody who is thinking of getting into the retail grocery business in this province to get start-up money. Yet, Sobeys can get a $3 million tax break from this government. They're given a competitive advantage to anybody who may be trying to exist in that market but they're not a start-up company, they've been around, therefore, they don't actually need the money, but somebody starting up would need the money, would need an advantage to get going.

So my thought is, well, if we're not going to help someone to get started, then we certainly shouldn't be helping operations big enough that they don't need the money or that they will get a competitive advantage to keep other people down.

We saw the same thing with other operations related to NSBI, that the board of directors is making decisions that affect the members of the board and their businesses. I think that this is just a little too close to home for giving each other advantages that other people outside of that board or outside of that circle - we have to consider, Mr. Speaker, the business community in Nova Scotia, we're only a million people, so the business community in Nova Scotia and especially the larger business component of this province, this is very small. It's hard to believe that they don't all know one another, connected in one way or another. You need, I think, something far more arms' length than NSBI when it comes to this.

In the forestry sector we say the same thing around value added. I can think of a company in Colchester North, the Tatamagouche area, Northern Lumber was creating hardwood flooring and could not get a break from this province in any way. They couldn't get hardwood. We have thousands of acres of Crown land, yet the way the volume agreements are given out is that a mill will be given so many thousands acres, 100,000 acres of Crown land, but even if they're not making use of all the species - they may not be using hardwood at all - other mills cannot get access to that that could use it. This was a company that went under simply because it couldn't get the hardwood it needed but had the markets and couldn't supply them.

If we're going to consider what decisions are made by governments, then let's take a look at the Alma Loop toward the New Glasgow area. Here's an example of the Trans-Canada Highway that actually bypassed some of what used to be a major route there. I think

[Page 2952]

Magic Valley was the little village there along the highway. The route changed, so all those businesses along that route, as much as they tried to make their case, were unsuccessful. Yet, down the road at Exit 21, someone is given $200,000 to set up a truck rest or truck stop there, which offers services that can compete with these businesses and there was no $200,000 offered to them to help them through this. So you have to wonder.

If anybody can remember that little village when it was being built, I mean it was almost a building at a time. People use their own funds, their own sweat equity, they put everything they have into starting these enterprises and are not really given the support that they should have been given in order to carry these further when one government decision actually changes the economic prospects for them. If you remember, in the Shubenacadie area, the House of Hay which was there, and then the highway was moved which devastated the gas stations and the businesses along that route.

We've let people down, I think, in many ways, in terms of our insurance rates killing small businesses, our gasoline prices are killing small businesses. If you look at any company that is in the delivery business that uses vehicles, between insurance and gasoline, it's killing them, taxi drivers, commercial trucking, any of these things are all adding costs to what these businesses must bear and there has been no help from this government to circumvent any of that.

Mr. Speaker, I think we are sadly lacking in our approach to vocational training when it comes to children or students who are not going to make it to Grade 12 to get into community colleges - to get to Grade 12 is not in their plan, but yet we used to help them out in Grades 8 and 9, getting into vocational.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Economic Development.

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise and to have this occasion to talk to the resolution presented by the Liberal caucus that said, "Therefore be it resolved that the government has abandoned small business." It couldn't be further from the truth and I can speak first-hand to the work and effort of the good people within my portfolio of Economic Development and those that represent the five Crown Corporations and the wider efforts of this government to work towards an environment that supports, sustains and grows small business in Nova Scotia. I'll speak to several factors and I'll try to respond to some of the comments made by my colleagues both in the New Democratic and Liberal caucuses.

Ultimately, Mr. Speaker, what we do know is that as we stand in this Legislature and we are present here today, we are at an all-time high in the history of this province with the number of people employed, 436,300 Nova Scotians, a mark in the history of this province of the number of people employed, and we are seeing that growing throughout the Province of Nova Scotia. We are seeing gross domestic product growth in the Province of Nova Scotia: in 2001 that was 2.5 per cent; in 2002 it was 3.8 per cent. What was the national

[Page 2953]

average? It was 3.4 per cent. The Nova Scotia economy is growing, and its thanks to the backbone of our economy.

Our economy composite of 80 per cent small business in this province from one end to the other, and what we did, Mr. Speaker, when I became minister is we toured this province region by region, community by community wherever possible to meet with the stakeholders, with individuals, community advocates, and those who are working in the interests of growing not only a stable business environment, but a good, growing quality of living for home communities.

As a result of that we heard about the access to capital and the frustrations people were experiencing, and as a result of that I met directly with the Nova Scotia Co-operatives Council. An initiative has emerged with the Co-operatives Council and the Credit Union Central and their member organizations for the sole purpose of ensuring that we set up a program that will address the needs of working capital for small business - something I look forward to detailing further to this House, but small business throughout Nova Scotia, recognizing that big banks have pulled away, while this government has stepped up to the plate in partnership with those entities that are working.

As well, we have embarked upon a process with the Community Business Development Corporations or CBDCs that are throughout Nova Scotia. We are embarking upon a dialogue that talks about what are the needs for micro - the smaller level of businesses, the one- and two-person operations, what supports can we do in partnership with them?

We've heard as well some of the concerns people have with regard to Nova Scotia Business Inc. in terms of the level of funding that was accessible when you look at small business loans portfolios starting at $250,000 or above. We've listened and we have responded. That's now down to $100,000. There's a small business unit established within NSBI. Consultations have been ongoing both one-on-one with business, hundreds and hundreds of them across the province, Mr. Speaker, not to mention the capital ideas road show that has been on the road talking about how we grow and gain access to capital for small business in the Province of Nova Scotia. Those are not actions of a government that isn't listening or responding to the needs of small business but it's in concert to other things that are happening within government.

I speak of the Skills Agenda, and our efforts of working within the community college to ensure that what we do is responsive, region by region, for the people of this province, ensuring small businesses are able to deal with the labour needs, that individuals can get the type of training that they require to be able to work and live in the communities of their choice around this province.

[Page 2954]

Mr. Speaker, we have also looked at how we can enhance and support Community Economic Development Investment Funds or CEDIFs, as well as the Equity Tax Program that supports small business. We are seeing more and more Nova Scotians from one end of this province yet again investing more dollars to help support small business, to grow community-based initiatives in this province. That is a reality and something I'm very pleased and proud of this government to be part of.

We're looking at other issues with regard to venture capital in the province and how we do that to support initiatives within the regions of this province. I've heard my colleague from the Liberal caucus talk about what the role of this government has been in and around Cape Breton, well, it has been substantial, and our annual investment of $3 million - my colleague, the member for Cape Breton South likes to refer to $2 million - a year, we've given our next instalment to a $12 million commitment. They want to talk about the Province of Nova Scotia not matching the federal government, well I'm very proud of this government that it has invested wisely in a unique, one-of-a-kind partnership in the Country of Canada.

Already we've seen $45 million invested in over 20 new or existing companies in Cape Breton. What's the result? Over 2,800 sustainable jobs as a result of this government's investment. Aside from our annual investment, this government has also complemented - not NSBI, this government - in our other programs through Economic Development, an additional $8 million in efforts in and around Cape Breton. But what has it also meant in terms of leveraging opportunity?

As a result of our commitment, investment and belief in Cape Breton, it's not just $45 million, it's not just part of a $98 million fund that will continue to grow opportunities for prosperity and for small business enhancement, what we have seen is an outcome of $244 million, to date, of private investment. For every $1 of growth fund dollars, we have seen $7 from the private sector invested. To me, that is smart investment, investment that is supporting communities.

We see revitalization initiatives throughout the Province of Nova Scotia, communities coming together and taking hold of their destiny. We are there, lockstep with them, and we're working on the programs they need, that's why Economic Development is working on a community development policy which we will be bringing forward. That's why we're looking at enhanced, broadband access throughout the Province of Nova Scotia and I've been pleased, with other announcements to come, that will see increased access by small business in rural regions for broadband in this province.

We are listening. We are responding. We are seeing the telecommunications network responding with regard to cellular access, so that every region of this province will soon have access to digital service and access to the needs that they have to compete; whether they are in downtown Halifax, or downtown Cheticamp, they are going to have a competitive environment. We are seeing that businesses in the tourism sector have said clearly, the

[Page 2955]

number of on-line bookings are increasing so we're ensuring that those individuals who work in such a vital sector of our economy are getting the supports they need.

We're working in partnership with other levels of government, with industry, and those individual businesses to grow the opportunities that they see. When they want to talk as well about opportunities for small business, I look at the initiatives that are driven from within the regions, whether that's the response by Team Guysborough to the issues of Canso, and some of the downturn with regard to fishery decisions, coming together as a community, as a region, and finding solutions that are there.

I look to other initiatives where this government has worked through InNOVAcorp, putting an additional $8 million into the Nova Scotia First Fund, so that companies such as Ocean Nutrition, as well as Chitogenics Ltd., that are incubating opportunities here in the metropolitan Halifax area, when those opportunities are commercialized, where are they being provided in terms of jobs and production? In Guysborough County and the community of Mulgrave. That is smart business and it's a Nova Scotia approach, that something can be developed in metro and actually expanded upon elsewhere in the Province of Nova Scotia.

We are seeing the Strait area Superport Corporation coming together and positioning that community for offshore development. We're seeing Laurentian Energy in Sydney, going out and raising community capital for efforts. Mr. Speaker, I know there's not enough time, I could go from one end of the province to the other, but this government has not abandoned, we are supporting and growing small business in Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: The time for the Adjournment debate has expired. We will now resume Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

[6:30 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker Mr. Brooke Taylor in the Chair.]

[7:58 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 and considered the following bills:

Bill No. 50 - Interior Designers Act.

Bill No. 3 - Personal Property Security Act.

Bill No. 43 - Members' Retiring Allowances Act.

[Page 2956]

Bill No. 36 - Financial Measures (2003) Act.

Bill No. 28 - Apprenticeship and Trades Qualifications Act.

and the chairman has been instructed to recommend these bills to the favourable consideration of the House, each without amendment.

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

THE CLERK: That the committee has met and considered the following bill:

Bill No. 1 - Firefighters' Compensation Act.

and the chairman has been instructed to recommend this bill to the favourable consideration of the House, with certain amendments.

MR. SPEAKER: Ordered that these bills be read for a third time on a future day.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, tomorrow being Opposition Day, I defer to the honourable Liberal House Leader.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Liberal House Leader.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, tomorrow we will sit from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. and following the daily routine and Question Period, we will be calling Resolution No. 796, you can guess what that's going to be about, and Bill No. 39. So I move we adjourn.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

We stand adjourned until 2:00 p.m. tomorrow.

[The House rose at 7:59 p.m.]

[Page 2957]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 1480

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

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

Whereas International Volunteer Week recently took place and in Nova Scotia we recognized those whose generosity, determination and compassion better our lives each day; and

Whereas the Chester Recreation Department has chosen municipality volunteers as nominated by the individual organizations with which they work; and

Whereas Wanda and Philip Broome of New Ross were honoured by their daughter Laura for all the dedication and hard work her parents put into their community from the contributions to organizations in New Ross, the Municipality of Chester, local 4-H groups and for their involvement with community youth;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House salute those Nova Scotians named municipality volunteers by the Chester Recreation Department and express our sincerest gratitude for the efforts of the thousands of volunteers across this province, like Wanda and Philip Broome, who perform invaluable service within their communities all year round.

RESOLUTION NO. 1481

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

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

Whereas International Volunteer Week recently took place and in Nova Scotia we recognized those whose generosity, determination and compassion better our lives each day; and

Whereas the Chester Recreation Department has chosen municipality volunteers as nominated by the individual organizations with which they work; and

[Page 2958]

Whereas Darlene Guite of Hubbards was honoured by the Aspotogan Recreation Centre for her community work through her role as the President of Aspotogan Recreation Centre;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House salute those Nova Scotians named municipality volunteers by the Chester Recreation Department and express our sincerest gratitude for the efforts of the thousands of volunteers across this province, like Darlene Guite, who perform invaluable service within their communities all year round.

RESOLUTION NO. 1482

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

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

Whereas International Volunteer Week recently took place and in Nova Scotia we recognized those whose generosity, determination and compassion better our lives each day; and

Whereas the Chester Recreation Department has chosen municipality volunteers as nominated by the individual organizations with which they work; and

Whereas Donna Varner of Chester received one of these nods from the Chester and Area Resource Centre for her community work as a board member for the Resource Centre, as a playground leader, for her work at the Father's Day Fishing Derby and her efforts as a Brownie leader;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House salute those Nova Scotians named municipality volunteers by the Chester Recreation Department and express our sincerest gratitude for the efforts of the thousands of volunteers across this province, like Donna Varner, who perform invaluable service within their communities all year round.

RESOLUTION NO. 1483

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

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

Whereas International Volunteer Week recently took place and in Nova Scotia we recognized those whose generosity, determination and compassion better our lives each day; and

[Page 2959]

Whereas the Chester Recreation Department has chosen municipality volunteers as nominated by the individual organizations with which they work; and

Whereas Linda Cahill of Hubbards was honoured by The Community of Hubbards for her efforts with the Hubbards Farm Market, as a founding member, as well as her work with the Hubbards Cove Barn Association and the widely known Hubbards Lobster Festival;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House salute those Nova Scotians named municipality volunteers by the Chester Recreation Department and express our sincerest gratitude for the efforts of the thousands of volunteers across this province, like Linda Cahill, who perform invaluable service within their communities all year.

RESOLUTION NO. 1484

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

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

Whereas International Volunteer Week recently took place and in Nova Scotia we recognized those whose generosity, determination and compassion better our lives each day; and

Whereas the Chester Recreation Department has chosen municipality volunteers as nominated by the individual organizations with which they work; and

Whereas Erin Gore of Chester was honoured by the Chester Drama Society for her community work with the Drama Society, local choral groups, dance recitals and generally assisting youth to explore the arts;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House salute those Nova Scotians named municipality volunteers by the Chester Recreation Department and express our sincerest gratitude for the efforts of the thousands of volunteers across this province, like Erin Gore, who perform invaluable service within their communities all year round.

RESOLUTION NO. 1485

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

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

[Page 2960]

Whereas International Volunteer Week was recently held, and in Nova Scotia we recognized those whose generosity, determination and compassion better our lives each day; and

Whereas the Chester Recreation Department has chosen Municipality Volunteers, as nominated by the individual organizations with which they work; and

Whereas Rena Walker of Chester was honoured by Shoreham Village for her community work with their organization, as well as her work with Bonny Lea Farm, where she occasionally teaches and reads to the residents;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House salute those Nova Scotians named Municipality Volunteers by the Chester Recreation Department and express our sincerest gratitude for the efforts of the thousands of volunteers across this province, like Rena Walker, who perform invaluable service within their communities all year round.

RESOLUTION NO. 1486

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

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

Whereas International Volunteer Week was recently held, and in Nova Scotia we recognized those whose generosity, determination and compassion better our lives each day; and

Whereas the Chester Recreation Department has chosen Municipality Volunteers, as nominated by the individual organizations with which they work; and

Whereas William "Marty" Martell of Chester was honoured by Chester Legion, F.E. Butler Branch No. 44 for his community work with the Legion, both as president for 23 years and for organizing various other events for our war veterans;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House salute those Nova Scotians named Municipality Volunteers by the Chester Recreation Department and express our sincerest gratitude for the efforts of the thousands of volunteers across this province, like William Martell, who perform invaluable service within their communities all year round.

[Page 2961]

RESOLUTION NO. 1487

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

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

Whereas International Volunteer Week was recently held, and in Nova Scotia we recognized those whose generosity, determination and compassion better our lives each day; and

Whereas the Chester Recreation Department has chosen Municipality Volunteers, as nominated by the individual organizations with which they work; and

Whereas Philip Broome of New Ross was honoured by Chester Basin-New Ross-Chester Lion's Club for his community work with the Lion's Club, the Forties Community Centre, the Ross Farm Board of Directors and the Lunenburg County School Board;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House salute those Nova Scotians named Municipality Volunteers by the Chester Recreation Department and express our sincerest gratitude for the efforts of the thousands of volunteers across this province, like Philip Broome, who perform invaluable service within their communities all year round.

RESOLUTION NO. 1488

By: Mr. John Holm (Sackville-Cobequid)

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

Whereas Nova Scotians continue to tell us that auto insurance rates in Nova Scotia are unfair, unaffordable and that government should take action now to lower those rates; and

Whereas the Premier and the Minister of Environment and Labour have responded to this raging issue by promising some vague action in the fullness of time to deliver insurance fairness; and

Whereas one Sackville couple has captured the government's strategy perfectly when they state, "The present P.C. government is spinning its wheels";

Therefore be it resolved that a government long on rhetoric on insurance fairness better take quick, concrete action to deliver the lowest and fairest auto insurance rates or risk finding itself rather long in the tooth to Nova Scotian voters.

[Page 2962]

RESOLUTION NO. 1489

By: Mr. Richard Hurlburt (Yarmouth)

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

Whereas Stephanie Eldridge, an English teacher at Yarmouth Junior High School, has brightened up her classroom environment to enhance the ability of her students to learn and claims to be seeing the benefits in their schoolwork; and

Whereas her classroom has been featured in Aviso, the magazine for Nova Scotia's teaching profession, as a model workplace for students as it combines elements of nature - plants are in abundance - and involves lots of colour, including a fish mural on the wall; and

Whereas Ms. Eldridge inspired other teachers at the school to follow suit and make their classrooms into healthier learning environments;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud Stephanie Eldridge on her innovative method of turning her classroom into a place where students are learning at their potential, and congratulate her for being featured in the Aviso magazine.

RESOLUTION NO. 1490

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas on June 14, 1943, the Rotary Club of Springhill's original charter was issued commencing the club's long history of service to the people of Springhill; and

Whereas the Rotary Club's first major project was to help the children of families whose fathers were serving overseas in the war effort by creating the Springhill Rotary Camp near Pugwash and providing nourishment and recreation for these children; and

Whereas in recent years the Rotary Club of Springhill has been instrumental supporters of programs such as Toys-for-Tots, the Easter Seal Campaign, Polio Plus, Camp Tignish, group study exchanges and school music programs - just to name a few;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House join me in congratulating the Rotary Club of Springhill on its 60th Anniversary and express our gratitude for the many significant contributions it has made to our community.

[Page 2963]

RESOLUTION NO. 1491

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles had a great 2002-03 season, ending in a tight game against the Halifax Mooseheads in game four of the best-of-seven Frank Dilio Conference quarter-final playoff series; and

Whereas Cape Breton played great defence, with the team's goaltender and 2002-03 World Junior Hockey Championships silver medallist Marc-Andre Fleury being awarded tournament MVP; and

Whereas one of the Nova Scotia team's up-and-coming right wingers hails from Nictaux Falls, Annapolis County - Mr. Nathan Veinot;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Screaming Eagles on a well fought season and wish this Annapolis County native great success in his budding hockey career.

RESOLUTION NO. 1492

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas Dave Sanford of Middleton has been busy for the last three years creating beautiful Ukranian Easter eggs; and

Whereas taking upwards of five hours to complete and even longer for more intricate designs, Mr. Sanford had a showing of his work at the Annapolis Valley Regional Library recently; and

Whereas the process involves many different time-consuming steps, including layering the egg in coats of wax, immersing it in dyes, melting the wax off, and varnishing the finished product;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the efforts of Dave Sanford in creating such beautiful works of art, and for bringing the Ukranian Easter egg back into the spotlight in the Annapolis Valley.

[Page 2964]

RESOLUTION NO. 1493

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas 18-year-old Ashley Martin of Springhill, Nova Scotia, who won the title of Miss Cumberland last year, has been asked to represent the region at the Miss Canada International Pageant in August; and

Whereas Ashley Martin is one of 25 women between the ages of 18 and 25 from across the country who will be vying for the title; and

Whereas Ashley Martin attends the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton and is studying for her Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Ashley Martin on representing this region, we know that she will make us proud and we wish her the best of luck.

RESOLUTION NO. 1494

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Billy McNutt of Oxford Regional High School did participate in the NSSAF district track and field meet in Oxford on May 12 and May 13, 2003; and

Whereas Billy placed second in the Senior Boys Triple Jump, fifth in the long jump, second in the high jump; and

Whereas Billy therefore earned the position to move on to the regional meet being hosted by Oxford later in May;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Billy McNutt on these outstanding achievements and wish him continued success in the future.

[Page 2965]

RESOLUTION NO. 1495

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Kyle Purdy of Oxford Regional High School did participate in the NSSAF district track and field meet in Oxford on May 12 and 13, 2003; and

Whereas Kyle did place 1st in junior boys javelin, 3rd in 1,500 metre, and 1st in discus; and

Whereas Kyle therefore earned the position to move on to the regional meet being hosted by Oxford later in May;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Kyle Purdy on this outstanding achievement and wish him continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1496

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Toni Reade of Oxford Regional High School did participate in the NSSAF district track and field meet in Oxford on May 12 and 13, 2003; and

Whereas Toni did place 2nd in the senior girls shot put competition; and

Whereas Toni therefore earned the position to move on to the regional meet being hosted by Oxford later in May;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Toni Reade on this outstanding achievement and wish her continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1497

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

[Page 2966]

Whereas Barrett Reid of Oxford Regional High School did participate in the NSSAF district track and field meet in Oxford on May 12 and 13, 2003; and

Whereas Barrett did place 4th in senior boys shot put competition; and

Whereas Barrett therefore earned the position to move on to the regional meet being hosted by Oxford later in May;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Barrett Reid on this outstanding achievement and wish him continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1498

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Daniel Spence, a Grade 12 student of Springhill High School, won the Wendy's Classic Achievers Bursary and was honoured with the presentation of a $1,000 bursary which will go to the school of his choice and in the process help with his tuition for 2003/04; and

Whereas a classic achiever is a high school student who works hard and has something extra to give back to the community. The program recognizes the top Canadian high school graduates on the basis of scholastic achievement, extracurricular activity and community involvement; and

Whereas Daniel Spence has certainly met all of those requirements and his friends, fellow students, teachers, family and his town are all extremely proud of him;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Daniel Spence on this outstanding achievement and wish him continued success in all of his future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 1499

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

[Page 2967]

Whereas the Springhill & Parrsboro Record was named best overall newspaper in its class during the Atlantic Community Newspaper Association's awards ceremony in Charlottetown on May 2, 2003; and

Whereas the people at the Springhill & Parrsboro Record work very hard to ensure that they have a great product to present to their readers; and

Whereas also as part of the ACNA Premier Awards category this year, Susan Belliveau - editor - took 3rd place for best editorial. The Record has also once again been named a national Blue Ribbon Winner by the Canadian Community Newspaper Association;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Springhill & Parrsboro Record for this outstanding accomplishment and wish them continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1500

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Tamara Turner of Oxford Regional High School did participate in the NSSAF district track and field meet in Oxford on May 12 and 13, 2003; and

Whereas Tamara did place 2nd in the intermediate girls shot put competition and 3rd in javelin throwing; and

Whereas Tamara therefore earned the position to move on to the regional meet being hosted by Oxford later in May;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Tamara on this outstanding achievement and wish her continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1501

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Amanda Visser of Oxford Regional High School did participate in the NSSAF district track and field meet in Oxford on May 12 and 13, 2003; and

[Page 2968]

Whereas Amanda did place 1st in the intermediate girls shot put competition; and

Whereas Amanda therefore earned the position to move on to the regional meet being hosted by Oxford later in May;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Amanda Visser on this outstanding achievement and wish her continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1502

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Meagan Wood of Oxford Regional High School did participate in the NSSAF district track and field meet in Oxford on May 12 and 13, 2003; and

Whereas Meagan did place 3rd in the intermediate girls triple jump competition, 5th in the long jump, 4th in the high jump, 3rd in the 200M and 3rd in the 500M; and

Whereas Meagan therefore earned the position to move on to the regional meet being hosted by Oxford later in May;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Meagan Wood on these outstanding achievements and wish her continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1503

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Tyler Wood of Oxford Regional High School did participate in the NSSAF district track and field meet in Oxford on May 12 and 13, 2003; and

Whereas Tyler placed 5th in the junior boys shot put and 2nd in discus throwing; and

Whereas Tyler therefore earned the position to move on to the regional meet being hosted by Oxford later in May;

[Page 2969]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Tyler Wood on this outstanding achievement and wish him continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1504

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Rob Black of Oxford Regional High School did participate in the NSSAF district track and field meet in Oxford on May 12 and 13, 2003; and

Whereas Rob did place 5th in the intermediate boys long jump competition and 4th in high jump; and

Whereas Rob Black therefore earned the position to move on to the regional meet being hosted by Oxford later in May;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Rob Black on this outstanding achievement and wish him continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1505

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Jillian Brookins of Oxford Regional High School did participate in the NSSAF district track and field meet in Oxford on May 12 and May 13, 2003; and

Whereas Jillian placed 2nd in the junior girls shot put, 3rd in the javelin, and 1st in the discus; and

Whereas Jillian therefore earned the position to move on to the regional meet being hosted by Oxford later in May;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Jillian Brookins on these outstanding achievements and wish her continued success in the future.

[Page 2970]

RESOLUTION NO. 1506

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Craig Carter of Oxford Regional High School did participate in the NSSAF district track and field meet in Oxford on May 12 and May 13, 2003; and

Whereas Craig did place 3rd in senior boys shot put competition; and

Whereas Craig therefore earned the position to move on to the regional meet being hosted by Oxford later in May;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Craig Carter on this outstanding achievement and wish him continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1507

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Steve Christie of Oxford Regional High School did participate in the NSSAF district track and field meet in Oxford on May 12 and May 13, 2003; and

Whereas Steve did place 1st in the intermediate boys triple jump, 2nd in the 200 metre race, and 3rd in the 400 metre; and

Whereas Steve therefore earned the position to move on to the regional meet later in May, 2003;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Steve Christie on these outstanding achievements and wish him continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1508

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

[Page 2971]

Whereas Brittany Cotton of Oxford Regional High School did participate in the NSSAF district track and field meet in Oxford on May 12 and May 13, 2003; and

Whereas Brittany did place 1st in the junior girls division for the triple jump and also 1st in the long jump; and

Whereas Brittany therefore earned the position to move on to the regional meet being hosted by Oxford later in May;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Brittany Cotton on these outstanding achievements and wish her continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1509

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Aaron Gogan of Oxford Regional High School did participate in the NSSAF district track and field meet in Oxford on May 12 and May 13, 2003; and

Whereas Aaron placed 4th in the intermediate boys shot put competition; and

Whereas Aaron also placed 3rd in intermediate boys 1500 metre race, earning him a place to proceed on to the regionals to be held in Oxford later in the month;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Aaron Gogan on his accomplishments and wish him continued success in the future.